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Album Daily
Album Daily Week #88: July 19 - 23

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Vince Staples

Vince Staples

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Genre: Hip-Hop
Release Date: July 9th, 2021
Top Tracks: ARE YOU WITH THAT?, MHM, LAW OF AVERAGES
Similar Artists: ScHoolboy Q, Pusha T, Earl Sweatshirt

A brand new self-titled album from Vince Staples? Let's go. 28 year-old Staples started rapping when he was just a teenager back in California. It's interesting that he's now releasing a self-titled album, but who's complaining? Staples stays true to himself on this one. It's low-key, pretty straightforward backdrops all produced by Kenny Beats (EDM turned rap producer), and will satisfy current Vince Staples fans but probably won't generate too many new ones. Album Daily's recommendation? Check out the top 3 songs on this album and if you're about it... dive into some of Vince Staple's older albums such as "Big Fish Theory" to continue to fill that hip-hop playlist.

Why do artists do self-titled albums? If you've ever wondered...wow...are some artists literally not creative enough to come up with album names? So they just pick their own name? False. Turns out there's a very specific reason for artists doing self-titled albums. That reason is: first impressions are so so so important. Historically (I'm talking the vinyl era) artists would release their first album as a self-titled album because nobody had heard of them yet and they didn't want any confusion on what the name of the album was vs what the name of the band was. If you name the album the name of your band, no confusion at all. Artists now in the digital era have continued this tradition because the same concepts of getting your name out there apply to streaming as well.

First Place

The Brook and the Bluff

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Genre: Indie-Alternative
Release Date: October 25th, 2019
Top Tracks: Shelby, Father McKenzie, Halfway Up
Similar Artists: Young the Giant, The Band CAMINO, Smallpools

Tranquil, serene, and just enough kick to keep you hooked. First place by The Brook and the Bluff is another classic Indie-Alt album that you would catch at your local dive bar with a "stage" that's really just some plywood stacked on some 2X4s. The entire album feels like a single thread woven from the same fabric. It's very cohesive and on-brand the entire time. You'll get some John Meyer vibes and Coldplay feels on this 2019 album. Let us know what you think!

More about the song First Place. Genius tells us that the the first song on the record plays on the double-entendre of the meaning of the phrase "First Place." The Brook and the Bluff hit on the meaning from 2 different angles: the original occurance of something and being a winner. Gotta appreciate some word play.

"When it feels right
It just feels too safe
I'm not in first place
Never was in the first place"

Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

M83

Genre: Pop
Release Date: October 18th, 2011
Top Tracks: Midnight City, Wait, Reunion
Similar Artists: Passion Pit, Empire of the Sun, Phoenix

This is definitely one of those cases where I'd heard a song so many times before and finally decided that I needed to check out the album that song was a part of… and boy I'm glad I did! I imagine many of you are just like me and absolutely adore the song "Midnight City" by M83 but haven't delved to heavily into the rest of their discography. Well wait no longer because this album is an indie-synth-pop masterpiece from cover to cover. Each song is unique and different from the one before but the album still melds together beautifully. Midnight City is all keyboard and synthesizer and then Raconte Moi Une Histoire is dominated by a child's vocal sample and building string synths. Then Wait is a slow acoustic guitar Dispatch-esque ballad that slowly builds. M83 is more than Midnight City, gosh darn it. 

Bonus content: the music video for M83 is a video that features kids with telekinetic powers who escape a federal facility… hello Stranger Things? The video is actually part of a 3-part series featuring two other songs on the album: Reunion and Wait. It's quiet well done and helps to set the mood for the entire album- check it out right here.

Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep)

Kurt Vile

Genre: Rock
Release Date: October 2nd, 2020
Top Tracks: How Lucky, Gone Girl, Pearls
Similar Artists: The War on Drugs, Deerhunter, Real Estate

Road trip album alert! Road trip album alert! Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep) is an album (fine, EP) that's just made for 97 degree desert heat with 0 percent humidity and a quarter tank of gas. I mean even the EP's title just screams "road trip" to me. Nothing makes me think of 10 straight hours in a car like speed and loneliness and Kurt Vile. 

It's stripped down and distorted southern-style rock that's pierced by Kurt's beautiful (eh, scratch that… it's honestly pretty nasally and quite underwhelming) voice. Maybe the fact that Kurt's voice isn't perfect has something to do with the appeal of this album. The songs have long verses and oft-shifting choruses that are often difficult to distinguish which makes the songs sometimes feel like one long verse. The first 3 tracks off of this EP are pretty classic Kurt Vile but in the 4th track there's another artist credited which is a little odd for Kurt as he usually appears solo. Who's that artist? Well it's another great songwriter with a terrible voice…

Bonus Content: In the 4th track of this EP, Kurt Vile covers a John Prine classic tune "How Lucky". It's a cover but the two actually recorded the  duet together in Nashville shortly before Prine's passing in late 2020 due to complications from the coronavirus. Vile covers another Prine song as well on the EP, "Speed and the Sound of Loneliness". Vile calls the interaction, and the chance to record with one of his hero's, "probably the single most special musical moment in [my] life." How lucky indeed.

Good Faith

Madeon

Genre: Electronic
Release Date: November 15th, 2019
Top Tracks: All My Friends, Be Fine, Nirvanna
Similar Artists: Porter Robinson, Mat Zo, San Holo

The main word that comes to mind when I listen through this album is brilliant. Not just in terms of the technical production quality, but the general feel. French house DJ, Madeon took 3-years to create his second studio album and made sure to leave no stone unturned. Good Faith is grandiose, bright, and almost cinematic. He uses soaring synths, heavy drums, and soulful melodies to create soundscapes that ultimately, serve to inspire. While he normally outsources vocals to other artists, Madeon primarily relies on chopping and tuning his own voice to create a layered effect that feels more like a choir rather than a singular sound. For those unfamiliar or even a bit frightened of the world of beep-boop music (aka EDM), Good Faith is a great entry point into the world of quality electronic sound and is easy on the ears for all.

Bonus Content - Madeon’s story is pretty awesome. Like many DJs, he first went viral with a series of remixes, including this 4-minute masterpiece in which he stitched together 40-some songs into a seamless mix. Incredibly, it doesn’t even sound chaotic but rather glides from one sample to the next, including songs from other French legends like Daft Punk and Bastille. This not only caught the eye of millions of fans, but also another electronic production savant, Porter Robinson. The two went on to produce one the most popular electronic anthems of all time, Shelter, and even did a nationwide tour together. The rest is history.

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