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MEMPHIS INDUSTRIES

Menace Beach

Black Rainbow Sound

    Leeds-based Menace Beach return with news of their third album 'Black Rainbow Sound', which is due out August 31st via Memphis Industries.
    New album Black Rainbow Sound is the band's first new material since early 2017’s Lemon Memory, and after a self-imposed break from tour duties, the album exhibits a profound shift in their sound, whilst still mainlining the blasts of noise, visceral power, and timeless pop songsmithery of their previous releases.

    Unlike the bands previous records, Black Rainbow Sound came to life in the bands studio, where Liza Violet and Ryan Needham built dense late-night orchestrations from drum machines, synthesizers, loops and guitar noise, before being ripped apart and reimagined by the full Menace Beach cast at The Nave studio in Leeds with co-producer Matt Peel (Eagulls).

    Never ones to shy away from an intriguing collaboration, Black Rainbow Sound contains songs featuring Brix Smith of The Fall, and Brix and the Extricated. “The synchronicity of the universe just forced us and Brix together. The very day l finished reading her biography she played us on her BBC 6music show along with a wonderfully out-there monologue of how the song made her feel. I said thanks, we got chatting and it went from there. She’s a burning comet of positive energy”.

    On Black Rainbow Sound, Menace Beach continue to explore their own unique aesthetic, venturing much further into a colourful world of bizzaro no-wave analogue synths and static drenched electronic euphoria, which they have been circling for some time.

    Lustrous, dizzying, and bursting with cacophonous vintage electronics - the sounds on Black Rainbow Sound act as an otherworldly backdrop for the album's enigmatic lyrics to play out. Celestial conversations, night terrors, love, anti-love, good vs evil, light vs dark, friendly crows, death, depression, and teenage tongues and are all here to absorb; the more introspective topics often hidden in plain sight atop celebratory choruses, and melodic hooks.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Limited edition white coloured vinyl.

    Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Indies Exclusive LP Info: Indie exclusive limited edition white coloured vinyl. ALSO INCLUDES A HAND-PRINTED (BY THE BAND) SCREEN PRINT.

    LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Odetta Hartman

    Old Rockhounds Never Die

      Raised by pioneering parents on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, NYC, Odetta’s milieu was a “colorful culture of artistry,” that included early exposure to community activism, renegade film screenings, poetry readings and trips to CBGB's. Inchoate punk and hip hop were aural wallpaper, as were the 45s spinning in the household jukebox featuring her dad’s extensive collection of soul and afrobeat records, as well as her Appalachian mother’s classic country selections. A classically trained violinist with a penchant for back-porch banjo, Odetta combines these variegated sounds of her childhood with her personal passion for folk music and the musicological legacy of Alan Lomax.

      Lomax is writ large on Old Rockhounds... at least in spirit anyway. Odetta plays all the instruments on this and her debut 222, which made problematic the changeovers between songs when playing live. Field recordings the singer had collected on her travels were utilized to make such transitions seamless, and so successful was that intermingling of songs and soundscapes that they’ve transitioned into the recording process. It makes for a strangely intimate listen: tingly and a little tipsy: an album for twilight, sitting within the nocturnal hinterland between dusk and somnambulance - candlelit and confidential - a time for stories and secrets.

      So far, so old skool. And yet, Old Rockhounds Never Die also embraces modernity without ever sounding incongruous. The mix of manipulated 21st century beats and the musical traditions of centuries meet at a crossroads and consummate their curiosity without inhibition. It’ll probably not surprise anyone listening to the album then that its a co-production. Odetta writes and performs all the songs while her partner Jack Inslee is in the background bringing the digital dark arts. Experimenting with found sounds & foley, the two have developed a sonic vernacular built around playing around with a-typical instruments. Hartman explains: “Many of the beats on the album were recorded in the kitchen: the snare sound is actually a running faucet, or if you hear these glockenspiel bells that's actually a set of kitchen bowls. Other percussive elements include scissors, a pepper grinder and keys on the radiator.”


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Limited edition transparent red vinyl

      Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Poliça

      Give You The Ghost

        Minneapolis continues its golden run of producing quality talent with the first project to arrive out the Gayngs collective, the super slick electronic pop-soul outfit Poliça.

        Fronted by ice cool vocalist Channy Leanagh (who sang with Gayngs), produced by Ryan Olson and featuring Mike Noyce from Bon Iver, it’s a who’s who of the current Twin Cities scene.

        Continuing the tradition of having friends in high places, with Prince and Kanye West among Gayngs fans, Poliça have already been backed by none other than Jay Z, who posted their video for the new for single ‘Lay Your Cards Out’ on his Life + Times blog.

        The result is 11 perfectly formed auto-tuned songs that re-shape the intersection of pop and digitised R&B. And for all Poliça’s synthetic manipulation, Channy’s soft vocals and Ryan’s electronic soundscapes reveal a tender heart beneath, pulsating with life and raw emotion.

        ‘Give You The Ghost’ opens with the attention grabbing sonic of first track ‘Amongster’, the two drummers immediately coming into full effect as it builds to a heady mass of beats, bass and Channy’s wandering vocals. ‘Violent Games’ continues the heavy on the drums theme, with duelling beats that intensify to machine gun-like levels, led by Channy’s urgent and cyclical vocals.

        Born out of the break-up of a recent relationship, the majority of ‘Give You The Ghost’ reflects the difficulty of facing up to your mistakes and making peace with them; an exorcism via exciting new musical possibilities. “The recurring theme of this record is ‘what in the hell just happened and who in the hell am I anyways,” says Channy. This redemptive mood is key for the track ‘Dark Star’. Backed by smooth brass breakdowns throughout and mid-tempo loping rhythms, it’s typical of Poliça’s often meditative content.

        ‘Lay Your Cards Out’ and the dreamy ‘Wandering Star’ both feature Mike Noyce of Bon Iver on vocals and are equally as deliciously funk laden as they are hypnotic, with more ratatat drums from Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson, propelling the lush arrangements and slinky bass, provided by Chris Bierden.

        “Poliça deals in a type of R&B inflected electronic music that defies explanation... Music with this many synthetic textures and vocal treatments has rarely sounded so natural” - Spinner

        “A swirly combination of layered rhythms, some awesomely manipulated vocals and a dragged-out, slow motion feel... the perfect soundtrack to an almost-winter weekend” - Nylon

        “Ryan Olson and singer Channy Leanagh lead the group, Channy front and centre with her potently echoed voice riding over forward drums and driving bass” - The Fader


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Coloured LP Info: Back on vinyl for the first time since its original pressing in 2012, Poliça’s classic debut ‘Give You The Ghost’ has been repressed on red marble vinyl with digital
        download card.

        Haley

        Bratt

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

          Brand new and exclusive music for Record Store Day, the first new release under Haley Bonar's newly simplified monika HALEY.  The 7" will be on Red Vinyl and the artwork was designed by Haley’s daughter, Clementine.

          Slug return with a brand new album, ‘HiggledyPiggledy’, through Memphis Industries.

          Slug is the nom de plume of North East native Ian Black and, whereas acclaimed debut album ‘Ripe’ was made in collaboration with Peter Brewis and David Brewis of Field Music, ‘HiggledyPiggledy’ was composed, produced and played entirely by Black, enabling him to give free reign to his beguiling brand of Dada-rock.

          Lead track ‘No Heavy Petting’ was consciously written to be an aggressive album opener, which pokes fun at Black’s own Mary Whitehouse-esque response to the sexualisation of music on television.

          The album was inspired by a combination of The Residents, John Carpenter and the soundtracks of Don Cherry (particularly ‘Holy Mountain’) and Masahiko Sato (particularly ‘Belladonna’) plus the Dada art movement which will be self-evident to anyone who’s seen the hilarious and life affirming Slug live experience, replete with ever changing stage wear (snooker players, sailors, 50s jazz combo) and spontaneous crowd participation.

          Black intended ‘HiggledyPiggledy’ to be a more minimal affair than debut ‘Ripe’, focussed more on rhythm and percussion. Thematically the record was written against the backdrop of political turmoil but really it’s about the strange life Black leads in his native Sunderland, an autodidact outsider living his life in Wetherspoons arguing with some of the questionable attitudes of locals. Blacks stated aim to “have fun writing truly horrible lyrics,” playing characters “venting in pubs, writing in the character of how some people think and behave.”

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Coloured LP Info: Available to independent retailers on yellow coloured vinyl.

          Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

          Barbarossa

          Lier

            Since the release of his last record, ‘Imager’, in 2015, a lot has changed for London-born James Mathé AKA Barbarossa. Most importantly, he’s become a father for the first time and made the hugely liberating move from London, the city that had for so long defined him and his sound, to Margate.

            ‘Lier’, Mathé’s brand new album, is the perfect sonic story to accompany these big life changes and as a result, his most personal record to date. Across the 10 tracks, ‘Lier’ is a hugely uplifting and cathartic record that takes you from the depths of his intricate and wonderful creative mind to the wider wonderful emotions that come with becoming a father.

            Picking up where 2015’s ‘Imager’ left off, ‘Lier’ is further electronic wizardry from Barbarossa - one of the UK’s finest song writing talents. This time, his vocal is at the forefront on some of the most accessible pop songs he’s ever written.

            ‘Don’t Enter Fear’ is the perfect way to introduce the record. Written on the piano in his parent’s house, it encapsulates everything that the whole album represents and is ultimately a reminder to himself not to be scared of the seismic changes in both his own life and the political world around him.

            ‘Lier’ was written and recorded with Mathé’s producer friend Ghost Culture in Margate with percussion and drumming skills supplied by Joel Wästberg AKA Sir Was and artwork by fellow Margate dweller Tom Vek. The album is focused on the theme of geographic and personal change - ‘Cyclone’, the album opener for example, focuses on the move from city to sea and the calm and space that can bring, whilst album title track ‘Lier’ was inspired by swimming in the Walpole Bay tidal pool.

            Inspiration comes from everywhere - ‘Aluminium Skies’ was written in Gothenburg, Sweden whilst James was on the road with José Gonzalez (he plays in the José Gonzalez live band), whilst ‘Thickening Air’ was inspired by the classic songwriters that Mathé obsesses over - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Brian Wilson and Joni Mitchell.

            What unites the songs on ‘Lier’ are central themes of loss, love and confronting who you are as time moves on and things change within and out of your control. By the end of the record you are left with the feeling that when things are simplified, they are at their most beautiful.

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            Coloured LP Info: Limited edition red vinyl with download code.

            The two years since Commontime have been strange and turbulent. If you thought the world made some kind of sense, you may have questioned yourself a few times in the past two years. And that questioning, that erosion of faith - in people, in institutions, in shared experience - runs through every song on the new Field Music album.

            But there's no gloom here. For Peter and David Brewis, playing together in their small riverside studio has been a joyful exorcism. Open Here is the last in a run of five albums made at the studio, an unprepossessing unit on a light industrial estate in Sunderland. Whilst the brothers weren't quite tracking while the wrecking balls came, the eviction notice received in early 2017 gave them a sense of urgency in the recording of Open Here.

            There probably won't be many other rock records this year, or any year, which feature quite so much flute and flugelhorn (alongside the saxophones, string quartet and junk box percussion). But somehow or other, it comes together. Over thirteen years and six albums, Field Music have managed to carve a niche where all of these sounds can find a place; a place where pop music can be as voracious as it wants to be.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: Oh Field music, will your jagged chords and thumping, percussive oddness never grow weary? Apparently not, because here we have another outing that hasn't been off the shop stereo since we got the promo a few weeks back. We're all still enamoured here, and you will be too.

            Nadine

            Oh My

              Here to remind us that music is not just an audible experience, Minneapolis/New York’s Nadine make melodies that transcend acoustics. Their debut album oh my is collection of sophisticated modern pop songs that resonate in the gaps, the space between deadlines and timelines.

              More akin to poetry set to music, Nadine is all about exploring feeling. Whilst most poets revel in the personal, Nadine's process is collaborative whose core is singer Nadia Hulett (part of the loose collective Phantom Posse) and Julian Fader and Carlos Hernandez (both of Ava Luna). The trio's practice is marked by their commitment to playfulness, curiosity, and fluidity.

              Nadine's songs have one foot standing firm in pop, but ebb and flow with exploration and experiment. Polyphonic melodies swing and gambol, instrumental layers take generous flourishes and unexpected turns with an ear to the wondrous and occasionally weird, crafting jazz-tinged lounge-pop all held together by Hulett’s characteristic vocals, strong with a sincerity and gentleness that holds the listener. Let go of old ideas. Listen for tricks of the light. What does it feel like?

              The Go! Team have always been cheerleaders for a better world - an outpouring of collective joy in the face of small-mindedness and dismal careerism. They rejoice in the unifying urges and the chance encounters between cultures that lead to something new. They're a band that still has faith in the power of music to make things better. We need The Go! Team now more than ever.

              The Go! Team is the brainchild of one man: Brighton-based, melody-obsessed Ian Parton. But its membership has never been exclusive. Throughout the years, The Go! Team has included on its squad-sheet everyone from Deerhoof to Chuck D to a legion of undiscovered Bandcamp singers. Unlike the group's 2015 album, The Scene Between - which was essentially a solo project that followed the dissolution of the previous Go! Team lineup - their fifth album Semicircle sees Ian collaborating with current live players Simone Odaranile (drums) and Angela 'Maki' Won-Yin Mak (vocals), plus original Team members Sam Dook (guitar) and Ninja (irrepressible rapping).

              Ian had the idea of a school marching band gone rogue, chucking away their sheet music to blast out Northern soul stompers or Japanese indie-pop swooners or old-school hip-hop jams. "I like the swing and the toughness of marching bands, the physicality of feeling a beater walloping a bass drum," explains Ian, "but I wanted to reclaim them from patriotic or sporty associations. That was the kick-off for this record." But his extensive sample library could only take him so far. To fully realise his vision, he knew he had to reach out and entice a group of unlikely new collaborators into the Go! Team fold.

              So Ian made a pilgrimage to Detroit - city of Motown and The Stooges, of musical (and actual) revolution - where he hooked up with The Detroit Youth Choir. Their age was key; he didn't want kids (too twee), but he didn't want adults either, with all their emotional baggage and wariness and tendency to over sing. He also wanted to avoid the religious connotations of a church or gospel choir. "I've always had a thing for gang vocals and group singing, particularly the roughness of community choirs," says Ian. "Normally they might be singing show tunes or whatever, but I like the idea of getting people to do something they wouldn't normally do. I like making things happen that wouldn't otherwise happen. It's always a gamble, but in this case it paid off."

              These inspiring sessions began to define the album. The choir's ebullient chanting is all over the opening track "Mayday," a morse-code-inspired soul belter about a love emergency, in the proud lineage of "Rescue Me" and "SOS." They bring the album to a rousing, defiant conclusion on "Getting Back Up." In between, they reveal a little more about themselves on the heart warming "Semicircle Song." When Ian needed a lo-fi R&B vocal for "Chain Link Fence" - kooky and soulful but not slick or drenched in melisma - he approached a Detroit high school. "I love the idea of recording people who wouldn't think of themselves as singers, who perhaps have never been recorded before."

              But this is a Go! Team record, so routine is outlawed; there are a multitude of other voices to be heard, sometimes in the course of the same song. Best-known among them is probably Utrecht indie-rocker Annelotte de Graaf AKA Amber Arcades, whose Dutch-accented English lends a unique flavour to "Plans Are A Dream U Organise." Previous collaborator Julie Margat AKA Lispector delivers "Hey!''s breathy French interlude. And sassy girl group kiss-off "The Answer's No - Now What's The Question" is fronted by Houston based Darenda Weaver, a Texan Mod that Ian found on Bandcamp.

              The band's own Maki helms "If There's One Thing You Should Know" with panache, and of course no Go! Team record would be complete without an appearance from Ninja, who unleashes a volley of verbal stingers on "She Got Guns." Meanwhile, the charmingly unaffected rapping on "All The Way Live" is sampled from a 1983 "after-school hip-hop project" Ian found on one of his epic crate-digging adventures. He considered asking a contemporary rapper to re-record it, but decided it would be impossible for anyone to unlearn 35 years of hip-hop history. Capturing those moments of authentic joy, unburdened by cynicism and ambition, is what Semicircle is all about.

              In keeping with the album's marching band theme, Ian stacked up sousaphones, glockenspiels and steel drums, mic'ing them all from a distance to recreate that gymnasium sound. The effect is a kaleidoscopic cacophony, almost as if the sound itself is bent and refracted in the metallic curves of a trumpet - comforting and intoxicating at the same time. "It's recognisable as a Go! Team record but it takes the sound to a new place."

              Although Semicircle isn't bogged down by polemical responses to the issues of today, there are still some valuable life lessons to be learned. Ian emphasizes that the vibrant utopia he and his cohorts have created on their fifth album is not an escapist fantasy but a potentially achievable goal. "It's about reminding yourself of the good things in life," says Ian. "We don't want to be dumbly optimistic and say, 'Hey, isn't everything great!' but there's something to be said for just getting on with it, for getting organised and not letting the fuckers get you down. Party for your right to fight!"

              As always, it's good to know The Go! Team are on your side.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: If I had a team, and I wanted them to go, i'd probably just expect them to know that that was their goal, and to do it prompt-free but that's probably what separates me from Ian Parton. Also the fact that i've not just released my brilliant new album, shining with insistent jangling chaos, and he has.

              The Cornshed Sisters

              Honey & Tar

                The Cornshed Sisters release their second album ‘Honey & Tar’ on Memphis Industries. It was recorded and produced by Peter Brewis at Field Music’s Studio on the banks of the river Wear.

                The Cornshed Sisters are Jennie Brewis, Cath Stephens, Liz Corney (moonlighting from the Field Music band) and Marie Nixon (erstwhile of 90s upstarts Kenickie); four singersongwriters based in Tyne and Wear, who weave together pop, folk, ballad and protest music into a unique and distinctive style.

                The Cornshed Sisters have been away for a while (their last album, ‘Tell Tales’, was released back in 2012) but we can probably let them off as they’ve been using the time well, becoming mothers, bringing millions of pounds of funding into major Sunderland arts projects, recording and touring with Field Music and somehow making time to write songs and record this album together.

                Drawing on a palette of solo and harmony vocals and a blend of acoustic and electronic instruments, they convey their stories with sensitivity and humour. Their subject matter is love, motherhood, fake happiness, friendship, family, feminism and the increasing complexities of life as you get older but no wiser. The band are proud to write about their experiences as women and their songwriting always has a stark realism to it - as Marie puts it when discussing the track ‘We Have Said This Is Impossible’: “True love is buggering off together in a Ford Focus.”

                It’s been almost exactly a year since Weaves released their acclaimed self-titled debut LP, lauded internationally for its exuberant approach to guitar pop and recently nominated for this year’s Polaris Prize. It was a whirlwind year for the band who spent a nearly uninterrupted 12 months on the road, playing festivals across the globe, and touring with their fellow 2016 breakout artists Sunflower Bean and Mitski. Propelled forward by their own momentum, which they corralled like the barely contained energy of their explosive live sets, it was a life changing-experience, and upon returning home to Toronto the band’s leaders, singer Jasmyn Burke and guitarist Morgan Waters, found themselves possessed by an irrepressible burst of creative energy.

                Their lawless approach to being a band is grounded on Wide Open by Burke’s songwriting, which is both more focused and more personal than on past releases. Burke writes in disciplined bursts, which on the last record consisted of isolated sessions with a looping pedal and a guitar recorded as voice memos on her iPhone, but this time around she varied her technique, often writing on an acoustic guitar, which expanded her songwriting palette in unexpected directions. Both Burke and Waters half-jokingly refer to the album as their “Americana” record, and while the statement is made with tongues placed firmly in cheeks, the album, without discarding the punky pyrotechnics that defined their first LP, displays an expansive and anthemic quality in songs like the opener “#53” and the sweeping “Walkaway,” that makes the joke ring half true.

                The record sees Burke extend herself as a performer - moving more frequently to the center of arrangements and revealing new facets of her unique and powerful singing voice - as the band find ways to interpret the growing diversity of her expression. From the glammy Saturday night strut of “Slicked,” to the stripped-down, pedal steel abetted torch song “Wide Open,” to the searing “Scream,” a warped duet with Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq that likely constitutes Weaves’ wildest recording to date, the album captures a band for whom exploration is a compulsion making a self-assured step into the unknown. 

                For their new recording, North East England electronic duo Warm Digits have sharpened up the elements of their sound for a set of crisp, propulsive and melodically rich songs, and for the first time on selected songs have collaborated with some of their favourite vocalists: Peter Brewis of Field Music, Sarah Cracknell of Saint Etienne, Devon Sproule, and Mia La Metta of Beards.

                Wireless World is loosely themed around a present-day that teeters between progress and collapse. The band explain, “Our experience of the world and our states of mind are shaped and thrilled by unimaginably exciting leaps in technology, and yet that world will only last for a few moments as we fail to find a way to act collectively on rising temperatures, the failures of democracy and the unstoppable hunger for exploitation of the ground under our feet. This record is our attempt to make music from our experience of this present that teeters between celebration and devastation.”

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: Dynamic Karutrock-inspired breakdowns, soaring synths and dreamlike, hazy shoegazing vocals mix into a euphoric and satisfying melting pot. Brilliant stuff.

                Field Music

                Tones Of Town

                  THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2017 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                  Ten year anniversary of Field Music’s hugely acclaimed second album.

                  Long since deleted on vinyl.

                  Pressed especially for Record Store Day 2017 on 180g yellow vinyl, housed in a gatefold sleeve.

                  Limited to 750 copies for the UK and Eire.

                  Manchester’s idiosyncratic art-popologists Dutch Uncles return with Big Balloon, their new studio album, on 17th February 2017 on Memphis Industries.

                  Big Balloon is the latest chapter in Dutch Uncles’ brilliantly witty, hip-swiveling, left-field adventures. Taking musical inspiration from Kate Bush's The Red Shoes, Low-era David Bowie, some slightly-less fashionable records belonging to their Dads and East European techno, it's the fifth Dutch Uncles studio album and the follow-up to 2015's acclaimed O Shudder.

                  Functioning as ten distinct pieces, each tackling a different topic, including austerity cuts, therapy, fried chicken, paranoia and coming to terms with loneliness, Big Balloon is Dutch Uncles’ finest album to date, taking listeners on an exhilarating cerebral journey.

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Barry says: Bracing, inventive, catchy electronic-tinged indie at it's very finest. Never afraid to stray from conventions but managing to keep the hooks flowing, DU deliver both a benchmark and a triumph.

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive clear vinyl.

                  Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                  “Lemon Memory” is, for Menace Beach at least, an exercise in restraint, the fuzz and distortion turned down, a big last chorus avoided. Liza explains, “The one ‘rule’ thing we went into the album session with was to keep in mind that sometimes doing The Opposite is much more interesting”. Liza takes the lead vocal as she does on much of “Lemon Memory”. Indeed, if debut LP Ratworld was Ryan’s record, “Lemon Memory” is very much a Liza record. Ryan explains “Liza got that look in the eye and a head-down-blinkers-on thing, and only a moron would try and get in the way of that. It’s all about keeping those ideas in their purest form and diluting as little as possible.”

                  Written in Ibiza and recorded in Sheffield with Ross Orton (MIA, Arctic Monkeys, The Fall) “Lemon Memory” is in part an effort to lift a citrus based curse – trust us, it’s a real thing - Ryan and Liza believe was placed on their house, via the hexbreaking power of music. It’s also the sound of a band finding their own identity, edging closer to some sort of grimy truth.

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Barry says: Dynamic swooning rock, pulsing indie anthems and pummelling breakdowns, brilliantly textured choruses, and fantastic counterpoint male/female vocals. A clever and immensely listenable tour de force of emotion and drive.

                  Blue States releases his long awaited fifth album ‘Restless Spheres’ via Memphis Industries.

                  It’s been nine years since we last heard from Blue States, the moniker for the musical outlet of Andrew Dragazis. Recorded, produced and, for the most part, played by Dragazis at his Lightwell studios in Stoke Newington, London, ‘Restless Spheres’ doffs its cap to the soundtracks of Budd and Morricone, to 60s Greek bands such as The Forminx, to German electronic pioneers Dieter Moebius and Michael Rother and to American minimalist composers Steve Reich and Phillip Glass.

                  Blue States began nearly twenty years ago with the young, movie soundtrack obsessed Dragazis writing and recording largely instrumental, electronic pieces alone at his parent’s house in Sussex. Music had always been around in his family, his father having been involved in the Greek pop scene of the 1960’s, jamming in Athenian clubs alongside pre-Aphrodite’s Child legends Demis Roussos and Vangelis.

                  The recordings found their way to nascent electronic label Memphis Industries, who went on to release a succession of 12”s including the smooth electro sweep of ‘The Trainer Shuffle’ and the filmic ‘Yé-Yé’ stylings of ‘Your Girl’. An album, ‘Nothing Changes Under The Sun’, followed in 2000 and became a surprise hit, seeing Dragazis form a band, tour the world, remix Future Sound Of London, work with Roy Wood and sign to XL Recordings. Subsequent albums ‘Man Mountain’ and ‘The Soundings’ saw Dragazis work with more traditional song structures (including ‘Season Song’, the title track of cult Zombie flick ‘28 Days Later’) and collaborate with vocalists Ty Bulmer, latterly of New Young Pony Club and old school friend Chris Carr. 2007’s ‘First Steps Into...’ saw Dragazis revert to working solo and heralded a return to his electronic origins with more extended, free form soundscapes.

                  On ‘Restless Spheres’ Dragazis draws on all four of his previous albums to create something entirely different, an album imbued with a subtle majesty and hope filled melancholy.

                  “Haley Bonar’s songs marry fizzy arrangements to cuttingly quotable observations about love, disappointment, identity and the curdling of youth.” - NPR

                  Recorded on analogue tape at Pachyderm Studios, Minnesota and produced by Haley Bonar and Jacob Hansen, ‘Impossible Dream’ is the follow-up to 2014’s ‘Last War’, which enjoyed widespread critical acclaim and featured in NPR and Village Voice’s Albums Of The Year lists.

                  ‘Impossible Dream’ is Bonar’s most ambitious record to date. Blending scuzzy 1980s indie, new wave angularity and Spectorish reverb, her songs are, as NPR once described, “as relentlessly catchy on the surface, as they are alluringly complex underneath.”

                  Hypnotic opener ‘Hometown’ shimmers like a Twin Peaks outtake, the shuddering, swirling ‘Kismet Kill’ recalls Mazzy Star, while the soaring synth and pounding drums of ‘Stupid Face’ summons the spirit and melody of ‘Porcupine’ era Echo And The Bunnymen.

                  Intrepid and diverse, ‘Impossible Dream’ is consistently bold, infectious and inventive.

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Andy says: Huge pop melodies and 80's classic indie vibes pervade on this instantly likeable new album from Haley Bonar. Could be the feel good hit of the summer.

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                  Field Music

                  Field Music - RSD Exclusive

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

                    Having ploughed their own unique furrow for over ten years to an ever growing audience, Field Music recently released their fifth album ‘Commontime’ to huge acclaim (incidentally scoring their first Top 40 with it).

                    Now seems like a pretty good time to reissue the LP where it all started, with self-titled debut from 2005.

                    ‘Field Music’ on vinyl has long been out of print, having had only one pressing of 500 on its original release.

                    At the time, the band listed an array of apposite and conflicting influences (The Left Banke, My Bloody Valentine, Stravinsky, Thelonious Monk, Stax & Atlantic R&B, Big Star, Jimmy Smith, Serge Gainsbourg, The Neptunes and Duke Ellington) but listening back now, you can hear that Field Music’s own distinct sound arrived fully formed.

                    Record Store Day exclusive heavyweight blue vinyl LP, includes download code.

                    Limited to 500 copies.

                    ‘United Crushers’ is POLIÇA’s third full length release and most remarkable album yet. Lead singer Channy Leaneagh and non-touring fifth member producer Ryan Olson wrote the album in Minneapolis in the winter of 2015 and recorded it at the renowned Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, TX with their live line up of dual drummers, Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu, Chris Beirden on bass. The new album builds on POLIÇA’s signature synthesizer and percussion-heavy sounds with more complex arrangements, tighter grooves and a bigger, crisper hi fi punch.

                    The record, a tribute to their hometown of Minneapolis, was named after the graffiti tag seen throughout the city as a reminder of its bleak past and uncertain future and is short for “United States of Dreams Be Crushed.” Even at its darkest, the record is musically the band's most upbeat and celebratory. It is a weapon meant to empower the weak, the forgotten, and the disenfranchised; its very creation an act of rebellion in the face of the hopelessness that casts such a long shadow over Middle America's slow urban decline.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Barry says: This record, more so than 2014's Shulamith oozes a sort of dystopian dread, displayed through repetitive synth-swells and rippling arpeggios. Though this is in many ways a record about decay, it seems hopeful, like there is something to be gained by adapting. Through adversity comes triumph. This is a bleak yet upbeat offering, dynamic, and exciting.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    Indies Exclusive LP Info: Limited edition rose vinyl.

                    Indies Exclusive LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                    The Phoenix Foundation

                    Give Up Your Dreams (Bonus Cassette Edition)

                    Indie exclusive bonus cassette ‘Transfatty Acid’ featuring 4 exclusive tracks with every order while stocks last.

                    New Zealand based The Phoenix Foundation are all set to return with their new and sixth studio album Give Up Your Dreams. It’s a shrewd and vibrant reminder that in The Phoenix Foundation’s gloriously absurd world of Technicolour pop, it’s the challenges you set yourself that reap the greatest rewards. “Give Up Your Dreams could sound like a defeat but it represents something quite defiant, joyous and celebratory” exclaims co-frontman Samuel Scott of the record’s infectious rhythmic driven sound and optimistic feel.

                    After huge success, sales and awards in their homelands it was 2011’s breakthrough album Buffalo and 2013's colossal double album 'Fandango' that saw the band reach a more global audience - 5 star reviews, ‘Later... with Jools Holland’ and Glastonbury followed. Which brings us to Give Up Your Dreams, the sound of a band with the pressure-off, embracing a freedom to explore and hone their sound at their own pace.

                    Channelling Fandango’s beauteous side, but this time fuelled by a spit ball of irrepressible energy, Give Up Your Dreams feels like the band’s most contemporary offering yet. With the new addition of drummer Chris O’Connor, the album was written taking its lead from the rhythm section for the very first time; paving the way for an all new creative process. “I was convinced we had to have a different sounding record,” explains Scott’s counterpart singer/guitarist Lukasz Buda. “So we completely removed any trace of acoustic guitar. It was important to leave room for the band to take it somewhere else and make way for a new vitality.”

                    Recorded within the pow-wow setting of the band’s Car Club HQ in Wellington, it's the first time the band felt totally comfortable and confident in taking on production duties entirely themselves. “The mood when we were recording was so easy, so cordial,” recalls Scott. Taking a free form approach from Chris and bass guitarist/vocalist Tom Callwood’s experiences in the city’s improv and experimental scene, the album’s cosmic vibes are an upshot of utilising gadgets to shapeshift each sound. Whilst synths were always built into the Foundation’s musical make-up, this time around they’re placed centre stage; “we spent a great deal of time messing with an old Eventide H3000. There would be very few sounds we didn’t try to mess with,” says Scott. “We turned all the cool and interesting sounds up loud so nothing was competing in the mix and you can actually hear the trippy shit.”

                    Thematically and lyrically the group typically took inspiration from various of sources. The dazzling title-track is a frank deglamourisation of life on the road spurred on by a conversation with dear friend, collaborator, and fellow New Zealander Lawrence Arabia. The energetic ‘Mountain’ is the ultimate counterpoint; an afro-kraut groove with layers of Television-inspired guitars and dreamscapes about the 'money men' controlling the world. ‘Playing Dead’ nearly didn’t make it further than the cutting room floor but was revived thanks to the photographs in a 1950s Time Life essay on the Ona people of Tierra Del Fuego in southern Chile and their ghost rituals. Elsewhere in 'Jason' Luke sings about both the mother of his children and his ‘band wife’ (Samuel Scott) being struck down with sciatica and being reliant on string painkillers to function, touching on the fear of ageing in the process. Album closer 'Myth' was inspired by the writings of St. Isidore of Seville who in the 19th Century attempted to compile all human knowledge.

                    “After 15 years together, this album feels like a total rebirth to us" reveals Buda "it's uplifting feel comes as an act of defiance against all our fears in life.” Take The Phoenix Foundation’s advice then: give up your dreams and good things will happen to you too. Scott concludes “It’s a mantra about letting go, worrying less, and enjoying your reality instead of always wanting more.”

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Andy says: A more muscular, propulsive take on their trademark chiming, Flying Nun style otherness. Tunes still intact!

                    Josh Scott is ready to unveil the unique and stunning fruits of his labour on his self-titled debut album as the distinctively named Aero Flynn - a record that may never have seen the light of day, had it not been for his old friend Justin Vernon of Bon Iver fame.

                    Up to now Scott may have been living life as an outsider but solid relationships sit at the very heart of his musical make up. Whilst his grandfather played a key influence on his life and new stage name (“I grew up with him and he worships old cinema so I’ve seen every Errol Flynn film,” explains Scott of the reason behind his new guise, “It’s my Narnia.”), his saving grace has become those who surrounded him during the 2000s while attending the University Of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. During that time Scott’s band Amateur Love was the most talked about band in the small college town’s scene.

                    After struggling with the high expectations thrust upon him (so esteemed was his song writing to those who knew him back then that the ‘Lip Parade’ sited in Bon Iver’s ‘Holocene’ is a direct reference to one of Scott’s earlier songs), Scott disbanded the group, moved to Chicago and stepped further back into the shadows. After being diagnosed with a mysterious autoimmune disease affecting his kidney in addition to crippling untreated depression, he went underground. That is, until now.

                    Refusing to let Scott go without a fight, Vernon eventually managed to coax him back out of hibernation by establishing a label on which to reissue the one and only Amateur Love album. This was the spark; Scott’s interest was piqued and he began writing and recording what would become Aero Flynn’s deeply personal self-titled debut. The writing for it began in Scott’s empty Chicago apartment and it brilliantly displays a newfound exploration of longform composition techniques and ambiguities rather than the simple versechorus- verse-type song structure he had mastered. Once the songs arrived at Vernon’s April Base Studios in rural Wisconsin (where he and Scott coproduced the self-titled debut together) the songs were stretched and manipulated further into their spaced out ethereal final form.

                    With a dazzling cast of musicians, including Bon Iver players Mike Noyce, Sean Carey, Rob Moose and CJ Camerieri plus Justin Vernon himself, guitarist Matt Sweeney, pedal steeler Ben Lester and Solid Gold’s Adam Hurlburt, recording progressed well and, over the course of a year, an album that many had spent over a decade waiting for was finally finished.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    Ltd LP Info: Red vinyl.

                    Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                    At the beginning of 2014, Outfit found themselves scattered across two countries and three cities, separated by life and love from each other and from those closest to them. Slowness, the band's second full length on new label home Memphis Industries, is the sound of its five members snatching intensive weeks to plant themselves in one place, with the tensions of touring, moving, and transatlantic relationships still weighing heavy in mind, to create an album with bold presence. 

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Darryl says: An expansive and elegant sound that hints at a combination of Talk Talk, Field Music, Japan and the Dutch Uncles. Released on the ever dependable Memphis Industries label.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    Ltd LP Info: Indie exclusive blue swirl coloured vinyl.

                    Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                    Barbarossa

                    Imager

                      “Melds blue-eyed soul and electronica to addictive effect… exquisite” - The Times

                      “A great example of someone following their musical instincts into new areas and finding success” - Drowned in Sound

                      “Mathé employs his soft soul falsetto over juddering beats, double-time drum claps and a synth riff… a revelation” - The Guardian

                      Barbarossa, the nom de plume of Londoner James Mathé, follows 2013 album ‘Bloodlines’ with ‘Imager’ on Memphis Industries. ‘Imager’ is a cerebral, slow-burning album, tinged with melancholy and an alluring humanism.

                      Mathé’s musical journey started with folk-tinged balladry that saw him become part of the Fence Collective and subsequently a band member for the likes of José González, Johnny Flynn and Junip. With ‘Bloodlines’ Mathé started to infuse his songwriting with electronic flourishes and now, with ‘Imager’, he completes his transformation into fully fledged electronic soul pioneer.

                      Working with co-producer Ash Workman (Metronomy, Summer Camp) Mathé builds on the foundations provided by his organic approach to songwriting, to build elegiac electronic anthems that are filled with a simple, poignant immediacy.

                      ‘Imager’ is pervaded with a sense of disquiet, perhaps driven subconsciously by the fact that the spaces where creativity and culture flourish in London are rapidly disappearing; that the artistic communities that Mathé grew up with are being driven out of London due to financial pressures and, as a result, something vital is being lost. Yet while the album deals in displacement and heartbreak, a sense that everything is in flux, there are redemptive moments to stir the soul.

                      ‘Silent Island’ is perhaps the best example of this. Its melancholic refrain “this city holds no beauty for me” giving way to a blissful yet propulsive chorus that suggests creativity will always find a way.

                      Elsewhere, ‘Settle’ is the sound of dislocation in the big city, a questioning of how to respond to your surroundings as they become increasingly alien.

                      The languid ‘Home’, which features a guest vocal from José González, is the light to ‘Settles’ shade; its phrase “you’re one of the lucky ones...” providing reassurance and redemption.

                      ‘Imager’ is the sound of Barbarossa stepping out of the shadows and into the limelight as a talent to be reckoned with in his own right, questioning his surroundings, his own creativity and coming up with answers that are compelling, affecting and thoughtful.

                      Lasers through tracing paper, orange tone oscillations, cable access hangover, a K-tel dream sequence, a haunted vision mixer, station wagon-core, straight to video, something in the fog, fluff on the needle, chromakey constellations, a hovercraft on the fret board, faxing a car alarm, a Morse code pep talk, etch a sketch jacknife, a daily Haley's comet, light sound colour motion, a holiday from yourself, Ceefax taking Oracle, second sight summer camp, 360 degree tunnel vision, Chinese whispers by post, the opposite of hula hooping, the geometry of ideas, maxing the minute maid, a teleprompter for your dreams, carry the ten, pathways in patchwork.

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Andy says: Hugely cute indie-pop with an occasional shoegazey bent. Effervescent as ever!

                      Six years into Dutch Uncles’ flourishing career, the idiosyncratic artpopologists return with new album O Shudder which sees them further distilling and refining their signature sound, marrying rock bombast with classical arrangements, acoustic instrumentation with smart synthetic pop. O Shudder is Dutch Uncles’ most direct record to date, the sound of a wildly witty band well and truly finding their stride, whilst lyrically tackling the growing pains of being twentysomething in a generic Northern suburbia; according to hip swivelling front man Duncan Wallis, the album covers themes including “pregnancy, social media, terrorism, divorce, sexual dysfunction, job seeking, health scares, doubt, love”.

                      With O Shudder, Dutch Uncles continue their fascinating, wonky ascent which has seen them play enormodomes with emo punk rock behemoths and self confessed Dutch Uncles acolytes Paramore, supporting and being supported by like minded left-field pop adventurers Wild Beasts, Outfit, Field Music, and Everything Everything, have a burger named after them by one of Manchester’s premiere eateries and prefigure Future Islands’ dance moves meme in their video for 2013 single Flexxin.

                      The album was recorded with long term collaborator Brendan Williams in three locations; at a studio in the heart of the Welsh valleys, above a Salford pub, ‘The Kings Arms’, (incidentally where C4 comedy Fresh Meat is filmed) and, for the acoustic instruments, in the natural reverb of Salford’s Peel Hall. The band were meticulous in tweaking their synth sounds so they’d fit seamlessly with the harp, xylophone, marimba, string and woodwind sounds that populate the record. Sources of inspiration for the record included The Blue Nile, Kate Bush’s third album, Never For Ever, Igor Stravinsky, Japan and lyrically John Cooper Clarke, Sparks, Ian Dury and Prefab Sprouts’ album From Langley Park to Memphis.

                      All set to o shudder and stun, and induce plenty of hip swivelling, Dutch Uncles have delivered on their youthful potential and, with O Shudder, solved their own particular Rubix’s cube, bringing their unclassifiable pop music into clear and precise focus.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      Ltd LP Info: Indies exclusive red vinyl.

                      Back in the good old of days of 1990, Color Dream Games released Menace Beach for the then popular NES games console from Nintendo. Imagine skateboarding through a side-scrolling 8-bit world filled with balloons, clowns and disgruntled dockworkers in search of your cute pixilated girlfriend Bunny. It’s from this slightly surreal, esoteric world that this Leeds indie rock revolving cast of local luminaries, headed by Ryan Needham and Liza Violet, draw their name. It’s reference acts as the perfect backdrop to their 90’s American underground and pre-Brit Pop indie; melody heavy, supercharged pop that’s always surprising.

                      After the success of their EP ‘Lowtalker’ in early 2014, British indie label favourites Memphis Industries snapped Menace Beach up with the band’s debut album in mind. It comes in the shape of ‘Ratworld’, a twelve song assault, a journey through a psyche tinged wonderland, documenting moving away and waving goodbye to the fractured rubble of an unhappy lifestyle. On the title, Ryan says “We’ve created our own grubby little Ratworld to inhabit. Everything is better when it’s a bit grubby and broken”. It’s that dreamy sensation of taking comfort in chaos, looking around at the perfect mess you’ve created and feeling deeply content as it’s yours and no one else’s.

                      “Among this year's most anticipated British releases” NME
                      “Like the Shins back when they still had the spark of youth, but with Superchunk’s playful sass and unrestrained crunch” Stereogum

                      Drawing inspiration from disparate musical and poetic sources, two Mercury Prize nominees have come together in a playful departure from their respective work with Field Music and Maximo Park. Based around text from Paul Smith’s travel writing and Peter Brewis’s chamber-band arrangements, the pair have collaborated on a suite of songs, creating a restrained yet richly descriptive soundworld.

                      ‘Frozen By Sight’ evolved from a festival commission for new work which saw the pair employ the skills of a string quartet and double bass player. Smith says, “We allowed the words to guide where the music was going in order to break free of more traditional pop structures.” Brewis also adds, “We wanted to touch on a point somewhere between composition, songwriting and improvisation, but we also wanted to keep a sense of humour and a sense of the everyday.”

                      After performing the work at the inaugural Festival Of The North East in late 2013, Smith and Brewis began work at the Field Music studio in Sunderland with David Brewis - Peter's brother - acting as co-producer. Integral to the sound of the record are the distinctive performances of the band: David’s dynamic push and pull on the drums, John Pope’s wandering, melodic bass playing, the precision and drama of Ed Cross’ string quartet and the sonorous palette of Andrew Lowther's tuned percussion. Brewis reinforces the arrangements with smatterings of piano while Smith features as a highly individual singer / guitar player.

                      The music wraps itself around the words and the places they chronicle. The locations become tangible; from their home towns in North Eastern England to more far-flung destinations. Characters appear, such as the diminutive L.A. streetcleaner going about his work in the song of the same title, or the romantic old couple “digging their forefingers in freshly-soaked sand” in ‘Santa Monica’.

                      The notion of discovery is everywhere in these songs, with ‘Trevone’ being a perfect example of a visual journey where the wanderer can take a “sidestep and the whole world appears.” Its uncanny Cornish imagery is mirrored by the unusual musical touches that coax the song from a sparse beginning to an uplifting, magical conclusion.

                      ‘Frozen By Sight’ is a rare piece of music that quietly announces the arrival of a potent new collaboration.

                      The LP features 180g vinyl in a gatefold sleeve with digital download code.

                      Menace Beach

                      Tennis Court / Lowtalkin

                      Menace Beach are Ryan Needham (vocals, guitar), Liza Violet (vocals / guitar / synths), Nestor Matthews (drums), Matt Spalding (bass) and MJ (guitar) plus a revolving cast of friends and acquaintances.

                      Having served notice of their intent with the ‘Lowtalker’ EP earlier this year, Menace Beach release a double A-side ‘Tennis Court’ / ‘Lowtalkin’ on Memphis Industries.

                      After several untreated breakdowns and a subsequent rash decision to relocate to Leeds, Ryan and Liza shacked up with MJ (Hookworms) to re-imagine their crackly 8-track demos. Joining them on the session were friends Nestor Matthews (Sky Larkin), Matt Spalding and Robert Lee (Pulled Apart By Horses), who fought their way through Liza’s rats nest of cables and homemade synth modules to blast through the songs during another all-nighter, having so much fun in the process that they all decided to stick around.

                      Both tracks were recorded, produced and mixed in the Spring of this year with MJ at his Suburban Home studios in Leeds. Friend of band Lan Mcardle of Joanne Gruesome was on hand to lend her admirably shouty pipes to both tracks (the line “with nothing in it” in ‘Tennis Court’, and the “lowtalkin’” yell that propels the track of the same name).

                      Where ‘Tennis Court’ shows off Ryan and Liza’s inclination towards fuzzed out, psyched up melody, ‘Lowtalkin’ is a sub-two minute blast of exhilarating noise.

                      Stereogum had this to say: “It’s been a while since I’ve heard old-school indie-pop that sounded quite this vital, and I suggest that you listen to the song…”

                      Limited to 500 clear vinyl 7”s with download code.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      Ltd 7" Info: Just found 1 copy of this!

                      If the last album (‘Glowing Mouth’) from Brooklyn brooders Milagres was an essay on human frailty, composed in a haze of Vicodin from a hospital bed after a climbing accident left lead vocalist Kyle Wilson incapacitated for months, the follow up is about living life - a brave, bold f*ck you to mortality that seeps sex from its pores and dazzles in its gossamer alt-pop. “We could take a trip into a new country,” he teases on ‘Urban Eunuchs’, but forget that.

                      The only record you’ll hear this year (or any other) to borrow from both ‘Heroes’-era Bowie and Southern rap hooligan Waka Flocka Flame (“I love the way his rhythm tracks just prattle on and on without repeating themselves, somehow never sounding overcomplicated” says Wilson), this new full length release from the band sounds like a trip into another universe, full of trippy analogue synths, manipulated samples, punchy distorted guitars and heavy brass orchestrations.

                      Painstakingly honest, ‘Violent Light’ finds Wilson wading through his psyche for song matter. “Yesterday my therapist asked if she could hear the music I’ve been working on,” he says. “I’m pretty scared to play her this record because I’m sure there’s some subconscious stuff in there that I really don’t want to confront.”

                      From the haunting ‘The Black Table’, sparked by a flash memory of his grandfather explaining the destructive power of modern science to him as a child (“we had made plans to see the excellent Arnold Schwarzenegger film ‘Kindergarten Cop’ one day when he got into an explanation of nuclear fission, drawing diagrams on napkins and going into great detail. We missed the film”) to ‘Jeweled Cave’s recollections of a childhood romance with a male friend (“it wasn’t a sexual relationship, but I don’t think you could describe it as anything other than being in love”), there are few more personal, confessional listens to be had in 2014.

                      Now a four piece, Milagres - completed by producer and bass player Fraser McCulloch, keyboard player Chris Brazee and drummer Paul Payabyab - sound destined for stardom. Until then, Wilson, like all great musicians before their breakthrough, is living a humble existence in his adopted home of Brooklyn. “I work as a waiter in a Michelin star restaurant. I once waited on Lou Reed’s birthday party. David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, Julian Schnabel and Salman Rushdie were all at the table. I was a little bummed that I wasn’t meeting these people in another context,” he says. Should the progressive, forward thinking and life-affirming ‘Violent Light’ find the acclaim it deserves, Wilson could get that opportunity yet.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                      Poliça

                      Shulamith - Indies Exclusive Red Vinyl

                      Poliça return with their second album ‘Shulamith’, the follow up to 2012’s universally acclaimed breakthrough debut ‘Give You The Ghost’.

                      Founded by vocalist Channy Leaneagh and producer Ryan Olson out of the ashes of Minneapolis collective Gayngs, and featuring Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu on drums and Chris Bierden on bass, Poliça’s ‘Give You The Ghost’ was released in April of last year. Seemingly from nowhere it became one of 2012’s standout debut albums. The band made their UK live debut in June 2012, with two packed nights at the tiny Camp Basement in London, and less than a year later, March 2013 saw the band play a triumphant show to a sold out Shepherds Bush Empire.

                      From the flurry of warped metallic electronica and razorsharp groove of opener ‘Chain My Name’, with its stark and rushing refrain, the angular R&B-pop futurism of ‘I Need $’, its sweetly earworm hook belying lyrics of alternately helplessness and defiance, to the gliding, bird’s eye meditation of closer ‘So Leave’, ‘Shulamith’ reaffirms Poliça as one of the most fascinating and vital groups in forward-thinking pop.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      2xLtd LP Info: Red vinyl edition, exclusively available to independent retailers, limited to 500 copies.

                      Fandango is the follow up to The Phoenix Foundation’s 2011 album Buffalo. Having made their reputation in New Zealand, Buffalo, their fourth album and the first to be released in Europe, was a critical and commercial hit, and 2011 saw sold out shows across the UK, with a storming set at Glastonbury leading to their UK TV debut on ‘Later... with Jools Holland’.
                      Fandango, an expansive, ambitious and gloriously rich 78 minutes, was recorded at four studios over 15-months. From opener ‘Black Mould’ (perhaps the first motorik-influenced song about respiratory problems induced by inadequate building standards in New Zealand) to the 18 minute closing behemoth ‘Friendly Society’ (almost certainly the only psychedelic epic named after the Quaker movement and which features Neil Finn and Bella Union signed Lawrence Arabia on backing vocals), Fandango is un-coy about its lofty ambitions in an age of digital disposability.
                       
                      The album draws on the band’s collective love of the rock canon (Dr John, Black Sabbath, The Carpenters, Can, Talk TalK, ELO, Television,), but also from some of music’s more obscure corners (Harmonia, The Clean, Aphrodite's Child, Erkin Koray, Baris Manco, Georges Zamfir, Hayao Miyazaki). Check the balladeering yacht rock of ‘Sideways Glance’, the end-of-the-party psych-folk of ‘Modern Rock’, and ‘The Captain’ a 3-minute slice of melancholic melodic joy featuring the vocal talents of co-frontman Lukasz Buda. ‘Thames Soup’ finds the band stretching the pop tropes of mid 70s FM radio to near breaking point while ‘Evolution Did’ channels Sly and Robbie production into an oblique rant on creationism.
                       
                      The band recorded Fandango partially at Neil Finn’s Roundhead studios, partially at a barn in the depths of the New Zealand countryside (in the middle of winter, fire blazing in the recording studio, cardigans on) but mostly at the band’s own HQ, The Car Club in Wellington. The album was then mixed with the assistance of long-term associate Lee Prebble at The Surgery (earthquake warnings taped to the front door). Lee and the band mined the depths of vintage studio effects in a quest to create new aural chimera.
                       
                      Let’s leave the final word on Fandango to co-frontman Samuel Flynn Scott:
                       
                      "Damn the zeitgeist, I still rejoice in the pan-sexual opulence of a double gate-fold vinyl album. Honestly, I'm thoroughly satisfied that we have made 80 minutes of tripped-out pop oddities that pays absolutely no attention to the short form game of contemporary music. This is Test Match music - maybe it's prog or psyche-folk - whatever it is, it's music that we thought about a lot, worked on a lot and cared about in the minutiae."

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Andy says: Phoenix Foundation stretch out in a glorious way. Deep and lush!

                      Elephant

                      Skyscraper

                      Amelia Rivas and Christian Pinchbeck aka Elephant.

                      The two met in the early hours of a house party back in May 2010, a fateful encounter that led to many a long night writing and recording songs in Christian’s South London bedsit. They soon came to the attention of Memphis Industries in the Autumn of 2010, with whom they subsequently released a pair of acclaimed 7” singles, ‘Ants’ and ‘Allured’, with The Guardian declaring “they're a Meg'n'Jack reared on breathy Brill Building pop and haunting atmospherics”.

                      The pair set to work on their debut EP and the result, titled ‘Assembly’ and released in 2011, was a four track wonder that expanded and developed the quiet beauty evidenced on their previous releases.

                      But all was not well with Elephant - Amelia and Christian had parted ways in a Fleetwood Mac style bout of acrimony. Then Christian broke his wrist (which may or may not be related to the aforementioned acrimony) rendering him unable to play. It looked unlikely that they would ever write together again.

                      Sometimes, though, you have to realize when you’ve got something good. After a tempestuous year, where they just about managed to play a show at Primavera’s opening party without injury (or worse), a gradual rapprochement took place. September finally saw them starting to write together again and playing shows (including an appearance at Eurosonic and supports with Matthew E White), and lo and behold, an album shaped batch of songs finally started to take shape.

                      Sumptuous new track ‘Skyscraper’ sees Amelia’s vocals swooning and swooping over a backdrop that twists familiar fifties Doo-wop stylings into something new and alluring, whilst B side ‘Spies’ is a sweet and sparse repost.

                      It’s a strong, confident marker that Elephant’s debut album will be worth braving broken hearts and broken bones for.

                      White vinyl 7”.

                      Banjo Or Freakout

                      Banjo Or Freakout

                      Banjo Or Freakout release their self titled debut album on Memphis Industries. The record is a heady collection of introspective beats and carefully constructed moments forged across borders and genre.

                      Italian born Londoner Alessio makes heartfelt stargaze pop, following in the sonic footprints left by artists like Kevin Shields, Can, Arthur Russell and contemporaries Wilco, Caribou and Deerhunter.

                      Album highlights include the opener and first single "105", a woozy epic of tremolo guitar, horizon set acoustics and a heartfelt vocal in the vein of a Bob Timble ballad. From then on, the album unfurls with oblique vocals, soft motorik beats, simple guitar and drum loops, lush arrangements, everything gently vibrating and feedbacking through tracks such as the dark, sweet and simple singsong of "Idiot Rain", the four minute guitar loop mantra of "Fully Enjoy" and "From Everyone Above", about a recurring dream of drowning in a wide green and blue sea.

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Darryl says: Beautifully lush and elegantly understated, this is an amazing debut. Foggy shoegazery pop with heartfelt vocals. It's a Piccadilly hit.

                      "Buffalo" is the latest album from kaleidoscopic pop group The Phoenix Foundation, whose last album "Happy Ending" (originally released on the legendary Flying Nun label), had critics hailing them as New Zealand’s best kept secret.

                      From intelligent and infectiously catchy pop / rock gems, to epic, psychedelic prog rock, "Buffalo" combines sun bleached harmonies, chiming guitars, progressive synth scapes and subliminal rhythms to glorious effect.

                      “Surely the most potent band to come out of New Zealand since the far-off days of the Chills… Gorgeous” - The Independent (5 stars)

                      “The future, and the past, seldom sounded so delightful” - Q.

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Martin says: While most bands are supernovae, all explosive energy and creativity expended in one brilliant moment before quickly fading, there is another rarer form that reaches maturity more slowly, honing and developing its craft and tending to have a much longer productive life. Auckland’s Phoenix Foundation have taken 10 years to realise the sublime, effortless meander of “Buffalo”, and it’s quickly apparent from the album’s opener, “Eventually” that it’s been well worth the wait. Its drifting, captivating languor sets the scene for the rest of the LP, which manages that difficult balance of being entirely good natured without being trivial and laid back without being soporific. Their engaging psychedelic pop is easily carried by vocal harmonies and hooks that stick, earworms that caress rather than annoy. If you haven’t been reeled in by the gentle glow of “Golden Ship”, which closes the album, then you probably never will be and, frankly, there’s probably something wrong with you.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      CD Info: Initial orders of the CD come with a download code
                      for a previous New Zealand only release "Pegasus".

                      The Go! Team

                      Doing It Right / Milk Crisis

                      The Go! Team drop another single in advance of their second album, "Proof Of Youth". It's another slice of hyped-up 60s-sampling kid-funk with blaring brass, vibes (or possibly chime bars!), more hooks than an angler's tackle box and that trademark treble-heavy distortion that makes the whole cut sound like a scratchy old 45 you just found in a charity shop. Brilliant!

                      Arthur & Yu are Seattle's answer to Nancy & Lee. A beautifully hazy record, "In Camera" is the perfect album to compliment the coming of Autumn. Think drifty, 60s, folky pop, half Velvets for its lo-fi simplicity and half West-coast dreamland for its otherworldly laidbackness. Lovely.

                      Fort Lauderdale

                      The Chilling Place

                      A weird and wonderful combination of soaring vocals, drunken horns and bubbling synths. The title track is taken from the forthcoming "Pretty Monster" album and comes backed with two new tracks "She's In Bloom" is a lovely Velvets-esque song, and "Incantation" is a cover version of a Bruce Haak track.

                      Fort Lauderdale

                      Rock 'n' Roll

                      Over its three and a bit minutes, "Rock And Roll" charts a journey from the regret of the moning after the night before, through (with the help of hard riffing synths, piano, strings and of course guitars) to the euphoria of yet another night of decadence.


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