The Guardian Indie

Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice
  1. (Ignition Records)

    The third record from Noel Gallagher’s solo outfit is, according to the ex-Oasis man, merely him in “more colourful clothes”. Brightness is certainly the first thing that strikes you about Who Built the Moon, an album that cloaks Gallagher’s hardy guitar-pop in glowing Smithsian riffs, tin whistle samples from novelty 60s tunes and a heady fug of riotous glam rock. Particular highlights include the gloriously Slade-esque Holy Mountain and the singalong-friendly Black and White Sunshine, which resembles Oasis basking on a sun lounger. Even the fact that the album regularly recalls some of the duller post-Britpop bands – It’s a Beautiful World is basically an Elbow track backed by a breakbeat – can’t dampen the joy that rings out from every corner. Producer David Holmes may be responsible for Noel’s change of pace, but the vibrancy and strains of psychedelia never feel like intruders: instead, they act as the perfect foil for the record’s blissed-out lyrics about life-changing love.

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  2. A new book, Untypical Girls, documents the women who refused to be cowed in the male-dominated indie scene that flourished in the 1980s – from riot grrrls to shoegazers

    • Untypical Girls by Sam Knee is out now, published by Cicada Books
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  3. Soup Kitchen, Manchester
    The rising Atlantan band blend harsh electronics with gospel vocals to create rousing hymns for society’s underdogs

    Brooding drones fill the room like a heavy fog, before a sampled speech by Black Panther member Fred Hampton cuts above them. Looping piano lines and a scratchy guitar played with a bow lead to an eruption of sputtering electronics, thunderous beats and the wild, energetic vocals of Franklin James Fisher. It all collides to form Walk Like a Panther, the ferocious opening gambit from Atlanta band Algiers.

    Related:Algiers: The Underside of Power review – righteous, intelligent rock

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  4. The musician’s self-professed ‘Tinder album’ spins from ecstasy to frustration by focusing more on soundscapes than melody

    At this stage in her career, no one expects Björk’s latest record to sound much like her last one. And yet it’s hard to avoid heaving a thankful sigh when Arisen My Senses, the opening track of her ninth studio album, Utopia, crashes into life: birdsong giving way to bright splashes of electronics, beatific-sounding harp chords and cascading beats not unlike the oft-sampled rhythm track of Schoolly D’s old rap classic PSK, What Does It Mean? It sounds positively ecstatic, which comes as a relief. Utopia’s predecessor, 2015’s Vulnicura, was a remarkable record, a latterday entry into the canon of legendary break-up albums. It attained its place alongside Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear and Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks by setting its fathomless misery to atonal string arrangements and abstract electronics that, during its central track, kept vanishing into a single flatlining beep. It was raw, brave, challenging, unique and all the other adjectives heaped on it in reviews, but with the best will in the world, any album so harrowing that the appearance of gloom-laden vocalist Anohni constitutes a moment of light relief is going to be one that defies you to listen to it repeatedly.

    Related:Björk: Vulnicura review – a sucker punch of a breakup album

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  5. British acts Stormzy, Massive Attack and Kaiser Chiefs joined this year’s lineup, but Clockenflap is championing the best of the Hong Kong underground, too

    Hong Kong enjoyed its musical heyday in the 1970s and 80s when clubs such as DiscoDisco, the former British colony’s answer to Studio 54, saw Andy Warhol and Madonna grace the dance floor – followed by decades of inertia.

    A leading light in reviving it has been Clockenflap, which sets out to create a world-class music and arts festival – it has just celebrated its 10th anniversary with Massive Attack, the Prodigy, Kaiser Chiefs and Stormzy. But there’s still a way to go, as co-founder and musical director Justin Sweeting explains: “Our festival serves as an annual rallying cry for those who yearn for more creative stimulus. Though we need many more of these pieces across the spectrum to make for a fully functioning, sustainable music scene.”

    Related:Hong Kong: 20% of residents live in poverty

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