Review: 213 was something of a supergroup formed in America's west coast soul scene. Powerhouses such as Bill Meyers, Guy Thomas and Neil Stubenhaus were all involved in the making of this album from 1981, which never actually saw the light of day at the time, but is now presented for the first time by Norwegian record label Preservation. It's sentimental material for lazy Sunday mornings, with emotive vocals backed by soaring strings and uplifting chords. There are more reflective moments like "Good Friends" next to swaying singings like "Ohio" and together they add up to a smooth listen.
Review: When you think of the way we were when Blink 182's angsty punk-pop was tapping the top of the charts one word comes to mind - innocence. Compared to this era of impending existential doom it was easier to work out solutions then, even if solutions weren't put into action. So welcome to the new age, and a new Blink 182 intent on carving a fresh place for themselves in this frighteningly complex point in history. It's as though 2016's "California" was a cathartic and temporary rekindling of old flames, giving closure and helping the band move forward properly. Here they take us into territories barely on their radar before. Not that opener "The First Time" doesn't nod to past glories. "Darkside" brings arty, experimental punk, "Heaven" is a main stage overture, "On Some Emo Shit" is a desperate call for help and admission of the universality of fragility.
Amalouna (feat Noura Mint Seymali, Stephen O'Malley)
Taqkal Tarha (feat Micah Nelson)
Takount (feat Noura Mint Seymali)
Iklam Dglour (feat Warren Ellis & Rodophe Burger)
Kel Tinawen (feat Cass McCombs)
Itous Ohar (feat Cass McCombs)
Mhadjar Yassouf Idjan (feat Warren Ellis)
Wartilla (feat Warren Ellis & Stephen O'Malley)
Review: Malian musicians have a rich history when it comes to turning the world on to organic, mystifying, exotic sounds. A country that - even for Africa - stands out as a hotbed of aural talent, artists hailing from the desert nation never fail to immerse and intoxicate us. Here tracks grow and groove like a hypnotist at work, embracing Western influences, not least psychedelic rock, to produce what might have happened if Jim Morrison went walkabout in the Sahara looking for inspiration. As an album, "Amadjar" is everything that description might make you hope for. Opening on the delicate, spatial guitar plucks of "Tenere Maloulat", you can see the oasis shimmering in the distance through heat vapour. Evocative stuff, from there it only pulls us in deeper into an amalgamation of sounds overflowing with an adventurous atmosphere.