We kick off this week’s picks with JARV IS…, whose debut album, Beyond The Pale, is the first original music from Jarvis Cocker since 2009. It was written in collaboration with live audiences: as the material they were playing was in a state of flux, the band decided to record their live shows so that they could monitor how the songs were developing. After an appearance at the Desert Daze festival in California, Geoff Barrow (Portishead, Beak>) suggested that these recordings could be used as the basis for an album.
Superstars, renegades, innovators, heroes, villains and mothers The Chicks (formerly Dixie Chicks) have grown from a band into a cultural phenomenon. Since the release of their debut album, Wide Open Spaces, in 1998, their music has stirred emotions in fans across the world, making them one of the biggest and most influential bands of our time. Gaslighter is their fifth studio album and their first new album since 2006’s Taking The Long Way, which won five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. The album is produced by Jack Antonoff along with the band themselves.
Originally released in 1991, Tin Machine II’s reputation has only increased over the years. It was also the band’s last: after the supporting tour, frontman David Bowie resumed his solo career. Uncut magazine placed the album on their list of 50 Great Lost Albums (their list of great albums not currently available for purchase), calling the album ‘extraordinary’. As with all Bowie albums, there are plenty of strong tracks here to make this a must-have. Now is the perfect time to discover this album once again, or for the first time.
House Of Noise is 12 tracks of quintessentially British hard rock ’n’ roll with an energy that it’s impossible not to get swept up in, thanks to singer Baz Mills’ mesmerising, animated and infectious showmanship and the bands’ musical muscle. Massive Wagons have forged a formidable live reputation after relentlessly touring the UK with hundreds of gigs a year. Now they are selling out shows up and down the country with a fast-growing cult following among rock fans in the UK with their brand of honest, witty and fiery British rock.
Lianne La Havas is the singer’s third album and her first in five years. This is an album of startling beauty and insight, made entirely on her own terms, which has been quite a journey, both geographically and metaphorically: La Havas spent a lot of time moving back and forth between the UK and the States while working on writing and exploring her own identity. As a result, the new album feels spacious and luminous. Its sunbaked sounds recall, in places, the Brazilian singer and guitarist Milton Nascimento.
Our release of the week is Fetch The Bolt Cutters, the fifth studio album from Fiona Apple, which is astonishing, intimate and demonstrates a refusal to be silenced. It’s as if she has returned to reinvent sound – the rhythms pleasing but counter, and unusual. On the title track she half-sings over a makeshift orchestra of kitchen implements, dog barks and cat yowls. The beat on ‘Under The Table’ has a seething back-and-forth pace; the extraordinary ‘For Her’ beds double-Dutch skipping-rope rhythms beneath a chorus of female voices. It’s striking how intimate Apple’s voice sounds here – half-conversational, half-self-mutters, allowing every scuff, breath and feral yelp. Fetch The Bolt Cutters is full of visceral, jittery, wonderfully imperfect performances that make the album feel like a dream-like concert at Largo.
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