Selected Releases: Monday 7 July

Modern Guilt
MP3: Chemtrails
Knowle West Boy
MP3: Past Mistake
Black Kids
Partie Traumatic
MP3: Hurricane Jane

Album of the week is Beck’s Modern Guilt. Both progression and regression from Mr Hansen, as he builds on the success of Guero and The Information, yet strips away many of the superfluous gimmicks that littered his mid-90s albums. Full review later on in the week, but definitely get your hands on this one. Adrian Thaws up next, as Tricky returns with Knowle West Boy. Whilst still not a return to the form of Maxinquaye and Pre-Millennial Tension, this is a marked improvement on 2003’s Vulnerable. An improvement, despite a decidedly unusual cover of Kylie’s Slow. Nevertheless, five years in the making, and a welcome return. Sounding at times like it was five minutes in the making, Black Kids’ debut platter is something of a disappointment. Seemingly rush-released to consolidate their position after the success of single I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend…, this album comes across as unfinished and a bit half-arsed. Which is a shame because when the Floridians get it together, the result can be truly exciting.

Nude With Boots
MP3: Billy Fish
Blood Looms & Blooms
MP3: Norwegian Wood
MP3: Falcon Jab

Co-hosts of this winter’s ATP Nightmare Before Christmas, Melvins trot out their 16th LP Nude With Boots. Still garnering influential fans, this is pretty much Melvins on auto-pilot. The last time I encountered Leila was within a booing Björk crowd, now new Warp-signee unleashes her third LP. I’m assuming I’m missing something here, or the record must be a grower, as up to now I’m not all that impressed. Ratatat’s third record, on the other hand, is pretty obvious. Take it or leave it Justice-esque electro stomping.

Eat Static
Back To Earth
Crooked Still
Still Crooked
MP3: The Absentee
Cute Is What We Aim For
MP3: Safe Ride

Three varied releases make up our third tier this week, with some dance from creaking Eat Static, straight-up indie pop from Brooklyn’s Cute Is What We Aim For and a third LP from folky-bluegrass types Crooked Still. The latter two are particularly enjoyable, even if Rotation has the projected lifespan of a mayfly.

Five O’Clock Heroes
Speak Your Language
MP3: Who
Kids Aflame
Great Big Sea
Fortune’s Favour
MP3: Long Lost Love

Our last three releases throw up two surprises and one dreadful non-surprise. That comes in the form of Five O’Clock Heroes’ second record Speak Your Language. Way back when, I quite enjoyed the Time On Your Side single, but the following album and recent godawful Why have destroyed any enthusiasm for this kind of turgid nonsense. The suprises are particularly good this week, our second Brooklyner, Todd Goldstein aka Arms providing the biggest. The record is some really sharp songwriter stuff, the highlight for me being the wonderful Sad, Sad, Sad. Fans of Bon Iver’s debut will really enjoy this. And finally, the most bizzare concept of the week is Great Big Sea’s continuing journey into rediscovering traditional Canadian folk songs and sea shanties. This is apparently their 9th release, and it is a record full of vim, a great blast of Newfoundland air.

You can vote for your favourite record of the week using our poll in the left sidebar

Last week’s meagre pickings gave the following result:
=1. Watson Twins – Fire Songs
=1. Dirty Pretty Things – Romance At Short Notice
3. Fonda 500 – J’Mapelle Stereo

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