As with everyone, we are getting dangerously bored at home in isolation. Even seeing your mates and adhering to the social distancing rules feels wrong, and there's only so much House Party can offer. In times like these, music really keeps you going, so here's a list of 5 new albums, and 5 absolute classics to indulge in over the coming weeks.
Four Tet - Sixteen Oceans
Released this month, Four Tet’s Sixteen Oceans is a must listen for the quarantine. The LP develops sounds that were explored on 2017’s New Energy, but incorporates a more club friendly sonic narrative to keep you moving. From the pulsating breakbeats of Insect Near Piha Beach to the ambience of 4T Recordings, this album is everything Kieran Hebden is about.
Caribou - Suddenly
Another nerdy looking dance floor genius, Dan Snaith’s new project under the Caribou alias is quite special. Sister kicks off the LP in a blissful manor, but the proceeding You and I is contagious. The track starts with Snaith’s pitched up vocals, but then crescendos into a scattered, high hat fuelled-trap beat. The record manages to stay concise despite it being his most stylistically challenging to date. Give it a listen.
Jay Electronica - Written Testimony
Fans have been waiting a decade for this album. You may have already heard of Jay Electronica - he was part of Black Hippy, with Ab-Soul and Kendrick Lamar, and has featured on tracks with Chance, The Rapper. However, since he signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, he has failed to release a debut LP. Why? No one really knows, but this was made over 40 days, and Z heavily features. Was it worth the wait? Have a listen and see what you think.
Omar S - You Want
Detroit DJ demon Omar S is probably the best classic house producer going. If you were lucky enough to see his set at Lost Village’s Junkyard, you would have come away mesmerised - not only by his massive gold chain, but the tune selection too. At an hour and 28 minutes, its an album that you’re probably going to dip in and out of. However, you will find a couple expansive, groovy and melodic house bangers to get you moving. We recommend ‘The Sound Of Neptune’.
Moses Boyd - Dark Matter
London's prosperous jazz scene has a lot to thank Moses Boyd for. Whether he is drumming for Sampha, or holding the beat down with Sons Of Kemet, Boyd is undoubtedly one of the most respected percussionists in the world. Dark Matter is his debut solo LP. Featuring Obongjayar, Poppy Ajudha and a host of others, the record melds schizophrenic instrumentation, with distinctive club rhythms. The juxtaposition of British bass music and semi-improvised jazz works extremely well, and exonerates everything Boyd has grown to be about: production, percussion and mixing.
Portishead - Dummy
Bristol Triphop pioneers Portishead effortlessly made their debut LP a timeless classic back in 1994. ‘Dummy’ is a roller coaster of an LP, its inherent spookiness projects themes of desperation and pain through the stunning vocals of Beth Gibbons and the unsettling production of Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley. The album feels like a soundtrack to a 70s film noir, but still seems as fitting today as it did two decades ago. If Anthony Fantano was reviewing records in ’94, this would have been a 10/10.
The Human League - Dare
When all of The Human League’s musician’s left Phil Oakley to form Heaven17, The band looked finished. If it wasn’t for Oakley’s casual visit to a local nightclub in Sheffield, this album may have never happened. Enlisting two random ravers, called Joanne and Susanne, as back up dancers and vocalists, was probably the best decision he ever made. This album put a playful, more commercial appeal on the darker electro-goth pop the group was making earlier. Just the bassline of Sound Of The Crowd is enough to put this LP on the list - indie music simply isn’t made for the dance floor anymore.
MF DOOM - Mm... Food
Hip-hop has always had an obsession with food. From Travis Scott’s Reece’s Puffs, to Lil Xan’s Cheeto addiction, the synergetic connection between rap and munch is quite astonishing. No project accentuates this more than MF Doom’s legendary Mm…Food. On his life long mission to takeover the world, hip-hop’s most prolific criminal mastermind covers classic rap narratives, whilst ingeniously making references to culinary delights. This is one of our favourite hip-hop albums of all time.
The Isley Brothers - Go for Your Guns
Some of the most memorable hip-hop songs have shamelessly sampled The Isley Brothers; Ice Cube’s It Was A Good Day uses the guitar lick from Footsteps in the Dark, which features on this album. There isn’t a genre that matches the happiness and euphoria created by funk and soul. The Brothers from Ohio have influenced such a spectrum of sounds - rock, early R&B and gospel conventions also prominently feature on Go For Your Guns. Funky basslines and simmering vocal harmonies are their forte, making them one of the most important bands of all time, and you'll see why after listening to this LP.
Talking Heads - ‘77
Talking Heads are rarely talked about for their influence on British indie music. Would the jangly guitar rifts of Johnny Marr cease to exist if it wasn’t for David Byrne? Probably. The quartet’s debut album was boundary breaking, and still sounds current today. The steel-drum riddled opener Uh-Oh, Loves Comes to Town sounds completely different to the contagious indie closer Sugar on my Tongue. But yet, the sheer wackiness of musicianship makes it oddly coherent. The beautifully sarcastic Don’t Worry About The Government feels particularly relevant to what is happening in the world right now, so give it a listen.