Look. Look up there. ‘Phsix’? Is this guy serious? Wasn’t ‘Phive’ already indulgent enough? Yes, you read correctly folks, this month’s edition of Phil’s Phive is special, in that we’re talking about six albums this time around instead of five, and that ‘phsix’ is one of the most unholy abominations of a portmanteau that any of us have come across. Allow me to explain. April was a unique month, in that it had five Fridays contained within it, as opposed to the standard four that most months have. This means that April had an extra week of releases than most months, so I’ve decided to talk about six records instead of the standard five that I usually round up to accommodate that. It’s already difficult enough narrowing each month down to five notable releases, so give me a break here. There’s also another reason which I’m sure you can figure out by the end of the article. Before we get started, disclamer: Beyoncé is not on this list. So if you came here looking for my thoughts on Lemonade, sorry to say I have no opinion other than its a refreshing beverage. LOL
6. Greys – Outer Heaven
The handsome boys in Greys have done it again with Outer Heaven. Instead of the sophomore slump, let’s call this one the sophomore trump, and not like that weird piece of oak with a wig that you guys are gonna elect president down there in the States. The good kind. Still as much of a ‘loud rock’ band as ever, Outer Heaven sees Greys mixing in hearty portions of art-punk into their kickass riff stew, expanding the band’s sound significantly while still remaining true to the Toronto scene that birthed them. Not to sound like a tool but I’ve been following these guys since day one, and watching them grow up into the tour de force they are now is just…inspiring. I’m so proud of you guys. Call me sometime. I’m pretty sure we live in the same neighbourhood.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: blistering art punk
5. Omar-S – The Best
Well, I mean, its right there in the title. Modesty isn’t Omar-S’s thing, and why should it be? The man has self-released some of the best Detroit house and techno of the past 13 years, so why not call a spade a spade? Following a steady stream of singles and EPs since his last EP in 2013, The Best is an intensely satisfying full length statement from a man in a genre that rarely thrives off long form releases. It’s Omar-S, so for the most part, you already know what you’re getting: raw 808s over incessant grooves that bleed personality, and that’s fine and all, but where the album shines is when Omar deviates from the tested and true formula as seen on ambient, djembe-led highlight “Ah’ Revolution (Poli Grip for Partials Nik Mix)” and drum roll laced closer “Heard’ Chew Single”. It’s an album for the floor, yes, but also for that late night dance party all alone in your bedroom.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: Detroit house party
4. Brian Eno – The Ship
Brian Eno is one of the last people on earth that can get away with being almost unbearingly pretentious. I’m not gonna go track down his description of his latest record, The Ship, mostly because I just couldn’t be bothered, but trust me. It’s pretty out there. From what I was able to gather, the album is a meditation on human paranoia, framed through the lens of the Titanic’s impact on World War One. Okay! Thankfully, in no way does understanding this album predicate your enjoyment of it. Eno’s made his mark on the world as a producer, but The Ship sees him liberally deploying for the first time in a while his secret weapon: his voice. Whether via the therapeutic, almost Gregorian singing of the title track, or his smooth tenor found on “Fickle Sun I” and “III”, Eno firmly reminds us that he used to be a pop star in his own right. Seeing as how the first track on this album is literally meant to emulate the drifting of a ship at sea, I highly recommend adding this record to your falling asleep playlist.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: Atlantic ambient
3. Drake – VIEWS
The second Toronto act featured on this month’s Edition of Phil’s (its starting to come together now isn’t it?), Drake’s VIEWS is by and large a disappointment. This was supposed to be his crowning achievement, his classic, the record that would get mentioned along with his name as one of the all time greats. That’s not going to happen. By cobbling together all the sounds of his past work into one grand statement, VIEWS ends up as sounding safe instead of proclamatory. A majority of these songs, while great, are unfortunately things we’ve heard before, albeit done in a refined manner here. Drake’s ode to his city and the sounds that made him famous end up dragging him down in the end, in an ironic twist that I’m sure will be lost on him. In classic Drake format though, its the sounds that people were making fun of him for most recently that end up propelling this record to new heights (though maybe not CN Tower level heights if we’re being real). Afropop and dancehall inflected numbers like “Controlla,” “One Dance,” and “With You”, as well as slowburning quiet storm numbers like “Fire & Desire” and “Redemption” are by far the most successful of the bunch, and show that Drake isn’t entirely comfortable settling into his sound as we think he is. Another big takeaway from VIEWS is that Drake is not a rapper anymore, rather, he is a pop star that happens to rap. His first week numbers should reflect that nicely. Overall, VIEWS isn’t what he wanted it to be. But here he is putting on for his city harder than ever, and as a fellow Torontonian, I can’t help but be proud.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: real 6 god shit
2. Primitive Weapons – The Future of Death
Hardcore has fallen off pretty hard, commercially, critically, viably. I remember back in the early-to-mid 2000s, hardcore was EVERYWHERE. Your dad was in a hardcore band probably. As always, however, when scenes become saturated they turn to shit. That’s my 3S motto. Scenes + saturation = shit. The genre became more and more base, and before we knew it, all that was left were tattoos, snapbacks, breakdowns, and douchebags. A sort of hardcore revivalism started up a few years ago, alongside the emo revival, and the kids were finally being fed something nutritious again. Four years after their ridiculously promising debut, Primitive Weapons return with an all out smorgasbord of an album, delivering on the high standard set by the debut. Four years is a long time between records, especially for a hardcore band, but the Future of Death was more than worth the wait. Filled with atmosphere, hooks, and pure shitkicking heaviness, the Future of Death is the best hardcore record of this year and many others…until we get that new Every Time I Die, anyway.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: Eastern seaboard metalcore
.1. Deftones – Gore
Earlier this month, I was faced with the daunting task of writing a review of a new album by my favourite band of all time, after only having listened to it for maybe 36 hours. It resulted in this mess. Roughly a month removed, suffice it to say that I have listened to this record almost daily since it came out, and could not be happier with it. Anything else that there is to say can be found in that review. Gore is incredible, an absolute return to form. Deftones are the best band of all time. End of story.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: Deftones baby