New releases for 21 April 2023

Here are this week’s six stormers. When Paul Janeway learned he was going to be a father, he felt struck by divine inspiration. Following the tradition of greats like Aristotle, William James and John Steinbeck, who wrote letters to their future sons, the singer decided to scribe his own thoughts – of joy, of fear, of confusion – as messages to his then-unborn daughter. Those letters ultimately became Angels in Science Fiction, the stunning fifth album from his band, Alabama genre-benders St. Paul and The Broken Bones. The album stretches the band’s limbs further out from their early southern-soul style, building on the shadowy psychedelia and intricate, experimental R&B of their more recent releases.

The legendary Jethro Tull return hot on the heels of 2022’s top-10 album The Zealot Gene with their 23rd studio album, RökFlöte. The twelve tracks here remind the world of the iconic sound that the band brought to rock music, recorded with the current line-up of Ian Anderson, David Goodier, John O’Hara, Scott Hammond and Joe Parrish James.

A rock-and-roll trailblazer for over six decades, Ian Hunter reflects on his musical journey while looking forward to the next chapter in his storied career. Known for his high-profile collaborations with artists such as David Bowie and Queen, Hunter continues this tradition on his new album, Defiance Part 1. Backed by a star-studded group of fellow legends, Hunter rocks on all-new original tracks like ‘This Is What I’m Here For’ and ‘Bed of Roses’.

Alfa Mist achieves his most fully realised, expressive musical work to date on Variables, coupling his keen ear for looping and memorably emotive piano melodies with intuitive grooves and free-flowing jazz improvisation. Since the release of his first full-length project, Nocturne, in 2015, Alfa has established himself as one of the UK’s most focused, in-demand and distinct musical voices. Artists look to him for his unique blend of intimate bedroom production and expansive jazz-group orchestration, since Alfa is yet to be boxed into a specific genre: his music spans everything from hip-hop beat-making to producing for artists such as rapper Loyle Carner, composing neo-classical works for the London Contemporary Orchestra and reworking tracks from composer Ólafur Arnalds and pioneering jazz label Blue Note.

It’s been 43 years since the release of The Selecter’s seminal debut album Too Much Pressure and, while it still inspires and resonates today, their new studio album Human Algebra keeps the fire burning with a stellar collection of hard-hitting tracks in the band’s own inimitable style. Human Algebra is a word from the wise – from questioning ‘fake news’ (‘Big Little Lies’) to pointing the finger at keyboard warriors (‘Armchair Guevara’) and the scourge of knife crime (‘Human Algebra’). Human relationships are also touched upon (‘Boxing Clever’), along with a touching tribute to the late great Ranking Roger from The Beat (‘Parade the Crown’). As ever, The Selecter are led by iconic frontwoman Pauline Black OBE and co-fronted by original member Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson with original drummer Charley ‘Aitch’ Bembridge.

Our release of the week comes from Everything But The Girl. Having pursued solo careers since the release of Temperamental, Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt have reformed and bring us their hugely anticipated and long-overdue brand-new studio album, Fuse – their first for over two decades, would you believe!? Thorn and Watt formed EBTG in 1982. Acclaimed for their tender-tough lyrics, Thorn’s unique voice and Watt’s arrangements, they released a string of UK gold albums throughout the 1980s, experimenting with jazz, guitar pop, orchestral wall-of-sound and drum-machine soul.

Everything But The Girl - FuseSt Paul and The Broken Bones - Angels in Science FictionJethro Tull - RökFlöteIan Hunter - Defiance Part 1Alfa Mist - VariablesThe Selecter - Human Algebra

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