WE take a look at all the newest music including Nick Hodgson and Craig David.
Django Django –Marble Skies: Big things were predicted for piece Django Django upon the release of their debut album in 2012. Those early gigs had an air of excitement and great things to come. So it was a shame that second release, Born Under Saturn, seemed to come and quickly go in 2015, perhaps too similar to the first album to make an impact. However, David Maclean, Vincent Neff, Jimmy Dixon and Tommy Grace certainly show artistic progression on Marble Skies. By and large ditching the guitars (or at least, turning them down a little), the band have come up with a summery, dance-driven sound. Featuring Metronomy’s Anna Prior, Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor and 80s keyboard maestro Jan Hammer, Marble Skies is a welcome blast of colour for these grey winter days. Rob Barker
Craig David – The Time is Now: If Craig David is hoping to appeal to an audience hankering for a dose of nostalgia, he’s hit the nail on the head. The Time Is Now is a collection that strongly echoes the dance, R&B and garage classics of the early Noughties, but with a modern edge that is distinctly of the here and now. From album opener Magic - which almost acts as a sequel to his mega-hit 7 Days with its list-style lyrics - through party bangers Heartline, Brand New, I Know You (featuring Bastille) and Focus, David delivers through and through. Sure, there are a few weaker points, some filler tracks, but the majority of the LP is strong, each track with the potential for top 40 success. Bonus track Reload is the true standout, especially for those who cut their musical teeth in the golden era of garage. Lucy Mapstone
Nick J D Hodgson – Tell Your Friends: “It’s time I pleased myself” declares Nick J D Hodgson in RSVP, the opening track of his first solo album. After 15 years playing drums and songwriting for Kaiser Chiefs and their earlier incarnation, Parva, plus another five as a tunesmith for hire for the likes of Olly Murs and Dua Lipa, it’s clear that Hodgson is determined to do things his way these days. In the case of Tell Your Friends it means deploying his obvious gifts for hooks and melody on a set of songs with a distinctly 70s vibe. Suitable and Tomorrow I Love You are earworms that exude warmth while the live standout Honest Face has an urgency that’s underpinned by driving electric bass and chugging organ. Don’t Forget to Sleep is adorned by wistful violin and Buggles-like electronic effects. Impressive. Duncan Seaman
Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly – Young Adult: Sam Duckworth is ready to don his cape and fly once again with this sixth studio album under his largely successful moniker. Young Adult is the Southend troubadour’s first release in four years as Get Cape and he still has as much to say now as he did as a fresh-faced teenager on his 2006 debut. Duckworth, soon to be 32, believes he is now more “direct and confident” in his songwriting, and it is hard to disagree. The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager, which launched his career, was more electro-folk than the reflective, acoustic sound heard on Young Adult, but the brass section which enriched most of his finest work can still be heard on stand-out tracks Invisible and previous single Just A Phase. Andrew Carless
Schubert – Eight Impromptus: Schubert’s Impromptus contain some of his most familiar and best-loved melodies, the new release from the Meridian label coinciding with Sheffield Crucible Studio’s series of his piano music. They are here played by the Canadian-born Paul Berkowitz, a long career performing the composer’s music bringing to our attention a myriad of details. The requested dynamics and tempi are scrupulously observed, rhythmic inflections introduced out of affection, just as if we are eaves-dropping on his playing at home for his own pleasure. There is a linked, and equally recommended release, that contains a happy and, at times, whimsical view of the six Moments Musicaux; the ‘Grazer’ Fantasy and Three Piano Pieces. Not my ideal piano sound. Daivd Denton