On their debut album, “Painted People,” NYC-based band The Ritualists showcase an intense, theatrical post-punk sound that seamlessly blends a variety of influences. The music can be dark and abrasive while also full of melodic hooks and soaring choruses. There is a strong glam rock undercurrent, but The Ritualists never come across as trying to emulate a particular style. Strong songwriting and creative arrangments make their influences coalesce into a sound all their own.
Since emerging in the early ’80s, Bananarama has had a string of hugely successful pop hits, including “Venus,” “Cruel Summer” and “I Heard a Rumour.” They’ve continued to tour and release music over the years and recently released “In Stereo,” their first album in a decade. “In Stereo” has a modern edge, but the pure, energetic pop songs are unmistakably Banarama. It’s become their most commercially successful albums in years, hitting the top 40 in England and several other countries.
Featuring bassist Andy Rourke (The Smiths) and frontman/guitarist KAV (formerly of Happy Mondays), Blitz Vega creates heavy yet danceable music with driving guitar hooks and powerful vocals. The two musicians had discussed working together for years but only recently found their schedules aligned. So far, Blitz Vega has put out a single, “Hey Christo,” and they will be following it up with an EP recorded live in-studio (no overdubs) at the legendary Abbey Road Studio.
Josephine Wiggs has, in recent years, been back with The Breeders, but she has also found the time to create a fantastic new solo release, “We Fall.” The primarily instrumental album juxtaposes a variety of styles, including ambient, rock, classical and experimental. Atmospheric yet highly melodic, the compositions instantly draw in the listener. Wiggs has truly created an album that sounds like nothing else.
“Deliverance” is the new solo release from Danielle de Picciotto, an interdisciplinary artist who has been involved with many collaborations over the years. Having moved from New York to Berlin in 1987, Danielle was the co-founder of the Berlin Love Parade and has performed and exhibited with Crime & The City Solution, Gudrun Gut, The Space Cowboys, and her husband Alexander Hacke, a founding member of Einstürzende Neubauten.
After a gap of eight years before 2018’s “Impossible Star,” Jack Dangers is already back with a new Meat Bean Manifesto album. Titled “Opaque Couche,” it takes its name from a greenish-brown hue that has been called the “world’s ugliest color.” Always pushing his music in new directions, Dangers came up with a new process for working with beats for this album.
In recent years, electronic music pioneer Howard Jones has been focusing his energy on live shows rather than new albums. His last release, “Engage” (2015) was part of a larger crowd-funded multi-media project. But having taken a break from touring to focus on new material, Jones is back with “Transform,” his first regular album in almost a decade. “Transform” showcases Jones fully embracing his electronic roots but within a modern context.
Each release from Rhode Island-based Jenn Vix has had a different sound from the last, and her new electropop-charged “6” EP is no exception. Vintage synthesizers figure prominently in the music, but it’s clear that Vix is utilizing the sound she loves rather than striving for a retro sound. The atmospheric electronic style proves to be an ideal outlet for Vix’s powerful vocals and strong songwriting.
With “The Secret of Letting Go,” Lamb once again manages to bring a fresh edge to their already unique sound. The duo of Lou Rhodes and Andy Barlow initially formed in Manchester, England, and released their self-titled debut album in 1996. Lamb went on hiatus after their 2003 “Between Darkness and Wonder,” during which time Rhodes embarked on a successful solo career and Barlow worked on a variety of projects. They reformed Lamb in 2009 and have been performing and releasing music together regularly ever since.