We here at The Suss are well aware that you rely heavily on us for our recommendations and so the space in between our last issue and this one must have been torture for you, dear reader, not knowing what to listen to or which films to go and see. Fret no more, here we have it: the highlights of the gap between our last issue and this one.
Rae Sremmurd – SremmLife
Bolstered by the hit singles (at least in America) “No Flex Zone” and “No Type”, SremmLife is a 45 minute long party. Production is mainly handled by their Ear Drummers label boss Mike WiLL Made-It, with synths pounding and pulverising throughout the course of the album.
Brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy interact wonderfully with the vocals, capturing the effervescent energy the duo have shown at any opportunity in public. Further pop success is almost guaranteed with the Nicki Minaj and Young Thug assisted “Throw Sum Mo”, but the album’s real highlight is “This Could Be Us”. Playing off of the “this could be us but you playing” internet meme, the artists better known for brash shout-raps sound positively lovely as Swae sings the heart-aching hook.
Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love
It just had to be good. Sleater-Kinney disbanded ten years ago with a perfect record: seven albums, not a bad one amongst them. The catchiest punk album you or anyone will hear this year, No Cities to Love simply reminds what we already knew: Sleater-Kinney are impossibly good at making politics catchy and fun.
Punk bands reunited is usually a disaster, ask Black Flag, ask Blink-182, but Sleater-Kinney have never been ones to fall into the holes that their male counterparts did. Highlights include the infectious title track and opener “Price Tag”, which immediately sets out to prove that they never lost touch or ability. We’re pleased to report that both are present throughout.
Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
Noah Lennox said he wanted to make a more “lively” and “busy” sound for his follow up to 2011’s grim Tomboy. Lively and busy are understatements, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper is layer upon layer of sonic exploration that creates a density that’s almost mind-boggling.
The album mixes instances of drone and downright pop masterfully, creating a grey sky that the Animal Collective leader’s voice floats over perfectly. As the title suggests, Panda Bear finds himself dealing with mortality, but lyrics like “when it comes to fill those spaces/only you can fill those spaces” from “Selfish Gene” bring a surprisingly life-affirming punch to the proceedings.
Charli XCX – Sucker
Of course the way Charli XCX rose to superstardom was through collaborating with Iggy Azaelia and providing a song for the soundtrack to The Fault in Our Stars. These two facts alone might be enough for some people to write off Charli XCX, but the facts remain that her hook propelled the otherwise awful “Fancy” to the top of worldwide charts and “Boom Clap” was an undeniable pop gem. She had the songs already, but the way she became a star is just how the world works.
Her follow up was just as undeniable, the school-resisting “Break the Rules” established Charlotte Aitchison as the most punk pop star out there, not that that means an awful lot in today’s climate. Tracks like “Body of My Own”, an ode to masturbation mark XCX out as a pop star unlike any other.
An incredibly self-assured album, especially given that it was clear that this was Charli’s big shot, Sucker sneers its way to being the pop highlight of 2014.
Nominated for five, yet still not enough Academy Awards, Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash is a cathartic work of brilliance. Anyone who has ever found themselves trying to be the absolute best at anything, not just jazz drumming, will feel an incredible resonance with this incredible story that really has nothing to do with jazz at all.
We’ve all heard about J.K. Simmons’ turn as tyrannical Terrence Fletcher, but more needs to be made of the subtle and emotionally crippled portrayal of Andrew Neiman by the wonderful Miles Teller.
“There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job”, Fletcher tells Neiman toward the end of the story; in this case, it’s definitely applicable. To Chazelle, Simmons, Teller, et al.: good job.
The Return of Modest Mouse
Washington rockers Modest Mouse are finally back with their follow-up to the unfollow-able We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, forthcoming album Strangers to Ourselves. They remain infectiously outraged with world affairs, as first single “Lampshades on Fire”, again portrays pollution as humanities biggest mistake.
Coyote on the other hand is softer and sweet, and sounds similar to the yearning that can be heard on another of their singles, “The World at Large”.
It doesn’t look like Isaac Brock and co. are going to reinvent the wheel with Strangers to Ourselves, but you can guarantee that their comeback will stir up a bit of controversy.
Odrán de Bhaldraithe and Bryan Grogan
Image credit: rbimg.com