Sunday, 5 October 2014

Best Of September

A little later than usual but I hope to make up for that soon, here are my favourite tracks and albums of September. This month I feel was more about quality rather than quantity; all the albums and tracks in this posts are pretty much guaranteed to place highly on my best of 2014 lists. The playlist at the end of the post will feature tracks from every artist for a change. Enjoy!

Albums of the month

Perfume Genius - Too Bright

What makes Too Bright special is its ability to shift between these aforementioned off-kilter avante-pop tracks and more stripped back balladry, meaning that the content shows heaps of progression without alienating his prior fanbase. Despite the immense levels of confidence he exhumes on the more instrumentally dense tracks ('Queen', 'Grid', 'Longpig'), we still see moments of emotional vulnerability and self-loathing on the piano ballads, a familiar territory for Hadreas. Closing track 'All Along' has a very similar effect to that of 'Windows', the closer on Angel Olsen's Burn Your Fire For No Witness; through the majestic instrumentation and the defiant sentiment of "I don't need your love, I don't need you to understand, I need you to listen", the album becomes a statement of where Hadreas is with himself, which adds a new level of satisfaction to the record.

Read my full review here.

Aphex Twin - Syro

I'll keep this one brief because this release has been all over the music media since it was announced and yeah, you should believe the hype. Though (as many reviews have already stated) this is hardly anything particularly ground breaking for the genius that is Richard D James, but it is certainly one of his most accessible records to date (song titles aside). From sparse ambient moments like 'aisatsana [102]' to the more dense acid-techno bangers like '180db_[130]' and the healthy in between in the form of lead single 'minipops'. With more music allegedly on the way, these are exciting times to be an Aphex fan.

GOAT - Commune

Picking up were their incredible debut World Music left off; Commune is a trippy exploration of styles from around the globe, from Western surf-rock, African tribal drums to psychedelic guitar twangs with Eastern flavours. With such a melting pot of cultural sounds, it would be easy to cheapen and trivialize their significance, but GOAT do them justice throughout, in the most celebratory way possible.

My Brightest Diamond - This Is My Hand

On her fifth LP, Shara Worden embraces pop sensibilities like never before, yet she still incorporates the classical and chamber pop elements which made her previous output so classy and authentic. The usual woodwind and horn sections are accompanied by marching bands, choirs and synths, taking her theatrics to a whole new level.

Songs of the month

Arca - Thievery

Following some stellar production work with FKA Twigs as well as two phenomenal solo EPs, Arca is finally releasing his debut album Xen in November. As the disturbing artwork and single 'Thievery' suggest, this album is expected to push the boundaries of experimental electronica further than ever before. And judging by this track, Xen could be a late contender for album of the year.

Flying Lotus - Coronus, the Terminator

While pretty much everyone on the internet continue to loose their minds over Fly-lo's Kendrick Lamar collab 'Never Gonna Catch Me', I on the other hand much prefer this slow burning jazz fusion masterpiece. Despite being a mere 2 minutes 40 seconds in length, 'Coronus, the Terminator' manages to change the entire pace of his latest LP You're Dead! and is certainly an album highlight. 

Rosie Lowe - Water Came Down

You may vaguely recall me badgering on about Rosie Lowe and her wonderful EP Right Thing late last year, well after a year of gigging and recording she has finally put out a new track in preparation for her debut album (due sometime next year). 'Water Came Down' is the most uptempo track she's produced to date, yet her soulful twang still maintains the sensuality which made her a name to watch in the first place. 

Kendrick Lamar - i

When I first heard 'i' I thought I was listening to an Outkast track, I am yet to determine whether this is a good thing or not but then again, I like Outkast and I like Kendrick, so I guess it's the best of both worlds. Stepping away from the grit of his seminal Good Kid M.A.A.D City; 'i' sees Kendrick explore a more positive vibe with the refrain 'I love myself'. Regardless of your thoughts on this track, the prospect of a new Kendrick album is still a very exciting prospect. 

Deers - Barn

Now it wouldn't be an iplugtoyou post without a female-fronted indie rock band of some kind, so here's a band from Spain called Deers. There is a surprising amount of hype surrounding these guys and though I am a little confused by it all, their output thus far has been consistently catchy and fun, with 'Barn' being no exception. 

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