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Huge release List this week and the big reissue of the week is  St. Jude by Manchester darlings, The Courteeners, plus grab a listen to the beautifully accomplished LP and CD version of the acoustic reworks of the very same album. It’s a testament to their flexibility that the instruments can be stripped back and still be every bit as anthemic . Daniel Avery, whilst not necessarily rocking the spring vibes, has kept his sound concise and melodic, with a few surprises thrown in there for good measure on his latest, ‘Song For Alpha’. Goat Girl have blown all of us away with their rocking but finely balanced blend of punk rock, garage and indie rock and/or roll. It’s a superb debut album, and one that will be played for a long time to come catch them on tour this week.

There’s the new Unknown Mortal Orchestra album too, it is everything you’d expect. Riffs, brilliantly athletic vox and grooves throughout, all bolstered by their singular instrumental style. Another stormer in this week is the new one from Hinds, pitting their snarling three-part vocal onslaught against the clashing, fuzzed-out guitars and snappy, insistent drums, much like in their previous iteration, but injected with the experience of dealing with and touring their hit debut album.

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Goat Girl  –  Goat Girl

Across 19 tracks in just 40 minutes, Goat Girl’s self-titled debut creates a half-fantasy world out of a very dirty, ugly city reality.

Goat Girl belong to a burgeoning, close-knit south London scene, born in venues like The Windmill in Brixton and including bands like Shame, Bat-Bike, Madonnatron, Horsey, Sorry, and many more. “We help each other – I put you on, you put me on – because we genuinely like each other’s music. We’d played gigs all over before but never really settled in a comfortable environment, which is what The Windmill is. It’s an important place for us, it was the first space that our music made sense to exist within. It’s a safe space where music is genuinely listened to and appreciated, and where laws and licensing haven’t reached over to ruin the venue.”

This live freedom enabled the band to think without constraints when it came to recording. Goat Girl enlisted producer Dan Carey (The Kills, Bat For Lashes, Franz Ferdinand) to help them capture their vision, set a goal to write and record a piece of music in a day in effort to capture that raw first-creation moment, and chose to record to tape.

It’s a very English album — sharp-eyed observations like The Kinks, louche rage like The Slits — but it’s also full of swampy, swaggering guitars and singer Lottie’s filthy drawl. Each member brings a diverse range of influences and contributions, ranging from krautrock to bossa nova, jazz to blues. They resist being boxed in to an indie, guitar-based genre, and focused intensely on the layers and textures of each song as well as the different contexts they could sit within.

The result, Goat Girl, succeeds in conjuring a complete world all unto itself, and is arranged in segments — divided by improvised interludes — that offer glimpses of an even stranger parallel universe. With each song acting as its own story of sorts that features different settings and characters, listeners are transported therewithin. It’s dark yet cheeky, varied yet cohesive, and striking in its vision; this world is populated by creeps and liars, lovers, dreamers, and wonderful lunatics. Lead single “Cracker Drool” is at once jaunty and sinister, a foreboding tale full of swirling guitar, echoing vocals and synthetic drum hits that stumbles and gurgles straight into “Slowly Reclines,” an equally menacing and considerably heavier track. “Creep” is, predictably and grimly enough, inspired by actual events: Creep on the train / I really want to smash your head in.

On “Country Sleaze,” she sings about sex in a way that embraces visceral reality and defeats shame. “If you say you’re sexually free, as a woman, society still deems that a bad thing. But really it’s a beautiful thing to be confident in yourself – to know that you can have sex and it doesn’t have to mean anything and that doesn’t make you a bad person.” Ellie smiles: “That song is quite disgusting, in a good way. It’s not trying to be nice, it’s not a love song.” Goat Girl is altogether an album crafted with intention, and invites imaginations to run wild; it draws listeners in to its half-fantasy world from the slow fade, eerie instrumental intro “Salty Sounds,” to the gorgeous, unsettling closer “Tomorrow” — a rendition of the song featured in Bugsy Malone — which ends with dawn-chorus birds and the feeling of new possibilities after a long and messy night.

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The Shacks  –   Haze

One of the best debut albums of 2018. Fronted by 19-year-old singer / bassist Shannon Wise and 21-year-old guitarist / producer Max Shrager, The Shacks are already well on their way to becoming one of the year’s big breakouts, and their remarkable debut album, Haze, solidifies their status as a band with ability to deliver on the well-deserved buzz.

Produced together by Shrager and Big Crown co-founder Leon Michels (who’s played with Bradley, Sharon Jones, and Fields in addition to working with The Arcs, Lana Del Rey, and countless others), the album was recorded in bits and pieces between Shrager’s basement and Michels’ Diamond Mine studio, which the Observer dubbed “the Shangri La of Soul.” Haze opens with the title track, which is, appropriately enough, the first song Shrager and Wise ever wrote together. It’s a spare, smoky tune that shimmers and sparkles as it shifts in and out of focus, and it’s an ideal gateway into the immersive world of The Shacks.

The 13 songs featured on Haze plays out like the soundtrack to some long lost 16mm film, beckoning you into their grainy, saturated world of analog beauty. In the short time that they’ve been together, The Shacks have already made an impressive mark. Their hypnotic cover of Ray Davies’ This Strange Effect soundtracked a global iPhone commercial, one which actually stars Wise herself, and their self-titled EP earned the band dates with St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Chicano Batman, and their Big Crown Records label mates Lee Fields and The Expressions.

3CD – Rough Trade Exclusive Version. CD one is the album. On the second CD is The Shacks Self-Titled EP, Selections Previously Issued Only On 7″ Vinyl And Complete Instrumentals From Haze. And on CD three is the Rough Trade exclusive bonus 9 track CD – The Shacks EP Instrumentals.

LP+ – Rough Trade Exclusive. 1000 Copies only on Coke Clear Vinyl with Download (featuring just the main album) and Rough Trade Bonus CD.

LP – Black Vinyl with Download (featuring just the main album) and Rough Trade Bonus CD.

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Island  –  Feels Like Air

Following the release of their hypnotic new single Try, the London-based Island release their debut album Feels Like Air on Beatnik Creative and French Kiss Records. Mellow, not melancholy, their deep rhythms roll with light and shade that’s uplifting and makes you want to move, but no sooner will have you stood still and beguiled in their scenic musicality. It’s totally captivating, hypnotic and emotional. It mixes the intensity and stadium filling potential of U2 with delicate soundscapes and an intense, throaty vocalist.

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Son Volt  –   Search – Deluxe

Led by the songwriting and vocals of Jay Farrar, Son Volt was one of the most instrumental and influential bands in launching the alt-country movement of the 1990’s. Originally released in 2007, and out of print for the past several years, this deluxe reissue of The Search features bonus content. The Search takes Jay Farrar’s signature juxtapositions of the arcane and the modern to provocative extremes, contrasting the blue highways of a disappearing cultural landscape with a perilous world in which the center no longer holds – a world of information overload, of clueless leaders carrying out sinister agendas, of “Hurricanes in December – earthquakes in the heartland / Bad air index on a flashing warning sign,” as the artist sings ruefully on The Picture. The Search’s 14 songs locate and vividly portray the prevailing modes of the human condition in the first decade of the 21st century: cynicism (Beacon Soul), reflection (The Search), restlessness (L Train, Highways and Cigarettes), yearning (Adrenaline and Heresy), paranoia (Automatic Society), despair (Methamphetamine) and conditional hopefulness (Underground Dream, Phosphate Skin). By turns melancholy and exhilarating, the album further cements Farrar’s status as one of rock’s most eloquent chroniclers of contemporary existence.

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Haley Heynderickx’s   –  I Need to Start a Garden

Haley Heynderickx’s highly anticipated debut album. Haley has a wonderful voice and the lyrics are poetic and heartfelt. Musically it’s sometimes reminiscent of early Velvet Underground in that many of the songs quickly build into frenetic and emotive climaxes. The difference here is that these crescendos dissolve into tender moments of unabashed vulnerability, rather than fragmenting into splinters of drug-fueled confusion. It’s beautiful and heartfelt. For fans of Velvet Underground, Angel Olsen and Cat Power.

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Eels  –  The Deconstruction

After a four year wait, Eels release their highly-anticipated new album The Deconstruction via E Works. “Here are 15 new Eels tracks that may or may not inspire, rock, or not rock you. The world is going nuts. But if you look for it, there is still great beauty to be found. Sometimes you don’t even have to look for it. Other times you have to try to make it yourself. And then there are times you have to tear something apart to find something beautiful inside.” Eels singer-songwriter E (Mark Oliver Everett).

2×10″ – Double Translucent 33rpm Yellow Vinyl.

2LP – Double 45rpm Translucent Pink Vinyl Deluxe Boxset. Printed box on uncoated paper. CD Digitpack. 28 page perfect bound lyric booklet with exclusive photos. 12” artwork print. A4 digital handwritten Rusty Pipes lyrics signed by E and E Tip and Strip pen.

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King Crimson  –  Live in Vienna, December 1st 2016

Three CDs featuring the complete concert from Vienna on Dec. 1st 2016 mixed from the original multi-track tapes. CDs Presented in concert sequence with discs 1 and 2 featuring the complete first and second sets. CD 3 features Vienna encores plus the long awaited live recorded debut of Fracture by the 2016 line-up as performed in Copenhagen. CD3 also features a series of soundscapes edited into newly sequenced pieces. Drawn from the introduction music (composed / improvised afresh for each night) and featuring Robert Fripp, Mel Collins and Tony Levin, this essential component of current live King Crimson shows also receives its most complete presentation to date. Presented in a 4 fold-out digifile package with 16 pages booklet featuring tour photos and notes by David Singleton and housed in a slipcase

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Zola Jesus  –  Okovi – Additions

Limited Gray and Black Starburst Vinyl. Zola Jesus’ Okovi: Additions LP offers a new angle on her 2017 album, Okovi. The collection pairs four previously unreleased songs from the Okovi sessions with four remixes by a diverse cast of artists. Johnny Jewel turns Ash to Bone into a late-night cinematic torch song, Tri Angle Records composer Katie Gately’s Siphon is a dark choir of warping angels, black metal band Wolves in the Throne Room’s take on Exhumed makes the pounding industrial anthem even denser and heavier, and Toronto producer Joanne Pollock (formerly one half of Poemss with Venetian Snares’ Aaron Funk) makes Soak feel like an aching classical standard – until it starts warping in on itself and goes somewhere else entirely. The songs on Additions traverse a vast amount of sonic ground, but taken together, they cohere remarkably well as an album, all while serving to enrich the experience of Okovi.

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Fenne Lily  –  On Hold 

Over the last couple of years Fenne Lily has made a real name for herself as a songwriter, surpassing over 30 million streams for her five self-released singles and supporting the likes of Marlon Williams, Charlie Cunningham and many more across Europe. Despite the first song she wrote at the age of 15 proving an almost instant hit upon release, she’s not rushed into releasing her debut collection, instead taking time to perfect her songs and develop her sound while living in Bristol and continuing to perform around the continent. Deciding she wanted to get out of the city to record the album, Fenne travelled to see some musical friends on The Isle of Wight where she formed a band and recorded a number of tracks in a basement studio with upcoming producer James Thorpe. Returning to Bristol to finish the tracks with long-time collaborator Dave Dixon (Tamu Massif) and Ali Chant (Youth Lagoon, Perfume Genius, PJ Harvey) her debut album has taken shape and is now ready for release.

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Hop Along –  Bark Your Head Off, Dog

Written over the course of 2016 and 2017 and recorded in the summer of the latter year by Frances Quinlan (songwriter/vocalist/rhythm guitar), Tyler Long (bass), Joe Reinhart (guitar), and Mark Quinlan (drums), the album addresses disappointment, particularly in man’s misuse of power, and relates accounts from the periphery — one’s attempts to retreat from the lengthening shadows of tyrants, both historical and everyday. It considers what it’s like to cast off longheld and misguided perceptions, yet without the assurance of knowing what new ones will replace them. Much like on Hop Along’s first and second records, Get Disowned and Painted Shut, Quinlan seeks in real time to work through these issues.

Throughout the album, one gets the sense that Quinlan is wandering in the thicket of a forest—a state of being that will feel familiar to long time listeners—and on this outing, she hasn’t left a trail of breadcrumbs behind her. The album’s artwork, which Quinlan painted herself, invites the listener into that forest, as well. “There is a terror in getting lost,” she says, “the woods are at the same time beautiful and horrifying.” This curious wandering gives the album, both lyrically and musically, a heightened dimensionality.

Bark Your Head Off, Dog is, without question, Hop Along’s most dynamic and textured record yet. Self-produced and recorded at The Headroom in Philadelphia by Reinhart and Kyle Pulley, Bark Your Head Off, Dog features the familiar sounds that have always made the band allergic to genre: grunge, folk, punk, and power pop all appear, with inspiration from ELO to Elvis Costello to ‘70s girl group vocal arrangements. This time around, they’ve added strings, more intricate rhythms, lush harmonies (featuring Thin Lips’ Chrissy Tashjian), along with a momentary visit with a vocoder. In more than one place, Mark Quinlan drums like he’s at a disco with Built to Spill.

Most significantly, Bark Your Head Off, Dog shows the band at its strongest and most cohesive. Hop Along (which originally began as Quinlan’s solo project under the moniker Hop Along, Queen Ansleis) has never sounded so deliberate, so balanced. “So strange to be shaped by such strange men” is a line that repeats on more than one song on the album. “I’ve been thinking about that a lot. That I just deferred to men throughout my life,” Quinlan says. “But by thinking you’re powerless, you’re really robbing yourself. I’m at a point in my life where I’m saying instead, ‘Well, what can I do?’”

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Wye Oak –  The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs

The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs – the triumphant fifth album by Wye Oak – begins with an explosion. For a few seconds, piano, drums, and a playful keyboard loop gather momentum; then, all at once, they burst, enormous bass flooding the elastic beat. “Suffering, I remember suffering,” sings Jenn Wasner, her voice stretched coolly across the tizzy. “Feeling heat and then the lack of it, but not so much what the difference is.” The moment declares the second coming of Wye Oak, a band that spent more than a decade preparing to write this record – their most gripping and powerful set of songs to date, built with melodies, movement, and emotions that transcend even the best of their catalogue. Louder is the third record that Wasner and Andy Stack, who launched Wye Oak in Baltimore, have made while living in separate cities – she in Durham, North Carolina, he in Marfa, Texas. They flew to one another for a week or so at a time, hunkering in home studios to sort through and combine their separate song sketches. These shorter stints together produced less second-guessing and hesitation in their process, yielding an unabashed and unapologetic Wye Oak. The result is the biggest, broadest, boldest music they’ve ever made. Louder pursues a litany of modern malaises, each track diligently addressing a new conflict and pinning it against walls of sound, with the song’s subject and shape inextricably and ingeniously linked.

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Mien  –  Mien

Debut album by MIEN, the exciting new four piece band comprised of The Black Angels’ Alex Maas, The Horrors’ Tom Furse, Elephant Stone’s Rishi Dhir and The Earlies’ John-Mark Lapham. The seeds were sown for this collaboration as long ago as 2004, when Rishi Dhir (Elephant Stone) found himself in a chance encounter with Black Angels frontman Alex Maas whilst performing sitar with his former band on a bill at SXSW in Austin with The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Not long afterwards, he would also stumble across electronics guru and producer John Mark Lapham from Anglo-American band The Earlies, via a shared love for one song – the ‘classic sitar banger’ by The Association, ‘Wantin’ Ain’t Gettin’.

Some years later, another piece of the puzzle came into place, when Dhir was now playing bass with The Black Angels in 2012, and found the band sharing several bills with The Horrors. Thus he made the acquaintance of Tom Furse, and yet another pact was made to work together. Several traversals of the globe by both plane and audio-file later, the result is an album that sees this quartet transcending their origins whilst maintaining a cohesive unity borne of a desire for outward exploration.

John Mark’s vision, as he puts it, was “imagine the Black Angels as Nico in her 80’s industrial phase mixed with George Harrison and Conny Plank.” – true to form, it’s an album that finds equal room for radiant groove-based propulsion and ambient dreamscapes alike – as comfortable with the murky hallucinogenic voyage of ‘You Dreamt’ as the powerful widescreen sweep of ‘(I’m Tired Of) Western Shouting’, yet with songwriting acumen as potent as the production values are expansive and exploratory. This may have been a record put together at a distance – yet the chemistry between these four figures is manifest amidst a kaleidoscopic series of atmospheres and excursions whereby the fertile songwriting of the golden age of ‘60s psychedelia is transmitted into a transcendental realm above and beyond the second decade of the 21st century.

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra  –  Sex and Food

Where are we headed? What are we consuming, how is it affecting us, and why does everything feel so bad and weird sometimes? These are some of the questions posed on Ruban Nielson’s fourth album as Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Sex and Food. Recorded in a variety of locales from Seoul and Hanoi to Reykjavik, Mexico City, and Auckland, Sex and Food is a practical musical travelogue, with local musicians from the countries that Neilson and his band visited pitching in throughout.

Sex and Food is the most eclectic and expansive Unknown Mortal Orchestra release yet, from the light-footed R&B of Hunnybee to the stomping flange of Major League Chemicals. If You’re Going to Break Yourself and Not in Love We’re Just High chronicle the effects of drugs and addiction on personal relationships, while the lyrics Ministry of Alienation drip with modern-day paranoia like the silvery guitar tones that jewel the song’s structure. The modern world, and all the thorny complications that come with living in it, loomed large on Ruban’s mind while making Sex and Food. A statement of selflessness, to be sure-but make no mistake: Sex and Food reaffirms the vitality of Ruban’s voice in today’s musical landscape.

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The Courteeners  –  St Jude Re:Wired

Courteeners mark the 10th anniversary of their debut album with a new, fully re-recorded version of the seminal record. St Jude Re:Wired has been produced by Liam and Joe Cross. Originally released in April 2008, St Jude charted at no 4 in its first week and went on to win the inaugural Guardian First British Album award, beating albums by Duffy, Adele and Glasvegas. The record saw Courteeners present to the world outside a first set of songs that perfectly soundtracked modern life in the UK.

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Suede  –  Suede – 25th Anniversary Edition

Brett Anderson believes that Suede’s debut album, winner of the Mercury Music Prize in 1993, probably has more cultural resonance than any other of their albums, as a pre-cursor to Britpop and a supplanter of grunge. It is also home to four ground-breaking singles. This deluxe edition features the album; the b-sides; a CD of demos, monitor mixes (several previously unreleased) and the band’s first BBC radio session, arranged chronologically; plus a concert from February 1993. The DVD features six contemporary TV performances (including their first ever TV appearance), and an hour-long film of Brett and Bernard Butler discussing the writing and recording of the album, all issued for the first time. Also included is a new note by Brett about his memories of the recording of the album, along with the lyrics, hand-written lyric drafts, tape boxes, and photos from the band’s collections.

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Love  –  Forever Changes (50th Anniversary Edition)

Love’s Forever Changes is the psychedelic folk-rock pioneers’ finest achievement. Mostly overlooked when it was released in 1967, today the album is considered an indispensable masterpiece. In 2008, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and – in 2012 – the Library of Congress added it to the National Recording Registry. Love celebrate the acclaimed album’s golden anniversary with an extensive 4CD / DVD / LP collection housed in a beautifully illustrated 12 x 12 hardbound book that features a newly written essay and track-by-track notes by music historian Ted Olsen. Recorded during the Summer of Love in Hollywood, CA, Forever Changes is the group’s most fully realized studio effort, featuring Arthur Lee (vocals, guitar), Johnny Echols (lead guitar), Bryan MacLean (rhythm guitar, vocals), Ken Forssi (bass) and Michael Stuart (drums, percussion). The original album introduced classics like Andmoreagain, Red Telephone, A House Is Not A Motel and Alone Again Or. The set features a few firsts for the album, including the CD-debut of a remastered version made by its original co-producer and engineer Bruce Botnick, as well as the first-ever release of the mono version on CD. Also included are alternate mixes of the album, as well as a selection of rare and unreleased singles and studio outtakes. Botnick’s stereo remaster of the original album makes its vinyl debut on the LP included with this set. It was cut from high resolution digital audio by celebrated audio engineer Bernie Grundman. The DVD that accompanies the anniversary collection includes a 24/96 stereo mix of the album version of the original album remastered by Botnick. Also featured is Your Mind And We Belong Together, a rare promotional video directed by Elektra producer Mark Abramson that was originally released in 1968. Forever Changes: 50th Anniversary Edition boasts more than a dozen rarities, including single versions of Alone Again Or and A House Is Not A Motel that are available now for the first time since 1967. Two other recordings on the set have never been released: the backing track for Live And Let Live and an outtake backing track for

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Spacemen 3 –  Recurring

The fourth and final Spacemen 3 studio album Recurring; the follow up to their seminal Playing with Fire album. By the time the album was recorded, relations between the band had soured to the extent that the record is essentially in two parts; the first seven tracks written and performed by Sonic Boom a.ka. Peter Kember (Spectrum / E.A.R.), and the last seven tracks written and performed by Jason Pierce (Spiritualized) punctuated by the cover version of Mudhoney’s When Tomorrow Hits the only track on which both Kember and Pierce appear together.

CD – Presented in a shrink-wrapped 6 panel fold out card wallet featuring the original vibrant cover artwork used on the original US release of this album.

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Richmond Fontaine  –  Don’t Skip Out On Me

Richmond Fontaine and Deline’s singer / songwriter, Willy Vlautin releases his fifth novel, Don’t Skip Out On Me on Feb 1 2018 (Faber and Faber). Like his previous novel Northline it will have an accompanying soundtrack included with the book on CD. While the CD will be included with the book, Décor release the album on vinyl. Don’t Skip Out on Me is magnificent. Willy Vlautin is now one of America’s great writers.’ The Don’t Skip Out on Me soundtrack was recorded early 2017 just after the band called it quits on their final European tour.

LP – 180 Gram vinyl – limited edition of 1000 copies.

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Katie Von Schleicher  –  Glad To Be Here

Glad To Be Here / Party Dawn is the first material the Brooklyn-based songwriter has shared since her critically acclaimed debut album, Shitty Hits, last year. Katie said the following about the tracks: “On a break from touring this winter I went alone to Maryland, where I am originally from, and made these two songs, taking the gear I’ve very happily accrued since making my album Shitty Hits. I built a fire, I set up my gold drum kit, I saw a ton of stars and felt smashed by silence, and it was lonely, so I made these songs. Glad to Be Here is where I find myself right now. Party Dawn is tied to Maryland, to my friend and our adolescence. Both are a bridge toward the subject matter of my next record. Back in New York, my collaborator Adam Brisbin (Sam Evian, Jolie Holland, Buck Meek) contributed guitar and bass, and Julian Fader (Ava Luna, Frankie Cosmos, Nadine, Palehound) mixed it.”

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The Lucid Dream  –  SX1000

Very limited 12’’ single in yellow disco bag, single sided. The Lucid Dream return in April with the release of new single SX1000, the first taster from the recently completed 4th album. The track is a slice of pure acid house, and will again see them acknowledged for venturing into pastures new, setting themselves apart from ‘genres’, ‘scenes’ or what any other band are currently doing. SX1000, as with the whole album, was penned over the summer by Mark Emmerson (vocals / guitar / synths), using only the classic Roland 303/808 synths, bass and vocals as tools for writing.
Inspiration for the writing was formed via continuous listening to the Chicago to UK acid house works of 1986-1992, the focus predominantly on the groove. 5 months on from those writing sessions and The Lucid Dream have competed their 4th album in 5 years, this track a perfect indicator as to what awaits. A record made for the dancefloor.

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