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Music Of The Month: The Best Albums And Tracks Of Februrary 2024
Patrick Clarke , March 1st, 2024 10:18

Your guide to the best in brand new music returns, with tQ's staff selecting their albums and tracks of February 2024

This February might be only one day longer than usual, but when it comes to new music I've loved over the last 29 days, there's been enough to fill out a chart befitting a year, as the selection of absolute gems that our team here at tQ have picked out for you below will attest.

All of these picks, as well as all the other excellent music we've covered at tQ this month, will be compiled into an hours-long playlist exclusive to our subscribers. In addition, subscribers can enjoy exclusive music from some of the world's most forward-thinking artists, regular deep-dive essays, a monthly podcast, specially-curated 'Organic Intelligence' guides to under-the-radar international sub-genres, and more.

To sign up for all those benefits, and to help us keep bringing you the kind of music you're about to read about below, you can click here. And read on for the best of the best from February 2024.
Patrick Clarke


Mohammad Syfkhan – I Am Kurdish

Not being versed in Aramaic languages myself, it would be tempting to project onto Mohammad Syfkhan my own suppositions of what he might be trying to convey – world-weariness, gratefulness, humility, defiance? – though perhaps the best way to tackle I Am Kurdish is to put his story aside and look at the music itself. The title track, of course, deals with identity, and I'm reliably informed that Syfkhan wrote about the tragedy he and his family experienced, while also using the song to give thanks for having come through the horrors of a decade ago. Though more importantly perhaps – given that so many of the people who hear it won't understand it either – 'I Am Kurdish' bangs (albeit in a dignified, upstanding kind of a way – these songs rarely exceed 120 BPM, though that doesn't mean they're not engineered to make you dance).

Rooted to a sonorous bass drum, the chords of 'I Am Kurdish' or 'Az Kardam' levitate around the same bass note, as Syfkhan's vocalese alternates with the bouzouki, breaking out all by itself and striking up a memorable motif. Opener 'Do You Have A Lover Or Not', a song written by Radwan Abdullah, should almost certainly inspire people to rise from their seats and move to the Dabke rhythms regardless of their relationship status.
Jeremy Allen – read the full review here

William Doyle – Springs Eternal
(Tough Love)

If William Doyle's restless approach to influence has become a constant signature, and exhausted its initial thrill, then try not to be surprised by the start of Springs Eternal's second track, 'Now In Motion'. Out of a beat-machine click rips a brash blues riff, Doyle's guitar and voice clearer than ever while chanting the song's title like a mantra. The coda slides into a funkier shuffle, crescendos in strands of distortion, then plays straight into 'Relentless Melt', all sliding riffs and wandering bass lines as if written by an introvert Josh Homme. The two together make opener 'Garden Of The Morning' – a gorgeous, gradually unravelling weave of monophonic synth, plucked guitar and multitrack vocals – seem rather meek.
Alexander Leissle – read the full review here

Nadine Shah – Filthy Underneath

There is a fine line to tread in any creative labour when opening up about your personal struggles. It's delicate work to find how much honesty resonates with an audience and what becomes alienating. Nadine Shah navigates this rough terrain on her fifth album, Filthy Underneath, a record which deals with how, in a few very short years, she coped with the death of her mother, substance abuse, a suicide attempt, recovery and the end of her marriage. Any one of these topics could be completely overwhelming for listener and artist alike, but Shah's control of the narrative makes her songs sound more confidential than confessional. She exercises the same incisive observational skills that she previously applied to songs about social unease and toxic relationships when she turns the lens on herself, as willing to be cutting, critical and humorous when she is her own subject.
Amanda Farah – read the full review here

Laetitia Sadier – Rooting For Love
(Drag City)

An antidote to the corporate pop that forces us to be joyful, Rooting For Love offers a genuine alternative without being militant or hideously self-aware. Observing the current crop of electronic and avant pop groups indebted to Stereolab's cosmic futurism, there's a noticeable distinction between the sepia-tinged malaise that radiates from 90s post-rock and psych-pop, and the vibrant optimism of post-hauntology's sonic colour palette, in the same way Can's transcendental Future Days resists the grey gloom of Germany's post-war angst with splashes of technicolour. It's the sound of disorientation and inner peace realised as one and the same.
Hayley Scott – read the full review here

Persher – Sleep Well
(Thrill Jockey)

From soup to nuts, the debut album proper from Blawan and Pariah's Persher project is a curdled morass of spoiled riffage. A fucked, cursed, post-whatever-the-hell heap of derangement. Straightaway, Sleep Well is flat-out unhinged. That's recognisable within seconds. But the real news here is that 'unhinged' is simply Persher's baseline, their bare minimum. As the record progresses, their commitment to pushing beyond that – to pursuing maniac mode as a persistent escalating musical state of being – reveals itself layer by layer, track by track. It's a hoot.
Bernie Brooks – read the full review here

Kali Malone – All Life Long
(Ideologic Organ)

Returning is a theme which gradually emerges over the course of All Life Long. But Kali Malone isn't just returning to these pieces formed four years ago. Within the album itself she revisits tracks, replaying and reconsidering them with a different instrumental palette. With reinterpretations of earlier motifs performed in slow-motion dances by voice, brass or organ, the combinations lock together sweetly and, occasionally, dissonantly. There’s a weightiness to these reconsiderations. An attempt at changing the past, trying to find a different route. A forlorn ache lashing it all together. That accepting sensation that comes down the road of loss. A pensive hope held on to for long enough that it melts away.
Jon Buckland – read the full review here

Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru – Souvenirs

It is easy to forget how fundamental the idea of home is and the emotions that this idea can evoke in times of distress. "Clouds moving on the sky / My heart has never stopped missing home." We can hear the voice of Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru singing these words on the opening track of Souvenirs, a selection of home recordings she made while still home in Addis Ababa during the 70s and 80s, but reflecting on a dangerous period of exile which was bound to come. Later, she wonders, "Crow of the sky / ...Let me ask, have you returned / from my beloved country?" The feeling of longing is immense. Her work exists on a threshold between 'running away' and 'aiming towards'. It's hard not to connect her separation from home with images of Ukrainians emigrating from where they were born or Palestinians looking for sanctuary slightly closer to – but still absent from – home. There is no room for souvenirs when grabbing a small rucksack or carry-on bag in a rush. Emahoy made the souvenirs of this album by herself: they are compositions created in a most simple fashion by pressing record on a cassette player, into which she sings and accompanies herself on the piano.
Jakub Knera – read the full review here

Rafael Toral – Spectral Evolution

Spectral Evolution is the nature fixation of nineteenth-century Romanticism updated for a time when soundscapes can seem increasingly surreal: when rainforest sounds can come from phone speakers and birdsong can be heard over traffic. Rafael Toral's music is wide, it's huge, it's environmental. But it's not about the sublime – at least not as it's typically thought. Spectral Evolution doesn't reflect the awe in canyons, mountains and wide-open spaces. It doesn't evoke huge things, but the inundation of little things. A world that can seem clearly demarcated visually, getting blurry when you only hear it.
Daryl Worthington – read the full review here

Milkweed – Folklore 1979
(Broadside Hacks)

Folklore 1979's lyrics are lifted almost entirely wholesale from an issue of The Folklore Society's academic journal, which Milkweed came across when a fan – who, incidentally, makes wands for a living and who they've never seen since – dropped a tote bag full of issues round their home. They picked one at random, chopped it up and put it to weird earworm melodies, fed it through a meatgrinder of experimental production, and ruthlessly edited it down to just over ten minutes of running time. At times, the album evokes experimental hip hop as much as it does folk music, although they outright reject any comparisons. They, for now, have coined the term 'slacker trad'.
Patrick Clarke – read an interview here


Goblin Band – 'The Prickle Holly Bush'

'The Prickle Holly Bush' is an old, old song, known by many different names and first recorded almost a century ago. Yet Goblin Band's rendition – the London folk group's debut single – is entirely fresh, extracting resonant themes of queerness, societal rejection and chosen family from this ancient tale of a desperate figure who awaits the gallows.
Patrick Clarke

aya & Ecko Bazz – 'Essente!'

You can sense a hyper-modernist willingness to rethink and remould, to stretch and compress familiar forms in aya's music, not in an effort to show off, but simply because being boring is a waste of time. Club technicians will be thrown into rapture when this grossly distorted 'grime' tune (with Ecko Bazz's impactful vocal delivery reaching nuclear fission-levels of energy, and a brutally abrasive surface akin to Truss' tune 'Brockweir') ravages the bassbins' membranes.
Jaša Bužinel

Ex-Easter Island Head – 'Norther'

Those who've seen the esteemed experimentalists Ex-Easter Island Head at recent shows will know just how beautiful the Liverpool band's new material is. The title track from their first LP in eight years is simply transcendent.
Patrick Clarke

Olof Dreijer – 'Coral'

Building on the utopian dayglo synths of his 2023 EP for Hessle Audio, Rosa Rugosa, the lead track from Olof Dreijer's new EP for AD 93 is every bit as soothing and dazzling as those previous cuts. At a time when so many electronic music producers are pushing club music into faster and harder territory, Dreijer's more tranquil and considered offerings are a treat.
Christian Eede

Goat Girl – 'Ride Around'

Goat Girl's comeback track finds the band enlisting Lankum affiliate John 'Spud' Murphy as co-producer, a collaboration that brings out the group's best, heaviest and most experimental song to date.
Patrick Clarke

Nourished By Time – 'Hand On Me'

The lead cut from Baltimore-based Nourished By Time's new EP, Catching Chickens, which marks his debut for XL, is loaded with snappy synth-led melodies and addictive, velvety harmonies – a fitting introduction to a record apparently inspired by the scene in Rocky II in which the lead character's trainer, Mickey, makes him chase a chicken around in an alleyway to test his deftness.
Christian Eede

Pet Shop Boys – 'Loneliness'

Messrs Tennant and Lowe return with not just a banger, but a track that instantly ranks among the very best from the most imperious discography in British pop, with a masterful video to boot.
Patrick Clarke

Twice – 'I Got You'

With the beat from 'Such Great Heights' and a whole zodiac of chiming guitars and twinkling synths, 'I Got You' is exactly the kind of sassy, scrappy pop song that the Sugababes once excelled in. Meme-friendly South Koreans TWICE here give it the widescreen treatment, filling in an already intensely ear-worm-y melodic line with all sorts of highly pleasing little moments and unexpected production details. A bop, if ever there were one.
Robert Barry

Still House Plants – 'No Sleep Deep Risk'

Still House Plants' genius is the way their songs, fragmented, uncanny and off-kilter, push their way past one's instinctive reluctance to enter the mental crevices few other artists reach. The first taste of new album If I Don't Make It, I Love U finds them probing with more potency than ever before.
Patrick Clarke

Mdou Moctar – 'Funeral For Justice'

The straight-up rock & roll chords that open Mdou Moctar's new single are nothing but a pause for breath, before the band launch instantly into a manic, spiralling, hyperspeed groove of the absolute highest order.
Patrick Clarke