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Music round up

Jude Mason

RMusicKateNash.jpgThe Specter At The Feast in the title of the new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club album is Michael Been, the recently departed lead singer of 80s band The Call, and father of BRMC's lead singer, Robert. His death affected the whole band, and this album is an homage.  While most tracks are more downbeat than their other offerings, their music thrives with it.  Their cover of The Call's hit 'Let The Day Begin', while being a sweet gesture, is the weakest track here.

On Tooth & Nail we're not in the company of the politically shouty Billy Bragg, but the politically gentle William. That's not to say that he's shying away from current issues; his re-imagining of Woody Guthrie's 'I Ain't Got No Home' shows just that the hardships of recession are far from a new thing.  He also takes on spiritual matters, handling them with respect and honour.  If his time at Greenbelt and on the steps of St Paul's contributed to the track 'Do Unto Others' then well done people.

Oh sweet Justin Timberlake.  Can you do any wrong?  20/20 is a bit of a slow burn, but it's very much worth the effort.  With the shortest track on the album coming in at four minutes and 48 seconds, some of the tracks could have been trimmed a little, but really... it's just Justin.

The Staves are three sisters from Watford and Dead & Born is a classy new-folk album that is head and shoulders above the other wannabes riding on the shouty coat tails of Mumfords and Mumford-alikes.  Buy it.  Now.

I was genuinely surprised by the fun and quality of Kate Nash's (stage)dive into the punk sisterhood. Her sing-speak style works perfectly in the genre, and she's not left behind her wonderfully pop falsetto harmonies. Girl Talk is a melding of Joan Jett, Debbie Harry, Toni Basil and the Spice Girls. If you want your daughters to start writing songs (and don't care about the occasional f-bomb) you could do a lot worse than assign this as homework.

Want to relive 1996? Get the first half of the new Suede album,  Bloodsports. It's like absolutely nothing has changed. The second half isn't nearly as good. A bit like it was in the year itself, really.