You know about the big releases each week, but what about those smaller albums which may have passed underneath your radar. Don’t miss out on the smaller, lesser-known gems which might become some of your favourites. We’ve rounded up six of the best new album releases from this week: catch up with Metz’ brutal punk, Breakage’s nocturnal bass music and more.
Breakage – When The Night Comes
James ‘Breakage’ Boyle is a shy, reclusive creature. The shock of getting to Number 34 in 2011 with ‘Fighting Fire’ featuring Jess Mills (which helped forge the dubstep/pop crossover) preceded a four-year break. Fittingly for someone who seems allergic to attention, album three, the follow-up to 2010’s ‘Foundation’, was recorded exclusively at night. You can tell. The droning sub bass and echoing rasta chants on ‘Natty’ are the sound of a midnight drive through London listening to pirate radio, while ‘I On U’ is the kind of old school-style drum’n’bass tear up that makes you want to get lost in a hedonistic 4AM hole. This is UK bass music at its best.
Hop Along – Painted Shut
The second album from this perky Philadelphia quartet delivers big on drama and emotion with Frances Quinlan’s voice taking turns between an abrasive snarl and a smooth croon. Opening track ‘The Knock’ defies its playful, Cribs-like guitar line with the sinister squall of the chorus: “At the door came a knock… the witness just wants to talk to you”. ‘Happy To See Me’ is stripped back to the bone: built on acoustic guitar and chesty vocals – a nod to the band’s freak-folk influences – it’s a ballad of caustic nostalgia (“We all will remember things the same”). Searing closer ‘Sister Cities,’ with its boy-girl harmonies and crunching riffs, caps an album of endearing and affecting indie-rock, primed to soundtrack the summer.
Landshapes – Heyoon
After 2013 debut ‘Rambutan’, the band formerly know as Lulu And The Lampshades are back with a second album of shoegaze-y folk. It’s a mixed trip: spiralling, thrashy numbers like ‘Stay’ and ‘Ader’ are weighted against gloomier, sagging jams like the dark, boggy ‘Moongee’ and the Pink Floyd-lite ‘Red Kite’. On the ghostly groove of ‘Lone Wolf’, the quartet veer into Warpaint-like waft. ‘Heyoon’ is better when dapples of texture break through – an electrifying outro on ‘Solipsist’; earthy, bone-rattling bass on ‘Red Electric Love Fern’. But mostly, ‘Landshapes’ sound like a band that might be a better prospect live, where their ever-shifting ideas can fully flourish.
Charlotte Richardson Andrews
Metz – II
Released in 2012, Metz’s self-titled debut was a pummelling, claustrophobic listen. On its follow-up, the Canadian trio attack with a more varied array of instrumentation, including synths, tape loops and samples of found sounds, but don’t expect subtle intricacy – ‘II’ is heavier, darker and more abrasive than ‘Metz’. ‘Acetate’ kicks things off with jagged, urgent riffs and Alex Edkins’ ominous vocals (”She’s barely breathing/I’m wading through puddles on the floor”). ‘Spit You Out’ shows Metz can do catchy tunes, albeit one buried under suffocating punk noise. Acerbic highlight ‘IOU’ eschews hooks, relying on a bludgeoning riff and Edkins’ rasping vocal. Like the rest of the album, it’s bold, unsympathetic and brutally effective.
The Lovely Eggs – This Is Our Nowhere
The Lovely Eggs’ joyful live shows have made the husband-and-wife duo (guitarist Holly Ross, formerly of Leicester-based, Peel-favoured teen punks Angelica, and mop-top drummer David Blackwell) one of the country’s most beloved underground bands. The Lancaster pair’s fourth album is their most focused to date, pruning back the scattershot approach of predecessors ‘Cob Dominos’ and ‘Wildlife’ in favour of bad-trip psychedelia (‘Magic Onion’) and rolling, melancholic folk laments (‘Forest Of Memories’). The sawing chords of ‘Cilla’s Teeth’ propel Ross’ angry swipes at the mainstream (“Check your contract overleaf/You’re going to be bigger than Cilla’s teeth”). But the duo aren’t bitter and their innate good humour wins out.