Buy Online Black Sabbath - The End - Birmingham Blue

Birmingham. 4th February 2017. The End. After nearly fifty years it was the final show of Black Sabbath’s Farewell Tour back where it all began in their home city of Birmingham, the industrial heart of England. There could be no more appropriate place for the Godfathers of Heavy Metal to take their last bow. Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne delivered a set that focused on Black Sabbath’s classic seventies albums, the albums that defined a genre and inspired future generations. It was an extraordinary, emotional night for both the band and the fans and one that will never be forgotten. In addition to the live concert, both the film and album feature ‘The Angelic Sessions’ – five songs recorded in the days following the band’s final show. The tracks will mark the band’s final studio recordings.

THE FINAL SHOW FROM THE GREATEST METAL BAND OF ALL TIME
On 4th February, 2017, Black Sabbath stormed the stage in their hometown of Birmingham for their final triumphant gig. This monumental show brought down the curtain on a career that spanned almost half a century, and is featured here in its entirety.

With a hit packed set list that includes Iron Man, Paranoid, War Pigs and many more, the band delivered the most emotionally charged show in their history. The End captures a once-in-a-career performance, an essential snapshot of musical history and a fitting farewell to true innovators and original heavy metal icons, Black Sabbath.

The three 180gm LPs are housed in a gatefold sleeve.

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Margo Price’s take on classic sounds is at once familiar and daring, an infectious blend of Nashville country, Memphis soul, and Texas twang. The release is a beautiful summary of Margo’s triumphant three-night run at The Ryman Auditorium in May 2018, and features guest appearances from Emmylou Harris, Jack White, and Sturgill Simpson.

A note from Margo: “Two years ago today I headlined the Ryman and it was something I had dreamed of since I was a little girl. We did three nights in a row and recorded all of them. I am so excited that we are releasing it – the recordings are rough and the performances are raw, but there was a magic there and the band was on fire. We played unreleased songs, alternative album versions and lots of special guests. I hope it moves you.”

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A great country voice, great songs, great guests. It makes me whish I could have been at the Ryman on that night.

Quivers make cathartic guitar pop that jangles and shimmers somewhere between 1980s Australia and 1990s America. Championing our favourite up-and-coming artists has always been the foundation of Turntable Kitchen. Over the course of more than 100 releases, we’ve released debut wax from bands like MØ, Arlo Parks, No Vacation, Gallant, Tei Shi, Cathedrals, The Record Company, Crumb, Tender, and so so many more incredible rising bands.

Rising Melbourne-based Quivers captured the attention late last year with a pair of incredibly catchy, captivating singles: “You’re Not Always On My Mind” and “When It Breaks.” Fully formed and with a knack for easy, upbeat song writing, we immediately knew they were something special. In fact, we’ve been “all in” on them since that first listen. Back in January we were honoured to release their first ever vinyl single (sold out) and now we’re proud to share their contribution to our SOUNDS DELICIOUS series.

They selected R.E.M.’s “Out of Time” for their contribution to the series, flipping the script on tracks like “Shiny Happy People” (a sprawling psychedelic vibe here); shedding off some of the jangle to reimagine classics like “Losing My Religion” and transforming the cult classic “Country Feedback” into a gorgeous and stripped down piano ballad. 

Quivers’ version of “Out of Time” is only available by subscribing to the SOUNDS DELICIOUS vinyl record club.

Quivers got to choose a ‘classic’ to cover for Turntable Kitchen’s Sounds Delicious vinyl series and selected R.E.M.’s Out of Time (1991) Album. We hope you like our re-imagining of the record and we hope Mike Mills doesn’t sue us (I had a dream he would, twice).

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releases December 4th, 2020

All tracks written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe. Turntable Kitchen has sorted the relevant license. Recorded over 4 days at Second World Studios Rehearsal Space in Fairfield with Matthew Redlich. Mastered for vinyl by John Ruberto.

Quivers are:
Sam Nicholson – sings, guitars
Bella Quinlan – sings, bass, guitars
Holly Thomas – sings, drums
Michael Panton – sings, guitars.

 

The trippy story of how Jimi Hendrix ended up playing a concert in front of a few hundred spectators at a windy cow farm next to a Hawaiian volcano features a cast of characters that could come from a Thomas Pynchon novel. There’s Chuck Wein, aka The Wizard, a Leary-lite Harvard graduate who dated Edie Sedgwick and made films with Andy Warhol before dropping into the hippie world. There’s Michael Jeffery, Hendrix’s manager, a shady operator with a line in tall stories about his career in the British Army. And there’s Hendrix, who found himself committed to making a soundtrack for Wein and Jeffery’s Hawaii-set psychedelic sci-fi movie, “Rainbow Bridge”, and somehow ended up playing one of the last shows – performing with the Cox-Mitchell axis – on the tiny island of Maui.

Rainbow Bridge started as a celebration of Hawaii’s surfing subculture, but soon mutated into an experimental, unscripted Warhol-esque film inspired by hippie life, Wein’s impenetrable personal philosophy and Jack Nicholson’s stoned campfire monologue from Easy Rider. It’s the success of the latter that seemed to appeal to Jeffery, who thought a Hendrix score would turn a counterculture flick into a serious commercial offering. The promise of that soundtrack persuaded Warners to fund the film, and Hendrix was on board as he needed the money to complete Electric Lady Studio.

Hendrix made a cameo in the film as an assassin but his biggest contribution was to perform an outdoor concert that was filmed. The gig was as unconventional as the film. “It was a colour/vibratory sound experience,” says Rainbow Bridge art director Melinda Merryweather. “The electricity went off, people swear they saw a spaceship go by, somebody fell of a tower.” The audience were asked to sit in astrological order and delivered a mass Buddhist chant as Hendrix took the stage. A gale was blowing and the small audience sat on the floor as if they were at a village fête. It must have been one of the most unusual set-ups Hendrix had ever faced but he seemed to thrive in the atmosphere – Cox described it as one of the best the trio did.

The set included new songs like “Dolly Dagger”, “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)”, “Ezy Rider” and “Freedom” alongside established classics. Seventeen minutes of scratchy footage – with drums overdubbed by Mitchell – appeared on the posthumous Rainbow Bridge film, eventually released along with a Hendrix LP of the same name that had nothing recorded in Maui. Much more restored footage features in this fun documentary, while the forthcoming “Live In Maui” triple contains all that was salvageable from the two 50-minute sets.

Directed by John McDermott, Music, Money, Madness – Jimi Hendrix Experience Live In Maui attempts to unpick this wild tale with the help of a tremendous batch of interviewees. Billy Cox and Eddie Kramer are on hand from camp Hendrix, there’s cast and crew from Rainbow Bridge, a few still bewildered Warner Bros execs plus archive interviews with Mitch Mitchell and Chuck Wein.

Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings have a brand-new collection that celebrates The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s near-mythic performances on Maui, Hawaii in 1970. “Live In Maui” brings together audio and video with a new feature-length documentary called Music, Money, Madness: Jimi Hendrix In Maui. The collection will be available in 2-CD/Blu-ray and 3-LP/Blu-ray configurations, all due on November 20th.   Director John McDermott’s new documentary film chronicles the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s visit to Maui and the story of the Rainbow Bridge film by incorporating period footage with new interviews with Chuck Wein, Billy Cox, Eddie Kramer, and others key figures.  It’s presented in both editions of Experience Hendrix/Legacy’s release on Blu-ray, and the discs will also feature all of the existing 16mm colour footage from the two afternoon sets captured on July 30th, 1970 mixed in stereo and 5.1 surround.  The accompanying 2-CD set features Hendrix, Billy Cox, and Mitch Mitchell’s restored Maui sets, newly mixed by Eddie Kramer and mastered by Bernie Grundman.

During the enforced idleness of the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people hatched ambitious plans: reading unreadable books, mastering a language, baking virtuous sourdough. For Jeff Tweedy, the global crisis truncated a Wilco tour, and he found himself at home with his family. His son Spencer lives at home anyway, and his other son, Sammy, returned from New York to do remote schooling.

Tweedy had tuned in to the discussion about creativity during times of quarantine, and had learned (the arguable fact) that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while sheltering from the plague. What to do? Well, in times of stress, as in all times, Tweedy’s habit is to visit his Chicago studio, The Loft. There, he planned to write a country album named after Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, producing a song a day.

“Love Is The King” is not that record. Tantalisingly, Tweedy suggests that a number of straightforward country-style songs were recorded before his own instincts started to kick in. True, if Shakespeare had gone countrypolitan, he might have taken his sense of jeopardy, his troubled masculinity, his interest in tempests as an emotional metaphor and created something similar. “Ripeness is all,” says Edgar in King Lear. “Oh, tomatoes right off the vine,” croons Tweedy in “Guess Again”, “we used to eat them like that all the time.”

This album marries Tweedy’s mature emotional outlook (love is all, and is a dream worth dreaming) to the workaday manners of Uncle Tupelo or the Woody Guthrie project, Mermaid Avenue. There’s a home video lurking on YouTube of Tweedy sitting on his sofa, strumming his way through Talking Heads’ “Heaven”. The sound of Love Is The King is what you’d expect from the bar band in that song: briskly functional, with an enduring tension between Tweedy’s balmy vocals and the electric guitar, which arrives in these songs like a deluge.

“I always think that the electric guitar player, who’s me, is the guy who’s having the toughest time dealing with everything,” Tweedy tells says. “He’s a little bit frayed. He showed up for a different type of session, his nerves are getting the better of him.”

Occasionally, broader influences seep through. The playful “Gwendolyn” has the wayward electricity of the Faces, and a heroine who sounds the sort of paramour the young Rod Stewart might have conquered and regretted. For Tweedy it acknowledges his habit of finding himself several steps behind a woman, emotionally. The title track has a languid rhythm that is almost obliterated by the guitar, and a lyric that marries the Lear-like outlook of the narrator (“At the edge/Of as bad as it gets”), to flashes of current affairs; tanks in the streets and violence.

That mood spills into “Opaline”, a honky-tonk lament that playfully blurs images of death, paranoia and dread. The inspiration for the song is more prosaic. The lyric is addressed to a golden orb-weaver spider that lived in Tweedy’s backyard through spring and summer before abruptly disappearing, presumed dead. The song’s most troubling image, of a hearse stuck at a toll gate, actually happened. Tweedy saw the funeral car, parked in its own metaphor, when escaping Chicago via the skyway to Michigan. “I kept looking in my rear-view mirror, thinking, ‘Holy shit, that’s one of the worst things I can think of,’” he says with a laugh. “A guy driving a hearse with no change for a toll.”

On paper, it sounds tormented. In reality, it doesn’t. As a singer, Tweedy patrols the trunk road between regret and resilience. Straight-legged sincerity, when he chooses to use it, is a good look: see the thankful love song “Even I Can See”Tweedy is probably more instinctively comfortable undermining himself, as on the countrified “Natural Disaster”. That song’s image of “a lightning bolt punch a bird right out of the sky” may be a nod to the sudden death of a flamingo in Charles Portis’s book The Dog Of The South. On a further literary note, Tweedy’s pal, author George Saunders, provides a couple of lines to the sprightly “A Robin Or A Wren”, a song that manages to roll together romantic devotion, love of life, fear of death, and a playful suggestion of reincarnation. Saunders’ lines are about “the end of the end of this beautiful dream”. 

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Tweedy, with his unerring ability to find himself while getting lost, ushers in a conclusion that is happy and sad, with hope kept aflame by his faith in the power of song. No matter what he does with Wilco or solo, simply one of the best songwriters alive. His lyrics are poetry. His vocal delivery invites you in and is so vulnerable. I like this a bit better than Warm, which was also brilliant. This is just another in a string of albums from artists over the pandemic that have blown me away this year.

Released October 23rd, 2020

All songs written by Jeff Tweedy
except “A Robin Or A Wren” written by Jeff Tweedy and George Saunders
Performed by Jeff Tweedy, Spencer Tweedy, and Sammy Tweedy,

Laura Marling.

British singer-songwriter Laura Marling has accomplished a lot across seven studio albums and 12 years recording music. She’s garnered Mercury Prize and Grammy nominations, collaborated with Ed O’Brien of Radiohead, Blake Mills and others, and she’s even started teaching online guitar lessons, which she details below. This all to say, she’s a supremely talented artist who moves in dynamic ways within the folk-rock lane. 

Her new album “Song For Our Daughter” was scheduled to come out later this summer but she found an opportunity to connect us all during the COVID crises by releasing it early. Marling said in a statement regarding the change of date, “In light of the change to all our circumstances, I saw no reason to hold back on something that, at the very least, might entertain, and at its best, provide some sense of union.” The album is a nod to Maya Angelou’s collection “Letter To My Daughter.” Marling herself is not a mother but she takes us there through her delicate song writing  writing for a girl who needs confidence and hope.

ALAS, I CANNOT SWIM (2008)

Laura Marling is an alt-folk singer-songwriter from a small village just outside of Reading. The story goes that she came to London with nothing but her guitar and a handful of songs. Still just a teenager, her talents were soon noticed at early Way Out West (who released her debut single) and Blue Flowers gigs. On her debut album for Virgin records she shows astonishing ability to spin heart rending tales of love and loss for someone so young. She has a breathtakingly pure voice that’s equal parts Regina Spektor, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. She is an extraordinary talent – voice, lyrics, music, presence. no wannabe celeb, aspirant popstar-babe. Rather a determined woman with an overwhelming desire to communicate through word and music. If you have a heart you need Laura Marling in your life right now.

Marling’s debut, produced by Noah & The Whale’s Charlie Fink, We had four weeks at Eastcote Studios, two weeks doing my record and then a further two weeks back-to-back doing the Noah & The Whale record. We laid down the bass, drums, guitar and vocal all at once, and then we did overdubs – this is the same for all albums I’ve done, pretty much. My dad ran a recording studio which shut down when I was quite small, but I remember growing up around all of that outboard gear at home. So I guess I was slightly more familiar with the studio than the average 17-year-old, but still it was my first proper session.

These were all my first songs, written from the age of 16-17. There was a batch of songs before that that were on an EP, “London Town” – I didn’t like them very much by the time I got to making this. I haven’t listened to this for a long while, I very rarely play any of those songs live, so it’s a bit of a distant memory to me now. And the production was very much of the time I guess, that ‘new folk’ world – glockenspiels and banjos and whatever – which is good, that’s what it was supposed to be then. I don’t really think of this as part of my catalogue.

I SPEAK BECAUSE I CAN (2010)

UK songstress Laura Marling releases her sophomore album, “I Speak Because I Can”, on Virgin Records. Produced by Ethan Johns (Kings of Leon, Ryan Adams), I Speak Because I Can is the follow up to Marling’s lauded, mercury prize-nominated debut, Alas I Cannot Swim. I Speak Because I Can is Laura Marling’s coming of age album, if such a thing can be said about the brilliant songwriter whose compositions belie her age (for the record, she’ll be twenty this year it was released). Recorded in 2009 at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in outside London, and featuring the talents of her backing band Mumford and Sons, I Speak Because i Can reveals a new side to Laura Marling, whose debut was released when she was only seventeen years old. Its ten songs are imbued with a new richness, ripeness and sophistication, marked by homespun tales and sparse instrumentation. I Speak Because I Can showcases not only Marling’s ability to tell one hell of a story, but her incredible guitar playing, which has grown more intricate since her first album. Marling chose Ethan Johns to produce her new material, as she credits many of his earlier records (among them albums by Ray Lamontagne, Kings of Leon, Emmylou Harris, Sarabeth Tucek and more) with kindling her interest in music. She had long admired his way of working – his use of reels; his quiet, traditional methods of production; the warmth found within the records he produced. he gave her the space to find her own identity; as such, the record reveals a new maturity, and at points, Marling’s voice sounds a little harder, a little world-wearied, while still showcasing her impressive range not heard on previous recordings. and while I Speak Because I Can is, at times, a darker album than its predecessor, it is a brilliant step forward from a young artist who continues to keep us awe-struck at her talent.

A leap forward, with Marling inspired by British folk and The Odyssey, and working with producer Ethan Johns The difference between being 16 and being 19 is quite a shift, isn’t it? Ethan was very intimidating, but I quickly realised it was nothing but a type of shyness. He turned down the first record, but I tried again with the second one – he seemed to be more impressed with the song writing. I went down to meet Ethan at Real World Studios, where he was working at the time. He came and picked me up from the station, and he was wearing triple denim and circular pink sunglasses, like John Lennon, and he had his crazy California hair. I thought he looked completely mental. I was very shy still, I didn’t really say much. As we were walking around Real World, he said, “It’s never really worked out for me, working with female artists, I seem to not do well with it.” So, being in my tomboy/late teenage years, I was like, “Well, I’m not like every girl, it’s going to be a totally different experience”, and it was. We started at Eastcote, but Ethan didn’t like the sound of the room, so we moved to Real World.

I took my band with me, and we all stayed there at probably horrendous expense. We got driven in our splitter van from Glastonbury to Real World, we stayed there for two weeks and it was really magical. I’d read The Odyssey, and I obviously thought I was quite clever because of that, so a lot of it was based around Penelope and Odysseus, and Hera – there’s a lot of Greek mythology and Classics, I was really into it then. I had discovered tunings after the first album too, and a lot of I Speak Because I Can was in major and minor open-D tunings. I was also going through the unbelievable intensity of anybody’s late teenage years, I was so full of fucking hormones and excitement. I remember writing a lot, it was a good time.

A CREATURE I DON’T KNOW (2011)

The follow-up to 2010’s ‘I Speak Because I Can’. like it’s predecessor, the new record was produced by Ethan Johns. the vibe here is looser, the rhythms more adventurous, her vocals are more soulful, more sexual and more assured. marling has found a new intensity on her deeply impressive third album. she has come a long way in a short time, and has undoubtedly got further to travel. The more expansive third record, again produced by Ethan Johns, I went from touring I Speak Because I Can straight into the studio to make this. That was the cycle that I was on then – I made the album, put it out, toured it for a year and then went straight back into the studio with a new crop of songs.

It was a natural progression; the sound of this album was dictated by my touring band at the time, as we had been playing all these songs in soundchecks for the previous six months. We did all the pre-production away from Ethan because everybody was too scared to play in front of him. My drummer and my keyboard player, they’re proper musicians who’ve been playing with me almost since the beginning, they’re proper trained incredible musicians, but everyone else in the band didn’t really consider themselves a musician.

So I had a slightly ragtag band. Of course Ethan’s got the little black book of every musician you might want, but I only wanted people that I loved on the records, that I knew were on my side. Maybe that was a bit paranoid of me, but I was a bit paranoid then of everybody, and I wanted to make sure that ultimately I had control of everything. It was also very important for me to keep my musicians employed, which I did manage to do for those four or five years, which felt like an achievement. So what I was doing was because of a mix of paranoia and economic anxiety!

LIVE FROM YORK MINSTER (2012)

Marling’s only live album, including a cover of Jackson C Frank’s “Blues Run The Game”, There are a lot of churches to play in Europe, but we decided to supersize that to cathedrals. We organised it through some quite intense logistical negotiation, literally talking to the bishops and persuading them it was a good idea, because I don’t think they do it very often, particularly somewhere like York Minster. It was such a spectacularly beautiful venue. We were bringing in our own sound system, and the acoustics in some of the cathedrals were much more tricky than others – Liverpool was completely wild and very hard to tame, but we were in a smaller room in York Minster, not in the main atrium, and luckily it was a good one to record.

A completely stone room with wood on the ground has a particular quality to it. I think Charlie Fink had played “Blues Run The Game” to me, and I figured it was in the same tuning as “Goodbye England…”. I added it to the set because it was such an unusual tuning that there were not many songs I could play in it.

ONCE I WAS AN EAGLE (2013) 

A stunning 16-track folk-rock epic, and Marling’s own favourite, I discovered smoking weed before this album, that’s the reason the first four songs are one. It’s like a nice lull, where you’re off on another planet. I’d had some intense emotional growth since the previous album, and I’d started to feel like I very much wanted to be on my own and not with a band. Though they’re still my band and I love them very much, it felt like I couldn’t get any time on my own, like I was always on tour or in the studio, and it started to feel like people recognised me a little bit, and it all overwhelmed me. So with this album I went back to Ethan on my own. It was a really amazing experience. I think he had wanted to get his hands on my music without all of those people around, so he could do with it what he really wanted. By that point we were friends, and I entrusted him with this really emotionally intense album.

“Once I Was An Eagle” is Laura Marling’s fourth album in five years, and she’s still just 23 years old. It’s been an accelerated artistic growth but Marling hasn’t put a foot wrong yet. Once I Was An Eagle features a reduced cast of – predominantly – Marling and regular producer Ethan Johns. The English Joni ruthlessly dissects her love life on this confessional album. It’s a beautifully melodic collection that hits engaging heights.

I went and recorded everything for him, in order, at his house – just me and a guitar with his engineer Dom Monks, who’s also brilliant – and then I went away for a week. When I came back he’d done most of the instrumentation on it, and he’d started to paint around the tracks.

I still think of it as a magical happening. People were trying to say it could have been shorter, and maybe a couple of songs could have been B-sides, but that was the story I wanted to tell. Ethan was into it too, he wanted to do a double record.

Ruth [de Turberville, cellist] came to play on the record towards the end. There’s a bit in “Pray For Me” where her cello line sounds like it’s rising above me, wrapping itself around my neck and pulling me down – there was some emotional quality to it, just as what Ethan did on it had an emotional quality. There was a sense that something was about to peak, it did feel like that. I felt like it was the best record I’d ever made, and I could sense that it would be harder to carry on from then.

SHORT MOVIE (2015)

Self-produced in London, Marling’s fifth was the quickest she’s ever written and recorded, The funny thing was that the magic from “Eagle” didn’t last, because Ethan and I ended up making a record afterwards that we threw in the bin. It was a big financial mess, and that was quite a shock to me. I don’t have a lot of money to play with, I’m not a multi-million selling artist, so scrapping an album was a big deal. There were a couple of reasons for it, it wasn’t totally the song writing. I was living in Los Angeles, so Ethan had come over to do it, we rented Sunset Sound which was also really expensive. The nice thing is that on that record we had Jim Keltner, so I got to hang out with him for two weeks – he was amazing. It took me a little while to get over the shock of that, and the disappointment that me and Ethan felt.

Laura Marling has released four albums in only seven years – and she’s only just turned 25 now. Working on fresh material, fifth album Short Movie Self-produced, the songwriter worked extensively alongside drummer Matt Ingram and studio engineer Dan Cox during recent sessions. Short Movie has a cinematic wide eyed joy, and Marling’s writing seems freer. False Hope, inspired by the experience of being tapped in a New York airb’n’b during hurricane sandy, swirls round in a sea of electric guitars. Gurdjieff’s Daughter pulls a huge chorus out of its back pocket with the ease of somebody producing a lighter. There’s a strain of playfulness, too. Strange Love sees Marling adopt the kind of stilted, burning delivery that should come free with a bit of wheat to chew on. Short Movie is wonderfully unlike anything Marling has attempted before.

I came back to London and said to my drummer [Matt Ingram], “I need to do an album for cheap.” He said, “Come and do it at my studio.” I ended up producing it with him, and that was an amazing experience. “Short Movie” was a very quickly written batch of songs, because I’d scrapped everything from the album that we threw away. So this was a very concise timespan, just a very short period in my life. I actually don’t really like the album, but I get why I wrote it and why I had to write it. I needed to keep moving or I was going to drown in the sorrow of having failed. It’s the first time I played electric guitar on a record – a friend had a bungalow in Joshua Tree that they weren’t going to be in for a couple of months, so I took all my guitars out there. I had guitar amplifiers all around the house, and there were no neighbours so I could play as loud as I wanted. That’s how that sound arrived.

SEMPER FEMINA (2017)

A return to form, produced by Los Angeles wunderkind Blake Mills, It was so interesting working with a different producer, he couldn’t be more different to Ethan. And I was such a huge fan of Blake’s already, so it was weird to go in and be so in awe of somebody. He’s my age too. The main thing he inspired in me was that if you worked hard enough you could be as good as him – there was no mystical quality as to why he was so good, other than that he worked really fucking hard. Ethan is from an older time where there was more money in the music business, so he works from midday until nine o’clock and he doesn’t work at weekends, which is fine; but Blake works from 10am until it’s done! I took three members of my band with me, because I was a bit worried that Blake would intimidate me to the point where I wouldn’t be able to get my point across. I’m glad I did that because it just about kept it from becoming a Blake Mills record, which it could have easily become.

In those three weeks, I’d come back home at like 3am every night and play guitar in my backyard – I’d practise every night so that the next morning I’d come in and he wouldn’t be able to play my parts better than I could. I just couldn’t believe that someone could work so hard for someone else’s music, it was amazing. He’s quite a force to contend with, though, he doesn’t fuck around and he doesn’t banter, he just works. Blake literally seems bored when you’re playing him a song, when he feels it’s not sonically interesting. On “Soothing”, he started changing the chords so they were more interesting inversions, and then he orchestrally arranged this three-piece bass part for it.

Semper Femina is Laura Marling’s sixth album – an intimate, devoted exploration of femininity and female relationships, and among her finest work to date. Written largely on the tour that followed 2015’s Short Movie and recorded in Los Angeles with production from Blake Mills, it is at once a distinctive and musically compelling collection of songs, run through with Marling’s fierce intelligence; a keen, beautiful and unparalleled take on womanhood.

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SONG FOR OUR DAUGHTER (2020)

Laura Marling’s exquisite seventh album ‘Song For Our Daughter’ arrives almost without pre-amble or warning in the midst of uncharted global chaos, and yet instantly and tenderly offers a sense of purpose, clarity and calm. As a balm for the soul, this full-blooded new collection could be posited as Laura’s richest to date, but in truth it’s another incredibly fine record by a British artist who rarely strays from delivering incredibly fine records.

Taking much of the production reins herself, alongside long-time collaborators Ethan Johns and Dom Monks, Laura has layered up lush string arrangements and a broad sense of scale to these songs without losing any of the intimacy or reverence we’ve come to anticipate and almost take for granted from her throughout the past decade.

Marling’s classic-sounding latest, returning to her roots with Ethan Johns co-producing, I didn’t enjoy producing Short Movie myself, and I didn’t feel like I wanted to do that again – you can’t get a good enough perspective on your own, being both inside and outside the record at the same time. I thought Dom Monks and Ethan Johns as co-producers would just give me that security, but I think it was challenging for Ethan to change his role. I’d had to do a lot of random admin stuff earlier in 2019, which meant I’d sat on these songs for a while, which was hellish for me. But in that time I’d also moved back to London, set up my own studio, demoed everything extensively, contacted everyone I wanted to play on it… Ethan was the last part of the puzzle actually. He wanted to use this studio in Wales because he likes to record to tape, but I’m not a purist in that way. Dom Monks is the zen master between two nutbags, though, so he held the sessions together.

I wrote the album while I was travelling around Europe for about four months, mainly the south of France and Italy, living in a campervan and staying on farms, very late twenties. It was really nice. I always feel like my albums are on/off – I Speak Because I Can was good, A Creature I Don’t Know was OK, Once I Was An Eagle was good, Short Movie was whatever, Semper Femina was good, and I sort of felt this one might be whatever… I don’t know, though! I never know what people are going to think, but people seem to really like it. I wasn’t expecting it to do so well. I thought I’d lean back into just being a songwriter which is all I really want from Laura Marling, from my solo stuff. And then Lump provides me with this whole other experience.

Laura Marling performs “Song For Our Daughter” at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London as part of the Mercury Prize 2020: Album of the Year. 

LUMP – LUMP (2018)

A collaboration with Tunng’s Mike Lindsay created Marling’s “greatest pleasure”. We were doing some Neil Young support shows and at the London one my guitarist Sam said, “Oh, my friend Mike’s coming down after the show, he’s quite weird and he wants to ask you a question.” He is a weird guy, in the best possible way, and he’s got an unusual manner. He said quite bluntly, “I need you to come into my studio in Shoreditch, I have something and only you can do it.” I was recently single at that time, feeling quite free about possibilities, so I said yes. I was renting a flat in Dalston, so I walked down on a very hot day to his basement studio in Shoreditch. It was absolutely boiling, no natural light. After a bit of awkward small talk, he played me 36 minutes of music without stopping. I had just started reading the Surrealist Manifesto and I’d underlined a bunch of words, and I started singing them over the top – Mike had demarcated where he thought songs were, and verses and choruses, and after the first day we’d done “The Curse Of The Contemporary” and “May I Be The Light”, and by the third day we’d almost finished the record.

I knew when we were making it how special it was – there was no buddiness or communication, just like when Ethan worked on Eagle… and I left for a week. Lump had that quality too. Mike and I have now made two albums and toured, but we don’t really know each other too well, and are paranoid about maintaining that distance between the two of us, so we don’t lose that quality. Lump is the greatest pleasure in my life now, because it doesn’t feel like mine. There’s a second album done, it’s probably coming out this year but I don’t know when.

With Short Movie this Hampshire native has, for the fifth consecutive time, made the strongest album of her career, expanding her palette to include electric-guitar-led alt rock (‘False Hope,’ ‘Don’t Let Me Bring You Down’) and percussive drones (‘Strange’, ‘Short Movie’) while retaining the English-rose folk that made her name (‘Walk Alone,’ ‘Easy.’) There’s a clear through-line to her earliest work, yet a clearer progression that points to an evolving artist – which is how it’s supposed to go, of course, but is rarely the case with a Brit-winning major-label star… This is Marling at her finest, but as she’s proved five times in a row, the best is always yet to come.”

Following in the dusty, sun-baked footsteps of 2013’s mesmerizing “Once I Was an Eagle”, Laura Marling’s fifth studio outing feels even more rooted in the California desert, doubling down on the former’s penchant for pairing breezy, American west coast mysticism with bucolic, Sandy Denny-era English folk, but with a subtle shift in architecture. Marling’s gift for gab and deft finger-picking are still front and center, but with the self-produced “Short Movie”, she’s expanded her sonic palette by plugging in.

While by no means a straight-up electric guitar album, Short Movie does bristle with a current of nervy energy, and that coffee-black, post-midnight buzz is the fuel that gives cuts like “False Hope,” “Don’t Let Me Bring You Down,” “Gurdjieff’s Daughter,” and the hypnotic title track their swagger. That said, Marling is an unrepentant folkie, and those late-night blasts of tube-driven self-evaluation and raw verisimilitude eventually give way to bleary-eyed mornings spent assessing the wreckage, and the album’s best moments arrive via the aged wood and steel of her trusty acoustic.

The dreamy, psych-tinged opener “Warrior” invokes Nick Drake’s “Road” with its bluesy, open tuning and refrain of “I can’t be your horse anymore, you’re not the warrior I’m looking for,” while the equally Drake-ian “Feel Your Love” offers up a less defensive, but no less weary stance toward potential suitors, positing “you must let me go before I get old, I need to find someone who really wants to be mine.” Avoiding complacency has always been the light that guides the precocious singer/songwriter (only 25 at the time of release, this is Marling’s fourth album in just five years), and Short Movie does little to temper that restlessness. It may lack the cohesion of her last outing, and her steadfast derision of anything resembling a hook can be taxing, but it makes up for its meandering with a strength of character that eludes many of her contemporaries. An old soul to say the least, Marling continues to evolve as both a musician and a writer, albeit subtly, and we’re all the better for it.

Disposable America Record’s appearance on this list – god, those guys are smashing it right now – comes in the form of Los Angeles quartet Soft Blue Shimmer. On ‘Fruitcake,’ the aptly named group fuse dreamy vocals and spun gold guitars to make a sound that’s quite simply heaven made. Written about not being able to shut off your thoughts, contrastingly ‘Fruitcake’ provides an illusory island of calm where worries are dispelled as soon as your feet hit the beach. 

Seasonal reminder that your average nine-track shoegaze album is cheaper than a new sweater! The debut from Los Angeles Soft Blue Shimmer arrived just in time for the temperatures to drop freakishly late in the year, with Heaven Inches Away providing the audio equivalent to throwing on the biggest top in your closet and spending an unreasonable amount of time just sitting next to your radiator, thinking about getting up to do something productive. Upon early inspection, the album’s climax appears to be the hazy sendoff, recalling the same cosmological space warbled about by Cocteau Twins with the cool, laid-back demeanor of someone who could only be unstuck in time in the frantic year 2020. 

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Noisy dream pop from LA, CA. Charlie, Kenzo, & Meredith.

Released November 27th, 2020

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Electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso released a new six-track EP on Wednesday, entitled “With Love”. The latest project from singer Amelia Meath and electronic instrumentalist Nick Sanborn arrived unannounced via Loma Vista Recordings and features reimagined versions of six songs from their recent Free Love LP, which arrived in late September, featuring a mix of guest musicians.

“Getting the WITH band back together a year after our original tour (and in most cases, the last shows any of us played) was such an unexpected joy in a year where all other plans fell through,” the duo said in a press statement to go with the album’s arrival. “We are immensely grateful to everyone who worked so hard to help us make this safe and possible, and to everyone out there who listens. Thank you.”

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The aforementioned band featured on the “With Love” recordings was comprised of a mix of musicians and singers including Adam Schatz (Landlady), Alexandra Sauser-Monnig (Mountain Man), Dev Gupta (Mr. Twin Sister), Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak, Flock of Dimes), Matt McCaughan (Bon Iver), Meg Duffy (Hand Habits), Molly Sarlé (Mountain Man), and Yan Westerlund.

Along with the album, the band has also shared their official live video for their reimagined take on “Numb”, as performed during their recent From the Satellite three-part virtual concert series. 

“Everybody who grew up with Gang of Four in their lives can remember how mind-blowing and forward-thinking and filled with creative energy it was at the time and guess what? It still is now. It’s art. Art that’s reaching out of this world yet somehow still down to earth. It’s so great be involved with this release and to see and hear a new generation of musicians paying tribute to Andy Gill’s incredible music. My artwork ‘Dog with Bone’, which Andy picked for the cover from a few ideas I had, is from a new series of giant pipe cleaner animals based on little ones made in my studio by kids. I think he wanted this work for the cover because it’s new and unexpected and in your face and hard not to like, they make adults feel like children and Andy always wanted to celebrate that.” – Damien Hirst A new Gang of Four tribute album has been announced. The double album, titled The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four, will arrive in May 2021 and feature covers of Gang of Four and Andy Gill songs by a number of artists. The first single will be released on Friday, January 1st, 2021, which would have been Gill’s 65th birthday. It’s a cover of “Natural’s Not in It,” performed by Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and System of a Down’s Serj Tankian. Andy Gill was one of a handful of artists in history who changed the way guitars are played,” Tom Morello said in a statement. “His band Gang of Four were just incendiary and completely groundbreaking with Andy’s confrontational, unnerving and sublime playing at the forefront. His jagged plague-disco raptor-attack industrial-funk deconstructed guitar anti-hero sonics and fierce poetic radical intellect were hugely influential to me.”

It is with pride, joy, excitement and a measure of sadness that we announce The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four, a project Andy worked on right up to his death in February. This double album features tracks written by Andy and Gang of Four, newly reinterpreted and recorded by artists whose own unique contributions to music were enriched by listening to Gang of Four.

The first single has seen Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) collaborate with Serj Tankian (System Of A Down) to create an incredible cover of Natural’s Not In It. It will be released on Andy’s birthday, January 1st 2021. All the brilliant artists and bands participating in the album chose which track they wished to cover from across Gang of Four’s 40-plus year history. Details of the contributors and the full track listing will be revealed in January.

We can already tell you this: The Problem of Leisure is the dog’s bollocks. And so is the album artwork, created specially by artist Damien Hirst, a long-term Gang of Four aficionado. The album is available to pre-order now in a variety of different formats exclusively from our merchandise store. It will be released on 14th May 2021.

Andy Gill died in February of this year. According to press materials, he’d been planning the release of The Problem of Leisure to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of Entertainment! in 2019. “Andy was massively excited about this project,” Catherine Mayer said. “It wasn’t, of course, conceived as a tribute album, but it’s comforting to me that he lived to see artists he hugely admired enthusiastically agreeing to participate, signalling that the admiration was mutual.”

Damien Hirst made the artwork for The Problem of Leisure