Five new albums to try this week: Panda Bear, Dan Mangan and more

Stream new albums, from Liam Hayes’ upbeat rock to Joyce Moreno’s jazz, and let us know what you’ll be listening to

Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper (Domino)

Why you should listen: Animal Collective co-founder Noah Lennox offers up squelching synths and reverb-drenched songs that ought to still please fans of his past solo work. See how well the album, which premiered track-by-track on radio stations across the globe, shapes up as a cohesive whole.

It might not be for you if … You find Lennox’s layers of harmonised vocals and electronic psychedelia more exhausting than exhilarating.

What we said: “For all the reappearance of what you might call Panda Bear motifs – the multi-tracked harmony vocals, the crunchy electronic rhythms, an apparently bottomless supply of whooshing, gusting sound effects – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper is still capable of springing surprises,” wrote Alexis Petridis, in his lead review for the Guardian. Read Kitty Empire’s four-star lead review from the Observer here.

Score: 4/5

Liam Hayes – Slurrup (Fat Possum)

Why you should listen: This latest release from Hayes, more often known as Plush, takes 1960s-inspired poppy guitar riffs and scatters them over surprisingly upbeat, almost sunny, psychedelia-lite.

It might not be for you if … You’re happier with Plush’s finger-clicking, languid material – all this uptempo stuff feels a bit manic.

What we said: “This latest, fifth, surprisingly perky, psychedelic doodle on Hayes’s own great American songbook arrives in an uncharacteristic rush after last autumn’s only semi-expected Korp Sole Roller album,” wrote Kitty Empire, in the Observer. Click here for Maddy Costa’s slightly less enthusiatic three-star review in the Guardian.

Score: 4/5

Stream Hayes’ album in full on the New York Times site

Dan Mangan + Blacksmith – Club Meds (City Slang)

Why you should listen: Canadian singer-songwriter Mangan beefs up his act with a backing band here, touching on themes of self-medication over richly composed slices of guitar-driven experimental rock.

It might not be for you if The beards. You just can’t see past those trendy-looking beards (though, to be fair, there is some beautiful music on offer here).

What we said: “Lyrically engaging and musically adventurous, with the arrangements here more ambitious than on [its] predecessor, Oh Fortune,” wrote Tim Jonze, in the Guardian. Paul Mardles also gave the album four stars, in his Observer review.

Score: 4/5

Joyce Moreno – Raiz (Far Out)

Why you should listen: The Brazilian guitarist and singer-songwriter rolls through an ode to her musical beginnings, rejigging her favourite bossa nova and jazz classics.

It might not be for you if … You’re gutted that you don’t speak Portuguese, and thus can’t understand the lyrics.

What we said: “This is a celebration of Joyce’s Raiz (roots) in which she also includes favourites by Tom Jobim and Dorival Caymmi, and is backed by a trio including jazz pianist Helio Alves and her percussionist husband, Tutty Moreno,” wrote Robin Denselow, in the Guardian.

Score: 4/5

Diagrams – Chromatics (Full Time Hobby)

Why you should listen: Sam Genders, ex-frontman of folktronica band Tunng, dives deeper into electronic elements, though still makes plenty of time for gentle acoustic guitar and insightfully observant lyrics.

It might not be for you if … This all just feels a little soft, and you were looking forward to something with more teeth.

What we said: “Foreboding as his lyrics often are, there is enormous hope at the heart of this music, and its gentle, almost Elbow-like melodies transform his worries into a warm, soft sanctuary,” wrote Harriet Gibsone, in the Guardian.

Score: 4/5

Which albums are you keen to listen to this week? Share your choices in the comments, and help us all add something unexpected to our listening lists.

Contributor

Tshepo Mokoena

The GuardianTramp

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