The month that brought us a photo of some politicians eating a "cheeky Nandos"
All the insects are dying and it’s the end of the world but there was an hour last Tuesday when I could wear a t-shirt. The crap months are almost behind us. The tropical sun storm is coming. The end of Brexit is almost in sight (good one). It won’t be long until conversation starters will have to possess an uncomfortably new creative flair. Not like the good old days. But the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it nature of February hasn’t stopped an unusual number of good albums to be thrown up to the surface. Especially if your name begins with the letter ‘J’. That’s really all we look for in these lists. Here are seven of our favourites.
Artist: Jessica Pratt
Title: Quiet Signs
Label: City Slang
What is it? An explicitly winter-sounding album that’s been released into a February heatwave. Enough to give even the cosiest of knitwear wearers shivers that will stick around all year.
L&Q says: “A record with such quiet power that you expect the world to fall silent as it plays. Getting to know it is like becoming an addict and seeking therapy at the same time.”
Artist: James Yorkston
Title: The Route to the Harmonium
What is it? An exploratory collage of dulcitones, harmoniums, autoharps and a nyckelharpa, that make the East Neukian troubadour’s first solo release in half a decade sound exactly like the small fishing village where it was crafted.
L&Q says: “A rich tapestry of layers that at times dovetail seamlessly and at others crash together with abandon, you can hear the North Sea as it laps and weathers Scotland’s coast while Yorkston’s characters go about their business.”
Read David Zammitt’s full review.
Artist: Julia Jacklin
What is it? A heavy sophomore for the Australian singer-songwriter, full of beautiful, waltzing melodies that show you just how crushing ‘crushing’ can be.
L&Q says: “A strikingly candid exploration into the highs and lows of the end of a relationship and what comes next.”
Artist: Xiu Xiu
Title: Girl With Basket of Fruit
Label: Upset the Rhythm
What is it? American experimentalism complete with voodoo passages, techno rhythms, stripped down beats and synthesised vocals that makes for a vaguely terrifying eleventh studio album.
L&Q says: “As unsettling as most current reflections on art, death and society tend to be.”
Read Guia Cortassa’s full review.
Artist: Cosey Fanni Tutti
Label: Conspiracy International
What is it? 36 years after her debut solo album, the performance artist better known for her work with Throbbing Gristle and Chris & Cosey returns with a collection bursting with life.
L&Q says: “A wonderfully free-feeling, experimental album that nonetheless retains some of the irresistible, limbic-invading low end pulse of her and Carter’s ‘Walking Through Heaven’ or ‘Dancing with Ghosts’.”
Read Edgar Smith’s full review.
Artist: Bilge Pump
Title: We Love You
What is it? Named after a water pump, the Leeds band have existed quietly in the background for decades, but have made some danceable political noise that will upstage any of your Brexit arguments.
L&Q says: “Fractured art-punk and progressive noise remain the key themes, with vocals that border on medieval folk. It’s also weirdly pop at times, and probably the group’s most accessible record yet.”
Read Hayley Scott’s full review.
Artist: Sleaford Mods
Title: Eton Alive
Label: Extreme Eating
What is it? Jason Williamson’s laid off the drink and the drugs, had a few one-way fights with his contemporaries online, and now delivers one of the most articulate and artistic responses to austerity and the state of the Union.
L&Q says: “A hellfire missive thrown down by a band still very much at the peak of their powers.”
Read Fergal Kinney’s full review.
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