We won’t be doing an albums round-up next month, so best check out our favourites from November

Here's half a dozen

Here we are then. Since January each month we’ve conjured up some pithy words along with a bunch of recommendations about the albums we’ve been enjoying. Who knows, if you’re a regular, maybe it’s turned you onto something interesting? Hopefully. All of our monthly round-ups are available to revisit.

Just finally, we don’t do a similar post in December because frankly unless you’re Michael Ball, N.E.R.D or Robbie Williams no-one really puts anything out in the final month of the year.

And if you’re thinking ‘this is a monthly round-up when all this past fortnight I’ve been reading everyone’s best of the year lists’ we will be doing one of those, too. Hang tight. It’ll be out soon.

Artist: James Holden & The Animal Spirits
Title: The Animal Spirits
Label:  Border Community
What is it?  A third album from the trailblazing experimental musician – recorded with a newly expanded band it goes way beyond some kind of knockabout jam session.
L&Q says: “This is 50 minutes of undeniably chopsy playing, but it’s the emotive range of Holden’s compositions that lend the album its lasting appeal.”
Read Sam Walton’s full review

Artist: EERA
Title: Reflection of Youth
Label:  Big Dada
What is it? The debut album from Norwegian-born, UK-based songwriter Anna Lena Bruland – an album about trying to make sense of your twenties.
L&Q says: “There is exploration, frustration and uncomfortable pain in excess. But above all, ‘Reflection of Youth’ is impeccable because it holds nothing back.”
Read Tristan Gatward’s full review

Artist: Omar Souleyman
Title: To Syria, with Love
Label: Because
What is it? He’s released more than 500 live albums back home in the Middle East, but Omar Souleyman refuses to paint a bleak picture of his divided homeland on his latest LP.
L&Q says: “For the most part, its relentless thump and slithering, urgent melodies are fluorescently bright, insistent and addictive.”
Read Sam Walton’s full review

Artist: Charlotte Gainsbourg
Title: Rest
Label: Because
What is it? For an artist who has spent a career eschewing the mainstream, Gainsbourg’s third LP is almost deliciously electro-pop heavy.
L&Q says: “There’s the moving ‘Kate’, in which she addresses the death of her sister, Kate Barry, and my favourite track, ‘Sylvia Says’, whose darkly melodic tones could score an art-house horror movie.
Read Katie Beswick’s full review

Artist: Mavis Staples
Title: If All I Was Was Black
Label: ANTI
What is it? Last time we saw Mavis Staples was on 2016’s sunny-sided ‘Livin’ On A High Note’ – her agitated latest album sees her return to her insightful (and inciteful) best.
L&Q says: “Thankfully, this being Mavis Staples, these lamentations have soul to spare, meaning that even at her most sorrowful, Staples’ rasping vocals and knack for phrasing and bandleading make these tough themes a joy to absorb.”
Read Sam Walton’s full review

Artist: Warhaus
Title: Warhaus
Label: Play It Again Sam
What is it? The side project of Balthazar’s Maarten Devoldere continues to bear dark fruit with his latest outing.
L&Q says: “Here’s a man whose vocal tone sounds something like Matt Berninger after drinking a week’s worth of bourbon with Mark Lanegan.”
Read Chris Watkeys’ full review