This Week's Best Album Streams: 3rd April 2012
This week's list has been the hardest to compile. Not because of lack of quality on the internets, but the exact opposite. Streams by Wallis Earl Beal and Chromatics, two of 2012’s finest albums, have dominated my listening time, only interrupted by watching Orbital’s Wonky video and listening to, our SXSW correspondent, Shell Zenner's new show on Amazing Radio (Friday 1pm peeps). It’s been a good week.
But, like a cheeky fag between bands, old habits die hard and come the evening the cravings for a new stream fix are rampaging. Luckily my late nights in headphones have been well spent; swooning over the remarkable Lindsay Fuller and lifting my jaw off the floor after hearing Clark. So put those memories of Viva Brother to rest and enjoy the best of this week's album streams.
Lindsay Fuller – You, Anniversary (oxfordamerican.com)
Fuller’s crunching country is ruggedly authentic with minor chords, shattering drums and a vibrato voice similar to Lucinda Williams at her most rawkus. Although she now resides in Seattle, You, Anniversary still oozes Southern death-grit and gothic Hammond confessionals which would make Nick Cave shudder, and marks her as a unparalleled talent. Forget those fey beardy-hipster Americana types, Fuller is the real deal and a definite name for the future. And yes, you do owe me for introducing her to you.
Evans The Death – Evans The Death (artrocker.tv)
There’s nothing quite like the youthful exuberance of pure indiepop; witty lyrics about the everyday and wry observations of the mundane, cocooned in genuine fun. Katherine Whitaker’s, lo-fi Marijen Van der Vlugt- esque, vocals sound excitably empowering amongst the crunching fuzzbox and popping drums. Evans The Death manage to make timeless dance-floor pop which is energising and beautiful.
Alabama Shakes – Boys and Girls (npr.org)
Now The Black Keys are proper superstars we need Alabama Shakes to fill our rootsy rock socks and they’re happily obliging. Boys and Girls is full on from the start, with Stones riffs clawing at the speakers and Brittney Howard’s raw soul voice evangelising with aplomb. This is old fashioned (read timeless) rock n roll fresh straight outta ’71.
Weird Dreams – Choreography (hypemachine.com)
Once you see past the 60s So-Cal sheen, London’s Weird Dreams’ post punk angularisms become clear, particularly on the almost disjoined Faceless. It manages to balance traditional psych melodies with noir-C86 guitars without pandering to either. Instead, it creates an intriguing juxtaposition of styles which sound eternal and wonderful. Its dark harmonies combine to create a truly exciting debut album.
Orbital – Wonky (nme.com)
My man and boy love of Orbital is no secret, be it arms in the air at festivals or ‘tired’ in a corner of a sweaty venue. So can I be objective about Wonky? Yes. It lacks their signature euphoria and the beats are slightly wayward, yet they’re able to make an album which ignores trends to create an invigorating dance record without any pretentions.
Sea Of Bees – Orangefarben (thelineofbestfit.com)
With a guitar and the gentlest voice Julie Ann Baenzinger is able to conjure visions of love and loss battling across a great wilderness. Orangefarben is more mature than her debut and rooted in tinglingly classic American twee-rock. The heart wrenchingly DIY cover of John Denver’s Leaving 'On A Jet Plane', alone makes it an essential and wonderful listen.
Clark – Iradelphic (totallyfuzzy.com)
Recording Iradelphic pretty much all over the world during different periods has allowed Clark to craft a phenomenally disjointed album of piercing rhythms and live instrumentation without giving in to naff world-tronica. His production majesty allows prog-rock-lite synths to sound confidently humble between itchy bleeps and creeping bass. Clark’s ability to flutter between genres, while remaining grounded in innovation, makes Iradelphic a masterpiece.
Del La Souls Plug 1 and Plug 2 Present First Serve (3voor12.com)
A hip hop concept album about two friends trying to be rappers is hardly the greatest idea, especially from a band whose heyday was 20 years ago. Luckily, First Serve is more of a slick 70s homage than overblown hip-opera. It manages to sound both cinematic and, with Tennis and Must B The Music, enjoyably anthemic. A great return.
Hear an amazing album stream this week? Then Tweet me @HiDavidNewbury.
Don't Miss Out
Stay Connected with The 405
- Follow @the405
I won't be alone in saying the only music I've cared about since Friday has been the Beastie Boys' back catalogue. As I charged along Camden's pavements during the Crawl it was the Beasties I was listening to; even while watching the bands, I was just waiting to put my iPod back on. [read more]
So how about those Grammys, eh? Yeah I don't have an opinion on the Grammys. And neither should you – they're a institution of fossils who somehow have retained their basic auditory functions, but perfectly preserved their Jurassic musical tastes. Which is why Mumford and Sons have featured heavily in the ceremony the past couple of years. [read more]
So I guess iTunes is the proprietary platform for streaming albums now? Last week it was the place to hear the new Bowie, and this week it's holding an exclusive listening party for that guy from N*Sync's comeback record (which maybe isn't quite as anticipated as The Next Day, even if they both the performer in question turned out to be pretty good actors and have both had terrible haircuts). You know Justin Timberlake owns MySpace as well, right? [read more]
This week I have mostly been reading up on video game addiction. This is both for my real-life job – I'm writing an article based on this particularly amusing news story out of China - but also because I've spent a disproportionate amount of time playing Minecraft. [read more]