Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Best of October

October was yet another very strong month for new releases, many of which should be making quite an impact on a few end of year lists (including mine). Yes, from the experimental hip-hop duo Run The Jewels to Caribou's alt-house and Taylor Swift's bubblegum pop, that's right, I said Taylor Swift. It is also that time of year were we start hearing snippets for whats to come next year, namely Panda Bear and AlunaGeorge among others. So without further adieu, here is the music I've been thoroughly enjoying this past month (in no particular order):

Albums of the month (playlist below):

Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Over the last decade LA producer Steven Ellison (A.K.A Flying Lotus) has dropped some of the most interesting and ambitious electronic/hip-hop records [arguably] of all time (Los Angeles, Cosmogramma), though his last record Until The Quiet Comes was a lot tamer he has certainly upped the ante with his latest release. The entire record screams boldness and liveliness, from the explosive cover art to the excessive use of retro video game samples as well as off-kilter synths and drum patterns - Fly-Lo's specialty. This record isn't all style however, the substance is pretty damn good also; You're Dead! contains some of his finest tracks to date with the likes of 'Coronus, the Terminator', 'Siren Song' and his massive Kendrick Lamar collaboration 'Never Catch Me', which sounds even better in the context of the album. 

Pharmakon - Bestial Burden

Anyone who took the time to check this out is probably thinking WTF at this point, and rightfully so, this is an extremely difficult record from one of the most difficult and inaccessible sub-genres (power electronics). What makes me like this record so much is how visceral it is; you can really feel with every listen the passion and energy Margaret Chardiet is putting into the creation of her music. From the rhythmic beats and out-and-out growling on 'Intent or Instinct' and 'Autoimmune', gagging and retching on interlude 'Primitive Struggle' to what can be best described as a Disney princess having a mental breakdown of some kind on the closing track, there is never a dull moment with this record. 

Caribou - Our Love

Electronic music veteran Dan Snaith has been releasing lush and eclectic folktronica/house records for well over ten years and this, his seventh studio album in total Our Love is easily his most straight-forward 'dance' record yet. Though this doesn't come close to the greatness of Swim or Andorra, tracks such as 'Mars', 'Second Chance' and the title track are some of the best he's ever put out.

Grouper - Ruins

Liz Harris (A.K.A Grouper) has one of the most consistently excellent discographies of any contemporary artist. In ten(!) releases she has never failed to deliver moving, skillful and engaging ambient/drone pieces with a strong sense of melody (particularly on her later releases). Ruins, a collection of tracks Harris recorded a few years ago during a residency in Portugal is no exception; the instrumentation is mainly subtle piano yet Harris never fails to hold my full attention.

Run The Jewels - RTJ 2

There really isn't much to say about this record other than that EL-P and Killer Mike have delivered yet another solid experimental hip-hop record which is both 'out-there' and accessible, even to those who care little about rap. The increase number of guest features ensures that there is a healthy progression from their debut. 

Songs of the month (playlist below)

Panda Bear - Mr Noah

Following the rather disappointing Tomboy, it appears Panda Bear is back on top form (a la Person Pitch) with 'Mr Noah', the lead single from his forthcoming 2015 album Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper. With its driving beat and disorientating chorus, could his latest output be his strongest release to date?

AlunaGeorge - Supernatural

After over a year of constant hype, AlunaGeorge released their debut album Body Music to a lukewarm reception, and rightfully so, it wasn't very good. At this point I was pretty sure that would be the end of the duo, but thankfully it wasn't and last month they returned with their best track yet. 'Supernatural' shows that there is plenty still to come from this duo.

Rosie Lowe - How'd You Like It

Hot off the musical press, iplugtoyou favourite Rosie Lowe continues to fly the flag for underrated home-grown talent with new track 'How'd You Like It', which contains her most audacious and confident vocal delivery to date and like all of her tracks thus far is backed by stirring hypnotic production. With a new EP this month and a debut album to follow next year, Rosie continues to be one to look out for. 

Screaming Females - Wishing Well

Ugly was one of the best indie rock albums of the last decade, and now Screaming Females are back with a new single and the promise of a follow up in the new year. With an increased emphasis on melody and an explosive chorus; 'Wishing Well' is easily their most accessible track to date. I predict that their new album could be yet another corker.

Shura - Indecision

If you've been keeping up with these posts I'm sure you'll vaguely recall me talking about up-and-coming pop chanteuse and her very excellent single 'Just Once'. Well now she's bringing us back to the 80's (not like I've ever been there but whatever); subtle tropical soundscapes and breathy vocals create yet another stunning listening experience.  

Find below a handy playlist of the best things I heard in October, with a playlist of my vlogs below that: