Something For The Weekend – New Vinyl Out 4 May
Long Live Vinyl’s pick of this week’s best new album releases on vinyl – including ambient experimentalism, muscular indie-rock, a stunning electronic odyssey, intimate Americana and more…
Hopkins’ stunning Immunity from 2013 was the Blade Runner of recent electronic albums: it seamlessly merged the digital and the human; it was dark, rainy and dystopian; it was sci-fi tinged, yet unexpectedly moving. And it was such a complete piece in its own right, it must have been a tricky proposition to follow up. Singularity, then, is Immunity 2049 – wider in scope yet more accessible, it’s everything the earlier record was and more. The new tracks share Immunity’s cinematic scale, their drama and obsessive attention to sonic detail, and the ingenious, almost subliminal way Hopkins develops his ideas.
Yet Singularity is more immediate and hangs together even better as a whole. As well as returning to the effected analogue-synth-on-the-edge-of-a-breakdown sonics that worked so well before, there’s now even more variety to the soundscape: more up-front melody, hypnotic piano, rhythmic variation and sheer intensity and euphoria all round.
Four years on since their Pogues-meets-The-Bad-Seeds triumph of a third album, Plowing Into The Field Of Love, Copenhagen’s Iceage return with a record that continues to distil down their frenzied punk origins and expand on texture and songcraft. Singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s voice is still a half-slurred, half-snarled delight that moves between drunken lullaby and seething assault. The spiky, unrelenting guitars join this assault on opener Hurrah, and on the first single from the album, Catch It, they slow down to a groggy, very Velvet Underground-esque groove. There’s a deep richness to the production on the record that coats the tracks: lap steel reverberates with vibrancy on Thieves Like Us and brass toots boldly on Pain Killer – there’s even a touch of later-period Talk Talk on Showtime. Despite the group still only being in their mid-20s, they continue to evolve their sound with grace, depth and an ever-expanding palette.
Music For Installations
Eno’s latest offering is a monster nine-LP boxset of new, rare or unreleased pieces of music drawing from his work for physical art installations. Stretching back to 1986, his work has been exhibited at various venues, from the Venice Biennale to the Sydney Opera House. It’s all new to vinyl, too. The entirely instrumental music, divorced from its original context, largely resists explanation; but most of it is made up of immersive painterly soundscapes, interspersed with more kinetic pieces. Eno’s entire repertoire of sonic trickery is here – from the chimes, reverb-drenched piano and lava-lamp ambience of the opening pieces, through to the unsettling 77 Million Paintings: this 44-minute-long track feels like an undersea realm where bizarre, undiscovered musical species – fragments of robot voices, distant bass notes and hollowed-out chimes – drift past your listening position. The overall effect is narcotic, otherworldly and destabilising, but oddly beautiful – and about as meditative and immersive as music gets.
World’s Strongest Man
Listening to Gaz Coombes’ third solo album, it’ll come as little surprise that he’s managed by the same team as Radiohead. Coombes’ songwriting has become increasingly refined, given to intriguing production details and quirky twists, such as the spiky guitar riff in Walk The Walk, and the malfunctioning keyboard that tops off In Waves, whose bassline’s inventiveness recalls Colin Greenwood’s, and whose atmospheric intro is worthy of A Moon Shaped Pool. Nonetheless, Coombes occupies his own world: the title track appropriates a lazy hip-hop flavoured beat for a falsetto-fuelled anthem, and Shit (I’ve Done It Again)’s regret-laden melancholy is worthy of an adult Disney movie. There’s also the fierce Deep Pockets, whose krautrock rhythm propels it towards a thrilling finale, the unhinged paranoia of Vanishing Act and the stately Deserter’s Songs decorum of the lovely Slow Motion Life.
The Horizon Just Laughed
After the success of the Maraqopa trilogy, produced by Richard Swift, Jurado treats us to a first self-produced album in a 20-plus year career of exquisite Americana. Recorded with Alex Bush in Irvine, CA with its narrative pieced together through letters and postcards, this could be his most personal record to date.
Vive La Void
Vive La Void
This debut release from the new project of Moon Duo’s Sanae Yamada is a testament to her skills as a songwriter – a self-titled album written over two years during downtime from Moon Duo’s touring and recording schedule. Dense, shape-shifting atmospheres with ethereal layered synthesisers and a captivated understated vocal style make for an entrancing whole. Yamada plays her debut live date at London’s The Lexington on 19 June.
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