Albums round-up - June 2013

Queens of the Stone Age, Deap Vally, Jon Hopkins, The View, Austra and more reviewed

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Albums round-up - June 2013

Austra / Photo: Norman Wong

Queens of the Stone Age - ... Like Clockwork

(Matador Records) ●●●
The follow up to 2007’s Era Vulgaris is a slight departure from their previous efforts, with a more subdued stoner vibe throughout. The album begins with the brooding intensity of ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled’ which sets the benchmark for what is generally standard fare here. Featuring a number of collaborations throughout, new single ‘My God is the Sun’ is among the highlights of the album.

Quickbeam - Quickbeam

The View - Seven Year Setlist

(Cooking Vinyl) ●●●●
Dundee’s favourite sons reflect on their heady achievements to date by releasing their first retrospective compilation in an attempt to document the first chapter of their whirlwind career. Spanning no less than 21 of the band’s finest cuts, while also including three new tracks, the album serves as a reminder of the indie pop landscape that The View were instrumental in cultivating throughout the noughties.

Young Aviators - Self Help

Jon Hopkins - Immunity

(Domino) ●●●●
Last heard on his Mercury prize-nominated collaboration with King Creosote, Diamond Mine, London producer/musician and ambient auteur Hopkins goes it alone again in creating another immaculate world of sound. From the pumping (‘Collider’) to the pristinely pretty (‘Abandon Window’, ‘Immunity’), every decibel is a gift to the ears. John Hopkins doesn’t make washing machines, but if he did they’d probably be the best sounding washing machines ever.

Various artists (mixed by Gary Beck) - Soma Compilation 21

(Soma) ●●●●
The label responsible for helping break current global hype-magnets Daft Punk among many others over its 21 years and counting, Soma Records continues to go from strength to strength, as proven by this compilation of throbbing techno mixed by fast-rising Glasgow DJ Gary Beck, threading together tracks by the likes of DeepChord, Joe Stawarz, Funk D’Void and Silicone Soul.

Austra - Olympia

(Domino) ●●●
There’s nothing as essential on here as a ‘Lose It’ - the magisterial banger that lit the way towards Austra’s luminous debut album Feel It Break - but this is more strong stuff from the dark wave-y Canadian synth-pop ensemble, fronted by the classically-trained, vaulting-voiced Katie Stelmanis. It’s much the same dreamy textures as last time, but with a dancier pulse, from the motorik funk of ‘Forgive Me’ through the beatific disco of ‘We Become’.

Deap Vally - Sistrionix

(Island) ●●
A drums-and-guitar pair of LA ladies who, contrary to their trashy thigh-flashing party-girls image, claim to have met in crochet class, Deap Vally have the look and the creation myth stitched up tight. But there’s no getting away from how done-to-death punky blooze-rock like this is. They make a sub-White Stripes/Black Keys racket like they mean it, but Sistrionix is a debut deeply difficult to get excited about.

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