The best new rock albums you can buy this week
Alice Cooper, 10cc and Blackwater Conspiracy are among the best new rock album releases you can check out this week
Alice Cooper - Paranormal
"Well, here’s the good news: Paranormal doesn't suck. It’s no Killer or Billion Dollar Babies. I mean, it’s not even a Flush The Fashion, really. But it’s got enough fist-shaking brainbangers to get us through the summer at least, and for long-time fans of shock rock’s greatest grandpa, Paranormal offers a potentially breathtaking bonus: two songs from the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper Band."
Various - Manchester North Of England 1977-1993
"There’s no Smiths in this set, but that’s it. Everyone else is represented (or near enough everyone else that you can’t spot the gaps) on this exhaustively compiled, seven CD, 146-track musical journey through the nether regions of what’s arguably Britain’s most iconic musical city. New Order, A Certain Ratio, Joy Division, The Fall, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Morrissey, John Cooper Clarke, 808 State, Durutti Column, The Charlatans… all present and correct and churning out the good stuff. And there are so, so many more. There are so many undiscovered and/or forgotten and/or cherished dance and pop gems, from The Distractions’ heart-rending Maybe It’s Love and the twisted, distorted feminist beat of Ludus to X-O-Dus’ stalwart English Black Boys and the 1990s baggy contingent (Word Of Twist, Northside, Hypnotone et al)."
10cc - Before, During, After: The Story Of 10cc
"This boxed Story Of 10cc is actually ordered During, After and Before. CD1 is the 70s greatest hits compilation we’re all familiar with, following their development from 1972’s glam parodists and helium doo-woppers of Rubber Bullets and Donna, through the sophisticated art-pop masters of I’m Mandy Fly Me, Art For Art’s Sake and I’m Not In Love, to their catchy/corny later hits – Good Morning Judge, The Things We Do For Love and Dreadlock Holiday. It encapsulates their core songwriting panache, storytelling nous and Pythonesque pastiche bent – see how Silly Love twists from T.Rex glam riffs into a 20s show tune."
Blackwater Conspiracy - Shootin’ The Breeze
"The world has been waiting for a classic good-time rock’n’roll band ever since the Black Crowes abdicated the throne a few years ago. There have been countless contenders and pretenders, from Blackberry Smoke to former Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson’s The Magpie Salute. But not one of them has managed to seize the crown yet. Blackwater Conspiracy are the latest band with their eyes on the prize. This ain’t the County Tyrone band’s first rodeo – they peddled heads-down AC/DC-ish rock’n’roll under the name Million Dollar Reload until changing their name and sound literally halfway through a show a couple of years ago."
Prong - Zero Days
"The speedfreak crossover and aggro lyrics have long been the home of Tommy Victor, but the production on Zero Days makes it sound as fresh as the bands he’s inspired. Sure, it’s never going to be as life-affirming as The Cleansing, but there’s still that trademark New York filth lining the edges."
Bill Nelson - Chance Encounters In The Garden Of Lights
"Featuring 21 tracks from the 1988 bonus edition, this double set was originally released under the titles The Angel At The Western Window and The Book Of Inward Conversation. Bill Nelson himself said of this music that it was the 'most personal and least demonstrative' he had made, conceived in moments of 'intense stillness' and 'musical vacuity'. Often clocking in at under two minutes, the 63 tracks on this collection are an accumulation of discreet pearls, vivid but fleeting musical sketches whose titles (Revolving Globes, Staircase To No Place) evoke their oblique, temporarily vivid moods."
The Cars - Expanded Reissues
"Village Voice critic Robert Christgau got it spot on when he described The Cars’ second album, 1979’s clean and clinically adept new wave masterpiece Candy-O (7/10) – the exact midpoint of McCartney and Devo, for anyone taking notes – as 'cold and thin, shiny and hypnotic, it’s what they do best – rock and roll that is definitely pop without a hint of cuteness'."
Shaman’s Harvest - Red Hands Black Deeds
"On Red Hands Black Deeds they set about consolidating their niche into something compulsive and distinctive. Singer Nathan Hunt keeps it carefully focused rather than just letting it all spill out, and producer Keith Armstrong has taught the rest of the band the importance of detail when it comes to maintaining identity."
Kim Seviour - Recovery Is Learning
"Seviour possesses the kind of dramatic, crystal-clear voice you’d find onstage in the theatres of London’s West End, dripping with emotion and perfectly suited to the lush, tasteful rock – forged in the Porcupine Tree mould – that envelops it. The waltzing title track in particular drives the narrative along, thanks to a passionate delivery."