Electronica Album Reviews

Cabaret Voltaire: Shadow of Fear review – a fittingly dystopian fantasy from Sheffield’s industrial pioneers

Mute
The first Cabaret Voltaire album in more than two decades feels oddly of the moment, their grim presentiments about disinformation, curfews and crackdowns fulfilled

Between 1974 and 1994, Cabaret Voltaire made a career out of being slightly ahead of the curve. They may well have been the world’s first industrial band. Throbbing Gristle coined the genre’s name, but more than a year before they formed, Cabaret Voltaire were ensconced in a Sheffield attic, experimenting with tape cut-ups inspired by William Burroughs, looped recordings of machinery in place of rhythms and churning electronic noise. When their sound shifted in the early 80s to something more commercially palatable, involving funk, the influence of New York electro and, eventually, collaborations with Chicago house pioneer Marshall Jefferson, it presaged their home town’s unique take on dance music, which eventually produced revered techno label Warp.

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Sun Ra Arkestra: Swirling review – out of this world

(Strut)
The Arkestra’s first album in 20 years is an intoxicating, cosmic tribute to Sun Ra

For much of his long, prolific career, the late Sun Ra (born plain Herman Blount) found his music marginalised. Though rooted in jazz tradition, its atonal tunings and proto-electronica, along with its space-age themes and gaudy costumes, were too way out for an era of studied, mohair-suited cool. Since his death in 1993, however, Ra has become hailed as a pioneer of Afrofuturism, whose influence runs from Funkadelic to Black Panther. Meanwhile Ra’s band, the Arkestra, have toured tirelessly, presided over by alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, now 96.

This first album in 20 years proves an inspired tribute to the master, revisiting celebrated pieces like Satellites Are Spinning, with its promise A better day is breaking/ The planet Earth’s awakening”, beautifully sung by violinist Tara Middleton. The vocalised, upbeat mood (Ra was essentially utopian) maintains through the bebop riff of Rocket Number Nine, and Allen’s title track, whose finger-snapping big band arrangement evokes a nightclub on Mars, while the swaying Egyptian melody of Angels and Demons at Play and the foreboding Sea of Darkness come from deeper space. It’s a heady brew, challenging but intoxicating. Ra always said his music was from the future… and now it has arrived.

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Ela Minus: Acts of Rebellion review – techno-pop for dancing, thinking and resisting

(Domino)
Making her debut album alone on analogue machines, Minus has come up with an inspiring manifesto for 2020

As acts of rebellion go, Ela Minus’s is an intimate yet powerful one. On her debut album, the Colombia-born, Brooklyn-based artist makes personal-is-political statements amid alternately soothing and rousing electronic soundscapes, all of which she crafted alone in her apartment using analogue equipment.

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Autechre: Sign review

(Warp)
A surprisingly melodic proper album is welcome from the electronic pioneers, but its dystopian soundworld is now in a crowded market

As the devastating and the downright uncanny both become normalised, few things still have the power to surprise in 2020. That said, few would have expected Autechre to conjure up an album-length album, actually conceptualised and sequenced true to the format. The Rochdale-originated duo’s recent output consists of weighty folder dumps, marathon radio residencies and other swathes of experimental electronics, club deviations and wee-hours abstractions. These exciting, befuddling drops are often left raw and unsorted for fans to construct their own canons from the pair’s extensive discography. Now relocated and working remotely from one another long before lockdown, Autechre have been mining away at a sound influenced more temporally than geographically: electro, bleep techno, funk and old-school hip-hop styles of the 80s and 90s continue to shape the direction of the Warp Records mainstays.

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Róisín Murphy: Róisín Machine review – still inventing new moves

(Skint/BMG)
Pop outsider and lockdown living-room star Murphy distils her disco expertise and musical idiosyncrasies in songs pulsing with dancefloor power

The first thing you hear on Róisín Murphy’s fifth album is a snatch of spoken word, an extract from a monologue that appears in full later. “I feel my story is still untold,” she says, “but I’ll make my own happy ending.”

Murphy’s fans may concur with the sentiment. It’s an article of faith among them that the former Moloko frontwoman should be more famous than she is: look online and the word “underrated” seems to attach itself to her like a nickname. Watching the footage of her performing her former band’s 2003 single Forever More at Glastonbury, or the videos she posted from her living room during lockdown, you can see what they mean. The former offers eight minutes during which Murphy manages to sport four different, preposterous headdresses and execute a mid-song costume change from late-80s raver in puffa jacket, beanie and KLF T-shirt into a glamorous red dress and feather boa. The latter’s high point might well come during a rendition of Murphy’s Law, a single from Róisín Machine, that also involves several changes of headdress: high-kicking around her coffee table, she falls flat on her arse, rectifying herself with a defiant bellow of “I’m alright!” You watch them and think, yes, the charts probably would be a more interesting place if, say, Dermot Kennedy or James Arthur made way for Murphy.

Related: Róisín Murphy: ‘In my pregnancy I was fed like a goose being fattened up’

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Metal Album Reviews

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Rock Album Reviews

Six Feet Under: “Nightmares Of The Decomposed” Album Review

Six Feet Under make it very clear that more than 25 years into their career, they remain at the forefront of the death metal. Dynamic, heavy-as-hell, catchy, and uncompromising, it is everything that the band’s longtime faithful have come to expect from these giants. The band members are Chris Barnes (vocals), Jack Owen (rhythm and …

Six Feet Under: “Nightmares Of The Decomposed” Album Review Read More »

Behemoth: “And the Forests Dream Eternally” Reissue Review

Behemoth slithered out of Poland and forever changed the black metal scene. After numerous successful albums and multiple monstrous tours, Nergal and company have risen to become quite the powerhouse in a genre that was once very much underground and taboo. Perhaps this album is their gift of sorts to their most loyal fans. And …

Behemoth: “And the Forests Dream Eternally” Reissue Review Read More »

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Classical Music Album Reviews

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Country Music Album Reviews

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Jazz & Blues Album Reviews

Kaz Hawkins – Memories Of | Album Review

Kaz Hawkins – Memories Of

www.kazhawkins.com

self release

10 songs time – 41:45

Northern Irish songstress Kaz Hawkins lends her big brassy voice to songs taken from her successful European touring show “Memories of Etta James” covering many of Ms. James’ most iconic songs and giving some a different treatment. She gives good energetic readings of Etta’s songs. She enlisted a very capable band that includes a horn section to punch up the energy.

Among the stand out tracks are the classic “Tell Mama”, “Blind Girl”(usually known as “I’d Rather Go Blind”) and of course “At Last”. Her vocal delivery on the ballad “Losers Weepers” makes her similarity to Etta’s voice all the more evident. She squeezes ever drop of emotion out of “Blind Girl”. Otis Redding’s “Mr. Pitiful” is rightly transformed into “Miss Pitiful” in a powerful version. Her voice approaches the sound of a horn at times on the old chestnut “St. Louis Blues”.

The horn section blasts behind her high powered vocal on “I Just Wanna Make Love To You”. The version of “Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” drifts back and forth from the sound of the original to a rhythm & blues treatment. “Tell Mama” pretty much follows Etta’s delivery. “At Last”, perhaps her signature song, closes out the CD on a high note just as it should. A two piece string section manages to attain the depth of a full string section would, probably from overdubs.

Kaz achieves a good representation of Etta James’ legacy while adding creative touches of her own. This is not to slight the talented musicians supporting her vocal efforts. Stef Paglia contributes a tasty slide guitar solo to “Spoonful” and a distortion solo to “Tell Mama”. Sam York covers the keyboard spectrum that is essential to this R&B sound. Crack rhythm, horn and string sections round out the sound. In the end a very worthy representation of the Etta James sound. Kaz Hawkins has the necessary tools for the job.

Fabrizio Poggi – For You | Album Review

Fabrizio Poggi – For You

Appaloosa Records

10 songs – 34 minutes

www.chickenmambo.com

Harp player Fabrizio Poggi soared to the heights of the American music scene in partnership with Guy Davis in 2018 for Sonny & Brownie’s Last Train, which was a Grammy finalist, but shifts gears from Piedmont stylings here for a distinctly different follow-up, a gentle treasure that blends classical blues, gospel, folk, jazz and world music while delivering a deep, spiritual message of love and hope for a troubled world.

Based out of Milan, where he fronts the band Chicken Mambo and he’s to be considered the Italian version of Ry Cooder, Poggi is no stranger to American audiences. In addition to appearances on Davis’ three most recent recordings, he’s played everywhere from Carnegie Hall to Mississippi jukes and Texas roadhouses, and penned books on blues history and harp players, too, one of which was illustrated by Robert Crumb.

This is Fabrizio’s 23rd album in a career that’s included recording with Ruthie Foster, W.C. Clark, Lavelle White, Mike Zito, Carolyn Wonderland, Eric Bibb, Ronnie Earl, Bob Margolin, Tex Mex great Flaco Jimenez and others. A sweet tenor, he also plays ukulele and acoustic guitar on this one, which was recorded, arranged and produced by Stefano Spina, who adds keyboards, bass and percussion.

They’re backed by an interesting mix of musicians, including Arsene Duevi (classical guitar and vocals), Enrico Polverari and Giampiero Spina (acoustic and electric guitars), Tito Mangialajo Rantzer (bass), Pee Wee Durante and Stefano Intelisano (keyboards), Tullio Ricci (sax), Luca Calabrese (trumpet) as well as backing vocals from Laura Cerri, Elena Garbelli, Francesca Lucarelli, Veronique Mangini, Massimo Minardi, Marco Mutti, Marilisa Rotondo, Simone Scarsellini, Ilaria Scola, Rossana Torri and Mauro Vantadori.

A set that features complex, multi-layered instrumentation as the lineup suggests, For You is a change of pace for U.S. fans who are familiar with Fabrizio’s skill as a Piedmont-style harp player. A blend of originals and updates of songs from the American songbook, it’s primarily a collection of blues-infused ballads that mirrors the somber feeling most folks are experiencing in the current world and gradually instills hope for brighter future with each passing tune.

A brief, quiet instrumental run featuring Calabrese’s trumpet opens the familiar “Keep on Walkin’” with Poggi unhurriedly delivering an anthem of hope used prominently in the Civil Rights movement. It flows smoothly in to a take on the “If These Wings,” which also opens with a trumpet flourish as it insists that “there is no grave that can hold my body down.”

The mood brightens a little as Fabrizio follows with “Chariot” – a rearrangement of the familiar “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” a tune penned in the 1860s by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman living in Indian Territory in what’s now Oklahoma. And it brightens a little more with the optimistic “Don’t Get Worried,” a lesser-known traditional that opens with an electric guitar run and quickly evolves into a driving blues. The first half of the set concludes with an unhurried, electrified version of “I’m Going There” in which Poggi’s harp runs counterpoint to the melody throughout.

A reinterpretation of Eric Bibb’s love song, “For You,” opens the second half of the disc, which includes all of the new material. It’s a sweet ballad that insists the singer would “walk across a burning desert bearing water to quench your thirst.” The Poggi original, “My Name Is Earth,” is up next, questioning in first person whether the listener cares about Mother Nature, building in intensity aided by a choir before easing back to allow for time to ponder during orchestration infused with jazz and blues.

Optimism sets in with the voices of children that open a take on the traditional “Just Love” and the message that the singer’s going to a land where there’s no depression and free from care, then takes listeners to church with the sweet, bright Fabrizio original “Sweet Jesus.” The disc concludes with another pleaser co-written with Spina. Entitled “It’s Not Too Late” and delivered by Duevi and Poggi in both English and Italian, it’s a timely reminder to keep the faith because there are brighter times ahead.

Sure, this isn’t your typical blues. If you’re looking for the old one-four-five, songs of protest and images of life on the street, look elsewhere. But if you’re interested in a little spiritual healing, this one’s definitely a welcome massage for the soul!

Lloyd Jones – Tennessee Run | Album Review

Lloyd Jones – Tennessee Run

14 songs – 45 minutes

VizzTone Label Group VT-LL-010

www.lloydjonesmusic.com

One of the most soulful guitarists ever to come out of the Pacific Northwest, Lloyd Jones gathers together several top musicians from Nashville for this tour de force album, an all-original set that delivers a heaping helping of the swamp-infused blues and roots he’s been delivering since the ‘70s.

A native of Portland, Ore., Jones grew up in a musical family and turned to the guitar in his teens after playing drums professionally with his brother. Deeply influenced by Chicago blues and R&B, Lloyd’s early years were filled with the sounds of Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, James Brown and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and encouragement from both harp giant Big Walter Horton and S.P. Leary, the legendary timekeeper for both Muddy and Howlin’ Wolf.

Jones fronted the pop band Brown Sugar, a regional favorite, through the late ‘70s after replacing his brother in the lineup, and eventually formed a partnership with Curtis Salgado in a duo that endured until the vocalist split for the East Coast to join Roomful of Blues in the mid-‘80s. Lloyd subsequently split his time between his own bands and work with Big Mama Thornton, Albert Collins, Charlie Musselwhite, Tommy Castro and others.  A gifted tunesmith, his songs have been recorded by Salgado, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Joe Louis Walker and Coco Montoya.

Lloyd received inspiration for this disc while sailing on Delbert McClinton’s Sandy Beaches Cruise. Delbert, Teresa James and Portland powerhouse LaRhonda Steele all appear as special guests, delivering vocals on one cut each. Recorded and mixed by Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist Kevin McKendree at his Rock House studio in Franklin, Tenn., the lineup includes McKendree on keys with Steve Mackey on bass, Jim Hoke on tenor sax, Quentin Ware on trumpet, Roy Agee on trombone, Kenneth Blevins and Reinhardt Melz on percussion and Etta Britt and Jackie Wilson on backing vocals.

Jones fires out of the gate with a fat, chunky guitar run to open “You Got Me Good,” a horn-propelled blue-eyed soul pleaser that blazes ahead throughout atop a driving rhythm. The feel continues in the medium-fast shuffle, “Me & You,” which celebrates the sparks that fly when the lovebirds are together, before Teresa joins the action, sharing the mic for “I Wish I Could Remember Loving You,” a roadhouse rocker delivered with parallel vocal lines and tasty work on the fretboard and 88s.

The love theme takes a momentary backseat for “Where’s My Phone?” It’s a funky, James Brown-inspired number that opens with a hit of rap as it recounts the unsuccessful search in a percussive stop-time R&B before the unhurried ballad, “A True Love Never Dies,” provides an opportunity to cuddle closely on the dance floor and Bayou Boys” — one of two tunes co-written with McKendree and Grammy winner Gary Nicholson – delivers a tip of the hat to south Louisiana in a style that would make the Meters smile.

Delbert joins the fray for the bluesy rocker “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” as Lloyd and Kevin lay down steady riffs to keep things moving steadily forward. The horn-powered “Turn Me Loose” swings from the jump before “That’s All I Want,” another Gulf Coast treat, features LaRhonda as it describes the ecstasy involved in hearing the lady’s voice and sharing a kiss or two, a message that’s repeated in “Love Is Everything.”

Jones’ thoughts turn to food with “Chicken Bones.” All he wants is the meat, but his lady’s split, leaving him with nothing but the frame – and plenty of space for his musicians to display their talent. The Southern rocker, “Every Time We Meet,” puts a smile on his face once more before “Dilly Dally,” a wha-wha-pedaled tune with a Dr. John feel, and rocker “Chevrolet Angel” power the set to close.

Don’t be fooled by the title. Tennessee Run was recorded in the Volunteer State, but definitely conveys the feel of the Big Easy and Louisiana swamp throughout. The warmth of the people, heat of the music and sweet licks shine in every cut. Strongly recommended.

Dave Riley & Bob Corritore – Travelin’ The Dirt Road | Album Review

Dave Riley & Bob Corritore – Travelin’ The Dirt Road

Vizztone Label Group

www.bobcorritore.com

12 tracks

Originally released on Blue Witch records in 2007, Bob Corritore has remastered and updated this great album  of 10 original Dave Riley cuts and a pair of tunes written by Dave’s longtime friend and bandmate John Weston. Recorded over three sessions in 2005 and 2006 in Tempe, AZ, the songs feature the fine guitar and vocals of Dave Riley and the always stellar harp of Bob Corritore. Two of the tracks are newly released. Joining Dave and Bob are Johnny Rapp on guitar for 10 tracks, Matt Bishop on piano for a pair of cuts, Dave’s son Dave, Jr, ion bass for 8 songs, Paul Thomas on two tracks on bass, and Tom Coulson on drums for 10 tracks.

Riley goes acoustic with Dave in support without backing on a pair of cuts, “Overalls” and Safe At Last.” Both have a great down home, front porch feel to them, where one can imagine being in the Mississippi Delta on a hot afternoon sipping some iced tea or lemonade and listening to these two just play and sing effortlessly and joyfully. The album opens with the swinging “I’m Not Your Junkman,” a song about Dave’s trash talking woman. There is some nice guitar work and of course Corritore blows impressive harp. The title track follows, a driving cut with impressive harp soloing. “Come Here Woman” follows the first acoustic cut, a slow and low down and dirty blues. With harp and ax laying it out for us. “Let’s Have Some Fun Together” is next and features a pretty instrumental opening. More great harp and guitar and, of course, Riley’s passionate vocals.

The pace picks up a bit with “My Baby’s Gone;” Riley sings that he moans for his baby but the pacing expresses hope. We get a nice piano solo here, the first of three. “Voodoo Woman, Voodoo Man” is up after that, more slow blues with expressive vocals, harp and guitar and some piano thrown in the mix for fun, too. Up next is “Way Back Home” where Riley plays and sings with intensity. Corritore stays solidly great and the piano adds dimension to the mix. “Doggone Blues” features more slow and pretty blues. The guitar and harp are intense and the vocals are filled with grit. “Country Tough” picks up the pace again tempo-wise and offers variety. A big guitar intro opens “Friends” as Riley again sings with passion and Corritore plays more mean harp.  The other acoustic cut concludes the album.

Bob Corritore’s vault of music is like a diamond mine; it has so many gems in it ready for the picking, cleaning up and releasing.  I enjoyed listening to and reviewing  their first collaborative album together Lucky To Be Living in 2009 on Blue Witch (along with 2013’s Hush Your Fuss! and relish finally adding this set of tunes to my collection.  It’s really great stuff!

Kim Wilson – Take Me Back! The Bigtone Sessions | Album Review

Kim Wilson – Take Me Back! The Bigtone Sessions

16 songs – 50 minutes

M.C. Records MC-0087

Harmonica giant Kim Wilson earned two Grammy nominations for M.C. Records in the early 2000s with the CDs Smokin’ Joint and Lookin’ for Trouble, but returns to the fold after a 17-year absence for this disc, which turns back the clock in more ways than one – because it was recorded in mono and live to analog tape just like it was done in the old days.

A 16-cut mix of clever originals and familiar covers, Take Me Back! was captured by Big Jon Atkinson, a modern-day master of old-school recording techniques, at his throwback BigTone Studios, using no more than four tracks on any song and laying down everything without overdubs just like they did it at Chess, Vee-Jay and Cobra in the ‘50s. The resulting sound is warm, rich and deep – items that are occasionally missing in digital studios today.

It’s a welcome change-of-pace for Wilson, the founding father of the legendary Fabulous Thunderbirds, who still plays up to 300 nights a year – COVID-19 permitting – while fronting them and splitting his time with his own band, Kim Wilson’s Allstars, and serving as a first-call musician for Buddy Guy, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton and others.

Like his regular bands, this album is chockful of talent. The lineup includes Atkinson, Billy Flynn, Kid Andersen, Rusty Zinn and Danny Michel on guitars, Bob Welsh on keys, Marty Dotson, Ronnie Smith, June Core, Al West and Malachi Johnson on drums and Kedar Roy, Troy Sandow and Greg Roberts on bass with Johnny Viau sitting in on horns. And longtime bandmate Barrelhouse Chuck’s also present on piano for two of his final recordings. The album’s dedicated to “my rogue uncle, the legend, Jimmy Rogers.”

Wilson opens with an easy/greasy cover of Jimmy Nolen’s familiar “You’ve Been Goofing” before exploding on the reeds for the original, rapid-fire instrumental, “Wingin’ It,” which alternately soars and glides aided by Big Jon on six-string. And Kim’s “Fine Little Woman” comes across with a classic feel, a perfect fit for versions of Larry Williams’ “Slow Down,” Howlin’ Wolf’s “No Place to Go” and Percy Mayfield’s “Strange Things Happenin’.”

The original West Coast blues, “Play Me,” features Flynn and Atkinson on guitars before Wilson does justice to the Windy City warhorse “If It Ain’t Me,” – one of four Rogers tunes in the set. The slow-paced instrumental, “Strollin’,” gives Kim plenty of space to work out on the reeds before two more Rogers classics: the familiar “The Last Time” and “Money, Marbles & Chalk.”

Little Walter’s “Take Me Back” gets a comfortable lump-de-lump arraignment before Wilson switches from diatonic to chromatic for another sensational instrumental original, “Rumblin’,” and the medium-paced shuffle, “I’m Sorry,” which features perfect, single-note guitar runs. Rogers’ “Goin’ Away Baby” sets up the instrumental “Out of the Fryin’ Pan” to bring the action to a close.

Available from most major retailers, Take Me Back! is as comfortable as a well-worn pair of expensive loafers. Try it on. If you’re old-school like me, it’s a great fit!

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Pop Album Reviews

Taylor Swift Announces Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions Film

Unable to tour due to the ongoing pandemic, Taylor Swift opted instead to write and record her new album folklore. The album’s intimate, lo-fi sonics are largely a reflection of its recording process, as the normally bombastic pop singer was forced to record the 16-track LP in isolation, with collaborators…

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Taylor Swift Announces Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions Film
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BTS Perform “Life Goes On” in Bathrobes on Good Morning America: Watch

After dazzling on the American Music Awards on Sunday night, BTS kick started the week with an appearance on Good Morning America. The K-pop superstars performed their latest hit single, “Life Goes On”, in addition to discussing what it’s like being separated from their Army during the pandemic. For the…

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BTS Perform “Life Goes On” in Bathrobes on Good Morning America: Watch
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Kali Uchis: Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞ review – her best is yet to come

(Interscope/Virgin EMI)
In her first fully Spanish release, the LA-based artist offers a suck-it-and-see set with glimmers of promise

If Ariana Grande is pop’s Barbarella, then Kali Uchis is surely its Pussy Galore. The Los Angeles-based 26-year-old specialises in slow-jam hybrids of shimmering soul, lipgloss-sticky funk, sugary R&B and syrupy trap-pop with (you get the consistency) a Y2K hyperreal sheen. Her EP from April this year didn’t sound that far off Grande’s Positions. Embracing her Colombian heritage with her first fully Spanish release – her name translates as Without Fear (of Love and Other Demons), plus, for the hell of of it, an infinity symbol – Uchis’s follow-up to her acclaimed 2018 breakthrough Isolation makes a superb bid for the Bond soundtrack with her belting cover of Cuban singer La Lupe’s Qué Te Pedí. Equally cinematic is the trip-hop of Vaya Con Dios, in which she sings seductively over what sounds like Portishead’s Sour Times.

It’s a shame that these bursts are few and far between: for the most part, this album deals in a sort of muffled, dreamy malaise (floaty reggaeton, noncommittal bangers), nods to Spain’s Bad Gyal and ticks off 2020 pop’s now customary list of girl-on-girl tonguing (in the video for single La Luz), lowercase tracklisting and a Rico Nasty guest feature. This album doesn’t feel much like Uchis’s artistic step-up, her Norman Fucking Rockwell or El Mal Querer, but more like a suck-it-and-see step on – a hastily released album that suggests her best is yet to come.

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Tayla Parx: Coping Mechanisms review – a treat of a breakup album

(Tayla Made/Atlantic)
The songwriter steps out of Ariana Grande’s studio and into her own for this impressive, genre-crossing second solo album

Grammy-nominated for her work with Ariana Grande, Texan Tayla Parx is best known for her songwriting for other people. Increasingly, though, she looks poised to ascend as a solo artist in her own right. Coping Mechanisms follows suit sonically from her plush, bright 2019 debut, We Need to Talk, albeit a little more jaded tonally. Through pop, indie, R&B, dance and hip-hop it explores the aftermath of a bitter breakup (“I know I shouldn’t say this, but I hope you’re so fucking sad,” Parx sweetly intones on opener Sad). Her voice bounces fluidly between formidable anthemic singing and choppy bars (closing track Y Know is a slick showcase of both).

Other standouts include the luxe bassline of Dance Alone, the dynamic rhythms of Bricks, and rippling banger System, which finds her partying through the pain. Justified is a striking power ballad, contemplating whether she really wants the relationship to end; Parx’s silky vocal is beautiful as she admits that, with enough attention, her partner could cut their fork in the road with a knife. All polished production, deft instrumentation and resonant lyrics, it’s an impressive, fun addition to the breakup album canon.

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Neil Young: Archives Vol II: 1972-1976 review – guitar duels, live jams and onstage banter

(Reprise)
Featuring countless 70s outtakes over 10 CDs, this long-awaited box set captures the Canadian grappling with fame while boldly pursuing unfamiliar sounds and moods

If you’re fresh to the news that the second instalment in Neil Young’s epochal archive striptease is finally upon us, it’s already too late. The 3,000 copies of this £210 box set – 10 CDs, some not-even-bootlegged rarities, all originally slated for reveal in 2014 – have already found homes in homes other than yours.

Young has said another run will follow, due to ship in March. But like its predecessor, Archives Vol I: 1963-1972, released 11 long years ago, Archives Vol II: 1972-1976 will be available to stream on this maverick artist’s own subscription channel, Neil Young Archives.

Hawaiian Sunrise’s balmy hotel bar vibe almost disguises Young’s inner tussle: between his love and his art

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