Another of our monthly playlists to go alongside the video content that is now coming thick and fast too (make sure to subscribe to us on YouTube!). Check out this month’s picks in the playlist below, along with some of us waffling about our picks.
Richard – Bass
40 Watt Sun – Behind My Eyes
Patrick Walker has returned to make us all cry once more. 2016’s Wider Than the Sky was a flawless album in my opinion, so I wasn’t sure how he’d be able to take that sound any further, but by making the wise decision to mix it up slightly without changing the tempo or the emotion, he’s crafted another winner. There’s more variety in Perfect Light‘s instrumentation and tonality, but it’s still the same achingly beautiful, unendingly sorrowful core. Alternatively, as a friend put it to me recently, it’s R.E.M. played in slow motion.
Radwall – Red Rain
I came across this track on reddit of all places, but it won me over instantly. Radwall (a band I had never heard of before) have covered my favourite Peter Gabriel song specifically in the style of Ocean Machine, Devin Townsend’s iconic debut solo album. Not only does this feel like a cover custom made for my musical interests, it is an incredibly convincing impression. Wild.
Kurokuma – Ololiuqui
Sheffield’s premier tribal doom outfit have kept us waiting for their debut album for years, so it’s a good thing it’s so good. It grooves, drones, funks and dirges in all the right places, and the Aztec aesthetic and theme really suits their earthy tones.
Fallujah – The Night Reveals
I’ve been revelling in an out-of-character resurgence in interest in technical death metal of late, and part of that has been getting immersed in Fallujah’s proggy 2014 album The Flesh Prevails. The surging melodies are what set this band apart, without coming close to diluting the aggression or technical acrobatics.
Foo Fighters – Arlandria
I couldn’t let this month pass without mentioning the tragic loss of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins. Foo Fighters were a big band for me as a teen and I still return to some of their stuff with some regularity. Perhaps controversially, I think it was around 2007-11 that they really hit their stride with consistency over full albums, and Wasting Light might be my favourite (and also the most recent of theirs I’ve listened to… oops). By all accounts, Hawkins seemed a real force for good in the music world, as well as a powerhouse of a drummer. I can’t imagine what Dave Grohl is going through having this kind of tragedy happen a second time in his career. RIP.
Nick – Guitar
Sea Power – Fire Escape In The Sea
Half an hour into this album and I was already loving every second of it, but then I get to this track and immediately recognise the instrumental from one of my all-time favourite video games. That game of course being the incomparable Disco Elysium, of which Sea Power composed the score for. It’s a great track that reflects the dreamy yet dystopian landscape of Martinaise, and the addition of vocals give the track a whole new personality. Me gusta.
Wilderun – Exhaler
This is easily one of the most polished and exquisitely produced prog metal albums I’ve heard on a while. The sheer volume of electronic and orchestral layers give an unrivalled density to an album that’s already chock full of big riffs and noodly goodness. J’adore.
E-L-R – Fleurs of Decay
Had the pleasure of playing alongside ELR a few years ago when they did a little tour with Hundred Year Old Man. The zenith of that gig was ELR joining HYOM on stage to perform a number of collaborative tracks. I hope that one day these tracks will be released into the world. Regardless, their new album Vexier is a more than worthy continuation of their ethereal, psychedelic purl.
beabadoobee – Talk
Exquisite fuzz rock meets bedroom pop track. beabadoobee’s debut album was an absolute gem and one of my picks from 2020. I was already looking forward to her next full length release (slated to come out in a few months time) and that excitement is growing exponentially if this track is anything to go by.
Earthless – Death To The Red Sun
A delicious slice of semi-improvised psych and an explosive coda to their latest album. My condolences to Isaiah’s wah pedal, mans must be knackered.
Chris – Guitar
CHVRCHES – How Not to Drown
I went to see CHVRCHES for the first time this month (with Richard and others) and it was a delightful evening of lush synth-heavy pop and catchy hooks. CHVRCHES just seem to get better with each album, and this is the stand-out (for me) of their most recent release.
Ibaraki (w/Gerard Way) – Rōnin
I’ve raved about Matt Heafy doing proper black metal on this blog before, but this is the strongest track he’s released so far – melodic vocals, catchy vocal lines and some BIG RIFFS for Gerard Way (?!) to shriek over. I never thought this collab would sound like this, but I’m delighted with the result!
Litany for the Whale – Something in the Way
Fronted by an American friend of mine (Michael W Conrad, of DC Comics fame), Litany for the Whale are a post-hardcore act with some filthy tones and crunchy riffs. This cover of one of the most mournful Nirvana songs dials up the anthemic feels into a climax that feels like being crushed by a lead slab.
Konvent – Into the Distance
Speaking of crunchy riffs – heavy (but not impenetrably so) doom abides here, from Denmark’s Konvent. This is one of a couple of BandCamp discoveries this month and perfect for clearing out the winter cobwebs as we tentatively step into spring.
Véhémence – De feu et d’acier
My second BandCamp discovery comes from France: atmospheric, medieval black metal with plenty of melody and folkish elements, but without veering into cheese territory. They basically sound like a 14th century battlefield full of bright, blood-stained banners (if said battle was soundtracked by Batushka!)
Joe – Vocals
<Code> – Brass Dog
The gramophone stylised opening that repeats throughout combined with riffy, but grim sounding black metal is just glorious. Unsung greats of UKBM who don’t get nearly enough credit.
Pure Wrath – Footprints of the Lost Child
Indonesian atmospheric black metal with a similar cadence to Drudkh and Winterfylleth, with added keyboard flourish. Beautiful album artwork too.
Nature Morte – Night’s Silence
Exceptional post-black metal from France, surely one of my favourite albums from last year. This oozes atmosphere and reflection.
Urfaust – Hypnotisch Bevel De Daimonische Mensch
Eerie nightmare fuel, like music for a 1996 Quake level. Love everything about it. Guaranteed to give you the willies.
Sun of the Dying – Orion
Reminiscent of early Swallow the Sun with hints of My Dying Bride. There’s an instrumental mid-section to this track so beautiful it really made me smile the first time I heard it.