Friday has finally arrived, which means it's release day for a bunch of albums at home and around the world. With so many hot releases out there, we've compiled some of the best new albums to present to you for the long weekend of listening. This week, we're diving into new records from beloved oddballs The Flaming Lips and Marilyn Manson, as well as super-producer Paul Epworth's full-length debut, the return of Everything Everything, and a non-stop fun-fest from Haiku Hands. Let's get it!
The Flaming Lips - American Head
Nearly 40 years since first forming, The Flaming Lips have shared their sixteenth studio record, American Head: a tender, sun-soaked effort that acts as the group’s most endearing record in years. Perhaps growing more sentimental with age, Coyne uses a number of moments across American Head to reflect on the mortality of those around him: bandmates, family or otherwise, making for one of the most personal Flaming Lips efforts to date. Instrumentally, it’s a record that sees the Lips stick to what they do best, offering plenty of processed vocals, pumping kicks, hushed guitars and soaring strings, yet without the typical bombast you’d expect from Coyne and co. Despite this lack of energetic moments, however, American Head makes for a fully enjoyable, engrossing and exciting Flaming Lips listening experience, and will genuinely warrant repeat listens.
Marilyn Manson - We Are Chaos
The ever-polarising Marilyn Manson is back, and you could even argue that with We Are Chaos, he’s better than ever. Teaming up with the always-solid Shooter Jennings as a producer, We Are Chaos sees Manson turn in one of his most focused and stylistically engaging albums in a long time, honing in some of his overtly abrasive and spooky tendencies in favour of songs like the Bowie-esque ‘Don’t Chase The Dead’, featuring howling guitars and a fist-pumping chorus to make for one of the album’s highlights. Of course, there’s a few heavy and edgy moments - ‘Infinite Darkness’ proves to be another highlight - but where We Are Chaos excels best is Manson and Jenkins’ styles meet at the midpoint on ‘Broken Needle’ and ‘Half-Way and One Step Forward’, with the producer seemingly bringing out an exciting new energy from the self-proclaimed God of Fuck.
Paul Epworth - Voyager
Mega-producer Paul Epworth (Adele, U2, Coldplay, Bloc Party) has stepped out from behind the desk with Voyager, his first album as a lead artist and a showcase of his might in the studio. Teaming up with a hot list of collaborators like Vince Staples, Lianne Le Havas, Jay Electronica and Kool Keith, Epworth uses Voyager to show off his exceptional chops as a producer and multi-instrumentalist, drawing on everything from house and contemporary hip-hop through to jazz-funk and disco for the sci-fi inspired sonic epic. Packed with interesting left turns and crisp studio trickery, Voyager is much more than just a marketing tool for Epworth: it’s an intriguing walk through the lauded producer’s musical mind, and makes for one of the most colourful albums of its kind in 2020. Essential listening for any budding super-producer.
Haiku Hands - Haiku Hands
Australian dance trio Haiku Hands’ self-titled debut, released yesterday via Spinning Top and Diplo’s Mad Decent imprint, is one hell of a house party record. Comprised of twelve high-octane bangers that span themes of technology, relationships, social commentary and pure weirdness, Haiku Hands traverses everything from slinky disco and pumping house to dank dancehall and beyond, with the trio gliding between each style with a disconcerting level of cool. Sofi Tukker shows up on the tongue-in-cheek house highlight ‘Fashion Model Art’, while ‘Jupiter’ delivers a gleaming slither of spacey ‘80s disco in the vein of Pharrell Williams. Each song on Haiku Hands is certified to send a festival tent into overdrive, and while it’s a shame we won’t be able to witness that for a while, that’s no excuse to not listen to this record - it could very well be one of the funnest Aussie dance releases to drop this year.
Everything Everything - Re-animator
Manchester four-piece Everything Everything share their fifth full-length effort, Re-animator, the group’s first effort since their acclaimed 2017 release A Fever Dream. Fusing angular art-rock stylings with smart songwriting and shimmering production, Re-animator is one hell of a modern rock record, with the group toying with grandiose, oblique themes that at times even border on baroque territory. Tracks like ‘Planets’ demonstrate Everything Everything’s ambitious composition chops at their best, while ‘Moonlight’ and ‘It Was A Monstering’ sound as if they could have been lost tracks from Radiohead’s In Rainbows sessions, with frontman Johnathon Higgs’ falsetto soaring to new heights to remind us of his uncanny vocal talent. A wonderful record that confirms Everything Everything’s status as one of the best bands dabbling in art rock today.
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