Sounds Like Now #3: Running Jewels

Taylor Swift may have gone and trademarked the phrase ‘This Sick Beat’ but that isn’t going to stop us from delivering some sick beats of our own. See, we didn’t actually use the full expression there so she can’t sue. Take that, Swifty. Yeah, I’m calling you out.



Run The Jewels – ‘Lie, Cheat, Steal’ 


Fresh from being confirmed for this year’s Forbidden Fruit Festival in Kilmainham – tasty looking line up, tbh – Killer Mike and El-P are back with another belter from last year’s excellent RTJ2. Directed by Ruffmercy, the latest trip into the heady world of Run The Jewels is like a weird mash-up of the visuals from Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and a Grindhouse flick, capped off with the same kind of neon red found in John Doe’s apartment in Se7en. It’s all kinds of grimy, is what I’m getting at. And yeah, it’s not exactly brand new, but it’s the best thing going today.


Big Noble – ‘Ocean Picture’ 

First Light, the debut offering from Big Noble – itself the new project from Interpol man Daniel Kessler and sound designer Joseph Fraioli – is less a conventional album and more a series of desolate soundscapes, each of which contain tension and occasional relief. Aesthetic value is important to Big Noble and so the video for the glacial ‘Ocean Picture’ breathes surprisingly colourful, vibrant and genuinely stunning life into the track.

Ryshon Jones – ‘What iDesire, iProtect’ 

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There’s a disorienting paranoia in play throughout much of Vice-approved rapper Ryshon Jones’ latest deep cut. That’s thanks largely to the walled-in claustrophobia enforced by producer Ninja Sword, though the Philadelphia-based Jones and guest Somewearmasks hold their own with sharp ire. A downbeat yet compelling few minutes.

All We Are – ‘Stone’

Brazilian/Norwegian/Irish (yep) trio All We Are drop their eponymous debut album on February 2 before taking over The Workman’s Club the following month. This latest taster is very much in line with previous chilled out material, the kind of glimmer glide you throw on and tune in and out of at the right moments. Think NO CEREMONY/// but happier.


Future User – ‘Mountain Lion’ 

Who knew that Tim ‘Rage Against The Machine’ Comerford and Lance ‘Drugs’ Armstrong were best buds? Seriously, what? I have no idea what to make of that and, honestly, I have no idea what to make of this latest effort from Future User, Comerford’s newest musical endeavour. In ‘Mountain Lion’, Comerford takes aim at the apparent misplaced outrage that stems from the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

To whit, he utilises a voice recording of Armstrong and a didactic video in which a masked skateboarder (later revealed to be Comerford himself) shoots – literally via needle on a couple of occasions – around a city before eventually setting himself alright ala that Rage album cover. Lance even shows up, on his bike, for a tough guy cameo. I’ve watched and listened to this about five times and I don’t know if it’s the lamest thing ever or not. I do know that musically it sounds like Papa Roach spliced with P.O.D. And nobody wants that, Tim.


Death Cab For Cutie – ‘Black Sun’ 

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There’s a fair bang of Hoobastank off this one. People seem to be getting very excited that Death Cab have returned with something more ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’ and less, well, everything Codes & Keys. That album, a saccharine love letter to Ben Gibbard’s then-wife Zooey Deschanel, was a terrible mess. Things got more awkward when Deschanel divorced Gibbard shortly after. So he’s back with exactly the kind of song title you might expect from a dude who got his heart ripped out. Though Gibbard lays it all out there, the pedestrian structure and weak instrumentation make it Just Another Death Cab Song.

Kaiser Chefs – ‘Falling Awake’ 

Hey, it’s the Kaiser Chiefs! With another ‘fresh’ new sound! And one of the worst song titles of all time! Wasn’t that a Godsmack track? Anyway, ‘Falling Awake’ sounds utterly bored of itself before the first chorus even ends. It’s kind of amazing that Ricky Wilson and the lads are still around. It’s also really annoying that they don’t write more songs like ‘I Dare You’.

The Prodigy – ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ 

Also hanging in there are The Prodigy, whose recent single ‘Nasty’ showcased a worrying lack of ideas and sonic power. The title track of their forthcoming new album is a much more enjoyable listen if it really doesn’t bring anything new to the table and the vocal eventually grates. It’s also a good minute too long. Still, NOT BAD.


Rihanna ft. Kanye West & Paul McCartney – ‘Four Five Seconds’ 

Friend of mine has a theory that Kanye is going to ‘do a John Lennon’ now that he’s happily married with a kid and just release gushing sunshine music for a few years. At first, I scoffed in his direction but he may be onto something…

Whatever about ‘Only One’, which is fine for an interlude and has some nice moments even if the ending is hit way too hard, ‘Four Five Seconds’, the second collaboration between Kanye West and Paul McCartney who now add Rihanna to the mix, is horrendous. Allegedly, this serves as both a Kanye song and a Rihanna song. She’s welcome to it. Kanye, while it’s nice to hear you sing without Auto-Tune, please, please, please don’t put this on your next record. Is it even mixed?

A train wreck.