New Music | Friday Roll Out: Tropical Fuck Storm, MidaZ The BEAST, Robert Forster, Young Fathers

Take note of the date. That is all.

There are moments you need to stand back and simply take it all in. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it’s usually magnificent. That’s what’s happened today as many will realize with Heavy Heavy (Ninja Tune), the new album by Young Fathers. It seems the young Scottish trio continues to defy classification, alluring listeners with its amalgamation of genres, allowing moments to peak but never recognized as one thing in particular. Rock, R&B, Hip-Hop, Trip-Hop; everything is wrapped neatly together. The Young Fathers has a style all its own and through just four albums now, the band has created something quite unique and deliberate. Heavy Heavy is the culmination of the group’s focus and willingness to challenge itself. This is possibly the group’s most realized work to date.

Tropical Fuck Storm – Submersive Behaviour

So where are we now within the odyssey that has been the Tropical Fuck Storm experience you ask? Well, I’m glad you questioned it because we’re consistently left with questions of our own with every subsequent release we find by the band. The quartet has released three full-length albums, seemingly expanding its range with every subsequent release. This time around, the Australian band follows up 2021’s Deep States with what it’s called its covers release, Submersive Behaviour E.P. (Joyful Noise Recordings)

The band has always conjoined its love of the loud and abrasive with art so it would seem to make sense the band would release an E.P. of covers and originals (of which were falsely claimed to be written by others). So here it’s five tracks, of which, three are original songs, while the other two are covers. The songs will leave you wondering, questioning your own existence as “WTF did I just listen to?” may actually turn into “WTF did I just listen TO????” Things get confusing from the get-go and if you didn’t think Jimi Hendrix’ “1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)” couldn’t be dissected, reassembled, and refurbished, guess again. What was originally 13:39 minutes, TFS is able to extend just missing the 18-minute mark. The melodies are still present, as is the band’s shared love for dismemberment and adding its own unique signature, filling it with odd vocal melodies. But in the end, it still belongs to the Experience.

TFS literally fucks with us, churning through “Moonbeam” at a lazy pace, playing with vocal melodies and guitar notes, swimming through murky waters like Truman, and allowing the dissonance to take control. It hisses both harshly and sweetly with barbed-wire kisses and never yields until its ultimate demise. To say the band dabbles in experimentalism(s) would probably be an understatement but they make it work on the percussive “Golden Ratio” where everything else around it (guitars, bass) is there for entertainment purposes. Or is it? TFS alters reality here but manages to pull coherent melodies here utilizing its instruments. TFS or TFUL282? Either way, it’s all mangled together perfectly! There is nothing quite like a Tropical Fuck Storm and it’s easily appreciated. The band reworks The Stooges’ own “Ann” and somehow makes it all its own, and once you hear it, you’ll probably want more of this instead of Iggy’s version. Of course, there are similarities, but TFS makes it all its own.

If you weren’t sure what you’d get out of Submersive Behaviour, put your mind at ease because Tropical Fuck Storm takes this 5-song E.P. to a wholly different level. It’s definitely TFS and sometimes mind-boggling.

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MidaZ The BEAST – The Devil’s Playground

Sit back, relax, and just chill. Moves are made, steps are taken, and words are spoken. This is what we see/hear time and time again as some attempt to overcome their surroundings while others embrace them, playing with double-edged swords. Sometimes there’s no way around it in an attempt for balance but we all have to try walking a tightrope between different worlds. Florida’s MidaZ The BEAST returns with the new album The Devil’s Playground, produced by Uruguayan beat maker Delle Digga.

The album itself plays out much like a 70s classic hot buttery soulful release you’d find in overpriced bins at boutique record shops. You question yourself if you should pick up the scratchy LPs you encounter and eventually do because, in the long run, it’ll probably be worth it. With The Devil’s Playground, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it, Digga provides the perfect canvas for MidaZ’ lyrical wizardry. While many of the tracks here could have suffered through their brevity, it’s not the case. While some songs may clock in at under the 2-minute mark, the fuse is lit and the songs are explosively full and rich. “Mass Healing” for example delivers MidaZ’ sharp lyricism layered over weeping guitars, keys, and low-key percussion. We’re all in the moment with the artist. This isn’t an easy feat to accomplish. The strings around “Playground” play like Trouble Man-era recordings, it’s fittingly aligned with the overdubbed vocals. It’s entrancing.

There are shifting moments halfway through though, with “Kegels” and hits with a harder edge, not completely on a Boom-Bap tip but enough to find alignment towards it. There’s such an easy flow within the album which is testament to the Digga’s prowess as a beatmaker and Midaz’ skill as a wordsmith.

The Devil’s Playground is strong and steady without even trying it seems. MidaZ The BEAST is captivating with a cadence and delivery that draws you in. His stories melded with metaphors is absolutely nothing to fucks with. That, married to the beats provided by Delle Digga is nothing short of magical.

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Robert Forster – The Candle And The Flame

This Robert Forster shouldn’t be confused with Robert Forster the actor. No, instead, always remember the Australian musician of Go-Betweens fame who was the only constant member, along with fellow guitarist Grant McLennan. Throughout the years, Forster has recorded and has been a part of 17 albums throughout his career. Today he delivers one of the more personal releases of his career. 2021 proved to be a difficult year for his family, with his wife Karin Bäumlem on the receiving end of a cancer diagnosis. While the new album, The Candle And The Flame (Tapete Records), Forster’s eighth solo release, documents much of the emotion and thoughts throughout this time, it’s not morose or filled with melancholic prose.

Forster has a way of delivering his words in one of the most pragmatic of ways but also leaving room for full expression of ideas and thought. Throughout “Tender Years” he strums his guitar and sings like a man fully enamored without the need of utilizing obvious wording like ‘love’ or ‘affection’, instead offering “I’m in a story with her/ I know I can’t live without her/ I just can’t imagine why” across a realized melody that dazzles with its charm. It’s exquisite, to say the least. There are obvious strong pop sensibilities throughout the album and Forster and it’s can write a clever pop song and he maneuvers throughout it with ease. “It’s Only Poison,” jangles with sweetness as he sings about medication, healing, and strength.

The songs poignantly hit from beginning to end but it’s Forster’s more restrained and subtle moments that stand out. “Go Free,” is held together by its acoustic guitar but it’s also Bäumlem’s backing harmony that allows for a richer sound. He closes with “When I Was A Young Man” reflecting on his youth, his early days, unheralded as a songwriter but in the end finding inspiration from those around him. Acoustic guitars are all the instruments utilized but there’s nothing else needed. He pulls every nuance out of the instrument and as it closes you’ll realize his way was the correct way.

Robert Forster still has much to offer, and The Candle And The Flame obviously offer that up to everyone. There’s strength in the melodies and his voice throughout it, what else can we ask for?

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