Albums of the week - from The Who to Beans On Toast
This week, rock legends The Who have returned with a showstopping new album, and there are also fresh releases from rockers Bear's Den and Johnny Lloyd.
THE WHO - WHO
In 1965 The Who's My Generation single featured the words "I hope I die before I get old". The band's drummer, Keith Moon, died 13 years later, aged 32. Bassist John Entwistle didn't grow old either - he died in 2002, aged 57.
But, thankfully, singer Roger Daltrey (75) and guitarist/songwriter Pete Townshend (74) are still with us.
Who is their first album in 13 years (and only their second in 37), but has a vitality that belies their years.
All This Music Must Fade is an object lesson in how to start a rock album - a powerful, upbeat song that sets the scene.
Townshend sings lead on the beautiful orchestral pop song I'll Be Back. We can only hope they are.
IDLES - A BEAUTIFUL THING: LIVE AT LE BATACLAN
With their long hair and sweaty, shouty punk-rock music, it's hard to ignore IDLES at the best of times.
Now, with the current inescapability of all things political, it's pretty much impossible.
But it isn't just the Tory-bashing lyrics or tongue-in-cheek reminders that "Islam didn't eat your hamster" that make IDLES such a cracking listen - it's the performance and the passion.
The format means we also get to hear some lovely audience interaction from frontman Joe Talbot as well as some stellar track embellishments (Hello 10-minute extended Rottweiler finale!).
The result is an audio experience that truly brings out the band's angry, political and head-banging brilliance.
BEANS ON TOAST - THE INEVITABLE TRAIN WRECK
If there were any justice, musically or politically, long-time cult folk hero Beans On Toast would break into the mainstream with this finger-on-the-pulse sermon for our troubled times.
Produced by and featuring two-thirds of Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, the album adds a rock-and-roll bounce to Jay McAllister's traditional acoustic approach - but the lyrics are what it is about.
Climate change is addressed throughout, from the macro to micro levels of Extinction Rebellion and festival littering, while the political climate and increasingly pervasive use of technology also dominate McAllister's thoughts.
The closing On & On, meanwhile, focuses on trying to live your own life against a backdrop where "Donald is the king and Boris is the queen".
BEAR'S DEN - ONLY SON OF THE FALLEN SNOW EP
Off the back of their recent success with So That You Might Hear Me - reaching number 13 in the album charts, while selling out their gigs worldwide - Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones release a new three-track EP that ties up their year with a neat bow.
Hinting that a new album is in the works, the duo have teamed up with long-time collaborator, producer and friend Ian Gimble to explore new ground and create something lyrically reflective during the in-between takes - a skill of which Davie and Jones have become quite the masters.
Themes of family and nostalgia run right through but all share a common link to winter, and what this particular season means to the band - and perhaps to their fans.
The release has been timed perfectly - it's a lovely little Christmas present from them, to us.
JOHNNY LLOYD - LOW FIDELITY VOL.1
Johnny Lloyd is living the best years of his life.
Like his girlfriend Billie Piper, the former Tribes frontman appears to have hit a creative groove of late - releasing Next Episode Starts In 15 Seconds, his debut solo album, earlier this year.
Months later former wild child Piper earned plaudits when she premiered her directorial debut Rare Beasts at the Venice Film Festival.
So it seems prescient that Lloyd has decided now is the time to release a retrospective of his demos "in their rawest form", dating back to his time in short-lived Camden rockers Tribes.
Lloyd hasn't bothered to separate the wheat from the chaff here. The meandering Crucify The Sky sits alongside Steel Drum Hum, a slacker rock anthem in the making.
Low Fidelity Vol.1 is not only for the hardcore fans. It's a pleasingly cohesive document packed full of unrefined gems.