Vieux Farka Toure - Fondo Son of the late Ali Farka Toure, we can be thankful Vieux never obeyed his father’s advice to avoid the music business and join the army.
On this his second album, rich in heavily-reverbed, shimmering, unmistakably African (Malian, actually) guitar, Toure showcases an instrumental mastery inherited from his father. On the best tracks (like Souba Souba) he effortlessly combines a commitment to his Western Saharan musical roots with a love of modern musical forms such as blues and reggae, which, despite their African roots, are now considered thoroughly Western. Thanks to the widescreen sound and language-barrier ambiguity, many of his songs seem simultaneously mournful and celebratory.
Post War Years - The Greats And The Happening
After leaving their hometown of Leamington Spa, art-pop quartet Post War Years moved into an abandoned Russian social club together. Living in such close proximity for so long has obvious benefits for their music, which sounds as if each instrument and electronic bleep is pulling in the same direction. There’s something very unsettling about their sound, mixing the feel of claustrophobic electronica with the scratchy, angular guitars of Gang Of Four. Opener The Red Room skips along into the Joy Division-esque baseline of Death March, while White Lies, a live favourite, is a clear standout. Post War Years are definitely a band to keep an eye on this year.
Eg White - Adventure Man
If the world needed another Paolo Nutini, Eg is a suitable candidate. Having honed his craft co-writing hits such as Duffy’s Warwick Avenue, Adele’s Chasing Pavements and Will Young’s Leave Right Now, White shows a maturity lacking in many of his peers on his follow-up to his 1996 debut solo album. My People is full of rousing spirit and Broken is a haunting and mellow ballad. Eg’s voice is pleasant but at times appears to mimic Paul Young, Damien Rice, and nearly every male soloist in between, and the album as a whole is so middle-of-the-road it’s hard to know which direction it wants to go in.