Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
Various Artists - 'And Now Our Lives Are Complete'
An eclectic compilation showcasing the best of Tim Burgess' O Genesis label
Along with long-time Charlatans producer Jim Spencer, for the past three years, Tim has driven O Genesis his own label, producing nearly 40 vinyl albums and 7-inches, from Hatcham Social to lo-fi legend R Stevie Moore. He catalogues them in a Factory-like ‘GEN 001’ format. And he splits everything 50-50 with the artists, like Wilson, only asking them to sign a flimsy rights note he calls a 'non-tract'. The first label retrospective summarises just how far towards the fringes the man’s taste has sailed since the Charlatans’ ‘How High’ days. His newfound friends include Nik Colk Void from Factory Floor, who adds blank Throbbing Gristle noise-blobs on ‘Gold E’, and Kurt Wagner from Lambchop, who reads lyrics from ‘A Case For Vinyl’, one of the songs from his 2012 collaboration album with Tim, ‘Oh No I Love You’. There's a wave of so-2011 paint-by-numbers grunge from Minny Pops, Throwing Up and Slowgun, and some excellent further adventures in cold wave from the likes of Education For Death and Pavlov’s Children, as well as odder oddities from London poet Jack Underwood.
The overall feeling is of a good mid-sized club night put on to reflect the tastes of one enthusiastic weirdo: not everything hits the mark, but there's always enough art-school flair in his big bag of curate's eggs to hold your attention. Direction, consistency: these may come later – for now, the former court jester of Britpop seems happy enough to have remade himself into a hip priest. Amazing the IQ you can hide under a haircut that wide.
The Cavan teenagers attack album two with abandon, largely at the expense of quality
A still-vital John Lydon rages towards retirement on a saucy, scuzzy new album
10 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (26/8/2015)
Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album