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Crass

Normal Never Was II

    Following XL Recordings honcho Richard Russell’s remix of ‘Bomb’ a few weeks back, the Crass ‘Feeding Of The Five Thousand’ remix project enters its next stage with a high-energy dancefloor deconstruction of ‘G’s Song’ by New York DJ, producer and promoter Johnny Dynell. Well known for his 1983 cult hit ‘Jam Hot’ (remixed and sampled many times over, most famously by Fatboy Slim and his group Beats International for ‘Dub Be Good To Me’ in 1990), Dynell has had a long and illustrious career in music with his roots in the 70s Downtown No Wave art-punk scene. Dynell’s connection and friendship with Crass goes back to those days when the anarchist punk icons played their only US gigs in 1978 in New York.

    ‘The 12” also includes a jarring, cut-up experimental remix of the band’s infamous ‘Banned From The Roxy’ worked on by electronic composer and video artist Charles Webber who, apart from his own extensive compositions, has for many years collaborated closely with Crass vocalist Eve Libertine on such works as the chamber opera ‘Room of Worlds’, an arrangement of Wilhelm Reich’s ‘Listen Little Man’ and the ‘Kernschmelze’ series devised by Crass founder Penny Rimbaud.

    Late last year Crass took the step of making the original separate track stems of their seminal debut album ‘The Feeding of the Five Thousand’ available as a free download. With a call to take the original sixteen track recording in its pre-mix state, the intent was for people to create their own remixes and interpretations and breathe fresh life and ideas into this revolutionary music.

    First released in 1978, ‘The Feeding of the Five Thousand’ pre-empted rap and grime in its hard-on-the-beat, fast fire, uncompromising lyrics and the iconic sounds and messages are ripe for reinterpretation. Crass encouraged people to rip apart the sound and ideas and create something new, then send the files to Crass Records for future releases and charitable projects. The message is DIY like it never was before. “Yours for the taking, yours for the making,” Crass said. “You do it, we’ll stew it. Mix it backwards, forwards and upside down. Turn up the heat and fix it with a downbeat, bring in the trumpets and let ‘em blow, let the piper call the tune to let us all know. It’s up to you to do what you like with it. The only limitation is your imagination.”

    All monies raised from the project will go to the charity ‘Refuge’ - http://www.refuge.org.uk who state:
    ‘Refuge is incredibly grateful to Crass and their team for helping raise vital funds for Refuge. Since the start of lockdown, Refuge has seen a 66% rise in demand for its Helpline, and a 950% rise in visits to its Helpline website. This shows the sheer extent of the need for specialist domestic abuse services – not just during lockdown but beyond. Every penny raised helps us to ensure that no woman or child is turned away from safety.
    ‘While lockdown itself doesn’t cause domestic abuse - abuse happens all year round - it does, of course, have the potential to aggravate pre-existing abusive behaviours – and the data we have shows us the increase in the need for our services during lockdown. Refuge worked incredibly hard at the beginning of the pandemic to make sure our services remained open and remained safe. The generous donations we have received, including those from Crass, mean we can continue to provide the life-saving and life-changing services that women experiencing domestic abuse need and deserve.’


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd 12" Info: Blue vinyl limited to 500 copies.

    Mystery Jets

    A Billion Heartbeats

      All great albums start from a unique perspective. But try a window on the Strand, in an abandoned office block, overlooking the kind of political upheaval London hasn’t seen in a generation. Blaine Harrison was living as a property guardian right around the corner from Trafalgar Square when he found himself witness to an entire year of protests. Every weekend from January 2017 on, people were marching for a different cause: "In the space of six months it was Black Lives Matter, the huge ‘Our NHS’ march, Unite for Europe," he recalls. "Then the solidarity sleep-out organised by Help Refugees, where we slept in Whitehall for the night... The protestors would wake me up in the morning. I’d just walk down and join in.”

      Over the course of that year, Mystery Jets' sixth long-player, A Billion Heartbeats, was born. "This album wasn’t about making pointed opinions,” says Blaine. “It was about being a mirror for what’s going on, reflecting back the way people are feeling.” By turns tender and fierce, abstract and full of classic rock energy, A Billion Heartbeats achieves a balance of passion, fear and hope. Amid the colourful cavalcade of rich harmonies, heavy guitars and rallying cries, the album’s essential message - about personal responsibility, and the power in becoming engaged. In a sense, it's not just their "state of the nation” record but their “state of a generation” record too.

      We increasingly hear from musicians that music should be an escape these days - that there’s enough suffering in the world, enough misery on the news, without writings songs about it too. A Billion Heartbeats makes all that sound like a bit of a cop-out. These are songs of protest that get the heart racing in joy; high on hope, and serious in their message. Proof, basically, that music speaks louder than words.


      For Sophie Allison, aka Soccer Mommy, 'Color Theory' is a distillation of hard-won catharsis. The album confronts the ongoing mental health and familial trials that have plagued the 22-year-old artist since pre-pubescence, presenting listeners with an uncompromisingly honest self-portrait, and reminding us exactly why her critically-acclaimed debut, 2018’s 'Clean', made her a hero to many. Wise beyond her years, Allison is a songwriter capable of capturing the fleeting moments of bliss that make an embattled existence temporarily beautiful. With 'Color Theory', Allison’s fraught past becomes a lens through which we might begin to understand what it means to be resilient.

      'Color Theory' investigates a traumatic past in exacting detail; in doing so, Allison finds inroads for healing through self-acceptance, and occasionally, humor. (“I’m the princess of screwing up!” she declares at one point.) This isn’t a quest to uncover some long-since forgotten happiness so much as it is an effort to stare-down the turmoil of adolescence that can haunt a person well into adulthood. Allison is a gifted storyteller, one who is able to take personal experience and project it to universal scale. On 'Color Theory', she beckons in outsiders, rejects, and anyone who has ever felt desperately alone in this world, lending them a place to unburden themselves and be momentarily free.


      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: A beautiful mixture of nostalgic, hazy pop and brilliantly written vocal melodies coalesce into the most heart-wrenching and thematically consistent outing for Allison yet. Shimmering, ambient pieces like 'Night Swimming' fit perfectly alongside the more direct pieces, 'Circle The Drain' being one of my favourite tunes i've heard for quite some time. Genuinely gorgeous stuff.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive coloured vinyl.
      Random colour selection: Blue, Grey or Yellow.

      Iggy Pop

      Zombie Birdhouse

        Originally released on Animal Records in 1982 and produced by Chris Stein of Blondie, ‘Zombie Birdhouse’ is something of a lost classic.

        Produced by Chris Stein
        Remastered by Paschal Byrne at The Audio Archive, London
        Features the singles “Run Like A Villain” and ‘The Villagers”
        Sleeve Notes by Irvine Welsh
        Rare Photographs from the original photo shoot


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        CD Info: The CD edition is Expanded with the addition of a Bonus Track in the form of the original version of “Pain & Suffering”, which features Debbie Harry on backing vocals. The song was originally recorded for the ground-breaking animated feature film, “Rock & Rule” (Iggy provided the voice of the Monster From Another Dimension and Debbie Harry the voice for the character, Angel) but the OST was never released.

        Iggy Pop

        The Villagers / Pain & Suffering

          Dark green 7” - the first time ‘Pain & Suffering’ has been on vinyl. Numbered. 

          World’s Strongest Man is the magnificent third solo album by Gaz Coombes. Inspired variously by Grayson Perry’s the Descent of Man, Frank Ocean’s Blonde, Californian weed, British woodlands, unchecked masculinity, Neu! and hip hop (and a whole lot more besides), it’s a truly remarkable collection of eleven deeply personal songs each set to expansive, addictive melody.

          Dr Octagon

          Moosebumps An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation

          For the uninitiated, Moosebumps should be considered the true follow up to the critically acclaimed 1996 Dr. Octagon album Dr. Octagonecologyst, the strange and beautiful fruit of an inspired musical collaboration between legendary artists/producers Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, MC Kool Keith (Keith Thornton) and turntablist DJ Q-Bert (Richard Quitevis). Though Kool Keith continued to perform and release new material under the alias “Dr. Octagon” sporadically over the years – it was without the original partners Automator and QBert. For the first time in over two decades, Moosebumps has reunited the dream team in the studio and on the stage!

          Also making a notable appearance on the Moosebumps album is rapper and frequent Automator collaborator, Del The Funky Homosapien, on the epic track “3030 Meets The Doc Pt.1”

          The character Dr. Octagon is an extraterrestrial surgeon from Jupiter who uses space technology and primitive tools to perform medical procedures on his patients, some of whom die as he conducts his rounds, while others are murdered by his careless, barbaric acts.

          Dan The Automator has worked with noteworthy artists including: Got a Girl, Miles Kane, DJ Shadow, Kasabian, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Gorillaz, Lovage, Head Automatica, Mike Patton, DJ Quest, Emily Wells, Depeche Mode, Pillowfight, Exodus, Primal Scream

          Kool Keith has collaborated and worked with: Ultramagnetic MCs, The Cenobites, Godfather Don Tim Dog, KutMasta Kurt, Motion Man, Analog Brothers, Masters of Illusion, Jacky Jasper, Thee Undatakerz, The Diesel Truckers, Peeping Tom, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Chilly Chill, The Prodigy, Spazz, Princess Superstar, Nu:Tone, Esham, MF DOOM, L'Orange

          DJ Q-Bert is one of the founding members of the band Invisibl Skratch Piklz, launched the Qbert Skratch University, an interactive online learning school and community for DJs, and has worked and collaborated with Mix Master Mike, DJ Shadow, Peanut Butter Wolf, A-Trak, Shortkut, Rasco, Dee Jay Bird, DJ Lord Wax, Herbie Hancock, The X-Ecutioners, Shock G, D-Styles, Motion Man, Praxis, N.A.S.A, L’Orange and Mr. Lif.

          Deltron has worked with noteworthy acts: Hieroglyphics, Deltron 3030, Gorillaz, Da Lench Mob, Chilly Chill, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Ice Cube, El-P, Tame One.


          The band’s fifth album overall, it was recorded in London with Paul Epworth, the acclaimed producer who began his career with the likes of Bloc Party and Death From Above but is perhaps most known for his more recent work with Adele and U2. Epworth helped The Horrors explore a diverse sound that’s their “most expansive and progressive music” yet. Anyone who has heard low-slung and massive comeback single Something To Remember Me By should be in no doubt that this is a band expertly ringing the changes once again.  It's a swaggering blend of synths, groove and rock and, to these ears  sounds like the Human League. With Faris actually singing!  Whilst this is a revelation, it's also quite necessary, as this time out The Horrors have written the best pop songs of their whole career. It's dark, multi-layered and shifting, but it's also, bizarrely whistle-able as fuck!  Gonna shock all the aficianados, but I think this is their best album yet!

          British Sea Power

          Let The Dancers Inherit The Party

          International treasures British Sea Power release their first new material in four years. Recorded in Sussex, London and on the Isle of Skye, it follows the band’s five studio albums for the great Rough Trade Records.

          Let The Dancers Inherit The Party follows on from the 2013 album Machineries Of Joy - an album Q praised as “Their best record yet… a triumph of sophisticated rock engineering.” Let The Dancers Inherit The Party sees the band return to the kind of exhilarating and bright-minded guitar music that has seen them nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and which has drawn praise from David Bowie, Lou Reed and the National Maritime Museum, alongside Doctor Who, Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes (Peter Capaldi, Daniel Radcliffe and Benedict Cumberbatch have all declared an interest in the band). 

          STAFF COMMENTS

          says: Four years since their last full-length, British Sea Power return with another album full of grand orchestral swirls, jangling guitar melodies and galloping stadium-rock percussion. Fortified with chirping synths, soaring vocals and fist-pumping melodies, 'Let The Dancers...' is British Sea Power at their absolute finest.


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