- That Courtney Barnett’s latest album features a track called ‘Crippling Self-Doubt and a General Lack of Self Confidence’ feels an apt insight into her endlessly wry candour about anxiety and depression. The Australian singer-songwriter hurtled to fame with her 2015 debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, a record of deadpan apparent insouciance over psych-tinged rock thrills. Via a dreamy, acclaimed collaboration with Kurt Vile, this record picks up where Barnett’s previous releases left off: indie laced with honest sprechgesang that’s as sharp-tongued as it is sweet.
- How much difference does a haircut and taking off your signature hat make to your sound? In the case of Herfordshire’s James Bay, perhaps not that much. His second album Electric Light - which, crucially, is his first without a hat - finds him rebranding as an edgier kind of guy. Ultimately that means a sort of -lite-meets-The 1975 sound, via tinges of that very en vogue gospel warmth sound. It’s a polished and propulsive next move that sees him striving to push past the MOR-leanings of behemoth hit ‘Hold Back The River’, but this is largely a record that will still appeal to Bay’s core, hat-era fans.