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What is a Qobuzissime? It’s an award presented by Qobuz for a first or second album.

Pop or Reggae, Metal or Classical, Jazz or Blues, no genre is excluded. More often than not the award is presented to a newly discovered artist.

Sometimes it might be a particularly quirky or a crossover album from a discography.

The important aspects are uniqueness, sincerity and quality. We look for these things in the recording, the project and the sound identity.





Albums

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 25, 2021 | Partisan Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
A tone of voice, words, and a dreamlike sound. When you're writing an introspective indie pop-folk song, getting these elements right will help you stand out from the crowd. Tori Zietsch, alias Maple Glider, has mastered them all, and so she has made it out in front of the pack. The Australian, who spent time in Brighton before returning home to Melbourne, can hold her own alongside Cat Power, Adrianne Lenker, Angel Olsen, Julia Jacklin and Sharon Van Etten. The subject matter she is working with might be classical and familiar (a strict, religious education, first love, an awakening to the ways of the world, solitude, distance) but To Enjoy Is the Only Thing offers a truly unique kind of intimacy. With a splash of humour here or a graceful confession there, she is always able to sidestep heavy-handedness or lukewarm cliché. But first and foremost, this record is a showcase for a sublime voice. On really stripped-down sequences, as on Be Mean, It's Kinder Than Crying, where her voice bounces off the same two repeating chords, Maple Glider is awe-inspiring. “To me”, she writes, “To Enjoy Is The Only Thing feels like walking past tinsel-covered trees in mid-September, swimming along the calanques in the south of France, frost on the hood of a car, darkness at 4pm, lightness until 10pm, a muted feeling, the perpetual grey fog that swallows the Silver Coast in Portugal, an ugly green dress, the color red, red wine, red blood, red lips, the red of a cardinal’s robe, Switzerland, my mother’s diaries, a coroner’s report, the sun on my face, the end of love”. One comes away from this album feeling deeply moved, blown away by these 35 timeless, graceful minutes... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released June 11, 2021 | EX1 Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Van Halen was certainly the name on many people’s lips in late 2020 and early 2021. Of course, this was mainly due to the unfortunate passing of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen on October 6th, 2020. Now we’re treated to a much more pleasing surprise with the release of his son Wolfgang’s long-awaited first solo album. The term ‘solo album’ really takes on its full meaning here, as the recently turned thirty-year-old plays every instrumental part and has been composing the entire album completely alone since 2015. The only outside help came from producer Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette (Alter Bridge, Slash feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators) who took care of the impeccable sound design. But the main attraction of this album lies elsewhere: beyond the musical and vocal performance, it’s the sense of melody that jumps out at you. Like Dave Grohl (a fitting comparison as both can be described as a one-man band), Wolfgang Van Halen hits the nail squarely on the head with strong songs that stick in your head after listening. Mammoth WVH turns almost every track into a potential single, impeccably sung and ready to sing along to all day long. Radio friendly? Absolutely. But these songs, with their lush vocal arrangements and spot on instrumentation, are far from shallow commercial tracks. Wolfgang has clearly understood the importance of avoiding simply following in his father’s footsteps, hence why the (very accomplished) guitar solos only make occasional appearances. The multi-instrumentalist opts to explore other avenues. His experience in Tremonti has of course had a strong influence on his music, but there are many other components which may appeal to fans of alternative rock groups (in the American sense of the word) such as Queens Of The Stone Age, Sevendust and, of course, Foo Fighters. When the album flirts with hard rock, we can hear the influences of the likes of Alice In Chains or Winger’s most recent productions. But, if we delve a little deeper and further back, the genetic lineage of the one-man band’s music can be so clearly traced back to the “four boys in the wind” from Liverpool. The sense of how to make a hit, the sense of chorus and the perfect timing all reflect this strong Beatles influence. Mammoth was the very first name of the band Van Halen, chosen by Wolfgang for his project with the blessing of his illustrious father and the other members of the band. It’s a nice tribute to his roots, but the even better tribute was starting his career with an album of this quality, made on his own, and free of any strong paternal influence. Wolfgang Van Halen owes his (predictable) success to his own talent alone and looks set to keep the mythical Van Halen name shining in his own way. The curious will come to see, but will stay to listen. That’s for sure! © Charlélie Arnaud/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 7, 2021 | Third Man Records LLC

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Natalie Bergman has written, performed, recorded and produced this first solo album almost all by herself. It is her way of setting out a vision that belongs to her alone. Mercy is in a world of its own. Its twelve unique, spiritual songs, haunted by death and resurrection, are carried as much by her versatile voice as they are by her vintage sound, hailing from a bygone era. For a decade, Natalie Bergman had been singing with her brother Elliot in Wild Belle, an L.A.-based double-act which drew on pop, reggae, ska and psychedelia. But that part of her life fell apart when her father and stepmother were killed by a drunk driver. Having been brought up with a deep religious faith, Natalie decided to retire to an Abbey in New Mexico's Chama valley. It is there that Mercy was born in a clear act of catharsis. It is steeped in gospel music, which she regards as being the real source of rock'n'roll. This is a unique, timeless work in which the artist finds her own way to praise music's sacred nature and restorative powers. “My faith and my music are crucial to my existence. I sing a lot about home on this record. My Paradiso, my Heaven. Believing in that place has been my greatest consolation. I had an urgency and desperation to know that my father was there. His sudden death was a whirling chaos that assaulted my mind. Gospel music gives me hope. It is the good news. It’s exemplary. It can bring you truth. It can keep you alive. This album provided me with my only hope for coming back to life myself.”This return to the land of the living by way of gospel music is fascinating. It never falls into a churchy or preachy mode, going beyond faith. This album's sound and instrumentation owe as much to 1950s rock as they do to 1960s soul or to West African Highlife. Mercy is able to create the feeling of a musical style, but without ever being tethered to it. It should come as no surprise to learn that Natalie Bergman grew up in a house that resounded with the music of Dylan, Etta James, Pharoah Sanders, Lou Reed, Alton Ellis and Lucinda Williams. Nor is it a shock that she has been signed by a figure as wise as Jack White. His label, Third Man Records, is a tasteful establishment, and the artists on its roster are always well-versed in the music of the past... Death changed her life; her music can change yours: Natalie Bergman is a gift from heaven. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 19, 2021 | Lonely Lands Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Make no mistake about it. Behind its mystical cover worthy of a progressive rock band from the 70s, Terra Firma hides the unclassifiable second album from Tash Sultana. Natasha is one of those who started early and alone. At the age of three, Tash's father gave them their first guitar. As a teenager, they roamed the streets of hometown Melbourne. Then they conquered the rest of the world in 2016 with the 70 million views for Jungle, the result of their prolific bedroom sessions which she broadcast on YouTube. After three EPs on Tash's own label Lonely Lands, the young Australian released Flow State in the summer of 2018, a pop-soul patchwork from their youth on which they played all of the instruments (Tash has mastered about twenty of them) using loops and effect pedals, their trademark. Since then, they've been filling stadiums and an appearing on front covers, like Rolling Stone magazine with whom they talked about the Stratocaster TC Signature dedicated to her by Fender."Terra firma is the ground and the earth, you put your feet on it to remember where you are, where you come from," says Tash, who plans to turn their dazzling success into a long-term career. Further raising the bar, Tash Sultana takes care of the musical arrangement, with the production of the records entrusted in part to Matt Corby. This can be heard from the off with the instrumental Musk, whose lustrous guitars, groovy sax, and catchy bass pave the way for the following 14 tracks that oscillate between soul, R'n'B, funk, folk and suave pop. To arrive at this rich, well-balanced, hypnotic but never redundant blend, which Tash sees as "a meeting between Aretha Franklin, Bon Iver, John Mayer and others", Tash has had to surround themselves with other talented musicians. Thus, we find the rapper Jerome Farah (Willow Tree) and Josh Cashman (Dream My Life Away), both from Melbourne, featured on the album. A masterstroke, at only 25 years old. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz.
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 29, 2021 | City Slang

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
It is a mathematical law: every ten years, a singer from England named Anna releases a first album as a document of her times. In 2011, it was Anna Calvi. In 2021, it will be Anna B Savage. A real underground singer who first appeared in 2015 with a rather confidential début EP, which she followed up with a few concerts and then nothing. There are not many who have seen her in concert, back in the time when there were concerts. But everyone who has, remembers her. With her oddly tuned guitar, as if set to play a medieval blues number, and her elusive voice, as if several people were singing through her, Anna B Savage has bewitched a small audience who are drawn to music that's different. A spiritual daughter of Cat Power, exuding a sense of strange unease, hidden behind her guitar, can become sensual, intense and desirable. A Common Turn is her first album, and it's an incomparable potion, a musical unicorn. On a base of twisted folk, Anna builds far-fetched songs that travel through musical space-time. Depending on their own points of reference, the listener will hear in the vocals and melodies echoes of Beth Gibbons (Portishead), Antony & the Johnsons, Nico, Connie Converse, Dionne Warwick or operatic jazz singers of old. Not to mention the silence. But A Common Turn is not a record to be so easily defined, and nor is it simple. The arrangements range from choirs to rhythmic dance, to this time-worn guitar. Even when her music takes a turn for the grandiloquent, Anna B Savage remains fragile, uncertain, a balancing act, erratic, as if feeling her way through her own songs. One thinks of Snow White running through the forest amid grimacing trees or waiting for the Prince's kiss in a poisoned sleep. And next to her, everyone else is a dwarf. © Stéphane Deschamps/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 20, 2020 | Licence Kuroneko - Sodasound

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
First spotted in May 2019 with a two-track debut EP, WOMXN/Time Machine, Gystere was immediately approved by the Trans Musicales de Rennes, where he played with his band in December of the same year. DJ, director and composer, the Frenchman Adrien Peskine, who has in the past, played piano for Cerrone and appeared on ‘Le Grand Journal de Canal’, presents a first album bringing together all his artistic influences in an Afrofunk patchwork record that will leave no one seated. The concept is quite ambitious: "I've always tried to create the type of artist and music I couldn't find in my local clubs," explains Gystere. As a result, he composes a sort of mosaic of music from the 70s and 80s, with Prince-style intros, Supertramp-style melodies, Jimmy Page-style solos, Queen-style backing vocals, but also Stevie Wonder, Funkadelic and Sun Ra influences, for the afrofuturism that haunts the record. Without ever falling into stylistic exercise, Gystere (who composes alone, but records alongside his musicians) manages to transcend all these elements with a funky groove that we can't wait to see live. On paper, it could have gone wrong, but in the end, Gystere is well on his way to becoming one of the French revelations of the year. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 2, 2020 | Heavenly Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
Sharp, dry and unyielding, the neo-post punk scene, making waves in the UK, is hitting the dance floors thanks to Working Men’s Club. With their first album, Eponym, the young quartet from Todmorden, near Manchester, reignite the flames that once burned with New Order (Power, Corruption & Lies), The Fall, Human League, Gang of Four, D.A.F and Suicide. The young frontman Sydney Minsky-Sargeant sets the scene: ‘There isn’t much to do in Todmorden when you’re a kid. The Town is quite isolated and it can be very depressing to live in a place where, in winter, sunlight only lasts a few hours.' Locked in his room, Minsky-Sargeant spent his time tinkering with and mixing synthesisers, guitars and drums. The record blends chanting vocals, Stakhanovite rhythms, sickly guitar riffs and massive bass sounds. It's easy to lose control of one's body as it grooves and contorts to the rhythm of this unusual acid electro-rock, often reminiscent of early LCD Soundsystem. Minsky-Sargeant sports a t shirt marked with the word ‘SOCIALISM’ as the group christen their song John Cooper Clarke (the ever-popular punk poet), lighting up the grey skies of their native Yorkshire. Occasionally, Minsky-Sargeant relaxes into hedonistic new wave with tracks like Outside. But when he loses his temper, the electro-funk-tinged disco punk oozes from his soul (Teeth). This is a truly stunning record with impressively tight production, courtesy of Ross Orton (The Fall, M.I.A, Arctic Monkeys). No time to lose, have a listen! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Pop - Released September 25, 2020 | Capitane Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
Behind his ordinary name, Nicholas Michaux writes and produces distinctively original songs. After the failure of his band ‘Ete 67’, he decided to pursue a solo career, releasing ‘A La Vie, A la mort’ on ‘Tot ou Tard’ records. His latest offering, ‘Amour Colère’ released under Capitane records, further develops his rather sentimental outlook on daily life. On ‘Cancer’ the Belgian native, who shares his life experiences living between Brussels and the Danish Island Samsø, plays with clever language to better come to terms with the disease. The album is written partly in English, partly in French, with Michaux poetically jumping in and out of both languages. His vocal style, melancholic, unobtrusive and always simple, is reminiscent of Alain Bashung’s longingly soothing vocals. Eclectic yet brilliantly homogeneous, this record blends classic French ‘chanson’ (A nouveau) with romantic pop (Amour Colère, Nos retrouvailles), tonic (Parrot), romantic post punk (Every Word, Harvesters) and even glam rock (Factory)! The production is basic and doesn’t offer the sheen of modern pop music, however this isn’t to say the quality is poor! Quite the opposite! This album is beautifully tireless, offering skillfully poetic verses and gentle yet driven choruses. It is a pleasure to listen to such exquisite, well dressed language. A True gem of an album! © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Punk / New Wave - Released July 3, 2020 | Duchess Box Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
A few seconds of Freier Geist is all it takes for Sofia Portanet to transport us from 2020 to 1980. Despite being born at the end of 1989 and never having lived through the era, the German singer’s Qobuzissime debut album breathes new life into Neue Deutsche Welle. The ‘80s was a time when Nina Hagen reigned over Europe’s new wave and post-punk with high energy and madness and Kraftwerk was greatly expanding its audience. It was a time characterised by D.A.F.’s marching beats, the romantic ravings of Kate Bush, Toyah and Lene Lovich and the quirky pop of Falco and Rita Mitsouko. All of these artists are dear to Sofia Portanet, who was born in Kiev, grew up in Paris and now lives in Berlin. Singing as brilliantly in German as she does in English and French, she also finds inspiration in great voices who mixed film, theatre and cabaret, such as Ingrid Caven and Hildegard Knef. To summarise, without all of these references, the enchanting Freier Geist finds the perfect balance between longing for the ‘80s (even if you didn’t live through them) and glints of modernity. But above all, it’s the power of Sofia Portanet’s music that makes it so intoxicating. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 12, 2020 | Virgin Music UK LAS (S&D)

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
To Love Is To Live is Jehnny Beth’s debut full length solo album, but the record is a new step in her really dense career. Jehnny Beth used to be half of the duet John & Jehn; she made her breakthrough as the Savages’ lead singer and has collaborated with such musicians as Gorillaz (We Got the Power) and The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas (Boy/Girl). In films, she has worked with Catherine Corsini (Un Amour impossible) and Alexandre Astier (Kaamelott). She’s a radio host (Start Making Sense for Beats 1) and a TV host (Echoes on Arte) and also a writer, who will soon publish her first collection of erotic short stories entitled C.A.L.M.: Crimes Against Love Memories, illustrated by Johnny Hostile’s photographs.Jehnny Beth’s prolific inspiration, made of style, sounds, emotions, and contextual encounters is at the center of To Love Is To Live. She hired Atticus Ross, Flood, and Johnny Hostile to produce and take care of a large part of the record’s instrumentation. It is post-punk, industrial new wave, electronic cold wave and viscerally dark rock at the same time. Sometimes, it even sounds like a make-believe movie soundtrack. The album is a mixture of contrasts enhanced by the guest performances of Romy Madley Croft from xx, actor Cillian Murphy, and Idles’ singer Joe Talbot.Throughout the record, ideas are pouring, as the French musician transitions from the ultra-violent industrial punk song How Could You, recorded with Talbot, to her sensual piano playing on the dreamlike ballad Countryside. But despite this assumed eclecticism, To Love Is To Live is always coherent in its feel. It is an instant Polaroid picture of our complex world, full of tensions, uncertainties, and wonderings about sexual identities, extreme politics, and collective hopes for the future. This picture looks like Jehnny Beth, it is both strong, as impressive as the album cover created by Tom Hingston (who previously worked with Massive Attack on Mezzanine), and deeply sensitive. The album opens with a song entitled I am. It concludes with Human. I am Human: a perfect circle. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Pop - Released May 29, 2020 | Animal 63

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
After the album closes, we can only wonder at Meryem Aboulouafa’s voice on her eponymous debut. We are held in a 38-minute hypnosis during which the Casablanca singer’s dreamlike organ takes control of our souls and senses, we embark on a hybrid voyage mixing soul, pop, electro, oriental music and faux film music. But like her contemporaries Kadhja Bonet (who often comes to mind), Weyes Blood, Jenny Hval and Lana Del Rey, Meryem Aboulouafa’s universe is also made up of sounds, ambiances and, above all, words… Her father raised her on all the classics (Beatles, Stones, Floyd, Dylan, Piaf, Brel, Brassens), before she went on to study music theory and violin at the Conservatoire, write her first poems in Arabic and French, and study interior design at Casablanca’s École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Guitar in hand, a young Meryem would write her first songs drawing the attention of Manu Barron from the label Animal (The Blaze, Myth Syzer, Johan Papaconstantino, Gabriel Auguste). With the help of Keren Ann she perfects her already solid first drafts which are intelligently assembled by production experts Para One and Okard. “Para One brought a cinematographic element to the recording which suits me well as I visualise a lot of my music and lyrics”, explains the singer. “Ojard is more about melodies, orchestration and the elaboration of complex harmonies and sounds.” A stripped-down piano here and lyrical neo-classical strings there. Continue on for warlike rhythms and a blend of electronic trip-hop. Throughout, instrumentals take care to follow the voice and introspective lyrics. “The Friend” evokes a muslim prayer and its poetic gestures, “Deeply” discusses the complexity of the human soul, “Breath of Roma” is a love letter to Italian culture, and so on and so forth. Eleven pieces make up this fascinating puzzle from beginning to end with great emotional finesse. We should narrowly avoid branding Meryem Aboulouafa the hidden love child of James Blake and Oum Kalsoum as this debut album (a Qobuzissime winner!) is the work of an artist of great personality. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 24, 2020 | Beyond The Groove - Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
It’s a well-known cliché: two heads are better than one. Two years after his debut album, the 24-year-old London multi-instrumentalist Tom Misch (who has a distinctly Jamiroquai-esque sound) has partnered up with 27-year-old drummer/producer Yussef Dayes (the brain behind United Vibrations and one half of the electro-jazz duo Yussef Kamaal) for this irresistible album What Kinda Music. Up until now, Misch has cooked up a gourmet mix of smooth jazz syrup, funky foam, droplets of soul, hip-hop spices and a pinch of velvety pop, inviting along a star-studded line-up including De La Soul, GoldLink, Loyle Carner and Poppy Ajudha while sampling from the likes of Roy Hargrove, The Crusaders, Stevie Wonder and Patrick Watson. All these flavours and sounds form the foundation of this 2020 vintage, making the rhythmic side even more solid. Yussef Dayes jazzes up his interventions and makes his improvisations even more sophisticated. Each artist brings their own contribution to this truly collaborative work and the record strikes a perfect balance of voice and instrumentals. Both artists grew up in Peckham in South London and Tom Misch even saw Dayes play drums in the school talent show when he was 9! “Yussef comes from a more experimental background, and he has a lot of loose, crazy ideas. I know how to write a catchy melody, but with interesting chords and I have a good understanding of popular song forms, so I think I streamlined those ideas and made them accessible.” It’s this perfect symbiosis between accessibility and refined genre fluidity that makes What Kinda Music sound like a laidback trip - perfect record for electro-jazz geeks. Plus, there’s another reason for Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes to bulge their chests with pride: their album has been released on the prestigious label Blue Note, confirming that they embody a certain contemporary jazz sound. “Everything feels so divided these days, it would be nice for people to hear the record and hear two very different musicians coming together and realize it doesn’t have to be that way.” As for the featuring artists, the duo invited along Freddie Gibbs (who raps on Nightrider), Rocca Palladino (son of the illustrious bassist Pino Palladino who often practices with Alfa Mist) and the saxophonist Kaidi Akinnibi. An immediate Qobuzissime, this record is the umpteenth proof that the London jazz scene is alive and kicking… and now showing its funky side! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 3, 2020 | Bella Union

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Dusty Springfield, Adele, Lulu, Sandie Shaw, Duffy… The tradition of British soul pop singers has always been rich, and Ren Harvieu’s second and Qobuzissime album continues this retro movement which saw great success in the 1960s. However, it hasn’t always been easy for this Mancunian singer: in 2011, fresh from signing for the Island label for whom she was recording her first album, she broke her back in a serious accident and spent months on a hospital bed. Her album Through the Night was nevertheless released but the slim success resulted in a long and tumultuous period of self-doubt for the singer. It’s a time she has now put behind her and which she touches on with Spirit Me Away and You Don’t Know Me, two highlights of this album Revel in the Drama. This sophomore record certainly feels like the result of her meeting with Magic Numbers frontman Romeo Stodart, who helped her rediscover her passion for music and her inspiration to record again. More refined than its predecessor, Revel in the Drama broaches the influences of this enchanting torch singer; while the spirit of Dusty Springfield (or closer to today, Rumer) is never far, it’s certainly KD Lang and her vocal inflections that you think of when listening. Ren Harvieu’s writing is however unique to herself. The sombre and bleak sequences are always punctuated with her signature humour, some light sarcasm that is 100% British. The freedom she expresses in her tone and her writing is similar to that of Fiona Apple, one of her idols. Revel in the Drama is a magnificent collection of timeless and moving songs, jewels of vintage pop enrobed in superb easy listening tones and high-quality arrangements that you can hum along to long into the night. ©️ Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 27, 2020 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions Qobuzissime
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Saying that a band doesn’t sound like any others is almost like saying that it sounds like all the others. Nowadays, we live in the era of open stylistic borders and only listening to things on shuffle, making Sorry (a band that is 100% 2020) even less categorizable. With an authentic rock spirit and ideas that are about as tidy as a teenager’s bedroom, Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen’s first album is one of the most astonishing albums at the moment. Time will have no doubt helped these two Londoners perfect 925 as they have known each other since secondary school. No competition here, just a great collaborative effort that sees them exchange the microphone over the course of the album’s thirteen tracks, and also sharing it, much like Sonic Youth did years ago. In fact, you often think of a softer version of their New York elders when listening to this record. Like them, Sorry doesn’t smile, instead pouting with lazy nonchalance that could push you away instead of pulling you in… and yet they are fascinating. The Guardian summed it up perfectly: Sorry is “the band making ennui sexy”. The band borrows from various genres and legends: a slacker attitude from grunge, guitars from Pixies (Perfect), sultry cheek from Garbage (Snakes), a certain junky imagery from The Kills (More), intoxicating saxophone from the no wave movement and a shadowy vision from post-punk. You have to listen to this Qobuzissime on repeat to appreciate its originality and end up being enchanted by it. An album you simply can’t miss: Sorry, no excuses. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 28, 2020 | Heavenly Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
From being “three weirdos in Halifax”, sisters Esmé and Sidonie Hand-Halford (bass and drums respectively) and their childhood friend Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar) have become the indie band to watch. “If I went to space, I might never come back”, confesses Esmé who provides solid bass and delicate vocals for The Orielles. After the drowsy, Stone Roses-influenced Silver Dollar Moment was released in 2018, this second off-the-wall record bounces from Turkish psych music à la Altin Gün to experimental Italian cinema, in order to further distance themselves from 90s guitar rock. Two years is a long time when you’re on the cusp of your twenties, leaving the relative quiet of Halifax, West Yorkshire to go on tour in Europe. In the elapsed time, The Orielles have seen the arrival of Alex Stephens to play keyboard, a “highly educational” cover of Peggy Gou’s It Makes You Forget (Itgehane) which opened them up to dance music and a remix by the late Andrew Weatherall of their track Sugar Tastes Like Salt. Recorded at Stockport’s Eve Studios with their producer Marta Salogni (Liars, Temples, Björk and The Moonlandingz), Disco Volador puts melody front and centre, turning old into new. “All the influences we had when writing this record were present when we recorded it, so we completely understood what we wanted this album to feel like and could bring that to fruition”, says the drummer. Aerial 60s pop (Come Down on Jupiter), experimental disco (Space Samba (Disco Volador Theme)), 70s-style funk (Bobbie’s Second World, Euro Borealis), uptempo psychedelic (Rapid i, 7th Dynamic Goo) and Khruangbin-esque soaring tunes, it’s all top class. Bright, catchy and Qobuzissime. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Pop - Released September 20, 2019 | Verve Forecast

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
The American dream is an inexhaustible subject. It is approached head-on, sideways, from behind, above and below. It is the ultimate fuel for hordes of songwriters; even when they weren’t even born in America. As is the case for J.S. Ondara. This young Kenyan, who his label calls "the link between Tracy Chapman and Michael Kiwanuka" (an easy claim but not wrong), went there to try his luck. In 2013, Ondara dropped anchor at his aunt's house in Minneapolis. Having only previously known his native Nairobi, the musician took his songs into bars, clubs and even out onto the street, equipped with only his voice and a simple acoustic guitar, perhaps in the hope of becoming a third millennium Bob Dylan. The Dylan of The Freewheelin', his favourite record; Springsteen's Nebraska also being one of his top picks... But to limit himself to cloning those giants wouldn’t be very interesting. And Tales of America avoids that. First of all, J.S. Ondara has his own voice. His plaintive tone is a little androgynous and makes him truly unique. On the instrumental side, he adds some more daring flavours with the help of the great Andrew Bird, Griffin Goldsmith from Dawes and Joey Ryan from the Milk Carton Kids duo. In a divided America and a crisis-riddled world, J. S. Ondara's songs are more than just bandages, they’re powerful balms that penetrate the skin and warm the heart. This is a Qobuzissime that we needed... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 20, 2019 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Qobuzissime
Everyone likes a bit of soul and old-school funk! Successors to Curtis Mayfield, Al Green, Prince, Sly Stone et al are born every day. But more often than not, interest in the genre is lacking… In only two albums, the band Alabama Shakes have displayed an original and torrid take on southern garage funk. Their secret ingredient? Brittany Howard, the band’s singer of enormous character and gravitas. Such a sense of charisma is all-the-more present in this shock debut solo album. The record holds onto some of Alabama Shakes’ merits but also delivers a more atypical, less conventional feeling. Howard makes our heads spin with this psychedelic and trippy funk record that verges on the experimental with tracks such as the opening History Repeats with lively guitars, stumbling rhythms and chaotic vocals. The Athens native is joined by limited backing musicians that compose of Zac Cockrell, the bassist for Alabama Shakes, and two prevalent, unique jazzmen, Robert Glasper on piano and keys and Nate Smith on drums. On top of this rich yet minimalist backdrop, Howard weaves in a study of both herself and her contemporaries. Everything is here! Homosexuality (Georgia), death (the album’s title, Jaime, is the name of her older sister who was lost to cancer at the age of 13 when Howard was only 8), religion (He Loves Me) and the racism that she, the daughter of a white mother and black father, has often encountered (Goat Head relates to the morning when her mother found all four tires of her car slashed and the severed head of a goat on the garden bench). You will be left shaken after listening to this exciting and very personal record. Howard’s values, references and influences (Prince, Curtis and Sly) are clearly heard – or so it seems – but the end result is one of great originality. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 16, 2019 | Human Season Records

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
Could Dublin be at the center of another post-punk earthquake? Following in the footsteps of Fontaines D.C and Girl Band, with whom they shared a rehearsal space, here come The Murder Capital’s 5 Irishmen and their urban claustrophobia. They’re post-apocalyptic, tender, furious and emotional. Taking from the likes of Joy Division, The Cure and Fugazi, their first album is titled When I Have Fears after the famous John Keats poem. As always, frontman James McGovern has a calculated approach when it comes to his band: “It would be too easy for us to write an album of ten punk songs at 170 bpm; we could deliver that. It’s a reflection of what’s inside our heads and there is no way we can be angry for that amount of time”. At the heart of that nuanced manifesto, equal amounts brooding romanticism and angry outbursts are the channels for McGovern’s socio-political concerns. He traces When I Have Fear’s inception to a traumatic event: “I had a very close friend of mine take his own life in February and we wanted to reflect the neglect held towards mental healthcare in Ireland. Unnecessary deaths happen due to neglect from the State, or from general emotional intelligence from our society. My friend simply couldn’t afford the help he needed.” The baritone drew from the Emerald Isle’s vast literary tradition in order to paint a scathing portrayal of youth communities plagued by binge culture. His message is underlined by razor-sharp arrangements that verge on the minimal. Their simplicity contributes to the sinister sense of urgency in many of the songs. Nonetheless, Diarmuid Brennan’s hyperactive drumming – listen to those hi-hats! – on Don’t Cling To Life, as well as the piano and the somber growls on How The Streets Adore Me Now demonstrate that the band is more than capable of going beyond the formal frameworks set in place during the early-2000s post-punk revival. When I Have Fears is 100% a Dublin record, transcending the cold and the misery without ever giving up on sincerity and power – A thunderous and sensitive Qobuzissime. © Alexis Renaudat/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 19, 2019 | Mr Bongo

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Anatolian lo-fi samba, sung in English, French and Turkish! With such a colourful program, Mantra Moderne is poised to be summer 2019’s most iconic album. This indie-world soundtrack is the lovechild of duo Kit Sebastian. Kit Martin, the one-man-bedroom-band, lives between London and Paris, writing and performing the songs on this first album over which his accomplice Merve Erdem lays her voice. The singer from Istanbul cast her anchor in the British capital. These days it seems unexpected stylistic fusions are all the rage, and Mantra Moderne is the flag bearer for that trend. From Brazilian tropicalism to 60s British pop, and turkish psychedelics to analog electronica, Kit Sebastian like to sift through 20th century music just as Stereolab, Broadcast and Khruangbin did before them. Their cabinet of curiosities includes acoustic and analog instruments, tablas, darbukas, a balalaïka, an oud, a Korg MS-20 and a Farfisa organ. The pair crafts a deliciously minimalistic symphony. It’s mischievous, and oh-so-sixties: The most exotic Qobuzissime of the year! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 14, 2019 | Heavenly Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Lost in the middle of a beige factory, Ms. Brown stands tall. The well-designed album cover is both clever and visually arresting. By day, this young woman is a graphic designer at MailChimp. “It’s like I have two full-time jobs: designer and musician,” she says, but we certainly prefer her as a musician by night. Under her work uniform, Mattiel (pronounced Ma-Teel) Brown hides a voice with a fierce and impolite tone. She grew up in the vast countryside of Georgia – from where this brusqueness and thick skin probably originated – before moving to the more urban Atlanta. It was here that Mattiel met Randy Michael and Jonah Swilley, with whom she would start writing what would go on to be the basis of Satis Factory. They managed the instrumental compositions, while she took care of the lyrics.It's a perfect formula that works beautifully. The riffs are catchy (Je Ne Me Connais Pas), the melodies are heady, and there’s this distinctive personality that the Burger Records team are very used to sniffing out. Mattiel brings back ‘60s folk with accents of surf pop, old-fashioned blues and vintage soul. A balanced blend of influences, among which she cites Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, André 3000, Marc Bolan, the Staple Singers and Jack White. Very promising. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz