With so many releases flying at you, here are recommended vetted listens from Nialler9 for you this week, as collated in the Nialler9 New Releases Spotify playlist, updated weekly.
English electronic group Ladytron come through with their most consistently high-quality material on their self-titled sixth LP. Ladytron, as its striking cover art might suggest, is an album with an air of do or die stakes. Helen Marnie’s vocal performances often sound cracked, on the verge of breaking up. The band’s performances are often secondary, washed away beneath layers of reverbs, delays and pitch corrections. It’s dream pop for the end of days. Highlights include ‘The Island’ and ‘Far From Home’.
Chaka Khan’s first solo LP since 2007’s Funk This is exactly the sort of upbeat, groove-driven collection of material you’d expect and want from the disco icon. Khan sounds best on familiar ground, like on ‘Like A Lady’ and ‘Ladylike’. She tends to suffer on the LPs moments of experimentation, like the woeful ‘Don’t Cha Know’, featuring an awkward blend of dub-like drum patterns and guitar funk. It’s not inventing the wheel, but Khan remains one of the premier groove artists out there.
Broken Social Scene
Let’s Try The After Vol.1
Canadian indie rock group Broken Social Scene’s new EP Let’s Try The After Vol.1 hears the group dip into the world of moody indie electronica. In fact, there’s a distinct Postal Service vibe to the two instrumental tracks which open the affair, ‘The Sweet Sea’ and ‘Remember Me Young’. The music on this EP is very serious, almost bleak at points. ‘1972’ and its robotic breakdown section is downbeat and droney. It’s a definite departure from the indie musings the band were making in the 00s, which many will still associate with them. It’s a beautiful EP, packed with sentiment and quietly clever instrumental parts.
Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990
The Light In The Attic label has dug deep into their archives to release the unique Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990. The compilation features notable composers like Hiroshi Yoshimura and Toshi Tsuchitori as well as slightly more obscure additions. The compilation is packed with serene field recordings and the sort of instrumental accompaniment perfectly suited for quiet moments with headphones.
William Philip’s new record seemed to appear from nowhere. Entitled Everyday, this mostly instrumental electronica album captures plenty of mood and atmosphere with occasional moments of emotional intensity. ‘Emily’ stands out as the best among the bunch. At times, the album is a little too gradual for its own good, coming across as lackadaisical and at it’s worst, directionless. There’s still more than enough on Everydayto ensure its place on this week’s list.
Australian producer Ninajirachi’s Lapland comes in an interesting blend of future garage and pop. It falls a little short of either though. Tracks like ‘Human’ aren’t the sort of pop that’ll entice radio listeners and ‘Glass’ will probably not impress puritan future garage fans. However, those who approach this album with an open mind will find lots to enjoy. Especially in its tight production and crafty melodic composition.
Perth psych-pop trio Methyl Ethel’s new LP Triage is a bit of a hit and miss affair. The group offer up flashes of brilliance, like the very 80s ‘Trip The Mains’ and ‘Real Tight’, but dilute the album with plenty of filler tracks. The first tracks coming to mind are ‘All The Elements’ and ‘What About The 37*?’. In these instances, Methyl Ethel fails to stand out from the majority of acts making psych pop right now, it lacks distinct characteristics and personality. Thankfully, the album closes strongly with the fantastic ‘No Fighting’.