It's our monthly round-up!
This was supposed to be a quiet month, all things considered. It was all going so calmly, but now August has really exploded into life. It’s like everyone got back from their holidays and decided to throw their toys out of the pram (even Donald Trump had taken some time out of being politically antagonistic before giving Greenland the boost it really needs!). And now Boris Johnson? Well, belt up, this is probably going to be a rough ride. Anyway, while we’ve had some relaxation, musicians have turned August into their veritable playground. These are fourteen of the month’s best, which for a traditionally “quiet month” is a hellova turn out.
Title: The Center Won’t Hold
Label: Mom + Pop
What is it? Sleater-Kinney’s second album after breaking a ten-year hiatus, now with Annie Clark steering the production and pushing the boundaries of expectation from a ‘heritage’ female act.
L&Q says: “More so than ever before, Sleater-Kinney have found ways of making their music political without compromising on personality or emotional sensitivity.”
Read Katie Cutforth’s full review.
What is it? The blistering debut from the far-reaching jazz-tinged collective whose personnel are already the heart of the bubbling South London scene.
L&Q says: “There is a palpable warmth and infectious enthusiasm throughout that gives away just how much Nérija love playing with each other, but perhaps more importantly, they seem happy to be challenged by each other’s ideas
Read Joe Goggins’s full review.
Artist: The Murder Capital
Title: When I Have Fears
Label: Human Season
What is it? The post-rock come art-punk debut from Dublin’s latest breakthrough, with as much literary Fontaines D.C. ferocity as meditative Leonard Cohen gravel.
L&Q says: “it strikes at the core of what we have known since the beginning; that The Murder Capital are more than a punk band, and are in a league of their own.”
Read Liam Konemann’s full review.
Artist: Blanck Mass
Title: Animated Violence Mild
Label: Sacred Bones
What is it? The all-engulfing industrial noise hymn-sheet for anti-commerce, albeit a surprisingly melodic one, from the solo project Fuck Buttons’s Benjamin John Power.
L&Q says: “The coruscating noise of ‘Death Drop’ and brutal sonic rumble on closer ‘Wings of Hate’ speak to that, as the album’s spiky, discordant bookends, but in between all of that pulsating electricity, Power’s ever-expanding sound palette ensures it doesn’t become an exercise wholly consumed by hapless rage.”
Artist: Haiku Salut
Title: The General
Label: Secret Name
What is it? A reimagined score for Buster Keaton’s 1926 film of the same name.
L&Q says: “As the band’s expansive sound is often described as accompanying an imaginary movie this work turns the notion on its head, enriching a real film while standing strong in its own right too.”
Read Sarah Lay’s full review.
Title: Hoodies All Summer
What is it? Following on from 2016’s introspection, the sixth studio album from legendary British rapper and grime MC Kano gives a voice of hope to inner city communities, with a 17-minute dance video and searing features from Kojo Funds, Popcaan, Ghetts and more.
L&Q says: “There’s nothing particularly radio-friendly or easy to passively consume on this album. Hoodies All Summer is confrontational: it wants you to look at the UK’s politics for the callous mess that it is.”
Read Alex Francis’s full review.
Label: Sacred Bones
What is it? The fourth full-length from Margaret Chardiet’s Pharmakon, with dense electronics exploring the demise of society through, you know, self-cannibalisation.
L&Q says: “A stunning evocation and confrontation of a somatic experience of the times we live in.”
Read Lisa Busby’s full review.
Artist: Tropical Fuck Storm
Label: Joyful Noise
What is it? The return of remnants from Aussie art punks The Drones, with songs about the rise of aliens, Nazi witches and Brian Wilson’s former psychotherapist.
L&Q says: “Its description offered by frontman Gareth Liddiard as “Fela Kuti in a car crash” goes some way to sum up its twitchy, funk-gone-wrong groove; sounding like Talking Heads after a week in captivity.”
Artist: Jay Som
Title: Anak Ko
Label: Lucky Number
What is it? A dizzyingly stark 80s inspired record from LA’s Melina Duterte, to be filed alongside rising voices such as Snail Mail, Japanese House and Soccer Mommy.
L&Q says: “Duterte is not here to ruffle feathers or to blaze a new trail into music’s unseen future. What we have instead is a body of nine songs that ably glide through familiar indie environs; the bejangled, shoegazy wash is a joy.”
Read Max Pilley’s full review.
Artist: Bon Iver
What is it? A fiercely collaborative, curious and anti-melodic slow-burner to add to a band’s catalogue that’s carving out its very own indie canon.
L&Q says: “Within the meta-retrospective, i,i is still brimming with the youthful curiosity that could slot into any moment of Bon Iver’s three-album past. Vernon is burning the candles of nostalgia and urgency in equal measure.”
Read Tristan Gatward’s full review.
Artist: Marika Hackman
Title: Any Human Friend
Label: AMF/ Transgressive
What is it? The third album from London singer-songwriter Marika Hackman, that swaps acoustic tinkering for fatally sharp pop hooks, and careful metaphors for confident, crude and joyful reclamations of the human body.
L&Q says: “The arrangements are sharper, the choruses bigger, and the reference points more ’80s than ever before.”
Read Susan Darlington’s full review.
Artist: Ezra Furman
Title: Twelve Nudes
Label: Bella Union
What is it? Ezra Furman’s first punk record and a necessary, self-imposed character assassination.
L&Q says: “the timid experimentations with a mouth of red lipstick and a flowing polka dot dress have become less about humour and more about identity politics, dreaming of a world where kids can pick a drag name with as much ease as a fantasy football team.”
Read Tristan Gatward’s full review.
Artist: Carter Tutti Void
Label: Conspiracy International
What is it? 50% of Throbbing Gristle – Chris and Cosey – meets Factory Floor’s Nik Void, in what’s been billed as the trio’s final collaboration together, after almost a decade of boundary-pushing and co-improvisation.
L&Q says: “As the mainstream of British music has taken a palpably weird left turn, [they] have emerged as unlikely elder statespeople for a new generation blurring the boundaries between noise and art without permission from above.”
Read Fergal Kinney’s full review.
Artist: Gross Net
Title: Gross Net Means Gross Net
What is it? The anti-techno solo project from former Girls Names guitarist Phillip Quinn.
L&Q says: “a cold, dark and insidious experience full of paranoia and pessimism, in which anonymous and relentless four-to-the-floor thud underpins distantly scraping strings, weary monotone vocals and the clanging of industrial percussion.”
Read Sam Walton’s full review.