25/30 album of the week indie/alternative punk rock

viagra boys – cave world

Embodying the abrasive masculinity of Jim Morrison and the insecure panic of Alex Jones, frontman Sebastian Murphy crystallises modern neurosis into a fantastic 40 minutes. The instrumentals and vocal performances are appropriately thunderous, but tightly computed with an electronic bravado. Impressively, too, the flow of the tracklist is refined despite its vitriol. One of the […]

25/30 album of the week bass dance electronic

two shell – icons (EP)

‘Icons’ has entertainment spewing from its pores. Each track is unchained, so that it trespasses over to the other senses: one can almost see the clubby spectacle and touch the metallic industrialism. Two Shell are wild enough to exercise their alien vision using human tools: the pads are wailed on and the elements of distortion […]

23/30 album of the week electronic idm pop synth

monica rypma – classifieds (1985, reissue)

The finances for ‘Classifieds’ are explained by its front cover, which is plastered with real advertisements. Like similar disco-electronic musicians of the time (think Arthur Russell) there’s an off-kilter structure to Rypma’s beats that could only have been produced by an artist whose vision has yet to be corrupted and obscured. The interludes are suffused […]

24/30 album of the week hip-hop pop r&b soul

yaya bey – remember your north star

On a hugely satisfying LP, Yaya dances precisely between a lo-fi mixtape and shoomping R&B. The light vocals and delicate production might sink into one another were it not for a sharpness to the writing; especially in its explicit moments, Bey’s lyrics split through the seamless beats with a bite. ‘RYNS’ is not content with […]

25/30 album of the week hip-hop

E L U C I D – i told bessie

E L U C I D is what I believe the kids are calling ‘slept on’. On one of the year’s best abstract hip-hop records, the lesser known half of Armand Hammer takes a significant step forward in exploring the centre of his sound. If 2016’s ‘Save Yourself’ marked an aptitude for neat, lo-fi hip-hop, […]

25/30 afrobeat album of the week electronic funk pop

afrodelic – dusunkun hakili

Thirteen years after work on Afrodelic’s solo debut began, it arrives. The Lithuanian-born Victor Diawara offers a diverse collection dedicated to his Malian father—celebrated poet and scholar, Gaoussou. His touching salute takes the form of immaculate production that swims through crisp guitar-playing and inspired writing. Afrodelic’s rhythmic personality is a testament to and cherishing of […]

25/30 album of the week jazz

nduduzo makhathini – in the spirit of ntu

The South African piano master reaches his 10th album with ‘In the Spirit of Ntu’. It is his second release under the great Blue Note and will be one of the label’s most enthralling releases this year. Makhatini wants his piano to mimic the isiZulu language and its own unique “melodic structures”. Jazz of such […]

24/30 album of the week indie/alternative rock

porridge radio – waterslide, diving board, ladder to the sky

Porridge Radio’s breakout record enjoyed the warm, thrumming glow of critical acclaim. This gorgeous follow-up departs in sensible areas, opening the band up to Nick Cave-inspired piano/organ backing and startling lovely guitar thrashes. Dana Margolin’s vocals have assumed an update: distressed and bereft, the voice is not so much strained affectation, as it is quivering, […]

26/30 album of the week rock

the smile – a light for attracting attention

“There is a smile of love and a smile of deceit” says William Blake. The trouble is that the two can be made indistinguishable. Thom Yorke resumes his neurotic, prophetic musings on a record that amplifies a call not for militarisation, but for the smiles of love to beam at one another. Vicious depictions of […]