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 - WMAIDIT
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 Collectiveâs 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 â90s (Bark Psychosis, Radiohead). Inside the Rose doesnât 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 â90s 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 canât help but make you think in terms of size. Some albums are called âElephantineâ and feature a âbigâ band and make Egyptian influenced free-jazz so hefty you worry the shelf you put the record on might buckle. Some albums, like Maurice Loucaâs 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 Loucaâs 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 sheâs backed by a mighty band, who help create a soundscape worth of her vision.
NilÃ¼fer Yanya - Miss Universe
Miss Universe, the debut album from London based NilÃ¼fer Yanya, is wall to wall catchy choruses and dextrous vocals. All rounded off by her guitar playing that is so confident and breezy, itâs 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 sheâs a fan of Pixies too, for whatever thatâs worthâ¦
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 âAfter the Floodâ and âNew Grassâ probably contain the best music ever made. Weâre so confident about itâs continued excellence that we had half the vinyl pressing shipped in.
Coming to a shelf near you this April
Letâs take a look and see what is supposedly due in Aprilâ¦.
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 thereâs 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 Ãhrn + The Liberation and soon-to-be-big Irish people Fontaines DC. Oh and if all thatâs not enough thereâs always R***** S**** D** - something we donât talk about in our office.
Not satisfied? Have a glance at our shifty-as-f release schedule.