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.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Sex & Food
Ruban Nielson’s UMO are band that always moved between psych-rock, frenetic sonics and oddball funk. Sex and Food finds a bit of everything of the band’s established sounds in there along but perhaps with everything pushed to the fringes or testing the limits somewhat. So there’s the aggressively-charged distorted rock of ‘American Guilt’ alongside the positively 70s yacht rock tracks ‘Ministry of Alienation’ and ‘Everybody Acts Crazy Nowadays’. “When it comes to rock, I want to get into dodgier territory.”, is how Nielson has talked about the album.
Nielson’s voice remains as the peculiar whispering floating timbre. It’s a little creepy, a little laconic, and totally unique. With influences drawn from places he visited like Reykjavík, Seoul, Auckland, Hanoi and Mexico, away from the Portland home that informed much of his 2015 breakthrough record Multi-Love, Sex and Food ultimately, is like a patchwork of their sound to date.
Le Galaxie – Pleasure
The long-awaited third album from Le Galaxie was delayed due to industry machinations as covered in a recent podcast but it feels worth the wait. Where the band’s previous effort Le Club was an retro-electro album that aimed to capture the band’s revered live shows, Pleasure ably sidesteps that focus. It’s still a party, but it feels like a fresher, modern one, of rave pop sounds. The band’s newest member May Kay brings a duality to Michael Pope’s vocals that increases the human presence of the band’s music and makes their music more hook-filled. It’s still an album of absolute dance bangers, as you may expect from this band but richer and more varied, more confident employing piano-house, rave, comedown electro , synth-disco, and an Underworld-esque song called Demi Moore with the title repeated dozens of times that shouldn’t work but does. At a slim 10 tracks, Le Galaxie wear their skin more comfortably than they’ve ever done before.
Daniel Avery – Song For Alpha
Five years on from his seminal Drone Logic album, the English producer Daniel Avery has largely ditched the anthemic dancefloor grooves in favour of a sound that engulfs itself in retro ambient sounds. It’s not an “ambient” album to chill out to, it shares the same sonics as 1994’s Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2, . It appears to beam itself from another dimension, while grappling with techno and industrial sounds, it remains cavernous and seeking on tracks like ‘Sensation’ and ‘Projector’. ‘Clear’ delves into throwback acid and ‘Diminuendo’ embodies early ’90s minimalism. Song for Alpha is one to get lost in. To help that, there’s an accompanying hour-long visual film.
Somadrone – Wellpark Avenue
Neil O’Connor’s music has often drawn on synthesizers and analogue equipment to make music that had a soft nebulous quality, with qualities of pychedelia, kraut and ambience. O’Connor’s sixth album as Somadrone finds him moving away from those ingredients and embracing live instrumentation and tape loops.
Wellpark Avenue is named after the place in Drumcondra in which the album was recorded, tying down the album’s floating tendencies to a sense of physical space (as can be seen below in the accompanying video). The process may be different but the textured production remains, yet there’s an experimental feel to many of the songs. Wellpark Avenue isn’t an album in a rush to get to another location, it’s quite happy exploring the journey.