Albums of the week

This week

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    Kelis - Food
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    Release Name
    Food
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Kelis
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    £4.99
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    Review

    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.

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    Iggy Azalea - The New Classic
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    Release Name
    The New Classic
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Iggy Azalea
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    £5.99
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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.

Previous weeks

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    Paolo Nutini - Caustic Love
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    Caustic Love
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Paolo Nutini
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    £10.49
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    Review

    Forget the floppy hair and songs about shoes, Paisley’s premiere pop star’s matured a lot in the eight-plus years since These Streets. Now at the ripe old age of 27, Nutini presents a third full-length set with – what can only be described as – “multi-generational appeal”. Combining nods to blues, funk and soul standards with up-to-the-minute production and some extremely strong song writing, Caustic Love is more than capable of converting cynics, given the chance.

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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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    £7.99
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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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    Sohn - Tremors
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    Release Name
    Tremors
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Sohn
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    Following a string of superb singles and smouldering productions for acts like BANKS and Kwabs, this Vienna-based Brit has established himself as the go-to man for soulful, electronic jams. His full-length debut for 4AD does little to disprove the notion. Hit play on Tremors and be instantly subsumed into a dimly-lit world after-dark confessionals, where shuddering subs and twitching beats mingle with pulsating synths and vocals of quite-arresting purity. Watch out James Blake, SOHN’s stealing a march on you.

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    EMA - The Future's Void
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    Release Name
    The Future's Void
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by EMA
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    From the drone-folk of Gowns, to the lo-fi confessionals on Past Life Martyred Saints, EMA’s claustrophobic compositions have always impressed, and yet this latest release rockets her into another league entirely. Dubbed “meta-grunge” in the music press, The Future’s Void finds the South Dakota songwriter delivering discourses on surveillance culture and urban paranoia, and accentuating her serrated howl with abrasive, industrial sounds. Perhaps the very antithesis of background music.

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    Kaiser Chiefs - Education, Education, Education & War
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    Education, Education, Education & War
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Kaiser Chiefs
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    Last seen luxuriating in his big red chair on BBC talent quest ‘The Voice’, Ricky Wilson’s back fronting lovable Leeds outfit Kaiser Chiefs. Well, we say lovable: the lads have more than enough previous now for you to know precisely where you stand on them. If you’re firmly in favour, we’ve good news: despite the departure of key songwriter Nick Hodgson, fifth LP Education, Education, Education & War represents no radical change of direction. There’s more than enough bellow-along choruses here keep the festival throngs entertained this summer, plus lead single ‘Coming Home’ ranks up there as one of their finest songs to date.

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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)
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    by Future Islands
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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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    Foster The People - Supermodel
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    Release Name
    Supermodel
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Foster The People
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    £6.99
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    There can’t be many bands capable of scoring a global smash with a cautionary tale of adolescent gun grime, but Foster The People did just that with 2010’s ‘Pumped Up Kicks’. Their secret? Sugaring the pill with an irresistible hook, of course. Mark Foster and friends take a similarly subversive tack on their second LP, Supermodel, burying references to “capitalist greed” and “psychotropic wanderlust” under a pile of FM-friendly guitar-pop. Clever boys…