A roundup of the latest music releases
Iggy & The Stooges - Ready To Die
Fat Possum, £13.99
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“THE life of the party’s gone,” croons Iggy tenderly on The Departed, a fond recollection of deceased Stooges co-founder Ron Asheton. It also reprises the riff from one of the band’s most iconic tunes, I Wanna Be Your Dog.
But the recall of the band’s other guitarist, James Williamson, swiftly consigns that loss to history, as his monstrous riffs rip up the last four decades as if they never happened.
There is an unmistakable youthful exuberance about the way these punk prototypes lay waste to these songs, in a fashion befitting men less than half this age. Familiar guitar thrash is invigorated by brass arrangements on Sex And Money. Aussie band the Saints would be proud, as they would of the wall of nihilism powering Burn.
Going back to basics means more guttural language, but the savage sense of humour and swinging horns of DD’s and the title track mitigate that profligate profanity. Much has been made of Iggy selling out by advertising insurance, but let’s shout from the rooftops about his indefatigable spirit, and continued ability to make raw and relevant music. Even the ballads have a charm hard to resist.
Download this: Unfriendly World, Job, Dirty Deal
Airborne Toxic Event - Such Hot Blood
Island, online only
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This Californian quartet’s sound is British like a fish supper, occasionally illuminated with a sunshine dappled arrangement and overly soggy with vinegar. Safe could be from the pages of an early Jarvis Cocker notebook, though it’s not executed with his louche aplomb.
The band’s classical flirtations are well documented if hardly extended here. This Is London perhaps takes that and the Anglo fixation too far, tinged with the enthusiasm of a tourist. Elizabeth and its refrain” has a more engaging charm, and a refreshingly scathing honesty.
Download this: The Storm, Safe
Rudimental - Home
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The two collaborations with Emeli Sandé will grab the headlines, but the real story of Rudimental is an entertainment evolution from Leeds Met University which bucks most contemporary trends. The use of variable vocalists recalls Massive Attack’s early 1990s approach, and the music is like compressed Nuyorican soul. The character of the CD does fluctuate with the singers, and Yorkshireman John Newman makes the biggest name for himself with Feel The Love and Not Giving In, songs conducive to fist pumping and throwing arms in the air like one just doesn’t care. Agreeable enough without redefining any genre, Home colours the urban musical landscape in familiar shades.
Download this: Spoons, Powerless
George Shearing - At Home
JazzKnight Records JKR001, £13.99
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Privately recorded during the afternoons while pianist George Shearing and bassist Don Thompson were in the middle of a long residency in a New York nightclub in 1983, this lovely recording was only unearthed after Sir George’s death in 2011. As you might expect from an “at home” recording, it has a warm, intimate and informal feel, and particularly striking is the relaxed, affectionate interplay between the two musicians. Shearing plays most of the tunes with a casual elegance and sense of fun, which makes his solo finale – the Victor Young ballad Beautiful Love – all the more moving.
Download this: I Didn’t Know What Time It Was, Beautiful Love
Patsy Reid, Marit Falt and Catriona Macdonald - VAMM
VAMM Records VAMM002, £13.99
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Three young women, united in their love of fine music shared between two fiddles, one viola and a latmandola (handmade, Scandinavian, ten-string, octave mandola), here take mainly tradition-based new tunes from Scotland, Ireland, Cape Breton, Canada, Norway and Sweden and play them with great understanding and beauty.
Rhythmic complexity and dynamic power shine through at every turn, as does the sheer joy of their ensemble performance. The variety means that the melodies remain surprising throughout the ten tracks and 19 tunes that make up a unique all-instrumental tour de force. As their title says, in old Shetlandic, it’s “entrancing”.
Download this: Miranda
Richard Rodney Bennett - Sea Change
Collegium CSCD 521, £9.99
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This recording of choral music by Richard Rodney Bennett, performed by the Cambridge Singers under John Rutter, mixes traditional choral forms with contemporary styles in works covering a near 40-year period.
The mix of styles is particularly evident in his music for the album’s title work, based on texts from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Andrew Marvell and Edmund Spenser.
While not a wholly comfortable album to listen to, there is much to enjoy, especially in Bennett’s contribution to contemporary Christmas music, Five Carols. This draws on 14th and 15th-century texts, but has nevertheless successfully made its way into modern choral repertoire.
Download this: The Isle Is Full Of Noises