International Teachers of Pop – International Teachers of Pop
Sheffield veterans Adrian Flanagan and Dean Honer of The Moonlandingz and Eccentronic Research Council team up with singer Leonore Wheatley of The Soundcarriers to deliver beautifully clean, nostalgically old-school keyboard funk disco pop. Their ten consistently great tracks do what exactly it says on the tin, with After Dark, The Age of the Train and The Ballad of Remedy Nilsson among the standouts, and there's even a fun, bouncy, Kraftwerky German language version of Pink Floyd's Another Brick In The Wall. Joyous. Out on Desolate Spools.
International Teachers of Pop - After Dark
Yak – Pursuit of Momentary Happiness
A couple of years ago the British trio, fronted by Oli Burslem seemed to be set for the stratosphere of rock stardom, with rip-roaring, chaotic guitar-smashing performances. They're signed to Jack White's Third Man Records, and have several famous fans including Alex Turner and Pulp's Steve Mackey. But the creation of this album turned into a farce of drunken time-wasting, largely in Australia, ending up in Burslem living out of his car for months, struggling to get the work finished. The result is something between passionate splendour and self-indulgent, self-important tragedy. Raw, tender and energetic, it is an full of profundity and strong melodies that have Kasabian-stadium potential, but Burslem seems to be the new Johnny Borrell of Razorlight – a talent for sure, but with a wonky sense of self, heading for inevitable ups and downs. Out on Third Man Records
Yak - Bellyache
Elder Island - The Omnitone Collection
Elder Island are the Bristol-based trio of singer and cellist Katy Sargent, bassist Luke Thornton and guitarist and synth wizard David Havard. This is fun, fascinating, eclectic stuff, a mixture of soulful pop, dance and oddball electronica. They have a certain eccentric, humorous charm, Sargent's style reminiscent of Róisín Murphy, and delight in old equipment, as you might imagine. Standout tracks also include Don't Lose. Out on their own label, Elder Island.
Elder Island - You & I
Mercury Rev (& various) – Bobbie Gentry's The Delta Sweete Revisited
It's a wonderful concept of out-there eclecticism, one of the most interesting bands of the 90s taking on Gentry's 1968 masterpiece album, with a series of guest singers who are all variously original in their own right. But can Bobbie's work be really improved, or is this a form of Gentry-fication? The result is a mixed bag. There are decent performances from Margo Price (Sermon), Susanne Sundfør (Tobacco Road), Beth Orton (Courtyard) and Hope Sandoval (Big Boss Man). Parchman Farm with Carice Van Outen has some beautiful instrumentation, and there's an interesting appearance by Vashti Bunyan on Penduli Pendulum. The voices of Phoebe Bridgers (Jessye’ Lisabeth) and Marissa Nadler (Refractions) have a thin, ghostliness. And the jewel in the crown, Ode To Billie Joe falls to Lucinda Williams, but while she can sing, it somehow lacks the nuance and subtletly of the original, to which hopefully this release will encourage listeners to return. Out on Bella Union.
Mercury Rev feat. Margo Price – Sermon
LCD Soundsystem – Electric Lady Sessions
A niche release from the American band, this is a selection of lo-fi live recorded versions from the famous New York studio of several of their biggest sounds including American Dream, as well as covers of Chic’s I Want Your Love and the Heaven 17 song (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang. More of a fans' collector item, but quality stuff nevertheless. Out on Columbia.
LCD Soundsystem - Emotional Haircut (Electric Lady session).
Flat Worms – Into The Iris
The trio of Tim Hellman (Oh Sees), Justin Sullivan, and Will Ivy continue on from their previous Castle Face-released LP with six more songs in and EP of high-quality, skilful angry noise recorded in Ty Segall's home. See them live and feel your clothes vibrate (bring ear plugs) but they remain of a fabulous force of unstoppable indie. Out on God? Records.
Flat Worms – Shouting At The Wall
Jessica Pratt – Quiet Signs
Beautiful faraway simplicity by the Los Angeles singer-songwriter with an album that sounds like it was recorded in a sunny meadow in the 1960s. You can almost see the butterflies and taste the apples. Perhaps her voice is sometimes a little too childlike and over-echoey and reverby, but as a follow-up to her breakthrough, 2015’s On Your Own Love Again, this is another exquisite collection of sensitive, sensual music. Out on City Slang.
Jessica Pratt - This Time Around
Cosey Fanni Tutti - Tutti
Christine Carol Newby, the performance artist, musician, and writer, who of course worked with Throbbing Gristle releases her first solo album since 1982's Time To Tell, with eight soundscape recordings that reflect her art and life. It's pretty niche stuff, mixing jazz and electronica, but oddly absorbing. Out on CTI.
Cosey Fanni Tutti - Tutti
Panda Bear - Bouys
Noah Lennox, who divides his time as solo artist under this name, and with band Animal Collective, has this time released a sixth solo selection of songs that are gentler, and slower, but still contain moments of oddball bleeps and offbeat rhythms and sampling that has Lemon Jelly texture. Out on Domino Records
Panda Bear – Dolphin
Lemonheads – Varshons 2
Not only is this the Lemonheads’ tenth album, but also their first record in 10 years since Varshons (the first), Varshons 2 another unusual choice of covers including Yo La Tengo, Nick Cave, The Bevis Frond, NRBQ, The Eagles, Paul Westerberg, The Jayhawks, Lucinda Williams and John Prine. Evan Dando is on fine, hollering form, though perhaps it is also high time he also released some new material. Out on Fire Records.
Lemonheads – Can't Forget (by Ira Kaplan from Yo La Tengo)
Don’t forget to also enjoy our voted selection of 50 or more favourite albums of 2018:
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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