Review: There's a carefree, lackadaisical and generally upbeat disposition running through this incredibly welcome record from Devendra Banhart. Something of an enigma - poet, artist, actor and (of course) singer/songwriter - we have the sunshine of his adopted Californian home to thank for this one, with the album nodding to the slick and inviting beach pop said state invented. There's plenty more going on here than besides well polished niceness, though. Each delicate note is played with a purpose that's feels far more commanding than the loose vibe, background choruses recreate the glory days of soft soul with pinpoint precision, while the range of instruments at play is nothing short of impressive. It's unlikely you'll hear a nicer thing this year, and if you do we'll eat our words at the first opportunity.
Review: For this year's Record Store Day, Biffy Clyro has decided to cover two big tunes, and has said they will donate all proceeds to Tiny Changes, a mental health charity set up in memory of Scott Hutchison. A-side 'Modern Leper' is a dense, angst ridden rework that previously was available on a Frightened Rabbit tribute album, while flip over this limited white 7" and you'll find 'Modern Love' which was performed at Howard Stern's Bowie tribute concert in 2019. There's rawness in the whole thing, from the wailing vocals to the walls of fuzzy guitar.
Review: Boy Pablo continues his mission to make us all nostalgic for our younger years with a track taken from this year's bubblegum album, Wachito Rico. 'Leave Me Alone' is enough to tell newcomers what they can expect from the full length release. Uptempo, melodic and polished to a fault, it's a timeless, chart-friendly, indie pop sound that has won over a huge following with its unabashed positivity, albeit the sentiments are apparently tied to the feeling disappointment when his parents suddenly making him leave a birthday party early.
Flip it and you find the laidback, smooth, R&B vibes of 'Be With Me', a song that didn't make it onto the LP itself but certainly would not have sounded out of place if it had. Cascading guitar harmonies and a stepping, shuffling beat, it owes plenty to the lo-fi electronic sexiness that has been pervading downtempo beats for years, but is far from a cheap knock-off.