"He’s a penny pincher." Ask a Toronto taxi driver how their crack-smoking, stupor-drunk mayor Rob Ford ever gained so much support and he’ll give you a simple answer. He’s known as the man who cuts waste. You can’t escape austerity anywhere, yet Canada’s music scene is thriving. I came here to find out why. The next morning, before the award of the annual Polaris Music Prize, I have breakfast downtown with founder Steve Jordan.
“He’s not a rapper… he’s a writer,” begins the new Kendrick Lamar single, a gospel preacher’s voice welcoming back the Compton emcee through a fog of radio crackle, like a champion fighter to the ring. There was certainly something literary about 2012’s seismic ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’, an album almost Dickensian in its claustrophobic portrait of a city and its neglected underclass: the gravel-throated Oliver Twist at its heart – Kendrick – snaking rapid-fire rhymes about gang life, peer pressure and repentance around steely beats and smoky street ambience.
Kendrick Lamar has just dropped his new single 'i'. The song is the first material fans will hear from the Compton rapper's new album, the follow up to his hugely successful 2012 album 'Good kid, Maad City.' However, through a steady stream of guest-verses (Wikipedia estimates it at around 58 in 24 months), Lamar has stayed in the public conscious these past two years, whetting appetites for his eventual return with every guest verse.
If the recently revealed 'Indigo Puff' was Reading four-piece Sundara Karma's bid for your attention, then its b-side 'Hustle' is the sound of them assuredly justifying themselves. "You're the devil in a push-up bra," sings frontman Oscar Lulu, confidently strutting all over his bandmates' serene but funky backing. It's a bold new step from the quartet following the promising signs exhibited on their debut single 'Cold Heaven' earlier this year. 'Indigo Puff'/'Hustle' is released on October 6 via 203 Recordings.
The Growlers' clash of sun-drenched guitars and Cure-style 1980s post-punk influences on new album 'Chinese Fountain' led the band to recently describe it as "beach goth." Which is about right, really: think Robert Smith building a sandcastle in on a postcard-perfect Marbella vista beneath a parasol, still unable to entirely shake off a looming sensation of despair, and you're not far off.