Back At It, Never Pragmatic
Always Idiosyncratic and Still Asthmatic
As you can see, here at No Oldtimers, we have completely leveled up. Whole lotta new email format, whole lotta new color scheme, whole lotta new buttons, whole lotta bags, whole lotta cash, whole lotta flex (slatt), whole lotta hoes, whole lotta ass (slatt, slatt). Look good, feel good, write good, read good. Who’s got it better than us? (Real newsletters written by nerds that come out twice weekly, maybe, but that’s it!)
Let’s get this shit.
Welcome to NOTs IV. Set up your drip bags and inject this shit directly into your veins with abandon because, just like American Spirits, this stack is 100% addiction-free.
In this stack:
Is it dog $hit (good) or real shit (bad)?
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Mass Reconciliation Event
Well, well, well, well, well, well — IDLES are back with a new album. Yay. It’s called CRAWLER, and, to be honest, it wasn’t on my radar because their last album left such a foul taste in my mouth. But when a homie (Shout out Rits!) tells me to listen to something, I have no choice but to do as I am told.
Their 2020 effort, The Album That Shall Not Be Named, was, on a scale of good to not great, not good. The band betrayed my trust. Meat, Brutalism, and Joy as an Act of Resistance. were excellent, but the boys were a bit too geeked up on The Album That Shall Not Be Named, and as a result, they let me down hard. Rather than double down on what makes them great, they doubled down on what makes them Instagram-Infographic-able and, perhaps even worse, accessible. Out were the scathing anecdotes of working class life in the UK and in were the general leftisms tailor-made for the pseudointellectuals of social media who, more often than not, just end up preaching to the choir.
Nothing about The Album That Shall Not Be Named is subtle, from the pull-trig worthy lyrical content to the album cover which features a man getting absolutely rocked by a large pink ball. Upon further review, the big pink ball serves as a sign of what’s to come: cutesy, mantric takes intended to obliterate conservative thought, like Hello Kitty with a megaphone if Hello Kitty were brash, belligerent, and a former pack-a-day smoker. Frontman Joe Talbot’s takes aren’t wrong, but he is not the person that needs to be saying them. IDLES’ fanbase already knows these things. And, what’s more, these takes make me want to never listen to music again. Here are a few of the worst offenders:
“This is a sawn-off / For the cat-callers / This is a pistol / For the wolf whistle / 'Cause your body is your body / And it belongs to nobody but you” (“Ne Touche Pas Moi,” which, after a quick Google, is grammatically incorrect!)
“Sayin’ my race and class ain’t suitable / So I raise my pink fist and say black is beautiful” (“Grounds”)
“Like Kathleen Hannah with bear claws grabbing Trump by the pussy / Like Delia Smith after ten chardonnays makin’ me a nice cookie” (“Mr. Motivator”) (This is definitely the most heinous one, especially the way in which Mr. Talbot engages in some serious verbal gymnastics in order to rhyme “cookie” with “pussy”)
And in case all of that wasn’t bad enough, there’s still one more glaring offense, and it’s an absolute whale. It’s called “Model Village.” It is disgusting. The song is a diatribe on small town bigotry, a noble quest, but goddamn. Why’d they have to do it like this? It doesn’t have to be this way, I promise. Just listen to it. Actually, no — listen to the version with slowthai instead to get a taste of two formerly promising talents operating at the absolute nadir of their abilities.
Not all hope is lost, though! In an interview with NME published on November 12th (the same day CRAWLER was released), Talbot proclaimed that the band will never, ever play “Model Village” live again. Rejoice! He stated that he realized he was mad at the wrong people with this song and many others on the album, claiming that, “when I wrote that album…[t]here was so much going on around me and I was losing control of our narrative. Instead of being mindful and holding myself accountable, I was fighting.” Additionally, guitarist Mark Bowen has stated elsewhere that The Album That Shall Not Be Named was “kind of like a caricature of our identity that helped us see it for all its flaws.” Of course, they’re telling the truth; it was an absolute caricature of the band’s identity, and on CRAWLER, the fellas give it their all to turn things around.
From the go, CRAWLER is different. Most IDLES releases kick off with a complete blisterer, with Talbot barking his fucking head off and the rest of the band doing their best to keep up, but “MTT 420 RR” is an entirely different beast. Talbot does his best Leonard Cohen impersonation and plods along to a somber, increasingly anxious instrumental. Rather than futilely calling out institutions a la The Album That Shall Not Be Named, he dissects a motorbike accident that he witnessed, using it to examine his previous addictions and the hardships that got him to where he is today. From the end of this song onward, though, all hell breaks loose.
For much of the album, Talbot is furious, and the band does a phenomenal job accompanying his rage. “The Wheel” is a heavy track about the constant cycle of alcoholism, specifically with regard to Talbot’s mother, filled with dreary lines like, “She woke from her slumber, with a crippled stance / She said she missed my brother, and wanted one more chance.” Devastating. To match, the band trades their punk chops for something more sludgy and disgusting, specifically in the bass department (much respect to Adam Devonshire). It’s like they’re using their instruments to drill through listeners’ thick skulls and pour Talbot's cautionary tale directly into their brains.
Similarly, on “Car Crash,” the band takes another left turn. Talbot, under a heavy dose of effects — maybe even a low-pass filter?? — cleverly embodies the hangover following a long night out. Again, he tweaks his delivery a bit and even spittily pseudo-raps, and the band adjusts their delivery to sound more like a beat than live instrumentation, especially the drumming (shout out Jon Beavis). Even further out of left-field, though, is “When the Lights Come On,” which sounds like a National song that has just taken a long, hard look in the mirror and despised what it saw. That is all I have to say on the matter. Take it as you will.
CRAWLER is littered with chatty tracks that put you in a chokehold, but in the last quarter-ish of the album, from “Kelechi” to the perhaps-too-aptly named closer, “The End,” IDLES loses a bit of steam. Perhaps if the album were sequenced differently, the last bit wouldn’t be as much of a slog. I like the final few tracks, but their placement feels haphazard, thoughtless, even. “Wizz” is a blast, but its tempo and brevity simply aren’t necessary at this point in the album. Perhaps it’d be better at the beginning of the record. “Progress” (and, as a result, its questionably standalone intro, “Kelechi”) is good, too, but it’s a dirge bookended by the two most uptempo songs on the album, which makes for a jarring listen. “King Snake” doesn’t really do it for me, and neither does “The End,” though I’m sure someone out there is rocking with them, but I am not one of them.
It's not perfect, but it’s cool. The first three-quarters have more than made up for the band’s 2020 misdoings. IDLES have been absolved of any and all misdoing — yes, even the shit they pulled on “Mr. Motivator” — and are now back on a path of righteousness. At least in my eyes.
You know the movement. It’s “Fuck the old shit—new shit only” ‘til I’m sixty fucking four! As such, I am no longer rocking with “Blampers.” It’s old hat. Instead, I’m taking Potshots at the new shit I’ve been listening to. Most of these takes were written after just one or two listens, therefore they are Potshots. Smoke pot or take shots, does not matter to me as long as you get yourself in the headspace to read what’s to come. You won’t regret it.
It’s not Sunday, but this is Liturgy of the Hours — open your hearts to something fun and new on this fine day.
AF1MG Live 2oo4, Vol. 3 by Papo2oo4
For the record, this tape was just covered by the pokey puppies over at Pitchfork — I covered it first, but it takes time to get a young stack ready to go to school. Remember this. They somehow cracked my Google Drive and stole my material. This is their Watergate moment. Talk some shit to them online. The giant must fall. [Even worse, though, is that p4k didn’t even cover the best song! Idiots. Shouts to Alphonse Pierre, though; he is (usually) doing god’s work.]
This might be the only logical solution to the current (and abhorrent) New York Drill scene. This guy Papo2oo4 raps a little bit like Pop Smoke (and therefore like 50 Cent) but over sample-heavy beats that wouldn’t be out of place in the early 2000s, if only they had been capable of such big-boned bass tones back in the day (bars). Just listen and imagine this guy rapping over prime Timbaland’s weirdest beats — it would be glorious. On top of that, he fucks with rappers’ rappers like Wiki and YL, both of whom are more lyrical but will still ride any beat that comes their way. If all of this doesn’t convince you, nothing other than your mother’s voice will, and your mother defo not telling you to listen to this. Good, maybe even great.
Absolutely by Dijon
Just look at the album cover. The man is wearing a trucker hat, a fishing vest, and a Darkthrone t-shirt. What kind of music do you think this is? Country? Mac DeMarco-core? Black Metal? Tough to say, isn’t it?
What it is, is it’s lovely, fuzzy, lived-in alternative. It’s not alternative rock. It’s not alternative R&B (known to posers and freaks as PBR&B). It’s not alternative hip-hop. It’s just alternative, and honest to Pete, this shit is just sensational. Dijon bends the R&B genre to his every whim, and he gets real weird with it. I can’t decide — he’s either like Justin Vernon for independent thinkers or Frank Ocean for grown-ups. Either way, he comes correct with heaters right from the go, and the man never takes his foot off the deep-pile-fleece-covered gas pedal. Man, I feel like I could live inside this shit. Good.
Slave to the Scalpel by 200 Stab Wounds
This shit is absolutely disgusting. But it is also absolutely delightful. These weirdos say some funny, foul shit, so read the lyrics. At nine songs and barely over twenty seven minutes, it’s a quick blast, but that’s all that any sane person can bear. To be honest, though, I’ve never been so simultaneously appalled and amused. Killer.
“NEPTUNE V.S THE INDUSTRY” by Lucki and F1LTHY
I was going to talk about Ye and Three Stacks’s “Life of the Party,” but this shit is way better. I like the Ye song, but fuck the family shit! Fuck the fake Drake beef shit! Lucki’s take on tread music-ass, “Rasputin”-ass, The Nutcracker ballet-ass shit needs a little refinement, but I can already tell that it’s the new wave! I can smell it from here. Not bad! (New tape out now! Spoiler: it is the new wave.)
“Fuck Around” by Scowl featuring Drain’s Sammy Ciaramataro
Scowl might look cute and cuddly — and I’m sure they’re good people — but they will rip your throat out and use it as a snare for bunny rabbits and chipmunks. I don’t really know what the message behind “Fuck Around” is, but frontwoman Kat Moss is frothing about something, daring someone to fuck around and figure it out, and that’s enough to convince me to stay far away and listen from the comfort of my own headphones. Good.
“Riding Round” by UnoTheActivist featuring Matt Ox
Matt Ox, the now-sixteen year old who rose to stardom at twelve years old with the release of the fidget spinner-filled video for his song “Overwhelming”, is that dude (kid?). He fucking rules. His music is very fun, his videos are very fun, he is very fun. His team up with UnoTheActivist is, surprise surprise, very fun. But more importantly, good.
“Inpariquipê” by Kaatayra
I don’t know much about post-black metal — I have way too many friends and way too much swag for that — but I like it. It scratches an angsty, granola-y itch that other types of heavy music can’t. However, “Inpariquipê'' from Brazilian act Kaatayra doesn’t sound like black metal, yet I feel that it somehow is black metal. It has the same level of grandeur, yet it’s largely acoustic. (The part from the five minute mark to the seven minute mark is scrumptious in every sense of the word.) The percussion is incredible, yet it features a scant few blast beats. To be honest, it sounds like a band of mischievous jungle elves recorded it with some instruments of their own invention. Maybe this is why I fuck with it. I don’t know. Would the trve, kvlt heads fuck with it? I doubt it, but I feel like my mom might fuck with it if I showed her, which is cool. Great.
“Blockchain” by Money Man
Congrats to Money Man for getting the first ever $1,000,000 advance fulfilled via Bitcoin, but there are two reasons that this song is an absolute disgrace. The obvious reason is that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are destroying the environment as we know it. The other, even more obvious reason is much simpler: the song is dumb. Who is even listening to this man? His only verse is bad. The beat is bad. The rapping? You guessed it — bad. (I’m playing. It’s all just fine. But in this day and age, if something is just fine, then it might as well be bad.) This shit is for simpletons. It’s all played out! Money Man sounds like he could’ve been popular in the late 2010s, so what the fuck is he doing here? Somebody throw this man in the slammer. Not good.
Public Enemy Number One: “Bought a lil' Polkadot, bought a lil' VeChain / Bought a lil' SafeMoon, houses got safe room, party out in Cancún / Fuckin' with the Coinbase Pro, got Zcash / Fuckin' with the Robinhood out, got a free bag / And I'm on the blockchain, burnin' on blockchain, damn, this shit some octane / Chillin' at the Hawks game, then I hit the trap spot just to get some bags off / 20K in a lil' n**** got it mad locked / Altcoins in the red, I'ma get 'em half off.” Just kill me.
Homie Creation Station
Formerly known as Homie Art Corner
Wayne Gretzky might be the greatest hockey player of all time, but he’s not the only all-time great Wayne. Ever heard of Reggie Wayne, John Wayne, Lil Wayne, or John Wayne Gacy? No? Neither have I. For me, the only Wayne that matters is the good homie Wayne Glenski, the greatest producer of all time. He’s helping to bring this Detroit shit to the masses. For menacingly blasé beats (in a good way!) with stout basslines and good, old-fashioned shit talk from Doogie, a newcomer from New Orleans with some serious rap pedigree, check out “Give It Away.” You will not regret it. Good.
Oh yeah, and Free B.G., too.
As your most trusted advisor, I will be using the Advisation Station to tell you how to live your life to the fullest. Keep your head on a swivel.
This is so important. Whenever you venture out the house, you need to make sure you have the proper hydration to make it through the day, and what better way to do that than to grab a little beverage (I call it a fun drink, but to each their own) for the road? I mean, come on — what’s not to like about a little, fun drink for the road? A fun drink can make or break a trip anywhere, whether it be to the doctor’s office, your grandmother’s crib, or the payday cash loan counter at the Buscemi’s in Waterford, so choose wisely.
A fun drink must meet the following criteria:
It must be fun, which means no plain Jane water. If we’re going to use single-use plastic and destroy the planet, we might as well have some fun
It must have heinous branding
It must have at least two (2) of the following ingredients:
Red Dye No. 40, Yellow Dye No. 5, or Yellow Dye No. 6
That is all. Enjoy your new travel companion. You’ll thank me later.
P.S. RIP Young Dolph. His family owns all of his masters, so go and stream the hell out of his music.
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