The best new albums of the month, February 2014

  • 0
I heard a lot more albums in February than I did in January, probably down to the release schedule more than anything else, but it makes whittling down to ten that little bit harder. There were 25 contenders this time, the only one I didn't get around to hearing was the new Guided By Voices, which is annoying as there will be another along in a minute (or mid-May if you are being pedantic). To aid my decision making process, I gave Beck's 'Morning Phase' a bye-ball. It's currently number one, and even though it's good, there is little point in me highlighting it here if most of you are already aware of it. Anyway, on with the ten...

Sun Kil Moon 'Benji'
my review (the 405)
My most played album of 2014 so far. "In nearly every song on Benji, someone dies. Family members, friends, celebrities, people in the news; they all pass away. This album packs a huge emotional punch as it tells its stories, often solely through Mark Kozelek's baritone vocal and his skilful yet gentle guitar playing. It moves, entices and, in some places, even amuses..."

Wild Beasts 'Present Tense'
An immediate inclusion for Wild Beasts fourth album, underlining the fact that they are one of the finest bands in the land. Familiar themes return from their previous albums, and although much has made of the fact that Present Tense was written more on computers than through traditional instruments, it doesn't sound remarkably different. They are still stretching and progressing.

Cheatahs 'Cheatahs'
my review (the 405)
"At times it seems to be too much under the influence of My Bloody Valentine – even the cover art evokes them – and their contemporaries, yet it does what it does very well and it would be harsh to overlook the fact that this is a strong debut in its own right."

St Vincent 'St Vincent'
Annie Clark is back to steering her own ship after last year's well received collaboration with David Byrne. Channelling Prince, Abba, and the inevitable Talking Heads along with her own sound 'St Vincent' took a couple of listens for me, but I'm now convinced it is one of her best records to date.

Angel Olsen 'Burn Your Fire For No Witness'
Her voice is pure country, but it collides with an indie-rock fuzz with impressive results. Another album that I have played a lot this month.

Marissa Nadler 'July'
Marissa's releases are often beautiful and this is no exception. with a collection of memorable, melancholic tunes, and a vocal delivery which is second to none.

SUNN O))) & Ulver 'Terrestrials'
A collaborative album in which the loudest band I have ever seen (SUNN O)) prove they can work with much lower volumes with their friends Ulver. The familiar doom-laden progressions collide against a blissed-out, almost desert-like ambience, where distant mariachi trumpet pierces the wall of sound.

The Notwist 'Close to the Glass'
The first thing that struck me about 'Close to the Glass' was how good it actually sounds, it is brilliantly recorded. There are tunes as well of course, ranging from the fantastic indie-rockers 'Kong' and '7 Hour Drive' to the Eno-esque 'Lineri'. A welcome return.

Death Vessel 'Island Intervals'
Another long awaited follow-up, the enigmatic Death Vessel takes his haunted yet uptempo Americana and gives it a bit of an Icelandic make-over, complete with Jonsi from Sigur Ros sharing vocals on one track. Delighted to see DV return as I had almost written off the chance of another album.

Lost in the Trees 'Past Life'
A smoother, less bleak release than its predecessor 'The Church that Fits Our Needs', this has some lush songwriting and some moodier pieces as well. Another grower.

No comments:

Post a Comment