Each month brings a lot of new albums. Some are of note, whether they’re good or bad – but you don’t always have time to sort through them yourself. This is where my B.P.M Audiophile steps in to do the work for you! So, let’s look at the newest round-up for Spring releases – I’ve even thrown a playlist together for ya to sample a bit of each album!
You can clock my last B.P.M Audiophile round-up right here.
The B.P.M Audiophile March 2017
Tei Shi– Crawl Space
One of the biggest surprises this month was the debut LP from Argentinian soul-pop artist Tei Shi. With a near perfect album, full of diverse and endlessly intriguing songs she manages to pack the record with pop and abrasive moments for something always fun and never repetitive. Tracks like “Creep” have a glitch-filled, attacking, dark pop to them that takes her silky voice and falsetto and makes something contrasting, and the horn drop is all to satisfying. Between the Melody’s Echo Chamber mood of “Baby,” St Vincent riffs of “How Far” and a style that can only be described as angry Solange meets Kimbra on tracks like “Justify” “Crawl” and “Year 3k” she manages to merge jazz, pop and art-rock into something brutal and beautiful on one of the year’s best releases.
Nelly Furtado – The Ride
While not quite as exciting as Tei Shi’s pop, Nelly Furtado’s new record was a very promising return to form for the long-dormant Canadian pop giant. While her hiatus has left the album without as much single power and risk as most may be wanting there are definitely some bangers on this record. “Paris Sun” brings everything dangerous and fun about a lot of Furtado’s dance-era work, with a modern production to keep it fresh. “Cold Hard Truth” offers up some heavy bass and enticing percussion as well for a great album opener. “Right Road” even brings some of the ugly distortion of St. Vincent in for a track to really intrigue listeners for her next release. But with the majority of tracks not being weak but almost painfully candy it just needs something a little more substantial to earn repeat listens as a whole album.
Goldfrapp – Silver Eye
A mixed bag to be sure, this latest release from the British electronic duo can’t decide what it wants to be. Opener “Anymore” comes right out the gate with cutting pop magic, hitting every addictive note without any of the cheap moves of some top 40 hits. “Systemagic” crackles with heavy bass and strange production notes for another great, but somewhat darker pop track that keeps the momentum going strong. As the album hits tracks like “Faux Suede Drifter” or “Tigerman” it goes in a much more ambient and explorative direction, making notably more cinematic sounding songs for the rest of the album with some light pop surges at the end.
Soulwax – From Deewee
Moving to another electronic album, more assertive in what it does is this album from Belgian trio Soulwax. While known for remixes and an appearance in Grand Theft Auto, the band stands on their own quite well. Applying dance and rock attitudes to electronic music for something both pensive and danceable it’s a strong release for the trio, especially the undeniably killer “Is It Always Binary” that manages to hit rock and dance with perfect synchronicity thanks to powerful grooves and one of the best drum sections in anything this year. Other tracks lie “Goodnight Transmission” echoes this idea with more pop, and even “Masterplanned” fits in some great melodies worthy of a pop song. Along with slower tracks, this is a smart album from a smart band that is easy to fall right into.
Depeche Mode – Spirit
Evolving well considering the last time they’ve had a hit, Depeche mode managed a decent effort on their latest release. Walking the line between their iconic sound and a modern twist, they managed to bring themselves up-to-date without compromising themselves. While the album starts strong on tracks like “Going Backwards” and “The Worst Crime” (however ironically titled they are in the overall span of the album) which really take their sound and knack for cool pop into cool new frontiers, this doesn’t last for long, however. The middle of the album just stumbles along, unfortunately, making it hard to reach the strong finish they make, making a read-through of the album’s track listing almost come off as an apt review of the album’s biggest flaws.
B.P.M Audiophile Lightning Round
Jacques Greene – Feel Infinite
Taking a step above producing to make music of his own, this artist finally makes the step up from singles and EPs to make sure people remember him for more than just appearing in the video for Azealia Banks’ “212.” Making a record focused on club dancing, “Feel Infinite” and “Real Time” work repetitiveness to their advantage. Not one to miss pop moments he brings on vocalists for the fun “True” and some great synth work on the bright “You See All My Light.”
Laura Marling – Semper Femina
Breaking the absolute tiredness of so much acoustic guitar music, Marling crafts brilliance from her lavish instrument, along with some of the best swelling strings this side of a film score. Filtering in so much great writing and instrumentation across tracks like “Soothing” and the brilliant “Don’t Pass Me By,” she brings one of her smartest albums to date with crisp lyricism and singing.
Ibibio Sound Machine – Uyai
This powerful dance record mixes addictive pop and dance elements together with African rhythms and influence to make any world music section exciting again. With as much interesting cross-genre genius as the similarly named LCD Soundsystem, they manage to merge rock, dance, R&B and other sounds together so naturally in the name of fun music that you’ll be hard-pressed to find something as bizarre yet exciting for a while, especially with songs like “Give Me A Reason.”
Chicano Batman – Freedom is Free
Going for a much more laidback, relaxing in the sun tone to its retro-psychedelic sounds this project from the L.A. band is a finessed but calming effort. With the sun in every last note, they ooze cool on “Passed You By” making music out of a night by the fire. With some more dance-driven tracks on “Run” and “Friendship (Is a Small Boat In A Storm” they manage to do a bit of everything on this release.
James blunt – The Afterlove
Unfortunately not much to speak of, this latest release definitely feeds into the prejudices against Blunt that so many made based solely on “You’re Beautiful.” With too much bland pop, that lacked the brilliance of his first two releases (Back To Bedlam & All The Lost Souls) it seems like Blunt has just lost the complexity that made his early work so compelling. Speaking as an unabashed fan of these earlier records, hopefully, Blunt will dive a little deeper on the next record.
Spoon – Hot Thoughts
A fun and exciting return for the band, marked with songs that feel deeper and more detailed with each listen. While it definitely starts stronger than it finishes, songs like “Hot Thoughts,” “WhisperI’lllistentohearit” and “Do I Have To Talk You Into It” mix this endlessly dense production with great catchy writing for something worth listening to either way.
March was such a hot month for new music, that we had to cut this edition of the B.P.M Audiophile in half! Stick around for another edition coming real soon!