The best new albums of the month, November 2014 edition

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Deerhoof 'La Isla Bonita'
Their twelfth studio album and whilst it is very much a case of them staying within their familiar boundaries - snippets of catchy hooks, skeletal yet tight arrangements making the most of their guitar-bass-drums line up - this time they have taken a step away from the moody synth touches of previous album 'Breakup Song'. The band sound great as ever and Satomi's lyrics manage to be both playful, anthemic and puzzling, almost at the same time, but then that's one of the things we love about Deerhoof.

The Wharves 'At Bay' my review (the 405)
"The most striking thing about London based trio The Wharves, whether it is on record or in their live show, is their knack of combining two lead voices. On paper they are a standard indie-rock trio, comprising Dearbhla Minogue (guitar), Gemma Fleet (bass) and Marion Androu (drums), but in reality they manage to create a lush mix of gently psychedelic folk-influenced music without losing sight of the pop sensibilities of '60s girl-groups and garage rock....At Bay is a musically rich and varied debut which proves that you can still do a lot with guitar, bass and drums when you have as much imagination as these three."

TV on the Radio 'Seeds'

The fifth full-length studio release for the indie rock band is its first since the death of bassist Gerald Smith, and sees the band emerge from that tragedy to create an album full of life. It is much more an indie-pop-rock album and fans of their early doom-gaze material may struggle with it, but it still has an edge to it, and the pop touches are both triumphant and surprising, particularly as some people were expecting a heavy dose of melancholy.

Clark 'Clark'

To file this simply under "techno" does it a disservice, as this seventh album from Warp's often overlooked maestro builds some lush atmospheres along with some doom laden ambient textures. That's not to say that it isn't dance music - you only have to listen to 'Unfurla' or 'The Grit in the Pearl' to hear the floor filling material - but weird tunes like 'banjo' and the sheer beauty of 'Winter Linn' prove that Clark has the variety and the talent to rival the very best of his peers.

Hookworms 'The Hum'

Not only does this follow-up to Hookworms debut sound brilliant, its songs are sequenced together so well as a set - a proper "album" if you like. The bridging tracks are also called 'iv', 'v', 'vi', as if it has continued seamlessly from the debut album. The main elements that made 'Pearl Mystic' such a triumph are still present, though the songs are stronger and the distorted lead vocal is even more of an instrument in the mix this time. The tracks make most sense as part of the whole album, so forgive me for posting a lone one below.

Dean Blunt 'Black Metal'
This has nothing to do with black metal by the way, let's establish that straight away. I wasn't completely convinced by Dean Blunt's previous solo album, but 'Black Metal' is a beaut. Somewhere between noise-rock bliss-out, dub reggae and melancholic rock, he has a knack for putting together delightfully unhinged tunes, with suitably laconic vocals that sit somewhere between Bill Callahan and Rudy from AR Kane. The female counterpart on 'Molly and Aquafina' and the superb '50 Cent' gives the sound an extra dimension.

Alex G 'DSU'

Alex G is a university student who has created a buzz through a steady stream of self-released music over the internet, As far as I know, 'DSG' is his first full length album to see a conventional release and it shows him to be a songwriter with a wealth of influences. It is early days for him yet, but he has been favourably compared to Elliott Smith, Big Star and even the Beatles. This is also a full band record, though his scratchy lo-fi past isn't too far from the surface.

Virginia Wing 'Measures of Joy'

All I know about Virginia Wing is that they are based in Camberwell and they have made one of the debuts of the year with 'Measures of Joy'. The vocals of Alice Merida Richards are central to it all, and her delivery plus the accompanying drifting psychedelia of the other musicians create something not unlike the more experimental moments of Broadcast and Electrelane. It is so much more than a carbon copy of those acts and each listen reveals new layers and twists and turns.

Tim Wheeler 'Lost Domain'
Tim Wheeler's latest solo album is both a tribute to his late father, and an account how a family deals with the dementia. It's a difficult listen for me as my own mum has vascular dementia, and there are so many triggers here, several times the lyrics really hit home. There are no pop songs, and no noisy Ash-style tunes either, and I find it more affecting when he writes reflective short songs, although the two epic songs in the middle of the album, 'Hospital' and 'Medicine', are quite striking.
'Lost Domain' is not what anyone could call an enjoyable listen, but as a cathartic one it works very well.

Exit Verse 'Exit Verse'
Although Geoff Farina's recent run of solo acoustic guitar records have been hugely enjoyable, some fans have been hankering for Geoff to either reform Karate or get back into playing rock music again. Well, Exit Verse is what happened when Farina put together a new rock band, although people expecting a slice of jazzy post-hardcore here might raise their eyebrows at the finished results. Exit Verse has taken on board lots of classic rock influences (Thin Lizzy in particular) and at times this reminds me of Ted Leo or the Hold Steady. It's a grower though, and repeated listens bring out Farina's subtle guitar lines.

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