Sunday, 30 March 2014

Best of March 2014

I touched upon this a little bit in my last 'Best of' post but to reiterate, in comparison to February, March was never going be that great. Because of SXSW, this month was more about album (and gig) announcements, with the likes of Swans, Lykke Li, White Lung and tUnE-yArDs announcing new albums and the one and only KATE FUCKING BUSH announcing a new 22 date tour (which incidentally sold out on 15 minutes). While it was quiet on the album front, there were however so very good songs released. Most excitingly, this month we finally got the record store day release list!

Here are my highlights of the month just gone:

Albums of the month

1. Mac Demarco - Salad Days
It's been 2 years since the Canadian crooner released his critically acclaimed album 2 and he has not disappointed in the slightest. Like Mac's previous material, Salad Days is light and uplifting, yet, the added psychedelia injects some extra darkness into the mix (see 'Chamber of Reflection'). This is easily Mac's most textured and impressive output to date.

Read my full review on Earbuddy here.

2. Real Estate - Atlas
Melody, hooks, reverb, sun drenched guitars; Atlas, the third full length from New Jersey's Real Estate has it all. From the swooning chorus of 'Talking Backwards' to the immense ascending chord sequence of 'Primitive', there's plenty stoner-rock fun to be had here.

3. Frankie Cosmos - Zentropy
The debut album from Frankie Cosmos is an understated affair; at only 20 minutes it is very short, but still very sweet. Despite it's length it still manages to fit plenty of hooks ('Buses') and charming anecdotes ('Sad'). I see no reason why, with the right collaborators, Cosmos cannot become an indie-pop heavyweight in the future.

Read my full review on Earbuddy here.

4. MØ - No Mythologies To Follow
Although I was slightly disappointed at first listen, after listening again today I was pleasantly surprised at how much this album has grown on me. Songs like the explosive opener 'Fire Rides' and the masterful 'Red In The Grey' are amongst the best pop songs I've heard so far this year.

5. Lyla Foy - Mirrors In The Sky 
The debut album from subtle electropop chanteuse Lyla Foy is a stripped back and modest record. There are some excellent moments still, 'Easy' and 'Feather Tongue' show that Foy can write a mean hook when she wants to. 

Read my full review here.

Songs of the month

1. Kyla la Grange - The Knife
I've been 'bigging up' Watford singer-songwriter-come-full-on-pop-goddess Kyla La Grange for a while now and she is yet to put a foot wrong in my eyes. The steel drum-heavy banger 'The Knife' could quite possibly be her best offering to date. Her new album Cut Your Teeth, due on 2nd June (my birthday, just sayin') is a strong contender for album of the year.

2. Fear of Men - Luna
Following the melodic eargasm of recent single 'Alta/Waterfall', Brighton's Fear On Men give us yet another delectable taster of their up-and-coming debut album Loom (as recently featured on my exciting record store day releases post) in the form of 'Luna'. The song is a no nonsense 'straight into the chorus' kind of affair, just how I like it.

3. tUnE-yArDs - Water Fountain
After the immense 'megamix' tUnE-yArDs' forthcoming third album Nikki Nack, I was worried they'd loose the ram-shackle charm which first made me fall so deeply in love with them and their weirdness. How wrong was I? 'Water Fountain' is yet another totally-bonkers yet totally-brilliant slice of 'prazz & jop' goodness. Oh Merril, how I've missed thee.

4. Wye Oak - Glory
Following the wonderfully tame single 'The Tower', 'Glory' is a much more upbeat and instant number. The funky-as-hell production and shimmering chorus make it easily their best song yet.

5. Lykke Li - No Rest For The Wicked
From the prior buzz single 'Love Me Like I'm Not Made Of Stone', I was worried that Lykke Li might have gone too far to ensure that people stopped labeling her as a 'pop star', abandoning her epic hook-crafting skills in the process. Whilst 'No Rest For The Wicked' is hardly another 'I Follow Rivers'-level banger, the chorus still hits as hard as ever and it is still impossible to get out of my head.

6. EMA - 3jane
EMA rules. Nuff said. 

7. Just Friends - Don't Tell Me
There are a lot of things I am thankful to Steven Spielberg for; Jaws, E.T., Gremlins, The Goonies, Back To The Future but most of all, finding the time to make his daughter, Sasha, because without her, this incredible banger would not exist (plus she's great on twitter).

8. Honeyblood - Killer Bangs
Although I am pissed off that Honeyblood's debut album has now been delayed two months to July(!!!), the duo managed to keep me sweet with yet another vicious grunge-pop tune in the form of the excellently titled 'Killer Bangs'.

9. Swans - A Little God In Our Hands
Veteran rock experimentalists Swans have never been my cup of tea, but for some reason, I REALLY love this track. Maybe it's because St Vincent features on it or maybe I'm just in love with their new album artwork, either way it is very enjoyable indeed. 

10. Allie x - Prime
And finally, a bit of pop from up-and-coming pop star Allie X. Following her excellent debut single track 'Catch', 'Prime' is a flashy and audacious slice of electropop which explodes into one hell of a crescendo. WARNING: this is EXTREMELY addictive.

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