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Tess Parks

And Those Who Were Seen Dancing

    Toronto-born, London-based artist Tess Parks will return with her long-awaited new album ‘And Those Who Were Seen Dancing’ on May 20th 2022 via Fuzz Club Records. Following years of international touring and a lengthy list of critically-acclaimed collaborations with Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe in recent years (most recently the duo’s self-titled 2018 LP), the new album will be Parks’ first full-length solo offering since her much-loved debut album, ‘Blood Hot’, was released back in 2013 on Alan McGee’s 359 Music label.

    “In my mind, this album is like hopscotch”, Parks says: “These songs were pieced together over time in London, Toronto and Los Angeles with friends and family between August 2019 and March 2021. So many other versions of these songs exist. The recording and final completion of this album took over two years and wow - the lesson I have learned the most is that words are spells. If I didn’t know it before, I know it now for sure. I only want to put good out into the universe.” A growing disillusionment with the state of the world paired with an injury that stopped Parks from being able to play guitar and piano for months meant the album was nearly shelved.

    “I really felt discouraged to complete this album”, she recalls: “I stopped listening to music for honestly about a year altogether and turned to painting instead. I really had to convince myself again that it’s important to just share whatever good we can - having faith in ourselves to know that our lights can shine on and on through other people and for other people. The thought of anyone not sharing their art or being shy of anything they create seems like a real tragedy to me. Even if it’s not perfect, you’re capturing a moment.” Recorded over a two year period but with songs, lyrics and ideas dating back over a decade in some form, ‘And Those Who Were Seen Dancing’ is an album full of such moments, people and places.

    Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band

    Dear Scott

      Finding that luck, love and letting things roll works out for him just fine, Michael Head leads his Red Elastic Band into a fresh chapter with optimism and some of the best music of his career, announcing his new, Bill Ryder-Jones-produced album, Dear Scott via Modern Sky UK.  

      Revered by heavyweight songwriting peers and discovered by new generations of discerning listeners, all enraptured by the fruits of Head’s winding, 40-year career, the Liverpool singer-songwriter enters a new age of creativity and collaboration with Dear Scott. Promising to be a shimmering jewel cast by the minds and hearts of Merseyside’s finest musicians, the 12-track album is dusted with both Ryder-Jones’ artistry and the heavyweight musicianship of The Red Elastic Band, which Head found had ‘stepped up’ following almost a year apart, forcing him to dig deeper himself.

      Of slipping back into writing and recording in 2021, Head continues: “After being apart for a while, I went for a walk on the beach with the band and it was beautiful, literally and personally. Rehearsals followed and it clicked into place, with one thing leading to the next. It’s very much the ethos we’re working by, keeping things simple, but keeping the momentum. I’d met Bill a few times and he’s a lovely guy. Once we knew he was interested in producing the album we didn’t need to think about it again, it just progressed and became a completely natural thing.”

      Dear Scott refers to novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose debt-ridden, down-and-out years captured the imagination of Head, specifically a postcard Fitzgerald addressed to himself upon checking in at Hollywood’s infamous Golden Age retreat, The Garden Of Allah Hotel. Head explains: “A decade after being the king of the jazz age, Fitzgerald arrived unfashionable and sober, ready to conquer Hollywood. His agent with a sense of humour booked him into The Garden Of Allah, where writers, movie stars and even Stravinsky sometimes lived. He famously picked up a postcard on checking in and addressed it to himself.”

      The postcard read: Dear Scott, How are you? Have been meaning to come and see you. I have living at the Garden Of Allah. Yours Scott Fitzgerald

      Head states that the formation of The Red Elastic Band in 2008 began with ‘whoever was available at the time’, primarily as a vehicle for live performance, producing one, previous album in 2017’s Adiós Señor Pussycat. The band has since developed into a cohesive, mutually-supportive and permanent line-up, with Phil Murphy on drums, Tom Powell on bass, Danny Murphy on guitars and Nathaniel Cummins on guitars and backing vocals being the musicians taking on the world in 2022 alongside Head.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Andy says: Crystal clear, deep, 3D production from the wonderful Bill Ryder-Jones brings Mick's songs and stories right back to life on what has to be one of his greatest ever records and that's saying something. Album of the year contender!

      Yard Act

      The Overload

        Formed in 2019, Yard Act began life when friends Ryan Needham (Bass) and James Smith (Vocals) started creating minimalist rock tracks using a primitive drum machine and borrowed bass guitar. Later drafting in George Townend on drums, and Sammy Robinson on guitars whom they met at their spiritual home The Brudenell Social Club / Leeds

        The quartet have only played three gigs but have already released two superb singles, pulsing with post-punk indie dance, their creativity thriving despite reduced circumstances this last year.

        In a world of great polarity, nuance is normally the answer. We may shame and bicker and amplify our outrage, but at the core of it all, we’re all still inhabitants of the same ecosystem, most of us trying to tow the delicate line between empathy and self-preservation. If nothing and no-one is purely good nor evil, true societal improvement can only come from recognizing some kind of middle ground.

        In many ways, Yard Act is a project that exists through the fusion of seemingly opposing entities. Old friends in a new band, they seek out shades of socio-political grey, imbibing their stories with sharp, satirical spoken-word humour. Spearheaded by James Smith (vocals) and Ryan Needham (bass), the now four-piece, completed by Sam Shjipstone (guitar) and Jay Russell (drums), have built a sound that speaks inherently to their birthplace of Leeds, West Yorkshire, and yet ties together observations from all walks of modern British life – the small-town bloke in the local pub, the anti-capitalist stuck at a desk job, the tired activist in all of us torn between easy complicity and the desire to fight. Their sound and ethos might be progressive, but it’s not about pointing fingers so much as opening eyes.

        “Lyrically, I think it’s a record about the things that we all do - we're all so wired into the system of day to day that we don't really stop and think about the constructs that define us,” says Smith. “But also beyond that, it's kind of exciting, because there’s still so much we don’t understand; how a hive mindset is forged, how information spreads, how we agree and presume things without thinking. Some people think more than others, but a lot of this sloganeering - 'I'm on the left, I'm not wrong' - doesn't achieve anything. Gammons, Karens, Snowflakes, whatever – I find it all so boring. I'm just not into that.”

        What Yard Act are into is ideas. Having grown from relatively casual pub acquaintances to housemates, Smith and Needham found living together to be conducive to a high work rate, racking up demos in quick succession. Settling into a system of programming, looping and layering, the alchemy between the two created a base from which to build their narrative world. “Ryan is a vibe guy, whereas I overthink everything,” laughs Smith. “It’s been the greatest creative partnership I've ever had. When you find a groove that works, it just kind of looks after itself.”

        With just three hometown shows under their belt, world events intervened. But rather than letting the pandemic derail them Yard Act set up their own imprint, Zen F.C. and across the course of 2020 and into early 2021 released four increasingly coruscating, hilariously dark singles with ‘The Trapper’s Pelts’, ‘Fixer Upper’, ‘Peanuts’ and Dark Days’ all securing BBC 6Music play, and despite the circumstances developing a remarkable, ever increasing fanbase.

        “One of the first reasons we started the band, before anything even took off, was to play live because we had fun playing live,” says Smith. “but very quickly, we realised that we just loved writing songs, and writing songs isn't just about jamming in a room and writing those long noodly songs. It’s a massive cliché, but we've always been influenced by pop music, and finding a way to present it in a way that feels like ‘us’. The more people reacted to the spoken word thing, the more we felt encouraged; you can kind of hear how it gets more and more ridiculous as the singles came out. Positive reinforcement is how you explore and push the strongest bits to the extreme. And our extreme is just me talking loads — I'll talk until the track runs out!

        Far from the self-indulgent bluster that Smith jokes about, ‘The Overload’ is a record of great dexterity and curation, the output of a band who were raised on a 00s digital-revolution buffet of wide musical influences. Growing up on US MTV Hip-Hop, minimal 70s No-Wave and sharp-witted British indie, Yard Act benefit from this rich tapestry of musical near-history, using it to create something that feels like more than a trendy pastiche. “There are generations of digital crate-diggers now that just absolutely love music and know how to navigate it,” says Smith. “Old music becomes new music. It's made everyone less worried about the now I think.”

        While time-travelling in parts sonically, ‘The Overload’ weaves a very-2021 storyline. The group made the decision early on to leave ‘Fixer Upper’ and ‘Dark Days’ off their album debut (“it sounds arrogant, but we felt we had enough good songs without ‘em”), but the joyous specificity of their early lyrical observation is still in fine evidence, plotting a visceral, satirical journey through capitalism and greed. Across the album’s 11 tracks, an unnamed character – a bricolage of characters that Smith has met, imagined, or himself been – finds himself in quite the financial pickle, ricocheting from desk job to desperate illicit activity to police investigation, before culminating in the kind of half-cut personal epiphany that even the most law-abiding among us could relate to. Bookended by cheeky cameo’s from ‘Fixer Upper’s' Graeme and a clear structure of four parts, there is no getting around it — Yard Act have written a soap opera.

        “At Ryan's insistence, the record was actually called ‘Yard Act The Musical’ for a long time, but I've got a really weird relationship with musicals, as in I fucking hate them,” deadpans Smith. “I don’t want to overthink it, but I do like concept albums, and I do think stuff works better when it's given time to be gestated and let people pick at lyrics and think what they mean.”

        “We had about six standout tracks when we started thinking about an album, and from those, I saw a theme of money and capitalism, a sort of mockery of it. It's basically just a man in their late 20s, early 30s, who's always tried to fight against the system, stood up for things that they believe in and had a very strong moral compass. But it kind of crushes them in as many ways as it makes them happy – you sacrifice your beliefs for a life of comfortability, and still have to carry the burden of that decision.”

        For a record of some potential heaviness, a dark sense of humour is integral. The record’s title track – its opener — plays like a raucous spaghetti western-themed night at the Hacienda, while ‘Land Of The Blind’s loose-swinging bass and jabbing guitars gives acerbic pace to its sordid tale of financial exploitation. The influence of post-punk is apparent, but the shackles of ‘authenticity’ have been shaken loose - “I think we could all feel that this post-punk thing was getting tired; ‘Land Of The Blind’ felt like quite a pivotal song in switching us away from what people thought we were.”

        Even through Smith’s openly cynical lens, the world isn’t an entirely cruel and hopeless place. As our character finds themselves in the reflective epitaph of the final three songs, they explore how they might have come to be; the narcissistic peers they grew up with (‘Tall Poppies’), the Friday nights setting the world to intoxicated rights (synth-tinged “Pour Another’), and then ‘100% Endurance’, a poignant, emotional release which finds some kind of freedom in the futility of it all, an opportunity rather than an oppression; “It’s all so pointless/ But it’s not though is it?” As a closer, it’s entirely pivotal for the juxtaposition they’re trying to achieve.

        “When that came right at the end of the record, it felt like it really completed it by sounding different to the rest .” says Smith. “It’s a little bit like a slip of the mask, which felt really important after a record of me being quite sarcastic, which I’m quite good at. It feels a bit like a gateway to where we can go.”

        Pulling off a debut album in a pandemic isn’t easy, but somehow, Yard Act have made it work. Recording with Ali Chant (PJ Harvey, Perfume Genius, Aldous Harding) at his Bristol studio, those prolific demos have been sharpened down into something that speaks to the times we live in, creating a statement of intent that survives on nuance – a record of retro influences, recorded in a modern way, that manages to poke fun at society without punching down from a place of lefty superiority. ‘The Overload’ is a political record, but in the same way that all great observations of human nature are – a messy, complex, knowingly hypocritical snapshot of our current state of play.

        “I just hope it makes people laugh at the peculiarities of human nature,” says Smith. “The world feels very heavy at the moment; it has done for a while, and when bad things happen, the weight of the world makes you panic, you want to change everything like flipping a switch. But that's not how it works. All you can do is plant seeds. I don’t think good and bad really exists, and I don't think you can change people's minds any other way.

        “So that's what I hope, but I also just hope people can just enjoy it. And I hope it lasts. I hope people like the detail - I think we can learn a lot about each other through an observational smirk. Jenessa Williams



        Bonobo

        Fragments

          Fragments is the most emotionally intense record that he - aka Simon Green - has ever had to make. It’s no surprise that it’s also his masterpiece. The album features Jamila Woods, Joji, Kadhja Bonet, Jordan Rakei, O’Flynn and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. Born first out of fragments of ideas and experimentation, the album ultimately was fused together in a burst of creativity fuelled by both collaboration and Green’s escape into the wild.

          Fragments is a series of 12 sonic affirmations, featuring some of the hardest and most hip-shaking grooves that Green has ever created. The ballads are perfectly placed throughout; they capture a world in flux and glow with hope. Coaxing the ideas out initially took some hard work. The constantly-touring Green creates best while on the move; the global shutdown forced him to stand still.

          Musical themes began to arise through Green’s exploration of modular synthesis, recordings he had made of harpist Lara Somogyi, his work with arranger and string player Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, his own playing of the Fender Rhodes and more, as the album was created, recorded and mixed by Green over the past two years. The album also came into focus as he sought refuge on solo adventures into nature, away from the shutdowns and wild fires and into the blazing California desert.

          “Tides,” featuring Chicagoan singer and poet Jamila Woods, acted as a catalyst, and the album began to click into place around it. “I knew I had a centrepiece, I knew how it was all going to sound,” he says. Working with arranger and string player Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, musical themes began to emerge. Recording orchestral musicians in actual studios helped bring the songs “out of the box” even more.

          A rhythmic framework started to come together too: the structures of UK bass music and rave began to seep into beats that would become tracks like “Otomo” (eventually co-produced by O’Flynn and featuring a sample of the Bulgarian choir 100 Kaba-Gaidi), and “Sapien.” The ”old school, Detroity, Moodymann and Theo Parrish inspired” “Shadows” was recorded with friend Jordan Rakei. “Rosewood,” “Closer” and “Counterpoint” each start with an ecstatic snap to them, but snake down surprisingly different paths. Somogyi's harp and Atwood-Ferguson's strings mingle together on the beatless “Elysian.” Two ballads flesh out the second half of the record: “Day by Day” featuring Kadhja Bonet and “From You” featuring Joji.

          It's about the dancefloor in many ways, about how “I remembered all over again how much I loved crowds and movement and people connecting with each other,” Green reflects. But the positivity isn’t just in the uptempo rhythms: even the most introspective and melancholic pieces have joy in them.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: A Stunning new LP from Simon Green's Bonobo, fusing the clattering percussion and smooth rolling basses of 2010's 'Black Sands' with the more soulful, smooth sounds of the more recent outings. It's both a perfect artistic statement, and a wonderfully evocative listen, including some of the biggest names in modern soul and electronica. Brilliant.

          The Soundcarriers

          Wilds

            “We've always done things our own way and without any outside pressure,” says Paul Isherwood of The Soundcarriers. “Making music like this keeps things fresh, you always lose something and gain something as you go along but I think of it as just another chapter.”

            There have been many chapters in the life of the band to date and each one is defined by the singular approach and style of the group. Since forming in 2007 the band - comprised of Isherwood, Adam Cann, Dorian Conway and Leonore Wheatley - have released three albums that position them as a distinct and unique force in British music. Eschewing fads and trends that come and go, they have instead focused on honing their own sonic world that glides between woozy psychedelia, immersive grooves, subtle pop and rich, enveloping soundscapes. They’ve consistently moved at their own pace and on their own terms and on their fourth album, Wilds, they return after seven years since their last. “The sessions started in a cottage in the wilds so there's a literal meaning,” Isherwood says of the title. “But figuratively we've pretty much been in the wild for the last few years as far as a lot of people are concerned.”

            The recording was staggered over a few different locations, from cottages to primary schools, before finishing in an art gallery. “The beauty of recording in non-studio studios is you have the time for the unexpected to happen,” says Isherwood. “Which is really what keeps you coming back for more.” As a result of the timeframe of the album, it’s one that has changed and grown a lot over the years. “The record has been through a lot of stages,” says Isherwood. “It's almost been circular. We started off wanting to do an album of more shorter, concise tracks and then sort of sidestepped into some more spacey ambient ideas so in a way the album is kind of a synthesis of the two phases, overall carrying on with many of the themes and influences of the first three but with a more focused approach.”

            The opening ‘Waves’ leaps out the gate with an infectious hook kissed by a touch of French pop before leaping into a devilishly catchy chorus and into a mini prog-like flute breakdown. It sets the tone for an album that is rich in adventure and unpredictability that manages to balance experimentation with accessibility. ‘At The Time’ is almost unrelenting in its grinding charge, managing to create a groove that cracks and pulses at the same time, ‘Wilds’ is a gorgeously floating piece of music that skips along with strutting bass as Wheatley’s vocals merge melody with texture magically. The closing ‘Happens Too Soon gently stirs to life with an almost pastoral folk air to it, as it slowly builds into swirling psych pop rich in texture before reaching a rousing crescendo. “I feel this album sums up a lot of our influences,” says Isherwood. “There’s a strong folk influence in the sense of the actual songwriting but musically we wanted to create songs that were like those rare oddities you find on a bizarre charity shop record. A collection of "one offs" capturing a moment rather than trying to make a hit song.”

            This sense of it being an album of unique songs is clearly apparent throughout but it also maintains a natural flow and cohesion. This is something that stems from the band’s approach to songwriting for the record. “A lot of the tracks started with a feel or groove,” says Isherwood. “Then building it into a more concise arranged piece. We were conscious that we didn't want the recording to sound too over-polished so although a lot of the tracks were quite painstaking in how they evolved we wanted the actual recording to be quite raw and not be reliant on cutting things up or overly editing things. We wanted it to sound natural rather than perfect.”

            Black Country, New Road

            Ants From Up There

              Following on almost exactly a year to the day from the release of their acclaimed debut “For the first time”, the band have harnessed the momentum from that record and run full pelt into their second, with “Ants From Up There” managing to strike a skilful balance between feeling like a bold stylistic overhaul of what came before, as well as a natural progression.

              Their debut “For the first time” is a certain 2021 Album of the Year, having received ecstatic reviews from critics and fans alike as well as being shortlisted for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. Released in February to extensive, global, critical support - perhaps best summed up by The Times who wrote in their 5/5 review that they were "the most exciting band of 2021" and The Observer who called their record "one of the best albums of the year" - the album made a significant dent on the UK Albums Chart where it landed at #4 in its first week, a remarkable achievement for a largely experimental debut record. The album also reached #1 on Any Decent Music, #2 at Album Of The Year and sat at #1 on Rate Your Music for several weeks, remaining the record to generate the most fan reviews and site discussion there this year. Black Country, New Road were also declared Artist Of The Week and Album Of The Week by The Observer, The Line Of Best Fit and Stereogum, and saw features, including covers and reviews, from the likes of Mojo, NPR, CRACK, Uncut, The Quietus, Pitchfork, The FADER, Loud & Quiet, The Face, Paste, The Needle Drop, DIY, NME, CLASH, So Young, Dork and more.

              With “For the first time” the band melded klezmer, post-rock, indie and an often intense spoken word delivery. On “Ants From Up There” they have expanded on this unique concoction to create a singular sonic middle ground that traverses classical minimalism, indie-folk, pop, alt rock and a distinct tone that is already unique to the band.

              Recorded at Chale Abbey Studios, Isle Of Wight, across the summer with the band’s long-term live engineer Sergio Maschetzko, it’s also an album that comes loaded with a deep-rooted conviction in the end result. “We were just so hyped the whole time,” says Hyde. “It was such a pleasure to make. I've kind of accepted that this might be the best thing that I'm ever part of for the rest of my life. And that's fine.”

              Black Country, New Road's live performances have already gained legendary status from fans and has seen them labelled "one of the UK's best live bands" by The Guardian. After the success of their livestream direct from London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, stand-out performances at SXSW and the BBC 6 Music Festival, and following a sold-out UK tour this summer, high-profile festival appearances, and a 43 date UK & EU tour to follow in the Autumn with sold out US dates next year, the London-based seven-piece today announce further UK & IE dates in support of the album for April 2022, preceded by their biggest London headliner to date at The Roundhouse in February.

              Black Country, New Road Live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, mastered by Christian Wright at Abbey Road, will be available as part of the Deluxe LP and CD versions of ‘Ants From Up There’.

              Peaness

              World Full Of Worry

                Hot on the heels of a live session for Marc Riley at BBC 6music, Chester indie-pop trio PEANESS are delighted to finally be able to announce details of their long-awaited debut album World Full Of Worry, set for release through the band’s own label, Totally Snick Records.

                ‘How I’m Feeling’ is the second single to be taken from forthcoming debut album World Full of Worry, and serves as the perfect taste of what fans can expect from the record.

                Commenting on the track, the band said: “In an unfulfilling job? Need a shake up with something in your life or you’ll go mad? Well, that’s ‘How I’m Feeling’ and it can’t be ignored anymore! Amongst self loathing and melancholy there are sparks of determination and a belief that you deserve more. I hope it works out.” 

                Blossoms

                Ribbon Around The Bomb

                  Ribbon Around The Bomb is the first new music from Blossoms since their ‘vibrant single’ (NME) Care For, which was released in 2021. 

                  Speaking about the new album and single, Blossoms’ Tom Ogden says:
                  ‘While on tour in 2019 in Mexico, I visited Frida Kahlo’s house. Looking at her paintings on show, someone had described one of them as being like a ‘ribbon around a bomb’. I immediately thought that it was a great title for a song and album because of the imagery that it evoked in my mind. I thought about how lots of things in life could be described as being a ribbon around a bomb in the sense that as people we often dress things up which have a darkness lying beneath them’.

                  The band’s new album is produced by their consistent and renowned collaborators James Skelly and Rich Turvey and revolves around a central character ‘The Writer’. 

                  Tom Ogden explains:

                  "The more songs I wrote, the more I realised that the writer referenced in the songs was in fact me. Having been so busy for the past eight years I and the band have never really had the chance to step back and reflect on what we’ve achieved. You’re so focused on the future; write the next album then tour. Your life is usually mapped out at least two years in advance".

                  Standout tracks on the record include Ode To NYC, described by Tom as ‘a love letter to my favourite city, as well as my wife’, The Writer which deals with the fear of and frustration associated with writers block and Everything About You, one of the album’s only love songs, which Tom says is ‘as honest as they come’. Visions meanwhile contains one of the album’s key lyrics ‘Was I complete at 23’, as Tom explains. ’At 23 I had just had a number 1 album and begun my relationship with my now wife Katie. Reflecting on what I’d achieved at such a young age left me wondering, what now?’ 


                  Cate Le Bon

                  Pompeii

                    PRE-ORDER THE ALBUM TO BE ENTERED INTO A DRAW TO WIN A SIGNED TEST PRESSING OF 'POMPEII'. 
                    NPN.


                    Pompeii, Cate Le Bon’s sixth full-length studio album and the follow up to 2019’s Mercury nominated Reward, bears a storied title summoning apocalypse, but the metaphor eclipses any “dissection of immediacy,” says Le Bon. Not to downplay her nod to disorientation induced by double catastrophe - global pandemic plus climate emergency’s colliding ecotraumas resonate all too eerily. “What would be your last gesture?” she asks. But just as Vesuvius remains active, Pompeii reaches past the current crises to tap into what Le Bon calls “an economy of time warp” where life roils, bubbles, wrinkles, melts, hardens, and reconfigures unpredictably, like lava - or sound, rather. Like she says in the opener, “Dirt on the Bed,” Sound doesn’t go away / In habitual silence / It reinvents the surface / Of everything you touch.

                    Pompeii is sonically minimal in parts, and its lyrics jog between self-reflection and direct address. Vulnerability, although “obscured,” challenges Le Bon’s tendencies towards irony. Written primarily on bass and composed entirely alone in an “uninterrupted vacuum,” Le Bon plays every instrument (except drums and saxophones) and recorded the album largely by herself with long-term collaborator and co-producer Samur Khouja in Cardiff, Wales. Enforced time and space pushed boundaries, leading to an even more extreme version of Le Bon's studio process – as exits were sealed, she granted herself “permission to annihilate identity.” “Assumptions were destroyed, and nothing was rejected” as her punk assessments of existence emerged.

                    Enter Le Bon’s signature aesthetic paradox: songs built for Now miraculously germinate from her interests in antiquity, philosophy, architecture, and divinity’s modalities. Unhinged opulence rests in sonic deconstruction that finds coherence in pop structures, and her narrativity favors slippage away from meaning. In “Remembering Me,” she sings: In the classical rewrite / I wore the heat like / A hundred birthday cakes / Under one sun. Reconstituted meltdowns, eloquently expressed. This mirrors what she says about the creative process: “as a changeable element, it’s sometimes the only point of control… a circuit breaker.” She’s for sure enlightened, or at least more highly evolved than the rest of us. Hear the last stanza on the album closer, “Wheel”: I do not think that you love yourself / I’d take you back to school / And teach you right / How to want a life / But, it takes more time than you’d tender. Reprimanding herself or a loved one, no matter: it’s an end note about learning how to love, which takes a lifetime and is more urgent than ever.

                    To leverage visionary control, Le Bon invented twisted types of discipline into her absurdist decision making. Primary goals in this project were to mimic the “religious” sensibility in one of Tim Presley’s paintings, which hung on the studio wall as a meditative image and was reproduced as a portrait of Le Bon for Pompeii’s cover. Fist across the heart, stalwart and saintly: how to make “music that sounds like a painting?” Cate asked herself. Enter piles of Pompeii’s signature synths made on favourites such as the Yamaha DX7, amongst others; basslines inspired by 1980s Japanese city pop, designed to bring joyfulness and abandonment; vocal arrangements that add memorable depth to the melodic fabric of each song; long-term collaborator Stella Mozgawa’s “jazz-thinking” percussion patched in from quarantined Australia; and Khouja’s encouraging presence.

                    The songs of Pompeii feel suspended in time, both of the moment and instant but reactionary and Dada-esque in their insistence to be playful, satirical, and surreal. From the spirited, strutting bass fretwork of “Moderation”, to the sax-swagger of “Running Away”; a tale exquisite in nature but ultimately doomed (The fountain that empties the world / Too beautiful to hold), escapism lives as a foil to the outside world. Pompeii’s audacious tribute to memory, compassion, and mortal salience is here to stay.

                    Fontaines D.C.

                    Skinty Fia

                      2020’s A Hero’s Death saw Fontaines D.C. land a #2 album in the UK, receive nominations at the GRAMMYs, BRITs and Ivor Novello Awards, and sell out London’s iconic Alexandra Palace.

                      Now the band return with their third record in as many years: Skinty Fia. Used colloquially as an expletive, the title roughly translates from the Irish language into English as “the damnation of the deer”; the spelling crassly anglicized, and its meaning diluted through generations. Part bittersweet romance, part darkly political triumph - the songs ultimately form a long-distance love letter, one that laments an increasingly privatized culture in danger of going the way of the extinct Irish giant deer.

                      Yama Warashi

                      Crispy Moon

                        Yoshino Shigihara came into 2019 needing a change. The Japanese artist had been based in Bristol ever since co-founding the now defunct Maloya-infuenced raucous psychedelia collective Zun Zun Egui. She then blossomed on her own across an EP and two albums of more meditative but no less territorially transcendent records as Yama Warashi. As in her music, though, Yoshino has always had a sense of wanderlust and it was perhaps no surprise that she’d eventually want to move again – this time to London.

                        “Moving to London gave me the chance to work with more diverse musicians” Yoshino says. “And I wanted to be here too because of the high creative energy, the diversity of the music and art here and the people who live here.”

                        The first material to come out of her relocation is a bold advancement of her sound, her third album Crispy Moon. Recorded at the Total Refreshment Centre in London with Kristian Claig Robinson, with most of the mixing coming from Hannes Plattmeire and mastering by Zun Zun Egui guitarist Stephen Kerrison, there are new contributing members, including Cathy Lucas of Vanishing Twin (with whom Yama toured with in 2021), Aletta Verwoerd on drums and Mermaid Chunky’s Moina Walker on sax. Compared to the more lo-fi, homespun feel of early releases such as Moon Zero and Moon Egg, there’s larger brush strokes at play, a bigger sound and an understated but self-assured grandeur.

                        Much of the move to London and Yoshino’s experiences of being in the capital have made their way into the themes of the record. For Yoshino, though, while the lyrics are important, they’re also largely personal. The drive for her is to get across the universality of her music, to keep an open ear and absorb everything that she can before returning it back out into the world. Moving to London has only strengthened that for her, with new collaborators, fresh experiences and altered perspectives. Crispy Moon is the colourfully brilliant end result.


                        Piccadilly Records

                        End Of Year 2021 Sampler

                          This is a CD sampler which you get FREE when you buy any LP or CD from our Top 20 AlbumsTop 20 Compilations or Top 20 Reissues/Collections charts. 

                          Featuring tracks from albums in our Top 100, Compilations, and Reissues/Collections charts this was compiled by ourselves and Mark McQuillan and produced in conjunction with the lovely folks at ROM distribution. 

                          Warpaint

                          Radiate Like This

                            'Radiate Like This' - Warpaint’s much anticipated new record, not to mention their first in almost 6 years - arrives with its own very modern mythology intact, continuing the strange, brilliant, beautiful story of the band and quite neatly picking up where 'Heads Up' left off. If the previous album was the coming of age, 'Radiate Like This' presents Warpaint mk II in all their glory, a luminous coalescence of sound and vision which stubbornly belies its genesis, with the quartet of Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Stella Mozgawa and Jenny Lee Lindberg all recording their parts separately in various cities.

                            “It’s the first time we’ve ever made an album like that, but in a weird way, it made us take our time with everything”, muses Kokal. “The process felt more meditative, less rushed”. This new sense of quiet confidence can be heard all through the album, in the hushed, slow build of first single “Champion” the beguiling push pull of “Proof”, the delicate intricacy and complexity of tracks like “Melting” and the winking “Send Nudes”. It’s an album that pulsates with ideas, energy and- most crucially – gorgeous melodies. Listen on in wonder.

                            HighSchool

                            Forever At Last

                              One of the year’s most exciting new acts HighSchool are joining forces with Dinked to release their acclaimed debut EP (‘Forever at Last’) for the first time on vinyl.

                              The tipped Melbourne trio, who recently upped sticks to move to London, have been making a name for themselves with a brilliant indie-pop sound full of stylish, gothic excess - DIY nailed it when calling their tracks “deliciously dark dance numbers that’ll be stuck in your head for days.”

                              ‘Forever at Last’ is an infectious six-track introduction to the band that features the singles ‘Frosting’, ‘New York, Paris and London’ and ‘Sirens’. Surfacing digitally late-last year, the band are delighted to finally being announcing the EP’s first vinyl pressing with Dinked. This first press is being limited to just 300 copies, coming on clear vinyl complete with an exclusive numbered print signed by the band and die cut sticker.


                              Various Artists

                              Pop Psychédélique (The Best Of French Psychedelic Pop 1964-2019)

                              All formats come with a free Piccadilly Records EOY Sampler CD whilst stocks last.

                              Hallo my British chums and welcome to another edition of the Piccadilly Records Compilation Of The Year. 2021’s top of the pops takes us on a cheeky trip through the Chunnel to the land of du pain, du vin, du Boursin for a sprawling set of yé-yé, 60s psych pop and contemporary grooves from a who’s who of France’s chic elite. Compiled with affection and expertise by Mark McQuillan for Brighton’s Two Piers, Pop Psychédélique fully embodies the sultry, sexy and surreal sound of French music.

                              Born out of a love affair with jazz and an infatuation with the British Invasion, French pop music quickly cut its own niche in the musical landscape of the sixties. Typified by hip-shaking rhythms, fuzzbox guitars and spoke-sung vocals, yé-yé was referential but never reverential, a point proven when Jacqueline Taieb shreds pop culture on “7 AM”. Elsewhere lost love and lost toothbrushes are given equal weight as the profound and profane are dispatched with the shrugging indifference of a Pastis-soaked Gainsbourg (who’s predictably all over this collection, both as artist or songwriter).

                              This signature style has come to define French music, and echoes through the ages thanks to L’Epee, the Limiñanas, Air and Stereolab, four globe-conquering acts who are a testament to the enduring appeal of the Gallic sound. Indeed a handful of older cuts here have also found streaming fame with a new generation via soundtrack appearances on the likes of Killing Eve and Queen’s Gambit, with producers eager to exploit these shorthands for cool.

                              The set sails into the sunset via Fatboy Slim’s remix of Pierre Henry and Michel Colombier’s “Psyche Rock” and the final jigsaw piece falls into place. Not only does this collection pay homage to France, but also McQuillan’s native Brighton, where the Big Beat pioneers championed records like Jean-Jacques Perrey’s “E.V.A.” while reshaping Britain’s club culture. C’est magnifique!


                              Big Thief

                              Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You

                                Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You is a sprawling double-LP exploring the deepest elements and possibilities of Big Thief. To truly dig into all that the music of Adrianne Lenker, Max Oleartchik, Buck Meek, and James Krivchenia desired in 2020, the band decided to write and record a rambling account of growth as individuals, musicians, and chosen family over 4 distinct recording sessions. In Upstate New York, Topanga Canyon, The Rocky Mountains, and Tucson, Arizona, Big Thief spent 5 months in creation and came out with 45 completed songs. The most resonant of this material was edited down into the 20 tracks that make up DNWMIBIY, a fluid and adventurous listen. The album was produced by drummer James Krivchenia who initially pitched the recording concept for DNWMIBIY back in late 2019 with the goal of encapsulating the many different aspects of Adrianne’s songwriting and the band onto a single record.

                                Various Artists

                                Music For The Stars (Celestial Music 1960-1979)

                                  Music For The Stars is a collection of songs that may lend themselves to the end of the night in headphones, for me it’s an Ode to Horsenden Hill in West London, where we used to gather of an evening with the compilation tapes we had made introducing each other to new songs which we found; songs some of which would remain with us forever, we would sit there till late overlooking the West End’s City Lights but could lay back and watch the stars.

                                  From the Two-Piers label that brought you the acclaimed ‘Pop Psychédeliqué (The Best of French Pop 1964-2019) comes new compilation ‘Music for the Stars (Celestial Music 1960-1979), a collection of laid back, late night songs perfect for lying back, losing yourself in the moment and just staring at the stars. Includes tracks from legends such as Willie Nelson, Lonnie Liston Smith, and Nina Simone, the English folk sound of Bill Fay and Kevin Ayres, the tortured genius of Tim Buckley, from the 60’s West Coast scene The Electric Prunes, to the sonic sounds of Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, and the soulful beauty of Shuggie Otis.

                                  From the beginning of the evening with Alexander “Skip” Spence, until later that night when Willie Nelson may end a tape and it’s time to walk home - sit back and lose yourselves in Music for The Stars.

                                  Wet Leg

                                  Wet Leg

                                    After releasing two of the hottest singles of the year, Wet Leg’s Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers were catapulted from their confines on the Isle of Wight to sold out venues across the UK and packed-out tents at festivals causing giddy excitement wherever they went. Now, the duo is thrilled to unveil news of their debut album. 

                                    Broadcast

                                    BBC Maida Vale Sessions

                                      BBC Maida Vale Sessions - Four BBC sessions recorded at the Maida Vale studios between October 1996 and August 2003.

                                      Broadcast

                                      Mother Is The Milky Way

                                        Mother Is The Milky Way - Originally released as a tour only CD in 2009, the album has been remastered.

                                        The Weather Station

                                        How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars

                                          One year after the release of Ignorance, The Weather Station returns with How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars. The album is intended to be heard as a companion piece to Ignorance; songs written at the same time that connect thematically and emotionally, songs that reveal the vulnerability at the heart of the body of work. Recorded live in just three days, How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars is achingly intimate; full of breath, silence, and detail.

                                          How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars was written in the same fruitful winter of songwriting that gave rise to Ignorance, but were songs that Lindeman felt were too internal, too soft to fit on the album she had envisioned.

                                          Not long after completing Ignorance, Lindeman decided to make this album on her own terms, fronting the money herself and not notifying the labels. She assembled a new band, and communicated a new ethos; the music should feel ungrounded, with space, silence, and sensitivity above all else.

                                          On this record, there are no drums, no percussion; in the absence of rhythm, time stretches and becomes elastic. Lyrically, many of the songs return to what has often been a hallmark of Lindeman’s writing; a description of a single moment and all the meaning it might encompass. And this dilation of the moment occurs musically too; as the band moves through music so ephemeral it often incorporates stretches of near silence, and breaths, single notes, and brief solos take on greater importance in the absence of other sound. Whereas the recordings on Ignorance leaned towards ambition and grandeur, here the band reaches towards a different goal; grace perhaps.

                                          How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars was recorded from March 10 - 12, 2020. When the band entered the studio, Covid-19 was a news item, not front of mind, but by the time they left, just three days later, everything had changed. Somehow, the music captures that instability; it is ungrounded and diaphanous, it floats and drifts. It is an album of immense sensitivity, a recording of a band and a person daring to reach towards softness without apology.

                                          Spiritualized

                                          Everything Was Beautiful

                                            During lockdown last year, J Spaceman would walk through an empty “Roman London” where the world was “full of birdsong and strangeness”, trying to make sense of all the music playing in his head at the time. The mixers and mixes of his new record weren’t working out yet. Spaceman plays 16 different instruments on Everything Was Beautiful which was put down at 11 different studios, as well as at his home.

                                            He also employed more than 30 musicians and singers including his daughter Poppy, long-time collaborator and friend John Coxon, string and brass sections, choirs and finger bells and chimes from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Eventually the mixes got there and Everything Was Beautiful was achieved.

                                            The result is some of the most “live” sounding recordings that Spiritualized have released since the Live At The Albert Hall record of 1998, around the time of Ladies & Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space.


                                            Pip Blom

                                            Welcome Break

                                              There are approximately a great deal and very many ‘Welcome Breaks’ scattered throughout the sprawling motorways of the UK.

                                              Now, regardless of whether that statement’s true or not… when life’s become a series of long-stretches and welcomed breaks, it’s to no avail that sometimes all it takes to alleviate spirits is the simplest, of experiential indulgences.

                                              Be it the buzz of an overly exhausted tour van, or the green light and smell of sausage rolls in the near Beaconsfield distance... inspiration can be found in the funniest corners of this place we call home; and it’s in the heart of day-to-day simplicities and sprawling services, that we gladly receive Amsterdam’s beamy-grinned, indie-pop powerhouse Pip Blom, back into lives.

                                              Following an extensive touring schedule which saw the Dutch 4-piece roam over field, oceans, and Glastonbury’s John Peel stage following the release of their debut record ‘Boat’, any such cool-cat would be forgiven for wanting to kick back, and indulge in some very appreciated, time off.
                                              As is often the way, such timely-abandon cannot be said for Pip Blom however, who immediately began to gather up all her soaked-up inspirations taken from the road, and manifest a re-energised sense of self, and ritualistic songwriting.

                                              Cosying down in a room of her parents’ house (which she shares with her brother and fellow bandmate Tender Blom), Pip, a self-confessed “fan of deadlines”, set aside three months to write twenty songs- sixteen of which
                                              were to become demos for the band to structure and flesh out, once in the studio together.

                                              It’s at this stage in our indie-fairy-tale that things start to get ever so 2020. Whilst the world was suddenly put on hold as a result of Covid-19, Pip Blom, who’d made plans to return to their favourite ‘Big Jelly Studios’ in Ramsgate, England, were suddenly faced with a very sticky, kind of dilemma. “We’d scheduled to go into the studio in September but summer started moving and there were a couple of countries not allowed to go to the UK anymore... a week before we had to go, the Netherlands was one of those countries”- notes Pip.

                                              Sentimentalities, and pre-established friendships (by way of Grammy award-winning engineer Caesar Edmunds) took president, and the decision was made to pack up their gear and a variety of board games and exercise equipment, all in preparation of a fourteen-day quarantine faced upon arrival in the UK.

                                              In total, three weeks were spent recording what would become the groups sophomore release; a Al Harle engineered love-affair which was self produced entirely by the band and culminated in a legally intimate, fully seated album play-back, to six, of Ramsgate’s most chorus-savvy and ‘in the-know’ residents.

                                              Getting out of their hometown and into an environment which removed all notions of “normality” or personal space, was an atmospheric godsend in terms of motivation; an act which encouraged Pip Blom to re-adjust and buckle down as a unit again, after spending so long in mandatory isolation.
                                              Much like the danceable-realism of Pip’s beloved Parquet Courts, the key to an album well done, is the balancing act of fine-production, and capturing that core live-essence we all miss. “We always play one live track three times and after we then build that track in the studio” says Pip, assembling together amalgamated “live-energies” in order to produce a capsule of environmental-satisfaction, that can be appreciated during any time of day, or life’s little moments.

                                              Actively seeking out moments of creative-authenticity, be it via a slightly out-of-tune guitar or proudly-fuzzed vocals, Pip Blom take us back full circle and introduce us to their ‘Welcome Break’- an eleven-track release which resonates with about as much decisive allure as it’s ‘Boat’ precursor, but this time with a bit more contemporary chaos to boot.

                                              Where ‘Boat’ reckoned as a fresh-faced, yet gloriously fearless game changer, ‘Welcome Break’ is the self-assured older sibling who, with an additional year or two behind themselves, isn’t afraid to speak out, take lead, and instigate a liberated revolution-come-bliss-out.

                                              Lead single’s ‘Keep It Together’ and ‘You Don’t Want This’ are glistening masterclasses in feel-good chorus- the very kind of coming-of-age relatability where a soul would want to let down their hair, stick their arm out the window of their best friends car and roll with the motions in a rapture of soundtracked euphoria, and jangled adventure.

                                              Unhinging genre in our instant-access era of musical snoot, no-one does an enthused-chorus quite like Pip Blom yet much can be said for this gang being far from one-trick-ponies.

                                              Anthemic drifters ‘Different Tune’ and ‘It Should Have Been Fun’ are slow building, amplified highlights. Carrying all the weight of convicted fearlessness on their shoulders, Pip Blom unhinge pre-disposed expectations of crafted alternative like graduates straight outta Kim Deal’s school of rock, whilst closing number ‘Trouble In Paradise’, sets the tone for what will only be the ultimate, set-list once gigs resume again.

                                              With Pip Blom, no mood is untouched nor sense of renewal left behind. The trick to it all? As Pip reveals: “I just really like catchy songs and I feel like that’s something we try to do. I’d classify it as being sentimental – it’s not sugar-happy Pop.... more like ‘Titanic’ pop songs...”

                                              For those of us missing the buzzed adrenaline of communal music exploration, the idea of escapism in cramped and sweaty crevices can seem quite lifeless. If it's a sense of community you’re after then look no further than ‘Pip Blom Backstage’.

                                              Streaming goodness 24/7 as a fan-centric loyalty app, ‘Pip Blom Backstage’ gives access to exclusive news, premium content, and, a chat box for the Pip Blom Backstage community; further cementing Pip Blom as undeniable pals for life as fan-clips, spotify playlists and even a cooking lesson from bassist Darek Mercks, are all made available from the VIP lounge of your own back-pocket.

                                              In conclusion, there're actually thirty-five ‘Welcome Break’ pit stops a weary traveller can make in a lifetime spent on the M1, and it’s associates. Whilst the road’s presently a little less travelled, Pip Blom’s ‘Welcome Break’ is adamantly nothing to do with the present state of affairs. In fact, it doesn’t have anything to do with much at all and that’s the way they like it.
                                              ‘Welcome Break’ is but two nouns of which when placed together in context, ring confidently with prowess, intent, and a radiant true-spirit - much like Pip Blom herself. 


                                              In what must be one of the most sought after edits 12" we've had in for some time, Wrekin Havoc announce their arrival on the scene with the in-demand "Playing With Fire EP". Three friends - collectors and diggers - based somewhere around Birmingham and finding mutual appreciation at a mushroom fuelled romp somewhere around the boarders.

                                              On this first release, they extend and buff-up some quite under-the-radar source material - leaving much of the original vibe intact. Three bonafide Euro chuggers are the main dish. Primed for early doors / early morning, although the cosmic and exotic flavours will lend themselves to alternative plays right across the board. Final track "Catch Me If You Can" is aimed at that perfect Balearic sunrise, bringing optimism for the day ahead atop of rising strings, emotive guitar picks and breath taking chord progression. You can almost smell the sea air!

                                              Amazing stuff from this emergent firm - RIYL: Talking Drums, DJ Harvey, Ruf Kutz, Andi Hanley, Neil Diablo etc etc. Limited copies too so don't dilly dally.

                                              Oh! And apparently the trio are donating any profits from the record to charity - so that's another reason to love 'em! 


                                              Eels

                                              Extreme Witchcraft

                                                Eels release their fourteenth studio album Extreme Witchcraft on the band’s own E Works Records. Eels leader Mark Oliver Everett, aka E, co-produced the record with PJ Harvey producer and guitarist John Parish, marking the first time the two have recorded together since 2001’s Souljacker album Eels have had one of the most consistently acclaimed careers in music. The ever-changing project of principal singer/songwriter E (Mark Oliver Everett), Eels have released 13 studio albums since their 1996 debut, Beautiful Freak. In 2008, E published his highly acclaimed book Things the Grandchildren Should Know and starred in the award-winning Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives documentary about the search to understand his quantum physicist father, Hugh Everett III. 2020’s Earth To Dora album, received extensive critical praise, and was described as “their sweetest natured album ever” by The Independent and awarded four stars in MOJO and NME.

                                                Paul Draper

                                                Cult Leader Tactics

                                                  'Cult Leader Tactics' is a self-help manual on how to become a complete cult in the music industry & is his first solo album since 2017's much- lauded 'Spooky Action'.

                                                  'Cult Leader Tactics' offers a satirical analysis of the self- help manual genre. A guide on how you can get to the top of your chosen profession, or ahead in life & in affairs of the heart, by acting in a Machiavellian manner, employing dirty tricks or 'Cult Leader Tactics' to achieve your life goals. After experiencing these types of human behaviours & themes, the album arrives at the conclusion that the only true answer in life is love.

                                                  Paul plays most of the instruments on the album, including lead vocals, guitar & various Moogs & synthesisers. An album produced with long-time collaborator & acclaimed producer Paul 'P-Dub' Walton (Massive Attack, The Cure, Bjork) at Loft Studios, it also includes guest appearances from Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson & Gam of the band 'Sweat' as well as featuring a 288- person C.L.T. Lockdown Choir.

                                                  'Cult Leader Tactics' offers a selection of Paul's most focused & ambitious work so far, a brilliantly dark commentary on an industry he is all too aware of.

                                                  Bill Callahan And Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

                                                  Blind Date Party

                                                    The Blind Date Party hosted by Bill Callahan and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and featuring AZITA, Matt Sweeney, Alasdair Roberts, Matt Kinsey, Sean O’Hagan, Bill MacKay, George Xylouris, Dead Rider, David Pajo, Mick Turner, Meg Baird, Ty Segall, Emmett Kelly, Cory Hanson, Six Organs of Admittance, David Grubbs, Cassie Berman, Cooper Crain and Sir Richard Bishop happened online in the fall and winter of ’20–’21 — but the party planning dated back to the spring of 2020. Stuck at home, with no gigs in the foreseeable future, Bill, Bonnie and Drag City needed an outreach program to keep themselves busy, not to mention sane. In the absence of any company or anything on the calendar, playing songs they loved was an idea; playing with people they loved, the desire. And making it fun — so pairing someone with someone else having no say in the matter, the essence of the blind date, was the plan. Favorite songs were chose; players from around the Drag City galaxy were messaged. Pretty soon, songs were flying back and forth — music in the air!

                                                    And thus, they were entertained throughout the summer of 2020, when so much else in the world seemed so completely wrong. By the fall, the songs started to appear online: Bill and Bonnie singing a song by someone they loved and admired; each song cut by another another artist they loved and admired, then sent to Bill and Bonny to provide the finishing touches. The spotlight pointed in every direction each week: toward the singers and writers who’d originally played the songs (Yusuf Islam, Hank Williams Jr., Dave Rich, The Other

                                                    Years, Billie Eilish, Steely Dan, Lou Reed, Bill Callahan, Jerry Jeff Walker, Robert Wyatt, Lowell George, Johnnie Frierson, Air Supply, Will Oldham, Leonard Cohen, David Berman, Iggy Pop and John Prine), toward their featured collaborators, the artists whose artwork adorned each digital single and videos made by still more collaborators. And you, the listener.

                                                    Like the best parties, it turned out to be everything and more than they’d even hoped for. So many more people were involved in the process that we can get on the page here. Suffice to say, making records over the years has required a broad sense of community and an always-surprising mix of independence and unity, inspiration and utility. Some of our best memories are those where as many of our folks as as possible were together in one place at one time. In those moments, it was just a great thing just to be there. And with others looking in . . . this was a joy one could only be infinitely lucky to feel and to take for granted, as well.

                                                    The Blind Date Party was one of these, maybe the most improbable one yet. It’s for everyone who’s here and it’s in the name of everyone who’s gone but will never go and will always live with us here. This album will too.

                                                    And thus, we are entertained.

                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                    Darryl says: Combining the best elements of each others talents 'Blind Date Party' finds Bill and Will in fabulous form. Mellow, dark, country-folk laments to snuggle up to during the cold winter months.

                                                    Daft Punk

                                                    Discovery - 2021 Repress

                                                      "Discovery" was originally released in 2001, five years after those Daft Punks blew us all away with "Homework" and the world was a very different place. "Homework" had been the shot of adrenaline that club culture needed, prompting the golden age of filter house, with a legion of imitators following their lead. But the French duo hadn't spent the interim resting on their laurels, instead they'd dug deep into their record collections, exploring the productions of Thomas' father (Daniel Vangarde, who hit the charts with Ottowan's "D.I.S.C.O.") and honing their songwriting skills. They'd also spent a fair bit of time in the workshop making two very snazzy robot costumes which have become their uniform ever since. And when they were good and ready, they unleashed "Discovery" (or Disco Very) on the world. Opening with the massive hands in the air "One More Time", the album soon heads into a sampledelic melting pot of 70s disco grooves, reinterpreting the likes of Edwin Birdsong, Cerrone, Sister Sledge, George Duke, Tavares and Barry Manilow!!! This time around though, they'd taken a step back from the dancefloor, instead creating a pop gem that'd work in a club, on the radio, in an armchair or  anywhere really, that even contained proper songs. Perfect in its conception and execution this was the album that turned them from house music's golden boys to global megastars, and rightly so.


                                                      Rheinzand

                                                      Atlantis Atlantis

                                                        Rheinzand are back with their electrifying new album

                                                        Upon turning on 'Atlantis Atlantis', the oh so welcome spectre of recently departed Maria Mendola - the airy chanteuse of the beloved Bacchara - seems to appear. Charlotte Caluwaerts, a voice of similar purity proffers the message: “We’ll be alright” on their first single, offering a salve to the troubles the world has faced in recent years.

                                                        As with their previous work, melody is key. Rich arrangements abound, with Reinhard Vanbergen’s light and funky crevices detailing a home that feels cozy, inviting the listener into the best, most unexpected club around; the one in their living room with all their closest friends. The “Max Berlin” of the group, Mo Disko, is no stranger to bringing this kind of intimacy to his events and freewheeling DJ sets for decades in Gent, Belgium. Once again his spirit pushes the record into that inviting place where inhibition dissolves, (aka you can really freak out).

                                                        Much of Reinhard Vanbergen’s recent output for Music for Dreams has expertly traversed the forgotten worlds of virtuoso led experimental records; full lengths with tracks that maestros like DJ Harvey undoubtedly treasure. There are glimpses of these danceable instrumental improvisational landscapes such as ”Orange Bun”.

                                                        One thing about Rheinzand is that they are musicians driven to make dance music that harkens back to a moment when real players appeared on dance music records. These were musicians devoted to their instruments, the kind who made love to them on stage, unafraid of modulations, bombast, histrionics even (cue Elefantasi). Slower subdued numbers reiterate the “journey to Atlantis” we are on, such as the a cover of “Love Games” an honest low slung boogie take on the track.

                                                        One of the biggest takeaways from 'Atlantis Atlantis' is the excavation of the real fun that was had in dance music before the advent of loop based technology. Epic chord progressions, singing songs in multiple languages - these are musicians exploring the colour palette of the entire Pantone spectrum, not only shades of grey and black. Are you up to see the world in colour, brave enough for a journey to Atlantis? Welcome aboard, Rheinzand are here to invite you to do so.

                                                        Melody's Echo Chamber

                                                        Emotional Eternal

                                                          Emotional Eternal, the third studio album from Melody’s Echo Chamber, is a deeply human collection of songs full of prolonged moments of sonic transcendency – a record that clearly exhibits its maturity but still regards the world with a childlike wonder. Having swapped Paris for the clean air of the Alps, Melody hopes the record “has that uplifting quality. I made some big and impactful decisions and changes to my life. It took me to where it is peaceful, and I think the record reflects this.”

                                                          Before Breakfast

                                                          I Could Be Asleep If It Weren’t For You

                                                            The Sheffield duo have always explored feminist issues through the telling of personal stories – fusing their classical knowledge and rich arrangements with raw expression. Their debut album is no exception to this, exploring themes that will resonate with many women in their 30s who are experiencing the shift in perspectives that this decade can bring. On new single ‘Wreck’ singer Gina Walters mourns the abrupt end of a relationship and a vanishing future that she once counted on. “I thought that relationship was it: we were going to have babies, and when that ended it wasn’t really about losing my partner. It was about losing this whole future I thought lay ahead of me, this whole family I would lose, my house, my cat… it was an absolute bombshell, and it still gets me over a year later.”

                                                            On ‘Stand’, the most direct and plain-speaking track on the album, Gina sings, “A house or a heavy womb,” agonising over the idea of having to choose either financial security or motherhood. Speaking with her trademark brutal honesty, Gina says, “As a teenager, I genuinely thought that I would be married with two kids by now. We’ve been conditioned to think that’s what we should be achieving by a certain number. I turned thirty-two a few weeks ago, and I’m dating furiously because I want a baby and I only have a certain amount of years left before it starts to get really really hard.”

                                                            Before Breakfast released their debut EP ‘Open Ears’ in 2019. It is a spell-binding collection of songs knitting together Lucy Revis’ intricate cello with Gina’s expressively haunting vocals. “Our music has always been very beautiful with this discomfort,” Gina says, “which I view as very feminine.” Stand-alone single ‘Buddleia’ would become Before Breakfast’s signature, and best known song to date – opening the door to where they would go next. “When Gina played it to me I remember being in love with it immediately,” Lucy recalls. The band soon caught the ears of BBC Introducing, as well as C Duncan. That year, they supported the Mercury-nominated Scottish composer and musician on tour, which, Lucy says, was, “an absolute dream”.

                                                            Lucy wrote the lyrics and made her lyrical debut on former single ‘Brush My Hair’ after that very tour while coming down from a giddy three-week crush on a bassist. “It was like I was sixteen years old again,” she remembers. “We had this weird little friendship and the song is just about him: it’s lovely and special and I hold him in the highest regard.” For Gina, the themes that inform the debut as a whole also tie into trying to break out as a new band while holding weighty questions of security and stability versus pursuing your dreams. It’s pretty shocking, yet sadly not at all surprising, that in 2021 she feels the need to say, “I really get caught up in the idea that the industry doesn’t want women in their thirties coming through.” Lucy agrees, adding, “There have been so many barriers for us to even do this by our age. I have exclusively played for men since I was 15 years old. I can count the number of female artists I’ve worked for on one hand.”

                                                            Outside of the band, Gina is a singing teacher, and Lucy runs a music school. Over the last eighteen months, the group have been juggling their day-jobs with gradually recording their debut album: a reality they feel it’s important to speak out about. “We couldn’t just go away to a studio for three weeks,” says Gina, “we don’t have the money or time. It was here, there and everywhere.” Whenever they got a chance, the band would lay down parts with their producer Chris Wilkinson – who began his career working in Nashville with Vance Powell (Jack White, Arctic Monkeys) before relocating to his hometown – at Sheffield’s Fox Den studios. “We’d say: Chris, can we come in for a few hours this afternoon to do the vocals? It was a bit haphazard, and a long process.”

                                                            Before Breakfast are telling their story on their own terms, and backed by two new live band members as gig venues gradually open up again, the Sheffield band are going for it, with a debut that speaks to the stagnation, malaise, and static of the last “wasted” year. And as the world opens up again, ‘I Could Be Asleep If It Weren't For You’ is a fitting soundtrack. “We’ve got the momentum” says Gina, “and we just want to do it.”


                                                            Baba Ali

                                                            Living It Up / Black & Blue - Piccadilly Exclusive Orange Screen Printed Sleeve

                                                              Danger Mouse protégé Baba Ali releases his double A-side 7” “Living It Up / Black & Blue” on 18 February 2022 via Zen F.C., the label run by Yard Act members James Smith and Ryan Needham. It’s the first new music since Baba Ali’s much heralded Memphis Industries debut LP, 2021’s Memory Device.

                                                              On the new single, Baba shares: “We first started work on ‘Living It Up’ and ‘Black & Blue’ during 2020, which was, in spite of all the challenges, a very fruitful creative period for us. At the end of the summer 2020, we decided to set these songs aside to work on the album, Memory Device with Al Doyle. After touring the new record in the fall, we returned to the abandoned songs and immediately realised that they felt even more relevant to how our live performances on stage have become. The songs also feel like a bridge between what we've released so far and the direction we are heading in. We're doubly excited that we've been able to share this release through Yard Act’s label Zen F.C.”

                                                              Yard Act’s James Smith says of the release: “We loved Baba Ali's music from the moment we heard it. They're joining us for our debut album tour in February. When Baba sent through some new tunes he and his bandmate Nik were working on we saw an opportunity to reboot Zen F.C., and to preserve on wax and share some great music with the world. It was a no-brainer for us. We are honoured, we are buzzed to have Baba Ali as the first ever non-YA release on Zen F.C. - follow the label, there will be much more to come in the future.”


                                                              Bear's Den

                                                              Blue Hours

                                                                Bear’s Den announce the release of their eagerly anticipated fourth studio album, Blue Hours.

                                                                Set for release via Communion Records, the album sees the much-loved folk-rock duo – made up of Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones – once again team up with producer Ian Grimble on what is one of their most personal records to date.

                                                                Speaking about the new album, Davie says: “Blue Hours is a kind of imaginary space you get into at night, a place where you process difficult things or where you try to figure everything out.”

                                                                Themes on the album include both self-reflection and mental health after both struggled with the latter in recent years. “It’s the main over-arching theme with this record,” Davie explains. The group, who have worked with mental health charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) previously added: “It probably speaks to our struggles and hopefully many other people’s too. Men are not very good at talking. We’re not really taught how to – men have no idea how to talk about this stuff, certainly to each other.”

                                                                The pair describe the conceptual blue hours headspace that gives the new album its title as being “somewhere between a hotel, a mental health hospital, a bar that stays open later than anywhere else, a paradise, a dream, a nightmare and an endless sea of corridors and staircases leading you to rooms that represent memories – good, bad, happy or difficult.”

                                                                Despite the album’s challenging themes, it’s an album drenched in hope too. “We wanted this to be a celebration of music,” Jones continues. “I think that informed some of the bolder decision making on this record. At a time when music was so distant, it felt important to make an album that sounded hopeful, celebratory, ambitious and beautiful in spite of the heavy subject matter in some of the songs.” Jones adds: “It was almost like we needed to shout louder than before because we felt that there were more barriers between the audience and us. We needed something to transcend that.”


                                                                Half Man Half Biscuit

                                                                The Voltarol Years

                                                                  Brand New Studio Album....

                                                                  Vashti Bunyan

                                                                  Just Another Diamond Day - Repress

                                                                    Vashti Bunyan’s legendary debut album from 1970 finally gets a UK vinyl repressing. Produced by Joe Boyd for Witchseason Productions and originally released on Philips in 1970, the album features contributions from Fairport Convention’s Simon Nicol and Dave Swarbrick and The Incredible String Band’s Robin Williamson.

                                                                    The songs mostly concern the events that took place when Vashti and her lover travelled to the Hebrides in a horse and cart to join up with Donovan’s artistic community but by the time they got there that community had all left. 


                                                                    Soak

                                                                    If I Never Know You Like This Again

                                                                      With their new album, If I Never Know You Like This Again, SOAK has finally shaken the hangover of their starry debut Before We Forgot How To Dream, and the pressures that came with it, hiding in the wings of their ambitious follow up album, Grim Town. Having come up through BBC introducing at the tender age of 15 before signing to Rough Trade Records as well as winning the RTE Choice Music Prize, The Northern Irish Music Prize and the youngest ever Mercury Prize nominee, SOAK has again and again been described as ‘the voice of a generation.’

                                                                      Showing from a young age an intensely artistic awareness of the poetry of memory, Bridie Monds-Watson, aka SOAK, would incessantly photograph and video everything, documenting and organising the material so it was always there for them to revisit. ”I always want to remember exactly how I felt at a certain moment.” Now, at 25, SOAK’s third album ‘If I Never Know You Like This Again', is naturally made up of what Bridie intimately calls “song-memories”.

                                                                      Working closely with Tommy McLaughlin (Villagers), with whom Bridie has been collaborating with since the age of 15, and armed with influences from Pavement, to Radiohead to Broken Social Scene, they wrote most of the album together before recording it with the rest of the band in Attica Studios, Donegal. Throughout the album SOAK pushes and pulls at melodies, but never milks their brilliance. Bridie masterfully glides their vocal melody slightly off-kilter above excitable compressed high hats and flourishing guitar lines. With the new direction of a grungier, more lo-fi production the swooning guitars are given a contemporary pop-edge, reflected in the rich and robust musicality of songs like ‘Bleach’, ‘Last July’ and ‘Pretzel’. There’s a constant pulsating beat at the album’s centre, propelling it towards a kind of dewy happiness, like the end credits of a 90s coming-of-age film. Bridie’s lyrics move through the songs almost as effortlessly and they sing them, and the songs when read, read like poetry. With this album Bridie is, as the title suggests, freezing time in the pursuit of truth: capturing their life into existence.

                                                                      In the world of ‘If I Never Know You Like This Again’, a life is lived only because it's remembered.

                                                                      Burial

                                                                      Antidawn EP

                                                                      "Antidawn" marks the return of Burial - our nation's beloved shadow dweller, emo-garage innovator and cultishly adored bass producer. After nearly 2 decades unravelling the mystery - with countless breakdowns, assessments and even dissertations written about how the artist composes and records his music - William Bevan had decided it's time for a further redux.

                                                                      Reducing the sound to just vapours, the record 'explores an interzone between dislocated, patchwork songwriting and eerie, open-world game-space ambience', which perfectly puts into context what you have in front of you. Like walking through Skyrim's metaverse loaded up on dissociatives  and ketamine, there's no real linear structure to the album. As usual, snips, sounds and textures take precedent, but it's the silences and the spaces BETWEEN the snips that Burial has really emphasized on "Antidawn". There's a movement created with sparseness - a change of feeling; a beckoning towards the light through tense and dark realms.

                                                                      Encapsulated in a frozen, urban Winter; there's movements of painful sadness, juxtaposed between bursts of radioactive warmth as whispers of forgotten angels drift in on FM radio interference. It's quintessential Burial - crackles n static n all - but occupying a space that couldn't be further from the dancefloor. If his more recent 12"s have hinted at this wandering, non-linear, long-walk-home approach then on "Antidawn" we're lost & abandoned in the multidimensional realities of the present; with little reassurance that 'everything’s going to be ok'...

                                                                      It's as breathtaking and awe-inspiring as you'd expect from the UK demigod yet brittle, fragile, constricted and smothered in darkness. It's really nice to see him explore these realms and while thousands of his online bloggers and trolls will no doubt have countless critiques on his development; I for one am well on board.


                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                      Matt says: Burial heads even further down the cold, long & lonely road into almost pure isolation. Like walking through Skyrim's metaverse loaded up on dissociatives it's a completely transportive, if fragile and desolate listen.

                                                                      Warmduscher

                                                                      Tainted Lunch

                                                                        Warmduscher return.

                                                                        Heavy metals.

                                                                        Disco Peanuts.

                                                                        CCTV in the break room.

                                                                        A little something to get you through the week. There’s enough to go around. Revenge is a dish best served bold. Melt in the mouth disco basslines on a fragrant bed of feedback. Try it with the boom bap tapenade. Here for a good time, not a long time.

                                                                        If you made your way out of Whale City with your faculties intact, this one’s for you. Clams Baker, Lightnin’ Jack Everett, Mr Salt Fingers Lovecraft and The Witherer have been joined by Quicksand on cutting board and cheese wire and commis chef Cheeks on vibes. They’ve been cooking. Michelin stars. The finest ingredients money can buy: Kool Keith and Iggy Pop. Funk, punk, hip-hop and lounge rock. Love is real.

                                                                        Band biographer and revered botanist Dr Alan Goldfarb describes the album as “a sample hole through which to taste another universe. A dramatic warning. A gilded aroma. It is a tale of wanton desire and limitless treachery. A tale of disillusionment – the refusal of exploitation.”

                                                                        Tainted Lunch was recorded in just four days, with soupe du jour Dan Carey (Kate Tempest, black midi, Fontaines DC). Warmduscher continue to live on their razor-sharp wits. Or as Clams Baker puts it “there’s no way to stop now”. Delivering the goods you never knew you needed.

                                                                        If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                        Barry says: Massive, throbby basslines and snappy disco percussion take the lead before giving way into sweaty club grooves and distorted post-punk. Warmduscher succeed just as easily at hypnotic indie-rock as they do anthemic dancefloor tackle. Never a dull moment, and every one as brilliantly done as the last.

                                                                        Various Artists

                                                                        Heavenly Remixes 3 & 4 - Andrew Weatherall Volumes 1 & 2

                                                                          Andrew Weatherall was Heavenly’s first true friend. By the time the label was born in the spring of 1990, he was already an inspirational sounding board, as well as a fellow traveller on the bright new road that stretched out ahead thanks to the massive cultural liberation of acid house. Back then, every energised meeting could be turned into a fortuitous opportunity in this burgeoning new underground economy. Bored of your job? Start playing records out! Start a club night! Get in the studio! Start a label! Just don’t stand still. Andrew would follow two of those commandments for the rest of his life, and he’d have a hand in the others at various points as well.

                                                                          At the start of things, Andrew was a regular visitor to Capersville — the pre-Heavenly press office run by friend and label founder Jeff Barrett (soon to become Andrew’s manager). It was there that he famously picked up a copy of Primal Scream’s unloved second album and singled out a track that would later become Loaded, after being given an instruction to ‘fucking destroy’ it by the band’s Andrew Innes; it was there too that the idea to remix the first Heavenly release came about.

                                                                          Andrew’s mix of that first Heavenly record is very much a product of its time. The World According To Sly and Lovechild is a swirling bass punch topped with a hypnotic marimba line and the kind of ecstatic diva vocal that you’d hear coming out of the speakers all night at post-Shoom clubs like Yellow Book. His take on the label’s next release — Saint Etienne’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart (A Mix of Two Halves) — would set the template for his next three decades of audio exploration. A drawn-out imperial dub, the track builds and builds with a moody intensity (partly down to the melodica played by Weather Prophets legend Pete Astor) that’s far more Kingston JA at dusk than Kingston-upon-Thames at kicking out time. It’s both a dancefloor record to get lost in and headphone psychedelia of the highest order — a perfect example of what he did better than anyone else.

                                                                          Between 1990 and his untimely death in 2020, Andrew fed more Heavenly bands through the mixing desk than those of any other label. Consistently, he returned visionary music to the office, often in person for (at least) one ceremonial playback — a ritual that would involve the volume cranked up high and Andrew rocking back on his heels, eyes closed, lost in the alchemy of it all.

                                                                          Each time, he would warp and twist originals into beautiful new shapes — elasticated club records that might evoke Detroit techno one second and Throbbing Gristle the next, before wheel-spinning into something akin to The Fall produced by King Tubby.

                                                                          Andrew’s studio adventures would always be guided by that early advice to fucking destroy the source material. It’s why he was the first name that came up when remixes were discussed; the first number on the speed dial. Listening back to these remixes now — to thirty years of glorious outsider sounds — it’s more obvious than ever that Heavenly was blessed to have a friend like Andrew Weatherall. 


                                                                          Various Artists

                                                                          Heavenly Remixes 3 - Andrew Weatherall Volume 1

                                                                            Andrew Weatherall was Heavenly’s first true friend. By the time the label was born in the spring of 1990, he was already an inspirational sounding board, as well as a fellow traveller on the bright new road that stretched out ahead thanks to the massive cultural liberation of acid house. Back then, every energised meeting could be turned into a fortuitous opportunity in this burgeoning new underground economy. Bored of your job? Start playing records out! Start a club night! Get in the studio! Start a label! Just don’t stand still. Andrew would follow two of those commandments for the rest of his life, and he’d have a hand in the others at various points as well.

                                                                            At the start of things, Andrew was a regular visitor to Capersville — the pre-Heavenly press office run by friend and label founder Jeff Barrett (soon to become Andrew’s manager). It was there that he famously picked up a copy of Primal Scream’s unloved second album and singled out a track that would later become Loaded, after being given an instruction to ‘fucking destroy’ it by the band’s Andrew Innes; it was there too that the idea to remix the first Heavenly release came about.

                                                                            Andrew’s mix of that first Heavenly record is very much a product of its time. The World According To Sly and Lovechild is a swirling bass punch topped with a hypnotic marimba line and the kind of ecstatic diva vocal that you’d hear coming out of the speakers all night at post-Shoom clubs like Yellow Book. His take on the label’s next release — Saint Etienne’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart (A Mix of Two Halves) — would set the template for his next three decades of audio exploration. A drawn-out imperial dub, the track builds and builds with a moody intensity (partly down to the melodica played by Weather Prophets legend Pete Astor) that’s far more Kingston JA at dusk than Kingston-upon-Thames at kicking out time. It’s both a dancefloor record to get lost in and headphone psychedelia of the highest order — a perfect example of what he did better than anyone else.

                                                                            Between 1990 and his untimely death in 2020, Andrew fed more Heavenly bands through the mixing desk than those of any other label. Consistently, he returned visionary music to the office, often in person for (at least) one ceremonial playback — a ritual that would involve the volume cranked up high and Andrew rocking back on his heels, eyes closed, lost in the alchemy of it all.

                                                                            Each time, he would warp and twist originals into beautiful new shapes — elasticated club records that might evoke Detroit techno one second and Throbbing Gristle the next, before wheel-spinning into something akin to The Fall produced by King Tubby.

                                                                            Andrew’s studio adventures would always be guided by that early advice to fucking destroy the source material. It’s why he was the first name that came up when remixes were discussed; the first number on the speed dial. Listening back to these remixes now — to thirty years of glorious outsider sounds — it’s more obvious than ever that Heavenly was blessed to have a friend like Andrew Weatherall. 



                                                                            💫 Happy New Music Friday 💫 So much great music out today and we’ve got brand new banners up from @BurialUKhttps://t.co/TaMZ4deb8D
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                                                                            Thu 27th - 6:00
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