SOHN - Hard Liquor
Plenty have tried to match a soulful vocal to dark, dramatic beats, plenty have failed. SOHN manages it by falling into it almost backwards. We certainly haven't heard this vocal styling from him before, but how it works is in the way the ethereality of his previous work both informing and hardening the stuttering jittery, unstable to the point of almost glitchy backing that threatens to "go pop" while never getting round to doing so. From his second album Rennen out next week.
British Sea Power - Bad Bohemian
We're never going to get the wild-eyed Decline Of... BSP back, but if they must be more approachable this is a decent way to do it, the classic tropes of post-punk guitars, racing drums and Yan in the throes of bad things making anthemics out of non-anthemic elements in evidence. Let The Dancers Inherit The Party is out 31st March.
Jens Lekman - What's That Perfume That You Wear?
After a year of his ambitious Postcards series some actual quantifiable new material, though an early version was on his 2014 mixtape. And with production aid from Ewan Pearson he's gone samba pop with sampled steel pans and a gospel choir popping by two-thirds of the way through, going back to his old strength of flirting with MOR tropes while turning upbeat music on its head lyrically. Life Will See You Now is out 17th February.
Wiley - Speakerbox
He's referring to himself as 'Eski boy' again, which is good. It's been interesting to see Wiley edge back to where he was when he first broke through while Skepta (that's him topping and tailing the track) ends up at number one and on Christmas Top Of The Pops dressed as a postman. Such rocket fuelled, self-referencing verses and low end rattling production is where he came in when he was challenging us on what we called it. Godfather is out 13th January.
The Bats - No Trace
The Bats have every right to recall the Dunedin Sound given they're from there and were part of it. This track from their ninth album won't reinvent that wheel, but smartly melancholic, gloriously melodic janglepop? That will always do fine. The Deep Set is out in the UK 17th February.
Baked - Midnight Junkie
Not exactly giving nothing away with that name and title combination, and indeed the Brooklyn outfit sound stoner in the hindmost, thick spread slo-mo shoegaze-influenced guitars and lengthy coruscating soloing just like a somnambulent J Mascis. Second album Farnham is out 24th February.
Jesca Hoop - The Lost Sky
Having just inducted a track from her Sam Beam collaboration into our Best Of 2016 playlist it'd be remiss not to mention the first track from the Californian-sometime-via-Mancunian's upcoming album, her fifth original record and first for Sub Pop, a typical mix of quixotic, richly and urgently delivered subject matter and sublime acoustic delicacy. Memories Are Now is out 10th February.
Mega Emotion - OK Maybe OK
Norwich trio Mega Emotion made a splash round these parts around 2013-14 with their post-punk styled electro-disco, and then vanished. They return next Friday after what sounds like two years of giving their synths a heavy thrashing, warping and compressing them against dirty basslines and howling end-of-tether vocals recalling the first wave of DIY electronic adventurers. There's cowbell too.
Maybe Don't - Torridge And Taw
"The Oxford English Dictionary defines a hobby as a small horse or pony. Maybe Don't are a hobby-grade indiepop band from Birmingham. A well-meaning 3 piece, they formed in late 2014 to moderate acclaim. They once had a show planned with The Spook School but it was cancelled the morning before." Excellent biographical work. That's about your level too, playful scrappy indiepop that barely covers its melody under stop-start dynamics and a complete change for the coda. At Owl Mansion 7" EP is out 31st March on Odd Box.
GLOK - Projected Sounds
And now it's time for Motorik Of The Week. North London's GLOK is/are more akin to the propulsion in repetition of a Steve Reich disciple than classic Krautrock intensity build, something akin to an R Seiliog in which the spaces are more apparent, keyboards delivering patterns over each other and the whirring surges underneath.