8 Albums You Might Have Missed in 2013.

The Bryan Ferry Orchestra.

The Bryan Fer­ry Orchestra.


8. More Is Than Isn’t, RJD2.

When Dead­ringer came out in 2002 RJD2 was hailed as the nat­ur­al part­ner in crime  to DJ Shad­ow. He lost his way ever so slight­ly in the inter­im, but this his 6th solo effort is a decid­ed return to form.

Bor­rowed beats and riffs fused with hiphop and RnB, effort­less­ly bal­anced and blend­ed. It gets a 7.7 from Pitch­fork here.

7. Psy­chic, Dark­side.

Nico­las Jaar and Dave Har­ring­ton teamed up as Dark­side for this impres­sive­ly cin­e­mat­ic slice of indi­etron­i­ca, reviewed by me ear­li­er here. It gets an impressed 9.0 from Pitch­fork here.

Daft Punk.

Daft Punk.

 6. Ran­dom Access Mem­o­ries, Daft Punk.

Just in case you some­how missed this, album of the year, reviewed ear­li­er by by me here. Majes­tic.


5. Same Trail­er Dif­fer­ent Park, Kacey Musgraves.
Alt coun­try has yet anoth­er improb­a­bly young, old before her time star to sit beside the likes of Caitlin Rose, who’s 2010 debut Own Side Now I reviewed ear­li­er here.

Pris­tine melodies tell tales of woe and wast­ed lives, and are served up by a voice that would melt and break hearts.

4. AMOK, Atoms For Peace.

The debut album form the indie super­group melds Tom Yorke’s vocals with Brazil­ian beats, and sets them against a twitchy indi­etron­i­ca back­drop. Reviewed by my ear­li­er here.

Julianna-Barwick3. Nepenthe, Julian­na Barwick.
The sec­ond album prop­er from her after her break­through The Mag­ic Place in 2011, reviewed by me ear­li­er here.

Record­ed with Alex Somers, the Sig­ur Ros col­lab­o­ra­tor and the string quar­tet Ami­ina in Ice­land, it has the haunt­ing, ethe­re­al feel of peek era 4AD Records, when The Cocteau Twins, TMC and Dead Can Dance fused bliss with grunge. It gets an 8.5 from Pitch­fork here.



2. The Jazz Age, The Bryan Fer­ry Orchestra.

20s jazz cuts of clas­sic Roxy Music and Bryan Fer­ry tracks, it was reviewed by me ear­li­er here. It will either leave you utter­ly per­plexed, or be the most obvi­ous­ly bril­liant idea for an album imaginable.

BEELD21. The Essen­tial Mix 2011, Nico­las Jaar.

Two years old at this stage, but if you’ve yet to down­load this, do so here and now. Its two hour length means that Jaar has the lux­u­ry of, when he wish­es, play­ing the whole track. As he does with the Broth­ers Four’s 1960 clas­sic “Green­fields”, which melds 50s doo wop with 60s folk, the Lati­no sounds of Los Ange­les’ Negroes’ “Tu y tu Mirar”, or the typ­i­cal­ly del­i­cate Kei­th Jar­rett track, “Encore”.

In between, you get snatch­es of the Aphex Twin, snip­pets of Jon­ny Green­wood’s score for There Will Be Blood and, best of all, Ange­lo Badala­men­ti talk­ing us through the theme tune to Twin Peaks. Sub­lime.

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Bryan Ferry’s New Album is a Note Perfect Love Letter to the Cotton Club.

UnknownThe idea behind the new Bryan Fer­ry album, The Jazz Age is like­ly to strike you in one of two ways. Either you’ll think it the most sur­pris­ing but plain­ly inspired idea for an album imag­in­able. Or, well I can’t real­ly think of an “or”. 

What’s he’s done is to have a root around his back cat­a­logue of Roxy Music and Bryan Fer­ry clas­sics, and to re-record them, re-imag­ine them actu­al­ly, as 1920s ear­ly Cot­ton Club-era jazz numbers.

So songs like Do The Strand, Love Is The Drug and Vir­ginia Plain are stripped of their vocals, glam gui­tars and any­thing at all even remote­ly mod­ern, and re-styled as the sort of thing you might have heard from a young Louis Arm­strong or Duke Elling­ton in one of those clubs in Harlem that would soon be all the rage in the 1930s. 

1454108613_b1cb907b3cWhat you get instead is the sound of horns. This is the sort of record, you feel as you lis­ten to it, that would have inspired the likes of Char­lie Park­er, Miles Davis and John Coltrane to pick up an instru­ment for the first time, and blow into it. 

Metic­u­lous­ly record­ed in pris­tine mono, it is above and beyond all else the sound of Gats­by, the dri­est of Mar­ti­nis and prelap­sar­i­an elegance.

And yet, buried beneath this unim­peach­ably authen­tic sound of vin­tage Harlem, you can just about make out the shape of songs you know from a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent con­text. From a dif­fer­ent cen­tu­ry in fact. 

It’s qui­et­ly intox­i­cat­ing. And you can get a taster of it from the video they made for Do The Strand, here.

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