Plum Music Season ::: Quarterly Review 2 (2017)

Hello again. Some excellent recommendations coming your way. So much music is released these days we do these quarterly roundups so you can have a quick dip into what’s current and see what floats your musical boat. Head to our YouTube channel if you’re wanting to just wrap your lugs around the music straight away. Of course our lists are by no means comprehensive. We simply do our best to point you towards the things we’ve heard that we think are worth your time. If you think we’ve missed something good then we’d love to hear from you. Before we get going, worth mentioning we’ve already covered Feist, Mac DeMarco, Hooded Fang, Steady Sun, and John Carroll on the blog in depth. All favorites of ours this quarter and definitely worth spending your pennies/RMB on.

First up, Father John Misty. I’m a big fan and would love to get the chance to see him live especially going by his recent Glastonbury performance. I’ll be honest, I’ve not listened to his latest record many times yet. It’s very good and by no means a blight on his catalog but first impressions are I prefer his preceding LPs with ‘Fear Fun’ still my favorite. I will certainly be giving his new release ‘Pure Comedy’ plenty of chances to change my mind though.

Future Islands have a new record out. That completely passed me by until I began research for this blog entry. Bad me. Well I’m listening to it right now and it sounds absolutely fantastic. They don’t sound like a group that are ready to ease up just yet. I’ll give this a blast on the speakers when the missus wakes up from her afternoon snooze. Then later we’ll check out their Glastonbury slot for good measure.

Fleet Foxes. ‘Crack-up’. Perhaps lacking the hooks of their debut and the richness of their second release? Like Father John Misty though I’m going to give it plenty of chances to grow on me – this is a band that deserves your time.

Guided by Voices are a truly unique outfit. Their music always comes across to me as though they just let it pour out of them and then get it down quickly with minimal self-editing. This might make it rough around the edges but also means they get across the essence of their ideas very effectively when many artists perhaps unnecessarily complicate things. With ‘August by Cake’ containing 32 songs they don’t show any sign of stopping the songs pouring out anytime soon.

Next, Kendrick Lamar. DAMN. Need I say more? I do? OK. It’s called ‘Damn’. Listen to it.

Gorillaz have returned with ‘Humanz’, much to everyone’s delight, with, of course, an impressive array of new collaborators to keep it all sounding fresh. Fans of Damon Albarn in strictly his more indie pop guise might perhaps be better looking elsewhere for their audio shenanigans but if you enjoy rap, trip hop, and electronic music, or just appreciate a fun, modern-sounding record then this might well do the trick.

I think a lot of people will have certain bands on their radar they always mean to check out but never quite get round to it. The Afghan Whigs, for me, are one of those groups. Well this time I did ruddy get round to it. Their new record ‘In Spades’ is a really interesting one. From the opener ‘Birdland’ you’re immediately aware this is likely to be a record brimming with interesting arrangements and I’ve not been let down. The moral of the story? Get round to listening to those bands you never get round to listening to, dummy.

As far as music by Hoops goes, they’ve not quite equaled their track ‘Gemini’ in my affections with any of the songs on new album ‘Routines’ but that’s not to assert it’s not worth your time because it most certainly is – an inspiration to lofi bedroom recording enthusiasts everywhere.

Perfume Genius is an artist I had never heard of until recently. Not sure why. But since hearing of him I’ve been listening to ‘Too Bright’ and ‘No Shape’ quite a lot, the latter being his new album. It kind of grabbed me in the same way hearing Youth Lagoon for the first time did. Good if you like catchy melodies and interesting production.

Alt-J are back. Catchiness and rifftasticness of ‘Left Hand Free’ aside their second album didn’t quite do it for me in the same way their debut did. The third ‘Relaxer’ is winning me over slowly and they get top marks for striving for uniqueness when so many bands just churn out the same old garbage.

Had to include Roger Waters’ new release ‘Is This the Life We Really Want?’ Never one to shy away from the big questions or be reticent in expressing his beliefs, the album title itself correctly implies he’s not going to be going out of his way to dodge the issues of the day. Which is what we often need from artists isn’t it?

Cigarettes After Sex. Perhaps like many people I heard the track ‘Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby’ at the end of an episode of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and had to find out more. The aforementioned track is arguably their most catchy but the recently released eponymously titled album is full of similar sounding songs which, despite the odd awkward lyric, shouldn’t disappoint.

Despite the album title ‘Planetarium’ unavoidably making me remember a particularly funny episode of South Park, this new release from Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner (The National), Nico Muhly, and James McAlister is a beauty and nothing to laugh at.

Finally, a shout out to Public Enemy for giving away such an awesome new album for free. What utter dudes.

Zaijian for now….

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