On rotation once again at Louder Than War, some great records released this last month.

On rotationBand Of Holy Joy
Dreams Take Flight
(Tiny Global)

Dreams Take Flight finds Brown exploring the strange, dream-like mind-state of the pandemic lockdown of the last year, perfectly articulating the existential dilemmas and frustrations that united us all during the strangest year many of us have experienced in our lifetimes. This album may have been forged in the disorienting strangeness of pandemic lockdown, but Band of Holy Joy have created a strikingly beautiful and uplifting album, timeless in nature, and marbled with perceptive insights into the human condition.


On rotationCatenary Wires
Birling Gap
(Skep Wax/Shelflife)

It’s C86 Indiepop reaching adulthood with quality Dreampop production. Musically, the experience and influences of Hallam, Lewis and Button enhance the Fletcher/Pursey songs and performances and give the intelligent songs about Englishness an analogue pop sheen and professionalism…. it’s just such a great album. Birling Gap, is a shimmering thing of beauty. Pop with depth and the wisdom of that comes with age and musicianship to match.


On rotationGarbage
No Gods No Masters

On Garbage’s seventh album, Shirley Manson is on fire (but really, hasn’t she always been?). She sings, whispers, chants, and bellows all the things we’ve wanted to scream as we’ve watched the world devolve into petty megalomaniacal power plays by the dunces at the top. No Gods No Masters works as a concept album that brilliantly develops a multifaceted retort to the godheads and monsters we’ve never wanted to worship.


On rotationJames
All The Colours Of You

James are one of the few bands who continue to improve with age. There isn’t a weak track amongst the set, although a particular stand out for me is Magic Bus, a pumping club track with a driving beat that would’ve sounded amazing back in the Hacienda. With 39 years experience behind them their 16th album can easily be ranked as one of their best.


On rotationJohn Grant
Boy From Michigan
(Bella Union)

The boy from Michigan is back and all is well in the world. Oh, to be reacquainted with that rich, resonant voice again; it’s like a warm wave of reassurance washing over us, like the moment lockdown eased and we were able to step back into our local pub. Familiar and comforting; still conveying those wondrous tones, all wrapped up in a bunch of remarkable songs. But, wait. With John Grant, there is always more to it than meets the eye. Let us scratch away this veneer and take a glimpse underneath. There it is. Pure trauma.


On Rotation: Our pick of June’s album releasesGreentea Peng
Man Made

It was love at first beat. I love the way Wells takes well-worn styles such as soul, blues, jazz, reggae and trip-hop and weaves them into a hazy, trippy, smoky sound that, despite the familiarity of its component parts, she makes all her own. She’s the antidote to that stereotype of post-Brexit Britain that much of the world sees – hopeful messages for our troubled times presented in a mellow vibe that can be best enjoyed in the sunshine.


On Rotation: Our pick of June’s album releasesKing Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Butterfly 3000

When it comes to ambition and sprawling ideas the Melbourne collective of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are right up there at the top of the tree. The last two albums KG and LW were crawling with inventive psych which got my attention with the vast array of instruments and the sounds knocked me back and fucked with the senses. LW got a rare five bomb rating due to the rush of guitar intricacy and skill from the always forward-thinking maestros. Butterfly 3000 throws you with the direction change yet is unmistakably stamped with the KGLW sound throughout. A concept album of sorts which from the title itself suggest metamorphosis.


On Rotation: Our pick of June’s album releasesCHIHUAHUA
Violent Architecture

Violent Architecture is one of the most interesting, most intense debut albums released this year. It arrives at a point where purveyors of taste are championing ‘difficult’ music again. The outsiders have a way into the mainstream. The sheer intensity of it. The oddness and precision. The fact that there are hints of ‘other music’ yet an innate originality…this really is a remarkable, fully-formed work of art-punk, politico-noise mischief that is hard to beat.


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Nathan has been writing for Louder Than War since 2012. Before that, he wrote for manchestermusic.co.uk. Now living in Spain, he also writes for the Spanish magazine Ruta 66.


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