Ahead of the long weekend, we take a look at some wide ranging albums; from Arctic Monkeys‘ seminal 2006 debut through to Loyle Carner‘s impressive 2017 breakthrough. Throwback to 1995 with one of Sydney’s best underrated groups and come back into the now with Childish Gambino‘s incredible switch up release – five albums our crew recommends you need in your life this week.
ARCTIC MONKEYS – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)
By Gemma Bastiani
I recall the first time I heard anything by Arctic Monkeys vividly – I was 15 and “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” was on Rage – I imagine most people recall their first listen, too. Calling Arctic Monkeys a seminal band would not be inaccurate considering the effect of their music not just on fans but on musicians that were born from their influence. This is largely due to debut record Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. Every single track manages to hold its own – from singles like “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” and “Fake Tales Of San Francisco” to the slower “Mardy Bum” and “Riot Van”.
This is a record that doesn’t lose its raw, reckless charm over 11 years later, and remains an important part of many-a-teenagerhood.
CHILDISH GAMBINO – Awaken, My Love! (2016)
By Stevie Jean Kyriacou
Childish Gambino caught the world off guard with his enigmatic soul album, Awaken, My Love! Known previously for his audacious hip hop tracks and scathing punchlines, I was surprised at the capacity for tenderness displayed in his new album.
The record is a sumptuous stir-fry of psychedelic funk and classic R&B, endowed with the red hot soul of a featured gospel choir. Awaken, My Love! seduces you into a dreamlike state, caught up in each song’s individual narrative and soaked in passion.
MANNEQUIN PUSSY – Romantic (2016)
By Margy Noble
This is a hard album to describe, but it definitely exemplifies a powerful frontwoman. It’s one of my ultimate catharsis albums, a 17 minute exploration of incongruous emotions and sounds. The sound is endearingly heavy, thrashing between lo-fi post punk moments, death metal and pop punk. It culminates in a dynamic album that writhes across brutal highs and shoe-gaze lows; think of it as a mosh pit, a push-pull thrash.
The short, to the point songs bash their message out, rise and collapse, and fall into the next one before you’re aware of what just happened. It’s this no-nonsense approach that I can’t get enough of: no over-exploration of guitar riffs, no shameless solos, just punk that’s so sharp you could perform surgery with it. Probably don’t try that though.
Discerning a favourite track off the album is near impossible, with the immense guitar hooks and lyrical vulnerability. “Denial” is a perfect example, vocalist Marisa Dabice an anxious outpouring of bedroom depression; “You’ll get it right the next time/You should stop getting down on yourself, everyday.” That’s a philosophy to live by: this Philadelphia four-piece know what’s up.
This one seems like a fairly obvious nostalgia take for most in their mid-twenties, but when you break it down, this is just a really great record.
SPDFGH – Leave Me Like This (1995)
By Ben E Webbs
There’s so much to love about Leave Me Like This, the sole album by almost-forgotten Sydney band Spdfgh.The all-girl troupe were a scream from their outrageous moniker onward. They caught indie offshoot label Half A Cow’s attention by sneaking into soundchecks to busk to their bemused idols – groups like You Am I and Smudge. Their sets were punctuated by gleeful giggling and in-jokes. Their clumsy, Pavement-like lo-fi grunge pop wasn’t groundbreaking but it didn’t need to be: above all else Spdfgh seemed concern with fun. How many bands can you name that kinda-sorta inspired an uber-90s sci-fi fantasy feminist novel set in Newtown?? (Check out Linda Jaivin’s ‘Rock n Roll Babes From Outer Space’). I love this record because it reminds me of the risks our music industry once indulged in – Spdfgh are exactly the sort of band who’d never be signed in 2017. I bet they’d be huge, though.
LOYLE CARNER – Yesterday’s Gone (2017)
By Lucy Regter
Yesterday’s Gone is the debut full length from this British artist and a must listen for fans of Mick Jenkins, BADBADNOTGOOD and J Dilla. Ben Loyle-Carner, who goes by his rap name of b, delivers candid storytelling about everything from an imaginary little sister to his OCD. His mum even recites a poem about him on the track “Sun of Jean”, a nod to his childhood upbringing. Across 15 tracks we get a charming, condensed biography of this 21 year old’s life in South London – and it’s way more elegant than you’d expect.
The beats are downtempo and the instrumentals are elegant and minimal, allowing Carner’s unhurried flow to steal the spotlight. The smooth production is perfect for a rainy afternoon or lonely evening – this Nujabes-inspired hip hop that constantly shifts from soul, jazz and funk. For Carner’s age – and being his debut – this is a gutsy yet polished body of work that captures the poetry of coming of age without making you cringe. Instead, it’s sentimental and melancholy.