4 Brand New ALBUMS: MANIC STREET PREACHERS – THE VACCINES – SLEIGH BELLS – METALLICA

Brand new longplayers…

The Ultra Vivid Lament by MANIC STREET PREACHERS

Band: MANIC STREET PREACHERS
Album: THE ULTRA VIVID LAMENT
The Welsh rockers’ 14th longplayer

NME says: “The band delve into loss, insecurity and existential dread, resulting in some of the prettiest songs of their career… The record has its flaws, but in the end they are minor bumps
in a record of intense beauty, among the best of the Manics’ records this century.”
Full review here. Score: 4/5.

Turn Up The Volume: Even after all these years, the Manics – one of my-all time favorite bands – do what they do terrifically best, writing adrenalin-fueled pop anthems that make your ears tremble the moment they stream out of your stereo speakers. I know, their slash-‘n’-burn punk edge of the early days is gone, and they pop more than they rock now, with sticking symphonic sparks, and they still tackle social issues/injustices – past and present – with a pointed knife. A band designed for life.

Stream here…

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MANICS: Facebook
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Band: SLEIGH BELLS
Album: TEXIS
The New York duo’s fifth full length

The Line Of Best Fit says: “TEXIS delivers everything that one could hope to find on a Sleigh Bells record: dance worthy beats, angelic vocals, and satisfying boisterousness. While TEXIS could have afforded more variability, it remains a testament to the act’s ability to express a range of emotions without killing the tempo.” Score: 4/5.

Turn Up The Volume: Sleigh Bells combine half tunes, with half grooves, half beats and half booms, then throw the whole shebang in a bubbling electro bath. Don’t expect a Saturday Night Fever Party, but a rather Saturday Of Messed-Up Minds Madness. Actually, my messed-up cup of tea.

Stream here…


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SLEIGH BELLS: Facebook

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Band: METALLICA
Album: METALLICA BLACKLIST
What: A massive covers compilation called The Metallica Blacklist featuring
no less than 53 artists interpreting a Black Album song, the breakthrough LP
that celebrated its 30th last month.

Pitchfork writes: “There’s some great music on The Metallica Blacklist, but how great can
an album truly be if you can’t stomach listening to it in one sitting? The Black Album launched Metallica to superstardom because of its approachability, but in its attempts to offer something for everyone, Blacklist spreads itself too thin.”
Full review here. Score: 6/10.

Turn Up The Volume: 66 tracks, 5 hours and 56 minutes! No, thank you. Really too much for my ears. And, to be honest, I was never a devoted Metallica fan, but millions are, so there you go.

Stream here…

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METALLICA: Facebook

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Band: THE VACCINES
Album: BACK IN LOVE CITY
Fifth LP by the London indie rockers

DIY magazine‘s verdict: “The Vaccines allow their unashamed love for pop to soar
on ‘Back In Love City’. Against Justin’s increasingly interesting way with words, it feels
like the purest Vaccines album yet.”
Full review here. Score: 4/5.

Turn Up The Volume: The one and only Vaccines album I frequently return to is their debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?. Its razor-sharp, no fillers all killers brilliance melted away along their long and winding road. Mind you, this new one has some big moments… but just not enough. Also, too much over-orchestrated bombast. Their first vaccine is still their most effective working in my book.

Stream here…

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THE VACCINES: Facebook

We Need (THE) VACCINES – Hear Their New Bursting Single ‘ALONE STAR’

New sonic impulses…

7 August 2021

Band: THE VACCINES
Who: Indie rockers from West London
Active: since 2010 / 5 studio albums
(including the new one)

New album: BACK IN LOVE CITY
Out: 10th September 2021
Order info: here

New single: ALONE STAR – 3rd piece from the upcoming LP

We need vaccines more than ever today, so we can all sing safely
along to this new firework tune. Rockabilly guitars, glowing horns,
and a bursting chorus. Wham bam bloody wham bam!

I should’ve known
You never really wanted to be on your own
I should’ve known
You are not alone

THE VACCINES: Facebook

‘HEADPHONES BABY’ By THE VACCINES

New sonic impulses…

16 May 2021

Band: THE VACCINES (West London)
Active since 2010 / 4 studio albums so far, with debut LP
What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? as their standout one.

New single: HEADPHONES BABY from their upcoming fifth LP

Justin Young (frontman): “It’s about cocooning yourself from the outside world.
Which is a topic I’ve always been mildly obsessed and, I suppose more broadly speaking,
is probably a topic that a lot of musicians and artists are also quite obsessed with… The
tone shifts from A to Z quite a lot in the song, but I think there is still this overarching
theme of pure escapism and red button-ism, like ‘Fuck it’.”

Turn it up, folks…

THE VACCINES: Facebook


Artwork ‘Headphones Baby’ single

BIG BLASTS FROM THE PAST – 5 Knockout Albums Turning 10 In 2021

1. WHAT DID YOU EXPECT FROM THE VACCINES? by THE VACCINES

Released: 11 March 2011 – debut LP
NME said: “By fusing elements of US pop-punk (the Ramones – not Blink 182), chillwave
(they too are obsessed with reverb) and classic good-time pop’n’roll (The Strokes, primetime Libs/KOL), The Vaccines have recorded an album that – if things continue to go their way – should serve to give British rock music a much-needed jolt in the arm.”

Stream here

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2. SKYING by THE HORRORS

Released: 11 July 2011 – third LP
Pitchfork said: “While they may have started out as all glittering surfaces, the Horrors have evolved into a dependable band making wide-reaching rock music. Whether a calculated retreat or just a natural maturation, the Horrors have found a sound more content with background and atmosphere, and it suits them nicely.”

Stream here…

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3. NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS

Released: 17 October 2011 – self-titled debut LP
The Daily Mirror: “High Flying Birds is the best collection
of Noel Gallagher tunes since his Morning Glory days.”

Stream here…

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4. LET ENGLAND SHAKE by PJ HARVEY

Released: 14 February 2011 – eight LP
AllMusic said: “Let England Shake’s’ songs, touching on the disastrous World War I naval strike that left more than 30,000 English soldiers dead. Her musical allusions are just as fascinating and pointed. Its complexities make it one of Harvey’s most powerful works.

Stream here…

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5. SUCK IT AND SEE by ARCTIC MONKEYS

Released: 6 June 2011 – fourth LP
NME said: “Suck It and See’, then, is the band’s ‘Rubber Soul’. Much like how The Beatles spent the early part of their career penned in by commercial expectations, they broke out and proved they were much more than novelty love songs on their experimental, but concise sixth album.”

Stream here…

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BIG BLASTS FROM THE PAST – 5 Awesome Singles Turning 10 In 2021

1. THE WORDS THAT MAKETH MURDER by PJ HARVEY

Rolling Stone: “Fairly peppy for a PJ Harvey song about murder.”
Released: 6 February 2011
Album: Let England Shake

Press play here…

2. IF YOU WANNA by THE VACCINES (UK)

NME: “They’ve really nailed it. The ending is heartstoppingly heavy.”
Released: 23 May 2011
Album: What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?

Let’s roll…

3. STILL LIFE by THE HORRORS (UK)

Pitchfork: “An appealing bucolic stupor.”
Released: 5 July 2011
Album: Skying

Listen here…

4. ICE CREAM by BATTLES (USA)

The Guardian: “Avant-garde music can be fun.”
Released: 23 May 2011
Album: Glos Drop

Tune in here…

5. I TOLD YOU ONCE by HOWLER (US)

Sputnik Music: “Listen to that track once and
that tune will be jangling round your head all day.”

Released: 1 August 2011
EP: This One’s Different

Check it out…