Brittany Howard – Jaime
Fresh, direct, wonderful singer-songwriting from the frontwoman of Alabama Shakes mixing gospel, blues, rock’n’roll, soul as well as lo-fi, tastefully rough-edged, acoustic work in this solo album. Full of gems in variety of style and emotional range, from Goat Head, which addresses racism connected to her parents mixed-race relationship, to Georgia, a wonderfully raw soulful number, to the more manic, electronic, declamatory 13th Century Metal or the complex History Repeats. A great talent and personality, especially in her singing, which at times illuminates her as something of a female Al Green. Out on Columbia Records.
Brittany Howard – Stay High
Liam Gallagher – Why Me? Why Not?
Don't Look Back in … Nostalgia. Well that's the theory, but the younger Gallagher's second solo album has a lot of sneery defiance, unsubtly referencing his senior Oasis sibling Noel in three prominent songs here, Shockwave, One of Us and Once. It's a better effort than the first solo work and his other post-Oasis output, and The River shows he is finding some songwriting talent, but while this classic, swaggering, sneery Liam, banging out some old style worthy of some Oasis of the past, it's a bit like everything we've heard before. All your darkness has come back to you in time ... Out on Warner.
Liam Gallagher – Shockwave
Hiss Golden Messenger – Terms of Surrender
MC Taylor, the North Carolina musician releases this 11th album, an intriguing mixture of soul, country rock and folk-infused socio-political material, a dash of early 70s Dylan, roots and electric piano. Subjects include touring musicians, Down at the Uptown, education (I Need A Teacher). Produced by The National's Aaron Dessner, a notable extra is Jenny Lewis on backing vocals, who adds much more than that. Out on Merge.
His Golden Messenger – I Need A Teacher
Thurston Moore – Spirit Counsel
A wonderful collection by the Sonic Youth founder and guitarist of Sonic Youth of three extended compositions recorded between 2018-19. Alice Moki Jayne is a new composition from noise guitar explorations honouring Alice Coltrane, Moki Cherry, and Jayne Cortez. 8 Spring Street is a personal hommage to Glenn Branca, the title an address is in New York City, the apartment where Thurston first visited his mentor to rehearse. And thirdly, Galaxies is an orchestral piece composed and conducted by Moore with twelve guitarists are arranged as if one instrument, exploring the twelve-strings instrument and taking inspiration from a poem by Sun Ra ‘Galaxies’. As ever, pushing the envelope of experimental invention and inspiration. Out Daydream Library.
Thurston Moore – 8 Spring Street (excerpt)
Roxy Girls – A Poverty of Attention
Fabulous new mini-album of short, sharp, two-minute numbers (the ironic album title is self-referential to the attention span of the online generation) from the trio of lads from the Sunderland, produced here by fellow north-easterner David Brewis from Field Music. The vocals have a regional echo with The Futureheads, and includes fast, witty songs like Spanners For Hands but it's the guitar work that particular shines on this very tight band, reminiscent of XTC, Television and Gang of Four, and a little bit of Manchester contemporaries DUDS. Out on Rough Trade.
Roxy Girls – Trials and Tribulations
LIFE – A Picture of Good Health
Not to be confused with the American band, this Life is a fast and furious postpunk indie outfit from Hull, and they certainly are in good health, this released packed with a baker's dozen of fizzling, sharp cracking tunes from Moral Fibre to Half Pint Fatherhood to Don't Give Up Now. Out on Afghan Moon.
LIFE – Good Health
Andrew Combs – Ideal Man
The singer-songwriter from Dallas, Texas returns with his trademark Laurel Canyon style and echoey production, but with added distorted guitar sounds for an extra edge. Classy work with a feeling of plenty of time and space. Out on New West Records.
Andrew Combs – Stars of Longing
Chastity Belt – Chastity Belt
The four-piece alt-rock-indie-pop band of Julia Shapiro, Lydia Lund, Annie Truscott and Gretchen Grimm from Washington return with their fourth album full of vim and vigour after more than a year off doing their own projects, and with a mixture of lo-fi and upbeat songs of wry humour, sensitivity, and above all, what shines through, is their love of working together. Out on Hardly Art.
Chastity Belt – Ann's Jam
One True Pairing – One True Pairing
The Wild Beasts songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Tom Fleming releases his debut solo album. Single I'm Not Afraid sounds a little like Kendal's answer to Bruce Springsteen crossed with Richard Thompson, and another solo artist from the 80s, but this isn't a criticism. There's more to him than this, with electronica, and an emotional edge, with Dawn At The Factory among the standout tracks. Out on Domino.
One True Pairing – I'm Not Afraid
Joe Armon-Jones – Turn To Clear View
Avant-garde jazz funk and bass-heavy dub and contemporary club culture are the fuel for this second album by the talented keyboard player and a host of collaborators take us on a floaty journey of trad to rap to Afrobeat-influenced jams. Out on Brownswood Recordings.
Joe Armon-Jones – Turn To Clear View
Ebony Steel Band – Pan Machine
A wonderfully novel and charming cover album of Kraftwerk songs by the steel band formed in west London 50 years ago in 1969, including The Model, Spacelab, Neon Lights, Tour De France, The Robots, Computer Love and Computer World, arranged for Ebony’s 11-piece line-up by Ian Shirley. Joyous and gorgeous. Out on OM Swagger Music.
Ebony Street Band – The Model
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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