Young Guns – Ones and Zeroes review

That is an awesome album cover

So we have a new album from Young Guns, a great English alt rock band that I got into about 3 years o so ago, they’re known for the big anthemic songs and some great vocals and they’re also great live (or so I hear) and Ones and Zeroes is a great step in the right direction for the band, whose last album Bones came out in 2012.

Young Guns are cool because they make great music but they also just seem like great, relaxed and down to earth guys that love to make music and it’s evident in the new album, it’s not overly long and it’s well put together with a mix of some exciting fast paced songs like ‘Speaking in tongues’ and ‘Colour Blind’ and some slower ones like ‘Lullaby’. While songs like ‘I want out’ highlight Young Guns more nuanced vocals (for a rock band) and also sound entertainingly anthemic and one thing you can’t criticize Young Guns for being, is boring.

They’re a young, energetic band and their music reflects that, with not a single dull song in the album, there were doubts from Young Guns fans on how the album would sound after ‘I want out’ was release, with people feeling the band had lost its’ way or changed its’ sound too much. But to address this age old criticism of bands changing, it’s natural to show progression and change in music from a band, some bands do, some bands don’t but it’s a great thing to see an shows that a band as a group of people changes and grows over the years. Experimentation in music is always a good thing and it’s refreshing for Young Gun in this case to almost be going with a more electric tone and modulators to their music and more use of different instruments, though the end result is still great music.

Ones and Zeroes shows good progression for the band, a tonally balanced and interesting album, combining fast paced songs with their slower ones, while also featuring the more anthemic, epic sounds that the band has come to be known for.

. Solid album throughout with some great songs

. Great length for the album, not overly short or long

Joey bada$$ – B4.DA.$$ review

Yesterday was the 20th birthday and the hotly anticipated release of Joey Bada$$s’ debut album, though he’s already been making music for years and has a few EPs’ out, one of the founders of the pro-era group, his own rap collective.

Pro Era and Joey champion harkening back to the 90s’, the glory days of hip hop and rap, though right now is also a great time for rap in my opinion and B4.DA.$$ is a great example of this, a great album from beginning to end with great beats, great rapping for Joey and something deeper in his songs as well. The album showcases progression for the rapper, highlighting his still consistently good flow and enthusiasm on the mic, as can be seen in 1999 and Summer Knights, B4.DA.$$ is a great step in the direction and shows Joey can get even better.

Joey has some of his best solo raps on the album, coming out with passion and fire on tracks like ‘Big Dusty’ and ‘Christ Conscious’ while he flows effortlessly on other tracks like ‘Save the children’, ‘Black Beetle’ and ‘Curry Chicken’, one of the best songs on the album. The album is a nice blend of the slow and fast, demonstrating Joeys’ range for his more hard hitting songs with vocals that come at you, in a sense, while at the same time he knows how to make radio friendly tunes with songs like ‘Curry Chicken’ and the upbeat ‘Teach Me’.

This album and Joey bada$$ prove that you don’t need to constantly rap about sex or drugs or use auto-tune… things a lot of mainstream rappers do for popularity, but he still is a great rapper and knows how to make great music. And the future for Joey seems to be bright, I can only see him getting better as time goes on and he gets more confident as a rapper and producer, he clearly has an eye for great beats and music and will probably just be on the up and up from here.

8/10

Fall Out Boy – American beauty/American Psycho review

The new Fall out boy album came out just yesterday and it’s awesome, I remember listening to a few of the singles FOB released in the weeks building up to the album debut and being pleasantly surprised. Not surprised as I was expecting the songs to be bad, but surprised because the song’s were a lot better than I expected them to be.

That and it’s great that Fall out boy are still churning out great anthemic hits, over 10 years after they’ve been in the business, Patrick Stumps’ vocals are still as energetic and varying as ever and great to listen to, as re the bands great instrumentalists. The new album didn’t have a tonne of build up and arguably hasn’t made a big of a splash as 2013s’ Save Rock And Roll did, though that naturally would be bigger as it was Fall Out Boys’ re-union.

But that doesn’t take away from American Beauty/American Psycho which is a great and quite brief listen, only because you’re enjoying the music and it seems to fly by and because it’s not a very long album. I like the mix of the more anthemic songs that you just probably will sing along to like that theme in centuries, with the trumpets and royal sounding ‘Irresistible’ kicking off the album, as if it’s announcing the grand return of the band to its’ 2000s’ domination and popularity.

There’s a nice mix of the slower songs as well in ‘Jet Pack Blues’ and ‘The Kids aren’t alright’, that’s slow for Fall Out Boy anyway, the album is quite energetic and upbeat, with songs to just get you up and doing something I feel. Everything just works really well though, the album may not have had a huge promo run in or anything but it’s definitely one of Fall Out Boys better albums in my opinion, a fun, energetic and great listen.

7/10

My favourite albums of 2014

So last year was a pretty decent year for music, with my favourite stuff not being the most poppy or radio friendly stuff, but still being pretty freaking good if you ask me, I wanted to just share my taste with you a bit and talk about the music that I loved from last year.

In no particular order.

Linkin Park – The Hunting Party

By the way I’m a big Linkin Park fan, they’re my favourite band and I was excited to hear they were working on a new, old school LP sounding album for 2014, hearing some songs from the album before it came out got me pumped and the whole thing didn’t disappoint. It’s generally well received and has been a tad divisive among LP fans but you always get the vocal fans constantly wanting all the bands new music to sound like their old, classic albums, Meteora and Hybrid Theory.

I liked the Hunting Party because it was just a barebones, more basic album with a lot more guitars, more heavy stuff (yeah you can tell I’m not a music blogger) and it just felt a bit more raw, the fast paced songs were balanced with the slower songs but nothing felt out of place or bad. It was just a great album that flowed and sounded great in my opinion, one of LPs’ best.

 

Warpaint – Warpaint

A sort of left of field choice compared to the other albums in the list (my music taste is pretty varied though), but Warpaints’ album this year was pretty great, Warpaint make great resounding and layered music with the way the use their singing and instruments to make an almost orchestral sound. They’re one of the more creative and alternative rock bands out there but awesome to listen to if you’re a fan of psychedelic, indie rock music, the album had a nice mix of slower and some upbeat songs as well and it really flowed well as a whole.

I’ve found it to be one of those albums that seems to fly by as you listen to it, because you’re enjoying it so much and you end up going back a few songs as you want to go through it again.

 

J Cole – Forest Hills Drive

I’m also a big, big J Cole fan and this album sort of came out of nowhere, I heard talk of it among fans but it was barely promoted anywhere and boom, it came out and it was awesome, one of J Coles’ best albums and one of his most sincere sounding ones. It has a great mix of slower, meaningful songs and up tempo ones with great beats/hooks, as per usual with J Coles, I love Coles’ conversational tone in some of his songs, as if he’s talking directly to the listener while he tells you a story.

It’s also great that he’s deeper than a lot of popular rappers out there and has something to say, rather than just rap about his wealth, drugs or girls, he talks about the cons of being famous quite a bit as well, which is interesting. I like J Cole because he’s an inspirational rapper, his music is uplifting but at the same time he has quite a few bangers out there, a bit of everything but he’s still good at what he does.

 

Logic – Under Pressure

A popular New York rapper and a hardworking guy, Logics’ been rapping for years with a few solid mixtapes but hasn’t received much mainstream recognition until recently and he hit it big time with his debut album. Signed to a major label now and featuring some big names like Big Sean, the album’s a consistently great listen and showcases his talent for writing soulful, fantastic sounding songs with nuanced beats. Logic does stand apart from a few rappers around his age in my opinion, his music isn’t loud or cocky but he still stands out, his flow, his great rapping and his great use of samples and beats make him one to watch for the future for sure, he’s easily on the path to being a megastar and it’s just a matter of time really.

 

Banks – Goddess

I came across Banks last year a bit randomly when I was looking for new, quality alt electronic music and I’ve loved her music ever since, I like how it’s soulful, the beats for her songs are quite resounding and sound great and her singing is awesome of course. Her style may not be for everyone but it’s perfect staring out of the window while it’s raining music, not because it’s depressing or anything but because it sounds good and would fit that scenario.

 

Lower Than Atlantis – Lower Than Atlantis

One of my favourite bands at the moment, Lower Than Atlantis bring a fresh, genuine feel to British rock and to rock in general, a little bit indie, a bit poppy nowadays but still quality, their songs are mostly upbeat, they’ll make you feel like dancing and they all sound good. This album is a nice mix of the slower songs, the radio friendly pop stuff and the more rocky, heavy stuff, I’ve seen fans criticise this album for being a ‘sell out’ and for the band moving away from their heavier roots but meh, it’s worked out for them. Yes their sound has changed and so have they and I’m all for it.

 

Ed Sheeran – X

Bizarrely one of the most divisive but in the mainstream widely loved artists out there at the moment, Ed Sheerans’ a pretty big deal now, one of the most versatile, likeable and talented singer songwriters out there, I didn’t doubt his new album would be anything but good for a second. X was a great listen all the way through, with great singles like ‘Sing’ and ‘Don’t’ showcasing his great singing (and rapping), the album was consistently good and serves as a reminder of one of Sheerans’ main appeals, his consistency, I struggle to think of a bad song from him.

He has some good features on there as well, including the likes of Pharell, it’s a soulful but upbeat and lively album and a great listen.