This week we take a look at the new CD releases including Rebekka Karijord with echoes of Bowie and moody rock from The Molochs,
Rebekka Karijord – Mother Tongue:There are strong echoes of Bowie’s Blackstar in Mother Tongue’s pivotal track Your Name. Yet where Bowie’s coded message was of departure, Rebekka Karijord is documenting an arrival, that of a child, in the most candid fashion. “This is a riot of blood and steel,” she sings, “bending me open, violently.” Unflinchingly this record chronicles childbirth and the early months of motherhood. Possessing a voice that carries a distinct quiver, Karijord, who was born in Norway, but lives in Sweden, has the emotional heft and directness that makes the narrative of helplessness and maternal love strike the listener hard. A bold, brilliant record, cinematic, in keeping with Karijord’s career as a writer of music for films, the story has a happy ending too. By John Skilbeck
Sohn – Rennen: London-born ambient music-maker Toph Taylor swaps his adopted Vienna home for California to bring a beautiful, but punchy sophomore effort with a softening, soulful edge. Rennen (German for “run”) is the former Lana del Rey producer’s follow-up to 2014’s Tremors. A strong West Coast vibe punctuates much of this eclectic feast of electronica, which is infused with Taylor’s harmonious, yet raw, vocals. Some, like Signal, are sundrenched like a chilled-out LA sunset on the beach. Others, like Conrad and album opener Hard Liquor, are the soundtrack to an early-hours car cruise through Hollywood’s dark soul. Either way, it shatters the drabness of January with emotion and pulsing energy. By David Wilcock
The Molochs – America’s Velvet Glory: A bit grungy, but with sunny riffs and cranked, hasty chords that anxiously rock, roll and tumble towards squeaky crescendos, America’s Velvet Glory is fine indie with a 60s and 70s gloss to it. However, after a while, The Molochs – singer-songwriter Lucas Fitzsimons and guitarist and organist Ryan Foster – can come across as slightly whiny, particularly on the protracted, grumbling That’s The Trouble With You. However, things pick up on the nostalgic, carefree The One I Love – it feels like you ought to be listening to it on a jukebox while drinking milkshakes and eating fries, American-teen style. No Control has a country twang, while New York swaggers funkily, with more than a few hints of Courtney Barnett’s blunt delivery. These boys are worth keeping an eye on. By Ella Walker
Menace Beach – Lemon Memory: The latest offering from the five-piece indie rock outfit from Leeds Menace Beach falters into life, but once it actually gets going, it never looks like stopping.
“Why do you only sing about death?” singer Ryan Needham asks, but far from being an album that leaves you feeling introspective, this gets the blood pumping.
Sentimental is two and a half minutes of snare driven grunge that will be a favourite with live audiences, while Can’t Get A Haircut, a song that notes, “You can’t get a haircut if you ain’t got no hair”, brings to mind indie rockers Pavement. Lemon Memory is the sound of a band that has found its space, and exploits it well. By Joe Evans
Shostakovich – Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2: Recreating his award-winning Naxos recording of Shostakovitch’s Twelfth Symphony in Leeds Town Hall tomorrow night, Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic have now placed on disc the two piano concertos with the Moscow-born virtuoso, Boris Giltburg, as the brilliant soloist. He dismisses the many technical challenges with ease, and thoroughly enjoys the gorgeous second movement of the Second Concerto before his blistering account of the finale. Excellent solo trumpet from Rhys Owens in the cheeky conclusion to the First Concerto. The orchestra is in stunning form, but I am far from happy with Giltburg’s adaptation of the Eighth String Quartet for solo piano which simply doesn’t work out in that format. By David Denton