Chance The Rapper – The Big Day
Chancelor Bennett, under this moniker seems to have been around for years, since 2012 with his first mixtape, so how can this only now be his debut album? One of the biggest names in US hip hop alongside Kanye, but without the Trump association, he's hosted Saturday Night Live, and released oodles of free material, the last being 2017’s Coloring Book, which won a Grammy. He's donated $1 million to impoverished school in his native, Chicago and bought a local newspaper, refused record deals but signed up with Apple and Doritos. Going his own way, this first buyable release is all about his rocky road on-off romance with Kirsten Corley but celebrating their wedding. Indulgent yes, but it’s a bold, inventive swirl of styles and creativity, maybe too long and rambling at 22 tracks, but includes many innovations, and unusual guests in the form of Randy Newman on the song 5 Year Plan, and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. Different, daring, independent, but in the spirit of things, perhaps check it out online before committing for life, or at least purchase. Self-released, of course.
Chance The Rapper – The Big Day
Lloyd Cole – Guesswork
The darling of the higher brow 80s pop scene, as frontman of the Commotions with the 1984 album Rattlesnakes, but who split in 1989, Cole had a mixed career since, most recently after 1D in 2015, Standards in 2013, and a collaboration with krautrock veteran Hans-Joachim Roedelius, so this looks like a return to form, rekindling some form with electro pop, but it's a mixed bag, with all the best songs in the first half. Violins and Night Sweats are standout tracks with the B-side dwindling a little, aside from Moments. Guesswork then indeed it is. Out on Ear Music.
Lloyd Cole - Violins
Kaiser Chiefs – Duck
What bird is the word on this? After Ricky Wilson's various dalliances on The Voice, the Leeds band return with their seventh album, following 2016's Stay Together with one that might indeed send some stooping low to avoid before it shits on your head. It's a mixed bag. Target Market is perhaps the best of the bunch, a pun-laden parody of the industry, or the indie solid forms of Don’t Just Stand There, or Work, while there's singalong pop on Northern Holiday. More for longstanding fans, while mainstream, it's hardly daring, nor really one that will feather their nests. Out on Polydor.
Kaiser Chiefs - People Know How To Love One Another
Burna Boy – African Giant
The Afro-fusion singer from Nigeria, aka Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, singing in his native language as well as English, has gradually become a huge name, guesting on UK grime recordings and now even making an appearance on Beyoncé's Lion King. One of 20 tracks on this, his fourth album, is his latest single, Dangote, related to Africa's richest man, has a variety of influences from Fela Kuti-jazz horns and dancehall, with brass enriching the track on which Jorja Smith appears, Gum Body. Africa, corruption, politics riches and western influences seem to be a theme in what is a crossover cauldron of hip-hop, grime and strong flavours. Out on Atlantic.
Burna Boy – Pull Up
School of Language – 45
An unashamed salvo of satirical caustic songs aimed directly at Donald Trump, and all that he stands for, is the very focus of side-project by Field Music’s David Brewis. It's characteristically clever and complex in rhythm, but clear and clean in delivery. It's a concise indie album that runs to only 30 minutes but has no padding. Lock Her Up, for example, turns the anti-Hillary chant into a harmonious, elegiac chorus. And Even If I Did unlocks the presidents pussy-grabbing locker-room talk. Overall, t here's state of distanced disbelief about DJT, that still feels unreal, but if only it was. A worthwhile, refreshing project. Out on Memphis Industries.
School of Language – Nobody Knows
Violent Femmes - Hotel Last Resort
More 80s bright sparks attempt to rekindle old form, but can the Americana indie band manage it? Gordon Gano gathered criticism from within the band to allow their signature song, Blister In The Sun, to appear on Wendy's commercials, and now their have a deal with Nike trainers. So is it a last resort? So it seems. There's one great track, Paris to Sleep, and Not OK, Everlasting You is a little bit Lou Reed, but aside from that, this, especially the title track, is a downbeat motel with nylon curtains and a bit of old mould in the shower, to the truly awful Another Chorus, which sounds like Barenaked Ladies having had too much sugar. Check in for slight disappointment. Out on PIAS.
Violent Femmes – Hotel Last Resort
Karine Polwart – Scottish Songbook
With its C90 cassette and old tape recorder design, this is a wonderfully charming, uplifting interpretation of pop hits that come from north of the border by the Scottish folk and roots singer, bringing an acoustic, analogue down-to-earth edge (guitar, piano, vibes and more) variously reinterpreting, among others, Big Country's Chance to John Martyn, The Blue Nile, a minimalist version of the The Waterboys Whole of the Moon, and most interestingly, Strawberry Switchblade’s Since Yesterday, which moulds the bubblegum pop into a serious song reference to the effects of Alzheimer’s. That's what a good cover version should do – bring something new to an old song, and this album does it in spades. Out on Hegri.
Karine Polwart – Since Yesterday
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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