One of the great survivors of the British dance music boom, brothers Paul and Phil Hartnell have had their differences, their relationship breakdowns and splits, but at the end of the day they know that it is only working under the name Orbital that they can truly thrive.
Jungle’s eponymous album sent them stratospheric. It allowed them to play around the world, headlining such legendary venues as Brixton Academy, receive praise from Noel Gallagher (no easy feat), and arguably kickstart London’s new obsession with funk, soul and jazz. Then they disappeared. Relocating to Los Angeles, they went to “find themselves” and came out with their sophomore record, For Ever. A fusion of trip-hop, neo-soul, and plastic soul, with all the ingredients that made their debut great, For Ever is an instant classic.
Sometimes there is such a noise around a band, a sheer hysteria of hype, that it threatens to drown out the music itself. So has been the case recently with Manchester’s Pale Waves in the lead-up to their debut album My Mind Makes Noises. As the title suggests, this is a record that deals with problems of the mind just as much as it does the heart and, as such, it is destined to be the bedroom soundtrack to an entire generation’s turmoils and travails.
Yet another album which protests Donald Trump’s America, but in an incredibly different way. Low have returned with their 12th studio album across a 25-year career and let me assure you now, Double Negative is no typical listen. Instead, it is a record which cleverly captures the band’s journey against modern society and does so by surrounding themselves in a constant whirring of fresh harrowing sound.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist, Kristine Leschper and her now Philadelphia-based Mothers have released their engulfing new album Render Another Ugly Method.
Exploring issues of womanhood, motivations and existentialism, as well as distant memories, the passage of foggy time and dealing with issues of body angst, Render Another Ugly Method follows-up their debut album of 2016, When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired.
Increasingly becoming just as prolific in releasing documentary soundtracks as they are with regular studio albums, this time Mogwai have returned with their first movie soundtrack. Though the reviews have not been favourable for the Jonathan and Josh Baker film Kin, the soundtrack continues the rich vein of form from the Scottish band in what has been a stellar 12 months. With their biggest ever headline tour culminating in a huge show at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro Arena last December, they are showing no signs of slowing down just yet.
The music industry is a troubled place when it comes to ageing rock stars. In a world where bands have multiple Last Ever Tours and the likes of The Who and The Rolling Stones still continue to rock stadiums around the world despite being deep into their 70s, the way Paul McCartney has been going about his musical career in the last few years has been a genuine surprise. While yes, he still does mammoth tours, his musical output has seen him grow old gracefully with a more stripped back style and his own trademark melodic stamp.
For the eighth time in his Spiritualized guise, Jason Pierce returns to his rich font of emotional turmoil to bring yet another achingly beautiful record to the world. However, as the title suggests (taken from a line in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five), this time round he has produced a piece of work to suggest that he is slowly moving past the personal crises of his past that have acted as catalysts for much of his previous output. Instead, it faces up to more universal themes of ageing, mortality and loss, but always in a way that swells the heart.
Teleman arrived in 2012 with a penchant for a more electronic-inspired sound compared to their previous indie-rock incarnation Pete & The Pirates. They’ve since managed to mature this sound on a production and sonic level with each release and have achieved this feat once again with Family of Aliens.
The ever mutating musical project of Katie Crutchfield has returned with a style completely different to what her fans are accustomed to. Featuring a collection of songs originally written for the now inactive experimental recording group of the title’s name, Great Thunder is the culmination of her revisiting and reimagining them with producer Brad Cook at Justin Vernon’s April Base studio in Wisconsin.