Bon Iver – ’22, A Million’
Released on: Jagjaguwar
Sounds like: As if Justin Vernon didn’t want to record another BON IVER record, except he did; only with way more auto tune and progressive experiments
Recommended because: Vernon isn’t falling for all the tempting issues that come with fame. 22, A Million did not turn out to be pleasing pop-folk. It’s still haunting songwriting but it surprises and challenges you to take your time while Vernon celebrates a fearless deconstruction of the BON IVER concept, only to build a more vital version of it. (Norman)
Songs to check out: 22 (OVER S∞∞N), 8 (circle), 00000 Million
BANKS – ‘The Altar’
Released on: Harvest Records
Sounds like: A dark electronical wonderland, mixed with silent acoustic highlights during and at the end of this cruel journey through a young woman’s mind and heart. Both have a deep connection in this case.
Recommended because: Album No.2 is always in the struggle of failing due to an artist’s strong debute – but BANKS opens up even more on her newest record and set the bar higher. The sound is darker and softer at the same time, the lyrics are brutally honest. Let’s hit the altar with her. Hand in hand. (Kai)
Songs to check out: Trainwreck, Mother Earth, To The Hilt
Jenny Hval – ‘Blood Bitch’
Released on: Sacred Bones Records
Sounds like: Not much else in this world. White noise, dead dialogue, synth howls and perfectly formed crystalline pop. You’ll find them all here.
Recommended because: It’s one of the smartest, most vital records released all year. Blood Bitch is a record that wanders fearlessly through enormous issues, capitalism, death angst, ennui, vampiric draining and of course, periods and dead blood. An astonishingly deep record, and one you need to listen to. (Austin)
Songs to check out: Period Piece, Conceptual Romance, The Plague.
Nicolas Jaar – ‘Sirens’
Released on: Other People
Sounds like: This man is not only more confident regarding his songwriting skills but also discovered his progressive side. Sirens is more than just another laidback NICOLAS JAAR record but a diverse showcase of increased skills and bravery.
Recommended because: Although only six tracks long JAAR showcases an impressive shift from previous releases. The 11-minute long ambient monster Killing Time is followed by the jazzy almost jungle-like beats of The Governor while Three Sides Of Nazareth spreads an almost aggressive punky vibe. This man is not interested in just providing smooth lounge electronica, he’s up to something far more ambitious and adventurous here. (Norman)
Songs to check out: Killing Time, No, The Three Sides Of Nazareth
The Slow Show – ‘Dream Darling’
Released on: Haldern Pop
Recommended because: It’s so good. It’s jazz with choirs, rock with heart. Ordinary Lives combining a Nick Cave-esque vocal with profound lyrics; ‘proud of who I am/its time to disappear’ a powerful mirrored by the soft rock melody. Lullaby, too, continues this haunting, gothic sound. The title of this record might feel cheesy but is precise, even to me, but it can be hard to articulate the serene nature of this record without seeming cheesy. Basically the record is a dream, a dance and flutter with your heart. (Hannah)
Songs to check out: Ordinary Lives, Lullaby, Breaks Today