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Michael Kiwanuka

KIWANUKA

    The self-titled record usually marks a definable phase of a musician’s career; an embrace of personal mythology, perhaps, or merely a shift to ‘take me as I am’ straightforwardness. But “Kiwanuka”, the single eponymous word that heralds Michael Kiwanuka’s third album, holds a resonant, complex significance. It signals, for one thing, a swift, pointed rejection of the stage personas that artists have historically donned as both a freeing creative mask and a protective shield. It is an act of cultural affirmation and self-acceptance: a young British-African, contemplating the continued struggle for racial equality, and proudly celebrating the Ugandan name his old teachers in Muswell Hill would struggle to pronounce. It is a nod to a suite of arresting, ambitious soul songs that – while they deftly recall the funkified epics of artists as varied as Gil Scot-Heron, Fela Kuti, Bobby Womack and Kendrick Lamar – cement the singular, supremely confident sound that made 2016’s Love & Hate such an undeniable step up.

    Now, following ‘Money’ – the lauded summer single collaboration with Tom Misch – and a sunset Park Stage set that was the talk of Glastonbury 2019, the long-awaited follow-up to that record can be announced. And “Kiwanuka”, like its creator, contains multitudes; it offers both the triumphal, grin-widening empowerment of opener ‘You Ain’t the Problem’ and the ruminative, candlelit intimacy of ‘Solid Ground’. It looks inward and out, across widescreen sonic landscapes constructed in recording studios in London, Los Angeles and New York, and provides a sumptuous showcase for the honey-poured mahogany of Kiwanuka’s voice. It skilfully crosses the streams of the personal and the political. No other name would really have done.

    “I remember when I first signed a record deal, people would ask me, ‘So what are you going to be called?’” laughs the man himself, considering the thought process that inspired the title. “And I never thought of that; calling myself Johnny Thunders or whatever, like singers from the past. But I have thought previously, would I sell more records if my name had an easier ring to it? So [on this album] it’s kind of a defiant thing; finally I’m engaging with who I am and I’m not going to have an alter ego, or become Sasha Fierce or Ziggy Stardust, even though everyone's telling me I need to be this, that or the other. I can just be Michael Kiwanuka.”

    In many ways this self-possession is a direct consequence of Love & Hate. That record added an unexpected Mayfieldian groove and scope to to the scuffed, ‘70s-infused mellowness of Home Again, Kiwanuka’s Mercury-nominated 2012 debut. Album number two, of course, got its own place on the Mercury shortlist (not to mention a No 1 chart position, a Brit Award-nomination and the wide cultural blast radius afforded by songs that featured on shows like The Get Down, When They See Us and, most notably, HBO’s Emmy-winning Big Little Lies).

    “Kiwanuka” marks a reunion of the team that conjured <Love & Hate>’s acclaimed, pulsing soulscape – namely Gnarls Barkley hit whisperer Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton and British hip hop producer Inflo – and it actually began life not long after the 32-year-old had finished touring its predecessor. Early Los Angeles sessions – in May, 2017 – proved wildly productive. Maybe, in fact, too productive. The trio had sketched out around eight songs – including lyricless, early versions of ‘You Ain’t the Problem’ and the spine-tingling, wintry ballad ‘Piano Joint (This Kind of Love)’ – at such a breathless gallop that Kiwanuka felt some of his old doubts and insecurities creep back. “It was all so fast,” he reasons. “I remember having a conversation with Danger Mouse where I even asked, ‘Is this my album?’” He chuckles at the memory. “That was the lack of self-belief and me beating myself up.”

    An extended recess was called and, when the team fully reconvened in New York in November 2018, Kiwanuka returned to the project with a new vigour, confidence and a clear sense of this new record’s themes and immersive, sonic textures. It was here that he actualised the lyrically knotty, comforting message of ‘You Ain’t the Problem’ (“It almost made me feel like being a rapper,” he grins); where he turned ‘Hero’ into a shape-shifting, thunderously percussive mini-movie, partly inspired by slain civil rights activist Fred Hampton; here that he crafted the hazy refrain – “<The lord said to me/Time is a healer>” – that allied with Danger Mouse’s rhythm guitar playing to give psych-gospel highlight ‘I’ve Been Dazed’ its eerie, hypnotic power.

    “We had three weeks and every day I would just do this half hour walk from my hotel by the Brooklyn Bridge to the studio in Red Hook, listening to backing tracks and scribbling lyrics on hotel paper or in my little scrapbook,” he says, more than a little wistfully. “It felt like being 15. And that excitement and childish imagination really helped me forget that it was a scary process.” This youthful sense of play also led to the invocation of some, possibly surprising, tonal influences from Kiwanuka’s childhood as a skater kid who loved Nirvana and Green Day as much as Outkast and Lauryn Hill. Using the cinematic skits and interludes of a record like <The Score> by The Fugees as a springboard, Kiwanuka wondered if the horn-drenched grandeur of previous lengthy songs like ‘Love & Hate’ and ‘Father’s Child’ could be intensified and transformed into something even more atmospheric, more immersive.

    The result is the unhurried, auterish poise that may be one of “Kiwanuka”’s most striking features. ‘Piano Joint (This Kind of Love) Intro’ sets the scene with windblown harmonies and a rumbling, canyon-deep baritone to rival Isaac Hayes (it’s actually Kiwanuka, detuned). ‘Another Human Being’ features a jolting gun shot and a quote taken from a participant in the Civil Rights ‘sit-in’ protests that swept through North Carolina in 1960 (‘Interlude (Living All the People)’ also features the voice of congressman and activist John Lewis). ‘Hard To Say Goodbye’ is a dawnlit, 7 minute opus that Kiwanuka garnished with the sampled sound of twittering birds. “I was really influenced by the vividness of something like <To Pimp A Butterfly>,” he explains, about the desire to create such a rich, inhabitable world.

    And he even allowed himself to be coaxed towards stretches of musical terrain that he would never have ordinarily explored. When Danger Mouse first started working towards the skipping, almost ‘80s rhythm of ‘Final Days’ – about as far from “Home Again”’s retro soul as this new record gets – Kiwanuka was hesitant. “It’s kind of spacey so I took a lot of convincing,” he admits. “But we went the whole hog with it and it’s one of my favourite songs now.”

    It tells its own story that Kiwanuka – who came up in the pub rooms of London’s acoustic scene before winning the BBC’s Sound Of 2012 poll – is now so happily embracing musical touchstones and styles that may have once seemed contradictory. The revelatory, confessional core of ‘Black Man in a White World’ (which grappled with identity and Kiwanuka’s status in communities where he was conspicuously the only ethnic minority) has evolved into something a little more certain. Now, Kiwanuka’s reengagement with his Ugandan heritage (he hopes, he notes, to play some shows there soon) manifests in skittering Afrobeat drums and guitar lines that he hopes possess “the feeling of a Fela track”. Now, the wide-lapelled, shimmering doo-wop of ‘Living In Denial’ implores you to <say what you mean>. Now, and here we return to that album title, ‘Hero’ opens with the proud, chest-puffed line: <I won’t change my name/No matter what they call me>.

    “The last album came from an introspective place and felt like therapy, I guess,” he reasons, surveying it all. “This one was a bit more about feeling comfortable in who I am and asking what I wanted to say. Like, how could I be bold and challenge myself and the listener? It is about self-acceptance in a bit more of a triumphant rather than a melancholy way.”

    “Kiwanuka” solidifies one of British music’s more remarkable career progressions. The man behind it has put his immense natural gifts to work in an album that wields difficult subjects – black identity, violence, self-doubt – with a light touch and a dramatist’s sense of mood, space and atmosphere. “The things that end up being enjoyed are often things you want to hide,” he says, quietly. “But obviously that’s the stuff that makes us connect.” Telling people who you are – truly, unabashedly showing yourself – has never sounded more thrilling.

    By Jimi Famurewa, July 2019.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xColoured LP Info: Yellow double heavyweight vinyl with a gatefold sleeve.

    Deluxe CD Info: Hardcover book deluxe edition.

    Elbow

    Giants Of All Sizes

      ‘Giants of All Sizes’ was recorded at Hamburg’s Clouds Hill Studio, The Dairy in Brixton, 604 Studios in Vancouver and Blueprint Studios in Salford with additional recording taking place at various band member’s home studios spread across Manchester. As with their previous four studio albums, ‘Giants’ was produced and mixed by Craig Potter. Guests across the album include Jesca Hoop, The Plumedores and South London newcomer Chilli Chilton.

      Guy Garvey describes the album as “an angry, old blue lament which finds its salvation in family, friends, the band and new life.” It is a record that lyrically takes in moments of deep personal loss whilst reflecting its times by confronting head-on the spectres of injustice and division not just in the UK but across the world. It is a record that could only have been made in the 21st Century.

      Given such bleak, if ultimately redeemed, subject matter, it is also, perversely, the most relaxed record which elbow have made in some time. On ‘Giants of All Sizes’, each band member extended their usual process of working on demos alone and followed their vision to its conclusion rather than, as Craig Potter puts it, ‘taking the edges off things to find compromise’. In tandem with this, they returned to playing live in the studio, encouraged to experiment with the banks of analogue equipment at Clouds Hill in Northern Germany, giving songs a looser, more live feel.

      The result is the most starkly dynamic record from the band in recent times, “Sonically unabashed”, as Guy would have it. Whilst album closer ‘Weightless’ has the gossamer melodies and communal harmonies for which the band have latterly been known, this album echoes earlier elbow work at times whilst also breaking new ground.

      ‘White Noise White Heat’ is motorik, metal machine soul driven by a vocal that is rage incarnate, ‘Doldrums’ mixes John Carpenter with The Plastic Ono Band to brilliantly disturbing effect and ‘On Deronda Road’ hitches stark bass beats and glitches to an ad-hoc choir. ‘Empires’ delivers dark resignation via an insidious melody and ‘Seven Veils’ continues the subversion by inverting the perception of elbow as a band for lovers into a band for haters, a double-barrelled fuck-you song par excellence. ‘The Delayed 3:15’ marries mariarchi guitars to jazz dynamics, Morricone via Buddy Rich, and ‘My Trouble’ is a clockwork, analogue shuffle housing a delicate melody that builds over the course of the song into a fragile monolith to the power of love.

      Lead track, ‘Dexter & Sinister’, released on 10” ahead of the album, encapsulates the whole. A seven-minute musical journey that blends deep bass grooves, sudden keyboard stabs, dislocated piano and guitar runs and soul stylings then abruptly shifts gear, parts the storm clouds and takes wing, flying towards the heat of the sun. It is the soundtrack for these ‘hope free, faith free, charity free days’, a denial of the divine and a reconciliation, two songs in one song, two emotions for one emotion, human, fragile and brilliant like the album which it opens.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Exclusive green vinyl in a gatefold sleeve.

      Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      LP Info: Standard black vinyl in a gatefold sleeve.

      LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Deluxe CD Info: An exclusive CD that has a hard clear plastic O-card sleeve on it, which when pulled off will leave the CD artwork bare of text.

      Lana Del Rey

      Norman Fucking Rockwell!

        The highly anticipated album was mainly produced and co-written with Jack Antonoff and will include ‘Venice Bitch,’ ‘Mariners Apartment Complex,’ ‘hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but I have it,’ and the current release, a cover of Sublime’s ‘Doin’ Time’.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: After hearing the beautiful acoustic balladry of 'Mariners Apartment Complex', it would be easy to assume that though Del Rey's songwriting has bloomed into a complex and beautiful marriage of tender folk and indie her influences have remained similar until you hear her lovely take on 90's skate-ska slackers Sublime's 'Doin' Time'.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        2xColoured LP Info: Limited edition translucent blue vinyl.

        2xLP Info: Standard black vinyl edition.

        Friendly Fires

        Inflorescent

          Brand new album from the band that brought you "Paris" and Indie Anthem "Jump In The Pool" Arriving eight years after their last album, Inflorescent is the sound of a band rejuvenated and reborn. The hiatus had left some to question whether we'd ever see another full length Friendly Fires record but once the three band members - Ed Macfarlane, Edd Gibson and Jack Savidge, friends since the age of eleven - reconvened in Macfarlane's parents' St Albans garage (the scene of much of their early recorded output) at the tail end of 2017, things were never really in doubt. Arriving with just three scrawled words ("Love. Like. Waves") as a starting point, they soon emerged with a finished song as fresh and vital as anything they'd done before.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: A great return for the Friendly Fires, from the grooving guitars and falsetto vocal swathes to more downbeat, synthy affars, 'Inflorescent' is a bracing and confident ode to dance from the ever-reliable trio.

          Elbow

          Dexter & Sinister

            Elbow return with new track 'Dexter & Sinister', released as a limited edition one-sided 10" single and featuring the vocals of Jesca Hoop, with a lyric etching on the b-side.

            An exact seven minutes of new music melding ominous, creeping grooves and deity-denying lyrics that burst into a sweeping second phase of lament and redemption. 

            Madonna’s highly-anticipated 14th studio album. Influenced creatively by living in Lisbon, Portugal over the past several years, Madame X is a collection of 15 new songs that celebrate Madonna’s career-long affair with Latin music and culture as well as other global influences.

            Singing in Portuguese, Spanish and English, highlights on the album include “Medellín,” which was co-produced by Mirwais and captures the spirit of Maluma’s hometown, the anthemic song “I Rise,” the Jamaican dancehall vibes of “Future” featuring Quavo, and co-produced by Diplo, as well as the sonically innovative Mirwais produced “Dark Ballet.” Recorded over 18 months in Portugal, London, New York and Los Angeles, Madonna collaborated on Madame X with longtime producer Mirwais, as well as with producers Mike Dean and Diplo, among others.


            FORMAT INFORMATION

            2xLP Info: Black vinyl edition.

            The Rolling Stones

            She's A Rainbow (Live)

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

              The Rolling Stones release a special, limited edition of "She's A Rainbow" (Live) at U ARENA, PARIS 25/10/17.

              The Rolling Stones

              Honk

                Honk collects 36 essential Stones’ tracks – including eight Top 10 singles, “Brown Sugar”, “Tumbling Dice”, “Angie”, “It’s Only Rock And Roll (But I Like It)”, “Fool To Cry”, “Miss You”, “Emotional Rescue” and “Start Me Up”. Bringing the band’s story up to date, Honk also contains hit single “Doom & Gloom” – recorded in 2012 – as well as “Just Your Fool”, “Ride ‘Em Down” and “Hate To See You Go” from the band’s 2016’s Grammy Award-winning, No 1 album, Blue & Lonesome. 

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                3xLP Info: Triple LP on heavyweight black vinyl.

                Mercury award winner James Blake releases his 4th studio album Assume Form. The album features collaborations with Travis Scott, André 3000, Metro Boomin, Moses Sumney and Rosalía (BBC sound poll 2019). In the past 2-3 years James has been very busy collaborating with Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Jay Z, Frank Ocean, Oneohtrix Point Never, Mount Kimbie and contributing to the Black Panther soundtrack. As unrestricted by genre as it is always underpinned by classic, emotionally-open songwriting, James Blake’s new album is arguably his most direct, eclectic and pure artistic statement to date. Assume Form also follows a rich period of creative and personal evolution for James, who has spoken candidly about his experiences of mental health, modern-day masculinity, and finding peace. Even the album artwork would appear to represent a fundamental shift for Blake, no longer distorted by illustration, landscape or design, but staring right at you – and into the future.

                James Blake’s is an influence that can be felt throughout the modern musical landscape, often hiding in plain sight; allowing the man himself – as his fourth album suggests – to always evolve. To never settle. To Assume Form.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: Calling on a wealth of talent, James Blake continues his domination of the post-dubstep sound, with clicking trap-lite percussion, soaring synth echoes and a who's who of today's electronic music guests. Tackling sensitive issues with delicacy and grace, Blake is a singular talent, and continues to show his capabilities.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                2xColoured LP Info: Limited edition green coloured LP set. Includes additional track, "Mullholland".

                2xColoured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Winners of 2017’s Best British Group at the BRIT Awards, The 1975 release their 3rd album ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships.’

                The album is a follow up to ‘I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,’ which charted at Number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic going Platinum in the UK in the process. 


                Elbow

                The Best Of - Deluxe Edition

                  Elbow release a handpicked collection of their best moments to date. The album features tracks from all the band's seven studio albums to date and highlights their incredible musical output over the last eighteen years from the release of the Newborn EP in 1999. Also featured on the album as a bonus track is the band's version of The Beatles 'Golden Slumbers', as heard on the John Lewis Christmas advert directed by Michel Gondry.

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  3xLtd LP Info: Triple heavyweight vinyl, double gatefold, download card included.

                  Frank Turner

                  Be More Kind

                    Frank Turner has announced details of his forthcoming seventh studio album. Be More Kind will be released on May 4th through Xtra Mile Recordings/Polydor Records. Months after the release of Songbook, a career-spanning retrospective which also saw reworked versions of tracks from across the past decade, Be More Kind represents a thematic and sonic line in the sand for the 36-year-old. It’s a record that combines universal anthems with raw emotion and the political and the personal, with the intricate folk and punk roar trademarks of Turner’s sound imbued with new, bold experimental shades.

                    Lord Huron is an American indie folk band based in Los Angeles. The group's debut album, Lonesome Dreams, was released in 2012 on Iamsound in the US and Play It Again Sam in UK and Ireland in January 2013. The band released their second album, Strange Trails, in April 2015.

                    The band's name was inspired by Lake Huron, the lake which band founder Ben Schneider grew up. 'Lord Huron invites you to stare into the abyss this spring with the release of their third full-length album, Vide Noir. Written and recorded over the past two years at Lord Huron’s Los Angeles studio and informal clubhouse, Whispering Pines. The album was mixed by Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips/MGMT) and engineered by Sonny DiPerri (Portugal. The Man, Animal Collective).

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Barry says: A brilliantly varied suite of thumping percussion, jagged guitar riffage, nuanced ambient interludes and neo-folk melodies, underpinned with a steadily growing melodic wash of ambience. Vide Noir is a brilliantly compiled journey from start to finish.

                    The Rolling Stones

                    On Air

                      The Rolling Stones are set to release a new album, ‘On Air’, a selection of BBC recordings from the 60’s. The track-listing will comprise of original Stones tracks along with some covers. The audio has gone through an extensive process called ‘Audio Source Separation’ at Abbey Road. In short, it means a de-mix process ahead of a traditional multi track remix and master.

                      New York buzz band, Joywave, have been making serious waves in the must-dance-to, electronic-indie arena since their debut “How Do You Feel” EP release in 2014. One year later, they inquired once again, this time in the form of their first full-length How Do You Feel Now? which secured them as an exciting band to watch. It reached #25 on the Billboard Alternative Albums chart, #34 on the Top Rock Albums chart, and #3 on the Heatseekers Albums chart.

                      Hailing from Rochester, NY, the infectious electro-rockers have been crafting their unique sound and are now gearing up to releasing their newest album 'Content'. In April 2017, they released "Content",the first single off their upcoming second album. In May 2017, they released the album's second single, "It's a Trip!" with three other singles being released in the months that followed: "Shutdown," "Doubt," and "Going to a Place." The full release is hotly anticipated by Joywave's fans, with their total social following exceeding 100k!

                      Lana Del Rey

                      Lust For Life

                        Global superstar Lana Del Rey releases her 4th album ‘Lust For Life’ which features collaborations with A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, Sean Ono Lennon, The Weeknd and Stevie Nicks.



                        Following the UK platinum debut album Haim’s highly anticipated new album ‘Something To Tell You’ will be released on July 7th, they announced the release of ‘Something To Tell You’ with an in-studio video version of album track ‘Right Now,’ which was shot and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia, Boogie Nights). HAIM released ‘Want You Back,’ the first official single from ‘Something To Tell You’, which Pitchfork awarded Best New Track saying “Whiplash is starting to feel like a theme of pop in 2017” going on to praise “Haim are pulling the rug out from under our feet in the run-up to releasing their second album.”

                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        2xLP Info: 2 LP set pressed at 45 RPM on audiophile quality vinyl. Includes bonus track and digital download.

                        Clean Cut Kid

                        Felt

                          "Liverpool’s thrilling fuzz-pop quartet Clean Cut Kid have announced details of their much-anticipated debut album. A string of exhilarating singles have given snapshots of their brilliance and now comes a record to match. 'Felt' will be released on May 5th through Babe Magnet Records/Polydor

                          Clean Cut Kid are Mike Halls, Evelyn Halls, Saul Godman and Ross Higginson. The four-piece are one of the most exciting breakthrough bands in the UK, their inventive take on anthemic guitar-pop the product of intense writing and rehearsal sessions at the band's practice space in Liverpool. Their five singles so far – ‘Vitamin C’, ‘Runaway’, ‘Pick Me Up’, ‘Make Believe’ and ‘We Used To Be In Love’ – have introduced a band full of creativity, who mix classic melodicism with a sonic adventurousness. 'Felt' was recorded at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios with Blossoms and The Coral producer Rich Turvey, London's Konk Studios with Arcade Fire collaborator Craig Silvey and London's Voltaire Studios with Cam Blackwood (George Ezra, Wolf Alice).
                          What emerges is a contemporary indie-pop record filled with defiant pop hooks and emotionally-charged fragility. 'Felt' is an album that deals with the hard truths and uplifting highs of modern love. 


                          Feist’s first album in six years reflects on secrets and shame, loneliness and tenderness, care and fatigue and is at its core a study on self-awareness. As the fourth full-length from the Canadian singer/songwriter born Leslie Feist, Pleasure builds off the warm naturalism of the Polaris Prize-winning Metals and emerges as her most formally defiant and expansive work so far. Recorded over the course of three months—in Stinson Beach, Upstate New York, and Paris — Pleasure was co-produced by Feist with longtime collaborators Renaud Letang and Mocky. Following the album’s title-track, Feist has now shared ‘Century’, which features Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker in addition to reaffirming Feist as a cagily inventive guitar player, the album threads her shape-shifting and often haunting vocals into sparse and raw arrangements. Released on a Limited Ed Digi and 2LP set

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Barry says: From the mournful lo-fi balladry of 'I Wish I Didn't Miss You' to the country-tinged minor key melodies of 'Any Party' and stomping cyclic rock of century, this is a confident and cohesive collection of classics from one of the all-time masters in the field. Feist smashes it again.

                          ‘Little Fictions’ was recorded in Scotland and Manchester and sees the band collaborate with the string players of The Hallé Orchestra, the Hallé Ancoats Community Choir, members of London Contemporary Voices and session drummer Alex Reeves. As with the previous three elbow albums it was produced by Craig Potter.

                          ‘Little Fictions’ is emphatically a band album. Having written individually for its chart-topping predecessor, ‘The Take Off and Landing of Everything’, sessions this time were collective affairs, with all four members gathered initially in a house in Scotland before moving to Guy’s attic in Prestwich and finalising recordings in the familiar setting of Blueprint studios, Salford.

                          ‘Little Fictions’ is an upbeat album. All the band talk of the sessions being ‘joyful’, Mark summarises it as ‘the sound of four people who love what they do and each other’, of an album that came into being naturally and, at times even unconsciously. Lead single ‘Magnificent (She Says)’ was embraced for the joyous, thrilling piece of music it is, positive and outward looking. Mark never even considered his audible switch towards electric guitars, most notable on the psychedelic lushness of ‘All Disco’, until the very end of the process.

                          The departure of drummer Richard Jupp prior to commencing the writing and recording process in earnest saw early sessions characterised by new approaches to rhythm, with the band utilising percussive noises, sampling and loops to build tracks. The grooves that run through much of the album, from the go-go beats of ‘Gentle Storm’ through the jagged trip hop of ‘Kindling’ to the soulful ‘Firebrand & Angel’ represent both the band’s widest musical palette and a newfound sense of experimentation borne from both necessity and desire. That desire fuelled the title track, an eight minute piece that is epic without at any point feeling excessive. As a shorthand for the album it is perfect, crossing musical genres and experimenting with sound in ways that demonstrate the confidence and enthusiasm of the band throughout the recording process.

                          ‘Little Fictions’ is, therefore, more than just yet another brilliant elbow album. In many ways it marks the start of a new chapter for the band, characterised by a rediscovery of shared purpose in doing the thing that has always brought them together, the place that Mark describes as ‘the creative space where we all meet’.


                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          LP Info: 180 gram gatefold album with download code.

                          Fresh from bringing the sad to Beyonce's 'Lemonade' long player and Frank Ocean's soon-come sophomore outing, James Blake returns as a solo artist with his third full length album. Not so solo though as 'The Colour In Anything' features a number of collaborations as well, with Ocean, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Connan Mockasin and Rick Rubin all playing a part in the album's evolution.

                          However, like the grey skies on the album's sleeve (illustrated by another famous Blake, Sir Quentin), the singer-songwriter / producer still seems to be situated under his own personal rain cloud, providing us with 17 tracks and 76 minuted of heartfelt melancholia. Blake's deep, sparse, spacious electronica provides the perfect backdrop for his lyrical repetition and sorrowful vocals. At times moving further towards an alt-R&B sound, his plaintive solo vocal and piano songs have a meditative, almost gospel-tinted edge to them. A cathartic meditation on loss of love and relationship breakdown, but with deceptive strength at its core, Blake's songs see 'The Colour In Anything', as long as that colour is blue.


                          Soulful and raw, Londoner Michael Kiwanuka’s critically-acclaimed debut album ‘Home Again’ (April 2012) staked his claim on the list of great British singer-songwriters. Having taken a deep breath and relaxed into his musical approach, Kiwanuka is back, and has delivered his eagerly anticipated second album - and it packs a powerful punch. 'Love & Hate', produced by Danger Mouse, Inflo and Paul Butler, is an outward-looking, drenched with emotional density and rich, soulful production at the helm. Two years in the making, the British Ugandan Londoner has worked with new talent and created a canvas which sees his vulnerability take centre stage. Honest, unabashed, and ambitious, this is Kiwanuka proving that he is ready to secure his position as one of our most exciting homegrown talents. It’s a new world since his debut, and it seems that it’s his for the taking.

                          The 1975

                          I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It

                          The follow-up to the quartet’s million-selling self-titled debut. It is a bold and brilliant record made up of infectious pop hooks and sprawling electro sonics, an ambitious stride forward for one of the UK’s most exciting young bands.


                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          2xColoured LP Info: Limited edition double 180 gram clear vinyl.

                          Jamie Woon

                          Making Time

                          2015 release from the electronic artist / producer. 'Making Time' is the long awaited follow-up to Jamie's 2011 debut album 'Mirrorwriting'. In the four years following the release of his debut album, Jamie made an appearance on Disclosure's debut album 'Settle' in 2013 and played a select few festivals around Europe. These brief appearances were a just a quick reprieve during the valuable time Jamie spent writing his new record. An undeniable focus and informed musical ear are signatures of Jamie's work both on record and on stage, as well as a fine attention to detail. Elsewhere on 'Making Time', Willy Mason lends his distinctive vocal to 'Celebration', Robin Hannibal and Jamie team up on 'Sharpness', Royce Wood Junior collaborates on 'Lament' and co-production across the album comes from Lexxx. The first song they worked on together is the opening track on Making Time: 'Message'. This soulful rumination explores the idea of ambition. "That's me explaining what I've been up to and working out why I do this," Jamie explains. "The process of this record was about me finding that confidence in myself."

                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          LP Info: Includes full colour glossy A5 24 page lyric booklet.

                          Dre's back with his first album in 16 years. Apparently inspired by seeing his younger self portrayed in the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, he ditched the work from the much delayed 'Detox' album (a "hip hop musical"!) and started afresh. The result is 'Compton', an album that looks back to Dre's past, but also brings a fresh perspective by including a roll call guest MCs (Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Anderson .Paak etc). Beat building and production-wise, 'Compton' shows Dre hasn't lost his touch, layering live and digital percussion and instrumentation, plus samples and raps into one killer long player. Includes breakout track 'Genocide' featuring Kendrick Lamar - G anthem for the Michael Brown era.

                          After nearly twenty five years and counting as a member of Elbow and one of the UK’s most recognised and celebrated musicians and lyricists, Guy Garvey is setting off alone for the first time. ‘Courting the Squall’, his debut solo album is, as with all solo albums, a glimpse into its creator’s soul. Shot through with warmth and emotional intelligence, content and comfortable in its own skin, ‘Courting the Squall’ is that most unique thing; a record made without preconditions, an album of songs made purely for the joy of its making.

                          Guy has also announced a short run of dates in Europe and the UK throughout November and December on which he will be accompanied by the musicians who recorded the album, including Pete Jobson of I Am Kloot on guitar, Nathan Sudders of The Whip on bass and Alex Reeves on drums. Elbow’s brass section complete the live line-up.

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Andy says: Fantastic surprise as Guy rings the changes. A super album, and quite different from Elbow. Recommended.

                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          Ltd LP Info: The 12 inch heavyweight single vinyl comes in a full colour gate-fold sleeve with printed inner bag and includes a free digital download.

                          The album was recorded between Los Angeles and New York.

                          This is the 3rd studio album from Lana Del Rey, her last record ‘Ultraviolence’ when to #1 in 74 countries and she has worldwide album sales in excess of 9 million. Following the global first play and interview on Zane Lowe's Beats1 show, Annie Mac had 'High By The Beach' as her Hottest Record on Radio 1which included two spins of the track back to back and an interview with Lana. 

                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          LP Info: Black vinyl edition.

                          The Rolling Stones

                          Sticky Fingers - Deluxe CD/DVD Box

                            ‘Sticky Fingers’ was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Stargroves, Mick’s country home and Olympic Studios in London and produced by regular confidant Jimmy Miller, ‘Sticky Fingers’ was released shortly after the Stones became exiled in the south of France, leaving Britain after a sensational farewell tour. It also featured some of the most ground breaking artwork in rock history by Andy Warhol with its famous working zip on the front cover. (Recreated in the Super Deluxe and Double Vinyl Deluxe Editions of the new package.)

                            ‘Sticky Fingers’ has been repeatedly hailed as one of the Stones’ all-time great albums, capturing their trademark combination of swagger and tenderness in a superb collection. It continued the incredible outpouring of creative energy that had produced 1968’s ‘Beggars Banquet’ and ‘Let It Bleed’ in 1969. After ‘Sticky Fingers’, the Stones’ relocation to the south of France led to the double album masterpiece ‘Exile On Main St.’ The highly acclaimed ‘Sticky Fingers’ showcased the ever more inventive song writing of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and formidable guitar licks from Mick Taylor.

                            The Rolling Stones

                            Sticky Fingers - Deluxe Edition

                            ‘Sticky Fingers’ was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Stargroves, Mick’s country home and Olympic Studios in London and produced by regular confidant Jimmy Miller, ‘Sticky Fingers’ was released shortly after the Stones became exiled in the south of France, leaving Britain after a sensational farewell tour. It also featured some of the most ground breaking artwork in rock history by Andy Warhol with its famous working zip on the front cover. (Recreated in the Super Deluxe and Double Vinyl Deluxe Editions of the new package.) 

                            ‘Sticky Fingers’ has been repeatedly hailed as one of the Stones’ all-time great albums, capturing their trademark combination of swagger and tenderness in a superb collection. It continued the incredible outpouring of creative energy that had produced 1968’s ‘Beggars Banquet’ and ‘Let It Bleed’ in 1969. After ‘Sticky Fingers’, the Stones’ relocation to the south of France led to the double album masterpiece ‘Exile On Main St.’ The highly acclaimed ‘Sticky Fingers’ showcased the ever more inventive song writing of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and formidable guitar licks from Mick Taylor.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Andy says: The Stones at their greatest.

                            The Rolling Stones

                            Sticky Fingers - Super Deluxe Box

                              ‘Sticky Fingers’ was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Stargroves, Mick’s country home and Olympic Studios in London and produced by regular confidant Jimmy Miller, ‘Sticky Fingers’ was released shortly after the Stones became exiled in the south of France, leaving Britain after a sensational farewell tour. It also featured some of the most ground breaking artwork in rock history by Andy Warhol with its famous working zip on the front cover. (Recreated in the Super Deluxe and Double Vinyl Deluxe Editions of the new package.)

                              ‘Sticky Fingers’ has been repeatedly hailed as one of the Stones’ all-time great albums, capturing their trademark combination of swagger and tenderness in a superb collection. It continued the incredible outpouring of creative energy that had produced 1968’s ‘Beggars Banquet’ and ‘Let It Bleed’ in 1969. After ‘Sticky Fingers’, the Stones’ relocation to the south of France led to the double album masterpiece ‘Exile On Main St.’ The highly acclaimed ‘Sticky Fingers’ showcased the ever more inventive song writing of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and formidable guitar licks from Mick Taylor.

                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              FREE SHIPPING This item has FREE UK shipping!

                              The Rolling Stones

                              Sticky Fingers - Standard Vinyl Version

                                ‘Sticky Fingers’ was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Stargroves, Mick’s country home and Olympic Studios in London and produced by regular confidant Jimmy Miller, ‘Sticky Fingers’ was released shortly after the Stones became exiled in the south of France, leaving Britain after a sensational farewell tour. It also featured some of the most ground breaking artwork in rock history by Andy Warhol with its famous working zip on the front cover. (Recreated in the Super Deluxe and Double Vinyl Deluxe Editions of the new package.)

                                ‘Sticky Fingers’ has been repeatedly hailed as one of the Stones’ all-time great albums, capturing their trademark combination of swagger and tenderness in a superb collection. It continued the incredible outpouring of creative energy that had produced 1968’s ‘Beggars Banquet’ and ‘Let It Bleed’ in 1969. After ‘Sticky Fingers’, the Stones’ relocation to the south of France led to the double album masterpiece ‘Exile On Main St.’ The highly acclaimed ‘Sticky Fingers’ showcased the ever more inventive song writing of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and formidable guitar licks from Mick Taylor.

                                Brand new album from platinum, Grammy nominated recording artist Lana Del Rey! The album features the hit songs 'West Coast' and 'Shades of Cool' along with typically Del Rey-ish songs: 'Fucked My Way To The Top' and 'Pretty When You Cry'. She's not veered to far away from the script of her first album: 50s noir meets Blue Velvet atmospherics meets modern day pop nouse, and if you're a fan then you won't be disappointed.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Andy says: Wow! Incredibly, this record is much stronger than Lana's smash debut!? There's no "Video Games", obviously but you don't need it when every track is deeper, darker, grander and sadder than before. A brilliant surprise.

                                Following a series of LA based studio sessions with producers Ariel Rechtsaid (Major Lazer, Vampire Weekend, Usher) and James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Florence & The Machine, Simian Mobile Disco), San Fernando Valley sisters HAIM have emphatically taken all the strengths of their live shows and transformed their songs into nuggets of golden pop.

                                ‘Days Are Gone’ is a record that wrestles with that early live potential and fully realises it, showcasing the breadth of their collective and individual talents. Having performed live together on stages from a very early age, it’s that innate understanding of each other’s musicianship that acts as both the strength and catalyst behind everything the band do.

                                Plenty has already been made of the band’s R&B influences, but it’s a shimmering guitar-fuelled, West Coast pop that surfaces across the 11 tracks on the LP. Sharing all the songwriting between themselves, ‘Days Are Gone’ is a record that features songs that stretches right back to when the band first formed ('Forever', 'The Wire', 'Let Me Go'), and songs written in the latter stages of 2012.

                                Opening on their 2013 Spring EP release ‘Falling’, it’s smartly followed by the song that introduced them back in March 2012, ‘Forever’. ‘The Wire’, a huge live favourite and forthcoming single, receives a slick production but loses none of the energy and passion that makes it so enticing on stage.

                                The sultry ‘If I Could Change Your Mind’ is the first of four brand new songs that HAIM are yet to have aired live, ‘Days Are Gone’, ‘My Song 5’, and ‘Running If You Call My Name’. Another regular live track, ‘Honey & I’ is one of the many standout tracks on a record that is more than simply the sum of its parts.


                                Every so often an artist comes along who changes the musical landscape, an artist who brings something different to the game... Step forward Kendrick Lamar.

                                Hailed as the new face of West Coast Rap, the 24 yr-old Compton-native has already been making his mark on the music scene, first with his sought-after mixtapes - ‘Training Day’ and ‘C4’. Then with his self-titled debut EP, 2009’s ‘Kendrick Lamar’ which featured his trademark singles ‘P&P’ and ‘She Needs Me’, followed up by 2010’s ‘(O)verly (D)edicated’ powered by the singles ‘Michael Jordan’ and ‘Cut You Off’. In 2011 he independently released ‘Section. 80’ becoming one of the top digital hip hop albums of the year.

                                Fast-forward to 2012 and with the weight and backing of Dr. Dre (the two recently had a joint XXL cover), Kendrick is ready to release his highly-anticipated major label album ‘Good Kid, m.A.A.d City’. Hot single ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)’ serves as a good taster to the album, alongside the previously released warm-up single ‘The Recipe’ ft. Dr. Dre and the recently announced collaborative single with Lady Gaga called 'Partynauseous'. As well as scene stealing features alongside The Game, Drake, Rick Ross and others - Kendrick is poised to be the first artist in a long time to not only change how the country views West Coast hip hop, but how the world sees Hip Hop as a whole.

                                “The coolest shit to say used to be the gangsta shit,” Kendrick says. “But now, the real cool shit to talk about is supporting your family.”


                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                2xLP Info: Deluxe vinyl edition, includes 3 bonus songs.

                                Talk Talk

                                Laughing Stock

                                Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock, the group’s 1991 final album, took a year to make, and yet it has required decades to fully appreciate. Following up on the abstract 'Spirit of Eden', which sufficiently alienated pop fans of the band’s earlier material, 'Laughing Stock' took spaces in recorded music to new extremes, with layers of silence breathing through strings, woodwinds, percussion and Mark Hollis’s delicate vocals.

                                The record exists as one complete thought, albeit with jagged diversions and tangents. Hollis’s and producer Tim Friese-Greene’s goal from the beginning was to create an album that completely enveloped the listener. During recording, microphones were placed at distances as far as 30 feet from the instruments they were recording, and passages were captured with no clear intention as to where they would finally be placed. Before ProTools made the cut-and-paste, drag-and-drop process standard in songwriting, Hollis and Friese-Greene were in the studio with flugelhorn and viola players, capturing notes and phrases they collected and combined into the six tracks that became 'Laughing Stock'. Everything was recorded straight from the original instruments, as Hollis continued reacting against the synth artificiality of his past. It was released on jazz label Verve, further declaring that 'In A Silent Way' was a greater influence than any pop group to which Talk Talk had been compared in the past. 'Laughing Stock' grows like vines in a garden out of any speakers. The full power of the music is as engrossing as it is oblique, like wrapping oneself in a blanket of thoughts. Talk Talk’s music is unapologetic in its obscureness, caressed in the gentle beauty of subtlety and warmth.

                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                LP Info: Includes printed inner sleeve.

                                Michael Kiwanuka

                                Home Again

                                  Few records make such an instant impression as 'Home Again', the debut album by Michael Kiwanuka. Immersing the listener in a sound that is both modern and at the same time as familiar as the classics, it manages to strike the balance between being contemporary and somehow utterly timeless.

                                  “I just wanted to make a record that, when someone puts it on, it takes them to a certain place,” says the 25-year-old north Londoner. “I wanted it to have the lush-sounding instrumentation and feel of older records, to be warm and peaceful and put the listener in this little world, which is rich with vibes and sounds and colours.”

                                  For Kiwanuka, key musical touchstones include Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Shuggie Otis, Roberta Flack’s 'First Take', Bill Withers’ 'Live At Carnegie Hall' and D’Angelo’s modern soul landmark 'Voodoo'. Citing the latter album in particular as Exhibit A in refuting suggestions that his listening tastes are rooted exclusively in the 1970s, Kiwanuka calmly shrugs off any “retro” accusations that might be levelled at his music.

                                  “The truth is there was no intention behind any of it,” he states. “There was no intention for my voice to sound old. The songs come out like they do because I like the sound of stuff like that. I didn’t start writing songs to get a record deal. I wrote songs to express myself and they ended up sounding old.”

                                  Moreover, given the fact that he was born in 1986, to Kiwanuka’s impressionable young ears, even the music of the past was fresh to him. “To me, those records sounded new,” he says. “Growing up, I didn’t have records at home. I didn’t even know any Beatles albums. For me, it was all completely brand new music, even though it was recorded decades ago.”

                                  Born in Muswell Hill to Ugandan émigré parents, Michael Kiwanuka was brought up in a home from which music was largely absent, with his first introduction to rock (Nirvana, Radiohead) arriving at the same time as he began to hang with the skater kids in the north London suburb during his early teenage years. Later coming across a soul compilation album given away with a music monthly, he was enthralled by the sound of Otis Redding’s studio talkback discussions with his engineer while recording an outtake version of '(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay'. From this point on, he resolved to make music that sounded raw and authentic.

                                  As a guitarist, however, the session work that Kiwanuka managed to find in his early career as a musician was entirely in the urban genre, notably with Bashy and Chipmunk. While he says he learned much from these experiences, it chiefly taught him that his musical passions lay elsewhere. “My head was in other music,” he admits, “so this was just a means to get there. It forced me to try and write my own songs because I didn’t feel this other stuff in my heart.”

                                  Though deeply into soul and jazz, he found real inspiration in the cross-pollination of the two styles with folk in the music of Bill Withers. “Bill Withers was very rootsy and earthy,” he points out, “but people branded him as a soul singer. To me, he was a folk artist. So that encouraged me to keep going, ‘cause I didn’t know where I would fit in as a black guy with an acoustic guitar.”

                                  In beginning to perform on the acoustic circuit around London, Kiwanuka quickly attracted interest and made connections, not least with his current manager who in turn garnered the attention of Communion Records, the label that in 2011 released the singer’s first two acclaimed EPs, 'Tell Me A Tale' and 'I’m Getting Ready'.

                                  Both of these EPs - as with 'Home Again' - were produced by Paul Butler (The Bees) in his vintage equipment-stuffed basement studio at his house in Ventnor on the Isle Of Wight. Together the pair played almost every instrument to be heard on the album, with Butler’s remarkably intimate, detailed productions - adorned with everything from flute to brass to sitar to aching strings - perfectly matching Kiwanuka’s visions for his songs. “The way we made the record was very modern,” the singer points out. “There was loads of editing. We manipulated it to get exactly what we wanted.”

                                  From the opening bars of the stirring 'Tell Me A Tale', it is instantly clear that 'Home Again' is a very special album. While its more upbeat characteristics are embodied in the Prince Buster-like loping of the lovelorn but irresistibly catchy 'Bones' and the rolling soul groove of 'I’ll Get Along', elsewhere it proves itself to be a record of real stripped-down beauty. In 'I Won’t Lie', with its gospel-infused echoes of The Staples Singers, Kiwanuka offers something akin to a modern spiritual, while in 'Rest' he turns in a tender “love lullaby” and in 'Always Waiting', he blends classical elements with the confessional intimacy of Roberta Flack.

                                  It is with the title track of 'Home Again', however, that Michael Kiwanuka feels the record’s sounds and themes are ultimately encapsulated. “That’s the song that really for me ties everything together,” he says. “It’s one of the earliest songs I wrote for the album and even though I progressed and changed stuff in the studio, it was the one I could never throw away. Like a lot of them, it’s a hopeful song. I use home as the metaphor for contentment and peace within.”

                                  Other parts of the record, on the other hand, find Kiwanuka struggling for peace of mind and using his songs as a form of self-empowerment, not least in the soulful 'I’m Getting Ready', the darker, unburdening 'Any Day Will Do Fine' and the self-explanatory 'Worry Walks Beside Me'. “It can really paralyse you, if you worry too much,” the singer admits. “I do tend to overthink things. All of these songs are me talking to myself, really. Trying to encourage myself to believe.”

                                  "Born To Die" the album is a collection of tracks about which Lana says "The songs I've written are an homage to true love and a tribute to living life on the wild side." Album tracks include "Million Dollar Man", "Off To The Races", "Blue Jeans" and "Carmen".

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  2xLP Info: Limited vinyl edition.

                                  Following the long awaited and well deserved success of their previous album "The Seldom Seen Kid", Elbow make a much anticipated return.

                                  "Build A Rocket Boys!" features guest contributions from the Halle Youth Choir, retaining Elbow’s strong links with both their home town and the Halle itself, with whom they collaborated on a very special show at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall in 2009.

                                  Viva Brother formed in Slough in January of 2010, over a joint love for the likes of Suede, The Smiths and The Stone Roses. Just over a year later they now find themselves on tour with their hero Morrissey, have an NME cover under their belts, are Zane Lowe’s Hottest Record In The World on Radio 1, and are on prime time TV in the US, on the revered Late Show with David Letterman.

                                  Speaking about the recording of their debut, frontman Lee Newell said, "Working with Stephen Street was a turning point in this band and with him we have created something completely extraordinary. It seemed very natural. We're not going to sit here and sell ourselves because that's not what we're about, we're going to do things our way and have an absolute laugh with it. Everyone says that we are famous for what we say. This album is what we've been talking about."

                                  “…the future of music…” – NME.

                                  “…saviours of rock’n’roll…” – The Guardian.

                                  “…the year’s most brilliantly brash young upstarts…” – The Fly.

                                  “(Viva) Brother are as sharp as their songs are direct…” - The New York Times.

                                  "Kiss That Grrrl" is a track influenced by the hits of Sixties’ girl groups. It has the huge Wall of Sound production (courtesy of Bernard Butler who produced the whole album) projected against the most base of human emotions: jealousy. Unlike some girl groups, Kate is not one to stand passively by when someone is making a move on her man.
                                  On the B-side are two brand new tracks, including a cover of The Shangr-las’ “Great Big Kiss” which is a duet with Billy Bragg.

                                  The Boy Who Trapped The Sun

                                  Fireplace

                                  The Boy Who Trapped The Sun is 25 year-old Colin MacLeod - the 'Boy Who' moniker, he says, 'feels bigger and less lonely'. Originally from the Isle of Lewis, a windswept outcrop of the Outer Hebrides, MacLeod was discovered swinging round the rafters of an Aberdeen bar, dishing out Deep Purple covers and, he says, 'generally acting like an arse'. Having smashed his guitar and knocked himself unconscious on stage, he set to cleaning up both the broken instrument and his act. Thus The Boy moved to London, to become a solo artist and an adult.

                                  And so emerged "Fireplace", with MacLeod playing all the instruments bar the strings himself. Hazy opener "Golden" sets the scene, with MacLeod gently drawing the listener into his world. New single "Katy" is more upbeat, a catchy paean to avoiding commitment. Title track "Fireplace" was written when MacLeod was housebound for four days as a fierce storm battered Lewis, while the loose, bluesy "Home" was written in London, about being displaced in the big city - 'This city's not a home, but it's somewhere to get lost'. "Walking In The Dark" is an achingly pretty piano-led track, while the waltz-y, wry "Dreaming Like A Fool" is the tale of ex-girlfriend who tried to stab MacLeod. 'Lately it feels like we're drifting apart', he sings. 'It could be because you're insane'.
                                  Riding on a dream-like descending riff "Copper Down" features exquisite harmonies and a deft, mid-song change of pace. The final track is the haunting, beautifully arranged "Antique Cobweb". There follows the hidden spoken-word outro "Poem", its second verse in Gaelic, wonderfully evocative of the Isle of Lewis and the sea that defines it. "Fireplace" is a beautifully realised debut from an authentic new talent. Listen again and again.

                                  The Rolling Stones

                                  Exile On Main Street - Remastered

                                  Upon its release more than three decades ago, 'Exile On Main Street' innovatively wove varying musical genres, instruments and even artists into a compelling rhythmic masterpiece.

                                  The original 18-track double-album was recorded in various stages at multiple locations, including Olympic Studios in London, Keith Richard’s mansion Nellcote in France, and in Los Angeles where the literal “Main Street” influenced the album title. These atypical circumstances surrounding the recording process greatly affected the album’s outcome which was highly reflective and influenced by the sociopolitical turbulence that marked the late `60s and early `70s. The Stones nixed the influences of a flower-child era and directed their creative process with the edgier, excessive, “more is more” approach of the `70s. Exile reveals a sprawling mix of genres with undertones of blues, country, R&B and gospel mixed with lyrics that fervently demand for release and liberation.

                                  The album pulled together an electric array of talent including Dr. John, the late Billy Preston and pianist Nicky Hopkins. Guitarist Mick Taylor, who replaced Brian Jones in the band shortly before Jones died in 1969, is a magnificent blues player who brought an intensity and elegance to these epic tracks. At times, these musicians and others lived on the recording studio premises with the band creating an extremely open and creative collaboration for the album.

                                  Part synth-pop classic, part future pop blueprint, the unforgettably catchy "I'm Not Your Toy" is set to be La Roux's next instant classic and is as sure to take up residence in your brain as its predecessors. With her own sci-fi disco ice queen style cut from the same iconic androgynous mould as Grace Jones and Annie Lennox and looking as otherworldly as Tilda Swinton in an electro remake of the Man Who Fell To Earth, La Roux has ripped up the 2009 pop star rule book, already becoming an accidental fashion heroine, a pop star as beloved of fashion journalists as much as radio DJs. Both 12" and CD single features remixes come from Data (big main room electrohouse smasher) and Jack Beats (another of their monster fidget jackers).

                                  Eels is the ever-changing project of singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mark Oliver Everett (aka E). The band's first record since 2005's critically acclaimed "Blinking Lights And Other Revelations", "Hombre Lobo" was recorded entirely at E's studio in Los Angeles with Koool G Murder (bass, keyboards and guitar) and Knuckles (drums and percussion). 'I wanted to write a set of songs about desire,' says E. 'That dreadful, intense want that gets you into all sorts of situations that can change your life in big ways.'

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  2xLtd CD/DVD Info: This limited edition includes "Tremendous Dynamite: Making Hombre Lobo" - DVD Documentary.

                                  Very few things in life compare to the spine tingling, adrenalin rush that comes when you hear a great single for the first time, so I reckon the day the Yeah Yeah Yeahs walked into their record company, demanding that the opening track on “It's Blitz” should be “Zero” was, in general, a good day at the office for their A&R man. 'You want the best single of the year so far to be the first track on your album? Erm, yeah, I think we can probably live with that’. “It's Blitz” is no one hit wonder though. Awash with synths, it's an album of conflicts that finds Karen O at her most vulnerable while the band, with a sly wink to NYC disco, create what can only be described as an epic soundscape behind her. Yes, the guitars have (no doubt begrudgingly) conceded top billing to Nick Zinners vintage Arp but at its heart, “It’s Blitz” is still a great ROCK record.

                                  Delays

                                  Everything's The Rush

                                  Already garnering rave reviews, "Everything's The Rush" is packed with technicolour hits and singles-in-waiting - simply a joy of a record. The schoolboy friends and band-mates for a decade (brothers Greg and Aaron Gilbert, Colin Fox and Rowly) are geared up and ready to go. Recorded over twenty days with acclaimed producer Youth, "Everything's The Rush" is the sound of Delays striding confidently into a new chapter. The tunes are even brighter, the choruses even bigger. 'We recorded at Youth's villa in Grenada, which is high up in the mountains' explains Aaron (keyboards/vocals). 'When you're staring at a mountain in a room full of amps, you want to make a sound that's as big as the sky'. The songs may be the musical equivalent of a huge gulp of alpine air, but listen closer and the lyrics reveal a darker aftertaste. Explains Greg (vocals/guitar). 'A song like "Hooray" sounds really uplifting, but it's actually about me having O.C.D' he laughs. 'For us', says Aaron 'melody is king. We want to make music which sends a shiver down your spine'. Hear it in the rich swell of "Keep It Simple", the sky-scraping stomp of "Touchdown", the rich pop melodies of "Love Made Visible" and the string-soaked cornerstone of the album "Pieces".

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  CD Info: CHEAP FOR A WEEK.

                                  Delays

                                  Hooray

                                  Delays return with this blast of insanely catchy, upbeat, sunshine pop taken from the forthcoming album "Everything's The Rush".

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  CDS Info: The CD single also includes non album track "Chest Out".

                                  Harder, fatter and more disciplined than their, gold-selling debut LP "Through the Windowpane", but equally ambitious, "Red" sounds like nothing else. It's darker and angrier, but also more beautiful, and the band's knack for melody is matched this time round by an endless cavalcade of inspired beats, bass and loops. From the jagged string stabs that unleash mutant disco-glam opener "Kriss Kross", to the desolate late-night pulse of final track "Take Me Home", it's a tour-de-force that marries Guillemots' natural melodic flair with a sense of dancefloor abandonment, not heard since Prince's 80s wild pop adventures. Other stand out tracks include the sleazy r'n'b raunch of "Big Dog", the gorgeous perfection of "Falling Out Of Reach", cyber-electro club-classic-in-waiting "Last Kiss", the haunting simplicity of "Words" and the tribal electro stomp of first single "Get Over It".

                                  Elbow

                                  The Seldom Seen Kid

                                    Their fourth studio album, "The Seldom Seen Kid" is a welcome return from the band, driven by a thunderous riff that reminds listeners of Elbow's love of the heavy as well as the delicate. Produced by keyboard player, Craig Potter, the album is the follow up to 2005's universally acclaimed "Leaders Of The Free World". The lyrical core of "The Seldom Seen Kid" sees Guy Garvey address the key questions of life. Over the 11 tracks the big themes of love and loss become the central focus of an album that sees Elbow, a band universally recognised for their musical ability and innovation, stretch their sonic template further than ever before. We move from the sparse electronica of "Starlings" through the flamenco influenced "The Bones Of You" to the Zeppelin-esque rock of first single "Grounds For Divorce". They even make space for a song described as " a Bond theme, if Bond were from Bury"(!) and a duet with the brilliant Richard Hawley. Blending the intimate with the epic, this could be their best record yet!

                                    This collection spans Morrissey's stellar 20-year career as a solo artist, including two new songs - forthcoming single "That's How People Grow Up" and "All You Need Is Me" - recorded with Jerry Finn, producer of 2004's widely acclaimed No.2 album "You Are The Quarry".

                                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                                    2xLtd CD Info: A special, limited edition run of the CD features a "Live At The Hollywood Bowl" bonus CD, featuring eight tracks recorded live in California on June 8th 2007.

                                    "The Black And White Album" is a record of inhuman proportions, recorded all over the world 'because we thought it was time to have other people involved besides ourselves and our closest friends'. After some initial recording at Hive Manor, for the first time The Hives ventured outside of Sweden to put music to tape. The majority of the album was recorded in Mississippi with producer Dennis Herring (Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello). They also met with Pharrell Williams in Miami and 'made some music with him too' ("T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S" and "Well Allright!"). A week in London at the historic Olympic studios with Jacknife Lee (U2, Bloc Party, Editors) also bore fruit ("Hey Little World"). Back home another song was recorded with fellow Swede Tomas Oberg from the band Bob Hund. All in all, a lot of songs, and more than enough great ones to choose from.

                                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                                    CD Info: Includes a UK bonus track, "Fall Is Just Something Grown-Ups Invented".

                                    Stephen Fretwell

                                    Man On The Roof

                                    Fretwell was born in Scunthorpe in 1981, a fact that belies the maturity and worldliness of his song-writing. These days, he's mostly resident in Manchester, but he liked New York so much he decided to make his second album there. "Man On The Roof" will surprise people. It's not as melancholy as "Magpie", but it's just as beguiling. This means the lugubrious sway of "Coney"; the romantic "The Ground Beneath Your Feet", 'about redemption, about being saved by a woman'; while "Funny Hat" and "William Shatner's Dog" are both about the same person. "Sleep" and "Coney" concern adultery in body and mind respectively, while the couples in "Bumper Cars" and "Darlin' Don't" struggle to get past whatever first base is.

                                    "Made Of Bricks" is the debut album from Harrow songstress Kate Nash. Pop music with indie sensibilities and an experimental edge permeate much of this album, and it is topped off with Nash's distinctive Estuary English vocal stylings.

                                    Queens Of The Stone Age

                                    Era Vulgaris

                                    "Era Vulgaris" sees Queens Of The Stone Age return to their deepest, darkest roots, with shadowy riffs reminiscent of the desert sounds of the Kyuss days combined with multi layered industrial power guitar and organ blasts of a new era. It was produced by long time Queens production cohort Chris Goss and Josh Homme himself at their hideaway in the dunes of Joshua Tree. Julian Casablancas from The Strokes and Mark Lanegan appear as guests on various tracks.

                                    Rufus Wainwright

                                    Release The Stars

                                    "Release The Stars" is a 12-track masterclass in songwriting and production - this is his first new material since 2005's remarkable "Want Two". The album is written and produced by Rufus himself, with Neil Tennant as executive producer. Long time collaborator, Marius de Vries, has also sprinkled magic dust over the tracks in the mix.

                                    "The Information" is Beck's most exciting record yet and it comes with never-been-seen-before visuals, and the most unique album packaging in years. Ever growing and expanding, Beck manages to stay familiar and fresh. First single "Cellphone's Dead" is Beck at his electro-rap best. Other highlights include "Strange Apparition", US single "Nausea" and the epic "Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton" - ten plus minutes of dub infected eeriness! And just to prove that Beck's imagination is not limited to his music, the album itself will come with a blank CD sleeve and a sheet of stickers for the listener to make their own booklet.

                                    The Bravery

                                    Fearless

                                    More 80s infused pop from The Bravery. Wailing Robert Smith-esque vocals over chunky synths riffs and choppy guitars that create a relentless, infectious rhythm.

                                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                                    DVD single Info: The DVD single features the video for "Fearless", a live video of "No Brakes" and a photo gallery.

                                    A subtle selection of downbeat tracks with soulful electronic leanings and global vocals (Howie himself, Marina Heredia, Sweetie, Gavin Friday, Karmen Wijnberg etc). This is accessible, gentle leftfield music.

                                    Barclay James Harvest

                                    Mockingbird -the Collection

                                    12 tracks from Oldham's finest prog rock exports Barclay James Harvest at £5.99 who can complain.


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                                    Congratulations to Dave @Santandave1 who won this years @mercuryprize with his album ‘Psychodrama’.… https://t.co/opUjTas2Lh
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