The best new albums of the month, August 2014

  • 0
Well this was a tough one. There should probably be twelve or thirteen albums on this page, but I'm sticking with my "ten-per-month" rule. I guess that just means I like these just that bit much more. September is going to be even harder as there are hundreds of albums set for release, but for now, dive in and enjoy my picks for August.

The Bug 'Angels and Devils'

A huge release on which Kevin Martin, the mastermind behind the Bug, stretches the boundaries of dub reggae, hip-hop and industrial noise even further than on the previous album London Zoo.
Its musical range is wide, and the list of collaborators is impressive. We get the gentle touch of Liz Harris (Grouper), the foggy fuzz of Gonjasufi, and star turns from both Flowdan and Warrior Queen.
Martin weaves it all together and creates something that is thrilling, important and very 2014.

Grumbling Fur 'Preternaturals'

Dan O'Sullivan and Alexander Tucker's previous album under this name, Glynnaestra, was well received. Preternaturals is probably even better. It is brief in duration, and some of the tracks are simply bridges between the longer songs, but when they do weave their magic into a full piece it really works. Pitched somewhere on the strange hinterland between the likes of Depeche Mode and New Order, and "electric Eden" style psych-folk, this is an essential listen.

FKA twigs 'LP1'

These selections usually tend to skip the obvious releases, but this debut is impossible to ignore. LP1 manages to combine lots of standard influences (pop, RnB, hip-hop) into something rich, dense and challenging. If you're familiar with last year's EP releases, LP1 runs even deeper into that skewed and emotionally charged vibe. Comparisons to Bjork, Tricky et al, are valid, mainly because FKA twigs is pursuing an individual yet fully realised sound. Easily one of the debuts of this year.

Childhood 'Lacuna'

Another great debut, though this time firmly in the indie-rock/ shoegaze vein. This isn't a case of noise overload though, and strong melodic hooks are present on every track. At times the band's influences are obvious, but Childhood have a few tricks of their own up their sleeve. By varying the tempo and throwing in the odd melodic twist, they've made 'Lacuna' stand out from the rest of the pack.

Susanna/ Jenny Hval 'Meshes of Voice'

On paper, these two seem to have little in common other than their Norwegian nationality, but it is the conflict between their two styles which makes Meshes of Voice such a special collaboration. This work was created for a live performance at Ladyfest in 2009 and it consists of 15 interconnected pieces which form a modern day saga, for want of a better word. The fact that it can move from beautiful, almost classical passages to noisy art-rock whilst still maintaining its flow, is hugely impressive.

A Sunny Day in Glasgow 'Sea When Absent'

Their fourth album, and easily their best, sees A Sunny Day in Glasgow overcome their geographical differences (the members were split across Australia and the USA) to sound more like a band than ever. They are still firmly within the shoegaze sound although there is a euphoric side to some of these songs. The production by Jeff Zeigler (War on Drugs, Vile) may have something to do with it, although the songs still retain that busy, cluttered feel that is familiar from their earlier records.

Adult Jazz 'Gist Is'
It took quite a few listens to convince me on this one. Adult Jazz have an almost abstract approach to songwriting, with tempo changes and twisting multi-layered melodies. There are definite jazz touches but there's also a big Dirty Projectors influence. Every listen to this album offers something new.

Rumour Cubes 'Appearances of Collections'

An impressive instrumental album from this London based six piece. Violin and viola carry all the melodies and the fact that these strings have a powerful rock band driving them along will lead to comparisons to the usual post-rock suspects. However, the sheer beauty of many of the tunes and the skill of the band in taking the route away from bombast and cliché, make this an album should try to seek out.

The New Pornographers 'Brill Bruisers'

Saying that an album marks a “return to form” is a cliché of course, but that's exactly what Brill Bruisers is. AC Newman, Neko Case and Dan Bejar bring their individual talents back to the group, and on the first few listens it sounds like this could hold its own with any of their back catalogue. Brill Bruisers consists of mostly uptempo material, and sounds like it was much fun to make as it is to listen to.

Ty Segall 'Manipulator'
After a prolific streak over the last few years, Ty Segall stepped out of character to spend 14 months working on this double album. That work has paid off, as the album packs a punch, and across the 17 tracks the influence of 70s glam - in particular Bowie and Bolan- weighs heavier than that of 60s garage.
No tracks to stream as Drag City don't really do that, but here is a nifty vid to promote the album.

No comments:

Post a Comment