On Our Playlist
Out this week, all of the records that you need on your shelf this week in one handy place.
Check out the albums that get our fopp stamp of approval below,
When Imarhan released their self-titled debut album in 2016, they stepped into a genre already flooded with talent and exposure, but still managed to rise to the top and be heralded as the “new wave of Tuareg music“. It is with much anticipation that the band from Tamanrasset, Algeria release their second album Temet, via City Slang records. Temet is a huge leap forward in production, as well as creatively for Imarhan.
Whereas their debut was anchored in the meditative Desert Blues tradition, Temet eclipses such notions, finding bounce and drive by stirring their sound with funk, fuzz, disco and rock.
This is not a novel concept to the band, as anyone who has seen them play will attest. Imarhan’s experience as a touring band has reinforced the focus and meaning behind their music.
Insecure Men Insecure Men
In many ways Insecure Men – the band led by the fiercely talented songwriter and musician Saul Adamczewski and his schoolmate and stabilising influence, Ben Romans-Hopcraft – are the polar opposite of the Fat White Family.
Whereas sleaze-mired, country-influenced, drug-crazed garage punks the Fat Whites are a celebration of everything that is wrong in life, Insecure Men, who blend together exotica, easy listening, lounge and timeless pop music, are, by comparison at least, the last word in wholesomeness.
The band originally formed in 2015 in the cramped confines of The Queens Head pub, Stockwell, in the Fat White Family’s notorious South London practice space. Saul lists some of the influences on their sound, mentioning the exotica of Arthur Lyman, the early electronic pop of Perrey and Kingsley, the supreme smoothness of The Carpenters, the songwriting chops of Harry Nilsson and the hypnagogic uncanniness conjured up by David Lynch, describing what they do as “pretty music with a dark underbelly to it”.
Fever Ray Plunge
Fever Ray releases Plunge, the first release in 8 years since the celebrated self-titled debut in 2009. Plunge was largely recorded in Karin Dreijer’s Stockholm studio in collaboration with the producers Paula Temple, Deena Abdelwahed, NIDIA, Tami T, Peder Mannerfelt and Johannes Berglund.
“Beyond its aggressive peaks, there is also true beauty here, and even nuggets of stark synth-pop that calls back to her past work.” – The A.V. Club
Grant-Lee Phillips Widdershins
“I’m drawing on the urgency of the moment,” reflects Grant-Lee Phillips, “The things that eat away in the late hours”. That urgency inspired the headlong rush of Widdershins, in which Grant-Lee Phillips invests the insight, nuance, and wit that has distinguished his songcraft over the past three decades in a riveting dissection of today’s fraught social landscape.
Beneath the moment’s tumultuous veneer, Phillips uncovers resonances spanning centuries ‘patterns echoing from the present day to the distant past.’ Its twelve tracks were cut largely live in the studio with the sharp trio of Phillips (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Jerry Roe (drums), and Lex Price (bass) serving as messengers. Says Phillips, “This moment is explosive, volatile, and heightened.
It’s important to me that the music reflects that…” By turns sardonic, provocative, and illuminating, Widdershins delivers its poetic truths through Phillips’s peerless melodic sensibilities, carefully balancing intensity and vulnerability.
Alela Diane Cusp
Alela Diane returns with Cusp, the long-awaited follow up to 2013’s critically-acclaimed About Farewell. Whilst both albums could be described as born of love, Cusp is perhaps love at its purest, and most complex – for in music, one of the most transformative experiences a woman can have is also an unspoken artistic taboo:
Have a baby if you must. But for goodness sake, don’t write songs about it. Diane has a problem with that: “This music is about motherhood”, Alela says of Cusp. “Even just by saying that, it feels like people will write you off.
As women, our music is sold based on our sex-appeal. There’s a lack of spaces for women to move into that aren’t based on appearance. Those are conversations I’m interested in having.””
Also Out This Week
Tony Banks Five
David Bowie Low, Heroes, Lodger, Scary Monsters Reissues
S. Carey Hundred Acres
Lo Moon Lo Moon
The Lovely Eggs This Is Eggland
Public Access TV Street Safari
Caroline Rose Loner