You can clock my B.P.M Audiophile round-up for January right here.
It’s hard to expect anything less than an awesome record from Arcade Fire’s members these days, and Tim Kingsbury doesn’t disappoint. On this short but sweet record, Kingsbury fills the songs with an astonishing amount of catchy hooks and delightful retro synth. Over amazing track’s like “Must Have Been an Oversight” and “100 Decibels” Kingsbury pumps out grooves and intriguing melodies all complemented by the harmonies he shares over the course of the album with Basia Bulat. Finding the perfect middle ground between deep and pop on this album, Kingsbury sets some exciting groundwork for a very promising side-project that will hopefully see a longer album and tour schedule following his band’s big announcement later this year.
This album marks the Montrealers long-awaited studio return, and what a return it was. Hitting that immensely satisfying tone of fun pop that’s also layered and deeper than it initially sounds, the record rewards repeat listens again and again. “How Was I To Know?” builds from light to thrashing in it tumbling glory. “White Knuckles” brings fast, unbridled rock with a mix of attitude and fun. There’s much more layered songs like the dark and moody “Vampires” that finds the band pulling their pop magic from much more emotional places.
Adding to the ever-growing lineage of great Australian psych-rock is this new record, the first in a series of albums they plan to release over the course of 2017. Mixing parts groovy alt-rock with the exotic and abrasive non-Western sounds on this album the band find something powerfully unique and never off-putting. Thanks to the zurna the band brings into the mix as well, songs like “Billabon Valley” and “Nuclear Fusion” roar with both electricity and a mysterious undertone that feels like magic. Jams like “Melting” and opener “Rattlesnake” also show the band is not afraid to push the boundaries of their sound, making their upcoming records later this year all the more appealing.
Full of guest artists, including Kenny Loggins, this record was one of the most bizarre yet intriguing of the month. The bass player and producer mixes his funk and R&B stylings over some goofy and almost too personal lyrics about pre-bedtime rituals. Powerful grooves drive tracks like “Walk On By” and “Jethro” while addictive hooks and wonderfully unique vocal melodies make tracks like “A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)” one of the best tracks featuring meows you’ll hear this year. With the likes of Pharrell Williams, Wiz Khalifa, Flying Lotus and even Kendrick Lamar making appearances, it’s suffice to say that even musicians themselves love this kooky album.
Blasting through the expectations of a country record Nashville’s Nikki Lane knocks it out of the park on this effort. Haunting cries of “Yippee-ki-yay” feel haunting, satirical and empowering all in one from her performance and she evolves and subtly critiques the genre’s tropes. While there’s more straightforward magic on title track “Highway Queen” there’s stripped back beauty on tracks like “Send The Sun” and “Foolish Heart” that focuses on parts of the band to great effect.
This new record from the Luyas mixes everything you love lyrically and variation-wise about Broken Social Scene with the sonic drive and exploration of The Besnard Lakes for an audio beast of a record. Mixing more abstract fictional lyrics about the multiverse on “Self-Unemployed” to something a little more grounded on songs like “No Domination,” there’s something for everyone to dig into lyrically here. Dark but irresistible rhythmically and melodically this is one record not to miss.
Going for a record that’s more cohesive and strong on the whole than single-powered, this latest release from Mother Mother is definitely one of their most focused to date. Affirming the dark and dense, but always cutting sound the band has worked towards over the years, this record hones that voice with a lighter side bubbling underneath. Often feeling like an evolution of the band you already know, they alternate their light with tinges of dark on songs like “Love Stuck” and the dark with brighter moments on songs like “The Drugs,” all the while feeling like they’ve taken a couple notes from Imagine Dragons. Those looking for more of their slow synth pop will also love “Mouth Of The Devil,” a stand out slow jam on the record.
The Montreal guitarist explores and develops his voice on this third solo effort, broadening the horizons he’s become comfortable with over the past few years. His new sounds find him mixing parts of his lo-fi R&B with the indie sounds he started in the industry with. Tracks like “Not U” and “Wrapping Up” carry a more reserved, solemn feeling while there’s more a groove-based dance feeling to songs like “TV Volume” and “Every Little Thing.”
B.P.M Audiophile Lightning Round:
Old 97’s – Graveyard Whistling
While often a staying closer to the familiar, there’s enough darker gems on this country-infused record to make it sound more like the alt-country records that are keeping the genre fresh and exciting.
Vermont – II
Fans of more ambient electronic music should definitely check out this under-the-radar German album. Fans of the Stranger Things soundtrack by SURVIVE and Le Matos’ Turbo Kid soundtrack will equally find something in the more cinematic tracks on this release.
Future – Future
One of two close releases by Future this year, this earlier release unfortunately played far too much to what he’d done before to make it as exciting as the HNDRXX record that followed soon after. While many tracks just feel too samey and derivative, “Mask Off” was the gem in the rough to make this stepping stone of a record a little more enjoyable.
Sampha – Process
While you may have only heard this British artist through collaborations with Kanye West or Solange, his solo effort will blow you away. Breathtaking vocals fill every inch of this record, making the passionate delivery all the more poignant. With his hip hop beats behind it tracks like “Blood On Me” move bodies as much as they move hearts and fun production notes like the Mario sound effects on “Kora Sings” make listens all the more fun.
Mozart’s Sister – Field Of Love
The Montreal electronic gem returns on this shorter release with equal parts dance-electronica and more ambitious dark hip hop infused pop. Either candy or the kind of scary that makes you want to listen again tracks like “Moment 2 Moment” and “Angel” tell you everything you need to know.