Review: London alt-rock trio Yak have revealed their much desired follow-up to their debut album, Alas Salvation. With new and old members jostled in and of the band during this album's rocky inception (including Tame Impala's Jay Watson), a rotated cast eventually ironed out its crinkles, and with the help of former Bjork and Django Django album producer, Marta Salogni, Yak's difficult second album, in 10 hectic days, was achieved. With both NME and Q magazine's tipping their nod of approval Yak's way, the steely, blue-eyed defiance of the trio dismiss any notion of the tired cliche that guitar music is a bygone thing. The freshest second album since Kasabian's Empire, Tame Impala's Lonerism and Bloc Party's A Weekend In The City.
Review: It's taken a while, but finally Thom Yorke's impressive third solo album, "ANIMA", is available on wax (and in a fetching shade of orange, too). A future classic that continues the legacy he started with XL Recordings back in 2006 (with his solo debut The Eraser), ANIMA is well worth picking up, as Yorke and co-producer Nigel Godrich offer up evocative, off-kilter songs built around the twin attractions of the Radiohead man's distinctive vocals and skewed backing tracks rich in layered electronic noise, body-bending sub-bass, discordant synthesizer parts and intriguingly jaunty drum loops. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the creepy, lo-fi ambient swirl of "Last I Heard (...He Was Circling the Drain)" and "Dawn Chorus" (a blissfully dewy-eyed early morning soundscape), to the low-slung, post-trip-hop hum of "I Am A Very Rude Person" and the fizzing, jazz-fired thrust of "Impossible Knots". Melancholic, yes. Deep and self-effacing, of course. Nihilistic, not really. Percussive futurist sub-pop is back.
Review: Following the precursing release of a Memphis Industries 7" last year by You Tell Me, Peter Brewis (Field Music) and Admiral Fallow member Sarah Hayes finally present their debut self-titled record of their new collaboration. Said to be an album taking on themes of 'expectations and people's individual ways of navigating' them, this record presents a bold, folky and big band trundle through rolling pasture of horns, strings and powerful pop rock and disco dance! Both artists distinct styles come together here like a birthday party going off and the pair's vocal interplay stands out tremendously among a huge assortment of highly, well-produced instrumentation that makes you feel like your somewhere between 1969 and 1992. Where were you?
Review: Following the indignant and charged agenda of 2016's 'Peace Trail', Neil Young has changed tack in releasing this fascinating collection of unheard material. As opposed to his usual polemical protest, 'Hitchhiker' provides refreshing and necessary solace from the increasingly insane zeitgeist. Recorded over one night in 1976 with Young's then-producer David Briggs, this previously unreleased set is thoroughly engaging through its purity and presence. The closeness with which the two worked together is audible through Briggs' intimate production, and this rediscovered gem serves to prove Young's continuing relevance and could provide an engaging introduction to a new generation of fans.
Review: Adrian Younge has done some mighty collaborations in recent years, from work with Venice Dawn and Delfonics to Ghostface Killah and Souls Of Mischief. The skill and scope of this songwriter and producer is broad, and it's no different on this latest project with Venice Dawn's Jack Waterson. You can hear the ghost of Syd Barrett in tracks like "Larceny", while "The Legend Of Shorty George" channels a little early Bowie magic. Elsewhere the influences are more contemporary. With a generous dose of sunshine and psychedelia, this is a rich, rewarding record from artists steeped in the great tradition of heady, adventurous albums to intrigue and satisfy in equal measure.