Review: Enduring rock favourites Wilco are now onto album number 11. It is a stripped back affair but one that still offer sup the sort of singalong choruses fans keep coming back for, as well as lyrics that are as expressive as ever. They come from Jeff Tweedy who is in as fine form as ever, while guitars around him vary from acoustic and gentle to more raw and rousing. The drums are nicely deadened to lend the tracks some weight and various personal crises are mused upon through the course of another timeless record from these tried and tested indie heroes.
I Want You (She's So Heavy) (Trident Recording Session & Reduction mix)
Here Comes The Sun (take 9)
Because (take 1 - instrumental)
You Never Give Me Your Money (take 36)
Sun King (take 20)
Mean Mr Mustard (take 20)
Polythene Pam (take 27)
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (take 27)
Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Takes 1-3)
The End (take 3)
Her Majesty (Takes 1-3)
Review: There's a chance this Liverpudlian four piece will be familiar by now. This, their 11th studio outing, first unveiled as the 1960s slipped into the 70s, is a bonafide epic from an outfit that weren't lacking in epics; in many ways a culmination of their time together, marking the end of their active years and beginning of their legacy. By this stage, then, they've emerged from years spent on the inner journey and time on the outer, space cadeting to the hallucinogenic fuelled tones of "Sgt. Peppers" and "Revolver". Of course, there's still plenty of explorations happening, but the gritty blues rock of opening track "Come Together" really sets the tone. Five decades on, it still sounds great and maybe even better than you remember. Even if you own the original, this anniversary edition is worth having.
Review: 213 was something of a supergroup formed in America's west coast soul scene. Powerhouses such as Bill Meyers, Guy Thomas and Neil Stubenhaus were all involved in the making of this album from 1981, which never actually saw the light of day at the time, but is now presented for the first time by Norwegian record label Preservation. It's sentimental material for lazy Sunday mornings, with emotive vocals backed by soaring strings and uplifting chords. There are more reflective moments like "Good Friends" next to swaying singings like "Ohio" and together they add up to a smooth listen.
Review: "In Rainbows", Radiohead's seventh album, finally gets a physical release! It's one thing downloading this landmark album, but to actually hold this is something special. Not only do you get increased sound quality, but you also get the amazing artwork from Stanley Donwood. This album includes "Nude", a live favourite for many years that was originally written during the "OK Computer" sessions. More minimal that their "Kid A" period, "In Rainbows" does something that very few albums have done - its sound is distinct from previous Radiohead albums, but is still clearly Radiohead. Hail to the kings, they are back on top form. Get this album while you can.
Review: When you think of the way we were when Blink 182's angsty punk-pop was tapping the top of the charts one word comes to mind - innocence. Compared to this era of impending existential doom it was easier to work out solutions then, even if solutions weren't put into action. So welcome to the new age, and a new Blink 182 intent on carving a fresh place for themselves in this frighteningly complex point in history. It's as though 2016's "California" was a cathartic and temporary rekindling of old flames, giving closure and helping the band move forward properly. Here they take us into territories barely on their radar before. Not that opener "The First Time" doesn't nod to past glories. "Darkside" brings arty, experimental punk, "Heaven" is a main stage overture, "On Some Emo Shit" is a desperate call for help and admission of the universality of fragility.
Review: Appearing on delicious gold-coloured vinyl, "The Only Band That Matters" offers a snapshot of the Clash at their raucous live best. The set draws on an archive of live shows that were originally broadcast live on various American radio stations between 1979 and '83. While many of the recordings seem raw and unpolished, it only adds to their appeal. On side one you'll find a string of powerful renditions of stone cold classics such as "White Man", "I Fought The Law" and "White Riot", while side B features some killer versions of the band's more dub and disco influenced later tracks. The 12"-mix length version of "The Magnificent Seven" and full-throttle romp through "Rock The Casbah" are particularly potent.