Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Albums To Look Forward To

American Head - Wikipedia

The Flaming Lips, American Head (release date: September 11, 2020)

It wasn’t until a couple of days ago when I was sat on my floor, spinning The Flaming Lips’s This Here Giraffe EP on my record player when it dawned on me that we need more Wayne Coyne in the world. Low and behold, this psych rock band read my mind with their new record ‘American Head’ due for release on September 11, 2020. 

Apart from their collaborative album with Deap Vally released earlier in the year, The Flaming Lips last complete record was the classically fantastical concept album; King’s Mouth from 2019. The bodily theme of abnormally big facial features has somewhat been carried through to American Head, namely through its title and the album art of the young boy whose eyes have been caved in, seemingly by paintball shots. However, the band appear to have returned to their roots, scrapping the concept album they sought after with King’s Mouth.

The releases from American Head available to stream now include ‘You N Me Sellin’ Weed’, ‘Flowers of Neptune 6’, ‘Dinosaurs On The Mountain’ and ‘My Religion Is You’, of which the latter makes me particularly excited about the upcoming album, filling me with Glasvegas realness. Whilst these singles are evocative of The Flaming Lips’s surreal lyrics and psychedelic imagery, they each return to the place that unites all members of the band: America. The track list of American Head centres most explicitly on drug use, religion, and the law, suggestive of a particularly raw and emotional album from the Oklahoma-founded band.

Everything Everything, Re-Animator (release date: September 11, 2020)

Stumbling across Everything Everything’s single ‘In Birdsong’ for their forthcoming album, Re-Animator a couple of weeks ago, this record is most definitely one to watch. Their blatant experimentation with synthesisers is very welcome with its explorative chimes not dissimilar to a Thom Yorke number. Both ‘Violent Sun’ and ‘Arch Enemy’ join ‘In Birdsong’ with the early releases from Re-Animator that give us all the delicious chance to stream now in preparation for their full album release, expected on September 11.

Re-Animator’s track titles suggest a lyrical discussion into the global warming crisis and the overarching threat of climate change we are currently facing. The album’s apparent response to the state of the natural world parallels beautifully with the paired back vocals altered by subtle synth sounds. All in all, Re-Animator appears a stark new and vulnerable direction for Everything Everything, and we should all be on the lookout for this new release.

Molly Tuttle, ...but i’d rather be with you (expected release date: August 28, 2020)

Nashville-born singer-songwriter Molly Tuttle has been spending the last few months working on covers of songs she has found solace and peace within during COVID-19. In March, a tornado destroyed much of her hometown in Nashville, leading Tuttle away from her album of original tracks (which is still to come) and towards a record of delightfully sparkling covers.

...but i’d rather be with you includes covers of songs from artists such as FKA Twigs, The Rolling Stones, Sufjan Stevens and Harry Styles, to name a few! Tuttle has explained that the songs she has chosen to cover have no rational connection, but that they “all bring (her) back to vivid moments in time – highs and lows”.

With the current state of the world, Tuttle’s collation of covered tracks comes at the perfect time. Full of familiarity and sensitivity, this album will provide everyone with a sense of belonging that is necessary at the moment, no matter where they find it. You can listen to Tuttle’s covers of ‘Olympia, WA’, ‘Fake Empire’, and ‘Standing on the Moon’ now, with her complete album expected on August 28.

Billy Ocean, One World (expected release date: September 4, 2020)

The one and only Billy Ocean is back! With his 11th studio album and after a few years away from record-making, with his last album Because I Love You released in 2009, Ocean is back and better than ever with his new record One World. One World marks Ocean’s 70th birthday back in January of this year, and further represents the eclectically diverse worldly music Ocean has celebrated for 50 of those magical years.

The singles, now available to stream, ‘One World’ and ‘Love You More’ represent the archetypal Ocean lyrics and sounds. With obvious themes of love, acceptance, revolution and inclusion throughout his album, Ocean presents his new record at a time when the world needs this narrative more than ever.

From his Trinidadian roots to his individual London-based sound, Ocean’s music remains as vibrant and smile-inducing as ever before. Due for release on September 4, One World is a must-listen for the world’s ears.

Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman2 (expected release date: September 8, 2020)

Last but not least, 50 years after Yusuf/Cat Stevens’s 1970 release of Tea for the Tillerman, and Tea for the Tillerman2 (TFTT2) is on its way to our ears in September. With the collective sound-memory of the tunes of ‘Wild World’ and ‘Tea For The Tillerman’ still ringing loudly to this day, Cat Stevens is giving the adored album a contemporary revamp.

With Stevens’s re-imagination of his beautiful ‘On The Road To Find Out’ available to stream now, we get a taster of what is to come with this long-awaited album anniversary. TFTT2’s album artwork remains consistent with the 1970s image of the bearded tillerman, sipping from his pot of tea. However, with this 2020 re-invention of the album, the tillerman dons a space suit, potentially as a response to the fast-paced evolution of the contemporary scientific world, and the bright daylight has turned to the darkness, evocative of modern society turning ever darker. The two children who play so gleefully in the tree next to the tillerman on the original cover remain in their spaces, yet now they use electronic devices and headphones to entertain themselves, rather than relying on nature’s playground.

So, whilst TFTT2 will be a familiar and nostalgic return to Tea for the Tillerman, Stevens’s re- imagination comes with a new-found reality and sense of darkness and despair at contemporary society that was once absent in 1970.

- Milly Cooke

Instagram: @mllyck @alxndrpltz


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