Top 50 albums of 2019: 40-31

40: Czarface – Meets Ghostface

A smart hip-hop collaboration between Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah and Czarface.

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39: Blanck Mass – Animated Violence Mild

Album three from Blanck Mass is an intense electronic ride that takes the wall of sound concept to another level. It sometimes feels like you’re listening to two tracks at the same time but if you relax your way into it, it can be very rewarding.

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38: Lorelle Meets the Obsolete – De Facto

A dreamy, scuzzy pop-psych epic from this Mexican duo that grows more pleasing with each listen.

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37: Chase and Status – RTRN II JUNGLE

Does exactly what it says on the sleeve. The duo’s homage to 90s jungle has some blistering tracks on it

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36: Chali 2na & Krafy Kuts – Adventures Of A Reluctant Superhero

Addictive, superhero-themed hip-hop. What’s not to like?

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35: Julia Kent – Temporal

An achingly beautiful neo-classical work with a smattering of electronica. Kent’s cello work pulls heavily on your heartstrings.

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34: The Specials – Encore

The kings of Ska return to put the world to rights – and don’t we just need it.

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33: SPC ECO – Fifteen

An indulgent combination of shoegaze and trip-hop from former Curve member Dean Garcia and his daughter.

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32: Prettiest Eyes – Vol. 3

The third effort from this post-punk trio that uses a dash of psych alongside distortion galore to bring a tasty treat to our turntables.

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31: Metronomy – Metronomy Forever

Cosy synth pop and some very catchy tunes combine to produce a memorable effort from these veterans of the scene.

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Look out for albums 30-21 coming real soon.

Album of the week (26 April): Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – Sacred Dreams

This is the third studio album from Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation, and while it’s not a perfect piece of pop, there’s enough sophistication here to make it stand out from the rest of this week’s releases.

Sacred Dreams takes us through the realms of electro-pop and lazy, hazy country blues desertscapes – all with a dash of psychedelia thrown in.

The album does feel a little front loaded, as most of the best moments feature early on. Opener Feel The Sun borrows heavily on the Goldfrapp model of crowd-pleasing blissful pop. Then follows an unnecessarily early keyboard and effect laden interlude before we are hit with standout track I Can Feel It, featuring a pounding bass drum, incessant keyboard tones and layered harmonics. The hypnotic chorus is fabulous.

The danceable electro-pop theme continues with Desire, Öhrn’s breathy vocal style working particularly well here with the french lyrics in the verses.

The second act of the album signals a change of pace – Hey Little Boy is a slower track with a country blues feel to the guitar work, though there’s still a hint of pulsating synth to be found.

Only Lovers leans heavily on a spacious folky acoustic guitar to match the echo-laden vocal and moves away from the beat-driven tracks before it. The tempo ups slightly with Baby Come On, a blues-rock number featuring some interesting keyboard work and good layering of sound.

However, things start to get a little flabby towards the end. New Horizons is a fairly standard low-key pop number, while Let It Come and Whatever You Want don’t really add anything extra.

The main saving grace of the latter part of the album is Caramel Head, that uses lazy, hazy slide guitar to let you drift away to another plane.

It’s not going to be my album of the year, or even the month, but I reckon some of these tracks will stay with me for some time.

Release date: 26 April 2019

Rating: 7.5/10

Standout track: I Can Feel It

For fans of:

  • Goldfrapp
  • Lorelle Meets The Obselete
  • Ladytron

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The best albums of January 2019

January’s normally quite a slow month in terms of new releases, but there were some great albums making their debut. Here’s my view on the best of the month – and a playlist to boot!

1: The Twilight Sad – It Won/t Be Like This All The Time

Rating: 8.5/10 – Read full review

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2: Julia Kent – Temporal

Rating: 8/10Read full review

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3: Lorelle Meets The Obselete – De Facto

Rating: 8/10 – Read full review

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4: Nils Frahm – Encores 2 (EP)

Rating: 8/10Read full review

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5: Rat Boy – Internationally Unknown

Rating: 7.5/10Read full review

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6: Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow

Rating: 7/10 – Read full review

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7: Buke & Gase – Scholars

Rating: 7/10

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8: Balthazar – Fever

Rating: 7/10

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9: Sneaks – Highway Hypnosis

Rating: 7/10

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10: Bring Me The Horizon – Amo

Rating: 7/10

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Album of the Week: Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – De Facto

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete - De Facto album cover

My first new album review of 2019 is one that I was initially unsure about and nearly didn’t make the cut, but I’m very glad I gave it another try.

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete are a male/female duo hailing from Mexico and De Facto is their fifth album. It’s a glorious mix of pop, psych, indie, post-rock with shoegaze overtones that can send you off onto a hypnotic journey you don’t ever want to end.

The album starts with Ana, an almost-tantric hypnotic chanting track overlaid with ominous bass-heavy synth leading into desolate twisted guitars. This interruption of songs with distorted mind-blowing guitars becomes a bit of a theme throughout the album, and not one that is unwelcome.

There are some straight-out psych rock efforts with dreamy interludes such as on Acción and Resistir – the airy vocals of singer Lorena Quintanilla nicely breaking up the heavier tendancies of husband Alberto González. There are more poppy tracks, such as the disco-groove laden Líneas En Hojas, which would sound a lot like Saint Etienne if it wasn’t for the gorgeous scuzzy guitars filling up the latter part of the song.

There are also some proper wig-outs to be had. Unificado has the desert ‘trip’ feel similarly invoked by The Doors’ This is the End before melding into a shoegaze epic. Lux Lumina offers minimalistic dream-pop that launches into a marvelous full-on maximum feedback sonic assault.

In my view they saved the best until last with La Maga, a 10-minute slow build track that morphs into a wonderfully hypnotic synth-backed guitar groove that just doesn’t ever stop – and gets better and better as it goes along.

A cracking start to the year!

Release dates: 11 January 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: La Maga

For fans of:

  • Low
  • The Limiñanas
  • The Doors

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