On Friday 6th November, Canada’s most adorable producer and singer/songwriter Grimes released her new album digitally. Her first full length since Juno’s Electronic Album of 2012 Visions, Art Angels disåtances itself from this award with more live instrumentation and less of the signature siren sounds found on her earlier electronic efforts. Even though Claire Boucher’s stage name was actually inspired by grime music, it seems that she’s always been open to other genres in her work, and one perceptive journalist summed this up well by calling her an “alien love-child of Aphex Twin and ABBA”. But, the extravagant video for recent single ‘Flesh Without Blood/Life In The Vivid Dream’ shows Grimes resembling her Swedish Pop group parent more, with Boucher prancing round a pink tennis court dressed as Mary Antoinette and singing from her bed in angel wings, slumber party-style. This is an unexpected turn in Grimes’ discography, as 2014’s ‘Go’ ft. Blood Diamonds teased at a heavier house/dub influence in Grimes’ future music, despite the track first being intended for Rihanna at its conception. After watching Grimes perform in Manchester’s dark and dingy Ritz behind her desk of synths and drum pads, I’ve always regarded her as a quintessentially electronic artist, but perhaps her recent declaration ‘you’re never gonna be able to pin down my style’ shouldn’t come as such a shock. Here we have an artist who has always had a close affiliation with the Pop world having signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation, and feels increasingly alienated by the drinking and drug habits associated with club culture.
Preview: David Rodigan, 14th November @ World Headquarters
Something which Grimes has in common with the one-and-only Mr David Rodigan is an unexpected love for Rihanna. In a flawless and informative Reggae show on BBC 1Xtra in 2013, Rodigan bigged up everything from 1970s Jamaican group The Abyssinians to Rihanna’s painfully catchy ‘No Love Allowed’, with a remix of Ed Sheeran’s ‘The A Team’ even thrown in for good measure. This mix confirms that Saturday’s set at World HQ is going to be one of Lively Up’s most diverse, which is great news for a club whose motto and aim is ‘uniting all communities’. Rodigan’s return to WHQ is restricted to its top floor, which guarantees that this will be a sweaty fest of positive Dub vibes. After seeing and enjoying Mungo’s Hifi three times in the last year at Lively Up, I’m excited to branch out and witness another legendary artist attempt to bring Newcastle together with peace and love.
Listen To: Breakage – ‘Together (Feat. David Rodigan’
You Need To Hear: Benton
One of the main reasons why I bloody love Newcastle’s nightlife is that it promotes the view that age is just a number. Whilst Rodigan exemplifies the triumphs of the old, this year Ill Behaviour has taken it upon themselves to showcase the talents of the new. So if you don’t make it to my Preview event this week, I can’t stress how unreal Benton is going to be at Cosmic on Tuesday. If ominous Dubstep is your jam then you’d be foolish to miss it. A friend who recently met Benjamin Benton told me that he was pretty terrifying in person, something which I don’t doubt at all from the man behind the eeriness of tracks like ‘Thermo Stellar’. And his new 2015 releases still send a shiver down my spine which will probably evolve into an embarrassing shaking of limbs when I witness him live. Let’s just say I wouldn’t like to walk down a dark alleyway alongside Benton, or with his beats in my headphones.
Listen To: Benton – ‘Skeptics’