This week sees the long awaited new album from Sub Pop's Shabazz Palaces, the return of former Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers's 16th LP, the first album release of Beck's Song Reader project, the second album by Land Observations. Along with debut's by Blues Pills, The Struts, Claude Speeed and The John Steel Singers. And reissues of Van Dyke Parks' Super Chief and the long talked about Furia by The Fates.
There's also pre-orders for new albums by Johnny Marr, Southend's own David Woodcock, Royal Blood and Devonte Hynes. Along with some staff recommendations.
This week's new releases
The new sonic action from Shabazz Palaces. Honed and primal, chromed and primo. A unique and glorified offering unto our ever-uniforming musical soundscape. It's not a launching pad for the group’s fanbase-increasing propaganda. It is a series of astral suites - recorded happenings, shared. A dare to dive deep into Shabazz Palaces’ sounds, vibrations unfettered.
Former Rilo Kiley frontwoman’s third solo album and first in six years and most deeply personal album, documenting her struggle to cope following the death of her father and the break-up of Rilo Kiley. Produced by Ryan Adams, Beck, and Johnathan Rice, The Voyager finds the always relatable songwriter at her sharp-witted best, singing about her recent experiences with honesty and incisiveness.
Beck/ Various Artists
The 20-track collection features exclusively recorded versions of Song Reader charts by Jack White, Jeff Tweedy, David Johansen, Jarvis Cocker, Beck and many more. The album marks the first officially recorded incarnation of the project, which has already inspired interpretations from hundreds of musicians the world over. The record includes the debut of songs previously only played live either by Beck or at one of the handful of Song Reader concerts
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Having released their debut album in 1976 and have since sold over 60 million records, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and in recent years have continued to build on their already legendary success. Their concerts are celebrated by fans and critics alike and their music has influenced numerous young bands and writers around the world. This new album is available on CD and LP.
The young American-Swedish-French quartet create a very unique, intense and extraordinary rock atmosphere while at the same time having a major mainstream appeal that takes you right back to the time of Blues Pills’ ancestors Aretha Franklin, early Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Cream.
The Grand Tour
The follow up to 2012’s critically acclaimed debut. Where that LP was concerned with the roads of communication and conquest that stretched across the former Roman Empire, the new album creates an imaginary travelogue through Western, Central and Southern Europe with reference to the historic Grand Tour. Utilising a selection of vintage amplifiers and studio equipment, intentionally enjoying the warmth of analogue tape to create immersive pastoral motorik.
The John Steel Singers
Everything's A Thread
Brisbane's John Steel Singers brim with sparkling, sun kissed sounds but here the band’s creative freedom equally allows for lurking in the shade, moving from the hook-heavy pop numbers to the sinister and soulful yet strange vibe. The Singers move from playful harmony-filled summer nuggets to electronic sheened pop, psychedelic sea shanties, Kraut-pop and hard riffing cosmic rock with ease, evoking an uncanny vibe like mist resting on the ocean just before sunset.
As the founding member of hailed Scottish futurist rock groups Russia and AmericanMen amongst others, Speeed has cemented a place at the diehard centre of experimental music in Scotland. Both intimate and widescreen: a deliberate, dreamlike work about structures, economy, memory and loss. At moments, beneath sharp violin swells and Reichian cogs of percussive melody, a deep, hard-quantised MS10 bassline will appear to root these compositions in the now.
Having just supported Black Sabbath at Hyde Park and played Sonisphere, The Struts release their debut LP. A quintessentially English proposition, a visual and sonic combination of Primal Scream, Kasabian, Queen and Guns N' Roses. High octane, heavy, soulful rock n roll
Van Dyke Parks
Super Chief: Music For The Silver Screen is an ‘orchestral fantasy’ inspired by a rail journey Van Dyke embarked upon across the United States in 1955. This Suite is drawn from over a score of years, and as many films, now re-recorded from his archives as a film-music composer.
Originally scheduled for release on Halloween 1985 this privately pressed all female post-punk / broken-folk collective concept album was resurrected from the ashes of the original line-up of The Fall and Velvet Underground singer Nico’s Blue Orchids backing band at the command of pioneering Manchester female punk icon Una Baines before disappearing into the annals of UK punk purgatory. Lauded by collectors and likened by Mark E. Smith to the Third Ear Band, this unclassifiable arty-fact renders tags like ‘Pagan punk’ utterly redundant.
Playland finds Marr continuing the creative connection that was forged on ‘The Messenger’ with collaborator and co-producer Doviak as well as the other musicians who performed on the album and accompanying tour. Playland captures much of the spirit that made The Messenger so memorable with energetic, post-punk songwriting complemented by Johnny Marr’s characteristic guitar style, thought-provoking lyrical ideas and poised vocal phrasing. Released 6th October 2014 and available on CD/ LP/ Ltd Ed blue LP
David's songs are steeped in the classic British song writing tradition epitomised by the likes of Ray Davies, Steve Harley and Ian Dury. Lyrics filled with humour, pathos, wry observations and a riotous energy, there’s certainly an air of Mott The Hoople, Vivian Stanshall as a drunken Harry Nilsson, Pete Doherty or Damon Albarn in young, cocky scamp mode. He'll be playing live here at South at 1.30pm on 4th August, free entry.
Featuring their two singles to date – ‘Little Monster’ and ‘Come On Over’ – the album is a mixture of anguished vocals, ferocious drumming and bass that provides intricate detail as well as a rumble of rhythm. Royal Blood are the result of a lineage that stretches from present day heroes Queens of the Stone Age to Led Zeppelin, and all the way back to early blues pioneers. Their ferocious attack is the result of just two men - vocalist/bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher. Released 25th August.
Palo Alto OST
Devonté Hynes, aka Blood Orange, has created his first original score for the feature length film Palo Alto from writer-director Gia Coppola. Based on several linked stories by James Franco. Palo Alto is a teenage romance for the ages, made indelible through its ensemble cast. Hynes wrote and performed the entire score along with guest vocals by Samantha Urbani and additional instrumentation by Jason Arce. Deluxe heavyweight LP pressed on mauve coloured vinyl exclusively available to independent retailers. Released 4th August.
Comet Gain return with their seventh album Paperback Ghosts, their first since 2011's critically acclaimed Howl of The Lonely Crowd. Soaked in autumn melancholy, tender-hearted but not miserable, defiant but not angry, it maintains the delicate balance that has always been Comet Gain's strength.
Rock Konducta Pt.2
The latest in Madlib's long-running Beat Konducta series, Rock Konducta Pt. 2. Like the first volume, this release is over 20 tracks, running at 40 minutes. The album finds it’s inspiration in various worldwide underground rock scenes from the 1960s through the 80s: American psychedelia, Germany’s Krautrock, acid-soaked Spanish prog-rock and synthy, early-80s oddities.
Looking Forward To Being Attacked
Not even a fully formed embryo upon their first recording, the interstellar project began as a long-distance collaboration between past members of the ethereal Barbaras, Magic Kids, Boston Chinks, (and later, Jay Reatard Band/Wavves) in Memphis, and their mysterious cohort, Big Muff Radio, and has reached it's fully-developed final mutation. For fans of Magic Kids, Barbaras, King Tuff, R. Stevie Moore, Ween, Jay Reatard, Hawkwind, Styrenes. First pressing of 550 copies Black vinyl on HoZac.
John Wizards is a brilliant combination of African music, R&B and and chamber pop, filtered through gentle electronic arrangements that cross-pollinate with South African house, Shangaan Electro and dub, and it's the sort of music that effortlessly captivates you in with it's beauty and richness. Opener Tet Lek Schrempf starts things off with a gentle waltz before crashing in with a flighty mix of conch shell, handclaps and pitched-up guitar riffing.