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Flamingods

Levitation

    International psych explorers Flamingods are back with brand new album ‘Levitation’ coming out on via Moshi Moshi Records.

    Inspired largely by the disco, funk and psychedelic sounds coming out of the Middle East and South Asia in the 70s, the album channels these influences through a vision soaked in mysticism, positivity and sun-drenched imagery.

    During the process of writing and recording ‘Levitation’, Flamingods for the first time in four years found themselves living in the same continent, it’s this new unified feel that defines the confident and eclectic sound of the album.

    ‘Levitation’ is the follow-up to Flamingods’ breakthrough 2016 album ‘Majesty’ and follows their ‘Kewali’ EP release for Moshi Moshi in 2017 and a one-off release with Dan Carey for his Speedy Wunderground singles club. During this time they’ve performed live sessions at 6Music (with Gilles Peterson & Lauren Laverne), KEXP, Boiler Room and have been travelling the globe spreading their exotic psychedelia to the masses and getting people dancing from Austin to Amsterdam. 


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Dinked Edition LP Info: Exclusive glitter gold vinyl.
    Exclusive Embossed sleeve.
    Signed & numbered 12 x 12 art print.
    Very limited 400 pressing.

    Du Blonde may sound like a band, but in fact it is, and always has been, the work of just one person. Beth Jeans Houghton.

    Her new album Lung Bread For Daddy delves even deeper into self sufficiency, seeing Beth take the reigns on production, instrumentation, album artwork and direction of music videos. This project is entirely her own. “I know exactly what I want my record to sound like and apart from drums, I have the ability to play all the instruments, so I did” Houghton states.

    True to form, the first peak of the new album is the self directed video (Houghton has also made videos for Ezra Furman, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and LUMP) for lead single 'Buddy' which also stars a bathtub, 3 bottles of vegetable oil and 37 packets of spaghetti.

    Lung Bread For Daddy sees a meeting in which Beth’s previous two albums, 2015’s ‘Welcome Back To Milk’ and her debut ‘Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose’, take a seat at the table and make amends. Veering wildly between proto-punk, psych rock and the wholesome song writing of the 1970’s, taking the listener on a journey through the landscape of her past. It is an honest and often uncomfortable look into the life of a person who’s experiences have been touched by a myriad of characters, homes across continents, periods of extreme loneliness, mental illness and a search for an understanding of personal identity. “My lyrics are always autobiographical. I have to be able identify with what I’m singing, and telling my story is therapeutic”.

    Houghton's insatiable thirst for creation on her own terms has seen her take charge of every aspect of Lung Bread For Daddy including the brutal self portrait that adorns the cover of this record. Painted from a photograph taken during one of her lowest points, the image depicts Beth devoid not only of makeup, but self worth and confidence. “I look tired and pretty much destroyed, which is a feeling I’ve known many times over; in the aftermath of relationships and that of making a record. Lyrically the album is very naked so I’m carrying on the nudity of my previous album covers, only this time it’s emotional instead of physical.”

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: A wonderfully off-piste distorted wonder from Beth Jeans Houghton as 'Du Blonde' here : distorted riffage, snappy percussion and haunted echoing vox, think stoner rock, garage and rock and/or roll all wrapped into one cohesive whole. Fully brilliant.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Sunflower yellow vinyl.

    To-date, the illusive creator behind the aptly named Invisible Minds, has remained somewhat of an enigma. When debut single ‘Yo Mae Leh’ rocketed to half a million streams in late 2017, gained playlist support from BBC 6 Music and champions by way of Lauren Laverne and Steve Lamacq; no one knew the mysterious mastermind was esteemed DJ, Tim Green.

    Make Up Your Own Stories, feels a felicitous title.Less a departure and more a new chapter in Green’s adventure; the 11-track debut is a melding pot of musical inspiration that has been ruminating for over a decade, and crafted between studios, tours and rare quiet-moments. Revealing a more melodic side to Green’s musical personality, the vivacious debut is “honest and innocent and kinda searching for a feeling” as Green himself puts it.

    From the guitar loop hypnotism of track ‘Autum’ and breathy haze of ‘The Cut Girl’ (one of three tracks featuring newcomer vocalist Howard Hobbs) to the MPC hip-hop of new single‘905 Users!’, it’s a record inspired by everyone from Peter Gabriel to Icelandic icon Bjork. Compiling the album across a long time span, then working to turn them into a cohesive body of work was a surreal experience for Green: like looking back on old diary entries from across his entire adult life. “It’s funny – you go back to a particular track and can’t help but be transported back to where you were in your life when you wrote it,” he says. “There’s a lot of nostalgia in there.”

    Nostalgic in its sentiment, but forward-thinking in its production; Make Up Your Own Stories marries synth melodies with deep bass squelches on epic finale‘Take Them All’, the last track written for the album, while standout track ‘Jump Jet’ feels every bit as soaring and propulsive as its title would suggest. “Just when you thought you could come out of the shadows, there comes that poison drizzle in your ear hole,” a ghostly vocal intones over its Radiohead-ish bed of guitar, atmospherics and experimental percussion. Making use of the original Moog Model D and Voyager synths plus world instruments picked up on his travels “there’s a Chinese toy piano, a mbira from Tanzania and a kora from somewhere in Africa, but I can’t remember where…” – it’s sound never stops evolving across its enveloping 11-track runtime.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: From crisp, shimmering percussion and flickering FM synths, to more robust dancefloor abstractions, 'Make Up Your Own Stories' displays the perfect balance of heft and tenderness. Beautifully wistful but warmingly direct, Invisible Minds are in it for the long-haul. Beautiful stuff.

    The Wave Pictures return with the promised second album of the year, Look Inside Your Heart - a warm, joyous record celebrating friendship, happiness and drunken party times. Like the first album they released this year, the more contemplative Brushes With Happiness, this one was recorded late at night whilst inebriated back at the tiny Booze Cube Studio in Stoke Newington, live to reel-to-reel tape with no computers of any kind. The album is peppered with giggles and chatter, which adds a sense of spontaneity and place.

    As singer and guitarist Dave Tattersall explains: ”Look Inside Your Heart is intended as a rallying cry in the war against the machines; while a computer may have beaten world-champion human being Lee Sedol at Go, a machine could never have made music as joyful, spontaneous, happy, poetic, broken and rambunctious as this. Look Inside Your Heart is a bullet in the face of all pop-poseurs and robot wannabes, a die-hard continuation of the vulnerable rebel tradition of rock and roll music, a vibrant work of outsider art and a masterpiece of electric folk.”

    Twenty years after forming in Wymeswold, Leicestershire as teenagers, The Wave Pictures have gone on to be one of the UK’s most prolific and beloved bands. Fond of classic rock, jazz and blues, they are also one of the most accomplished, with Tattersall’s guitar solos becoming the stuff of legend. They have collaborated with varying bright stars of the musical firmament, such as last year’s rock’n’roll surf-garage-rock project with Charles Watson from Slow Club, as new band The Surfing Magazines, or their ongoing partnership with ex-Herman Dune member Stanley Brinks, or the very close partnership with Billy Childish for 2015’s Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon. 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: I can't listen to the Wave Pictures nowadays without thinking of a friend of mine (he LOVED them), and they were similar in many ways. Understated but intelligent, filled with stories but hesitant to tell them for fear of coming off bolshy (they are both anything but). The Wave Pictures remain as relevant today as they ever did, writing superb songs and stooping slightly for fear of being noticed... i've not seen him for a while, but i'd imagine that Graf's trajectory is not far off that. Long live them both.

    Kiran Leonard is a 22 year old musician from Saddleworth, Greater Manchester. Debut album proper Bowler Hat Soup (2014) and follow-up Grapefruit (2016) were both recorded at home, with Kiran playing virtually every instrument himself. Dervaun Seraun (2017), a concept album in five movements inspired by five pieces of literature and arranged for piano, strings and voice, was an ambitious departure from his usual sound.

    Western Culture now sees him return to the signature sound of his first two records, yet marks a huge sonic progression thanks to the involvement of his venerable live band on record for the first time, as well as being the first to have been made in a professional studio (Old Granada Studios in central Manchester). Please read on for Kiran's statement on the record, discussing the themes within.

    I like the phrase “WESTERN CULTURE” very much because it is a resounding clang from a hollow vessel, connoting so much (grandeur; authority; hostility) without possessing a concrete meaning in of itself. What does ‘western culture’ consist of? This question changes shape depending on who is speaking: e.g., ’culture’ is constantly evolving and autonomous, rapidly reacting to and altering the present in which it unfolds, but is simultaneously regarded as something static and possessed, corresponding roughly to ‘tradition’ or ‘heritage’, something people can call on when the world seems precarious and alien and antagonistic. And so very often when we talk about culture, we reveal our personal conceptions of world events and of what is to be done.

    "“WESTERN CULTURE” — these heavy phrases without substance are of great importance because they are easily manipulatable agents with the potential to sustain great impact on the real world. Not every issue stems from language, and sometimes we allow our discourses to replace real things, which belittles violence and misunderstands the very real violence that phrases inflict. But I wanted to write about the relationship between the two, and show how a lot of very real brutality is distorted and justified by how we choose to depict it.

    "In part, then, it is a response to brutality. We seem inundated by a brutality beyond our comprehension: the kind of nationalisms and capital, and the brutality of not knowing. The latter is particularly damaging because it is so difficult to oppose what you can’t understand/articulate. I wrote this record about all this not because I wanted the real world to be eclipsed (that is; I didn’t want to self-absorbedly change a problem of violence into one of self-expression) but because I don’t understand any of this, and the struggle to depict the world and lived experience in a more truthful way is waged discursively.

    "Process of understanding; process of recognising perspectives beyond your own, and the historical, political forces of imbalance that engender them. I am interested in where songs might fit into all this; I think that it might be a valid means of approaching an articulation of violence, but I also suspect there is something totally absurd about the whole venture."


    Armed with a freer, more collaborative approach to both writing and recording, their new 11-track album Family of Aliens, is a fluid collection of glorious pop-songs fluent with new electronic textures and united by the sharp lyricism, buoyant guitars and instantaneous melodies that are synonymous with Teleman.

    “We want to keep evolving and keep discovering. This band is one long journey for us, and we never want to stop developing and finding new ways of creating music. I'm always wanting to better what we've done before. To go deeper, to find something more beautiful, more catchy, more challenging, more interesting … just more.”

    It’s evident the much-loved quartet have evolved, cultivating and honing their sound as a very-welcome and anticipated proposition for 2018. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: 'Family Of Aliens' is all-round A more varied, electronic affair than 2016's outing, but every bit as enthralling. Throbbing synths mix seamlessly with tenderly strummed guitar ambience and flickering piano, anchoring Sanders' otherworldly vocals. A perfectly balanced and thoroughly entertaining LP.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Limited red vinyl.

    Anna Meredith

    Anno

      Anna Meredith announces the release of Anno, a boundary-pushing collaboration with the Scottish Ensemble, in which original pieces of work by the classical-electronic composer are intertwined with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Released via Moshi Moshi, the project began as an immersive 360 degree live experience but will be available on double vinyl, CD and digitally for the first time from 17th August. After a recording process using the unusual ‘binaural recording head’ the project will also be available in an exclusive binaural recording – allowing the listener to experience the unique spatial aspects of the piece through headphones.

      Occupying a unique position of bridging both popular, experimental and classical worlds, Anna is a composer/producer and has made a name for her genre defying sound. In 2016 Anna Meredith released her acclaimed debut album Varmints via Moshi Moshi, which went on to win the Scottish Album of the Year award. Among countless achievements, she has been Composer in Residence with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, RPS/PRS Composer in the House with Sinfonia ViVA, the classical music representative for the 2009 South Bank Show Breakthrough Award and winner of the 2010 Paul Hamlyn Award for Composers. Anna has also scored forthcoming American comedy-drama Eighth Grade, written and directed by Bo Burnham, which took home the Audience Award at this years Sundance Film Festival: London. 


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Anna meredith spreads her considerable talents into the realm of classical music with this stunning juxaposition of the old world of musical symphonies and the electronic influences of Meredith's previous work. A triumph, and further evidence that Meredith is at the forefront of today's musical landscape.

      As one of the UK’s most prolific and beloved bands, it has become expected – nay, the fans have demanded - that The Wave Pictures release several albums a year. This year, they are releasing two albums and they’re kindly letting us know well in advance, so that we can set our calendars and save our pennies in anticipation. Starting with the spontaneous, recorded in one-day, minor-key, epic masterpiece that is Brushes with Happiness in June, the trio of Jonny Helm (drums), Dave Tattersall (guitar & vocals) and Franic Rozycki (bass), will be following up with a more up-beat party album, Look Inside Your Heart in October.

      Brushes with Happiness sees The Wave Pictures in contemplative and expansive mood. Mellower and more reflective than last year’s rock’n’roll surf-garage-rock collaboration with Charles Watson from Slow Club, as new band The Surfing Magazines, or 2016’s blues driven Bamboo Diner in the Rain or 2015’s Billy Childish produced Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon. This album is more akin to 2016’s acoustic release A Season in Hull, which, like Brushes With Happiness, was recorded live in one room in a single January day.

      Guitarist and songwriter Dave Tattersall explains the process of recording Brushes With Happiness; “We recorded this album live in a small room to tape on one night in January, playing music into the wee hours. Listening to the album feels like being in a ceremony. It takes you to that place. This is music that emanates from one group of people in one place in space and time. Listening to it is like being let in on a secret.”

      They wanted to make an album that was as spontaneous as possible, emulating the jazz, folk, blues and live albums that they love so much. As Dave explains; “As music fans we treasure spontaneous recordings. When we put an album on we want to hear a little of the human spirit.”

      The Wave Pictures undertook several steps in order to ensure that this was a magical album:

      - Tattersall didn’t write any music prior to the recording sessions, just lyrics. “The lyrics were written in advance, but the music was an improvisation, completed in one night. You can thus hear how in tune we are with one another after ten years playing together in bars.”

      - Everything on record is a first take and mostly material that Jonny and Franic had never heard before and Dave had never played. None of it existed in any shape or form before they put it to tape.

      - They recorded it late at night so as to be as relaxed as possible. As Dave explains; “Lots of bands pretend that they have made their Tonight’s The Night or Astral Weeks, that special album which is recorded in those rare, late-night, pressure-free circumstances; that loose collection of inspired jams. They haven’t done it really. They’ve spent bloody ages working on the thing. They’ve lost their nerve. This is the real thing. A genuine shitfaced improvisation.”

      - They got extremely high and inebriated, “We wanted to get rid of any self-consciousness together,” says Dave.

      - The songs are predominantly in minor key. Dave explains; “I cannot help how I feel - for me this is the happiest kind of key to play in.”

      For an album recorded in this way, Brushes with Happiness really does surpass all expectations. From the languid guitar licks to Dave’s faltering vocals, every note oozes emotional truth. The synchronicity of the band is evident in tracks like “Laces”, where you can hear the very process of composition or the Django Reinhardt inspired “Red Suitcase.” “The Burnt Match” is the kind of song they would have tried to do many times in the past but wouldn’t have been able to pull-off as they would have over-thought it. Yet in this live environment it turned out perfectly. As Dave explains; “We just improvised these songs on the fly, on the spur of the moment. So you can hear them come together with a lot more vitality than they would have done in the past.”

      The album title double meaning is a nod to Jonny Helm’s completely original approach to drumming with brushes. As Dave enthuses; “The way he does it seems to me to come out of the natural world, like waves crashing on rocks, rather than to come out of some school of drumming textbook.” Dave also praises Franic Rozycki’s bass playing, saying, “He uses the bass guitar as a vehicle for personal expression, which is virtually unheard of outside of the jazz world.” Not to be outdone, Dave Tattersall himself has been hailed for his musicianship, with BBC 6 Music DJ Marc Riley calling him; “the greatest guitar player of his generation”.

      Brushes With Happiness sees a band at the top of their game. No other band could just improvise an album out of thin air, no trouble at all, and have it sound THIS good.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Laura says: This album was recorded in one night, in one room, in one take. They arrived to record with just some lyrics and everything else was improvised on the night. It's a lovely laid back affair, and the nature of the recording gives it a raw, intimate feel. It captures the trio on fine form, completely in synch, and as ever the songwriting is top notch.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      LP Info: Violet sparkle coloured vinyl.

      Clubbing is a source of euphoria: a weekly, often daily escape, a respite from the grind. That culture and its landmarks – some of London’s best venues and many countless pubs - are slowly disappearing for good. Benin City address this most relevant issue across their new album, entitled: "Last Night". With a sound and mood that locates itself in a small sweet spot between Faithless, Metronomy and early Stromae, the album’s narrators draw on the last decade of their collective experiences as ravers, bar workers and observers. These reflections are primed for the dancefloor: a hook-laden blend of Afro-dance pop, hip-hop, spoken word and electronica that is both infectious and poignant.

      Speaking of the record, Joshua said:

      'London nightlife has been our way out, our release, our daily escape. We’ve been clubbers, barmen, part / full-time drinkers. We’ve served cocktails and downed shots. We’ve found ourselves on dancefloors and lost our dinners on nightbusses. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve engaged in dumb drunken squabbles and we’ve found ourselves in strangers’ houses. We’ve danced to songs we didn’t know the name of. We made landmarks out of hidden corners of London: Passing Clouds, Ghetto, Trash Palace, Plastic People, Vibe Bar, Cable, Crucifix Lane. Those places, and the stories they held are gone for good as London becomes pricier and ever more grey. On this album are some of those stories: this is an ode to London’s nightlife.'


      Charles Watson

      Now That I'm A River

        Charles Watson – the London based songwriter/producer and member of indie duo Slow Club and garage-rock super group The Surfing Magazines – announces the release of his debut solo record.

        Not only is this Watson’s solo debut but it also marks his first foray into production. Exploring his relationship with traditional harmony singing, Watson worked with sampled versions of his own voice to create unusual vocal textures.

        A former writing student of Central St Martins and The Faber Academy, Watson uses his own fiction writing as a spring board for his lyrics, a method he has also used for his previous records. The new album takes inspiration from the reoccurring themes and language of the JG Ballard novel 'Hello America'. Now That I’m A River was co-produced by Watson with longtime collaborator David Glover at Tesla Studios in Sheffield and features a hand-picked band, including Guillemot's Fyfe Dangerfield and Hot Club De Paris' Paul Rafferty. Rozi Plain and members of The Deep Throat Choir and Trashkit also make an appearance on the album title track 'Now That I'm A River'.

        Girl Ray

        The Way We Came Back

          "The Way We Came Back". The song is notable for being written by Poppy Hankin when she was just sixteen years old, yet had never been recorded until after the release of the North London group's debut album Earl Grey.

          "It's cute, I guess," says Sophie Moss. "You kinda wanna skip to it, you know? Makes you think about arguments but it doesn't make you hate them that much. It's an early, early - we're talking pre-Earl Grey here - banger that we wanted to oil up. A plump cow that needed to be milked. It was one of the first songs Poppy wrote when she was 16 which we all found pretty impressive. Sly arrangement, good vibes here."

          Girl Ray

          (I Wish I Were Giving You A Gift) This Christmas

            "(I Wish I Were Giving You A Gift) This Christmas", a song about loneliness and longing at Christmas, finds the North London trio embracing a seasonally sonic palette of children's choir, sleigh bells, and the hidden whinny of a kidnapped reindeer.

            Sophie Moss: "Christmas is great and everything but where are the indie bangers? We've pulled it all out the stocking on this one. You'd be a fool not to buy one for every family member, friend and tinder acquaintance this Christmas."

            In 2014 I was invited to perform at a residency commemorating the re-opening of Manchester Central Library. I wrote a piece in five movements for voice, piano and string trio and called it “DEREVAUN SERAUN”. Each movement is written about a different piece of literature, exploring the value I see in each work and the impression it has made on me, and there is nothing more to it than that. The pleasure of books – of good verse and stories and ideas – is a very simple thing, and I felt that some lofty unifying theme for the entire piece would be a betrayal of that belief.

            I think that when a work resonates with you it is an instinctive response to something. You can be taught to understand a challenging book, but not to feel affection for it; I think a lot of conversation around art, especially around literature, sometimes forgets this. In my experience, the art I like the most, irrespective of its 'difficulty', is the art I can advocate most directly and plainly, and about which I can say: “I read this piece and now I do not read or think in the same way that I did before”, or: “This is a story that I could not explain to someone; I do not understand it word-for-word, yet I feel like innately I understand the whole, and that the whole spoke to me”. This is a piece about five books that I like and why I like them

            Girl Ray, the North London three-piece comprising 19 year-olds Poppy Hankin (guitar/vocals), Iris McConnell (drums) and Sophie Moss (bass), was formed two years ago when the band were still just 16 years old and in a twist of fate as symbolic as it was bittersweet, ‘Trouble’, their first single for Moshi Moshi was recorded on what would have been their final day of school.

            A band whose songs document the dramas of adolescence with a wit and wistfulness far beyond their years, Girl Ray are the sound of that uncertain period in everybody’s life when the rest of it starts to loom large, when feels are felt more intensely than ever before, and when every decision seems like a fork in the road on your way to adulthood. Being a teenager is a crucible of heightened emotions and transformative confusion from which the ‘real’ you will ultimately emerge, having fallen in love (and out again), outgrown friendships you thought would last forever, and changed in ways you never thought possible. What you typically won’t emerge with, however, is a debut album as richly evocative of the experience as ‘Earl Grey’.

            Recorded with their friend (and now touring guitarist) Mike O'Malley over two "intense and insane" weeks at Ramsgate's Big Jelly studios, Earl Grey is a record of invention and ambition, whose delicate, sun-dappled melodies dance around the inside of your skull like a flickering zoetrope of memories - some fond, others less so.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Andy says: It's crazy that the 3 women in Girl Ray are only 19 years old! The themes may be gloriously youthful but the playing is anything but! You could call it C86 era retro indie but that's doing them a bit of a disservice, as the unusual arrangements and lovely melodies make this a unique, fresh and totally now record. This is buoyant, charming, charismatic pop music!

            When Happyness first burst into the public conscience with 2013’s debut single ‘It’s On You’, their spirited take on US college rock was as big a surprise as it was an instant hit. The resulting full length, ‘Weird Little Birthday’, went on to feature in many of 2014’s End Of Year album lists. Worldwide tours, an NME Award, a re-issue on much-loved label Moshi Moshi Recordings (Bar/None in US) and millions of plays later, it is with some anticipation now that the band finally reveal the full details of the follow up.

            Titled ‘Write In’, released through Moshi Moshi Recordings and featuring artwork from the band’s own Jon EE Allan, the record was made in the band’s own studio above a now-abandoned bookshop, then finished and mixed with Adam Lasus at his LA home studio.

            ‘Write In’ sets its stall out as an outward looking, inventive and thoughtful progression from their debut. Drawing on an array of influences including Roxy Music, The Beach Boys, Randy Newman, Sonic Youth, Big Star and Pierre Cavalli, the direction is best summed up by Jon EE Allan; “I’d like to think this record looks outside the little American alt-rock sphere we were looking in on. I think we used to be very afraid of being earnest. And now we’re able to be tender or heartfelt without feeling too guilty about it.”

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Andy says: A massive, chugging, classic chord-changing blend of a more hazy, sometimes dream-poppy Teenage Fanclub with the rock'n'roll insouciance and charm of, say, Foxygen in their pomp.

            Featuring new versions by Papa M (David Pajo), Green Gartside (Scritti Politti), Spring Heel Jack, Beatrice Dillon, Brian DeGraw (Gang Gang Dance) + more

            Listen With(out) Piano can be experienced on its own or simultaneously with acclaimed recent album Piano

            Alexis Taylor announces Listen With(out) Piano, a companion album to his 2016 record Piano. Released March 3rd 2017 via Moshi Moshi, Listen With(out) Piano features new versions by artists including Papa M (David Pajo), Green Gartside (Scritti Politti), Spring Heel Jack, Beatrice Dillon, Brian DeGraw (Gang Gang Dance), which can be played on their own, or at the same time as the songs on Piano, to create a brand new listening experience.

            The album features the work of eleven of Alexis’s favourite musicians, handpicked to create new tracks designed to work in response to the songs on Piano, the third solo album by the Hot Chip frontman. Though the record can be synched with the original Piano recordings by playing both albums on two devices simultaneously, the tracks on Listen With(out) Piano can be also be enjoyed as original songs on their own merits.

            “My brief was both very wide open and very specific, and part of the pleasure for me, and now hopefully for the listeners, is to see how everyone responded so differently to the task,” Alexis explains. “The results are truly amazing, and here you have a new album that works both as a kind of electro-acoustic ambient companion piece to Piano, and as a series of musical clothes to be put onto the deliberately bare record I released.” Piano, recorded at Hackney Road Studios by Shuta Shinoda, was released in June 2016 by Moshi Moshi. An intimate collection of songs comprised entirely of Alexis’s vocal and piano, the record was captured live to preserve each intricacy.

            Since 2000, Hot Chip have released six studio albums, as well as a wealth EPs, stand-alone singles, compilation exclusives, remixes and covers. Including Piano, Alexis has released three albums and an EP under his own name, as well as three further albums of material performed with the semi-improvisational About Group. Additionally, Alexis has crafted side projects such as Booji Boy High and collaborated with the likes of Wiley, Peter Gabriel, Will Oldham, Fimber Bravo, Bernard Sumner, Robert Wyatt, Justus Köhncke, The Memory Band, James Yorkston and David Byrne among many others.

            Girl Ray

            Trouble

              Girl Ray are Poppy Hankin, Iris McConnell and Sophie Moss. They deal in fuzzy Moldy Peaches–esque pop gems; shaping a love of off-kilter pop bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, Pavement and Cate Le Bon into a sound that feels instantly familiar and completely lovable. An endearing presence; full of promise.

              While studying for their A-Levels, Poppy, Iris and Sophie self-released their first track, "I'll Make This Fun" which was picked up by Brooklyn Vegan, The Line of Best Fit and DIY (among others). BBC Radio 6 Music made it their Track of The Week, and the band were invited to Manchester for a live session with Marc Riley.

              “Trouble” is the new single from the North London trio and it's about “apathy and hating yourself for trying to win pointless arguments in snakey ways,” say the band. “It’s about turning into someone you don't like.”

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Laura says: It's kind of sweet lo-fi girl pop, but not in a twee way, instead it exudes an effortless cool. There's a sort of Kinks-ey guitar riff and a hint of 80s post-punk girl groups in there (Marine Girls anyone?) which in my book is a recipe for success. Love it!

              Hot Chip front man Alexis Taylor pares everything back to just piano and voice for an intimate record of new songs, reinterpretations of his own writing, and a selection of favourites both well-known and unheard before by other artists. Recorded at Hackney Road Studios by Shuta Shinoda, Piano invites the listener to be privy to a very private recital, with Alexis’ vocal and piano captured live and up-close, preserving each beautiful moment.

              “The idea with this record was to choose songs of my own and others' that were personal to me and to document live performances which were intimate and unadorned. I wanted to reduce everything to the barest elements, record a great piano well and do as little as possible to the recordings eq or effects-wise. The mood created on the record is pretty different from that on other records I have been involved with. It feels like a special place to be able to go to."

              “After it was completed 'Piano' struck me as a sort of gospel record in places - albeit an atheist's gospel album, if that's possible. 'In The Light of the Room', Elvis's 'Crying In The Chapel', the hymnal 'I Never Lock That Door', and the miracle-referencing 'So Much Further To Go' - they have that feel to them for me lyrically and musically. But the Miracles in 'So Much Further' are Smokey's as much as anything Biblical, and the reference to both silence and music filling the air reflects the album’s observations about absence, loss, repair and surrender to love and sound. The song is one I was really happy with when I first wrote it partly because it offered some mystery to me - I didn't fully understand it. After a close friend and collaborator passed away during the making of this record - actually someone who I had asked to contribute small string parts to it - I felt I understood it all too well:

              'Life a miracle - a miracle that's hard to bear'”


              FORMAT INFORMATION

              Indies Exclusive LP Info: Indies only comes with 6" one-sided single.

              The art of songwriting has been the driving force behind Brilliant Sanity, the process of crafting of the immaculate pop song, the dogged pursuit of the perfect hook. The result is an album that appears fastidiously and impeccably made, but also charged with joy.

              Now a four-piece made up of singer and guitarist Tommy Sanders, his brother Jonny on synths, Pete Cattermoul on bass and Hiro Amamiya on drums, the process of touring has honed Teleman into a spectacular live act and brought about the decision to record the new record in a very live and spontaneous way.

              Six months were spent in a rehearsal space in Homerton, working on the songs written by each band member, with Sanders’ own songwriting forming the core of the album. “I don’t know if other bands do this,” says Tommy Sanders, “but in our rehearsal room we had a white board, and for each song we’d write the chords up on the white board, write the structure out. We’ve got different colour pens and stuff. It’s very professional.”

              With lyrics written on the road ‘when you’re sitting on a tour bus for eight hours just looking out the window’, Brilliant Sanity shows Sanders as an accomplished and distinctive lyricist, with a passion for the music of words themselves and an eye for the singular image.

              In Dan Carey’s Streatham studio, the songs’ structure changed little, but it was Carey’s suggestion that they choose core synthesiser sounds — the Mellotron, the Roland Jupiter, the Korg Trident — to help define the aesthetic of the album. Sanders talks of their time in the studio, of their collective obsession with the Vietnamese restaurant across the street, of how they would set the mood for recording each song using a series of coloured lights, and of how, in breaks from recording the band would go out on the roof and gaze at the moon through Carey’s telescope, “It had,” he says, “a very calming and settling influence.”

              “Sometimes,” he says, “a record can take itself a bit too seriously. So it’s good to have a bit of a lighthearted side. It’s good just to enjoy making it, for your own sake — because if you’re enjoying making the songs then other people are going to enjoy listening to them.”

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: Brilliant Sanity is at once comforting and enchanting. Beautifully crafted melody (or the appreciation of it) is something that people sometimes loathe to admit they enjoy, but this collection can't help but make you admit it. Twee plucked melodies, 'friendly' distortion and brilliant hooks. Not as much a guilty pleasure as a confirmation that you need feel no guilt. Great stuff.

              Following several self-released digital only EPs and homemade CD-R releases, mercurially talented 20- year-old musician from near Oldham, Greater Manchester Kiran Leonard has signed to Moshi Moshi to release ‘Grapefruit’, the follow-up proper to 2013’s acclaimed debut ‘Bowler Hat’.

              “A singular new talent is being forged” - Sam Richards, The Guardian

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: Inventive and original art-rock from Manchester native Kiran Leonard. This album twists and turns like a startled beast, at once from a melancholic fingerpicked guitar refrain to mournful orchestral stabs. Not as much challenging, but exciting and fluid. Rousing melodies float above lively guitars and galloping drums, only to break into dissonant snaps and starts, all painted with a liberal coat of Leonard's emphatic lyrical bursts. If this is even a hint of the creativity and ingenuity that is to come, we're onto a good thing. Recommended.

              The Very Best return with their their most ambitious and richly textured album to date, 'Makes A King'.

              It’s been a long, strange trip for Johan Hugo and Esau Mwamwaya, the Swedish-Malawian duo behind The Very Best’s exuberant global pop. One which crosses continents as well as musical genres. It’s also a trip, according to Johan, with no end in sight. “We’re constantly evolving,” he says with a laugh. “Not just in the sense that we’re trying to change our sound. But we're constantly on a new journey which colours the music we make.”

              'Makes A King' was recorded in a remote Malawian village where the population is half-Christian and half-Muslim. The tracks bring together African vocals (including Senegalese star Baaba Maal), synths, downbeats, bass music and electroid grooves and the sound of chirping crickets. Mwamwaya’s haunting voice provides the centrepoint around which the duo's uplifting tracks are built. While their lyrics tackle poverty and corruption, tracks such as 'Mwana Wanga' and 'Mariana' are simple, sublime pop songs, and Sweka’s funky guitar and euphoric house groove would rock any dancefloor.

              The Wave Pictures

              Helen

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

                The Wave Pictures release a limited edition 10” EP called ‘Helen’ for Record Store Day.

                Limited to 250 copies for the UK and Ireland.

                The London based electronic punk trio, rose to infamy at breakneck speed since forming in 2008. Consisting of composer Ximon Tayki, vocalist Veronica So, and drummer Simon Whybray, TEETH enraptured a global audience with jubilant, no-rave jams and hacker dance anthems.

                The ten-track debut album is a veritable slice of lo-fi electro noise-pop with riot-grrrl vocals emulating the hi-NRG of their raucous stage tearing live shows, featuring current single Care Bear and soon to be released Flowers.

                Bent on demolishing stages at night clubs, festivals, and warehouse parties with as much distorted noise as smooth synth melodies, TEETH deliver with an unapologetic edge. Their lo-fi, noise-pop assault is coupled with So’s equally dynamic vocal performance that suggests a cross between a euro-pop princess and a riot-grrrl. The stroboscopic live shows and relentless online persona make TEETH incomparable amongst their contemporaries, although media outlets like Dazed and Confused state TEETH are “…more epic than Battles, [and] cheerier than Throbbing Gristle.”

                Hailed as “a nastier Yeah Yeah Yeahs and a subtler Melt Banana” by the 405 and boggling the minds of critics who attempt to pin down their multitude of styles as “...acid rave, dance-hall, pop, punk, grunge, acid house, tropical and all out weird shyt,” (MTV UK).

                ‘Raucous joyous skronky dancey whatever-wave with more ideas than time and more pep in its step than a five year old on a Pixie Stick high’ - Pitchfork

                ‘Outright Strange’ - NME

                Paradise bears the touch of a songwriting unit who share and divide. Songs begin and end with Rebecca and Charles swapping verses, even when the song itself is deeply personal to one of them. On Never Look Back, which bubbles into existence with cooing two-part harmony, Charles delivers the startling lines: “Baby brother in the next room, trying to bring him back to life”. It sees the 23 year-old singer recalling a dream in which an imaginary brother lays dying in the next room. On forthcoming single Two Cousins, Rebecca imagines that life is simply a journey which ends in our return to childhood when we die. “Hold on to where you’re from, it’s where you heart goes when you’re done”. Gold Mountain drifts languidly, like the lonely walk home after a drunken night out. It is, in fact, yet another song in which the bittersweet melody belies the arresting theme at the heart of the lyrics- “They have found, when life is pouring out, you are the only one that counts-“ Earth and Ash is about Rebecca’s closeness to her granddad, and her underlying fear about what will happen when he dies. “I've not played him the song, he wouldn't get it,” says Rebecca, “He always says (adopting a gruff Sheffield accent): 'why can't you play one of them Eva Cassidy songs? Or something by Joni Mitchell?'”, so I can't imagine a song about him dying is the introduction to Slow Club he really needs.”



                Slow Club’s currency is songwriting which sees romance in the unlikeliest of corners, and Paradise applies a lighter, more honed lyrical touch to telling their story. More than anything, Paradise is a platform for Slow Club’s mordant Englishness at its best, displaying a restraint and self-deprecating wit even in the darkest of sentiments.



                Trophy Wife

                The Quiet Earth

                With propulsive beats, delicate vocals and whispering melodies, "The Quiet Earth" is another melancholic slice of Trophy Wife’s “ambitionless office disco”. The band’s meticulous yet restrained production highlights the fragility of Jody Prewett’s vocals against Kit Monteith’s defiant drums and Ben Rimmer’s echoing keys.

                Backed by the majestic "White Horses", where glimmering vocals offset the stunning violin and sparse rhythms before pulsating bass lines melt into the track, the song documents the misplaced sense of clarity you feel just before a comedown, the simultaneous feelings of invincibility and vulnerability. Trophy Wife’s new single delivers on the initial promise "Microlite" showed and hints at what the future holds for them.

                The band’s sound and aesthetic is informed by influences as diverse as Studio, Polmo Polpo, The Notwist, Hank Marvin and Tortoise. These influences can not only be heard in the band’s music and production, but also echoed in their artwork, photography and videos – all facets of which the three band members contribute to equally.

                Signals are a band from LA comprised of 3 beautiful boys: Jon Gray, Bill Gray, and Jacob Cooper. The three have played together since 2005, but are most well known for all being former members of the spazz-punk band The Mae Shi.

                The Mae Shi’s debut album, "HLLYH", was released in February 08 to critical acclaim – ‘They’ve mastered the emergent micro-genes of the 21st century, from jerk-pop to bitpop, and twisted them further into out and out sound ventures. Eureka indeed.” (9/10 NME). Two years on, the energy and excitement that was abundant as TMS is now, rather brilliantly, being channelled into the noise of Signals.


                Hot Club De Paris

                With Days Like This As Cheap As Chewing Gum, Why Would Anyone Want To Work?

                Hot Club de Paris mark their eagerly-awaited return in 2010 with a brand-new 6 song EP entitled “With Days Like This As Cheap As Chewing Gum, Why Would Anyone Want To Work?” (A phrase generously loaned by acclaimed British poet Matthew Welton). Still operating with their usual punk-rock ethic and still proudly flying the flag for British DIY, Hot Club are now self producing and recording themselves in their Liverpool rehearsal space.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Laura says: Scouse three piece Hot Club De Paris return with this superb collection of acrobatic, articulate pop songs, neatly packaged into a limited edition 10" in a hand numbered sleeve.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Ltd 10" Info: 1 copy found!

                Samuel & The Dragon

                Diamonds On A Boat

                An arresting vocal, held in heartbreaking solitude by a brittle framework of sounds, "Diamonds On A Boat" is the astonishing debut single from "Samuel & The Dragon". Samuel's voice is an effortless confession, calling down the line amid James Cameron's ambient mix of the organic and electronic; a warm but isolated sound of the city.

                Producing seductively shabby love songs, with unsurpassed dexterity and an authenticity born out of obscurity, The Wave Pictures deliver their debut album "Instant Coffee Baby". With lead singer David Tattersall and bass player Franic Rozycki growing up in Wymeswold near Loughborough, the roots of The Wave Pictures lie far from the scene centric commerciality of the prevailing mainstream. "Instant Coffee Baby" is an album so lyrically of its time it should be placed in the Blue Peter time capsule, and yet it's production is timeless, it's touchstones myriad (Jonathan Richman, The Smiths, The Go-betweens, Violent Femmes) and the performances little short of virtuoso.

                Jimmy Tamborello (aka Dntel, James Figurine, member of Figurine and Strictly Ballroom, and one half of The Postal Service) likes to take his time. Thirteen years after starting to work under the Dntel moniker and almost six years after releasing his last Dntel full-length ("Life Is Full of Possibilities"), he has painstakingly built and birthed "Dumb Luck". Thick with Tamborello's signature electronic washed and genius beat placement, "Dub Luck" is an album lyrically as much about human distance as connection. With vocal contributions from friends Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley), Edward Droste (Grizzly Bear), Valerie Trebeljahr and Markus Acher (Lali Puna), Mia Doi Todd, Grant Olsen and Sonya Westcott (Arthur & Yu), Andrew Broder (Fog), Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and Christopher and Jennifer Gunst (Mystic Chords of Memoir), and Paul Larson (guitarist, The Minor Cannon) manipulated, chopped and pasted amidst Tamborello's skittish beats, house clicks, organ washes and dreamily pixelated symphonies. The result is at once understatedly epic, ethereal and concrete.

                Hot Club De Paris

                Clockwork Toy

                  Yay, finally the irrepressible Moshi Moshi release this gem of a single from Hot Club De Paris' stunning debut album "Drop it Til It Pops". A great guitar lick, a call to the indie dancefloor and away you go! On the flip side of this limited 7" you'll find a rather splendid if unexpected cover of the Paul Simon classic "You Can Call Me Al".

                  Just found 1 copy! First come first served!


                  Hot Club De Paris

                  Shipwreck

                  Another cracker from Hot Club De Paris. "Shipwreck" hits the ground running, with it's frantic drumming and noodling guitars, and lyrics delivered with 20-fags-the-night-before vocals weaving a melody over the top. Add to that loads of catchy na-na-na bits and you have one great pop song!


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