Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer
Everything about Janelle Monáe should make her a megastar - oustanding talent and looks, but above all, she is indisputably different and original. And yet somehow, she has failed to have a hit single. Even the input of Prince, who was apparently helping work on this album when he died, and his benign musical ghost is omnipresent here, she is yet to really catch fire commercially. Perhaps that’s because she is still working out her identity between robot and bisexual icon. Some of her songs try too hard to be commercial, but it’s always better to push, or indeed envelope the envelope, and that’s when she’s most interesting. Not quite the album this was hyped to be, but still full explosive moments of her talent, such as the vagina-based PYNK, and her rapping talents on Django Jane. Out on Bad Boy.
Janelle Monáe - Make Me Feel
Brian Eno - Music for Installations
For those long, dark night or rainy days, a treat for fans of the meditative, sonic Eno, getting away from the pop song production and collaborations he’s done over years, this six-disc album is from his other great love – minimalistic work for art exhibitions, here including Lightness, composed for a St Petersburg museum in 1997, which is soft, dissonant but slowly resolving drones and swooping sounds. 77 Million Paintings, a 44-minute piece designed with Nick Robertson for a 2006 Tokyo exhibition that toured, and includes gamelan bell tones and heavily treated vocals. And there’s Making Space CD from 2010, recorded with guitarist Leo Abrahams, with standout tracks such as the glockspiel-rich Light Legs or the delicious Hopeful Timean Intersect. Out on UMC.
Brian Eno – Loadtering (Hopeful Timean Intersect)
Okkervil River - In The Rainbow Rain
The Texas-formed indie rockers never do the obvious, nor fail to disappoint, and this, the ninth album from singer-songwriter Will Sheff and co, keeps up this consistency. Intelligent, and wryly humorous, it’s really worth checking out folk-country style Don't Move Back To LA, or the quietly melancholic and incisively tragic Famous Tracheotomies (now that’s a unique title), to the bigger sound of Pulled Up The Ribbon, which, by its video, seems to parody the story of America’s pioneering past. Out on ATO Records
Okkervil River – Pulled Up The Ribbon
Speedy Ortiz – Twerp Verse
A complex, eclectic and fascinating third album by singer-songwriter Sadie Dupuis and co’s art-rock indie band from Northampton, Massachusetts, with a huge diversity of influences on show, including Squeeze, Hop Along, Prince, Paramore, Brenda Lee and St Vincent. Their sound is certainly enriched by being joined by Philadelphia guitarist Andy Molholt of Laser Background. Lucky 88 was the first single, Lean In When I Suffer the second, and with more dry humour and a pop sensibility, here’s Villain. Out on Carpark Records.
Speedy Ortiz – Villain
Blossoms – Cool Like You
On a wave of success from their first, eponymous album and the hit Charlemagne, the Stockport band seemed to be heading or greater hits, but this might be, while not bad at all, a case of the difficult second album - continuing where they left off, but with no real surprises from frontman Tom Ogden and co. It’s very reminiscent of that 80s feel of Psychedelic Furs, and a touch of Talk Talk, which is no bad thing, some listeners might want something else. Cool, but maybe too cool? Out on Virgin/EMI.
Blossoms – I Can’t Stand It
We Are Scientists – Megaplex
Seventh studio album from the New York-based indie band mixing pop, guitar rock and electronica fronted by Chris Cain and Keith Murray, who have been the mainstay of the band since 2002. Out on 100%.
We Are Scientists – One In, One Out
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.