Is it spring, yet?
We’ve been spoilt with an extra day this month, a lot of good weather (what storm are we on now?) and some suitably cinematic Winter-is-ending jams to celebrate. Here are 10 of the best albums from a predominantly upbeat February 2020 that you can play loud enough to drown out the stranger on the London Underground who’s been coughing on your face for the last 20 minutes. It’ll be spring soon, right?
Label: City Slang
What is it? Dan Snaith’s tenth album – his fifth as Caribou – is his most creatively surprising of an omnipotent 20 year career.
L&Q says: “It’s bait and switch, Three-card Monte, Snaith as Danny Ocean: one step, two beats and 900 thoughts ahead of you. Songs drop out and morph into something else entirely just as they’re hitting their stride, pitched vocals drift over stretched pianos, punchy boom-bap beats punctuate flamenco guitar with Snaith’s high, milky vocal a fluctuating feature on every track.”
Read Reef Younis’s review here.
Artist: Sink Ya Teeth
Label: Hey Buffalo
What is it? The post-punk dance sophomore from ex-KaitO Gemma Cullingford and ex-Girl In a Thunderbolt Maria Uzor, cut from the same DIY cloth as their first.
L&Q says: “The opening trio of songs add irresistible four-to-the-floor drum programming to rubbery basslines, make-the-face filter sweeps, and Uzor’s whispery sibilance with even more guile and heft than before.”
Read Sam Walton’s review here.
Artist: Moses Boyd
Title: Dark Matter
What is it? The first album that South London jazz titan Moses Boyd has released under his own name, bringing in everything from grime to afrobeat and even a hint of post-rock.
L&Q says: “by careening through styles at breakneck pace, [Moses Boyd retains] a strong sense of his jazz roots whilst greedily hoovering up key touchpoints from across a clutch of other genres.”
Read Joe Goggins’s review here.
Read Sam Walton’s interview with Moses Boyd here.
Artist: Katie Gately
What is it? A secretly influential architect in popular leftfield music, Katie Gately’s new album is a reflective, digitized and operatic piece on the processes of grieving.
L&Q says: “It’s the sound of life moving forward, and all the pain it entails. It’s a scattered archive of loss in a shattered life, full of memories misplaced or mislabeled, threaded together in an attempt at patchwork remembrance.”
Read Dafydd Jenkins’s review here.
Label: Wharf Cat
What is it? A dark and brooding third album about death from the NYC-via-Georgia trio, for anyone who’s exhausted Nick Cave’s back catalogue and wants a new challenge.
L&Q says: “With influences ranging from Leonard Cohen to French noir and Southern Gothic writers like Flannery O’Connor, the trio’s lyrics blend the surreal and sublime, the romantic and the deeply twisted.”
What is it? MHYSA’s new label debut sees the Maryland RnB abstractionist take on sexuality, self-love and black empowerment from audio notes on her iPhone.
L&Q says: “Her taste for the unexpected proves her vitality among contemporary avant garde creators drawing a tantalising link with pop stardom.”
Read Dafydd Jenkins’s review here.
Artist: Tame Impala
Title: The Slow Rush
What is it? A sprawling, synth-laden suite about the slow passing of time from Kevin Parker’s titanic modern psych project, returning after, you know, a long amount of time.
L&Q says: “Left turns like this one are integral to the mystery of The Slow Rush: an album that meditates on unfinished processes rather than inevitable ends.”
Read Jamie Haworth’s review here.
Title: 3D Routine
Label: Memphis Industries
What is it? New post-punk kids on the Parquet Courts block, somehow keeping a well-worn formula sounding fresh and raw on their debut full-length.
L&Q says: “Mush appear powerfully millennial, despite their sound being wrung out of the ’80s cloth. Lyrically, the tooth-sharp spitting presents constant issues that could only come from a group recording at this point in time.”
Read Jo Higgs’s review here.
What is it? The debut album from visual artist Niff Nawor’s sark synth-pop project, nodding to Pat Benetar and Kate Bush as readily as classic ZYX Italo Disco and Japanese Visual Kei.
L&Q says: “Nawor’s history of anarcho-punk in the Bay Area is filtered through these echoing chords and bright synth flicks, and the result is so, so much fun. It smells like vintage Grimes with none of the unfortunate Elon Musk.”
Read Sam Reid’s review here.
Artist: King Krule
Title: Man Alive!
Label: XL Recordings
What is it? Archy Marshall’s third release under the King Krule moniker is packed with corrosive lyricism and lurid social observation about urban unease and dissatisfaction.
L&Q says: “Like its predecessor, it is less a sweeping state of the nation commentary, but rather a compendium of snippets of overheard conversations as we the listener drift through a metropolitan haze.”
Read Max Pilley’s review here.
Read King Krule in conversation with Gemma Samways for this month’s cover feature here.