Shuffling your music library can be risky if you have some guilty pleasures and album-fillers lurking between less embarrassing tracks. However, take a look at what hidden gems we found and rediscovered on shuffle this week…
Wool (Ft. Vince Staples) – Earl Sweatshirt
Closing ex-OFWGKTA member Earl Sweatshirt’s sophomore album ‘I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside’, this track links the album’s moody ambience with the typical cockiness of hip-hop lyricism. Produced by Earl under his first production alias RandomBlackDude, the creeping beat is constructed to combine the eeriness of both artists’ styles whilst also maintaining a classic hip-hop bounce to the rhythm. The track features breakthrough rapper Vince Staples, but this is not their first collaboration. The L.A. pair dropped their first track ‘epaR’ back in 2010 when their lyrics were more violent than introspective, and then released three tracks together on Earl’s début album. Though brief, ‘Wool’ is a great album finisher and when found in isolation through shuffle cannot be skipped.
Hear it here: Wool (Ft. Vince Staples) – Earl Sweatshirt
Bad Luck – The Story So Far
Californian pop-punk giants The Story So Far are a must-have in any music library. Leading the new wave of hardcore pop-punk, the band’s sound is instantly recognisable and is envied by many upcoming bands. Despite not being released as a single, ‘Bad Luck’ is a fan favourite from TSSF’s second full-length LP ‘What You Don’t See’ and has more recently been included as an acoustic version on their EP ‘Songs Of’. Heavier yet more melodic than previous tracks, the band provide thrashing guitar riffs and tom-heavy drums to back frontman Parker Cannon’s aggressive vocals. Regardless of the angst and frustration in the track’s delivery, its lyrics are uplifting as they deal with, (yet again, and typically pop-punk), bettering yourself after a bad relationship. A powerful head banger for any troubled teen or punk professor.
Hear it here: Bad Luck – The Story So Far
Everytime We Fight – The Milk
It can be difficult to find inspiring R&B/soul in current popular music, but Essex band The Milk have revitalised motown for a new generation. Taken from their début album ‘Tales From The Thames Delta’, (which includes influences from many genres such as hip-hop, soul, drum ‘n’ bass and funk), the Maroon 5 wannabes deliver a vibrant pop anthem for all. This catchy track, driven by snarling vocals, a funky baseline and tinkling experimental percussion would make a mourner leap to the dancefloor. The song’s mid-eight breakdown provides weight to the other side of the scales of energy, creating a balanced track that leaves the listener asking for nothing other than an encore. However, a little too glitzy and and over-produced, ‘Every Time We Fight’ lacks the raw authenticity of classic motown. Whilst this apparent artificiality reflects the stereotypes of their fake-tanned hometown, the track is still a glimmer of vitality and fun.
Hear it here: Everytime We Fight – The Milk
Fast Lane – Shrub
Ohio reggae/rock/rap seven piece Shrub bring their cheeriness and chilled out mentality to every track they play. After the song’s mainly acapella intro, ‘Fast Lane’ maintains a traditional reggae rhythm through the playful percussion and staccato guitars. Including swirling blues organs and a dancing guitar solo, Shrub appear to urbanise the sound of a summer paradise and thus grant us pleasure and relaxation in abundance. Discussing moving on and nostalgia, the band capture the positive outcomes of negative experiences to emphasise the importance of appreciation and liberation. Lifted from their puntastic album ‘Highceretops’, this is a stand-out track that needs to bring joy to many more listeners.
Hear it here: Fast Lane – Shrub
Wondering (Ft. Trip) – Does It Offend You, Yeah?
UK dance-punk band and general nutters Does, It Offend You, Yeah? have now disbanded, (despite now claiming that they will release an EP entitled ‘How To Kiss A Dragon And Walk Away From It’ this year), so the sound of their thumping beats and chaotic distorted guitars is always welcome as a resurrection. Rapper Trip’s verses on this track are violent and chilling as he both warns of and critiques almost every aspect of western society. Trip punishes religion, our compensation culture, warmongering and consumerism amongst many other issues through rhetorical questions and hyperbole, making for a provocative feature that matches the power of the band’s instrumental backing. The MC’s profound lyricism complements DIOYY’s screaming guitar and stomping percussion by verbalising the aggression and sense of imminence provided in their music. Although they play a variety of genres across their discography, ‘Wondering’ explicitly presents the important dooming message that is apparent in many of their best songs.
Hear it here: Wondering (Ft. Trip) – Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Written by: James Wijesinghe