Toy – Happy In The Hollow
Fourth album from the London five-piece of Tom Dougall, Dominic O’Dair, Maxim Barron, Charlie Salvidge and Max Oscarnold. They've been around for a decade, and having dipped a little, this mixture of clean, dreamy pop and fuzz guitar, their first for label Tough Love, sounds like the best since the heady days of their debut. Among other songs, the thudding echoey Sequence One stands out. Out on Tough Love.
Toy – Mechanism
Swervedriver – Future Ruins
The original Oxford shoegazers, formed 30 years ago and fronted by Adam Franklin and Jimmy Hartridge return with their first since 2015's I Wasn't Born To Lose You, only the second this century and their sixth overall. Still, it's a strong return, and expect a mix of loud and quiet, especially in the title track. Bleak beauty in stark times, with echoes Teenage Fanclub. Out on Rock Action Records.
Swervedriver – The Lonely Crowd Fades In The Air
Better Oblivion Community Center – Better Oblivion Community Center
Another indie collaboration in these interesting times, this time between American artists Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, with articulate, sensitive work of country-folk-pop acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies on Service Road, Forest Lawn and Chesapeake, alongside powerful driven indie work such as Sleepwalkin' and Dylan Thomas, and synth-driven songs such as Exception To The Rule. They work well together. Out on Dead Oceans.
Better Oblivion Community Center – Dylan Thomas
DAWN – New Breed
A hybrid of sounds and influences swirl on this album by New Orleans artist Dawn Richard, who has escaped the commercial attention of the manufactured Sean Combs MTV vehicle Making The Band, and her more mainstream debut Blackheart, to make her this far more offbeat, solo work, that brings in hip hop, pop, funk, sci-fi, reggae, R&B, African, and Native American culture in this melting pot of an album. A bit scrappy at times, full of skits and some cliches, such as on the single, Jealousy, but full of soulful promise. Out on Local Action.
DAWN - New Breed
Rat Boy – Internationally Unknown
The Essex skater-rapper Jordan Cardy's second after 2016's Scum shows definite definite progression, fewer ponderous skits and more complete songwriting, with the melodious Waaves and the skanking, slower Night Creature. The lyrics could do with a little more nuance, but a young, confident voice who has already been sampled by Kendrick Lamar, and is influenced perhaps by a mixture of Plan B and The Transplants, that could still go places. Out on Parlophone.
Rat Boy – No Peace No Justice
Sunflower Bean – The King of the Dudes
We included last year's second album Twentytwo In Blue as one of 2018's favourite 50, and now this four-track EP by the young New York trio, fronted by the strutting Julia Cumming, promises similar top quality glam-rock pop, including Come For Me. Out on Lucky Number.
Sunflower Bean – Come For Me
Mike Krol - Power Chords
Feedback, anger, scratchy raw noises and punk, Mike Krol has captured all the frustrations of a struggling musician two years after his previous, Turkey. Recorded in Nashville, Los Angeles, and his native Wisconsi, powerful it is, channelling The Strokes, The Misfits and Ramones. Out on Merge Records.
Mike Krol – Little Drama
Don’t forget to also enjoy our voted selection of 50 or more favourite albums of the 2018:
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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