6 Great Albums That May Have Passed You By This Week
New releases from Sea Of Bees, White Reaper, Samantha Crain and more
You know about the big releases each week, but what about the smaller albums which may have passed underneath your radar? We’ve rounded up nine of the best new album releases from this week, from Sea Of Bees’ folkie emotion to De Lux’s disco shimmies: don’t miss out.
Sea Of Bees – Build A Boat To The Sun
Julie Ann Bee – aka Sacramento folkie Sea Of Bees – brought a break up to life with warmth and honesty on her last album, 2012’s ‘Orangefarben’. On its successor, those qualities are still richly evident. “I fight so hard to stay alive/The comfort of the sea is like a blanket over me,” she opens up on the shuffling ‘Little Sea’, while the gentle ‘Old Bridge’, backed by subtle trumpet lines, has her begging “Mama, please don’t cry/Don’t worry about my life”. ‘Dad’ opens with Bee “ooh sha la la”-ing invitingly over staccato guitars before ‘Monk’ rounds things off with regal brass juxtaposed by lines like “every night singing a junkie song”. The emotions might not be quite as strong on this record but Sea Of Bees still manages to wrap you up in her words.
Rachel Sermanni – Tied To The Moon
Mate of the Mumfords, Scottish singer songwriter Rachel Sermanni crafts the kind of shadowy midnight music that casts her as the sonic sister of gothic folk duo Smoke Fairies – all red wine blues, cobweb-draped melancholy and fireside ceremonials. Her second album skips between the fiery and the fragile, pitching the striking yet sinister screes of ‘Ferryman’ against the predatory, bass-y blues of ‘Run’. Though the softer moments – such as the coy ‘Banks Are Broken’ and feathery ‘Don’t Fade’ – are unnervingly pretty and graceful, the 23-year-old is most impressive when channeling the heartfelt huskiness of Edith Piaff on the old timey ‘I’ve Got A Girl’, which rolls across the backdrop of a hefty Waitsian polka.
White Reaper – White Reaper Does It Again
The first track on White Reaper’s debut album is called ‘Make Me Wanna Die’, but the Kentucky quartet are far from maudlin. Instead, ‘White Reaper Does It Again’ is crammed full of punchy punk chaos, all feral and fuzzy and euphoric. Yes, Tony Esposito’s snarled and spat lyrics are driven by emotional negativity (“Now I’m crying on the floor/Cos I don’t think she cares anymore”, ‘I Don’t Think She Cares’), but, with whirling synths and meaty guitars riffing beneath, his lows are transformed into pogoing highs. ‘Wolf Trap Hotel’ zigs and zags around pummelling drums and blankets of distortion, while closer ‘B.T.K’ is a hyperactive race that neatly summarises White Reaper’s modus operandi: simple, unruly and riotously fun.
Flying Saucer Attack – Instrumentals 2015
While it feels like no musical comeback is truly unlikely nowadays, the first Flying Saucer Attack album since 2000 was anticipated by, presumably, very few. The clandestine status of ‘Instrumentals 2015’ was no doubt helped, though, by being recorded at home by sole member David Pearce. In this respect, it’s a heartening callback to the clutch of great records FSA made in the 90s, which used lo-fi techniques as a weapon and made startlingly original hay from shoegaze, Krautrock and indiepop. Pearce’s return finds him even more hermetic and formless in approach: 15 tracks, all without titles but often captivating in their ebbs and swells of layered guitar. Overlong at almost an hour but, largely, as pretty and organic as crystal.
De Lux – Generation
Last year, LA duo De Lux released their debut album ‘Voyage’, a glistening mash of post-punk, funk and disco. Its follow-up, they say, is darker but just as much fun. Opening track ‘LA Threshold’ holds up the latter, with daft lyrics like “staying wealthy, taking selfies”, while ‘Simba Simba Simba’ features a James Murphy-esque sardonic vocal line over Nile Rodgers guitar shimmies, and finale ‘Someday Now’ is a sunny piece of jitter funk. For the ‘darker’ ground, ‘No One Really Cares Who You Are’ finds Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco imbuing laser synths and falsetto cries with a dense melancholy, and ‘When Your Life Feels Like A Loss’ has Guerin crooning “You’re not special/You’re just an average guy” but even that sentiment can’t dim De Lux’s sparkle.
Samantha Crain – Under Branch & Thorn & Tree
When you learn that Samantha Crain is of Choctaw Indian heritage, a certain symmetry rears up. Bobbie Gentry sang about Choctaw Ridge on 1967 classic ‘Ode To Billie Joe’ and Crain shares Gentry’s haunting voice and way with a story. Her fourth album is full of tales of small-town life, as Crain paints a picture of a deceased neighbour on the delicate folk of ‘You Or Mystery’, lets her heart break in public on the string-caressed ‘When You Come Back’ and yearns for escape over the swift acoustic picking of ‘Elk City’. A bit of good-time boogie on ‘Big Rock’ is the only release of tension. Otherwise this is intimate country-folk that’s utterly seductive in its stillness.