Review: It seems everyone has their own story when it comes to Cat Power; from first albums purchased, to seeing her perform live on stage with a broken ankle, all the while never ceasing to maintain her blissful air of elegance and withdrawn charisma. Chan Marshall's latest album, six years from her last, provides her debut on Domino, bringing with it three defining aspects, most notably a collaboration with Lana Del Rey on title track "Woman". A Rihanna cover version of "Stay" also makes an appearance mid-way through while tinges of auto-tune inside "Horizon" only add to her continuous extension of folky, blues & roots Americana.
Review: Julia Holter herself describes this new album as "the cacophony of the mind in a melting world," and it provides the American singer, songwriter with her first studio album since 2015's Have You In My Wilderness. Aviary is an intrigue to say the least and it's hard not to feel as if a horror-thematic runs throughout its 11 tracks, with moments of temporary insanity and distress intertwining with hair-raising spots a ghostly allure, and it's as if any lightness in the album has had to pass its way through a thicket of darkness first. There's much dissonance to be heard here too but in a pleasantly unsettling way akin to listening to an orchestra tune itself, and with all the deep and meaningful aspects behind Holter's inspirations, it's a hell of a ride.
Review: Hot Chip are back! The coolest dudes since Devo return like a monkey with a miniature cymbal with their seventh full length album. With vocoding effects layered over the sweet tone of Alexis Taylor's voice referencing all matter of contemporary and retro-active pop and trance sensibilities, this album once again sees Hot Chip at the front of pioneering, friendly and avant garde pop music. Produced by the late Philippe Zdar (one half of Cassius) - also responsible for applying award winning touches to albums by Phoenix and Cat Power, Domino is calling the record "a celebration of joy but recognises the struggle it can take to get to that point of happiness". Our tips: album opener "Melody Of Love" and the '80s trance-pop that is "Hungry Child".
Review: More than merely an awaybreak for its members Alex Turner and Miles Kane, The Last Shadow Puppets proved themselves on their debut 'Age Of The Understatement' to be masters of a distinctly '60s-styled world of glamour and arresting artifice, their clever wordplay and swooning harmonies combining with ornate arrangements to create a sound as redolent of black-and-white kitchen sink dramas as the trials and tribulations of the twenty-first century everyday. This long-awaited sequel, meanwhile - reuniting them with string arranger Owen Pallett - displays that whereas their careers may have moved in markedly different directions in the interim, their wry and wordily ditties when united display an enviable chemistry and magnetic charm.
Review: Panda Bear aka Noah Lennox has been one of the more prolific solo artists to come out of the Animal Collective fold. Buoys presents a second album on UK independent Domino and his sixth solo album overall offers something of a new direction. Made in co-production with Rusty Santos (from The Present) the pair have delivered a work routed in hip hop and beat-making inspirations taking Panda Bear's music into a dubby and bass music realm. At times reminiscent of Ed Banger & Mr. Oizo quirkiness, alongside a trademark guitar sound and vocals drenched in reverb, the dub culture influence mixed in with the folk, and pop abnormalities, prove there's a deep layer of experimentation to Panda Bear's music yet.
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.