29 August 2014
Here's how it works: The Recent Releases chart brings together critical reaction to new albums from more than 50 sources worldwide. It's updated daily. Albums qualify with 5 reviews, and drop out after 6 weeks into the longer timespan charts.
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The celebrated Malian ngoni player and singer, with his quartet, on an album of African blues / rock
A barrage of plucking and strumming with an amazing range of textures.
Print edition only
It remains a humbling experience to listen to music as striking and brilliantly executed as this, African rock music leaving its Western equivalents often standing still with its sheer energy, commitment and verve.
If African music goes back out of fashion because Vampire Weekend get into polka or something, at least the vogue will have benefited richly invigorating records like this one
...sequel to the haunting Segu Blue fizzes with energy
Kouyate charges the sound with the energy of live performance and shows just why his band is among the most celebrated in world music circles at the moment.
...it's an impressive affair, alternately joyous and stately, and the very essence of modern African music
There's no comparison between these delicately interwoven lines and the tortuous knotting of most rock guitar riffs
There’s never any doubt from the tone and delivery that this is essentially party music
Technically, it’s brilliant. Kouyate and his backing band Ngoni Ba play the ngoni or spike lute, a stringed instrument from which the banjo is said to derive
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Dan Michaelson And The Coastguards
An especially intimate and understated kind of English-born Americana that could easily hold it’s own in any late night session. Print edition only
Another dark night of the soul from matured ex-Absentee man. Print edition only
Michaelson’s oaken, hefty voice is flecked with creaks of optimism, while the band slump elegantly into their forlorn Americana
Dan Michaelson And The Coastguards
Pockets of bittersweet delight
Distance might well be Dan Michaelson’s finest collection of songs to date
The Line Of Best Fit
Mikael Åkerfeldt's voice has become a thing of wonder; his ability to tug at heartstrings while singing the most wilfully hazy of lyrics is matched only by these songs' beautiful arrangements and pin-sharp ensemble playing
It's a cousin to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, if Cave were absorbed with everyday life, rather than turning everything into part of the lineage of music mythology. Hugely recommended
Willis Earl Beal
Experiments in Time
A richly introspective work that is both challenging and thoroughly satisfying
Under The Radar
The musical equivalent of a slow-paced daydream that flows in and out of focus much more than it offers standout tracks or even spikes in emotion
The occasional effective execution contained in tracks like “Slow Bus” save this from consideration for yours truly’s inevitably year-end “worst of” list, but only just
While there is much to admire about Beal taking such an abrupt left turn at this crucial juncture in his trajectory, in this case, it’s one that, more often than not, leads to an aesthetic dead end
Beal’s best and most focused album to date
Consequence Of Sound
Too many of the songs are too long and meander to no intent and purpose. Even a composer as extravagantly gifted as Åkerfeldt needs to know his limitation
The Irish Times
This set is a massive leap forward, not only in terms of style but also in its instrumental and performance acumen; it is nearly unlimited in its creativity
It will intrigue and appease those willing to accept the band's expanded sound
"A brilliantly boisterous LP". That's LoBF's take on the 6th lp from the Canadian indie rockers. DiS reckon they've "stopped being a supergroup and turned into a band"
Since we've been around, that is. So, the highest-rated albums from the past four years and a half or so. Rankings are calculated to two decimal places.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Let England Shake
My Bloody Valentine
Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down
good kid, m.A.A.d city
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