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A.R. Kane

I - 2024 Reissue

    The final part of this ‘A.R. Kane reissue collection is 1989’s astonishing double-LP ‘i’ which followed up on ‘sixty nine’s promise and saw the duo fully unleash their experimental pop sensibilities over 26 tracks, plunging the A.R. Kane sound into a dazzlingly kaleidoscopic vision of pop experiment and play. Suffused with new digital technologies and combining searingly sweet and danceable pop with perhaps the duo’s strangest and boundary-pushing compositions, the album did exactly what a great double-set should do - indulge the artists sprawling pursuit of their own imaginations but always with a concision and an ear for those moments where pop both transcends and toys with the listeners expectations. Jason Ankeny has noted that “In retrospect, ‘i’ now seems like a crystal ball prophesying virtually every major musical development of the 1990s; from the shimmering techno of ‘A Love from Outer Space’ to the liquid dub of ‘What’s All This Then?’, from the alien drone-pop of ‘Conundrum’ to the sinister shoegazer miasma of ‘Supervixens’ — it’s all here, an underground road map for countless bands to follow.” Perhaps the most overwhelmingly all-encompassing transmission from A.R. Kane, ‘i’ bookended a three year period in which the duo had made some of the most prophetic and revelatory music of the entire decade.

    After ‘i’ the duo’s output became more sporadic with Tambala and Ayuli moving in different directions both geographically and musically, with only 1994’s ‘New Clear Child’ a crystalline re-fraction of future and past echoes of jazz, folk and soul, before the duo went their separate ways. Since then, A.R. Kane’s music has endured, not thanks to the usual sepia’d false memories that seem to maintain interest in so much of the musical past, but because those who hear A.R. Kane music and are changed irrevocably, have to share that universe which A.R. Kane opened up, with anyone else who will listen. Far more than other lauded documents of the late 80s it still sounds astonishingly fresh, astonishingly livid and vivid and necessary and NOW.

    TRACK LISTING

    1) Hello
    2) A Love From Outer Space
    3) Crack Up
    4) Timewind
    5) What’s All This Then?
    6) Snow Joke
    7) Off Into Space
    8) And I Say
    9) Yeti
    10) Conundrum
    11) Honeysuckleswallow
    12) Long Body
    13) In A Circle
    14) Fast Ka
    15) Miles Apart
    16) Pop
    17) Mars
    18) Spook
    19) Sugarwings
    20) Back Home
    21) Down
    22) Supervixens
    23) Insect Love
    24) Sorry
    25) Catch My Drift
    26) Challenge

    A.R. Kane

    Sixty Nine - 2024 Reissue

      ‘Sixty Nine’ the group’s debut LP that emerged in 1988 had critics and listeners struggling to fit language around A.R. Kane’s sound. As a title it was telling - the year of ‘Bitches Brew’, the year of ‘In A Silent Way’, the erotic möbius between two lovers - and as originally coined by the band themselves, ‘dream pop’ (before it became a free-floating signifier of vague import) was entirely apposite for the music A.R. Kane were making. Crafted in a dark small basement studio in which Tambala recalls the duo had “complete freedom - We wanted to go as far out as we could, and in doing so we discovered the point where it stops being music”. There was an irresistibly dreamy, somnambulant, sensual and almost surreal flow to ‘sixty nine’s sound, but also real darkness/dankness, the ruptures of the primordial and the reverberations of the subconscious, within the grooves of remarkable songs like ‘Dizzy’ and ‘Crazy Blue’. Alex’s plangent vocals floated and surged amidst exquisite peals of refracted feedback but crucially there was BASS here, lugubrious and funky and full of dread, sonic pleasure and sonic disturbance crushed together to make music with a center so deep it felt subcutaneous, music constructed from both the accidental and the deliberate, generous enough to dance with both serendipity and chaos. ‘sixty nine’ remains - especially in this remastered iteration - ravishing, revolutionary – Neil Kulkarni.

      Dream POP, they called it. Given AR Kane’s Alex Ayuli once worked for advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, it’s no surprise that he and collaborator Rudy Tambala invented their own genre before critics could stick their oar in. It was a canny move, but more importantly, it was accurate: the music of AR Kane was made for dreamers, by dreamers, and its languor and longing made it particularly bewitching listening; their music is often smeared and blurry, happily lost in its own indefinable pleasures. “We wanted dream pop,” Tambala says, “that feeling of a dream where the rules are different. Dream logic.” -UNCUT REISSUE OF THE MONTH

      "A.R. Kane carved out a unique musical path, welding elements of pop, psych, dub, electronica, funk, noise, jazz, ambient and more in a way that had never been done before. Or since. Their debut in particular is a work of unbridled brilliance." *Electronic Sound*




      TRACK LISTING

      A1. Crazy Blue
      2. Suicide Kiss
      3. Baby Milk Snatcher
      4. Scab
      5. Sulliday
      B1. Dizzy
      2. Spermwhale Trip Over
      3. The Sun Falls Into The Sun
      4. The Madonna Is With Child
      5. Spanish Quay

      A.R. Kane

      Up Home! - 2024 Reissue

        A.R. Kane were formed in 1986 by Rudy Tambala and Alex Ayuli, two second-generation immigrants who grew up together in Stratford, East London. From the off the pair were outsiders in the culturally mixed (cockney/Irish/West Indian/Asian) milieu of the East End, with Alex and Rudy’s folks first generation immigrants from Nigeria and Malawi, respectively. The two of them quickly developed and fostered an innate and near-telepathic mutual understanding forged in musical, literary and
        artistic exploration. Like a lot of second-generation immigrants, they were ferocious autodidacts in all kinds of areas, especially around music and literature. Diving deep into the music of afro-futurist luminaries such as Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Lee Perry and Hendrix, as well as devouring the explorations of lysergic noise and feedback from contemporaries like Sonic Youth and Butthole Surfers, they also thoroughly immersed themselves in the alternate literary realities of sci-fi and ancient history (the fascination with the arcane that gave the band their name), all to feed their voracious cultural thirsts and intellectual curiosity.

        It was seeing the Cocteau Twins performing on Channel 4 show the Tube that spurred A.R. Kane into being - “They had no drummer. They used tapes and technology and Liz Fraser looked completely otherworldly with those big eyes. And the noise coming out of Robin’s guitar! That was the ‘Fuck! We could do that!

        The duo debuted with the astonishing ‘When You’re Sad’ single for One Little Indian in 1986. Immediately dubbed a ‘black Jesus & Mary Chain’ by a press unsure of WHERE to put a black band clearly immersed in feedback and noise, what was immediately apparent for listeners was just how much more was going on here – a tapping of dub’s stealth and guile, a resonant umbilicus back to fusion and jazz, the music less a conjuration of past highs than a re-summoning of lost spirits.

        The run of singles and EPs that followed picked up increasingly rapt reviews in the press, but it was the ‘Up Home EP’ released in 1988 on their new home, Rough Trade that really suggested something immense was about to break. SimonReynolds noted the EP was: Their most concentrated slab of iridescent awesomeness and a true pinnacle of an era that abounded with astounding landmarks of guitar-reinvention, A.R. Kane at their most elixir-like.

        If anything, the remastered ‘Up Home’ is even more dazzling, even more startling than it was when it first emerged, and listening now you again wonder not just about how many bands christened ‘shoegaze’ tried to emulate it, but how all of them fell so far short of its lambent, pellucid wonder. This remains intrinsically experimental music but with none of the frowning orthodoxy those words imply. A.R. Kane, thanks to that second generation auto-didacticism were always supremely aware about the interstices of music and magic, but at the same time gloriously free in the way they explored that connection within their own sound, fascinated always with the creation of ‘perfect mistakes’ and the possibilities inherent in informed play. 


        TRACK LISTING

        1. Baby Milk Snatcher
        2. W.O.G.S
        3. One Way Mirror
        4. Up

        Piano Magic

        Artists' Rifles - 2023 Reissue

          Baroque post-rock classic’s first time on vinyl since its original release in 2000 Originally released on Rocket Girl in 2000, Piano Magic’s third album proper heralded a seismic and surprising shift away from its more electronic predecessors, ‘Popular Mechanics’ and ‘Low Birth Weight.’ ‘Artists’ Rifles’ is Piano Magic’s first band-band album and marks their debut, actual recording studio appearance. Improvised on the spot and produced/recorded over just five days by John A. Rivers (Dead Can Dance, Felt), at his Woodbine St Studios in Leamington Spa, stylistically, the record could feasibly be described as the first (only?) baroque post-rock record, udlising as it does, consciously or otherwise, influences as broad as Bach and Codeine.

          For ‘Ardsts’ Rifles’ the core of Glen Johnson (vocals/guitars/keyboards), John Cheves (guitars), Paul Tornbohm (bass) and Miguel Marin (drums/percussion) were augmented by guests Caroline Potter (vocals) and Adrienne Quartly (cello).

          The success of ‘Artists’ Rifles,’ pardcularly in Spain, kickstarted a wealth of touring possibilides and over the next 16 years, the band toured all over Europe. It also caught the attention of 4AD Records, for whom they signed to the following year.

          This 2023 vinyl re-pressing honours the original (Matt Dornan) sleeve design and beaudful photography of Royal Ardllery Memorial (Hyde Park, London), by John Cheves of the band.

          TRACK LISTING

          1.16
          No Closure
          A Return To The Sea
          1.22
          You & John Are Birds
          The Index
          1.50
          Century Schoolbook
          Password
          Artist’s Rifles

          A.R. Kane

          A.R. Kive

            A.R. Kive collates the three most astonishing works from that most miraculous of duos - A.R. Kane - comprising the ‘Up Home’ EP from 1988 that signified the band’s dawning realisation of their own powers and possibilities, their legendary debut LP ‘sixty nine’ (1988) and its kaleidoscopic, prophetic double-LP follow up ‘i’ (1989).

            In founder-member Rudy Tambala’s new remastering, the music on these pivotal transmissions from the birth of dream pop, have been reinvigorated and re-infused with a new power, a new depth and intimacy, a new height and immensity. Vivid, timeless and yet always timely whenever they’re recalled, these records still force any listener to realise that despite the habits of retrospective myth-making and the safe neutering effects of ‘genre’, thirty years have in no way dimmed how resistant and dissident to critical habits of categorisation A.R. Kane always were. Never quite ‘avant-pop’ or ‘shoegaze’ or ‘post-rock’ or any of those sobriquets designed to file and categorise, A.R. Kive is a reminder that those genres had to be coined, had to be invented precisely to contain the astonishing sound of A.R. Kane, because previous formulations couldn’t come close to their sui generis sound and suggestiveness. This is music that pointed towards futures which a whole generation of artists and sonic explorers would map out. Now beautifully repackaged, remastered and fleshed out with extensive sleeve notes and accompanying materials, ‘A.R. Kive’ reveals that 35 years on it’s still a struggle to defuse the revolutionary and inspirational possibility of A.R. Kane’s music.

            A.R. Kane were formed in 1986 by Rudy Tambala and Alex Ayuli, two second- generation immigrants who grew up together in Stratford, East London. From the off the pair were outsiders in the culturally mixed (cockney/Irish/West Indian/Asian) milieu of the East End, with Alex and Rudy’s folks first generation immigrants from Nigeria and Malawi, respectively. The two of them quickly developed and fostered an innate and near-telepathic mutual understanding forged in musical, literary and artistic exploration. Like a lot of second-generation immigrants, they were ferocious autodidacts in all kinds of areas, especially around music and literature. Diving deep into the music of afro-futurist luminaries such as Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Lee Perry and Hendrix, as well as devouring the explorations of lysergic noise and feedback from contemporaries like Sonic Youth and Butthole Surfers, they also thoroughly immersed themselves in the alternate literary realities of sci-fi and ancient history (the fascination with the arcane that gave the band their name), all to feed their voracious cultural thirsts and intellectual curiosity.

            It was seeing the Cocteau Twins performing on Channel 4 show the Tube that spurred A.R. Kane into being - “They had no drummer. They used tapes and technology and Liz Fraser looked completely otherworldly with those big eyes. And the noise coming out of Robin’s guitar! That was the ‘Fuck! We could do that! We could express ourselves like that!’ moment”, recalls Tambala - and through a mix of confidence, chutzpah, ad hoc almost-mythical live shows and sheer innocent will the duo debuted with the astonishing ‘When You’re Sad’ single for One Little Indian in 1986. Immediately dubbed a ‘black Jesus & Mary Chain’ by a press unsure of WHERE to put a black band clearly immersed in feedback and noise, what was immediately apparent for listeners was just how much more was going on here - a tapping of dub’s stealth and guile, a resonant umbilicus back to fusion and jazz, the music less a conjuration of past highs than a re-summoning of lost spirits. The run of singles and EPs that followed picked up increasingly rapt reviews in the press, but it was the ‘Up Home EP’ released in 1988 on their new home, Rough Trade that really suggested something immense was about to break. Simon Reynolds noted the EP was: Their most concentrated slab of iridescent awesomeness and a true pinnacle of an era that abounded with astounding landmarks of guitar-reinvention, A.R. Kane at their most elixir-like.

            If anything, the remastered ‘Up Home’ that forms the first part of ‘A.R. Kive’ is even more dazzling, even more startling than it was when it first emerged, and listening now you again wonder not just about how many bands christened ‘shoegaze’ tried to emulate it, but how all of them fell so far short of its lambent, pellucid wonder. This remains intrinsically experimental music but with none of the frowning orthodoxy those words imply. A.R. Kane, thanks to that second generation auto-didacticism were always supremely aware about the interstices of music and magic, but at the same time gloriously free in the way they explored that connection within their own sound, fascinated always with the creation of ‘perfect mistakes’ and the possibilities inherent in informed play.

            ‘sixty nine’ the group’s debut LP that emerged in 1988 had critics and listeners struggling to fit language around A.R. Kane’s sound. As a title it was telling - the year of ‘Bitches Brew’, the year of ‘In A Silent Way’, the erotic möbius between two lovers - and as originally coined by the band themselves, ‘dream pop’ (before it became a free-floating signifier of vague import) was entirely apposite for the music A.R. Kane were making. Crafted in a dark small basement studio in which Tambala recalls the duo had “complete freedom - We wanted to go as far out as we could, and in doing so we discovered the point where it stops being music”. There was an irresistibly dreamy, somnambulant, sensual and almost surreal flow to ‘sixty nine’s sound, but also real darkness/dankness, the ruptures of the primordial and the reverberations of the subconscious, within the grooves of remarkable songs like ‘Dizzy’ and ‘Crazy Blue’. Alex’s plangent vocals floated and surged amidst exquisite peals of refracted feedback but crucially there was BASS here, lugubrious and funky and full of dread, sonic pleasure and sonic disturbance crushed together to make music with a center so deep it felt subcutaneous, music constructed from both the accidental and the deliberate, generous enough to dance with both serendipity and chaos. ‘sixty nine’ remains - especially in this remastered iteration - ravishing, revolutionary.

            The final part of this ‘A.R. Kive’ contains 1989’s astonishing double-LP ‘i’ which followed up on ‘sixty nine’s promise and saw the duo fully unleash their experimental pop sensibilities over 26 tracks, plunging the A.R. Kane sound into a dazzlingly kaleidoscopic vision of pop experiment and play. Suffused with new digital technologies and combining searingly sweet and danceable pop with perhaps the duo’s strangest and boundary-pushing compositions, the album did exactly what a great double-set should do - indulge the artists sprawling pursuit of their own imaginations but always with a concision and an ear for those moments where pop both transcends and toys with the listeners expectations. Jason Ankeny has noted that “In retrospect, ‘i’ now seems like a crystal ball prophesying virtually every major musical development of the 1990s; from the shimmering techno of ‘A Love from Outer Space’ to the liquid dub of ‘What’s All This Then?’, from the alien drone-pop of ‘Conundrum’ to the sinister shoegazer miasma of ‘Supervixens’ — it’s all here, an underground road map for countless bands to follow.” Perhaps the most overwhelmingly all-encompassing transmission from A.R. Kane, ‘i’ bookended a three year period in which the duo had made some of the most prophetic and revelatory music of the entire decade.

            After ‘i’ the duo’s output became more sporadic with Tambala and Ayuli moving in different directions both geographically and musically, with only 1994’s ‘New Clear Child’ a crystalline re-fraction of future and past echoes of jazz, folk and soul, before the duo went their separate ways. Since then, A.R. Kane’s music has endured, not thanks to the usual sepia’d false memories that seem to maintain interest in so much of the musical past, but because those who hear A.R. Kane music and are changed irrevocably, have to share that universe which A.R. Kane opened up, with anyone else who will listen. Far more than other lauded documents of the late 80s it still sounds astonishingly fresh, astonishingly livid and vivid and necessary and NOW.

            TRACK LISTING

            UP HOME EP
            1) Baby Milk Snatcher
            2) W.O.G.S
            3) One Way Mirror
            4) Up

            69 LP
            1) Crazy Blue
            2) Suicide Kiss
            3) Baby Milk Snatcher
            4) Scab 5) Sulliday
            6) Dizzy
            7) Spermwhale Trip Over
            8) The Sun Falls Into The Sea
            9) The Madonna Is With Child
            10) Spanish Quay

            i LP
            1) Hello
            2) A Love From Outer Space
            3) Crack Up
            4) Timewind
            5) What’s All This Then?
            6) Snow Joke
            7) Off Into Space
            8) And I Say
            9) Yeti
            10) Conundrum
            11) Honeysuckleswallow
            12) Long Body
            13) In A Circle
            14) Fast Ka
            15) Miles Apart
            16) Pop
            17) Mars
            18) Spook
            19) Sugarwings
            20) Back Home
            21) Down
            22) Supervixens
            23) Insect Love
            24) Sorry
            25) Catch My Drift
            26) Challenge

            DIGITAL POSTCARD
            1) Baby Milk Snatcher
            2) W.O.G.S
            3) One Way Mirror
            4) Up
            5) W.O.G.S (Slowdive Remix)
            6) Baby Milk Snatcher (Tim Reaper Remix)
            7) Baby Milk Snatcher (Louis Tambala Remix) 

            Various Artists

            A Tribute To Spacemen 3 - 25th Anniversary Edition

              Celebrating twenty-five years since its release as rgirl2 – the label’s first LP – Rocket Girl is reissuing its seminal compilation A Tribute to Spacemen 3 on double vinyl with spot varnish sleeve in May 2023.

              First repress since its original release in May 1998.

              Widely acclaimed at the time of its release (garnering rave reviews in the UK, US, Canadian and European music weeklies and monthlies), the collection sounds as fresh and inventive as it did three decades ago. Launched at a time when tribute albums were prevalent, A Tribute to Spacemen 3 stands apart from other covers albums in that it not only redecorates S3’s songs in a bold new palette of colours, but also acts as a time capsule documenting a very specific wave of 90s US and UK bands that shared many sensibilities – ‘postrock’ might be the catch-all genre, but their music also encompassed psych, slowcore, analogue electronica, dream pop and space rock to varying degrees – and many of whom (Mogwai, Low, Arab Strap, Bardo Pond) have gone on to reap major critical and commercial success, and are still thriving today. In 1998 the LP was a gateway for fans of Spacemen 3 to discover these relatively unknown experimental artists operating on small independent labels either side of the Atlantic – today it is a celebration of the timeless innovation and longevity of that scene.

              As author Richard Milward states in Rocket Girl 20, the 2019 book illuminating the history of the label: ‘In no way is [the LP] a collection of imitators simply regurgitating Spacemen 3’s songs sound-for-sound – rather, the compilation celebrates the purity and bravery of Pierce’s and Kember’s song writing (themselves never averse to a transformative cover version) while showcasing the originality and diversity of those bands they have inspired.’ It is the simultaneous simplicity and otherworldliness of S3’s songs that make them perfect fodder for reinterpretation, the band’s ‘three chords good, two chords better, one chord best’ mantra providing a solid, tantalising foundation for these bands to experiment with freely. Throbbing and humming with equal parts euphoria and melancholia, over the course of the album’s 69 minutes the tracks slide from slithering stoner psych (Asteroid #4’s ‘Losing Touch With My Mind’) to hymnal delicacy (Amp’s ‘So Hot (Wash Away All of My Tears)’ and Mogwai’s crisp, glockenspiel-chiming ‘Honey’) to zero-gravity lounge jazz (Transient Waves’ closer, ‘Billy Whizz’). There are radical reworkings: the oozing fuzztone lava of Bardo Pond’s ‘Call the Doctor’, and not least Arab Strap’s startling take on S3 live mainstay ‘Revolution’, replete with aggressive, crunching drum machine and the lyrics delivered down the telephone in Aidan Moffatt’s laconic Falkirk drawl – ‘a change, a solution, a wee… a wee revolution’ – before its explosive climax.

              A bonus addition to the original tracklisting, Füxa’s ‘Amen’ nestles seamlessly between Flowchart’s off-kilter lullaby-like ‘Ode to Street Hassle’ and Accelera Deck’s uplifting ‘I Believe It’. Purely instrumental through the 1990s, Rocket Girl stalwarts Füxa have employed various vocalists and experimented with cover versions in recent years, and founding member Randall Nieman provides his own voice for this transcendent take on ‘Amen’, the pulsating synths and defiant refrain (‘I don’t mind dying Lord… Amen, Amen, Amen…’) exemplifying what made Spacemen 3’s music so special: the blissful purity of repetition, and the ever sincere, everlasting call to take themselves – and the listener – higher.

              Since its release, A Tribute to Spacemen 3 has not only opened the ears of S3 fans to these kindred artists, but also caught the attention of the Spacemen themselves. After hearing Low’s elegantly faithful rendition of ‘Lord, Can You Hear Me?’ – a track that feels all the more heart-rending today, after Low vocalist and drummer Mimi Parker’s passing in 2022 – Jason Pierce was inspired to rerecord the song himself for Spiritualized’s 2001 LP Let it Come Down, and reached out to Parker to provide backing vocals. As he told Electric Sound: ‘Her voice was astonishing. It was so pure it was like a soundwave.’

              A Tribute to Spacemen 3 remains Rocket Girl’s fastest seller, the original 1000 glittery vinyl and 1000 CD box sets (the first 50 with bonus keyring and incense sticks, the ever-present scent at Rocket Girl HQ) having sold out rapidly upon release. While the 1998 artwork depicted the iconic S3 transmitter logo in silver foil on a sleek black background, the 2023 reissue recasts the sleeve in an aluminium-effect sheen, suggestive of a space rocket: the symbol that links both the Rugby band and this label. It is a special pairing. In reissuing the record, Rocket Girl once again invites fans of Spacemen 3 to discover these like-minded artists that have since become seminal in their own right – and today, the reverse is equally likely: fans may well pick up this LP on account of its inclusion of bands like Mogwai, Low or Bardo Pond and, through it, initiate themselves into the intoxicating world of Spacemen 3, a group whose bold legacy and influence shows no sign of fading

              TRACK LISTING

              A1) Bowery Electric ‘Things Will Never Be The Same
              A2) The Asteroid No.4 ‘Losing Touch With My Mind'
              A3) Mogwai ‘Honey’
              B1) Flowchart ‘Ode To Street Hassle’
              B2) Fuxa ‘Amen’
              B3) Accelera Deck ‘I Believe It’
              B4) Arab Strap ‘Revolution’
              C1) Bardo Pond ‘Call The Doctor’
              C2) Frontier ‘Hey Man’
              C3) Low ‘Lord, Can You Hear Me?’
              D1) Amp ‘So Hot (Wash Away All Of My Tears)'
              D2) Piano Magic ‘How Does It Feel’
              D3) Transient Waves ‘Billy Whizz’

              Urusei Yatsura

              We Are Urusei Yatsura - 2023 Reissue

                Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the founding of Glasgow “Geek Rock” band Urusei Yatsura.

                In the days before “landfill” indie, and in rebellion against a developing Britpop orthodoxy, there were some weird but melodic bands coming of age outside London that drew inspiration from the US underground and the sparkly retro-futurism of Japan. Primitive guitar noise with art rock leanings, post punk DIY and fanzine culture. The best known of these bands was maybe Urusei Yatsura; “noisy stars”, named in honour of Rumiko Takahashi, legendary manga creator.

                Back in 1996, after several increasingly well-received 7’s, the band travelled to Leamington Spa to record their debut album with John Rivers, producer of Swell Maps and Glasgow scene godparents, The Pastels. The resulting album won the group legions of new fans and gained them their first Independent #1 chart placing, alongside peers Ash and Super Furry Animals.

                “These were fertile years in Glasgow, a scene with no name, no single sound, where the magic thread tying everyone together was words and works so personal, they couldn’t be mistaken for anyone else’s. ‘We Are Urusei Yatsura’ is a cascade of ‘why not?’ thinking. The way ‘Phasers on Stun’ spirals into ‘Sola Kola’; the sunburned 23-second improv at the end of ‘Pachinko’; the slack-echoing strings of the outro to ‘Road Song’ sprayed with the shrapnel of toy electronics. Pure pop magic, Ren & Stimpy on upstairs, ray-guns, Ian’s homemade walkie-talkie speaker, a beatbox, all sealed with a “Talking Tina” doll’s emphatic endorsement: “I love it”” – Nick Soulsby.

                The vinyl-only double LP set comprises the original 1996 album recorded by John Rivers, accompanied with an extra disk of unreleased demos, rare singles and B-sides which have not been available since the 90’s. It documents the time leading up to the release of the LP and the singles that came from it, capturing the development, lost pop moments and essential experiments from the eccentric and joyful Glasgow band. The cover has been completely remixed using archive photos and artwork from the time, with new interviews and extensive notes. The release marks 30 years since the official birthday of the band, 9/3/93.

                “When I drove the transit van that took them down to Leamington Spa to record their first proper LP, there was a sense of quiet, assured anticipation. I couldn’t wait to hear it and when I came back a couple of weeks later to pick them back up, I remember so clearly when they played it from the van’s tape deck. Fergus and Graham were hunched over, focusing intently on what they wanted to change about the mix. The reverb wasn’t right or something. Maybe they didn’t like how high the vocals were in the mix. I said to them, you’re listening to the details, but missing what is most important–this is a fantastic record! It was. It is. It is a fantastic record. They were a brilliant live band and I am so lucky to have been able to have been there to see their formation.” – Alex Kapranos.


                TRACK LISTING

                SIDE 1:
                1. Siamese
                2. First Day On A New Planet
                3. Pow R Ball
                4. Kewpies Like Watermelon
                5. Phasers On Stun/ Sola Kola
                6. Black Hole Love
                SIDE 2:
                1. Velvy Blood
                2. Plastic Ashtray
                3. Death 2 Everyone
                4. Pachinko
                5. (-)
                6. Kernel
                7. Road Song
                SIDE 3:
                1. It Is
                2. On Yr Mind
                3. Teen Dream
                4. Majesty
                5. Burriko Girl
                6. Got The Sun
                SIDE 4:
                1. Silver Krest
                2. Sucker/ Kitty Litter
                3. Lo-Fi Scary Balloons
                4. The Power Of Negative Thinking/ The Love That Brings You Down

                Fuxa

                Covered In Stars

                  Covered In Stars featuring members of Luna, Spacemen 3, Slowdive, Spectrum, Add N To (X), The Vacant Lots, Spiritualized, Slipstream and more.

                  Eight new songs and several years in the making, of what can best be described as a full on sonic explosion. Mixing space-rock elements, krautrock rhythms, punchy beats and swirling electronic sweeps and beeps that would make for a perfect soundtrack for any warp speed travelling cosmonauts with phasers set to fun!!

                  For the past 25 years Fuxa front man Randall Nieman has no doubt been on a cosmic journey in sound and space. from his early beginnings a part of Detroit locals Windy and Carl as a guitarist/synth player, running and releasing close to 100 releases on his own label Mind Expansion, to later joining Sonic Boom's (Spacemen 3) group Spectrum for close to a decade. Performing the songs that Spacemen taught him touring across North America and Europe as well as recording and releasing several releases with Sonic under the Spectrum moniker. 

                  Randall has since worked with and released numerous amounts of material with the likes of Martin Rev (Suicide), The Telescopes and Dean and Britta (Luna) to name a few.

                  It is no surprise that Randall would once again build this new album with friends that he became close to over the years musically and there's certainly no shortage of indie royalty star power on this album produced by Randall Nieman, Richard Formby and Stefan Persson.
                  Mastered by Simon Scott (Slowdive).

                  This album features guest appearances from Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham (Luna), Ann Shenton (Add N to (X)), Mark Refoy and Jonny Mattock (Spiritualized, Slipstream), Roger Brogan (Spectrum/Dean Wareham), Jared Artaud (Vacant Lots) and more! Each adding an unmistakable and timeless element that Fuxa's core members have created.
                  It would be hard not to notice the sheer aesthetic glory of this release as once again Randall has chosen the amazing James Marsh (most would remember him as the phenomenal artist responsible for all the Talk Talk albums over the years. His artwork is not only featured on the jacket but on both sides of the limited edition picture disc vinyl.

                  Covered in stars is a celebration of 25 years of music and friendships made along the way.

                  Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Fuxa! 


                  TRACK LISTING

                  1) Help Me Please
                  2) Mr.X
                  3) Cluster Fuxa
                  4) Sun Is Shining
                  5) Shadazz
                  6) Mary
                  7) Real Wild Child
                  8) MariRGIRL116

                  White Ring

                  Show Me Heaven

                    This album arrives two years after their debut album 'Gate of Grief' which came after their benchmark EP, 'Black Earth That Made Me'. Swerving from aggressively abrasive to beautifully ethereal; musically they draw from a varied and challenging palette.

                    From 'Black Earth That Made Me' to 'Gate of Grief', 'Show Me Heaven' completes the story of loss and acceptance." Asking Bryan about the new album, he explains; "This album is about the consequences of darkness.

                    WHITE RING were originally formed by Bryan Kurkimilis and Kendra Malia, before they were joined by Adina Viarengo in 2017.
                    In October 2019 while writing this album, Kendra passed away after an on-off struggle with drugs and schitzophrenia. She was slated to be involved but didn’t get the opportunity to contribute before her death. Thematically, Show Me Heaven focuses on the aftermath of grief and is dedicated to Kendra Malia.

                    With their DIY ethos while dwelling on the outskirts of pop music, WHITE RING have developed a unique style while pushing the boundaries of accessibility and musical genre. They have created a piece of art that is brimming with symbolism and underlying tensions, that seduces, scares and comforts in equal measure.

                    "With their distorted synths, gunshot claps and ghoulish diva... evoking a horribly claustrophobic atmosphere." Uncut.

                    "Less shoegazers-on-codeine, more Fuck-Buttons-go-mad-in-a-crypt." Time Out.


                    TRACK LISTING

                    1) Light Hours Linger
                    2) I Need A Way
                    3) They Say Something
                    4) Calm Down
                    5) Drop
                    6) Got U
                    7) Fake Fuck
                    8) Loose
                    9) Dagger III
                    10) Charm
                    11) Tower
                    12) Affray

                    Various Artists

                    Rocket Girl 20

                      2018 marked the 20th anniversary of Rocket Girl, one of the most eclectic and resilient small independent labels in the UK, steered single-handedly by Vinita Joshi. To celebrate this milestone, in March 2019 Rocket Girl will release a very special collection of music and literature, comprising a 16-track CD compilation of Vinita’s artists past and present, a collectable 7” and flexi disc, exclusive Anthony Ausgang print, full 20 track download, plus a strikingly illustrated 70-page hardback book uncovering the history of the label.

                      Based on extensive interviews with Vinita, with contributions from many of her bands (Füxa, God is an Astronaut, Coldharbourstores, Pieter Nooten), the book’s text is written by Faber author and long-time Rocket Girl supporter Richard Milward. Beginning with Vinita’s formative years in Rugby in the 1970s and 1980s, the story covers not only the eventful history of Rocket Girl but also Vinita’s teenage initiation into the music industry: managing The Telescopes, founding Ché with Nick Allport out of the ashes of Cheree, before finally going it alone and setting up her own label in 1998. It is both an inspiring and bittersweet tale. Vinita’s staying power alone in such a challenging industry is worthy of its own tribute: she has built a record label on her own terms from scratch, she has overcome the loss of loved ones, survived a breakdown at the height of her label’s popularity, and all in all her immense love of music, her strength and positivity in the face of adversity blazes throughout the book. Along the way we learn of the hits (and why Kurt Heasley’s vocal cords seemed to be malfunctioning during the Lilys’ Top of the Pops appearance), the near-misses (including a never-before-seen letter from Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers), the triumph of Vinita’s first self-released LP A Tribute to Spacemen 3, her heartbreak losing Jason DiEmilio of The Azusa Plane in 2006, plus sad revelations concerning Television Personalities’ Daniel Treacy’s condition following his brain trauma in 2011…

                      Regular Rocket Girl designer Xiaofei Zhang has been given access to Vinita’s vast collection of personal photographs, letters, flyers, press clippings and other keepsakes, arranging these alongside the text to give the book the feel of a technicolour scrapbook, a vivid chronicle of indie music past, present and future.

                      As Milward writes: ‘The artists Vinita has worked with over the years are undisputed luminaries of alternative music, and stand up to any major indie label’s roster: Spacemen 3, The Telescopes, Bark Psychosis, Disco Inferno, Lilys, Low, Bardo Pond, Mogwai, Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie, My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields, Patti Smith, Jonathan Richman, Television Personalities, to name just a handful.’ Likewise, the artists featured on the accompanying CD compilation reveal just how far-ranging Vinita’s taste is, and how loyal her bands have been to her over the years. The disc opens with a special ‘Rocket mix’ of Silver Apples’ ‘Susie’ – the band that adorned the A-side of rgirl1, the label’s first 7”. From here, there are cuts from Rocket Girl stalwarts like Füxa and Bell Gardens, as well as tracks contributed by friends and supporters of the label, such as Andrew Weatherall and Mogwai. Arguably the most notable track (certainly the most poignant) is the Television Personalities’ ‘All Coming Back’, one of just a few unreleased songs recorded before Treacy’s accident, and released here with Daniel’s sister’s blessing.

                      Vinita began her career selling Loop/Telescopes flexi discs on New Year’s Eve 1988 and, in homage to this bygone format, she has included a 7” flexi (featuring ‘Fight For Work’, an outtake from Mogwai’s most recent LP, Every Country’s Sun) as well as a standard 7” bringing together rare tracks from two Philadelphia bands she has championed since their formation: Bardo Pond and The Azusa Plane. The three discs are housed in pockets found in the book’s inside covers, and there are yet more gifts: an exclusive print by Anthony Ausgang (the instantly recognisable artist behind MGMT’s Congratulations and Füxa’s Electric Sound of Summer covers), plus a free download code for all tracks featured across the various formats of the collection.

                      Vinita’s story is anything but ordinary, and this extraordinary collection is the most fitting tribute to the label’s legacy so far: a treasure trove of rare tracks and unheard stories for Rocket Girl devotees, a comprehensive introduction to the label for the uninitiated, and both an inspirational chronicle and cautionary tale for anybody interested in the history of British independent music in the past thirty years…


                      TRACK LISTING

                      Silver Apples - Susie (Rocket Mix)
                      Mogwai - Fight For Work 7" Flexi
                      Bardo Pond - Out Of Nowhere 7" Vinyl
                      Kirk Lake Go - Ask Adorno 
                      Azusa Plane - Pop World' 7" Vinyl
                      P.S. I Love You - The Sun, The Sea, And The Song 
                      Coldharbourstores - Seven Minutes
                      July Skies - Swallows And Swifts II 
                      Fuxa - Sun Is Shining (Congo Hammer Remix)
                      God Is An Astronaut - Reverse World (quiet)
                      A Place To Bury Strangers - A Million Tears
                      Robin Guthrie - Flicker
                      Television Personalities - All Coming Back
                      Pieter Nooten - I Want You
                      Anthony Reynolds And Rhosyn Boyce-Jones - Losers Like Us Take The Bus
                      Jon DeRosa - Golden Dawn
                      Bell Gardens - Might Be You
                      White Ring - Heavy
                      Andrew Weatherall - Cosmonautrix
                      Transient Waves - D Jam

                      White Ring

                      Nothing / Leprosy

                        Around a decade ago the genre 'Witch House' suddenly took off with a wave of artists producing horror-inflected electronic tracks which caught the imagination of a lot of people. One of the most influential of those acts was WHITE RING who put out the EP Black Earth That Made Me. In the 8 years since the release of the EP, WHITE RING have remained elusive, and the genre tag 'Witch House' has died out in favour of other terms - but the group have come thundering back with the song 'Leprosy', which gives absolutely no fucks about how you want to term it, because it absolutely won't be pigeonholed.

                        'Leprosy' thunders on grotty bass lines, which sound like they're strangling the yelps out of singer Kendra Malia. This surging life force may be bruised purpley black, but it resounds with gritty and determined life, which suggests that WHITE RING are back with a point to prove. 'Leprosy' is just the first smack to the chops from their newly announced debut album Gate Of Grief, which will be coming out on 22nd June through Rocket Girl.

                        Originally released in 1992 by Che Records, Disco Inferno’s debut album ‘In Debt' is to be made available as a double limited edition vinyl LP and single cd package including one previously unreleased track and with new artwork and sleeve notes by 90’s music zeitgeist legend Neil Kulkarni on May 5th 2017.

                        Almost entirely out on their own, out of step with the times, Disco Inferno were widely ignored and underappreciated during their (pre-internet) existence. Remaining largely unknown beyond a small but slowly expanding cult of devotees, they were probably the most ambitious and isolated band of the '90s. Over a six-year span (1989-95) they were also quite simply, jaw-droppingly great - a virtually peerless group mining a steady stream of uncompromising, pioneering recordings. One of the first wave of 'post-rock' acts (and perhaps it’s ultimate example), they combined avant-garde aesthetics with a basis in solid pop hooks, credibly depicting suburban alienation and national decay through embittered, intelligent lyrics.

                        Whilst it's now almost second nature for a band to incorporate digital technology into their armoury, you'd struggle to find anyone who went anything like as far as Disco Inferno. In 1992, they took the quantum leap from their modest beginnings to totally rewire themselves and become the most radical, forward-thinking guitar band on the planet, with a revolutionary sample-based approach that was simply years ahead of the curve. Whilst numerous acts were making use of the sampler and MIDI technology, no other band integrated it so thoroughly into the process. DI didn't simply tack on a dance beat or spice things up with the addition of a few novel sonics or quirky quotations. The technology was hard-wired into the very heart of their music. Veering between the deeply challenging and the downright catchy, they continually attempted to push themselves forwards, resulting in two unrivalled albums and a dazzling collection of EPs that consistently redefined the boundaries.

                        Regardless of the injustices of history, Disco Inferno were without doubt a trailblazing, unique, utterly important band. With huge ambition and integrity, they rejected the easy routes and rewards. Setting themselves directly against the stylistic regression and rabble-rousing bluster dominating Britpop and grunge, against the bland facelessness of so much of the dance / electronic scene, Disco Inferno ought to have been widely championed as an antidote, a vital blast of nonconformist bravery and brilliance. In reality they received very little coverage. Buried away for way too long, their recorded legacy continues to offer revelations to the open-eared and actively inquisitive. Whilst it may have been their curse to have been overlooked throughout and long past their short existence, the chances of some overdue recognition rescuing them from the limbo of obscurity have nonetheless recently risen. Certainly more popular now than they were during their creative peak, you might detect either direct influence or certain similarities in the likes of MGMT, The Third Eye Foundation, Hood, Epic45, Piano Magic, Deerhunter (particularly offshoot projects, Lotus Plaza and Atlas Sound), Matmos, Animal Collective, Black Dice, The Avalanches, The Books, Battles, and No Age. But no-one has really come close to replicating their awesome output and utterly singular aesthetic. Whilst digital music technology has evolved dramatically, becoming smaller, faster, cheaper, and consequently far more widespread, Disco Inferno's inspired approach and consequent sound seems unlikely to ever be reproduced without seriously compromising its futurist spirit. Littered as pop history is with unsung heroes and buried brilliance, few bands are so deserving of such recovery as Disco Inferno.

                        “The whole is much greater than the sum of its parts… one of the most creative uses of sampling I’ve ever heard. It sounds like the future. I’m still figuring out just how cool they are.” Ben Goldwasser, MGMT quoted in Q Magazine, January 2011.


                        TRACK LISTING

                        1) Entertainment
                        2) Arc In Round
                        3) Broken
                        4) In The Cold
                        5) Emigre
                        6) Interference
                        7) Leisuretime
                        8) Set Sail
                        9) Hope To God
                        10) Freethought
                        11) Bleed Clean
                        12) Next In Line
                        13) Incentives
                        14) Waking Up
                        15) Glancing Away
                        16) Fallen Down The Wire
                        17) No Edge, No End

                        So it's coming up for the 20th anniversary of the “We Are Urusei Yatsura” album, so what better time to look back at the broken Woolworths guitars, damaged eardrums and bleeding knuckles of Glasgow's lo-fi, Tokyo dreaming geek rock quartet?

                        You could say it all began at the Glasgow Sound City event, when legendary BBC DJ John Peel came along to check out Urusei Yatsura at the 13th Note at the invitation of future Franz Ferdinand front-man Alex Kapranos. Liking the chaos that he saw, Peel invited the band to record a session for his show, asking live on air while guitarist and singer Graham Kemp was visiting the studio to talk about his “Kitten Frenzy” fanzine the next day.

                        “Peel arranged for us to record the session in Glasgow” says Kemp, “We didn't have any amps or any money to get to London.” Producer Stewart Cruickshank told the band that it was the first Peel Session recorded outside of Maida Vale since the Undertones. So no pressure there then.

                        This began a long association with John Peel and the BBC, which saw the band record 5 Peel Sessions, 3 Evening Sessions for Steve Lamacq, play live to air for Mark Radcliffe, and appear regularly on Radio Scotland for John Cavanagh and Mark Percival. Digging through old C-90's that had been partly taped over with that week's charts, the band have pieced together a compilation of the best tunes for you, the discerning 90's indie rock aficionado.

                        “..they sounded a bit like the Saints” - Thurston Moore, SELECT

                        “Some of the recordings we did for the BBC, I think, are better than what eventually made it onto vinyl. We did “Kewpies Like Watermelon” live in the control room for Radio Scotland and we had just learned it so it sounds really fresh and exciting. The version of “Siamese” is the best we ever captured, and I love the “Dice/Nae Dice” tune we wrote especially for Peel”. - Kemp

                        The challenge of recording and mixing four songs in a single day brought out the best in the band, and suited their impulsive, DIY rock n' roll spirit. The album, available on CD and vinyl, features 11 songs, including session versions of 6 singles, choice album tracks and live favourites from the only band who have been threatened by both the Yakuza and the Mafia (the latter incident generating the hilarious headline “Nerds Threatened With Death” in the Sun “newspaper”). The band have decided to call this hand-picked selection of the highlights of an eight year “career”; You Are My Urusei Yatsura, BBC Radio Sessions.

                        Other highlights of said career include; a number one indie single with a video shot in a Star Trek themed bar (Phasers On Stun), a Peel Festive Fifty placing (Kewpies Like Watermelon) an actual top 40 hit (Hello Tiger), numerous chaotic tours of Europe, UK and USA ,narrowly surviving a collapsing stage at Benecassim and a tent fire at Phoenix Festival, releasing three studio albums and 13 singles (including splits with Mogwai, the Delgados and the Blisters), taking Mogwai, Eska and Pink Kross on their first UK tours, supporting Super Furry Animals, Pavement and Teenage Fanclub, playing at Roskilde, Reading and T In The Park festivals, The CMJ festival in New York and MIDEM in Cannes.

                        The band consisted of the writers Fergus Lawrie (guitar and vocals) and Graham Kemp (guitar and vocals), with brother and sister rhythm section Elaine and Ian Graham on bass and drums respectively.


                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Plastic Ashtray (Evening Session 5/8/96)
                        2. First Day On A New Planet (Peel Session 2/4/96)
                        3. Kewpies Like Watermelon (Live Radio Scotland 1995)
                        4. Phasers On Stun (Evening Session 5/8/96)
                        5. Siamese (Evening Session 5/8/96)
                        6. No No Girl (Evening Session 21/1/98)
                        7. Hello Tiger (Peel Session 29/7/97)
                        8. Exidor (Peel Session 29/7/97)
                        9. Slain By Elf (Evening Session 21/1/98)
                        10. Flaming Skull (Peel Session 29/7/97)
                        11. Dice/Nae Dice (Peel Session 29/7/97)

                        Bell Gardens

                        Slow Dawns For Lost Conclusions

                        Bell Gardens combines the musical visions of Kenneth James Gibson (formerly of Furry Things, now recording as [a]pendics.shuffle, dubLoner and Eight Frozen Modules) and Brian McBride (one half of Stars of the Lid) and began releasing music in 2010, beginning with an EP, Hangups Need Company on Failed Better/Burger Records. Their debut album Full Sundown Assembly (Southern/Burger Records) appeared in 2012 and, now signed to Rocket Girl in the UK, the band are set to release their second, Slow Dawns for Lost Conclusions.

                        Bell Gardens’ origins began arguably as more of an experiment than the duo’s current ‘experimental’ projects – McBride’s drone- and string-laden ambient symphonies, and Gibson’s ventures in dub and minimalist techno – as they sought to manifest their mutual reverence for folk, psychedelia and chamber pop in a traditional band structure without cannibalising any particular past genre. Bell Gardens’ sound is less reliant on effects and studio trickery than the pairs’ independent guises, laying bare as it does vocals and live instruments with emotional sincerity, and presenting songs imbued with an almost pastoral or gospel simplicity and timelessness.

                        'Slow Dawns for Lost Conclusions' was again recorded mostly at home studios, but additionally the band made use of a friend’s desert cabin in Wonder Valley, California, and it seems this willingness to retreat from the city has lent an expansiveness to the tracks, in particular the spacious, ceremonial ‘Silent Prayer’ (written in a snowbound mountain cabin in Idyllwild, C.A.) and the crepuscular ‘She’s Stuck in an Endless Loop of Her Decline’ (mapped out under the stars in the desert).

                        While the addition of strings (contributed by Lauren Chipman of The Rentals and The Section Quartet) and trumpet (Stewart Cole of Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros) provides a double rainbow of tonal textures throughout, the nine tracks of Slow Dawns for Lost Conclusions are united by an understated elegance belying the newly expanded, communal effort in the studio: each instrument earns its place, nothing is overwrought or conspicuous. Moreover, it is McBride and Gibson’s artistry in building stirring soundscapes from the barest of materials in their other guises that lends such assurance and sophistication to these arrangements.

                        The band is a result of the complimentary cross-pollination of Gibson and McBride’s musical tastes – borne from a late- night conversation between the two that grew wings – and it is the universality of the sentiments and their restrained, reflective approach to writing and recording that allows the music to simultaneously straddle the past and the present. The music avoids pastiche, its pedal steel, sleigh bells and harmonies giving a nod to the ghosts of musical genres past, but never overriding or distracting from the emotional content of the sum of its parts.

                        The album ends with the glorious ‘Take Us Away’ – one of the first demos Gibson gave McBride when he was on tour with Stars of the Lid – neatly bringing their work to date full circle and exemplifying the band’s mindfulness of their own serendipitous beginnings: the dawning of an auspicious, unique musical force.

                        Bell Gardens - Take Us Away - ★★★★★★★★★☆ Harmonies alert!! Actually, this is rather lovely. Slow-tempo, just the right side of 'twee' and packed full of strings, as if Air and Midlake had been taking balloon trips over the mid-West and sprinkling good-vibes dust across the land. From L.A. and subconsciously plugged into the '60s dream-pop scene, taking in a little bit of Mercury Rev and Brendan Perry en route, stopping off at Pearls Before Swine and Big Star's house for inspiration, before getting stoned with '70s era Brian Eno and Harold Budd.- Flipside

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Darker Side Of Sunshine
                        2. Silent Prayer
                        3. Sail
                        4. Joan's Ambulance
                        5. She's Stuck In The Endless Loop Of Her Decline
                        6. She Does
                        7. Trust Lost Trust
                        8. Avere
                        9. Take Us Away

                        Comprising a sixteen-strong army of collaborators, Füxa’s tenth full-length album, Dirty D, is at once a sonic celebration of creativity, and a rapturous denunciation of some of the demons of modern society. Following on swiftly from 2012’s Electric Sound of Summer (itself released after a ten year hiatus), Dirty D is a characteristically euphoric record – a largely electronic set which shifts from solarised hysteria (‘Sun is Shining’) to crepuscular elegance (‘Razzamatazz’) over the course of its dozen tracks.

                        The dirty ‘D’ of the title could refer to a number of disquieting facets of today’s society – the dominance of Disney, the illusion of democracy, dereliction – and, in contrast to Disney’s sickly saccharine supremacy over our children’s imaginations, Randall Nieman and his collaborators offer us an animated aural narrative which, in its playfulness and gracefulness, allows for multiple readings on the anxious social issues of our days. Dirty D’s cast of characters (which includes pedal steel hero BJ Cole, Ann Shenton of Add N to (X), and Judy Dyble of Fairport Convention) have been cherry-picked by Nieman to ensure a diversity that never feels disjointed: a genuine sonic democracy.

                        While Electric Sound of Summer pivoted around a number of cover versions, Dirty D comprises mostly original tracks. The opener, ‘The Blue Barracuda’, sees Nieman join circuit boards with Suki Ewers of Mazzy Star, Oliver Kersbergen of Sleepyard and Gaute Storsve of Ignore, conjuring a delicate, aquatic backdrop to accommodate Judy Dyble’s vocals. The track acts almost as an aural departure lounge before the soaring lift-off of ‘Reverse’ which, with its sister track ‘Forward’, combines Nieman’s synths and BJ Cole’s lap steel guitar to produce a pair of astonishing Country & Galactic ‘space waltzes’.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1) The Blue Barracuda
                        2) Reverse
                        3) Berzap
                        4) Inside
                        5) Shout Out Loud
                        6) Sun Is Shining
                        7) Dirty D
                        8) Forward
                        9) Razzamatazz
                        10) Whisper
                        11) Unknown
                        12) Stand By Me/ DD

                        Pieter Nooten

                        Surround Us

                          Exploring the possibilities of electronica and laptop composition even further; Pieter Nooten, one of the original members of Clan of Xymox and former collaborator with Michael Brook brings us the astounding acoustic and organic sounding 'Surround Us'. The album features gorgeous guest vocalists interspersed with beautiful, classical compositions. Far beyond the clichés of contemporary electronica, Nooten squeezes heart wrenching melancholia -beautifully executed, honest and intimate- out of the 'digital box', proving how good and deeply heartfelt home recorded electronica can sound, Nooten delivers a true masterpiece of lap top composition.
                          In collaboration with impro cellist Lucas Stam, whose sensitive and intuitive playing technique cuts right through some of the most intense instrumentals; Nooten and Stam prove to be the pioneers of a long-expected period in contemporary music. A future that is NOT turning out clinical nu jazz or industrial noise fresh from the academies, neither mind numbing corporate pop, playable in any old mp3 format. Here we experience warmth and dynamics, features that seemed so long lost in music. 'Surround Us' brims with vitality, humanity, pain, passion and sweet, sweet melancholia. Pieter is more influenced by "the depth and beauty of the simplest Bach fugue than by most modern pop".

                          Current line-up: Pieter Nooten (laptop, keyboards, vocals), Yvette Winkler (vocals), Lucas Stam (cello).


                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Ode
                          2. Anybody
                          3. An End
                          4. Soothing Dust
                          5. Drone
                          6. This World
                          7. Blue Wonder
                          8. Around Us
                          9. Secret Room
                          10. Romanz
                          11. Blue Square
                          12. Dutch Clouds

                          Füxa

                          Electric Sound Of Summer

                            A decade in the making, Füxa – comprising Randall Nieman, alongside Tom Meade and special guests – returns with nine songs of supercharged seasonal splendour. Electric Sound of Summer is perhaps Nieman’s most cohesive record yet, in that the ever-present swirling synthesisers and uplifting melodies have been perfectly blended to form a new kind of pop music. It is at once heart-warming and goosebump-inducing – an album of stirring contrasts. Sophisticated guitar and piano lines share the sonic canvas with childlike, playful electronic experiments, evoking a spirit of both sun-blind optimism and wistful tranquillity.

                            The album is notable for a trio of inspired cover versions. On Daniel Johnston’s ‘Some Things Last a Long Time’, Britta Phillips’ (Luna, Dean and Britta) sumptuous vocals retain all the fragility and poignancy of the original, like an ice maiden slowly melting in a heat-wave. Elsewhere, Sarah Peacock (Seefeel, Scala) lends an eerie, claustrophobic air to ‘Our Lips are Sealed’, turning the GoGo’s/Fun Boy Three smash hit into a dark, menacing ode to secrecy and jealousy. The reverse effect is achieved on Füxa’s version of Suicide’s ‘Cheree’, whereby Nieman transforms the sparse, sensuous classic into an altogether more uplifting, hair-raising anthem, bubbling with dynamic, stomping drum patterns and Dean Wareham’s (Galaxie 500, Luna) reverb-rich vocals. Alongside the album’s ecstatic track ‘Marty Suicide’, ‘Cheree’ is the ultimate tribute to those torchbearers of synth-laden, sinister lullabies, Alan Vega and Martin Rev, with whom Nieman has collaborated in the past.

                            While the cover versions act as a centre piece of sorts – a Day Glo triptych showcasing the versatility of Nieman’s particular brand of pop – the instrumental pieces indulge the listener in their own arresting melodies, from the feelgood waltz ‘I Love You’ to the plaintive, piano-led ‘Thank You Jesus’. The variety on this album is a testament to both Nieman and his guests’ distinct talents. Other collaborators on Electric Sound of Summer include Mark Refoy (Spiritualized/Slipstream), Richard Formby (legendary producer, formerly of Spectrum), Stephen Lawrie (Telescopes), Willie B. Carruthers (Spacemen 3/ Spiritualized/ freelovebabies), Jerry Hope (the dust collectors) and Kyle Chunco (Saturn Batterie). The artwork is courtesy of the inimitable Anthony Ausgang: a fluid, cartoon-like composition which perfectly primes the listener for the playful delights within.

                            It is the cross-pollination of these collaborators’ talents which gives Electric Sound of Summer its strength and bottomless depth. It is a celebration of creativity; of community; of music past, present… and Füxa.


                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Darryl says: Top notch space-rock that blends bubbling and swirling synth soundscapes with melodic vocals. Guests include Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips, and Seefeel's Sarah Peacock. Recommended.

                            Sam Kills Two

                            Pretty Ugly

                              In 2008 Sam Kills Two released their self titled debut album on Rocket Girl Records (Robin Guthrie, Television Personalities, A Place To Bury Strangers). It earned them attributes such as: 'atmospheric, epic and exquisite'. "Pretty Ugly" is the anticipated second album due for release in February 2011. "Pretty Ugly" surges from the darkness, from starlight to sunrise. Its absolute passion is clear. Swedish lead singer Fred Bjorkvall's hymnal- like vocals cross with trademark, arpeggiated acoustic guitars; deep piano entwines with beautiful, layered cellos and driving, urgent bass and beats. The result is a mix of human fragility and fearless strength, and it aims straight for your heart.

                              From the aching, hypnotic "Rocks And Hard Places" to the furious rise of "Silence Is Louder", every song is organic; as songwriter Bjorkvall explains. 'The aim was to give each song what it needs without any regard for self-indulgent thoughts; you let the song lead the way'. With their unique sound, it's hard to pin down London-based Sam Kills Two's influences. Bjorkvall admittedly admires classic writers with a message; including Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith and Warren Zevon. But whilst the band draws from these styles their contemporary approach energises these honourable traditions, with inspiration drawn from diverse and visionary sources: from Manchester and South America to New York and Swedish lakes. 'Emotive' says Bjorkvall 'is absolutely the key description of the music. To be able to bring out emotion through dynamics and lyrics is the all important factor' This statement rings true again and again in "Pretty Ugly" as the melancholic tones and the poignant lyrics make it clear at first listen, this album will soothe aching souls.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              1. Man Of The World
                              2. Make Us Proud
                              3. Pushing My Love
                              4. Bright Eyes
                              5. No Bad No Good
                              6. Silence Is Louder
                              7. Nasty Has No Name
                              8. I Drew A Breath
                              9. Sorrow Queen
                              10. Rocks & Hard Places
                              11. Two Degrees
                              12. La Paz
                              13. Santiago

                              After asking the band to play on The Rocket Girl show on Resonance FM last year, the band and label stayed in touch. A year later the band had recorded their debut album. On first listening, Rocket Girl signed them on the spot. Sam Kills Two although stemming from an indie/alternative background have the possibility of a mainstream crossover. The band's collective range of influences includes the Red House Painters, Warren Zevon, Leonard Cohen and Elliott Smith. Combined with their diverse personalities and backgrounds (and a sprinkle of old fashioned fairy dust) are all factors in the complex and emotive song-writing. Fred's cadenced vocals and SKT's trademark arpeggiated acoustic guitars cross with unexpectedly heavy electric tones, deep piano and driving beats. The result is a dynamic yet strangely fragile sound. Sam Kills Two keep their heads above water in the sea of today's musical trends and are finely showcased in their self-titled debut album.

                              The Sleeping Years

                              We're Becoming Islands One By One

                                The Sleeping Years is the new project from Dale Grundle, formerly of the Catchers. Now signed to innovative indie-label Rocket Girl, the debut album "We're becoming Islands One By One", is a gorgeous exploration of melody and melancholy. A gifted lyricist, Dale's exquisitely crafted songs tell of people trying to stay connected in a world seemingly designed to keep them apart. He is heavily influenced by the language and culture of his home in Ireland, providing a distinct character to this highly personal collection of songs.

                                Fuxa

                                2000

                                  New album from Space-rockers Fuxa. Includes contributions from Sonic Boom, and members of Piano Magic and The Telescopes.


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