This year so far…

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At around the half year point last year, leaveitallbehind wrote a post asking what everyone had been listening to during the first 6 months of the 2017. We are over half way through this year and the first 7 months have been filled with some lovely music – I wonder what you’ve all been listening to?

Here are the 2018 albums I’ve loved and have stood the test of repeat listens.

First up; Sons of Kemet – Your Queen is a Reptile. An urgent and sometimes hectic offering from the jazz collective led by the versatile and omnisient in the UK jazz scene, Shabaka Hutchings. I love this album. Hutchings came on stage with Kamasi Washington when I saw him in May and blew the place apart. So, so chuffed to see this album nominated for a Mercury earlier this week. Here’s My Queen is Harriet Tubman

Electronica has featured a lot in my listening this year. 3 albums that I’ve listened to regularly are Jon Hopkins – Singularity (the danciest of them all), Nils Frahm – All Melody and Oneohtrix Point Never – Age Of. All very different to each other and yet provide that much needed backdrop for concentration, relaxation or daydreaming. Here’s Emerald Rush by Jon Hopkins.

It’s always great to see old favourites back creating and touring. So far this year I’ve enjoyed the new offerings from The Breeders (All Nerve) and Belly (Dove) alike. It’s been great fun rediscovering their back catalogues and falling in love with their new tunes. Here’s Mine by Belly.

Young Fathers – Cocoa Sugar has also impressed me massively. I adore the inventiveness of their sound. The album bursts with part fury, part exhilaration. Whatever, the energy of this record is undeniable. Here’s Toy.

Similarly energetic and at times just as acerbic, although poppier and arguably more accesable, is Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer. This outing, from the artist who blew me away when I first saw her perform at Glastonbury several years ago, has a real Prince sound to it. These songs feature blistering attacks and pop brilliance. Here’s Django Jane.

Antipodean loveliness in the form of indie guitar music next. I saw these two acts from Melbourne on consecutive evenings here in the UK and loved both nights out – one with my best mate and chief rabble rouser, the other with my unwilling 15 year old, who, when told the band were due on stage at 10pm he said to me “on a school night mum? I need my sleep…” Cue major eye-rolling from me and strict instructions to put his shoes on and get moving. I’ve long loved Courtney Barnett‘s melancholy, narrative tracks. Her album Tell Me How You Really Feel continues the deep thinking, frequently morose, sometimes disdainful themes of previous works – it’s an album of beautiful songs peppered with everyday observations. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, on the other hand, released their first full length album this year. Hope Downs is an accomplished follow up to their 2017 EP The French Press. Similar in sound to Courtney Barnett (especially the spoken word style employed on some of their tracks), their tunes are more upbeat, inducing head nodding and happy toe-tapping to their infectious jangle guitar pop.

Here’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Talking Straight and Courtney Barnett – Nameless Faceless

For folky Laurel Canyon sound, look no further than Josh Tillman and Jonathan Wilson. Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer is another beautiful addition to his fast growing body of work. It’s witty, thoughtful and romantic. Jonathan Wilson’s Rare Birds has a retro feel about it, sonically complex in places with several long tracks – great for driving, I’ve found. Here’s Jonathan Wilson – 49 Hairflips

Other things I’ve enjoyed and are worth your time are Parquet Courts – Wide Awake, Dream Wife – Dream Wife, David Byrne – American Utopia, Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch & Gaz Coombs – World’s Strongest Man

The album I’m yet to be convinced by and really want to love is Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. It needs more listens The albums I’m most excited to hear when they eventually come out are those by Idles, Christine & the Queens and Anna Meredith’s Anno.

What have you been listening to?

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