10 new albums from lockdown to get excited about

10 new albums from lockdown to get excited about

While we’re all in lockdown there’s a bushel of chain-mail like posts going around on social media. Some, undoubtedly, mine info about us and our likes, dislikes, and personal experiences. While others are collective distractions from the current situation.

Ten New Albums from Lockdown You Need To Hear coverOne which seems to be catching plenty of people’s online attention is the ’10 Albums Which Influenced Me’ post. Spread across 10 days, with no context just the album cover, and a tag in for someone you’d like to take part the posts allow us to delve back toward music which has comforted us, and may well lead others to discover or find comfort in these albums themselves. Looking backward, and finding safety in the familiar, is one way to go but if discovery is the driver what new releases are exciting us during lockdown?

While many scheduled releases have been kicked back to later in the year or beyond new music is still appearing and is well worth some of your time and attention. It’s a challenging time for independent bands and labels to release music – not just from a commercial view but in terms of simply being heard – so here’s 10 new release albums which you should seek out and get excited about.

And don’t forget you can follow our New Music 2020 playlist on Spotify for a weekly dose of new releases you need to hear. There’s already more than 6 hours of music to delve into so make sure you’ve followed and you’re adding your favourites to your own playlists too.

Support artists during lockdown

Don’t forget Bandcamp are waiving their fees again on 1 May so all revenue goes direct to artists. If you’re able it’s a great day to buy some music or merch to support musicians.

And if streaming is more your thing then Spotify have finally added a tip jar function – check whether artists you love have theirs set up on their profile – so, if you’re able, you can supplement the pittance they get from the platform if you’ve been streaming lots (and yes, this is similar bait-and-switch to the Government asking us to raise money for the NHS instead of funding it properly themselves but it’s where we’re at right now).

10 New Albums from Lockdown to Get Excited About

Charmpit – Cause A Stir (Specialist Subject)

Charmpit Cause A Stir album artwork

Terming themselves ‘anarcuties’ Charmpit’s debut is straight-down the sound of the golden-glowing-open-road-cruising Californian summer of our collective dreams tinged with the street-heat-rising-dirty-edged reality of our British days. It’s quintessential pop-punk, with everything you’d expect of the genre without ever feeling clichéd.

Full of sparkle, jangle, and cuteness these are the songs to dance around your room too, to sing with your best friends, and wherever you are in your life hold you in that sanguine moment of coming of age.

Duck – There Are No Normal Conversations Any More (Hell Hath No Fury)

Duck There Are No Normal Conversations Any More

Duck describe themselves as ‘wonky noisepop’ but this album far exceeds the expectations set by those words. Any idea of faltering wonkiness is left behind, on their second LP There Are No Normal Conversations Any More, as confidence steadies their sound without smoothing the interest out of the edges.

There is a raw, dark, energy which underpins the tracks here and while synth and guitar feature heavily across the album there’s a surprising amount of variety on offer. Duck are a band starting to come into their own.

Gordian Stimm – Your Body In On Itself (Amateur Pop Inc)

Gordian Stimm Your Body In On Itself cover art

Evocative of modern electronica such as Baths, this collection of tracks recorded over time since 2013 brings together samples, glitch-and-scratch, haunting refrains, and processed vocal-thought-fragments. It hovers in those darkest moments, the shadowy corners of self, to be at once vulnerable and stark.

Like being lost in the endless tangle of The Great Wood of time forgotten, snagged and boxed in while threat hovers inside as much as out, this album is a spiralling noir-fused wonderland. Nothing is as it seems yet everything is exactly as it is. Essential listening.

Good Good Blood – There Are Wolves Here (Fox Food Records)

Good Good Blood There Are Wolves Here cover

With elements of dreampop, Post Rock, and experimental electronica and noise this latest collection from Good Good Blood is by turns softly comforting and disconcertingly haunting.

While scratchy interludes retain a lo-fi vibe throughout there are plenty of deeply resonant and detailed pieces to sink into too – piano, rich-toned guitar, notes hanging before being grounded by electro glitch. There is much here which gives a sense these are musical jottings, fleeting moments pinned in time and slowly turning to shimmering dust in our memories, butterfly wings pinned as art.

Grawl!x – Peeps (Reckless Yes)

Grawl!x Peeps album art workA prolific and creative songwriter Grawl!x is one of those artists who seem to be perpetually, and unfairly, over-looked. Peeps is the fourth full length record from them (following on the trilogy on grief – Good Grief, Aye!, and Appendix) and wraps songs of identity, and the importance of friendship, in an evolving and orchestrated electropop sound.

Knowing when to hold back as much as when to step on the throttle Grawl!x once again show they have a quiet but firm magic. An album of stunning togetherness, shimmering with melodic detail and bringing in beautiful contributions from others to realise the singluar vision of Grawl!x. An artist you definitely want to get in to if you haven’t found them yet.

Dream Nails – Dream Nails – (Alcopop! Records)

Dream Nails artwork

Long term reigning champions of feminist punk Dream Nails are bringing us their debut album via Alcopop! Records anytime now. A slew of singles has already teased the release – full of the righteous fury and activist calls missing from much of what passes in the genre. These are songs with heart, and bite, and which don’t shy away from things needing to be said and making visible that which is so often conveniently ignored.

That is does so without taking the fun out of making music, with bubbling rhythms and intricate beauty behind each blast is testament to a band who have made their own path and are as worthy as a place in musical history as The Slits and Bikini Kill.

Slum of Legs – Slum of Legs (Spurge Recordings)

Slum of Legs LP cover art

Cerebral, experimental, compulsive, and hugely melodic the debut album from Brighton sextet Slum of Legs shucks the dark and arcane while creating futuristic sounds. This is a record which feels as much as sounds powerful.

A detached delivery draws a soft line so you feel you’re being allowed to listen in for a moment rather than given something fully, but that glimpse is enough for the magic to course through you in a way you never quite stop feeling and leaves you forever haunted. Ultimately any album which evokes Bella in the Wych Elm is deserving of being classed essential, and the depth within these songs – as women, as melody, as stories to be told – blows away any last doubt you might hold.

Cable Ties – Far Enough (Merge)

Cable Ties Far Enough album cover

If ever there was a time for optimism, this is it. And the second album from Melbourne’s Cable Ties explores and captures a personal turn from anger through ennui and out the other side to hope perfectly.

The band’s raw and ferocious energy remains, breathless in feel while never in delivery, this has climbs and falls, rumbling and relentless, a visceral pulsing to which you can’t help but be drawn. These tracks seem prescient having come before the situation we now all find ourselves in, but reflecting with startling familiarity the individual and collective mood. Absolutely blistering punk rock from a band quickly proving themselves to be essential.

PINS – Hot Slick (Haus of Pins)

PINS Hot Slick press imageWith a slew of singles leading the way PINS are set to release their third album at the end of May and their sound suggests the band has ramped up the electropop leaning in their post-punk punch.

Always seeming as if they have been on the cusp of really breaking through the band found acclaim for their 2015 album Wild Nights, and worked with Iggy Pop for their 2017 EP Aggrophobe. Now with The Kills’ Jamie Hince on production duties the band are giving up stomp, crunch and disco blisters on an album we’re absolutely sure won’t disappoint.

Bugeye – Ready Steady Bang (Reckless Yes)

Bugeye press imageThis one has been a long-time coming and there’s a little longer yet to wait with release now set for early July. Formed back in the ’90s, then taking a long hiatus, the band returned just a few years ago with a rich, deep disco-punk sound.

With agitated guitars rubbing up against melodic synths, and bouncing rhythms punctuating the distinctive vocals, there is much depth to the songs on offer here musically and lyrically. Exploring some dark and difficult themes the songs are far from downturned introspection and rather blast defiance with every chord, owning personal faults while making no mis-steps in the music.

Get a weekly dose of new music

Follow our New Music 2020 playlist on Spotify for a weekly dose of brilliant new releases. There’s already more than 100 tracks added from this year, and it’s growing all the time. Find it here – and if you fall in love with something and you’re able please consider spending money directly with the artists to help support them.

If you have enjoyed reading this piece on Popoptica you can buy us a virtual coffee via Ko-fi – every donation helps us to do what we do. We’d love it if you shared on social media too – and do join the conversation with us on Twitter and Facebook.

Transparency: Sarah Lay is not only editor of Popoptica, but co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, which features in this article. Reckless Yes would not sign, nor Popoptica feature, artists or releases they didn’t truly believe more people need to hear.

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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