Bon Iver - i,i
An autumnal album, apparently, after the summery feel of 2017's 22, A Million, but continuing that often beautiful, if sometimes bewildering style of emotion wrapped in abstraction by Justin Vernon and co, in this fourth album in 12 years. It's an offbeat mix of acoustic guitars, horns, piano, synth, woodwind, organ, interwoven voices and electronica, with Hey Ma, iMi, Faith and Jelmore among the oddest and most interesting, with U (Man Like) perhaps the most approachable and soulful. Like an echo chamber of feelings, it’s complex, but disembodied, which describes some of the ways we might various react to this unique, sometimes trying, but more often inspiring artist. Out on Jagjaguwar.
Bon Iver - U (Man Like)
Marika Hackman – Any Friend
Earthy, refreshingly candid and undeniably emotional breakup album by the British indie singer-songwriter with her third LP, this one following her four-year relationship with fellow musician Amber Bain. Female masturbation but no satisfaction? You got it, on Hand Solo. I'm Not Where You Are is a brutal slap in the face, literally, about differing perspectives, and The One, as with much of the albums, as a desperately funny black humour. If you're breaking up, this is the way to do it, with sharp, funny, excellent songwriting. Out on EMI.
Marika Hackman - The One
Chali 2na and Krafty Kuts – Adventures Of A Reluctant Superhero
Very welcome return for the former Jurassic 5 rapper with longtime friend and breakbeat producer Krafty, with their first together LP for a decade, 2009's Fish Outta Water. This is a proper old-school, cartoony combination that simply can't lose – slick beats combined with the wit and delivery of that rich, deep voice, clever samples and skit inserts, this delivers on everything promised since their tours of 2017 with the brilliantly upbeat Hands High, joined here by Distance, Guard The Fort (featuring guests Lyrics Born and Gift Of Gab) and Waste No Time (with Dynamite MC) among many highlights. A joy from start to finish. Out on Manphibian Music.
Chali 2na and Krafty Kuts – Hands High
Fionn Regan - Cala
Sparse, fragile, exquisite work by the Irish folk singer-songwriter with his sixth album, mixing guitar, piano and gentle eerie electronica. Cala is the Spanish word for ‘cove’, bathed in the balmy rays of summer and the iridescent light of that August moon, captured here beautifully in this shortish (35 minute) album of 10 songs. Less is more. Out on Abbey Records.
Fionn Regan - Cala
The Regrettes - How Do You Love?
The Californian quartet led by Lydia Night release their second album. They've morphed from riot grrl and punk to more garage indie lightweight pop, but this is fun, engaging work, nodding to the mainstream on Tangfastics, or I Dare You, even going into Katy Perry territory, slick, clever, and slightly frothy. They dared and they did. Out on Warner.
The Regrettes – I Dare You
Trippie Redd – !
On this second album, Ohioan rapper Michael White's voice and style is a strange hybrid of angry emo, slicker rap, soulful crooner, guttural gurgler and auto-tuner. So then is the music just as confusing, inconsistent, but no less interesting, echoing all sorts of influences from a Barry White sample to Kanye production styles, a dash of Oasis, 90s dance music to west coast rappers. Exclamation indeed, and a few question marks too. Out on Caroline.
Trippie Redd – !
Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective – Degradation
By the far the oddest, but also perhaps the most fascinating release of the week is this by the Vietnamese collective, whose album is inspired by their homeland's monsoon season. The result is a musical landscape of electronic and analogue generated squeaks, plops, clicks, roars, plonks, shudders, boings and more, one in which you can almost see and feel the rain, the insects, the steam rising in the heat. Humidly evocative, wet, wonderful and atmospheric in more ways than one. This digital three-track 24-minute instrumental work is available via Bandcamp.
Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective – Ikkikki
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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