Rosie Lowe - YU album review


The smoky-voiced R&B multi-instrumentalist charts the ups and downs of a relationship with the help of guests like Jay Electronica and Floating Points.

The Leeds-based singer Rosie Lowe debuted in 2013 with “Right Thing,” a brooding R&B-soul hybrid that made the aftereffects of a breakup sound like being submerged in a sensory deprivation tank. Her atmospheric 2016 LP Control explored the emotional give-and-take of modern dating, and despite being cloistered by a few too many glazed, anonymous synths, there were quietly compelling songs (see: the body-image treatise “Woman”) to bear out Lowe’s songwriting finesse. For follow-up YU, Lowe improves on her formula by expanding her circle. Calling on a diverse group of collaborators ranging from Jay Electronica to Floating Points, she assembles a warm-blooded pop/soul/funk hybrid that charts the ups and downs of a relationship.

Lowe’s lyrics can sometimes scan as overly simplistic, as on the icily aimless “Valium,” but her songwriting blooms when she leans on more fantastical metaphors. Early highlight “Pharoah” struts on a swaggering bass line and a hypnotic organ sample from Pharoah Sanders’ 1977 “Memories of Edith Johnson,” while Lowe conjures Egyptian gods and goddesses: “My hair is Nu/My face is Ra/My eyes are Hathor/But worlds apart.” On the simmering “Mango,” she plays Eve seducing Adam, ratcheting up the double entendres: “I adore the selection you bring/It’s your platter that makes my tastebuds ring/…And I’ve been looking for some fruit for my tree.”

Her gravelly, soaring voice is supported by Lowe’s longtime producer Dave Okumu, who adds dynamic, rubbery synths that feel like HD upgrades of his work on Control. On the disorienting highlight “ITILY,” a sweeping synth line underpins Lowe's moony thoughts of an affair: “Don’t wanna come on strong but he has gone out/And he won’t be home for another three hours.” The warped effect mimics the head rush of forbidden romance, with the repetition of the one-line chorus (“I think I love you”) drilling in its obsessive side-effects.

YU’s guest features occasionally come across as half-baked. The pop-minded “The Way,” driven by a jaunty bass guitar, is a bright spot until Jay Electronica settles into a long-winded, tacked-on guest verse addled by clumsy references to UK landmarks as well as the groan-inducing couplet, “Show me the way like Glinda Good Witch/My heart’s so tired like BFGoodrich.” Elsewhere, she casts a who’s-who of singers to fill in as a Greek chorus to better effect: Jamies Woon and Lidell, Kwabs, and Jordan Rakei make up the head-spinning, processed backing vocals on “Birdsong,” which also features a skidding, Jai Paul-ian electric guitar.

YU comes to us via Paul Epworth’s Wolf Tone Records, which may account for its vague sense of boutique-y, almost-too-tasteful A&R-ing (Epworth has steered Adele and Florence and the Machine’s music to similarly refined ends). Yet Lowe’s sophomore album retains a distinct point of view, with her folkloric sensibility and forward-thinking production shining through despite some smoothed-over platitudes. Lowe is only growing as an artist, and YU heralds a bright future.

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TOOL to release "EXPANDED BOOK EDITION" of new album 'FEAR INOCULUM'

TOOL to release "EXPANDED BOOK EDITION" of new album 'FEAR INOCULUM'

Since its release in August, Tool's Fear Inoculum has been an undisputed smash success. The 80-plus-minute record — the psychedelic prog band's first offering in 13 years — debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and, according to Billboard, had the biggest week for any rock LP in over 12 months. (It also made headlines for bumping Taylor Swift's Lover from the top spot in that record's second week.) The first pressing of the album's deluxe physical edition sold out almost immediately, compelling the band to produce a second, limited run of the collectible, which includes a speaker and mini video screen built into the packaging. That quickly sold out, as well, but never fear if you missed out: November 13th, Tool announced an entirely new collector's edition of Fear Inoculum, an "Expanded Book Edition," due for release on December 13th. You can pre-order your copy now — you know these will sell out fast.

 

REVOLVER STAFF REVOLVER STAFF
15.11.2019
Angel Olsen releases "All Mirrors" - new album out October 4th Via Jagjaguwar!

Angel Olsen releases "All Mirrors" - new album out October 4th Via Jagjaguwar!

Angel Olsen releases All Mirrors,
New Album Out October 4th Via Jagjaguwar

"In every way -- from the making of it, to the words, to how I feel moving forward, this record is about owning up to your darkest side, finding the capacity for new love and trusting change even when you feel like a stranger." -- Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen will release her fourth full-length album, All Mirrors, on October 4th via Jagjaguwar. Olsen's bold and unexpected All Mirrors comes over three years after the release of MY WOMAN, a top 10 critically praised album of 2016. In conjunction with today's announcement, Olsen unveils the title track and its video, directed by Ashley Connor and conceived by Olsen.

On her vulnerable new album, All Mirrors, Olsen takes an introspective deep dive towards internal destinations and revelations. In the process of making this album, she found a new sound and voice, a blast of fury mixed with hard won self-acceptance. All Mirrors gets its claws into you on both micro and macro levels. Of course, there's that singular vibrato, always so very close -- seemingly simple, cooed phrases expand into massive ideas about the inability to love and universal loneliness. And then suddenly -- huge string arrangements and bellowing synth swells emerge, propelling the apocalyptic tenor.

In creating All Mirrors, Olsen initially planned to work on a dual record release -- a set of raw and real solo songs and a full band version of the same songs -- both to be released at once. She recorded the solo version with producer Michael Harris in Anacortes, Washington. There, she was determined to keep it bare bones in order to contrast with the not yet recorded full band record. Soon after that was completed, she began work on the more ambitious, fleshed out version with producer John Congleton, with whom she collaborated on 2014's breakout Burn Your Fire for No Witness, arranger Jherek Bischoff, multi-instrumentalist/ arranger/pre-producer Ben Babbitt, and a 14-piece orchestra.

While remaking the album with full production and new collaborators, Olsen developed a new relationship with control, and as she got further into the process, she realized she "needed to separate these two records and release All Mirrors in its heaviest form. . . It was impossible for me to deny how powerful and surprising the songs had become. The truth is that I may have never allowed this much sonic change in the first place had I not already made an account of the same songs in their purest form."

Over heavy synth and oscillating percussion, lead single "All Mirrors" navigates between the perception of what one wants to see and reality. "I chose this one as the title because I liked the theme: the theme of how we are all mirrors to and for each other," says Olsen. "Even if that is not all of it, there is always an element of projection in what we'd like to see in people and scenarios and in the way we see ourselves in those scenarios, with those people."

The Jagjaguwar limited and exclusive All Mirrors bundle includes the album on opaque aquamarine vinyl and the All Mirrors 7" on silver with black splatter vinyl. The 7" includes two versions of the album's title track: "All Mirrors" album version and "We Are All Mirrors" solo version.

As previously announced, the All Mirrors tour kicks off on October 28th. A full European leg has been added. All dates are below.

Watch Angel Olsen's "All Mirrors" Video -
https://youtu.be/Jjt698Zv5jQ
Watch Angel Olsen's "Lark" Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uaN60k0-zY

CD Market CD Market
01.10.2019