4 posts categorized "twack marks"

06/15/2010

twack marks #16 - Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1

It's been a long time coming to give my official beastly-opinion on Robyn's Body Talk Pt. 1. If you're like us, then you've undoubtedly already spun the disc many a time over and again, thanks to the inevitable early leak of the album. However, in a show of support for the Swedish singer, I decided to wait until today, the album's proper release date to weigh in via the 140-character laden feature, "twack marks".

 

Twack marks_robyn
  

Dare we say that Robyn is making moves to separate her originality even further into a category of her own, but the option to release three albums this year (all short form players of eight tracks) gets even a touch more unique by her decision to only release one official single from each disc. Promo singles naturally ease out, but with even if she decided to quit right there, she's already got the Song of the Year Contender with Dancing On My Own

 

Oh, and the rest of the album? Let's see what I think...

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Robyn - 01 - Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do [minimally amazing...air your grievances, girl...i support the 3:05 mark drop like a boss...A]

 
Robyn - 02 - Fembot [production reminiscent of her last album...smooth electrodrips pair nicely with her robotic cadence...legit fun...B+]

 

Robyn - 03 - Dancing On My Own [song of the year...song of the year...song of the year...dance break and fist pumps...song of the year...A+]

 

Robyn - 04 - Cry When You Get Older [cutest song on disc...pre-chorus is ACE "she saaaaiiid, there just must be more to life than this"...B]

 

Robyn - 05 - Dancehall Queen [diplo production...dub-light funky beat but this one always falls short for me until the chorus kicks in...B-

 

Robyn - 06 - None Of Dem [royksopp production...deep echo beats & hushy vocals call out dem boys/girls' shortcomings...100% perfection...A+]

 

Robyn - 07 - Hang With Me (acoustic) [i love the arrangement...orchestrally & emotionally stunning...robyn lets her vocals really shine...B]

 

Robyn - 08 - Jag vet en dejlig Rosa [no no no no no no no no...i get it, but i dont have to like it...no no no no no no no no no...skip...C]
 

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What more can I say? Robyn's Body Talk Pt. 1 is an album that speaks to her style and talent. She knows how to drum up emotions, drive a dancefloor and direct everyone to pay attention to what she has to say.

 

I recommend that you all do just as she says. Buy Robyn's Body Talk Pt. 1 here.

 

BONUS! I've written about nearly every mix of Dancing On My Own already, but gosh, if this one doesn't just take the cake, then I don't know what does. J Wow from Buraka Som Sistema comes through with an arrangement that could easily have been the original take on the track, and I would have loved it all the same.

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mp3: Robyn - Dancing On My Own (J Wow Smoked Summer Mix)

 

03/01/2010

twack marks #15 - Crookers - Tons of Friends

If the simple release of a track list can make you desire to hear an album, then let Crookers' debut, Tons of Friends, be the barometer for all your pre-yearnings for a good listen. Corralling guests like Kelis, Roisin Murphy, Drop the Lime, Miike Snow and more, the Italian DJ-duo easily eclipsed my highest level of "wanting to hear" way before any tracks were let loose.


Twack marks_crookers
  

Sure they've got loads of lads and lasses in their corner, but how does this all stack up when given a proper twack marking? Let's listen in!

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Crookers - 01 - We Love Animals (ft Soulwax and Mixhell) [we honestly don't enjoy this until 2.5 minutes in when it gets mega bassier...C-]



Crookers - 02 - 
No Security (ft Kelis) [digging deep drums and kelis is in fine raspy form...gotta say bart b more's mix is superior...B+]



Crookers - 03 - 
Natural Born Hustler (ft Pitbull) [frantic & fiery, pits spits while dudes bend nasty bassline...certified freak-worthy...A]



Crookers - 04 - 
Let's Get Beezy (ft will.i.am) [oh geeze...there is no reason for this to be on album...sounds like an awful BEP reject...D]



Crookers - 05 - 
Park the Truck (ft Spank Rock) [2 minutes of repetitive lyrics & spacey echoes...wish spank would have spit more...meh...C]



Crookers - 06 - 
Hold Up Your Hand (ft Róisín Murphy) [had higher hopes for it but murphy's vocals match the darker arrangement nicely...B+]



Crookers - 07 - 
Hip Hop Changed (ft Rye Rye) [verging between dubstep & d'n'b this deep ditty uses ryes vocals to carry bland 2nd half...B-]



Crookers - 08 - 
Cooler Couleur (ft Yelle) [immediately piqued w/ the french lyrics...softer than we've ever heard them hit and it works...A]



Crookers - 09 - 
Birthday Bash (ft The Very Best, Marina, and Dargen D'Amico) [tropical, fun, and primed for poolside summers...repeats...B+]



Crookers - 10 - 
Put Your Hands on Me (ft Kardinal Offishall and Carla Marie) [could live without, but will always dance when heard out...B]



Crookers - 11 - 
Royal T (ft Róisín Murphy) [beat drop at minute mark is sweat inducing...the "junk feeling" line is ace...best cut yet...A+]



Crookers - 12 - 
Remedy (ft Miike Snow) [piano-driven w/ icy vocals, this is more melodic than anything we've heard thanks to the guest...A-]



Crookers - 13 - 
Arena (ft Poirier and Face-T) [jamaican riddim carries the weight of this cumbersome track...slipped a bit there boys...C]



Crookers - 14 - 
Tee-Pee Theme (ft Drop the Lime) [one minute and 40 seconds of vocal tics and tricks...nice change up from big bangers...B+]



Crookers - 15 - 
Transilvania (ft Steed Lord) [more proof that the boys tend to use female vocals to make a solid cut...i dig this 100%...A+]



Crookers - 16 - 
Have Mercy (ft Carrie) [wet & rubbery beats lay nicely under ms wilds' smooth tone...forgive me father line is way rad...B+]



Crookers - 17 - 
Jump Up (ft Major Lazer, Leftside and Supahype) [youll recognize this from major lazer's album last year...we still dig...B]



Crookers - 18 - 
Lone White Wolf (ft Tim Burgess) [gunslinger beats & ghost town vibe, this smacks us from nowhere & we're not mad at it...A]



Crookers - 19 - 
Day 'n' Nite (Acapella Skit) [this is cudi being cudi and by that, i mean it's him being silly...& totally unnecessary...C]



Crookers - 20 - 
Embrace the Martian (ft Kid Cudi) [still the best work cudi ever did, thanks to crookers...we can't hate on it too much...B]

 

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Let me say, that on first listen in its entirety last week during their official streaming listening party, I was floored with the variety of guests and musical tones pumping forth. Credit it to a virgin hearing experience, because when we threw on the album today, something entirely different happened.


Sure there are tons of friends, but there is also a slow start to really getting into the album. Save for the Pitbull feature 3 tracks deep, the album really doesn't showcase the boys' talents until 8 cuts in, when they rope in Yelle for a French boudoir bumper. The majority of songs we favor are those in which they do enlist the support of the female vocals. Maybe it's the feminine vs masculine disparity that they were able to harness, but regardless, each of the womanly-warbled tracks sit high atop our list of best of the album.


As a full album, it's not one we'll go back to very often, save for those few tracks. Take the Roisin Murphy-voiced Royal T; easily a contender for top dance floor filler of the year so far. Intermittent cheers for the dudes on their debut.

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mp3: Crookers (featuring Roisin Murphy) - Royal T 

02/11/2010

twack marks #14 - Marina and the Diamonds - The Family Jewels

The long awaited debut album from Welsh singer, Marina Diamandis is the aptly- titled The Family Jewels. Much like the slang-moniker, and what many men would refer to as their precious bits, Marina and the Diamonds' release is one that will raise a few eyebrows, and ultimately, produce a [ahem] handful of gems.


Twack marks_marina
 

But what say we when pitting each track against a 140-character review? Dive on in to our "twack-by-twack" analysis of an album we've been itching to hear since first listening to Marina's demos back in early 2008.

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Marina and the Diamonds - 01 - Are You Satisfied? [voice booms in...that's what the gal is known for...love the stringed accompaniment...B]

 

Marina and the Diamonds - 02 - Shampain [will be hard to top this...our first intro to marina back in demo form...it really SOARS now...A+]

 

Marina and the Diamonds - 03 - I Am Not A Robot [gorgeous ballad with robotic acoutrements and a softer vocal style...poignant lyrics...A]

 

Marina and the Diamonds - 04 - Girls [xylophones and drums and accordions make it a fun circus-pop romp over three and a half minutes...B+]

 

Marina and the Diamonds - 05 - Mowgli's Road [jungle sounds and beats anchor a weird & wild ride...lyrics match this safari styled song...B]

 

Marina and the Diamonds - 06 - Obsessions [loved a million times over...semi-ballad that floats from softs to solids...will oft repeat...A+]

 

Marina and the Diamonds - 07 - Hollywood [second single from album...it's cheeky and that's all...not my favorite, wont be yours either...C]

 

Marina and the Diamonds - 08 - The Outsider [slightly more electo-based with bassy synth-bed trhough verses...pre-chorus outshines all...B-]

 

Marina and the Diamonds - 09 - Hermit The Frog [bollywood cabaret intro...it's all over the place...please pick a style and stick with...C-]

 

Marina and the Diamonds - 10 - Oh No! [piano plucking tune...i like when marina sings over bare instrumentation...thats not this song...C-

 

Marina and the Diamonds - 11 - Rootless [tried really hard to like this...but falls short of the introspective memoir she's aimed for...C-

 

Marina and the Diamonds - 12 - Numb [orchestrally stunning but she hits "la roux-shriekage" at certain points throughout...reel it in...B-]

 

Marina and the Diamonds - 13 - Guilty [a bit messy throughout with pinpoint highlights, like at the 2:39 mark...otherwise, pretty meh...C+]  

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So here's the overall beastly-breakdown. Since hearing a number of rough cuts from Marina over the past 2+ years, there's not been a debut album I was more excited to hear in finished form. It's evident that she's honed both her writing chops (she's credited as writing each of the album cuts, with assistance on a quarter of the tracks) and her sense of musicality. Therein lies both her blessing and her curse.


Perhaps an additional production partner and writer's assistant would lend more tracks to differ ever so-slightly in a way that would make me appreciate them more.


Think of this album as a piece of coal. It's solid, but if rubbed hard enough, maybe, just maybe, it will turn into the lovely diamond we hoped it would be.

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mp3: Marina And The Diamonds - Girls (Fast Car Version) 


  

01/14/2010

twack marks #13 - Hot Chip - One Life Stand

Since debuting their earliest musical experiments nearly 10 years ago, Hot Chip have been known as pioneers of rhythmic electropop. Their first full-length, Coming on Strong, was warmly received, although their sophomore effort solidified a staunch fan base, all of whom now eagerly anticipate the band's 4th studio album, One Life Stand.

Twack marks_hotchip

In early 2009, Hot Chip-man, Alexis Taylor, made mention that the new recordings were going to be "a bit calmer this time" in comparison to previous works that are "more mid-tempo and disco influenced". While I did have this "disclaimer" in mind before the maiden spin of One Life Stand, how would that affect the marks given to each track? Read on and find out.

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Hot Chip - 01 - Thieves in the Night [great choice for opener with a mix of thunderous drums and harmonic synths...6 minutes of power...A-] Hot Chip - 02 - Hand Me Down Your Love [piano-driven tune lends to a funkier /repetitive HC. isn't that what we expect from them though...B] Hot Chip - 03 - I Feel Better [someone called it a house version of "la isla bonita" yesterday...cant say i disagree or hate the track...A-] Hot Chip - 04 - One Life Stand [opening spine-shaking beat is sadly the highlight of this messy title track...stops short of potential...B-] Hot Chip - 05 - Brothers [from first note knew this'd be my fave...lush vocals...this is not your dancey hot chip...get ready to feel...A+] Hot Chip - 06 - Slush [yawn, you've lost me on this one boys...from the previous tender jam to this slow "ballad", if you will, is meh...C-] Hot Chip - 07 - Alley Cats [starts off cute enough but gosh, these emo-fueled tracks don't lend to the dancing that wants to come out...C] Hot Chip - 08 - We Have Love [nice change from past 2 but again, this one is on the cusp of being great and falls just short...damn it...B-] Hot Chip - 09 - Keep Quiet [you've gotta be kidding me...another one that plods along...who was going through drama while writing this...C-]

Hot Chip - 10 - Take it In [picking up tempo to close out the album...symphonic chorus vocals are sweetening...liked more on 3rd listen...B

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Here's my beastly reaction to the album as a whole. Simply, it doesn't work. While yes, the production is spot-on and I have the utmost respect for the time and effort it goes into creating one unique track, let alone 10, there is a haphazard discontinuity from start to finish. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the slower tracks simply because they "aren't bangers". In fact, you'll note that my favorite cut (Brothers) is not your typical Hot Chip up-tempo jam. There's simply a passionate aspect missing to the songs that, I feel, were designed to incite some sort of emotional, rather than physical, reaction. Let's put it this way. If One Life Stand were cut into two EPs, I would leave the second half untouched and continue to spin the first five tracks...over and over.


Hot Chip's One Life Stand is out February 9 on EMI. Pre-order here. Dividerline
 

mp3: Hot Chip - One Life Stand (Drums Of Death Remix)


 
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