Releases from September–October 2017
Great albums from around the world
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Pre-sale of the week is S&M2 by Metallica, out on 28 August.
Chuck Prophet | Metallica | Erasure | The Waterboys | Gregory Porter | Bright Eyes | Blues Pills | P J Harvey | P J Harvey | Dan Penn | Mercury Rev | Walter Trout | Yello | Throwing Muses | IDLES | Bill Callahan | The Flaming Lips | Cat Stevens / Yusuf | Run The Jewels | A Certain Ratio | The Fall | The Fall | The Fall | Mark E Smith | Prince | Sufjan Stevens | Emily Barker | Foals | Travis | Jonsi | Roger Waters | Nothing But Thieves | This Is The Kit | The Killers | Steven Wilson
Releases for 27 October 2017
We start our recommended releases for 27 October with the beautiful jazz voice of Gregory Porter, whose Nat King Cole & Me is a deeply personal tribute to the legendary crooner who ignited Gregory’s love of music. Twenty years after they first broke through with their debut, Stereophonics bring us their tenth studio album, Scream Above The Sounds; let’s see if it performs as well as their last, which went straight to number 1 on release in 2015. Joe Henry’s gift for sparse, lovely Americana-tinged songs is front-and-centre on his latest album, Thrum, whose songs are languidly paced, rooted in a slower time when bluesmen rambled country roads and made deals with the devil to become artistic greats. Baxter Dury’s ability to paint a lyrical picture remains sharp on his fifth album, Prince Of Tears, which has his his usual shabby-chic vibe and spare, snappy arrangements … but this time with strings adding swoon to the proceedings. Weezer’s eleventh studio album, Pacific Dream, is full of melodic mastery and craftsmanship and navigates the space between reality and dreams, leaving the listener unsure whether they’re daydreaming the world of the album or being daydreamed by it! During an impressive career the award-winning Scottish singer Julie Fowlis has, until now, sung primarily in Scottish Gaelic, but the Latin title of her fifth studio album, alterum, suggests it will be something different. Courtney Pine releases his brand new album, Black Notes From The Deep – the nineteenth of his career, and one of his most varied and eclectic to date, ranging as it does from funk-tinged foot-tappers to beautiful, tender ballads.
Our album of the week is Julien Baker’s haunting Turn Out The Lights, a deeply empathetic album that embraces the greys and complex truths of humanity and mental health and deserves to be heard by a wide audience.
- Turn Out The Lights is being released nearly two years to the day after Julien Baker’s widely acclaimed debut LP, Sprained Ankle. Recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Baker’s home town, Memphis, Turn Out The Lights expands upon the sound and vision of Sprained Ankle, while retaining the haunting, confessional song writing style for which Baker has become known. Throughout the album, Baker reflects on experiences of her own and those closest to her, exploring the internal conflicts that wrestle inside us all: how we deal and cope with our struggles, and how it all impacts both ourselves and our relationships of all kinds. The result is a deeply empathetic album that embraces the greys and complex truths of humanity and mental health.
- Nat King Cole & Me is the brand new 12-track album from Grammy-winning singing sensation Gregory Porter – one of the most successful jazz artists of his generation. It is a deeply personal tribute to Nat King Cole – the legendary crooner who ignited Gregory’s love of music. “It’s only natural that I go to the root of my inspiration and where I come from. And that root would be my mother and gospel music and Nat King Cole,” he says.
- For Gregory Porter, the influence of Nat King Cole on his life and music runs deep, a through-line that reaches back into some of his earliest childhood memories, and culminates in the release of this fine new album.
- Coming twenty years after they first broke through with their debut, Word Gets Around, Stereophonics release their new album, Scream Above The Sounds, under a new deal with Parlophone.
- Scream Above The Sounds is their tenth studio album, and follows Keep The Village Alive, which went straight to number 1 when it was released in 2015.
- Created with the help of regular collaborator Jim Lowe, Scream Above The Sounds is an album in which creative sonic touches add to the band’s emphasis on song writing and melody.
- Joe Henry’s gift for sparse, lovely Americana-tinged songs is front-and-centre on his latest album, Thrum. The songs are languidly paced, rooted in another, slower time, where bluesmen rambled country roads and made deals with the devil to become artistic greats. This is the lineage from which Henry seemingly descends. Yet there’s a complexity to his songs, both lyrically and melodically, that gives his work real staying power. Thrum is a quietly lovely gut punch.
- Prince Of Tears is Baxter Dury’s fifth album, and his first for Heavenly. Baxter recorded Prince Of Tears with a full band, like on the great Happy Soup and his debut, Len Parrot’s Memorial Lift, but this time brought in an orchestra as well. It’s still got the same shabby-chic vibe you associate with Dury, including spare, snappy arrangements that pull from Studio 1 reggae and Baxter’s dad’s band … but the strings really add swoon to the proceedings. Baxter’s ability to paint a lyrical picture remains sharp.
- “The album is full of little fictional snapshots based on actual experiences,” says Baxter. “They’re biographical film soundtracks for an imaginary film about myself, which is fictional. The man singing and speaking it all is unreliable; he can’t see the world properly. It’s massively delusional, but because of that it’s also emotionally true.”
- Los Angeles’ Weezer release their eleventh album, Pacific Daydream, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Weezer (The White Album), which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Album at the end of last year.
- Pacific Daydream – full of the melodic mastery and craftsmanship for which Weezer are known – is an album that navigates the uncertainty between reality and dreams, leaving the listener not quite sure whether they are daydreaming the world of the album, or if the world of the album is in fact daydreaming them. It’s a record about finding the grey area between the black and the white, about escaping the everyday into the fantasy of what may be just down the line, but also maybe isn’t. It’s an album that sounds like the Beach Boys and The Clash fell in love by the ocean and had one hell of an amazing baby. It’s Weezer doing all the things they do best and then some.
- Julie Fowlis hails originally from North Uist in the Outer Hebrides and is now based in the Highlands of Scotland. Firmly established as an artist with a natural interest in and the ability to cross-over into other genres and styles, she will be forever known as the singing voice of Merida, the female protagonist in the Oscar-winning animated film Brave.
- During an impressive career spanning more than a decade, with multiple awards, accolades and four studio albums, she has until now, sung primarily in Scottish Gaelic. The Latin title of her fifth studio album, alterum, gently suggests that this record is a departure from what has gone before.
- No musician embodies better the dramatic transformation in the British jazz scene over the past thirty years than Courtney Pine. His debut album, 1987’s Journey To The Urge Within, was the first serious jazz album ever to make the British Top 40, notching up enough sales to qualify for a silver disc.
- As an artist always looking to work outside of and across established musical genres, it is easier to list the musicians and artists he hasn’t worked with, and the styles he hasn’t fused with jazz, but now in 2017 Courtney releases a brand new album, Black Notes From The Deep – the nineteenth of his career, one of his most varied and eclectic to date, ranging as it does from funk-tinged foot-tappers to beautiful and tender ballads.
Releases for 20 October 2017
Our recommended new releases for 20 October are an exciting octet! Margo Price’s second album, All American Made, delivers on the rich promise of her debut: it’s an unflinchingly honest depiction of the trials of everyday life, painting poetic portraits of men and women just trying to get by. Widely considered to be one of the greatest albums ever made as well as The Smiths’ finest work, The Queen Is Dead has cast a significant influence over subsequent generations since it was first released in the summer of 1986; now, 31 years after its original release, comes a newly mastered version with a ton of extras. After a loooong wait, Matt Johnson has delivered a piece of art. Radio Cineola: Trilogy is 3 discs-worth of material from The The, including the new single, some eclectic cover versions, poetry, soundscapes and broadcasts from Matt’s Radio Cineola transmissions – not cheap, but essential. Lucinda Williams has taken a bold and surprising gamble by re-imagining a neglected 1992 album as This Sweet Old World, but it pays off in spades! Ane Brun has boldly covered 14 classics on her 7th studio album, Leave Me Breathless, that run from Radiohead to Nick Cave via Mariah Carey! Trivuim’s 8th, The Sin & The Sentence, is the very first time it has all come together for them on one record, and stakes their claim with authority to be one of the leading bands in modern metal. Sons Of Apollo’s debut, Psychotic Symphony, is a brilliant fusion of prog metal, contemporary grooves and classic rock, which should come as no surprise given that both Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, last together in Dream Theater, are involved.
Our album of the week sees the return of one of the great unheralded singer-songwriters. Michael Head’s first new album in over 11 years, Adios Señor Pussycat, is a beautiful and evocative album recorded in his home-town of Liverpool after four years of hard work. Equal to his finest moments, this will further cement his reputation as one of this generation’s greatest songwriters.
- Michael Head has announced details of the release of his first album of new material in over 11 years, Adios Señor Pussycat.
- This beautiful and evocative album is the culmination of four years of hard work, and was recorded by Michael with The Red Elastic Band in his home-town of Liverpool between March 2016 and June 2017. Equal to his finest moments, Adios Señor Pussycat will undoubtedly only further cement his reputation as one of this generation’s greatest songwriters.
- Note: The LP version is a black-vinyl pressing limited to 1000 copies.
- Delivering on the promise of her debut and then some, All American Made finds Margo Price planting herself firmly in the soil as a songwriter who’s here for the long haul.
- A prolific writer with a knack for candid self-reflection, Price has never had to look too far for inspiration, and on All American Made, she and her song-writing partner and husband, Jeremy Ivey, continue to depict the trials of everyday life with unflinching honesty, painting poetically plainspoken portraits of men and women just trying to get by. Throughout the album, her contemporary take on classic sounds is at once familiar and daring, an infectious blend of Nashville country, Memphis soul, and Texas twang that tips its cap to everyone from Waylon and Willie (who makes a guest appearance) to Loretta and Dolly. Rich with swirling pedal steel, honky-tonk rhythms, and Price’s stop-you-in-your-tracks vocals, All American Made is deeply reverent of tradition even as it challenges conventions, a nuanced exploration of conflicted emotions for our deeply conflicted times.
- Widely considered to be The Smiths’ finest work as well as one of the greatest albums ever made, The Queen Is Dead has cast a significant influence over subsequent generations since it was first released in the summer of 1986. Now, 31 years after its original release, a newly mastered version of the album will be released on 20 October.
- The album features several of the band’s finest moments, including the title track and ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’, as well as the iconic singles ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side’ and ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’.
- “You cannot continue to record and simply hope that your audience will approve, or that average critics will approve, or that radio will approve,” says Morrissey. “You progress only when you wonder if an abnormally scientific genius would approve – and this is the leap The Smiths took with The Queen Is Dead.”
- Johnny Marr adds: “The Queen Is Dead was epic to make and epic to live.”
- The deluxe 3-CD + DVD set is housed in a box with a lift-off lid, and includes a stapled 12-page booklet.
- CD 1: The Queen Is Dead (2017 master). Track listing: 1. ‘The Queen Is Dead’ / 2. ‘Frankly, Mr. Shankly’ / 3. ‘I Know It’s Over’ / 4. ‘Never Had No One Ever’ / 5. ‘Cemetry Gates’ / 6. ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ / 7. ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side’ / 8. ‘Vicar In A Tutu’/ 9. ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ / 10. ‘Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others’.
- CD 2: Additional recordings. Track listing: 1. ‘The Queen Is Dead’ (full version) / 2. ‘Frankly, Mr. Shankly’ (demo) / 3. ‘I Know It’s Over’ (demo) / 4. ‘Never Had No One Ever’ (demo) / 5. ‘Cemetry Gates’ (demo) / 6. ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ (demo) / 7. ‘Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others’ (demo) / 8. ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side’ (demo mix) / 9. ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ (take 1) / 10. ‘Rubber Ring’ (b-side) / 11. ‘Asleep’ (b-side) / 12. ‘Money Changes Everything’ (b-side) / 13. ‘Unloveable’ (b-side).
Tracks 1–7 and 9 are previously unreleased. Track 8 was released on 7" for Record Store Day. Tracks 10 and 11 are 2017 masters of B-sides from ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side’. Tracks 12 and 13 are 2017 masters of B-sides from ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’.
- CD 3: Live In Boston, recorded at the Great Woods Center For The Performing Arts on 5 August 1986. Track listing: 1. ‘How Soon Is Now?’ / 2. ‘Hand In Glove’ / 3. ‘I Want The One I Can’t Have’ / 4. ‘Never Had No One Ever’ / 5. ‘Stretch Out And Wait’ / 6. ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side’ / 7. ‘Cemetry Gates’ / 8. ‘Rubber Ring/What She Said/Rubber Ring’ / 9. ‘Is It Really So Strange?’ / 10. ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ / 11. ‘That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore’ / 12. ‘The Queen Is Dead’ / 13. ‘I Know It’s Over’.
- DVD: The Queen Is Dead (2017 master) in 96kHz/24-bit PCM stereo audio, plus ‘The Queen Is Dead – A Film By Derek Jarman’.
- The track listing of the vinyl version is the same as the 3-CD version.
- Radio Cineola: Trilogy is 3 discs’-worth of new material from The The.
- Disc 1, The End Of The Day, includes The The’s new single ‘We Can’t Stop What’s Coming’ along with cover versions (performances and interpretations) of The The songs by other artists. Disc 2, The Inertia Variations, features soundscapes, poetry, and spoken-word performances. The third disc, Midnight To Midnight, features electronic scores, political commentary, and broadcasts from Matt Johnson’s Radio Cineola transmissions.
- The collectors’ deluxe limited edition box set is housed in a luxury rigid board slipcase with black Wibalin® and silver foiling. Each of the 3 discs in the CD version is contained within a 68-page hardcover book. Each of the 3 discs in the vinyl version is pressed on black heavyweight 180g vinyl LPs and housed in its own printed sleeve and antistatic inner bags, complete with a 48-page perfect-bound book. The book in each deluxe set features lyrics, poetry, exclusive photographs and guest commentaries about the project.
- Redoing an entire album is a surprising and bold move, but on This Sweet Old World the gambit pays off.
- Having reached new heights with her recent music, Lucinda Williams now looks back and revisits her 1992 album Sweet Old World. Coming between her much-praised 1988 release Lucinda Williams and the superb Car Wheels On A Gravel Road ten years later, Sweet Old World “sort of fell through the cracks a little bit,” according to Williams.
- An album with songs as great as ‘Pineola’, ‘Little Angel Little Brother’, the title track, and, well, just about all the others, should’ve had the attention their writer believes they deserved. Twenty-five years later, they just might, since the new versions Williams recorded for This Sweet Old World surpass the originals in every way: her singing, the band’s playing, and the new and sometimes substantially different arrangements.
- Sweden-based Norwegian artist Ane Brun’s seventh studio album, Leave Me Breathless, reinterprets fourteen versions of classic hits from an array of artists including Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Nick Cave, Foreigner, Bob Dylan, Sade and Mariah Carey, among others.
- Eighteen years and seven albums into a frustratingly inconsistent career, fans could be forgiven for approaching any new release from Trivium with a sense of caution.
- Each Trivium album has its own unique flavour, for better or worse, but The Sin And The Sentence is the first to meld the flavours of every previous release into a ‘very best of Trivium’. From revisiting the modern tech-metal heard on 2011’s In Waves (with an added touch of Pantera groove) in ‘The Wretchedness Inside’ to the fact that, like Shogun, six of the 11 tracks on the new album clock in at over five minutes long, this sounds like a band determined to absorb all of their past and better it, showing once and for all who they are and what Trivium are: quite simply one of the best bands in modern metal.
- Sons Of Apollo is a sensational new group reuniting Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian after the duo’s last collaboration on Dream Theater’s Falling Into Infinity album way back in 1997. Also featuring Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses) on guitar, Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big) on bass and Jeff Scott Soto (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, ex-Journey), the ‘supergroup’ tag is hard to avoid but, as Psychotic Symphony is a brilliant and dynamic fusion of progressive metal, contemporary grooves, and classic rock, Sons Of Apollo fulfil the high expectations one might attach to such a stellar line-up with ease.
- “The music is modern, but we have an old-school soul,” Sherinian comments on the record. “What is unique about Sons Of Apollo is that we have a true rock’n’roll swagger along with the virtuosity – a lethal combination!”
- Note: The LP is an indies-only version, and includes a CD copy of the album.
Releases for 13 October 2017
We’ve got just 6 recommended releases for 13 October, but they are all smashers! First up St. Vincent returns with the inspired Masseduction, with inventive guitar, synths and electronica creating the right atmosphere to explore themes of sex, death and power. Possibly the most aptly titled work of Beck’s extraordinary career, Colors is an intoxicating rainbow of auditory pleasure, making it the summeriest album of the autumn season. Carry Fire, the 11th solo album from Robert Plant, melds unusual rhythms and and wields a smouldering power; Plant is accompanied by the Sensational Space Shifters, who have matured further into a mighty musical force. Brand New’s fifth album, Science Fiction, stands as a monument to their gradual evolution, a wise and vulnerable conclusion for a rock band who were crucial in shaping a scene, a sound, and many, many emotions. King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard return with their third album of 2017, Sketches Of Brunswick East, which is a soothing balm of a record; an aural salve to be tenderly applied to the world’s damaged collective psyche, and a chance to show the band’s sunny, playful side.
Even in such a ludicrously strong week Lotta Sea Lice, a collaboration between Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, stands out. Barnett and Vile have delivered something utterly unpredictable and original, an instant classic of a record which sounds as if the pair have been playing together for decades.
- Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, two of the most acclaimed and gifted songwriters of our generation, have joined forces to release a collaboration as unique and unusual as their talents.
- In Lotta Sea Lice Barnett and Vile have delivered something utterly unpredictable and original – an instant-classic record which sounds as if the two have played together for decades, completely organic and candid. This is a conversation between friends, documented in raw, unvarnished song form, brimming with personal history, crackling with energy and shot through with humour. There’s an unforced ease to the record, helped by the fact that the pair have been not just friends but hardcore fans of each other’s work for years, and have also roped in musicians such as Mick Thomas and Jim White of The Dirty Three, Stella Mozgawa from Warpaint, and even Mick Harvey.
- Note: the LP version comes on indies-only white vinyl.
- Masseduction is the new album from St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark – her 6th, if you count the one she did with David Byrne. As the title may suggest, themes of sex, power, vulnerable relationships and death weave throughout the lyrics, which are autobiographical, according to Clark. Musically, Clark’s inventive guitar, synth and electronics create a punchy sonic backdrop.
- Possibly the most aptly titled work in Beck’s storied discography, Colors unfolds in an intoxicating rainbow of auditory tricks and treats, making it a shoo-in for summeriest smash of the autumn season.
- There are three vinyl versions: the first two are single LPs: in transparent red or indies-only yellow vinyl. The deluxe vinyl version comes on 2x12" 45 rpm heavyweight red vinyl, in a diecut sleeve with 4 transparencies to allow you to change the colour of the sleeve, and printed inner sleeves.
- Carry Fire is Robert Plant’s eleventh solo album and first full-length release since 2014’s acclaimed lullaby and...The Ceaseless Roar. The album was produced by Robert at Top Cat Studio in Box, Wiltshire with additional recordings at Real World and Rockfield studios. Once again Robert is accompanied by The Sensational Space Shifters and joined by a number of special guests: Chrissie Hynde joins Robert on the duet ‘Bluebirds Over The Mountain’ (written by rockabilly legend Ersel Hickey and previously recorded by both Richie Valens and The Beach Boys); Albanian cellist Redi Hasa performs on three tracks, as does Seth Lakeman on viola and fiddle.
- Robert Plant and the band spent two years on the road together supporting lullaby and...The Ceaseless Roar, their unique sound and vision ultimately evolving into something even more creative and powerful. Carry Fire melds unusual rhythms with naturalism and smouldering power. “It’s about intention, I respect and relish my past works but each time I feel the trawl and incentive to create new work. I must mix old with new. Consequently, the whole impetus of the band has moved on its axis somewhat, the new sound and different space giving way to exciting and dramatic landscapes of mood, melody and instrumentation.”
- Brand New’s fifth album stands as a monument to their gradual evolution. Science Fiction is a wise and vulnerable conclusion for a rock band who were crucial in shaping a scene, a sound, and many emotions.
- Sketches Of Brunswick East is a collaboration between King Gizzard and Mild High Club, the Los Angeles-based tripster troupe led by Alex Brettin, who put out one of 2016’s deepest listens, Skiptracing. The two bands formed a strong friendship touring together throughout the USA, Europe, and Australia.
- Sketches Of Brunswick East is a soothing balm of a record; an aural salve to be tenderly applied to the world’s damaged collective psyche. It is a chance to show the band’s sunny, playful side. Where previous albums have slipped down sonic worm-holes to explore distant galaxies, this one is an examination of (and homage to) the Melbourne suburb in which King Gizzard write and record in their own studio, and from where they run their planet-spanning psychedelic operation.
Releases for 6 October 2017
First up for 6 October, prog-folker Jon Boden, best-known as the lead singer of Bellowhead, releases his third solo album, Afterglow, which imagines a near future in which luxuries and comforts have become scarce and a harder, simpler existence prevails. Rock gods The Darkness return with their fifth, Pinewood Smiles; all the crucial elements of classic Darkness are present and correct, with added layers, a bit like a sonic onion but tastier! 2 Tone legends The Selecter, still led by iconic frontwoman Pauline Black, have created some of the best songs of their career to grace their new studio album, Daylight. We don’t often feature compilations here, but The Turning Tide is just a great, great soul collection and, as this marks PP Arnold’s 50th year as a performing artist, we thought it deserved inclusion. JP Cooper’s debut album, Raised Under Grey Skies, is an infectious mix of soul and indie with a dollop of dance, definitely worth some ear time. The Blow Monkeys’ 10th (yikes!) studio album, Wild River, is a funky, soulful record wonderfully arranged, full of strings, saxes, spiky guitars and the usual distinctive vocals. Naturality is a drifting, buzzing and rolling-out-of-dreamscape weirdness from Australian heavy psych duo O.R.B., a lovely record full of garage-jangle and fuzzed-out lead influenced by tour mates King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard.
Our release of the week is As You Were from Liam Gallagher, who swaggers his way back into our awareness saying: “I didn’t want to be reinventing anything or going off on a space jazz odyssey … It’s the Lennon ‘Cold Turkey’ vibe, The Stones, the classics. But done my way, now.”
- After the phenomenal reaction to his solo track ‘Wall of Glass’ and the emotional scenes that accompanied his first solo shows, Liam Gallagher can now announce his eagerly anticipated debut album, As You Were.
- “I didn’t want to be reinventing anything or going off on a space jazz odyssey,” says Liam. “It’s the Lennon ‘Cold Turkey’ vibe, The Stones, the classics. But done my way, now.”
- The album’s cover features an iconic new portrait of Liam which was taken by the influential photographer, fashion designer and creative director Hedi Slimane.
- Note: the LP is on exclusive indies-only white vinyl.
- Afterglow is the third solo album by Jon Boden, former frontman of progressive folk eleven-piece Bellowhead.
- A successor to Boden’s 2009 solo concept album Songs From The Floodplain, Afterglow deals with an urban post-apocalypse, in which two lovers attempt to find one another.
- Boden says: “Like my previous album, Afterglow imagines a near-future world where the luxuries and comfort of 21st century life have become scarce, and a harder, simpler existence now prevails. Afterglow is the story of a couple who are trying to find each other in the middle of a bonfire-night street carnival in a crumbling, derelict city.”
- England’s hugely entertaining rock gods The Darkness are back with their fifth album, Pinewood Smile. The songs have all the crucial elements of classic Darkness fare, but with added layers for the ears to peel away at … like a sonic onion, but a lot tastier. It also features the drumming and vocal talents of new band member Rufus Taylor, son of Queen legend Roger Taylor, who shares vocal duties with Justin on two of the tracks.
- Daylight is the new studio album from 2-Tone legends The Selecter, led by their iconic front-woman Pauline Black and original member Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson, alongside a hugely talented band of musicians.
- The anarchic passion that fuelled the band’s gigs during the 2-Tone era is still there, except the pair (Pauline and Gaps) are more driven than ever. Their confidence is sky-high and they’re also writing the best songs of their career.
- Arriving in England as an Ikette with the Ike & Tina review in the mid-’60s, PP Arnold was spotted by Mick Jagger, who immediately convinced Andrew Loog Oldham to sign her to his label Immediate Records. Several huge hits followed, ‘First Cut Is The Deepest’, ‘Angel Of The Morning’, ‘If You Think You’re Groovy’, and so on… PP became one of the iconic faces of the ’60s. This wonderful heritage album, The Turning Tide, is part of the celebrations of her 50 years as an incredible performing artist in the music industry, and boy is she still going strong!
- Raised Under Grey Skies is the debut studio album from English singer/songwriter JP Cooper.
- The Wild River is the tenth studio album from The Blow Monkeys, a funky and soulful record with strings, sax, spiky guitars and distinctive vocals.
- “The title song was inspired, if that’s the right word, by that shameful poster Nigel Farage stood in front of during the EU referendum. The one he copied from the Nazis. Thousands of desperate people crossing borders fleeing persecution and hunger. A river of people just like you and me. Just like our ancestors. And here he was using them to spread his hate filled and divisive bile. It shook me. It’s not the country I recognized. Things were changing and we needed to fight back. We are all immigrants. None of us is pure.”
- Aussie heavy psych continues to flourish as the Victoria-based trio O.R.B. prepare for the release of their new album, Naturality. Drifting, buzzing and rolling out dreamscape weirdness, the long-player seems to find them working in the influence of tour mates King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, but whatever avenue they want to take to get around to the garage-jangle and fuzzed-out lead work on ‘Rainbows End’ is justified. What matters is they get there and dig into some killer vibes along the way. The album is an effective fusion of psychedelic impulses new and old, and the vibe runs as thick as the leadoff riff in almost-centrepiece ‘Immortal Tortoise’, which is plenty, plenty thick.
Releases for 29 September 2017
Our recommended releases for 29 September start with Live At Pompeii, recorded when David Gilmour returned to the ancient amphitheatre 45 years after the legendary Pink Floyd gig there with a show including songs from throughout his career, including many Floyd classics. Chris Rea plays to his strengths with Road Songs For Lovers, which showcases his unique voice and top-notch song-writing skill over a string of gorgeous rock ballads, and might just be his finest record to date. Sticky Fingers Live At The Fonda Theatre, the latest addition to the From The Vault series, captures a truly unique event in the long and eventful history of The Rolling Stones when the band performed the entire Sticky Fingers album live in concert for the first and so far only time in their career; for anyone with a love for the Stones, this is unmissable! Well into his 70s, David Crosby is not just surviving but thriving personally and creatively; his third solo album in four years, Sky Trails, continues his late-period resurgence with a new musical direction which tilts towards a full band sound and deep and soulful grooves. Acclaimed British singer-songwriter Benjamin Clementine wrote, recorded and produced his new album, I Tell A Fly, which finds him exploring new musical territory on the heels of his Mercury Prize-winning debut, At Least For Now. British rock legends UFO pay homage to a dozen of their personal favourites on their first ever covers album, The Salentino Cuts, including several unexpected choices such as John Mellencamp and Bill Withers alongside thrilling versions from artists such as The Yardbirds and ZZ Top. Manchester synth pop duo Hurts release their fourth album, Desire, featuring their trademark moody synth sound and thrilling pop melodrama.
Album of the week is Visions Of A Life, which continues Wolf Alice’s signature sound with dreamy harmonies and searing guitar riffs, and is highly recommended!
- Wolf Alice are back, and with a bang if scorching lead single ‘Yuk Foo’ is anything to go by. Your favourite alt-rockers have returned with Visions Of A Life, what promises to be a lauded release – an album that will continue the band’s unique blend of dreamy harmonies and searing guitar riffs. Strap yourselves in for this one.
- Note: The limited LP is on indies-only coloured vinyl.
- 45 years after Pink Floyd filmed ‘Live At Pompeii’ in the legendary Roman amphitheatre there, David Gilmour returned for two spectacular shows, part of his year-long tour in support of his No.1 album Rattle That Lock. The performances were the first rock concerts ever to be performed in the stone Roman amphitheatre, and, for two nights only, the 2,600-strong crowd stood exactly where gladiators would have fought in the first century AD.
- David Gilmour Live At Pompeii is an audio experience on its own, while the audio-visual spectacle features lasers, pyrotechnics and a huge circular screen on which specially created films complement selected songs. Paramount, however, is the incredible music: the show includes songs from throughout David’s career, as well as many Pink Floyd classics, including ‘One Of These Days’, the only song that was also performed at the band’s 1971 show. Both concerts also saw very special performances of ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’ from The Dark Side Of The Moon, which David rarely plays as a solo artist.
- The 2-disc concert audio was produced by David Gilmour, and mixed by Andy Jackson and David Gilmour. The 148-minute concert film includes highlights from both shows, filmed in 4k by director Gavin Elder. DVD and Blu-ray versions contain an extra 7-minute documentary by Gavin Elder entitled ‘Pompeii Then And Now’.
- The deluxe 4-disc Blu-ray box contains the 2-CD version, the 1-disc Blu-ray version, plus a full 207 minutes of extra footage: 11 live performances and 5 documentaries, plus bonus collectables.
- Vinyl lovers can enjoy a deluxe 4-LP version in gatefold sleeves and a hardback slipcase, plus a 24-page photo booklet.
- David Gilmour Live At Pompeii shows an artist at the top of his artistic game, performing incredible material with his world-class band, in a unique setting on one very special occasion.
- 2017 sees Chris Rea return to an album full of what he’s best-known for: gorgeous rock ballads which showcase Rea’s unique voice and a song-writing skill at the top of his game. The album is called Road Songs For Lovers, and it might just be his finest record to date. Recorded with Rea’s own band at Metropolis Studios in London – in contrast to recent albums which have been self-produced in his home studio – the record continues Rea’s obsession with travel and motion; songs like ‘The Road Ahead’ (the first single off the album), ‘Happy On The Road’, ‘Last Train’ and the title track ostensibly suggest that we are constantly going somewhere in our lives and no doubt require a musical soundtrack to document this movement.
- This latest addition to the From The Vault series captures a truly unique event in the long and eventful history of The Rolling Stones. On the 20th May 2015, the band performed the entire Sticky Fingers album live at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, California, for the first and so far only time in their career. The show was the opening night of the Stones’ ‘Zip Code’ tour of North America that would last two months. The intimate setting of the Fonda Theatre was in contrast to the huge stadiums in which the band would perform for the rest of the tour and made this an include interviews with the band members intercut with full length performances. The incredibly special occasion for those fans lucky enough to get a ticket.
- Sticky Fingers Live At The Fonda Theatre contains a CD or triple-LP featuring the full show as performed on the night, plus a DVD or Blu-ray featuring interviews with the band members intercut with full length performances.
- Sky Trails is David Crosby’s third solo album in four years, and continues his unexpected late-period resurgence; in his eighth decade, Crosby is not only surviving but thriving personally and creatively.
- The album takes Crosby in a new musical direction as the set tilts toward a full band sound and deep, soulful grooves. “It’s a natural thing for me,” says Crosby, who joyously embraced the challenge of the shifting song structures. “I’ve always felt more comfortable there. There’s complexity, intricacy and subtleties in the music. I like that stuff.”
- Acclaimed British singer-songwriter Benjamin Clementine’s new album, I Tell A Fly, was written, recorded and produced by Clementine. The album finds him exploring new musical territory on the heels of his Mercury Prize-winning debut, At Least For Now (2015). That album stretched itself across a series of piano ballads with unorthodox structures; I Tell A Fly brings a sense of theatricality and power by using whirling, interwoven instruments throughout the uncompromising release. While At Least For Now looked inward and backward, Clementine’s follow-up looks outward and forward – to a changing world, ancient struggles and the individual response.
- British Rock legends UFO offer up their first ever covers album. The Salentino Cuts pays homage to a dozen of their personal favourites. It includes several unexpected choices, such as Mad Seasons’s ‘River Of Deceit’, John Mellencamp’s ‘Paper In Fire’ and Bill Withers’ ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’, alongside more traditional but nonetheless thrilling versions such as The Yardbirds’ ‘Heartful Of Soul’, ZZ Top’s ‘Just Got Paid’ and lots more.
- It’s been seven years since Hurts released their international breakthrough single, ‘Wonderful Life’, and their debut album, Happiness. Since then the British duo have established themselves as one of the most popular and successful pop acts throughout Europe, scoring top-ten albums and numerous hit singles in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Finland, the Netherlands and the UK. Hurts have also sold 100,000 gig tickets in 2016 alone, making them one of the most successful new British bands of the past decade.
- Following their triumphant career start in 2010, Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson released two further albums – Exile (2013) and Surrender (2015) – which spawned many international hit singles (including ‘Stay’ and ‘Some Kind Of Heaven’) and airplay hits, while their concerts are hailed as the most innovative live events in recent years. Desire continues the story.
Releases for 22 September 2017
The first of our recommended releases for 22 September is from Reverend And The Makers; if their last album, 2015’s Mirrors, was weird and wonderful, The Death Of A King continues the strange feel that seems to attach itself to much of their music. V is, unsurprisingly, the 5th album from The Horrors, and it’s a confidently assertive album that showcases the band at the absolute peak of their not inconsiderable powers. Kitty, Daisy & Lewis’s 4th album, Superscope, continues to harness the trio’s ability to create pop-infused soul, blues and roll’n’roll into an infectious stew. The Killers offer us all another slice of their melodic rock genius with the indispensable Wonderful Wonderful. Post-rock titans Godspeed You! Black Emperor release Luciferian Towers, a bewilderingly complex and emotionally powerful effort that needs to be heard loud. Van Morrison’s 37th (!) studio album, Roll With The Punches, finds him still in awesome voice, marrying a selection of rhythm & blues classics with new self-penned songs to great effect; this is no ‘go through the motions’ album, and is thoroughly recommended. Neil Finn streamed the rehearsal and recording of Out Of Silence live to the world; the songs feature his baroque pop approach, draped in rich, sweeping orchestration and a choir, with minimal guitar and drums.
Our album of the week is Hallelujah Now from Hiss Golden Messenger, the-follow up to 2016’s astonishing Heart Like A Levee. This album is equally fine and demonstrates the stunningly consistent greatness that flows from the pen of M.C. Taylor.
- Hallelujah Anyhow is the new studio album from Hiss Golden Messenger – ten new songs from the desk of M.C. Taylor. He has said: “I’m from nowhere. That’s the way I feel about it now, right at this moment. Music took me and made me and gave me a purpose and I built my world with it, and now my geography is a musical one, forever. And when I break, when I think about running as far as I can, I remember that there is nothing that does me like music, and I might as well be a poor man in a world of my own device. Hallelujah anyhow. Rhythm? I learned it over twenty years in the back of rented vans, in attics and back rooms hard places to get to, harder places to get out of. And now rhythm is my clock and I live by it.”
- Reverend And The Makers started their journey back in 2007 with their debut album, The State of Things. That and the band’s second, A French Kiss In The Chaos, transported you to the indie nightclub dives of that era. Their third and fourth albums, @Reverend_Makers and Thirty Two, had more of an Ibiza dancefloor vibe. In 2015 they took a weird and wonderful turn with Mirrors, which had you running down the winding alleyways of Amsterdam. Their latest, The Death Of A King, feels like you are on a massive come-down from Mirrors and have woken up in Pablo Escobar’s spare bedroom.
- V is the stunningly assertive fifth album from The Horrors. The first single, ‘Machine’, sees the group at their majestic, imperial best, although the ten tracks on the album are so diverse that when the final song, ‘Something To Remember Me By’, appears to channel dance, trance and ’80s pop genres it feels like both the most natural thing in the musical world and also the most surprising. V shows the group at the peak of their powers, exhibiting a freedom and sense of exploration that feels truly liberating.
- The album was recorded in London with producer Paul Epworth, who has worked with FKA Twigs, Lorde, Rihanna, Adele, London Grammar, Florence and the Machine, Coldplay, U2 and Paul McCartney, amongst many others.
- London-based siblings Kitty, Daisy & Lewis release Superscope, the follow-up to 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis The Third. This new ten-track album sees the multi-instrumentalist trio maintain their hands-on approach as they write, produce and make sparkling analogue productions. Superscope continues to harness their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock ’n’ roll and more, mixing up genres to perfection emerging with their musical armoury.
- The Killers release Wonderful Wonderful, their first new album in 5 years, on 22 September. It features their recently released single ‘The Man’, as well as the song ‘Run for Cover’, which they debuted live earlier this year. Wonderful Wonderful is the follow-up to 2012’s Battle Born.
- Note: we will also have in stock an indies-only limited pink vinyl version, which will be available to shop visitors only on a first come, first served basis. Click here for more information.
- Luciferian Towers is an album that Godspeed You! Black Emperor made in the midst of communal mess, raising dogs and children.
- Godspeed themselves say: “Eyes up and filled with dreadful joy we aimed for wrong notes that explode, a quiet muttering amplified heavenward. We recorded it all in a burning motorboat, informed by the following grand demands:
- an end to foreign invasions
- an end to borders
- the total dismantling of the prison-industrial complex
- healthcare, housing, food and water acknowledged as an inalienable human right
- the expert f**kers who broke this world never get to speak again much love to all the other lost and wondering ones.”
- All we can say to that is: Wow!
- Roll With The Punches – his 37th studio album – sees Van Morrison simultaneously hand-picking a selection of rhythm and blues classics (by the likes of Bo Diddley, Mose Allison, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Lightnin’ Hopkins, among others) and recording a set of new self-penned songs. It’s an album that features raw, intimate interpretations of some of the cornerstones of rock’n’roll alongside five new numbers by one of our most consistently brilliant recording artists. Roll With The Punches was produced by Van Morrison and recorded with an incredible team of studio collaborators including Chris Farlowe, Georgie Fame, Jeff Beck, Paul Jones and Jason Rebello.
- Out Of Silence is unique for the fact that it was rehearsed and then recorded live at Neil Finn’s Auckland studio while being streamed live to the world via Facebook and YouTube. It was a fascinating insight into a logistically and creatively adventurous undertaking. Finn takes a baroque pop approach to the songs. He drapes them in rich and sweeping orchestral figures, minimal guitar and drums and a choir that includes famous New Zealand names such as Hollie Fullbrook (Tiny Ruins), Don McGlashan (The Muttonbirds), Sean Donnelly (SJD) and James Milne (Lawrence Arabia).
- Note: the LP is a limited edition.
Releases for 15 September 2017
We kick off 15 September’s releases with Concrete And Gold, the ninth studio album from rock behemoths Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl has said that he wants this one to be like Motörhead’s version of Sgt Pepper, and while we’ve no idea what that would sound like, the album is mighty fine indeed. Gary Numan’s 21st (!!) studio album, Savage (Songs From A Broken World) is a set of songs linked by a common theme: set in a dystopian near future were the Earth has been turned into a desert wasteland – let’s all hope that Gaz isn’t a soothsayer! In Contact, the fourth record from progressive alt-metallers Caligula’s Horse, is an immense conceptual work discussing the nature of art and creativity, a celebration of what connects us all as human beings. Ariel Pink releases an album Dedicated To Bobby Jameson, a late LA musician who in 1965 released a self-described ‘throw-away’ folk album under a false name that slowly earned a cult following. Arcane Roots return with an eagerly anticipated second album, Melancholia Hymns, full of anthemic songwriting, fusing alt-rock and electronica to great effect. The Texas Gentlemen’s debut, TX Jelly, is the sound of a band slowly coming together; it’s full of low-slung vintage country-funk, and we can think of no higher recommendation than that. Deer Tick’s latest comes in two parts: Vol. 1 (Sea Of Clouds) showcases their folk-driven rootsy style with just the right amount of grit, while Vol. 2 (Jumpstarting) lets it fly with an injection of punk-inspired garage rock, both featuring songwriting with the perfect balance of heartfelt sincerity and wry wit.
Our release of the week is New Magic, the second album from Son Little: a lovely fusion of blues, old-time R&B, soul and funk with even a dash of hip-hop thrown in for good measure. He’s an Otis Redding – yes, really – for the 21st century. Essential.
- Son Little’s music is a pleasing fusion of blues, old-time R&B, soul and funk, with a dash of hip-hop thrown in for good measure. Born Aaron Livingston, he’s an Otis Redding for the 21st Century, and New Magic, his second release, shows a definite step forward in the maturity and quality of his song writing.
- His self-titled debut, released two years ago, had some stellar moments. New Magic, as the name suggests, takes the first album’s neo-soul formula and adds some additional sparkle, making for an engaging, groove-heavy album that bears multiple repeat listens.
- Foo Fighters have announced their brand new album!
- The rock titans will release their ninth studio record, Concrete And Gold, on 15 September.
- Talking about the record, their follow-up to 2014’s Sonic Highways, Dave Grohl said: “I wanted it to be the biggest sounding Foo Fighters record ever, to make a gigantic rock record but with [producer] Greg Kurstin’s sense of melody and arrangement… Motörhead’s version of Sgt. Pepper… or something like that.”
- Savage (Songs From A Broken World) is the 21st studio album from legendary musician Gary Numan – an album with a narrative that’s set in an apocalyptic, post-global warming Earth in the not-too-distant future. There is no technology left and most of the planet has turned to a desolate desert wasteland. Food is scarce, water even more so and human kindness and decency are just a dim and distant memory. Western and Eastern cultures have merged, more because of the need to simply survive than any feelings of greater tolerance or understanding. It’s a harsh, savage environment, as are the survivors who still roam across it.
- Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, Caligula’s Horse is a progressive alternative rock powerhouse. Their unique tapestry of progressive metal laced with raw rock power is at once fluid, monumental, and striking, offering a wide audience a broad palate of unforgettable moments and timeless music.
- Now established as one of Australia’s finest live acts and at the forefront of its progressive rock scene, Caligula’s Horse release their fourth record, In Contact, an immense conceptual work discussing the nature of art and creativity, a celebration of what connects us as human beings.
- Ariel Pink releases his new album, Dedicated To Bobby Jameson. The recording is his first solo album since his highly acclaimed 2014 prog-pop opus pom pom, and his first full-length release with the Brooklyn-based independent label Mexican Summer.
- The object of the album’s dedication is the late Los Angeles musician Bobby Jameson, who in 1965 released an obscure, self-described “throw-away” album under a false name that gradually earned a cult following among folk fans. In 2007, Jameson resurfaced with a blog, where he reminisced about “his failed career” and described futile attempts to claim royalty payments from his old music. Jameson died in 2015. “His book and life resonated with me to such a degree that I felt a need to dedicate my latest record to him,” Pink said in a statement.
- Arcane Roots return with their eagerly anticipated second album, Melancholia Hymns. This follow up to 2013’s Blood & Chemistry is a development of Arcane Roots’ anthemic song writing, combining elements of alternative rock and electronica as well as the band’s trademark musicality.
- Sometimes, authenticity can sneak up on you. The first sounds you hear on The Texas Gentlemen’s debut studio album, TX Jelly, is that of a band slowly coming together.
- It’s deceptive, because it creates the impression these Gentlemen might be hesitant about their first record, but any hint of uncertainty vanishes as the core quintet – Beau Bedford, Nik Lee, Daniel Creamer, Matt McDonald and Ryan Ake – tears into the opening track, ‘Habbie Doobie’, a low-slung piece of vintage country-funk that slams out of the speakers and announces The Texas Gentlemen as a force to be reckoned with.
- Deer Tick Deer Tick Vols 1 & 2
- Deer Tick are releasing two new albums on Partisan Records: Deer Tick Vol. 1 (Sea Of Clouds) and Deer Tick Vol. 2 (Jumpstarting). The two albums complement each other yet reflect completely contrasting styles, both of which accurately represent the two distinctive musical personalities of Deer Tick – quiet and thoughtful/loud and raucous.
- Deer Tick Vol. 1 (Sea Of Clouds) CD £12.99 / LP £19.99
Releases for 8 September 2017
Here are our recommended new releases for 8 September. Of Nothing But Thieves’ second album, Broken Machine, the band say: “The aim on Broken Machine was to create a rock album that feels fresh and exciting.” Job done! Micah P. Hinson is our favourite purveyor of the very darkest and most gothic Americana and his latest, The Holy Strangers, is not to be missed. David Ramirez says that “being half-white and half-Mexican has made the current political climate interesting,” and he has captured that mood musically and lyrically on We’re Not Going Anywhere, his most adventurous album to date. Mike Scott of The Waterboys says of Out Of All this Blue: “The songs are 2/3 love and romance, 1/3 stories and observations; I knew from the beginning I wanted to make a double album and luckily enough the songs kept coming.” Celebrated singer-songwriter Tori Amos’s confessional style continues to push the boundaries on her new album, Native Invader, as she delves ever deeper into her personal experiences. The Dream Syndicate decided to go into the studio and create an album as good as 1981’s Day Of Wine And Roses but firmly rooted in 2017 and, with How Did I Find Myself Here?, they have succeeded. Nick Mulvey continues to sew many elements and influences together on his second album, Wake Up Now, and as always a strong political theme runs throughout.
Album of the week is The National’s eighth studio effort, Sleep Well Beast. The Dessner brothers do what they do best: wry observations wrung from real life set to beautifully structured songs with gorgeous melodies, lovely!
- Sleep Well Beast, the seventh album from The National, was produced by member Aaron Dessner with co-production by Bryce Dessner and Matt Berninger. The album was mixed by Peter Katis and recorded at Aaron Dessner’s Hudson Valley, New York studio, Long Pond, with additional sessions having taken place in Berlin, Paris and Los Angeles.
- The LP is available on standard black and limited indies-only blue vinyl.
- Broken Machine is the highly anticipated second album from British rock band Nothing But Thieves. The eleven-track album features the soaring rock anthem ‘Amsterdam’. It was produced by Mike Crossey in LA.
- “This album is a snapshot of where and who you are as a band over a small period of time. Writing in 2015–16 … well, we weren’t devoid of things to write about. The record hinges on the systems of life we perceive to be automatic and flawless when in reality, they’re anything but.
- “The aim of Broken Machine was to create a rock album that feels fresh and exciting. It was about experimenting with sounds and song structures and expanding what we could do musically. After a lengthy writing process and a short time recording, we can’t wait to get our next project out there.”
- Our favourite purveyor of the very darkest, most gothic Americana returns with Micah P. Hinson Presents The Holy Strangers.
- Hinson describes Presents The Holy Strangers as being a “modern folk opera.” The album tells the story of a family in war time, from birth to love, to marriage and children, to war and betrayal, murder to suicide – spanning all of the strange and glorious places life can lead. We follow their story, we see their decisions, we see their faults and their beauty. We live with them, we die with them.
- This is one album not to be missed!
- We’re Not Going Anywhere is David Ramirez’s most adventurous album to date, a record that captures the mood of the country in its music as well as in its lyrics.
- “Being half-white and half-Mexican has made this current political climate especially interesting. So many cultures in this country are being viewed as un-American and it breaks my heart. This is the first album I’ve had properly produced,” says Ramirez, who either produced or co-produced all of his previous efforts. For We’re Not Going Anywhere, he hired Sam Kassirer, who has helmed albums by Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive, Bhi Bhiman, and many other artists. “I needed to evolve and change things up a bit, which is why I chose Sam. He pushed me in a way I hadn’t been pushed before.” Kassirer challenged Ramirez to simultaneously simplify and complicate his songwriting, to find new ways to tell his stories and make a band record.
- The Waterboys’ new studio album, Out Of All This Blue, has been produced by Mike Scott. The 23-track album is available as a 2-CD or 2-LP set, however deluxe editions are available for both formats with the 3-CD and triple vinyl sets offering a bonus disc of extra songs, alternate mixes and instrumentals. Speaking about the new album, Mike Scott said: “Out Of All This Blue is 2/3 love and romance, 1/3 stories and observations. I knew from the beginning I wanted to make a double album, and lucky for me – and I hope the listener – the songs just kept coming, and in pop colours.”
- Celebrated singer-songwriter Tori Amos’ hotly-anticipated new album, Native Invader, is released on Decca. Tori’s confessional style of writing sees her continue to push boundaries with her music. Her messages of empowerment, tenderness, acerbic assertiveness and her utterly peerless sound speaks to audiences across the globe. In this new album, Tori delves even deeper into her personal experiences, and the standard is there to be seen.
- The Dream Syndicate are at the foundation of contemporary alternative music because back in 1981, at a time when most bands were experimenting with new technology, they chose to bring back the guitar. Their seminal album The Days Of Wine And Roses (1984) has been cited as influential by artists from Nirvana to The Black Crowes.
- Reunited in 2012 after years apart in solo projects, The Dream Syndicate began to perform a few shows here and there – including a still talked-about set at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival.
- The next step was to see if the excitement and newfound chemistry would extend to the studio. From the first day of recording it was apparent that the band was making an album that would live up its history and take their story into the present. The result is How Did I Find Myself Here? Wynn says, “In a way it feels like if The Days of Wine and Roses would have been made in 2017. Which is to say that it’s true to what we did before but it’s also a whole new thing.”
- Wake Up Now is the second album from alternative singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey, sewing many elements and influences together with strong political themes running throughout.
- It’s also a record that harbours great community, welcoming a host of new and multi-talented musicians with a flourishing skillset. That sense of community was drilled home by Brian Eno in a few pre-recording meetings between the two, who implored Nick to open himself up more and consider sharing the weight-load. The idea of opening himself up more has filtered into Nick’s lyrics too, once swathed in metaphor upon metaphor, they’re now at the heart of this record’s identity. Clarity. Humanity.
- Southampton-born singer Seán McGowan is releasing a brand-new EP, Graft & Grief, on silver vinyl and CD.
- The 7-track EP features the singles ‘No Show’, ‘Apple Core’ and ‘Costa Del Solution’. Graft & Grief showcases Seán’s lyrical dexterity, knack for penning a catchy melody and laser-sharp social commentary. ‘No Show’ puts zero-hour-contract, minimum-wage drudgery into riotous perspective – rebellion in half-arsed job performance, revenge in furiously-paced folk-punk. ‘Apple Core’ draws gentle echoed gallops while Seán spits lyrics at a pace, a rowdy chorus nailing his unexpected eloquence. ‘Dog Tag’ flows from chin-up confidence to raw honesty, and ‘Clear Conscience’ rumbles with drum rolls under soft guitars. Finally, new song ‘Costa Del Solution’ is a bright, sunny jangle set upon high-street despondency, which twists the cliché of a beach holiday escape.
- Graft & Grief is an impressive showcase for Seán’s rollicking full-band set of socially spot-on songs; an insight into realities of being young and musically motivated in modern England.
- Seán will be appearing in-store on Tuesday 12 September at 6pm to play selections from the EP.
Releases for 1 September 2017
There are some super new releases for 1 September, and we start of our 8 recommendations with LCD Soundsystem, one of the more surprising returns this year with American Dream, an album with a languid, synth-based groove underpinning some of James Murphy’s most emotive vocals yet. Synth-pop pioneers OMD release their 13th album, The Punishment Of Luxury, a stylish and daring collection of masterful songwriting which combines a wistful nostalgia with a romantic ideal and which ranks amongst their finest. Critically acclaimed duo The Rails – Kami Thompson and James Walbourne – return with the stunning Other People, on which they adopt a slightly harder sound incorporating folk, 60s pop, psychedelia and soul with a distinctive British flavour. We’ll let Roddy Woomble himself describe The Deluder: “I wanted to make a record that was a bit more introspective, a bit more personal … the most surreal and playful record I’ve made … doing things musically that I’ve never done before.” Trials & Tribulations is a tour de force; Martin Simpson’s 20th solo album features some unbelievably inventive playing across a wide variety of stringed instruments. Winwood: Greatest Hits Live is exactly that, a new 23-song collection of live performances handpicked by Steve Winwood from his personal archives of a five-decade career. Loud and proud as always, Motörhead’s album Under Cöver is the ultimate raucous rock’n’roll rager, with the boys reminding everyone that they even did other people’s songs better than they did – from The Rolling Stones to Twisted Sister!
Our album of the week, however, is Mogwai’s 9th studio album, Every Country’s Sun, which takes two decades of Mogwai’s signature contrasting sound and distills it, beautifully, into 56 minutes of graceful elegance, hymnal trance-rock and transcendental euphoria.
- Mogwai return with their 9th studio album, recorded with renowned producer Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips, Mogwai’s Come On Die Young and Rock Action) at his Tarbox Road Studios in New York State. Every Country’s Sun, which takes its title from a friend of the band’s lack of knowledge of how the universe works, takes two decades of Mogwai’s signature contrasting sound and distills it, beautifully, into 56 concise minutes of gracious elegance, hymnal trance-rock, and transcendental euphoria. It will definitely appeal to established fans of the band and will gain many new ones along the way.
- The 2-LP version is on indies-only clear vinyl. The box set contains both CD and heavyweight double white vinyl copies of the album, a heavyweight 12" featuring 6 demos of tracks from the album, plus photographic prints by Antony Crook taken while the band were recording in January 2017. All vinyl formats include a download code.
- American Dream is the fourth studio album from James Murphy’s critically-acclaimed collective LCD Soundsystem, an album that is a surprise in itself considering that the band had supposedly called it quits following a 2011 farewell concert. It’s a welcome return, however, and the title track makes clear that Murphy has lost none of his ability to pinpoint and elucidate middle-aged malaise.
- Whereas LCD Soundsystem has often in the past married this feeling to fearless dance beats, ‘American Dream’ lays back into a languid, synth-doo-wop groove. Murphy’s vocals on the song are some of his most emotive, as if he’s been listening to a lot of Disintegration-era Cure in his time away from the band. The setting allows the unraveling of the song’s protagonist to take place in agonizing slow motion, leaving him no place to hide.
- Synth-pop pioneers OMD return with their dazzling 13th studio album, The Punishment Of Luxury, which combines the wistful nostalgia and idealised romance of their previous work while stepping out of their comfort zone. This follow-up to 2013’s critically acclaimed English Electric is a daring collection of stylish synth-pop and masterful songwriting which will certainly rank alongside their very best.
- Written, recorded, produced and mixed by OMD – Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys – the album is the sound of a band in their prime. “On this album we have managed to make beautiful things out of noises and repetitive patterns,” explains Andy. “The trouble is, we just can’t help but write a catchy melody!”
- Critically acclaimed country/folk duo The Rails – Kami Thompson and James Walbourne – return with a stunning new record, Other People.
- Recorded in Nashville and produced by Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams), the album features ten brand new original Thompson–Walbourne songs that showcase their trademark harmonies and vocal prowess.
- The Rails’ 2014 debut album, Fair Warning, produced by Edwyn Collins, had critics gushing. It was chosen as Mojo’s best folk album that year and the band went on to be presented the Horizon Award for Best New Act at Radio Two’s prestigious Folk Awards in 2015. The new album lives up to expectations as we hear The Rails adopt a slightly harder-edged sound that incorporate elements of folk, 60s pop, psychedelia and soul with a distinctive British flavour.
- The Deluder is the highly anticipated fourth solo album from Idlewild frontman Roddy Woomble.
- “There’s certainly a degree of me calling the shots on my solo work to make the record I want to make. I wanted to make a record that was a bit more introspective, a bit more personal. It’s also the most surreal and playful record I’ve made. It’s doing things musically that I’ve never done before.”
- World-renowned guitarist, singer and songwriter Martin Simpson releases Trails & Tribulations, his 20th solo album in 40 years and his first new solo work since 2013’s widely praised Vagrant Stanzas.
- Produced and engineered by Andy Bell, Trails & Tribulations features some of Martin’s most inventive playing yet, showcasing his virtuosity on a variety of instruments including acoustic guitars, resonator guitars, Weissenbown lap steel guitar, electric guitars, 5-string banjo, ukulele – and voice.
- Steve Winwood releases his first-ever live album as a solo artist. Winwood: Greatest Hits Live is a new collection sourced from Steve’s personal archives of live performances. With a 23-song track-list handpicked by Steve, featuring his best-loved songs, it offers fans a definitive musical portrait of his five-decade career.
- The expanded 2-CD / 4-LP gatefold package features rare, previously unreleased material touching on all aspects of Winwood’s extensive catalogue, including contemporary arrangements of the music he created with the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith, and on his classic solo recordings. The collection channels R&B, jazz, funk, folk, classic rock, pop, and Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian rhythms, highlighting Winwood’s unique ability to fuse multiple genres into a singular, cohesive musical expression.
- The record not only demonstrates Steve’s mastery of the Hammond B3 Organ, but also showcases his remarkable guitar skills. Steve Winwood forges ahead undaunted, continuing to create and perform new and exciting material. He remains one of the most important and influential artists in all of popular music.
- Loud and proud as always, Motörhead’s new album Under Cöver is the ultimate raucous rock’n’roll rager, with the boys reminding everyone that they even did other people’s songs better than they did! From The Rolling Stones to Twister Sister, Under Cöver brings together the ‘Motörheading’ of firm rock favourites, and also features their epic take on David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, which has never been heard before.
Other releases for 2017
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