Top 50 albums of 2019: 30-21

30: Desert Sessions – Vols. 11 & 12

Josh Homme’s collaborative series returns with some cracking tunes. A lot of this sounds suspiciously like classic QOTSA and Them Crooked Vultures but there are a few tracks that surprise along the way too.

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29: LIFE – A Picture Of Good Health

Rousing and angry post-punk for the Hull four-piece. A must for any fans of loud guitars.

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28: Teeth Of The Sea – Wraith

An absorbing album that mixes electronica, ambient, dance and jazz with a splash of psych rock and even a touch of avent-garde.

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27: Lower Slaughter – Some Things Take Work

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

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26: 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.

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25: Amyl and The Sniffers – Amyl and The Sniffers

Classic punk on show from this female-fronted Aussie five-piece. Powerful, absorbing and a whole lot of fun.

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24: RIDE – This Is Not A Safe Place

The band’s second album since reforming and they’ve certainly got their songwriting boots back on. Some great tracks on here to rival the best of their early work.

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23: Here Lies Man – No Ground To Walk Upon

More 60’s laden heavy grooves from the LA four-piece. It’s not a divergence from their previous two albums but they’ve certainly nailed this unique sound.

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22: Portico Quartet – Memory Streams

Jazzy trip-hop and electronica that’s perfect for chilling out to.

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21: Christian Fitness – You are the Ambulance

The sixth solo/not solo album from Mclusky and Future of the Left genius Andrew Falkous. As edgy, noisy and witty as ever.

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Not long to wait for albums 20-11.

The best albums of March 2019

1: FEWS – Into Red

Rating: 9/10 – Read full review

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2: Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1

Rating: 8.5/10 – Read full review

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3: Snapped Ankles – Stunning Luxury

Rating: 8/10 – Read full review

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

Rating: 8/10 – Read full review

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5: Lower Slaughter – Some Things Take Work

Rating: 8/10Read full review

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6: Flight Of The Conchords – Live In London

Rating: 8/10Read full review

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7: These New Puritans– Inside The Rose

Rating: 7.5/10 – Read full review

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8: Little Simz – GREY Area

Rating: 7.5/10Read full review

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9: 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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10: 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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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

Listen on Spotify

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

Listen on Spotify

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.

Album of the week: The Comet Is Coming – Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery

The Comet Is Coming - Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery album cover

Fair warning, I am about to use the phrase ‘Space Jazz’. I implore you to look beyond that or risk missing out on a quite brilliant album…

Space Jazz trio The Comet Is Coming have been quite a revelation for me. I first had my ears opened to a bit of jazz last year by, among others, the brilliant Sons of Kemet. Perhaps it’s no surprise that one of the main reasons why Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery is so darn good is the sax and clarinet of Sons of Kemet’s Shabaka Hutchings that features on this album. But it also manages to add some impressive and heavy bass synth work to the mix, adding in some real dance floor credentials.

The album starts off realtively sedate, giving little indication of what’s to come. Because The End Is Really The Beginning is an atmospheric, almost proggy, start to the album with little in the way of beats. It’s a real scene setter that then leads into Birth of Creation, which introduces some nice meaty, throbbing, synths to the clarinet work. You start to get the feeling that the album is beginning to lead you somewhere and building up to something more special.

Which is precisely what we get with Summon The Fire. There’s a pounding synth, great drum work, Hutchings’s saxophone gets its first proper workout – Sons of Kemet-style – and there’s a few nice background effects going on too. This is proper jazz music for the dance floor.

Things then get deeper with Blood Of The Past, with a fantastic mid-tempo hypnotic bass synth line that becomes a proper head-nodder. There’s even a slight mid-eastern feel to the sax work, but what makes this the standout track is the inclusion of spoke word maestro Kate Tempest from the midway point. Even if the word ‘jazz’ sends shivers down your spine, give this track a whirl.

Super Zodiac sees more breathless sax work from Hutchins. Bar the dreamy synths, this could easily be a Sons of Kemet track, but the inclusion of them adds a bonus layer.

The album then starts to ease off the pedal slightly. Astral Flying‘s slower pace allows both the synth and sax some breathing space, while Timewave Zero is more typical space jazz (if there is such a thing) but moves towards a more house-y feel by the end.

Unity offers us some laid back tribal drum rhythms, while closer The Universe Wakes Up provides a low-key atmospheric ending to the album, with just a hint of random jazz wig out (the bit that usually really annoys me).

I’m still not yet a jazz enthusiast, most of it still seems like pompous musical masturbation to my mind, but I can certainly get down with this kind of groove.

Beware the comet, for it most certainly is coming.

Release date: 15 March 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: Blood Of The Past

For fans of:

  • Sons of Kemet
  • Theon Cross
  • Kate Tempest

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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

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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

Listen on Spotify

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

Listen on Spotify

Chai – Punk

Listen on Spotify

Shy FX – Raggamuffin SoundTape

Listen on Spotify

Devlin – The Outcast

Listen on Spotify

Snarky Puppy – Immigrance

Listen on Spotify

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.