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Review and video: Five unmissable music releases this January

17:39 07 January 2015

File photo dated 29/01/09 of a collection of 12" and LP vinyl records as vinyl albums are on track to achieve their biggest sales for almost two decades, expected to pass the million mark by the end of the year. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday October 17, 2014. New figures compiled by the Official Charts Company show that almost 800,000 vinyl albums have been sold in the first nine months of this year, which has already outstripped last year

File photo dated 29/01/09 of a collection of 12" and LP vinyl records as vinyl albums are on track to achieve their biggest sales for almost two decades, expected to pass the million mark by the end of the year. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday October 17, 2014. New figures compiled by the Official Charts Company show that almost 800,000 vinyl albums have been sold in the first nine months of this year, which has already outstripped last year's total of 780,674. The last time vinyl - which once looked close to extinction - hit seven-figure sales was in 1996 when there they shifted 1,083,206 albums and The Score by Fugees was the year's biggest long-player. See PA story SHOWBIZ Vinyl. Photo credit should read: Johnny Green/PA Wire

Music fanatic Alex Flood looks at the biggest new music releases coming up in January 2015.

Sleater-Kinney – ‘No Cities To Love’ – January 19

Arguably the most important band of the immediate post-punk era, Sleater-Kinney are a touchstone for many artists that define the 21st century, from the White Stripes to the Arctic Monkeys, from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to the Fat White Family, echoes of Tucker and Co.’s slashing indie-punk can be found in the most unlikely of places. After initially breaking up a year after the release of 2005s ‘The Woods’, the band announced they would reform in 2014 to tour and record a new album, the pessimistically-titled, ‘No Cities To Love’. Recorded at Electrokitty Sound Studios in Seattle, Washington, the trio from Olympia’s first record in ten years will be available on Sub Pop from January 19.

Joey Bada$$ - ‘B4.Da.$$’ – January 20

One of the most hotly awaited hip hop albums in recent times, ‘B4.Da.$$’ (pronounced Before Da Money), has been almost five years in the making and boasts a supporting cast of 31, including heayweights Action Bronson, Kiesza, J Dilla, DJ Premier and Chronixx. It is 19-year old Joey Bada$$’s debut full-length, and hip hop collective Pro Era’s latest collaborative effort since last year’s ‘The Shift’ mixtape. Pre-release singles, “No.99” and “Big Dusty” showcase a more lyrically adventurous and darker side to Joey Bada$$’s music than has previously been aired; exhibiting his obvious progression in sound since 2013s ‘Summer Knights’.

Viet Cong – ‘Viet Cong’ – January 20

Another band with a fondness for the six-string, Canadian indie boys, Viet Cong, release their debut eponymous record towards the back end of January 2015. A new band for a new year, the four piece from Calgary, Alberta, have been described by Pitchfork as purveyors of “crooning post-punk, distant-sounding harmonies a la Nuggets-era psychedelia, noise-addled punk, and ‘Blade Runner’-style instrumentals.”

Pond – ‘Man It Feels Like Space Again’ – January 26

The younger, carefree brother to Kevin Parker’s other project, Tame Impala, Aussie rockers Pond are to release their sixth album (and third on Modular Records) this month. Their last two records, ‘Hobo Rocket’ and ‘Beard, Wives, Denim’ have received near universal acclaim from critics – similarly to Tame Impala’s recent output – and ‘Man It Feels Like Space Again’ could be the album that sees them finally crawl out of the shadow of their Grammy-winning associates. If lead single, “Elvis’ Flaming Star” – a swirling cyber-rock odyssey with more than a hint of the Fat Whites’ debauched swagger – is anything to go by, then we are in for a big, cosmic bang come January 26.

Mark Ronson – ‘Uptown Special’ – January 27

Vinyl wizard and producer extraordinaire, Mark Ronson, is to release his fourth solo album of R&B-funk-pop fusion in the final week of January. Lead single, “Uptown Funk”, was one of the biggets hits of 2014 – even after it had already been released as a live cover by Fleur East of Xfactor fame – and everything points to its encompassing work achieving similar success, if not more. ‘Uptown Special’ is the culmination of a decade of collaboration with musical royalty for Ronson, who has worked with such stars as, Amy Winehouse, Nas, Adele, Duran Duran and Sir Paul McCartney; it will certainly start 2015 off with a raucous party, and might just prove to be the most important pop record of the year.

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