Releases from March–April 2016
Great albums from around the world
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Releases for 22 April 2016
Just three new releases for 22 April worthy of mention: Nocturnal Koreans, which is Wire at their uncompromising best, the latest album from Brooklyn power-pop troupe We Are Scientists, and a various artists compilation of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2016, which represents an easy way to catch up with all those nominated for those awards and decide if you like ’em!
The annual double CD release presenting a track from each of the nominated artists for the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2016.
Disc 1: 1. Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band – Great Grey Back / 2. Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin – Stones / 3. The Rheingans Sisters – Mackerel / 4. Spiro – The Vapourer / 5. Joan Armatrading – Baby Blue Eyes / 6. False Lights – Polly On The Shore / 7. The Furrow Collective – The Unquiet Grave / 8. Ghazalaw – Moliannwaw / 9. Lynched – Cold Old Fire / 10. Ross Ainslie – Skins / 11. Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman – 52 Hertz / 12. The Young’uns – Waiting For The Ferry / 13. Leveret – Bagpipers / 14. Sam Lee – Lovely Molly
Disc 2: 1. Richard Thompson – Long John Silver / 2. Simpson Cutting Kerr – Richmond Cotillion / 3. Emily Portman – Seed Stitch / 4. Damien O’Kane – ’Til Next Market Day / 5. Show of Hands – Hambledon Fair / 6. Stick In The Wheel – Seven Gypsies / 7. Dan Walsh – Lost Rambler – Dan Walsh / 8. Gilmore & Roberts – Cecilia – Gilmore & Roberts / 9. Marry Waterson & David A. Jaycock – Sing Me Into Your Tune / 10. Rhiannon Giddens – Shake Sugaree / 11. Rosie Hood – William’s Sweetheart / 12. Sam Kelly – Jolly Waggoners / 13. The Unthanks – Madam / 14. Brighde Chaimbeul – Rattlin Roarin Wullie / 15. Jack Cookson – Old Chapels / 16. Benammi Swift – Great North Run / Country Gardens / 17. Causeway Trio – Changing Places/Dlùth/Ruidhle an Dotair
- Various Artists BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2016 CD £11.99
Having completed a preliminary round of work on their eponymous 2015 album, Wire found themselves with 19 tracks left over. Among them, there was a critical mass of 11 aesthetically unified songs. In typical Wire fashion, however, the remaining material was something other: it had the sound of a band already moving in a different direction, beyond the album project in which they were engaged at that time. These tracks were the basis for Nocturnal Koreans. The emphasis is on studio construction over authentic performance, using the recording environment as an instrument, not just as a simple means of capturing Wire playing. Although it’s become de rigueur to talk about Wire’s capacity for self-reinvention, that’s never the whole story. Certainly, the impulse to pursue fresh ideas with each phase of work is buried deep in their artistic DNA, but they’ve balanced that commitment to the new with a core character and attitude that’s always at some level recognisable as Wire without being reducible to a formulaic sound.
- Wire Nocturnal Koreans CD £11.99 / LP £15.99
Brooklyn-based power pop troupe We Are Scientists return with Helter Seltzer, produced by their ex-keyboard player, Max Hart. Max rented a studio space in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighbourhood, outfitting it with gear he had accumulated over a decade of obsessive internet shopping. In early March, the team got to work. Sifting through the band’s trove of new demos, a direction emerged: they would use the tones and trickery of radio pop to add a sweet sheen. Months of toil and trial and error finally brought the right balance, and in January of 2016, nearly a year after construction began, the album was pronounced complete.
- We Are Scientists Helter Seltzer CD £12.99
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Releases for 15 April 2016
Although it’s only one day before Record Store Day, 15 April is a startling good week for new releases. A mere 45 years since the classic Santana line-up last recorded together, here they are with IV, simply its everything you’d think it would be. The unstoppable Hawkwind forge relentlessly on with The Machine Stops, a concept album based around EM Forster’s classic sci-fi novel, and the wonderful Lush return with an EP which represents their first new music for 20 years! Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop collaborate on the rather wonderful Love Letter For Fire, Cate Le Bon’s Crab Day infuses her Welsh roots with a North American sensibility to lovely effect, and Margo Price’s excellent debut really does announce the arrival of a new, real voice in country music. A Sailor’s Guide To Earth is the next staging post of Sturgill Simpson’s development into an artist of real significance. In spite of all these goodies, my release of the week has to be The Hope Six Demolition Project by PJ Harvey, one of the most important artists active and working in the past 10 years. Buy it!
The Hope Six Demolition Project draws from several journeys undertaken by PJ Harvey, who spent time in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, DC over a four-year period. “When I’m writing a song I visualise the entire scene. I can see the colours, I can tell the time of day, I can sense the mood, I can see the light changing, the shadows moving, everything in that picture. Gathering information from secondary sources felt too far removed for what I was trying to write about. I wanted to smell the air, feel the soil and meet the people of the countries I was fascinated with,” says Harvey.
The album was recorded last year in residency at London’s Somerset House. The exhibition, entitled ‘Recording in Progress’, saw Harvey, her band, producers Flood and John Parish, and engineers working within a purpose-built recording studio behind one-way glass, observed throughout by public audiences.
The Hope Six Demolition Project will be available on LP and CD. The full track-listing is: ‘The Community of Hope’ / ‘The Ministry of Defence’ / /A Line in the Sand’ / ‘Chain of Keys’ / ‘River Anacostia’ / ‘Near the Memorials to Vietnam and Lincoln’ / ‘The Orange’ Monkey’ / ‘Medicinals’ / ‘The Ministry of Social Affairs’ / ‘The Wheel’ / ‘Dollar, Dollar’.
- PJ Harvey The Hope Six Demolition Project CD £12.99 / LP £25.99
Santana IV is the wildly anticipated studio album that reunites the revered early 70s lineup of guitar icon Carlos Santana (guitar, vocals), Gregg Rolie (keyboards, lead vocals), Neal Schon (guitar, vocals), Michael Carabello (percussion) and Michael Shrieve (drums). The album signifies the first recording in 45 years, since 1971’s multi-platinum classic Santana III, that the quintet has made together.
Santana IV features 16 all-new tracks written and produced by the band that burst with the same unparalleled energy and superlative musicianship that made Santana a pioneering force in world music and a household name across the globe. Joining the core quintet in the studio are current Santana members Karl Perazzo (percussion) and Benny Rietveld (bass), with the legendary vocalist Ronald Isley guesting on two numbers.
- Santana IV CD £11.99 / LP £18.99
The Machine Stops is a stunning new concept studio album and live stage show based on E.M. Forster’s sci-fi classic. His dystopian vision of the future is brought to life with characteristic Hawkwind style: an atmospheric musical interpretation beginning in tunnels deep beneath the earth, where every need is controlled and catered for by the machine. The struggle to escape and find a way to reach the outer surface is a utopian dream, which could prove to be the most deadly dream of all. Forster’s visionary masterpiece provides a chilling warning of the dangers of isolation, reliance on computer technology and the effects upon society.
- Hawkwind The Machine Stops CD £12.99 / LP £25.99
First impressions matter. Fortunately, it only takes Margo Price about twenty-eight seconds to convince you that you’re hearing the arrival of a singular new talent. ‘Hands of Time’, the opener on Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, is an invitation, a mission statement and a starkly poetic summary of the 32-year-old singer’s life, all in one knockout, self-penned punch. Easing in over a groove of sidestick, bass and atmospheric guitar, Price sings, “When I rolled out of town on the unpaved road, I was fifty-seven dollars from bein’ broke …” It has the feel of the first line of a great novel or opening scene in a classic film. There’s an expectancy, a brewing excitement. Her voice has that alluring mix of vulnerability and resilience that was once the province of Loretta and Dolly. It is a tour-de-force performance that is vivid, deeply moving and all true.
- Margo Price Midwest Farmer’s Daughter CD £11.99 / LP £19.99
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth is Sturgill Simpson’s third full-length album and follows his break-through Grammy-nominated 2014 release, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music.
Produced by Simpson, A Sailor’s Guide To Earth was written – beginning to end – as a letter to his first child, who arrived during the summer of 2014 and features eight original songs as well as a rendition of Nirvana’s ‘In Bloom’.
- Sturgill Simpson A Sailor’s Guide To Earth CD £9.99 / LP £17.99
Blind Spot features the first new music from Lush for 20 years, and the first the band have released since their single ‘500 (Shake Baby Shake)’, taken from their last album, Lovelife, in July 1996. The four tracks on this EP were recorded in the summer of 2015.
After signing to 4AD in 1989, Lush went on to sharpen their pop sound over the course of 3 full-length albums, an early mini-album and a number of EPs and singles, outliving and outgrowing the scene with which they were initially associated.
- Lush Blind Spot EP CD £6.99 / LP £11.99
Love Letter For Fire is a collaboration between Sam Beam (aka Iron and Wine) and singer-songwriter and guitarist Jesca Hoop. Love Letter For Fire features Beam and Hoop on vocals and guitar along with Robert Burger (keys), Eyvind Kang (violin, viola), Glenn Kotche (drums, percussion), Sebastian Steinberg (bass) and Edward Rankin-Parker (cello). Jesca Hoop is an incredible live performer, known for her wonderfully-eclectic take on folk, rock, and electronic music.
- Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop Love Letter For Fire CD £10.99 / LP £15.99
Cate Le Bon’s fourth album, Crab Day, was recorded at Panoramic House studio, West Marin, California last spring, and produced by Noah Georgson and Josiah Steinbrick. According to Cate: “Crab Day was lovingly formed in the mouth of the Pacific Ocean, as it quietly mocked us with its magnitude. It’s the sound of the ‘accidentally on purpose’ coming together of the right people at precisely the right time in an environment that furnished and fuelled the abandonment we felt effortlessly. It’s a coalition of inescapable feelings and fabricated nonsense, each propping the other up.”
Crab Day is an old holiday. Crab Day is a new holiday. Crab Day isn’t a holiday at all.
- Cate Le Bon Crab Day CD £10.99 / LP £17.99
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Releases for 8 April 2016
First up for release on 8 April is Ronnie Spector’s engaging English Heart. Frightened Rabbit, who should really be more popular than they are, release a fine fifth album, Painting of a Panic Attack, and Lumineers follow-up to their first album is as timeless as you would expect. The fantastic Bellowhead are leaving us, but they do so on a high with a mighty live album that pulls off the tricky feat of giving you a great sense of the live Bellowhead experience. Ben Watt of Everything But the Girl fame returns with the exquisite Fever Dream. Cult Of Luna deliver a heavy punch of an album with Mariner, the really are the finest of Scandinavian metallers. The Dandy Warhols have produced a good album after a year of writing and touring, how endearingly old-school. Release of the week is Hayes Carll’s Lovers And Leavers, which is weathered, weary and hard-bitten – great stuff!
He spins a yarn with fresh wit, details a failure with unflinching honesty, and everything in between remains admirably free of cliché. Lovers And Leavers is Hayes Carll’s first release since 2011’s acclaimed KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories). Widely praised by critics, Carll extends a worthy Texas tradition: the weathered, hard-drinking, weary but clear-eyed troubadour.
- Hayes Carll Lovers And Leavers CD £12.99 / LP £16.99
With hits like ‘Be My Baby’ and ‘Baby I Love You’, Ronnie Spector ruled the pop charts worldwide as lead singer of the Ronettes. Now the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee is set to release English Heart, her personal love letter to 1960s Britain where she toured with The Ronettes in 1964–66, supported by the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and the Yardbirds (with Eric Clapton).
The album features the Rolling Stones rarity ‘I’d Much Rather Be With The Boys’, written by Keith Richards and Andrew Loog Oldham in 1964 but with a change of title to ‘I’d Much Rather Be With The Girls’ for an entirely new spin.
- Ronnie Spector English Heart CD £10.99 / CD+DVD £14.99 / LP £19.99
Selkirk’s finest, Frightened Rabbit, release their eagerly awaited fifth studio album, Painting Of A Panic Attack. Frontman Scott Hutchison’s dark and emotionally honest lyrics are expertly woven into the band’s soaring sonic palate, resulting in a body of work that will challenge, excite and surprise longtime fans and new listeners alike.
- Frightened Rabbit Painting Of A Panic Attack CD £11.99 / LP £17.99
Cleopatra is the second album from platinum-selling Denver trio The Lumineers – the follow up to their multi-Grammy-nominated self-titled debut.
There is something timeless about this band that links their songs to 4th-century pastorals, 19th-century work songs, 20th-century folk narratives and 21st-century post-modern cinematic soundscapes. Success hasn’t spoiled The Lumineers; rather, it’s inspired them to follow their muses even further.
- The Lumineers Cleopatra CD £12.99 / LP £25.99
Formed in 2004, Bellowhead scarcely imagined that one day they’d be headlining major UK and international festivals and selling out tours of major concert halls, or that they’d sell in excess of 250,000 albums, including the highest-selling independently released traditional album of all time (2010’s Hedonism) and the highest-charting independently released UK folk album of all time too, (2012’s Broadside). Bellowhead are the proud recipients of two silver discs and have won a total of eight BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The band’s last studio album, Revival (2014) entered the UK Album Charts at no.12 and led to three BBC Radio 2 play-listed singles, as well as appearances on mainstream TV.
Early in 2015, lead singer Jon Boden decided to step down from the band and the rest of Bellowhead felt they didn’t want to continue without him. As they put it: “The shows always finish on a high, and so should we.”
The DVD features the band’s full concert from Leicester’s De Montford Hall, 19th November 2015.
- Bellowhead Live: The Farewell Tour 2-CD+DVD £16.99
It was in 2014 – after sixteen years and nine albums as songwriter-performer-producer with Tracey Thorn in best-selling duo Everything But The Girl, that Ben Watt returned to his roots as a solo singer and songwriter with Hendra, his second album. Arriving thirty-one years after his UK Independent Chart No. 1 debut, it met with wide acclaim at home and abroad for its eloquent lyrics and stripped-back aesthetic; it featured prominently in end-of-year round-ups.
Fever Dream – self-produced at London’s famous RAK Studio 2 – takes Hendra’s sonic template of open-tuned folk-jazz, distorted string-bent rock, and soulful rumination, and adds a fresh grainy intensity. It renews key partnerships with guitarist-sideman Bernard Butler and engineer Bruno Ellingham, and sprinkles guest vocal cameos from Boston’s dream-folk singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler and His Golden Messenger’s M.C. Taylor. “At the album’s heart I just wanted to deepen existing relationships,” says Watt. “Two years of playing live with Bernard has created a strong bond; the music we make feels spontaneous, ardent, unsentimental. We just went in and did most of it live. Small room, small band. A harder edge. Instruments spilling into each other.” The pair are joined by drummer/percussionist and longtime ally Martin Ditcham (Talk Talk’s Spirit Of Eden) and new double bassist Rex Horan (Laura Marling’s Once I Was An Eagle / Neil Cowley Trio) who, in Watt’s words, “brilliantly blurs the boundaries between folk, jazz and rock”.
- Ben Watt Fever Dream CD £10.99 / LP £20.99
Since their beginnings in 1998, Cult Of Luna have released seven albums, been awarded the top rock/metal award at the Swedish National Radio Awards and cemented their status as one of the true progressors of the metal genre, known to most metal aficionados. In 2013, the Swedes teamed up with Indie Recordings for the release of perhaps their most successful work to date in the shape of Vertikal I and Vertikal II. These cohesive pieces of work received worldwide appraisal and only sent Cult Of Luna to even greater heights.
For their eighth effort, Mariner, the post-metal pioneers join forces with the talented Julie Christmas from Brooklyn, bringing an even greater depth to their sound. Julie’s haunting voice is one of significance in the underground sludge and post-metal scene. Her prowess as a vocalist is powerfully on display on Mariner.
The LP comes in either blue or green transparent vinyl. The limited digibook CD will be released on 15 April.
- Cult Of Luna and Julie Christmas Mariner CD £10.99 / Limited digibook CD £12.99 / LP £24.99
The Dandy Warhols spent 2015 writing new music and the band closed out the year with a packed-to-capacity tour of the US West Coast and South including a three-night stint at Los Angeles’ Teragram Ballroom. The result is Distortland.
- The Dandy Warhols Distortland CD £12.99 / LP £19.99
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Releases for 1 April 2016
1 April is a very nice week for new releases. If you don’t often buy instrumental rock albums, there are two coming out this week which are essential: Explosions In The Sky return with their first studio album for some time. Hundred Records favourite Black Mountain’s new album, IV, is unashamedly ambitious which is as it should be, Trembling Bells’ new 7-song mini-album, Wide Majestic Aire, acts as the perfect companion piece to last year’s acclaimed The Sovereign Self, Black Sabbath’s Changes sung soul-style shouldn’t work, but does so triumphantly in the hands of soul sensation Charles Bradley, the new Pet Shop Boys album is called Super, and it is. The Last Shadow Puppets’ new album is by turns snarling, soaring and seductive, Black Stone Cherry’s hard rocking Kentucky is brimful of both energy and good tunes. Album of the week belongs to the other instrumental album, Mogwai’s soundtrack Atomic is by turns ethereal, elegiac and deeply moving.
Mogwai release their stunning soundtrack to the documentary Atomic: Living In Dread and Promise by prolific director Mark Cousins, which was aired on BBC Four last summer. The soundtrack has been especially re-recorded for release at the band’s Castle Of Doom Studios in Glasgow. Guest appearances on the album come from occasional band member Luke Sutherland, Sophie and former The God Machine’s Robin Proper-Sheppard and Glasgow composer Robert Newth. Artwork includes images from the film and comes as a CD or double gatefold heavy-pressed vinyl with download code.
- Mogwai Atomic CD £11.99 / 2-LP £20.99
The Wilderness is Explosions In The Sky’s sixth album, and their first non-soundtrack effort since 2011’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care. Arguably the most progressive instrumental rock album since the band’s 2003 breakthrough The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, The Wilderness is a bold, experimental work combining the singular song-craft that has sold hundreds of thousands of albums and tickets with the cinematic sensibility that has elevated the level of regard and demand the band’s members enjoy as film composers.
- Explosions in the Sky The Wilderness CD £12.99 / LP £19.99
The rock canon has many anti-heroes, Black Mountain being the latest. Black Mountain teach us that you don’t have to be afraid of the past to move bravely into the future, defining what it is to be a classic rock band in the new millennium. IV is an unapologetically ambitious record made by a group of musicians who are at the peak of their powers.
The group’s sense of rediscovery as a creative whole is tangible throughout. Stephen McBean, Jeremy Schmidt, Amber Webber, and Joshua Wells were joined in the studio by spiritually attuned bassist and veteran purveyor of the riff, Arjan Miranda (formerly of S.T.R.E.E.T.S, Children, and The Family Band) whose roots, heart, and soul are connected to the same soil and cement that Black Mountain were borne from. Recording was primarily done in close collaboration with Sunn O)))’s producer, Randall Dunn.
- Black Mountain IV CD £11.99 / LP £17.99
Trembling Bells are back with Wide Majestic Aire, a seven-track mini-album, which acts as a companion piece to The Sovereign Self and which cements their reputation as one of Britain’s most exciting and exploratory groups. “‘Wide Majestic Aire’ is among my favourite songs that I’ve written,” says the band’s founder and leader, Alex Neilson, of the title track. This romantic ballad, sung by Lavinia Blackwall, sees the compass of the band’s music swing back in the direction of folk after the prog and acid rock of The Sovereign Self. It is in some ways archetypal Trembling Bells in its evocation of the landscapes of Yorkshire and Oxford and its invocation of great artists of the past – Larkin, Blake, Lorca and Turner. Such a sweet and melodic song could function as a gateway drug to the rest of the band’s music, which is to be welcomed, as there is much to explore in their rich back catalogue.
- Trembling Bells Wide Majestic Aire CD £11.99 / LP £15.99
Soul singer Charles Bradley’s star has been on the rise since the release of his widely praised 2011 debut album, No Time For Dreaming, and this ascent has continued after the release of his triumphant second album, 2013’s Victim of Love. Dubbed ‘The Screaming Eagle of Soul’, the singer will release his third album, Changes, on 1 April 2016 on Daptone Records imprint Dunham Records. The album is named for his popular cover of the Black Sabbath track, previously only available as a Record Store Day single.
- Charles Bradley Changes CD £10.99 / LP £17.99
Pet Shop Boys release their new album, Super, on x2 Records on 1 April. The album was written in London and Berlin and produced and mixed by Stuart Price in Los Angeles. It features 12 new Tennant/Lowe compositions including the lead single.
- Pet Shop Boys Super CD £10.99 / LP £19.99
The Last Shadow Puppets return with their new album, Everything You’ve Come To Expect. The album finds Alex Turner and Miles Kane reunited with James Ford (production and drums) and Owen Pallett (string arrangements) and joined by Zachary Dawes (Mini Mansions) on bass. The follow-up to 2008’s The Age Of The Understatement was recorded at Shangri La Studio in Malibu. Featuring their current single, ‘Bad Habits’, Everything You’ve Come To Expect is a more open and expansive work than its predecessor, wearing its influences less obviously on its sleeve – the album is by turns soaring, snarling and breathlessly seductive.
The Deluxe CD is a limited edition release including a 40-page book.
- The Last Shadow Puppets Everything You’ve Come to Expect CD £12.99 / Deluxe CD £13.99 / Indie LP + 7" £26.99
They say you can’t go home again, but Black Stone Cherry proves otherwise on Kentucky.
The hard-rocking Bluegrass State quartet recorded its fifth album, their follow-up to 2014’s Magic Mountain, at Barrick Recording in Glasgow, KY, where they recorded their 2006 debut album.
The 13 tracks find Black Stone Cherry connecting with that same youthful energy (check out ‘Shakin’ My Cage’, ‘Soul Machine’ or ‘Rescue Me’) but demonstrates the wisdom gleaned from nearly a decade of recording and touring on tracks such as the reflective ‘Long Ride’ and a brassy (and timely) take on Edwin Starr’s Motown classic ‘War’.
- Black Stone Cherry Kentucky CD £11.99 / CD+DVD £12.99 / LP £16.99
- Peter Bruntnell Nos Da Comrade CD £10.99
- Sufjan Stevens Illinoise (10th Anniversary Blue Marvel Edition) LP £20.99
- Weezer White Album CD £11.99
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Releases for 25 March 2016
Amongst the small but perfectly formed new releases for the 25th March is Bob Mould’s Patch the Sky, which boasts that rarest of things, a lovely balance of bright melody and dark story; talking of darkness, Birdy’s Beautiful Eyes has been described as about overcoming the dark, and it does a fine job of that. Joe Bonamassa’s finest studio work comes with the release of Blues of Desperation, an assured and mature album, and if your blues spot isn’t thoroughly hit, you don’t have one! The Joy Formidable’s new album is both hooky and riffy and sounds stadium-ready to me. Release of the week is Kris Drever’s If Wishes Were Horses, which is as fine an album of intimate and heartbreaking folk music as has been released this year.
Kris Drever celebrates his first decade as an acclaimed solo artist and songwriter with a brand new studio album, If Wishes Were Horses. The album is his first for six years (during which time his band, Lau, have established themselves as the most widely acclaimed and musically progressive trio in British folk music). If Wishes Were Horses is a collection of semi-biographical songs covering the universal, and not so universal, themes of education, politics, sex, love, ennui, self-employment, social migration and Shetland. Drever’s recent outpouring of songs stems from a move back to the Northern Isles, Shetland this time rather than his native Orkney and the discovery of new lyrical voices to describe his life, times and wild new surroundings.
- Kris Drever If Wishes Were Horses CD £10.99 / LP £19.99
Patch The Sky is a dark one. To complete this album, Bob Mould withdrew from everyday life. He wrote alone for six months. Solitude was needed as Bob searched for his own truth. The words make you remember. The music makes you forget. But Patch The Sky is also a catchy one. Bob always aims for the perfect balance of bright melodies and dark stories. He’s used this juxtaposition for years to great effect and its no different on this.
- Bob Mould Patch The Sky CD £11.99 / LP £16.99
There is a definite blues sense of blues originality within the latest album from Joe Bonamassa. The whole of Blues of Desperation takes us on a journey through the geography of the blues as the album explores the physical landscape of rivers, mountains and valleys by train. Other tracks explore emotional blues of love lost, misery and desperation. The eleven original tracks have a depth to the musical arrangements that augment and add a wisdom to the lyrics.
There is a swaggering attitude throughout that adds a note of assuredness to an album that is complete. This is an inspired album that will hit anyones blues-spot.
The Deluxe CD includes a 64-page hardcover book.
- Joe Bonamassa Blues of Desperation CD £10.99 / Deluxe CD £12.99 / LP £19.99
The incredible Birdy releases her third studio album, Beautiful Lies, on Atlantic Records on 25 March.
Talking about the album, Birdy said: “This is my coming of age record. I’ve learned so much in the last few years and have been able to use the many experiences – good and bad – as inspiration when writing this album. This is the album that I’ve been able to steer most confidently and proudly, from the writing to the production to the artwork. A lot of the album is about finding light in the dark and overcoming the times when we feel completely lost.”
The Deluxe CD includes 4 bonus songs.
- Birdy Beautiful Lies CD £10.99 / Deluxe CD £12.99 / LP £16.99
The Joy Formidable are attempting to follow a career path that’s all but impossible for up-and-coming rock bands to traverse these days. They want to play arenas, and fill those arenas with punishingly loud and hooky guitar riffs and righteous, octopus-arm drum fills that roll over enormous crowds like a monster truck. With Hitch, they may have achieved their wish.
The LP will be released at a later date, t.b.a.
- The Joy Formidable Hitch CD £10.99 / LP £19.99
Three years on from their critically acclaimed record Corsicana Lemonade, White Denim are back with more than just a new album to commemorate. Their sixth record, Stiff, is a return to the Austin quartet’s frenetic rock band roots, and is both a jubilant thrill ride and joyous celebration of their past ten years. Heading into the studio with an external producer to oversee a whole album for the first time – and even writing a tune with Cass McCombs (‘Thank You’) – the band teamed up with the legendary Ethan Johns (Paul McCartney, Laura Marling, The Staves) to produce their first truly live record, one teeming with a cool ’70s undertow, tumultuous riffs and a feverish energy that’s resulted in arguably some of their biggest and brawniest songs to date.
- White Denim Stiff CD £10.99 / LP £17.99
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Releases for 18 March 2016
First of the recommended releases for 18 March is Iggy Pop’s collaboration with Josh Homme, which stands proudly alongside anything either have done in the past. Underworld’s Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future has no right to be irresistible and relevant, but it is. Primal Scream’s Chaosmosis is hugely ambitious and well worth a listen, James’ Girl At The End Of The World is both euphoric and anthemic, and it’s pretty difficult to come up with a better recommendation than that! Damien Jurado’s Visions Of Us On The Land completes the trilogy started with Maraqopa, Grant Lee Phillips has come up with another warm, real winner, The Wonder Stuff release an album on their 30th anniversary, and lovely stuff it is too, but album of the week goes to Richmond Fontaine’s valedictory You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To, which boasts another extraordinary collection of songs from one of the great American songwriters, Willy Vlautin.
The tenth studio album by alt-country kings, Richmond Fontaine, is their first in five years. Richmond Fontaine’s songwriter, Willy Vlautin, says of the album: “This record was written for all the guys we know who have hit the wall, are about to hit the wall, or are in the middle of slamming into it, It’s a record about paying the price for the way one’s lived. All of us in RF are at the age where the bill starts coming due for the decisions we’ve made along the way.” While the atmosphere is familiar, the songwriting is Vlautin’s strongest to date, matching his lyrics in depth.
- Richmond Fontaine You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To CD £11.99 / LP £16.99
Post Pop Depression is Iggy Pop’s 17th album, and a worthy addition to the 22-album legacy started with the immortal trilogy of The Stooges, Fun House and Raw Power.
This is the first Iggy Pop album to be co-created with Josh Homme. The result is a timeless work, one that sounds as if it’s always been there, has existed before any of the musicians were even born, yet imbued with the ramshackle energy of a garage band that threw itself together yesterday.
Post Pop Depression is a singular work that stands proudly alongside the best works of either of its principals, from The Stooges to Queens Of The Stone Age, bearing its creators’ undeniable sonic DNA while sounding like nothing they’ve done before. It’s a record that wouldn’t exist without either Pop or Homme – and one that probably shouldn’t in theory, if you really think about it – but it does, and we and rock’n’roll are all the better for it.
- Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression CD £11.99 / LP £17.99 / Deluxe LP £28.99
When you’ve been successfully making music together for as long as Rick Smith and Karl Hyde have, the creative process should evolve. Any new music has an expectation placed upon it. So they wrote and recorded every day for a month, starting a brand new track every morning, ignoring everything they had recorded the previous day. What emerged was around 30 fresh, unique and exciting pieces of music which they then developed into this, their new album. It’s a mature take on their earlier work, and it really works. What could have been a re-treading of familiar ground has taken a new direction whilst still sounding like the music Underworld fans want to hear. This is quite irresistible at times, and even though you would be forgiven for thinking Underworld has had their day, the truth is far from it.
- Underworld Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future CD £10.99 / LP £18.99
During the course of Chaosmosis, Primal Scream flit between juddering krautrock, retro synth pop and catchy psychedelia. The overarching tone is twitchy and restless – as if the group can’t wait to finish what they’re doing and move onto the next idea. It wears its restlessness like a badge of honour.
Chaosmosis is not a great album, but it is exceedingly ambitious. Having outlived baggy, Britpop and shoe-gaze, perhaps it is sufficient that Primal Scream are still seeking to meaningfully progress their sound. Sometimes, brave intentions are enough.
- Primal Scream Chaosmosis CD £10.99 / LP £18.99
Girl At The End Of The World sees James team with producer Max Dingel (The Killers, Muse, White Lies) with the legendary Brian Eno infusing his unique influence into the blend. The new album is both anthemic and euphoric, with it’s simmering electronica continuing James’ long connection to the dance floor. The band’s trademark songwriting and Tim Booth’s distinctive vocal and evocative lyrics prove once again to be amongst Britain’s finest.
- James Girl At The End Of The World CD £10.99
Visions Of Us On The Land is the brand new album from Damien Jurado, his first since Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son (2014).
- Damien Jurado Visions Of Us On The Land CD £10.99 / 3-LP £24.99
The concentrated nexus of romance, recollection, historic struggles and tragedies, and peerless craftsmanship – coupled with the hopes, fears, and isolation that accompany transition – formed the backdrop of The Narrows, Grant Lee Phillips’ latest. Bathed in a woody, warmly reverberating sonic signature, the album’s thirteen songs are marked by longing and a resolute sense of purpose: as though hurling yourself full-force into the unknown is as sensible as any other more commonly prescribed course. After all, what feels unknown may be residing just below the surface, should you be willing to dig for it and be open to discovery. The power and substance so ably, tangibly imparted by The Narrows is humble validation of Phillips’ instincts and his subsequent decision to uproot, relocating to Nashville from California.
- Grant Lee Phillips The Narrows CD £11.99 / LP £17.99
To mark their 30th anniversary, The Wonder Stuff release their eighth studio album, 30 Goes Around The Sun – thirty years to the day since the band first walked into a rehearsal studio in the heart of the Black Country in 1986. The band chose to revisit their old stomping ground of Stourbridge to record the album and even managed to persuade renowned heavy metal and hard rock producer Simon Efemey (Paradise Lost/Napalm Death/The Wildhearts) to return to his home town to produce the record.
- The Wonder Stuff 30 Goes Around The Sun CD £11.99
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Releases for 11 March 2016
Leading off the new releases for 11 March is Pete Yorn, with some simply gorgeous songwriting, next up our in-store stars for 12 March at 1.30pm, Breabach, with their innovative and invigorating new album of modern folk, Astar. Emmy The Great’s third album is a beguiling mixture of old and new that will entrance you, Blancmange’s latest, Commuter 23, is full of the biting mordant wit that makes them such a joy, Lucius’s Good Grief is that most difficult of things to create, a simple, great pop album. Tanita Tikaram’s Closer to the People is ten songs with a soul/folk/pop feel. Finally we bring you some unreleased gems from the early years of Jeff Buckley. Album of the week is Palomino from Treetop Flyers, who show an experimental new approach.
Treetop Flyers’ new album, Palomino, comes two and a half years on from their acclaimed debut album, The Mountain Moves. Their new outlook has been to embrace the unknown, and begin experimenting. New synths, new pedals and new techniques helped them to unravel their own sound, as well as conceptions of the classic qualities laid down by their forebears, ultimately uniting them with a purposely accentuated groove and unfathomably tight vocal harmonies – all threaded together by Reid’s own soulful melancholy.
Setting the tone for the album, opener ‘You, Darling You’ is a reflection on the old saying ‘sometimes loving someone means letting them go’. In this case it’s over a failed marriage, but the record picks up on some of the themes of death and departure that made up The Mountain Moves. ‘31 Years’ tracks a goodbye to a friend who passed away during the recording of their debut, and ‘St Andrew’s Cross’ is a lament to the passing of Reid’s father, used almost in therapy by the band as a way to reconcile the past and the unknown ahead, all at once.
- Treetop Flyers Palomino CD £9.99 / LP £18.99
Pete Yorn is back! Best known for his critically acclaimed album Musicforthemorningafter and his more recent album with Scarlett Johanssen, Yorn now brings us Arranging Time, his sixth album. Full of upbeat, synth-kissed rock, this is an album by an artist smack-dab in the middle of a purple patch.
- Pete Yorn Arranging Time CD £10.99 / LP £19.99
After a whirlwind five years traversing the globe, and the day before thy appear live in store at Hundred Records, Breabach present their fifth studio album, Astar (‘distance/journey’). Inspired by the people and places they have encountered, iconic venues and festivals performed at and the exciting, at times groundbreaking, collaborations they have been involved in. These experiences have brought new shape to their sound whilst simultaneously strengthening their identity.
Astar is a multicultural celebration, embracing the music of four nations in partnership with their own. The band have invited friends from Norway, Quebec, Australia and New Zealand to be part of this recording, all of which has been brought to life under the guidance and production of Greg Lawson. They have been showered with awards, including: Live Act of the Year – MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards 2013, Folk Band of the Year – MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards 2012, Songlines Top of the World 2014 for their previous album, Urlar, and have been nominated for Best Group at BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Breabach are the most compelling and exciting big-stage traditional Scottish band around.
- Breabach Astar CD £10.99
Emmy The Great announces her highly anticipated third album, Second Love. There is a distinct nod to her debut, First Love, in terms of the lyrical and emotional dexterity of her storytelling that first impressed so many. On Second Love, however, Emma-Lee Moss delves into the chambers of a human heart ever connected to the glare of a nearby screen.
This is an album imbued with modern sounds, a nod to new eras while maintaining the human warmth always associated with an Emmy The Great album. The songs are full of emotion and questioning, with the chatter of friends and collaborators ‘coded’ into the sonic landscape. These tender, glacial arrangements lead Second Love’s exploration through a new world, filtered through technology.
- Emmy The Great Second Love CD £10.99 / 2-LP £19.99
Blancmange return with Commuter 23, 14 tracks of electronic minimalism, sharp lyrics and wintry romanticism. The sense of freedom and experimentation of Nil By Mouth is still present, but whereas that album had a lighter ambient feel, Commuter 23 has rougher, more aggressive textures, ripped out of imagery that flickers between the surreal and the mundane; a sense of humour that is so dry it’s almost bleak and then at times sounds like it’s rising into a crazy, maniacal laugh.
- Blancmange Commuter 23 CD £10.99
Lucius have a simple formula for success: mastery of the quiet-loud dynamic, emphasising the chorus, and an experimental approach to pop music that treads ground between electropop, folk, rock and more. As a result, Good Grief has listeners going on a journey through the finer points of pop.
From the bass-heavy electronic ascension of ‘Something About You’ to the Bowie balladry meets big brand advertisement pop of ‘What We Have (To Change)’, no two songs feel like they’ve been mined from the same creative vein. Lucius’s greatest strength is their ability to find a new way to make their sound appealing and unique, all while delivering it with the kind of sleek radio-ready finish that makes them utterly irresistible.
- Lucius Good Grief CD £11.99 / LP £19.99
With her newest album, Closer To The People, Tanita Tikaram – the voice that defined a generation – stands apart once again with a maverick record that takes influence from her live band who played with Van Morrison and Nick Lowe, a lifetime of records, as well as contemporary recording ideas that give the music a dynamic sound of their own. Closer To The People features ten beautiful songs ranging somewhere between soul, folk, pop and jazz.
- Tanita Tikaram Closer To The People CD £11.99 / LP £16.99
You And I features 10 previously unreleased and virtually unheard studio recordings from Jeff Buckley, recently discovered in the vaults. The album includes covers of Bob Dylan, Sly & The Family Stone, The Smiths, Led Zeppelin, Bukka White and Jevetta Steele, in addition to the first ever studio recording of his signature song ‘Grace’ and ‘Dream Of You And I’, an unheard original recording which informs the deeply intimate and profoundly personal mood of the album. These recordings represent the breadth of Buckley’s influences and talent for interpretation. Recorded prior to the sessions which would become his seminal debut album, Grace, these tracks offer a unique insight in to the creative process of a developing genius and inimitable emerging talent.
- Jeff Buckley You And I CD £10.99 / 2-LP £19.99
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Releases for 4 March 2016
First up for 4 March is a debut album by a band called Mexrissey, an album of Morrissey covers done with a full mariachi band, and it’s brilliant! Nada Surf’s first for 4 years captures the indie rockers at the height of their considerable powers. The Cat Empire have delivered a lovely, danceable jazzy album in Rising With the Sun, The Coral’s Distance Inbetween comes 6 years since their last original studio album, and it’s worth the wait. The Feeling’s fifth album is self-titled to reflect the rawness of the recording process, which you can hear clearly, Loretta Lynn’s Full Circle is a great country album describing her journey through music up to her current 83 years young. The prolific M. Ward, of both She & Him and Monsters Of Folk, is a singer-songwriter of great consistency and he doesn’t disappoint with More Rain. Release of the week is Ray LaMontagne’s Ouroboros, which is very different from his previous work but well worth a listen.
Ray LaMontagne’s new album and a new sound, the artist brings riffage worthy of the Black Keys to his inspired words. LaMontagne wrote in an email that the songs of Ouroboros, his upcoming concept album, revealed themselves to him like a prophet’s vision as a whole. Wonderful and weird, check your preconceptions at the door and open your ears.
- Ray LaMontagne Ouroboros CD £11.99 / LP £21.99
In Mexico, Morrissey has always been a prophet with honour. His songs of love, loss and longing, with their powerful imagery and metaphors, have found a huge audience and chimed with generations raised on rancheras and mariachis and singers who were not afraid to cross the line. Now the love has been returned, with a band made in Mexico City reinventing Morrissey’s and The Smiths’ songs south of the border. Together they sound like a brass- and string-led combo from the smallest village with the biggest bleeding heart. Yes this is Morrissey, Mariachi style – what’s not to like!
- Mexrissey No Manchester CD £10.99 / LP £16.99
And lo and behold, the first Nada Surf album for 4 years could well be the most representative collection yet of the group’s two-decade career, all the while pushing towards whatever comes next. While the band has always had a surplus of horsepower for velocity rockers and an astounding level of confidence live, they’ve been gaining the discipline and finesses to change gears, more so with each release. Captured in the album’s 10 tracks is every beloved facet of the band, but You Know Who You Are also finds much on offer that stands apart from anything previously heard in the band’s diverse catalogue. “Sometimes it feels like, to our audience at least, we are two or three different bands at once,” Caws concludes. “It seems some people are looking to feel better, for encouragement getting over their obstacles, for help figuring life out … not that I’ve done that myself, other people are looking for love songs, and then some others just want to rock.”
- Nada Surf You Know Who You Are CD £12.99 / LP £16.99
I never quite know how to describe The Cat Empire’s music. It has a danceable jazzy funky feel coupled with a live ready anthemic feel, really quite eclectic and really worth a listen.
- The Cat Empire Rising With The Sun CD £10.99
Distance Inbetween is The Coral’s first album of original material since 2010’s Butterfly House, a gap punctuated by the surprise release last year of their lost album, The Curse of Love. Since their debut EP release in 2001 the band have sold over a million UK albums, with five reaching the Top 10, including 2003’s chart-topping Magic and Medicine. Their eight Top 40 singles include ‘Dreaming Of You’, ‘In The Morning’, ‘Pass It On’ and ‘Don’t Think You’re The First’.
Recorded at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studio with co-producer Richard Turvey, Distance Inbetween was recorded live and mostly in just one take. The seams of each of the album’s 12 tracks are purposely rough-hewn and pave the way for a new visceral sound from a totally re-energised band.
On Distance Inbetween, James Skelly (vocals), Ian Skelly (drums/percussion/vocals), Nick Power (keyboard/vocals) and Paul Duffy (bass/keyboards/vocals) are joined by Coral newbie, guitarist Paul Molloy, formerly of The Zutons. Listeners are invited into The Coral world of Richard Yates books, Alan Moore comics, 1980s toys, the sound of krautrock compilations and Muddy Waters’ Electric Mud, and Gregory Crewdson’s darkly beautiful photography.
- The Coral Distance Inbetween CD £10.99 / LP £19.99
In making their fifth album, The Feeling boldly went where not many bands in the past 30 years have gone before: they decided to record the entire thing in just a few days, as a fully live band. In that spirit, the band abandoned the standard studio time-keeper of a click track and recorded the songs one at a time, in full takes. The Feeling is a raw and passionate album and it’s also why it is self-titled, because this, more than any of their previous records, is what they really sound like.
- The Feeling The Feeling CD £9.99 / LP £15.99
Full Circle is the first new studio album in over ten years from American music icon Loretta Lynn. Produced by Patsy Lynn Russell and John Carter Cash, and recorded at the Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee, Full Circle takes listeners on a journey through Loretta’s musical story, from the Appalachian folk songs and gospel music she learned as a child, through new interpretations of her classic hits and country standards, to new songs written for the project. Drawing inspiration from personal memories and deep connections to American music, Lynn’s 13 new recordings capture the essence of these songs in intimate new performances. At 83 years old, Lynn’s voice sounds as powerful as ever, and this new material only adds to her legend as a performer.
- Loretta Lynn Full Circle CD £11.99 / LP £21.99
New album from singer-songwriter and guitarist Matthew Stephen "M." Ward, who rose to prominence in the music scene in Portland, Oregon. In addition to his solo work, he is known as a member of She & Him and Monsters Of Folk.
- M. Ward More Rain CD £11.99 / LP £19.99
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Other releases for 2016
Find releases from 2017 | 2015.