This year is shaping up to be pretty good for music so far. While, there is no earth shattering new musical movement to really excite, but there is definitely some quality out there, from both old and new artists.
Album: Pale Green Ghosts
Back-story: Former frontman of the Czars releases acclaimed second album of witty, grown up musings
Verdict: Largely electronic based, distinguished by mordant but often funny lyrics. GMF, is a stand out, a self deprecating track listing various shortcomings to a potential girlfriend, with a repeated refrain of “You could be laughing 65% more of the time”
Stand-out tracks: Pale Green Ghosts, Black Belt, GMF
Back-story: Canadian and Danish musicians collaborate on jazz tinged record with comparisons to the vocal style of Sade. Singer Mike Milosh is however a bloke, though one with a wonderful contralto voice
Verdict: Not dis-similar to last years stand out album from Jessie Ware, this is an accomplished collection of smooth urban tinged songs.
Stand-out tracks: Open, The Fall
Album: Comedown Machine
Back-story: Fifth album from the New York guitar outfit.
Verdict: nothing is ever likely to top “Is This It”, but this is a solid offering, with all elements of the Strokes trademark sound in place. All it lacks to distinguish it are a couple of killer tracks to lift it. It just kinda washes over you quite pleasantly
Stand-out tracks: Tap Out, One Way Trigger
Album: Pearl Mystic
Back-story: Young band from North England release much lauded psychedelic album, refuse to sign to a major
Verdict: Washed out in reverb and layered guitars, this is reminiscent of early Jesus and Mary Chain, with a dose of Tame Impala. Not for everyone, but probably the closest thing on this list to hint at youthful rebellion
Stand-out tracks: Form and Function, Preservation
Album: Wonderful, Glorious
Back-story: Mark Oliver Everett’s latest album is more optimistic than previous releases, but the distinctive growl is still here
Verdict: Rewards repeated listening, more accessible than previous outings
Stand-out tracks: Bombs Away, Kinda Fuzzy
Album: Walkin’ on a Pretty Daze
Back-story: Inappropriately named, laid back songsmith releases another album of gentle, downbeat songs
Verdict: One of his best, though for me, not quite up there with his previous album “Smoke Ring For My Halo”, but a record with melodic hooks a plenty, with a strong melancholic undertow.
Stand-out tracks: Walkin on a Pretty Day, KV Crimes, Too Hard
Back-story: The second incarnation of Suede (without Bernard Butler), and back after a ten year hiatus
Verdict: Against the odds, one of their best ever albums, with a first half full of shimmering icy glam rock, and strong medlodies.
Stand-out tracks: Barriers. It Starts and Ends with You