Yeah, so I haven’t posted for an age because I’ve been distracted with breaking up with the guy I’ve been with for a third of my life. The good news is I’m back in the room, so why the hell don’t we resume proceedings with a look at the coming quarter’s extra good releases? Yes? Hooray!
1. Graham Coxon, A&E
No need to call out the emergency services at all, actually; Coxon returns to the present with album number eight. Unlike 2009′s more traditionally accented acoustic-rock offering, The Spinning Top, the ante has been upped with a bit of scree-y grub and machinic nuance on A&E. The result is ten consistently visceral tracks of glottal electronica, punk and more than a splash of Germanic industrialism all to the tune of Coxon’s signature Blurish ‘who’d care’ vocal. So if you’re expecting the vocal clarity and Drake-y-ness we heard from Coxon three years ago, you’ll be disappointed. Well, you won’t be disappointed at all because it’s really good and stuff, but don’t hold out for spades of that classical-ish guitar gubbins: A&E sounds a bit like what a general anaesthetic feels like. It’s out on EMI now.
2. Richard James, Pictures In The Morning
Yeah, that’s Richard James of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, comin’ atcha with his second solo LP. Although not a drastic sidestep away from what Gorky’s got up to, you can forget any out-and-out experimentalism: Pictures In The Morning is 93% straight up acoustic singer-songwriting, with the odd flurry of strings adding a nod of colour now and then. The remaining 7% features plugged up guitar effects on ‘Magical Day’, but that’s as rude as this very intimate record gets. In fact, admitting to a Joe Meek moment, James says of the record’s deliberate simplicity; “I record everything now in houses, using every area of the building… It makes it hard to do drum tracks live but you can do acoustic ones. The album is meant to be quite low-key and intimate as it’s quite personal.” Who knew? Available 23rd April on Gwymon.
3. Cate Le Bon, CYRK
Sticking with the Welsh theme for the moment, how about some Cate Le Bon? Swanning onto the scene in 2008 courtesy of Gruff Rhys when she featured on Neon Neon’s Stainless Style, Le Bon’s second solo album is a surprise affair where romantic bucolic variously fuses with psych, prog and old school garage in a hail of instrumentation and effects. Le Bon’s feminine yet almost deadpan vocal is an easy match for that of old gruffly Gruff who, by the way, has his own cameo appearance on CYRK. Once upon a time, traditional Welsh music involved odd bagpipes and those sincere choral line ups; these days, the valleys are steeped in weirdness. We love it. Get it on 30th April, Turnstile.
4. Way Yes, Walkability
You know all this a.m.a.z.i.n.g sun we’ve been enjoying recently? And you know how when the sun starts hinting at springtime that we get all over our Facebooks and Twitters requesting apposite musical recommendations to accompany the blue skies and sunbeams? Well, it’s a shame Way Yes are making us hang on until June for this record; if the EP’s anything to go by, the album would have been perfect last week. It’s tropical but voicey; worldy too, but not self-indulgent or inaccessible. If you liked the sort of thing El Guincho did on Alegranza!, you’ll like these guys from Columbus, Ohio. Yes, everyone’s surprised they’re from Ohio… Out on Lefse on 18th June.
5. Weird Dreams, Choreography
Whenever anyone cites ’50s doo wop or ’60s girl groups as a point of reference, I’m all over it. Ergo, East London’s psych-pop four-piece, Weird Dreams, can sit on my lap and have me pet them while I bob them along on my knee any time. Their self-produced debut album is a wry creamy dream of an updated take on a retrospective soundscape. It’s refreshingly upbeat for the most part, nostalgically swing-soaked in other places but delightfully un-pretentious, despite frontman Doran Edwards’s statement about what the band were aiming for with their sound; “The way David Lynch pushes reality to a point where it feels uncomfortable, his obsession with 1950s culture, his stream of consciousness approach to working. Weird Dreams is a bittersweet pop band with twists.” He might not have been referring to the dance expounded by the likes of The Beatles, but I challenge you not to jig your body about in some manner to Choreography. You may acquire the record now, which is out on Tough Love.