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.
Mura Masa – Mura Masa
Collaborator laden debut albums are hard to create cohesively but Mura Masa’s production characterised by box-of-tricks percussion, playful steel drum tones and electronic and R&B pop music is strong enough to stand up to contributions from a wide cast of singers like Damon Albarn, Christine and the Queens, Bonzai, NAO, Charli XCX, ASAP Rocky and Desiigner. Much of it was heard in advance as is the custom these days but contributions from AK Paul, Jamie Lidell and Tom Tripp add to the flavour. The album feels like the start of a journey and it’s a very repeatable one.
Oh Wonder – Ultralife
A band with a gift for melody, Ultralife is the English duo’s first album to be constructed as one, as opposed to 2015’s debut album which collected the singles they released monthly that garnered them fans in the first place. Not much has changed in the tunes department and that’s a good thing. Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West make bright and breezy songs that are easily-digestible; perfectly conceived. Pop but on their own terms. If anything, their songwriting has become moire confident and more upbeat without losing their initial charm.
Mr Jukes – God First
Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jack Steadman has made a hip-hop beat production record with guests like BJ The Chicago Kid, Charles Bradley, Lianne La Havas and De La Soul. It’s a fine record that crosses the streams between rap, soul and retro funk with aplomb, a surprising thing for a former indie band member but as a jazz-trained musician, Steadman is able to indulge and impress.
Sheer Mag – Need To Feel Your Love
There’s a lot to be said for mining the past when you take the best qualities while leaving the pomp. Philadelphia rock band Sheer Mag are the best 70s rock band around based on their new album. There’s nothing but kicking out the rock’n’roll jams and good times throughout with Tina Halladay’s sneering vocal bringing old sounds alive once more. This could totally work as an alternative soundtrack to Richard Linklater’s film Dazed and Confused.
Shabazz Palaces – Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star / Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines
One Shabazz Palaces is usually dense enough to take in in one week but the Sub Pop alt-rap futurists went and released two albums. No one quite explores the outer fringes quite like Shabazz and these two albums compliment that interstellar, out-space quality with a laser-guided production precision that was lacking in 2014’s Lese Majesty. I’m still early days listening to these album but it’s quite a trip.
Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines:
Listen on Spotify
Niall Byrne is the founder of the most-influential Irish music site Nialler9, where he has been writing about music since 2005 . He is the cohost of the Nialler9 Podcast and has written for the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Cara Magazine, Sunday Times, Totally Dublin, Red Bull and more. Niall is a DJ, founder of Lumo Club, event curator and producer of gigs, parties & events.