MAGIC MIX

ALL GENRES

WEEK STARTING 15 Feb

Agar Agar

The Dog And The Future

    NME - #61 in albums of the year "The French duo's debut album is a surreal synth-pop voyage that'll give your head a little wobble in all the right ways. Check out 'Sorry About The Carpet' and you'll see what we're getting at".

    Debut album from French electronic duo Agar Agar. Following their first EP "Cardan" (with 20 000 000 streams), the 25 years old art student duo release their first LP "The Dog And The Future", a synthetic travel infused with 80s electro-sound, synth-wave touch and a bunch of talent. Reviews and features in Quietus, Mixmag, FACT, Dazed, The 405, The Skinny, Killing Moon, Gigsoup, Oui Love. 

    South London virtuoso keys wizard Joe Armon-Jones returns with two freaked out dub versions, re-rubbing two entries from his debut for Brownswood earlier this year. ‘Starting Today Dub’ is stripped back and stretched out to maximum effect. ‘Mollison Dub Vocal Version (Feat. Asheber)’ spaces out the original and adds in extra vocals from West London dub staple Asheber.

    His debut album, Starting Today, came out in May 2018. Part of the vibrant young jazz scene in London, it brought together a bunch of players under that umbrella. It was praised by Pitchfork, Loud and Quiet and CLASH. In the words of The Wire, it’s "bass-rich music hustle straight out of the London soul-jazz-dance lineage.”


    Performing throughout the 1980s as Art Carnage to the gloomy hipsters of Portland, Attilio Panissidi III decided he needed a vacation. The result of his creative escape became Art Takes A Holiday, an album of fabricated FM synthscapes and MIDI environments that embrace elements of smooth jazz, new age, and pop.

    Attilio had been playing in bands since he was thirteen, and had opened live shows for countless acts, from The Shangri-Las to Bruce Hornsby. The experience of producing, performing, as well as years spent writing for local music magazine The Downtowner, earned Attilio a gig to score a commercial film for a home security systems company. The opportunity allowed him to explore softer elements in his writing, and he created a suite of songs much deeper than the commission warranted. These instrumentals caught the attention of Marlon McClain (Gap Band, Shock), who invited Attilio to produce and release the music on his fledgling Nu-Vision label. Thus "Art Takes A Holiday" found its commercial release on cassette and CD in 1989. Although originally intended as soundtrack music, the album retains its own momentum, narrative and evocative imagery that betrays Attilio’s years of crafting songs. Attilio found a perfect ambience on this mythic retreat, somewhere between William Aura’s summer cottage on Half Moon Bay and DJ Alfredo’s Balearic island getaway.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Originally released in the era when New Age and new technology found a perfect synergy, “Art Takes A Holiday” is a killer set of exotic synth suites, future primitive grooves and esoteric dancers, each of which could have graced the soundtrack of a late 80s film about cops, surfing and computer systems.

    Released in 1973, 'Coffy' was a Blaxploitation film directed by Jack Hill, starring Pam Grier as a female vigilante, who's tag line was 'They call her Coffy and she'll cream you!'
    This seven inch  features four killer Roy Ayers jams from the soundtrack, they're all, as you'd expect, heavy on the horns, vibes and wah wah. So, if you want to spend your evenings imagining you're strutting your not inconsiderable stuff across 110th Street, this my good friend, is the record for you.



    I have enjoyed deep house since my tender years. I still love it and even more when newcomers keep it sweet, original and making the most of the new technology available. This release is as deep as they come with 'love' as the theme that underpins the four tracks on here. 
     
    A theme touched by many deep house producers since the beginning of time, no doubt. On A side you get 'The Strings' and guess what is at the centre stage of this scorcher? Some hot string sample a la Pepe Bradock - although without wanting to offend anyone, this is no 'Burning'. It is a great dancefloor warmer though. 
    On 'The Only One' things focuse on love - more precisely on its carnal version of it. This is made clear on the steamy vocals. The beat is very sensuous and punchy, the synth is delicate and suave making this track the one for me. 
     
    Flip it and you get another version of 'The Strings', as good if not better actually. And for dessert you get 'My Love' - here we leave carnality aside and we get more philosophical and we ask ourselves, what is love really? Is it an innate feeling, is it a societal construction, a survival instinct? Who defines love? Well, I do not have the answers to such introspective questions but if you listen to 'My Love' and its beautiful piano you may find the answers. Do please share them with us! 
     
    A well-rounded release with a limited press so if you snooze, you may lose. 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Sil says: Solid release on A-Z as it is the norm with this great label. Deep house at its finest that should be in your record bag for many moons to come.

    The mighty Beak> – made up of Billy Fuller, Will Young, and Geoff Barrow of that band fame – return with their most claustrophobic album yet, chock full of the krautrock grooves, meandering structures and off-kilter melodies that fans of the band have come to expect from them. Having knocked it out of the park with their ‘Sex Music’ single earlier this year, >>> carries on in the same subtle, bass-led vein.
    The trio flirt with chaos throughout the album, pushing each instrument through layers of distortion and reverb to the brink of recognisability, and the countless eerie squeaks, sci-fi synths and fucked-with-strings only add to its otherworldly nature. >>> is as mesmerising as it is uneasy, teetering on a tightrope stretched between soft, winding compositions and edgy, no nonsense heft.
    Pretty much every song is a highlight. ‘Birthday Suit’ is devastating, all fluttering synths, lo-fi vocals and heartbreak, while ‘Allé Sauvage’ is a dangerously danceable seven-and-a-half-minuter, with blips galore and razor sharp hi-hats driving the song along nicely. ‘RSI’ is a motoric gem. Scratch that – Beak> are a motoric gem.
    But ‘When We Fall’ is on another level entirely. First released under the band’s Like easy listening music thrown off a cliff and pieced back together again, >>> is a Frankenstein’s monster of atmosphere, griminess, groove and space. Transcendent.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Javi says: You’d be right to judge >>> by its brilliant cover because it’s a brilliant album, and one that’s likely to win 2018 for me. Buy it / play it / love it.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Picture Disc includes MP3 Download Code.

    Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Bis

    Slight Disconnects

      Glasgow indie favourites fourth studio album is a spectacular study in the art of the pop song, both reflective and forward looking. Jam packed full of hooks and classic bis choruses the album also has more reflective moments as you would expect, some 17 years after their last lp. Debut single “Sound of a Heartbreak” will be released in January 2019 and will be premiered on Radio 6 Chris Hawkins show. Bis are Steven Clark (Sci-fi Steven), John Clark (John Disco), and Amanda MacKinnon (Manda Rin). 

      An expressive electronic album filled with sadness, yet one with the sort of positive, stirring resolve that leaves you feeling utterly comforted, Bjarki’s new album "Happy Earthday" is influenced by his home country Iceland as well as environmental issues. 'Maybe you can feel the melancholy of my life, the nature overall. Volcanos and the lava flowing down the slopes, the frightening noise of the ocean beating the land, the strong wind in the mountain passes and a glimpse of the first ray of the rising sun over the glacier. Now that is the dawn of a new day.”

      Having released bodies of work on Nina Kraviz’s label трип and his own label bbbbbb, Bjarki views "Happy Earthday" as his proper debut album; he feels it’s a more coherent and conceptual body of work that finds him offering up music he never thought he would release. 'You can consider this album a window into my head and even my soul,' says Bjarki. 'For me it is a bit odd, sharing like this to the world. As a very private person I am not used to opening my door so completely. It’s a little scary for me. ‘What if …’ I wonder, expecting all kinds of everything.'

      The album contains very personal material written over the last decade during fragile moments of introspection. And because of that, 'releasing this album is also a kind of a farewell to music I made in a certain period in my life. It’s like I’m saying farewell to a grown-up child which is now ready to leave the nest.'

      There are skeletal rhythms with sombre chords lingering in the air, downbeat drums with heavy moods, and moments of more uplifting optimism along the way. Throughout the album - made up of comparatively short tracks that help the whole thing move at an engaging pace - Bjarki always manages to make his machines sing with real resonance; they ooze genuine pain and a stunning sense of melancholy that is comforting even when the tempo is raised and drums come to the fore.


      David Bowie

      Let’s Dance (2019 Remastered Edition)

        Let's Dance is the 15th studio album by David Bowie. Originally released on 14 April 1983, this vinyl edition is newly remastered.

        David Bowie

        Never Let Me Down (2019 Remastered Edition)

          Never Let Me Down is the 17th studio album by David Bowie. Originally released on 20 April 1987, this vinyl edition is newly remastered.

          David Bowie

          Tonight (2019 Remastered Edition)

            Tonight is the sixteenth studio album by David Bowie. Originally released on 29 September 1984, this vinyl edition is newly remastered.

            Shanti Celeste & Hodge

            Soba Dance

            Oh yeah, papi, toma temazo! Hodge and Celeste team up to produce what I understand to be and unapologetic banger but let me be clear, fellow reader, it is a banger in my books! To be banger and in my books it has to be solidly off the beaten track and not able to please the masses - just the literati. Are you in? Surely you are. 'Soba' with its galloping rhythm and misty pads encompass my definition of... banger masher. So does the more trippy journey and slightly sombre corners displayed in 'Pips' and the irrevocably great 'Alula' - a true dancefloor destroyer. 
             
            This is the record that finds Shanti and Hodge teasing new ideas together whilst retaining dancefloor magic and sensibilities. Did I say 'Oh yeah'? Well... oh yeah to myself then! 
             
            If you are short of dough, make this the only 12" you get this week. No regrets. 


            STAFF COMMENTS

            Sil says: Dancefloor realness that it has been much needed through all my prelistenings this week. Hence I get extremely excited and I even start to shake my aging hips. But who would not with this 3 scorchers that see Celeste and Hodge kill it with such elegance? Top draw wax.

            A mythical and misplaced masterpiece of lost soft rock and acidic folk funk by a one-hit wonderer lost in the wilderness for four decades. From the producer of Margo Guryan, writer behind Wool, Gerry Mulligan collaborator, Tarantino soundtracker and Wendy & Bonnie confidant, ‘Paint A Lady’ now emerges from folkloric obscurity, to bring a wash of soft psychedelic colour to your vinyl collection and quench the repeat requests of a thirsty new found audience waiting for the rain.

            Within certain record collecting circles, especially those who gather under the umbrella that covers fragile niches like ‘acid folk’ and ‘soft rock’, it’s difficult to imagine a time when the legendary Susan Christie album didn’t exist. When Finders Keepers Records first shared the unheard 60s songs like ‘Paint A Lady’, ‘For The Love Of A Soldier’ and ‘Echoes In Your Mind’ with a wide-eyed audience thirsty for organic soul and festival friendly acoustic funk, Susan’s new found fanbase instantly felt like they had known these songs all of their lives. Which is why it’s hard to believe that the music on this lost 60s acetate was only pressed 12 years ago.

            As the label’s lucky seventh release in an international discography that now surpasses the 100 mark (and one of a small clutch of English language recordings on the label), ‘Paint A Lady’ has slowly become one of Finders Keepers’ most requested re-releases and with this 2018 edition it is technically accurate to say that this pressing is the first-ever reissue of this elusive and essential album.

            The oft overused term ‘mythical’ applies to this album on many levels. Perhaps it’s the woozy nostalgia found within the pop craft of ‘Paint A Lady’ that has led to false rumours that original 1960s copies used to exist on the collectors market, or the bizarre claim that songs like the head-nodding title track and the acid-drenched sound effects on ‘Yesterday Where’s My Mind’ were just a product of a contemporary studio band trying to create a fake folk funk red herring. As a result, Susan Christie and her producer and husband of 40 years, John Hill, have happily taken the repeated phrase ‘unbelievable’ as a compliment to their songwriting skills and foresight.

            In all fairness, with a decade to ponder, the original 1969 song titles alone do seem custom- built for the nostalgia market: ‘No One Can Hear You Cry’ might lament the unrequited yearning for a record deal which never quite followed Susan’s won one-hit wonder novelty hit ‘I Love Onions’; similarly, ‘When Love Comes’ might allude to the subsequent 35 year wait for the right label to eventually come along.

            ‘Echoes In Your Mind’ and the aforementioned ‘Yesterday...’ could easily allude to the haunting melodies that sat in the can on John Hill’s studio shelf while his projects for Margo Guryan, Wool and Pacific Gas & Electric sat proudly in record racks before benefitting successful French cover versions or making their way on to Quentin Tarantino soundtracks. The track ‘Paint A Lady’ itself, complete with its future-proofed sample-worthy rhythm section, seems like the perfect title for a mock rock pseudo psych contender, at which point you eventually step back and see the bigger picture.

            These guys were simply one drop too far ahead of their time; a family force of experimental pop perfection that late 60s America simply wasn’t ready for. It is just over 12 years since champion record rustler Keith D’Arcy (who you’ll meet on the inside sleeve) stumbled upon one of the original acetates that led to the final release of ‘Paint A Lady’ and it’s almost a longer 50 years since Susan and John added their final touches to these recordings that tragically went into hibernation for over four decades.

            Whether this album has been on your wish-list for what seems like a lifetime, or you are taking your first plunge into this deep puddle, when the needle drops on the first track you’ll find that Susan Christie, John Hill and Finders Keepers have been saving up for a very rainy day.

            '"White Shadows In The South Seas" is the title of a book written in 1919 by Frederick O’Brien as part of a trilogy he wrote based on his experiences living in the Pacific islands in the early part of the 20th century. His book was taken as the starting point for a film to be directed, initially, by Robert Flaherty (famous at the time for his groundbreaking documentary / fiction film Nanook Of The North) with W.S.Van Dyke as his support. The film, ultimately, apart from the title, had little to do with O’Brien’s book and Flaherty left the film after a few months leaving Van Dyke to finish it. I purchased O'Brien's book, along with many others, from Basement Books, a secondhand bookstore in Melbourne/Australia. Part of my 'Islomania' and ongoing fascination with all things Pacific. When I discovered there was a 1929 silent film based on the book I sought it out and started to present it as part of my 'Live Music/Silent films' repertoire. Tabu by Frederick Murnau, which coincidently also had Flaherty as co-director originally, was the first film I ever wrote / improvised a score for and presented as a live film/music performance. My repertoire extends to over 23 films now.

            My eclectic and diverse musical and artistic interests extend into 'Hawaiian', ‘Exotica’, ‘Ambient’ and 'Electronic' Music.

            "White Shadows In The South Seas" features some of the music presented in my live screenings of the 1929 silent film. '

            - Mike Cooper

            Mike Cooper plays – Electric and acoustic lap steel guitars / electronics / Zoom Sampletrack / Kaos Pad / Casio SK1 / Korg Drum Machine / Self Made Instruments.

            It also features field recordings made on Pulau Ubin by Mike Cooper during a month as Artist In Residence for The Artist Village / Singapore.

            All music written and played by Mike Cooper PRS/MCPS - except Po Mahina (trad. Arr. Cooper) and Hilo Hanakahi (trad. Arr. Cooper)

            Recorded and Mixed at the Steelworks in Rome 2012/2013.


            FORMAT INFORMATION

            2xLP Info: In silk-screened sleeves, with metallic ink.

            Theon Cross strides confidently forth from his crucial role alongside Shabaka Hutchings in the award-winning Sons Of Kemet to unleash one of the vital sounds of 2019. Irresistibly inventive, while at once both serious and witty - Theon Cross plays Tuba like no-one else. An enormous, swaggering bass emanates from his magnificent horn, evoking sweaty clubnights where dance floor bangers sit side by side with intricate arrangements.

            Nubya Garcia and Moses Boyd, London’s Jazz golden generation illuminaries, feature heavily. Wayne Francis of Steam Down also guests. Refusing to be shackled by the confines of Jazz, the album draws on London’s vivacious cutural heritage, dipping in and out of grime, afrobeat, electronic, dub, dancehall and Jamaican roots music.

            Theon featured recently on the much lauded Makaya McCraven’s ‘Where We Come From’ album. He’s also performed with the likes of Kano, Moses Boyd, Jon Batiste, Pharoahe Monch, Courtney Pine and is a founding figure in South London-based collective Steam

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Millie says: Theon Cross has been saving this gem for us, after working on other albums from Sons of Kemet and Makaya McCraven. Reaching out to other collaborators like Moses Boyd and Nubiya Garcia, makes Fyah a seamless Jazz album which is just what's needed right now.

            Cucina Povera

            Zoom

              Zoom is a verité collection of situational recordings made by Cucina Povera - aka Finnish-born, Glasgow-based sound artist Maria Rossi - in intimate spaces full of acoustic or ideological intrigue, primarily using a capella voice. It is a document of different locations and moods that interested the recorder, a postcard look into the stream-of-consciousness processes of an artist developing her own language.

              Using little else other than a Tascam Zoom recorder and loop pedal these are highly personal recordings originally intended as notes for future compositions that ended up becoming the purest rendition of this first phase of Cucina Povera's music to date. Originally presented as WAV files named simply ZOOM---, these on-the-fly compositions are a perfect distillation of Rossi's practice. With no augmentation, not even a song-title, these bare, beautiful tracks become a materialist document of the wonder of the every-day.

              While Rossi's previous album, Hilja, was a sculpted whole that at times used post-production techniques and electronic instruments, Zoom presents acoustic sound as a source of joy and discovery largely without artifice. Rossi's voice is used a searchlight, shining into the crevices of a room's dark corners, or as on ZOOM0005, projected into a Coke bottle aperature, for an almost Shakuhachi texture. Voice dissapates into texture, with rhythms created by simple hissing sounds and the interweaving of loops. ZOOM0001 interlocks 4 different a capella melodies to create a chorus, an improvised solo hymn that seems to rise and rise. ZOOM0010 uses staccato vocal bursts, like Meridith Monk huffing out Steve Reich rhythms, while the soloing Rossi expertly ducks in and out of the frame.

              Like the most celestial moments of her debut Hilja it is a religious experience but rendered more powerful in its naked, secular form. Indeed, there are shades of Hilja in the sounds, with some strains resurfacing from that album, insinuating that Rossi's practise is a continuing form, a series of sentences in the artists' personal language that mutate over time, bending into new shapes. On Zoom, Rossi’s minimalism is fully stark, a process fully transparent and all the more celestially powerful because of it.

              12 brand new tracks produced entirely by The Czar-Keys (7L & Jeremy Page). Fresh off 2018’s collaborative LP with the enigmatic MF Doom, “Czarface meets Metal Face”, the adventure continues as Czarface now faces off with Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah. "Czarface meets Ghostface” brings strictly mind melting beats and bars as 3 emcees clash like villains & heroes in the Savage Land.

              Czarface, a hip-hop & comics force comprised of Wu-Tang Clan's General Inspectah Deck, Esoteric (who recently penned an X-Men comic for Marvel) and super producer 7L team up with Ghostface aka Iron-Man aka Tony Starks for murderous mayhem! Czar commando's Rebel INS & Esoteric trade lines such as 'follow in my footsteps might tear your Achilles,' & 'flow customized got that Dapper Dan touch' with Ghost on the assist 'chain is off the cooler, charm look like a shrunken head'. With track titles like "The King Heard Voices", "Mongolian Beef", "Czarrcade '87", "Masked Superstars" & "Powers and Stuff" expect nothing short of a super charged collaboration! 


              Interesting release here. Why? We do not get many electro records. Why? Well, it is not a 'major' genre we sell loads of or it could also be that our customers do not feel the warmth of electro enough. Good news is I do feel the warmth of electro - when it is how I like it and this D.I.E. guy, although oozing dark energy with such alias, his music is the ideal soundtrack for a stroll in the paradise discotheque. 'Never Ending Beats 2' is a very inviting, soothing, pleasant on the ear 'soft' electro number. Once you are in, 'R U Married' kicks in with some odd questionnaire dropped onto some lady on this considered Detroit legendary track. Funny. Odd. Funny really. It is electro and a bit techno in a way, but not as obvious as what you hear on the flipside. 
               
              Things get a bit harsher on 'Not R Fault Live Version'. In fact, imagine playing Missile Command on the NES and this is your soundtrack instead of the crappy 8bit one that this game comes with. Perfecto booster for your shooting orgy.
               
              Closing act is 'My House'. I thought it was going to be a homage to the house genre. It is not. It is electro with great vocals and a punchy bassline. 
               
              That is all folks. That is my reading on this one. Definetly one to give a listen to!


              STAFF COMMENTS

              Sil says: Great electro record here with some surprises and with a bit for everyone. Softer side and harsher side of the genre are reflected on this 12". Worth a listen. Hopefully you will concur.

              The Daktaris is a well-disciplined army of two hundred African Bull Elephants marching relentlessly up your business to the beat from Funky Drummer. Or so began the liner notes on the original pressing of this album.

              Truth is often stranger than fiction. In 1998 Desco Records—a precursor to Daptone and Soul Fire records—released The Daktaris’ Soul Explosion, ostensibly as a reissue of an unearthed Nigerian LP from the seventies. Though it’s now common knowledge that the story was a bit of a hoax, the record’s significance as a seminal part of the Afrobeat and afro-funk renaissance of the last two decades cannot be denied. The roots of the Budos Band, Antibalas, and uncountable others can be traced back to this enigmatic afro-funk release.

              Now, two decades later, Daptone has remastered the album from the original tapes, including a bonus track that had previously only been available on a 45, and featuring extensive all new liner notes by Bosco Mann telling the bizarre true story behind the Daktaris sessions.

              Danilo & Pablo

              10 Years MCDE Recordings

              It's been 10 years since the very first Motor City Drum Ensemble records came through. I remember the occasion like it was only yesterday! But since that we've seen label head Danilo Plessow become somewhat of a demigod amongst the house fraternity. Alongside Pablo Valentino (Creative Swing Alliance), who he started the label with, they contribute a brilliant double header for the label's 10th anniversary.

              "Don't You Ever Change" sounds like vintage Rotating Assembly, with pluming Rhodes alongside that MPC rich, Sound Signature-esque drum palette and flurries of Amp Fiddler-approved keys. "Loops For Eternity" keeps with that OG Detroit house flavour, sounding like a lost Moodymann cut through its tasty samples and swirling cut-up sections. Add some tense strings and you've got a cut that wouldn't sound out of place on "Black Mahogany". We've only got a few of these folks so don't delay! 


              FORMAT INFORMATION

              Ltd 12" Info: Super limited 12" release.

              Delta Rain Dance is an experimental artist and label project delving into contemplative, and melancholic states, with a record that blissfully glides between ambient and delicate moods into more percussive and electronic states. A hybrid puzzle of melodic cuts, DJ tools and drum tracks, that can be mixed together to create new amalgamations of the source material.

              "Trancemission/Transmission" showcases a musical narrative that transcends genres and moods, switching between flashes of dubbed techno, abstract percussive electronica, and stark downtempo vibes.

              A record structured around progressions, heavy on sound design and imagination. It takes the listener into different astral planes, from tranquil moments of temperate melodies, to off-kilter periods of electro. Ghostly radio transmissions, dubbed out Rhodes, underwater frequencies, and broadcasts from beyond the digital ether. It is a modern take on "Music for Airports", albeit written for a post-millennial audience, one that grew up on Dilla, Vatican Shadow, Grouper and Digital Mystikz. Drum tracks, locked grooves, and sparse sketches of melody and reverb soaked harmonies. "Delta Rain Dance" has produced a body of work that exists in two halves; the trancemissions operating as celestial, ambient skits; moments of dreamlike serenity, while on the flip, carefully programmed beats infer moments of Detroit, dubstep, and IDM, gently providing the framework to the album’s intricate, grainy basslines, and saturated overtones. The two halves of the record can be mixed together, and like a puzzle that needs to be solved, tracks fit together perfectly, creating an interactive musical game, in which the DJ can create new sonic interpretations of the album.


              E-Versions #1

              Kahn / Mingo

                After a string of heavy duty remixes in 2013, Mark E enjoyed a winter break spending quality solo time in the studio to launch the E-version series on Merc. The inaugural release sees Mark making his return to the world of edits he took by storm in 2009. On the A-side, he applies a punchy, peak time rework to Chaka Khan's peerless anthem of female empowerment, "I'm Every Woman". True to form, he rocks a pounding looped intro, subtly dropping conga and bongo rolls, guitar licks and vocal snippets to tease the crowd into a frenzy ("R+B Drunkie" style) before letting loose with the anthemic vocals. The production is perfectly balanced, powered up and filter to make a killer peaktime groove. On the flip, Mark offers something irresistable to the techno crowd in the form of Mingo. A persistent bass loop is driven on by the rapid fire ride, while the smudged and pitched down vocal forms a trippy duet with a depth charge synth note. Just when the intensity is about to take its toll, the Merc man stitches in some rattling ethnic percussion to offer a moment of respite before twisting the beats out again for the close. 


                “Hello. I’m Robert Ellis, The Texas Piano Man. I wanted to take a moment to say a few words about this record and what you might expect from it. ‘Texas Piano Man’ is a collection of songs specifically written for my piano driven Rock & Roll band from the great state of Texas. Myself and the guys bring these songs to you in the very spirit of Texas itself; loudly, confidently, over the top, larger than life, at times deadly serious and yet always with a wink and a smile. We invite you to come on in, stay a while, and when you leave take with you the spirit of these songs, the spirit of Texas, and the spirit of The Texas Piano Man himself. Adios!” - Robert

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: From the grand, cinematic soundtrackery of Elton John or off-kilter college-rock keyfoolery of Ben Folds, Robert Ellis skilfully weaves heartfelt piano minimalism into grand classic rock opuses (opii?) within the space of a couple minutes. Perfectly constructed and brilliantly conceived rock and/or roll.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive sky blue vinyl.

                Endon

                Boy Meets Girl

                  Endon is a band as mercurial as they are ferocious. Comprised of the quintet of vocalist Taichi Nagura, guitarist Koki Miyabe, drummer Shin Yokota and electronics/noisemakers Taro Aiko and Etsuo Nagura, Endon’s music is contained chaos, bending and colliding genres into one another atop a bed of thunderous distortion, feedback, and unearthly squeals. Vocalist Taichi’s voice embodies an unreal number of personalities with wordless howls seething one moment and agonized cries the next, before desperate gasps for air. It comes as no surprise that they have been credited as the most extreme band in Tokyo.

                  ‘Boy Meets Girl’ was envisioned as a soundtrack to an imagined horror film about love. The core of the ensemble’s song structures are often built around Koki’s fuzz-laden guitar and Shin’s drum bombast which propel torrents of hisses and squelches from Taro and Etsuo. Taichi’s largely lyricless screams, moans and whimpers are potent messengers of the songs’ emotional heft. There lies an ecstatic, excited energy amidst the anarchic defiance Endon's music exudes. Born of the same Japanese scenes that gave rise to the likes of Merzbow and Boredoms, their sound is equally diverse and abrasive. ‘Boy Meets Girl’ demonstrates Endon’s singular faculty to produce music that is at once tortured and transcendent.

                  You've heard of Baldelli & Loda right? Well, while Fabrizio Fattori might not have scored the same international acclaim for his work behind the turntable, the Italian did kill it in the studio, and this seven track set brings together the Afro-cosmic magic from his 1985 releases on London Records. Perfect for zero gravity dancing, eyeball licking and your next vision quest.
                  Sweatband carefully placed on the brow, that swift bathroom speedball pulling you this way and that, we begin. "Running On The Nile" condenses everything you love about the Cosmic / Balearic scene into five flawless minutes of loose limbed passion. Tribal shouts and tumbling drums, chizzed up basslines, faux brass, mallets and a seriously euphoric chorus! The pace drops a little for the scat-heavy fusion frenzy "Leg Pulling", a mutant cousin of "Stop Bajon", before "Black Babe" locks into slo-mo fist pumps and sax-led swooning across two versions. (N.B. the last time I went tops off in a club was when I heard Baldelli drop this in Milan - Patch)
                  Slow-jam unlocked, Fabrizio keeps the magic coming, cooking up the totally tribal Stargate tackle "Bara-Hum-Ba", a break-fuelled exotic stomper with ace pianos and chanted vox. In dub form "Leg Pulling" is imbued with new, ultra-Balearic powers while the cinematic, dramatic and dreamy cosmic thrust of "Babihe" sounds like the first time you came up. Bliss!

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Patrick says: Best Records continue to smash it out the park, following a recent string of essential Italo and boogie reissues with a heavy LP combining Fab Fattori's two in-demand cosmic EPs with a little bit of unreleased material. Perfect for tops off dancing in a mirror tiled room.

                  Brigitte Fontaine - Areski Belkacem

                  Vous Et Nous

                  Originally released in 1977, "Vous Et Nous" was the fourth release under the Areski - Fontaine alias, though the French duo had collaborated heavily over the previous decade or so. If you're au fait with their better known 1973 release "Je Ne Connais Pas Cet Homme", you'll be expecting astral folk explorations, arabesque tonalities and chanson-abstractions, and there's certainly a whole load of avant garde acoustics on show here. But "Vous Et Nous" sees the duo pushing the boundary, both in terms of tracklisting (a massive 34 compositions and poems) and technique, exploring electronics in a more direct way than ever before. Check the R2D2 bleeps of the titular opener for a taster, before diving headfirst into the slo-mo cosmic funk of "Patriarcat", a sleazy synth heater if ever I've heard one. On the organic end of the spectrum, "Je Suis Venu Te Voir" calls to mind the pagan jazz of Henri Texier while "Les Épis" takes us on an exotic jazz journey before jumping straight into a cosmic folk heartbreaker.
                  Experimental, free form and flowing, this is a triumph of expression and inspiration. 

                  Official remastered reissue from the original tapes of The Fresh Band's highly sought-after 1984 classic 'Come Back Lover'. Produced by The Strikers' Darryl Gibbs and mixed to maximum effect by the one and only Tony Humphries, this super cool disco boogie floor-burner made it big in the Underground dance clubs of Chicago & New York, receiving heavy rotation from legendary DJs like Mancuso, Larry Levan and Ron Hardy. This special re-release from Best Italy contains for the first time all the four versions mixed by the legendary Tony Humphries : including the astounding Tony Humphries Vocal, Dub, Remix and the rarest Dub Remix which moves towards a deeper, headier groove, with atmospheric echoing vocals and mind-blowing piano breaks.

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Patrick says: Absolutely vital groove music on the boogie / proto house overlap. Mixed by the one and only Tony Humphries, this bad MF throws out dojo moves in the heart of the dancefloor. All four versions should tickle your pickle, but the bass-heavy bump of the "Dub Remix" is on another level of trouser-tenting excellence.

                  'You prayed every night to sweet baby black Jesus that this would happen and it finally has. Pianist Elliot Galvin and I have made an album' - Binker Golding. Binker Golding (the sax in Binker and Moses) is 'Coltranesque' according to John Fordham’s review for The Guardian, and this record sees him forging a new partnership with Elliot Galvin, whose 'technical brilliance is matched with a very British sense of eccentricity' (The Jazz Mann). 'The combination of saxophonist Binker Golding and pianist Elliot Galvin is guaranteed to be awe-inspiring' says London Jazz News, and this full album doesn’t disappoint.

                  Elliot describes the record as 'high energy and spontaneous', which is definitely on point - an energy it maintains for over 40 minutes. Six new tracks recorded at The Vortex in London, which pull on all Binker’s and Elliot’s technical repertoire and delve into the experimental recesses of the minds of two of London’s young foremost exponents of jazz. Mastered by Noel Summerville, artwork by George Finlay Ramsay and G.S-L Studio. 


                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Emily says: Golding (of Binker and Moses) and Galvin push the physical boundaries of their instruments with techniques reminiscent of those used by expressionist composers. Tracks like “Adaequatio Intellectus Et Rei” and “Aliquid Stat Pro Aliquot” present a flurry of neurotic scratching, clattering and unexpected flourishes. Later on, ‘Non Plus Ultra’ offers a moment of melancholic serenity amidst the chaos. Not an easy listen, but a daring exploration of unique musical textures which might represent the darker recesses of the human psyche.

                  Helicon

                  Zero Fucks

                    Glasgow psych-rock heavyweights Helicon have been blowing minds across the UK with their esoteric noise for the best part of a decade; huge walls of cosmic, motorik noise colliding head-on with strung-out Sitar-led jams and nihilistic fuzz to magnificent effect. After picking up a notorious reputation for their live show and releasing a handful of EPs, it wasn’t until 2017 that Helicon released their long-overdue self-titled debut album - a declaration of intent that proved beyond any doubt why the band had become such a prominent face within the UK psych scene. Just over a year later and Helicon are set to release a new three-track EP titled Zero Fucks. Recorded live, mixed and produced in one day at Glasgow’s Green Door Studio, the new EP is comprised of three instrumentals that strip things down to their raw fundamentals and allow the band's expansive song-writing to take centre-stage.

                    Talking about the EP, vocalist and guitarist John-Paul Hughes explains: “We wrote the tracks on this record as we were preparing to tour ahead of Fuzz Club Eindhoven 2018. We wanted some new high-energy material for our live set and these three tracks went down so well in Eindhoven that we decided to get into the studio as quickly as possible to record them and try to capture what was happening at that moment.” Opening track ‘Phil Mitchell’d’ is a full-throttle kosmische freak-out about “getting off your fucking nut and causing carnage”, inspired by one particularly-ridiculous drunken night out involving a DJ set from Steve McFadden (Phil from Eastenders), wrestling with door-staff and watching a middle-aged couple get it on on the dancefloor while staring everyone out. ‘Come On Get Off’ is propelled by a “good old rip-snorting guitar riff that hooks you into a loop from the start and refuses to let go” and ‘I Hate Everyone But I Quite Like You’ begins as a soft washed-out psychedelic haze before unravelling into a warped far-out groove: “Like the title, it’s a song of two halves that completely shifts in dynamic halfway through. The way your life does when someone completely different comes into it. It’s probably about as close to a love song as we’d ever write.” 

                    The Hold Steady

                    Stay Positive - 10th Anniversary Reissue

                      Originally released in 2008 on Vagrant Records, this was the fourth studio album from The Hold Steady.


                      What we said about the album in 2008:
                      I'd heard this lot were Springsteen fans, but with the drawl and attack of the singer on the very first song, a "Warehouse" era Husker Du springs more readily to mind. What follows is an unbelievably life-affirming rock'n'roll record which recalls the E-Street Band only in its joy, effervescence and unflinching disregard for any notions of fashion or 'cool'. This is classic, passionate music from the heart, which, when married to such excellent, emotive lyrics (murder, dreams, hope, death, lowlife, wonder!) unfurls more like a film than an actual LP. Recommended.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      3xLP Info: 180g vinyl cut at 45rpm.

                      Holiday Ghosts

                      West Bay Playroom

                        Holiday Ghosts are back with their second LP West Bay Playroom, the follow-up to their acclaimed self-titled debut album from 2017. Originally starting out as a solo project from The Black Tambourines’ Sam Stacpoole the band evolved into a partnership with Katja Rackin, before turning into a full band with the debut album – showcasing a primitive rock ’n’ roll sound that’s been compared to The Modern Lovers and The Velvet Underground alongside current garage rock acts, and praised by the likes of The FADER, Stereogum, BrooklynVegan and KEXP. For West Bay Playroom the band’s refined their sound, offering a cleaner and more focused set of songs while breaking new ground and experimenting with influences from country, blues, spaghetti western soundtracks and more.

                        When you walk alone, you’re never lost. At least, that’s the operating principle behind Homeshake, the recording project of Peter Sagar. Over his first three albums, Sagar followed his own idiosyncratic vision, a journey that’s taken him from sturdy guitar-based indie-pop to, on 2017’s Fresh Air, a blearyeyed take on lo-fi R&B. Now, with Helium, Sagar is putting down roots in aesthetic territory all his own. Landscape that he once viewed from a distance now forms the bedrock of his sound, and from here, he looks back out at the world as if through a light fog, composing songs that feel grounded and intimate, even as they explore a dispersed feeling of isolation.

                        It’s a feeling that comes through not only in the gauziness of the production, but also in the vulnerability of the songs themselves. Sagar began writing Helium shortly after completing Fresh Air, and in the middle of what he calls a “binge” reading of Haruki Murakami. It’s not hard to picture the narrator of these songs as a distinctly Murakamian character: He moves through time by himself, bemused by and insulated from a world he doesn’t quite seem to have been made for. Everyone Sagar encounters here — including himself — seems to be a step removed from present reality, whether by technology (“Anything At All”), solitude (“Just Like My”), or sweet fantasy (“Like Mariah”). The record is stitched together by a series of instrumental interludes, synthesizer explorations whose haziness adds to the suspicion that this is all an uncanny dream.

                        Which isn’t to say that Sagar is unmoored in his own world. In fact, much of Helium is the result of what he calls “a much clearer mental state” than the one he’d experienced shortly following Fresh Air’s completion. “I had a better idea of the sound that was working for this record and what it was turning into as I was writing the songs,” he says. That’s owing in part to the album’s genesis. Where his previous three records were recorded directly to one-inch tape in a local studio, Helium was recorded and mixed by Sagar alone in his apartment in Montreal’s Little Italy neighborhood between April and June of this year. Freed of the rigid editing process he’d endured before, he was able to lose himself in pursuit of tone and texture. “I didn’t have to book time, compete for good hours, wait on availability. I did a lot of it at home in the middle of the night,” he says. “It made me get more obsessive about details.”

                        A budding interest in ambient and experimental music — particularly Visible Cloaks, DJs Paypal and Rashad, and Jlin — pushed him to tinker with the micro-sounds that surround the songs here. It’s a process he found creatively invigorating; even the tinkling boom-bap of Young Thug informs “All Night Long.” It’s a far cry from the chorus-laden guitars of his earlier work. “Ever since I started introducing synthesizers into my music, I’ve gotten more interested in texture,” he says. “I’d hit a creative dead end [with guitars], so synths took over.” The warm chords of a Roland Juno 60 form the album’s base, and gave him a clean palette with which to work. “No tape hiss, no humming power outlets and shitty mixing boards,” as he puts it. “Everything just came out nice and pure.”

                        Still, for all the growth it demonstrates, Helium is at its core a singer-songwriter’s record made by someone who doesn’t feel beholden to any particular set of sounds, textures, or instruments to get his point across. In that sense, it feels closer to the bone, at once assured of its vision and remarkably vulnerable. It’s perhaps our purest view yet of Homeshake’s home country.

                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Barry says: Low-key funky basses and woozy keys, smoothly rolling along underneath Sagar's perfectly ethereal vocals. Pieces like 'All Night Long' are at once wistful and dynamic, smoothly segueing between longing odes and syncopated, rhythmic lo-fi indie. Just as comfortable playing at home as in a darkened lounge-bar with a whiskey in hand, and a half-composed text message hanging in the balance.

                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Dinked Edition LP Info: Limited to just 300 numbered copies worldwide.
                        Exclusive "Fruit Punch" colour vinyl.
                        Includes exclusive art print.

                        Barbara Howard's "On The Rise" is more than just another rare soul LP. It's a love story. It's a dream. It was an attempt to break through. And although Barbara certainly never became a star, one song did become a staple in rare soul and funk DJ sets, keeping interest in Barbara Howard just under the surface. And as fate would have it in 2016, a sealed copy of the LP would find its way into Plaid Room Records in Loveland, OH and kick start the revival of her story and her music. In 1968, as an outgrowth of a community movement and talent search program called "Operation Step-Up", Steven Reece wanted to take his community movement to the next level.

                        This is when the idea of founding an independent label came to mind. The idea was to self-produce quality records and through successful sales attempt to land major label distribution. Steve identified Barbara Howard as the talent and set to producing her record. The idea was to produce an LP with a variety of tracks that could be marketed to a variety of radio formats and markets (gospel, pop, soul, jazz, etc.). And while the record fizzled shortly after its release, Steve and Barbara ended up getting married shortly afterwards making this possibly the most romantic production of a record in soul music history. So via Colemine's reissue imprint Remined Records, we are proud to present to you Barbara Howard's "On The Rise". 


                        Infiniti (Juan Atkins) / Reel By Real

                        Techno Por Favor / Sundog

                        To lovers of that OG Detroit techno sound, there's few names conjure up as much excitement as Juan Atkins and Martin Bonds. Individually the two producers pioneered and developed the first incarnation of the sound; taking cues from Kraftwerk, Parliament and the darkening mood of inner city Detroit and contrasting it with an optimistic, futuristic vision guided by machines. Together, under the Reel By Real moniker they also made some of the finest blueprints of the genre - that mechanized funk, sci-fi outlook and technologically focused production leaving many listeners entranced and other producers scratching their heads.

                        The two tracks here were both released on Atkins' Metroplex Records around '90 & '91. Re-mastered and repressed by the Music Preservation Society and now collated on one, essential twelve inch.


                        Ishmael Ensemble

                        Severn Songs 3: The River Feat. Yazz Ahmed

                        Hot-on-the-heels of their performance on BBC 6 Music, for Gilles Peterson's ‘UK Jazz Special’, at the hallowed Maida Vale studios (alongside Nubya Garcia, Joe Armon-Jones and Fatima), Ishmael Ensemble bring their Bristol-inspired "Severn Songs" project to a triumphant finale. "Severn Songs 3" pays homage the mighty river itself, in both title and mood. Field recordings from the banks of another iconic river - the Ganges - made by keyboardist and co-writer Jake Spurgeon meander in and out of focus, whilst celestial percussion ushers in the full-bodied tone of celebrated jazz trumpeter Yazz Ahmed's horn. The track climaxes in true Ishmaelian fashion with a whirlwind of pulsating synthesizers, crashing drums and hypnotic brass flurries, before easing back into the dulcet rhythm of oars lapping through water.

                        On the flip, a reprise takes the listener on a much gentler ride. However, the tension and dynamics of this twin version are still very much apparent. Throughout the release, an array of new instruments open up in Cunningham's armoury; most notably bass clarinet, alto-flute and the sarod – leaving the listener just a few strings shy of a full orchestral experience.

                        As a whole, the "Severn Songs" project has seen Cunningham develop an already diverse palette into something more focused. Tiptoeing between the current British jazz boom and Bristol's rich musical ancestry, the group have found a truly unique and refreshing voice.

                        "Severn Songs 3" follows media praise, radio airplay and DJ support for the first two 7”s in the series from the likes of Dan Snaith (Caribou), Gilles Peterson, Tom Ravenscroft, DJ Mag, Complex, Self-Titled, The Vinyl Factory and XLR8R.

                        Musicians:
                        Pete Cunningham: saxophone, synths, keys
                        Jake Spurgeon: modular synth, keys, sarod
                        Yazz Ahmed: flugelhorn
                        Ross Hughes: bass clarinet, alto flute
                        Rory O'Gorman: drums
                        Stephen Mullins: guitar
                        Jackson Lapes: percussion


                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Emily says: The Ishmael Ensemble craft a hypnotic groove with rich brass motifs, crashing drums and shimmering percussion. While reminiscent of middle eastern tonality and the spiritual jazz tradition, the undulating synth lines bring it firmly into the realms of new UK jazz.

                        One of the most beautiful soul records Melodies International have reissued as of yet: Jack Jacobs – I Believe It’s Alright. Jack Jacobs grew up in Philadelphia and started out his singing career with an acapella doo-wop singing group before becoming lead singer in some Philly R&B bands. After a while he decided to take up the keyboard so he got a full-sized Hammond B-3 organ, which he used to lug back and forth to gigs from his 3rd floor apartment. Jack is remembered by friends and family as an incredibly talented musician and one of the most soulful vocalists they’ve ever known. Childhood friend and jazz guitar legend Pat Martino recalls: “I’ve had a chance to work with some seriously heavy-duty singers, such as Ray Charles. He (i.e. Jack) was so spontaneously prolific; he was a poet. I can play some things for you right now and you would be shocked to find out he had no idea what he was about to sing. The lyrics were absolutely phenomenal, and they were extremely spiritual in context in terms of the message he was talking about. They were Biblical lyrics; absolutely overwhelming – just incredible”. After Jack moved to Atlantic City in the 1970s, he wrote and recorded “I Believe It’s Alright”, initially released on Libra, a small local New Jersey music label. The record barely got any exposure at the time despite how good it was. It channels honest, raw soul energy in its purest form - a truly uplifting song! Fully licensed and remastered, MEL014 is presented in its original promo 7” vinyl format with the extended version on the flip, accompanied by the latest issue of the Melodies Melozine!

                        The Janitors

                        Fuzz Club Session

                          Conjuring heavy drones and sinister garage-psych freak-outs, Stockholm outfit The Janitors have been a formidable presence on the European underground since they formed way back in 2004. Channelling the free-wheeling spirit of Hawkwind with equal smatterings of Sabbath and Spacemen 3, the band are masters of taking hold of a gnarly fuzzed-out groove and beating it within an inch of its life. Probably not for the faint of heart, their druggy wig-outs are totally relentless and unforgiving. For the uninitiated, perhaps we should turn to the late Hunter S. Thompson who famously wrote: “Buy the ticket, take the ride… and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well… maybe chalk it up to forced consciousness expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.”

                          Those words serve as a perfectly apt instruction manual – or warning, perhaps – for entering The Janitors nightmarish world and the ticket, in this instance, happens to be the band’s forthcoming Fuzz Club Session LP. While in the UK for a small run of shows in September 2018 we decided to drag the band down to Love Buzz Productions in South London in order to commit their unholy, eardrum-rattling live show to wax as part of a Fuzz Club Session. Clocking in at four-tracks – two from 2013s Drone Head LP, one from their latest full-length Horn ur Marken and another cut from their 2014 EP Evil Doings Of An Evil Kind – the session sees The Janitors’ malevolent, hedonistic swagger at its best, the live recording showing the band well and truly in their element. 

                          These lush Liverpudlian Belters have been supported by Gerd Jason, Michael Mayer and the Innervisions lot thus far; and with good reason! The impeccable label deliver a quadruplet of melodic technoid musica from Jemmy, whose previously released via Mule Musiq.

                          "A Cherry Valley" starts the adventure with a truly elasticated low-mid section, pulls and contorted a bendy synth array around rising strings and plinky-plonk tek beats; landing somewhere between Innervisions, Four Tet and Auntie Flo. "3 Stars" deploys an intriguing sound palette, mystic in colour and mood and coerces it into some kind of triplet-based exotic house romp. "Perfect Rose" opens side B with more thrusting bass pressure achieved again through some seriously rubbery low end - loud n wobbly just the way we like it! "Angel" closes off the EP with a beatless excursion; drifting into a thick swamp of plucked strings, keys, pads, celestial sounds and morphing filters.
                           

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Sil says: Suave techno a a la Innervisions drenched in musicality and lollipop flavours. Not bad at all. Is it a belter? You are to decide! Worth a listen though!

                          Durand Jones & The Indications

                          Don't You Know

                          The lead single from the sophomore LP from Durand Jones & The Indications has everything you could ask for. Dual lead vocals from Durand Jones and Aaron Frazer, danceable beat, and super sweet soul harmonies that won't soon leave your ear or turntable. It's familiar yet modern and it's truly beautiful seeing these guys push soul music forward with their second LP. For fans of Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, Leon Bridges.

                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          7" Info: Limited indies-only orange 7"

                          Josef K

                          Sorry For Laughing

                            The legendary first album by cult Scottish guitar group Josef K, recorded for Postcard Records but destined to become the great ‘lost album’ of the post-punk era.

                            Recorded at Castle Sound Studios (Edinburgh) in November 1980, Sorry For Laughing should have been issued as Postcard 81-1, but was shelved after the band and label boss Alan Horne decided the 12-song set sounded too polished. Perhaps two dozen white-label copies in unmade sleeves exist, and have sold for as much as £1,000 amongst collectors. Josef K issued their second stab at a debut album, The Only Fun In Town, in July 1981 – only to split after completing a promotional tour.

                            This remastered vinyl-only edition of Sorry For Laughing replicates the original Robert Sharp artwork (a solarised portrait of the band atop Calton Hill, printed in silver pantone), with detailed sleeve notes on the inner bag, and the added bonus of a 12 track CD, The TV Art Demos, featuring all tracks from the band’s very first recording sessions in 1979.

                            ‘They were The Sound of Young Scotland, together with Orange Juice, whose guitars were also radiant and brittle, whose rhythms were also scrubbed and blunt, whose vocals were also proud and serious, but who sounded like another group entirely’ (Paul Morley); ‘In retrospect, their aborted attempt at a debut album feels much superior to what was finally released. The early versions of the songs sound superbly coiled and keen, the sublime poise of Endless Soul their truly timeless blaze of glory’ (Simon Reynolds)

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            Coloured LP Info: Limited edition clear vinyl.

                            Crepuscule presents a brand new remastered edition of The Only Fun In Town, the influential debut album (Well first to be released anyway) by iconic Scottish guitar group Josef K, originally released on Postcard Records in July 1981.

                            Speedily recorded in a small studio in Brussels, 'The Only Fun In Town' was a defiantly abrasive, serrated long-player in the mould of the second Velvets album, Josef K having already shelved a more conventional recording. Sharp-edged pop singles abound – 'It’s Kinda Funny', 'Sorry For Laughing', 'Revelation' – along with rattling Haig / Ross twin guitar classics such as 'Fun ‘n’ Frenzy', 'Heart of Song', 'Forever Drone' and 'The Angle'.

                            'The Only Fun In Town' topped the independent charts on release and remains a canonical post-punk album. This new 2014 remaster comes housed in a handsome trifold digipack with 12 page booklet, and by way of a bonus also features all 12 tracks from 'Sorry For Laughing', the shelved debut album recorded at Castle Sound (Edinburgh) in November 1980, and apparently abandoned because it was thought to sound too polished.

                            “Josef K were The Sound of Young Scotland, together with Orange Juice, whose guitars were also radiant and brittle, whose rhythms were also scrubbed and blunt, whose vocals were also proud and serious, but who sounded like another group entirely” (Paul Morley)

                            “Josef K was about the heroic Outsider suavely surfing across the fraught surface of their albino funk fracas. Haig sounds high on anxiety, finding an odd, giddy euphoria in doubt.” (Simon Reynolds)

                            Kathryn Joseph

                            Weight / Cold

                              The last single to be taken from ‘From When I Wake The Want Is’, Kathryn’s second album, released last Summer, features an exclusive new track on the B- side.

                              On The Corner follow up a well received but truly out there debut record with another maverick release. Khalab's "Black Noise 2084" received bare plaudits last year for its beguiling mix of electronic and tradiitonal elements. Now the label enlist a trio of modern music pilgrims to reinterpret three of the tracks. "Chitita" is handed to Chicago's experimental dance demigod Jamal Moss, who dons his Hieroglyphic Being moniker and churns out a tribal, morse code bleep n bash symphony that's become one of his defining trademarks over a vast career. Hong Kong's Blood, Wine & Honey are new to the field, but display fresh legs and creative input as they remix "Dense" into a futurist-afro jam rich with UKF flavours and a weighty low end. Finally Afrikan Sciences aka New York's Eric Porter Douglas shows just why he's so in demand at the moment thru a tasty take of "Black Noise" which mixes his typically chaotic percussion elements around discord and harmony like no other - the ultimate juxtaposition of electric and humanoid; and a great insight into the mind of this highly experimental producer.

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Matt says: On The Corner follow up their impressive debut with another brilliantly oddball curation. Three cutting edge producers drafted in to remix the wonderfully electro-esoterica of Khalab.

                              Chaka...Chaka...Chaka...Chaka Khan! That's right folks, the queen of funk returns, only this time it's her who's doing the rocking! Her first solo LP in twelve years, "Hello Happiness" sets Chaka's timeless voice (Still impeccable) to an empowering collection of songs featuring cutting edge production from co-writer Switch (proving there's more to life than fidget!).
                              The Piccadilly camp flipped its collective lid when the obscenely limited 12" of Fatback-sampling lead single "Like Sugar" landed last summer (Massive props to Jason Boardman for dropping it at the Nado 20th Birthday!), and now a full length LP is here, I'm struggling to contain myself. If the cynical out there wrote "Like Sugar" off as a fluke, they're about to get slapped silly by the finest funk record in years.
                              Opening salvo "Hello Happiness" and "Like A Lady" (check out those Belle Epoque strings) update Chaka's classic sound with some pristine modern production, while "Don't Cha Know" erupts into some hard rocking, trap rattling, gospel organ mutant made for scaring the neighbours. Skipping to the flip, the rough and tough funk continues via "Too Hot", this time with a NOLA blues flavour which is frankly irresistible. Next up it's "Like Sugar", the Fatback chopping, B-boy big beat hit of the last decade, not just a high point on this LP, but on recent pop music in general. "Isn't That Enough" finds Switch exploring his Black Ark fascination, cooking up a humid dub disco groove for Chaka to turn inside out with her powerhouse vocals. Last but not least, we're in end of night soul territorie via the "Long Train Running", "M.P.B."  vibe of "Ladylike", a sultry, snaking shuffler for dancing upclose. 
                              Long live the Queen!





                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Patrick says: After over a decade out of the limelight, a Chaka Khan comeback seemed unlikely, and the quality of "Like Sugar" took everyone by surprise (best pop single of the teens?). Well, that was no flash in the pan, and this whole LP bangs, covering a variety of styles, showcasing Chaka's sensational voice, and marrying the vintage and cutting edge perfectly.

                              A proud New Yorker, Emily King spent her first three decades living on the same Midtown block. She loved her home, her family, her friends and her life there. But last year, when she finally resolved to challenge herself by moving out of her comfort zone, positive changes started taking shape immediately. In Upstate New York, the fresh air and fresh mentality gave her the proper space and perspective to create what would become the album of her career. Its name: ‘Scenery’.

                              Without a doubt, King has carved out such a space for herself. With ‘Scenery’, she has challenged herself to create new roots, both in physical form as well as sonically. “For me, ‘Scenery’ is about taking a chance and having an adventure, with themes of independence, confidence, and self-reliance throughout, and having a sense of freedom and self-worth,” she says. “I’m really proud of this record because we took time to make sure it was right. We let time pass in between creating, recording, and listening, so that my true judgment can be revealed, ego goes away, and you see it for what it is. Sometimes you have blinders on because you want it to be good so badly. When I listen to this record there are no cringe-y moments. I’m proud of the process.”

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Barry says: From sashaying, finger-clicking soul, swooning funk and low-key rhythmic R&B to longing acoustic ballads, anthemic indie-pop and snappy guitar-led minimal melodicism, Emily King pulls of every key change with absolute skill and an impeccable ear for a tune.

                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                              Kumasi was a group comprised of Ray Phiri, Jabu Sibumbe, Isaac Mtshali and Lloyd Lelosa. Sometime between their formation as The Cannibals (*needing reissues*) and the almighty group Stimela, Kumasi released one album and a couple of singles. The artists had contracts under Gallo and couldn't reveal that they were linked to the music in any way, leading Kumasi to have only a brief mysterious run in the early 80s.
                              But the secret's out! This release presents a collection of five songs from their incredibly rare full length LP, and adds to that their version of the South African classic, ‘Picnic’. Pressed as a 2x12” compilation, sounding incredible! Kumasi brings a unique blend of disco funk with that special South African tinge.
                              Ray Phiri died in 2017 - this album goes out in his dedication.




                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Patrick says: All the bloggers and deep diggers rejoice - Smiling C are here with a reissue of Kumasi's dubby, Afro-disco masterpiece "I Know You Feel It". Jazzy chord progressions, infectious grooves, sleazy synths and rock action abound on this frisky biscuit, take a bite and shake a leg.

                              Electronic pop quartet Ladytron return with the release of their first new album in seven years on Ladytron Music via ! K7 Label Services. The eponymously titled Ladytron follows the release in 2018 of two enthusiastically received singles, “The Island” and “The Animals.” Distilling twenty years of experimentation into one propulsive album, Ladytron again push the boundaries of electronic pop in invigorating directions with thirteen songs that explore the disquiet of our times. Loaded with their trademark analogue synths propelled by relentless rhythm, Ladytron is a hypercharged album that radiates a visceral urgency.

                              Their sixth album is the band’s most definitive work to date, full of catchy hooks, rousing riffs, sweeping melodies, and thick textured harmonies. Helen Marnie says, “For us, it’s like getting together with an old friend. You’ve both changed, but still have that common ground. Familiarity crossed with excitement.” “It’s diverse and emotional,” Daniel Hunt adds. “It’s a lot heavier than our last album, Gravity the Seducer, which was an intentionally more sedate, ethereal record. The album also features guest Iggor Cavalera (Sepultura/Mixhell/ Soul wax) on drums.

                              Well they got the title right on this one didn't they: "Confuse The Marketplace" brings together the three CD bonus tracks from "45:33", but all have also been previously released on vinyl too - yes, you knew you'd seen them somewhere before. The EP kicks off with the brilliant "Freak Out" (on the flip of Harvey's mix of "All My Friends") - a better tribute to Edwin Starr's "Get Up Whirlpool" you will not find. Here's the difference though, where as the original mix was blended into "Starry Eyes" here you get a little break so the drum solo won't mess up your mix. Over on side-B we have the Onastic Dub of "North American Scum" (previously promo-only) and last up is the absolutely brilliant "Hippie Priest Bum Out" ("North American Scum" B-side cut). Out of press for a decade, but still fresh as it gets. 

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Patrick says: Long live LCD. Just days after I had the pleasure of their recent "Electric Lady Sessions", New York's finest repress this classic EP of B-sides and remixes. "Freak Out / Starry Eyes" is as good as anything they've recorded, that Onanistic Dub is a triumph of kraut-laced nu-disco and "Hippie Priest" is full on live-jam Fall tackle. Ace!

                              With this previously unreleased 1963 score for Jindlich Polák’s "Ikarie XB-1", Finders Keepers present their third dedicated soundtrack by Zdeněk Liška. Beautifully remastered from the original tapes with the full cooperation of the National Film Archive in the Czech Republic. In a climate where previously lesser-known off- kilter master composers such as Vannier, Kirchin and Axelrod have become widely revered, it is perhaps the perfect time for discerning listeners to advance above the feeding trough and seek out this truly pioneering and revolutionary Eastern European composer.

                              The Long Ryders

                              Psychedelic Country Soul

                                The Long Ryders were formed in 1982 by young American musicians influenced by Gram Parsons, C&W, The Byrds, and the punk scene found in their hometown of Los Angeles. The Long Ryders were an anecdote to formula stadium rock and wimpy synth-pop." The founders of alt-country, The Long Ryders, now release their first new album in over thirty years. Featuring the classic line-up of Sid Griffin, Stephen McCarthy, Tom Stevens and Greg Sowders, it makes the day after Valentine’s Day as much a romantic celebration. The stunning new album follows hot on the heels of the deluxe reissue treatment given to two classic Long Ryders long players, “State of Our Union” and “Two-Fisted Tales”.

                                The band featured Sid Griffin on guitar, autoharp, and harmonica, Stephen McCarthy on guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, and banjo, Tom Stevens, bass, and Greg Sowders, playing drums and percussion. With a sound reminiscent of the Buffalo Springfield and The Flying Burrito Brothers, but with a harder edge, they anticipated the alternative country music of the 1990s by a decade. Featuring eleven new Long Ryders compositions and a tribute cover of the late great Tom Petty’s song ‘Walls’, this is a Long Ryders for the 21st century; kicking off with the anthemic ‘Greenville’, a track which proves the band haven’t lost any of that magic guitar interplay. ‘Molly Somebody’ is an eclectic pop tune that doesn’t neglect any of their country and rock sensibilities, while the likes of ‘What the Eagle Sees’ reflects the energy of early punk and power pop that so informed them in the early days. You can still hear their personal connection with the music of the 1960s’, but as ever The Long Ryders aren’t a band who live in the past. Album closer ‘Psychedelic Country Soul’ is the greatest testament to that, performed like the previous 11 songs, with precision and fire; the guitars weave and harmonicas build and ebb, the song spreading like wildfire.

                                The Long Ryders have always been celebrated for what they have to say as much as the music they make. With “Psychedelic Country Soul” their message delivered with 12 strings and never-ending harmonies has never been clearer. This is a Long Ryders album which stands up with their classic albums such as “Native Sons” and their unforgettable single ‘Looking For Lewis And Clark’. “Psychedelic Country Soul” will certainly sit on many Best Of lists at the end of the year. But you can note its worthiness when you hear it. It is that good.

                                Macker

                                Faust / Isolation

                                Local upstart George aka Macker follows up a credible debut with another avant-dubstep catalyst. Riding a leyline somewhere between Loefah and Muslimgauze seems pretty outlandishly wayward, but when you hear the results it all seems to make sense in our darkened world.

                                "Faust" begins plastered onto an abrasive wall of harsh synths and discord before sinking into a modern, deep bass riddim. "Isolation" utilizes the inert blackness of an analogue mono-synth, combined with terrifying snippets from film and segues into a killer dubstep beat which results in an arresting and forward-focused addition to the bass music cannon. Nice one lad.


                                Mahbunzi Nahgo Pihndi

                                D Ebando

                                Following a run of sought-after releases on cassette from artists including Anthony Naples, Xvarr and E Ruscha V, Good Morning Tapes switch to vinyl for their latest offering by Mahbunzi Nahgo Pihndi ("All the Healing Green Leaves of the Forest”) aka Brian Close, one half of New York avant-garde duo Georgia:

                                “This record is an extension of a foray into trance ritual music. It is structured as a companion for film, meditation, vision seeking & sound rest. It is by nature a nature worship record, combining acoustic percussive improvisation, sensory foley, vocalized staccatos, and a specific brew of physical / metaphysical sound relations... mind hush / thought flush / spirit rush / sun rise. Inspired by an initiation ceremony of the Bwiti / Fang people of Gabon. This collection relays a fragmented branch of timings of this ceremony and proposes other paths for the sacred (Mougongo) instrument.
                                Recoded + Restructured + Reflected as a time capsule, with fullest respect / blessings to breeze the Bwiti understandings through the current climate." 


                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Matt says: Perilously dark neo-shamanism here that kicks off a new spellbook of sonics. Quite terrifying in parts - I advise caution when consulting with The Other whilst on entheogens.

                                The musical project of Jake Webb, Methyl Ethel, has always been a surrealist outfit - a dark and obscured expression of life set to the backdrop of dream pop hooks. But Triage is a more reflective album than their previous two – featuring singles ‘Scream Whole’ and ‘Real Tight’, it explores the notion of coming of age, only to reference it for the snapshots and passing memories that it has become.



                                Mojo

                                Issue 305 - April 2019

                                  THIS MONTH, MOJO SWITCHES THINGS UP, appointing someone to the staff who really knows their music. Rolling Stones Riffmaster and closet polymath Keith Richards dons the Editor’s ceremonial visor to pour his knowledge and spirit all over the magazine, commissioning pieces on Muddy Waters, Norah Jones, Peter Tosh, The Neville Brothers and more, before submitting to a revealing in-depth interview.

                                  A 15-track CD of tracks from the world of Keith features Dion, Funkadelic, Gregory Isaacs, Jimmy Reed and The Maytals. Also in the issue: Madchester, Tina Weymouth, The Who, Dexys, Jenny Lewis, Butthole Surfers, Glam Nuggets, a secret history of mispressings and Blondie Chaplin. “Let me say, it’s been a real privilege to be MOJO’s Guest Editor,” reflects Richards in his introduction to the issue. “But I seem to have left the office in an awful mess…”

                                  Robert Montgomery

                                  Love Song About You

                                  Robert used musicians from Ripple to record four self penned songs as a vanity project which remained unissued, two of which have since been released as a Soul Junction 45 the modern soul dancers ‘Time Of The Day/Take Me High’ (SJ537). While a third track, the excellent ballad ‘Love Song About You’ made it’s initial debut as part of the popular ”We Got A Sweet Thing Going On “ (Volume 3) cd compilation series to great acclaim, following requests for it to put on a 45 we have duly obliged placing it back to back with Robert’s remaining previously unissued track the more dance orientated “I Love You So” complete with girl backing singers. Thus in doing so, we have now completed the trilogy of Robert Montgomery’s recording output.

                                  Rina Mushonga

                                  In A Galaxy

                                    Mushonga doesn’t follow a linear path. The artist’s music - a blend of Afropop, indie and electro flourishes - is informed by her own zigzagging life journey: Mushonga emigrated from Zimbabwe to the Netherlands, then to the diverse South London suburb of Peckham, where she now lives and works. Having read ‘Metamorphoses’ for the first time, Mushonga’s self-confessed ‘year of transformation’ ensued, drawing upon myriad ideas and personal experiences.

                                    Full of reflections on the cosmos and our place within it, ‘In A Galaxy’ is the musical embodiment of these musings, whilst Mushonga also admits there’s more than a passing nod to the opening text on ‘Star Wars’ but on the whole refers to how relative space and time are in how we interact. Four years in the making, ‘In A Galaxy’ was recorded in Mushonga’s adopted home in Peckham with producer Brett Shaw, whilst having laid much of the foundations of the tracks together with musical bestie and synth whisperer Frans Verburg in his Rotterdam basement studio. The resultant cornucopia of intelligent, diverse pop - that Mushonga herself describes as sounding like “Paul Simon in a sweaty, African dancehall club” - is a welcome introduction to 2019.

                                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                                    Coloured LP Info: Limited edition pink vinyl.

                                    Anthony Naples

                                    Take Me With You

                                    Anthony Naples returns with his second full length album, "Take Me With You", arriving first as a ‘Mixed Version’ cassette inspired and commissioned by the Good Morning Tapes series, followed by this vinyl edition that's just arrived here in the shop.

                                    Originally conceived as a mixtape dedicated to friends and the time spent with them in the morning hours, after the party is over (or beginning) - it quickly morphed into a soft focused meditation on all things warm and intangible.

                                    "Take Me With You" fires off in all styles - the opening triptych of the extra-cosmic “Alto”, post-rave pianos of “Goodness” and slow-dance-inducing “Drifter” bring the attention inward - taking cues from a host of personal favorites including: “Space” LP by Space, The Theater Of Eternal Music, Panda Bear’s “Person Pitch” , Atlas Sound’s “Let The Blind Lead…”, Arthur Russell’s “World Of Echo”, Suzanne Ciani’s “Buchla Concerts: 1975”, The Microphones “The Glow Pt. II” & “Mount Eerie”, A mixtape of Krautrock from DJ Ivan Berko and most definitely Holger Czukay, “Take Me With You” is a fresh turn for Naples as he ascends into a blend of his most personal work to date - touching on trip-hop, psychedelic pop, ambient house, and much more along the way.

                                    Make no mistake - “Take Me With You”’s message is undoubtedly about escapism, given away by its happy-abductee cover art done by the legend Biscuit - but first and foremost it reflects on that lingering feeling one gets when walking away from the ones they love.


                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                    Matt says: Awarded a 'Best of 2018' accolade by Resident Advisor when released on tape. Now available on vinyl: a digitally enhanced, 'abductee fantasy drama' from no other than Anthony Naples - you know what to do!

                                    Now one of the leading lights in the UK’s new generation of soulful, genre-fluid artists, the Leeds-born and now London-based 12-piece collective Nubiyan Twist have created their finest recordings to date, effortlessly weaving together elements of jazz, soul, hip hop, African styles, Latin, dub, hip hop and electronics in a flow of thought-provoking and life-affirming music.

                                    Recorded at the band’s own self-built Henwood Studio in rural Oxfordshire, the album effortlessly moves through different voices from the band’s circle. The inimitable, timeless vocals of Nubiya Brandon lead the way on the album’s title track about breaking preconceptions and promoting equality, “Where you from? I’m from wherever I be.” Saxophonist Nick Richards vocals the killer first single from the album about inner turmoil and a search for the truth, ‘Tell It To Me Slowly’ while rising Ghanaian star K.O.G. appears on the Afro jams ‘Basa Basa’ and ‘They Talk’. Percussionist Pilo Adami (Nina Miranda / Afrosamba) voices the infectious bossa-jazz jam ‘Borders’. The band also draft in two African legends for guest duties with the original Afrobeat maestro Tony Allen on ‘Ghosts’ and Ethio jazz pioneer Mulatu Astatke contributing vibes on the sinuous ‘Addis To London’. “The depth of talent and ideas that every member of this group has brought to the table for this album is incredible,” says producer and orchestrator Tom Excell. “Conceptually, ‘Jungle Run’ is all about connecting different people and cultures whilst exploring the journey of individuals. This album is the pinnacle of everything we have done to date and to collaborate with the godfathers of Afrobeat and Ethio Jazz and celebrate their music in a modern context was very humbling.”


                                    The Pale Fountains

                                    (There's Always) Something On My Mind

                                      Originally released on 7” in 1982 on Operation Twilight, this reissue uses the Benoît Hennebert cover art that was used for the Les Disques du Crépuscule 12” release. The songs on this, the band’s debut single are the equal of anything Postcard, Rough Trade and the like were putting out at the time. Prime songwriting dressed up in carefree acoustically-minded pop, what’s not to like?

                                      At the end of 1982 the group signed to Virgin and went on to release the acclaimed albums Paci c Street and From Across the Kitchen Table. Praised as “our greatest songwriter” by NME, Michael Head went on to form Shack in 1987 with brother John. 


                                      Payfone

                                      I Was In New York / A Prayer For Maya Angelou

                                      Payfone bring a double header of NYC styled heat for the inaugural release on their newly launched Otis Records. Marrying modern boogie and classic R&B, with cosmic leanings and Balearic touches, Payfone manage to keep all the essence of the early days whilst bringing a contemporary swagger to the floor.

                                      Each element in "I Was In New York" gets the space it deserves. Palm muted guitars and sashaying synth echoes flutter over the top of a strutting slap bass courtesy of Giulio Granchelli. A simplicity that sings - simultaneously giving your mind the space it needs to drift off into a daydream of sunsets over cityscapes. Introspective, meditative and innocent, Dayna Talley’s spoken word vocals lull listeners into memories of tranquil times. Set to be one of 2019’s standout songs, its refreshingly original and sure to cut through the noise.

                                      The B side, "A Prayer For Maya Angelou" takes a Balearic boat out across calming seas. Gravitating around a metallic, pulsating synth, modulated to bounce at points and brood at others, mystic flurries drift in the distance, as pads wash across the horizon. Len Xiang’s melancholic tale reverberates throughout, with those sweet sax sounds from Billy Brooks Paul and a spring reverbed guitar riffing off into the ocean - elevating this into pure paradise.


                                      Pentangle

                                      Basket Of Light

                                        Basket of Light is the most progressive and complex release by the British folk-rock group Pentangle. Traditional English folk songs are reinterpreted with a mix of jazz, pop and rock influences. Everything their previous works promised is fulfilled here. The album opener “Light Flight” has become their signature song. If there is a prog folk masterpiece then it is Basket Of Light. Pentangle proved they could release a progressive, ground-breaking work without keyboards, much studio trickery or even electric instruments.

                                        The original Pentangle was active in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The original line-up includes Bert Jansch (vocals & guitar) and John Renbourn (vocals & guitar).


                                        Perfect Son

                                        Cast

                                          Sometime in 2016, just as the Polish singer and producer Tobiasz Biliński began to find success through the dim and fractured electropop of Coldair, he knew it was time for a radical change. The songs on The Provider, Coldair’s much-lauded second album, had been an exorcism of sorts. Laced with songs about early death, chronic disappointment, and clouded minds, the record was, as he puts it now, his earnest attempt to “get all this old shit out.” That mission accomplished, he needed something new, a restart—the unabashedly radiant and unapologetically complex pop of Perfect Son, delivered in 10 perfect shots on Biliński’s Sub Pop debut, Cast.  In the past, Biliński’s music has flirted with and explored the darkness, first in a sort of Transatlantic freak-folk and then with the gothic refractions of Coldair.

                                          But on Cast, Perfect Son steps boldly into the light without sloughing off emotional weight or depth. With powerful, sweeping production that recalls the best pop beats of Matthew Dear and arcing melodies that conjure the majesty of Shearwater, Perfect Son animates sensations of lust, belonging, and newfound trust with tumescent electronic arrangements that threaten the safety of any sound system. Biliński sings about falls throughout Cast, but also about picking yourself back up, about pressing on despite or perhaps because of the bruises. In the process, he is lifted by music that feels unabashedly motivational, built to remind us that the best times are hopefully to come.   Perfect Son, it should be said, is Sub Pop’s first Polish artist, the result of an extended interest in Biliński’s work and the country itself from label co-founder Jonathan Poneman.

                                          Several years ago, Biliński applied to play at South by Southwest as Coldair.  Poneman saw his performance, and was impressed. The two stayed in touch, with Poneman eventually signing Coldair to a publishing deal. “I bugged him about releasing my stuff constantly,” Biliński admits with a laugh. “And I guess he admired my persistence.” When Cast was finally finished, Poneman didn’t need more convincing. These songs, after all, are magnetic, with the searching harmonies and deep drums of “Promises” and the rhythmic intricacy and serial synths of “Wax” pulling you close on first listen and holding you there for the foreseeable future. These songs and this story are about the power of human perseverance and deliberate reinvention, of knowing that you can confront and come to terms with the darkest angels of your being. Cast is a testament to the possibilities of the future, brilliantly disguised as 10 grandiose and undeniable pop anthems.


                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                          Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive coloured loser edition.

                                          PicaPica

                                          Cast In Stone

                                            PicaPica features the vocal interplay of Josienne Clarke and Samantha Whates, dual frontwomen who create powerful harmonies atop layers of texture created by Adam Beattie and Sonny Johns, a tiding of magpies picking shiny moments of tone and timbre from 60s West Coast, sunshine pop and indie folk.

                                            Josienne and Samantha met on the London acoustic music scene several years ago and immediately shared a love of singing and writing. They have been unofficially collaborating for years, often singing backing vocals for each other’s projects or just singing harmonies together for the pure enjoyment of it.

                                            The other half of PicaPica, Adam Beattie - Scotland’s king of soft-spoken chanson - brings gently morphing textures and detailed guitar playing to every bar, while Sonny Johns is a Grammy, Mercury and MOBO- nominated producer / engineer. Sonny’s bass playing and production give PicaPica's otherworldly compositions a seriously grounded sound.

                                            The band first appeared on the scene with their debut EP ‘Spring & Shade’ back in 2016 and are now returning with this new 12” featuring delicate yet empowering new track ‘Cast in Stone’. The release also features two remixes from Seb Rochford - best known for drumming with the legendary Patti Smith - who has also performed on PicaPica’s upcoming debut album.

                                            Pinegrove

                                            Skylight

                                              ‘Skylight’ is the follow up to 2016’s widely-acclaimed breakthrough album, ‘Cardinal’.

                                              The 2CD and 2LP formats come with an entire bonus album, ‘Skylight II’ (the album performed acoustically).

                                              In 2017, Pinegrove moved into a rural farmhouse in upstate New York to make their new album ‘Skylight’, living, working and recording together. This DIY ethos solidifies Pinegrove’s position at the epicentre of a creative community, where they’ve adopted a ‘friends first’ policy when cycling through the band’s touring iteration.

                                              ‘Skylight’ is “an album about happiness, figuring out how to be optimistic and realistic. To be effectively optimistic, you have to establish relationships with darkness and disappointment. The position of optimism is earned.” Frontman Evan Stephens Hall’s “classic American melodies” and emotionally direct lyrics blend seamlessly with alt-country instrumentation and experimental rhythms of drummer Zack Levine.

                                              The band are confident in their idiosyncrasy, dropping pop structures when they no longer fit. The songs swing between wider extremes - whisper to full-belt and back again, treading mid-air - and Pinegrove more exactly, more full-throatedly say what they’ve been trying to say.

                                              “Divine moments... each slight note has a defined voice” - Pitchfork
                                              “Explodes just as far as you can see the universe” - NPR
                                              “Wrapped up in a shimmering, light country twang… raw, honest and velvety” - NME.

                                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                                              2xColoured LP Info: Coloured double vinyl LP in gatefold die-cut.

                                              2xCD Info: 2CD in gatefold die-cut.

                                              “From the crushed and pulverised skulls of our conquered enemies rises the promise of a new dawn,” Miki Berenyi grins. “OK, no, maybe keep it simple. Clean slate, fresh start - it's all about the music."

                                              From four individual parts, with distinct musical pasts but also overlapping histories, a new unified chapter begins with Piroshka and the quartet’s thrilling debut album Brickbat.

                                              The album is named after the word for a missile, which nails the record’s heavyweight lyrics if not the music’s gorgeous, bittersweet and euphoric pop. Think of Brickbat as a wolf in sheep’s clothing – which suits the name Piroshka, the Hungarian take on the wolf-terrorised fairytale hero Little Red Riding Hood - a subtle nod, too, to a certain red hairdo that stood out in the 1990s Brit-guitar-pop scene….

                                              The four band members are former Lush vocalist/guitarist (and former redhead) Miki Berenyi, former Moose guitarist KJ "Moose" McKillop, Modern English bassist Mick Conroy and former Elastica drummer Justin Welch. The connections between them are a veritably tangled family tree. Before they lived together and raised a family, Miki and Moose were notable figures on the so-called shoegaze scene, while Elastica were Britpop peers. After post-punk pioneers Modern English split for a second time, Mick became a latterday member of Moose, while Justin joined the reformed Lush in 2015. And when Lush required a bassist for what proved to be their final show (in Manchester) in November 2016, Mick stepped in.

                                              It was the rehearsals for that Manchester show that laid the foundations for Piroshka. “We sounded great!” says Justin. “Like a proper punk band. Mick brings a huge amount of enthusiasm and livens up the room, and I thought, this is the kind of band I want to be in again.” Mick agreed. “I’d seen Lush so many times, it was like playing with old friends. Miki agreed it was good fun too. And with Moose available, we thought, let’s all have a bash, see what happens.”

                                              Though Brickbat kicks off with a squeal of feedback, the album is far from a proper punk record, with as much sublime delicacy as physical force, with guitars to the fore but also electronic flourishes in all manner of spaces. Combined, they drive the nuggety melodic bombs long associated with Miki’s songwriting. But it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that she would want to join a new band. In the wake of Lush drummer Chris Acland’s unexpected suicide in 1997, his shocked and grieving bandmates felt unable to continue. Miki, in particular, “had to get completely away from music. The gate just shut for me.”

                                              As a parent with a full-time job, it took Miki until 2015 to agree to reunite Lush, with Chris’ good friend Justin on drums. But it wasn’t to be a permanent arrangement. “After the Manchester show, Justin asked if I’d be up for something else,” Miki recalls. “But I’d never made music outside of Lush, and I’ve never wanted to do anything solo. I have trouble with self-belief, I need someone else to motivate me, and in this case, it was Justin. He sent drum tracks with guitar parts and odd words, so I wrote some vocals and lyrics, which became ‘This Must Be Bedlam’ and ‘Never Enough’. When Mick added bass, it sounded great. When Moose added guitar and keyboards – I’d never written like that before, it was such good fun. I’d always written on my own in Lush.”

                                              Justin: “The first piece of music I sent Miki sounded like Can, with the odd word, like ‘protest’ and ‘bedlam’. It was a time in the world when everything felt wrong to me.”

                                              Mick: “We didn’t want Piroshka to sound anything like any of our old bands. When Miki sings, you can’t get away from Lush, but for me, we sound like four people exploring and having fun, knuckling ideas into shape, trying to make them sound new and different.”

                                              In any case, the blunt, forceful lyrics are many miles from Lush, tapping the current fear and loathing at the heart of society and politics, sometimes viewed through the heightened, anxious prism of parenthood, brutally honest at every turn. Take ‘Village Of The Damned’, the words penned by Moose (alongside ‘Hated By The Powers…’ and ‘Everlastingly Yours’). “It’s about school shootings,” he frowns, “and our reaction to almost being unable to take our eyes off twenty-four-hour news and internet feeds. You’re depressed and appalled by what you see.”

                                              ‘Heartbeats’ is Miki’s parent-related lyric, “the idea of closeness with your baby, and then as they grow, you have to let them go off into the world.” And what a world awaits them. Both ‘What’s Next’ and ‘This Must Be Bedlam’ were inspired by the mess of Brexit (“the idea of unity versus disunity” says Miki), ‘Never Enough’ rails against greed and inequality and ‘Hated By The Powers That Be’ was inspired by a button badge that Moose found with the slogan Hated By The Daily Mail. “It feels good to be that kind of person,” he declares. “To know we are not alone in being appalled with what’s going on.”

                                              Miki: “Given what’s happening, it feels weird at this time to not write about how scary things are, and self-indulgent to have come out with anything else. It’s tricky, though, because any kind of protest lyric can easily be preachy and clichéd, while writing about parenthood can sound smug or mawkish. There’s a lot of complexity in each subject. The context is more personal than just ‘The world is shit and you have to do something about it’.”

                                              Bella Union skipper Simon Raymonde had been one of the first to hear the demos; he instantly signed the band, further entangling the Piroshka family tree - his former bandmate Robin Guthrie (of Cocteau Twins) produced Lush’s debut album, while Raymonde’s current bandmate Richie Thomas (in Lost Horizons) was also a former member of Moose. Raymonde subsequently introduced Piroshka to Paul Gregory of Bella Union labelmates Lanterns On The Lake, who mixed Brickbat (except ‘What’s Next’, mixed by Alan Moulder) and to Fiona Brice (another Bella Union alumni), who wrote Brickbat’s strings arrangements, with Terry Edwards (ex-Higsons, current Blockhead), who played on Lush’s debut album, on brass.

                                              Together, from feedbacking intro to the beautifully fuggy dream that is the album finale ‘She’s Unreal’, Piroshka and Brickbat are a wonderful and, frankly, unexpected union of proven talent.


                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                              Barry says: There was no way this wasn't going to be good, with such legendary musicians on board, but it really is a perfectly balanced meeting of minds. The shoegaze hypnosis of Lush shines through, along with the spacey 90's throb of Justin Welch's drums keeping things going. It's a brilliantly dynamic mix, and one that is more than the sum of it's considerable elements. A hugely enjoyable and brilliantly written collection.

                                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                                              LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                              Three 1982 disco classics from boogie trio Plush (formed under the guidance of Angela Winbush, René Moore and Bobby Watson), get the official, remastered & reissue treatment from the original tapes.

                                              Opening up the EP, an Angela & Rene original "Free & Easy" is taken on by the Plush troupe, with the legendary Tee Scott providing a trademark extended mix. It kicks off with cosmic synths that dissipate into heavy funk, electric bass riffs, whilst scorching top lines and choice guitar licks trade off over the top. Scott’s magic is clear to see in the composition of this extended mix. A man who clearly knew how to work a dancefloor, his use of breakdowns especially, extending the anticipation and power the track commands on its dancers. From the bass breaks that weave in modulated synths, to those that utilize the glorious sustained piano chords, cutting to just vocals and percussion before everything is added back in for ultimate dancefloor elation.

                                              First up on the B side, "We Got The Love", a more soulful, slowed down tip where staccato guitar plucks and chunky slap bass marries with warm Rhodes chords, and lush vocal harmonies blend with the power of Siedah Garrett commanding the lead vocals. A passion ingrained in their voices that cannot be taught, hanging in the air, as they hang onto their phrases.

                                              Lastly, "Livin For Your Love" a boogie-based serenade written by Herman Chainey and Tony L. Phillips, intertwines Phillips’ deep dulcet tones with Plush’s backing. Add in a dose of pure ‘80s bass synth, twanging funk flashes and juicy bass guitar ripples and you’ve got a recipe sure to woo any wandering hearts out there. 


                                              Prescription Pricing Authority

                                              1-2-1 / Lucky Duck

                                                The Prescription Pricing Authority duo hails outta London town and delivers the second 7" inch release ever on Gamm. Big, ballsy disco occupies side A, rich in strings, timpani and fat ass bass. It's the kinda raw disco that DJs like Zaf (Love Vinyl) and Mark Grusane (Chicago) like to spin out in the field. On the flip we take a jazz-funk tangent, "Lucky Duck" riding a sophisticated arrangement full of wild flute lines, rampant slab bass and wacked out wah-wah guitar, not to mention the dozens of keyboard lines that litter the mix. Surely big for the Southport Weekender crowd and all the soul all day traditions. Pop yer dancing shoes and hit the floor!

                                                Hollow Earth is the new album from Pye Corner Audio aka Martin Jenkins, his third for Ghost Box. It’s conceived as a sequel to 2016’s Stasis. Where Stasis played with notions of outward cosmic exploration and the idea of suspended animation and sleep, Hollow Earth takes subterranean exploration and submerged psychologies as its theme.

                                                It draws on Berlin school synth improvisations, New Age reveries and the ghosts of 90s house euphoria to summon up images of vast, awe inspiring spaces and claustrophobic chambers. It sustains an atmosphere of wonder and adventure throughout, and like its companion piece, Stasis, it works equally as a soundtrack to physical as well as mental exploration.

                                                Pye Corner Audio specialise in majestic, cinematic electronica that evokes sci-fi soundtracks, dystopian futures and the sound of haunted dance floors. The discography to date includes eight full length albums and many more singles and EPs across several labels. There are also remixes for John Foxx, Mogwai, Mark Lanegan, Stealing Sheep, Knightstown, Not Waving and most recently Dolphin Midwives.

                                                Pye Corner's Martin Jenkins (aka The Head Technician) is a veteran live performer, and has played shows and festivals all over Europe, Canada and the USA. Most notably he has supported Mogwai on several tour dates, played the Mutek festival in Montreal, the Mugako Festival in Spain and Barcelona’s Primavera Club.

                                                Pye Corner Audio pieces appear in the soundtrack to Adam Curtis’s 2016 film HyperNormalisation and the 2018 Shudder TV series, Deadwax. More TV soundtrack appearances are due to appear in 2019.

                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                Barry says: Another absolute killer from PCA for the legendary Ghost Box, very much serving as a follow-up to Piccadilly top-5 album of 2016, 'Stasis'. Where the throbbing, machinated pulses of stasis still held elements of light, 'Hollow Earth' is very much a product of the unsure times we live in, dark vocal abstractions (don't worry, it's vocoded), fractured rhythms and saturation as standard. It's completely hypnotic and every bit as superb as you'd expect. Completely brilliant, and ALREADY album of the year material for me.

                                                Conceived as a kind of sequel to 2012’s Sleep Games, there’s an epic sensibility to Stasis. The haunted concrete caverns of the earlier album give way here, to vast, awe inspiring spaces. The album has a strong narrative flow that can be read either as the soundtrack for an interplanetary voyage under suspended animation, or the exploration of vast inner realms under some other form of technologically enhanced sleep.

                                                Martin Jenkins' unique production sound is unmistakable: Carpenter-esque slow kosmiche disco and ambience, woozy synth melodies and somnambulistic grooves with soft, rich textures.

                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                Barry says: One of our albums od the year 2017, and one of my favourite albums OF ALL TIME is once again in stock ahead of the stunning new PCA LP, 'Hollow Earth'.

                                                An absoultely stunning, electronic odyssey. Still just as incredible as the day I heard it.

                                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                Ltd LP Info: The lavish CD and LP packaging is designed by Julian House. The 180gm LP includes a free download card.

                                                Ahead of the imminent second instalment of the Soul Sega Sa! compilation, Bongo Joe hits us with a sweet 7" boasting two of the greatest moments in Mauritian music.
                                                Unique character and overexcited singer Roland Fatime (also known as Ti L’Afrique) began his career on the Mauritian scene in the early 70’s, along with the group Features of Life, with Eric Nelson’s saturated electric guitar and Raoul Lacariate’s untamed rhythms; Fatime sparked a new raw, funky and explosive Séga style.
                                                His superb Séga-Blues lo-fi tune “Bal Souki Souki" is reissued on this very 7” along with another nugget buried on the island: “Soul Reggae Prisonnier” by Ramone, Ti l’Afrique’s ex-rival! In the same blues and soul vein, this Séga immerses us in a dramatic story of judicial error and prison environment, which are unfortunately all too familiar with some mauritian musicians!

                                                Red Astaire

                                                Follow Me / The Wildstyle

                                                A beast of a track here that was pretty ubiquitious around 2003. Main elements are a catchy xylophone melody and a D'Angelo / Method Man sample lifted from 'Left & Right' - It pleased many punters with its perfect blend of bossanova and suave soul beats. This was on constant rotation back then and many will be very happy to see it officially reissued, rediscovered and hopefully on some instances, discovered by new audiences. 
                                                 
                                                B Side has to be a James Brown sample - that shout says it all. Proper breakbeat / funk affair on this one. The piano loop is a monster on itself and the vinyl floritudes give it a raw feel that few edits achieve. Total classic. 
                                                 
                                                Both sides are gold. No need to listen to this one. Just buy it, you will not regret it. Limited quantities! 


                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                Sil says: Few edits reach the category of classics. Here you have two on one single 7 incher. Official reissue oozing warmth and energy left and right!

                                                As a radical jazz artist, Steve Reid played with an extraordinary group of artists - Miles Davis, Sun Ra, Fela Kuti, James Brown, Ornette Coleman, Lester Bowie and many more. He began his career as a teenager in the 1960s as a drummer at Motown. Reid was born in the South Bronx and grew up in Queens, New York, three blocks away from John Coltrane.

                                                In 1969, Reid refused to enlist to the Vietnam war and was arrested as a conscientious objector and given a four-year prison sentence. On his release in 1974, he formed the Legendary Master Brotherhood and the independent record label, Mustevic Sound, to release his debut LP ‘Nova’.

                                                At the start of the 21st Century, Steve Reid began a successful collaboration with Kieran Hebden (Four Tet), who Reid referred to as his “musical soul mate,” resulting in a number of joint albums. Steve Reid died in New York in 2010. Subsequently, the Steve Reid Foundation was set up in his name, to help aspiring musicians and artists.

                                                DJ Dom Ore makes the move into the reissue market here, launching his new Miles Away Records with a fresh pressing of Rokk's 1975 classic "Patience". Heavily influenced by Gil Scott-Heron's 'The Bottle’, this is a true cult dance floor anthem that has never been reissued as a stand alone single. 
                                                Main men James Dockery and Arthur Monday had been jamming out since 1964, but Rokk only came into being with the mid seventies arrival of La Marco Nesbit & Denny Lash. Soon enough the fourpiece signed to Vee-jay International and recorded an album which lay in the vaults for over 30 years. That LP, "I Want To Live High" housed these two flute-led bombs, skirting the periphery of jazz, funk and soul with a giddy class.


                                                Stroom's valentine special for 2019 sees the label excavate some lovely wave from Venice, Italy (1981-1984). Though the city may be best known for gondolas, the biennale and romantic getaways, it seems those canals spawned some vital contributions to Italy's vibrant underground pop scene in the 80s, not least the DIY sounds of Ruins. The collaborative project of Alessandro Pizzin and Piergiuseppe Ciranna, Ruins took inspiration from British post punk, US electro, the robots from Düsseldorf and the sleek new wave topping the international charts at the time. Opener "Elegant Shout" fuses crunchy electronics and grooving bass and guitar to create a bedroom pop beauty which could easily have made it onto MFM's "Uneven Paths" comp. "Alone" is a punchier affair, more obviously directed at the leftfield dancefloors with insistent synths and the kind of garbled chorus you get from no-wave. Cut a rug in your baggiest trousers with the early-Spandeau stylings of "You're Like A Cigarette", then go wild with the drunk in the jazz club weirdo post-punk of "Skeleton In Love". The flipside keeps the hits coming, be it the slow and sleazy "Fit Of Nerves", tropical pop bangers "Boys & Girls" and "Everybody Knows Me" or the whacked out white funk of "It's Not Too Grand". Long live Stroom and their endless knowledge of alternative wave greats.

                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                Patrick says: Skinny ties, skew-wiff sounds and the weirdest, white funk around - sounds good to me. Sitting at the groovier end of the post punk/synth pop spectrum, "Occasional Visits" is a wavey masterpiece from Italy's 80s underground. Time to dance differently...

                                                Yo yo yo. Sucker Mc's was the B side to the first ever Run DMC single, 'It's Like That' released on Profile records in ninety eighty muthf***** three.
                                                Ignoring their disco sampling, fancy dress wearing predecessors, Run DMC, looked and sounded exactly like their audience, dressing 'down' in Adidas tracksuits and keeping their sparse beats pared back to their brutal essentials.
                                                You could say that in this respect they had more in common with the British punk scene of 1976 in that they made normal people think, hey! I could do that and boy did they...

                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                David says: What is there left to say about this epic jam that hasn't been said better by better people than me? Hip Hop doesn't come any better than this, people...

                                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                7" Info: Limited to 300 copies.

                                                Eddie Russ was an important figure to emerge from the vibrant underground jazz scene that thrived in Detroit in the early 1970s, existing in the cultural and economic desolation of the city after the departure of Motown in the late 1960s. This scene included the musical collective Tribe (including members Wendell Harrison, Marcus Belgrave, Phil Ranelin, Harold McKinney and Doug Hammond) and Kenny Cox’s Strata Records. Eddie Russ’s ‘Fresh Out’ was first released in 1974 on the independent Jazz Masters record label. As well as including the classic jazz dance cut ‘The Lope Song’, Eddie Russ’s ‘Fresh Out’ featured the debut of the group The Mixed Bag who subsequently recorded for both Tribe and Strata Records.

                                                Schoolly - D

                                                What Does It Mean

                                                  Ok ok - "B.I.G. is making this cream, bitches always say what the hell does that mean?"
                                                  No? ok... "Woke up quick, at about noon, just thought that I had to be in Compton soon."
                                                  Ah shit, it's "6 in the morning police at my door, fresh Adidas squeek across the bathroom floor"...

                                                  That's not it. Before Biggie, Eazy and Ice T, there was another mother fucker running the game - a true O.G. and undisputed badman who started all this gangsta shit. His name was Schoolly-D and this record started it all. Take a militant and minimal 808 beat, a titular nod to notorious gang the Park Side Killers and a groundbreaking rap style and you've got a hit son. Cited as a major influence by everyone who matters, this track changed the game back in 85, paving the way for Public Enemy, KRS One and NWA. Classic!

                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                  Patrick says: You might not realise it, but Schoolly-D invented gangsta rap right here. Ripped by Ice T, Easy E and B.I.G. amongst others, "What Does It Mean" is the blueprint for the whole movement. Time to get educated.

                                                  Elena Setién

                                                  Another Kind Of Revolution

                                                    Elena Setién is an artist defined by her vivid songwriting and nuanced compositions. Her music exudes the bold individualism and sense of empathy associated with her homeland of Spain’s Basque region. Setién is a skilled multi-instrumentalist and performed nearly every part on the record save for a few select guitar parts by Steve Gunn. While Elena’s recordings are decidedly pop, she has considerable experience as an improviser. ‘Another Kind Of Revolution’, Elena Setién’s Thrill Jockey debut, is a work of entrancing, effortless beauty.

                                                    Setién grew up during a period of political upheaval in Spain, in the Basque region. The turmoil of the post-dictatorship period of the 1980s and the intensive civic actions left her with a sense of duty to fight for progress. Her lyrics throughout ‘Another Kind Of Revolution’ describe the beauty of everyday life and nature and promote the forces of change, not as a burden but as the very source of hope to draw from.

                                                    ‘Another Kind Of Revolution’ tells its stories through an expansive sonic palette. Pianos and Wurlitzer take on various timbres for each song, trickling in and out of the foreground with Setién’s distinguished voice gently gliding overtop. Careful attention to specific recording techniques and allowing for the slight imperfections in the instruments and amplifiers, bring a depth to the recordings that is both direct and organic. Elena Setién’s work is elemental and bold. Her music bends simple, familiar sounds and compositional forms into thoroughly unique songs. With ‘Another Kind Of Revolution’, Elena Setién continues to defy convention with songs as gorgeous as they are auspicious.

                                                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                    Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                    The band was formed in Bristol, England and consists of 3 members; Simiah (MPC), Dan Somers (keys), & Craig Crofton (tenor & soprano sax).

                                                    The album is a collection of jazz inspired, hip hop instrumentals with MPC drums and live instrumentation. Simiah is well known for his live double MPC show cases and has performed alongside other live musicians so this new project is like a studio album of what he does naturally on stage. The unique sound has been developed through a monthly residency at Bristol's Gallimaufry bar where the band has improvised new material and fine-tuned ongoing compositions while welcoming special guests from the local jazz scene to sit in.



                                                    The Sisters Love

                                                    Give Me Your Love / Try It, You'll Like It

                                                    Originally released as a B side on Motown’s Mowest label in 1973, 'Give Me Your Love' has been in demand and played on various club scenes since the early 80’s and has maintained its popularity. Original copies now sell for £150 to £200 if you are lucky enough to find a clean copy. This is a fantastic slice of danceable Soul produced by Gloria Jones and Paul Riser. It was written by Curtis Mayfield whose own version appeared on the Superfly soundtrack. The track was sampled by Queen Latifah, Ruth Joy, Stereo MC’s and Robbie Williams and Kyle Minogue in their song ‘Kids’, amongst others. On the flip side is their great version of Willie Hutch’s song ‘Try It, You'll Like it’.

                                                    Patti Smith

                                                    Radio Ethiopia

                                                      Originally released in October 1976, on Arista Records - This was the follow-up to Patti Smith's widely acclaimed debut album "Horses". In interviews around the release, Patti Smith explained that she chose producer Jack Douglas, in the hope of making the album a commercial success. This is an x8 song album, pressed on standard Black LP Vinyl with download code insert. 

                                                      “If there was a mission it was to create something like absurd office funk,” says Stats’ Ed Seed, recalling the birth of his band. He was working a series of banal London office jobs, but rather than switch off or despair, Seed used this conventionally sterile backdrop for creative inspiration. “It was about taking things that are considered boring or are overlooked,” he says. “If you stare at anything long enough, it becomes weird.”

                                                      Staring into the infinite oddness of office life was interrupted when Seed “fluked” his way into La Roux’s band - which itself proved a further inspiration for the evolution of Stats. “I'd always been in scrappy indie bands,” he recalls. “Then I met Elly and her crew and thought ‘wow’. This kind of pop music, I always thought it only happened over in Hammersmith, you had to have tens of thousands of pounds and a major label. But I realised you didn’t need a huge budget to make something more stylish than your average band.”

                                                      This was a turning point for Seed, recognising he could create his own contemporary version of DIY art pop. “That gave me confidence,” he reflects. “I wanted Stats to be quite theatrical. I wanted it to be strangely glamorous, in a Roxy Music or Pet Shop Boys sort of way. Something that’s glamorous and quite silly. Those bands are very serious about being very silly.”

                                                      Debut album “Other People’s Lives”, recorded at RAK studios with the full Stats band (Ed Seed – vox, guitar, John Barrett -drums, Stu Barter - bass, Duncan Brown - guitar, Nicole Robson – keyboards, Iso Waller-Bridge – keyboards, vox) is about investigating the gaps in the stories we tell about our lives. Says Ed, “the world encourages me to experience my life as a narrative: a story in which I am the lead character, going on a journey, moving towards the discovery and realisation of an authentic self. Other people’s lives are presented to me as coherent, relatable stories, full of passion and travel and wonder. But my story makes no sense: it is full of contradictions and formless subplots, and I barely feel like the same actor from one day to the next - let alone find any meaning in it.”

                                                      Musically Other People’s Lives is in many ways a time-stamp of a record, something that captures the now, the fleeting, the fickle and the forgotten – like that perfect moment lost on the dance floor. Yet the album avoids being tied to a time and place, ricocheting between 70s art rock, 80s synth grooves and cosmic disco, presented honestly and experimentally via the all-encompassing prism of pop music.


                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                      Patrick says: Duncan from Dutch Uncles hipped me to Stats a few months back (Memphis Industries fam innit), and I was on board instantly. Following the same absurdist pop route as Fujiya & Miyagi or Yacht, but with a touch of Roxy Music glamour, some Talking Heads vocal nods and a whole lot of DFA-style indie dance grooving, Stats are 2019's answer to Hot Chip, Metronomy and Holy Ghost.

                                                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                      Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive limited edition neon pink vinyl.

                                                      Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                      LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                      Two sizzling South African boogie tracks from Kabasa’s Tata Sibeko. A killer producer, arranger and bass wizard, Tata channeled the gloomy current affairs landscape of 1985 into a glimmering Afro-synth nugget. As SA pop embraced 1980s synth sounds, Maxi Singles on 12-inch vinyl became a new canvas of expression with wider grooves for fat beats and extended mixes that suited dancefloors.
                                                      The supergroups of the 1970s fragmented into solo recording artists with the likes of Harari’s Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse releasing his seminal “Burnout” single in 1984. Former Kabasa frontman Tata Sibeko dropped “It’s A Mess” in 1985, addressing the world’s Cold War climate with an appeal to “learn to love each other” and “save ourselves from catastrophe.” The B-side “Afro Breakdance” marked the evolution of Tata’s Afro-global sensibilities from “Afro Funkin’” that had appeared five years earlier on Kabasa’s self-titled debut in 1980. Tata Sibeko (RIP) passed away in 2017 after approving the restoration and reissue of this single. This release is dedicated to his kindness, charm and creative zeal.

                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                      Patrick says: Was there a more OTT decade than the 80s? I think not. This 1985 mover sees former Kabasa frontman prove dry ice drama made it as far as South Africa with a sizzling synth funker about the cold war. Swtich it up on the flip for an e-e-e-lectro flyer called "Afro Breakdance".

                                                      Techfunkers

                                                      Techfunkers The Album: Techfunk Is Where It's At (Vol 1)

                                                      Sex Mania return with another killer, under-the-radar reissue. These guys are smashing it at the moment!

                                                      DJ Duke aka Techfunkers' "Techfunkers The Album: Techfunk Is Where It's At" was originally released 1995 in three volumes and sounded reassuringly ahead of its time; melding techno, electro and a Chicago mindset. The first volume is repressed here with three breath taking tracks, stylishly constructed and effortlessly cool; it's makes just the kind of statement and impact you require when taking over the 1s and 2s...Inabit everyone else! Hard to pick a favourite, "Looking 4 Da Perfect Beat" are tougher jackers, but I can't resist the sensual bass glide of "Techfunk Revenge". Fabulous!


                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                      Matt says: Another one from 1995 that's escaped my radar up until now. Not sure if I'm a) genuinly devo'd at myself for not doing enough homework or b) mega buzzed that I get a chance to play it out now. Oh the quandary!

                                                      The Telescopes

                                                      Exploding Head Syndrome

                                                        Welcome to the 11th studio album from The Telescopes, their third for Tapete. Consisting of eight new songs and incantations that form a series of sonic convulsions stretching the parameters of intuitive composition to the point of auditory illusion. Conceived in 1987, The Telescopes emerged as innovators in the field of melodic noise, becoming a crucial inspiration to a multitude of artists and listeners alike. The group has consisted of a revolving line up centred around lead protagonist and founding instigator Stephen Lawrie.

                                                        The Chi Factory

                                                        The Mantra Recordings

                                                        Dedicated to the life and work of Robert Lax (1915-2000), the American poet who lived on Patmos, Greece, as a self-exiled hermit since the sixties. Jack Kerouac called Lax 'one of the great original voices of our times, a Pilgrim in search of beautiful innocence'.

                                                        His great minimalistic poetry became a source of inspiration for the "Mantra Recordings". His life on Patmos was far away from public attention - quiet and always surrounded by the skies, seas, cats and birds. Lax was a real dreamcatcher.

                                                        As has become the norm for Chi Factory on Astral Industries - a veritable smorgasbord of all things esoteric, ambient and ritualistic, gelled together with a chloroplastic binding that emanates a natural, biotic nature. If you've ever wondered what'd be like to visit the region in Terrence McKenna's 'True Hallucinations' novel, this could well take you halfway there... Recommended. 


                                                        The New Creation

                                                        The Fish Song / Elijah Knows

                                                        The New Creation were a five piece ensemble made up of family members Robert James Randle (Aka Rasheed Shakoor Sr) his son Keith Randle (aka Rasheed Shakoor Jr) their nephew/cousin Mel Houston. Mel’s stepfather William Cooper (aka Wali Ali) and a fifth unrelated member Wayne E-2X.
                                                        The creator of The New Creation was William Cooper a guitarist who had previously worked with Norman Whitfield at Motown and had toured with The Undisputed Truth and The Jackson Five. He had also been employed by HB Barnum as part of Areatha Franklin’s touring band an association that would be relevant in The New Creation’s story.

                                                        The concept of The New Creation began sometime during 1973 when Robert James Randle penned the song “The Fish Song” ( credited as Robert 51-X) and William Cooper penned the song “Elijah Knows” amongst other material that never really got past the demo stage. Adding teenage cousins Mel Houston (Bass Guitar) and Keith Randle (Conga drums) and Wayne E-2X , The New Creation began performing through their affiliation to the African America political and religious movement , The Nation Of Islam with no lesser a person than Muhammad Ali, as a support act to his Celebrity Boxing Promotion Tours. They also toured as a support act to one of Philadelphia’s most well known soul groups, The Delfonic’s.
                                                        During the summer of 1974, under the tutelage of HB Barnum, The New Creation entered the Devonshire Recording Studio’s in North Hollywood to lay down the basic tracks of the above two songs with HB later adding the horn arrangements. The group pressed 2000 copies (plus a later 500) on their own Salaam label. They initially began to seek out radio airplay, unfortunately this wasn’t to be too forthcoming as the majority of radio stations considered “The Fish Song” to have been recorded as a commercial song , (which the group had no intention of) and demanded extortionate fees to promote. Therefore The New Creation were left with no choice but to promote their own product which they did by mail order and appearances throughout Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver (Colorado), Cleveland and New York selling their 45, for $5 each complete with a homemade promotional brochure.

                                                        With the groups growing popularity came the need for more rehearsals which sometimes lasted till three in the morning the teenage members of the group parents feared this would compound upon their High School work and so pulled them out of the group. They were replaced briefly by older members before the group broke up for good.

                                                        The New Creation’s “The Fish Song/Elijah Knows” is now a highly regarded and sought after 45 with sweet and harmony soul collector’s in Europe and it’s native USA.


                                                        "ALL" is the first album to be recorded at Tiersen’s new studio, venue and community centre, The Eskal, built in an abandoned discotheque on the island of Ushant, a small island positioned in the Celtic sea between Brittany and Cornwall, Tiersen’s home for the past 10 years. The album, mixed and co-produced by Gareth Jones, continues the themes of environment and a connection to nature first explored on EUSA, incorporating recordings from outside of Brittany, such as the redwood forests of California as well as field recordings from Tempelhof airport in Berlin (on ‘Tempelhof’), plus guest vocalists.

                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                        Barry says: Since the Amelié soundtrack, i've been in love with Tiersen's work, and this is most certainly the culmination of all of his previous works. It's a stunningly delicate, but beautifully emotive collection, more classically focused than Arnalds or Frahm but as tender as either (i'm not throwing shade here, i'm mad for a good pianist). Beautiful.

                                                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                        2xLP Info: Heavyweight 180 gram vinyl, Side D etched.

                                                        2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                        Alex Virgo drops the first release for his brand new Label "Pomme Frite", an imprint influenced by his love of disco & his keen ear for sampling in house music. If this first release is anything to go by, then it's the classic, loopy, 'French Touch' style of house music that Alex Virgo is looking to update for the new millennial.

                                                        Main room AF and possessing that incendiary energy that should ensure repeated plays at all the global dance hotspots, three tracks of peak time house pleasure that conjure up vivid memories of catching DJ Sneak, Thomas Bangalter or Cassius at Manchester's Red Light club night. Funky house became such a dirty word as the noughties progressed, but these three tracks demonstrate just how mega the combination of catchy and killer disco loops, mixed with the most kinetic house beats can be. Word! 


                                                        The Wedding Present

                                                        Marc Riley Sessions Volume 3

                                                          A band with a history that’s inextricably intertwined with the BBC and in particular the late BBC DJ John Peel, an early champion of the band, the ‘Marc Riley Sessions’ series echoes the famous Peel/Selwood releases on the Strange Fruit label that included BBC sessions from the likes of New Order, Buzzcocks, The Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen.

                                                          An avid Wedding Present fan himself, Riley, with his team of producers, has formed a close bond with The Wedding Present’s David Gedge and the band. “The release of the Wedding Present sessions done for our 6 Music programme over the years is something of an honour. In the great tradition of the Peel / Selwood releases on the Strange Fruit label, this record proves that, even without John, the BBC can still be a place where great bands can continue to grow and be creative... amongst friends.”

                                                          Having received critical acclaim for releases 1 and 2, ‘Marc Riley Sessions Volume 3’, features 9 tracks recorded for the awardwinning BBC Radio 6 Music show in 2015 and 2016. “The two sessions on this compilation feature many songs that appear on ‘Going, Going...’ the studio album that The Wedding Present released in 2016. ‘Going, Going...’ itself was an extensive audio-visual project recorded over the space of eighteen months in Provence, Liverpool and Seattle. By the time of the 2016 session, however, the album had been completed and had actually been released the previous week. Consequently, The Wedding Present were touring the UK (playing ‘Going, Going...’ in its entirety) and so, in-between our Cardiff and Gateshead concerts, we stopped off in Salford to record some tracks for Marc. As a result, you can hear the ‘live’ feel in these performances. This was a band that was literally on the road!”, says David.

                                                          The album also features two glorious cover versions including a heartfelt cover of the theme music from the fifth James Bond film, ‘You Only Live Twice’. “I’ve always been fond of recording cover versions and there a couple of great ones on this LP. In 2015 we had a go at John Barry and Leslie Bricusse’s ‘You Only Live Twice’ - and enjoyed it so much that I’m now planning a compilation of Bond covers to be released on my label, Scopitones”, says David. The second cover is the off-kilter ‘Jumper Clown’, a Marc Riley composition. “Marc’s band The Creepers released this song – which poked fun at his previous band’s singer [Mark E. Smith from The Fall] – in 1983 and The Wedding Present covered it eleven years later for the B-side of our ‘It’s A Gas’ single. We decided that an unannounced rendering for a live session while Marc himself was sat in the room watching would be a great surprise to spring on our DJ pal. We managed to keep the whole thing secret with the help of the show’s producer Michelle. This involved hastily rehearsing and sound-checking the song whenever we got the nod from the recording engineer that Marc was out of earshot!”, says David.


                                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                          Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

                                                          Melodies International brings forward its latest disco 12” reissue single and another You’re a Melody peak time classic: Shahid Wheeler – Just One Dance Before You Go. The song was written and recorded by producer James Hartnett – having studied music theory and composition back in high school and recognised back then for producing a charted northern soul spin in the UK titled “Hipit” in 1976 with his studio band “Hosanna”, it’s in 1978 that Hartnett produced and self released the scarcer and more compelling “Just One Dance Before You Go” which he refers to as his masterpiece. With a fairly stripped back line up for a disco tune including a rhythm section, hammond organ, horns and vocals, Hartnett manages to do so much through seemingly simple but clever arrangements and thumping, contagious energy. Hartnett had also invited friend and singer Leroy Shahid Wheeler to perform lead vocals, who’s signature high pitched falsetto lifts the whole operation above ground – a true feel good party anthem! 

                                                          Lenny Williams

                                                          Changes - Joaquin Joe Claussell Edits


                                                            Joe Claussell is at it again, always searching for that groove and that re-edit that has yet not been discovered. Always going for under the radar stuff that deserves to be amplified and retouched. 

                                                            On A side you get the original with plenty of soulful disco to fill that big room in that mega cool club in your home town, five minutes of blissful craftmanship that Joaquin is gonna extend to a whopping 9 minutes affair on the B Side. Here the focus is on the break for me. A groovy, hypnotic and very organic attack on the original take. If edits are your thing, you know that there are good ones and bad ones. This one is in the former camp and not just because it is a Claussell one but because it inmensely improves the original track. 

                                                            The price tag is dear but this track is worth every penny and it will become a rarity in its own right. Bravo, mr Claussell once again!

                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                            Sil says: So far, Claussell has not failed. There is not an edit that he has not mastered and nailed. This one here is no exception. Let it go at your own peril!

                                                            Steve 'Doc' Willoughby

                                                            All My Life

                                                            In 1978 multi talented New Jersey singer songwriter Steve Willoughby recorded an incredible piece of sweet, soulful and orchestral disco, arranged by his good friend, the late great Tony Camillo, ‘All My Life’ will make you feel good about living and loving!
                                                            The original version will whet your appetite for the main event; an extended version which has been miraculously restructured by Phillip Ward, building to a mind blowing crescendo, never heard before until now!

                                                            Working Men's Club

                                                            Bad Blood / Suburban Heights

                                                              With the start-stop sound of Talking Heads, Gang of Four and Television, ‘Bad Blood,’ fuses 70s post-punk with the stomp of Parquet Courts’ positivity and resonates with the start of the weekend...Syd’s half-spoken words jab through Strokes guitar lines with Mark E Smith drawl...it’s the feeling of a Saturday spent scuffing about in thrift stores and hanging out with friends.

                                                              Limited Edition Blood Red Vinyl, Only 300 Pressed. 


                                                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                              Ltd 7" Info: Limited Edition Blood Red Vinyl, Only 300 Pressed.

                                                              In the summer of 2017, Kees Berkers (Baby Galaxy, YAYAYA) & Yves Lennertz (Bounty Island) started writing and recording songs in a ballet school in a remote village atthe foot of the Plateau of Doenrade near Alpaca Mountain. Being avid record collectors, with both members having a collection spanning almost every musical era and genre, details from many different genres seep through in their music. Using South East Asian music from the 60 ́s and 70 ́s as a main inspiration, whilst also bringing their individual musical backgrounds and interests to the table, the recording spree resulted in a remarkable set of songs mixing world music, disco, funk and electronic music.


                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                              Patrick says: The best Bongo Joe in aaages for me this! On the A-side Yin Yin cook up a slow rolling syrup groove, then get deep into molam organs and thai guitar, coming on strong like a Khuruangbin - Paradise Bangkok collab. They save the real magic / madness for the B-side though, sending us into the stratosphere with the wild "Dis Ko Dis Ko", a street market "I Feel Love" with lunatic guitar licks and echo drenched vocals.

                                                              Timi Yuro

                                                              As Long As There Is You / It'll Never Be Over For Me

                                                              Timi Yuro was an American singer and songwriter. She was born into an Italian-American family in Chicago. In the 50s the family moved to Los Angeles where after performing in clubs she landed a recording deal with Liberty Records. In 1962 she was invited by Frank Sinatra to support him on tour, and the following year her album “The Amazing Timi Yuro” was produced by Quincy Jones. Then came the release of the single “It’ll Never be Over For Me” (400,000 hits on Youtube) acknowledged by northern soul fans as among the greatest of the genre. Original copies on Liberty have sold for £1,300. While scaled down her music career to focus on being a mother, she also became Reggie Kray’s favourite singer and is referenced in the Kray Twins movie “Legend”.

                                                              Zero 7

                                                              Aurora / Mono

                                                              Zero 7 return with a sublime new 12” featuring two new tracks. On the A-side ‘Mono’ sees the debut collaboration between the band and new vocalist Hidden. On the B-side ‘Aurora’ sees the band team up with their long standing collaborator Jose Gonzalez.

                                                              Various Artists

                                                              Africa Airways Five (Brace Brace Boogie 1976 - 1982)


                                                              It's that time again. The skies are calling and its time to board our trusty jet for the 5th outing of Africa Seven's premiere class compilation Africa Airways. For volume 5 its time to brace yourselves for 10 slices of Afro boogie goodness.

                                                              We up the boogie time groove with The Black Bells Group (the first band of lead singer Sidney 'Patrick Duteil' who went on to become the godfather of French hip-hop and a well know TV presenter. Here the groove is swinging... the perfect opener. Next up is German-based Cameroonian musician and cousin of Manu Dibango, Charly Kingson with this bass-synth boogie stomper. Big brass and jazzy trumpets add layers of sparkle too.

                                                              Next its time for some highlife inspired boogie from Ghanian Gyedu Blay Amboley. Highlife fused with reggae, disco, boogie and jazz just as the lyrics say.

                                                              Next we pair up with Africa Seven friend Eko once more under his Dikalo guise. The Cameroonian master musician is on fine form with his heavy brass and deep percussion with a driving afro boogie groove. To round off Side A its off to Cameroon again to groove with Jean 'Mekongo President'. Think Bernard 'Chic' Edwards on the bass with some African style and you can see it's the bottom end groove and afrobeat drums that power this gem along.

                                                              We open the second side slowly and purposefully with the highly sought after 'French Girl' from Fotso. Drippy bass synth grooves and a wondrous percussion and drum shuffle pair with piano riffs to make this a unique sounding track. Our friend Tala AM is next with the foot-stomping 'Sugar Lump'. JK Mandengue is next with most definitely the catchiest chorus you will hear today. Nigerian Jide Obe gets synth and clavinet rich with his doe to sensible dating advice 'Too Young'. We close off the album with a track from label good friend Jo Bisso under his Mulamba guise. Sounding like a long lost TV theme from a late night TV show circa 1977. Let's get down and boogie with the brand new dance in town folks... the Dashiki.

                                                              Until Volume Six takes flight it is time to unbuckle those seat belts folks.

                                                              Various Artists

                                                              Cuneiform For Pumapunku

                                                                ** NEW LIGHT SOUNDS DARK!!! - Act now or cry later! 

                                                                Keeping with their theme of late, it's a minimalistic, ambient, drone-like curation of none-hits that plunge deep into wormhole, scrap up all the interstella detritus and cough it back up through a phlegmy, alien oesophagus.

                                                                Two sides of wacked-out, voodoo discharge, electrostatic ambience and general creeping sense of doom. Like watching Event Horizon on your own on 4aco powder - incredibly terrifying but certain to re-programm your synapses. 

                                                                SERIOUSLY limited quants on this one folks so don't dilly dally! 

                                                                Light In The Attic’s Japan Archival Series continues with Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990, an unprecedented overview of the country’s vital minimal, ambient, avant-garde, and New Age music – what can collectively be described as kankyō ongaku, or environmental music. The collection features internationally acclaimed artists such as Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Joe Hisaishi, as well as other pioneers like Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoshio Ojima and Satoshi Ashikawa, who deserve a place alongside the indisputable giants of these genres.

                                                                In the 1970s, the concepts of Brian Eno’s “ambient” and Erik Satie’s “furniture music” began to take hold in the minds of artists and musicians around Tokyo. Emerging fields like soundscape design and architectural acoustics opened up new ways in which sound and music could be consumed. For artists like Yoshimura, Ojima and Ashikawa, these ideas became the foundation for their musical works, which were heard not only on records and in live performances, but also within public and private spaces where they intermingled with the sounds and environments of everyday life. The bubble economy of 1980s Japan also had a hand in the advancement of kankyō ongaku. In an attempt to cultivate an image of sophisticated lifestyle, corporations with expendable income bankrolled various art and music initiatives, which opened up new and unorthodox ways in which artists could integrate their avant-garde musical forms into everyday life: in-store music for Muji, promo LP for a Sanyo AC unit, a Seiko watch advert, among others that can be heard in this collection.

                                                                Kankyō Ongaku is expertly compiled by Spencer Doran (Visible Cloaks) who, with a series of revelatory mixtapes as well as his label Empire of Signs (Music For Nine Postcards), has been instrumental in shepherding interest in this music outside of Japan. Together with Light In The Attic’s celebrated anthologies I Am The Center and The Microcosm, Kankyō Ongaku helps to broaden our understanding of this quietly profound music, regardless of the environment in which it’s heard.


                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                Patrick says: Now, while the Japanese ambient revival has been going on for some years (check out essential reissues on Palto Flats, WRWTFWW, 17853) Light In The Attic steal a march on their competitors with this sublime compilation of obscurities from the Land of the Rising Sun. Wonderfully packaged, presented and curated, "Kankyo Ongaku" is a fitting companion to "I Am The Center" and the "Microcosm", exploring the New Age and ambient sounds of 80s Japan. Minimal, relaxing and utterly beautiful, this music is almost heavenly.

                                                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                2xDeluxe CD Info: 2xCD housed in a custom 7”x 7” hardbound book.

                                                                3xLP Box Set Info: Triple black vinyl LP with deluxe Stoughton “tip-on” jackets and slipcase.


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