By Jack Holmes
It certainly hasn’t been the best week for students in Britain, but June did bring with it some great new albums that will hopefully take your mind off the fact the country is in pretty rough shape. Here’s a run down of this month’s new releases that you should have a listen to, perhaps while weeping at the stock market.
Whitney – Light Upon The Lake
Everyone likes a wildcard entry, right? Well Whitney’s debut is certainly this month’s. The duo is made up of former Smith Westerns guitarist Max Kakacek and former Unknown Mortal Orchestra drummer Julien Ehrlich, both of whom had been stand out members of their previous bands, yet neither had ever really gone on to make it big. Light Upon The Lake aims to do exactly that with some pure, undiluted summer rock and roll. The album’s a mix of twisting guitar flourishes, slurred brass riffs and a voice so smooth it makes the whole thing feel almost easy listening. It’s a perfect time for an album and an artist like this, and perhaps it’s the escapism that’ll stop you going insane in the face of the fleet of Brexit horrors sure to fill the summer’s headlines.
The Nottingham indie star has made his name with two albums of folk and blues inspired hit and miss. His third outing, On My One, is no exception, but goes much further, incorporating an eclectic mix of sounds from across the musical landscape. It’s not always a helpful addition to his signature sound, Fun Lovin Criminals inspired Ain’t No Rhyme is a clear reminder of exactly why folk, blues and hip-hop don’t tend to mix. The majority of the album however is purely unique, with tracks that simply add dashes of new influence being the real stand outs. ‘Never Wanna Dance’’s soul infusion and the jazzy additions to ‘Livin’ Up Country’ among others give a memorable entry in the Bugg discography.
The Kills’ first album in five years is a near perfect recap of their entire career to date, whilst managing to effortlessly incorporate a plethora of afro-pop beats. It’s a fitting title for an album that will hopefully introduce The Kills back to the alt rock world, sounding fresher than ever, well, at least if you haven’t been subjected to the adverts section of Spotify lately. The duo flourish with their contrasting sounds, singer Allison Mosshart’s floating vocals dancing around the hard as nails, edgy guitar riffs of Jamie Hince. At 13 tracks and over 50 minutes long, it clocks in as The Kills’ longest album by miles, showing that you can get quality and quantity. If you wait five years for it.
In need of some foot tapping, catchy pop rock to get you through the horrors of the world? Look no further than The Temper Trap’s third LP outing. There’s something thoroughly mainstream about The Temper Trap, a kind of U2/Coldplay/Snow Patrol DNA that critics desperately avoid at the cost of losing their ‘edgy’ personas. I’d argue that there’s a reason those bands are popular, and without the backing of good reviews, they may never have reached the mainstream audiences they now dominate. With multiple catchy albums that, granted, don’t revolutionize the music industry, but are sure as hell catchy fun, I’d argue they’ve earned at least a listen. The Temper Trap aren’t reinventing the wheel, but the wheel they’re offering is pretty damn catchy.
The New Zealand duo’s follow up to their debut Evergreen hits often, and hard. “This album is a punch in the face compared to the last one,” synth-player Caleb Nott explains. “This one really goes for the throat.” The band’s gradual maturity is easy to spot here with a follow up that’s louder, feistier and altogether bigger than their debut. Broods have come into their own with a moody synth-electro-pop hybrid that’s as catchy as it is cleverly layered. With the Swedish house star Tove Lo featuring on ‘Freak of Nature’ don’t be surprised if you start hearing a lot more of Broods as they’re launched into the mainstream limelight over the next year.
Tegan and Sera – Love You To Death (90s pop and drum machines help take Tegan and Sera back to their pre Oscar winning roots)
Mumford & Sons – Johannesburg (African rhythms and the folk sounds they’re famed for? Worth a listen)
Radiohead – A Moon-Shaped Pool (For those of you who like something a little complex)
Disclosure – Moog For Love (The Disclosure brothers drop a surprise EP that doesn’t quite hit the magnitude of their LPs but is still well worth a listen)