LP – Heart To Mouth
With a blankly obvious and yet oddly SEO-unfriendly elusive artist name (imagine if you alternatively called yourself Album), Laura “LP” Pergolizzi is a mainstream power ballad pop singer-songwriter. She’s knocked out mainstream stuff for Christina Aguilera and Rihanna (on a ukelele), so she has form and can also sing big, but that’s where convention ends, and contradiction begins – her androgynous persona put out there is somewhere between Marc Bolan, Bob Dylan (perhaps inspired by Cate Blanchett in the 1997 film I’m Not There) and Patti Smith, yet also writes material that would also fit well with later Stevie Nicks. What comes out of all that somehow, is confessional power-ballad intimacy with a sledgehammer, especially on the post-addiction song Recovery. Out on Vagrant.
LP - Recovery
Earl Sweatshirt - Some Rap Songs
Fourth album from the freeflowing hip-hop poet whose style is best described as arhythmic criss-crossed with offbeat samples of funk, soul and jazz licks, like a radio station flipping for meaningful moments and echoing Madlib's Medicine Show mixes. It's the kind of work that weaves in and out of coherence, a stylish street stream of consciousness that be both monotonous and emotionally arresting with some striking one-liners. Nothing if not intriguing. Out on Columbia Records.
Earl Sweatshirt - The Mint (ft Navy Blue)
Van Morrison – The Prophet Speaks
This is the second major album of late to feature a ventriloquist's dummy on the cover, after The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Merrie England (with Michael Redgrave from Dead of Night), but Van the Man with the grinning Educating Archie does not indicate a dystopian Britain, more just harking back to old-style entertainment, with an album of eight songs by old masters, such as John Lee Hooker, Sam Cooke, Solomon Burke, Willie Dixon, and namechecking Louis Armstrong, as well as new songs by the man himself. Van's voice does sound fresh and as good as ever, however, and while this 40th studio album is no game-changer, it's an enjoyable fans' stocking filler. Out on Caroline International.
Van Morrison - The Prophet Speaks
AMOR – Sinking Into A Miracle
A new and absorbing, hard-to-define Glasgow quartet debut collaboration between Richard Youngs the visual artist and Turner Prize nominee, Luke Fowler, Norwegian composer and double-bassist Michael Francis Duch, and Franz Ferdinand drummer Paul Thomson. This is beat-driven, dance music with folklore twists, acoustic instruments including trumpet, and Youngs sounding a little like David Byrne. The five-track album ends in joyful, swirling afrobeat 13-minute number of piano riffs and rising frenzy - a chaotic improv gone right. Available on Bandcamp.
Amor - Glimpses Across Thunder
Planningtorock – Powerhouse
More dance music and Planningtorock's fourth album's most prominent feature is Berlin-based Jam Rostrum exploring and expressing LGBTQ gender issues as a musician – including a likeable and very personal look back, for example, at a Bolton childhood described in Beulah Loves Dancing. Available on Bandcamp.
Planningtorock – Beulah Love Dancing
Christmas is a time many artists pushing out best-of albums, but here are a couple of interesting alternatives. Rough Trade is another label, but example, that regularly releases wonderful and intriguing collections.
Various – Smalltown Supersound 25 (The Movement Of Free Spirit Mixed By Prins Thomas)
Eclectic, electronica, eccentric dance music, mystic chanting, all kinds of instruments made to change their normal sounds, pushed to their limits - the full noodly caboodle is here in this 25th anniversary special made of 3 CDs and 80 tracks to celebrate the output of Smalltown Supersound, the Norwegian record label run by Joakim Haugland. Mesmeric stuff, with mixes by Thomas Moen Hermansen aka producer/mixer/DJ Prins Thomas.
Lindstrøm – No Release (Owen Pallett remix feat. Steve Kado)
Various – Jon Savage’s 1968 The Year the World Burned
Fifty years on and the world is still politically ablaze - but what marked the turmoil of 1968 was also some fantastic music. This 2-CD anniversary compilation picked personally by music writer Jon Savage (who also did one for 1967) captures regular top 40 charts being broken up by rock, ska into rocksteady and early reggae, and soul into funk, and personal memories of scouring for 45s in bins. He also adds Americana, pop-psych and hard-edged rock. Artists include MC5, Spirit, James Carr, Spooky Tooth, The Creation, Love, Canned Heat, Desmond Dekker, and The French Fries. Out on Ace Records.
Spooky Tooth – Sunshine Help Me
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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