MAGIC MIX

BEST SELLERS

OF THE WEEK

It's the best sellers of the week
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.

Clocking in at two and a half colossal hours of music, "Heaven & Earth" is 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

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: The man responsible for turning a younger generation of music lovers onto the passion and power of jazz returns with the bombastic brilliance of his sophomore LP. Seriously spiritual and surprisingly groovy, "Heaven & Earth" incorporates Marvin-esque soul, Old Testament intensity and soaring, searing solos into a breathtaking vision of jazz's next incarnation.

FORMAT INFORMATION

4xLP Info: Four LP set housed in bespoke double gatefold sleeve.

2xCD Info: Double deluxe CD.

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.'

Stylistically it's fist bumping to stadium-electro whilst it tips its hat respectfully to techno; nothing new there then, and fans of the OG Soulwax sound have got plenty to get stuck into here - it's like Modeselektor's nympho sister who's into roller derby and warehouse raves. 


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Fuckin' ell it seems like only yesterday that we were getting all dewy-eyed over the iconic "2 Many DJs" mix CD. Now everyone's favourite stadium dance superstars are back on Radio 1 AGAIN, and they've made a whole hour of BRAND NEW MUSIC. Yay!

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.

STAFF COMMENTS

Laura says: This album was recorded in one night, in one room, in one take. They arrived to record with just some lyrics and everything else was improvised on the night. It's a lovely laid back affair, and the nature of the recording gives it a raw, intimate feel. It captures the trio on fine form, completely in synch, and as ever the songwriting is top notch.

FORMAT INFORMATION

LP Info: Violet sparkle coloured vinyl.

Marlui Miranda

Tchori Tchori (Brasingles Vol.1)

Selva Discos kick off a new series of singles with this truly sublime piece of music by Marlui Miranda. As a musician and ethno-musicologist (she's a doctorate on native Brazilian music, so you know) Marlui's spent the last four decades dedicating herself to keeping the indigenous music of Brazil alive. 
In 1995, Marlui released the album "Ihu: Todos os Sons", a collection of native Brazilian chants she gathered in her field researches and released only in CD through two small labels (one in the US, the other in Brazil). This research started in 1986, funded by the John Simmon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and it investigated the sounds of different tribes in the Rondônia state, northern Brazil, namely the Suruí, the Makuarap, the Aruá, the Tupari and the Jaboti tribes - the latter being the one identified with the "Tchori Tchori" chant, which praises a bird called biguá.

The haunting, beautiful melody of "Tchori Tchori" couldn't get a better companion than the exquisite musical palette of Uakti, one of Brazil's greatest instrumental groups, known for creating their own instruments (you've heard them before in Selva Discos alongside Maria Rita). That's what the listener gets on the A side of this release - the deep sound frequencies of a 45RPM cut, fully remastered, of a song never put on a vinyl record before.

For the B-side, the label handed the original to Brazilian disco king and house head Joutro Mundo, who excels himself with an 8 minute interpertation intended for the DJ. The producer adds subtle bass weight and additional percussion to carry the dreamy mallets and stunning vocals to the dancefloor, while the new, hypnotic arrangement should keep the crowd moving for the duration.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: It’s been an excellent week for new releases, but this beats the competition hands down. The first installment of Selva Discos new Brasingles series provides a first time on vinyl for the ethereal rainforest majesty of Marlui Miranda’s “Tchori Tchori”, with a subtle and hypnotic club version from Joutro Mundo on the flip.

“Like Arthur Russell before them, they give equal floorspace to the spiritual and the sensual.” Pitchfork

Gang Gang Dance – one of the most enduring and creatively vibrant musical acts of 21st Century New York – return with brand new album, Kazuashita.

Formed initially as an improvisational outfit in the early 2000s, Gang Gang Dance are Lizzi Bougatsos, Brian DeGraw and Josh Diamond. All independently operating artists in their own rights, they consistently blur the boundaries between music and art; as comfortable today performing at the Whitney Biennial as they are at Coachella, and count Dash Snow & Nate Lowman, Tinchy Stryder and the Boredoms as previous collaborators.

Held together by Lizzi Bougatsos and her otherworldly vocal, Kazuashita is an intoxicating mix of ethereal shoegaze and electronic ambience, self-produced by Brian DeGraw.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Seguing brilliantly between a swooning electronic swell and clicking, glitched-out histrionics, GGD manage to toe the line between downbeat post-shoegaze electronics and more driven elements without batting an eyelid. Perfectly balanced and brilliantly evocative.

Princess Nokia – aka New York rapper Destiny Frasqueri – has been releasing music via Youtube and Soundcloud since she was in High School and catapulted herself to the next level with last year’s critically acclaimed rap opus 1992 Deluxe -- selling out venues across the globe and steadily gaining tens of millions of streams. Now, this shapeshifting emcee returns with a brand new collection of songs titled A Girl Cried Red, a self-described “emo mixtape” which will undoubtedly cement her place in the Alternative underground as well as the Hip-Hop world. “Black people created punk — the band Death was way before The Ramones,” she stated in a recent interview, “If you think about it, the wool has been pulled over our eyes. This is our shit. Very naturally, that's why we return to it.” Drawing on influences as varied as the introverted acoustic sounds of Elliott Smith to the bombastic pop-punk energy of Paramore – A Girl Cried Red showcases another fully formed side of Destiny that still taps into the uncompromising feminist ideology of Princess Nokia.

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: I am obsessed with this. Princess Nokia's emo side has emerged and it's fab. She clearly gives no cares on what people think and just does what she wants. I heart Princess Nokia!

FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: Limited edition red vinyl.

This Hampshire & Foat project should not come as too much of a surprise to those familiar with Greg & Warren's music, influenced heavily by not just Jazz but the library sound of the 60s and 70s along with film soundtracks from the same golden era. Greg& Warren are avid collectors of this music, Greg sends me links night and day to LPs he has picked up digging on his travels. This constant search sends him down new musical pathways and often sparks a whole new concept for projects. Warren and Greg are both fiercely creative talented individuals which means we have to keep them working, a challenge for us all, but the music rewards the effort many times over. Side one is five tracks in very distinct styles, musical paintings for the big screen. The vast sound of the Japanese influenced Jasmine, The Spaghetti Western melancholy of Mariposa Lily, the call to action that is Antonio's Theme, The Breezy Vintage sports car in the sun that Coastal Drivepaints, and Lost in Nostalgia, a late night Poirotesk piece.

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Hampshire & Foat have yet again created a captivating album, this one is clearly packed with things that have influenced that and the result is a beautiful mix of ambient and folk.

Cobby & Moore

Left-handed Books - Inc Ashley Beedle Remix

Two titans of North England dance music join forces for a brand new single, whilst a naughty southern rascal with plenty of credentials sneaks in on remix duties...

Do Danielle Moore and Steve Cobby need introducing to Piccadilly customers? I think not; the former Manchester-raised, globally adored songstress and superstar has seduced us with her voice for near enough the last two decades whilst the latter, deeply rooted in Hull, is one of the Balearic scene's prized curveballs and a true artistic maverick.

Together, they have produced "Left-handed Books", a laid-back, summery house jam perfect for lazy nights or gentle saunters. It's a glossy, cushion soft production rich with delicate piano trills, a typically low-slung bass and gentle, prodding synths. Dani's vocals drift and bob in a coastal, oceanic manner; music that reflects the crystalline blues and sharp gilded edges of the Adriatic coast; a location that the two are more than familiar with as long term baton bearers paradisiacal island musica.

As remixer, DJ, producer and label owner, there's very few aspects of dance music culture that Ashley Beedle hasn't been involved in. Here he applies a very sympathetic hand to Cobby & Moore's original, keeping with the coastal, holiday house flavour as he adds subtle instrumental flurries and a sweeping, tidal wind through the stems. 


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Two personal heroes (blush!) deliver a superbly relaxed tickler for sumertime beach maneouvers - it's a doozy!

Soul Clap enlisted certifiable diva legend Nona Hendryx to voice "Shine" on their self-titled 2016 album. Now Ray Mang has got his mitts on the parts and turned out three versions for his own Mangled label - the classic combination of extended vocal, instrumental and radio edit versions. Whichever cut suits you best, the vibe is the same; a bold and bright summer party track splashed with horns, keys and plenty more besides, although the smart money is on Hendryx's legendary vocal, which soars as though no time has passed since her days working with Material in 80s NYC.

STAFF COMMENTS

Sil says: Dub, reverb, echo, edit? Sold. That is me. That is how I like it. Veteran Ray Mang does not go wrong. Massive edit here very much in the likes of Idjut Boys et al. Absolutely essential bar the radio version. Why is it there?

Angelo Ioakimoglu

The Nireus Years (1995 - 1997)

Into the Light continues its journey to unearth and update overlooked Greek music. This time out the focus is on a smooth, warm, youthful yet intelligent work that finds effortlessly its place in the tiny Greek electronic scene of the mid 90's. "The Nireus Years" is a rare selection of eight unheard home recordings produced between 1995 and 1997 by the then 16-year old Angelo Ioakimoglu in Athens. The album encompasses his most special productions ranging from bucolic new age to dubbed out midi electronics, jazzy r&b to Mediterranean ambient trance - in other words, it's as Balearic as Moonboots' sandals.

Angelo was born and raised in Zografou area of Greece's capital in 1981. It was there where his father had a typical 80's electronic lab and it was that specific environment where Angelo spent most of early childhood. A first attraction for electronic musical equipment was developed that very soon became a passion for hunting down used pieces of gear soon to form the basis of his well equipped bedroom setup.

During his teens, his connection with music was either practicing the piano at home or listening to the most recent dance hits at his uncle's place who happened to be a professional DJ. Big part of Angelo's demos around that period is driven by those two aforementioned worlds. But there were moments of escape. Moments where the music went for the unexpected. Leaving the producer following a solitary path where he could express his teenage dreams and fantasies...through extensive midi programming, live keyboards mimicking string, brass and steel instruments and sampled portions of his live percussion burst.

Angelo's work, which can sometimes seem naive or surrealistic, is supported by his unique and surprisingly energetic approach, one that gives us the courage to continue something different. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Into The Light dig deep into the Greek underground to turn up this ace set of smooth and sensual electronics from the then teenage Angelo Ioakimoglu. Combining downbeat, new age, R&B and the most mellow house imaginable, Iokimoglu sounds like a Mediterranean Larry Heard - how's that for Balearic. Check "Slide Break" and tell me I'm wrong...

Robin Van Velzen (Bambi Davidson)

Robin Van Velzen

After thoroughly pleasing our ears with a little woodland Balearic and motorik folk as part of Bambi Davidson, German musician Robin Van Velzen arrives on 9pm with a gorgeous solo debut. Stripped back and strung out, the self titled set boasts eight cryptic guitar ballads, as in debt to the gloomy poetry of Leonard Cohen as the sultry dub production of Lee Scratch Perry. Atmospheric, evocative and intimate, this moonlight music comes from a true bedroom troubadour.

STAFF COMMENTS

Andy says: Beautiful, reflective, late night vibes permeate this gorgeous record from the Bambi Davidson guitarist and singer. The perfect blend of mood and melody.

One year on from their highly praised mega-work ‘Journey To The Mountain Of Forever’ (Mojo Magazine Urban Album Of The Year), Binker And Moses return with a blistering assault on the senses.

Their third album in as many years, Binker Golding and Moses Boyd are trailblazers in arguably the most exciting jazz explosion London has ever witnessed.

Is it a studio recording? Is it a live recording? Does it matter when the music’s this good?

10 new tracks featuring a giant wealth of talent alongside Binker and Moses themselves (including UK free legend Evan Parker and one half of Yussef Kamaal), this album captures a momentous 45 minutes when spontaneity and composition combine to magical effect.

It’s a companion piece to ‘Journey’ but with a different energy - as North London is to South London, as West is to East.

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: If you thought you were lacking some jazz in your life, get on this. From the London jazz scene Binker and Moses are loud and explosive, filled to the brim with energy; the dynamic duo are killing it.

FORMAT INFORMATION

LP Info: LP pressed on 180gm vinyl.

For its third release, Chuwanaga goes back in the past with the reissue of “(Where Is The) Sunshine” by Kalima, a rare 7” originally released in 1981 and produced in Baltimore by Afro-American pianist and producer Derrick Amin. Part I on the A side and part II on the B side form a real journey, a beauty in its own style fusing jazz, soul and spirituality as well as political values.

Back in the mid-seventies Derrick Amin brought together young musicians from his Afro-American Muslim community in Baltimore. He told them that “all black music in America is a response to racism and slavery” and “(Where Is The) Sunshine” was their own answer, “a plaintiff query of one immerse in darkness. The darkness of lies, lies that deny the humanity, justice, and equality of people. It’s the impetus of this song”. 
With its splendid vocal parts (thanks to vocalist Sabreen Shareef), a unique major-to-minor chord progression, subtle synthesizer melodies in the chorus and amazing electric piano and sax solos, it really is a very special release. It’s been discovered in a Motor City Drum Ensemble’s jazz set with Gilles Peterson at the J.A.W. Family Reunion in Berlin back in 2016. Still, one must not forget its yet poetic still political message now shared once again with the world. The question asked by Kalima sadly still remains as relevant in 2018: Where is the sunshine?

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Oooof! Big reissue here for the MCDE / Gilles / Floating Points crowd, as Chuwanaga excavate and recreate this spiritual soul / jazz fusion gem from Kalima.

Prescription Pricing Authority

Song For You / Green Machine

The PPA duo outta London is back with another red hot 7" on the nation's favourite Gamm. Like the previous release, they source some great jazz-funk source material, before bolstering with extra instrumentation and tweaks in the edit.

"Song For You" (by Popcorn) has got a real nice, early boogie funk feel, with thick B-line and optimistic chords and vox. Though it sounds like it could come from the UK, it's actually a rare Florida production.

"Green Machine" is a jazz-funk original by O'Donel Levy but here it's re-tweaked and with vintage clavinet and percussion added over the original track.

Another PPA home run!


STAFF COMMENTS

Sil says: Tasty 7" release on Gamm full of funky flavour which is perfect for your next discerning bar-room DJ set.

Don Cherry's downtown Paris funk masterwork, produced in 1985 by Ramuntcho Matta and originally given a French-only release by Barclay, finally gets a worldwide release on Wewantsounds. Featuring French post-punk muse Elli Medeiros, avant garde poet Brion Gysin and cult Senegalese drummer Abdoulaye Prosper Niang (Xalam), this is a unique soundbite of Paris in the early 80s at its coolest when funk, jazz and new wave were mingling with sounds from Africa, Jamaica and Latin America. Newly Remastered, the album is augmented by a second LP worth of bonus tracks and a deluxe gatefold sleeve with a new essay by French journalist Jacques Denis (Liberation).

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Top notch fusion here as Don Cherry teams up with Ratmuncho Matta, Elli Madeiros, Brion Gysin and Abdoulaye Prosper Niang for an inspired snapshot of Paris in the 80s. Peppered with snatches of funk, new wave and dub, this expanded reissue should find favour with fans of Talking Heads, Arthur Russell or Bill Laswell.

FORMAT INFORMATION

2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

New EP from breakout alternative R&B singer, violinist and producer Sudan Archives Sudan Archives was raised in Ohio and trained as a violinist, but she didn't study her namesake specialty — Sudanese violin traditions — until she relocated to Los Angeles. Her uncommon expertise makes her music ripe with culture, improvisation and myriad surprises. The songs on Sink evoke a grounded, almost retroflexed picture of nature. The title track balances disjointed synths with moans and muffled lyrics like weighty raindrops on a palm plant. The sound of a lively forest is the beckoning call of "Pay Attention" before you even hear Sudan Archives' invitation: "Let's go outside / You know, you know what I like." On "Nont For Sale," pizzicati strings tiptoe over the bassline as the artist's words glide over the beat with the elegance of a gull's wings in the breeze: "This is my light don't block the sun / This is my seat can't you tell / This is my time don't waste it up / This is my land nont for sale," she declares. By the time you get to "Escape," the project's crescendo of a closer, the unexpected blend of folk, Afrobeat and R&B feel like a euphoric sun shower.

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Sudan Archives returns with her beautifully unique EP ‘Sink’, it’s got an electronic spin on things yet her graceful violinist side is still prominent and her glowing vocals are just a dream.

David Sylvian & Holger Czukay

Plight & Premonition Flux & Mutability

Plight & Premonition, Flux & Mutability, both titles are predicated on instability. Meanings are equally mutable, perhaps the beginning of a spiritual journey, a climate of uncertainty, the experience of improvisation, a door opening (that may quickly close again). That first nocturnal session in the Can studio began unconsciously, or at least without initial awareness that music was being made, Sylvian enjoying the opportunity to play a pump organ, then growing aware of a slippage in the room as Czukay played orchestral samples through the fold back system: “I fell into a trance.” Ethereal sounds looped through the space. He moved to the piano, searching for something concrete. After ten or fifteen minutes he found it, only to hear Czukay tell him to move on: “He’d only wanted the process, the uncertainty, the ambiguity of the searching out of ideas.” The night wore on; as soon as fixity or some compositional motif crept in, so the machines would be taken out of record, as if establishing an equilibrium between the transience of making and the indelibility of recording. 

Örtmek comes back round, digging deep into the crates to turn out another trio of top notch Turkish delight for a vinyl only pressing. Following the raw, percussive experiments of the first release. Opening track 'Özil Dans' rains down crashing cymbals and freak-out-worthy wah guitars, maintaining an irresistible and authentic groove that doesn’t falter for five minutes of Eurasian hypnosis. 'Dokuz Sekiz' weaves traditional string elements alongside bursts of wild chanting. Finally, 'Mozart'in Davul' stitches a frantic, dense rhythm from the fuzz and feedback of an unknown slab of Turkish psychedelia.



STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Ortmek swings through with volume 2, twisting our melons with more tripped out Turkish tackle. Packed with far out FX abuse and twisted sound design, the three cuts boast tough funk breaks, wild guitar licks and hypnotic bass. It's everything you need to turn a dancefloor inside out!

A few short months after volume 1 blew everybody's mind (limited repress copies still in store..) Cult Edits returns with more secret weapons from the stage hypnotists and voodoo priests of the international DJ scene. This time round Inigo Vontier, Pletnev, Dreem Lion and Alexis Le Fan run the rituals, hitting us with the best in rhythmic weirdshit. 
Cloaked and hooded, Inigo Vontier lights the ceremonial pyre with the stomping EBM of "Cha Cha Cha", a dislocated scream of afterlife chants, trancey keys and Belgian drum programming, before Lithuania's Pletnev knuckles down for some polyrhythmic wrongness via the mallets, militaristic percussion and frazzled chants of "Nathan". Skipping onto the flip and Dreem Lion inject a little acid thrust and techy percussion to Roberto De Simone's finest hour, while Piccadilly favourite Alexis Le Fan goes full tribal rite with the jungle rumble of "Mambo Jambo". 

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Channelling the unbridled intensity / insanity of Mad Mel's Apocalypto, the Cult Eds crew come through with a killer 12" of head twisting tribalism. Very voodoo, clatter and chant...

MASSIVE SIGNING SESSION NEWS!!!!
We’re pleased as punch to have JOHNNY MARR with us from midday on Monday June 18th - he'll be here all afternoon (we shut at 6pm) to sign copies of his new album 'Call The Comet' – no wristband required, but pre-order now to secure the ltd purple vinyl edition. ‘Call The Comet’ is released on the Friday (15th) prior to the signing so you have all weekend to pick it up – or you can buy it on the day.


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.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Johnny Marr brings his most accomplished and forward-thinking album to date, brimming with cleverly penned lyricism, addictive hooks and his uncompromisingly immersive songwriting style. A stunning continuation of form, and a future classic.

Andy says: Easily his best solo album.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: Limited purple coloured vinyl.

Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

LP includes MP3 Download Code.

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.

STAFF COMMENTS

Laura says: This Melbourne five piece first caught our attention last year when Sub Pop released The French Press, their second EP; catchy, super melodic pop songs that ticked all the ‘indie guitar classic’ boxes. Next up came the re-release of Talk Tight, their debut EP; a bit rougher around the edges but still with the same dreamy melodies and chiming guitars. So, could their first album proper live up to the promise of their earlier efforts? Yes! Is the simple answer to that.
All the same reference points are there, but their sound has evolved. Subtly. It’s hard to put your finger on what’s different, but there’s a richness, an expansiveness to the sound, that was always there to some extent, but now seems more refined. With three guitarists, you’d expect the sound to be cluttered, but Tom Russo, Fran Keaney and Joe White, all play their own intricate melodies that ebb and flow in and out of the songs, colliding beautifully from time to time, and far from being chaotic, this gives the album a lush, layered sound. They also share vocal duties, sometimes solo, sometimes in harmony, sometimes relaying through the songs, providing an energy and momentum throughout, while Joe Russo and Marcel Tussie’s bass and drums hold everything together.
This album might have it’s roots in the city, and lyrically depict the sights, sounds and frustrations of urban living, but these are songs for wide open spaces, big skies, open roads, sunroof down, elbow’s in the breeze.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: Loser edition marbled blue / clear vinyl.

Melody’s Echo Chamber’s second album finally arrives more than five years after Melody Prochet’s debut, and it’s certainly been worth the wait. Bon Voyage is a mind-blowing mini-opus full to the gunwales with surprises. It’s a capricious trip that builds majestically upon what Pitchfork in 2012 called “enchanting, psychedelic-tinged pop with just the right amount of thematic darkness”. Made up of seven expansive new tracks, it marries Melody’s breathless soprano to the wildest sonic excursions, always pinned to an emphatic, clattering groove.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Brilliantly effervescent indie-pop from MEC, sporting chunky melodic riffage, bright soaring solos and stunningly perfect production. Amazing stuff.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: Heavyweight violet 180g vinyl, comes with bonus phenakistiscope insert.

LP Info: Comes with bonus phenakistiscope insert.

Protomartyr's ‘Consolation EP’, was recorded in part with friend Kelley Deal of The Breeders.

The release features four brand new tracks, delivered in their usual brusque uncompromising style, and follows last year’s superb ‘Relatives In Descent’ album.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Protomartyr are one of those bands that elicit a chorus of head-nods and a flurry of 'Who is this?' from anyone near enough to hear, and this EP will surely be no different. A Galloping and driven EP, led by Joe Casey's unmistakeable snarl, and buoyed by the perfectly precise and ferocious instrumental backing. A great vision for the future.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive on yellow
vinyl with 4 page booklet and digital download code.

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 sees the listener immersed in a soft storm of tape saturated raindrops and distant thunder, numinous waves of sound cascading to create whirlpools of womb-like warmth with gentle pulsations. Side two sees new age maestro Laraaji contribute flocculent flows of golden zither, rich vocal vibrations & dolphin tones in phantasy phase, all coalescing generously, bringing feelings of rebirth and light.

To conclude: a wondrous journey of resonant oscillations, inner exploration, a portal to other dimensions. It's Seahawks as we know and love them - entheogenic experts with sound and groove. 


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Our favourite psychedelic sea-farers return, in-toe with new age stalwart Laraaji, for another exercise in deep oceanic meditation.

FORMAT INFORMATION

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

Leeds' casuals (in the horizontal, grooving by the palm trees sense - Andy Pye is NOT a hooligan) Balearic Social signpost the summer with a sumptuous split EP from Bonnie & Klein and BlackBush Orchestra. Slow as Viduka but steady like Nigel Martyn, these three cuts conjure stunning coastlines and the deepest azure - slip the needle into the groove and dive deep (like Harry Kewell?).

Putting aside the football references, (World Cup season init!), we can enjoy the lilting excellence of "Motmot", a beautiful bit of sundowner Balearic courtesy of Greek duo Bonnie & Klein. The time-honoured combo of melancholy pads, bossa beats and a winding double bass bring to mind "My Boss" before the echoing Spanish guitar, delicate pianos and evocative organ come on like Knopfler and Richard Wright jamming at Aptera. Lush as you like and bare Balearic fam. We stick with the cradle of civilisation for A2's "Iris", as B&K bring us an audio embodiment of the rainbow goddess. As befits the west wind's wife, the track is a breesy affair, all limber bass sounds, gentle percussion and sublime melody - the well read out there might even find flavours of Mulatu at play...

In this case the B stands for BlackBush, with the Beauty & The Beat affiliated Orchestra expanding our mind and moving our bodies with a folkloric life changer inspired by Cedric Woo, Jeremy Gilbert and Cyril Cornet's extraordinary party. Suitably psychedelic, the track opens with the gentle clatter of organic percussion, backwards guitar licks and panning rainforest idents. A spheric kick signals a move from the bean bag to the dancefloor, nestling seemlessly into the Brazilian rhythm section like a carnival veteren. Haunting strings and heartwrenching guitar remenisce like childhood friends and suddenly the track's so pretty it hurts. Lysergic bass swells, hallucinatory sound design and an endless supply of soul offer sensory immersion for around fifteen minutes, with the latter stages building into something truly ecstatic.


Here Lies Man took the music world by storm in 2017 with their self-titled debut positing the intriguing hypothesis: What if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat?

This June, the L.A. band comprised of Antibalas members quickly follow their auspicious debut with the even more thoroughly realized album You Will Know Nothing. Its 11 tracks expand upon the band’s exploration of heavy riff-based rock and psych within the ancient rhythmic formula of the clave.

“We’re very conscious of how the rhythms service the riffs,” explains founder and vocalist/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Marcos Garcia (who also plays guitar in Antibalas) of the band’s sound. “Tony Iommi’s (Black Sabbath) innovation was to make the riff the organizing principle of a song. We are taking that same approach but employing a different organizing principle: For Iommi it was the blues, for us it comes directly from Africa.”

Sonically, on You Will Know Nothing the dynamic range is thicker, crisper and more powerful. It glistens as much as it blasts. The songs are even catchier, more anthemic, and the production reflects that of a band truly come into its own. Lyrically, it’s an equally more conceptualized effort that reflects upon states of being and consciousness — a driving force that carries throughout the words and moods of all of the band’s releases, interconnected to their trancelike music. Here Lies Man have honed their sound and their focus, and soon, you will truly know Nothing.

“We wanted to go deeper with the sonic experience,” says Garcia. “Even though it sounds more hi-fi than the first record, it was important that it didn’t sound too polished.”

While You Will Know Nothing certainly maintains its gritty grooves, there’s an interesting conceptual mathematics to the entire proceedings. “There are interludes between each song that are 2/3 to 3/4 of the tempo of the previous song,” Garcia says. “The reason it breaks down to 2 over 3 or 3 over 4 is that everything in the music rhythmically corresponds to a set of mathematical algorithms known as the clave. The clave is an ancient organizing rhythmic principle developed in Africa.”

“We dove deep into the texture of the music, beyond the groove and the riff,” says HLM cofounder and drummer Geoff Mann (former Antibalas drummer and son of jazz musician Herbie Mann.) “Although something might sound like one instrument, there are subtle layers shifting through. It’s definitely a headphone album.”

Garcia and Mann recorded the album much like they did the debut, at their own L.A. studio on a Tascam 388 8-track tape machine. Congas were later recorded by percussionists Richard Panta and Reinaldo DeJesus. Then, Garcia went to NY to record interludes with former Antibalas keyboardist Victor Axelrod. Mixing took the most time in order to find the proper sonic space for each layer of musical detail, with first album engineer Jeremy Page mixing the drums and the band tackling the remainder while also juggling a hectic touring schedule.


STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Bringing the frantic, almost percussive snapping guitars over the top of galloping toms and distorted, psychedelic vox, Here Lies Man have presented a fascinating and head-nodding stoner throb to the masses. 'You Will Know Nothing' pits nuanced stoned heft against swooning, psychedelic groove to great effect.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: UK indies stores only exclusive light blue clear vinyl edition of 300 copies.

British musician and producer Leon Vynehall is part of a vanguard of artists expanding the ambition of electronic music. Highly respected for his musical output, he has established himself as a genuine artist, releasing bodies of work that are layered with musicality and craftsmanship. Previous releases have consistently received critical acclaim. "Music For The Uninvited’ was widely praised and featured heavily on many of 2014’s Best Of Year polls including XLR8R (#3 album), DJ Mag (#3 album) and Mixmag (#6 album). Follow up "Rojus" (2016) received another long list of accolades including DJ Mag’s Album Of The Year. It also featured in Pitchfork’s Top 20 Best Electronic Albums Of 2016.

"Nothing Is Still", released on Ninja Tune, sees the producer turn his hand to languid jazz meanderings, futuristic tropicalia and sun-baked downbeat. It's a slower and more deliberate operation than his frenetic, neon-tinged house music that's previously been his calling card. Here we find Leon in calm and sedate mood, rich in musicality and emotion and turning his back somewhat on the clubs and dancefloors occupied by the under 25s. 


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Nice to see ol' Leon Vynehall spreading his musical wings here and offering up summat completely fresh. Ambient, jazz-tinged and most tropical, this is the producer taking a well deserved, horizontally-aligned rest; and we should all revel in its glory.

FORMAT INFORMATION

LP Info: Heavyweight vinyl.

LP includes MP3 Download Code.

Idris Muhammad

Could Heaven Ever Be Like This - Inc. Late Nite Tuff Guy Remix

They don't get much more anthemic than Idris Muhammad's 'Could Heaven Ever Be Like This' and who better to rework it than edit royalty, Late Nite Tuff Guy. Though subtle in his touches, the Australian producer incorporates a more DJ friendly, dancefloor orientated beat and tension building intro which teases elements of this classic, before that instantly recognisable bass riff and staccato guitar chords come into play. That subtlety is key when it comes to handling a record as epic as this, elements are accentuated and looped, delicate effects are woven in, but the soul and feeling of Idris' music is lovingly maintained by LNTG.
And for the purists out there, the flip houses the original mix so you've got two paths to heaven to choose from.

New York Jazz ensemble Onyx Collective release their debut album ‘Lower East Suite Part Three’ via Big Dada. It has been included in The Guardian’s Ones To Watch For 2018, the new album follows two acclaimed EPs released on Big Dada in 2017. Isaiah Barr, leader of Onyx Collective, has frequently collaborated with other New York musicians such as Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), Nick Hakim, Julian Soto and Wiki (Ratking). Onyx Collective were also featured in Gilles Peterson’s Best Of 2017 list at Number 16. They will be supporting Kamasi Washington on his UK tour this May including London’s Roundhouse. For fans of Nick Hakim, Ezra Collective, Yussef Kamaal, BadBadNotGood, Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd. Isaiah accompanied Ibeyi for their debut performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in March. He also features on David Byrne’s 2018 album ‘American Utopia’.


STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Big loud jazz, this hits the spot for any keen jazz-listener. With the list of names associated with supporting Onyx Collective like Dev Hynes, Giles Peterson and Kamasi Washingston you know you’re in save hands.

Carlos Maria Trindade / Nuno Canavarro

Mr Wollogallu

Barcelona's Urpa I Musell follow up their fine reissue of 'El Sueno De Hyparco' with another masterpiece of Iberian ambience, "Mr. Wollogallu" by Carlos Maria Trindade and Nuno Canavarro. Originally released on União Lisboa, Produções Audiovisuais Lda. in 1991, and reissued for the first time here, the collaboration began when the manager António Cunha, a mutual friend of both musicians, brought the two together for a performance. Afterwards they decided to embark on Mr. Wollogallu. They had never worked together before, although their careers had parallels between them. Both were part of the 80s Portuguese pop-rock scene: Carlos Maria Trindade had played with Corpo Diplomático and Heróis do Mar, while Nuno Canavarro played in Street Kids and Delfins. Moreover, individually, Carlos Maria had released the single "Princesa / Em Campo Aberto" (Vimúsica, 1982), and Nuno had done the LP "Plux Quba" (Ama Romanta, 1988), which is now recognized worldwide for its unique sound.

Both luminaries would convene in a home studio during the first half of 1990, brainstorming together with calm, care, and love. The sessions resulted in this collaborative record. Although the A side is credited to Carlos Maria and the B side to Nuno, everything was done hand in hand, each artist taking active part in the other’s side. Carlos Maria and Nuno created everlasting music that contains an undeniable, enchanting mystery. "Mr. Wollogallu" features sophisticated, adventurous soundscapes that depict, in a manner both blurry and clear at the same time, ancient maps, distant travels and evocative landscapes, an alchemy of the acoustic and the electronic, created using techniques that were unusual at the time.

The reissue includes the remastered album, with the original artwork and a new insert, in which Mia B. gives an insightful view of Mr. Wollogallu’s conception.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Barcelona's Urpa I Musell go 2 for 2 with a first vinyl reissue of this esoteric masterpiece from Portugal's early electronic movement. Combining the electronic and acoustic into a sonic journey through ambient, folk, new age and Balearic, Carlos Maria Trindade and Nuno Canavarro delivered a thing of lasting beauty. Buy it for "Blu Terra", then dive way deeper into this stunning LP.

The Collective Rhythm Network (Hamilton, Canada), is a weekly radio show that focuses on underground dance music past and present. This EP was produced in celebration of the radio show’s 20th Anniversary, featuring tracks by Detroit's Rick Wilhite, Ron Allen and Terrence Parker!

Rick 'The Godson' Wilhite is a Detroit born producer / label owner / record store owner /DJ / all-round-gee; and founding member of Detroit’s 3 Chairs. Rick also releases music under his Vibes New & Rare Music label. For this release Rick drops a brand-new track entitled “Mind Control” - a thumping late night dancefloor stomper reminiscent of early 3 Chairs, that is sure to keep the crowd jumping.

Ron Allen is a Toronto based JUNO-nominated music producer / songwriter / DJ and founder of legendary dance music label Strobe Records that was instrumental in developing the house and techno genres in Canada in the early 90’s. “Whispers” by The R.A.S.E. (Ron Allen Sound Experience), features melodic keys, dreamy vocals and a groovy, head-nod inducing bassline that sounds just as fresh now as it did when it was originally released in 1994.

Terrence Parker was born and raised in Detroit and has become legendary for his skillful, turntablism-indebted style of playing house music. Terrence has released more than 100 recordings on his Intangible Records & Soundworks label and various other international record labels. With lush keys, and soaring vocals, “Embrace (The Original Melody Vibe)” is one of the deeper cuts in the Intangible Records & Soundworks catalogue.



STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: US / Canadian house royality on one 12" here with all three producers legendary in their own way. Personal favourite? The emotive, end-of-session brilliance of "Embrace" by Lenni Gait's got me all dewy-eyed

On her Thrill Jockey debut, acclaimed guitarist Marisa Anderson’s music is boundless. Anderson is undeniably a master of the North American traditions of country, folk and blues on guitar. On ‘Cloud Corner’, Anderson expands on those styles as well as instrumentation.

The solo guitar work of Marisa Anderson owes its familiar tones to her awareness of history and her mastering of her instrument, yet it is completely new. Marisa Anderson filters musical history through her own personal experiences, as a traveller in life and in music. A curious and gifted player, Anderson has spent over 35 years of performing forging her singular, instantly recognizable voice. Marisa Anderson’s ‘Cloud Corner’ is hopeful in the face of any discord, a resplendent diverse sound sanctuary that shines, a mirror of the horizon it looks towards.

Anderson has contributed to recordings by Beth Ditto (The Gossip), Sharon Van Etten and Circuit Des Yeux among others, as well as creating music for short films and soundtracks.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Reminiscent of the outsider folk-loop work of Alexander Tucker or the more oddball ambient moments of The Books, Marisa Anderson nonetheless inhabits a world of her own, with repeated motifs growing from inauspicious beginnings into hypnotic cacophonies of sound.

FORMAT INFORMATION

LP Info: LP version pressed on virgin vinyl and packaged with a free download
coupon.

Four years on from Lay Llamas’ Rocket Recordings debut Østro, this Italian-based astral-voyaging collective, led by Nicola Giunta - have manifested a revelatory official follow-up in the form of Thuban - a travelogue powered by a pan-global fascination with rhythmic hypnosis and an unquenchable experimental mindset. Dwelling in the night sky of the Northern hemisphere, Thuban was the star closest to the North pole from the fourth to the second millennium BC. For Giunta. this mysterious stellar icon offers pause for thought. “A polar star is something that drives the travellers towards a safe place. But in the age we’re living now it seems hard to recognise a polar star.” Indeed, his mission has been as much one of discovery for himself and listener alike “Everything around us is transforming, always!

You know, I’m not a proper songwriter, I consider myself a sound crafter. An experimental alchemist of sounds and visions” True to form, Thuban maps out terrain in which collaborators from Clinic and Goat contribute to the air of earthy vibrancy and fertile exploration. Moreover, Mark Stewart of The Pop Group’s spoken-word contributions to the searing ‘Fight Fire With Fire’ (styled by Nicola as ‘dystopian afrobeat’) steers the album to new pinnacles of intensity informed by science fiction yet with explicitly political force “Thuban talks about ancient sea travels, ancient cultures, ancient rites, but also about today’s travellers, travellers from all ages” Nicola surmises “Travellers that are still looking for their Thuban, for their polar star to reach a safe place to live with their family.” 

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: It's pretty baggy this, so i'm just going to say this like it's Andy's words 'Eyy, it's proper good this lykk'

Ranging from swaying, swaggering psychedelic indie to pulsating, hypnotic grooves, Lay Llamas have crafted a wonderfully fascinating journey, a joy from beginning to end. (that bit wasn't as Andy)

FORMAT INFORMATION

Indies Exclusive LP Info: Indies exclusive incandescent orange colour vinyl.

Suave, sophisticated and immaculately dressed in pastel and cream, 'Sul Tempo' is far and away the most Italian record of the year. Supremely stylised and conceptually complete, 'Sul Tempo' was the first and only album composed by the Lorad Group, originally released on CD in the heady days of 1988. Working with the classic DX7 + DR-606 combo, as well as a healthy dose of found sounds and tape manipulation, the ensemble presented a musical rendering of the contemporary work-day. The resulting set cycles through the meditative ("L’Aldila", "Sogni D’ufficio"), the Mediterranean ("Autobus", "Flirti Di Notte" and the minimalist ("Risveglio All’alba") while incorporating jazzy flourishes, brief snatches of fusion and a new age approach. Is it esoteric?


STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Wonderfully turned out in cream and pastel, this immersive 1988 LP from the Lorad Group walks right off an Armani catwalk and onto your turntable, filling your life with meditative sounds from the Med. Composed at the crossroads between Balearic, New Age and Ambient, this is currently top of my pops.

Arthur Buck

Arthur Buck

    Sometimes the catalyst for creating great art is simply being in the right place at the right time. For Arthur Buck, the new collaboration between singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur and guitarist Peter Buck, that place was Mexico and that time was the fall of 2017. Specifically, a little town off the Baja coast named Todos Santos, with the Sierra de la Laguna mountains to the east and the bright blue Pacific stretching out infinitely to the west. It is here that Buck has held the Todos Santos Music Festival for the last several years, which he created in 2012 with his wife, Chloe Johnson, shortly after R.E.M. called it a day.

    Among the many artists who have played the festival is Joseph Arthur, who also happened to leave behind a guitar - a Dobro, specifically - after his last appearance there. And so last year he made the trek down to Todos Santos to pick up the instrument. Which is where he ran into Peter Buck. That was the beginning of Arthur Buck.

    The creative result of this relationship is a vibrant 11-song collection that captures the spontaneity at the heart of the project - right down to the 1-2-3-4 count off from Buck that opens the record - with sounds and styles meshed together in an easy, almost playful manner.

    Tchad Blake was brought in to mix the proceedings and the product is the new Arthur Buck - the outcome of a shockingly productive burst of inspiration.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive split coloured (transparent blue / transparent red) vinyl.

    Tenderlonious

    The Shakedown Feat. The 22Archestra

    ‘The Shakedown’ is Ed ‘Tenderlonious’ Cawthorne’s debut LP and features a dream team of top talent he named the 22archestra, who he leads seamlessly throughout. Listeners are exposed to the full breadth of Cawthorne’s technical and compositional skills, ranging from subtly meandering jazz, to hip hop, Afrobeat, Latin and exhilarating free form jazz.

    The groups includes former Yussef Kamaal member Yussef Dayes on drums, Ruby Rushton bassist Fergus Ireland and producers Reginald Omas Mamode IV and Jeen Bassa on percussion.

    The tracks include “SV Disco”, a nod to the mighty Slum Village, is a chunk of sensually-contorted disco vibes that brings on full party mode instantaneously, with the slinky bass licks and pitch-bent synthesiser recalling Roy Ayres’s blissed-out funk.

    ”Maria” showcases Ed’s roots as sample-based producer, pulling influence from around the globe to create an undulating piece of flute-led Brazilian fusion that fans of Ruby Rushton will find familiar. The eastern-inspired embellishments raise the temperature further, whilst former Yussef Kamaal member Yussef Dayes’ sizzling cymbals and shuffling snare work propel the track forwards, locking down a signature 22a groove.

    ”Yussef’s Groove” kicks off with driving drums, and each of the 22archestra enter steadily, fully utilising their virtuosic power, switching between low-slung bass, chic open piano solos and hazy electric piano. The 22archestra was conceived after Tenderlonious was invited to record at Abbey Road Studios. The whole crew was rounded-up and the album was recorded during a single 8 hour session - a testament to their musicianship and ability to nail a take.

    Personnel: Ed ‘Tenderlonious’ Cawthorne (flute & synth), Hamish Balfour (keys), Fergus Ireland (bass), Yussef Dayes (drums), Reginald Omas Mamode IV, Jeen Bassa, Konrad (percussion)

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Millie says: Jazz with an innovative twist filled inspired by many people and places over the world, and this definitely shows in the style and production. The collaboration is overflowing with talented people who are absorbed in the world of everything jazz.

    After a string of stunning archival releases (Pablo's Eye anyone?) Belgium's tastemaking Stroom turn to the contemporary with their thirteenth release, inviting Jason Kolar to take us into his unique sonic world. Gently oscillating between the glassy synths of Satoshi & Makoto, the coastal cool of CFCF and the ephemeral ambient landscapes you get from Johnny Nash and Suzanne Kraft on Melody As Truth, Kolar creates an immersive ambient experience tinged with the emotional resonance of the New Age movement. Close your eyes and take off that tie, it's time to slip your mooring...

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Stroom step into the here and now with a killer set of contemporary ambient recordings from Jason Kolar. Optimism meets melancholy as we explore the spaces between Melody As Truth and the ambient arm of Growing Bin.

    Stuart A. Staples releases his first solo album in thirteen years. Arrhythmia is immersive and experimental, both recognisably the work of the Tindersticks’ frontman and simultaneously a stand-alone, unique piece of work. It's a provocative album where electronic experimentations and rare multi-instrumentations interweave, wrapping themselves around unconventional but utterly spellbinding song structures.

    Written in what Stuart A. Staples describes as “a lost year”, Arrhythmia began on Christmas day 2016 when he was drawn to the studio to record the beginnings of A new real, the album’s hypnotic opener of glitchy electronic loops with a sly nod to disco. A year later the entire album was complete, a process which involved Staples struggling between his own free sense of timing and more mechanical rhythms and what he describes as “a growing need for each song to take a turn, to lead them into strange places, keeping the feeling or effect of the song, but only as a memory.”

    The second track Memories of love is indicative of Arrhythmia’s time-less experimentation and musical exploration. A stark and delicate melancholy opens up to rich and increasingly vivid chiming bells. There’s a feeling that the song has two diversely distinct parts unexpectedly, yet perfectly, married. Closing side 1, Step into the grey offers a dark romanticism reminiscent of early Tindersticks with a crescendo of freestyle percussion and strings.

    Side 2 of the album consists of a 30 minute instrumental track Music for ‘A year in small paintings’. The piece began its evolution back in 2012 when filmmaker, and long-time Staples collaborator, Claire Denis first saw the serial of works by the painter (and Staples’ partner) Suzanne Osborne and wanted to turn these 365 oil paintings of the sky into a film. As friends and musicians passed through Staples’ studio he asked them to watch and react to the paintings. As Staples explains “From these recordings, I chipped away at its form, guiding and editing. Each time there was an exhibition of the work there was a newly evolved version of the music to accompany it.” Eventually the creative process came full circle when Claire Denis’ film Un beau soliel interieur (transl. Let the Sunshine In), featured the paintings, and their music became inextricably linked to the film’s soundtrack. Improvisations of the themes from Music for ‘A year in small paintings’ were also contributed by The Julian Siegel Quartet.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Evocative of the new movement of outsider synth artists of the 70's and early 80's, Arrhythmia builds tension through the gradual addition of instrumental layers to the seemingly minimal beginnings, before things grow into a beautiful and many-faceted blanket of euphoric polyrhythms and his instantly recognisable tender vocals.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    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)

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Channeling the gothic spirit of 80's new-wave into a hazy filter of chorused guitars and flickering electronic drums, Girls Names have constructed a visceral and evocative landscape of lovecraftian atmospherics and simmering gothic melodicism.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

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

    "It Rains Here" is the debut album from Manchester's Yadava - the So Flute co-founder and darling of the local scene. Anyone that's been to the esteemed clubnight, or caught this cat in action behind the 1s-n-2s should be more than satisfied with the smorgasbord of sounds and influences contained with.

    A melting pot of global styles, the self-confessed Mr. Scruff obsessee has taken the baton of eclecticism and held onto it tightly, as he expresses his own personality over Latin, Tropicalia, house, downbeat and lounge blueprints. Live percussion features heavily throughout the course of the LP, a facet that can also be applied to his outlandish, meandering DJ sets.

    There is however, a natural warmth, rich musicality and organic glow that holds the album together in cohesive form; a natural reaction to growing up in the industrialized, often grey, rainy city and our unrelenting pursuit of colour and hedonism through music. It's a languid and laid back affair, but one that should soak the listener in a balmy, sedative patina; perfect for late afternoon beach sessions, back garden BBQ-raves and early evening meadow parties. 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: So Flute's most attractive member (sorry Dan!) and general all star human being Yad finally drops a full artist statement. Released on taste making label Church, it's been a long time coming, but hammers home the gifted DJ / producer's message of warmth, soul and unity - through house music, broken beat and updates to the funk and soul blueprint. Full marks dude.

    Some funky-ass DnB for you good folks here, fresh for festival season and sounding super crisp. Double A-side release with DLR joined by Break and Randall on one side while on t'other he's joined by Ulterior Motive.

    "Song And Dance" pairs system-tickling wub-wub bass with a frenetic, militant DnB pattern and the odd sound system ident. Half way through we half the tempo and uncover the trickski little sample that underpins it all, allowing the dancers a moment of respite before we double-up the BPMs and kick back for the final furlong. On the flip, "Modules" sees Ulterior Motive join DLR for a technologically focused outing; airtight, vacuum packed DnB that really packs a punch. Gangsta shit. 


    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.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Lump mixes the stunning, instantly recognisable vocal prowess of Marling with the off-kilter electronic folk-tinged oddness of Lindsay's band Tunng. An enchanting and fascinatingly diverse outing, one to listen to in it's entirety. Superb.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Limited translucent green vinyl.

    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.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Tillman segues into Beck territory a little here, with falsetto harmonies and jagged college-rock melodies, tastefully accentuated with staggered percussion and swooning loungey piano. As ever, FJM smashes out another killer album, conceptually clever and brilliantly accomplished, exactly as you'd expect.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

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

    LP Info: Standard black vinyl edition.

    Wooahh! Outta nowhere comes the third installment of this now cult-adored series. Over the first two volumes, Safe Trip have treated us to the dreamy and heavenly side of Italian house music - and now they're back with another double disc set of cushion soft and cerebrum tickling house music from the Med. 

    First press of this new edition, featuring a who's who of Italian talent - Jacy, Optik, Leo Anibaldi, Cosmic Galaxy & Don Carlos to name a few - it really is an allstar cast!




    Daniel Lopatin has never been to afeared to tread a relatively unfollowed path, with his ambient synth excursions of the early 00's sending many a mind into the outer reaches of the stratosphere, before his major label debut with 'R Plus 7' for Warp in 2013. His follow-up outing, 'Garden Of Delete'  pushed what was becoming his trademark glitched-out synth excursions into exciting new territories with fragented patchworks and overlapping collages of sound forming a solid but oft missed melodic patchwork. 

    The newest outing, "Age Of" is Daniel Lopatin’s most cohesive and richly composed work to date, weaving a tapestry of disparate musical histories — early music, country and folk balladry, melodic pop, computer music and much, much more — that demonstrate both the complexity and range of the artist's repertoire. With sounds that are unsettlingly familiar and uniquely his own, "Age Of" guides us through an unclassifiable new world. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Oneohtric moves from strength to strength, with his newest outing eschewing the glitched-out cut/paste madness of 'Garden Of Delete' for a more refined, but still comfortingly bizarre robo-choral affair. I've been a big fan of Lopatin since the mid 2000's, and this continues the tradition of excellence. Killer.

    Nils Frahm

    Encores 1

      Encores 1 is five track 12" vinyl EP previously only available as an exclusive, limited release via Rough Trade. It was recorded in Nils Frahm's studio at the Funkhaus in Berlin, as part of the same sessions for the recently released and universally acclaimed new album, All Melody (Official Album Charts #21), released earlier this year on Erased Tapes. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Darryl says: Suddenly arriving as a top secret release on Friday morning, Frahm delivers five accompanying session tracks to his rather wonderful 'All Melody' album. Top drawer stuff!!

      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.”

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: A brilliantly smooth set of low-key soul, funky synth-pop and swooning groove-led summer anthems. Prass' perfectly emotive vox offset the choppy funk with aplomb, accentuating the groove and leading us through her latest opus. Superb.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Limited edition rust coloured 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.

        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”.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: Brain-melting psychedelic riffage, frantic punky percussion and jagged, thumping bass licks. Warmduscher have crafted a dynamic combination of heavy, mindless riffs and meticulously crafted nuanced rock, like only they can.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

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

        Mazzy Star

        Still

          ‘Still’ is a 4 track EP and is the first new music from Mazzy Star since 2014. The 12” includes three new tracks along with an alternative version of ‘So Tonight That I Might See’ from the artists biggest selling album of the same name from 1993, which also featured the seminal hit record ‘Fade In To You’.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Ltd 12" includes MP3 Download Code.

          This is first full length offering from the Brian Jonestown Massacre for 2018 , a second, self titled, album will be coming out in September. This is the 17th full length release from the band & the style is less experimental & more of a retracing back to the traditional sound of the band .Recorded between 2017 & 2018 , this 9 track album will please old & new fans alike. 

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: Being one of the most prolific men on the planet, it's always surprising when Anton Newcombe manages to, time and time again, come up with the goods. I shouldn't be surprised anymore really, and 'Something Else' may finally be the point at which I stop thinking BJM's winning streak will come to an end, it never will, this is as superb as anything we've heard from Newcombe, and will definitely be on the player this time next year. ANOTHER masterpiece.

          Dinosaur Jr

          Blue Room Sessions

            Third Man Records, as a record label that makes a specialty of 7" pressings AND live recordings from its famous Blue Room in Nashville, TN, is excited to share the two newest titles from its famed Blue Room Series. Dinosaur Jr. and No Joy are the latest to contribute to the legendary series, following artists like Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Margo Price, and Coupler.

            Jack White

            Over And Over And Over / Everything You've Ever Learned

              The second single off of Jack White’s acclaimed, challenging and diverse third solo recording Boarding House Reach. This 7” features the anthemic Over and Over and Over on the a-side with buzzy, spoken-word track Everything You’ve Ever Learned on the b-side.

              No Joy

              Blue Room Sessions

                Third Man Records, as a record label that makes a specialty of 7" pressings AND live recordings from its famous Blue Room in Nashville, TN, is excited to share the two newest titles from its famed Blue Room Series. Dinosaur Jr. and No Joy are the latest to contribute to the legendary series, following artists like Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Margo Price, and Coupler.

                “Paris In The Spring” is a collection of the new music, put together by Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, that emerged from France between 1968 and the mid-70s, an extraordinary blend of several previously independent strains – French chanson and yé-yé, American jazz and funk, British chamber pop – shot through with the era’s underlying mixture of optimism, uncertainty and darkness. This is the first collection of its kind, released on the 50th anniversary of the Paris uprising.

                Serge Gainsbourg – a jazz pianist with a chanson past and a pop present – was in a position to play a key role in soundtracking France in flux over the next five years. His “Histoire de Melody Nelson”, with its heavily atmospheric arrangements by Jean-Claude Vannier, was the acme of this new, unsettling French sound. “Paris In The Spring” includes other equally dazzling Vannier arrangements (for Léonie) and Gainsbourg compositions (for Jane Birkin and Mireille Darc).

                Prior to 1968, 60s French pop had been dominated by yé-yé, the country’s unique brand of upbeat pop, a world of primary colours, minijupes and discothèques (a French invention, after all). Its stars either faded fast after May ’68 or adapted to the new era: Jacques Dutronc (‘Le Métaphore’) and France Gall (‘Chanson Pour Que Tu M’aimes un Peu’) discovered a moody side they had previously kept hidden, while Françoise Hardy released the Brazilian-influenced, after-hours classic “La Question”, from which we have picked ‘Viens’.

                New bands like Triangle emerged, influenced by Soft Machine and Gong who became regulars on the Paris club scene. French library music from Janko Nilovic and film soundtracks (François De Roubaix, Karl-Heinz Schäfer) reflected the era’s edginess. All are represented on “Paris In The Spring”, making it a continental cousin to Stanley and Wiggs’s hugely popular 2017 Ace compilation “English Weather”

                Vital Idles

                Left Hand

                  Debut album from Glasgow indie rock quartet that channel Kleenex and The Smiths, featuring members of Golden Grrrls (Slumberland / Night School). Following on from the band’s two cassettes of demos on Comfortable On A Tightrope and their sold out and well regarded 7”.

                  “somewhere between the oblique minimalist pop of Flying Nun and early Rough Trade signings such as The Raincoats.' CLASH.

                  Playing their first shows in Glasgow in 2015 during a summer that never threatened to show up, Vital Idles’ origins are closely tied with a tireless underground culture, a culture that informs the band’s refusal to take it easy. Matthew Walkerdine, Nick Lynch and Higgins are responsible for Glasgow DIY publishing institution Good Press - an independent volunteer-staffed zine and art book shop - while Guitarist Ruari MacLean’s pedigree stretches back to breakneck-indie-pop group Golden Grrrls and the Rose McDowall band.
                  Following two self-released demos and a sold out debut 7”, Vital Idles arrive on Upset The Rhythm with ‘Left Hand’, a bare manifesto layered with meaning and non-meaning. The group can conceivably be called artists, or Artists, but in approaching their debut album Vital Idles have stripped away all extraneous ornamentation to sculpt an incredibly life-like, vibrant pop music completely détourned and re-thought.

                  For a conglomerate of art outsiders and aesthetes, Vital Idles are primitive, whimsically brutal. Sculpting a skeleton from a body already lean, there’s a thrilling minimalism that runs through every beat and strum, a sparseness that feeds Jessica Higgins’s surreal, oblique vocal delivery all the nourishment it needs.

                  Following practice room and bigger-budget recordings with Glasgow engineer Andy Monaghan, Vital Idles took complete control of their debut album, with Edwin Stevens (aka recording artist Irma Vep) providing an outside perspective on the hermetically sealed group’s music. Engineered by Stevens and MacLean, ‘Left Hand’ crackles with a raw, punk approach to writing warped pop songs that don’t just talk of disorder but often actively demonstrate it. At the heart of ‘Left Hand’, the beating pulse in the tool box, is a conflict never resolved. Higgins manages to create dialogues that she narrates both parts of, Dada-ist songs that seem obfuscated by layers of meaning that, when taken on their own terms as evocative mini-worlds, reveal themselves to be pieces that have an internal melancholy and logic. Like Gertrude Stein growing up on Dunedin pop groups, peel away the deliberate awkwardness and ‘Left Hand’ reveals itself to be a book of complex, literary short stories at pleasing odds with the wired, no-frills melodic thud MacLean, Lynch and Walkerdine serve.

                  At times a perilous journey into the unknown and at others an immensely enjoyable foray into form deconstruction, lyricist Higgins repeatedly builds narratives out of mis-hearings, peons to doing things wrong, sideways-glances at conventional narrative. The delivery tightrope-walks between deadpan epithets and a Smiths-ian pop singing which gives many of the lyrics bite, pathos, and a surprising amount of surrealistic positivity. With Chains’ Troggs-ist chug stomping, Higgins flips the symbolism of the Chain into something to be tendered, cared for, is it a warped metaphor for the future, is a chain an aspiration? There’s an existential friction at the heart of Cave Raised that sees the narrator attempting escape, perhaps, unsure of themselves, “a poorly appointed project manager who says the best part is bowling around, which is a little like knocking around” that breaks into a melodic reprieve that feels like an unexpectedly romantic pay-off in the middle of “white space,” “Let’s tread the tides of time, to live it down, we’ll stretch these shores of mine to steal away.” Like many of Vital Idles songs, it can be read as a mini treatise on the song itself, or enjoyed as a visceral song that never does what you want it to.

                  Like fellow Glaswegians Life Without Buildings, Vital Idles make the oblique sound essential. On Like Life, Higgins is at her most precarious with straight-up emotion; MacLean’s melodic bassline seems to duet with the vocal as it seems, for once, to be straightforwardly vulnerable. After telling us “I don’t really care but I could, I should” our narrator begs the listener “Don’t leave me at home with all the people I lost and all the things I forgot. For all the people I lost, I care.” Whether it’s a slip of the artist’s mask of distance or a deliberate trick to fool us into caring, we care. It’s indicative of the tension in Vital Idles: pop songs unwilling to bend to convention, chart hits in the alternative timeline where Messthetics compilations are Now That's What I Call Music, endlessly inventive linguistics that reveal emotional depth, a dry, punk minimalism able to turn on a dime into a mouldy, witty kitchen sink story narrated by Samuel Beckett. It’s a tension that threatens to fall apart into dissonance or resolve into sweetness but thankfully does neither, rather it keeps Vital Idles moving forward, never standing still, never taking it easy.


                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Ltd LP Info: Randomly picked yellow or black 180gm vinyl with poster and download code. 500 only.

                  Omar McCutcheon, operating under his Batu alias, has been on the frontline of Bristol’s innovative electronic music scene since 2013. In 2015 he founded his record label Timedance, a platform for showcasing his tastes utilizing a close knit group of young producers and DJs.

                  Batu’s glistening broken techno productions are pushed through a deeply UK-sounding prism, one informed by Batu being brought up on a diet of dubstep and UK dance music from a young age. Trying to tie his sound to those genres however, would be a mistake. Having been earmarked already by The Guardian as an artist to watch for 2018, Batu’s sound is very much his own.

                  Batu’s "Rebuilt EP" marks his third release in just over a year. Not one for complacency, his debut release via XL Recordings shows Batu pushing his sound forward in every way possible, creating his most uniquely slippery sounding tracks to date. 'I wanted to try and challenge myself a bit for this EP. Every track represents a different phase of experimentation - and also different tempos, I wanted to push my processes further than I ever have done.'

                  From the sub-aquatic glide of opener, "Rebuilt" thru the footwork informed but xanax-laced shudder of "Pillars", the all out future-juke of "Flash React" and closing on the tectonic sway of "Tuff Cookie"; it's all very ear-catching and futuristic stuff and comes with massive props from us here in Picc HQ. 


                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Matt says: Futuristic bass pressure from this rising star. I'm really feeling title track "Rebuilt" - a sturdy foundation on which to build an epic DJ construction.

                  Fake Love

                  Fake Love Vol.4

                  More hot shit from the Fake Love camp - intent on bringing lost classics from the global disco, boogie and soul village to our receptive head spaces; the previous three volumes have all introduced some sterling stuff from all over the world and from the last thirty years of disco dancing.

                  Three odd-ball disco / boogie / soul tracks that are highly infectious but head-turningly original. There's a mixture of languages and dialects on offer, leaving me scratching my head as to the origins of these mid 80s jams but enjoying them nonetheless.

                  Wherever Fake Love are mining their source material from, it's of exceptional quality. Recommended as always! 


                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Matt says: Here come Fake Love again to make us all feel hopeless at ID'ing obscure world disco. I managed to get a few off the earlier volumes but not a single one off this one. 0/10 for KP, 10/10 for FL.

                  Kuniyuki Takahashi

                  Early Tape Works (1986-1993) Vol. 2

                  The Japanese producer and DJ Kuniyuki Takahashi is the subject of Music From Memory’s latest retrospective compilation with ‘Early Tape Works - 1986-1993’. Composed of two volumes, the compilations gather together a selection of tracks from a tiny run of privately released tape only albums, highlighting a fascinating early period in Kuniyuki’s musical output, one of which little is known.

                  After discovering the world of nightclubs in Japan around 1986, and the seemingly boundless freedom expressed there through music as well as art, Kuniyuki became inspired to experiment with electronic music. Excited by the possibilities of new music technology, he would begin to gather together a number of, at that time, reasonably accessible and inexpensive local keyboards, drum computers and recording equipment. This became for Kuniyuki a way in which to explore music not as such made for nightclubs, but certainly inspired by them. Setting up a home studio in his hometown of Saporro, Kuniyuki would record extensively during this period with the equipment he had gathered together, equipment such as Roland’s Juno60, TR-606, TB-303, Casio FZ-1, Korg 770, Boss DE-200, Foster A8 and a Yamaha MT44 track cassette recorder.

                  Driven to develop a musical language derived as much by an exploration of music technology and a desire to create new sounds, Kuniyuki was also looking to evolve the possibilities of what he refers to as a ‘new Oriental sound’. Early Tape Works - 1986-1993’ then brings together two albums of material which not only highlights the evolution of Kuniyuki’s own work but also of Japanese electronic music as a whole.


                  "The Colorful World of Arp Frique" is the exotic and super funky debut album of Niels Nieuborg. After his surprising, very well received debut release on Rush Hour, Arp Frique continues collaborating with Orlando Julius, Ed Motta, Americo Brito, Ronald Snijders and more on this multi-flavoured and multicultural jaunt through the modern world music landscape.

                  Pulsating NYC style live disco vibes, interwoven with both Caribbean and Cape Verdean sounds, are themes throughout the record with danceability always guaranteed and a healthy finishing touch of weirdness present across most tracks. First single "Nos Magia" was shortlisted for Track of the Year 2017 at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards and has been given airplay by BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC Radio 1 and NTS whilst club DJs Antal and Hunee have all supported the track in their sets.


                  Express Rising

                  Fixed Rope II

                    The fourth Express Rising LP (and second featuring the expanded lineup of William Suran and Kevin Blagg, in addition to leader Dante Carfagna) finds the trio largely eschewing percussion in favor of twelve concise, three-minute-or-so-long bittersweet excursions that nevertheless retain the restrained, measured, and highly melodic scaffolding of their previous work. There’s more than a bit of Santo & Johnny at their most somnambulant here, slightly glazed, definitely reverb’d out, mysteriously bottling the flaring, saturated light of the desert at dusk.

                    Producer / singer / songwriter Neko Case has won a large and loyal audience for her smoky, sophisticated vocals and the downcast beauty of her music. Now more than 23 years into her musical calling, Case is the consummate career artist--fearless and versatile, with a fierce work ethic and a constant drive to search deeper within herself for creative growth.

                    On June 1st, Anti release Neko Case’s ‘Hell On,’ an indelible collection of colorful, enigmatic storytelling that features some of her most daring, through-composed arrangements to date. Produced by Neko with help from Bjorn Yttling (Peter Bjorn & John), ‘Hell On’ is simultaneously the most accessible and most challenging album in a rich and varied career that’s offered plenty of both. Rife with withering self-critique, muted reflection, anthemic affirmation, and her unique poetic sensibility, the 12 tracks of ‘Hell On’ — which features collaborations such as Joey Burns, Beth Ditto, Kelly Hogan, KD Lang, AC Newman, Paul Rigby, Laura Veirs, and more.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Barry says: Slight hints of country permeate the bombastic, celebratory rock and roll on Neko Case's 7th full-length outing, swooning dusty guitars and simmering synths are underpinned by the insistent percussion and Case's perfectly fitting vocal embellishments. A Stunningly realised journey, and a worthy addition to Case's already impressive canon.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    2xColoured LP Info: RSD Stores Exclusive 2xLP Peach Coloured Vinyl. 500 copies only!

                    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.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Barry says: Brimming with feel-good sunny vibes, Wooden Shjips once again confound our expectations with a superb, nuanced ride through classic psychedelia, roaring riffage and sun-soaked pop.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    Coloured LP 2 Info: Limited edition butter lavender coloured vinyl.

                    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.

                    Womack & Womack

                    MPB - Missin' Persons Bureau

                    Any Melodies International release causes a certain amount of hullabaloo, but their latest disc has had eager customers beating down our door in anticipation. Dedicating their 11th release to both soul and house royalty, the digging crew have licensed a pair of tough to track down Frankie Knuckles remixes of Womack & Womack soul classic M.P.B. Originally appearing on their late 80s "Conscious" LP, "Missing Persons Bureau" is a beautiful slice of modern soul all about a lover running out on you. Though the Womacks were initially apprehensive about the idea of a rework, Island impressario Chris Blackwell won them over and sent the masters to all time house hero Frankie Knuckles, who turned out a pair of pearls. Working his magic for 9 A-side minutes, Frankie splices the club soul of the original into a slow and soulful house groove, flipping our lids with a wondrous SH101 bassline, subtle percussion, bright vamps and a sparing use of the original instrumentation. Spacious and special, this is up there with the legend's Loose Ends remix. If you're peaking already, I suggest you call to mind the pedestrianisation of Norwich City Centre (something to keep the wolf from the door), because the money shot is over on the B-side. A long time Balearic holy grail, Frankie's Folk Version takes some of the 'Hallucinagenic' sound design he brought to "Ain't Nobody", applies it to the Havens's style guitar and vocals, then gradually introduces synth bass, subtle drums and some very familiar piano to create an absolute masterpiece. As good as any of Frankie's productions, and the best moment in the Womack and Womack catalogue, this is total must have tackle.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Patrick says: Melodies International come through with an ESSENTIAL reissue here, delivering some psychedelic folk splendour courtesy of Frankie Knuckles sublime 'Folk Version' of MPB. Soulful, grooving and folky in a Richie Havens kind of way, this is a must have record for soul fans, house heads and the Balearic crowd.

                    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.

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Barry says: Hazy harmonies, rolling grooves and insistent percussive workouts form the backbone to Nadal's often haunting vocal flourishes, sometimes falling behind to give the vocals their own space. Perfectly measured and beautifully written immersive indie anthems.

                      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.


                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Barry says: Brilliantly funked-up jazz grooves, rolling bass licks and flickering percussion make this not only a fitting follow-up to Williams' collaboration LP from last year, but a significan progression. Simply stunning, and every bit the summer jazz stormer.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      Coloured LP Info: Limited edition indies exclusive white vinyl.

                      “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.

                      Following on from last years' 'Autres Directions' under his own name, and a collaboration with Jim Jupp of Belbury Poly with the celeb matchup of the year in 'The Belbury Circle', Jon Brooks has returned to his Advisory Circle moniker for 'Ways Of Seeing'. 

                      After a brief introduction (like we wouldn't know exactly who were listening to within ten seconds of kick-off), we get slowly arpeggiated saw waves and delayed blipping sinewaves dreamily meandering over the insistent percussive backdrop. Massive snare drums and swelling FM sweeps bulk out the forward-moving Italo throb. 

                      'The April Interval' and it's later counterpart, the stunning 'Skyways' are beautifully redolent of the 80's library music Brooks (and the rest of us) clearly have a soft-spot for, they are stunning, saturated, key led melodic journeys, brimming with spine-tingling whimsy, perfectly measured production and that impeccable ear for progressions we've come to expect. 

                      'Flight Capture' is possibly the greatest example of synth-led melody and textural intensity i've heard for a long time, combining the glimmering arpeggiated FM stabs and woozy bass throbs perfectly before slowly building into a shimmering Balearic tine-heavy refrain. 

                      We get spoken-word musings in 'A Mechanical Eye', (though I have less in common with this man than the monologist from the last album, he also being a solid tea enthusiast), before the kosmische shifting arps and swirling pads of 'Airborne Seeds'. 

                      A mindblowing tour-de-force once again from The Advisory Circle, and one that will be on my record player for some time to come. Stunningly immersive, beautifully produced and stunningly packaged. Album of the year material, for sure. 





                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Barry says: It's always the most exciting thing to hear that one of my favourite artists is releasing a new LP, and this was easily one of the most consistent and enjoyable releases yet, an absolute triumph.

                      What a coup! The fruits of about a decade's worth of events, all colliding together in 2018 for a magnificent record which perfectly depicts the New Balearic Scene in 2018 - aka The Adriatic.

                      Dave Harvey's Love International festival is the natural progression and evolution of the building blocks laid down first, by the Garden Zadar (later to become the Garden Party) and later Electric Elephant - both of which were responsible (much the same way as Danny Rampling & Co. brought back that original Ibiza flavour many suns ago...) at transporting a new generation of Mancunians (amongst other Brits) to sunnier climbs and gentler vibrations. Many of the records we now label as 'Balearic' are actually more inspired by events around Petrcane and Tisno than any party on Playa Den Bossa or at Space.

                      Throughout the last ten years (and, to be fair, long before that), one producer and DJ has pretty much remained a permanent fixture around this coastline - Begin. The Manc-based, globally-celebrated producer perfectly encapsulates that paradisiacal place in sound - the gentle lap of the ocean tide, the smell of fried fish across the bay, and of course, the hedonistic freedom that comes with holidays in the sun. A natural choice then, as Dave inaugurates the first Love International Record!

                      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.

                      There we have it then, get your ticket, take the cruise, and revel in the gloriously radiant sound of the New Adriatic.


                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Matt says: The holiday season starts here!! Essential listening from our man with the plan. Calamari not included.

                      Jenny Hval

                      The Long Sleep

                        What am I doing here? Am I communicating? Am I promoting?

                        I just want to tell you something.

                        There should be something I could tell you, there should be something I could do to reach you directly, but there is nothing useful in the way we define “you”, or “me”. There should be something I could tell you, there should be something I could say directly without lyrics and melody.

                        Maybe that’s what I’m trying here. Something else than lyrics or melody. It’s not the words. It’s not in the rhythm. It’s not in the streaming. It’s not in the “message”. It’s not in the product. It’s not in the algorithms. It’s not something you decided. It’s not something they decided for you.

                        I want to tell you something. I just want to say: Thank you. I love you.

                        The follow-up to Jenny Hval’s acclaimed 2016 album Blood Bitch is The Long Sleep, an adventurous new EP that sees the Norwegian multidisciplinary artist embracing an instinctive, even subconscious, approach to creating meaning. In contrast to Hval’s more explicitly conceptual work, The Long Sleep foregrounds the act of composition itself, letting the melodies and structures reveal the other elements of the songs. All of the songs on the EP recycle the same compositional motives, but manipulate them into very different shapes that take them further and further out of their original, "life-like" context.

                        Hval recorded The Long Sleep with longtime collaborator Håvard Volden and producer Lasse Marhaug, along with an ace new supporting cast of talented players from the jazz world — Kyrre Laastad on percussion, Anja Lauvdal on piano, Espen Reinertsen on saxophone, and Eivind Lønning on trumpet. Hval calls them some of her favorite contemporary musicians, and their musical background helps to give the songs on The Long Sleep their intuitive, improvised feel.

                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Barry says: Sacred Bones once again bring the goods for the new Jenny Hval LP, following on from the mindblowing 'Blood Bitch', 'The Long Sleep' is a less abrasive but equally as stunning affair, rich in the brooding ambience and soaring beauty of her previous work.

                        Actress X London Contemporary Orchestra

                        Lageos

                        Following the release of the ’Audio Track 5’ EP and live performances at the Strelka Institute (Moscow), Barbican Centre and Tate Tanks (London), electronic producer and musician Darren Cunningham AKA Actress and the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO) release a full album of their collaboration on Ninja Tune entitled ‘Lageos’.

                        Originally performed at the Barbican in February 2016, the project was curated by Boiler Room and LCO with support from Arts Council England and Ninja Tune. The music created a synergy between both live electronic and acoustic components, not just in the harmonies but in the way the traditional instruments were spliced into new hybrid instruments. As part of the process, Actress and LCO augmented traditional piano and created sounds from objects as varied as temple bowls and plastic bags. The show, a massive sell-out success, eventually lead to the release of this much anticipated album.

                        For the album, LCO recorded the individual instrumental parts as stems at Spitfire Studio then sent to Actress to manipulate, in turn delivering some truly unique new pieces. LCO also went on to reinterpret Actress classics ‘Hubble' and ’N.E.W' among others from his catalogue.

                        "In many ways the collaboration is about exploring an ambiguity of sound that sits between electronic and acoustic spaces; something that we’re aiming to push further as part of the live shows,” says the LCO’s Hugh Brunt of the collaboration. “For much of the set we look to realize as close as possible the timbres and colours of Actress’ electronics through acoustic means (which he in turn responds to); something of a physicalisation of those synthesized or sampled sounds. That has involved utilizing various accessories: plastic bags (for white noise or to emulate an EQ’d hi-hat); keys; Blu-Tack (to dampen the piano’s upper strings); milk frothers on harp strings, etc."

                        The project’s genesis was very much inspired by, as well as performed at, the mecca of brutalism – the Barbican Centre. Iannis Xenakis, a Greek composer and architect who would create buildings to fit his scores, and scores to fit his buildings was an inspiration, Actress and LCO took architectural layouts of the Barbican and created sounds directly inspired by its shapes.


                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Barry says: A less beat-driven adventure for Actress, focusing mainly on the texture and interplay between found sounds and a classical orchestra. Fitting in nicely to his previous dusty electronic workouts, Lageos is a fascinating and impeccably curated suite of brutalist ambience and avant-garde electronica.

                        The Heads

                        RKT!

                          Timely reissue of the first 3 releases The Heads put out on the ROCKET label, form their first split 7” release (with Lilydamwhite) in 1998 to their much lauded SESSIONS 2 freakout 12” from 2002… compiled here in their remastered glory, the Heads we quite prolific back in the late 90s / early 00’s, and in between the Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere album and Undersided album they released their jams and raw rehearsals via the burgeoning ROCKET Label..

                          Compiled here with extensive sleeve notes from Rocket founder Simon Healey, this limited 3LP (1000 copies) and 2CD (1000 copies) set captures the band at their most laconic and free… psychedelic sprawling morass or sound and aural distortion grooves akin drawing from their wide influences…also from simply plugging in and letting go…

                          Nigeria's "First Lady of Song" , Christiana Uduak Essien-Igbokwe was born in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria in 1960. Tragically she lost her mother early at the age of 12. In the mid-70s she started singing professionally at a relatively early age in the music clubs of Aba. Extensive TV work soon followed and in 1977 she launched her professional music career with the album "Freedom". Her fourth album "One Understanding" was signed by Afrodisia and released in 1979.

                          "One Understanding" was produced by Pal Akalonu. It is an infectious mix of Afroboogie ("What Love Is About", "Mind Your Biz"), Swinging afro groove ("You Can't Change A Man") Smooth Afro Soul ("Take Life Easy"), Reggae tinged grooves ("I'll Be Your Man", "Respect Your Man") and -of course- one smooth ballad, "Understanding". Christy's lyrics show a depth of understanding and wisdom way beyond her 19 years (at the time).

                          Having conquered the music and TV worlds Christy moved on to feature in some of the early Hollywood films such as "Flesh and Blood" and "Scars of Womanhood", both of which addressed issues of child abuse and female circumcision. With a desire to make life better for Nigerian artists. She is also credited as having initiated the first meeting that brought about the formation of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria in 1981.

                          Christy died after a brief illness in 2011. Close to the time of her death, she was involved in numerous successful businesses, organization and running the non-governmental organisation Essential Child Care Foundation involved in child welfare. Christy's achievements and awards are numerous. Too numerous to mention. Perhaps her greatest achievement however is her contribution to building a peaceful and tolerant Nigeria – which, alongside moral uprightness, remain constant themes of her songs.

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Patrick says: After a proper iffy bootleg a while back, us Afro-disco fans finally get a chance to own Christy Essien's "You Can't Change A Man" in wonderfully restored quality. Though there are other treats on offer here, it's the relentless groove, warbling vocals and chiming keys of the B1 that'll have you coming back again and again.

                          Various Artists

                          Under The Influence Vol. 6 - Compiled By Faze Action

                            Z Records continues its commitment to unearthing the obscure and long forgotten tracks from the last 40 years through the ever-popular "Under The Influence" series. Following on from Red Greg, Paul Phillips, James Glass, Nick The Record and Sean P it’s now the turn of one of the scenes most respected live disco acts and renowned DJ’s, Faze Action.

                            Robin and Simon Lee aka Faze Action, were championing disco and all its afro off-shoots back in the mid 90’s when it certainly wasn’t the latest trend to do so. 'By the mid 90s we were heavily into disco. Fuelled by radio shows from the likes of Norman Jay as well as conversations with customers in the record store where I worked, who were all super obsessed, we would talk disco for hours.' remembers Simon Lee. It was however their "Original Disco Motion" and "In The Trees" releases on Nuphonic records that shaped the Faze Action sound and were defining moments of the time and played a large part in coining the term nu-disco.

                            Fast forward 20+ years and the brothers Lee are still pushing the modern disco sound with their live sets and studio productions s Faze Action. Alongside their studio work they’ve always been serious record collectors so their selections for this latest "Under The Influence" album are reflective of their extensive collecting and digging history. As Simon confirms, 'searching for and buying old records helps to keep our musical thirst alive and is a constant source of inspiration for both our DJ sets and our original productions.'

                            Here they’ve included tracks taking in Afro, Italo, soul, funk, disco with many of the tracks costing hundreds if you were able to find the originals. They have also edited some of the tracks exclusively for this album adding yet more value to an already fully packed gatefold double LP and double CD.

                            Included in the booklet are extensive track notes from Faze Action highlighting what they know about these records and, where they are super-rare and obscure, what they don’t.

                            As always with ZR compilations a lot of time and effort has been spent on creating these masters from the original vinyl, cleaning them up, removing all the clicks and pops resulting in the cleanest sounding copy possible.


                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Matt says: Another e-e-e-essential selection from this firm. Previous five instalments have been imperitive and this one isn't looking to buck the trend either...

                            Roisin Murphy

                            All My Dreams / Innocence (Produced By Maurice Fulton)

                            After wooing one and all with her gorgeous Italophone EPs on Vinyl Factory in 2014, Róisín Murphy returns to the expertly curated imprint (and killer cultural hub) for four 12" singles produced by possible alien / probable genius Maurice Fulton. Murphy's always had a keen ear for a killer groove and in Futon (As he's hilariously known in these parts), she's found the perfect production foil to create the most hip-twitching, pleasure-centre-stimulating music of her life. And it's being released in the only correct way for sounds so intimately connected to the dancefloor: on a series of 12” singles, with stunning graphics from Portuguese New Yorker Braulio Amado. The first EP in the series opens with the off kilter "All My Dreams", a dark and dislocated bit of mirrorball magic which sees Róisín's sassy vocals swaying over a twisted disco-not-disco groove. Seductive and scary in equal measure, this leathed-clad banger demands your attention on the dancefloor. B-side bomb "Innocence" is a classic Fulton freak-out, all intergalactic synth riffs, rubberised bass and syncopated percussion topped by Murphy's misty vocals. It sounds like the perfect companion to the upcoming Syclops LP to me....

                            Lena Platonos is a Greek musician, pianist and music composer. She was one of the pioneers in the Greek electronic music scene of the 1980s, and she remains active today. Lena was born on the island of Crete and grew up in Athens. She began learning how to play the piano at the age of two and became a professional pianist before turning eighteen. Soon afterwards, she received a scholarship to study in Vienna and Berlin, where she was exposed to jazz, rock, and Middle Eastern music. She returned to Greece in the late 70’s and began working with the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation. She released three collaborative albums between 1981 and 1983, but it was her “triptych” of solo albums, Sun Masks (1984), Gallop (1985), and Lepidoptera (1986) that would lead many to call her the “Greek Laurie Anderson” or “mother of Greek electronica”.

                            Released in 1986, Lepidoptera was Lena’s third solo album, which was inspired by a scientific book on butterflies she found in a trashcan one day. The Latin genus and species names were mysterious and paralleled the changes in Lena’s personal life. “My concern in this work is transformation as a metaphor, or transcendence as an existential condition,” says Lena. Compositions follow minimalistic motifs and carefully-staged soundscapes. Vocals are processed through electronic filters, and at times plays a central role. Lena’s surrealistic verses are delivered in a direct fashion, touching on themes of metamorphosis, rebirth, love, and alienation. At times, she expresses tenderness; at others, a childlike innocence.

                            All songs have been remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The jacket is an exact replica of the 1986 edition, featuring an original collage by Lena and photography by Spyros Stateris. Each copy includes a two-sided 11”x11” insert with lyrics, photos and liner notes by Lena, with English translations by Stathis Gourgouris.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Patrick says: Dark Entries revisit Greek electronic pioneer Lena Platonos for a beautifully pressed reissue of her 1986 LP "Lepidoptera". Alongside the kind of dark and disorienting cuts that were central to 'Sun Masks', there are playful avant pop numbers, Balearic groovers and snatches of mind expanding new age.

                            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.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: Another absolute stormer from Courtney, though you might have already heard the superb 'Nameless, Faceless' from the 7" a little while ago, and 'City Looks Pretty' and 'Sunday Roast' from the RSD 12", there are a bunch of gems to uncover on this including the snarling skate-punk melodicism of my personal highlight, 'Charity'. Killer.

                            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.

                            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.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: It's hard to dislike Parquet Courts, with their dedication to oddball time signatures and funked-out chaka-chaka rhythms, turning the idea of guitar bands on their head, with a heady mix of soaring power chords, introspective breakdowns and massive, chugging heft. Classic PC.

                            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.

                            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. 

                            Produced by James Ford and Alex Turner, the album was recorded in Los Angeles, Paris and London. 

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Andy says: Wow! After their biggest hit yet and looming world domination, t'Monkeys swerve left, then up, out and onto the astral plane! This blows up their template in style, and opens new possibilities for this inspirational band.

                            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.

                            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.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: Classic slacker vibes, double tracked vocal flourishes and more acoustic balladry make up the backbone of Malkmus' output, but this one takes the elements previously laid and fleshes them out into tender but beautiful statements of melody and rhythm. More full-on heavy moments are tempered with their ability to reduce things when needed ; the bass/guitar scree in 'Shiggy' serving as a perfect example of a wholly accomplished concept, executed with style.

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

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

                            LP Info: Heavyweight vinyl with insert.

                            “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.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: Narcotics enthusiast and all-round ledge Ryley takes us on his newest journey into the wilderness with 'Deafman Glance', with the same tender plucking acousticry we've come to know and love, but with the psychedelic element all the more pronounced. Brilliantly progressive and nuanced songwriting with Walker's imitable style.

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                            TT (Theresa Wayman Of Warpaint)

                            LoveLaws

                            'Debut solo album from Warpaint guitarist & vocalist Theresa Wayman - It’s been 14 years since Wayman and her bandmates formed Warpaint in their early 20s, LoveLaws allows her to explore ideas that otherwise are difficult in a band. Though she’s a guitarist, she’s not much inspired by other guitarists. It’s been beats, basslines and samples since her teenage years. “I’ve never wanted to be a rock person, so I'm finally fulfilling my vision from 20 years ago”, she says. 

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Darryl says: Theresa Wayman of Warpaint fame is signing copies of her new album 'LoveLaws' here at Piccadilly Records on the release date of Friday May 18th at 1pm.
                            Pop in to say hi, and get your copy signed!
                            (It's FREE entry and no tickets are required)

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            Coloured LP Info: Gatefold Rose coloured LP.

                            Under the tree – In The Cave – At The Water, there’s where you’ll find Eleventeen Eston; savouring the shade since his 2014 debut LP ‘Delta Horizon’ turned the spotlight his way. Taking shelter in the subterranean, the Perth musician has found a sound saturated with entheogenic splendour, growing something gorgeous from the grotesque. Finding a natural home on Hamburg’s Growing Bin, Eston emerges into the daylight with a dreamy LP.

                            The vision quest begins with 'C in Sympathy', a freefall into the perverse beauty of the Domus Aurea, brought to life with E2-E4 electronics, chorus pedal shimmer and muted bass. Leaving the grasslands we dip a toe in the water with the hypnotic ripples of '2 d'Or (Cab Chassis)', a Carl-Craig-goes-New-Age number which fuses the electronic and acoustic to perfection. Delicate piano, crystalline synth tones and tape-saturated emotion lend their cinematic charm to 'East Perth Stories (Closing Titles)' before the propulsive bass and soft focus groove of 'The Four Fountains' hits you with the heat haze. Eston takes another tapey diversion on the sci-fi synthscape 'I Remember', while the coastal cool of 'Thread & Truth' picks up the wavy white funk baton from Spike.

                            The B-side brings more beauty as the drifting and dreamy ambience of 'I Float, I Am Free' gives way to the Windham Hill guitar licks, snaking bass and billowing textures of 'A Squall, 1988', offering a welcome echo of the wonder of Wilson Tanner. 'Where There Is Rain' sees Eston tune the Ute radio to 96FM Perth, marrying cascading keys, evocative vocal samples and lush guitar with a solid 80s pop beat, before he slows the pace for 'Sand Man' a skewed and stoned bit of beach funk that's perfect for seduction. We part ways with the panoramic 'Dory On Swan', a serene soundtrack to lapping waves and magic caves. Always in season, Growing Bin do it again.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Patrick says: Currently causing the calmest stir on the Piccadilly stereo, the long awaited follow up to "Delta Horizons" sees Eleventeen Eston AKA John Tanner (of Wilson Tanner) treats us to warm white funk, hazy ambient and dreamy pop.

                            "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


                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: Another superb outing from Beach House, this time a slightly more cinematic affair, with huge ambient washes, swooning guitar and that unmistakable vocal style we've come to expect. A superb progression from the stunning Depression Cherry, and further evidence of Beach House's impeccable style and songwriting prowess.

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            Coloured LP Info: Indies only transparent coloured vinyl.

                            Half Man Half Biscuit

                            No-One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin' Hedge Cut

                            Famed for making ill-tempered music with a social conscience, Birkenhead band Half Man Half Biscuit, formed in the early eighties, ‘merely as a way of getting through the day’. Quickly picked up by the angst-ridden youth of the eighties, their punk driven, lyrical rants, and protests against all things celebrity and fake, became the unofficial anthems of the underground.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: Another classic title from the HMHB camp, and fortunately the music is as entertaining as the cover is, with their trademark ska-lite jangle and throbbing spoken word oddities in full force, this is yet another superb outing.

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

                            The latest edition of K7!'s ever essential DJ Kicks compilations sees Forest Swords take on curatorial duties. Following acclaimed albums on Ninja Tune and Tri Angle, soundtrack and installation work, and remixes of the likes of Bjork, Matthew Barnes aka Forest Swords has curated a 25-track compilation that draws a line between past inspirations and his current peers. "During all of the nights that shaped me as a music fan there wasn't really a focus on DJing etiquette; sticking to genres, perfect transitions – it was all pretty DIY and purely like having someone cook up their personal mixtape in front of you, to surprise you and to explore different sounds" says Barnes. "That kind of rough-around-the-edges approach is so much more exciting to me than something sterile and seamless and I wanted to carry that spirit into this compilation." Chosen over the course of a few weeks in winter 2018, the mixed version was cut on Barnes' laptop during a wintery cross-country train journey. Like much of his own output, his DJ-Kicks skirts around pristine electronics and embraces more organic textures: 80s post punk (Anna Domino, Dead Can Dance), classic 90s British electronica (Orbital, Mira Calix), and smokey digi-dub (Rhythm & Sound), all rub up alongside some of the most forward-facing producers working today (Demdike Stare, Laurel Halo, Fis). The compilation sifts through rhythms, shifting speeds and emotions: from pop icon Neneh Cherry's primal thudding to the zombified throb of exclusive Forest Swords track 'Crow' via Deena Abdelwaheed's clattering deconstructions to the euphoric two-step of Djrum. It's a collection of tracks that feels as restlessly curious and weighty as Barnes' own work

                            Modern Studies

                            Welcome Strangers

                              ‘Welcome Strangers’ is the second record by feral pop outliers Modern Studies. Elegiac and haunted, life-giving and triumphant, this beguiling return digs deep into landscapes both real and imagined, internal and external, in a work that might perhaps best be described as “kosmiche choral” or, if we’re pushing it “arts-und-crafts-werk”. Or, put simply, glorious pop music. It is an elemental and often spectral world of contrasting tones and hues that is found within ‘Welcome Strangers’, one whose lyrical vocabulary is of loss, light, air, sun, growth; of spires, seeds and phosphene dreams. Here is the Britain of visionaries such as Kate Bush, Broadcast or PJ Harvey, a nation of dark magic, conflict, celebration and confusion, all at the same time.

                              Witness the incandescent chamber-pop of ‘Get Back Down’: underpinned by complex jazz rhythms, and string and brass flourishes, it manages to be both understated and epic as it explores a similar sonic terrain to Wild Beasts. Or there’s ‘Horns And Trumpets’, a haunting musical perambulation that burrows deep into Britain, a warm-hued hymn for future generations, and ‘Let Idle Hands’, which abandons restraint halfway through and, in a moment of musical epiphany, runs joyously to the horizon.

                              Meanwhile on ‘Phosphene Dream’ the honeyed harmonies of Emily Scott and Rob St. John wrap themselves around each other like Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood had they holidayed in draughty Glasgow tenements. Or perhaps – as on ‘Disco’ – they come closer to Kylie and Nick Cave. “It’s an ever changing thing - an organism,” explains principle songwriter Emily of Modern Studies’ collaborative creative process, “there is space for each of the band to experiment.” Shared band listening habits include Yamasuki, Van Dyke Parks, Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Matthew E White, Basil Kirchin, and Nanci Griffith. Working at Pete’s Pumpkinfield studio in rural Perthshire through 2017, the band used a Creative Scotland grant to hire a chamber orchestra and a remote village hall to record them in.

                              Contributors include sisters, wives, toddlers, freeform saxophonists and The Pumpkinseeds, an ensemble featuring violins, violas, cellos, trombones and vocals, brought together to play Pete and Emily’s collaborative string, brass and vocal arrangements. Truly, a family affair. As well as further fleshing out the sound with analogue synths, tube organs, drum machines and mellotrons, some inventive techniques were deployed – a decayed tape loop of Emily’s vocals used to create the stuttering rhythm in Mud and Flame for example, or prepared guitars recurring as percussion and drones. Now they proudly present ‘Welcome Strangers’, an album of modernist pop weirdness for the 21st century, a bricolage where classicism meets experimentalism and repeated listening unearths new stories for this contemporary age. 

                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              Ltd LP Info: Indies store exclusive.

                              The second release on Kon's officially licensed KONtemporary imprint is here and once again he flips one of disco's anthems to devastating effect, deftly reworking Sylvester's evergreen 'Over & Over'.

                              A true dance-floor bomb, 'Over & Over' is just one of THOSE records that has everyone on the floor and full of feels. Originally written by the legendary team of Ashford & Simpson it's inevitable that this jam oozes class. Kon has lovingly freaked the original master tapes into 2 brand new, fresh versions that will undoubtedly find their way into any self-respecting disco freaks DJ set. On the A-side we have his 'Found A Friend Remix', a beautifully reimagined and restructured version that leaves lots of space and let's those wonderful strings really soar, finally peaking in total disco glory! It's no wonder that the mighty DJ Harvey has been closing his sets with this one. Pure class and perfect for losing yourself in pure emotion. On the other side we're treated to an amazingly bold 'Dub mix', in keeping with the traditions of the classic labels, West End, Prelude, Fantasy and Co, it's sparse, melodic and contains just enough juice to keep the people dancing and asking for more! 

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Patrick says: Currently killing it as Harvey's end-of-nighter, Kon's fresh flip of this Sylvester classic comes through with a whole load of hands in the air energy, stranger hugging emotion and soulful Southport power. Killer!

                              Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Ray Lamontagne releases his seventh studio album on 18th May, via Columbia Records.

                              Written & produced by LaMontagne, this nine song album includes the singles "Such A Simple Thing" & "Paper Man".

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Barry says: Lamontagne brings us his newest LP, with tender folk stylings subtly woven amongst the stunning acoustic balladry, all accentuated with Lamontagne's heart-melting vocals.

                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              Coloured LP Info: Limited edition clear vinyl.

                              Simian Mobile Disco

                              Murmurations

                              Simian Mobile Disco's fifth full length album, "Murmurations", features vocals from celebrated Hackney-based collective The Deep Throat Choir and sees the established dance duo further bolster their already impressive sonic portfolio with another thrilling nine songs done in their inimitable, stadium-pleasing electronic style.

                              As perfectly pitched for headphones as it is for clubs, and 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 also collaborated with creative directors Kazim Rashid of ENDLESSLOVESHOW (Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawk) and Carri Munden. Together with The Deep Throad Choir, they have created a sprawling, dramatic and expansive piece of work. The delicate and evocative vocal parts ride SMD's textured electronic structures and rhythms in ethereal and enchanted ways, while the long duration of the tracks truly absorbs the listener in their magic. This is some of the strongest work we've seen from the pair and a brilliant introduction to TDTC should they require the exposure. A truly accomplished album which finds Simian Mobile Disco in fine form. 


                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Matt says: Simian surprise me endlessly by actually making a record I really like! The ethereal mix of haunting choir and SMD's shimmering soundscapes is evocative and cinenmatic indeed. Ace.

                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              2xLtd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                              Oiwa - the new subdivision of Aiwo rec. presents "Rave Racing Top Hits Vol. 1" - a various new selection of oldschool flavoured electro / hip-hop crossover / boss- / and breakbeats; compiled for the floor by: DJ Normal Quattro (aka Normal4) & DJ "Volcano" Carrera. As you'd expect from the same camp that brought us The Phazer Boys EP and DJN4 & Bufiman EPs - the quality is high and the edge is sharp!

                              Latinoz kick us off with "Don't Stop", 're-aped' by Youngg P, a pure freestyle electro tribute in the same vein as Egyptian Lover, swathed in purple synth lines and pockmarked with hard snares before being aggravated by an aggressive rap vocal.

                              Henry 3000 deploys some authentic robot-boogie on "Cult System", paying tribute to Underground Resistance as a sci-fi tinged, vocoder decorated breakdance anthem is effortlessly rolled out.

                              DNAonDNA revist early 90s and the North of England with the hardcore breaks of "Am Phantasma" - someone call up DJ Absolutely Shit quick sharp as this is gonna give his cult 12" on Red Laser a run for its money. Zomby-esque stabs, seductive female diva vocal and tight breaks make this one for the big stacks.

                              Finally, Bellybutton ensure all styles and flavours are catered for as they journey through proggy, early Goa stylings on "Atricapilla". Laced with trippy acid lines, peppered with breakbeats and propelled on a free party energy this should be all you need to bumrush the full moon parties and get that pesky psy-trance off the decks....

                              Highly recommended and usually cultishly adored... Don't hang around bagged one of these folks! 


                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Matt says: This firm haven't put a foot wrong with me (or Patch) so far. Excited to see them branch out in a (slightly) new direction. Always big in the dance and at the afters, this Dusseldorf firm are definintely one to watch.

                              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.

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Barry says: Like the least acid-addled moments of Jefferson Airplane / Starship mixed with the bright psychedelic warmth of Morgan Delt, La Luz provide a heady and immersive journey into the underbelly of 70's LA. Open your mind, and enjoy the ride.

                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              Coloured LP Info: Indies only gold vinyl.

                              Blue Hawaii

                              Blooming Summer

                                The warmth of the electronic element is almost frightening. By this I mean to say, that music of this tremendous beauty, composed through elements completely opposed to natural history, seems to vaguely hint at a new precipice of human evolution, where we lose track of ourselves entirely. Who is this second Prometheus whom hath given us this blue flame and how does he suffer for his generosity?
                                But now we must speak plainly… "Blooming Summer" seems to come together with an un-canny ease, one that could only possibly express a true and monumental love between its two collaborators. Do not even attempt to show me a more beautiful voice or gentle nature than Raphael’s, for you will not be able to find one. As Percy Blysse said to Mary Shelley whilst rowing their boat across the River Styx: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll cherish you always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”
                                For the moment, I need no other piece of art than "Blooming Summer". I am satisfied and can rest in harmony with the blooming summer. Girls and boys, they love in the colour blue…

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Patrick says: P.S. play at 33 for a sneak peak of the new Washed Out LP...

                                Patrick says: Putting the poetic (but completely uninformative) sales notes to one side, Canadian duo Blue Hawaii trade in the kind of sensual, textural synth pop that makes our Barry play with his knobs. Musing on new love during a few months in Central and South American, the duo deliver an LP which shifts between woozy, Cocteau-tinged chillwave and uptempo pop anthems packed with pep.

                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                Two Music For Dreams releases in two weeks? The Balearic gods are smiling our way. Somehow sunnier than last week's luxurious Dalholt and Langkilde LP, this lush Latin wax winds its hips between house, Balearic and bossa, garnering support from DJ Harvey, Pete Tong, Ruf Dug, Alfredo and Mison in the process. Our beach party opens with "Te Faz Bem", the most played Balearic beauty of Harvey's Mercury Rising residency at Pikes last summer, which flexes its feathers here in true 'Coma Club' fashion thanks to MFD main man Kenny Bager. Solid Balearic beat percussion nods along nicely in support of the swaying bassline before Latin guitar, echo drenched vocals and eventual bursts of brass kick up the warm smell of colitas. Add in flamenco hand claps, opulent Rhodes chords and a mercurial flute solo and you'll find me sharing a cigar with Maitê Proença and Zico in the corner of an exotic beach bar. Italian DJ don Riccio ups the tempo on the A2, injecting those South American elements with a shuffling carnival house beat and buzzing synth lines while dubbing out the vocal for a deeper version that's a dream to mix. Over on the flip we roll shoulders and shimmy along to the Balearic disco delights of "Deixa Música Tocar" (Let The Music Play), a hypnotic offering alive with incessant bass, scatted vocals and extended trumpet solos. Finally K-Bag takes the controls again for an alternate mix of "Deixa Música Tocar" which tweaks the arrangement into something playful, punchy and percussive, like Tony Allen on a South American vacation.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Patrick says: Another sweet summery treat from the good ship MFD here as the Harvey approved "Te Fez Bem" from Copenema gets a vinyl release. Featuring top reworks from Kenneth Bager and Riccio this is a caliente cut folks. Scorchio!

                                Synergy in motion, London five-piece Ezra Collective are proving themselves as a harmonious tour de force. Their sound nods respectfully to a classic jazz footprint, celebrating the originators whilst simultaneously carving a path solely their own. Ezra Collective marry the delicate technicalities of jazz musicianship with afrobeat and hip hop, tied together by a sound that’s unmistakably London. Their live show is one of dynamic union; the strength of their partnership shines in performances that are commanding yet sensitive, soulful and pertinently groove-laced. Following a joyous and stunningly cohesive show in May 2016, Boiler Room rightly labelled the group as “pioneering the new-wave of U.K. jazz”. As the genre enjoys a new lease of life that is gaining momentum across the country, Ezra Collective are adding their own fresh and imaginative face to a style that continues to be “as entertaining as it is educational” (Trench). In a year that saw them sell out legendary London venue Ronnie Scott’s not once but twice, 2017 also bought with it the release of their genre-bending second EP, Juan Pablo: The Philosopher . After Ezra Collective took the EP on a successful tour across the U.K and Europe and completely sold out of the vinyl, Juan Pablo: The Philosopher went on to win the accolade of Best Jazz Album at Gilles Peterson’s esteemed Worldwide Awards in January 2018.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Laura says: Absolutely loving this album at the moment! This London quartet take classic hard bop style and infuse it with afrobeat, funk and hip hop. The result is a fresh, dynamic sound that perfectly marries the old and the new.

                                The LP release of the Kendrick Lamar curated Ost to Marvels Black Panther Film. Lamar and Tiffith are collaborating for the first time to create a musical body of work for a motion picture.

                                The album also includes the charting singles “Pray For Me” by The Weekend and Kendrick Lamar, and “King’s Dead” from Jay Rock, Future, Lamar, and James Blake, as well as features from ScHoolboy Q, Travis Scott, Swae Lee and Khalid among others. Lamar is regarded as one of the most important, critically acclaimed and creatively inventive the world over, and this album further establishes he and Tiffith as forces not only in music, but in film.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Millie says: I had the near impossible task of selecting which songs to attach to this record, but it includes two Kendrick ones of course. This album is fierce and dominant, a showcase of some of the best hip hop ever to grace a soundtrack.

                                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.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Barry says: From crackling side-chained throbs, euphoric trance crescendoes and crepuscular reverbed piano bliss, this is a beautiful mix of his early Balearic influenced 90's output and the more recent fractured classical abstractions of 'Insides', through to the seminal 'Immunity' drive. Superb, as expected.

                                FORMAT INFORMATION

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

                                2xLP Info: Black vinyl edition.

                                2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                Fans of all good music to come out of Scotland will be familiar with the name Aidan Moffat. A stalwart of Glasgow, one half of Arab Strap & Scottish Album of the Year winner among many other accolades joins fellow SAY Award winner and Chemikal Underground label mate RM Hubbert for this new album, this time out on Mogwai's Rock Action Records. The album features guest appearances from fellow Glaswegian Siobhan Wilson, who sings and plays cello (and who released her own There Are No Saints album last year to great acclaim); Louisville, Kentucky’s Rachel Grimes on piano; and veteran jazz saxophonist John Burgess.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Barry says: A new one from Moffat and Hubbert is never going to disappoint, but this one is thoroughly transcendent. Stunning folk flourishes, off-kilter syncopated rhythms and simmering,loungey woodwind. Stunner.

                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                Max Richter

                                The Blue Notebooks - 15th Anniversary Edition

                                  “The Blue Notebooks” is one of Max Richter’s most successful albums to date.

                                  Originally written in 2003, DG will be releasing a new edition to celebrate its 15th anniversary with brand new artwork and bonus content, such as new arrangements, remixes, as well as a completely unreleased new track. The Blue Notebooks was originally composed in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

                                  Richter has described it as "a protest album about Iraq, a mediation on violence – both the violence that I had personally experienced around me as a child and the violence of war, at the utter futility of so much armed conflict." The album was recorded about a week after mass protests against the war. It features readings from Franz Kafka's The Blue Octavo Notebooks and Czesław Miłosz's Hymn of the Pearl and Unattainable Earth. Both readings are by the British actress Tilda Swinton. 

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: One of Richter's most seminal works, full of brittle tenderly pulled strings and soaring heart-wrenching cello, all underpinned by Richter's beautiful mastery of delicacy and grace. An absolute classic.

                                  In contrast to her 2016 lauded album New View, which Eleanor arranged and recorded with her touring band, Rebound was recorded mostly by Eleanor alone with assistance from producer Clemens Knieper. The resulting album is an entirely new sound for Eleanor, exchanging live instrumentation for programmed drums, a Juno synthesizer, and muted guitars, creating a sonic landscape where influences range from Stereolab and Suicide to Lena Platonos and Yellow Magic Orchestra. In addition to a new sonic palette, Rebound takes significant inspiration from Eleanor’s time spent in Greece. Half-Greek herself, Eleanor frequently traveled to Greece to see family, but decided in 2016 to really immerse herself in the culture. Rebound is the incredible next step in a lauded, brilliant recording career by one of the most prolific, daring independent artists of our time. From her days spent in The Fiery Furnaces, creating melodically off-kilter, idiosyncratic mini-epics, to her three acclaimed previous solo albums, Eleanor Friedberger continues to create exactly what we need to hear when we need to hear it.

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: Beautifully smooth synthetic soundscapes, deep and rich harmonic flow all topped by Friedberger's haunting but strangely soothing vocal accentuations. Rich and immersive, and beautifully written throughout.

                                  First new full-length album from legenary Boston via Rhode Island band, Belly, in over 20 years. Formed by Throwing Muses and Breeders member Tanya Donelly, the band has reunited with all four original members for this new album. indie

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: Hefty 80's inspired guitar hooks, fist pumping choruses, and simmering ambient shoegaze influences and all brought together by a supremely talented bunch of musicians, this is not a drill. Worth the wait.

                                  Andy says: The song-writing has been upped(definitely more Classic than Indie) which is not the usual state of affairs on bands' comeback LP's. The result is a really beautiful record!

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

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

                                  Right as the clock was striking midnight on the last day of the year, King Gizzard issued Gumboot Soup, an entirely new 11-song collection. "Greenhouse Heat Death" and "All Is Known" are microtonal jams that roil and boil like the songs on Flying Microtonal Banana, the metallic "The Great Chain of Being" has the proggy feel of Murder of the Universe, and a bunch of mellow tracks ("Superposition," "I'm Sleepin' In," "The Wheel") could have been warped a bit and slotted right into Sketches of Brunswick East. The rest of the songs are strong neo-psych that would have fit well on the grab bag that was Polygondwanaland; the soft rock "Beginner's Luck" would have been a highlight with its marshmallowy chorus and jabbing guitar solo, and the same goes for the almost funky "Down the Sink," which reveals a loose-limbed side the band doesn't often show. So yes, it's a collection of castoffs and almost-weres, but the amazing thing is that it sounds like a greatest-hits collection made up of songs that are fully realized and played with passion and weirdness, not a half-baked slag heap. In case anyone needed it, Gumboot Soup is yet more proof that King Gizzard were firing all year long on all five cylinders, plus about four more that most bands don't have, and the body of work they created is immensely, intensely, jaw-droppingly impressive.

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: Though I feel like I might be getting RSI from writing about King Giz, amazingly they've managed to smash out yet another killer LP, full of their trademark hooks and off-kilter psychedelic scree. Once again, a completely realised and cohesive collection comes from the KG camp.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  Coloured LP Info: Limited opaque orange coloured vinyl.

                                  Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                  Chapel Perilous exists whereby the supernatural converges with the everyday - whatever one’s definition of reality, this psychological realm serves to prove it endlessly subjective and changeable. Robert Anton Wilson may have laid claim to the modern use of this phrase - as in his 1977 tome ‘Cosmic Trigger’ - yet there can be few musical outfits in the here and now more worthy of carrying on its tradition than Gnod. In more than a decade on the planet this singular Salford-birthed entity have married intrepid musical exploration with psychic fearlessness - not to mention a tendency to leave any tag or bracket one attempts to place on them utterly redundant. In a sense, the latest adventure bearing this title evolved both from the lengthy European tour that the band embarked upon in the wake of their stripped-down and paint-stripping 2017 opus Just Say No The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine.

                                  Yet recording in Supernova studio in Eindhoven under the auspices of Bob De Wit, the band found themselves free not only to lay down two tumultuous tracks that they had been honing and hammering into shape on the road - the pulverising fifteen-minute opener ‘Donovan’s Daughters’ and the bracingly brutal ‘Uncle Frank Says Turn It Down’ - but to sculpt more abstract material, utilising dubbed-out repetition, furious riff-driven rancour, bleak soundscapes and off-the-map experimentation to create an intimidating and invigorating tableau of dystopian dread and unflinching intensity. Always working purely on their own instincts and co-ordinates, Gnod’s pathway into unchartered territory continues to move firmly on with nary a care for the sanity of anyone in their surroundings. Chapel Perilous is a still more indomitable chapter in a transcendental travelogue from an iconoclastic institution that only gathers momentum with the passing of time. Wherever Gnod go in 2018 and beyond, expect reality to be reinvented anew, whatever the consequences

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: Gnod once again ripping everyone a new one with a heady mix of metallic drone, psychedelic ambience and visceral spoken-word musings, incisive cut-throat guitar lines and hypnotic scree. Classic, unbelievable Gnod. Killer.

                                  Pinkshinyultrablast, Russia's finest export, release their third album 'Miserable Miracles'.

                                  With vocalist Lyubov recently moving to LA, the band have been exploring new ways of composing and collaborating. Partnered with a line-up refinement, the new material sees Pinkshinyultrablast go down a more electronic path while experimenting with new sounds and genres (including inspiration from Japanese pop such as Chiemi Manabe and Yellow Magic Orchestra).

                                  Originally hailing from a city more synonymous with the State Conservatory than a gang of shoegaze addicts, the band have nevertheless seen great critical and commercial success since their debut album 'Everything Else Matters' and follow-up 'Grandfeathered'. They've been compared to bands such as Lush but this is no mere throwback tribute - due to their sharp, icy electronics and ability to subvert the genre, bringing something new to the table. They possess not only the spirit of late 80s/early 90s British bands like Cocteau Twins, but also machine-made sounds of the same era from Sabres Of Paradise or Global Communication, not to mention wider vibrations like Cluster, Popul Vuh, Terry Riley and Philip Glass.

                                  On 'Miserable Miracles' Lyubov's delicate vocals soar effortlessly above haunting ambience and ethereal embellishments complimented by driving motoric beats. Singles 'In The Hanging Gardens' and 'Find Your Saint' perfectly showcase the band's new, more electronic direction while retaining their signature quirkiness with layers of experimentation. Elsewhere on the likes of 'Dance AM' and 'Triangles' retrocentric 80's production highlights newer synth-pop influences whereas tracks such as 'Blue Hour' and 'Earth and Elsewhere' are blissful synth-wave soundtracks which give the otherwise upbeat album space to breathe. Together the third album from the innovative trio is one that flows effortlessly as a continuous piece of work and reveals that even within a genre so widely explored, there's still room for modernization amongst those willing to push boundaries.

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: Bordering on euphoric, Pinkshinyultrablast continue their domination of the saccharine-sweet Russian synthpop scene (a busy scene indeed) with this beautiful collection of retro heavy throbbing saw waves and angelic vocal sweeps.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  Coloured LP Info: 180g vinyl in two randomly picked limited edition colours.

                                  Applying maximum sunscreen and blending the perfect caipirinha, Too Slow to Disco take a dive into an often overlooked side of Brazilian music: Brazilian soul, funk and AOR. To guide them through these unfamiliar waters, the firm enlist a new face, 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

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  2xLP Info: 180 gram heavyweight double vinyl.

                                  2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                  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).

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: Switching from nodded-out psychedelic shambling melodies to driven garage-rock interludes, Iceage are brimming with spirit and equally matching their loosely laid melodic foundations with a relaxed but effective approach to songwriting.

                                  'Blossoms second album sees them return with 11 tracks of 80s inspired synth-layered pop bliss. On lead single 'I Can't Stand It', the band bring the tempo up and combine it with cascading synth riffs, while 'There's A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)' brings a previously unheard anthemic rock quality to the bands sound'...

                                  Furthering their domination of the northern music scene, they take the rawkous sound of their debut and bolster it with the experience learnt from their time touring, absorbing influence from all corners of the musical spectrum. This is a confident and mature follow-up and one sure to cement their reputation and productivity for years to come. 

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: Blossoms have not YET managed it, but with these brilliantly measured and perfectly written anthemic indie stormers, are moving ever closer to being cool like me.

                                  One day.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  2xDeluxe LP Info: 2 x black heavyweight vinyl, gatefold sleeve with silver foiling, 8pg booklet and a download code.

                                  LP Info: Black heavyweight vinyl, gatefold sleeve, 8pg booklet and a download code.

                                  2xDeluxe CD Info: Deluxe CD comes in a mint pack and a 12pg booklet and acoustic album.

                                  CD Info: CD comes in a mint pack with a 12pg booklet.

                                  Ryan Lee West aka Rival Consoles presents his expressive new album ‘Persona’ via Erased Tapes. The title ‘Persona’ was inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s film of the same name, specifically a shot in the opening credits of a child reaching out to touch a woman’s face on a screen, which is shifting between one face and another. This powerful image struck Ryan and it inspired the album’s main theme — an exploration of the persona, the difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us, the spaces in between; between states, people, light and dark, the inner persona and the outer persona. “My music is generally inward looking. I like finding something about the self within music, that doesn't have to be specific but maybe asks something or reveals something. This record is a continuation on the self through electronic sounds. Like Legowelt once said ‘a synthesiser is like a translator for unknown emotions’, which I think sums up what I am trying to do. I think all these emotions we have make up our persona. So in a way by finding new ones you alter or expand your persona. And that is what I want my music to try to do. I deliberately aimed to be more sonically diverse with this record. I wanted to experiment more. I wanted to create new sounds and new emotions.” — Rival Consoles.

                                  Recorded at his studio in south-east London, ‘Persona’ benefits from Ryan’s exploration of a dynamic production process that combines analogue-heavy synthesisers, acoustic and electric instruments with a shoegaze-level obsession with effect pedals. A greater depth of emotion and confidence can be heard across the album. From the deconstructed movements on ‘Unfolding’ that starts the album with a snap of delayed snares, the apocalyptic drones of the title track and thundering drums in ‘Phantom Grip’ to more restrained ambient feels of ‘Dreamer’s Wake’, ‘Rest’ and ‘Untravel’. The latter transverses six beatless minutes of undulating melodies representing “a limbo space, a feeling of ennui, of not really ever being known to others and others not ever really being known to you”.

                                  ‘Be Kind’ reveals a musical connection with fellow Erased Tapes artist Nils Frahm, with its minimal approach and improvisational nature. On the more complex sounding ‘I Think So’ Ryan aims to replicate a colour collage with sound. Like a musical kaleidoscope, a flashing and convoluted mass. Written after he saw Slowdive perform live last year, ‘Hidden’ builds from whispers to landscapes of controlled noise. In an interview with XLR8R magazine, Ryan explains: “once you start trying to make a sound loud, then you turn your back on thousands and thousands of sonic possibilities. One of the best things to do is to start a track with a really quiet, weak sound.” Taking this idea to its ultimate conclusion, ‘Fragment’ closes the album as an innocent sounding ambient piece, almost nursery rhyme like, yielding time for reflection on how the persona has changed.

                                  ‘Persona’ follows the success of a series of releases — the ‘Odyssey’ and ‘Sonne’ EPs, long player ‘Howl’, and 2016’s mini album ‘Night Melody’ — that saw Ryan mature into what Pitchfork has called a “forward-thinking electronic musician with his own ideas about sound”. Atypical of instrumental-electronic music, Ryan has achieved a signature sound that’s unmistakably identifiable as Rival Consoles. Going beyond typical electronic music production, Ryan defines it as “songwriting with an electronic palette of sounds”. The increasingly dynamic live audio-visual show, born from bespoke performances at the Tate and for Boiler Room at the V&A Museum featuring self-programmed visuals in Max/MSP, has propelled him to play around the world. Ryan launches ‘Persona’ at London’s XOYO on 12th April with further dates to be announced.

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: Like his 2015 opus 'Howl, 'Persona' treads the line between ambience and leftfield techno whilst staying resolutely listenable and thoroughly jaw-dropping. Less influenced by the interim EP's, and seemingly moew focused on the spine-tingling crescentic electronica that West does SO well. Highly recommended.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  2xColoured LP Info: Limited indies only clear vinyl.

                                  Across 19 tracks in just 40 minutes, Goat Girl’s self-titled debut creates a half-fantasy world out of a very dirty, ugly city reality.

                                  Goat Girl belong to a burgeoning, close-knit south London scene, born in venues like The Windmill in Brixton and including bands like Shame, Bat-Bike, Madonnatron, Horsey, Sorry, and many more. “We help each other - I put you on, you put me on - because we genuinely like each other’s music. We’d played gigs all over before but never really settled in a comfortable environment, which is what The Windmill is. It’s an important place for us, it was the first space that our music made sense to exist within. It’s a safe space where music is genuinely listened to and appreciated, and where laws and licensing haven't reached over to ruin the venue.”

                                  This live freedom enabled the band to think without constraints when it came to recording. Goat Girl enlisted producer Dan Carey (The Kills, Bat For Lashes, Franz Ferdinand) to help them capture their vision, set a goal to write and record a piece of music in a day in effort to capture that raw first-creation moment, and chose to record to tape.

                                  It’s a very English album -- sharp-eyed observations like The Kinks, louche rage like The Slits -- but it’s also full of swampy, swaggering guitars and singer Lottie’s filthy drawl. Each member brings a diverse range of influences and contributions, ranging from krautrock to bossa nova, jazz to blues. They resist being boxed in to an indie, guitar-based genre, and focused intensely on the layers and textures of each song as well as the different contexts they could sit within.

                                  The result, Goat Girl, succeeds in conjuring a complete world all unto itself, and is arranged in segments -- divided by improvised interludes -- that offer glimpses of an even stranger parallel universe. With each song acting as its own story of sorts that features different settings and characters, listeners are transported therewithin. It’s dark yet cheeky, varied yet cohesive, and striking in its vision; this world is populated by creeps and liars, lovers, dreamers, and wonderful lunatics. Lead single “Cracker Drool” is at once jaunty and sinister, a foreboding tale full of swirling guitar, echoing vocals and synthetic drum hits that stumbles and gurgles straight into “Slowly Reclines,” an equally menacing and considerably heavier track. “Creep” is, predictably and grimly enough, inspired by actual events: Creep on the train / I really want to smash your head in.

                                  On “Country Sleaze,” she sings about sex in a way that embraces visceral reality and defeats shame. “If you say you’re sexually free, as a woman, society still deems that a bad thing. But really it’s a beautiful thing to be confident in yourself - to know that you can have sex and it doesn’t have to mean anything and that doesn’t make you a bad person.” Ellie smiles: “That song is quite disgusting, in a good way. It’s not trying to be nice, it’s not a love song.” Goat Girl is altogether an album crafted with intention, and invites imaginations to run wild; it draws listeners in to its half-fantasy world from the slow fade, eerie instrumental intro “Salty Sounds,” to the gorgeous, unsettling closer “Tomorrow” -- a rendition of the song featured in Bugsy Malone -- which ends with dawn-chorus birds and the feeling of new possibilities after a long and messy night.

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: A superbly textured and stylistically varied outing from Goat Girl, holding within it's 19 (!) tracks a fiery resolve and melodic leaning of the highest order. Brilliantly written and performed with heart, Goat Girl won't be off the shop stereo for some time to come.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive limited violet LP.

                                  Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                  Five years after his critically acclaimed debut Drone Logic, London-based producer Daniel Avery announces his highly anticipated second album Song For Alpha, set for release on March 9th 2018 through Phantasy. The album is preceded on January 19th by a 4-track limited edition 12” vinyl EP titled Slow Fade.

                                  The new long player, on which the track ‘Slow Fade’ will appear, follows 2013’s incendiary debut Drone Logic. Upon its release the latter was called “A mesmerising debut" by Mixmag, “Exceptional” by the Times and "A benchmark for so many other dance albums to aspire to" by Dummy, while Pitchfork proclaimed “Avery owns this space.” “Underground dance music with this sort of ambition hasn’t been heard in quite a while", noted Resident Advisor, and Q hailed  "The arrival of a new left­field dance superstar."

                                  In the years since, Avery has helmed a DJ-Kicks mix CD, resided over a monthly radio show for NTS Live, curated an extensive remix compilation and collaborated on a series of side-projects including a recent collaboration with Nine Inch Nails synth specialist Alessandro Cortini; he has toured relentlessly, cementing a reputation as one of the defining techno DJs of the decade. He has also worked studiously on what he wanted to say next as a producer. 

                                  With newfound energy and time to develop, Avery’s sonic vocabulary has expanded. Here, the booming sound of the big room is brilliantly countered by the music of the small hours. Where celestial ambient lullabies ‘First Light’ and ‘Days From Now’ sit perfectly next to the mesmeric techno assault of ‘Diminuendo’ and ‘Sensation’; where both ‘Projector’ and ‘Clear’ evoke early rave records, only ones engulfed by waves of beautiful cyclonic distortion. William Basinski, Warp’s Artificial Intelligence, Brian Eno plus his own excursions with Alessandro Cortini all serve as touchstones for a record that sees Avery take his signature psychedelic-electronic sound to new dimensions, a sound that plays to the head as much as the body.


                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: Delicately presented electroacoustic compositions, supported with a finely honed backbone of melodic suggestion and hypnotic rhythmic pulse, Avery once again proves he is one of the masters of his craft.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  2xLP Info: Double 180 gram vinyl.

                                  2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                  Where are we headed? What are we consuming, how is it affecting us, and why does everything feel so bad and weird sometimes? These are some of the questions posed on Ruban Nielson's fourth album as Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Sex & Food-a delightfully shapeshifting album that filters these real-deal serious themes through a vibrant sonic lens that spans battered drum-machine funk, doomy and thrashing rock, and pink-hued psychedelic disco. Recorded in a variety of locales from Seoul and Hanoi to Reykjavik, Mexico City, and Auckland, Sex & Food is a practical musical travelogue, with local musicians from the countries that Nielson and his band visited pitching in throughout.

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: As singular as they are enthralling, Unknown Mortal Orchestra are finally back, and bringing everything we've come to expect. Jangly riffs, pitch-perfect falsetto and impeccable writing, 'Sex & Food' is their finest work to date.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  Coloured LP Info: Limited edition pink vinyl.

                                  LP Info: Standard black vinyl edition.

                                  LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                  Spanish quartet Hinds - Carlotta Cosials, Ana Perrotte, Ade Martin and Amber Grimbergen - announce their long-awaited second record I Don’t Run. Out April 6 via Lucky Number, the new album shows a bigger, better, faster, funnier, more dexterous Hinds. Co-produced by the band and Gordon Raphael [The Strokes, Regina Spektor], and engineered by Shawn Everett [Alabama Shakes, Perfume Genius, The War On Drugs, John Legend], I Don’t Run is the product of a band fighting for their place, a band unwilling to rely upon their successes, a band who have just begun to prove themselves, and a band who plays hard but works even harder.

                                  Some might expect them to write songs about being happy, young and carefree – “but we're not satisfied with that,” explains guitarist Ana Perrote. “On this album the struggles are clear. We want to be brave.” I Don’t Run is Hinds’ return with an honest reflection on a period that changed their lives beyond their wildest imaginations. After everything they’ve overcome, one might think a band like Hinds would have second album jitters, but think again. Hinds are chomping at the bit and with defiant confidence. “We loved making this album,” says Perrote. “We knew what we wanted and we have what we wanted. This is a new start for us and we're fucking ready.”

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: Snarling punky sections segue into swooning, hazy melodic guitar and bass interplay. Simmering hazy indie-rock slowly moves into clanging garage and thrashing pop-punk choruses.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  Coloured LP Info: Limited edition indies exclusive transparent coloured vinyl.

                                  Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                  LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                  After the success of 'Galaxies Like Grains of Sand', Warren and Greg retreated back to the Isle of Wight to start work on long discussed concept album based on a fictional children's book The Honey Bear. Each track a chapter of the book, hypnotic folk pieces mixed with ambient field recordings that Warren and Greg collected around the beaches, cliffs and gardens of the island.

                                  They brought everything together at home, organically forming this beautiful ambient folk tale during the island's idyllic summer evenings. After finishing the initial mixes on the island they brought the tapes up to Scotland and overdubbed with Strings, Oboe and Flute. Whether your 5 or 50, the charm and beauty of The Honeybear is undeniable.

                                  Children fairytale book concept album
                                  Limited Edition pressing



                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Millie says: The Honeybear beautifully captures the soft mystical tones of this harrowing ambient folk album following their previous record 'Galaxies Like Grain Of Sand'. The inspiration behind the album of it being a children’s fairytale, you can immediately get the sense of the whimsical innocence by the lovely fluttering of string instruments.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  LP Info: On transparent 'honey'coloured gold vinyl

                                  Bonny Doon

                                  Longwave

                                    Arriving in the early months of 2017, Bonny Doon’s self-titled debut was a warm introduction to the band for many. Hazy and bright, the album’s woozy melodies and swirling webs of summery guitar textures were easily ingested as low-key slacker pop. But the nonchalant breeziness belied a serious attention to songcraft, and hinted at depths yet unexplored. Lo and behold, before the ink was even dry on the first record, work had already begun on its follow-up Longwave, a conscious about-face from the sonic experimentation of the first album, and a journey inward.

                                    In the spring of 2016 the band decamped to a remote part of Michigan, nesting near the evocatively named Mystic Lake, and spent a week uprooting former approaches and reinventing their sound anew. Moving into more improvisational territory, they wrote quickly and from the hip, using repetitive chord structures to aid in spontaneous generation. Attracted to the session’s spacious arrangements and unaffected sounds, they immediately went into the studio to capture the material. Working for the first time outside of home recording settings with engineer Bill Skibbe and longtime friend and collaborator Shelley Salant, the experience allowed for a focused concentration on bringing the intrinsic spirit of the group to the surface. Opting for spontaneity and simplicity over the exploration of layers and textures that defined the first record, the band architected an incredibly intimate sound for these new songs.

                                    The album was tracked with minimal overdubs or production flourishes, constructing a frame that is spare and understated in the same way as the twilight-tinted third Velvet Underground album or the rusty glow of Bill Fay’s Time Of Last Persecution. These sessions aimed to capture the band at their essence. With the superfluous stripped away, a gentle but steadfast spiritual core is revealed as the backbone of Bonny Doon’s cosmic American music.



                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                    Laura says: This is absolutely gorgeous: cosmic Americana that brings to mind Piccadilly favourites Kingsbury Manx. The songs have a languid, almost melancholic feel, but the super melodic guitar melodies that weave around the dead-pan vocals make


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