Psapp – What Makes us Glow (The state51 Conspiracy)
It’s easy to imagine that a band who perform with a mixture of homemade and toy instruments are going to be experimental in some way or another. For Psapp, however, their brand of electronica is lightly quirky rather than exploratively experimental; focusing more on rhythm and melody than on dramatic or unusual shifts in texture. Instead, they adopt a soft palette and a gentle interest in what makes a pleasurable, rather than an arresting sound. Check out Everything Belongs to the Sun here.
Sébastian Tellier – Confection (Record Makers)
The French maker of pop and electronica again stretches out into new areas with this neo-classical record created from pieces originally intended as part of a film soundtrack. Picking over the same few themes, there are an abundance of keys and strings and a minimum of Tellier’s Gallic vocal tones, leaving us with a soft and heartfelt record that explains very little of its source. Despite this it is an emotive filled with charm. Check out Coco here.
Algebra Blessett – Recovery (BBE)
A rising star from Atlanta, Algebra’s second album see’s her song writing talents developing as she relates laid-back yet emotive stories throughout her first release for BBE. As far as soulful R&B goes, this is pretty classic stuff, though that’s not to say that there’s a lack of slick, modern pop tracks here that are sure to be well-received. One to look out for over the next year we reckon. Check out the video for Nobody But You here.
Midlake – Antiphon (Bella Union)
The sort-of folk rockers have just released their fourth album, this time with guitarist Eric Pulido stepping in for departed former frontman Tim Smith on vocals. He doesn’t do a bad job of it either, and while there is no dramatic change to the Midlake sound of light indie-rock, the stretched out instrumental passages on Antiphon are pleasurable and considered. For warm guitar-based rock, look no further. Stream the full album here.
Peshay – Generation (Tru Thoughts)
Stepping far away from his Drum ‘n’ Bass roots, Peshay has taken up with a host of live musicians, in particular the Munich-based Tounion, to record his first record for Tru Thoughts. Taking in funk, jazz and Latin rhythms and more, it comes as a surprise that this record feels so tight and focused. While tracks like Seville are ready for the dancefloor, others like Never Let You Go, with its fantastically laid-back funk bass line, offer a relaxed cool worth checking out. Check it out via Tru Thoughts.
Axel Boman – Family Vacation (Studio Barnhus)
Boman’s brand of House is fun filled, happy and uplifting in a very undemanding sort of way. Focused very much on the groove, these tracks are not dance floor anthems, but instead demand to be heard and loved in all the best bars in town. Taking in diverse influences such as dub, soul and afrobeat, there’s a lot to like about this cheerful record. Check out the video for Fantastic Piano here.
Nils Frahm – Spaces (Erased Tapes)
Using a Juno synthesiser, Fender Rhodes electric and full-on Grand pianos, as well as tape delay and the natural acoustics of his surroundings, Frahm’s live sets are reasonably simple affairs. ‘Spaces’ takes an assortment of live recordings, some taken from reel-to-reel or cassette recordings, and arranges them into a work that feels both intimate and all encompassing. By recording over two years, Frahm has managed to distil all the essential elements of a live album into a record that not only captivates, but at times inspires awe. Check out Toilet Brushes – More here.
Various – The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club Vol.2 (BBE)
Following on from his long-running funk and soul radio show, the former poet and comedian has sorted out a fantastic collection of uptempo tracks that are bound to put a smile on your face. Featuring The Incredible Bongo Band, Bamboos, and Hidden Jazz Quartet there’s plenty of variety here, with any number of tracks a possible highlight. Much like with Charles’ radio shows, you can guarantee plenty of fun and a focus on the most danceable tunes out there. Check out The Incredible Bongo Band’s version of (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction to see what we mean.