We’re already one week in to May, but I had to talk about music in April. April was absolutely stacked with new music despite the meltdown the whole world is going through. This is all AOTY material man. Loving it. So get out of bed, pour yer self a coffee, put some whiskey in it (‘cause why not, yer working from home, right?) and give these a listen.
Ham really carved out his own little place in indie. Almost classic rock and roll, the Dylan imitating vocalist does so much more on his latest solo album. It might be his best yet. A couple of the songs echo the last Walkmen album (“The Other Half” sounds remarkably like “Dreamboat”) and his fascinatingly strained voice sounds better as he gets older. Every track on the record is about somebody Ham knows, or used to know at least, so I wonder if “Stars & Rats” has any connection to “The Rat,” The Walkmen’s biggest hit…
Receiving the coveted 10 from Pitchfork (and other rave reviews) after 8yrs of silence, Fapple’s back with an album hard as nails, full of crazy percussion, weird vocals, and the most poetic lyrics ever to grace a major label album. It’s weird and amazing. So many layers. There’s maybe a few too many dogs barking that one moment tho, that’s maybe my only criticism.
The Strokes – The New Abnormal
I still can’t figure out if I like The New Abnormal or not. It’s certainly fascinating. It’s equal parts classic Strokes, Voidz influence, and trying not to sound like either of the last two parts. I tend to swing more towards the experimental stuff – the first single is still the best imo, but the classic Strokes stuff is still the band’s best in a very long time.
Nicolas Jaar – Cenizas
So this came out at the very end of March but I’m including it because it is phenomenal. Cenizas is Jaar’s most experimental and dense album to date. There aren’t any hooks around these parts – it’s more like a soundscape, a collage of beautiful noise that develops not in to what you think but instead does something much more interesting. It’s Jaar’s second full length record of the year and if you’re after a more beat oriented Jaar, check out February’s 2017-2019 under his A.A.L. alias.
Four Tet – Sixteen Oceans
I wrote about this 4T’s new one, Sixteen Oceans, recently. I wanna avoid sounding like a broken record but to some up – It’s good. Tho it sounds exactly like what you’d expect from 4T. It’s lacking ideas from somebody who has always been an innovator, but you can’t deny he’s a hit maker and this record’s got a handful of ‘em. Lots of filler tho. Whatever. It really good, not essential but good. If you’ve gotta listen to anything listen to the track “Baby.”
Walter Martin – Quarantine Boogie (Loco)
This guy is a music making machine. Non-stop. He released an album proper at the beginning of the year (which is incredible btw,) last month he threw a couple extra albums on Bandcamp just for the hell of it. And now he’s back with another track featuring back up vocals from The National’s Matt Berninger. It’s catchy, it’s simple, and funny as hell. Martin includes humour in most of his songs but non have been so straight up hilarious, and relatable too!
There’s a new song from Sonic Boom (the production wizard) and it’s totally what you’d expect from somebody who has served as a producer for Beach House, MGMT, and Panda Bear in the past 10 years. If you put all those artists in a blender you’d come out with this song. His new album (his first in 30 years) is the album I’m most excited for this year, maybe even more than The Avalanches.
Again, did a little write up about this but just to summarize, Thundercat’s bass + Flying Lotus’ production = sonic masterpiece. A lot of it just flows really well like some kind of sonic journey through acid jazz, then every few tracks a banger just hits you outta nowhere. “I Love Louis Cole” is the best track of the year.