Ten albums you cannot miss this month – February 2012
Air – Le Voyage Dans La Lune
French duo Air return to soundtrack with ‘Le Voyage dans la Lune’ (having created the painfully cool psychedelic soundtrack of Sofia Coppol’s ‘The Virgin Suicides’ back in 2000). Frantic synths, spoken-word samples and gravity defying orchestral hums on ‘Seven Stars’ and ‘Cosmic Trip’ create an alive, fretful space-race sound, which is off-set by the band’s distinctive floating vocals. The reconstructed release of George Milies’ ‘Le Voyage dans la Lune’ has been almost 20 years in the making. Air’s soundtrack injects a contemporary buzz to a canonical and foundational film.
Paul McCartney – Kisses On The Bottom
Kisses On The Bottom is a collection of jazz standards that Sir Paul, winner of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990, loved as a child. He has spoken of his desire to keep the album grounded and honest, despite recording in L.A.’s glamorous Capitol Record. Sweet, achingly soft vocals on tracks such as ‘More I Cannot Wish You’ and strutting bass-lines on ‘It’s Only A Paper Moon’, with ‘The Glory of Love’ all peppered by a nostalgic record-player crackle, making for cheerily gentle, smooth listening.
Maverick Sabre – Lonely Are The Brave
After collaboration with Professor Green on the club smash ‘Jungle’ and EP ‘The Lost Words’ reaching number two on the iTunes chart, Maverick Sabre’s debut album is hugely anticipated. Leaving crowds damp-eyed and speechless at pokey East London venues, he has been heralded alongside the late Amy Winehouse. His halting, soulful voice is rightfully dragging him into the limelight. Irresistible, sassy tunes with subtle sampling on tracks such as ‘Let Me Go’. The trajectory is up for Maverick Sabre.
Emeli Sande has been on the peripheries for some time, co-writing tracks with Tinie Tempah and Cheryl Cole and featuring on Chipmunk’s top ten hit ‘Diamond Rings’. Her debut album is a powerful display of her vocal diversity finally coming to the fore. Effortlessly showing an Everest of range on ‘Clown’ and a darker side on ‘Daddy’, heartfelt tracks like ‘Suitcase’ and club boomer ‘Heaven’ are sure to be spring-time hits. Out 13th February, just in time for Valentine’s Day, ‘Our Version of Events’ is perfect for lovers and the heartbroken alike.
L.A. born jazz vocalist Gregory Porter, who appeared on Jools Holland back in April, has been previously nominated for the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Citing his biggest influences as Nat King Cole, Donny Hathaway and the pastor at his childhood church, ‘Be Good’ promises to be a truthful and real offering. Porter also appears on two tracks of the new Nicola Conte album –‘Rituals’ (out soon). Produced by saxophonist, pianist and composer Kamau Kenyatta, who Porter calls his ‘best friend’, ‘Be Good’ is out 13th Feb. The album is available to stream exclusively on Deezer this week (13th-19th February 2012) in the UK.
Gotye a.k.a.Wouter ‘Wally’ DeBacher, is also one third of Melbourne indie band ‘The Basics’. Gotye’s fascination with strange sounds, percussion and experimental sampling makes for a fun feast of sound in ‘Making Mirrors’. Dark bitter lyrics and layered samples on ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ contrast the cheery, more conventional, indie offering of ‘Eyes Wide Open’ and the downright poppy loveliness of ‘I Feel Better’. 15 years of experience as a drummer is hugely evident throughout; most tracks are beat-heavy catchy little numbers, guaranteed to brighten up the gap between Christmas and summer.
Lambchop – Mr M
Before the existence of ‘Lambchop’, singer-songwriter Kurt Wanger was a visual artist. The beauty and optimism of ‘Mr M’ is perhaps due to it coinciding with Wanger’s return to painting. His painterly technique, like his song-writing, is deeply layered and satisfyingly textured. This multi-faceted rich sound as well as stunning, tear-jerking vocals can be heard on such tracks as ‘Gone Tomorrow’ and ‘If Not I’ll Just Die’. A promising album, out 20th Feb.
‘Band of Skulls’ has had a slow accent from their roots in Southampton where the trio were school friends. Having toured the clubs and small venues of London and supporting ‘The Dead Weather’ at the Camden Roundhouse back in July 2010, ‘Sweet Sour’ seems something of a make or break album. With a defiantly optimistic brand of rock reminiscent of ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ and a happily 1990’s male/female vocal interplay akin to ‘Yeah Yeah Yeahs’, ‘Band of Skulls’ ought to have stadium-filling powers. Time will tell whether ‘Sweet Sour’ will propel them to those dizzy heights.
With twenty studio albums to date and an Americana Music Lifetime Achievement Award under her belt, Nanci Griffiths’ new album ‘Intersection’, an album about life and loss, difficult decisions and adversity, is likely to be pure gold. Ordinarily a solitary musician, Griffiths collaborated for this album with multi-instrumentalist Pete Kennedy, singer-songwriter Maura Kennedy and percussionist Pat McInerney. Another gem of what Nanci Griffith herself has termed – ‘folkabilly’, catch it from 20th Feb.
Meatloaf, synonym of grand operatic rock, with 43 million copies of debut album ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ sold world-wide, has toned down in 2012 with ‘Hell In A Handbasket’. Produced by Meatloaf’s live guitarist the album is an exploratory varied album that traverses from hip-hop to fiddles. Somewhat mellowed in comparison to the 1970’s ear-bleeders; gone are the six minute epics, but the album seems to nod to the Meatloaf of the past with rockiest numbers ‘Live or Die’ and ‘Party of One’. Rock out in your slippers from 27th Feb.