Last week the Brit Awards were unavoidable whether it was a diva’s middle finger or Ron Weasley trying to be Bono. But while I nursed a hangover from the ceremony’s free wine, people were out buying Adele’s album, again – a 37per cent increase! More fool them because I checked out free music which isn’t even released yet instead, and of course The 405 lead the way with a stream of Team Me’s excellent To The Treetops!.
Although the mega sales of the Brits’ top albums proved there’s still life in record sales, it mainly showed how bland mainstream pop is. Luckily this week’s album streams illustrate the excitement and innovation in alternative music, so listen to these streams, then buy the albums and support the indie music industry.
This week hasn’t only been albums though; brilliant one-off tracks have been aired including Plan B’s epic new single Ill Manors, Spiritualized’s 'Hey Jane' and Gorillaz ft Andre 3000 and James Murphy with 'Do Ya Thing'. But its albums that matter, so welcome to this week’s essential eight for your aural delectation.
Mouse On Mars - Parastrophics (xlr8r.com)
The German electro pioneers return after almost six years with down and dirty bass grinding beast. Yes their trademark quirky squelches remain prevalent but they’ve discovered da funk and are heading for the dance floor with distorted Mr Oizo wobbles and trippin’ west coast bad-boys. It’s phenomenal album which Justice could only dream of making.
Bowerbirds – The Clearing (Stereogum)
Bowerbirds’ musical beauty has blossomed into a bold emotional statement which represents a watershed for the North Carolina band. They’ve overcome relationships problems, life threatening diseases and orphaned dogs to record a voluptuous account of starting afresh, with boldness and patience. Their entwined vocals and bristling musicianship bask in intelligent and mesmerising folk.
Napalm Death – Utilitarian (cmdistro.de)
Napalm Death have ‘mellowed’ on their fourteenth album, for the better. Utilitarian holds moments of doom melody, power punk circle-pitting and some sax which combust between their guttural grindcore with precision. Perfectly crisp production makes Utilitarian an exciting and varied album propelling metal in an invigorating direction which leaves any upstarts behind, tuning their power chords.
Memoryhouse – The Slideshow Effect (Spin)
2010 Memoryhouse were the new great hopes, coming to smother us with louche hazy dreams. Unfortunately, they’ve forgotten this and opted to Botox any rugged excitement and homogenise themselves into tiresome MOR which simply takes the piss. Listen to it to remind yourself that aspirations are fickle and life is only about death and taxes.
Nite Jewel – One Second of Love (Gorilla Vs Bear)
Ramona Gonzalez’ second Nite Jewel album is part rousing power ballad and part electro croon. Its engrained intelligence is cutting edge yet the use of vibrato ensures there’s a Sade feel running through it, but purely paying homage. One Second of Love is rooted in dark minimal urban beats which are bleak, slick and majestically mature.
Ólafur Arnalds - Another Happy Day (Paste Magazine)
Arnalds film soundtrack was recorded in just two weeks during the run up to Sam Levinson's bleak movie’s Sundance debut. Composing so much imaginative passion in such a short time is miraculous, especially given amount of space allowed for notes to thrive and fade. It’s hardly the most exciting or original stream but it oozes wonder.
Magnetic Fields - Love At The Bottom Of The Sea (NPR.com)
Beneath the façade of an exhilarating and punchhttp://www.the-drone.com/magazine/n of superbly written songs which bravely act as standalone statements which only Lawrence could match. It can get a bit Spongebob on a merry-go-round, but its dark electro twinges consume you like Pac-Man’s cherry pattern.
Yeti Lane – The Echo Show (The-drone.com)
Yeti Lane’s supremacy of psychedelic space age electro is undeniable after hearing The Echo Show. Analogue Wheel explodes in to a nova of bleebs and laser-beam vocals while Logic Winds stomps like Neil Young fronting Crystal Castles. There a laidback Big Sur feel to its pounding synths which seems a bit prog’ but, in reality, is timeless.
Find an amazing album stream, then Tweet me @HiDavidNewbury