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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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Unlearning

Walt Disco

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 1 april 2022 | Lucky Number

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
After the self-released EP Young Hard and Handsome in September 2020, which included the brilliant 'Hey Boy (You're One of Us)', Walt Disco signed to Lucky Number for their first full-length. The Glasgow six piece, who all met at a party in 2016, wasted no time. Collectively inspired by love, androgyny and the present-day, the young Scots take inspiration from artists such as Scott Walker, David Bowie, fellow countrymen Orange Juice and Associates as well as SOPHIE and Arca, wrapping their prose in an eloquent mix of 80's post-punk, glam rock and futuristic pop. The look, as well as the music, does not dive into the past, quite the opposite. The former Glasgow University students simply draw inspiration from the past in order to tell the story of a youth that feels constricted and cramped in a narrow-minded era. “Our music has got theatre and glamour to it; it’s never really understated. The best review we ever got was someone saying: Walt Disco should rewrite The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, says singer James Potter.Unlearning, which should have been called Unlearning The Perfect Life, is about deconstruction and freedom. “You say we're stupid, I say you're old/Since when did you grow so stupidly cold?/Stuck in the past, you lost yourself there/And let us be young/Young, hard, and handsome, darling”, sings James over the prominent bass line of 'Cut Your Hair'. These twelve short sketches, which border on rock opera and for which the electronic experiments of 'The Costume Change' serve as a kind of interlude, are given their dramatic quality by James Potter’s voice - who learned to sing from a Freddie Mercury-loving opera singer. His voice naturally lends itself to the tragicomic choruses ('How Cool Are You?'). However, the album also moves through a kind of dystopian universe, where the pathos of darkwave ('Weightless') meets the joyful turbulence of Dead Or Alive-style dance pop ('Selfish Lover') with the help of drum machines and synthesizers, mixed with angsty hyperpop ('If I Had a Perfect Life, Macilent') sculpted in the vortex of software. Here’s the renaissance 2.0 of the New Romantics wave we've been waiting for - an obvious Qobuzissime! © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Reeling

The Mysterines

Rock - Verschenen op 11 maart 2022 | Fiction

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
Thanks to the youthful but tantalising grunge of the self-released EP Take Control in 2019, the Mysterines, initially coalesced around singer/guitarist Lia Metcalfe, George Favager (bass) and Chrissy Moore (drums), had caught the ear of BBC Introducing's talent scouts, who placed them on their radio airwaves and promptly invited them to play their Reading and Leeds festival springboard stage. This huge exposure opened the door to support acts such as Royal Blood and The Amazons, and created enough anticipation for their first full-length album. Released on the Fiction label, Reeling, a 43-minute rock explosion, allows the Liverpudlians to come out of the woodwork. Not without pain. After a year of ups and downs, a change of drummer and an extra guitarist, the quartet had to lock themselves up for three weeks in Assault & Battery studios, between two London confinements, to record under the watchful eye of producer and sound engineer Catherine Marks (Foals, Wolf Alice, The Killers). And all this was sometimes done in one take.It was a difficult gestation period that ended up being beneficial, according to drummer Paul Crilly: "We couldn't go out without forgetting the album, or spending time with other people. It was a real relief to hand it over once we'd done our bit." This tension captured within four walls creates the raw material and guides the tracklisting. At the climax of this pressure, this rock on the grill, opens Life's A Bitch (But I Like It So Much) and then Hung Up, with their fat riffs and saturations. The pressure eases but remains legible on the more country Old Friend / Die Hard and the guitar ballad Still Call You Home. They end insidiously on the dark and creepy Nick Cave-like slowness of Confession Song with its gothic piano. "When I first listened to the test pressing, I could feel all those moments in the studio again," says Crilly. Boosted by Lia's voice, like a destructive high priestess of rock, the aptly named Reeling unfolds an unbridled rock nuance, from garage captured on the fly to more delicately laid-back pop melodies. Amazing and rather mature for a band barely out of their teens. Qobuzissime! © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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The Overload

Yard Act

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 7 januari 2022 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
The sky is quite grey, almost like anthracite. The ideal fertiliser to make this teeming post-punk revival scene, which has been shaking the indie planet since the beginning of the 2010s, grow a little more. But how do you get your head out of an already dense melee in which Girl Band, Fontaines DC, Shame, Dry Cleaning and a thousand other bands armed with square guitars and vocalists closer to scansion than to song are jostling each other? To achieve this, Yard Act takes the genre's markers and predictable influences (The Fall, Gang of Four, Wire, early Talking Heads) down often unexpected paths. Better still, they don't limit themselves to being an electric ball of nerves or an old spit in the face of a (post-Brexit) society gone wrong. No, no, Yard Act uses their rage to find different forms of expression. The Overload, the brilliant first album of this Leeds-based quartet, closes with the almost peaceful tempo of 100% Endurance. On the mic, James Smith is a worthy heir to the dalaïlama of post-punk, the late Mark E. Smith of The Fall, with a hint of groove to boot. Along with guitarist Sam Shipstone, bassist Ryan Needham and drummer Jay Russell, Smith wraps his cynicism and bile in bright clothes. A form of proletarian dandyism on amphetamines that sometimes resembles Sleaford Mods (a lot), Ian Durry and his Blockheads or even Pulp! Never caricatured but still tainted with a dash of dark realism, James Smith's vignettes are sometimes funny and musically eclectic. Enough to leave a mark and make The Overload a shock album of 2022. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Comfort To Me

Amyl and The Sniffers

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 10 september 2021 | Rough Trade

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
One of the most exciting punk bands of the last few years, it has been said and repeated over and over: Amyl and the Sniffers. The Australians, led by the brilliant Amy Taylor, are gradually climbing the ladder of notoriety with their explosive live performances and 'no shits given' attitude. After two EPs they recorded their first album with Joey Walker of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. This self titled album landed them the award for best rock album at the prestigious ARIA Awards, and now, here is Comfort to Me and its deformed cover. The aptly named Comfort to Me was born out of the confined period during which Amy, Bryce Wilson (drums), Dec Martens (guitar) and Fergus Romer (bass), behind closed doors in a Melbourne house, worked daily on these haunting tracks filled with a garage energy.The recipe inherited from Cro-Mags or Cosmic Psychos differs slightly from Amyl's previous releases: a repetitive and searing rhythm section; simple, raw and looped lyrics; intricate howling guitars and ultra-short tracks. The key difference: more meticulous production. But it's best to let Amy talk about that: "If I had to explain what this record is like, I'd say it's like watching an episode of One Hell of a Nanny, except the setting is the Australian car show, Fran is interested in social issues, she's read a few books, and Mr. Sheffield is drinking beer in the sun. It's a Mitsubishi Lancer going slightly over the speed limit in a school zone. It's realising how good it is to wear sweatpants to bed. It's having someone want to make you dinner when you're really tired. It's me shadow-boxing on stage, covered in sweat, instead of sitting quietly in a corner."  Here lies everything we love in a Qobuzissime! © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Memory Device

Baba Ali

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 27 augustus 2021 | Memphis Industries

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
Babatunde Teemituoyo Doherty, or Baba Ali for short, is an '80s man. But there's more to him than that, as Memory Device proves. He grew up to the sounds of Prince, Michael Jackson and even Femi Kuti (who was a family friend), D'Angelo and J Dilla. A New Jersey native with Nigerian roots, Baba Ali combines the sparkle of funk, the coldness of post-punk and the effusiveness of dance music to create the stunning Memory Device. He's an aesthete in search of total art who as a high schooler formed a duo called Voices of Black: "We were like, well, we're two Black kids but we listen to Radiohead and Joy Division and all this different music, and we don't wanna feel like we're in this box anymore. We want to make music that is expansive and goes everywhere and touches on everything." This attitude lay behind the creation of the philosophy they called "Yarchism," promoting an instinct-led approach to creativity and the pursuit of the purest possible expression of one's creative vision. Ali developed this idea further while studying art at Brown. The more mature demos produced in this period caught the eye of his comrade Nicolas Jaar, who helped the pair bring out their first EP on the electro label Wolf + Lamb (Seth Troxler, Shaun Reeves), which was where Jaar himself had started out. There followed Nomad (2017) and This House (2020), two initial solo EPs influenced by the sounds of grime and the artist's repeated listening of LCD Soundsystem and Iggy Pop, whom he discovered in London where he now lives.Written in the solitude of lockdown and recorded between September 2020 and February 2021 with Al Doyle (Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem) in East London, this first long-format release is inspired as much by James White and The Blacks as by Yves Tumor's Heaven to a Tortured Mind (2020). There's some late-'70s post-disco lurking in the heavy atmosphere of these avant-garde experiments ("Better Days," "Nuclear Family") as well as distorted vocals and depressive lyrics ("I've seen better days"). Synths predominate in this successful outing ("Nature's Curse," "Got an Idea"), with support from bass and beats ("Black Wagon") and a rounded-out sound that recalls funk and new wave ("Draggin' On," "Temp Worker"). But quite apart from the broad variety of musical references on display, what really makes this album captivating is the way the tension is maintained from one track to the next, making it the stuff of cathartic club trips. In short, a gem of a Qobuzissime, whose magic simply has to be shared. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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To Enjoy is the Only Thing

Maple Glider

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 25 juni 2021 | Partisan Records

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
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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Mammoth WVH

Mammoth WVH

Rock - Verschenen op 11 juni 2021 | EX1 Records

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
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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Mercy

Natalie Bergman

Pop - Verschenen op 7 mei 2021 | Third Man Records LLC

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
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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Terra Firma

Tash Sultana

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 5 februari 2021 | Lonely Lands Records

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
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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A Common Turn

Anna B Savage

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 29 januari 2021 | City Slang

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
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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A Little Story

Gystere

Pop - Verschenen op 20 november 2020 | Licence Kuroneko - Sodasound

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
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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Welcome to Hel

HJELVIK

Rock - Verschenen op 20 november 2020 | Nuclear Blast

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
Two years after his departure from his Norwegian band, the former Kvelertak frontman Erlend Hjelvik returns with his first solo album, determined to do it his way. With Nattesferd in 2016, the Stavenger natives had offered a third album decidedly more rooted in the heavy and black metal roots that Erlend liked, to the detriment of the punk influences that might have made the charm of the band. It is thus with Welcome To Hel that Erlend decided to load the canons after four years out of the studio. Highly inspired by Viking folklore, this first solo adventure is epic, grandiloquent and above all excellently composed. We find heavy metal mixed with doom and black influences bringing us straight back to Kvelertak's third album, but with a much more assertive intention.From the very first notes of Father War, it is like a charge of bloodthirsty soldiers that comes down on us at a frantic rhythm. The intention of the album is clear: to blend the aforementioned influences of thrash and rock'n'roll. Erlend offers us a masterfully crafted manifesto, full of generous moments both in technique and quivering detail. Yet the frontman does not forget what he does best and thinks of the crowds from all over the world that he will have to tame once on tour. Behind this range of technical skills lies a real sense of lyricism: catchy choruses that one will be delighted to shout once in the pit. We can only bow when the firebrands like Glory of Hel, Kveldulv or North Tsar come to grab us so as not to let us go. Special mention to the two guests of the album: Matt Pike (Sleep / High on Fire) and Mike Scalzi (Slough Feg) who bring with them an umpteenth dose of testosterone, as if it was needed.Inspired, accessible and a true manifesto of war, Welcome To Hel is an incredible ride from start to finish. Handling its influences as few know how, the rock'n'roll discharge tinged with heavy, black, doom and thrash is one of the best metal releases of the year. Maxime Archambaud/Qobuz
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Working Men's Club

Working Men's Club

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 2 oktober 2020 | Heavenly Recordings

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama - Qobuzism
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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Amour Colère

Nicolas Michaux

Pop - Verschenen op 25 september 2020 | Capitane Records

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
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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Freier Geist

Sofia Portanet

Punk en New Wave - Verschenen op 3 juli 2020 | Duchess Box Records

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
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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To Love Is To Live

Jehnny Beth

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 12 juni 2020 | Virgin Music UK LAS (S&D)

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
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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Meryem

Meryem Aboulouafa

Pop - Verschenen op 29 mei 2020 | Animal 63

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
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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What Kinda Music

Tom Misch

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 24 april 2020 | Beyond The Groove - Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
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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Revel In The Drama

Ren Harvieu

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 3 april 2020 | Bella Union

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
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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925

Sorry

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 27 maart 2020 | Domino Recording Co

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
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