Heeellooooooooo everybody! We’re a month and half into 2016, and boy, what a fucked up year it’s been so far. Lots of old white dudes died, Donald Trump might become president of the United States, and we learned Kanye West likes getting his butt played while doing the dirty! By the way, to that I say, good on you my man. Highly underrated. The man truly is progressive. Anyhow, in the midst of all this chaos, albums were released! Some of them were pretty good! This is my first edition of my new column, Phil’s Phive, where I discuss my favourite five releases of the month. As a society, we are no longer interested in reading anything unless it is in list form, so you are very welcome for catering to your ADHD-ass digi-fried minds. I’ve got you covered. Let’s get started.
- Surgeon – From Farthest Known Objects
Longtime techno stalwart Surgeon released his 8th full length in January. There’s nothing particularly revolutionary or game-changing here; From Farthest Known Objects contains the standard rubbery bass-fueled mid-tempo bangers we’ve come to expect from the producer/DJ. But there’s something comforting in the man’s consistency. Would you want your mom’s homemade apple pie to taste any different after a long time away from home? Do moms still make pie?
- Rihanna – ANTI
I don’t think anyone was really sure what to expect from this long-awaited record from pop’s favorite Barbadian. That being said, the all over the place nature of ANTI still managed to throw everyone off. By far the most disparate album of Rihanna’s career, this album is a total mess. It took me about four or five listens to determine whether this record was actually good or not, I still haven’t really come to a definitive conclusion. But the fact that I keep coming back for more seems indicative of something special. Filled to the brim with questionable decisions and directions, ANTI is a brave step away from pop from one of the biggest stars of our generation. Read David Dring’s full review here.
- Fat White Family – Songs For Our Mothers
On Fat White Family’s debut, Champagne Holocaust, their creepy aesthetic often threatened to overshadow the actual music itself. Their twisted take on mid-1900s pop music lacked the songwriting to back up the image, and the record came off as uninspired and bloated (ha ha). Thankfully it all comes together here on their sophomore. As demented as ever, Songs For Our Mothers sees Fat White Family bringing krautrock and psychedelic metal into the mix to fill their sound out making for an incredible distinctive, disturbing listen. Their moms should be proud. Or, uh, maybe not actually.
- David Bowie – ★
There’s no real way to say this without sounding incredibly insensitive, so I’m just going to go for it. Obviously Bowie’s passing was a massive tragedy, but, at the very least, we got this incredible album out of it. And what a send off this record is. There’s not much I can say about this record, or the man himself, that hasn’t been rightfully extensively covered over the past few weeks. The man turned his death into an art project, and I can’t think of any greater testament to his legendary status than that. The fact that it stands shoulder to shoulder in terms of quality with the other classics in his catalogue is the icing on the cake. Check out Aaron Cooper’s review here.
- The-Dream – Genesis
WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS ALBUM. Okay, I get that it was a TIDAL exclusive…and I get that it’s technically more of a movie than an actual album…and I get that it’s only supposedly a prequel to the rest of his 2016 output…but still! This is The-Dream we’re talking about here! Anything this man releases should be getting shoved down our throats, seeing as how he is objectively one of the greatest, most prolific songwriters/producers of the past decade. Not to mention this is by far his best work since 2010’s now-classic Love King. Genesis sees The-Dream coolly adapting to modern R&B trends, while still retaining the auteur-cred that made his Love trilogy some of the most beloved R&B records of the late-2000s. His time as the Radio Killa may be past, but the shift into the darker, downbeat territory of Genesis may be his most intriguing career move yet. Nothing brings me more excitement than the fact that this is just the beginning of The-Dream’s 2016.