I wrote about most of the music I have listened to in my 2010 through my (biased) eyes: Catch-Up#1 post. However, I made a few purchases I didn’t mention and there was a selection of new releases too.

I listened to the hip-hop classics ‘Voodoo’ by D’Angelo and Public Enemy’s ‘Fear of the Black Planet’ . Very much at different ends of the spectrum but both deserve their status. The honey dipped smooth sound of ‘Voodoo’ has just enough ruggedness and depth to its J Dilla produced beats to make it hip-hop, not something I would usually enjoy or recommend but I can see the reason for its applause back in 2000. I’m a long-term Public Enemy fan even though I only owned ‘It ‘Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back’ but since seeing them live in 2008 I have meant to expand my P.E. catalogue. ‘Fear of a Black Planet’ is a great addition and I’ll be covering it in Classics Critiqued at the end of the month.

Last month I recommended We Fell to Earth’s eponymous debut as an alternative to the latest School of Seven Bells album. Having now finally purchased ‘We Fell to Earth’ and heard it on my stereo (and not laptop speakers) I can whole heartedly reiterate that recommendation. The album isn’t as heavy as I remembered, which is no bad thing as the songs could grate if they were. The juxtaposition of the voices of Wendy Rae Fowler and Richard File both in terms of sound and technique makes them stand out as does File’s production: gothic and emotional yet not smothering. It’s hard to come up with a solid reference points as they are quite unique. They are a band that you have to hear and make your own mind up about but I think music lovers will not be disappointed.

I was generally disappointed by the releases in August. I found a lack of imagination in releases by PVT and !!!, some repetition of ideas on El-P’s latest mixtape/album and  lukewarm efforts by Mogwai and Lloyd Miller and the Heliocentrics. It would be unfair to say that Mogwai and Lloyd Miller’s releases didn’t have their moments, but I’m unsure Mogwai’s live album adds anything to the studio versions of their songs. Miller’s jazz is a bit tame though I enjoyed the use of Arabic melodies and will revisit this album.

One album did manage to impress. ‘Black City’ by Matthew Dear manages to take his organic techno pop sound which first appeared on his album ‘Asa Breed’ (2007). This time he takes it a step further and though the album manages to cover various moods and styles it is held together by a theme based around the fictional ‘Black City’ of the title. Fans of Dear won’t be disappointed and if you haven’t checked out his work then do.

Spotify playlist:

August 2010 playlist

Recommendations for September:

Arp (search A.R.P. in Spotify) – ‘The Soft Wave’ 6th September (Smalltown Supersound)

Gold Panda – ‘Lucky Shiner’ 6th September (digitally) ( physical 11th October) (Ghostly International)

Blonde Redhead – ‘Penny Sparkle‘ 13th September (4AD)

El Guincho – ‘Pop Negro’ 13th September (Young Turks)

Grinderman – ‘Grinderman 2’ 13th September (Mute)

Maximum Balloon – ‘Maximum Balloon’ (Polydor) 13th September – put back from 30th August

Shit Robot – ‘From the Cardle to the Rave’ (EMI/DFA) 20th September

Solar Bears – ‘She Was Coloured’ 20th September

The Hundred in the Hands – ‘The Hundred in the Hands’ 20th September (Warp)

Salem – ‘King Night’ 27th September (Columbia)