9 Albums You Should Listen To Right Now

Sunday 19 November 2017
reading time: min, words

Top tunes doing the rounds this month...

Apocalypse Trent
Album (Self-released)

Nottingham’s prime hip hop trio are back again, this time with a thirteen-track release. An unashamedly thick Notts twang echoing throughout each USA-teasing tune, the album acts as a prequel to the international release of VVV’s double vinyl LP Bozo Boyz, released on Halloween this year. And if this bogger’s anything to go by, we can expect some proper experimental, have-a-chuckle rap. To start, there’s a tongue-in-cheek opening skit that drops into the trap-pastiche muckabout of Google Me. Although the song takes the piss out of itself and falls down a flight of stairs towards the end, it’s difficult not to vibe to it as well as laugh out loud. The jokes eventually drop into some weighty darkness, with Smokin out the Jar’s haunting vocal sample lying under some reflective storytelling that lands you in the thick smoke of a dealer’s kitchen. There’s some mad viscous rhyming from Juga-Naut in the 1.50 minutes of Painted on Hairline, with optimistic beats whipping up a panpipe storm. Things get a bit old-school-bank-heist in Doing my Job, a tune that breaks down into a shrill runaway train with combusting, rolling hi-hats. Then the album takes a spooky turn with B.I.C; heart-rate monitor beeps dotting themselves throughout some insomnia-infused lyrics that champion the graft of making music. Apocalypse Trent has got some decent tracks nestled inside it, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously; one minute you’re in the thick of a screwface, the next you’re cracking up over some weird vocal sample or misplaced lyric. It’s a cheeky one, and the juxtaposition game is strong; a good listen if you’re up for a serious dose of WTF. Bridie Squires

Alice Short
Lo-Fi For Old Times Vol 1 & 2
EP (Self-released)

The rapper and poet has been a firm favourite among these pages since Small Towns quietly slipped out onto the internet in early 2016 and made a big impression on us. Since then, a slow-yet-steady stream of digital-only releases has firmly cemented Short as a lyricist of real flair and skill. These two EPs, released back to back, collect together demos and off-cuts. As such, the quality is varied; most noticeably on Vol 1 where Short’s embryonic rap takes shape while sounding like it was recorded with two cans and a piece of string. Vol 2’s higher production values makes it a far more rewarding listen and gives us the Alice we know and love: tight rhymes delivered against some choice soulful musical cuts, giving her a warm, old-school sound. Refreshingly unflashy, much like the artist herself. Paul Klotschkow

Gallery 47
Adversity Breeds
Album (Bad Production Records)

Lovers of sad songs, Gallery 47 will be right up your street. Adversity Breeds evokes the same bittersweet experience as listening to the much-missed Elliot Smith, combining a sweet, musical voice with the feeling of bittersweet longing. The instruments are played lightly, often mixing the guitar with more delicate sounds to create a soft-but-swaying backdrop to the vocals, and this blend allows the album to be both light and heavy all at once. Touching on dark and vulnerable subjects, the lyrics focus on themes like alcoholism, broken relationships and living with regret. Some songs like In Odessa muse on war and politics affecting the population, bringing up thoughts about right, wrong and practising “common human kindness.” All in all, the collection portrays a man thinking about the hardships of life, inspiring the listener to do the same. Elizabeth O’Riordan

Georgina Wood
“happiness exists when you don’t know a thing”
Album (Self-released)

Part of Wood’s appeal as a solo artist is her melancholic style of slow-burning pop music, but that’s just part of what she offers up on her new EP. Her unique voice, mixed with the late-at-night hush encompassing this set of infectious tracks, makes it a must-listen as the nights draw in. As the leaves turn orange and the weather gets colder, listening to music next to the fire on a chilly evening is sometimes all you need. These are the perfect set of songs to do just that. With The Longest Love Song lasting a whopping 12 minutes 39 seconds, it’s impressive that it never becomes tiresome, changing just enough to keep your ears pricked. And tracks such as Woman prove she can make songs just as meaningful in little more than three minutes. An absolute must-have EP as winter nears. Hannah Parker

John Maslen
Album (Yeti Boy Records)

John Maslen’s new album is what I’d call a passion project. Moving away from commercial sales, the whole collection is free to download online, its main aim being to showcase and bring together four amazing guitarists. Their sound is varied and warm; sometimes leaning towards a country-western feel with a twang of the guitar, other times letting rock and blues elements emerge. I especially liked Marrocan Tune which seemed to draw inspiration from traditional Moroccan music, bringing in fast, light beats. The genre blending is done seamlessly, building up layers of richness that are topped with the calm, deep voice of Maslen himself. Flitting between narration and song, his vocal input brings a steady consistency to the collection. Overall, while the focus stays on the guitar playing with some incredible solos, it couldn’t be done without the input from drums and percussion that bring it all together. Elizabeth O’Riordan

EP (Self-released)

For a three-piece, Pre-Birds sure do know how to make a frantic racket. This is the kind of music made by a bunch of mates brought up listening to Discord Records; exhilarating, tense bursts of guitars, into-the-red volume and cathartic throaty cries combining to create a frantic take on the post-hardcore genre. The snarling and angular Bogus Return opens the EP, before Repetitive Motions does exactly what it says on the tin; the band creating a mean, thundering pneumatic squall of a groove. It’s an exhilarating listen. Mine’s An Eagle drops the pace down a gear with some tense and taught guitar lines that threaten to get all math-rock on us before the band get a grip of themselves and do what they do best by letting rip with a blizzard of fuzzed-up riffs. Half Full / Half Empty closes this four-track EP, the band taking flight among the stop-start metallic clang. Paul Klotschkow

Real Rave Ting EP
EP (Self-released)

Nottingham helped give birth to the rave scene of the early nineties thanks to the free-spirited DiY collective, who took their search for a clubbing alternative to the warehouses and fields of the UK. And it’s the same wide-eyed spirit and sense of freedom of those party pioneers that Schnez takes with him on his Real Rave Ting EP. From the happy hardcore to the yellow rave face slapped on the sleeve, you can practically smell the Vicks. A limited-edition cassette – there’s only 25 available, but you can cop it digitally – features the full EP plus an exclusive mix; this is twenty minutes of undiluted old-school dance music that crams a crateful into its relatively short four tracks. Jungle, house, acid house; it’s all here. Real Rave Ting will have both old rave heads and young party hounds screwing their faces in unison, just like the old days. Paul Klotschkow

30 Years of Earache Records
Album (Earache Records)

There are very few record labels that are synonymous with a particular style of music. Motown is the one that springs immediately to mind, but for those right-thinking folks who get their kicks from death metal, Earache Records is certainly another. Founded in Nottingham by Digby Pearson, the first official Earache release was in 1987, and this compilation celebrates thirty years of bringing the glorious racket of extreme metal to public attention and kickstarting a global music revolution. John Peel once said of Napalm Death (perhaps Earache’s best-known signing) that they “sounded as if they were playing soundtracks at the end of civilisation”, and that pretty much describes this compilation in a nutshell. All the landmark bands of the Earache story are here: Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, Carcass… but look out too for gems by Woods of Ypres, Rival Sons, Bonded by Blood and some splendid ragga-metal by Dub War. There’s something heavy here for all the family to enjoy. Tim Sorrell

When The Sun Hits
Immersed Within Your Eyes
EP (Saint Marie Records)

Featuring formers members of Spotlight Kid and named after a Slowdive song, When The Sun Hits were never going to be anything other than a unashamed shoegaze band. Immersed Within Your Eyes, their debut EP, is enthralled to the widescreen guitars and often glacial pace of the genre. The six-minute The Last Light is a slow-burning opener, with Martin Orton's emotive vocal delivery sometimes reminiscent of Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis. What follows is what you would expect: songs built upon a lush soundscape of widescreen guitars, while WTSH's pop nous comes to the fore in their big choruses. The urgent Lovedead Town with its whooshing guitars and propulsive bass energises the latter part of the EP, before the instrumental Cooper’s Secret brings the EP to a close. Although clearly indebted to Slowdive et al., WTSH are no mere copycats and have made an EP that stands up alongside the more celebrated shoegaze bands of the nineties. Paul Klotschkow

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