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EOB (Ed O'Brien)

EARTH

    Ed O’Brien never planned to make a solo record. As a guitarist with Radiohead, who over almost three decades and nine albums have established themselves as one of the most innovative and influential musical forces of our time, he thought his artistic side had its outlet and was happy to spend any downtime from Radiohead with his family. Plus, he wondered, would it really be necessary? “Thom, Jonny and Phillip are making music,” he says, “and I’m like, ‘The last thing the world needs is a shit album by me.’”

    But suddenly a switch was flicked and the songs came pouring out of him. That creative surge resulted in an album of rediscovery and adventure by O’Brien under the moniker EOB that deftly veers from moments of delicate folk to euphoric house, its songs seamlessly pinned together by unswerving melodic hooks and candid lyricism. A spirit of collaboration runs through it, from the production team of Flood, Catherine Marks, Alan Moulder and Adam ‘Cecil’ Bartlett to the extraordinary musicians O’Brien assembled to help bring these tracks to life; Omar Hakim, Colin Greenwood, David Okumu, Laura Marling, Adrian Utley, Nathan East and Glenn Kotche.

    But every group of collaborators needs a leader, and this album is all O’Brien’s vision. “I wanted to make a record from the heart,” he says. “I wanted to make something direct. I wanted to talk about love, your family in the immediate and the wider sense, where we are on the planet, the bigger picture, life and death. I wanted to make a big hearted, warm and colorful album… something hopeful and full of love.”

    It all started in Brazil. Ed and his family moved out to the Brazilian countryside at the end of 2012. After setting up a home studio and dabbling with the idea of making an electronic record, a listen to Primal Scream’s landmark Screamadelica was O’Brien’s eureka moment. “I thought, this is it… I want my music to have that joy, that light, the depth and breadth of that album… elements of dance, soul, ambient… Uplifting in parts.” He immediately picked up an acoustic guitar and started writing, the new direction further influenced by a trip to Rio Carnival. “Carnival was another eureka moment… an extraordinary explosion of rhythm, melody, dance, light and joy… I felt there was a thread right through Screamadelica, rave and carnival.”

    The O’Briens returned home in summer 2013 and Ed hunkered down in a remote cottage in the shadow of the Cambrian Mountains in Wales to begin writing songs. As the material for the album was taking shape, Flood offered his services as producer having heard some of the demos. “I had my man, my producer… He’s probably my favorite producer. The breadth of the stuff he’s done, from Depeche Mode, PJ Harvey, U2, Foals… he’s a sonic maestro.”

    They rented a big house in Wales and over three weeks, in the Autumn of 2017, O’Brien and his house band – East, Hakim and Okumu – got down the bones of the record. A year of tinkering and re-working followed at Assault & Battery Studios in Willesden, London. “The house band was so good for some tracks – but other stuff needed a different approach. Any record that I’ve been involved with, that’s been of any merit, is always a journey.”

    And then, following five years of writing and recording scheduled during any possible break from the making and touring of Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool, EOB’s debut was finally completed. “I see this as part of a bigger story…. A trilogy perhaps…I’ve really just started.” It has been a long, necessary process, and O’Brien has emerged a different person. “You have to keep moving and finding the things that inspire you and that resonate… there’s a music that I’m chasing… this feels like the right start.” EOB marks a new beginning for Ed O’Brien. From here, he can go anywhere.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Indies Exclusive Orange Vinyl.
    180 gram vinyl.
    Gatefold jacket.
    6 lithographs.
    Printed insert.
    Manufactured with recycled packaging.

    Mazzy Star

    So Tonight That I Might See

    Combining the considerable talents of guitarist Dave Roback (Opal, Rain Parade) and Hope Sandoval's sultry, heavy-lidded vocals, Mazzy Star fuses blues, country, and pulsing acoustic folk in a dark psychedelic mix that recalls the Velvet Underground and The Doors. The group's highly textured, atmospheric sound emerged glittering and fully formed on the debut "She Hangs Brightly", surprising listeners with its moody yet accessible mix. "So Tonight That I Might See" sticks close to the ground staked out by its predecessor, though with no less success. "Wasted" moves insistently down the twelve-bar road to nuanced, snarling guitar embellishments. "Blue Light" is smoky, blue-eyed (if black-hearted) soul. Of particular note is the cover of Arthur Lee's "Five String Serenade", graced with lilting cello and tambourine accompaniment. Roback's electric/lysergic guitar explorations and Sandoval's blusey, lazily erotic sigh weave a deeply evocative spell, making "So Tonight That I Might See" a perfect 2:00AM album.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    LP Info: 180 gram heavyweight vinyl.

    Miles Davis

    Birth Of The Cool

    Eleven tracks recorded by Miles Davis' nonet in 1949 and 1950, 'Birth Of The Cool' may just be the most accurately titled album ever. The tracks just bleed hipness - cool, smooth, and swinging - and practically define the genre of "cool jazz". Unparalleled recordings required for any fan of mid-century American jazz.

    Beastie Boys

    Ill Communication - 180g Vinyl Edition

    "Ill Communication" follows the blueprint of "Check Your Head", accentuating it at some points, deepening it in others, but never expanding it beyond the boundaries of that record. It was the first Beastie Boys album not to delve into new territory, but it's not fair to say that the band were coasting, since much of the album finds the group turning in muscular, vigorous music that fills out the black-and-white sketches that comprised "Check Your Head". Much of the credit has to go to the group's renewed emphasis on their rhyming; there are still instrumentals, but the Beasties do push their words to the forefront, even on dense rockers like the album's signature tune, "Sabotage". But even those rhymes illustrate that the group is in the process of a great settling, relying more on old-school-styled rhyme schemes and word battles than the narratives and surreal fantasies that marked the high points on their first two albums. With this record, the Beasties confirm that there is indeed a signature Beastie Boys aesthetic, with the group sticking to a blend of old school rap, pop culture, lo-fi funk, soulful jazz instrumentals, Latin rhythms, and punk, often seamlessly integrated into a rolling, pan-cultural, multi-cultural groove.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xLP Info: Remastered 180g vinyl pressing.

    "Among My Swan" features the same swirling, psychedelic folk music that brought Mazzy Star mainstream success with 1993's "So Tonight That I Might See". The songs employ the sparse arrangements and dark sense of space first explored by bands like Big Star (on "Third/Sister Lover") and the Velvet Underground. But with tunes that are always accessible, and sometimes irresistible, Mazzy Star has brought this dreamy ballad sound up from the underground. David Roback provides a shimmering backdrop of slide guitar and organ for Hope Sandoval's mesmerising vocals. Smooth as honey and wispy as tumbleweed, Sandoval's haunting voice traps the listener in a celestial trance. "Among My Swan" never lapses into the self-indulgent side of psychedelia; the music is always kept muted and close to its folk and blues roots. This is an album of beautiful mood music that flickers in the shadows.

    Stop press: REM used to be one of The Greatest Bands Ever! It's true! Coming out of post-punk (US style) and all its anti-mainstream super-individuality, this lot jangled and strummed their totally unique way into the hearts and minds of 'alternative' music-lovers in little pockets (of resistance!) of Europe, and college dudes in the US. So you're sick of Michael Stipe now? Back then he was a poet, a mystic, a super-enigmatic drifter, and the unbelievably atmospheric, incredibly melodic, sometimes meandering sometimes rocking folk-pop of his band was shrouded in mystery. They were like an American Smiths, but with a broader template, and somehow more exotic....That was then, and we don't have to concern ourselves with now: this 82-87 best of is beautifully packaged, and with notes from the band, 9 previously unreleased tracks and a few other rarities, it really is one for old fans and the curious alike. Superb!

    The Star Spangles

    Bazooka!!!

    Incorrectly labelled as another 'new Strokes', The Star Spangles sound more like melodic, new-wave rock'n'roll than anything clipped, arty or angular. Three chords, bubblegum melodies, it's more sleazy and trashy like the Dolls or barre-chord riffy like The Ramones, SLF or early Clash than anything too considered. However, some of these tunes have gorgeous melodies on top of their deliberately dumb riffing, and there is a sneaky intelligence and real pop nous behind their ebullient cartoon facade. Let it rock!

    Jane's Addiction

    Just Because

    Long awaited return from Janes Addiction. Both formats also include a live version of "Suffer Some".

    Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Mother's Milk



    FORMAT INFORMATION

    CD Info: Remastered with bonus tracks. Demo versions of "Songs That Made Us What We Are Today" and "Salute To Kareem", original long versions of "Sexy Mexican Maid" and "Knock Me Down" and live versions of "Castles Made Of Sand" and "Crosstown Traffic".

    Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Freaky Styley



    FORMAT INFORMATION

    CD Info: Remastered with bonus tracks. Demo versions of "Nevermind" and "Sex Rap", the original long version of "Freaky Styley" and a previously unreleased track "Millionaires Against Hunger".

    Steve Miller Band

    Children Of The Future

    From the Floydian Mellotron ballad of "In My First Mind" to the seagulls and wavesounds on "The Beauty of Time Is That It's Snowing" the first Steve Miller Band album from 1968 is full of suprises, each track segues into the next and can be termed a concept album, there is a blues feel about it but there are also moments of psychedelia and progressive rock that make you really sit up. A minor classic.

    Steve Miller Band

    Number 5

    "Number 5" the Steve Miller Band's 1970 release remains a real favourite amongst his fans. It seems to epitomise his early work (prior to his car crash and later more pop-orientated career). It's full of melodic, spacey guitar-led songs with much use of the Echoplex. It includes classic Miller songs like "Good Morning", "Going To The Country" and "Jackson-Kent Blues".

    Steve Miller Band

    Sailor

    Opening with the haunting "Song For Our Ancestors" Steve Miller's 1968 album "Sailor" is probably the finest of his career. The band were on song with half the album more bluesy and the other half more rockin'. It includes classic Miller songs like "Living In The USA" and "Gangster Of Love". With Stones producer Glyn Johns at the controls, this is a great album if you love that epic 60s San Francisco sound.

    Shivaree

    Rough Dreams

    A gorgeous blend of country guitars, found sounds, wonky beats and an occasional jazzy feel, all topped with Ambrosia Parsley's distinctive breathy vocals (fans of Mazzy Star take note!). Lovely!


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