Music Roundup: Travis’ Fran Healy Rules Again on ‘Wreckorder’

 Travis frontman Fran Healy has captivated American audiences for the last 15 years with his honest-to-goodness and heartfelt pop tunes. If you’re a massive fan of UK music, knowing every word to one of the band's brightest and biggest hits, "Why Does It Always Rain on Me," is an undeniable part of your subconscious. Don't ignore it. Even their last two studio efforts, 2007's The Boy With No Name and its follow up, 2008's Ode to J. Smith, were just as appealing despite being less popular in the States. Lucky for us, Healy remains as sweet as ever on Wreckorder, his first solo offering out this week.

The Scottish singer/songwriter recorded the 10-song set in Berlin, New York and Vermont late last year, and features standout collaborations with Tom Hobden of British indie folksters, Noah and the Whale, New Pornographers' Neko Case, and Sir Paul McCartney. The Beatle showcases his bass playing skills on the sepia-toned "As It Comes" and to return the favor, Healy went vegetarian. Case's achingly beautiful vocals on "Sing Me to Sleep" also make for an instant classic. Healy seems at ease on this one, very content with his professional place and enjoying fatherhood. We're so glad you're here, Franny. Check out his first single, "Buttercups" below.

Fran Healy – "Buttercups":

Other notable albums released this week:

Badly Drawn Boy'It's What I'm Thinking Pt.1 – Photographing Snowflakes
ClinicBubblegum
KT TunstallTiger Suit
John LennonPower to the People: The Hits
MorrisseyBona Drag: 20th Anniversary Edition
TrickyMixed Race

Also out today is British Sea Power's Zeus EP. The seven-song mini album marks the bookish Brits' precursor to their forthcoming fifth album out early next year. Like always, Yan, Noble, Hamilton, and Wood cull from history and literature of the past, and spout off about the late Russian dictator Nikita Khruschev, English renowned chef Rick Stein, and children's fictional character Worzel Gummidge (!!!) and more. Click below to watch a live version of the EP's rollicking title track.

British Sea Power – "Zeus" (Live in London, February 2010):

Other notable singles released this week:

Badly Drawn Boy"Too Many Miracles"
Villagers"That Day"
Gold Panda"Snow & Taxis"
Kings of Leon"Radioactive"
Professor Green"Monster"
Robbie Williams & Gary Barlow"Shame"

More music news:

– In anticipation of John Lennon's 70th birthday on October 9th, Yoko Ono has taken to her Twitter account to spread the cheer, urging everyone to retweet "1 million wishes to @IPTower." Yoko will be lighting the Imagine Peach Tower in Reykjavik, Iceland on Saturday and viewers can watch live online.

– The blogosphere can't cool it with the Duffy chatter this week after a snippet of her new song, "Well, Well, Well," was leaked to the web yesterday. Perez Hilton has the sizzling new song in full on his official site. Whaddya think?

The Welsh darling recently spoke with The Daily Telegraph about growing up without a stereo and more, all in preview of her hotly-anticipated sophomore album, Endlessly, out November 29th.

Nick Cave is keeping things hot and heavy with Grinderman's latest dirty rock set, Grinderman 2. However, he's landed in a bit of hot water, fighting off claims that he ripped of the music for "Palaces Of Montezuma." Some no-name singer/songwriter in Dundee says the Bad Seed leader copied him. (The Courier)

One to keep an eye on: Blood Red Shoes:

Brighton, England Blood Red Shoes brings their punky indie rock stylings Stateside on their second LP, Fire Like This. Available today via V2 Records/Nice Music Group, this 10-song juggernaut is slightly more polished compared to shouty earlier singles like "ADHD" and "It's Getting Boring By the Sea." Laura Mary Carter and Steve Ansell’s twin power attack is as brilliant as ever. Prepare to fall in love.

Blood Red Shoes – "Light It Up":