Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Recommended Albums: April 2013

There was a lot to get through this month, but hopefully I've sorted out (my take on) the great from the merely good. It doesn't help that some of last month's albums spill into this month, or that some records absent from this month's schedule will undoubtedly find their way to me by this time next month, but such is the nature of these things:

Suede - Bloodsports
Having not been particularly familiar with Suede's previous output (I know they were huge, but I'm only young!) I was at first put off by the bombastic approach to production on Bloodsports. But now it's clear to me that it has some truly fantastic songs. Highly recommended to any type of rock music fan.

Steve Mason - Monkey Minds In The Devil's Time
Monkey Minds In The Devil's Time not only challenges conventions of singer-songwriter type music, bringing elements of musique concrète, country and electronica together, it also presents itself as a sharp and poignant commentary of the condition of modern Britain.

The Knife - Shaking The Habitual
With Shaking The Habitual the Knife pull off as many interesting ideas as the album has minutes (98 to be precise). A landmark album not only in Swedish electro pop but in the wider tradition of experimental double albums, it stands unique and proud.

A Hawk And A Hacksaw - You Have Already Gone To The Other World
Billed as an alternative soundtrack to accompany the Sergei Parajanov film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (i.e. a concept album around this story), there's little to fault with A Hawk And A Hacksaw's latest. Even without visual accompaniment it's an epic story made of Eastern European-inspired folk songs and mood music. Very enjoyable.

Bells Atlas - Bells Atlas EP
A short set - three songs plus two remixes - from the Oakland-based Bells Atlas, who "capture the spirit of an eclectic range of influences, including Highlife, Hip-Hop, Samba, R&B and aspects of Indie Pop".

James Blake - Overgrown
I haven't listened to this one as much as I'd have liked yet. Nevertheless two years after his debut James Blake is strikes again, with an immaculately produced album expansive enough to seamlessly feature guest placements from both Brian Eno and RZA. If you enjoyed the first you probably know that by now.

Big K.R.I.T. - King Remembered In Time
K.R.I.T.'s new tape reminds you why he expects to live up to his name. Some of the middle few tracks may be out of place in my opinion, but the rest easily matches the best of K.R.I.T.'s other mixtapes. He's Southern rap's answer to Kendrick Lamar, and if you've been following him pick it up below!

Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge - Twelve Reasons To Die
If any Wu-Tang member was going hold my attention with a new album, it was bound to be Ghostface. His new record charts the origin story of his persona, and Adrian Younge's live arrangements help him to successfully recreate the feel of a good old gangster flick.

Demdike Stare - Testpressing#001 / Testpressing#002 (EPs)
I've not given Demdike Stare enough dues with Single of the Week, but these new "Testpressing" releases spiral out of the duo's most experimental tendencies. Which means that each track is different; quite unlike anything I've heard in electronic music. Let's hope there's more to come in this series.

Neon Neon - Praxis Makes Perfect
A Neon Neon album is like a lesson in social history, only fun! The subject of this one is the infamous left wing publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. It has track names like "Hoops With Fidel". It's very good. For fans of Metronomy as well as Gruff Rhys/Super Furry Animals and Boom Bip's other projects.

Next month expect new releases by Deerhunter, Savages, the Fall, Daft Punk and more. Maybe by that time I'll have gotten around to the rest of this month's albums. Tracks from some of these albums/EPs can be found on my latest monthly mix Culture Shock (check the channel from tomorrow).

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