The Hope Six Demolition Project
For her latest project, PJ Harvey took a voyeuristic approach to the recording process by allowing the public to witness the band in the studio through one-way glass. On face value, this seems a bit gimmicky, but it’s a pretty fitting reflection on PJ’s songwriting for The Hope Six Demolition Project. For the concept album, she was an observer herself, taking on the role of a reporter, viewing the impact of American capitalism on the world.
What if both your parents died the same year? And what if that same year your home, which has been in the family for over 100 years, burns down? And what if while you’re dealing with all this loss, your former band mate (Bob Mould) releases a tell all autobiography where he not only persecutes you and embellishes your use of heroin, but he also takes time to mock your now dead mother?
And what if you were once friends with William S. Burroughs? And what if while you are dealing with all this turmoil, you are bestowed with an unfinished Burroughs space odyssey adaptation of Milton’s Paradise Lost called Lost Paradise? And what if this manuscript inspires you to create a 20-song album about the battle between Heaven and Hell?
That would be pretty awesome, right?
good kid, M.A.A.D. city
Hype is an important factor for any musician’s start in the business, but out of all the genres, it is most important in the world of hip-hop. Hype made artists like 50 Cent, Drake, and Nicki Minaj household names before they’d even released their first record. In the world of rap music, hype is king, whether it be legendary hype-men like Flavor Flav and P Diddy, or the multitude of hip-hop outlets that rely heavily on the idea of “hype” (Hoodhype.com, H.Y.P.E. Magazine, Hypemixtapes.com). In recent years, a major factor in the growth of an artists hype results from the online, mix tape movement, an avenue for budding artists to get their sound out there.
One of the artists to get his start through the mix tape avenue is Kendrick Lamar and his Black Hippy crew. After several mix tapes, he released “Section.80,” a promising album for a young rapper. From there, the hype began to grow (out of proportion). After doing a concert with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and The Game, the trio called him “The King of the New West Coast.” Dre took it a step further, signing Lamar to his Aftermath label. Before his first release on the label even came out, Dre and him could be found mean-mugging on the cover of XXL Magazine, and inside, the XXL touted his latest album as “the biggest debut since Illmatic.” Even Nas himself said that Lamar was the future of hip-hop. Before anyone had even heard the album, Vibe Magazine ran a story on why his new album would change California rap forever. All of this had gone down before anyone had even heard the album!
Animal Collective have had a pretty good run when it comes to the critics. All of their albums have been greeted with open-arms, regardless of how belligerent they may get. Their success reached beyond the insulated critical realm with their last album, “Meariweather Post Pavillion,” becoming a mainstream success (a label no one would have ever given to AC with their mix of overtly artistic/abrasive music). But after finally earning worldwide acceptance, filling outdoor arenas on their current tour, the band has fallen from graces within the critic’s sect with their latest album, Centipede Hz.
While some publications have printed lukewarm reviews, many have not been kind in the least. The Independent called the album “…a fatiguing experience,” NOW Magazine labeled it “…obnoxious chaos,” and Paste described it as “…dense ugliness…”. The New York Times review paints a picture where Avey Tare has taken charge, in turn destroying all of Panda Bear’s confidence, while the self-proclaimed “world’s busiest music nerd” over at The Needle Drops suggests that the return of Deakin to the band has had a negative effect on their sound.