MID-TERM REVIEW 2024

TOP 50 ALBUMS

Wow, we're already at the mid point of the year!! Where did those months go?!?!? So, as a handy Summer catch-up we compiled a selection of 50 staff favourites that have been hammered on the playlist here at Piccadilly Towers between January and June.

They've been compiled in A-Z order - you'll have to wait until December to find out the numerical positions in our End Of Year chart, but If you wanna see our standout Top 10 big hitters then click here...

Also, check out our Mid-Term Top 25 Collections, click here for full details.

A Certain Ratio

It All Comes Down To This

    It All Comes Down to This is the brand new album from Manchester legends A Certain Ratio, produced by Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey.

    This album takes A Certain Ratio back to their roots, featuring 10 straight-to-the-point tracks, with a sprinkling of electronics for good measure. It is the first time the band has recorded as the core 3-piece lineup of Jez Kerr, Martin Moscrop, and Donald Johnson, with no additional collaborators or members of the live setup. Following on from ACR's acclaimed 1982 album and the electrifying 2023 EP, It All Comes Down to This continues the lineage of constant progression demonstrated by the band.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: A brilliant new album from Manchester's Certain Ratio and a stunning example of ACR's unique fusion of vibrant, groove-led indie music and post-punk adjacent stomp. 'It All Comes Down To This' could be their most definitive statement yet both wilfully celebratory, and brilliantly hefty. A perfect distillation of their hugely varied sound.

    Laura says: Speedy Wunderground's Dan Carey, has managed a near perfect distillation of ACR's sound here, as the trio of Jez Kerr, Martin Moscrop and Donald Johnson draw on the post-punk-funk grooves of their early days while ruminating on the current state of the world. For me it's the best thing they've done in ages.

    TRACK LISTING

    Vinyl Tracklist
    A1 All Comes Down To This
    A2 Keep It Real
    A3 We All Need
    A4 Surfer Ticket
    A5 Bitten By A Lizard
    B1 God Knows
    B2 Out From Under
    B3 Estate Kings
    B4 Where You Coming From
    B5 Dorothy Says

    CD Tracklist
    1 All Comes Down To This
    2 Keep It Real
    3 We All Need
    4 Surfer Ticket
    5 Bitten By A Lizard
    6 God Knows
    7 Out From Under
    8 Estate Kings
    9 Where You Coming From
    10 Dorothy Says

    Beak>

    >>>>

      This is the fourth Beak> studio album, imaginatively titled ‘>>>>’. At its core we always wanted it to be head music, listened to as an album, not as individual songs. This is why we are releasing this album with no upfront singles or promo tracks.

      The recording & writing initially began in a house called Pen Y Bryn in Talsarnau, Wales in the fall out from the weirdness of the covid days. Remote and with only ourselves and the view of Portmeirion in the distance we got to work.

      With the opening track, ‘Strawberry Line’ as the metronomic guide for the album, we then resumed recording, as before, at Invada studios in Bristol, whilst still touring around Europe & North/South America.

      After playing hundreds of gigs & festivals over the years we felt that touring had started to influence our writing to the point we weren’t sure who we were anymore. So we decided to go back to the origins of where we were at on our first album. With zero expectations and just playing together in a room.

      Hopefully we have achieved this.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Beak have definitely ascended on their latest, '>>>>'. Though their DNA has always had something in common with classic rock and psychedelia, the newest outing is so deeply psychedelic and grand that it almost defies explanation. Think the wilder side of haunting neo-folk and Kosmische music combined with post-rock and a dash of hypnotic dancefloor percussion and you're somewhere near. Brilliant madness.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Strawberry Line
      2. The Seal
      3. Windmill Hill
      4. Denim
      5. Hungry Are We
      6. Ah Yeh
      7. Blood Miles
      8. Secrets*
      9 - Cellophane

      (*’Secrets’ Not On Vinyl But Inc. In LP Download)

      Yaya Bey

      Ten Fold

        Yaya Bey unveils her latest studio album Ten Fold via Big Dada, available on standard black LP and translucent red indie LP.

        New York-bred R&B vocalist Yaya Bey conjures a comprehensive self-portrait on her new studio album, Ten Fold.

        Where her previous works were earnest and mindful, Yaya’s new LP is definitive, harkening back to aspects of her past while examining the future of the world that surrounds her with a stream-of-conscious intentionality.

        Over rapturous production from Corey Fonville of jazz group Butcher Brown, Karriem Riggins, Jay Daniel, Exaktly and Boston Chery, Yaya delivers a free-spoken masterpiece that speaks to the intricacies of persevering through a year punctuated by grief and loss, life-altering milestones and everything in between.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: A biographical tale, told through the words of poet and vocalist Yaya Bey. Richly rendered R&B grooves and flickering electronic shards all work beautifully beneath Bey's often spoken-word storytelling. 'Ten Fold' takes the classics of disco, house and hip-hop and filters them through Yaya Bey's distinctive modern filter.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Crying Through My Teeth
        2. The Evidence
        3. Chrysanthemums
        4. Sir Princess Bad Bitch
        5. East Coast Mami
        6. Chasing The Bus
        7. All Around Los Angeles
        8. Slow Dancing In The Kitchen
        9. So Fantastic (feat. Grand Daddy I.U.)
        10. Eric Adams In The Club (feat. Exaktly)
        11. Me And All My Niggas
        12. Iloveyoufrankiebeverly
        13. Career Day
        14. Carl Thomas Sliding Down The Wall
        15. Yvette's Cooking Show
        16. Let Go

        Camera Obscura

        Look To The East, Look To The West

          Look to the East, Look to the West, the new album by Camera Obscura, is a revelation. The Tracyanne Campbell-led outfit, reuniting with producer Jari Haapalainen (Let’s Get Out of This Country, My Maudlin Career), have crafted an album that simultaneously recalls why longtime fans have ferociously loved them for decades while also being their most sophisticated effort to date.

          It is also the most hard-fought album of Camera Obscura’s career. Following the 2015 passing of founding keyboardist and friend Carey Lander (to whom the penultimate track “Sugar Almond” is addressed), the band went into an extended hiatus. They remained in contact, but their status was uncertain until they announced their return, having been invited to perform as part of Belle & Sebastian’s 2019 Boaty Weekender cruise festival, along with a pair of sold-out warm-up shows in Glasgow. Donna Maciocia (keys and vocals) joined founding members Kenny McKeeve (guitar and vocals), Gavin Dunbar (bass), and Lee Thomson (drums and percussion) for those shows and has since become a regular songwriting partner of Campbell’s.

          Recorded in the same room where Queen wrote “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Look to the East, Look to the West feels big, a widescreen reframing of Camera Obscura’s sound that, paradoxically, saw the band go back to basics there are no string or brass arrangements, with more emphasis placed on piano, synthesizers, Hammond organ, and drum machines, and, perhaps most strikingly, the group have dropped the veil of reverb that characterized their previous albums. The tinges of country and soul that give Camera Obscura’s baroque take on pop music its bittersweet edge have never been more apparent guitars shimmer into the distance, keys haunt, and Campbell’s voice searches for the heart, reflecting on love, loss, and the passage of time.

          Lead single “Big Love” relishes in the space between country rock and prog, a pining break-up anthem featuring the soaring pedal steel of Tim Davidson. It’s a Nashville Sound heartbreaker, tackling the complexity of wanting to rekindle a bad relationship with Campbell’s uncanny ability to render the past: “It was a big love, she said / That’s why it took ten years to get her out of her head,” she begins.

          “We’re Going to Make It in a Man’s World” was co-written with Maciocia for filmmaker Margaret Salmon’s 2021 film Icarus (After Amelia). (Salmon, in turn, shot Look to the East, Look to the West’s cover photography featuring Fiona Morrison, who was on the cover of Camera Obscura’s debut, Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi.). Ironic and sincere, the two navigate the reality of being women in the music industry, somehow floating over Davidson’s pedal steel and Maciocia’s keys. “The Light Nights” is a swooning song propelled by a western shuffle and killer guitar, striking a balance between a particularly good honky-tonk joint’s jukebox and a lost gem of California pop music waiting to be discovered in a 7” bin.

          Look to the East, Look to the West is the sound of a band that has grown more confident in its sound and purpose than ever. It is Camera Obscura at their best and most evocative, an album that completely rearranges the listener’s emotional core, leaving them sad and exhilarated at the same time. Camera Obscura’s catalog is replete with songs people point to as life-changing, songs that will stick with them all their lives. Look to the East, Look to the West has 11 of them; take your pick. 

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: Camera Obscura return! After the sad passing of Carey Lander, it's hard to imagine how the band could continue but 'Look To The East...' takes all of the latent melodicism and swooning choruses and strips them back to a fairly minimalist backbone. There are moments of the cinematic intensity and wistful grandiosity of their previous work but it's a much more emotionally wrought, fickle affair, and all the more beautiful for it.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Liberty Print
          2. We’re Going To Make It In A Man’s World
          3. Big Love
          4. Only A Dream
          5. The Light Nights
          6. Sleepwalking
          7. Baby Huey (Hard Times)
          8. Denon
          9. Pop Goes Pop
          10. Sugar Almond
          11. Look To The East, Look To The West.

          Charli XCX

          Brat

            ‘BRAT’ is the eagerly awaited follow up to 2022’s ‘CRASH’, which reached number 1 on the UK’s official album chart, and promises to be an exhilarating club record built around high art references and social commentary.

            Avant-pop and electronic superstar Charli XCX has become an iconic figure in the arts, having helped expand the landscape of popular music over the last decade by seamlessly traversing the underground and mainstream with her artistic output. Over the course of a trailblazing career, the multi-hyphenate creative has earned critical acclaim for her innovative style and entrepreneurial spirit and seen her forward-thinking approach reshape pop culture in the process.

            Her lasting impact was cemented last year when Charli was honoured with the Visionary Award at the annual Ivor Novellos in London, while she also received the Powerhouse Award at Billboard’s Women In Music ceremony in Los Angeles in March.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: A perfectly presented, effervescent pop album that's as perfectly produced as it is brilliantly written, lurching from airy, jagged PC Music grooves (it was also produced by AG Cook of PC Music) into thumping, spine-tingling four-on-the-floor power. It's brilliantly off-piste when it needs to be, but in the most part, impeccably written, beautifully textured pop bliss.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. 360
            2. Club Classics
            3. Sympathy Is A Knife
            4. I Might Say Something Stupid
            5. Talk Talk
            6. Von Dutch
            7. Everything Is Romantic
            8. Rewind
            9. So I
            10. Girl, So Confusing
            11. Apple
            12. B2b
            13. Mean Girls
            14. I Think About It All The Time
            15. 365

            Cloud Nothings

            Final Summer

              Cloud Nothings are back! Cleveland's loudest export with their new album, Final Summer via Pure Noise Records. Over the past 15 years Cloud Nothings have become part of the fabric of modern indie rock with a steady run of reliably fantastic records, and this streak continues unabated with Final Summer – an album that’s so assured, so instantly satisfying, that it forces you to pause and realize you’re listening to one of the great American rock bands in their prime.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: Equal parts rolling scuzz-garage and psydedelic grunge music, cloud nothings effortlessly lurch between sound worlds into places that are both terrifying and exciting. Even on record you can hear the tremendous energy emanating from the Ohioan trio, I bet they're a lot of fun to watch live. Brilliantly raucous.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Final Summer
              2. Daggers Of Light
              3. I'd Get Along
              4. Mouse Policy
              5. Silence
              6. Running Through The Campus
              7. The Golden Halo
              8. Thank Me For Playing
              9. On The Chain
              10. Common Mistake

              Cult Member

              Ethernet

                Pure Life are one of the most consistently interesting, stylistically varied labels out there and their latest outing comes in the way of the remastered synthwave / electronic masterpiece 'Ethernet' from Canadian superproducer, Cult Member.

                There are moments of snapping, AFX-adjacent braindance like the spine-fluid-drainingly energetic '2 Pills' or the bitrushed glitchy maelstrom of the brilliant 'Mall Corp', but for me it's the moments of crystalline mystery and sidechained throbby pad wooze of 'Steroid Dealer' or the otherworldy euphoria of 'Dream Member' that really hit home. 

                A brilliantly immersive, lysergic journey through acid house, techno and synthwave, pushed through a murky filter and beautifully presented as ever, from one of the greatest labels in the biz. Stunner.  




                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: Another perfectly presented, wonderfully immersive collection from Pure Life here, showcasing this sonically reworked edition of 2019's 'Ethernet' from Canadian Liam Hayden. You better get in quick for this one, because i've rarely heard a more perfect modern lo-fi electronica record, and it's not going to last for ever.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. 2080 03:31
                2. 2 Pills 02:32
                3. Acid Jam Mutek 03:24
                4. Steroid Dealer 05:21
                5. Faygo 02:49
                6. Hello Danny Boy 03:52
                7. Mall Corp 03:25
                8. Cinderella 99 02:54
                9. Санкт-Петербург 04:50
                10. Dream Member 03:54
                11. Key West 06:42

                DIIV

                Frog In Boiling Water

                  Produced by Chris Coady and written by DIIV (pronounced Dive), Frog in Boiling Water, the band’s fourth full-length LP is a collection of snapshots that explores the brutal realities of end-stage capitalism and overwhelming technological advance. Across 10 dark and dazzling tracks, DIIV documents the collapse from various angles with unusual sensitivity and depth of purpose while expanding their grand, hypnotic shoegaze, to create a transportive, sensual work of hope, beauty and renewal.

                  "Musically, we were excited to explore new territory sonically. We collected and cataloged cassette tapes and made tape loops, used samples, weird guitar tunings, crude synthesizers. It’s the least “genre” record we’ve ever made and we’re excited to show everyone the musical world we’ve found."

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Liam says: Following on from their monumental 2019 album 'Deceiver', 'Frog In Boiling Water' sees DIIV still with their shoes set to gaze mode and it might be even be their best yet. With nods to Sonic Youth, Duster, Slowdive and MBV, 'FIBW' is also DIIV's most lyrically dense as it touches on brutal realities of end-stage capitalism and overwhelming technological advance - plus it sounds absolutely massive! The textures/sonics on here are incredible and the best DIIV have ever sounded, I truly can't recommended this album enough!!!

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. In Amber
                  2. Brown Paper Bag
                  3. Raining On Your Pillow
                  4. Frog In Boiling Water
                  5. Everyone Out
                  6. Reflected
                  7. Somber The Drums
                  8. Little Birds
                  9. Soul-net
                  10. Fender On The Freeway

                  Ducks Ltd.

                  Harm's Way

                    Ducks Ltd. make inviting and frenetic guitar pop for when life feels overwhelming. While the band’s songs are ostensibly breezy, a palpable anxiety boils underneath that communicates something deeper about everyday existence. On their latest album Harm’s Way, the Toronto duo of Tom McGreevy and Evan Lewis hones in on interpersonal and societal collapses, urban decay, and the near-impossibility of keeping a level head when everything around you seems to be falling apart.

                    Even with its often dark subject matter, Harm’s Way is Ducks Ltd.’s most vividly rendered and collaborative collection yet. It’s an undeniable evolution for the band, not just in how these songs soar, but in their entire writing and recording processes. Composed on tour while supporting acts like Nation of Language, Illuminati Hotties, and Archers of Loaf, the album displays the band’s finely tuned songcraft and well-earned, road-tested confidence.

                    The band, fortified by this strong sense of sonic identity and a self-assurance in their new material—and in contrast to their critically acclaimed 2021 debut Modern Fiction and 2019 EP Get Bleak, both self-recorded and self-produced in a Toronto basement—wanted to bring Harm’s Way to life in a new city, with an outside producer, and with some of their favorite musicians. Working with producer Dave Vettraino, they enlisted a marquee cast of Windy City collaborators to round out the tracks on Harm’s Way, including: Finom’s Macie Stewart; Ratboys’ Marcus Nuccio; Dehd’s Jason Balla; and backing vocals from Julia Steiner (Ratboys), Nathan O’Dell (Dummy), Margaret McCarthy (Moontype), Rui De Magalhaes (Lawn), and Lindsey-Paige McCloy (Patio). The band’s touring drummer, Jonathan Pappo, and bassist Julia Wittman also appear on the LP.

                    Harm’s Way’s lush, melodic swagger is clear from the first notes of opener “Hollowed Out.” A song about living with decline (inspired by a Toronto sinkhole), its bright, indelible catchiness serves in contrast to its lyrical unease. Anchored by Lewis’ shimmering electric guitar, “The Main Thing” laments growing apart from a person whose views you once shared while managing to toss in references to both the unglamorous lives of middle relief baseball pitchers and the occult. Other songs split the difference between country and krautrock, like the rollicking “Train Full of Gasoline,” which uses the 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster in Quebec as a metaphor for self-destructive patterns.

                    Harm’s Way is Duck Ltd.’s most intuitive and organic album yet, the result of keen observation, self-possessed songwriting, and a collaborative spirit. Building on the successes of their previous releases, the deeply relatable album displays a band operating at a nuanced, lyrical and musical best.


                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Barry says: Another uplifting slice of jangling guitar and post-punk adjacent songwriting sensibilities from Canada-based Ducks Ltd. It's hugely anthemic in parts, reminiscent of the soaring choruses of Hot Water Music or The Icarus Line, but lightened with a real focus on melody and groove and the perfectly droll vocals of Tom McGreevy.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Side A
                    1. Hollowed Out
                    2. Catherdral City
                    3. The Main Thing
                    4. Train Full Of Gasoline
                    5. Deleted Scenes
                    Side B
                    6. On Our Way To The Rave
                    7. A Girl, Running
                    8. Harm's Way
                    9. Heavy Bag

                    Billie Eilish

                    Hit Me Hard And Soft

                      Billie Eilish’s third studio album, "Hit Me Hard And Soft", released via Darkroom/Interscope Records is her most daring body of work to date, a diverse yet cohesive collection of songs— ideally listened to in its entirety from beginning to end—does exactly as the album title suggests; hits you hard and soft both lyrically and sonically, while bending genres and defying trends along the way. With the help of her brother and sole collaborator, Finneas, the pair wrote, recorded, and produced the album together in their hometown of Los Angeles. This album comes on the heels of her two massively successful albums “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?" and "Happier Than Ever" and works to further develop the world of Billie Eilish. 

                      Einsturzende Neubauten

                      Rampen (APM: Alien Pop Music)

                        Einstürzende Neubauten present their new album. RAMPEN (apm: alien pop music)

                        They search for new forms - pursuing undiscovered sounds and unspoken words.

                        Since the band was founded on April 1, 1980, Einstürzende Neubauten have been shifting the parameters of mainstream and subculture to make the inaudible audible - perhaps the unheard as well. This experimental field research, spanning more than four decades, is now entering the next stage.

                        In its 44th year of existence, the band is going back to its roots while redefining itself. It’s a change in self- image, for which the Berlin quintet plus one has created its own genre in 2024: apm – alien pop music.

                        Constant evolution – that’s how Einstürzende Neubauten’s body of work can best be summarized. A musical evolution, which began with the debut album Kollaps in 1981 and is now being manifested with the release of the album Rampen – apm: alien pop music in April 24, on which Blixa Bargeld, N. U. Unruh, Alexander Hacke, Jochen Arbeit, Rudolph Moser and Felix Gebhard present themselves from their most unpredictable and unconventional sides. On their new album, the Neubauten now put an – albeit belated – end to all sound speculations.

                        Since the mid-1980s, Einstürzende Neubauten have been experimenting on stage with what they call “ramps”: public improvisations with open developments and outcomes; launchpads into the still unexplored that the band performed in 2022 during the encore on its last Alles in Allem tour and those recordings served as the basis for the new album.

                        Rampen – apm: alien pop music is pop music for parallel universes and in-between worlds - for hyperspaces and interzones. It is microcosmic and intergalactic at the same time. It’s a demi-sophisticated claim outside of all physical laws, with which the Einstürzende Neubauten enter a stylistic no man’s land between the past and future. There’s a return to the roots on one side, while a new art form emerges on the other from powerful eruptions of noise encountering cryptic, often fragmentary lyrics: Popular music for aliens and outcasts. Anti- pop has become alien pop. Outlandish. Spun like a cocoon. Unheard. Sonus inauditus. Not unintentionally, the reduced artwork on the cover is reminiscent of the iconic layout on the Beatles’ White Album. “It’s based on the idea that the Einstürzende Neubauten are just as famous in another solar system as the Beatles are in our world,” Blixa Bargeld said, remarking on the balancing act between avant-garde and tongue-in-cheek, provocation and pop-cultural discontinuity.

                        This approach also directly defines the central theme running like a common thread through all the songs: change, utopian mind games and transience.

                        “On the album, I found a few solutions and formulated things in ways I haven’t formulated them before, because they were never so clear to me. I’m somebody who believes you can attain knowledge through music. It’s always been that way. I follow the conviction I’ll find something in the music that I didn’t know before. And sing some- thing that I didn’t know. Something that turns out to be true. Or, to take this down a notch, something that at least has meaning.” This album represents the next step in the evolution, where the familiar language is finally left behind, opening further, infinite possibilities: alien pop music.

                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Darryl says: Brooding, enigmatic and avant-garde, this is Neubauten at the peak of their powers. 44 years since they formed, and Blixa Bargeld and co. are still the kings of "Alien-Pop Music"!

                        TRACK LISTING

                        Disc 1:
                        01. Wie Lange Noch?
                        02. Ist Ist
                        03. Pestalozzi
                        04. Es Könnte Sein
                        05. Before I Go
                        06. Isso Isso
                        07. Besser Isses
                        08. Everything Will Be Fine

                        Disc 2:
                        01. The Pit Of Language
                        02. Planet Umbra
                        03. Tar & Feathers
                        04. Aus Den Zeiten
                        05. Ick Wees Nich (Noch Nich)
                        06. Trilobiten
                        07. Gesundbrunnen

                        English Teacher

                        This Could Be Texas

                          Leeds indie frontrunners English Teacher announce debut LP ‘This Could Be Texas’. Preceded by initial LP reveals ‘The World’s Biggest Paving Slab’, ‘Nearly Daffodils’ and ‘Mastermind Specialism’, which were all A-listed on the BBC 6 Music playlist, English Teacher’s remarkable ascent continues to reach new levels, having completed sold-out debut UK and US headline runs last autumn, following their thrilling debut appearance on Later With...Jools Holland. Announced as Independent Venue Week Artist Ambassador for 2024. Lead singer Lily Fontaine explains, “I want this album to feel like you’ve gone to space, and it turns out its almost identical to Doncaster. It’s about in-betweens, it’s about home, and it’s about Desire Paths." In several songs, Fontaine reflects on growing up as a mixed-race individual in a place, she says, “where many didn’t have any tolerance towards people who are different” in a post-Brexit landscape.

                          The debut album by Leeds frontrunners ‘This Could Be Texas’ will be released on 12th April 2023.

                          Lead singer Lily Fontaine explains, “I want this album to feel like you’ve gone to space, and it turns out its almost identical to Doncaster. It’s about in-betweens, it’s about home, and it’s about Desire Paths."

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Barry says: There's some brilliant music coming out of the London art/noise/garage rock scene at the moment and while i'm a big fan of pretty much all of it, there's nothing there that hits my feels quite as much as Leeds' English Teacher. Jagged, energetic instrumentation and moments of placid, drifting ambience abound, this is a startlingly cohesive and wonderfully deep debut.

                          Fat White Family

                          Forgiveness Is Yours

                            Fat White Family are back with the most sophisticated, vital and flamboyant creation of their career.

                            The cult south-London band’s resplendent fourth album Forgiveness Is Yours, like everything they’ve done, has pushed them to the limits not only of their creative talent, but of their health, their sanity, their very existence.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: Another blistering outing from Fat White Family, their first since 2019's brilliant Serfs Up! We get a little more sleazy lounge groove this time around, and a little more synthesiser pulses among the instantly recognisable postpunk march and taut art-rock rhythms, but it's the same FWF at heart. Ace.

                            Brand new album from electronic titan Kieran Hebden who continues his futuristic creation of sound across eight elegant and fantastic tracks. Utilizing a now well versed palette which seems to effortlessly merge organic instrumentation and hybridized vocals into digitally processed pastoral soundscapes. All the usual Hebdenian traits are audible on album opener "Loved" - from his well loved live drum breaks to the slightly melancholic piano lines. Quickly ushering in a more liminal experience, "Gliding Through Everything" is a crystalline waterfall that reimagines H2O as a 4D particle cascading through your fingertips. "Storm Crystals" quickly soothes with twangy mallets, downbeat groove and healing tones; the moment you quietly settle into your seat, expectations met and suitably zoned in for the rest of the LP. Hebden concludes side A with the accelerated pace of "Daydream Repeat"; which doesn't drift too far from themes explored throughout the side but ups the bpm and buoyancy.

                            Side B slows us back down, ready for the second half of the trip; emotive guitar lines picked from the ether as angelic vox are gently smudged and diced before our ears - a sonic trademark the producer has previously used on tracks such as "Love Cry" and "Baby". "31 Bloom" bounces out of the mainframe at another slightly increased tempo, glitched arpeggios and highly sequenced piano fragments beautifully coalesced into a moment of transcendental ascension. Penultimate track, "So Blue" allows us a moment of reflection, stark elements imparting such strong emotions - there's few producers who can squeeze so much human feeling out of their machines. Finally, "Three Drums" concludes in suitable form - a slowly spiraling semi-orchestral fury into a white hot, retina-scorching sun'; almost hallucinatory in its saturation yet carried along at a languid pace; allowing the listener to unwind into a paradisical dream state of Hebden's own creation.

                            Have to say he's done it again. It's nicely succinct and sequenced to perfection, with the four tracks on each side perfectly 

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: I've always been a massive fan of the ol' Four Tet, and while I think the more recent outings share characteristics with the glitched melodies and syncopated percussion of Pause or Rounds, it's a far more relaxing affair in all, owing a lot more to ambient music than the dancefloor-focused outings of the past. 'Three' is possibly his most focused and enjoyable work to date, and that's really something for a man with such a stellar discography.

                            TRACK LISTING

                            01 Loved 4:03
                            02 Gliding Through Everything 4:08
                            03 Storm Crystals 6:40
                            04 Daydream Repeat 6:09
                            05 Skater 4:16
                            06 31 Bloom 5:52
                            07 So Blue 5:30
                            08 Three Drums 8:16

                            Liam Gallagher & John Squire

                            Liam Gallagher & John Squire

                              Long-term friends with a mutual admiration for each other’s work, the idea of a collaboration started when John joined Liam on-stage at his biblical knebworth shows.

                              Song ideas were soon flowing, and the album took shape with an intuitive intensity while in Los Angeles with the revered producer Greg Kurstin. He played bass throughout the record, while drums were performed by Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M., Atoms For Peace).

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Barry says: I think about when I used to listen to Oasis and The Stone Roses back in 'The Day' and imagine how i'd feel if you told me that this would be a collaboration that could happen in the future. It's Squire's unmistakeable songwriting and playing, with Gallagher's vocals over the top. I bet he's even got his arms behind his back. Danceable, baggy psychedelic rock with vox one of the most legendary vocalists of his generation.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              1. Raise Your Hands
                              2. Mars To Liverpool
                              3. One Day At A Time
                              4. I’m A Wheel
                              5. Just Another Rainbow
                              6. Love You Forever
                              7. Make It Up As You Go Along
                              8. You're Not The Only One
                              9. I’m So Bored
                              10. Mother Nature's Song

                              Beth Gibbons

                              Lives Outgrown

                                Beth Gibbons releases her debut solo album Lives Outgrown on Friday the 17th of May 2024. Featuring 10 beautiful new songs recorded over a period of 10 years, the album was produced by James Ford & Beth Gibbons with additional production by Lee Harris (Talk Talk).

                                Lives Outgrown is, by some measure, Beth’s most personal work to date, the result of a period of sustained reflection and change — “lots of goodbyes,” in Beth’s words. Farewells to family, to friends, even to her former self. These are songs from the mid-course of life, when looking ahead no longer yields what it used to, and looking back has a sudden, sharper focus.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Barry says: A stunning selection of downbeat-infused instrumentals, woozy psychedelic folk and Gibbons' unmistakeably emotive vocal prowess. It's brilliantly composed, deeply personal and impeccably sequenced. It's a big relief honestly, because this further cements Gibbons as a musical legend in her own right.

                                TRACK LISTING

                                1. Tell Me Who You Are Today   
                                2. Floating On A Moment        
                                3. Burden Of Life        
                                4. Lost Changes          
                                5. Rewind
                                6. Reaching Out          
                                7. Oceans          
                                8. For Sale        
                                9. Beyond The Sun  
                                10. Whispering Love 

                                Peggy Gou

                                I Hear You

                                  Artist, producer, DJ and cultural trailblazer Peggy Gou announces details of her long-awaited debut album. One of the most hotly-anticipated debut records in recent years, I Hear You will be released on 7th June 2024 via XL Recordings. The ten track album is the culmination of years of work for the Korean-born artist, who’s uniquely revered as both an underground icon and global sensation, sticking by her own unwavering vision to become one of the most in-demand electronic music artists and DJs in the world. Featuring previous singles, the 2023 chart-topping global hit “(It Goes Like) Nanana” and her Lenny Kravitz collaboration “I Believe in Love Again”, the LP sees Gou stepping into the next level of her artistry and boldly claiming her voice through the kaleidoscopic lens of ‘90s house music.

                                  Talking about I Hear You, Peggy Gou says:
                                  “I Hear You is more than just my debut album. It embodies countless hours of dedication in my journey to create something timeless, and is a testament to the power of listening, to ourselves and to each other.”

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: Nostalgia hits differently doesn't it? The shining clarity of modern house music certainly has something about it that's satisfying, but has anything in the past ten years come close to tickling the same nostalgic 90's rave / breaks / house receptor that Peggy Gou's music has? Definitely not. A brilliant and long-awaited debut album from one of the hottest names in the dance music world.

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  Your Art
                                  Back To One
                                  I Believe In Love Again
                                  All That
                                  (It Goes Like) Nanana
                                  Lobster Telephone
                                  Seoulsi Peggygou (서울시페기구)
                                  I Go
                                  Purple Horizon
                                  1+1=11

                                  John Grant

                                  The Art Of The Lie

                                    Following the runaway success of his last LP, Boy From Michigan, which crashed the UK Top 10 back in July 2021, legendary singer-songwriter John Grant returns with his hugely-anticipated sixth album, The Art Of The Lie.

                                    Released 14th June via longtime label Bella Union, The Art Of The Lie is Grant’s most opulent, cinematic, luxurious album yet and confirms Grant’s status as a modern electronic auteur. Grant likens the musical flavours of The Art of the Lie to the sumptuous Vangelis soundtrack for Bladerunner or the Carpenters if John Carpenter were also a member. While undeniably a John Grant record, nestling humour into tragedy, bleeding anger into compassion, there is a musical ambition and nerve to ‘The Art of the Lie’ which offsets its most political and personal moments.

                                    The Art of The Lie was produced by Grant and Grammy-nominated producer Ivor Guest who is perhaps best known for his work with Grace Jones & Brigitte Fontaine. The album features an array of celebrated musicians including Dave Okumu, Seb Rochford and Robin Mullarkey.


                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                    Barry says: Aaaah, finally! It's always a good day when shop favourite disco synthlord and all-round sleaze-pop genius John Grant puts out a new LP, and this is a doozie. Gradually eschewing the straight-laced (but obviously thoroughly brilliant) moody synth chug of Pale Green Ghosts or Queen Of Denmark for an increasingly diverse and ever-blooming sound palette, 'The Art Of The Lie' is a wildly inventive and brilliantly produced new chapter in JG's storied musical legacy.

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    1. All That School For Nothing
                                    2. Marbles
                                    3. Father
                                    4. Mother And Son
                                    5. Twistin Scriptures
                                    6. Meek AF
                                    7. It's A Bitch
                                    8. Daddy
                                    9. The Child Catcher
                                    10. Laura Lou
                                    11. Zeitgeist

                                    Richard Hawley

                                    In This City They Call You Love

                                      The new album by Richard Hawley, 'In This City They Call You Love' sees Richard ditch the distortion pedals and go back into making voice most prominent.

                                      Following the universal acclaim for 'Standing At The Sky's Edge', the award-winning musical based on his songs, in May Richard Hawley returns with 'In This City They Call You Love', his ninth studio album and his first since 2019's 'Further'.

                                      'In This City They Call You Love' features 12 outstanding songs, many of which can be described as 'vintage Hawley' and are amongst some of the finest ballads he's ever written. Gorgeous melodies and arrangements are accompanied by his emotive and sonorous voice, which sounds better than ever, and will make this a crowning moment in a hugely successful recording career of almost 25 years.


                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                      Barry says: A perfect distillation of Hawley's classic sound, whimsical balladry and beautiful instrumentation around a core of thoughtful lyrics and rich, swooning orchestral majesty. Nobody sounds quite like Hawley, and this couldn't be a more perfect representation of his appeal.

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      1. Two For His Heels
                                      2. Have Love
                                      3. Prism In Jeans
                                      4. Heavy Rain
                                      5. People
                                      6. Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow
                                      7. Deep Space
                                      8. Deep Waters
                                      9. I’ll Never Get Over You
                                      10. Do I Really Need To Know?
                                      11. When The Lights Go Out
                                      12. ‘Tis Night

                                      Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band

                                      Loophole

                                        62 years of music, loves, losses, long summer days and longer, darker nights are vividly recalled by ‘our greatest living songwriter’, Michael Head and The Red Elastic Band as he plays out flickering scenes from his life on new album, Loophole.

                                        12 evocative and autobiographical songs to be accompanied by the written word as Michael Head prepares his memoirs for release with an autobiography with Nine Eight Books. 

                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                        Andy says: Dear Scott's mellower sibling picks up where our record of the year left off, with the stunning Shirl's Ghost, and meanders beautifully through Mick's usual magical worlds before ending on his ages old, but hitherto not recorded, lost classic, Coda. Mick's only gone and smashed it again. As the maestro himself would undoubtedly say: Is Right!

                                        TRACK LISTING

                                        1 Shirl's Ghost
                                        2 Ambrosia
                                        3 Ciao Ciao Bambino
                                        4 Tout Suite!
                                        5 The Human Race
                                        6 You Smiled At Me
                                        7 A Ricochet Moment
                                        8 Connemara
                                        9 Merry-Go-Round
                                        10 You're A Long Time Dead
                                        11 Naturally It's You
                                        12 Coda

                                        7" - Exclusive To Dinked Edition
                                        Side A
                                        1. Connemara - Acoustic (Live From Hebden Bridge)
                                        Side B
                                        2. Tour Suite! (Live Acoustic From Hebden Bridge)

                                        Horsebeach

                                        Things To Keep Alive

                                          Following on from 2019's 'The Unforgiving Current', Horsebeach's Ryan Kennedy returns with his fifth record 'Things To Keep Alive'. With 'The Unforgiving Current' exploring the themes of isolation whilst living in Tokyo, Kennedy has since returned to the perpetual grey of Mancunia. But rather than viewing his return to Manchester as a step back, Kennedy has used Horsebeach as a catalyst to explore and make positive strides within his mental health.

                                          From Beatles-esque balladry, fuzzed out shoegaze and a lavish cover of a 00s pop classic, 'Things To Keep Alive' still importantly retains the Horsebeach DNA and even has moments that will take fans all the way back to Kennedy's C86 inspired debut LP. In turn, this results in Horsebeach's most varied and rewarding album to date. A record that inspires and shows growth; a record that makes you appreciate the things you help to keep alive.

                                          Here’s what Ryan (Horsebeach) had to say about the album."I always treat each album as a snapshot of a certain period of my life and Things To Keep Alive is no different. However, it's less of a measure of time and more a snapshot of the mental space I've come to occupy over the past few years.

                                          Fundamentally, this album is about my own struggle with one particular side effect of my mental health. Especially my propensity to long for the sweet release of death. I've come to learn how to deal with these things over time and I have always cared for my many cats, plants and important people close to me. These things bring me great joy and through the fog of my depressed haze I have finally learned to water, feed and care for myself as well. These are the things I keep alive. Musically I've decided to revisit themes from my earlier work but allow myself to open up to sounds I might have restricted from the Horsebeach palette in the past. It's quite a simple album thematically but perhaps the one I'm most proud of to date. I've given myself much longer to write this album and I hope the extra time I’ve spent nurturing each song comes through in the end."

                                          Ryan

                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                          Andy says: After an unbearable wait, Horsebeach finally return, and guess what, it's their best album so far! Fabulously varied and with tunes to die for, this record will jangle and sigh its way straight into your hearts.

                                          TRACK LISTING

                                          1. A Friend By The Lake
                                          2. In The Shadow Of Her
                                          3. A Fault In All Of Us
                                          4. Things To Keep Alive
                                          5. Let Me Stay In Tonight
                                          6. Until You
                                          7. Cinnamon Challenge
                                          8. Pure Shores
                                          9. Colourless
                                          10. Tradition 

                                          Idles

                                          Tangk

                                            TANGK is the righteous and vibrant fifth album from madcap truth-seekers, IDLES. Pronounced “tank” with a whiff of the “g” - an onomatopoeic reference to the lashing way the band imagined their guitars sounding that has since grown into a sigil for living in love - the record is the band’s most ambitious and striking work yet. Where IDLES were once set on taking the world’s piss, squaring off with strong jaws against the perennially entitled, and exercising personal trauma in real time, they have arrived in this new act to offer the fruits of such perseverance: love, joy, and indeed gratitude for the mere opportunity of existence.

                                            A radical sense of defiant empowerment radiates from TANGK, co-produced by Nigel Godrich, Kenny Beats, and IDLES guitarist Mark Bowen. Despite his reputation as an incendiary post-punk sparkplug, frontman Joe Talbot sings almost all the feelings inside these 10 songs with hard-earned soul, offering each lusty vow or solidarity plea as a bona fide pop song—that is, a thing for everyone to pass around and share, communal anthems intended for overcoming our grievance.

                                            TANGK is a love album—open to anyone who requires something to shout out loud in order to fend off any encroaching sense of the void, now or forever.



                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                            Barry says: Love them or hate them, the incendiary post-punk indebted offerings from Idles have rarely been less than wildly bombastic and this latest offering sees the Brighton pentet broaden their reach from the aforementioned fiery mayhem into gothic rock, minimal wave and electronic drone.

                                            TRACK LISTING

                                            1. IDEA 01
                                            2. Gift Horse
                                            3. POP POP POP
                                            4. Roy
                                            5. A Gospel
                                            6. Dancer
                                            7. Grace
                                            8. Hall & Oates
                                            9. Jungle
                                            10. Gratitude
                                            11. Monolith

                                            The Jesus And Mary Chain

                                            Glasgow Eyes

                                              Marking 40 years of The Jesus And Mary Chain, ‘Glasgow Eyes’ was recorded at Mogwai’s Castle of Doom studio in Glasgow, where Jim and William continued the creative process that resulted in their previous album, 2017’s ‘Damage and Joy’, becoming their highest charting album in over twenty years. What emerged is a record that finds one of the UK’s most influential groups embracing a productive second chapter, their maelstrom of melody, feedback and controlled chaos now informed more audibly by their love for Suicide and Kraftwerk and a fresh appreciation of the less disciplined attitudes found in jazz.

                                              Jim Reid says, “But don’t expect ‘the Mary Chain goes jazz.’ People should expect a Jesus and Mary Chain record, and that’s certainly what ‘Glasgow Eyes’ is. Our creative approach is remarkably the same as it was in 1984, just hit the studio and see what happens. We went in with a bunch of songs and let it take its course. There are no rules, you just do whatever it takes. And there’s a telepathy there - we are those weird not-quite twins that finish each other’s sentences.” ‘Glasgow Eyes’ not only extends The Jesus and Mary Chain's story, but feels simultaneously like a return to roots. From the incendiary ‘Psychocandy’ debut and its classic ‘Just Like Honey’ onwards, the Reid brothers steadily became the misfits who made good without compromise.

                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                              Andy says: A gentle tweak of the template brings electronic bleeps and keys to that trademark Mary Chain sound. Hear the new track and you'll be left in no doubt. JAMC Forever!!

                                              TRACK LISTING

                                              1. Venal Joy
                                              2. American Born
                                              3. Mediterranean X Film
                                              4. Jamcod
                                              5. Discotheque
                                              6. Pure Poor
                                              7. The Eagles And The Beatles
                                              8. Silver Strings
                                              9. Chemical Animal
                                              10. Second Of June 1
                                              1. Girl 71
                                              12. Hey Lou Reid

                                              Khruangbin

                                              A LA SALA

                                                Khruangbin’s fourth studio album, A La Sala (“To the Room” in Spanish), is an exercise in returning in order to go further, and doing so on your own terms. It continues the mystery and sanctity that is the key to how bassist Laura Lee Ochoa, drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson, Jr. and guitarist Mark “Marko” Speer approach music. If 2020’s Mordechai, the last studio LP Khruangbin made without collaborators, was a party record that enhanced the band’s musical reputation far and wide, then A La Sala is the measured morning after. It’s a gorgeously airy record completed only in the company of the group’s longtime engineer Steve Christensen, with minimal overdubs. It’s a window onto the bounties powering Khruangbin’s vision, a reimagining and refueling for the long haul ahead. A La Sala scales Khruangbin down to scale up, a creative strategy with the future in mind.

                                                The trio’s collective musical DNA, the years spent constructing it in Houston’s local-meets-global cultural stew, ensures the band continues to sound like no one but itself. A cascade of crisp melodies emanates from Marko’s reverb-heavy electric, dancing gently around Laura Lee’s minimalist almost-dub bass triangles, while DJ’s drums serve as the tightened-up pocket and unwavering dance-floor on which all this movement takes place. Yet there’s a freshness to A La Sala’s instrumental interactivity, less concerned with getting further out than going deeper in, a profound desire to celebrate the world’s external wonders. Where prior albums strived towards music’s polyglot edges, such inquiries now sound like beloved intimacies. Here, Khruangbin’s sonic touch-points — whether spaghetti-western film scores (on “Fifteen Fifty-Three”), West African discos (on “Pon Pón”), G-funk fantasias (“Todavía Viva”), living room dancing moments (the first single, “A Love International”), or even ambient found-sounds (on “Farolim de Felgueiras and throughout the album”) — are ingrained characteristics. This is who they are! Unique and huge (and growing), ambitious and driven.

                                                Khruangbin’s aspirations and commitment to playful creativity even extends to A La Sala’s vinyl packages, of which there will be seven distinctive covers and color-sets. Designed by the band using Marko’s multitude of travelog photos, the images are windows from the band’s living room onto a set of daydreams, scenes of impossible skies, external glances that illuminate what is going on inside. Each cover image comes with a matching color vinyl. These too are all about looking out and looking back, in order to better look ahead.



                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                Barry says: The inimitable Khruangbin bring us another slice of beautifully rendered, loungey ambient jazz. Swimming with atmosphere and as perfectly performed as you'd expect from the Texan trio. Beautifully evocative and warmly hazy instrumental business.

                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                1.Fifteen Fifty-Three
                                                2.May Ninth
                                                3.Ada Jean
                                                4.Farolim De Felgueiras
                                                5.Pon Pón
                                                6.Todavía Viva
                                                7.Juegos Y Nubes
                                                8.Hold Me Up (Thank You)
                                                9.Caja De La Sala
                                                10.Three From Two
                                                11.A Love International
                                                12.Les Petits Gris

                                                King Hannah

                                                Big Swimmer

                                                  King Hannah crafts a musical tapestry that seamlessly weaves between the serene depths of meditative pop and the expansive, sonorous landscapes brimming with darkness, wit, and wry humor. Merrick’s vocals, a smoky delight, imbue her words with profound weight and potency, complemented by the bluesy canvases Whittle masterfully paints beneath them. Their sound effortlessly transitions from moments of post-rock expansiveness to evoking the sensation of Springsteen straying onto a gritty side-street off his highway to freedom.

                                                  In recent times, the duo has graced stages alongside esteemed artists such as Kurt Vile, Thurston Moore, Kevin Morby, and DIIV, captivating audiences at festivals across Europe and North America including End of the Road, Green Man, Primavera Sound, and Fusion, among others. King Hannah’s accolades include being hailed as Stereogum’s Band to Watch, The Guardian’s Ones to Watch, Paste’s Best of What’s Next, and featured in DIY Magazine’s NEU segment, SPIN’s rising artists, and many more.


                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                  Barry says: Absolutely stunning melodic, soaring indie-rock with rich vocal harmonies and crescentic arm-raising rock breakdowns. Brittle in parts, but swimming in melody and perfectly paced throughout, growing and retracting organically like the sea. A beautifully endearing listen.

                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                  A1 Big Swimmer
                                                  A2 New York, Let's Do Nothing
                                                  A3 The Mattress
                                                  A4 Milk Boy (I Love You)
                                                  A5 Suddenly, Your Hand
                                                  B6 Somewhere Near El Paso
                                                  B7 Lily Pad
                                                  B8 Davey Says
                                                  B9 Scully
                                                  B10 This Wasn't Intentional
                                                  B11 John Prine On The Radio

                                                  Kneecap

                                                  Fine Art

                                                    When Mo Chara, Moglaí Bap and DJ Provaí - aka Belfast’s finest Kneecap - entered the studio with producer Toddla T in the summer of 2023, they quickly decided to scrap everything they had already prepared for the album they were about to record. Instead, they decided to build a pub together.

                                                    Built on a West Belfast side street, The Rutz is a community boozer, in that the entire community uses it. All human life is inside, either thriving, striving or skiving. There’s people just trying to get served at the bar or up on the stage performing; others are slumped in darkened corners or emerging bleary eyed and coke smeared from the toilets. Religious affiliations are irrelevant and the chatter is a intoxicating blur of English and Irish.

                                                    Although the pub is currently just a figment of the band’s imagination, all of the action on Kneecap’s exhilarating first album - Fine Art - takes place in The Rutz. Like the band themselves, Fine Art is fiercely intelligent, consistently hilarious and genuinely thought provoking. It’s genius is to immerse you in a world thus far unrepresented in modern music.

                                                    Across the record’s twelve tracks and the interconnecting moments between them (recorded by the band and friends including DJ Annie Mac), the pub comes to life vividly, providing the perfect backdrop for the cast of characters that join the dots throughout the album. From the moment the idea was born back in Toddla T’s studio, it was the obvious location to base the world of Kneecap in.


                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                    Barry says: An incendiary, roaring collection of conceptually impeccable, musically ferocious fire. It's grimy, but imbued with the sort of instrumental heft usually associated with rock, full of humour but undeniably livid. It's an album of contradictions, and every bit the unfathomable masterpiece. This actually is fine art.

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    1. 3CAG Feat. Radie Peat
                                                    2. Fine Art
                                                    3. I BhFiacha Linne
                                                    4. I'm Flush
                                                    5. Better Way To Live Feat. Grian Chatten
                                                    6. Sick In The Head
                                                    7. Love Making
                                                    8. Drug Dealin Pagans
                                                    9. Harrow Road Feat. JELANI BLACKMAN
                                                    10. Parful
                                                    11. Rhino Ket
                                                    12. Way Too Much 

                                                    La Luz

                                                    News Of The Universe

                                                      “I was in a dream, but now I can see that change is the only law.”

                                                      With a credo adapted from science fiction author Octavia E. Butler, an album title from a collection of metaphysical poetry, and an expansion in consciousness brought on by personal crisis, guitarist and songwriter Shana Cleveland learns to embrace a changing world with unconditional love on 'News of the Universe', the new full-length from California rock band La Luz.

                                                      'News of the Universe' is a record born of calamity, a work of dark, beautiful psychedelia reflecting Cleveland’s experience of having her world blown apart by a breast cancer diagnosis just two years after the birth of her son. It’s also a portrait of a band in flux, marking the first appearance for drummer Audrey Johnson and the final ones from longtime members bassist Lena Simon and keyboardist Alice Sandahl, whose contributions add a bittersweet edge to a record that is both elegy for an old world and cosmic road map to a strange new one.

                                                      But is there any band in the world more suited to capturing the chaos of change in all its messy beauty than La Luz? Formed by Cleveland in 2012, La Luz is beloved for their ability to balance bedlam and bliss, each new record another fine-tuning of the band’s mix of swaggering riffs with angelic vocals borrowed from doo-wop and folk; a band so reliably great that it makes the huge step forward in confidence and sheer musicality that is 'News of the Universe' all the more formidable. Cleveland, also a writer and painter, has developed into a truly original songwriter with her own canon of haunted psychedelia. Yet if Cleveland has spent years writing songs about ghosts, what lurks in the shadows of 'News of the Universe' is nothing less than death itself. “There are moments on this album that sound to me like the last frantic confession before an asteroid destroys the earth,” says Cleveland.

                                                      The powerful sense of openness that permeates 'News of the Universe' is at least partially due to the fact that it is a record made entirely by women—from the performing, writing, and producing all the way through to the recording, engineering, and mastering. Working with producer Maryam Qudos (Spacemoth), the all-female environment allowed Cleveland to feel safe tapping into difficult places and expressing hard emotions women are socialized to suppress.

                                                      Unashamedly vulnerable, unabashedly feminine, and undeniably triumphant, 'News of the Universe' is another knockout record from a band so reliably great that it has perhaps led people to overlook how pioneering La Luz really are: women of color in indie music forging their own path by following their own artistic star into galaxies beyond current musical trends, always led by an earnest belief in the cosmic power of love and a great riff. Never is that more true than on 'News of the Universe', which might be La Luz’s most brutal record to date but also their most blissful.


                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                      Barry says: La Luz have always crafted a beautifully heady noise, somewhere between the rich psychedelic freakouts of the 60's and 70's and airy modern indie music, but it's on 'News Of The Universe' that their tendency towards more frenetic wall-of-sound synths and slowly blooming atmospheres becomes more clear, with moments of divine peace interrupted with bold swathes of activity.

                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                      1. Reaching Up To The Sun
                                                      2. Strange World
                                                      3. Dandelions
                                                      4. Poppies
                                                      5. Good Luck With Your Secret
                                                      6. Always In Love
                                                      7. Close Your Eyes
                                                      8. I'll Go With You
                                                      9. Blue Moth Cloud Shadow
                                                      10. News Of The Universe
                                                      11. Moon In Reverse
                                                      12. Blue Jay

                                                      The Last Dinner Party

                                                      Prelude To Ecstasy

                                                        At the turn of the year, The Last Dinner Party was little more than a new name being shared amongst those that had caught them live. Great songs, strong aesthetic. Having spent much of 2022 writing those songs, road-testing them, and then taking them into the studio, it wasn’t until April when the band released the instantly more-ish, dark guitar-pop of Nothing Matters that seemingly everyone had now formed an opinion on them. It was an introduction that took the online world by storm, and yet behind all the excitement and narrative was a fantastically confident indie-rock song by a band doing it the old-fashioned way, out on the road.

                                                        Following a heady first-on performance to a packed crowd at the new Woodsies tent at Glastonbury, The Last Dinner Party released Sinner, another gloriously infectious, leftfield pop song that fuelled the fully-formed zeitgeist and set the band up for a Summer that replicated that success of Glastonbury with uncomfortably packed tents ensuing at the likes of Green Man, Reading & Leeds, Latitude and End of the Road (interspersed with support slots to the likes of Florence & The Machine, Lana Del Rey and First Aid Kit). It was a breakthrough Summer for one of the most talked about new British acts in years, delivering on all that early promise emphatically.

                                                        Concentrating on their own headline shows, the band skipped confidentally from venue to venue, playing to bigger rooms and on wider stages. Shows sold out and shows were upgraded. In London alone, the band have moved from sell-out dates at Moth Club to Camden Assembly, Oslo to two nights at EartH, and now move on to the 3000 capacity Roundhouse on the eve of album release (remaining tickets on sale now). Crucially, it’s not just London where the band finds its early fans, but right across the UK and into America too, with all five debut shows selling out several weeks in advance.

                                                        The band often set a themed dress code for the shows, with many fans relishing the task of rising to the request and donning their finery for a night with their new heroes.

                                                        But this is no case of style over substance. With the release of their third single, My Lady Of Mercy, an almost gothic, haunting rock song, and the atmospheric and anthemic ballad, On Your Side, the band’s songwriting is testament to all the buzz and excitement already accumulated. As it should be. Rather than wilt under the spotlight, they’ve arguably become a tighter, stronger unit because of it.

                                                        Prelude To Ecstasy is both the closing of that introductory chapter and the opening of the next. The Last Dinner Party? Believe the hype. 


                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                        Barry says: A thrilling debut from The Last Dinner Party, channelling the spirit of PJ Harvey, the operatic intensity of Nick Cave and the soaring cinematic orchestral arrangements of Hans Zimmer or John Williams. A powerful, bold melting pot of perfectly manicured influences.

                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                        1. Prelude To Ecstasy
                                                        2. Burn Alive
                                                        3. Caesar On A TV Screen
                                                        4. The Feminine Urge
                                                        5. On Your Side
                                                        6. Beautiful Boy
                                                        7. Gjuha
                                                        8. Sinner
                                                        9. My Lady Of Mercy
                                                        10. Portrait Of A Dead Girl
                                                        11. Nothing Matters
                                                        12. Mirror 

                                                        Adrianne Lenker

                                                        Bright Future

                                                          Following the previously released single ‘Ruined,’ ‘Sadness As A Gift’ sees Lenker at her most familiar and warm, a track that is both utterly timeless, yet sounding new and surprising on every listen. The aliveness of Adrianne’s voice keeps her poetry aloft. She sings in a circle completed by guitar, piano, violin, and all voices. “The seasons go so fast // Thinking that this one was going to last // Maybe the question was too much to ask.”

                                                          On Bright Future, Adrianne Lenker, a songwriter known for turns of phrase and currents of rhyme, says it plainly, “You have my heart // I want it back.” Documented with analogue precision, what began as an experiment in collaboration, became proof Adrianne’s heart did return, full to the brim, daring her into the unknown.

                                                          During the high vibrance of autumn 2022, the Big Thief band member got lucky. Everyone could come. Three musical friends, “Some of my favourite people,” had space in their busy touring schedules to join her at the forest-hidden, analogue studio, Double Infinity. The musicians - Hakim, Davidson, and Runsteen - were known to Adrianne but newer to each other. “I had no idea what the outcome would be,” she recalls. The result? “It was magical,” she says. Adrianne’s musical risk became Bright Future, the studio’s first album, a 12-track telling of a journeyed heart.

                                                          Bright Future’s co-producer and engineer, Philip Weinrobe, prepared the studio. He has been Adrianne’s partner on previous solo albums, but this was something new. Adrianne did not intend to make an album. They would instead explore the songs with no expectations. Even with an open outcome, from the start, Phil wanted to capture the sessions with the purest, technical honesty. He rolled onto Double Infinity’s old cherry wood floors an Otari 1/2 inch 8-Track and Studer console. To fill the air of the 150 year-old main room, Adrianne wanted piano, guitar, and violin. Mat Davidson plays them all. “I’ve known Mat a long time,” she says, “It doesn’t matter what instrument, his spirit just pours through.” At 17, Adrianne met Nick Hakim. She trusted her friend of 15 years to bring his sensitivity to the piano. “The way Nick would hold my songs, he would put every ounce of love.” Adrianne first met Josefin Runsteen in an Italian castle, and sought the classically trained violinist and percussionist’s “magnetic and contagious” energy. “She has such fire.” In addition to instrumentation, they made a chorus, adding carefully measured vocal harmonies. The sessions impressed and enchanted Adrianne. “I think the thing these people have in common, they are some of the best listeners I know musically. They have extreme presence.”

                                                          The shelter and ease of the woodland Double Infinity studio is an element of the recordings. “It felt like everyone’s nervous systems released,” she says. “Once we were IN the song, somehow we just knew. No one stopped a take. We didn’t listen back. I only listened after everybody else left.” As a result, Bright Future has the best qualities of thoughtful engineering with the spontaneous swim of a field recording. There are details to savour, fingertips on strings, felt pads nodding in the piano, the harmonies a few steps back, all smoothly laid to tape. It comes together to allow Adrianne’s songs to be as they are, unarmoured and light-footed.

                                                          Admirers of Adrianne’s solo music and Big Thief will find on Bright Future her reliable talent captured in stunning, magnetic clarity. In the company of parlour instruments, Adrianne’s modern melodic and lyrical inventions create new traditions. Her vocal flights at times outwit gravity, then land, guiding along an earthly path. The wholeness of the un-spliced recordings preserves a time of musical friendship during a golden season. The album also features the original recording of the now-beloved Big Thief song ‘Vampire Empire.’ Although they recorded for only some days, in Adrianne’s recollection, “It felt like we were together forever.”

                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                          Liam says: Big Thief's Adrianne Lenker is back at it again with another gorgeous solo album. Painstakingly beautiful and incredibly intimate, these twelve tracks once again prove that Lenker is one of the best songwriters of our generation - a must buy!

                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                          1. Real House
                                                          2. Sadness As A Gift
                                                          3. Fool
                                                          4. No Machine
                                                          5. Free Treasure
                                                          6. Vampire Empire
                                                          7. Evol
                                                          8. Candleflame
                                                          9. Already Lost
                                                          10. Cell Phone Says
                                                          11. Donut Seam
                                                          12. Ruined

                                                          East Los Angeles quartet Levitation Room’s floaty, cosmic songs are always a trip. Since forming nearly a decade ago, they’ve self-produced dizzying, otherworldly music that’s connected with fellow travelers in the hallucinogenic world of outré rock music.

                                                          Led by singer and guitarist Julian Porte along with founding members Gabriel Fernandez (lead guitar) and Johnathan Martin (percussion), the band has enchanted live audiences at Desert Daze and on tour with like-minded groups Post Animal and Psychedelic Porn Crumpets. The band’s vivid sound has found them placed on popular playlists like Modern Psychedelia and the legendary superproducer’s Danger Mouse Jukebox. Their 2015 debut, “Friends,” has surpassed 18 million streams. Joined by new member Kevin Perez (bass) in 2021, Levitation Room have continued to expand their colorful, unearthly sound, a process that has culminated with the vibrant new album Strange Weather.

                                                          Collaborating with former Brian Jonestown Massacre keyboardist Rob Campanella, Jason Kick (Mild High Club), and Black Crowes’ Joel Robinow, Levitation Room take a new step in their story and vision with Strange Weather. The record’s lyrical narratives—about love in the park, life in the city, and the fact that “The world today is such an illusion”—are appropriately steeped in ’60s sonics and a dreamy, lo-fi atmosphere. It’s spacey, celestial guitar music for escaping into, and “it feels just like heaven.” Join Levitation Room on their new voyage.

                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                          Barry says: A brilliantly widescreen fusion of heady psychedelic rock, perfectly manicured breakdowns and crisp, rhythmic percussion. Strange Weather have the pace and groove of the best electronic indie forebears with the carefree aura of the most exploratory free-psych of the 70's. Lovely stuff.

                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                          1. Heaven
                                                          2. Strange Weather
                                                          3. Cool It, Baby
                                                          4. Expectations
                                                          5. Immortal Love
                                                          6. Scene For An Exit
                                                          7. Pintura
                                                          8. Morning Star
                                                          9. Revelations
                                                          10. The Other Side

                                                          The Lovely Eggs

                                                          Eggsistentialism

                                                            “Eggsistentialism” sees The Lovely Eggs return after a 4 year break since their Number One Independent Selling Album “I am Moron”. During that time they have made their own TV show Eggs TV (featuring Ian McKaye, Stewart Lee, Katie Puckrik, Maxine Peake, David Shrigley and more), dueted with Iggy Pop, played a load of sold-out gigs and festivals and fought a campaign to save Lancaster Music Co-op (a community rehearsal rooms and recording studio where they live).

                                                            Recorded at home in Lancaster, with production advice from Dave Fridmann, the album was mixed at Tarbox Road Studios, NY with Dave Fridmann and the band.

                                                            As the title suggests, “Eggsistentialism” explores a much more personal, introspective, and reflective side to The Lovely Eggs world and sees the Eggs explore new sounds and experiment in unventured musical territories.

                                                            “The new album is really a reflection on what has been happening to us these last couple of years, stewing up in Eggland in our own juices,” explains Holly. “It’s about loss and strength. On this album you’ll hear us at our lowest and most vulnerable. Daily life is hard. Realising everything you grew up with and loved is never coming back, alongside the responsibilities of caring for others is sometimes hard to take. The album is about life and death. Eggsistentialism. It’s about dragging yourself through all the shit to get to the other side.”

                                                            “It’s a bit of a ‘wilderness years’ album,” continues Holly. “We haven’t released a new record since 2020 and in the meantime, we’ve been here fighting shit and trying to defend a right to a lifestyle that we’ve enjoyed here in this town for the last 30+ years as working musicians who refuse to get a “normal” job and tow the line. It’s about believing in something and not letting go. But that unwillingness to give in ultimately takes its toll. It does start to destroy you and the album is kind of a documentation of that destruction and collapse as well as the strength we’ve got to get through it all. Ultimately, this is a hopeful record about survival.”

                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                            Barry says: Another soaring punky missive from The Lovely Eggs, rich with melodic choruses and clashing groove. Putting to the world to rights with wry politicism and instantly unforgettable instrumental hooks has always been the Lovely Eggs' bread and butter, but Eggsistentialism is without a doubt the Warburtons Toastie (the absolute best) of the Lovely Eggs' output.

                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                            1. Death Grip Kids
                                                            2. Nothing/Everything
                                                            3. Meeting Friends At Night
                                                            4. People TV
                                                            5. My Mood Wave
                                                            6. I Don't Fucking Know What I'm Gunna Do
                                                            7. Memory Man
                                                            8. Things
                                                            9. Echo You
                                                            10. I Am Gaia

                                                            Mdou Moctar

                                                            Funeral For Justice

                                                              Recorded at the close of two years spent touring the globe following the release of 2019 breakout ‘Afrique Victime,’ 'Funeral For Justice' captures the Nigerien quartet in ferocious form. The music is louder, faster, and more wild. The guitar solos are feedback-scorched and the lyrics are passionately political. Nothing is held back or toned down. The songs on ‘Funeral For Justice’ speak unflinchingly to the plight of Niger and of the Tuareg people. "This album is really different for me," explains Moctar, the band’s singer, namesake, and indisputably iconic guitarist. "Now the problems of terrorist violence are more serious in Africa. When the US and Europe came here, they said they're going to help us, but what we see is really different. They never help us to find a solution."

                                                              "Mdou Moctar has been a strong anti-colonial band ever since I've been a part of it," says producer and bassist Mikey Coltun, who has been playing with Moctar since 2017. "France came in, fucked up the country, then said ‘you’re free.’ And they’re not." The song ‘Oh France’ tackles this head on: “France veils its actions in cruelty/ We are better without this turbulent relationship/ We must understand their endless lethal games.”

                                                              On the lead single and title track, Moctar addresses African leaders directly, bidding them: "Retake control of your countries, rich in resources / Build them and quit sleeping”. The song ‘Sousoume Tamacheq’ deals with the plight of the Tuareg people to which the band belong, and who are mainly spread across three countries: Niger, Mali and Algeria."Oppressed in all three/In addition to lack of unity, ignorance is the third issue." Another song, ‘Imouhar’, calls on the Tuareg to preserve their Tamasheq language - it's at risk of dying out, and Mdou is one of the few in his community who knows how to write it. "People here are just using French," laments Mdou. "They're starting to forget their own language. We feel like in a hundred years no one will speak good Tamasheq, and that's so scary for us."

                                                              Mdou Moctar in its current iteration is first and foremost a band. Alongside Moctar, it consists of rhythm guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane, drummer Souleymane Ibrahim, and American bassist and producer Mikey Coltun. The band got their start performing at traditional weddings. These are high energy events – amps are dialed up to 11 and the whole town is invited to attend. "I grew up in the DC punk scene and this is no different," explains Coltun. "It’s a DIY punk show: people bring generators, they crank their amps. Things are broken, but they make it work."

                                                              Conveying that energy and feeling of community to a new audience has been an important goal for the band. Their first concerts in the US were sometimes, mistakenly, organized to be tame seated affairs. That’s no longer the case. Over 100s of shows, they’ve proven themselves as one of the world’s most vital rock bands – a group rooted in Tuareg tradition, but undeniably its own singular organism. An Mdou Moctar concert is now recognized to be a place for dancing, if not full-force moshing.

                                                              "‘Ilana’ was the gateway album, saying that this is a raw rock band. And ‘Afrique Victime’ was a summation of that vision,” says Coltun, who recorded the entire record over five days in a mostly unfurnished house in upstate New York. “With ‘Funeral For Justice’, I really wanted this to shine with the political message because of everything that's going on. As the band got tighter and heavier live, it made sense to capture this urgency and this aggression – it wasn't a forced thing, it was very natural.”

                                                              In July 2023 – after ‘Funeral For Justice’ had been completed – Niger’s democratically elected government was deposed in a military coup. The president was placed under house arrest and the nation plunged into a state of chaos and uncertainty. The French have withdrawn. The area continues to be threatened by terrorism. The band – then on tour in the US – was, for a time, unable to return to their families.

                                                              "I don't support the coup," explains Mdou, "but I never in my life liked France in my country. I don't hate France or French people, I don't hate American people either, but I don't support their manipulative policies, what they do in Africa. In 2023 we want to be free, we need to smile, you understand?"

                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                              Barry says: Saharan rockers Mdou Moctar return for their most politically charged outing yet, and getting their message across with fiercely political lyrics (so i'm told, I don't speak Tamasheq) and the classic deep, blues-infused funk they've become so known for. It's a classic Mdou sound, but with a renewed vigour and drive.

                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                              1. Funeral For Justice
                                                              2. Imouhar
                                                              3. Takoba
                                                              4. Sousoume
                                                              5. Imagerhan
                                                              6. Tchinta
                                                              7. Djallo #1
                                                              8. Oh France
                                                              9. Modern Slaves

                                                              MGMT

                                                              Loss Of Life

                                                                A very "MGMT MGMT album" which the band describes as "a group of songs about love and change, first and foremost"

                                                                Descriptors from the band include: bold, flavorful, playful, sincere, optimistic, perceptive - Loss Of Life was produced by MGMT and Patrick Wimberly (Solange, Lil Yachty, MGMT), with mixing and additional production by Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Interpol, Spoon) - The album includes the first ever MGMT song with a feature, courtesy Christine and the Queens - The album artwork has been licensed from John Baldessari's estate and is an artwork titled Noses & Ears, Etc (Part Two).

                                                                Formed in 2002, MGMT released their era-defining debut album Oracular Spectacular in 2007. One of the most influential albums of the '00's - it went on to sell over 2 million copies worldwide and was certified Gold or Platinum in over 10 major territories, including double platinum in UK, Platinum in Australia, Gold in France and Platinum in the USA. It gave the world evergreen hits such as "Kids", "Electric Feel" and "Time to Pretend" which have inspired, and continue to inspire new generations of artists and music fans alike to this day - those three songs combined have been streamed over 2 billion times on audio streaming platforms since released.

                                                                Always taking an unexpected creative turn at every new record, but always maintaining their cultural and commercial relevance over the subsequent 15 years, MGMT later released three further studio albums: "Congratulations" (2010), "MGMT" (2013) and "Little Dark Age" (2018).

                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                Barry says: After the huge shop favourite of 2018's 'Little Dark Age', there was some excitement over how their new one would be and it's some relief that it's the perfect balance between its wry and nuanced melodic leaning and the youthful bombast of 'Oracular Spectacular'.

                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                1. Loss Of Life (part 2)
                                                                2. Mother Nature
                                                                3. Dancing In Babylon (feat. Christine And The Queens)
                                                                4. People In The Streets
                                                                5. Bubblegum Dog
                                                                6. Nothing To Declare
                                                                7. Nothing Changes
                                                                8. Phradie's Song
                                                                9. I Wish I Was Joking
                                                                10. Loss Of Life

                                                                Mildlife

                                                                Chorus

                                                                  Two-time ARIA Award-winning Naarm/Melbourne-based psychedelic jazz outfit Mildlife present their much-anticipated third studio album, Chorus. Following 2020’s Automatic and 2017’s Phase, Chorus arrives as Mildlife’s most optimistic record, serving as a sonic testament to the band’s unwavering adoration for the beguiling realms of 70s psychedelic and cosmic sounds.

                                                                  “Chorus is about a coming together of disparate elements. Not in some sort of utopian aesthetic where everything works perfectly, but in the natural flow and state of things,” shares the band’s Jim Rindfleish. “It’s about cosmic compatibility and chemistry: what makes things work? Not just what makes the band work, but what makes good music, art or love? It’s the rhythm of nature”. 


                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                  Barry says: Mildlife in 'Ridiculously Smooth Psych-jazz Shocker'. If you haven't heard this Melbourne band's previous studio LP's or the brilliant Live In Pompeii reminiscent 'Live From south Channel Island', then now is a perfect time to hear the zenith of their creativity and songwriting capabilities. 'Chorus' is the perfect distillation of the band at their silken best.

                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                  1. Forever
                                                                  2. Yourself
                                                                  3. Sunrise
                                                                  4. Musica
                                                                  5. Chorus
                                                                  6. Future Life
                                                                  7. Return To Centaurus

                                                                  Mount Kimbie

                                                                  The Sunset Violent

                                                                    The Sunset Violent began in a disused frat house in the American Yucca Valley. Kimbie’s founding members Dominic Maker & Kai Campos began work on their first proper album together since 2017’s Love What Survives – the decision was made to leave London. Campos and Maker relocated for a month to a town in the middle of a desert. The resulting album, finished in London with longtime confidante Dillip Harris and their band mates Andrea Balency-Béarn and Marc Pell, is 37 minutes of Mount Kimbie at simultaneously their most daring and their most giddily infectious.



                                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                    Barry says: Mount Kimbie have taken a little swerve with 'The Sunset Violent', taking their usual sound and injecting it with a concept that's both perfectly conceived and accomplished. While all the usual MK sounds are in-situ here, there outer reaches of their sound swerves into synth-pop, gritty electronics and moody post-punk.

                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                    1. The Trail
                                                                    2. Dumb Guitar
                                                                    3. Shipwreck
                                                                    4. Boxing (Feat. King Krule)
                                                                    5. Got Me
                                                                    6. A Figure In The Surf
                                                                    7. Fishbrain
                                                                    8. Yukka Tree
                                                                    9. Empty And Silent (Feat. King Krule)

                                                                    Nia Archives

                                                                    Silence Is Loud

                                                                      Nia Archives is not interested in being one fixed thing. Since emerging in 2020, the 24-year-old producer, DJ, singer and songwriter has been at the forefront of the latest era of jungle. The Bradford-born, Leeds-raised artist has garnered accolades including placing third in the prestigious BBC Sound Poll for 2023, alongside a nomination for the Brit Awards’ Rising Star prize, plus wins at the DJ Mag, NME, the MOBOs and Artist and Manager Awards. She has also toured the world – be it North America, Europe or Asia – and even opened a show in London as part of a little something called Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour. She’s renowned as a party-starter in her own right, too, with takeovers at Glastonbury, Warehouse Project and her own Bad Gyalz day event. She’s done official remixes for the likes of Jorja Smith, had a huge summer hit with her Yeah Yeah Yeahs rework ‘Off Wiv Ya Headz’, and worked with brands like Corteiz, Nike, Flannels, Burberry, FIFA and Apple. In just three years, it’s fair to say that Nia Archives has become a need-to-know name in dance music.

                                                                      On Silence Is Loud, her much-anticipated debut album, Nia Archives sounds thrillingly free as she looks to make music for beyond the rave. Working with Ethan P. Flynn (known for his work with FKA twigs and David Byrne) Nia is intent that Silence Is Loud is taken in as a full body of work of something “more song-focussed, putting interesting sounds on jungle.” It means that this is a record which finds gloomy Britpop, warm Motown, soaring indie, a love for Kings of Leon’s Aha Shake Heartbreak, skittering IDM, Madchester, classic rock, old skool hardcore and more, woven and fused into her ragga and junglist tapestry, all layered with feeling, imbued with her songwriterly lyricism about loneliness, relationships, family, navigating her 20s, and the intense potential power of silence.

                                                                      Sitting in the push and pull between melancholy and euphoria, Nia’s work is always a snapshot of where she’s at when she’s making it. This might not be the debut album you were expecting, but that’s what makes Silence Is Loud so special. Nia Archives has learned the rules of her sound, and is unafraid to break them, pushing jungle and herself into new, unchartered territories that, in turn, go some way to map the history of the greats of British dance music. More than that, it plants her firmly in that lineage.


                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                      Barry says: 'Silence Is Loud' sees the brilliant Nia Archives flawlessly pulling together soul, jungle and synth-pop influences into a distinctly after-party flavoured groove thats both hugely enjoyable and undeniably skilled. A ground-breaking and hugely enjoyable debut from one of the biggest upcoming names in UK dance music.

                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                      Silence Is Loud
                                                                      Cards On The Table
                                                                      Unfinished Business
                                                                      Crowded Roomz
                                                                      Forbidden Feelingz
                                                                      Blind Devotion
                                                                      Tell Me What It’s Like?
                                                                      Nightmares
                                                                      F.A.M.I.L.Y
                                                                      Out Of Options
                                                                      Silence Is Loud (Reprise)
                                                                      Killjoy !
                                                                      So Tell Me…

                                                                      Nubiyan Twist

                                                                      Find Your Flame

                                                                        9-piece powerhouse Nubiyan Twist embark on a fresh musical odyssey with their vibrant fourth album 'Find Your Flame’. Over 12-track the band seamlessly weaves together global grooves, soul and jazz; expertly intertwined with electronic elements, horn-led melodies and spontaneous improvisation. The album marks a significant evolution for the group as they welcome Sheffield based vocalist Aziza Jaye to the forefront, adding a fresh dimension of Patois and RnB to their sound.

                                                                        The heady, sun-drenched release is peppered with impressive collaborations, including musical legends Nile Rodgers and Seun Kuti who bring their trademark disco and afrobeat mastery to tracks ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Carry Me’ respectively.

                                                                        Embracing the roots of UK sound system culture, ‘Find Your Flame’ takes dynamic turns, from the frenetic broken beat of the title track to reflective lyricism and lo-fi beats in 'Reach My Soul' and ‘Battle Isn’t Over’. Nubiyan Twist venture into grime and hip hop territory with 'Woman' and 'Pray for Me (Part 1)' featuring rising UK-based MC NEONE the Wonderer. The exploration continues into highlife and soukous with 'Pray for Me (Part 2)' featuring long-time Ghanaiancollaborator K.O.G. and neo-soul with the sensual vocals of Ria Moran. The exceptional Corto Alto from Glasgow features on 'You Don't Know Me’. ‘Find Your Flame’ culminates in a sublime collaboration with ex-Salif Keïta backing singer Mamani Keïta, paying homage to traditional Malian music and the roots of the genres elegantly woven throughout the album.

                                                                        “As with the creation of all our albums, it’s a snapshot of our collective influences and journeys throughout the time it was made.” Explains bandleader & producer Tom Excell. “A catharsis for our struggles, yet a vessel for our joy. Navigating through COVID, the magic of becoming a new parent, undergoing a vital leg amputation, recovering from car accidents, losing loved ones and forming new friendships have all shaped this music. But most importantly, the collaborative process helped reignite a liberating fire of resistance in each of us.” Gaining international acclaim, 'Find Your Flame' is poised to enhance Nubiyan Twist's global appeal, firmly establishing them as a prominent soulful collective in the UK music scene. Produced by Tom Excell and mixed by Oli Barton Wood and Paulo Germano, the album features artwork by Max Bloom and is mastered by Peter Beckmann. The band is scheduled to embark on a European tour starting in April 2024.

                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                        1. Battle Isn’t Over
                                                                        2. Lights Out (Ft. Nile Rodgers)
                                                                        3. All The Same (Ft. Ria Moran)
                                                                        4. Woman
                                                                        5. You Don’t Know Me (Ft. Corto Alto)
                                                                        6. Carry Me (Ft. Seun Kuti)
                                                                        7. So Mi Stay
                                                                        8. Pray For Me Part 1 (Ft. NEONE The Wonderer)
                                                                        9. Pray For Me Part 2 (Ft. K.O.G)
                                                                        10. Reach My Soul
                                                                        11. Find Your Flame
                                                                        12. Slow Breath (Ft. Mamani Keïta)

                                                                        Porij

                                                                        Teething

                                                                          The arrival of Teething invites you to take a leap beyond seeing dance music as a genre, built from this type of kick or that type of snare, and instead as its own dimension: a place you can escape to. It pays homage to the language of sounds on the dancefloor which have encouraged generations to feel, not to think. While, lyrically, the record delves into the tangle of lived experience, musically, it will free you from it.

                                                                          Since the beginning, Porij had self-produced, self-mixed and entirely self-made their music, and even after having signed to [PIAS], the record was still incubated in their bedrooms where they would sit together for hours giving colour, shape and texture to this new world. It was only then that they enlisted legendary producer David Wrench, famed for his work with era-defining artists including Frank Ocean, FKA Twigs and The XX. His mentorship allowed Teething to transform their music from a live-angled proposition to something folded in the arms of pop.

                                                                          Vocalist and keyboardist Scout Moore (Egg), bassist James Middleton, guitarist Jacob Maguire and drummer Nathan Carroll are armed with hard-won experience, strengthened bonds and a renewed sense of passion. Their debut album Teething is both a coming-of-age story and a bottling of the particular magic that is unmistakably – and definitively – Porij.

                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                          Barry says: A syrup-smooth mix of airy Balearic beats and euphoric house-tinged synth-pop. Texturally varied, but without straying too far from dreamy front-room electronica or drifting dancefloor grooves.

                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                          1. Marmite
                                                                          2. Unpredictable
                                                                          3. Don’t Talk To Me
                                                                          4. Endlessly Waiting
                                                                          5. My Only Love
                                                                          6. Ghost
                                                                          7. Stranger
                                                                          8. Sweet Risk
                                                                          9. Gutter Punch
                                                                          10. You Should Know Me
                                                                          11. Slow Down

                                                                          Bill Ryder-Jones

                                                                          Iechyd Da

                                                                            Beautifully produced and rich in scope – ‘Iechyd Da’ is Bill Ryder-Jones’ most ambitious record to date. At times joyous and grand, at others intimate and heartbreaking, the past few years spent producing other artists have provided that gentle nudge to expand into new territory, from kids choirs and tender strings to dramatically re-contextualised disco samples.

                                                                            Making this album has been a process that has been endlessly rewarding for Ryder-Jones, both creatively and personally, as he finally accepts that he’s made an album that has bettered one he’s been trying to top for a decade. “It's been incredible making this,” he says. “Despite all the life stuff that's happened, it has brought me immense happiness. I've always railed against it when people ask if making a record is cathartic but I’d have to admit that this one really was. Over the years my music has lost a bit of its hope I reckon. It were important for me to make a record that had more hope in it. Even by my standards the last few years have been rocky, but I’ve chosen to soundtrack it with more positive music, you know? I love this album. I haven't been this proud of a record since A Bad Wind Blows in My Heart.”


                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                            Barry says: Ryder-Jones presents possibly his most upbeat offering yet, still wading in similar waters to 2018's brilliant 'Yawn' but with a sense of brightness and tethered melancholy that we've not heard from him before. Shimmering acoustic guitars, wandering psychedlia and soaring melodies coalesce into a beautifully rich and wonderfully immersive whole.

                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                            Side A
                                                                            I Know That It’s Like This (Baby)
                                                                            A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart Pt. 3
                                                                            If Tomorrow Starts Without Me
                                                                            We Don’t Need Them
                                                                            I Hold Something In My Hand
                                                                            This Can’t Go On
                                                                            Side B
                                                                            1. …And The Sea…
                                                                            2. Nothing To Be Done
                                                                            3. It’s Today Again
                                                                            4. Christinha
                                                                            5. How Beautiful I Am
                                                                            6. Thankfully For Anthony
                                                                            7. Nos Da

                                                                            Dinked Edition Bonus 7”:
                                                                            Bedbound Melodies (Big Softies)
                                                                            When Will I Get Used To This? (Big Softies)

                                                                            Nadine Shah

                                                                            Filthy Underneath

                                                                              Nadine Shah announce her fifth album Filthy Underneath, the follow up to 2020's critically acclaimed Kitchen Sink and 2017's Mercury Prize nominated Holiday Destination.

                                                                              Filthy Underneath chronicles a period of unprecedented turbulence in Nadine Shah’s life. And yet, the experience of listening to it is oddly life-affirming – a parade of ghosts spanning the entirety of Nadine’s thirty-seven years, moving with balletic beauty to the music that Nadine and long-time co-writer and producer Ben Hillier have created around them, with renewed emphasis on placing melody and movement front and centre.

                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                              Barry says: Shah's wonderfully emotive brand of majestic call-to-arms rock takes a perfectly manicured turn into the outer reaches of synth, stadium pop and world music. It's a beguiling and perfectly measured whole, and one that proves that Shah has *plenty* more where 'Holiday Destination' came from. Ace.

                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                              1. Even Light
                                                                              2. Topless Mother
                                                                              3. Food For Fuel
                                                                              4. You Drive, I Shoot
                                                                              5. Keeping Score
                                                                              6. Sad Lads Anonymous
                                                                              7. Greatest Dancer
                                                                              8. See My Girl
                                                                              9. Twenty Things
                                                                              10. Hyperrealism
                                                                              11. French Exit

                                                                              Shellac

                                                                              To All Trains

                                                                                THE BAND
                                                                                It’s still: Steve Albini ◊ Guitar. Todd Trainer ◊ Drums. Bob Weston ◊ Bass.

                                                                                DATA
                                                                                This is Shellac’s sixth studio LP. Recording & Mixing took place at Electrical Audio in Chicago over a bunch of long weekends in November, 2017; October, 2019; September, 2021; and March, 2022. The record was mas-tered by Bob & Steve at Chicago Mastering Service.

                                                                                PACKAGING
                                                                                LP and CD packaging and artwork are identical (the CD is just smaller). Bob took all the photos; some with a fancy camera and some with a telephone.

                                                                                QC
                                                                                Audio quality is paramount, as always, with Shellac. The LPs are being manufactured by Green Vinyl Records using an injection molding process. This new process uses 100% recyclable PET (like soda bottles) and is environmentally friendly, containing no PVC or Phthalates. The process also uses 79% less CO2 than conventional hydraulic PVC vinyl presses. The records weigh 180 grams.

                                                                                PROMOTION
                                                                                Other than the informational sheet you hold in your hand (or virtual hand), this record will have no formal promotion. There will be no advertisements, no press or radio promotion, no e-promotion, no promotional or review copies, no promotional gimmick items, and other-wise no free lunch.

                                                                                THE IPODS
                                                                                Shellac doesn’t have a website. Maybe we should get one. To All Trains (2AT) will be available on most streaming services and download sites in all your formats, sample rates, and bit depths; all the way up to 96kHz, 24-bit, Hi-Res (Apple Digital Masters compliant).

                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                Barry says: The legendary Shellac release 'To All Trains' under the sad passing of Steve Albini, but the tragedy does little to temper the incendiary heft and bone-breaking weight of Shellac's unmatched energy. Thudding bass guitars and ripped speaker distortion, Snapping snares and pummeling syncopated kick drums. Screaming, unforgettable mayhem, exactly as you'd expect.

                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                Side A
                                                                                1. WSOD
                                                                                2. Girl From Outside
                                                                                3. Chick New Wave
                                                                                4. Tattoos
                                                                                5. Wednesday
                                                                                Side B
                                                                                6. Scrappers
                                                                                7. Days Are Dogs
                                                                                8. How I Wrote How I Wrote Elastic Man (cock & Bull)
                                                                                9. Scabby The Rat
                                                                                10. I Don’t Fear Hell

                                                                                The Smile

                                                                                Wall Of Eyes

                                                                                  Following on from 2022 debut LP 'A Light For Attracting Attention', which garnered a top 20 spot in our 2022 end of year review, 'Wall Of Eyes' sees Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood and Tom Skinner once again coming together for another art-rock opus that is inventive and boundry-pushing; whilst still remaining incredibly accessible and potent at it's core. With string arrangements by the London Contemporary Orchestra, 'Wall Of Eyes' comfortably shrugs off the burden of being "just another Radiohead side-project" and in the process leaves us hoping there's more from The Smile for years to come.





                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                  Barry says: Though it's easy to compare The Smile to Radiohead (for obvious reasons), and there is a similarity to the sound that Yorke & Greenwood bring, the end result ends up quite drastically different. The Smile are a lot less rooted in rock music, ending up presenting something that's both beautifully organic and free-flowing whilst never straying too far into experimental territories. Lovely stuff.

                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                  1. Wall Of Eyes
                                                                                  2. Teleharmonic
                                                                                  3. Read The Room
                                                                                  4. Under Our Pillows
                                                                                  5. Friend Of A Friend
                                                                                  6. I Quit
                                                                                  7. B7ending Hectic
                                                                                  8. You Know Me

                                                                                  Sprints

                                                                                  Letter To Self

                                                                                    Sprints' debut album ‘Letter to Self' embodies their substantial evolution over the past 3 years. Transforming pain into truth, passion into purpose and perseverance into strength, the Dublin four-piece have steadily grown in stature, releasing two acclaimed EPs and building a fearsome live reputation.

                                                                                    'Letter to Self' is the sound of Sprints consolidating and levelling up. Exhibiting their most vulnerable moments and imbuing their visceral garage-punk with a palpable sense of catharsis that we can all benefit from.

                                                                                    Inspired by Savages, their sound matured into energetic and abrasive garage-punk, synthesising influences ranging from early Pixies, Bauhaus, Siouxsie Sioux, Idles and LCD Soundsystem.

                                                                                    Singer, guitarist and lead-songwriter Karla Chubb tackles her inner turmoil head-on, and uses her platform to address inequality and issues close to hear heart, like the campaign for 'Repeal The 8th', and women’s ongoing fight for bodily autonomy, struggles with self acceptance, identity, mental health struggles, sexuality and catholic guilt.

                                                                                    For their debut album the band set about transforming so-called “negative energy” into an opportunity for communal catharsis and healing. Karla Chubb explains sums up message that lies at the very heart of the album: “No matter what you're born into, or have experienced, there's a way to emerge from this and be happy within yourself.”

                                                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                    Barry says: Effortlessly drawing in wisps of influence from the post-punk and indie trailblazers while retaining their own unique and incendiary take on the formula, Sprints lurch from jagged instrumental melodies and cathartic punky groove without breaking step. A hugely impressive debut from this Dublin band.

                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                    A1 Ticking
                                                                                    A2 Heavy
                                                                                    A3 Cathedral
                                                                                    A4 Shaking Their Hands
                                                                                    A5 Adore Adore Adore
                                                                                    A6 Shadow Of A Doubt
                                                                                    B7 Can’t Get Enough Of It
                                                                                    B8 Literary Mind
                                                                                    B9 A Wreck (A Mess)
                                                                                    B10 Up And Comer
                                                                                    B11 Letter To Self

                                                                                    Annie Clark made her recorded debut as St. Vincent in 2007 with Marry Me, quickly becoming regarded as one of the most innovative and fascinating presences in modern music. Her subsequent albums would include Actor (2009), Strange Mercy (2011), her self-titled fourth album and winner of the 2014 GRAMMY for Best Alternative Album. In 2017, her fifth album MASSEDUCTION would break St. Vincent into the U.S. and UK top 10s and win two more GRAMMYs (Best Rock Song for its title track, and Best Recording Package). 2021’s Daddy’s Home found St. Vincent channeling the hungover glamor and gritty sepia-toned soundtrack of 1970s downtown NYC to an ecstatic reception, ultimately winning her a second Best Alternative Album GRAMMY.

                                                                                    Following a 2021-2022 global tour that reaffirmed St. Vincent’s status as one of live music's preeminent forces with headline appearances at the likes of the Hollywood Bowl and Radio City Music Hall, Clark would begin work on album number seven: Her first fully self-produced album (having co-produced every one of her previous efforts), All Born Screaming is St. Vincent at her most primal. Featuring Clark leading “a curated group of rippers” through the brawny “Broken Man,” the mordant catwalk sashay through the deafening assault of self-loathing that is “Big Time Nothing,” the sublime, elegiac earworm “Sweetest Fruit," All Born Screaming is equal parts spiritual desolation and rapturous acceptance. “If you’re born screaming, that’s a great sign,” says Clark, “because it means you’re breathing. You’re alive. My god. It’s joyous. And then it’s also a protest. We’re all born in protest in a certain way. It’s terrifying to be alive, it’s ecstatic to be alive. It’s everything.” 

                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                    1. Hell Is Near
                                                                                    2. Reckless
                                                                                    3. Broken Man
                                                                                    4. Flea
                                                                                    5. Big Time Nothing
                                                                                    6. Violent Times
                                                                                    7. The Power’s Out
                                                                                    8. Sweetest Fruit
                                                                                    9. So Many Planets
                                                                                    10. All Born Screaming

                                                                                    Van Houten

                                                                                    The Tallest Room

                                                                                      Leeds shoegaze outfit Van Houten release their debut album. After the huge success of the lead single, ‘Coming of Age’, the band have been branded as a BBC 6Music’s artist tip of the year 2024 on Tom Robinson’s New Year’s Day show.

                                                                                      Reminiscent of artists like Deerhunter, DIIV or Yuck with an unmistakable Yorkshire edge, Van Houten open up a unique sonic world. A cavernous shoegaze affair, filled with woozy psych, sincere storytelling and a bag full of earworms. Van Houten have honed a truly unique, melding a 90’s & alternative sound & aesthetic with true pop sensibility, crafting their own blend of lo-fi indie, psych rock, shoegaze and garage rock.

                                                                                      ‘The Tallest Room’ marks a brand new release from the exciting new partnership between Clue Records and EMI North, the first physical major label office to open outside London. 


                                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                      Liam says: From one listen, this is easily one of my albums of 2024! A bit of shoegaze, a bit of krautrock, a bit of woozy psych, this debut from Van Houten is properly, properly mega and you should all get on it - TIPPY TIPPY TIP TIP!!!

                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                      Side A
                                                                                      Black And White
                                                                                      Never Did Come Back
                                                                                      Coming Of Age
                                                                                      Panoramic View

                                                                                      Side B
                                                                                      Note To Self
                                                                                      I Only Wanna Be With You
                                                                                      Head Straight
                                                                                      I Let You

                                                                                      Dinked 7” Tracklisting:
                                                                                      A Side: I Only Wanna Be With You - Acoustic Version
                                                                                      B Side: Panoramic View - Acoustic Version

                                                                                      Faye Webster

                                                                                      Underdressed At The Symphony

                                                                                        Faye Webster’s songs are direct lines to the human subconscious, and Underdressed at the Symphony documents what happens once you begin to build a new self from the ashes of your old routines. This rebirth isn’t flashy or definitive, but is instead a series of seemingly mundane moments that, scattered across weeks and months, sneak their way toward something like healing. Yes, there’s a breakup in play, but Webster is not documenting the heartbreak of a breakup so much as she’s navigating the contours of heartbreak itself.

                                                                                        Recorded at Sonic Ranch Studios in Texas with her longtime band, Webster is accompanied on Underdressed at the Symphony by Matt Stoessel’s arcs of shimmering pedal steel, the plaintive, unhurried drums of Charles Garner, and, occasionally, additional guitarwork from Wilco’s Nels Cline, among many other crucial players. The title of the album refers to Webster’s post-breakup compulsion to visit the symphony on a whim, usually buying a ticket at the last possible second. “Going to the symphony was almost like therapy for me. I was quite literally underdressed at the symphony because I would just decide at that moment that that's what I wanted to do,” she says. “That's what I felt like I needed to hear. I got to leave what I felt like was kind of a shitty time in my life and be in this different world for a minute.”

                                                                                        That strain of lightheartedness with a melancholic backbone permeates the album, and is the major driving force behind “Lego Ring,” which features Atlanta multi-hyphenate Lil Yachty, the only guest voice on the entire album. Yachty’s ghostly warble floats just under Webster’s voice, jabbing through empty space, trembling over a low rumble of bass. The song is also a sort of release—a buoyant moment that cuts through the sadness. “I think I hit a point in songwriting during this record where I was just like, man, I said a lot.” Webster says. “I'm just going to sit down and sing about this ring that I really want.” Like the rest of the album, Webster isn’t providing answers, nor is she on some epic journey of healing and self-care. Instead, she’s choosing to just live, to document heartbreak and ridiculous moments right next to each other, until they start to blur together, becoming real enough for us all to feel.

                                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                        Barry says: A soaring, swooning selection of beautifully penned ballads, grooving guitar lines and cracked vocoder vox from the brilliant Faye Webster. 'Lego Ring' is for me, one of the top bangers of the year thus far. A perfectly mixed cocktail of synth-pop, indie and with wisps of country woven through her compositions, Webster is a true talent. Brilliant.

                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                        1.Thinking About You
                                                                                        2. But Not Kiss
                                                                                        3. Wanna Quit All The Time
                                                                                        4. Lego Ring
                                                                                        5. Feeling Good Today
                                                                                        6. Lifetime
                                                                                        7. He Loves Me Yeah!
                                                                                        8. EBay Purchase History
                                                                                        9. Underdressed At TheSymphony
                                                                                        10. Tttttime

                                                                                        Chelsea Wolfe

                                                                                        She Reaches Out To She Reaches Out To She

                                                                                          Chelsea Wolfe’s latest album, She Reaches Out To She Reaches Out To She, is a rebirth in process. It’s about how such a moment connects to our past, our present, and our future. It’s a powerfully cathartic statement about cutting ties, as well as an important reminder that healing is cyclical and circular, and not a simple linear process. As Wolfe explains, “It’s a record about the past self reaching out to the present self reaching out to the future self to summon change, growth, and guidance. It’s a story of setting yourself free from situations and patterns that are holding you back, in order to become self-empowered. It’s an invitation to step into your authenticity.”

                                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                          Barry says: I've always been a fan of Chelsea Wolfe's music, stumbling across her 'Prayer For The Unborn' release on my scour of the Latitudes collection. It goes without saying that since that admittedly brilliant mashing of neo-folk, psychedelic and art-rock she's increased the scope of her writing and production tenfold. 'She Reaches Out...' is a mind-blowingly complex, but effortlessly smooth tapestry of chamber pop, gothic rock and electronic drone music.

                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                          01. Whispers In The Echo Chamber
                                                                                          02. House Of Self Undoing
                                                                                          03. Everything Turns Blue
                                                                                          04. Tunnel Lights
                                                                                          05. The Liminal
                                                                                          06. Eyes Like Nightshade
                                                                                          07. Salt
                                                                                          08. Unseen World
                                                                                          09. Place In The Sun
                                                                                          10. Dusk 

                                                                                          Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan

                                                                                          Your Community Hub

                                                                                            Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan's new album, Your Community Hub, compellingly continues his sonic exploration of the New Towns movement. The issues the councillors, planners, and architects set out to solve still resound and echo throughout society.

                                                                                            For the latest instalment in this unique project, Gordon Chapman-Fox turns his laser eye to focus on Community and the Community Centres that populated Warrington and Runcorn in order to provide all the facilities people needed within a five minute walk from their home. These planning ideas predated the current discussions of fifteen minute cities by fifty years.

                                                                                            Those 50 years have seen a decline in our community centres and services: handy access to a GP or dentist, Post Offices, youth clubs, local shops, banking and much more. Successive governments have undermined and eroded those basic services. The decline in community services has also been matched with a decline in community and shared experiences with a knock-on effect on the population's health and well-being. The disastrous austerity policies imposed over the last 15 years have exacerbated this long, slow reduction in available spaces for people to meet and communicate, with seemingly no recognition of the societal impact that causes. Short-termism at the expense of the community and how we live our lives.

                                                                                            Margaret Thatcher's statement that "there is no such thing as society" has been taken as a mission statement by successive Conservative governments who have aimed to remove as much support and communality from the citizens as possible. It continues now, the wrong-headed idea that everyone can be left to fend for themselves.

                                                                                            Chapman-Fox's latest album decries the cruelty of where we find ourselves in 2024 and his quiet incandescence about the loss of optimism for what communities should be and could be. It's his most powerful work, and as always, it will deeply resonate with those who tune in to his unique vision and unparalleled productions.

                                                                                            As ever, beautifully packaged and designed by Gordon, the album artwork features photographs from the archive of the architect Peter Garvin, which was kindly provided by his son Richard Garvin. The photographs show Peter's work on the Castlefield Community Centre, a sleek modernist structure clad in white ceramic tiles.


                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                            Barry says: The master of story-driven progressive electronica returns for his latest opus, full of the bombastic basses and twinkling arpeggios he's become known for. It's been a joy seeing Gordon's development as an artist and storyteller, and 'Your Community Hub' couldn't be any more perfect a summary of that development. Grand, evocative electronic soundscapes.

                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            1. A Shared Sense Of Purpose 
                                                                                            2. Rapid Transport Links 
                                                                                            3. Cul-de-Sac 
                                                                                            4. Summer All Year Round 
                                                                                            5. Facilities For All Ages 
                                                                                            6. Pedestrian Shopping Deck 
                                                                                            7. A New Town With An Old Sense Of Community

                                                                                            Jane Weaver

                                                                                            Love In Constant Spectacle

                                                                                              Recalibrating her singular journey in the British musical landscape with her most open-hearted, direct and intimate collection of material yet. Love In Constant Spectacle evokes spectacular imagery and distills the artists’ vision in its purest form, elevating her inimitable sound and poetic vision to new heights.

                                                                                              Recapturing the melancholy of her early work whilst propelling it forward, she sketches scenes as we watch new colours, shapes and languages emerge and fill the frame. Love In Constant Spectacle sees her take measured steps towards a vivid, dreamlike record, that offers resolve in the face of life’s inevitability.

                                                                                              The foundations of Weaver’s sound are still evident – lush motorik drums, pulsating bass, custom modded synths and exotic fuzz pedals - but the stream is awash with scrabble piece poetry and Letraset lullabies leading to lush escapism, the free abandon that you’d associate with free jazz and the avant-garde. But, as determined and visionary as Weaver might be, Love In Constant Spectacle wasn’t executed without assistance. Here we find a long mooted unison with Jane’s first ever producer, John Parish (PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding), who has shared Weaver’s process in the surrounds of Rockfield Studios and Geoff Barrow’s Invada studio.

                                                                                              Love In Constant Spectacle is otherworldly, it is both intimate yet distant, a surrealist interpretation of the foundations that make us human – the stories and landscapes it paints are habitats of their own. A voyage into undisclosed pastures, it’s a heartfelt manifesto from an artist that continues to boundlessly evolve with each chapter in her career.

                                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                              Barry says: We're big fans of Jane & co. here at Piccadilly, and 'Love In Constant Spectacle' takes everything we've known and loved from previous releases; her rich melodic thread and progressive instrumental leanings, and injects the pieces with perfectly extracted DNA from jazz, 60's psychedelic pop and art-rock.

                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                              Side A
                                                                                              A1 Perfect Storm
                                                                                              A2 Emotional Components
                                                                                              A3 Love In Constant Spectacle -
                                                                                              A4 Motif
                                                                                              A5 The Axis And The Seed
                                                                                              Side B
                                                                                              B1 Is Metal
                                                                                              B2 Happiness In Proximity
                                                                                              B3 Romantic Worlds
                                                                                              B4 Univers
                                                                                              B5 Family Of The Sun

                                                                                              Yard Act

                                                                                              Where's My Utopia?

                                                                                                Where’s My Utopia? is the follow up to the Leeds band’s critically-acclaimed debut record The Overload which arrived in January 2022. The Overload was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize after a slew of positive reviews, national radio playlistings and a placing at #2 in the Official Charts. The new album is a co-production between Yard Act and Gorillaz member Remi Kabaka Jr. 

                                                                                                Since first steering their golden Rover into swift public acclaim back in 2020, Leeds quartet Yard Act have become one of the great indie success stories of the decade so far. Along the way, they’ve ticked off milestones ranging from a Number Two chart placing and Mercury Prize nomination for debut album The Overload, to a co-sign from Elton John who joined the band to guest on a string-laden reworking of album closer ‘100% Endurance’.

                                                                                                Yet, whilst the band’s trajectory continuously shot upwards, vocalist James Smith and his wife had also welcomed in a son. And it’s this duelling sense of responsibility and ambition, guilt, love, drive and everything in between that forms the narrative backbone of brilliantly exploratory second album Where’s My Utopia?

                                                                                                Written in snapshots of time between a relentless touring schedule, and produced jointly by the band and Gorillaz’ Remi Kabaka Jr, the quartet’s second act is a giant leap forward into broad and playful new sonic waters. “The main reason that ‘post-punk’ was the vehicle for Album One was because it was really affordable to do, but we always liked so much other music and this time we've had the confidence to embrace it,” James explains. Across the record, influences ranging from Fela Kuti to Ennio Moricone via Spiller’s ‘00s pop smash ‘Groovejet’ make themselves known.

                                                                                                It’s a celebratory palette upon which Smith allowed himself to reach lyrically deeper into himself than ever. Gone, largely, are the outward-facing character studies of yore, replaced with a set of songs that stare fully into the headlights of life, wrangling with the frontman’s own fears and foibles to create a sort of Promethean narrative - but with jokes. “You can commit to the idea that we’re just animals who eat and fuck and then we die, and that’s fine,” he suggests. “But for me, creativity always seems to be the best way of articulating the absolute minefield of what human existence is.”


                                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                Barry says: I get where the 'Difficult Second Album' idea came from, but on Where's My Utopia, Yard Act fly through the possible creative hurdles with an expansion of their already multi-faceted sound. Pieces like 'Dream Job' absolutely swim with the influence of pop music and bright, synthy disco alongside their more classic post-punk groove and machinated percussion.

                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                1. An Illusion
                                                                                                2. We Make Hits
                                                                                                3. Down By The Stream
                                                                                                4. The Undertow
                                                                                                5. Dream Job
                                                                                                6. Fizzy Fish
                                                                                                7. Petroleum
                                                                                                8. When The Laughter Stops
                                                                                                9. Grifter’s Grief
                                                                                                10. Blackpool Illuminations
                                                                                                11. A Vineyard For The North


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