Album Review: The Neighbourhood – Wiped Out!

image

Verdict:
6.5/10

“Sweater
Weather” propelled The Neighbourhood
to sudden stardom back in 2013. They’ve come a long way since then.

Almost indignantly, they
refuse to be bound by any one genre. Who’d have thought that “those Sweater
Weather guys” would go on to drop a mixtape hosted by DJ Drama? That too, with
a long list of features that included French Montana, YG, Danny Brown, and OG
Maco
. Bitch you didn’t guess it.

Wiped
Out!
,
The Neighbourhood’s follow up effort to their hit and miss debut album is
somewhat impressive, if only because it’s less hit and miss than its
predecessor. They’re making progress.

image

This album is truly of
its time. Ever wondered what it would sound like if The Weeknd made surf rock?
Wonder no more. Elements of R&B, rock, and a little hip hop are all melded
together to create a unique, contemporary sound.

The lyrical content,
however, seems neglected. Wiped Out!’s
lyrics suffer from a pervading sense of blandness. Not a lot stands out.

One of
the exceptions to that rule is “Daddy Issues”, a touching song about front man Jesse Rutherford’s relationship
with his dead dad. Although it does take some unexpected turns: “I love that
you got daddy issues/And I do too” and “I know that you got daddy issues/And if
you were my little girl/I’d do whatever I could do.”

The first track on this
album is just 30 seconds of silence. Well played, Neighbourhood. Well played. The
second track, “Prey”, is merely so-so. But stick around and the six songs that
follow make the album worth listening to. The album then tapers off, with the
last three tracks bringing nothing noteworthy to the table.

“Cry Baby” is a great
track, with its swinging bass and tropical notes.
“The Beach” is another
stand out track, the pain in Rutherford’s voice palpable. Watch out, because
emotions will be evoked. “Greetings from Califournia” sounds exactly how a song
that namedrops California should—wavy and chill.  

Most impressive is the experimental
innovation on this album. The psychedelic segues on some of the tracks are the
album’s best moments. In particular, the instrumental transformations on title
track “Wiped Out!” and “Baby Came Home 2/Valentines”.

The experimentation
backfires on “Ferrari”, however, a song that just doesn’t work. Industrial
cacophony.

image

It seems
like The Neighbourhood have finally found a sound they can stick with. But no one can really predict what direction they’ll
head in next. And that’s the one of the best things about them.

image
Pranav Shivanna



Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Artist Spotlight: LIZ

image

If
Y2K nostalgia could be captured in in an artist’s sound, that artist would be
LIZ. A valley girl hailing from Tarzana, California, her sound and style
represent the aesthetic of the Y2K R&B generation. Think Sailor Moon
R&B, Hello Kitty aesthetic, kissing on the high school bleachers, unicorns
riding on rainbows, and trying to dance in an over-sized jersey. And that would
be LIZ.

image

Signed
to Diplo’s label “Mad Decent,” LIZ has already released a string of singles and
even an EP (“Just Like You”). The latter is a cozy collection of colorful tracks
that range from representing a generation (“Y2K”) to being cautious about a
love (“Do I Like You”), with songs about pondering “what if” situations (“Say
You Would”) strewn in between. Even songs outside of her EP, such as “Hush” and
“You Over Them” all undoubtedly come from the same mentality, one of an R&B
princess cooing vocals wrapped in the warm productions of yesteryear.

LIZ
is currently offering the EP above for free download on her Facebook, and a few
other singles can be downloaded from her Soundcloud.

image
Alexander Bonilla

Artist Profile: Let’s talk about Doja Cat

Whoaaaa, so I’m completely out of my element.

Actually, I was really wanting to share with you another reallyhippie indie, guitar playing artist that “seemed incredibly raw” as I like to
say. But enough of my uppity attitude, we should switch it up sometimes, you know?

Let’s talk about Doja
Cat
.

image

I’m not super into hip-hop or rap so when I became intrigued
with Doja Cat, I was a little inspired. Not much is known about her, really, but
born Ami Zindale, she’s an 18 year old singer/rapper and L.A. based. She’s
young and she’s new, but she’s got this weird trippy vibe about her, and I
really just dig it.

This EP Purr! that
Doja Cat has out is relatively new, released in August 2014. It’s got 5 tracks,
and I’m not a fan of all of them, but her sound is just so different and airy and
so blended with soul vibes, I can’t help but like it.

“So High” was a single Doja Cat released prior to her EP, in
April, and is one that definitely gives off the impression of being high. It’s
dreamy, kind of psychedelic with the beats she uses, and her voice is kind of
just this high lilting mystery that pulls you in. It’s not a catchy, boppy
song, but definitely when she sings over and over again “You get me so high/You
get me so high” I catch myself grooving along to her.

It’s good, listen. It’s really trippy.

Okay, so then we continue on to the rest of the EP and it’s
pretty much along this vibe. She has this absentminded, lazy, spacey way of
singing, but once in a while, she dips into smooth straight rap like in “Nunchucks”
get this slower, soul Nicki Minaj
feel to her tracks.

Honestly, I have no idea why I like this, but I just do. I
listen to a track like “Beautiful” and it’s dreamy and mixes her smooth rap with
hippie beats in the background.

I really like “No Police.” She mixes her rap stylings with
some really chill beats, and her overall style makes it one of the best tracks
on the EP. But I also like “Control,” with her slow builds and real, breezy,
echoes that just relax you.

Doja Cat is consistent within her EP and that’s good, but
she’s definitely different. I think that’s what it is. She’s weird. She’s
different, I’ve never really heard anyone like her before and her originality
of mixing soul, rap, and R&B together is intriguing. She mixes her little
cat references into her rap and just randomly purrs or meows in her tracks, so
you definitely can’t escape Doja Cat’s identity. It’s weird. It’s cool.

Or maybe I’m the weird one. Either way, check her entire EP
out here:

Ariana Rivera

Hozier: Let’s appreciate the man and the album (Artist/Album Review)

Hi I’m Ariana Rivera and I like writing words and music so I asked some people about a way to combine the two and they gave me this job.

So lately, I’ve been obsessed, and I think you know what I mean. I’m talking about soul-sucking, mind-numbing, “Wow, I can’t stop listening” plain obsessed. This entire album and the man who writes it has stolen my heart and although it’s only been a couple of weeks, I just can’t help but love it.

Meet Hozier.

image

Born Andrew Hozier-Byrne, 24, Irish born and gifted with a soulful, bluesy as hell voice, this man is relatively new to the industry, with his debut album, Hozier released in Ireland in September, and globally just last month. Studied music in Dublin for a bit and was involved in an Irish vocal choral group, but dropped that…to become who he is, a modern day, Van Morrison and a male Adele.

So let’s talk about his album, now that we have an understanding that he’s somewhat successful and a little bit beautiful.

image

Starting off with “Take Me to Church,” his first single that went viral on YouTube and topped the charts all around, we get a feel of how Hozier feels about love in his analogous parallel of love to religion: that falling in love essentially resulted in a death of everything. Not the happiest way to start the day, but the song starts off just a pure tone of his voice and some simple piano chords. Once we get going, background vocals come in, and for a second you see a hint of the vocal choral group roots that he has. The lyrics of this song are powerful once you reach the chorus, and we end the song not just with a pianist and smooth sounds of Hozier’s voice, but with a powerful guitar and drum combo, thundering through to make a statement.

So obviously, this guy has power, and we get a second hint of that in his second track off the album, “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” (which had a hint of influence from the Black Keys to me). At this point in the album, however, you might already have the feeling of, “Okay, I got that he can do powerful R&B and soul, but is this really the sound for the entire album?”

Hozier switches it up a bit and finally shows a softer bluesy side in “Jackie and Wilson,” with an asymmetric rhythm and feel. “From Eden,” the 6th track off the album, other than having incredible lyrics that reference a lil bit of Satan (“I slithered in from Eden”) has the oddest sound of the entire album in my opinion. Start a song off with some cello and guitar, and just a voice resonating “Babe,” and it just is too soulful. It sounds like you’re listening to a lullaby when you first start off. The lyrics come in, and the symbiotic relationship that the cello, guitar, and drums play off each other, and although the song loses its lullaby feel, the instrumentals alone still leave you feeling just serene and peaceful.

 “Work Song,” one of the later tracks, is my favorite of the entire album simply because of the melodic hums that swell beautifully and timed claps that start off the song (This is so weird, but I swear it reminds me of  Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Don’t judge.) He sings this track with almost a careless croon of just walking around mournfully. I dig the style. My favorite lyric off the entire album comes from this song: “When, my, time comes around/ Lay me gently in the cold dark earth/ No grave can hold my body down/ I’ll crawl home to her.” He’s an intense guy, but an intense lover all the same, and this lyric holds it true for me.

Take a listen.

We end the album, still soulful, but much more toned down from when we started. “Cherry Wine,” the last track of the album, is the live version, and features Hozier picking at his guitar and his voice. Unlike with previous songs in the album, in which he sings it with a completely folky, blues style similar to that of the earlier track “Like Real People Do, “ Hozier sings it pure, clean, and naked of any influence. It’s the purest song of the album, and the happiest song as, in terms of tone. With sound clips of blue birds in the background and pretty guitar riffs, “Cherry Wine” ends the album on a happier, more serendipitous note than the intense, tormented sound of “Take Me to Church” in the beginning.

If ya like Van Morrison, if you like The Black Keys, and if ya like some bluesy soul, grab a copy.

Where to get it: http://www.myplaydirect.com/hozier

Where to listen: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8KVn2EQ_jy3dXEtYoeTI0EPy40usREYO 

Overall? Obviously, I’m obsessed for a reason. There’s hints of the Gospel/choral influences in almost every track, and I thank it for it. Although his soulful, bluesy riffs are beautiful, they can be a bit intense, and the heavy content of his lyricism is nicely off put by the heart lifting melodic swells. Additional to that, it seems to add to the holy atmosphere he had in his sound and the love/religion obsession he has in his lyrics.

Maybe you won’t be obsessed, but I still love him for his soulful vibe. That, and the fact he followed me back on Instagram.

image
Ariana Rivera