The Strokes – Future Present Past EP
The first taste of new material in three years, four track EP Future Present Past finds The Strokes at a crossroad in their careers. At one time labeled the worlds biggest band soon after dropping their classic debut, Is This It?, The Strokes have never been able to capture the sheer exuberance of that release, with 2013’s Comedown Machine the lowest point in their career. Currently working on their sixth album, Future Present Past is a possible taste of what’s to come, and if that’s the case, I’m not overly excited.
This isn’t a bad release by any means, but there’s nothing fresh or eye raising about Future Present Past. Recored with the help of producer Gus Oberg in New York, the EPs three new songs represent the future (Drag Queen), the present (OBLIVIOUS) and the past (Threat Of Joy), with the final song a remix (OBLIVIOUS) by drummer Fabrizio Moretti.
After multiple listens I can’t really distinguish the difference between the three songs as they are all very Strokes sounding. While there are subtle differences, Julian Casablancas’ distinct distorted vocals are present throughout, with all three tracks channelling the early to mid-00s indie rock The Strokes helped define. If you’re a longtime fan you’ll be all over this, happy the band have gone back to their roots, but for the rest of us, it’s just another Strokes release from a band that aren’t overly relevant in the current music scene.
Verdict: One for the die hards.
Curren$y – The Legend Of Harvard Blue
Few MC’s release music as often and consistent as New Orleans stalwart Curren$y. Having already dropped five mixtapes this year, the currently on tour Spitta isn’t showing any signs of slowing down with the release of latest project The Legend Of Harvard Blue.
Inspired by pimp-turned-hitman Harvard Blue (played by the legendary Yaphet Kotto) from the 1974 blaxploitation film, Truck Turner, The Legend Of Harvard Blue is a rich tapestry of colourful lyrics backed by probing production from YoungStarr.
As you’d expect from a collection of tracks based on a pimp, the lyrics are centred on sex, drugs and the sleazy world of the 70s, with many of the tracks sampling dialogue from the film. There’s a real seedy feel to the beats, immersed in the sex and drugs culture of the blaxploitation era. Game For Sale, The Collective and Leroy could easily pass as actual songs from the films soundtrack, while the heavy snares of Ferrari Saga and Kilo Jam inject the tape with modern rap sounds.
Verdict: Another great mixtape from one of the hardest working men in the game.
Young Dolph – Bosses & Shooters
The influx of Southern rap releases continues with Memphis raised Young Dolph’s first mixtape of 2016, Bosses & Shooters. The follow up to his debut album, King Of Memphis, the tape is an introduction to Delphi’s crew, the Paper Route Empire. While he features heavily, particularly on many of the songs hooks, the mixtape is more of a showcase for label mates Bino Brown and Jay Fizzle.
Both Brown (Tony, Maintain) and Fizzle (Fuck A N***a, Now They Mad) get their chance to shine on solo tracks, although there’s nothing to suggest either will be a star in their own right. As for Dolph, he continues to rap about the streets, hustling and living the high life on tracks like All About and Taking Care Of Business, but it’s just not interesting enough to keep my attention. When the high point is an appearance by Waka Flocka‘s (Ball), you know things aren’t going to plan. This is unfortunate as Dolph isn’t a bad rapper, but I just can’t get into this one.
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