More new releases for 17 November 2023

We’ve got some more peaches due for release on 17th November, and the first is Songs of Silence – incredibly, Vince Clarke’s first ever solo album. As its title suggests, Songs of Silence is a lyric-less instrumental album, and is hugely evocative for that. Unlike anything you’ve previously heard from Clarke as an artisan of dynamic electropop in Erasure, Depeche Mode and Yazoo, Songs of Silence has about it a more sober ambient electronic beauty. Its unique characteristics put it in a category of its own. For the creation of the record Vince set himself two rules: first, that the sounds he himself generated for the album would come solely from Eurorack (a modular synthesizer format introduced in the mid-90s); second, that each track would be based around one note, maintaining a single key throughout.

Global icon and recent Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame inductee Dolly Parton has joined forces with some of rock music’s most legendary artists along with today’s biggest stars for her first-ever rock album, Rockstar. The ever-evolving Parton teamed up with an all-star roster of musicians for the 30-song collection, which includes 9 original tracks and 21 covers of classic rock anthems.

Following on from the release of their highly praised 2020 LP Darkness Brings Wonders Home, which was applauded by the likes of Mojo, Clash Magazine, Q and many more, alt-folk duo Smoke Fairies return once again with their sixth studio album, Carried in Sound. A sense of inner strength dominates the new record. In keeping with the times that bore it, Carried in Sound isn’t afraid to discuss darkness – but everywhere there is a longing for light. “Although the album has themes of sadness on there, it’s looking at those things from a place of strength,” says Jessica.

Acclaimed American singer-songwriter-poet Jewel has enjoyed career longevity rare among her generation of artists. Since achieving international stardom 25 years ago, she has emerged as a charismatic live performer and a respected songwriter with 13 studio albums and four Grammy nominations to date. The 25th anniversary deluxe edition of Jewel’s second album, Spirit, includes the singles ‘Hands’, ‘Down So Long’ and ‘Jupiter’. The 2-CD set features eight previously unreleased demos and out-takes, rare live performances, and a collection of singles.

The Polyphonic Spree harness the flames of rebirth on their 2023 full-length offering, Salvage Enterprise. Led by multi-instrumentalist visionary Tim DeLaughter, the group embark on their next season. They’re reverent of their history, yet they’re also ready for an even brighter tomorrow. “Across all of the music I’ve done, lyrically there’s a sense of desperation and a moment of convincing myself I’m going to make it through regardless of how the music dresses up,” notes Tim. “On this one, I struggled with the amount of vulnerability I was experiencing and was willing to share both musically and lyrically, but ultimately decided to let it play out. Now that it’s done, I’m happy with the dance between the two. It’s a ‘rising-from-the ashes’ record.

Our release of the week is Laugh Track, the surprise companion to The National’s April release First Two Pages of Frankenstein. This is the band’s most freewheeling, all-hands-on-deck album in years. If Frankenstein represented a rebuilding of trust between group members after more than 20 years together, the vibrant, exploratory Laugh Track is both the product of that faith and a new statement of intent. Revelling in the licence to radically upend its creative process, The National honed most of this material in live performances on tour, and captured those invigorated versions in impromptu sessions at producer Tucker Martine’s Portland studio. Two nights later in Vancouver, the nearly eight-minute album closer ‘Smoke Detector’ was recorded during soundcheck, completing a body of work bristling with spontaneity and vintage rock energy that makes a perfect complement to the songs found on its more introspective predecessor.

The National - Laugh TrackVince Clarke - Songs of SilenceDolly Parton - RockstarSmoke Fairies - Carried in SoundJewel - Spirit (25th Anniversary Edition)The Polyphonic Spree - Salvage Enterprise

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