END OF YEAR REVIEW 2023

TOP 100 ALBUMS

Welcome to the Piccadilly Records EOY Review Top 100 Albums Of The Year.
And what another amazing year it's been for music.
Have a browse below and see for yourselves!!

Check out these links to see our other Best Of 2023 Charts:
Click HERE for the Piccadilly Top 20 Compilations 2023
Click HERE for the Piccadilly Top 20 Reissues/Collections 2023
-------------------------------------------------------------

And don't forget our super deluxe perfect bound 92 page full colour End Of Year Review Booklet is available now too, beautifully designed yet again by Mark Brown Studio, you can pick up a physical copy here for a measly 1 pence, or FREE instore.
-------------------------------------------------------------

1 - Slowdive

Everything Is Alive - Piccadilly Records AOTY Edition

    THE PICCADILLY RECORDS ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2023.

    Everything Is Alive, Slowdive’s 5th record, is exactly what the title suggests: an exploration into the shimmering nature of life and the universal touch points within it.

    While there are parts of this record that could sit neatly next to the atmospheric quality of 1995’s Pygmalion; everything is alive also manages to break down the boundaries of what’s come before it. Spanning psychedelic soundscapes, pulsating 80’s electronic elements and John Cale inspired journeys, the album lands immediately as something made for 2023 and beyond.

    For a genre that is often thought of as divisive, and often warrants introspection, here Slowdive show their craft as the masters of it by pushing it outwards, beyond the singular; the end result being a record which feels as emotional and cathartic as it is hopeful.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Liam says: When Slowdive returned in 2014, there was a real sense of jubilation and satisfaction that the shoegaze legends were finally getting their well deserved dues and plaudits. However in the years following their return, the world's landscape changed significantly. Not just on a global scale, but also on a personal level for members of the band. 'everything is alive' was born during a heavy period of grief, which can be felt on the closer “The Slab” - a visceral and overwhelming wall of sound that you just want to crawl into for solace and to escape the troubles of the world.
    Despite these moments of sadness, there is real artistry in the way Slowdive manages to reflect on the human experience and how we navigate it throughout our lives. This in turn results in an absolute marvel of a record, with some of Slowdive's best work to date. Opener “Shanty” is an all-consuming shoegaze epic of colossal proportions, whilst the gorgeous “Prayer Remembered” is an atmospheric slice of ambient perfection that harks back to Slowdive's 1990 debut EP. The dreamy ”Alife” swirls amongst Rachel Goswell's ethereal vocals, which is then followed by the stripped back and vulnerable delivery of Neil Halstead on the exquisite and delicate “Andalucia Plays”. Then there's “Kisses”, the album's most 'pop' moment but also one of its best. Finally, we have the woozy headiness of “Skin In The Game” and the synth led and almost post-rock “Chained To A Cloud”, both of which just further emphasise the greatness of 'everything is alive'.
    With 'everything is alive', Slowdive are well and truly full of life. Whilst their 2017 self-titled felt like a celebration of their legacy, the poignancy and beauty of 'everything is alive' feels like Slowdive never left and we hope they stay with us forever.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Shanty
    2. Prayer Remembered
    3. Alife
    4. Andalucia Plays
    5. Kisses
    6. Skin In The Game
    7. Chained To A Cloud
    8.. The Slab

    2 - Nabihah Iqbal

    Dreamer

      Using broader concepts, ‘Dreamer’ is “more introspective, because it's about things that I’ve been through over the last few years,” she says. The album is an intimate journey through snapshots and memories of Nabihah’s life. Exploring personal identity and grief through the soft-focus lens of melancholy, the album is not one specific sound. Her left-field lo-fi aesthetic twirls itself throughout as she manages to skate between tracks without ever sounding disjointed. Apart from four of the songs which have live drums on them, Nabihah wrote, recorded and produced the album herself. Incorporating the harmonium and sitar in her music for the first time, instruments reflective of her Pakistani heritage, it’s Nabihah’s rawest and most personal work yet.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Mine says: Though not a million miles away sonically from her 2017 debut album ‘Weighing Of The Heart’, Nabihah Iqbal's second long player ‘DREAMER’ does sound like the London based musician, producer and DJ has taken on a new creative direction, deconstructing her trademark sound of electronic shoegaze and dreamy synth-pop into its core elements. While sounding more mature and confident than its predecessor, the record also shows more vulnerability, as if past struggles (among them stolen equipment and a family emergency during the pandemic) have left her visibly exposed. The ethereal, otherworldly opener “In Light” is followed by a catchy dream pop number, the aptly titled “Dreamer”, before “This World Couldn't See Us” introduces more electronic elements and spoken vocals without interrupting the sonic theme of melancholy that is undisputedly making its mark throughout the entire the album.

      ‘DREAMER’ sounds like it was written by someone who feels just as at home at an intimate gig as at a rave, but it manages to combine Iqbal's influences so effortlessly that the album flows and never strays from what it set out to do, despite featuring tracks as wildly different as the introspective, stripped back “Lilac Twilight”, the haunting, beatless “Sweet Emotion (Lost In Devotion)” and the anthemic, trance influenced “Sky River”; one of the songs on the album that showcases her love for dance music. Awash with ambient synth pads, reverb laden guitars, textured melodies and big beats, ‘DREAMER’ manages to please both stargazers and night-time ravers. A truly beautiful record by an artist who is at a creative peak in her career.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. In Light
      2. Dreamer
      3. This World Couldn’t See Us
      4. Sunflower
      5. Lilac Twilight
      6. Gentle Heart
      7. Sky River
      8. Sweet Emotion (Lost In Devotion)
      9. A Tender Victory
      10. Closer Lover

      3 - Bar Italia

      Tracey Denim

        bar italia, the London trio of Nina Cristante, Jezmi Tarik Fehmi and Sam Fenton, have announced details of their new album ‘Tracey Denim’, which is released on Matador Records.

        ‘Tracey Denim’ was recorded and produced by bar italia with mixing from Marta Salogni. It features the single “Nurse!” which was released in March to acclaim, and described as “a hypnotic post-punk ballad” (The Guardian) and “narcotically arresting” (Pitchfork).

        Over the last two years, bar italia have released two albums, an EP and several singles on Dean Blunt’s World Music label, leading to much word-of-mouth, sold out headline shows, and festival performances at Pitchfork Music Festival London, by:Larm, OUT.FEST, Le Guess Who?, and End Of The Road.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Ethan says: On ‘Tracey Denim’, bar italia sound like a 90s underground-American-indie outfit that miraculously discovered Britpop one day, and then were immediately whisked through time and space to a pristine recording studio in the 2020s. And the result is absolutely brilliant!

        There’s a ‘slacker’ approach to this band’s whole aesthetic, with their loose performances and inconsistent lower-case approach to titling. That is, in everything except the immaculate production, where they manage to pull off some incredibly unique drum sounds and edgy guitar tones while still remaining light and gentle. There’s the silvery hi-hat powering through “guard”, the guttural bass defining “Horsey Girl Rider”, and fuzz-tinted power chords on “Punkt”. Everything here has a definite Sonic Youth edge, or maybe a more-relaxed Modest Mouse would be more appropriate. It’s all wrapped up in a very tongue-in-cheek gen-z humour, best exemplified through their digs at Kate Nash through Track 7’s stupidly-long title.

        All this gushing about the band and I haven’t even mentioned what sets them apart from all the sub-par 90s throwback bands. Their unique selling point is the Beatles approach to vocals, which is to say lead vocals are distributed between all band members at a fairly equal rate. “Missus Morality” is a beautiful exchange between Nina Cristante’s alto range and Jezmi Tarik’s deeper, tenor timbre. The two then duet on tracks like “changer”, and the band even bring in Sam Fenton for a trio on tracks such as “Friends”.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Guard
        2. Nurse!
        3. Punkt
        4. My Kiss Era
        5. F.O.B
        6. Missus Morality
        7. Yes I Have Eaten So Many Lemons Yes I Am So Bitte
        8. Changer
        9. Horsey Girl Rider
        10. NOCD
        11. Best In Show
        12. Clark
        13. Harpee
        14. Friends
        15. Maddington

        4 - Catatonic Suns

        Catatonic Suns - EOY Bonus Disc Edition

          END OF YEAR BONUS DISC EDITION - BOTH FORMATS INCLUDE A 13 TRACK BONUS CD DISC 'A LIGHT AND A SCREAM'.

          Third album from Allentown/PA three-piece Catatonic Suns: their self-released sophomore LP “Saudade” from early '22 was a feat of sonic guitar haze and grunged out pop.

          The new album is a step forward in sound for the band, it sees them blend the underground psychedelia of the late 80s / early 90s Pacific Northwest with the shimmering shoegazery of Britain from the same time. Heavy and soft guitars, songs that soar, these new recordings verge on the epic.

          For fans of Screaming Trees, Nirvana, The Verve (early), Loop, Slowdive, and Ride.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Darryl says: Catatonic Suns are a psychedelic three-piece hailing from Pennsylvania, USA. Having released a couple of low-key releases (the mini-album ‘Aphelion’ in 2019 and a full length ‘Suadade’ in 2022) they’ve completely blown our minds with their new self-titled album.

          Featuring seven original tracks and a raucous amped-up Original Sins cover, ‘Catatonic Suns’ finds the band honing their sound to perfection. Pitched somewhere between the melodic grunge noise of Nirvana and the blissed-out shoegaze of Ride and Swervedriver, the Catatonic Suns have delivered an astonishing album.

          From the psych drenched opener “Deadzone” through to the huge eight minute swirling space-rock of “No Stranger” the band have created an epic wall of sound. Tracks like “Failsafe” and “Be As One” showcase the band's melodic side (either of these wouldn’t be out of place on the Verve’s ‘A Storm In Heaven’) whilst “Fell Off” and the aforementioned Original Sins cover “Inside Out” sees lead singer / guitarist Patrick Shields practically shredding his own vocal chords. Throughout all of this the rhythm section of Caleb Strobl (drums) and Jakob Christman (bass) keep things tight allowing the swirling guitar maelstrom to ride off into the sun.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Deadzone
          2. Slack
          3. Failsafe
          4. Inside Out (Original Sins Cover)
          5. Sublunary
          6. Fell Off
          7. Be As One
          8. No Stranger

          5 - Boygenius

          The Record

            The debut full length album from boygenius, Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus. Bridgers has called the formation of the group "kind of an accident," wherein each of the members were simply fans of each other's work and then became friends. 

            The long-awaited album is produced and written by boygenius. It was recorded at Shangri-la Studios in Malibu, California.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: There was never any doubt that the wonderful boygenius would pull out a perfectly paced, emotionally rich debut after the roaring reception of their self-titled EP. ‘the record’ starts with a touching piece featuring the unadorned vocals of Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers. It’s an arresting and perfectly telling show of the skill and camaraderie that exists between these musicians, and a beautiful starting point for something truly special. There are some more tender moments, like the touching and incredibly open “Emily, I’m Sorry” or the folky meanderings of “Cool About It”, but It’s the contrast from these pieces to the more dynamic overdriven behemoths that really show their comparative merits all the more clearly. “Satanist” easily fills any need you may have for screaming grungy mayhem, with both rolling bass and squealing guitars making an appearance before fading once again into the ether.

            The three vocalists all have notably different voices too, and while their sound definitely carries over from their respective solo acts, there’s something intangible that’s added when they all work together, turning this from a project that’s some musicians playing alongside each-other into a fully formed band that just happens to be made up of three of the best indie musicians of the last decade. Boygenius are easily one of the most emotionally devastating, life-affirmingly beautiful acts around today, and ‘the record’ is just the start of their journey. A perfect album in every way.

            TRACK LISTING

            Side A:
            1) Without You Without Them
            2) $20
            3) Emily I’m Sorry
            4) True Blue
            5) Cool About It
            6) Not Strong Enough
            7) Revolution 0
            8) Leonard Cohen
            9) Satanist
            10) We’re In Love
            11) Anti-Curse
            12) Letter To An Old Poet

            6 - Beach Fossils

            Bunny

              Recommended If You Like: Wild Nothing, DIIV, Real Estate, New Order, WAVVES, Mac Demarco, Best Coast, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Craft Spells.

              Brooklyn bedroom-pop trailblazers Beach Fossils’ new album 'Bunny,' is a triumphant return for one of the 2010s most influential NYC bands. 'Bunny' is a precise blend of the luscious dream-pop atmospheres they notoriously honed on their earliest projects, the post-punk vigor expressed on 'Clash the Truth,' and the warm, sophisticated songwriting of 'Somersault.' Composer Dustin Payseur peppers the album equally with descriptions of the joy of fatherhood and the existential pleasure of smoking cigarettes out of a car window with friends - 'Bunny' features Beach Fossils' most personal lyrics to-date. This is a collection of new favorite tracks for fans of every era of Beach Fossils. Releasing on Payseur and his partner Katie Garcia’s own label, Bayonet Records, 'Bunny' will prove to be the culmination of a decade's worth of growth and experience.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Liam says: Here at Piccadilly HQ, it's well known that we're purveyors of jangly indie - with Beach Fossils being one of the bands we've always come to champion over recent years. However, when we first heard 'Bunny' floating along the shop speakers, we knew we were in for something special.

              Lead single “Don't Fade Away” is Beach Fossils at their very best - a perfect indie-pop track whose infectious melody you'll be humming non-stop. Similarly with “Sleeping On My Own” and “Tough Love”, tracks that have so much jangle they'll scratch any C86 (or should I say C23) itch. Elsewhere on the album, “Anything Is Anything”, “Feel So High” and “Numb” all skirt the line of treading into shoegaze, with the latter culminating in an expansive and rousing wall of sound. “Run To The Moon”s slide guitar results in Slowdive-meets-country (yes it works), whilst “(Just Like The) Setting Sun” is a shimmering slice of dream-pop. As for “Dare Me” and “Seconds”, both fit nicely into the garage/post-punky sound Beach Fossils carved out on their second record ‘Clash The Truth’.

              With Beach Fossils' music in the past, there was always a sense that Dustin Payseur was making music that explored the nostalgia of a period he wasn't able to experience firsthand. But with 'Bunny', Payseur is able to look back at Beach Fossils as a whole and reminisce on a nostalgia that he himself created. In turn, this results in a flawless Beach Fossils record that is undoubtedly their best yet.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Sleeping On My Own
              2. Run To The Moon
              3. Don’t Fade Away
              4. (Just Like The) Setting Sun
              5. Anything Is Anything
              6. Dare Me
              7. Feel So High
              8. Tough Love
              9. Seconds
              10. Numb
              11. Waterfall

              7 - Grian Chatten

              Chaos For The Fly

                Chaos For The Fly is the debut solo album from Grian Chatten, vocalist of Dublin’s critically-acclaimed band Fontaines D.C.

                Rare moments of respite from a relentless touring schedule afforded Chatten the opportunity to start work on something for himself, occupying a completely different headspace from his hugely successful work within Fontaines D.C. Co-produced by the band’s longstanding producer Dan Carey, the album is arguably the most poetic we’ve heard from Chatten. Each song here has a sweep of colour and textures that breathe life into his lucid tales. Over its nine tracks, Chaos For The Fly is a record that takes in all of life’s rich emotions, transporting the listener to a place you not only want to visit, but will find yourself returning to again and again.


                STAFF COMMENTS

                Andy says: Grian Chatten, as I’m sure you all know, is the lead singer of Fontaines D.C. This is his first solo album and it’s an absolute corker! It only seems right, at this point, to own up to being not the biggest Fontaines’ fan, but that’s why this record is such a wonderful surprise to me. Whilst they thunder along in their rambunctious, post punkish style, Grian solo is a far more considered and down beat affair. Musically, Chatten seems to be referencing such poetic songsmiths as Leonard Cohen, Elliott Smith and, of course, Shane MacGowan, and he’s said that the whole album came to him in a vision whilst walking along Stoney Beach in Ireland. It’s interesting that he should share this as there is a tangible faded (seaside) glamour and epic, introspective vibe which shrouds the whole record. There are only nine songs here, but every one is a gem. Dan Carey is still on board as producer but, on this album Grian’s voice is pointedly out front, clear as a bell and centre of attention. His voice is stunning. And, as for his words, well these songs are pure poetry set to music; miniature films, if you like. My two favourite tracks are, funnily enough, back to back in the running order. “All Of The People” is just a brilliant melody with a harsh and apparently heart felt finger pointing lyric whilst “East Coast Bed” just drifts so gorgeously it’s in a genre all of its own!

                TRACK LISTING

                1. The Score
                2. Last Time Every Time Forever
                3. Fairlies
                4. Bob's Casino
                5. All Of The People
                6. East Coast Bed
                7. Salt Throwers Off A Truck
                8. I Am So Far
                9. Season For Pain

                8 - Matthew Halsall

                An Ever Changing View

                  Halsall who has been hailed as one of the leading figures of the UK jazz renaissance has never seen himself as part of any one sound or scene: he builds his own sonic universe instead. An Ever Changing View finds him at his most experimental yet, once again expanding his sound and production techniques to create his unique brand of deeply meditative music.

                  During the album's creation, he was staying in both a beautiful architect’s house with breath-taking sea views and a striking modernist house, where he composed what he saw “like a landscape painting”. In these new environments, Halsall wanted to capture “the feeling of openness and escapism” and to approach making music again from scratch. “I hit the reset button and wanted to have complete musical freedom,” he says. “It was a real exploration of sound.”

                  It was hearing jazz on the dancefloor as a teenager that first opened up new possibilities in Halsall’s mind and his music has long drawn on his love for the spiritual jazz of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders and contemporary electronica from the likes of Warp Records and Ninja Tune. An Ever Changing View melds those forms in a way that feels heady and, at times, even otherworldly. One of the album’s starting points was Halsall’s ever-expanding box of percussion, from congas and kalimba to various clusters of seeds, bells and chimes, which he sampled and looped to use as a foundation for the songs – a first for him and his band. Elevating, charming, totally modern jazz tracks jostle with deft warm magic realism; and laid back grooves with hand percussion, deep bass and the gorgeous glisten of the Fender Rhodes meet hip-hop beats. Halsall himself sparkles, illuminating his beautiful tapestries of sound with lithe, glistening elegiac trumpet.

                  An Ever Changing View comes in a package as striking as the music, with handmade fonts designed by Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic and the specially commissioned tapestry by artist Sara Kelly is a stunning and harmonious complement to the record's sound.

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Martin says: That Matthew Halsall’s music takes as its starting point the meditative end of Pharoah Sanders and Alice Coltrane is no accident. His final two years of education were spent at the Maharishi school, where his experience of meditation led to a deeper immersion in Buddhism, a philosophy that permeates and shapes the nature of his work.

                  This is his ninth solo album, which in itself presents the perennial problem that dogs most artists; how to keep the originality and inspiration that accompany approaching a blank canvas and not disappear into a spiral of ever diminishing returns by clinging too tightly to the only formula they allow themselves to know. While it is true that the flow of his work has remained consistent, the individual components and musicians have not. Almost all of the original members of The Gondwana Orchestra have moved on to the burgeoning London jazz scene, the silver lining to this being their replacements have brought their own influence. Halsall has also an ever increasing collection of percussion instruments to draw on and use as a base for his music - in this case kalimba, glockenspiel and marimba amongst others, over which his serene trumpet soars softly overhead. It’s a testament to Halsall’s willingness to evolve that his music still sounds so fresh. He’s produced an exquisite, peaceful gem, as rich as any of his previous work, overflowing with warmth, intricacy and gentle charm.

                  On one level the album’s title could refer to the changes in landscape travelling between Northumberland and North Wales, where the album was recorded, But it also nods to the Buddhist concept of impermanence, the idea that it’s a property of the universe that nothing stays the same. An ever changing view.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  Tracing Nature
                  Water Street
                  An Ever Changing View
                  Calder Shapes
                  Mountains, Trees And Seas
                  Field Of Vision
                  Jewels
                  Sunlight Reflection
                  Natural Movement
                  Triangles In The Sky

                  9 - Jalen Ngonda

                  Come Around And Love Me

                    Artists like Jalen Ngonda come around once in a lifetime, so it is our privilege and distinct pleasure to announce the release of his debut album ‘Come Around and Love Me’.

                    Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing Jalen perform live knows that he is one of the most captivating performers on today's soul scene. His voice, equal parts raw feeling and elegance, exudes confidence and charm—disarming packed rooms of rowdy concert goers, leaving them silent as they hold fast to every syllable sung.

                    Plans for the album were struck just months before the COVID 19 pandemic shut the world down. Notwithstanding, Jalen eventually made it to Hive Mind Studios in Brooklyn, NY where he began writing and recording with the help of producer/arrangers Mike Buckley and Vincent Chiarito (both members of Charles Bradley's Extraordinaires) and a crack team of a-list musicians from the Daptone family. The team skilfully blends heavy arrangements and introspective lyrics with Motown sophistication, leaving the listener in a blissful wash of wonderment.

                    Jalen has been writing songs since he was 14, and his compositions are also very much of these times. He explains, “I love music from the 20th century— I listen to it all the time, but I'm in this world and the 21st century. ...to a stranger, I'd describe my music as modern soul and R&B, while trying to ft in the Beach Boys and the Beatles somewhere in between.” ‘Come Around and Love Me’ reveals how he creates a classic approach that is rooted in the sounds of revered pioneers, without falling into imitation–leaving no doubt that Jalen will continue to shine within the superlative, timeless musical tradition that is Daptone's hallmark.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Laura says: Born and raised on the East Coast of the USA, just outside Washington DC and now resident in Liverpool, Jalen Ngonda’s debut album is released on Daptone, which is reason enough to take note - let’s face it, they rarely put a foot wrong do they? The album kicks off with the title track “Come Around And Love Me”, that brings to mind ‘What’s Going On’ era Marvin, and then runs through a collection of pristine 2-3 minute gems that perfectly capture the golden era of soul, from the mid 60s to mid 70s.

                    Jalen is the real deal, with a voice that ranges from raw soul power to sweet falsetto, and songwriting skills to match. There isn’t a bad track here, in fact pretty much every song could be a single in its own right. You can pick out a whole host of influences, from the aforementioned Marvin Gaye, to the psychedelic soul of Isaac Hayes, the Motor City sound of The Four Tops and sweet harmonies of The Temptation but there’s a fresh modern feel to the production too, it’s not some tired pastiche. I guess if you’re looking for a contemporary comparison, Michael Kiwanuka springs to mind in the way that he fuses the old and new so seamlessly. So to sum up, if you’re a fan of modern soul, full of romance and heartbreak and infused with classic Motown and Philly Soul ingredients, then this is for you.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Side A
                    1. Come Around And Love Me
                    2. If You Donʼt Want My Love
                    3. Lost
                    4. Thatʼs All I Wanted From You
                    5. Please Show Me
                    Side B
                    6. Just Like You Used To
                    7. What A Difference She Made
                    8. Give Me Another Day
                    9. So Glad I Found You
                    10. It Takes A Fool
                    11. Rapture

                    10 - Overmono

                    Good Lies

                      Highly anticipated would be an understatement; since their inception Overmono have purposefully cultivated a fanbase that heralds them as one of the UK’s most original contemporary live electronic acts.

                      A run of ground-breaking club EPs between 2020 and 2022 built momentum and culminated in their breakthrough club single, “So U Kno”, which encapsulated the hearts of clubbers and went on to become a bonafide phenomenon as dancefloors re-opened; featuring in end of year lists published by Resident Advisor, Pitchfork, DJ Mag and Mixmag. Since then, Overmono have been named ‘Best Live Act’ at the prestigious DJ Mag Best of British Awards, taken their custom audio-visual live show to the most credible festivals across the globe, including Glastonbury, Movement Festival, Dekmantel and to sold-out crowds in London, LA and NYC as part of their debut headline tour last year. And, they have produced innovative releases including their instalment of their ‘Fabric Presents’ DJ mix series and collaborations with the likes of Joy Orbison.

                      Now, Overmono return to present their most ambitious release to date. Across the twelve-track project, Overmono journey through a powerful distillation of their musical career so far; incorporating “So U Kno” alongside new music that propels them beyond the dancefloor. Good Lies remoulds and interweaves captivating vocal cuts into a series of multi-genre electronic sounds that flits effortlessly between euphoria and melancholy.

                      Talking about their debut album Good Lies, Overmono says: “Across the last two years, we have spent so much time on the road, making music whenever we could. Moving around all the time was always really inspiring and got us experimenting a lot and having fun with how we created chords or chopped and pitched vocals. This album is really a letter of love to the journey so far and marks where we want to take things. Much love, T&E x

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Ethan says: ‘Good Lies’ opens with what could easily be mistaken for a scrapped 2020 Charli XCX instrumental – chopped cutesy vocals, bubble-gum bass passages, the occasional eclectic SOPHIE-esque drum pattern. This may seem undermining, but only reflects the current trajectory of the Welsh duo – a clear path to the (metaphorical) electronic hall of fame.

                      There’s brilliant runs of hit-after-hit throughout this album that somehow convinced my musically-blind (and likely tone-deaf) dad that he wanted to start DJing. But when you’ve got songs like “Cold Blooded” and “Skulled” transitioning perfectly into each other, it’s not hard to see why. The title track is one of the biggest mood-lifters I’ve heard in a good while and I think it’s a crime that I’ve not heard it played in more clubs this year. However, some of the album's greatest strengths lie in its alternative R&B and even ambient passages – which feels almost polarising to say when considering the club potential of tracks like “Is U” and “‘So U Know”. “Arla Fearn” functions as a breather between the bangers that open the album up, with its droning pads and bass-driven instrumental, but there’s still a bouncy feel to the drums here that keeps the energy flowing. The snappy snare with its trail of reverb is a really satisfying piece of production. “Vermonly” definitely runs with the ambient ideas as well, with the drums being subdued for once and lead cycling through a glossy motif.

                      And to top it all off, there’s a cool dog on the cover. That should sell you on the album alone!

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1. Feelings Plain
                      2. Arla Fearn
                      3. Good Lies
                      4. Walk Thru Water
                      5. Cold Blooded
                      6. Skulled
                      7. Sugarushhh
                      8. Calon
                      9. Is U
                      10. Vermonly
                      11. So U Kno
                      12. Calling Out

                      'Erotic Probiotic 2' is Nourished By Time’s debut album on Scenic Route, following up from last year’s two track EP, “Erotic Probiotic”, which had support from Jamz Supernova on BBC 1Xtra and NTS shows; Yaeji, Shy One, Macca, Anu, and more. 2023 has already been a busy year for the singer/songwriter/producer, supporting 4AD’s sardonic post-punk band, Dry Cleaning on their 20 stop tour of North America. As well as remixing their playful album track, “Gary Ashby. Nourished By Time also collaborates with progressive electronic artist Yaeji on her debut album, “With A Hammer”, out on XL Recordings.

                      “Erotic Probiotic 2” showcases the range of this rising Baltimore pop star, telling his transformative story through impeccable songwriting, infectious ear worm melodies, vivid storytelling and intimate DIY production. The album traverses a broad spectrum of sound, allowing his songwriting to dictate the ever changing mood he orchestrates; whether it is love or loss. Sitting somewhere between indie, pop, alternative RnB, ultimately carving out a fresh sound defined by his vulnerable vocals, raw guitar licks and undeniable groove. “Quantum Suicide” is the lead single with a bitter sweet sentiment brought to life through fuzzy shoegaze guitar riffs, glimmering synths and beautiful melancholy vocals, leaving you with a dizzying sense of possibilities.

                      The album was recorded mostly in 2021 - 22 in his parents basement in Baltimore. ‘At this time, I was in a beautiful and formative relationship that was running its course. Songs like “Unbreak My Love” and “Rain Water Promise” come from that place of dealing with the end. A story of lovers parting and making sense of the battling feelings of resentment and longing. As well as the existential aspect of having to end of a relationship. All while with dealing long-time depression, songs like lead single “Quantum Suicide” and “Shed That Fear” exhibit the importance of choosing to live and that getting out of pits of despair requires tremendous amounts of effort and intention and is a very difficult lifelong task. Whilst other tracks such as “The Fields” and “Daddy” and “Workers Interlude” are attempts at trying to aim my anger at productive targets like Capitalism which both songs are a critique of.’


                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Matt says: Perhaps it's his amateur, 90-styled music videos, shot himself on a 4K iPhone; maybe it’s his awkward dancing coupled with his blue-collar Baltimore aesthetic; or his catch-all culmination of soul, electro, freestyle and R&B - but there’s something completely unfashionable yet utterly relevant and alluring about NBT. Landing somewhere between Arthur Russell, Dean Blunt and Frank Ocean, there's almost a spiritual element at work too – although (real name) Marcus admits that while he's prayed to Jesus, he’s “never heard a word back in plain English”. Instead he offers inspired commentary on consumerism and capitalism as the modern churches of religion (detailed brilliantly on album highlight “The Fields”), whilst also covering more intangible and existential subjects such as break-ups, longing and fighting despair. A truly original and enigmatic character that I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the future.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      A1. Quantum Suicide
                      A2: Shed That Fear
                      A3: Daddy
                      A4: Interlude
                      A5: The Fields
                      B1: Rain Water Promise
                      B2: Soap Party
                      B3: Workers Interlude
                      B4: Unbreak My Love

                      12 - JIM

                      Love Makes Magic

                        Who is Jim?

                        A kaleidoscope of harmony vocals - as Crosby, Stills and Nash might have sounded with a funky back beat. Delicate acoustic fingerpicking, warmed by a swell of brass before a drama of electric unfolds. Guitar band music, delivered with the sensibilities of someone who knows how to make you dance. Sun-kissed blue-eyed soul, reminiscent of Ned Doheny, but emanating from a beach far from California.

                        These are the sounds of Jim, as heard on debut album 'Love Makes Magic'.

                        Debuting in 2021 on the folk-informed 'Falling That You Know' EP, Jim is the latest alias of songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and renowned DJ Jim Baron. Famed as co-founder and musical director of festival-stunning favourites Crazy P, his latest Jim project is a musical journey unlike anything he has done before. 

                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Paul says: On first listening to ‘Love Makes Magic’ by JIM, it’s hard to believe that the man behind it, Jim Baron, is a founding member of Manchester dance innovators Crazy P - a group who’ve been shaking dance floors all across the globe for two decades.

                        Here, he's influenced by the likes of Nick Drake, Jackson C. Frank, Terry Callier, and guitar bands from the 60s and 70s such as Crosby, Stills and Nash, as well as soulful West Coast sounds like Ned Doheny. It's no surprise, then, that this is an album full of lush, intricate summer folk sounds and beautiful Balearic beats.

                        It's full of subtle melodies and grooves which proliferate on a journey through space and time - from Laurel Canyon to Levenshulme via Ibiza. It's a simple call to hazy memories, youthful exuberance with a care-free, feel-good spirit and a return to the feeling of home. Essential.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Across The Street
                        2. A Life Inbetween
                        3. Where The Leaves Are Falling
                        4. Oxygen
                        5. Still River Flows
                        6. The Ballad Of San Marino
                        7. Phoenix
                        8. Sea Of Unbelonging
                        9. Then We Do It Again
                        10. Love Make Magic 

                        13 - Eyes Of Others

                        Eyes Of Others

                          Eyes of Others is the studio alias of Edinburgh based John Bryden, a self-christened ‘post-pub couldn’t get in the club’ producer.

                          Having announced their signing to Heavenly Recordings last November with the release of a 10” vinyl-only 6-track EP, Bewitched By The Flames, which sold out immediately through independent shops and mail order, Eyes Of Others is now set to present their debut, self-titled album.

                          Marrying the anything-goes, freestyle magpie tendencies of Beck and The Beta Band to the electronic stylings of primetime 80s New Order by way of the spacious moods conjured by King Tubby, Eyes of Others debut’s whimsical demeanour is the perfect sonic balm to the utter confusion of the outside world. As is its sense of almost Balearic musical freedom. Such a mindset is fundamental to the music according to Bryden.

                          “I was thinking where’s my spot?” Bryden reflects about the pick & mix quality of the album. “The music is later than a gig but it’s not full-on early morning club fare. It’s the in-between space where I was imagining where my music works.”

                          But his beguiling tunes are perfect for the music soundtracking the afters too. As the dawn breaks and the sun begins to rise. “Maybe there aren’t enough venues opening at 7am!” he laughs, before quickly adding: “I don’t think it will catch on unfortunately.”

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Andy says: Eyes of Others is, basically, the musical alias for Edinburgh based artist, John Bryden. Even though it’s on the mighty Heavenly Records, this summer release has remained pretty much under the radar. But, not in our shop it hasn’t! This is a dreamy whimsical, electronic pop record that floats around and drifts all over the musical landscape. Heavenly describe it themselves as “Pure musical freedom” and if you could imagine a sound palette which includes dub, synth, techno and folk then you’d be halfway there. It’s delightfully elusive but Bryden depicts his sound as kind of “later than a gig, but not full-on early morning club fare. It’s the inbetween space.” I’m gonna say, it sounds like the Beta Band jamming with Peaking Lights over The Stone Roses’ “Something’s Burning” around at Arthur Russell’s flat. Have some of that!

                          TRACK LISTING

                          Once, Twice, Thrice
                          Safehouse
                          Escalation
                          At Home I Am A Leader
                          New Hair New Me
                          Ego Hit
                          Mother Father
                          Jargon Jones And Jones
                          Come Inside
                          Big Companies, Large Tentacles 

                          14 - Little Simz

                          NO THANK YOU

                            2021’s “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” catapulted Simz into the big leagues, crashing into the top 5 of the albums charts, collecting Mercury Music Prize, Mobo, Ivor Novello and Brit Award wins and earning her the biggest live audiences yet in the UK and Europe.

                            “NO THANK YOU” is yet another delicious left field turn for 29-year old Simbiatu Ajikawo. Sleek, succinct and utterly propulsive, it’s Simz’ defiantly punk rock, two fingered salute to conformity and fame, and all the expectations and restrictions that come with. Recorded with her regular collaborator Inflo, this is Simz at her most free, daring and spontaneous. In her own words: 'emotion is energy in motion. honour your truth and feelings. eradicate fear. boundaries are important.’

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Millie says: Returning strong with big orchestral interludes and quickfire rap from Little Simz in her new album ‘NO THANK YOU’. The album alludes to challenges faced releasing music with a tone of self-reflection but this album feels stronger than ever, with her talent shining through each track on the album despite the obstacles and healing that took place. “Gorilla” was a track that really grew on me, it reminds me of her incredible stage presence during her live performances; of being at ease like she’s always been destined to be there. It feels layered with polished production with that large Simz energy and intangible confidence. Another standout for me has to be “Heart on Fire”, you can feel the atmosphere building like a rising in your chest, it’s evident that this soulful music comes from the heart. Paired alongside the backing choir vocals, it only accentuates her unmissable dynamic sound that Simbi always nails.

                            TRACK LISTING

                            1. Angel
                            2. Gorilla
                            3. Silhouette
                            4. No Merci
                            5. X
                            6. Heart On Fire
                            7. Broken
                            8. Sideways
                            9. Who Even Cares
                            10. Control

                            15 - Caroline Polachek

                            Desire, I Want To Turn Into You

                              Desire, I Want To Turn Into You is Polachek’s first album release since her 2019 experimental pop masterpiece PANG which cemented her as a generational talent. Her profile has grown exponentially since – landing her everywhere from the direct opening spot on Dua Lipa’s 2022 North American Future Nostalgia Tour, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury, Primavera, All Points East, Governors Ball, Pitchfork Music Festival and Outside Lands, and involved with campaigns & shows for Loewe, Dior, Eckhaus Latta and Chloé, to late night performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Late Night Show with James Corden. Standout viral tracks like “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings,” have contributed to the album’s 175M global streams and counting and ignited a dance trend on TikTok.

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Ethan says: Back in 2019, Caroline Polachek’s first fully-realised solo outing was a surprising-yet-welcome entry into the slowly emerging glitch and ‘hyperpop’ scene. By comparison, ‘Desire, I Want to Turn into You’ is an equally polished yet more outlandish attempt at pop perfection. Every track has some left-field eccentricity over a beautifully-executed synth-pop backing that keeps you thoroughly entertained, from the flamenco guitars of “Sunset”, to a children’s choir on my personal favourite track “Billions”, to even a bagpipe solo on “Blood and Butter”.

                              That’s not to say that the album isn’t enjoyable as a standard synth-pop experience; production from hyperpop-aficionado Danny L. Harle ensures you’re filled with a desire to bounce around the room. However, no song on this project would work without the glue that is Caroline’s exceptional vocal performance, highlighted through a virtuosic solo in the opening seconds of the album. This opening moment guarantees you know what a talent-filled, delicate and charming listening experience you’re in for; and I guarantee you’ll listen again just for the choruses!

                              TRACK LISTING

                              Welcome To My Island
                              Pretty In Possible
                              Bunny Is A Rider
                              Sunset
                              Crude Drawing Of An Angel
                              I Believe
                              Fly To You
                              Blood & Butter
                              Hopedrunk Everasking
                              Butterfly Net
                              Smoke
                              Billions 

                              ‘VOLCANO’ follows Jungle’s previous album ‘Loving In Stereo’, which proved to be a landmark moment for the acclaimed UK duo. It achieved their highest domestic UK chart position to date debuting at #3, while also achieving their best ever album chart positions in key international territories such as Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands; and in the US it catapulted to #1 on the Billboard Dance Albums chart which led to major Arena shows as guests to Billie Eilish.

                              The free-spirited energy that runs right through ‘VOLCANO’ reflects how organically it came together. J and T had written most of the record on tour before starting the recording process while staying in an Airbnb in Los Angeles. It was later completed back home in London at their favourite location, Studio B at Metropolis Studios. This time around, the duo wanted to include a wider variety of voices within the album. In addition to Erick The Architect, they reunited with Bas (who previously featured on the ‘Loving In Stereo’ single ‘Romeo’) for ‘Pretty Little Thing’, as well as calling on talents in the shape of Roots Manuva, Channel Tres and JNR Williams.


                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Maisy says: With a discography that has consistently pushed creative boundaries with the integration of visual art into their already artistic albums, Jungle presents an amazing fourth studio album, ‘Volcano’, as a testament to their enduring musical journey. A great sound built upon funk and soul, the duo has seamlessly woven contrasting segments of hip hop and disco throughout the album, profoundly amplified by the album’s essential collaborators like, Erik the Architect and Bas. Midway through, the single “Back on 74” makes a name for itself with its gorgeous vocals by Lydia Kitto. It brings the listeners to a place of nostalgia of young summer afternoons, which was the production duo’s aim of the story-telling album. Giving us a thirst for house and disco, this album effortlessly provides a feel-good soundtrack for any chosen activities, from reminiscing on those times of 70s soul (“Dominoes”) to shimmying to euphoric disco choruses!

                              TRACK LISTING

                              1. Us Against The World
                              2. Holding On
                              3. Candle Flame - Jungle, The Architect
                              4. Dominoes
                              5. I've Been In Love - Jungle Featuring Channel Tres
                              6. Back On 74
                              7. You Ain't No Celebrity - Jungle Featuring Roots Manuva
                              8. Coming Back
                              9. Don't Play - Jungle Featuring Mood Talk
                              10. Every Night
                              11. Problemz
                              12. Good At Breaking Hearts
                              13. Palm Trees
                              14. Pretty Little Thing - Jungle Featuring Bas

                              17 - The Murder Capital

                              Gigi's Recovery

                                The Murder Capital’s first album ‘When I Have Fears’ had all its songs written and recorded within the first 9 months of the band knowing each other.

                                Now, with ‘Gigi’s Recovery’, the band had to learn to navigate their personal relationships through the relationships they harnessed with these new songs. Without knowing what these songs would sound like, the band knew what they wanted them to feel like- and worked backwards from there - “We had this slightly tongue-in-cheek mantra at the near-beginning of writing this record, it was - The evolution will not be compromised. This kept us on a course, even when we didn’t know where we were going”. And that’s exactly how The Murder Capital ended up with an album that is both totally pure and yet completely confident in its direction.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Liam says: When we were first introduced to The Murder Capital, they were leading the post-punk charge alongside Fontaines D.C. However, whilst their post-punk core does remain intact, 'Gigi's Recovery' sees The Murder Capital acknowledging and thriving within their musical evolution.

                                “Crying” sees them capturing the 'Primary Colours' era of The Horrors, whilst “Return My Head” and “Ethel” seize their post-punk roots and take them to new heights. As for “The Lies Becomes The Self” and “A Thousand Lives”, their more art-rock leanings wouldn't go amiss on a Radiohead record. Then there's “We Had To Disappear”, a powerfully beautiful lullaby that is easily one of the best tracks they've ever done. James McGovern's poetic lyricism remains one of The Murder Capital's strongest attributes, always commanding each track with hypnotic exposition.

                                Full of passion and spirited urgency, but also moments of tender nuance, 'Gigi's Recovery' is a special album by a truly special band.

                                TRACK LISTING

                                1. Existence
                                2. Crying 
                                3. Return My Head
                                4. Ethel
                                5. The Stars Will Leave Their Stage
                                6. Belonging
                                7. The Lie Becomes The Self
                                8. A Thousand Lives
                                9. We Had To Disappear
                                10. Only Good Things
                                11. Gigi's Recovery
                                12. Exist

                                18 - Squid

                                O Monolith

                                  Teeming with melodic epiphanies and layered sounds, Squid’s second album O Monolith is a musical evocation of environment, domesticity and self-made folklore. Like its predecessor, 2021’s critically acclaimed, UK number 4 album Bright Green Field, it is dense and tricksy – but also more warm and characterful, with a meandering, questioning nature.

                                  Expansive, evocative and hugely varied, O Monolith retains Squid’s restless, enigmatic spirit, but it still holds surprises for those familiar with Bright Green Field. It’s a reflection of the outsized progression of a band always looking to the future. Like its namesake, O Monolith is vast and strange; alive with endless possible interpretations of its inner mysteries.


                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  William says: The Oxford English dictionary defines ‘squid’ as “an elongated, fast-swimming cephalopod mollusc with eight arms and two long tentacles, typically able to change colour”, which is about as appropriate a definition as any to tack onto this eclectic collection of manic yet thoughtful pieces of music. ‘O Monolith’ is some other dimension’s version of pop music - an honest and unrelenting synthesis of the haunting art, isolation and real-world brutality that inspired it, an earworm that nests itself only in the most obscure recesses of your mind. It would be fit to feature in any year-end list on the strength of bombastic lead single and opener “‘Swing (In a Dream)” alone, but the contemplative “The Blades” and the mind-bending closer with a title that would exceed my world limit, to name a couple, as well as how smoothly the album flows, cement this record’s place as a truly original modern classic.

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  1. Swing (In A Dream)
                                  2. Devil’s Den
                                  3. Siphon Song
                                  4. Undergrowth
                                  5. The Blades
                                  6. After The Flash
                                  7. Green Light
                                  8. If You Had Seen The Bull’s Swimming Attempts You Would Have Stayed Away

                                  19 - Sufjan Stevens

                                  Javelin

                                    Javelin marks Stevens’ first solo album of songs since 2020’s The Ascension, and his first in full singer-songwriter mode since 2015’s Carrie & Lowell, bridging all these approaches like never before. Whether listened to individually or as an album, these 10 songs become something much bigger, the entire experience of Stevens’ 25-year career brought to bear in four-minute bursts of choral, orchestral, and electric wonder.

                                    Javelin pairs musical sweep with emotional breadth. At times, it has the feel of a big team album production — but it is decidedly not: almost every sound here is the result of Stevens at home, building by himself what sometimes feels like a testament to ‘70s Los Angeles studio opulence. The contributions come from a close circle of friends – adrienne maree brown, Hannah Cohen, Pauline Delassus, Megan Lui and Nedelle Torrisi – who provide harmonies on many songs, and Bryce Dessner, who plays acoustic and electric guitar on “Shit Talk.” Of course, Neil Young wrote the tender and mystic album closer, “There’s A World.”

                                    Where The Ascension, lauded by The New York Times as “a cry of despair and prayer for redemption,” used ornate but urgent electronics to square up to its moment, Javelin begins like a self-portrait, detailed yet plain. This is Stevens at his most intimate, calling back to Seven Swans or Carrie & Lowell and then calling you close to share in its internal reckoning.

                                    “So You Are Tired” begins with a gently introduced piano before intricate layers of guitar and percussion build, creating a lush, melancholic atmosphere. “So you are tired of us // So rest your head,” Stevens sings in his signature disarming voice, as if the very scenes of hurt and hope it is about to share have only galvanized it through the decades. 

                                    Javelin is accompanied by a 48-page book of art and essays all created by Stevens, including a series of meticulous collages, cut-up catalog fantasies, puff-paint word clouds, and iterative color fields. The 10 short essays — alternatively funny, tragic, poignant, obtuse, and specific — offer little glimpses into loves and losses that have shaped him, and, in turn, these songs.

                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                    Andy says: Delicate, fragile yet somehow forthright, this new collection of perfect songs sees Sufjan Stevens return to the summits previously inhabited by 2003’s ‘Michigan’, 2005’s ‘Illinois’ and 2015’s ‘Carrie and Lowell’. Basically, this new record is raw, soul searching, heart yearning, pain, truth, and beauty poured onto tape. There’s also plenty of love around, both personal and universal, so there’s something here for everyone, anyone who has a heart! If you’re familiar with Sufjan’s oeuvre, you’ll know that he’s a pure, total artist who determinedly follows his muse. This often results in unusual, experimental, often heavily electronic records. I think I speak for most people when I say, his melancholy acoustic albums are the ones we love the most. Personal highlights for me are “Will Anyone Ever Love Me?” and “So You Are Tired”. The latter is a breakup song to top all break up songs. It's exquisitely beautiful.

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    1. Goodnight Evergreen
                                    2. A Running Start
                                    3. Will Anybody Ever Love Me?
                                    4. Everything That Rises
                                    5. Genuflecting Ghost
                                    6. My Red Little Fox
                                    7. So You Are Tired
                                    8. Javelin (To Have And To Hold)
                                    9.Shit Talk
                                    10. There’s A World

                                    20 - John

                                    A Life Diagrammatic

                                      With March 2023's 7" ‘Theme New Bond Junior’/‘Hopper On The Dial’ reaching No.1 in the UK Vinyl Single Chart, and April 2023's BBC/KEXP supported ‘Trauma Mosaic’ single announcing a debut fifteen date US/CA Tour for October 2023. JOHN consolidate their reputation as a truly uncompromising force with the announcement of their fourth full length A Life Diagrammatic.

                                      The album – which features collaborations with award-winning actor Simon Pegg, and Barry Adamson (formerly of The Bad Seeds and seminal post-punk act Magazine) – is released via Brace Yourself Records & Pets Care Records, and is the follow-up to 2021’s Nocturnal Manoeuvres LP which crashed the top 75 of the main UK album chart.

                                      “Limitations are key for us,” says drummer and vocalist John Newton. “I never view being a two-piece as a minus - it’s a key idiosyncratic element of what the project is.”

                                      For the last decade, and now over four albums, the duo of Newton and Johnny Healey have constantly redefined and expanded the role, function and parameters of what a guitar and drum two-piece can be. No more so is this apparent than on their latest A Life Diagrammatic, a record that harnesses the punch and intensity of their blistering live shows with the band’s increasingly textural, cinematic and expressive sensibilities. “We knew the direction we wanted to go in after the last record,” Healey says of Nocturnal Manoeuvres. “We had started moving towards soundscapes rather than straight-up noise and four to the floor structure.”

                                      The level of thought, ambition and scope is what makes JOHN such a captivating and genre-defying band, and A Life Diagrammatic such a rich and evocative listening experience. And the album artwork is perhaps a perfect metaphor for the band itself: a surface level glance may only reveal the basic function of an ostensible two-piece rock band but undertake a full service and you’ll discover a wealth of complexity, technicality, skill and function. Or quite simply, as Healey himself says, “we're not just a rock band. There's more to it than that.”

                                      Seth Manchester (Big Brave, Battles, METZ) was brought in to mix the album, with Frank Arkwright (Mogwai, Arab Strap, Squarepusher, Autechre) mastering it at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. The aim being to merge the powerful live presence of the band whilst also honing in on some of the more varied dynamics at play. “We wanted to further explore the space and ambience of our instrumentation,” says Newton. “To offer an album that deliberately pushes and pulls in a multitude of directions throughout its duration.”

                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                      Laura says: On their fourth album John continue to evolve their sound, adding more experimentation to their driving guitar and drums onslaught. As with previous releases, the taut guitar riffs create a tension throughout the album as it sweeps between brooding atmospherics and explosive outbursts, but there’s a more nuanced, cinematic feel this time around. This is typified on “Media Res” which features a strange, slightly unnerving monologue from Simon Pegg - a distorted conversation that you only hear one side of. Typical of the whole album there’s an ambiguity to the narrative that sucks you in and forces you to listen. There’s no snappy sloganeering here, the lyrical depth is integral to the sound as a whole, it’s an album that demands your attention. Still not convinced? Then surely a nod of approval, in the shape of a collaboration on “Riddley Scott Walker”, from the king of cinematic noir, Barry Adamson, should surely seal the deal.

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      1. At Peacehaven
                                      2. Media Res
                                      3. Côte D’Adur
                                      4. A Submersible
                                      5. A Whole House
                                      6. Service Stationed
                                      7. Construction Site/Summer_22
                                      8. Trauma Mosaic
                                      9. Riddley Scott Walker
                                      10. The Common Cold

                                      21 - Yussef Dayes

                                      Black Classical Music

                                        ‘Black Classical Music’ is a 19-track record taking listeners through a looking glass into the exalted artist’s past and present whilst exploring themes of home and family. The album draws influence from his musical heroes Miles Davis & Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Yussef’s extensive travel around the globe that has deepened his study of rhythm.

                                        Honourable features on “Black Classical Music” - Chronixx, Jamilah Barry, Tom Misch, Shabaka Hutchings, Miles James, Sheila Maurice Grey, Nathaniel Cross, Theon Cross and the Chineke! Orchestra, plus Venna, Rocco Palladino, Charlie Stacey & Elijah Fox

                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                        Barry says: Oooof, this is an absolute wealth of rich groove and the seamless pulling together of myriad influences from drummer and renowned London jazzer, Yussef Dayes. Filled with collaborative talent, 'Black Classical Music' manages to draw from a wealth of sound worlds without breaking step. Afrobeat, soul funk and jazz fans take note.

                                        TRACK LISTING

                                        A1. Black Classical Music Ft. Venna & Charlie Stacey
                                        A2. Afro Cubanism
                                        A3. Raisins Under The Sun Ft. Shabaka Hutchings
                                        A4. Rust Ft. Tom Misch
                                        A5. Turquoise Galaxy

                                        B1. The Light Ft. Bahia Dayes
                                        B2. Pon Di Plaza Ft. Chronixx
                                        B3. Magnolia Symphony
                                        B4. Early Dayes
                                        B5. Chasing The Drum

                                        C1. Birds Of Paradise
                                        C2. Gelato
                                        C3. Marching Band Ft. Masego
                                        C4. Crystal Palace Park Ft. Elijah Fox
                                        C5. Presidential Ft. Jahaan Sweet

                                        D1. Jukebox
                                        D2. Woman's Touch Ft. Jamilah Barry
                                        D3. Tioga Pass Ft. Rocco Palladino
                                        D4. Cowrie Charms Ft. Leon Thomas & Barbara Hicks 

                                        22 - Gabriels

                                        Angels & Queens

                                          Angels & Queens - Part I was released back in September, picking up widespread acclaim across the globe. Its release was governed by the band’s desire to push through the release of new recordings this year, and release the record in two distinct chapters. The second chapter now concludes the full album’s tracklisting for a Spring 2023 release.

                                          Angels & Queens incorporates a brand new recording of the band’s seminal debut single, Love & Hate In A Different Time, and songs that have already become staples of the band’s live set; Offering, Glory, and Great Wind.

                                          A Deluxe CD version will also be made available with eight additional recordings, featuring four tracks from the band’s seminal Glastonbury set earlier in the Summer, a BBC Maida Vale session recording of Spanish Harlem, and a Greg Wilson and Che Wilson remix of Love and Hate in A Different Time.


                                          TRACK LISTING

                                          CD / Vinyl
                                          1. Offering
                                          2. The Blind
                                          3. Angels & Queens
                                          4. Taboo
                                          5. To The Moon And Back
                                          6. Professional
                                          7. We Will Remember
                                          8. Remember Me
                                          9. If You Only Knew
                                          10. Love And Hate In A Different Time
                                          11. Glory
                                          12. Great Wind
                                          13.Mama

                                          Deluxe CD Additional Tracks:
                                          14.Love And Hate In A Different Time (Greg Wilson & Che Wilson Remix)
                                          15. Blame (Live At Glastonbury)
                                          16. Great Wind (Live At Glastonbury)
                                          17. Professional (Live At Glastonbury)
                                          18. We Will Remember (Live At Glastonbury)
                                          19. Spanish Harlem (Live From Maida Vale)
                                          20. Bloodline
                                          21. Loyalty Ft. Ashley Sade

                                          23 - The Chemical Brothers

                                          For That Beautiful Feeling

                                            The Chemical Brothers - one of the most acclaimed and innovative electronic duo in the world - have announced details of their tenth studio album For That Beautiful Feeling.

                                            Recorded in the band’s own studio just near the south coast, this is a record that hunts for and captures that that wild moment when sound overwhelms you and almost pulls you under yet ultimately lets you ride its wave, to destinations unknown. It’s a record that pinpoints the exact moment you lose all control, where you surrender and let the music move you as if pulled by an invisible thread.

                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                            Barry says: There is absolutely no sign that The Chemical Brothers are slowing down, with 2019's incendiary 'No Geography' blowing people away and 'For That Beautiful Feeling' set to do so even more. It's a triumphant, heavy hitting marvel that is enhanced perfectly by Halo Maud's distinctive vocal talents. Classic 'chems and then some.

                                            Matt says: Rocketing into orbit with the stadium inferno that is “Live Again”, there’s little chance to touch down, as Tom and Ed hit the thrusters for one of the most stratospheric ‘Chems LPs we can remember. A rousing & rebellious message for our times, with the usual smattering of guest appearances and sampled vox articulating their uplifting insubordination with soaring, memorable hooks.

                                            TRACK LISTING

                                            1. Intro
                                            2. Live Again (feat. Halo Maud)
                                            3. No Reason
                                            4. Goodbye
                                            5. Fountains
                                            6. Magic Wand
                                            7. The Weight
                                            8. Skipping Like A Stone (feat. Beck)
                                            9. The Darkness That You Fear (Harvest Mix)
                                            10. Feels Like I’m Dreaming
                                            11. For That Beautiful Feeling (feat. Halo Maud)

                                            24 - Co-Pilot

                                            Rotate

                                              After taking time out from working together to focus on separate musical projects, maverick composer Alan Roberts (Jim Noir) and crowd-rousing vocalist Leonore Wheatley (International Teachers of Pop / The Soundcarriers) have re-joined forces to introduce Co-Pilot. Each the other’s wing person, they’re plotting an escape through Manchester’s claustrophobic grey skies with the pencil case colour of a hand-sewn multi-coloured primary school patchwork quilt. “We are both the creators in charge of navigating Co-Pilot’s overall sound which changes from track to track,” Leonore hints at what to expect. “There are about 6 different genres on one album, it's a pick n mix record!”

                                              Happy in the haze of many boozy hours the album was recorded over just a few months whilst holed up and hanging out in Al’s city centre Dookstereo studio. The former Mill allowed the pair to relax, laugh and create without constraint. Armed with their original demos and vocal recordings from Al’s flat, they’d nip by the offie to pick up some Dutch courage before setting to work: building arrangements from a drum beat and basic chord pattern, the pair were so in tune they rarely spoke, allowing only the music to lead the way. “We’d communicate through nods of agreement or grimaces of dismay,” Leonore recalls. “Using the instruments with Al in production mode, we let the sound dictate the process whilst being drunk enough to follow it.”

                                              The sound of life coming full circle after honing their separate crafts, Leonore had previously played keys and vocals in Jim Noir’s live band before moving on to front International Teachers of Pop for two critically lauded albums of joyous dancefloor filling bangers - their self-titled debut (2019) and Pop Gossip (2020). During that time Al would further expand Jim Noir’s universe with AM Jazz, which was celebrated as the no.1 album in Piccadilly Records’ ‘End of Year Review’ (2020), followed by the Deep View Blue E.P. (2021) cementing his status as one of Manchester’s finest songwriters.

                                              As Leonore added her vocal magic to Al’s early demos of what would eventually become Co-Pilot’s ‘Spring Beach’ and a crooked original version of closing track ‘Corner House’, the vibe was prophetic “like the ending of Grease as Danny and Sandy take flight through the clouds”, letting their imaginations fly. The songs were the catalyst to spark a new phase of the pair working together, picking up where they left off. “From messing about with sounds during rehearsals in the very beginning it was always clear we liked the combination of sounds we made,” Leonore recalls.

                                              Powered by a ‘try anything’ approach, Co-Pilot blends the musical DNA of what you’ve come to expect from each of the pair’s previous flight paths. “Whatever is switched on or nearby gets used. There's no 'correct' for us. If it sounds good, record it,” Al tells. United through typically turbulent wonky pop and lurking samples, whether culled from 70s TV themes or recreations of past and found sounds (see Al’s 60s tropicalia guitar on ‘Brick’, or the innocent ‘Swim to Sweden’ which opens with an ice cream van jingle Al recorded from his bedroom window) their process offers up a bucket load of Easter eggs. The album even features snippets from dearly departed pal Batfinks whilst ‘Motosaka’ is perhaps the most expensive 2-minutes on the album, featuring a Columbia Records Japan-cleared sample of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s ‘Thousand Knives’. Its synth squelches and Tom Tom Club funk also received the blessing of Haroumi Hosono, Godfather of Japanese Electronica, who agreed to being sampled in an original version of the song. “We just kept listening back and hitting gold,” Al recalls. “I was thinking ‘yeah, not sure what this is but I like it! We were buzzing with what we had made.”

                                              But the sound wouldn’t come without self-imposed instrumental challenges. Thanks to an old mellotron sample on ‘Move To It,’ the moog riff and nautical accordion breaks on ‘Swim To Sweden’ and the 6/8 and 7/8 jaunt of ‘Brick’, time signatures were lovingly skewed to create Co-Pilot’s unique mood. “It was a bastard getting the drums right,” Leonore reveals, “but I like the wonkiness”. Levelling up through the lyrics, the words of smoky and evocative ‘She Walks In Beauty’ are based on a Lord Byron poem, with the sentiment of remembering Leonore’s late grandparents. “I wanted to see how much I could get away with just singing on one note, and how I could harmonically change everything else around it vocally,” she says. Elsewhere ‘Can You See’ was written from the perspective of a concerned sister to a brother which tells of keeping someone safe. “The lyrics are quite metaphorical about day-to-day happenings, people loved and lost. Others are rhythmic nonsense! It’s up to the listener to figure out what’s true.”

                                              It’s clear from Al’s productive production techniques and Leonore’s knack for vocals and lyricism, Co-Pilot’s course is engineered by two aeronautically adept sonic storytellers. “We share a pretty similar sense of humour,” Al tells, “It is funny listening to this quite serious album but knowing we were giggling as we recorded it all. It’s been great to have another brain to bounce off.” Their destination might be unknown, but the clouds are about to part for a sound that is light years ahead. “You'll like at least one song,” Leonore suggests, “and hopefully them all.”


                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                              Barry says: What else would you expect from Jim Noir's Alan Roberts and the endlessly talented Leonore Wheatley from ITOP (and many others), than an evocative, beautifully written selection of grooving psychedelic beauties. 'Rotate' is swimming with fractured melodies, crisp melodic synths tempered with crunchy sycopated percussion and Leonore's haunting, beautifully rendered vocals. Stunner.

                                              TRACK LISTING

                                              1) Swim To Sweden
                                              2) Move To It
                                              3) Motosaka
                                              4) Brick
                                              5) Can You See
                                              6) I Am 1
                                              7) She Walks In Beauty
                                              8) Spring Beach
                                              9) Cornerhouse

                                              25 - Gaz Coombes

                                              Turn The Car Around

                                                ‘Turn The Car Around’ is a record that I’ve been building up to for the last seven years,” says Coombes. It’s a record of feeling, an album that captures the ups and downs of modern life and all the small print in between. Written and recorded by Coombes in his gloriously ramshackle Oxfordshire outhouse Studio, he has emerged with the best work of his illustrious career. It’s an album that both taps into the sonic palettes and lyrical themes of its predecessors and marks the third and final part of a trilogy of records alongside 2015’s Mercury and Ivor Novello nominated sophomore album Matador and 2018’s World’s Strongest Man. At the same time it carves a bold new way forward for one of the UK’s most gifted and cherished singer-songwriters. “There’s a lot of subject matter in there that I’ve played with and maybe not managed to see through in the past. I’ve evolved and I feel like I’ve got better at what I do”.

                                                ‘Turn The Car Around’ features additional instrumentation from members of Gaz’s live band, Garo Nahoulakian, Nick Fowler and Piney Gir. The album also sees Coombes reuniting with his live band’s vocal trio ‘The Roxys’ (a nickname given to them by Nile Rodgers when they shared the bill at a Later with Jools show) to create a rich and nuanced sonic tapestry. Cameo performances appear courtesy of Willie J Healey and Ride’s Loz Colbert, and Coombes shares co-production duties with long-term collaborator Ian Davenport.

                                                As he celebrates 10 years of his lauded solo career since the release of his debut ‘Here Come the Bombs’, and riding a crest of the Supergrass reunion, the announcement of ‘Turn The Car Around’ solidifies Coombes status as one of the UK’s most interesting, enduring and effortlessly classy artists.



                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                Laura says: I'm really loving this album at the moment. It feels like his previous solo albums have been building up to this and he's absolutely nailed it. An album about coming to terms with modern life with all it's ups and downs, it feels deeply personal but at the same time tapping into a lot of peoples hopes and fears. Stylistically it covers a lot of ground, from the soulful "Don't Say It's Over", the glammy stomp of "Long Live The Strange", the gentle guitar strum of "Not The Only Things" and the Bowie-esque "Dance On".

                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                1. Overnight Trains
                                                2. Don’t Say It’s Over
                                                3. Feel Loop (Lizard Dream)
                                                4. Long Live The Strange
                                                5. Not The Only Things
                                                6. Turn The Car Around
                                                7. This Love
                                                8. Sonny The Strong
                                                9. Dance On

                                                26 - Say She She

                                                Silver

                                                  For Fans Of... Clairo, Khruangbin, Lady Wray, Thee Sacred Souls, Chicano Batman, El Michels Affair, Lee Fields and the Expressions.

                                                  The female-led discodelic soul band Say She She, named as a silent nod to Nile Rodgers (C’est chi-chi!: It's Chic!”), release their sophomore album ‘Silver’ on the heels of an epic break-out year that grows brighter by the day.

                                                  The three strong voices of Piya Malik (El Michels Affair staple feature, and former backing singer for Chicano Batman), Sabrina Mileo Cunningham and Nya Gazelle Brown front the band. This harmonizing trio was formed in a classic New York tale of friends that met by following the music: the downtown dancefloors, through the Lower East Side floorboards and up to the rooftops of Harlem.

                                                  ‘Silver’ was entirely written and recorded live to tape at Killion Sound studio in North Hollywood earlier this year and produced by Sergio Rios (of Orgone). While these analog recording techniques help root Say She She’s sound in a bedrock of tonal warmth that only tape can achieve, it is also their process of cutting the track in the moment and capturing the magic of communal creativity that has seen their sound described as “a glorious overload of joyful elation and spiritual elevation” (MOJO) and “infused with the wonky post-disco spirit of early '80s NYC” (The Guardian).

                                                  Silver, the element, is known as the metal of self-confidence and the mirror of the soul. With that, the 16-song double-LP projects not only their growth in writing with confidence, but also reflects a deeper exploration into their punk-chic, femmeforward sensibility.

                                                  Ultimately, ‘Silver’ oozes with quirk and adventure and embraces the multifaceted nature of what it means to be a modern femme. The She She's fully embrace their role as beauticians, actively reminding people of the inherent beauty in the world. They skillfully employ double entendres and humor to encourage open dialogue and fearlessly address important matters that demand attention.

                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                  Barry says: A stunning mix of funky NY soul, snappy disco and woozy Balearic here from the cleverly named Say She She, channelling the spirit of Chic with a wealth of influence drawn from all over the musical spectrum. Brilliantly paced and endlessly funky.

                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                  Side 1
                                                  1. Reeling
                                                  2. Don't You Dare Stop
                                                  3. Astral Plane
                                                  4. C'est Si Bon
                                                  Side 2
                                                  1. Entry Level
                                                  2. Passing Time
                                                  3. Think About It
                                                  4. Questions
                                                  Side 3
                                                  1. Forget Me Not
                                                  2. Never Say Never
                                                  3. The Water
                                                  4. Echo In The Chamber
                                                  Side 4
                                                  1. Bleeding Heart
                                                  2. Find A Way
                                                  3. NORMA
                                                  4. Silver

                                                  27 - James Holden

                                                  Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space Of All Possibilities

                                                    Electronic explorer James Holden returns with a generically unconstrained new album of rave music for a parallel universe that seeks to reconnect with the feelings of hope, freedom and possibility that characterised the earliest days of dance music, coming to terms with his own musical past in the process.

                                                    In contrast to its jazz adjacent live band predecessor The Animal Spirits, Holden's trippy fourth solo artist album is more of a continuous sound collage, artfully juxtaposing audio worlds and field recordings with an anything goes approach in the style of early nineties pastoral classics like The KLF’s Chill Out and the sprawling radioscapes of Future Sound of London.

                                                    Physical formats include a colourful 12 page booklet of original illustrations by Jorge Velez (Professor Genius).


                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                    Barry says: James Holden has been an inspiration for many a year, deftly moving from jagged instrumental genius ‘The Inheritors’ through jazzy ambient fare ‘Animal Spirits’ to this latest album, imbued with the spirit of both. It's a sprawling and multi-faceted triumph, another indication that Holden is one of the greatest producers around.

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    1) You Are In A Clearing
                                                    2) Contains Multitudes
                                                    3) Common Land
                                                    4) Trust Your Feet
                                                    5) The Missing Key
                                                    6) In The End You’ll Know
                                                    7) Continuous Revolution
                                                    8) Four Ways Down The Valley
                                                    9) Worlds Collide Mountains Form
                                                    10) The Answer Is Yes
                                                    11) Infinite Fadeout
                                                    12) You Can Never Go Back

                                                    28 - Paramore

                                                    This Is Why

                                                      “This Is Why was the very last song we wrote for the album. To be honest, I was so tired of writing lyrics but Taylor convinced Zac and I both that we should work on this last idea. What came out of it was the title track for the whole album. It summarizes the plethora of ridiculous emotions, the rollercoaster of being alive in 2022, having survived even just the last 3 or 4 years. You’d think after a global pandemic of fucking biblical proportions and the impending doom of a dying planet, that humans would have found it deep within themselves to be kinder or more empathetic or something.

                                                      The public sphere we find ourselves re-entering after 4 years at home, in our comfort zones, is an entirely different thing than the one we knew. The restlessness, the anxiety, and the compulsion to take action— it all feels like a contradiction. On one hand, we have a legitimate platform to use which makes me want to march at every protest for social justice and devote every waking second to every single cause I believe in. On the other, I just want to go home, plant a garden, and become a distant memory to the outside world.”

                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                      Liam says: Ditching their pop-punk and synth-pop sound of previous records in favour of 2000s math-infused indie, 'This Is Why' certainly represents a new chapter for Paramore. The title track takes things to 'Total Life Forever' era Foals, whilst elsewhere there is shades of early Bloc Party and 90s emo. Not gonna lie, really liking a Paramore record in 2023 certainly wasn't on my bingo card this year.

                                                      29 - Eddie Chacon

                                                      Sundown

                                                        For fans of: Nick Hakim, John Carroll Kirby, Khruangbin, Bullion, Duval Timothy.

                                                        ‘Sundown’ is “low-key R&B legend” Eddie Chacon’s soulful, meditative debut for Stones Throw Records. The album was written with and produced by John Carroll Kirby. Eddie Chacon rose to fame in the duo Charles & Eddie, whose 1992 single “Would I Lie To You” was a #1 hit around the world. Chacon returned in 2020 with the album ‘Pleasure, Joy and Happiness’, widely acclaimed by the New York Times, Guardian, and many more.

                                                        Soulful, low-key R&B from Eddie Chacon, who soared to fame in Charles & Eddie, and returned in 2020 with the beloved album Pleasure, Joy and Happiness.

                                                        Produced by multiple Grammy nominated producer and artist John Carroll Kirby (Solange, Harry Styles, Steve Lacy).


                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                        Barry says: If ever an album screamed 'Rhodes' and 'Ibiza' more than this little gem from Eddie Chacon, i'm yet to hear of it. Wonderfully meditative but without sacrificing the swimming melodicism and horizontal soul we've come to expect from Chacon (of Charles & Eddie fame). A shimmering, hazy Balearic beauty.

                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                        Side A
                                                        1) Step By Step
                                                        2) Far Away
                                                        3) Comes And Goes
                                                        4) Sundown

                                                        Side B
                                                        5) Holy Hell
                                                        6) Haunted Memories
                                                        7) Same Old Song
                                                        8) The Morning Sun

                                                        30 - Romy

                                                        Mid Air

                                                          Mid Air is an album about celebration, sanctuary and salvation on the dance floor. It's an album that deals with love, grief, relationships, identity and sexuality and is a love letter to the queer clubs where Romy found community and connection. It’s a coming-out album in a way, although she came out in her personal life a long time ago, but it’s also a coming-through album – through grief and heartache, towards euphoria.

                                                          Mid Air sees Romy working alongside producers Fred again.. and Stuart Price, as well as her bandmate Jamie xx on recent single “Enjoy Your Life”. Also featuring the previous single (and crossover anthem) “Strong”, Mid Air is the perfect encapsulation of a sound Romy describes as “emotional music to dance to”. It’s a sound that’s set to unify dancefloors, distilling Romy’s love of club classics and classic song writing and finding the sweet spot – like much of Romy’s favourite music – between euphoria, escapism, sadness and melancholy.

                                                          To celebrate news of the album, Romy today releases her latest single, the Fred again..-produced “Loveher”. It’s a pivotal track for Romy and acts as both the album opener and the first song to be written for the record. Romy and Fred were first paired together to write songs for other people, but their fast friendship and musical connection proved to be a spark for something new. After writing “Loveher”, a declarative pop song about the intimacy of falling in love with a woman, “Fred asked me, who could this be for?” explains Romy “and I tentatively said… ‘maybe me?’”. A proud and positive queer love story, this was the beginning of Mid Air.


                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                          Barry says: Romy of XX fame present a wonderfully evocative set of crystalline dancefloor bangers, high energy synth lines and her instantly recognisable vocals, calling upon Fred Again, Jamie (of aforementioned band) and a lovely bit of sampling of the endlessly talented Beverly Glenn-Copeland on 'Mid Air'.

                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                          1. Loveher
                                                          2. Weightless
                                                          3. The Sea
                                                          4. One Last Try
                                                          5. DMC
                                                          6. Strong Ft. Fred Again..
                                                          7. Twice
                                                          8. Did I
                                                          9. Mid Air Ft. Beverly Glenn-Copeland
                                                          10. Enjoy Your Life
                                                          11. She’s On My Mind

                                                          31 - Willie J Healey

                                                          Bunny

                                                            Is Willie J Healey your favourite artists’ favourite artist? You better believe it. Alex Turner, Joe Talbot of IDLES, Jamie T and Orlando Weeks are among those who believe, most having come onboard following the Neil Young-meets-The Beatles-meets Elvis Costello charms of his 2020 album ‘Twin Heavy’. And while Willie has largely been the preserve of those in the know, that’s all about to change. When Florence Welch heard his upcoming album ‘Bunny’ via its producer, her friend Loren Humphrey, as well as through YALA! Records co-founder Felix White, she was sufficiently impressed to invite Willie and his band on this autumn’s Florence + The Machine arena tour.

                                                            If you’ve already discovered the album’s introductory track, ‘Tiger Woods’, you’ll have had a first taste of why Florence was so won over. It sees Willie dive headfirst into a style of music he has always loved, but that never previously found its way into his own songs. It’s a low-slung, sensual ‘70s-style jam which simultaneously calls to mind Sly and The Family Stone, Philly soul, ‘Midnite Vultures’-era Beck and a little OutKast.


                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                            Barry says: 'Bunny' sees Willie J Healey continue his fusion of soul, jazz and classic rock into a uniquely cohesive and wonderfully accomplished whole. Hazy jazzy balladry and crispy funk all topped with Healey's vox. Brilliant.

                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                            Side A
                                                            1. Woke Up Smiling
                                                            2. Dreams
                                                            3. Tiger Woods
                                                            4. Thank You
                                                            5. Bumble Bee
                                                            6. Black Camaro
                                                            Side B
                                                            1. Sure Feels Good
                                                            2. Chrome
                                                            3. Late Night Driving
                                                            4. Little Sister
                                                            5. Morning Teeth
                                                            6. Bumble Bee Reprise
                                                            7. Bluebird

                                                            32 - Pale Blue Eyes

                                                            This House

                                                              Delirious chatter… clinks of warm cans of beer… Cocteau Twins played at full blast. Lively memories of parties and people live on through This House, the new album from Pale Blue Eyes. The house in question is there on the front cover, the childhood home of the trio’s vocalist and guitarist, Matt Board. Defined by closure and moving on, This House is shaken to its rafters as the band navigate the grief of recent parental loss. Alongside uplifting melodies that dance like no-one’s watching, the album is rich in life-affirming human connections, where music-making becomes a means of recovery.

                                                              “When Mum died, five years after Dad, there was this charge hanging in the air, connecting each person in the room,” says Matt. “Time stopped. I felt like I momentarily entered an alternative dimension between life and death. Days and weeks later I’d see my family in every corner of the house – all the reminders, ghosts and memories. Then, gradually, it felt like time for a new start, moving on from the house and my amazing parents.”

                                                              While the band’s debut LP Souvenirs captured memories and melancholy from around the death of Matt’s father, This House is its next-door neighbour. The new album was finished in the immediate aftermath of the death of Matt’s mum. As soon as the record was completed, PBE were packing up the contents from their self-built Penquit Mill home studio, financed through endless casual work and a bank loan. The location was a dream – in the middle of nowhere, just south of Dartmoor, midway between Plymouth and Totnes.

                                                              The studio was where they spent hours recording and self-producing both records, while supporting Matt’s mum through the decline of a long-term illness. Matt and his bandmate and wife Lucy Board (drums/synth/production) have now returned north, to her native Sheffield, with funk-mad bassist Aubrey Simpson living between Devon and London.

                                                              “It’s a more sombre and more ecstatic album, with an urgent desire to remember and enjoy every moment,” says Matt of the record’s life-defining “end of era” moments. “We’ve dealt with loss throughout both albums,” says Matt, “but this time there has been rebuilding – appreciating and relishing the things and people still here.” Pertinently, album tracks ‘Sister’ and ‘More’ celebrate the complexities of relationships between family and friends.

                                                              “We wanted to turn a shitty situation into something positive,” says Lucy, “ so we put all our energy into making music that was fun to play live and perhaps open up a way out.” Matt concurs: “The album captures moments of elation and joy alongside the grave mood that eventually engulfed our home. During those tough times we played all over the UK and overseas, buoyed by the thrill of people listening to what we’d been working on… knowing two days later we’d be in a hospice saying our final goodbyes to Mum. The ultimate headfuckery.”

                                                              PBE say the new album is a “slightly more worldly-wise sibling” to 2022 debut LP Souvenirs. The latter was roundly acclaimed. “Joyous... propulsive… exhilarating”, said Uncut. Magic of France were impressed: “Ultrapuissante... orgasmique... profondeur infinie.” Line Of Best Fit said, “‘Like all great debuts it’s both a culmination of their beginnings as well as a pointer to the wide open road ahead.”

                                                              Mixed and mastered by Moonlandingz’s Dean Honer (Róisín Murphy, The Human League, I Monster), with jam sessions its driving force, This House bounces through analogue tape delays and effects pedals to capture life’s oscillating journey. Celebratory ‘Simmering,’ and ‘Hang Out’ offer peaks, highlighting the importance of pressing the ‘off’ switch. “It’s about enjoying simple moments,” says Matt, “the sun on your face, hanging with friends in the pub, looking at the night sky...”

                                                              Any threat of troughs are lifted by motorik rhythms from their Moog Little Phatty and Prophet 12 – thanks to Lucy’s fascination for South Yorkshire synth innovation. The dissertation for her music degree was titled “An Investigation into Sheffield's Alternative Music Scene Between 1973 and 1978, with Particular Reference to Cabaret Voltaire.”

                                                              With This House, Lucy’s hometown sounds blend with Aubrey’s evangelical interest in Motown and various funk titans. These diverse touchstones comes through in the PBE album’s blend of pop hooks and psych-rock sophistication. ‘Heating’s On’ is a driving anthem, glistening with ’80s guitar and a trumpet part care of Lucy. ‘Sister’ mixes goth-rock guitar with DIY choral grandeur, a tasty mix of The Cult and Joe Meek. ‘Millions Times Over’ takes feelings of hopelessness and then creates a lovely bittersweet feel via shimmering synths and wistful vocals. The album concludes with the widescreen expanse of ‘Underwater’, a moving, meditative set-piece.

                                                              “Mum always said she loved hearing the sounds of the recording process as people would come and go from the studio,” Matt remembers.

                                                              Making music as a means to go on, Pale Blue Eyes’ two albums bookend other significant moments, such as soundtracking the Atmos arts-and-housing project in Totnes (featuring a sound-and-light installation by Brian Eno). There was also the time PBE’s beloved old Citroën blew up between gigs, reinforcing a valuable lesson. “You have to embrace the Berlingo!” says Lucy, rolling out the band’s new motto.

                                                              “Change is inevitable,” Matt adds. “You have to embrace it all, the good and bad, and the horribly ugly.”

                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                              Barry says: With rich grooving guitars, snappy percussion and Matt Board's gorgeous psychedelic vocal stylings, Pale Blue Eyes' formula might not sound like the most complex, but it results in the huge, warm sound bath we hear on 'This House'. Beautifully written melodies and stuck-in-your-head riffs abound, Pale Blue Eyes have smashed out an incomparable debut.

                                                              33 - Bdrmm

                                                              I Don't Know

                                                                While the world became socially distanced in 2020, Hull’s post-shoegaze, dream pop, heavy guitar effects quartet bdrmm made the kind of impact with their debut album any young band would dream about. Bedroom was hailed as “a heady, forward-thinking shoegaze distillation” by Clash magazine, the Guardian proclaimed “one of the underground hits of lockdown”, while NME awarded the album five solid stars and called Bedroom nothing less than “a modern day shoegaze classic.”

                                                                Now signed to Mogwai's Rock Action Records, the band return with I Don't Know, complete with their trademark effects-laden guitars and motorik Neu! grooves but now with added piano, strings, electronica, sampling and the occasional dance beat. Bdrmm fans will not be disappointed and the fans of Radiohead, Ride, Mogwai, The Cure that are yet to discover bdrmm would do well by blessing their ears with "I Don't Know".

                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                Liam says: Following on from their shoegaze drenched debut LP, Hull's bdrmm are here for round 2 with their follow-up 'I Don't Know'. Whilst the shoegaze leanings are still ever-present ('Pulling Stitches' is as My Bloody Valentine the band have ever sounded), bdrmm also cover sonic ground that leans more towards the electronica and even Radiohead side of the post-rock spectrum. Transcendental, ethereal and dripping in textures, bdrmm once again show their one of the best bands around!

                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                1. Alps
                                                                2. Be Careful
                                                                3. It's Just A Bit Of Blood
                                                                4. We Fall Apart
                                                                5. Advertisement One
                                                                6. Hidden Cinema
                                                                7. Pulling Stitches
                                                                8. A Final Movement

                                                                34 - PJ Harvey

                                                                I Inside The Old Year Dying

                                                                  PJ Harvey's tenth studio album 'I Inside the Old Year Dying' marks her first release in seven years, following UK #1 album 'The Hope Six Demolition Project'.

                                                                  On this album, which was recorded with long-time creative collaborators John Parish and Flood, PJ Harvey builds a sonic universe somehow located in a space between life’s opposites, and between recent history and the ancient past. Scattered with biblical imagery and references to Shakespeare, all of these distinctions ultimately dissolve into something profoundly uplifting and redemptive.



                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                  Liam says: Blimey, it's a biggun! At this point, what's there left to say - IT'S PJ HARVEY!!! With all the exquisite melodies, intricate production and stellar lyrics we've all come to expect from her, there's so much to unpack here and there's no doubt the rewards will be vast!

                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                  1. Prayer At The Gate
                                                                  2. Autumn Term
                                                                  3. Lwonesome Tonight
                                                                  4. Seem An I
                                                                  5. The Nether-edge
                                                                  6. I Inside The Old Year Dying
                                                                  7. All Souls
                                                                  8. A Child's Question, August
                                                                  9. I Inside The Old I Dying
                                                                  10. August
                                                                  11. A Child's Question, July
                                                                  12. A Noiseless Noise

                                                                  35 - The National

                                                                  Laugh Track

                                                                    The surprise companion to The National's April release First Two Pages of Frankenstein, Laugh Track is the band's most freewheeling, all-hands-on-deck album in years. If Frankenstein represented a rebuilding of trust between group members after 20+ years together, the vibrant, exploratory Laugh Track is both the product of that faith and a new statement of intent. Reveling in the license to radically upend its creative process, The National honed most of this material in live performances on tour, and captured those invigorated versions in impromptu sessions at producer Tucker Martine’s Portland studio. Two nights later in Vancouver, the nearly eight-minute album closer “Smoke Detector” was recorded during soundcheck, completing a body of work bristling with spontaneity and vintage rock energy that makes a perfect complement to the songs found on its more introspective predecessor.

                                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                    Laura says: Released as a companion album to ‘First Two Pages Of Frankenstein’, ‘Laugh Track’ was written during the same sessions but feels more dynamic, largely due to Bryan reverting to ‘real’ rather than programmed drums. After all, it’s his fluid, scatter-shot drumming that has always been the perfect foil for Matt’s melancholy. This LP sounds much more like The National we love and closing track “Smoke Detector” possibly hints at the future direction of their evolution.

                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                    Alphabet City
                                                                    Deep End (Paul’s In Pieces)
                                                                    Weird Goodbyes Feat. Bon Iver
                                                                    Turn Off The House
                                                                    Dreaming
                                                                    Laugh Track Feat. Phoebe Bridgers
                                                                    Space Invader
                                                                    Hornets
                                                                    Coat On A Hook
                                                                    Tour Manager
                                                                    Crumble Feat. Rosanne Cash
                                                                    Smoke Detector

                                                                    36 - Hania Rani

                                                                    Ghosts

                                                                      Ghosts is the sound of an ever-evolving artist and, just as the album’s title suggests she passes repeatedly and gracefully between musical worlds: as composer, singer, songwriter, and producer. This album builds on Rani’s earlier successes Esja and Home with an expanded yet still minimal setup of piano, keyboards, synths (most importantly her Prophet) and features more of her mysterious, bewitching voice. Its spirit is warm, beckoning one into an ambitious double album that unfolds at an exquisite pace, informed by her revelatory, exploratory live performances.

                                                                      Ghosts is also an album of collaborations as Rani is joined by Patrick Watson, who breathes unearthly life into the ethereal ‘Dancing with Ghosts’. ‘Whispering House’is written and recorded with her friend, Ólafur Arnalds and casts a peaceful, ineluctable spell; and Portico Quartet’s Duncan Bellamy contributes vital loops to ‘Don’t Break My Heart’ and ‘Thin Line’.

                                                                      Rani’s lyrics are partially inspired by a two-month residency in a small studio in Switzerland’s mountains, where Rani was working on the soundtrack On Giacometti for a documentary about the renowned Swiss artist. “Where I stayed was once an old sanatorium in an area which used to be very popular, but now there are huge abandoned hotels where the locals say ghosts live. I mean, it's kind of a local belief system – these ghosts even have names! – but once you're deep into nature or some abandoned place, your imagination starts working on a different level.”

                                                                      “The edge of life and death,” Rani summarises, “and what actually happens in between: this was what really interested me. Even singing the word ‘death’ was quite a shock. It’s such a weird word to say out loud, and people are afraid of it, which I found extremely interesting. Most of the songs probably still talk about love and things like that, but Ghosts is more me thinking about having to face some kind of end.”

                                                                      If Rani’s debut Esja was about exploiting her principal instrument, and Home saw her take steps towards a fuller expression of her art, Ghosts is where she unites her varied interests on what might even be considered her first ‘real’ album. Drawing upon a fondness for diverse artists like Enya, The Smile, James Blake and Pink Floyd – not to mention her admiration for her guests – and evoking Stina Nordenstam’s delicacy, Keith Jarrett’s flair, Kate Bush’s artistry and Pink Floyd’s probing inclinations, it combines a lifetime’s musical experience in one miraculous, cosmic world. Say hello, then, to something quite unlike anything you’ve ever heard. It’s the sound of HANIA RANI.

                                                                      For fans of Nils Frahm, Melanie de Basio, Björk, Kate Bush, Ólafur Arnalds and Portico Quartet

                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                      Barry says: Hania Rani's music has up until this point been very much in the ambient / modern classical vein, with beautiful instrumental textures and Rani's voice perfectly merging together into a blissful bath. It's on 'Ghosts' however that we really hear how dynamic and inventive her sound is, with synthesised textures and beautifully produced turns.

                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                      A1. Oltre Terra
                                                                      A2. Hello
                                                                      A3. Don’t Break My Heart Feat. Duncan Bellamy
                                                                      A4. 24.03
                                                                      B1. Dancing With Ghosts Feat. Patrick Watson
                                                                      B2. A Day In Never
                                                                      B3. Whispering House Feat. Olafur Arnalds
                                                                      C1. The Boat
                                                                      C2. Moans
                                                                      C3. Thin Line Feat. Duncan Bellamy
                                                                      D1. Komeda
                                                                      D2. Utrata
                                                                      D3. Nostalgia

                                                                      37 - Sparklehorse

                                                                      Bird Machine

                                                                        ANTI- Records is honored to share a never-before-heard album by Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse titled Bird Machine.

                                                                        Originally recorded in 2010 and mixed by Mark Hamilton (who also worked on It's A Wonderful Life), Mark's brother Matt notes "great care has been taken to archive and preserve Mark's music. We are very thankful for Mark and the beauty he brought to this world."

                                                                        Sparklehorse was an American indie rock band formed by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mark Linkous in the mid-1990s. Born on September 9, 1962, in Arlington, Virginia, Linkous began playing music as a teenager.

                                                                        Described as an artist who "compelled listeners to heed the beauty of darkness" by Pitchfork, Sparklehorse released many influential records, including the renowned albums Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot and Good Morning Spider in the '90s, It's A Wonderful Life and Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain in the early aughts, and a collaborative album Dark Night of the Soul released in 2010.

                                                                        Throughout his career Mark collaborated with thought provoking artists like Vic Chesnutt, Daniel Johnston, Tom Waits, Danger Mouse, and David Lynch.

                                                                        While Mark recorded in various studios, collaborating with other musicians and producers, he did much of his work in his home studio, Static King, often playing and recording everything on his own. He was "very much kind of a working-class guy with a very poetic sensibility, who was drawn to artists like himself, who worked in isolation," said NPR Fresh Air's Ken Tucker.

                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                        Barry says: As you'd expect, Bird Machine is a tenderly written selection of Linkous' unmistakeable vocals and brittle melodic turns, with heaps of intimate intensity. Does it matter that it's a posthumously released collection? Often, but certainly not in this case. Beautiful.

                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                        It Will Never Stop
                                                                        Kind Ghosts
                                                                        Evening Star Supercharger
                                                                        O Child
                                                                        Falling Down
                                                                        I Fucked It Up
                                                                        Hello Lord
                                                                        Daddy's Gone
                                                                        Chaos Of The Universe
                                                                        Listening To The Higsons
                                                                        Everybody's Gone To Sleep
                                                                        The Scull Of Lucia
                                                                        Blue
                                                                        Stay

                                                                        38 - Cate Brooks

                                                                        Easel Studies

                                                                          Cate Brooks is back with her seventh release for Clay Pipe Music. Never one to stand still, ‘Easel Studies’ finds her pushing the boundaries of sound synthesis and experimentation on the Buchla Music Easel while still sounding beautifully beguiling and hypnotically melodic.

                                                                          "On this day in 2015, at exactly Midday, I took delivery of a wildly exotic musical instrument. To call it a synthesizer would be a misrepresentation; it’s really more of a tactile, living, breathing entity than anything else. It had originally supposed to have been delivered on the day before, but had somehow been mislaid in the labyrinths of the Royal Mail sorting office at Elephant and Castle.

                                                                          I sat patiently and quietly all morning, waiting for its imminent arrival. I had already read through the ‘manual’, which is more of a concept / design for living, written by synthesis legend Allen Strange.

                                                                          With Noon approaching, I became a little anxious- my local postie, Barrie, was usually here by about 10:30am and there was no sign of him.

                                                                          At 11:58, Barrie walked past, completely ignoring my house. Obviously concerned, I stood at the door and waited for him to walk back toward his van. As he came back, he smiled and I called out, quizzically “Barrie?”. His reply was “Yes I have!” and walked back to his van, collecting a large box and bringing it to my door. I remember the weather was muggy and my neighbour was attending to her rose bushes, as the cheery and helpful postie deftly navigated around her busy secateurs.

                                                                          I took the box inside, opened the top and just looked at the inner box for a while. I took a photo of it, which I still have. It felt like quite a momentous occasion, because I felt that this instrument would take me to different sonic spaces than I was used to. It wasn’t my first experience with Don Buchla’s instruments by any means, as I’d learned to use his 200e system. But this was quite a different beast.

                                                                          My cat Brillo came to inspect the box and I set the Music Easel up on the floor and plugged it in. The result of that very first experiment became “Pendula”.

                                                                          In the following days and weeks of that summer, I created many more experiments on the Easel, quite often with Brillo either sat on me as I played, or trying to climb up on the instrument itself, attempting to move the faders and switches himself.

                                                                          By the end of August, I had amassed some thirty-something pieces, which I put aside for future reference. I had learned a lot about this instrument, its idiosyncrasies, subtleties and ways of working.

                                                                          Sadly, Brillo died in September of 2015. I like to think that his last summer with me was a comforting experience, curling up and listening to the sonic experiments taking place, as he regularly did for the sixteen years he was with me. The first track on the album, “Con Brillo” is my little tribute to him.

                                                                          Fast forward to 2021 and I rediscovered all of these experiments. Some were almost unlistenable, but some had a beguiling charm about them- perhaps the sound of someone not really knowing what they’re getting into. They needed mixing and balancing, so I set to work. I also wrote a new piece, with exactly the same recording chain, in the same way, in the same room. This became the suitably titled final track “Hindsight”.

                                                                          The Music Easel has remained a constant source of sonic worlds for me to explore. It because the main instrument on the album Agri Montana, for example and has cropped up on many other records I’ve made since.

                                                                          I would especially like to thank David at Postmodular for selling the Music Easel to me, after phoning him and disturbing his Sunday afternoon outing to Hyde Park (sorry about that David). I always promised I would send him a copy of something I had produced on it, so hopefully he will enjoy Easel Studies."

                                                                          As I finish writing this, I notice that it is, once more, exactly Midday.

                                                                          I hope you enjoy Easel Studies too.

                                                                          Cate Brooks (21st of May, 2023).

                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                          Barry says: Arriving on the buy-on-sight Clay Pipe is Cate Brooks' newest outing, an homage to the otherworldly majesty of the Buchla Music Easel. If you know what I like, there are few records that could be more perfectly in my sphere of interest. Cate's music is a huge inspiration to me, and to hear her so deftly navigate the cosmic madness of the easel, AND dedicate the first track to her cat, AND to be presented on Clay Pipe is perfect. It's all perfect, don't hang about,

                                                                          39 - Chappaqua Wrestling

                                                                          Plus Ultra

                                                                            Their debut album documents the journey through their friendship, from school to where they now find themselves, commenting on what's around them.

                                                                            "translating to ‘further beyond’, a latin naval term adopted by those exploring uncharted waters, we present a collection of our best works to date, each lyrically distinct but venturing into new territories that life presents; mass media, tory austerity, mental health, homelessness, the deprived nhs and the release that music gives you from it all. come with us to make sense of what lies beyond in this world through questions, power and statements that we stand by."

                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                            Laura says: This is one of my favourite albums this year. Think the super melodic pop of The Rolling Blackouts but swathed in Rainy City drizzle rather than Antipodean sunshine.

                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                            1 Full Round Table (Explicit)
                                                                            2 Wayfinding
                                                                            3 Kulture
                                                                            4 Need You No More
                                                                            5 Wide Asleep (Explicit)
                                                                            6 Fair Game
                                                                            7 Opaque
                                                                            8 Not In Love (Explicit)
                                                                            9 My Fall
                                                                            10 My Fall II
                                                                            11 Can I Trick

                                                                            40 - Harp

                                                                            Albion

                                                                              Bella Union are thrilled to release the long-awaited debut solo album Albion by Harp, the adopted name of Tim Smith, formerly the singer and principal songwriter of Texan legends Midlake, who is joined by his wife, Kathi Zung.

                                                                              The road to Albion might have been long and winding, and bumpy to boot, but the music Harp has created is steeped in sublime melody, mood, drama and detail, its ten songs and two mood-matching instrumentals framed by a mesh of acoustic/electric guitars, soft shades of keyboards and Smith’s gorgeous voice; in other words, the quintessence of what drew people in the first place to his work with Midlake.

                                                                              But Albion has starker, darker hues than Smith is typically renowned for, which lifts Albion to new heights in his canon; likewise, the level of personal revelation. These are songs about the human condition, from love - both lost and found – to faith, anxiety to joy, fear to acceptance, all couched in a highly distinct poetic language.

                                                                              Since leaving Midlake, Smith has performed just once, with Lost Horizons (at London’s Festival Hall in 2018), the collective co-founded by Bella Union boss (and former Cocteau Twin) Simon Raymonde, after Smith had contributed vocals and lyrics to “She Led Me Away” for the collective’s 2017 debut Ojalá. Smith subsequently went on to contribute vocals and lyrics for the track “Grey Tower” on Lost Horizons’ second album, In Quiet Moments. Those were all-too-rare sightings of Smith, but Albion’s day has come, and in a manner of speaking, in many aspects of his life, Smith has finally come home.

                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                              Andy says: Tim Smith, genius song writer, from Midlake's golden, 'Van Occupanther' period FINALLY returns. It's been 12 long years but he's delivered an absolute classic. Apparently he became smitten with The Cure's 'Faith' and all things UK alt 80s, and so has combined those epic, lush production sensibilities with his own sometimes folk, sometimes Medieval and sometimes Celtic melodies. Add a touch of Roy Harper and echoes of early 70's folk/prog,(only in feel though, these are still proper "pop" songs) and the result is a deep, doomy but beautiful, melancholy, magical, masterpiece.

                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                              1. The Pleasant Grey
                                                                              2. I Am The Seed
                                                                              3. A Fountain
                                                                              4. Daughters Of Albion
                                                                              5. Chrystals
                                                                              6. Country Cathedral Drive
                                                                              7. Shining Spires
                                                                              8. Silver Wings
                                                                              9. Seven Long Suns
                                                                              10. Moon
                                                                              11. Throne Of Amber
                                                                              12. Herstmonceux

                                                                              41 - Greg Foat & Gigi Masin

                                                                              Dolphin

                                                                                Recorded remotely during 2021-2022 the album took shape in the form of mutual compositions, gradually developed and embellished online. Final recording sessions took place at the majestic Chale Abbey Studios on the Isle Of Wight with Moses Boyd (drums), Tom Herbert (bass) and Siobhan Cosgrove (flute, clarinet) adding elements to several pieces. Tracks include the reflective, wistful single ‘VientoCalido’ and drifting ambient piece ‘Sabena’, a beautiful tribute to Gigi’s wife who sadly passed away during 2022.

                                                                                Greg Foat has recorded prolifically in recent years including acclaimed albums Symphonie Pacifique (2020) and The Mage (2019).
                                                                                Best known for his 1986 ambient masterpiece Wind and as a member of Gaussian Curve, Gigi Masin has enjoyed a revival in recent years through his Calypso album on R&S’s Apollo label and renewed touring. Dolphin represents Greg and Gigi’s first landmark recording collaboration together. “I first heard Gigi’s album Wind in 2016,” remembers Greg. “I was living in Miami and I heard it playing one Summer evening. Since then, it has always been in my mind to be able to record together.”

                                                                                "This album is a tribute to the joy of playing together and creating something beautiful and exciting. A sincere hymn to life"(Gigi Masin)


                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                Barry says: Two of the greatest forces in ambient music here, presenting a laid-back suite of shimmering aquatic melodies and deft pad swells, lightened with a deft touch of loungey jazz keys and swimming Balearic groove. Every bit as wonderful as you'd expect from such legendary musicians.

                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                1 / A1 Lee
                                                                                2 / A2 London Nights
                                                                                3 / A3 Love Theme
                                                                                4 / B1 Dolphin
                                                                                5 / B2 Sabena
                                                                                6 / B3 Leo Theo
                                                                                7 / B4 Viento Calido
                                                                                8. Your Move

                                                                                42 - Mandy, Indiana

                                                                                I've Seen A Way

                                                                                  Recorded in caves, crypts, and shopping centers, Mandy, Indiana's debut album' i've seen a way' is everywhere at once: Their first recordings emerged around 2019, with a smattering of early singles released not long after, culminating in 2021's critically acclaimed' EP which saw the band draw early cosigns including a remix from Daniel Avery and support slots from Squid, and Gilla Band.

                                                                                  The latter's Daniel Fox mixed several of the tracks on the album alongside Robin Stewart (Giant Swan) and the album was mastered by Heba Kedry (Ryuichi Sakamoto, Bjork). Like Thomas Bangalter locked in This Heat's Cold Storage fridge studio with Special Interest for a weekend, keeping their setup minimal for maximum effect. Buried found sound samples, sprawling percussive experiments are arranged via oblique references to film soundtrack strategies and experimental video games.. "We take inspiration from films where the language of cinema is disrupted," explains Fair, who takes Julia Ducournau's narrative detournements as a key influence. "We want to alter textures, create clashes, and craft those moments when what you're expecting to happen never comes - by subverting expectations you keep an audience on its toes." Though 'i've seen a way' was painstakingly crafted, where Mandy, Indiana thrives is the unexpected - and the resulting album sounds like nothing that has come before it.

                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                  Love Theme (4K VHS)
                                                                                  Drag [Crashed]
                                                                                  Pinking Shears
                                                                                  Injury Detail
                                                                                  Mosaick
                                                                                  The Driving Rain (18)
                                                                                  2 Stripe
                                                                                  Iron Maiden
                                                                                  Peach Fuzz
                                                                                  (?>?<)? :??:*:??'?,??:*:???'? (Crystal Aura Redux)
                                                                                  Sensitivity Training

                                                                                  43 - Woods

                                                                                  Perennial

                                                                                    Woods are in bloom again, inviting you to disappear into a new spectrum of colours and sounds and dreams on ‘Perennial’.

                                                                                    Formed in Brooklyn in 2004, Woods have matured into a true independent institution, above and below the root, reliably emerging every few years with new music that grows towards the latest sky. Operating the Woodsist label since 2006 and curating the beloved homespun Woodsist Festival for the musical universe they’ve built, ‘Perennial’ is the sound of a band on the edge of their 20th anniversary and still finding bold new ways to sound like (and challenge) themselves.

                                                                                    ‘Perennial’ grew from a bed of guitar/keyboard/drum loops by Woods head-in-chief Jeremy Earl, a form of winter night meditation that evolved into an unexplored mode of collaborative songwriting. With Earl’s starting points, he and bandmates Jarvis Taveniere and John Andrews convened, first at Earl’s house in New York, then at Panoramic House studio in Stinson Beach, California, site of sessions for 2020’s ‘Strange To Explain’. With a view of the sparkling Pacific and tape rolling, they began to build, jamming over the loops, switching instruments, and developing a few dozen building blocks.

                                                                                    The album’s resulting 11 songs, 4 of them instrumental, are in the classic Woods mode--shimmering, familiar, fractionally unsettling--but with the half-invisible infinity boxes of Earl’s loops burbling beneath each like a mysterious underground source. From source to seed to bloom, each loop unfolds into something unpredictable, from the jeweled pop of the aching “Little Black Flowers” to the ecstatic starlit freak-beat of “Another Side.” They are blossomings both far-out and comforting, like the Mellotronic cloud-hopping of “Between the Past,” or sometimes just plain comforting, like the widescreen snowglobe fantasia of the instrumental “White Winter Melody,” touched by Connor Gallaher’s pedal steel.

                                                                                    Woods have long used the studio as a place of songwriting, naming 2007’s At Rear House after their shared dwelling and recording space. But Perennial also carries with it an even longer view of Woods. Emerging from the process alongside the music was Earl’s reflection that “perennial plants and flowers are nature’s loops,” an idea rolling under the album’s lyrics like the loops themselves. It certainly applies to the band, too, who have quietly tended to a long, committed project of being a band in the weird-ass 21st century, both individually and communally. Though separated by coasts, the communal sprit carries through Earl, Taveniere, and Andrews’ collaboration, a living embodiment of the freedoms rediscovered every time a new collectively created piece of music emerges.

                                                                                    For nearly two decades, Woods have survived subgenres, anchored in the fertile soil below hashtags like lo-fi and freak-folk and psychedelic and indie, and built a shared history that’s something to marvel at. As the flagship band for Woodsist, they’ve accumulated a striking extended family of collaborators (and Woods alum) that have made the label one of the most dependable imprints in the kaleidoscopic low-key underground. It’s a glow that’s transferred whole to the blissed-out Woodsist Fests held in Accord, New York in recent years, which have folded in a wide range of diverse sounds, from the the jazz cosmoverse of the Sun Ra Arkestra and adventurous legends Yo La Tengo, to a hard-to-even-count family tree of contemporaries, like Kevin Morby (who served a few tours of duty as Woods bassist) and Kurt Vile (who released his 2009 debut on Woodsist), a living community in sound.

                                                                                    Perennial carries all of this, shaped by decades, but made in the moment, and here right now. The smell of the flowers doesn’t remain, but sometimes the flowers do.
                                                                                    Jesse Jarnow

                                                                                    Recorded and mixed by Jarvis Taveniere at Panoramic House in Stinson Beach, CA with additional recording at The Ship in Los Angeles, CA and Cottekill Bird Sanctuary in Stone Ridge, NY. Produced by Jarvis Taveniere and Jeremy Earl. Mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk at Stereophonic Mastering in Portland, OR.

                                                                                    Jeremy Earl - vocals, guitars, drums, percussion, sk-5, mellotron, vibraphone, autoharp, loops
                                                                                    Jarvis Taveniere - guitar, bass, upright bass, hammond, vocals
                                                                                    John Andrews - piano, organs, mellotron, drums, vocals
                                                                                    Connor Gallaher - Pedal Steel
                                                                                    Kyle Forester - sax, wurlitzer


                                                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                    Andy says: Another masterpiece from Jeremy Earl and his psych-pop troubadours. They're just fantastic song-writers and vibe merchants. Woods are unique in that they're forever on an upward curve. After all these years this could actually be their best record yet.

                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                    Side A
                                                                                    1. THE SEED
                                                                                    2. BETWEEN THE PAST
                                                                                    3. ANOTHER SIDE
                                                                                    4. WHITE WINTER MELODY
                                                                                    5. SIP OF HAPPINESS
                                                                                    Side B
                                                                                    6. LITTLE BLACK FLOWERS
                                                                                    7. DAY MOVING ON
                                                                                    8. THE WIND AGAIN
                                                                                    9. WEEP
                                                                                    10. DOUBLE DREAM
                                                                                    11. PERENNIAL

                                                                                    44 - Blur

                                                                                    The Ballad Of Darren

                                                                                      One of the most successful British bands of the last 3 decades, Blur are back with their first new album in over 8 years: The Ballad of Darren. 

                                                                                      Produced by James Ford and recorded at Studio 13, London and Devon, The Ballad of Darren is the band’s ninth studio album, their first since the chart-topping The Magic Whip in 2015, with artwork featuring an image by British photographer Martin Parr.

                                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                      Liam says: The boys in Blur are back!!! 8 years on since 'The Magic Whip', 'The Ballad Of Darren' sees Blur with their most contemplative and inwards work to date. Whilst the cheeky chappie personas are firmly left in the 90s, this is still quintessentially and unmistakably Blur - with Damon and co.'s songwriting chops at full flex with some of their best sounding tracks ever! A stunning new era for the Britpop legends

                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                      01. The Ballad
                                                                                      02. St. Charles Square
                                                                                      03. Barbaric
                                                                                      04. Russian Strings
                                                                                      05. The Everglades (For Leonard)
                                                                                      06. The Narcissist
                                                                                      07. Goodbye Albert
                                                                                      08. Far Away Island
                                                                                      09. Avalon
                                                                                      10. The Heights

                                                                                      Bonus Tracks On Deluxe CD
                                                                                      11. The Rabbi
                                                                                      12. The Swan

                                                                                      45 - GoGo Penguin

                                                                                      Everything Is Going To Be Okay

                                                                                        Emotive, break-beat minimalist trio GoGo Penguin are back, with their brand new album “Everything Is Going to Be OK”. Bursting with the optimism of new beginnings, with a new drummer, their new record label, (Sony Records' electronica and classical imprint XXIM Records), and a subtly updated and developed sound, the band are ushering in a more ambient era.

                                                                                        “Everything Is Going to Be OK” is born from a time of turbulence and loss. During an oppressive grieving period, the studio offered the band a sanctuary from real life. The resulting project, given such vibrant life here, draws its strength from a shared understanding and empathy. Life has many great aspects to it and despite the lows, we should be mindful and grateful to celebrate the highs at every turn. Through our hardships, we will emerge stronger - everything is going to be ok.

                                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                        Barry says: I've loved GoGo Penguin in every iteration of their sound thus far. Minimal loungy jazz business, flickering electronica and grooving soulful instrumentals, they've all been brilliant. It's a big thing then, when I say with some confidence then that the optimistic melodic turns and perfectly produced hazy flicker of 'Everything Is Going To Be Ok' is by far my favourite GGP sound yet. Lovely.

                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                        You’re Stronger Than You Think
                                                                                        Glimmerings
                                                                                        Saturnine
                                                                                        Glow
                                                                                        Friday Film Special
                                                                                        Soon Comes Night
                                                                                        An Unbroken Thread Of Awareness
                                                                                        We May Not Stay
                                                                                        Everything Is Going To Be OK
                                                                                        Last Breath
                                                                                        You’re Stronger Than You Think (Revisit)
                                                                                        Parasite
                                                                                        Sanctuary

                                                                                        46 - Deathcrash

                                                                                        Less

                                                                                          Recorded at the UK’s most remote studio in the Outer Hebrides, Less follows London slowcore band deathcrash's critically acclaimed 2022 album, Return with a statement in reduction that turns out to be as powerful and potent as it is tender and introspective.

                                                                                          “The mission statement was to be super minimal,” says deathcrash singer Tiernan Banks. “Just simple and beautiful guitar parts and to be really bare. To be….less.”

                                                                                          Swiftly following Return, the band initially had no plans to make a full length. “The last thing we felt like doing was making another album,” says bassist Patrick Fitzgerald. “It was like, ‘let's do this little EP that's aesthetically quite different and pared down’.” Less was always planned to be a statement in reduction but it soon became apparent that the songs the band were writing were significant, personal and, despite the intentions to strip things back, bigger. “As time went on, we started putting much more emotional weight into it and it became more important to us,” says Banks.

                                                                                          The result is a record that is as powerful and potent as it is tender and introspective, with arrangements that manage to feel refined yet detailed and with a deep emotional resonance at the core of the record. Banks’ voice shifts from hushed whispers to guttural screams, one minute tapping into the kind of fragile beauty that artists like Elliott Smith managed so well, on tracks such as ‘Duffy’s’ before unleashing a doom metal growl in thundering unison with the band on ‘Empty Heavy’.

                                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                          Barry says: Effortlessly weaving together the brittle twinkling guitar of post-rock with crashing waves of distortion and cracked vocal musing, deathcrash have forged an album that's both disarming and hypnotic. Atonal progressions and uneven dynamic turns are offset beautifully with soft vocal harmonies and shining riffs.

                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                          1. Pirouette
                                                                                          2. Empty Heavy
                                                                                          3. Duffy’s
                                                                                          4. And Now I Am Lit
                                                                                          5. Distance Song
                                                                                          6. Turn
                                                                                          7. Dead, Crashed

                                                                                          79.5 is the sound of New York City. The Brooklyn-based band has announced their forthcoming self-titled album, on Razor-N-Tape. Soulful and psychedelic, the new collection’s masterful melodies may be hard to categorize, from 70’s underground disco to acid jazz to sugary sweet pop. Its very existence is a protest of the old boy’s club in the music industry. And, a personal triumph against all odds, while illuminating the most beautiful collaboration between friends. Current lineup includes singer, songwriter and composer Kate Mattison, singer and rapper Lola Adanna, drummer Caito Sanchez (Charles Bradley, Lee Fields), bassist Andrew Raposo (Midnight Magic, Hess Is More) and sax player + flautist Izaak Mills.

                                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                          Matt says: Smooth, scented and sexy; 79.5 might well be the new sound of hammocking in the Summer. I can't imagine any beach hideaway or secluded garden not benefitting from the aural delights contained within. Lavish instrumentation, soulful vocals, unhurried arrangements; this is a startlingly beautiful album.

                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                          A1.  Club Level
                                                                                          A2.  B.D.F.Q
                                                                                          A3.  Feel Like Dancin'
                                                                                          A4.  As I Wait 4 Your Love
                                                                                          A5.  Stereo In The Window
                                                                                          B1.  79.5 Feat. LaDawn Black
                                                                                          B2.  Our Hearts Didn't Go That Way Feat. Durand Jones
                                                                                          B3.  Long Term Parking
                                                                                          B4.  So Real
                                                                                          B5.  Magazine
                                                                                          B6.  Fight Or Fall

                                                                                          48 - Cloth

                                                                                          Secret Measure

                                                                                            Glasgow-based twin-sibling duo Cloth (Rachael and Paul Swinton) release ‘Secret Measure’ their first full-length release on Rock Action Records (Mogwai, Arab Strap, The Twilight Sad) following the four-song ‘Low Sun EP’ (2022). The album was produced by Ali Chant (Yard Act, Katy J Pearson, Squirrel Flower) at Toybox Studios.

                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                            Barry says: Angular post-rock structures and flickering percussion sit perfectly below the hypnotic hushed vocals. Driven, dreamy and full of moments of unexpected syncopation and cumulative heft. A feat of songwriting prowess, and a really enjoyable listen.

                                                                                            49 - Queens Of The Stone Age

                                                                                            In Times New Roman

                                                                                              Queens of the Stone Age have announced their long-awaited 8th studio album, In Times New Roman… 

                                                                                              In Times New Roman... is raw, at times brutal and not recommended for the faint of heart. And yet, it’s perhaps the most beautiful and definitely the most rewarding album in their epic discography. Founder Joshua Homme's most acerbic lyrics to date are buoyed by the instantly identifiable QOTSA sonic signature, expanded and embellished with new and unprecedented twists in virtually every song. With In Times New Roman… we see that sometimes one needs to look beneath scars and scabs to see beauty, and sometimes the scabs and scars are the beauty.

                                                                                              Feeling a bit out of place, and having difficulty finding music they could relate to, the members of QOTSA did as they are wont to do: In Times New Roman… is the sound of a band creating the music its own members want to hear, while giving the rest of us a sonic forum in which to congregate. “The world’s gonna end in a month or two," sings Homme, begging the question: What do you want to do to with the time you’ve got left? Homme, Troy Van Leeuwen, Dean Fertita, Michael Shuman and Jon Theodore may not be able to save us, but they’re giving us a place to ride it out.

                                                                                              In Times New Roman… was recorded and mixed at Homme’s own Pink Duck (RIP), with additional recording at Shangri-La. The album was produced by Queens of the Stone Age and mixed by Mark Rankin.

                                                                                              Artwork and double LP gatefold packaging designed by long time collaborator Boneface.

                                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                              Barry says: QOTSA return for their most cathartic outing yet, dealing with Homme's cancer treatment, the loss of friends and the 'new normal' we find ourselves in. It's a quintessentially QOTSA LP, but pushed to 11, with the quiet moments all the more menancing, and the loud interludes (of which there are many) all the more incendiary. Superb.

                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                              Obscenery
                                                                                              Paper Machete
                                                                                              Negative Space
                                                                                              Time & Place
                                                                                              Made To Parade
                                                                                              Carnavoyeur
                                                                                              What The Peephole Say
                                                                                              Sicily
                                                                                              Emotion Sickness
                                                                                              Straight Jacket Fitting

                                                                                              50 - OSEES

                                                                                              Intercepted Message

                                                                                                A pop record for tired times. Sugared with bits of shatterproof glass to put more crack in your strap. At long last, verse / chorus. A weathered thesaurus. This is OSEES bookend sound. Early grade garage pop meets protosynth punk suicide-repellant. Have a whack at the grass or listen while flat on your ass. Heaps of electronic whirling accelerants to gum up your cheapskate broadband. Social media toilet scrapers unite! Allow your 24-hour news cycle eyes to squint at this smiling abattoir doorman. You can find your place here at long last. All are welcome from the get go to the finale…a distant crackling transmission of 80s synth last-dance-of-the-night tune for your lost loves. Suffering from Politic amnesia? Bored of AI-generated pop slop? Then this one is for you, our friends. Wasteland wanderer, stick around. Love y’all. For fans of Teutonic synth punk and Thee Oh Sees (who the fuck are they?)” — John Dwyer.

                                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                Barry says: The brilliant OSEES are back with a vitriolic blast of fuzzy guitars, frenetic percussion and wonky synth sweeps. Dwyer and co are without a doubt at the forefront of the garage/indie movement, crafting a sound that's both hugely impactful and undoubtedly their own, with more than a hint of irony peeking through here and there. Brilliantly done, as ever.

                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                1. Stunner
                                                                                                2. Blank Chems
                                                                                                3. Intercepted Message
                                                                                                4. Die Laughing
                                                                                                5. Unusual & Cruel
                                                                                                6. The Fish Needs A Bike
                                                                                                7. Goon
                                                                                                8. Chaos Heart
                                                                                                9. Submerged Building
                                                                                                10. Sleazoid Psycho
                                                                                                11. Always At Night
                                                                                                12. LADWP Hold

                                                                                                51 - Emma Anderson (Lush)

                                                                                                Pearlies

                                                                                                  Following the news that all three Lush albums are going to be reissued, Emma Anderson, the band’s co-founder, has announced her debut solo album, Pearlies, which will be released by Sonic Cathedral on October 20, 2023.One of the most underrated British songwriters to emerge from the era that encompassed shoegaze and Britpop, she has teamed up with producer James Chapman (aka Maps) for this collection that combines effervescent electronic pop with psych and folk textures with lyrics covering themes such as confronting your fears, embracing independence and moving on in life.

                                                                                                  It arrives fully formed with a burnished beauty (aided by the mastering skills of Heba Kadry) that belies its somewhat protracted creation, which began with Emma feeling disillusioned after Lush’s 2016 reunion came to an abrupt end. Left with songs and bits of music originally intended for the band, she began working with cellist and string arranger Audrey Riley and Robin Guthrie, formerly of the Cocteau Twins, both of whom encouraged her to sing her own songs. Covid put a temporary halt on proceedings, but the decision had been made. When Sonic Cathedral introduced her to James Chapman at the start of 2022, Pearlies quickly took shape and blossomed into a masterpiece, the perfect mix of Emma’s incredible, idiosyncratic songwriting and James’ electronic production nous. Plus, a little extra guitar magic on four tracks courtesy of Richard Oakes from Suede.

                                                                                                  The finished album has somehow written its own narrative. By her own admission, Emma tends to write words and “see what comes out”, but Pearlies seems to tell the story of her decision to go it alone, with opener ‘I Was Miles Away’ posing the question: “See if I make it on my own”. The rest of the album provides the answer as it takes in everything from the unexpectedly funky first single ‘Bend The Round’, to folky finger-picking and film theme references, via psych leaning electronic pop reminiscent of Goldfrapp or Melody’s Echo Chamber. It concludes with ‘Clusters’, a stunning, Stereolab-style groove which begins with the line “and now the party’s over, the music’s at the end”. Thankfully, that is not the case. This incredible album is just the start of Emma’s long-awaited solo journey.

                                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                  Barry says: Emma Anderson presents her first solo album for the wonderful Sonic Cathedral, showing hints of her history in Lush but with a vigour and airy carless ease we've not heard before. It's both wildly beautiful and unendingly deep, arguably her finest work of all (Sorry Lush). Brilliant musician, and a beautiful album.

                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                  1. I Was Miles Away
                                                                                                  2. Bend The Round
                                                                                                  3. Inter Light
                                                                                                  4. Taste The Air
                                                                                                  5. Xanthe
                                                                                                  6. The Presence
                                                                                                  7. Willow And Mallow
                                                                                                  8. Tonight Is Mine
                                                                                                  9. For A Moment
                                                                                                  10. Clusters

                                                                                                  52 - A. Savage

                                                                                                  Several Songs About Fire

                                                                                                    “I imagine myself playing these songs in a small club that is slowly burning,” says A. Savage of his second solo record, Several Songs about Fire. After more than a decade in New York, the co-frontman of Parquet Courts has left the city, marking his exit with a masterpiece of maturity and a worthy corollary to his first solo venture, 2017’s Thawing Dawn. “Fire is something you have to escape from. This album is a burning building, and these songs are things I’d leave behind to save myself.”

                                                                                                    Produced by John Parish on a 1” 16-track in just ten days in Bristol and studded by the support of Cate Le Bon and Jack Cooper (Modern Nature, Ultimate Painting) as well as saxophonist Euan Hinshelwood (Cate Le Bon), drummer Dylan Hadley (Kamikaze Palm Tree, White Fence), and violinist Magdalena McLean (Caroline), Savage’s outsize gifts as a lyricist and observer – a quality Parish calls “an emotional openness guarded by a laconic wit" – shine. Worrying questions of wealth and poverty, self and other, Savage displays the poet’s gift of knowing when to narrate and when to vanish, leaving the listener to their own emotional privacy rather than instructing them how to feel.

                                                                                                    The end result is tantamount to psychic odyssey, with “Elvis in the Army” placing us in a subterranean venue where the livid, ratifying cymbal raises the room’s blood pressure and “Mountain Time”, evoking an austere waltz playing in a desolate house, returning those listening to life. Influenced by Sybille Baier and Townes Van Zandt, Savage joins a canon of songwriters constantly dilating aperture and perspective. In rendering the signage of laundromats and threats of debt collectors as glistering and totemic as the scope of mountains, rivers, seas, and skies, Savage finds hopes and curses in equal measure.

                                                                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                    Barry says: Parquet Courts' inimitable A. Savage once again sets off on his own path, with the help of jangle-giants and all-round good eggs, Jack Cooper and Cate Le Bon. It's another pointed and perfectly observed selection of snappy chord changes and wry lyrical turns, both reminiscent of Savage's parent band, but entirely existing (and necessary) outside of it. Ace.

                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                    1. Hurtin’ Or Healed
                                                                                                    2. Elvis In The Army
                                                                                                    3. Le Grand Balloon
                                                                                                    4. My My My Dear
                                                                                                    5. Riding Cobbles
                                                                                                    6. Mountain Time
                                                                                                    7. David’s Dead
                                                                                                    8. Thanksgiving Prayer
                                                                                                    9. My New Green Coat
                                                                                                    10. Out Of Focus

                                                                                                    53 - Shame

                                                                                                    Food For Worms

                                                                                                      On the one hand, new album Food for Worms calls to mind a certain morbidity, but on the other, it’s a celebration of life; the way that, in the end, we need each other. The album is an ode to friendship, and a documentation of the dynamic that only five people who have grown up together - and grown so close, against all odds - can share.

                                                                                                      For the first time, the band are not delving inwards, but seeking to capture the world around them. “I don’t think you can be in your own head forever,” says Steen. A conversation after one of their gigs with a friend prompted a stray thought that he held onto: “It’s weird, isn’t it? Popular music is always about love, heartbreak, or yourself. There isn’t much about your mates.”

                                                                                                      It’s through this, and defiance, that the band have continually moved forward together; finding light in uncomfortable contractions and playing their vulnerabilities as strengths: The near-breakdowns, identity crises, frontman Charlie Steen routinely ripping his top off on stage as a way of tackling his body weight insecurities. Everything is thrown into their live show and the best shows of their lives are happening now.

                                                                                                      Back in 2018, around debut album Songs of Praise, they were at the vanguard of a transformative scene that changed the underground music landscape in the UK; paving the way for artists soon to come. Then, Charlie Steen suffered a series of panic attacks which led to a tour’s cancellation. For the first time, since being plucked from the small pub stages of south London and catapulted into notoriety, shame were confronted with who they’d become on the other side of it. This era, of being forced to endure reality and the terror that comes with your own company, would form shame’s second album, 2021’s Drunk Tank Pink.

                                                                                                      Now they arrive, finally, at a place of hard-won maturity. Enter: Food for Worms, which Steen declares to be “the Lamborghini of shame records.”

                                                                                                      Reconnecting with what they first loved about being in a band hotwired them into making the album after a false start during the pandemic. Their management then presented them with a challenge: in three weeks, shame would play two intimate shows and debut two sets of entirely new songs. It meant the band returned the same ideology which propelled them to these heights in the first place: the love of playing live, on their own terms, fed by their audience. Thus, Food for Worms crashed into life faster than anything they’d created before. The band recorded it while playing festivals all over Europe, invigorated by the strength of the reaction their new material was met with. That live energy, what it’s like to witness shame in their element, is captured perfectly on record - like lightning in a bottle.

                                                                                                      The album marks a sonic departure from anything they’ve done before. shame have abandoned their post-punk beginnings for far more eclectic influences, drawing from the sharp yet uncomplicated lyrical observations of Lou Reed and the more melodic works of 90s German band, Blumfeld.

                                                                                                      They called upon renowned producer Flood (Nick Cave, U2, PJ Harvey, Foals) to execute their vision. Recording each track live meant a kind of surrender: here, the rough edges give the album its texture; the mistakes are more interesting than perfection. In a way, it harks back to the title itself and the way that with this record, the band are embracing frailty and by doing so, are tapping into a new source of bravery.

                                                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                      Liam says: Oh boy, I've been HANKERING for this one! The third outing for shame, 'Food For Worms' has been declared by the band as "the Lamborghini of shame records" and we'd be hard pressed to argue with that. From the anthemic combo of 'Adderall'/'Orchid', to the psych-wail of 'Six-Pack' and the beautiful 90s emo tinged closer 'All The People', shame recapture that unbridled excitement that we all felt and fell in love way back in 2016 - stellar stuff!

                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                      1. Fingers Of Steel
                                                                                                      2. Six-Pack
                                                                                                      3. Yankees
                                                                                                      4. Alibis
                                                                                                      5. Adderall
                                                                                                      6. Orchid
                                                                                                      7. The Fall Of Paul
                                                                                                      8. Burning By Design
                                                                                                      9. Different Person
                                                                                                      10. All The People

                                                                                                      54 - A Certain Ratio

                                                                                                      1982

                                                                                                        A Certain Ratio’s greatest strength has always been their unpredictability. They’ve always moved with gleeful disregard for the boundaries of style and genre, their eye fixed firmly on constant progression. It’s an ethos that’s open-minded over all else, and that’s seen them take everything from experimental electronica to vintage funk, filtered through their own Mancunian lens.

                                                                                                        And their latest studio album 1982 is no different in its unpredictable multidimensional nature. It shoots off in every direction, whether via searing Afrobeat, mind- melting jazz breakdowns or moody electronic experiments all with pop hooks and irresistible dance rhythms.

                                                                                                        It might be called 1982, but it’s no nostalgia trip, fearlessly facing up to the future and running at it with full speed.

                                                                                                        The album follows ACR Loco and EP:ACR in what is turning out to be the band’s most creative period, unmistakably ACR and unmistakably like nothing else.

                                                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                        Barry says: There are few bands that manage to competently pull together as many influences as ACR do, and have been doing since the late 70's. It's no surprise then that '1982' is a groove-filled odyssey, dipping seamlessly into disco, afrobeat and funk as they are wont to do. Brilliantly inventive, endlessly innovative and most importantly, hugely enjoyable.

                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                        1 Samo
                                                                                                        2 Waiting On A Train
                                                                                                        3 1982
                                                                                                        4 A Trip In Hulme
                                                                                                        5 Tombo In M3
                                                                                                        6 Constant Curve
                                                                                                        7 Afro Dizzy
                                                                                                        8 Holy Smoke
                                                                                                        9 Tier 3
                                                                                                        10 Ballad Of ACR

                                                                                                        55 - Arlo Parks

                                                                                                        My Soft Machine

                                                                                                          My Soft Machine is a deeply personal body of work; a narration of Parks’ experiences as she navigates her 20’s and the growth intertwined. Explained ever-articulately in her own words below...

                                                                                                          “The world/our view of it is peppered by the biggest things we experience - our traumas, upbringing, vulnerabilities almost like visual snow. This record is life through my lens, through my body - the mid 20s anxiety, the substance abuse of friends around me, the viscera of being in love for the first time, navigating PTSD and grief and self sabotage and joy, moving through worlds with wonder and sensitivity - what it’s like to be trapped in this particular body. There is a quote from a Joanna Hogg film called the Souvenir, it’s an A24 semi-autobiographical film with Tilda Swinton - it recounts a young film student falling in love with an older, charismatic man as a young film student then being drawn into his addiction - in an early scene he’s explaining why people watch films - “we don’t want to see life as it is played out we want to see life as it is experienced in this soft machine.” So there we have it, the record is called....My Soft Machine.” - Arlo Parks

                                                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                          Barry says: The superb Arlo Parks returns following her 2021 Mercury prize win, with a hugely personal and beautifully evocative selection of downbeat synth gems and woozy, wistful R&B. Parks has proved once again that both her songwriting and production talents are endless.

                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                          Bruiseless
                                                                                                          Impurities
                                                                                                          Devotion
                                                                                                          Blades
                                                                                                          Purple Phase
                                                                                                          Weightless
                                                                                                          Pegasus Ft. Phoebe Bridgers
                                                                                                          Dog Rose
                                                                                                          Puppy
                                                                                                          I'm Sorry
                                                                                                          Room (red Wings)
                                                                                                          Ghost

                                                                                                          56 - Lost Under Heaven

                                                                                                          Something Is Announced By Your Life!

                                                                                                            Lost Under Heaven is the creative collaboration between Dutch Artist Ebony Hoorn & Ellery James Roberts, a poet songwriter and former front man of the infamous WU LYF. Described as “Fearless, Life-Affirming & without Compromise” the project fuses spirit-stirring songwriting, cinematic production and visceral storytelling to explore the evolutionary journey of soul making.

                                                                                                            Across two boldly maximalist albums – the Mute-released Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing and follow-up Love Hates What You Become – Hoorn/Roberts partnership has seen them work with Grammy winning producer’s John Congleton (Angel Olson, St Vincent) and the Haxan Cloak (Bjork, Father John Misty, Midsommar Soundtrack) whilst pushing at the cathartic precipice of their own emotions.

                                                                                                            Back with their prescient third album, Something Is Announced By Your Life! , this time on their own independent imprint LUH*international, the couple’s drive is still unrelenting; their sonic world is a phantasmagoria of triumphant crescendos, soaring strings and anthemic vocals that call out to the heavens. 

                                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                            Liam says: New one from ex-WU LYF frontman Ellery James Roberts and Ebony Hoorn, 'Something Is Announced By Your Life!' is the spiritual tonic we need right now. Full of anthemic and grand orchestral vistas, Lost Under Heaven's life-affirming and cinematic scope also delves into desert-psych (Dark Days) and rousing post-rock (Get Spooky) - essential listening!!!

                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                            1. I Surrender
                                                                                                            2. Shadowboxing
                                                                                                            3. Dark Days
                                                                                                            4. Winters Truth
                                                                                                            5. The Return
                                                                                                            6. Lullaby For A New Earth
                                                                                                            7. Towards The One
                                                                                                            8. Keepers Of The Flame
                                                                                                            9. Get Spooky

                                                                                                            57 - The Tubs

                                                                                                            Dead Meat

                                                                                                              London group The Tubs return to Trouble In Mind with their hotly anticipated full-length album entitled “Dead Meat”. The band were formed in 2018 from the ashes of beloved UK post-punk band Joanna Gruesome by former members Owen 'O' Williams and George 'GN' Nicholls. By incorporating elements of post-punk, traditional British folk, and guitar jangle seasoned by nonchalant Cleaners From Venus-influenced pop hooks and contemporary antipodean indie bands (Twerps/Goon Sax, et al).

                                                                                                              “Dead Meat” is resplendent in hi-fidelity strum & thrum, incorporating fleeting elements of post-punk and indie jangle, but the group’s penchant for trad British folk & Canterbury folk-rock takes a noticeable, caffeinated step forward. Echoes of Fairport Convention’s decidedly English chime cross swords with singer Owen Williams’ lyrics directing Bryan Ferry’s “thinking man’s libertine” persona into a more dolorous outlook. Many songs (like “Round The Bend” and “Duped”) soar with an urgent strum under Williams’ acerbic lyrics, recalling a younger fiery Richard Thompson. They languish in an aching, bitter resignation (of both the situations described & the protagonist’s place in it), particularly near the album’s second half. Others like the previously released “I Don’t Know How It Works”, “Two Person Love” and “Illusion” (re-presented here as “Illusion Pt. II” and all rerecorded from their original 7-inch versions) up the urgency, implying that the journey for the person described in each tune is not over & may be even more desperate than before. The band has never been tighter & more dynamic, often imperceptibly ratcheting up the tension, an extra guitar strum overdubbed, a barely audible organ/synth cranking under a chorus or bridge, or unexpected backups from current Ex-Vöid (and ex-Joanna Gruesome) vocalist Lan McArdle. The Tubs are poised to take over your stereo - there’s no point in resisting.

                                                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                              Martin says: Urgent, energised and utterly compelling debut from Joanna Gruesome offshoot; a motorised, razor sharp fusion of chiming guitars, folk stylings and punk fire that might just owe a lot to Hüsker Dü. Or, even if it doesn't, it scratches the same buzzsaw pop itch. "Wretched Lie", which closes the LP, is a nailed on classic.

                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                              1. Illusion Pt. II
                                                                                                              2. Two-Person Love
                                                                                                              3. I Don’t Know How It Works
                                                                                                              4. Dead Meat
                                                                                                              5. Sniveller
                                                                                                              6. Duped
                                                                                                              7. That’s Fine
                                                                                                              8. Round The Bend
                                                                                                              9. Wretched Lie

                                                                                                              58 - Oneohtrix Point Never

                                                                                                              Again

                                                                                                                Daniel Lopatin is a Brooklyn-based musician, composer, and Mercury Prize nominated producer who records and performs as Oneohtrix Point Never. "Again" is his tenth album and is released via Warp Records.

                                                                                                                The artwork features an original sculpture by Matias Falkbakken, conceptualized in concert with Lopatin and photographed by Vegard Kleven. Design and packaging was developed by Memory, a newly formed collaboration between Lopatin and Online Ceramics (Elijah Funk & Alix Ross).



                                                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                Barry says: Daniel Lopatin is always innovating, from his hugely memorable scores for Uncut Gems or Good Time, but for me it's Lopatin's work as Oneohtrix Point never that shines with all that he has to offer. Bright moments shine through the deep, meticulously crafted electronic hiss and rich audio bath. Classic OPN

                                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                01. Elseware
                                                                                                                02. Again
                                                                                                                03. World Outside
                                                                                                                04. Krumville
                                                                                                                05. Locrian Midwest
                                                                                                                06. Plastic Antique
                                                                                                                07. Gray Subviolet
                                                                                                                08. The Body Trail
                                                                                                                09. Nightmare Paint
                                                                                                                10. Memories Of Music
                                                                                                                11. On An Axis
                                                                                                                12. Ubiquity Road
                                                                                                                13. A Barely Lit Path

                                                                                                                Birds chirp through a tape-hiss breeze atop a bed of airy pads, and a cleareyed, forlorn guitar springs forth: this is the beginning of the debut album from Sans Merit, a new rock project from Griffin James, otherwise known as Francis Inferno Orchestra.

                                                                                                                For over a decade, the Melbourne-raised - and now L.A.-based - producer has been indulging his indie and alt interests, and this fuzzed-out bedroom janglepop and shoegaze LP, “Early Grave”, is his first extensive deliverance.

                                                                                                                The album represents a gestalt of sorts: years of approaching different genres and songwriting styles, and producing not ‘in the box,’ with soft synths and samples, but with live instruments (and sometimes a band), has led to this focused and succinct thirteen-track musical journey.

                                                                                                                In pursuit of a pure and low-key aesthetic, James recorded demos on phones and chose to rely heavily on budget instruments, clapped-out synths, and crappy amps, and would often cut tapes live in bedrooms, lay down vocal takes in closets and put microphones to broken speakers, all in part of the quest of using limited resources to create a truthful body of work. The finishing touch is a thick coating of nostalgia ooze; soundbites from internet clips flitter throughout the record, and goofy sound effects flicker above like dying incandescent bulbs.

                                                                                                                A dream-pop album for our times: its lyrics are off-kilter romantic musings, sarcastic self-loathing mumbles, reflections on the unrealness of real life.


                                                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                Matt says: New shoegaze / dream pop project by Francis Inferno Orchestra which has had our Horsebeach cautiously looking in his rear view mirror.

                                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                A1. Friend's Won't Kick 
                                                                                                                A2. Human In Age 
                                                                                                                A3. Dead Medal 
                                                                                                                A4. But I Know 
                                                                                                                A5. Weathered Man 
                                                                                                                A6. Rasslin 
                                                                                                                B1. Madness 
                                                                                                                B2. Pill Nye 
                                                                                                                B3. Gentle, Caring (The Murmurings Of Geoffrey Baron) 
                                                                                                                B4. Heaven's Gate 
                                                                                                                B5. Dark Lord 
                                                                                                                B6. Maniac 
                                                                                                                B7. Third Wicket 

                                                                                                                60 - Lorelle Meets The Obsolete

                                                                                                                Datura

                                                                                                                  Mexican duo Lorelle Meets The Obsolete make a very welcome return with their sixth album, Datura. Recorded at their home studio in Ensenada, Baja California, it was mixed in Canada by Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes and mastered in Australia by Mikey Young of Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Total Control, among many others.

                                                                                                                  It’s a short, sharp shock of a record with no unnecessary adornments and no fat on any of its eight songs. Gone are the psychedelic wig-outs found on previous releases, replaced with bass-heavy post-punk grooves inspired by the roots of The Congos, the no wave of Ike Yard, the industrial hip-hop of Dälek and the dark modular moves of Hiro Kone, all while harnessing the elemental power of Jon Hassell’s Vernal Equinox.

                                                                                                                  “One of the rules that we had when writing was to keep the songs minimal in terms of instrumentation,” explains guitarist Alberto González. “We didn’t want to do overdubs and endless layers this time around,” adds singer and guitarist Lorena Quintanilla. “We limited ourselves to the instrumentation of the new, four-piece line-up and we recorded almost everything live. The songs had to be very solid.”

                                                                                                                  “We easily get bored with what we do, music-wise, so that motivates us into keeping things fresh and different,” continues Alberto, as he explains the change of direction. “Each album is a good representation of where we are at. We fear the thought of being trapped in the same ideas from years ago. There’s something about nostalgia that creeps me out.”

                                                                                                                  Strangely, it was nostalgia that inspired the change. The duo marked their tenth anniversary in 2021 by playing reworked songs from their back catalogue and sharing videos online. The new arrangements saw them swapping between synths and guitars, and this – as well as Lorena’s two acclaimed solo releases as J. Zunz – has informed the new set-up.

                                                                                                                  The live in the room feel of the album also came from watching The Beatles do the same in Get Back. (One of a number of inspirations on the album including the poetry of Mario Montalbetti, the TV series Atlanta, Eugenio Polgovsky’s documentaries and Arturo Ripstein’s movies).

                                                                                                                  Jace Lasek was the perfect person to bring this feeling to the fore. “That’s one of the things I’ve always loved about The Besnard Lakes’ records,” says Alberto. “And I really think he brought that to Datura. The only note we gave him before the mix was ‘we want this album to sound big and aggressive’.” It worked, that’s exactly how it sounds.

                                                                                                                  Not really surprising for a record that covers cultural colonialism, imperialism, conflicting opinions, intense emotions, strange dreams and insomnia. The title refers to the genus of plants often associated with ancient rituals that are also sometimes used as poison or hallucinogens. “We liked the idea of a flower that opens at night,” says Lorena. “A type of Datura grows all over the neighbourhood where we live. People try to get rid of them because they are afraid of their dogs eating them, but they always regrow again and again in the same places.”

                                                                                                                  A bit like Lorelle themselves, then. Datura is their fourth album for Sonic Cathedral and their sixth overall. We last heard from them at the start of 2020, when they followed the previous year’s acclaimed De Facto with a new EP and set out on the road in the US, wending their way to a slot at SXSW. History had other ideas, however, and they were left high and dry in upstate New York, resorting to a Crowdfunder to enable them to get home before lockdowns came into force. The band was paused.

                                                                                                                  “At some point in 2022 we decided it was time to write new music and everything flowed easily,” says Alberto. As life returned to normal they played shows, firstly in Mexico and then, earlier this year, they finished what they started three years ago and toured the US with SUUNS.

                                                                                                                  Now, finally, they are set to flower once again with Datura, their most direct and dynamic album to date; proof that nature really is healing.


                                                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                  Liam says: Sixth outing for Lorelle Meets The Obsolete is a no-nonsense and focused spaced out post-punk showcase that really highlights the duo's songwriting capabilities. Bass-heavy, dark and energizing, it's great to have these lot back!

                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                  Side A
                                                                                                                  Datura
                                                                                                                  Invisible
                                                                                                                  Dínamo
                                                                                                                  Arco
                                                                                                                  Side B
                                                                                                                  Golpe Blanco
                                                                                                                  Ave En Reversa
                                                                                                                  Óvalo
                                                                                                                  Dos Noches


                                                                                                                  61 - Bar Italia

                                                                                                                  The Twits

                                                                                                                    bar italia are the London based three-piece of Nina Cristante, Jezmi Tarik Fehmi and Sam Fenton.

                                                                                                                    ‘The Twits’ was recorded by the trio over eight weeks from February 2023 in a makeshift home studio in Mallorca, and was mixed by Marta Salogni. It finds bar italia’s economical yet evocative songcraft taking raucous, mystic, unkempt, occasionally sinister, and wholly committed turns. Songs like “my little tony”, with its in-the-red riff and excitable hooks, the cathartic four-on-the-floor of ‘world’s greatest emoter’ and the festival tent psychedelia of “Hi-fiver” need little in the way of exposition – these are exhilarating rock songs, if wayward and strange.

                                                                                                                    Other moments see the band’s increasingly signature, three-act mini-dramas moving into previously uncharted territory. Cristante, Fehmi and Fenton can each manifest a different melody, mood, and cadence – at times overlapping and linear, at others unexpectedly divergent – often within the space of thirty seconds, a tag team rooted in shared language and kinship. “Jelsy”, for instance, plays out like a conversation between friends over wistful, buzzing country blues, the alternating voices at points comforting, wry and hopelessly yearning. The sinuous, slow-burning waltz of “twist” stands out in its bare lyricism and seems to invite each band member’s individual take on a confessional.

                                                                                                                    While Tracey Denim was notable for its compact 2-3 minute compositions, horizontal and open-ended tracks like “Shoo” ebb and flow, moving from reptilian dive-bar soloing to a palpitating two-note piano coda. ‘glory-hunter’ takes playful twists and turns before ending up somewhere entirely different from where it started. “Real house wibes (desperate house vibes)” and “que surprise” imply sleepless, noirish misadventure, while at the other end of the light spectrum, “sounds like you had to be there” features some of the band’s most sweetly optimistic musical gestures yet. Closer “bibs” is a rare instance where all three can be heard in unison, as a procession of ghostly chords and lacerating feedback bookends the group’s most adventurous and rich set to date.

                                                                                                                    Released in May, bar italia’s Matador debut ‘Tracey Denim’ followed a string of word-of-mouth releases on Dean Blunt’s World Music label and received widespread attention from publications including The Guardian (“one of the albums of 2023 so far”), The Times (“excellent debut album”), The Observer (‘Artist To Watch’), NME ("a lasting impression that’s all of their own making"), The Quietus (“endlessly evocative”) and Pigeons And Planes (“quickly establishing themselves as one of the most enticing upcoming bands”). Single “Nurse!” was playlisted on BBC 6 Music and received spins from BBC Radio 1, Absolute Radio and NTS. The release was accompanied by a UK tour, culminating in a sold-out headline show at the ICA in London, which The Spectator described as “transfixing… They just make their beautiful, off-kilter music, and let you unfold your own stories on top”.

                                                                                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                    Liam says: We've absolutely fallen in love with Bar Italia here at Picc HQ, so we were over the moon when we found out that they'd be releasing their second LP of 2023. And what a banger it is! Mega tunes and no bullshit, Bar Italia have honed and polished their sound even further. You won't get a better one-two punch than 'Tracey Denim' and 'The Twits' in the indie-sphere right now. So what you doing? Get on both!

                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                    1. My Little Tony
                                                                                                                    2. Real House Wibes (desperate House Vibes)
                                                                                                                    3. Twist
                                                                                                                    4. Worlds Greatest Emoter
                                                                                                                    5. Calm Down With Me
                                                                                                                    6. Shoo
                                                                                                                    7. Que Suprise
                                                                                                                    8. Hi Fiver
                                                                                                                    9. Brush W Faith
                                                                                                                    10. Glory Hunter
                                                                                                                    11. Sounds Like You Had To Be There
                                                                                                                    12. Jelsy
                                                                                                                    13. Bibs

                                                                                                                    62 - BC Camplight

                                                                                                                    The Last Rotation Of Earth

                                                                                                                      Is there a curse that says Brian ‘BC Camplight’ Christinzio cannot move forward without being knocked back? That the greatest material is born out of emotional trauma?

                                                                                                                      Whilst making his new album The Last Rotation Of Earth, Christinzio’s relationship with his fiancé crumbled after nine inseparable years. The album follows this break-up amid long-term struggles with addiction and declining mental health. The outcome is an extraordinary record, with Christinzio describing it as “more cinematic, sophisticated, and nuanced than anything I’ve done before. And more desperate”.

                                                                                                                      That Christinzio has bettered his previous album is an achievement, given that Shortly After Takeoff received the best reviews of his life. “A masterpiece,” said The Guardian’s 5 star review, “a half hour or so that roils with anxiety, stuns with beauty and, occasionally, provokes laughter.” Even then, fate intervened when the album was released in April 2020, just as Covid and lockdown kicked in, so he was unable to tour the record until late 2021. The Philadelphian then joked, “I can't wait to make an album that isn’t surrounded by some awful tragedy.”


                                                                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                      Barry says: A wonderful return for Brian Christinzio, full of soaring pop songs and perfectly manicured melodies, as you'd expect. What's not so expected however is how BC's self-confessed pains and setbacks have resulted in such a wonderfully jubilant end-result. Heartfelt, grand and full of nuance, 'The Last Rotation..' is by far his most refined and enjoyable outing yet.

                                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                      Side A:
                                                                                                                      1. The Last Rotation Of Earth
                                                                                                                      2. The Movie
                                                                                                                      3. It Never Rains In Manchester
                                                                                                                      4. Kicking Up A Fuss
                                                                                                                      Side B:
                                                                                                                      1. She's Gone Cold
                                                                                                                      2. Fear Life In A Dozen Years
                                                                                                                      3. Going Out On A Low Note
                                                                                                                      4. I'm Ugly
                                                                                                                      5. The Mournin

                                                                                                                      63 - Coastlines

                                                                                                                      Coastlines 2

                                                                                                                        Balearic believers rejoice! Japanese tropical-fusioneers Coastlines are back with the worldwide vinyl release of Coastlines 2. The follow-up to their classic debut, this is the sound of Coastlines's global influences. If the dedication to intricate sonic details is particularly Japanese, the overarching feel captures the sprawling grandeur of the international balearic community. As they put it, Coastlines 2 presents "a more precise and beautifully polished magic hour." If that isn't Balearic, we don't know what is.

                                                                                                                        Takumi Kaneko and Masanori Ikeda don’t radically alter their sumptuous template with this second LP; and we wouldn't want them to. Yet with a more focused flow from first track to last, both Coastlines and Be With feel this is an even stronger album than their first. One thing that hasn't changed is the use of instrumentals instead of words to express their themes; namely, "the emotional expression of being soaked."

                                                                                                                        Opener "Tenderly" is appropriately titled, a gentle Latin shuffle easing you back into the Coastlines sound. An organ-heavy synthy exotica that's in step with Lovelock's contemporaneous "Washington Park". Their über-horizontal take on Hawkshaw & Bennett's "Mile High Swinger" (from Synthesiser And Percussion, reissued by Be With!) evokes cocktails-by-the-pool as the sun slowly sets. The blunted deep jazz-funk swing of "Alicia" is a rearranged reimagining of the Gabor Szabo song from his classic Jazz Raga LP. This here sounds like an outtake from The Chronic.

                                                                                                                        As the sun goes down, "Combustione Lenta" soundtracks the relaxing slow burn of an idyllic bonfire on an isolated beach. Displaying a beautiful new side of Coastlines, we're treated to Moments In Love vibes and melancholic guitar arcs. The piano-laden early morning wonder of "Night Cruise" started life as a completely different song, but the duo found a particularly good loop from the initial sketch and reconstructed it into this sophisticated 80s instrumental soul groove. "Waves And Rays" is all undulating acid waves and lighthouse light. A chopped and screwed steel drum G-Funk with soaring synths and nods toward the squelchy machine soul of Mtume and Jam & Lewis. Yes, *that* good.

                                                                                                                        The bouncy futureboogie cosmic chug of "Sky Island" represents the beginning of the sunrise, casting images of 80s Japanese fusion and definitely one to play out early doors to get the crowd stepping. "Area Code 868" is the strutting staccato sound of Joe Sample waking up in the Caribbean to craft his piano funk drenched in sunshine. Accordingly, the tentative, naive melodies of "Sand Steps" represent that vivid feeling first thing in the morning, as you step on to the sandy beach in the sunshine and take a deep breath. The world is yours.

                                                                                                                        The emotional, organ-piano-steel drum-driven "Song For My Mother" is a slo-mo show of sincere gratitude to all the great mothers. "Yasmin's Theme" is Coastlines's Brazilian homage, recalling for them that early summer feeling. It's propelled laconically by the carnival beat of batucada`s big bass surdo drum and complimented by sweeps of warm keys and radiant vocal harmonies. Blissful beatless closer "Asafuji" conjures a scene from a wonderful morning spent with the people of Shizuoka, the symbolic mountain of Japan, Mt Fuji and its inhabitants. It sounds like Dâm-FunK jamming with Sabres Of Paradise.

                                                                                                                        Coastlines 2 was painstakingly crafted, across the pandemic, at Masanori's rented place in Tokyo and then brought back to his home studio and worked on slowly and repeatedly. With limited time to see each other, the duo became more united in their "consciousness with natural progress."

                                                                                                                        Mastered by Simon Francis and cut by Cicely Balston at Air Studios, this magnificent double LP has been pressed by the good people at Record Industry.


                                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                        A1 Tenderly
                                                                                                                        A2 Mile High Swinger
                                                                                                                        A3 Alicia
                                                                                                                        B1 Combustione Lenta
                                                                                                                        B2 Night Cruise
                                                                                                                        B3 Waves And Rays
                                                                                                                        C1 Sky Island
                                                                                                                        C2 Area Code 868
                                                                                                                        C3 Sand Steps
                                                                                                                        D1 Song For My Mother
                                                                                                                        D2 Yasmin's Theme
                                                                                                                        D3 Asafuji

                                                                                                                        64 - Das Koolies

                                                                                                                        DK.01

                                                                                                                          DK.01 is the debut album from Das Koolies.

                                                                                                                          Made with the help of contributors and influences as diverse as MC Killa Kela, 17th Century composer, Henry Purcell and their four decades together as Super Furry Animals, the album promises a genre-bending expansion of their most electronic-leaning and experimental ideas.

                                                                                                                          DK.01 re-opens the book on the quartet’s long-term friendship and musical union at the next chapter, with their meandering tale together having begun in the vortex of North Wales’ illicit rave scene in the early-1990s. Last seen on stage together as the Furries’ final tour concluded in 2016, Bunford, Ciarán, Ieuan and Pryce reconvened Das Koolies around poker nights and half-remembered riffs shortly after, scratching a persistent, 30-year itch to perform a factory reset and deep dive into the synth-driven sound they’d heard in their heads all along.

                                                                                                                          Looking forward to the album’s release Das Koolies say: “The return has been welcomed. Unanimously. Dissent, however, will be tolerated. An abundance of ideas, new inventions and old friendships percolate, produce and persist. Come this way as a dead end is circumvented to show an open road.”

                                                                                                                          Alongside Rhys Ifans, guests set to appear on the album include influential British MC Killa Kela and the physical infrastructure of Cardiff, Wales’ capital city itself, as field recordings of percussive strikes on metallic structures make their way onto the record, symbolising the freedom with which ideas entered the studio from all possible sources.

                                                                                                                          Referring to classical composer, Henry Purcell with a bassline inspired by 300-year-old examples of the same, plus completing one demo that has existed in one form or another since 1998, DK.01 will reveal and celebrate the elasticity of time and the musical ideas within it, as it will inevitably expose the band’s own liberty to do just as they please. 

                                                                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                          Barry says: The debut Koolies' album lands, and it's a doozie! Though they're no stranger to the spotlight, having toured and recorded together minus Gruff as Super Furry Animals. This Cardiff foursome (big love to Cardiff) haven't previously shown anywhere near this level of unmitigated momentum and dancefloor grit to date. A dynamic, driven and unsurprisingly brilliant debut.

                                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                          1. Best Mindfuck Yet
                                                                                                                          2. Out Of This World
                                                                                                                          3. Nuthin Sandwich
                                                                                                                          4. Shakedown
                                                                                                                          5. Best Mindfuck Yet Reprise
                                                                                                                          6. A Ride
                                                                                                                          7. Collide
                                                                                                                          8. Katal
                                                                                                                          9. Pain Down The Drain
                                                                                                                          10. Montezuma
                                                                                                                          11. Holy Shit
                                                                                                                          12. Masters Of Mankind
                                                                                                                          13. Collide Reprise
                                                                                                                          14. Alligator
                                                                                                                          15. Sky
                                                                                                                          16. Sorry
                                                                                                                          17. Wired For Sound 

                                                                                                                          65 - Death And Vanilla

                                                                                                                          Flicker

                                                                                                                            Death and Vanilla return with ‘Flicker’, presenting their unique pop music that defies categorisation. Housed in a beautifully austere post-ironic de-constructed sleeve; ‘Flicker’ is a modern reflection on these difficult times. World crises notwithstanding, they return reborn, re-arranged and revitalised after assimilating dub reggae, the motorik spirals of Can, the modal meander of Philip Glass and The Cure’s dreamier pop sounds; plus the twice removed symphonic ambience of Spiritualized and Talking Heads under heavy manners from Brian Eno. By osmosis their period of transition since 2019’s much darker ‘Are You A Dreamer?’ has hatched new eclectic electronica anthems riddled with melody lines, and layered for lush love.

                                                                                                                            Forming in Malmö, Sweden, Death And Vanilla gravitated towards vintage musical equipment; from vibraphone, organ and mellotron, to tremolo guitar and Moog synthesisers. Soaking up soundtracks from the 60s and 70s, listening to library music, kosmiche, French Ye-ye pop and 60s psych, Marleen Nilsson, Anders Hansson and Magnus Bodin were fashioned by the city’s austere industrial past and flat pack present, and all in the shadow of the Orsesund Bridge that links their dreamworld to mainland Europe and a darker reality.

                                                                                                                            Death And Vanilla at once sound like everything is possible; but nothing else at all. There is a flicker of hope for everyone.

                                                                                                                            “Deploying vintage instruments in their quest for melancholic utopia.” - Electronic Sound

                                                                                                                            “Baroque pop through a dreampop filter.” - The Guardian.

                                                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                            Barry says: It's hard to define exactly what Death and Vanilla do. It's deeply psychedelic but rooted in classic songwriting, taking familiar progressions and twisting them into perfectly produced fever dreams. 'Flicker' has a ton of melody, is warm and brooding but remains resolutely listenable, and endlessly fascinating.

                                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                            Side A
                                                                                                                            A1. Out For Magic
                                                                                                                            A2. Baby Snakes
                                                                                                                            A3. Find Another Illusion
                                                                                                                            A4. Perpetuum Mobile
                                                                                                                            Side B
                                                                                                                            B1. Looking Glass
                                                                                                                            B2. Mercury's Rising
                                                                                                                            B3. Fearless
                                                                                                                            B4. Transparent Things
                                                                                                                            B5. Perpetuum Reprise

                                                                                                                            66 - Explosions In The Sky

                                                                                                                            End

                                                                                                                              End, the enigmatic seventh album by Explosions in the Sky, was inspired by darkness, but became a loud, dramatic, wild rumination on life and death.

                                                                                                                              “Our starting point was the concept of an ending—death, or the end of a friendship or relationship. Every song comes from a story, or an idea one of us has had that we’ve all expanded on and made its own world. Maybe it’s our nature, but we kept feeling that the album title was ultimately open to a lot more interpretation—the end of a thing or a time can mean a stop, but it can also mean a beginning, and what happens after one thing ends might pale in comparison to what it becomes next,” says the band about the album.

                                                                                                                              End is perhaps the “grandest” Explosions in the Sky album – melding the quiet restraint and crushing feel of their early releases with the sonic texturing and ornate experimentation of their later releases, and their increasingly deep film and television scoring catalog, influenced by personal tastes stretching from classical to soul to experimental ambient music.

                                                                                                                              The title “End” furthers a story arc reflected in the album titles that started with the “innocence” of their first album (How Strange, Innocence), progressed through the idealism and romanticism of their second and third albums (Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever and The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place), followed by the introspection (All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone and Take Care Take Care Take Care) and big-picture focus (The Wilderness) of their most recent albums.

                                                                                                                              End is the band’s seventh, but not final, studio album

                                                                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                              Barry says: It's always going to be a big thing for me when EITS release an LP (massive fan), and while their soundtrack-adjacent 'Big Bend' LP from 2021 was high up my album charts for the year, it's been a while since a full studio album has affected me the way 'Those Who Tell The Truth..' or 'The Rescue' did. I can say with some confidence that 'End' might be my favourite thing they've done for a couple decades now.

                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                              1 Ten Billion People
                                                                                                                              2 Moving On
                                                                                                                              3 Loved Ones
                                                                                                                              4 Peace Or Quiet
                                                                                                                              5 All Mountains
                                                                                                                              6 The Fight
                                                                                                                              7 It's Never Going To Stop

                                                                                                                              67 - Foo Fighters

                                                                                                                              But Here We Are

                                                                                                                                But Here We Are is the new album from Foo Fighters, and marks the bands return after a year of staggering losses, personal introspection and bittersweet remembrances. A brutally honest and emotionally raw response to everything Foo Fighters have endured recently, But Here We Are is a testament to the healing powers of music, friendship and family. Courageous, damaged and unflinchingly authentic, the album opens with “Rescued,” the first of 10 songs that run the emotional gamut from rage and sorrow to serenity and acceptance, and myriad points in between.

                                                                                                                                But Here We Are is in nearly equal measure the 11th Foo Fighters album and the first chapter of the band’s new life. Sonically channeling the naivete of Foo Fighters’ 1995 debut, informed by decades of maturity and depth, But Here We Are is the sound of brothers finding refuge in the music that brought them together in the first place 28 years ago, a process that was as therapeutic as it was about a continuation of life.

                                                                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                Barry says: I was a pretty big Foo Fighters fan back in the day, and their first few albums still get a good playing nowadays, but i've not heard anything for a little while that's pulled me back in. With all of the smooth rock groove of 'There Is Nothing Left To Lose' and the quiet / loud snarl of 'The Colour And The Shape', 'But Here We Are' is a clear return to form for one of the greatest rock acts of the 00's.

                                                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                1. Rescued
                                                                                                                                2. Under You
                                                                                                                                3. Hearing Voices
                                                                                                                                4. But Here We Are
                                                                                                                                5. The Glass
                                                                                                                                6. Nothing At All
                                                                                                                                7. Show Me How
                                                                                                                                8. Beyond Me
                                                                                                                                9. The Teacher
                                                                                                                                10. Rest

                                                                                                                                68 - Goat

                                                                                                                                Medicine

                                                                                                                                  It is hard to know how many times the mythology and mystery of Goat’s backstory can be written about, but new release ‘Medicine’ does away with any need to dwell on the past, returning with a more introspective, slightly mellower psych-folk sound that remains recognisably them.

                                                                                                                                  There is a consistently restrained, warm feel across the whole work, and the band suggest that the overall theme of the album is about “the impermanence of life in different ways: sickness, relationships, love, death and how our time is finite”.

                                                                                                                                  At times the album’s sound has nods to classic Swedish 70s psych/prog/folk acts such as Arbete & Fritid, Charlie & Esdor and Träd, Gräs & Stenar. ‘Vakna’ takes on this influence, progressing across nearly six minutes of swaying, warping guitar solos, without ever breaking out into chaos.

                                                                                                                                  The ‘Medicine’ of the title may refer to a number of salves, or the value of relationships and love: “For our families, friends, society, this could be done through the use of psychedelics, through meditation, through learning from other people, staying curious and never settling for a ‘solid’ identity”.

                                                                                                                                  Flute is foregrounded throughout, threading across several tracks from the opener ‘Impermanence And Death’. It duets elegantly with keening synth lines through the beautiful ‘You’ll Be Alright’, and leads the melody of the closing track ‘Tripping In The Graveyard’. ‘TSOD’, with its backdrop of sitar and acoustic guitar, has an indelible vocal melody that could be a lost George Harrison recording.

                                                                                                                                  The title of the full album version of first single, ‘I Became The Unemployment Office’, comes from an expression for someone taking advantage of you. The joyous, echo-laden groove of penultimate track ‘Join The Resistance’ bursts into life and continues to build to a moment of release with a huge Sabbath-esque riff.

                                                                                                                                  Whatever your dosage, and regardless of your remedy, it is now time to take your medicine.


                                                                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                  Barry says: Another slab of Goat for the ol' ears is never a bad thing, and on 'Medicine' the swedish psychedelic powerhouse are on peak form. It's more of the same woozy psychedelic fare but honed to perfection through years of meticulous practice. Fuzzy guitars and scattered percussion, thundering basslines and loads of tremolo. Brilliant.

                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                  01. Impermanence & Death
                                                                                                                                  02. Raised By Hills
                                                                                                                                  03. I Became The Unemployment Office
                                                                                                                                  04. Tsod
                                                                                                                                  05. Vakna
                                                                                                                                  06. You’ll Be Alright
                                                                                                                                  07. Join The Resistance
                                                                                                                                  08. Tripping In The Graveyard

                                                                                                                                  69 - Jessie Ware

                                                                                                                                  That! Feels Good!

                                                                                                                                    ‘Pearls’ sees the dancefloor diva back where she belongs. Thumping with 70’s funk infused basslines and infectious grooves towed by sonic synthesisers, the track was co-written and produced by Coffee Clarence JR, Sarah Hudson and legendary British producer Stuart Price. The track is riding high on captivating energy that seems like it could’ve emerged straight from a mirror ball.

                                                                                                                                    “Pearls is a record that doesn’t take itself too seriously but demands you to have a dance. It’s inspired by divas like Donna Summer, Evelyn Champagne King, Teena Marie and Chaka khan and I guess attempts to show - in lightness - all the hats I try to wear (usually at the same time). It’s the second song you will hear from my collaboration with Stuart Price and Coffee - with the wonderful addition of Sarah Hudson - and hopefully gives you a taste of the fun we have working together. “ Jessie also added, “That! Feels Good! stems from over 10 years of understanding who I am, and who I enjoy being as an artist and the thrill of performance. “

                                                                                                                                    The new single follows recent release ‘Free Yourself’, that offered a taster session to Jessie’s upcoming studio album. ‘Free Yourself’ went on to have the biggest week one streams in both the UK and internationally ahead of any other Jessie single to date.

                                                                                                                                    ‘That! Feels Good!’ is the follow up album to 2020’s ‘What’s Your Pleasure?’, which proved her status as one of the UK’s most influential artists and became her highest charting album to date. It included singles ‘Save A Kiss’, ‘Spotlight’ and Barack Obama approved ‘Remember Where You Are’ (added to his NYE playlist). Last year saw Jessie support juggernaut Harry Styles in the USA, gain 2.4 billion global streams and complete a fantastic run of live shows including career defining sets at Glastonbury and Primavera. She continues to cement herself as a formidable force and at the forefront of UK pop.

                                                                                                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                    Liam says: Following on from her incredible disco odyssey 'What's Your Pleasure?', 'That! Feels Good!' sees Jessie Ware fully diving into high camp. Lead single 'Free Yourself' is empowering disco floorfiller, whilst 'Pearls' serves as a long-lost Chaka Khan-esque funk cut that has 'Ru Paul's Drag Race Lipsync For Your Life' written all over it. It's infectious, sultry and undoubtedly got the potential to be the party record of the year - Mega, mega stuff!!

                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                    1. That! Feels Good!
                                                                                                                                    2. Free Yourself
                                                                                                                                    3. Pearls
                                                                                                                                    4. Hello Love
                                                                                                                                    5. Begin Again
                                                                                                                                    6. Beautiful People
                                                                                                                                    7.Freak Me Now
                                                                                                                                    8. Shake The Bottle
                                                                                                                                    9. Lightning
                                                                                                                                    10. These Lips 

                                                                                                                                    70 - King Krule

                                                                                                                                    Space Heavy

                                                                                                                                      Archy Marshall announces Space Heavy, the fourth studio album under his King Krule alias, via XL Recordings. Coming 10 years on from his debut album, Space Heavy presents King Krule at his most articulate; using his years of experience to create a dynamic body of work that reveals something new with every listen.

                                                                                                                                      Written from 2020 to 2022, between London and Liverpool, Space Heavy took shape over the course of commutes between the two cities where Archy Marshall was splitting his time. Befitting an album quite literally written on the commute between the two places he called home, Archy found himself fascinated by the notion of “the space between” - the space haunted by dreams of love, touching a narrative of lost connection, losing people and situations to the guillotine of the universe. Once written by Archy, the music was developed by frequent collaborator and producer Dilip Harris and long-time band mates Ignacio Salvadores (Saxophonist), George Bass (Drummer), James Wilson (Bass Guitarist) and Jack Towell (Guitarist).

                                                                                                                                      The result is a 15-track full-length by the musical polymath that inhabits the deepest reaches of the subterranean sonic world that Archy has constructed over the course of his career as King Krule. In it you hear a generational artist stepping into the height of their artistic powers – the auteurism apparent on his debut 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, the shapeshifting sonic palette of The OOZ, the primality of Man Alive! and the raw vulnerability expressed on You Heat Me Up, You Cool Me Down all coalesce into a wizened, dynamic body of work that reveals new elements with each listen. In line with Archy’s interest in the space between, it is an album wherein the negative space demands the same attention as the positive space. If one is willing to wade into the mire the reward is rich.

                                                                                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                      Liam says: The gravely voiced troubadour is back! Following on from 2020's 'Man Alive', 'Space Heavy' showcases King Krule masterfully balancing his trademark mix of scatty punk and lo-fi jazz - resulting in some of his most dynamic and impressive work to date. Superb stuff!

                                                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                      Flimsier
                                                                                                                                      Pink Shell
                                                                                                                                      Seaforth
                                                                                                                                      That Is My Life, That Is Yours
                                                                                                                                      Tortoise Of Independency
                                                                                                                                      Empty Stomach Space Cadet
                                                                                                                                      Flimsy
                                                                                                                                      Hamburgerphobia
                                                                                                                                      From The Swamp
                                                                                                                                      Seagirl
                                                                                                                                      Our Vacuum
                                                                                                                                      Space Heavy
                                                                                                                                      When Vanishing
                                                                                                                                      If Only It Was Warmth
                                                                                                                                      Wednesday Overcast

                                                                                                                                      71 - Ladytron

                                                                                                                                      Time's Arrow

                                                                                                                                        Ladytron return with their highly anticipated 7th studio album ‘Time’s Arrow’. The scouse natives show off everything that hard earned fans can count on - crystalline melodies enveloped in icy textures and rippling arpeggios - with touches of indie pop, shoegaze, disco, and industrial music

                                                                                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                        Barry says: Ladytron return for their sleekest and most pristine offering yet, with euphoric synth sweeps and grand, 80's-tinged percussive rolls. It's a sound that's familiar in today's musical landscape but one that Ladytron have been doing for some time, and it shows. Perfectly produced synth-pop from one of the original and best.

                                                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                        1. City Of Angels
                                                                                                                                        2. Faces
                                                                                                                                        3. Misery Remember Me
                                                                                                                                        4. Flight From Angkor
                                                                                                                                        5. We Never Went Away
                                                                                                                                        6. The Night
                                                                                                                                        7. The Dreamers
                                                                                                                                        8. Sargasso Sea
                                                                                                                                        9. California
                                                                                                                                        10. Time’s Arrow

                                                                                                                                        72 - Lana Del Rey

                                                                                                                                        Did You Know That There's A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd

                                                                                                                                          Did you know that there's a tunnel under Ocean Blvd is the ninth studio album from acclaimed singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey, comprising 16 tracks and interludes with features including Father John Misty, Tommy Genesis, Jon Batiste, Bleachers and more. It follows the prolific artist's 2021 albums Chemtrails Over The Country Club and Blue Banisters. 

                                                                                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                          Liam says: I've only semi-recently become, as you kids say, a Lana stan after her one-two punch releases of 'Norman Fucking Rockwell!' and 'Chemtrails over the Country Club'. I can safely say, this is another banger in her catalogue. Clocking in at just under 80 minutes, 'Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd' is a sprawling opus full of rich storytelling and absolutely spellbinding vocals and instrumentation - perfection!

                                                                                                                                          73 - Protomartyr

                                                                                                                                          Formal Growth In The Desert

                                                                                                                                            Since their 2012 debut, Protomartyr have mastered the art of evoking place: the grinding Midwest humility of their hometown, as well as the x-rayed elucidation of America that comes with their vantage. The group’s sixth album was recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, TX with producer Jake Aron. “The desert is more of a metaphor or symbol,” singer Joe Casey says, “of emotional deserts, or a place or time that seems to lack life.” The “growth” came from a period of colossal transition for Casey, including the death of his mother. But life does go on, and Casey describes the great theme of Formal Growth In The Desert as an embrace and acknowledgment of that fact: a 12-song testament to “getting on with life,” even when it feels impossibly hard.


                                                                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                            Barry says: While 'Formal Growth In The Desert' has all of the angular riffs and jagged edges of 2015's superb 'The Agent Intellect', there's a lot more of a nuanced sound on display here. There are moments of relative calm, echoes of country music and gothic choruses scattered around before launching once again into that familiar, scathing fire. Unafraid as ever to push the boundaries but without sacrificing their core sound, classic Protomartyr.

                                                                                                                                            74 - Rozi Plain

                                                                                                                                            Prize

                                                                                                                                              Rozi Plain returns with new album ‘Prize’ on Memphis Industries. 

                                                                                                                                              Don’t ask Rozi Plain to explain her spellbinding fifth album Prize. Its ten, magical tracks exist as if in another realm, where feelings matter more than meanings, where thoughts have room to roam and where you can live in the moment for as long as you like.

                                                                                                                                              Rozi’s signature, free-floating sound was set with her 2015 breakthrough Friend and cemented with 2019’s globally adored What A Boost (‘Like slipping between cotton sheets’ was Pitchfork’s description). Prize builds on both, but takes its cues from elsewhere. By a stretch, it’s Rozi’s most upbeat and daring album to date.

                                                                                                                                              References to disco and rave, saxophone treated to sound like strings, silly synths and harp all play a part. Economy is key – every sound has an impact out of proportion to its size, every texture pays dividends. Rozi’s bewitching vocals are bolder and brighter than ever before. Male and female backing vocals feel like friends dropping by.

                                                                                                                                              Begun pre-pandemic and composed and recorded everywhere from Glasgow and the Isle of Eigg to a seaside village in French Basque Country, Margate and London’s legendary Total Refreshment Centre, Prize may sound effortless but creating each song was as industry intensive as spinning a spider’s web. A cast of 15 feature, including Kate Stables, with whom Rozi has toured for the past decade in This Is The Kit, contemporary jazz titan Alabaster De Plume and Minneapolis based saxophonist Cole Pulice.


                                                                                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                              Barry says: Aaah, it's always lovely to hear some more Rozi plain, and 'Prize' is by far her most spellbinding and focused work yet. The perfect backdrop to Plain's airy vocals has always been the more off-kilter instrumental backing (Múm's perfectly chaotic brand of childlike electronica comes to mind), and here we get the syncopated rhythms and jangling guitars of old, but with a more layered, intricate core. It's both beautifully meditative and hugely uplifting, the perfect balance.

                                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                              Side A
                                                                                                                                              Agreeing For Two
                                                                                                                                              Complicated
                                                                                                                                              Help
                                                                                                                                              Prove Your Good
                                                                                                                                              Side B
                                                                                                                                              Painted The Room
                                                                                                                                              Sore
                                                                                                                                              Spot Thirteen
                                                                                                                                              Standing Up

                                                                                                                                              75 - Sampa The Great

                                                                                                                                              As Above, So Below

                                                                                                                                                Relocating home to Zambia during the pandemic, Sampa sought to reconnect with a different side of herself, a side that is freer and closer in resemblance to the younger artistry she cultivated growing up in Africa. This process of discovery would become the gateway to revealing her highest version of self. Choosing to collaborate with creatives Rochelle Nembhard and Imraan Christian from South Africa, As Above, So Below introduces us to a 360 Sampa, unveiling her many sides for the first time. From the funny to the serious to the sensual, As Above is Sampa outside’s self, and So Below, is the Sampa within, together uniting to reveal the most authentic version of Sampa, without a mask, or role to play.

                                                                                                                                                As Above, So Below is anchored by spoken word in Bemba. The record delves into Sampa’s memories of Africa, Africa’s relationship to the world and what womanhood in Africa means to the world. We are also introduced to the persona of Eve, the highest version of Sampa that speaks to all facets of her womanhood.

                                                                                                                                                The musical styles of As Above, So Below reflect the hybridity of Sampa’s upbringing. Raised in Botswana (a different country to her birthplace in Zambia), and then going on to attend school in different countries again, Sampa picked up varied musical influences along the way. Each style has attached itself to her own musical encyclopedia, and finds a new mode for expression throughout the record.

                                                                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                1. Shadows
                                                                                                                                                2. Lane Ft. Denzel Curry
                                                                                                                                                3. Never Forget Ft. Chef 187, Tio Nason, Mwanjé
                                                                                                                                                4. Mask On Ft. Joey Bada$$
                                                                                                                                                5. BONA
                                                                                                                                                6. Can I Live Ft. W.I.T.C.H
                                                                                                                                                7. Imposter Syndrome Ft. James Sakala
                                                                                                                                                8. Tilibobo
                                                                                                                                                9. Lo Rain Ft. Mwanjé
                                                                                                                                                10. IDGAF Ft. Kojey Radical
                                                                                                                                                11. Let Me Be Great Ft Angélique Kidjo

                                                                                                                                                76 - Wild Nothing

                                                                                                                                                Hold

                                                                                                                                                  Because Hold, Jack Tatum’s fifth album under the moniker Wild Nothing, was written in the aftermath of new parenthood during the pandemic, it was probably inevitable that it would be searching and existential music. But during the recording process, the artist known for synth-pop tastefulness used it as an opportunity to reach for a new sonic maximalism and wider set of influences. With contributions from longtime collaborator Jorge Elbrecht, Tommy Davidson of Beach Fossils and Hatchie’s Harriette Pilbeam, first single “Headlights On” features an acid house-worthy bass groove and breakbeat that prove Tatum is playing for the rafters.

                                                                                                                                                  Tatum produced the rest of the record on his own, partially out of necessity, due to the challenges of the pandemic. The songs were eventually brought to Adrian Olsen at Montrose Recording in Richmond to begin recording drums and filling in the gaps. While largely a product of isolation, Hold also reflects the things Tatum has learned from collaborators, both on previous records and during his acclaimed work with Japanese Breakfast and Molly Burch. The rest of the record was mixed by Geoff Swan, who listeners might know for his work with Caroline Polachek and Charli XCX. Swan put Tatum’s vocals high in the mix, and throughout the album, he embraces playful vocal processing like never before.

                                                                                                                                                  Tatum moved from Los Angeles back to his home state of Virginia about five years ago in search of a scaled-back lifestyle. The relatively suburban environment—and the occasional regret it inspired—proved to be great artistic fodder. It’s the para- dox of modern America—the suburbs are supposed to be stultifying to art, but they are so full of human desperation perfect for dramatizing. On “Suburban Solutions”, he presents an anti-jingle with an acidly bright synthesizer melody, imploring you to sign on the dotted line, put your feet up, and embrace sweet oblivion.

                                                                                                                                                  Adding to the song’s menacing cheeriness is a chorus-sung bridge, made with as- sistance from Molly Burch and Tatum’s wife, Dana, It was loosely inspired by the classic Martika song “Toy Soldiers” and the long-ago pop craze for children’s choirs, and he embraces the trend’s less-than-stellar reputation. By design, Hold dwells in uncertainty and fear, but in a package that encourages meditation and a bit of fun. “In the face of the pandemic, I think being a parent really forced my hand,” Tatum said. “I felt that I had no other choice but to have a positive outlook on the world. Because if I were to give in at any moment and say, “Oh, everything is horrible,” then I’ll feel as if I’ve lost and I’ve given up on my son being able to thrive in this world.”


                                                                                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                  Barry says: Another beautiful selection of hazy melodies and airy jangle from the ever-talented Jack Tatum, just this time we veer into silken synthpop territory. It's just as perfectly formed and shows what a breadth of styles Tatum has as his disposal.

                                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                  1. Headlights On
                                                                                                                                                  2. Basement El Dorado
                                                                                                                                                  3. The Bodybuilder
                                                                                                                                                  4. Suburban Solutions
                                                                                                                                                  5. Presidio
                                                                                                                                                  6. Dial Tone
                                                                                                                                                  7. Histrion
                                                                                                                                                  8. Prima
                                                                                                                                                  9. Alex
                                                                                                                                                  10. Little Chaos

                                                                                                                                                  77 - Public Service Broadcasting

                                                                                                                                                  This New Noise

                                                                                                                                                    A celebration of the power of radio written in recognition of the centenary of the BBC, This New Noise saw the band joining forces with the 88 piece BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jules Buckley. A standout performance from 2022’s BBC Proms, it received 5*s in The Telegraph who called it “a resonant, timely and ultimately touching show”. Founder member J. Willgoose, Esq. remixed the concert from scratch, bringing out even more depth and texture from a multi-layered performance and showing it in a new light.

                                                                                                                                                    This New Noise is the second time Public Service Broadcasting have been commissioned for the BBC Proms. In 2019 the band performed an orchestral arrangement of their 2015 studio album The Race for Space with The Multi-Story Orchestra to mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned mission to the Moon.

                                                                                                                                                    Public Service Broadcasting have been “teaching the lessons of the past through the music of the future” for more than a decade now. 2013’s debut album Inform - Educate - Entertain used archival samples from the British Film Institute as audio-portals to the Battle Of Britain, the summit of Everest and beyond. Two years later, The Race For Space used similar methods to laud the superpowers’ rivalry and heroism in orbit and on the Moon. An indie DIY phenomenon the album has remarkably since achieved gold disc status having sold over 100,000 copies in the UK alone. In 2017, joined by voices including Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield, Every Valley was a moving exploration of community and memory via the rise and fall of the British coal industry.

                                                                                                                                                    Their most ambitious undertaking yet, Bright Magic brought the listener to Europe’s heart and de facto capital, the cultural and political metropolis that is the ‘Hauptstadt’ of the Federal Republic of Germany – Berlin. Released in late 2021, and debuting at No 2 in the UK album chart, the band’s fourth album was described by Electronic Sound as “their most ambitious, leftfield and majestic work to date, their glorious creative peak, their magnum opus”, DIY said “it flourished at its most calm and erupted at its most fervent” and Clash said it “cemented PSB's reputation as a vital act right at the top of their game”. The album also featured multiple BBC Radio 6 Music A-Listed singles, including “People, Let’s Dance” [ft. EERA] and “Blue Heaven” [ft. Andreya Casablanca].

                                                                                                                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                    Barry says: A perfect document of one of the most stunning live shows from PSB, with the power of the BBC symphony orchestra backing up their already epic compositions. It's a perfect match, and it's beautifully captured here for your listening pleasure.

                                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                    01 Ripples In The Ether (Towards The Infinite)
                                                                                                                                                    02 This New Noise
                                                                                                                                                    03 An Unusual Man
                                                                                                                                                    04 A Cello Sings In Daventry [ft. Seth Lakeman]
                                                                                                                                                    05 Broadcasting House
                                                                                                                                                    06 The Microphone (The Fleet Is Lit Up)
                                                                                                                                                    07 A Candle Which Will Not Be Put Out
                                                                                                                                                    08 What Of The Future? (In Touch With The Infinite)

                                                                                                                                                    78 - King Creosote

                                                                                                                                                    I DES

                                                                                                                                                      They say long live the king and all, but nothing’s ever set in stone. A quarter of a century since his self-inflicted coronation, and self-released debut solo album, Kenny Anderson - DIY pop voyager, ancestral seaside home restorer, squeezebox lothario, Fife for lifer, diamond miner, hijacker of hearts, and the man also known as King Creosote - has released over 100 records (at a relatively conservative guess), collaborated with the likes of Jon Hopkins,KT Tunstall, Beta Band’s Lone Pigeon, and had his songs covered and performed by artists including Patti Smith and Simple Minds. Yet he’s still standing, fallible, doubtful, patched together, bloody-minded and unbowed. He’s got a new LP, despite or perhaps because of it all. It’s called I DES.

                                                                                                                                                      While the record’s kaleidoscopic musical terrain plots vibraphones, accordions, e-bows, samplers, ungulates, scratched records and wine glass-drones across its landscape, there’s common ground in the wonder of the synthesiser – not to mention Anderson’s singular voice, and his roguish, roving, ever-evolving, gorgeous songs in the key of Fife.

                                                                                                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                      Andy says: A totally gorgeous and varied album blending tasty electronics with a whole host of acoustic instruments. There's a lot of heartache and sorrow this time out, but the over all feeling is one of a deep sense of beauty. Kenny is such a great songwriter. It's been worth the wait!

                                                                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                      1. It’s Sin That’s Got Its Hold Upon Us
                                                                                                                                                      2. Blue Marbled Elm Trees
                                                                                                                                                      3. Burial Bleak
                                                                                                                                                      4. Dust
                                                                                                                                                      5. Walter De La Nightmare
                                                                                                                                                      6. Susie Mullen
                                                                                                                                                      7. Love Is A Curse
                                                                                                                                                      8. Ides
                                                                                                                                                      9. Please Come Back I Will Listen, I Will Behave, I Will Toe The Line
                                                                                                                                                      10. Drone In B#

                                                                                                                                                      79 - Sigur Rós

                                                                                                                                                      ÁTTA

                                                                                                                                                        Following it’s surprise digital release, Sigur Rós’ first new studio album in ten years, ÁTTA, is their most intimate and emotionally direct record to date.

                                                                                                                                                        Few bands cut through the noise and distractions of the world to bring you a pure elemental truth or feeling like Sigur Rós. As you hear on ÁTTA, there’s a new compulsion and drive to the band that comes with the new formation of the line up. Multi-instrumentalist Kjartan Sveinsson is back in the fold – having left the band in 2012 – to join frontman Jónsi and bassist Georg Holm.

                                                                                                                                                        Recorded across multiple continents - in the band’s Sundlaugin studio in Iceland, the legendary Abbey Road in the UK and a number of studios in the US - ÁTTA leans heavily towards the orchestral, and touches on everything that has made Sigur Rós one of the most ambitious and acclaimed bands of recent times, with close to ten million albums sold, whilst signposting an exciting and expansive possibility for their future. ÁTTA prominently features the London Contemporary Orchestra conducted by Robert Ames, alongside brass performed by longtime Icelandic collaborators Brassgat í bala. It is mixed and co-produced by another frequent collaborator Paul Corley, alongside the band.

                                                                                                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                        Barry says: There are few bands that give me the feels more than Sigur Rós do, and ÁTTA is set to be their most emotionally intense outing to date. It's got a bit of the shadowy heft of Kveikur, but the majority of the sounds on show are grand, orchestral monoliths. Reversed Jonsi vox, widescreen intensity and rich string work. Classic Rós.

                                                                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                        SIDE A
                                                                                                                                                        1. Glóð
                                                                                                                                                        2. Blóðberg
                                                                                                                                                        3. Skel
                                                                                                                                                        SIDE B
                                                                                                                                                        1. Klettur
                                                                                                                                                        2. Mór
                                                                                                                                                        3. Andrá
                                                                                                                                                        SIDE C
                                                                                                                                                        1. Gold
                                                                                                                                                        2. Ylur
                                                                                                                                                        SIDE D
                                                                                                                                                        1. Fall
                                                                                                                                                        2. 8

                                                                                                                                                        80 - Sofia Kourtesis

                                                                                                                                                        Madres

                                                                                                                                                          Madres is, unsurprisingly, dedicated to Kourtesis' mother. More surprising though it is also dedicated to world-renowned neurosurgeon Peter Vajkoczy. The story of how a world-renowned neurosurgeon came to appear in the liner notes of this record is one of tenacity, miracles, all-consuming love and ultimately, of hope.

                                                                                                                                                          When she began work on her debut, Kourtesis was seemingly unstoppable. A string of rapturously received EPs and singles made her one of the fastest rising stars in the electronic world and beyond.

                                                                                                                                                          She has already graced the cover of Mixmag, released a brilliantly energetic and moving Resident Advisor ‘RA Session’, appeared on ‘End of Year’ lists from the likes of The New York Times, Pitchfork, DJ Mag and Spotify (#6 Best Electronic Song) and played instant sell-out early shows at London’s Lafayette and Manchester’s YES as well as standout performances at Glastonbury, Green Man, Wide Awake and Primavera and tours supporting Caribou and Bicep.

                                                                                                                                                          Recommended if you like… Daphni, Logic1000, TSHA, Joy Orbison, HAAi, Jacques Greene

                                                                                                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                          Barry says: A thoroughly captivating move through hazy lo-fi rave, rich rhythmic electronica and skittering IDM from Sofia Kourtesis and the ever-reliable electronic bastion Ninja Tune. It's beautifully produced, warmly dedicated and full of some of the most memorable electronic pieces i've heard in years. Superb.

                                                                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                          1. Madres
                                                                                                                                                          2. Si Te Portas Bonito
                                                                                                                                                          3. Vajkoczy
                                                                                                                                                          4. How Music Makes You Feel Better
                                                                                                                                                          5. Habla Con Ella
                                                                                                                                                          6. Funkhaus
                                                                                                                                                          7. Moving Houses
                                                                                                                                                          8. Estación Esperanza
                                                                                                                                                          9. Cecilia
                                                                                                                                                          10. El Carmen

                                                                                                                                                          81 - Afflecks Palace

                                                                                                                                                          The Only Light In This Tunnel Is The Oncoming Train

                                                                                                                                                            Manchester band Afflecks Palace return with their sophomore LP.

                                                                                                                                                            Produced by J. Fender, Afflecks Palace vocalist and Spirit Of Spike Island label boss said “This album is an ode to escapism from the modern day obsession with superficial status, wealth and success - propelled by social media F.O.M.O (fear of missing out)”.

                                                                                                                                                            If you're not from round here, the band are named after the legendary shopping emporium which is just down the road from us. Afflecks Palace was, and still is, a mecca for all things "alternative"( a word from back in the day!) and rose to fame during the heady days of Madchester. It was also  home to the Identity clothing shop which became famous for it's legendary "On  The Sixth Day God  Created Manchester" t-shirts.

                                                                                                                                                            Afflecks Palace are real music magpies, in the best possible sense. They've taken the energy and attitude of '89 and created super melodic guitar gems that tip their (bucket) hat to The Stone Roses, Inspirals and the like, as well as plundering classic pop from the 60s via Britpop and right  through to the present day. In doing so they've managed to create their own euphoric, hook filled sound. 

                                                                                                                                                            The new soundtrack to dancing til the sun comes up and weekends mooching around the Northern Quarter, thers's just a vibe and spirit around this band that's gonna be difficult to resist.

                                                                                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                            Andy says: Like a greatest hits of Manchester music, all rolled up into one jangling, baggy, indie-pop nugget, this band are gonna go far.

                                                                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                            1. Dancing Is Not A Crime
                                                                                                                                                            2. Holidays
                                                                                                                                                            3. Wide Eyes On The Night Bus
                                                                                                                                                            4. WAKE UP!
                                                                                                                                                            5. Patchwork Quilted Veins
                                                                                                                                                            6. Big Fish, Small Pond
                                                                                                                                                            7. Ghosts On The Underground
                                                                                                                                                            8. I'm So Glad You're On Ecstasy
                                                                                                                                                            9. Hey Stranger
                                                                                                                                                            10. Find Your Place

                                                                                                                                                            82 - Alison Goldfrapp

                                                                                                                                                            The Love Invention

                                                                                                                                                              Alison Goldfrapp has set a towering bar for British synth-pop in the 21st century and she’s only just getting started. The magnetic London-born singer, songwriter and producer’s seven albums with Goldfrapp were fuelled by an unfailing modernity and a sixth sense for sounds that were more timeless than any trend. With the release of her debut solo album The Love Invention- an electrifying dance-pop suite - her multi-faceted musicianship reaches a new peak.

                                                                                                                                                              The Love Invention marks Alison’s reawakening as a dancefloor priestess, in an intoxicating showcase of the disco and house influences that have always been at the heart of her musical DNA. “So Hard So Hot” bottles the ephemeral joy of a dancefloor with its anthemic house beat, disco handclaps, and an exquisitely alluring vocal from Alison. The sense of uninhibited liberation courses through album highlights like “In Electric Blue,” a yearning synth-pop confection with a chorus as blissful as love’s first butterflies. On “NeverStop,” she is flooded with the rush of an all-encompassing love over a buoyant, rubberised beat; the sublime synth-pop of “Fever” is an ode to the intoxicating majesty of the dancefloor, with a chorus that explodes as if setting off a glitter cannon.


                                                                                                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                              Barry says: Alison Goldfrapp has been at the forefront of electronic music for a good few decades now, both with Will Gregory and now on her own. 'The Love Invention' sees Alison veer dramatically into synth-heavy dancefloor grooves, crisply produced house and rich 303 sweeps. While there is very little that would sound bad with Goldfrapp singing atop it, this is the perfect mix of drive and wooze.

                                                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                              NeverStop
                                                                                                                                                              Love Invention
                                                                                                                                                              Digging Deeper Now
                                                                                                                                                              In Electric Blue
                                                                                                                                                              The Beat Divine
                                                                                                                                                              Fever
                                                                                                                                                              Hotel (Suite 23)
                                                                                                                                                              Subterfuge
                                                                                                                                                              Gatto Gelato
                                                                                                                                                              So Hard So Hot
                                                                                                                                                              SLoFLo

                                                                                                                                                              83 - Anna B Savage

                                                                                                                                                              In|Flux

                                                                                                                                                                Anna B Savage has always asked questions in her music, but on new album in|FLUX answers are no longer her quest. Vulnerability and curiosity have consistently been operative words to describe her work and on her second album she ruminates on the complexities and variables of humanity, the pain or pleasure of love, loss and earthly connection, capturing it all in devasta- ting, elating and powerful ways. The key difference between this and previous releases: she’s not anxious about what’s on the other side. She’s come to appreciate staying afloat - basking even - in the open ended, uncertainty of the grey area.

                                                                                                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                Barry says: In|Flux is an inventive juxtaposition of near spoken-word ruminations and intricate, jazz influenced rhythms, soaring and mournful in equal measure. Wisps of acoustic instruments (like guitar and chimes) weave themselves into Savage's hypnotic vocals.

                                                                                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                A1 The Ghost
                                                                                                                                                                A2 I Can Hear The Birds Now A3 Pavlov‘s Dog
                                                                                                                                                                A4 Crown Shyness
                                                                                                                                                                A5 Say My Name
                                                                                                                                                                B1 In|FLUX
                                                                                                                                                                B2 Hungry
                                                                                                                                                                B3 Feet Of Clay
                                                                                                                                                                B4 Touch Me
                                                                                                                                                                B5 The Orange

                                                                                                                                                                84 - Teenage Fanclub

                                                                                                                                                                Nothing Lasts Forever

                                                                                                                                                                  Teenage Fanclub's new album, Nothing Lasts Forever, is a beautifully rich and melodic album, the sound of a season’s end, of the last warm days of the year while nights begin to draw in and thoughts become reflective and more than a little melancholy.

                                                                                                                                                                  That reflection is everywhere on the record, whether on the autumnal folk rock of Tired Of Being Alone that repositions Laurel Canyon to somewhere deep in the heart of the Wye Valley, the William Blake quoting Self-Sedation or on the song that preceded Nothing Lasts Forever’s completion, last year’s I Left A Light On, where a spark of hope is kept alight at the end of a relationship.

                                                                                                                                                                  One of the recurring themes on Nothing Lasts Forever is light, as a both a metaphor for hope and as an ultimate destination further down the road. Although the band’s songwriters Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley found themselves touching on similar themes, it was pure coincidence.

                                                                                                                                                                  Raymond: “We never talk about what we’re going to do before we start making a record. We don’t plan much other than the nuts and bolts of where we’re going to record and when. That thing about light was completely accidental; we didn’t realise that until we’d finished half the songs. The record feels reflective, and I think the more we do this thing, the more we become comfortable with going to that place of melancholy, feeling and expressing those feelings.

                                                                                                                                                                  Norman: “These songs are definitely personal. You’re getting older, you’re going into the cupboard getting the black suit out more often. Thoughts of mortality and the idea of the light must have been playing on our minds a lot. The songs on the last record were influenced by the breakup of my marriage. It was cathartic to write those songs. These new songs are reflective of how I’m feeling now, coming out of that period. They’re fairly optimistic, there’s an acceptance of a situation and all of the experience that comes with that acceptance. When we write, it’s a reflection of our lives, which are pretty ordinary. We’re not extraordinary people, and normal people get older. There’s a lot to write about in the mundane. I love reading Raymond Carver. Very often there’s not a lot that happens in those stories, but they speak to lived experience.”

                                                                                                                                                                  The band recorded Nothing Lasts Forever - Blake, McGinley along with Francis Macdonald on drums, Dave McGowan on bass and Euros Childs on keyboards during an intense ten-day period in the bucolic Welsh countryside at Rockfield Studios, near Monmouth in late August. You can hear the effect of that environment on the record - it’s full of soft breeze, wide skies, beauty and space.

                                                                                                                                                                  One of the most striking lyrics on the record is on the closing track I Will Love You. A gorgeous seven minute almost Kosmiche acoustic daydream drone, it looks to a point beyond the fury and polarisation of our modern discourse, to a time when “the bigots are gone/after they apologise/for all the harm that they’ve done”. Looking for positives while faced with the grim realities of the 21st century feels very Teenage Fanclub - a band who’ve been a force for good for over three decades and who can effortlessly turn melancholy into glorious, chiming harmony.

                                                                                                                                                                  Teenage Fanclub have announced an extensive touring schedule with a handful of dates in the Summer followed by a full UK & European tour in October and November. 


                                                                                                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                  Barry says: Hazy folky slide guitar and Euros Child's silky keys, classic Teenage Fanclub melodies and swooning vocals make for one of the most immersive TF albums in years. A beautifully rendered, optimistic vision from Blake & co, and one that is a familiar as it is inventive.

                                                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Foreign Land
                                                                                                                                                                  2. Tired Of Being Alone
                                                                                                                                                                  3. I Left A Light On
                                                                                                                                                                  4. See The Light
                                                                                                                                                                  5. It’s Alright
                                                                                                                                                                  6. Falling Into The Sun
                                                                                                                                                                  7. Self-Sedation
                                                                                                                                                                  8. Middle Of My Mind
                                                                                                                                                                  9. Back To The Light
                                                                                                                                                                  10. I Will Love You

                                                                                                                                                                  85 - Beirut

                                                                                                                                                                  Hadsel

                                                                                                                                                                    Hadsel is the first new full-length record since Beirut’s 2019 release, “Gallipoli,” and the first on Zach Condon’s own label, Pompeii Records. Recorded in the Norwegian island of Hadsel shortly after a physical and mental break forced Condon to cancel is 2019 tour, Condon was looking for a place to recover after being left in a state of shock and self-doubt.

                                                                                                                                                                    Working in isolation, Condon explains, “I was lost in a trance, stumbling blindly through my own mental collapse that I had been pushing aside since I was a teenager. It came and rang me like a bell. I was left agonising many things past and present while the beauty of the nature, the northern lights and fearsome storms played an awesome show around me. The few hours of light would expose the unfathomable beauty of the mountains and the fjords, and the hours- long twilights would fill me with subdued excitement. I’d like to believe that scenery is somehow present in the music.

                                                                                                                                                                    The resulting is collection of songs beautifully reflect that vulnerability, sense of self-determination and belief that after collapse, one can learn to manage on their own again.

                                                                                                                                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                    Barry says: Hadsel takes the foundation so perfectly laid by Beirut's extensive discography and moves the whole kit and/or caboodle into the icy climes of Norway. It's not dampened any of the warmth in Condon's music, but it lends a certain crystalline beauty and swimming, airy sparsity. Evocative and beautiful throughout.

                                                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                    SIDE A
                                                                                                                                                                    1. Hadsel
                                                                                                                                                                    2. Arctic Forest
                                                                                                                                                                    3. Baion
                                                                                                                                                                    4. So Many Plans
                                                                                                                                                                    5. Melbu
                                                                                                                                                                    6. Stokmarknes


                                                                                                                                                                    SIDE B
                                                                                                                                                                    7. Island Life
                                                                                                                                                                    8. Spillhaugen
                                                                                                                                                                    9. January 18th
                                                                                                                                                                    10. Süddeutsches Ton-Bild
                                                                                                                                                                    11. The Tern
                                                                                                                                                                    12. Regulatory

                                                                                                                                                                    86 - Corinne Bailey Rae

                                                                                                                                                                    Black Rainbows

                                                                                                                                                                      Black Rainbows is a musical project inspired by the objects and artworks collected by Theaster Gates at the Stoney Island Arts Bank in Chicago. Situated at the Great Grand Crossing neighborhoods of Chicago's South Side, Stoney Island Arts Bank is a cathedral to Black Art, a curated collection of Black archives comprising books, sculpture, records, furniture and problematic objects from America's past. As well as being a site for archive, the Arts bank is also a place for convening. Bailey Rae attended The Black Artists Retreat there in 2017 and performed in the space.

                                                                                                                                                                      Wide ranging in it's themes, Black Rainbows' subjects are drawn from encounters with objects in the Arts Bank. Taking us from the rock hewn churces of Ethiopia, to the journeys of Black Pioneers Westward, from Miss New York Transit Queen 1957, to how the sunset appears from Harriet Jacobs' loophole.

                                                                                                                                                                      Black Rainbows explores Black femininity, Spell Work, Inner Space/Outer Space, time collapse and ancestors, the erasure Black childhood and music as a vessel for transcendence.

                                                                                                                                                                      The project will be released in various iterations - live performances, books, visuals, lectures, exhibitions, and more.

                                                                                                                                                                      Sonically, the album is a multi-genre mix of the progressive R&B, neo soul sound that will be familiar to fans but it also contains rock, jazz and electronic elements.

                                                                                                                                                                      The album was produced by S.J. Brown and Corinne Bailey Rae.

                                                                                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                      1. A Spell, A Prayer
                                                                                                                                                                      2. Black Rainbows
                                                                                                                                                                      3. Erasure
                                                                                                                                                                      4. Earthlings
                                                                                                                                                                      5. Red Horse
                                                                                                                                                                      6. New York Transit Queen
                                                                                                                                                                      7. He Will Follow You With His Eyes
                                                                                                                                                                      8. Put It Down
                                                                                                                                                                      9. Peach Velvet Sky
                                                                                                                                                                      10. Before The Throne Of The Invisible God

                                                                                                                                                                      87 - Christine And The Queens

                                                                                                                                                                      PARANOiA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE - TRIPLE DISC EDITION

                                                                                                                                                                        Christine and the Queens return with new album PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE, released on 9 June via Because Music.

                                                                                                                                                                        The record’s first single, ‘To be honest’ is an ethereal, synth-driven first glimpse into the French phenomenon’s most personal and ambitious album to date. PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE is written, performed and produced by Christine and the Queens, with co-production by Mike Dean (Lana Del Rey, Beyonce) and guest appearances from 070 Shake and Madonna.

                                                                                                                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                        Barry says: The wonderful Christine And The Queens make a very welcome return for the spellbinding new LP, 'PARANOiA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE'. With hefty synths, gorgeous cinematic intensity and a flawless ear for melody, Chris has continues the legacy he laid out so perfectly in the previous slices of emotional synth-pop genius. It's rich, deep and infinitely rewarding.

                                                                                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                        TRIPLE 180 GRAMS VINYL EDITION
                                                                                                                                                                        VINYL 1 :
                                                                                                                                                                        A1 Overture
                                                                                                                                                                        A2 Tears Can Be So Soft
                                                                                                                                                                        A3 Marvin Descending
                                                                                                                                                                        A4 A Day In The Water
                                                                                                                                                                        B1 Full Of Life
                                                                                                                                                                        B2 Angels Crying In My Bed (Feat. Madonna)
                                                                                                                                                                        B3 Track 10
                                                                                                                                                                        VINYL 2 :
                                                                                                                                                                        C1 Overture (Feat.Mike Dean)
                                                                                                                                                                        C2 He’s Been Shining For Ever, Your Son
                                                                                                                                                                        C3 Flowery Days
                                                                                                                                                                        C4 I Met An Angel (Feat. Madonna)
                                                                                                                                                                        D1 True Love (Feat. 070 Shake)
                                                                                                                                                                        D2 Let Me Touch You Once (Feat. 070 Shake)
                                                                                                                                                                        D3 Aimer, Puis Vivre
                                                                                                                                                                        VINYL 3
                                                                                                                                                                        E1 Shine
                                                                                                                                                                        E2 We Have To Be Friends
                                                                                                                                                                        E3 Lick The Light Out (Feat. Madonna)
                                                                                                                                                                        F1 To Be Honest
                                                                                                                                                                        F2 I Feel Like An Angel
                                                                                                                                                                        F3 Big Eye

                                                                                                                                                                        TRIPLE CD EDITION
                                                                                                                                                                        CD 1:
                                                                                                                                                                        1 Overture
                                                                                                                                                                        2 Tears Can Be So Soft
                                                                                                                                                                        3 Marvin Descending
                                                                                                                                                                        4 A Day In The Water
                                                                                                                                                                        5 Full Of Life
                                                                                                                                                                        6 Angels Crying In My Bed (Feat. Madonna)
                                                                                                                                                                        7 Track 10
                                                                                                                                                                        CD 2:
                                                                                                                                                                        1 Overture (Feat.Mike Dean)
                                                                                                                                                                        2 He’s Been Shining For Ever, Your Son
                                                                                                                                                                        3 Flowery Days
                                                                                                                                                                        4 I Met An Angel (Feat. Madonna)
                                                                                                                                                                        5 True Love (Feat. 070 Shake)
                                                                                                                                                                        6 Let Me Touch You Once (Feat. 070 Shake)
                                                                                                                                                                        7 Aimer, Puis Vivre
                                                                                                                                                                        CD3:
                                                                                                                                                                        1 Shine
                                                                                                                                                                        2 We Have To Be Friends
                                                                                                                                                                        3 Lick The Light Out (Feat. Madonna)
                                                                                                                                                                        4 To Be Honest
                                                                                                                                                                        5 I Feel Like An Angel
                                                                                                                                                                        6 Big Eye

                                                                                                                                                                        88 - Earl Sweatshirt

                                                                                                                                                                        SICK!

                                                                                                                                                                          Los Angeles rapper Earl Sweatshirt releases his new project SICK!, out via Tan Cressida / Warner Records. The new 10-track project includes previously released singles "2010," "Tabula Rasa (feat. Armand Hammer)," and "Titanic" and features collaborative contributions from artists and producers Zelooperz, Nak-el Smith, Armand Hammer, Black Noi$e, and The Alchemist.

                                                                                                                                                                          Speaking about the new project, Earl says:
                                                                                                                                                                          "SICK! is my humble offering of 10 songs recorded in the wake of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns. Before the virus I had been working on an album I named after a book I used to read with my mother ('The People Could Fly'). Once the lockdowns hit, people couldn't fly anymore. A wise man said art imitates life.

                                                                                                                                                                          People were sick. The People were angry and isolated and restless. I leaned into the chaos cause it was apparent that it wasn't going anywhere. these songs are what happened when I would come up for air. Peace and love to Zelooperz the enigma, The Armand Hammer, and my good friends Alchemist and Black Noi$e. Peace and love to u."


                                                                                                                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                          Matt says: Thebe Neruda Kgositsile's unique flow, the verbal equivalent of not picking your feet up properly when you walk, crawls out of his genius mind with fresh concepts and gnarly styles on this highly anticipated new album.

                                                                                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Old Friend
                                                                                                                                                                          2. 2010
                                                                                                                                                                          3. SICK!
                                                                                                                                                                          4. Vision (Feat. Zelooperz)
                                                                                                                                                                          5. Tabula Rasa (Feat. Armand Hammer)
                                                                                                                                                                          6. Lye
                                                                                                                                                                          7. Lobby (Int)
                                                                                                                                                                          8. God Laughs
                                                                                                                                                                          9. Titanic
                                                                                                                                                                          10. Fire In The Hole

                                                                                                                                                                          89 - Mitski

                                                                                                                                                                          The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We

                                                                                                                                                                            Sometimes, Mitski says, it feels like life would be easier without hope, or a soul, or love. But when she closes her eyes and thinks about what’s truly hers, what can’t be repossessed or demolished, she sees love. “The best thing I ever did in my life was to love people,” Mitski says. “I wish I could leave behind all the love I have, after I die, so that I can shine all this goodness, all this good love that I’ve created onto other people.” She hopes her newest album, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, will continue to shine that love long after she’s gone. Listening to it, that’s precisely how it feels: like a love that’s haunting the land.

                                                                                                                                                                            “This is my most American album,” Mitski says about her seventh record, and the music feels like a profound act of witnessing this country, in all of its private sorrows and painful contradictions. In this album, which is sonically Mitski’s most expansive, epic, and wise, the songs seem to be introducing wounds and then actively healing them. Here, love is time-traveling to bless our tender days, like the light from a distant star.

                                                                                                                                                                            The album is full of the ache of the grown- up, seemingly mundane heartbreaks and joys that are often unsung but feel enormous. It’s a tiny epic. From the bottom of a glass, to a driveway slushy with memory and snow, to a freight train barreling through the Midwest, and all the way to the moon, it feels like everything, and everyone, is crying out, screaming in pain, arching towards love. Love is that inhospitable land, beckoning us and then rejecting us. To love this place — this earth, this America, this body — takes active work. It might be impossible. The best things are.

                                                                                                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                            Barry says: Mitski turns her considerable talents away from the confessional intensity and jagged production of 2018's 'Be The Cowboy' and brings us her own unique version of country music. Full of wry confessionals, intimate diarising and her unmistakable, beautiful vocals.

                                                                                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                            SIDE A:
                                                                                                                                                                            01 Bug Like An Angel
                                                                                                                                                                            02 Buffalo Replaced
                                                                                                                                                                            03 Heaven
                                                                                                                                                                            04 I Don’t Like My Mind
                                                                                                                                                                            05 The Deal

                                                                                                                                                                            SIDE B:
                                                                                                                                                                            06 When Memories Snow
                                                                                                                                                                            07 My Love Mine All Mine
                                                                                                                                                                            08 The Frost
                                                                                                                                                                            09 Star
                                                                                                                                                                            10 I’m Your Man
                                                                                                                                                                            11 I Love Me After You

                                                                                                                                                                            90 - Föllakzoid

                                                                                                                                                                            V

                                                                                                                                                                              Föllakzoid grows via depuration, aiming with each record to fill longer spaces of time with fewer and fewer elements. And like the best techno, kraut, and psychedelia have proven throughout time, sometimes the most minimal framework is the strongest container for transcendence. Which is what Föllakzoid have achieved with V, an immersive opus that takes the listener on seductive journey straight to the dance floor.

                                                                                                                                                                              The creative perspective of the band has always been about unlearning the narrative, musical and visual paradigms that shape physical and digital conceptions, in an effort to make a time-space metric structure that dissolves both the author and the narrative. As the creative project of queer and trans artist Domingæ, the band has had a unique experience navigating the psychedelic rock scene.

                                                                                                                                                                              Unlike past Föllakzoid records, that were done in single takes with the full band, their latest record V took a month to construct out of more than 70 separate stems. Guitars, bass, drums, synthesizers, and vocals, were all recorded in isolation and producer Atom™, who was not present for recording, was then asked to re-organize the four sequences of stems without any length, structural restrictions or guidelines.

                                                                                                                                                                              The inherent possibilities were endless yet bound together by the inner logic of the game itself and by the spirits of the players. V is the exercise of telling an elaborate story about nothing, with the smallest number of words necessary. The story is one of the electricity and code which we inhabit - or which may inhabit us, and can be imagined through heart-pounding bass, skittering beats, head swirling melodies, and an ominous allure that feels at times like genuine hypnosis.

                                                                                                                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                              Barry says: We're massive fans of Follakzoid here at Piccadilly, and 'V' takes the formula so deftly established over their previous four LP's (grinding drone, huge stoner chug and psychedelic fog) and builds upon it substantially. Walls of noise and dynamic fuzz give way to scattered percussive shards and crystalline electronic textures. Mindblowing.

                                                                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                              1. I
                                                                                                                                                                              2. II
                                                                                                                                                                              3. III
                                                                                                                                                                              4. IIII 

                                                                                                                                                                              91 - Forest Swords

                                                                                                                                                                              Bolted

                                                                                                                                                                                Forest Swords (aka electronic producer/composer Matthew Barnes) returns. Having spent the past few years working as an in-demand composer and sound designer – writing music for ballet, film and video games – 'Bolted' was recorded over the last twelve months in Barnes’ home city of Liverpool. His ad hoc studio in a former vehicle and munitions factory (with connections to shadowy guerilla artists The KLF) became a gateway for him to explore, using a combination of hardware, software and tape machines to mould and sculpt a sound world for the album.

                                                                                                                                                                                Across its 11 tracks he dives deeper into his unique sonic vocabulary (including personal samples of Neneh Cherry and the late Lee Scratch Perry) to weave together a set of tracks that sounds equally muscular and bleak, haunting and euphoric. While his previous album – the acclaimed 'Compassion' released in 2017 – saw Barnes toy with widescreen technicolour, the world of ‘Bolted’ is tightly wound, taught, with a sense of aching urgency like never before.

                                                                                                                                                                                Recommended if you like… Aphex Twin, Björk, Oneohtrix Point Never, Andy Stott, Boards of Canada, Burial, Massive Attack.


                                                                                                                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                                Barry says: Crystalline synth stabs and soaring melodies, gritty post-industrial soundscapes lightened with Barnes' unfaltering ear for sound. It's like OPN listened to a bit of yacht rock and fancied a few melodies amongst the clattering FM madness. Brilliant.

                                                                                                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                                Side A
                                                                                                                                                                                1. Munitions
                                                                                                                                                                                2. Butterfly Effect
                                                                                                                                                                                3. Rubble
                                                                                                                                                                                4. Night Sculpture
                                                                                                                                                                                5. Caged
                                                                                                                                                                                6. Tar
                                                                                                                                                                                Side B
                                                                                                                                                                                1. The Low
                                                                                                                                                                                2. Chain Link
                                                                                                                                                                                3. Hjope
                                                                                                                                                                                4. End
                                                                                                                                                                                5. Line Gone Cold

                                                                                                                                                                                92 - Georgia

                                                                                                                                                                                Euphoric

                                                                                                                                                                                  Georgia announces her return with her incredible new album Euphoric; co-produced by Rostam (Haim, Carly Rae Jepsen, Clairo), it marks the first time that Georgia has worked with another producer on her own material. The result is her dynamite third studio LP, featuring ten songs that vibrate with energy.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Euphoric follows Georgia’s club-coercing last record, the universally adored and critically acclaimed Seeking Thrills which well and truly cemented her as one of the UK’s premier producers and songwriters. Since then, Georgia has collaborated with the likes of Mura Masa, Gorillaz, Shygirl, Baby Tate, Dan Carey and David Jackson, most recently writing with Years and Years’ Olly Alexander and on Shania Twain’s #1 album Queen Of Me. All of this experience has been poured into her forthcoming album.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Georgia has also shared the first single from the record, “It’s Euphoric”, complete with a vibrant and compelling video directed by Fa & Fon. Powered by a gentle ecstasy, the song opens with a grounding bassline which Georgia toys with through her playful vocal rhythms (“I wasn’t saying much/ It was on the tip of my tongue”). “It’s Euphoric” was the first track that Rostam and Georgia wrote together and it went on to dictate the entirety of the album’s colourful soundscape.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Having written her last two albums within a three-metre radius of her bedroom, it was important for Georgia to find a new physical and emotional space in which to write: “I wanted an adventure! Being a self-produced musician, it’s easy to get stuck on one thing or in one place.” As fate would have it, esteemed producer Rostam DM’d Georgia after hearing her on the Mura Masa track “Live Like We’re Dancing”, and she swiftly was on a flight out to LA.

                                                                                                                                                                                  After 10 years of being her own main collaborator, a crucial part of the writing process was learning to relinquish control. And for Georgia, this record is a surrender, “To my issues, to my past, to my flaws and to the healing process” and through it she was able to guide herself to a new healthy form of unconstrained liberation. Euphoric see Georgia stepping out from behind the recording desk and establishing herself as a unique left-field pop artist. It’s the sound of life and of living in the now rather than escaping it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                                  Barry says: It's been a long, agonising wait for the new Georgia LP after her brilliant debut 'Seeking Thrills' (which still gets played at least once a week round these parts), but the stunning 'Euphoric' takes all of the thumping percussion and silken synth-lines from that spellbinding collection and knocks it up a notch. Perfectly composed, and a more than worthy step up from her already brilliant canon.

                                                                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. It’s Euphoric
                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Give It Up For Love
                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Some Things You’ll Never Know
                                                                                                                                                                                  4. Mountain Song
                                                                                                                                                                                  5. All Night
                                                                                                                                                                                  6. Live Like We’re Dancing Part II
                                                                                                                                                                                  7. The Dream
                                                                                                                                                                                  8. Keep On
                                                                                                                                                                                  9. Friends Will Never Let You Go
                                                                                                                                                                                  10. So What

                                                                                                                                                                                  93 - Hamish Hawk

                                                                                                                                                                                  Angel Numbers

                                                                                                                                                                                    Angel numbers: a series of recurring numerical patterns or sequences which those who believe in such things invest with cosmic significance.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, the name of the forthcoming album by Hamish Hawk – an apt title for an artist who bounces between scepticism and wonder, who alchemises the quotidian, who is engaged in a constant quest to outwit and outflank the ordinary. With the release of Heavy Elevator in September 2021, Edinburgh-based Hawk established himself as a writer of heartfelt, headstrong, unashamedly literate songs to stimulate both pulse and psyche. Heavy Elevator offered words to savour and tunes to relish. The songs were filmic and romantic, blending wit, wisdom, resignation and beauty with a kind of sceptical joie de vivre, delivered in a rich baritone that has drawn comparisons to everyone from Jarvis Cocker to Scott Walker. A singer of style and guile peddling accessible intelligence: what’s not to love? Heavy Elevator established a powerful artistic imprimatur which nonetheless felt neither defining nor confining. While the album has been justly lauded, Hawk’s next steps have moved the story considerably further forward. Angel Numbers meets growing expectations head on, with panache and aplomb.

                                                                                                                                                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                                    Barry says: A roaring mix of cleverly written rock music, with jagged melodies and gritty distortion tempered with rich production and Hamish's wonderfully emotive vocal stylings. 'Angel Numbers' is great fun, beautifully written and well worth a listen.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Laura says: Without doubt one of the most extraordinary musical talents to emerge in the last few years. His song writing takes in everything from chamber-pop to post-punk, with smatterings of country and indie-pop. The guitars jangle, twang and shimmer, interwoven with keys and occasional strings, providing the perfect backdrop for his witty, evocative lyrics. I enjoyed his debut, Heavy Elevator, but this album has blown me away - one of my albums of the year for sure!

                                                                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Once Upon An Acid Glance
                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Think Of Us Kissing
                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Elvis Lookalike Shadows
                                                                                                                                                                                    4. Bridget St. John
                                                                                                                                                                                    5. Frontman Ft. Anna B Savage
                                                                                                                                                                                    6. Desperately
                                                                                                                                                                                    7. Bill
                                                                                                                                                                                    8. Angel Numbers
                                                                                                                                                                                    9. Money
                                                                                                                                                                                    10. Dog-eared August
                                                                                                                                                                                    11. Rest And Veneers Ft. Samantha Crain
                                                                                                                                                                                    12. Grey Seals

                                                                                                                                                                                    94 - The Coral

                                                                                                                                                                                    Sea Of Mirrors

                                                                                                                                                                                      ‘Sea Of Mirrors’ is The Coral in full conceptual mondo-movie mode. Combining their love of 60s and 70s Western cinema, baroque pop, Love, Scott Walker, Sergio Leone, Lee Hazelwood and Ennio Morricone, it features string arrangements by the High Llama’s Sean O’hagan and a cameo from Cillian Murphy. It is the natural, sprawling successor to 2021’s ‘Coral Island’ and you will hear nothing like it in 2023.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Following their acclaimed album, Coral Island, the band felt inspired to create material for two more albums, (see the separate listing for 'Holy Joe’s Coral Island Medicine Show'). Amidst that songwriting scirroco, a combination of a script written by keyboard player, Nick Power, a vintage cinema foyer poster artwork was created by drummer, Ian Skelly confirmed Sea Of Mirrors’ vivid concept and the blueprint for The Coral to move beyond all expectations once again.

                                                                                                                                                                                      “Once the album concept was clear, this was us imagining the theme tune for an Italian western directed by Fellini with a Richard Yates-written script,” Explains James Skelly. “It’s us asking ourselves: what would have happened if Lee Hazlewood had produced a Gene Pitney song written by Townes Van Zandt?”

                                                                                                                                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                                      Barry says: The first of a two-album conceptual double-whammy from everyone's second favourite Wirral export. 'Sea Of Mirrors'. There is the classic Coral stomp and psychedelic groove we've come to love but infused with a heady mix of spaghetti western twangs and lysergic drifts of hazy country guitar.

                                                                                                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                                      Side A
                                                                                                                                                                                      The Actor And The Cardboard Cowboy
                                                                                                                                                                                      Cycles Of The Seasons
                                                                                                                                                                                      Faraway Worlds
                                                                                                                                                                                      Wild Bird
                                                                                                                                                                                      North Wind
                                                                                                                                                                                      Eleanor
                                                                                                                                                                                      Sea Of Mirrors
                                                                                                                                                                                      Side B
                                                                                                                                                                                      That's Where She Belongs
                                                                                                                                                                                      The Way You Are
                                                                                                                                                                                      Dream River
                                                                                                                                                                                      Child Of The Moon
                                                                                                                                                                                      Almeria
                                                                                                                                                                                      Oceans Apart

                                                                                                                                                                                      BONUS DINKED EDITION 7”
                                                                                                                                                                                      Looking For A Friend
                                                                                                                                                                                      Unhappy Girl

                                                                                                                                                                                      95 - Killer Mike

                                                                                                                                                                                      Michael

                                                                                                                                                                                        Killer Mike gets recognized for many things - being an Outkast protege, a member of rap powerhouse Run The Jewels, one of Atlanta’s biggest advocates, a Bernie Sanders whisperer, and, perhaps most importantly, a voice of reason in an increasingly insane world.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Some might know one or two of those sides of Mike, but he is finally ready to introduce the world to the totality of Michael Render, a lifelong rap fiend whose consciousness is seeped in the sounds of community that raised him - multiple eras of southern rap flows, Sunday church service, and barbershop discourse.

                                                                                                                                                                                        All these threads converge on his forthcoming first batch of solo material since his breakout solo album R.A.P. Music in 2012 and the most comprehensively autobiographical work he’s presented to date musically and personally. 


                                                                                                                                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                                        Barry says: Killer Mike (most recently of Run The Jewels fame) shows why he is such a respected rapper and songwriter in his own right, with a similar focus on political issues and clever songwriting as the aforementioned collaboration, but with a much more classical hip-hop flow and funky percussive backdrop. A hugely talented individual, showing us that 'Michael' is the perfect vehicle for his skills.

                                                                                                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Down By Law (ft. CeeLo Green)
                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Shed Tears (ft. Mozzy & Lena Byrd Miles)
                                                                                                                                                                                        3. RUN (ft. Young Thug)
                                                                                                                                                                                        4. N Rich (ft. 6LACK & Eryn Allen Kane)
                                                                                                                                                                                        5. Talk’n That Shit!
                                                                                                                                                                                        6. Slummer (ft. Jagged Edge)
                                                                                                                                                                                        7. Scientists & Engineers (ft. Andre 3000, Future, & Eryn Allen Kane)
                                                                                                                                                                                        8. Two Days (ft. Ty Dolla $ign)
                                                                                                                                                                                        9. Spaceship Views (Curren$y, 2 Chainz, Kaash Paige)
                                                                                                                                                                                        10. Exit 9 (ft. Blxst)
                                                                                                                                                                                        11. Something For Junkies (ft. Fabo)
                                                                                                                                                                                        12. Motherless (ft. Eryn Allen Kane)
                                                                                                                                                                                        13. Don’t Let The Devil (ft. EL-P & Thankugoodsir)
                                                                                                                                                                                        14. High And Holy (ft. Ty Dolla $ign)
                                                                                                                                                                                        15. Yes
                                                                                                                                                                                        16. Maynard Vignette (ft. T.I., JID, & Jacquees)
                                                                                                                                                                                        17. Get Some Money

                                                                                                                                                                                        96 - Public Image Ltd

                                                                                                                                                                                        End Of World

                                                                                                                                                                                          Earlier this year, PiL released Hawaii, the most personal piece of songwriting and accompanying artwork that John Lydon has ever shared. The song is a love letter to John's wife Nora, who sadly passed away from Alzheimer’s on Wednesday 5th April. A pensive, personal yet universal love song that has resonated with many since its release in January, the song sees John reflecting on their lifetime well spent and in particular one of their happiest moments together in Hawaii. John said, “Nora loved the album, she wouldn’t have wanted us to postpone it or change any of our plans.”

                                                                                                                                                                                          Previously he has said of Hawaii, “It is dedicated to everyone going through tough times on the journey of life, with the person they care for the most.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Celebrating their 40-year anniversary in 2018, the band is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and influential bands of all time. PiL’s music and vision has earned them 5 UK Top 20 singles and 5 UK Top 20 albums. With a shifting line-up and unique sound - fusing rock, dance, folk, pop and dub – Lydon guided the band from their debut album First Issue in 1978 through to 1992’s That What Is Not, before a 17 year hiatus. Lydon reactivated PiL in 2009, touring extensively worldwide and releasing two critically acclaimed albums This is PiL in 2012 followed by their 10th studio album What The World Needs Now… in 2015, which peaked at number 29 in the official UK album charts and picked up fantastic acclaim from both press and public. (The album also peaked at number 3 in the official UK indie charts and number 4 in the official UK vinyl charts). What The World Needs Now… was self-funded by PiL and released on their own label ‘PiL Official’ via Cargo UK Distribution. In 2018 PiL celebrated their 40th anniversary with a career-spanning box set and documentary, both called ‘The Public Image Is Rotten’, and a 32-date UK/Europe tour, plus dates in Japan. John Lydon, Lu Edmonds, Scott Firth and Bruce Smith continue as PiL. They are the longest stable line-up in the band's history and continue to challenge and thrive. 

                                                                                                                                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                                          Barry says: Another strong LP for PIL here, trading on the sounds we've come to expect from their previous post-reunion outings, with Lydon's vocals in fine form, lurching from snarling spoken word to rhythmic swing and (relatively) soft melodic passages. While PIL have never been one to go with expectations, it's this scattershot stylistic barrage that's become their trademark, and on 'End Of World' it's as effective as ever. Another killer outing.

                                                                                                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Penge
                                                                                                                                                                                          2. End Of The World
                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Car Chase
                                                                                                                                                                                          4. Being Stupid Again
                                                                                                                                                                                          5. Walls
                                                                                                                                                                                          6. Pretty Awful
                                                                                                                                                                                          7. Strange
                                                                                                                                                                                          8. Down On The Clown
                                                                                                                                                                                          9. Dirty Murky Delight
                                                                                                                                                                                          10. The Do That
                                                                                                                                                                                          11. L F C F
                                                                                                                                                                                          12. North West Passage
                                                                                                                                                                                          13. Hawaii

                                                                                                                                                                                          97 - Chip Wickham

                                                                                                                                                                                          Love & Life

                                                                                                                                                                                            “Life is nothing without love. Love is the force that drives our journey in life. Life is love and love is life.”

                                                                                                                                                                                            UK jazz master Chip Wickham follows last year’s brilliant soulful long-player Cloud 10 with a deftly crafted, reflective EP of beautiful spiritual jazz sounds influenced by the soulful sounds of Yusef Lateef. Chip’s music has always drawn from a broad world of influences from hip-hop to Roland Kirk and from classic funk to the classic ‘60s Brit-Jazz sound of Tubby Hayes. But Love & Life finds him foregrounding his wonderful flute playing and producing a perfect fourtracker of reflective, peaceful jazz that elevates and inspires as well as a trademark slice of boppish soul jazz – the jaunty Space Walk.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Elsewhere lead single Love & Life is a joyous jazz waltz with an uplifting, bouncing groove and Slow Down Look Around is introspective and intimate, featuring Chip’s signature flute with a beautiful solo from UK trumpeter Malcolm Strachan. Chip explains that the track presents “a big lesson for us to learn as the world changes around us with such speed. The technology changes but our human needs remain the same: peace, tranquillity and time to think.”


                                                                                                                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                                            Barry says: I'm not historically a big Jazz fan, but one of the labels that changed my ideas of what a Jazz record was, was Gondwana. It turns out that while I wasn't super keen on 'mad jazz' (Free) it turns out that I was really quite into 'Chill Jazz' (spiritual), and Chip Wickham's warmly evocative, beautifully paced 'Love & Life' epitomises everything I discovered I like in a jazz record.

                                                                                                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Space Walk
                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Love & Life
                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Seven Worlds
                                                                                                                                                                                            4. Slow Down Look Around

                                                                                                                                                                                            98 - Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

                                                                                                                                                                                            Land Of Sleeper

                                                                                                                                                                                              Whether inhabiting the realm of dreams or nightmares, the primordial drive of Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs is more powerful than ever and ‘Land Of Sleeper’, their fifth record in a decade of rancour and revelation is testimony to this. Arguably the most potent and assured record of their storied life so far, it’s the product of a band energised and fortified by their individual passions to incendiary effect. After the travails of the two and a half years since 2020’s ‘Viscerals’, ‘Land Of Sleeper’ sees the Newcastle-based quintet not so much reinvigorated as channelling a furious drive which only appears to gather momentum as the band’s surroundings spins on their axis.

                                                                                                                                                                                              For all that the last few years have seen Pigs’ stature rise in the wake of triumphant festival slots and sold-out venues like, this remains a band fundamentally incapable of tailoring their sound to a prospective audience, rather standing alone and impervious as a monument of catharsis.“Certainly for me, writing and playing music is often surprising and revealing, it can be like holding up a mirror and seeing things you didn’t expect to see” reckons drummer Ewan Mackenzie, whose return to the Pigs fray after two albums away marked another big influence on the new record. “For me, the darker tracks on the record hold in common a determination not to lose faith, despite the odds”

                                                                                                                                                                                              The better to unite slumber and waking, ‘Land Of Sleeper’ is no less than an act of transcendence for Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs - new anthems to elucidate a world sleepwalking to oblivion.

                                                                                                                                                                                              'Land Of Sleeper come housed in eye-popping 'Callum Rooney' sleeve art with obi strip and 'Oz' style lyrics poster.

                                                                                                                                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                                              Barry says: The unstoppable Pigs x7 return for a more expansive blast of their gritty sludge-rock, swimming with groove but edging into darker climes. It's a confident and psychedelic blast from one of the greatest bunch of noise merchants in the game.

                                                                                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                                              01. Ultimate Hammer
                                                                                                                                                                                              02. Terror's Pillow
                                                                                                                                                                                              03. Big Rig
                                                                                                                                                                                              04. The Weatherman
                                                                                                                                                                                              05. Mr Medicine
                                                                                                                                                                                              06. Pipe Down!
                                                                                                                                                                                              07. Atlas Stone
                                                                                                                                                                                              08. Ball Lightning 

                                                                                                                                                                                              99 - Pip Blom

                                                                                                                                                                                              Bobbie

                                                                                                                                                                                                For her third album, ‘Bobbie’, Dutch singer-songwriter Pip Blom decided to rip it up and start again. After making her name as one of the brightest indie rock singers around through two albums – 2019 debut ‘Boat’ and 2021 follow-up ‘Welcome Break’ – and a lauded live show honed over gruelling years of touring, the new album sees her take a delightful left turn into thumping, carefree synth pop. This 12-track collection features collaborations with Personal Trainer and Alex Kapranos.


                                                                                                                                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                                                Barry says: Ooof, what a lovely change of direction for Amsterdam's Pip Blom, brimming with the sort of instrumental loveliness they've done so well in the past but lighetened with a lean towards more carefree synth-pop grooves. It's brilliantly fresh, but without sacrificing anything that made the band so beloved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Not Tonight
                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Tiger
                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Red
                                                                                                                                                                                                4. Kiss Me By The Candlelightfeat. Personal Trainer
                                                                                                                                                                                                5. I Can Be Your Man
                                                                                                                                                                                                6. Where'd You Get My Number?
                                                                                                                                                                                                7. Brand New Car
                                                                                                                                                                                                8. Is This Love?feat. Alex Kapranos
                                                                                                                                                                                                9. Fantasies
                                                                                                                                                                                                10. Again
                                                                                                                                                                                                11. Get Back
                                                                                                                                                                                                12. 7 Weeks 

                                                                                                                                                                                                100 - Yeule

                                                                                                                                                                                                Softscars

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Multi-dimensional artist and producer yeule announces their new album softscars arriving 22nd September via Ninja Tune. The album represents a new direction for yeule as they explore softer textures and disembodied arrangements that feature their ethereal vocals front and centre. The project closely examines the anatomy of their long held emotional wounds for their most vulnerable work yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The announcement follows their previous single “sulky baby" and their critically-acclaimed 2022 album Glitch Princess, which received a 'Best New Music' stamp from Pitchfork. yeule is a multifaceted artist across music and visual art. The yeule project was fabricated by Ćmiel to act as a portal or rift which allows them to communicate their art to the outside world, while still being protected within their inner shell. yeule was constructed as a manifesto of Ćmiel’s own identity, where they have always had access to multiple avatars and the freedom to change or contort at will — solace through embodying mutable, chameleon-like multiplicities.


                                                                                                                                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Martin says: An unnervingly diverse selection of glitched-out electronics, roaring electro-punk and shimmering shoegaze atmospherics, ripped and scattered across the sound field. There are as many moments of tentative beauty as there are uncompromising walls of sound and pummelling syncopated electronics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Side A:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  X W X
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sulky Baby
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Softscars
                                                                                                                                                                                                  4ui12
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ghosts
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dazies

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Side B:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fish In The Pool
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Software Update
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Inferno
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bloodbunny
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cyber Meat
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Aphex Twin Flame


                                                                                                                                                                                                  Latest Pre-Sales

                                                                                                                                                                                                  203 NEW ITEMS

                                                                                                                                                                                                  E-newsletter —
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sign up
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Back to top