Ten albums you cannot miss this month – June 2013
Destined to become house music’s crossover band of 2013, Disclosure have been gathering heat since debuting on Myspace back in 2010. With singles repeatedly charting ever since (including Latch featuring Sam Smith), the sibling duo have already delivered high watermark performances at the likes of Coachella and London’s Field Day this year – and Settle is a fitting debut. As catchy and dancey as it is spacy and chilled, Disclosure are the quintessential modern dance band.
Against all odds, the original metal band have delivered their best album in about 30 years. Very nearly starring the original 60s lineup (drummer Bill Ward was replaced by Rage Against the Machine’s Brad Wilk after contractual issues) it’s a stirring set of songs, capturing the blend of heavy blues and gothic darkness that imbued their flawless early albums with such lasting appeal and influence. Opener End of the Beginning instantly invokes their classic grandeur, while Zeitgeist revisits the psychedelic motifs hinted at on Paranoid. Iommi’s riffage and Ozzy’s howl still deliver like nobody else after over 40 years.
Whatever one thinks of the album, Tomorrow’s Harvest has to have received the finest viral campaign in history. Scottish retro-futurists, Boards of Canada have the most cult-like of followings this side of ICP, and their legions of dedicated followers traced an impossibly complicated global egg hunt, kicked off by little more than an unmarked vinyl found in London on Record Store Day 2013. Hardly leaps and bounds from their signature sounds, the duo blend beats, ambience and seemingly found sounds into an impeccably crafted work of art. Boards of Canada are as fragile and beautiful as ever.
After several years of half-assed efforts since Takk and Hoppípolla propelled Iceland’s foremost space-rockers into the advert-scoring big time, 2012’s Valtari was a syrupy step too far. Bland beyond belief and far too reliant on the strings and synths combo the band are best known for, the album fizzled into nothingness. Subsequently losing keyboardist Kjartan, the group have returned to the rock experimentalism and dynamics perfected way back in 1999 on Ágætis Byrjun. Kveikur embraces the loss of the keyboardist, emphasising percussion and guitars while losing little of Jonsi’s signature falsetto. A welcome start to this band’s dramatic third act.
Tom Odell’s piano-led songs have already won him both a Brit Award and an appearance on Later…with Jools Holland in 2012. While comparisons unsurprisingly have been drawn between Odell and Elton John and Jeff Buckley, the powerful emotional drive of Starsailor and Keane’s majestic piano pop better qualify the stadium-ready tunes on display here.
Unquestionably overshadowed by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds back in 2011, the remaining members of Oasis in the form of Beady Eye called upon TV On the Radio’s David Sitek to sheen up their next album. With credentials as a producer for Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Thee Oh Sees, one would imagine an unsuccessful clash, but the firmly retro tunes of Beady Eye (Liam Gallagher’s as stuck in 1967 and Sgt Pepper as he ever was) nicely become Sitek’s lightly fuzzed out psychedelic treatment. Brilliantly crafted retro rock.
Kanye West – Yeezus
Posturing as a stripped back, almost industrial effort, Yeezus is in fact Kanye West’s boldest and most fully realised album to date. The extensive list of collaborators – including Rick Rubin, Daft Punk and Bon Iver – keep things fresh and listenable while West reaches down into the deepest darkest depths of his soul for a bassy and bizarre album bringing together many unsung strands of electronic music from the last 20 years. Dancehall and acid house meet hip-hop on one of 2013’s most eccentric releases.
Already topping charts here in the UK and at home in Ireland, Dublin’s Kodaline were clearly born to be hitmakers. In a Perfect World is full of pre-boxed anthems such as the Mumford-esque Love Like This and they don’t sacrifice a second of their debut for much else. Expect this collection of 11 straight tracks of pounding folk pop to become ubiquitous in the coming months.
Melt Yourself Down – s/t
An avant-jazz supergroup of sorts, Melt Yourself Down were called into existence to bring jazz to the party and make fusion funky again. Appropriately named after a James Chance album, the group blend funk and fusion with no wave and colourful afro funk rhythms, creating a noisy, punky and ridiculously danceable brew. Unrelentingly groovy and powerfully original, Melt Yourself Down is hopefully the first of many from the ultimate party band.
With Autechre and The Knife already releasing double albums this year, it’s clear that the digital takeover is paving the way for longer releases. Zomby’s ambitious 33-track double album With Love is such an album that the extra length is put to good use. The masked producer’s chilling blend of Burial’s murkiness with grime’s unabashed use of punchy bass and rhythms coalesce into a powerfully atmospheric release. With Love puts Zomby right at the forefront of the UK’s inventive electro scene with the likes of Burial and Four Tet.