EELS – The Deconstruction
The 12th studio album, and the first for four years from Mark Oliver Everett and friends, brings everything a fan would hope for, from wistful, melancholy beauty (The Premonition) to the poppy and upbeat (Today Is the Day) to the dark and mysterious, almost Bond-like quality of Bone Dry. One of their best. Out on E Works Records.
EELS – Bone Dry
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Sex & Food
After the huge critical success of 2015’s Multi-Love, New Zealand’s Ruban Nielson and co return with their fourth album, continuing to innovate and evolve with intelligence and a variety of styles, from the heavy rock sound of American guilt, and the more tempered lounge-y Not In Love We’re Just High, to the pop-jazz Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays. One of the most interesting and hard-to-categorise releases of the year. Out on Jagjaguwar/4AD.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – American Guilt
Goat Girl – Goat Girl
The young all-women band keep up the momentum of a lively south London scene, particularly centred around Brixton’s The Windmill, of vibrant new sounds (see also Shame), with a debut of 19 short songs that paint a clever and often amusing picture of life growing up the capital. Produced by Dan Carey (The Kills, Bat For Lashes, Franz Ferdinand), it has echoes of The Slits and The Kinks, with a mixture of krautrock, bossa nova and jazz thrown in. Out on Rough Trade
Goat Girl – Cracker Drool
Manic Street Preachers – Resistance Is Futile
It could be a big year for the Manics, returning after a four-year gap with their 13th studio album and a host of big festival appearances. They have generally divided critics, but this one seems a return to some of their best times, of the big, orchestral melodies of Everything Must Go. The first single, International Blue, was very much in that hue, while the softer, gentler Distant Colours has been well received. Out on Sony.
Manic Street Preachers – Distant Colours
Hop Along - Bark Your Head Off, Dog
A wonderfully titled album, and music to match – with folk pop (Not Abel), some song nicely string-enriched (Prior Things), others more of an indie ilk (How Simple). Fronted by singer-songwriter Frances Quinlan and including her brother Mark on drums, this is the Philadelphia indie-folk band’s fourth album since 2005’s solo effort, Freshman Year. Out on Saddle Creek Records.
Hop Along – Not Abel
Ultimate Painting – Up!
Fourth album of delightfully gentle guitar and vocal harmonies from the London-based alt-rockers fronted by Blackpool-born Jack Cooper. Their work sits somewhere between a wistful Belle and Sebastian and the softer side of The Velvet Underground. Out on Bella Union
Ultimate Painting – Not Gonna Burn Myself Anymore
Kylie Minogue – Golden
Judging by the new single, Dancing, the pop princess has gone all country as a commercial target - with a vocal style pitched somewhere between Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift, and this works rather well, but other songs such as, Crystallize, or The One, both stick to Nimble-thin synth-pop. It’s hard not to like Kylie the person, or indeed many of single releases, but whether she has ever brought out a strong album is another story. One for fans. Out on BMG.
Kylie Minogue – Dancing
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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This is only a selection, not a catalogue of releases. Feel free to recommend more and comment below.