Cat Power – Wanderer
Chan Marshall is never one to be pushed in any direction other than her own, and since the commercial success of 2012's Sun, this is a change of label from Matador to Domino, following a career interrupted by all sorts of personal problems and cancelled tours, this is very much an album that states: "This is who I am. Deal with it." She certainly does so on Woman, with Lana Del Rey as guest, and a beautiful piano solo version of Rihanna's Stay. Fragile, bluesy, folky, this is the 46-year-old reaching new territory, but still being herself. Out on Domino.
Cat Power – Woman (feat. Lana Del Rey)
The Nightingales – Perish The Thought
Fabulous new album of thumping, pace-changing belters by one of the great postpunk bands, fronted by the deep voice and witty lyric writing of Robert Lloyd formerly of The Prefects, with a superb latest lineup of Andreas Schmid from Faust on bass, ex-Violet Violet's Fliss Kitson drumming and doing backing vocals, and James Smith on guitar, who has also played with Damo Suzuki. Imagine a hyperactive and droll Birmingham version of Captain Beefheart crossed with the B52s and The Fall, and you'll be halfway there to guessing how good this is. Out on Tiny Global Productions.
The Nightingales – Chaff
Molly Burch - First Flower
Beautiful folk-country pop by the singer-songwriter from Texas with a distinctively languid, smoky and smooth delivery. After 2017's debut Please Be Mine - a 10-track ode to unrequited romance written after studying Jazz Vocal Performance in Asheville, NC - and year of touring alongside Ought, Alex Cameron, Grizzly Bear and Courtney Barnett, this is a lovely return with lightly humorous songs about heartbreak and friendships. Out on Captured Tracks.
Molly Burch - To The Boys
Phosphorescent - C'est La Vie
Matthew Houck returns five years on from 2013's breakthrough Muchacho with an album of bittersweet hope and despair described as being like hitchhiker on a wet and windy night. But where does it go? His own happy move from Brooklyn to Nashville is reflected in a calm, reflective contentedness in this alt-rock work, settling into fatherhood and finding himself in a melancholy serenity. Out on Dead Oceans.
Phosphorescent – C'est La Vie 2
Marie Davidson - Working Class Woman
This album was originally titled Bullshit Threshold, which reveals much of what goes on it the mind and mood of the French-Canadian, unleashing her own brand of techno with a fierce humour, and lines such as "Is sweat dripping down your balls?”. Angry, loud, funny, energetic and entertaining, infused with acidic, adrenaline-filled irony from the first track, Your Biggest Fan, like lines through a stick of rock. This the ultimate dance music 'don't fuck with me' album to energise you through a difficult day. Out on Ninja Tune.
Marie Davidson - Work It
Fucked Up – Dose Your Dreams
What is going on with these American hardcore punk specialists? The screaming vocal delivery of Damian Abraham is still full on and mostly present, but underneath here as an extraordinary mixture of styles - psychedelia, krautrock, ambient, Owen Pallett’s string arrangements, power pop, electronica, disco, jazz saxophone and techno-dub, all coming from new ideas and personnel brought in by songwriter/guitarist Mike Haliechuk. Reinvention without losing your identity? No, this isn't a dream. Just listen to one track to witness the sheer, odd variety of it all. Out on Merge Records.
Fucked Up - Raise Your Voice, Joyce
Cypress Hill - Elephants On Acid
It's 14 years since one of the 90s one important hip hope bands released a record, but are these elephants now dinosaurs? No. While it is a mixed bag of tracks and interludes, still contains the potency of those heady days - of stoner, membrane work by DJ Muggs and co., with an ability to surprise and innovate. Outstanding track for style and cultural diversity is Band of Gypsies, which features Egyptian underground stars Sadat and Alaa Fifty. Out on BMG.
Cypress Hill - Band of Gypsies
The Blinders - Columbia
Named after the utopia Charles Manson promised his family, this album is seering, dark Trump and Kardashians-era dystopian vision wrapped into sneering, loud indie. And yet this isn't jaded, because The Blinders are a young band with their debut album who do blistering live shows, and this album captures the raw excitement they bring. It's easy to make Kasabian comparisons, but this trio from Doncaster, now based in Manchester, they could yet become massive. Out on WMG.
The Blinders – Brave New World
Kristin Hersh - Possible Dust Clouds
imagine Dinosaur Jr and My Bloody Valentine cranking up a Dylan couplet? A highly personalised sociopathic gem delivered as a futuristic rewriting of how music works, a melodious breeze with a tail wind of venomous din? Well, this is how Hersh's 10th studio album is described in a press release, and who can resist that? Or you could just call it pretty damn fine, dark, brooding, catchy, guitar-indie songwriting. Out on Fire Records.
Kristin Hersh - Lax
Echo & The Bunnymen - The Stars, The Ocean & The Moon
As the title suggests, remaining key members Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant's new release isn't so much new as an echo of, a reworking, or really a re-recording of some of their most important tracks or greatest hits such as The Killing Moon, and Bring on the Dancing Horses "with strings and things". Whether this is really necessary or any kind of improvement is open to debate, though a slow acoustic version of Seven Seas is a mellow gem. Really this more of a vehicle to accompany a big tour. However, it does also herald two very fine new tracks on the album, that have the same vim and vigour of yore. The album is really for connoisseurs, but they remain one of the finest bands of the last 30 years. Out on BMG.
Echo & The Bunnymen – The Somnambulist
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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