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13 albums from April that were infinitely more interesting than another Royal baby

The good bits from the past month in one place

April 2018 saw many big events – hell, the last week alone was wild. The nation’s favourite tax expense squeezed out another baby. Kanye West returned to Twitter, doling out life advice like your drunk uncle on Christmas day, only to post half-coherent conservative statements and pictures of signed MAGA hats, like your drunk uncle on every other day of the year. Maybe you queued up outside your local record shop at 9pm the night before Record Store Day, and only left with a Courteeners picture disk from 2011. Don’t even get us started on the fact that spring looked like it was about to arrive and then disappeared without trace. The music, however, was great, and these are the pick of what our team were into in the past month.

Artist: Daniel Avery
Title: Song for Alpha
Label: Phantasy
What is it? Your favourite DJ’s favourite DJ spends less time listening to My Bloody Valentine and more time refining his artful techno.
L&Q says: “Right now, no-one else is colouring in-between the lines quite like Daniel Avery and these tracks are to invade your thoughts and dreams.”
Read Reef Younis’ full review

Artist: Soft as Snow
Title: Deep Wave
Label: Houndstooth
What is it? The London-based Norwegian duo oscillate wildly between menace and beauty on their long-awaited debut album.
L&Q says: “Rest assured that if the machines finally take over and wage an apocalyptic war on mankind, this vicious cacophony will be their soundtrack.”
Read Chris Watkeys’ full review

Artist: Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Title: Sex & Food
Label: Jagjaguwar
What is it? The Auckland neo-psychedelic quartet resuscitate a dead-or-dying genre on their first visionary work.
L&Q says: “A slick trip bursting with earworming indie-funk bravura, ‘Sex & Food’ is an ironclad triumph.”
Read Brian Coney’s full review

Artist: MIEN
Title: MIEN
Label: Rocket
What is it? Psychedelic rock supergroup neatly sidestep near-fatal supergroup trappings.
L&Q says: “MIEN’s best efforts – from the menacing ambience of ‘Other’ to the spectral patchwork of groove and disembodied vocals that is ‘Hocus Pocus’ – are those that hold back, ruminate and refrain.”
Read Brian Coney’s full review, and Dafydd Jenkins’ interview with Rocket Recordings

Artist: Bambara
Title: Shadow on Everything
Label: Wharf Cat
What is it? A chilling Spaghetti Western rock opera from Brooklyn-via-Georgia, for the end of days.
L&Q says: “The appeal of this album is it’s depth in attack, and very few artists these days make rock and roll as threatening as Bambara do.”
Read Cal Cashin’s full review

Artist: The Longcut
Title: Arrows
Label: Deltasonic
What is it? The Manchester trio emit a klaxon of protest on their first release in nine years.
L&Q says: “A rolling intensity pervades with soundscapes that bludgeon, burst and brawl between tumbling walls of guitar and big surging electronics on tracks at their best under dark northern skies.”
Read Reef Younis’ full review

Artist: Kali Uchis
Title: Isolation
Label: Virgin EMI
What is it? Pop celebrant and voracious collaborator makes 2018’s album of the summer a few months early.
L&Q says: “It’s as if Uchis has taken every record she ever loved and distilled its essence, mixing the results into a delicious aural perfume, fused with the warm sunshine base-notes of her native Colombia.”
Read Katie Beswick’s full review

Artist: DRINKS
Title: Hippo Lite
Label: Drag City
What is it? Cate le Bon and Tim Presley ditch the Wi-Fi password and listen to Velvet Underground and ‘The Faust Tapes’ instead.
L&Q says: “On the surface, it’s a record about contrasts: strange vs. conventional, melody vs. chaos – things that, despite their disparate qualities, go well together. You could say the same about Le Bon and Presley, but some things are made for each other.”
Read Hayley Scott’s full review

Artist: Rival Consoles
Title: Persona
Label: Erased Tapes
What is it? After years of high suggestibility to his sonic referents, Ryan Lee West finally crafts something unequivocally his own.
L&Q says: “If the accusation was that he used to wear his influences on his sleeve, here West has them all in his back-pocket, easing in points of reference with an effortless subtly.”
Read Reef Younis’ full review

Artist: Jenny Wilson
Title: Exorcism
Label: Gold Medal
What is it? An unflinching account of rape – from the event to the aftermath – by a characteristically bold and direct storyteller.
L&Q says: “Giving this kind of work a mark out of ten seems beside the point, so I haven’t. That doesn’t mean I think it’s any thing other than essential listening.”
Read Katie Beswick’s full review

Artist: Half Waif
Title: Lavender
Label: Cascine
What is it? Pinegrove keyboardist/backing vocalist Nandi Rose Plunkett goes soul-searching through Trump’s America.
L&Q says: “Versatile and precisely put together, ‘Lavender’ is both a funeral song for life before the chaos that seems to plague the world today and an attempt to inspire life within it.”
Read Mike Vinti’s full review

Artist: Dylan Carlson
Title: Conquistador
Label: Sargent House
What is it? Earth man puts on his minimal sludge rock boots yet again – and he needn’t have done anything more.
L&Q says: “Like other indie notables who’ve moved to the UK, the US political scene appears to have roused a seriousness and urgency in Carlson’s work, and from the outset of its 13-minute title track, ‘Conquistador’ is a heavy fist-clenched beast.”
Read Edgar Smith’s full review

Artist: Twin Shadow
Title: Caer
Label: Warners
What is it? George Lewis Jr. preps an R&B-pop cocktail of Donell Jones, the Backstreet Boys and Bowie.
L&Q says: “Yes, it is like lots of music you’ve heard before, sort of, but this record manages to reference its influences without sounding either derivative or nostalgic. ‘Caer’ coheres as utterly it’s own thing – surprising, fun and tender in equal measure.”
Read Kate Beswick’s full review

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