As March has finally come to an end and spring has started, we are a third of the way through a turbulent year where the world and entire music industry are on hold. Here we look back on our favourite albums released in the first chapter of this year. You may discover new music to listen to, hopefully getting you through these long days in isolation.
HMLTD – West of Eden
I distinctly remember discovering this band around the time ‘Proxy Love’ was released as a single back in 2018 and it was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. For many people, that feeling will be one known all too well and has led to the band developing quite the cult following over the years. This album however, 4 long years in the making and with much anticipation leading up to it, presents everything we know and have come to love about HMLTD. An emotional and glamorous record with lyrics full of sharp wit, poetic references and their own vision of a world free of social constructs, painting the west as the masters of its own downfall and revelling in the anarchy.
It’s avant-garde, it’s decadent, it’s romantic, it’s a hark back to those packed warehouse parties and Windmill Brixton shows, it’s everything you expect from a HMLTD record and more. Creating art to show the injustice in the world and fusing together genres to develop a truly unique sound is what they do best, and this album is evidence of that. I could not recommend it enough.
Porridge Radio – Every Bad
Porridge Radio’s glistening sophomore album ‘Every Bad’ feels like a breath of fresh air from the seasides of Brighton; post-punk infused with a softer indie-pop sound most similar to the likes of Cherry Glazerr and The Big Moon, this quartet have created a record that truly stands out from the crowd. The product of lead singer Dana Margolin’s early bedroom tapes and a debut album released in 2016, this somehow feels different and fresh. It feels like the learning process has come to an end and this is the start of something new.
This record has been on repeat since it came out last month and fully deserves the praise it has seen from all corners of the music scene. A sparkling and polished production complete with Margolin’s bellowing vocals that feel like a punch to the stomach on every song. The repetitive nature of some of her lyrics drill the meaning into your head and you can feel how raw and emotional it is. It feels like a journey from start to finish, an album that you can listen to over and over without it tiring, which isn’t often found.
Sorry – 925
Sorry have been creating noise on the London DIY scene since the best part of 2016, performing live and releasing a series of singles creating a unique and much-loved sound. I remember seeing them for the first time at the end of 2018 supporting Shame and they were every bit as good as I thought they would be. We have a friend who has been following the band since the early days and at every hint of a gig, the words “Come Sorry” were always mentioned, dragging many of us to see them which I am ever so grateful for now.
Signing to Domino Records in 2018, everyone had the feeling that there was an album on the way and ‘925‘ is the record we so dearly wanted and needed. It’s packed full of songs that were first heard on the live circuit so long ago that we nearly forgot existed and new songs for new and old listeners to fall in love with.
The record playfully pulls together many different genres to create what I can only describe as groove-filled post-punk, I won’t be coining that term. Sorry have always stood out and ‘925’ is evidence of their exciting approach to music. Inventive and unpredictable, you never really know what this band will come out with but with this album they have created a truly remarkable debut.
2017 and his second album ‘The OOZ’ was the last time we heard anything from Archy Marshall. The album was released to great acclaim and was a statement in the industrious career of King Krule but we’ve heard barely anything since. So as you can imagine the teasing video of a return in late November last year had everyone talking. ‘Hey World’ showcased new songs and was a glimmer into his life now, fresh from being a father and keen to make a comeback to music.
A socially observant commentary on the times we are living in, ‘Man Alive!’ is as expressive and outlandish as ever. The moody lurking bassline and snarling voice on songs like ‘Cellular’ and ‘Comet Face’ is what we have come to love about his music. However, this record feels more optimistic and uplifting in comparison to his earlier works; it feels self assured and complete, a far cry from his 2013 debut ‘6 Feet Beneath The Moon’.
An album that I’ve not stopped listening to since its release, its poetry drenched in metaphors, post-punk mixed with urban jazz and hip-hop – it is King Krule at his very best.