Albums Of Note... Get Up! pairs modern blues idol and expert slide guitarist Ben Harper with harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite. Aiming for blues authenticity, that’s exactly what Ben and Charlie achieve here. The pair of talented blues musicians fly in the face of modernity and instead strive to recreate the dusky glamour of a Chicago blues club.
“In general, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite have delivered a strong, yet candid and fun blues album. This album really does not care that it is 2013, and why should it? Each of the ten songs contains something of merit. Both musicians involved are fairly prolific but this collection will doubtlessly shoot to the high end of the fans favourites in no time at all.”
PVT’s fourth album Homosapien is a progression from the krautrock of their 2005 debut and sees the band leaning toward a cleaner, poppier sound. Gone are the references or HEALTH or HOLY Fuck and what we have instead is an album that – 30 years ago – wouldn’t have sounded out of place cued up next to the likes of Duran Duran or OMD. Homosapien loses its way a little, though, in its bid to blend futuristic ambition with a retro sound.
“At its most potent, 'Homosapien' does manage to rival Caribou's 'Swim', but whereas the latter's whole is greater than the sum of its parts, here such moments of captivating grace prove few and far between.”
Herve’s The Art of Disappearing may well find itself doing just that as our reviewer finds little in this album from Josh ‘Herve’ Harvey – one half of The Count & Sinden – to praise. Many of the tunes suffer from sounding – disappointingly – as though they were rejected from the trip-hop lite of the nineties, with an array of bland female vocalists failing to give the songs the edge they need. Herve’s own productions, minus the “hired help” fare better but it’s not enough to rescue The Art of Disappearing from a negative review.
“Why there's such a gulf in imagination between the laptop stuff and the "Real" songs on The Art of Disappearing isn't clear, and there can't be any doubt that Josh Harvey has the ability. But until he starts asking more of both the guests and himself, this new path seems to add up to little more than a blind alley.”
A Week in Videos... The Weeknd’s video for ‘Twenty Eight’ comes with a warning over its explicit content. With scenes shot in a seedy boudoir, as girls pole dance, seemingly reluctantly. It won’t help the accusations of misogyny leveled at Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd), as he purrs ambiguously about making the subject of the song “scream his name” but for fans of The Weeknd, ‘Twenty Eight’ is a stand-out track, with vocal nods to old soul classics and enviably smooth production skills.
Having already teased us with a clip, Justin Timberlake and Jay Z have finally unleashed the full video for ‘Suit & Tie.’ It’s a heady mix of black and white nostalgia and modern swagger. As JT performs onstage, Jay Z reclines in the background, eventually taking charge of the mic as the tempo changes and the whole scene starts to get suitably raunchy. As slick a production as you’d expect from the king of hip-hop and pop’s returning hero.
Always wanted to get up close and personal with Rihanna? Well, this video for ‘Stay,’ featuring Mikky Ekko is about as close as most of us are going to get. A seemingly simple production, the video for ‘Stay’ features a naked Rihanna, apparently distraught and reclining in a bath, then switched to Mikky Ekko, perched aside an empty bath as the two vocalists sing this song of a tortured relationship. As the camera switches back to Rihanna, she begins to cry. Many viewers will be unable to watch this video without framing it within the story of Rihanna’s relationship with Chris Brown. Of course, the ambiguity is all part of the intrigue and appeal.
Showing off her dulcet tones and tenderly powerful vocals, Gabrielle Aplin’s video for ‘Please Don’t Say You Love Me’ is an intimate affair, with Aplin playing alone in an empty studio. There’s equipment set up all around her but Gabrielle plays alone, warbling her bittersweet folk song as her vocals echo gently around her gently plucked guitar lines.
Music In the News... Dave Grohl’s documentary, Sound City – about the legendary LA recording studio – has been the talk of the Sundance music festival and a London premiere has now been planned. The event, in the UK capital, will also provide a chance for Grohl’s fans to quiz the Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer in a special question and answer session held after the screening.