March tends to be a month for eating too much chocolate. Not this year, suckers.
It does, however, tend to be when release schedules really pick up, particularly with bands trying to cash their hype cheques following the industry shenanigans in Austin at SXSW.
Best album of the month, you ask? Hard to choose between a stack of 8s, with ambient beauty from Fever Ray and jittery pop from Micachu all making knees tremble. However, sole 9 went to the delectable Marissa Nadler, a score you may dimly recall as being bestowed some two months before its actual release. WE ARE NOTHING IF NOT ENTHUSIASTIC.
Our top eight of March 2009
Fever Ray Fever Ray
Says Alexander Tudor: "Thematically, and for the quality of songwriting, Fever Ray fully deserves to be considered a follow-up to Silent Shout; nonetheless, it’s also a line-in-the-sand for The Knife-as-pop-entity, a Kid A-like demand to be respected on the artist’s own terms, or left alone." [Read the review]
Marissa Nadler Little Hells
Says Andrzej Lukowski: "She’s hacked away the art school whimsy, tossed out the crystals and burned the floaty headscarfs, focussing her talents into ten razor sharp songs, some subtle, some vicious. After years of floating in the ether, Marissa Nadler has finally taken corporeal form. It’s exciting - if a little terrifying - to see what she's going to do with it." [Read the review]
Says Charles Ubaghs: "Jewellery is, fundamentally, a constant case of musical leapfrog that boldly springs from gleaming melodies and found sounds to sudden rhythmic and stylistic shifts; often within the space of a single track. And it all stems from the brain of a sneering tomboy capable of sending most major label marketing departments running for the hills in screaming terror." [Read the review]
Says John Roberts: "With swooping string arrangements and dense layers of fizzing electronics supplementing guitar, cello, drums and bass in songs that rarely follow conventional verse-chorus-verse structure, it's as complex, cerebral a debut LP as you'll hear all year." [Read the review]
Handsome Furs Face Control
Says Alexander Tudor: "The tunes may be Springsteen, but the H. Furs have taken The Beatles affectionate joke at The Beach Boy’s expense (‘Back in the USSR’) and run with it, by splurging on Russian cultural references." [Read the review]
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
Dom Gourlay says: "Whatever their game plan may be, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have crafted an impeccable debut way beyond their years, and any misconceptions about them being mere revivalists of a scene only their elders could recall at first hand will surely be diminished instantaneously upon hearing this most accomplished of long players." [Read the review]
Yeah Yeah Yeahs It's Blitz!
Mary Bellamy says: "Throughout this record Karen O walks the fine line between being the coolest woman in the world - the knowingly-sexy Weird Science-like indie dream woman - and yet you can also imagine her as some endearingly infatuated fan-mail sending Smiths/Cure/Blondie/Bowie obsessive, who makes music because it means so much to her." [Read the review]
DiScover Album of the Month
DM Stith Heavy Ghost
Alexander Tudor says: "Again and again, you feel like Dante descending into the pit of Hell; seeing the concentric circles of Hell, none of their figures quite discernible from this distance, and all undulating rhythmically in their endless tasks, but given personality through their distinct melodies." [Read the review]
Forthcoming albums we're looking forward to in April: Grizzly Bear, My Latest Novel, St Vincent and Crystal Antlers.