The best album releases of the month, June 2013

  • 0
Another month, another tricky task of whittling down my ten best albums. June has been the most varied month of the year so far, and I think I've reflected this with these ten. So we've got the best metal album of the year, some of the strongest electronica (and shockingly I haven't heard all of Boards of Canada's album yet!), bleak experimental folk and some ambient drone. When the most conventional sounding album in the list has been made by a member of Fiery Furnaces, you know it's been an interesting month.
By the way, July and August are looking thin on the ground for new releases, so I'll be using those slots to catch up on albums I've missed this year. I already have ten for that.

Holden 'The Inheritors'

Holden is of course James Holden, a talent that some people tend to pigeonhole as a DJ ever since the late 90s, but here on 'The Inheritors' he succeeds in breaking away from that tag by creating a diverse and musically rich album, more in tune with psychedelia than many might expect. It works best in a single sitting as the 15 tracks work as a whole.

Deafheaven 'Sunbather'
The best 'metal' album of the year by quite some distance, and the best release of its kind since Wolves in the Throne Room. Deafheaven's debut just passed over me, but 'Sunbather' makes much more impact. The trademarks of the screaming vocals and double-beater drums combine with lots of melodic touches and guitar lines which owe more to post-rock than metal. An album that may well convert a lot of people.

Eleanor Friedberger 'Personal Record'
Ironically a less personal record than her solo debut 'Last Summer', this sees EF and band developing and refining the ideas of that album and creating something very poppy and accessible. I interviewed her about it here.

These New Puritans 'Field of Reeds'
In a month of 'difficult' records, perhaps this third album from These New Puritans is the most worthy of that tag. Initially impressive, I went through a few days where I couldn't stand it. It's very pleasing to hear a band who radically alter their sound with each release though, and this is a folk-tinged experimental work in contrast to their previous post-punk leanings. Approach with the same caution as you would late period Talk Talk, or recent Scott Walker.

Jon Hopkins 'Immunity'
After collaborations with Brian Eno and King Creosote, this sees Jon Hopkins getting back into his dance music roots. Again another album that sits together very well as a set

Kanye West 'Yeezus'
I tend to pass on the "big albums" in these round-ups, but 'Yeezus' is impossible to ignore. It's an audacious mess by a man who actually admits he does not give a fuck what you think, a move bourne out by the sampling of Nina Simone on 'Blood on the Leaves'. Every time I play it I hear something new, and I'm happy to see that one of the biggest acts in the world is taking risks. I found it all too hard to ignore, or to resist.

Date Palms 'The Dusted Sessions'
A fascinating album where the American desert inspires these psych-rockers to dabble with the most subtle influences from blues and Americana. Although the tracks are long, they are so tightly constructed that they never outstay their welcome, and they are cleverly put together, definitely not the results of jam sessions that the title might suggest. The end result is a formidable American slant on psychedelic bliss-out.

Waxahatchee 'Cerulean Salt'
Although there was a buzz around previous album 'American Weekend' last year, I had never heard Waxahatchee until this release came along. It's an immediately impressive indie-rock record that recalls the Breeders and early Liz Phair, full of short sharp tunes that reveal hidden depths the more you investigate them.

People of the North 'Sub Contra'
my review the 405
"People of the North isn't so much an Oneida splinter group or side project, instead it is probably wiser to think of it as an entity that exists and complements the parent group... ultimately Sub Contra is an interesting addition to that band of musicians' relentless and prolific output.

Gold Panda 'Half of Where you Live'
This follow-up to the acclaimed 'Lucky Shiner' is very much in the same vein and doesn't disappoint, and although it is electronica it comes across as if it is a very personal record; with stories and memories woven throughout it.

No comments:

Post a Comment