First Listen: Warpaint, ‘Warpaint’

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The band will release their forthcoming new album ‘Warpaint’ on January 20, 2014. The album is streaming one week prior to release ‘Biggy’ and ‘Love Is To Die’, both of which have been revealed prior to the release of the album, feature on the record.

Warpaint’ is the follow-up to the US band’s 2010 album ‘The Fool’, and was self-produced along with producer Flood (PJ Harvey, Sigur Ros), and mixed by Flood and Nigel Godrich (Radiohead).Meanwhile, Warpaint will play an album release gig at London’s Electrowerkz on January 22 before their full UK tour kicks off the next day at Brighton Dome.Warpaint is a smoky, spidery and delicate album, yet it’s also muscular, tight and intensely emotive. It teases out the band’s post-punk and dream-pop sensibilities with understated guitars and shadowy electronics, yet it also plays with hip-hop rhythms, as on the cutely-titled Hi, and jarring, calculated key-changes, as on lead single Love Is To Die.

Warpaint – Love Is To Die (Official Audio)

Warpaint – Biggy (Official Audio)

The band’s centrepiece is Australian-born drummer Stella Mozgawa, whose talents are often placed atop the mix, distancing her from the rest of the band, most notably on Intro and Feeling Alright. When she is placed at the very bottom, it’s to support some subtler, acoustic work, like Teese and Drive.

The album boasts plenty of notables. There’s master-producer/mixer Mark Ellis aka Flood, best known for his work with PJ Harvey and New Order, and co-mixer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Atoms For Peace, Ultraísta). There’s also Warpaint guitarist Jenny Lee Lindberg‘s filmmaker husband Chris Cunningham, known for his IDM video art, who contributed a forthcoming documentary detailing the album’s genesis, complete with a remix of the album as its soundtrack.

Warpaint’s self-titled full-length is a deserving canvas for these more-than-capable hands. It’s a nuanced record about love, mortality, sleep, confusion and certainty, showcasing a maturing band, but one that is yet to reach the height of its powers.

Warpaint’s self-titled sophomore album is slated for release this Friday, 17th January.

Jake Bugg’s sophomore album Shangri La is a remarkable album

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Jake Bugg: Shangri La album – Island Records

Jake Bugg’s second album takes its title from the studio in which it was made with  the most famous producer in the world, Rick Rubin. This along with his success and global travels felt so far removed from his past and threatened to detach him from the basic essence that successfully connected with the British public.

But our 19 year-old troubadour’s down-to-earth authenticity has ensured the survival of his pragmatism, and while ‘Shangri La’ is worlds away from the Clifton estate of his childhood (literally – it’s named after producer Rick Rubin’s Malibu studio in which it was recorded), it’s an impressive and suitably exciting reflection of his current lifestyle. And here he’s with his sophomore album already and, on the back of the acclaim he achieved on his first album, the speedy release of ‘Shangri-La’ is a promising sign that Bugg is bursting with ideas and has no plans of sitting back on top of his one Mercury nomination.

Shangri La is an album that connects emotionally. These are slices of real life beyond the hometown borders. It’s the next logical step in the Jake Bugg journey: seeing the world and singing about his experiences.

That folk-rockabilly approach noticed in his first album sure got Bugg noticed on his self-titled debut. This one, recorded under the guidance of  Rubin, is a big step forward even better than his debut album.  One can notice elements of folk, rock ‘n’ roll, country, and punk. All the songs include his creative lyrical phrasing, with more confidence. He’s an artist who knows what he wants out of his music.

Rick Rubin oversees an expanding sonic palette and a tougher sound; the punk-fired “What Doesn’t Kill You” and grungy country rock of “All Your Reasons” push up against MacDougal Street serenades like “Pine Trees,” an alienated epistle that could’ve been cut in a winter cabin.

There’s A Beast And We All Feed It’ immediately kicks things into gear. A scathing rant at “finger pointers” and Twitter rumor mongers, it’s backed by a frantic rockabilly rhythm that continues breathlessly across ‘Slumville Sunrise’ and ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’.

It’s in the more sensitive moments, however, that Bugg’s expressive qualities truly shine. The sweet, star-crossed ‘Me And You’ is lovely, while the haunting sustained note held in the chorus of ‘A Song About Love’ is the album’s first goosebumps moment.

The acoustic ‘Pine Trees’ and pastoral closer ‘Storm Passes Away’ are testimony to Jake’s writing sessions in Nashville, and his slight country vocal twangs are genuinely affective.

Rubin knows all about emotional intensity and, just as with Johnny Cash’s seminal ‘American Recordings’, on ‘Shangri La’ he has captured everything cleanly and sparsely to really let Jake’s storytelling shine. The resulting exposure makes for a mature and remarkable album, and the continued development of Jake Bugg something especially worth watching.

‘Shangri La’ out now:
iTunes – http://po.st/ShangriLaYT
Official Store – http://po.st/JakeBuggStore
Google Play – http://po.st/GoogleSL
Amazon – http://po.st/ShangriAmazon

Tour Dates