Kid Cudi, Schiller & Little Simz Lead Albums of the Week - December 16th
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 14:48:36
As we head into the holiday season and toward the close of another year there are many things on which to reflect. There are also things on which to dance and celebrate - and this week in album releases provides us the opportunity for both introspection and busting moves on any improvised dance floor.
East coast trio The Lox return with their first album in 16 years, Little Simz releases a stunning sophomore effort, and Chicago's own Kid Cudi delivers well on his sprawling four-act album Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin'. The best German electro-pop artist currently taking America by storm, Schiller, looks toward the "Future" with an uplifting angle with moments of genuine humanity and Passion Pits Michael Angelakos offers a multi-media expression of the season.
Kid Cudi - Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' - Republic Records
The physical release for Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' is Dec. 23 - so if you're waiting for more than the digital copy to stick in someone's stocking, Kid Cudi's album will arrive just in time for you to share the tunes with loved ones. The album feels like it's been a long time coming, with hype and promise surrounding each of the already-released tracks. "Frequency" is telling of tone, and "Surfin'" features the omni-present Pharrell Williams (is there anywhere he isn't these days?!). Other contributors to the 4-act album are Andre 3000, Travi$ Scott, and Willow Smith. The quality of the work is solid, the sense of futurism about the work is encouraging, and Cudi remains one of those artists that reassures and surprises at the same time.
Little Simz - Stillness In Wonderland - AGE101 Music
Little Simz is more than a little busy. The native Londoner is planning a mini-festival in her hometown, she's releasing a comic book, and this week she drops her sophomore full length album. Stillness in Wonderland is a smart step in sequence, following up her debut A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons - which was a tense and tight set of tunes. Here the tensions are somewhat relaxed - but the sharp beats remain. The sense of otherworldliness remains, and Little Simz brings realness to the sense of fantasy. She opens up her subjects and lays herself bare. The whole album is a good response to "What's next".
Michael Angelakos - Merry Christmas, Mr. Fields [Soundtrack/Video album] - Frenchkiss Records
Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos album Merry Christmas, Mr. Fields, is more than a traditional holiday record. This is a soundtrack and "video album" - the first released ballad was "Stained Glass Windows" and it was a tender, reflective expression of the personal and universal. "Every snowflake turns to raindrops" is a heartbreakingly beautiful line - and the rest of the album as a sense of occasion, and while it commits the holiday magic to memory, it celebrates well the transitory wonder of the season. In short - whether you love or hate Christmas, this album is a spectacle, it's wonderful and deserves full attention from all senses.
Schiller - Future - Sleepingroom Records
Future, the 9th studio album from Schiller was released in the electronic wizard's native Germany at the beginning of 2016. It went straight to the number one slot in the country, and it leant further weight to the reputation of an artist that somehow always manages to find the sweet spot in the pop zeitgeist. What Christopher Von Deylen has always done well he does again here, but better than ever; he puts space and humanity into the rigid forms of electronic beats, and he pours an organic sense of timing to the sequence of tracks. It's a warm and hopeful album that feels much needed in the darker days at the end of the year. Looking to the future seems like a good idea.
The Lox - Filthy America…It's Beautiful - Universal Music
It's been 16 years since Jadakiss, Sheek Louch and Styles P last released an album as a group. While the focus has shifted away from grim stories of drug deals, and street scenes, and we feel a long way from debut album Money, Power & Respect, the maturing of vision has in no way diminished the vitality of the trio, who spark on all cylinders here - perhaps even better than before - and stronger than recent solo ventures. Tackling the issues of "Filthy America" takes a certain kind of confidence - and the trio show that here. This album has beats too.
Download Kid Cudi "Passion, Pain and Demon Slayin'" from iTunes
Download Little Simz - "Stillness in Wonderland" from iTunes
Download Michael Angelakos - "Merry Christmas, Mr Shields" from iTunes
Download Schiller "Future" from iTunes
Download The Lox "Filthy America…It's Beautiful" from iTunes
—The ARTISTdirect Staff