A quarter of a century since his self-inflicted coronation and self-released debut solo album, Kenny Anderson – DIY pop voyager, ancestral seaside home restorer, squeezebox lothario, Fife for lifer, diamond miner, hijacker of hearts, and the man also known as King Creosote – brings us I DES. While the record’s kaleidoscopic musical terrain plots vibraphones, accordions, e-bows, samplers, ungulates, scratched records and wine-glass drones across its landscape, there’s common ground in the wonder of the synthesiser, not to mention Anderson’s singular voice, and his roguish, roving, ever-evolving, gorgeous songs in the key of Fife.
To celebrate her 50th birthday and 30 years of writing songs, Laura Veirs is bringing into the light a number of songs that have been been hiding out on her phone, some of them for over eight years. These are songs about her family, her lovers and herself, recorded alone in her living room into a voice memo app, and they have a wonderful, relaxed feel. The recordings have been mastered, but not edited, to form Phone Orphans.
Black Grape could only have been made in Manchester. The swagger, fun and cryptic humour seem hewn from a city historian AJP Taylor once described as offering an archetypally different way of English urban life from London. Both Shaun Ryder and Paul Leveridge, known as Kermit, came from edgy-but-cool parts of the city: in Shaun’s case, Salford, with Kermit originating from Moss Side. For those unfamiliar, ‘the Moss’ lay in the shadow of Manchester City’s old stadium at Maine Road, and was one of the first multi-ethnic areas in Manchester.
The three-way Los Angeles collaboration was born out of a curiosity that just wouldn’t die. Comprising two of the most illustrious and inventive drummers of the post-punk era – The Cure’s Lol Tolhurst and Budgie from Siouxsie & The Banshees and The Creatures – along with stellar producer and multi-instrumentalist Garret ‘Jacknife’ Lee, this unlikely alt-supergroup has spent the last four years spiriting up one of the most extraordinary albums to appear in 2023. It’s a hard-hitting and compulsively exploratory 55-minute electronic mindscrew, founded on unrivalled rhythmic expertise, fleshed out with an armoury of synths, guitars (Jacknife’s forté) and supplementary percussion, often overlaid with elite-class strings and brass, then universally twisted, manipulated and quite masterfully sculpted by Lee, with his super-producer’s hat on.
The Twits was recorded by London-based trio bar italia over the course of eight weeks in a makeshift home studio in Mallorca. On the album, their economical yet evocative songcraft takes raucous, mystic, unkempt, occasionally sinister, and wholly committed turns. Songs like ‘my little tony’, with its in-the-red riff and excitable hooks, the cathartic four-on-the-floor of ‘world’s greatest emoter’ and the festival-tent psychedelia of ‘Hi fiver’ need little in the way of exposition – these are exhilarating rock songs, if wayward and strange. At other moments the band’s increasingly signature three-act mini-dramas move into previously uncharted territory. Nina Cristante, Jezmi Tarik Fehmi and Sam Fenton can each manifest a different melody, mood, and cadence – at times overlapping and linear, at others unexpectedly divergent – often within the space of thirty seconds, a tag team rooted in shared language and kinship.
Our release of the week comes from Van Morrison, who returns to one of his childhood passions on Accentuate the Positive: this time, rock’n’roll. Growing up in Belfast shortly after the Second World War, the young Van was immensely inspired by the heady sounds of mid-century blues and rock’n’roll. Listening to artists such as Fats Domino, Chuck Berry and The Everly Brothers, it wasn’t long until Van was intuitively reinterpreting these sounds with his own band in local venues. Seven decades later, Van Morrison now revisits the genre by reimagining some of his personal favourites for Accentuate the Positive, infusing those timeless songs with an energy that constantly challenges and expands on the traditions of rock’n’roll. Van’s inimitable voice is complemented by superb arrangements.
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