Looking to liven up your record collection with some hot new releases? Here’s a comprehensive list to help you get started…

Cigarettes After Sex

01 Cigarettes After Sex – Cry

Greg Gonzalez took his sweet time with Cigarettes After Sex’s exquisitely dreamy debut – a record that sold half a million copies – so it’s a pleasant surprise to hear a follow-up only two years later. Recorded by moonlight in a Mallorcan mansion, the sonic footprint has changed little, with glacial guitar arpeggios bathed in reverb and Gonzalez’ sleepy cooing vocal hanging over deliciously melancholic waltz-time examinations of love and sex. Fans of that first album will swoon immediately at lead single Don’t Let Me Go, and Heavenly’s chorus is exactly as its name suggests, gently devotional and underpinned by a guitar phrase that’s pretty well edible. The whole thing feels like the soundtrack to a heart-rending black and white movie scene where doomed lovers kiss hopelessly in a lamplit deluge. – 8/10

Bruce Springsteen

02 Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars – Songs From The Film

“You can run away a lot for a little while,” Bruce Springsteen announces in a surprisingly gruff voice, settling in for this live celebration of his recent, majestic album, “but you can’t run away from it all forever.” Gently strumming his acoustic guitar, for a moment it sounds like we’re in for a night of Nebraska-style reworkings, but in the background of Chasing Horses, strings start slowly to swell, then his band eases in, and while we can’t run away forever from The Boss’ quintessential Americana, we can lose ourselves in what are surely the richest, most romantic arrangements he’s ever employed.

Recorded in front of what sounds like an intimate audience at his family estate in New Jersey, it finds him confirming that when he’s not projecting to the back of an arena, Springsteen still reaches the heart. Hello Sunshine’s pedal steel embellishments are positively dreamy, and a choir lifts Somewhere North Of Nashville out of the doldrums it initially promises, while, despite its foreboding piano accompaniment and talk of “the lies you told me”, he emerges optimistic from the lovely Stones. By the time the graceful, widescreen Western Stars ends, you’ll wonder why you’d ever run anywhere else. 8/10

Neil Young

BUY YOUR COPY OF COLORADO HERE NOW

03 Neil Young/Crazy Horse – Colorado

Neil Young fans, you’ll have to keep the Champagne on ice, as his reunion with Crazy Horse after seven years (now with added Springsteen-acolyte Nils Lofgren) is not the unreserved success you were hoping for. Often sounding uninspired and flat, the meandering 13-minute She Showed Me Love is a case in point; it runs out of steam at the halfway point, but carries on regardless, repeating its title ad nauseum for another seven wearisome minutes. Meanwhile, Eternity is rather pretty but recycles the melody of Till The Morning Comes from After The Goldrush. Help Me Lose My Mind rages aimlessly, and it’s only on gnarly album stand-out Shut It Down and the anti-Trump smackdown Rainbow Of Colors, when the fire in Young’s belly about climate change is more clearly targeted, that Crazy Horse come into their own. – 6/10

Gary Walker, Wyndham Wallace, Steve Harnell

 

*this article contains affiliate links

Comments

comments