This Week's Releases

4 February 2016 | 2:16 pm | Staff Writer

Lucinda Williams — The Ghosts Of Highway 20 (Highway 20 Records)

Williams has managed to make sure "the quality never drops off", and has created a record inspired by the "humid Southern crawl" between Georgia and Texas, "making this an album firmly grounded geographically and autobiographically in the American South". As always, Williams is "endlessly fascinating as she winds her emotionally wracked voice around her lyrics", adding to the album's "languid, bluesy" aura. We gave it four stars.

NO ZU — Afterlife (Chapter Music)

The band "explore the self-coined heat beat sound that is a huge amount of fun — often quite sexy, though always smooth as hell" on their sophomore record. With plenty of "call-and-response, chanting and pitch-shifting techniques that feel like instinctive first reactions", there ar emyriad ideas and influences that are an "extraordinarily cohesive melding of world beats and melodies, disco, club and funk". We gave it four stars.

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Porches — Pool (Domino)

Singer/songwriter Aaron Maine melds "soaring synth symphonies with his melancholy vocal melodies as he creates an immersive atmosphere", with themes of desolation, loneliness and isolation harkening back to "the scene from The Graduate when Dustin Hoffman seeks solace at the bottom of a swimming pool". We gave it four stars.

Rihanna — ANTI (Universal)

ANTI is Rihanna's "most eclectic and consistent offering yet", with "hints of Miguel's smooth, slow jams (Kiss It Better); Frank Ocean's experimental layers (James Joint) and Amy Winehouse's passionate, powerhouse vocal stylings (Higher)". Then there's the Tame Impala cover, which Rihanna makes hers though is "very similar to the original". Nothing "goes as hard as BBHMM" but the album is "considered, nuanced and grows on you with each listen". We gave it four stars.

and the rest of the releases…

Andy Strachan — Andy Strachan (Independent)
As A Rival — By Design (Independent)
Breakbot — Still Waters (Warner)
Charles Kelley — The Driver (EMI)
Chase Rice — Ignite The Night (Sony)
Davey Craddock — City West (MGM)
DIIV — Is The Is Are (Captured Tracks/Remote Control)
Dr Dog — The Psychedelic Swamp (Anti-/Warner)
Drowning Pool — Hallelujah (Entertainment One)
Electric Zebra — Ambition (Independent)
Elton John — Wonderful Crazy Night (Virgin/EMI)
Fleshgod Apocalypse — King (Nuclear Blast/Caroline)
Foxes — All I Need (Sony)
Georgi Kay — Origins (Parlophone/Warner)
High Highs — Cascades (Spunk)
Johnny Cash — Koncert v Praze (Legacy/Sony)
Junior Boys  Big Black Coat (City Slang/Inertia)
Lafawndah — Tan (Warp/Inertia)
Lanu — The Double Sunrise (Pacific Theatre/Inertia)
Letherette — Refresh (Ninja Tune/Inertia)
Lion Babe — Begin (Polydor/Universal)
Luke Daniel Peacock — We've Come A Long Way Darling (Plus One Records)
Majid Jordan — Majid Jordan (Warner)
Mass Gothic  Mass Gothic (Sub Pop/Inertia)
Naked — Pink Quartz (Tenth Court)
Nicole Millar — Tremble (EMI)
Simply Red — Big Love Greatest Hits Edition 30th Anniversary (Warner)
Sunflower Bean — Human Ceremony (Fat Possum/Inertia)
Textures — Phenotype (Nuclear Blast)
The Cult — Hidden City (Cooking Vinyl)
The James Hunter Six Hold On! (Daptone/Shock)
The Prettiots  Funs Cool (Rough Trade/Remote Control)
Tigertown  Lonely Cities (Inertia)
Wiz Khalifa — Khalifa (Atlantic/Warner)