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FIRE RECORDS

New version with updated packaging / digipack format.

Recorded in Amsterdam in 1988, the live Performance documents a set from the Perfect Prescription tour; the emphasis here is on the group's loud, noisy origins - only the closing "Feel So Good" hints at the more subdued atmospheres and textures which emerged as Spacemen 3's primary focus as they approached Playing With Fire. Among the highlights: "Take Me to the Other Side", "Walkin' With Jesus" and "Come Together."

FORMAT INFORMATION

CD Info: Now at mid-price!

Victoria Williams

Victoria Williams And The Loose Band - Town Hall 1995

    CD release of the RSD vinyl LP. In 1995 Victoria Williams toured with the Loose band. Critics swooned and acclaimed her live shows as “beautiful” and “intimate”, set lists varied every night, special guests happened along. Finally they reached a town hall (somewhere) and this Record Store Day set was created. Seven of the 15 tracks are taken from ‘Loose’ but they are reduced Darwin-like, made even more personal.

    She harks back to the earlier Donnie Darko-like strangeness of ‘Crazy Mary’, sketches small town America on the ‘Summer Of Drugs’ and welcomes Lou Reed for a duet on ‘Sweet Jane’. No Depression at the time enthused about a live show where 50 people were in touching distance of greatness. It was the perfect platform they believed, trying hard to still keep Victoria their own personal secret. This live set, with its laissez faire feel and impromptu vibe is as close as it gets to a personal performance. Van Dyke’s veneer is rubbed off and every song positively tingles right through to a gorgeous version of ‘Over The Rainbow’. It’s a fairytale to believe in. 

    Curanderos (Bardo Pond)

    Curanderos

      With Bardo Pond’s RSD trilogy coming to an end, last year’s acclaimed Acid Guru Pond brought Bardo, Acid Mother’s Temple and Guru Guru together. The Philadelphia groups output for Record Store Day have been some of the most exciting and rewarding releases in recent years. Now for 2017’s RSD they return with yet another special release, this time side project ‘Curanderos’. Formed by the improvised journeys of the formidable Bardo Pond and experimental ensemble Kohoutek, these compositions take you on a cosmic voyage through kosmiche, drone, noise, prog and free jazz. Purveyors of psychedelic rock, Bardo Pond have the outward specifications of a rock band but the rivers that converge into the band’s oneiric flow have their headwaters in the outlands of ecstatic jazz, free noise and the avant-garde. 

      Jane Weaver

      Loops In The Secret Society

        When science fiction turns science fact the effect can be truly momentous. The state demands that no-one wants an unlicensed machine-hum from an outbuilding; no-one wants clever prose mapping the future, no-one wants “music” that is attention-seeking, soul-defining, beneficial, Biblical, baroque and beautiful. No-one told Jane Weaver that.

        Jane Weaver’s multi-layered synthetics evolved into a welcoming slew with 2014’s ‘The Silver Globe’, continuing through to 2017’s ‘Modern Kosmology’. ‘Loops In The Secret Society’ is a re-imagined journey through parts of both albums, with new ambient pieces primed and polished; with new tangents explored in a lab-friendly blossoming of the Weaver vision that travels yet further into the psych of our future. A continuous experience with one-line observations set in glorious sense-stimulating sound.

        That source material was then united in an expansionist experiment in late 2018. The ‘Loops In The Secret Society’ tour fused unrelated sounds set off against sympathetic new textures, tones and drones ; hot-housed into an idealistic soundscape that formed the conducive parts of the imminent album of the same name.

        Co-conspirators include Henry Broadhead, PJ Phillipson and Andy Votel. Renegades all, headed by the enigmatic Weaver – all under surveillance.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        2xDeluxe LP Info: Deluxe 2xLP Black vinyl in Silver foiled Gatefold sleeve.

        Sebadoh

        Act Surprised

          The inventors of lo-fi indie rock return with a 15-track blast of melodic melancholy, all delivered by the smudged middle finger of Dinosaur Jr original Lou Barlow…

          “The auteur of the subterranean lovesick blues.” Houston Press.

          Their first studio album since 2013’s ‘Defend Yourself’ and their first release with Fire Records, Lou Barlow and team return with a smorgasbord of beautifully dysfunctional tunes harking back to their finest college rock anthems.

          It’s Barlow at his introverted songwriting best; matter-of-factly delivering a stream of self-questioning stories, punctuated by detuned guitars, spine-tingling time changes and throwaway one liners.

          A grainy post grunge postcard wrapped in bittersweet melodies with an aftertaste that’s pure heartbreak.

          More songs about growing up wrong for those who continue to act surprised at life itself - all illegibly handwritten and lovingly submitted to vinyl.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Dinked Edition LP Info: Pressed on special dinked edition tricolour vinyl.
          Limited to just 500 copies.
          Hand numbered.
          Includes lyric insert and postcard.
          Includes custom sticker sheet.

          Dinked Edition LP includes MP3 Download Code.

          Coloured LP Info: White vinyl LP housed in a full colour sleeve, with lyric insert and download.

          Death And Vanilla

          Are You A Dreamer?

            New album from the Malmo-based trio of Marleen Nilsson, Anders Hansson and Magners Bodin.

            Following the critically-acclaimed ‘To Where The Wild Things Are’ from 2015 and their haunting collection of soundtracks in between.

            “Lush and enveloping, reminiscent of Curt Boettcher and Margo Guryan.” The Wire. 

            “Fantastically eerie.” Clash.


            Exposing the trio’s love of all things retro with a nod to everything from Fun Boy Three to Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Contonou, while still roaming somewhere between an ambient Eno and Cocteau Twins at a late-night soiree. A unique, individual sound: Longer, more plush and pampered; more hypnotic and haunting, mixing mellotron and affected guitar with a refined rhythm. Electronic melancholy at its most evocative, riddled with super-memorable motifs and melodies that nestle in reflective echo.

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            Coloured LP Info: Standard Edition, Reverse board sleeve, Crystal Clear vinyl.

            Indies Exclusive LP Info: Ltd Edition – Grey textured board sleeve, Transparent Pink Vinyl.

            Howe Gelb

            Dreaded Brown Recluse

              THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2019 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

              1000 only. “A wandering troubadour in search of treasured happenstance, Howe Gelb is an enigma.” The Quietus // Long out of print, Howe Gelb’s debut solo album ‘Dreaded Brown Recluse’ is re-imagined on for Record Store Day on brown vinyl. Back then, circa 1991 Howe’s main squeeze Giant Sand were nothing short of prolific, songs were oozing from every pore, their creative id was effervescing, overflowing. With Giant Sand’s colossal new album of ’91 ‘Ramp’ imminent what to do with those further outpourings? An idea: Disguise the band as Howe Gelb solo and produce a song cycle that, on repeat, melds into an eclectic stew that’s easy to dip in and out of but still remains potent several hours in the oven. It’s music as soundtrack to your day, a playful, anarchic piece of situationism that unfolds like all the best dramatic prose. ‘Dreaded Brown Recluse’ includes a rethunk ‘Warm Storm’ with strings (it also appeared on ‘Ramp’). It also features songs about faxing (how quaint), blankets and the insect world, as it straddles territory lost somewhere between psychotic ramshackle punk and slimmed down acoustic reverie. Track List A1 Spirit Lie A2 Picture Shows A3 Loretta and the Insect World A4 Actually Faxing Sophia A5 Cello of the City A6 Still too Far B1 Warm Stone B2 Always Horses Coming B3 Vigdis B4 Vienna Two-Step Throw Away B5 Bible Black Book II B6 Brown Recluse B7 Blanket for Tina

              Half Japanese

              Charmed Life

                THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2019 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                1000 only. Special art edition with extra LP of unheard material on Blue Vinyl. 30 years on Half Japanese’s ‘Charmed Life’ is reissued for Record Store Day. Less love and more monster, Half Japanese sound more realised and fully formed on their sixth studio album. Jad Fair had “become increasingly adept at funnelling his obsessions into songs charming, frank, comical and weird.” Marc Masters, Pitchfork. “As accessible as Half Japanese get” The Quietus // Track List 1 Said And Done 2 Penny In The Fountain 3 Evidence 4 Vietnam 5 Roman Candles 6 Love At First Sight 7 Snake Line 8 Bright Lights, Big City 9 Face Rake 10 Later In A Magazine 11 Red Dress 12 Trouble In The Water 13 Charmed Life 14 Day And Night 15 One Million Kisses 16 Miracles Happen Every Day 17 Terminator 18 I'll Change My Style 19 Fortunate 20 Real Cool Time 21 Poetic License

                The Lemonheads

                Can't Forget / Wild Child

                  THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2019 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                  LTD pressing of AA 7" single. 1000 pressed. “No strangers to a cover, The Lemonheads perfect the art” NME // Limited edition pressing of AA 7” single, ‘Can’t Forget’ is the lead single, and Yo La Tengo cover, from the new Lemonheads album. AA-side is unreleased cover of Lou Reed’s ‘Wild Child’ this is an exclusive and not on the album. Produced by Matthew Cullen and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Beastie Boys, Nirvana, The Ramones). It’s nearly ten years since The Lemonheads strummed to a halt on their ninth studio album, a perky well received set of covers that brought together many unlikely bedfellows (Gibby Haynes produced, Kate Moss did a cameo vocal). The band’s follow up repeats the formula with Evan way out upfront, his emotive slow maturing vocal making sense of another wide-beam playlist. He really has become one of the great expressive singers. “Heartfelt songs and a honey voice with which to sing them” GQ // “Boppy, overcast alt-rock delivered at a fast clip and sung in a whiskey tenor” Pitchfork // Track List A – Can’t Forget AA – Wild Child

                  Daniel Pemberton

                  Black Mirror: USS Callister - OST

                    THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2019 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                    1000 only - soundtrack from much loved cult episode of ‘black mirror’.

                    first time on vinyl, bespoke artwork from butcher billy, includes ltd edition poster art print. 2lp red vinyl. “a brilliant take on star trek homages, gaming and toxic geekery” the guardian // the emmy nominated soundtrack from the much-loved emmy winning episode of black mirror. daniel pemberton’s score for black mirror’s ‘uss callister’ is available for the first time on vinyl with bespoke artwork from butcher billy and limited-edition poster art print. taken from the first show of the show’s fourth season, it’s the ‘star trek’ episode when a gifted programmer becomes frustrated with his job and creates digital clones of his co-workers for his own dark adventures in space. the ivor novello award winning, golden globe award and multi bafta nominated and acclaimed composer shifts effortlessly between symphonic and electronic instrumentation. “a brutal star trek scenario that’s half comedy, half indictment of silicon valley leadership” the verge // “one of hollywood’s most sought-after composers” screen daily.

                    Howe Gelb

                    Gathered

                      A wandering troubadour in search of treasured happenstance.” Quietus / The 24th solo studio album from Giant Sand mainman Howe Gelb. Following two much-praised jazz-tinged ‘Future Standards’ collections, a wider bet captures Gelb’s discordant phrasings and clever romantic lyricism. Joined by a host of collaborators from all over the world, including M. War, Gabriel Naim Amor, Fernando Vacas, Juan Panki, The Lost Brothers, Anna Karina, JB Meijers, Kira Skov and Gelb’s own daughter Talula.

                      Focussing on Gelb’s celebrated song-writing style, filled with emotive tunes and heart-warming arrangements invariably offset by gorgeous discordant moments. A chance meeting of the indie/alt country Sinatra annotated by clever wordplay, teased by tongue twisters and an earthy ramble. “Gelb’s long-held fascination with words, particularly the way certain ones rub up against one another or encourage an allusive phrase, usually stretched over an odd meter, is a joy.” Uncut… Previous press coverage from Pitchfork, Mojo, Q, Clash, Uncut, NPR and more. 

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      Coloured LP Info: Limited indies-only gold vinyl.

                      Half Japanese

                      Invincible

                        “Still creating some of the most engaging recordings of their lives, and that's truly something to believe in.” AllMusic… New studio album from Michigan’s greatest outsider combo. An inspiration to Kurt Cobain, post grunge deep thinkers and veterans of the “Can’t Play/Will play” fraternity. Pop music for those outside of pop music. Songs for those still bedevilled by one liners and abrasive melodies. Thematically succinct tales of puppet people, vampires and the walking dead juxtaposed with discerning love songs and eternal affection.

                        “Half-Japanese are a respected institution. They've been making noise since the late '70s.” Pop Matters “Innocent abandon is still at the heart of the band” Pitchfork. An off-kilter classic that shouldn’t sound right but ultimately does, in the best tradition of The Residents, Richman, Johnston, Brain Wilson at his most bamboozled and any number of out there talents. Uncategorizable, joyous, detuned, quizzical, alluring, childlike, charming, innocent, questioning – invincible. New album from Half Japanese, an inspiration on Kurt Cobain. Jad Fair of Half Japanese has previously collaborated with Teenage Fanclub, Moe Tucker (Velvet Underground) and Daniel Johnston. 

                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Coloured LP Info: Limited Edition indies-only Black and White ‘Split’ coloured Vinyl

                        Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                        The Lemonheads follow up the critically acclaimed ‘Varshons’ from nearly ten years ago with another eclectic collection of covers.

                        Produced by director Matthew Cullen and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Beastie Boys, Nirvana, The Ramones), their tenth studio album brims with the slowly-matured vocal of Evan Dando as he lures a host of personal faves to his melodic lair. He really has become one of the great expressive singers of our time.

                        ‘Varshons 2’ is a hokey jukebox filled with unique versions of Yo La Tengo, Nick Cave, The Bevis Frond, NRBQ, The Eagles, Paul Westerberg, The Jayhawks, Lucinda Williams and John Prine.

                        Like Hank Williams slumped in his car between gigs, strumming and hollering, reasoning and weeping, humming it on over, Evan and his Lemonheads make every tune their own.

                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Barry says: Though it's been ten years in the making, the second iteration of their 'Varshons' series sees The Lemonheads covering a host of excellent originals with style and grace. Where else could you get a masterful combo of John Prine and Nick cave on the same LP? Not many places i'd wager. A superb second outing, and yet more proof of the Lemonheads' continuing relevance.

                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Coloured LP Info: Yellow vinyl with a banana scented scratch & sniff sleeve.

                        Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                        Indies Exclusive LP Info: Indies only green vinyl, with a banana scented scratch & sniff sleeve.

                        Indies Exclusive LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                        Spacemen 3

                        Sound Of Confusion

                          New version with updated packaging / digipack format. Spacemen 3’s debut album "Sound Of Confusion", released in 1986, was a blistering affair - establishing their love of the two-chord song and also expressing their admiration for the likes of MC5, The 13th Floor Elevators and The Stooges. Sound of Confusion was 7 tracks of overdriven assault, with a strange bleakness and despair creeping through the hypnotic sprawl. R Hunter Gibson would later say: "It boosts the value of unlit rooms, unpaid debts and unfeigned terror and it would rather tackle the gradients than settle for level best. 

                          Spacemen 3

                          The Perfect Prescription

                            New version with updated packaging / digipack format. Spacemen 3's second album is a remarkable departure from the band's 1986 debut, "Sound Of Confusion". Reduced to a trio (guitarists / keyboardists Pete "Sonic Boom" Kember, Jason "Spaceman" Pierce, and bassist Pete Bassman) following the departure of the first album's drummer, Spacemen 3 makes an asset out of the newfound lack of percussion, giving "The Perfect Prescription" a considerably less rock-oriented sound with much more open space in its varied, subtle arrangements. 

                            The self titled album Bardo Pond is the first new release from Philadelphia's psychedelic rock unit to be released on Fire.

                            'The first time I saw Bardo Pond, I was, as probably most people are when they first encounter this batch of beatific weirdos, horribly unprepared. To describe the experience as "psychedelic" is an understatement on the order of saying that whacking oneself in the nuts with a ball-peen hammer is "mildly irritating." Needless to say, priorities were rearranged, etc.

                            Fast-forward 15 yrs, and Bardo Pond have put out many LPs, most of them named after hallucinogens that make you throw up all night and see things - which was kind of them, I always thought. Let ya know what you were in for. All of this recorded output is pretty staggering to me, because, without exception, they seemed able to toss a lasso around some sort of ineffable hoodoo that felt like it was a million yrs old. If Carl Sagan would have 1.) smoked a little more weed and 2.) not croaked, I'm hoping he would have cut a BP track onto that gold LP that they put on the Voyager units. Would've been a way better representation of the best parts of the human spirit than Chuck Berry, I say.

                            Anyhoo. One night not long ago in the Bardo Compound in Philly, Michael says in a kinda offhanded way, "Hey man, you wanna hear this? ..." And there I was, being bathed in the songs you've got in yr grubby little mitts right now.

                            I was, once again, unprepared.

                            This cauldron is a bit of a different brew. It made total sense to me (as it will to you) when he later told me the name of the LP is just "Bardo Pond." Why? It's a distillation. Two decades of playing together have sandblasted away everything unessential and left us with what we have here. It was like no one else before them had ever gotten near the plagal cadence, not Lou Reed or the Stooges or 2,000 yrs of church music. They invented it all over again, independent of any of that, after gawd knows how many yrs of flailing away and burning themselves up.

                            I fucking love these songs. And while I hate writing almost as much as I hate third-degree burns, I have to say it is a joy to be able to tell you about this record. I feel like Neil Fucking Armstrong.

                            It took years for them to get here, but this record is the most goddamned beautiful thing they've ever done. Sorry for the superlatives. But really, the only thing left for them to do at this point is explode'. - Fire Records.

                            John Gibbons: Guitars
                            Michael Gibbons: Guitars
                            Isobel Sollenberger: Voice, flute
                            Clint Takeda: Bass, next-level comedy
                            Aaron Igler: Electronics
                            Jason Kourkounis: Drums

                            with
                            Jeremiah Misfeldt: Farfisa
                            Dan Baltzer: Harp


                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            Coloured LP Info: Limited edition silver vinyl.

                            The Bevis Frond

                            We're Your Friends, Man

                              A 90 minute blast of grown up angst that engages the best classic rock touchstones from Young and Stills guitar battles to Love’s tender melodies, Dinosaur Jr’s buzzsaw guitars and Hendrix at his most expressive. “Harking back to the liberating songcraft of The Beatles but with a jagged edge, intense swathes and swerving changes that give it a transatlantic propulsion, a kinship with the likes of Husker Du.” Record Collector. Featuring a selection of poignant pop songs impregnated with mature riffs and memorable one liners from the pen of the much covered (Lemonheads, Mary Lou Lord, Teenage Fanclub, Walkingseeds) Nick Saloman. Embracing Saloman’s tongue in cheek one liners and clever use of prose, ‘We’re Your Friends, Man’ bristles with incisive wit and poignant observations. Press Quotes : “Arguably Britrock’s most prolific one man cottage industry.” Uncut // “Saloman is an accomplished songwriter and guitarist influenced by a slew of guitar heroes.” Big Takeover // “For the past 30 years, one man has kept the psych freak flag flying.” 

                              The triumphant 1998 major label debut from Mary Lou Lord. A sonic partnership with The Bevis Frond’s Nick Saloman recorded with input from Roger McGuinn, Elliott Smith, Jon Brion and Money Mark plus many others. Featuring a gaggle of her self-penned tunes, gorgeous collaborations with Saloman and covers of Freedy Johnston and the grand lady of the blues Elizabeth Cotton. An emotional rollercoaster, a bittersweet gem from one of America’s unheralded singer songwriters steeped in Byrdsian myth and melodious grunge effervescence. “One tremendous album that frames her singing and creative personality with skill and sensitivity.” Trouser Press. “A seamless collection of folk-rock that offers more than a glimpse of Lord’s roots playing for passersby in London and Boston subway stations” Rolling Stone. An epic recording remastered by the experts at Fire Towers. 

                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              Coloured LP Info: Limited edition purple vinyl version

                              The Groundhogs

                              Blues Obituary

                                50th Anniversary limited edition die cut sleeve with liner notes from Mojo’s Dave Henderson. The second studio album from The Groundhogs, now slimmed to the classic three piece line up of Tony TS McPhee on guitar, Pete Cruikshank on bass and Ken Pestelnik on drums. The beginning of their domination as the hardest working band on the circuit, a testament to their creativity as they re-tooled the blues into a neo-psyche groove. Breaking from their traditional influences, the first stepping stone for the power trio who would blossom with ‘Thank Christ For the Bomb’, ‘Split’ and ‘Who Will Save The World?’. Inspired by a Yardbirds’ freak out, hearing authentic Indian drumming and the magic that existed between this legendary trio, ‘Blues Obituary’ is a juggernaut of riffs. According to Tony in Zig Zag’s John Tobler’s sleeve notes to the 1987 re-issue of ‘Blues Obituary’ it was the BBC’s John Peel producer John Walters that forced the band’s hand. “He decided he hated the blues,” McPhee told Tobler, “We figured it was time to get away from it.” “A deep excursion into musical depths further down than Canned Heat ever dared go.” The re-issue also includes a mono-friendly single cut of ‘BDD’ plus its original B-side ‘Gasoline’, an aching solo Tony TS McPhee track. 

                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                Coloured LP Info: Blue vinyl version.

                                Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                A highly personalised sociopathic gem delivered as a futuristic rewriting of how music works, a melodious breeze with a tail wind of venomous din. A ten-track album, her tenth studio set.

                                Enveloping the juxtaposition of the concept of ‘dark sunshine’, a brooding solo record creating with friends to expand her off-kilter sonic vision; a squally, squeaky mix of discordant beauty.

                                Feedback and phasing gyrate from simply strummed normality, imagine Dinosaur Jr and My Bloody Valentine cranking up a Dylan couplet. Messing with both extremes of the sonic spectrum: atonal and arrhythmic, a unique sound and a glorious return to form for one of alternative rock’s true innovators.

                                “Sometimes the most subversive thing I can do musically is adhere to standard song structure, sometimes the creepiest chords are the ones we’ve heard before, twisted into different shapes, and sometimes a story is lived a thousand times before we can ride it like a roller coaster. Nothing wholly unfamiliar is gonna make you look twice. When you can describe a record as being “deceptively” anything, you’re hinting at the sociopathic nature of music. Something I love. Imagine truly buying your own sunshine and charm, but also your darkness and violence; the two sides of your psychology showing each other off in relief. Songs can do that...we can’t, really. Darkness we’ve seen.” Kristin Hersh, July 2018.

                                “She's still as powerful a presence as she ever was.” Pitchfork

                                “The prodigious output and commitment to quality is pretty staggering, but then Kristin Hersh is a very, very special musician.” The Quietus.

                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                Coloured LP Info: Silver coloured vinyl LP is for Indie stores only.

                                Hater

                                Siesta

                                  Hater’s powerful vulnerability and charm has seen them rise quickly through the ranks earning kudos from NPR (Austin 100), Stereogum (Best New Bands Of 2017), The Fader, BBC6 Music, BBC Radio 1 and more. Effortless and assured, the Scandi quartet drift eloquently into well-structured and stunning melodies. Resolute in their sound, ‘Siesta’ is the perfect soundtrack for that summer romance and the inevitable break up. Heartbreak has never sounded so sweet!.

                                  Produced by Joakim Lindberg (Yast and Hey Elbow) at Studio Sickan within old railway sheds outside of Malmö Sweden. Hater tackle their personal experiences of life, love and relationships yet through their shared songwriting there's a togetherness. Synth pop earworm ‘It’s So Easy’ contrasts the slower paced 'I Wish I Gave You More Time Because I Love You' that blends beautiful sweeping sax from Inge Petersson Lindbäck. Hater “boast Marr-esque guitars and vocals reminiscent of fellow Swedes and The Concretes” (Norman Records) whilst having the pop sensibilities of The Chills, Alvvays, Snail Mail and Makthaverskan.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  2xColoured LP Info: Indies only Opaque yellow vinyl.

                                  The latest postcard from The Chills’ epic journey is an album about “consolidation, re-grouping, acceptance and mortality,” claims the chief Chill. “Hopefully a kind of Carole King ‘Tapestry’ for ageing punks.”

                                  Wow! Are rock bands allowed to grow old gracefully and assess the world’s and their shortcomings in the process? Is it possible to swerve the obvious and make something that’s bittersweet in tone but harmonious on the ear? Of course it is.

                                  On ‘Snow Bound’ lost heroes are lamented, relationships are re-evaluated, atonement is sought, mortality is mulled over and fake news is undercut. It’s serious stuff, the thoughts of a dysfunctional 50-something wrestling with maturity and discovering that their post-punk DIY beliefs still have a real voice that resonates between the fans of their early years and which can now pass down to the next generation.

                                  Casting our minds back, we can recall that The Guardian mused, “They sound almost like the musical embodiment of autumn,” when confronted with ‘Silver Bullets’. Three years on, ‘Snow Bound’ nestles heartily in its own winter of discontent. And all this with a humalong melodic verve, Phillipps’ gift for the tempered dalliance of verse and chorus and those gorgeous euphoric organ fills. Let the soul-searching commence…

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: There's a certain sound that comes with a band that have been working together for a long time, and The Chills definitely have it. Not afraid to hark back to the heyday of indie, but with a sophistication that only experience can bring, The Chills have crafted an absorbing and alluring collection of melodic stormers.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  Coloured LP Info: Clear with white Splatter Vinyl is for Indie stores only.

                                  Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                  The Chills

                                  Silver Bullets (Silver Vinyl Edition)

                                    “Driving pop fuelled by simple, incessant guitar lines, combined with Phillips’s facility for a hook-laden melody.” The Wire // “The songwriter that helped kick off indie rock as we know it.” NPR // “Capable of rousing rock and breathtaking beauty.” Pitchfork // “The group’s loose and energetic and its signature pop-rock is still potent and the melodies as catchy as ever.” Pop Matters // Following on from ‘The BBC Sessions’ on Fire Records, The Chills released their first full length album in nearly two decades. ‘Silver Bullets' hailed the return of one of New Zealand’s most respected exports; Bursting with chiming Dunedin-pop anthems, melodic rock and Phillipps’ playful punk-rock tendencies, the thrilling new album brings them to the next chapter. Recorded at Albany Street Studios in Dunedin (NZ) the album instantly reaffirms Phillipps’ aptitude for writing intelligent and timeless pop songs delivered with conviction. 

                                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                                    Coloured LP Info: Silver vinyl edition.

                                    Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                    Come Away With ESG - 35-year anniversary release of the classic genre-busting debut album by the Bronx sisters ESG. The sample-friendly opus that’s the inspiration for hip-hop, house and post punk. Music that falls outside of the no wave, new wave and post punk library, it’s for the dance floor but it’s not funk, there’s no horns, no driving organ; it’s the opposite of Sly And The Family Stone but no less cool and no less groovy. “A lasting document of their unique brand of minimal funk that would influence subsequent post-punk, hip-hop, and dance music acts. Stripped down to the most basic of drumbeats and rudimentary bass lines, ‘Come Away’ confirms the notion that the real rhythm is what happens between the beats.

                                    Josephine Foster

                                    A Wolf In Sheeps Clothing

                                      ‘A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’ (2006) is an unusual album, first because it does things with classical music that aren’t usually done. The songs Josephine Foster sings here are classical pieces, written (the texts are German poems) by some of the greatest German composers of the 19th century, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and Hugo Wolf. “Foster has found perhaps the most appropriate vehicle yet for her singular and affecting talents – 19th century German art-songs, wholly reconstructed here via Foster’s skeletal arrangements of voice and guitar” Pitchfork. Remastered and repackaged with new artwork

                                      Infinite Music

                                      A Tribute To La Monte Young

                                        Infinite Music is an entrancing drone experience. A breathtaking live collaboration between Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom, Zombie Zombie’s Etienne Jaumet and Celine Wadier, a master of Indian Dhrupad singing and tanpura. Recorded live at Teatro Maria Matos, Lisbon in September 2017, the performance is released on magenta vinyl. Young was an inspiration on John Cale and original Velvet Underground drummer Angus MacLise, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, George Harrison, Brian Eno, Jarvis Cocker, Stereolab and the classic Spacemen 3 album Dreamweapon. La Monte’s influence in the hands of this eclectic trio is timeless and beautifully evocative. “I’m not suited for these times but I am suited for the world I created.” La Monte Young. 

                                        Their favourite records are the perfect counterbalance of the considered and the superficial. Whether it’s Madonna, Talking Heads or Holger Czukay - we enjoy these artists in the background with friends or profoundly and alone. Virginia Wing both understand and embrace this concept fully as they return with Ecstatic Arrow, an album which finds them in a place of renewed strength, optimism and clarity.

                                        Recorded in Switzerland, in the family home of longtime friend and collaborator Misha Hering within the domesticity and gentle routine of communal life, the album represents a world as predisposed to solemn introspection as it is to blithe conviviality. Ecstatic Arrow borrows from the heterogeneous terrain of The Flying Lizard’s Fourth Wall, the exuberant technology assisted pop of Yellow Magic Orchestra and the playful sophistication of Lizzy Mercier Descloux’s Press Colour, arriving at the evergreen intersection of pop music and conceptual art.

                                        The resolute opener of Be Released and album centre point The Female Genius pair resonant Fourth World instrumentation with sonorous, loping drum patterns. Elsewhere, the sentimental march of single The Second Shift plays out like an after-hours ballad re-imagined by Wally Badarou and For Every Window There’s a Curtain is coloured by the blue-lit haze of an Eventide warped tenor saxophone. Three albums in, the voice of Alice Merida Richards is more compelling and expressive than ever. The glacial deadpan of previous records has given way to a more candid, self-possessed delivery, showing an appreciation for the humour and tragedy innate in the downtown Arcadia of Laurie Anderson, Robert Ashley or even Lynn Goldsmith’s Will Powers. It’s with this voice that Richards outlines a simple ideality that fortifies the entirety of Ecstatic Arrow - inequality pervades, destructive behaviours are inherited and each subsequent generation has to reconcile the debts of its precursor - yet a space exists within ourselves and each other that houses a fact we must be reminded of - we have the ability to choose. Even in moments of frustration; the ascerbic eye-roll toward male entitlement, Glorious Idea or the world-weary Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day, there persists a joy for living that refuses to be confined. A depiction of a group finally at ease with itself, Ecstatic Arrow is a tribute to the internal momentum that quietly guides us toward our destination. 

                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                        Barry says: Dreamy, floating melodies and drums with reverb for days, Virginia wing manage to craft a delicately airy sound without sacrificing any of the inherent melodic content. A cleverly balanced and thoroughly beautiful journey.

                                        Pictish Trail

                                        Who's Comin' In?

                                          2017 proved a huge year for Pictish Trail which ended in Johnny Lynch announcing he’d signed to Fire Records alongside Jane Weaver, Death And Vanilla, Noveller, Hater and Modern Studies. Seeing in the new year supporting Belle And Sebastian on tour across Europe and following a sold-out show at this year’s Celtic Connections, Pictish Trail releases ‘Who’s Comin’ In’ on black disco sleeve 12” vinyl on 25th May 2018.

                                          Taken from ‘Future Echoes’, ‘Who’s Comin’ In’ gets remixed by Joe Goddard (Hot Chip, The 2 Bears). Here blissed out celestial tones stretch this gorgeous track into an eight-minute dance floor banger that has a ‘trip-hop subtleness bridged with a Caribou feel’ (Clash). The 12” also includes a remix of the same track from KT Tunstell. The critically acclaimed psych-pop record, ‘Future Echoes’, bursts with beautiful melodies, harmonies and lyricism with sublime production from collaborator Adem Illhan and additional production and mixing from Rob Jones (Sweet Baboo, Slow Club). 

                                          Modern Studies

                                          Welcome Strangers

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

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

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

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

                                            Josephine Foster

                                            A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

                                              THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2018 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                                              ‘A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’ (2006) is an unusual album, first because it does things with classical music that aren’t usually done. The songs Josephine Foster sings here are classical pieces, written (the texts are German poems) by some of the greatest German composers of the 19th century, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and Hugo Wolf. “Foster has found perhaps the most appropriate vehicle yet for her singular and affecting talents – 19th century German art-songs, wholly reconstructed here via Foster’s skeletal arrangements of voice and guitar” Pitchfork. Remastered and repackaged with new artwork. 1000 copies.

                                              Television Personalities

                                              Closer To God

                                                THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2018 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                                                ‘Closer To God’, as with all TVP albums, is mightily personal. Dan Treacy provides the antidote to the opening of the ill-fated Disneyland Paris and the first McDonald’s in China – it’s a white knuckle ride through his innermost hopes and fears with off stage giggling, half heard dialogue and feedback that sounds like an opera is expiring in an adjoining L-shaped room. ‘Closer To God’ is a spiritual rollercoaster that sounds as poignant and pressing as ever. Remastered double LP on limited edition on marbled black and white vinyl. 1500 copies.

                                                Jane Weaver

                                                The Lightning Back

                                                  An independent retailers exclusive.

                                                  Widely considered the standout protonic pop song from Jane Weaver's unanimously revered Modern Kosmology, The Lightning Back sees the meteoric collision of micro-chip modulations and homespun harmonies courtesy of a self-sufficient artist who has in recent years become regarded as one of the countries finest in the field. This 3.5 minute pocket-pop implosion fuses subtle patch-bay arpeggios evoking the stylings of Wendy Carlos and (previous collaborator) Suzanne Ciani providing a deftly constructed framework for Weavers songwriting talents. Celebrating the intimacy and inhibition-free methodology found in her solo-power approach, The Lightning Back hears Jane's yearning lyricism rise through unique agile melodics seldom found in synthesised pop music. This limited vinyl single also comprises a B-side in the form of a remix from London based art-noise-jazz-rock supergruppen Sex Swing.

                                                  Pere Ubu

                                                  Les Haricots Sont Pas Salés 1987-1991

                                                    Third, and final, box set includes ‘The Tenement Year’ (1988), ‘Cloudland’ (1989), ‘Worlds In Collison’ (1991) and ‘Lost Album’ (1989). With Pere Ubu on hiatus since 1982’s excellent ‘Song Of The Bailing Man’, David Thomas had recorded a much-praised solo album and the band had now signed to a major label. In a period of rampant world commercialism, what would happen next? Another crucial era for the band unraveled, Pere Ubu’s journey charted new undulating territory and so began a three-album escapade that retooled our understanding of what pop music is. The third in the four-part boxed set series, ‘Les Haricots Sont Pas Salé 1987-1991’ sits between ‘The Architecture Of Language 1979-1982’ and ‘Drive, He Said 1994-2002’. “Solid as the band can be, it's also likely to dissolve songs from the bottom up.

                                                    For all Pere Ubu's uncertainty, the band isn't arbitrary; its music has the off-the-wall unity of a Marx Brothers routine,” said Jon Pareles of The New York Times on ‘The Tenement Year’. One year later and things were further obscured with ‘Cloudland’ when they released “their industrial-strength equivalent of a class Beach Boys album from musicians more familiar with factories than surf.” (Greg Kot, Chicago Sun Times). Then, in 1991, ‘Worlds In Collision’ became “the most atmospheric, carefully sculpted recording in the band's 13-album catalog.” (Tom Moon, Spin). Here we have Pere Ubu between 1987 and 1991 with three phenomenal pop albums, together with the ‘The Lost Album’, an 11-track record of demos that sounds like they’d loosened the nut and bolts of the genre even further.

                                                    Four of these tracks, ‘Around The Fire’,’ Down By The River’, ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ and ‘Invisible Man’ were recorded as demos for the album originally designed to follow ‘Cloudland’. Referred to by the band as ‘The Lost Album’ they are now joined with songs from ‘Cloudland’ that wouldn’t fit on the original vinyl release due to the length limitations of vinyl. The record also includes a tribute to Van Dyke Parks ‘Wine Dark Sparks’ and ‘Bang The Drum’ inspired by a Van Dyke Parks song. Genius.  

                                                    Jazz Butcher

                                                    Bath Of Bacon

                                                      ‘Bath Of Bacon’ was an experiment in sound, conjoining that Ronco platter to Todd Rundgren, a guitar from Wes Montgomery’s cupboard and mentions of imaginary monsters set to some funky chops. “The sound of a few mates failing to take note that they’ve an LP to make!” claims the JB site. It’s pop meets bluesy scat with plenty of deadpan irony – a theme that will recur.

                                                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                      LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                      Death And Vanilla

                                                      The Tenant

                                                        The retro leaning Scandi duo fire up their Moogs and mellotrons, sonic archaeologists with a hauntological bent.. there is an alluring sexiness to their avant-Kraut Moog-pop excursions.” Uncut

                                                        “Recalling the eerie, haunted ambience of Angelo Badalamenti/Julee Cruise’s Twin Peaks soundtrack, Stereolab/Broadcast’s experimental vision of ‘50s lounge muzak/exotica and French ‘60s pop, or the narcotic country-noir of Mazzy Star.” The Guardian

                                                        Following on from the deluxe reissue ‘Vampyr’ last year, comes Death And Vanilla’s unreleased live score of ‘The Tenant’ on limited edition magenta vinyl. Originally scored by Philippe Sarde, this release sees Death And Vanilla reimagine the film’s soundtrack four decades on for a new audience.

                                                        The haunting instrumental is a foreboding piece of dark and cinematic avant-garde music that’s alienated, lonely and melancholic. Moments of hallucination and delusion mirror the lead character Trelovsky. Recorded in 2015 at Cinemascore festival in Spain alongside a two-hour performance and screening of psychological thriller ‘The Tenant’ (1976). With the band at their most minimal, the accomplished musicians once again bring the dark narrative to life with their expansive and ethereal noir sound. The recording features them as a trio – Marleen Nilsson (Farfisa Compact), Anders Hansson (Hagstrom Kent, Roland SP-404 and Technics SL-1200) and Magnus Bodin (Moog Prodigy and Musser M55). Directed by Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski and based on the novel Le Locataire by Roland Topor, ‘The Tenant’ is the finale in his acclaimed apartment triology which included “Repulsion” (1965) and “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968).

                                                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                        Coloured LP Info: Magenta LP with download card

                                                        Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                        Bardo Pond

                                                        Volume 8

                                                          Brand new album from Philadelphia’s much loved neo-space rock stoner drone outfit. A euphoric transcendental journey to a mountain top nirvana, a psychedelic tapestry that slowly unwinds as they travel onwards into the inner mind. A 40-minute opus delivered from a hail of reverb soulfully caressed by a ceremonial flute, that makes way for a shroud of ‘Weld’—era Neil Young fog. Bardo Pond is your rather ruffled tour guide to this far off place, this distant sense of wonderment at the crossroads with bewilderment.

                                                          Loved and lauded by the late Lou Reed and his wife Laurie Anderson, Jesus & Mary Chain, Mogwai and many more and acclaimed in the music press as such: “Dinosaur Jr guitar power with the glacial grandiosity of Black Mountain, as if Isobel Sollenberger is conjuring a thunderstorm with the sound of her voice and riding it across the heavens.” Stereogum // “One of underground rock’s most extraordinary enigmas” The Quietus // “They alter brain chemistry by the alchemical effect of distressed sound alone, aspiring to become engineers of the soul’s passage to alternate states of consciousness.” Tony Dale (RIP), Ptolemaic Terrascope, 2001 // “Fugazi on acid.” Noisey “Playing fuzzed out stuff of stoner dreams since the mid ‘90s.” Pitchfork // 

                                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                          LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                          Half Japanese

                                                          Why Not?

                                                            Half Japanese have returned to peel further layers from their onion. They have a new album that's a square further on in their unpredictable musical snakes and ladders board. ‘Why Not?’ is a magical thing – it’s Springsteen’s ‘Born To Run’ recorded in a cupboard, it’s an ode to love, it’s a Wire song with two duelling guitarists being Zappa on helium, it’s Parquet Courts in a tantrum, it’s The Crickets contorted into? and The Mysterians, it’s everywhere and nowhere, baby, it’s where it’s at. On ‘Why Not?’ nuances are mused, situations explained, questions asked.

                                                            Outside, zombies and demons roam and everyday aliens emerge from spaceships: it’s a technicolor film transcribed by Jad Fair and friends John Sluggett, Gilles-Vincent Rieder, Mick Hobbs and Jason Willett, their faces at the cracked window of their subterranean habitat looking out at the real world. They’re on a high from their last release: “After all these years, his wiry voice still hits every song with a shock that’s equal parts joy buzzer and defibrillator, each barely in-key bleat alternating between laughable and life-affirming,” said Pitchfork of their last opus ‘Hear The Lion Roar’.

                                                            To which All Music added that “after nearly 40 years of music-making, they're still creating some of the most engaging recordings of their lives, and that's truly something to believe in.” ‘Why Not?’ goes further. It’s an even more intense concoction, it’s further out there. It contains pieces of fluffy thought-provoking music, a bag of sentiments delivered with a real sense of wonderment at how the normal world revolves; all powered with heart and soul, some crunchy guitars, a cello and reverb set-to-kill infiltrating their storytelling. ‘Why’d They Do It?’ quizzes track 11. Because they can. 

                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                            Barry says: Why not indeed?

                                                            Television Personalities

                                                            Beautiful Despair

                                                              Television Personalities unreleased album. Recorded in 1990 by Jowe at his flat in Glading Terrace, Stoke Newington (shortly before it was demolished), over a number sessions on a portable 4-track cassette-tape machine. “Over the course of a few weeks, we had amassed fifteen tracks, some of which ended up being re-recorded with very different arrangements on ‘Closer to God’. The intention was to finish and release these tracks at some point, and that time has finally arrived” - Jowe Head… Of the previously unheard songs, “I Like That in a Girl” was based on a conversation Daniel Treacy had with Lawrence of the Birmingham band Felt, hence the peculiar accent that Dan uses towards the end!

                                                              “Love is a Four-Letter Word” was a song the band would play regularly live; it eventually evolved into “Love is Better Than War”. I Suppose You Think It’s Funny” displays Jowe and Daniels double-falsetto skills. “If You Fly Too High” was based on an encounter with Evan Dando of The Lemonheads in Berlin during a memorable gig with them at the Ecstasy Madhouse in December 1989, when the Berlin Wall was being torn down. The band jammed with Evan on stage that night, playing some tunes by Jonathan Richman and Johnny Thunders. The song also mentions Alan McGee, who was a great fan of the TVPS. Alan openly admits that he emulated Dan’s style of music, and influenced his decision to run a mod-psychedelic club, The Living Room, and to start his label, Creation. 

                                                              Hater

                                                              Red Blinders

                                                                “Their ability to effortlessly write songs that are devastating in their lyrical impact yet bewitching to hear is only rivaled by a few.” Revue / “Their unique take on rock music feels familiar and lived-in, taking bits from indie-pop, post-punk, and classic rock.” Stereogum / "Gorgeous, achingly bittersweet vocals, perpetually swaying between comforting and devastating.” Gorilla Vs Bear / You can imagine John Peel’s hurriedly inaccurate summation of a cold and unforgiving Swedish winter as he juxtaposes the big-jumper-like welcoming warmth of Hater.

                                                                Their lush and tempered guitars are an almost Marr-approved Smiths-like foil for Caroline Landahl’s beautifully accented and accentuated vocal – it’s a heartwarming brew. “We know little of their home town, Malmo,” Peel might have mused, caught up in Hater’s minor chord world weariness, “other than that Roy Hodgson had a particularly successful time there… probably long before this young four-piece were actually born. Indeed. Hater are new to the game. Last year’s well-received debut album, ‘You Tried’ earned comparisons to Alvvays, The Pretenders and even Jefferson Airplane, eclectic for sure, but that’s just incidental. Their new EP distinguishes their very own super polished and intricate guitar-led dreamy pop.

                                                                Featuring their first single for Fire, the wonderfully forlorn and truly lovesick ‘Blushing’ (we’ve all been there) and ‘Rest’ with its haunting monosyllabic guitar break, a super-clean chiming motif that seems like a closing salvo before it regains momentum and brings proceedings to a suitable climax, welcoming back Landahl for one last chorus. The echoey eeriness of ‘Red Blinders’ could have come right out of the bubble blowing indie pop hey days of the early ‘80s, while ‘Penthouse’ is a chunkier c86 groove with a wind blowing through its motorik rhythm. 

                                                                Bevis Frond

                                                                Son Of Walter

                                                                  When the sleeve of The Bevis Frond’s ‘Son Of Walter’ arrived circa 1996 it was a mystery. The title is scratched on a window overlooking an Islington block of flats, the sunset is distorted. Today it would be the view from a banging grime pirate radio station. Back then, it was one man locked in his bedroom with too many ideas and too many instruments (and a Portastudio). It’s the Frond’s 15th studio album. “The release of this work signals a resurgent appreciation for the noodly psychedelia of which this Brit is the master,” claimed the beautifully named Jennie Ruggles in Addicted To Noise. “Guitar fans will eat this album up,” Calendar, a magazine in the US argued and Pulse! Magazine reckoned: “’Son Of Walter’ offers new recruits a generous and reasonably representative introduction both to Saloman’s deeply ingrained mastery of ‘60s-vintage idioms and to the humanity and tunefulness that sets him apart from less imaginative retro-formalists.” Ah, retro formalists, we love them.

                                                                  "Don't ask why, but for this album I decided to make the long-awaited(?) return to the style of the first few BF records. So it's back to the home recording facilities, and back to being the only person involved. So it's definitely worse than the recent stuff. (Feel free to disagree)," Frond mainman and, indeed the only Frond left standing on this opus, reasoned on the sleevenotes when it first sneaked out on the super cool Flydaddy label in the US. So, what is it all about? The trademark folk strum with multi-harmonies is there. There’s a slight nod to a country-ish CSN&Y thing, but that’s only for four bars. Who remembers that when there is the colossal ‘Garden Aeroplane Trap’, a proper wig out at 12 minutes 20. Elsewhere we have the kind of timeless psyche pop that people with ears really love, two songs that namecheck Elvis and a song about a dead man on a train. That was London in the late ‘90s. Hey, rock ‘n’ roll. 

                                                                  The Jazz Butcher

                                                                  The Wasted Years

                                                                    Featuring ‘Bath Of Bacon’, ‘A Scandal In Bohemia’, ‘Sex And Travel’ and ‘Distressed Gentlefolk’. Remastered by Brian Pyle. "The Jazz Butcher was always something of a unique vehicle, a sort of musical dune buggy - it interweaves the influence of The Velvet Underground and Syd Barrett with the new wave energies of the day and leaves us all richer for looking in" Pete Kember - Spacemen 3…. The ‘Butcher’ delivered a gaggle of albums and many 45s for Glass from 1983 to 1986, the jacket notes on the dusty tome that recalls this period mentions Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased), Thatcher, DIY post-punk, LSD, surrealist cabaret, The Velvet Underground, a bottle of Cointreau or two, the Amstrad 7090 and Ronco’s ‘Black Magic’ compilation. All that led to the ‘The Wasted Years’:

                                                                    Four albums, many visions… ‘Bath Of Bacon’ was an experiment in sound, conjoining that Ronco platter to Todd Rundgren, a guitar from Wes Montgomery’s cupboard and mentions of imaginary monsters set to some funky chops. “The sound of a few mates failing to take note that they’ve an LP to make!” claims the JB site. It’s pop meets bluesy scat with plenty of deadpan irony – a theme that will recur. ‘A Scandal In Bohemia’ took a “competent little rock band” with a bassist who’d served time in Bauhaus into a world chorused by multi-track vocals and bathroom ambience. “A top-shelf diamond of a record that is filled with excellent, memorable songs.” (All Music). ‘Sex And Travel’ offered a broadening perspective. Competence and European travel beget a narrative akin to an impressionistic cold war spy movie, a “mess of styles” that became coherent. “A great album,” muses All Music before comparing JB mainman Pat Fish to Ray Davies circa 1969. 

                                                                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                    4xCD Info: 4 x CD with 20 page, hard back book.

                                                                    Bark Psychosis

                                                                    Hex

                                                                      “The Best Post-Rock Album Of All Time” Fact Mag // “Their influence is pervasive” The Quietus // “Mysterious, haunting, and breathtakingly visionary” Allmusic // The recent release of Jeanette Leech’s book ‘Fearless: The Making Of Post-Rock’ (Jawbone Press) celebrates post-rock and its origins. Finding new inspiration, bands were beginning to experiment with techniques as the digital age took over. A case study in her new book, Bark Psychosis were one of the most innovative bands of their time and as legend has it, saw the first use of the term ‘post-rock’ by music critic Simon Reynolds. Following several singles and EPs, the avant-garde soundscapes built around drones and samples of 21-minute stand-out track ‘Scum’ arrived just two years before their seminal debut ‘Hex’ (1994).

                                                                      Frustrated by the mainstream, ‘Scum’ was a huge statement that set them apart from the beginning. Bark Psychosis’ sound was born out of their improvisations at makeshift studio within St John’s Church in Stratford. Taking a year to complete ‘Hex’ left the band on the brink of collapse and by the time of its release they had dissolved. Hailed as a masterpiece, it’s “mysterious, haunting, and breathtakingly visionary” (Allmusic). Breaking down their songs and rebuilding them in the studio brought distinguishing ambient soundscapes and an atmospheric experimental sound. Last year Fact Magazine deservedly gave the album further recognition with it claiming top spot in their ’30 Best Post-Rock Albums Of All Time’.

                                                                      Following ‘Hex’ and the disintegration of the band, Graham Sutton went on to create seminal Drum ‘n’ Bass as Boymerang and hugely acclaimed production work for the likes of These New Puritans, British Sea Power, Silver Apples, Jarvis Cocker and East India Youth. He revived Bark Psychosis at the turn of the millennium, eventually releasing another album, the equally extraordinary ‘///Codename: Dustsucker’ Newly remastered in 2017 from the original analog tapes at Metropolis Studios by Graham Sutton and Stuart Hawkes, and reissued officially for the first time

                                                                      Television Personalities

                                                                      Mummy You're Not Watching Me

                                                                        Returning with psychedelic dark masterpiece, Television Personalities’ transitional second record ‘Mummy Your Not Watching Me’ was originally released in 1982 on Dan Treacy’s ‘Whaam!’ label. The album features ‘If I Could Write Poetry’, ‘Painting By Numbers’ and includes songs reminiscent of their earlier sound that can be heard on 'Magnificent Dreams'. With the formidable Daniel Treacy at its core, Television Personalities remain one of new wave’s longest serving and seminal artists with a career spanning over three decades. The indie pop visionaries influenced many people across the industry including Battles, Black Dice, Crystal Stilts, MGMT and Creation Records’ Alan McGee. ‘Mummy Your Not Watching Me’ is reissued for Record Store Day 2017 it will be available on black and white marbled vinyl alongside ‘The Painted Word’, ‘And Don’t The Kids Just Love It’ and ‘They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles’ / “It's a gawky, charming collection of great little pop tunes, clever bits and embarrassing bits, superb songs” Sounds, 1982.

                                                                        Death And Vanilla

                                                                        Vampyr

                                                                          A Standard LP and CD release will follow later. Now re-issued as a double vinyl package, ‘Vampyr’ is full of “eerie haunted ambience” (©The Guardian), an atmospheric and spaced out 78 minutes that galvanizes Moog, glockenspiel, zither and vibraphonette in a beautiful piece of claustrophobia, a timeless slice of suitably scary sound filled with an unnerving sonic vibe that sticks in the psyche. “The retro leaning Scandi duo fire up their Moogs and mellotrons, sonic archaeologists with a hauntological bent.. there is an alluring sexiness to their avant-Kraut Moog-pop excursions.” 

                                                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                          2xColoured LP Info: 500 only 2LP, black and white marbled vinyl, printed inners, gatefold sleeve.

                                                                          Pumping their way out of the South Bronx of New York in the early 80s, this rhythm and dance-punk outfit made unforgettable funk that was also unusually rooted in post-punk. This powerhouse of raw and cutting edge music ultimately made them ahead of their time. ESG enjoyed success sharing stages with PiL and Gang Of Four and have been heavily sampled by many musicians including TLC, Wu-Tang Clan, Beastie Boys and Liars. This version, a band-approved reissue of "Step Off" is released with artwork from award nominated illustrator Hannah Alice, who recently gained critical praise for her work on the Bert Jansch reissue of "Avocet". One of their most stripped back and intoxicating offerings, it clearly displays the group's love of dub's minimal and sparse arrangements plus the bass-led song style also purveyed by the genre.

                                                                          'ESG's fusion of sweet soul and punk attitude with an intuitive understanding of dance music remains.' - The Guardian
                                                                          “This is still funk with an alien otherworldliness the likes of which George Clinton never envisioned, stripped to its barest essentials for maximum impact.' - All Music
                                                                          'ESG are as cool as ever.' - Fact


                                                                          Modern Kosmology sees Jane Weaver's melodic-protagonist channeling new depths of creative cosmic energy within. After the huge critical acclaim of 2012's “Fallen By Watchbird”, followed by 2014's exploratory "Silver Globe" LP winning her unanimous "record of the year accolades" and hefty measures of radio play-listing Jane Weaver's conceptual trajectory has sent her neo-kosmische penchants to the point of no-return. Jane Weaver's unwaning yearning for psychoactive pop energy has just reached a new level of magnetism. As snowclones go, Modern Kosmology is the new Silver. Another Spectrum to add to the tension.

                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                          Andy says: Jane Weaver has fully hit her stride. This record is the perfect companion piece to the incredible ‘Silver Globe’, with just as much invention, depth and attention to detail, but somehow more streamlined, more concise. Proving that our erstwhile Album Of The Year was no flash in the pan, ‘Modern Kosmology’ is just as magical, just as lovely, and most importantly just as full of top tunes!

                                                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                          Coloured LP Info: Indies only Blue LP repress.

                                                                          Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                          CD Info: Digi-pack sleeve.

                                                                          With Jad Fair at the helm for over four decades, the highly revered Half Japanese still remain “the ultimate expression of punk’s dictum that rock should be accessible to anyone who wanted to pick up an instrument and play” (AllMusic). Born out of the Fair brother’s lo-fi bedroom recordings of the mid-70’s, they reinvented rock music with their off-kilter view and popular outsider rock. Leading the lo-fi movement of the early 90s burgeoning indie rock scene, Half Japanese’s lasting influence and prolific output has seen them experiment with alternate tunings, chords and melody and in recent years they’ve produced more cohesive offerings. Wildly eccentric and humorous, the energetic ‘Hear The Lions Roar’ is an art rock record where Jad’s expertly thrown out lyrics remain optimistic and fresh alongside a fierce and compelling rhythm section. Featuring a cohort of past musicians from the 90’s, their dexterous instrumentation brings further depth to Jad’s songs. 

                                                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                          Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                          Harvey Mandel is among the most innovative guitarists to emerge from the Chicago blues scene of the late 1960s. His career began at Twist City and other local hotspots, sharing stages with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Buddy Guy. He came up in that scene alongside Charlie Musselwhite, Mike Bloomfield, Barry Goldberg and Steve Miller, leading to an invitation from Bill Graham to open for Cream at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium in August 1967.

                                                                          Mandel was a member of Canned Heat, appearing with them at Woodstock. He played on numerous John Mayall albums, and on the Rolling Stones' 1975 LP Black and Blue ("Hot Stuff", "Memory Motel"), having auditioned for Mick Taylor's job, which ultimately went to Ron Wood. Known for his "tapping" technique and sinewy, sustain-driven phrasing (thus his nickname, "The Snake"), Mandel's solo albums such as Cristo Redentor, Baby Batter and Righteous have been sampled and drooled over by guitar geeks, DJ's, and fans of funky, soulful, otherworldly composition.

                                                                          Harvey's fifteenth studio LP and his first widely distributed album in 20 years, Snake Pit was recorded in two days at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA. Harvey teamed with fellow Chicago-based musicians Ben Boye (keys), Ryan Jewell (drums), Brian Sulpizio (guitar), and Anton Hatwich (bass), who have all played with singer/songwriter Ryley Walker. Harvey and the band had not met previously, nor had they rehearsed. He played snippets of song ideas for the band on his iPhone, and then they would lay down a track in one or two takes. Hard to believe when you hear the album, but that's exactly how it went down.

                                                                          Minimal overdubs with strings and percussion were added, but mostly what you hear is what happened spontaneously in the studio. The album contains six new original compositions by Mandel and two revisited songs : "Baby Batter" from his 1971 Janus LP of the same name, and "Before Six" by Larry Frazier, which appears on his first album,Cristo Redentor. Snake Pit marks a spirited return in a career that now spans six decades -- all the more intense and poignant given Harvey's recent battle with cancer.

                                                                          Pere Ubu

                                                                          The Art Of Walking

                                                                            Released in 1980, ‘The Art Of Walking’ sees Pere Ubu ‘moving even further from the conventions of rock music - and from their own past - but still moving forward, without a doubt, and losing none of their integrity as a group.’ (Melody Maker, Chris Cutler). The album features in new box set, ‘Architecture Of Language 1979-1982’, released in March. It gathers together ‘New Picnic Time’ with its companion releases, ‘The Art Of Walking’ and ‘Song Of The Bailing Man’ plus LP of extras, ‘Architectural Salvage’. Coed Jail! Live dates mark the release of the box with a set list drawn exclusively from the recordings of 1975-1982. Tom Herman, guitarist from 1975 to 1979 and from 1997 to 2002, rejoins the band for the tour. The line-up is David Thomas, Tom Herman, Robert Wheeler, Michele Temple and Steve Mehlman. Wheeler and Temple have been in Pere Ubu since 1994, Mehlman since 1995. 

                                                                            Pere Ubu

                                                                            Song Of The Bailing Man

                                                                              Released in 1982, 'Song of the Bailing Man' is an ‘inspired, invigorating, confounding, disturbing... yeah, one hell of a swinging way to go. Still the futility Ubu must have felt making far sighted music in a chronically near-sighted world is pressed hard into these grooves.’ (Melody Maker, David Fricke). The album features in new box set, ‘Architecture Of Language 1979-1982’, released in March. It gathers together ‘New Picnic Time’ with its companion releases, ‘The Art Of Walking’ and ‘Song Of The Bailing Man’ plus LP of extras, ‘Architectural Salvage’. Coed Jail! Live dates mark the release of the box with a set list drawn exclusively from the recordings of 1975-1982. Tom Herman, guitarist from 1975 to 1979 and from 1997 to 2002, rejoins the band for the tour. The line-up is David Thomas, Tom Herman, Robert Wheeler, Michele Temple and Steve Mehlman. Wheeler and Temple have been in Pere Ubu since 1994, Mehlman since 1995.


                                                                              Pere Ubu

                                                                              New Picnic Time

                                                                                Initially released in 1979, ‘New Picnic Time’ is “weird, wonderful and so far beyond the expected that these deconstructions of popular music are as charmingly retro as the Beatles and as modern as today's blending’s of funk, hip-hop and alt-rock. Revolutionary and demented yet full of fun, Pere Ubu are indispensable to any collection of 20th century rock.” (Herald-American, Scott Laurence). The album features in new box set, ‘Architecture Of Language 1979-1982’, released in March. It gathers together ‘New Picnic Time’ with its companion releases, ‘The Art Of Walking’ and ‘Song Of The Bailing Man’ plus LP of extras, ‘Architectural Salvage’. Coed Jail! Spring dates mark the release of the box with a set list drawn exclusively from the recordings of 1975-1982. Tom Herman, guitarist from 1975 to 1979 and from 1997 to 2002, rejoins the band for the tour. The line-up is David Thomas, Tom Herman, Robert Wheeler, Michele Temple and Steve Mehlman. Wheeler and Temple have been in Pere Ubu since 1994, Mehlman since 1995. 

                                                                                Rats On Rafts / De Kift

                                                                                Rats On Rafts / De Kift

                                                                                The best act I've ever seen at a festival" Paul Thomson, Franz Ferdinand. Rats On Rafts have joined forces with legendary underground Dutch punk band De Kift - Zaandam punk vs Rotterdam punk! A playful revisioning of each other’s music which began at Metropolis Festival in 2013. The record brings together songs from Rats On Rafts critically acclaimed second album ‘Tape Hiss’ and De Kift’s huge catalogue. The two bands locked themselves up for a month to record a completely analogue album. Together they will play this material live on tour. Instantly recognisable as Rats ‘Last Day On De Zon’ is shot through with brass - enter De Kift. Dark, dub infused ‘Meggy’ sees Rats bringing their explosive and unrelenting rolling crescendos. ‘Sleep Little Links 2 3 4’ is uplifting with the addition of brass whilst folk tinged ‘Dit Schip’ sees them bring further depth to the collaboration. Energetic and raw, the spirit of their festival performances prevails throughout. De Kift have released music for three decades with father Heijne only retiring in 2013, brothers Marco & Ferry Heijne and cousin Pim remain alongside co-founder and drummer Wim. The nine piece brass ensemble have released eleven albums, collaborated in theatre, film and various media projects which has seen them win a number of Dutch awards across film and music. Both formats have unique sleeves made from recycled LP/CD sleeves, with the front and back cover printed and stuck on to the recycled sleeve. The band have assembled and fulfilled each one themselves. 

                                                                                Following the release of ‘Total Exposure’ the fiery Argentinian grrl group Las Kellies return with new album ‘Friends & Lovers’. Inflected new wave post-punk blends garage-psych with infectiously deft dance beats and melodic pop. ‘Friends & Lovers’ fuzzed-up gems sees them move away from the heavier dub sounds of their last record instead sinking their teeth into a groove like Thee Oh Sees with the spirit of ESG and Delta 5. Rupturing with dance floor classics like ‘Sugar Beat’ and ‘I Don’t Care’, they effortlessly move into sun-soaked psych-pop tunes (‘Summer Breeze’, ‘Sun Goes Down’) with slow grooving honeyed tones, shimmering guitars and propulsive percussion. Produced by Iván Diaz Mathé (credits include Lee “Scratch” Perry & Mad Professor), who’s worked on their previous records.

                                                                                The Bevis Frond

                                                                                Sprawl

                                                                                  1994’s ‘Sprawl’, originally released on Woronzow, features Nick with Jimmy Hastings (flute), Tony Aldridge (violin) and Andy Ward on drums. Vocals here were provided by Ade Shaw, Dean Carter and Mick Donovan along with Current 93’s David Tibet guesting with spoken word on the spiritual ‘Right On (hippy dream)’. Hypnotic 12 minute psych piece ‘Awake’ is interspersed with instrumentals and the grungy guitars of ‘The Puller’ are offset by Aldridge’s strings. The tenth studio album release in less than a decade since and ‘Sprawl’ - once again - demonstrates Nick’s immeasurable song writing power. 

                                                                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                  2xLP Info: Double LP, gatefold sleeve, printed inners, art insert, download postcard

                                                                                  The Chills / Martin Phillips

                                                                                  The Curse Of The Chills / Martin Phillips Live At The Moth Club

                                                                                  This exclusive hardback book contains 'The Curse Of the Chills' documentary on DVD, as well as the Martin Phillipps - Live At The Moth Club, London 2015. ‘The Curse Of The Chills’ is a major new feature documentary that features never-before-seen live footage, interviews and archive. With exclusive access to the Phillipps family home video archive, the film provides an intimate portrait of the man behind the Chills. Exploring the source of his creativity and his songwriting aesthetic, the film also follows Martin on his journey from scenester musician to international star, then follows him on the downward spiral, interest in the band waned and depression and addiction set in. It’s an age old rock and roll story where Martin is unflinchingly honest about his heroin addiction and struggles with Hepatitis. Happily, there is a final act to the story, and the film is ultimately one of redemption and vindication of living a life that stays true to your beliefs – whatever the cost.

                                                                                  Hard back book, containing Martin Phillips – Live At The Moth Club CD and ‘The Curse Of The Chills’ documentary on DVD. 

                                                                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                  Hardback Book Info: Hard Back Book.

                                                                                  The first release for the Swedish Psychedelic dream-pop band, their self-titled EP caught the attention of French label ‘Hands In The Dark’. They originally released EP in 2010 on CD an extremely limited edition run of 100 copies. The EP is reissued on blue vinyl to match the cover alongside the ‘From Above’ 7” and their self-titled debut long player.

                                                                                  Death And Vanilla

                                                                                  Death And Vanilla Album (Reissue)

                                                                                  Marleen Nilsson and Anders Hansson AKA Death and Vanilla released their first full length self-titled eponymous debut LP in 2012. It radiates sophisticated retro-futuristic psych-pop whilst channeling their passion for hauntology, library, krautrock and radiophonic music. Mastered by Linus Sjölund at RED audio it was initially released on French label ‘Hands In The Dark’ which like their EP sold out on pre-order.

                                                                                  Fire Records now release the album on black/yellow splatter vinyl and CD alongside the ‘From Above’ 7” and their self-titled debut EP. 

                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                  Andy says: Krauty, moog, hushed, library baroque pop that breezes along in a sultry fashion.

                                                                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                  Coloured LP Info: LP is yellow vinyl.

                                                                                  Virginia Wing

                                                                                  Rhonda

                                                                                    THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2016 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                                                                                    Virginia Wing are not from the sedate school of dream-pop escapism…a hazy subversion of the traditional monochrome evocations of post-punk, a photo negative of an established form.” - The Quietus // “South London three-piece ally buzz and drone with sweetness and light” Guardian – New Band Of The Week // "A piece of noir-pop majesty that consistently pushes its own boundaries and frequently shatters the listeners’ sense of expectation" Loud and Quiet // "They possess a rare ability to dive deep beneath the skin.. a ghostly mix that flirts hard and fast with the avant garde while retaining a sly pop lustre" Mojo 4* // Following the 2015 release of their acclaimed debut album ‘Measures Of Joy’ on Fire Records, Camberwell based outfit Virginia Wing return with a striking new single. ‘Rhonda’, released for Record Store Day on 12” vinyl with a disco cut sleeve featuring artwork from longtime collaborator Florian Brooks. Recorded at Hackney-based Holy Mountain Studios with Misha Hering, ‘Rhonda’ sees the band expand the deep and varied sonic palette displayed on their debut ‘Measures Of Joy’. Featuring guest musician Koichi Yamanoha of Grimm Grimm, the single unfolds slowly as meditative incantations give way to a sprawling piece of experimental pop for the dance floor. The ambitious A-side flirts with disco beats and draws influence from a variety of schools of contemporary dance music whilst still remaining, at heart, a pop song. This is pop music with texture, depth and nuance; a daring and progressive piece. The B-side includes two new tracks: ‘Sisterly Love’ and ‘Daughter Of The Mind’ which further hint at the deviations we can expect on their second LP. Field recordings, ambient mediations and rhythmic experimentation abound; the new material sees Virginia Wing refining and reworking the sound conjured on their debut, a masterful workout and one that provides a thrilling incentive to await LP2 with baited breath. Following a headline European tour and a UK tour with Hookworms last year, Virginia Wing will be releasing their second album in autumn 2016. Forming in 2012, Virginia Wing are Alice Merida Richards, Sam Pillay and Sebastian Truskolaski. 

                                                                                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                    Ltd 12" includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                                    Released in 1982, 'Song of the Bailing Man' is an ‘inspired, invigorating, confounding, disturbing... yeah, one hell of a swinging way to go. Still the futility Ubu must have felt making far sighted music in a chronically near-sighted world is pressed hard into these grooves.’ (Melody Maker, David Fricke).

                                                                                    The album features in new LP box set, ‘Architecture Of Language 1979-1982’, released in March. It gathers together ‘New Picnic Time’ with its companion releases, ‘The Art Of Walking’ and ‘Song Of The Bailing Man’ plus LP of extras, ‘Architectural Salvage’. Spring dates mark the release of the box with a set list drawn exclusively from the recordings of 1975-1982. Tom Herman, guitarist from 1975 to 1979 and from 1997 to 2002, rejoins the band for the tour. The line-up is David Thomas, Tom Herman, Robert Wheeler, Michele Temple and Steve Mehlman. Wheeler and Temple have been in Pere Ubu since 1994, Mehlman since 1995. 

                                                                                    Pere Ubu

                                                                                    Architecture Of Language

                                                                                      4LP box set with new masters of the albums ‘New Picnic Time’ (1979), ‘The Art Of Walking’ (1980) and ‘Song Of The Bailing Man’ (1982) plus a disk of extras, ‘Architectural Salvage’, ‘Co-Ed jail’ poster and download postcard. Pere Ubu reinvented rock music from the ground up. Equally at ease with Sun Ra and The Monkees, Glen Campbell and The MC5, Can and The Raspberries, they are the white Funkadelic. 2015’s box set release, ‘Elitism For The People 1975-1978’ is a veritable primer for exploring the possibilities of popular music. It documents the band “creating their own private musical apocalypse and then forging on to start the world anew” (Uncut, Jim Wirth).

                                                                                      The second in the series of box sets, ‘Architecture Of Language 1979-1982,’ gathers together “the scariest album ever recorded,” ‘New Picnic Time,’ with its companion releases, ‘The Art Of Walking’ and ‘Song Of The Bailing Man.’ These are records of “unique beauty - a beauty marked by truth and thus also tragic and sometimes painful” (Sounds, Chris Cutler). Ian Penman, writing in 1980 in the New Musical Express, said “It is obvious that (the history of) Pere Ubu should not be thought of in terms of a linear development - reducing its entire operation and presence to an exclusive concern for working and succeeding in rock and roll. Unfortunately, most criticism - of Pere Ubu, of many other folks - assumes that words have one meaning, that desires point in a single direction, that ideas are logical; it ignores the fact that the world of language, noise and desire is one of lack, insecurity, interruption, struggle, blundering, disguises, ploys, embarrassed grins.”

                                                                                      Mastered by Brian Pyle, the original quarter-inch stereo mix tapes were digitally transferred by Paul Hamann at Suma at a 192khz / 24 bit resolution. From these the vinyl LPs were cut by Pete Norman with a Neumann VMS80 lathe. The Coed Jail Tour marks the release of the box with a set list drawn exclusively from the recordings of 1975-1982. Tom Herman, guitarist from 1975 to 1979 and from 1997 to 2002, rejoins the band for the tour. The line-up is David Thomas, Tom Herman, Robert Wheeler, Michele Temple and Steve Mehlman. Wheeler and Temple have been in Pere Ubu since 1994, Mehlman since 1995. 

                                                                                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                      4xLP Box Set Info: Box set, 4LPs, poster, download card.

                                                                                      “No one else in American rock, underground or over, in 1974 and ‘75, was writing and playing songs this hard and graphic about being f**ked over and fighting mad. No one else is doing it now.” David Fricke, editor of Rolling Stone.

                                                                                      And, again, the bad penny shows up. Rocket From The Tombs is back. ‘Black Record’ delivers eight new tracks, as well as definitive recordings of Rocket classics ‘Sonic Reducer’ and ‘Read It And Weep’ and a cover of The Sonics’ ‘Strychnine.’ Still fighting mad. Fronted by founding members Crocus Behemoth and Craig Bell, ‘Black Record’ delivers anthems borne of decades of raw energy coupled with decades of experienced musicianship, firmly assuring its place in the extraordinary history of the band. Loud, hard and fast, ‘Welcome to the New Dark Ages,’ ‘Coopy (Schrödinger’s Refrigerator)’ and ‘I Keep A File On You’ are not breaking rules – the rules broke forty years ago. ‘Waiting For The Snow’ and ‘Spooky’ are not band-aids to malaise – they’re slap-in-the-face wake up calls. Every track is an assault. The band debuted June 16 1974. Between then and August 1975, when it finally crashed and burned, Rocket played a handful of shows, went through four drummers and wrote a set of songs that are now classics: ‘30 Seconds Over Tokyo,’ ‘Final Solution,’ ‘Ain’t It Fun,’ ‘Amphetamine,’ ‘Sonic Reducer,’ ‘So Cold,’ and ‘What Love Is.’ Pere Ubu, Saucers and The Dead Boys formed from the debris field. Over three decades, the band’s reputation spread through underground bootlegs, the cream of which were eventually officially released as ‘The Day The Earth Met The Rocket From The Tombs’ (2002).

                                                                                      Thirteen years earlier, a San Diego band, Rocket From The Crypt, inspired by those bootlegs, co-opted the name and went on to forge a notable career. Pearl Jam and Guns N’ Roses recorded covers of Rocket songs. RFTT invited fellow Clevelanders This Moment In Black History to contribute to ‘Black Record.’ "We've had a mutual admiration society going for years. I wanted them involved,” singer Crocus Behemoth said. “I wanted to feel a rival group’s eyes on us as we worked.” 

                                                                                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                      Ltd LP Info: Silver vinyl edition.

                                                                                      Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                                      Building on the breakthrough of her “Glacial Glow” album, and coming off of tours opening for St. Vincent and The Jesus Lizard (something that only makes equal sense for Noveller), guitarist and filmmaker Sarah Lipstate emerged with what AllMusic called “an incredible and complex statement, and one that clearly stands as a challenge to herself and her audience alike.”

                                                                                      The album. “No Dreams” would continue to elevate her songwriting and soundscaping to new heights, with Pitchfork raving; “Sarah Lipstate creates miniature musical worlds, places that you feel like you’ll never leave as long as the record is playing.” Lipstate, a former member of Parts & Labour and Cold Cave, as well as a collaborator with such luminaries as Lee Renaldo and Jim Thirlwell, along with being a member of both Rhys Chatham’s Guitar Army and Glenn Branca’s 100 Guitar Ensemble, has emerged as one of the most exciting and interesting guitarists of this era. “No Dreams” cements her as a talent on the rise. Originally released as a limited edition on the experimental label Important Records, following the success of her most recent “Fantastic Planet” album, Fire Records is reissuing the album on 180 gram vinyl to a wider audience. 

                                                                                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                      LP Info: 180gram LP.

                                                                                      “Noveller is the nom de musique of Sarah Lipstate, whose precise compositions build on a cathartic repetition of righteous riff action colored with gorgeous loopingfuckdoodlery and noise gush,” explains The Village Voice in introducing her album “Glacial Glow.” The more mannered Wall Street Journal likens her “use of her guitar to explore sonic territory similar to the mid-70s experiments of Brian Eno and King Crimson Robert Fripp.” They only touch on the unique way that Lipstate interacts with her Fender Jaguar and a layout of pedals that Guitar Player has run extensive features and analysis on and inspired Red Bull to anoint her one of the Best 30 Guitarists Under 30. As a member of both Rhys Chatham’s Guitar Army and Glenn Branca’s 100 Guitar Ensemble, and as a collaborator with the likes of Lee Renaldo and Jim Thirlwell, Lipstate has emerged as one of the most exciting and interesting guitarists of this era.

                                                                                      With “Glacial Glow” Lipstate honed Noveller into what Pitchfork called “a stronger, bolder voice” giving “each track a distinct theme, telling wordless stories.” Originally released in 2011 as a limited edition on Weird Forest, following the success of her most recent “Fantastic Planet” album, Fire Records is reissuing the album to a wider audience. 

                                                                                      Blank Realm's transformation across the Australian mystic from sprawling spaced out psychotic punk blues, through the startling maverick pop psychedelia of ‘Go Easy’ to the widely acclaimed ‘Grassed Inn’, continues in its unrelenting quest for that quintessential synergy of chiming pop anthems.

                                                                                      Hook-laden throughout they unleash their wild yet tender new album ‘Illegals In Heaven’ which offers up freaked out reflections on life, love and circumstance. As knowing as the Chills or the Pretenders, loner ballads are as gnarled and world weary as Dylan in a cacophony as bruised as Royal Trux yet with the playfulness of Half Japanese.

                                                                                      Recorded and produced with Lawrence English (head of the Room40 label) on a late night at The Plutonium studio in Brisbane, the album sees them on their first foray into a recording studio. While it wasn’t exactly Abbey Road, it truly captures the chaos and majesty of the band’s formidable live shows.
                                                                                      It would be all too easy to say that ‘Illegals In Heaven’ is their finest work to date, but the simple truth is that Blank Realm have been without peers for a trilogy of albums, so it just might be as Sarah huskily intones, "Gold" too.

                                                                                      “Blank Realm are still bent on mixing the diamonds with the rough, and on Grassed Inn that particular swirl is at its most intoxicating.” Pitchfork 8/10

                                                                                      “Balancing the arty with the party to make for a set of danceable, hook-filled songs that bubble and bloom with an almost biological rampancy, shooting out tendrils of strange, snaking melody in every direction like vines enveloping a ruin” Guardian 4*

                                                                                      “A cracking selection of scuzzy, fuzzy psych-rock songs that recall Royal Truax and Sonic Youth” Uncut 8/10

                                                                                      “Blank Realm generate scruffy, VU’s-Sister-Ray-loving grooves, coloured up with blooping synths, and yowling, way-off vocals” Mojo 4* 


                                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                      Andy says: Catchy but cool as you like jangle'n'fuzz psych pop/rock from down-under. A big hit on the shop stereo.

                                                                                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                      Ltd LP Info: A limited pressing of 500 Pink and white marble vinyl exclusive to UK Indies.

                                                                                      Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                                      Josephine Foster And The Victor Herrero Band

                                                                                      Anda Jaleo / Perlas

                                                                                      Bringing together both of Josephine Foster and the Victor Herrero Band’s Spanish albums in one place, with a previously unreleased track. Anda Jaleo was originally released in 2010. Federico Garcia Lorca's popular folk song collection "Las Canciones Populares Espanolas" was banned under Franco's dictatorship and today the music survives but marginally within the Spanish sub-conscious.

                                                                                      Taking their cue from Lorca and La Argentinita's infectious 1931 recording of the songs, Josephine Foster and her partner Spanish musician Victor Herrero arranged the poetically rich collection for their acoustic band, formed while living in the Grenadine Sierra. Anda Jaleo is the band's live recording of "Las Canciones"; a visceral celebration of the persistence of popular anonymous song.

                                                                                      This new edition includes an additional track not featured on the original release, an interpretation of ‘Sones de Asturias’. La colección de "Canciones Populares Españolas" recopiladas y armonizadas por Federico García Lorca fue censurada en tiempos de Franco, y hoy en día la música sobrevive aunque de una manera vaga en el subconsciente del pueblo español. Inspirados por la contagiosa grabación de las canciones de Lorca y La Argentinita de 1931, Josephine Foster y su compañero el músico español Víctor Herrero han arreglado esta poética y rica colección para su banda acústica , formada mientras vivían en la sierra de Granada. Anda Jaleo es la grabación en directo de su versión de "Las Canciones"; una celebración visceral de la canción popular anónima y su persistencia. Following from Anda Jaleo, Josephine Foster and the Victor Herrero Band created a superb follow-up entitled Perlas (Pearls). It is a jewel of a collection, with songs and poems selected by Josephine herself, gathered from dusty old scores and brought vividly to the present with warm performances full of flesh-and-blood emotion. Made with a variety of stringed instruments and simple percussion, the songs were recorded live in the studio on to analogue tape by Paco Loco in Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain. Foster breathes new life into timeless traditional melodies, drawing from the Spanish-folk traditions of Castile, the Basque, Santander and the Costa Brava.

                                                                                      Robert Pollard

                                                                                      Faulty Superheroes

                                                                                        Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays Robert Pollard from the swift completion of his latest brilliant record. Faulty Superheroes jets off Pollard's vinyl-grooved runway like the prototype for some new super-sonic power pop fighter jet, and at this point in his career is anyone surprised that the twelve tracks on his latest effort are uniformly awesome? The answer is no. Exactly no one is surprised. The biggest thing Pollard has to contend is his own miraculously consistent greatness. That he rarely if ever stumbles is some kind of marvel, and perhaps implies superpowers of his own. If you see what we did there.

                                                                                        Faulty Superheroes has a tossed-off, effortless magnificence that the rash of indie-whatevers trailing in his wake from Bee Thousand to the present constantly strive for, and fail to achieve. The constant sense of surprise, of wonder, of discovery that you routinely find in superbly-structured instant bomp classics like "Faster The Great" is not something that can be taught, or learned, or imparted, or copied. Pollard pretty much abandoned the four-track for twenty years now and still gets tagged as "lo-fi," which is a word that makes even less sense now in the days of digital recording than it did then in the days of occasionally tape-hiss smothered coulda-shoulda- been hits. "Take Me To Yolita" in lesser hands could have been not much more than a bad one-liner stretched to fit a pop song, but Pollard reverse-engineers the titular pun to build a Kinks-like mini-epic that elevates the raw material of the song to transcendent heights. "She walks to him but that's not him." Damn. And so it goes. Are there bum notes here and there? Recording accidents-on-purpose left in like crushed empty beer cans strewn around the miniature, glimmering pop/ rock/ psych/ prog construction sites left standing in the wake of each of Faulty Superheroes' finished/unfinished songs? You betcha.

                                                                                        The Guided By Voices aesthetic was formed and developed and continues to be improved by Pollard, which makes all the more puzzling the hand-wringing that accompanies every announcement of a so-called GBV "break-up" (or for that matter, "reunion."). "You only need one," he sings on the song of that title. As long as we have Bob, we need nothing else. And we have Bob. If you're counting your blessings, don’t forget that one. It's kinda crucial.

                                                                                        Robert Pollard - Guitar, Vocals, Todd Tobias - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards. Kevin March – Drums. Stephen Hopkins - Bass on "What A Man". 

                                                                                        Half Japanese

                                                                                        Volume 3 : 1990-1995

                                                                                        Formed in the mid-70s, and setting the standard for post-punk ever since, Jad and David Fair and Half Japanese return with a new volume that finds us twenty years into their story. The 90s would see them under a new spotlight as Kurt Cobain used his celebrity to tell anyone that would listen about their greatness, and had the band tour with Nirvana. They would respond with three of the most wild and varied albums in their career.

                                                                                        Continuing their Fire deluxe reissues of the entire Half Japanese catalogue, Volume Three: 1990-1995 is the third of four volumes containing three LPs/CDs. This next set of Half Japanese LPs begins with 1990’s explosively, noisy and chaotic (sometimes improvised) ‘We Are They Who Ache With Amorous Love’ featuring their cover of the Them garage rock classic “Gloria” and two tracks “Titanic" and "Hand Without a Body” that were co-written with the like-minded Daniel Johnston. Two years later the notably more delicate and, dare we say, jangly, ‘Fire In The Sky’ (1992) arrived at a pivotal time for the group when they gained notable recognition from the likes of Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Teenage Fanclub and Yo La Tengo (whose Ira Kaplan guests on the record).

                                                                                        This highly anticipated third installation closes the trio with 1995’s ‘Hot’ which became MTVs album of the week on release, with Michael Goldbery writing “Hot, mixes Sonic Youth-style noise, Stooges primitivism and ’60s pop with excellent results. “Lucky Ones” is a simply charming number (“A good thing just got better/ As better as better can be”) reminiscent of Jonathan Richman, while “Drum Straight” is dose of feedback drenched skonk and “Vampire” rocks hard liken the Sonic’s “Bull In The Heather.” Fire’s colossal Half Japanese series began last year with the Record Store Day exclusive of ‘Half Gentleman/Not Beasts’, this set contains the records in their original form with extras that later appeared on CD formats available. It will also include original artwork from Jad Fair and liner notes by Half Japanese hall of famer Mark David Jickling. “Cutting straight to the gut. Jad’s phrasing matches surging sentiments, creating a counterpoint to the spot-on music. When they grind out a groove half-rhythmic/half-blank cadences, the woozy disconnect is oddly compelling” Pitchfork’s Best New Reissue (Volume 2: 1987-1989)

                                                                                        “An impressive and well-assembled study of one of this band's more interesting periods” - All Music.

                                                                                        “This should also lay to rest any questions about the importance of Half Japanese. Without them, we wouldn’t have the primitive pop of Beat Happening nor the id-bearing beauty of Daniel Johnston” - Paste Magazine. 

                                                                                        Pere Ubu

                                                                                        The Pere Ubu Moon Unit

                                                                                        “Pere Ubu has never visited Cleveland, Ohio, but it sounds like an interesting place and we hope to go there one day.” David Thomas // Since the American Federation of Musicians have blocked Pere Ubu from performing in America, the band has renounced not only its American ‘citizenship’ but also its American past. The Pere Ubu Moon Unit, a subset of the band, has released 'Leeds,' a petition to the authorities in that English town, to grant Pere Ubu asylum as a band that formed in Leeds, in 1975. Those authorities are a specially convened congress of the members of Gang of Four, Sisters of Mercy, Soft Cell, The Mekons and The Wedding Present. Any member of the congress may object and Pere Ubu will then turn to the authorities in Port Talbot for sanctuary. Following on from their improvised sets on their Visions of the Moon Tour, 2014, the Pere Ubu Moon Unit was born as solution to the often irritating conversations regarding Support Bands.

                                                                                        David Thomas says “if we're going to have to endure crappy support bands then we'll do it ourselves. The Moon Unit plays a 30 minute show of songs made up from nothing.” ‘Nothing’ never materialised. Instead, there were half hour continuous performances that opened unique new pathways in the Pere Ubu sound. Songs were formed, the musicians pushed their own and each other’s boundaries, Thomas was Ringmaster, with sleight of hand and voice. Whilst unmistakably the ‘sound’ of Pere Ubu, these sessions were raw and fascinating, and it was only through chance that a recording was captured. This album was recorded at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, during the November 2014 tour of the UK. This intelligent and theatrical recording exudes the unrelenting energy that was witnessed by the audience during these ‘support’ sessions. It is an extraordinary and just addition to the Pere Ubu story. At the end, Thomas concludes with a suggestion to the observers, “If you were cool like Jimi Hendrix, or something, or Brian May… you’d turn that into a national anthem”. 

                                                                                        The first thing the listener will notice about Ricked Wicky is that it is the most musically adept project Guided By Voices' mage Robert Pollard has undertaken in some time, at least since late period-GBV (Half-Smiles of the Decomposed, for instance), or even Boston Spaceships. "[Ricked Wicky] is a sophisticated arena rock band," says Pollard, and I Sell The Circus offers in evidence a series of ball-peen hammers to the brain-pan ("Piss Face" with its James Gang-era slide guitar and the proto-punk stomp of "Intellectual Types," for example) alongside more delicate, prog-tinged frippery ("Cow-Headed Moon" features "Court of the Crimson King"-esque mellotron, while the acoustic guitar mastery displayed on "Even Today and Tomorrow" recalls the mellow-era ELP of "Lucky Man").

                                                                                        Credit the players: bolstering the easy mastery of a dizzying array of song writing forms one naturally expects (and receives) from Pollard are the impressive instrumental prowess of fellow Daytonian Nick Mitchell ("no blood relation to Mitch," Pollard stresses), who can otherwise be found in near-weekly performance at Wings, an important Dayton sports bar, multi-instrumentalist and producer Todd Tobias, and "the worldly Kevin March," (Pollard again) who does double duty these days in Guided By Voices. These guys can play, and on I Sell The Circus, they play the fuck out of the songs. "The band named Ricked Wicky is significant in that it is the very first name I created for a non-existent band in my early teens," explains Pollard. Fourteen of its fifteen tracks were recorded at Cyberteknics in Dayton, a studio Pollard has come to use with increasing frequency due to its profusion of vintage analogue gear.

                                                                                        Used to great effect on ISTC: "Rotten Backboards" is as gorgeous and melancholic a tune as Pollard has ever written, and lyrically sounds a note of wistfulness that long-time fans will not find unfamiliar. "She can run, 'cause that's what I did," sings Pollard over a sublimely-textured background of synth-strings, arpeggiated guitar, piano, and clattery drums, and while it's tempting to read real regret into the content ("rotten backboards" as a metaphor for the debris of the past), it's always dangerous looking for autobiography in Pollard's mostly-fictional constructions. And anyway the misty wistfulness is cleared away immediately by the sharply propulsive prime-Who swagger of the next -- and final -- track "A Real Stab." Which seems to be about needles, or the messengers of Oz, or paper bags. It's one of the best songs on an album of standouts. "Some may wish to refer to us as a 'super group,'" says Pollard, tongue practically poking through his cheek, but as with a lot of the pronouncements made by the oracle of Huffman Prairie, as no one has ever called him or ever will, he's joking, but he's not joking. Ricked Wicky may not be a super group as the term is too-commonly used, but there's no real doubt they're a super group.

                                                                                        Fire Records are delighted to announce the addition of Sterling Roswell to the fold. The former Spacemen 3 drummer and multi-instrumentalist self-released and sold out of a limited run of 300 copies of the album earlier in the year to great acclaim, including a rave review in Mojo (as well as a pick by Andrew Weatherall in the same magazine) and it was album of the month in Rough Trade Shops who described the album like this: "Lavishing in pop structures but drawing in myriad influences to the wondrous black hole, The Call Of The Cosmos features some shimmering spaciousness but also sleazy exotica-themes, not unlike a Lee Hazelwood production infected with Joe Meek's ghost.

                                                                                        Roswell's own songwriting and voice recalls a solar-fried Bobby Gillespie, an artist he no doubt originally influenced with the Spacemen 3. Elsewhere, there's truly psychedelic excursions into outsiderdom which come off like The Seeds mutating ever larger into lysergic-dipped monsters." Any attempt to categorize Sterling Roswell, runs the risk of misrepresenting a true radical. Artist, musician, poet and producer, Roswell is all of these and more and over the years he has embraced a myriad of artistic forms to great effect. For the live shows he will be joined by the band The Psychedelic SRB featuring a rotating collective of musicians including the fantastic George Frakes (lead guitar), Syd Kemp (bass) and Tucker Nelson (drums). They not only bring the album The Call Of The Cosmos to the live stage but in the midst have created their own unique space age sound.

                                                                                        Live appearances, both solo and with The Psychedelic SRB, always hold audiences spellbound and is THE act to see in this new age of psychedelia. The Call of the Cosmos features the singles 'Interplanetary Spaceliner','Give Peace Another Chance' and 'a remix of The Girl From Orbit', cementing the elements which have infused Sterling's work since his days with Spacemen 3, his multi instrumental driving force behind The Darkside and his innovative psychedelic soundscapes as a studio engineer and producer. The album stands testament to a new message for Interplanetary Peace and features a truly fitting tribute to the late, great front man of THE SEED, Sky Sunlight Saxon with a cover of the song 'Tripmaker', which was originally featured in the Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda movie The Trip in 1968. "Baudelaire once wrote, 'music excavates heaven'. Listen to this record and you might just have to agree." Andrew Weatherall / Mojo

                                                                                        Robert Pollard, head lunatic of the Guided By Voices' asylum, has a surfeit of original thoughts. (Most people are lucky to have even one, ever). That this even needs to be expressed is evidence enough for its "truth," as only obvious or obviously untrue things can ever hope to be true. Or to approach the truth. Something Pollard does with uncanny regularity, and which is further on display on every track on the gloriously unkempt, roiling-with-ideas More Lies From The Gooseberry Bush, the second record Pollard has released under the nom-de-rock Teenage Guitar.

                                                                                        Here's a song title: "Matthew's Ticker and Shaft a. come to breakfast b. the girl's c. division of swans d. when death has a nice ring." It starts with distorted guitar over a primitive snare-and-bass-drum beat (all instruments on all songs played by Pollard), shifts into an out-of-tune piano clumping along a simple seven-chord progression, lurches into a wall of distorted guitar as two tracks of Pollard wail wide-panned in each speaker, before finally resolving in a pretty harpsichord (or some synthesized version thereof) figure inelegantly trips over itself before trailing off into the next track: "The Instant American," which presents a multi-tracked Pollard vocals chanting over a background of what sounds like a bunch of people at a party drinking. These are not the two strangest tracks on the fifteen-song album, which clocks in at just over thirty minutes.

                                                                                        If there are times when Pollard's musical ambition seems to overwhelm his ability to present his ideas coherently, that's a feature, not a bug. The spazzy machine-generated beat of "A Guaranteed Ratio," the ham-handed church organ of "Good Mary's House," the off-key crooning, the awkwardly plucked possible-banjo on "All You Fought For" the general (but not always) sloppiness, the rumbling toms and slashing power chording of "New Light": it's all of a piece, and that piece adds up to a sense of urgency and what sounds an awful lot like unconstrained joy suffusing every single track on More Lies From The Gooseberry Bush. For those who like their Pollard stately, tuneful, and elegiac – sure, he can do that without effort, but that's not what Teenage Guitar is about. Teenage Guitar is about trying hard without seeming to try hard.

                                                                                        The result is that rare thing: a completely original album. Which is also a true delight, a sky-blue gem, a timeless and untimely cabinet of wonder. And by some few miles the greatest musical artifact your ears will have the pleasure of encountering this year.

                                                                                        The music of Scraps is a unique cosmic universe of emotions, thoughts and bedroom sound. Utilising a minimalist set up of drum machine, keyboard and synth mixed with a life time obsession of the electronic pop music of yesteryear allow Laura Hill's ideas to come alive. These are not cute brainless love songs however. Although love is an inspiration in a lot of the songs, the lyrics and themes mostly deal with the darker painful side of that irrational emotion. Depth comes in the way Hill can effortlessly blend the banal drudgery of everyday living with the abstract and surreal. Meditations on the sadness of a fleeting human existence, strange attractions to machines and the technical world, to the ever present escapist allure of outer space and the dream world. All this set to some of the finest and (I dare say) catchy pop music this side of the 21st century.

                                                                                        Scraps is a distinctly unique artist borne directly out of her environment. Scraps has not gained her small but incredibly loyal and growing cult following through media saturation, blog hype, or a money backed promotional whirlwind. It has been acquired through the independent and uncompromising nature of her spirit, the authentic DIY quality of the music, and her honest approach to songwriting and performing. Strong releases on hometown Brisbane record labels Bedroom Suck and Disembraining Machine have complimented an already dense discography of hand made, self released material. Scraps has performed relentlessly all over Australia and abroad to a wide variety of people alongside an even wider variety of bands and artists. From drunken suburban house parties, inner city generator squat shows, art galleries, cafes and bookstores, museums, drug fuelled nightclubs, rural raves, reputable and disreputable pubs, to some of the biggest venues in town as international support. The fact that Scraps can effortlessly transcend these often starkly contrasting spaces is a testament to the quality of her abilities as a songwriter and performer.

                                                                                        Electric Oceans is a culmination of years spent lost in the independent music wilderness. Experience has been gained through Hill continuously pushing herself as a musician, artist and human. Scraps is not your typically modern spoilt rich kid flash-in-a-pan solo synth songsmith. Tough battles have been fought and either won or lost, both personally and creatively - the results of which are more than evident on this record.

                                                                                        The first thing you might notice about Hospitality's second album Trouble is what you don't hear. The process of completing Trouble was, for the band, one of learning to accept silence, to let that empty space exist no matter what it might awaken or evoke. You could catch glimpses of these dark and unexplored places in the margins of Hospitality's 2012 self-titled debut, but they are at the very heart of Trouble. If you listen closely, you can hear a band pushing against their own boundaries and limitations until they find the very air around them subtly but perceptibly changed. The trio of Amber Papini (guitar, vocals), Brian Betancourt (bass), and Nathan Michel (drums) approach Trouble with the force and unity of a well-rehearsed touring rock band. They supplement their performances with strategically placed strings, synthesizers, and drum machines. But silence is an inescapable force on Trouble, an invisible fourth player that draws you into the unexplored corners of familiar sounds: the full, ghostly decay of a reverb tail, the round pluck of a bass string, the exact syllables where a doubled vocal line diverges. In its lyrics and its musical construction, Trouble is an album that wonders about the mysteries that lurk just beyond our field of vision. Slyly and sympathetically, Papini ponders a Saturday afternoon fishing trip as a wrenching interplay of life and death, the perfect blue sky at an air show as a setting for a soured romance.

                                                                                        Papini elaborates: "Most of the songs are about everyday environments that arouse anxiety or unease. The ocean isn't meant for people; we aren't supposed to be there, and some of the animals that live there are much bigger and faster than we are in the water. I think a lot of the songs deal with this 'out of place' kind of theme, feelings of unease and the questions of what is under you or what surrounds you." Trouble creates a space where conflicting sentiments and experiences are given room to coexist, where small and seemingly mundane observations pose big questions that hang in the air, unanswered and unanswerable. With a title referencing the artist's endless struggle in the battle between creativity and outside forces, Trouble also explores the universal themes of loss, love, and loneliness with Papini's trademark wit. Lines like "And if I'm lost and low / And need you / I'll disconnect the line" from "Inauguration" somehow make the ultimate kiss-off seem charming, while nature makes clear the loneliness felt when leaving someone you love behind in these lines from "I Miss Your Bones": "And all the stars will / Twinkle in the midst of a sea / Of black and lonely /An everlasting loss lack abyss." It's fitting that the album was hashed out in band practices that blurred the boundaries between work and leisure, darkness and light, creative collaboration and friendship.

                                                                                        Foregoing the usual night-time hours kept by musicians, the band chose to work on these songs during daily morning rehearsals that proved in many ways more demanding than characteristically relaxed night-time gatherings. Through these sessions, the band sought to take their music as far as they possibly could as a three-piece, to make sure that every small gesture fell into place and played a vital role in constructing the shape and feel of the songs. The band carried this daylight-infused clearheadedness with them into the studio with chief arranger Nathan Michel and engineer Matt Boynton acting as co-producers. Nathan describes the process: "We really wanted to avoid the ornamental, but I always like to add more sounds. Matt was helpful in keeping the arrangements as simple and direct as possible. We all wanted the record to have a warm and open sound." When put to tape, some of the songs for Trouble worked better than expected as fierce and focused trio performances, while others called for more substantial re-imaginings. "I Miss Your Bones" emerged almost entirely from a live performance, while "Inauguration" found the band ripping apart their live arrangement and reconstructing the song with drum machines and synthesizers. The album unfolds like a walk on the beach or a journey to a place you didn't know you were going. Perhaps a darker sound overall, but Trouble begins with the trademark Hospitality pop then unfurls to reward the listener with the more expansive stripped-down instrumentation of side B. And here, again, is that distinctively present silence, creating a space where an undulating synthesizer feels as alive and mysterious as a single voice in a room.

                                                                                        Combo Time was the second and last album to be released by Medway veterans The Len Bright Combo, featuring front man and songwriter Wreckless Eric. One of the most influential artists to emerge from the Stiff Records stable, Eric had one of punk’s biggest hits with “Whole Wide World” in 1977. Following the immediate rush of their debut with a quick punch to the jaw, The Len Bright Combo returned to their DIY recording set-up for a second long player in the same year, making sure to capture their ramshackle power before it was suddenly extinguished. These recording have now become extremely rare and sought after, so these Fire reissues are sure to be very welcome. An explosive beat combo ruling over the mid-80's UK Medway scene, The Len Bright Combo paired Wreckless Eric with the ramshackle rhythm section of Russ Wilkins and Bruce Band (formerly of Billy Childish's The Milkshakes).

                                                                                        Putting today's garage pretenders to shame, the combo recorded two albums of rough and ready pop blasts, with the shake and stomp never losing Eric's sharp wit, or melodic punch. Hardly in step with the UK fads of the day, the trio toured with their own PA system, blasting out performances like each one could be their last. Soon, it would be, as they parted ways after two underground albums released in the space of a year, leaving behind a collection of smoldering gems. This reissue will finally make the albums widely available and have been lovingly re-assembled, including detailed and entertaining liner notes from Eric himself, taking us back to those days, warts and all.

                                                                                        Howe Gelb

                                                                                        Little Sand Box

                                                                                          Here is the Little Sand Box, an 8 CD box-set featuring all six commercially released solo albums by Giant Sand frontman HOWE GELB. Each album has bonus tracks and alternative takes and also included is the Sno Angel Winging It live CD and a selection of piano pieces entitled Some Piano. The Little Sand Box includes liner notes from Howe, with an introduction from Sylvie Simmons, presented in a 48page perfect bound booklet.

                                                                                          Albums included in the Little Sand Box are :
                                                                                          1. Dreaded Brown Recluse
                                                                                          2. Hisser
                                                                                          3. Confluence
                                                                                          4. The Listener
                                                                                          5. Sno Angel Like You
                                                                                          6. Sno Angel Winging It
                                                                                          7. Alegrias
                                                                                          8. Some Piano….

                                                                                          "The solo albums came about as an afterthought", Howe explains, "loving better the notion of hiding inside a band like Giant Sand for the rest of my life. When life demanded something else, then they began to happen." At first severely home-made and lo-fi with "Hisser" during the days when Rainer was critically ill. Followed by the depressing "Confluence" when everything turned to shit in the late 90s. And back up again and running fine with "The Listener", which began the resurgence of the sonic spirit during a surprisingly long stint in Denmark. That path would then lead to the sizzling season with a full gospel choir attached in Ottawa, Canada with the release of "'Sno Angel", and shockingly Mojo's 5 star praise of it. Next would come the most gratifying time spent surrounded with guitars in discovering the city of Cordoba, Spain and recording "Alegrias". This recording, the Spanish critics declared, melded indie-rock pluck with the prowess of Flamenco strum in a rarefied way that was heralded significant instead of the usual 'touristo' failings to marry Flamenco with anything. It also attracted one of Spain's most famous guitarists into the session, maestro Raimundo Amador. Cordoba felt like the closing of a significant circle, feeling more like home then home, due maybe to my own DNA and probably the originating point of what one-day would become Tucson. The album was so wonderfully received in Spain and granted me a kind of peace, now in my 50s, to find myself in such exquisite company whereby the sonic pathways thru gospel and Flamenco all began with meeting Rainer (Ptacek)."

                                                                                          Orchestra Of Spheres

                                                                                          Vibration Animal Sex Brain Music

                                                                                          New Zealand’s Orchestra of Spheres return with their second full-length album, Vibration Animal Sex Brain Music, a surreal road-trip through a hyper primal, fuzzed-out, synth laden, garden of Eden. Recorded in Italy in September 2012, in the midst of an epic 70+ gig European tour, this album captures the band as a live, hot, dynamic unit ... a futuristic bunga-bunga party band for 22nd century boom-boom cults!! Born out of Wellington’s fertile creative music scene in 2009, the Spheres quickly gained a crowd of devotees, entranced by their sonically and visually ecstatic live shows.

                                                                                          Their sound is an explosive brew concocted from the primitive, machine-like drumming of Jemi Hemi Mandala, the quicksilver synths of Mos Iocos, the intricate bass lines of EtonalE and the psychedelic biscuit tin guitar work of Baba Rossa. Chanted vocals bring a hypnotic, trance inducing element to many of the tracks, especially in the crowd favourite, Mind Over Might. Recorded onto 24-track tape at Outside Inside Studio, Montebelluna, Italy, this was the first time the band had recorded in a real studio. Sweaty summer nights, sleep-depriving mosquitoes and abundant fresh local fungi made for a magic combination, and the group banged out all the tunes in one or two takes. The vintage recording gear and mixing talents of Mojo Matt Bordin bring a garage quality to the bands’ ancient future funk, and NZ artist Kerry Ann Lee’s other-wordly landscapes and magic voodoo scenes adorn the album’s cover. Two weeks after recording, half the band’s gear was stolen from the back of their tour van in Poland. Now, somewhere in suburban Krakow, the Spheres’ unique homemade instruments, including the sexomouse marimba and electric gamelan, are changing the sound of the Polish underground for the better.

                                                                                          Sleep Dreamt a Brother is the new album from musician and artist Mathew Sawyer, due for release on Fire Records in October. Mournful, lush arrangements that sound almost medieval at times with stark strings, classical guitar and piano overlaid by Sawyer's bare, distinctive vocals and creepy foley sound effects. The record is a place. Not the representation of a place, but something inhabitable. With a clearer vision than his other records, the album is very notably about death. Sawyer wrote and recorded the majority of the album following the loss of three friends a few months apart in 2011 and completed it two weeks before his son was born. As Mathew explains: "When I talk about death or loss I want it to be the feeling itself, not just a representation of that feeling."

                                                                                          Mathew Sawyer is a renowned painter and artist and has a Masters from The Royal College of Art. He has exhibited all over the world (he was The Guardian's artist of the Week and his exhibition at the Rokeby Gallery was previewed in Time Out). He created a painting as cover art for Sleep Dreamt a Brother, which features a man raising his arms with death mirroring this action. They're a reflection of each other. They're brothers. In Greek mythology, Hypnos and Thanatos are brothers. They are Sleep and Death. The title Sleep Dreamt A Brother imagines Sleep dreaming his brother into being. The record views life and death as just a memory or a dream of the other, and tries to reconcile the gap between them. It considers the dream world to be just as valid an experience as the waking world, and that death is like a dream we'll have. Mathew says; "When I die, I'd like to die in the night time as dreaming in sleep is not of this world anyway. Lost in a dream is nothing to be afraid of." The album was recorded and produced by Sawyer at his home. "I like recording to be hand in hand with everyday living. The sound of cars come through the windows, the phone rings, floorboards creak. These sounds all played an important role in making this record. Studios are quiet and lifeless." Although this record is under his own name, previously he has gone by the name of Mathew Sawyer and The Ghosts, and before that just The Ghosts.

                                                                                          Fire Records will be reissuing the first 3 albums by the Lemonheads, Hate Your Friends (1987), Creator (1988) and Lick (1989), featuring copious bonus tracks and many never-before released rarities and live recordings. Together, these seminal albums showcase the band's early punk rock roots and trace the Lemonheads’ transformation towards becoming one of the most successful and influential bands in indie rock. Before the 90s. Before the internet. Before Nevermind. Back when something called “independent music” first began reaching a wider audience, through college radio, word-of-mouth, and that small “underground” record store you seem to find in every town…there was a band from Boston called Lemonheads.

                                                                                          High school friends Ben Deily and Evan Dando, Lemonheads’ primary songwriters, co-guitarists and co-vocalists, first recorded together on 4-track cassette in the spring of 1985; by the end of the decade they—together with bass player Jesse Peretz, sometimes-guitarist Corey Brennan, and successive drummers Doug Trachten and John P. Strohm—had created a body of recordings which would see them on MTV’s fledgling “120 Minutes,” beating out the Grateful Dead on college radio charts, and entering the consciousness of a generation of music fans. Cited as influences by artists as varied as Billie Joe Armstrong and Ryan Adams, these fledgling Lemonheads recordings—part rock, part pop, part unique hybrid of the 80s punk styles beloved by the band members—mark the start of the trajectory that would eventually lead to “mainstream” success and stardom for a later version of the band. But they also represent a distinct, never-repeated phase of the band’s history: one that is finally receiving the attention it deserves.

                                                                                          Lick is the third full-length album by the Lemonheads, and the last to feature founding member Ben Deily. It was the group's last independent label-released album before signing to major label Atlantic. An odd mixture of brand-new, and considerably older, sounds, 1989’s Lick brings together the output of several distinct recording sources: six brand new songs recorded with Minneapolis-based band friend and producer Terry Katzman, and a collection of older, B-side and never-released material originally overseen by producer and engineer Tom Hamilton. The difficulties of writing and creating a new full-length album every year (Hate Your Friends and Creator were released in 1987 and 1988, respectively) are clearly in evidence on Lick. While the newest material (“Mallo Cup,” “A Circle of One,” “7 Powers,” “Anyway”) hints at promising new song writing directions for both Deily and Dando, there’s an almost valedictory sense of the past in the inclusion of versions of “Glad I Don’t Know” and “I Am a Rabbit” (from the band’s first-ever, self-released EP), and the now-classic track “Ever,” a previously-unreleased tune from the original 1986 Hate Your Friends sessions.

                                                                                          At moments, Lick almost sounds like an elegy for itself—or an elegy for a band that has reached the end of the beginning. Also audible in the heterogeneous songs are the tensions of line-up changes—and inchoate, growing frustrations. After various band break-ups or threatened break ups (such as Dando’s brief departure to play bass for Boston band the Blake Babies), the Lemonheads convened to record new material for Lick now featured Dando on drums, Peretz on bass, Deily on guitar (and “piano,” according to the album credits) along with the addition of long-time band friend—and former member of TAANG! labelmates Bullet LaVolta—Corey Loog Brennan on lead guitar. And yet the frenzied, quasi-ironic hammer-ons of Corey’s axe provide some of Lick’s most entertaining moments—like the unaccountably-translated-into-Italian paen to 70s detective Ironside, “Cazzo Di Ferro.” (The song’s music was originally composed by Brennan for his Italian punk band, Superfetazione.) After the album’s completion, Deily opted out of the subsequent European tour, before leaving the band permanently. Jesse Peretz stayed on to record their Atlantic records debut Lovey, but left after the supporting tour in '91. Since then, Dando has been the Lemonheads' sole permanent member.

                                                                                          BONUS TRACKS: Features bonus tracks including several never-before-released live tracks from a 1987 radio session, live tracks and an interview from the 1989 European tour, and the 4 tracks of the Lemonheads self-released debut EP, Laughing all the way to the cleaners.

                                                                                          Creator is the second album by legendary Boston band The Lemonheads. Still featuring the full original line-up of Evan Dando, Ben Deily, and Jesse Peretz, the album also includes John P. Strohm (of the Blake Babies, Antenna, and Velo-Deluxe) on drums. From the oddly surreal album cover image (a snapshot of friend and high school classmate Ivan Kreilkamp, originator of the name “Lemonheads,” clutching a box of Cheerios) to the themes of death, dreams, obsession, and mayhem that haunt the material, Creator is weird, ambitious, and markedly moodier than its predecessor—without having lost the band’s irreverent sense of humour. Also evident in this sophomore effort is a newfound attention to idiosyncratic detail—from the precisely timed inter-song pauses and sound clips, to the carefully-crafted song order of the album’s original 13 tracks.

                                                                                          Creator finds Ben Deily once again slipping in quotations from Emily Dickinson (“Burying Ground”) and references to Matthew Arnold (“Come to the Window”), while Dando breaks new ground in song writing complexity (the rich sonic tapestry of “Out”) as well as arrangement, ushering in the band’s first-ever acoustic recording (his cover of Charles Manson’s “Your Home Is Where You’re Happy”). At the same time, the band still fires off blistering punk rock (“Clang Bang Clang,” “Die Right Now,” “Take Her Down”) and finds time to lovingly trash Kiss’ 1977 classic “Plaster Caster.” Recorded in one coherent series of sessions—unlike its predecessor, Hate Your Friends, and its follow-up Lick—Creator is, for all its musical schizophrenia, arguably the most coherent of the Lemonheads’ TAANG-era recordings.

                                                                                          BONUS TRACKS: This Fire Records re-issue features bonus tracks including never-before-released live tracks from a 1988 radio session (featuring a never-before-heard configuration of the band, including guitarist Ben Deily on bass and vocals); also includes an original song (“Cease to Exist”) never released on any album, and a performance by Juliana Hatfield.

                                                                                          Hate Your Friends is the 1987 debut album by the Lemonheads, one of only three full-length releases to feature the original band line- up of Evan Dando, Ben Deily, and Jesse Peretz. The album showcases a hardcore-punk-to-pop-rock sound and sensibility as playfully fierce as it is surprising…especially to listeners who know the band only from their better-known major label recordings of the 1990s.

                                                                                          The roots of Hate Your Friends begin with the genesis of the band itself: when high school friends Ben Deily and Evan Dando—inspired by a shared love of the 70’s absurdist comedy troupe the Firesign Theatre, literature, and punk rock—began playing their own songs together in 1985. Dando and Deily first started out as a two-piece ensemble: swapping back and forth between a shared Guild guitar (and a crappy amp) and vocal mic, and pounding a drum kit “borrowed” from the high school jazz band. With the addition of classmate and friend Jesse Peretz on bass, the two-man outfit quickly became a power trio. With a handful of original songs, a passionate love for their favourite bands—from Husker-Du, the Replacements, Black Flag and the Germs, to the Saints, Wire and ‘77 UK punk—and a tiny recording budget, the Lemonheads set about their first studio session within days of their high school graduation in June of 1986.

                                                                                          During that summer, a significant amount of what would become the band’s debut album was recorded in Brookline, Massachusetts, with Deily and Dando sharing vocal, guitar and drumming duties. Above and beyond bass, Jesse proved pivotal as the band’s manager, booker and tireless promoter—helping arrange for the Lemonheads self-released debut EP, Laughing all the way to the cleaners, later that summer, and shortly thereafter helping establish the relationship with Curtis Casella of TAANG! records that paved the way to full-length LP Hate Your Friends. Finally, with the addition of full-time (and fairly short-lived) drummer Doug Trachten, the last songs of Hate Your Friends were recorded in the winter of 1986-7.

                                                                                          BONUS TRACKS: This Fire Records re-issue features bonus tracks including 12 never-before-released live tracks from a 1987 radio session, rare tracks from the early compilation Crawling From Within, and additional tracks not included on the original release of Hate Your Friends (“Buried Alive” and “Gotta Stop”).

                                                                                          Scott & Charlene's Wedding

                                                                                          Any Port In A Storm

                                                                                          The impeccably named Scott & Charlene’s Wedding are back with not so much a brand new album, as a generation's glimpse of love, home-sickness, basketball, alienation, rock and roll and all things that matter to an expatriate Aussie stranded in New York. Any Port In A Storm is fated to become your essential backdrop to the summer of 2013.

                                                                                          The brainchild of the amiable and unashamedly charismatic Craig Dermody, Scott & Charlene’s Wedding offer a sonically charged take on the Lemonheads’ ramshackle melodicism and Pavement’s lo-fi drawl. Following the success of Critical Heights' recent reissues of the band’s debut album Para Vista Social Club and the follow-up EP Two Weeks, the new album sees their first new recordings for over two years capturing Dermody at a pivotal time in his life. He has further developed his gloriously ragged anthems to reach new heights of nonchalant perfection.

                                                                                          Having uprooted from Melbourne, Australia to New York, New York, the Big Apple has replaced Melbourne as inspiration his latest trials and tribulations. His heart-on-sleeve lyrics reveal tales of everyday Dermody life, somehow more absurdly unhinged, humorous and poignant than the lives of his peers. All coming from a man with a clear mission to update the rock’n’roll template beyond his inspirations and influences as Scott & Charlene's Wedding effortlessly sprawl across the generations, linking the vintage swagger of the Velvets to the off-kilter pop perfection of the Only Ones by way of the Stooges and Television. The eleven electrifying tracks taking us on an intimate journey with Craig Dermody and his daily struggles, like a peak in to his personal diary.

                                                                                          He documents his move from Melbourne to New York to follow a girl. ‘Fakin NYC’ sees him adjusting to life in a new city, having to find a new job and feeling out of place as a security guard for a trendy bar. ‘Lesbian Wife’ sees him being caught in the middle of the biggest storm ever to have hit NYC and feeling homesick for Australia.

                                                                                          "... the execution for his frustration is point perfect-- his sleepily conversational vocals fold into his sunny, jangling guitars seamlessly" Pitchfork.

                                                                                          Spacemen 3

                                                                                          Sound Of Confusion

                                                                                            Spacemen 3’s debut album "Sound Of Confusion", released in 1986, was a blistering affair - establishing their love of the two-chord song and also expressing their admiration for the likes of MC5, The 13th Floor Elevators and The Stooges. Sound of Confusion was 7 tracks of overdriven assault, with a strange bleakness and despair creeping through the hypnotic sprawl. R Hunter Gibson would later say: "It boosts the value of unlit rooms, unpaid debts and unfeigned terror and it would rather tackle the gradients than settle for level best.

                                                                                            Fire Records will be reissuing SOS JFK , the one and only album from folk two-piece The Children’s Hour, which featured Josephine Foster and Andy Bar. Initially released in 2003, the album introduced audiences to Foster’s enchanting vocals and poetic folk, which would be developed to staggering effect in her later solo recordings, such as the recently released critically acclaimed album Blood Rushing (Fire Records). The Children’s Hour were an acoustic duo comprised of members Andy Bar and Josephine Foster. The two friends first connected in 2000 in a short-lived rock trio called Golden Egg, and then on a lark formed the pop song-writing duo oriented toward more naïve themes. Foster was a recent opera school dropout and the band became a vehicle for her to explore singing in a non-operatic manner into a microphone and learn to play the guitar. Bar was finishing studies at the Art Institute of Chicago and was honing a personal and highly melodic fingerpicking style inspired by bossa nova in particular. They were heard performing in a Chicago dive bar and given a surprise invitation to make a studio recording (SOS JFK), which both found to be an extremely nerve-wrecking learning experience. Meanwhile fans of their music rose up from unexpected corners, even invited by the band Zwan to open all the shows of both bands´ maiden tour. Initially conceived of as a modest front porch collaboration and side project, the band did not withstand all the attention long. Bar and Foster took meandering paths in diverse directions, although the two remain stalwart pals and both continue to dedicate themselves to the muses.

                                                                                            This is the reunited Guided By Voices' third album of 2012, in case you had lost count. Many bands struggle to release three albums in their career, never mind three in one year. It would be one thing if these were tossed off lo-fi affairs of the sort one might expect from the fellows who made the defining records of that so-called genre, Bee Thousand (1994) and Alien Lanes (1995). While the debut from the reunited "classic" line-up, Let's Go Eat The Factory, contained its share of basement gems, both that record and its follow-up Class Clown Spots A UFO are notable more for the preponderance of properly recorded rock: a testament to the years bandleader Robert Pollard has spent refining both his songwriting and his approach to recording. The Bears For Lunch is not a great deal different in that regard, but right off, from the opening track "King Arthur the Red," with its full-throated riffery, slam-tastic drums, and even some show-offy lead guitar shredding, it's evident that GBV Mach 2 may just now be hitting its stride. The progression is not dissimilar to the one the band made from Alien Lanes to its 1996 high-water mark Under The Bushes, Under The Stars, both in terms of longer, more fleshed-out songs and let's call it a semi-pro approach to recording fidelity.

                                                                                            For all the well-deserved acclaim GBV's first two records this year have garnered, Bears is a step up in every sense. This isn't to say there's a whole lotta gloss going on, and certainly the album has its share of more casually considered songs, but from the relentless drum figure that fuels sure-fire-live-staple and obvious single "Hangover Child" ("the best thing [drummer] Kevin [Fennell]'s ever played" sez Pollard) to the chugging, melancholic, melody-mad "White Flag" ("I think you know this time it's real," Bob sings over an almost New Order-ish bass line) to the propulsive, early-R.E.M.-inflected album closer "Everywhere Is Miles From Everywhere," the 19-song 43-ish minutes long Bears delivers a gut-punch as sure and assured as anything the band's ever dished out. And that's without mentioning the stellar contributions of Tobin Sprout ("The Corners Are Glowing" and "Waving At Airplanes" are particular standouts), bouts of unrestrained whimsy like "The Military School Dance Dismissal," featuring what sounds like seven Robert Pollards singing in unison/harmony over a Beatle-esque piano line, the punning workplay of "She Lives In An Airport," or the staggering work of heart-breaking genius "You Can Fly Anything Right." Add to this Pollard's two excellent 2012 solo albums, a raft of festival appearances and some club touring, and you have possibly the most consistently productive output ever in one year from a band and a songwriter already noted for its/his insanely prolific nature. That said, in a year of highlights, The Bears For Lunch may well take the most cake.

                                                                                            Opossom

                                                                                            Electric Hawaii - Limited Triple 7" Edition

                                                                                              Triple deluxe 7” pack on 3 different coloured vinyl.

                                                                                              After eight years fronting New Zealand's acclaimed "trouble gum art punks" The Mint Chicks, Kody Nielson unveils a new project Opossom with the captivating album Electric Hawaii. Following a June release in Australia and New Zealand on Create/Control, the album will be released in the rest of the world via Fire Records in August.

                                                                                              The Mint Chicks chapter in Kody's career closed with the band splitting time between their American base in Portland OR and hometown Auckland. Brother Ruban formed a new band, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Kody began producing diverse projects including Bic Runga's recent album and Auckland punk up-and-comers, The DHDFD's.

                                                                                              Electric Hawaii presented a new challenge, an album written and performed with just a little help from others - Bic Runga lending a vocal while Kody's father Chris Nielson (a regular Mint Chicks collaborator) plays trumpet. The rest comes directly from the brain, hands and heart of Kody. Home-written, recorded and mixed by himself with just the final mastering courtesy of Howie Weinberg, Electric Hawaii is a unique beast - it is not the singer-songwriter solo album of a former punk rock band singer. It's a further exploration of Kody's musical journey into a lively, engaging world of carefully layered sonic layers of light and dark. It's an album about love, DIY, drugs and freedom. And why end up Opossom? The mental escape from daily life during the creation of "Electric Hawaii" produced Kody's nocturnal instinctive animal... feisty, vicious and enigmatically cute.

                                                                                              The new direction and new sounds incorporate what Kody terms as an overt attempt to add some of his personal Polynesian background to his blend of beatnik psychedelica made from out of context genres, surf rock to the Velvet Underground, modern and ancient electronica and jazz.


                                                                                              Bill Janovitz' first solo album, Lonesome Billy, was a far cry from the passionate guitar clatter of his best-known work with Buffalo Tom, and his second set away from the band, Up Here, is an even greater departure into a quieter and more delicate approach. While the playful atmospherics of Lonesome Billy suggested a smart guy's approach to alt-country, Up There is a good bit more introspective and folk-oriented, with cleaner textures and arrangements that are often structured around nothing more than Janovitz' acoustic guitar and Phil Aiken's keyboards.

                                                                                              The songs are also just a bit closer to what one might expect from the leader of Buffalo Tom - while the arrangements are spare, the often lovelorn tone of the lyrics shouldn't surprise anyone who recalls "Taillights Fade" or "Velvet Roof," and the melodies have plenty of body, even if the performances are purposefully minimal. And while Up Here isn't as physically powerful as Janovitz' work with Buffalo Tom, he offers no doubt that he can still pack plenty of heart, soul, and emotional energy into a performance without cranking up his Marshall stack - the spectral lover's cry of "The Atlantic," the lost-love story of "Minneapolis," and the jaunty "Long Island" all prove this guy knows how to bring his songs across, and his harmonies with Chris Toppin on "Half a Heart" are simply beautiful.

                                                                                              If Lonesome Billy suggested a different direction where Bill Janovitz' talents could go outside of Buffalo Tom, Up There shows another path that is at once closer to the heart and farther removed from the approach of his better-known group; it's a splendid late-night mood piece and not just a time-filler until Buffalo Tom reconvenes for its next album.

                                                                                              Robert Pollard

                                                                                              Jack Sells The Cow

                                                                                                Even for a guy whose famously abundant output makes a joke of the word prolific, this has been a spectacularly prolix year for Robert Pollard. Jack Sells The Cow is his second solo album in a year that has already seen the release of two reunited Guided By Voices records and will see yet a third before it's done, along with a fair amount of touring.

                                                                                                So what makes this a Robert Pollard record as opposed to a Guided By Voices record? The best answer is that it's just a matter of nomenclature, but the absence of contributions from other members of the reunited GBV is probably the easiest way to put Jack in its box, if putting things into boxes is your thing. "I'm as true as true can be," Pollard sings on the pithy pop anthem "Big Groceries," from which the album at least obliquely derives its title (in the sense that one verse, at least, seems to refer to the old English "Jack and the Beanstalk" folk-tale, or something like that), and much of Jack seems preoccupied with larger themes: "Pontius Pilate Heart" with judgment, "Winter Comes To Those Who Pray" with the faith/doubt schism, "Big Groceries" with objective vs. subjective truths, and on and on and over and out. At least, that's our reading. That reasonable people might disagree on the precise meaning of Pollard's lyrics doesn't mean they make no sense, as those who take the trouble to handle with care will likely discover. And if not, hey, that's cool. The superabundance of melody and densely-packed stylistic swerves and flourishes on Jack rival anything he's recorded recently, and while five albums in a year might strike some as overkill, you have to imagine Pollard's relentless output is a less than calculated move — a smarter businessman would hold back product so as to build demand, but Robert Pollard has never been a businessman. He's an artist, full stop, at a time when it seems that every artist/musician is expected to have an M.B.A. He puts out records because he likes the records (Bogq knows he's scrapped enough proposed albums to fill many another group's entire discography). And he hopes you'll like them too.


                                                                                                Jack Sells The Cow sails over the moon of your heart in a snappy thirty-two plus minutes, and despite its relatively heavy subject matter comes off as perhaps the sprightliest, most light-footed music Pollard has recorded this year. Of the quincunx of Bob-related releases this year, we'd suggest you put this one in the center, and hold tight. These suckers move.

                                                                                                Ned Collette moved to Berlin from his native Melbourne two years ago. A well known and respected singer-songwriter in his own country and in underground circles worldwide, he has toured Europe previously with the likes of Joanna Newsom, Akron/Family, Bill Callahan and Nina Nastasia. His early musical output was based mostly in experimental music, before he gravitated towards more traditional song structures.

                                                                                                His new album "2" (his fourth album but his first outside of Australia) will be released in August. It is a mix of experimental pop songwriting, musique concrete and dark folky soundscapes. His current solo shows are performed with voice, nylon string guitar and samples. While comparisons have been made to everything from Leonard Cohen to Ghostface Killah, Collette remains tricky to define but instantly identifiable.

                                                                                                More than 18 years since he left the public spotlight, mysterious mad-genius David Baker, legendary frontman of the original incarnation of Mercury Rev, is back with new band Variety Lights. The masterful new album 'Central Flow', due for release in May, is a collaboration between Baker and fellow vintage synth addict Will MacLean and demonstrates that Baker has lost none of his flair for the extraordinary, the experimental and the exceptional. As co-founder and vocalist of Mercury Rev, Baker helped to forge their revolutionary sound with their first two (and most critically acclaimed) albums; 'Yerself Is Steam' (1991) and 'Boces' (1993).

                                                                                                The band were highly innovative and weren't afraid to experiment but above all they were loud, fun and hugely influential. In the UK, the critics embraced enthusiastically, as Chris Roberts in Melody Maker said (in his review of 'Yerself Is Steam'): "At last, one of those rare records that revolve along once in a blooming moon and have something new to struggle to say... A daring, brazen, and demented juxtaposition of voice and guitars and timpani flings Mercury Rev, lemming like at your more responsive caches of fear."

                                                                                                Having left the band in 1993, Baker went on to release a solo album 'World' under the moniker Shady, which featured members of the Boo Radleys, Rollerskate Skinny, Swervedriver and Th' Faith Healers. At times soaringly catchy and lightheartedly loony, 'World' is a sonic adventure which Vox described as "... awash with fragments of dense noise, stumbling, narcotic-laced tempos and lyrics from outer space... that mutate into spiky, bittersweet pop." Although there has been much speculation about his life during his time away from the public eye, Baker has continued to make recordings and is an avid music fan, working as a producer for various artists.

                                                                                                Now he is back, morphed and transmogrified into Variety Lights (a name lifted from Fellini's first film). When he met Will MacLean, Baker found a songwriting partner who shared a passion for analogue synths and electronic psychedelia. Initial experimentation together live to tape – to see how big and crazy just the two of them could sound – started to reveal melodies and Variety Lights was born. Much of Variety Lights’ debut was recorded by Baker at his own Over the Trees studio. The sound was created using a mixture of chained around-the-room 80's era midi expanders as well as the duo's collection of vintage keyboards and combining them with an array of drum machines and effected guitars. In creating 'Central Flow's sound, Baker says that "personal adventure is and always has been the most important thing". Baker and MacLean found themselves using references to colours, pictures and describing film scenes to help them communicate about their music. As in his early work, Baker took a richly layered approach, using multiple vocals in a search to find emotion in noises and sounds.


                                                                                                Musician, misfit, culture warrior and bullshitter: Robert "Bobby" Conn. Recorded with his new band The Burglars, this album is the first since 2007’s King for a Day, and his first new release on Fire Records. Bobby has equally delighted and annoyed hipsters since first appearing on the Chicago music scene in the mid '90s. Blending aggressive showmanship with an omnivorous love of musical genres, from Suicide to Streisand or from The Sweet to Stravinsky, Bobby has often irritated and provoked audiences, but never bored them. Bobby Conn's lyrics document the continuing absurdities of contemporary Western culture, illustrating and celebrating the convenient hypocrisies that allow us to sleep soundly every night.

                                                                                                He developed "The Continuous Ca$h Flow System" in 1995 as a critic of the magical thinking that Americans employ concerning their debt fuelled lifestyles. 15 years later, Bobby's "Continuous Ca$h Flow" is revealed as the operating principle of the entire financial system. He has accurately described the Armageddon based world view of America's Christian right since 1996, and tracked its evolution from fringe fanaticism to its current place in the heart of America's political mainstream.

                                                                                                But despite the relevance and prescience of his songwriting, his devotion to total entertainment in glitter and heels has confused as many as he has enlightened. He continues to collaborate with his wife and musical partner, Monica Boubou. Fully his equal as an entertainer herself (and more than his equal in stature), her electrified violin defines the epic melodic reach of their music. In between bouts of touring, Bobby and his band, The Burglars, headed to the studio to create this collection of new tunes, titled "Macaroni". Macaroni is Bobby Conn’s first album in 5 years (and first for Fire Records) will be released on CD/LP in March - followed swiftly by a re-issue of his landmark debut "Bobby Conn".

                                                                                                Macaroni is a contrast between "this is what you want" (the packaged predictable blandness of a Macaroni dinner) but this what you get (the violent mess of reality). Macaroni will be supported by a 7" Single "More Than You Need" backed with a cover version of the Walker Brothers "Fat Mama Kick.

                                                                                                When James Jackson Toth, aka Wooden Wand, was invited to record for a split 7" with his friend Duquette Johnston (formerly of Verbena) and his band the Gum Creek Killers for release on the Communicating Vessels label, his first impulse was to send a track from his legendary archives of unreleased material. But Duquette suggested Toth visit him in Birmingham and they record both sides of the record together, from scratch, using the same band, at Ol Elegante Studios in Homewood, AL. Toth claimed that it was one of the most positive recording experiences that he ever had, and immediately wanted to make a whole record this way. Duquette made Toth put his money where his mouth is and invited him back down to Homewood to record the new Wooden Wand album with the Gum Creek Killers, with Duquette and Les Nuby (Vulture Whale, ex-Verbena) producing. Toth added to this group his constant foil and best friend Brian Lowery and Jody Nelson of Through The Sparks, and the Briarwood Virgins were born. The sessions were casual and loose, yielding some of the most 'rock and roll' sounding music of Toth's long career.

                                                                                                For an artist known in some circles as something of a 'folkie,' it's interesting to note that this album contains only a single track of acoustic guitar. "This is the album I've been trying to make since Second Attention," said Toth, referring to his 2006 on Kill Rock Stars. The album was mixed by Stephen Goose Trageser (who also helped mix Wooden Wand's 2010 album Death Seat, on Michael Gira's Young God label) and mastered by Matt Pence (Centro-Matic). The beautiful cover art was done by Robert Beatty, of Hair Police fame. Briarwood represents the latest direction by an artist who continuously confounds, befuddles and challenges his loyal fans, but what do you expect from a guy with a tattoo on his wrist that says "What Would Neil Young Do?" Toth used Kickstarter and the generous pledges of fans and friends to fund the recording and mixing of this album.

                                                                                                Re-issue of the explosive 1996 debut by Neutral Milk Hotel. Jeff Magnum's songs are cryptic and crazed, his ideas fast and furious, and together they force the home-recording concept out of the basement and into a brave new world, a fuzzy masterpiece of experimental lo-fi recording. Full of rapid-fire wordplay with true and heartfelt experimentation, both ambitious and eclectic, it's not hard to see why this has been such an influential album. Part of the fabled Elephant 6 collective, Neutral Milk Hotel won over many a music critic with this cult classic.

                                                                                                The band are recognized as one of the most influential alternative acts to come out of the mid-90s and sowed the seeds for everything from anti-folk to the likes of Arcade Fire, Caribou and even Franz Ferdinand. On its original release, this album ranked #35 in the annual Village Voice Jazz & Pop Critics' Poll. Also, Spin proclaimed this album one of the ten best "you didn't hear" of 1996. 

                                                                                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                                CD Info: Deluxe repackaging in new mini gatefold sleeve with TWENTY FOUR page poster booklet, this reissue includes the 'Everything Is' single and b-side 'Snow Song Pt.1' from the original 1994 7" release (also re-issued as a limited 500 copies only release).

                                                                                                There's only thing you can bank on when you're confronted with Las Kellies: to expect the unexpected. From the raw rock & roll of their 2007 debut "Shaking Dog" - described by the great Everett True as 'entirely ace' - to the Devo and ESG influenced sound of 2009's follow-up "Kalimera", this Argentinean three-piece have carved out a reputation for ripping up the form-book, delving into their box of magic tricks and serving up something entirely different. And so it is again on their third album "Kellies": whether it's embracing what they term as their 'new sound' of groove-laden and irresistibly catchy post-punk or recruiting reggae legend Dennis Bovell to help in the studio, it's the sound of a band who always keep things fresh.

                                                                                                "Prince In Blue" kicks things of with its post-punk riffs and tongue-in-cheek barbs. Potential suitors, beware: no nice boys are ever going to capture these girls' hearts. 'You've been treating me just too well/ Too much pressure, I'm going to hell', they taunt, brushing unwanted attention away. "Keep The Horse", meanwhile, flippantly recounts the tale of a divvying up of marital assets ('Charlie will be his/ Debbie will be hers') and gossiping acquaintances ('Your rent is in arrears/ And your neighbours are all ears') over a nagging helter-skelter riff that's reminiscent of fellow South American's CSS. On "Bling Bling", they eye up your wallet size before considering romance ('I'm a bounty hunter, looking for your gold'), while "Erase You" is a series of stinging retorts to a former paramour: 'I'm gonna erase you, just like a drawing/ Erase you, flush you like my toilet'. Don't make any mistake, though: despite their love for frivolous wordplay (in both English and the language of their native Argentina, Spanish) and light-hearted approach to love, there's nothing lightweight about "Kellies".

                                                                                                As drummer Sil Kelly says, 'This album is more 'serious' than the others'. Whether it's the sunny guitars of "Erase You" or the brilliantly cheesy instrumental score of "Bife Dos", this is their most accomplished sound yet. Sometimes, words aren't even necessary: "Adventure" tosses lyrics aside for a rumbling, ominous bass riff, stabbing echoes of guitar and clacking drums, while there's only haunted shrieking on "Cous Cous" to accompany the death-rattle sound effects to accompany the swashbuckling score.

                                                                                                Since meeting at a gig in Buenos Airies in 2005, borrowing their friend's instruments and deciding to form a band, Las Kellies - comprised of Ceci Kelly (guitar and vocals), Betty Kelly (bass and vocals) and Sil Kelly (drums and vocals) - have never been afraid of change. "Kellies" is testament to that: a tight and taut mixture of cumbia, dub and post-punk. There's no rehashing of conquered ground: instead, old sounds are given a new twist, and horizons are expanded once again. As Sil recently said: 'Every album provides us with a new way'. And every time Las Kellies find a new way, it's in a direction that you definitely should be following in...

                                                                                                Jad Fair

                                                                                                His Name Itself Is Music

                                                                                                  Jad Fair is by his own admittance a prolific artist, 'It takes a lot of work, and bands spend way more time in the studio than I do. Most of my albums have taken three or four days to record'. It comes as no surprise then that whilst releasing "Beautiful Songs - the Best Of Jad Fair", an album featuring both Jad’s own material and those created with Half Japanese and boasting over 100 tracks, that Jad can offer yet another contribution "His Name Itself Is Music", to what is already a considerable and esteemed bank of work, "His Name Itself Is Music" see’s Jad continue to embrace his emotive and raw approach to music making. An un-tuned guitar, his voice for beats and his expressive singing wavering in and out of pitch as if momentarily plucked from his generous subconscious.

                                                                                                  'I love him for his boundless enthusiasm and shy genius' says Everett True, '.. maybe it’s wrong to call Jad naïve because he knows what he’s doing, but he has a child-like wonderment that to me is at the core of most great music I can name. The Shaggs, Leadbelly, Jonathan Richman. He makes my feet want to move, and there’s no higher compliment, I’ve seen Jad play concerts with a rolled-up newspaper and upturned wastebasket for rhythm, with just his voice for colour. I’ve also seen Jad play stadiums in precisely the same fashion – with a band behind him, sure, but with the spirit intact – in front of crowds of over 15,000, in support to Nirvana on their final tour'.

                                                                                                  There's a hell of a strange sound emanating from The Fire Studios at the moment. From out of the barred windows comes a low and pulsing throb. From under the doors seeps an echoing piano. Through the vents comes a psychedelic wash of guitars and drones, spilling out into the dark, snaking round trees and disturbing the moths. Haunted melodies echo down the quiet Hackney back roads. And the voice that accompanies this dislocated but beautiful noise is by turns that of a man who has drunk too much and then a man who fears he has not drunk enough. Perhaps he has seen too much or is afraid he has not seen enough and that time is running out. All the band will tell you about Debbie Leggo however, is that she is 'one sexy fucking bitch'. They say she is not a pretentious woman believing in herself and her music beyond all else and neither is she affiliated with the colourful plastic brick making Lego company. Instead, the passion of music past flows in her veins and the fury from music of the quieted present too. They say she stands for the belief in high art over fashion in this lacklustre era. But what can I tell you about Debbie Leggo? Are they sexy fucking bitches? That's not for me to say but their sound is voluptuous, siren-like and steeped in urban exotic. They will get their claws into you. They comprise of Chrystabel Riley (drums), Oliver Martin (guitar) and Sam Mac (Bass); featuring vocals by Scottish street poet Gerry Mitchell. Musically they are fearless intranauts coming on like The Fall, Guru Guru, Arab Strap and Loop. Their space rock, their freak folk, their Krautrock takes a medicated trajectory; a narcotic arc above the streets of North London.

                                                                                                  Dave Cloud & The Gospel Of Power

                                                                                                  Fever

                                                                                                  Like some latter-day Captain Beefheart kidnapping his band to force them to knock out "Trout Mask Replica", Cloud dragged the ever-changing Gospel Of Power band, Matt Swanson (also of Lambchop) Ben Martin (Clem Snide) and Matt Back across the Atlantic to record "Fever" at Fire Records' Stoke Newington studio. But where the notorious Captain turned his musicians into fanatical cadavres, the ever amenable Cloud has created another record of fractured garage and garrulous lo-fi, bizarre character studies and paeans to ladies and love. Just as on his Fire Records debut, the compilation "Napoleon Of Temperance" and last album, "Pleasure Before Business", Cloud once again roughs up the Nashville tradition. You're as likely to hear him collaborating with a Norwegian folk group to knock out a dishevelled version of sea shanty "What Should We Do With A Drunken Sailor" as paying reverential homage to the sound of his home city. But that's what this personable old cove is all about: hazy round the edges, always on hand with a sly wink. So the title track takes the melody of the song that Peggy Lee made famous for a late night drink in a seedy bar where it never really wanted to go, while "The Citadel" even out-swaggers'n'sleazes the The Rolling Stones' original. Over the murky atmosphere and hungover Spanish guitar of "Surfer Joe", Cloud ponders the price of lobster, cats and ponies, and pronounces Mexico like a drunken sheep. 'South of the border yeaaaoooww, south of the border yeaaaoow' he growls. "In The Distance" has Cloud in full spoken word flow over echoes of rolling piano, a tale of a man who 'put his battered bugle to his lips... and played the only love song she had ever heard him sing' in honour of a girl with 'magnetic brown eyes... made as a perfect sculpture.' It's a surprising end to Cloud's peculiar journey, but you'd be a fool not to join him on it. 'All Things Weird & Wonderful'.

                                                                                                  After the critically acclaimed release of Pumajaw's "Curiosity Box" comes a retrospective of the first four albums by Pinkie Maclure and John Wills (Pumajaw). These 14 gems that make up "Favourites" have been hand-picked by Pumajaw, highlighting their incredibly productive and creative collaboration for the past 10 years, from the self produced albums. "From Memorial Crossing" (2000) was recorded in an abandoned school in Tottenham, London and features versions of songs by Tom Waits, Artie Shaw and David Lynch. "This Day and Age" (2002) uses samples from 1920s cabaret records, field recordings from the Outer Hebrides and John's hypnotic rhythms as a foil for Pinkie's most expressive vocal explorations. "Cat's Cradle" (2004) is a blend of folk melodies and soulful electronica, featuring concertina and psychedelic guitar. "Becoming Pumajaw" (2006) throws some French chanson into the mix (Jacques Brel's La Chanson des Vieux Amants), along with an untraditional versions of traditional folk songs, psychedelic guitar wig-outs, concertina and darkly humorous laments Pumajaw are a duo that weave, multi-octave voice with looped guitar, mandolin, samples, concertina and hypnotic rhythms, they have their own seductive sound that defies categorization and stretches from psychedelic pop through sultry folk songs to eerie, cacophonous, trance-inducing laments.


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                                                                                                  Thanks for posting about it. It’s here until next Friday May 3rd btw. https://t.co/PgaFhSvpPe
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