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Monthly Music Round-Up — April 2020

In the continuation of a very unusual time for all of us, and a trying time for artists and musicians especially, I am pleased to report that we had still been blessed with a generous amount of awesome new music, in the month of April.

I feel that this month is an important period for albums to be released, as a fair few of my favourite albums of 2019 were indeed released in the fourth month of the year. That being said, there seemed to be a fair few albums, which might at least become memorable staples of the year as a whole.

Although, April this year is a very different scenario to last years, and I would need to admit that perhaps this period will affect the sentiment of many of these projects. But my fingers remain crossed that I will be able to look back on some of the new music we’ve gotten as fondly as usual.

I would also like to give a small shout-out to Lady Gaga’s Chromatica, an album that was scheduled to be releasing this month, but ended up being postponed until further notice, due to complications with COVID-19.

So without further ado, I continue to offer you guys my favourite albums, tracks, and other music related bits of April 2020.

1: Ranking Albums I’ve Reviewed

Interesting and anticipated albums seemed to arrive to us fairly steadily this month, that is until the very last Friday of the month, in which we were treated to quite a handful of projects. I have also recently discovered a very good album, that I will most likely move to the May catalogue of albums, so keep your eyed peeped for that.

But for the time being, here are some small verdicts on each of the albums I’ve reviewed this month.

#10 — Enter Shikari — Nothing is True & Everything is Possible

In the lead-up to this album, I was actually somewhat hopeful that Enter Shikari may just be able to pull things out of the bag, and return to form, after the release of their previous two projects which I disliked to say the least.

While the teaser tracks did do this album some justice, Nothing is True & Everything is Possible ultimately fell into yet another overly electronic, and somewhat pretentious project, making for a hat-trick of disappointing albums from the band.

Read the full review here

#9 — Melt Yourself Down — 100% Yes

While this new album had me quite interested upon listening to it in full for the first time, this album feels a lot more unmemorable now when I look back on it. Some of the tracks I initially enjoyed just lost their edge, it seemed.

Needless to say, there is a small handful of tracks on this thing that are at least very catchy.

Read the full review here

#8 — EOB — Earth

As a result of this album being another solo project from another Radiohead member, I couldn’t help but compare this project to the likes of Thom Yorke’s Anima. And at least in this respect, I do prefer this album a lot more.

However, there are still a fair few tracks on here that do feel a bit overblown and patience-testing. Definitely not a bad album by any means though, and there is still quite the colourful selection of enjoyable tracks on here.

Read the full review here

#7 — Igorrr — Spirituality and Distortion

Similarly to the bands debut album Savage Sinusoid, I still feel that Igorrr’s sophomore album suffers the same issue, in which the band are still struggling to pin-down their signature aesthetic completely.

But credit where credit is due; this album is definitely an improvement nonetheless, and include a good variety of tracks that are both unique and enjoyable.

Read the full review here

#6 — Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes — What Kinda Music

I really loved the way that Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes approached the idea of defying genre tropes in a subtle and accessible way. however, I feel that the production and the instrumental arrangement on many of the tracks does feel quite rough around the edges.

However, the songs that i did enjoy remind me a fair bit of Jordan Rakei’s Origin, a 2019 album which I now consider to be a very memorable album of that year, despite my initial lukewarm opinion towards it at the start. So who knows; this album still has the potential to grow on me a tonne more. But for now, I feel that this collaborative project is something of a mixed bag.

Read the full review here

#5 — Yves Tumor — Heaven To A Tortured Mind

This album arguably became one of my most anticipated of the year, thanks to how much I loved the teaser “Gospel For A New Century”. And while this album is most definitely an improvement upon the already decent 2018 project Safe In The Hands of Love, I still feel that quite a few tracks weren’t exactly as mind-blowing as the aforementioned teaser.

Nonetheless, Heaven To A Tortured Mind is still a highly enjoyable project, even if that project was a bit more downbeat than I initially expected.

Read the full review here

#4 — Ivan Ave — Double Goodbyes

I loved Ivan Ave colourful palette of warm Lo-fi productions, along with a smooth vocal style and flow. This is a wonderfully indulgent and soothing rap album, and kind of reminds me somewhat of a classic Mac Miller.

For any of you who are looking to fill that void that Mac Miller once occupied, I couldn’t recommend this album more. Although, it must be known that Ivan Ave stands as an individual part of the hip-hop scene in his own right as well.

Read the full review here

#3 — Asher Roth — Flowers On The Weekend

As if listeners weren’t spoiled enough with warm and summery hip-hop albums last week with Ivan Ave’s Double Goodbyes, we also had Asher Roth’s Flowers on the Weekend. Being his first official studio album since 2014’s Retrohash, it is easy to gather just how much time and effort Asher Roth had put into this album.

The warm, summer-like atmosphere that many of the beats bring on this record, are more upbeat and festive than those found on Double Goodbyes, which arguably means that it has a better opportunity to really make for a brilliant summer soundtrack. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Read the full review here

#2 — Thudercat — It Is What It Is

I didn’t have too much of a clear idea as to what I should’ve been expecting form Thundercat’s It Is What It Is. After the masterpiece that was 2017’s Drunk, I was anxious that this album would inevitably fall into being more accessible than unique.

Thankfully however, It Is What It Is seems to keep that Thundercat magic throughout, while arguably being more enjoyable than Drunk on a melodic standpoint. I also adore the album version of the track “Black Qualls”, and enjoyed pretty much every other track on here, with the only exceptions really being some of the interludes.

Read the full review here

#1 — Rina Sawayama — SAWAYAMA

Despite all of the teaser tracks for this album pointing towards the fact that this was going to be one of the best albums of the year, I initially wasn’t too sure what I was ultimately going to think of this album before diving into it. But track, after track, after track is just anthem, after anthem, after anthem.

There is an uncanny amount of versatility in this album, and understandably enough this has led to some of my friends stating that it came across as a difficult album to digest. But as someone who lives for a variety of genres, SAWAYAMA is the holy grail.

Besides all of the stellar tracks on this thing, the concept behind SAWAYAMA is both one that really puts her inner journey in the spotlight, and also a subject that I deeply relate to, that being the task of finding your most confident self, and choosing those that really support you to create a family of your own. it is honestly a beautiful foundation for any album to be built upon. But thankfully, what we got is a phenomenal one of that!

Read the full review here

2: The Top 20 Tracks Of The Month

#20 — Travis Scott — THE SCOTTS (feat. Kid Cudi)

Travis Scott and Kid Cudi collaborate to create accessible and catchy tune, that still carries a hint of psychedelia.

#19 — Kesagake — The Calamity

After a fantastic debut album last year, Kesagake return with a more melodic and epic brand of metal this time around.

#18 — EOB — Banksters

A gritty and highly catchy anthem with a rhythm that runs like clockwork throughout the entirety of the song.

#17 — YUNGBLUD — Weird!

Definitely one of the more melodic and upbeat YUNGBLUD songs I’ve heard, this might become one of my favourite tracks from the artist to date.

#16 — Sun El Musician — Uhuru (feat. Azana)

A beautifully festive and exotic jazz tune full of hazy warmth and summer vibes.

#15 — Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes — Last 100

Definitely the best example of a track on What Kinda Music that shares similarities to Jordan Rakei. Jam packed with brightness and indulgence.

#14 — Bob Vylan — We Live Here

Bob Vylan addresses the discrimination against UK immigrants, completely without relent, in this highly gritty and badass punk tune.

#13 — Igorrr — Camel Dancefloor

An incredible blend of arabesque melodies and bass-heavy beats full of electronic splicing. This track stays exciting from start to finish.

#12— M3ON — Strange Vibes (feat.Abi Flynn)

A fantastically colourful journey of a track, full of all kinds of different instrumentations, while remaining a jazz tune at its core.

#11 — Yves Tumor — Romanticist

A gorgeously mellow and serene track that just feels oh so Yves Tumor. It has such a lustrous quality to it that just really drew me in.

#10— Gorillaz — Aries (feat. Peter Hook & Georgia)

Gorillaz and Peter Hook (of New Order fame), did really seem like a match made in heaven, as shown in this track. Pair that with Georgia as well, and you have a hat-trick of very impressive Gorillaz tracks this year.

#9 — Ivan Ave — Hope/Nope

Almost like a blend of Mac Miller and Mac Demarco, “Hope/Nope” carries these two styles convincingly in quite a stripped back production, but in all the right ways. The soothing nature of this song just really washed over me.

#8 — Kid Cudi — Leader Of The Delinquents

A hard-hitting and badass tune, with equally great lyrical delivery from Kid Cudi. This song almost seemed custom-made for a Grand Theft Auto soundtrack for sure.

#7 — Kansas — Throwing Mountains

Kansas do a marvellous job of maintaining their classical quality in this song. The signature duality of metal and folk work marvellously in the case of “Throwing Mountains”, which is a truly epic track, in the purest sense of the word.

#6 — James Blake — Your’e Too Precious

in comparison to Blakes early 2019 album Assume Form, this track is showing an even more experimental side to the artist. This track has an incredible amount of depth and beauty.

#5 — Village Of The Sun — TED

I dont quite think I’ve felt this way towards a jazz song since The Comet Is Coming’s Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery; an album that pretty much got me into the music genre as a whole. The rhythm of this track is fluid, and the melodies are dynamic and progressive; a perfect formula for a jazz track in my opinion.

#4 — Thundercat — I Love Louis Cole (feat. Louis Cole)

When listening to Thudercat’s newest album for the first time, it was this track that pretty much confirmed to me that said album had not lost that Thundercat magic. The likes of Thundercat and electronic musician Louis Cole proved to be a crazy and whacky combination in this brilliantly fun and awesome track.

#3 — Asher Roth — Hunnid (feat. Joyce Wrice)

I spent some time thinking of a key word to describe why this song was so good, and that key word turned out to be “swagger”. This track just has so much of it, that I think it will probably be one of my go-to songs to listen to when were all finally able to live outside once more.

#2 — Rina Sawayama — Who’s Gonna Save U Now?

This song is just downright awesome! Despite there being so many amazing tracks on SAWAYAMA, none are as explosive an dynamic as “Who’s Gonna Save U Now?”. I love the way that the track is sort of recorded as if it was a live set, and I think this helps to elevate the sense of feeling empowered at this point in the albums narrative. This track is a defining point in the record, and pretty much sealed the deal when it came down to SAWAYAMA being my favourite album of April 2020.

#1 — Strange Bones — Napalm über alles

The appeal of this track hit me like a surging train, to be quite honest. This track is a whole new level of energetic. While I have sort of been buzzing around the discography of Strange Bones for a short while (but also not paying it too much mind admittedly), this track had my attention completely.

The unrelenting mixture of hardcore punk and jungle act like a musical blow to the skull. This absolute banger is a true force to be reckoned with, and is dynamic to an overflowing extent.

3: Music Video Of The Month

Oliver Tree — Let Me Down

While I wasn’t overly keen on the song itself, I do admit that the music video for “Let Me Down” stuck in my mind a considerable amount more than any other music video this month.

The video essentially feels like a satyrical take on some kind of Colours Show video, with all of the silliness and chaos you would expect to surround the musical character of Oliver Tree.

Directed by Ryan Farber | Produced by Enzo Marc

4: Album Cover Of The Month

Yves Tumor — Heaven To A Tortured Mind

Right from the moment I laid eyes on it, I was really drawn into the elusive and sleek album cover for Yves Tumor’s latest album. So with that being said, it is a visual improvement upon its predecessor, as well as a musical one.

I later discovered the inner sleeve artwork, and the awesome grey vinyl you see above, which I assume is some kind of limited edition. But more importantly than that, it just looks soooo nice!

5: Albums I Nearly Reviewed

Identically to last month, there were another two albums which I listened to for a short while, but wound up not reviewing. In truth, I didn’t feel too invested in either of these albums at the time, but neither were fundamentally bad. I might still consider reviewing these on a later date.

Beau Bowen — The Great Anticlimax

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs — Viscerals

I am faithful that the month of May could grant those in the UK with at least a slight lift on lockdown, and I hope that this would allow me to build more of a sentimental value with this months music, along with the music of May.

I look forward to bringing you guys the next round-up, and I hope to do so under slightly better circumstances.

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Joe Boothby

Joe Boothby

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.

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