Each month we bring you a handy round-up of the most exciting new releases.
This month sees albums, EPs and singles from Angel Olsen, Teleman, Sleigh Bells and loads more.
Angel Olsen – Phases
Secretly Group – 10.11
Releasing a ‘B-sides and rarities’ compilation can often feel like a slippery slope for an artist. I mean, tracks don’t make it onto albums for a reason. Luckily, though, this isn’t the case for Angel Olsen. Phases, her latest collection of rare and previously-unreleased material, is a deep dive into the American singer-songwriter’s various souls.
Capable of switching from grunge to blues, and back again, Olsen’s voice is eclectic and unique in its delivery, emotional and piercing in every note and shade. From intimate campfire songs like ‘Endless Road’ that unveil Olsen’s country heart, to the soft, electric shiver of ‘Only With You’, or even ‘Sans’ which gives power to her rockier side, Phases‘ 12 tracks are a trip of discovery into the now-30-year-old musician’s multifaceted changes over time. This record serves as a true sampler as to the many ways a songwriter can create art. Guia Cortassa
Teleman – Fünf EP
Moshi Moshi – 17.11
Snuffing it in 1767, Georg Philipp Telemann couldn’t have known that 250 years later, his name would endure in fidgety synth-rock. Following 2016’s Brilliant Sanity, Teleman’s new EP commences with ‘Spectre’ – captivating and ominous, as if Mary Shelley’s on sinister synths and Bram Stoker’s on vocals. Early Cure mixed with OMD, it shows a life haunted by love’s absence.
Krautrock drives the propulsive ‘Repeater’. ‘Bone China Face’ laments beauty without warmth. The distinctly ‘Billie Jean’ bassline in ‘Rivers in the Dark’ warms you up, even though “love is cold.” ‘Nights on Earth’ claims that “happiness can break your heart, so let’s not even start.” For bruised beauty and dynamic despair, take Fünf. Jon Kean
Rob Bravery – Until Tomorrow, Oblivion
Self-release – Out now
Now something of a trip-hop troubadour, Rob Bravery has returned following his 2015 album Esque. This third effort wades deeper into twitchy, sonic atmospherics, accompanied of course by his ethereal vocal.
Some of the best moments come from drifting out of sync, with the album somehow all the more harmonic for it, as in abstract single ‘Homage/Vanished’. While treading into poppy territory on ‘Paralleleyes’, it’s one of few diversions, as Until Tomorrow, Oblivion personifies what we’ve now come to expect; twinkling bleeps, dramatic piano and delicate strings, all moulded together with an odd sense of drama that Rob Bravery revels in. Oliver Evans
Converge – The Dusk In Us
Epitaph – 03.11
After a five-year gap between records, Converge continue to create the same emotional atmosphere of hesitation, trauma, and pain. However, as always, there’s a reconciliation – the stillness after the storm – or, in this record’s case, the space the band allow to exist between unrestrained guitars and blast beats.
The Dusk In Us is a natural progression, or rather an extension, of what the Massachusetts four-piece do best: a crushing blend of hardcore, punk and metal that’s executed in a way that intersects in its best moments. Rachel Grace Almeida
Sleigh Bells – Kid Kruschev
Lucky Numbers – 10.11
A year after their abrasive fourth album Jessica Rabbit, the Brooklyn duo are more unpredictable than ever with mini album Kid Kruschev. Who’d have thought they could pull off a melodic acoustic cut like ‘Florida Thunderstorms’, or to trade thunderous guitars for urgent synths?
They haven’t so much stripped away the cascading riffs, as thrown them into beautiful curveballs like ‘Blue Trash Mattress Fire’ and ‘Favourite Transgressions’. While they’ve successfully served up seven tracks of fiery pop, it’s not without clear, jagged rock edges. Most bands of their ilk would get louder with every album, but Sleigh Bells always find new and surprising ways to re-style their sound. Oliver Evans
BDY_PRTS – Fly Invisible Hero
Aggrocat – 24.11
Fly Invisible Hero has a familiar feel, even upon first listen. The texture of the album is littered with stark, digital sounds reminiscent of 80s acts like The Human League; even incorporating the compressed guitar palm mutes and flamboyant synth drums.
It’s the vocal work that makes the music come to life, though. The Kate Bush-style ascents are impressive in themselves, but the harmonies they’ve constructed are implicitly beautiful and bone-chillingly eerie in equal measure. Recent single ‘Warriors’ is perhaps the most infectious track, peaking in an immensely satisfying and grandiose chorus as it gallops through a sea of reverb. Stuart Tidy
Charlotte Gainsbourg – Rest
Because Music – 17.11
Shapeshifting musician and artiste Charlotte Gainsbourg creates another record – her first since 2009’s IRM – which provokes while maintaining accessibility. Her frequent lyrical oscillation between French and English adds to the unsettling and haunting atmosphere creeping in from her raspy whispers and yet, tracks like ‘Deadly Valentine’ and ‘Sylvia Says’ are infused with synth and dance grooves, via collaborators such as Daft Punk and Owen Pallet of Arcade Fire.
It’s not a huge departure from her previous releases though, feeling at times like the perfect soundtrack for a Baroque-themed Halloween party. Yet Gainsbourg’s talent for composing tracks that leave a thick residue of an evocative and nagging nostalgia for death, memory and love, is undeniable. Albert Testani
Shamir – Revelations
Father/Daughter – 03.11
On his second release of the year, and first with label Father/Daughter, Shamir confronts his own anxieties, seeking solutions both personal and universal. Written in two weeks at his Las Vegas home following psychiatric care earlier this year, Revelations explores a more rock-centred sound than the electronic wizardry of 2015 debut Ratchet, however this fails to compromise the mellifluous vocal fluidity exhibited throughout. This is punctuated by ’90s Kids’, a song reminiscent in its appeal to a TV theme of the era and with ‘Cloudy,’ an arresting ballad isolating the artist’s pain-soaked, self-aware assurances. Stained with ambiguity, Shamir’s return from the brink of his own emotional boundaries proves to be a triumphantly poignant voyage. Will Perkins
Autobahn – The Moral Crossing
Tough Love – 3.11
There’s no limit to the speed you can drive on the German autobahn. Similarly, there’s no depth of morbidity you can’t plumb in pursuit of a damn fine tune if you’re Leeds glum rockers, Autobahn. Taking post-punk to post-apocalyptic profundity, with a hefty waft of goth, their second album, The Moral Crossing, looms with grimness.
Just too late for Halloween, but bang on for some firestarting Guy Fawkes Night nihilism, you can light up your night with some dark Joy Division sounds on ‘Obituary’ or early New Order on ‘Future’, which lead singer, Craig Johnson, says takes “a leg-up” from Wham!’s ‘Club Tropicana’. Stranger things have happened. But only occasionally. Jon Kean
Rews – Pyro
Marshall – 3.11
Mix Royal Blood with Honeyblood, then make it slightly bloodier, and you have London/Belfast duo, Rews. Mark Radcliffe’s pick of a stellar festival lineup at this year’s Glastonbury, their debut album, Pyro, ought to propel them further from the ‘Who’s That?’ and into the ‘Who’s Who’ listings.
If you want bruising indie-rock that’ll give you goosebumps and scare the crap out of your pets, Shauna Tohill and Collette Williams are your ideal go-to. The album feels viscerally ‘live’, especially at noise-abatement-order earning volume. Sing along to album highlights, ‘Violins’ or ‘Death Yawn’ – “Stay the hell away from me” – on the train and you’ll soon have a double seat to yourself. Jon Kean
Onsind – We Wilt, We Bloom
Specialist Subject – 17.11
It’s been four years since we last heard from Durham punk duo Onsind, with both Daniel Ellis and Nathan Stephens-Griffin focussing their attentions on their other band, Martha, but a return to Onsind allows the pair to once again flex their political songwriting muscles.
The to-the-point lyricism, especially on tracks like ‘Immature’ and ‘Loyalty Festers’, helps to deliver punchy, honest barbs that describe, and often attack, the current state of affairs. Moving away from their previous acoustic sound, crunching punk guitars add more anger to the tracks. A political manifesto in punk form, Onsind prove that they are more vital than ever. Christian Northwood
Morrissey – Low in High School
BMG – 17.11
Moz is back with his eleventh studio album, which means more authority bashing and more delightful statements on issues which are often omitted elsewhere, while being as dramatic and theatrical as ever. His live sound even bleeds in throughout the listen with intimidating sound effects and harsh, chunky instrumentation.
This album won’t be for everyone, not least because of the divisive character he’s become, but one thing this man can never be faulted for is the fact that everyone has an opinion on him. Rhys Buchanan