About The Cold Cut...

The musings of a teenage audiophile. Indie, Rock, Hip-Hop, Rap, Dance, Dubstep, Garage, Metal... music crosses all boundaries. The Cold Cut is devoted to giving you a taste of what's going on in music at the moment.

About Me

A 17 year old taking his first tentative steps into the world of blogging. In my first year, its been up and down, from the slow first months to a busy time around the one year anniversary.

Busy Bee

Hey guys. Long time no speak. I just thought I would fill you in on the situation- wouldn't want you worrying about me after all!

The Cold Cut is not dead or dying- I like to think of this as a forced hiatus in which I can re-focus, brainstorm and generally miss my blog, writing and the sense of joy and achievment I get from a nice comment or popular post.

Over the last few weeks, a number of factors have prevented me from blogging. It all started around the 14th august when I got my exam results- I'm hugely relieved to have obtained straight a's- school doesn't feel like a waste anymore!

Next came lowlands music festival... This was a total blast- I'll be covering this on full later on- good news is I got my hands on my first festival press pass, which was fun.

The day that lowlands finished, my new job started. For the last week, I've had an intense induction week, and my real job commences on tuesday! I won't say who the company are, but they have an office in southbank and like using lotus notes. The more technically inclined of you will have no problems working out who I'm talking about. If you are interested in finding out more or have you own experiences with this company to share, send over and email.

And that brings us to my current situation. I'm just settling into my new house, which currently has no Internet. No posts this weekend then, buthopefull I will be able to start working g through the backlog soon. In other news, I think I might have found the perfect candidate for a new writer- which should take some of the strain off of me! If you feel you have the skills and music taste to write here, drop me a line. At this pont in time I could use all the help I can get. Cheers.

Nas- 'Untitled' review... Rap album of the year.


Nas has some serious issues. Huge, eye-achingly massive problems. And thank god. As rap wouldn't be nearly as interesting without people like him, who adore controversy and love to channel the world's problems into an album. The majority of the albums he has penned have a clear message, and when it's been lacking, the music struggles. 'Illmatic'- urban poverty. 'Hip Hop Is Dead'- the recent degradation of the quality of hip-hop music. 'Streets Disciple'- the women in Nas' life. And where the focus isn't there, neither is the quality. 'Nastradamas'- whilst still a cut above normal fare, arguably Nas' worst LP- flitted between themes.

9 albums into his career, Nas has finally pounced onto the biggest and most controversial subject matter. Race. And now is the time. Whilst his approach was at first a little crude, Nas confidently pulls off the album through sheer force of will- it honestly feels as if he is an unstoppable bulldozer, and we are set for demolition. Now, I am not particularly knowledgeable on this side of music (something I'm working on, guys), but I would say that this is the rap album of the year. Whilst it may not impress hard-core rap aficionados, I am unfortunately not one of those people- basically, this album blew me away, and will do the same for a frequent reader of The Cold Cut. And that is enough.

The controversy surrounding this album is close to detracting from it. In the run up to the release, various artists stepped forward to support or condemn Nas' title choice. And yet, all the controversy was in vain, when Nas buckled under the pressure. Anyone would in his situation: huge contributors threatening to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars from Vivendi and Universal, as well as rumours that Def Jam were going to drop Nas unless he gave in. It's a small loss- the album is simply 'Untitled', due to the effects the original name (yet we all know it now), and yet the 'Nigger tape' remained (also brilliant- download it). 'Be A Nigger Too', the original choice for lead single, was also removed from the album, and was a dedicated 'street' release... He addresses the title change on 'Hero': 'No matter what the CD called, I'm unbeatable, y'all'.

Nas- Be A Nigger Too (Link 2)

I always like to see what other people think before I write my review to get some different perspectives- what a surprise, Pitchfork gave the album 3.8 out of 10, with their arguments hanging on a string- they use 'Graduation' as an example of a mentally challenging Billboard blockbuster, almost suggesting that the quality of an album is dictated by how many units it shifts, or potentially will. Interesting nonetheless, but everyone else unanimously gave it at least 8/10. It was a match made in hell- both Nas and Pitchfork are vying to get their message heard. Unfortunately, Pitchfork, Nas is an artist, and we are just commentators. So he comes off better here.

Nas- as a lyricist- is all about the ego and his views. He's always been opinionated, from an ongoing feud with Jay-Z to the various Fox controversies. Those peak hostile days have mostly passed, but Nas still has the same chip on his shoulder. Whilst his verses are largely devoid of 'my sex is greater because my dick is bigger' style sections, Nas does have things he want to prove. As in, he's the saviour of rap. 'Queen's Get The Opening' uses the familiar sample from the 'I Am Sam' theme: 'hip hop was dead so Nas breathes life into the embryo'. It's a short lived reprisal of the 'Hip Hop Is Dead' theme.

This is a mature album, relentlessly challenging and might be accused of taking itself a little too seriously. The accusations might be true, save for one redeeming factor- 'Fried Chicken', featuring Busta Rhymes and produced by Mark Ronson- 'Untitled's sole release, Busta putting in a strong contribution as a featuring artist, elevating the song with his absolutely defined brand of rapping (although he might want to watch out for Gorilla Zoe of 'Top Ranking' fame).

The quality never dips, though highlights include 'Sly Fox', a headstrong attack aimed directly at Fox News, a battle against racial bias in which Nas has been embroiled. On 'Make The World Go Round', Nas flirts with mainstream ideals by roping in both The Game and Chris Brown and then... well, the resultant song sounded very different to my expectations. Chris Brown's talents are used effectively, and The Game impresses, as always.

In terms of raw talent, Nas is currently one of the best on the scene. He has an intelligence possessed by few people, notable exceptions include Lupe Fiasco (listen to 'Dumb It Down' and tell me rap isn't one of the most intellectually challenging genres) and Common, amongst others. And yet, even in comparison to these guys, it appears that Nas is currently on some higher plane- the lyrics on this album are hands down the best I've heard in a long, long time. Unfortunately, those who have this talent are outnumbered three to one by those who market their generic brand of posturing. Don't get me wrong- I'll settle for AYO Technology any day, but a whole album stretches my patience.

Then, I realised about half way through 'Untitled', that I was enjoying the experience much more because of the aforementioned circumstances. Songs like 'America' just aren't recorded anymore, and I really appreciate their rarity all the more. If you need an example of how Nas is from a different breed of rapper, this song is a perfect place to start. In essence, this is just an extended observation of the title country, but the resultant piece of music is expansive, and more engaging than it appears on paper, with beautiful vocals from Flo Simpson.

Nas- America
(Link 2)

The ambition behind the album is clear as day. Lets begin this analysis with 'Black President'- a Tupac line on loop begins- 'And though it seems heaven sent, we ain't ready for a black president'. In this song, he tells the story of the first black president of the united states, revealed as Barack Obama in the closing seconds of the song. We can only hope.

I struggled to find anything wrong with this album. At a stretch, the beats might not be the best, and that's the only area where Nas can improve. The music is still engaging, though. It just shows that putting time and effort into your lyrics more than makes up for overproducing. 'Untitled' is also thankfully devoid of skits. By this, I mean no expositional moments of random chat- instead, the vocal elements are found in most of the songs. We have a couple of monologues, but they are never lacking in actual content.

'Untitled' isn't 'Illmatic'. Thus far, no album Nas has recorded has touched that level, although from my previous experience, this comes closest. And yet, we are in a new age of rap- why ponder what has passed when there are still people around making engaging music? I think Nelly (of all people) said it best in a random interview with NME a few years back: 'Who says hip hop needs saving? The original rock music has been dead for twenty years and they seem to be doing alright.' Although Nas keeps pointing it out, he is the very man who makes me question whether hip hop needs saving at all. 'Untitled' is just fuel to the fire.

'Untitled' can be purchased from Amazon.

Muse/The Streets Collabo with 'Who Knows Who'. Interest piqued.

Muse and The Streets- Who Knows Who (Link 2)

Any new music from Muse is a bonus at this point in time. They most certainly deserve a rest after the seminal space opera of 'Black Holes & Revelations', and yet, I get the feeling that they're holed up somewhere (Mars at a guess) working out how to overcome the limitations of a 6 string electric guitar, drum kit and standard bass guitar.

However, in between this, Muse had time to quickly meet up with Mike Skinner from The Streets and record a very quick track. 'Who Knows Who' is a solid effort, considering the following:

"The MP3 floating around on the message boards at the moment is a track we recorded with Mike Skinner a few months ago. The track was the result of a late night jam session and something we did for a bit of a laugh featuring a blues riff we have been playing live recently upon which Skinner recorded some vocals. It is not intended to be a serious release so we are happy for it to be leaked around unofficially. Hope you enjoy, Cheers. Matt, Dom & Chris."

The Streets latest album-"Everything is Borrowed"-will be released on September 15- although Muse are alone in emerging from this new song with pristine integrity, The Streets have once again piqued my interest.

Keane shock the internet.

Keane- Spiralling (Official HQ Download)

Ok. Wow. I really wasn't expecting anything from Keane to ever surprise the collective internet communities. However, it appears they have really shocked a selection of bloggers who previously despised their music. Some people have been converted.

I like Keane. There, I said it. Some might say they're a tad, well, predictable, but that's not hard to overcome. The only hang-up I have is with their live performances- namely, the use of pre-recorded sounds in the background which are cued by a technician. See, that's not strictly live, unless the technician is on stage. And yet, I get the feeling that this is about to change. Other than that small hiccup, they're fine in my books.

Hot on the heels of 'Crawl', Keane have offered up an mp-free entitled 'Spiralling'. It's an interesting one, certainly different to anything else they've offered up, with a lighter, poppier tone.

I'm not an authority on this, but I can definitely detect guitar and bass in the mix... Can anyone clarify this? This might explain Jesse Quin's (a touring bass player) involvement in the project- the message board queried this months ago when Keane featured a photo with four members, which was quickly taken down. Further to this, Tom Chaplin and Tim Rice-Oxley have also both gone on record as saying that they picked up the guitar during the sessions. And whereas on their previous albums (see 'Is It Any Wonder?') we had a keyboard that was made to sound like a guitar, this new move is a distinct improvement. Their sound is fuller, with serious hints of David Bowie and Talking Heads thrown in the mixer.

'Spiralling' is definite progress. A little on the cheesy side (that spoken interlude is a little bit much for most people), this song is still a sign that Keane weren't content producing another album that sounds vaguely similar to 'Hopes And Fears'.

This song comes ahead of the release of their upcoming 3rd album- 'Perfect Symmetry'- out October 13th. The official first single is 'Lovers Are Losing', to be released on September 29th. An interview which explores the details of the new album can be found here.

Kings Of Leon stream single 'Sex On Fire'

I'm not going to post this one (it's red-hot- if you had synesthesia, this song would have 'cease and desist' written all over it), but you should hop over to Myspace for an exclusive first listen to Kings Of Leon's single, 'Sex On Fire'. Instead, enjoy an early song from the 'Holy Roller Novocaine' EP. 'Sex On Fire' is another brilliant addition to the new album, some people will be happy to hear that this is a fully fledged song with a chorus and verses, rather than 'a groove' (as certain individuals have described 'Crawl', although this doesn't bother me personally). Oh, and as a side note, Caleb must have one of the best voices in rock? Right?

Kings Of Leon- Wicker Chair

NME have also just announced the official tracklisting for 'Only By The Night', released on September 22:

'Sex On Fire'
'Use Somebody'
'I Want You'
'Be Somebody'
'Cold Desert'

Sunshine Mix.

So, same old, same old. I will now be enjoying my last day of Barcelona. I've never done this before, but here's a little role play of what I believe my Sunday in Barca will be like:

"Ooh, it's sunny here. 30 degrees, in fact (Celsius, people!). Let's go grab some chocolate con churros. Ooh, Sagrada Familia/Park Guell. Lovely. More food. More drink. It's baking hot now. Walking down to the Olympic Port. Chilled afternoon. Wait until 9.30. Finally grab more food. More drink. Flight Home. End."

As you can see, it should be fun. Anyway, short on time to create this post, (my flight to Barcelona leaves in a few hours and I'm not ready yet) so a few more tracks to keep you busy.

Coldplay Vs. Nas- If I Viva La Vida (Starters Remix)
(Link 2)
Justice Vs. Wu-Tang Clan- C.R.E.A.M. Your Friends (Link 2)
Britney Spears Vs. Justin Timberlake- Break The Ice (Raza Remix) (Link 2)
Yoav Yoav- Adore Adore (modwheelmood remix) (Link 2)
Black Kids- Partie Traumatic (Link 2)


What would I do without scheduled blogging? At this point in time, I will be happily walking around Barcelona, in the sweltering August temperatures. I'm away for four days, returning on Sunday evening.

I'm not going to let that stop me blogging, though. I have a little time today (Thursday ) to upload a few tracks, and prepare some posts for you. I'm sorry to say that the posts aren't going to be mind-blowing, but updates are better than a slowly stagnating blog. You can expect daily updates around lunch-time (for my American readers). So enjoy, and look after the blog for me, okay?

CRS- Sky High Graduates (Dub Floyd Screamixx) (Link 2)
CRS (Child Rebel Soldier) released a mixtape a while back- it kept well under the radar, but I got my hands on a copy, and it really doesn't dissapoint. The concept of Lupe, Pharrell and Kanye sharing a track is always enough to set me salivating, and the T-shirt above does nothing to lessen teh hype.

Daft Punk?- Daft Gang (Link 2)
People have made a huge deal out of this new track from Daft Punk. The fans are going crazy, which I find a little weird considering this is clearly a fake. Daft Punk would never willingly put their stamp on something so textbook. Will the real Daft Punk please stand up?

The Joy Formidable- The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade (Link 2)
Okay, this is getting ridiculous. Will someone in a priveliged position cotton on to the fact that The Joy Formidable are awesome? Another few months pass, another few corkers from the band. Injustice? [Myspace]

Gnarls Barkley- Reckoner (Radiohead Cover) (Link 2)
As if anyone needed more proof of Gnarls Barkley's pedigree? Well, if you're in the minority, listen to this tastefully interpreted cover of 'Reckoner'. Cee-Lo even adopts Thom's 'unique' style of dancing: