FKA twigs, Shabazz Palaces, Lil Silva – and more – won August. Here are the ten essential releases
FKA TWIGS – LP1
FKA twigs’ first full-length release is fluid yet rock-solid. Her vocals coalesce into various forms and identies – seductress, wronged lover, obsessor – in an ever-morphing way that forbids passive listening. This might make LP1 sound like hard work, but it isn’t. It’s a forward-thinking, generous-hearted record that will hopefully mark a point in popular British music when things got real interesting at the avant-garde.
SHABAZZ PALACES – LESE MAJESTE
The Seattle hip hop duo's second album is packed with crunching space-conscious beats and intellect-piqueing lyricism from frontman Ishmael Butler. One to get your mind working and your synapses twerking – and there’s #CAKE too.
MOZART’S SISTER – BEING
Montreal’s Caila Thompson-Hannant shows that being DIY – she wrote, recorded and produced the LP herself – needn’t mean sacrificing finesse in the pop world. Being is a sparkling, intrepid debut, with synth patterns which feel comfortably loose, but grip all the tighter for it. Her vocals, meanwhile, propel an ever-churning emotional response.
SIA – 1000 FORMS OF FEAR
The faceless superhero of contemporary pop delivers a chart-ruling, autobiographical record that channels personal turmoil into vast, heart-wrenching pop numbers. It resonates immediately, exploring the underbelly of life while soaring into your ears – quite the feat.
FHLOSTON PARADIGM – THE PHOENIX
Philadelphia dance music legend King Britt takes on a Fifth Element-inspired alias to set this record loose on Hyperdub. It's a lustrous album that rockets you far into an afrofuturistic galaxy that is totally down with techno, and was recorded on analogue synthesisers with beautiful vocals turns by Natasha Kmeto, Pia Ercole, and Rachel Claudio. Written to muted scenes from Blade Runner, as well as – naturally – The Fifth Element, it's a voyage worth embarking on as soon as you can.
LA ROUX – TROUBLE IN PARADISE
If you’ve yet to catch on to synthpop heroine La Roux's follow-up to 2009's self-titled debut, get to it now. Trouble In Paradise is a sumptuous, intelligent pop album which tips you into a palm-enclosed 80s discotheque that blends stirring ballads and hook-laden big numbers.
HYPERDUB – 10.2
Hyperdub gets flirty on for this second – R&B-focussed – installment in its series of ten year anniversary releases. This fine collection of cuts from Jessy Lanza, DJ Rashad, Ikonika, Cooly G, Burial and the rest fuse into a sultry celebration of the label's poppier roster. Just what to stick on the stereo when your dance floor is looking deflated; or when that person walks into the room.
WOMAN’S HOUR – CONVERSATIONS
The debut full length from the Kendal sophisti-pop group is ruminative and undeniably charming. Lead singer Fiona Burgess’ silken vocals invite an air of confidence of the kind passed between close friends, whilst the band shield you from interlopers with their synth-submerged pop structures.
LAWRENCE ENGLISH – WILDERNESS OF MIRRORS
Australia's drone/distortion-friendly composer immerses you into a volley of reflected sonics. On Wilderness of Mirrors, he creates an astounding listening experience of undulating noise courtesy of self-made metallic instruments.
LIL SILVA – MABEL EP
On his sublime new release, Lil Silva flickers a little more of the spotlight onto his own singing voice – as well as including two star turns from his songwriting soulmate Banks. The five tracks are a great showcase of his ability to create sonic beds you want to wallow in forever, whilst those indecently seductive vocal lines seep into your dreams.