Each month we bring you a handy round-up of the most exciting new releases.
This month sees long-awaited albums, EPS and singles from Diet Cig, The Big Moon, Father John Misty and Happyness.
Diet Cig – Swear I’m Good At This
07.04, Frenchkiss | Buy
With their debut EP Over Easy, New York duo Diet Cig forged themselves an immediate and quickly-developing fan base. With their brash, boisterous energy, underlying tenderness in melodies and a compassionate, personal foundation from which to work, their debut album is an even stronger and more compelling definition of who they are as a group – displaying their charismatic empathy across twelve distinct tracks.
With a brace of angst and agony, Diet Cig are able to channel such forthcomings in relationships, life and expectancies with a true sense of wit and understanding. Alex Luciano is captivating and unquestionably affecting in both lyricism and delivery, her frank openness is as motivating as it is empathising, while Noah Bowman smashes all measure of emotions out across the record, whether in sadness or confrontation. Together they craft songs of unquestionable mindfulness that can inspire without even trying, simply by being an authentic voice. Ross Jones
The Big Moon – Love In The 4th Dimension
07.04, Fiction Records | Buy
The Big Moon’s first album is emblazoned with female empowerment, while its bluesy rock tones empathetically explore the complexities of modern relationships. Opening track, the wistfully reflective ‘Sucker’, echoes the band’s influences – Roy Orbison, The White Stripes and Pixies – in its melodies and melancholic garage feel.
Then there’s ‘Formidable’, a bewitchingly compassionate track set to break hearts. The title track is beautifully written, as it scrutinises the all-too-familiar feeling of a relationship falling apart before even starting. By combining a DIY aesthetic with gorgeously sombre tones, Love in The 4th Dimension is a lyrically intricate collection of love songs that feels engaging and nurturing to anyone who’s ever fallen in love. Georgia Balch
Sylvan Esso – What Now?
28.04, Loma Vista | Buy
The second full length album from the North Carolina duo of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanbor is a complex layering of glitchy dance tracks, ambient soundscapes and electronic rock while staying close to the electronic base of previous releases.
The sonic expansion from Sanborn gives the album a depth where you’re hearing Sylvan Esso’s interpretation of a rock track, like on ‘Song’, and with new stylings that showcase Meath’s vocal range, such as ‘Slack Jaw’. Analog samples combined with acoustic guitars and stripped-back drums shows progression in the duo’s sound. It’s an electronic album at heart, but one that wants to do more than just get you dancing. Albert Testani
Blaenavon – That’s Your Lot
07.04, Atlantic | Buy
Having been rocking out together for years already, it comes as no surprise that Blaenavon’s debut album flawlessly captures their sound. With ‘Take Care’ being the skillful combination of smooth guitar riffs and melancholic tones, courtesy of lead singer Ben Gregory, it really shows off the moody indie which the band excel at producing.
A silky-smooth mix of mellow jams, That’s Your Lot couldn’t be a better introduction to a band who are bound to blow up in the indie scene. Equal parts beautiful and heart-breaking, from the upbeat ‘Let’s Pray’ to the slightly heavier ‘Swans’, Blaenavon have perfected their unique blend of tranquility and anguish, packing this record full of both. Catrin Bishop
Maximo Park – Risk to Exist
21.04, Cooking Vinyl | Buy
Six albums in and the title track has the catchiest lines, but lacks the punch Maximo Park delivered almost ten years ago. ‘Work And Then Wait’ brings a bright instrumental which sits under Smith’s social commentary and, while there isn’t an album theme per se, politics do seep into more than a few songs.
The album feels more like a compilation of quintessential songs from the Geordie band, which renders the album a little lacklustre as no single song commands attention, making it feel a little disjointed and clumsy. Although bold and at times catchy, the new material sadly doesn’t quite capture the magic of previous releases. Callum Stevens
Happyness – Write In
07.04, Weird Smiling / Moshi Moshi | Buy
The rise of the internet. The privatisation of Royal Mail. Even fax machines have fed a superfluous decline in the simple ritual of sending a letter. “How much better, to write in?” is the first query of many to feature on the second LP from London’s terrific and prolific Happyness.
The near-schizophrenic switch between jubilance and melancholia on Write In can be determined by the listener; an audible mood ring of sorts. As the record winds a hall-of-fame corridor of 70s songwriting revival, ‘Victor Lazarro’s Heart’ shines as a true highlight, peaking a crescendo of mid-paced euphoria. A welcome return and missing component to sterling and ernest alternative British songwriting. Richard Walsh
Goan Dogs – You Drive Me Wild
14.04, Self-release | Buy
If there’s one thing that’s certain about alt rock quintet Goan Dogs, it’s that they’ll make your body move no matter the occasion.
Following the timeless ‘Drifting Apart’, the band are back with new single ‘You Drive Me Wild’ and it’s clear from the first few seconds that this piece is another classic in the making.
Frontman Luke St Leger drives it home over this rhythm-heavy piece, as his preacher-like vocals pin together the band’s exquisite pop melodies, drawing in even the most casual listener. Let Goan Dogs drive you wild this month at the Exchange, 7th. Mustafa Mirreh
Future Islands – The Far Field
07.04 / 4AD | Buy
There’s a rich, warm vulnerability and earnestness in Samuel T. Herrings’ voice that stirs up something deep and emotional inside. Weaving sonic narratives of love and “odes to the road” Future Islands’ fifth album The Far Field channels the band’s swooning power-pop, that won them such resounding acclaim on 2014’s Singles, with an even greater potency and urgency.
Featuring guest vocals from Debbie Harry on penultimate song ‘Shadows’ and filled with glistening, majestic melodies, powerful basslines, and infectious drum beats, the band’s instrumental prowess and propensity for crafting suave, captivating ballads is perfectly honed here; The Far Field is an irresistibly-arresting collection of tracks that is utterly enchanting throughout. Kezia Cochrane
Joe Goddard – Electric Lines
21.04, Greco-Roman / Domino | Buy
Making up crucial parts of Hot Chip and The 2 Bears, Joe Goddard is constantly surrounded by music. His second album echoes just that, bringing in a confident selection of genres whether it be the disco dazzler ‘Home’ or twinkling garage of ‘Truth is Light’.
These left-field dance numbers are similar to the urgent fusion of genres Four Tet brings to the table; atmospheric trance-like techno exists in tracks like ‘Children’ and ‘Nothing Moves’, where he brings heart to industrial bleeps and sombre synths. After eight years waiting for new solo material, this record is not just expertly crafted and experimental in the best sense, it’s also a progressive step forward. Oliver Evans
Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
07.04, Bella Union | Buy
In the era of iPhone-engaged youth, melting ice caps and Donald Trump, Father John Misty reflects on the bleak outlook of the current social climate with latest album, Pure Comedy. In the follow up to I Love You, Honeybear, he’s retained and grown the beautiful eloquence of his lyricism enwrapped in soothing melodies and soft vocals.
In his true satirical manner, Father John Misty comments on the rising tide of idiots in ‘Ballad of the Dying Man’ to lack of human connection in ‘Birdie’. Blending soft guitar with beautiful strings and horn compositions, the album is a disparaging scrutiny of human nature, and gets you contemplating your insignificant existence. Hannah Wakeman