New Releases: Sheeran adds friends’ voices to latest works

By MIK DAVIS,

Returning to the format of his pre-fame EP's "No.6" is Sheeran the writer and singer finding a cornucopia of voices and co-writers. The first four singles alone feature Justin Bieber, Chance The Rapper, Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars. Since you can gather that these songs offer a hint of what's next, Sheeran also plays with Camila Cabello, Cardi B, H.E.R., Travis Scott, Eminem, 50 Cent, Young Thug, Ella Mai and Meek Mill. "Divide" put every track on the chart at once following its release. "No.6" has already put three singles in the Top 5, given the 5.1 million views the latest pair of singles have racked up - he could be the first to take the Top 10 with songs from this long-awaited album.

VARIOUS

Tiny Changes: A Celebration

of Frightened Rabbit

(LP/CD)(Warner Music)

Last May, we lost Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison to suicide while the band was on tour commemorating its second (and breakthrough) album, "The Midnight Organ Fight."

This project of artists paying tribute to the record suddenly changed into the best way to remember Hutchison as a songwriter and singer. While Frightened Rabbit's songs often emerged from desperation and darkness to ultimately discover light in the end, the capable hands and voices of Julien Baker, Manchester Orchestra and Daughter make these songs both radiant and poignant.

BANKS

III

(LP/CD)(Harvest)

JUNE WEST

(LP)(Broken Circles)

PENELOPE ISLES

Until the Tide Creeps In

(LP)(Bella Union)

Remember that spate of monosyllabically named female singers who grazed the pop chart, but found a startlingly large audience online?

Banks was one. Although it has been five years since she left us all "Begging For Thread," she returns with a sleek, modern dance album. "Gimme" screams single, but has no real hook. Her collaboration with Francis and The Lights fares a little better.

Quilt's June West cuts her own path through Americana. Illuminated by mellow vibraphones, swishing percussion and reverberating guitars, West soulfully croons about life off of unknown highways ("Island of Women"), love in the least expected places ("No Words To Say"), and bade a choral goodbye to it all ("What Am I"). The propulsive California groove of her single, "Game To Claim," is another fantastic seventies-esque driving song for these summer days and nights.

While they are billed as shoegaze, Penelope Isles is a stunning new guitar pop band with just the right hint of psychedelia. "Chlorine" opens with a stunner of a riff before settling into its brand of crestfallen love songs. While "Round" feels like ‘70s Beach Boys on a carnival ride, the harmonies as they continue to inquire about "You being OK?" speak to a thousand different emotions. The Brighton group really know how to make some powerful power pop.

PURPLE MOUNTAINS

(LP/CD)(Drag City)

David Berman is a songwriter that is often booted around by other songwriters. While he was never the best singer, he made some truly brilliant albums with Silver Jews. The eight-year hiatus is over. "Purple Mountains" hails the return of his mellow Americana. "All My Happiness Is Gone" does not just barrel out of the gate, but once he hits the melodic chorus, you will be sold on "Purple Mountains" majesty.

DIE GROUP

Disease Control

(CS)(Burger)

NEUTRALS

Kebab Disco

(LP)(Emotional Response)

While punk has spread all over the world from its first two hybridizations in New York (1974-1976) and London (1976-1977), Southern California seems to breed generations of brooding punk rock. Their dark, rumbling dystopian music fits well in both classic Los Angeles (X, Germs) and its suburban counterparts (Black Flag.)

"Disease Control" is relentless. Short, jagged bursts of lo-fi buzz ("Ambassador at Large") and howl ("Tire Thumper") that burn as quickly as a drag from a hidden cigarette. I cannot wait to hear what is next from this promising trio.

Northern California gets in on the punk revival act with the melodic yet angular strains of The Neutrals. "Kebab Disco" is bursting with hooks and smart lyrics. "Half Shut Knife" smacks of early R.E.M. with its jangly guitars, before they build up the C86 urgency of "Technical College."

Scottish singer Allan MacNaughton gives the more driving American rock a unique "fish-out-of-water" feel ("You Were Seen") and the whole record finds a balanced attack between Indie Pop and classic Punk.

A debut that truly stands out.

KELLI JONES AND JOEL SAVOY

Toi, Tu Joues A L’Amour

(7”)(Valcour)

Louisiana musichas a first family and it is the Savoys. Joel and his mother, Ann, are the ambassadors of Cajun music to the world. Joel grew up surrounded by Cajun music and honestly seems to simply exhale it.

With vocalist Kelli Jones, they take the glamour of 1960's French pop and sand it down to its elemental melody. The other tracks on the single are thrillers of Cajun music, especially their fiery rundown of legendary reels from Dennis McGee.