Best Of The Year So Far...
It has been a superb six months for new music. Here are some of our stand out albums from the first half of 2019.
1. Kate Tempest — Book of Traps & Lessons (Fiction)
Tempest's poetry has even greater complexity, depth and clarity, accompanied by some truly astonishing beats. An album that takes on the state of the nation while trying to heal it.
2. Little Simz — Grey Area (Age 101)
Warren has been pushing this album in an almost criminal manner. Lyrically masterful on tracks that simply do not let up.
3. Stella Donnelly — Beware Of The Dogs (Secretly Canadian)
A record that takes no prisoners, tackling b*££s£*t with extraordinarily intimate and disarming songwriting.
4. Flying Lotus — Flamagra (Brainfeeder)
It's Flying Lotus - he is just incapable of making anything less than great, inventive records and this is amongst his best.
5. Jake Xerxes Fussell — Out Of Sight (Paradise Of Bachelors)
This one took us by surprise. Ethnography meets American folk on a record that is damn near flawless in beauty and craftsmanship.
6. The National — I Am Easy To Find (4AD)
There were high expectations for this record and it most certainly didn't disappoint. Never ones to sit on their laurels, The National pushed further, brought in new collaborators, and nailed it.
7. Rosie Lowe — Yu (Wolftone)
Rosie Lowe returns with an album of neo-soul majesty. At turns grand, seductive and brooding it gets better with each listen.
8. Mercury Rev — Bobby Gentry's The Delta Sweete Revisited (Bella Union)
Bold in intention, glorious in execution. A celebration of an album that was vastly under appreciated on its release, with a supremely talented group of vocalists including Rachel Goswell, Margo Price and Phoebe Bridgers.
9. Slowthai — Nothing Great About Britain (Method Records)
A fresh, vital voice who takes on the political & personal with superior beats and a wicked sense of humour.
10. The Cinematic Orchestra — To Believe (Ninja Tune)
We waited 12 years for this, and you know what, it was actually worth it. The Cinematic Orchestra continue to plough their wondrous furrow, as only they can.
11. The Comet Is Coming — Trust In The Life Force Of The Deep Mystery (Impulse!)
After ruling 2018 with Sons Of Kemet, Shabaka Hutchings is back with The Comet Is Coming, to release a jazz album of energy, hope and joy.
12. Fontaines D.C. — Dogrel (Partisan)
This one has been flying out of the shop and rightly so - a tightly written, raw and accomplished post-punk debut.
13. Swindle — No More Normal (Brownswood)
If you know, you know. If you don't, get on it. A record that incorporates grime, hip-hop, soul, jazz, electronic and spoken word to create a sound all of its own.
14. Greg Foat — The Mage (AOTN)
On his ninth album Foat weaves mystic British jazz with soul and hip-hop in a winning way.
15. Ex:Re — Ex:Re (4AD)
Some of the finest work to date of Daughter's Elena Tonra. Track 5AM is the standout for us.
16. Altin Gün — Gece (Glitterbeat)
A love letter to Anatolian psych from Amsterdam that blew us, and the cobwebs, away.
17. Bedouine — Bird Songs Of A Killjoy (Spacebomb)
Lush folk, a record for long summer afternoons contemplating life, love and the universe.
18. Amyl and The Sniffers — Amyl and The Sniffers (Rough Trade)
Loud, fun, angry punk , with the best hair in rock 'n' roll. What's not to like?
19. Yola — Walk On Fire (Easy Eye Sound)
You know those gorgeous big songs they don't make any more? Well Yola does, taking on Nashville, Laurel Canyon, The Carpenters, Stax-era Soul and more, making it her own with a voice for the ages.
20. Bruce Springsteen — Western Stars (Columbia)
Classic Springsteen, that comforted and surprised in its new and poignant take on all the old troubles.
And the thing is, there is even more coming. Here are just some of the records we are getting excited about in the second half of 2019.
1. Sarathy Korwar — More Arriving (Leaf Label)
Korwar's 2018 record with Upaj Collective was a stand out, and the tracks released so far from More Arriving are explosive.
2. Chali 2na and Krafty Kuts — Adventures Of A Reluctant Superhero (Manphibian Music)
It's Chali 2na and Krafty Kuts. Making new music. Warren will be ordering a LOT of this.
3. Sleater-Kinney — The Center Won't Hold (Mom + Pop)
Sleater-Kinney are back and produced by Annie Clark aka St Vincent. I mean COME ON!
4. Brittany Howard — Jaime (Columbia)
The Alabama Shakes front woman goes solo to release intensely personal material.
5. Metronomy — Metronomy Forever (Because Music)
They had us at Salted Caramel Ice Cream.
6. Bat For Lashes — Lost Girls (Bat For Lashes)
Natasha Khan is back and single Kids In The Dark, is all 80's synth loveliness with Khan's signature beautiful vocals.
We know it's coming and it's going to be good. But that's pretty much it.
8. Sampa The Great — The Return (Ninja Tune)
She's finally bringing out a full album! Just listen to the superb single Final Form that makes it clear she is here to slay. And not just because of the excellent decision to sample The Sylvers.
9. Nérija — Blume (Domino)
A ridiculous list of players (Nubya Garcia, Sheila Maurice-Gray, Rosie Turton and more) which if the EP they have released is anything to go by, are just going to kill it. We predict one of the jazz albums of the year.
10. Marika Hackman — Any Human Friend (AMF Records)
I'm Not Your Man was an early Slide favourite and we are very much looking forward to what she does next.