Snoop Lion and the folks over at VICE put together this nifty video for the full album preview of the Lion's REINCARNATED project set to drop on April 23rd. The video also contains track by track commentary which is a pretty dope feature. If you are a big Snoop Dogg fan and are still asking questions about who Snoop Lion is, then peep this.
This project is something special. It represents the evolution of a man. Not any man, Snoop Dogg REINCARNATED into Snoop Lion through reggae music. Diplo / Major Lazer did a bang up job with the production on REINCARNATED. I can't see how this project would be successful without their hard work and dedication.Click here to view on Noisey (Vice's music blog)
About six months ago my XX Pandora channel fed me “Cassius,” this super up-tempo, slightly 80’s styled jam. Even though I was multi-tasking like a pro: on the elliptical at the gym, playing words with friends on my phone, and watching a silent version of ‘Wheel of Fortune.’ I still took notice. The jam was that good. After giving it the proper “thumbs up,” that channel became infinitely sweeter, and over the next few weeks I was flooded with tracks from a band that was previously foreign to me, Foals. Since my introduction, I’ve been exploring the bands previous two albums along with their recently released third album, ‘Holy Fire.’
Foals most closely fit into the indie rock or math rock categories due to their complex, rhythmically intense sound. Their tracks are a compilation of intricate, atypical rhythmic structures and odd time signatures. Common practice for most rock bands is the use of a basic 4/4 meter; math rock uses asymmetrical time signatures and constantly changes meters, thus making it seem more “mathematical” in comparison.
Three longtime friends in Oxford, England put the rock band together in 2005 as a means to protest the proggier sounds that were taking shape in their hometown. It started with Yannis Philippakis as lead guitar, Jack Bevan on drums and Andrew Mears as the original lead vocalist, in addition to Jimmy Smith on guitar and bassist Walter Gervers. Mears left the group shortly after its founding, leaving Philippakis to take lead vocals, and adding Edwin Congreave on keyboard after he introduced Philappakis to techno. The quintet then begin perfecting its upbeat, math rock/ post-punk sound by jamming at house parties before getting signed to Transgressive Records in the UK and later Sub Pop in the US.
Dave Sitek from ‘TV on the Radio’ produced the Foals first album ‘Antidotes,’ released in 2008, which is home to “Cassius,” my first exposure to the band. The album peaked at number three in the UK Album Charts and reached number 28 in the US in Top Heatseekers, but failed to make the Billboard Top 200, despite receiving mostly favorable reviews from critics.
The freshman album is less expansive than their later two and Philippakis’ lead vocals seem to get lost in the mix of intricate layers of beats and loops. Most of the tracks are built around nervy guitar riffs, heavy reverberation, and brassy undertones, giving the album as a whole a very ska-pop / pop-rock sound. The band created a remix of ‘Antidotes’ but ended up scrapping it, along with their working relationship with producer Sitek.
Foals’ second album ‘Total Life Forever,’ sounds more like a response to their first album rather than a continuation, as notable changes in the band’s sound are heard. This album, while still danceable, is more subdued than its up-tempo and poppy predecessor, and in place of that pop is a mellower, more refined sound. Philippakis’ vocals matured for this album, along with the songwriting in general. Each track seems to build from beginning to end with a theme of escape and seeking comfort, offering the listener a different type of experience than that in the first album.
While there are plenty of bands dealing in math rock and navel grazing punk, the Foals seem to blend the two perfectly on their third studio album, ‘Holy Fire’ released on February 11, 2013. One of the first things listeners will notice is how much larger the band feels on this album, in both sound and presence. The new album is equally capable of getting the room moving with its rhythmic beats and sending listeners into deep, introspective conversations with its rich, deep lyrics. The album is the perfect balance between funk and feeling. The band, along with powerhouse album producers Flood and Alan Moulder, really nailed it.
The album opens with a prelude, providing a delicate, jazzy build-up that eases into “Inhaler,” the first album single. The rock track crawls upward through three or four pre-chorus gears that lead up to an advanced climax that points to their development as individual musicians and a band as a whole. The third track, “My Number,” boasts a frenzied 80’s pop quality interlay of guitar riffs and pulverizing keyboard beats, providing the most dance-centric track on the album.
The fifth track, “Everytime,” starts off with a waterfall of cascading guitar riffs, which is interrupted by a brief, powerful bass and cow bell that quickly stops right before the lyrics kick in with, “Come right this way, ride this way. Follow, I promise you’ll be okay. Come this way.” In my opinion, this track is a fairly clear representation of the album’s theme: freedom and creating your own path and/or sound, which the band really did for this album.
Compared to the previous two albums, ‘Holy Fire’ definitely sounds more commercial, possibly prepping the band to take on large venues. My only potential qualm with this album is the fact that the band seems to have lost some of its quirkiness that may have drawn some listeners to them initially, myself included. Overall though, ‘Holy Fire’ is an intense, well-executed exploration into alternative and math rock, and leaves me with the impression that Foals will continue to blow up more than just my Pandora channels.
Written by Ashley Dickinson
Check out the new music video for "Cry Like a Ghost" from Passion Pit.