One year ago today, I was drinking on a beach in Mexico, blissfully unaware that David Bowie was dying. I set a reminder on my phone to grab his then-upcoming album Blackstar as soon as it dropped, so that I could listen on the flight home. I was looking forward to hearing what might come next, sure in the magical knowledge that the man was immortal, in some strange way. That he’d always be there for us, with some new adventure.
Skyjelly is that perfect kind of discovery, the sort of album that falls into my lap when I least expect it. I wasn’t looking for music like this, and I didn’t know how much I’d enjoy it at the moment.
I’m writing about the most soulful, beautiful album I’ve heard this year. It just happens to have been recorded over thirty years ago.
A million people write on Drake’s every move so I’m not going to try to compete with all the lengthy reviews of Views. This is a new Drake album and you’ve probably already got an opinion. I’m just writing to say that despite the meandering bloat, this album is full of serious fun and hits some of the highest peaks of his career.
Looking at the startling cover art, I knew I had to hear Mark Pritchard‘s new album, Under The Sun. Beyond his decades-long pedigree across many galaxies of the electronic music universe, this image seemed to portend an idea of something truly groundbreaking. While it might not shake up an industry, it’s certainly one of the most interesting releases from a man with several genre landmarks under his belt.
I want to make this clear from the get-go: Anohni has crafted one of the most powerful vocal performances I’ve heard in years, wrapping it in incredibly sumptuous production that sounds like virtually nothing else out there in 2016.
With her incredible voice backed by innovative sounds by Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix Point Never (a longtime favorite of mine), this album instantly became my favorite work by the artist formerly known as Antony. Her gender transition seemed to herald a new boldness and sense of purpose, as these 11 songs definitively show.
The impossible is now possible.
Radiohead have come back from a well-deserved but decade-long victory lap, making truly fascinating music again. This is vital stuff, the kind of work that will actually justify the coming weeks of breathless dissection. It’s more deserving of the clichéd descriptors that critics have reflexively thrown at the band – haunting, gorgeous, unnerving, innovative – than anything they’ve ever recorded.