29 March releases – Reviewed and rated

Due to very forseen delays in being able to both listen to new music and write about it, this is the rather delayed ratings from 29th March. It’s a shorter list than normal as I’m trying to do two weeks at once.

Playlist at the bottom.

Lower Slaughter – Some Things Take Work

Album 0f the week. Heavy, raucous, clever. A right rollocking riff-tastic grind and a worthy successor to their brilliant debut ‘What Big Eyes’.

Rating: 8/10Read full review

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Zefur Wolves – Truth Is In The Stars

Droning, drawly alt-indie rock with some pop undertones. A satisfyingly languid assault on your senses.

Rating: 7.5/10

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Brutus – Nest

Math-rock and metal from this Belgium trio that has distinct resemblances to Rolo Tomassi, and there’s no great shame in that.

Rating: 7/10

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White Denim – Side Effects

Another competent piece of work from the Texan alt-rockers. Not sensing any particular new direction in what they do on this album, but what they do, they do well.

Rating: 7/10

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The Underground Youth – Montage Images Of Lust & Fear

Elements of the Velvet Underground in this and the Berlin/Manchester post-punk band have some distinct resemblence to fellow Germans Die Nerven, who featured highly on my albums of the year list for 2018 with Fake. This doesn’t quite reaching the heights of that album but definitely worth a listen for fans of Bauhaus, Nick Cave and Joy Division.

Rating 6.5/10

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Show Me The Body – Dog Whistle

American style punk with a touch of nu-metal. A bit sludgy and tough going at times.

Rating: 6/10

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Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to this week’s selected new releases.

New Music Friday 05 April – What to listen to

Firstly, if you’re wondering where the releases from 29 March are, fear not, I’ll be working my way through those too this week and will review the best of them. As a result, the list of releases on my playlist for this week is slightly shorter than normal but should still contain some great nuggets.

Playlist at the bottom.

Circa Waves – What’s It Like Over There?

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Cowboy Flying Saucer – Travel Lodge

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W. H. Lung – Incidental Music

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JAWS – The Ceiling

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Priests – The Seduction Of Kansas

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Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to this week’s selected new releases.

22 March releases – Reviewed and rated

Here’s a brief run down of what was release on 22nd March

Playlist at the bottom.

These New Puritans – Inside The Rose

Album of the week. Another great piece of work from Southend’s Barnett twins

Rating: 7.5/10Read full review

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Zeal & Ardor – Live in London

A great introduction to this blistering gospel/death metal act. There’s little in the way of audience interaction but a lot of good, tight music. Sound quality could be better.

Rating: 7.5/10

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L.A. Witch – Octubre (EP)

Dark, brooding 60’s influenced psych-rock-pop that’s well worth 15 minutes of your time.

Rating: 7/10

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Crows – Silver Tongues

Initially disappointing debut from this heavy post-punk outfit. Was growing on me by the end. One to return to

Rating: 6.5/10

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Apparat – LP5

Note of interst from the German electronic musician, but it feels like the album never really goes where you expect it to.

Rating: 6/10

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La Dispute – Panorama

Some interesting moments on this from the American post-hardcore band, just not enough of them.

Rating 6/10

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Ibibio Sound Machine – Doko Mien

Some nice squelchy and funky sections in this, but overall not quite my cup of tea. Fans of Nile Rogers might appreciate.

Rating: 5.5/10

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Sleeper – The Modern Age

Clearly haven’t moved on much from their nineties hayday. Perhaps they should have stayed there.

Rating: 5/10

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Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to this week’s selected new releases.

New Music Friday 22 March – What to listen to

Not sure if I’m in a mood this week but didn’t unearth a huge amount of releases of interest this week, but the new one by These New Puritans looks promising. There’s a debut album from Crows, who are supporting the fabulous IDLES on tour this spring and a live album from the genius Gospel/Death Metal crossover that is Zeal & Ardor. 90s indie-rock stalwartsSleeper also return with their first new album in 21 years.

Playlist at the bottom.

These New Puritans – Inside The Rose

Listen on Spotify

Crows – Silver Tongues

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Zeal & Ardor – Live in London

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Sleeper – The Modern Age

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L.A. Witch – Octubre

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La Dispute – Panorama

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Apparat – LP5

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Ibibio Sound Machine – Doko Mien

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Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to this week’s selected new releases.

15 March releases – Reviewed and rated

The Comet Is Coming produced my surprise album of the week. No-one was more surprised than me to be waxing lyrical about space jazz. The Cinematic Orchestra also produced another album of classy laid back tracks and there’s a nice spot of raggamuffin from Shy FX.

The Comet Is Coming – Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery

Jazz for the dancefloor, featuring the wondrous saxophone and clarinet work of Sons of Kemet’s Shabaka Hutchings. Surprisingly accessible, surprisingly good.

Rating: 8/10 – Read full review

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The Cinematic Orchestra – To Believe

More classy emotive and enveloping soundtracks from these damn-fine purveyors of blissful grooves and soundscapes.

Rating: 7.5/10

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Shy FX – Raggamuffin SoundTape

Hugely enjoyable combination of dub, reggea, soul and DnB.

Rating: 7/10

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Karen O & Danger Mouse – Lux Prima

Soft and dreamy electro-pop on this collaboration album that’s perfect for a sunny afternoon chill-out.

Rating 7/10

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Devlin – The Outcast

The self-styled ‘White rapper from Daggers’ turns out a powerful grime album that’s sure to get your pulse racing.

Rating: 6.5/10

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The Brian Jonestown Massacre – The Brian Jonestown Massacre

They got to 18 studio albums before deciding to do an eponymous one. And well deserved, this is very Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Rating: 6.5/10

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Chai – Punk

All-girl Japanese pop-punk, and all that that entails.

Rating: 6/10

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Auld – Mainstream Music

A combination of indie and electro pop that is easy on the ears. Not going to leave a lasting impression.

Rating: 6/10

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Hans Zimmer – The World Of Hans Zimmer – A Symphonic Celebration

A poor example of the work of this excellent composer. Better track selection could have transformed this album into a genuine work of genius.

Rating: 5.5/10Read full review

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Flevans – Part Time Millionaire

A combination of funk, soul and electronica that lost my interest fairly quickly.

Rating: 5/10

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Snarky Puppy – Immigrance

This jazz and funk collective failed to float my boat.

Rating: 5/10

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Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to this week’s selected new releases.

New Music Friday 15 March – What to listen to

Looking forward to the new one by The Cinematic Orchestra this week, the band having produced some outstanding tracks in the past. The Brian Jonestown Massacre are back after what only seems like a couple of months since their last effort, and I’m looking forward to bathing myself in a bit of cinema soundtrack wondrousness from Hans Zimmer.

The Cinematic Orchestra – To Believe

Listen on Spotify

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – The Brian Jonestown Massacre

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Karen O & Danger Mouse – Lux Prima

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Auld – Mainstream Music

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The Comet Is Coming – Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery

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Hans Zimmer – The World Of Hans Zimmer – A Symphonic Celebration

Listen on Spotify

Chai – Punk

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Shy FX – Raggamuffin SoundTape

Listen on Spotify

Devlin – The Outcast

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Snarky Puppy – Immigrance

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Flevans – Part Time Millionaire

Listen on Spotify

Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to this week’s selected new releases.

08 March releases – Reviewed and rated

Despite my initial fears, this week turned out to have a little bit of gold dust sprinkled on it, with a shockingly great album from Foals. Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind offered us some good ‘ol rock ‘n roll while Flight of the Conchords proved their music can still make us laugh.

Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1

Shockingly good first half of a two-part album by the increasingly mature Foals. A masterful display of how to build up songs.

Rating: 8.5/10Read full review

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Flight of the Conchords – Live in London

The comedy duo are at their very best in this live show from 2018.

Rating: 8/10Read full review

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Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind – CollectiV

Numerous styles on display here, but at heart this is a very well executed rock ‘n roll album.

Rating: 7/10Read full review

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Indoor Pets – Be Content

Upbeat, preppy post-punk pop that’s a riot to listen to, though not hugely original.

Rating: 7/10

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The Coathangers – The Devil You Know

Lo-fi indie rock with some punk pretensions. Enjoyable but not setting the world on fire.

Rating: 6.5/10

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Sasami – Sasami

Oh-so gentle indie rock in classic singer-songewriter style from the former Cherry Glazzer member. There are some engaging moments that suck you in, just not enough of them.

Rating: 6.5/10

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Stella Donnelly – Beware of the Dogs

Female singer-songwriting in the vein of Lily Allen and Kate Nash. Bar the sometimes acerbic lyrics this is a little vanilla for my taste.

Rating: 6/10

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Nick Waterhouse – Nick Waterhouse

50s and 60s influenced beach rock. You would be better spending your time listening to the source material.

Rating: 6/10

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Ten Fé – Future Perfect, Present Tense

Dreamy pop with a folky influence. Perfectly inoffensive.

Rating: 6/10

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Malihini – Hopefully, Again

Softly, softly pop from this italian duo. Music to fall asleep to.

Rating: 5.5/10

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Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to releases from 8th March.

New Music Friday 08 March – What to listen to

Slightly slimmer pickings this week following a bumper crop or quality releases last week. However, there still may be some promise in the new material from Foals, Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind and Stella Donnelly, along with a live album from Flight of the Conchords.

Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1

Listen on Spotify

Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind – CollectiV

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Stella Donnelly – Beware of the Dogs

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Flight of the Conchords – Live in London

Listen on Spotify

Nick Waterhouse – Nick Waterhouse

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Indoor Pets – Be Content

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Sasami – Sasami

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Malihini – Hopefully, Again

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The Coathangers – The Devil You Know

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Ten Fé – Future Perfect, Present Tense

Listen on Spotify

Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to this week’s selected new releases.

01 March releases – Reviewed and rated

As hoped, this week turned out to contain some fantastic releases, though there were some disappointments on show too. FEWS managed to scoop the highest rating of the year so far, but kudos also to Snapped Ankles and Little Simz for some highly impressive albums.

FEWS – Into Red

A superb sophomore from the post-punk noise rockers that should see them move from a band with promise to broader acceptance.

Rating: 9/10Read full review

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Snapped Ankles – Stunning Luxury

An fantastically bonkers blend of dance, psych, post-punk and avent garde that almost always hits the spot.

Rating: 8/10Read full review

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Little Simz  – GREY Area

An uplifting and powerful rap album. Little Simz manages to find optimism among hardship, while calling out some of the stereotypes found in rap culture.

Rating: 7.5/10Read full review

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Octo Octa – For Lovers (EP)

Three highly competent house tracks that are a treat for both your mind and your feet.

Rating: 7/10Read full review

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While She Sleeps – SO WHAT?

Classic metalcore from the Sheffield band. Nothing new here but it is exceptionally well executed.

Rating: 7/10

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Lonesome Shack – Desert Dreams

Edgy country blues and urban folk rock that is a lot better on the ear than you might expect from that description.

Rating: 7/10

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Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – Yn Ol I Annwn

More interesting than normal Doom Metal, thanks to the female-led harmonics keyboards and occassional strings on show. Ultimately, it lacks enough variety in its bread and butter guitar riffs to be a great album.

Rating: 6.5/10

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Sebastian Plano – Verve

Some very delicate and emotive tunes on show in this neoclassical work, but there’s a lack of balance to the album as a whole. It feels like it needs something else to lift it to another level.

Rating: 6.5/10

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Mansionair – Shadowboxer

High production values on this debut from the Aussie indie-electro group. A bit too poppy and polished but some good moments.

Rating: 6/10

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Test Dept – Disturbance

In theory this should be right up my alley as classic industro-rock, but perhaps it’s a bit too earnest for its own good.

Rating: 6/10

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Sundara Karma – Ulfilas’ Alphabet

Some evidence of Arcade Fire and The Killers on this pop friendly album. Quite an enjoyable experience but not hugely memorable.

Rating: 6/10

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The Japanese House – Good at Falling

Etherial pop from solo artist Amber Bain. Inoffensive and occassionally pleasant, but unlikely to leave a massive impression on you.

Rating: 5.5/10

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Tom Walker – What a Time to Be Alive

What you’d find if you went looking for Rag n’ Bone man or Ed Sheeran in the centre ailse at Aldi. Can’t believe he beat IDLES to a Brit.

Rating: 5/10

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Pond – Tasmania

The eighth studio album from Australain psych-rocker fails to raise even an eybrow of interest. Tame, familiar and done better elsewhere. Yawn.

Rating: 4.5/10

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Weezer  – (Black Album)

Weezer invoke the spirit of Spinal Tap with their own black album. And this pretty insipid effort prompts me to quote one of the ‘Tap’s most famous reviews… ‘Shit sandwich’.

Rating: 4/10

Listen on Spotify

Here’s a playlist of all of the above should you wish to take a deeper dive.

New Music Friday 01 March – What to listen to

This week could turn out to be an absolute stonker with two bands who produced some of our favourite music from 2017 back with new material. Expect Snapped Ankles and Fews to feature very prominently in the best from this week. There’s also releases from Weezer and the fabulously-named Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard that we’ll be casting our ears over, along with a whole host of other potential goodies as March kicks of in characteristically busy fashion.

Snapped Ankles – Stunning Luxury

Listen on Spotify

FEWS – Into Red

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Tom Walker – What a Time to Be Alive

Listen on Spotify

Weezer  – (Black Album)

Listen on Spotify

Mansionair – Shadowboxer

Listen on Spotify

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – Yn Ol I Annwn

Listen on Spotify

Little Simz  – GREY Area

Listen on Spotify

Octo Octa – For Lovers (EP)

Listen on Spotify

While She Sleeps – SO WHAT?

Listen on Spotify

The Japanese House – Good at Falling

Listen on Spotify

Test Dept – Disturbance

Listen on Spotify

Sebastian Plano – Verve

Listen on Spotify

Lonesome Shack – Desert Dreams

Listen on Spotify

Pond – Tasmania

Listen on Spotify

Sundara Karma – Ulfilas’ Alphabet

Listen on Spotify

Here’s a playlist of all of the above should you wish to take a deep dive into this week’s new releases.