Kendrick Lamar – “Damn” [ALBUM REVIEW]

It’s always unfortunate when an artist has to follow an epochal album. Considering Kid A in the wake of OK Computer was never fair. Pink Floyd‘s awful Final Cut was doomed after The Wall. Placing Kendrick Lamar‘s previous album, To Pimp a Butterflyin such a legendary ballpark is obvious to anyone who’s heard the record without blinkers. As a result, Lamar’s fresh follow-up was always going to find itself trapped under expectations and heft. Released five days ago, Damn has more written about it in comparison to its predecessor than its own merits.

This is natural.…   [continue reading]

Secret Cave Office Chart [APRIL 2017]

April is the month of my birthday. Therefore, I felt it only appropriate that I reflect that general merriment with a more upbeat playlist. I also, in its construction, had several things going on in my life that rather coloured the choices I made. As a result, it’s perhaps not as exploratory as i’d like it to be. That said, I do feel it improves over my more disparate offering from last month. There’s still a clear divide in the groupings of similar material at times, but i’m going to blame that on the personal nature of my decisions. For those who can see the implications of my words, it didn’t work out.…   [continue reading]

Nick Lutsko Interview: Puppets, Songwriting and World-Building

Nick Lutsko is a young musician of unbridled creativity. He’s someone who truly knows how to build a world, from the constituent elements of its puppet inhabitants to an endlessly engaging approach to his audience and marketing. Through his songwriting, recording and performances, he’s amassed no small amount of success and respect as one of Chattanooga’s foremost local musicians. His commercial work for such outlets as Super Deluxe has only given his considerable talent a wider exposure. The sky being the only apparent limit for Lutsko’s potential, he appears to be at the beginnings of a profoundly influential and fulfilling career.…   [continue reading]

Secret Cave Office Chart [MARCH 2017]

This month’s playlist is much more varied than the February edition.  I tried a lot harder to make it a bit more representative of my overarching tastes.  That said, quite a lot of this material was new to me.  I’m finding that making these is helping me to discover a few things myself.  That, at the very least, makes it worth doing.  Overall, i’m really quite happy with this one.  However, I do have a couple of problems i’d like to iron out for April’s Office Chart.  For example, I feel the two halves are slightly too separate.  After a more upbeat opening, it’s quite a bit more chilled out by its conclusion.  …   [continue reading]

Secret Cave Office Chart [FEBRUARY 2017]

Yep, I’ll admit with my hands in the air that this is hardly an original idea.  Radiohead have been doing office charts for years, and I can only assume that thousands of hip blogs and magazines have adopted it.  Of course, it doesn’t really matter.  I just thought it would be a fun monthly thing to do.  Besides, I’ve got a High Fidelity-esque predilection for making playlists anyway.  Neither of the Bens have anything to do with this, in case they get ashamed by the choices.  This is just my own personal “writing an article for Secret Cave” playlist.  …   [continue reading]

Pixies – “Head Carrier” [ALBUM REVIEW]

I bloody love the Pixies.  They’ve been one of my favourite bands since I first heard Bone Machine; before my balls had even dropped.  To this day I consider their performance at 2005’s Leeds/Reading festival my finest live event.  To their hordes of vocal admirers, they carry around an enormous legacy everywhere they go.  It’s probably this pressure that has kept their back catalogue compressed and minimal over the years.  Indeed, even with their lengthy hiatus, you’d have expected more than six LPs from a band with the stature and history that the Pixies enjoy.  For me, this has always given them a mystique that greatly adds to their presence.…   [continue reading]

A Moon Shaped Pool on the Bus Before Sunrise

Hear the writers discuss this subject on the Secret Cave Podcast!

Choking down a shit cigarette, mostly paper, the streets are lamplit at 7:30am at the bus station in an underpopulated Latvian dock town.

Sat down amongst old men in flatcaps who instantly fall asleep when the bus shakes over the bridge. I’m listening to A Moon Shaped Pool for the first time, looking over the river and into the sprawling post-Soviet landscape of warehouses, tower blocks, rusty cranes.

Burn the Witch says panic attack and I think I’m probably having one. Familiar tongue numbing fear of motion, scared dog arched up in the corner, stare at the back of the seat.…   [continue reading]

Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest

Beyond the static-tined avalanche of white noise and synthesiser synaesthesia, Boards of Canada’s recent Tomorrow’s Harvest L.P. is a surprisingly comprehensive journey towards – and eventually away from – collapse.  But what stands so intriguing in this breakdown?  What leads the release of this record to captivate so easily with giddy addiction?  And just what exactly is being portrayed across the ice-pines and bark-bergs of this somehow begotten, faintly belated landscape?

First, one has to be careful in attempting to view the effort as a concept album in the strictest terms.  Despite its clear thematic loyalties (mostly to secret broadcast, ghostly premonitions and narcissistic evolution), there is no great or detailed tale to be found under the layers of softly structured tone poetry. …   [continue reading]

Jimmy Webb – Galveston

Galveston, named after the coastal Texas city its protagonist apparently calls home, is a song that brings with it a remarkable amount of weight.  One of Jimmy Webb’s most recognisable and trademark tunes, it was given an intense limelight when popularised by Glen Campbell in 1969.  Having found a second wind since as a beautiful, tragic and wistful ditty recorded by Webb himself, its true gravitas was made all the more central when arranged with the right ear.  Campbell’s version being an enjoyable and intelligent slice of pop from a time when its timbre was contemporary, it’s Webb’s re-imaginings that make me want to write about it today.…   [continue reading]

Thom Yorke – The Eraser

My love for Radiohead is something I can trace back to the age of six.  Anyone who knows me well enough is aware that I answered my humble Beano filofax’s query of “Favourite Band?” with “Radiohead”, and my allegiance to them has only grown stronger since.  That’s a background I feel I have to give before spotlighting Thom Yorke’s debut solo effort – something that wasn’t released until deep into Radiohead’s career.  Even I went into The Eraser with more trepidation than excitement, far more worried about its implications for my favourite band and what it meant for their future.

Despite the fact that my very first pirated version of it had the first two seconds of every track cut off, it only took one listen for me to know the release was more than solid.  …   [continue reading]