It wasn't all jazz, honest
It’s been a month crammed with experimental debuts and blistering sophomores where jazz and digital-avant-jazz and pop-jazz and Canadian-toxicology-DJ-jazz have reigned supreme. The occasional country cowboy has slipped in too.
It’s been so good that our shortlist of the month’s best album isn’t really short at all. Here are eleven of our favourites, the stuff we’ve put on to sometimes ignore the world outside.
Title: Twilight Splendour
Label: Blank Editions
What is it? A band tied to their phones, who sold their guitars for electronic equipment at the same time they decided to live on electricity-free houseboats.
L&Q says: “there’s a groove, slinking and stark, then sinisterly detuned ice-cream van chimes, then fuzz and digital decay, mayhem and oblivion, aural darkness and then just silence – all in the first song.”
Artist: The Comet Is Coming
Title: Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery
What is it? Another anthemic fusion project from the King of South London’s jazz revival, Shabaka Hutchings, with a cosmic blend of psych and funk.
L&Q says: “an album as much in love with grime, punk rock and G-funk as it is with the textural longing of classic spiritual jazz, and the result is a wonderfully bracing, forward-facing melting pot.”
Read Sam Walton’s full review.
Artist: Nilüfer Yanya
Title: Miss Universe
What is it? The debut album that’s been “coming soon” since early 2016 – an adventurous dose of pop rock from one of London’s most exciting voices (a voice that actually comes from Cornwall, and Ireland, and Turkey, and that lives up to the hype.)
L&Q says: “this debut album plays like a burst river pipe at the height of monsoon season. More and more songs spill out, 17 of them in all, each tarnished with sharp distinctive hooks and her nasal jazz-pop tooting.”
Artist: Jayda G
Title: Significant Changes
Label: Ninja Tune
What is it? The new album from Canadian DJ, producer, and environmental toxicologist with an analogue old-school heart.
L&Q says: “it’s 2019, so you’re not going to get out of an uplifting house album without a brutal reminder of how climate change will kill you because yer da refuses to eat a vegetable.”
Read Alex Francis’s full review.
Artist: Orville Peck
Label: Sub Pop
What is it? Well, we don’t really know its origin. He’s not telling anyone. But it’s homoerotic cowboy pop in a Stetson and leather fringed mask, and sounds like a hybrid of Elvis Presley and Chris Isaak.
L&Q says: “the narrative songs are populated with vivid images of desert highways, worn out gamblers and hustlers that have escaped from the pages of Denis Johnson or JT LeRoy.”
Title: Ancestor Boy
What is it? Tales of nomadic ancestry and belonging having grown up between Paris, Tehran and Mexico with Egyptian-Iranian heritage.
L&Q says: “a debut of rare adventurousness. It’s a thrillingly eclectic and unremittingly ambitious tear through not only her passport but her imagination.”
Artist: Stella Donnelly
Title: Beware Of The Dogs
Label: Secretly Canadian
What is it? The highly-anticipated debut album from Australia’s most dryly sarcastic export, who is armed with more than just a clever punchline and is taking none of your shit.
L&Q says: “this is no simpering chanteuse but understated empowerment delivered forthright on an album full of brutal honesty – suburban songwriting which manages to stir the deepest emotions through everyday observations.”
Read Sarah Lay’s full review, or listen to Stella on our Midnight Chats podcast.
Artist: Karen O and Danger Mouse
Title: Lux Prima
What is it? Winners of the oddest musical pairing of the month, with enough to make you question if the Yeah Yeah Yeahs would have been produced next to Gnarls Barkley, if that would have been, you know, incredible.
L&Q says: “an album that feels storied, complex and, crucially, intentional. For Danger Mouse, it’s another proof point after his work with Sparklehorse and James Mercer; for Karen O, it’s a brilliant reminder of just how essential she is.”
Read Reef Younis’s full review.
Artist: Daniel Thorne
Title: Lines of Sight
Label: Erased Tapes
What is it? A statement first album from the composer and saxophonist best known for his work with the Immix Ensemble and Vessel.
L&Q says: “an incredible debut, a coup for Erased Tapes label and a testament to what person can do with a few saxophones, a bass synth and no fear.”
Read Alex Francis’s full review.
Artist: Lower Slaughter
Title: Some Things Take Work
Label: Box Records
What is it? The blistering sophomore from British hardcore underdogs split between Brighton and Glasgow.
L&Q says: “this record is basically a parade of big fucking riffs followed by big fucking breakdowns.”
Read Dom Haley’s full review.
Artist: Show Me The Body
Title: Dog Whistle
Label: Loma Vista
What is it? Second full-length album from NYC hardcore trio – just don’t call it a punk record for our troubled times.
L&Q says: “brutal. The sound of a band continuing to build something important and special.”
Read Greg Cochrane’s full review.