May is here and we can almost smell summer on the horizon, but as well as looking forward it’s worth taking a moment to look back at April and some of the excellent albums it gave us.
As well as some certified pop bangers, last month saw killer LPs from artists at all ends of the musical spectrum: post-punk, new UK jazz, R&B, electronica and hip-hop.
Here are our favourite releases from April 2019 – dive in below…
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Lizzo – Cuz I Love You // REVIEW
Lizzo has become a symbol of self-love, body confidence and female sexuality. In a society that continually devalues the voices of the plus size, women and black people, having a public figure that is unapologetically themselves and represents all of these is a joy to see. Offering up a mix of pop, hip-hop, R&B and a sprinkling of trap and neo soul for good measure, she covers all bases and serves the perfect introduction to her world for mainstream audiences. After all, this is Lizzo’s world; we’re just living in it.
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Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel // REVIEW
Dublin in the rain belongs to Fontaines D.C., and rather than being too real this album is just right, it is a ragged delivery. The trick lies in the seemingly un-filtered rawness combined with its stark poetic reality. The three components help secure this album’s position as an example of authenticity; authenticity in its most concentrated and truest form and expression.
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Ezra Collective – You Can’t Steal My Joy // REVIEW
In the last few years, UK jazz has transitioned from a fringe genre to something being embraced by the mainstream, and at the forefront of this movement is the quintet Ezra Collective. Like US jazz that differs according to the inimitable spirit of each region, they blend sounds from the Caribbean and African diaspora in London, leaning on musical urges and influences that are as natural and fluid as anything you’ll hear this year.
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Kelsey Lu – Blood // REVIEW
Much has been made of Kelsey Lu’s work with, and endorsement from, artists such as Solange and Florence And The Machine, but her growing reputation need not be restricted to that of big-name association. ‘Blood’ is a work that speaks for itself, an album that’s boundless, and restlessly pursues the ideas of its creator. An album voracious in appetite and ideas, its scope is broad, its palate lush and brimming with vibrant colour.
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Collard – Unholy // REVIEW
Collard has created something momentous here. The record feels like being thrown back in time – unable to pinpoint exactly where yet remaining distinctly modern – while the range and control in the soul singer’s vocals point to a unique and special talent.
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Kevin Morby – Oh My God // REVIEW
An exploration of the individual experiences through the prism of religion, and an internal mediation that grapples with an array of the most human of themes, whether it be relationships, mortality, the weather or simply a love of music and song. ‘Oh My God’ is Kevin Morby’s attempt at crafting his own post-modern American songbook. The sound of a succinct vision – executed precisely as intended.
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Anderson Paak – Ventura // REVIEW
'Ventura' isn’t the apology record that some are labeling it as, firstly because that implies .Paak feels there is something to apologise for – which there isn’t. 'Oxnard' (his major label debut) and 'Ventura' are two sides of the same coin, and Anderson .Paak seems far too confident an artist to pander to his audience. For those who are excited by an artist unafraid to reinvent and experiment, then look no further.
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Fat White Family – Serfs Up! // REVIEW
‘Serfs Up!’ is initially impenetrable, but persistence is rewarding as the band sucks you deeper into their tilted netherworld with each listen. It’s by far their most interesting work to date. Whether the Fat Whites are cavaleering through a disco dystopia or spinning together tramadol-dub ditties, their music remains an essential and completely unstoppable force.
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Jade Bird – Jade Bird // REVIEW
With musical influences including Americana, folk, indie and alt-rock, Jade Bird creates a rich, raw and punchy style oozing charisma and depth of character. The majority of her tracks are delivered in a full-register voice echoing the likes of Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Alanis Morrisette and Janis Joplin, but the way Bird approaches her influences, and her subsequent digestion of them, shows autonomy, intelligence and innovation. But she’s no copy-cat: this is a current and contemporary take on a writing tradition and some iconic female voices.
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The Chemical Brothers – No Geography // REVIEW
Three decades after forming, hitting the reset button has unleashed this iconic duo afresh, demonstrating an insatiable ability to forge the perfect dance track, whatever the era. Go get your rave on.
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