New releases for 9 February 2024

We open this week’s stormers with the 15th-anniversary reissue of British Sea Power’s 2008 classic Do You Like Rock Music?, which has been expanded with radio sessions and B-sides plus extensive new sleeve notes by Roy Wilkinson. This kaleidoscopic record encapsulates Sea Power’s true heart. “Easy, easy”: only Sea Power could turn a football chant into art … with ease. From this bounding refrain of ‘No Lucifer’ via the serenity of ‘Waving Flags’, the balm-like ‘No Need To Cry’ and the joyous ‘Trip Out’, Do You Like Rock Music? reflects the band’s ability to find glacial beauty in the commonplace, making soul-stirring epiphanies an everyday occurrence.

Culled from three 1985 gigs in the UK during a transitional and transcendent time in Sonic Youth’s story, Walls Have Ears appeared as a 2-LP set in 1986 without the band’s approval and disappeared soon afterwards, and is now finally being issued for the first time officially under the band’s auspices. Walls Have Ears is not a mere live album but an artful tapestry full of live experimentation with songs, between-song tape segues, darkness, humour and audio verité. The ’85 shows were the second time the band appeared on UK soil, Brits now getting juiced to the mythos of the emerging guitar-slinging American independent underground; an art/punk band from NYC sporting casual attitudes and Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Prince T-shirts made some good press copy on top of their bludgeoning on-stage appearances.

Chelsea Wolfe’s latest album, She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She, is a rebirth in process. It’s about how such a moment connects to our past, present and future. It’s a powerfully cathartic statement about cutting ties as well as an important reminder that healing is cyclical and circular, not a simple linear process. As Wolfe explains, “It’s a record about the past self reaching out to the present self reaching out to the future self to summon change, growth and guidance. It’s a story of setting yourself free from situations and patterns that are holding you back, in order to become self-empowered. It’s an invitation to step into your authenticity.

One of the great albums of 2004, Franz Ferdinand’s incredible eponymous debut kick-started the British fight-back against the likes of The Strokes and The White Stripes, and the album became world-conquering. The band was at the vanguard of the art-wave scene and possessed a fierce determination to change the face of modern music. This is edgy, sexy, danceable art-pop for the masses. The album now gets a one-off vinyl pressing for its 20th anniversary.

At Their Very Best features a live recording of The 1975’s sold-out performance at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden on 7 November 2022. Formed in Manchester in 2002, The 1975 have established themselves as one of the defining bands of their generation with their distinctive aesthetic, ardent fan base and unique sonic approach. Their latest studio offering, Being Funny in a Foreign Language, became their fifth consecutive UK No.1 album. The critically acclaimed band were crowned Best Group at the Brit Awards in 2017 and 2019, with their third album, A Brief Enquiry into Online Relationships, winning the Mastercard British Album of the Year in 2019.

Our release of the week is What Now, the second solo album from Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. “With the world we’re living in now, it feels like we’re all just trying to hang onto our souls. Everything seems to be getting more extreme and everyone keeps wondering, ‘WHAT NOW? What’s next?’ By the same coin, the only constant on this record is that you never know what’s going to happen next: every song is its own aquarium, its own little miniature world built around whatever I was feeling and thinking at the time.

Brittany Howard - WHAT NOWBritish Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music? (15th Anniversary)Sonic Youth - Walls Have EarsChelsea Wolfe - She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to SheFranz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand (20th Anniversary)The 1975 - At Their Very Best: Live from MSG

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