Edwyn Collins – Badbea
This ninth solo album from the former Orange Juice frontman, and his first for six years, sounds like he never even had that stroke in 2005 which left him with many problems, including speech. Here he seems to sing as much gusto and freedom as ever, recalling a previous high point in the 1990s with A Girl Like You. There's a swagger and strut to his work, full of vigour, cheeky, catchy melodies and riffs, and his relocation to his grandfather’s old house in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands seems to helped. He's also revisited lyrics written before his stroke. It feels like a full-circle triumphant album from the title track, to Outside, to It's All About You, and Glasgow to London, a funky, funny number about his heady days of ambition during Orange Juice. How great it is that he is still with us, and still being so productive. Out on AED.
Edwyn Collins – It's All About You
Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Since her debut single in 2016, Ocean Eyes, the now only 17-year-old Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O'Connell from Los Angeles (of Scottish/irish descent) is more quite something – she's already bucketloads of records of her first EP, and this is her full LP debut of clever, offbeat electropop, mainly on the unavoidable subject of adolescent love, yet delivered in a highly original dark-humoured fashion. What marks her out is a great maturity in her quirky, breathy delivery, the twisted takes on love, and those wobbly effects and production from her brother and co-writer Finneas. Next big thing? Duh. She already is. Out on Darkroom/Interscope.
Billie Eilish - Bad Guy
White Denim – Side Effects
Less than year since 2018's Performance album, and James Petralli, Steve Terebecki return with another fast and furious album of prog psych that has accompanied a breathtaking tour of astonishingly accomplished musicianship. Check out the garage rock of Small Talk, the groovy Shanalala, the super-fast Out of Doors, and Reversed Mirror, a play on words from previous tracks on their 2016 and 2018 albums. Crisp, fast, endlessly inventive and, like a modern Yes speeded up with added Texan cool, utterly breathless. Out on City Slang.
White Denim - NY Money
Beth Gibbons and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra – Henryk Górecki: Symphony No. 3 (Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs)
A rare classical appearance in this section sees a fascinating collaboration between the distinctive, elusively shy singer best known for Portishead and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, who learned the original text for this special performance in 2014 at The National Opera Grand Theatre in Warsaw, part of an evening of programming that also featured Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood's 48 Responses To Polymorphia. This popular (for contemporary classical music) work written in 1976 is holy minimalistic masterpiece, given an edgy alternative by Gibbons, who hasn't the classical voice, but her own ghostly quality that complements the work in a tight-wrought, whispering way, better when she doesn't try to be full-on powerful soprano. Out on Domino.
Beth Gibbons and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra – I. Lento—Sostenuto tranquillo ma cantabile (form Henryk Górecki: Symphony No. 3)
Unkle – The Road Part II
James Lavelle returns with a variety of collaborates as a follow-up to Part I, here with 22 tracks across a double album of spatial, ethereal electronica, trip-hop and orchestral arrangements that feel like a mixture of complete songs and ideas put into one long playlist. Guests include Elliot Power, Miink, Liela Moss, Mark Lanegan, Dhani Harrison, Editors’ Tom Smith and spoken vocals by the actor Brian Cox. It contains originals sand covers, echoing the work of Massive Attack and Tricky (such as Ar.Mour with Elliott Power and Miink) and some outstandingly beautiful contributions in particular from The Duke Spirit's Leila Moss, capturing the spirit of minimalism with Feel More / With Less. Out on Songs for the Def.
Unkle (ft Leila Moss, Miink, Philip Sheppard – Feel More / With Less
Ohtis – Curve of Earth
Beautiful, gentle, folksy blues and country songwriting by the trio of songwriter Sam Swinson, Adam Pressleyand, Nate Hahn who are based in Detroit and LA in their first full official LP release, glittering with laptop steel guitar and Swinson's easygoing voice, this has echoes of Villagers, and pours like a lovely cup of musical coffee. Out on Full Time Hobby.
Ohtis - Runnin'
Gerry Cinnamon – Erratic Cinematic
Current times always need a 'warrior-poet' like Gerry Cinnamon (aka Gerry Crosbie) and this debut album from the independent the 33-year-old Glaswegian singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist offers plenty of fuck-you-folk social commentary and storytelling, as well as giving his accent a full airing. Clever, direct, and as he says: "It's all bullshit but still we pretend." Aside from the title track, also check out Belter, Sometimes, and What Have You Done. War TV and more. Aye. Pure dead brilliant.
Gerry Cinnamon – Diamonds In The Mud
Show Me The Body – Dog Whistle
Sharp, witty, and sometimes beautifully lyrical work lives in this New York punk band from new York fronted by Julian Cashwan Pratt. But there is also plenty of shouty noise here in their second album that at times seems to be spot on about the state of the United Kingdom. Check out Drought, Camp Orchestra, and variously scratchy, out-of-body philosophical skits such as Animal In A Dream. Edgy and energised. Out on Loma Vista Recordings/Caroline.
Show Me The Body - Camp Orchestra
The Matthew Herbert Big Band – The State Between Us
Timed to release on the original date of Brexit - 29 March 2019, this is a fascinating project in collaboration with over a thousand musicians and singers from across the EU. It began as a project responding to the triggering of Article 50 and the dramatic shift in the national story that began in June 2016 with the EU referendum. It includes 16 tracks intriguing noises, evocations of World War II planes, Ford Fiestas being made, the seaside, lyrics by Lyrics include words by Britain’s greatest living playwright Caryl Churchill, Percy Shelley, John Donne, and of course brass and big band music, all of which explores the question: what does it mean to be British? Fascinating, lively and profound. Out on Accidental.
The Matthew Herbert Big Band – Fish And Chips
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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