Monthly Bangers: September 2017

The UTM writers pick a handful of the most lit and intriguing tracks from the past 30(ish) days.

Post Malone – rockstar (feat 21 Savage)

Rappers are the new rockstars, Kanye said it, therefore it’s true – but it didn’t stop goddamn nerds on the internet disputing the fact. On ‘rockstar’ Post Malone and 21 Savage makes the latest, and an extremely convincing, argument for why being a rockstar is more defined by antics than playing a six string.

With a sparse production and sleepily potent bass, Post effortlessly glides on this track with his melodic lethargy while 21’s deadpan drawl is at home here. Referring to legendary rock moments like Jim Morrison’s on-stage arrest, the old cliché of throwing TV’s out hotel windows and, of course, consuming a vast number of drugs, Post draws parallels between this and his own behaviour (I’ve been fuckin’ hoes and poppin’ pillies/Man, I feel just like a rockstar). 21 brings the comparison even further, pointing out that rappers aren’t just rockstars, they run the pop game too, with his gripping first line “I’ve been in the Hills fuckin’ superstars/Feelin’ like a popstar.”

Connor Cass

Baths – Yeoman

Bloody Baths is bloody back, he could’ve called it a year after the crafting the cutest theme for the cutest dads in Dream Daddy, but he’s giving us a whole new bloody album with Romaplasm, and teased said album with delightful new track ‘Yeooman’.

Post-Dream Daddy Baths’ cutesy focus remains, but he swaps acoustic airiness for a joyous electronic synth bounces, only interrupted by a lightly cacophonous instrumental build that serves as a triumph post chorus unwind. It’s a saccharine expression of the feelings of seeing your loved one and this is perfectly encapsulated by sweet lyrics like “Your kiss is a swell/The feeling like a buoyant waltz.”

Connor Cass

Björk– the gate

For once, the most surprising aspect of the first tease of Björk’s next album (Utopia) isn’t the sonic qaulities, like Vulnicura, ‘the gate’ is, at time, super Arca, with dense empty atmospheres occasionally populated by the dissonance of playful arpeggios and chilling synths. Instead Björk’s rediscovery of love is the lyrical focus that demonstrates a complete 180 from her previous bleak heartbreak.

Metaphors like “My healed chest wound/Transformed into a gate/Where I receive love from/Where I give love from” are as moving as they are abstract while her vocal delivery on the later portion boast an ethereal command that is super Björk. As Björk and Arca continue to make fascinatingly twisted music together, it makes you wish they’ll never go through their own break-up.

Connor Cass

iLoveMakonnen – Love (ft. Rae Sremmurd)

In 2009, Fall Out Boy released Folie à Deux – a multi-faceted experiment that attempted to bring together the quintessential aspects of the year’s pop landscape with the warm, vintage tones of classic rock bands like The B-52s and Blondie. The FOB faithful weren’t super into Lil Wayne and Pharrell appearing on their emo idols latest record – nor were they particularly enthralled by Debbie Harry‘s country-twinged vocal appearance towards the tail-end of the album – but looking back Folie a Deux‘s mighty ambition to unite the genres might have laid down some foundations for the current monogenre idea that most artists and their fans prescribe to today.

With ‘Love’, iLoveMakonnen mixes together a similar concoction and serves it to an audience whose taste buds are more receptive to the taste of pop, rock and hip hop’s ongoing romantic affair. Featuring a peppy, guitar-led instrumental and topped with plenty of auto-croons, his vision of creating 2017’s equivalent to The Beach Boys is swiftly realised – particularly with the inclusion of rap’s premier hooks-for-hire outfit Rae Sremmurd. Swae Lee undeniably stands out as he breaks his chain of uncharacteristically middle-of-the-road features, with the line “I’m so caught up with Lindsay/her friend is quote unquote me” hitting such levels of petty anguish that it could be scribbled right into a Hawthorne Heights song.

Joshua Pauley

NIKI – I LIKE U

‘I LIKE U’ is a slightly different lane for music promotion channel 88 Rising (a mainstay of monthly bangers), it’s does continue their mission statement by showcasing exciting Asian artist who could certainly aim from international recognition, but it swaps out hardass rap bangers for some captivating R&B from Indonesian singer NIKI.

‘I LIKE U’ is both Tinashe-esque cloudy atmosphere, which beds a bass crawl and synth gargle, and a call back to 90s saccharine simplicity (the TLC poster in the video is no coincidence). With a chorus that feels like a Tinder confessional is repetition of the title, it’s reminiscent of PC Music’s love affair with millennial culture, but she carries it off with far more sincerity that A.G Cook and crew ever have.

Connor Cass

Iglooghost – White Gum

Brainfeeder signee Iglooghost has earned quite the reputation on the interwebz for his twisted takes on pop’s melodic formula – and for possessing a vivid imagination that conjures up zany visual concepts to coincide with his musical output. His latest release – entitled Neō Wax Bloom – is focused around a narrative that involves two giant eyeballs crashing into a mystical world and disrupting the forces of nature. It might look crazy in writing, but you only need skim through the 11 song collection to discover that the art more than justifies the story.

Highlight ‘White Gum’ is flavoured with the same erraticism that’s enriched Iglooghost’s previous cuts, taking grime MC AJ Tracey‘s bombastic ‘Nalia’ and contorting it beyond all recognition. Metallic percussion and balloonish synths smother the pitched-up vocal take in such a wild way that it’s not surprising people have been keen to throw comparisons to PC Music and their cohorts his way. But where the likes of SOPHIE and A.G. Cook tend to favour a more minimalistic approach, ‘White Gum’ is packed so tight you probably couldn’t squeeze a single instrument more in without corrupting the project file.

Joshua Pauley

Woo Wonjae – We Are (feat Loco & GRAY)

‘We Are’ should’ve been a victory-claiming, final song for Woo Wonjae on Korean survival show Show Me The Money (he was eliminated before he could perform the track), however, it’s eventual domination of the chart gave him deserved redemption, as ‘We Are’ sees him turn away from his usual chaotic intensity at the right moment.

For Wonjae a partnership with AOMG members GRAY and Loco is difficult to imagine. However, it makes perfect musical sense as GRAY typically produces a beat that perfectly fits its artist while simultaneously remaining distinctly GRAY, the slinky bass and gleeful vocal samples compliment an uncharacteristically laidback Wonjae. Loco is also here to offer an easy-going flow that counterpoints Wonjae’s vocal punch.  Wonjae’s music proves ot be full of duality, and ‘We Are’ is his biggest contrast yet.

Connor Cass

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