The best new rock albums you can buy this week
Ray Davies, The Black Angels and Procol Harum are among the best new rock album releases you can pick up this week
Ray Davies - Americana
"In an era when most artists of Ray Davies’ vintage are happy to be heritage acts, credit the Bard of Muswell Hill – Sir Raymond indeed – for bucking the trend, even if that means exploring his own life and legacy as an Englishman across the pond. Much of Americana, the companion to his 2013 memoir, deals with a semi-idealistic view of the USA as seen through the eyes of a kid brought up on Wagon Train, rock’n’roll and celluloid daydreams. As a conceptual travelogue, the album is a resounding success."
The Black Angels - Death Song
"The Black Angels may have been at it for over a decade now, but there’s no let-up in their levels of volume or intensity. If anything, Death Song (their first album in four years and one whose title neatly appends their name to the VU classic that first inspired them) is their heaviest to date, a toxic draught of garage-rock and booming psychedelia that buzzes with echo and reverb."
Procol Harum - Novum
"Despite what could be interpreted as a highfalutin title (novum is a word coined by Croatian writer and academic Darko Suvin to describe scientifically plausible innovations used in science fiction), this set of 11 new songs is decidedly less prog, psych or symphonic than what might be regarded as the group’s signature material. As inventive and exploratory as their back pages were, it’s somehow sensible and reassuring to hear the band leaving Pandora’s Box unopened and deciding not to take A Salty Dog for another walk."
Robyn Hitchcock - Robyn Hitchcock
"Nobody sings ‘strange’ quite like Robyn Hitchcock, and nobody sings strange quite like him either. Britain’s foremost purveyor of post-psychedelic surrealism has managed to maintain an extraordinary and long career, from his early days with the Soft Boys to this, his twenty-first album."
Texas - Jump On Board
"Over 30 years since they formed, and 20 since their White On Blonde/Say What You Want heyday, Texas are back to prove they still matter on this self-produced set. They’ve even rolled out Arsenal football legend Thierry Henry for the video to first single Let’s Work It Out, which nods to the band’s Caledonian pop-soul roots – think Chic via Orange Juice, or Altered Images, who were doing this sort of glossy, Glaswegian funk-lite thing back on 1983’s Bite, before Johnny McElhone left that band to form Texas with Sharleen Spiteri."
Unruly Child - Reigning Frogs: The Box Set Collection
"It’s now 25 years since Unruly Child’s self-titled debut album, a melodic rock masterpiece, was lost in the shuffle when grunge hit big. Since then, the American band have had a tangled history, as documented by this peculiarly titled six-disc box set."
Flamin' Groovies - Live In San Francisco 1971
"Presented for your frustrated delectation in an audio-vérité more readily associated with third-generation bootleg cassettes, Live In San Fran (recorded at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West shortly before closure) demonstrates one of the principal reasons why the Groovies never enjoyed more than cult success."