The pick of this week’s releases
Havoc And Bright Lights
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The video for lead single Guardian features Alanis looking down from on high sporting a set of angel wings, similar to those in the film Dogma, in which she played God.
That is not the only nod to her past, as the music looks back rather than forward. The single adopts the soft and pretty/loud and gnarly pattern that served so well in her transformation from Canadian mall pop brag to angst-ridden rock chick. Now it is more of a soccer mom with a dull predictable band – but with a multi-million-selling career behind you, what is there to get angsty about?
Download this: Empathy, Numb
Of Monsters And Men
My Head Is An Animal
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We know there is something in the water in Iceland, but the glacier element cannot fully explain the country’s idiosyncratic musicians. Of Monsters And Men’s single Little Talks is one of the year’s most captivating tunes, with King And Lionheart and Mountain Sound maintaining the high standard.
Front persons Nanna and Raggi provide the perfect vocal balance, although the former has all the charm of Björk without the irritating excesses. Six Weeks is a glam rock bop, with Icelandic heart and soul. They are going to be the flavour of several months.
Download this: Mountain Sound, Little Talks
Compass Records 7 4579 2, £12.99
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Mercurial flute player and singer Nuala Kennedy performs here on a digital keyboard, the latest voice in her rhythmically tight band (including Iain Macleod on mandolin and banjo; Mike Bryan, guitar; Donald Hay, drums) which takes her music off in interesting new directions. Songs dominate, all with groovy loops, fills and counterpoint, while the instrumental numbers set flute and mandolin on architectonic explorations far from the traditional Irish bog.
Cheeky, dynamically textured and full of ideas, this distinctive sound is new but already fully formed.
Download this: Bonny Labouring Boy
Sketches Of Africa
Antastic ANK 001, download only
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Italian guitar virtuoso Forcione released this evocative, African-themed CD during the Fringe, where his show is an annual event. His travels have clearly influenced both his playing and his composing – and brought him together with new collaborators, among them Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita. Highlights include the uplifting Madiba’s Jive, a tribute to Nelson Mandela.
Download this: Madiba’s Jive, Song for Zimbabwe
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Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North east