The Futureheads – Powers
Welcome return after seven years for the postpunk four-piece band from Sunderland, the only release from them coming from Barry Hyde's 2016 emotionally raw solo album about his struggle with mental illness. Here they return at full strength with those four-part harmonies and manly vocals that hark from a folk tradition, railing against Brexit and the state of the British identity in Across The Border and the blackly humorous Listen, Little Man! Much of this album is a visceral examination of the male psyche, including Jekyll, which touches on the effects of bullying and violence in childhood. Excellent, powerful return. Out on Nul Records.
The Futureheads – Listen, Little Man!
Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell
A striking, unusual fifth album from the American singer, inspired by the illustrator who specialised stylised scenes from American 20th-century life, and Del Rey follows this concentrating on California and old Hollywood. It's an intriguing, oddball album, slow and swooning at times, bubbling with strange menace, emotion and variously referencing bit musical icons from Neil Young to John Lennon, Led Zeppelin to Crosby, Stills and Nash. Never predictable, always one to watch. Out on Polydor.
Lana Del Rey - Venice Bitch
!!! Chk Chk Chk – Wallop
The American band return after 2017's Shake The Shudder with more of the same, fabulous postpunk, funk dance music is best of all heard, seen, and sweating to live. It was recorded in the infectiously energetic frontman Nic Offer’s Brooklyn apartment. Guests include Liars frontman Angus Andrew, Maria Uzor of British dance aesthetes Sink Ya Teeth, and Glasser's synth-pop wizard Cameron Mesirow joining co-vocialist Meah Pace and the as ever brilliant choppy guitar of Mario Andreoni. Music it's impossible not to dance to. Out on Warp.
!!! Chk Chk Chk – UR Paranoid
Sheryl Crow – Threads
This may or may be a farewell album from the still youthful veteran singer, but it's definitely a mass collaboration with major stars – 23 of them in total across 17 songs and 75 minutes playing classic Americana rock, country and pop. These include Keith Richards, Stevie Nicks, Joe Walsh and even Chuck D on the political Story of Everything, and a weird bit of rapping on St Vincent collaboration Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You. Overall though, the threads of the title hold together, with many a solid toe-tapping stomper, but how could it not with so much talent sewn in? Out on Big Machine.
Sheryl Crow (ft Joe Walsh) – Still The Good Old Days
Joan Shelley – Like the River Loves The Sea
Top-quality work by the Louisville singer, songwriter and guitarist who who is certainly inspired by English and Irish folk histories, as well as Kentucky's bluegrass tradition where the songs were written, while much of this album was recorded in Iceland. And you can hear all this, from Nathan Salsburg’s guitar Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s vocal harmonies and in Joan’s voice. Out on No Quarter.
Joan Shelley – The Fading
The S.L.P. – The S.L.P.
While Kasabian frontman Tom Meighan currently deals with some personal issues, the band's songwriter and guitarist releases this solo album titled after his full name, Sergio Lorenzo Pizzorno, recorded as his home studio the 'Sergery'. It's eccentric, experimental, but somehow still mainstream. The song Favourite mixes that sneery indie Kasabian with hip hop in the form of Little Simz, while Nobody Else is sort of lazy summery piano pop. Odd, indulgent but worth exploring. Out on Columbia.
THE S.L.P. - Favourites ft. Little Simz
Gabriel Ólafs – Absent Minded
The Icelandic pianist, still only 19, is rocketing to success after having appeared on TV in his own country and being spotted by Bjork's manager Derek Birkett and getting a contract on One Little Indian. Serene compositions glide across this album, which certainly points to a career as a film music writer, his method based around characters and settings. Absent Minded was written when he was still 14. Out on One Little Indian.
Gabriel Ólafs – Absent Minded
Mikey Young – You Feelin' Me?
A solo album of gentle guitar and keyboard pastoral instrumental landscapes from the Australian singer-songwriter who is also a member of Total Control and Eddy Current Suppression Ring. Out on Castle Face.
Mikey Young - You Feelin' Me?
Black Belt Eagle Scout – At the Party with My Brown Friends
Second album from Oregon-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Katherine Paul. Lush, soft focus sounds come with her breathy, pure voice, laced with with guitar, bass and drums in a style that echoes Beach House. Her perspective is different though, she hails from Washington’s Swinomish reservation, and spreads the history of native peoples (her debut was written as family protested at Standing Rock). Out on Saddle Creek.
Black Belt Eagle Scout – At the Party
TaxiWars – Artificial Horizon
The current jazz renaissance this week comes from Tom Barman, frontman of Belgian artrockers dEUS, who with this second release created by jazz quartet with a trio of fellow Belgians. The styles mix deep grooves and hip-hop vocals the upbeat and slower, and this is smart, smooth tracks that are mostly short and the point, from Drop Shot and The Glare to the more Chet Baker-ish Irritated Love. Out on Sdban Ultra.
TaxiWars - Drop Shot
Kano – Hoodies
At 34, Kano is a grime veteran, and this return, three years on from his Mercury-nominated, Mobo-winning Made in the Manor, is another depiction of race-related tensions, sampling Darcus Howe, and despite a few over-produced wobbles, is a sharp, sometimes darkly humorous, but still very sincere narrative depictions of the causes and effects of British knife crime, such as on Can’t Hold We Down. Out on Parlophone.
Kano – Pan-Fried
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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