Sunday, November 19, 2017

The best albums of 2017 (honorable mentions)

These are all albums that are worth hearing but were not quite good enough to make the top 50. Listed in no particular order .

Figure 0.9 - Casket (based on a true story)
Stormzy - Gang Signs and Prayer
J Hus - Common Sense
Inheaven - S/t
Chealsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun
Baxter Dury - Prince of tears
Kelela - Take me apart
SZA - Control
The National - Sleep Well Beast
Drake - More Life
Weezer - Pacific Daydream
Elbow - Little Fictions
Lil Pump - S/T
Slowdive - Slowdive
Kasabian - For Crying Out Loud
Blondie - Polinator
Sylvan Esso - What now?
King Gizzard and the Lizard wizard - Murder of the universe
Alex G - Rocket
Rat Boy - Scum
Neil Cicerega - Mouth Moods
The Drums - Abysmal Thoughts
Beth Ditto - Fake Sugar
Songhoy Blues - The Resistance
Mr Jukes - God First
Girl Ray - Earl Grey
Wesley Gonzalez - Excellent Musician
Phoenix - Ti Amo
Mura Masa - S/T
Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam - The Mirage/Sink or swim
Kasabian - For Crying Out Loud
Queens Of The Stone Age - Villians
Kamasi Washington - Harmony of Difference
Grizzly Bear - Painted Ruins

The best albums of 2017

1. Jarvis Cocker & Chilly Gonzales - Room 29
Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzales are two individuals who seem to be perfectly suited to each other for a collaborative project. Room 29 is about the (in)famous Chateau Marmont Hotel. Known for decades of decadent parties hosted by the rich and famous. Jarvis and Chilly go a bit further than just detailing the excess. Chilly Gonzales provides a rich improvised piano backdrop to Jarvis Cocker's part sung/part spoken monologues. Jarvis finds time to sing about his own childhood and how it inspired his own love of TV and film. Chilly also provides a piano backdrop to a narration of Howard Hughes time in the hotel.  Much of Room 29 has an intimate feel about it. As if you're in the room with Jarvis making slightly awkward post coital conversation.
Key Track - Trick Of The Light

2. Wiley - Godfather  
Very few Grime MC's could go back to their roots so successfully after years of experimenting with more mainstream pop sounds. Even fewer manage to do this at the top of their game. On 'Godfather' Wiley lives up to his name. There is not a verse on the album that isn't delivered with passion or fire whether that be from Wiley himself or the several guests that litter the track-list. He's frequently funny, witty and quotable. Wiley commands respect from his peers and newcomers alike. Most notably from a frenzied Ghetts on 'Bang' The production is hard-hitting, throwing back to the sounds that made grime so vital in the first place. From the ethereal intro and robotic, eski-beats of 'Birds and Bars', Godfather hooks the listener in, with the exception of the slightly disappointing Slow jam/break up song 'U were Always (part 2)' every single track is a banger.
Key Song- Can't Go Wrong

3. Sampha - Process
The genre recently christened 'Alternative RNB' has already become so saturated and mainstream that it takes someone truly special to break through and make their voice heard. Unlike Frank Ocean, or FKA Twigs, who are mostly focussed on sexuality and relationships. Process finds Sampha reflecting on his guilt and sadness following the loss of his mother. Sampha pulls off the neat trick of doing this via an expertly produced and wildly experimental batch of songs, that take cues from early Massive Attack as much as the piano balladry of James Blake. The mix of eclectic production and poignant song-writing made Process a worthy Mercury Prize winner.
Key track - Blood On Me

4. Creeper - Eternity, in your arms
It was inevitable that with My Chemical romance still inactive and many other heroes of the 00's pop punk and emo scenes either defunct or changing sound and style, that a new band would emerge to pick up where they all left off. Enter Creeper. A band with the looks, sound, STYLE, and most importantly, the tunes to make pop punk vital again. They may not be the most innovative or original bands (country & western balladry aside) but it's the songs that really stand out. Landing somewhere between the operatics of Meatloaf and the angst of MCR, every song here demands to be sung along as loud as humanly possible.
Key Track - Misery

5. Tyler, The Creator - (SCUM FUCK) Flower Boy
Flower Boy is the album where Tyler finally lives up to the massive potential that he has shown since his Odd Future beginnings. It shows him taking huge steps forward as both an MC and a producer. Fleshing out the quirky production style that made OF stand out in the first place and ditching the rape jokes and daddy issues for an in depth look at his psyche, materialism, loneliness and how fame and fortune has affected him.
Key Track - See You Again

6. Kendrick Lamar - Damn 
While 'DAMN' may initially seem like a return to the psychedelic tinged trap sound of Kendrick's breakthrough tape 'Overly Dedicated'. Repeated listens reveal an album just as ambitious and complex as his previous jazz/funk tinged masterpiece 'To Pimp A Butterfly'. Much like his previous two albums 'DAMN' finds Kendrick at the centre of his own semi-autobiographical concept album. 'DAMN' tells the story of his life in reverse, drawing parallels between his imagined early death and upbringing. What's more impressive is the themes of deadly sins and judgement weaved into each song alongside sly jabs at authority figures and hit singles. 'DAMN' is more proof that Kendrick is a G.O.A.T.
Key Track - DNA

7. Pumarosa - The Witch 
While some may lazily lump Pumarosa in with their other guitar based London contemporaries. 'The Witch' is a début that marks Pumarosa as one of the most fascinating and intriguing young British rock bands. 'The Witch' is a heady psychedelic mix of an album that melds 90's britpop, trip-hop, and even hints of space rock together, with, hippy-ish vibes, consistently funky grooves and Isobel's haunting vocals. The tracks on 'The Witch' are all so incredibly varied and subtle that its hard to simply define what Pumarosa sound like. When all their influences come together, such as on the trippy, 'priestess' or the catchy 'My gruesome loving friend', this peerless band craft a sound that is completely their own.
Key track - My gruesome loving friend.

8. St Vincent - MASSEDUCTION
10 plus years into career and ST Vincent is still an artist who can't be pinned down. MASSEDUCTION is both her most poignant and emotional album as-well as being her most aggressive. ST Vincent excels at both sexually charged Nine Inch Nails tinged industrial rock as much as she does piano ballads, 'Happy Birthday Johnny' and 'New York' being beautifully melancholy ballads about the loneliness that can come with living in big cities. Her stories are so rich and full of detail that they seem to have come directly from her experience. 'Dancing with a ghost' and 'Slow Disco' are both full of lush orchestral instrumentation. Few artists are able to accomplish as much in a 40 minute album.
Key Track - New York

9. Loyle Carner - Yesterday's Gone
Sometimes being an MC isn't just about money drugs and hoes, sometimes all you need to be is yourself. Not since Mike Skinner has the UK produced a rapper so comfortable just being himself. despite not being from the ghetto Ben Loyle-Carner, has been through a lot from such a young age, from break-ups, his ADHD, Dyslexia, and loss of his Step-Father. All of which makes 'Yesterday's Gone a much more honest and personal record than you'd get from your average rapper. Much of 'Yesterday's Gone' is Loyle's Anglicised take on the Jazz-rap sound popularised by J Cole and Kendrick Lamar with his own hints of gospel and spoken word dialogue. The main reason 'Yesterday's gone appears so high on this list is the spoken word monologue by his own mother on 'Son of Jean'. Jean's description of her 'Scribble of a boy' is a beautiful and genuinely touching moment.
Key track - Mrs C

10. Brockhampton - Saturation 2
Brockhampton blew up in 2017 thanks to 2 excellent full length albums (and a third still to come). following on from their 2016 début 'All American Trash' and Kevin Abstract's Masterful solo album 'American Boyfriend'. Brockhampton are a hip hip group (or 'Boy-band' as they insist on being called) packed full of creative and amazingly talented individuals. Both Saturation albums show off an array of creativity. From the left field production, bars that mix the personal, political and hilarious Brockhampton seem unable to put a foot wrong. 'Saturation 2' creeps slightly higher up the list as it refines the sound crafted on 'Saturation' and because it's both musically and lyrically more direct. Kevin Abstract's bars 'about being gay' and Ameer Van's brutal personal history of racism make Brockhampton seem more relevant and vital than almost anyone else in hip-hop.
Key track - Junky

11. Brockhampton - Saturation
12. Spoon - Hot Thoughts
13. Japandroids- Near To the Wild Heart of life
14. Wolf Alice - Visions Of a life
15. Joey Bada$$- All AmeriKKKan Bada$$
16. Laura Marling - Semper Femina
17. The XX - I see you
18. Father John Misty - Pure comedy
19.  Formation - Look at all the powerful people
20. Courtney Barnett/Kurt Vile - Lotta Sea Lice
21. Ibibio Sound Machine -Uyai
22. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
23. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Flying Microtonal Banana
24. Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent
25. Public Service Broadcasting - Every Valley
26. Enter Shikari - The Spark
27. Paramore - After Laughter
28. Luke Rainsford - I feel at home with you
30. Ghostpoet - Dark Days and Canapes
31. Lowly - Heba
32. Astroid Boys - Broke
33. Mac Demarco- This Old Dog
34. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard/The Mild high Club - Sketches of Brunswick East.
35. Hoops - Routines
36. Perfume Genius - No Shape.
37. Ride - Weather Diaries
38. Idles - Brutalism
39. Kevin Devine - We are Who We've always been
40. The Horrors - V
41. Harry Styles - S/T
42. Everything Everything - A Fever Dream
43. Benjamin Clementine - I tell a fly
44. (Thee) Oh Sees - ORC
45. King Krule - The OOZ
46. Black Mekon - One in the hate.
47. Superfood - Bambino
48. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland
49. Amine - Good For You
50. Dizzee Rascal - Raskit

Note: This list may change slightly before the end of the year, (Bjork's new one might kick something out)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Wolf Alice, Sunflower Bean and Superfood. Live in Birmingham Review (16/11/17)

I wasn't initially too impressed by Superfood's (7.2) reinvention from Brit-pop aping B-Towner's to Dirty Hit signed sample junkies. Superfood have clearly become one of the most unique and creative indie bands to come from Birmingham or otherwise. Yet I don't think the new songs are quite up to the standards of the older material. Although the crowd that came early for their home-town set don't seem to agree with me. While 'Bambino' is mostly based around samples and laptop beats. The live band that is Superfood is a different beast. Carl Griffin and Emily Baker still tour with the band and their live sound benefits hugely from the drumming of the former. Dom and Ryan may incorporate more sampling into songs such as 'double dutch' but their twin guitars make for a noisier, heavier band. The mosh-pits that ensued show that Superfood have stepped up their game massively.

Sunflower Bean (7.6) are not one for introductions, Nick Kivlen and Julia Cumming ran onto the stage, both simply saying 'Hi' before starting their set. It's not hard to see why they have gained so much hype over the past year. Sunflower Bean look and sound like a music nerds wet dream. Looking like a young Debbie Harry and Bob Dylan in shiny silver jumpsuits and taking cues from a melting pot of sounds. The occasional heavy Sabbath riffs, trippy Tame Impala jams, C86 indie and the many New York bands to break through before them. As Sunflower Bean are keen to remind people, they are from New York city. All the best New York bands soak in the grit, pollution and paranoia of the city in their sound. Unfortunately Sunflower Bean are not one of those bands. Lacking the edginess that made their forebears so appealing. They also lack a unique enough sound to have the same influence as the likes of Television, The Strokes or Parquet Courts*. The best moments are the extended jams when songs such as 'Come On' are stretched far out enough to show that Sunflower Bean are clearly fantastically talented musicians. When they become more than the sum of their influences, they could become something very special.  

There are two sides to Wolf Alice (9.2). Both are best represented by the first two songs of their set and second album 'Visions of a Life'. Heavenward is Wolf Alice at their most beautiful and melancholy. The studio version of the track simply can't contain the beautiful noise the band make live, nor the vocal abilities of Ellie Rowsell. Not since 8 years ago when I saw Florence and the Machine play in the same room have I heard a singer so fantastic at projecting her voice. While Florence has a tendency to over sing, Ellie fills the room with her almost operatic range. The other side of Wolf Alice and Ellie is the gloriously pissed off 'Yuk Foo'. While 'Heavenward' was Ellie sounding virginal and well.. heavenly. 'Yuk Foo' is the sweary, screamy flipside. Ellie's ability to go from one extreme to another marks her out as being one of the great female rock singers.
Wolf Alice also remind me of the old adage that 'less is more' with some of the most creative stage lighting I've seen a band use. For most of the songs they wre bathed in white spotlights, or flooded with red or blue lights. The white lighting was a plus for all the many fans taking photographs on their phones. A mirror-ball shone for the more romantic 'don't delete the kisses' and 'beautifully unconventional'.
Interaction with the audience as kept to a minimum, with Ellie saying that they 'always get the best mosh-pits in brum' and 'we love it here!'. I get the feeling that Wolf Alice were being sincere. The setlist was a mix of the songs from their classic début album and earlier hits. Newer tracks such as 'planet hunter' and 'sadboy' (sadly not dedicated to Lil Peep) may not have the instant mosh pit starting appeal of 'your loves whore' or 'you're a germ' yet they have an eerily subtle quality of their own, that matched the slight chill in the air and natural lighting. After an incendiary 'moaning lisa smile' where Joff tossed his guitar up in the air and looked on the verge of smashing it up. 'Visions of a life' was stretched out and made as loud and heavy as possible. Mixing pastoral elements into their sound, I think it's the modern equivalent of what Led Zeppelin did with their third album. Epic, heavy and oddly folky at the same time. 'Fluffy' pulled things back to their punk roots, and the inevitable encore ended with what is probably the definitive Wolf Alice song 'Giant Peach'. As a sea of fans, jumped, pushed each other and sat on each other shoulders. Believe the hype, Wolf Alice are one of the great British rock bands.



*yeah yeah, I know they're from Texas


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Run the Jewels + Danny Brown Live at the 02 Academy review (14/11/17)

As you might expect from a man who is rumoured to have turned down a spot in D12 because he didn't want to wear baggy jeans Danny Brown (8/10) never does things the easy way. Coming on stage with a mile wide smile, either high on his rapturous applause or whatever he was smoking backstage. Danny warmed up the crowd with 'Die like a Rockstar' before filling the set with deep cuts from his discography. This was made up of his most abrasive, noisy cuts, mixing Arca- like electronics with an almost eski-beat style grime sound. As you might expect from a man who sells his own branded condoms* and rolling papers on his merch table. Danny's lyrics mostly focus on sex and drugs. Yet he's more compelling and likeable than your average rapper, running up and down the stage, spitting bars in his trademark cartoonish style. It wasn't until half way through that we heard anything from last year's breakthrough album 'The Atrocity Exhibition', yet it was worth the wait. 'Lost' had the crowd waving their hands up and down. For 'Aint it funny' the DJ stopped the beat so the crowd could shout the chorus. By the time 'Really Doe' and 'When It Rain' blasted out the speakers Danny had the crowd in the palm of his hand.

Before the show EL-P's twitter feed found him in a reflective mood. Writing about his family history and own struggles with alcoholism. If El-P had been in a sour mood it didn't show. From the moment He and Killer Mike took to the stage under a huge inflatable recreation of the RTJ3 album cover and launched into 'Talk To Me and 'Legend Has It' an ecstatic crowd jumped, surged and waved their gun hands in the air. While RTJ's fans seem to come from all sorts of different backgrounds, it's clear that there are no casual fans. RTJ may make some of the most vital politically charged music of this decade this show was full of positivity. Mostly because of the love EL-P and Killer Mike share for each other. Both MC's were incredibly in sync, finishing each others bars, high five-ing and cracking jokes through the set. Many of the best moments of the show were the interludes where RTJ talked to the crowd. Killer Mike beamed with joy when he saw another father with his son and praised the dad for getting his son into their music. El-P gave a shout out to the 'over 35's on the balcony' saying that if they were at this show they'd be up there with them.
Run The Jewels are a great example of how to put on a show responsibly, asking everyone in the crowd to step back and to 'not put your hands on anyone you don't know'. RTJ have a clear love for their fans, throwing T-shirts into the crowd and catching one thrown at them, and reading the note attached to it.
The only real disappointment was the lack of a Danny Brown cameo for 'Hey Kids', yet RTJ had already delivered so much that it hardly mattered. 'Oh My Darling Don't Cry', 'Call Ticketron', and 'Close your eyes' are all certified bangers, the latter aided by retina blasting strobe-lights. 'After Don't get Captured' El-P hoped he could touch us 'all like I touch myself' with some of his own poetry, which was actually just the opening bars of 'Panther like a Panther'. The most inspiring part of the show was Killer Mike's spoken introduction for 'Down'. Talking openly and honestly about his love for his late mother and the depression that both he and her have struggled with and advising anyone who struggles with depression to seek help and talk to others about it. 'Down' was supposed to be their last song but the inevitable cries of RTJ! led to 'A Christmas Fucking Miracle'. 

9.6/10


*£3 for a condom! fuck that. 





Monday, November 13, 2017

Seafoal, Connor O' Rourke, Apollo and Figure 0.9. Live at Subside review (7/11/17)

While his old band Crime and Punishment 2011 may be nearing its end Dan Carter aka Figure 0.9 (7/10) is already off to a flying start, with his début album Casket having come out in September. While Crime and punishment 2011 shows were notable for Dan jumping about the place and getting right in people's faces. Dan now stands rapping his heart out on centre stage. 'Casket' is the start of Dan taking his song-writing in a more meaningful direction, with CPK's beat maker Pink Violence providing a dark industrial tinged grime backdrop for his bars. The show made for a reunion of sorts as his former band mate Zero joined him for reflecting. The finale of this opening set was 'Casket'. Which his own emotionally charged interpretation of Placebo's 'follow the cops' back home', before Dan left so 'people with instruments can take to the stage'.
Apollo (7.2) is a unique artist. His set found him playing as a one man band with only his vocals, violin and an electric drum machine/sampler for all of his songs. While his gothic take on electronica may seem very experimental in style. He has a knack for turning his sparse production and introspective lyrics into memorable pop songs. His violin adds character to a lot of these songs, when he's not combining it with his sampler to create a beautiful cacophony of noise. 
Connor O' Rourke (5.2) seemed a bit like the odd one out for this show, being the only acoustic artist on a line up of dark electronic acts. He seemed aware of this, making many self deprecating jokes throughout his set. His pastoral folk songs reminded me of Bon Iver at his most heartbroken and passionate.

The thing that confused me about Seafoal (7.6) is that at first I had no idea how her dark gothic electronica is made. The synth tones seemingly coming out of nowhere until I realised that there was a backing track coming from somewhere. While cuts from her latest EP 'Xeraclius' were obvious highlights, there are two sides to Seafoal. One is the pint sized 'fake trans' punk who makes dark gothic electronica. The other is an acoustic singer-songwriter. Her cover of Linkin Park's 'Numb' was a heartfelt tribute to the late Chester Bennington. The subtleties of this and her own acoustic songs 'Soulsick' and 'Van Gogh' (she hates it less played acoustically) were sadly a bit lost over the relentless chatter of the Subside crowd. After the acoustic section it was back to her current sound. Seafoal has a great band to back her songs with and an amazing sense of style. A small following of devotees wearing her beanies is proof that with each of these shows she is winning more people over.

links
https://figure09.bandcamp.com/album/casket-based-on-a-true-story
https://apollllo.com/
www.facebook.com/pg/conoracoustic
https://www.facebook.com/seafoal/

Monday, October 30, 2017

Weezer + The Orwells. Live at the 02 Academy Birmingham (27/10/17) review

When you see Mario Cuomo* onstage it's hard to imagine him ever doing anything else. He might be a bit less rowdy than in The Orwells infamous early performances (and he's had a haircut) yet he still stared down the audience with a manic intensity. Mario was clearly ill and open to admitting it. His trademark raspy scream was clearly only making it worse as he was coughing between songs. Yet him and the band were still able to put on a great show. While Weezer still haven't shaken off their 'college rock' image. The Orwells have the same rough edge that made bands such as DR Feelgood so exciting in the 70's with their own Americanised spin on the pub rock sound.
The Orwells seem like they've been in a few scraps. Yet far from being another dumb punk rock band their extended instrumental jam (presumably to let Mario rest his throat) showed off their fantastic musical ability. (7.6/10)
Weezer's Birmingham show this year was the same day as the release of their new album 'Pacific Daydream'**, the room was completely sold out and packed full of ecstatic fans, happily waving homemade banners and batting about balloons before the band came on-stage. When Weezer did arrive on-stage it was to huge applause and an entire audience immediately singing along to every word of 'The world has turned and left me here'.
Few bands have a back catalogue so stuffed with hits as Weezer. For about an hour and a half every single song they played had an ecstatic crowd singing along to every word. Highlights from their recent 'White album' such as 'thank god for girls' and 'king of the world' are now almost as loved as older hits like 'El Scorcho', 'Pork and beans' and almost every single track from their début 'blue album'. Weezer realise that rock music has got to be fun, and clearly have a love for the theatrics of 70's bands such ass Kiss or AC/DC. Rivers comes across like the nerdy kid to Angus Young's wild child with his own shirt and tie/Gibson SG getup, regularly showing off the naked woman on the back of his guitar.
The only real lulls in the show were when Rivers Coumo bought out a keyboard for their latest single 'Happy Hour' and the following instrumental piece, both met with less enthusiastic singing, polite applause and a cheer when Rivers picked up his guitar again. Like many other bands recently Weezer seem to be stuck between delivering radio friendly pop rock hits and playing for a fan-base that wants to hear the louder early stuff. This isn't much of a problem for Weezer however as they are as much as kick ass rock 'n roll band as a pop group, as 'The sweater song' reminded everyone. This was followed by an odd yet fitting cover of Mike Posner's 'I took a pill in Ibiza. From this point on it was all hits, 'Island in the sun', 'Beverly Hills', Hashpipe, 'Say it aint so' and the recent hit 'Feels like summer', all being more massive sing-alongs. After all this Weezer had already delivered an amazing show yet there was still something missing. 'Say it aint so' would have been a perfect closer to the show but Weezer only had to play one song for the inevitable encore, the song that made Weezer huge in the first place, 'Buddy Holly'. Which was made just a little bit better by the exploding confetti cannons. Ultimately this show was a reminder of how much fun standing in a crowd and shouting along to great rock songs can be.


(8.8)

*No relation to Rivers but what a coincidence right?
*funnily enough Rivers Coumo didn't seem to realise this, asking if the album had come out in the UK yet. 


https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/weezer/2017/o2-academy-birmingham-england-53e31325.html

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Buggles - One of the most important british bands ever?

I have this theory. The Buggles are one of the most important bands that Great Britain has ever produced. Bear with me on this one, after all this is the great country that produced The Smiths, Black Sabbath, The Beatles, The Cure, The Sex Pistols, PJ Harvey, The Slits, and an endlessly long list of groups to follow on from that. Despite the one hit The Buggles are very much an anomaly. The reasons behind the name of the band and title of their first album alone are bizzare. The name coming from a strange vision of a mad scientist creating fake alternate versions of famous bands (The Buggles -The Beatles) and the album 'The age of plastic' a reference to the band being a 'plastic group'. The Buggles may have actually foreseen the modern era where interchangeable DJ's and talent show starts rule the airwaves. I'm not saying that The Buggles are not one of the most important British bands because of the incredible success Trevor Horn gained as a hit song producer since then or the fact that the duo's time in YES helped the prog giants survive during one of the odder periods of their history.
What made the Buggles special is the joyful silliness of many of their songs. The song titles on their début album alone are as gleefully deranged as the music with in. 'Johnny on the monorail', 'Kid Dynamo', 'I love you (miss robot)' and 'clean clean' are more than just pointless exercises in silliness but also subtly clever pop songs that take in elements of 'techno-pop', new wave, post punk and even progressive rock. 'Video killed the radio star' and one of the follow up singles 'Elstree' both share a nostalgia for a Britain that they may have barely remembered.
I'm saying that The Buggles are important and influential because there is an odd trend in the UK for bands who are as clever as they are silly. A trend which has peaked over the past decade with British bands such as Django Django, (early) Calvin Harris, Hot Chip, Metronomy, Glass Animals, Public Service Broadcasting, Teleman, Everything Everything, Alt-J, Dutch Uncles, Wild Beasts, LA Priest, Superfood, The 1975
and many more.
I see a similar mix of silliness, cleverness, genre mixing and Englishness in many of the bands I mentioned above. PSB's dancing spacemen, Glass Animals' pineapple fetish, Django Django's Hawaiian shirts, Metronomy's fake girl vocals, and pretty much everything about Hot Chip are reminiscent of what The Buggles started on their 1980 début. The bands I love most are those can be clever without being pretentious, fun yet self aware. I believe that more so than Talking Heads, or Sparks, this is something The Buggles have helped influence. The Buggles were so ahead of their time that they helped kill the radio star themselves. 'Video Killed The Radio Star' was famously the first music video to be played on MTV, scoring their only hit in the USA years after it was first released in the UK. It seems fitting that this slightly obscure band from the early 80's sound in far better company amongst today's indie bands than the new wave bands that succeeded them.

https://play.google.com/music/listen?hl=en&tab=wY#/album/B7cm2t7pa6jcngqkmy6z7eibtem/The+Buggles/The+Age+Of+Plastic+(Remastered)