A new selection of albums is coming to warm these days of Autumn. Listen to the last tracks released and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Jack White - Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016
The 26 songs on this collection, album tracks, B-sides and previously unreleaseds from the White Stripes and Jack White's solo career, celebrate a moment before music was claimed by genre, when sounds were still taking shape and rules had yet to be written. They start from blues to country to gospel to Sixties rock and back in a blink, exchanging spontaneity and craft so effortlessly there's no discernible difference between the two. It's a must for any fan of the genius that is Jack White.
MIA - AIM
AIM is a first for MIA. Her new album, the fifth, formerly titled Matahdatah, is not wall-to-wall polemic. Last year’s single "Borders" remains an iconic symbol despairing at the refugee crisis, a theme continued on "Foreign Friend" and "Visa". Sure, "Go Off" is satisfyingly pugilistic, but the inventive "Bird Song" is downright cute, reuniting MIA with her ex, Diplo. If this is her last album (as she has intimated), a true original bows out on a more equable note.
Nick Cave - Skeleton Tree
The subject matter is heavy – the death of a child – but the results are divine in an album that emerges from struggle to something like spiritual glory. Musically, it’s much of a piece with Push The Sky Away, the songs being built from Warren Ellis’s loops and Cave’s piano feels, sensitively and sparsely addressed by their fellow Bad Seeds. It can be a sad, sometimes harrowing journey, though never less than compelling; and eventually, a measure of gentle solace is afforded by Skeleton Tree itself, which closes the album with Cave’s repeated assurance that “it’s all right now”. It’s like a shaft of sunrise dispelling a dark night of the soul.
Die Antwoord - Mount Ninji And Da Nice Time Kid
Die Antwoord albums have always boasted a cocktail of salvaged rave, humour, odd rhymes and piles of energy. It's not for everyone obviously. In similar style to previous records, however, Mount Ninji has a number of skits to offset the gloom. Intro "We Have Candy" is an oddball mix of opera, nonsense dialogue and, actually, some of the best rapping on the album. "Wings on My Penis" would be a disaster of track were it not completely absolved by the fact that it's rapped by a six-year-old named Lil Tommy Terror. Then there's "Rats Rule," featuring Jack Black, which isn't necessarily a skit track but shouldn't be taken too seriously either. It's tempting to say that this is a more mature Die Antwoord, considering the dark and sincere nature of some of the tracks, but the sheer ridiculousness of others can't help but nullify that thought.
Trentemøller - Fixion
Always a chameleon-like figure in the dance scene, the new record from Danish DJ Anders Trentemøller, ‘Fixion’, marks a complete revolution from the chilled, mellow sounds of his now decade-old debut, ‘The Last Resort’. If the oppressive, unforgiving synth beats of ‘Sinus’ and ‘Circuits’ turn some away, the 43-year-old has a clear message - he is his own man. The post-punk industrial bands of decades past hold the biggest influence on this change, notably Joy Division and its transformative cousin, New Order. Trentemøller started out in indie rock bands and, having admitted the impact the Manchester rock and dance icons had on his sound, the record certainly feels like a love letter at times.
Warpaint - Heads Up
Whiteout alluringly sets the scene on Warpaint’s third album Heads Up, but feels pallid after what’s come before. Luckily, by the time we hear The Stall, deep locking bass and shuffling beats transcend us into Warpaint’s misted sensuality. The sedative embrace of Don’t Wanna and Dre inhabits a dark emotional core, and the place in the record where you will lose yourself completely. The flip-side saunters beyond this height, with the pure lamenting heartbreak of Today Dear ending the album like the afterglow of a slow death fight. Its few shortcomings aside, Heads Up offers further proof that Warpaint, unlike almost all of their contemporaries, understand how to wade into the depths of innovation and emerge with bold, atmospheric pop.