Releases from July–August 2017
Great albums from around the world
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Also check out some of the great reissues of classic albums.
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Pre-sale of the week is Hell-On by Neko Case, out on 1 June.
Courtney Marie Andrews | Sunflower Bean | Micah P. Hinson | The Vaccines | Jack White | George Ezra | Rick Parfitt | Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite | Mary Chapin Carpenter | Kacey Musgraves | Led Zeppelin | Martin Freeman & Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner | Trembling Bells | Wiley | Manic Street Preachers | Kylie | Eels | Blackberry Smoke | John Prine | The Damned | Black Stone Cherry | Brothers Osborne | The Courteeners | Unknown Mortal Orchestra | Josh T. Pearson | Laura Viers | Old Crow Medicine Show | The Who | Okkervil River | Blossoms | Gaz Coombes | Frank Turner | Courtney Barnett | King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard | Belly | Plan B | Lindi Ortega | Half Man Half Biscuit | Neko Case
Releases for 25 August 2017
Kicking off 25 August’s releases we have Villains, the seventh album from Josh Homme’s band Queens Of The Stone Age, who have managed the tricky feat of producing an album that moves their sound forward but still sounds like the Queens. Even if you can’t make it to their in-store album launch, The Loved Ones by Flyte is well worth checking out for its intricate indie-pop songwriting and plethora of harmonies. Iron & Wine’s new album, Beast Epic, is a series of vignettes, observations and regular songs that redeem through joy and a certain expectation of grace. On Holiday Destination, her brilliant and compelling third album, Nadine Shah widens her focus from complicated relationships to the world at large. Exile In The Outer Ring is a portrait in which EMA renders Middle American poverty and resentment with frightening realism and deep empathy. Light In Your Mind is Cymbals’ first album in 2 years: guitar-flecked electro at its most hypnotic and sublime; its unfettered adrenaline rush is fun with a capital ‘F’. Oh Sees return with their umpteenth album, Orcs, and they are in gut-pleasingly heavy form, nimbly mixing dashes of abandon and menace on this fresh batch of brooders and bruisers. Susanne Sundfør’s dark heart gets more introspective on Music For People In Trouble; to deceptively sparse accompaniment of slide and acoustic guitar and piano, she struggles to contextualise a world that continues as normal despite relentless internal and external conflict.
Release of the week is A Deeper Understanding, the culmination of 3 and a half years’ work by War On Drugs since the release of the epic Lost In The Dream, and that rarest of things – a true band album which shines with an unbridled exuberance and a real sense of exploration. Highly recommended.
- A Deeper Understanding is the first album from War On Drugs since 2014’s universally acclaimed Lost In The Dream, and follows the Record Store Day release of the 11-minute ‘Thinking of a Place’.
- For much of the three-and-a-half-year period since the release of Lost In The Dream, The band’s frontman, Adam Granduciel, led the charge for his Philadelphia-based sextet as he holed up in studios in New York and Los Angeles to write, record, edit, and tinker. Calling on his bandmates – bassist Dave Hartley, keyboarding Robbie Bennett, drummer Charlie Hall and multi-instrumentalists Anthony LaMarca and Jon Natchez – continuously throughout the process, the result is a ‘band record’ in the noblest sense, featuring collaboration, coordination, and confidence at every turn. Through those years of relocation, the revisiting and reexamining of endless hours of recordings, unbridled exploration and exuberance, Granduciel’s gritty love of his craft succeeded in pushing the band to great heights.
- Note: the limited LP version is on clear vinyl, and is only available from shops participating in Record Store Day.
- “The title ‘Villains’ isn’t a political statement. It has nothing to do with Trump or any of that. It’s simply a word that looks fantastic and a comment on the three versions of every scenario: yours, mine and what actually happened… Everyone needs someone or something to rail against – their villain – same as it ever was. You can’t control that. The only thing you can really control is when you let go,” says Josh Homme.
- Hundreds of epic shows, memory lapses, unexplained injuries, one year-long detour with Iggy Pop and multiple Grammy nominations later, Queens Of The Stone Age re-emerge from the desert newly scarred and somehow strangely prettier with lucky seventh album, Villains. As Homme himself puts it: “The most important aspect of making this record was redefining our sound, asking and answering the question ‘what do we sound like now?’ If you can’t make a great first record, you should just stop – but if you can make a great record but you keep making records and your sound doesn’t evolve, you become a parody of that original sound.”
- What they have made is forward-looking yet unmistakably Queens.
- The 2-LP version is a limited deluxe edition 180g vinyl, housed in heavyweight tip-on sleeve, and includes 14 exclusive art prints by Boneface and an etched 4th side. This version is only available through indie stores.
- The Loved Ones is the highly anticipated debut album from Flyte, stuffed full of crafted and intricate indie-pop songwriting with a plethora of harmonies. Check this out if you’re into the likes of Grizzly Bear, Tame Impala and Mac DeMarco.
- No album worth its place in the pantheon is made without the spilling of much blood, sweat and tears. Flyte don’t make life easy for themselves. They practise intensely, honing and crafting each song until they know they can do a great live take of it in the studio. Harmonies are captured by having three voices sing into one microphone rather than using the more common modern technique of layering with overdubs. As they say: “None of the albums that inspire us as musicians are heavily edited, polished or overproduced, so we didn’t want ours to be either.”
- Beast Epic, the fourth album of new material for Sub Pop from Iron & Wine and the band’s sixth overall, recasts soft power as a series of vignettes, observations and regular old songs that redeem through joy and a certain expectation of grace. Even the instant classic, ‘Bitter Truth’, with a lyric as pained and direct as any I’ve heard from Iron & Wine, is leavened with background vocals recalling The Jordanaires.
- Sam Beam has called Beast Epic his ‘most personal’ album to date. It is the first Iron & Wine album that he’s produced since The Creek Drank The Cradle, though the results are vastly different. This album brims with surprise flourishes, classic touches and an appealing confidence that is evident on songs like ‘Call It Dreaming.’ After a decade and a half of prodigious expression and exploration, recording as both Iron & Wine and under his own name, Sam Beam confessed that he has finally figured out how to make records. He had me fooled all along.
- For most of us, 2016 was a tumultuous and ugly year – one steeped in political chaos and an air of uncertainty. For Nadine Shah, these headlines had been a big part of her life for years, and Holiday Destination, her brilliant and compelling third album, sees her stepping out of the shadow of the complicated relationships she examined on her second album, Fast Food, and taking account of the world at large.
- After the success of 2011’s Past Life Martyred Saints and 2014’s prophetic The Future’s Void, EMA retreated to a basement in a generic apartment complex in a non-trendy neighbourhood of Portland, Oregon, with beige carpeting and cheap slat blinds. Now, she returns, with a portrait of her Exile In The Outer Ring: a pitch-black world of dark night highways, American flags hung over basement windows, jails and revival meetings and casinos and rage. In a year dominated by white working-class alienation and anger, EMA – a Midwesterner who never lost her thousand-yard stare – has delivered an album that renders Middle American poverty and resentment with frightening realism and deep empathy.
- Light in Your Mind is guitar-flecked electro at its most hypnotic and sublime which provides an unfettered adrenalin rush and is fun with a capital ‘F’. This represents the first new material from Cymbals in two years, and their first album since January 2014. If the wait seems long for the listener, for those involved in its creation the time in between pulls in a lifetime of unexpected experiences. That Light In Your Mind even exists is a testament to not giving in. That it sounds the way it does is both remarkable and, somehow, inevitable. Like decay, the album never really ends. And at the end it’s born anew again.
- The newly shorn Oh Sees waste no time in racing headlong into nightmarish battle with the mighty Orcs, and wouldn’t you know it, they’ve clawed even farther up the ghastly peak last year’s The Weird Exits stormed so satisfyingly. The band is in tour-greased, anvil-on-a-balance-beam, gut-pleasingly heavy form, nimbly braining with equal dashes of abandon and menace on this fresh batch of bruisers and brooders, hypnotically stirred into to the cauldron of chaos you’ve come to expect from Oh Sees.
- Fresh blood Paul Quattrone joins Dan Rincon to form a phalanx of interlocking double drums, alternately propelling and fleet footing shifting ground to pinion Dwyer’s cliff-face guitars to the boogie. Tim Hellman keeps it swinging like a battle-axe to the eyebrows. The tunes veer towards the violence of their live shows, with a few tasty swerves into other lanes – heavy to lush, groovy to stately – and throughout it remains sinister in its swaggering skulk, manic in its fuzz-fried fugues. They hit all the sweet spots the heads foggily remember.
- Musically and lyrically, Music For People In Trouble retains the dark heart of Susanne Sundfør’s previous album, Ten Love Songs, but the mood is more introspective, at least on the surface. The arrangements are consistently sparse, with Sundfør’s clear, close-up voice joined by one or two instruments at a time: there’s a sense that she is alone, an often uncomfortable intimacy. Deceptively simple accompaniments of slide guitar, piano and acoustic guitar are framed with short field recordings of streams, birdsong, church bells, contextualising the struggles of the songs within a world that continues as normal despite relentless internal and external conflict.
Releases for 18 August 2017
The summer break for new releases has ended, and it was a bit of a struggle to condense the offerings for 18 August down to 8!
First up, modern prog maestro Steven Wilson finally debuts on a major label with the sonically and melodically stunning To The Bone, a high-definition snapshot of the disconcerting times we live in. The Duke Spirit follow up 2016’s marvellous Kin with a poignant new album, Sky Is Mine, on which each song looks for humanity on a global scale: beautiful dream pop. Judy Dyble, original vocalist of Fairport Convention, has produced Summer Dancing with Andy Lewis, a work of the essence of British psychedelia, emerging from somewhere between Broadcast and Stereolab, which is a very good thing indeed. If you like your indie music huge, anthemic and stuffed full of driving synth riffs but with a real pop sensibility, This Life, Vol.1 from The Coasts is right up your alley! James Lavelle says of UNKLE’s fifth studio album, The Road, Part 1: “I wanted to make an album that goes back to the roots of where I came from, but with a foot in modern London,” and he has. Wildwood Kin’s debut album, Turning Tides, borrows heavily from the folk tradition while delving into other genres with an inventive use of electronics that creates a spectral atmosphere. With bouncy percussion and swaggering guitar riffs married to sneeringly irresistible vocals, The Sherlocks’ Live For The Moment is an upbeat indie gem.
Album of the week is the latest from Grizzly Bear. While 2012’s Shields dealt with the interpersonal barriers we construct and hide behind, Painted Ruins focuses on what happens when these facades crumble and reveal our vulnerabilities, exploring the inner conflicts we experience when our best-laid plans fall apart.
- While Grizzly Bear’s 2012 album, Shields, dealt with the interpersonal barriers we construct and hide behind, their follow-up focuses on what happens when façades crumble and reveal our vulnerabilities. Though Painted Ruins examines fractured relationships – band member Ed Droste recently endured a divorce – it isn’t a breakup album per se, as it more broadly explores the inner conflict experienced when our best-laid plans fall apart.
- To The Bone is the expansive, brilliant fifth album from Steven Wilson, a gloriously dynamic modernist pop record as imagined by the UK’s biggest underground artist. Fusing driving futurist rock and spectral electronics with elegiac hyper-space ambience and dizzying, squalling guitars, To The Bone is a hat-tip to the hugely ambitious progressive pop records of Stephen’s youth (think Peter Gabriel’s So, Talk Talk’s The Colour Of Spring, Tears For Fears’ Seeds Of Love).
- Lyrically, the album’s eleven tracks veer from the paranoid chaos of the post-truth era and the creeping self-loathing of the technology age to steely fly-on-the-wall observations of the everyday lives of religious fundamentalists, with a welcome shot or two of wide-eyed escapism. Sonically and melodically stunning, To The Bone is a high-definition snapshot of the disconcerting times we live in.
- Following 2016’s acclaimed album Kin, The Duke Spirit march on with poignant new album Sky Is Mine. Each song approaches, revises, steps back and looks for humanity on a planetary scale. From the shimmering melodies and prodigious power of tracks like ‘Magenta’ and ‘See Power’ to the energy-fuelled psychedelic rock of ‘Houses’ and ‘Yoyo’, the album flows with a dark, beguiling grandeur with the majestic allure of Liela Moss’s crystal vocals.
- Judy Dyble and Andy Lewis come to together for a psychedelic folk collaboration, Summer Dancing.
- Dyble was the original vocalist in Fairport Convention, appearing on their self-titled debut before joining Giles, Giles and Fripp and then recording the awesome UK psych masterpiece Morning Way under the name Trader Horne with her then boyfriend Ian McDonald. Andy Lewis was the original DJ at legendary Brit-pop club Blow Up, before recording his own albums for Acid Jazz and scoring a Top 40 hit with his collaboration with Paul Weller, ‘Are You Trying To Be Lonely?’, in 2007. After that he joined Weller’s band and remained a member until the end of 2016.
- Summer Dancing is the very essence of British psychedelia: an obsession with childhood, the country and the city. It emerges from a place somewhere between Broadcast, the soundtrack to the Wicker Man and Stereolab.
- Coasts follow up their excellent debut with This Life, Vol.1. Huge anthemic indie-rock with big synths, plenty of instrumentation and strong pop sensibilities.
- After a roller-coaster twenty-five year career as an artist, curator and tastemaker, James Lavelle returns with UNKLE’s fifth studio album, The Road.
- In the twenty years since UNKLE’s debut, Lavelle has been prolific, creating three studio albums with UNKLE (Never Never Land, War Stories and Where Did The Night Fall), writing a host of critically acclaimed film scores, and curating a series of art exhibitions: most notably, the hugely successful ‘DayDreaming with Stanley Kubrick’ exhibition at Somerset house.
- “I hadn’t made a record in a long time, and the incarnation of UNKLE had changed in that now, it was me on my own,” says Lavelle. “For that reason, I wanted to make a record that I hadn’t been able to before, going back to the roots of where I came from, with a foot in modern London.”
- A family trio – two sisters and their cousin – Wildwood Kin borrow heavily from early folk influences, not least in their hypnotic three-part harmonies. But their extraordinary debut album, Turning Tides, delves deeply in to other genres, featuring both electric and acoustic instruments and it boasts inventive electronics and spectral atmospherics.
- With bouncy percussion and swaggering guitar riffs married to sneeringly irresistible vocals, Live For The Moment is an upbeat indie gem. The whole album is infused with the passion of The Sherlocks – 4 guys rehearsing in a garage and dreaming of playing in front of sold-out venues across the UK.
Releases for 11 August 2017
We’ve got some really fine new releases out on 11 August for you. Poor Man’s Almanack is the third album from David Rawlings who, with long-time collaborator Gillian Welch, has produced a wry mixture of acoustic and electric music rich in an ageless American vernacular. The Districts are a real indie rock band; their latest, Popular Manipulations, is an emotionally engaged set of rock music that is grown-up, but not so much so that it loses its vulnerability. Will Hoge has a remarkable gift for crafting complex characters with real emotional depth; on Anchors, he weaves elements of vintage country, literate folk and heartland rock into a passionate masterpiece. Spooky Action, the debut solo album from Paul Draper, former frontman of iconic late-’90s band Mansun, is a biting and brutally honest autobiography set to everything from glistening synthetic soul to warped voodoo psych. Acoustic Classics II is a continuation of Richard Thompson’s enormously successful Acoustic Classics, the same recipe served up with the same delicious results. Likewise, legendary guitarist Steve Howe adds Anthology 2, highlighting his key contributions to groups like Yes and Asia, along with his numerous musical collaborations. Emily Saliers of iconic duo Indigo Girls releases her debut solo album after 30 years; Murmuration Nation brims over with life and energy, blurring musical and geographical boundaries with a bold and infectious spirit of adventure.
Our release of the week, however, is 24-7 Rockstar Shit, which marks a return to The Cribs’s early roots with its raw, rough-around-the-edges approach and sonic aggression. It’s a proper rock’n’roll album and all the better for it.
- Recorded live to tape in just 5 days by venerated underground engineer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Shellac, Pixies), 24-7 Rock Star Shit marks a return to The Cribs’s early roots with its raw, rough-around-the-edges approach and sonic aggression.
- Conceived during recording sessions for the band’s fifth album, In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull, these recordings were elevated to quasi-mythical status amongst the band’s famously dedicated fan-base, with excitement building for a ‘punk album’ flipside to 2015’s more pop-leaning For All My Sisters. Originally intended as an EP, once sessions were completed the band found that they had recorded enough material for an album and decided it should be released that way instead. “That approach just really suits us, we were just having too much fun I guess,” they laugh.
- Note: the LP is on indies-only purple/pink splatter vinyl.
- Acclaimed songwriter and guitarist David Rawlings releases his freshly pressed third album, Poor David’s Almanack, in which he leaves the Dave Rawlings Machine moniker behind and serves up a wry mixture of acoustic and electric performances rich in ageless American vernacular.
- Gloriously captured on analogue tape, the ten new songs took shape in a rollicking week-long session at Woodland Sound Studios in Nashville, where Rawlings and long-time compatriot Gillian Welch joined together with Willie Watson, Paul Kowert, Brittany Haas, Ketch Secor, and Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith to produce an album for all seasons.
- The Districts are a real indie rock band, writing about their lives and loves and singing it out above sharp and sweeping anthemic guitars. Popular Manipulations is an emotionally engaged set of rock music that is grown-up, but not so much so that it loses its vulnerability.
- Anchors is a prime showcase for Will Hoge’s searing, gritty vocals, as well as his remarkable gift for crafting complex characters with real emotional depth and plainspoken profundity. Over the course of eleven tracks, Hoge weaves elements of vintage country, literate folk and heartland rock into a passionate, genre-busting masterpiece, one that offers an unflinching portrait of the messy challenges of adulthood and the ways in which we persevere (or don’t) through hard times.
- As the frontman and songwriter of one of the most iconic bands of the late ’90s, the creative force behind Mansun that brought the classic hit single ‘Wide Open Space’ and the Number 1 album Attack Of The Grey Lantern, Paul Draper’s talent precedes him.
- Spooky Action is his debut solo album, featuring the glistening synthetic soul single ‘Things People Want’ and warped voodoo psych grat-track ‘Don’t Poke The Bear’. Lyrically, it’s a biting and brutally honest record – an autobiography set to captivating and addictive melodies.
- On the heels of the success of Acoustic Classics in 2014, Acoustic Classics Vol. II features acoustic renderings of classic songs from the Richard Thompson catalogue, some previously recorded by other singers, some previously available only in a band format.
- Legendary guitarist Steve Howe adds a second volume to his Anthology series with a collection that highlights his key contributions to groups like Yes and Asia, while also rounding up his numerous collaborations with musicians such as Paul Sutin and Oliver Wakeman.
- Anthology 2: Groups And Collaborations will be released as a physical three-CD set designed by Roger Dean. The collection spans more than 50 years of Howe’s prolific career with 56 tracks that mix hits with a generous selection of unreleased recordings, including several with Keith West, who was Howe’s bandmate in Tomorrow and The In Crowd.
- Thirty years into one of the most storied careers in popular music, Emily Saliers, best known as one half of the iconic duo Indigo Girls, decided to record her debut solo album. Murmuration Nation brims over with life and energy, blurring both musical and geographical boundaries as Saliers breaks down barriers with a bold and infectious spirit of adventure.
- Recorded with an all-star band – including bassist Tim LeFebvre (David Bowie, Tedeschi Trucks Band), keyboardist Rachel Eckroth (KT Tunstall), and drummers Robert ‘Sput’ Searight (Snarky Puppy) and Will Calhoun (Living Colour) – and featuring guest appearances from fellow luminaries Lucy Wainwright Roche, Jonatha Brooke, and Jennifer Nettles, the album explores the kind of rhythmically centred, globally inspired music that’s always held a special place in Saliers’ heart.
Releases for 4 August 2017
Our magnificent 8 for release on 4 August kick off with electro-rocker outfit PVRIS’s second album, All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell. Bluesy americana trio William The Conqueror, featuring folk luminary Ruarri Joseph, release their debut, Proud Disturber Of The Peace. Black Grape’s first collection of new material in 20 years, Pop Voodoo, finally arrives and is full of the biting lyrical satire for which Shaun Ryder is justly lauded. Coldplay release an EP called Kaleidoscope, which is both an intriguing look back at their past and a teasing hint of where they may go next. This week includes another of our rare re-release recommendations: Lal & Mike Waterson’s folk-noir masterpiece, Bright Phoebus. Americana/jam band supergroup Hard Working Americans – comprising Todd Snider, Dave Schools and Duane Trucks (Widespread Panic) and Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood) – bring us We’re All In This Together, every bit as essential as their previous two albums. Marty Friedman’s 13th solo album, Wall Of Sound, has a nicely self-descriptive title that’s very accurate. I don’t expect any album this year to feature more guitars than this one!
Album of the week has to be Dark Matter from storied American songwriter Randy Newman; it’s his first album of new material for nine years and is well worth the wait. Newman has been referred to as “a true master of popular song” and no music collection is complete without his work.
- Dark Matter, the first album of new material from Randy Newman in nine years, is the follow-up to 2008’s acclaimed Harps And Angels, which the Guardian called “the work of a true master of popular song.” Produced by long-time Newman collaborators Mitchell Froom, Lenny Waronker, and David Boucher, the album includes songs about Vladimir Putin, the Kennedy brothers, Sonny Boy Williamson, science vs. religion, love and loss, and more.
- Note: the LP will be released on 18 August.
- Massachusetts-based goth-tinged electro-rockers PVRIS release their new studio album All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell.
- Note: the LP is expected on 25 August.
- Proud Disturber Of The Peace is the debut album from bluesy indie-Americana three piece William The Conqueror. Recorded in sessions that took the band from Cornwall right up to the Isle of Lewis and back again, the album features the multi-instrumental talents of Harry Harding, Naomi Holmes and Ruarri Joseph – a name many folk fans may remember from his acclaimed solo output.
- Black Grape return with brand-new album Pop Voodoo, which showcases the band’s first new material in 20 years and is sure to reinstate them as one of the most influential bands of all time.
- Album opener and tease track ‘Everything You Know Is Wrong – Intro’ sees the band launching into a statement of intent and the return of Shaun Ryder’s lyrical wit, which this time has him taking sharp aim at Donald Trump. The forthcoming album is testament to Ryder’s reigning social and political commentary.
- Note: the LP is on limited edition yellow vinyl.
- Described as a companion piece to their 2015 foray into clubbing territory, A Head Full of Dreams, Kaleidoscope EP is more a celebration of Coldplay’s musical past and a sneak peek into what their future might hold than an extension of that record, making it a must-have for Coldplay diehards.
- Note: the LP will be released 11 August.
- Bright Phoebus, the 1972 folk-noir masterpiece by Lal & Mike Waterson, has been remastered and reissued. This will be the first time since its original release that the album will be widely available.
- Bright Phoebus has long been recognised as one of British music’s legendary lost records. Following the parting of ways of The Watersons, and freed from the strictures of folk orthodoxy, Lal and Mike Waterson’s love of words allowed them to serve the needs of their songs in ways that weren’t possible when singing already written songs.
- Featuring performances from Lal, Mike and Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Mattacks, Tim Hart and Maddy Prior, amongst others, the album is now recognised as a forward-thinking benchmark for the genre.
- Hard Working Americans combines the talents of Todd Snider, Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools and Duane Trucks, Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s Neal Casal, Great American Taxi’s Chad Staehly, and Jesse Aycock. We’re All In This Together is their second live album, showcasing performances from HWA’s critically-acclaimed 2016 release Rest In Chaos, as well as their self-titled debut.
- Grammy nominated recording artist and legendary guitarist Marty Friedman returns with Wall Of Sound, the much-anticipated follow up to his Billboard-charting album, Inferno. The new album contains 11 bombastic tracks featuring a diverse group of guests: Jinxx (Black Veil Brides), Shiv Mehra (Deafheaven) and Jorgen Munkeby (Shining). Wall Of Sound explores, expands and destroys any conventional notions of instrumental music.
- Regarding the writing and recording process on Wall Of Sound, Friedman says: “It’s a challenge to evolve album after album, especially on your 13th solo album. Not only as a songwriter but it is imperative to do new things on my instrument as well. Luckily this is a challenge that I love. You will find this hard to believe when you hear the density and sheer amount of guitar coming at you from all directions, but in fact all of the final guitar tracks on Wall Of Sound were done in 9 days.”
Releases for 28 July 2017
Our 8 lovely non-summery recommended releases for 28 July are as follows: The indefatigable Fall release their umpteenth studio album, New Facts Emerge, which is full of the usual snarling lyrics and spiky rhythms and proves the great John Peel’s view of the Fall: “always different, always the same.” James Vincent McMorrow delivers his fourth album, True Care, an invigorating mix of introspection, memory and piercing memory. Santana & The Isley Brothers have collaborated on The Power Of Peace, a journey through soul, funk, jazz and blues that sounds simply fantastic. Boris are back with a real blast of a thing, as heavy and crunchy as ever. Apparently the band were thinking of wrapping things up; we’re grateful that they didn’t! Alice Cooper’s new studio album, Paranormal, his first for 6 years, also comes with a bonus disc featuring a couple of extra new songs and some carefully selected live numbers. We don’t normally include reissues among our recommendations, but the 2-CD/2-LP reissue of Radiator by Super Furry Animals is an essential release that demands inclusion. This Is Trojan is a truly stunning 6-LP set, a perfect introduction to the wonderful world of Trojan Records and the very best of vintage Jamaican sounds, presented on vinyl the way they were intended to be heard.
Album of the week is Everything Now by Arcade Fire, which is addictive and wondrously light. Win Butler says: “There’s sort of an everything-nowness to life. I feel like almost every event and everything that happens surrounds you on all sides. It’s trying to capture some of the experiences of being alive now in all its flaws and all its glory.” That’s good enough for us!
- Arcade Fire return with their fifth album, Everything Now, after a long hiatus. Absolutely addictive and wondrous light indie-rock, the lead single and title track serves as a lovely taste to what’s in store for their fifth album.
- Win Butler says: “There’s sort of an everything-nowness to life. I feel like almost every event and everything that happens surrounds you on all sides. It’s trying to capture some of the experiences of being alive now in all its flaws and all its glory.”
- Everything Now was produced by Arcade Fire themselves, along with Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Pulp’s Steve Mackey, with co-production coming from Markus Dravs (Coldplay, Mumford & Sons). It was recorded at Boombox Studios in New Orleans, Sonovox Studios in Montreal and Gang Recording Studio in Paris.
- Please note that the supply of the indies-only ‘Night Version’ of the CD and LP will be very limited. Stock will be allocated on a first ordered, first served basis. The limited LP is now SOLD OUT.
- The Fall’s 32nd studio album, New Facts Emerge, comprises 11 new tracks recorded at various studios in the UK and produced in conjunction with Mark E Smith. It is being released on CD and limited-edition vinyl. The Fall, now in their 41st year, have proven a major influence to many bands (such as Pavement, Hole and even Faith No More) in both the UK and around the world. New Facts Emerge is their third studio album for Cherry Red and adds to the list of over 100 live and studio albums released by the band over the years.
- James Vincent McMorrow’s fourth album, True Care, is a futuristic mix of introspection, memory, and piercing honesty.
- Recorded last year, Power Of Peace is the fulfilment of a dream: a new musical studio collaboration connecting Santana and The Isley Brothers on a mind-bending journey through some of the immortal soul, funk, blues, rock, jazz and pop songs that continue to inspire them.
- The new Boris album, Dear, released in the band’s twenty-fifth anniversary year, was distilled from three albums’ worth of material down to this single statement. It’s a real blast of a thing, as heavy and crunchy as ever. Apparently the band were considering wrapping things up, but writing and recording Dear invigorated them: now it can invigorate you too!
- Alice Cooper’s new studio album, Paranormal – his first in 6 years – was recorded in Nashville with long-time collaborator Bob Ezrin. The 10-track album also features a very special bonus CD: a mini-album consisting of two brand-new songs written and recorded together with original Alice Cooper band members Dennis Dunaway, drummer Neal Smith and guitarist Michael Bruce alongside carefully selected live recordings. Paranormal also features special guest appearances by U2’s Larry Mullen, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Deep Purple’s Roger Glover.
- Super Furry Animals release a newly remastered edition of their 1997 album Radiator. The reissue will be available both on 2-CD and 2-LP, remastered from analogue tapes. The CD edition includes a booklet of new interviews with the band as well as B-sides, alternate versions and unreleased demos.
- This crucial box set contains six LPs on 180g vinyl, an insight and a perfect introduction to Trojan Records, one of the world’s most popular and iconic Jamaican music labels.
- The set comprises 60 ska, rocksteady and reggae classics, including no less than 5 UK No. 1s and 35 UK Top 20 hits, with seminal hits from such reggae legends as Desmond Dekker, The Harry J All Stars, Ken Boothe, John Holt, Bob & Marcia, The Maytals and The Pioneers.
- Whether you’re a die-hard Trojan fan, or simply wish to enjoy the very best vintage Jamaican sounds on the format for which it was originally created, This Is Trojan is an essential addition to your vinyl library.
Releases for 21 July 2017
21 July brings the following gems: The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band have hit on a winning groove with their eighth album, Lay It Down, that mixes traditional blues shuffles and soulful workouts with countrified ballads. Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s third album of new material in little more than 2 years, Barefoot In The Head, sees the songwriting within the band continue to grow stronger, and the loose yet tight musicianship gives this album a wonderful easy rolling quality that can only be achieved by a group of artists tuned to the same sonic wavelength. What Do You Think About the Car?, the eagerly awaited debut album from Declan McKenna, features his signature combo of smart, engaged lyrics tied to a fizzing alt-pop sound – he’s more than just another singer songwriter. After being away from the music biz for several years, Damian Marley returns with a homage to Stony Hill, where he grew up in Jamaica, recorded with his brother Stephen. Defying Gravity neatly showcases Mr. Big’s trademark crunch allied to an acute sense of melody that never escapes them; the band’s pursuit of creative excellence shines through. Time to get noisy! Punk-metallers Tau Cross release their second album, Pillar Of Fire, a moody melting pot of dark post-punk and anthemic hard rock shot through with 16th-century English mysticism. Wintersun’s third album, The Forest Seasons, develops their ability to create otherwordly epic metal; it’s a foray into the world of symphonic metal that oozes bravado throughout.
Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbot’s third album, Crooked Calypso, boasts all the hallmarks of Heaton’s peerless songwriting: songs buoyant with melody and redolent with biting wit, but also full of real emotion, and that makes it our album of the week.
- Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott’s third album, Crooked Calypso, boasts all the hallmarks of Heaton’s peerless songwriting: songs buoyant with melody, and redolent with biting wit, but also real emotion. Opening track ‘I Gotta Praise’, a euphoric secular Gospel anthem, raises the roof and opens the record in style. ‘The Lord Is A White Con’, meanwhile, considers religion as an exploitative tool of empire builders, while ‘She Got The Garden’ is the wittiest divorce song since ‘D-I-V-O-R-C-E’. And then there is ‘Blackwater Banks’, a gorgeous Irish waltz The Dubliners would be proud to call their own.
- The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band shoots wide on its eighth album Lay It On Down – by design.
- “I wanted to grab from several different genres,” says Shepherd. On Lay It On Down, that means running the gamut from hard rockers such as ‘Baby Got Gone,’ soulful workouts like ‘Diamonds & Gold,’ the bluesy shuffles of ‘Down For Love’ and ‘The Ride Of Your Life’ and countrified ballads in the weepy ‘Hard Lesson Learned,’ ‘Louisiana Rain’ and the title track, ‘Lay It On Down.’
- “The goal was to make a contemporary sounding record,” Shepherd explains; “something that was new and fresh and obviously doesn’t sound like many of my other records. The last record I did (2014’s Goin’ Home) was traditional blues, so on this one I needed to do some different things, and I think we did.”
- Barefoot In The Head marks a third collection of new material from the band in the past two years. Freedom clearly suits the Chris Robinson Brotherhood well!
- The new album finds the band pushing boundaries and breaking new ground with more joy and wonder than ever before. The album showcases the continued growth of Robinson’s songwriting partnership with his bandmates (guitarist Neal Casal, drummer Tony Leone, keyboardist Adam MacDougall, and bassist Jeff Hill), while revelling in the kind of playful adventurousness that can only come from five artists tuned in to the same sonic wavelength.
- What Do You Think About The Car?, the highly anticipated debut album from Declan McKenna, features his signature combo of smart, engaged lyrics and fizzing alt-pop, as well as recent singles ‘Isombard’ and ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home.’
- After being away from the spotlight for several years, Damian Marley is back alongside brother Stephen with his new album Stony Hill, featuring most notably the singles ‘Nail Pon Cross’ and ‘Medication’. He reveals why this album is very personal to him: “Stony Hill is a place in Jamaica where I grew up, so it’s kind of paying homage to my upbringing.”
- Defying Gravity deftly showcases that patented Mr. Big blend of crunch and melody, from the freight-train ride of opening cut ‘Open Your Eyes’, the harmony-laden wonderment of ‘Damn I’m In Love Again’, the wistful nostalgia of ‘1992’ (recalling the days when the band was flying high atop the singles charts with their international #1 smash ‘To Be With You’) to the barn-storming slide-blues closer, ‘Be Kind.’ Overall, Defying Gravity is prime evidence that the only thing Mr. Big remains tethered to is their ongoing pursuit of achieving creative excellence.
- Tau Cross, the multinational punk-metal collective revolving around Amebix bassist/frontman Rob ‘The Baron’ Miller, Voivod drummer Michel ‘Away’ Langevin, and members of cult crust outfits Misery and War // Plague, release their second full-length album, Pillar Of Fire, a moody melting pot of dark post-punk and anthemic hard rock infused with 16th-century English mysticism.
- Tau Cross commented on the new album: “Pillar Of Fire is the continuation of some of the ideas that were explored on our first album. This time we have managed to share the songwriting more equally and introduce some other textures to the songs. This should help to establish Tau Cross as less of a one-off phenomenon and more of an ongoing musical collective producing our own distinctive sonic environment.”
- Wintersun’s third album, The Forest Seasons, comprises four songs, each representing a change in season and its subsequent emotional effect. Wintersun’s ability to create otherworldly, somewhat galactic epic metal comes into play here, with the band all but foregoing their early folk elements for a nuanced, symphonic foray that is crammed with bravado.
Releases for 14 July 2017
We’ve got 6 deeply lovely releases due out on 14 July for you. First up is UK grime superstar Skepta, whose Konnichiwa won the Mercury Prize in 2016; this time Boy Did Good neatly showcases a string of unreleased tracks plus some really hard-to-find classics. John Murry follows his critically acclaimed Graceless Age with A Short History Of Decay; his bruised, gothic Americana has produced an intensely personal document of an artist’s fall from grace. Trippin’ With Dr Faustus is the 6th album from Amplifier, and more importantly it’s their most definitive work to date, filled with classic Amplifier trademarks such as monster riffs and fascinating lyrics, turned right up to 10! Visionary second album Soft Sounds From Another Planet lifts Japanese Breakfast to new heights; over the course of its 12 tracks Michelle Zauner explores a sonic landscape of her own design, from ballads to cinematic soundtracks and everywhere in between. The Queen Of Hearts is the debut album from Offa Rex, an adventurous new project featuring English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Olivia Chaney with The Decemberists.
Out In The Storm, Katie Crutchfield’s fourth album as Waxahatchee and the follow-up to Ivy Tripp, is the blazing result of a woman reawakened and our release of the week. Her most autobiographical and honest album to date is a self-reflective anchor in the story of both her songwriting and her life.
- Out In The Storm, Katie Crutchfield’s fourth album as Waxahatchee and the follow-up to Ivy Tripp, is the blazing result of a woman reawakened. Her most autobiographical and honest album to date, Out In The Storm is a self-reflective anchor in the story of both her songwriting and her life.
- Note: The 2-LP version is on indies-only coloured vinyl.
- Popular UK grime act and Mercury Music Prize 2016 winner Skepta releases a new album, Boy Did Good, featuring a string of previously unreleased tracks as well as hard-to-obtain classics.
- A Short History Of Decay, the second album from cult US singer-songwriter John Murry, is an intensely personal document of an artist’s fall from grace. It contains all the tragic elements of that unwritten Southern Gothic novel: the revelations of a man coming to terms with the personal shortcomings, the flaws and the perverse twists of fate that led him to the end of one journey and the beginning of another.
- Amplifier return with their sixth and most definitive album to date: the epic Trippin’ With Dr Faustus. Chiselled out between 2014–16, the album instantly delivers the Amplifier twin calling cards of massive riffs with lyrical sentiments that go beyond space-time and the limitations of ones, zeros and polycarbonate manufacturing.
- The story of Faust is more relevant than ever in the 21st century.
- The Queen Of Hearts is the debut album from Offa Rex, an adventurous new project featuring English singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Olivia Chaney and The Decemberists.
- Japanese Breakfast’s new release, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, is less of a concept album about space exploration so much as a mood board come to life. Over the course of 12 tracks, Michelle Zauner explores a sonic landscape of her own design, one that’s big enough to contain her influences. There are songs on this album that recall the pathos of Roy Orbison’s ballads, while others could soundtrack a cinematic drive down one of Blade Runner’s endless skyways.
- Zauner’s voice is capacious: one moment she’s serenading the past, the next she’s robotically narrating a love story over sleek monochrome, her lyrics more pointed and personal than ever before. While Psychopomp was a genre-spanning introduction to Japanese Breakfast, this visionary sophomore album launches the project to new heights.
Releases for 7 July 2017
7 July brings a lovely batch of new releases! This Is The Kit follow up the critical and sales success of Bashed Out with Moonshine Freeze, an album that mixes a singer-songwriter outlook with an invigorating funk/indie/ folk sensibility. Melvins’ first double album, A Walk With Love & Death, has been described as a giant, moody, psychotic head trip, and that’s good enough for us! The Americans release I’ll Be Yours, which is infected with a fiery blues/country attitude that absorbs and reconfigures American music from Chuck Berry to Bruce Springsteen via Tom Waits. Broken Social Scene release their first album in 7 years; all 15(!) members have come together to create Hug Of Thunder, an album of warm, melodic and uncompromising indie/pop/rock tunes. The Telescopes – that ever-changing vehicle whose one constant is Stephen Lawrie’s singular and unusual voice – are back with their ninth studio album, As Light Return – think space rock, dream-pop and psychedelic music all mixed into a glorious noise.
Release of the week has to be Every Valley from Public Service Broadcasting, in which Justin Waygoose and gang continue their epic journey into the hearts of everyone who loves music in the UK. Having previously tackled the space race and the BBC, this time PSB reveal the very largest of themes by focusing on the smallest – an isolated mining community – and the result is both like their previous work and also unlike it. Either way, it works!
- Every Valley is the third album from Public Service Broadcasting following their last studio album, 2015’s The Race For Space. They’ve established a strong reputation for their historical storytelling through music style that’s highly unique and addictive while being educational at the same time.
- On Every Valley Willgoose takes us on a journey down the mine shafts of the South Wales valleys. Yet the record is a metaphor for a much larger, global and social malaise, using the history of coal mining to shine a light on the disenfranchised.
- The album features guest vocals from James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers), Derbyshire trio Haiku Salut, the award-winning Welsh singer Lisa Jên Brown, and Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell on the lead single, ‘Progress’.
- Note: The limited edition indies-only LP comes on 180g clear vinyl.
- Moonshine Freeze is the fourth studio album from Kate Stables, recently signed to Rough Trade, under the alias of This Is The Kit. Sonically the album delves through multiple genres and influences: it’s singer-songwriter but mixes in some funk, indie, nursery rhymes and folk.
- “I’m not yet someone who says ‘I want this album to sound like an 80’s French nightclub’,” she says. “All I can do is write the songs and then step back from them and see what themes or patterns there are, then bring those patterns out so it’s a coherent piece of work, sonically and in terms of feeling.”
- Note: the first pressing of this album is on red vinyl.
- Melvins return with A Walk With Love & Death, serving as the follow-up to 2016’s Basses Loaded. This double album showcases the two distinct sides of the band’s music: Death is a classic Melvins release, whereas Love is the score to Jesse Nieminen’s A Walk With Love & Death.
- “This was a huge undertaking,” explained band ringleader Buzz Osborne. “All three things: the album, the soundtrack and the film are benchmarks for us.”
- Drummer Dale Crover added: “A Walk With Love and Death is one giant, dark, moody, psychotic head trip! Not for the faint of heart. You’ll sleep with the lights on after listening.”
- Note: one LP is pressed on opaque pink vinyl and the other on opaque purple.
- Los Angeles quartet The Americans, newly signed to Loose Music, release their studio album, I’ll Be Yours.
- Having started out as a roots band enthralled by pre-war American country and blues, they have evolved into a blistering amalgamation of those influences, injected with a fiery blue-collar rock’n’roll attitude, absorbing and reconfiguring the history of American music from Chuck Berry and Tom Waits to Bruce Springsteen.
- The title of Lucy Rose’s new LP, Something’s Changing, is certainly no accident.
- After feeling her way through the densely populated landscape of contemporary singer-songwriter music on two albums, she has picked a point in her career at which most artists are recycling their hits to bin the satnav, head off the map and commit to a graphically authentic version of her musical self.
- This album is informed by her recent self-funded forays into Latin America to headline shows booked by her own fans. There is an accompanying documentary which will be shown in select cinemas across the UK with Lucy playing after each one.
- The first studio album in seven years from the Canadian musical collective Broken Social Scene, 15 members all coming together to create warm, righteous melodic and uncompromising indie-pop-rock tunes. Hug Of Thunder is a panoramic, expansive album, that manages to be both epic and intimate. In troubled times it offers a serotonin rush of positivity. The title captured what the band wanted people to feel about the group’s comeback, and how they sound playing together again: “It’s just such a wonderful sentiment about us, coming in like a hug of thunder.”
- The Telescopes are back with their ninth album, As Light Return. Founded by Stephen Lawrie in 1987, the band has been through various phases and a long list of different members and associates. This time he is joined once again by members of the band St Deluxe, tracking the album at the esteemed Riverside Music Complex in Glasgow. The only constant member of The Telescopes, however, is Lawrie himself. The variable constellation has become part of the concept.
Other releases for 2017
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