Lots of returning friends this week and rainbows of colour vinyl pressings. Well, is 'sand' in the rainbow?
Record of the Week is Jaime, the excellent debut solo LP from Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. Jaime, Brittany's sister, died when they were teens and the album explores that loss and its profound impact. One of the most instantly recognisable elements of Alabama Shakes is Brittany's glorious soul vocal, yet here on her debut it is way more experimental, with an almost chameleon-like charm leading each of tracks through a multitude of styles. Complex songs and structures with loads of weird and wild turns, a hugely accomplished and fascinating LP.
+ Pressed on sandstone coloured vinyl, with an indie exclusive edition featuring a bonus 7" single.
The most excellent Chastity Belt return with their fourth LP. The self-titled album has all of the moments that make them so alluring - dreamy tones, crass jokes, grrrl energy and brilliant writing - but finds them as older and wiser versions of themselves. Sonically it's a huge step on, brilliantly produced, you can hear all of the layers and how smart and densely packed each song is. They also all (3/4) sing which changes the tone throughout. Had this on loop.
+ First 400 copies on light green transparent vinyl.
Former Wild Beasts songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Tom Fleming releases his debut solo album under the guise One True Pairing. Much like his work in the 'Beasts, he has managed to pack huge themes and emotions into pop bangers. Comparison to Wild Beasts is inevitable, so this is arguably more experimental and the whole tone is suitably removed to stand proud on its own. One of the UK's finest voices and his self-titled LP is an excellent addition to his body of work.
+ Available on Indies exclusive 180g coloured vinyl.
Hiss Golden Messenger returns on Merge with his new Terms Of Surrender LP this week. As ever he's a hard one to pin down, with gestures of funk, soul, gospel and country rock all mixed and backing the balladeer. Vocally he sounds like honey.
+ Indie edition is pressed on coke-bottle clear vinyl and includes a 22.75" x 33" foldout poster insert.
Gothenburg producer sir Was releases Holding On To A Dream on Memphis Industries. Loads of influences pulled together and all held in place by his voice. Really lush this.
+ Limited Indie version pressed on translucent orange vinyl.
The mighty Efterklang return with Altid Sammen (meaning 'always together') on 4AD. Arguably the most intimate record they have made in ages and there is something pretty arresting about that.
M83 release DSVII, the second instalment of the Digital Shades series. Ambient soundscapes through to computer game inspired bleeps. Really, really enjoying this one... and it looks amazing too.
+ Available on heavyweight 180g double pink LP, with a galaxy/candy floss effect in gatefold packaging.
The Juan Maclean return to DFA with The Brighter The Light, a compilation LP of 12-inch singles they’ve amassed over the past six years – re-edited, re-mastered, and ready for fans who may have missed the tracks the first time around.
Sinematic is Robbie Robertson's sixth solo album. Partly autobiographical and some of the tracks are connected to the score he wrote for Martin Scorsese's upcoming film The Irishman. Vocally in particular, he sounds amazing.
GUO is the multidisciplinary duo formed of Daniel Blumberg and Seymour Wright. GUO4 is out on Mute this week and is fascinating, it's going to need some real digging-into here, it's a proper package.
Morning in America consists of seven songs that were recorded during the sessions for Mudhoney's 2018 album, Digital Garbage. We have just a couple of Loser Edition's left now (pressed on silver vinyl).
Royal Trux have signed-up Ariel Pink to re-work five songs from White Stuff, calling the resulting EP Pink Stuff. 500 copies only on pink vinyl.
Couple of big LP's attacking the charts, with LIFE releasing A Picture Of Good Health and Liam Gallagher with Why Me? Why Not. Both have indie exclusive editions and both are shifting fast.
Last new one this week and Nils Frahm is back with the third and final instalment of his 'Encores' series. Whilst 'Encores 1' focused on an acoustic palette of sounds with solo piano and harmonium at the core, and 'Encores 2' explored more ambient landscapes; now Encores 3 sees Nils expand on the percussive and electronic elements in his work. He really is quite unlike anyone else. Marvellous. All three editions will be compiled on CD next month.
Soul Jazz Records’ new Studio One DJ Party is the latest installation from the mighty Studio One Records catalogue, a wicked new collection of the finest DJs and toasters ever to inhabit the world of reggae. It spans the early 70s up until the mid-1980s, from the earliest days of deejay toasting right up until digital dancehall, ground-breaking sounds over the finest selection of the ultimate Studio One rhythms and tracks.
Ryley Walker has compiled the ninth volume of the Imaginational Anthem series for Tompkins Square. It's pretty thrilling to know NONE of the artists involved and find so many new avenues... This is a turn on right here.
More excellent jazz reissues with saxophonist Gerry Mulligan's ...meets Ben Webster and Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie's Bird & Diz both on Impulse!
So many excellent reissues today.
Massive Attack release a dub version of Mezzanine on vinyl. These radical re-workings by Mad Professor originally created in 1998 include Teardrop, Angel and Inertia Creeps as well as rarities Wire and Superpredators. The sleeve, designed by Robert Del Naja and Tom Hingston, features original artwork from Brute!’s Aiden Hughes.
Stop the press... a fiftieth anniversary half speed remaster of Dusty Springfield's iconic Dusty in Memphis. The Abbey Road Studios treatment here sounds lush.
KEEP THE PRESSES HELD... A genuine essential this, we're thrilled that Scott Walker's Scott 4 has an all-new half speed remaster. If you're a fan, rejoice! If you've not heard this yet... Get ready, you're about to get all sorts of feels.
The first drop in the Richard Hawley colour vinyl reissues series lands with perhaps his finest hour and the utterly perfect Coles Corner. It was nominated for the 2006 Mercury Music Prize, losing out to fellow Sheffield sons Arctic Monkeys who would report on stage that "Somebody call 999. Richard Hawley's been robbed."
Last one this week and man oh man! Revisit those Cold Blooded Old Times... One of our very-most-favourite albums turns twenty and gets an essential repress. Smog's Knock Knock came midway through Bill Callahan's use of the Smog alias, and in many ways is the turning point in his career, certainly sonically and in no small part thanks to the co-production from Jim O’Rourke. Every track is utterly perfect and it's the sort of album that you play, flip, play, flip, play, flip, play, flip... It's just perfect.
Big shout-out to the Black Midi boys at the Mercury Prize tonight. There are some crackers nominated, but there is just something about their Sea Change set back in May that forever flipped our lids.