I know, you’re busy. You haven’t got the bloody time to catch up with that new album by that band you’d forgotten you liked four years ago. The last thing you’re gonna squeeze into your brimming day is the time to read that Pitchfork review of the new breakout band from the DC punk scene. I get it. So, here is a quick rundown of the records that came out in January that were floating my boat.
The first great record of 2017 really came out on Christmas Day 2016, thanks to El-P’s inability to contain his excitement any longer. Run the Jewels‘ third album somehow maintains their golden run, this time upping the political stakes. It will be in the album of the year mix for me. On this side of the pond, Loyle Carner made a strong debut of his own with Yesterday’s Gone, a wide-eyed, no-BS rap record that cashes in on the hype.
Remember The Pipettes? Rose Elinor Dougall learned the ropes as a member of that glam-pop experiment, and her long-awaited second solo album is the most fun to be had in January’s music. Pop music without the patronising bits. Comes with a high addiction warning.
It was a great month for scuzzy guitar music. DC punk band Priests rightly caught the headlines with their debut Nothing Feels Natural, a great chance to vent your anger if you’ve been reading the news. Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings finally returned after three years away, and although Life Without Sound might be more outward-looking and positive, the same fury is there. Foxygen‘s third album, Hang, continued their fascinating journey through American music history, and Ty Segall‘s new self-titled record saw him embracing more poppy songwriting.
Back home, Leeds band Menace Beach returned with second album Lemon Memory, trading in the distortion and feedback for clearer visions and more prominence for Liza Violet’s writing. For the most intense listen of the month, look for Newcastle’s Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs‘ debut record Feed The Rats, a three-track, 40 minute outburst of enormous riffs and apocalyptic drumming. Listen to that one at your peril.
Elsewhere, I wasn’t hooked by The Flaming Lips‘ new one, The xx made a seemingly fan-satisfying comeback, Bonobo made a stately, beautiful electronic record AGAIN and Brian Eno proved that his attention span continues to put everyone else’s to shame.
TOP 10 ALBUMS OF JANUARY
- Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 3
- Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular
- Priests – Nothing Feels Natural
- Menace Beach – Lemon Memory
- Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound
- Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Feed the Rats
- Ty Segall – Ty Segall
- Foxygen – Hang
- Bonobo – Migration
- Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone