Despite her role as the handmaiden of the recent British folk-pop revival, Laura Marling’s third album still seems to mystify and estrange. If you’re hoping for answers to the world of Laura Marling in this album, you’ll be disappointed. In the “keep them questioning” spirit of Bob Dylan, the album seems tantalizingly inscrutable and sometimes even frustratingly distant.
A connoisseur of fine art and a marvellous artist herself, Alex Connor’s meticulous eye for detail and ever-present eagerness for a new challenge has taken her from writing non-fiction and historical books, to producing captivating thrillers such as The Rembrandt Secret and Legacy of Blood. Alex’s deep interest in the history of the art world and the Old Masters manifests itself in fictitious fashion as we explore the lost secrets of artists such as Hogarth and Rembrandt. With her latest novel, The Memory of Bones, released last November, we catch up with Alex and ask her a few questions.
Finally back on his feet from codeine-induced seizures that left him seriously hospitalized, hip hop artist Lil Wayne releases the sequel to his 2010 album I Am Not a Human Being. Yes, you guessed it, I Am Not a Human Being II. As one of the most recognisable and biggest-selling artists on the planet, perhaps unfortunately for some, this release is pretty much impossible to ignore.
R.E.V.O. marks the long-awaited debut album from self-made Canadian superstars, Walk Off The Earth, and serves as a breath of fresh air for anybody tired of monotone shoe-gazing indie bands and the general dreariness of life. Unapologetically optimistic, heartfelt and upbeat, Walk Off The Earth refuse to be constrained or pigeon-holed, and help to banish any glumness brought on by the UK’s currently dismal weather.
Two years since Wall of Arms, the Maccabees’ much-anticipated new album Given to the Wild is one to watch out for. Including an array of tight and adventurous tracks, it seems The Maccabees have truly hit their stride with this immaculately crafted album, which has taken the band in a far more interesting direction than their previous two. The complex layers within ‘Child’ and ‘Feel to Follow’ bear no resemblance to the sprightly nature of classics such as ‘Latchmere’ and ‘First Love’. It would be interesting to see how the new mature and astute sounds would translate into live performance.
If you haven’t heard of Birmingham quartet Peace then you have probably been under a rock stuffing moss in your ears for the past 3 months. They have blasted on to the UK scene since being nominated for the BBC’s sound of 2013 poll and securing the opening slot for the NME tour alongside the likes of Palma Violets, Miles Kane and Django Django, where they certainly made their mark.
So admittedly I’m rather late in jumping on the Bastille bandwagon, but it happened eventually, after stumbling across them by chance courtesy of Spotify’s Top 40 playlist. Formed in 2010 from South London, Bastille’s debut album Bad Blood has been released to rave reviews and taken the UK by storm; it took the no.1 spot on the Top 40 album chart upon release, and their single ‘Pompeii’ reached no.2 on the Top 40 singles chart.
Pop icons don’t get much bigger than Justin Timberlake, as with the release of ‘Justified’ and ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds’ the man turned into a living legend. He was essentially the king of pop when he took off to embark on a highly successful film career in 2006 and left the studio. Thankfully, with his first album in 7 years, ‘The 20/20 Experience’, Timberlake has returned to his rightful place; he is back and better than ever.
Modern music seems to be in a bit of a rut. Bands nowadays who have had a brilliant debut album normally struggle to keep that momentum going, normally meaning that their 2nd and 3rd albums are massively below par. Yet with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds they have managed to keep their massively original and influential sound going not just for 3 albums, but with newest album ‘Push the Sky Away’ the Australian alt rock band have amassed 15 hugely important albums over just under 20 years of working together.
The Hollers and The Hymns is the debut album by Sheffield’s newest hard-rockers, Dead Sons. It’s hard to be critical about this album, because it’s just brilliant. Don’t expect to be able to breathe, because this record rarely gives the chance to take a much-needed deep breath from start to finish.