Something For The Weekend – New Vinyl Out 16 March
Five new albums out on vinyl this week, ranging from a reissue of a Big Beat smash to a furious return from a legendary Sub Pop pulveriser…
You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby (reissue)
BMG reissues this 1998 Big Beat classic as part of its Art Of The Album series. It was Norman Cook’s second album as Fatboy Slim, a unique mash-up of rap samples and forgotten soul singers put together in a home studio in end-of-the-century Brighton. Cook nailed the zeitgeist of the dancefloor with a vision of its future, taking the sampledelic methods of DJ Shadow and making something far more fun and irreverent. Check out our in-depth feature in the new issue of Long Live Vinyl for the full lowdown on the making of an album that revolutionised dance music.
I’ll Be Your Girl
Despite arriving after a hiatus, the folk-rock of The Decemberists’ 2015 album, What A Terrible World… sounded a little too familiar. Seemingly aware of this, the band have brought in a new producer, John Congleton (St Vincent, Lana Del Rey) and bought some new synthesisers, too. In the words of frontman Colin Meloy: “We wanted to free ourselves from old patterns.”
Whether they’ve entirely succeeded is a moot point, principally because Meloy’s writing is so rooted in traditional patterns, as eerie story song Cutting Stone demonstrates. Nonetheless, there’s a Roxy-influenced pop sheen that’s new and, beyond the odd alarming moment where The Decemberists sound like a Decemberists-influenced band who’ve lately discovered The Killers, notably on the glam stomp of We All Die Young, largely effective. For collectors, there are white-vinyl and orange-vinyl versions and an Exploded Edition deluxe boxset.
For more than 30 years, indie mainstays Yo La Tengo have enchanted their fans and critics alike with their eclectic combination of lo-fi alt-rock and sprawling shoegazy electronica
Yo La Tengo
There’s A Riot Going On
For more than 30 years, indie mainstays Yo La Tengo have enchanted their fans and critics alike with their eclectic combination of lo-fi alt-rock and sprawling shoegazy electronica. On the 15 challenging dreamscapes that make up There’s A Riot Going On, the band’s first album proper since 2013’s Fade (bridged only by 2015 covers record Stuff Like That There), there is a sense that this enduring love affair may well continue – but not win over too many doubters.
It all starts in psychedelic fashion with the atmospheric instrumental You Are Here, before falling gently into the hypnotising folk of Shades Of Blue; She May, She Might and the pulsating patterns of For You Too and Ashes. But then the album turns divisive… listeners will either revel in the ambient rhythms of Shortwave; Above The Sound; Forever and Out Of The Pool, or be frustrated that the tracks sonically progress without really going anywhere. It’s another exercise in boundary-pushing experimentation, but one that won’t appeal to everyone.
Creep Show is a collaboration between John Grant and Wrangler (the electro project of Cabaret Voltaire vocalist Stephen Mallinder and producers Phil Winter and Benge). The former brings his wayward sense of humour and affecting voice; the latter, a fearsome array of analogue and modular-synth sounds, soaring arpeggiators, eerie vocal effects and beautifully processed classic drum-machine hits. The results? Wilfully strange, dark sci-fi-tinged electro with attitude to spare.
Opener Mr Dynamite sets the tone, coming on like a macabre counterpart to Grant’s own Pale Green Ghosts destabilised by FX-soaked vocal loops and snippets. The warped voices continue across the plodding synth-funk of Modern Parenting; the vaguely Windowlicker-esque Tokyo Metro; the disturbing K Mart Johnny; the vocoder-lathered Pink Squirrel and onwards Instrumental Fall is a glacial take on Kraftwerk, while Safe And Sound’s crisp basslines and Moroder-esque production underpin a cosmic vocal from Grant that wraps up an at times completely puzzling, often inventive electronic odyssey.
San Diego’s Hot Snakes explode back into action with their first album in 14 years on Sub Pop. Led by John Reis (Speedo), also frontman in Rocket From The Crypt, Hot Snakes made an earth-razing dissonant racket of post-hardcore, lightning-fast boogie and psychedelic weirdness between 1999 and 2005, releasing three albums along the way. They reunited in 2011, with Sub Pop reissuing Automatic Midnight (2000), Suicide Invoice (2002) and Audit In Progress on coloured vinyl while we waited for new material. Jericho Sirens proves worth the wait – a frenetic record that shows they’ve lost none of their wit, fury and downright brilliance in the intervening years.
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