MAGIC MIX

STAFF PICKS

PRESALES

Here's this week's 'staff picked' selection of forthcoming releases including oodles of limited editions, indies exclusives and coloured vinyl!!

For our latest all-genre presales click here

Arctic Monkeys

Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino

    Arctic Monkeys return with their sixth album, entitled ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ on Friday the 11th of May 2018. Produced by James Ford and Alex Turner, the album was recorded in Los Angeles, Paris and London.

    Their first release since 2013’s ‘AM’ finds the band intent on continuing to explore new musical terrain with each album. ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ ups the ante in a big way; it is a bold and brilliant album reflecting Turner’s ever more comprehensive creative vision. 


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Transparent heavyweight vinyl LP, with gatefold sleeve and a 16 page expanded lyrics and photo booklet. Comes with album download card.

    LP Info: Heavyweight vinyl LP with gatefold sleeve, 4 page booklet and album download card.

    Johnny Marr

    Call The Comet

      Recorded with his band in Manchester at Marr’s Crazy Face studios, ‘Call The Comet’ is the third solo record from the Smiths guitarist and follows 2013’s critically acclaimed The Messenger and 2014’s Playland; both of which made the UK top 10. “Call The Comet is set in the not-too-distant future” says Marr, “and is mostly concerned with the idea of an alternative society. It’s my own magic realism.” Songs include Actor Attractor, Walk Into The Sea, Bug, and recent live favourite Spiral Cities. “The characters in the songs are searching for a new idealism, although there are some personal songs in there too. It’s something that people like me can relate to.” Says Marr.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Limited purple coloured vinyl.

      Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

      Hope Downs

        It's rare that a band's debut album sounds as confident and self-assured as Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever's Hope Downs. To say that the first full-length from the Melbourne quintet improves on their buzz-building EPs from the last few years would be an understatement: the promise those early releases hinted at is fully realized here, with ten songs of urgent, passionate guitar pop that elicit warm memories of bands past, from the Go-Betweens' jangle to the charmingly lo-fi trappings of New Zealand's Flying Nun label. But don't mistake Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever for nostalgists: Hope Downs is the sound of a band finding its own collective voice.

        The hard-hitting debut album is a testament to Rolling Blackouts C.F.’s tight-knit and hard-working bonafides. Prior to forming the band in 2013, singers/guitarists Fran Keaney, Tom Russo, and Joe White had played together in various garage bands, dating back to high school. When Rolling Blackouts C.F. started, with Joe Russo [Tom’s brother] on bass, Marcel [Tussie, Joe White's then-housemate] on drums, the chemistry was immediate. After a split EP with You Yangs (another Russo brother's band), released in the form of a frisbee, they self-released Talk Tight in 2015, which Sydney-based record label Ivy League gave a wider release the following year. Talk Tight garnered plaudits from critics, including legendary rock scribe Robert Christgau. In 2017, Sub Pop released The French Press EP, bringing the band's chugging and tuneful non-linear indie rock to the rest of the world as they settled into their sound with remarkable ease.

        Hope Downs was largely written over the past year in the band's Melbourne rehearsal room where their previous releases were also written and recorded. The band's core trio of songwriters hunkered down and wrote as the chaos of the world outside unavoidably seeped into the songwriting process. "We were feeling like we were in a moment where the sands were shifting and the world was getting a lot weirder. There was a general sense that things were coming apart at the seams and people around us were too,” Russo explains. The album title, taken from the name of a vast open cut mine in the middle of Australia, refers to the feeling of “standing at the edge of the void of the big unknown, and finding something to hold on to.”

        With the help of engineer/producer Liam Judson and his portable setup, the band recorded Hope Downs live, and co-produced ten guitar pop gems over the course of two weeks in Northern New South Wales during the winter of 2017. Hope Downs possesses a robust full-band sound that's all the more impressive considering the band's avoidance of traditional recording studios. If you loved Talk Tight and The French Press, you certainly won't be disappointed here—but you might also be surprised at how the band’s sound has grown. There's a richness and weight to these songs that was previously only hinted at, from the skyscraping chorus of “Sister's Jeans” to the thrilling climax of album closer “The Hammer.”

        Hope Downs is as much about the people that populate the world around us—their stories, perspectives, and hopes in the face of disillusionment—as it is about the state of things at large. It's a record that focuses on finding the bright spots at a time when cynicism all too often feels like the natural state. Rolling Blackouts C.F. are here to remind us to keep our feet on the ground—and Hope Downs is as delicious a taste of terra firma as you're going to get from a rock band right now.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Coloured LP Info: Loser edition marbled blue vinyl.

        Kamasi Washington

        Heaven & Earth

          The long-awaited follow up to Washington’s debut The Epic, Heaven & Earth is comprised of two halves, which find Washington confronting quotidian realities with cosmic themes. A further investigation of Washington’s world building ideas, the new album explores his reckoning with current global chaos and his vision for the future.

          Washington convened his band, The Next Step, as well as members of the long running collective The West Coast Get Down at Henson Studios in Los Angeles to record the 16 tracks on Heaven & Earth. The music was composed, written and arranged by Washington, with new arrangements of jazz and bebop legend Freddie Hubbard’s “Hubtones” and iconic kung fu film theme “Fists of Fury,” as well as one song by bandmate Ryan Porter. Thundercat, Terrace Martin, Ronald Bruner, Jr., Cameron Graves, Brandon Coleman, Miles Mosley, Patrice Quinn, Tony Austin and many more contribute to the album.

          Heaven & Earth, over two and a half hours of music, will be available on double deluxe CD and a four piece vinyl housed in bespoke double gatefold sleeve

          “The world that my mind lives in, lives in my mind.” This idea inspired me to make this album Heaven & Earth. The reality we experience is a mere creation of our consciousness, but our consciousness creates this reality based on those very same experiences. We are simultaneously the creators of our personal universe and creations of our personal universe. The Earth side of this album represents the world as I see it outwardly, the world that I am a part of. The Heaven side of this album represents the world as I see it inwardly, the world that is a part of me. Who I am and the choices I make lie somewhere in between.”
          Kamasi Washington

          Jon Hopkins

          Singularity

            Singularity begins and ends on the same note: a universe beginning, expanding, and contracting towards the same infinitesimal point. Where Immunity – his hypnotic breakthrough LP – charted the dark alternative reality of an epic night out, Singularity explores the dissonance between dystopian urbanity and the green forest. It is a journey that returns to where it began – from the opening note of foreboding to the final sound of acceptance.

            Shaped by his experiences with meditation and trance states, the album flows seamlessly from rugged techno to transcendent choral music, from solo acoustic piano to psychedelic ambient. Its epic musical palette is visceral and emotionally honest: with a destructive opener full of industrial electronics and sonic claustrophobia and a redemptive, pure end on solo piano.

            Exploring the connectivity of the mind, sonics and the natural world, Singularity reflects the different psychological states Hopkins experienced while writing and recording. It is a transformative trip of defiance from his initial sense of frustration at the state of the contemporary world to the ultimate conclusion that a true sense of peace and belonging can only come from nature.

            Singularity is intended to be listened to in one sitting, as a complete body of work.

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            2xColoured LP Info: Special edition Indie stores only double gatefold blue coloured heavyweight vinyl LP.

            2xLP Info: Black vinyl edition.

            Father John Misty

            God’s Favorite Customer

              Written largely in New York between Summer 2016 and Winter 2017, Josh Tillman’s fourth Father John Misty LP, ‘God’s Favorite Customer’, reflects on the experience of being caught between the vertigo of heartbreak and the manic throes of freedom.

              God’s Favorite Customer reveals a bittersweetness and directness in Tillman’s songwriting, without sacrificing any of his wit or taste for the absurd. From “Mr. Tillman,” where he trains his lens on his own misadventure, to the cavernous pain of estrangement in “Please Don’t Die,” Tillman plays with perspective throughout to alternatingly hilarious and devastating effect. “We’re Only People (And There’s Not Much Anyone Can Do About That)” is a meditation on our inner lives and the limitations we experience in our attempts to give and receive love. It stands in solidarity with the title track, which examines the ironic relationship between forgiveness and sin. Together, these are songs that demand to know either real love or what comes after, and as the album progresses, that entreaty leads to discovering the latter’s true stakes.

              God's Favorite Customer was produced by Tillman and recorded with Jonathan Rado, Dave Cerminara, and Trevor Spencer. The album features contributions from Haxan Cloak, Natalie Merring of Weyes Blood, longtime collaborator Jonathan Wilson, and members of Misty’s touring band.

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              Coloured LP Info: Limited Edition Indie Exclusive - Purple vinyl + limited edition sleeve with foil ‘tears’

              Gruff Rhys

              Babelsberg

                Babelsberg is the fifth album by Gruff Rhys, his first record for Rough Trade since 2007’s classic Candylion. The album features orchestral scores by Swansea based composer Stephen McNeff and the incredible work of the 72 piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The result is Gruff’s best record to date - a ten song gazetteer of modern times, each track set to timeless, indelible melody. Amazingly, for a collection of songs written over two years ago, each one seems to pull very sharp focus on the times we’re living in.

                Wooden Shjips

                V.

                  On their highly anticipated fifth album Wooden Shjips augment their already rich sound with laid back, classic summer songs. 

                  Wooden Shjips, long-time leaders of the contemporary psychedelic movement, expand their sound with V. On their fifth album the quartet of Ripley Johnson (Moon Duo), Omar Ahsanuddin, Dusty Jermier, and Nash Whalen augment their already rich sound with laid back, classic summer songs. Inspired by the tumult of the modern world, and the desire to offer a contrasting vision of peace, the band has created a record that filters their trademark hypnotic grooves through an optimistic lens, resulting in music that is bright and vital.

                  Each song shimmers with a distinctly Wooden Shjips sound, a relaxed summer vibe. This was a conscious choice, an atmospheric goal that influenced nearly every detail: the tones, the delay types and reverbs used, as well as the synthesizer elements that color the songs. The band’s members collectively share a love of classic rock from the Velvet Underground to Neil Young, as well as more overt love of the San Francisco scene of the 60’s. This commonality in their formative musical years binds them even as they live in different cities. Wooden Shjips has with V. created the most concise, laid back songs of their career. Their music is a balm of sorts, a respite from the insanity that, through its regenerative abilities, empowers continued, calm resistance. A reminder of the simple power of peace and beauty, V. is brimming with optimism and a peaceful energy, aptly timed for release at the height of spring.

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Coloured LP Info: White color vinyl is limited edition and exclusive to indie stores in Europe.

                  Ltd LP Info: Black vinyl edition.

                  CD Info: CD version in four panel mini-LP style gatefold package.

                  Courtney Barnett

                  Tell Me How You Really Feel

                    The Grammy and Brit nominated Courtney Barnett returns with her second album - 'Tell Me How You Really Feel.' It follows her critically acclaimed 2015 debut album 'Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit', and a recent top 10 collaborative record, 'Lotta Sea Lice', with Kurt Vile. One of the most distinctive voices in music, Courtney is known for mixing witty observations with unflinching self-assessment - fast forward to now and although all of the cleaver turns of phrase and an eye for story telling are still there; this new collection of songs see a more serious and outwardly tone capturing the current social landscape yet still retaining moments of intimacy and warmth. As the world becomes more familiar with Courtney Barnett these songs feel comforting and emphatic yet that raw energy and the ability to make the listener think still remain.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive in gatefold mirror board sleeve. Limited red vinyl.

                    Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                    Deluxe CD Info: Limited hardback with exclusive 24 pp photo booklet.

                    Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

                    Sparkle Hard

                      Modesty and plain good manners might prevent them from saying so themselves, but the fact that Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have thrived, rather than simply endured over 17 years and delivered six albums of buzzy, sub-cultural significance, constitutes an impressive legacy. The challenge with album number seven is one that any successful band with integrity faces: how to safeguard that legacy and hold on to their identity without rehashing old ground (unthinkable), and also say something meaningful while (crucially) having fun doing it?

                      Meeting that issue head on in the run up to The Jicks’ seventh record involved some “navel gazing”, according to singer, songwriter, and guitarist Malkmus and not only in terms of what it means to be releasing music in 2018. If, like him, you’re a voracious consumer of all kinds of culture and feel the need to interact with it, rather than just react, then inevitably “there’s a world that prompts you to put your best foot forward”. With Sparkle Hard Malkmus, Mike Clark (keyboards), Joanna Bolme (bass) and Jake Morris (drums) do exactly that. And they hit the ground running – on air treads.

                      It’s light ’n’ breezy, head-down heavy, audacious, melancholic and reflective, goodtime and bodacious, and it pulls off the smartest trick: it’s both unmistakeably The Jicks and – due to the streamlining of their trademark tics and turns, plus the introduction of some unexpected flourishes (Auto-Tune, a fiddle, guest vocalist Kim Gordon, one seven-minute song with an acoustic folk intro) – The Jicks refashioned. If 2014’s Wig Out At Jag Bags balanced the lengthy prog workouts of Pig Lib with Mirror Traffic’s sparky pop moments, then Sparkle Hard bears less obvious direct relation to what’s come before. It also has turbocharged energy and enthusiasm by the truckload.

                      Malkmus started writing Sparkle Hard in 2015. He’d upgraded his home-recording equipment and bought some electronic drums and had been working on the Netflix series Flaked (he penned the incidental music and the end theme song). Demos were done in one day in April of 2017 and then in May, The Jicks started recording at a new studio in Portland called Halfling, which is managed by multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk of The Decemberists, who produced the album.

                      Self-indulgent escapism has never been The Jicks’ bag, but on Sparkle Hard, the reality of modern life sits closer to the surface, communication cutting to the chase whether it’s a proto-punk grind or a back-porch country duet doing the talking. A cleaner burn for dark and complex times.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      Coloured LP Info: Indie-exclusive deluxe heavyweight coloured vinyl with insert.

                      LP Info: Heavyweight vinyl with insert.

                      Having pinned to perfection the sonics of the Adriatic, Croatia’s Love International Festival bottles up their blissed out rhythms and sunrise sessions for the inauguration of Love International Recordings, fittingly, with a first release from UK producer Begin.

                      Bringing the Love International feel to wax and digital, the label will encapsulate the range of music the festival’s secluded party paradise has become renowned for. All the way from the balearic tinges of this first release, to the meatier house, techno and electro selections on show at Barbarellas.

                      Begin aka James Holroyd has a long history with Love International. Dating back to the early 2000s, Holroyd was one of the first guest DJs at the old Garden festival on the former festival site in Petrčane. Long serving Chemical Brothers tour DJ, Back to Basics resident since the 90's and Bugged Out co founder, Begin has long paid his paid his dues to the scene. In the words of Dave Harvey: “he’s been an absolute workhorse in dance music for time”.

                      Love International 001's tracks seemingly fit the festivals own daily lifecycle. From the docile guitar picking of meditative EP opener ‘Wood Trees’ to the slow daybreak funk of ‘Daypulse’ where synths pierce through the track like sun rays through the Adriatic dusk, the EP is a holistic reflection of what one might hear at one of the festival’s fabled sunrise sessions. ‘Garden Interlude’ ushers in a fresh burst of energy, with the revitalizing sounds of piano house, paired with warming neo soul vocals. ‘Into The Fun’ is a self fulfilling prophecy, closing the EP on a quintessentially balearic note.

                      Lump

                      Lump

                        Lump was born of good timing and predestined compatibility. It began when Mike Lindsay – a prolific, Mercury prize-winning producer – was introduced to Grammy-nominated, Brit award-winning singer-songwriter Laura Marling after her show supporting Neil Young in London.

                        Lump is a heady blend of wonked-out guitars, Moog synths and pattering drums, set against droning, coiling clouds of flutes and voices. The lyrics are inspired by early-20th-century Surrealism and the absurdist poetry of Edward Lear and Ivor Cutler - a bizarre but compelling narrative about the commodification of curated public personas, the mundane absurdity of individualism, and the lengths we go to escape our own meaninglessness.

                        The composers are keen to stress that LUMP is a creation that passed through them, and they look upon it parentally. It is their understanding that, now it has come into being, LUMP is the artist, and it will continue to create itself from here on. Lindsay and Marling will assist it as necessary.

                        Echo Ladies

                        Pink Noise

                          Swedish shoegaze trio Echo Ladies release their debut album Pink Noise on June 8.

                          The eight-track album comes just a few months after their self-titled EP, which got the attention of BBC Radio 6 Music, Radio X, Beats 1, The Line Of Best Fit and Clash, to name but a few, and sold out immediately upon release.

                          The album mixes A Place To Bury Strangers-style total sonic annihilation with skewed synth-pop and the band cite the Cocteau Twins, Lowlife (not the Scottish dreampop band, but New Order’s 1985 album is as good a reference point) and The Jesus And Mary Chain as the main musical influences, but there’s also a nod to The Cure’s Disintegration and even Saint Etienne.

                          Lyrically, it’s all about teen angst, which explains their perfect mixture of melancholy, euphoria, anger and tenderness. A sense of emotional confusion that is echoed by the title.

                          “‘Pink noise’ is a setting on some old analogue synths,” they explain. “It pretty much sounds like the world is ending – the perfect way to describe this album.” 

                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          Coloured LP Info: Limited pink coloured vinyl.

                          Beach House

                          7

                            "7 is our 7th full-length record. At its release, we will have been a band for over 13 years. We have now written and released a total of 77 songs together.

                            Last year, we released an album of b-sides and rarities. It felt like a good step for us. It helped us clean the creative closet, put the past to bed, and start anew.

                            Throughout the process of recording 7, our goal was rebirth and rejuvenation. We wanted to rethink old methods and shed some self-imposed limitations. In the past, we often limited our writing to parts that we could perform live. On 7, we decided to follow whatever came naturally. As a result, there are some songs with no guitar, and some without keyboard. There are songs with layers and production that we could never recreate live, and that is exciting to us. Basically, we let our creative moods, instead of instrumentation, dictate the album’s feel.

                            In the past, the economics of recording have dictated that we write for a year, go to the studio, and record the entire record as quickly as possible. We have always hated this because by the time the recording happens, a certain excitement about older songs has often been lost. This time, we built a "home" studio, and began all of the songs there. Whenever we had a group of 3-4 songs that we were excited about, we would go to a “proper” recording studio and finish recording them there. This way, the amount of time between the original idea and the finished song was pretty short (of the album’s 11 songs, 8 were finished at Carriage House in Stamford, CT and 2 at Palmetto Studio in Los Angeles).

                            7 didn’t have a producer in the traditional sense. We much preferred this, as it felt like the ideas drove the creativity, not any one person’s process. James Barone, who became our live drummer in 2016, played on the entire record. His tastes and the trust we have in him really helped us keep rhythm at the center of a lot of these songs. We also worked with Sonic Boom (Peter Kember). Peter became a great force on this record, in the shedding of conventions and in helping to keep the songs alive, fresh and protected from the destructive forces of recording studio over-production/over-perfection.

                            The societal insanity of 2016-17 was also deeply influential, as it must be for most artists these days. Looking back, there is quite a bit of chaos happening in these songs, and a pervasive dark field that we had little control over. The discussions surrounding women’s issues were a constant source of inspiration and questioning. The energy, lyrics and moods of much of this record grew from ruminations on the roles, pressures and conditions that our society places on women, past and present. The twisted double edge of glamour, with its perils and perfect moments, was an endless source (see “L’Inconnue,” “Drunk in LA,” “Woo,” “Girl of the Year,” “Last Ride”).

                            In a more general sense, we are interested by the human mind's (and nature’s) tendency to create forces equal and opposite to those present. Thematically, this record often deals with the beauty that arises in dealing with darkness; the empathy and love that grows from collective trauma; the place one reaches when they accept rather than deny (see “Dark Spring,” “Pay No Mind,” “Lemon Glow,” “Dive,” “Black Car,” “Lose Your Smile”).

                            The title, 7, itself is simply a number that represents our seventh record. We hoped its simplicity would encourage people to look inside. No title using words that we could find felt like an appropriate summation of the album.

                            The number 7 does represent some interesting connections in numerology. 1 and 7 have always shared a common look, so 7 feels like the perfect step in the sequence to act as a restart or “semi-first.” Most early religions also had a fascination with 7 as being the highest level of spirituality, as in "Seventh Heaven.” At our best creative moments, we felt we were channeling some kind of heavy truth, and we sincerely hope the listeners will feel that." 

                            Much Love,
                            Beach House


                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            Coloured LP Info: Indies only transparent coloured vinyl.

                            Various Artists

                            Agnes Obel: Late Night Tales

                              “To me, sounds have always been more interesting than words,” says Agnes Obel. “I love it when the voice becomes an instrument and you almost forget it’s a human voice.” Never is this more apt than on this beautifully programmed and bewitching selection of music.

                              Agnes’ 2010 debut album Philharmonics went platinum in France and Belgium and, unsurprisingly, quintuple platinum in her native Denmark, where she also won five Danish Music Awards (equivalent to the Brits) in 2011. The follow-up Aventine, released in late 2013, was imbued with the same measured calmness as her debut. It went platinum in Belgium and gold in Denmark and France.

                              For the mix you have in your hands it feels almost as if Agnes has scoured the world looking for kindred spirits – or kindred songs. There’s a quietude about it all, the antithesis of a rush hour, like a frozen lake on a Sunday morning. This is aided by a veritable cornucopia of new Obel material, including a haunting reading of Danish song ‘Glemmer Du’, Inger Christensen’s ‘Poem About Death’ set to original music, and an Agnes original, ‘Bee Dance’.

                              Among them, there’s the enigmatic Jamaican singer Nora Dean who weighs in with the hypnotic and slinky Duke Reid production, ‘Ay Ay Ay Ay (Angie-Lala)’ and the sparse, sardonic ‘Party Girl’ by Michelle Gurevich, so good it inspired the eponymous French movie. There are the plangent voices, The Bulgarian Folklore Choir, Nina Simone, Ray Davies and Agnes herself, ringing true. Somehow, Ms Obel makes even makes the electronic tracks bow to her needs as with Yello whose ‘Great Mission’ is more Martin Denny than Underworld and cult Greek composer Lena Platonos’ ‘Bloody Shadows From A Distance’ pulses gently rather than throbs and Can’s recently rediscovered ‘Obscura Primavera’, unusually hushed.

                              "I was surprised at how much time I ended up spending on this. I collected all the songs together with my partner Alex and we just spent time listening to records, trying to see what would fit together. Some of the music I’ve included here is on mixtapes we made when we were just friends as teenagers. Each one of the tracks produces stories in my head." - Agnes Obel, February 2018


                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

                              Belly

                              Dove

                                First new full-length album from legendary New England alternative band BELLY in over 20 years. The band were one of the top alternative artists of the 90's, formed by Throwing Muses and Breeders member Tanya Donelly, with two UK Top 10 albums & Top 40 single ‘Feed The Tree’ on 4AD. The band has reunited with all four original members for the new album DOVE and will be touring the US and UK this summer to support the release.

                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                Coloured LP Info: Transparent seafoam green vinyl.

                                Indies Exclusive LP Info: Transparent yellow with orange splatter vinyl.

                                Sound Voyage

                                En Route To Thailand

                                  After blowing everyone's mind with the post-kraut Thai fusion of their "Golden Garuda" 7" a couple of years back, Munich duo Sound Voyage unleash their debut LP in lavish form. Super limited, handstamped with gold leaf and boasting the kind of free form exotic experiments you'd die for, this is the tits. Alongside previous hits "Golden Garuda" and "Super Molam", Tom & Niko take us to the potion shop with the post minimal funk-pulse of "Schattenspiel", drop into super groovy market place dub via "Muay Thai Seven" and switch into dub techno mode for the SAE meets BC stylings of "Bangkok Echo"...And that's only naming a few - you need this record!

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  Ltd LP Info: limited Edition of 222 , heavy 180gramm 12" Vinyl, cover handstamped with 24k Gold Leaf, protective inner & outer sleeves, incl info sheet & sticker.

                                  Kamaal Williams

                                  The Return

                                    Whether re-defining experimental fusion sounds with the hugley acclaimed Yussef Kamaal, or his catalogue of 12”s for imprints such as MCDE, Eglo, and Rhythm Section as Henry Wu, South London’s Kamaal Williams has been a key figure in his thriving international scene for the past few years. The Return is a natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project, mining the influence of visionary jazz but blended with all kinds of texture, sounds and signals from the over-saturated London streets.

                                    At times the keyboard work evokes the classic 70s fusion work of Lonnie Liston Smith or Roy Ayers, but underpinned by rhythms more reminiscent of blunted hip-hop and arrangements subliminally laced with the cut-ups of pirate radio. Progressive, funky, cosmic, exploratory and effortlessly musical, this is the sound of a musician honing their craft into thrilling new shapes.

                                    In the US the like of Kamasi Washington and Thundercat have made great strides in opening a whole new dialogue between jazz and hip-hop, drawing in a young, highly engaged new audience in the process. Kamaal Williams mine a similar seam on the other side of the Atlantic alongside other exciting London talents such as Ezra Collective, Ruby Rushton and Shabaka Hutchings.

                                    The Return is exactly that: a return and refinement to the sound Yussef Kamaal were progenitors of, and first set the scene for one of the most exciting musical movements London has had in years.

                                    Notable tracks for old and new listeners are ‘Slow', 'Situations', 'Medina', 'London Shuffle' which features Mansur Brown (of Mansur's Message) and for those die hard Yussef Kamaal fans - they should hear the interpolated roots of 'Strings of Light' in the title track 'The Return’. And that signature Wu Funk can be heard on Broken Theme, and High Roller.

                                    The Return will be the debut album released on Wu's new label Black Focus Records.

                                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                                    Coloured LP Info: Limited edition indies exclusive white vinyl.

                                    Alfa Mist

                                    Antiphon

                                      Special edition transparent orange double vinyl in deluxe gatefold sleeve. Exclusively licensed to Black Acre.

                                      Original pressing fetches £150 on certain online auction sites.

                                      Alfa Mist is considered a frontrunner in the new London jazz movement.

                                      Parquet Courts

                                      Wide Awake!

                                        Parquets Courts' fifth album 'Wide Awake!' - produced by Danger Mouse - is a groundbreaking work, an album about independence and individuality but also about collectivity and communitarianism. The songs, written by Andrew Savage and Austin Brown but elevated to even greater heights by the dynamic rhythmic propulsion of Max Savage (drums) and Sean Yeaton (bass), are filled with their traditional punk rock passion, as well as a lyrical tenderness. The record reflects a burgeoning confidence in the band's exploration of new ideas in a hi-fi context.

                                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                                        Deluxe LP Info: Deluxe Collectors Edition LP featuring a 16-page double art and illustration booklet by A. Savage.

                                        Deluxe LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                        LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                        Ryley Walker

                                        Deafman Glance

                                          “I was under a lot of stress because I was trying to make an anti-folk record and I was having trouble doing it. I wanted to make something deep-fried and more me-sounding. I didn’t want to be jammy acoustic guy anymore. I just wanted to make something weird and far-out that came from the heart finally. I was always trying to make something like this I guess, trying to catch up with my imagination. And I think I succeeded in that way — it’s got some weird instrumentation on there, and some surreal far-out words.

                                          I’m lucky enough to have some people who are playing on it who had a big part in shaping the songs and writing with me. Cooper Crain, the guy who engineered it, and played all the synthesizers. And when the flute guy, Nate Lepine came in, that was really something that made it special. The producer was this guy LeRoy Bach. I love LeRoy, he’s a really talented guy. He did the last record too.

                                          And it’s more Chicago-y sounding. Chicago sounds like a train constantly coming towards you but never arriving. That’s the sound I hear, all the time, ringing in my ears.” – Ryley Walker.

                                          Iceage

                                          Beyondless

                                            Beyondless radiates joy. It’s an album that shows Iceage finally catching up with their ambition, all the while retaining the rich character of the band’s brash beginnings. It’s important to pay attention to the journey, from New Brigade (2011), a juvenile delinquent take on post-punk, full of cold, distant condemnation, and onto the ecstasy of You're Nothing (2013), shedding the more aggressive hardcore influence and dragging in more light, a tendency followed on Plowing Into The Field Of Love (2014). Throughout their career, the band’s charm has rested in their running ahead of themselves with blind confidence; on Beyondless, they are treading with a disarming assurance, but no loss of charm.

                                            The album was produced by the band with Nis Bysted, and recorded all-analog by Mattias Glavå at Kungsten Studios in Göteborg, Sweden, and mixed by Randall Dunn at Avast Studios in Seattle. The album was played entirely by Iceage with additional performances by Nils Gröndhal (violin), horns by Kasper Tranberg (trumpet), Lars Greve (saxophones) and Morten Jessen (trombone).

                                            King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard

                                            Gumboot Soup

                                              This is the fifth instalment of King Gizzard’s five albums from 2017, finally out on physical formats. Titled ‘Gumboot Soup’, the album is a psych smorgasbord with everything you love about the prodigious Aussies.

                                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                                              Coloured LP Info: Limited opaque orange coloured vinyl.

                                              Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                              Let's Eat Grandma

                                              I'm All Ears

                                                I’m All Ears is an even greater revelation than Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth’s globally acclaimed debut, I, Gemini. The second act from the British teenage vocalists, multi-instrumentalists and songwriters, is the most startling, infectious, innovative and thrilling record you’ll hear this year. It is alive with furious pop, unapologetic grandeur, intimate ballads; with loops, Logic, outrageous 80s drum solos, as well as production from David Wrench (The xx/Frank Ocean/Caribou), SOPHIE (famed for her own material and work with Madonna, Charli XCX and Vince Staples) and Faris Badwan (The Horrors). It’s an album that cements Let’s Eat Grandma as one of the most creative and exciting bands in the world right now.

                                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                2xColoured LP Info: Indies exclusive translucent yellow vinyl.

                                                Simian Mobile Disco

                                                Murmurations

                                                  Simian Mobile Disco announce details of their fifth full length studio album, Murmurations. Featuring vocals from celebrated Hackney-based collective The Deep Throat Choir, Murmurations is due for release on 11 May via Wichita Records.

                                                  A thrilling 9-song set, Murmurations is as perfectly pitched for headphones as it is for clubs, named after giant cloud formations of starlings and themed around the stunning emergent behaviors that appear within them. To mirror these movements in the sonic landscape and visuals of Murmurations, SMD’s James Ford and Jas Shaw collaborated with the celebrated Hackney-based vocal collective The Deep Throat Choir, as well as creative directors Kazim Rashid of ENDLESSLOVESHOW (Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawk) and Carri Munden.

                                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                  2xLtd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                  Soulwax

                                                  Essential

                                                    Comprised of 12 tracks, named ‘Essential One – ‘Essential Twelve’, each song on the album is based around the word ‘essential’

                                                    Recorded in just under two weeks, Essential was created using the gear they didn’t use for their celebrated 2017 LP From Deewee, which was recorded with the band in one take.

                                                    The band elaborate: "When we were approached to make an Essential Mix for the BBC in May 2017, we chose to do what every sane human being would do, we decided to lock ourselves into our studio for two weeks and make an hour of new music based around the word 'Essential', instead of preparing a mix of already existing music. The product of this otherwise unwise decision is something we ended up being very proud of and is now being released on the piece of plastic you’re are currently holding in your hands."

                                                    Ash

                                                    Islands



                                                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                      Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive metallic silver vinyl.

                                                      Okkervil River

                                                      In The Rainbow Rain



                                                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                        Coloured LP Info: Opaque blue/purple swirl marbled vinyl.

                                                        DMA's

                                                        For Now



                                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                          Coloured LP Info: Red coloured vinyl.

                                                          Boy Azooga

                                                          1, 2, Kung Fu!

                                                            Boy Azooga, the shape-shifting musical mystery tour piloted by Cardiff’s Davey Newington have announced details of the release of their debut album, 1,2 Kung Fu!, on Heavenly Recordings.

                                                            A prodigous musical talent, Davey Newington is a young man with a rich musical heritage. One of his granddads was a jazzer who played drums for the Royal Marines. Davey’s dad (violin) and his mum (clarinet) both played, and met, in the BBC National Orchestra Of Wales. Davey himself took up drums at the age of six and also enjoyed orchestral engagement, playing in various Welsh Orchestra’s and Jazz bands as a teenager as well at latterly finding gainful employment playing drums as part of Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon.

                                                            Inspired by his art teacher at school who sent him off to town to buy Can’s Ege Bamyasi, taking musical cues from the likes of Sly & The Family Stone, Caribou, Black Sabbath, Outkast, Van McCoy, Ty Segall and The Beastie Boys and with arrangements which carry the wonky tunefulness of The Super Furry Animals they nabbed their name from the 1994 film The Little Rascals.

                                                            With a Davey recruiting friends Daf Davies, Dylan Morgan and Sam Barnes to form the Boy Azooga live quartet, an ensemble that swings smoothly from filmic instrumentals to a churning, rave-tinged rock that hints at both Can and their progeny, the Happy Mondays, the band played a number of headline and support shows across the U.K. at the end of last year, including a manic sold-out hometown show in Cardiff at Clwb Ifor Bach almost a year to the day they made their debut in the city at the same venue.

                                                            They take their loose-limbed live show on the road later this year and the dates include their own headline shows, support slots with The Magic Gang & Rolling Blackouts and Coastal Fever and an appearance at this year’s Heavenly Weekender at the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge.


                                                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                            Coloured LP Info: Limited pink coloured vinyl.

                                                            Warmduscher

                                                            Whale City

                                                              Let Warmduscher be your guide. Clams Baker: the man with the golden tongue. Fast-talking, no nonsense networker. The ‘legitimate’ front to the great rock ‘n’ roll swindle. No time for fact checking. No need for building regulations. Heading straight to the top. Consequence be damned. Lightnin’ Jack Everett is his man on point. The rhythm. The brains. The brawn. Let’s make lots of money. The Saulcano, Mr Salt Fingers Lovecraft and The Witherer operate in the shadows. The cogs. The machine. The bootleggers.

                                                              South London recidivists Warmduscher include members of Paranoid London, Fat White Family and Childhood.

                                                              Longtime Warmduscher biographer Dr Alan Goldfarb describes Whale City as “a rock opera so vast in magnitude that - were in not for my being strapped naked to a chair in a garage - could send a man hurtling towards the outer perimeters of uncharted space”.


                                                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                              Ltd LP Info: vinyl edition includes a set of postcards featuring artwork by David Ruddeforth.

                                                              La Luz

                                                              Floating Features

                                                                Los Angeles has often been described as a “dream factory”--both a mecca where dreamers converge to pursue long-held aspirations, and a topography of hallucinogenic contradictions: enchanting tangerine sunsets diffused by smog, crystal-clutching spiritualists mingling with deep-pocketed narcissists, rows of scenic palms competing with garish billboards for commuters’ attention. It was against this backdrop that the four members of La Luz--singer/guitarist Shana Cleveland, drummer Marian Li Pino, keyboardist Alice Sandahl, and bassist Lena Simon—conceived of Floating Features, the band’s third studio album. For this, their most ambitious release yet, La Luz consulted landscapes both physical and psychological. References to dreams abound on Floating Features. “Loose Teeth” catalyzes nightmare fuel into a propulsive, intentionally-disorienting collision of honeyed harmonies and Takeshi Terauchi-esque jet-streams of distorted surf guitar. “Mean Dream” unsurprisingly mines dreamstate imagery, and the lyrics and melody for “Walking Into the Sun” actually came to Cleveland During a particularly-vivid night of deep sleep. Looming over the album’s Coterie of surreal figures (gargantuan cicadas, a monstrous “Creature,” The Sun King, aliens, the titular “Lonely Dozer”) is the magnificent “Greed Machine,” a skulking, insatiable engine of consumption-Nathanael West’s “business of dreams” fearsomely manifested. Only La Luz could conjure up Floating Features’ Leone-on-LSD vibes, and the album finds the L.A. band at the height of their powers--golden rebels in a golden dream.

                                                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                Coloured LP Info: Indies only gold vinyl.

                                                                Shina Williams & His African Percussionists

                                                                African Dances

                                                                  First official reissue of the extremely rare full-length album by Lagos-based bandleader Shina Williams. Clean copies of the original currently sell for up to £500.

                                                                  The record was born in 1979 when Shina put Biddy Wright, Fred Fisher, Saliu Alabi, Prince Bola, Tutu Shoronmu, Tunde Willimas and several other decorated Nigerian musicians - who played with the likes of Fela Kuti, SJOB Movement, Sonny Okoson, King Bucknor amongst others - together to record. The result is ‘African Dances’, a timeless fusion of afrobeat, electronics, boogie and disco.

                                                                  Includes his most well-known song, ‘Agboju Logun’ that Williams knew was ground breaking - “I want to show the whole wide world that Africa is alive with modern musicians to reckon with anywhere,”. This album version is a different mix to the two-track 12” that came out under on Earthworks, Rough Trade in 1984.

                                                                  Grouper

                                                                  Grid Of Points

                                                                    Not long after recording her 10th album, Ruins, Liz Harris traveled to Wyoming to work on art and record music. She found herself drawn towards the pairing of skeletal piano phrasing with spare, rich bursts of vocal harmony.

                                                                    A series of stark songs emerged, minimal and vulnerable, woven with emotive silences. Inspired by “the idea that something is missing or cold,” the pieces float and fade like vignettes, implying as much as they reveal. She describes them as “small texts hanging in space,” impressions of mortality, melody, and the unseen – fleeting beauty, interrupted. Grid Of Points stands as a concise and potently poetic addition to the Grouper catalog.

                                                                    From Liz Harris: Grid Of Points is a set of songs for piano and voice. I wrote these songs over a week and a half; they stopped abruptly when I was interrupted by a high fever. Though brief, it is complete. The intimacy and abbreviation of this music allude to an essence that the songs lyrics speak more directly of. The space left after matter has departed, a stage after the characters have gone, the hollow of some central column,
                                                                    missing. 


                                                                    Seahawks

                                                                    Eternal Beams

                                                                      Travel agents for inner journeys Seahawks take us on a voyage ever deeper into the new age vortex.

                                                                      Their last album ‘Escape Hatch’ described by Vice as a ‘modern masterpiece’ only hinted at the transcendent power of Seahawks music.

                                                                      Eternal Beams goes ‘further’ to create a whole new harmonial experience.

                                                                      side one: the listener immersed in a soft storm of tape saturated raindrops and distant thunder…numinous waves of sound cascade to create whirlpools of womb like warmth with gentle pulsations.

                                                                      side two: enter Laraaji… flocculent flows of golden zither, rich vocal vibrations, dolphin tones in phantasy phase - all coalesce generously, bringing feelings of rebirth and light.

                                                                      To conclude: a wondrous journey of resonant oscillations, inner exploration, a portal to other dimensions.

                                                                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                      LP Info: Initial copies come with exclusive 12x12 art print.

                                                                      Forth Wanderers

                                                                      Forth Wanderers

                                                                        Forth Wanderers employ a tin-can-telephone style of composition which they use even when living in the same area code. Since first collaborating in 2013 as Montclair, New Jersey high schoolers, guitarist and songwriter Ben Guterl and vocalist Ava Trilling have passed songs back and forth like pen pals. Guterl will devise an instrumental skeleton before sending it to vocalist Ava Trilling who pens the lyrics based off the melody. The duo then gather alongside guitarist Duke Greene, bassist Noah Schifrin, and drummer Zach Lorelli to expand upon the demo. It’s a patient and practiced writing system that has carried the quintet through two EPs (2013’s Mahogany and 2016’s Slop) and one LP (2014’s Tough Love). Forth Wanderers, the group’s sophomore record and Sub Pop debut, is the groups’ most comprehensive and assured statement yet.

                                                                        Now living in Ohio and New York respectively, Guterl and Trilling have evolved their separate but collaborative writing process. “The only way I can really write is by myself in my room with a notebook, listening to the song over and over again,” Trilling says. “I’ve never sat down to write a story, I write the song as it unfolds.” Since her lyrics are often embedded with intimate truths from her life, the private writing experience often leads to intense self-reflection.

                                                                        On Forth Wanderers these introspections include meditations on relationships, discovery, and finding oneself adrift. Despite the inherent heaviness of those themes, Forth Wanderers feels joyous, a rock record bursting with heart. Take “Not for Me,” a romping track about “the ambivalence of love.” Trilling’s confession of “I can’t feel the earth beneath my feet/Flowers bloom but not for me” resists feeling like a dreary, pitying complaint; instead, as her bandmates bolster her melancholy with interlocking harmonic intricacies, she soars with self-actualization. Opener “Nevermine,” is a surge of confidence inspired by an ex-lover who is still captivated by her image. “I don’t think I know who you are anymore/And I think I knew who I was before,” she jabs with relish. On “Ages Ago” Trilling paints the image of a constantly-shifting enigmatic lover. “I wasn’t sure who they were, they changed constantly (hence the metaphor describing the “grey coat” and cutting their hair just to “stay afloat”),” she says. “I wasn’t going to wait any longer to find out.”

                                                                        Recorded over five days by friend and audio engineer Cameron Konner at his Philadelphia home studio, Forth Wanderers amplifies the heartfelt sentiments of their earlier works into massive anthems. Guterl and Greene’s guitars have never sounded sharper, Schifrin and Lorelli’s terse rhythm section is restless, and Trilling sounds more self-assured than ever. These are exuberant, profound songs driven by tightly bound melodies and a loving attention to detail.

                                                                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                        Coloured LP Info: Orange coloured Loser edition.

                                                                        Halo Maud

                                                                        Je Suis Une Ile

                                                                          Halo Maud’s first release on Heavenly is a recap of the story so far ahead of an album release later this year – three tracks of this EP originally came out on a Canadian label last year, with the difference that ‘Du Pouvoir’ now features some English lyrics, and ‘À La Fin’ and ‘Dans La Nuit’ cropped up on a La Souterraine compilations in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

                                                                          Maud Nadal has been a member of both Moodoïd and Melody’s Echo Chamber’s live bands, and of course at times there are comparisons to be drawn with MEC, with both teetering on a crystalline peak where extreme joy and despair meet. But if anything Nadal’s own melodies are even more indelible, and her voice turns them into vapour trails.

                                                                          The Longcut

                                                                          Arrows - Signed Edition

                                                                            Somewhere between utopia and dystopia The Longcut have constructed their own monolithic world. Impossible to place but undoubtedly familiar, on their new record Arrows, Manchester’s sonic architects have carved out their own Upside Down within the crevices of the North; sublimely sweet, bittersweet and bleak, where concrete blockades loom large, but songbirds emerge from clouds overhead.

                                                                            “Much of Arrows was born out of frustration with the whole process,” reveals the band’s vocalist and drummer, Stuart Ogilvie of the album’s brutal leanings. “Like even when you know good things are happening in your life, other situations can get you down. That balance or imbalance is felt by everyone so hopefully people can hear this journey and relate.”

                                                                            7 years in the works but much less time in the making, several cuts of each song and two versions of the album later, Arrows embodies aggravation. Sliced, diced and layered up again for the 21st Century, Arrows shows strength from struggle through its stark contrasts; “We were going to call it ‘Monuments’ because of this process of chipping away and adding things,” tells bassist, Jon Fearon. “Eventually we settled on ‘Arrows’; it’d be easy to read too much into it but really, it’s about people. ‘Arrows’ was also the track that pushed us to finish the record, even when it was tough.”

                                                                            Chiselled from chopped up loops, original demos, welding together long improvisations then building, re-recording and fine-tuning, Arrows captures many moments in time. Not least, the whisky-fuelled home recording sessions where kitchen shelves were rearranged to re-amp bass parts at full volume and bedrooms were transformed into control rooms strewn with amps and microphones. It may have taken its time, but throughout the record’s walls of sound, tortured beauty lies within; “You can go from nothing to something very quickly when you eventually get going,” says guitarist, Lee Gale.

                                                                            Behemoth of a lead single ‘Deathmask’ is the perfect case in point. Energetic, menacing and mesmerising, the words came together very quickly. “I was walking home in a pretty shitty mood and this really ominous weather front came over,” recalls Stuart. “The sky went dark and there was this static electric feeling in the air, powerful and foreboding. That’s where the line “Under the gathering sulphur” comes from. It got me thinking about escapism; not to some sunny uplands, but to a place where the natural order was breaking down too.”

                                                                            Weaving in and out of apocalyptic swells of visceral white noise and razor-sharp riffs from guitar strings sawn with a drum-stick, as Stuart proclaims on ‘Kroqd’ “Ashes are falling from the sky and I’ll keep singing,” the tour de force of the record is in the astute voyeurism of the lyrics. “It’s taken time to write because so much has happened,” he hints. “Reflecting life and what happens to people rather than dwell in self-deprecating misery… I try to take my feelings of those and abstract them; it’s that idea of something ongoing being constantly re-evaluated, which can account for a lot of the record’s ambiguities and contradictions.”

                                                                            Elsewhere the trio’s hefty homage to the basslines of beatmakers J Dilla and Flying Lotus’ 'LTWXRMX' which samples the 1950s IBM advert soundbites of Raymond Scott’s track 'Lightworks’ also threw up a few creative demons. “We had this mad loop of Scott’s stuff for ‘Punches’, all these arpeggiated sounds before realising we had to completely re-do the track because those samples were copyrighted,” tells Jon. “Clearly no artistic endeavour will go unpunished.”

                                                                            Whilst previous albums A Call and Response (2006) Open Hearts (2009), and 7-track EP Broken Hearts (2010) were formulaic in structure, Arrows was formed from the rolling approach of no clearly-defined beginning, middle or end. Through its single-word titles which stack upon each other like steel girders, order is brought to the recordings, mixed by studio boffin and The Earlies live guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Tom Knott, who provided ‘Popic’s live brass sounds. “He transformed our sprawling recordings into a coherent whole and his contribution is one of our favourite parts,” Jon says. Meanwhile on the sleeve, Arrows takes its shape with angular artwork created by long-time artistic collaborator Liam Palmer.

                                                                            Raw, brutal, pounding the senses and always from the heart, The Longcut are ready to launch Arrows into 2018’s bleak and beautiful horizon. 


                                                                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                            2xColoured LP Info: Limited 500 pressing, transparent blue vinyl.

                                                                            Goat

                                                                            Let It Burn

                                                                              Is Let it Burn the greatest Goat track the band have ever made? The band think it is the best song they have written. The label have not stopped going on about it since they heard it. And now you can listen to Let it Burn when it is released as a ltd edition 7” single on 25 May.

                                                                              Let it Burn was written specifically for the climatic scene in the short movie Killing Gävle, a The Guardian produced film directed by the very talented Joe Fletcher about the famous Gävle Goat in Sweden which every year local custodians of Gävle try to protect a giant straw goat that is built for the town every Christmas being burnt down by mischievous pagans. Obviously Goat’s music was the obvious to soundtrack the film – their back catalogue is used throughout the film but up to now it was the only place you could hear a segment of the 6 minute+ fuzz groove of Let it Burn but now thanks to Rocket Recordings it can be heard in all its glory. Not only that, but you get a brand new b-side, and like most recent Goat b-sides it reveals another exploratory sound to the bands‘world music’. Friday Pt.1 is a 4 minute excerpt from an organically evolving, cosmic-jazz, studio jam. The ltd 7” comes in 3 exclusive colours, each ltd to 400 copies; ‘yellow flame’ vinyl, ‘orange flame’ vinyl and ‘red flame vinyl’ and these will be randomly distributed around the world. 

                                                                              Girls Names

                                                                              Stains On Silence

                                                                                It stands to reason that many vital albums come critically close to never being made. The eight-track upshot of doubt, upheaval and financial strain, Stains on Silence by Girls Names is one such release. Following 2015’s blitzing Arms Around a Vision, and the parting of drummer Gib Cassidy just over a year later, the Belfast band suddenly found themselves facing down a looming void. “There was a finished – and then aborted – mix of the album, which was shelved for six months,” reveals Girls Names frontman Cathal Cully. “We then took a break from all music and went back to full-time work. We chilled out from the stress of rushing the record and not being happy with it, as well as being skint with no impending touring on the cards and constantly having to worry about rent.” The stumbling blocks that proved a strain became the album’s defining breakthrough. Recorded in various locations including Belfast’s Start Together Studio with Ben McAuley, Cully’s home and the band’s practice space, spontaneous creation, cut-up techniques and self-editing took centre-stage for the first time. "We started tearing the material apart and rebuilding, re-editing and re-recording different parts in my home in early Autumn last year,” says Cully. “When we got them to a place we were happier with we went back into Start Together Studio with Ben McAuley to finalise the mixes to what they are now." Where AAAV proved a brazen statement of intent, Stains on Silence bounds forth as its feature-length comedown. What could have seen the band buckle became an opportunity for approaching things tabula rasa. During its two-year transmutation, Cully, bassist Claire Miskimmin and guitarist Philip Quinn had a single aim for their fourth album: to make an old-fashioned record clocking in around 30 to 35 minutes in length that made the listener reach straight for repeat. From the Bang Bang bar-summoning swoon of opener '25’ and the submerged disco doom of ‘Haus Proud’ to the rapt, dub-leaning ‘Fragments of a Portrait’, Girls Names have excelled in their goal by forging an LP of synchronous nuance and defiance. Marked by the presence of drum machines and programming throughout, these eight masterfully-woven tales are once again commandeered by founder Cully, whose words, understated yet defiant, mine purpose and meaning from the mire ("I want to bathe again, I want to swim again / In a pool of twisting bodies, blackened gold." — ‘25’). But while Stains on Silence came critically close to never being made, having lived with it, reconfigured it, and guided its metamorphosis from flickers of inspiration and half-formed schemes, it’s both a statement of pure perseverance, and a head-on confrontation with ambivalence that couldn’t be more assured. (Brian Coney March 2018)

                                                                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                Coloured LP Info: Limited to 300 copies for UK Indies only it has a black sleeve with orange vinyl.

                                                                                Various Artists

                                                                                Too Slow To Disco Brasil, Compiled By Ed Motta

                                                                                  Too Slow to Disco take a dive into an often overlooked side of Brazilian music: Brazilian soul, funk and AOR

                                                                                  We’d like to introduce you to the compiler of our new Too Slow to Disco release, a giant of musical endeavour, the young nephew of Brazil’s legendary soul icon Tim Maia, the ‘Colossus of Rio’, as he’s known: Ed Motta.

                                                                                  At the end of the 1980s Ed Motta burst upon the music scene as a major singer and one of the writers and producers in the band Conexão Japeri. He’s now fifteen albums into a career that hops from genre to genre, perhaps one of the savviest music makers and curators out there. He is a refined practitioner of jazz, funk, soul, AOR and much else besides, having worked with everyone from Gilles Peterson to Roy Ayers, 4Hero, Seu Jorge, Patrice Rushen, Greg Phillinganes, Bo Diddley, Incognito, Ryuichi Sakamoto and many other insanely talented musos.

                                                                                  In this collector’s compilation, you’re coming on a kind of expert guided time travel mission – just picture yourself following Ed’s fingers as they trace along the sleeves in that massive library-sized vinyl vault of his. So we dart back through over two decades of music making, dancing in one style then the next from soul to funk to AOR, you’ll feel the air coming out of the horn section right the way through, and a mixologist’s golden touch tying everything together.

                                                                                  The artists Ed has play-listed for you include über-obscure figures like Carlos Bivar or Gelson Oliveira & Luiz Ewerling – both of whose songs here derive from privately pressed albums – so rare they’re not even listed on Discogs! He’s also gathered together a real pantheon of Brazilian musical heroes like Rita Lee (who was part of the legendary Os Mutantes), Cassiano (one of the founders of Bossa Trio and Os Diagonais) and million sellers like Roupa Nova, lovingly referred to as ‘the Brazilian Toto’ (who would have thought that would become a compliment by 2018?)! And as ever with the Too Slow to Disco series, the artists might be new to you, but they’re always bringing a killer tune.

                                                                                  “Before slipping this LP on, you need to nail the AOR modus opeara… That means: a Hawaiian shirt à la Magnum PI, loafers without socks as in Miami Vice, jump in your convertible and drive under the coconut trees. This is a sunset ride through Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, Miami, Hawaii. Aloha!" Ed Motta

                                                                                  Glasgow >>>> Peckham connection!


                                                                                  Rhythm Section INTL continues its quest to unearth the rawest new talent with this stellar debut from Glaswegian duo ‘String Theory’. Opening up with the majestic ‘Dirty High’ we’re treated to a symphony of modular synthesis, swelling strings and the bounciest drums we’ve heard in a long time. Rarely has house music been so fun yet so musical. Live bass-tip toes over an ocean of synth stabs and piano chords to create an anthemnic track that’s sure to be the soundtrack to long summer nights and early mornings….

                                                                                  We don’t know where the RS crew keep finding these gems, but long may it continue. String Theory tick so many boxes we just can’t wait to hear more...

                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                  Matt says: Massive EP from Glasgow showing that the funk and future-focus dunt fade as we head north! A big coup for the Peckham stable - don't sleep!

                                                                                  The Saxophones

                                                                                  Song Of The Saxophones

                                                                                    The Saxophones began as the solo project of Erenkov - a project that was loosely started over a decade ago but gained full momentum and dedication in recent years - he wanted to bring in some primitive drum and percussion playing and couldn’t think of anyone more suited than his wife. “I wanted to share the band with her,” he says. “Plus, I would be devastated if I had to leave for weeks at a time to tour without her.”

                                                                                    The songs which make up the debut album were formed and written during a period in which the pair were living on a boat during a very wet winter in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Much of the music was written over rainy mornings on acoustic guitar inside the cabin of our boat and outside of the city in a little guesthouse in Pt. Reyes,” he reflects. It was then recorded in Portland over 10 days, the recording was an intense and occasionally tense process.

                                                                                    Taking inspiration from 1950s exotica and Hawaiian albums (Edhen Abhez, Buddy Fo, and Martin Denny), 1970s outsider Italian songwriter Vittorio Impiglia, and a host of third-stream and West coast jazz records, the result is a unique offering.

                                                                                    Natalie Prass

                                                                                    The Future And The Past

                                                                                      Natalie Prass had her new album written, her band ready, the recording studio booked. Then the 2016 election happened, and out of her despair and disappointment in those results came an impulse she could not ignore: she rewrote the album to reflect these swirling emotions. The result is ‘The Future and The Past’ a stunning snapshot of a musician in a state of personal rediscovery and surging femininity. The celebratory and defiant ‘The Future and The Past’ also signals a significant artistic leap for Prass on the heels of her 2015 breakthrough debut album. It finds Prass tapping into deep, dancey grooves that glisten with 80s pop and 90s R&B, nestled alongside quivering, lushly orchestrated ballads.

                                                                                      Like her debut album, Prass made ‘The Future and The Past’ in Richmond, VA with long-time friend and collaborator Matthew E. White at his Spacebomb Studios. She added some new collaborations to the mix as well: Blue (Solange’s ‘A Seat At The Table,’ Blood Orange, Carly Rae Jepsen) and Michael Brauer (Elle King and James Bay). ‘Future’ is ripe with string orchestrations and piano flourishes, snaking synth lines and fuzzed out guitars.

                                                                                      ‘The Future And The Past’ is bursting with a myriad of grooves and Natalie’s vocals float on top, light as a feather and tough as nails. “Short Court Style” dials the tempo into 90s R&B territory – punctuated by handclaps, sampled “woos,” and a Dr. Dre-esque whistling synth line. Lyrically she wields a sharp knife as well. The love torn “Lost” begins with: “Turn up the fader, its like a lightning bolt / we can’t be saved, so now I’m listening on my own / Once there was a time when you had me hypnotized / you realized that your finger prints were on my bones.” Funky feminist anthem “Sisters” is an empowering rallying cry: “I want to say it loud / for all the ones held down / we gotta change the plan.”

                                                                                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                      Coloured LP Info: Limited edition rust coloured vinyl.

                                                                                      Liz Phair

                                                                                      Exile In Guyville - Reissue

                                                                                        2018 marks the 25th anniversary of Liz Phair’s landmark Exile in Guyville album. On May 4th, Matador Records will reissue the album on vinyl and CD. Re-mastered by Emily Lazar at The Lodge, the album is set for a remembrance worthy of its greatness. In addition to the straight reissue, Matador is also releasing Girly-Sound To Guyville, an extensive vinyl box set to celebrate the anniversary.

                                                                                        Originally released in 1993, Exile In Guyville is a seminal album and a feminist landmark. Its legendary status has only grown over the years. It’s continually included in countless lists…Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest albums of all time + 100 best albums of the 90s, Pitchfork’s Top 100 albums of the 90s, etc. Numerous essays and think pieces have been written about it and the number of accolades piled on is endless.

                                                                                        Since the release of Exile in Guyville, Liz Phair has continued to defy expectation and break barriers. She has released five albums, and is currently working on a new one with Ryan Adams. She has also composed music for television shows and received awards for that work. In November, it was announced that she would be fulfilling a longtime dream to be an author, having received a two-book deal with Random House. Her first book will be called Horror Stories which focuses on “heartbreak, motherhood, and everything in between.

                                                                                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                        2xLtd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                                        Liz Phair

                                                                                        Girly-Sound To Guyville: The 25th Anniversary Box Set

                                                                                          2018 marks the 25th anniversary of Liz Phair’s landmark Exile in Guyville album. On May 4th, Matador Records will release Girly-Sound To Guyville, an extensive limited edition box set to celebrate the anniversary. The box set contains the first ever official release of the legendary Girly-Sound songs, which have been restored from their original three cassettes and mastered onto vinyl. It also contains a remastered double LP edition of Exile In Guyville and a 44 page book containing an extensive oral history, essays by Liz Phair and journalist Ann Powers, never before seen photographs, artwork and ephemera.

                                                                                          Originally released in 1993, Exile In Guyville is a seminal album and a feminist landmark. Its legendary status has only grown over the years. It’s continually included in countless lists…Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest albums of all time + 100 best albums of the 90s, Pitchfork’s Top 100 albums of the 90s, etc. Numerous essays and think pieces have been written about it and the number of accolades piled on is endless.

                                                                                          Since the release of Exile in Guyville, Liz Phair has continued to defy expectation and break barriers. She has released five albums, and is currently working on a new one with Ryan Adams. She has also composed music for television shows and received awards for that work. In November, it was announced that she would be fulfilling a longtime dream to be an author, and she received a two-book deal with Random House. Her first book will be called Horror Stories which focuses on “heartbreak, motherhood, and everything in between.”

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                                                                                          The Wave Pictures

                                                                                          Brushes With Happiness - Signed Copies

                                                                                            As one of the UK’s most prolific and beloved bands, it has become expected – nay, the fans have demanded - that The Wave Pictures release several albums a year. This year, they are releasing two albums and they’re kindly letting us know well in advance, so that we can set our calendars and save our pennies in anticipation. Starting with the spontaneous, recorded in one-day, minor-key, epic masterpiece that is Brushes with Happiness in June, the trio of Jonny Helm (drums), Dave Tattersall (guitar & vocals) and Franic Rozycki (bass), will be following up with a more up-beat party album, Look Inside Your Heart in October.

                                                                                            Brushes with Happiness sees The Wave Pictures in contemplative and expansive mood. Mellower and more reflective than last year’s rock’n’roll surf-garage-rock collaboration with Charles Watson from Slow Club, as new band The Surfing Magazines, or 2016’s blues driven Bamboo Diner in the Rain or 2015’s Billy Childish produced Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon. This album is more akin to 2016’s acoustic release A Season in Hull, which, like Brushes With Happiness, was recorded live in one room in a single January day.

                                                                                            Guitarist and songwriter Dave Tattersall explains the process of recording Brushes With Happiness; “We recorded this album live in a small room to tape on one night in January, playing music into the wee hours. Listening to the album feels like being in a ceremony. It takes you to that place. This is music that emanates from one group of people in one place in space and time. Listening to it is like being let in on a secret.”

                                                                                            They wanted to make an album that was as spontaneous as possible, emulating the jazz, folk, blues and live albums that they love so much. As Dave explains; “As music fans we treasure spontaneous recordings. When we put an album on we want to hear a little of the human spirit.”

                                                                                            The Wave Pictures undertook several steps in order to ensure that this was a magical album:

                                                                                            - Tattersall didn’t write any music prior to the recording sessions, just lyrics. “The lyrics were written in advance, but the music was an improvisation, completed in one night. You can thus hear how in tune we are with one another after ten years playing together in bars.”

                                                                                            - Everything on record is a first take and mostly material that Jonny and Franic had never heard before and Dave had never played. None of it existed in any shape or form before they put it to tape.

                                                                                            - They recorded it late at night so as to be as relaxed as possible. As Dave explains; “Lots of bands pretend that they have made their Tonight’s The Night or Astral Weeks, that special album which is recorded in those rare, late-night, pressure-free circumstances; that loose collection of inspired jams. They haven’t done it really. They’ve spent bloody ages working on the thing. They’ve lost their nerve. This is the real thing. A genuine shitfaced improvisation.”

                                                                                            - They got extremely high and inebriated, “We wanted to get rid of any self-consciousness together,” says Dave.

                                                                                            - The songs are predominantly in minor key. Dave explains; “I cannot help how I feel - for me this is the happiest kind of key to play in.”

                                                                                            For an album recorded in this way, Brushes with Happiness really does surpass all expectations. From the languid guitar licks to Dave’s faltering vocals, every note oozes emotional truth. The synchronicity of the band is evident in tracks like “Laces”, where you can hear the very process of composition or the Django Reinhardt inspired “Red Suitcase.” “The Burnt Match” is the kind of song they would have tried to do many times in the past but wouldn’t have been able to pull-off as they would have over-thought it. Yet in this live environment it turned out perfectly. As Dave explains; “We just improvised these songs on the fly, on the spur of the moment. So you can hear them come together with a lot more vitality than they would have done in the past.”

                                                                                            The album title double meaning is a nod to Jonny Helm’s completely original approach to drumming with brushes. As Dave enthuses; “The way he does it seems to me to come out of the natural world, like waves crashing on rocks, rather than to come out of some school of drumming textbook.” Dave also praises Franic Rozycki’s bass playing, saying, “He uses the bass guitar as a vehicle for personal expression, which is virtually unheard of outside of the jazz world.” Not to be outdone, Dave Tattersall himself has been hailed for his musicianship, with BBC 6 Music DJ Marc Riley calling him; “the greatest guitar player of his generation”.

                                                                                            Brushes With Happiness sees a band at the top of their game. No other band could just improvise an album out of thin air, no trouble at all, and have it sound THIS good.

                                                                                            Denis Jones

                                                                                            3333

                                                                                              3333 is the new album by Manchester resident Denis Jones and completes the trilogy he started back in 2003. Early on in his career his repertoire was likened favourably to John Martin in his One World time but more recently his live performance has developed to involve more of the live looping and experimenting which is his trademark, so now as much steeped in heavy electronica as it is in guitar-based songs.

                                                                                              Sharing studio space with Manchester legends Graham Massey and Mr Scruff (Andrew Carthy) allowed for guidance and often-essential conversation through out the process. Both helped formulate the short list of tracks as well as loaning microphones, guitars, synths, organs and other musical necessities thus helping guide in completion of the album.

                                                                                              He has collaborated with artists as far afield as Lithuania, where he has twice toured, with one track appearing on a FabricLive compilation (#35). More recently, he has been involved with Nitin Sawhney's Aftershock collaboration project, spending a week in Marseilles, and has been working on an ambitious audio-visual enhanced performance with Wasp Video, involving a combination of experimental live-mixed video techniques, often projected in imaginative style across any available surface in the venue as well as conventional screens. 


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