Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Recommended Albums: January 2013

New year, new format. This time I'm going to do a monthly feature of the new records I've recently enjoyed. No scores, no lists, only what I'm liking at this precise moment be it one album or ten. These are the ones for January:

Pantha du Prince & the Bell Laboratory - Elements of Light
A 45 minute piece of ambient techno led with a multitude array of bells. It's a direction that works well for the German producer and Norwegian bell players alike, and it's not like you're going to find this kind of thing anywhere else.

Villagers - {Awayland} 
Conor O'Brien's debut album as Villagers, Becoming A Jackal earned him both an Ivor Novello and a Mercury nomination. His second, {Awayland}, continues to showcase Conor's niche songwriting, this time with a welcomely expanded instrumental pallette.

Foxygen - We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
If you can put aside a few sleepy lyrics and melodies, and aren't put off by a band who wear their influences firmly on their sleeve, Foxygen ought to make you feel right at home. Their new album does a better job at coercing out those musical ideas than last year's Take The Kids Off Broadway, and there's a good chance that Wes Anderson will be back for them in the future.

Dutch Uncles - Out Of Touch in the Wild
There are a lot of bands being tossed off as art pop these days, but Manchester's Dutch Uncles truly possess the mettle. Out Of Touch is the band's third, and is the kind of colourful, catchy, time signature-hopping stuff you've doubtless heard attepmted elsewhere, but with few of the downsides.

Serafina Steer - The Moths Are Real
A charming and wonderfully varied record of English folk, Serafina Steer's fragile vocals, witty storytelling and masterful harp arangements give The Moths Are Real genuine character and originality. Produced by Jarvis Cocker there's a sense of adventure to every song that adds up to an intelligent, fully formed record.

Darkstar - News From Nowhere
It's not out until next month but the new Darkstar album caught my attention for its innovative range of electronic sounds and textures. It's great to hear a band develop so far into their own style, as News From Nowhere is quite different to their earlier Hyperdub work, and there are a few good songs on there too, so help yourself to a stream.

Four Tet - 0181 / Oneohtrix Point Never - The Fall Into Time
Both of these are albums of unreleased material from highly renowned elctronic producers. Four Tet's 0181 (below) collects some of his early material from 1997-2001, and is available for free download, whereas OPN's The Fall Into Time is a part of his recent 5LP reissue of Rifts that's available for streaming at The Wire. Both are worthwhile for fans of any form of electronic music.

Young Fathers - Tape One
I've already mentioned this as it originally came out through Bandcamp last year, but Young Fathers' Tape One has this month been reissued on Anticon, and it's defenitely worthy of pointing out again. Some of the most unique UK hip-hop of the last few years, and one to watch.

A selection of tracks from some of these albums will feature in my next Culture Shock mix, due out in a couple of days. There were certainly some albums I missed this month, so if you know of any why not leave a comment? Next month, expect albums from the likes of Iceage, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Atoms For Peace, Veronica Falls and others.

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