Staff picks

Staff Picks

This week

The Princess Part Two (2012) by Parov Stelar

“I absolutely love the way Parov Stelar mashes up dance, swing and jazz to produce some seriously feel-good uplifting music!” Dan Jenkins

Lemonade / Hard - Single (2014) by Sophie

“I’m not 100% sure if this is totally amazing or actually utterly terrible, but I’ve never heard anything quite like it. Hyperglycaemic PC pop, fizzing with ideas.” Gemma Samways

Endless Planets (2011) by Austin Peralta

“Bit of modern jazz on ‘Flying Lotus’s label, Brainfeeder. Austin Peralta was a legend in the making before his death at just 22.” Nigel Smith

Roland's Jam (2011) by Funkineven

“Rough and raw techno, acid house stomper. ‘Roland’s Jam’ will make you do freaky s**t on the dancefloor!” Sharri Morris

Last week

Gist Is (2014) by Adult Jazz

“What a debut. Attended the album launch a little sceptical about how the intricacies and layers of the tracks would translate. They did and they nailed it. New favourite band, get involved.” Rachel Atkins

Revelation (2014) by The Brian Jonestown Massacre

“Cracking. Seek help if you don’t like this.” James Priestley

The Infamous (1994) by Mobb Deep

“Know what I’m saying? Mobb Deep ‘n’ all that. True East-coast classic from 1994.” Reece Daniels

Soundtrack to the Struggle... (2011) by Lowkey

“I was told this man stopped making music after a visit from some government men. I’m not sure this was true, but I gave it a listen and loved it.” Emma-Ashley Liles

The week before last week

Where Will We Go, Pt. 1 (2014) by Nick Hakim

“Silky-smooth, soulful, finely-crafted and very laid-back debut from Brooklyn-based singer songwriter Nick Hakim. This EP has a blurry, hazy, misted-up feel that I can’t get enough of.” Sam Gething

Route One or Die (2011) by Three Trapped Tigers

“Like early Warp records electronica, but played by a band of three.” Nigel Smith

Deixa (Drumagick Remixes) (2014) by Da Lata

“By far the best Brazil-related initiative anyone English has been involved with this summer. Sao Paulo’s own Drumagick bring their drum & bass vibes to this track from the (mostly) English group.” James Kelly

Seven Dials (2014) by Roddy Frame

“Good ‘ol Aztec Camera man Roddy can still compose beautiful songs, brimming with heartache and joy. His fourth solo is another little gem.” Gunnar Larsén

The week before that

Some Heavy Ocean (2014) by Emma Ruth Rundle

“Does the “country music being played in the devil’s own cave” just as well as Mazzy Star at their finest or Cortney Tidwell on her debut, then adds some sturm und drang.” Ian Bell

Liminal (2014) by The Acid

“Blending bowel-shuddering bass music with indie-rock introspection, Liminal is a claustrophobic and compelling debut.” Gemma Samways

Arular (2005) by M.I.A.

“What you want? Bucky done gun, Get crackin’, Get get crackin’!” Sharri Morris

Greatest Hits (2001) by Shabba Ranks

“One word... SHABBA!” Tom Traves

And so on...

Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac (2012) by Various Artists

“Discovered this tribute album recently and have been hooked since. Lykke Li’s cover of ‘Silver Springs’ is perfect, Best Coast and Haim sound amazing, and every single artist adds their own sound to Fleetwood Mac’s back catalogue.” Ruth Cheong

This is the Second Album of a band called Adebisi Shank (2011) by Adebisi Shank

“Really looking forward to the new album from this band, out next month on Sargent House. Video game-tinged math-rock.” Nigel Smith

Playgroup (2012) by Playgroup

“Electroclash loveliness from 2002.” James Thompson

Inventions (2014) by Inventions

“Majestic ambient music by Explosions in the Sky and Eluvium band members Mark Smith and Matthew Cooper. A great soundtrack for your work day.” Ling Khor

Liliput (2xCD) (2009) by Kleenex/Liliput

“Head back to the 70s and listen to some foot-stomping, exuberant, thrashy, post-punk. There’s a massive 46 tracks on this compilation so ‘Hedi’s Head’ would be a good place to start! Check out Delta 5 and The Slits for extra credit, and turn it up loud.” Sam Gething

Is This It (2001) by The Strokes

“I revisited this album this week for the first time in about five years and it is still every bit as good as I remember.” James Wheatley

Loving Touch EP (2014) by Fracture

“Fracture has really stepped up since incorporating elements of footwork into his junglist style. ‘Loving Touch’ samples a classic diva vocal from Ralphi Rosario’s ‘You Used To Hold Me’ and juxtaposes it against a dark, grotty Reese Bass, with drums flickering between classic D&B breaks and manic, footwork 808 workouts. Another essential release from dBridge’s Exit Records.” Dan Smith

Demo (2014) by Deers

“This debut from Madrid-based Deers is an irresistible blend of early Velvets, The Crystals and 60s bubblegum pop. Messy, sloppy, at times out of tune, but with more than enough attitude to pull it off.” Stephen Somerville

Down In Albion (2005) by Babyshambles

“With The Libertines returning for that British Summer Time show, I was reminded of BabyshamblesDown In Albion. Say what you want about Doherty, the guy’s a poet and a great songwriter. Even if ‘F**k Forever’ may seem a tad crude and straight to the point, it’s an all-time favourite of mine.” Rachel Atkins

Bright Fire (2014) by The Honey Trees

“Serious and sweet. Calm and cool. Acoustic and alternative. And a little playful as well.” Gunnar Larsén

The Beast (2003) by The Panacea

“Celebrate summertime by playing the flipside of this 90s ‘ardcore-referencing drum and bass tune by Panacea at high volume. Almost comedic in its intensity; guaranteed maximum annoyance.” Matt Gray

Amphetamine Ballads (2014) by The Amazing Snakeheads

“Nasty, gnarled, voodoo blues, reminiscent of The Gun Club and The Birthday Party, only from Glasgow. Currently supporting Jack White.” Stephen Somerville

You're A Woman, I'm A Machine (2005) by Death From Above 1979

“I’m flagging this gem up because I can’t believe it’s nearing its 10th year since release. Part of me wonders what I’ve been doing with my life since 2004, and then I remember: oh yeah, I’ve been listening to this. Dark, unpredictable, sweaty and primal, it’s the Dexter of music and definitely worth a spin to celebrate the fact DFA 1979 are FINALLY releasing a follow-up this September.” Karen Bevan

Cavalo (2014) by Rodrigo Amarante

“A very diverse album by the Brazilian singer/songwriter, spanning various musical traditions and strategically woven together by lyrics in Portuguese, French and English (plus some Japanese on ‘Cavalo’). Combining introspective João Gilberto moments and Tropicalia flavours with songs reminiscent of Devendra Banhart or Andrew Bird, this feels like a compilation you’d receive from a dear friend, or early crush.” Mia Filisch

Batman (Explicit Content – Parental Advisory) (2013) by Prince

“Such a great soundtrack. Check the video for ‘Batdance’ – it features some supreme Prince insanity, guitar solos and the set-up for the best movie quote ever: ‘And where is the Batman? He’s at home, washing his tights!’” Phil Quigley

I Shall Die Here (2014) by The Body

“Is it doom metal or is it some kind of bleak electronica? Doesn’t really matter: this is like the soundtrack to one of the most intense thrillers that never existed.” Dan Smith

Oya (2014) by Ibeyi

“Released via XL Recordings – and produced by label head Richard Russell – ‘Oya’ is the bewitching debut single of French-Cuban twins Ibeyi. I can’t wait to hear where they go next.” Gemma Samways

For Years (2013) by Airhead

“This melancholy and haunting offering from producer Rob McAndrews brings both a harmony and discordance between the acoustic and the electronic. Low key and unassuming, it’s an easily-overlooked gem.” Waddaah Abdu

Idiot's Hill (2014) by Basko Believes

Basko Believes is the natural successor to Bon Iver, with a healthy dose of Americana sprinkled on top. ‘Leap of Faith’ is one of the best songs of 2014 so far.” Gunnar Larsén

Moderat (Deluxe Version) (2009) by Moderat

“Unhurried, richly-textured dance music for headphones. ‘Rusty Nails’ is particularly strong.” Sam Gething

Business Casual (2010) by Chromeo

“I went to see these guys recently, and hearing material from across their releases has confirmed for me that this is by far their best offering. Funkier than James Brown’s pants and cheesier than a fromagerie but somehow, SOMEHOW, it’s credible.” Dan Smith

Simple Things (2014) by Felt Tip

“Anglo-French outfit hit their stride with a beguiling EP, not least with the charmingly scruffy shuffle of the lead track.” Ian Bell

Future This (2012) by The Big Pink

“Immense electronic beats, a mix of shoegaze-y sounds and big, 80s New Romantic-style vocals.” Sharri Morris

Sueno Latino (2013) by Sueño Latino

“Nobody seems to believe me that we’re heading for an Italo House revival, but we are.” Ben Lee

Old Fears (2014) by School Of Language

“Crisp, uncluttered, pared-back and funky 80s-style art-pop, produced with only a handful of instruments, by David Brewis of Field Music fame. If you like Metronomy you should give this a listen.” Sam Gething

Richard Sen presents This Ain't Chicago - The Underground Sound Of UK House & Acid 1987-1991 (2012) by Various Artists

“Excellent compilation of lesser-known Acid House bangers, curated by DJ of the time Richard Sen. It’s raw and retro-futuristic, and I love that while the songs are all on a similar vibe there’s a real stylistic diversity.” Dan Smith

The Best of the 12 Mixes (2013) by D Train

“Huge collection of D Train 12" extended mixes. Some of these are absolute jams.” Reece Daniels

Burn Your Fire For No Witness (2014) by Angel Olsen

“Emotive and genuine with a lot of lovely moments.” Ling Khor

Upside Down Mountain (2014) by Conor Oberst

“Another Nonesuch gem. Combines trembling vocals and indie-flavoured tunes with an up-to-date soundscape. File between The Jayhawks and Snowmine.” Gunnar Larsén

Patherns E.P. (2006) by COH

CoH cranks the arpeggiator with this noisy tribute (of sorts) to the influential sounds of Giorgio Moroder. Borderline danceable in parts, it’s possibly one for adventurous DJ usage.” Matt Gray

Reachy Prints (2014) by Plaid

Plaid show their softer side with a set of delicate, deeply melodic electronica. Such a treat.” Gemma Samways

Rebel With A Cause (2014) by Ghetts

“Pulling in influences from rock, reggae and R&B, Rebel With A Cause is a boundary-pushing take on grime. Must listen!” Aysh Banaysh

Wounded Rhymes (2012) by Lykke Li

“The release of I Never Learn inspired me to re-listen to this album. Catchy and energetic, yet dark and sometimes slightly menacing indie-pop. ‘I Follow Rivers’ is an all time favourite.” Sam Gething

Frames Of Reference (2013) by Ø [Phase]

“This style of techno is very in vogue and this is one of the better producers.” Tom Traves

The Drums (2010) by The Drums

“BRING BACK THE DRUMS! Brimming full of punchy drum beats, East Coast licks and bittersweet nostalgia, every track is epic. Oh, and the band members are indie-boy dreamboats…” Sharri Morris

Right from Real – Pt. I (2014) by Lydia Ainsworth

“Proffering ethereal vocals and an exquisite mix of electronic and orchestral sounds, Lydia Ainsworth’s debut EP for Arbutus Records is definitely one for fans of Braids, Julia Holter, Austra and Kate Bush.” Gemma Samways

Sylvan Esso (2014) by Sylvan Esso

“As a long-serving fan, it came as a surprise to discover Mountain Man’s Amelia Meath popping up as the vocal foil to a morass of sticky, glitchy and bass-heavy electronics. One track in and it all suddenly makes sense; her vocal chops and sense of rhythm pairing perfectly with Nick Sanborn’s, frankly, expert production. It may not be the most unique offering of 2014, but it’s by far one of the best.” Nick Skelton

The Doghouse (2014) by Elli Ingram

Elli Ingram’s vocals and songwriting ability never fail her. Each track is as good on its own as it is with the others. If you enjoyed her Sober EP you will love The Doghouse.” Aysh Banaysh

Glow (2014) by Tensnake

“German disco, Tensnake style. Schwing it Brüder.” Gunnar Larsén

Best of Oliver N'Goma (2011) by Oliver N'Goma

“Awesome collection of smooth, summertime jams from Gabonese megastar Oliver N’Goma.” Matt Gray

From back in the mists of time...