Albums: Game of Thrones' Grey Worm Raleigh Ritchie a talented Boy
You're A Man Now, Boy
RALEIGH Ritchie – real name Jacob Anderson – is one of those multi-talented types. Not only is this, his debut record, a sunny, unhurried collection of songs that weave gently into your head and make your limbs stretch and roll, he's also Grey Worm in TV's Game Of Thrones.
Fortunately it's not a case of spreading himself too thinly across too many disciplines. The 25-year-old moved to London from Bristol aged 17 to wholly pursue his music career and you can hear the passion and the craft that's gone into making this album.
Blending R&B, electronica and streams of dance, singles Stronger Than Ever and Bloodsport '15 are the most powerful and moving, but the brilliantly strings-heavy title track has just as much warmth. There is a lot of heart and soul here – and thankfully no theatrics.
The Cat Empire
Rising With The Sun
MORE than a decade has passed since the sun-kissed party tracks of Two Shoes, but the Melbourne collective can still produce a winning groove.
Their brand of effortless fun shines through on Wolves, which combines upbeat electro with a lolloping bassline. These riffs suffuse the album's finest tracks, including Bulls, where the ska sound recalls their earlier days, before is reaches a frenetic crescendo.
Blasting Away isn't the only track on the album to call to mind European festivals – perhaps it's the liberal dashes of French, Spanish and Latin-influenced rhythms.
Many tracks could easily soundtrack an alfresco soiree, while the pounding drums of Eagle fade into Bataclan's poignantly mournful intro, which soon bursts into a vibrant tribute to the Parisian venue targeted by terrorists last November. Creature provides a beautiful conclusion to an album that seems to say that summer is never far way.
CINCINNATI'S Wussy was once described as "the best band in America since they released the first of their five superb albums in 2005". That adulation came from none other than Robert Christgau, one of the most respected voices in the world of music journalism, and 11 years after that initial release there's no reason to change that assessment.
Wussy by name, but certainly not by nature, their tracks are often swaggering, sometimes ferocious and very commonly prowl around like a caged tiger.
Lead single and album opener Dropping Houses is a prime example, bubbling away in a cauldron of influence containing ingredients akin to Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. A timeless style and carefully crafted longevity, these sounds could well last forever.
Steven James Adams
OLD Magick is Steven James Adams'S second solo album, following on from 2014's acclaimed House Music, which was loved by critics but met largely with indifference by the public.
It is to be hoped that Old Magick does not meet the same fate, as this collection of 10 self-penned songs certainly deserves to make its mark. All of the songs are low key and largely acoustically backed with Adams's smooth vocals at the fore, and the album sounding all the better for that.
Adams cuts it as a solo performer having previously made his mark with his bands Singing Adams, and the Broken Family Band. The whiff of Americana is strong, even though Adams hails from Cambridge, but somehow it works a treat.
Check out Kings Of The Back Of The Bus, the Golden Bough and Sonny to experience a songwriter and performer of the highest calibre.
PROG rock has been given a Parisian twist courtesy of Yeti Lane, duo Ben Pleng and Charlie B. Reminiscent of ELO's art rock album Time, L'Aurore evokes a calmer phase – Good Word's Gone has many similar progressions to Twilight.
This, Yeti Lane's third album, is a step or two away from the indie pop they started out with. Acide Amer hears them reach their shoegazing best, harking back to the late Nineties with a laid back twist on the ambient craze.
There is an otherworldly feel to the record – in fact, it'd be a perfect fit for the background music of a saloon bar on the outer edge of a desolate planet several solar systems away. L'Aurore certainly take you on a chilled-out musical journey.
A PUNK record on Sub Pop still stirs anticipation like perhaps no other genre-label association since the days of Motown. The Seattle imprint is 30 years old in 2016, and in its infancy released early Mudhoney and Nirvana records.
So Pitted, a trio from Sub Pop's neighbourhood, have big boots to fill, and with Neo they blow out violent waves of noise that are sufficiently focused and crafted to carry the kind of hooks for which their irascible forebears became known.
Nathan Rodriguez and Liam Downey share vocals – they also chop and change guitar and drum roles – while Jeannine Koewler pumps her own guitar through a bass amp, corrupting the classic band construct.
A title such as Pay Attention To Me sounds teenage-diary infantile, but remember, Teen Spirit was a deodorant. Messy, discordant and angry. Turn it up.