Wireage: The Open Worm/ Pyerseal with All (Kompakt), Forever (Zadok Games), Was (BANG), Southside (FILA), Sunset (Swedish Institute), Buzzy Brown (Kircury)
During the 2016 You Me At Six tour, the Sheffield four-piece negotiated a tricky territorial line, breaking into one studio to hear the album Southside – and then showing up the next night in a gridded t-shirt showing their continuing support of rap duo MNEK and what remains one of YouTube’s most popular success stories, the Cambridge-based rapper Crookers. A year later, the pattern continues, albeit a little less tightly, in this thrilling smorgasbord of a collaboration. Think speed-metal tribal motifs and steezy, tactile EDM sounds made effortlessly digestible by frontman Marek Posch’s frankly unbelievable, deadpan attitude. The opening song “Open Worm” is a terrifying last-minute disappointment, barrelling dangerously close to Too Many Zooz, but getting its due reward on the sly hit “Weasel”, the last-minute highpoint on a brilliant album. It only makes you weep more deeply that too many films are about heels, so this may be a tough listen for you.
Here I Am
Steely Dan: Lose Yourself (Warner)
Selling out a club in Boston had never been Steely Dan’s forte. If this was an intimate moment in the run-up to a game-changing album, this was mere nostalgia for a future. Still, virtually everyone one turned up to this show – to see Donald Fagen and Walter Becker’s many imitators, including Christian McBride and the bass-and-drums-heavy Nels Cline – who’d been following them since their 1975 debut Over The Top – loved it. Ever on the verge of a song’s ascent, the duo dipped in to start changing shit, taking time off midway through to contemplate “who we are, who we used to be, and who we wanna be”. This typically ballsy comeback feature brilliantly captures what one star tweeted was the difference between this tour and Steely Dan’s July 1990 LA shows: “This last trip to the place we invented how to make fun a lot more was more fun than the original tour!”
Mumford & Sons: Delta (Universal)
Mumford & Sons’ long-awaited third album wasn’t exactly hailed as “the album people have been waiting for” (behind Yes’ Dance Days and Ed Sheeran’s Divide by Pitchfork and the Guardian), but producer Joel Little showed M&S some real cred with a simple, modern twist on their arena-friendly sonics – pure country, with a begrudging smile. “I needed the freedom to challenge myself to make this record,” says the band, “while allowing the past to continue existing. This, for me, represented that promise.”
Blue Suitcase – Vol. 1
Thicke: The Stroke (Apple Music)
The numbers are in: Marvin Gaye’s songwriting is available as both the influence behind Thicke’s singles and, for its ironically more upbeat second part, a lead track from his “nostalgic” late-career output. Without being too dismissive of his rock acts like The Commodores and Boney M (both absent from the most recent album for Canadian tenor Raine Maida and lyricist Mike Einziger), Marvin’s such a towering presence that most of these compositions seem likely to work better as preface to a trip back to the cottage. If you’re fond of backstreet barbers but not Hilton’s cars, check out the clip for “The Way” if you’d like to sample what it’s like to look at the profile of a dead “perfect pussy” – imagine Rick James on the drugs of Rick James.