Albums of the week

This week’s

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    Taylor Swift - 1989
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    Release Name
    1989
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Taylor Swift
    Price
    $12.99
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    Review

    Notable events in 1989: the Berlin Wall came down, Václav Havel became the first democratically elected president of Czechoslovakia, Denmark legalized civil partnerships for same-sex couples, and in a hospital in Reading, Pennsylvania, Andrea Swift gave birth to a baby girl named Taylor. Naturally, it’s the latter cultural landmark that’s celebrated here. Described by Swift as her “very first official, documented pop album”, this fifth opus was inspired by the “bold, risky” work that Madonna and Annie Lennox made in the late 80s. She’s taken no chances in regards to her commercial appeal, however, working with Max Martin, Ryan Tedder and fun.-guitarist Jack Antonoff, and creating world-beating pop hits like "Shake It Off".

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    The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave
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    Release Name
    Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by The Twilight Sad
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    $5.00
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    Review

    Having spent a decade rendering misery exquisite, The Twilight Sad aren’t about to deviate from that sense of impending doom just yet. Offering up songs with titles like "Drown So I Can Watch" and "Pills I Swallow", the Kilsyth trio’s fourth album might appear foreboding in its gloom, but sonically it’s actually their most welcoming effort yet. The cold, industrial sounds that pervaded the last LP are now pared-back, and there’s a new-found sensitivity to their shoegaze guitar textures. Combine this with arguably their strongest songwriting to date, and the result is a record to cocoon yourself in during the dark winter months.


Previous weeks

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    Jessie Ware - Tough Love
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    Release Name
    Tough Love
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Jessie Ware
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    $9.99
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    Aside from those exquisitely-honeyed tones, what has always set Jessie Ware apart from her peers is her excellent taste in collaborators. On Devotion, they included Julio Bashmore, Dave Okumu and Kid Harpoon, and for Tough Love they’re joined by new pals Dev Hynes, Miguel, James Ford and Ed Sheeran. Ironically, with its gospel choir and cloying strings, the over-sentimental, Sheeran co-write is by far the weakest thing here. Gloss over that and you’ve a supremely classy, 21st century soul record on your hands, filled with bittersweet melodies and all manner of quirky production touches.

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    Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were
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    Release Name
    I Forget Where We Were
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Ben Howard
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    $9.99
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    Being an acoustic balladeer and avid surfer, Devon lad Ben Howard has always been beleaguered by lazy comparisons to Jack Johnson. This second studio album should help Howard put some blue sky between himself and the Hawaiian troubadour. More ambitious in its scope than 2011 debut Every Kingdom, I Forget Where We Were finds the BRIT Award-winner plugging-in, letting go creatively, and showcasing a more complex side to his songwriting in the process. Thematically, his subject matter is as heart-on-sleeve as ever, but then you wouldn’t want it any other way, would you?

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    Scott Walker + Sunn O))) - Soused
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    Release Name
    Soused
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Scott Walker + Sunn O)))
    Price
    $4.95
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    Review

    Scott Walker working with drone metal legends Sunn O)))? Yes, it’s the kind of collaboration that makes you double-take, but look deeper and you’ll see they’re both driven by a desire to displace the listener in their malevolent – often brutal – soundscapes. The Walker-penned, Sunn O)))-aided Soused is no exception. Whips crack, dissonant saxophones wail and doomy riffs reverberate, while Walker makes primal subjects seem poetic with vivid imagery and that gloriously-grandiose baritone. Oppressive as it unquestionably gets at times, overall Soused feels less foreboding than Bish Bosch or Monoliths + Dimensions, and yet is arguably more mesmeric than either.

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    Kindness - Otherness
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    Release Name
    Otherness
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Kindness
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    $10.99
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    Review

    Offering a warm, woozy take on vintage funk, house and R&B, World You Need A Change Of Mind was one of the most underrated albums of 2012, and remains one of our favorite debuts of the decade so far. Happily, it transpires that the follow-up is every bit as engaging, despite being a pretty different proposition sonically. Finding Adam Bainbridge dropping the tempo, digging even deeper into his record collection, and enlisting the talent of guest vocalists Robyn, Kelela and Tawiah, Otherness is a smokier, more soulful record than its predecessor. It’s almost as if it was custom-designed to be played post-club...

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    Caribou - Our Love
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    Release Name
    Our Love
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Caribou
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    $9.90
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    Last seen indulging his techno urges as Daphni, Dan Snaith now returns to the day job for the follow-up to 2010’s universally-adored Swim. Spoiler alert: Our Love is arguably even better. Demonstrating a technical prowess and imaginative scope that eludes most producers, Snaith glides effortlessly between styles and moods, leaving a trail of soulful slow jams and rainbow-hued dance cuts in his wake. Ranging from the sultry R&B of "Second Chance" to the floor-friendly dopamine rush of "Can’t Do Without You", Our Love is likely the most deeply-human electronic album you’ll hear this year.

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    SBTRKT - Wonder Where We Land (Explicit)
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    Release Name
    Wonder Where We Land
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by SBTRKT
    Price
    $9.99
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    In an age where acts are lauded, forgotten and usurped at a staggering pace, spending too long out of the spotlight can seem a risky tactic. The question is, would you rather rush-release something half-baked to remain in the public consciousness, or take your time with the finer details and hope your audience waits for you? Commendably, Aaron Jerome opted for the more courageous approach, and it’s a gamble that’s paid off. Mixing up techno, house and soul with jazz, hip-hop and worldbeat, Wonder Where We Land is even more wide-reaching than its predecessor. It’s also jam-packed with fascinating collaborations, featuring old pals Sampha and Jessie Ware, and new friends Ezra Koenig, Rauri and A$AP Ferg.

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    Tove Lo - Queen Of The Clouds (Explicit)
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    Release Name
    Queen Of The Clouds
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Tove Lo
    Price
    $9.99
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    After Little Dragon, First Aid Kit and Lykke Li, another Swede drops her highly anticipated album, easily the most refreshing electro-pop debut in recent memory. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; Tove Lo has demonstrated her writing skills by crafting hits for Lea Michelle, Cher Lloyd and Icona Pop and infectious first single “Stay High (Habits)” set the tone for ace production values and in-your-face lyrics. Being filler-free and executed with plentiful zest and oomph, Queen Of The Clouds effortlessly puts several pop veterans’ recent projects into shame.

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    The Script - No Sound Without Silence
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    Release Name
    No Sound Without Silence
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by The Script
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    $9.99
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    Review

    “We’ve had time to contemplate about what we want to say to the industry... You can't have anything good to say if you don't think about it first.” So said Script frontman Danny O’Donoghue, when asked by the Belfast Telegraph to explain their fourth album’s philosophical title. Basically, every single note here has been carefully considered to bring the listener a true reflection of The Script in 2014. Funnily enough, it turns out The Script of 2014 aren’t too dissimilar to The Script of 2012 – or 2010 for that matter – which can only be good news for fans of anthemic pop-rock.

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    alt-J - This Is All Yours (Explicit)
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    Release Name
    This Is All Yours
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by alt-J
    Price
    $9.99
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    Review

    Really, the recent departure of lead-songwriter and “silent leader” Gwil Sainsbury should have spelled the end for Alt-J. Then again, when have they ever played by the rules? On the follow-up to their Mercury Prize-winning debut, the trio continue to laugh in the face of conventional song-structures and subject matter, offering up atypical arrangements and intricate rhythms, plus a song about self-love, an ode to "Aliens", crisp packet-based sexual innuendo and a Miley Cyrus sample. The maddest thing about all of this is that, taken together, it works. Simply jam-packed with ideas, This Is All Yours is a fascinating a comeback.

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    Aphex Twin - Syro
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    Release Name
    Syro
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Aphex Twin
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    $9.99
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    Review

    Writ in the skies, buried in the deep web, the announcement of Richard D James’ return was more than clever marketing: it served as a metaphor for the career of an artist who has consistently reached further – and whose influence on contemporary music runs deeper – than any other electronic musician. Arriving over a decade on from Drukqs, Syro suggests James is still happiest operating without boundaries, offering up skewed, arrhythmic takes on techno, jungle and funk in the same breath as an "Avril 14th"-esque piano piece. Predictably, it makes for a thrillingly unpredictable listen.