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2019's Best New Albums & Reissues (so far)

The first half of 2019 will forever be remembered in the UK for its, ahem, underwhelming summer. Luckily for us, black midi graduated from Brit School, we got a double dose of Kevin Martin, and Big Thief failed the 'classic album title' test. Plus Mort Garson wants to remind you to water your plants.
New stuff Reissues Bubbling under... Playlist

Top 25 new records

Jessica Pratt
Quiet Signs

This is Jessica Pratt's first recording in a professional studio environment after a series of home recorded releases but, as the title suggests, she still makes quiet music. In fact more so, as the home-fi film is removed to realise the clarity of her vision. This is an artist growing comfortable with her environment, and baring more of her soul along the way.  

Pye Corner Audio
Hollow Earth

Not to be confused with 2017 EP Where Things Are Hollow (which is really good, by the way), here we have another new LP from Pye Corner Audio entitled Hollow Earth. The third album Martin Jenkins has done for Ghost Box as PCA sees him updating the sound of some of the label’s classic artists. The quixotic electronica of The Focus Group and The Advisory Circle is beefed up with a little bit of techno edge by Pye Corner Audio here.

Theon Cross
Fyah

Theon Cross is likely best known for being the tuba player in the Mercury Price nominated and Wire Magazine album of the year winning Sons of Kemet. Cross plays the tuba with a deftness and fluency that it feels like he's fighting the instrument's identity. The result is a sound all his own, and on Fyah is given a wonderful platform to flex by his band of London's current wave of jazz musicians.

Nilüfer Yanya
Miss Universe

Bold and bright modern pop from Nilufer Yanya, bursting out of your stereo in the form of debut full-length album Miss Universe. The confidence of that title is all over the album’s sound, which combines soul and electronica details with gnarly guitar, helmed by Yanya’s big vocals. It's good folks. On ATO Records.

Dalham
Heat Death

Dalham, as you may know, released his first two records on our magnificent Public House Recordings label - and very popular they were too. For his third he's stepped on up to Castles In Space - a label getting a pretty decent reputation if you ask me. For the uninitiated, this is excellent electronic music with nods to Boards of Canada, Plaid and Concretism. Melodic, accessible but also slightly unsettling. Time to get on board if you haven't already.

Mahatma X
A Mobtown Suite Vol. II

This MALK kid, eh? Fresh from winning our Album Of The Year with 'Death From A Love', here he returns with his future-legendary hip-hop trio Mahatma X and a welcome follow-up to the acclaimed A Mobtown Suite Vol 1. Volume 2 carries on from where Volume 1 left off, but puts it in technicolour adding an incredible array of loops and beats creating a sound collage of dusty beats, Avalanches-like magpie enthusiasm and haunting nods to the golden age of hip-hop.

Nivhek
After its own death / Walking in a spiral towards the house

Portland, Oregon based ambient master Liz Harris aka Grouper self-released this initially, and it disappeared so quick you couldn’t be blamed for not knowing of its existence. Luckily the Superior Viaduct subsidiary, W.25th have us covered reissuing it in all its glory. As Nivhek Harris takes here ambience further into delicate minimalism, where the stark and sheer tonality is all consuming.

Craig Leon
Anthology Of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 2: The Canon

Craig Leon (who produced the first Ramones and Suicide albums!) revisits the ideas he established on his 80s records. Along with regular collaborator Cassell Webb, Leon explores the abstract and the alien to near euphoric effect. Anthology Of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 2: The Canon has been a long time coming. It was worth the wait. On RVNG Intl.

Big Thief
U.F.O.F.

Those of you that worried Big Thief were over when Adrianne Lenker released her solo album last year worry no more. Firstly, she’s done that before y’know, and secondly, here’s the band’s third album U.F.O.F.  Apparently the last F stands for friend as if that info means it make sense. Anyway, you know this lot are a decent band - they’ve shown it twice before, so let’s not let an album title get between us and the music! LP and CD on 4AD.

Holly Herndon
PROTO

Like it or lump it, A.I. and other forms of automation are playing increasing roles in everyday human life. It’ll be good and bad, but it won’t be stopped. Tech pop boffin Holly Herndon’s newun PROTO looks to the exciting and optimistic possibilities of ensuring such changes are on human terms. The tracks were created with assistance from her specially trained A.I., Spawn. Attabot, Spawn. **All pre-orders will go into a hat to win a test pressing or two tickets to see her live at the Barbican** 

The Comet Is Coming
Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery

On their latest LP the futuro-jazz trio The Comet Is Coming encourage us to Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery. Whether or not you think such a sentiment is sound advice is up to you, but one thing that we can all agree on is that this is another incendiary set of electrified saxophonic fare from Shabaka Hutchings et al (he's the one from Sons Of Kemet, by the way). Kate Tempest guests on ‘Blood Of The Past’.

Vanishing Twin
The Age of Immunology

Vanishing Twin fuse ‘60s pop and electronic music in way similar to Broadcast et al. On The Age Of Immunology, their second full length, the band explore the full breadth of their sound by recording it in a variety of non-standard settings, including the Croatian island of Krk. Features some of the most vital flute interventions I've heard in years. On Fire.

These New Puritans
Inside The Rose

The twin brothers Barnett are back: it’s These New Puritans, joined by Graham Sutton (Bark Psychosis) David Tibet (Current 93) and a sizeable list of other chums. In the bobbing, neoclassical wave wake of 2014’s Field of Reeds, the band seem to have found their way into a more energetic, seething post-punk for this one.

Andrew Wasylyk
The Paralian

Andrew Wasylyk spent five months in remote coastal Scotland on a residency. The resulting album, The Paralian, contains a great many instruments, and indeed field recordings, but the core of the album is a restored Erard Grecian harp from the 1800’s. The tender plucked strings of that harp sets the tone for a plaintive, rich and subtle suite of pieces. Out on Athens Of The North.

Flying Lotus
Flamagra

Fresh off making people throw up in the cinema with Kuso, Flying Lotus is back at it again with his latest album Flamagra. As always, the album is a frenetic maelstrom of hip-hop, R&B, jazz, soul, funk, beats, and whatever else Mr Lotus managed to put on between joints. He's also managed to fit in enough guests for a decent music festival with Solange, Tierra Whack and George Clinton appearing as well as lots (and lots) more.

Sarah Davachi
Pale Bloom

New LP from the prolific Sarah Davachi here. Though the Californian composer may release records at an impressive clip (Pale Bloom is her third full-length in little over a year) the quality of Davachi’s output never dwindles. What changes is the means, and on Pale Bloom we find her reconnecting with her first love - the piano. These eerily blissful pieces of minimal drone are hypnotic in an Eliane Radigue kind of way.

Nkisi
7 Directions

Nkisi, on top of co-founding the brilliant NON Worldwide Collective, and being a brilliant DJ, also finds the time to produce. On 7 Directions she has created tracks that operate at the speed of gabber with the texture of ambient, one that is simultaneously intense and relaxed. On Lee Gamble's UIQ label.

Caterina Barbieri
Ecstatic Computation

Caterina Barbieri is one of modern minimalism’s most curious and vital thinkers, exploring a kind of heightened lysergic trance. Ecstatic Computation is a key title, this is, after all, a piece of truly ecstatic music, Barbieri using modular machines and syncopated patterns for the purpose of extreme sensory overload. It’s as valuable as anything from this utterly singular composer.

black midi
Schlagenheim

black midi are one of the most exciting acts to come out of...um....we presume London in some time (actually the Brit School  - disappointed ed) . Signed to Rough Trade and fond of creating a enigmatic image,  this is their much anticipated debut. We at least have their names now (there's at last one double-barrelled in there) and we've been given the slither of info that this was recorded with Speedy Wunderground's Dan Carey. Could be one of the year's biggest new things.  

King Midas Sound
Solitude

Sardonically released on Valentine's Day, this is the best one yet from King Midas Sound, once again stripped back to the duo of Kevin Martin (The Bug/Techno Animal) and poet/music-maker Roger Robinson. The tone is icy and bitter, the many narrations consumed by spiteful jealousy in a post-brakeup haze. All the rhythmic pulse of dub has now subsided, a wraith-like presence which blankets Robinson's malice fuelled spoken word.      

Kevin Richard Martin
Sirens

Kevin Richard Martin is of course the man behind Techno Animal, God, King Midas Sound and of course The Bug. This strike out under his own name is the debut on wax of a new work which was made to document the feelings Kevin had around the delivery, receipt and early days of his first child. The record is therefore tumultuous, emotional and at times heartbreaking. Lawrence English realises a long held dream by releasing it on his Room40 label.   

Little Simz
Grey Area

Little Simz AKA Simbi Ajikawo has already toured with Gorillaz and Anderson .Paak and now releases her third album to date. This pioneering hip-hop artist has broken out of her home conurbation of North London and is living out her dreams with her energetic performances and critically acclaimed albums.

Bill Callahan
Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest

Guess what? Bill Callahan got married....and fathered a child. Lovely news but what it has meant is that Bill's music has taken a back seat in recent years to the rigours and glories of family life. He's more that made up for it though with this 20 track album of new material. Don't panic though, not an endless double album these are short, sharp compositions exemplifying his songwriting talents.         

Ellen Arkbro
Chords

A new slice of explorative minimalism from Ellen Arkbro, one of the most exciting young voices in this area of music. Chords is a simple title for a complex work, with Arkbro working with precise intervals and harmonics to create remarkable sonics. Two versions of the piece are here, one for guitar and one for the organ at Malmo’s St. John’s Church. Out on Subtext.