New releases for 24 February 2023

We’ve got six crackers for you this week, starting with the appropriately titled Cracker Island, the eight studio album from Gorillaz. It’s an energetic, upbeat, genre-expansive collection of 10 tracks featuring yet another stellar line-up of artist collaborators: Thundercat, Tame Impala, Bad Bunny, Stevie Nicks, Adeleye Omotayo, Bootie Brown and Beck. Recorded in London and LA earlier this year, it is produced by Gorillaz, Remi Kabaka Jr and eight-time Grammy Award-winner Greg Kurstin.

Algiers return with Shook, their first new music since 2020’s There Is No Year, which NME called “a heady concoction of post-punk, ’60s soul and political insight.” The new album features contributions from Rage Against The Machine’s Zack De La Rocha, Boy Harsher’s Jae Matthews, Big Rube, billy woods, Backxwash, and many more. September’s standalone release of single ‘Bite Back’ was greeted by Fader with a glowing ‘Song You Need’ review: “A sober state of the union rallying cry for the revolution.

After three albums as School Of Language, David Brewis’s next contribution to the ever-expanding Field Music universe is this jazz-inflected acoustic record. It will also be the second album released on Field Music’s newly formed Daylight Saving Records label, intended as the home for the Brewis brothers’ extra-curricular projects. The Soft Struggles veers away from Field Music’s eclectic palette and instead leans into the luminous spontaneity of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks and the breathy, string-laden chamber pop of Colin Blunstone’s One Year.

The Montreux Years is a showcase of Paco De Lucia’s mesmerising Montreux Jazz Festival live performances between 1984 and 2012. The audio has been expertly restored and remastered in superlative HD audio, and The Montreux Years is released on superior audiophile heavyweight vinyl and on MQA-quality CD. The release also includes brand-new liner notes and rare photos from his Montreux shows.

Travel, the 19th studio album by Australian improvisational trio The Necks, documents their recent practice of starting each day in the studio with a 20-minute improvisation. As bassist Lloyd Swanton puts it: “It’s a really nice communal activity to bring us together in focus each day, and some lovely music has resulted from it.” The recordings on Travel offer some of their most ecstatic and captivating music yet cut to tape. Although the trio has never recorded a straight ‘live’ improvisation in the studio, these tracks – save for some light overdubs and post-production – are closest to what they’ve been doing live for more than 30 years now.

Our release of the week is the third album from one of Britain’s most exciting bands, Shame. If Songs Of Praise was fuelled by pint-sloshing teenage vitriol, then Drunk Tank Pink delved into a different kind of intensity. Wading into uncharted musical waters, emboldened by their wit and earned cynicism, Shame created something with the abandon of a band who had nothing to lose. Having forced their way through their second album’s identity crisis, they arrive, finally, at a place of hard-won maturity. Enter Food For Worms, which Charlie Steen declares to be “the Lamborghini of Shame records.

Shame - Food For WormsGorillaz - Cracker IslandAlgiers - ShookDavid Brewis - The Soft StrugglesPaco De Lucia - The Montreux YearsThe Necks - Travel

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