The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect

The Last Shadow Puppets started as an experiment which became critically lauded, mercury nominated and celebrated all the way back in 2008. Alex Turner had two albums under his belt with Arctic Monkeys whilst Miles Kane hadn’t even released his debut album with The Rascals yet. Now in 2016 with their second LP Everything You’ve Come To Expect things are very different, Turner has fronted the biggest band in Britain for a further 3 successful albums – the last of which became an instant classic, whilst Kane has released 2 strong solo albums and has developed his own fan base as a solo outfit. So how do these factors reflect on this album? Where do we find the twosome this time? In Malibu at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La studios of course with James Ford twiddling knobs and Owen Pallett orchestrating the string arrangements. A promising set up but what’s the outcome?

Review: The Reflektor Tapes – Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire Still 1

The first official documentary in Arcade Fire’s history is typical of them. The word ‘typical’ doesn’t carry the same deadweight and static meaning when paired next to Arcade Fire, their leaps in between albums have seen each record process become a world of it’s own – with Reflektor showing them as mysterious, innovative and gravitational as ever.

It’s fitting that a film has been made at this point in the band’s career. The ‘Reflektor’ album carried an overarching visual quality alongside the music. If anybody had the chance to attend their live shows around this time, you may recall that strobe-flicker stained memory of sequins, disco balls and papier mâché. The Reflektor Tapes is it’s visual accompaniment for those who couldn’t make it; a cinematic collage if you will.

The Reflektor Tapes plays out like a dream; unpredictable, hazy and sometimes cutting off just as it gets to the good parts. They have cut up and jumbled the linear nature of a record cycle which has been captured in various mediums and times; live concerts, recording studios, a trip to Haiti via Jamaica, and wrapped it in this neat and often confusing package.

Kendrick Lamar – ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’

It’s almost as if it were all planned, an album like this can very easily be read in to too much by people like me, but the way in which this album came about has to be addressed first and foremost. Kendrick Lamar pulled in a mainstream audience after releasing the radio friendly single ‘i’ last year. I, like many others, loved the poppy echoes of Outkast in this leading me to anticipate the album from whence it came. I went back and explored the world of ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,’ and whilst it wasn’t totally my thing, it certainly grew on me.

Lamar had the mainstream audience in the palm of his hands, his grip the strongest on the night he walked away clutching two grammy awards for ‘i’ and then BOOM. The next day he drops ‘The Blacker The Berry,’ this incredibly dense track took me a while to get my head around, the dark churning loop and the self-criticising lyrics led me to think how the heaven do these two tracks belong to the same world? ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ was announced to be released on the 23rd March, but a globally harmonised gasp rang out over the internet when the album appeared on iTunes and Spotify a whole week early.

Was this all planned? Anthony Tiffith of Top Dawg entertainment didn’t seem to think so as he tweeted: “I WOULD LIKE 2 PERSONALLY THANK @Interscope FOR FUCKING UP OUR RELEASE…” but Lamar’s cool and collected reassurance of “Keep calm. All is well.” leads me to think this was his plan all along. So here it was in our hands, ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ in its entirety ready for us to press play – a real treat…