This week's best album streams: 21st February 2012
The biggest stream of the week was undoubtedly Whitney Houston’s funeral. Who couldn’t resist watching Kevin Costner and Bobby Brown break down (or storm out) - or even Chris Cornell plugging his solo tour with a TV rendition of 'I Will Always Love You'? Well I could. So instead of trying to think of a third Whitney song I trolled the interwebs for indiepop’s newest releases.
It’s been a hell of a week so far, proudly varied, constantly exciting. Just take a look at our own site, Fanfarlo have turned electro and Scuba’s banging the synths, not only that, but there’s was a new Blur song, sort of.
Whittling down this week’s rundown was tricky, with some quality missing out, such as Hooray For Earth on DIY which is just too Semisonic. But we have found eight essential streams for you enjoy.
The Robert Glasper Experiment – Black Radio (NPR.org)
Jazzy hip- hop seems a bit 1999 nowadays, belittled by sound-tracking identikit cocktail bars. Black Radio’s vast scope, however, cracks the martini glass to ooze ingenuity. If the band’s syncopated playing- and phenomenal drumming isn’t enough, there are moonlit Erykha Badu vocals, rapping from Lupe Fiasco and Mos Def, ending with a vocoder tinkled Smells Like Teen Spirit.
The Dirty Three – Toward The Low Sun (NPR.org)
Warren Ellis’ thousand-yard stare into the abstract is an avant-garde delight of twisting jazz and punishing nihilism which veers between the sublime and disturbed. The Dirty Three always manage to stir apocalyptic impulses, as though the Rapture was an improvised accident, but with Toward The Low Sun they manage to structure chaos with precision.
School of Seven Bells - Ghostory (Hypemachine)
The majesty of these Brooklyn electro-gazers is no secret, and this introduction to Ghostory places them beside the Cocteau Twins with their epic soundscapes. The throbbing disco-gloom of Lafaye pounds the air while White Wind circles driving tremolo melodies and stuttering drums. Ghostory reaches a new level of ethereal elegance even by their impeccable standards.
Cursive – I Am Gemini (Rolling Stone)
These Nebraskan college rockers have returned to form on their seventh album. I Am Gemini has a mature sound, yet keeps Cursive’s spikey core reverberating, with quirky lyrics and fierce guitars. Rather than relying on the nostalgia of their fan base they manage to retain their identity and integrity for an exciting release.
Sleigh Bells- Reign of Terror- (nytimes.com)
The hipster Ting-Tings lose the ability to mix an album properly and produce a tinny record which appeals to children and dogs. Their mid-tempo stomps lack the urgency of Treats and resorts to Fischer Price Pop Will Eat Itself guitars without the fun. Listen to it, forget it, then go and buy Atari Teenage Riot’s back catalogue. Told.
Coolrunnings – Dracula is only the beginning (totallyfuzzy)
Coolrunnings have created an album which immediately grips you with its eclectic and bouncy 60s shoegaze sub-wobbles. It flows between Ramonesy Glam stomps and Talk Talk melodrama. If you liked Galaxie’s Tigre Et Diesel with it electro wizardry then Coolrunnings’ marvellous album is ideal. It’s a fun Vampire Weekend without the tedious Peter Gabrialisms.
My Best Friend – In Ghostlike Fading (Consequencrofsound.net)
Initially, In Ghostlike Fading sounds like a serious MOR record housed in tired Americana, but as its delicate lullabies get between the sheets it morphs into a swirl of texturized space dreams. Cracking Eggs could easily be a swinging porch Spiritualised while ODVIP is Pink Floyd for Hipsters. It’s a mesmerizing record worthy of its place on Warp Record’s roster.
Dirty Ghosts – Metal Moon (Purevolume.com)
Sounding achingly like Luscious Jackson fronted by Juliet Lewis, Alyson Baker’s Dirty Ghosts show those Brooklynite hipsters that San Francisco isFind an exceptional album stream, then Tweet me @HiDavidNewburyigorating record which is unashamedly American. It singlehandedly makes guitars exciting again.
Find an amazing album stream, then Tweet me @HiDavidNewbury
I'm finding it difficult to write about an artist whose music is harsh and brittle, and yet makes me feel so sentimental. I feel like I don't "get" it. Sometimes warmth and familiarity is what we want and expect from music. Sometimes we use it as a comfort or find some small corner of security within a song’s textured walls, and listening to it again and again re-ignites this friendly feeling of companionship. [read more]
UK Garage was at its peak – in my very humble opinion – in 1999-2002 when I was just about to become a teenager. Compared to the Trance Nation CDs and hyper-manufactured pop I heard every day, it was several hundred thousand light-years away. It felt like hearing a part of the future. Completely dropped into the genre with no background knowledge whatsoever, I found myself lapping up anything with a garage break in it, headphones on at every opportunity... [read more]
Movies generally have a soundtrack. It's essential post-production fodder in the film industry; most flicks wouldn't be complete without one; it keeps the action rolling, and raises certain expectations: slow 80s beats or string quartets can get us and our on-screen friends a little hot under the collar; whilst the crashing of a symbol might make us think of something a little more 007... [read more]