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 (10 May): USA Nails – Life Cinema

USA Nails - Life Cinema album cover

The fourth album from noise rockers USA Nails is only 25 minutes long, but during that time they manage to pack in a hell of a lot of riotous bass and crashing guitars. While hugely enjoyable, I got the feeling that the album was kept deliberately short in order to preserve our hearing and mental health.

From the off with Creative Industries we are presented with a bass line that demands your attention and all-consuming, wildly distorted guitars that just don’t quit until the very end. It’s quite an oppressive, head-pounding experience, and probably not one for those who are looking for a gentler introduction to the world of post-punk.

Singer Steven Hodson also does a sterling job shouting his way through the album, but you get the feeling he is just trying to make himself heard over everything else that’s going on.

At points when listening to this I did catch myself thinking, ‘Wow! This is intense’ and there isn’t much, if any, let up in that intensity. There are times, such as on standout track Work Drinks when the guitars take a slightly lighter touch and the approach of the bass is different – that’s as close to a moment of respite as you get. Similarly, title track Life Cinema, with its mantra of ‘Tune in and turn off’, offers a bit more structure that gives you something to grab on to.

By the close of the album, which finishes with a humorous 8-bit take on Life Cinema, you are left exhausted and elated, but also slightly relieved.

Release date: 10 May 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: Work Drinks

For fans of:

  • Christian Fitness
  • Prettiest Eyes
  • Crows

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2018 Music Review – January

January started with a bang – in the sense that a lot a bands favouring loud, distorted guitars decided to get out of the blocks early in 2018.  January didn’t produce a deluge of albums to pick from, those that did packed an enormous punch.

We had the catchy, twangy guitars of Shopping, the alt-rock growling of Shame, the psyche-laden riffs of Prettiest Eyes and the unashamedly power-pop-punk of Marmozets  (lead singer Rebecca Macintyre channeling Transvision Vamp’s Wendy James marvellously). These bands proved that loud punk-laced rock still has relevance in a age of auto-tuned RnB.

But the early contender for my album of the year came from another place entirely. German composer Nils Frahm’s All Melody is a stunning blend of neo-classical piano artistry, beautifully desolate electronicawith a touch of smoky late night jazz bars. This took me aback when I first heard it and, after repeated listening, it still blows me away.

Top 10 January 2018

1: Nils Frahm – All Melody

Standout track: Sunson

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2: Shopping – The Official Body

Standout track: Asking for a Friend

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3: Shame – Songs of Praise

Standout track: Lampoon

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4: No Age – Snares Like a Haircut

Standout track: Popper

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5: Prettiest Eyes – Pools

Standout track: A Sweet Song

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6: Marmozets – Knowing What you Know Now

Standout track: Lost in Translation

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7: The Limiñanas – Shadow People

Standout track: Shadow People

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8: Arrows of Love – Product: Your Soundtrack To The Impending Societal Collapse

Standout track: Signal

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9: Starcrawler – Starcrawler

Standout track: Love’s Gone Again

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10: Dirtmusic – Bu Bir Ruya

Standout track: Bi De Sen Soyle

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