What an amazing month for new album releases that was. Cutting my initial list of over 20 standout records down to the 10 you see below was no easy task.
So, please, also direct your ears the way of excellent recent sets by John Foxx and the Maths, Night Beds, Thought Forms, Amateur Best, Iceage, inc., Matmos, Eels, Atoms for Peace, Day, Jim James, Mogwai, Ron Sexsmith, Ed Harcourt, Darkstar…
Basically, go and have a rummage through February’s releases, as you’re certain to be rewarded. Find everything that BBC Music has covered lately on our reviews pages.
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Kilo Kish - K+
“Kish here recalls both Lauryn Hill’s guard-down emotions, articulated brilliantly on The Miseducation of…, and the solid narrative structure that served Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city so well. Her promise is reaching fruition. So let that download take its time. Genius should never be...
Mark Davies Markham
The Liberty of Norton Folgate is Radio 4's Saturday Drama, 2.30pm Saturday 9th February 2013.
Suggs, of legendary ska popsters Madness, is married to a brilliant singer. She’s Bette Bright of Deaf School fame. I’m at a Deaf School reunion gig - I see Bette and seize the moment to thank her for letting me use two of her songs in a musical I had written for The Liverpool Everyman.
Flattered, she invites me to have a lager shandy with her old man, Suggs. Hunched up tight in a cosy corner of The Hope Street Hotel I pitch an idea to the cheeky chap.
"BBC Radio 4. A play created around a classic concept album. What do you reckon?"
Madness in the Radio 4 studio
"Hang about," barked the bard of Camden Town. "I bet you been to Bowie for Ziggy Stardust?"
Spooky and uncannily true.
"And he turned you down?"
"Er. Well, his management did."
"Pink Floyd for Dark Side of the Moon?"
The man has a crystal ball. Nay two.
"And now you want Madness to let you loose with your grubby maulers on our classic, critically acclaimed,...
Ten of the best albums from the month of January 2013...
Click to the BBC album reviews pages to read more, as well as hear track previews and leave your own comments.
(Yes, we know the first pick is an EP.)
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Solange Knowles - True
(Terrible Records; released 7 January)
Recommended by: Nick Grimshaw
"These songs give more with each listen; Solange's vocal arrangements keep revealing an extra melody or another ear-snagging lyric. The result is an incredibly addictive pop record that's comparable to no other contemporary release. From a singer who's always been defined by comparisons to somebody else, that's quite an achievement."
On YouTube: Losing You (external link)
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Serafina Steer - The Moths Are Real
(Stolen Recordings; released 14 January)
This week on my new BBC Radio 2 Folk Show, I’ve got some undisputed legends in session: electric folk pioneers Fairport Convention. A band who, despite their fair share of troubles, have continued to be a welcome presence on the folk scene for more than 45 years.
Folk audiences hold their elders in particularly high regard and aren’t easily distracted by fashions or fads. This was writ large at last year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, when the fruitful collaboration between June Tabor and Oysterband – two acts who first collaborated 20 years ago – swept the board. This was mostly...
From guest writer Gary Bales, editor of BBC Radio 6 Music
Since the launch of 6 Music on March 11th, 2002, our brilliant presenters have played nigh on a million records into your ears (seriously....based on an average of 240 tracks a day we are nearly at a million... maybe even over. Amazing, eh?), and many of those tracks were new at the time. So as we say farewell to 6 Music's...
2012 seemed to be a fractured year for albums, there were no overriding genres or styles that dominated the end of year lists. Likewise few of the big established bands came up with career-defining records. However this did give new styles and artists a chance to flourish and grow through the cracks into popular taste. And when we compiled the 6 Music Top 15 Albums Of The Year List (Top 10s are so passÃ© and a Top 5 just doesn't cut it) it became very obvious how diverse people's tastes had been this year.
The presenters and staff put forward their top five albums, the list was compiled,...
Positioned between the quick-fix single and the longer-commitment album, the extended play release is often a perfect chance to check out an artist's work in depth, but without taking too much time out of your day. And, every so often, a standout EP makes it to BBC Music's album reviews pages. Here are six of the best to have been covered in 2012...
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Kwes - Meantime
(Warp Records; released...
Look at the BBC Music Top 25 Albums of 2012 and the BBC Sound of 2013 longlist, and it's clear that the hip hop mixtape community is producing artists and albums - as these collections are, often, every bit as much long-players proper as commercially released sets - with real mainstream reach.
Across the two lists, a number of artists with mixtape backgrounds are evident: Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Death Grips, Miguel, Angel Haze. And this year, several high-profile artists from Rick Ross to Wiz Khalifa, 50 Cent to Gucci Mane, have delivered new material via the...
How was this list compiled?
Each voter was asked to submit their own top five albums of 2012. These could include DJ mix CDs, downloadable/free mixtapes and, of course, brand-new releases; but could not include reissues and deluxe/expanded editions of older albums. Each position in these top fives was worth a points score: first place was awarded 10 points; second, six; third, four; fourth, two;...
The Best Albums of November 2012
Straight to business... Below you'll find details on 10 standout releases of November 2012. Do click through to the relevant review pages to read more about these great records; and keep them peeled for our very special Top 25 Albums of 2012, which will pop into place on these here Music Blog pages in early December.
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Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream