Releases from July–August 2016
Great albums from around the world
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Pre-sale of the week is No Fun Mondays by Billie Joe Armstrong, out on 27 November.
Eels | Elvis Costello | Joni Mitchell | Joni Mitchell | Mötorhead | Oneohtrix Point Never | U2 | Yes | Dizzee Rascal | Nick Cave | British Sea Power | Craig Charles | David Bowie | Durutti Column, The | Kylie Minogue | Neil Young | Tunng | Wilco | Brian Eno | Chris Stapleton | Elton John | New Order | Paloma Faith | Yungblud | Cabaret Voltaire | Coldplay | UFO | Taylor Swift | The Smashing Pumpkins | The War On Drugs | AC/DC | Billie Joe Armstrong | Kamasi Washington | Puscifer | Drive-By Truckers | Paul McCartney | Steven Wilson | Kurt Vile | Goat Girl | Jeff Tweedy | Cerys Matthews | Bicep | London Grammar
Releases for 26 August 2016
First of our recommended releases for 26 August is a covers record with a difference from The Devil Makes Three – each side of Redemption & Ruin has an old-fashioned concept all on its own: the songs chosen relate to either redemption or ruin. Neat! De La Soul release And The Anonymous Nobody, an album based on samples taken from a library of 300 hours of music covering every genre you can imagine, created by De La Soul themselves – a bold work. The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra return with a new album bursting with riotous ska energy and fun. Prophets Of Rage, comprising Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, Brad Wilk, Chuck D, B-Real, and DJ Lord are back and well named: The Party’s Over is brimful of anger at the state of the world. Britney Spears’s Glory is hi-definition pop produced to within an inch of its life to make your feet tap and your voice sing along almost without knowing! The Dillinger Escape Plan continue with what they do best with Disassociation: that is, thrilling heads-down no-nonsense rock’n’roll. The Minus 5’s Of Monkees And Men is a surreal album about the Monkees and the people who influenced them, written by Scott McCaughey with the usual help from both Mike Mills and Peter Buck of REM.
Release of the week is the surprisingly intense and emotional Winter by New Model Army.
Click here to hear a taster of these albums in our weekly playlist.
- New Model Army make a welcome return with their first full studio album since their acclaimed 2013 long-player Between Dog And Wolf kick-started a creative renaissance. The new album, Winter, is a powerful and emotionally intense body of work. From the opening epic ‘Beginning’ through to the closing song ‘After Something’, the album builds on the new directions taken by Between Dog And Wolf, yet also has familiar echoes of the immediacy and engagement of the band’s classic albums The Ghost Of Cain and Thunder And Consolation.
- Redemption & Ruin is a collection of 12 cover songs with two distinct but intertwined personalities. The first part focuses on the faults and vices that can drive the creative forces within music, while the second focuses on the absolution of life, the soul and forgiveness. Within Redemption & Ruin The Devil Makes Three exhibit their wide range of influences, including nods to the blues (Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters), gospel (Down in The Valley), country (Townes Van Zandt, Hank Williams Sr.), bluegrass (Ralph Stanley), and the obscure (Tom Waits).
- The energy of The Devil Makes Three’s live show is present in all of their recordings and Redemption & Ruin pays homage to the influences that created and shaped that energy.
- The creation of And The Anonymous Nobody has been several years in the making. De La Soul wanted to make another sample-based album in the vein of 3 Feet High And Rising. In order to do so, and avoid the legalities of sample clearance, they spent a few years recording more than 300 hours of live music, converging everything from bossa nova, soul and hip-hop to funk, disco and reggae, creating their own sample library. The body of work is a concept and continuous story, even down to the transitions of songs with sound effects and instrumentals.
- The features-based record is mixed by Bob Power, Morgan Garcia and De La Soul, and was produced by De La Soul and Dave West. Guest appearances include Snoop Dogg, Usher, 2 Chainz, Damon Albarn, David Byrne, Jill Scott and more.
- The new Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra album features a scintillating selection of covers and – more exciting still – some splendid new songs written by the band.
- Lee Thompson says: “The quest for some kind of perfection with this project has meant perhaps a frustrating wait for our diehard fans but we hope and pray that the results are well worth it. For those who don’t know about these things let me cite – for instance – the sometimes tricky matter of mixing. This can lead to lengthy discussions that can last for months: ‘Are the maracas loud enough?’; ‘I don’t know – should they perhaps have a little reverb on them?’ …”
- “I hear no maracas,” says Lee.
- “And then there are the credits: ‘Who played the maracas?’; ‘Darren – or perhaps that was Mez?’; ‘We could list all the instruments and who played them separately in the booklet’; ‘There – that looks good on the right-hand side of the page’ …”
- “I see no maracas,” says Lee.
- You get the idea!
- Prophets Of Rage combines the sonic firepower of Rage Against The Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill.
- We can no longer stand on the sidelines of history. Dangerous times demand dangerous songs. The party’s over. It’s time to take the power back.
- Prophets of Rage is Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, Brad Wilk, Chuck D, B-Real, and DJ Lord.
- The Britney juggernaut returns with her sixth studio album. Glory is a full-on pop album polished to a blinding sheen and featuring a stellar cast. The pop event of the year!
- Disassociation: noun meaning the disconnection or separation of something from something else or the state of being disconnected. Synonyms: separation, disconnection, detachment, severance, divorce, split.
- The Dillinger Escape Plan has been a phenomenon since their inception in 1997. With their appeal to music lovers of many varieties and tastes, their unparalleled live performances, their awards and accolades and their ultra-loyal legion of fans, they have made an indelible mark on the world of rock music.
- 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of The Monkees, the band that wasn’t really a band when they started, but became one, and in the process reached legendary status, with a catalogue of music that rightly deserves the attention it has garnered over the years.
- Scott McCaughey of The Minus 5 explains: “I was eleven years old when I first heard ‘Last Train To Clarksville’ and I became a lifelong fan in that moment. A few years ago I gathered like-minded Minus 5 cohorts for Of Monkees And Men and, starting with the surreal 10-minute epic ‘Michael Nesmith’, we crafted a song for each member, as well as one for Boyce & Hart, the duo that wrote and produced many classic Monkees tracks. The second part of the album eulogizes other important figures in that roam my psyche, naming names and proudly so. Its not a musical documentary by any means – but it pays real tribute to people who heavily influenced my life and music.”
Releases for 19 August 2016
First up for release on 19 August is Slow Club’s cheerily titled One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Any More, which contains more of their gorgeous melodies. John Paul White releases his first solo album since the break up of the much loved Civil Wars; titled Beulah, this is a triumph of dark southern American gothic folk. Ed Harcourt’s seventh album, Furnaces, somehow manages to be both full of fire and brimstone and euphoric and celebratory all at the same time. Lisa Hannigan’s third solo effort, At Swim, is an album about isolation and love. A complete change of pace comes courtesy of Sabaton’s The Last Stand; ‘heroic metal’ describes it perfectly. Blood Orange’s Freetown Sound, which features a host of collaborators, is a musical tour de force – simple. Scott Walker follows his astonishing album with Sunn 0))) with an equally astonishing soundtrack, The Childhood Of A Leader.
Album of the week from a fine field this week is Ryley Walker’s Golden Sings That Have Been Sung, words that came to mind whilst listening: it’s supple, shimmering, intriguing and surreal.
Click here to hear a taster of these albums in our weekly playlist.
- The preceding years have been extraordinary for Ryley Walker. His second album, Primrose Green, emerged to critical hosannas. Robert Plant declared himself a fan – as did double-bass legend Danny Thompson, with whom Ryley would later embark on a British tour. A sprawling tour of the USA around Primrose Green presented a perfect chance to workshop ideas for what would eventually become his third studio album, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung.
- On the album, ‘The Roundabout’ represents a symbolic return to Chicago, while other songs are directly wedded to Ryley’s actual return there. Perhaps more than any other song on the record, the somnambulant sun-dappled intimacies of opening track ‘The Halfwit In Me’ most audibly bear the imprint of Ryley’s improvisational sessions with Wilco multi-instrumentalist and producer Leroy Bach, while ‘Funny Thing She Said’ is an unflinching study of separation set to a shimmeringly supple ensemble performance. Soft, slo-mo explosions of melody intermittently burst through the distant thunder of the verses on ‘A Choir Apart’. Intriguing, surreal images are meted out by ‘I Will Ask You Twice’, like a malfunctioning slide projector; and, perhaps best of all, the stunning finale, ‘Age Old Tale’, which spiders out from an Alice Coltrane-inspired reverie into a sustained rapture that very few artists have managed to achieve.
- How do you keep a band interesting after ten years? It’s a question Slow Club’s Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor must have asked themselves as they started work on their fourth album. The answer seems to be producer Matthew E. White, the master of Southern-gothic folk, whose in-house band at Richmond’s Spacebomb Studios provided the consistency and tone the album required. Almost every track was played live in the studio, allowing the long-established session band’s natural chemistry to augment Charles and Rebecca’s, with the double advantage of recording being very effective, and also comparatively quick.
- One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Any More contains some of the best melodies they’ve yet created. The duo’s knack for writing hooks and melody has, if anything, become stronger. There are choruses here you instantly feel you’ve known your whole life, like the timeless, reassuring refrain of ‘Ancient Rolling Seas’: “I’ll always be by your side,” or ‘Champion’s Dolly Parton–Linda Ronstadt anthem of self-celebration through the darkest times. Perhaps best of all are a pair of songs to be found at the top of what traditionalists would call ‘side 2’ – ‘Rebecca Casanova’, a slice of widescreen, four-to-the-floor pop that recalls soft-rock giants Fleetwood Mac in the way it channels heartbreak onto the dancefloor, and ‘Tattoo Of The King’, a tale that takes Neil Young and the Doobie Brothers to the disco.
- John Paul White’s first solo album in nearly a decade, Beulah, is a remarkably and assuredly diverse collection spanning plaintive folk balladry, swampy southern rock, lonesome campfire songs and dark acoustic pop. Gothic and ambitious with a rustic, lived-in sound, it’s a meditation on love curdling into its opposite, on recrimination defining relationships, on hope finally filtering through doubt.
- White threw himself into the project, no longer the reluctant songwriter but a craftsman determined to make the best album possible. He cut several songs at the renowned FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals. One product of those sessions is ‘What’s So’, which introduces itself by way of a fire-and-brimstone riff, as heavy as a guilty conscience with gritty and soulful vocals. At the other end of the spectrum is ‘The Martyr’; the spryness of the melody imagines Elliott Smith wandering the banks of the Tennessee River, yet the song is shot through with a pervasive melancholy as White wrestles with his own demons. Some of the quieter songs were created in the Single Lock offices/studio, including the ominously erotic opener, ‘Black Leaf’, and the Southern-gothic love song ‘Make You Cry’. As he worked, a distinctive and intriguing aesthetic began to grow clearer and clearer, one based in austere arrangements and plaintive moods. These are songs with empty spaces in them, dark corners that could hold ghosts or worse.
- Ed Harcourt returns with his seventh album, Furnaces, the most ambitious album of his career. The album was produced by legendary producer Flood, a long-time ally of Ed, who has previously worked with the likes of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey and Foals. The result is an album that, for all its fire and brimstone, is also euphoric and celebratory. Fittingly, the artwork was created by the legendary Gonzo artist and Hunter S. Thompson collaborator Ralph Steadman.
- Produced by Aaron Dessner, Lisa Hannigan’s third – and arguably most bewitching – record follows the double-platinum, Mercury-nominated debut Sea Sew and 2011’s Passenger. Taking up Dessner’s suggestion to work together and rediscovering the collaborative spirit she’d missed since leaving Dublin enabled Lisa to see her time in London in a different light. So while At Swim is in part about homesickness and isolation, it’s also – profoundly and very movingly – about love.
- At Swim surfaced when Lisa and Aaron finally met up in Denmark: recording then took place in a church in Hudson, New York, during a furiously-creative seven-day stint. Despite openly being written lost-at-sea, you sense that at this point in her career, Lisa Hannigan is now a strong enough swimmer to go as far out as she wants; to darker depths than before, where the treasure lies, and bring it back to us.
- Simply a perfect addition to Sabaton’s discography, which already contains some of the most heroic heavy metal known to man. If the previous record, straightforward heavy metal assault Heroes, showed the unstoppable power of Sabaton’s eloquent line-up, huge-sounding The Last Stand conquers whole new kingdoms. The band’s apparent sixth member, Hypocrisy / Pain mastermind and renowned producer Peter Tägtgren grasped everything out of Broden, Sundström, drummer Hannes Van Dahl and guitarists Thobbe Englund and Chris Rörland. The result? Innovative guitar solos and razor-sharp riffs, pounding drum patterns, catchier than catchy choruses and haunting melodies – the list goes on … Let’s put it this way: if Sabaton used to sound intense, bombastic and invincible, this time they sound absurdly intense, bombastic and invincible.
- Blood Orange’s highly anticipated new album, Freetown Sound, was written and produced by Hynes. It features musical contributions from Nelly Furtado, Carly Rae Jepsen, BEA1991, Debbie Harry, Adam Bainbridge (a.k.a. Kindness), Empress Of, Ian Isiah, Kelsey Lu, Jason Arce, Ava Raiin, Aaron Maine (a.k.a. Porches), Bryndon Cook (a.k.a. Starchild) and Patrick Wimberly. Freetown Sound is a tour de force, a confluence of Hynes’ past, present, and future that melds his influences with his own established musical voice.
- Scott Walker follows his remarkable collaboration with Sunn O))) with this remarkable soundtrack, Walker’s first score work since the Pola X soundtrack in 1999. Brady Corbet’s directorial debut, The Childhood Of A Leader, is partly inspired by Jean-Paul Sartre’s short story of the same name. The film is a tense psychological drama tracing the formative years of a young boy and set against the backdrop of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference that led to the establishment of the Treaty of Versailles. Walker has produced a soundtrack that fits the story precisely, working with long-term collaborators Peter Walsh (co-producer) and Mark Warman (musical director), with the latter conducting an orchestra comprising 46 string players and a 16-strong brass section.
Releases for 12 August 2016
Our recommended releases for 12 August start with Thee Oh See’s The Weird Exits, on which the guitars manage to be both huge and ethereal all at the same time; The Amity Affliction’s This Could Be Heartbreak is certainly their most revealing release yet; legendary psych-rockers Acid Mothers Temple serve up another hefty slice of anthemic jams with Wake To The New Dawn Of Another Astro Era; of Montreal return with their 14th album, which is as reliably great as the other 13! Marconi Union blend dub, electronica, jazz and ambient sounds in Ghost Station, further refining their very individual sound. Colours Are Fading Fast is a beautifully presented 3-disc retrospective that neatly documents how important Lauren Auerbach & Bert Jansch would become to each other. Lonely The Brave’s new EP, Dust And Bones, contains two new compositions and, as is their wont, a left-field cover, in this case Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’.
Release of the week is The Pineapple Thief’s Your Wilderness, which lyrically follows the journey of a parent and child and chronicles love, fear, estrangement and, ultimately, reconciliation as their lives unfold.
- After the worldwide acclaim generated by the 2014 anthemic rock release, Magnolia, The Pineapple Thief returns with its most ambitious studio album to date, Your Wilderness.
- For the first time, The Pineapple Thief has brought in several special guest performers. Alongside Gavin Harrison (who plays on drums throughout and has gifted some typically brilliant parts that have taken TPT into fresh territory),and a four-piece choir, Geoffrey Richardson (Caravan) arranged and recorded string sections, Darran Charles (Godsticks) contributed additional electric guitar work, Supertramp’s John Helliwell performs some beautiful clarinet parts that bring the album to a poignant close, and Carl Glover has created conceptually sympathetic artwork.
- Lyrically Your Wilderness follows the journey of a parent and child and chronicles love, fear, estrangement and, ultimately, reconciliation as their lives unfold.
- Emerging from the distant light is the new double LP from John Dwyer’s Thee Oh Sees – the first studio recordings to capture the muscular rhythm section of twin drummers Ryan Moutinho and Dan Rincon with bassist Tim Hellman cracking spines. The groove and bludgeon one has come to expect from the band’s live shows is captured seamlessly on The Weird Exits as they go from zero to headsplitter, and on the rare occasions they do let up on the gas a bit, you’re treated to some locked-in hypnotisers, too. The guitar sounds colossal and ethereal at the same time, riding roughshod over the vacuum-sealed rhythm section, spiralling skywards, and diving into the emerald depths so quickly that your guts tingle. It’s a beast, and it can be yours should you so choose.
- The LP is an exclusive indies-only coloured vinyl pressing.
- Deeply personal and emotionally wrenching, This Could Be Heartbreak is The Amity Affliction’s most transformative and revealing record yet. Recorded by producer and longtime collaborator Will Putney at Melbourne’s Holes and Corners with additional drum tracking done at Sing Sing Studios, the album finds The Amity Affliction evolving their signature powerful and cathartic song craft. Both ambitious and grand, album standouts ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’ and ‘All Fucked Up’ are equal parts heavy and hopeful, fuelled by frontman Joel Birch’s desperation which achieves extraordinary transcendence through radical honesty and absolute power.
- Wake To A New Dawn Of Another Astro Era is the first record in the second chapter of legendary Japanese psychedelic rock group Acid Mothers Temple. We find a rejuvenated Makoto Kawabata encompassing the best of what AMT has come to mean in the last 21 years. Deep ambient synth passages fade into deftly composed anthemic jams worthy of crowd-favourite status, such as ‘La Novia’ and ‘Pink Lady Lemonade’. Makoto’s guitar prowess reaches new heights in epic crescendos while the new rhythm section holds down heavy Kraut-influenced repetition. Straddling the line between composition and improvisation, this is a legendary AMT record for sure.
- The double LP is pressed in a limited edition of 1000.
- of Montreal seem to release a new album every year these days, but what’s even more impressive is that most of them are fairly great records. Innocence Reaches is the band’s 14th full-length release. Frontman Kevin Barnes says that for once he was inspired by contemporary sounds. “Forever I’ve been detached from current music,” he says in a press release. “I got into this bubble of only being in some other time period. I came up picking apart The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and symphonic pieces. But last year, I was hearing Jack Ü, Chairlift, Arca, and others, thinking about low end and sound collage. It was an extra layer to geek out on.”
- The album was partially recorded in Paris, where Barnes lived at a friend’s home studio for two weeks. “Being in that place where no one looks at me twice and I can’t even understand the language was like entering a parallel universe,” he says. “It was cathartic and inspiring to amputate myself from my normal life and feel like an individual outside of all the baggage and memories.”
- Over fourteen years of writing and performing, Marconi Union have continually steadily refined and developed a unique musical identity, gracefully blending together elements of dub, jazz, ambience and electronica within their richly melodic compositions, evoking emotions that set them apart from their peers. This time they spent the last two years experimenting with playing, programming, editing, re-editing, (agreeing and disagreeing) until Ghost Stations naturally evolved. Once the title was decided upon, everything fell into place connecting ideas of abandonment, empty spaces and dereliction.
- Marconi Union have never been afraid to accept the challenge of moving forward, trying new things and making new music and with Ghost Stations, their ninth studio album (which features on two tracks guest musicians Digitonal’s Andy Dobson on clarinet and Giorgio Li Calzi on trumpet), their music pushes the boundaries still further yet continues to straddle the worlds of artistic credibility and musical accessibility.
- There’s an idea in Japanese culture which suggests that true beauty can only be achieved through imperfection, as its opposite is unattainable. Colours Are Fading Fast – a beautifully presented 3-disc set by Loren Auerbach, alongside future husband Bert Jansch, is a case in point. Though Auerbach’s voice is sure, it has a tenderness about it that is truly endearing. To listen to her sing is almost an invitation; close your eyes and you could be sitting with her in her living room, a hot cup of tea by your side.
- Auerbach’s two albums (Playing The Game and After The Long Night, respectively) are included here, alongside In Moonlight’s Grace, a disc of previously unheard and unreleased material, transferred and remastered from original tapes. This final part of the triptych feels decidedly special as it documents what would become a great partnership between Loren and Bert – both creatively and romantically. Some of it is a work in progress, some of it more polished, but all of it retains Loren’s particular charm, and the effect that it clearly had on those around her.
- Lonely The Brave has a history of releasing EPs that contain extra new tracks and covers. From the Backroads EP, which featured the astonishing cover of Antony and the Johnsons’ ‘Hope There’s Someone’, to the Call Of Horses EP, which featured the first LTB Redux track ever released.
- The Dust & Bones EP continues in this tradition. Pressed on an Atlantic Pearl coloured 12" vinyl, and strictly limited to 500, this new EP includes three new never before released tracks. The two new original tracks, ‘Bottled Time’ and ‘Place Isn’t Lost’, are an up-tempo banger and a soulful journey through lost relationships. The cover is Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ – perhaps hallowed ground where no band should tread. Except, that is, for Lonely The Brave.
Releases for 5 August 2016
The recommended releases for 5 August kick off with Dinosaur Jr’s Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not – as entertaining a slice of riotous rock’n’roll as you could wish to hear. Wild Beasts’ Boy King is for all those who enjoy sinuous melodies winding around some beautifully dark songs. Blues Pills also bring full-on rock’n’roll with Lady In Gold. The Cadillac Three vary the pace with their Southern Gothic Bury Me In My Boots. Somewhere in London is a great 2-CD + DVD live album package concentrating on the last 2 nights of Marillion’s Somewhere Else tour. Unbelievably there are still some unreleased Elvis Presley recordings out there, and Way Down In The Jungle Room collects some of these from 1976. Haley Bonar’s Impossible Dream is relentlessly catchy but, under all that, serious.
Our recommended release of the week is Blossoms’ ridiculously good self-titled debut album.
- 2016 is Blossoms’ year. Catapulted into the musical subconscious in January, listed fourth in the BBC Soundpoll as well as almost every other ‘ones to watch’ list, Blossoms have been carefully carving out their position in the canon of Great British Rock’n’Roll ever since.
- The band have earned rave critical comparisons to everyone from Arctic Monkeys to Depeche Mode to The Doors, shapeshifting between psychedelia, synth-pop and powerhouse indie, a mercurial sound at once familiar and unique.
- Blossoms will be released as a mint-pack CD and a full-colour gatefold LP with gold foil, 180g heavyweight black vinyl.
- The original line-up of Dinosaur Jr (J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph) only recorded three full albums during their initial run in the 1980s. Everyone was gob-smacked when they reunited in 2005. Even more so when they opted to stay together, as they have for 11 years now. And with the release of Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not, this trio has released more albums in the 21st Century than they did in the 20th.
- Of the 11 songs presented, nine are by J Mascis. He has a very idiosyncratic way of structurally assembling and presenting the songs. The other two songs here were written and sung by Lou, and they’re great as well.
- The LP version comes on indies-only coloured vinyl.
- Wild Beasts’ new album, Boy King, is their most direct and vital collection to date. Where 2014’s Present Tense found Wild Beasts in reflective mood, absorbing a fascination with online culture and electronic music. The quartet’s ever-present knack for sensual melody via Hayden Thorpe and Fleming’s dueting vocals, Ben Little’s sinuous guitar groove and Chris Talbot’s potent rhythm section carries in Boy King an aggressive, snarling and priapic beast that delves into the darker side of masculinity and Thorpe’s own psyche.
- The LP version comes on indies-only coloured vinyl.
- Blues Pills’ second album, Lady In Gold, references a character symbolizing death. Singer Elin Larsson explains of the intriguing album title: “We wanted to get away from the typical stereotype of the Grim Reaper.”
- The mystical and dark references of the album title are echoed throughout a lot of the album – there’s the ode to the female ‘Keeper Of The Soul’ on spiritual sounding title track ‘Lady In Gold’ and talks of failed salvation from a deceitful messiah in the soul anthem ‘Little Boy Preacher’. There’s emotive blues ballads in ‘I’ve Felt A Change’ and ‘Burned Out’ and empowering post-heartbreak tales in ‘Won’t Go Back’ and ‘Rejection’.
- ‘Lady In Gold’ was produced in Sweden by producer Don Alsterberg and they’ve captured on this album everything that’s made them one of the most talked about rock bands of the past few years.
- Bury Me in My Boots will be “14 songs of bada-- s--t that we’re real proud of,” according to The Cadillac Three’s frontman Jaren Johnston. Their second album will be “a little heavier” than earlier material.
- Comprising Jaren (lead vocals), Neil Mason (percussion) and Kelby Ray (lap steel), the trio is known for electric intensity and songwriting proclivity. Their raw, gritty sound has long since defined their rocking vivacity and universal appeal.
- Pals since high school, the bandmates’ musical fusion has transcended global boundaries as they’ve built a loyal following in the UK with multiple sold-out headline dates, and were awarded Best New Band it the 2014 UK Classic Rock Roll of Honour. Rolling Stone said of the band: “Like Kings of Leon before them, they’re poised for their first big break in the UK – where they’ve sold out every headlining show for nearly two years – before conquering their US home turf.”
- The Cadillac Three released their self-titled debut album in 2012, so fans have been waiting for quite some time for this sophomore project. “It’s just real songs, and I try to write about what nobody else is writing about at the time,” said Johnston. “It’s country music, so a lot of people say the same things, and we touched on a lot of those things but with different ways of saying them. I’m real proud of it.”
- Marillion formed in 1979 and have sold over 15 million albums worldwide. Rightly regarded as legends of progressive rock, the band have also continued to evolve. Somewhere In London was filmed over the final two nights of the ‘Somewhere Else’ album tour at the London Forum in June 2007. Directed and edited by Tim Sidwell, this film is now available in a CD + DVD set. The DVD audio is presented in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound, mixed by Michael Hunter.
- The set is packaged in a a media book with a 24-page colour booklet.
- The most complete and comprehensive collection of Elvis Presley’s final studio recordings ever assembled in one anthology – this is an essential addition for every fan’s library. With original recordings produced by Elvis Presley and Felton Jarvis, Way Down In The Jungle Room brings together, for the first time in a single collection, the master recordings and rare outtakes laid down during two mythical sessions (2–8 February and 28–30 October 1976) in the Graceland den known as the Jungle Room.
- The double LP will released on 19 August.
- Impossible Dream is Haley Bonar’s most ambitious record to date. Blending scuzzy 1980s indie, new wave angularity and Spector-ish reverb, her songs are, as NPR once described, “as relentlessly catchy on the surface as they are alluringly complex underneath.” Simply Beautiful.
- The price and release date of the LP are to be announced.
Releases for 29 July 2016
There’s a slight pause in new releases for 29 July, with just the four to recommend. First up is Tim Burgess’s Vinyl Adventures From Istanbul To San Francisco, a cracking compilation that acts as a perfect companion to his new book. Viola Beach’s self-titled debut is a promising and engaging indie pop record, which makes the circumstances around its release all the more tragic. If you don’t closely follow the UK folk scene then O’Hooley & Tidow may be a new name to you, but Shadows is a real live contender for folk album of the year; give it a listen.
Release of the week is the latest from the marvellous Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel is majestic indeed!
- When the Chris Robinson Brotherhood headed into the studio to begin recording their new album, Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel, no one knew just what to expect. But as anybody who’s been following the CRB can attest, this is a band that thrives on the unexpected.
- If you need proof, just go back to 2012, when they first emerged on the national stage by releasing not one, but two acclaimed full-length albums within a few months of each other. Critics hailed their sprawling debut, Big Moon Ritual, as a revelation. The band’s relentless tour schedule brought their shimmering acid-Americana around the world for a staggering 118-date tour, firmly establishing the CRB as the new standard-bearers of the psychedelic roots torch.
- “Instead of seeing these things as challenges, we started to see them as something exciting,” explains Robinson. “It was an opportunity to see where our expression could take us. Some people get really uptight when they’re making records, but for us, the looser it gets the better. It’s all about taking our intuition and following it to where our ideas can really manifest themselves. This turned out to be the most spontaneous record I’ve ever been a part of.”
- What makes Viola Beach’s self-titled debut, released three months after the band and their manager died in a car crash while touring in Stockholm, especially tragic is just how much potential they show as a sunny indie pop band seemingly on the rise. Viola Beach is not a perfect record, but its sweetness and optimism make the somber circumstances surrounding its release even more difficult to swallow.
- The new book Tim Book Two: Vinyl Adventures From Istanbul To San Francisco follows Tim Burgess on a road trip to track down records recommended by the likes of Ian Rankin, Iggy Pop and Kim Gordon. It’s a celebration of vinyl and those that collect it as well as those that sell it. This compilation, Vinyl Adventures From Istanbul To San Francisco, follows no rules. Love sit comfortably beside Joy Division, Isao Tomita next to Duane Eddy. It’s unlikely you’ll find another record containing music by all of Fad Gadget, Tchaikovsky and Allen Ginsberg.
- Shadows is the new album from one of British folk’s mightiest combinations, O’Hooley & Tidow. It is the follow-up to their groundbreaking album The Hum, which earned them a place in Mojo’s Top Ten Folk Albums of 2014, a nomination for Best Duo in last year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, a Top of the World album selection in Songlines magazine, as well as a five-star live review and feature in the Guardian.
- Shadows conveys the vast expanse of human emotion, from tenderness to sensual melancholy, boundless joy and hope to anger and grief, from dogged determination and grit to the disturbing and deeply unsettling. Under careful consideration are those who live their lives in the dark, whilst others are gently lifted out of the dusk, from Belinda and Heidi’s own, deeply personal shadows, to the crimes committed behind closed doors.
Releases for 22 July 2016
There are just the six perfectly formed recommended new releases for 22 July. First up are Bears Den, who have managed to avoid ‘difficult second album syndrome’ in following up their wildly successful debut with the passionate and evocative Red Earth & Pouring Rain. If energetic power pop is your thing then Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart, the new album from Martha – a band not a person – may well be for you. Bess Atwell’s debut album, Hold Your Mind, is a place were folk meets a pop sensibility to great effect. Jazz great Branford Marsalis collaborates with singer Kurt Elling across a range of jazz standards and songbook classics to produce a fresh, innovative sound. And, as unlikely as it sounds, members of seminal underground bands like Cardiacs, Knifeworld, Guapo have come together to form a 7-piece folk band, Admirals Hard, and have produced a rousing and raucous set of sea songs.
Release of the week is theyesandeye from Lou Rhodes, which plays with the traditional concept of the singer-songwriter. Songs layered in piano, strings and vocal are all enhanced with a splash of reverb. Just lovely.
- Lou Rhodes’ fourth solo album defies categorisation. Yes, there are elements of the singer-songwriter roots she bathed in growing up, but these are embroidered with a rich palette of stark piano, vocal layering, transcendent harp and strings, all wrapped up within a heady smattering of vintage reverbs. theyesandeye was recorded in an analogue nerd’s paradise – a friend’s studio in rolling Wiltshire countryside which is an Aladdin’s cave of vintage equipment. After six albums with electronic genre-benders Lamb and three solo albums to date, including the Mercury nominated Beloved One, Rhodes’ capacity as a songwriter and interpreter of songs is fully road-tested, but refuses to become formulaic.
- Red Earth & Pouring Rain is the follow up to the wildly successful Islands. Plenty of bands lose their direction and sound when it comes to their second album, but Ivor Novello-nominated duo Bears Den continue to produce passionate and evocative music. Long may they continue!
- Martha return with their second album, Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart. Produced again by MJ from Hookworms, the album explores the difficulties in staying political, staying passionate and staying punk over the course of eleven expertly crafted pop songs. Hailing from Pity Me near Durham, Martha play energetic, impassioned power pop with intricate vocal interplay and lush four-part harmonies, informed by 90s indie rock and contemporary garage punk.
- Bess Atwell’s songs are written far from city lights, in the South Downs communities where she’s lived for most of her 21 years. In her debut album, Hold Your Mind, local folk and singer-songwriter traditions meet a pop sensibility. Observations on identity, self-dismay and claustrophobic social media combine intimacy with rock hooks and gauzier, more expansive atmospheres. Timeless in essence, her songs are solid with modern detail, and a sure sense of place: strong foundations for a subtly fresh new songwriter.
- When Branford met Kurt at a Thelonious Monk Institute competition, they had a conversation at the bar about recording together. What has emerged, after an intense week of performance and recording in New Orleans, is a collection that blends songbook staples, jazz standards and standards-to-be from a diverse array of composers. Every track on Upward Spiral confirms the beyond-category strengths of both the Quartet and Elling.
- Admirals Hard is 7-piece folk band specialising in sea shanties and traditional maritime folk songs, featuring members of underground bands as diverse as Cardiacs, Knifeworld, Guapo, North Sea Radio Orchestra, Stars In Battledress, William D Drake, Gong, and Mediaeval Baebes.
- The band was formed by Cornishman Andy Carne who, during a spell of exile in London, convinced fellow West Country ex-pats to help him bring new life to the music he’d been singing since childhood. These musicians, though largely involved in leftfield, experimental rock, shared Carne’s love of real-deal folk music, with some already accomplished in the parallel world of traditional folk. Using harmonium, hurdy-gurdy, melodeon, hammered dulcimer and 7 voices they make his vision a rousing reality. Upon A Painted Ocean is a raucous collection of sea songs played with attitude, infectious good humour and adventurous but sympathetic arrangements.
Releases for 15 July 2016
First up of our recommended new releases for 15 July is Aaron Neville, who celebrates his 75th birthday with Apache, an album of impeccable soul. David Corley’s Lights Out was written after he suffered a massive heart attack on stage and, as you would expect, it’s a beautiful exploration of death and illness. Jeff Beck returns with his first album for 6 years, the aptly titled Loud Hailer – full of lyrical guitar work and topical words. Nonkeen, who include amongst their number Nils Frahm, release Oddments Of A Gamble hot on the heels of their well received first album. Steven Tyler – yep, the bloke from Aerosmith with the scarves – releases a solo country album, yes you did read that right, a country album, and even more surprisingly it’s really good! Unusually for us, we are also recommending this week a various artists album: Eleven Into Fifteen, which features the very best of what is called post–classical music. Don’t let the awkward label put you off, give it a listen! Also, after a long delay, Michael Kiwanuka’s Love & Hate finally reaches its release date.
Album of the week is Björk’s Vulnicura Live, which is as it says on the tin, but great for all that.
- A live version of Björk’s highly-acclaimed, Grammy-nominated eighth studio album, Vulnicura. Following the success of Vulnicura, Björk was honoured with the award for ‘Best International Female’ at the Brits. This was Björk’s fifth Brit award and followed the announcement that Vulnicura had been chosen as Rough Trade’s Album of the Year.
- Vulnicura Live is made up of Björk’s favourite performances from her 2015 tour, including all songs on from the original release plus some carefully selected favourites from previous works. The songs were performed live with the Alarm Will Sound & Heritage Orchestras, and critically acclaimed producers The Haxan Cloak & Arca.
- Apache is the new album from the multiple Grammy award-winner Aaron Neville – member of the world-renowned Neville Brothers and one of the most recognisable soul voices in American music history. Apache comes on the heels of 2013’s album My True Story, which earned Aaron his first Top 10 album. Apache celebrates Neville’s 75th birthday and marks the 50th anniversary of his first number one single, ‘Tell It Like It Is’.
- Lights Out is the new release by David Corley and follows his highly acclaimed debut album, Available Light.
- David endured a not-so-idyllic childhood on a horse farm in Lafayette, Indiana despite loving, close-knit family relations with his grandma Annabelle, mother Sarah, sister Annie and their two dogs, Moose and Ox. When he was nineteen, David had a series of ecstatic visionary and mystical experiences. After leaving the University of Georgia at the age of 20, he travelled across the country delivering trucks, and began to read obsessively. He subsequently lived off the land for a few years in a remote cabin on a mountain in Georgia. If his heart hadn’t exploded at the age of 40, David reckons he would still be there … but chose to recover from surgery in his home town of Lafayette.
- At the age of 53, Corley released his debut album, Available Light, produced by Canadian multi- instrumentalist Hugh Christopher Brown. From that point, things went very fast, and within a few months after release David was touring Italy, Ireland, UK and the Netherlands with BJ Baartmans and his band Wild Connection. This collaboration worked so well that promoters, punters and press alike raved about the energetic and powerful performances. During this time David, producer Hugh Christopher Brown, and the band also recorded new tracks on off days.
- But then, after an impressive set at the Take Root Festival in Groningen, David announced the encore and immediately hit the stage floor, struck by a massive heart attack. After intensive treatment in Groningen and a long and restful recuperation at home, David is now in better shape than ever before and, together with Christopher Brown, he has finished the tracks he recorded in Studio Wild Verband, along with a bunch of new songs. These songs are presented here as Lights Out, David’s very personal expression of life after death!
- On his first album in six years, legendary guitarist Jeff Beck combines fluid fretwork with topical lyrics to make a powerful statement about everything from the love of power, to the power of love.
- Loud Hailer is a suitable moniker for an album that isn’t shy about speaking its mind. Jeff explains: “I really wanted to make a statement about some of the nasty things I see going on in the world today, and I loved the idea of being at a rally and using this loud device to shout my point of view.”
- Nonkeen, including Nils Frahm, swiftly follow up their debut. Oddments Of The Gamble is a continuation of the unique, analogue concoctions that formed their debut album, The Gamble – very much like a ‘part two’ in many ways. Although it inevitably draws on a similar formula to the previous release – pensive loops and melodies, sweeping arpeggios, post-rock jams, and rolling jazz breaks – Oddments Of The Gamble still stands alone as another statement from the trio, despite originating from the same recording sessions.
- Iconic songwriter and prolific singer Steven Tyler unleashes his highly anticipated debut solo. Tyler has co-produced the 15-track album, entitled We’re All Somebody From Somewhere, alongside legendary musicians/producers T-Bone Burnett and Dann Huff. Tyler says: “I headed down to Nashville last spring to start working on this project, wrote some kick ass songs with some of Music City’s finest songwriters and now we get to share them with the world. … Country music is the new rock ’n roll. It’s not just about porches, dogs and kicking your boots up. It’s a whole lot more. It’s about being real. And nothing is more real than understanding We’re All Just Somebody From Somewhere.”
- The LP will be released at a later date, yet to be announced.
- FatCat Records’ 130701 imprint has played a pioneering role in the development of today’s vibrant post-classical scene. Initially established as an outlet for Montreal-based Set Fire To Flames (a 13-piece collective featuring members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Fly Pan Am, etc), the label has since been home to some of the most recognisable names in the broad-reaching post-classical field, having introduced the likes of Max Richter, Hauschka, and Set Fire To Flames, and has been home to Sylvain Chauveau, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Dustin O’Halloran.
- With 13 July being its fifteenth anniversary, 130701 is celebrating with the release of a compilation featuring eleven exclusive tracks: one from each of the artists to have graced the roster over the past fifteen years, plus three new signings – Ian William Craig, Olivier Alary and Resina – whose first 130701 albums are each set to appear this year. Eleven Into Fifteen has been curated and compiled by 130701’s David Howell, and none of these tracks has previously seen a physical release.
- Love & Hate, Michael Kiwanuka’s long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s Home Again, is again rich with both meaning and extraordinary soul, in all senses of the word.
Releases for 8 July 2016
Recommended releases for 8 July feature a diverse selection running from electronica to hard rock by way of soul and folk, and all the finer for it. Aphex Twin continues his heady rush of releases in the last 18 months with Cheetah, available in all formats – even cassette! Biffy Clyro’s Ellipsis sounds very like them, no pretentious experimentation for the Biffy Boys and the album’s a belter. You’ll know Michelle Stodart from The Magic Numbers, but her second solo album is no retread: on it Michelle turns before our ears into a very fine songwriter. Róisín Murphy’s Take Her Up To Monto is a worthy follow up to the Mercury-nominated Hairless Toys, Hattie Briggs is a new and original voice in folk music, with Young Runaway amongst the finest folk releases so far this year. And Hundred Records favourites Larkin Poe have rebooted – or Reskinned – last year’s Kin with a rockier sound.
Album of the week, however, comes courtesy of The Avalanches. 16 years is a long time to wait, but Wildflower proves that the wait was worth it!
- Following an unprecedented sixteen-year gap between albums and all the revolutions the world has turned through since the release of their hugely acclaimed, award-winning debut album Since I Left You (2000), The Avalanches have announced details of their new album, Wildflower. Created by the band’s core duo – Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi – Wildflower is nothing less than The Beach Boys’ Smile reimagined in the Daisy Age – a mind-bending cartoon road movie that’s best viewed with closed eyes and an open mind.
- In the years since its release, Since I Left You has established a rarely seen loyalty, its influence ever growing in the age of digital music, sampling and bedroom producers. The Avalanches, meanwhile, have become the stuff of folklore, with rumours abounding about a long awaited follow-up record. Well here – at long last – it is!
- The Cheetah EP uses digital sound generation techniques combined with wave sequencing technology to bring you sounds with movement and depth rarely found on records today. The result is, as you would expect from Aphex Twin, astonishing.
- Biffy Clyro follow 2013’s critically acclaimed chart-topper Opposites with their seventh studio album, Ellipsis. As is tradition, writing sessions for the album saw Biffy Clyro – Simon Neil (vocals/guitar) and the Johnston brothers James (bass) and Ben (drums) working in the intimate environment of their practice room. Citing influences as diverse as Tears For Fears’ Songs From The Big Chair album, DJ Arca and Deafheaven, Simon Neil has described Ellipsis as “more of a punch to the nose than a big cuddle.” Lyrically, the album’s songs tackle personal issues with the idea of ‘fighting back’, which is a recurring theme. An ellipsis (most commonly depicted as …) indicates a continuation: in this case, Biffy Clyro’s new body of work is an ongoing representation of everything that the band have stood for since first debuting in 2002 with Blackened Sky.
- The LP version is on indies-only clear vinyl.
- More than a decade since The Magic Numbers landed in the top ten with their double-platinum-selling debut album, Michele Stodart has taken temporary leave of the band she formed with her brother Romeo to release her second solo album, Pieces. Released four years after her solo debut, Wide-Eyed Crossing, the nine songs that comprise Pieces confirm that, almost by stealth, Michele has turned into an artist whose work bears strong comparison to some of the touchstone songwriters that helped shape her outlook.
- Take Her Up To Monto is the follow up to Róisín Murphy’s critically acclaimed Mercury Prize-nominated album Hairless Toys and is billed as her most daring and creative yet. Never an artist to stand still, Take Her Up To Monto features everything Róisín has always done but seen afresh, boasting disco fancy, dark cabaret, the sonorities of classic house and electronica and the joy and heartbreak of pure pop drama, resulting in her most magnificent song structures yet.
- We first came across Hattie Briggs supporting Sean Lakeman and Kathryn Roberts on tour last year. She’s one of a number of exciting young folk artists making their way. If you like folk music, give Young Runaway a try! This accomplished album features 11 new tracks showcasing Hattie’s distinctive vocals, skilled musicianship and observant, heart-warming song writing.
- William Bell is a Stax Records original. Perhaps best known for his classic hit, ‘You Don’t Miss Your Water’, a prototypical slice of country-soul, he is one of the most influential artists in soul music history. Now, the renowned singer and composer returns with This Is Where I Live, his first album of new music in over 10 years and his first album on Stax in more than 4 decades. This is a philosophical, eloquent and soulful album, and extends William’s creative footprint into fresh new territory.
- Hundred Records favourites Larkin Poe’s debut album, Kin, is relaunched – or rather, Reskinned – with 5 new tracks conveying the heavier rock side of these Atlanta sisters. The album also contains new mixes of ‘Stubborn Love’, ‘Don’t’ and ‘Crown of Fire’.
Releases for 1 July 2016
New releases for 1 July include Sara Watkins, formerly of Nickel Creek, who releases Young In All The Wrong Ways, an intensely confessional and affecting album. Crossroads Revisited features nearly 4 hours of music previously unavailable on CD from Eric Clapton’s famous guitar festival. Punk-poppers Blink-182 return at breakneck pace with their seventh studio album, California. The Grateful Dead’s 3-CD live show from the Capitol Theater, Passiac, NJ is a showcase from one of their great periods. Metronomy releases Summer 08, the sequel to Nights Out that has taken 8 years to get here.
Release of the week is The Bride by Bat For Lashes, a work of both beauty and darkness, and one of our favourites so far this year.
- The Bride, the fourth album from Bat For Lashes, follows the story of a woman whose fiancé has been killed in a crash on the way to the church for their wedding.
- Written as the soundtrack to an imaginary film, The Bride is Natasha Khan’s most ambitious work to date, sonically and visually incorporating an entire world inhabited by the ‘Bride’, along with the characters and places she encounters on the way as she flees the scene to take the honeymoon trip alone, resulting in a dark meditation on love, loss, grief, and celebration. The Bride was conceived of and produced by Natasha Khan alongside a host of long-time collaborators and friends including Simone Felice, Dan Carey, Head and Ben Christophers.
- The double LP is a indies-only coloured vinyl pressing.
- Young In All The Wrong Ways is Sara Watkins’ most cohesive and fully realized solo album. The album is also her most powerful. Personal and revealing, she wrote or co-wrote each of the 10 songs – a first for her. Sara calls the record “a breakup album with myself”. Writing and recording these ten intensely soul-baring songs was a mechanism to process and mark the last few transformative years. The record is about Sara turning the page and taking the reins of her own life, in both a career and personal sense. “I looked around and realized that in many ways I wasn’t who or where I wanted to be,” says Sara. “It’s been a process of letting go and leaving behind patterns and relationships and in some cases how I’ve considered myself. What these songs are documenting is the turmoil you feel when you know something has to change and you’re grappling with what that means. It means you’re losing something and moving forward into the unknown.” Young in All the Wrong Ways reveals an artist who has managed to transform her own turmoil into music that is beautiful and deeply moving: “God bless the tenderhearted,” she sings, “who let life overflow.”
- Nearly four hours of live performances from Eric Clapton’s acclaimed Crossroads Guitar Festival are coming to CD for the first time. This new 3-disc collection features 41 tracks of landmark performances from all four Crossroads Guitar Festivals, held in 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013.
- Founded in 2004 by the legendary guitarist, the Crossroads Guitar Festival has given fans an opportunity to witness truly historic performances by some of the world’s greatest guitarists. While fans have been able to relive those magical moments thanks to a series of successful DVD and Blu-ray compilations, only a few of those performances have made their way to CD.
- This set is a veritable Who’s Who of guitar music, including Clapton, Jeff Beck, Gary Clark Jr., Robert Cray, Billy F Gibbons, Vince Gill, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, John Mayer, Carlos Santana, Joe Walsh, Ronnie Wood, and Jimmie Vaughn, to name just a few. Naturally, the all-star jams deliver some of the collection s most unforgettable moments.
- Held every three years since 2004, the Crossroads Guitar Festival raises funds for the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, a treatment and education facility that Clapton founded in 1998 to help people suffering from chemical dependency.
- Blink-182, the punk-pop favourites of a generation, are back with their highly anticipated seventh studio album. California contains 16 tracks, including the smash single ’Bored To Death’.
- Though they were exhausted from touring, drug use in the band was escalating, and Jerry Garcia was suffering from a sore throat, this superb show captures The Grateful Dead on fiery form. Originally broadcast on WNEW-FM, it features some stupendous interplay, with especially prominent keyboards from Keith Godchaux, who was shortly to leave the band. The set is presented here with background notes and rare photos in a 3-CD clamshell box.
- Joe Mount hasn’t always been the songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist auteur Metronomy who fans know and revere him as today. Eight summers ago, he was – in his own words – “25, constantly drunk, single and living in London desperately trying to be cool.” Then a fledging bedroom producer, his second album, Nights Out, was a few months away from release, and life was a restless whirlwind of boozy cab rides from gig to gig, grimy London dive to grimy London dive. “I can’t remember a single night in, sat in a nice room, just watching the telly,” he reminisces now. “It was quite manic, remembering it.” Instead of burying that wild-eyed time in his memories, Mount’s about to return to it. Summer 08 is his sequel to Nights Out. And it’s album he’s waited eight years to make.
Other releases for 2016
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