Top 50 albums of 2019: 20-11

20: Sarathy Korwar – More Arriving

Thought-provoking, jazzy dub and electronica with a distinct Asian flavour.

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19: slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain

Punky grime from Northampton’s finest Tyron Frampton. This debut fulfills the promise shown in earlier EPs

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18: DiiV – Deceiver

Classic, sumptuous shoegaze from this Brooklyn band. Something to shake your curtain hairstyle to.

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

An emotive indie-rock post-punk opus dipped in a good helping of 80s synth.

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16: Balthazar – Fever

Funky, melodic guitar pop that nuzzles it’s way into your brain.

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15: The St Pierre Snake Invasion РCaprice Enchant̩

Riotous, affecting and heavy as hell punk that pounds you into joyous submission.

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14: W.H. Lung – Incidental Music

Electronic-heavy indie pop that fans of last year’s storming TVAM album will most certainly enjoy.

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13: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Infest The Rats’ Nest

The band’s tribute to 80s Bay-area thrash metal and one of their most enjoyable works. Like slipping on an old pair of comfy slippers for me.

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12: Warmduscher – Tainted Lunch

Fun and sleazy rock ‘n roll. A fantastic follow up to last year’s Whale City. Guest contribution from Iggy Pop too.

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11: black midi – Schlagenheim

Sometimes bizarre, but utterly rewarding post-punk. An album that requires active listening.

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Things are starting to get interesting now. Next up: 10-6

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Album of the week: Yak – Pursuit of Momentary Happiness

Yak - Pursuit of Momentary Happiness album cover

Yak‘s second album sees them grinding out some pretty heavy sounds, recalling the likes of Sabbath and Zep alongside more recent psych and stoner rock. But they’ve also managed to add in some elements of doo-wop and swing along the way, making Pursuit of Momentary Happiness the most intriguing album of the week.

Bellyache get us underway with a nice bit of distored funky wah-wah guitar and a heavy bass line, that contrasts well with its high pitched chorus. As a opening track it show us that Yak are at the peak of their game.

We get more bluesy on Fried, but the groove-laden bass continues – it’s a track that stoner rock fans will find hard not to appreciate.

Title track Pursuit of Momentary Happiness is a slower number that plays heavily on the atmospherics and keyboards to create a more Floyd-esque feel, before the full-on psych kicks in.

There are a number of other softer moments and 50’s influence on show here, especially in Words Fail Me, Encore and closer This House Has No Living Room. But it is in their heavier moments that Yak truly come alive.

Blinded By the Lies is a good old fashioned rock-out with a sense of urgency and relentless riffs. White Male Carnivore is driven by a single-tone bass line while vocalist Oliver Henry Burslem rants epically over the top, until the track takes a huge turn and we end up screaming along to ‘The Whole World In His Hands’. Pay Off vs. The Struggle is a prog-like number, taken along yet again by a funk-laden bass line.

This is by no means a perfect album, and some of the tracks do say in places, but there is enough quality here to make it worth spending 40 minutes of your time with.

Release date: 08 February 2019

Rating: 7.5/10

Standout track: Bellyache

For fans of:

  • Holy Doom
  • Warmduscher
  • Black Sabbath

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2018 Music Review – June

A varied bag during June with some new artists, some bringing back styles of days gone by and the reemergence of some old stalwarts.

First to Mike Shinoda. The Linkin Park rapper has put on tape what is essentially his grieving process following the suicide of former bandmate Chester Bennington. It’s raw to listen to at times but the emotion gives it a real depth that is often missing in this genre.

Floex and Tom Hodge‘s mix of orchestral beauty and electronica would be the top album of fused styles this month, if it wasn’t for the release of the third album from my favourite gospel/death metal crossover act Zeal & Ardor. Stranger Fruit perhaps doesn’t reach the heights of it’s predecessor but is still a mighty impressive set of songs.

Here Lies Man’s second album once again revives the afrobeat-meets-Black-Sabbath vibe to great effect while Sink Ya Teeth draw heavily on 80’s synth-pop on their debut album.

My top album of the month though is one of my perennial favourites. The Orb was the act that got me into electronic music in the first place. Alex Patterson has, in the past, tended to drift into meandering prog-style twiddling interspersed with dub-electronica. Fortunately No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds is a tight collection of house-dub that would be at home in a club – or at least during the late night opening of a micro-brewery.

Top 10 June 2018

1: The Orb – No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds

Standout track: Other Blue Worlds

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2: Zeal & Ardor – Stranger Fruit

Standout track: You Ain’t Coming Back

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3: Fantastic Negrito – Please Don’t Be Dead

Standout track: The Duffler

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4: Johnny Marr – Call the Comet

Standout track: The Tracers

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5: Here Lies Man – You Will Know Nothing

Standout track: Animal Noises

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6: Sink Ya Teeth – Sink Ya Teeth

Standout track: Control

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7 : Warmduscher – Whale City

Standout track: I Got Friends

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8: Floex and Tom Hodge – A Portrait of John Doe

Standout track: Wednesday (Is The New Friday)

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9: Mike Shinoda – Post Traumatic

Standout track: Over Again

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10: Martyn – Voids

Standout track: World Gate

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