Time to look into the internet crystal ball and see who may (and who may not) release an album for our ears in 2018. Will Robyn finally release another album? Before we answer that, here’s some we know are on the way…


Tune-Yards

Release date: January 19th

Tune-Yards have announced that their fourth album I can feel you creep into my private life will be released on January 19th. They will be touring the US and Europe from February. Surely, an Irish date is imminent.


Nils Frahm

Date: January 26th

Nils Frahm’s new album All Melody is out on January 26th and was recorded in his custom-built studio in Funkhaus in Berlin. He also announced a world tour which starts on January 22nd in Berlin and lands in Dublin for a sold out show on Monday 26 February.


Frank Ocean

Possible Date: 2018

It’s been nearly a year and a half since the release of Frank Ocean’s album Blonde (add another week for Endless too). In November, he posted on Tumblr that he had finished a new album writing – “’Well I️ made the album before 30. I️ JUST AINT PUT THAT BITCH OUT!’ -quotes from an interview I️ haven’t given haha”. He also posted a picture on his Tumblr wearing a hat saying ‘If you likes 2017 you’ll love 2018. Frank was practically prolific in 2017 by previous standards with songs like ‘Provider’, ‘Chanel’ and ‘Biking’ released and first premiered on his Apple Music radio show Blonded.


Grimes

Possible Date: 2018

Grimes’ followup to Art Angels was reportedly halfway there in April 2017. Claire Boucher posted on Instagram in August 2017 that she needed two more months before finishing the new tracks. Last month she replied to a fan on Twitter regarding the new album saying ‘just played label new music they rly dig it so hopefully smthn soon’. Two days later on Instagram she said that she has all the tracks but needs to vox and drums on pretty much all of them. Signs are good.


When asked by Pitchfork about a new album release for 2018 Kevin Shields from the band said “Oh, we one hundred percent will,” he also gave details on the album stating “Basically, the record started off as an EP, and I realized it has to be, like, a mini-album, because it’s going to be at least 40 minutes long. So it’s going to be an album, but I don’t really know how many tracks it’s going to be. It’ll probably be seven or eight, by the looks of it.” He also stated that they will be touring this summer. This album will mark five years since the release of their third studio album MBV in 2013.


Franz Ferdinand

Date: February 9th

The Scottish indie rock band will release Always Ascending on February 9th a follow up from their fourth album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action which was released in 2013. The title track and some Galway/Dublin dates were previously announced.


Chromeo

Date: Spring/Summer 2018

The fourth album Head Over Heels from Canadian electro-funk duo Chromeo is on its way this year, a follow up from White Women which came out in 2014. They released a tralier for the album back in November as well as new track ‘Juice’.


Jon Hopkins

Possible Date: Spring/Summer 2018

In a post on Facebook in May last year Jon thanked fans for being patient while he worked on his new album and left us with a cover of Laura Palmer’s Theme tune for Twin Peaks. He later stated that the album is nearly finished, or to be more accurate – “nearly fucking finished.”.


Le Galaxie

Possible Date: Spring/Summer 2018


The Dublin electro band’s third album is done and set for release this year and former Fight Like Apes’ singer May Kay, who joined the band full-time, is set to feature on six tracks.. They released the first track off the new album ‘Pleasure’ in May last year but the album was delayed as the band signed a US deal for its release in late 2017.


Arctic Monkeys

Possible Date: Summer/Autunm 2018

The follow up to the Artic Monkey’s 2013 release AM is on the way. According to an interview with motorcycling magazine bassist Nick O’Malley said if the album isn’t out by 2018 ‘We’ve got problems’. Let’s hope that means the new album is on the way soon.


Blood Orange

Possible Date: Spring 2018

Last summer Blood Orange or Dev Hynes announced that he was writing new material via a post on Instagram. Last month he posted a video on his Instagram showing off some of the new material. The album will be a follow up to his 2016 release Freetown Sound.


The Good, The Bad and The Queen

Possible Date:Summer 2018

It’s been 11 years since Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, Simon Tong and Tony Allen released an album under The Good, The Bad and The Queen name. According to NME, Damon Albarn reveled details on the new album hes’s been working on with Tony Visconti to radio DJ Zane Lowe: “We’ve got pretty much all the songs and recorded all the backing tracks but I’m just emoting over it at the moment. I can hear what I’m saying kind of, a bit, but it’s still a bit unintelligible.” He also stated that the album is “inspired by Brexit”.


David Byrne

Possible Date: March 2018


The former Talking Heads man has announced some live dates for this summer and that fact along with an apparent leak of the album title as American Utopia by an online retailer and a March date, more than suggest an album is on the way. His last album was his collaborative album with St. Vincent.


FKA Twigs

Possible Date: 2018

Tahliah Barnett’s debut LP1 came out in 2014 and she’s been plenty busy with dancing, documentaries, stage shows, a once of single, and a 2015 EP and the release of new song ‘Good To Love’ in February 2017. Last year she confirmed that an album was on the way but would not be released in 2017 . According to NME she performed three new songs at Lastochka Festival in Moscow last summer. Could this mean that 2018 is the year for a new album release?


Flying Lotus

Possible Date: Spring/Summer 2018

A new album was promised in 2016 from the Brainfeeder boss but Stephen Ellison was working on his feature-length film debut Kuso (starring Hannibal Buress and Tim Heidecker), which premiered at Sundance in 2017. In November 2017 he released a video for new track ‘Post Requisite’ and on January 1st this year he tweeted a mix from Brainfeeder which includes a new track ‘Quarantine’. No date for the new album has been released but there are a few telling signs that its on the way soon.


Empress of

Possible Date: 2018


Loreley Rodriguez’ debut Empress Of album Of Me was followed up with a killer once-off single and one of the best songs of 2016 collaboration with Blood Orange – ‘Best To You’. She released a new track ‘Go To Hell’ in July. In Demcember, she dropped a cover of Lana Del Rey produced by DJ Dodger Stadium. Hopefully, her new album is finally on the way.


Vampire Weekend

Possible Date:Summer 2018

It’s been five years since the New York City band released Modern Vampires of the City and according to a tweet reply from frontman Ezra Koenig in September last year, 2018 could be the year of their long awaited return. Later in the year he explained to fans via Instagram that he spent 2017 working on the new album saying “we gotta take our time’. This album with be the bands first without Rostam Batmanglij.


Robyn

Possible Date: 2018/2019


It’s been almost eight years since Swedish singer Robyn has relesed an album. Last year her track ‘Honey’ featured on girls which she stated as being selected by Lena Dunham from music that she has been working on. In January last year she released a track with Mr Tophat but it may be nine years before she returns. 🙁


Daniel Avery

Possible Date: Autumn 2017

This time last year Daniel Avery was in studio hopefully that means a new release for 2018 is due to follow up from his superb 2013 album Drone Logic. It’s been too long already.


Posted on January 5th, 2018

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Future Islands are the next band following The National to be announced for a gig at the Donnybrook stadium, Dublin.

It’ll take place next June 17th 2018 with a full lineup of acts accompanying them with gates open at 2pm that day.

Tickets priced €63 go on sale Thursday 26th October at 9am through Ticketmaster.ie & usual outlets nationwide.

It’ll be the band’s followup show to their Iveagh Gardens show this summer.

Posted on October 20th, 2017

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Following on from ‘Ran’, Future Islands return with their signature bass-lead synth rhythm on ‘Cave’ the latest song from their album The Far Field, April 7th on 4AD.

Look, this SHOULd be getting old by now, as there’s very clearly a formula at work here, yet through the genuine emotion and uplifting tune just melts all that away.

The video features sign language interpretation from Jonathan Lamberton.

Future Islands Irish tour dates

July 3 – LIMERICK, Dolans PubJuly 4 – CORK, Opera HouseJuly 5 – GALWAY, The Black Box
July 6 – DUBLIN , Iveagh Gardens

Tracklisting:

  1. Aladdin
  2. Time On Her Side
  3. Ran
  4. Beauty Of The Road
  5. Cave
  6. Through The Roses
  7. North Star
  8. Ancient Water
  9. Candles
  10. Day Glow Fire
  11. Shadows
  12. Black Rose

Posted on March 24th, 2017

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After the announcement that they are to play Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens in July, Future Islands have now been announced for dates in Galway, Limerick & Cork.

The dates are:

Monday July 3rd: Dolan’s, Limerick
Tuesday July 4th: Cork Opera House, Cork
Wednesday July 5th: Black Box, Galway.

Tickets priced €35+ fees on sale Friday from Ticketmaster for Limerick and Cork and

Here’s new single ‘Ran’. Future Islands’ new album The Far Field is out Friday 7 April 7th.

Posted on February 27th, 2017

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While it’s nigh-on impossible to repeat the impact of Future Islands performing ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’ on Letterman, their performance of new single ‘Ran’ last night reminds us, through sudden movements, growling and odd dancing, that there are a few bands out there like them, and few performers as individual as Sam. T Herring.

Future Islands play Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens this summer

Posted on February 10th, 2017

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Future Islands play Iveagh Gardens this summer.

Usually when a band trods back on the same path as before, interest in them can start to wane. Future Islands are not one of those bands. For 10 years, they’ve been creating chest-beating anthemic music like no-one else. It just too years for a larger audience to catch on.

After the success of last album Singles, Future Islands return on April 7th on 4AD with new album The Far Field.

The Baltimore band’s euphoric synth-pop is probably needed more than ever, is the likely outcome of listening to lead single ‘Ran’.

The Far Field. was recorded with producer John Congleton at the Sunset Sound in LA. String and horn arrangements by Patrick McMinn, The album is the first to feature live drums by Michael Lowry, who joined the band just before that performance. Blondie’s Debbie Harry guests on ‘Shadows’ to duet with Samuel T. Herring. Pre-order links.

Future Islands – The Far Field Tracklisting:

  1. Aladdin
  2. Time On Her Side
  3. Ran
  4. Beauty Of The Road
  5. Cave
  6. Through The Roses
  7. North Star
  8. Ancient Water
  9. Candles
  10. Day Glow Fire
  11. Shadows
  12. Black Rose

Posted on February 1st, 2017

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There are plenty of albums to look forward to in 2017 and here are just a few of them which don’t have release dates yet. I’ve also included a few which we likely won’t see this year – just so you’re prepared. See also – My top New Artists of 2017.


Alt-J

Possible Date: Summer 2017

It’s been three years since the Leeds band released their second album This Is All Yours, so time is ripe for another in 2017. Last August, drummer Thom Sonny Green told NME, the band had loads of ideas, which wasn’t exactly – “songs are written, we’re recording them and they’re sounding awesome,” but after a period where Green released a solo record, bassist Gus Unger-Hamilton opened a café in east London and singer Joe Newman featured on a Clams Casino track with Lil B, there are rumblings.

The band have posted pics from the studio including ones at Abbey Road where they were recording strings only last week.The band have announced festival dates this summer so a good guess would be around the time of June, when they start.


Caribou / Daphni

Possible Date: Late 2017 but more than likely 2018

Three years on from a career apex record Our Love and a song which dominated the summer and the rest of the year. Dan Snaith is DJing as Daphni a lot this year including Coachella so a new album from Caribou doesn’t feel likely at this moment (maybe a Daphni 12″ / single release though?)


Daniel Avery

Possible Date: Autumn 2017


After last year’s DJ Kicks, 2017 looks to be the year that Daniel Avery follows up his superb 2013 album Drone Logic, according to this tweet.


Empress Of

Possible Date: Summer / Autumn 2017

Loreley Rodriguez’ debut Empress Of album Of Me was followed up with a killer once-off single and one of the best songs of 2016 collaboration with Blood Orange – ‘Best Of You’, as well as one with Pional, so I really want a followup in 2017. This is more hopeful than concrete, though signs are good.


FKA Twigs

Possible Date: 2018

Tahliah Barnett’s debut LP1 came out in 2014 and she’s been plenty busy with dancing, documentaries, stage shows, a once of single, and a 2015 EP. Last week, though a Nike ad directed and made by her featured a new track produced Oneohtrix Point Never suggested something isn’t far away, tweet replies to fans suggest it won’t be til 2018. 🙁


Flying Lotus

Possible Date: Late 2017 but looking like 2018

A new album was promised in 2016 from the Brainfeeder boss but Stephen Ellison was working on his feature-length film debut Kuso (starring Hannibal Buress and Tim Heidecker), which will premiere at Sundance this year. He also scored a short too. It looks like we’re getting V, a Captain Murphy record some time this year, as ‘Crowned’ featured in the recent Adult Swim Singles club. As for Fly Lo, a Kuso some songs on the soundtrack may be all we get.


Future Islands

Possible Date: Summer / Autumn 2017

Three years on from their breakthrough album Singles, things are heating up with some dates at festivals like Bonaroo, Panorama and Coachella. Last year, Sam T. Herring collaborated with Badbadnotgood. Their last music was single ‘The Chase’ in 2015. An album is definitely on the way very very soon.


Grimes

Possible Date: Summer / Autumn 2017


Grimes’ followup to Art Angels was halfway there last April ( “more chill vibes, downtempos, synth-y shit. That makes it sound boring. It’s not boring.”) and in a November interview, she said it would be “slow and reflective”.

“I’m really vibing on making something really slow and gorgeous that just breathes, and has room to breathe,” she explained. “I feel like my work has always been fast paced, kinetic, and almost just manic and I feel like for me the hardest thing I can do is make something that’s slow and heavy.”


Grizzly Bear

Possible Date: Spring 2017

Come on already. The Grizzlies’ last album was 2012’s Shields and a few years before, Jay Z and Beyoncé were showing up to their shows and a lot has changed in music since American indie folk was the dominant genre of choice, However in October, a tweet saying “Album 90 percent done. Last update until you hear it,” was posted. Any day now?


Haim

Possible Date: Summer 2017

Another album long overdue now. The LA sisters’ self-titled debut Days Are Gone dropped in 2013 and they even cancelled their appearance at music festivals last summer to finish it. It arrives this Summer.


Holy Ghost!

Possible Date: Autumn 2017

DFA Records’ disco dons Holy Ghost! will surely followup last year’s Crime Cutz EP with a third album, a followup to Dynamics. Alex Frankel released a solo EP last year too. I’ve a soft spot for these two.


Hundred Waters

Possible Date: Spring / Summer 2017

Gainesville Florida band Hundred Waters have made two stunning albums of folk and electronica thus far in their career and it looks like 2017 will see their third released. On Christmas day they posted (with a Neil Young cover) that they were finishing the album. Last year, they made a big remix with their label boss Skrillex and Chance The Rapper among others.


Jon Hopkins

Possible Date: Summer 2017


The followup to 2013’s Immunity is due this year according to Jon’s reply to a fan on Twitter. Yes. In the meantime, Hopkins plays piano on a track on the new Bonobo record.


Kelela

Possible Date: Spring 2017

A followup to 2013’s Cut For Me mixtape after 2015’s Hallucination EP is on the cards (check out this Song Exploder about ‘Rewind’). In an interview with Dazed, Arca, Jam City, and Bok Bok are to be reprising their role as co-producers and Kelsey Lu, one of my picks for new artists of 2017 guests.


LCD Soundsystem

Possible Date: Summer or Autumn 2017

After last year’s triumphant live return, that promised LCD Soundsystem album is indeed on the way as James Murphy told someone on Facebook this weekin response – “Sure. still working on it, but it’ll be done soon. winter tends to mess with my voice, so finishing the thing drags out.”


Le Galaxie

Possible Date: Autumn 2017

The Dublin electro band’s third album is done and it likely to get a worldwide releasearound September time. Former Fight Like Apes’ singer MAy Kay is set to feature on six tracks too.


Little Dragon

Possible Date: Summer / Autumn 2017

The followup to Nabuma Rubberband from 2014 looks to be coming this year from the Swedish band. They are playing Coachella so that’s a good sign.


Mount Kimbie

Possible Date: Spring / Summer 2017

Mount Kimbie played some new songs at Metropolis Festival in November so it’s a safe bet a new one is coming to followup the brilliant 2013 album Cold Spring Fault Less Youth.


St. Vincent

Possible Date: Summer / Autumn 2017

Annie Clark promises “the deepest, boldest work I’ve ever done” on her new record which is inspired by the topsy-turvy world events of the last year. “I feel the playing field is really open for creative people to do whatever you want, and that risk will be rewarded – especially now that we have such high stakes from a political and geopolitical standpoint,” he told Guitar World (while managing to get a dig in on the cover). The last St. Vincent album came out in 2014.

Posted on January 18th, 2017

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Last year, Future Islands rapped with Madlib on the stonking track ‘Trouble Knows Me’, while Canadian jazzy hip-hop instrumentalists BadBadNotGood did a band reinterpretation of ‘Seasons (Waiting On You’) and made an album with Ghostface Killah that was in my top 10 of 2015.

That collaborative streak strikes here on ‘Time Moves Slow’, the first official single from BadBadNotGood’s fourth album IV (Innovative Leisure on July 8th).

‘Time Moves Slow’ features Sam T. Herring crooning with his heartfelt style on the band’s understatedly rich laidback arrangement. The other song from the LP, ‘Speaking Gently’ is another recently instrumental favourite.

IV will feature further guests producer Kaytranada (the band feature on his new album), brass/reed player Colin Stetson, rapper Mick Jenkins and Charlotte Day Wilson. Touring partner Leland Whitty has now joined the band as a permanent member.

Badbadnotgood are also playing Body&Soul this year.

BADBADNOTGOOD IV track list:

1. And That, Too
2. Speaking Gently
3. Time Moves Slow (feat. Sam Herring)
4. Confessions Pt. II (feat. Colin Stetson)
5. Lavender (feat. Kaytranada)
6. Chompy’s Paradise
7. IV
8. Hyssop of Love (feat. Mick Jenkins)
9. Structure No. 3
10. In Your Eyes (feat. Charlotte Day Wilson )
11. Cashmere

Posted on May 18th, 2016

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This week’s chart is headed by French producer Para One’s incendiary slice of gospel house with the South African Youth Choir, a surprising rap debut from Future Islands’ Sam T. Herring with Madlib no less, new artists from LA (Transviolet), Brighton (Oslo Parks), Cork (Lakerama),  Wicklow (Joni), Melbourne (Cloves, pictured) along with  electronic heat from Jack J and new music from Chvrches, Tame Impala and Mac Demarco. Also available on Spotify.

New music chart

  1. Para One and the South African Youth Choir – ‘Elevation’
  2. Tame Impala – ‘The Moment’
  3. Madlib x Samuel T. Herring – ‘Trouble Knows Me’
  4. Jack J – ‘Thirstin’
  5. Transviolet  – ‘Girls Your Age’
  6. Joni – ‘Running’
  7. Youth Lagoon – ‘The Knower’
  8. Mac DeMarco – ‘I’ve Been Waiting For Her’
  9. Oslo Parks – ‘Slippin’ Away’
  10. Lakerama – ‘Take’
  11. Chvrches – ‘Leave A Trace’
  12. Cloves – ‘Don’t You Wait’

Like your new music on Spotify instead? Follow the Nialler9 New Music playlist on Spotify. Updated weekly.

Posted on July 20th, 2015

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Future Islands have released the new song they cut at Abbey Road for Record Store Day. ‘The Chase’ was played live on Letterman, scene of their game-raising performance last year.

Herring introduced the song by dedicating the song to the people of Baltimore, where the band are from. “Let us not discount their voices,” he said.

The song comes with a B-side called ‘Haunted By You’. It’s for sale on iTunes and on Spotify.

Posted on April 29th, 2015

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Electric Picnic have just announced their lineup for the 11th edition of the festival in Stradbally Hall from September 4th to 6th.

Lineup

Florence + The Machine, Hot Chip, Future Islands, Manic Street Preachers, Chvrches, Underworld, Jurassic 5, Ride, Battles, Jessie Ware, Roisin Murphy, The War On Drugs, Tame Impala, George Ezra, Belle & Sebastian, Jon Hopkins, My Morning Jacket, Django Django, Pond, Low, Tourist, Metz, Girl Band, Kwabs, Lapsley, Alvvays, Marika Hackman, Jack Garratt, Wyvern Lingo, Circa Waves, Hinds, Shura, Ben Khan, Curtis Harding, Aquilo and Little May.

Tickets

If you’ve been to the festival before, there is a loyalty rate for tickets available until midnight Sunday 8th March from €154.40 to €174.50. Codes must be received in advance of purchase.

Tickets will then go up in price to €194.50.

Sunday day tickets are €90+.

Ticket page.

Posted on March 4th, 2015

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Best of 2014 : Albums | SongsReaders Irish Albums | Readers Irish songs | Remixes | Videos 


Artwork by Stephen Maurice Graham.

Here’s my favourite list of the year to do: my songs of 2014 All I ask is that if you discover something through it, leave me a comment below and let me know. Listen on Spotify or browse below. I’m taking an extended Christmas break until January 13th. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

Listen on Spotify


Top 100 songs of 2014

1.Caribou – ‘Can’t Do Without You’

2. Future Islands – ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’

3. Jungle – ‘Busy Earnin’

4. Ships – ‘Space Inside’

5. Run the Jewels – ‘Oh My Darling Don’t Cry

6. Glass Animals – Hazey

7. SZA feat. Chance The Rapper – ‘Child’s Play’

8. Shamir – ‘If It Wasn’t True’

9. Girl Band – ‘Lawman’

10. Talos – ‘Tethered Bones’

11. Little Dragon – ‘Paris’

12. Banks – ‘Drowning’

13. House Of Spirits – ‘Holding On’

14. New Jackson – ‘Having A Coke With You’

15. Julio Bashmore – ‘Rhythm of Auld’

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Posted on December 24th, 2014

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Best of 2014 : Albums | Songs | Readers Irish Albums | Readers Irish songs | Remixes | Videos 


 

Artwork by Stephen Maurice Graham.

My favourite albums of the year features a sixth album career highlights from a psychedelic mathematician, a fourth album breakthrough for a rubbernecking sweat-drenched band, the return of Aphex Twin, a Wicklow man who seemed to take over the music world, two great Irish rap albums, an album about an imagined trip through China, two very different R&B debut albums, lounge-time electronica from Norway, Annie Clark’s continued ascension through ambition, a collaborative effort from Iceland and the Faroe Islands and a marquee buddy rap album that said more about the state of America than anything else this year and had a brash kick-ass time doing it.

There’s a Spotify playlist available for it all but click down to get some context for each album from 10 to 1. Top 100 songs of the year tomorrow.

Spotify Best Albums of 2014 playlist


30. Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband
29. Ratking – So It Goes
28. Shabazz Palaces –  Lese Majesty
27. The Bug – Angels & Devils
26. Lone – Reality Testing
25. DJ Dodger Stadium – Friend Of Mine
24. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead
23. Hundred Waters – The Moon Rang Like A Bell
22. Lethal Dialect x Jackknife J – 1988
21. Hozier – Hozier
20. Warpaint – Warpaint
19. The Gloaming – The Gloaming
18. Fatima Al Qadiri – Asiatisch
17. Sinkane – Mean Love
16. Dorian Concept – Joined Ends
15. James Vincent McMorrow – Post Tropical
14. Fatima – Yellow Memories
13. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time!
12. Alt-J – This Is All Yours
11. St Vincent – St. Vincent


10. Aphex Twin – Syro

AFXRichard D James’ first album in 13 years.

“We know now that the contents of Syro is just some of the material recorded in the intervening years in one of James’ many studios. The oldest track stretch back six or seven years, using a massive 138 pieces of musical equipment (all listed in spiral on the artwork).

“What appears before it also echoes the heavier side of Druqks but repeated listens reveal new textures, new moods, new avenues explored by James. The trademark eeriness of melody and general cheeky humour is still evident throughout but the greatest part of a new Aphex Twin record is that is truly allows you to get lost in its puzzle, a completely different musical terrain even when there are expected imprints of ambient works, electro, acid, jungle and squiggly funk.

“The 10 minute experience of ‘XMAS_EVET10 [120][thanaton3 mix]’ feels different every time with environmental listening experiences changing the focus and feel (headphones, outdoors, late-night) as all the best electronic music can do. Syro still offers much to explore, many repeat listens in.

“And that is the key to why Aphex Twin is pored over so minutely, because he goes into such detail in his music. James’ intricate compositional skills remains his biggest asset. While his sounds have been copied over the years, his brain is still peerless.”

Listen: Spotify


9. Angel Olsen – Burn No Fire For Your Witness

Angel OlsenThe American singer dials up the amps and keeps things intimate.

“When you have a voice so striking you could hang a hat on it, it’s probably a good idea to hang your songs on it too. Angel Olsen’s 2012 debut album Half Way Home introduced us to the Missouri singer’s deep country-folk vibrato that sometimes sounded like an entrant in a yodelling competition and musically, was set to throwback acoustic folk. She was an otherworldly attraction.

“The followup, Burn Your Fire For No Witness (Jagjaguwar) still relies on Olsen’s distinctive tones to draw you in but the songs hold you closer and Olsen reveals more of herself in the process, while expanding the arrangements to include a rock band at full tilt, devastating acoustic songs and poignant country-folk.

“If Olsen sounded distant and unearthly before, on Burn Your Fire For No Witness, she is emotionally baring, whispering uncomfortably close in your ear or sometimes dancing around you, a real person, hanging her songs and her voice on relatable and knowable experiences.”

Listen: Spotify


8. Godknows + MynameisjOhn – Rusangano/Family

SBsA brilliant grimey hip-hop collaborative album via Clare, Zimbabwe and Limerick..

“As they describe it, ‘a Zimbabwean Christian and an Irish pagan sit down with a pot of tea’ with the expressed interest of changing the game.

“What God Knows, the founding member of the Random Acts Of Kindness collective and Ennis-born mynameisjOhn came up with (along with MuRli) is a game-changer in the way it drags Irish hip-hop into a fully-formed album/mixtape format with a confidence and skill that is unfamiliar in this country’s rap output.

“MC God Knows is a fervent presence, an MC with command, as heard on the soulful clip of ‘Standard’, an easy album highlight. MynameisjOhn provides the horn-soul hip-hop backing but doesn’t rest there, the beats bang, the strings stab and God Knows goes double time to the beat slowing to let the soul sample breathe.

“The versatility extends to MynameisjOhn too. ‘Throw The Spear’ reminds me of an MF Doom production – Dangerdoom era, meets Machinedrum. ‘Habbahuk’ is more plaintive, ‘Twentyfourseven’ is psychedelic funk and there are hints of a knowledge of electronic subgenres, even African dance on ‘African Shirts’.

“Aspects of being an African boy growing up in Ireland seeps through the lyrics in details about being black in an Irish school. He’s Joined by MuRli and Guide on ‘Words Of Our Fathers’, a track which, in the short history of Irish-African rap would have never been made twenty years ago, and serves as an aural document of one small thing that multi-cultural Ireland has given us.”

Listen: Bandcamp


7. Kiasmos – Kiasmos

KiasmosIcelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds and Faroe Islands’ synth-pop musician Janus Rasmussen’s first album together collides two worlds of sounds to engaging effect.

” Arnalds and Rasmussen explore what happens when contemporary composition that uses stringed instruments, has a classical knowledge and is often written with scores in mind intersects with the sensibilities and practices of synthesizer-driven music structures.

“The pair spent much of the year in Reykjavík working together on this album. The result is a grandiose vocal-less dance album that effectively uses the tactile textures of the former in the arena of the latter.

“Across seven, often long tracks (the average length of about 6 and a half minutes), the opposing worlds of electronic and classical mesh well together and Kiasmos moves in a place that is neither contemporary or classical, house or techno, but that crosses both with a new identity.”

Listen on Spotify.


6. Glass Animals – ZABA

ZABAAn alluring minimal indie R&B album from the Oxford musicians.

ZABA, the band’s debut album pushes their atmospheric agenda into a cohesive release. Their M.O. is slinky minimal pop, not a million miles from Alt-J, but more exotic and worldly than their counterparts. But they do share a common parlance in how they translate their traditional band setup into an otherworldly place.

“Executive production by Paul Epworth with Bayley producing ensures that level of aural consistency, meaning ZABA which is likened to ‘a backdrop of man-made wilderness,’ according to the band directly, is awash with ambient and alluring songcraft.”

Listen on Spotify.


5. Mr Twin Sister – Mr Twin Sister

Twin SisterDark disco and electronic pop on album #2 from the Long Island band.

“The eight tracks on the self-titled second album are definitely night-time grooves, which occupy the same mood without jumping around from genre to genre, and as an album it works wonderfully, because Mr Twin Sister have an attention to the small details that stands to them when they delve deep into genres like disco and funk.

“Andrea Estella’s lyrics suit the vibe, their disco-noir sound is escapism and she often seeks to escape. ‘In The House Of Yes’ she locks herself in her room, drinks to a stupor and dances on her own own til her head is on the ground. ‘Rude Boy’ finds her rejecting the advances of an opposite (“I have all the drinks i can handle”), content to exist in the space. “Is there a real me? Or am I just a series of nights,” she sings on ‘Blush’. The thrilling ‘Out Of The Dark’ has her questioning identity too – “I am a woman / But inside I’m a man / And I want to be as gay as I can.” The Johnny Jewel-esque ’12 Angels’ has someone singing about being in drag to reinforce the theme.

“Despite the album being united in tone, there’s a sense that Mr Twin Sister aren’t settled. It’s in the artwork which is deliberately unfinished and packaged, it’s in the 37-minute running time and it’s in the new name. The altered band have reset and are heading in their own independent direction and making great music as part of the process.”

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4. FKA twigs  – LP1

FKA TWigs2014’s magnetic leftfield R&B star.

“Twigs has showed herself in public through artwork and videos which have hyper-realised versions of herself (large eyes, elongated neck, disfigured faces), that she is interested in examining and distorting her identity, including the very name she’s persisted with – Formerly known as.” On LP1, she shares seemingly true intimate versions of herself.

“There is no worry that the separation of the music from the visuals FKA twigs has become synonymous with has lessened the impact of LP1 or that twigs has nothing to say. A longer sustained running time means rather than snatches of character-forming opinion, we get a confidential look at the artist herself talking sex, self-image, desire, loneliness, intimacy, and state of mind, subjects normally guarded from others more vehemently, particularly for new artists.

“The combination of twigs’ alien otherworldliness, her ambient often anguished electronic R&B style and her intimate and lustful portrait of herself, directly or reflected in others, makes for an iconic release and helps form a person who feels human and real. By the end of the album’s 10 tracks, twigs decides that she knows herself best, after all.”

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3. Future Islands – Singles

FIThe Baltimore band’s fourth record of melodramatic synth-pop hit a bigger audience.

“These are songs that have the chest-thumping melodramatic new wave pop at the heart of what they do while refining the songwriting and production by Chris Coady make for an overall better album.

“There’s a straight up heart-on-sleeve anthemic lean to all of the songs. Each of them stand on their own, hence the title, whether it’s the yearning synth-pop of ‘Spirit’, the hook-laden chorus of ‘Sun In The Morning’, the bass-funk of ‘Doves’ , the slow epic atmosphere of ‘A Song For Our Grandfathers’ or the brilliant album closer ‘A Dream Within A Dream’.

“There’s quite enough eccentricity in Herring’s vocal delivery whether he’s whispering, skulking, brooding, wailing, growling, crooning or delivering a monologue like David Bowie in Labyrinth on ‘Fall From Grace’. His range is beautifully dramatic and spirited and the music doubles down on providing an effective poignant foil for that – focusing on chugging bass, propulsive rhythms and colourful synths. It’s a perfect distillation of Future Islands which just happens to leave a more accessible, hook-laden welcoming impression than before. The band are all on the same powerful page rather than just being “that band with the eccentric lead singer.”

And let’s face it – as Letterman proved, and as this album substantiates, Herring, Gerrit Welmers and William Cashion have a lot more highly-strung emotion and joyful connections to make with audiences.”

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2. Caribou – Our Love

Our LoveAffirmative heart-on-sleeve dancefloor psychedelia.

“What a pleasure it is to arrive at the sixth album from an artist to find them at the peak of their music-making abilities. Press play on Our Love and that sentiment is obvious.

“Snaith’s psychedelic imprint and swells of emotion covers everything, through his falsetto and his preference for nostalgic-faced melodies. His lyrics add to the tenderness, chiefly concerned with a slipping, fading love, yet he offers us, and himself, solace in every other way.

“On Our Love, Snaith is now fully immersed in the world of the nightclub but he wears his heart on his turntable. That doesn’t mean that there’s an dumbing down or mindlessness. There is a simplicity to a lot of the tracks that, only comes from putting in the long hours. Snaith’s love of his craft continues to shine. If anything, he’s has just better at making things sound larger with less.”

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1. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2

RTJBest buddies El-P and Killer Mike made the year’s best rap record.

“The sequel to one of the best rap mixtapes in recent times does what many sequels do not. It improves the dynamic between the cast, it delivers smarter, more quotable lines, it takes aim at larger targets and it adds a whole lot of bang.

Run The Jewels 2 is what happens when a producer-rapper/rapper hit a career high at the same damn time. Because this is El and Mike’s album, they own it. Because even though there are vocal guests: RATM’s Zack De La Rocha, singer/producer Boots and Three 6 Mafia’s Gangsta Boo, they serve the version of a banging lean record, rather than overcrowd it.

RTJ2 is two buddies, operating at their creative peak. It’s more than another chapter, more than a sequel. It’s a sinewy distillation of more than a friendship, it’s a fruitful creative partnership that sounds like it’s been reinforced by steel foundations such is the wicked bulging energy contained within the album’s 40 minutes.”

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Spotify Best Albums of 2014 playlist

Posted on December 22nd, 2014

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