Vince Staples – Summertime ’06 (Universal)
Why you should listen: The California rapper’s 20-track debut confronts the tensions and tales that formed his summer of 2006, when 22-year-old Staples would have been on the cusp of secondary school.
It might not be for you if … You’re the kind of Guardian commenter who makes jokes about “putting the ‘c’ in rap”.
What we said: “Starting with the eerie, Morriconesque instrumental Ramona Park Legend, Staples slowly pulls back the blinds on his world, with 20 vignettes that cover everything from racial profiling and drug dealing to angsty nihilism and making money,” wrote Lanre Bakare, in the Guardian.
Cradle of Filth – Hammer of the Witches (Nuclear Blast)
Why you should listen: The Suffolk six-piece fuse metal and symphonic touches on this loosely conceptual album about persecuted witches (what else?).
It might not be for you if … You don’t consider Cradle of Filth to be real without Paul Allender on guitar.
What we said: “Returning to the twin-guitar histrionics of earlier albums Cruelty and the Beast and Midian, these are the most vital and incisive songs [founding vocalist] Dani Filth has conjured from the dark ether in a long time,” wrote Dom Lawson, in the Guardian.
Ghostface Killah – Adrian Younge presents Twelve Reasons To Die II (Linear Labs)
Why you should listen: The Wu-Tang rapper collaborates with film score composer Adrian Younge in this second instalment of his comic book-based Italian gangster story.
It might not be for you if … You aren’t onboard with Ghostface’s renaissance of sorts.
What we said: “Younge’s lavish, jazz- and soul-tinged production provide the aural red carpet for one of rap’s greatest yarn-spinners”, wrote Lanre Bakare, in the Guardian.
Ahmad Jamal – Live in Marciac 2014 (Jazz Village)
Why you should listen: For someone who’s been composing and playing jazz for more than 50 years, pianist Jamal shows few signs of slowing down on this 10-track set recorded live in France last autumn.
It might not be for you if … You’ve never found Jamal’s work particularly titillating (for shame!) or don’t listen to much jazz piano (fair enough).
What we said: “Jamal lets the groove do much of the work on Sunday Afternoon, astutely pitching zippy short runs, quotes, and elbowing chords against the elegant hubbub of his drummers”, wrote John Fordham in the Guardian.
Little Boots – Working Girl (On Repeat)
Why you should listen: Once-hyped Little Boots is back, with a third album of slick and tightly produced electropop loosely based on a woman’s quest for independence (and hangover-free mornings) in a corporate environment.
It might not be for you if … You believe Little Boots’s 15 minutes of fame, following her BBC Sound of 2009 award, are well and truly over.
What we said: This is Victoria “Little Boots” Hesketh’s third album of recherche electropop and, like its predecessors, Nocturnes (2013) and Hands (2009), it packs a selection of nagging tunes that could easily light up the mainstream as, say, the Pet Shop Boys once did”, wrote Kitty Empire, in the Observer. Harriet Gibsone gave a less-enthusiastic two-star rating, in the Guardian.
Last week we ran reviews for the new Sleaford Mods album, but now that its release has been pushed back to 24 July 2015, we won’t cover it before it’s available for you to stream. Elsewhere this week, BBC Sound of 2015 poll winners Years & Years released an album of pleasant but average pop, and trio Prides released their synthpop debut. What are you looking forward to hearing?