Albums Out This Week: W/C 19th October 2009

We've experienced the work of Strokes' drummer Fabrizio Moretti with Little Joy, Strokes' guitarist Albert Hammond Jnr. and Nikolai Fraiture (bass) via Nickel Eye. Now it's time for the daddy to deliver his side-project.

Julian Casablancas, front-man with the infamous American indie band has finally unleashed his solo mind unto the world at large. It's a positive commentary on the enduring appeal of The Strokes that we are still very much interested.

Another front-man with a popular indie-rock band plying his trade at side-projects this week is Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard. A man has to be extra likeable when he's married to Zooey Deschanel, otherwise there'd be a queue to murder him in the name of love. Luckily, Gibbard fulfils this requirement just enough. Lasers to stun boys.

Mr. Hudson: Straight No Chaser

Formerly known as 'Mr. Hudson & The Library', the literature was recently excised from the English R&B/Alt. Rock act. Signed to Kanye West's own label, we assume that he's gonna let them finish. Counting the albums, this one makes two.

Julian Casablancas: Phrazes of the Young

Surprisingly one of the later members of The Strokes to get their solo album out, front-man Julian Casablancas prepares for the return of his day job by putting out eight songs of his own concoction. For the feat, he teamed up with Bright Eyes and Monsters of Folk man Mike Mogis.

Portico Quartet: Isla

This four piece modern-jazz four-piece mark themselves out from the crowd by adding a rare instrument to their arsenal. The hang, as it is known, is a harmonically tuned steel idiophone and is used on all of their songs. It's a nice touch, but not nice enough to make us overlook the words "modern jazz".

Elliot Minor: Solaris

Known as 'The Academy' before - we assume - they were bugged by 'The Academy Is...' and the thousand other bands called a variation on the name (it's almost as popular as 'Pyramids'). From York in England and billing themselves as a "classically-influenced pop-rock band", it's a welcome attempt to highlight themselves as experimental people.

Kings of Convenience: Declaration of Dependance

Nordic folk-duo Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe originally met during a Geography competition when they were aged ten. We're not quite sure how they learnt Geography when their country doesn't actually bomb anybody? How else can you learn where Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russian, Afghanistan, China, Korea, Guatemala, Indonesia, Cuba, Congo, Peru, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lebanon, Grenada, Libya, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Bosnia and Sudan are?

Seasick Steve: Man From Another Time

Song and dance man Steven Gene Wold gives us his fourth blues-folk album about living rough and casual labour. His eye for detail extended to his time spent on the streets when he said "Hobos are people who move around looking for work, tramps are people who move around but don't look for work, and bums are people who don't move and don't work. I've been all three".

Sufjan Stevens: The BQE

Named for The Brooklyn-Queens-Expressway (yes, that's exactly like naming your album 'The M1 North'), Stevens delivers an album he claims is a "symphonic and cinematic exploration of New York City's infamous [landmark]". Recorded live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Opera House at the end of 2007, the album will come with a DVD of the projected visuals from the show.

Rammstein: Liebe Ist Fur Alle

We've learned in recent weeks that pantomimic German band Rammstein are still very much revered by many. Colour us surprised, we'll still opt for ATR as our favourite German musicians, but there's no denying their universal appeal, even if we also cannot deny the urge to giggle when they sing.

Converge: Axe to Fall

Although they mayn't have written the book on math-rock, Converge certainly wrote the album. The legendary Salem's lot have been redefining genres since their inception in 1990. Album seven, and there is still no sign of a comfort groove developing beneath them.

Freak Kitchen: Land of the Freaks

A hairy Swedish heavy-metal band? That's surely deserving of an entry into 'Ripley's Believe it or Not'! Aiming their cannons at the familiar targets of capitalism, racism and conformity, we're still waiting for something interesting to hit us... and sweat-soaked leather doesn't count.

Senser: How to Do Battle

Why is it that the more a band's fans describe their revered collective as inherently "uncategorisable", the more likely the band are to be yet another band attempting to mix psychedelia, rap and punk. With over 20 years of band-dom under their collective belts, here's to another attempt to surf the Zeitgeist.

Atlas Sound: Logos

The moderately-length awaiting second album from Bradford Cox, main innovator from the Deerhunter camp. The album set a record for the earliest leak (possibly), by working its way to the public over a year before its official release. The blow almost dissuaded Cox from finishing the album, but his art soon called him back, and here we are.

Russian Circles: Geneva

Another three-piece American post-rock band worthy of your time, Russian Circles may not have impressed as thoroughly as they did on their début album Enter, but they have certainly marked themselves out with their inclusion of post-metal elements as well.

Final: Reading All the Right Signals Wrong

Final is a project of Justin Broadrick, instigator of the band Godflesh, which he started when he was just 13-years-old. Unlike Godflesh, Final is primarily electronic in nature, taking on a space-like, dark ambient sound. The band is often compared to cEvin Key's band Download, as similarities between the two are often identifiable.

Apse: Climb Up

Apse have practically taken a guided tour of every single alternative genre since their beginnings in '99. We can count shoegaze, heavy metal, gothic rock, post-punk, prog-rock, industrial, post-rock influences, tribal and ambient so far. Despite all of this, Climb Up is only their second album together. They really get around!

The Silent Years: The Globe

We don't have the universal translation guide for music industry speak, but when you see the words "a collective with members rotating and guest performers" you can all-but guarantee that the guy in charge is a doorknob. We could be wrong, but if we are, we'd have nothing pithy to write about the band here.

Reno Divorce: Tears Before Breakfast

Another punk band make an attempt at cornering the market on bass, guitar and drum arrangements with raw throated vocals. While lacking the inspired lyricism of some of their peers, Reno Divorce still know how to make a racket sound appealing.

Thomas Function: In the Valley of Sickness

Joining the likes of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Liars and Stellastar* in the 'singers with funny voices' corner of the music market, Thomas Function bring a more retro sensibility into their sound more likely to bring to mind influences that require a quick dusting than the more contemporary fare we usually deal with.

Cartel: Cycles

Met at college, had to kick out a friend, have lots of haircuts to ingratiate them to the emo scene. Yes, it's not exactly the dictionary definition of a unique path. It is kind of poetic though, since their power-pop, punk hybrid isn't unique either.

Ben Gibbard & Jay Farrar: One Fast Move or I'm Gone

Companion piece to the film of the same name, Death Cab/Postal Service and Zooey Deschanel's paramour Ben Gibbard teamed up with less famous face Jay Farrar to compose an album of twelve acoustic and sensitive Americana tracks to pay tribute to Jack Kerouac.

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