best of 2016
Fat White Family - Songs For Our Mothers [Fat Possum,2016]
David Bowie - Blackstar (2016)
Kevin Morby - Signing Saw (Dead Oceans,2016)
Woods – City Sun Eater in the River of Light (Woodsist,2016)
Damien Jurado - Visions Of Us On The Land (Secretly Canadian,2016)
Soft Hair - Soft Hair (Weird World,2016)
Jim James - Eternally Even (2016)
Methyl Ethel - Oh Inhuman Spectacle (4AD,2016)
Warpaint - Heads Up (Rough Trade,2016)
Savages - Adore Life (2016)
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds -Skeleton Tree (2016)
Alex Cameron - Jumping the Shark (Secretly Canadian,2016)
Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool (2016)
David West - Peace or Love [Tough Love, 2016]
Hope Sandoval And The Warm Inventions - Until The Hunter (2016)
Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch (Sacred Bones,2016)
Daniel Romano - Mosey (New West,2016)
Ian William Craig - Centres (130701,2016)
Library Tapes - Escapism (2016)
nonkeen - the gamble (2016)
Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker (2016)
Tindersticks - The Waiting Room (City Slang,2016)
Marissa Nadler - Strangers (Sacred Bones,2016)
Exploded View - Exploded View (Sacred Bones,2016)
Douglas Dare - Aforger (Erased Tapes,2016)
Preoccupations - Preoccupations (Jagjaguwar,2016)
The Strokes - Future Present Past EP (2016)
Massive Attack - Ritual Spirit (EP) (2016)
Thee Oh Sees - A Weird Exits (2016)
Grumbling Fur - Furfour (Thrill Jockey,2016)
Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
Michael Kiwanuka - Love And Hate (2016)
Liima - ii (4AD,2016)
Promise and the Monster - Feed the Fire (Bella Union,2016)
Peter Broderick - Partners (2016)
Ólafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm - Trance Frendz (Erased Tapes,2016)
F.S. Blumm & Nils Frahm - Tag Eins Tag Zwei (2016)
Dec 25, 2016
Nov 13, 2016
Nov 11, 2016
Nov 7, 2016
My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James’ solo
With "Eternally Even," his second solo album, Jim James has created a world that's equal parts organic and electronic, with a sonic landscape built on layers of modest keyboards that are elevated by the considerable quality of the material and arrangements. What ultimately emerges is a grand bedroom soul orchestra that sounds alternately charming and disquieting.
James' solo debut, 2013's "Regions of Light and Sound of God," was more ambitious in scale and drew from a broader palate but also felt a bit distant. "Eternally Even" is smaller but feels more genuine and less self-conscious as James approaches divisive issues from a place of warmth and positivity. Personal and world politics are consistent themes that he tackles with humanity rather than vitriol as the music artfully echoes the message.
Below the prowling keyboards, which sometimes take on a prog-like quality, is a soul album. "Here in Spirit" and its message of speaking out against intolerance sounds like a classic Curtis Mayfield gambit without aping Mayfield's style. The more confrontational "Hide in Plain Sight" has a muted hip-hop feel with psychedelic elements, a trait shared with "Same Old Lie" and its outro that sounds like world music as reimagined by an all-girl Casio band.
"Eternally Even" sometimes has a homemade vibe but that's deceptive; this is a subtle, complex record that perfectly merges James' political philosophies with his personal obsessions.
Oct 26, 2016
Oct 20, 2016
Oct 16, 2016
Oct 15, 2016
Following his debut Whelm, London-based singer-songwriter and pianist Douglas Dare returns with his new album Aforger.
"In a digital age where memories are mimicked by pixels and identity is as malleable as static, Douglas Dare’s new album Aforger questions the boundaries between reality and fiction. Inspired by recent events and revelations encountered in his life these songs depict Dare at his most vulnerable, whilst simultaneously reflecting our own obsession with reality and technology back at us.
London ensemble Vanishing Twin release their debut album 'Choose Your Own Adventure' via Soundway Records.
Vanishing Twin is made up of singer Cathy Lucas (Fanfarlo, The Oscillation) drummer Valentina Magaletti (Raime, Tomaga, Uuuu, Neon Neon), bassist Susumu Mukai (Zongamin, Floating Points), library music head Phil M.F.U. (Man From Uranus, Broadcast) on strange sounds, and film maker and visual artist Elliott Arndt on flute and percussion."
Drawing on sounds outside of the usual pop vocabulary, the group used forgotten drum machines, home-made electronics, vibraphones, tablas, and harp to invoke the esoteric psychedelia of lost soundtracks, radiophonic experiments and minimal music orchestras. In a studio that Catto built for maximum atmosphere and minimum interfere, and crammed with obscure vintage equipment, he brought his own distinctive sonics to the table, informed by outsider jazz, Italian library music and ethnographic field recordings.
Landing in the slipstream of their Stranger Things soundtrack, S U R V I V E commit their sophomore LP of tempered synthetic ecstasy and space cadet emotions. The spectres of ‘80s sci-fi and horror scores looms large and seeps from every pore of RR7349
“Experimental synth quartet S U R V I V E ' s sophomore full-length and Relapse debut is a dark, sweeping exercise in analog synth mastery. The pulsating, 9-song instrumental release showcases immense diversity between tracks - RR7349's compositions range from grim tom-tom thunder to space-age epics, pairing tense plodding grooves with meditative ambience and driving, rhythmic beats. Inspired by IDM and horror scores alike, RR7349 is simultaneously ominous and hopeful; tense and relaxed; percussive and melodic. Additionally, two of the group’s members recently scored the soundtrack for the hit new sci-fi / horror show Stranger Things on Netflix. RR7349 is a unique addition to the Relapse discography, and unquestionably S U R V I V E ' s best work to date.”
It’s an album that barely raises its head from its surreal slumber, but there’s not a second of its 43 minutes in which the soundscape created by C Duncan feels sluggish. The Glaswegian composer, multi-instrumentalist and graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland creates his artwork and produces his music in his own studio; an insular creative process that results in a contained universe of ambience and eerie euphoria.
The follow-up to his Mercury-nominated album Architect is inspired by the lurching intensity of The Twilight Zone but also shares the melancholy indie atmospherics of Cocteau Twins, Stereolab, Broadcast and Air. Do I Hear? certainly has all the rose-tinted romance of the French duo’s cinematic single Playground Love. There is also an innocence to these songs, a spirituality that, in a year of bold musical statements and political upheaval, provides a soothing tonic; an escapist episode of spectacular beauty.
"Led by the spooky strut of the title-track, the lo-fi four song-set of blues-laced, deconstructed pop announced Perry as an exciting newcomer fluent in a language all his own. People took notice and soon he was performing solo with a 12-string electric guitar, two drums and a bunch of effect pedals and on tour with the likes of Daughter, Iron & Wine, Jungle, St Vincent, Tame Impala, tUnE-yArDs and Warpaint.
‘Utopia Defeated’ is his debut album, an epic, sprawling opus sprung from Oliver’s imagination, written and performed almost entirely by him. Based in the 4AD Studios in London, the album was recorded, engineered and produced by Perry and 4AD’s resident engineer Fabian Prynn. Featuring the singles ‘Satan’ and ‘Walrus’, the ten track album hurdles effortlessly over the expectations set by his intriguing debut EP."
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Before they made intricate, transporting pop for labels like 4AD, Blonde Redhead took inspiration from ’70s no wave and released singles and albums on Smells Like Records, the label of Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. This connection between the bands led some to call Blonde Redhead derivative, but in hindsight — and especially on this collection — the elements that endured in their music and made it special are what stand out.
Another installment in Numero Group’s 200 Line reissue series, Masculin Feminin gathers the band’s first two albums, Blonde Redhead and La Mia Vita Violenta, which arrived in a prolific burst of creativity in 1995, as well as a generous amount of singles, rarities, and radio performances. The set presents this bonus material alongside each…album instead of isolating it, giving a more organic picture of the band’s music during this era.
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