Our pick of this month's incoming new releases
A new month, a new batch of releases to get excited about. March may gone out in a blaze of glory with a bumper Friday of big names, but April is not about to be upstaged like that. We’ve got smooth soul and funk, a fiery alt-rock protest record, the return of the skinniest ties in indie rock and one of the finest country chanteuses of all time.
Thundercat – It Is What It Is (3 April)
The space-age soul and funk pioneer returns with the follow-up to his critically adored break Drunk. Aided by a whole host of big-name collaborators (Childish Gambino, Ty Dolla $ign, Kamasi Washington, Steve Lacy, Flying Lotus and more), Thundercat explores, “love, life and loss and the ups and downs that come with that.” Expect smooth vibes and a defiant refusal to take anything too seriously.
Mystery Jets – A Billion Heartbeats (3 April)
Jets frontman Blaine Harrison found himself in the curious position of witnessing an entire summer of protest from a vantage point as property guardian of an abandoned office block on the strand. That fire of politicised youth is present throughout the defiant, angry, invigorating alt rock of A Billion Heartbearts, particularly the anthemic and remarkably prescient pro-NHS single Hospital Radio. Its refrain of “Our love is not for sale” is a terrifically moving battle cry for those on the frontlines.
All Time Low – Wake Up, Sunshine (3 April)
What’s this? Synths? Drum machines? Auto-tune? Have the emo punks gone full-on pop? Of course not. Twenty-three seconds into opener Some Kind Of Disaster, the bassline kicks in and All Time Low sound as wonderfully, angstily, triumphantly melodic as ever. Throw back the curtains, open the windows and let Wake Up, Sunshine in. It’s a joyous shot of caffeinated pop punk that’ll kick start any day.
M Ward – Migration Stories (3 April)
Matthew Stephen Ward (aka the Him in She & Him) has a voice like a friendly ghost: simultaneously haunting and endlessly comforting. Right from the off, his 11th solo record buys into this aesthetic. Opening track Migration Of Souls sounds like its coming from the bottom of a well, while Heaven’s Nail And Hammer is buoyed along by an ethereal croon that seems beamed in across time.
Empress Of – I’m Your Empress Of (3 April)
The follow-up to 2018’s Us looks set to continue Lorely Rodriguez’s reinterpretation of pop. The synths have taken on an unashamed club angle, from the house-infused beats of lead single Give Me Another Chance to the quirky minimalist electronica of the hedonistic Love Is A Drug. I’m Your Empress Of promises innovative dancefloor pop at its best, and – if previous releases are anything to go on – a fair few surprises.
The Strokes – The New Abnormal (10 April)
No band has managed to change and stay the same quite like The Strokes. Bad Decisions takes the jittery new wave of their debut and adds an early 80s jangle that calls to mind Senseless Things and R.E.M. In other words, it’s a cracker. At The Door leans on the synths that have become more prevalent over the years, propping up a stunning vocal performance from Casablancas. All the signs point towards most diverse record yet and their best since Room On Fire.
Hamilton Leithauser – The Loves Of Your Life (10 April)
The former Walkmen leader releases his fourth “solo” record this month, following on from his stellar 2016 collaboration with Rostam Batmanglij. He’s teased three songs from the album already, each accompanied by short films featuring Leithauser alongside Ethan Hawke, Maggie Rogers and Sienna Miller. Atmospheric, hypnotic and enticingly personal, this could well be his best work since the heyday of his old wrecking crew.
Gerry Cinnamon – The Bonny (17 April)
Gerry Cinnamon hasn’t stood still for a moment since his debut Erratic Cinematic saw him rival Lewis Capaldi for the title of most beloved Scottish bloke with a guitar. In the three years since that record landed, word of mouth and a tireless work ethic have propelled Cinnamon from high point to high point. It’s a wonder he found time to record a whole new record but he has and, from singalong opener Canter right through to the end, it’s guaranteed to cement his stardom.
Liam Gallagher – MTV Unplugged (24 April)
Recorded at Hull City Hall in 2019, Liam’s take on the venerable stripped-back institution is anything but stripped-back. Gallagher cherry picks from his extensive back catalogue, both solo and Oasis, even throwing in the rarely aired Sad Song from Definitely Maybe, but the vibe is boisterous and collaborative, rather than sombre and sparse.
Lucinda Williams – Good Souls Better Angels (24 April)
The revered alt-country songstress returns with an oak-aged, stone-washed record that has sawdust and grit running through its veins. It’s been 22 years since Lucinda released one of the defining Americana records, Car Wheels On A Gravel Road, but she’s not slowing down. You Can’t Rule Me sounds like one hell of a warning shot to anyone who might try, while Man Without A Soul is steeped in marvellous melodrama. Good Souls Better Angels is everything that’s right about country music.