Five albums to try this week: Bob Dylan, Viet Cong and more

From Jessica Pratt’s tender folk-pop to Napalm Death’s grindcore, here’s five albums to consider this week – what will you be listening to?

Viet Cong – Viet Cong (Jagjaguwar)

Why you should listen: The Canadian indie four-piece, made up of members from Calgary art-rock band Women, singer-songwriter Chad VanGaalen’s touring band and a Black Sabbath cover band, have put together a debut of post-punk, industrial drone and existentialist melancholy. It’s not as depressing as it sounds, honest.

It might not be for you if… You feel somewhat discombobulated when bands inject several sonic textures into one album.

What we said: “There are moments when over-saturated drums meet Gregorian chanting and Magnet-style folk oddness (Newspaper Spoons and March of Progress), but the band are at their best when experimentation complements their songwriting rather than defines it,” wrote Lanre Bakare, in the Guardian.

Score: 4/5

Bob Dylan – Shadows in the Night (Columbia)

Why you should listen: Dylan comes as close to crooning as possible, on this self-produced and delicately arranged collection of Great American Songbook covers.

It might not be for you if… You’d rather hear these old standards performed by Frank Sinatra himself.

What we said: “Certainly, the album fits perfectly with what you might call Dylan’s latterday persona, the grizzled old geezer unveiled on 1997’s Time Out of Mind, either sentimental or growling at the world to get off his lawn”, wrote Alexis Petridis, in his lead review for the Guardian. In the Observer, Kitty Empire gave the album four stars.

Score: 5/5

Shadows in the Night isn’t streaming on Spotify, but you can listen to 1m 30sec snippets of eight of the album’s 10 tracks on iTunes. Or, of course, you could just buy it.

Jessica Pratt – On Your Own Love Again (Drag City)

Why you should listen: On this second album, guitarist and singer Pratt uses hook-laden yet wordy songwriting to channel 1970s California folk. Plus, she’s got a tonally rich voice to boot.

It might not be for you if… You have more than enough records of actual 1970s singer-songwriter folk stacked up at home.

What we said: “It may or may not be significant that the songs were recorded in the aftermath of her mother’s death, but she delivers words about breakups and loneliness with a strangely comforted serenity”, wrote Dave Simpson, in the Guardian. Phil Mongredien gave Pratt’s album three stars in the Observer.

Score: 4/5

Jessica Pratt’s latest album isn’t streaming on Spotify either, but you can head to the Drag City site to buy the album and hear single Baby, Back above.

Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media)

Why you should listen: The grindcore four-piece combine heavy guitar runs and breakneck drums with lyrics on hypercapitalism and the crisis of the exploitative global labour market. No, really.

It might not be for you if… You’d like to have your righteous, socially conscious tunes paired with music that’s a little easier on the ear.

What we said: “Untrained ears might shrivel in terror, but those who appreciate the joy of noise will recognise the sound of veteran masters on unassailable form,” wrote Dom Lawson, in the Guardian.

Score: 5/5

H Hawkline – In the Pink of Condition (Heavenly)

Why you should listen: H Hawkline’s Huw Evans maintains a relatively mysterious low profile online, but here presents an album of Cate Le Bon-produced, multifaceted and slightly jarring indie pop.

It might not be for you if… His scrappy, sketch-like sounds don’t feel like completed songs to you.

What we said: “In the Pink of Condition is a carousel of wiry weirdo pop that references Paul McCartney’s Ram”, wrote Harriet Gibsone, in the Guardian.

Score: 4/5

Last week, commenters were looking forward to hearing Natalie Prass and Viet Cong, while others were going back to Losers’ 2014 offering, And So We Shall Never Part. What are you excited to listen to this week?

Contributor

Tshepo Mokoena

The GuardianTramp

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