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.
Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
The sixth album from the Arctic Monkeys has been met with equal doses of praise and condemnation. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is certainly the group’s most ambitious studio release to date. Musically, the group have shifted away from the dirty guitar riffs of AM opting instead for a more psychedelic layered approach to the songwriting. The result is a much more nuanced sound, though perhaps not as immediately gratifying as the album’s predecessors. Lyrically Tranquility Base see’s Turner at his very best. Citing the influence of science fiction in the writing process in a Radio 1 interview, the lyrics on tracks like ‘Four Out Of Five’ and ‘Star Treatment’ are the perfect blend of cosmic surrealism and dry wit.
Beach House – 7
Baltimore dream pop duo Beach House have established themselves as one of the few bands consistently producing great music. Their new record 7 is both a continuation and a departure from their previous material. The band’s most identifiable traits are all still present. The rich textures and haunting vocal melodies are all there in abundance. However, the music on 7 has an edge their previous material does not. A track like ‘Dark Spring’ finds the group at their most animated while ‘Lemon Glow’ seems to take much influence from trip-hop. The album is a great example of how a band can have an distinguishable sound while avoiding becoming stale.
Paul Alwright – Hungry
Former Lethal Dialect hip-hop artist Paul Alwright has been making waves recently with Hungry, the first solo release by the artist under his own name. It seems like a new beginning for Alwright. The material on Hungry is vibrant, seeming to come from a writer who has something vital to say. Tackling a wide range of subjects from mental health, self doubt and critical thought , the album has an overwhelmingly honest charm. Songs like ‘The Auld Chinaman’ and ‘One Life’ prove that Alwright is one of the best lyricists in the country.
Slow Skies – Realign
Dublin-based singer-songwriter Karen Sheridan has been releasing music under the title of Slow Skies since her debut EP Close in 2013. Realign is the title of the project’s first full studio release. The album is a wonderful nostalgic folk endeavour. Sheridan’s vocal delivery being the absolute stand out feature, both intimate and moving. Whether it’s the lilting hook behind lead single ‘Fire’ or the lush harmonies on the album’s title track, Sheridan’s ability as a singer and melody writer is stunning.
Cloud – Dungaree Daydreams
An Irish man splitting his time between Dublin and London, Cloud has impressed with his debut release Dungaree Daydreams. The album plays like a hybrid between the downer pop vibe of artists like King Krule and the hip-hop essence of groups like Homebeat. Released independently, Dungaree Daydreams’ lo-fi production only adds to the album’s charisma. With a clever ear for a hook and some fantastic beats, Cloud’s music is youthful and exuberant. A welcome addition to the already rich roster of Irish musical talent.
Simian Mobile Disco – Murmurations
Those who would have been worried that Simian Mobile Disco were thinking of calling it a day after the release of an anthology album last year will be relieved to hear of their brand new album Murmurations. In fact, the album sounds like the sort of material from a band who still have plenty to say. This album is the first from the group in years to predominately feature the human voice, with numerous features from all-female vocal group Deep Throat Choir. Murmurations finds the happy balance between the experimental aspects of albums like Whorl and the commercial quality of the group’s earlier material. Album highlights include ‘Caught In A Wave’ and the wonderful ‘Defender’.
Half Waif – Lavender
A self described mood ring pop artist, Half Waif’s new album Lavender is exactly the sort of inventive music you’d expect from such a genre. Fluid synth lines dance above and below the artist’s vocal delivery. The moody vocal lines sound exposed next to the pointed minimalism of the album’s production. On the one hand, it’s a sound that has been explored before. However, there is something unique about the Brooklyn-based artist’s music. There’s a feeling of beat poetry about the lyrics on the album. At times, it sounds like Half Waif is having a frantic conversation with the audience. It makes for some compelling listening.