Review: A year on from the untimely demise of arguably the most influential British musician of the last fifty years, and on the eve of what would have been his seventieth birthday, here we have the opportunity to view his whole jaw-dropping career across the course of two slabs of wax. From the cosmic dread of 'Space Oddity' all the way to the reflective melancholy of 'I Can't Give Everything Away', it's a magnificent testimony to a restless muse that never stopped moving into unchartered territory in search of new adventure. These songs will outlive us all.
Review: We've had more Neil Young compilations thrown our way over the years than many of us care to remember, but only one really sticks in the mind, and it's this one. Originally released in 1977 and chronicling the period in which Young went from being a simple member of Buffalo Springfield to one of the most heralded North American songwriters of the late century, and comprising work from that band alongside Crosby Stills Nash and Young, it's studded with delights aplenty. From the extended guitar sprawl of 'Down By The Ocean' and 'Cortez The Killer' to poignant balladry like 'After The Goldrush' and 'Helpless', no-one captured the dreams and hopes of the hippie generation in quite the way Young did, and this collection is a magnificent testimony to his most fertile and heartwarming era.
Review: It was recently Elon Musk who told us that there's a "one in billions" chance that we're not living in a computer simulation right now, and to popularise that theory even more Warner presents Muse at arguably their biggest. It's the mega-band's follow-up to their 2015 Drones LP and Nostradamus-like themes are once again at play in the subtle neo-anarchist tendencies of Muse's end of the world sound, although this time around electronic, EDM and Tron influences are at the forefront of their production. A distinctly colourful, vibrant and hyperactive listen compared to their last full length, and seemingly light years on from their seminal 2001 album, Origin Of Symmetry, Muse send us streaming into a new void that's as exhilarating and it is terrifying.
Review: Royal Blood's debut was a smash hit, and its globe-conquering success notably hasn't led them to make an avant-jazz record for this follow-up, nor to stray too far from the amp-abusing template it set out. Nor indeed does this record live up to its title, despite spending much of its 35-minute duration chronicling the downfall of a relationship, Nonetheless, the Brightonian duo remain possessed of testosterone-driven power and brass-knuckle boisterousness to slay ten lesser bands, and 'How Did We Get so Dark?' is another masterclass in the creation of riffs big enough to fill a canyon.
Review: Somehow summoning the chutzpah and spirit to go bigger-better-faster-more on each one of their albums thus far, Muse here dish out another feverish, histrionic and mightily compelling collection of widescreen art-rock stompers. With the help of none other than 'Mutt' Lange in the producer's chair, the Teignmouth three-piece make a record with an epic scope and grandstanding aplomb that could put it in the ring with any of the stadium acts he's worked with in times of yore. With an anti-war theme surrounding ditties that loom large in the imagination, 'Drones' is another bold step for this unlikely trio.
Review: For all of his undoubted musical genius, many of Prince's albums could be a little hit-and-miss. That's not an accusation that could be hurled at Sign O' The Times, which remains one of the Purple One's most potent collections of songs. As this vinyl reissue proves, the 1987 set still sounds every bit as good as it did all those years ago. While there are plenty of well-known hits - the peerless social commentary of 'Sign O' The Times', the sexual thrust of 'Hot Thing', the gnarly dancefloor funk of 'You Got The Look', and so on - the album's lesser-known moments, from the rockin' strut of "Play In The Sunshine", to the heartfelt, stripped-back "The Cross", are equally as inspired. File under "essential listening".