Ghost Culture’s self-titled debut album hit the shelves last month and was well received by both critics and fans. The electronic sounds of the album are constantly changing from song to song; with deep progressive bass lines, abrupt percussion interjections and the low and vaguely muffled lyrics, this album avoids clinging on to the generic hum that is typically seen in a lot of synth pop based music. It has earmarks similar to Todd Terje and The XX, though it is slightly slower paced than much of Todd Terje’s most popular tracks and has a far more recurrent, haunting sound. Notable tracks from this album include “Mouth”, “Giudecca”, “Arms” and “Glass”.
Björk – Vulnicura
Icelandic singer/songwriter and producer Björk has many reputable albums spanning over many genres and eras of music under her belt. This in mind, it’s no surprise her newest album Vulnicura was greatly anticipated in the music world. The album is very expressive and each song plays almost like a narrative. The ups and downs of the vocals also further expose Björk’s sadness and state of mind as she has revealed this album was inspired by a recent break up. With such focused and emotive lyrics, we would usually expect a more simplistic approach to musical arrangements, but Björk (known for being ambitious with her music) has instead opted to really delve into and experiment with string based compositions giving the very sad and emotional songs a warmer background to fall against. Notable tracks from this album include “Stonemilker”, “History of Touches” and “Atom Dance” featuring Antony Hegarty.
The Decemberists – What A Terrible World What A Beautiful World
In their newest album, The Decemberists have stuck to their organic, indie sound and rightly so. This is what I feel every Decemberists fan was looking for in the new album. The Decemberists have made a name for themselves as the ultimate hipster band with both their music and their image. This image construction restricts their ability to move away from “their sound” and experiment. Their new album is generally up beat and cheerful with a few slower songs to break monotony. The album includes very poetic lyrics from The Decemberists and a build up of instruments, as is seen in a lot of their older music. The introduction of what we may consider ‘alternative’ instruments such as the harmonica and accordion also add interesting dynamics to the songs they feature in. Notable tracks from this album include “Make You Better”, “The Wrong Year”, “Easy Come, Easy Go” and “A Beginning Song”.
Belle and Sebastian – Girls In Peacetime Want to Dance
Belle and Sebastian have been making music for a long time and have been experiencing well deserved fame and popularity for a long time but their newest album may in fact be their best album to date! This album moves away slightly from their typical shy, acoustic sound with an introduction of dance/indie electronic vibes. Although there are some songs that are reflective of the old, whimsical Belle and Sebastian sound, this album on the whole is very different and may not please some of their more resistant fans. However, despite not being able to please everyone, this new LP demonstrates the diversity of the band and really showcases their musical talent. Notable tracks from this album include “Nobody’s Empire”, “The Party Line”, “The Power of Three” and “Perfect Couples”.
Jessica Pratt – On Your Own Love Again
On Your Own Love Again is Californian singer/songwriter Jessica Pratt’s second album. Jessica’s country sound has been pushing the folk genre forward in time. Jessica, along with other well known folk artists of our time such as The Staves and Laura Marling have gathered a lot of new interest resulting in an ascent in the popularity of folk music. The album sounds very stripped back and simplistic with beautiful finger-picking detailing the background of the tracks, while soft, easy to listen to harmonies float over the main lyrics in many songs, giving a rounded feeling to what is quite a modest album.
Jessica has been compared to Joni Mitchell in this album and it is clear why her laid-out-bare stylizing is similar to the sounds of a very early Joni Mitchell (from the start of her career until the early 70’s). Although this album has a very old traditional folk feel to it, there are still some quirky, experimental guitar flares featured in songs that do in fact seem contemporary and modern. Notable tracks from this album include “Game That I Play”, “I’ve Got A Feeling’, “Back, Baby” and “On Your Own Love Again”.
Words by Cara Stones // Edited by Ayo Adepoju