After the relative famine of February comes a bountiful feast in March. I could quite easily have made of top 50 of great albums released this month. There’s no place in my list for the reformed and revitalised Breeders, despite a strong effort. No room either for the soulful voice of South African trailblazer Nakhane, the laid back R&B licks of Ty, the all out alt-rock of Turbowolf (yes, it sounds exactly like you think it would), the shoegaze glory of Air Formation or the fuzzy indie-stomp of Cabbage. There’s not even a place for one of my all-time favourite artists, Biosphere – but then if you will make an album largely consisting of farm machinery noises tit risks being quite divisive.
So what did make it into the top 10? Surprisingly, an act as traditionally bluesy as its possible to get made a big impression on me. Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite‘s No Mercy in this Land is a classic piece of harmonica and electric guitar blues rock, that will get your toes tapping and put a smile on your face.
Less surprising was the arctic-inspired techno of Molecule. This type of sparse beat-driven dance music was my bread and butter back in the day.
Gwenno‘s Cornish-language pop odyssey Le Kov has shades of St. Ettienne to it, while remaining truly unique.
Special shout out to veteran industrial metal outfit Ministry. This is the first time I’d come across them since the early nineties and their album AmeriKKKant, is a not-very-subtle attack on Trump’s America, but no less enjoyable for it.
Rolo Tomassi‘s Math-rock opus Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It is an excellent way to get your fix of delicate female vocals laced with death-metal growling. It’s even more pleasing to know both sounds are coming from the same vocalist.
A quick mention for the R&B stylings of Young Fathers and The Skull Eclipses, who did their very best to warm me to a musical genre that has largely passed me by.
Perhaps it should be no surprise that I’m a big fan of Demob Happy, being that the band formed in their hometown of Newcastle before moving to Brighton. Their album Holy Doom lands them somewhere between late-era Beatles, Black Sabbath and Queens of the Stone Age. Initially it took me a while to warm to this album but I adore it now.
The album that finally got me to rethink my view on jazz is Sons of Kemet‘s Your Queen is a Reptile. In some ways to call it jazz does it a disservice. It’s as groove laden, incessant and addictive as any electronic dance music band. The Tuba and drums lay down a wicked rhythm section that just does not quit, while the sax and clarinet take you to a higher plain. Utterly brilliant.
However, it wasn’t quite as brilliant as Slow Sundown from Holy Motors. This Estonian band deliver some beautiful languid guitars that invoke the feel of a relaxed desert road trip. Imagine David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino had decided to rent themselves a Cadillac and cross Death Valley and your getting somewhere close to this haunting piece of joy.
Top 10 March 2018
1: Holy Motors – Slow Sundown
Standout track: Sleeprydr
2: Sons of Kemet – Your Queen is a Reptile
Standout track: My Queen is Doreen Lawrence
3: Demob Happy – Holy Doom
Standout track: Runnin’ Around
4: The Skull Eclipses – The Skull Eclipses
Standout track: Take My
5: Young Fathers – Cocoa Sugar
Standout track: Wow
6: Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It
Standout track: The Hollow Hour
7: Ministry – AmeriKKKant
Standout track: Twilight Zone
8: Gwenno – Le Kov
Standout track: Den Heb Taves
9: Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite – No Mercy in This Land
Standout track: The Bottle Wins Again
10: Molecule – -22.7°C
Standout track: Délivrance