Releases from March–April 2018
Great albums from around the world
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Find releases from 2017.
Also check out some of the great reissues of classic albums.
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Releases for 27 April 2018
Our basket of delights for 27 April opens with Blossoms, who return with their second album, Cool Like You, blissful pop that adds an anthemic rock quality to the band’s ’80s-inspired synth-layered sound. Van Morrison and jazz organ virtuoso Joey DeFrancesco showcase electrifying musical collaborations on You’re Driving Me Crazy, combining fresh interpretations of blues and jazz standards with cuts from Van’s songbook. Last Man Standing, released for Willie Nelson’s 85th birthday, acknowledges the transience of time while marvelling at what the world has to offer, and finds Willie riding a creative peak. Welsh ragga-metal pioneers Skindred roar on their seventh album, Big Tings – a magnificent beast full of heavy, distortion-laden riff punches melding with frenzied rapping – big songs, big sound! And Brooklyn’s We Are Scientists return with Megaplex, ten brand-new splashes of colourful and utterly addictive power-pop to serve as a welcome distraction in these bleak times.
Our release of the week is In The Rainbow Rain, the most immediate album yet from Okkervil River. It’s a startling left turn from their critically lauded album Away, and an exuberant declaration of hope.
In The Rainbow Rain is Okkervil River’s most immediate – and meaningful – album to date. On it, bandleader Will Sheff makes a startling left turn from their critically lauded inward-looking 2016 album Away, crafting instead an exuberant declaration of hope. In place of Away’s somber strings and acoustic textures, In The Rainbow Rain is full of dazzling colour, spattered with starbursts of electric guitar, big blooms of synth, and a chorus of backing vocals. It’s a buoyant and playful record, but also open and emotionally vulnerable.
- Okkervil River In The Rainbow Rain Pre-sale offer CD £12.99 / LP £19.99
Blossoms return with their second album, Cool Like You – 11 tracks of ’80s-inspired synth-layered pop bliss. The band bring the tempo up on lead single ‘I Can’t Stand It’ and combine it with cascading synth riffs, while ‘There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)’ brings a previously unheard anthemic rock quality to the band’s sound.
The deluxe 2-CD version comes with a mint pack and a 12-page booklet and bonus disc containing an acoustic version of the album.
- Blossoms Cool Like You Pre-sale offer CD £10.99 / Deluxe 2-CD £12.99 / LP £23.99
On his 39th studio album, Van Morrison joins forces with jazz organ virtuoso Joey DeFrancesco. Recorded over just a few days in San Francisco, You’re Driving Me Crazy showcases electrifying musical collaborations, fresh interpretations of blues and jazz standards such as ‘Miss Otis Regrets’, ‘The Things I Used To Do’ and ‘Every Day I Have The Blues’ and deep cuts from Van’s songbook including ‘Have I Told You Lately’, ‘The Way Young Lovers Do’ and ‘Magic Time’.
- Van Morrison & Joey DeFrancesco You’re Driving Me Crazy Pre-sale offer CD £10.99 / LP £21.99
Last Man Standing comprises entirely songs newly penned by Willie Nelson and longtime collaborator and producer Buddy Cannon. It is a worthy successor to God’s Problem Child, which showcased seven Nelson–Cannon compositions and debuted at #1 on the Country charts, and is being released to coincide with Willie’s 85th birthday on April 29.
The album acknowledges the transience of time while marvelling at the joy, beauty and surprise the world has to offer, and finds Willie Nelson rolling at a creative peak, writing, singing and playing with the seasoned wit and wisdom that comes from the road.
- Willie Nelson Last Man Standing CD £10.99 / LP £18.99
Start your engines, ladies and gentlemen: nothing’s off limits for Welsh ragga-metal pioneers Skindred. Roaring and pounding, their seventh album, Big Tings! – the follow-up to 2015’s Volume – is a magnificent beast churning out heavy, distortion-laden riff punches melding with vocalist Benji Webbe’s frenzied rapping. Explosive metal and punk material rubs shoulders with smooth melodies, and of course Skindred wouldn’t leave us on the dancefloor without a hefty helping of their trademark Godzilla-sized choruses. Big songs, big sound!
- Skindred Big Tings CD £10.99 / LP £22.99
Brooklyn-based power-pop troupe We Are Scientists to return with their sixth album, Megaplex. The infamous duo – Keith Murray (guitar/vocals) and Chris Cain (bass) – are once again set to dazzle the world with ten brand-new splashes of colourful and utterly addictive pop to serve as a welcome distraction from these bleak times we live in.
“In the past we’ve used our music to educate, to enlighten, to awaken people to the depth and complexity of moral concerns. This time, we really wanted to drop a fun-bomb. Something to dance or f*** to,” states Chris, and Megaplex achieves just that.
- We Are Scientists Megaplex CD £10.99 / LP £19.99
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Releases for 20 April 2018
We start our 6 of the best for 20 April with Volunteer, yet another fine example of how Old Crow Medicine Show remains one of the most vibrant and forward-thinking traditional bands of their time. Released 50 years after being recorded, Live At The Fillmore East 1968 captures two blistering performances at the legendary New York venue by The Who, then at the height of their powers. Accidentally On Purpose, the highly anticipated third album from The Shires, combines massive country-pop choruses and emotive lyrics about their whirlwind journey, relationships and their time in the States. Check your prejudice at the door and you’ll find Sting & Shaggy’s new album – yes you read that right, the Jamaican dancehall legend and former Police icon have teamed up – to be a thoroughly enjoyable pop reggae album. And David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane gets a special 45th anniversary (yes, it really has been that long) vinyl reissue, pressed on strictly limited silver vinyl.
Our release of the week comes from American rockers Black Stone Cherry, who return barely a year after Kentucky with Family Tree, a rich stew of rock’n’soul with a hefty dose of the blues thrown in for good measure and their best, most mature release to date.
American rockers Black Stone Cherry return barely a year after Kentucky with Family Tree, a rich stew of rock’n’soul with a hefty dose of the blues thrown in for good measure. This is the album that Black Stone Cherry have been building up to – Family Tree is their best, most mature release to date and all delivered with a Southern grace and harmony that few other bands could achieve.
- Black Stone Cherry Family Tree CD £11.99 / LP £22.99
Volunteer is yet another fine example of how Old Crow Medicine Show remains one of the most vibrant and forward-thinking traditional bands of their time. Since the release of their last Grammy-winning studio effort, Remedy, the band have taken their versatility to another level, variously reinterpreting Bob Dylan’s seminal album Blonde On Blonde and collaborating with pop sensation Kesha.
The songs on Volunteer illustrate themes that resonate far beyond Old Crow Medicine Show’s diverse fan base, while also showcasing the depth in the group’s songwriting. The band’s recent accomplishments demonstrate that they still have the hunger to evolve and thrive in a variety of musical settings. While trends in music have come and gone, Old Crow Medicine Show has maintained their sense of integrity, continuing to share their infectious hybrid of traditional mountain music wherever they go.
- Old Crow Medicine Show Volunteer CD £13.99 / LP £19.99
Finally released 50 years after the fact, Live At The Fillmore East 1968 captures two performances by The Who, then at the height of their powers, from the legendary New York venue on 5 and 6 April 1968. Both nights were recorded by Who manager Kit Lambert with the intention of releasing them as the band’s fourth album, after The Who Sell Out and before Tommy. This long-delayed official release will only enhance The Who’s reputation as the best live acts of the time.
The sets featured stunning extended versions of ‘My Generation’, ‘A Quick One…’, ‘Shakin’ All Over’ and many other Who classics; three ripping versions of Eddie Cochran numbers, including ‘Summertime Blues’ and ‘C’mon Everybody’ (the latter unavailable elsewhere); the band’s first-ever performance of live favourite ‘Fortune Teller’; and unique live versions of ‘Tattoo’ and ‘Relax’ from The Who Sell Out.
- The Who Live At The Fillmore East 1968 2-CD £13.99 / 3-LP £34.99
Accidentally On Purpose, the highly anticipated third album from The Shires, combines massive country-pop choruses and emotive lyrics about their whirlwind journey, relationships and their time in the States. Ben and Chrissie say “Accidentally on Purpose is full of personal songs that really sums up the whirlwind journey we’ve been on together. From the first day we met, we’ve been crazy dreamers with big plans, who really believed that country could break into the UK mainstream. For all those dreams, we never imagined it would all happen so quickly and we’re so proud and excited to be releasing our third album.”
- The Shires Accidentally On Purpose CD £10.99
Sting & Shaggy’s new album – yes you read that right, the Jamaican dancehall legend and former Police icon have teamed up – arose from a single-song collaboration that went so well the pair kept going, and 44/876 is the result. Check your prejudice at the door and you will find that a thoroughly enjoyable pop reggae album awaits you.
- Sting & Shaggy 44/876 CD £10.99 / LP £24.99
David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane gets a special 45th anniversary (yes, it really has been that long) reissue, pressed on strictly limited silver vinyl. This is a fantastic early(ish) Bowie album with a track-listing half of which reads, in retrospect, like a best-of with songs like ‘Panic In Detroit’, ‘Drive-In Saturday’ and ‘Jean Genie’.
- David Bowie Aladdin Sane 45th Anniversary LP £21.99
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Releases for 13 April 2018
We’ve got six gems for you due on 13 April. First up is US folk icon John Prine with The Tree Of Forgiveness, his first album of original material for thirteen years. 40 years on, punk legends The Damned are, unbelievably, still with us! David Vanian and Captain Sensible worked with Tony Visconti on Evil Spirits, their first in ten years, and the result is a deliberately old-style lo-fi production. The Straight Hits! is the result of Josh T. Pearson’s desire to burn down his reputation and start again, and features different flavours of country, rock and all points in between; it’s joyful, giddy, life-affirming stuff. Prolific songwriter Laura Veirs proves the depth of her musical skill on her tenth solo album, The Lookout: a batch of inimitable, churning, exquisite folk-pop songs forming a concept album about the fragility of precious things. Finally, Paradox is an idiosyncratic soundtrack by Neil Young + Promise Of The Real to Daryl Hannah’s whimsical film of the same name.
Our release of the week is Resistance Is Futile, the new album from Manic Street Preachers, which explores memory and loss, confused reality and art, and is obsessively melodic.
Resistance Is Futile, the new album from Manic Street Preachers, is the first album to be recorded at the band’s new Door to the River Studio in Newport.
Say the band: “The main themes of Resistance Is Futile are memory and loss – forgotten history – confused reality and art as a hiding place and inspiration. Musically the album is obsessively melodic and in many ways references the naive energy of ‘Generation Terrorists’ and the orchestral sweep of ‘Everything Must Go’. After delay and difficulties, the record has come together really quickly over the last few months, there has been a surge of creativity and old school hard work.”
Note: there will be a white vinyl LP version, available only in-store on the day of release. All LP pre-orders will be for the standard black vinyl version.
- Manic Street Preachers Resistance is Futile
American folk musician and songwriter John Prine has been active in the music industry since the early ’70s. He was a driving force in the folk revival in Chicago and is widely accepted as one of the biggest influences for the folk music of his generation. Now, after a thirteen-year wait, Prine offers us a new album full of original material, The Tree Of Forgiveness.
The album was recorded in Nashville’s RCA Studio and was written alongside Pat McLaughlin, Roger Cook, Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, and Keith Sykes. It was produced by Grammy winner Dave Cobb and features Prine on vocals and acoustic guitar along with Cobb and John Prine’s backing band. The album also features special guests such as Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, and Amanda Shires.
- John Prine The Tree Of Forgiveness
It seems hard to believe that punk legends The Damned are still with us! And even better, they’re releasing a new album, Evil Spirits, their first in ten years! Vocalist David Vanian and guitarist Captain Sensible are still in this line-up, making fantastic music. They worked on this new album with David Bowie’s chief producer, Tony Visconti, who was also the bass player on The Man Who Sold The World. Captain Sensible states that they worked like they did in the very early days of the band: they “deliberately recorded the album retro style,” and the result is a lo-fi production typical of a forgotten age when pop music was working hand in hand with the rock realm.
There’s an uplifting sense that unfolds on Evil Spirits, evident on the first single, ‘Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow’, although mystery and the enshrouding darkness lead the main action. The Damned keeps on perfecting the Strawberries era with a more tempered overall rhythm, a beautiful equilibrium and natural inspiration.
- The Damned Evil Spirits
The Straight Hits! is only Josh T. Pearson’s second solo album in more than two decades, following his acclaimed solo debut, 2011’s Last Of The Country Gentlemen.
Lately, the dapper Texan gentleman has been motivated by a desire to share more of his music with the world, before it’s too late. “I burned down all my idols and realized in the process that I needed to burn down my reputation as fast as I could too. I felt constricted by the old stuff and I didn’t like being in a cage. It wasn’t letting me move on.” This spirit prompted a creative exercise – each song had to follow certain parameters, dubbed ‘The Five Pillars’ – and it has given Pearson the freedom to write a lighter, more ‘straight’ album, featuring different flavours of country, rock and all points in between, with dollops of country-punk, cataclysmic rock’n’roll, and even a bona fide love song, which Pearson admits breaks several of the Five Pillars, but obeys an unwritten Sixth Pillar: Musical rules are made to be broken. This is joyful, giddy, life-affirming stuff.
- Josh T. Pearson The Straight Hits!
A prolific songwriter for nearly twenty years, Laura Veirs proves the depth of her musical skill on her tenth solo album, The Lookout. This batch of inimitable, churning, exquisite folk-pop songs form a concept album about the fragility of precious things. Produced by Grammy-nominated Tucker Martine, Veirs’ longtime collaborator, The Lookout is a soundtrack for turbulent times, full of allusions to protectors: the camper stoking a watch fire, a mother tending her children, a sailor in a crows nest and a lightning rod channelling energy.
- Laura Viers The Lookout
Paradox features music by Neil Young + Promise Of The Real made specially for the film of that name written and directed by Daryl Hannah. The film is a fantasy, a loud poem and a whimsical tale of music and love, a sweetly idiosyncratic personal expression. Sometime in the future-past, a band of outlaws hides out high in the mountains. The ‘Man in the Black Hat’ (Neil Young), the ‘Particle Kid’ (Micah Nelson) and ‘Jail Time’ (Lukas Nelson) and a band of cowboys and outlaws pass the days digging for treasure while they wait for the full moon to bring its magic, the music and let the spirits fly. Neil’s music for the film reflects this idiosyncratic spirit.
Note: the LP will be released on 20 April.
- Neil Young + Promise Of The Real Paradox (Original Music from The Film)
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Releases for 6 April 2018
Our first recommendation for 6 April is Sex & Food, listening to which leaves you filled with pleasure; as always Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s work is hardly simple, but it’s a riot of rich harmonies and Prince-like virtuosity casually deployed. Kylie’s fourteenth studio album, Golden, is the result of an intensive working trip to Nashville, whose influence has resulted in a vibrant hybrid, blending Kylie’s familiar pop-dance sound with an unmistakeable Tennessee twang. St. Jude Re:Wired reimagines Courteeners’ seminal debut album to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the unplugged versions here stripping away production artifice to reveal the beauty and power of these great songs, and is as essential as the original. The self-titled debut album from South London’s Goat Girl is an inky clangorous delight, 19 songs displaying sharp riffs and poetic gothic lyrics that paint a picture of a city in decline. Fantastic! Blackberry Smoke release their sixth album, Find A Light, dextrously treading the line between Southern rock and country. This band is on its way to becoming as important and influential as the marvellous Drive By Truckers.
Our release of the week is The Deconstruction, the 12th album from Eels. Mark Everett’s wisdom and stoicism shines out of big beasts, orchestral samples and wonderfully claustrophobic arrangements on this treasure of an album.
Eels say: “The world is a mess. This is just music. Music by someone who tends to believe that change starts in your own backyard. I’m just optimistic enough to believe that kind of thing can still help people. It doesn’t have any answers, other than maybe that there is no answer, the dust never settles, everything is out of control, etc. But it offers this: you can make changes. Thus, you can change the world. Right?”
The 2x10" version is on translucent yellow vinyl. The limited super deluxe box set includes 2x12" 45rpm records on translucent pink vinyl in printed sleeves, a CD of the album, a 28-page perfect-bound lyric booklet with exclusive photos, a 12"x12" artwork print, an A4 digitally handwritten lyric sheet of ‘Rusty Pipes’ signed by E, and an E ‘Tip & Strip’ pen.
- Eels The Deconstruction CD £11.99 / 2x10" LP £25.99 / 2x12" super deluxe box set £69.99
Where are we headed? What are we consuming, how is it affecting us, and why does everything feel so bad and weird sometimes? These are some of the questions posed in Sex & Food – the most eclectic and expansive Unknown Mortal Orchestra release yet, from the light-footed R&B of ‘Hunnybee’ to the stomping flange of ‘Major League Chemicals’.
Sex & Food is a delightfully shapeshifting album that filters these real-deal serious themes through a vibrant sonic lens that spans battered drum-machine funk, doomy and thrashing rock, and pink-hued psychedelic disc. It’s a scary world out there, and it’s been that way for a while – and Sex & Food finds Nielson surveying the damage while attempting to reckon with the magnitude of it all.
- Unknown Mortal Orchestra Sex And Food CD £13.99 / LP £19.99
Kylie’s fourteenth studio album, Golden, is the result of an intensive working trip to the home of country music, a city whose influence lingered on long after the pop legend and her team returned to London to finish the record. “We definitely brought a bit of Nashville back with us,” she states with audible affection. “Now that I’ve been to Nashville, I understand. It’s like some sort of musical ley line …” The album is a vibrant hybrid, blending Kylie’s familiar pop-dance sound with an unmistakeable Tennessee twang.
- Kylie Golden CD £11.99 / Deluxe CD £14.99 / LP £22.99 / Super deluxe LP + CD £64.99
Courteeners mark the 10th anniversary of their seminal debut album with a newly recorded and unplugged version – St. Jude Re:Wired. The unplugged versions presented here strip away production artifice to reveal the beauty and power of these of great songs.
Liam says: “We were looking for a way to mark the 10 year anniversary of the release of St. Jude. I’d been out on an acoustic tour this autumn, re-working and revisiting tunes from the back catalogue, stripping them back and experimenting with some different interpretations. The incredible string section nudged me into unlocking something special. I loved revisiting all the old songs and putting a new twist on them. So I booked a studio, rang the band, brought in some string players and we ‘re-did’ St. Jude in a few days. And it sounds fucking brilliant.”
- Courteeners St. Jude Re:Wired CD £11.99 / LP £20.99
Across 19 tracks in 40 minutes, Goat Girl’s self-titled debut creates a half fantasy world, an inky clangorous delight full of sharp riffs and poetic gothic lyrics that paint a picture of London in decline.
In the group’s words: “Simply put, it’s an album that comes from growing up in London and the first-hand experience of our city’s devolution. We wanted to think of it as this place seen not necessarily just through our eyes, but someone who can’t get past the abnormalities and strange happenings that exist in our city. We think this gives the freedom lyrically and musically to explore unspoken truths and emotions that we all as humans feel.”
- Goat Girl Goat Girl CD £10.99 / LP £18.99
Is there a more consistent and harder working band in music today than Blackberry Smoke? Atlanta’s finest are back, following their consecutive number one albums Holding All The Roses and Like An Arrow with Find A Light, a collection of 13 impeccably constructed tracks. The band dextrously treads the line between Southern rock and country, and at this rate they will become as important and influential a band as the marvellous Drive By Truckers.
- Blackberry Smoke Find A Light CD £11.99 / LP £19.99
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Releases for 30 March 2018
Or recommendations for 30 March kick of with the deep baritone and gothic Americana of Micah P. Hinson, and Live At The BBC is exactly what it says on the tin. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s new album, Sometimes Just The Sky, is effectively a celebration of her acclaimed 30-year recording career and all the better for it. Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite follow their Grammy-nominated Get Up! with No Mercy In This Land, another beguiling mix of acoustic/electric blues, roots and R&B. The Vaccines’ 4th album, Combat Sports, shines a glorious sunshine whilst bathing every ear in an FM warmth and is chock-full of an infectious enthusiasm. Trembling Bells’ 7th album, Dungeness, was inspired by a visit to that stretch of coastline, and the songs feel like the end of the earth with a sweeping, apocalyptic grandness – both in sound and lyrics – while harking back to the ’70s psychedelic heyday of Fairport Convention and Trees.
Our album of the week is Golden Hour, on which Kacey Musgraves continues to explore the acceptable end of country music, with smart, pointed lyrics allied to sharp, modern arrangements. Lovely!
Golden Hour – the follow-up to 2015’s Grammy-nominated Pageant Material – represents a shift in perspective for Kacey Musgraves, and is perhaps the most mature work she’s yet undertaken. The title, like much of her new music, was inspired by her relationship with husband Ruston Kelly. Though the album still bears her trademark wit, it’s a turn in a softer direction emotionally.
Musgraves came up with the title while viewing the solar eclipse. “It felt like this majestic time where God was saying, ‘This is a moment to be present for, to witness and relish in the beauty of this incredible world,’” she says. “That was important for me to include on this record. It’s such an ugly time right now with society and politics, and it could be easy to focus on that. But one thing we could use is a little more love and positivity and pretty colors.”
She refers to the music as “trippy”, listing influences from Neil Young and Sade to the Bee Gees. Collaborators on this album include writers Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Natalie Hemby, as well as her co-producers Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian. The album was recorded in the studio above Sheryl Crow’s horse barn, and Crow sometimes hung out at the sessions.
- Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour CD £11.99 / LP t.b.a.
At The British Broadcasting Corporation is a collection of tracks recorded by Micah P. Hinson for Marc Riley’s 6 Music show over the past 14 years. These 11 tracks were picked by Micah himself from a wealth of cuts recorded over the course of nine albums.
Marc Riley says: “I remember the first time Micah came in to do a session for us. 18th September 2004. It was at the time of his debut ‘…And The Gospel Of Progress’ LP which I absolutely loved. He was backed by The Earlies (as he was on the record) and the session was mind-blowing. The songs were fantastic, Micah’s voice made Johnny Cash sound like Aled Jones. He told tales of being thrown in jail … of suffering great dramatic losses in his life. You could imagine the listeners at home envisioning a 70-year-old troubadour inside the wireless. I remember asking him to clarify how old he was on air and he replied ‘23, Sir’.”
- Micah P. Hinson At The British Broadcasting Corporation CD £13.99 / LP £20.99
Mary Chapin Carpenter’s highly anticipated new album, Sometimes Just The Sky, is a celebration of her acclaimed 30-year recording career. This landmark record features new versions of some of Carpenter’s most beloved songs as well as one newly written song, the title track.
The 13-track album was recorded entirely live at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios outside Bath, and produced by Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Paul McCartney, Ray LaMontagne). Over the course of her celebrated career, Carpenter has sold over 14 million records.
- Mary Chapin Carpenter Sometimes Just The Sky CD £12.99 / LP £22.99
No Mercy In This Land is a blues record. Charlie Musselwhite & Ben Harper were introduced to one another by the legendary John Lee Hooker, who thought the two men should play together so he brought them into the studio to record a song called simply ‘Burnin’ Hell’. The two remained friends and their paths periodically crossed out there on the road. But it wasn’t until 2013 that the two met in a studio to record what became their Grammy-winning album Get Up! And as good as that record was, it was just the beginning. Both men agree that their friendship deepened in the many months of touring that followed. And it’s that bond, that closeness, that makes this new record something special.
At first glance, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite might seem an unlikely pairing. While Ben grew up in in the tree-lined Southern California college town of Claremont, a bastion of culture and liberalism just east of Los Angeles, Charlie was raised in Memphis during the time of rockabilly and Sun Records. But while the two might have come to their musical knowledge in different eras and places, as Charlie explains: “We were both searchers and we’re still seeking.” Each of them possess an enduring hunger for musical knowledge that came to them early.
- Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite No Mercy In This Land CD £12.99 / LP £19.99
The Vaccines return to their roots with the release of their new album, Combat Sports. The songs included in this collection range from pure Vaccines rock and roll to power-pop, and it’s a creative combination that has never failed them in the past. Original members Justin Hayward-Young (lead vocals, guitar), Freddie Cowan (lead guitar, vocals) and Árni Árnason (bass, vocals), are joined on this album by Tim Lanham (keyboards) and Yoann Intonti (drums) who were both touring band members.
The Vaccines have become one of the biggest and most adored British bands of our generation. Starting their career with a bang in 2011 with the year’s bestselling debut album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?, 2012 then saw the release of the equally successful Come Of Age, which charted at #1 in the UK, and in 2015 English Graffiti charted at #2. Combined, the band have sold over 1 million records worldwide.
- The Vaccines Combat Sports CD £12.99 / LP £20.99
Trembling Bells’ seventh album, Dungeness, was inspired by a visit to that stretch of coastline. Many of the songs feel like the end of the Earth, their folk-rock sensibility acquiring a sweeping, apocalyptic grandness – both in sound and lyrics. Alex Neilson thinks of music in terms less certifiable than structure, key or tempo. On ‘Big Nothing’, the opening track, he wanted the chords “to sound gigantic and degraded, like a building collapsing in slow motion. Or a rusted structure in the middle of the sea.” And – remarkably – it does.
- Trembling Bells Dungeness CD £13.99 / LP £18.99
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Releases for 23 March 2018
23 March’s garden of earthly delights opens with Boarding House Reach, an overflowing artistic statement that burns with the passion and fury as any of Jack White’s earlier releases. This star-studded album swirls with perplexing ideas and musical genres. New York trio Sunflower Bean’s second album, Twentytwo In Blue, shows the band staying true to their guitar-band core and classic rock-inspired roots while exploring new sonic textures with more direct and progressive themes. Over And Out is a testament to his talent, his winning way with words, an incredible joie de vivre and a spirit that never flagged. He’ll be missed, but Over And Out is a great way to remember him. Staying At Tamara’s is a finger-snapping, brass-blaring, wind-in-the-hair collection of “songs about escapism, dreaming, anxieties and love” that George Ezra wrote while staying in various rural locations and in a Barcelona apartment owned by the Tamara of the album’s title. Martin Freeman’s jazz radio show has had an enormous impact, and Jazz On The Corner collects his favourite jazz in an incredible journey from rolling hard bop, via screaming soul organ, jazz-funk and original acid jazz, onwards to the postmodern spiritual jazz of Kamasi Washington.
Our album of the week is May Your Kindness Remain by Courtney Marie Andrews, whose music has been compared to John Prine, Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Laura Marling and Julie Byrne. Her breakthrough album, Honest Life, became one of the hottest releases of 2017.
May Your Kindness Remain is the brand new album from Courtney Marie Andrews. UK fans fell for Courtney’s breakthrough album, Honest Life, last year when, as the BBC put it, she became an “overnight success” after 10 years in the business. Newspapers such as the Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Times compared her music to the work of classic artists such as Guy Clark, John Prine, Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Glen Campbell, alongside modern artists such as Laura Marling and Julie Byrne. The album became one of the biggest breakthrough records of 2017 in the UK.
Note: The LP is available on indies-only gold vinyl.
- Courtney Marie Andrews May Your Kindness Remain CD £11.99 / LP £19.99
Boarding House Reach revels in a spontaneous approach that takes Jack White all over the genre board. There’s moments of glitchy neo-funk, experimental gospel – yes, experimental – and a very strong influence from early ’90s hip-hop. Basically, it’s the result of one of the music industry’s leading figures pressing ‘record’ and having a blast in the studio. White has stated that the majority of Boarding House Reach was recorded on a 4-track, just like the one he had when he was fourteen. For this reason, fans might expect a stripped-down, back-to-basics album; instead, however, White has produced an overflowing artistic statement. Strange as it is, the majority of Boarding House Reach actually works. It’s a late-career release that still burns with the same passion and fury as any of White’s solo releases, or those with his supergroup The Dead Weather. It’s a star-studded album swirling with perplexing ideas, often hitting the nail on the head.
- Jack White Boarding House Reach CD £11.99 / LP £26.99
New York trio Sunflower Bean release their second album, Twentytwo In Blue. The album shows Sunflower Bean staying true to their guitar-band core and classic rock-inspired roots, while exploring new sonic textures with more direct and progressive themes.
- Sunflower Bean Twentytwo In Blue CD £12.99 / LP £20.99
Over And Out is the album that Rick Parfitt had been itching to write. The album is but the last element of the incredible legacy and body of work that Rick Parfitt leaves us. A testament to his talent, his winning way with words, an incredible joie de vivre and a spirit that never flagged. He’ll be missed, but Over And Out is a great way to remember him. Gone but not forgotten.
- Rick Parfitt Over And Out CD £11.99 / LP £17.99
George Ezra returns with his highly anticipated second album, Staying At Tamara’s, three years after the release of his 4x platinum, number one debut album Wanted On Voyage. Staying At Tamara’s is a collection of “songs about escapism, dreaming, anxieties and love” that, just like Wanted On Voyage, was written, created and inspired by George’s travels, including spells on the Isle of Skye, at a pig farm in Norfolk, in a former cornflour shed in Kent, a converted cow shed in north Wales, and in an Airbnb in Barcelona owned by the Tamara of the album’s title. The result is a finger-snapping, brass-blaring, wind-in-the-hair album that shines with positivity and encouragement, alongside moments of more subdued reflection.
- George Ezra Staying At Tamara’s CD £11.99 / LP £19.99
When Acid Jazz founder Eddie Piller asked Martin Freeman to host a jazz radio show, he could hardly have imagined the impact it would have. Emails and tweets from around the world inundated the show and they realised that they couldn’t leave it there. Now, two yearon, Jazz On The Corner – a compilation of their favourite jazz – has arrived. From the rolling hard bop of Lee Morgan and Art Blakey, via screaming soul organ, jazz-funk and original acid jazz, onwards to the postmodern spiritual jazz of Kamasi Washington, this is an incredible journey.
- Various Artists Martin Freeman & Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner 2-CD £15.99 / 2-LP £22.99
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Releases for 16 March 2018
We’ve picked out 6 fine releases for 16 March. On There’s A Riot Going On, Yo La Tengo have channelled a fear similar to that which drove Sly And The Family Stone’s paranoia classic into a calming album that functions simultaneously as both a direct response to and a welcome distraction from the chaos at hand. Creep Show brings together John Grant and the dark funk of analogue electronic band Wrangler to create Mr Dynamite – a consistently inventive debut album packed with experimental pop and surreal funk. The platinum-selling and Grammy-winning Stone Temple Pilots, one of the best-selling bands of the 1990s, release their highly anticipated self-titled new album – their first with the new lead singer, Jeff Gutt. Scottish indie rock legends The Fratellis follow the success of their critically acclaimed top 20 album Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied, with a charming, playful and energetic new album, In Your Own Sweet Time. Here Come The Aliens marks a fresh start for Kim Wilde, with the strongest set of songs in the iconic singer’s extraordinary near 40-year career. Vocally, she has never sounded better.
Our release of the week is I’ll Be Your Girl, on which The Decemberists embrace such diverse influences as Roxy Music and New Order to spark a new creative path. “Our ambition this time was really just to get out of our comfort zone,” says leader Colin Meloy. The songs share an “exuberant nihilism; an apocalyptic dance party was what we envisioned.” This is the sound of a veteran band finding new inspiration, unafraid of challenging itself.
The Decemberists explore a new sound on their inspired eighth studio album, I’ll Be Your Girl, embracing such diverse influences as Roxy Music and New Order to spark a new creative path.
“Our ambition this time was really just to get out of our comfort zone,” says Colin Meloy. “That’s what prompted working with a different producer and using a different studio. We wanted to free ourselves from old patterns and give ourselves permission to try something different.” The songs share a mood that’s steeped in our current times and condition – “exuberant nihilism; an apocalyptic dance party was what we envisioned.”
I’ll Be Your Girl is the sound of a veteran band finding new inspiration, unafraid of challenging itself to re-connect with its creativity.
- The Decemberists I’ll Be Your Girl CD £11.99 / LP £24.99
In the autumn of 1971, Sly And The Family Stone released the seminal There’s A Riot Goin’ On, a record booming with the passion of revolution. With this in mind, Yo La Tengo have channelled a similar fear (though with an expected tonal shift) into a calming album that functions simultaneously as both a direct response to and a welcome distraction from the chaos at hand. There’s A Riot Going On further showcases the band’s laudable ability to expand upon an established sound without ever losing sight of the cohesive, delicate enthusiasm that makes it blossom so organically.
- Yo La Tengo There’s A Riot Going On CD £12.99 / LP £24.99
Creep Show brings together John Grant and the dark funk of analogue electronic band Wrangler to create Mr Dynamite – a debut album packed with experimental pop and surreal funk. Grant’s exhilarating croon decorates the twists and hooks to be explored on this consistently inventive record.
- Creep Show Mr Dynamite CD £10.99 / LP £21.99
Stone Temple Pilots release their highly anticipated new album. The self-titled work is the band’s first album with the new lead singer, Jeff Gutt. Despite being one of the best-selling bands of the 1990s with platinum records and a Grammy to its credit, guitarist Dean DeLeo says: “We are thrilled about what lies ahead. The best way for us to honour our past is to keep making new music.”
- Stone Temple Pilots Stone Temple Pilots CD £12.99 / LP £19.99
After the success of their critically acclaimed top 20 album Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied, Scottish indie rock legends The Fratellis return with their charming, playful and energetic new album In Your Own Sweet Time.
- The Fratellis In Your Own Sweet Time CD £12.99 / LP £21.99
Kim Wilde’s return to recording isn’t a comeback, but Here Come The Aliens does mark a fresh start in the iconic singer’s extraordinary career. Proud of her past, but focused on the future, Kim has never stopped singing or selling out tours – she has played more shows in the past decade than ever before. Kim’s trademark lust for life with the strongest set of songs of her near 40-year career. Vocally, she has never sounded better.
- Kim Wilde Here Come The Aliens CD £11.99 / LP £18.99
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Releases for 9 March 2018
Our selection for 9 March starts with American Utopia, the first solo album from David Byrne since 2004, of which he says: “Many of us are not satisfied with the world we have made for ourselves. We look around and we ask ourselves – well, does it have to be like this?” These songs are about that looking and that asking. The Levellers kick off celebrations for their 30th anniversary by enlisting producer John Leckie to help develop new acoustic arrangements, with added string section, of eight of their previous singles and two brand new songs, and the result is We The Collective. The Editors’ sixth album, Violence, is chock-full of electrifying riffs and powerful vocals that put a new twist on mainstream rock, and lyrics that deliver a pointed finger at those in power. Both Sides Of The Sky completes a trilogy of albums presenting the best and most significant unissued studio recordings remaining in the Jimi Hendrix, including 10 never before released. Legendary metal band Judas Priest could easily rest on their laurels at this stage of their highly successful and influential career, but they refuse to do so on Firepower, their 18th studio album. Tearing At The Seam is the first album from Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats since their 2015 break-through, bringing a new togetherness to the band. Cocoa Sugar finds Young Fathers playfully moulding disparate sonic motifs, before breathlessly colliding them to disorientating and confrontational effect.
Release of the week is Personae from Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, an eclectic emotional see-saw of a journey, by turns curious, thought-provoking, moving and magical; a cornucopia astutely delivered by one of the most intriguing, uninhibited and popular duos on the British folk scene.
Duos come and duos go … and some nurture and fine-tune their art and watch it grow into something totally original, captivating and award-winning. Bonded by an unseen alchemy, Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman have entwined their professional and personal relationship into an enviable class act of imaginative songwriting and musicianship. Personae, their landmark fifth studio album, is an eclectic emotional see-saw of a journey, melding ten tracks of traditional ballads and their versatile self-penned material. Once again Roberts and Lakeman have created an album by turns curious, thought-provoking, moving and magical; a cornucopia astutely delivered by one of the most intriguing, uninhibited and popular duos on the British folk scene.
Don’t forget that Kathryn and Sean will be playing songs from this album live in-store on 28 April at 2pm!!
- Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman Personae CD £11.99
American Utopia is the first solo album from David Byrne since 2004. Speaking about the album, Byrne said: “Is this meant ironically? Is it a joke? Do I mean this seriously? In what way? Am I referring to the past or the future? Is it personal or political? These songs don’t describe an imaginary or possibly impossible place but rather attempt to depict the world we live in now. Many of us, I suspect, are not satisfied with that world – the world we have made for ourselves. We look around and we ask ourselves – well, does it have to be like this? Is there another way?” These songs are about that looking and that asking.
- David Byrne American Utopia CD £12.99 / LP £22.99
The Levellers decided they wanted to do something a bit different with their back catalogue to kick off celebrations for their 30th anniversary in 2018. They brought in a string section and enlisted legendary producer John Leckie to help develop new acoustic arrangements for eight of their previous singles. They also recorded two brand new songs, ‘The Shame’ and ‘Drug Bust McGee’, and the result is the 10-track album We The Collective.
- The Levellers We The Collective CD £12.99 / LP £21.99
The Editors’ sixth album, Violence, is chock-full of electrifying riffs and powerful vocals. It puts a new twist on mainstream rock and the lyrics deliver a pointed finger at those in power.
- The Editors Violence CD £10.99 / LP £18.99
Both Sides Of The Sky presents 13 studio recordings from Jimi Hendrix, including 10 which have never before been released. All but two of these studio recordings were made during a fertile period between 1968 and 1970. Jimi’s mastery and use of the studio as a proving ground for new songs resulted in a growing collection of extraordinary material. This album completes a trilogy of albums – with Valleys Of Neptune and People, Hell And Angels – presenting the best and most significant unissued studio recordings remaining in the Hendrix archive.
- Jimi Hendrix Both Sides Of The Sky CD £11.99 / LP £21.99
Judas Priest could easily rest on their laurels at this stage of their highly successful and influential career. However, the legendary metal band – singer Rob Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill, and drummer Scott Travis – refuse to do so, as evidenced by Firepower, their eighteenth studio album.
- Judas Priest Firepower CD £11.99 / Deluxe CD £14.99 / LP £21.99
Tearing At The Seam is the first album from Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats since their 2015 break-through. Rateliff noted “This time, I felt like we’ve all spent so much time on the road that we should all go off somewhere together. We should all have that experience together … I want – and I need – everybody to feel like they’re a part of this band.” In the studio, producer Richard Swift (The Shins, Foxygen) helped to capture that sense of team effort and togetherness.
- Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Tearing At The Seams CD £11.99 / 2-LP £26.99
While recording Cocoa Sugar, Young Fathers aimed to explore the very essence of their own sound. Many of the twelve tracks here are purposefully sparse, with hypnotically looped rhythms and phrases commonly repeated, giving many of the allegorical lyrics a mantra-like quality. The elements that remain lay the foundation for a record of violent and vivid juxtaposition. Cocoa Sugar finds the three-piece playfully moulding disparate sonic motifs, before breathlessly colliding them to disorientating and confrontational effect.
- Young Fathers Cocoa Sugar CD £10.99 / LP £19.99
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Releases for 2 March 2018
We kick off our recommendations for 2 March with Anna Von Hausswolff’s fourth album, Dead Magic, which confirms her formidable reputation as the creator of a singular world, equal parts black magic and beauty, underpinned by the stately sound of Copenhagen’s Marmorkirken church organ. Across four decades Tracey Thorn’s writing has offered up a clear-eyed woman’s view of the immediate world around her; her latest, Record, rotates around a dubby nine-minute Compass Point-style disco jam on which Tracey is joined again by Warpaint’s rhythm section and glorious backing vocals from Corinne Bailey Rae. The Low Anthem have found their true voice with The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depths Of The Sea: 12 short songs that are fragile, nuanced, and honest. Acoustic arrangements are peppered with subtle and fragmented electronic elements, weaving songs that sound at once organic and highly conceptual. Joan Baez remains a musical force of nature of incalculable influence, and Whistle Down The Wind is the latest installment of a legacy that will reverberate long into the future. Moby’s new album, Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt, is a glowing tapestry exploring spirituality, individuality and the brokenness of humanity that finds him returning to his orchestral, soul, trip-hop and gospel roots. 20 years into their career, Embrace make an emphatic return with Love Is A Basic Need, already being hailed as a return to ‘classic’ Embrace. Singer Danny McNamara said: “We set out to make an album to stand up against the best songs we’ve ever written, and I’m pretty confident we’ve done just that.”
Our album of the week is All Nerve, the first release by The Breeders’ classic line up – Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson – since 1993’s Last Splash. The Breeders really are back and we really are glad!
All Nerve, the first release from iconic US alt-rockers The Breeders release their first album in 10 years. Even better, it’s the first recording since 1993’s Last Splash by the band’s classic line up: Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson. All Nerve is not to be missed!
Note: the LP is an exclusive indies-only version.
- The Breeders All Nerve CD £11.99 / LP £19.99
Anna Von Hausswolff’s fourth album, Dead Magic, confirms her formidable reputation as the creator of a singular world, equal parts black magic and beauty. Its five solemn but never less than thrilling tracks extend over 47 uncompromising minutes full of heightened qualities: among them tension, grace and sorcery, with the stately sound of Copenhagen’s Marmorkirken church organ as its centrepiece.
- Anna Von Hausswolff Dead Magic CD £11.99 / LP £22.99
Tracey Thorn’s latest, the straightforwardly titled Record, is her first solo album of entirely original material for seven years. For all its no-fuss pop brevity, the album rotates around ‘Sister’, a dubby nine-minute Compass Point-style disco jam on which Tracey is joined again by Warpaint’s rhythm section and glorious backing vocals from Corinne Bailey Rae.
Across four decades Tracey’s songs and writing have offered up a clear-eyed woman’s view of the immediate world around her; from the acerbic teen love songs of her first early-eighties band Marine Girls, through sixteen years as one half of articulate multi-million-selling duo Everything But The Girl.
- Tracey Thorn Record CD £13.99 / LP £22.99
The Low Anthem have over time boiled down their musical ideals to find their true voice. With their new album, The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depths Of The Sea, they present 12 short songs that are fragile, nuanced, and honest. Acoustic arrangements are peppered with subtle and fragmented electronic elements. Rhythms are physically composed on the centre loops of vinyl records. These elements weave songs that sound at once organic and highly conceptual.
- The Low Anthem The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depths Of The Sea CD £13.99 / LP £22.99
Whistle Down The Wind is the brand new album from legendary singer, songwriter, activist and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joan Baez, and has been produced by three-time Grammy Award-winner Joe Henry.
Joan Baez remains a musical force of nature of incalculable influence. Her earliest recordings fed a host of traditional ballads into the rock vernacular, before she unselfconsciously introduced Bob Dylan to the world in 1963. Thus began a tradition of mutual mentoring that continues on Whistle Down The Wind and which will reverberate long into the future across Joan’s lifetime of recordings.
- Joan Baez Whistle Down The Wind CD £11.99 / LP £18.99
Moby brings us his new album, Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt. It is a glowing tapestry exploring spirituality, individuality and the brokenness of humanity that finds him returning to his orchestral, soul, trip-hop and gospel roots.
- Moby Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt CD £13.99 / LP £19.99
20 years into their recording career, Embrace make an epic and emphatic return to the fray with their seventh studio album, Love Is A Basic Need. Already being hailed as a return to ‘classic’ Embrace, the album was recorded in the first half of 2017 at the band’s own Magnetic North Studios with Richard McNamara on production duties.
Talking about the album, singer Danny McNamara said: “We set out to make an album where every song on it would stand up against the best songs we’ve ever written, and I’m pretty confident we’ve done just that.” On the genesis of the album’s title, he said: “Most people remember to eat, breathe and drink, but too many of us forget about love until it’s too late. Until your whole world implodes or you turn into a monster. The album is about the realisation that without food or water or shelter you die yeah, but the same is also true of love.”
- Embrace Love Is A Basic Need CD £12.99 / LP £22.99
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Other releases for 2018
Find releases from 2017.