‘A folk music wolf in doom metal clothing’: readers’ favourite albums of 2024 so far

Estimated read time 7 min read

Francis of Delirium – Lighthouse

Is it dream pop? Shoegaze? Grunge? No idea, but I adore it. It’s so immediate. The first time I played it, it was as if I’d been listening to it all of my life. It brought back memories of being a lovestruck teenager from more than four decades ago. I can just play it and float back to my youth – the good bits, fortunately – although it also soothed away some of the more traumatic episodes. I managed to catch them live, and it was glorious. David High, St Ives, Cambridgeshire

English Teacher – This Could Be Texas

I’m in my dotage (well, 64) but I’m absolutely thrilled that there is still music that fascinates and excites me. This lot sound like they’ve been having a sneaky peek at my own record collection: a dash of Canadian singer Veda Hille, a touch of Brit rocker Carina Round, even the whiff of Thea Gilmore’s recent spoken word pieces, and an almost prog-rock approach to structure. It’s a beautiful, bold and totally involving album, and I can’t wait to hear more. Adam Kimmel, London

Big Brave.View image in fullscreen

Big Brave – A Chaos of Flowers

If majestic, hypnotic, minimalist doom metal settings of poems reflecting on themes of female alienation and challenging societal norms sounds intriguing, then please do yourself a favour and check out Big Brave’s latest album, A Chaos of Flowers. Even if this description doesn’t sound like your bag, I guarantee you’ll not have heard anything else like it this year – or possibly ever. It’s an astonishing work, full of beauty, pain, power and fragility. Utterly captivating and compelling. And more than that, it’s really a folk album. A folk music wolf lurking in doom metal’s clothing. Hana Prosser, Oxford

Kali Malone – All Life Long

Although already a fan of Kali Malone, I had kind of forgotten about her. After reading Alexis Pertridis’s review, I bought the vinyl and I not only fell in love with this album, but back in love with music. The joy of letting the needle drop and just tuning in to an artist’s vision, message and mood with no expectations. Who knew the sound of a church organ sustaining a note for such a long time could be so magical. The effort, time and patience that went into making this record was so worth it, and Kali deserves a much wider audience. This and Nightracks on Radio 3 are now the soundtrack of my evenings and I am in love with music again as I was as a 14-year-old. God bless Kali Malone. Richard Connell, London

Big Special – Postindustrial Hometown Blues

This album really took me by surprise. I was curious enough to buy the album based on the singles that had been on rotation on 6Music (Trees and This Here Ain’t Water), but I was unprepared for the innovative, edgy, heartfelt assault that this album hands out. I could best describe the genre as blues/punk with a Black Country lilt. Hope to catch them live soon. Dave Adlington, Shropshire

Beyoncé – Cowboy Carter

I’ve never been a fan of Beyoncé but was travelling with my daughter the day this album was dropped on Spotify. (She was driving, so her choice of music.) I was impressed straight away; not one duff track. It’s hardly been off my playlist since. Brilliant, diverse genres, really clever lyrically and musically. I have tried to listen to her other albums but in my opinion this is by far the best she’s ever done. Rowena Corbin, Dorset

The Libertines – All Quiet on the Eastern Esplanade

All Quiet on the Eastern Esplanade is an award-worthy triumph born of friendship, loyalty, discipline and a unique blend of superlative talents. The fabulous range of musical styles is delivered with confidence, charm, and style. And it’s done with such warmth, enthusiasm and professionalism that they pull off that range without sounding pretentious. This is coming from someone who hadn’t paid particular attention to the Libertines, beyond singing along to singles on the radio. My appreciation is helped along by the fact that I am a recovering addict, so I have huge sympathy for the challenges the band have very publicly faced in the past. It’s wonderful to see people come through that and do great things. David, Devon

Marika Hackman – Big Sigh

Marika Hackman’s Big Sigh is the album that resonates with me the deepest. It seems odd on the surface, given the songs are deeply considered ruminations on a young woman’s love, yet the emotions expressed touched me as a much older man. The music, rich in the melodic and instrumental stylings typical of similarly introspective artists like Lana Del Rey and Death Cab for Cutie, is highly inventive. Every song on this relatively short album is a winner and all weave together into a wholly satisfying whole. Hackman has made excellent records before, but this is special. Richard Keeling, St Louis, Missouri, USA

RM – Right Place, Wrong Person

Rich and thoughtful, bound by no boundaries, a musical and lyrical treat. The ambience of music videos complements the whole premise of this album. Veronika, Cardiff

Nadine Shah – Filthy Underneath

In a strong field, Nadine Shah’s Filthy Underneath stands out for sheer quality from start to finish. After a couple of years of hell in her personal life, she has channelled the struggle into something special. Dark, wry, spare, and full of rhythms that take you over, it hardly has a weak track. Topless Mother has surely the chorus of the year, the disparate yellow list of items, places and people somehow making perfect sense. You Drive, I Shoot’s uncertain narrator pulls you into the unnerving bowels of a mental health clinic. Twenty Things is another highlight – dark but pretty, prosaic yet epic. Ben Jones, London

Jasmine Myra.View image in fullscreen

Jasmine Myra – Rising

Rising by Jasmine Myra is a beautifully put together jazz album, full of rich textures and wonderfully layered. The production and instrumentation are incredibly tight, yet you can feel the freedom and emotion that runs through every track. It’s a huge step from her previous album and yet the sound is so distinctively hers. Tom, Kent

Adrienne Lenker – Bright Future

Adrienne Lenker’s Bright Future is so beautiful yet the lyrics can be absolutely heartbreaking. The album dropped a week or two before my wife gave birth to our first baby, a boy we named Archie, and it made up a good chunk of the playlist that we played while she gave birth. Some of the songs, such as Sadness Is a Gift and Free Treasure, will always take me back to the birthing suite at Westmead hospital. Keegan, Sydney, Australia

Kim Gordon – The Collective

Kim Gordon is just as relentlessly experimental as she ever was, integrating trap beats and leftfield noise to produce an album of stunning quality with no filler that stands alongside the best of her work with Sonic Youth. Ian Simmons, Westcliff-on-Sea

Twenty One Pilots – Clancy

I am absolutely in love with Twenty One Pilots’ new album Clancy. Every song feels different but cohesive as you listen through the album. It was also great that they had a live launch on YouTube where they discussed each song before releasing music videos for every song on the album, showing their incredible talent and hard work. Sarah, Bedford

The Lovely Eggs – Eggsistentialism

Eggsistentialism by the Lovely Eggs is a classic album by any standard. It combines themes as diverse as love, strength, defiance and being at the end of your tether; it teeters on the brink of losing-it desperation in a way that has you laughing one minute and feeling melancholy the next. So many standout songs but Nothing/Everything is definitely up there with the best; so many styles and genres, pulled off with ease. Mike Duckles, Leicester

Source: theguardian.com

You May Also Like

More From Author