Review: You may already know 22-year old Norwegian pop singer Aurora Aksnes for her rendition of Oasis' "Half the World Away" for a John Lewis Christmas advert in 2015, but if not, she's the biggest thing since Robyn. This latest record, following A Different Kind Of Human (Step 1) from last year, presents a third album to date and one that forms the second part of last year's surprise release. Fast-paced, hopeful, dancey and nordically folkal music, (Step 2) sees Aurora deliver something more experimental than before with its themes said to focus on ecological crisis and societal concepts of individualism. Syncopated basslines, staccato vocals and criss-crossing rhythms hit all the right spots in "Apple Tree" while our other pick "In Bottles" combines '90s pop sensationalism with breakbeats made to fit house tempos. Tip!
Review: Everybody give it up for some quality South Korean post-rock. Fun fact: Jambinai's debut album Differance won Best Crossover Album at the 2013 Korean Music Awards. Now that our introduction is out the way, Bella Union proudly present the third album from the experimental five-piece, with this Onda LP following up their Hermitage LP from 2016. Sometimes compared to the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai, Jambinai's sound nevertheless will always remain recognised for its unique asiatic instrumentation, with the band colliding the sounds of haegeum, piri, geomungo instruments with epic inspirations of rock and metal. The best album Bella Union will release this year!
Review: Atina 'Mattiel' Brown is a 60s psyche-pop inspiration from Atlanta, Georgia, giving the ears of a modern age a new way to appreciate a lo-fi, garage rock style of storytelling. Satis Factory presents the band with its second album since debuting in 2017 with a self-titled LP, and Brown's voice for Mattiel still reigns supreme in its bluesy, telephone filtered manner. Co-produced by Randy Michael and Jonah Swilley and recorded in their native Atlanta, the vintage touches applied to the band's music sees an authentic blend of deadpan vocals, jangly guitars meet with a touch of spaghetti western, subtle touches of folk and rockabilly, with that perfect smattering of dusty sundown blues.
Review: Most widely known as the front man for '70s rock and roll outfit The Only Ones, Peter Perrett returns once again with Humanworld, his second album since signing to Domino. Perrett successfully resurfaced in 2017 with How The West Was Won, an album that saw him chart in the UK and star on BBC Newsnight. Humanworld, then, does its best again to dissect romance and politics with Perrett's trademark sense of sardonic wit and wry humour. "I'm fully aware there are a lot of people who never even thought I'd get to make another album, let alone two, in such a short time," Perrett has been quoted saying, and with a production credit going to Peter's son Jamie who contributed to "Master Of Destruction", the album rejoices in one's ability to defy the odds. For fans of Dylan, Velvet Underground and Nick Cave for sure.
Review: Although an outstanding pop artist, Hannah Rodger's music as Pixx sits well and truly in the alt-pop realm. Since surfacing in 2015 with Fall In - that was later followed up by her 2017 debut album Age Of Anxiety - she's continues her relationship with 4AD once more thanks to Small Mercies. This second LP sees the English artist collide future electronic pop and R&B genres with the grungy guitars and synth rock styles of yesteryear. And for this record, Pixx assumes a different persona than before, her label says, to introspectively examine the damage done by religion, gender-based power hierarchies and stereotypes. Our picks, "Disgrace" and the oh-so-grungey "Mary Magdalene".
Review: Righteously rare recordings from the annals of UK-US music culture makes its way to disc via the legendary John Peel and the inimitable Steve Albini (and his Shellac band). Containing cuts from the late radio-jock's worshipped Peel Sessions broadcast in 2004, this archival release features a stream of previously unreleased recordings of the Chicago group's live & studio sessions for the legendary radio spot. The record (featuring bonus CD) delivers raw and seldom heard versions of "Crow" (from 1998's Terraform LP) alongside "Canada," "Disgrace" and "Spoke" from the Excellent Italian Greyhound LP (2007). Filled with stories of the BBC's "live From Maida Vale" sessions and the studio's famous 24-track console, these exhumed artifacts all make it out at a time when Albini has been quoted saying of Shellac: ""There will be more new material in the future."
Review: The Vanishing Twins first surfaced in 2016 with their Choose Your Own Adventure LP before taking some years away to magically re-appear like ghosts can do with The Age Of Immunology. The album brings together space pop with African spoken word and poetry, odd-ball percussion and strangely inspired UK synth pop made to fit a world of other exotic musical styles. There's no denying the unique sound that the band have conjured and it's something for those Broadcast, Pram and Stereolab fans out there in need of new, inspired material. At 10 tracks long it's a magical carpet ride for the ears and you'll never know what part of the world you'll end up.