Album Roundup – November 2014

Including new releases from Dean Blunt, Neil Landstrumm, TV On The Radio, Simple Minds and Micah P Hinson

Album Roundup – November 2014

Micah P Hinson – The Gospel of Progress

Neil Landstrumm – Nights of Shame EP

(Kick + Clap) ●●●●●
Silly-good new stuff from producer Neil Landstrumm, on Kick + Clap, a brand new all-vinyl label which he says, ‘jacks so hard, it has to be from Chicago’. In reality, these squelchy, chiming, banging and, definitely kicking + clapping techno and acid house beats were actually made in Marchmont, Edinburgh, and put out by Django Django drummer and longtime record collector, Dave McLean. An intensely good fun four tracks, with titles like ‘Cheeseburgers with Beltram’. It’s getting a standing ovation. (Claire Sawers)

Dean Blunt – Black Metal

(Rough Trade) ●●●●
Never a laurel-rester, the unpigeonhole-able London and Atlanta-based artist is back with the follow-up to The Redeemer, continuing his project to fascinate, confound, and here, make swooningly beautiful, melodic, ambitious music. ‘Forever’ is a hypnotic 13-minute woozy loop; ‘Molly and Aquafina’ is a dreamy, repetitive tickle featuring Joanne Robertson’s Cat Power-esque vocals; and ‘Hush’ and ‘Mersh’ are a reminder of his Sade-goes-clubbing-in-South London dubby/ trappy/ jazzy past work as half of Hype Williams. (CS)

Jon Hassell & Brian Eno – Fourth World Vol 1: Possible Musics

(Glitterbeat) ●●●●
Take a slo-mo magic carpet ride around the desert with the re-release of this classic 1980 global fusion/ambient album by composer/ experimental trumpeter Jon Hassell, and electronic visionary (and Hassell fanboy) Brian Eno. Proto-afrobeat in a very slowed down, primitive and bendy sense, as the two create the ‘Fourth World’, their term for their new style of music which used modern technological treatments to reinterpret various cultures and times. (CS)

Richard Dawson – Nothing Important

(Weird World) ●●●
The superb Geordie troubadour returns, with more of his beautiful balladry of the mundane. Off-kilter twanged guitars, soured vocals and odd ditties make for a playfully, occasionally gorgeously idiosyncratic piece of modern folk – no wonder Stewart Lee declared his last album, The Glass Trunk his ‘Leftfield Album of the Year’. (CS)

TV On The Radio – Seeds

(Harvest Records / Virgin EMI) ●●●
Following the death of bassist Gerard Smith in 2011, TV On The Radio appear to have retreated to a safe musical place on Seeds, adopting the streamlined style evident on current single ‘Happy Idiot’, which sounds like an emasculated New Order, and on vacant radio fare such as ‘Right Now’. A couple of nice choral touches remain; otherwise, the idiosyncratic quirks have been ironed out of their sound. (Fiona Shepherd)

Simple Minds – Big Music

(Caroline International) ●●●
The Minds’ 16th album does a decent though not spectacular job of living up to its title, recalling the group’s mid-80s pomp on a number of first-pumping tracks and (sparingly) referencing the Europhile electro of their earlier career. But Jim Kerr is generally in more contemplative mood, paying tribute to his Southside stomping ground on ‘Honest Town’, one of a couple of co-writes with Iain Cook of Chvrches. (FS)

The Orchids – Beatitude #9

(Acuarela) ●●●●
While Taylor Swift attempts a narrow interpretation of the year of her birth on current album 1989, for some this was the sound of the 80s – hazy summer melodies, the soothing jangle of guitars, wistful vocals and a languid dash of elegant electronica. Glasgow quintet the Orchids haven’t changed the record in nearly 30 years – why would they when it still sounds fresh and lovely? (FS)

Micah P Hinson – The Gospel of Progress

(Talitres) ●●●●
Another backwards glance of sorts, to the halcyon days of 2004, courtesy of this reissue of the debut album from Texan singer / songwriter Micah P Hinson, whose hangdog vocals, gently skiffly rhythms, mellifluous guitar picking, mournful strings and lo-fi woodwind flourishes are now common currency, especially among homegrown indie folkies. The ragged passion of ‘Patience’ still resonates. (FS)

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