Weekly Capsule Reviews – 16/10/2016


This week: Solange, Autolux, BANKS, Meshuggah, ScHoolboy Q

Solange – A Seat at the Table (30/09/2016 – Saint Records/Columbia Records)

Solange’s voice flows throughout A Seat at the Table with little hindrance even when there’s an obvious change in subtle background—rarely foreground—timbres. This corker shouldn’t scare you—”Now, I don’t want to bite the hand/That’ll show me the other side, no/But I didn’t want to build the land/That has fed you your whole life, no/Don’t you find it funny?” It’s addressing her people’s brushed-aside culture over the decades while simultaneously sticking it to the crits whom she thinks don’t “understand the culture of R&B” before writing about it. (8/10) [Dorney’s Top Records of 2016: #8]

Autolux – Pussy’s Dead (01/04/2016 – 30th Century Records/Columbia Records)

“It’s oh so sad to be happy all the time”—I hear ya, even if I don’t want to. But this is a groove-based album, a rhythmist’s dream, almost too lucid in the first half. The band, minus Carla Azar’s drumming, is too languid—so much so Azar can’t slow down. Nor should she. (7/10)

BANKS – The Altar (30/09/2016 – Harvest Records)

From the natural, no-makeup(-ish) cover to her unrestricted, no-filter, masturbation-loving self, BANKS brings us freeze-dried independence but the man might have to cook, if she entices him enough. Her presence is strong, manless or not, yet feels forced—”‘Cause I’mma need a bad motherfucker like me”. (7/10)

Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason (07/10/2016 – Nuclear Blast)

Some premature self-reflection before the review: “Look how original I am!” Okay, now that that’s over… Djent, djent everywhere. (7/10)

ScHoolboy Q – Blank Face LP (08/07/2016 – Top Dawg Entertainment/Interscope Records)

“Never, ever, ever get caught tellin’ on my ******/I’m a gangbanger, deadbeat father and drug dealer”—The old boys’ network in full force. Slagging off on women seems to be a staple for most of these literary delinquents. However, Vince Staples is an interesting contrast—his anti-hedonistic self is a direct dichotomy to Q’s gang-bangin’ outlook and one of the few highlights of the record. Yet Q’s rise to baller figure is legitimised by the research- and facts-based highlighting of the underprivileged nature of his people’s upbringing, be it their fault or not—”The teachers ain’t teachin’/The judge taught us numbers/We was raised by single mothers”. (7/10)


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