Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains
David Berman, formerly the frontman of Silver Jews, and writer of some of the sharpest and most memorable of lyrics this century, finally returns after a decade since his band split with a new project alongside folk band Woods. After a divorce, and living as hermit, his sharply humorous misanthropy has lost none of its edge, with lines such as "I fell ill in Illinois / I nearly lost my genitalia to an anthill in Des Moines”, and "Death is a black camel that kneels down so we can ride”, with targets that include Trump and quite possibly his own father. Not quite Silver Jews but droll, marvellously miserable, anxiously acerbic. Out on Drag City.
Purple Mountains – All My Happiness Is Gone
The Flaming Lips – King's Mouth
A psychedelic concept album about a monarch with a head that contained galaxies narrated by the former Clash guitarist Mick Jones? It sounds like the Oklahoma band's 15th studio release is another challenger adventure in experimentation that taxes even the most ardent fan, a bit like their 24-hour song, or covers of Stone Roses debut, St Pepper and Dark Side of the Moon. But this is their strongest, most consistent work since their 2002 zenith, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. Back on form. And, why not indeed, it is accompanied by an immersive art exhibition and a children’s book. Out on Bella Union.
The Flaming Lips – How Many Times
IDER – Emotional Education
Debut album by Megan Markwick and Lily Somerville, seamlessly entwined singers who met when students at the University of Falmouth. A very promising debut of twisting, emotional angst, electronic pop that merges tender piano. light beats and vocals that find a raw purity. Out on Glassnote.
IDER – Wu Baby
Sarathy Korwar – More Arriving
A refreshlingly upfront, honest reflection of Korwar’s experience of being an Indian in a divided Britain torn by Brexit. Incorporating rappers from Mumbai and New Delhi with spoken word and his own Indian classical and jazz instrumentation, it confronts immigration, identity and prejudice with some music that is often sparse, narrative based and beautiful. Out on The Leaf Label.
Sarathy Korwar – Pravasis
Blood Orange – Angels Pulse
Another mixtape album, following 2018's Negro Swan, is a scrapbook of ideas, skits, tunes and hip hopm Dev Hynes’ latest contains a flood of musical influences – from shoegaze guitar that echoes My Bloody Valentine to dancehall, to less self-aggrandising Drake-style Auto-Tuned R&B. It's a mixed bag of course, but a more interesting, eclectic feel than 2018’s Black Swan, replacing guests Puff Daddy and A$AP Rocky, with Venezuelan sound-designer and Björk collaborator Arca and funk songwriter Toro Y Moi. Out on Domino.
Blood Orange – Benzo
Various – Tiny Changes: A Celebration of The Midnight Organ Fight
After the tragic death of Scott Hutchison in May last year, this is a tribute album covering that key Frightened Rabbit album of 2008, featuring different acts for each song, including The National’s Aaron Dessner, Daughter, Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, Josh Ritter, Biffy Clyro adding a heavy rock and noise to The Modern Leper, and comedian and Sarah Silverman teaming up with Sleater-Kinney tour musician Katie Harkin doing My Backwards Walk. A worthy explorative and musically expansive tribute to Scott. Out on Atlantic Records.
Biffy Clyro – The Modern Lepper
Banks – Banks III
Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Jillian Rose Banks's third release is a best yet, not quite likely to hit the big time despite having that mainstream flavour, and though laced with that R&B Auto-Tune sound, does so in a fragile, ghostly style that gives it great sensitivity and oddness than many others of her generation, and an echo of superior artists including Bon Iver and Billie Eilish. Out on Harvest Records.
Banks – Contaminated
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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