Jesca Hoop – Stonechild
The fifth album by the Californian singer-songwriter and guitarist, who has lived in Chorlton in Manchester for almost a decade, is named after a museum piece, a dried foetus carried by a woman for years. So this is no bubblegum pop of course, but gentle, sensitive, profound songwriting, drawing on the ancient sounds and melodiousness of traditional English folk, with some echoes of the quieter moments of friends Elbow. Out on Memphis Industries.
Jesca Hoop - Shoulder Charge (ft. Lucius)
Trash Kit – Horizon
Third album by the British post-punk trio of Rachel Aggs (guitar and vocals), Gill Partington (bass guitar), and Rachel Horwood (drums and vocals) is as lively as ever, with surprisingly, Disco, a galloping seven-minute instrumental track of circular guitar patterns moving into saxophone. There's also plenty of punch here, including the grunge-y, guitar-led See Through which has shout-out chants to marginalised people, and the title track, with guitar work that has an almost African feel. Excellent work. Out on Upset The Rhythm.
Trash Kit – Horizon
Africa Express – Africa Express Presents EGOLI
Sixth release from the organisation begun in 2005 by Damon Albarn, in which African and western musicians collaborate, is another eclectic mishmash of easy groove, African hip-hop and traditional that echoes some of the Gorillaz output, except this time centred upon Johannesburg. Guest include Gruff Rhys and UK-based artists Nabihah Iqbal and Yannick Ilunga. City Lights for example features the Mahotella Queens alongside Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, British producer Georgia and Otim Alpha, pioneer of an electro interpretations of traditional Achioli music. Or No Games, on which grime rapper Ghetts spars with Port Elizabeth rapper and self-styled “president of female orgasm” Moonchild Sanelly. Out on the Africa Express label.
Africa Express - Johannesburg ft. Gruff Rhys, Morena Leraba, Radio 123, Sibo
The Soft Cavalry – The Soft Cavalry
A soft, water-shimmering celebration of marriage with this, gentle, slow, soaring debut album for Steve Clarke and his wife, Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, with some of the quiet melodies and overall feel reminiscent of Pink Floyd or Talk Talk. Out on Bella Union.
The Soft Cavalry – Dive
Mark Mulchahy – The Gus
Sixth solo record by the now veteran American indie singer-songwriter who came to the fore at the same time as R.E.M and Radiohead has a distinctly narrative arc, and shows of his strong voice and talent for powerful melodies and a style reminiscent of The National. Out on Mezzatint.
Mark Mulchahy – Baby Taking Steps
K Flay – Solutions
Kristine Flaherty from Illinois releases her third album brings a mix of grungy fuzz and dirty synths, witty lyrics and dancey postpunk beats to create a clever pop fusion. Standout tracks include Bad Vibes and This Baby Don't Cry. Out on Night Street/Interscope.
K Flay – This Baby Don't Cry
Olympia – Flamingo
Second album from Australian singer-songwriter Olivia Bartley is co-produced by Burke Reid who has worked with Courtney Barnett, but Bartley's style is more 80s synth indie pop –catchy, wry, passionate. Out on Opposite Number.
Olympia – Hounds
Willie Nelson – Ride Me Back Home
The kindly, long-haired country stranger just keeps on riding into the sunset of this career. Now 86, and really quite prolific. While 2017’s God’s Problem Child and 2018’s Last Man Standing contemplate death, the latest keeps up far more upbeat perspective than the late American Recordings of Johnny Cash, for example. Come On Time battles ageing, and he resurrects an obscure 1972 number with Stay Away From Lonely Places, or Billy Joel's Just The Way You Are. There's generally an droll, gently humorous tone to this album as the bluesy Seven Year Itch shows, and Nelson's voice is like driftwood – solid yet fragile, and beautifully worn. Out on Legacy.
Willie Nelson – Come On Time
Kokoko! – Fongola
Carnival pop with dazzling synths, percussion and DIY punk ethic come in the form of this band from Democratic Republic of Congo. With chanting, call-and-response, jiving dancing tunes and vocal refrains, the momentum never stops and it's hard not to swing your hips to this one, with bells on. Waaay! All formats come with a bonus remix CDEP. Out on Transgressive.
Kokoko! – Buka Dansa
John Luther Adams – Become Desert
Our classical entry this week comes from the American composer who with this album completes his trilogy of ocean, river, to desert, which is his most expansive of the three, written with the practical idea of orchestra and multiple choirs sitting at different heights in the concert hall to express several dimensions of space and time. Previously, the majestic Become Ocean won the Pulitzer prize for music in 2014, and this one is has even more sparse, eerie beauty. Here he explains its inception:
And have a listen below. Out on Cantaloupe Records.
Beak – Life Goes On EP
After their third LP last year, a four-track taster by Geoff Barrow (of Portishead) with Billy Fuller (Robert Plant) and Will Young (Moon Gangs) to keep fans appetites filled during their regularly entertaining, often laugh-out-loud shows. As ever dark, strange, evolving and brilliant. Out on Invada.
Beak – Life Goes On
Jeb Loy Nichols – June is Short, July is Long
More smoky, retro soul from the UK-based, Wyoming-born artist and songsmith, whose background is in bluegrass and country and western, but has taken in many influences, American roots music and Jamaican reggae, dub and dancehall. You can hear all of this in his music. This album was recorded in Wales with with The Westwood All-Stars in five days, to keep it fresh and organic. Out on Compass Records.
Jeb Loy Nichols and the Westwood All-Stars – You Got It Wrong
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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