My goodness, who keeps changing the month. We are nearly halfway through April already, but it’s not too late to reflect on March. We’re still firmly in the period of the year when multiple major releases appear at the end of every week. Here are my standouts.
First off, it’s Laura Marling. I have been a huge fan of hers pretty much since day one, with each one of her now six albums sending me slightly insane for a few weeks. It’s no different this time, with Semper Femina detailing some of the most complex relationships that you will hear about anywhere in contemporary music. It sees her back on more familiar territory too, after the slight electric diversion of Short Movie (which I also loved). If you haven’t yet, go listen right now.
Elsewhere, the album that obsessed me the most in March was Idles‘ debut album, Brutalism. As I talked about in my songs of the year rundown a few months ago, I expected this album to pummel and bruise the UK scene into submission and right enough it did. Subject matter spread wildly across modern art, the Tory government, TV chefs and all sorts, but the tone remains fairly constant: furious. Short, fevered, rousing stabs of fury, all hilarious and all energising.
There were tons of other really engaging albums: Mount Eerie made a heartbreaking tribute to his late wife; Jay Som went back to beautiful, closely arranged basics with her second album; Real Estate continued their pearlescent run as masters of understated melody and harmony; Spoon reminded us that they can cut raw, minimal alt-rock as well as anyone; perhaps most surprisingly, Grandaddy‘s first album in eleven years caught them in the same form that they departed in.
Two albums from far outside the familiar confines of the internet music community also blew me away. Firstly, Ronald Bruner, Jr.‘s debut is a sprawling jazz opus that proves that the Bruner family (which also takes in a member of The Internet as well as the author of my favourite album of February, Thundercat) has no artistic ceiling. Naming your debut Triumph is risky, but we’ll let him off. And the avant-garde performer Diamanda Galas made her first album in over 20 years, reminding us that nobody uses their voice to generate as much terror and fear as she. Her record is comprised of a number of American Songbook classics, each one tortured and murdered beyond comprehension. It’s like listening to an opera singer going through a degenerative metamorphosis. Not for the weak of heart, but an extraordinary 45 minutes of your time if you dare.
TOP 10 ALBUMS OF MARCH
- Laura Marling – Semper Femina
- Idles – Brutalism
- Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me
- Diamanda Galas – All The Way
- Ronald Bruner, Jr. – Triumph
- Grandaddy – Last Place
- Real Estate – In Mind
- Jay Som – Everybody Works
- Spoon – Hot Thoughts
- Sleaford Mods – English Tapas