April 2023's music blogger roundtable
Bringing together music bloggers to discuss music highlights from April 2023
Following on from our inaugural music blogger roundtable in March, we return to run the rule over releases from April. 5-9 editor, Andrew Belt, joins the following music bloggers for the discussion:
Sophie (otherwise known as Purpl Mac) who is a new music fan lover from Belgium.
She likes to support new indie & alternative music bands by featuring them on her show/podcast, playlists and on social media.
She is also a lover of music on vinyl growing her collection of physical copies and digital copies on bandcamp.
Andrew Lambert is a freelance writer who can be found ranting and raving about all things music related on HeadStuff where he is Music Editor, or in print for Totally Dublin, The Thin Air and The GOO among others.
Andy Peterson is a music writer for Live4ever Media and runs the Voice of Unreason music blog. In his own words, he says: “I’ve been writing about music for various places on the internet since 2007. So many records, so little time.”
5-9: the record - did it live up to the hype?
Andrew Lambert: I have to admit I was slightly underwhelmed. It's a solid album but my expectations were sky high considering the combined talents of boygenius - some of the tracks feel a little like outtakes and B-Sides from solo work rather than a collective songwriting effort. The best moments for me tend to be the rock tracks such as '$20', 'Satanist' and 'Anti-Curse' which have that big band feel - a full album along these lines sounds like a more intriguing prospect for the future! Props to Julien and Lucy for outshining the biggest name in the band though.
Andrew Belt: I fully agree with Andrew. If the project had been a bit heavier on the rock side of things and kept the best folkier songs then the hype may have been justified. As it was, it's an enjoyable album but, despite the huge talent in the band, nothing more. It's one of the albums we reviewed in the last 5-9 Album of the Month podcast and broadly, without giving the game away, the three of us agreed with this verdict.
5-9: Soph, your picks for April were Teleman and The Bankrobber (we'll return to The National next month!). Did their albums live up to expectations?
Soph: I just ordered Teleman's album this week. Really love the production on it and the way the lyrics are delivered. They already have a decent fan base and should grow more with this release. I also received the vinyl of Italian band The Bankrobber and it has been in my ears a lot in April. Lots of variety on the album, full of bangers - indie rock/pop with a modern twist.
5-9: Andy, you selected the records by Everything But the Girl and Daughter as ones to look out for April, so how did they fare for you?
Andy: Everything But The Girl’s Fuse was a near flawless revival of something which had seemed consigned to the 20th century. Daughter’s Stereo Mind Game was less remarkable, but worthwhile all the same.
5-9: What was the best album last month?
Andy: James Holden’s Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space of all Possibilities (!) - the best electronica album of the year so far.
Soph: Temples on the 'well known side' with a generous album full of gems. I am sure Exotico will be on my list of 2023 favourite albums and going underground as I like to shed light on less known acts, I enjoyed the debut psychedelic album of American band, Psychic Love Child and especially the track 'Honey Business'.
Andrew Lambert: Technically an EP but Forever Means by Angel Olsen is just a stunning four track of Big Time outtakes that further illustrates Olsen's level at this moment in time. Is there anything that woman can't do right now?! She could release a dubstep or grindcore project in 2024 and I'd wager it would be AOTY material. Elsewhere my surprise shout of the month has gotta go to Metallica for 72 Seasons - way way better than anticipated, perhaps because I had no expectations whatsoever at this stage in their careers. They've stuck it to doubters like me though - this is an album stacked wall to wall with absolute face melters!
On the home front, Arborist released my Irish album of the month with An Endless Sequence Of Dead Zeros.
Andrew Belt: Outside of the five albums which will be discussed in the upcoming Album of the Month podcast (which may or may not include my favourite from the month - TBC), Blondshell's self-titled debut album was my favourite in April. A stunning first effort from 25-year-old Sabrina Teitelbaum which I gave an 8.3/10 review for the site.
5-9: Best song in April?
Andrew Belt: Naturally, I gravitated to my favourite album of the month for this. Blondshell's 'Salad' is full of drama and reminds me of Queens of the Stone Age's 'Go With the Flow' in the chorus which is no bad thing.
Andrew Lambert: '10:17' by Phil Ellison was a brilliant debut single that promises much from the burgeoning electronic songwriter from Dublin.
Andy: 'The Juice' by Teleman.
5-9: What was the best gig you attended last month?
Andrew Lambert: M(h)aol brought the punk vibes to Workman's Club in a big way this past month with a ferocious album launch. of their excellent debut Attachment Styles.
Andrew Belt: Just the one gig and one I wrote about for 5-9 - Brooke Bentham at St Pancras Old Church. A wonderful setting for live music and an excellent support act too in Brooke's bassist, Mathilde Bataillé
Andy: No gigs in April, but I am very much looking forward to seeing Scowl today (1 May).
5-9: What's exciting you about May?
Soph: The National will be on repeat from 28 April, Las Robertas (from Costa Rica) are touring Europe if you like modern psychedelic rock and Sumos (from Manchester) are releasing an indie pop debut album.
Andrew Lambert: I know it actually dropped on Friday (28 April) but I'll be listening to First Two Pages Of Frankenstein a lot over the next month for sure! The National rarely let you down. I will be approaching Sufjan's new project with a degree of caution as his collaborations tend to be majorly hit or miss, so here's hoping that Reflections is closer to A Beginner's Mind than Aporia.
I'm also intrigued to hear where Arlo Parks goes with My Soft Machine after one of the best debuts of 2020.
Andy: May looks a little on the thin side, but Alison Goldfrapp’s first solo album looks intriguing, whilst The Lemon Twigs and BC Camplight should tide us all over until an epic-looking June.
Andrew Belt: All three albums I'm most excited about mentioned already (Arlo Parks, Alison Goldfrapp and BC Camplight). Fortunately for me, BC Camplight won the public vote as the fifth record making the cut for May's Album of the Month podcast so all three will be discussed in that episode. Probably the podcast I've most looked forward to, with The Lemon Twigs and Sad Boys Club making up the full line-up.
To keep up to date with Sophie's shows, podcasts and more follow her on Twitter - @macaronpurpl - or on Instagram - @purplemacpodcast.
For Andrew Lambert: Twitter and Instagram - @lambertandrew91.
For Andy: @ArcticReviews on Twitter and @vormusicblog on Instagram.
For a further deep dive into last month's music, keep an eye out for 5-9's Album of the Month podcast coming out in mid-May.