February. What a cunt. I’m broke, you’re broke. We’re powering inexorably towards the Olympics with all its pageantry, patriotism, and everything else Alex James holds close to his bloated, rennet stuffed heart. Gorillaz are selling Converse with James Murphy. Whitney Houston’s dead so I had to listen to I Wanna Dance With Somebody again. James Corden presented the Brits and Adele was the most rebellious thing about the whole ignorable affair. Plus I had to look at this face more than once: http://tinyurl.com/6mvwhpt – But it would be churlish of me to only concentrate on the negative things (not to mention easy and fun) so let’s move on to the good shit; presenting February’s best new music –
Album of the Month: Fanfarlo – Rooms Filled With Light
2012 was fast becoming a barren place for albums that you unconditionally love without question, reason or critical faculty, but holy crap look what came out this week. Like some sort of Alt-Folk Talking Heads, with rocket-fuelled melodies, an old fashioned sense of hope and a good sense of timing. Fanfarlo have far out-stripped their debut and made, quite profanely, a fucking great album.
Other brilliant albums:
Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
With a perverse melancholy, this glorious album takes any idea of what makes a country album and twists it into a disturbing and modern masterpiece. It’s pretty sexy too, a bit like Mazzy Star. If you ever listened to Mazzy Star whilst having sex, then I can all but guarantee that relationship ended bitter-sweetly, and you wouldn’t be able to listen to it again outside of slightly weepy masturbation. This is the same as that.
Xiu Xiu – Always
It’s a relief to listen to something so wedded to the eighties that actually sounds like a genuine product rather than a tactical tribute. Despite its synthesizers and glossy production this is a truly dark, multi-layered beast, which speaks with an injured yearning; hopefully putting other dreadful ‘dark’ retro bands like Hurts, Man without Country and The Sound of Arrows out of work. Of course your enjoyment may also depend on whether you can accept Jamie Stewart’s vocal delivery, which sounds not unlike Tim & Eric’s most unpleasant character –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lswckcEAqd8 – Yes, hilarious.
Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
A good old fashioned rock and roll album like what I would listen to when I was fifteen and tear my bedroom apart to? Yes please. This is what Tokyo Police Club should’ve done when they made an album. Both times. Mostly enjoyable it because it starts off with wonderful abrasion; at its most confrontational and least accessible with the 8 minute long second track, and then eventually turns into the best Strokes album they never released.
Also: There were also some pretty good albums from School of Seven Bells, Tindersticks and Tennis. If you like that sort of thing.
Islet’s Illuminated People uncovers new layers with every listen, and what possibly sounded amateurish before is actually pure charm.
And Portico Quartet’s third self-titled albumis outstanding. In fact the smug faced (imagined), jazzy bastards (real) may have released the electronic dance album of the year.