Jan 31 2016

CM Top Albums of 2015: Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

kendricklamartopimpabutterfly

Kendrick Lamar had a mountain to climb after 2013’s ‘Good Kid, MAAD City‘. It seemed the mountain was no obstacle; The long awaited sequel ‘To Pimp A Butterfly‘ was every bit the masterpiece it promised to be.

T.R. Wicks kicked off things saying “Kendrick Lamar is a solid example of a fearless artist. Having to follow up from the quite brilliant ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D City‘, Lamar has created some unforgettable. Using a highly effective jazz backing band for many arrangements, his ideas are both relentless and uncompromising, barking like a cross between James Brown and Tupac Shakur. Lamar appears as many personas and has so many layers; musically, lyrically and spiritually. From themes of race, sex, spirituality and fame, Lamar is equal parts captivating and exhausting to take in. I’ve owned this album for nearly a year and I still have only touched the surface of this deeply moving and complicated soul. To Pimp A Butterfly is quite simply a masterpiece”.

“I’ve heard this album described as “the Great American Novel, in rap album format”, and it might even be greater than that, having spawned protest chants in the streets. By design it’s not an easy listen, but whenever I do revisit TPAB, I find new things to appreciate” added Roger Jao

Yifat perhaps summed it up best when she called it “A celebration of self-observation and social statements expressed by memorable beats and stuck-in-your-head melodies”

doublecougar


Jan 31 2016

CM Top Albums of 2015: The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness

the weeknd beauty beast

On his 2015 effort The Weeknd provides a soundtrack for before the party, during the party and after party all in one epic brooding mix. Roger called it “A long overdue return to form for Abel Tesfaye. He hasn’t sounded this good since ‘House of Balloons‘. Sin hasn’t sounded this good since either”.

Jabes reflected that “cult fans of ‘House of Balloons‘, probably didn’t love how mainstream The Weeknd became this year, but it’s hard to deny the power of ‘Beauty Behind the Madness‘. Abel Tesfaye infused several other genres into this album, including New Orleans blues band vibes and dream pop – and paired up his gorgeous falsetto with the likes of Lana Del Ray and Ed Sheeran for a serious dive into the conventional. Tefaye‘s signature beautiful R&B production abilities still shine throughout the whole album, truly boasting how far his talent has come, and how much more we have to see from him”.

Emily carried on saying “I tried to resist the charms of The Weeknd, but it was a futile fight. If it’s not blasphemous to say, he has at least a measure of the magic that made Michael Jackson and Prince pop icons for the ages. I’ll admit that I could do without a few tracks that are more hip-hoppy R&B than my tastes typically run, but it’s clear that Tesfaye is hugely talented as a producer-songwriter, even before you consider that voice. Apart from the ubiquitous “I Can’t Feel My Face,” I’m constantly playing “In The Night,” which is pure dancefloor magic.

TRACKS:

&nbsp

doublecougar


Jan 31 2016

CM Top Albums of 2015: Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

Sufjan_Stevens_-_Carrie_&_Lowell

Carrie & Lowell‘ wasn’t created to be boomed over loud speakers, it was a chance for us to feel something real and to be alone with these thoughts. sometimes “it is so revealing and delicate, it hurts.

Jabes framed it as “one of the most depressing but beautiful albums” while Ledewitt was left in awe of the “songwriting and narrative depth”.

T.R. Wicks mused that “remarkably, through all of Stevens‘ breathtaking creativity and work rate, this is probably the subtlest and low-key record, yet the hardest hitting other than maybe ‘Seven Swans‘. What sets this album apart is this achingly beautiful tribute to his childhood. It is sensitive, haunting and above all deep. There is nowhere Sufjan Stevens is afraid to go thematically, but where he has chosen to go this time around, he has approached with an intimacy and awareness that makes Carrie & Lowell both heartbreaking to listen to, and masterful in it’s execution”.

TRACKS:

doublecougar


Jan 31 2016

CM Top Albums of 2015: Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color

Alabama Shakes - Sound and color

Alabama Shakes went from being “ones to watch” to genuine stadium rock contenders with this ambitious and energetic offering which left Ledewitt dazzled with the “powerful voice and sentiment”

Roger got the final word when he said: “Blues rock and soul legends like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding and Syl Johnson helped lay down the foundation. The Alabama Shakes, I feel, are the first band of our generation to build a truly worthy temple upon it”.

TRACKS:

doublecougar


Jan 31 2016

CM Top Albums of 2015: Courtney Barnett- Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

courtneybarnettThe legendary Jabes was the first to chime: as the resident Australian aficionado of Cougar Microbes, naturally my top is Melbourne‘s own Courtney Barnett. More of a spoken word artist than a singer, Barnett sing-speaks the truth through her poetry. Highlighting our everyday indecisions, on “Nobody Really Cares if You Go To The Party” she specifically details to common inner battles we all have with the fear of missing out, and not wanting to bother putting on a smile for anyone. Backing her vocals with a gritty garage-rock guitar, Barnett has managed to turn witty lyrics cool again

Yifat added: Everything is brilliant about this album, starting from the title. Listening to it in its entirety feels like spending an hour with Courtney herself, listening to daily situations and some of her own perspective of the world. The brilliance is in the way she could put her music around her witty lyrics, and the result is one of the best albums of this year and maybe of this decade so far in my mind.

TRACKS:

doublecougar

.


Dec 24 2015

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Cougar Microbes

337368_10151091613950514_292947645_o

Each year we roundup the calendar year with a few “festive” tracks. In the past we have featured Run The Jewels, Cyndi Lauper with The Hives and Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler giving us their alternative takes on the holiday spirit.

This year we’ve had an unannounced contender for xmas anthem from Green Day, a seemingly tongue in cheek Wham! cover from Future Islands as well as a track that has haunting LCD Soundsystem‘s James Murphy for close to 8 years. Can someone please tell Mr Murphy that all we want for christmas is an LCD reunion.

We are off to struggle to reach a consensus on which albums topped our year end list.

Happy holidays and a Happy new year from everyone at CM Towers.

TRACKS:

doublecougar

 


Dec 22 2015

CMJ Music Marathon 2015 Day 5 (Motion City Soundtrack, The Wonder Years, Avid Dancer, BORNS)

CMJ2015_Announce_29Cymbals_ElenaRuyter

Cougar Microbes returned to CMJ this year for another mind blowing five days of musical extravaganza. We braved the cold but otherwise perfect weather through the streets of New York to catch the shows of some of music’s rising stars from around the world.

MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK

motion-city-soundtrack-2

A name in music for over 9 years now, we headed to Webster Hall to check out Motion City Soundtrack at their 7pm show. The crowd was thick and the atmosphere light. Their sound reminded us of Jimmy Eats World, as they jumped around rocking it out on stage. The show wouldn’t have been complete without them playing their throw back “Everything is Alright”, which we sang along to.

THE WONDER YEARS

The-Wonder-Years-2015

If anything is to be said about Wonder Years is that they know how to work a crowd. Everyone, including us, was pulled in by their undeniable charisma. Thumping heavy alternative rock numbers, they left our necks sore from all the head swaying. Feeding off each others energy as we fed off theirs, they were by far our favorite rock based band performance of CMJ 2015.

AVID DANCER

aviddancer-2015-pink-cred_cararobbins

We headed to the Music Hall of Williamsburg to being the final hurrah of CMJ 2015. Avid Dancer hailing from California brought with them their cali indie vibes and mixed it with a little rock and roll and 60’s dance. They took us on musical roller coaster that made us want to the disco and grab a guitar at the same time. A little interactive with their stage jigging, these were some fun guys to watch.

BORNS

BORNS

BORNS  return to CMJ this year was like the return of a musical profit. Read our review of his CMJ 2014 performance if you have not yet! We simply could not have left CMJ without seeing how he’s progressed musically within the last year. Creatively stimulated is the best way to describe this man with long flowing hair and incredible vocals. BORNS performance was nothing short of spectacular, working the stage with grace and power that I am sure he picked up while on tour with Charlie XCX this summer. “Electric Love” is undoubtedly a hit and had the whole crowd swaying to the electro-pop funk and singing the hook in their head the whole ride home.

Thank you BORNS for closing out our CMJ experience, we hope to see you again next year!

—–
Post by Valya
—–
TRACKS:


doublecougar


Dec 4 2015

CMJ Music Marathon 2015 Day 4 (Pom Poms, The Future Laureates, The Millenium, Marina City)

CMJ2015_Announce_29Cymbals_ElenaRuyter

Cougar Microbes returned to CMJ this year for another mind blowing five days of musical extravaganza. We braved the cold but otherwise perfect weather through the streets of New York to catch the shows of some of music’s rising stars from around the world.

POM POMS

pom poms

We kicked off Friday at Bowery Electric with the LA group the Pom Poms. Oozing sex appeal, they swayed before their mics as they strummed out their harmonious tunes. Their sound can only best be described at 60’s soda shop jams. Although lacking much original material for now, it is easy to see that there is more to come from this group.

THE FUTURE LAUREATES

future laureates

Feeling in the mood for a little alternative rock we headed to the Rock Shop to check out The Future Laureates. Not what we expected from a rock venue, but non the less an excellent act. The Laureates are a pop-folk-rock band featuring heartfelt music that makes you want to pull out your silver spoons and play along. They put a smile on our faces and were adored by the crowd.

THE MILLENIUM

the millennium

The Millenium (spelt with one n) followed the Laureates. A pop punk act, sounding eerily similar to young Panic at the Disco, they reminded us of our angst filled teenage years. Working the stage with childish glee, The Millenium was a pleasure to watch simply because they brought such simplicity to their performance.

MARINA CITY

marina city

Chicago natives Marina City rocked the Rock Shop stage at around midnight to close out the night. We instantly vibed with these guys. Deep alternative rock almost like an old school Fall Out Boy, they really brought the head banging to the crowd. After a few days of lacking some rock we finally out our fill with these guys. A little unenthusiastic on stage, but still full of passion in their sound they closed out the night with a bang!
—–
Post by Valya
—–
TRACKS:


doublecougar