This week’s hot six bursts into action with Tangk, the righteous and vibrant fifth album from madcap truth-seekers Idles. Pronounced ‘tank’ with a whiff of the ‘g’ – an onomatopoeic reference to the lashing way the band imagined their guitars sounding that has since grown into a sigil for living in love – the record is the band’s most ambitious and striking work yet. Where Idles were once set on taking the world’s piss, squaring off with strong jaws against the perennially entitled and exercising personal trauma in real time, they have arrived in this new act to offer the fruits of such perseverance: love, joy, and indeed gratitude for the mere opportunity of existence.
A prolific storyteller, Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle is inspired by a wide range of subjects, from the overwhelming beauty of nature to the mundane moments that spark life’s strongest memories. The buoyant lead single ‘Watercooler’ comments on the dichotomy of both, inspired by having his own outdoorsy rock guy (in both senses of the word) lifestyle while his partner had an office job. With the album title Blu Wav meant as a literal mash-up of ‘bluegrass’ and ‘new wave’, the new collection has a distinct feel, a consistent vibe and a somewhat unexpected sound, introducing pedal steel into the band’s repertoire for the first time.
The Glorification of Sadness is more than an album about relationships: it covers the celebration of finding your way back after leaving a long-term relationship, being empowered even in your failures and taking responsibility for your own happiness. It is Paloma Faith’s most personal album to date, drawing on her own experiences, in which she acts as the anchor for a deeply personal narrative. This is the first new music from Paloma since the release of her fifth studio album, Infinite Things, in November 2020 and is the first time in her career that she has executively produced a record.
Atlanta-based quintet Blackberry Smoke return with their 8th studio album, Be Right Here, produced by Dave Cobb. The band’s previous album, You Hear Georgia, was released to critical acclaim, with No Depression praising the band for being “the reigning heavyweight champions of Southern rock … as much students of singer-songwriter-folk and outlaw country as they are of jam-based, chest-pumping rock,” while Guitar World declared: “Many try to reproduce that holy grail, golden-era-of-classic-rock sound through their six-string escapades, yet only a handful ultimately succeed. One such band who succeeds in spades is Blackberry Smoke.”
As one of the most traditional guitar bands to emerge during the Britpop era of the mid-’90s, and one of its big success stories, Cast have carved out a sound that was heavily indebted to the British Invasion of the early ’60s but infused with a mystical, pseudo-hippie lyrical sensibility that lead singer John Power expanded upon. What really made Cast into a success was Power’s gift for simple, classic pop hooks, as demonstrated on the hit singles ‘Fine Time’, ‘Alright’ and ‘Walkaway’. Power’s gift for sparkling melodies and instantly addictive hooks remains as strong as ever, and he has hinted that the band’s new album, Love Is the Call, will feel like a missing link between his time with The La’s and Cast’s debut album, All Change.
Our release of the week is Filthy Underneath – the follow-up to 2020’s critically acclaimed Kitchen Sink and 2017’s Mercury Prize-nominated Holiday Destination – which chronicles a period of unprecedented turbulence in Nadine Shah’s life. And yet, the experience of listening to it is oddly life-affirming: a parade of ghosts spanning the entirety of Nadine’s thirty-seven years, moving with balletic beauty to the music that Nadine and long-time co-writer and producer Ben Hillier have created around them, with renewed emphasis on placing melody and movement front and centre.
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