SCM Music’s album picks: January to March – Pandas, Butterflies and Honey Bears
HERE at SCM, we don’t often get the chance to review every single album or song that creeps into the musical world. So with that in mind, SCM Music have compiled some of our favourite albums from the last three months. Did we miss anything? Drop us a comment below to let us know your thoughts.
Ghost Culture – Ghost Culture
Ghost Culture’s eponymous debut album is without a doubt one of the best of the year so far. Lodged somewhere between Ambient drones and beat driven Dance pieces, Ghost Culture is a promising piece from the London based musician/producer. His fittingly spirit like vocals float beautifully over the top of wistful synthesizers and drum machines, completing the albums mystical sound. Definitely one to watch.
Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
Animal Collective are a group of musicians who continue to impress us with their layered rhythms, harmonies and use of percussion. One member, in particular, Panda Bear, has a made a name for himself outside of the group, and his latest piece, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper dropped in January. With it came more of what we should have expected; Panda Bear’s wonderful harmonies don’t fail to impress on this release and his expert use of sampling is just marvellous.
Peace – Happy People
This year, Peace proved themselves to be more than just a passing Indie band. Happy People had the tunes and the charisma to make it one of the standout releases in mainstream Alt-Rock. The stage has been set for the band to take things further and by producing funk filled tracks like ‘Money’ and ‘World Pleasure’ are catchy enough to give the band a wider audience. On top of that it’s clear that Peace are keeping on their feet and continuing to push their music forward in new and exciting directions. To read our full review of Peace’s Happy People, click here.
Father John Misty – I Love You, Honey Bear
Fleet Foxes were no doubt something else, but Joshua Tillman, a.k.a. Father John Misty, has truly made a name for himself as a solo artist. I Love You, Honey Bear is no exception and J. Tillman really creates something beautiful here. Songs like ‘Holy Shit’ and the title track reveal aspects of Tillman’s personal life he had second thoughts about releasing. But it’s not all deep love songs, Tillman’s humour is woven into his melodies to make this album for that just a love letter.
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
Kendrick Lamar will be remembered as one of the key voices of the 2010s. If Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City didn’t convince you that his powerful lyrics and equally powerful swing beats will be remembered for years to come, To Pimp a Butterfly will. George Clinton, Assassin, Thundercat and Rapsody all have great contributions towards the album, but at the core this album is pure Kendrick, which results in one great Rap album. To read our full review of Kendrick’s album, click here.
Bjork – Vulnicura
Bjork has always been one to surprise her listeners and critics, but Vulnicura was a journey into the personal life of Bjork and her split with her partner. Vulnicura shifts from passionate love to indecisive worries and encapsulates every emotion in between, accompanied by Bjork’s trademark musical variety. It’s not an easy listen, but when it’s soundtracking a break-up, would you expect it to be?
Gaz Coombes – Matador
I will be the first to put my hands up and say I’ve never really given Supergrass much of my time, but I couldn’t resist checking out frontman Gaz Coombes’ second solo album. Matador is a beautiful record; the slow-paced album takes it time to create an atmosphere that really sucks the listener in. ‘Buffalo’ is a great opener and sets the standard for the record, but Coombes follows it with a lovely line-up, notably with the songs ‘The English Ruse’ and ‘Detroit’.
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
Admittedly I wasn’t a massive fan of Barnett’s double EP A Sea of Split Peas, but SISATASIJS feels more grown up, more developed. Barnett’s deadpan humour and Australian spoken word narrations are what really make this album and are a nice touch to her Alt-Rock sensibility. Opener ‘Elevator Operator’ doesn’t hold back, with classic Pop-Rock vibes it’s hard not to like. Lyrically enticing and musically pleasing, Barnett’s new album is an enjoyable listen.
Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
Honestly? It’s hard to conjure up the words to describe just what makes Carrie & Lowell so, damn good. Here at SCM we attempted to describe how we felt about it, coming up with descriptions like ‘really lovely’ and ‘so beautiful’ before sinking into its sparse, sprawling magnificence. Wait? Are you still reading? Go, go and listen now!
You can follow Andrew on Twitter.