September 26th, 2016

Coldplay and Neil Young return

Updated: 5:19 pm, May 06, 2015

OBSERVER editor Rob George takes a look at the latest music releases including the sixth album from British stars Coldplay.

GHOST Stories is the latest release from Coldplay and set records before it was even released being one of the top three most pre-ordered albums on iTunes.

Topping the charts in 66 countries before release, Ghost Stories features hit singles Magic and A Sky Full of Stars.

The band celebrated the release of the album with shows in Los Angeles, Glasgow, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney and London and even performed a prime-time TV special on Sky Arts.

Five years after the release of her critically acclaimed debut album Bible Belt, Diane Birch returns with a striking evolution of her sound in her second album Speak a Little Louder.

The album combines driving, danceable tracks alongside more sombre, reflective ruminations on loss and strength set to fuller and increasingly diverse productions.

Among the highlights of the album are Tell Me Tomorrow, which addresses the end of a long term relationship with an exhilarating rush of defiance and regret while Lighthouse is an anthemic ode to inner strength and resilience in the face of darkness.

The emotive It Plays On is the final track on this delightful album and pays tribute to her late father and his enduring inspiration on her music.

Nonesuch Records have delivered the new album from The Black Keys entitled Turn Blue.

Produced by Danger Mouse, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, Turn Blue features 11 new tracks including the first single Fever.

The band are fresh from headlining the Hangout Festival in Alabama before they embarked on an extensive European festival tour this summer.

Turn Blue was recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood during the summer of 2013 with additional recording done at Key Club in Benton Harbor and Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound in Nashville earlier this year.

A Letter Home is the latest release from Neil Young and features a number of covers recorded with Jack White on a refurbished 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth.

Young describes the album as ‘an unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever.’

As for the track listing, Young has chosen songs that have personal meaning for him such as Bert Jansch’s Needle of Death, Bob Dylan’s Girl from the North Country, Willie Nelson’s Crazy, Don Everly’s I Wonder If I Care as Much and the Springsteen classic My Home Town.

The album begins with Neil Young recording a spoken letter to his late mother, informing her of her personal and present state of affairs.

It sets the tone and atmosphere for the duration of the album and in essence the presentation is indeed a ‘letter home’ from Neil.

This is a deeply personal and expressive listening experience which is as real and raw emotionally as it is sonically and yet light of touch in its form and flow.

Liverpool indie rockers Echo and the Bunnymen have showcased their considerable talents on Meteorites, a new album with ten new songs.

Written by front-man Ian McCulloch and performed with fellow original band member Will Sergeant on guitar, Meteorites sounds like an exhilarating renaissance for one of the North West’s most popular bands.

Meteorites is their 12th studio album and the bands first in five years and the intricately crafty work and poetic brilliance places it on a par with the Bunnymen’s heyday in the 80s and 90s.

But for all the classic Bunnymen hallmarks such as McCulloch’s aching, velvety tenor and Sergeant’s shimmering guitar work, the new album’s most striking feature is its lyrical candour.

Deeply personal and subtly revelatory, it sees McCulloch finally facing up to his demons with an honesty that his previous records, however emotionally raw, have invariably shied away from.

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