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CITY SLANG

Alexi Murdoch

Towards The Sun

    Murdoch recorded the majority of Towards the Sun in Vancouver in a single night while on tour in North America in 2009. Revisiting the tracks months later in New York, Murdoch fleshed out the tracks with the help of musicians known for their work in Brooklyn's independent music scene, including Jon Natchez (Beirut), Kelly Pratt (Beirut) and Kyle Resnick (The National).

    The new record is a follow-up to Murdoch's 2006 release Time Without Consequence, which cemented Murdoch as a “Top Ten Artist to Watch” according to Rolling Stone. NPR Music called the 2006 effort “a timeless folk-pop record thatʼs likely to endure.” Riding a groundswell of grassroots support, Murdoch chose to self-release Time Without Consequence, which ultimately sold over 100,000 copies. After appearances on KCRW's “Morning Becomes Eclectic” and WXPN's “World Café,” Murdoch was tabbed by director Sam Mendes to contribute nine songs to the soundtrack for the acclaimed 2009 film Away We Go, alongside tracks by the Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan, George Harrison & the Stranglers.

    Dan Mangan And Blacksmith

    Club Meds

      The follow up to 2011’s highly acclaimed, award winning ‘Oh Fortune’ sees the Vancouver-based artist return after a few years out of the limelight, this time officially joining forces with his long-time -now integral- band members to play under the moniker Dan Mangan & Blacksmith.

      The name Blacksmith alludes to a craft that takes years to master and marks the start of a new era in Dan Mangan’s work, where the band play a larger role than ever before and the result is their heaviest, most intricate and most fearless work to date.

      The album title, ‘Club Meds’, is a pun on one of the driving lyrical motions of the record; the idea that we’re all on vacation from having to be honest with ourselves – that sometimes it’s easier to medicate than deal with reality.

      In his home-country of Canada, Dan Mangan has grown up in the public eye since garnering attention with his 2009 record ‘Nice, Nice, Very Nice’. Produced by Colin Stewart and Dan Mangan, ‘Club Meds’ now sees him step from the singer-songwriter bracket, into the Technicolor splendour of a full band with poise, self-confidence and a new found depth & complexity.

      Blacksmith is Kenton Loewen (drums), Gordon Grdina (guitar), John Walsh (bass) and often JP Carter (trumpet), Jesse Zubot (violin) and Tyson Naylor (keys). They bring an unmistakable character to ‘Club Meds’; a stark glassy edge that swells and sways like a roaring ocean. Through a fog of analog feedback loops and synths, the band's performances breathe deeply and steadily like a dragon at rest.


      Anna Von Hausswolff

      Dead Magic

        Anna Von Hausswolff’s fourth album, Dead Magic, confirms her formidable reputation as the creator of a singular world, equal parts black magic and beauty. Its five solemn but never less than thrilling tracks extend over 47 uncompromising minutes full of heightened qualities, among them tension, grace and sorcery. With the stately sound of Copenhagen’s Marmorkirken church organ as its centrepiece, Dead Magic calls upon an unlikely array of influences and inspirations - including Yma Sumac, Sunn O))), Gyorgi Ligeti, Swans and Nils Frahm – for VON HAUSSWOLFF’s most intense collection to date.

        The Gothenburg-based artist keeps her introduction to the record enigmatic as ever, stating simply:

        “Dear listeners. This is the first track from my new album, Dead Magic!

        Me, my band and Randall Dunn spent 9 days in Copenhagen recording this record. The great pipe organ you’re hearing is a 20th century instrument located in Marmor Kirken, "The Marble Church", Copenhagen.

        Here is a poem for you by the Swedish writer Walter Ljungquist (1900-1974):

        ”Take the fate of a human being, a thin pathetic line that contours and encircles an infinite and unknown silence. It is in this very silence, in an only imagined and unknown centre, that legends are born. Alas! That is why there are no legends in our time. Our time is a time deprived of silence and secrets; in their absence no legends can grow."

        Please enjoy the music.

        Yours sincerely,

        Anna von Hausswolff"

        When Imarhan released their self-titled debut album in 2016, they stepped into a genre already flooded with talent and exposure, but still managed to rise to the top and be heralded as the 'new wave Of Tuareg music'. It is with much anticipation that the band from Tamanrasset, Algeria have announced the details of their second album Temet, due out February 26 on City Slang.

        "Temet" is a huge leap forward in production, as well as creatively for Imarhan. Whereas their debut was anchored in the meditative Desert Blues tradition, "Temet" eclipses such notions, finding bounce and drive by stirring their sound with funk, fuzz, disco and rock. This is not a novel concept to the band, as anyone who has seen them play will attest. Imarhan's experience as a touring band has reinforced the focus and meaning behind their music.

        With "Temet", Imarhan have firmly established themselves as a band to reckon with. Rather than being distracted by meddling around with big producers or famous guests, they’ve focused this release on their inherent strength of songwriting, using the eternal bonds in their community, families and friendships as a blueprint not only for an amazing standalone album, but as a reference for generations to come. 'We hope that Imarhan will allow the younger generation to become aware of the fundamental importance of friendship. As long as someone is by your side supporting you, asking for your friendship, what more could you want out of life? You will want for nothing.'


        Son Lux

        Brighter Wounds

          Son Lux reemerge with their forthcoming fifth full-length LP, Brighter Wounds, finding the trio in command of a daring, multidirectional sound, expressing naturally the proclivity for surprise and contrast that characterize the project's output. The new release explores the violence of love, the beauty of sacrifice, and the specter of impermanence.

          Anchored by its cinematic heart, “All Directions,” the album ranges from the thunderous charge of “Dream State” to the sputtering, soulful lilt of “Slowly.” Ryan Lott’s devastating vocal on "Aquatic," guitarist Rafiq Bhatia’s blooming flower melismas on "Labor," and drummer Ian Chang’s nearly inhuman rhythmic calculus on "The Fool You Need" illuminate a curious and delicate balance of precision and pain.

          Since 2015’s Bones, the band's profile has grown in the worlds of music, dance, and film. Each member now charts their respective solo paths, and their individual adventures find a home within the purview of Son Lux. On Brighter Wounds, collaborators range from longtime cohorts Rob Moose (Y Music, Bon Iver, The National) and DM Stith (Sufjan Stevens), to new friends trumpeter Dave Douglas and reedist/instrument builder Arrington de Dionyso.

          Son Lux has made invention its hallmark through continued exploration and experimentation. With Brighter Wounds, the triad NPR proclaimed “the world’s most lethal band" now grips exhilaration and heartache in full embrace. In the words of the album's closing refrain, "is this what the resurrection feels like?"

          The ninth studio album from Calexico, The Thread That Keeps Us is a timely snapshot of the Arizona-bred band: a family portrait capturing their stylistic variety and unpredictability while still finding solace in limitless creativity. In bringing the album to life, vocalist/guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino found a spiritual home in unusual surroundings—not in Arizona, but on the Northern California coast in a home-turned-studio called the Panoramic House. Built from debris and shipyard-salvaged timber—and dubbed “The Phantom Ship” by the band—the grandiose house and its edgeof-the-world-like ambience soon made their way into the songs.

          The specter of California also had a powerful effect: as both dream state and nightmare, its infinite duality is mirrored in the music, giving Calexico a new direction and new edge. With less polish and more grit than ever before, The Thread That Keeps Us both honors enduring traditions and reveals Calexico’s confidence in songwriting, ultimately setting a whole new standard for the band.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          2xDeluxe LP Info: Limited edition double LP with 7 bonus songs. Initial copies come with a rather lovely pack of 10 postcards with artwork based on the album cover.

          LP Info: Initial copies come with a rather lovely pack of 10 postcards with artwork based on the album cover.

          2xDeluxe CD Info: Limited edition double CD with 7 bonus songs. Initial copies come with a rather lovely pack of 10 postcards with artwork based on the album cover.

          Grandbrothers

          Open

            Grandbrothers are the sum of unique parts: Progressive Swiss engineer/mechanic/software designer Lukas Vogel and German-Turkish pianist Erol Sarp. Their second album ‘Open' twins Sarp’s piano skills with Vogel’s talent for both building the formidably intricate mechanics with which he exploits his partner’s instrument and also designing its software. Sarp works at his ivory keyboard while, from behind his own computer keys, Vogel live-samples his partner’s notes, triggering further effects with the aid of a homemade apparatus that physically manipulate the piano’s strings and body. They have essentially built an analogue drum machine out of a grand piano. Nerd out! Creating a new shade, a new dimension, a new generation of atmospheric krautrock with the piano at its core.

            Their ambitious second album ‘Open' explores dimensions at which their debut ‘Dilation' only hinted. The greatest revelation for anyone hearing them the first time remains the element constant to everything they’ve recorded: every individual sound that Grandbrothers make stems from one single instrument, a piano. No wonder their music was once memorably described as “open heart surgery on a grand.”

            “What makes things work,” Vogel concludes, “is that we are such different personalities, with different skills, which fit together so well.” Sarp concurs: “Our music comes from a mixture of really intense analysis and simply doing things. I can calm him down, and he can incite me. He’s not just a colleague, but one of my closest friends.” Such synergy – born of an innate understanding and intuition, personally and musically – can be heard throughout Grandbrothers’ technically innovative, thrillingly distinctive work: two ingenious minds, perfectly in tune, relentlessly exploring new ideas. Keep your mind Open.

            Liima

            1982

              In the year 1982, Time Magazine chose the first ever non-human “person of the year”; the Personal Computer. It’s also the year that Liima’s Casper Clausen was born, with the other three band members born in the surrounding years. Though ‘1982’ is not an album that tries to mimic the sounds of that year, it is an album borne of influences and circumstances that stem back to that point in time. It’s an album that sees the band questioning the concept of identity and our place in time - as much an album of existential questioning and of looking forward as it is of nostalgia and reflection.

              “I think our collective memory and consciousness as a band is shaped from being born in the beginning of the 80’s” explains Clausen. “It’s a time and place that I keep returning to, to understand and make sense of. It has a lot of personal relevance and so little at the same time, because in time and space it is far away… Everything is changing all the time, nostalgia is looking back, but I’m on the run, even when I stand still.”

              The video for the album’s title track, shared online today, was created by director and visual artist Baby Duka: "Liima reached out to me while I was in the middle of developing a computer game - the melancholy world of synths and wet drums fit perfectly with an idea I've been toying with for a while: to mix the pixel graphics of the Atari and C64 with a 3D camera. I saw it as a cool opportunity to visualize an Orwellian dystopia where the dream of being in another place is always present in the human individual. “

              Liima was born as much of breaking old habits as building new habits, and their second album, ‘1982’, provides a masterclass in pushing beyond one’s established comfort zones.

              Like its predecessor, ‘1982’ was written during four residencies, beginning in January, 2016 – before Liima’s debut ‘ii’ was even released – at The London Edition, where Casper Clausen, Rasmus Stolberg, Mads Brauer and Tatu Rönkkö worked in a club in the hotel’s basement, sometimes watched by small crowds, much as PJ Harvey was during the making of The Hope Six Demolition Project at London’s Somerset House.

              They reassembled at another hotel in Copenhagen before embarking upon tours of North America, South America, and Europe. Even then, they’d reconvene between trips to continue work, first in the less glamorous surroundings of a music conservatory in Viseu, Portugal, in July 2016, then, finally, in August, at Berlin’s Michelberger Hotel. By the time they gathered in Mankku Studios in Porvoo – again in the Finnish countryside – Liima were more than ready to begin recording with Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor as co-producer.

              ‘1982’ finds Liima - musically and lyrically – exploring themes that shaped their youth while looking forward to a future in times that feel as uncertain as they ever might have been, and in which we all struggle to find our identity. “Finding values of life, giving up on values of life… Our civilisation, our way of life and our liberal thinking is threatened and challenged…” Clausen muses. “I say our time, but could it be MY time, MY age. Was it like that for my father when he was 35 years old? I’m wondering, I guess the album is wondering.”

              Here, amidst the contemplation and questioning, the musicians stake their claim firmly to both their new band and their new sound. For a band originally founded upon enthusiastic acts of spontaneity, ‘1982’ represents a huge, sophisticated leap forward. The decision to form Liima may have been as bold and radical as their new sound, but the consequences speak for themselves.

              Cristobal And The Sea

              Exotica

                ‘Exitoca’ is a trip into an alternative reality where humans care for each other and the environment, value sensual experiences and dance their troubles away. The title is a reference to the genre known as “Exotica”, which represented the escapist dreams of a generation of American salary-men and housewives in the 50s and 60s. For Cristobal and the Sea, expatriates from Portugal, Spain, France, Egypt & USA, now based in London, the idea of “Exotica” is more than just an escapist plot to avoid workaday drollery; it is a proposed evacuation from the toxic mires of Brexit; the very notion that threatens the place they now call home.

                This philosophy is narrated no greater than between the words and music of ‘Goat Flokk’ where longing, searching lyrics are mixed with both Brazilian Tropicalia-like speed and rhythm with a healthy Syrian-pop breakdown. The fusion of sounds and styles proves that harmony is very much possible when cultures are mixed.

                Recorded and produced in a self-made studio on the outskirts of Paris with upcoming London-based producer and artist Yehan Jehan. The lush surroundings, combined with Jehan’s creative impetus, offered Cristobal a greater richness to their recording process.

                The ecstatic quality of the band, whose personal manifesto calls for warmth, nakedness and polygamy (as opposed to the cold and sexless Brexit reality), is on display in ‘The Seed.’ This track brings images of lolling natural bodies, flesh and excitement, again with the production and arrangements in full force. Play it loud during your next late night foray with your best friends and you'll see what they mean.

                Cristobal and the Sea's Balearic roots are inseparable from their essence. The bossa anthem ‘Uma Voz’ is a reach out to everyone in their situation, a passionate and all-encompassing hand to everyone facing the same nationless situation.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: Limited edition blue vinyl.

                Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                After the success of 2011’s ‘Past Life Martyred Saints’ and 2014’s prophetic ‘The Future’s Void’, EMA retreated to a basement in Portland, Oregon – a generic apartment complex in a non-trendy neighbourhood, with beige carpeting and cheap slat blinds. Now, she returns, with a portrait of The Outer Ring: A pitch-black world of dark night highways, American flags hung over basement windows, jails and revival meetings and casinos and rage. In a year dominated by white working-class alienation and anger, EMA – a Midwesterner who never lost her thousand-yard stare -- has delivered an album that renders Middle American poverty and resentment with frightening realism and deep empathy.

                “I want to explain to outsiders that the people where I come from aren’t beyond hope and reason”, says EMA, “I want this record to bridge a divide.”

                The album, co-produced with Jacob Portrait of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, is a return to EMA’s roots in the noise-folk outfit Gowns, whose 2007 album Red State prefigured many of Exile’s core themes, along with its mix of stripped-back folk (“Always Bleeds,” originally a Gowns song), spoken word (“Where the Darkness Began”) and noise epics (“Breathalyzer”).

                The album is unique in its mingling of gender politics with American working-class anxiety. The voices we hear in these songs — druggy, surly societal outcasts; Byronic nihilists bringing down fire — speak to a kind of rebellion that’s typically reserved for men, and the archetype of the “dirtbag teenage boy” dominates the album. Yet EMA claims some of that same dirtbag alienation for women — “a woman who swallowed a scumbag teen boy whole,” as EMA puts it – and uses it to interrogate both her own vulnerability and how male violence shapes the world, as on the anthemic “Aryan Nation.”

                The result is a deeply personal, confrontational, but ultimately redemptive album from a quintessentially American artist at the peak of her form.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: Limited edition red vinyl.

                Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                With Hug of Thunder Broken Social Scene created one of 2017’s most sparkling, multi-faceted albums. The 15 members of Broken Social Scene - including returnees Leslie Feist and Emily Haines – refract their varying emotions, methods and techniques into something that doesn’t just equal their other albums, but surpasses them. It is righteous but warm, angry but loving, melodic but uncompromising. The title track on its own might just be the best thing you will hear all year – a song that will become as beloved as “Anthems For a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl” from their breakthrough album, You Forgot It In People.

                Its title captured what the band wanted people to feel about the group’s comeback, and how they sound playing together again: “It’s just such a wonderful sentiment about us, coming in like a hug of thunder.”

                “Hug Of Thunder” is a panoramic, expansive album, that manages to be both epic and intimate. In troubled times it offers a serotonin rush of positivity: “Stay Happy” lives up to its title, with huge surges of brass that sound like sunshine bursting through clouds. “Gonna Get Better” makes a promise that the album is determined to deliver. That’s not to say it’s an escapist record: Broken Social Scene are completely engaged, wholly focussed, and not ignoring the darkness that lurks outside. But there is no hectoring, no lecturing, but a recognition of the confusion and ambiguity of the world. As the title track closes with Leslie Feist murmuring “There was a military base across the street,” the listener is caught in the division between the notional security provided by national defence, and the menace of the same thing.

                First studio album in 7 years. Produced by Grammy Award winner Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, Spoon, The Strokes) and mixed by Grammy Award winner Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Lucius).

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: Hugely orchestral, momenatrily tender and perfectly formed work here from Canning & Co. Full of delicately introspective moments and bombastic full-force rock-outs. It's no mean feat that a band can tick so many boxes, and without even breaking a sweat. An absolute triumph.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: The Limited LP is pressed on clear vinyl, and is limited to 3000 for Europe.

                Tindersticks

                Minute Bodies: The Intimate World Of F. Percy Smith

                'Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F. Percy Smith”, directed by Stuart Staples of tindersticks, was first screened at the 60th BFI London Film Festival in October 2016. It is a meditative and immersive film tribute to the astonishing work and achievements of the early twentieth century naturalist, inventor and pioneering filmmaker F. Percy Smith.

                'Minute bodies' is an interpretative edit that combines Smith's original footage with a new contemporary score by tindersticks, with Thomas Belhom and Christine Ott, to create a hypnotic, alien yet familiar dreamscape that connects us to the sense of wonder Smith must have felt as he peered through his own lenses to see these micro-worlds for the first time.

                The forming of the edit and its musical score evolved over a three year period. The music was created from a loose collective of invited musicians. With tindersticks at its heart it also greatly benefits from the involvement of Thomas Belhom (percussion) and Christine Ott (Ondes Martenot and piano). There are also cameos from David Coulter (Musical saw and Nose flute) and Julian Siegel (Saxophone). It was recorded and mixed at the bands studio in France.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Ltd LP Info: LP+DVD – Limited to 3000 worldwide, 180g vinyl.

                2xCD/DVD Info: Limited to 3000 worldwide.

                For Noga Erez, there was never any doubt that, whatever music she chose to make, and whatever she felt about her homeland, she could never ignore her surroundings. After all, even escapism acknowledges there’s something to escape from, and at times – like many who’ve grown up in Tel Aviv – Erez has wanted to shut herself off from a world rendered beyond comprehension by forces beyond her control. But if there’s one thing Erez isn’t – and sometimes it’s easier to say what artists as complex and fresh as her aren’t than are – it’s naïve. And what this means is simple: her work reflects the manner in which she’s learned to live. As she puts it, “I have this idea of giving people moments of thought and inspiration, and at the same time offering escapism and fun."

                It’s not the easiest of goals, but few succeed as well as Erez. While the music she makes in collaboration with her partner and co-writer, composer and producer Ori Rousso, exploits many of the more physical, dynamic elements of electronic music, it also embraces a cerebral sensitivity that’s made her one of her home city’s most exciting, idiosyncratic artists, as inspired by Björk, M.I.A. and fka Twigs as by Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean.

                Erez was born four days before 1990, the year the Gulf War started, and it would be impossible for her now, as an artist, to ignore what’s been going on around her all her life. Nonetheless, she admits that, for a while, she retreated from the highly politicised climate in which she was raised. “As I became more aware of everything going on – the complexity of the situation, and how it affects lives on both sides – my reaction was to separate myself from it. I got rid of my TV and stopped consuming news completely.”

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: Limited edition indies exclusive pink vinyl.

                Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Timber Timbre

                Sincerely, Future Pollution

                On its fourth record – Sincerely, Future Pollution – Timber Timbre coats the stark, sensual sound of 2014’s Hot Dreams in an oil-black rainbow of municipal grime. It is the cinema of a dizzying dystopia, rattled by the science fiction of this bluntly nonfictional time.

                Sincerely, Future Pollution stands out in Timber Timbre’s catalogue of imagistic records, with Taylor Kirk and band-mates Mathieu Charbonneau and Simon Trottier taking a unique approach to Timber Timbre’s process of sonic invention. Kirk wrote the songs in late 2015/early 2016, then arranged the music over a “very focused” Montreal winter with the veteran Timber Timbre members.

                If each Timber Timbre record is framed in genre play, on Sincerely, Future Pollution, the components are the most askew: the glam of Roxy Music; the plaintive pop of Talk Talk; the disquiet of Suicide; the invincibility of Talking Heads; the haunting This Mortal Coil. All (and more) unlikely references are present, tethering Timber Timbre’s experimentation to points of familiarity. The range is an acute angle from New Age to Popular French Disco Revival like Daft Punk and Air, filtered through Timber Timbre’s painterly imagination. Freshly exhumed, Sincerely, Future Pollution is a portent from the bygone year 2016.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: Sleazy glam basslines, euphoric digital pads and funked out guitars sway and swarm into the visceral vocal stylings of Taylor Kirk. A meticulously crafted, and brilliantly emotive outpouring from beginning to end.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: Limited edition, heavy tip-on gatefold cover with foil print, clear vinyl, includes download code.

                Since the release of his debut album, Substantial, in 2004, Volker Bertelmann – aka Hauschka – has, slowly but surely, earned a remarkable reputation as a purveyor of imaginative, distinctive, prepared piano music. This isn’t, to be fair, a heavily populated field, but it’s one he’s made his own, and while some might have dismissed his work early on as a novelty, Bertelmann has proven himself to be uncommonly inventive, coaxing ever more unprecedented, euphonic sounds and rhythms out of his instrument. Even so, on What If – which finds him adding player pianos (also known as pianolas) to his armoury – Bertelmann expands his range even further, defying expectations and delivering what is without doubt his most ingenious album yet.

                Bertelmann has found increasing amounts of work as a soundtrack composer, working on scores for a number of documentaries and feature films, not least James Franco’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle and, alongside Dustin O’Halloran, Lion, for which they’ve both been nominated for a Golden Globe. Nonetheless, despite this rush of activity – or perhaps even inspired by it – What If reveals itself as the work of a man hungry to explore new sounds, eager to experiment with new approaches, and undeniably revelling in this irrepressible outpouring of creativity.

                For Bertelmann, the opportunity to record another album of his own was a welcome one. “My solo work,” he explains, “is autonomous, and I can choose every step from the beginning without any outside influence. I definitely decided with What If to make a record that might be my most radical. The lyrical piano has disappeared, and the sounds I’m fascinated by – like noise and electronic elements – have taken over.”And in a break from his traditional methodology – he programmed parts for player pianos, exploiting the speed at which they could play, manipulating the resulting sounds, and building layers to emphasise a composition’s metre.

                Overflowing with haunting melodies (“I Can’t Express My Love”, “Familiar Things Disappear”), mysterious sounds (“I Can’t Find Water”, “My Kids Live On Mars”), complex patterns (“Constant Growth Fails”, “Nature Fights Back”) and a rare dexterity that’s hopefully matched by the intellectual response to the challenging scenarios its titles envisage, What If crowns an extraordinary couple of years for Bertelmann. Arguably, in fact, it represents the culmination of everything he’s worked towards these past dozen or so years. “I was always attracted by hip hop, deep rhythms and weird sci-fi electronica” he concludes. “What If is a result out of both that and the hundreds and hundreds of concerts I’ve played, where I developed a way of mixing all these elements together.”

                Likely to prove one of 2017’s most original albums, while at the same time inspiring questions about the very nature of the world we inhabit, What If redefines the very notion of piano music in a dramatic and exceptional fashion. It stands as a rebuttal to those who lazily seek to shoehorn Hauschka’s work into the so-called, uncomfortably broad ‘new classical’ category, and instead underlines his status as a unique and invaluable artist.

                After releasing his “SAYS HI” EP in June, swedish producer ’sir Was’ put finishing touches on his debut album “DIGGING A TUNNEL”.

                “It took me 15 years to feel brave enough to do this!” confesses Gothenburg native Joel Wästberg, the guy behind the ‘sir Was’ alias. “To reach the point where I could let myself do this was a long struggle. But once I felt less scared, it was kind of easy. It just came out, like: ‘This is the sound!’” The sir Was “sound” is built around supple grooves, is strangely haunting and yet inexplicably exhilarating, voices ricocheting off one another as they address loneliness, its solution and the requisite compromises. A jam session of Beck, David Crosby, J Dilla and D’Angelo might not sound much different to this yet unheard style. The unorthodox and exceptional approach of the recluse Swedish producer delivers one of the most exciting debut records of the spring.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                South African via Berlin Indie Pop darlings Dear Reader return with Day Fever, their fourth album on City Slang and the first, in four years. It was recorded in John Vanderslice’s San Francisco studio, Tiny Telephone. Well-known as a producer for acts like Spoon and The Mountain Goats, and a musician in his own right, Vanderslice has made a name for himself in analog recording, something Dear Reader hadn’t explored prior to the decision to record at his studio.

                Already far from home in Berlin, the South African musician’s trek to San Francisco meant a huge adjustment in terms of her recording style. Recording on tape helped Dear Reader mastermind, Cherilyn MacNeil, commit to the performance and narrative act of making an album, and to break, in her words, the habit of “editing the life out of things.” In Day Fever, those old habits have died, and hard. The raw, melodious, at times discordant record has most certainly retained its life, left fresh and untrampled by infinite do-overs. In fact, each song on the album is the result of just one, or a maximum of two, studio performances.

                Day Fever sounds more minimal, more vanguard than Dear Reader’s previous albums, bending to match the album’s thematic pitch: if Rivonia (2013) pulled us back into the MacNeil’s (and South Africa’s) history, Day Fever slingshots us into the present to confront life in real time.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: LP pressed on Magenta Coloured Vinyl – limited to 1000 units world wide

                Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Much has been said and written about "Nixon", the album that broke Nashville's finest little big band into the mainstream in the UK (we walked into the Met bar one night in 2000 and saw Noel Gallager and Patsy Kensit and people like that, and guess what was playing on the bar's hifi? Is that considered mainstream?) It was album of the month left right and center and album of the year in Uncut, if we remember it correctly. Maybe not. Still, it's sophisticated mix of alt.country, white man's soul music, gospel choirs and thick use of strings and Kurt Wagner's last chance to lay down some falsetto vocals before age, smoking and whiskey caught up with him were a sensation.

                Sinkane music - every note of it - comes from a generosity of spirit, and never has that spirit been on more vivid display than on the new album "Life & Livin’ It". His breakthrough album was a futuristic funk record from Space, appropriately titled "Mars", that dealt with feeling like an outsider living on another planet. With his second album, "Mean Love", he set out to find a place for himself. And with his new album, "Life & Livin’ It", he seems to have found it. Ahmed Gallab is no longer searching for his home, he has created a home for himself. There’s a party there, "Life & Livin’ It is playing on the stereo and we're all invited. The album draws from the best elements of Sinkane’s previous records: the slinky funk and soul grooves are there, so are the sparkling melodies with roots in sub-Saharan Africa. "Life & Livin’ It" is true to its name: it’s an album about all kinds of experiences, an uplifting album about a universal feeling of soul. Undoubtedly influenced and inspired by his time at the helm of The Atomic Bomb Band, "Life & Livin' It" boasts the same easy grooves, ear catching synth sounds and gentle funk we all loved William Onyeabor for. In fact, if you listen closely to tracks like "U'Huh" and "Favourite Song" I think you can make out the spirit of Nigeria's elusive electro-funk hero coursing through the mixing desk. 


                STAFF COMMENTS

                Patrick says: Sinkane delivers a spectacular third album here fusing the slinky funk and smooth soul stylings of his earlier work with infectious Afro-beat rhythms and Onyeabor's big-hearted electro-funk.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive yellow coloured vinyl.

                Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Lambchop are back! Their new album, For Love Often Turns Us Still (in short FLOTUS … yes FLOTUS), arrives just in time for the bands' 30th Anniversary and in time for one of the most tumultuous years in history; not least in American history. Kurt Wagner is still painting musical miniatures as well as dramatic landscapes like no-one else right now. Though this year something is different, the fragile songs are as much about the tiny details of living in a struggling neighborhood in Nashville, which faces new challenges, as it is about the grand scheme of things without naming them.

                Musically, the devil is in the details. The stylistic sound of Lambchop is thriving but it’s made out of pieces unheard of before. 2016 is a new chapter for a lot of people and a lot of bands and is certainly a new chapter for Lambchop, returning with their most ambitious and important record to date. Be surprised and be carried away by this quiet and beautiful masterpiece where it’s intensity rings louder than sirens.


                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: A slightly more electronic sound on this newest one from Lambchop, while retaining the same languid vibes and hazy-day melodies. Vocoders and smooth synths nuzzle up next to drifting ambience, silky drums and echoing guitar plucks. While their delivery has changed a little, this is all still clearly the Lambchop we know and love. Turn it up and get the (winter) barbecue out.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Nada Surf

                Peaceful Ghosts (Live With Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg)

                Following the release of their album ‘You Know Who You Are’ earlier this year, New York-based Nada Surf release a new live album entitled ‘Peaceful Ghosts (Live with Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg)’.

                ‘Peaceful Ghosts’ came about after front man Matthew Caws received a surprise email asking about a potential collaborative project from FM4. A little over a year later, the result is a beautiful record, showcasing a completely new side to the alt-rock four-piece. The depth added by the orchestra only strengthens the power and majesty of Nada Surf’s recognisable sound. ‘Peaceful Ghosts’ was recorded across two live performances in Vienna & Potsdam and the ‘Out of the Dark’ video is a montage of photos taken by Ingo Pertramer during part of the album’s recording in Vienna.

                In the summer of 2015, Matthew Caws – the singer/guitarist of Nada Surf – was sitting at his kitchen table in Brooklyn frantically writing what would become Nada Surf’s seventh album, the critically acclaimed You Know Who You Are (2016), when an email arrived that would delight and terrify him. Once a year, FM4 in Austria chooses an artist for a national orchestral concert that’s broadcast across the country, and they reached out to Nada Surf asking if the band would like to be the next. Soon after receiving the FM4 request, the band secured a similar offer from Radio Eins in Berlin to perform live on air with the Babelsberg Film Orchestra, which derives its name from and is affiliated with the legendary Babelsberg Studios where notable films such as Metropolis, Dr. Mabuse and The Blue Angel were made.

                “If we said yes, we'd have to choose a composer to write the parts and then decide which songs he or she should write for. We'd have to decide these things soon. Well, that was out of the question,” recalled Caws. “Deciding what kind of Thai curry take-away I should get that evening was about as distant a decision as I could imagine, while the small matters of which songs would go on the new Nada Surf record, who would mix them, what the album would be called and what the final verse of the song I was working on right then would be, loomed ahead. I would try and answer these questions after that curry, but making decisions about a concert months later was more than I could handle.”

                Instead of passing up the opportunities Nada Surf asked their good friend, multi-instrumentalist Martin Wenk, whose own band Calexico had done the FM4 Vienna Radio Symphony concert in 2013, to oversee the details with composer Max Knuth, while the band focused on putting the finishing touches on You Know Who You Are. For those of us unable to make it to Europe in June 2016 to listen to the fruits of this collaboration either in-person or over the airwaves, the band is making it available now with their album Peaceful Ghosts.

                On Peaceful Ghosts, the orchestrations cover a broad stylistic range, James Bond at one extreme and joy and wonder of Walt Disney at the other, with a whole range of surprises in between. Classics such as the delicate melancholy of “Blonde On Blonde” unfold to surprising new places with soaring countermelodies, while new favorites from You Know Who You Are, including “Rushing” and “Out of the Dark”, showcase the power and majesty of the original without losing the lyrical and musical subtlety that has become the hallmark of Nada Surf for the past twenty years.


                2016 will probably go down as the most prolific year in history for Junior Boys, the Canadian electronic duo. "Big Black Coat“, their first record in 5 years and first for label City Slang (Caribou, Gold Panda, Tindersticks, The Notwist) released in February 2016, was universally heralded as one of the best records of their career and of the of the best electronic releases of the year. In May Jessy Lanza's Album "Oh No", co-produced by Junior Boys Jeremy Greenspan, hit the shelves and garnered further praise.

                Now, just in time for an extended US tour in September and October as well as additional European dates, Junior Boys return with an brand new EP titled ‘Kiss Me All Night". It starts with two extraordinary retro-futuristic club bangers "Yes“ and "Babyfat“ only to be outmaneuvered by the John Martyn Cover "Some People Are Crazy“ and rounded up by the Paisley Park infused title track "Kiss Me All Night”.


                'Good Luck And Do Your Best' was initially planned to be something else entirely. Early in 2014 the electronic artist most comfortable with the moniker Derwin Panda set out to Japan for the first of a pair of trips - the latest of many visits to a place he holds most dear. This time a photographer, Laura Lewis, accompanied him as Derwin’s plan was to collect both audio field recordings from his trip across the country as well as accompanying visuals, with Laura tasked to capture what they saw and encountered together.

                “The album was recorded at home in Chelmsford, but I had that visual inspiration or documentation from Japan. So it was a look back. If you go in spring of autumn Japan has this light that we don’t get here. You know how LA has this dusk feeling? - that orange light that makes the place glow, and the neon signs? Well, Japan has this… at certain times of the year, it has this filter on stuff. So when we went the first time, there were a lot of pink and green colours. Mainly the buildings and cars and the people, and I think Laura captured those colours really well.”

                Those sights and colours translated to a record that differs notably from his previous album, ‘Half Of Where You Live’. Whereas that record was occasionally taut, perhaps harder and more piecing, the 11 songs that comprise ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’ have a distinctly warmer palate, one that echoes ‘Lucky Shiner’ a little more, albeit with a clearer range of sounds, and also, to Derwin’s mind, one where “the tracks aren’t popping out against each other. It’s a [complete] record.”

                Having finished recording his album, Derwin took the songs to fellow musician and producer Luke Abbott, wherein Luke “made it sound good, he put it into his magic smelter”.

                'Good Luck and Do Your Best' is Gold Panda at his most relaxed and confident. Doused in a chalky Japanese-inspired haze and underpinned with a positivity and strength of conviction founded in being created amongst familiar settings and routines, it’s a record that is explorative and expansive, yet hearteningly warm and familiar.

                Whereas his second album ‘Half Of Where You Live’ was occasionally taut, perhaps harder and more piecing, the 11 songs that comprise ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’ have a distinctly warmer palate, one that echoes ‘Lucky Shiner’ a little more, albeit with a clearer range of sounds, and also, to Derwin’s mind, one where “the tracks aren’t popping out against each other. It’s a complete record.”

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Martin says: Gentle, textured electronica bathed in the golden glow of a quiet sunset; a pared back and subtle soundtrack to a tranquil evening.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Get Well Soon

                Rest Now Weary Head You Will Get Well Soon (Re-issue)

                Mournful indie-rock filtered through a fog of psychedelic folk. Swaying, emotive horns meet twinkling percussion and Beirut-eque vocals. Driving but restrained, hopeful and at once wistfully forlorn. Triumphant indie-rock covering all sides of the emotional spectrum. Charmingly written and beautifully conceived. 

                Junior Boys

                Big Black Coat

                Electro-pop pioneers Junior Boys return with ‘Big Black Coat’ their first album in 5 years. The Canadian dancefloor innovators return with their boldest record to date. 'Big Black Coat’ is a slick, soulful, synth-pop record fusing their illustrious trademark production with their love for R&B, soul and pop music.

                Tindersticks release their new album ‘The Waiting Room,’ a milestone not just numerically, but musically and creatively. Their first studio album since 2012’s critically acclaimed ‘The Something Rain' (9/10 DiS, 8.1 pitchfork, 8/10 the Quietus, 8/10 DIY, 4/5 Guardian, 4/5 Independent on Sunday, 4/5 Uncut, 4/5 Q, 4/5 Observer) is the most ambitious, diverse and elaborate album you’ll have heard from Tindersticks in recent years. 2 decades into their musical voyage Tindersticks, established masters of restraint and poetic human emotion, are a band now confidently making the best songs of their career.

                ‘The Waiting Room' breathes gravity and features guest appearances by Jehnny Beth of Savages and a particularly poignant duet with long time friend of Stuart Staples, Lhasa De Sela. Not just an album but also an elaborate collaborative artistic project, each track is accompanied by a short film, each one a visual interpretation by it's own director. Christoph Girardet, Pierre Vinour, Claire Denis, Rosie Pedlow and Joe King, Gregorio Graziosi, Richard Dumas and Gabriel Sanna.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Millie says: Hazy and harrowing, The Waiting Room is an intimate album with soft lyrics which are told in a story-like manner holding incredible depth. It has remnants of Celtic folk influence from the percussion, orchestral choruses and tinkering sounds of loveliness!

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Deluxe LP Info: Coloured vinyl edition with DVD.

                Naytronix is the alter ego of multi instrumentalist Nate Brenner who spent much of the past four years touring the world as bassist for the mighty tUnE-yArDs. Consider Naytronix’s second full-length, ’Mister Divine’ (2015, City Slang), his treatise on the subject, which sees him turning from the disjointedly funky party dance anthems of his debut Dirty Glow (2012, Plug Research) to a surrealist stream of consciousness poignancy.

                Conceived in tour busses, hotel suites, and basement studios initially as fodder for DJ sets, Mister Divine is the feeling of déjà vu between delirious post-show fevers and the road-torn sleep through the night on the way to the next city, driving the circumference of the Earth in nine weeks, dreams of Pangaea, of forever ago and infinity from now.

                Imagine: impossibly, and without the recollection of flying, you’re in Europe maniacally driving through the pre-dawn to catch the first ferry to Belgium, to Spain, to Sweden. There is Dur Dur on the stereo, William Onyeabor, Khaira Arby, and Dizzy K, compilations and mixtapes of unknown origin and content. This too is a dream, and tomorrow you’re starting over, another opportunity to bask in the irrelevance of the present moment, “all we have,” while keeping one eye on the future and one on the past.

                Brenner has digested a lot in the three years since introducing this world to Naytronix. tUnE-yArDs has turned into something of a perpetual motion machine, taking him to far corners of the Earth, as well as Carnegie Hall and the TV sets of Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Jools Holland, and Austin City Limits. He did some recording and performing with music royalty Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, got to collaborate and learn from Cibo Matto’s Yuka Honda, and even found some time to take the Naytronix band around the US and across the Atlantic, from London to Istanbul. His music as Naytronix keeps its characteristic reflection of the ‘70s of Onyeabor and Bootsy Collins, there is too a new face of the sincerity and vulnerability of the ‘70s of Arthur Russell he shows here amid the psychedelia, as if wishing to land the Naytronix Mothership down to stay with us for a bit.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Patrick says: The product of a unique songwriter spending too many nights under the stars in Arthur Russell's Sleeping Bag, "Mister Divine" is the best off kilter pop album I've heard in years.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Ltd LP Info: Limited edition 180 gram coloured vinyl. Full download included.

                Cristobal and the Sea are a proper European union of a band, if ever there was one. The quartet hail from four corners of our diverse continent. They are: Alejandro Romero from Spain (bass/vox), João Seixas from Portugal (guitar/vox), Leïla Seguin from Corsica/France (flute/vox) and Josh Oldershaw from old Blighty (drums).

                After signing to City Slang (Sinkane, Caribou, Junip, Lambchop) and releasing their debut EP ‘Peach Bells’ last year, the band spent the duration of February locked in Namouche studios in Lisbon (Portugal) working on their forthcoming debut album with producer Rusty Santos (Animal Collective, Owen Pallett, DJ Rashad, Ariel Pink). Entitled ‘Sugar Now’, the record is set for release later this year, with this new single ‘Sunset Of Our Troubles’ displaying the band’s mystical, dreamy & enticing sounds wonderfully, offering a little glimpse of what to expect from the forthcoming debut.

                Young, enormously gifted, very charismatic and incredibly laid back, Cristobal And The Sea are devouring life as only the young and carefree know how.

                HeCTA is the brainchild of Kurt Wagner, Ryan Norris and Scott Martin of Lambchop, but don't call it a "side-project"! HeCTA is rather an "expanded universe"!

                Exploring and experimenting with the idea of combining the notion of “song”, elements from stand up comedy, electronic music and a shared love of the electronic form and itʼs many permutations, HeCTA and the album ʼThe Dietʼ does not sound like anything these guys have done before.

                “We were looking for a new way of making songs incorporating these things, to make something concise on beat. The form is not such a surprise when you consider other electronic collaborations Iʼve been involved with: Zero 7ʼs remix of Lambchopʼs “up with people” and co writing X-press2ʼs “Give It”.

                "The results became “The Diet” and those songs are with us now. As HeCTA we take our approach seriously and are respectfully aware of the great electronic music created throughout it's history continuing into the present. So much so that when it came time to mix these recordings we reached out to some of the central figures of the genre. Such greats as Morgan Geist*, John McEntire** and Q*** all had a hand in shaping the refined sound we present to you.“ - Kurt Wagner

                For the better part of two decades, the acclaimed band Calexico has crossed musical barriers, embracing a multitude of styles, variety in instrumentation, and well-cultivated signature sounds. With 'Edge of the Sun' they take inspiration from a trip to a place surprisingly unexplored by the band before in Mexico City, and with the benefit of many friends and comrades to help guide the way.

                Encouraged by the experience, the guest list grew to include Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), Nick Urata (Devotchka), Carla Morrison, Gaby Moreno, Amparo Sanchez, multi-instrumentalists from the Greek band Takim, and Neko Case. Burnsʼ brother John Burns lent a hand to some lyrics and songwriting, and the bandʼs keyboardist, Sergio Mendoza, stepped up to co-write and arrange certain songs, ultimately co-producing the album along with Burns, John Convertino, and longtime associate Craig Schumacher.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Laura says: Calexico have been honing their Latin-American infused dusty desert blues for the best part of 20 years, and here, they've got it bang on.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                David Ivar aka Black Yaya is a new singer and a new songwriter, although he’s not new to the world of singer-songwriters. Indeed, he used to write, record and perform under the name Herman Dune. He travelled the seven seas and beyond with Herman Dune, and recorded more than ten albums with this name.

                One morning in November of 2012, David Ivar woke up with the strange feeling that he could not be in a band anymore, at least for the moment. For „Black Yaya“. David Ivar wanted to go back to recording everything himself, far from the recording facilities he had got used to with Herman Dune. He wanted to feel like he had when he was using four track tape recorders in High School, free to try anything with no pressure in terms of time spent working, or cost. His heroes were Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan and John Lennon he loved them with all his heart, he loved them more than anything in the world, they were singers, writers and guitar players, and that was all he cared for...


                Cristobal And The Sea

                Peach Bells EP

                  Cristobal and the Sea are a proper European union of a band, if ever there was one. The quartet hail from four corners of our diverse continent. They are: Alejandro Romero from Spain (bass/vox), João Seixas from Portugal (guitar/vox), Leïla Séguin from Corsica/France (flute/vox) and Josh Oldershaw from old Blighty (drums).

                  Within this distinct mix of sounds, there are notes of their southern Mediterranean culture and an unintentionally Brazilian bossa nova feel in João’s guitar style, all underpinned by a beat-generation vibe that seeps into all their songs. This has all been perfectly captured on this debut by Brooklyn producer, Rusty Santos (Animal Collective, Vashti Bunyan, Grizzy Bear).

                  From The Beach Boys’ vocal harmonies to Fleetwood Mac, Gilberto Gil to Gainsbourg and a whole host of modern artists, Cristobal & The Sea have taken their varied inspirations and diverse cultural backgrounds & melded them into their own distinct sound, creating rich & disorientating songs that bathe in psychedelia, but never forget the importance of melody.

                  Young, enormously gifted, beautifully boho, very charismatic and incredibly laid back, Cristobal And The Sea are devouring life as only the young and carefree know how. Time to listen up!

                  Dan Snaith makes his highly anticipated return to the long player, faced with the unenviable task of following up an undeniable classic, 2010's "Swim". That universally adored album (placed in the Piccadilly Records End Of Year Top 3) saw Snaith complete the journey from the pastoral electronica of his early work as Manitoba, through the woozy hip hop inflected beats of "Milk Of Human Kindness" and "Andorra" to the undisputed champion of leftfield house. "Our Love" sees the producer joining the dots between the synth led euphoria of his dancefloor productions and the polyrhythmic rattle of his Daphni project while offering new take on warm and expansive future soul, while featuring his strongest songwriting to date.

                  Snaith makes his intentions clear from the off, with album opener "Can't Do Without You" picking up right where "Sun" left off, but with the euphoria turned all the way up to 11 thanks to crescendant synths and heartfelt vocals. Recent single "Our Love" falls into the same camp, pairing emotional vocals and melodies with a skipping garage beat, while organic synths and Owen Pallett's darting strings provide a richly textured backing. The warm analogue sounds of futuristic soul weave themselves deep into the record’s DNA, particularly on "Silver", "Second Chance" (featuring Jesse Lanza's seductive vocals) and "Back Home". These immersive synth ballads form intimate moments of calm between the driving house and garage of "Can't Do Without You" and "Our Love", the Daphni-styled dancefloor diaspora of "Mars" and the raving interludes "Dive" and "Julia Brightly". Snaith's mastery of these diverse styles, and the ease with which he moulds them into his artistic vision is a testament to his mature and accomplished songwriting. Nowehere is this so clear as on the LP finale and crowning moment "Your Love Will Set You Free", which combines the soulful with the driving, the melancholic with the euphoric, bringing the album to a gorgeous bitter sweet conclusion. Ultimately, Snaith has delivered a worthy follow up to "Swim", which is high praise indeed.

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                  To Rococo Rot have carved an identifiable niche for themselves, and one which has crossed a variety of styles; neither wholly in the realms of ambient or pure electronics. The late 1990s albums of Veiculo and The Amateur View brought their fundamental and innovative landscapes of sound to the fore, whilst 2001’s collaboration with I-Sound, Music is a Hungry Ghost, showed their ability to blend disparate influences into something wonderfully cohesive. Remixed by Four Tet and Daniel Miller and heralded by the likes of Modeselektor, their influence extends as far as their unique approach deserves.

                  Returning to City Slang in 2014 for their first full-length since 2010’s Speculation (released on Domino) and their eighth album in total, Instrument is a landmark record for the electronic trio from Berlin. The serenely soft melodies of No Wave pioneer Arto Lindsay adorn three tracks (‘Many Descriptions’, ‘Classify’ and ‘The Longest Escalator in the World’), offering up a new perspective. As much a progression as a refresher course for older material, it is arguably their most refined record so far.

                  Lindsay’s laid-back and unhurried words lend themselves perfectly to the aesthetic of To Rococo Rot whilst pulling them through to an unfamiliar and occasionally pop-based space. Though melodies have always been a big part of their sound, the inclusion of a human voice is a distinctive modification. It sits perfectly within the warm timbres created by Lippok, Lippok and Schneider.


                  The Notwist

                  Run Run Run

                    THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2014 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                    The Notwist release 12" single 'Run Run Run' from the critically acclaimed new album 'Close To The Glass' featuring two remixes and an exclusive B-side called "Magnificent Fall";

                    "The perfect blend of electronic trickery and broken hearts" 8/10 NME
                    “a wonderful reminder that nobody makes music quite like the Notwist” 4/5 The Skinny
                    “Sensitively poised and technically perfect” 8/10 Uncut
                    “will have you skipping back and hitting play again” 8/10 Clash
                    “brilliantly snaps together everything from digitalised tabla rhythms to surging power pop” 4/5 Q
                    "this is music of craft and accomplishment" Mojo
                    "a continuation of what The Notwist have always been best at" DIY
                    "The bonkers German kraut-prog-pop experimentalists are back" The Times
                    "Ecstatic" Independent on Sunday.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    Ltd 12" Info: Doublegroove Side A (Remixes By Ada And Nuel).

                    EMA

                    The Future's Void - Bonus Disc Edition

                    City Slang is excited to announce the new album from EMA, "The Future's Void". The follow-up to her acclaimed 2011 LP, "Past Life Martyred Saints," “The Future’s Void” was written by Erika M. Anderson, recorded in Portland, Oregon, and produced by Erika and Leif Shackelford.

                    EMA recently told NME that the album was influenced by, among other things, NiN demos, the heavier side of early K Records, and William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and that the album looks at the digital commodification of our online lives. She says, “I gravitate toward hooks and melodies, and in some ways the structure of these songs are my poppiest yet,” while noting that the jarring production includes a lot of first takes and spontaneously-recorded ambient sounds “to keep the songs from sounding like advertisements".

                    Last month the first single "Satellites" was released to raves, garnering "Best New Track” from Pitchfork, who said, "It’s discontent composed to Carl Sagan proportion, and it’s easily the most bracing thing yet from an artist already more bracing than most.“ Spin said, “it’s a rumbling mammoth that feeds off canned, clapping percussion and waves of static feedback,” while Stereogum noted, “anxiety this ferocious is a timeless thing.”

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    CD Info: Initial orders come with a bonus City Slang CD sampler.

                    Kevin Drew is the frontman of Broken Social Scene, solo recording artists, and co-owner of independent music company Arts & Crafts. His 2007 solo debut, Spirit If..., was widely loved for unearthing the affirmative grooves and experimental pop songwriting churning at the heart of indie vanguards Broken Social Scene. Darlings, his first solo recording since, showcases Drew's more mature pop sensibilities and his earnest and playful lyrics soaring over hook-laden songs like first single “Good Sex”.

                    In the tradition of post-Velvets Lou Reed or post-Genesis Peter Gabriel, Darlings shows Drew stepping out to create a breakthrough personal statement of true artistry. Darlings was recorded at the Banff Centre in Alberta with Graham Lessard and then taken to a house in Northern Ontario with Dave Hamelin (The Stills, Eight and a Half) for final recording and mixing. The album also features longtime collaborators Charles Spearin and Ohad Benchetrit (Do Make Say Think, Broken Social Scene) along with Dean Stone (Apostle of Hustle). Darlings was co-produced by Kevin Drew, Graham Lessard, and, for the first time, Dave Hamelin.

                    Calexico will be releasing their live orchestral album ‘Spiritoso’ in a brand new CD edition. The album was recorded in 2012 with two different orchestras in Vienna and Berlin, and features many Calexico hits and selected songs from the band’s latest studio album, ‘Algiers’. A must have for every fan and a great profile album for new fans.

                    In recent years songwriters have experimented more widely than ever with beats and bass, but only a few have succeeded in producing results worthy of mention. The underlying problem is that club music, when it comes to the punch, to put it crudely, needs to function on the dance floor. This can make life pretty difficult for the classic songwriter, and the resulting music can often sound a little over-thought and self-conscious. On the other hand, a functional fixation on dance floor compatibility can take over, and what is designed to work in the club can often, in album format, fall a little flat. Thus, one continues to put together brilliant, functional tracks and the other remains firmly in the domain of the song writing. Those artists who manage successfully to straddle both worlds can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

                    Canadian musician and producer Brad Weber, with his project Pick A Piper, joins the ranks of this charmed few. Pick A Piper was conceived in 2008 along with band mates Angus Fraser and Dan Roberts, and following two EPs, the band is set to release their debut self-titled debut album. The album is made up of eight very different songs, all with one thing in common: each is built upon the foundation of its own ingenious rhythm structure, with musical layers meticulously applied, up until the vocals, which are added right at the very end, if at all. Song writing done back-to-front, which is also fitting in this case because: Brad Weber? Isn’t that...? Yes indeed! Brad is also the drummer for Caribou. To give the whole the perfect finish and to avoid falling into the "functionality trap" (it exists!), Brad enlisted many of his friends as guest singers on these recordings. Amongst others, he asked Andy Lloyd of Born Ruffians, as well as members of the Ruby Suns and John Schmersal of Enon, Brainiac and Caribou. Brad sent them demos, allowing space for a very important and often underestimated element of the musical process, without which it would be about as exciting as a bank statement: chance. He couldn’t be sure exactly what the respective collaborators would contribute to the corresponding ideas, but that was the concept, and thus the resulting album sounds even less like a classic producer album, and more like a soundtrack to a movie - different topics but a common thread. A record that could not please us more, full of complexly layered yet catchy songs that display a very keen sense of rhythm, song writing and musical finesse. Attention to detail, but with the bigger picture in mind.

                    The ever-modest Lambchop boss presented ‘Is A Woman’ to Cityslang with these words: "Here's my new album. I hope you'll like it. It's a bunch of samey, downtempo stuff that doesn't really seem to go anywhere." Little did he know. Is A Woman broke Lambchop to the same place on the European continent where Nixon had previously taken the band in the UK. It was instantly recognized as a modern classic and described by one famous German critic as "one of the best albums ever made". We couldn't agree more.

                    PRESS: quotes from original release:

                    ‘Another mature masterpiece from America's finest.’ AOTM 5/5 – Uncut

                    ‘It's a brave and curious record that, as on 'Bugs', occasionally resembles Willie Nelson fronting Labradford.’ 8/10 – NME

                    ‘A strange delight of a record.’ 8/10 – Popmatters

                    ‘A record that urges you to lean closer to the speakers in order to fully hear everything that is being played and sung.’ – The Wire

                    ‘These gradual pleasures fly in the face of today's pop/rock hardsell, for sure, but inexorably you are drawn into Kurt's world.’ 4/5 - Mojo

                    In 2000 the Tucson band released their second album proper and further refined their desert noir soundscapes. On this album Calexico opted for a more intimate form of expression, for a stylish, sombre, bleak ballad style that is often drenched in psychedelic reverbs and accented by jazz instruments.

                    Then again it does contain their first forays into the semi pop song with The Ballad Of Cable Hogue and eventually it was reissued with a version of "Crystal Frontier" that had quickly become a live favourite and went on to become their first pan European radio hit and calling card.

                    Sometime in the spring of 2012 the musicians that would go on to form the Chicago & Minneapolis based trio ON AN ON found themselves at a tipping point. The three of them—Nate Eiesland, Alissa Ricci, and Ryne Estwing—had played music with one another in various capacities for the better part of a decade. Most recently, they had shared the stage and studio as three fifths of the indie-pop outfit Scattered Trees, which had seen its fair share of success. But with the band’s studio time only a few weeks away and the other members now spread out across the country pursuing other endeavors, they would chart their own course and come out stronger for it. What emerged was ON AN ON.

                    For ON AN ON, the precariousness of breaking new ground only three weeks before recording with accomplished producer Dave Newfeld (Broken Social Scene, Super Furry Animals, Los Campesinos!) provided a jolt of creative energy. The musicians had become disenchanted with their past approach to songwriting and recording, finding the process of striving for polished pop both tiresome and constrained. Newfeld proved the perfect counterpart to their initial vision for the record, encouraging them to push boundaries and go with their instincts.

                    According to Eiesland, the sessions were something of an exorcism: “We really wanted to get away from the sterility of our previous approach to recording.” Eieseland, Ricci, and Estwing embraced musical risks that in the past it might have shied away from. In the studio, the band members explored a natural chemistry and honed their sound; synthesizers, scattershot electro beats and ambient ear candy gave guitars, bass and drums a ghostly sheen.

                    While the melodies might clue one in to the trio's evolved sonic palate, it's through the album's themes that the group member’s respective evolution becomes most apparent. Eiesland wrote the majority of the lyrics, in the process coming to terms with death and the traps that life springs upon us. Whether letting his intuition guide him on "I Wanted To Say More” ("You are a saint and you’re the devil/Every word I spoke to you, I thought that they were wings/ But they were only feathers”) or owning up to life's inevitability on "All The Horses" ("A family tree will split in two halfway through its life"), there's a tempered calm to the thought-provoking imagery he espouses through his words. Estwing offered up his own lyrical séance on his lead vocal track "Cops," although the bassist says his message—that the police can be surprisingly corrupt—is more direct. After smashing everything they knew to pieces, they pulled themselves together around Give In, ON AN ON’s ten-track debut album – a dream-washed textural journey armed with a biting perspective on life, love, and the commonality of loss. It is an affair that sizzles with electricity and calls one in with its unnerved openness.

                    Calexico

                    The Black Light - 180g Vinyl Edition

                      180G reissue of Calexico’s acclaimed 1998 album.

                      The perfect soundtrack for a summer roadtrip in an old car across Death Valley.

                      “Calexico's musical textures are woven out of a dazzling array of instruments and styles, including mariachi trumpets, countrified pedal steel, Latin jazz percussion, and carnival organ, just to name a few. The songs move at siesta speed, casually looping and loping along, never getting overheated. Bandmates Joey Burns and John Convertino have their hands in so many musical pies--including projects with OP8, Giant Sand, Victoria Williams, Giant Sand, and Richard Buckner--one wonders how they find the time to create the sun-soaked music of Calexico. But thank God they have.” --Tod Nelson

                      Recorded in New Orleans, Joey Burns’ and John Convertino’s sixth album is arguably the most exciting and accessible Calexico record to date. It’s a fact emphasised by the band’s decision to name the album in tribute to the neighbourhood where they worked: Algiers.

                      The feel of Algiers is recognisably classic Calexico, but their style has been revitalised and reborn through the experience of recording in the magical city of New Orleans. Their work has spoken of dusty deserts and the loners that inhabit them, mixing America’s country music heritage with that of a Latin persuasion. In other words, it isn’t obviously affiliated with the sounds that have made New Orleans one of the premiere tourist destinations in the US. The choice of New Orleans was largely down to long time collaborator/producer Craig Schumacher. “We were talking about wanting to go to Europe and record,” Burns says, “but we never get our stuff together in time to make plans that far in advance. So where do you go that is nearby and has a European feel? New Orleans.”

                      You might think that after the 22 years since they first met, six studio albums and a suitcase of tour CDs, collaborations with the likes of Victoria Williams, Iron & Wine, Willie Nelson, Roger McGuinn and Nancy Sinatra, and soundtrack work to boot, there wasn’t much more they could achieve. But you’d be wrong. New Orleans clearly inspired them to make an album that sees them stretch out more effortlessly than ever before. Yes, you can take the men out of Calexico, but you can’t take Calexico out of the men…

                      Get Well Soon

                      The Scarlet Beast O'Seven Heads - Bonus Tracks Edition

                      'Get Well Soon are one of Germany’s most prolific bands of the decade and certainly the most extravagant!

                      We would even go further and claim, that Konstantin Gropper is the Caspar David Friedrich of his generation; strictly musically speaking, of course. In case you don’t know, Friedrich was the most important romantic painter of the 19th century. Similarly, Konstantin’s musical vehicle, Get Well Soon is best known for its hugely romantic, allegorical songs, full of drama, morning mist and night skies. No gothic ruins though.

                      Their new album ‘The Scarlet Beast O'Seven Heads’ is one of the most sophisticated pop albums of the year. The album features 13 new, wildly imaginative and of course opulently arranged songs. It is, in certain moments, a colourful and beautiful nod to the genre we know as ‘Cinema Italiano’ (think Nino Rota or Argento), though these masters of the strange, wild and adventurous are just one of the 3,227 inspirations that went into the making of this new ornate Get Well Soon masterpiece.'

                      MR. M is Lambchop’s eleventh album on City Slang and documents the band at its best, it encapsulates one of the most profound moments in Lambchop history. Kurt Wagner turned away from music and picked up his brushes to paint his way out of a funk that followed the premature death of friend Vic Chesnutt, who the band backed on 1998’s The Salesman and Bernadette. Incidentally the paintings, thickly layered black and white portraits forming a series called Beautillion Millitaire 2000, feature on the album sleeve and throughout the full artwork-

                      “As I worked, I was approached by Mark Nevers (former full time band member & producer for the likes of Andrew Bird and Will Oldham) with the idea of making another Lambchop record. He had a concept of a sound and a method that worked with the tone of my writing. His idea was a kind of ‘psycha-Sinatra’ sound, one that involved the arranging of strings and other sounds in a more open and yet complex way. It was a studio creation, not a type of recording based on band performance, and this was a radical approach for us. I felt Lambchop had one more good record in us, and this time I was going to do things as directly and true to my desires as possible.”

                      The resulting album stretches out as sonically as promised. It was recorded at Nevers’s Nashville Beech House studio cum bungalow with the usual core of musicians- Scott Martin (drums), Matt Swanson (bass), Ryan Norris (guitar, organ), Tony Crow (piano), William Tyler (guitar). Guests include original cofounder Jonathan Marx, Cortney Tidwell (who shared vocals on 2010’s KORT project) and fiddler Billy Contreras (who has worked with all from Charlie Louvin to Laura Cantrell) - spectacular string arrangements shared between Peter Stopschinski and Mason Neely.

                      Tu Fawning

                      A Monument

                        Portland’s Tu Fawning return this May with their sophomore release titled 'A Monument'. A mere nine songs short, but enough time to confirm the suspicion raised by the band's debut album 'Hearts On Hold: Can it be that this band sets itself apart from everything else out there right now? Yes, this is proof.

                        A Monument is in fact a very different record, all the more reason for us to appreciate this band and their artistic merits. Live Tu Fawning deliver a dense, romantic, highly energetic live show, much more powerful than their debut album would have led you to imagine. And on A Monument this sparkles through on every track.

                        A Monument offers exactly nine very different pieces to that beautiful and unusual Tu Fawning style. Tracks like 'Blood Stains' have moved Tu Fawning south, more the Down Under type of south, with the warped R’n’B styles of a Birthday Party or early Bad Seeds. Less the atonality and surely sans the testosterone. And likewise 'Wager' lifts some moment of orchestral nausea out of a Crime And The City Solution track, converting it into a real song. Not all gothic, but certainly all dark. Weird, eccentric, timeless are user-friendly adjectives for the simple minded when trying to describe a band such as this. And lets not forget dramatic! Does it get anymore dramatic than 'Build A Great Cliff'? Take a rollercoaster ride with the epic seven and a half minute album closer that is 'Bones'. The latter showing that there is indeed also a sense of playfulness here.

                        Above and beyond the usual guitar, bass, keys, drums, the record feautures instrumentation such as a ragini, a tuned down marching band drum, old 80’s synths, actually lots of synths, those samples of South American chants turned into chords. Not to mention the degenerated Four Track recorders, dying guitar pedals, but most importantly: "turning your back to the microphone and yelling...“. Monumental indeed!

                        La Grande (pronounced in the way of the American West, without any hint of French inflection – “luh grand”) is a town just east of the Wallowa Valley in northeastern Oregon where native Oregonian Laura Gibson found inspiration while writing the songs that would become her new album of the same name. Gibson describes La Grande as a place that “people usually pass through on their way to somewhere else, but which contains a certain gravity, a curious energy.”

                        It’s an album about strength and confidence – about the tension between wildness and domesticity and the courage required to embark upon either path, about asserting one’s will rather than submitting – and it’s a significant departure from Beasts’ subtle meditations on frailty.

                        The thematic notion of aggressively taking matters into one’s own hands was at the front of Gibson’s mind during much of the process of developing La Grande, a period in which she also took on the task of transforming a 1962 Shasta trailer into a makeshift studio/private writing place. The twin projects of restoration and transformation – all that sanding, painting and do‐it‐yourself problem solving – seeped into her music, a sometimes surreal blend of styles that doesn’t belong to any particular decade or genre, but leaves the listener with the distinct impression that something old has been repurposed in a brilliant new way.

                        One reason the sound of La Grande is so purposeful is that, for the first time, Gibson remained in the producer’s chair throughout its making, bouncing between home‐recorded vocal sessions – piling as many as 15 Laura Gibsons on certain tracks – and proper takes at Type Foundry Studios alongside engineer and good friend Adam Selzer (M Ward, Norfolk and Western) and some great players including Calexico’s Joey Burns, members of The Dodos (Meric Long and Logan Kroeber) and The Decemberists (Nate Query, Jenny Conlee), clarinetist Jilly Coykendall, and the drumming duo Rachel Blumberg and Matt Berger (affectionately known as Blumberger).

                        Don’t get the wrong idea, though. While La Grande’s stage is shared with some very special guests, Gibson is at the center of every last note; contributing bits of bass, guitar, piano, pump organ, vibraphone, synthesizer, marimba, even a marching drum. The result is richer and more revealing than any of her previous records – two solo albums and an experimental LP with Ethan Rose – but it never loses sight of her start as a young singersongwriter who felt more at home playing in an AIDS hospice (where she had a standing weekly gig for two years) than in Portland’s vibrant (and at the time, overwhelming) indie music scene.


                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Andy says: Magical.

                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        LP Info: Includes 11"x11" full colour lyric sheet insert.

                        LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                        With the help of producer Billy Pavone (The Fall, Asobi Seksu, White Rabbits), the latest O’Death opus, Outside, is their subtlest work by far, but also the most impressive of the band's career. This is a record that lives up to its name with spacious and cinematic arrangements, layers of subtle percussion, and at times an impenetrable wall of found sound.

                        O'Death recorded the album over a two-month period, easily the longest they've ever spent on a production. The extended recording time allowed the band to write in studio, as well as cultivate the organic noise for the record in an intimate setting. As Pavone observed, "Creating the album in the recording, and not in the mix, was a leap of faith for me. It was challenging to let go and allow the album to breathe a bit, and be its own creation– unique and very different from some of the sounds we hear so often in the world of digital manipulation.

                        The result is a record that is both the most subtle and massive accomplishment of the band's career, a darkly triumphant and free-flowing album that represents exactly where the songwriters have found themselves in this moment. As Pycior notes, "I love the dynamic disparity in the album: the fragile parts of ‘Bugs,’ ‘Ourselves,’ and ‘Don't Come Back...,’ the huge endings in ‘Alamar,’ ‘Look at the Sun,’ and ‘Pushing Out.’ I know we have the right sequence this time around… and I love ending on a different and demented tone with ‘The Lake Departed.’”

                        In an age saturated with soundalikes and retro throwbacks, the truly unique and unconventional can be hard to come by. Storming the 2011 scene with her self-titled debut album, Berlin-based Barbara Panther seems to embody these latter characteristics − and then some. The singer takes risks, blending musical influences and crosses boundaries of musical style innovatively and effortlessly, and the result is a journey through vibrant soundscapes, frenetic arrangements interspersed with moments of beautiful melancholy, and the creative explosion of elements of her past, the present and the future.

                        Rwandan-born Panther grew up in Brussels, Belgium, before making her home in Berlin five years ago. Panther’s debut album was produced by no other than Matthew Herbert, renowned house music maestro, also known as Radio Boy and Doctor Rockit. Together, Panther and Herbert create compelling sonic landscapes, designed to generate vivid images in the listener's mind. Panther’s energetic and eclectic vocals blend elements of pop, rap and soul music, also incorporating an opera flavour on the track "Rollercoaster". The latter song is full of skilfully arranged stylistic contrasts, combining a big band with playful synth and operatic vocals. Considering her offbeat style and the air of mystery surrounding Panther, it comes as no surprise that she has already been compared to the likes of Grace Jones and Bjork.


                        Norman Palm

                        Shore To Shore

                        In the midst of the music industry crisis art student Norman Palm had an idea: Why not visualize the rough recordings he had made between Paris and Berlin, produce a 200-page artbook with a cd and throw it on the collapsing market via his own DIY-record label? Sometimes it seems one has to ignore all golden rules to make something work: Norman Palm's book did not only sell pretty well, soon he was also invited to play live shows all over Europe such as the renowned Austrian art festival Steirischer Herbst and Haldern festival where he played along with bands such as Fleet Foxes and Yeasayer. He played at countless art events, sang next to Jane Birkin in a Parisian radio studio, was hyped by music magazines such as Stereogum, got filmed by french Blogotheque and eventually even found himself featured on the world's most visited blog run by Hollywood gossip boy Perez Hilton. Norman Palm got around.

                        Norman Palm also gets around because he decided not to live his life at one place only. Taking the adventures of a long-distance relationship to a not always easy level he practically commutes between Berlin and Mexico City. Enough exercise for body and soul to make contacts, get inspired and write new songs.

                        While Norman Palm's DIY-debut was a loose collection of songs, "Shore to Shore" is a homogenic piece and a musical quantum leap! Palm gets rid of his singer-songwriter image, irony and shyness of his debut have vanished. "Shore to Shore" is pop and love-long-distance set to music. Start/Stop, the album's overture brings together what is later split up into its parts: Ukulele, electronic beats, crazy choirs, African vs. technoid vibes, warm vs. synthetic. Above all floats Palm's distinctive voice. In Smile Palm sets foot into the american indie-terrain normally conquered by the likes of Wilco, he designs a 2.0 version of Paul Simon's Graceland with Images, flirts with Beck and the Beta Band in Landslide and spins out of $20 with an extensive Krautrock steelpan synth loop. Easy, virtually the title track of the album and a lyrical centrepiece ("Let's all be friends with the telephone calls / Let's all be friends with the departure halls") layers voices, basslines and synthesizers thus providing a perfect soundtrack for an early morning after clubbing. It's almost like listening to the radio, only that radio stations of such quality are hard to find!

                        Norman sings about love and how it interferes with life. About distance and closeness, about intimacy and strangeness, about missing and losing, love in a digitalized and globalized design of life. Doing that he avoids kitsch and cliché, writes poetry without being corny, makes himself clear, honestly and humble, never awkward, never bigger-than-life. Palm throws his very personal and his musical influences into a pot, cooks his own soup and puts it right on the table of international contemporary pop culture.

                        Tu Fawning

                        Hearts On Hold

                          It’s clear from the opening seconds of Tu Fawning’s debut full length, "Hearts On Hold", that there’s something very, very different about this Portland, Oregon band. The two note trumpet refrain of ‘Multiply A House’ that echoes like the distant sound of a battlefield, the ghostly chanting writhing around it as though in a trance, the funereal drums that boom in the background and the harmonies emerging as the chorus unfurls: these are not the sound of your everyday indie rock act. In fact, nothing on "Hearts On Hold" is quite like anything you’ll recognize, and that’s the very reason why its world is so overwhelming, so enticing, so exotic, so addictive.

                          Tu Fawning was formed three years ago by Portland musical mainstays Corrina Repp and Joe Haege – who between them cover piano, drums, percussion, guitar, vocals and samples, and who have carved out cult reputations in the North West as a solo artist and with 31 Knots respectively, amongst other projects. They invited Toussaint Perrault (trumpet, trombone, drums, guitar, marching band drum, vocals) and Liza Rietz (piano, violin, vocals) to join their ranks with the intention of “creating the sound of a rock band from an entirely fresh angle”. Perrault (of Baby Dollars) brought with him a love of psychedelia, dance hall and delay, while Rietz, formerly of Swords Project, adds a twisted classical flavor, her violin distorted and cavernous. Their shared love of ‘20s and ‘30s music such as big band jazz, crooners, Hawaiian and folk music lends their compositions a unique antiquated sound.

                          “Trying to find the exact words to describe us still seems to be difficult,” they admit. Their influences ranging from Gamelan music and tribal percussion to Tom Waits – “for the way he’s brought back melodies from a bygone era” – to the Boswell Sisters and Jay-Z. Theirs is a sound that is not unlike Portishead or Liars; bands that are rooted in an otherworldly soundscape and yet refuse to be tied to one aesthetic. One critic described an early song as sounding like it was “recorded in a abandoned, possibly haunted circus tent in the pitch black darkness of the witching hour”, and certainly the album is full of warped sounds and eerie magic. “There is plenty of music out in the world that makes people feel straight and simple emotions,” Haege concludes. “There is just something magical about being able to make your songs sound as though they were played while a giant walks through a valley, a piano is stabbed in a 1920's basement or that you're playing drums on a mountaintop.”

                          Lambchop

                          Nixon - City Slang 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

                          Much has been said and written about "Nixon", the album that broke Nashville's finest little big band into the mainstream in the UK (we walked into the Met bar one night in 2000 and saw Noel Gallager and Patsy Kensit and people like that, and guess what was playing on the bar's hifi? Is that considered mainstream?) It was album of the month left right and center and album of the year in Uncut, if we remember it correctly. Maybe not. Still, it's sophisticated mix of alt.country, white man's soul music, gospel choirs and thick use of strings and Kurt Wagner's last chance to lay down some falsetto vocals before age, smoking and whiskey caught up with him were a sensation. The Zero 7 remix of "Up With People" added longevity and weight to a campaign that stretched well into 2001.

                          This re-issue comes with an additional full concert DVD from Lambchop's second London show at the legendary Royal Festival Hall with an added string section. Filmed by a TV company that consequently went bust, we were able to save this gem of a document from the vaults of the insolvency and present it here in its raw original form.

                          Caribou

                          Swim

                            If you think you know Caribou, think again. Dan Snaith’s new album, "Swim" is the sound of the musical glass ceiling being blown away. Dan’s latest recording sees him getting busy in the basement with some expertly constructed, rave-tinged sounds that sing with soul. But that’s not all. As a songwriter of considerable standing, Dan has not subsumed his uniquely recognisable touch in an orgy of technical bliss – although, there is plenty of euphoria in the musical alchemy on offer. From Dan’s perspective, he says, 'The most important thing for me with this record was finding my own sonic vocabulary. That’s why I’m proud of this record.'

                            "Swim" is full of brightly textured, rapturous gems that gleam with astonishing production – and then wrenches at your heart with soulful, thoughtful reveries on the passing of time, family history and the breakdown of relationships. 'There are songs about growing old in a relationship, about divorce and loneliness in old age but the lyrics are generally pretty abstract sketches of what’s going on in the situation in my head', says Snaith. If there is a link to previous album "Andorra", it would be in the ravishing explosions of sound pulsing through album closer "Niobe". A continuum of sorts leads us to 2010, but that finale gives mere hints as to the future Caribou. From the opening effervescent gambol of "Odessa" to the glorious odyssey of "Jamelia", it’s crystal clear that Caribou has made a massive leap forwards, upwards and sideways.

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            2xLP Info: Double 180 gram vinyl including free album download and booklet.

                            Get Well Soon

                            Angry Young Man


                            Having released an album on Nude Records back in 2008, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Konstantin Gropper returns with "Angry Young Man", taken from the forthcoming album "Vexations".
                            Gropper is also a composer of film scores; his latest being for Wim Wenders’ (Paris, Texas / Buena Vista Social Club) film Palermo Shooting (nominated at the Cannes Film Festival 2008).
                            The B-Side of this limited 7” "Your Teenage FBI" is taken from a film score of a 2010 released film by German cult regiesseur Detlev Buck.


                            "Palermo Shooting" is the new feature film from legendary German film director Wim Wenders ('Paris, Texas', 'Wings of Desire'), the story of Finn, a successful photographer who lives in the city of Dusseldorf. Following a car crash in which Finn narrowly escapes death he is forced to reassess his life he moves to the city of Palermo, and this is where his adventures begin…
                            The original soundtrack to "Palermo Shooting" reads like a who's who of celebrated alternative artists and features many tracks recorded especially for the film. Wenders' old friend Nick Cave appears twice with his band Grinderman who contribute two new tracks – "Dream (Song For Finn) and "Song For Frank" - while Bonnie Prince Billy and Matt Sweeney recorded the sublime "Torn and Betrayed" for the film. Other artists to record original music for the film include Irmin Schmidt, Sibylle Baier, Get Well Soon and Thom.
                            The soundtrack also features tracks from acclaimed artists such as Portishead, Calexico, Beirut, Iron and Wine, Calexico, Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man and The Velvet Underground… No self-respecting musical aficionado will want to be without it!

                            Tracklisting
                            1. Dream (Song For Finn) - Nick Cave
                            2. Busy Hope - Konstantin Gropper
                            3. The Rip - Portishead
                            4. Accordeon I Flavias Thema - V/A
                            5. Freedom Hangs Like Heaven - V/A
                            6. It's a Departure - John Roderick
                            7. The Black Light - Calexico
                            8. Some Kinda Love - The Velvet Underground
                            9. Beds In The East - V/A
                            10. Trompete 2 Fresco - Irmin Schmidt
                            11. Postcards from Italy - Beirut
                            12. Quello Che Non Ho - Massimo Bubola
                            13. We All Lose One Another - Jason Collet
                            14. Torn And Brayed - Matt Sweeney
                            15. My Impropriety - Tobias Kuhn
                            16. Let Us Know -Sybille Baier
                            17. Cello I Bei Flavia - V/A
                            18. Quannu Moru - Rosa Balistreri
                            19. Song For Frank - Nick Cave
                            20. Mysteries - Beth Gibbons
                            21. Good Friday - Konstantin Gropper

                            Nashville based Cortney Tidwell releases the follow up to her critically acclaimed 2006 album "Don't Let The Stars Keep Us Tangled Up". Recorded in Cortney's home and her friends' homes and co-produced by Cortney, her husband Todd Tidwell and Ryan Norris, "Boys" is, like its predecessor, an astonishingly eclectic and genre-defying mix of the many musical forms that have inspired her. It owes as much to Depeche Mode and Joy Division as it does to Loretta Lynn and Johnny Cash, and as much, if not more, to Great Britain as to The Grand Ole Opry. It's all held together by Cortney's extraordinary voice: athletic and graceful, as capable of immaculate innocence as banshee wails, and equipped with an irrefutable ability to strike right to the heart.

                            So much has changed since Kurt Wagner first led Lambchop out of his downstairs basement where they used to rehearse, at his house in a quiet Nashville suburb. Back then they were a ramshackle outfit, a charming drinking buddy collective taking the music they heard around them in Music City – the butt of jokes amongst the critical elite at the time – and mixing it with the music that they loved, Wagner topping it all off with his weird, abstract lyrics. They were a curiosity: the fact that anyone would want to release the album they recorded as great a surprise to the band as anyone. Perhaps, if it had not been picked up by a small group of fervent fans and critics seduced by what the band archly called 'The New Sound Of Nashville', it would have been their only album. Yet now, almost two decades later, Lambchop return with their tenth, "OH (Ohio)" which continues the Lambchop tradition, where each successive record represents a new stage in the evolution of their distinctive sound. It's a natural process which has seen them progress from their shambolic early recordings on "Jack's Tulips" / "I Hope You're Sitting Down" to the off kilter pop experimentalism of "What Another Man Spills" on to the joyful soul of "Nixon" and then, pointedly, its polar opposite, the piano-led minimalism of "Is A Woman". Most recently "Damaged" saw Wagner leave the porch from which he had viewed the world for so long and start looking inside himself, his dark meditations on mortality and human frailty matched by a band capable of taking delicacy to delicious new heights. "OH (Ohio)" finds Kurt delving deeper into himself – the songs were road-tested on a Wagner solo tour of the UK and Europe in 2007. This time, Wagner has chosen not to highlight the album's lyrics so as to preserve the integrity of the songs as whole entities, not parts.

                            O'Death

                            Broken Hymns, Limbs And Skin

                            New York quintet O'Death's third album, "Broken Hymns, Limbs And Skin", feels like a giddy junkyard hoedown, from the panicked fiddle screeches of opener "Lowtide" to the celebratory gallop of closer "Lean-To". At times it sounds morose or contemplative, but underneath the melancholy is a gospel fervour — bashed from paint buckets, banjos, guitars and anything else in kicking distance — that defines their sound. Since 2007's "Head Home", the band have evolved the possessed Americana-meets-gypsy-punk of recent years into a more urgent, unrelenting celebration of life, death and everything in between. They've grown up a little, but haven't lost the underlying longing or the unruly jubilation in their songs.

                            The Jai-Alai Savant

                            Flight Of The Bass Delegate

                            "Flight Of The Bass Delegate", is the debut full length album from The Jai-Alai Savant. It's a genuine piece or music that stands on it's own rather than as a sum of all it's parts, actually it is nearly impossible to define or put an exact finger on the sound of The Jai-Alai Savant, but their punk-rock meets dub-reggae blend is certainly very indicative of Darden's mile-a-minute personality and unique musical roots. 'I grew up in a black family in Philadelphia, and the radio in my house was always on to the mostly black stations', says Darden. 'You know, R&B, funk, disco, and groove. I even remember when the first hip-hop song was first played on the radio; I danced around the living room with my mom to "Rapper's Delight". Darden also took an interest in reggae and the punk rock scene, cementing early on what would later become The Jai-Alai Savant's definitive sound.

                            This sophomore effort by Montreal's Malajube is the best francophone indie-rock release in recent memory. Catchy, heavy, light, playful and exhilarating - it rocks non-stop, and in a multitude of ways. The underlying theme of sickness runs through the disc like death did on the Arcade Fire's "Funeral". But it's filtered through textured, sweeping and frequently beautiful songwriting. Guests include rappers Loco Locass, singer Pierre Lapointe and Dears members Martin Pelland and Valerie Jodoin-Keaton. This is a big record, a great record, by what could very well be your new favourite Montreal band.

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            LP Info: Was £11.99. In a gatefold sleeve and limited to just 300 copies.

                            Lambchop return with their ninth album, the brilliant "Damaged". The album finds Kurt Wagner and co in some of the best writing form of their lives and each and every track is a thing of great beauty and feeling. "Damaged" features some sublime string arrangements and witty, sensitive lyrics throughout – a Lambchop classic already!

                            Most Serene Republic

                            Content Was Always My Favourite Colour

                            The Most Serene Republic are six friends, mostly hailing from Milton, Ontario. They are exceedingly young – barely out of school – and have the honour of being the first and only signing to Toronto's increasingly important Arts & Crafts label without a member of Broken Social Scene involved in the project. These kids wear their influences on their sleeves, but hey, there are six of them, so that's a lot sleeves – they pillage from their Arts & Crafts labelmates, they draw inspiration from the 90s psychedelic pop pantheon – early Flaming Lips, Built To Spill, Modest Mouse et al – but with their youthful arrogance, good looks and obvious talent, The Most Serene Republic could never settle for being mere imitators. On first listen, this sounded completely cluttered and messy, like a Broken Social Scene record and a Postal Service record being played over each other. But on second listen, some rather lovely delicate melodies start to weave their way to the front. There's so much going on, that it is actually quite hard to describe, but it's good, which is all you really need to know!

                            Lambchop

                            The Decline Of The Country & Western Civilization (1993-1999)

                            This compilation of rare material collects almost all of Lambchop's early singles as well as a few unreleased songs spanning the years 1993-99. Over the course of the albums "I Hope You're Sitting Down", "How I Quit Smoking", "Hank", "Thriller" and "What Another Man Spills" the band had been releasing many of their songs in drastically different versions as seven inches on various different labels. This album has them all. 17 songs in total!

                            Radio 4

                            Gotham!

                            Melodic, angular guitar tunes with a heavy Gang Of Four / Mission Of Burma influence, along wih hints of Wire and Joy Division. Produced by Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy (the guys responsible for DFA - LCD Sound System, The Rapture)

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            2xLtd CD Info: Limited edition includes a bonus disc featuring two previously unreleased tracks "Sink So Low" and "Caroline", remixes of "Dance To The Underground" from The Faint, The Playgroup and DFA, a Mark Stewart and Adrian Sherwood remix of "Struggle" and the video for "Dance To The Underground".

                            On this, the 4th Lambchop album, Kurt Wagner expands things again, this time taking in Soul Music. There were a few soully chords and whispers on "Thriller" but here, with a sumptuos Curtis Mayfield cover mixing in amongst more East River Pipe tunes, and Wagner's originals, things get really sweet, mellow, and above all: groovey! Sounds shimmer in the mix, tons of instruments bob up subtley, but just when it's getting so smooth and classy, Wagner's words pop up and thump you on the nose! He's got a great sense of narrative, but there's some dark themes on this record! This album set the template for their undisputed classic: 2000's "Nixon".

                            This album, from 1997, throws lush atmospherics and even a lounge-music vibe into Lamchop's already potent brew. Kurt Wagner's songs get better with every album, but here they're beautifully bolstered by some East River Pipe tunes: it's not a barrel of laughs! But it is completely mega! This re-issue now includes the 7-track "Hank" EP.

                            Lambchop

                            I Hope You're Sitting Down

                            This is The Chop's first album from 1995, from before the term 'Alt.Country' had been invented, I think! But you can hear how this fits; from Nashville, plenty of lap-steel, songs about bust-ups, booze-ups and bother....but it's definately rough-around-the-edges indie plays country, and there's a disturbance in the lyrics that's a million miles from that slick Nashville sound.

                            Great new album form Kurt Wagner. Quite a departure from the Nixon album, a much more minimal, stripped down sound. The songs were recorded live in the studio with a core of eight or nine players, with pianist Tony Crow providing the central focus to the music.

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            2xLP Info: Initial quantities of this double vinyl, come with a 3 track CD featuring unreleased tracks.


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                            Thu 22nd - 3:01
                            Join us for the @whytehorses lp launch party, featuring a stripped back performance followed by a signing session -… https://t.co/fV5Y42W50A
                            Thu 22nd - 1:26
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