New CDs for September

Some new CDs for September include the new Killers; the return of Cat Power & Mark Knopfler; and the new Dylan & Animal Collective efforts…

Cover imageCoexist / The xx.
“Subtlety comes in several shades, sometimes so slight as to be near imperceptible. The xx, Mercury winners with their 2009 debut and unlikely global stars since, were never going to overhaul their sound for album two; but spend a while in Coexist’s company and the London trio’s evolution is evident. On a first spin, little might appear to have changed. Angels opens, starring Romy Madley Croft’s delicate voice set against a guitar that chimes its presence with an unhurried effortlessness. So far, so very debut-over-again.But Coexist isn’t a straight continuation from the past; The xx broke from the routine of promotion, of filling headspaces with thoughts of what happens next, to rediscover lives outside of the band. Upon reconvening, fresh ideas formed, and many have found a place on Coexist. Lyrically it’s a love album, from the first flushes of affection to the trauma of separation. This constant allows the music to spin out into new shapes…With a signature sound established at the first time of asking, The xx’s challenge was to both expand their palette and satisfy the demands of a huge audience. And through refinement rather than reinvention, they’ve succeeded in singular style…(Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageSun.
““It’s up to you to be a superhero / It’s up to you to be like nobody,” sings Chan Marshall on Sun’s penultimate song, Nothin but Time: a very different sentiment to the kind that peppered 2006’s The Greatest, her last album of original material. On that record’s most striking moments, Marshall sounded weary and mired in longing, her voice set against a rich backdrop of Memphis soul and Delta blues. Six years later it’s all about self-empowerment for the singer – Sun was played, produced and recorded almost entirely by Marshall herself. It exemplifies, as she puts it: “Don’t look back, pick up, and go confidently into your own future, to personal power and fulfilment.” As such, the smoky, languid arrangements of The Greatest and 2008’s Jukebox are cast aside in favour of a bright electronic sheen which is most apparent on Sun’s title track, a pulsating collage of multi-tracked vocals and synth. It takes a few listens and a pair of headphones to really settle in; likewise the strobing electronics of Real Life, over which Marshall expounds the virtues of an “unordinary life”. If there is nothing here as instantly transfixing as some of her past work, Sun comes alive on closer listening, revealing myriad depths and unexpected vocal turns…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageBattle born / The Killers.
“Deluxe Edition version of Battle Born, the fourth studio album from iconic indie rockers The Killers. The album was recorded in the band’s Vegas studio of the same name, during which time they called upon a diverse list of production talent, including Brendan O’Brien, Steve Lillywhite, Daniel Lanois, Björk collaborator Damian Taylor and Stuart Price. Tracks that feature include “Heart of a Girl,” “Flesh and Bone” and “Carry Me Home”. Features 3 Bonus Tracks not available on the Standard Edition + a 16-page booklet…” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageTempest [deluxe].
“Tempest is Bob Dylan’s highly-anticipated 35th studio album and coincides with the 50th anniversary of his 1962 eponymous debut album. Produced by Jack Frost and recorded with the members of Dylan’s touring band and Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, Tempest has received worldwide critical acclaim and has been firmly anchored at the top of Amazon’s Best Sellers in Music chart since it became available for pre-orders in July 2012. In its five-star review, Rolling Stone calls Tempest, ”musically varied and full of curveballs….Dylan now stand virtually alone among his 1960s peers.” Entertainment Weekly gives it a ”Grade: A” and writes, ”Dylan remains as magical and mysterious as ever.” Associated Press calls it , ”One of the best discs you ll hear by anyone this year.” Mojo also gives the album five stars, writing, ”Dylan sets sail on his finest album of this century.” New Yorker says Tempest is ”as spirited and vigorous an album as he’s made.” The Washington Post writes that Dylan ”has delivered his most compelling release in more than a decade.”..” (Description from Amazon.com)

Cover imageCentipede Hz.
“Back to a four-piece following the return of Josh Dibb (aka Deakin), who ducked out of the band’s 2009 critical hit Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective have dived deeper into their neon-lit rabbit hole for this ninth album. Centipede Hz is dense and detailed, invigorating and intoxicating. It requires a musical aperitif prior to experiencing, or else the listener risks being overwhelmed by the sensory rush. Actually, that’s exactly what should happen. It’s absolutely paramount that you, listener, take yourself away from any other activity while Centipede Hz plays. Distractions will numb its potency – and believe these words when they state you’ll want to be completely consumed by this album. It’s the only way to properly feel it: into brain, blood, skin, and back into the air, hair buzzing, fingernails dancing. Close your eyes: soon enough pictures paint themselves across the blank canvas. They may not be clear, appearing as strange shape-shifting things, but they’re certainly captivating. It might not be Animal Collective’s very best album to date – perhaps 2007’s Strawberry Jam deserves that honour, for its combination of creative boldness and no-second-wasted brevity – but the 55 minutes of Centipede Hz are geared for maximum connect between artist and audience. The album’s sequencing seems spot on, the cliché of “taking one on a journey” coming to mind, but not without reason – segues of static and radio chatter between songs ensure momentum’s never lost…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imagePrivateering.
“2012 two CD release from the British guitarist, songwriter, producer and former Dire Straits leader. Privateering is Knopfler’s first double album, each song an original. They cover a wide range of locations and characters from both sides of the Atlantic and move through a number of genres which include several new Blues originals. The album is a soulful and heartfelt collection masterfully performed by a group of world class players. In addition to what has become Knopfler’s long-time band, hand-picked guest aces include Kim Wilson (harp) of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Tim O’Brien (mandolin), singer Ruth Moody of The Wailin’ Jennys, Paul Franklin (pedal steel) and Scotland’s Phil Cunningham (accordion). Twenty new titles were recorded at the artist’s British Grove Studios in London with the following players: Richard Bennett (guitar), Jim Cox (piano) Guy Fletcher (keyboards), John McCusker (fiddle), Mike McGoldrick (whistle and flute), Glenn Worf (bass) and Ian Thomas (drums). Knopfler was assisted by co-producers Guy Fletcher and Chuck Ainlay…” (Description from Amazon.com)