Rough Trade Any mod­ern Bri­tish band with duelling front­men and a pen­chant for ragged in­die riffs will draw com­par­isons to The Lib­ertines. Re­gard­less of your feel­ings about Pete Do­herty, there’s no deny­ing that he could knock out a de­cent tune – a fac­tor sorely lack­ing on Palma Vi­o­lets’ de­but. There’s noth­ing wrong with 180 per se, but the crackly pro­duc­tion on th­ese 10 tracks only em­pha­sises the quar­tet’s fix­a­tion on days of yore, whether it’s their bedrag­gled Who-ap­ing, or­gan-led psychedelia on Johnny Bagga’ Donuts, The Clash (ev­ery­thing) or in­deed, the cheeky-chappy swag­ger of The Lib­ertines ( All the Garden Birds). Most point­edly, there’s scant op­por­tu­nity to get ex­cited about most of th­ese tracks. Only time will tell whether the quar­tet’s knack for a be­grudg­ing toe-tap­per will blos­som into some­thing bet­ter than just av­er­age. pal­mavi­o­lets.

Johnny Bagga’ Donuts, Tom the Drum Records This Belfast band have been mooching around for a few years now, with var­i­ous mem­bers moon­light­ing in other lo­cal acts such as Charles Hurts, Doc­u­menta and Sea Pinks (whose Freak Waves al­bum of last year picked up jus­ti­fi­able praise). Tak­ing its cues from a rather splen­did amal­gam of post-punk (grey­hued tunes such as Por­trait and Hyp­notic Re­gres­sion are clearly in­flu­enced by The Cure’s Killing an Arab and Boys Don’t Cry) and Krautrock/mo­torik (the su­perb Oc­cul­ta­tion neatly para­phrases Neu! and Har­mo­nia, with a sassy Hot Chip coda), The New Life man­ages the not in­con­sid­er­able feat of pre­sent­ing an es­tab­lished band in a fresh, of­ten in­vig­o­rat­ing way. Is it a tad mono­chrome? Slightly, but the mist more of­ten than not makes way for sliv­ers of psyched-out sun­shine. girl­snames-dead­tome.tum­blr. com

Tough Love Down­load: Hyp­notic Re­gres­sion, Oc­cul­ta­tion, Pro­jek­tions

Sony Bul­let for My Valen­tine are a phe­nom­e­non. It is rare enough for any band to sell mil­lions of records nowa­days, rarer still for it be a con­tem­po­rary heavy metal band. BFMV’s strad­dling of the main­stream and ex­treme el­e­ments of metal have made th­ese Welsh hard rock­ers a tran­sat­lantic success – and with it has come the en­mity of metal purists who re­gard such success as a sell­out. BFMV’s fourth al­bum is un­likely to change any minds one way or the other. There are enough fist-pump­ing an­thems to please the Valen­tine army, and the band have not lost the knack for a mem­o­rable cho­rus. Both the ti­tle track and the stac­cato open­ing sin­gle, Riot are tai­lor­made for more ad­ven­tur­ous ra­dio sta­tions, yet there is lit­tle orig­i­nal or in­spired in this al­bum. The only thing ex­cep­tional about this band, it seems, is their success. bul­let­formy­valen­ Down­load: Riot, Break­ing Point, Tem­per Tem­per

Trans­gres­sive Syd­ney pro­ducer Har­ley Streten’s de­but al­bum is a trib­ute to way­ward at­ten­tion spans. Over the course of 50 min­utes, Streten finds space to flex his elec­tro, soul, r’n’b, pop and bass mus­cles to pro­duce a rich, de­tailed, in­fec­tious ar­ray of sounds. But sounds alone aren’t enough to grab your at­ten­tion, and Streten also has a great sense of songcraft and vo­cal place­ment. With help from vo­cal­ists such as Chet Faker, Ge­orge Maple (su­perb on Bring You Down) and Jez­z­abell Do­ran, Streten lets the hooks pull in the lis­ten­ers. What is in­ter­est­ing through­out is how he can fizz and fuzz with the sonic pa­ram­e­ters of a track, yet never lose sight of the need to keep a melody in play. It’s a smart trick, one that makes tracks such as Si­na­tra and Sleep­less such in­stant hits. An ex­am­ple that pop doesn’t al­ways have to fol­low the usual for­mula to make an im­pact. flumemu­ Down­load: Si­na­tra, Bring You Down, Sleep­less Bureau B How ex­actly does a highly re­garded Bri­tish singer-song­writer ditch the pol­ish and pathos and get it on with a noted prac­ti­tioner of avant-garde elec­tronic mu­sic – with­out fail­ing mis­er­ably? What on pa­per might seem un­work­able is ac­tu­ally one of this year’s most am­bi­tiously low-key and lovely works of elec­tron­ica.It works best when the moods are mel­low: Vir­ginie L, Lullerby and Still Life With Kan­nyu are pi­ano- based rip­ple ef­fects en­hanced by sturdy Krautrock melody lines (and echoes of De­bussy and Satie). When it goes up a gear ( Fehmarn F/O), it’s all bril­liantly wonky key­boards and as Clus­ter/ Har­mo­nia-driven as you’d want. Two ex­per­i­ments in ser­ra­tion ( Wan­del­bar, HIQS) are like den­tist’s drills bor­ing a hole in your gums but, th­ese aside, this is a del­i­cate, de­light­ful plea­sure. Down­load: Selb­st­por­trait-Re­ich, Fehmarn F/O, Vir­ginie L It is more than 20 years since Karl Bartos was a man-ma­chine, but former band Kraftwerk casts a very long shadow. Although he has re­leased some fine al­bums since (1993’s Esperanto, un­der the Elek­tric Mu­sic han­dle, is worth ex­plor­ing), it is Bartos’s time with the Dus­sel­dorf elec­tronic dons that dom­i­nates his nar­ra­tive. You can hear traces of Kraftwerk’s syn­thetic, in­flu­en­tial synth-pop on Off the Record, which is no bad thing in one way, although the fu­tur­is­tic tones that Bartos em­ploys oc­ca­sion­ally sound a lit­tle off the mark by to­day’s stan­dards. Atomium is full of dra­matic flour­ishes and vo­cal pomp, while Mu­sica Ex Machina, writ­ten with Elec­tron­ica’s Bernard Sum­ner and Johnny Marr, and The Tuning of the World are soul­ful in the most icy way pos­si­ble. Bartos and his machines are still ca­pa­ble of turn­ing you on. karl­bar­ Down­load: Atomium, The Tuning of the World

Bureau B

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