Our six Valentines to you start with Nightroamer, the third album from Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, a North Carolina band who merge raw country with punk grit and pop sensibilities. They make straightforward, undiluted songs about shared hardships and unlikely victories that can bring even the most polarised people together: “We are not responsible for other people’s behavior and sometimes we have more say in our own lives than we believe. The moment we realize this we start awkwardly constructing this cerebral bridge that’s somewhat clunky and weird but its finally taking us in the direction we want to go. The songs on Nightroamer are beautiful, agonizing, magnetic, mischievous, indomitable pieces of the clunky and weird brain bridge to personal autonomy.”
An extension of Khruangbin & Leon Bridges’ chart-topping four-song Texas Sun journey, Texas Moon is an introspective stroll through the dark. “Without joy, there can be no real perspective on sorrow,” says Khruangbin. “Without sunlight, all this rain keeps things from growing. How can you have the sun without the moon?” Crediting their mutual home state for inspiration, Texas Moon pensively examines the musical perception of Texas, while paying homage to the marriage of country and R&B that’s become synonymous with the lone star state.
Now on album number seven, Metronomy has continued where many of their 2000s ‘cool’ band peers have dropped off along the way. Small World is a return to simple pleasures, nature, and embracing more pared-down, songwriterly sonics – some moments wouldn’t sound amiss on a Wilco release – all while asking broader existential questions, which feels at least somewhat rooted in the period of time during which it was made – 2020. For all that bandleader Joseph Mount seems to think he has made a comparatively sombre record, much of Small World still pulses with the zesty, tongue-in-cheek joie de vivre you’d expect of a Metronomy record.
Throughout their nearly 25 years together, Stone Foundation have been known for their collaborative spirit and inclusive approach, and Outside Looking In is true to that legacy. Recorded, as always, at Paul Weller’s Black Barn Studio and featuring a few vocal and instrumental contributions from the man himself, the album also features a knockout guest lead vocal from legendary disco diva Melba Moore on ‘Now That You Want Me Back’, plus slots from Sulene Fleming, Laville, Sheree Dubois and Graziella Affinita. While Stone Foundation always bring a fresh new approach to each record, and a point of contrast to what came before, some things just do not need to be altered.
Our release of the week is Everything Was Forever, the first new album in five years from Sea Power (formerly British Sea Power). Their bold, galvanising and idiosyncratic music has won them some remarkable admirers, including Lou Reed, David Bowie and London’s National Maritime Museum. Indeed, the Sea Power fanbase now includes Doctor Who, Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes. Peter Capaldi is a confirmed fan: “A band of stark originality,” he wrote in his foreword for the reissue of the band’s 2003 debut album, The Decline Of British Sea Power. “Sea Power’s songs bring you the bite of the wind, the fury of the sea, and music that is simply exhilarating.” Daniel Radcliffe has talked in detail about his plan to get a tattoo featuring the 2002 T-shirt slogan ‘Bravery Already Exists’. Benedict Cumberbatch is also an admirer.
Click on an image to order your copy.