Dirty Projectors — Swing Lo Magellan
If there’s one album that’s gonna get the indie world talking this month, it’s the sixth studio album by the ever-polarizing Dirty Projectors. Even when Bitte Orca was going gangbusters, the band retained an ability to divide opinion — it’s the vocals, really, we guess — and we expect Swing Lo Magellan to catalyze the same sort of conversations again at parties. We suggest you head to the New York Times website, where the album is streaming in its entirety, so you can offer an informed opinion either way.
Beak> — >>
2012 has been an fine year for all things Geoff Barrow-related — there was Drokk, the killer faux soundtrack for Judge Dredd he made with Ben Salisbury, and there’s also talk of new Portishead later in the year. In the meantime, here’s his second album with Beak>, the Kraut-influenced improv trio that was responsible for one of our favorite records of 2009 with their debut album Recordings 05/01/09 > 17/01/09. This follow-up ploughs a similar furrow — recorded in a series of single takes, with no overdubs. The album is due out later this month, but it’s streaming right now via the band’s Bandcamp page.
Twin Shadow — Confess
It’s a big month for ever-wonderful UK label 4AD — the Purity Ring album is out in a couple of weeks, and in the mean time, there’s the small matter of Confess, the second album by ’80s-obsessed Floridian George Lewis Jr., aka Twin Shadow. You pretty much know exactly what you’re gonna get with Lewis — big ’80s-style production, lots of synths, lots of emoting. It’s only the lack of cheesy sax solos that prevent it tipping into complete pastiche, but in fairness to Lewis, he’s good at what he does — and if you’re a fan, you can hear the album right here.
Maximo Park — The National Health
Remember Maximo Park? Quite how they ended up signed to Warp is anyone’s guess, but still, they’re among the better exponents of the archly literate alt-rock that the Brits seem to do so well. According to a recent NME interview, the album is a reaction to the financial lunacy that’s engulfed the globe over the last few years: “The nation is out of control and the record is about taking back control, and being a force for change in your own life. It can’t speak for everybody but it has its eyes and ears all around us.” The album’s streaming via Spinner.
Debo Band — Debo Band
And finally, we rather like the sound of this Ethio-jazz hybrid band from Boston. The group play a contemporary twist on the riotous Ethiopian jazz of the ’60s and ’70s, and they’re a whole lot of fun — to draw a pithy comparison, they’re basically to Ethiopian music what Dengue Fever are to Cambodian sounds. The album’s streaming at NPR — we highly recommend giving it a listen.