The Worst Guys, the hip-hop duo of Joe Marsh & Louis Prince have released two new singles “Washed Out” and “Party“. These are the first singles in their CMYK colour-inspired series of tracks representing the ‘Magenta Section’. The new singles follow on from their debut EP Not So Bad.
The new singles see the duo evolve their sound and evoke the like of Tyler, The Creator on “Party” through its woozy synths and slap back beats. They instil a new breezy aesthetic that brings all the poignant aspects of their sound to a new chilled out base. Their back and forth trade offs of “Just wanting to party tonight” showcase the tight-knit nature of the duo, feeling as though you’re walking behind them and hearing their plans for the night ahead. Instrumentally the duo become more ambitious, often allowing the music to talk for itself, which only makes those moments of thoughts that much more sweeter. With summer in full swing these boys have brought about two perfect additions to those “chilled-vibe” playlists we all can’t seem to get enough of.
Birmingham hip-hop duo The Worst Guys, Louis Prince and Joe Marsh, arrive with their debut EP Not So Bad. Recorded over the course of lockdown, sending demos and samples back and forth to each other, their debut project sees the duo tackle issues of racism, lockdown and self worth. Following on from two previously released singles in the year, the punchy “Platform” and minimalism infused “No Celebrations”, this EP celebrates the sound that The Worst Guys have developed so far, whilst simultaneously expanding their output into far greater and vibrant soundscapes.
What propels this EP further than the duo have ever gone is the vocal delivery from both Prince and Marsh. Prince’s hard hitting, potent rapped verses seamlessly juxtapose with Marsh’s melodic dreamy chorus lines. This is highlighted on “More Than Meets The Eye” as Prince’s punchy rapped bars are immediately fast flowing, but straight after comes Marsh’s woozy chorus lines of “And if I showed you that there’s more than meets the eye babe, would you try to shoot me down?” to later switch back to Prince’s lyrical flurry as the song descends into a synthesised euphoria of culminating melodies. And lyrically the duo are as assured as ever as they speak on themes of racial injustice on “Bittersweet”, “It’s hard to shake the feeling that some don’t like us here, another day another you makes some blood splatter, but we’ll peacefully protest to you that black lives matter”. Prince balancing the fine line of being politically charged whilst concurrently being earnest and evoking empathy from personal experience.
The Worst Guys got their name from the Childish Gambino song of the same name from 2013’s Because The Internet and their homage to Donald Glover doesn’t just stop with their name. Closer “Never Back Down” features some devastatingly blissful synthesiser melodies gliding over a beat that demands you to strut along to it, reminiscing in the sound that was found all over Glover’s 2013 sophomore album, especially “III. Telegraph Ave. (“Oakland” by Lloyd). However the production doesn’t just pay homage to their influences, it also sparks a new air of confidence in the duo. Experimenting with sinister minimalism on “Why U Mad?” as the disorienting sirens swirl and flash in and out in and out of the soundscape, providing a haunting and eerie platform for Prince’s unrelenting storytelling to go from strength to strength.
It’s not often you find artists that wear their influences on their sleeve, whilst conjunctively offering a sound that feels as vibrant in its ability to convey exactly what that artist is trying to deliver. Continually shifting and challenging what their sound can be, The Worst Guys have landed a debut EP that is unapologetically confident and enticing to listen to. In their interview with us the duo said they are yet to play a live show, however expect big things when the bass line of “Isolation On The Menu” hits the club floor.
It’s really been a blessing this year that any new music has been released. No matter whether it be a full length album, a single or an EP, just having fresh music has kept us going through this awful year. To start our look back over the best music released this year we start with the best EP’s, small in tracklist, big in bangers.
Amyl & The Sniffers – Live At The Croxton
A blistering live EP featuring songs from the bands critically acclaimed self-titled debut. A showcase of their raw power, and undisputed stage presence that has gained global attention for the Melbourne based 4 piece. Certainly makes us miss shows just that bit more. There’s certainly no muzzling these mutts.
Standout Track: Shake Ya ( Live At The Croxton)
Bambi – Unfolding
Dom Simper’s debut solo material is a testament to both his musical talent to not only bring nostalgic sounds into the modern day but also perfectly capture moments and feelings through the use of expressive and twirling synthesisers. Whether you’re listening on a summers day or winters evening, this EP will transport to a world more delicate and peaceful. Read our full interview with Dom here.
Standout Track: Élan Vital
Bdrmm – The Bedroom Tapes
An accompaniment EP to the Hull based Shoegaze bands standout debut album bedroom, read our full review here. Featuring stripped back live tracks recorded in isolation that showcase the band’s songwriting ability, not always needing the huge soundscapes they create, rather allowing the songs to express themselves in their simplest form. Also features some dancehall worthy remixes that give a different light to what can be done with the bands sound.
Standout Track: A Reason To Celebrate – Live
Bullion – We Had A Good Time
An EP that so closely understands landscape to texture; the traveller amongst the world. Animation of sounds across the release transcend instrument and rather mirror actions in the real world. Evoking sensations of freedom and wonder one moment (O Vermona and We Had A Good Time), whilst the next reflecting and muting the outside world to rather focus on our thoughts floating through the void (Hula.) We Had A Good Time is another entry into Bullion’s discography to establish him as one of the most diverse producers.
Standout Track: We Had A Good Time
DEWEY – Sóller, Pt. 1
The first half of DEWEY’s long awaited debut album sees the Brighton based singer-songwriter delve into dreamy soundscapes, emotionally captive songwriting and some truly great pop bangers. Produced by Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey, this EP shows just how much of a future Fifi Dewey has as a solo artist and why the was absolutely worth it. Read our full interview with DEWEY here.
Standout Track: Is It Infatuation?
Faux Real – Faux Real
A long awaited full release for fans that does not disappoint in any way. Faux Real are the new fresh duo on the block with their unique take on avant-garde Indie pop. Whilst we’ve all got some time to ourselves there’s no better chance to have this on repeat and learn the accompanying dance routines. Read the full review here.
Standout Track: Second Sweat
Jadasea – About Time
Jadasea slides between states over the 5 tracks, from dense quietness to lonely highs. His tracks accentuate on the rhythms of his samples, chops at times seem almost liquid; which could seem surprising as each track is produced by different producers. Sounds move parallel to his words, his voice sinking into these collaged sounds, whilst on tracks like Moving Star, Jadasea soars above and comes out of the sunken state. Whichever state their in, Jadasea evokes sincerity in their words and sounds and produces yet another out of this world EP.
Standout Track: About Time
Jade Imagine – You Remind Me Of Something I Lost
An accompaniment EP to last years debut full length Basic Love, recorded during the same sessions. With elements of Krautrock and indie fused with ambient textures it makes for a succinct offering from the Melbourne based 5 piece that only expands their hypnotic sound, whilst still retaining their punchy songwriting ability. Read our full interview with Jade here.
Standout Track: Coastal Pines
The Japanese House – Chewing Cotton Wool
A deeply intimate and sonically vibrant EP from Amber Bain that is full of heartbreak and inspiration. Featuring Justin Vernon from Bon Iver on “Dionne” who’s distorted vocals juxatpose perfectly with Bain’s subtle falsetto. And contains one of the most hypnotically groovy songs of Bain’s discography “Something Has To Change”, this has been on repeat since it was originally released as a single last year.
Standout Track: Something Has To Change
Ovrkast – Try Again
In just 17 minutes, Ovrkast creates an honest and unbelievably grounding music experience. Lyricism is so truthful and the topics touched upon are ones that are well executed and explored; whilst being so insanely addictive. On top of this, the production across the 9 track is intricate and smooth. Vocals spin harmoniously with their instrumentals. This is a perfect release.
Standout track: Face
PVA – Toner
Labelled as “The party band we’ve all been waiting for“, PVA have assuredly earned themselves this label now delivering one of the most exciting and structurally challenging EP’s out there in the indie/ electronic/ techno/ whatever style the choose to fuse in next scene. From establishing themselves as a revered live act, they’ve now made their first mark in what is sure to be a bright and groove filled career in the world of recorded music. Read the full review here.
Standout Track: Exhaust/ Surroundings
Kurt Vile – Speed, Sound, Lonely KV
It only seems right that someone who’s so down to earth would get the chance to record with an artist who he’s long admired and payed homage to in his music, and has sadly now left this earth. John Prines’ legacy will live on through his vast catalogue of rich and tender music, but this EP serves as a reminder of his influence on not only country but modern indie music in general. Read the full review here.
Standout Track: Dandelions
Juan Wauters – Más Canciones de La Onda
Recorded by Wauters as he was traveling South American to write the critically acclaimed La Onda de Juan Pablo. “These songs are not B-sides or outtakes. These are songs I really like” says Wauters. And we really like them too. Full of vibrancy, hugely infatuating upbeat melodies and playful sounds.
Standout Track: Mi – Guitarra
The Worst Guys – Not So Bad
The debut release from Birmingham based hip-hop duo The Worst Guys sees them experiment in sonically expansive soundscapes and hard hitting grooves. Politically challenging and forward thinking lyrics spread their message of unity and acceptance in a perfect balance of passion and poignant delivery. Read our full interview with the duo here.
Standout Track: WHY U MAD
Y U QT – Buff Traxx 2
“You’re telling me they made a sequel to the best EP of 2019? That is absolute madness.” The QT’s were back in business this year, yet again proving they are the hottest UKG double act to be driving the revival. To capitalise their dubs, Buff Traxx 2 acts as a diverse representative for the producers yet again establishing that whatever sound they’re using, they will always be operating a wild party no doubt.
Soba have announced their debut EP And Then They Run set to be released on the newly formed Relic Records. The duo consisting of DJ Custard and Joe Marsh of The Worst Guys have joined to create the new electronic outfit Soba. Here’s what the description says about the release:
‘And Then They Run’ is the result of a 3 year project starting back in November 2017. The collection of tracks is a direct product of the sounds that have been absorbed throughout the time of Soba’s existence. This five track EP now acts as an introduction to the vast and deep sounds that Soba have created throughout this duration.
Throughout the EP, the variation of genre and sounds is the evidence of influence that Soba have taken from their environment. On ‘Valhalla’, enormous synthesiser melodies are swamped by the dark and twisted voices of those that have preceded us. Whilst on ‘Final Breaths’, the movement of air exceeds thumping kicks that propel the movement across the piece. The use of synthesisation and recordings accumulate the warmth and serenity of music that give Soba the ability to produce evocative dance music embedded within reality.
A summation of underground sounds from the likes of Four Tet, Daniel Avery and Mall Grab; whilst combining their unique perception of ambiance allows Soba to excel to heights and sounds that master the excellence of dance music. In between the addictive rhythms and melodies, there is meaning and warmth that only exists within natural forms.
The Worst Guys have announced their debut EP, Not So Bad, set to be released on the 11th of December. The new EP will feature 5 new songs, following on from 3 previously released single including “Platform” released earlier in the year. Read our full interview with the Birmingham based hip-hop duo here.
Speaking on the new EP the duo said “Reflecting on our experiences as a group and experiments with different styles with their five track project. Throughout the project, we discusses a range of topics from addressing difficult conversations, on equality and sociopolitical issues in society to the repetitive monotony of lockdown and its effects on mental health. The Worst Guys look to speak out on the pressure of life and seeking freedom from judgment. After releasing 3 singles, we wanted to embark on a new journey of creating a larger project, a new opportunity to discuss different topics and experiment with different sounds. With the first lockdown limiting studio work, we created hundreds of tracks through Facetime calls or long text conversations, carefully collecting ideas and exploring new concepts. Production wise, the EP was an opportunity to reflect on the year and represent these difficult emotions sonically with harsher sounds and tougher drum rhythms”.
Joe Marsh and Louis Prince are the newest hip-hop duo setting ablaze the Birmingham scene, coming together to form The Worst Guys. After meeting at college and finding influence in each others sound they began forming demos and eventually creating fully formed bangers. They released their debut single ‘Round The Town’ last November and followed it up with ‘No Celebrations’ in February. They now return with their latest offering of Lo-fi beats, free-flowing bars and tasty melodies in the shape of ‘Platform’ which has just been released and available to stream below. We spoke to Joe and Louis to get to know what they’re all about, the process behind a song and what lies ahead in the tracks for this exciting new duo.
What drew each of you to music and how did you get into it? Joe: From a young age, my parents would play a range of music in the car from bands like New Order, The Smiths and The Stone Roses to dance artists like The Chemical Brothers, Underworld and Fatboy slim. My Dad would make holiday mix CDs and I always remember hearing Kanye West being followed by Led Zeppelin. No wonder my tastes vary! My entry into making music was when I was learning to play the guitar when I was 12/13 and would play in various rock bands throughout secondary school. It wasn’t until I studied Music Technology at College, where I met Louis, that I got into Hip Hop, Dance and Experimental music. I started producing at College and I then went on to study Music Technology at De Montfort University where I was exposed to Jazz, World Music, Avant-Garde and my love for Hip Hop grew even more.
Louis: What drew me to music was the universal but inexplicable feeling I get from hearing the right song in the right moment, and how it can make any moment take on extra significance and shape how I feel. Whether that was a song to help get me through grief, a song to turn up and get drunk to at uni or a bit of DMX to vent when I’m mad at the world or trying to get that last deadlift set in. Some of my earliest memories are blurry to me but I remember hearing particular songs like Bob Marley, Morgan Heritage, Beres Hammond, and other Jamaican family function mainstays when I was in my dad’s car or at my grandparents on Sundays and I’ll never forget the feeling of just feeling in sync with the vibe around me with youthful ignorance. I was pretty much always involved in music in some capacity, I was writing lyrics to be rapped in classes and assemblies from the age of 7 and got progressively more into it as I got older. I was never not into it really.
Where did you meet and how did the group form? Louis: It was the first week of college, I wasn’t from the area and I didn’t know anyone but wanted to meet as many people as I could so I could pick my friends properly and just be stuck with people. I was lucky as hell that in my Music Tech class I ended up sat with two guys who would go on to be two of my closest friends, Joe and our mate Ewan. We all clicked pretty quickly and we ended up hanging out together most days with the rest of our crew. We all had similar interests and music tastes and wanted more from life than was expected of us. I think from then we knew we would end up making music together in some capacity but it wasn’t until 2019 as university was coming to an end that we actually came together and said we were gonna do this, and by November “Round The Town” was out everywhere.
Joe: I’ll never forget when I brought the original Round The Town beat to Louis at his house! We connected my sampler up to his speakers and I played the beat back live triggering the drums and everything…I remember looking up and Louis couldn’t stop smiling. Within an afternoon we had the foundation for the song and it was from then we decided to pursue The Worst Guys properly.
How would you describe your sound? Louis: Dope! Different and varied. Unique but familiar, and full of contrasts and dichotomies like life is. Our initial two singles have been good indicators of some of the music to come in the sense of vibey ambient music with introspective questioning. There’s a lot of headphone listens and head nodding when I imagine people listening to us. We typically have a clean polished blend of Alternate (for want of a better word) hip- hop, R&B, and indie elements . I don’t think we don’t consciously aim to sound different to anything you’ve ever heard but we just try and make stuff that sounds cool to us and we draw on so many different influences when we make our music.
Joe: Our sound is forever growing and each track we make differs from the last. All of our favourite artists all experiment and develop over time, so naturally, we embody the same creative ideology. We don’t like to trap ourselves under one sound. There are so many songs in our hard drives that we haven’t released yet and they almost sound like different groups have made them! But that’s what makes TWG work, we try ideas and we aren’t afraid to push ourselves each track.
Who are some of your biggest influences? Louis: I’ve been a huge fan of Donald Glover/ Childish Gambino, Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick, and Chance The Rapper over the last decade. Gambino especially for his range of creativity and talent, the name ‘The Worst Guys’ was partially inspired by a song of his of the same name featuring Chance The Rapper. I guess I have a thing for moody existential rappers and genre bending music. Growing up in the early 2000s it was impossible not to be inspired by an endless list of rappers from 2pac, Biggie, Jay Z, Nas, Eminem, Kanye West etc. it would be easier to list who didn’t inspire me which would just be a list beginning at Soulja Boy and ending at 6ix9ine.
Joe: Flying Lotus, J Dilla, Pete Rock are my all-time influences when it comes to making beats because I love to fuse sub-genres or unique sounds together in my tracks. As a group, I would say we are influenced by A Tribe Called Quest, Brockhampton and Injury reserve for our sound and concepts. There isn’t a set sound for us in my opinion and we pick and choose ideas wherever we see fit. I like to explore atmosphere with my production so I’m heavily inspired by Burial and Ross from Friends for their unique approach to sound design. Creating my own sounds and resampling with effects is a major technique I use to layer my beats and its a process I’m still developing now.
If you could be support act for any artists who would it be and why? Louis: Well I‘d be a support act for Joe and he’d be a support act for me, what else is there? Nah on a real, I’d love to support Gambino and learn more about his creative process and artistry. A few other honourable mentions are Kendrick Lamar, Mick Jenkins, JID, and Slowthai, all dope artists in their own ways and at different stages of their careers. An outside shout would be getting to do a tour with our brothers over at Major Noise at some point.
Joe: That’s a difficult question to answer but would have to be Tyler, the Creator. He’s an incredible artist; the way he approaches music, visuals and marketing are beyond inspiring. I’d also say Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, Gorillaz and Thundercat as honourable mentions because of how unique each artist/group is with their approach to music and their live shows respectively.
We’ve just entered into a new decade, what have been some of your favourite albums of the last decade? Louis: So many great projects came out this decade and these were my teen to early adult years so they’ll probably stick with me the rest of my life. These are just the few that I listened to almost religiously this decade. I’m gonna keep this to a list of 11 in no particular order or else I’d be here all week, there are a lot of honourable mentions though. Top 11 Acid Rap – Chance The Rapper (not technically an album but as good as any I’ve heard) All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ – Joey Bada$$ Because The Internet – Childish Gambino Flower Boy – Tyler The Creator good kid, m.A.A.d city – Kendrick Lamar I Don’t Like Shit I Don’t Go Outside – Earl Sweatshirt Malibu – Anderson .Paak RTJ 2 – Run The Jewels The Never Story -J.I.D To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar Swimming – Mac Miller
Joe: This is a really difficult question to answer as I listen to, on average, an album a day, but here are some of the top albums that I loved throughout the 2010s. Cosmogramma – Flying Lotus Igor – Tyler, the Creator Flower Boy – Tyler, the Creator Some Rap Songs – Earl Sweatshirt To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar The Epic – Kamasi Washington Lonerism – Tame Impala A Quiet Farewell – Slauson Malone Family Portrait – Ross From Friends 2 – Mac Demarco The Grey Area – Little Simz
Favourite concert you’ve been to? Louis: Ahh that’s a tough one, there was the time I rapped on stage with Hopsin back in 2014 which was awesome, and Joey Bada$$’s tour for AAB was epic but I’d have to give it to J Cole’s 2014 Forest Hill Drive show in Birmingham, it was an incredible experience, he killed it on stage and had Jhene Aiko, Pusha T, Bas, Cozz, and Omen supporting him so it was a hell of a lineup.
Joe: I’m struggling to pick a top concert as I have been lucky to see some of my favourite artists like Bjork, The Chemical Brothers, Gorillaz and even Kraftwerk. But if I had to pick then I’d have to say the first time I saw Flying Lotus at All Points East 2018. He played a mix of his big tunes with some unreleased tracks including a Wesleys Theory Remix. The bass shook your bones and he used 3-D visuals which just put you in a trance throughout the set. It was an experience so important to me that it became my main inspiration behind a final year project at University where I performed both music and live visuals. Oh, and he brought on Denzel Curry who had an incredible freestyle and then just ran off before anyone realised what had happened…
Favourite show you’ve played? Louis: Because the Covid climate put a big middle finger up to the live music industry, The Worst Guys are yet to do a show together but it’s definitely coming so come back to me a year from now and I’ll tell you.
Joe: We have big plans for our live show, thats all we’re saying.
What’s the creative process behind a song? Do you put music to Louis’ lyrics or do you create lyrics for the music Joe creates or any other method? Louis: We’re still figuring it out to be honest! Our songs come together organically and uniquely each time. We realised pretty early that any song we had to force to become something didn’t turn out how we wanted it to. So we let the song and situation lead. Typically Joe will produce a demo beat, I’ll end up writing a few loose concepts or one of us comes up with a hook and we build from there. Sometimes I’ll have a verse that I either wrote in the moment or ages ago that I’ll re-find and refine and that inspires a song. There isn’t a set formula as long as we like a sound and see a vision.
Joe: I think there are a few paths we take with our songs and there isn’t a set route either. Throughout lockdown, we have tried to write more together through phone calls and focusing on a specific theme or concepts. There’s never a clear cut formula for our songwriting process but there is always a moment where we both realise we like how a track is sounding and that usually motivates us to finish it. Sometimes we will just talk to each other about a topic or a particular experience and that will act as an inspiration to create a track. If Louis has a verse depicting a life experience my main aim is to create a suitable foundation for his lyrics, so most of the time the final track is a lot different from the original beat demo I made.
Any future musical plans after the new single? Louis: We’ve actually got a lot to come, we’ve been working all year and have a bunch of projects we want to release moving forward as a group and as individuals. Our main priority is the debut EP and getting shows to perform it and we’ll take it from there. We have big plans but I don’t want to give away too much yet.
Where would you like to be in a years time? Joe: Although our plans for 2020 have been full of obstacles, I’m still excited to see where we go as a group. I’m looking forward to playing shows and I’d like to think in a year we will have released more music and possibly be selling merch but I’m open to seeing how it plays out. As a producer, I’d love to collaborate with different artists from Birmingham, there are so many talented people releasing music. The scene here is growing and we feel honoured to be a part of it.
Louis: I’m really not thinking that far ahead in concrete terms, this year has shown that life doesn’t care about our plans and that we have to be ready to adapt. I believe that great things are coming for us but as long as we’re happy, financially stable and able to continue doing what we’re doing, and hopefully people continue to join our journey and enjoy the music then I really can’t ask for more.
If people want to find out more about you where should they go? Louis: Hit us up on our IG or FB @TheWorstGuysOfficial and drop us a like and a follow, we’re regularly posting content on our pages and giving updates about future releases. For now my personal account is @Louis_D_Prince but that might change so follow our band page and drop us a message if you want. Stay blessed y’all.
Joe: Our music is available on all platforms including Spotify,Apple Music and Bandcamp! Follow my personal account: @joecmarsh and drop me a dm about an album I forgot to mention. Peace and love.
Birmingham based hip-hop duo Joe Marsh and Louis Prince aka The Worst Guys have released their second single of the year ‘Platform’. The single is the follow up to February’s ‘No Celebrations’. In anticipation of the new single the duo also released the ‘Greenhouse Freestyle’ a couple of weeks ago which can be watched here.
Today is also Bandcamp day, the monthly promotional day where Bandcamp waives all their artist fees, meaning 100% of revenue goes to the artists. Listen to and buy the track below.