YTK – ‘Slackface’

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Following a slew of slick singles, Baltimore-based hip hop artist YTK, released his debut EP Berea last week.

This six track EP is led by single ‘Slackface’ and establishes YTK as a master of crafting classy, breezy and majestic hip hop tunes. ‘Slackface’s’ hazy glow sprouts from an irresistible soft wave of hypnotising synths, intertwining clever rhymes over festively jazzy beats. This beguiling, washed-out textured haze of dreaminess shifts seductively beneath, as subtle as shifting sands, providing a perfect backdrop from YTK laying down his nonchalant flow. Laid-back and chilled, YTK’s sound is irresistible and distinctive, and you can’t help nodding along to. Fill your boots!

Listen to ‘Slackface’ below and the entire EP, Berea is here too.

TPM – ‘Fuck RTÉ’

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TPM are brothers Charles & Andrew Hendy from Co Louth, who you may remember from previous singles ‘Eat That Curry’ and especially, ‘All The Boys on the Dole’.

The sibling duo are back with another masterclass of no-fucks-given hip-hop in the shape of ‘Fuck RTÉ’. On this occasion, it is the law, courts, national broadcaster RTÉ and the TV licence who are in receipt of their ire and firmly in their satirical cross-hairs. Backed by eerie, Beastie Boys-esque production, the pair’s signature humorous lyrics and slick wordplay combine perfectly with infectious beats and a punk attitude; they are, as they say themselves “the only MCs are saying Fuck The Law and Fuck RTÉ”. This is just superb, humorous no quarter given stuff of the Captain Moonlight and Jinx Lennon ilk, it should have you (like me) playing it on constant rotation for weeks.

Listen to ‘Fuck RTÉ’ below:

PS – As seen in Newbridge, these two brothers are serious merch sales people, you have been warned!

The Legion – ‘Joy’

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It is almost 25 years since Bronx-based rap trio The Legion – Molecules, Cee-Low The Diceman, and Chucky Smash – released their debut record Theme + Echo = Krill.

Since them, the trio have mostly preoccupied themselves with solo projects, various collaborations and put out a compilation of unreleased material, The Lost Tapes, in 2014. But a quarter of a century on from their debut, it is new album, Three The Bronx Way, that marks their return as a group proper, showcasing the timeless quality of their street-minded Boom bap. The new album is led by the aptly titled feel good banger ‘Joy’. It is a bright, breezy and bouncy tune that fuses a funky bass line with stabs of brass and ‘Cules joyful sample chop, a perfect and irresistible combination for the silky wordplay and rhymes to thrive and leave an indelible mark on your soul. This is an absolute gem of bright feelgood vibes – pure magic.

You can listen to ‘Joy’ below and if if that is too you liking, you listen to new record Three The Bronx Way – homage to the 1974 Blaxploitation classic, Three The Hard Way – here.

 

Fold – ‘Stronger Than the Evils’

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Over the past few years, Leeds-based Hip-Hop/Trip Hop outfit Fold have proven themselves a reliable source of incredible music.

Fold’s 2015 self-titled debut was magnificent, pitting an enviable creativity with a powerful social consciousness to craft something thoroughly powerful, unique and memorable – as was their 2017 EP Written In The Sky.

After a four-year wait, Fold have returned with news of the follow up to their eponymous debut which is penned for release on April 13. Two new singles will precede the album’s release and Fold have shared the first ‘Stronger Than the Evils’, a brilliant and powerful track with Nottingham based MC / beatboxing champion MotorMouF. Fold have always stress a socially-conscious message and that continues as they rail against the many political and social issues, or evils if you prefer, that the world faces today. ‘Stronger Than the Evils’ is a funky-edged hip-hop tune with a irresistible groove and rhythm, laced with ominous blasts of synths, vocal samples and the blistering wordplay and beatbox work from Motormouf. An incredible and irresistible track – roll on April 13 and the new album.

Take a listen to ‘Stronger Than the Evils’ below now:

Clear Soul Forces – ‘Hit Me Now’

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Detroit hip-hop quartet Clear Soul Forces are releasing a brand new LP, Still, on February 22 and to get us in the mood, they have shared superb slick single, ‘Hit Me Now’.

In under three minutes, the four members of Clear Soul Forces deliver plenty to excited about; boasting infectious verses and hypnotic, shuffling production. The slick wordplay is crammed tight with colourful pop-culture references – from Marvel superheroes to classic Nintendo games – and layers of metaphors, as rhymes are sprinkled over a neck snapping beat. Loaded with zip, gloss and bounce ‘Hit Me Now’ finds a balance between contemporary creativity and nostalgia – it is just irresistible, and will have you coming back for more time and time again. A slick, succinct and perfectly executed introduction to the new record.

Clear Soul Forces new LP, Still, is out on February 22 – for now, listen to ‘Hit Me Now’.

BarryGruff Albums of the Year (2016)

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Yes. It is that time of year again, lists, lists and more lists. Well, not be out done, here are my 13 (lucky for some) albums of 2016.

There was lots of great music in 2016 but I decided to keep it to a short list this year. Also, I’m hoping the festive period will provide some time to catch up on some records I’ve missed throughout the year, so feel free to recommend some listening material.

Anyway, without further ado, here are my favourite records from 2016:

There is also a Spotify playlist of all the albums, to save you time and hassle, and it is here.

13. Amber Arcades – ‘Fading Lines’

Amber Arcades‘ – Dutch-born musician Annelotte de Graaf – debut album is a dazzling blend of ‘60s tinged psych, lush jangly guitars, floating pop melodies and an abundance of propulsive, hypnotic krautrocky moments. [Listen here]

12. Tuff Love – ‘Resort’

Glaswegian scuzz-pop aficionados Tuff Love, combine a terrific trilogy of EPs into an LP of dazzling, fuzzy indie pop with sugar-sweet melodies and crunching choruses and shoegazey guitars galore. [Listen here]

11. Underworld – ‘Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future’

A first proper Underworld record in half a decade, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith deliver a stomping electronic record that is up there with the best of their work. [Listen here]

10. The Coral – ‘Distance Inbetween’

Distance Inbetween – their eighth LP and first in over five years – saw The Coral rediscover their roots, mojo and discover their dark side and add a harder edge to their brand of psychedelic indie. It’s an evolution of the Wirral five piece’s sound into a cohesive, weird and imaginative psych-rock record, and one that grows with time. [Listen here]

09. Mr Huw – ‘Gwna Dy Feddwl I Lawr’

Gwna Dy Feddwl I Lawr is album number five from one of Wales’ finest, Mr. Huw and with it, he has delivered an irresistible set of inventive, electrifying indie. Sang in his native tongue, these are melodic songs with a spiky edge. Post-punk riffs and snappy drum-machine punctuate infectious pop melodies, mild psychedelic leanings and Huw’s affable Welsh lilt. A magnificent collection of soul consuming tunes which provide proof if proof be needed, that we should never underestimate the power of great music to overcome a small matter, like a language barrier. [Listen here]

08. Jinx Lennon – ‘Magic Bullets of Madness To Uplift The Grief Magnets’

2016 saw Jinx Lennon return with two new albums – Past Pupil Stay Sane and Magic Bullets of Madness To Uplift The Grief Magnets – with each offering distinctly different brilliance. Magic Bullets… is the pick of the pair but in fairness, both find the folk punk poet at his uncompromising best. Recorded with Liverpool experimentalists Clinic, it is a collection of instantly catchy tunes that boasts a meatier, more beat-driven sound, combined with Jinx’s raw truths kicking back against the humdrum bullshit of modern life. Jinx Lennon is a unique talent, a national treasure to be exact and this is him at his inherently brilliant best. [Listen here]

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CZARFACE Announce New Album ‘A Fistful Of Peril’ & Share ‘Two In The Chest’

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CZARFACE – the collaborative trio of Wu-Tang’s Inspectah Deck, 7L & Esoteric – are back, and back with a bang!

The trio are gearing up to unleash their new, and third album, A Fistful Of Peril on the world. Ahead of the album’s November 4th release, Czarface has shared ‘Two In The Chest’, yet another piece exciting of Hip Hop gold from the superhero themed hip-hop ensemble. Energetic and banging, ‘Two In The Chest’ is a seamless collaboration, featuring their recognisable chemistry as the two emcees trade lines, razor-sharp lyrics and a fair bit of humour over 7L’s stellar production. This is Czarface at their finest, to be fair, the trio don’t do anything other than exceptional. Really excited for the new album, the first two were great, expecting the same with this one.

A Fistful Of Peril is out on November 4th but you can listen to ‘Two In The Chest’ now.

Millions Like Us Podcast – Episode #16

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After some Mac related issued hampered our first attempt at Podcast #16, we’re thrilled (and relieved) to share yet another Millions Like Us with you all.

Every two weeks, Justin & I, in conjunction with Vancouver news & culture site 604now, aim to deliver an eclectic and hand-picked selection of top class music. There’s plenty to chew on with #16, well over an hour in fact, of great tunes and plenty of chat, encompassing all manner of topics and music including festivals as we talk Music Waste and Levitation Vancouver.

You can read more on it over here and of course, listen below (and the tracklist (with links) is after the jump too). You can subscribe to ‘Millions Like Us’ on iTunes & Podcast Republic, Mixcloud & SoundCloud, or find us on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can email us at millionslikeuspodcast[at]gmail[dot]com.

As mentioned previously, Justin has been busy compiling tracks featured in the series. If you’re a Spotify user, then you can access this 6 hours plus playlist here.

Podcast #16 Tracklist:

PLAZAS  – ‘2 leave U Behind’

Jay Arner – ‘Like A Dracula’

Rusangano Family – ‘Lights On’

Ffug – ‘Love is Stupid’

Com Truise – ‘Diffraction’

Holy Wave – ‘Minstrel’s Gallop’

IcebergFerg – ‘You’re All On My Mind’

Words Hurt – ”Chekov’s Gun feat. Marilyn Carino’

Hinds – ‘San Diego’

Jade Statues – ‘Hydra’

Trails & Ways – ‘My Things’

Jo Passed – ‘Lego My Ego’

2015 According to Captain Moonlight

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One of my proudest achievements on the blog this year, or any year for that matter, is the release of GruffWuff; a 19 track compilation of new, previously unreleased and exclusive recordings from some of my very favourite acts over the past 5 years of blogging.

It was a truly fantastic way to mark 5 years of BarryGruff and I am incredibly grateful to everyone involved and the overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic response. As 2015 draws to a close, I have enlisted help from people who made the compilation what it was, to chat about their favourite moments and sounds from year, and up next, it’s Captain Moonlight.

Obsessive about politics, philosophy, literature, music and hurling, Kilkenny rapper Captain Moonlight, has long been one of Irish Hip Hop’s shining lights. Never one to shirk saying what’s on his mind, he tackles serious political issues, creating intelligent, hard-hitting, often humorous hip-hop in the process. One of my favourite artists over the past decade, and gent too.

Before we take a look at his 2015 sound selections, you should check out Captain Moonlight’s previous, excellent albums and his GruffWuff inclusion, ‘What Is Property’ – of which you can download here for FREE.

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Lethal Dialect – ‘New Dublin Saunter’ (Feat. Jess Kav)

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As part of the Dublin2020 European Capital of Culture in 2020 bid, Lethal Dialect has put together a new track inspired by the Dublin ’40s folk song ‘The Dublin Saunter (Dublin Can Be Heaven)’.

Backed by a light piano and horns adding a jazzy feel, ‘New Dublin Saunter’ is melodic and ever so easy on the ear. This is Lethal Dialect at his finest. With his usual impressive word-play, a gritty and no holes barred view of Dublin is keenly observed, and depicted through eyes of returning rover – “Got off the flight from Boston, tired yawning, first port of call my hometown, cloaked in smog and rainwaterfall, asphalt, cobblestones, polluted river, bikes and trollies thrown…” If you’ve avoided an introduction to one of Ireland’s finest rappers thus far, this is as good place as any to hop on board.

The video for ‘New Dublin Saunter’ was directed by Terry McMahon and the song is available for free from Soundcloud.