Bat For Lashes – Lost Girls
Natasha Kahn returns with arguably a throwback indulgence – goth-style romp of synth-powered pop that centres around the scenario of desert-dwelling blood-sucking girl gang of vamps. As you do. Different in theme of course, but like 2017's concept album, The Bride, it is as if she is trying to turn film ideas into albums, while she waits for her movie career to happen. These 10 songs, written (currently) away from the shadow and interference of a major label, come with an independence of spirit seems to have given Kahn some freedom to delve into the guts of TV, film and music references from schlock 80s, echoing guitar sounds from the Cure and more, from (hurts) So Good, to Feel For You, which, yes literally, has more cowbell. Bloodthirsty, retro fun. Out on AWAL.
Bat For Lashes – The Hunger
Chrissie Hynde – Valve Bone Woe
The American Songbook/? Yes, and in a jazz style, but not exactly standard from the Pretenders singer who is never afraid to speak her mind admit her shortcomings, or be eccentric, adding in a mixture of dub, psychedelia and electronica into the mix along with the The Valve Bone Woe Ensemble. Here the ever vigorous rock'n'roll veteran, now 68, covers everyone from Nick Drake (River Man), to the Kinks, and the Beach Boys, as well as those standards by Rodger and Hammerstein, and other numbers previously covered by Barbra Streisand, Nina Simone and Frank Sinatra. I Get Along Without You Very Well to Wild Is The Wind. Comparatively, in terms of actual singing charisma comes out here, if not quality, but this still a ballsy, strangely nonchalant, very enjoyable collection. Out on BMG.
Chrissie Hynde – How Glad I Am
Iggy Pop – Free
As well as a rock legend, and punk pioneer, he's a national treasure for 6Music listeners. Now 70, in in parallel to Chrissie Hynde's release, this is the equivalent to Johnny Cash's American Recordings, with the shirtless wonder employing as much deep-toned spoken word, including Dylan Thomas’s Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, as singing. This time, after 2016's excellent Post Pop Depression alongside Josh Homme, his latest collaboration is with avant garde guitarist Noveller, aka Sarah Lipstate, and jazz trumpeter Leron Thomas. From the more Mexican big-beat number Dirty Sanchez to Glow In The Dark, this is offbeat, eccentric but undeniably alluring. Out on Loma Vista/Caroline.
Iggy Pop – Sonali
Tinariwen – Amadjar
Entrancingly beautiful work as ever by the Tuareg musicians from Mali's northern Sahara, this time capturing them, more than ever, and of course appropriately, in nomadic mode. The album is recorded with a campervan load of French production staff, travelling with them on the way to Mauritania, via southern Morocco, Western Sahara and the Atlantic coast. Each night they camp and play by the fireside. The sparks fly up into the night sky, the dust settles, and magic happens. Just as it should be. Guests include Cass McCombs, Warren Ellis and Micah Nelson. Gorgeousm, mesmeric work from start to finish. Out on Wedge / ANTI.
Tinariwen – Kel Tinawen (Feat. Cass McCombs)
The Highwomen – The Highwomen
Singing country supergroup Amanda Shires, Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile, and Natalie Hemby revive and revise Johnny Cash's 1960s Highwaymen equivalent and Jimmy Webb's song for new roles, changing highwayman, starship captain, sailor and dam-builder to a refugee, a doctor killed as a witch in Salem, a freedom rider and a preacher, in a set of gender-redefining songs, including Redesigning Women, My Name Can’t Be Mama, and best of all, a gay love song, If She Ever Leaves Me, written by Shires, her husband Jason Isbell with Chris Tompkins. As a country quartet the dynamic, humour and energy is strong, even if not all the songs are. Out on Low Country Sound/Elektra.
The Highwomen – Redesigning Women
Octa Octa – Resonant Body
The electronic music producer and DJ, aka Maya Bouldry-Morrison from Brooklyn and working from New Hampshire releases an album inspired by and in celebration of their trans experience after the previous album Between Two Selves. This is catchy retro rave that will take some listeners way back to the early 90s. Out on T4t Luv Nrg.
Octa Octa – Power To The People
Frankie Cosmos – Close It Quietly
Crisp, bright, lightly humorous, and beautifully wistful indie in this fourth album from the Brooklyn band of singer Greta Kline, Lauren Martin (synth), Luke Pyenson (drums), and Alex Bailey (bass). From opener Moonsea, Greta announces “The world is crumbling and I don’t have much to say," but there's lots of memorably profound fun here, from Wannago to Windows to Rings (On A Tree). Out on Sub Pop.
Frankie Cosmos – 41st
Various – Alefa Madagascar: Salegy, Soukous and Soul 1974-1984
A fabulous and first-ever compilation documenting the heyday of work from the Indian Ocean republic, during the 1970s and 1980s, with sleeve notes by legendary producer Charles Maurin Poty and writer Banning Eyre. Transports of delight arrive in a rich history, from tunes that originate from the 15th century through folkloric ceremonial music and an a cappella chanting style called antsa, to salegy emerging as a fast-tempo local dance style based on 6/8 and 12/8 rhythms, to 1960s radio transmitting work from ‘60s, radio was bringing in new sounds from the Congo, Mozambique, South Africa and Kenya from Jean Francois de Comarmond’s Discomad label. Here then are many gems, including Roger Georges’ Mama and Jean Kely et Basth’s Andosy Mora, channelling the raw energy of salegy, as well as Los Matadores mixing military drums and Hammond soul in the classic song Andeha Hanarato. Out on Strut.
Roger Georges – Mama
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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