Dave – Psychodrama
South London rapper Dave, the straight-up stage name for Streatham’s David Orobosa Omoregie, after years of enthralling live shows, brings out his long awaited debut album – a candid, articulate, intelligent, incisive exploration of racial identity, prejudice, prison and relationships. Certainly a new voice in British hip-hop, in the way that Dizzee Rascal, Plan B, Stormzy and Kate Tempest have been, this is less a frenetic form, but more one that's musically and lyrically contemplative, self-analytical, angry but questioning, especially in the final song, Lesley, an 11-minute exploration of toxic masculinity and domestic abuse, or the the new single, Black, which has caused controversy in its honesty. Out on Neighbourhood:
Dave – Black
Solange – When I Get Home
The younger sister of Beyoné's latest work is less a collection of 19 songs, but of fragments, experimentation, skits, intermissions, half bits of choruses, verses, ideas. Is it lazy or revolutionary, a statement of the culture of low attention span that comes with social media apps, or a symptom of it? There is plenty of oddness, eccentricity and innovation here, if not really a consistent identity, but it's also intriguingly catchy at times, such as the 2-minute track Things I Imagined. Almeda meanwhile, co-produced by Pharrell Williams, is the nearest to a full track. Out on Columbia.
Solange – Almeda
Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1
The Oxford indie-rock quartet's fifth album has a more electronic feel to it after the departure of bass player Walter Gervers, but this abounds with energy and anger, in particular about climate change, political turmoil, and mental health issues. It's a turbulent work of rhythm changes and styles, variously channelling Tears For Fears, Talking Heads and even Philiip Glass, veering from loud stadium chants to quiet contemplation. A brave, if not always coherent album, it is anything but complacent and heralds an interesting part 2. Out on Warner Bros.
Foals – White Onions
Townes Van Zandt – Sky Blue
Relased to mark what would have been the folk legend's 75th birthday (he died in 1997 at just 52) is this intriguing collection of songs from lost sessions 46 years ago, in 1973, charming, moving, acoustic. Takes you right back to another era. Out on Fat Possum.
Townes Van Zandt – Sky Blue
Stella Donnelly – Beware of the Dogs
After her 2017 EP Thrush Metal, the singer-songwriter from Perth, Australia, is here with her debut LP to stir things up – biting, or indeed grabbing back at abusive men on the title track, or other people that annoy her, then she does so with a heavy dose of witty, caustic irony and doesn't at first seem apparent with her breathy, high voice. Her music, such as on the track Allergies, feels imbued with a sunlit acoustic beauty alongside the undercurrent of lyrical bitterness and bile. Out on Secretly Canadian.
Stella Donnelly – Old Man
Flight of the Conchords – Live In London
More wit from down under this time for those many who were disappointed in missing out on the New Zealand comedy pair Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement's live show in London in 2018. Here it is packaged in a triple-LP, featuring many of their funniest songs from their series based in New York as the dry-witted, desperate struggling musicians that became a cult series. Out on Sub Pop.
Flight of the Conchords – I've Got Hurt Feelings
Money For Rope – Picture Us
Continuing the rich vein of musicians from Australia come the Melbourne psych-rockers with their second album, joining other notables such as King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, The Goon Sax and Rolling Coastal Blackouts Fever. What makes this different, and very interesting is all songs were written and inspired by the history of a particular stretch of coast – wrestling of the area from its indigenous Aboriginal people and the changes wrought by the dominance of sea-freight and commercial fishing industries on the Southern Sea coast. Out on Cheersquad Records and Tapes.
Money For Rope - Earl Grey
Test Dept – Disturbance
More than 20 years since the industrial clanking performance legends last made a release, having emerged in Thatcher's 80s, in the background of manufacturing decline, this is well timed alongside their huge archival project culminating in the Total State Machine book, and DS30 installation at Dunston Staithes on the River Tyne, and general protest against history's repetition of Tory Rule Fans of their previous work will enjoy more of the same, with some pleasantly dancey material too. The anger of founders Graham Cunnington and Paul Jamrozy remains, but it is tempered and refocused. Out on One Little Indian.
Test Dept – Landlord
Nick Waterhouse – Nick Waterhouse
Southern California surf soul from the singer-songwriter with a voice and style from days gone by that so brims up by with muscular brawn that it's hard to believe he hasn't been catapulted straight from the 1960s, with those jangly guitars, Buddy Holly/Clark Kent looks, heavy horns and a fabulous voice that has power and sandy grit. Out on Innovative Leisure
Nick Waterhouse – Song For Winners
The Coathangers – The Devil You Know
Sixth album from the Atlanta female trio is less postpunk this time, more a mixture of styles, the devil you know meaning they trawl the sounds they've gone through in their 12 years together to create a different hue - something more poppy, echoing perhaps Belle & Sebastian or The Bangles in lighter moments, and successfully appealing as a result. Out on Suicide Squeeze.
The Coathangers - Bimbo
Phillipi and Rodrigo – Pacienca
The Brazilian duo’s nine-track debut album, recorded, produced and mixed at the innovative Studio Deewee in Gent and sounding a bit like the return of Stereolab, except singing in Portuguese, with plenty of fascinating mixtures and odd sounds. A dash of mesmeric rave sitar anyone? Out on Deewee.
Phillipi and Rodrigo – Pacienca
Bilge Pump – We Love You
Fifth album from the indie postpunk avant garde trio from Leeds who have been around since the early 90s. Uncompromising in their own independent way, this is a release of driving rhythms and experimentation, fuzz-guitars fizzing with energy. Out on Gringo Recrods.
Bilge Pump – Wheel Of Yew
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
Don’t forget to also enjoy our voted selection of 50 or more favourite albums of 2018:
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