Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel
Fabulously fresh, familiar vibrant debut from the Dublin punk band, coming from a thriving scene in their city and with frontman Grian Chatten's accent sneeringly, but gently clear through all their songs, there's also something, perhaps not by accident, of the Ian Curtis about him in his attire and unusual gait. From opener Big to the ranting preacher on Chequeless Reckless, to narrative-rich Liberty Belle, from the Mark E Smith-inspired Hurricane Laughter to shades of The Modern Lovers on Boys in the Better Land, sharp, wry lyrics and an angry energy abound. Out on Partisan Records.
Fontaines D.C. – Big
Anderson .Paak - Ventura
After the mixed reviews of his big-production previous album, Oxnard, the Californian's latest turns the dial more to a low-level mid-70s Philly soul sound a la Delphonics’ Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time). There's less sex-drive machismo to a gentler style. And even the guests are low key, from André 300 on the opening song to Smokey Robinson on backing vocals. There are also elements of Al Green and Curtis Mayfield. So it's a breath of fresh air, even if the air is familiar. Out on Aftermath Entertainment.
Anderson .Paak - Make It Better (ft. Smokey Robinson)
Chemical Brothers – No Geography
Ninth studio album by the hit-making DJ pair, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, this time featuring Norwegian singer/songwriter Aurora who collaborated extensively as well as performed, plus Japanese rapper Nene, who features on Eve of Destruction. This album might not great recapture the heady heights of their best work, but certainly goes back to a 90s sound, and Aurora’s voice contributes to something straight out of the Basement Jaxx box. MAH? Meh? Aciiid! Well, you've got to try, haven't you? Out on Virgin EMI.
Chemical Brothers - We've Got To Try
Pom Poko - Birthday
One that was released a month ago but now finally reviewed after catching them live, the Norwegian band's debut (they are named after a Studio Ghibli film) is a thrilling post-punk tour de force of brilliance. From the shrieky, bouncing energy of high-voiced singer to Ragnhild Fangel to the shimmering glacial shards of Martin Miguel Tonne’s extraordinary guitar technique (backed superbly by drum and bass playing) this is one of the finest punk-pop debuts for some time. Singles My Blood and Follow The Lights are are shot of adrenaline from this record that thrills throughout. Out on Bella Union.
Pom Poko – Crazy Energy Night
Labrinth, Sia and Diplo – LSD
It's a marketing person's dream – three huge-selling, talented artists combining to make an edgy acronym (though not half as good as FFS by Franz Ferdinand and Sparks) but is it like one of those expensively assembled football teams with big players who don't quite click? The results are mixed. The singles Thunderclouds and Genius certainly hit the post at least with some sophisticated pop/ hip hop, but the rest of the album dribbles a bit round the corner flag, causing the listener to shuffle impatiently and then go for a pie. Out on Syco.
LSD - Thunderclouds ft. Labrinth, Sia, Diplo
The Leisure Society – Arrivals and Departures
Fifth album from the British low-fi indie rock band, the title of which may well refer to Nick Hemming and their flautist Helen Whitaker went through a long process of separation. Still, the result, with songs such as Overheard, is gentle, wistful, emotional and beautifully powerful, reflecting troubled times of change and adjustment. Out on Ego Drain Records.
The Leisure Society – God Has Taken A Vacation
Sun Kil Moon – I Also Want to Die In New Orleans
A wonderfully absorbing 90-minute double-album by croaky, talky lyricist and singer Mark Kozelek, here with Dirty Three drummer Jim White and Donny McCaslin, the saxophonist who appeared on David Bowie’s Blackstar. Like a book that grows on you, it’s slow-burn, reflective, late-night vivid work of folk-rock and jazz, full of stories and political insight, a musical travelogue of emotion and commentary. Out on Calvo Verde.
Sun Kil Moon – Day In America
Stubbleman – Mountains and Plains
This solo electronica project of the producer 80s, 90s and 00s Belgian pop producer and former Razors punk Pascal Gabriel is a fascinatingly odd item from a man who has worked right across the musical spectrum. Gently, ghostly piano, atmospheric, this is has shades of Eno with acoustic instruments, including piano and glockenspiel, and it could be music for a Jim Jarmusch film, which would fit as the whole album was inspired by a road trip across the US. Out on Crammed Discs.
Stubbleman – Badlands Train
Band of Skulls – Love Is All You Love
Follow-up to their 2016 album By Default, Southampton founding band members Russell Marsden (guitar, vocals) and Emma Richardson (bass, vocals) move on without their former drummer Matt Hayward with a refreshingly titled album. Working with producer/songwriter Richard X on this project has also encouraged more experimentation within their rock-pop territory, mixing electronica live instruments, from the longer Carnivorous and shorter That’s My Trouble, and pulsating dance of We’re Alive. Out on So Recordings.
Band of Skulls - Love Is All You Love
Eli 'Paperboy' Reed – 99 Cent Dreams
Southern soul in the best traditions from the white singer with a sweet, high voice, his latest album cut in Memphis. This work less energised than his some previous songs like Shock To the System or the screaming The Satisfier, but perhaps fatherhood has tempered Reed into a slower, more measured style. The title track includes an unusual cross-genre mix with rapper Big Daddy Kane. Out on Yep Roc.
Eli 'Paperboy' Reed (ft Big Daddy Kane) – 99 Cent Dreams
Bibio – Ribbons
Bibio, aka Stephen Wilkinson, returns to more conventional songwriting forms like 2016's A Mineral Love, after ambling in his last ambient atmospheric project, Phantom Brickworks. This is sweet, sunny, melancholy and beautiful work, acoustic-led, exploring ‘60s and ‘70s psychedelia, soul, ambient, electronic and field recordings with a gentle voice that floats like sunbeams in spring. Out on Warp.
Bibio - Beret Girl
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
New to comment? It is quick and easy. You just need to login to Disqus once. All is explained in About/FAQs ...
This is only a selection of recommended listens not a catalogue of releases nor full reviews. Feel free to recommend more and comment below. You can also use the contact page, or on social media: Song Bar Twitter, Song Bar Facebook. Song Bar YouTube. Please subscribe, follow and share.