Must Listen: “IV” by Toronto Masters BADBADNOTGOOD

Toronto’s hottest property, BADBADNOTGOOD (BBNG) release their new LP IV this week and jeez, will it breathe life into your summer. This record, the follow-up to 2014’s III (if you sidestep their awesome Ghostface Killah collaboration), cements their status as Toronto’s most innovative and refreshing musical talent.

BBNG are renowned for carving out hip-hop and jazz inspired instrumental music, but IV takes things to a whole new level and even throws in a few sign-along crackers to boot. This is an album you’re going to want to give your full attention to from start to finish.

Sassy sax opener “And That, Too” sets the tone, combining digital synths and drum pads with free flowing sax and bass lines. It’s a sound familiar to BBNG fans as they immediately carve out an enveloping atmosphere.

The instrumental tracks across the LP have been crafted with a surprising amount of restraint with some of the most beautiful moments revolving around simple, repeating synth lines like in “Lavender”. Don’t get me wrong, by ‘simple’ I mean they’re catchy whilst also leaving room for more complex improvised instrumentation to build. It’s a clever formula that creates memorable songs with a depth that keeps you coming back for more.


Arguably what takes this record to the next level is tracks like “Speaking Gently” featuring Sam Herring from Future Islands on vocals. That song in particular has just about the clearest chorus I’ve ever heard on a BBNG album, and it’s the contrast between these moments and the instrumental tracks that bring IV into a world of its own. Combine that with the likes of “Hyssop of Love” featuring Mick Jenkins and you’ve got a record that surprises you every time you give it a spin. For me, they’ve got the balance just right.

BADBADNOTGOOD’s IV is released on Friday 8th July 2016 via Toronto’s Arts & Crafts label.

You can catch them at WAYHOME Music and Arts Festival on Saturday 23rd July . Get yourself there, or if that’s not possible, watch out for my Toronto Guardian review later this month.



About Bill Cutbill 38 Articles
Music Writer for Toronto Guardian. Founder of Toronto label and music collective, Safe Sounds.