10 more new albums from lockdown to get excited about

10 more new albums from lockdown to get excited about

Recently we invited you to break out of the comfort of the familiar and discover some of the amazing new albums being put out by independent artists and labels while the world is on lockdown. The truth is our list was far from complete and we have much more to bring you – so here is our second instalment of new albums from lockdown you can get excited about.

Ten New Albums You Need To HearYou can find the first part of our list here. 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. At the time of writing there’s already more than 8 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 the first Friday of the month in June and July 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 more new albums from lockdown to get excited about

Cornershop – England is a Garden (Ample Play)

Cornershop England Is A Garden album coverReturning with their first album in a few years Cornershop release the essential England Is A Garden at the moment their breadth of musical and cultural influences are more vital than ever.

The rose-tinted re-imagining of the nation’s glory, the othering of almost everything off-white, has never been more prevalent and this record holds a mirror to that subtly but fearlessly. It reclaims lost ground, blends industrial and cultural heritage to show there is more to Britain than Populism currently wants to recognise, and it does so with understated melodic intricacies to rejoice in resistance.

Protest and defiance don’t always have to be presented with blunt aggression and this album, in all its stomp and shimmy, leads the way calling us together in songs and dances which wake our thinking as well as stir our feet. It’s the proof, that no matter how hard they try to pave over and make dull and uniform this place the flowers will determinedly and with hope break through the cracks.

Find Cornershop and England Is A Garden on Bandcamp here.

Dystopian Future Movies – Inviolate (Lasairfhíona Records)

Dystopian Future Movies Inviolate album coverThe second album from the doom-rock outfit delivers more devastating riffs, more relentless stabs, and increasingly ethereal vocals which float from the darkness as often as they sear straight through you.

Hitting its stride straight out the gate this is a record from a band who are confident in their sound, but growing an already strong ability to deliver on it. There’s as many gentle, introspective moments as there are crushing blows and the contrast, the underlying details, make this one which you shouldn’t let pass you by.

If you’re looking for something which reflects the unravelling ruination around you, then this album will deliver.

Find Dystopian Future Movies and Inviolate on Bandcamp here.

sweetbellechobaby – Though We Are Many We Are One Body Because We All Share In One Bread (Amateur Pop Incorporated)

sweetbellechobaby album coverA dream through which we float, uninhibited by physical constraints but with the matters of the day still almost within our grasp. The shadows fleetingly shroud us before dissipating so the sun may fall imagined on skin, moments of classic rock vocal stylings through the prism of dark electropop.

This debut release from sweetbellechobaby is really quite something, haunting you long after the last note has rung out, as uncomfortable and longed for as that dream fading away on waking. Rich with manipulated and found sounds this remains a sparse release, never over-loaded but balanced perfectly to surface what is hidden deep, dividing by a fine line intimate and introspective moments with the memory of togetherness and belonging.

Though We Are Many We Are One Body Because We All Share In One Bread is out now and you can find it on Bandcamp here.

Supermilk – Death Is The Best Thing For You Now (Keroleen Records)

Supermilk Death Is The Best Thing For You album cover

From the ashes of Doe comes the debut album from drummer Jake Popyura under the guise of Supermilk.

There’s enough nostalgic flourishes, and comforting touchpoints from Modest Mouse to Weezer, to suit those looking for the safe harbour of the familiar. There’s delightful detail too, adding layers to the indie and making sure this is closer to perfection than pastiche. But bitter and sharp through sugary melody comes the central theme of these tracks – the disparity of privilege, and the unfairness of seeing someone float by having made little effort for the rewards they find.

Playing with pop-punk, indie and emo tropes this is an album of big riffs to soundtrack furloughed days in the sunshine, with a delightful depth for you to sink in to.

Death Is The Best Thing For You Now is out now and you can find it on Bandcamp here.

Chemtrails – The Peculiar Smell of the Inevitable (PNKSLM Recordings)

Chemtrails The Peculiar Smell of the Inevitable

It’s quite the thing to add production sheen to lo-fi pop without smoothing the edges too far, without nudging the raw energy too close to clinical, and in doing so lose all the charm. The good news is that Chemtrails have walked that line brilliantly on their new album to find them still gloriously scrappy, still sassy, and sashaying between touchpoints from The Stooges to Supergrass.

They’ve kept the biting lyrics sharpened on harmony, the raw garage guitars abraded by punching synths are here too. There is wildness, there is feral energy, and there is confidence and quiet mastery flowing beneath. It makes it the sound of a band who have benefited from the time to grow but have lost none of their wonder or their curiosity, and are weilding melody and message with aplomb.

The Peculiar Smell of the Inevitable is out now and you can find it here.

Nova Twins – Who Are The Girls? (Nova Twins Ltd / 333 Wreckords Crew)

Nova Twins Who Are The Girls cover art

Turn. It. Up.

This album deserves to be played loud, the duo’s ferocious energy untamed by being committed to record. You feel the bass throb through you as distortion and howls disorientate, industrially heavy beats and riffs sit next to softer vocal rhythms, all shot through with pure intensity and a mood between elation and rage.

Having led the way with progressive blending of styles – earning the tag grime-punk following their initial releases – the debut album stunningly captures their attitude and sound, without compromising. As you’d expect for a band four years in from their first release the flow is smoother but the raw energy is far from diluted, and it keeps pace across the ten tracks.

Nova Twins have exceeded their peers with this release and shown how heavy, how fun, and how authentic a sparse set-up can be. A vitally important release you mustn’t let pass you by.

Who Are The Girls? is out now and you can find it here.

Sink Ya Teeth – Two (Hey Buffalo)

Sink Ya Teeth Two cover artSounding like the offspring of Skunk Anansie and Massive Attack the second album from Norfolk duo Sink ya Teeth skillfully builds from their 2018 debut. Like their first ‘Two’ offers an exploration of a soundscape where post-punk, euphoric disco, melancholia, and deep house merge.

On lead single ‘The Hot House’ the beats are everything as unity through dance is invited – a Hot Chip vibe with no-wave vocals. ‘The Rapture’ adds a Prog flavour lyrically, and opener ‘Sweetness’ has beats deliciously squelching through growling darkness to be met with uplifting overlays and spaced out sounds.

One of the most understated yet innovative acts around, with ‘Two’ the band continue to be as immersive, engaging and downright exciting as ever.

Two is out now and you can find it on here. A version of this review was first publishing in Louder Than War magazine, issue 24. 

Fassine – Forge (Trapped Animal)

Fassine Forge cover art

Having drawn (rightful) comparisons to Berlin-era Bowie the third album from the London trio (and their first for Trapped Animal) brings a heavier slant to their electronic dream-pop sound.

A paean to those over-looked heroes on the edges of society, there is shimmer and shimmy poised against sinister details elevated by the subtlety with which they are delivered.  While flowing coherently across the whole of the album each track snacks through genres, brings in unexpected elements, takes turns which are brilliantly foreshadowed to be both surprising and utterly obvious. The hymnal introduction to final track ‘Hellsto (Sweetness Came For Us)’ leads into a stunningly layered, and delicate song; a blessing of strength and endurance given gently to linger long beyond the final note.

Without over-emoting this is an album which elicits, even demands, your feelings. It draws you in and wraps around you, comforting and uncomfortable by turns. An excellent and exciting collection.

Forge is out now and you can find it on Bandcamp here.

Olivia Awbrey – Dishonourable Harvest (Quick Pickle Records)

Olivia Awbrey Dishonourable Harvest cover art

The debut album from singer-songwriter Olivia Awbrey is a tale in two halves, both the opening grunge-infused alt-rock and the trailing lo-fi folk storytelling as charming and compelling as each other. Crunch and scuzz guitars mixed with side-eye open the album on the marvellously sad-smirking ‘Geolocation at P.A.M’, reminding us of the chest-bursting rush of life before.

Title track ‘Dishonourable Harvest’ is exquisite as it swims through languid pools of piano, violin dappling sunlight on the surface, turning the album’s mood as it leads perfectly to ‘I Thought It Was You’. The song is the remembered heat of a summer day as beats echo themselves and ’80s Art Pop, as guitar takes on a Country lilt, the track strobing subtly between choruses as lyrically it begins to tear you apart.

As often as it’s personal it is political and invites you to raise your voice, to feel solidarity as your anger and fear rises, and to be resolute. An album packed with careful detail, with openness and curiosity, playing beyond what is expected of alt-rock to offer something which will be a much-returned to listen if you let it in.

Dishonourable Harvest is out now and you can find it on Bandcamp here.

Crywank – Fist Me ‘Til Your Hand Comes Out My Mouth

crywank cover art

Life is chaos. In ways we don’t often see each action has a consequence, threads of causality knot through our every days, and we entangled are stuck through with confusion. What does it mean? What is the purpose? Why? Why not?

And so it is to the final Crywank album. After more than 10 years making music and delivering with DIY conviction the duo has left us with this final 27-track-but-under-an-hour missive. It elicits curiosity only to have you draw back, it sets moments of searing truth as triggers for automatic thinking into surreal, spiralling song. Lo-fi anti-folk underpins the tracks but they combust, spilling over melodically and lyrically into visceral, shock and awe explorations. No shadow of the psyche escapes illumination here.

The world will be less colourful without Crywank, anti-folk disappointingly more sanitised again, but ‘Fist Me ‘Til Your Hand Comes Out My Mouth’ is the most fitting epithet for a band which was brutally honest, volatile, and stunningly creative.

Fist me ‘Til Your Hand Comes Out My Mouth is out now and you can find it on Bandcamp here.

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.

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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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