MAGIC MIX

ALL GENRES

WEEK STARTING 9 Nov

Sea Pinks

Rockpool Blue

    Rockpool Blue is the seventh album by Sea Pinks, Belfast's finest purveyors of bittersweet guitar pop since 2010. At 28 minutes, it's a short record about the pressure of taking on adult responsibilities when you still feel like a kid, and about the unexpected joy that can come from embracing that. Throughout, the band shrug off the ambivalence that has often characterised their best work for what turns out to be their most cohesive, outward looking and ultimately positive set of songs to date. The record was recorded in four days staggered over a six month period from October 2017 to April 2018 at Belfast's Start Together, with engineer Ben McAuley.

    Singer and guitarist Neil Brogan also took on bass duties this time around when longtime bassist Steven Henry amicably left the band ahead of recording. Brogan and drummer Davey Agnew recorded more than twice the number of tracks that eventually made it onto the album, before paring it down to the eight songs that best related, resulting in a tight, focused set. The lush opening swell of Watermelon Sugar (Alcohol) sets the tone. An impressionistic swirl of verse soon lurches into uncertainty, before soaring off into wordless, blissful abandon. The title track follows with a huge chorus invoking geo thermal forces, offset by a loping, dreamy post punk guitar line. Bioluminescence is a three minute burst of power pop, lit up by an effervescent riff and the affirmative refrain "I found a way". Side one closes with Dumb Angel, a song about overriding the impulse to self doubt, underlined by another big chorus "You're better than all that". Grown Up Kids opens side two with a tongue in cheek critique of buy to let baby boomers and the legacy they are leaving for their children.

    A Man in My Condition calls out patriarchal abuse of power masking male insecurity, while Versions of You returns to the dumbstruck wonder of Watermelon Sugar, a song about human potential basking in a late surge of swirling delays. The Apple is the perfect bittersweet closer, a song about embracing your station in life, wherever and whomever that may be. "I've always thought each Sea Pinks record was the last when we were making it, but this time it definitely feels like an ending of sorts" says Brogan "Maybe that's just of us doing albums in studios, we'll see how this one goes.

    Not content with packing our shelves with high grade bangers from his Church and Coastal Haze imprints, South London producer and DJ Seb Wildblood comes at us all over again, this time through his All My Thoughts label. Wildblood's style has taken on a life of its own as he experiments further from his signature jazz infused sound. "Grab The Wheel" is a dance floor focused EP, which flirts with the sounds of the 90s, particularly heard on opening track "Leave It Open". The warm pads are reminiscent of 90s downtempo and chill out with elements of reverbed soaked dub techno. 
    Influenced by his love for garage, "Bad Space Habits" is Wildblood's take on a genre he often sprinkles into his DJ sets and title track "Grab The Wheel" boasts of 90's percussion with a hazy Chicago house vibe. Closing the EP, stand out sensual and rhythmic track "Landing", hints towards the album Wildblood is currently working on.

    Revered in the house scene for his labels, parties and productions, Seb Wildblood now embarks on a new sonic journey armed with club anthems for 2018 and beyond.

    The first fully autonomous artificial intelligence with the ability to learn and improve itself is created by the Sega corporation. Two years later they invent the first time machine, and call it the Timecast. Sega decides to send the A.I. named Segadeath back in time to 1881 to destroy Nintendo before its creation. Helsinki's Mesak and Marseille's Bill Vortex are the Jompo Boys and their Jompo dance to the Jompo Anthem is the new craze all over Europe. It's a uniting front we form while Jompo spreads and spreads and takes over every fiber on the planet.



    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: In other words, Segadeath hit us with a razor sharp and rambunctious acid snapper (think DMX Krew), moody and menacing electro weapon (big Lawnmower man vibes), while the Jompo boys offer fractal 4/4 grooves on a post minimal tip and a ring mod body popper for 8bit Bboys.

    When Dunham Records/Daptone producer and musician Thomas Brenneck first heard the close family harmonies of the Sha La Das he had a revelation; he knew he had to get it on tape. Direct from Staten Island, the four Schaldas, father Bill and sons Will aka Swivs, who also toured the world playing keyboard for Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires, Paul of Paul and the Tall Trees and Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires, and Carmine had come into the studio in Brooklyn to record background vocals on Charles Bradley’s Victim of Love. It was a passion that drove Brenneck from the very beginning. Hearing them sing together in the studio was incredible, says Brenneck. He collaborated with Bill Schalda writing songs and applying harmonic sensibilities rooted in doo wop, blues and soul. It wasn’t a stretch for Bill, after all he’d been second tenor when still a teen in Brooklyn vocal group, The Montereys in the 1960s (their 45, Face In The Crowd/Step Right Up on Blast records sells for $500 these days) who would play venues from neighborhood bars to the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens. On this, their debut, the talent is harnessed in 11 songs, each tender-voiced delight delivered with absolute conviction combined with musicians that have help define the Daptone/Dunham Records sound including Brenneck, Homer Steinweiss, Dave Guy, Leon Michels, Nick Movshon and Victor Axelrod. “I wanted to take the Sha La Das outside of the doo wop genre,” says Brenneck. “To take the whole vocabulary of doo wop harmony and reapply it to soul - so you get super soulful harmonies along the lines of The Manhattans & The Moments.” From the opening atmospheric guitar strum of Open My Eyes via a walk along the Coney Island boardwalk catching the last glimpse of sunlight at dusk of Carnival to the sublime crescendo of harmonies of the winsome Love in the Wind, each song evokes a deeply personal yet universal yearning that none of us can escape. Quite simply every song yields magic.

    Shit & Shine

    Bad Vibes

      Trapped in a nightmarish psychic landscape midway between the bars of Austin and the bass-bins of Berghain, Shit and Shine are back for the attack, volleying forth across the consciousness with a delirious voyage into the nether. ‘Bad Vibes’ is a singularly appropriate moniker for a collection of audial explorations that dauntlessly set off down labyrinthine mind-maps to oblivion, all the while with an Acid-House-style smile plastered on their face. Shit And Shine, a beast under the wayward ownership of Texan transgressor Craig Clouse has - over the course of the last fourteen or so years and thirty plus releases on labels as disparate as Riot Season, Editions Mego, Diagonal and Load - proven itself capable of morphing into new, terrifying and destructive shapes seemingly of its own volition, in a manner not altogether unlike the alien protagonist of John Carpenter’s The Thing.

      This fourth release for Rocket however is a culmination of everything Clouse has lurched towards thus far, infusing the monomaniacal mindset of techno and house with the caligulan mania of The Butthole Surfers, as skeletal techno, sample-strewn collages, kraut-fried repetition and dementoid electronic scree are heedlessly thrown into a blender with tantalising and terrifying results. Fresh from yet another demolition derby between high trash and the lowest avant-garde, ‘Bad Vibes’ is the sound of the Shit and Shine jalopy rocketing way beyond the speed limit on the lineage of the lysergic. Frankly, you’d better either get on board or get well out of the way. Darkening the corners of the dancefloor it’s a synthetic horror-thriller soundtrack in the Escher-on-ludes catacombs of a neverending comedown, while remaining entirely accessible” 

      Motown's First Ladies of Funk finally release their vinyl debut, some 45 years after it was originally scheduled! As the '70s dawned and Motown relocated to the West Coast, the era of their honey-toned '60s girl groups came to a resounding halt. The Sisters Love were the antithesis of the traditional Motown group and came to the label from A&M, armed with a lot of funk, sass and attitude. Paired with some of Motown's finest writers and producers - Hal Davis, Gloria Jones, Pamela Sawyer, Paul Riser and Willie Hutch - they got off to a rousing start with the gritty "Mr. Fix-It Man" and went into high gear for the UK only release "I'm Learning To Trust My Man".

      Motown had them playing arenas with The Jackson Five (probably not their smartest move!), issued the odd single and scheduled more but Sisters Love's anticipated breakthrough didn't happen. In 1980 New York DJ Danny Krivit pressed up an extended eight-minute re-edit of "Give Me Your Love", an old B-side from a 1973 single! That song was somewhat of an underground classic but the Krivit mix brought in a whole new legion of fans amongst the rare groove crowd, both in the US and the UK. Sisters Love had long been rumored to have recorded a complete album for the Motown subsidiary MoWest. Get On Down Records combed the vaults with Motown's help and the result is the original 10 cut album, plus a bonus cut, "Give Me Your Love." Although Gwen Berry passed away some years ago, the other three members of the group - Jeanie Long, Lillie Fort and Vermettya Royster have all been actively involved in this release. 

      Sleep D / Roza Terenzi

      Shark Tempo / Paranoia On Tap

      Australia's one-stop-shop for new techno and slamming house, Butter Sessions drops a double header from label mainstay Sleep D and current hot property Roza Terenzi.

      'D delivers a ratcheting, high energy techno stream train, viciously laced with acid and lysergic fx delays. Undeniably from the producer's warped mind and intent on causing as much destruction as possible to the dancefloor this is Sleep D at his demonic best.

      Fellow Aussie, Roza offers up a suitably ravey and breakbeat reinforced offering for this self-professed lover of 'anything bleepy'. Its warehouse themed framework rigid enough to withstand extended play in the more demanding nightspots, it cements this producer's already well respected reputation in the new school of the dance scene.

      Heavy record from Butter Session this folks, recommended. 


      'Though most people will think of Massive Attack, Portishead or even Roni Size when asked about Bristol’s influence on UK music in the late 80s and 90s, really none of them have had anywhere near as much of an impact as Smith & Mighty. With a hand in the development of jungle, dubstep and the particular of-Bristol-ness that so defined the aforementioned artists, their influence is comparable to that of the city itself.'

      Celebrating 30 years since their first release, foundation laying forefathers Smith & Mighty release "Ashley Road Sessions". This special one-off double label partnership between Pinch’s Tectonic and Peverelist’s Punch Drunk is an endeavour in homage to their Bristol neighbours, whom they both hold in high regard.

      Despite being inextricably linked to the South West England sound, "Ashley Road Sessions" proffers an array of styles, the breadth and spectrum of which might surprise. Breakbeat, hardcore, Balearica and acid house all feature as prominently as the dub, reggae, hip-hop beats and soul for which they’re most commonly associated. 'Smith & Mighty’s lack of genre tribalism and melting pot approach certainly influenced how I make music', comments Peverelist.

      Especially timely in light of the recent breakbeat and jungle revival, this important document feels both historical and relevant, with the classic hip hop sample, crisp breakbeats and Gat Décor bass of perky opener "Always Be There (Step Up)" sounding remarkably current. Airborne dub fx float around heavy beats on the sparse pulse of "Stalagnate", which wouldn’t seem out of place on Bokeh Versions, sounding both vintage and very now. The aptly titled "Morning Light" surely soundtracked the end of long orbital rave nights, straddling funky hardcore breaks, emotive melody, sub bass and heartening Balearic optimism.

      The deft break chopping of "Film Score" shows they could do deep jungle as well as anyone, contrasting with "Higher Than Tempo" – a cerebral slow IDM trance dance, that was post ‘E2 E4’ and pre "Landcruising".
      "Dub Song" seamlessly blends hardcore, jungle and steppers with a smooth liquidity, whilst frenetic sixteenths, hard snares and purring bass drive the skeletal head-snapper "Through A Dark Cloud".
      Percussion and drum machines meet melodic chords on "Leaving Pt 1 & 2", which exemplifies the plaintive, melancholy British bass, later made famous by Massive Attack.


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: I had, sadly, not heard much of Smith & Mighty's back catalogue; which in hindsight comes at a great shame - as I've pretty much been obsessed with soundsystem culture for the last ten years. Oh well, off pops another lid on a vast array of music... yipeee!

      Sofa Talk already showed us his prowess on the refined label Banoffee Pies. He is bringing that delicate balance between bubbly jazz and deep house to the well known Omena label. 
      Four tracks of gentle house with bubbles of jazz, funk and broken beat. All of if propelled by some deep house beats creating a perfect mix for a gentle dancefloor warmer. 

      'Balancing Acts' is a double feature including the more dancefloor oriented Prequel mix. Keeping faithful to the original, puts more emphasis on the beats to keep things going. 

      This ep will sit well among fans of Herbie Hancock, Kaidi Tatham and any Banoffee Pies follower. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Sil says: Nice and classy. Champagne rather than beer is the drink to order when you listen to this 12". The Prequel mix is gorgeous and so it is 'Scissors and Shapes' with its flirtations jazz licks. Great stuff!

      To celebrate 40 years since their formation in Leeds in 1978, Soft Cell, aka Marc Almond and Dave Ball, release some brand new remixes on their own Big Frock imprint.

      Soft Cell have been synonymous with the club scene since their debut single release "Memorabilia" in 1981, (produced by Mute Records’ Daniel Miller) which is widely cited by many dance music luminaries as the first ever acid house record. The band cut their teeth and built their notoriety in clubs across the world, from Leeds' warehouses right across the Atlantic to New York’s legendary Danceteria. Second single "Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go" went on to become one of the biggest club (and chart) hits of all time, reaching Number 1 in 17 countries later in 1981. The first true electronic UK duo, the band have sold over 30 million records throughout their career and have been covered or sampled by artists as diverse as Rihanna, Nine Inch Nails, a-Ha and Marilyn Manson, and well as influencing many others. The EP features remixes chosen by two internationally-renowned UK DJs, both massive fans of Soft Cell. Hifi Sean has remixed "Insecure Me", the B-side to 1982 single "Torch", as well as "So", the flip side to the single "What". Jon Pleased Wimmin has remixed one of Soft Cell’s earliest compositions, "A Man Could Get Lost".

      While intended as a club tool for DJs, Soft Cell have made sure a limited number of the 12” picture disc EP is available as well for their fans. These mixes will not be released on any other format, and do not feature on the upcoming "Keychains & Snowstorms: The Soft Cell Story" box set.


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: Flamboyant, stylish and LOADS of fun, I f***in love Hifi Sean! Personal fave?? the Esctasy Dub of course! :)

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd 12" Info: Very limited edition 12" picture disc.

      Vera Sola

      Shades

        A family of spiritualists, writers and performers generations deep; a home haunted by legends of literature and music; personal upheaval and a sense of being unseated in time: these are the origins of singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Vera Sola. With an ethereal voice providing the foundation for a haunting body of song, her timeless sound and enthralling stage presence draws an unlikely connection between Vera Lynn and Vera Hall; the grande dame of British music hall and the Depression-era Alabamian singer of work-songs and spirituals.

        As a child she played classical piano, later guitar and bass, learning more by instinct than instruction. An obsessive reader and writer, she’d forever written poetry and been fascinated by wordplay, falling in love at a young age with Russian literature and the work of Dylan Thomas, James Joyce and William Faulkner. All this, along with a career as a stage and voice actor—combined with years of touring in Elvis Perkins’ band— would serve as a launching point for Vera Sola. But it wasn’t until early 2017, when she booked time at Native Sound Studio in St. Louis, that she began to experiment with the idea of recording her own material. She hadn’t even shared her music with her closest friends and family, let alone recorded anything of her own. Even then, despite a lineage and lifetime of public performance, she felt a barrier blocking off her voice.

        Writing and playing came easily, but singing her own songs presented a different challenge. One she couldn’t explain and couldn’t quite shake. That would all change. Just before she was to travel to St. Louis, a series of life-altering events marked a radical shift that reframed her relationship to her music. With everything she’d known to be true now unraveled, along with it vanished the fear that had prevented her from translating the sound in her blood into song. Entering the studio, she abandoned plans to bring in other musicians. She decided instead to make the album entirely alone, picking up instruments she had never played before, drawing from them the internal music that had for so long gone unexpressed. She recorded using anything at hand. Bones and breaking glass, chains and filing cabinets, hammers and two-by-fours. Countless moving parts meticulously layered and arranged. And that old fear now cast off brought new abilities, a change in her voice, including an otherworldly vibrato.

        She’d become a vessel, capable of channeling at once her innermost self and yet something entirely beyond her. What emerged from the sessions was her debut album, SHADES, a collection of ten finely-honed and immaculately-rendered ballads. Poems and stories delivered in a mannered but casually dismissive style–-full of sorrow, yet arch and wry. Songs of the present that conjure the past. Accounts of women and their ghosts: echoes of memories that just won’t quit; of relationships over or current but fleeting; of the extinction of species; the violent capture of a feminine landscape and the spirits that stick around long after; messengers from the other side. 

        Spiritualized

        Fucked Up Inside

          Following the quickly sold out limited edition milky clear coloured vinyl that was exclusively released for Record Store Day 2018 Glass Redux are pleased to announce a new vinyl pressing of Spiritualized’s “Fucked Up Inside”. This LP is pressed on heavyweight 180 gram audiophile black vinyl. Re-mastered by John Rivers at Woodbine Studios especially for vinyl release. Heavyweight 180 gram vinyl LP in an embossed and hot foil finished sleeve.

          ‘Fucked Up Inside’ consists of live recordings made by Spiritualized at the Crest Theatre in San Diego and the Hollywood Palladium in L.A. on the nights of 19th and 21st November 1992 on the North American ‘Rollercoaster’ tour with the Jesus and Mary Chain and Curve. Released as a live album in 1993; the title is taken from a lyric on one of the songs featured on the album; ‘Medication’. Originally only available via mail order the Glass Redux LP faithfully re-creates the original sleeve design; the guitar effects pedals embossed and foil blocked. Recorded live in California, November 1992

          Stephen Steinbrink

          Utopia Teased

            Stunned with grief in the months following the Ghost Ship fire, Oakland-based Stephen Steinbrink ate LSD daily, bought a synthesizer, and locked himself in his shipping container studio, refusing to sleep for days as he wrote and recorded what would become Utopia Teased, as a means of working through his overwhelming feelings of cynicism and loss.

            Recorded in between stints touring as a member of Dear Nora, and then as a touring member of Girlpool, Utopia Teased is Stephen Steinbrink's followup to his critically acclaimed 2016 album Anagrams. Unlike the pristine production of Anagrams, on Utopia Teased Steinbrink embraces the rough edges, as he shifts his focus from the craft of production to the art of processing and capturing his experiences with honesty. He explains, “I was driving the preamps a little too hard, mixing down to tape, bouncing back to the computer, and repeating the process over and over again. I wanted it to reflect how fried my brain felt at the time, totally pulverized. The songs just poured out of me, it hardly felt like work to make them up. It was like turing on a spigot. I don’t write often, maybe once or twice a year, but when I do, a lot comes out..”

            “Empty Vessel” and “Maximum Sunlight” both sung from perspective of residents of Tonopah, Nevada, were written to accompany a book about the town, by Steinbrink's friend Meagan Day. The sparse imagery on “Empty Vessel,” ostensibly about a semi-transient lock-picking truck driver, feels at least semi-autobiographical as Steinbrink sings “You're 31, you don't believe in anything…If you don't stop moving you'll never get hurt.” His evocative lyrics continue to intrigue on “Maximum Sunlight” as he sings “Sleeping through the night in the drained pool / I said I love you to a fool” from the perspective of a 30-year-old alcoholic ATV enthusiast.

            Much of his outlook on life is captured on the elegiac waltz “Zappa Dream,” (originally written and recorded by his friend Rosie Steffy) on which he sings, “Dreams are so fucked up / Even the really good ones…Would it be such a bad thing / To be finished with living?...Everyone preserves a myth / Guards it like a bone / You see it in your lover's eyes / But never in your own…There is a magic on this earth / In cats and clouds and cars / For everything that you call "real" / Was once the dust of stars / Yeah you have been a river rock / And a drop of rain / And with any bit of luck / You'll be those things again / Are you in love with your life or a dream / Or just overwhelmed/ Wondering what this could possibly mean?” At the close of the, too-little-too-late acoustic narrative “Mom”, guest vocalist Melina Duterte of Jay Som joins him in conjuring a memory of listening to extraterrestrial radio, drifting asleep in a suburban Phoenix Wal-Mart parking lot. The album’s heartbreaking closer “I’m Never Changing Who You Are” continues Steinbrink’s recollection of his adolescence, asking an unnamed family member “Will you try to love more than you did?” while soberly accepting his reality.

            In an interview with North of the Internet, Steinbrink recalled a video he came across on his phone, which was taken the day after the fire, “It sent me spiraling and thinking, it’s almost been a year. Nothing really felt actual those weeks, and I could only only react to the future at a remove because the horror of everything was inescapably tying me to the present. The idea of doing laundry or driving across the bridge to San Francisco to work was too abstract, so I just didn’t do it. I hardly did anything. Two days after the fire I woke up, walked to P.’s porch and sat there for hours alone and cried without a jacket on until the sun started going down. Geese were flying across power lines at dusk and I took a video of them on my phone. I imagined one of the birds was my friend.” In the same interview, he goes on to share some insight provided by a friend he reached out to when trying to finalize the album: “Finishing the thing puts a limit around something that comes from an infinite well; this is uncomfortable.” True.


            FORMAT INFORMATION

            Ltd LP Info: LP is 180g Heavyweight Vinyl + Comes With Download Code.

            CD Info: CD is Jewel Case With Pull Out Booklet Poster.

            Stereolab

            Peng!

              ‘Peng!’ is the band’s 1992 debut album. 

              Often noted as being one of the most influential and original bands of the 90s, Stereolab were formed by Tim Gane and Laetitia Sadier in London in 1990 and released 13 studio albums, 15 EPs and numerous singles. Simon Reynolds commented in Rolling Stone that the group’s early records form “an endlessly seductive body of work that sounds always the same, always different.”

              Theirs is a rich, overflowing palette, readily able to blur the gulf between Os Mutantes and the BBC Radiophonic Orchestra; merge Krzysztof Komeda with the Velvet Underground, Francoise Hardy with Neu! and Burt Bacharach with Esquivel. A deluxe blend, in other words, with ingredients plucked assiduously from pop’s coolest outposts: 50’s lounge, Rive Gauche chanson, Brazilian tropicalia, North American art rock, East European film music, Krautrock. hi-fi test recordings, mood music and more. Somehow they distil these apparently incongruent components into an ageless exotica that is all their own.

              Stereolab

              The Groop Played Space Age Batchelor Pad Music

                 ‘The Groop Played Space Age Batchelor Pad Music’ is an 8-track mini album, released in 1993.

                Often noted as being one of the most influential and original bands of the 90s, Stereolab were formed by Tim Gane and Laetitia Sadier in London in 1990 and released 13 studio albums, 15 EPs and numerous singles. Simon Reynolds commented in Rolling Stone that the group’s early records form “an endlessly seductive body of work that sounds always the same, always different.”

                Theirs is a rich, overflowing palette, readily able to blur the gulf between Os Mutantes and the BBC Radiophonic Orchestra; merge Krzysztof Komeda with the Velvet Underground, Francoise Hardy with Neu! and Burt Bacharach with Esquivel. A deluxe blend, in other words, with ingredients plucked assiduously from pop’s coolest outposts: 50’s lounge, Rive Gauche chanson, Brazilian tropicalia, North American art rock, East European film music, Krautrock. hi-fi test recordings, mood music and more. Somehow they distil these apparently incongruent components into an ageless exotica that is all their own.

                As some of you may or may not know, for the past few years, as a holiday tradition, Sufjan has embarked on an extraordinary experiment to record an annual Christmas EP. It started in 2001, the year of Epiphanies, and continued onward (skipping only 2004), culminating into an odd and idiosyncratic catalog of music that has only existed in the Asthmatic Kitty archives (and on a number of file sharing sites). The recording process took place every December, for one week, usually at home, provoking collaborations with friends, roommates, and musical peers. Armed with a Reader's Digest Christmas Songbook (and a mug of hot cider) Sufjan & friends concocted a musical fruit cake year after year, implementing every musical instrument they could find lying around the house: banjo, oboe, Casiotone, wood flute, a buzzy guitar, hand claps, sleigh bells, Hammond organ, and some tree tinsel. Did we mention sleigh bells? It doesn't take much to capture that Creepy Christmas Feeling, does it? Recorded, mixed and mastered at home, the EPs themselves were often assembled in the kitchen, stapled together, and sent out with stickers and stamps to loved ones across the globe, year after year. Recording traditional favourites alongside unique originals, Sufjan has, over the course of five years, constructed an odd, impressive, and compelling collection of Christmas hits (and some misses) that will either warm your heart or make you throw up eggnog all over the bath mat (depending on your constitution). Asthmatic Kitty now releases ALL of the material (newly mixed and mastered) in one generous box set.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                5xLP Box Set Info: 5 LP box set.

                Straight Arrows

                On Top

                  Overflowing with unbridled energy, you’d be forgiven for thinking On Top was the band’s debut album, but the third record for the Sydney quartet sounds as vital and as exciting as ever. Having spent years touring their incendiary live show around Australia and the world, Straight Arrows have honed their fresh, reverb-laden, fuzzed out, psychedelic punk sound into pointed perfection with On Top. From the frantic buzzsaw of “Nothing To Me”, to the break-beat groove of “21st Century”, to the tender outsider folk of “Dead Weight”, to the mind-melting psych-out that is “Buried Again”, this is the sound of a band that isn’t short on ideas and isn’t afraid to push the envelope of what people expect a Straight Arrows record to be.

                  “Nothing's more boring than a bunch of the same guitar bullshit over and over again. We’ve taken the guitar bullshit, made it occasionally a little faster, and sometimes even a little slower too,” says vocalist, guitarist and chief songwriter Owen Penglis with a cheeky grin.

                  Clearly he and his bandmates have cast a wider sonic net this time around, largely influenced by Penglis’ love of crate digging and his vast musical knowledge of the detritus of pop culture’s past. “Over the writing of this thing I was listening to a lot of 60s and 70s private press LPs from the USA, weird bubblegum, private press 45s from Australia, and a whole heap of 60s Jamaican rocksteady singles. Al (Grigg guitar/vocals) reckons 'Gun Man' sounds a little rocksteady-ish, but I think he’s wrong and it’d be embarrassing for a bunch of Australians to attempt these sounds.”

                  Much like everything else they’ve done, On Top was completely created on their own terms. Produced and mixed by Penglis himself, the album seems to be more direct than the band’s previous efforts, bringing a clarity to their sound without losing any of the ramshackle charm that has earnt Straight Arrows a worldwide cult following. This aural evolution is something that has happened more by chance than by any conscious choice. “As a group of gifted amateurs it sometimes happens that through repetition and long tours we've improved at our craft, despite our best efforts to the contrary,” laughs Penglis.

                  On Top is the riveting next episode in the ongoing Straight Arrows saga.“The first album is It’s Happening, the second is Rising, so it only makes sense by this point that we'd eventually make it On Top!!” says Penglis. “Plus it’s WAY more flattering than 'Peaked'.”

                  Sun Kil Moon

                  This Is My Dinner

                    This Is My Dinner was written during Sun Kil Moon’s November 2017 European tour. The album was recorded November 18, 2017 at TAPF Studio in Copenhagen and December 7, 8, 9, 2017 at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco. The album includes versions of AC/DC’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer,” The Partridge Family’s “Come On Get Happy,” and John Connolly’s “Chapter 87 of He” set to music. Musicians include Tony Scherr, Jim White, Scott McPherson, Ben Boye, Ramon Fermin, Chris Connolly and special guest Jordan Cook.

                    After an impressive outing sharing editorial duties on Universal Cave's last release, Philly duo Superprince assume full control of the UC console, coming correct with four slices of rework heat for UC011. From the soulful Caribbean funk of ‘Mama’ to the syrupy, slo-mo boogie of ‘Rose’, the A side is a sublime double header of slow jams to kick off the e.p. On the B side, Superprince picks up the pace with delicious, private press disco for the dancefloor in the form of ‘Come To Me’, before the dubbed-out balearic bliss of ‘Buy You A Dream’ (AKA a killer edit of Paul Young's "Love Of The Common People") closes out the affair with a chuggier and cheekier high note.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Patrick says: Treacle boogie, private press disco, tropical funk and a Balearic bomb? Hats and possibly tops off for the mighty Superprince.


                    Harvey Sutherland returns with new single "Amethyst", a jazz-leaning broken beat odyssey born out of sessions with London-based saxophonist Nubya Garcia and drummer Kahlil Memphis.

                    Another milestone in an already-unpredictable career from the Melbourne based producer, "Amethyst" shows off a vibrant and multi-coloured instrumental palette, bursting with rich jazz musicality and possessing an undeniable, spontaneous live energy.

                    "I Can See" scurries down a similar path, littered with flamboyant jazz drumming and skilled keys. Fellow Melbournian RIngs Around Saturn suitably elevates the track into stars with a space jazz outlook that's totally captivating.

                    With the Melbourne crew firmly in on the act, modern jazz shows no sign of relenting its grip on the music scene in 2018. A triumph!


                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    David says: Harvey Kahlil Memphis and Nubya Garcia, what's not to love? Ace broken jazz that sounds as good in a club as it does on the sofa. Ace.

                    New one on Four Tet's cutting edge imprint, nearing ever-closer to that fiftieth record milestone.

                    Taraval is a producer from San Francisco and has also guested on Geej and Hypercolour previous to this, his third record for Text. Three highly futuristic tracks inhabit the EP, beginning with the chaotic bass wobble and skewed beats of "Aardvark" - a track that seems instantly suited to the label, and indeed, its owners well-lauded DJ sets - as it viciously traverses garage, techno and bass genres with its elbows out and chest puffed up.

                    "Pumpkin" shuns any two step business for a full throttle techno ride. Compressed beats ricocheting against flailing tones and seriously wobbly leads before these lysergic trails and luminous splurges introduce the latter half of the track. Pretty wild and unlike anything else ont market currently this one - track IDs guaranteed when it drops!

                    "Basketball Cookie" concludes with another heads-down techno roller that'd surely find favour on the dancefloors of Detroit and Glasgow.

                    Well folks it looks like another essential release from planet Text! Don't sleep....


                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Matt says: Big one for the dedicated clubbers who spend weekend after weekend populating the nation's dance spots on the never-ending quest for freshness.

                    The Telescopes

                    Early Studio Recordings

                      At last! THE TELESCOPES first four EPs are compiled in order to reissue their studio recordings 1989-1990. Not only that but they have been remastered in order to achieve the deserved sound of this legendary British band leading the late 80s and early 90s shoegaze and melodic noise alongside The Jesus And Mary Chain among others.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      Ltd LP Info: 150 grams vinyl, 500 copies only.

                      Following on from her debut release on Project Pablo's Sobo label last year, Montreal's Gene Tellem joins the house music league champions Wolf Music.

                      "Phase Memory" immediately takes you to late night territories. Sublime, gliding atmospheres envelope the mix from the off, as glitching midrange hooks move into focus. Sweeping, undulating synthlines seal the deal for this midnight deep house cruise missile. Following on "Omni" seems to evolve almost seamlessly into a more techno orientated beast. A hefty beat underpins this bad boy as it marches forward unperturbed.

                      "Big Bill" opens side B, another lofty, suspended groove that appears to hang in some crystalline state; with tastefully plotted snares and woodblocks peppering the mix.

                      Considering this is only Gene Tellem's second release, Wolf have shone a light on a hugely exciting new talent who's soon to be a name on everyone's lips - excellent work!


                      Throw Down Bones

                      Two

                        Italy’s Throw Down Bones are something of an enigma in the experimental underground. Since the release of their highly-praised 2015 self-titled album, they’ve picked up a notorious reputation on the European live circuit for their pulverising, constantly-mutating live shows. In a review of the debut, album listeners were told to “make no mistake, this is dance music” and that may have been true back then but now, back with their second album titled Two, the band have taken that to a whole new extreme. Ditching the hypnotic coldwave tendencies of their earlier work for an all-out sonic assault of industrial four-to-the-floor rhythms and screeching acid house.

                        Two is due for release via Fuzz Club Records on October 26th and see’s the band deal in floor-shaking industrial techno-post-punk occasionally steeped in a euphoric acid-house sheen. Where the old Throw Down Bones was better suited for intimate venues and psych fests (of which they were a frequent staple, from Liverpool to Eindhoven and everywhere in between), this new evolution sees them turn their eyes to the most underground techno clubs and the sleaziest warehouse venues. Imagine Death In Vegas, Factory Floor and Aphex Twin jamming in a room together and you might come close but Throw Down Bones would be reluctant to point to any ‘influences’. For them, their corrosive industrial workouts are simply the product of their environment and attitudes, as opposed to who they’re listening to at any given moment.

                        Tokyo Police Club

                        TPC

                          If the universe had tilted the tiniest bit, there would be no TPC—the not-quite self-titled fourth (and best) Tokyo Police Club album.

                          By 2016, singer-bassist and chief songwriter Dave Monks had settled into life in New York City; he made a solo record and did some co-writing. Drummer Greg Alsop was living and working in L.A. Keyboard player Graham Wright and guitarist Josh Hook remained in the band’s native Canada. Tokyo Police Club created songs via e-mail, thinking they had enough natural chemistry and experience to make that setup work. But eventually, the lack of friction meant there was less musical spark, and it dawned on everybody that the end was near. There was resignation, not anger, when Wright, Alsop, and Hook told Monks they were done with the band. They didn’t expect him to disagree.

                          Touts

                          Analysis Paralysis

                            Despite only releasing their debut single Sold Out last year, Touts have already caused something of a stir on the UK indie scene, after playing a series of high profile support slots with Liam Gallagher, Kasabian and Paul Weller. The band also completed a hugely successful, frenetic whirlwind of a debut headline tour, ‘the electric shock excitement of a band on fire’ (Louder Than War) where they took their politically-charged punk songs across the UK, to rapturous feedback. They now bring us their latest 4 track EP.

                            Discos Extended is a new label set up by the Extended Records family. Their first record, “Todos os Pássaros São Meus Amigos” is from a new Portuguese project called Turista, another moniker from the well known Hugo Vinagre (Miguel Torga / Early Jacker).

                            On the A Side, “Hippies” and “Kimbundu” are two slow burners with heavy vocal samples, taking us to tribal and African landscapes.

                            On the B Side we have another original called “Mantra” and a remix made by Internal Ny Rhythms, a moniker from a well known Portuguese producer, that extends “Kimbundu” to a melting dub trip. A proper mental groove for the more wigged out and esoteric themed dance spaces. Recommended!


                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Matt says: Take a river cruise through ancient Amazonian jungle on this highly evocative EP from Turista and the Discos Extendes tribe.

                            UT

                            Early Live Life

                              Early Live Life is a compilation of some of UT's best live performances from 1979–1985, spanning their origins in New York City to their migration to London in late 1981. The UT reissue campaign began on November 17, 2017 with the release of the UT EP and the Confidential 12", on Vinyl and CD. Upcoming reissues in 2019 include their studio albums Conviction, In Gut’s House and Griller. Remastered at Wolf Studios by Dominique Brethes, vinyl cut by Noel Summerville. The live tracks jump out of the vinyl with some verve, as visceral now as they were Live back in the 80s. This is searing no-wave power in the live setting, originally released in 1987 by BLAST FIRST records.



                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                              Vanderschrick

                              Onzeker

                              Brewed up in the bedroom of Stroom intern Victor De Roo and roommate Felix Poffé, Vanderschrick trade in mournful synthwave, flavoured by a post punk attitude and swathed in the haze of 4AD. On the A-side "Ochtendgrijis" builds from a metronomic drum grid to a gothic synthpop spectacular, as if the IDIB printer ran out of colour ink and the all night diner shut down. "Ongehoord" has more of a post punk feel but retains the cinematic overtones of the A-side. 

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Patrick says: Stroom drop a very limited 7" here featuring the musical creation of their intern Victor De Roo and his housemate. Synthwave solemnity somewhere between a grieving Italians Do It Better and 4AD - sounds good right?

                              Lush breaks, with hints of UK hardcore and classic bleep house inhabit this wonderful EP. Kicking off with "Animal Samba'", a bright, vintage house groove full of tuned toms & cowbell plus sampled vocal stabs and wavy synth part. I could well be a long lost hit off Champion, Trax or any other classic acid label. "Junglitter" sees a slow and murky 'Think' breakbeat cleverly programmed and manipulated under a dystopian growl and dark outlook, minor key synth parts hammering the sinister vibe home further.

                              "Musiphon" opens side B and chugs away with a hefty drum palette, dominant B-line and emotive pad chords. Perfect for late on in the session with high mist and flashing lights as your only company out on the floor as you lose yourself to dance! "Vedelius" concludes with a mini-anthem of sorts. I say that as if you're not hugging your mates & professing maximum love to all and sundry when the concentric bleep, incessant claps and spine-tingling chords come in then you may need a visit to your nearest cardiologist. Heart-wrenching new hardcore / breaks action that's both sympathetic to the style but ear-catching, inventive and guaranteed shake the dancefloor to its foundation. Recommended! 


                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Matt says: The hardcore resurgence is throwing up plenty of foot-fodder for out hungry ears; some of it good, some of it not so good and thankfully, some of it - MEGOHH! This definintely falls into the latter category

                              The Wave Pictures return with the promised second album of the year, Look Inside Your Heart - a warm, joyous record celebrating friendship, happiness and drunken party times. Like the first album they released this year, the more contemplative Brushes With Happiness, this one was recorded late at night whilst inebriated back at the tiny Booze Cube Studio in Stoke Newington, live to reel-to-reel tape with no computers of any kind. The album is peppered with giggles and chatter, which adds a sense of spontaneity and place.

                              As singer and guitarist Dave Tattersall explains: ”Look Inside Your Heart is intended as a rallying cry in the war against the machines; while a computer may have beaten world-champion human being Lee Sedol at Go, a machine could never have made music as joyful, spontaneous, happy, poetic, broken and rambunctious as this. Look Inside Your Heart is a bullet in the face of all pop-poseurs and robot wannabes, a die-hard continuation of the vulnerable rebel tradition of rock and roll music, a vibrant work of outsider art and a masterpiece of electric folk.”

                              Twenty years after forming in Wymeswold, Leicestershire as teenagers, The Wave Pictures have gone on to be one of the UK’s most prolific and beloved bands. Fond of classic rock, jazz and blues, they are also one of the most accomplished, with Tattersall’s guitar solos becoming the stuff of legend. They have collaborated with varying bright stars of the musical firmament, such as last year’s rock’n’roll surf-garage-rock project with Charles Watson from Slow Club, as new band The Surfing Magazines, or their ongoing partnership with ex-Herman Dune member Stanley Brinks, or the very close partnership with Billy Childish for 2015’s Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon. 


                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Barry says: I can't listen to the Wave Pictures nowadays without thinking of a friend of mine (he LOVED them), and they were similar in many ways. Understated but intelligent, filled with stories but hesitant to tell them for fear of coming off bolshy (they are both anything but). The Wave Pictures remain as relevant today as they ever did, writing superb songs and stooping slightly for fear of being noticed... i've not seen him for a while, but i'd imagine that Graf's trajectory is not far off that. Long live them both.

                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              Coloured LP Info: Raspberry coloured vinyl.

                              The Wedding Present

                              Huw Stephens Sessions

                                Four classic covers recorded for ‘One Music with Huw Stephens’ 19th July 2006

                                “The release of The Wedding Present sessions done for our 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.”

                                Whenyoung

                                Given Up EP

                                  Following their recent singles ‘Heaven on Earth’ and their cover of the Cranberries classic ‘Dreams’, Limerick’s finest indie-poppers Whenyoung have announced their new EP ‘Given Up’ to be released through Virgin EMI.

                                  The title track itself is a perfect example of the band’s sound. Underpinned by a driving, Pixies-esque bassline and chiming guitars, it’s mix of gritty alt-rock edge with a shimmering chorus showcases just how special the band’s song writing is. In the band’s own words, “Given Up was written after a series of late nights and self-inflicted misdirection. The central message is to take your life by the reins and create your own future.”

                                  The EP will be released on 10” blue vinyl, continuing the primary colours trilogy following on from their debut 7”s.

                                  2018 has already been a landmark year for the young band. It’s seen them perform in Dublin as part of Shane Mcgowan's 60th birthday celebration alongside the likes Nick Cave and Sinead O'Connor. They’ve also supported the likes of Dream Wife, Declan McKenna, The Vaccines and Peace.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  Ltd 10" Info: Limited blue vinyl 10"

                                  Various Artists

                                  Brown Acid - The Seventh Trip

                                    Everybody’s favorite source for the hard stuff is back in business, with ten more lethal doses of rare hard rock, heavy psych and proto-metal! Hard to believe we’re eight Trips in and we haven’t lost any steam since the get-go. As usual, we’re laying the heaviness on you in the most legit way possible. These obscure tracks have all been licensed, the bands have been paid, and the sources are all analog. The quality of tracks seems increase along with the number of Trips and this cohesive collection comes outta the gate with both guns blazing!

                                    Pegasus recorded one single in Baltimore in 1972 and they made it count. “The Sorcerer” is a throbbing ripper that prior to this was basically unknown. However, it doesn’t seem too far fetched to speculate that Black Flag lifted the riff for “No Values” from this track eight years later. Unlikely, but possible, especially considering how big a Black Sabbath fan Greg Ginn is. Pegasus was lauded back in the day for “how much they delivered that Black Sabbath feel.”

                                    You may read the track title for the Nobody’s Children 45 and start thinking, OH NO, the guys behind Brown Acid have given up on bad trips. Fret not, “Good Times” was originally written as a joke, but when Ron Chapman of the Sump’N Else TV show heard it he passed it along to the folks behind GPC records and they quickly pressed 100 copies. Unfortunately, the evening it was slated to be played on the local Dallas radio station KLIF, Robert Kennedy was murdered and premier was pre-empted by a Classical music tribute to him. The song has since been bootlegged numerous times and even covered by the Butthole Surfers, but this is the first time it’s been fully licensed.

                                    Youngstown, Ohio is the most commonly referred to city of the entire Brown Acid series. This town of just under 150,000 people may’ve had the highest (literally and figuratively) per capita output of heavy 45s. Blue Amber recorded this in 1971 at Gary Rhamy’s analog Mecca, Peppermint Recording Studios. This two-riff boneheaded banger sounds like a caveman protest song with an extraordinary amount of delay on the vocals. No wonder this 45 fetches three-figures on the rare occasion it comes up for sale.

                                    Batting clean-up, we have Negative Space, the only LP sourced track on this album. This crunchy jam comes off the band’s 1970 record entitled Hard, Heavy, Mean, & Evil. At over six and a half minutes, “The Calm After the Storm” is the longest track included on this volume, but it never gets dull. Fun fact: before changing the name to Negative Space, Rob Russen called his band Snow and released the “Sunflower” 45 in 1969 — you might recall that groover from the First Trip.

                                    We generally stick with American artists for this series, but every now and again something foreign grabs us and shakes us to the core. One example is this Swedish 45 by Zane. These crazy Swedes did one incredibly damaged (hence the title) record on the MM label in 1976. These proto-punkers relied heavily on synth for this tune and mixed the drums so obnoxiously loud, you might think the kit is in the room with you. This is a weird one that somehow sounds like Zolar X covering Wicked Lady. Brown Acid material all the way!

                                    B must be short for Bangers, ‘cuz this Side is full of ‘em! The flip of this Trip begins with a virtually unknown Oklahoma record from 1973. Blizzard was Rod McClure’s high school band, but you couldn’t possibly guess that teenagers recorded this heavy slab on the Token (should’ve been Toking) label. It’s one of the best we’ve comped and it sounds like a hypothetical MC5/Hendrix collaboration.The “Under the Ice” level drum fills will knock your socks off if the heavy shred doesn’t first.

                                    OOOOk-lahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain and apparently where the fuzz goes seepin’ in your brain! Third World is the second Okie inclusion on this Trip and we couldn’t be more stOOOOOked to be sharing this very obscure single with y’all. If the heavily distorted two-note riff doesn’t grab ya, the apocalyptic Grand Funk vibes will. Once they get their mitts on ya, Third World will take you back to 1971 and leave ya there. Can we hitch a ride too?

                                    Ever heard of Virginia, Minnesota? We hadn't either until we got in touch with Calvin Haluptzok and got the back story on his band Sweet Wine. This bitchin' one-off 45 must've melted the snow off the roofs of the households brave enough to play it when it came out in 1970 and it's still red hot nearly 50 years later. This vino may be sugary, but it packs an incendiary punch! Sadly, Calvin passed before we could get his music re-released, but it was nice to have reached him before it was too late. The Sweet Wine legacy lives on thanks to the Brown Acid archivists.

                                    C.T. Pilferhogg wins the award for most puzzling band name in our series. What’s not puzzling is how righteous both sides of their self-released 1973 single are! Featured here is the A-side “You Haul” which is one of the best examples of a poor man’s Deep Heep (Deep Purple meets Uriah Heep) we’ve ever heard and the demonic Echoplex-laden laughs mixed into this track are out of control. The band was touted as “Southwest Virginia’s Finest Boogie Band”, but don’t let that fool ya. They could bang heads with the best of ‘em.

                                    The closer on the Seventh Trip is one we hold very near and dear. Not only is this record the one that’s taken us the longest to secure the rights to, it’s also one of the very best examples of heavy psych you’ll ever hear. The track rings your bell (literally) straight out of the gate and the dank psychedelic vibes kick in immediately. “The Darkness” was recorded in a basement studio in Kansas City in 1969 when the lead guitarist was only 16. The band was from a rural Missouri town, played only one impromptu gig in Clinton, and pressed only 125 copies of this, their only single. It should come as no surprise that it sells for hundreds of dollars when it’s offered. That’s a small price to pay for such greatness

                                    Various Artists

                                    Can You Feel The Force? The John Luongo Disco Mixes

                                      John Luongo, having forged an unparalleled reputation from his native city of Boston as a DJ, promoter and mixer at the vanguard of the disco movement, went on to deliver an unprecedented number of classic disco mixes. These featured his hugely innovative percussive style, which have been an ever-present influence and inspiration for dancers, producers and remixers from every generation since.

                                      Groove Line Records’ Can You Feel The Force? - The John Luongo Disco Mixes showcases the finest productions created by the pioneering and hugely influential DJ/remixer, and is the very first collection of its kind.

                                      Following on from Groove Line’s successful anthologies for Change and The Salsoul Orchestra this deluxe two-disc package features twenty-one of John Luongo’s hugely influential productions from 1978 to 1982 including: The Jacksons “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground),” Patti Labelle “Music Is My Way Of Life,” Melba Moore “You Stepped In To My Life” and his ground-breaking mix of “This Time Baby” by Jackie Moore.

                                      The extravagantly presented 24-page booklet features a new interview with the man himself, commenting on the cream of his mixes track by track, with additional insights from the artists whose music he transformed for the dance floor. Can You Feel The Force? - The John Luongo Disco Mixes is an absolutely essential addition to any discerning disco and dance music devotees audio library.

                                      Strut present an exclusive new compilation curated by Optimo’s JD Twitch, ‘Kreaturen Der Nacht’, bringing together classics, rarities and oddities from Germany’s original post-punk and DIY scene.

                                      1979 to 1984 was an era of particular artistic upheaval in Germany as strong subculture scenes formed in many German cities. Emphasis was placed on expression rather than technical perfection, artistic impact rather than skill. DIY self-organisation prevailed with the establishment of small record labels and independently produced records and cassettes. Bands experimented across genres and consciously abandoned the English-speaking mainstream with German band names and lyrics. “Although we had a small underground scene, it was very vibrant,” explains Gudrun Gut of Malaria! “Bands like Die Haut, my first band Mania D., Malaria!... we organised gigs ourselves or friends would open a gallery and have bands playing. We hung around together in a handful of clubs like Risiko or Dschungel and went to gigs at SO36. West Germany had other regional scenes too: Düsseldorf and Köln around Der Plan and the Ata Tak label and there was the Hamburg side with Abwärts. Germany didn’t have a real music industry like the US or England back then."

                                      This new collection is a personal selection from JD Twitch, built over years of playing the tracks in club sets. “It is not designed to tell a definitive story of what was going on in Germany in this era,” he explains. “Rather, it is simply an arbitrary collection of records I adore from a specific era with a specific attitude that hopefully together sum up some of the musical undercurrents in Germany at that time.”

                                      The package features a host of rare and unseen photos from the period along with extensive interviews with artists including Beate Bartel (Mania D.), Christoph Dreher (Die Haut), Michael Hirsch (P1/E) and Thomas Voburka (Weltklang). All tracks are remastered by The Carvery with artwork by Optimo’s in-house design man Andrew Beltran.


                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                      Patrick says: Those ever reliable folks at Strut enlist the curatorial skills of Optimo selector JD Twitch for a 16 track trip into the angular world of NDW. A distinctly German hybrid of post punk, synthpop, dub and tape experiments, the NDW scene burned bright at the dawn of the 80s, and this flawless set presents that unique sound at its most expressive.

                                      Various Artists

                                      Noël Crooners

                                        How can you resist a bit of Deano "Let It Snow!" or Ol' Blue Eyes jazzin' up "Jingle Bells"? Surely everybody loves Louis Armstrong, right? Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles are all in there, and you've got a choice of a white or blue Christmas from Elvis. Sam Cooke has sneaked on there too, with "Wade In The Water" - not exactly a Christmas song, but good none the less.

                                        Various Artists

                                        Running The Voodoo Down Vol.2 - Explorations In Psych-rock-funk-soul-jazz 1965-77

                                        Carefully assembled by Dean Rudland and Tony Harlow the set looks at a decade when African-American music was exploring myriad new directions against a backdrop of incredible and explosive social change and features the likes of John Coltrane, MC5, Shuggie Otis, Sonnie Sharrock, Dr. John, Isaac Hayes, Joe Zawinul and Melvin Van Peebles. Whilst not all of this music was commercially successful at the time, its importance and its influence on subsequent generations of artists – both black and white – has continued to grow over the years. A compilation for the heads, not a playlist.

                                        As the blissed out 60s turned dark and political, music led the way and it became important to have a message to deliver whatever the medium. Coltrane’s fierce energy revitalised jazz which was languishing in the doldrums of hard bop and organ trios, and inspired a new generation of politically active and motivated creators, but it also inspired a new generation of rock musicians who used his modal experiments as a launching pad for a spacier more underground music. The Byrds stuck within the “pop single” format but melded the energy of Coltrane’s “perfect” modal exploration My Favourite Things with their attempts to capture the mood of the Ravi Shankar pieces that had influenced Coltrane.” Eight Miles High combined the contemporary excitement of space travel with clear hidden references to the growing drug culture and captured lift off perfectly.

                                        The music of a new generation of jazz players influenced deeply by the rock explorations of Eddie Hazel and Jimi Hendrix, and by the new afrocentric politics, but wanting to reach out in a voice their community could understand was another part of this. Alumni and friends of the various Miles Davis bands formed solo projects on every side, especially after the surprise success of Bitches Brew (it sold a million copies).

                                        As music expanded its palatte so too did Black Art, Poetry and film. The brilliant recent exhibition Soul Of A Man [Tate London 2017] captured the explosion in politically motivated art led by creators like Emory Douglas. Isaac “Black Moses” Hayes was in the forefront as his starring role in Shaft pioneered the new genre of Blaxploitation. But the genre was really started by less remembered Black entrepreneur Melvin Van Peebles. Van Peebles was a bohemian Renaissance man, who acted, wrote novels (in French) and poetry, and from the late 1960s made a series of low budget and self funded films.

                                        Van Peebles poetic streak also spilt over into recordings – always heavily politicised and representative of the the new African American militancy. Van Peebles classic Brer Soul represents a milestone of the genre, whilst his album Serious as a Heart Attack shared its name with Val Wilmer’s awesome book on her life amongst the world of free and loft jazz and featured Van Peebles on the cover in a slogan shirt stating “Rated X by an All White Jury”.

                                        This was psychedelic music, liked by rock fans and the counterculture, but grounded deeply in jazz and constantly referencing the fact in its lyrics. 


                                        Soul Jazz Records’ new Studio One album is a fantastic selection featuring all-star legendary Studio One vocalists - Alton Ellis, Marcia Griffiths, The Heptones, Horace Andy, Freddie McGregor, Sugar Minott - alongside a host of classic and super-rare Lovers Rock cuts, all of which Clement Dodd recorded at the Brentford Road studio.

                                        Lovers rock brought together many elements and here you will find sweet harmonies, late 1960s rocksteady, 1970s soul covers, disco mixes, recuts and new rhythms, which all fit together in a timeless twilight of love and harmony - as if lovers silhouetted by a Kingston sunset.

                                        Here you will find stone-cold classic Studio One tunes - Marcia Griffiths ‘Truly’, Horace Andy’s ‘I’ll Be Gone’, superrare cuts like Carlton And The Shoes’ killer 70s versions of ‘Never Give Your Heart Away’ and ‘Let Me Love You’ (vocal cut to Jackie Mittoo’s mighty Wall Street), The Invaders’ sweet lovers rocksteady bomb ‘Sweet Soul Rocking’ (currently for sale at £2,500 on certain online secondhand sites) and many more.

                                        This new album comes with sleevenotes by Lloyd Bradley, the acclaimed author of ‘Bass Culture’, ‘Sounds Like London’ and ‘Reggae: The Story Of Jamaican Music’.

                                        In the heyday of low-budget television and scrappy genre filmmaking, producers who needed a soundtrack for their commercial entertainments could reach for a selection of library music: LPs of stock recordings whose contents fit any mood required. Though at the time, the use of such records was mostly a cost-cutting manoeuvre for productions that couldn’t afford to hire their own composer, the industry soon took on its own life: library publishers became major financial successes, and much of the work they released was truly extraordinary. In fact, many of these anonymous or pseudonymous scores-on-demand were crafted by the some of the greatest musical minds of the late 20th century - expert musicians and innovative composers who reveled in the freedoms offered, paradoxically, by this most corporate of fields.

                                        "Unusual Sounds" is a deep dive into a musical universe that has, until now, been accessible only to producers and record collectors; a celebration of this strange industry and an examination of its unique place at the nexus of art and commerce. The perfect companion to the David Hollander curated book "Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music" (out now on Anthology Editions), these 20 tracks, encapsulate the niche and fascinating subculture of library music. Genres were spliced, conventions dispensed with, and oftentimes hybrid music of astonishing complexity was produced. Elements of rock, jazz, soul, even twentieth-century avant-garde composition were all utilized, and no stone was left unturned. As a result, some of the best library music defies all categorization, reflecting the individualistic quirks and artistry of the various musicians who made it. This compilation includes compositions by Brainticket founder Joel Vandroogenbroeck, KPM Allstars John Cameron and Keith Mansfield, Montenegrin-born composer Janko Nilović, and the Italian film composer Stefano Torossi amongst others. David Hollander is a producer, music supervisor, writer and collector living in Texas. A lifelong record collector, his library music collection is considered by many to be one of the finest of its kind in the world.



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