A Week In Music - Daft Punk Get Lucky, Lana Del Rey Soundtracks Gatsby And Rod Stewart Shocks Us All
Plus, Taylor Swift scoops eight Billboard Awards and Stevie Wonder closes Hangout in style in our weekly round-up...
This Week In Albums... There was only album anyone was really talking about wasn't there? Daft Punk's much anticipated fourth LP Random Access Memories was streamed early after it leaked on the internet allowing the world's media their chance to get in quick with their gut-check reactions. Our man Joe Wilde was a little more reflective in his assessments though, and found much to love about the French duo's comeback - even if hasn't ended up being the classic that so many people were hoping for. He wrote: "Guy-Manuel and Thomas are perfectionists in every sense, and whilst the album itself isn't a perfect listen, it is still a thoroughly rewarding and worthwhile one; and what more could we and the robots have asked for?"
There were some other much-vaunted French types releasing their comeback album this Spring too; it's a case of if it ain't broke don't fix it for Phoenix. Hoewever that means we once again get an LP of intelligent pop that's as catchy as it is inventive. Jim Pusey found it to be an enjoyable listen, although he felt it lacked something that its mainstream-breaking predecessor Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix had; he commented "There's much here to like, but it lacks some of the charm that made Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix quite so endearing."
The Contact reviewers were evidently in ruddy good spirits this week, becasue Rudimental also found themselves the recipients of some hearty praise, this time from our scribe Andrew Lockwood. "Rudimental, have pulled off a sensational and spectacular achievement with 'Home'. It is likely to be the best Pop record you hear this year and is more than worthy of all the plaudits it receives. The music is so energised and enthusiastic that it can't fail but to transfer its attitude and positivity through to the listener."
Feasting contentedly on the influences of Crosby, Still, Nash And Young, Treetop Flyers aren't likely to set any marks for originality in their work, but Joe Wilde argues that they don't necessarily need to, in his appraisal of their new album The Mountain Moves. "The lingering impact of their throwback tunes will be difficult to match by their contemporaries," he writes, before imploring us not to compare them to Mumford & Sons. Fear not, Joe, we won't.
This Week In Videos... Lana Del Ray recorded Young & Beautiful specifically for The Great Gatsby soundtrack, and it has to be said that it's a lot better than The Great Gatsby itself. She's an odd one is Lana, you kind of don't want to like her but there's something about her voice that keeps pulling you back in. This is some more swooping ballady fare and it works well indeed.
King Krule's star is ever ascendant and it doesn't look it's going to stop any time soon. For his best though you need to see him live, which is handy because one of our videos of the week is this shaggy live version of his track 'Rock Bottom', recorded live at a Fred Perry event. His debut album should be on the way soon too, at which point we're sure he's really going to be taking off.
In an amazing twist, Wolfmother front man Andrew Stockdale has launched his solo project with a totally different style of mu- no, no, sorry we can't keep a straight face saying that. Long Way To Go is still heavy on the riffs and the hair metal, sounding more like Led Zeppelin then ever. So if you're up for a bit of fun pastiche then this might be the one for you.
Michael Franti still seems pretty stoked with life, impressive stuff given he's been in the music business for over two decades - enough to wear even the most enthusiastic of souls down. 'I'm Alive' though is most resolutely chipper, a soft-pop number that sees Franti indulding in potentially some of the most annoyingly catchy whistling that we've heard this side of Mike & The Mechanics.
Field Report meanwhile are the sort of earnest acoustic types you'd probably see hanging around a camp fire late at night at a music festival. Field Report release an acoustic video for their song 'Evergreen' is a sample of what to expect from their upcoming debut album set for release on May 27th through Partisan Records.
This Week In News... Stevie Wonder was at the Hangout Festival in Alabama this weekend, and he managed to close the weekend event in the way that only he knows how - with a bag of hits and a grin that could light up the entire state. Stevie played the Sunday evening of the event (May 19, 2013) and mixed his biggest hits with covers of Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson, among others. The man gets better with age.
One thing we certainly weren't expecting in 2013 was for ageing rocker Rod Stewart to croon his way back to the top of the UK album charts, but we supposed that, given David Bowie managed to hit the top spot this year, nothing should be taken for granted when it comes to the 70's generation. The Rodster's latest LP Time shot to the top of the UK charts, the first time he'd held in the position in 34 years. Blimey.
Meanwhile in America, Taylor Swift took home a whopping eight Billboard Music Awards on a night that saw her obliterate her pop contemporaries and gain massive recognition for 2012's album Red. Among the eight prizes that she took home was the big one - Artist Of The Year. You have to look to Gotye and Rihanna, with four awards each, to find the next most-decorated artists of this year's ceremony.