The luminous ruminations of Bill Calahan, the rediscovered fury of Iggy Pop, the Americana inspired by Margo Price, the eternal pop grace of Belle and Sebastian, the feminist punk of Big Joanie… Our latest rock reviews, regularly updated.
Iggy Pop, “Very Loser”
Hunt the natural, it comes back at a gallop. Here is Iggy Pop again, at 75, battery fully charged, with a very rock album, all noise, fury and raw lyrics, to remind us that he remains the original model of a spirit now omnipresent even in its worst caricatures. Led by Andrew Watt, a prominent producer (from Justin Bieber to Ozzy Osbourne!), we could have feared an album inflated with hormones, one more in his discography. Hence the happy surprise. Without equaling his major records, Every Loser holds the road rather well, like a good compromise between the furious Instinct and the most subtle and underestimated New Values (Strung Out Johnny, in particular, on which he claims “God made me a junkie, Satan told me so”). Because the Iguana, with her beautiful, ever more mature and cavernous voice, sings well there, and monolithism is out of place.
Bill Calahan, “Ytilaer”
For thirty years, the fifty-year-old American with his recognizable baritone has transported us, between uncertainty and clairvoyance, with his luminous musical ruminations. At the heart of Ytilaer – word ” reality ” inverted –, a reflection around the dream (of First Bird at coyotes). The one we leave, in our sleep, to plunge into another, awake. “Waking a dreamer is what kills him. » The formula is pure Callahan, and the disc abounds with it, which further broadens its musical palette, taking us with mastery from intimate and bucolic folk to almost free rock, almost jazz (the enthusiastic runaway of Partition). Ever more open, almost peaceful, Bill Callahan sings of reincarnation while watching his old dog sleep, or the art of seeing himself through the eyes of others, always more benevolent than his own. His ideas and his songs, their immutable singularity, still touch us as few others can.
Margo Price, “Strays”
Margo Price is a country singer, but much more than that, who waited until she was 35 before releasing a first album produced by Jack White in 2016. Three albums later, Strays, conceived under the leadership of the excellent Jonathan Wilson is an album of a rich variety, both melodic and sonic, where she offers herself a beautiful duet with Sharon Van Etten (Radio) before crossing swords with Mike Campbell (Light Me Up). Above all, she holds the course of her folk-rock with a strong temperament, to bring down, at the end of the course, his trump card: Lydia, long and poignant acoustic ballad, supported by sumptuous strings, which unfolds – we feel the experience – the desperate wandering of an abandoned woman, struggling with the demons of alcohol, drugs and abuse (men, authorities). All of this is chilling…
Belle and Sebastian, “late developers”
Last year, Belle and Sebastian delivered an album that testified to an unexpected regeneration. The arrival, almost immediately after, of a new disc of songs produced during the same sessions, raised fears of a second-rate collection. Equally inspired, late developers enchants as much, digging into this rediscovered seam of crafted and crafted pop, light and sophisticated, with a freshness from another age (those 90’s indie which saw the group emerge). Like the alternating vocals between Murdoch and Sarah Martin, the album never purrs, the group, never forgetting its folk-rock founding base, refraining from any more rhythmic excursion, all complemented by elegantly playful brass and strings that hit the spot. To end on the catchy Late Developers with perfume bossa, evoking the Ray Davies of the great era.
Big Joanie, “Back Home”
” Our dream ? Dominate the world! », had launched with humor (and a touch of seriousness) the Big Joanie, during a meeting in 2019. “As well as a black feminist revolution. » The three Londoners, from the punk scene and nurtured in political, anti-racist and LGBT activism, could legitimately hope to weigh in on history: Sistas, their first album, a captivating condensed version of primitive punk with vaguely dissonant melodies, released in 2018 on the label of Thurston Moore (figure of grunge with Sonic Youth), had earned them critical esteem, and a tour alongside Bikini Kill in particular, high priestess of feminist punk and the Riot Grrrl movement. They come back with Back Homea second album that took its time. Read more of the review
Working Men’s Club, “Fear Fear”
Working Men’s Club released one of the most thrilling albums of 2020, rooted in industrial electro from Sheffield and postpunk from Manchester. An invigorating retro mix to which the talented Syd Minsky-Sargeant (18 years old at the time) and his three acolytes breathed new life, cut out for the dancefloor. His successor, FearFear, recorded under the orders of Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, MIA, Tricky), is adorned with the same assets, but the abundant ideas of Minsky-Sargeant, singer and master of everything, conceal even more temperament and subtlety. Nesting his sense of melody in welcome breaths (19), relying when necessary on funky or caustic guitars (Cut), he distils his love for synthesizers and drum machines (Widow) in songs with an ever so dark charm, conveying the anxieties of the time. We dance, as much as we vibrate.
Sorry, “Anywhere But Here”
Co-produced with Adrian Utley, ex-Portishead guitarist, these thirteen new titles from Sorry, which follow a more experimental EP, do not sound so far from the pioneers of English trip-hop, in a mixture of slow grooves (Willow Tree) and folk grunge with a devastating spleen (I Miss the Fool). Trip-rock? The haunting blues guitar of Let the Lights On reminiscent of the tube glorybox, but Sorry continues to affirm a singular identity, more invigorating, made of breaks, headwinds and bittersweet melodies about its city, love and the people around it. Even if manners could sometimes be simpler, the talented duo formed by Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen know where they are going. And don’t apologize for being there. Read the whole review.
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