The first of this week’s gems comes from Israel Nash – hailed as a “master of sonic textures” by Rolling Stone and a “folk-rock visionary” by Uncut – who first rose to fame in Europe, where he built a loyal following with a series of critically acclaimed albums that landed him a deal with renowned label Loose Music. As American audiences began to catch on, the Missouri native relocated to Dripping Springs, Texas, where he built his own recording studio on a ranch and embraced a more spacious, psychedelic sound that landed somewhere between Neil Young and Pink Floyd. Nash’s newest record, the rousing Ozarker, finds him returning to his Midwestern roots, embracing the heartland rock he grew up on with larger-than-life guitars, anthemic melodies and rich character studies.
Bombay Bicycle Club’s lovingly crafted album number six, My Big Day, is a powerful, expansive body of work, replete with an irrepressible dose of joy. The band’s studio door was wedged open for a collaborative experience, inviting the likes of Jay Som, Nilüfer Yanya, Holly Humberstone and Damon Albarn, all of whom feature. On first listen, Bombay Bicycle Club have opened up the curtains and let this revelatory set of vibrant, joyous compositions bask in the sunshine. It’s an album that means business, sculpted by one of Britain’s best guitar bands.
Coyote is Dylan LeBlanc’s fifth studio album and his first to be self-produced. Recorded at the iconic FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, it boasts a handpicked ensemble of world-renowned session players including: Fred Eltringham, known for his work with Ringo Starr and Sheryl Crow; pianist Jim ‘Moose’ Brown, who’s collaborated with Bob Seger; and bassist Seth Kaufman, celebrated for his contributions to Lana Del Rey’s tracks. The album is both semi-autobiographical and a concept album centred on the evocative character of Coyote, a man on the run in pursuit of an ever-elusive freedom from his past.
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) return with their 14th studio album, Bauhaus Staircase, more than six years after the triumph of The Punishment of Luxury. The new album was born from the impetus to kickstart new explorations during lockdown when, as Andy McCluskey admits, he “rediscovered the creative power of total boredom”. By rights OMD should be in semi-retirement, performing classics like ‘Enola Gay’ and ‘Maid of Orleans’ on the nostalgia festival circuit like so many of their peers. Instead they’ve created a landmark album that ranks among their finest work. Bauhaus Staircase is unmistakably the work of a duo who are still perfectly in sync 45 years after their first gig at legendary Liverpool club Eric’s. “I’m very happy with what we’ve done on this record,” McCluskey summarises. “I’m comfortable if this is OMD’s last statement.”
Renowned Dutch symphonic metal band Within Temptation captivate fans with their eighth studio album, Bleed Out, which signifies a bold leap forward, ranging from contemporary, hard-hitting ‘djenty’ riffs to soaring melodies displaying their symphonic roots. This is an album that is as epic as it is unflinchingly outspoken. Within Temptation have created a sonic journey that fuses diverse musical styles and thought-provoking themes.
Our release of the week can only be Hackney Diamonds, the hugely anticipated new album by The Rolling Stones. Following 2016’s Grammy Award-winning Blue and Lonesome, which featured brilliant versions of blues tracks that helped shape the band’s sound, Hackney Diamonds is the band’s first studio album of original material since 2005’s A Bigger Bang! Late drummer Charlie Watts features on two tracks, ‘Mess It Up’ and ‘Live by the Sword’, the second of which also features former Stones bassist Bill Wyman. ‘Sweet Sounds of Heaven’ features vocals from Lady Gaga and keys and piano from Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney plays bass on ‘Bite My Head Off’ and Elton John adds piano on ‘Get Close’ and ‘Live by the Sword’.
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