SCM Music’s Album Picks: July to September – Fears, Heroes and Human Friends
Brockhampton – Ginger
After cobbling together an album in the form of Iridesence, Brockhampton finally properly regrouped and made the downbeat album they knew they had to make. Ginger is overflowing with grooves and inspirations from Noughties RnB. With this comes a passionate, heartbreaking and often angry set of lyrics. It truly captures the mood the group sought after on Iridesence, while keeping their sound more streamlined and coherent, something that their last record lacked. While not acting as a record for new listeners, this is one that long time fans of the group will enjoy.
Dorian Electra – Flamboyant
Cut very much from the same cloth as SOPHIE and Charli XCX’s later material, Dorian Electra’s debut album is a rich, textured album packed full of artificial beats and auto-tuned vocals. But Flamboyant is a very accessible album, much more than their contemporaries (with the possible exception of Charli, but without compromising on quality). Highlights on this album include the flirty ‘Career Boy’ and ‘Man to Man’, a track that, 15 years ago, could easily be repurposed as a smooth RnB number. Don’t let this record pass you by, definitely one for Pop fans.
Grace Lightman – Silver Eater
Effortlessly blending Indie Rock and Electro Pop, topped off with smattering of Funk, Grace Lightman’s new record is infectious. Lightman holds herself like Kate Bush for 2019, effortlessly glides over an array of different musical atmospheres; from dreamy synths to driving drum and bass. Lightman will surely find a fanbase in fans of classic 2000s Indietronica, but also those with a love of classic singer/songwriter material. If nothing else, be sure to listen to the fantastic ‘Aztec Level’ a surreal Pop song for the ages.
Gruff Rhys – Pang!
Abandoning the cinematic aesthetic of Babelsburg, Gruff Rhys instead opts for a glitchy Welsh language folk-meets-electronica mix on his sixth studio album. His collaboration with DJ Muzi is evident through upbeat, peppy numbers such as ‘Bae Bae Bae’ and the title track. While the primary instrumentation switches between acoustic guitar, horns and light keys, the beats on album are continually tight and fast, giving Pang! It’s drive and energy. Not exactly a completely new step for Rhys, but quite possibly his finest solo record.
JPEGMAFIA – All My Heroes Are Cornballs
All My Heroes are Cornballs contains many aspects that are typical of a Peggy album. His classic whit for one is all over this release, along with his glitchy, experimental production and classic “Youthinkyouknowme” watermark. But AMHAC contains a lot more new ground. For one, this records contains a lot more singing from Peggy, sometimes autotuned, sometimes clean, but always complementary to his music. This, amongst other traits, creates a record that feels more honest, more mature, and perhaps most importantly, feels like an artist moving forward with his work.
Lingua Ignota – Caligula
A truly haunting album, Caligula is inspired by Lingua Ignota’s (aka Kristin Hayter) experiences in a abusive relationship. Hayter pours all emotions into a raw, frightening but also beautiful vocal performance, over howling guitars and tender synthesisers. Hayter’s performance is truly something to behold; using the instrumentation to her advantage, creating space to let her lyrics penetrate the listener, and building an intense wall of sound. Caligula is not an album that is easy to listen to, but by no means should it be. It’s a beautifully terrifying work of art.
Marika Hackman – Any Human Friend
Marika Hackman’s third studio album is easily her best. Flowing seamlessly from track to track, Any Human Friend explores honest truths about sexuality, loneliness, heartbreak and… masturbation. Any Human Friend isn’t afraid to branch off from Hackman’s trademark Indie Rock sound into something a Pop edge. ‘Hand Solo’, ‘The One’ and ‘I’m Not Where You Are’ are all legitimate Indie Pop bangers. Outside of this, opener ‘Wanderlust’ is a beautiful touch, and ‘All Night’ is as anthemic as it is personal. Rock blogs will prefer her second album, I’m Not Your Man, but Any Human Friend is the more superior album.
The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears
When asked in 2019 who the most confessional ‘punk’ band art, most people might point to Idles. Enter The Murder Capital. Hailing from Dublin, their debut album When I Have Fears couple the raw strength of classic Post Punk, with the deep songwriting of PJ Harvey and Nick Cave. It’s not an easy listen, but the group capitalise on both a haunting, cinematic aesthetic and the classic bass/drum/guitar combo that will bring in a large fan base. But really, this album is about brilliant songwriting, wonderful performances and great production from Flood.
Penelope Isles – Until the Tide Creeps In
Clocking in at 10 tracks and roughly 45 minutes, the new album from Brighton’s Penelope Isles is brilliantly written, indulgent Indie Rock. With few frills and beautiful melodies, there’s little to dislike about this album. Even those adverse to the Poppier side of Indie Rock will find something to love in this collection of tracks. From anthemic opener ‘Chlorine’ to the nostalgic and melancholy closer ‘Through the Garden’ and everything in between, Until the Tide Creeps In is smart, funny, and moving. Definitely worth your time.
Sarathy Korwar – More Coming
Rich with Jazz influence and textured rhythms, More Coming is a diverse, colourful, and entertaining record. Featuring an array of different artists presenting different vocal performances, such as rap, spoken word and sung, each track feels unique and powerful in it’s own way. ‘Coolie’ is a bouncy, fun, yet topical, ‘Pravasis’ is a haunting, stark and moving closer and ‘Mango’ is a thought provoking coupling of spoken word and light rhythms. More Coming is a great companion piece to the high octane environment we find ourselves in, in 2019.
Shannon Lay – August
Listening to Shannon Lay’s August is like living inside a Wes Anderson film. Her sprite-like, whistful vocals and chirpy guitar playing, she often sounds reminiscent of an old Beatles song; ‘Yesterday’, ‘Julia’ and the like. It’s a wonderful thing to listen to, and Lay’s has put together here a collection of really wonderful modern folk songs, only one breaking the three minute mark. It’s enough to transport you to another place, another time; letting your eyes glaze over and enjoy Lay’s soft, melodic voice. A really lovely record.
Sleater-Kinney – The Center Won’t Hold
The edge of St. Vincent’s Masseduction can most definitely be heard on Sleater-Kinney’s The Center Won’t Hold. Produced by the aforementioned solo artist, it’s the last album to feature long-time drummer Janet Weiss, but what an impression she leaves on this record. The Center Won’t Hold does more than just exhibit Sleater-Kinney’s own brand of Grunge and Rock music. There’s an electronic and artificial atmosphere brought to this album that most definitely complements the band’s astoundingly tight rhythms. A surprisingly brilliant record.
Blood Orange – Angel’s Pulse, Blanck Mass – Animated Violence Mild, Bon Iver – i,i, Chastity Belt – Chastity Belt, Iggy Pop – Free, Jade Imagine – Basic Love, KOKOKO – Fongola, Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell!!, Metronomy – Metronomy Forever, Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains, Rapsody – Eve, Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind.
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