Best Records of March 2019 MALK, These New Puritans, The Cinematic Orchestra, Akiko Yano

March 2019 or March 2053? It doesn't really matter as the Brexit negotiations will still be going on, and we'll still be plundering the month's best releases in an attempt to convince you they are worth the last of your money. Here's the latest lot.

Best albums this month


MALK hit the headlines with his Norman Records Album of the Year winning Death From A Love but this is a very different beast indeed. The limited tape on Lost Tribe Sound is an exercise in lo-fi guitar looping with a kind of 90s bedroom feel which reminds us of the tapes on the Shrimper label as well as Animal Collective’s scratchy beginnings.

Ibibio Sound Machine - Doko Mien

They may come from rainy old England but Ibibio Sound Machine try their best to get the party started with blend of afro-beat, funk, disco and electronics that shows no sign of letting up on this third album. They effortlessly blend post punk and Western African influences all led by the exuberant vocals of Eno Williams perfect for getting that forgetting-about-Brexit party started.

The Caretaker - Everywhere At The End Of Time - Stage 6

Leyland Kirby concludes his Everywhere At The End Of Time series which aimed to map the decline brought on by dementia. The final pieces as you might expect are the most abstract, a distant decayed sound in which tiny fragments of glitch and crackle emerge out of the mix as if shards of lost memory bursting out of confusion. A fitting finale to a captivating set of records.

These New Puritans - Inside the Rose

They are probably the only band truly making the sort of music that can even compare to the art rock mainstays of the 80s (Japan, the Blue Nile, Talk Talk) and the ‘90s (Bark Psychosis, Radiohead). Inside the Rose doesn’t disappoint blending the fractured brilliance of their earlier Field of Reeds masterpiece with a kind of orchestral neo-classical grandeur. This is deadly serious.

Craven Faults - Springhead Works

We waited a long time for it to appear but it was worth the wait. This mysterious Yorkshire sound synthesist has the ability in making vintage synth music sound like it was somehow dredged up from the Yorkshire Moors. It pulsates and pulses, slowly altering its feel and texture as if live soundtracking the changing sky on a sunny, windy day in Keighley. Remarkably good.

The Cinematic Orchestra - To Believe

Get your waterworks ready to be turned on with the latest from slow moving soundtrackers the Cinematic Orchestra who make every moment sound like you are reaching the climax to a particularly emotional movie. To Believe is a tour de force of sad piano motifs, shuffling drum patterns and grief stricken string arrangements designed to leave you an exhausted puddle on the floor.

Fennesz - Agora

Ace guitar manipulator Fennesz made the best of a bad situation when he had to move his studio back into his flat. It enabled him to create in a more simplistic way like back in the ‘90s when he first started recording. The limitations that were imposed have led to one of his most direct and noisy records yet. Agora is still full of the fluid beauty that marks out his work against a host of imitators.

Maurice Louca - Elephantine

Some albums can’t help but make you think in terms of size. Some albums are called ‘Elephantine’ and feature a ‘big’ band and make Egyptian influenced free-jazz so hefty you worry the shelf you put the record on might buckle. Some albums, like Maurice Louca’s latest effort, deserve your full attention as it batters you with saxes, with drums, with vocals. This size is made all the more overwhelming because of Louca’s expert hand balancing restraint, and excess.

Akiko Yano - Japanese Girl

Japanese Girl is an Japanese left-field pop reissue courtesy of WEWANTSOUNDS. Akiko Yano was unbelievably just 21 when she made this jazz-funk-rock-pop masterpiece. It probably would still be as impressive if Yano had undertaken the album alone, such is the personality and mastery she expresses when singing and playing keys. But she’s backed by a mighty band, who help create a soundscape worth of her vision.

Nilüfer Yanya - Miss Universe

Miss Universe, the debut album from London based Nilüfer Yanya, is wall to wall catchy choruses and dextrous vocals. All rounded off by her guitar playing that is so confident and breezy, it’s easy to miss just how tricky it can be. The album features a number of skits that satirise the wellbeing industry, but the songwriting is strong enough that these are soon forgotten. A recent live show revealed she’s a fan of Pixies too, for whatever that’s worth…

Talk Talk - Laughing Stock

I make absolutely no excuse for including this. The passing of Mark Hollis made us all very sad but also made us once again listen and be blown away to the records he made with Talk Talk. A straw poll of the office says this is the best - its twin high water marks ‘After the Flood’ and ‘New Grass’ probably contain the best music ever made. We’re so confident about it’s continued excellence that we had half the vinyl pressing shipped in.

Coming to a shelf near you this April

Let’s take a look and see what is supposedly due in April….

Well the strongest week has probably already been with new records from Weyes Blood, Rozi Plain, WH Lung which we probably already told you about elsewhere but further ahead there’s a new record from severely underrated producer Odd Nosdam to pick through, while the Mountain Goats release more of their intelligent wordplay folk. Brummie sound manipulator Bibio releases more grooves just in time for warmer weather, popular and good rapper Loyle Carner remains popular and good, plus more from former Swedes Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation and soon-to-be-big Irish people Fontaines DC. Oh and if all that’s not enough there’s always R***** S**** D** - something we don’t talk about in our office.

Not satisfied? Have a glance at our shifty-as-f release schedule.