Categories :

Albums

CD$11.99

Electronic/Dance - Released November 8, 2019 | Young Turks Recordings

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Back to the homeland for FKA twigs, who returned to her native Gloucestershire valleys for this second album “written from the heart”. “When in doubt, I just follow my gut and try to be around nature, go back to the Cotswolds.” Indeed, this is the storyline of the video for Home With You, where the former dancer leaves an overheated club charged with pheromones, and goes to a cottage to rest and recuperate, contrasting the purity of the countryside with the Gomorrah that is London. This introspective time in the singer’s life led her to take an interest in the story of Mary Magdalene, hence the name of the album, notably the way in which the history books have manipulated the story of Jesus’ companion. Musically, FKA twigs stays true to the “post-R&B” style, with her voice remaining the main attraction for an album which features production from Skrillex, Nicolas Jaar and Noah Goldstein (Drake, Teyana Taylor, Bon Iver…) and a feature from rapper Future on Holy Terrain. From her electro chapel, FKA twigs, sounding increasingly Björk-esque, continues to defy the norms of pop music (especially on the deconstructed Fallen Alien, the most experimental track on the album) and sighs into our ears, like a private concert from the confessional. Amen. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Electronic/Dance - Released October 18, 2019 | Ninja Tune

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
After the release of his album Elaenia in 2015, Sam Shepherd was dubbed one of Britain’s most talented young producers. He then decided to set off on tour for a good while to explore the world of jazz, bringing an entire band with him. After this, rather out of the blue, he ended up performing live each night as the opening act on The xx’s 2017 tour. Having to improvise all alone with a Buchla synth in front of 20,000 people for an hour and a half makes you rethink things. “I thought what I’d come out with would be really melodic and slow-building, but what I ended up playing was some of the most obtuse and aggressive music I’ve ever made. It was liberating”. And that’s exactly what comes cross on the album – which, in a nutshell, is a display of creativity, hybridization and open-mindedness. The gifted English electronic musician mixes 2 step jazz and electronica on the simply divine Last Bloom, dabbles in drum ‘n’ bass on Anasickmodular and nods towards UK bass on LesAlpx. His competition has some catching up to do. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
HI-RES$14.99
CD$11.99

Alternative & Indie - Released October 11, 2019 | 4AD

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
Less than six months after releasing their highly acclaimed third album, U.F.O.F., the Brooklyn indie-folk band Big Thief returns with Two Hands. While its Irish twin sounds incredibly controlled and labored over, the majority of Two Hands are one-take recordings (tracked live in the middle of a Texas desert) with no overdubs, capturing the arresting beauty of their live performances. Lead single "Not" is the loudest and most intense Big Thief song to date. Frontwoman Adrianne Lenker’s croon is pushed to a panting rasp during the track’s teetering climax, and its second half is overtaken by a gangly, drawn-out guitar solo gracelessly deconstructing into ringing noise. However, despite the crashing drum fill that kicks off the record, "Not"’s striking diversion from their signature serenity is the album’s only moment of its kind. The main difference is that here, Big Thief sound looser and less concerned with painstaking prettiness. Instead, they let the tape roll and see what happens. Perhaps the most commendable aspect is that even without the benefit of studio wizardry, this band can still make magic happen. © Eli Enis / Qobuz
HI-RES$14.99
CD$11.99

Alternative & Indie - Released October 11, 2019 | Matador

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Not many people wait until they’re 66 years old to bring out their debut album. Even though Kim Gordon has a CV that’s 15 km long, Sonic Youth’s bassist and singer has never taken the time so express herself as a completely solo act - until now. The aptly named No Home Record (a nod towards Chental Akerman’s No Home Movie which explores the director’s relationship with her mother, an Auschwitz survivor) is the fruit of a life spent in music. The no wave/punk DNA of Sonic Youth’s music remains intact here, though it also adapts to the times with touches of electronic music. This beautifully genre-less album goes through many different styles: rock noise sequences, dark and industrial ambient tracks, avant-garde songs, mystical ballads, we could go on… Yet despite all this eclecticism, No Home Record (a record produced by Justin Raisen – behind Angel Olsen, Yves Tumor, John Cale, Charli XCX - and recorded at the Sphere Ranch in Los Angeles) can still be considered an entity. It’s a work chaperoned and carried by the lady of the house’ incomparable voice, one that sings (or speaks?) with uncompromising desolation. ©Marc Zisman/Qobuz
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Alternative & Indie - Released October 4, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Three years after My Woman, an album which saw her move even further away from her main influences (Cat Power, Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey) as she pursued her grungy indie folk (which incorporated Americana and vintage sounds) Angel Olsen has signed a more silky, shimmering and even luxurious production here. There are no commercial compromises in All Mirrors, just a clear desire to soak her music in less troubled waters… The sound is bigger, the arrangements more elaborate and the instrumentation even includes strings, again impeccably measured. Much like Annie Clark a.k.a. St Vincent, Olsen blends a powerful explosion of fury and strong self-acceptance, boosted by impressive melodies. The American is also at ease in moving from dark atmospheres to almost playful sequences. A stylistic richness that becomes even greater each time you listen to it. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Alternative & Indie - Released October 3, 2019 | Ghosteen Ltd

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
CD$9.99

Alternative & Indie - Released September 13, 2019 | Sacred Bones Records

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Mysterious, feminine, experimental, and always compelling, Jenny Hval has been pushing the musical envelope forward since 2006 (initially as Rockettothesky before releasing music under her own name). True to its title, The Practice of Love emphasizes warmth, lushness, and softness, quite unlike 2016’s Blood Bitch, which connected menstrual blood to vampire imagery, or 2015's Apocalypse, girl and its sardonic opening question, "What is soft dick rock?" (yes, really). That said, The Practice of Love retains Hval's signature use of occult imagery, spoken word poetry, and experimental electronic sonics, while introducing 80s-style synth grooves (some you could even dance to!), free-jazz inspired saxophone licks, and atmospheric vocal backdrops. The cohesive sonics come in part thanks to Hval’s cast of collaborators, with musicians Anja Lauvdal (synths), Espen Reinertsen (saxophone) and Lasse Marhaug (electronics) and guest speakers Vivan Want, Laura Jean Englert, and Félicia Atkinson forming a group that sharpens and draws out the best in her sound. © Eric Benoit / Qobuz
HI-RES$11.99
CD$7.99

Alternative & Indie - Released September 13, 2019 | Domino Recording Co

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
For his third Domino Records release and ninth album in total, lo-fi pop experimenter (Sandy) Alex G (Alex Giannascoli) presents House of Sugar. The multifaceted title is, for one, a reference to the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, which features in the album's closing track. It also refers to the Grimm fairy tale alluded to in "Gretel," and to the short story "The House Made of Sugar" by Silvina Ocampo, a supernatural tale rooted in superstition and deceit. The layered meanings of the title mirror the complex musical design of House of Sugar, Giannascoli's densest and most detail-oriented release to date. While 2017's Rocket saw the songwriter/GarageBand recordist working with an expanded guest list including touring bandmembers for the first time, House of Sugar involved recording collaborations on some songs with his mixer, Jacob Portrait, at Portrait's Brooklyn studio -- Giannascoli's first excursion to an outside studio. In addition to splurging on a new microphone and recording-software upgrade at home, Giannascoli has said that he worked more deliberately on this album, spending more time on fewer songs than ever before. House of Sugar's sound is more vivid and elaborate, as becomes apparent on the experimental opening track, "Walk Away." At over four minutes, it's the longest track on the record and arguably its least coherent; its suffocating, kitchen-sink approach includes rhythmically organized layers of irregular, circular vocals, guitars, booming drums, and much more. If intended to reset ears for increased demands, those demands are soon alleviated with the tuneful, melancholy pop of "Hope" and "Southern Sky." Even a song like "Hope," ultimately an acoustic rhythm guitar tune, holds added textures, however, among them multiple vocal tracks, strings, and spacey organ. House of Sugar gets increasingly otherworldly with the manipulated, child-like voices and ghostly, dissonant effects of "Gretel" and the meticulously trippy "Near." Later, processed, robotic vocals and bagpipe-like harmonic overtones mark the eerie noise experiments of the plodding "Sugar." An entry like "Sugar" is outnumbered by but adds weight to the lighter pop songs on the album, though "light" here is a relative term. As if to bring his audience back to Earth, the album closes with the spare "Crime" and wistful live track "SugarHouse," which ends with the lyrics: "Let 'em bury me in the sand/When our children go digging for answers/I hope they can put me together again." Intimate, theatrical, and strange, House of Sugar is designed to reward repeat listens, but like other (Sandy) Alex G sets, it's immediately affecting. ~ Marcy Donelson
CD$14.99

Alternative & Indie - Released August 30, 2019 | Polydor Records

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Her sensual voice is irresistible. Elizabeth Grant, aka Lana Del Rey, could sing the instruction manual for a wireless vacuum cleaner and she would still have our full attention. Even when she invites the whole world to join her (A$AP Rocky, The Weeknd, Stevie Nicks and Sean Lennon all featured on Lust For Life, her album released in 2017), she lives in her own little world where time moves slow and melancholy reigns supreme. Making music is her way of talking about her era, her contemporaries, the American Dream and, as far as we can tell, herself... With its shocking title, stylised album cover (featuring Duke Nicholson, Jack Nicholson’s grandson, aboard a boat sailing away from a burning coast) and her particularly slow tempos (only ballads here), Norman Fucking Rockwell! is largely rooted in folk. Del Rey roams around this great soundscape, more melancholic and evanescent than ever. She closely collaborated with Jack Antonoff on this album (a sought-after producer for pop stars such as Taylor Swift, St. Vincent, Lorde, Carly Rae Jepsen and Pink) and the producer shapes her melancholy with equal amounts of sobriety and slickness. The slow rhythms on this beautiful record offer a welcome break from the turbulence of today. One of the tracks that stands out is a cover of Sublime’s Doin’ Time (1996), itself a new interpretation of Gershwin’s Summertime, offering further proof of Lana Del Rey’s originality, something which is much more complex than some would have us believe... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
CD$15.49

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 16, 2019 | 300 Entertainment - Atl

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
“All of the songs are like fucking parade music. It ain’t no storylines to it. This shit is all about fun. If you're not having fun or in a fun mood, don’t even play this album” Young Thug warned. And since he’s having a party, he has invited all his friends from the rap scene to join him on this XXL album which boasts 13 featurings among the 19 tracks! Opening the album, we find the Atlanta rapper alone on Just How It Is, accompanied by just a folk guitar, a bass line and a minimalist beat to supplement his melodious flow. We then go straight to the main course with Sup Mate, which features his fellow American hip-hop superstar Future, who’s not as scathing as usual on this haunting production by ATL Jacob (Future’s loyal producer) and DY Krazy (808 Mafia). Some of the album’s highlights include the hit-worthy Surf, featuring Gumma, Lil Duke’s performance on I Bought Her, the catchy chorus of Bad Bad Bad (feat. Lil Baby), and the single The London, the album’s finale that features the two heavyweights Travis Scott and J. Cole, the latter supervising the record’s production. When he goes solo, Young Thug is just as ruthless as ever, as he demonstrates on Jumped out the Window over a jittery piano, or on Pussy, where he takes on Tenor Saw’s timbre from the reggae dancehall classic Ring The Alarm. That should be enough to occupy the top of the charts for a while. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
HI-RES$12.99
CD$8.99

Alternative & Indie - Released August 16, 2019 | Triple Crown Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
New York-based emo band Oso Oso present their second album, Basking in the Glow, following the release of the Yunahon Mixtape in 2016. On this record, lead singer Jade Lilitri is leaning into the brighter side of life, aiming to embrace the good days and accept the darker side of life. ~ Liam Martin
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99
i,i

Alternative & Indie - Released August 9, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
“There’s similarities and tributaries through all the Bon Iver records leading to this one and that still flow through this one. It’s an expansive sound”. This is how Justin Vernon, the driving force behind Bon Iver, defines his fourth studio album. 12 years of his life have passed, during which his project went from the wintry solitude of For Emma, Forever Ago, to the chamber-pop spring of its eponymous record, to the feverish summer glitch storm of 22, A Million. This fourth season didn’t come easy, either. The promotional tour for the aforementioned third album ended abruptly, due to Vernon’s struggle with anxiety and depression. i,i was created in that aftermath, as a synthesis of his career – a multi-layered autumn where sonic landscapes flow one into the other, and impressionistic instrumentals, glitchy samples and vocal harmonies pile on top of each other seamlessly, before being torn away to reveal the bare bones canvas lying beneath. This retrospective approach to his music is interlaced with cryptic lyrics that seem to ponder Vernon’s misanthropic tendencies: “I should've known / That I shouldn't hide/ To compromise and to covet/ All what’s inside “ he mourns on the electro-folk crescendo of Faith, undercut by growling bass and haunting background vocals. On the album closer RABi, which is a play on the words “I could rob, bye bye”, Bon Iver seems to find peace at last, in a side nod to listeners: “Sun light feels good now, don't it? And I don't have a leaving plan/ But something's gotta ease your mind/ But it's all fine, or it's all crime anyway “. It’s a cathartic finish, for a troubled artist who seems to have temporarily fought off his demons, as well as the audience – we who’ve followed him and applauded him since the beginning. © Alexis Renaudat/Qobuz
CD$12.99

Folk/Americana - Released July 26, 2019 | Double Double Whammy

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Around the time of the release of 2017's If Blue Could Be Happiness, Florist singer/songwriter Emily Sprague suffered a series of personal ordeals including a breakup and the unexpected death of her mother. She subsequently relocated from her home state of New York to Los Angeles. Isolated from bandmates and taking a break from Florist, she worked on music at home on her own, ultimately releasing two ambient synth instrumental albums under her own name. After Sprague was ready to return to songwriting in 2018, logistics got in the way of a band reunion, and she home-recorded Florist's third album by herself. The resulting Emily Alone is a devastating, unapologetically vulnerable set of 12 ruminative guitar and keyboard songs, one of which is entirely spoken ("Still"). A mix of fond and somber remembrances, suicidal ideation, and healing introspections, the quiet album also includes occasional appearances by sound effects or field recordings, as on the piano lament "M," which features the repeated sound of crunching footsteps. An undercurrent of barely audibly mechanical bleeps runs through "I Also Have Eyes" beneath strummed acoustic guitar and Sprague's gentle, breathy vocals. Her voice is especially plaintive on the opening lines "How did I get in this place/My life is only a combination of things that I mostly had no control over/And it took me a long time to figure that out." Elsewhere, she articulates depression on "Time Is a Dark Feeling" with lines like "These are the days like the deepest caves/You would never dare to descend into/Truthfully, silence never did it for me." Some of the songs end on a hopeful note, and the album does, too, with "Today I'll Have You Around." Its arpeggiated acoustic guitar and overlapping vocal lines are accompanied by the intermittent sound of rain, with water being a recurring theme on Emily Alone. It has one of the album's sweeter melodies, although it ends, significantly, on an unresolved chord. ~ Marcy Donelson
HI-RES$14.99
CD$12.99

World - Released July 25, 2019 | Bad Habit - On A Spaceship - Atlantic

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
Arriving just one year after 2018's well-received Outside, African Giant is the fourth full-length from Nigerian dancehall-reggae star Burna Boy. At 19 tracks, it is an overall lengthier affair than its predecessor, with a globally diverse guest list that includes American rappers Future and YG, British singer Jorja Smith, Jamaican reggae royalty Damian Marley, and African vocal icon Angélique Kidjo, among others. Citing the album as his most personal release yet, Burna Boy continues to explore his distinctive blend of Afro-beat, dancehall, reggae, pop, and road rap. ~ Timothy Monger
CD$12.99

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 18, 2019 | Big Persona - 88 Classic - RCA Records

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
HI-RES$14.99
CD$11.99

Alternative & Indie - Released June 21, 2019 | Rough Trade

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
In the space of 10 years, the post-punk revival which has shaken the UK to its core has spawned countless new bands, each bolder and more exciting than the last. In Black Midi’s case, the scope of influences seems to have broadened beyond words. Twisting together the formulas for math rock, krautrock and progressive, Georgie Greep (vocals/ guitar), Cameron Picton (bass/vocals), Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin (guitar) and Morgan Simpson (drums) have an uncanny ability to rebuild every code and rule they smash to pieces. Dominated by massive rhythmicity, Schlagenheim is unlike anything before it, perhaps owing to the forward-thinking writing process of its young London-based creators – working additively and subtractively around an initial musical structure. Their endless jams sometimes become a single riff, which spans across a few measures. Black Midi’s songs are shapeshifting, otherworldly; a sort of droning, ambient, noisy thing according to Greep. A musical approach reminiscent of the free, uncompromising, unhinged brand of rock’n’roll so characteristic of Swans, Boredoms, Neu!, Public Image Ltd., Merzbow, Fugazi, Test Icicles and more. Black Midi isn’t content to follow in others’ footsteps; they are heralds of change in the rock scene. Schlagenheim: An uncompromising affair. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
HI-RES$14.99
CD$12.99

Alternative & Indie - Released June 21, 2019 | Epitaph

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Mannequin Pussy is Marisa Dabice (on vocals and guitar), Thanasi Paul (on guitar and keys), Bear Regisford (on bass), and Kaleen Reading (on drums). Patience, their third studio album is 25 minutes long, which is quite a long time when you’re taking swings to the face. In fact, this indie-punk band from Philadelphia does not go for subtleties as can be heard in their intense and violent preceding records. This most recent opus, created in tandem with the producer Will Yip (Quicksand, the Menzingers), is clearly the fruit of a more nuanced approach. But don’t expect to hear any lullabies. Tracks like Drunk I or Clams are short (less than one minute each) and for good reason: such a sonic frenzy can only last a certain amount of time before it becomes repetitive. The quartet have learned to occasionally lift the foot off the accelerator to accentuate the contrast between moments of poetry and sheer rage. On top of all that, there are new sounds like the light instrumentation on High Horse - a through-and-through indie-pop tune - and shoegaze with piano appearing on In Love Again. Dabice’s voice ranges from soft and melancholic to furious. Patience is an apt title; it is a reflective record, in which Mannequin Pussy have channeled their energy without losing authenticity. Short but effective. © Alexis Renaudat/Qobuz
CD$12.99

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 7, 2019 | Columbia

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Polo G is one of several late-2010s Chicago rappers to combine influences from their city's drill scene with more melodic hooks. While many of his peers got by on charisma and high-impact production, Polo G's lyricism sets him apart. Early single "Finer Things" announced his nuanced style as he switched gears from vulnerable uncertainty about his direction in life to bragging about his wealth in the same breath. The song's sentimental, piano-heavy beat served as a perfect instrumental for Polo G's introspective writing, and it connected with millions to become his first viral hit. Debut album Die a Legend delivers on the promise of early singles with 14 tracks of nonstop lyrical highlights and a production style equal shares hard-trap beats and melodic catchiness. Often debut releases from rappers with a massive hit are quickly assembled around that hit, but Die a Legend plays like a finely arranged statement. While "Finer Things" might be the strongest example of Polo G's mesh of lyrical excellence and sticky vocal lines, it's one of several versatile approaches. The airy production on "Battle Cry" leaves plenty of space for lyrics about losing friends to gang violence and fighting anxiety with self-medication. Depression, isolation, and healing from trauma come up as themes throughout Die a Legend, adding a deeper humanity to tales of raw street life and hustling to survive. Even as he rises from desperation and poverty to riches and stardom, Polo G's lyrics overflow with suspicion and sadness, distrustful of the fairweather friends who love him when he's on top and too smart to believe that fame is forever. There's a darkness even on huge bangers like "Pop Out," a would-be assertion of violence and confrontation that ends up feeling heavier and more resigned than aggressive. Much of Die a Legend finds its power in those heavy vibes. Polo G delivers his rhymes in unbroken flows, pouring out his soul, his struggles, and even his fears in a nonstop rush for the entirety of the album's 40 minutes. It's a dark place, but the painful honesty of these songs comes off as a bold and necessary purging of demons rather than emotional posturing. Direct and unflinching, Die a Legend is a masterful debut that stands a head above even the better acts in the crop of trap soundalikes. ~ Fred Thomas
CD$12.99
ZUU

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released May 31, 2019 | Loma Vista Recordings

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
At just 29 minutes, the latest release from Denzel Curry feels more like a mixtape than an album. Less than a year after the tour de force of TA13000, an unclassifiable record that mixed black metal and electro, making him one of the most interesting players on the rap scene (and helped him climb into the Billboard 200), the Florida-born rapper based in Los Angeles returns with the more trappy ZUU. He mostly freestyles about homesickness, and invites onto the album locals Rick Ross (Beardz), Kiddo Marv (Wish), Ice Billion Berg, Sam Sneak (Shake 88) and PlayThatBoiZay (Pat). ZUU is an ode to his hometown Carol City, Florida, nicknamed “zoo” by Denzel. However, the album is a departure from a concept album, and takes measures to be spontaneous, without wasting time. With faithful producers FNZ and Charlie Heat at his side, he "shoots first, ask questions later.” "We didn’t go in with an opinion. If you go and formulate an opinion already, you ain’t gon’ get shit done,” explains Curry, who toured with Billie Eilish in 2019 and completed his Flying Lotus ‘Balloon’ trilogy (Black Balloons and The Blackest Balloons on TA13OO) with Black Balloons Reprise on Flamagra. At the age of 24, Denzel Curry has created a dazzling opus that still sets itself apart from the rest of the Florida scene. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
CD$12.99

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released May 17, 2019 | Method

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
While the Streets are still no longer on the scene, Slowthai has taken their place. There is an irrefutable connection between Mike Skinner, also from the Midlands, and Tyron Kaymone Frampton, the bad boy from Northampton who with this album has released a unique firecracker of punky grime. Brexit, class division, daily troubles, domestic violence, the destruction of capitalism and the monarchy, nothing escapes his aggressive lyrical assault on the idea of Britishness. His mother is from Barbados and had him at sixteen years old. His father left the scene when he was three. No wonder those Xanax boxes have been adding up… Nothing Great About Britain is, however, no copy of The Streets’ first albums. Constructed like a kind of intimate diary, he combines social criticism with humor and cynicism in an unprecedented fashion. Behind the controls for most of the tracks is producer Kwes Darko who creates a soundtrack that merges grime beats with minimalist rap, electro and hints of rock’n’roll. Slowthai has not only drawn inspiration from the likes of Skepta or Stormzy; his DNA is particularly punk. Features include: grime legend Skepta (Inglorious), Jaykae (Grow Up), the punks Slaves (Missing) and the producer Mura Masa (Doorman). All contribute to a punchy album that reminds us of the singular force of British rap. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz