With so many releases flying at you, here are recommended vetted listens from Nialler9 for you this week, as collated in the Nialler9 New Releases Spotify playlist, updated weekly.
Pusha T – Daytona
Pusha T had taken a leave of absence from music over the past few years, opting instead to focus on his role as president of G.O.O.D. Music. Daytona is his first full length studio release since 2015’s King Push, a record which while promising in spots, failed to deliver on Pusha’s full potential as a solo artist.
On Daytona, Push pairs up with label partner Kanye West to prove he’s still one of the most vital creative forces in hip-hop. There’s genuine chemistry between Ye’s instrumentals and Pusha’s lyrics, something which lacked in his previous releases. Check out ‘Come Back Baby’ for the best example of this. There’s underlying energy to the record that’s palpable, Push delivers his lines like it’s do or die. Coming in at just over twenty minutes, Daytona compensates for its brevity with content that never stops reminding you why Push is one of the best to over pick up a mic.
Father John Misty- God’s Favorite Customer
For a time there it seemed like Father John Misty had lost his way. Pure Comedy, the follow up to his much loved sophomore album I Love You Honey Bear, sounded vapid, like an artist struggling for a raison d’etre. Now the former Fleet Foxes man finds a return to form with God’s Favorite Customer.
This new album sees Tillman turn inwards once again, a welcome change for those who found the overly pessimistic life observations of his previous release exhausting. ‘Mr. Tillman’ gives the album some much needed context, detailing the artist’s descent into personal chaos during the troubled months he spent apart from his wife writing the record. Album highlight ‘Please Don’t Die’ is a twisted take on a love song, combining Tillman’s ability to find humour in the morose with the sort of music you might hear in a Southern dive bar.
Natalie Prass – The Future And The Past
The Virginian singer-songwriter Natalie Prass has released The Future And The Past , her sophomore album and a project born of heartbreak. Having already written a follow up to her acclaimed debut release, Prass felt compelled to scrap the material following the 2016 presidential elections in America. Instead, Prass went back to well and returned with an album that questions how far gender equality has really come in the 21st century.
On ‘Sisters’, Prass sings of women who “try to work….. but they ain’t nothing but the shorter skirt” through gritted teeth. Musically, the album finds Prass evolving and expanding upon the sound she established on her debut release. The addition of full band accompaniment, with sliding bass grooves and funky guitars helps the vocals throw their weight around the record a little more. With lyrical content that ranges from expressive to scathing combined with the sort of sunny funk instrumentation you’d expect from an artist off Spacebomb Records, The Future And The Past is an album well worth your time.
Kanye West – Ye
At eight full solo albums deep into his career, many would guess that Kanye West might be struggling to find something to say creatively. On Ye, Kanye emphatically proves that this isn’t the case. Instead, listeners are treated to some of the most open and honest material the artist has ever produced. Removing the man from the music has become nigh on impossible with Kanye, so it’s a relief to hear him directly address the mental health issues and the various scandals which have plagued him as of late.
However, the results are at times very messy, which is often the case with Kanye’s work. There’s an unshakeably rushed feeling to the entire project which comes through in both the music and lyrics. The pitched vocal hook on ‘All Mine’ feels a little thin and the beat change in ‘I Thought About Killing You’ is beyond stiff. As always, there’s some highly questionable lyrics throughout the record, including the highly patriarchal and problematic ‘Violent Crimes’. While the stripped down production and brutally honest lyrics will disappoint those who prefer the myth, songs like ‘Wouldn’t Leave’ and ‘Ghost Town’ restore some much needed humanity to the complex man.
Oneohtrix Point Never – Age Of
Daniel Lopatin is nothing if not a prolific composer of music. At the age of just 35, he’s already released nine full studio albums under the moniker Oneohtrix Point Never. Signed to the weird and wonderful roster of Warp Records, Age Of finds Lopatin going further still into the realm of the avant garde. The album seems to take inspiration from the dissonant harmonies found on projects by Icelandic composer and Kiasmos member Olafur Arnalds. Take album opener and namesake ‘Age Of’ , which begins with a Baroque-era chord progression and then gradually mutates it into a dystopian howl. Age Of finds its unique voice in just how far Lopatin pushes his synth sounds. The second half of album highlight ‘The Station’ is the perfect example, with genuinely eerie synth parts. Definitely a challenging listen, but very rewarding for those brave enough to stick it.