Archive for the ‘THIS WEEKS ESSENTIAL PURCHASES’ Category

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This week my most awaited LP of 2018 thus far coming from the inimitable Low on their shadowy electronic masterpiece, ‘Double Negative’. There are synths akimbo on the new one from MCR up-n-comers Pale Waves, reminding me of a more youthful Kristin Kontrol (if only everyone loved that LP as much as I did), or a less saccharine Tegan & Sara. In fact, it’s a very electronic week on the heavy hitters, Those of you who love a good guitar can do FAR worse than The Goon Sax’s new outing on the ever-reliable Wichita Recordings, absolutely brimming with lyrical fire and melodic cleverness, and with the propulsive slacker vibes the Aussies do so well.

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Low  –  Double Negative

In 2018, Low will turn twenty-five. Since 1993, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker—the married couple whose heaven-and-earth harmonies have always held the band’s center—have pioneered a subgenre, shrugged off its strictures, recorded a Christmas classic, become a magnetic onstage force, and emerged as one of music’s most steadfast and vital vehicles for pulling light from our darkest emotional recesses. But Low will not commemorate its first quarter-century with mawkish nostalgia or safe runs through songbook favorites. Instead, in faithfully defiant fashion, Low will release its most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album ever: Double Negative, an unflinching eleven-song quest through snarling static and shattering beats that somehow culminates in the brightest pop song of Low’s career.

To make Double Negative, Low reenlisted B.J. Burton, the quietly energetic and adventurous producer who has made records with James Blake, Sylvan Esso, and The Tallest Man on Earth in recent years while working as one of the go-to figures at Bon Iver’s home studio, April Base. Burton recorded Low’s last album, 2015’s Ones and Sixes, at April Base, adding might to many of its beats and squelch and frisson beneath many of its melodies.

This time, though, Sparhawk, Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington knew they wanted to go further with Burton and his palette of sounds, to see what someone who is, as Sparhawk puts it, “a hip-hop guy” could truly do to their music. Rather than obsessively write and rehearse at home in Duluth, Minnesota, they would often head southeast to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, arriving with sketches and ideas that they would work on for days with Burton. Band and producer became collaborative co-writers, building the pieces up and breaking them down and building them again until their purpose and force felt clear. As the world outside seemed to slide deeper into instability, Low repeated this process for the better part of two years, pondering the results during tours and breaks at home. They considered not only how the fragments fit together but also how, in the United States of 2018, they functioned as statements and salves.

Double Negative is, indeed, a record perfectly and painfully suited for our time. Loud and contentious and commanding, Low fights for the world by fighting against it. It begins in pure bedlam, with a beat built from a loop of ruptured noise waging war against the paired voices of Sparhawk and Parker the moment they begin to sing during the massive “Quorum.” For forty minutes, they indulge the battle, trying to be heard amid the noisy grain, sometimes winning and sometimes being tossed toward oblivion. In spite of the mounting noise, Sparhawk and Parker still sing. Or maybe they sing because of the noise. For Low, has there ever really been a difference?

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Toy  –  The Willo

Since 2010, Toy have earned a reputation as a band of integrity, virtuosity and taste, with Tom, Maxim, Dominic, Charlie and (joining in 2015) Max creating a sound that is embedded in the underground tradition, yet distinctly their own. Now here comes a two-track twelve-inch on Tough Love, a foretaste of a forthcoming album in January 2019, which marks a new dawn for this most singular of bands.

‘The Willo’ is a dreamlike, seven-minute glide, redolent of a forest at sunset and just as pretty, but not without hints of malevolence. Maxim’s fingerpicking acoustic melds with electric twang from Dominic, and a whirling organ from Max Oscarnold gives this elegant creation an extra layer of disorientation and depth. “People appear to have seen Will-o’-the-wisp, a mysterious green-blue light, over the centuries. It generally means something ominous is about to happen”, says Tom.

Then there is ‘Energy’, which lives up to its name with thunderously metronomic drums from Charlie Salvidge and a ferocious guitar from Dominic O’Dair. The lyrics, culled from a story written by Max about a nighttime ritual, are obscured by the barrage-like forward momentum of the music.

The twelve-inch, recorded and mixed by the band between Oscarnold’s Stoke Newington flat and a south London studio, is the first release for Toy on their new label Tough Love, representing the latest stage in the evolution of the band. Since their inception, they have released the acclaimed albums Toy (2012), Join The Dots (2013) and Clear Shot (2016), and toured everywhere from Serbia to China, while holding onto that youthful, magical moment of discovering strange new worlds of innocence and experience.

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The Goon Sax

The Goon Sax are James Harrison, Louis Forster and Riley Jones from Brisbane, Australia. Still in high school when they made their first album Up To Anything in 2016, their brand of awkwardly transcendent teenage guitar pop took earned them wide-spread critical acclaim.

For album number two, they flew to Melbourne to record with James Cecil and Cameron Bird, respectively former/current members of Architecture In Helsinki, and ‘We’re Not Talking’ shows how much can change between the ages of 17 and 19. It’s a record that takes the enthusiasms of youth and twists them into darker, more sophisticated shapes. Relationships are now laced with hesitation, remorse, misunderstanding and ultimately compassion.

Drummer Riley Jones really comes to the fore here, joining Louis and James in singing lead and writing songs for the first time, making the band the musical equivalent of an equilateral triangle (the strongest shape in physics).

Delivering brilliantly human and brutally honest vignettes of adolescent angst, The Goon Sax brim with personality, charm and heart-wrenching honesty. ‘We’re Not Talking’ is a record made by restless artists, defying expectations as if hardly noticing, and its complexity makes ‘We’re Not Talking’ even more of a marvel.

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Dilly Dally – Heaven

Heaven highlights Dilly Dally’s rough edges in all their ragged glory, drawing every potent ounce of energy from the foursome’s swampy tones, raspy vocals, and volatile rhythm section. While the music is undeniably ferocious, there’s uplift woven into the fabric of every track. The album opens with the dreamy “I Feel Free”, which begins as a floating, untethered soundscape before transforming into a soaring anthem for a world that’s ready to finally turn the page on all the darkness and disillusion the last few years have wrought. The inexorable “Believe” insists on self-confidence, while the driving “Sober Motel” celebrates the lucidity a clear mind, and the lilting “Sorry Ur Mad” makes a case for releasing yourself from the prisons of anger and resentment. Heaven carves out its own atheistic religion to get through the day, a faith that validates our pain as real but responds with a beaming light of hope. [Limited white colored vinyl pressing also available.]

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Slothrust  –  The Pact

Slothrust is principal songwriter, guitar player and unrepentant aesthete Leah Wellbaum, with drummer Will Gorin and bassist Kyle Bann. On their fourth full-length album The Pact, Slothrust constructs a luscious, ethereal cosmos perforated with wormy portals and magic wardrobes, demonstrating more clearly than ever the band’s deft shaping of contrasting sonic elements to forge a muscular sound that’s uniquely their own. Bizarre and mundane, tender and confident. The awkward duality of the forever outsider, rightly reclaimed as power. This is The Pact. Produced and engineered by Billy Bush in Los Angeles (the band’s new home base), Slothrust’s new album is a confident journey across 12 songs that oscillate between a quietly reflective tenderness and a slick, sleek confidence; balancing playful innocence with ballsy swagger. “This is the most fun I’ve ever had making a record,” Wellbaum confirms. “We were able to take risks. I’m saying yes more than no these days.”

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Pale Waves  – My Mind Makes Noises

After signing a record deal with Dirty Hit in 2017, Manchester’s Pale Waves released their debut single “There’s a Honey”, followed by “Television Romance”. The following year, the band were ranked fifth in the BBC Sound of 2018 poll and won the NME Under the Radar Award at the NME Awards. They now return with their debut album which features the singles ‘There’s A Honey’, ‘Television Romance, ‘Kiss’, ‘Eighteen’ and new single ‘Black’.

Pale Waves are Heather (vocals, guitar), Ciara (drums), Hugo (guitar) and Charlie (bass).

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Richard Thompson – 13 Rivers

Richard Thompson’s new album is his first self-produced record in over a decade. It’s a minimal and spacious recording which, according to Thompson, is a projection of current events in his life. “This has been an intense year for myself and my family, getting older doesn’t mean that life gets easier! There are surprises around every bend. I think this reflects in the immediacy of the stories, and the passion in the songs. Sometimes I am speaking directly about events, at other times songs are an imaginative spin on what life throws at you. The music is just a mirror to life, but we try to polish that mirror as brightly as possible.” 13 Rivers spans thirteen tracks. It is an album as much about growth as it is about reflection. Says Thompson, “I don’t know how the creative process works – I suppose it is some kind of bizarre parallel existence to my own life. I often look at a finished song and wonder what the hell is going on inside me. We sequenced the weird stuff at the front of the record, and the tracks to grind your soul into submission at the back.” [Limited black and cream colored vinyl pressing also available.]

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First Aid Kit – Tender Offerings

“Technically, Tender Offerings are the four songs that did not make it onto Ruins. For these ladies, these precious songs did not fit the bombastic folk-nature of the album. Instead, they truly felt like tender offerings; too sweet and soft in scope to be fluidly aligned with their other tracks. Once, you hear such gorgeous tracks like, “I’ve Wanted You” and “All That We Get” you will understand their point. Instrumentally, you feel every hook, melody, and chorus was precisely and clearly made as a cloud creates a raindrop. This duo turn their guitar melodies into field of amber strings dancing in the suns of their voices like grains move with daylight.”

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Paul Weller – True Meanings

To put it simply, True Meanings, the fourteenth Paul Weller solo album and the 26th studio album of his entire career, is a record unlike any he has ever made before. It’s characterized by grandiose-yet-delicate, lush orchestration: an aesthetic to which Weller’s better-than-ever voice, singing some of his most nakedly honest words, is perfectly suited. A dreamy, peaceful, pastoral set of songs to get lost in, it’s both an album that his faithful audience has been wanting him to make for a long time, and an album that many new people outside of that audience will relate to.

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The Doors – Waiting For The Sun [Reissue/1968]

50th Anniversary reissue. This double-CD and single-LP collection features a new version of the album’s original stereo mix on both CD and 180-gram vinyl LP, which has been newly remastered from the original master tapes by Bruce Botnick, the Doors’ longtime engineer/mixer. The CD set also includes a second disc of 14 completely unreleased tracks: nine recently discovered “rough mixes” from the album recording sessions and five live songs from a 1968 Copenhagen show.

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Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now: Live at The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 DVD

Directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Murray Lerner, Both Sides Now: Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970 features new interviews with Joni, discussing her recollections of the event intercut with festival footage, both onstage and behind the scenes, offering a fascinating insight into a now legendary concert from the artists point of view and putting the events of the day into context.

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There’s some rather good albums out tomorrow. We have new records from Cowboy JunkiesMattielLulucRayland BaxterDirty ProjectorsLoticBody/HeadThe HunnaThe OpheliasImmersion and a new ‘Black Mirror‘ soundtrack, this time from Alex Somers and Sigur Ros on limited white vinyl.

Some nice reissues as well, with coloured vinyl from Tom Waits for the ‘Foreign Affairs‘ album which hasn’t been on vinyl for some years. We also have old albums made new from The LibertinesGrateful Dead, a repress of the King Gizzard ‘Polygondwanaland’ coloured vinyl on Fuzz Club (in standard sleeve packaging) and a Trojan Records 50th anniversary picture disc. Special mention must go to the Holger Czukay/David Sylvian ‘Plight & Premonition and Flux and Mutability’ albums released as a double LP.

Dirty Projectors – Lamp Lit Prose

‘Lamp Lit Prose’ arrives just over a year after 2017’s self-titled ‘Dirty Projectors.’ Here David Longstreth’s band returns with a new album that is the yang to the yin of the 2017 effort. The songs signal a page turned for Longstreth: hope instead of heartbreak, a restorative balance. Guitars have returned to the Dirty Projectors’ world, intricate and gorgeous vocal harmony too. The album begins with “Right Now,” David singing, “there was silence in my heart, but now I’m striking up the band.” In addition to the core musicians and guests, LA string group the Calder Quartet, and The Brass Players of Los Angeles both appear on several songs. ‘Lamp Lit Prose’ is a recommitment to the sounds and ideals of Dirty Projectors, embracing the band’s trademarks while pushing forward the sonic envelope.

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Cowboy Junkies   –  All That Reckoning

With Cowboy Junkies’ new album, All That Reckoning, the band once again gently shakes the listener to wake up. Whether commenting on the fragile state of the world or on personal relationships, this new collection of songs encourages the listener to take notice. It also may be the most powerful album Cowboy Junkies have yet recorded.

Jason Isbell  –  Sirens Of The Ditch

The debut album from accomplished guitarist and songwriter Jason Isbell, formerly of Drive By Truckers, is reissued with four unreleased tracks from the original recording sessions. The addition of those extra songs finds ‘Sirens Of The Ditch’ clocking in at 15 total tracks.

Sirens Of The Ditch’’s mystical quality can be partially attributed to the FAME recording studio (Aretha Franklin, Duane Allman, Otis Redding) in Isbell’s hometown of Muscle Shoals, AL, where the album was recorded.

Co-produced by Isbell and Patterson Hood (Drive By Truckers), ‘Sirens Of The Ditch’ features Isbell singing lead vocals and playing guitar throughout, joined by Shonna Tucker (formerly of Drive By Truckers) on bass and Brad Morgan (Drive By Truckers) on drums. Several musicians pop in for cameos including Spooner Oldham and David Hood (Patterson’s father) on ‘Down In A Hole’, John Neff (formerly of Drive By Truckers) on ‘Dress Blues’ and Patterson himself guests on ‘Shotgun Wedding’.

“A strong debut, full of the kind of confident, charismatic songwriting that just can’t be taught.”

Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

Deafheaven’s new album, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, finds them working with old friends again. The Jack Shirley-produced and Nick Steinhardt-art directed (of Touché Amoré) collection gets its title from Graham Greene’s novel The End of the Affair, referencing a moment when someone is looking for love, in all of its imperfection and simple beauty. This sentiment is carried throughout the hazy, yearning romanticism of the record with song titles and words as sumptuous as the sounds around them.

Clarke describes the composition of Ordinary Corrupt Human Love beginning with “small seeds of healing, repair, and rebirth,” and like each subsequent Deafheaven album, this record is, in fact, a revelation. Defeat has inspired some of our best art. If you survive something terrible, you surface on the other side, walk toward the light, and come back to life. If you’re an artist, this kind of new self-knowledge can lead to creating something universal and remembered, something that can live longer than you do.

While Deafheaven have managed to cross over this road in the past, they’ve nailed the feeling wholly with Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, a feeling that comes with experience and wisdom. Yes, everybody deals with hurt, everybody’s been the cause of their own implosions, and everybody has the capacity to overcome and love again. Deafheaven have found a way to externalize all of this, and in making their most complete record to date, they turn it into a balm and a cathartic exorcism.

Body/Head – The Switch

Body/Head, the duo of Kim Gordon (CKM, Sonic Youth, Free Kitten, etc.) and guitarist Bill Nace (X.O.4, Vampire Belt, Ceylon Mange, etc), will release their second studio album, ‘The Switch’, on the 13th of July on Matador Records. Their debut album together as Body/Head, ‘Coming Apart’, from 2013, was more of a rock record

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Ben Folds  –  Brick

Brick – The Songs of Ben Folds, 1996-2012 features 13CDs housed in a unique brick box set.
This collection of 194 tracks spans the career to date of one of the most adventurous and exciting songwriters and performers of his generation, who has not only worked with a diverse range of artists including William Shatner, Sara Bareilles and Regina Spektor, but authors Nick Hornby and Neil Gaiman.
In addition to featuring all the Ben Folds Five and Ben Folds’ solo studio albums, the box set also includes the 2002 Ben FoldsLive album, the live album Songs For Goldfish which accompanied the 2005 album Songs For Silverman, the alternative Seeds versions from Stems And Seeds, and all the bonus tracks, b-sides and rarities from the whole period. Ben Folds Five formed in in 1993, accompanied by Robert Sledge (bass, synthesizers, backing vocals) and Darren Jessee (drums,backing vocals), with Folds on lead vocals and piano, this outstanding musical trio forged a path as an incendiary live band. Releasing their self-titled debut album in 1995, the album featured such BFF’s classics as Underground and Philosophy. This was followed in 1997 by Whatever and Ever Amen. The album featured the singles, Battle Of Who Could Care Less and Kate, as well as UK Top 30 and mainstream radio hit in the USA and Australia, Brick. The third and final BFF’s album (until their 2012 reformation) was The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.

In 2001 Folds released his first solo album, Rockin’ The Suburbs, which was recorded in Adelaide, Australia, where he was living at the time. The title track was remade for the 2006 film Over The Hedge, featuring William Shatner on vocal duties (both versions appear on this box set, as well as the five other songs recorded for the film). This was followed in 2005 by Songs For Silverman, which reached no.13 on the Billboard chart. The next year Folds released Supersunnyspeedgraphic, a compilation of songs,which were originally released on the EPs Sunny 16, Speed Graphic and Super D. The final Folds solo album to appear in this box set is 2008’s Way To Normal, which is his highest-charting solo album to date in the US, having entered at no.11 on the Billboard chart. The album featured a guest appearance by Regina Spektor, as well as are mastered follow up version, Stems and Seeds. For this Folds created a different track order and stem files, which allowed the listener to use computer applications to produce their own remixes. In 2011, Ben Folds Five reunited to record new tracks for a Ben Folds retrospective. Excited by the experience, the band reconvened in Folds’ studio and recorded what would become the first BFF’s album for 13 years. With the title track’s lyric supplied by Folds collaborator Nick Hornby, The Sound of the Life of The Mind was to be their highest charting album, reaching no.10 on the Billboardchart. The box includes a 60 page booklet featuring a brand new interview with Paul Myers.

Grateful Dead  – Anthem of the Sun: 50th Anniversary Edition

Anthem of the Sun: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition includes two versions of Grateful Dead’s original album, both of which have been newly remastered: first, the original 1968 mix, and second, the 1971 remix. Both mixes of the albums were remastered by Grammy-winning engineer David Glasser from the original analog master tapes. The second disc boasts a previously unreleased complete live show recorded on October 22nd, 1967 at San Francisco’s Winterland.  It’s been newly  remastered by Jeffrey Norman and marks the first known recording of the Dead with Mickey Hart, who joined the band in September 1967.  A picture disc vinyl edition features the remastered 1971 mix only.

The Rolling Stones  – From the Vault: No Security – San Jose 1999 

The Rolling Stones revisit a 1989 performance from their No Security tour which extended from the band’s Bridges to Babylon outing.  This title will be released on DVD, 2CD/SD (Standard Definition) Blu-ray, 2CD/DVD, 3 LP, and digital audio and video platforms.  Whew!  (The 1998 concert album entitled No Security featured tracks culled from the Bridges to Babylon tour.)

Ben Folds Five  –  The Complete Sessions at West 54th 

This week brings a release from another longtime favorite!  Real Gone Music has the audio debut of Ben Folds Five’s June 9th, 1997 performance for PBS’ Sessions at West 54th of 15 songs including “Brick,” “Kate,” and “Battle of Who Could Care Less.”

This Week’s Releases

Rick Astley – ‘Beautiful Life’ LP
Rayland Baxter – ‘Wide Awake’ LP
Body/Head – ‘The Switch’ LP
Cowboy Junkies – ‘All That Reckoning’ LP
Holger Czukay & David Sylvian – ‘Plight & Premonition/Flux & Mutability’ 2LP reissue
Mikaela Davis – Delivery’ LP
Dirty Projectors – ‘Lamp Lit Prose’ LP
Grateful Dead – ‘Anthem Of The Sun’ picture disc LP reissue
The Hunna – ‘Dare’ limited sparkle vinyl LP
Immersion – ‘Sleepless’ LP
Jason Isbell – ‘Sirens Of The Ditch’ 2LP reissue
The Jayhawks – ‘Back Roads & Abandoned Motels’ LP
The Libertines – ‘Time For Heroes: The Best Of’ red vinyl LP reissue
Lotic – ‘Power’ limited LP
LULUC – ‘Sculptor’ limited maroon vinyl LP
Mattiel – ‘Mattiel’ limited coloured vinyl LP
Nightmares On Wax – ‘Deep Shadows Remixes’ 12″
The Ophelias – ‘Almost’ green vinyl LP
OST: Alex Somers & Sigur Ros – ‘Black Mirror: Hang The DJ’ limited white vinyl LP
Pariah – ‘Her From Where We Are’ LP
The Rolling Stones – ‘From The Vault: No Security – San Jose 1999’ 3LP
Tom Waits – ‘Foreign Affairs’ LP reissue
Wolf Eyes – ‘Dread’ LP reissue
Yes – ‘90125’ limited coloured vinyl LP reissue
Adrian Younge & Ali Shaeed Muhammad – ‘The Midnight Hour’ 2LP
Various Artists – ‘Trojan Records 50th Anniversary’ picture disc LP

There were an astonishing amount of forthcoming albums announced this week that we now have for preorder.  Paul Weller has a new record ‘True Meanings’, out 14th September and a week later there is a new one from Christine & The Queens; you can choose between an English version, a French version or a deluxe box set that contains both versions. October 12th sees a brand new album from John Grant, ‘Love Is Magic’ is released on standard black vinyl 2LP and a limited deluxe clear vinyl 2LP that only us indie stores will have. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds release a live EP on the 28th September called ‘Distant Sky’.

Lots more new albums coming soon too on the way from Seasick Steve, The Proclaimers, Mikey Collins, Slaves,The Lemon Twigs, Black Honey, Nothing, Paul Haig, The Joy Formidable, Mudhoney,Marissa Nadler, Black Peaks, Birdpen and a limited remix 12″ from Parquet Courts.

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New releases for this week Kamasi Washington 4LP set, we’ve not managed to give it a full listen yet but what we’ve heard so far sounds really good. There is a brand new Nine Inch Nails album is also out tomorrow, we’ve heard just one track but can’t wait to get stuck into it tomorrow. If you missed out on the limited green vinyl for the Sleep album, now’s the chance to get the black vinyl LP version, it’s now in stock.

Also out are new albums from Panic At The Disco, Princess Nokia, Gang Gang Dance, Soulwax, and our favourites The Wave Pictures, an EP from Stella Donnelly . The best of the weeks releases are some really good reissues out tomorrow too from The Cure, Garbage, King Crimson, The Pogues. 

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Stella Donnelly –  Thrush Metal EP

The Thrush Metal EP originally came out last year, self-released by the artist on tape and digitally. Stella Donnelly quickly became one of Australia’s buzziest young singer-songwriters and now Secretly Canadian release the EP on Vinyl. Boys Will Be Boys is the standout track. Atop delicate, singsongy acoustic fingerpicking, Donnelly confronts a man who raped her friend and takes to task the accompanying victim-blaming. “Why was she all alone? / Wearing her shirt that low / And they said boys will be boys / Deaf to the word no,” she coos in the chorus, a slight vibrato flaring up at the corners of her lovely voice.

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 Warmduscher. – Whale City

The second album from Warmduscher. South London recidivists Warmduscher include members of Paranoid London, Fat White Family and Childhood. There is power in repetition. Longtime Warmduscher biographer Dr Alan Goldfarb describes Whale City as “a rock opera so vast in magnitude that – were in not for my being strapped naked to a chair in a garage – could send a man hurtling towards the outer perimeters of uncharted space.” It’s difficult to argue with. The characters that inhabit Whale City are, as the title suggests, larger than most aquatic life forms. A cast of millions. Pretty Lilly, Whale Jimmy, Uncle Sleepover, Ice Cream Keith, Disco Minny. The people you walk by late at night with bottles in their hands and money in their pockets. The woman with bright red lipstick and straight razor smiles. Thrill seekers to a person. Powerful. Intoxicated. Intoxicating. In the words of Clams Baker, Whale City is “a playground for the people that have stepped above and beyond their comfort zone.” What are you waiting for? If you love the repetition of the Fall, the chaos of Fat White Family and own a Pebbles or Nuggets compilations – then this a must have.

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The Wave Pictures  –  Brushes with Happiness

As one of the UK’s most prolific and beloved bands, it has become expected – nay, the fans have demanded – that The Wave Pictures release several albums a year. This year, they are releasing two albums and they’re kindly letting us know well in advance, so that we can set our calendars and save our pennies in anticipation. Starting with the spontaneous, recorded in one-day, minor-key, epic masterpiece that is Brushes with Happiness in June, the trio of Jonny Helm (drums), Dave Tattersall (guitar and vocals) and Franic Rozycki (bass), will be following up with a more up-beat party album, Look Inside Your Heart in October. Brushes With Happiness sees The Wave Pictures in contemplative and expansive mood. Mellower and more reflective than last year’s rock’n’roll surf-garage-rock collaboration with Charles Watson from Slow Club, as new band The Surfing Magazines, or 2016’s blues driven Bamboo Diner in the Rain or 2015’s Billy Childish produced Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon. This album is more akin to 2016’s acoustic release A Season in Hull, which, like Brushes With Happiness, was recorded live in one room in a single January day.

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Nine Inch Nails  – Bad Witch

Nine Inch Nails release Bad Witch, completing the trilogy that began with 2016’s Not The Actual Events and 2017’s Add Violence., Nine Inch Nails will launch COLD AND BLACK AND INFINITE NORTH AMERICA 2018 on September 13 with support The Jesus and Mary Chain. The band will bring their “musical, visual, emotional sensory onslaught,” as hailed by The New York Times, to some of the most iconic venues in the USA.

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Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson  –  Apart

Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson’s 5 Track EP Apart is the follow up to their critically-acclaimed 2009 album Break Up. The EP features four brand new recordings and a new version of Tomorrow, a song that originally appeared on Yorn’s last album, 2016’s ArrangingTime. Scarlett Johansson adds, “Being able to revisit this project with Pete in a totally different context but within the same creative parameters is a unique artistic opportunity for me. It is always a pleasure to sing with Pete because I think our voices and stories complement each other.”

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The Cure  –  Mixed Up

A reissue and remastered version of the Cure’s 1990 remix album Mixed Up. Featuring 11 remixes of their hits including; Lullaby, Close to Me, Pictures of You, Love Song and Why Can’t I be You?

3CD – Expanded Deluxe Edition with a second CD of long deleted remixes from 1982 to 1990 and a third CD containing 16 brand new Remixes done by himself, Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras 2018.

CD – Standard CD Version.

2LP – Double 180 Gram Vinyl housed in Gatefold Sleeve with Download. Half Speed Double Vinyl Mastered by Robert Smith and Tim Young at Metropolis Studios, London.

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Cream –  Live In Detroit ‘67

Cream, live at the Grande Ballroom, Detroit, MA on October 15th 1967. White-hot from two months of touring the US, Cream played this remarkable show shortly before the release of Disraeli Gears. Regarded by some as the finest live document of the trio in existence, it typifies their explosive chemistry, with some outrageous wah-wah from Clapton, thunderous bass from Jack Bruce, and virtuoso drumming from Ginger Baker. This show from Detroit’s Grande Ballroom on October 15th 1967, originally broadcast on WRIF-FM, is presented in full here, together with background notes and images.

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Spacemen 3  – For All The Fucked Up Children of This World We Give You

Space Age Recordings are pleased to announce the first official limited edition vinyl release of the album For All The Fucked Children Of This World We Give You Spacemen 3 (Sonic Boom a.ka. Peter Kember (Spectrum / E.A.R.) and Jason Pierce (Spiritualized). For All the Fucked Up Children from the neo-psychedelic trio Spacemen 3 was first released as a bootleg record in 1995. The record consists of Spacemen 3’s first ever recording session from 1984. The music itself sounds like a primitive version of what the group were to become; the dominating sound of the record is a slow, droning psychedelic blues performed with sparse instrumentation. A drum set is matched with a pair of distorted electric guitars, all of which provide a swirling foundation for Jason Pierce’s vocals. The album’s liner notes replicated here are actually an early review of the band by Gary Boldie, where he contemplates the city of Rugby and finds it an odd source for this new sound, and he declares Spacemen 3 as the “all singing, all dancing answer to the problems of a grey 1985.”

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Sorry  –  Showgirl

Sorry are back with a new 7”, following their previous 7” singles, Wished / Lies from last year and2 Down 2 Dance earlier in the year. The ferocious Showgirl is the third and last instalment of the band’s early singles period, produced by Frank Ocean and James Blake collaborator Sean Oakley, who also helmed the band’s 2017 debut single, Lies. Showgirl is a sordid and seedy 90’s sounding nugget with breathy and addictive vocals and spidery guitar work. Sorry just keep getting better and better.

Today also saw the announcement of the new Mogwai album

There’s also new albums coming from Death Grips (with an indie stores only limited clear vinyl LP), The Jayhawks, The Pineapple Thief, The Internet, Menace Beach, Pram,Villagers, Bellini, Rise Against, Helena Hauff, Tirzah, Kate NashThe Amity Affliction, Wild Nothing

There are five Flaming Lips albums coming back out that have not been on vinyl for years. We have the next Tom Waits reissue out on 13th July with ‘Foreign Affairs’ . There’s a set of Moody Blues 180g vinyl reissue coming soon, some of which will feature bonus tracks for the first time. and U2 wade in with three strong albums in ‘Achtung Baby’, ‘Zooropa’ and ‘The Best Of: 1980-1990’.  Also coming soon are reissues from Mick Ronson, REMand a ‘Best Of’ fromThe Libertines.

This Week’s Releases

The Cure – ‘Mixed Up’ black vinyl 2LP reissue
The Cure – ‘Torn Down’ black vinyl 2LP reissue

Stella Donnelly – ‘Thrush Metal’ 12″ EP
Richard Edwards – ‘Verdugo’ limited coloured vinyl LP
Richard Edwards – ‘Verdugo’ LP

Field Division – ‘Dark Matters Dream’ silver vinyl LP
Gang Gang Dance – ‘Kazuashita’ limited red vinyl LP
Garbage – ‘Version 2.0’ limited deluxe 3LP box set
Garbage – ‘Version 2.0’ orange vinyl 2LP reissue

King Crimson – ‘Discipline’ LP reissue
Danni Minogue – ‘Neon Nights’ 2LP reissue
The Nextmen vs Gentlemen’s Dub Club – ‘Pound For Pound’ LP
Nine Inch Nails – ‘Bad Witch’ LP
The Orb – No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds’ 2LP
Panic At The Disco – ‘Pray For The Wicked’ LP

The Pogues – ‘The Best Of’ LP reissue
Princess Nokia – ‘A Girl Cried Red’ limited red vinyl LP
Sleep – ‘The Sciences’ black vinyl LP
Soulwax – ‘Essential’ 2LP
Spacemen 3 – ‘For All The Fucked Up Children Of  This World’ LP reissue
Various Artists – ‘The Songs Of Elton John & Bernie Taupin’ 2LP
Kamasi Washington – ‘Heaven & Earth’ 4LP set
The Wave Pictures – ‘Brushes With Happiness’ limited coloured vinyl LP

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Wooden Shjips  –  V

Wooden Shjips, long-time leaders of the contemporary psychedelic movement, expand their sound with V. On their fifth album the quartet of Ripley Johnson (Moon Duo), Omar Ahsanuddin, Dusty Jermier, and Nash Whalen augment their already rich sound with laid back, classic summer songs. Inspired by the tumult of the modern world, and the desire to offer a contrasting vision of peace, the band has created a record that lters their trademark hypnotic grooves through an optimistic lens, resulting in music that is bright and vital. Each song shimmers with a distinctly Wooden Shjips sound, a relaxed summer vibe. This was a conscious choice, an atmospheric goal that in uenced nearly every detail: the tones, the delay types and reverbs used, as well as the synthesizer elements that color the songs. The band’s members collectively share a love of classic rock from the Velvet Underground to Neil Young, as well as more overt love of the San Francisco scene of the 60’s. This commonality in their formative musical years binds them even as they live in different cities. Wooden Shjips has with V. created the most concise, laid back songs of their career. Their music is a balm of sorts, a respite from the insanity that, through its regenerative abilities, empowers continued, calm resistance. A reminder of the simple power of peace and beauty, V. is brimming with optimism and a peaceful energy, aptly timed for release at the height of spring.

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Halo Maud  –  ” Je Suis Une Île “

Halo Maud’s first release on Heavenly is a recap of the story so far ahead of an album release later this year – three tracks of this EP originally came out on a Canadian label last year, with the difference that Du Pouvoir now features some English lyrics, and À La Fin andDans La Nuit cropped up on a La Souterraine compilations in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Maud Nadal has been a member of both Moodoïd and Melody’s Echo Chamber’s live bands, and of course at times there are comparisons to be drawn with Melody’s Echo Chamber, with both teetering on a crystalline peak where extreme joy and despair meet. But if anything Nadal’s own melodies are even more indelible, and her voice turns them into vapour trails.

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Gretchen Peters – Dancing With The Beast

Dancing with the Beast, the new album from Gretchen Peters, puts female characters at the fore, from teenage girls to old women. And intentionally so. With the 2017 Women’s March and the #MeToo Movement as bookends to her writing time, Peters knew that a feminist perspective would be the critical core of the record. She admits, “You can trace the feminist DNA in my songwriting back to ‘Independence Day’ and probably before. The thing that 2017 did is just put it front and center.” Though Peters doesn’t consider herself a political writer, she is politically minded and, therefore, knew she had to address the 2016 election and all that has happened since… but in her own way. There’s a bittersweet beauty to the passing of time – the changes it brings are just as often heartbreaking as they are heartwarming. The inevitable tension that arises from that sway is Gretchen Peters‘ most trusted muse. With melody supporting that melancholy, the songs on the new album combine to lift the effort over the high artistic bar set by her last outing, 2015’s award-winning Blackbirds.

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Wand  –  Perfume

If the emblem of Wand’s Plum was the stark blue cloud a condensation, a linking between longing molecules, data hungering for more data, a flotilla of vapor between eye and sky – then Wand’s new EP reeks of something more forceful, more seductive, more intoxicating, more insidious: this is Perfume. Here are six electric hues, shocks of light that flagrantly provoke the dark, a posy’s clutch of purple, fuchsia, green and snowy white that curl against a stench of plague. Recorded between tours and fire seasons in Grass Valley, CA by Tim Green, Perfume’s potent, expansive tunes were mixed in Woodstock, NY by Daniel James Goodwin. The band features Sofia Arreguin, Evan Burrows, Robbie Cody, Cory Hanson and Lee Landey. There’s a kind of return here, a haunting, the deja vu you only take in through a curious nose. Your nose invites the world inside your skull. A familiar fragrance finds you when you thought you’d let a lover go, but it won’t linger like a lover, flickering away with the breeze toward a yawning future.

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Judee Sill  –  Songs of Rapture and Redemption: Rarities and Live

Judee Sill may not have been commercially successful in her short recording stint, but her influence looms large with recording artists such as Warren Zevon, Andy Partridge, Liz Phair, Beth Orton, Bill Callahan, Bonnie Prince Billy and more having covered her songs. The Turtles recorded Lady-O in 1969, two years before Sill’s 1971 debut album on Asylum Records contained that song. This brand new collection includes demos and live recordings that are making their debut on the vinyl format and have never sounded better. With new artwork, liner notes and deluxe packaging, this limited ROG release should not be missed.

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Cream –  BBC 1966 – 1967

Clapton, Bruce, and Baker are responsible for some of the most classic BBC live recordings of the 60s. Recorded for several different programs between November ’66 and October ’67 there are raw versions of classics likeStrange Brew, andTales Of Brave Ulysses, as well as great blues covers and a fascinating series of interviews with Clapton, these are essential live sets for any serious Cream collector. Limited edition splatter vinyl LP.

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The Smithereens  –  Covers

The Smithereens – Pat DiNizio, Jim Babjak, Mike Mesaros and Dennis Diken dip deep into their archives to present Covers, a tribute to the songs and the artists that shaped their career. The album presents a heavy dose of British Invasion paying homage to the Kinks, the Beatles, the Who and T. Rex. The Smithereens were also influenced by a fair number of homegrown heroes too including Springsteen, Sinatra, Iggy Pop, The Beach Boys and more. The Smithereens are known for writing and playing catchy 1960s-influenced power pop. The group gained publicity when the single Blood and Roses from its first album was included on the soundtrack for Dangerously Close, and the music video got heavy rotation on MTV. During the course of their career the Smithereens racked up 2 platinum albums and 1 gold record.

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Jenny Hval  – The Long Sleep

The follow-up to Jenny Hval’s acclaimed 2016 album Blood Bitch is The Long Sleep, an adventurous new EP that sees the Norwegian multidisciplinary artist embracing an instinctive, even subconscious, approach to creating meaning. In contrast to Hval’s more explicitly conceptual work, The Long Sleep foregrounds the act of composition itself, letting the melodies and structures reveal the other elements of the songs. All of the songs on the EP recycle the same compositional motives, but manipulate them into very different shapes that take them further and further out of their original, “life-like” context. Hval recorded The Long Sleep with longtime collaborator Havard Volden and producer Lasse Marhaug, along with an ace new supporting cast of talented players from the jazz world — Kyrre Laastad on percussion, Anja Lauvdal on piano, Espen Reinertsen on saxophone, and Eivind Lønning on trumpet. Hval calls them some of her favorite contemporary musicians, and their musical background helps to give the songs on The Long Sleep their intuitive, improvised feel.

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The Heads  –  RKT

Timely reissue of the first 3 releases The Heads put out on the Rocket label, from their first split 7” release (with Lilydamwhite) in 1998 to their much lauded Sessions 2 freakout 12” from 2002… compiled here in their remastered glory, the Heads were quite prolific back in the late 90s / early 00’s, and in between the Everybody Knows We Got Nowherealbum andUndersided album they released their jams and raw rehearsals via the burgeoning Rocket Label. Compiled here with extensive sleeve notes from Rocket founder Simon Healey, this limited 3LP (1000 copies) and 2CD (1000 copies) set captures the band at their most laconic and free… psychedelic sprawling morass or sound and aural distortion grooves akin drawing from their wide influences…also from simply plugging in and letting go. LP and CD both come with booklet

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Pink Floyd  –  BBC 1967 

Performing on 4 different dates in 1967, the year they released their first album, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, this is Pink Floyd at their early, psychedelic, and raw best. Their showing in May of that year, for the program The Look Of The Week, was probably the earliest live video recording of the group and includes amazing versions of Pow R. Toc H. and Astronomy Domine. Two more recordings for the program Top Gear, which showcased the underground hipster scene of London, and one for Tomorrow’s World round out this amazing collection of early Floyd, including great versions of Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Flaming and Vegetable Man. Essential live recordings of Pink Floyd during their greatest era! Limited edition splatter vinyl LP.

 

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There are some great releases out this week, with the new Blossoms LP having been eagerly awaited by everyone from the young to the… less young,  There is a standard CD edition and a deluxe 2CD edition (inc. acoustic versions of all the tracks on the album), a standard LP and an in-store only deluxe LP with the same acoustic versions as found on the CD!  Also a new Okkervil River LP which, though more political, still maintains the playful but sincere songwriting charm and perfectly measured anthemic melodicism we’ve come to expect from them.

As well as those two, a superb new Speedy Ortiz you really need to hear this one, it’s excellent and an evolved follow-up to 2014’s ‘Hills End’ from the DMA’s, mixing the jangling britpop era guitars of Oasis etc with some more refined production, and psychedelic influence from the years since the britpop ‘boom’.

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Blossoms – Cool Like You

Blossoms second album sees them return with 11 tracks of 80s inspired synth-layered pop bliss. On lead single I Can’t Stand It, the band bring the tempo up and combine it with cascading synth riffs, while There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls) brings a previously unheard anthemic rock quality to the bands sound.

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Forth Wanderers  –  Forth Wanderers

Forth Wanderers employ a tin-can-telephone style of composition which they use even when living in the same area code. Since first collaborating in 2013 as Montclair, New Jersey high schoolers, guitarist and songwriter Ben Guterl and vocalist Ava Trilling have passed songs back and forth like pen pals. Guterl will devise an instrumental skeleton before sending it to vocalist Ava Trilling who pens the lyrics based off the melody. The duo then gather alongside guitarist Duke Greene, bassist Noah Schifrin, and drummer Zach Lorelli to expand upon the demo. It’s a patient and practiced writing system that has carried the quintet through two EPs (2013’s Mahogany and 2016’s Slop) and one LP (2014’s Tough Love). Forth Wanderers, the group’s sophomore record and Sub Pop debut, is the groups’ most comprehensive and assured statement yet.

Now living in Ohio and New York respectively, Guterl and Trilling have evolved their separate but collaborative writing process. “The only way I can really write is by myself in my room with a notebook, listening to the song over and over again,” Trilling says. “I’ve never sat down to write a story, I write the song as it unfolds.” Since her lyrics are often embedded with intimate truths from her life, the private writing experience often leads to intense self-reflection.

On Forth Wanderers these introspections include meditations on relationships, discovery, and finding oneself adrift. Despite the inherent heaviness of those themes, Forth Wanderers feels joyous, a rock record bursting with heart. Take “Not for Me,” a romping track about “the ambivalence of love.” Trilling’s confession of “I can’t feel the earth beneath my feet/Flowers bloom but not for me” resists feeling like a dreary, pitying complaint; instead, as her bandmates bolster her melancholy with interlocking harmonic intricacies, she soars with self-actualization. Opener “Nevermine,” is a surge of confidence inspired by an ex-lover who is still captivated by her image. “I don’t think I know who you are anymore/And I think I knew who I was before,” she jabs with relish. On “Ages Ago” Trilling paints the image of a constantly-shifting enigmatic lover. “I wasn’t sure who they were, they changed constantly (hence the metaphor describing the “grey coat” and cutting their hair just to “stay afloat”),” she says. “I wasn’t going to wait any longer to find out.”

Recorded over five days by friend and audio engineer Cameron Konner at his Philadelphia home studio, Forth Wanderers amplifies the heartfelt sentiments of their earlier works into massive anthems. Guterl and Greene’s guitars have never sounded sharper, Schifrin and Lorelli’s terse rhythm section is restless, and Trilling sounds more self-assured than ever. These are exuberant, profound songs driven by tightly bound melodies and a loving attention to detail.

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DMA’s  –   For Now

Produced by the band alongside Kim Moyes of The Presets, For Now is a gloriously uplifting album of beautifully honed, passionately emotive rock’n’roll songs. A teaser of what to expect emerged late last year when intro track Dawning was released. Demonstrating that the DMA’S are brimming with confidence, its crowd-pleasing hook and rich melodies made for the kind of timeless indie anthem that bands rarely seem to write any more.While the collection echoes the strident, hook-heavy Britpop and Madchester influences of the band’s debut on tracks such as the explosive opener For Now and Depeche Mode-esque Do I Need You Now?, it’s also an album that demonstrates a very organic evolution. The End (written by guitarist Johnny Took) shows Kim Moyes’ influence with its dark electronic production and synths, while the psychedelic-tinged Emily Whyte (written by guitarist Matt Mason) erupts into an epic, blissed out album closer.

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Speedy Ortiz  – Twerp Verse

“Necessary brattiness” is the motto for Speedy Ortiz’s dauntless new collection of songs, Twerp Verse, out via Carpark Records. The follow-up to 2015’s acclaimed Foil Deer, the band’s latest indie rock missive is prompted by a tidal wave of voices, no longer silent on the hurt they’ve endured from society’s margins. But like many of these truth-tellers, songwriter, guitarist and singer Sadie Dupuis scales the careful line between what she calls being “outrageous and practical” in order to be heard at all. Twerp Verse, Speedy’s third album and first with Philadelphian Andy Molholt (Laser Background) on second guitar, is urgent and taut, adding surprising textures like Linn drums and whirled guitar processing to their off- kilter hooks. The band’s camaraderie and crate-digging is evident, with diffuse reference points like Squeeze, Hop Along, Prince, Paramore, and Brenda Lee being sucked into the band’s chaos. Even when Dupuis sings of alienation and political weariness, the pop maelstrom swirling around her provides a defiantly charged, mussed-but-hooky optimism.

LP+ – Deluxe LP is pink coloured vinyl with rainbow splatter in Gatefold jacket. Includes Bonus 7” (A Side: Le Mans B Side: Saint Fret) Includes Lyric Sheet Insert and Download.

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Tiny Ruins – Some Were Meant For Sea

Reissue of the New Zealanders album on Gold vinyl with Download Code. Never before released on vinyl in the UK the album, Some Were Meant For Sea exists in dappled warmness: Fullbrook’s striking vocal timbre conjuring a natural imagery born from earth and sea. Recorded in a diminutive hall, once the local school of South Gippsland, Fullbrook worked with producer J Walker (Holly Throsby, Machine Translations) and between the pair, some cello, violin, piano and accordion were added to the otherwise bare-boned songs, which were all recorded entirely live.

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Album of the week has to go to Simply Saucer, one of my all time favourite records, a legendary proto-punk classic and a must for any fans of The Velvet Underground/The Stooges/Modern Lovers or weirdo Psych-punk. So chuffed that In The Red have reissued this with a bonus Live LP too. Gwenno returns for her second album in an unfathomable language (to me anyway), with ‘Le Kov’ sung entirely in Cornish, but retaining every bit of the interest that had her last LP playing constantly in the shop. All-round top producer and session musician Jonathan Wilson has a new full-length out, the latest since his 2103 stormer, Fanfare. It’s no surprise that he’s really not missed a trick on the production front, but the songs themselves are stunning, heartfelt and unmissable.

Soccer Mommy’s new one covering the jangly lo-fi end of the spectrum with aplomb, sounding like a grungy distillation of the 90’s with today’s saturated tape aesthetic, brilliantly varied but hugely satisfying. If this isn’t quite heavy enough for you, then you could do worse than the storming Moaning LP on Sub Pop, at points sounding like a bastard child of NY hardcore and melodic post-punk, but brought together with a wonderously heavy, but undeniably glossy aesthetic.

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The impassioned, self-titled debut from Los Angeles-band Moaning produced by Alex Newport.
Moaning is a band defined by its duality. The abrasive, post punk trio comprised of Sean Solomon, Pascal Stevenson, and Andrew MacKelvie, began nearly a decade after they met in L.A.’s DIY music scene. Their debut album comes born out of the member’s experiences with love and distress, creating a sound uniquely dark and sincere. Although the band is just breaking out of their infancy, Moaning’s sleek and cavernous tone emphasizes the turmoil of the era they were born into. One where the endless possibility for art and creation is met with the fear and doubt of an uncertain future. The trio began regularly frequenting DIY institutions like The Smell and Pehrspace, eventually selling out dozens of their own shows at both venues with their first few bands. Solomon recalls, after a brief hiatus from playing together, Moaning’s conception came when he sent Stevenson and MacKelvie the first demo for Don’t Go, setting the tone for the impulsive songwriting that would follow. The three fleshed out Solomon’s primitive recordings, adding in MacKelvie’s heavy syncopated drumming, and Stevenson’s melodic driving bass and synth parts, capturing each member’s personality in their sparse and fuzzed out tracks. Like many of their previous collaborative projects, Moaning forces pain up against pleasure, using the complexity of personal heartbreak to inform the band’s conflicted sound. The band eventually landed on the apt moniker Moaning, admiring the ambiguity the name held and hoping to reference both an intimate wail and an anguished scream.

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Suuns are pleased to announced their new album, Felt, coming out March 2nd on Secretly Canadian. Singer/guitarist Ben Shemie says, “This record is definitely looser than our last one [2016’s Hold/Still]. It’s not as clinical. There’s more swagger.” You can hear this freedom flowing through the 11 tracks on Felt. It’s both a continuation and rebirth, the Montreal quartet returning to beloved local facility Breakglass Studios (where they cut their first two albums [Zeroes QC and Images Du Futur] with Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes) but this time recording themselves at their own pace, over five fertile sessions spanning several months. A simultaneous stretching out and honing in, mixed to audiophile perfection by St Vincent producer John Congleton (helmer of Hold/Still), who flew up especially from Dallas to deploy his award-winning skills in situ.

Complementing O’Neill are the ecstatic, Harmonia-meets-Game Boy patterns unleashed by electronics mastermind Max Henry. Eschewing presets, Henry devised fresh sounds for each song on Felt while also becoming a default musical director, orchestrating patches and oscillations. Quietly enthusing about “freaky post-techno” and Frank Ocean’s use of space, he’s among your more modest studio desk jockeys: “Yeah, I sat in the control room while the others played – hitting ‘record’ and ‘stop’. It also gave me the flexibility to move parts around and play with effects. I do have a sweet tooth for pop music.”

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Titus Andronicus A Productive Cough

Since debuting in 2008, Titus Andronicus [hereafter +@] has been conditioning faithful listeners to expect only the unexpected. With A Productive Cough, +@ has executed the most shocking departure yet—but only if, as ever mercurial singer-songwriter Patrick Stickles insists, “you haven’t been paying attention.” In a move that may infuriate the black-denim-and-PBR set, A Productive Cough sets aside leadfooted punk anthems in favor of a subtler, more spacious approach that pushes Stickles’ soul-baring songwriting to the fore, creating an intimacy between artist and audience with which previous +@ efforts had only flirted. “[+@] records have always had their fair share of ballads,” Stickles explains, “but they were always buried amidst a lot of screaming. Now, they are the cornerstones. Punk rock is nice, but it is but one tool in the toolbox from which I pull to achieve my artistic purpose, and that purpose has always been communication and validation. This time, perhaps I can more effectively talk to the people if I am not so busy yelling at them.” The mission of A Productive Cough is apparent from the first bars of opening track “Number One (In New York).” As a tableau of piano and dulcet horns unfolds, Stickles unleashes a breathless and unceasing 64-bar verse with subject matter as sprawling as the kitchen-sink arrangement, which grows to include sparkling guitars, twinkling bells, and uplifting choral vocals as Stickles searches desperately for the strength to carry on through an increasingly violent and frightening world.

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Darlingside – Extra Life 

Extralife is the follow up to the band’s 2015 breakthrough, the highly praised Birds Say. Where Birds Say was steeped in childhood nostalgia and the loss of innocence, Extralife finds Darlingside looking to the future, mourning the loss of our world with an almost post-apocalyptic view. While the subject matter may seem bleak, Extralife is not without an underlying sense of hope and optimism. Extralife looks at hard truths ranging from societal issues, politics, environmental concerns and religious tensions as catalysts for where we may be headed. While the issues of today dominate every form of media and communication, Darlingside views it all from a different lens. The group looks past the now and predicts the life to which we could potentially be headed as a fictional narrative, but is it? How the group could address such a dark subject with such artistic beauty and grace is a testament to the distinctive nature of Darlingside.

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Tracey Thorn –  Record

Tracey Thorn’s first solo album of entirely original material for seven years.

Describing Queen, Tracey says: “It’s a great opener for the album – driven along by Ewan Pearson’s unashamedly glittering electro-pop production, drums and bass from Warpaint’s Stella and Jenny, it features me playing electric guitar for the first time in a while, and singing my heart out.”

As ever the personal has often been political in Tracey Thorn’s work. “Nine feminist bangers,” Tracey Thorn jokes when asked to describe ‘Record.’ If this album is in part about freedom and disenthrallment, new single ‘Queen’ is the opening broadside, all personal fire and desire. Her voice, self-assured and richly-textured, yet confessional and affecting, spits out the lyrics on ‘Record’ with a fresh compelling drive and remains one of the finest female pop voices of the last four decades.

”I think I’ve always written songs which chronicle the milestones of a woman’s life.” she says. “Different ages and stages, different realities, not often discussed in pop lyrics. If 2010’s Love and Its Opposite was my mid-life album – full of divorce and hormones – then ‘Record’ represents that sense of liberation that comes in the aftermath, from embarking on a whole new ‘no fucks given’ phase of life.”

On Record, the synth-driven tracks arrive and leave with a punchy sub-three-minute directness. “I wanted it to be a record you’d listen to in the daytime,” Tracey says. “On your headphones or on the move. Not necessarily in the evening, or in your bedroom.” For all its no-fuss pop brevity, the album rotates around Sister, a dubby nine-minute Compass Point-style disco jam where Tracey is joined again by Warpaint’s rhythm section and glorious backing vocals from Corinne Bailey Rae.

Across four decades Tracey’s songs and writing have offered up a clear-eyed woman’s view of the immediate world around her; from the acerbic teen love songs of her first early-eighties band Marine Girls, through sixteen years as one half of articulate multi-million-selling duo Everything But The Girl to her recent acclaimed memoirs and journalism.”

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Lucy Dacus –  Historian

Lucy Dacus is done thinking small. Two years after her 2016 debut, No Burden, won her unanimous acclaim as one of rock’s most promising new voices, Dacus returns on March 2 with Historian, a remarkably assured 10-track statement of intent. “This is the album I needed to make,” says Dacus, who views Historian as her definitive statement as a songwriter and musician. “Everything after this is a bonus.”

Dacus and her band recorded the album in Nashville last March, re-teaming with No Burden producer Collin Pastore, and mixed it a few months later with A-list studio wizard John Congleton. The sound they created, with substantial input from multi-instrumentalist and live guitarist Jacob Blizard, is far richer and fuller than the debut — an outward flowering of dynamic, living, breathing rock and roll. Dacus’ remarkable sense of melody and composition are the driving force throughout, giving Historian the immersive feel of an album made by an artist in full command of her powers.

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The Men  Drift

Drift is the seventh full-length by NYC rock polymaths The Men. The band’s last album, the self-released Devil Music, was the sound of a band who had been through hell hitting reset and looking to their roots to rediscover themselves. On Drift, The Men return to their longtime label Sacred Bones Records and explore the openness that Devil Music helped them find.

The immediately evident result of that exploration is the experimental quality of much of the material on Drift. Songwriters Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi chase their muses down a few dozen thrilling rabbit-holes over the course of the album’s nine tracks. The songs on Drift veer in a number of directions, but notably, almost none of them feature a prominent electric guitar. The lone exception, “Killed Someone,” is a rowdy riff-rocker, worthy of the finest moments of the band’s now-classic Leave Home and Open Your Heart albums. The rest of the album drives down stranger highways. “Secret Light” is an improvisation based on an old piano riff of Perro’s. “Maybe I’m Crazy” is a synth-driven dancefloor stomper for long after last call. “Rose on Top of the World” and “When I Held You in My Arms” are paisley-hued, psyched-out jams with big, beating hearts.

The album was recorded to 2″ tape with Travis Harrison (Guided by Voices) at Serious Business Studios in Brooklyn. A whole pile of instruments was involved — synths, strings, sax, steel, harmonica, tape loops, on top of the usual guitar, bass, and drums. Unlike recent releases from The Men, there aren’t many overdubs on Drift — a reflection of the personalities of its makers becoming less frantic, Chiericozzi suggests. In fact, the band removed a lot of the additional parts they tried adding early on, giving the final product a bit of a ghostly feel. The songs on Drift took giant leaps and trips from their beginnings only to find the band returning to the first spark of creation.

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Soccer Mommy – Clean

Following on from last years compilation “Collection”, Nashville based Sophie Allison aka Soccer Mommy now brings us her debut album proper. Produced by Gabe Wax (Deerhunter, War On Drugs, Beirut), the new album is a huge step up from her earlier bedroom recordings. The fuller sound works perfectly with Sophie’s finely crafted, bitter-sweet pop songs that have a world weary quality beyond her 20 years.

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Jonathan Wilson  Rare Birds

Jonathan Wilson had a busy 2017, producing Father John Misty’s grammy nominated Pure Comedy and touring arenas around the globe as a guitarist and vocalist for Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters (for whom he also contributed to the lauded Is This The Life We Really Want? album.) Wilson also saw widespread acclaim heaped on Karen Elson’s sophomore LP Double Roses, which he recorded with her in Los Angeles in 2016.

But it’s not looking like Wilson is going to get much of a rest in 2018 either, as he’ll be continuing on with the worldwide Waters tour and is set to release his own new solo album Rare Birds in the spring. The highly anticipated long player – which features backing vocals from Lana Del Rey, Josh Tillman, fellow Roger Waters bandmates Lucius and an extraordinary musical gift from otherworldly Brian Eno collaborator Laraaji – will be released through Bella Union worldwide.

Although much of the album is comprised lyrically of meditations on a failed relationship and its aftermath, Wilson insists that Rare Birds is not really a concept album. “It’s meant more as a healing affair, a rejuvenation, a reconciliation, for others, and for me. I wanted to balance personal narrative with the need I feel for calming healing music. I think we need journeys in sound, psychedelic gossamer-winged music that includes elements consciously and purposefully to incite hope, positivity, longing, reckless abandon and regret. It’s all in there.”

And, for this one, music critics will need to retire the comparisons to heritage rockers and Laurel Canyon troubadours as they’re hardly useful anymore. Wilson’s new sound takes a synthetic/acoustic, best-of-both-worlds analog/digital hybrid approach to achieve the complexity, sonic density and glossy hi-fi coating of Rare Birds. Heard for the first time on a Jonathan Wilson album are the sounds of synthesizers and drum machines.

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The Breeders  All Nerve

All Nerve – the first new album from The Breeders in a decade – reunites band members Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson, the line-up behind the iconic and platinum-selling record, Last Splash.

The quartet returned to the stage in 2013 to celebrate the album’s 20th anniversary and have been quietly working on new material since then.

Featuring singles ‘Wait in the Car’ and title track ‘All Nerve’, recording took place at Candyland, Dayton, Kentucky, with Mike Montgomery; Electrical Audio, Chicago, with Steve Albini and Greg Norman; and with Tom Rastikis at Fernwood Studios, Dayton, Ohio. Artwork was conceived by Chris Bigg, who has worked with The Breeders since their first album, Pod

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Simply Saucer  –  Cyborgs Revisited

Simply Saucer’s Cyborgs Revisited is an explosive time capsule from one of the great Canadian cult rock ‘n’ roll groups. Formed in Hamilton, Ontario, these sci-fried proto-punks created a sound fusing Hawkwind, The Kinks, Pink Fairies, Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, and the omnipresent Velvet Underground. Originally recorded from 1974-1975, the album became a critically revered classic when it was finally unearthed in 1989 by Mole Records. Now, In The Red is proud to release the definitive, remastered double album edition featuring new liner notes by band biographer Jesse Locke, unseen images, and the complete live recordings available as a second album for the first time ever. As a means to escape his oppressive experiences while living in a practice space surrounded by biker gangs, singer and fretboard-shredding guitarist Edgar Breau wrote a set of songs filled with dystopian visions of the future, conjuring metalloid thugs, Eva Braun’s cyanide love affair, and “dancing the mutation.” With nimble-fingered bassist Kevin Christoff, clatterwauling drummer Neil DeMerchant, and electronic cosmonaut John Ping Romany LaPlante (Breau’s foster brother and answer to Pere Ubu’s Allen Ravenstine), his lyrics were launched into a sonic supernova. Their first recording session took place in the basement of brothers Bob and future superstar producer Daniel Lanois and was initially intended as a demo. Naturally, interest was non-existent for the sneering six-song set. It’s shocking how anyone could have overlooked Bullet Proof Nothing, an undeniably catchy VU-swiping anthem for the used, abused, and confused. Shelving these sessions, the band ascended into the future with 15-year-old drummer Tony Cutaia. This set off a series of gigs before the band touched down on the roof of a local shopping center!

Last but Most Importantly, Patrick, Stu and Katy (or not Patrick, Stu and Katy, depending on how secretive they want to be) are now hither forth to be known as TALKING DRUMS, their record is out now and available in-stores! I’ll eat my hat if this one doesn’t fly off the shelf because it’s Amazing, and you need to hear it.

This weeks —–
Simply Saucer – Cyborgs Revisited – In The Red
Pye Corner Audio – Where Things Are Hollow – Lapsus
Street Sects – Rat Jacket – Flenser
Turbonegro – Rocknroll Machine – Burger Records
Dwarves – Take Back The Night – Burger Records
Hans Zimmer – True Romance OST – Enjoy The Ride
Max Eastley/ Steve Bereford/ Paul Burwell & David Toop – Whirled Music – Black Truffle
Dead Moon – Cracks In The System – Mississippi Records

There are some storming new release’s tomorrow. There’s albums out from Franz Ferdinand, Ezra Furman, Joan As Police Woman, Brigid Mae Power, MGMT, Son Lux,GoGo Penguin, Fu Manchu, Susanna and a ‘Best Of’ from Bring Me The Horizon (with a very limited red vinyl version still available). Reissues? Of course! How about coloured vinyl from Lords Of The Underground ,Or the first three Ramones albums? Or a fantastic compilation of Nina Simone early recordings?. 

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Brian Fallon – Sleepwalkers

SLEEPWALKERS sees Brian Fallon once again pushing timeless rock ‘n’ roll into the modern era, recasting British Invasion rock, first generation UK punk, and American pop and soul into a near irresistible sound he’s dubbed – with a nod and a wink towards The Who – as “Heavy R&B.”

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Ezra Furman  –  Transangelic Exodus

Transangelic Exodus Ezra Furman’s second album for Bella Union, is a new landmark for the American singer-songwriter: “not a concept record, but almost a novel, or a cluster of stories on a theme, a combination of fiction and a half-true memoir,” according to its author. “A personal companion for a paranoid road trip. A queer outlaw saga.” The music is as much of an intense, dramatic event, full of brilliant hooks, with an equally evolved approach to recorded sound to match Furman’s narrative vision. In honour of this shift, his backing band has been newly christened: The Boy-Friends are dead, long live The Visions. In other words, the man who embodies the title of his last album Perpetual Motion People is still on the move… Or in the vernacular of the new album, on the run. His musical DNA remains intact – a thrilling, literate form of garage-punk rooted in The Velvet Underground, Jonathan Richman and ‘50s rock’n’roll.
Standout tracks include the album’s lead single Driving Down To LA, a sparse, but explosive, mix of doo-wop and digital crunch. Another is the haunting Compulsive Liar. Transangelic Exodus addresses another kind of coming out, as Furman addresses his Jewish faith on record much more openly than before, from the shivery ballad God Lifts Up the Lowly (which includes a verse in Hebrew) to the exquisite Psalm 151 and the line “I believe in God but I don’t believe we’re getting out of this one” in Come Here Get Away From Me, a heady blend of rock’n’roll rumble and ghostly clarinet. Crossing between love, gender, sexuality and religion, and singing in solidarity with the innocent, persecuted, oppressed and threatened, Ezra Furman has soundtracked the current fear and loathing across America like no other, while pushing ahead with his own agenda, always on the move.

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Jay Som –  Jay Som

Jay Som is the moniker of San Francisco-based musician Melina Duterte who, at 22, has already self-released a debut album: a collection of finished & unfinished songs titled “Turn Into”, signed to Polyvinyl Records, and is opening for Mitski across the US and Canada. “Turn Into” sees a wide release this July via Polyvinyl (and vinyl/CD later this year). “Turn Into” was recently described by Pitchfork as “deceivingly textured and intricate pop songs—flush with nimbly intertwined guitar melodies and distressed fidelity”. While Gold Flake Paint said of Duerte: “Melina Duerte is a wizard. Quite how she manages to eek such lustrous, iridescent wonder out of a collection of scraps (“finished and unfinished songs”) is proof that what lies in her songwriting is something mystical, an intangible force of feeling that floods the rooms and walls within which it finds itself”.

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MGMT – Little Dark Age 

MGMT release their fourth album Little Dark Age – the follow-up to their 2013 self-titled album is released via Columbia. It features production from Patrick Wimberly (formerly of Chairlift) and Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Spoon, Tame Impala). MGMT are back and more creative, robust, toned and energised in years. The best songs have that eccentric edge but with the pop layer of 2008 debut Oracular Spectacular. Opener She Works Out is a mangled, sunshine pop take on Air’s Sexy Boy whilst You’re Small is an Alice in Wonderland take on the Beatles Across the Universe. It’s a record that embodies a whole world of vulnerability, confusion and unsteadiness without losing shape. Little Dark Age is back to MGMT’s crowd pleasing best.

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Twin Peaks – Sweet ’17 Singles

Throughout the second half of 2017, Chicago’s Twin Peaks released a run of a half dozen limited-edition 7″ singles the band affectionately dubbed Sweet ’17. Only 300 copies of each 7″ were made, and subscriptions sold out almost immediately. But due to popular demand, Twin Peaks have compiled all of the songs from the series onto a LP release. Sweet ’17 Singles follows in the footsteps of Down In Heaven, the band’s 2016 full-length release, which expanded on the garage-inspired sounds of 2014’s Wild Onion.

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Bat Fangs –  Bat Fangs

NC/DC superghouls Bat Fangs pick up where Roky & the Aliens blasted off — cranking acid-soaked ’80s hard rock for the living and the dead. Making heady heavy music for third eyes and stiff upper lips, Betsy Wright (Ex Hex) shreds ‘n’ howls over Laura King’s (Fleshwounds, The Moaners) deep-thunder drums. Let the Bat Fangs sink in!

Ron Wood & Ronnie Lane – Mahonneys Last Stand OST

What do two Faces do when their lead singer (bon vivant Rod Stewart) doesn’t show up for the Ooh La La recording sessions? They work on a soundtrack for an obscure film by actor and friend Alexis Kanner (most famous for his guest roles on the late-’60s TV series The Prisoner), and draft the uppermost rank of British rock royalty to play on it!

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Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending

Always Ascending’ is nothing short of a rebirth. The album’s ten songs are a triumphant recasting of one of everyone’s favourite groups, bursting with fresh ideas and vigorous sonic experimentation. Always Ascending is the new album from Franz Ferdinand. the album’s 10 songs are a triumphant recasting of the group, bursting with fresh ideas and vigorous sonic experimentation. Always Ascending recorded at RAK Studios, London and Motorbass in Paris, with the help of French producer extraordinaire Philippe Zdar (Cassius, Phoenix, The Beastie Boys), the mutual affection between band and producer seeping into every dazzling groove. Always Ascending shows Franz Ferdinand broadening their palate, as exuberant as it is euphoric, creating a sound that singer, Alex Kapranos, refers to as “simultaneously futuristic and naturalistic.”

Joan As Police Woman – Damned Devotion

A new album from Joan As Police Woman, which sees a return to the darker, sensual sound of her celebrated early releases. ‘Damned Devotion’ finds Joan Wasser at her rawest yet. Brand new album from Joan As Police Woman, which sees a return to the darker, sensual sound of her celebrated early releases. A beautiful soul-searching record and the one that Joan has spent her whole life building up to.

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Various Artists Revolutionary Spirit – The Sound of Liverpool 1976 – 1988

Extensive 5CD / book set exploring the ‘second wave’ of music on Merseyside, from 1976-1988 Features classics, rarities, album tracks and previously unreleased gems from Echo And The Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes, OMD, The La’s, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Dead Or Alive, China Crisis, A Flock Of Seagulls, Wild Swans, Big In Japan and many more. 5CD and 56 page A5 book format contains many artists’ own sleeve-notes, previously unseen photographs and essays from key observers and participants in the city’s music scene – Bernie Connor, Mike Badger, Yorkie and Joe McKechnie. Curated and designed by the people who brought you Scared To Get Happy, Still In A Dream, Manchester – North Of England, Silhouettes And Statues and many more extensive box sets. A remarkable journey through the music of a generation inspired and enabled by punk rock to step out from behind the shadow to the Fab Four. Packed with first-hand artist sleeve-notes, insightful essays, imagery and brilliant, essential music, this is a story long in need of telling.

Robert Plant – Live At David Lynch’s FESTIVAL OF DISRUPTION (DVD)

Eagle Rock Entertainment release Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters Live At David Lynch’s Festival of Disruption. Filmed as part of one of Los Angeles’s most anticipated cultural events, David Lynch’s inaugural Festival of Disruption took place at the Ace Hotel Theatre, LA in October 2016, raising funds for The David Lynch Foundation.

Performing with The Sensational Space Shifters since 2012, Robert Plant continues to shift the musical goalposts, blurring the lines between rock, blues, folk & world music and finding new life in exotic beats and African rhythms. With a set including a new take on beloved Led Zeppelin classics, stripped down versions of ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Whole Lotta Love’ are met with a rapturous response from the packed theatre audience, with whom Plant enjoys a genuine rapport. Also included are ‘Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You’ and ‘Going to California’, alongside solo standouts ‘Turn It Up’, ‘The Enchanter/Rainbow’ and ‘Little Maggie’. This is a rare opportunity for fans to witness the legendary frontman as they’ve never seen or heard him before. This David Lynch curated event aims to feature artists with ‘knowledge and mystery’, undoubtedly Robert Plant has an abundance of both

9th February
Bring Me The Horizon – ‘2004-2013’ limited vinyl 2LP
Bring Me The Horizon – ‘2004-2013’ 2LP
Don Broco – ‘Technology’ limited picture disc 2LP & CD box set

Europe – ‘Out Of This World’ limited blue vinyl LP reissue
Brian Fallon – ‘Sleepwalkers’ 2LP
Franz Ferdinand – ‘Always Ascending’ limited coloured vinyl LP
Fu Manchu – ‘Clone Of The Universe’ LP
Ezra Furman – ‘Transangelic Exodus’ coloured vinyl LP
Gogo Penguin – ‘A Humdrum Star’ limited coloured vinyl 2LP
Holy Motors – ‘Slow Sundown’ LP
Joan As Police Woman – ‘Damned Devotion’ limited pink vinyl LP
Brigid Mae Power – ‘The Two Worlds’ LP
MGMT – ‘Little Dark Age’ LP
OST – ‘Three Days Of The Condor’ limited gold vinyl LP reissue
Ramones – ‘Ramones’ remastered LP reissue
Ramones – ‘Leave Home’ remastered LP reissue
Ramones – ‘Rocket To Russia’ remastered LP reissue

Nina Simone – ‘Mood Indigo: The Complete Bethlehem Singles’ LP & 7″
Son Lux – ‘Brighter Wounds’ limited coloured vinyl LP
Susanna – ‘Go Dig My Grave’ LP
The Wombats – ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ LP
Betty Wright – ‘I Love The Way You Love’ LP reissue

Ron Wood & Ronnie Lane – Mahoney’s last Stand OST CD

Toto – 40 Trips Around The Sun CD, 2LP

Johnny Greenwood – Phantom Thread CD
Chicane – Chicane – Sun:Sets 2018 2CD
Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters – 
Live At David Lynch’s Festival Of Disruption DVD

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Record of the week goes to Amyl & The Sniffers – I’m totally in love with this band. Good-time Australian punks, inspired by Sharpie culture and AC/DC riffs, its such a fun dumb record. I hope they come to the UK this year.

The best band Australia have to offer at the moment. Snarling, exciting and totally punk. If you love Australian 70’s style proto punk n’ roll look no further. Amyl and the Sniffers are a garage punk band who sing about biffs, blowjobs and Chiko rolls. They’re proudly sporting shitty tatts and they named their band after a seedy drug that provides a brief, intense euphoria, followed by a brutal headache – which may or may not be a metaphor. With the mullets, the aggression and the unflinching embrace of Australiana, Amyl and the Sniffers have been likened to the sharpie subculture of the ‘70s – a pre-punk movement that was birthed in Melbourne and characterised by ‘sharp’ outfits and that quintessential Aussie larrikin attitude. The soundtrack to this era was Australian boogie: bands like Skyhooks, The Coloured Balls and AC/DC. AMY says she and the boys are definitely influenced by that ‘70s Aussie rock, but lyrically, she’s also intrigued by the storytelling of country singers like Dolly Parton; she likes the cheek of a Southern woman in the 1960s singing about cheating on her husband.

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Shame –  Songs Of Praise

Shame thrives on confrontation. Whether it be the seething intensity crackling throughout debut LP Songs of Praise or the adrenaline-pumping chaos that unfolds at Shame’s shows, it’s all fueled by feeling. NPR’s Bob Boilen noted, “Of the 70 bands I saw at this year’s SXSW, the band Shame seemed to mean what they played more than any other.”

Comprised of vocalist Charlie Steen, guitarists Sean Coyle-Smith and Eddie Green, bassist John Finerty, and drummer Charlie Forbes, the London-based five-piece began as school boys. From the outset, Shame built the band up from a foundation of DIY ethos while citing The Fall and Wire among its biggest musical influences.

Utilizing both the grit and sincerity of that musical background, Shame carved out a niche in the South London music scene and then barreled fearlessly into the angular, thrashing post-punk that would go on to make up Songs of Praise, their Dead Oceans debut. From “Gold Hole,” a tongue-in-cheek takedown of rock narcissism, to lead single “Concrete” detailing the overwhelming moment of realizing a relationship is doomed, to the frustrated “Tasteless” taking aim at the monotony of people droning through their day-to-day, Songs of Praise never pauses to catch its breath.

Produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave, Arcade Fire) and recorded at Sunset Sound Los Angeles over the past few years, the band have taken many unlikely twists and turns, yet have always remained focused on the music and returning again to edge of the stage. “It’s a crazy making machine, it can chew you up as fast as it spits you out. A few years back we literally toured till the wheels came off and Leah’s brain literally started leaking out of her head” says the band’s Robert Levon Been. “It catches up with you, I know I’ve battled on and off with my own depression, and Pete’s head never came with any proper instructions. So you just gotta keep pushing buttons to see what happens.”

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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club  –

‘Wrong Creatures’ returns to the core of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s alchemy, yet plunges the knife in even further. From the Cave-esque murder balladry of ‘Haunt’ to the garage punk of ‘Little Thing Gone Wild’, it runs the gamut allowing the band to flex every muscle in their armour. They remain opaque about the songs’ greater meanings, fearful of past misunderstandings. “I find myself writing about death a lot,” says Hayes. “I find myself having a discussion with death, which sounds dark. For me, it’s dark humor.” Talking about mortality allows Hayes to explore life’s great mistakes and regrets. Channelling them through rolling riffs and dirge-laden rhythms that stir the pot before reaching boiling point.

Ultimately, the band may well be survivors of an era where rock & roll can often be overshadowed by dance pop and garish commercialism. Robert Levon Been: “We are truly an island – come hell or high water, so it’s usually best to dress accordingly. Though I’m not sure what the proper attire is when drowning in fire. But leather usually goes with everything.”

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The Courtneys, The Courtneys

The Courtneys debut reissued again on limited edition blue vinyl. Vancouver three-piece The Courtneys’ excellent 2013 self-titled debut reissued and available again on Flying Nun Records. Consistently propelling itself forward this collection of eight songs are drenched in summer hooks propelled from fuzzed out guitars and creamy vocals that are both nonchalant and introspective. Not having enough money in your bank account, crushing on pizza delivery boys along with the subtle yet alluring charm of Keanu Reeves all occupy the three Courtney’s minds with lo-fi urgency which doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. It is clear to hear why The Courtneys’ felt at home in New Zealand when they first toured there in the summer of 2015 and joined the Flying Nun roster. Their commitment to the fine balance of pop and idiosyncratic indie guitar music finds lineage between The Clean, Look Blue Go Purple, The Bats while diving deeper into the fuzzy world of the likes of Bailerspace.

Radar Men From The Moon  –  

Following their recent collab LP with Gnod, under the Temple ov BBV pseudonym, Eindhoven art-punk collective RMFTM (fka Radar Men From The Moon) have announced the third and final instalment in their ‘Subversive’ album trilogy – ‘Subversive III: De Spelende Mens’, due for release December 1st on Fuzz Club Records. Influenced by the ground-breaking sonic industrialism of Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire and Coil, as well the transcendent kinetic rhythms of Neu!, Faust and Amon Duul II, ‘Subversive III: De Spelende Mens’ see’s their industrial art-punk take on it’s most incessant, angular and free-flowing form in a frenzy of metallic drones, thunderous feedback stabs of synths and throbbing, repetitive krautrock rhythms that at times border on techno territory. With the Subversive series, RMFTM have sought to deconstruct and rebuild their creative process, pushing themselves to the limit with each and every release and ‘Spelende De Mens’, translated as ‘the playing man’, is the perfect way to conclude the series.

Skids – Burning Cities

Back in 1979, Scottish group Skids released their seminal debut ‘Scared To Dance’, an equally abrasive but more intellectual continuation of punk, but also one of the albums that helped establish the UK’s post-punk sound. Having not released a record in nearly 37 years, ‘Burning Cities’ marks their long-overdue return. Both the band and the album benefit greatly from Killing Joke bassist Youth’s punchy production, which aids the group as they simultaneously explore contemporary rock and reprise some of their early-eighties sound. ‘Burning Cities’ is the comeback album that has propelled Skids right back into relevance, in a time when their high-energy anti-establishment songwriting will resonate more than ever.

There’s a good spread of new releases out . We’ve new albums from Shame (including a limited blue vinyl LP), Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Arrows Of Love, Skids and the ‘Stranger Things 2’ soundtrack has also showed up a week early, so get that limited splatter vinyl quick! Two nice 7″s out – we have a limited gold vinyl single from Otis Redding plus a just announced brand new 7″ from Jack White; released on his Third Man Records label, this is a limited single taken from his forthcoming album ‘Boarding House Reach’ that will be out later in the year. All this plus reissues from Lloyd Parks, The Ting Tings, the ‘Don’t Look Now’ soundtrack and, finally, The Stooges ‘Highlights From The Fun House Sessions’ that is very limited indeed.

Amyl & The Sniffers Big Attraction / Giddy Up – Homeless Records
King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard – Polydgondwannaland – Bear Tree Records (Indie Exclusive)
Little Bob & The Lollipops – Nobody But You – Mississippi Records
Shame – Songs Of Praise – Dead Oceans (Indie Exclusive)
Prettiest Eyes – Pools – Castle Face
Glass Candy – I Always Say Yes – Italians Do It Better (Coloured vinyl)
Penguin Cafe – The Red Book – Editions Penguin Cafe LTD
Heavy Metal – The Nietzschean Superman Of Dustbin Rock – Harbinger Sound
Toylettes – Toylettes – Harbinger Sound
Kanker Kommado – Low Tech – 1982-88 – Harbinger Sound
To Kill A King – The Spiritual Dark Place – These Are My Bones (Indie Exclusive)
Steve Ignorant’s Slice Of Life – Just Another 7″ – Harbinger Sound
Arrows Of Love – Product – I’m Not From London
Bronnt Industries Kapital – Arsenal – I Own You Records

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Since 2012, Father John Misty, aka Josh Tillman, has unexpectedly emerged as a singular (if not undeniably, um, idiosyncratic) voice. Whether by virtue of his lyrics, which routinely defy the presumed polarities of wit and empathy; his live performances which may perhaps be described best as “intimately berzerk”, or the infuriating line he seems to occupy between canny and total fraud online or in interviews, Father John Misty has cultivated a rare space for himself in the musical landscape – that of a real enigma. Pure Comedy sees Tillman at the height of these powers: as a lyricist, and equally so a cultural observer – at times bordering on freakishly prescient. Tillman’s bent critiques, bared humanity and gently warped classic songwriting are all here in equal measure and – at 75 minutes – there’s a veritable fuck ton of it. The album navigates themes of progress, technology, fame, the environment, politics, aging, social media, human nature, human connection and his own role in it all with his usual candour, and in terms as timely as they are timeless.

Tillman wrote the majority of Pure Comedy throughout 2015 and recorded all the basic tracking and vocals live to tape (in no more than two takes each) at United Studios (fka the legendary Ocean Way Studios, favored by Frank Sinatra and The Beach Boys) in Los Angeles March 2016.

Pure Comedy was co-produced once again by Josh Tillman and long-time producer Jonathan Wilson; mixed by Tillman, Wilson and Trevor Spencer, and mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios. The album features string, horn and choral arrangements from classical iconoclast Gavin Bryars (Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet, Sinking Of The Titanic), with additional contributions from Nico Muhly and Thomas Bartlett.

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Limited copies come with a 12 track bonus CD That’s Your Lot – The Bedroom Tapes. Following a breakthrough 2016 which saw them sell out London’s Scala, fill tents at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and Latitude, ink a US deal with Canvasback / Atlantic and release a run of critically acclaimed singles, Blaenavon release their long awaited debut album, That’s Your Lot. Recorded with Grammy-winning producer Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele, Bjork) the LP marks a certain milestone for the band – a sumptuous, thrilling and brave collection of songs written throughout their teenage years and now fully realised. Intensely personal, yet exploring the universal experiences of friendship, sadness, hope, love held and lost, and all the confusions of youth – a body of work to help define a generation. That’s Your Lot includes I Will Be The World, Let’s Pray and My Bark Is Your Bite – a more than impressive run of singles championed by the likes of Annie Mac, Zane Lowe, Huw Stephens, NME and Fader, whilst collectively racking up over 1,500,000 Spotify streams. The album will also feature explosive new single Orthodox Man, Blaenavon’s most immediate moment to date and already a firm fan favourite following a series of incredible live performances.

2LP – Limited Double Blue Vinyl with Fold Out Poster.

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Diet Cig are here to have fun. They’re here to tear you away from the soul-sucking sanctity of your dumpster-fire life and replace it with pop-blessed punk jams about navigating the impending doom of adulthood when all you want is to have ice-cream on your birthday. Alex Luciano (guitar and vocals) and Noah Bowman (drums) have been playing music together ever since Luciano interrupted the set of Bowman’s other band for a lighter. The New Paltz, New York duo have since released the infectious, 2015 ‘Over Easy’ EP that introduced consistent sing-a-long lyrics with thrashing drums and strums that never held back. ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ is the first full-length from the band and accumulates their tenacity for crafting life-affirming, relatable tales with a gutsy heart at their core. Luciano has the ability to write lyrics that are both vulnerable and badass, perfecting a storm of emotive reflection that creates a vision of a sweaty, pumped-up room screaming these lines in unison. Diet Cig make it okay to be the hot mess that you are.

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When Happyness first burst into the public conscience with 2013’s debut single ‘It’s On You’, their spirited take on US college rock was as big a surprise as it was an instant hit. The resulting full length, ‘Weird Little Birthday’, went on to feature in many of 2014’s End Of Year album lists. Worldwide tours, an NME Award, a re-issue on much-loved label Moshi Moshi Recordings (Bar/None in US) and millions of plays later, it is with some anticipation now that the band finally reveal the full details of the follow up.

Titled ‘Write In’, released through Moshi Moshi Recordings and featuring artwork from the band’s own Jon EE Allan, the record was made in the band’s own studio above a now-abandoned bookshop, then finished and mixed with Adam Lasus at his LA home studio.

‘Write In’ sets its stall out as an outward looking, inventive and thoughtful progression from their debut. Drawing on an array of influences including Roxy Music, The Beach Boys, Randy Newman, Sonic Youth, Big Star and Pierre Cavalli, the direction is best summed up by Jon EE Allan; “I’d like to think this record looks outside the little American alt-rock sphere we were looking in on. I think we used to be very afraid of being earnest. And now we’re able to be tender or heartfelt without feeling too guilty about it.”

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One band who have been threatening a big breakthrough is female four-piece The Big Moon, who in 2016 were dubbed the coolest young band in Britain are destined to be huge in 2017 with their Slits and Elastica-inspired punky gems.

“Definitely a band to watch” – London On The Inside
“With each new release, they continue to reach brand new heights” – The Line of Best Fit
“Another sign of the band’s blossoming maturity and growing confidence as songwriters” – Clash
“London’s most exciting new quartet … The Big Moon are readying to shoot for the stars” – NME
“Another introduction to one of the buzziest new bands on the scene, it’s proof that they’re making all the right moves on their road to the top”

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Canyons of My Mind is, as its title suggests, a landscape where the personal and the pastoral converge. Drawing inspiration from the biographies of literary figures like Charles Wright and Jim Harrison, Combs has created an album that explores the notion of sustainability in its many facets – artistic, economic, spiritual, environmental. “When I set out to record All These Dreams, I had a distinct vision of what I wanted the record to sound like. It was a cocktail of the Roy Orbison, Glen Campbell, Nilsson vibes that you can hear right there on the surface,” Combs says. “Canyons is much more personal. It’s a testament to my acceptance of who I am as a man, and who I am becoming.” The quiet struggles and satisfactions of carving out an identity in a world gone wrong are palpable throughout the album. Whether questing through the labyrinth of his own spiritual yearning, (Heart of Wonder), recreating a rail rider’s full-body sensation of freedom beneath an azure Montana sky (Rose Colored Blues), imagining a near-future dystopia where the very idea of green spaces has been annihilated (Dirty Rain), or channeling the desire of a peeping Tom who has fallen in love with his sylvan quarry (Hazel), Combs refines the vulnerable vagabond persona he mastered on All These Dreams while pushing it beyond those boundaries, into a more pastoral realm aligned with artists like Nick Drake and Tim Buckley.

Image of The Jesus And Mary Chain - Damage And Joy

The Jesus And Mary Chain are set to release their long-awaited new album ‘Damage and Joy’ on March 24th, their first since ‘Munki’, back in the summer of 1998. The Reid brothers have enlisted the help of super (as in cool, not megabucks!) producer Youth and he has coaxed and cajoled these perma-scrapping siblings (still, even now!!) into producing a magnificent distillation of everything we’ve come to love about their sound.

Fuzzed up trashy or broken and blue, Jim’s honeyed voice takes us over familiar territory while William scuzzes things up in the wings. The songs are all classic Mary Chain.
With the help of Isobel Campbell, Sky Ferreira and the Reids’ own sister Linda on vocals, there’s also a freshness to their palette, bringing their much imitated sound back up to date, here in the now.  It’s great to have them back!

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500 limited edition 12” on Cadillac pink vinyl. Manchester all-female five-piece Pins release a new EP Bad Thing, through Haus Of Pins and features Aggrophobe, their single with the legendary Iggy Pop. Following the release of their acclaimed second album Wild Nights last year, Pins went back into the studio to work on new tracks. Recorded in a studio on the Scottish Borders last October and produced by Mark Vernon and the band themselves, the EP features 5 new tracks, which includes a cover of Joy Division’s Dead Souls. The EP opens with the teasing Bad Thing before moving into the addictive Aggrophobe, featuring Iggy Pop’s iconic vocal, leading onto the chant-like pop of All Hail and the dreamy and synth-laden In Nightmares, before ending with Pins own take on Dead Souls. The four new tracks are synonymous with Pins’ sound but also showcase a vigorous, more mature side to the band, making up a solid and impressive musical body of work.

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Desperate Journalist release their second album, Grow Up, ostensibly eleven tracks of rocketing leftfield delights propelled forth with thundering rhythms, thunderously spectacular guitar and Jo Bevan’s thunderstruck vocals. Such is intense life with Desperate Journalist, one of the most potent, important DIY bands lurking on the underground scene right now.

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They began as a fictional band from a fictional town featured on the Eccentronic Research Council’s 2015 concept album Johnny Rocket, Narcissist And Music Machine… I’m Your Biggest Fan. Now The Moonlandingz have lurched, sticky and bleeding, into the real world and are releasing the first great album of 2017. Interplanetary Class Classics, released on Transgressive Records, is a feast of swirling juddering synths, wailing guitars, motorik stomp and extraordinary songwriting. The Moonlandingz have proven themselves to be one of the best live bands in the UK (“Magnificent, cosmic and batshit!” said The Quietus. “Feral antics and louche anarchy!” said The Guardian) and now they’ve produced an album of proper weird catchy glorious filthy pop.
The Moonlandingz is Eccentronic Research Council’s Adrian Flanagan and Dean Honer in cahoots with Fat White Family’s Lias Saoudi (aka frontman Johnny Rocket) and Saul Adamczewski. They recorded the album with Sean Lennon at his studio in upstate New York. Also on the record: Randy Jones the Cowboy from The Village People, Rebecca Taylor from Slow Club, drummer Ross Orton, bassist Mairead O’Connor, Phil Oakey and YOKO fucking ONO, who sings and yowls on epic closer This Cities Undone.

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Sonic Jesus is an Italian musical project lead by multi-instrumentalist Tiziano Veronese. Since signing to Fuzz Club, the project has released a split single with The Black Angels and been remixed by Sonic Boom aka Pete Kember. Their internationally acclaimed debut ‘Neither Virtue Nor Anger’; an industrial barrage of hypnotic, dark psychedelia. Sonic Jesus’ new album ‘Grace’ goes beyond the past boundaries, pushing towards enthralling melodic horizons and modern pounding beats, delivered by a new-found pop sensibility. There’s still a darkness brooding beneath the noise but these new tracks see the project take on a magnificent and insatiable new form.

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Limited to 1000 Copies. Long Time is the second single off Blondie’s new album Pollinator and comes backed with exclusive B-Side Breaks.

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On her first proper album as Jay Som, Melina Duterte, 22, solidifies her rep as a self-made force of sonic splendor and emotional might. If last year’s aptly named Turn Into compilation showcased a fuzz-loving artist in flux – chronicling her mission to master bedroom recording – then the rising Oakland star’s latest, Everybody Works, is the LP equivalent of mission accomplished. Duterte is as DIY as ever – writing, recording, playing, and producing every sound beyond a few backing vocals – but she takes us places we never could have imagined, wedding lo-fi rock to hi-fi home orchestration, and weaving evocative autobiographical poetry into energetic punk, electrified folk, and dreamy alt-funk. Everybody Works was made in three furious, caffeinated weeks. She came home from the road, moved into a new apartment, set up her bedroom studio and dove in. Duterte even ditched most of her demos, writing half the LP on the spot and making lushly composed pieces like Lipstick Stains all the more impressive. While the guitar-grinding Jay Som we first fell in love with still reigns on shoegazey shredders like 1 Billion Dogs and in the melodic distortions of Take It, we also get the sublimely spacious synth-pop beauty of Remain, and the luxe, proggy funk of One More Time, Please.

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Fifth album (third for Full Time Hobby) from Samantha Crain, following 2015’s “Under Branch & Thorn & Tree” and the 2014 album “Kid Face.”

Written over 4 months at the back end of winter whilst at home in Norman, Oklahoma, You Had Me At Goodbye was penned whilst Samantha was working shifts at a pizza place to save up money for touring, recording, paying bills, and as a self-confessed ‘film nerd,’ binge watching movies. “Oklahoma is beautiful but my relationship with it is complicated. There are mountains, plains, prairies, rolling hills, high deserts and plateaus, with an amazing creative community of people making beautiful visual art, interesting films and loud music. But it’s extremely Christian, conservative, and whilst people say it’s ‘friendly,’ really, people are only friendly if you’re white and aren’t dressed unconventionally. I feel welcome and alienated all at once.”
Bolstered by the visionary production of John Vanderslice (Spoon, the Mountain Goats, Strand of Oaks), mixed and engineered by Jacob Winik (The Magnetic Fields, Hot Buttered Rum), Samantha returned to the Bay Area in California to, once again, record the album in analog at Tiny Telephone Studio.

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Iggy Pop had hit bottom after the messy breakup of the Stooges and he needed help, and when friend and fan David Bowie offered to lend him a hand, he was smart and grateful enough to accept. Bowie produced Iggy’s first solo album, The Idiot, and after Iggy set up a tour to promote the record, Bowie put together the band and tagged along as their keyboard player. Bowie’s presence insured a larger audience than Iggy had attracted during the grim final days of his band, and he was determined to prove he could deliver the goods without making a spectacle of himself or collapsing into a drug-sodden heap on-stage. Unfortunately, anyone familiar with Iggy’s body of work knows the last thing you want from one of his live shows is a professional-sounding performance without a sense of danger, and unfortunately, that’s what the audience got during this March 21st, 1977 show in Cleveland, OH, part of a three-night stand Iggy and the band would perform at the Agora Ballroom. Iggy & Ziggy: Cleveland ’77 finds Iggy in fine voice, and at a time when he had a lot to prove, he leaves no doubt he was a solid musician and showman, singing with a sense of control and dynamics he couldn’t approach with the Raw Power-era Stooges. However, Iggy also seems clearly afraid to push this material too far, and the caution robs the songs (nine of which are drawn from the Stooges‘ songbook) of much of their life force. Even worse, guitarist Ricky Gardiner doesn’t seem to know what to do with the Stooges material — he’s at least as skillful as Ron Asheton or James Williamson, but his attack is so toothless and polite that he reduces some of the greatest rock songs ever to mush. (Bowie’s keyboards are not nearly as ill-advised but they don’t fit the old material very well, though Hunt Sales and Tony Sales are a great rhythm section who do what they can to give Iggy the energy he needs.) Some of the material from this show also appeared on Iggy’s lamentable live album TV Eye Live.