Albums of the week

This week’s

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    Iggy Azalea - The New Classic
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    Release Name
    The New Classic
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Iggy Azalea
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    $5.00
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    Currently bucking both racial and gender stereotypes, the Dirty South’s latest break-out star is this flaxen-haired model from Mullumbimby, New South Wales. Having relocated to Miami aged 16 to pursue a career in hip hop, Amethyst Kelly’s rhymes won her early support from influential rap site XXL and, seven years on, she’s now seeking mainstream infamy with her trap/EDM-inspired, major-label debut, The New Classic. Only time will tell whether the title’s hubristic or prophetic, but there’s no denying that swaggering singles "Work" and "Fancy" are a lot of fun.

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    Kelis - Food
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    Release Name
    Food
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Kelis
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    From the Neptunes-produced "Caught Out There" to the David Guetta-assisted "Acapella", the only constants in Kelis’ chameleonic career have been her impeccable taste in collaborators and her ability to draw the best out of them. This sixth studio album is no exception. Created in conjunction with TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek, FOOD finds her smoky tones partnered perfectly by Sitek’s soulful, brass-heavy arrangements. It’s a veritable feast of vintage funk, gospel and pop, and a career high for the pair of them.


Previous weeks

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    Chet Faker - Built on Glass
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    Release Name
    Built on Glass
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Chet Faker
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    $10.99
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    Eclipsing psych-rock as its biggest musical export, Australia’s electronic scene has spawned a significant number of breakout stars in recent years, ranging from the cerebral glitches of PVT to the uplifting electro of Jagwar Ma, Cut Copy and Flume. It’s now the turn of Melbourne’s Nick Murphy, a producer who – as his nom de plume implies – is approaching the genre from a slightly more soulful angle. Expect serene, R&B vocals and an array of warm, laid-back grooves.

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    Todd Terje - It's Album Time
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    Release Name
    It's Album Time
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Todd Terje
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    $6.99
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    In a genre dominated by straight-faced cool, Todd Terje’s playful brand of intergalactic Italo-disco provides a refreshing injection of fun. While drawing heavily from the sonic palettes of Tangerine Dream and Giorgio Moroder, the Norwegian’s debut isn’t limited to the vintage synthesizer jams that have become his signature – there are diversions into Latin-funk territory with "Svensk Sås" and "Alfonso Muskedunder", and we’re even treated to an appearance from Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry on the ballad "Johnny and Mary". Delivered just in time for spring, the brilliantly-titled It’s Album Time is unabashedly feel-good, and destined to leave you smiling.

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    Temples - Sun Structures
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    Release Name
    Sun Structures
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Temples
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    As career leg-ups go, they don’t get much bigger than Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr naming you “the best new band in Britain.” Kettering quartet Temples have done their damnedest to live up to the hype here and – guess what – Gallagher and Marr might well have been onto something. Filled with fuzzy guitar textures, echoing organs and Lennon-ish vocals, debut album Sun Structures explores a similar neo-psychedelic terrain to Tame Impala’s recent work, but boasts probably double the amount of pop hooks. Recommended.

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    Mac Demarco - Salad Days
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    Release Name
    Salad Days
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Mac Demarco
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    Mac DeMarco might goof about more often than most, but there’s no denying that he always delivers the goods sonically. His second LP-proper is another case in point: lurking underneath all those ever-so-slightly detuned, drunken guitars and drawling vocals, is a wealth of properly-timeless songwriting. Take your pick from the breezy surf-pop of "Let Her Go", the slacker-blues of "Brother" or the ramshackle psychedelia of "Passing Out Pieces", with its "Strawberry Fields"-style organ. But, for our money, the real stand-out on Salad Days is sun-warped slow jam "Chamber Of Refection", which finds Mac acting out his wildest Shuggie Otis fantasies amongst pitch-shifted synths.

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    Band Of Skulls - Himalayan
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    Release Name
    Himalayan
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Band Of Skulls
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    You don’t name your group Band Of Skulls if you’re into folk confessionals, and you don’t christen your album “Himalayan” without wielding some gargantuan guitar licks. With a little help from Yeah Yeah Yeahs-producer Nick Launay, Russell Marsden and co have succeeded in scaling the summit of sound to produce a third LP that’s more muscular than 2012’s not-exactly-puny Sweet Sour. As ever, melody remains paramount, it’s just that these missives were built for stadium-sized PA systems.

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    Future Islands - Singles
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    Release Name
    Singles
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Future Islands
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    $9.90
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    Following years of relentless touring and recording albums on the hoof, Future Islands returned to Baltimore at the end of September 2012 for a well-earned break. Judging by their fourth LP – and first for 4AD – the time off has certainly done the trick: the trio sound more focused and hungrier than ever. Packed with synth-heavy sonic treats, Singles is all killer no filler, and if there’s a more passionate man in pop right now than singer Samuel T Herring, we’ll eat our hats.

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    The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream
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    Release Name
    Lost In The Dream
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by The War On Drugs
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    $8.99
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    Great as delayed-gratification can be, breaking through later in life is arguably more stressful than being successful from the outset. After the surprise success of last LP Slave Ambient, front man Adam Grandluciel suffered feelings of acute disorientation and isolation, and yet, admirably, he’s channelled that struggle into a tellingly-titled follow-up that’s imbued with a restless, widescreen beauty. Ranging from the driving, Springsteen-style rock 'n' roll of "Red Eyes" to the Dylan-esque intimacy of "Eyes To The Wind", Lost In The Dream is the kind of record that seeps deep under your skin.

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    Kylie Minogue - Kiss Me Once
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    Release Name
    Kiss Me Once
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Kylie Minogue
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    $11.99
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    Review

    Kylie’s 12th studio album succeeds in being effortlessly on trend while amalgamating the pop veteran’s core music traits: Sia is behind dubstep-infused "Sexercize" channelling "Red Blooded Woman"; long-time collaborator Karen Poole’s "Fine" could easily pass as a Disclosure outtake, and EDM-friendly lead single "Into The Blue" instantly joins Kylie’s pantheon of euphoric dance classics. If you’re looking for highlights, skip to the ethereal interpretation of Tom Aspaul’s "Indiana", aptly renamed to "Feels So Good"; Ariel-"Haim"-Rechtshaid-produced "If Only" –a homage to Cyndi Lauper– and the outrageous club banger "Les Sex", which proves that even after 25 years in the industry Ms Minogue hasn’t lost her sense of humor.

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    Metronomy - Love Letters
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    Release Name
    Love Letters
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Metronomy
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    After “a half-arsed concept album about going out and having a crap time”, and an affectionate ode to the Devon coastline, Joe Mount now presents a musical love letter to, well, love letters. Recorded at London’s legendary analog studios, Toe Rag, there’s a deliciously lo-fi feel to this fourth full-length, synth-pop set, and that’s mirrored by some suitably retro reference points, including Sly & The Family Stone, The Zombies and (what sounds like) Kraftwerk. Yes, it’s probably not as instantly infectious as The English Riviera, but stick with it: all its wonderful idiosyncrasies will be revealed with repeated plays.

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    Elbow - The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
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    Release Name
    The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Elbow
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    $11.99
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    Last seen filling stadiums with the heart-swelling strains of Build A Rocket Boys, the pride of Bury are back with The Taking Off And Landing Of Everything. Written off the back of a break-up – and in the run-up to singer Guy Garvey’s 40th birthday – album number six finds the five-piece deep in reflective mode. Unsurprisingly, this is a very good thing. Early stand-outs like "My Sad Captains", "Real Life (Angel)" and "New York Morning" only confirm what we all already suspected: few bands are capable of bringing out the beauty in sadness quite like Elbow.

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    MØ - No Mythologies to Follow (Deluxe)
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    Release Name
    No Mythologies to Follow (Deluxe)
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    $11.99
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    Copenhagen's Karen Marie Ørsted’s been wowing us for well over a year now, but with her full-length debut she might have cemented her status as our current favorite Scandi-pop star. In terms of quality control, No Mythologies To Follow is near-flawless: every single song in this set could be a hit (if it hasn’t been already). However, it’s the record’s diversity that impresses us most, offering up the dub-inflected disco of "Slow Love", Shangri-Las-style balladry like "Never Wanna Know" and, on "Maiden", peerless electro-pop driven by an Eastern-inspired guitar lick. Truly, MØ is the greatest Dane going.

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    Ásgeir - In the Silence
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    Release Name
    In the Silence
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Ásgeir
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    $9.99
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    To say Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson is established in his native Iceland is something of an understatement: 10% of the population own his first record, Dýrð í dauðaþögn, making it the country’s best-selling debut album ever. With this new, English-language version – translated by his close-friend John Grant – we think the 21-year-old is capable of conquering our shores too. Think: intimate, electronic-tinged indie-folk, topped with the sort of ethereal vocals that seem to haunt the mind long after the music stops.