Sleaford Mods – Eton Alive
Return of the Notts duo brings more menacing, darkly clever lyrics and beats, including a greater diversity of sounds from stagemate Andrew Fearn, and even some melancholy singing from spitting rapper Jason Williamson on the songs Firewall and When You Come Up To Me. The album's title refers of course to the consequences of nine years of the privately schooled and privileged Tory government, and the Eton mess left (not, unfortunately, the creamy pudding). The lyrics, spat out as ever with perfect humour, bit and timing, are not specifically political, but detail, with their usual cutting edge, all that the Eton lot have done to society. This is especially pertinent on the numbers Policy Cream and Into the Payzone. Out on Extreme Eating Records.
Sleaford Mods – Kebab Spider
Julia Jacklin – Crushing
Exquisitely beautiful, but also powerfully devastating work from the Sydney singer-songwriter who has a style that roughly falls into the Americana category, yet with much more. She has a voice that expresses vulnerability, a quality of purity coloured by experience, alongside a cutting lyricism that matches her fellow Australian Courtney Barnett, with whom she shares producer Burke Reid. We've previously highlighted two of her songs, Body, and Head Alone on Song of the Day, which in different ways expose the consequences of poor or abusive relationships with a clinical and strong understatement, and the rest of the album continues this level power – ghostly and resilient. Crushing indeed. Out on Transgressive.
Julia Jacklin – Body
Yola – Walk Through Fire
Southern soul and country singing, retro-style and reminiscent of The Staple Singers from the powerfully wonderfully pure voice of Yola Carter from Bristol. She has many a story to tell, including homelessness in London, relationship strife, but with that in mind, the album title is not some passionate metaphor, but experiencing an actual house fire. Still, it's not all about suffering and there is lots of warmth, joy and sunshine in this record, with its soft-focused, slightly glossy, over-the-top 70s feel (like Duffy did with the 60s) helped by Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, in his Nashville studio to give it that authentic sound. Out on Nonsuch.
Yola - Faraway Look
LIttle Simz – Grey Area
Could this third album by the rapper, aka Simbi Ajikawo be her breakthrough into the big time, after commendations from Kendrick Lamar, Lauren Hill and working with the likes of Gorillaz? Cute grooves, swinging rhythms and slick rapping seem to hit a funky sound that pulls away from the grime bracket previously attached to her, and indeed this grey area might be just the right shade, helped by longtime friend and producer Inflo. Out on AGE 101.
Little Simz feat. Cleo Sol - Selfish
Teeth of the Sea – Wraith
The London-based trio release their fifth album, a mostly instrumental mix-mash of dance electronica that this time is heavy on the trumpets - no bad thing at all. Loud and soft city soundscapes unfold in an energetic work filled with fascinating and swirling combinations that evoke an amphetamine-fuelled plethora of pictures and moods in the mind and body. Out on Rocket Recordings.
Teeth of the Sea - I'd Rather, Jack
The Unthanks – Lines
Coming out from last week's releases, but remaining timeless beyond the contemporary anyway, this latest wonderful project by the Tyneside singers follows previous covers of Robert Wyatt and Molly Drake with a triple album of the works of Hull fishworker and campaigner Lillian Bilocca, including words spoken by Maxine Peake, stories from the First World War, and the third part in which Emily Brontë's poems are set music. Magical work, unlocking stories forgotten and works that coming gleaming out of the darkness with the talents Rachel and Becky Unthanks and Adrian McNally. Out on Rabble Rouser.
The Unthanks - Emily Brontë poem cycle
Du Blonde – Lung Bread For Daddy
Third solo album by the Newcastle artist formerly known as Beth Jeans Houghton (and The Hooves of Destiny), this is strong, slower, reflective indie work, with the singer-songwriter's voice exploring further her deep and husky vocal territory alongside fuzzy guitar lines that reflect that confidence. Dark humour and melodies that really grow on you, such as previous single, Buddy. A talented songwriter who is also a Geordie joker, her video to Angel also parodies a certain Madonna Ciccione. Out on Moshi Moshi Records.
Du Blonde - Angel
James Yorkston – The Route To The Harmonium
The sounds of dulcitones, harmoniums, autoharps, and the Swedish nyckelharpa alongside layered guitars feature on this intriguing, intimate storytelling, talky-singing album recorded by key Fence Collective member Yorkston at his home in Scottish fishing village of Cellardyke, made in a a ramshackle studio in an old loft space once used to repair fisherman’s nets, and now filled with antique instruments. Picture that, as well as tales of family, love, ghosts and departed friends, and the album evokes strong images and emotions, sensitively and beautifully rendered. Out on Domino.
James Yorkston - My Mouth Ain't No Bible
Desperate Journalist – In Search Of The Miraculous
Third album by the London indie band fronted by singer Jo Bevan is undoubtedly their best, and as the title suggests, perhaps they’ve found it, with an album filled with majestic, soaring choruses, passionate Britpop sounds, shoegaze depth and bravado. This totally ticks all the boxes for all these subgenres, aswirl with classic sounds and melodies. Out on Fierce Panda
Desperate Journalist – Satellite
Tullycraft – The Railway Prince Hotel
The Seattle indie outfit's seventh album, and their first since 2013’s Lost in Light Rotation, has a slightly different sound without their usual drummer, but retains the catchy pop riffs and memorable lyrics (such as the previous "Fuck me, I'm twee") sung by Sean Tollefson and Jenny Mears, that have given them affectionate cult status. Out on Happy Happy Birthday To Me.
Tullycraft – Passing Observations
Spellling – Mazy Fly
The delberately mispelt moniker of Bay Area’s Chrystia Cabral returns with a second self-produced album of breathy, soft voiced electronica – intriguing, dark, eerie, writhing – and that's just the videos. Out on Sacred Bones Records.
Spellling – Hard To Please
Drenge – Strange Creatures
The Loveless brothers release their third album (plus an EP) and describe it as "a nocturnal record. A psychological horror movie on wax. with warped hallucinations." Lyrical this is spot on, filled with strange, mesmerically disturbing hallucinatory images. Musically it is sharp, rhythmic indie pop that's great to witness live. Out on Infectious Records.
Drenge – Autonomy
Moto Vamp – Moto Vamp
Fancy some sexy, leather-clad, kickass, raw guitar-based CBGB’s New York, Stooges-style punk/garage/glam rock? Then you get it in spades from the this fabulous four-piece band fronted by LA and London's Lily Marlene. Feel the throbbing engine, turn the throttle and go! Out here.
Moto Vamp – Mechanical Love
Le Superhomard – Meadow Lane Park
Debut full-length LP from the French quintet is electronica pop a la Stereolab or Medhi Zannad, with a distinct 70s retro feel – loungey, psychedelic, summoning up images of fresh breeze on a tanned face and long hair, driving in the sunshine in a convertible through the countryside wearing long boots, with the occasional spacey sound. Très belle! Out on Elefant.
Le Superhomard – Meadow Lane Park
Various - Big Gold Dreams: A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989
A very fine compilation - the title, named after the Fire Engines' single, says it all, and it to goes alongside the recent documentary by Grant McPhee, this five-CD set includes many of the big names' landmark tracks (Simple Minds, Altered Images, Skids, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Primal Scream, Cocteau Twins) as well as lesser known obscurities and a lavish 70-page booklet. Out on Cherry Red.
Fire Engines - Big Gold Dream
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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