Grandaddy - Evermore
It's almost too rote to say this again, but the three tracks Grandaddy have so far made public from Last Place, out 3rd March, have recalled their first three proper albums - Way We Won't the barbed summeriness of Under The Western Freeway, A Lost Machine the desolate future of The Sophtware Slump, and now this nods at Sumday's arranged marriage of warping electronics to 70s singer-songwriterisms, a pulsing dystopia based on a looped bassy synth pattern.
Spiral Stairs - Dance (Cry Wolf)
Ooh, there's Jason Lytle again in the video. Spiral Stairs is Pavement's Scott Kannberg, delivering strident, deceptively light guitar-pop with stratospheric licks breaking in every so often. His second album under the monicker, Doris and the Daggers, is out March 24th and featuring guest vocals by Matt Berninger and Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew amongst others.
Cate Le Bon - Rock Pool
"Bins on fire - what's the occasion?" Rock Pool EP, out on the 27th, is four tracks left over from Crab Day, but the beguilingly odd shuffle of the title track doesn't feel like a mere offcut at all, more a continuation of the album's deconstructed melodies and meaningful illogical lyrics. Video directed by Casey Raymond, with all the oversaturated oddness that implies.
Johnny Flynn - Raising The Dead
It did seem for a while like Flynn was concentrating on his acting career - he's about to appear as the young Einstein in a US series directed by Ron Howard - but in the background of that he was getting the Sussex Wit back together for an album, Sillion, out March 24th (featuring Dave Tattersall on lead guitar for one track) The first single feels like a strolling pace callback to A Larum's utilisation of English folk and London singer-songwriter tropes, Flynn's rich timbre carving the path between the two.
Laura Marling - Wild Fire
Speaking of the London alt-folk set of 2007... Marling describes Semper Eadem, out 10th March, as "me looking specifically at women and feeling great empathy towards them and by proxy towards myself". Acting as advice to others on how to be actively better people in the face of the gaze of others, in delivery and lyrical style it's another step towards her Dylanologist side while in how it opens up still recognisable as herself.
Anna Of The North - Oslo
Anna Lotterud, who is from the titular city, and Brady Daniell-Smith, who isn't, have been making waves with their very Scandi chilly synthpop approach for a good while now without ever quite taking the next step up in the way that some fellow travellers have. Whether, at least commercially, this will be that step we can't say but when the hook kicks in it becomes the very model of the frosted winter sunshine of the video.
WHY? - Proactive Evolution
Never let it be said Yoni Wolf doesn't pour everything of himself into Why? recordings - this track samples doctors who treated him during a mid-recording serious health scare. Otherwise it's the kind of uneasy shivering and inability to keep either a straightforward melody or emotional resilience going, Yoni's crooning drawl more existentially resigned than cynical nowadays. Sixth album Moh Lhean is out 3rd March.
Penelope Isles - Cut Your Hair
Welcome back for the new year, Art Is Hard Records' Postcard Club, and welcome in to Brighton via Cornwall's Penelope Isles, who fascinatingly alternate between chiming dreampop and dark ethereality not too far removed from Veckatimest-era Grizzy Bear, exploding at the end into vivid aural colours.