A Journal Of The Dark Arts

January 18 Recommended Albums: James Blake, Sharon Van Etten, SHXCXCHCXSH

The week of January 18 feels like the first week of 2019 that’s jam packed with new and noteworthy releases. New years always tend to start off slow, as the music industry usually spends the first two weeks or so of the new calendar year taking stock of the year that just passed, waiting for people to return from their holiday vacations and forget their frugal resolutions.

Sharon Van Etten new music

For those of who pay attention to such things, we’ve actually been waiting for January 18 for some time, as several highly-anticipated releases finally hit the shelves and the airwaves. Sharon Van Etten’s Remind Me Tomorrow has been marked on our calendar since the fall. No reminder was required, as we’ve been ginormous fans since her early days as a stripped-down acoustic troubadour. Sharon Van Etten herself offered a reminder about another album we’ve been digging this week, Maggie Roger‘s Heard It In A Past Life.

James Blake 2019

We haven’t had as much time to be excited for another of this week’s top releases. We’ve only had a few days to geek out and obsess over the news that James Blake was finally returning with a new album. The producer/singer/songwriter announced Assume Form just a few days ago. We’ve had to cram 6 months of fangirl obsession into just a few days.

Toro Y Moi chillwave

Toro Y Moi‘s Outer Peace is the other most highly-anticipated album on our list (sorry, Papa Roach didn’t make the cut.) The former king of chillwave returns with a clearer and more focused take on his trademarked sun-drenched, blissed-out sound.

January 2019 soul music

There’s a couple notable soul-heavy releases out this week you should put on your radar. Former The Beta Band frontman Steve Mason returns with his fourth solo LP, About The Light, sounding refreshingly light in these dark times. Night Beats Myth Of A Man has been called “Outlaw country dragged through a Technicolor dust storm,” and we’re not going to argue. Fans of blurry-edged, slightly psychedelic soul/funk are going to be in heaven!

Malibu Ken Aesop Rock


There’s also a few noteworthy hip-hop releases on our radar. Two of our long-standing hip-hop weirdoes, Tobacco and Aesop Rock, get together and make a mutant baby on Malibu Ken and its one of the best things we’ve heard so far this year. We’re super looking forward to hearing the new Future joint, Future Hendrxx Presents: The Wizrd, but hadn’t managed to lay hands on a morsel at the time of this writing, so we know about as much as you do. We’ll likely be up all night hitting refresh and waiting for that to drop.

January 2018 techno album

On the electronic front, a collaboration between the shadowy, enigmatic beat wizards SHXCXCHCXSH and Rotterdam’s Mord Records is a match made in Techno purgatory. Mord specializes in raw, scraping, stripped-down Techno, and SHXCXCHCXSH deliver in spades with Word. There’s also the haunting, spectral, nearly-religious drum ‘n bass of Christoph Babalon‘s Hectic Shakes, which will give you those very things.

January 18 metal albums

There’s several excellent metal albums out this week that are worth commenting on. First and most notably, there’s Swedish symphonic metal supergroup Arch Enemy‘s new covers album Covered In Blood. Do you really need to hear Arch Enemy cover Tears For Fear‘s “Shout”? Yes, you do. Then there’s the creeping gothic malevolence of A Pale Horse Named Death, with When The World Becomes Undone, which sounds sort of like a Maynard James Keenan project with David Tibet in a haunted nursery while radioactive ash falls outside.

Finally, we dug through Bandcamp as well, to make sure we were covering as much ground as possible.

For the funk diggers, you’re in luck with Italo Funk, a compilation of ’90s funk digitalis, offering a glimpse into a rare (and expensive) sub-sect of Italian dance music. You’re going to save a lot of time and money digging through crates thanks to Soul Clap Records.

Then there’s the sparkling Dream Pop of the un-Googleable The Day from Utrecht in The Netherlands, which also gets bonus points for having one of the most beautiful album covers of the week. If Beach House were a house band in Spirited Away‘s bath house, it might sound a little something like The Day.


What are y’all listening to this week? Any releases we missed you think we or Forestpunk readers should know about? We’ll be diving deeper into some of these with in-depth reviews when we get a moment, as well. Any particular albums you’d like to get our take on? Leave us a comment or get in touch on Twitter or Instagram.



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