We kick off this week’s gems with Half Man Half Biscuit’s 14th album, No One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut, which will perhaps finally get due recognition for their witty, dry and sardonic lyrical genius; if not, they will remain one of the great undiscovered treasures of UK guitar music. Dancing With The Beast, the new album from Gretchen Peters, brings strong and broken female characters, from teenage girls to old women, to the fore, and intentionally so. With a superb 17-year legacy, the question for Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks was: could they produce a seventh album at that level? Sparkle Hard is the triumphant answer to that question. James Bay returns with Electric Light, full of towering rocky and soulful songs, introducing influences from electronic music to his sound without losing the essence that made him so successful last time out. Ray LaMontagne continues his musical odyssey into British psychedelia and Part Of The Light is some trip, a natural progression from Ouroboros; with something so well crafted and honest, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Album of the week is Tell Me How You Really Feel, the latest from one of the most distinctive voices in music, Courtney Barnett, who is known for mixing witty observations with unflinching self-assessment. This new collection has a more serious and outward tone, capturing the current social landscape. These songs feel comforting and emphatic yet still full of raw energy and the ability to make the listener think.
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