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Pop - Released June 26, 2020 | Virgin EMI

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Pop - Released June 26, 2020 | Virgin EMI

Rhapsodic dancefloor intimacy became a new specialization for Jessie Ware with "Overtime," the first in a wave of tracks the singer released from 2018 up to the June 2020 arrival of What's Your Pleasure?, her fourth album. Other than "Adore You," a chiming glider made with Metronomy's Joseph Mount, each one in the series was either produced or co-produced by James Ford, consolidating and rerouting a partnership that started during the making of Tough Love. Unlike Ford and Ware's collaborations on that 2014 LP, the new material didn't merely simmer. Hottest of all, "Mirage (Don't Stop)" worked a ripe disco-funk groove with Ware's opening line, "Last night we danced, and I thought you were saving my life" -- sighed in a Bananarama cadence -- a sweet everything if there ever was one. The loved-up energy was kept in constant supply with the dashing "Spotlight," the Freeez-meet-Teena Marie-at-Compass-Point bump of "Ooh La La," and the sneaky Euro-disco belter "Save a Kiss." All but "Overtime" are included here. That makes the album somewhat anti-climactic, but there's no sense in complaining when the preceding singles keep giving and the new material is almost always up to the same standard. Among the fresh standouts, the bounding Morgan Geist co-production "Soul Control" and the dashing "Step Into My Life" recontextualize underground club music with as much might and finesse as anything by Róisín Murphy. Stylistic deviations are few, well-placed, and maintain lyrical continuity with references to the senses as they relate to emotional and physical connection. "In Your Eyes" recalls Massive Attack's "Safe from Harm" with its hypnotizing bassline, subtly theatrical strings, and aching (if less desperate) vocal. Moving in gradually intensifying and similarly slow motion, "The Kill" enables Ware to let down her guard for an unassured lover. "Remember Where You Are," a stirring finale, takes a little trip to cherish the daybreak in Minnie Riperton and Charles Stepney's chamber folk-soul garden, replete with a goosebump-raising group vocal in the chorus. One can almost smell the baby's breath. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 31, 2020 | Virgin EMI

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 31, 2020 | Virgin EMI

Within four short years, U.K. indie band Blossoms went from small-town heroes to festival headliners, coursing a steady trajectory from scrappy kids on the verge to chart-topping grownups. On their third effort, Foolish Loving Spaces, the group shine with a collection of light, poppy confections that focus on love and relationships. With their hearts on their sleeves, they adopt a charming, almost precious style that packs elastic basslines, bright synths, relaxed guitars, and frontman Tom Ogden's sweet, yearning vocals into a brisk, ten-song burst. With longtime producers James Skelly and Rich Turvey, Blossoms improve upon their new wave-inspired sophomore LP Cool Like You and crack open the painfully hip constraints of their breakthrough debut. Foolish Loving Spaces unabashedly embraces the treacle and fuzzy emotions associated with love in its many forms, demonstrating a graceful maturity and comforting confidence in the process. From the peppy opener "If You Think This Is Real Life" to the humorous "Your Girlfriend" -- told from the perspective of a yearning third wheel -- Ogden's storytelling shines here as each song becomes a vignette of a larger narrative that is relatable and unassuming. The band also takes steps into fresh territory, recruiting a gospel choir for "Falling for Someone" and going acoustic for "My Vacant Days." While "The Keeper" is an adorable anthem that pledges devotion "until we're bones," the bittersweet "Romance, Eh?" resigns itself to the highs and lows of relationships. Additional highlights include the jaunty "Sunday Was a Friend of Mine," which echoes early-era Strokes, and the sleek closer "Like Gravity," which is the lone sonic throwback to their older material. While this set is not as immediate as their first two albums, Foolish Loving Spaces winds up being the one that is most rewarding after repeat listens, an enjoyable, nostalgic ode to pure affection. Coolness be damned. © Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 24, 2020 | Virgin EMI

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 24, 2020 | Virgin EMI

Preceded by the candid, intimate single "Novocaine," Power is the fifth album from Scottish alt-rockers Twin Atlantic. Inspired by "colours, moods, [and] memories," the project takes a self-described approach of empowerment and moving forward. It was released in January 2020 on Virgin EMI. © David Crone /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released September 27, 2019 | Virgin EMI

Taking its title from the iconic '90s comedy flick Wayne's World, T Wayne's World 3 is the third mixtape from North London rapper Tion Wayne. After a strong year landing spots on hits like Swarmz' "Bally" and NSG's "Options," the tape sees the rapper return to the ground-level rap that built his fan base thus far. With collaborations from Aitch, JAY1, and Swarmz, the project saw release in September 2019. © David Crone /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 6, 2019 | Virgin EMI

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released June 7, 2019 | Virgin EMI

Stacko is the debut LP from North London rapper MoStack. Composed of kinetic beats, stuttering trap hi-hats, and seductive chorus melodies, the effort features guest appearances from the likes of Stormzy, Dave, and Fredo. The album is led by the single "Shine Girl." © Rob Wacey /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 24, 2019 | Virgin EMI

This first full-length album from the young London-via-Limerick indie rockers follows their 2018 major-label debut EP, Given Up. Donning the mantle of their hometown heroes the Cranberries but taking it in new directions with glossy '80s-style synths, the album includes the singles "Pretty Pure," "Never Let Go," and the sleek, propulsive "Future." © John D. Buchanan /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 10, 2019 | Virgin EMI

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Electronic - Released April 12, 2019 | Virgin EMI

On a brisk set with some familiar callbacks to their big beat heyday, the Chemical Brothers offer a decent late-era installment with their ninth album, No Geography. Not as exploratory or insular as their other 2010s output, No Geography is a steady, no-frills mix that focuses more on clever samples than guest vocals and festival-sized body-rocking. Standing out atop the pack, the singles are the best moments on the album. Persistent throbber "Got to Keep On" rides a glittery disco-funk sample (Peter Brown's 1977 gem "Dance With Me") while "We've Got to Try" goes the soul route by swiping the uplifting vocals from the Hallelujah Chorus' "I've Got to Find a Way" and grinding them into a buzzy, robust anthem that recalls the duo's late-'90s best. In a similar vein, "Free Yourself" is all digital dread, taking snippets of Diane di Prima's utopian poetry and twisting them into a robotic instruction manual for liberation through the dancefloor. However, "MAH" ends up being the riotous highlight of No Geography (utilizing a hilariously crotchety El Coco sample from 1977), the closest the Chems come to that "classic" old-school sound. In addition to the singles, Norwegian singer Aurora plays an important role in the album's sound, bringing much-needed emotion to a trio of songs with her ethereal vocals and songwriting. Japanese rapper Nene also guests, dropping a scene-stealing and all-too-brief verse on "Eve of Destruction." While not a low in the Chemical Brothers' catalog by any means, No Geography is also not their strongest or most memorable work to date. It's best not to call it a comeback, just another ample addition to their decades-long discography. © Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released March 29, 2019 | Virgin EMI

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 8, 2019 | Virgin EMI

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Pop - Released January 18, 2019 | Virgin EMI

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Pop - Released November 23, 2018 | Virgin EMI

This 16-track collection brings together the best moments from Amy MacDonald's career from 2007 to 2018. Featuring the hits "This Is the Life" and "Mr. Rock & Roll," the album also includes two newly recorded songs for the release, the title track "Woman of the World" and "Come Home." © Rich Wilson /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released October 26, 2018 | Virgin EMI

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Dance - Released August 10, 2018 | Virgin EMI

The second album from Foamo & Rack 'n' Ruin's Gorgon City project sees the duo deliver a collection of anthemic club hits. Featuring collaborations with the likes of JP Cooper, Yungen, and Vaults, the album also includes the U.K. Top Ten Dance hit "Real Life" with Duke Dumont. © Rich Wilson /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 10, 2018 | Virgin EMI

Ripping with an inspired glam-punk energy, Miles Kane's third solo outing, 2018's Coup de Grace, finds the Last Shadow Puppets co-leader honing his influences with diamond-eyed intensity. The story goes that after becoming creatively blocked following the breakup of a two-year relationship, Kane settled with collaborator Jamie T. into a hotel room where he once again recaptured his rock & roll muse. That anecdote might imply something labored, but on the contrary, while the emotions expressed on Coup de Grace often have a literate, philosophical complexity, the music crackles with a bright, youthful immediacy. Helping achieve this tactile, glitter-era aesthetic is producer John Congleton. Together, he and Kane keep things spare but effective, focusing on punchy, laser-beam guitar riffs and propellent-infused drumbeats. Cuts like the raging "Too Little Too Late" and sneering "Cold Light of the Day" are hooky, New York Dolls-esque anthems that stab with a buzzy electric swagger. Similarly evocative is the low-down, T. Rex-style groover "Cry on My Guitar," in which Kane coos with rakish charm, "Every time you leave me, yeah, it comes to this/Mix another medicine, mad scientist/I said, yeah, I'm so high and strung." Elsewhere, he evokes the blunt club punk of Gang of Four on "Something to Rely On," and conscripts Zach Dawes, Loren Humphrey, and Tyler Parkford of Mini Mansions for the kinetic, uber-infectious punk-disco title track. While much of Coup de Grace sparkles with the click of platform heels, it's not all glitter and good times. Thankfully, for fans of Last Shadow Puppets' baroque menace, there are several dusky, Bowie-esque ballads here, including the Lana Del Rey co-write "Loaded" and the shimmering, synth-accented "Killing the Joke." © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 29, 2018 | Virgin EMI

The story started ten years ago for Florence + The Machine with the single Kiss with a Fist that revealed a certain feminism and a strong personality. For her fourth album High as Hope, the English singer steps into the big league with a unique pop that borrows from rock as well as baroque arrangements. She produced this latest creation herself, with the support from Emile Haynie who has produced the likes of Bruno Mars, Eminem and Kid Cudi. Needless to say, Florence Welch bet on the right horse! Her extraordinary voice reaches new heights on High As Hope. She effortlessly navigates between melancholy and reveries. She alternates between sweet lyric vocalizations and disturbing throat cries! A piano sounds the death knell on Big God, then a whole orchestra comes to life on No Choir. With the strings, keyboards and two talented guests, Sampha and The xx’s Jamie xx, the intensity is at its height. Welch uses her music to create a wild and fantastic world, in which the listeners can truly lose themselves. Throughout the album’s ten tracks, she deals with a general theme about her relationship to art and the voids it filled in her life. Voids created by her dyslexia, anorexia, as well as her addictive personality and disturbed sexuality. Hypersensitive, Florence manages to give birth to a tough and strong creation charged with emotions, and affirms her dual character, both vulnerable and dominant. © Anna Coluthe/Qobuz