Every year there is a host of brilliant records that fail to capture the spotlight when they are released. Sometimes it’s simply because they have no established profile othertimes it’s because they release it on the same day as Beyonce surprise releases an album or Miley flies on a giant hotdog. Whatever the reason may be there is some gold that has fallen through the cracks this year. Below are five albums that we deem to be worthy of a first listen or re-listen.
Rome Fortune- Beautiful Pimp II
Beautiful Pimp II is the follow-up to last year’s Beautiful Pimp mixtape. Calling something a mixtape often suggests that it’s rough or unfinished. Beautiful Pimp II suggests the complete opposite. Produced entirely by CitoOnTheBeat, it’s a cohesive effort that revels in its understated beats and melodic raps. Mixtape standout I Was On One, I Can’t Lie is a chopped and screwed masterpiece while closer So is coated in beautifully warm keys. It’s not what you’d expect from an Atlanta rapper but it’s a refreshing take on the genre that deserves to have people talking about it.
Lyla Fox- Mirrors The Sky
When your debut record’s a grower, it’s always hard to grab immediate attention. A grower is most-definitely the word you’d attach to singer/songwriter Lyla Fox’s debut record. Fox recorded the album in the English countryside, isolated from reality and it shows. Mirrors In The Sky sounds beautifully detached from the chaos of the city. Instead, it floats along on a melodic cloud, peppered by carefully selected instrumentation and pixie vocals. Let it rest with you a while and Mirrors In The Sky will present itself as a dusky, self-assured record.
Perhaps it will be obvious on first listen of Flash why Dena hasn’t gained the attention she deserves. It’s a hard album to swallow, founded on a mix of left-field hip-hop and pop. Once you get used to it, Flash oozes sass and cool. It sounds youthful, vibrant and modern like a cross between M.I.A and Yelle. Cash, Diamond Rings, Swimming Pools is a lesson in minimalism, lifted by Dena’s nonchalant attitude. Elsewhere on the record, she presents Timabland-esque production on Games- the most straight-forward moment on Flash. Yes, it’s odd but it’s a party from start to finish; partly obnoxious but also a heap of fun.
NME has already gushed over this record, but it’s underrated in the way that it should be amassing a large cult following by now. If you compare it to the mighty public reactions to records from Cloud Nothings or Palma Violets in the past, then this album looks like it’s been criminally ignored. Eagulls is a sea of raucous noise- distorted and tempo-raising. However, it never sounds messy. Behind it all, lead-singer George Mitchell delivers a hearty vocal that injects just enough melody and stature to keep everything in check. That’s further aided by the killer hooks that are delivered on every song. They may be an unambitious alternative band, but there’s some anthems on this debut like the Sonic-Youth sounding Possessed. If you have trouble connecting to Eagulls then watch the band perform live. On stage, Mitchell is an anxious and tense performer that creates an uncomfortable aura that’s also thrilling to watch.
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IVRY may just be the funkiest rap music, this side of the century. With obvious nods to Andre 3000, 100s is a personable and colourful rapper. If the cover doesn’t already make it obvious, IVRY is not your standard rap record. He takes Prince’s infectious funk and lays on top an effortless flow that’s both seductive and arrogant. When I think of IVRY, I think of a dim-light, a circular bed and purple satin sheets. While it may all sound a bit creepy, it’s the sort of seduction that Prince and most recently Miguel have become masters in. If you can handle a line like “this is for bitches that like to get high” (Ten Freaky Hoes) you’re likely to fall in love with IVRY. If not, avoid this. There’s much more where that came from.