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May 15, 2017

I feel like someone needs to come out and say this, so I'm going to do it: the new Gorillaz album Humanz sucks. I tried to play it while a few friends were over for drinks and found I had to turn it off.

I'm not entirely sure if the reason for this is that Demon Days is one of the best albums of all time. It could be that the standard was set so high that nothing will ever come close. But, for the sake of confirming my bias, I'm going to sit here and share my thoughts as I listen through the album.

Disclaimer: this is my personal opinion. I can't write a better album. I'm just a wannabe critic.


The main issue I have with Humanz is that it seems to lack any sort of cohesion or concept. Rather, it's a series of disconnected songs that are light on catchy melody or style. There are too many random features -- a seemingly transparent attempt to branch out to additional fan-bases, and each song sounds like it was forced as the product of a rushed studio session, rather than part of Damon's master plan. Granted, I wasn't there, so I could be wrong -- I'm just saying that it sounds like that.

Track-by-track (mental) breakdown:

  1. Intro. We'll just skip this...

  2. "Ascension": The song starts out strong with Vince Staples' energy. It's certainly an ear-grabber; a strong announcement that Gorillaz are back.

  3. This is followed by "Strobelite," which features Peven Everett. It has a pretty safe and easy-going sound, and the vocals are pretty uninspiring. They sound like familiar soul/funk vocals, and the overall song leaves me feeling flat following the energy of "Ascension." It drags its feet to the point that I want to turn it off before it ends.

  4. Next up, "Saturn Burnz" featuring Popcaan. This was one of the original singles released, and might be a play at today's modern penchant for excessive autotune. It's not a bad track... still probably one of the stronger. Certainly a step-up from "Strobelite," and one of the only ones to hint at a bit more of that character/story-telling that Gorillaz did so well in the past.

  5. "Momentz": Finally, a song with De La Soul! Except that it's really frickin' hard to listen to. The melody sucks and the overall tempo is frantic. Blah. More stupid fucking autotune, as well.

  6. An interlude! Is this an attempt at cohesion and themes? Why the hell is it autotuned? Stupid.

  7. Okay, so here's "Submission," probably the most talk-worthy track on the album, just because Danny Brown is such a fucking character. Too bad the Kelela singing is sorta off-key or dissonant. That might be intentional relative to the backing harmonies, but yeah... it's just lame singing in general. Generic pop vibes. Finally, after more than 2 minutes of terrible singing we get Danny Brown. I actually kinda like his cameo, though I don't think I'd want this played at a casual party. Unfortunately, the song rounds out with more shit singing

  8. As you can tell, my reaction to each song is getting more and more heated. This album is clearly pissing me off

  9. Okay, Grace Jones on "Charger!" This is unique... except what the hell is Damon doing? He sounds like a school child bumbling over a melody without any real direction. And that backing guitar is gonna drive me nuts. Grace Jones can't save this trainwreck

  10. Okay here we go. "Andromeda" -- one of the easiest-to-approach songs on the album, with a catchy melody and an enjoyable style. It's the only song I actually like -- perhaps in part because Bonobo created one of the year's best remixes with it

  11. "Busted and Blue": Ohh finally, a rest from all the hectic shit we've had to listen to. It's nice as an "Andromeda" follow-up, and again -- one of the hints at something slightly thematic. It kinda drags along for a bit long, but at this point I'm probably just impossible to please

  12. "Interlude" #2 -- again, weird and I'm not really sure how this fits in with the rest of the album, except perhaps as an attempt to create something from nothing

  13. "Carnival" featuring Anthony Hamilton. It sounds like joke-singing. I can't possibly see myself putting this song on in the background

  14. "Let Me Out" featuring Mavis Staples & Pusha T. Again, one of the better tracks -- a distinct Kanye vibe. No surprises this was released as a single

  15. Another interlude. So yeah... 

  16. "Sex Murder Party" featuring Jamie Principle and Zebra Katz. This is just annoying

  17. "She's My Collar": Definitely has a more distinct Gorillaz vibe to it. Probably because Damon is the main focus up to the 2-minute-mark, then Kali Uchis makes her intro. I actually quite like her voice, though I find the overall song to be quite repetitive and monotonous. Perhaps I'm just critiquing for the sake of critiquing

  18. Interlude: "Elephant." The elephant in the room being that this album isn't nice to listen to?

  19. "Hallelujah Money," the first song to be released off the album. When it came out, I was skeptical. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, but honestly -- I was worried that it signaled a less-than-stellar album was around the corner 

  20. "We Got The Power" was another one of the early singles, and I found it kinda cheesy. It definitely has one of the catchier vibes, but overall... cheesy

  21. Another interlude! Honestly, these aren't making the album feel cohesive. And this one, in particular, is hard on the ears

  22. "The Apprentice" featuring a bunch of people. I don't like the tempo or the melody. I'm a party-pooper. The hip-hop is nice, though. I wish there was more in this vein throughout the album, a la MF Doom.

  23. "Halfway to the Halfway House" is another example of the type of singing I don't like. Falsetto and bad

  24. "Out Of Body": Kilo Kish! I like Kilo Kish. It's a unique song and I like it more than most of the others on the album. The part approaching 1:50 is kinda yucky tho. Kilo Kish (I think?) steals the show with her unique style of hip-hop; I can't say I'm that into the singing tho

  25. "Ticker Tape": We're almost at the end! Hooray! This sounds like some sort of N64-inspired 8-bit music. The changeup around 2:50 is nice -- one of the nicest moments on the whole album. This is probably a highlight of the album, and it only took 25 songs to get there

  26. "Circle Of Friends" just... shouldn't be there. Feels like some dudes just messing around on a random song.

Image source: Gorillaz Facebook

Gorillaz - Hallelujah Money (Ft. Benjamin Clementine)

Gorillaz - Hallelujah Money (Ft. Benjamin Clementine)

Jami Selikow

Jami Selikow

Jul 25, 2017

Updated 7/27/2017: Turns out, Arcade Fire are the kings of trolling. We reached out to Ben & Jerry's and they explained the following: "We're sorry but this is not a Ben & Jerry Flavor and we have no further information."

Arcade Fire, the highly acclaimed indie rock band, are working with the ice cream giants, Ben & Jerry's. It's all listed below. To start though, we'll lead with a wonderfully whimsical clue: "My Body is a Cone." There is a lot going on, we'll also shed light on Arcade Fire's involvement in all things Brooklyn Vegan and Yondr. 

Arcade Fire Ben & Jerry's 

Combine Ben & Jerry's with Arcade Fire? It's a combo that not many could turn down, nor really understand for that matter. The band has recently announced that at the end of August, Arcade Fire ice cream from Ben & Jerry's will be available. Just imagine Ben & Jerry's sweetness sprinkled with Arcade Fire's signature wit.

Arcade Fire ran a poll on Twitter to find a name for their Ben & Jerry's ice cream's flavor (all of this was in honor of National Ice Cream day...of course). 

The options

  • "Arcade Crunch"

  • "Peanut Butler & Kingsberry"

  • "Infinite Chocolate"

  • And the winner:

"My Body is a Cone"

That's right, a big pun on their single "My Body is a Cage," which you can listen to below...and eat a themed ice cream to.

Keep in mind, that these days everything is a meme and everyone is a troll, so it's highly unlikely we'll ever get to taste the flavor that involves 'fudge skeletons' and 'crunchy-bone pieces.' Then again, who knows, they did make cereal for "Creature Comforts," a track off their forthcoming album, Everything Now.

Arcade Fire Brooklyn Vegan 

Arcade Fire have an Everything Now release show taking place on July 27th at Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn. It'll be live-streamed on Apple Music. There was controversy after Brooklyn Vegan revealed a message detailing a dress code for attendants:  

Our dress code is HIP & TRENDY as if you are going to a concert or night out with friends! The event is standing-room-only so please plan accordingly.
PLEASE DO NOT WEAR shorts, large logos, flip flops, tank tops, crop tops, baseball hats, solid white or red clothing. We reserve the right to deny entry to anyone dressed inappropriately.

Arcade Fire has disputed this, saying that if the 'dress code is "hip and trendy," band members will not be allowed through the door.' Win Butler, the band's frontman, said that the dress code, as well as phones being taken at the door (explained below) must 'be an Apple thing.' 




Included in the pre-show message, was the following notification: 

No cellphones, cameras or recording devices will be allowed at this show. Upon arrival, all phones and smart watches will be secured in Yondr pouches that will be unlocked at the end of the show. Guests maintain possession of their phones throughout the night, and if needed, may access their phones at designated Yondr unlocking stations in the lobby.

Yondr is a new development that allows show participants to keep possession of their phone, but removes their ability to use it. As people enter a venue utilizing Yondr, they place their phone in a bag which locks when entering certain zones.

Arcade Fire have hosted a secret show before where phones were taken away at the door, however, they're denying plans to do this at the Everything Now release show. To end off, let's all take a moment to allow Win's wise words to sink in:


Image Source: Arcade Fire Twitter

Arcade Fire - My Body is a Cage

Arcade Fire - My Body is a Cage

Dylan Heneck

Dylan Heneck

Jul 27, 2017

What is the Mercury Prize? Well, if you're kind of dumb, like me, then you would have believed it involved science and the elements. Luckily, as an avid Indie Shuffle reader, the truth lies no further than a flicked scroll. 

What Is The Mercury Prize?

If it isn't blatantly obvious already, the Mercury Prize is a music award. Yeah, so? The Mercury Music Prize is annually awarded to the top rated album from Ireland and the United Kingdom. Hold on a second though, this has nothing to do with Brexit.

Receivers of the Mercury Prize include Alt-j, The xx, PJ Harvey, James Blake, Arctic Monkeys and 2016's winner, Skepta, to name a few. No literally, there are tons since the prize dates all the way back to 1992.

This years nominees are listed below and will be selected by a panel of music industry buffs. Personally, the judges that stood out include Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons), Jessie Ware (Jessie Ware), and Lianne La Havvas (Really? Does it need to be in brackets?).

Kate Tempest: Mercury Prize Nominee

A fan favorite no doubt, Kate Tempest's Let Them Eat Chaos, along with her inspiring live performances, have won her a spot amongst an elite crowd of British artists. Indie Shuffle had the pleasure of missing both of her performances at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, so you can imagine that this is a hard article to write.

Thank fuck for NPR's Tiny Desk:


Oh, and Glasto?:


Dinosaur: Mercury Prize Nominee

Dinosaur are total newcomers on Indie Shuffle's radar, which is cool though, we're all about new finds. If you're very into jazz, then this is good route to head down, musically. To be frank, even the Ed Sheeran album is listenable, so I doubt you'll find a bad album in the crop of nominees. That said, Dinosaur are our pick of lesser known artists in the pile.

Did You Just Mention Ed Sheeran?

Why yes, Ed Sheeran's record breaking % is on the list of top releases coming from the isles in 2017. No real surprise there. To have 16 singles in the UK Top 20 definitely warrants some recognition.

Hyundai Mercury Prize Shortlist

Last years panel is still reeling from not giving the Mercury Prize to David Bowie, lets see how they do this year. Here are your nominees:

Alt-J – Relaxer
Blossoms – Blossoms
Dinosaur – Together, As One
Ed Sheeran – %
Glass Animals – How To Be A Human Being
J Hus – Common Sense
Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
Sampha – Process
Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
The Big Moon – Love in the Fourth Dimension
The xx – I See You

Kate Tempest - Lonely Daze

Kate Tempest - Lonely Daze

Sampha - (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano

Sampha - (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano

Alt-J - 3WW

Alt-J - 3WW

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