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Last Week’s Albums: Post Malone, Noble Oak & The Underachievers

Post Malone – August 26th 

White Iverson came out of nowhere last year and firmly positioned Post Malone as one to watch in 2016. The Texan artist is a strange hybrid of rap star and country rocker, with his first full length project, August 26th, a great indication of what to expect from his forthcoming debut album.

If you expected a straight rap album from Malone then you’re in for a big surprise. August 26th fits more into Nostalgia, Ultra or House Of Balloons type territory. That’s not to say Malone sounds anything like Frank Ocean or The Weeknd, but this mixtape is more about his vocal style with a little hip-hop on the side. A huge fan of classic rock and country, Malone wears his influences on his sleeve with the electric guitar-fuelled Oh God, while Hollywood Dreams Come True is an interesting reworking of Fleetwood Mac‘s classic Dreams that should be a disaster but is actually rather great.

The braided vocalist croons his way through opener Never Understand before linking up with 2 Chainz and discussing their lavish lifestyles on Money Made Me Do It. 3There are a number of other guest features too, with Jeremih lending his soulful croon to Fuck and Jaden Smith and Teo popping up on the 1st Down produced Lonely. Malone’s continues his love affair with basketball on the trap styled Monte, also featuring rising rapper Lil Yachty, and 40 Funk, where he compares his high level of drug and alcohol abuse to the feeling of Michael Jordan and Kyrie Irving scoring hoops.

Verdict: One of the year’s best mixtapes.

Noble Oak – Past Life

Noble Oak is the alter ego of multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer Patrick Fiore. The atmospheric dreamworld he creates as Noble Oak has never been more realised than on latest release Past Life.

A collection of swirling electronica driven by nostalgia, Past Life is a project close to Fiore’s heart. The Toronto native described the album as “a collection of snapshots from the last few years before leaving my home town, with unreleased material ranging from 1 to 3 years in age. It predominantly narrates the person I used to be, with references and flavours of my old habits and shortcomings.” After listening to his introspective lyrics regarding change, reflection, growth and human connections, it’s easy to tell Fiore has put his all into Past Life.

The album itself is an even mixture of downtempo synth gems combining Fiore’s falsetto (The Spirit, No Air, Coastline), and searching instrumental numbers showcasing his warm production (Past Life, Perfect Sky). It’s not all brooding electronica though, with the bubbling Moonlight and This Wave moving into dance-pop friendly territory, balancing the highs and lows of Fiore’s musical output.

Verdict: Enchanting and dreamy, Past Life is a must listen.

The Underachievers – It Happened In Flatbush

Brooklyn favourites The Underachievers delivered their much anticipated It Happened In Flatbush mixtape over the weekend. Their first new release since last year’s sophomore album, Evermore: The Art Of Duality, the duo of AK and Issa Gold drop another entertaining tape instilled with the spirit of old school boom-bap rap.

Regular collaborator Ronny J handles much of the production, crafting menacing beats for AK and Issa Gold to do their thing over. As you’d expect from an Underachievers release, there’s plenty of drug talk on tracks like Young Kobe, Really Got It and the trippy Outsiders, while Al Capone and 40 Cal are psychedelic party starters. This mixtape is full of the energy and enthusiasm the two displayed when on tour earlier this year (read our review here and check out the snaps here), with the Beast Coast movement propelled by the Underachievers, Joey Bada$$ and Flatbush Zombies showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Verdict: For fans of New York rap.

Image: The Fader