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The Slow Show

Lust And Learn

    With 2015’s ‘White Water’ and the following year’s ‘Dream Darling’ The Slow Show established themselves as a band who inhabit their own universe. There are antecedents – the exploratory beauty of Talk Talk, the ability to frame a story like Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, The Blue Nile’s determination not to waste a single note. It all coalesces into something other: unless you’ve heard The Slow Show before, you won’t have heard anything quite like The Slow Show.

    As the name implies, songs take their time in The Slow Show, though there’s a fresh sense of immediacy in lead single ‘Hard To Hide’. But this is music built to last. That’s not accidental: singer Rob Goodwin and keyboardist Frederick ’t Kindt spent 18 months honing every note of ‘Lust And Learn’ into shape. Kindt helped establish leading Manchester studio Blueprint and knows the best local strings and brass players, who have helped The Slow Show since the start, while the Halle Youth Choir add the perfect counterpoint to Goodwin’s rich, sonorous voice.

    In the three years since ‘Dream Darling’, Goodwin has moved from his native Manchester to Dusseldorf. It was perhaps inevitable that one of The Slow Show should live in Germany, as the band are huge there and in the Low Countries, where they regularly headline festivals and sell out theatres. Changing record labels is part of the band’s determination to make greater inroads back home too, as is their determination to play more shows than ever around ‘Lust And Learn’. “I’ve said before how cathartic our shows are for us,” says Goodwin, a magnetic presence at gigs. “We’re more aware how cathartic they are for the audience too. The things people say to us are so moving. Usually, people don’t ask us about our songs, they tell us how the songs relate to them and their lives.”

    Perhaps the best and starkest example of just how The Slow Show move people comes in new song ‘The Fall’. Its evocative sense of peace are the only suitable setting for a song written after a fan emailed the band to say how their song saved her life. She was on a motorway bridge when a Slow Show song came on shuffle. Goodwin recalls: “What she’d been through was terribly sad, but the message she sent ended by saying she was peaceful now, that she was OK. The song is sad and dramatic, but hopefully it will make people feel more peaceful than anxious.”

    The stories in Goodwin’s lyrics are stronger and more honest than ever, unflinching in analysing his failings. He admits a debt to author Karl Ove Knausgard, another writer adept at blending fact and fiction. Goodwin explains: “Knausgard’s books blew my mind in so many ways, but from a songwriting point of view it was about how frank he is. He’s brutally, painfully honest. There’s an element of fiction in authors like him, and there’s a balance in our songs as well.”

    Throughout ‘Lust And Learn’, Goodwin delivers his stories with care, tenderness, and empathy. On ‘The Fall’, ‘Hard To Hide’ and ‘Exit Wounds’, he is accompanied by Keisha Jones, whose sparse vocals also featured on ‘Dream Darling’. “The lines Keisha sings are really important,” says Goodwin. “She doesn’t sing too much, but when she does she gives a new perspective to the narrative.”

    Rarely has a band created such a powerful, fully realised world from what initially appears such a minimal framework. No matter how gentle the beauty of their songs, The Slow Show are a band worth shouting about from the rooftops.

    Joan As Police Woman

    Joanthology / Live At The BBC

      Joan Wasser’s first ever career retrospective, spanning the first fifteen years of her remarkable musical output.

      Includes new, rare and unreleased material alongside more than thirty of her most loved songs.

      Includes two brand new recordings - ‘What A World’ and ‘Kiss’, a cover of the Prince classic and live favourite.

      Features her best-loved songs ‘I Defy’ (featuring Antony), ‘To America’ (featuring Rufus Wainwright) and ‘Honor Wishes’ (featuring David Sylvian).

      Released as a great value deluxe triple CD set including ‘Live At The BBC’. 

      ‘Live At The BBC’ presents a collection of songs recorded in session for BBC 6 Music.

      Joan As Police Woman

      Live At The BBC

        Live At The BBC’ presents a collection of songs recorded in session for BBC 6 Music.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Coloured LP Info: Sky blue vinyl.

        Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        An electronica-infused alternative version of Editors’ acclaimed Top 10 album ‘Violence’, ‘The Blank Mass Sessions’ casts the songs in a bold new light, offering a fascinating insight into the album’s creative process.

        The eight track album, made up of producer Blanck Mass’ original productions of ‘Violence’, also includes the brand new single ‘Barricades’.

        For ‘Barricades’, Smith’s hopeful lyrics combine with yearning synths over robotic drum machines and sweeping basslines, while ‘Cold’ is given a frostier edge through Blanck Mass’ harsh percussion and robotic directness.

        ‘Violence’’s stripped back beat builds and erupts into a synth-fuelled chorus brim-full of busy drum patterns and ‘Magazine’s jaunty, sweeping synths and rolling snares lend it even more electronic swagger than the original.

        ‘Hallelujah (So Low)’ gifts the greatest insight into the triangular relationship ‘Violence’ was born from. The warmth of the album version’s acoustic guitar and industrial fuelled chorus are replaced with sparse, ethereal synths, giving the track and ‘The Blanck Mass Sessions’ in general, a mechanical, other-worldly edge.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        LP Info: Heavyweight 180 gram vinyl.

        LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        After their initial eight-minute sonic rollercoaster ILL on Dan Carey’s Speedy Wunderground imprint and their subsequent debut album Means, Fews return with a brand new ten-track studio album, Into Red.

        Following extensive touring throughout 2016-17, including two tour runs as special guests of Pixies, the Anglo-American-Swedish quartet retired to Malmö with the Swedish city’s underbelly providing the perfect environment for unfettered artistic endeavours and the subsequent album recording.

        Co-produced by Joakim Lindberg (Hater) and mixed by James Dring ‘Into Red’ sees Fews extricating their influences to reveal a band assuredly moving on from the template of their debut album Means with a confident post-punk swagger and no little addition of muscular heft on the song-writing front.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: Throbbing distorted basses and screeching, echoing reverbs work their way below the vocals, at times delivered monotonally a-la post-punk gloom, and in other moments with the acrobatic intensity shadowed by the beautiful soaring instrumentals and richly constructed backline. It's safe to say, Fews are here to stay.

        Rina Mushonga

        In A Galaxy

          Mushonga doesn’t follow a linear path. The artist’s music - a blend of Afropop, indie and electro flourishes - is informed by her own zigzagging life journey: Mushonga emigrated from Zimbabwe to the Netherlands, then to the diverse South London suburb of Peckham, where she now lives and works. Having read ‘Metamorphoses’ for the first time, Mushonga’s self-confessed ‘year of transformation’ ensued, drawing upon myriad ideas and personal experiences.

          Full of reflections on the cosmos and our place within it, ‘In A Galaxy’ is the musical embodiment of these musings, whilst Mushonga also admits there’s more than a passing nod to the opening text on ‘Star Wars’ but on the whole refers to how relative space and time are in how we interact. Four years in the making, ‘In A Galaxy’ was recorded in Mushonga’s adopted home in Peckham with producer Brett Shaw, whilst having laid much of the foundations of the tracks together with musical bestie and synth whisperer Frans Verburg in his Rotterdam basement studio. The resultant cornucopia of intelligent, diverse pop - that Mushonga herself describes as sounding like “Paul Simon in a sweaty, African dancehall club” - is a welcome introduction to 2019.

          Balthazar

          Fever

            Fourth album from the acclaimed Belgian quintet.

            ‘Fever’ follows the band’s self-imposed hiatus, a break that saw frontmen and writing partners Jinte Deprez and Maarten Devoldere pursuing different individual interests from both a personal and creative perspective that has ultimately led the band to fashion their most cohesive album to date.

            On reconvening the band had no plans, just a simple desire to better their previous works and to further the band’s story. Both primary songwriters agreed on a less serious vision leaning towards a looser, refreshed sound - less melancholic but retaining their unerring ability to create a hookladen armoury.

            Bohren & Der Club Of Gore

            Beileid

              ‘Beileid’ is the seventh album by the jazz/ambient band Bohren & Der Club Of Gore (the slowest band in the world), initially released on CD in 2011. The album is now being released on vinyl for the first time ever.

              ‘Beileid’ features a cover of the song ‘Catch My Heart’ by German heavy metal band Warlock. This cover is also the band’s first track to feature vocals, delivered here in fine style by Mike Patton (Faith No More).

              Dead Can Dance

              Dionysus

                From their inception in 1981, Australian duo Dead Can Dance have long been intrigued by European folk traditions, not solely in musical terms but also by secular, religious and the spiritual practises. Taking its inspiration from this backdrop and shaped as Brendan Perry explored the long and established spring and harvest festivals that originated from the Dionysus religious practices, a journey that brings to the fore, the rites and rituals that are still practised to the present day.

                Two years in the making, Perry has amassed an array of folk instrumentation and as often heard on previous albums takes inspiration from across the world, tracks evolve less like songs more akin to fragments of the cohesive whole. Dionysus follows a familiar path, witness to field recordings, that includes chanting, beehives from New Zealand, bird calls from Latin America and a Swiss goatherd. The aim in Perry’s mind is to not just invoke the atmosphere and symbolic reference points but to highlight that music can be found everywhere in some form or other.

                The album consists of two acts across seven movements that represent the different facets of the Dionysus myth and his cult and takes the musical form of an oratorio, which has informed both spiritual and secular pieces of music as far back in history as the early 16th century. Retaining a prevalent hold on contemporary paganism in Europe, the voices used on these movements are imagined as communities celebrating, in communion with each other at times, chanting and call and response – the various voices are present to convey emotion beyond the boundaries of language itself.

                Although taking its main inspiration from the Dionysus story, the album’s artwork resonates with links to rituals depicting a mask made by the Huizhou of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico – famed for their beadwork and yarn paintings, whilst also partaking in peyote as a sacred rite and ritual for the purposes of healing and mind expansion – this is at heart of Dionysus, a celebration of not just humanity but humanity working hand in hand with nature with respect and appreciation.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Deluxe LP Info: Deluxe format is on exclusive heavyweight transparent purple 12” vinyl, accompanied by a CD and deluxe 16-page 12” x 12” hardback picture book with padded cover.

                Soap & Skin

                From Gas To Solid / You Are My Friend

                Third album from Soap&Skin, the working moniker for the Austrian musician and producer Anja Plaschg. Her first record in six years.

                The album belatedly follows the release of ‘Lovetune For Vacuum’ in 2009 and 2012’s ‘Narrow’ (an Austrian No 1) but in that time in between the artist has been busy, not least with the birth of her daughter and subsequent motherhood but as well with many other creative works such as composing for theatre and film productions, as well as film acting.

                Encompassing a range of musical allegiances, the album is infused with tranquil electronica, militaristic percussion, whilst coupled with choral ambience and earthy ethereal grandeur. This is an expansive, stunning, wide-reaching piece of dynamic beauty.

                Recorded mainly at her home in a quiet leafy corner of Vienna, the album is not only self-produced but selfplayed.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: Encompassing the beautiful, softly spoken vocals of Rozi Plain or Icelandic electronic genius' Múm, Soap & Skin tread a fine line between choral ambience and soaring modern-classical, often within the space of a minute or two. A bogglingly competant, and ridiculously diverse smörgåsbord of sound.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Deluxe LP Info: The deluxe version is 180g black vinyl in a gatefold sleeve with 12 page booklet and exclusive white vinyl 7”.

                Deluxe LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                LP Info: 180g black vinyl in a gatefold sleeve with 12 page booklet.

                LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Editors

                Violence

                  INITIAL COPIES COME WITH A FREE SIGNED ART PRINT.

                  Album VI from the British indie-rock 5-piece.



                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Barry says: It's been a while hasn't it? Well, Editors are back with 'Violence', full of perfectly measured riffage, swooning synths and raw rock power. Massive, heavy and available to buy. What more could you want?

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Deluxe CD Info: Ltd edition deluxe CD features two bonus tracks and is housed inside a rigid box, which also contains 2 fridge magnets, 12 inserts and a fold out poster.

                  Ghostpoet announces his return with the release of his fourth album ‘Dark Days + Canapés’ on Play It Again Sam. ‘Dark Days + Canapés’ is Ghostpoet's most defining album to date. A stunning and stimulating return, ‘Dark Days + Canapés’ is a record that captures the sense of unease felt by so many in recent times. After receiving recognition for the beat-driven arrangements of his first two albums, third album ‘Shedding Skin’ initiated a more alt-rock sound that saw Ghostpoet Mercury nominated for a second time. Produced by Leo Abrahams, best known for his work with Brian Eno and Jon Hopkins, delves even further into a fuller, guitar driven sound.

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Barry says: Grooving instrumental melodies meet with Obaro Ejimiwe's trademark rhythmic drawl, darkened funky jams, slowed down through a haze of reverb while groaning saturated samples morph into hypnotic rock abstractions. Urban improv jams break into hazy psychedelic grooves, which slow into eastern-influenced opium-den throbs and guitar trills. A welcome, and outstanding return for Ghostpoet.

                  J. Bernardt

                  Wicked Streets / On Fire

                    Double A-side from J. Bernardt, the alias of Jinte Deprez, co-frontman of hugely successful Belgian indie-rock outfit Balthzar.

                    Displaying an altogether different sound from Balthazar, both tracks are taken from J. Bernardt’s debut album ‘Running Days’.

                    ‘On Fire’ is the opening track of ‘Running Days’ and is a subtle statement of intent, with warm piano chords, persistent guitar hook and gospel infused harmonies.

                    ‘Wicked Streets’ brims with jazzy mellifluous horns.

                    Combining influences from bands such as The Cure, Slowdive, Smashing Pumpkins and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Newmoon’s debut ‘Space’ is an album driven by melancholic, distorted guitars.

                    Through all the feedback and noise the band never lose sight of melody and clarity, creating an album that is both heavy and catchy at the same time.

                    For fans of My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins, Nothing, The Cure.

                    “Ethereal intrigue & deeply delved audio dimensions.” - Impose Magazine

                    “A powerful aural assault” - The 405

                    “Lush textures allied to grinding tempos and almost industrial swathes of noise.” - Clash

                    This summer, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite, Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, Editors’ Justin Lockey and his brother James came together to release their debut album as Minor Victories. Currently in the midst of a run of live shows throughout Europe, the band are pleased to announce their utterly stunning instrumental interpretation of the self-titled record, entitled Orchestral Variations.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Barry says: What better way to hear the gorgous backdrops and impeccable arrangements behind the brilliant Minor Victories album than by hearing the instrumentals all on their resplendent tod. Soaring strings, beautifully poignant interludes and heart-breakingly serene segues. A fantastic companion piece for those who enjoyed the first, and a truly stunning stand-alone for those who didn't.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    2xLtd LP Info: Special edition double heavyweight black vinyl packaged into a textured greyboard gatefold sleeve with digital download code.

                    CD Info: CD packaged in a textured greyboard digi-sleeve.

                    Few Bits

                    Big Sparks

                      Belgium’s Few Bits’ sophomore album ‘Big Sparks’ offers dreamlike shoegaze pop with international appeal.

                      For fans of Mazzy Star, Beach House, Real Estate, The Cure.

                      “The ringing, dreamy guitars, lingering atmospheric sweeps, and intricate percussion lift her voice into the clouds so it sails effortlessly into your head and stays there.” - Stereogum

                      “Few Bits prove themselves once again that they are more than adept at delivering something beautifully simple and evocative” - The Line Of Best Fit

                      “‘Big Sparks’ […] matches lush, evocative melodies to lyricism that hits hard.” - Clash Music

                      Sophomore ‘post reunion’ album from the alt-rock four piece, their first new music since 2014’s Indie Cindy. 

                      This 12 track record showcases the band’s unique mixture of surrealism, psychedelia, dissonance + surf rock. 

                      Produced by Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood, Killing Joke) and recorded at London’s Rak Studios.

                      Paz Lenchantin, the band’s touring bassist since early 2014 (and previously a member of A Perfect Circle and Zwan amongst others) is now a permanent member of the band and her cool vocals can be heard on the album, most notably on ‘All I Think About Now’ on which she takes the lead. 

                      All artwork designed by renowned graphic artist Vaughan Oliver at V23

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Barry says: The Pixies are back! Songs like 'Classic Masher' show a much more melodic leaning, harmonied chorus' and repeated one-note guitar squeals over Black's trademark vocals. 'Talent' is a moody and rocking punk number, driven and aggressive guitars power through their three-chord foundations while 'All I Think About Now' is sung exclusively by Paz Lenchantin (One time Corgan affiliate and one third of A Perfect Circle) and is instantly reminiscent of the early energy and vocal stylings of Surfer Rosa or Doolittle. A brilliant (second) comeback, and a great sign for the future.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      CD Info: CD format is 12-panel softpack containing CD + bespoke rollfold lyric booklet.

                      Of Good Grief, vocalist Jess Wolfe says, “When we started writing for this record, we had been away from home for nearly two years. We had just returned from tour, having gone through such varied emotions—loneliness, sadness and exhaustion alongside excitement, fulfilment and some of the most joyful moments in our lives…Whenever one of us had an idea or a feeling, the other was already a witness to it and could help navigate through it—for the two of us, this usually came in song form.” Vocalist Holly Laessig adds, “…When considering titles, we wanted to be sure to acknowledge any serious subject matter, while simultaneously allowing ourselves a comic sigh of relief from any personal turmoil. Ha! The yin and yang of the record naturally unveiled itself and, so, Good Grief.”

                      Good Grief was produced by Shawn Everett (Weezer and The Alabama Shakes) and Lucius with Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Kiss and Pink Floyd). The album was mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Adele and Beck). The new music follows the band’s critically acclaimed debut album, Wildewoman, The New York Times praised the record for its “luscious, luminous, lilting lullabies,” and the album was incorporated in various 2013 year end lists including, Rolling Stone, NPR and Paste.

                      The band is lead by its co-founders and vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig accompanied by multi-instrumentalists Andrew Burri, Peter Lalish and Dan Molad. Wolfe and Laessig met in 2005 while attending Berklee College of Music. Since forming, Lucius has toured extensively, playing headline shows worldwide, as well as major festival appearances including Reading and Leeds, Bonnaroo, End Of the Road, Lollapalooza, Pukklepop and Rock En Seine.

                      New Fast Automatic Daffodils

                      Pigeonhole



                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Laura says: I always thought that the New FAD's came along a few years too early and never really got the acclaim they deserved. Their percussive groove infused indie would've sat nicely alongside the loose grooves of 'baggy'. Lyrically though they were much more about social issues which probably wouldn't have sat too well with the hedonism of Madchester.

                        Danish art rock outfit Mew announce a welcome return with their sixth studio album ‘+-’ (pronounced ‘plus minus’).

                        Recorded in Copenhagen alongside producer Michael Beinhorn (Hole, Marilyn Manson), ‘+ -’ is skewed pop sensibility coupled with an ever expansive musical backdrop, denoting the extremities of the band’s creative DNA and showing once more a band treading their own unique path.

                        Guest contributors include Bloc Party guitarist Russell Lissack.

                        For fans of Sigur Ros, Wild Beasts, M83, Radiohead, Arcade Fire.

                        Mew

                        +- - Deluxe Edition

                          Danish art rock outfit Mew announce a welcome return with their sixth studio album ‘+-’ (pronounced ‘plus minus’). 

                          Recorded in Copenhagen alongside producer Michael Beinhorn (Hole, Marilyn Manson), ‘+ -’ is skewed pop sensibility coupled with an ever expansive musical backdrop, denoting the extremities of the band’s creative DNA and showing once more a band treading their own unique path. 

                          Guest contributors include Bloc Party guitarist Russell Lissack.

                          For fans of Sigur Ros, Wild Beasts, M83, Radiohead, Arcade Fire.

                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          2xLtd CD Info: 2CD deluxe hardback book pack edition features
                          exclusive bonus live CD.

                          Ghostpoet is pleased to announce his forthcoming album ‘Shedding Skin’.

                          The first fruits of the album, the track ‘Off Peak Dreams’ has already been premiered on Zane Lowe’s Radio One show and sees Ghostpoet, London-based Obaro Ejimiwe moving on from the cathartic musings of 2013’s ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ album.

                          ‘Shedding Skin’ is the manifestation of a new challenge of fresh thinking and a brave confident stride into previously uncharted waters. Ten songs that embrace, unite and narrate observations that are designed to sit beside each other through bright peaks and dark shallows.

                          Unlike his previous albums, ‘Shedding Skin’ was recorded with a traditional live set up with what has become his touring band; Joe Newman on guitar, bass player John Calvert and John Blease on drums.

                          The self-produced album also features guest vocals from Nadine Shah, Etta Bond, Melanie De Biasio, Lucy Rose and Maxïmo Park’s Paul Smith, amounting in a collection that sets a new precedent as his very best work yet.

                          Isle Of Wight’s Michael and David Champion aka Champs herald the New Year with news of their second album ‘Vamala’.

                          The duo first came to light just twelve months ago with the release of their much lauded debut album ‘Down Like Gold’ and the onset of the festive season has seen a flurry of activity from the brothers.

                          An all-too-rare recent live sortie to London earlier this month saw the pair premiering new tracks whilst ‘Desire’ - the first track to be lifted from ‘Vamala’ - has been showered with radio love including winning Rebel Playlist Track Of The Week status on Steve Lamacq’s 6Music show.

                          The album exudes emotion, be it stripped back melancholia or uptempo and panoramic, over its twelve tracks. Champs have captured their time in words and ‘Vamala’ is more than a worthy companion to its predecessor.

                          Melanie De Biasio

                          Gilles Peterson Presents Melanie De Biasio - No Deal Remixed

                          Melanie De Biasio received the Best Session Award at the 10th Worldwide Awards, which took place recently in London. The award is for De Biasio’s stunning 2014 live session on Gilles Peterson’s BBC 6Music show.

                          A huge fan of the Belgian singer, Peterson has curated a new remix version of her acclaimed album ‘No Deal’. He called upon some of the most exciting names across the jazz, electronic and indie worlds for ‘No Deal Remixed’, including EELS, The Cinematic Orchestra, Hex and Seven Davis Jr.

                          Says Peterson; “To my mind, of all the new artists around, the most remix friendly has to be Melanie De Biasio. For a person like me with a DJ mind, the minimalism of ‘No Deal’ makes it perfect. I’ve been dropping ‘I Feel You’ on top of beats anyway and even played ‘I’m Gonna Leave You’ in its original form when the moment arose - it’s such a pure track. In fact the first thing I did on meeting Melanie for the first time this year was to ask her who produced the album. It was me she replied... so not just a pretty voice!”

                          The follow up to Manchester songbird Liz Green’s rapturously received debut ‘O, Devotion!’ (2011).

                          Recorded at London’s legendary Toe Rag Studio with producer Liam Watson, Liz’s sophomore album displays a wonderful array of sounds and styles, from the ‘drone-blues’ of ‘Battle’ to the sea shantyinfluenced title track.

                          In a departure from its predecessor, ‘Haul Away!’ sees Liz bringing the piano to the forefront, influenced by such artists as Thelonius Monk and Nina Simone.

                          Artwork designed and conceived by Liz herself, including the iconic cover image.

                          Includes self-styled single and ‘wonky circus tune’ ‘Where The River Don’t Flow’, a jaunty dance of life and death.

                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          CD Info: Initial orders come with a limited edition postcard pack - while stocks last!

                          Liz Green

                          Rybka / Where The River Don't Flow

                          Double A-side single pressed on white 7” vinyl and limited to 385 copies for the UK.

                          First single to be taken from ‘Haul Away!’, the follow up to Liz Green’s rapturously received debut ‘O, Devotion!’ (2011).

                          Recorded at London’s legendary Toe Rag Studio with producer Liam Watson.

                          Artwork designed by Liz herself.

                          ‘Rybka’ translates as ‘little fish’ in Polish, and that’s precisely what the song is about, says Liz: “the little fish getting lost in the big pond. A boy who tries to do right but always seems to end up on the wrong side of the glass.”

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Laura says: Two wonderful tracks from Liz Green, ahead of her new album. Title track Rybka's swaying, clarinet led rhythm provides the perfect accompaniment to her distinctive, dramatic voice. Lovely stuff.

                          Champs are Michael and David Champion, two brothers in their early 20s from the Isle Of Wight who make the most extraordinarily beautiful music. Champs write the sort of songs you’ll want to hold close and songs you’ll want to share, songs that draw on a love of upstanding folk broadsides and bristly alt-rock gems. Above it all, there are these two voices that bruise and blend and soar ever upward, like twists of wood smoke on a sunlit winter afternoon.

                          ‘Down Like Gold’ was recorded at Studio Humbug, an old water tower inside the walls of Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s retreat on the north of the island. What Champs came out of the tower with is a collection of songs that shiver and sway, strung out there between the sheer uplifting melancholic bite of ‘Too Bright To Shine’ and the gorgeously melodic twists and turns of ‘My Spirit Is Broken’.

                          ‘Savannah’ isn’t actually about their friend Savannah even though she’s convinced it is, while the Velvets-like ‘Pretty Much’ is a classic break-up song, marking that moment when you see that certain someone again six months down the line and they’re out and looking happy and you’re still a complete, broken-hearted mess. Then there’s ‘Down Like Gold’, a stunningly beautiful, utterly careworn frozen-landscape lament.

                          Hailing from the tiny village of Niton, just outside Ventnor, Michael and David were originally in different bands but once they began to write together they developed a unique and striking depth to their vocal harmonies. Working with a pair of tape machines, they worked out how to multitrack by listening to Sleepy Jackson, Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire and ‘Revolver’-period Beatles. Other Champs influences include Fleet Foxes and early REM, especially ‘Murmur’.

                          “Their songs touch on the great moments of The Beach Boys, REM and The Flaming Lips” - Q Magazine (****)

                          “This dazzling folk-pop crush appears out of nowhere” - Mojo (****)

                          Ask Hayley Mary of The Jezabels what the difference is between complexity and accessibility in pop music, and she doesn’t miss a beat. “There isn’t one,” says The Jezabels frontwoman, “or at least, there doesn’t need to be. To me, pop is the darkest music of all. If you look not at what pop artists are consciously doing but at what they’re reflecting about the world, pop is the most twisted, weird and scary stuff. If you wanted to study the Earth from an alien perspective, listen to pop music.”

                          The Jezabels are arch players of this contradiction. With The Jezabels there’s always a twist and they delight in toying with the darkness that somehow cloaks us all and yet channel it into songs that are layered with bright, chiming seams of pop.

                          ‘The Brink’ is the band’s second album and it was summoned from a dark place; despite the outstanding success of their masterful trio of debut EPs and then their first long player, ‘Prisoner’, which catapulted them from indie kudos to full blown mainstream success (No.2 album, the Australian Music Prize Best Album award and a staggering 8 ARIA nominations). The two solid years of international touring played a huge part in forming the abyss that welcomed the band when they pulled into their new base, London, at the end of that marathon cycle of gold, platinum, headline sold-out shows and festivals.

                          “We played between 180 and 200 shows last year and it was possibly a bit extreme,” says Hayley. “But the low came from not performing. We basically had a year off and I realised how much I live to do shows. For me, writing is the self-deprecating, self-loathing stage. We all had our reasons for feeling low at various times, but I felt like I was on the brink of a lot of things on this album. Some of them good, some of them bad: youth and age, alternative and pop, giving up and pushing through. I guess hope is part of that. And also fear.”

                          It is these feelings and this precipitous state that the band have distilled into ‘The Brink’. Released on Play It Again Sam and produced by Dan Grech-Marguerat (Radiohead, Lana Del Rey, The Vaccines, Hurts), ‘The Brink’ is an album of songs that manifest all of those emotions into vaulting ambition. It is an utterly fearless record of youthful optimism achieved through hard won experience, taut with gleaming hooks, indelible melodies, all hammered out by a tight-knit band through dark days in a strange new city.

                          From album opener and title track ‘The Brink’ via first single ‘The End’ to the closing bars of the finale ‘All You Need’, The Jezabels’ second album is a thrilling affirmation. It is a death defying balance of optimism and maturity; richness and simplicity. It is a the journey of a band dealing with loss of innocence, mortality, politics, isolation and unity all spun with silken ‘pop’ threads, which Hayley sees as being given to them through a greater appreciation of simplicity. “What this record represents is not reflecting what is, but what we want out of life,” she says. “I guess it depends on what you think is the role of music. Is it to reflect how you feel, and bring everyone and everything to that level? Or is it a kind of healing power, pushing you to this fabulous fantasy world where happiness can exist?”

                          The Jim Jones Revue

                          Collision Boogie

                          Collision Boogie is the brand new single by The Jim Jones Revue, backed with another new track, ‘Mind Field’, released by Play It Again Sam on 7” and digital download.

                          Previously unreleased, ‘Collision Boogie’ continues the journey of sonic exploration The Jim Jones Revue embarked on in their critically acclaimed album ‘The Savage Heart’, this time starting in Jamaica and ending up in New Orleans. Jim Jones explains: “‘Collision Boogie’ is a sort of personal user’s guide to some of the things that might come crashing into in life. It was originally inspired from hearing a Jamaican dancehall track blaring out of a car in Hackney; but by the time we had an arrangement together, it ended up with more of a New Orleans flavour.”

                          ‘Collision Boogie’ and ‘Mind Field’ were produced and mixed by Jim Sclavunos (of Grinderman / Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds). Both tracks were recorded at The Chapel in Lincolnshire and mixed at Edwyn Collins’ West Heath Yard Studios in London.

                          Agnes Obel

                          Aventine

                            ‘Aventine’ is the second album release from Berlin-based Danish phenomenon Agnes Obel, the follow up to her critically acclaimed debut ‘Philharmonics’ of 2010 which has sold close to 500,000 worldwide since release.

                            Originally from Copenhagen, Agnes has lived in Berlin since 2006, where ‘Aventine’ was recorded at her Chalk Wood Studios between January and May 2013.

                            Like ‘Philharmonics’, the new album was written, arranged, and produced by Agnes, who provides piano and vocals. The album features a small ensemble including cellist Anne Müller, who has also played with Nils Frahm, along with Mika Posen of Timber Timbre playing the violin and viola on ‘The Curse’, ‘Pass Them By’ and ‘Fivefold’. Robert Kondorossi of Budzillus plays guitar on ‘Pass Them By’.

                            Building on the sonic template of her debut, ‘Aventine’ is a deeper and darker (though none the less elegantly sublime) affair, with songs of genuine heart stopping beauty in the likes of first single ‘The Curse’, ‘Dorian’ and ‘Fuel To Fire’.

                            Editors

                            Formaldehyde

                              The second single from Editors fourth album ‘The Weight Of Your Love’ sees the band returning to the familiar terrain the band’s myriad fans know and love with an edgy, anti-love song with a soaring chorus.

                              Already a live favourite, standing shoulder to shoulder with the band’s bonafide hits like ‘Munich’, ‘Papillon’ and ‘Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors’, ‘Formaldehyde’ has been singled out in album reviews as a stand-out from the album, and an obvious choice for a single to take to radio.

                              ‘The Weight Of Your Love’ entered the UK album charts at No 6 in the UK and, 5 weeks on, still holds a Top 75 position. Having lost founding member Chris Urbanowicz and in the process nearly packing it all in before gaining two new members, the new album is, in some ways, a transitional record, with the band reborn, shackles off, making their most ambitious music to date.

                              The single is backed with an unreleased acoustic version of the band’s opening single from the album, ‘A Ton Of Love’.

                              The 7” is limited to just 200 copies in the UK and Eire.

                              The Jim Jones Revue

                              7 Times Around The Sun

                              ‘7 Times Around The Sun’ is the third single to be released from The Jim Jones Revue’s critically acclaimed album ‘The Savage Heart’, produced by Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave & The Band Seeds).

                              ‘7 Times Around The Sun’ is a great example of ‘The Savage Heart’s musical diversity - no guitars (a Jim Jones Revue first) just piano, drums and a call and response gospel type vocal between Jim Jones and The Revue.

                              Lyrically, Jim delves into the past and deals with the subject of overcoming drug addiction, touching on a part of a personal journey that ultimately led to the forming of The Jim Jones Revue with Rupert Orton.

                              Balthazar are the brainchild of songwriters Maarten Devoldere and Jinte Deprez. Meeting as teenage buskers, the two embarked on a whirlwind writing partnership that led to the quick formation of the band and initial acclaim in mainland Europe. Resisting the temptation to cash in on that wave of interest, Balthazar took the best part of five years to record their debut album, experimenting with different genres and approaches until they were sure that they had the sound they were looking for.

                              With ‘Rats’, that sound has been honed to a focus on melody and subtlety, avoiding the current fashion for bombast to create songs that burst forth in horns or sweep by on strings, underpinned with delicate rhythms that draw on both the pair’s love of the work of Serge Gainsbourg and Leonard Cohen and the hip hop production of the likes of Dangermouse.

                              Zulu Winter are set to release their eagerly awaited debut album on Play It Again Sam Recordings.

                              'Language’ was produced by Tom Morris at 4AD’s studio in Wandsworth, and Miloco Pool Studio, South London, and was mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer (Interpol, The Vaccines, Glasvegas) in New York.

                              “Music that shimmers like a sky full of fireworks” - NME
                              “They shine a light on eerie, shimmering art pop” - The Fly
                              “Stealth like hit of the year, their charms captivate” - Loud & Quiet

                              Agnes is a Danish singer, songwriter and musician. She began playing the piano when she was a child and in her late teens she founded the Copenhagen based band, Sohio, together with the Danish musician and producer Elton Theander. The two worked together for several years but nowadays she writes, plays, sings, records and produces her material on her own.

                              Feeling musically related to Roy Orbison, Agnes currently lives in Berlin and possesses the rare gift of a songbird’s voice, bringing to mind Ane Brun, Joanna Newsom or even Ricki Lee Jones.



                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Darryl says: Beautiful and delicate piano led folk from this Danish starlet. The arrangements are kept simple and minimal allowing her amazing vox to take centre stage.

                              The Jim Jones Revue

                              Burning Your House Down

                              Notorious for their maniacal high-energy shows, stomping rhythms and frantic fretwork, The Jim Jones Revue plan to take the planet by storm and leave a global trail of sweaty bodies and scorched earth in their wake.

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Darryl says: An incendiary mix of the Cramps and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, high octane stuff to rip the speakers to shreds!!

                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              LP Info: 1 copy only.

                              Mogwai

                              Zidane - A 21st Century Portrait

                              One of the most acclaimed films in the Cannes Film Festival, 'Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait' is Turner Prize winner Douglas Gordon's and Philippe Parreno's sensational cinematic portrait of the world famous French football hero Zinédine Zidane. The soundtrack was written and produced especially by Mogwai after the release of the "Mr Beast" album and the music is by turns moving, evocative and perfectly suited to the film – it has been singled out for praise time and again by critics and cinema goers the world over and finds Mogwai in a more contemplative mood than usual and quite possibly making a record that could appeal to a whole new raft of people that would usually be scared off by some of the heavier songs in their arsenal.

                              "Mr Beast" is the band's fifth album and the follow-up to 2003's "Happy Songs For Happy People" and was recorded in the band's new Castle Of Doom studio in Glasgow. As the title suggests, this is a record of considerable size and weight - a monster creation that started out as a return to the heady, bone-crushing volume and intensity of earlier recordings, and then mutated into a many headed, many mooded beast. It opens with "Auto Rock" - whose sweetly melancholic, central piano motif is gradually engulfed by a swell of fulsome guitars and pummelling drum beats - and closes with lurching, psych-rock behemoth "We're No Here". In between are eight future Mogwai classics, including the heads-down "Glasgow Mega-Snake", where what must surely be a dozen guitars swarm around a molten metal core like crazed killer bees, the drum machine-driven country gospel of "Acid Food", which features pedal-steel guitar, the wintry splendour of "Friend Of The Night" and the impossibly poignant "I Chose Horses", featuring guest vocalist Tetsuya Fukagawa (of Japanese hardcore band Envy) and a keyboard contribution from composer/arranger Craig Armstrong. Whether light and lean or dark and monstrous, however, these songs underline Mogwai's belief that to have meaning, rock needs both mass and monumentality. If "Mr Beast" has one thing, it's presence.

                              "Nite Versions" is a 50+ minute continuous mix CD by Steph and David Dewaele, aka 2 Many DJs, of special extended club reworks of tracks inspired by, and taken from Soulwax's acclaimed "Any Minute Now" LP. The vinyl features songs in unmixed, extended form, including the already massive underground anthems "E Talking" (in Nite Version style), their cover of Daft Punk's "Teachers" which has never been released on vinyl and the "Funky Town" mashing "NY Lipps" plus seven other songs.

                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              CD Info: CD DJ mixed by 2 Many DJs.

                              Mogwai

                              Happy Songs For Happy People

                              Fourth album from Glasgow cosmic post-rock band, following 2001's "Rock Action". Expanding on that album's more melodicsound rather than the loudness of their "My Father My King" EP, this record is subtler, more expansive and organic than anything they have done. It is modestly described on the band's website as 'forty one minutes fifty seconds of total unadulterated brilliance'.




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