With so many releases flying at you, here are recommended vetted listens from Nialler9 for you this week, as collated in the Nialler9 New Albums Spotify playlist, updated weekly.
Ships – Precession
“With Precession, Ships have taken all that guardianship, heart and knowledge and have made one of my favourite albums of the year. Songs for the mind and body. The album is one of the most beautiful and dynamic sounding records you’ll hear this year. Its production is detailed with lots of little sonic treats that easy to pick up on but hard to create.”
My album of the week. Full info here.
Favourite tracks: ‘Where We Are’, ‘All Will Be’, ‘I Can Never’.
Gorillaz – Humanz
An all-star cast is Gorillaz thing but still the cast on this is ridiculous. Grace Jones, Kelela, Popcaan, DRAM, Danny Brown, Mavis Staples, De La Soul, Kali Uchis, Zebra Katz, Vince Staples, Savages, Rag ‘n’Bone Man, , Noel Gallagher (yes), Carly Simon, Ray Blk, Kilo Kish, Peven Everett. I could go on. It’s hard to weave so many disparate guests into a coherent whole but Damon Albarn is a dab hand at it. It may not be the best Gorillaz album (Plastic Beach reigns supreme) but Humanz provides many moments of kaleidoscopic pleasure, even while the formula feels a little tired on occasion. Standouts include Kelela’s vocal on the bouncy ‘Submission’, the Bobby-Womack tribute of ‘Andromeda’, Vince Staples sharp politically-charged verses on ‘Ascension’ and having Pusha T and Mavis Staples on the same track on ‘Let me Out’.
Favourite tracks: ‘Ascension’, ‘Submission’, ‘Andromeda’, ‘Let Me Out’.
Sylvan Esso – What Now
The second album from the North Carolina duo frees up the band’s electro with looser pop textures (‘The Glow’) and a near acoustic singalong (‘Song’). It’s still very much the duo who gave us ‘Coffee’ and Play It Right’ and that’s down to Nick Sanborn’s production which at its core is percussive electro-pop and vocally, the warm earthiness of Amelia Meath.
Favourite tracks: ‘Radio’, ‘Die Young’, ‘Kick Jump Twist’.
J Dilla – Motor City
The latest release from the vault of one of hip-hop’s great – maybe the greatest – producer. Dilla’s mother Ma Dukes has released this album of 20 varied instrumental cuts. J Rocc provides a single mix of the album too.
Feist – Pleasure
Leslie Feist’s first album in six years makes clear that we are far away from the bright guitar pop of 2007’s The Reminder and the silky textures of 2004’s Let It Die. Continuing the plaintive style of 2011’s Metals, Pleasure is a stripped back low-key album for quiet moments. Jarvis Cocker appears for some spoken word on ‘Century’, ‘Any Party’ feels like dropping in to a live band in the studio, and the title track brandishes a PJ Harvey-style intensity but Pleasure in this case, is very understated.
Favourite tracks: ‘Pleasure’, ‘lost Dreams’, ‘Any Party’.