January was, of course, a sad month in music, but it also kicked off the year with a number of great releases. Our playlist guides you through them:
1. LUH: I&I
'I&I' is a great tonic for those that have missed the bestial roar of Ellery Roberts. This tease of a new track from LUH builds from nothing right to the end, leaving you begging for the storm.
2. Hinds: San Diego
Spanish quartet Hinds have been eagerly anticipated for a good couple of years now, so the eventual release of debut album Leave Me Alone had much to prove; the result was a splash of quintessential garage headbanging, none better than the gleeful 'San Diego'. A girl group at heart, Hinds are fun and frenetic, and long may that continue.
3. Fat White Family: Goodbye Goebbels
Brixton’s Fat White Family bring their new album Song for Our Mothers to a rousing finish with 'Goodbye Goebbels'. It closes an album that explores a great many dark themes, ending with Hitler’s suicide, and pairs beautifully simplistic song-writing with a dash of unease, of unrest.
4. David Bowie: Lazarus
It wouldn’t be a January playlist without David Bowie. The wonderful tragedy of 'Lazarus' is evident even before Bowie’s pained vocal. In fact, 'Lazarus' quickly becomes an uncontrollable epic, perfectly balanced, a world apart from others. It sits somewhere between the melancholy of Radiohead and the fierce destruction of recent Foals songs, but always undeniably Bowie.
5. Rat Boy: Move
Imagine an artist that takes influence from the Arctic Monkeys, Jamie T, Dizzee Rascal and Blur all in one go. You should now be presented with Jordan Cardy, aka Essex teenage sensation Rat Boy. With 'Move' he’s explosive, madcap and lazy all at once. Keep your eyes peeled on this guy.
6. Cullen Omori: Cinnamon
After his band Smith Westerns broke up in late 2014, lead singer Cullen Omori is back, signed to Sub Pop and ready to go. 'Cinnamon' is dreamy, organ-infused indie pop that beckons towards summer invitingly.
7. Animal Collective: FloriDada
Animal Collective are hypnotising as ever with the upbeat and memorable 'FloriDada'. There’s definitely a hint of Vampire Weekend’s chirpy vocal lines here, with a huge dollop of synthy goodness added on top. Random flashes of madness, like the maniacal clown laughter midway through, only adds to its anarchic appeal.
8. Kanye West (featuring Kendrick Lamar): No More Parties in L.A.
Whether it be Waves, Swish or none of the above, Kanye’s latest has everyone excited for what’s to come. His inclusion of Kendrick Lamar, the biggest challenger to his throne, is a wise decision, with Lamar providing a refreshing change in vocal to West’s harsh delivery. Its roots in jazz and old-school hip-hop, it’s more stripped back than the explosive 'All Day', but no less powerful for it.
9. Daughter: New Ways
Not To Disappear, the latest effort from Daughter, opens with the swirling yet gritty 'New Ways'. Rising out of nothing, it feels ethereal, fitting the smooth performance of singer Elena Tonra perfectly. However, with the introduction of powerful, distorted guitar, they also seem to have shed the skin of “indie folk” that follows them wherever they go.
10. Yeasayer: I Am Chemistry
Brooklyn band Yeasayer worried fans all over when they announced their next album would have the ominous title Amen and Goodbye. Thankfully, if 'I Am Chemistry' is anything to go by, the album promises to be a stonker. A typical mix of electro-indie and world music sonically, there is a clearly spiritual feel to the track as it progresses. Imagine an alt-J track that is far less regimented and you begin to realise what the song is about.