We take a look at all the latest offerings in music.
Dear Reader – Day Fever: The first album in four years for Berlin-based South African singer-songwriter Cherilyn MacNeil is a marked return to form following 2013’s disappointing Rivonia, in which previous collaborator Darryl Torr’s absence was all too noticeable. With Day Fever, however, it seems Dear Reader is finally thriving as a solo project. MacNeil and producer John Vanderslice have opted for an entirely analogue recording style here, eschewing big effects and recording directly onto tape, and the result is a warm, organic alt-folk album reminiscent of The Beekeeper-era Tori Amos – not only in terms of style and tone, but also in its painfully honest and open lyrics. by Rob Lavender
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – The Tourist: Recorded in just a week, Alec Ounsworth’s fifth record as Clap Your Hands Say Yes, and his second since his original bandmates bailed, has an urgency and inventiveness about it, but often veers into being a tad whiny. Fireproof smacks of stilted, video-game soundtracking thumping repetitively, while Unfolding Above Celibate Moon (Los Angeles Nursery Rhyme) is as protracted as its title, but once it gets going is full of charm. The Vanity Of Trying, however, shows some consistency - throughout it is pacy and alluring, buzzing with a clamorous yearning. For indie rock it’s got heart, and if on first listen it sounds two dimensional, listen again – it builds. By Ella Walker
Jens Lekman – Life Will See You Now: Sweden’s Jens Lekman knows how to play live shows, but it has been difficult for him to match this intensity in the studio. 2012’s I Know What Love Isn’t employed all the familiar Lekman subjects, but his music’s early creativity, playfulness and humour were sadly absent. After wrestling with writer’s block for this follow-up, he decided to record and post a new song online every week for a year. The best of these make up Life Will See You Now. Gothenburg is the familiar backdrop to these 10 songs about love and friendship. No longer self-producing, Ewan Pearson makes the smart replacement, giving a renewed sharpness and urgency to the sound, the steel drum-led pop of What’s That Perfume That You Wear? being the most addictive pop he’s done in years. By Colm McCrory
Peter Silberman – Impermanence: In the space of seven years, Pete Silberman’s The Antlers morphed from a vehicle for his solo work into something altogether grander. Following that last album, Silberman suffered an injury which meant the loss of hearing in one ear. As a result, his debut solo record strips things way back – all the songs feature little more than his voice and a handful of instruments. The result is a return to the raw human tenderness of that earlier Antlers work, even if it lacks the emotional punch. Silberman’s melancholic falsetto has always brought comparisons to Jeff Buckley, and that’s all the more pronounced here – particularly in Karuna, a beguiling opener that sets the tempo for the record. However, the album doesn’t vary much in tone or intensity from there. By Stephen Jones
Saint-Saens – Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2: The Second of the five piano concertos from Camile Saint-Saens become a ‘pop classic’ in the mid-part of the last century, but now rarely appears in our concert halls. Full of vivacity that sparkles like vintage champagne, the soloist festoons the orchestral part with the most elaborate decoration, the finale a showpiece for nimble-fingered virtuosity. Here coupled with the First concerto from the youthful composer, they are played by the brilliant multi-award winning young French pianist, Romain Descharmes, as part of the complete concertos to be released on Naxos. The Malmo Symphony, conducted by Marc Soustrot, bring the required gravitas to works that are usually infused with more froth than substance. Superb sound quality, and much recommended. by David Denton