An album that shimmers in the sunshine.
CEREMONY The L-Shaped Man (Matador Records)
Ceremony take their name from the Joy Division song, and ‘The L-Shaped Man’ is the closest the band have come to paying a full-on homage to Ian Curtis’ lot. From moody piano opener ‘Hibernation’ all the way to bleak album closer ‘The Understanding’, Ceremony have rediscovered their melancholy and are channeling it through their heroes. They might not have returned to their hardcore roots, but Ceremony are back on track. (Tom Walters) Listen: ‘Bleeder’
OTHER LIVES Rituals (Play It Again Sam)
There’s no doubt Other Lives are, as they say, ‘musicians of the accomplished kind’; there’s an attention to detail throughout ‘Rituals’ that would put even the most dedicated studioheads to shame. But while it’s easy to get lost in the intricacies of the record, it’s hard to fall for it – bar the folksy ‘English Summer’ and melancholic ‘Easy Way Out’, the songs themselves largely drift by without too much of note. (Emma Swann) Listen: ‘Easy Way Out’
A GRAVE WITH NO NAME
Feathers Wet, Under the Moon
BEST COAST California Nights (Virgin EMI)
Ever since the sun-drenched guitars of debut ‘Crazy For You’, Best Coast have continued to make a name for themselves as the queen and king of lo-fi surf-pop. Their newest record isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but those familiar scuzzy guitars feel just as satisfying as ever. While their previous effort, ‘The Only Place’ saw them veering closer to the more country-tinged aspects of their influences, their third full-length sees the duo make a return to the more driven sound of their debut. There’s something bolder about ‘California Nights’; within the confidence of Bethany Cosentino’s vocals and the brightness of the instrumentation, this is an album that feels to shimmer in the sunshine, and come alive in the darkness. Tracks like ‘Feeling Ok’, ‘Fine Without You’ and ‘So Unaware’ all shine with that quintessential Best Coast sound. Even within her lyrics the vocalist has reached a new high; while her previous tracks would bear much darker undercurrents, this set of songs seems to have a theme of self-acceptance running throughout. Have no fear: there are still some of those lazy, fuzzed up moments – ‘Jealousy’ stands out best – but they come juxtaposed with the heady, psychedelic murmurs A frootiful return: of the album’s title track; showcasing just a taste of the new territory that they have Marina and the the potential to tread. (Sarah Jamieson) Listen: ‘Fine Without You’ Diamonds.
2013’s ‘Whirlpool’ was a step away from Alex Shields’ past home-recordings, but ‘Feathers Wet...’ is literally thousands of miles away. Recorded in Nashville, it marks a new era for A Grave With No Name. The instrumentation really shines: every melody is bursting with character. Every interlude, every flicker of violin and wail of feedback it’s all there for a reason: to tell a story. (Kris Lavin) Listen: ‘Orion’
MY MORNING JACKET The Waterfall (ATO Records)
It’s evident a primary influence of ‘The Waterfall’ is the location in which MMJ recorded. Settling themselves in the idyllic Stinson Beach in California, they retain a calm and unhurried quality throughout, one not unfamiliar within their catalogue. While it perhaps won’t warrant an influx of new listeners, ‘The Waterfall’ is an inviting record that will leave returning fans thankful for them not disappearing. (Ross Jones) Listen: ‘Like A River’
Featuring Mumford and Sons, Brandon Flowers, Alabama Shakes, Django Django, Blur, Shamir, Palma Violets and loads more.