Former The Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft’s fourth record, These People, an album that was ten years in the making, was a rousing comeback that saw Ashcroft take aim at the injustices of the world. Unfortunately his fifth solo record, Natural Rebel, a swift follow-up to These People, can’t even come close to recreating the iconic frontman’s best work. In fact, it feels incredibly meandering, sauntering and with limited ideas at its disposal. Like a pastiche of American 70s soft-rock, it’s a far cry from Ashcroft’s superb back-catalogue as a solo star and with The Verve. Gone is the gritty exterior, and all that stands is a soppy, formulaic mess.
For a number of years, Wigan’s Joe Oxley has been making a big name for himself under his Tvam moniker. Creating an intoxicating and heady mix of rave and shoegaze from the confines of his bedroom, there seemed little rush to release a debut album. However, at last, Psychic Data arrives, and it confirms Oxley as one of the most interesting artists around at the moment.
Cloud Nothings have always been a terrific live act but, despite having a number of good albums, they’ve never truly managed to capture the beauty of their on-stage performances into recorded form. However, Last Building Burning is a record which finally emits the frantic energy of their gigs and a culmination of the Cleveland band’s development.
Back for the fourth time as a solo artist, John Grant has returned with another treasure trove of quips, sardonic wit, and an ever-increasing array of electropop classics. His love of synths and keyboards have been there since his 2010 solo debut Queen of Denmark, but this record finds him fully embraced in that world. As with this year’s Creep Show side project, Grant is again working with Ben Edwards, and that collaboration continues to provide rich pickings. “Each record I make is more of an amalgamation of who I am,” he explains, saying that this record, “is closer still to how I’ve always wanted my records to sound”.
Jassbusters is New Zealand born Connan Mockasin’s third record, not including his side project with Sam Dust, Soft Hair, and one which sees him retain his crown as king of crooning. Recorded in 2016, it was only released last Friday (12th October) via Mexican Summer. A first of its kind for the artist in many ways, Jassbusters was recorded with a band, as well as being paired with a five part melodrama film, Bostyn ’n Dobsyn. The project spent 20 years in development – but took just 10 days to film. His work is so spectacularly peculiar, it seems only right that it spills onto the screen; and the first screening will be at the Barbican next month.
It’s hard to believe that it was just a few years ago that Jess Glynne burst into the charts alongside deep house producer Route 94 with hit track ‘My Love’ along with a feature on Clean Bandit’s ‘Rather Be’. Since then she’s worked with the likes of Rudimental, as well as releasing her debut I Cry When I Laugh, which spawned hits such as ‘Hold My Hand’, ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’ and ‘Real Love’.
Now Glynne is back with her sophomore album, Always In Between, which features the singles ‘I’ll Be There’ and ‘All I Am’.
Returning for the first time since 2016, Only Now Forever feels like a new chapter for The Kvb. The pair chose to produce the album themselves this time around, with that decision coinciding with a newly found liberal attitude towards instrumentation.
The Philadelphia rocker dropped the most successful album of his career with his last solo LP, 2015’s B’lieve I’m Goin Down. Then, last year, he released an acclaimed collaboration album with Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett, Lotta Sea Lice. Now 38 and set to release his seventh solo album, Kurt Vile is continuing on his upward trajectory, whilst documenting his fears, hopes, and dreams on this, his most personal album to date.
To the casual follower of Haley Bonar (real name Haley McCallum), a fully instrumental album like Pleasureland will seem like it has come out of left field. However, in truth, the clues were there as far back as 2011’s debut Golder with its moody instrumental pieces hidden away inside. This album, released as the punchier Haley, takes that inclination to its logical conclusion, offering a fascinating and atmospheric view on the world.
The story goes that Matador played this experienced and relatively successful singer/songwriter an Adele album, the point being made to demonstrate what a hit album sounds like. Despite a working relationship with the esteemed American label stretching back 20 years, they didn’t think Wanderer was worth their time or effort.