Review: "Father Of The Bride", Vampire Weekend's first album for six long years, has been receiving praise across the board from critics. It's been variously described as a "modern California pop masterpiece", a "scrapbook of brilliant ideas" and "the band's magnum opus". To our ears, it's certainly joyous and celebratory, with the acclaimed New York band wrapping their usual punchy-indie pop in subtle and not so subtle nods towards everything from Flamenco and Country music, to mournful piano ballads, excitable electronic indie-dance and 1960s baroque pop. In other words, it's a giddy collection of inventive, enjoyable songs that boasts the same eclectic, anything-goes swagger as the Beatles "White Album" or other similar wide-ranging sets.
Review: House Music With Love turn once again to Swedish duo Swim for a record soaked in a particularly soothing bath of Balearic goodness. Original track "Be There" is certainly laced with an air of Scandinavian cool, not least thanks to Erika Rosen's dreamy vocals, but there's a solid boogie undercarriage carrying the music along. Halllo Halo step up with a remix that makes a playful, intricate broken beat refrain out of the backing track while maintaining the vocals. Ghost Immanuel meanwhile whips up a spacious dub that stays close to the original, albeit in instrumental form.
Review: Boarding House Reach is the third solo album from Jack White, a man who really should need no introduction by now. Where 2014's 'Lazaretto' was a cohesive and indulgent gothic collage of country, soul, Americana and rock, 'Boarding House Reach' sees White ambitiously add layers of hip-hop, experimental and electronic influences. Twists and turns come thick and fast, from the fuzzy organ soul of 'Why Walk A Dog?', the poetic preacherman monologue of 'Abulia and Akrasia', the jittery and crunchy hip-hop 'Ice Station Zebra' to the stunningly laid-bare folk and wrought piano chords of closing track 'Humoresque'. This breadth of sounds makes the album compelling and unpredictable from start to finish, and a fascinating addition to Jack White's juggernaut of a discography.
Review: Following the long awaited return of Gang Gang Dance, New York glam rock brothers, Brian D'Addario and Michael D'Addario, aka The Lemon Twigs, quietly but surely make their way on to legendary label 4AD once more. It's been two years since their Do Hollywood LP and the pair - with the help of their parents (really) - deliver 15 tracks that according to the band tell a "heartbreaking coming of age story of Shane, a pure of heart chimpanzee raised as a human boy as he comes to terms with the obstacles of life." Satire, irony, haircuts, glam rock. Yes, it's a musical...what, you didn't know?
Review: Having made their name as modern-day aesthetes with a series of records that meld the cerebral and the physical with style, 'Boy King' appears to be the point in which the Will Beasts allow their id to run rampant in a way befitting their name. Recorded in Dallas with producer John Congleton (St. Vincent) it shows them heading towards a notably more aggressive, electronic and masculine sound, at once influenced by the binary thump of Nine Inch Nails and the sonic brinksmanship of 'Yeezus' era Kanye West. Odder still, this gamble has more than paid off, and 'Boy King' is the sound of the band at their most vibrant and persuasive.
Why Do I Lose My Mind When I Have Something To Say?
Review: Through her 'U.S. Girls' project, Toronto-based Meg Remy has released a consistently high quality run of albums that explore issues of femininity with a shaded and angular avant-pop sound. New record 'In A Poem Unlimited' sees Remy continue to explore identity politics, but in a comparatively warmer and more free sound as she collaborates with improvisational group The Cosmic Range. Structurally, the album enjoys an unpredictability of form that sprawls across skulking grunge, found sounds, crunching horn-sections and synth-driven industrial disco. Highlight track 'Incidental Boogie' exemplifies this binding of elements; the contrast of stomping, distorted with Remy's breathy and swaggering vocals is an intoxicating one. The breadth of Remy's palette makes this album an exhilarating listen, and - both as a vocalist and writer - Remy shines as an arresting and formidable talent.
Review: This Essex four-piece are purveyors of a stylish and succinct brand of guitar-driven indie rock that nods to the like of Royal Blood's heavy riffing and The Dandy Warhols' arch pop tunesmithery, arriving at a black leather jacket racket that makes its presence felt with hooks and swagger, arriving at a continuum that unites Britpop vim and vigour with a more twenty-first century brand of attack. The Bohicas style themselves as 'The kind of S-t that Marv from Sin City would listen to', and indeed the thuggish efficiency of 'The Making Of' is redolent of a band who have their sights set on mainstream glory and aren't ashamed to admit it.
Review: The 21st Century has been quiet thus far for New Order, with only two full albums to date, and only an out-takes compilation in the last decade. Moreover, 'Music Complete' marks their first album to date without founding bassist Peter Hook, and the return of Gillian Gilbert to the ranks. Yet from this turbulence and inertia they've somehow managed to create a collection of songs that rank as their strongest set since 'Technique' in 1989. VIbrant, upbeat and colourful, yet driven by the same mix of electronic experimentation and effortless pop suss that characterised their '80s heyday, 'Music Complete' is the sound of a timeless and unique force newly revitalised.