New music preview: March

TOM SPENCE lets you know what to listen to in March to make people think you’re cool.

Albums Godspeed You! Black Emperor James Bay Music Portico Sufjan Stevens the prodigy

March has already seen new albums from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Modest Mouse and Kelly Clarkson, but there’s plenty more on its way to help you through revision:


Chaos and The Calm – James Bay – 23rd March

Coming hot on the heels of his Critics’ Choice award at the Brits and runner-up position in BBC’s Sound of 2015, James Bay’s debut LP is coming out on March 23rd on Republic Records.  The songs he’s released so far have a stripped-down, stark feel, and if you didn’t like ‘Hold Back the River’, well, you probably have no heart.  Sorry to break it to you.


Living Fields – Portico – 23rd March

Formerly known as Portico Quartet, the band that launched Nick Mulvey’s career have undergone a big stylistic change since dropping half their name and changing label.  Gone are the saxophones and twitchy nu-jazz rhythms and in their place are rippling electronic beats.  The remaining three members has been collaborating with several musicians (including Alt-J vocalist Joe Newman) to great effect on what could be the year’s best chill-out album so far:


The Day is My Enemy – The Prodigy – 30th March

The Prodigy have been pretty quiet since 2008’s Invaders Must Die, but they’re finally about to release the album they’ve been talking about since 2012.  The lead single, ‘Nasty’, is an example of what The Prodigy do best: energetic, angry big beat like that on Invaders Must Die and The Fat of the Land.  If those two albums are anything to go by, you’ll probably be hearing these tracks in clubs and parties for a long time:


Carrie & Lowell – Sufjan Stevens – 30th March

The end of the month sees Sufjan Stevens’ first album release since 2010’s The Age of Adz (If you exclude the three-hour-long experimental Christmas album he released in 2012…),  and it marks a departure from the electronic experimentation of that record and a return to Stevens’ folkier roots.  Inspired by the death of his mother, Carrie & Lowell promises to be an emotional and introspective album and its first two singles with their delicate textures haven’t disappointed:


Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress – Godspeed You! Black Emperor – 30th March

If your music taste tends more towards 20-minute instrumental jams, then you’re in luck – March 30th brings the fifth offering from Canadian post-rock stars Godspeed You! Black Emperor.  This (almost eight-minute long) excerpt of one of the tracks sound almost as though Sonic Youth and Titus Andronicus had a baby, which can only be a good thing, right?


With Ludacris, Death Cab for Cutie and Wale all bringing out new material this month as well, March is set to be great for music.  But will anything be able to top the start March got off to with Shania Twain’s Still The One: Live From Vegas?  Probably not.