10 Biggest Albums of March 2016

iggy pop post pop depression
Image source: gignuts.com

We like to keep ahead of the curve here at Cultured Vultures, if only so we can ensure we keep you lot ahead of the curve too; we don’t want you missing out on anything. It’s for that reason we’re gonna start giving you heads up to the biggest, best, most exciting and most anticipated albums ahead of release, so that you can be ready and waiting for them; we don’t want them passing you by.

Plus, there’s not a whole lot to look forward to in this life, aside from taxes, death, and the probable collapse of civilization in your life time that may nullify the former but hurry along the latter. Why not let music bring a little brightness into proceedings? It’s what it’s there for.

If music be the food of love, then after this list you’re going to be fucking ravenous for March.

Jeff Buckley – You and I

While scouring the vaults to help mark the 20th anniversary of Jeff Buckley’s Grace, back in 2014, Sony ended up finding a little more than they bargained for when a number of unreleased and forgotten gems turned up in too. Deciding they’d found something special, these gems were held back to be compiled into a release of their own.

Now, the cynic in you may say it was so they could make even more money off of another posthumous release, which would probably be true. Even so, if the remaining seven covers and two original tracks sound anywhere near as heart-wrenchingly beautiful as the already released version of ‘I Know It’s Over’ by The Smiths, is there anything to complain about really?

Though, given that You and I is being overseen by Buckley’s mother, it might just be a touching tribute and a further insight into one of popular music’s most angelic voices.

 

Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression

We already worked ourselves into quite a tizzy over this release. Back when it was out of the blue announced that Iggy Pop had teamed up with Josh Homme and co to record an album, and that it was to be expected imminently, we all got a bit worked up. I think it’s fair to say that you all got a little worked up to.

I mean, what’s there not to get excited about? The street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm and one of the original rock gods teaming up with the king of the desert and perhaps modern rock’s most prolific auteur. The tracks that have been previewed so far have only increased that existing excitement as they’ve oozed nothing but sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and classic cool.

Potentially Iggy Pop’s last album, it’s more than likely that the never knowingly overdressed legend is going to sign out on quite a statement.

 

The Joy Formidable – Hitch

Everyone’s favourite not-quite-definable three piece from North Wales are finally set to follow-up 2013’s Wolf’s Law. If anticipation wasn’t already high enough – three years is plenty of time to get more than a little eager, and get a degree while you’re waiting – the leadoff single for the album, ‘The Last Thing on My Mind’ dropped back in January and brought that reliable blend of genres that The Joy Formidable do so well.

The band have explained the gap between this record and their last as them having taken their time to make something truly special. Can we really begrudge them that if the end result is an awesome album for us to digest? The answer is yes, but only because we’re impatient and ever so demanding. Regardless though, on the strength of ‘The Last Thing on My Mind’, Hitch is looking to be one of this year’s big albums, let alone March’s.

 

Primal Scream – Chaosmosis

Primal Scream have been careening between dance and rock all across their thirty-four year career, creating classic albums and titular portmanteau’s in the process. Often seeming to alternate album by album between both genres, though usually finding some kind of melted middle point between them.

The band’s first album since 2013’s rather critically acclaimed More Light found them in rejuvenated form, Chaosmosis looks set to embrace their more dance-orientated and euphoric spirit, albeit inflected by the psychedlic rock they’re also inclined to. Its first single, the Sky Ferreira featuring ‘Where The Light Gets In’, finds the band armed with an electro groove, sequencers galore, squelchy bass, and euro keys. However, there’s an underlying 60s inspired melancholia that washes through.

 

The Coral – Distance Inbetween

Five years having passed since indie legends of the psychedelic persuasion The Coral went on hiatus, the band have decided they’ve had quite enough of a break at this point. Well, I mean, it was obviously before this exact point, because at some earlier point they would’ve had to have got together to write and record this album. That’s like working, man.

Anyway, the album that The Coral will be getting back to work with, Distance Inbetween, is certainly shaping up to have been worth the wait for fans. Especially if the breezy psychedelia of ‘Miss Fortune’ is anything to go by. Sounding reinvigorated after their time off, the track is a crisp and colourful track ripe for spring and summer, with a driven rhythm section urging it on. Classic and contemporary sounding, it’s a slice of Technicolor guitar pop.

 

White Denim – Stiff

Austin, Texas’s very own jumble sale of only the grooviest genres, White Denim, are seeing fit – and boy is it a snug fit – to come back to the fold with their follow-up to 2013’s Corsicana Lemonade. Mind you that’s not long enough to be really considered coming back, but two years is a pretty long time these days; long enough even for the band’s denim jeans to go stiff – at least that’s what I assume the album title is referring too…

However, on the basis of the tasters and teases for the new album it hasn’t been long enough that these boys have forgotten how to get down, and get down they do! ‘Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)’ is a funky slice of blues ‘n’ soul, while ‘Hold You (I’m Psycho)’ is a blistering bit of garage charged 70s rock, strutting and thrusting its way all about the place like a peacock.

 

Nada Surf – You Know Who You Are

American indie music mainstays Nada Surf will be releasing their first new album in four years, having only dropped a B-sides collection since 2012’s The Star Are Indifferent To Astronomy, and whilst the subject of the album’s title might know who they are, Nada Surf certainly still know who they are.

The first samples of the new album have found the band on fan-pleasing form, with ‘Believe You’re Mine’ boasting a quietly comfortable melancholia, perfect for shuffling around your day to day awkwardly as you think about it all and admire that someone you’re in love with from afar, as well as characteristically delicate harmonies and dream pop instrumental textures. Then ‘Cold To See Clear’ is an emotionally climactic scene in a TV comedy/drama series away from world domination.

Specifically, if How I Met Your Mother hadn’t ended (and was still in its primes) Ted would definitely be running through New York to do something crazy and romantic to this. As it is, indie film directors, do something with this, yeah?

 

The Violent Femmes -We Can Do Anything

I’ve touched upon a few breaks between releases so far, but The Violent Femmes certainly take the biscuit, what with We Can Do Anything being the band’s first new album in 15 years. I know, right? However, to be fair, it’s been a somewhat turbulent 15 years, what with a lawsuit between members, changes behind the drum kit, a break up, a reunion, and changes behind the drum kit.

Even though things have been quiet on the creative front for the band, it looks like this album is going to come to life like there’d not been 15 years in between. Lead single ‘Memory’ skiffles along on the stripped to the basics quirky punk inspired folk the band have been renowned for since the beginning way back when. Saying that, time has impacted them in one way; the youthful angst of their lyrics has definitely been usurped by middle aged despair, and it’s just lovely.

 

Kiran Leonard – Grapefruit

We first covered this infuriatingly talented musical prodigy cum troubadour a few years back – off the back of his mighty impressive kaleidoscopic genre crash of a debut album Bowler Hat Soup – and in the time since he seems to have only become more infuriatingly talented. Bastard!

Grapefruit is the sophomore to Bowler Hat Soup‘s debut, and it looks to be a more compositionally confident creature, as well as a simultaneously more melodic and noisier beast to boot; further evidenced in his acknowledging Deerhoof and Shellac as influences this time around. First taste ‘Pink Fruit’ actually finds him embracing his inner Jeff Buckley, had Buckley been into early post-hardcore and around long enough for math rock.

 

Poliça – United Crushers

Showing absolutely no sign of difficult second album syndrome, Poliça promptly followed up 2012’s debut, Give You the Ghost, with their more ambitious and self-assured sophomore, Shulamith, in 2013. Given the gap between then and now, you might be forgiven for thinking it actually a difficult third album syndrome.

That quite simply doesn’t seem to be the case at all though. In fact, the gap has been more of a break for the band to stay put, reassess some things, and let family and private life be a priority for a bit. And a world of good it’s done them too, because the band have returned rejuvenated and embraced a sharper edge yet again in their music. Lead single ‘Lime Habit’ is a precise and tight slice of passionate synth pop marked by an electronic darkness, but infused with an emotive tenderness.

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