Each month we bring you a handy round-up of the most exciting new releases.
This month sees long-awaited albums, EPS and singles from Yama Warashi, She Makes War, Sad13, Fehm, The Rupees, Esben and the Witch and Twin.
Yama Warashi – Moon Egg
11th November, Stolen Body Records | Buy
Since emerging from the ashes of late Bristol band Zun Zun Egui, Yoshino Shigihara has become one of the city and indeed the whole country’s most intriguing artists. Her Moon Zero EP from earlier this year fused traditional Japanese instrumentation and ideas with something distinctly more European.
Moon Egg, her long-awaited full-length, takes all this promise and packs it inside an hour of music that never stops moving. The album’s opener and title track introduces Moon Egg as a whole new world, and it’s impossible not to want to follow Yama Warashi down the weird and wonderful paths she takes. ‘Quagmire Moon’ is a highlight, with percussion that could be likened to Bristol’s own Portishead. After a promising start as a solo artist, Moon Egg cements Yama Warashi as one of Bristol’s most special new talents, and one to be treasured. Will Richards
She Makes War – Stargazing
11h November, The state51 Conspiracy | Buy
As autumn revolves in its bitter-sweet nostalgia and melancholic decay, the new single from She Makes War creates an emotionally apt soundscape to lose oneself in. String-laden, wistful and breathing sorrowful memories, Laura Kidd lays bare the bones of her lovelorn wanderings: “I don’t believe anybody anymore”.
Known for creating a distinct world out of her personal woes, it’s the beating heart from which she sings here, with a powerful and clear voice at that. Although describing her music as ‘gloom-pop’, there’s a sense of strength and hope which prevails, and doesn’t fail to endear her vulnerability to resonating listeners. Catch her at The Louisiana (25th) as she tours the new album. Ash Clarke
FEHM – Circadian Life EP
25th November, Art is Hard Records | Buy
Circadian Life is an antiquated and atmospheric five-track EP from Leeds-based FEHM that blends a darker side of post and pop punk and indie rock. The band relies heavily on lo-fi and reverb effects that play well with the juxtaposing droning verses and faster choruses.
While single ‘Nullify’ is the most driving and distinct of the EP’s tracks, the majority are a trudge through a melding of deep drums, hazy guitars and noticeably relentless vocals from frontman Paul Riddle. There’s little to grab onto here, but that’s part of the EP’s strength; you’re free to drift in and out of an array of well-layered compositions. Albert Testani
Twin – Traum
11th November, Z A M Z A M records | Buy
Christelle Atenstaedt unveils a haunting new single this month under her solo moniker, Twin. Taken from the 2016 EP Hverir, ‘Traum’ marks the follow up to her debut single ‘Messiah’, accentuating the singer’s mesmerising vocals alongside delicate, Eastern-inspired guitarwork.
Leaning towards the minimalist sounds of early Mogwai or Sigur Ros, this ambience rightfully strays from the grunge-heavy sound of other project, Vena Cava. However, Atenstaedt’s vocal talents are certainly pushed past their usual limits, echoing with melancholy and an unnerving, ghost-like undertone. Contributions from Deej Dharjal and Guy Metcalfe [of Thought Forms] enable the song to build into an impressive crescendo before spiralling out to a series of hollowing synths. Kelly Ronaldson
The Rupees – The Catch 22 EP
2nd November, Self-released | Buy
The Rupees cash in on their recent live successes with a trio of electronic rockers. ‘Catch 22’ bops and bounces along like a gruffer Gossip – disco funk with a serrated edge. The track where the party’s at, ‘Crème Cassis’ is a drunk, snake-hipped swinger meandering its way between vocalist Ryan Tucker’s rough snarl and the darker recesses of classic rock n’ roll.
‘Magic’, equal parts atmospheric and blatant, comes close to combining a synthy Led Zeppelin with The Sweet’s ‘Blockbuster’. Quite the aspiration but such lofty heights ain’t quite attainable just yet; they’re getting there though. Give it some time and they’ll show you the money. JP Storrow
Sad13 – Slugger
11th November, Carpark Records | Buy
Named after her twitter username, Sad13 is the poppier solo project from Sadie Dupuis. Free from the constraints of her indie-rock band Speedy Ortiz, Dupuis is able to experiment with new instrumentation, which means more synths and less guitars. Recording alone also allows Dupuis to be more direct with her lyrics, tackling gender politics all set to her memorable melodies.
Slugger is clearly a labour of love which showcases another side to Dupuis’ personality, and she makes it look easy. Never a dull moment, it’s an album where any track could be a single. Hopefully Sadie won’t be splitting from her other band, but right now it’s time to say yes to Slugger. Tim Ellis
Simian Mobile Disco – Welcome to Sideways
November 11th, Delicacies | Buy tbc
A slickly produced helping of dance-electronica from the London-based duo, Welcome to Sideways owes much of its sound to Homework-era Daft Punk, especially early on as they starkly and abruptly shift from one groove-agitating moment to the next. That said, they do so in a far more decorated (and less intrusive) fashion.
The overall feel is one of a semi-tranquilised techno, ideal for later in the night when you need to simmer down slightly. The album later opens up into more epic and ambient songs, with ‘Remember in Reverse’ being particularly impressive. The fast yet gentle beats gradually build and refreshingly wash over you in the final helpings. Stuart Tidy
DIANA – Familiar Touch
18th November, Culvert / ILS / Caroline | Buy
The long-awaited second album from the Toronto trio, Familiar Touch opener ‘Confession’ perfectly introduces DIANA; a truly packed song with each bar filled to the brim. Atmospheric offering ‘What You Get’ follows, acting in contrast with plenty of space that allows Carmen’s vocals to breathe.
‘The Coward’ slows the ten-track album down at the midpoint, a welcome change of pace. ‘Miharu’ kindly picks things back up however, leading to possibly the most joyous moment on the album. DIANA have created a very accessible and enjoyable album, shaking any illusions that the Toronto outfit were suffering from second album syndrome. Callum Stevens
Esben and the Witch – Older Terrors
4th November, Season of Mist | Buy
Provocateurs of the obscure and uncanny, Esben and the Witch return with dark, brooding tones and haunting, atmospheric vocals on Older Terrors. Comprised of four expansive tracks, each part is crafted to tell its own gothic tale, while collectively weaving together to present an album enshrouded in resonant mystery and “dedicated to the sublime”.
The trio’s ability to create heavily-immersive layers of gloomy shoegaze that shift seamlessly into sparser, spectral melodies is exceptionally refined here. They project a sense of ritualistic abandon to shadowy, phantasmal realms with confidently-sharp arrangements of vocals, synths and strings. This is a formidably entrancing album, made for the long, dark, drawn-out nights. Kezia Cochrane
Sleigh Bells – Jessica Rabbit
11th November, Lucky Number | Buy
After third album Bitter Rivals it was clear there was no going back for this turbulent twosome. Trading in chaotic throbbing riffs for choppy synth stabs in ‘Lightning Turns Sawdust Gold’ and ‘I Can Only Stare’ works wonders. Jessica Rabbit aches with a captivating humanity that thrives sonically and allows Alexis Krauss’ vocal to unleash its full potential.
Those who long for their trademark cascading guitars are guaranteed satisfaction with ‘Throw Me Down The Stairs’ and ‘It’s Just Us Now’. Diving headfirst into poppier waters was a risk that could have drowned Sleigh Bells. Instead it has blessed them with a record that emerges stronger and impossible to pigeon hole. Oliver Evans