Weekend Listening: Kendrick Lamar, Pulp, Pere Ubu
JODY MACGREGOR picks out the best music this week, from Pulp’s final kiss-off to Kendrick Lamar’s teenage fantasy.
‘Backseat Freestyle’ is the new single from Kendrick Lamar’s all-conquering good kid, m.A.A.d city. It’s an odd choice – in the context of the album it’s teenage Lamar impressing his friends with ridiculous boasts, exposing his juvenile dreams. His non-stop flow is impressive, but the lyrics are basically parody: “I pray my dick get big as the Eiffel Tower/so I can fuck the world for 72 hours.” I love the song, but hate to think of people hearing Lamar for the first time and deciding this is all there is to him. On album, he’s considered and thoughtful as well as bratty and blasting – but this is still an excellent blast.
As the Pulp reunion draws to a close, the Britpop legends have decided to reward their fans with one more song. ‘After You’ was a demo written over a decade ago that they’ve finally got around to recording, a classic of Jarvis Cocker’s upbeat sexual confessions full of his typically breathy admissions like, “I felt so ashamed that I did it twice.” It was certainly worth having one last go.
I was in the 414
The drums are like distant thunder, the guitars stop and start like backfiring cars and David Thomas has a story to tell us. With the vocal quirks of a movie villain, he narrates something that might have been a dream, but we hope was a nightmare. This is ‘414 Seconds’, from Pere Ubu’s next album Lady From Shanghai, due later this month.
Come as you are
A lot of Death Grips conversation is about the controversy rather than the music. But when their new video for ‘Come Up and Get Me’ has 8.49 of unsettling imagery before the music even starts, that’s not helping anyone trying to argue there’s more to them than attention-seeking, even though the sound of the world’s funkiest nervous breakdown follows. MC Ride’s paranoia has him locked in a dark room on the eighth floor, “murdered-out windows, two exits”, that fear souring to anger that rips his voice to shreds, the beat throbbing like the veins on his neck as he vomits out primal rage.
Skrillex usually responds to claims he’s ruining dubstep by saying his music isn’t dubstep and doesn’t sound anything like Burial. But his new EP, Leaving, contains a couple of tracks that sound very Burial indeed. ‘Leaving’ in particular, with its heavily treated and brutally short samples, moody beats and traffic noise. For someone who has avoided sounding anything like Burial for years Skrillex does a solid homage, though. There’s no cheesy bass drop, just the sound of going home at 4am with a head full of regret.
Both kinds of music
Torres lives in Nashville, where country music squats over the whole town like an end-of-level boss, and you can hear that in her sad voice when she sings, “Honey, while you were ashin’ in your coffee/I was thinking about telling you what you’ve done to me.” But you can also hear a whole lot of distortion and building dissatisfaction. Mostly distortion.
Wheel of prog-pop
I have no idea what Melbourne’s cheerfully weird Montero think they are up to in ‘Adriana’, but I approve all the same. The horns, the Bryan Ferry vocal affectations, the ba-ba-ba-ba-BEEE, the fact that it is from a concept album about the life of Wheel of Fortune co-host Adriana Xenides, basically the everything.