…and here we go for another year. I do not want to be on the pessimistic side but attendings gigs or festivals looks like a virtual thing right now. Fortunately for all of us music fans, artists keep on playing the game by releasing records. I must confess not remembering such a impressive month of January in terms of quality releases. Being in lockdown also means my personal consumption of vinyls and CD’s is quite high, as shown in the picture below!
As this is already the start of the fifth season of this series, I thought it would be good to add a few words:
- I generally try to listen to as many month’s releases as I can in all genres, even if spontaneously I would not really listen to a few of these records. As George Michael would say: “listen without prejudice”.
- Each month, the chosen one will be the album of the month; my main criteria being as always the way one record can move me. There is a runner-up and five other ‘almost-as-good’ records, making it a selection of seven records overall.
- There is a new section starting in 2021 with the Unidentified Flying Album (U.F.A.) of the month, which will be either very bad…or very weird.
- There are two Spotify playlists at the bottom of this post: a cumulative one for the on-going year with all seven records chosen each month and another one which includes all albums I listened to during the month. It is recommended to play them on shuffle mode obviously.
Album of the month: Goat Girl – “On All Fours” – Pop Rock – I must admit this was a very close call and I had difficulties this month in choosing between my favourite two. Goat Girl is a young South London band and this is their second album. They collectively faced tough moments with the disease of one of the girls and a line-up change but it probably made them stronger and more focused on their art. Their 2018 self-titled first album was very good and I had a great time catching them live at the 2019 edition of End Of The Road. Things are really speeding up though with this new release, either in terms of diversity or quality of the songs. One goes from a song very similar to what a band like The Pastels used to do and then ten minutes later you are on the disco track or in the middle of a very percussion-driven primitive number. Welcome back ladies!
Runner-up: Steven Wilson – “The Future Bites” – Pop Rock – A complete different album from his previous effort (which I recently reviewed), this new release may appear a bit deceptive at first. Steven Wilson indeed wanted to get a less ambitious sound, more focused on the songs than on the arrangements. What one does not get in terms of long guitar solos, one gets it back in the quality of the songs and the overall concept behind it all. You may recognize a few prestigious guests like Richard Barbieri (Japan) or Sir Elton John but they are all very discreet behind this album’s leader.
- Also recommended:
- Sleaford Mods – “Spare Ribs” – British Rap – The older they get, the better they are. Iggy Pop‘s favourite so-called punk band’s new record has a couple of female guests and the overall mood is smoother…but do not worry, Jason Williamson has still plenty of things to say!
- Shame – “Drunk Tank Pink” – Rock – Sophomore album from this young London band and a complete different one from their first 2018 effort “Songs of Praise“.
- Rhye – “Home” – Pop – Canadian Mike Milosh is back with a beautiful and sensual album. For all Sade fans.
- Arlo Parks – “Collapsed In Sunbeams” – Soul – Excellent debut album from this 20-year old London female singer with French, Nigerian and Chadian origins.,
- The Besnard Lakes – “The Besnard Lakes Are The Last Of The Great Thunderstorm” – Pop Rock – Ambitious and great return of the Canadian band. If you like long tracks with a touch of Pink Floyd and prog rock, this is for you.
U.F.A of the month! : Therion – “Leviathan” – Symphonic Heavy Metal from Sweden? Well, count me out…
Lest we forget: album of the previous month – The Avalanches – “We will Always Love You”