This week's album releases

NEIL YOUNG | Silver & Gold (Reprise)

The three-year gap between Silver & Gold and its predecessor, 1997's Year Of The Horse, is the longest hiatus of Neil Young's solo recording career, and on this showing, his muse hasn't reacted too well to the rest. The vast majority of songs deal in largely unrewarding fashion with domestic contentment and the redemptive power of love, set to the most dilute of country-rock arrangements.

The cast of stellar session musicians - which includes Jim Keltner, "Duck" Dunn, Spooner Oldham, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt alongside long-time pedal-steel player and co-producer Ben Keith - searches vainly for ways to illuminate Young's pallid material, but the results have all the colour and definition of a pair of old jeans (but not in a good way). "Daddy Went Walkin'" is typical, with Young presenting lines like "Corduroy pants and an old plaid shirt/ Daddy went walkin' just to feel the dirt" in the kind of sing-song nursery-rhyme metre usually reserved for songs about dogs called Blue or Shep. The only shaft of light comes in the chorus, with a melody-line borrowed from Abba's "Dancing Queen".

The album's best tunes are to be found in the title-track and "Razor Love", songs written 18 and 13 years ago, respectively. The latter's image of a "razor love which cuts clean through" also stands dramatically apart from the impressions of wistful nostalgia that dominate elsewhere, not least on "Buffalo Springfield Again", a bland rumination on Young's Sixties band. "Like to see those guys again/ And give it a shot," he muses. "Maybe now we can show the world/ What we got". Well, maybe. It certainly couldn't have much less of a spark than this.

CYPRESS HILL | Skull & Bones (Columbia)

Since the majestic Black Sunday, Cypress Hill's star has steadily waned, to the point that Skull & Bones finds them trying to jump on the Limp Bizkit rap-metal crossover bandwagon, with rather more haste than style. A double-album featuring 11 standard rap cuts and six thrash-metal tracks, it marks the return of the wayward Sen Dog to the fold, though his contributions are largely confined to witlessly obscene tirades appended to B-Real's routine moans and boasts. The material tacks schizophrenically between criminal braggadocio and complaints of how hard it is being a rich rap star, with no glimmer of a suggestion that they may have made any causal connection between attitude and aggravation. The redeeming drug humour of earlier albums, meanwhile, has virtually disappeared, restricted here to the brief "Can I Get A Hit". Rage against the mundane, anyone?

>LEE 'SCRATCH' PERRY | On The Wire (Trojan)

This first new release from Lee Perry in years was originally recorded in the late Eighties, but not finished off until recently. It's always good to hear from one of music's bona-fide mad geniuses - so good, apparently, that Trojan have opted to leave the tracks topped and tailed with Perry's introductory babblings, which only serves to elongate his random catechism of "history, mystery, prophecy" far beyond its optimum length. "Lee 'Scratch' Perry On The Wire" opens with a minute of coughing and ululation before the backing track even starts - as if Perry were just getting his lyrical Dada warmed up. Once started, he's like the Duracell bunny, rabbiting on until he winds down eight or 10 minutes later. Musically, the tracks mostly follow the efficient lines of his classic mid-Seventies work, with only "Keep On Moving" displaying the sonic eccentricity we've come to expect from the Upsetter.

DAVID GRAY | White Ladder (iHt/Eastwest)

After several fruitless years with EMI, singer-songwriter David Gray decided to go it alone, building his own studio and recording the songs that make up White Ladder under his own steam, releasing the album on his own label last year. It proved a surprise success in Ireland, topping the chart for six weeks earlier this year. I wouldn't go as far as Joan Baez (who apparently thought Gray the best lyricist since Dylan), but he has a pleasing knack for articulating emotional concerns simply and effectively - mostly matters of the heart, though worries over money problems and bad habits creep almost unbidden into songs such as "Nightblindness" and "We're Not Right". His voice, however, is his strongest asset, with a tart, nasal quality that casts its own shadows, particularly over the album's one cover, an Astral Weeks-styled version of Soft Cell's "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye".

GUS GUS | Gus Gus Vs. T-World (4AD)

The sleeve design of Gus Gus Vs. T-World pursues an aesthetic of natural abstraction oddly appropriate to the music, which despite its technological origins, possesses the organic quality suggested by Future Sound Of London on albums like Lifeforms. The Icelandic outfit concentrate here on the more dancefloor-friendly side of their output, with seven lengthy slices of what could best be called slow-flux techno - repetitive loops building slowly through gradual filter sweeps and barely perceptible alterations. Tracks such as "Anthem" and "Northern Lights" start with an ambient shimmer or gently modulated synth figure, developing impetus through layers of interlocking percussion, eventually reaching a frantic pitch of activity. Care and attention is paid to the shape and timbre of individual sounds, resulting in a pleasing balance of minimal lines and meticulous detailing.

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor