Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or so the cliché goes. For Robyn, it also allowed her reputation to grow, as a host of bright young stars burst into the pop limelight, all name-checking her as a vital influence. Her importance spread everywhere, a nightclub in Brooklyn even dedicated and named a regular themed night in her honour. She was the bright star that all pop planets aligned with and revolved around, from Taylor to Charli, all over a period of eight years where she only contributed to a handful of guest spots.
Following the rich tapestry of tales contained within last year’s The Holy Strangers, Texas’ Micah P. Hinson returns with yet another beautiful collection of lo-fi delights. Finding inspiration from a statue of St. James inside the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, (one that finds the saint surrounded by 24 unnamed musicians), this latest album was recorded within a single 24-hour spell by Hinson and a group of similarly anonymous musicians. While it doesn’t quite scale the heights of his previous offerings, there is still much to enjoy.
With roughly 17 LPs already under his belt, Mark Kozelek has been involved with a multitude of different styles; folk rock, slowcore and alternative indie just to name a few. However, the one constant throughout his career has been his ability to capture his personal outlook on life at that time, through a variety of lyricisms relating to experiences and opinions he feels about the world.
Founder of Liverpool’s psych-pop heroes The Coral, Bill Ryder-Jones has been ploughing his own furrow this last decade, releasing records and branching out into production, with credits including both the Brighton formed The Wytches and Our Girl, as well as Hooten Tennis Club and Holly Macve. Eschewing the alt-folk sound of his previous two albums, Ryder-Jones comes armed with big electric guitars and an expansive sound palette for Yawn, his fourth solo album post The Coral.
Could the cover album possibly be returning to prominence? After Insecure Men’s Karaoke for One, released a few weeks back, prolific artist Ty Segall has returned with one of his own. Fudge Sandwich, a record that sees the Californian cover the Grateful Dead, Funkadelic and even John Lennon, is Segall’s third record of the year so far. Seemingly looking to take the psych-crown of Aussie’s King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Segall’s latest record is another notch under the inventive artist’s oeuvre. Contorted, manic and feverish, Fudge Sandwich truly shows that Ty Segall can do no wrong. Cover albums, collaborations, or albums in his own right, he’s simply got the whole package and, if there’s any justice, will go down as one of the finest musicians of his generation.
A few years back I received a demo tape from Tom Odell, sent while he was a student at BIMM, hawking his wares, looking for interest. Totally unknown then, but eager to make his way, it was only a matter of two or three years before he had become a name, troubling the music mags with his piano-driven balladry, some of whom thought it abominable, with the NME notoriously giving his debut album 0/10. This didn’t stop him becoming a minor star, said album reaching number one in the charts, his face and music everywhere for a while. Odell was the fresh faced 21st century beacon for lovers of piano-led soft rock balladry, a al Elton John.
It has been, all things considered, a fractious time since Kagoule released their debut record, Urth. An album, released on Earache Records, that is doubly good and bad in the minds of the band. Of course, it allowed them to tour the world, share stages with everyone from Johnny Marr to The Wytches, but after leaving the label they had to regroup and think about the future of the band. That future lied with Alcopop! Records, who have released their long overdue sophomore effort, Strange Entertainment, which is less of a homage to the 90s grunge scene and more of an extended look at the world of post-punkish sounds. With sounds ranging from the gloom-rock of Joy Division to the stadium-ready sounds of Interpol, Strange Entertainment is onto a winning formula.
“Genie, this is Aladdin. Print me a Razorlight album that doesn’t totally suck,” is the Adam Green line that begins the band’s first record in a decade. Not that you’d be able to tell, with the 12 tracks sounding like they were discovered in a mid-00s indie music time capsule.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, with the oddly-titled Olympus Sleeping finding Johnny Borrell going back to what he’s comfortable with and the result is an okay album only released 12 years too late.
Ali John Meredith-Lacey aka Novo Amor, is a new breed of artist, and one making some serious waves with his fantastic combination of atmospheric, primarily acoustic music, and stunning visuals. He’s also a DIY artist, who through sheer hard work has spread the word via blogs, Youtube, and the internet in general, winning legions of fans who love the highly emotive and ethereal music he makes, as well as the grand cinematic videos that accompany many of his creations. New album Birthplace is his first proper solo album, following on the heels of last year’s collaboration, Heiress, with good friend Ed Tullett, and he’s currently in the middle of his biggest tour to date, a 29 date affair spanning the globe. A reticent live performer in the beginning, his recent Brighton and London shows were all sold out, such is the interest in this thoughtful , modern artist.
Say what you like about Saul Adamczewski and Ben Romans-Hopcraft but they are nothing if not consistent. Having released their first record as supergroup Insecure Men back in February, which we called, “A record that feels both personal and utterly bombastic”, as well as a record with Warmduscher in June, they’ve dominated the music scene with their eccentric pop. Now, bizarrely, they’ve returned with Karaoke for One: Vol. 1, a cover album which takes on classics such as Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets of Philadelphia’, The Pogues’ ‘A Rainy Night in Soho’ and, erm, Peter Andre’s ‘Mysterious Girl’. With a brilliantly eclectic mix of cover songs, Karaoke for One: Vol. 1 provides for an entertaining, and brilliantly unnecessary, 30-minute record.