Denzel Curry releases his new album Zuu via Loma Vista Recordings. The new album arrives less than a yet after the release of his critically-acclaimed breakout album TA13OO in 2018, and includes previously-released singles Ricky and Speedboat.
Zuu finds Denzel returning to his South Florida roots both sonically and thematically, reflecting on the lessons his surroundings and family have taught him, while drawing influence from the deep, diverse soundscape of South Florida rap that he was surrounded by.
Ta1300 (taboo) is the third album by Denzel Curry. On Ta1300, Denzel delivers a groundbreaking musical performance which sees him as a deadly lyricist and disciple of rap’s forefathers while simultaneously filling the gap between the older generation and the new generation of soundcloud rappers that he helped birth in both sound and style. With his music and movements he commands respect from each group in a way few are able to as he tells stories that resonate with both audiences. The album features production from FNZ, Ronny J, Charlie Heat, DJ Dahi, and more. Guest features include Jid, Billie Eilish, Goldlink and introduces long-time friend and collaborator Nyyjeria. The album is the first long form statement since his 2016 album Imperial which landed him on the xxl freshman cover and helped set the template for the South Florida sound that has exploded in last couple of years. In the process of recording the album Denzel adopted a new alter ego, Zeltron, combining the aspects of all of his split personalities he has created over time.
Denzel describes the album as being split into three parts: the light, the grey, and the dark side. Lyrically, he touches on topics of molestation, the presidential election, fame, hatred, paranoia, revenge, love, arrogance, suicide, loss of loved ones, the current state of music, and personal tales of his own near death experiences. Sonically, the album is the sound of paranoia and the fear of losing things people hold dear to them. Ranging from the melodic work that resembles outkast, to brooding melancholy, and finishing off with a barrage of mood swings from hell a la Marilyn Manson.
Ghost will release their highly anticipated fourth studio album Prequelle, on Loma Vista Recordings. Previous Ghost albums have dealt with broad themes like impending doom (Opus Eponymous – 2010), the antichrist and the Inquisition (Infesstimum – 2013), humanism and avarice (Meliora – 2015). Prequelle delves into the plague, the apocalypse, and dark ages.
If this is not the best St. Vincent album it is certainly the most consistent from start to finish. Both musically and lyrically it is emotionally powerful and its diverse nature allows for hearing something new each time it’s played. Clark’s multi-layered vocals are as sharp as ever and act as a common thread linking the tracks into a cohesive album that is sophisticated and sensual. This is never more apparent than on the ultimate peak that is “Young Lover.”
Little Dragon reaped their greatest commercial success with fourth album Nabuma Rubberband, a Top 25 Billboard 200 hit nominated for a Grammy. After its release, Little Dragon’s guest appearances likewise increased in profile from being sought out by ODESZA, Mac Miller, Kaytranada, De La Soul, and Flume. While Season High, the band’s follow-up to all that acclaim and activity, adds some new twists and roams from weightless Scandinavian soul ballads to zipping synth pop, the albums is deficient in emotional depth and congeals into a mass of adequate mood music. It doesn’t offer much more once the themes — including romantic fulfillment, solace, and longing, with a little materialistic frivolity, eyelash batting, and cutting loose — come into sharper focus. The album’s best moments evoke past highlights. The potent “Butterflies,” for instance, has a lightly frosted delicacy similar to that of “Fortune and “Cat Rider,” and those that are just behind it, such as “Sweet” and “Strobe Light,” don’t have the bite of standouts from the second and third albums. The band still keeps the outside input to a low-profile minimum: barely detectable assistance from Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford on “High,” “Boom Clap” co-producer Patrik Berger on “Sweet,” and a squealing solo from Agge, a guitarist who played on the debut, on “Celebrate.” Up to this point, Little Dragon’s preservative self-containment was refreshing. The safe, routine feel of Season High calls for some risks, whether they’re several returned favors or a whole-session co-producer for album six.
Acclaimed duo Sylvan Esso – comprised of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn – have released their first new music since their celebrated self-titled debut came out in 2014. The new single, “Radio,” is bold and boundary-pushing, turning the band’s signature sounds in brilliant new directions.
It’s probably fair to say that you usually know what you’re getting with a new Andrew Bird release. Are You Serious bears the hallmarks of a great Bird album, offering swathes of melody and counterpoints, dexterous violin theatrics, cerebral lyrical prowess and delightful turns of phrase, and if that weren’t enough, there’s the usual vertiginous whistling too. What differentiates this album from previous offerings though, is a newfound sturdiness, with more dependence on the rhythm section than ever before.
First single and album opener ‘Capsized’ is a fine indicator of what’s to come, coming on more like a 70s cop show than anything he’s recorded before – and dare we say it – it swaggers like some snake-hipped swinger on the prowl. As a newly – and one presumes – happily married man, the swinger tag could be somewhat misleading. If it doesn’t sound like the Andrew Bird you know, then the added frisson is better than it sounds. Maybe conjugal felicity has unleashed a new freedom in his music and a girding of the loins?
‘Roma Fade’ certainly has a traditional swing to it, married to a rhythm that makes it almost Eurobeat. Again, it’s a peculiar marriage but it somehow works. Modernising one’s schtick for the sake of it can be detrimental, but thankfully Bird is too intuitive as a musician to allow things to ever come off as gimcrack or gauche. ‘Truth Lies Low’ has a groove that could almost be hip-hop, though he’s sensible enough to make that covert rather than overt. It’s a volatile mix he attempts here, and pushing his own boundaries, it has paid off handsomely.
Elsewhere there are flights of fancy that don’t require such attentiveness from the drummer. The title track winks cheekily in the direction of Cat Stevens’ ‘Wild World’, and ‘Left Hand Kisses’ with Fiona Apple is a country song that’s so tantilising in chemistry and sure footedness that it’s less a song, more an event that everyone should visit at least once. In the same way that ‘Lusitania’ with St. Vincent was one of the highlights on the last release proper, so this duet is one of the standout highlights, and Bird would do well to consider making an album of such collaborations one day in the future. ‘Saints Preservus’ meanwhile, switches delightfully from melodious meanderings down bottomless passages, to cantering choruses of abandon.