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SONIC CATHEDRAL

Not Me But Us

Two

    Not Me But Us are a new duo from Naples, Italy formed by acclaimed pianist and composer Bruno Bavota (who records for Temporary Residence) and electronic producer Fabrizio Somma (aka K-Conjog).

    Together they have made Two, a beautiful album that blends both of their influences with added echoes of ambient, techno, 2000s club culture, post-classical and post-rock. It’s a stunning record and proof that when two very different musicians meet it’s always possible for magic to happen. The eight tracks are a testament to their ability to translate raw emotion into a musical journey, forging a connection that goes beyond sound. 

    TRACK LISTING

    1. No Words
    2. Inner Space
    3. Interlocking Mechanics
    4. Buildings
    5. In A Box
    6. Nocturnal Humans
    7. When We See
    8. Us
    9. Nocturnal Emissions*
    *CD-only Bonus Track

    Whitelands

    Night-bound Eyes Are Blind To The Day

      Whitelands are Etienne, Jagun, Vanessa and Michael and they are ostensibly a shoegaze band ever since Etienne stumbled across Slowdive’s KEXP session in his recommended videos on YouTube a few years ago. However, they come at the resurgent, Gen Z-soundtracking genre from a refreshingly different angle thanks to their mishmash of musical backgrounds. There’s also the fact that their line-up is fully PoC in what is traditionally seen as a predominantly white genre.

      “There’s an underlying narrative that it’s OK for white men to be romantic, sensitive, emotional and make dreamy music and, by contrast, young Black men should be making angry music,” says Vanessa. “We’ve all grown up with these stereotypes and therefore I think people are mystified when they see Whitelands.” “I consume a lot of media,” says Etienne of his wide range of influences. “Videogames, music, news, paintings, manga, animations and film are my go-to, especially anime. There is this drive to want to understand and feel the whole weight of an expression. So, the songs are based on other songs, pictures, aesthetics, ‘vibes’, an emotion someone else felt. Fundamentally, you are what you eat.”

      As a result of this diet, the lyrics are stunning, dealing with everything from unbalanced relationships and vulnerability to depression, being diagnosed with ADHD and, on the new single ‘Tell Me About It’ (featuring vocals by Dottie from the band’s Sonic Cathedral labelmates deary), trying to navigate love following that diagnosis.

      The album is bookended by two poetically political songs – ‘Setting Sun’ and ‘Now Here’s The Weather’ – that deal with imperialism, racism and performative ignorance.

      “We’ve experienced tokenism, micro-behaviours, envy and resentment,” concludes Vanessa. “So we feel we have to continually prove ourselves. We know we’re making a positive impact, but I want Whitelands to really break some barriers.”

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Liam says: Massive shoegaze tip!!! I've been loving their track 'Tell Me About It' (which is complete ethereal bliss) for the past month and thankfully the rest of this LP from Whitelands lives up to the anticipation. With sprinklings of DIIV, Slowdive and even an appearance from fellow gazers Deary, 'Night-bound Eyes Are Blind To The Day' is proper reverb drenched goodness that manages to avoid the derivative trappings many modern shoegaze acts can sometimes fall in to. It also has the Slowdive seal of approval as it was mastered by drummer Simon Scott, with the shoegaze legends also taking Whitelands out on tour with them - so how's that for a recommendation? MEGA!

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Setting Sun
      2. The Prophet & I
      3. Cheer
      4. Tell Me About It
      5. How It Feels
      6. Chosen Light
      7. Born In Understanding
      8. Now Here’s The Weather

      Dean Wareham

      Live At St Pancras Old Church London - 10th Anniversary Edition

        We are very pleased to announce a special 10th anniversary vinyl version of this classic Dean Wareham live album, recorded over two nights in London back in December 2013 and featuring a mix of songs by Galaxie 500 and Luna as well as solo material.

        It is pressed on double red and green vinyl, with the 12 tracks spread across three sides and a screen-printed fourth side. The recordings were mixed by Britta Phillips and have been remastered especially for this release by Mikey Young (of Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control and others). The new artwork by Marc Jones includes a printed insert featuring photos from the shows, which almost didn’t happen at all after Dean and his band got stuck on a train between Manchester and London.

        “We left Piccadilly Station at 12:15 but stopped rolling after just 20 minutes,” he recalls. “A voice informed us that a tree had fallen on the track somewhere up ahead, and this tree was on fire. We sat there for a couple of hours and started to think about alternate ways to get down to London, someone sent out a plea on Twitter and one kind fan did offer to drive us, if only there was a way to get off the train. But at around 3 o’clock the train lurched forward at last, we made it to Euston and cabbed it straight to St Pancras Old Church.

        “I’m not a believer but there’s something special about playing in churches, especially one that dates to the 12th century; the cavernous spaces and wooden pews make you speak softly and play quietly too – if you play too loud the sounds will just bounce all over the place. And the engineer doesn’t need to add reverb to your vocals – it is there already.

        “Nat from Sonic Cathedral promoted the shows and had the presence of mind to record them to multi-tracks, and I’m so glad he did. When we got back to Los Angeles, Britta mixed the live tracks, and the result is this record.”

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Tugboat
        2. Emancipated Hearts
        3. Blue Thunder
        4. When Will You Come Home
        5. Lost In Space
        6. Love Is Colder Than Death
        7. Ride Into The Sun
        8. Temperature’s Rising
        9. The Deadliest Day Since The Invasion Began
        10. The Longest Bridges In The World
        11. Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste
        12. Ceremony

        Deary

        Deary EP

          The eponymous debut EP by London-based dreampop duo deary on Sonic Cathedral. The six-track release is available on frosted clear 12” viny and on CD (with five additional bonus tracks and remixes).

          Their debut single ‘Fairground’, which came out at the end of January, was an instant classic. A mix of shoegaze beauty and trip-hop beats, it was amazing to see people falling in love with it in real time as it gained airplay around the world, a remix by Saint Etienne and hit number one on the Official Charts’ vinyl singles chart.

          The EP includes the follow-up, the deliciously dark ‘Beauty In All Blue Satin’, and new single ‘Sleepsong’, plus three other tracks, and follows their support slot with Slowdive at the Troxy in London. 

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: Deary mixes the drifting shoegazey heft of Ride with crisp trip-hop percussion, hypnotic bass plucks and dreamy pop vocals, resulting in a hazy fever dream of an EP, and a perfect release for the brilliant Sonic Cathedral.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Heaven
          2. Only Need
          3. Fairground
          4. Want You
          5. Sleepsong
          6. Beauty In All Blue Satin

          CD-only Bonus Tracks:
          7. 2000 Miles
          8. Fairground (Hide In Glass Mix)
          9. Fairground (Saint Etienne Meet Augustin Bousfield At The Top Of Town Mix)
          10. Fairground (Extended Mix)
          11. Fairground (Live) 

          Mildred Maude

          CPA I-III - 2023 Reissue

            The Cornish improv noise / post-rock / shoegaze band’s cult classic debut, remastered and re-edited by Slowdive’s Simon Scott and available on vinyl for the first time since its release back in 2017, with original copies (released via The Weird Beard) now changing hands for triple figures.The three tracks that make up the album were recorded live, in one take. They are presented as captured snippets of the one song the band used to play, the continually existing and evolving ‘CPA’ (Cosmic Pink Alignment). It formed the blueprint for their unique mix of Sonic Youth squall and Slowdive-style beauty, which was later heard on 2021’s acclaimed debut for Sonic Cathedral, Sleepover.

            “People have told us they aren’t able to get a copy of the album, so a reissue was a good opportunity for us to re-look at it having learnt a bit more about the mastering process when we did Sleepover,” says guitarist Matt Ashdown. “Simon also mastered that, so we really trusted him and didn’t give him a brief – he knows we like to squeeze out as much low end as possible, which is why there is also a new cut; more low end means less space on the vinyl.” Simon’s magic touch has really elevated this stunning record, making it sound bigger, bolder and better than ever. “His mastering has made it feel more live and even more raw,” agrees Matt. “That is really important to us – it’s our essence.”

            TRACK LISTING

            Side A:
            1. CPA I
            Side B:
            1.CPA II
            2.CPA III

            Emma Anderson (Lush)

            Pearlies

              Following the news that all three Lush albums are going to be reissued, Emma Anderson, the band’s co-founder, has announced her debut solo album, Pearlies, which will be released by Sonic Cathedral on October 20, 2023.One of the most underrated British songwriters to emerge from the era that encompassed shoegaze and Britpop, she has teamed up with producer James Chapman (aka Maps) for this collection that combines effervescent electronic pop with psych and folk textures with lyrics covering themes such as confronting your fears, embracing independence and moving on in life.

              It arrives fully formed with a burnished beauty (aided by the mastering skills of Heba Kadry) that belies its somewhat protracted creation, which began with Emma feeling disillusioned after Lush’s 2016 reunion came to an abrupt end. Left with songs and bits of music originally intended for the band, she began working with cellist and string arranger Audrey Riley and Robin Guthrie, formerly of the Cocteau Twins, both of whom encouraged her to sing her own songs. Covid put a temporary halt on proceedings, but the decision had been made. When Sonic Cathedral introduced her to James Chapman at the start of 2022, Pearlies quickly took shape and blossomed into a masterpiece, the perfect mix of Emma’s incredible, idiosyncratic songwriting and James’ electronic production nous. Plus, a little extra guitar magic on four tracks courtesy of Richard Oakes from Suede.

              The finished album has somehow written its own narrative. By her own admission, Emma tends to write words and “see what comes out”, but Pearlies seems to tell the story of her decision to go it alone, with opener ‘I Was Miles Away’ posing the question: “See if I make it on my own”. The rest of the album provides the answer as it takes in everything from the unexpectedly funky first single ‘Bend The Round’, to folky finger-picking and film theme references, via psych leaning electronic pop reminiscent of Goldfrapp or Melody’s Echo Chamber. It concludes with ‘Clusters’, a stunning, Stereolab-style groove which begins with the line “and now the party’s over, the music’s at the end”. Thankfully, that is not the case. This incredible album is just the start of Emma’s long-awaited solo journey.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: Emma Anderson presents her first solo album for the wonderful Sonic Cathedral, showing hints of her history in Lush but with a vigour and airy carless ease we've not heard before. It's both wildly beautiful and unendingly deep, arguably her finest work of all (Sorry Lush). Brilliant musician, and a beautiful album.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. I Was Miles Away
              2. Bend The Round
              3. Inter Light
              4. Taste The Air
              5. Xanthe
              6. The Presence
              7. Willow And Mallow
              8. Tonight Is Mine
              9. For A Moment
              10. Clusters

              Dot Allison

              Consciousology

                Dot Allison returns with a new solo album, Consciousology. After over a decade away, the former One Dove singer and songwriter broke cover in 2021 with Heart-Shaped Scars and this new album follows just two years later, as she hits a purple patch of songwriting. It’s also her first full release for Sonic Cathedral after contributing to Mark Peters’ acclaimed Red Sunset Dreams last year.

                Consciousology finds multi-instrumentalist Dot joined by the London Contemporary Orchestra, her new labelmate Andy Bell from Ride, who plays guitar on two tracks, and Hannah Peel, who is responsible for some of the string arrangements with both the LCO and a stellar group of Scottish string players. It expands on the styles and themes of the previous album, all while pushing everything just that little bit further – the songs sound bigger, more avant-garde and experimental and, occasionally, properly out-there and psychedelic.

                “I wanted to make some albums that felt like a set, exploring love, what lies beyond the visible and how all these aspects dovetail together,” explains Dot. “I see Consciousology a more psych Heart-Shaped Scars with a far fuller, more immersive sound and so, in that sense, it’s a more wayward, bolder, rule-breaking partner.”

                Right from the eye-catching artwork by PJ Harvey collaborator Maria Mochnacz it definitely does not play it safe. It veers from the techno-played-as-folk of opener ‘Shyness Of Crowns’ and ‘220Hz’ and the Linda Perhacs-meets-The Velvet Underground chug of the first single ‘Unchanged’ to the Mercury Rev-style fantasia of ‘Bleached By The Sun’, the Brian Wilson-esque harmonies of ‘Moon Flowers’ and the kaleidoscopic colour trip of ‘Double Rainbow’. Elsewhere there are echoes of Desertshore-era Nico, Jack Nitzsche’s work with Neil Young, Karen Dalton and Anne Briggs before the relative simplicity of the Tim Hardin-inspired closer ‘Weeping Roses’. It’s a brilliant, breathtaking record.

                The title, which brings to mind Maureen Lipman’s classic 1980s BT adverts (“you get an ’ology, you’re a scientist!”) might feel playful and light-hearted at first, but has a much deeper meaning, and one which makes sense of the album’s dedication to its biggest influences: Dot’s musician mother and botanist father.

                “For me, it is an imagined voice of a conscious universe expressed through music,” explains Dot of the over-arching concept. “It’s a plea, an embrace, a longing, a last gasp, perhaps… imbued through the music, voice, harmony and a harmonic composition, with the lyrics taking an interest in the differing levels of consciousness apparent in all self-organising, natural systems.

                “It takes a less mechanistic, inanimate but more infinitely complex view of the nature of reality and how feelings of love and loss – and consciousness itself – are potentially less ‘molecular’ in nature and more electromagnetic.”

                The choice of instrumentation reflects this: there is a Theremin on two songs (played by Dorit Chrysler) because it works by generating electromagnetic fields around two antennae. “It uses fields that are beyond the reach of our senses, that lie outwith the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum,” says Dot. “To me, conceptually, this completely works with the ideas behind the album.”

                For ‘Double Rainbow’, she went one further and actually recorded the electrical activity in a plant which was then translated into pitch variations.

                “So, in effect, it has a guest performance from a botanical session player,” she laughs. “I placed a Brachyglottis Sunshine on top of the Steinway grand piano at the studio and recorded its ‘voice’ through a Neumann U67. It was pretty endearing and really moving to hear this translated into a melody.”

                ‘Double Rainbow’ was actually the starting point for the album; written at the same time as the songs on Heart-Shaped Scars, Dot felt it belonged somewhere else, and here it beds in perfectly alongside the similarly horticulturally inclined ‘Shyness Of Crowns’ (“the title relates to the behaviour of trees and how they socially distance at the crown of the woods”), ‘220Hz’ (“the frequency at which tree roots communicate beneath the ground in the ‘wood wide web’”) and ‘Mother Tree’ (inspired by Canadian scientist Suzanne Simard’s writings on the trees which act as central hubs for vast below-ground mycorrhizal networks.)

                Expanding on the theme, ‘Moon Flowers’ is about recognising “our synergistic place in the complex network of all life and to respect the living quantum systems we seem intent on continually interrupting”, while ‘Bleached By The Sun’ includes the lyric “in our roots there is soul, an innate empathy”. “It’s an appeal that can be construed as a love song,” says Dot, “but in my mind was what nature might say should nature be able to be heard.”

                ‘Unchanged’ is a love song, albeit one about “being in a process with someone where you love, lose and grieve the love-bond alone, while the other person appears to remain unchanged throughout”. It’s powerful and driving, the opposite of the closing track, ‘Weeping Roses’. Inspired by a tape gifted to Dot in the ’90s by the late Andrew Weatherall which included two songs by Tim Hardin (‘How Can We Hang On To A Dream’ and ‘If I Were A Carpenter’), it ends this majestic and mind-expanding album on a perfect note of intimate simplicity.


                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: Another unbelievably rich, impeccably conceived collection from Dot Allison, charting monolithic highs and subtle, downplayed lows in her own inimitable style. Veering on the edge of the avant garde, but staying within the boundaries of pop music, Allison's in top form here, and the LP and CD are both presented in a beautiful package too, what more could you want. Essential purchase.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Shyness Of Crowns
                2. Unchanged
                3. Bleached By The Sun
                4. Moon Flowers
                5. 220Hz
                6. Double Rainbow
                7. Milk And Honey
                8. Mother Tree
                9. Weeping Roses

                Whitelands

                Remixes

                  Whitelands follow their acclaimed single ‘Setting Sun’ with their first ever vinyl release, an EP of reworkings. Simply titled Remixes, the EP features two reworkings of ‘Setting Sun’ by dreampop legends A.R. Kane – the short Initiation Dub and the epic Hero Remix, which comes in three parts, titled Departure, Initiation and Return and takes the song to some unexpected and exciting new places.

                  “Whitelands came up in conversation three times in a week,” explains A.R. Kane’s Rudy Tambala of how he got to know the band and came to remix them. “Two times is coincidence, three times is a conspiracy, so I reached out to them on social media, and we started chatting. They’re cool, like baby Kanes. ‘Setting Sun’ was close to my heart, reminding me of ‘Fools Gold’ meets Slowdive versus Frank Ocean. Anyway, I heard several approaches in my head, so I thought, ‘Fuck it, let’s do ’em all’.

                  “I knew I wanted to take a prog approach: Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon, Sasha’s Involver2, Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Frank Ocean’s Blond, etc. Even my own sixty nine. It’s that seamless drift from one part into the next, stretching the idea until it ruptures, creating space for a new way of perceiving; this has the first inklings of hive mind, telepathy, in a musical form; you dissolve into it as it dissolves into you. A fundamental dreampop construction and aim, whereby subject and object become one. Ahem.

                  “As the extended mix took shape it suggested to me the three components of The Hero’s Journey, hence the titles. The three-minute pop song was determined by the technical limitations of the 7” vinyl single. Digital has obliterated that. The perfect dreampop song has no time limit. ‘Setting Sun’ A.R. Kane Hero Remix is timely.”

                  Alongside Rudy’s reworkings is an equally dazzling drum’n’bass take on last year’s single ‘How It Feels’ by the band’s guitarist Michael in his howdogirlssleep guise.

                  “Combining shoegaze and jungle was something I never thought of, but when I thought about remixing ‘How It Feels’ the song pretty much made itself,” he explains. “It’s such a sonically rich and emotionally capturing song already; the only thing I had to do was add drums that would enhance the track. I tried to create a feeling of transient energy in the song which the mix engineer, and my good friend, Reinaldo helped me to create. I hope people can shake their ass to this one.”

                  “These remixes are an absolute dream!” concludes singer and guitarist Etienne. “Having a legend like Rudy doing this for us is very special. And also having Michael also exploring the experimental possibilities of ‘How It Feels’ is honestly such a great thing.”

                  TRACK LISTING

                  A1. Setting Sun (A.R. Kane Initiation Dub)
                  A2. How It Feels (howdogirlssleep Remix)
                  B1. Setting Sun (A.R. Kane Hero Remix)

                  Lorelle Meets The Obsolete

                  Datura

                    Mexican duo Lorelle Meets The Obsolete make a very welcome return with their sixth album, Datura. Recorded at their home studio in Ensenada, Baja California, it was mixed in Canada by Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes and mastered in Australia by Mikey Young of Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Total Control, among many others.

                    It’s a short, sharp shock of a record with no unnecessary adornments and no fat on any of its eight songs. Gone are the psychedelic wig-outs found on previous releases, replaced with bass-heavy post-punk grooves inspired by the roots of The Congos, the no wave of Ike Yard, the industrial hip-hop of Dälek and the dark modular moves of Hiro Kone, all while harnessing the elemental power of Jon Hassell’s Vernal Equinox.

                    “One of the rules that we had when writing was to keep the songs minimal in terms of instrumentation,” explains guitarist Alberto González. “We didn’t want to do overdubs and endless layers this time around,” adds singer and guitarist Lorena Quintanilla. “We limited ourselves to the instrumentation of the new, four-piece line-up and we recorded almost everything live. The songs had to be very solid.”

                    “We easily get bored with what we do, music-wise, so that motivates us into keeping things fresh and different,” continues Alberto, as he explains the change of direction. “Each album is a good representation of where we are at. We fear the thought of being trapped in the same ideas from years ago. There’s something about nostalgia that creeps me out.”

                    Strangely, it was nostalgia that inspired the change. The duo marked their tenth anniversary in 2021 by playing reworked songs from their back catalogue and sharing videos online. The new arrangements saw them swapping between synths and guitars, and this – as well as Lorena’s two acclaimed solo releases as J. Zunz – has informed the new set-up.

                    The live in the room feel of the album also came from watching The Beatles do the same in Get Back. (One of a number of inspirations on the album including the poetry of Mario Montalbetti, the TV series Atlanta, Eugenio Polgovsky’s documentaries and Arturo Ripstein’s movies).

                    Jace Lasek was the perfect person to bring this feeling to the fore. “That’s one of the things I’ve always loved about The Besnard Lakes’ records,” says Alberto. “And I really think he brought that to Datura. The only note we gave him before the mix was ‘we want this album to sound big and aggressive’.” It worked, that’s exactly how it sounds.

                    Not really surprising for a record that covers cultural colonialism, imperialism, conflicting opinions, intense emotions, strange dreams and insomnia. The title refers to the genus of plants often associated with ancient rituals that are also sometimes used as poison or hallucinogens. “We liked the idea of a flower that opens at night,” says Lorena. “A type of Datura grows all over the neighbourhood where we live. People try to get rid of them because they are afraid of their dogs eating them, but they always regrow again and again in the same places.”

                    A bit like Lorelle themselves, then. Datura is their fourth album for Sonic Cathedral and their sixth overall. We last heard from them at the start of 2020, when they followed the previous year’s acclaimed De Facto with a new EP and set out on the road in the US, wending their way to a slot at SXSW. History had other ideas, however, and they were left high and dry in upstate New York, resorting to a Crowdfunder to enable them to get home before lockdowns came into force. The band was paused.

                    “At some point in 2022 we decided it was time to write new music and everything flowed easily,” says Alberto. As life returned to normal they played shows, firstly in Mexico and then, earlier this year, they finished what they started three years ago and toured the US with SUUNS.

                    Now, finally, they are set to flower once again with Datura, their most direct and dynamic album to date; proof that nature really is healing.


                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Liam says: Sixth outing for Lorelle Meets The Obsolete is a no-nonsense and focused spaced out post-punk showcase that really highlights the duo's songwriting capabilities. Bass-heavy, dark and energizing, it's great to have these lot back!

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Side A
                    Datura
                    Invisible
                    Dínamo
                    Arco
                    Side B
                    Golpe Blanco
                    Ave En Reversa
                    Óvalo
                    Dos Noches


                    Andy Bell & Masal

                    Tidal Love Numbers

                      Ride guitarist and songwriter Andy Bell has taken yet another musical detour, this time collaborating with Essex-based duo Masal on an incredible new album of ambient, astral jazz.Tidal Love Numbers is released via Sonic Cathedral on May 19, and is made up of four mesmerising, meandering instrumental tracks that combine Andy’s incredible guitar playing with analogue synths and harp.

                      Andy’s history in Ride, Oasis and numerous other bands is well-known, and his solo career has also taken off; his most recent album, Flicker, was one of last year’s finest. Masal, meanwhile, came together in Leigh-on-Sea after a chance meeting in a charity shop.Al Johnson has performed and released records as Alien for a number of years now, while Oz Simsek studied classical harp while growing up in Turkey, before joining a jazz band. Since relocating to the UK she has worked with the likes of Viv Albertine and Gazelle Twin. The duo connected over a shared love of electronic and world music and released their debut album Charity Shop in 2020.The collaboration with Andy came about after they supported him at an Andy Bell Space Station gig in Chelmsford during Independent Venue Week at the start of 2022. They got chatting on the night, and bonded over Promises, the collaboration between Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and The London Symphony Orchestra.“After hearing it, I felt there was something in that area for me, if I found the right collaborators,” says Andy, explaining how the hugely acclaimed 2021 release was effectively the starting point for this new project. “So, I was kind of on the lookout from that point. I’ve always loved the sound of harp music – Alice Coltrane and Joanna Newsom are both firm favourites – and so, when I met Oz and Al, it seemed like it could be a good combination.” “The moment Andy mentioned his love of the Floating Points/Pharoah Sanders album, I knew we were thinking along the same lines,” says Oz. “As a lifelong shoegazer, Al already shared a common musical background and direction, but we got chatting over texts and emails and very soon we were exchanging musical ideas.” Andy was inspired by the likes of William Basinski, Harold Budd, Ariel Kalma’s Osmose and Babe, Terror’s Ancient M’ocean, while Masal shared their love for Prince Lasha, Turkish prog and folk, medieval harp music and Guitarrorists, a 1991 compilation of outsider guitar sounds. The end result – sympathetically mastered by Andy’s Ride bandmate Mark Gardener – lands somewhere between Mary Lattimore, psych-folk guitarist Sandy Bull and Spacemen 3’s Dreamweapon, with the four pieces subtly ebbing and flowing from pastoral picking to psychedelic bliss to noisy drones and back again, all punctuated by Oz’s heavenly harp.

                      Despite their length, the tracks never outstay their welcome, and their stream-of-consciousness titles add to the sense of intrigue.

                      “I wanted super-long titles like Felt,” explains Andy. “And I wanted to cram into them as much imagery and emotion as possible.”

                      It worked – this is an incredibly satisfying trip; as focused and vivid as it is fuzzy and vague. It’s time to float away with the Tidal Love Numbers.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1. Murmuration Of Warm Dappled Light On Her Back After Swimming
                      2. The Slight Unease Of Seeing A Crescent Moon In Blue Midday Sky
                      3. Tidal Love Conversations In That Familiar Golden Orchard
                      4. A Pyramid Hidden By Centuries Of Neon Green Undergrowth

                      Mark Peters

                      The Magic Hour

                        The Magic Hour features guests including former One Dove singer Dot Allison and pedal steel legend B.J. Cole.

                        The EP features two brand new tracks alongside two remixes of songs from last year’s acclaimed album Red Sunset Dreams. The Dot Allison-featuring ‘Sundowning’ gets an almost Balearic makeover by Richard Norris which flows perfectly from ‘Silver River’, featuring B.J. Cole, which has been turned into awe-inspiring ambient Americana by the Indianapolis collective Dawn Chorus And The Infallible Sea. “Their album Liberamente on Azure Vista was one of my favourite records of 2020,” says Mark. “It has some of the best ambient guitar recording I’ve heard for a long time. I love how they’ve re-contextualised B.J.’s pedal steel with a different kind of melancholic backdrop – it’s much more reflective and dreamlike than the original.” The two new tracks, despite sharing a common theme with the album in terms of their sunset-themed titles, signal a change in musical mood. Both are much more propulsive and driving, inspired by Mark’s recent live shows which he has played as a trio with bassist Dean Roby and drummer Chris Smith. In fact, adding the title track to his live set finally brought it to life after 20 long years. “I wrote the demo for ‘Magic Hour’ while living in a flat in the centre of Manchester in the early 2000s on a Soundcraft desk loaned to me by Simon Tong,” says Mark of the title track’s origins. “It was called ‘Alesis’ for years because I recorded the initial guitar through an Alesis Quadraverb that belonged to The Verve’s Nick McCabe, but it’s now grown into something more groove-based, like an electronica-influenced take on what I was doing on Innerland.” ‘Alpenglow’ came about more recently after Mark bought a Boss RC-300 Loop Station. “My initial intention was to attempt the unspeakable by recording a psychedelic Joy Division-style track,” explains Mark. It does indeed have a dark, post-punk feel, like a souped-up ‘Shadowplay’, but as it cranks into krautrock gear it could almost be Neu! with the late, great Tom Verlaine replacing Michael Rother on guitar.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        A1. Magic Hour
                        A2. Alpenglow
                        B1. Silver River (Dawn Chorus And The Infallible Sea Remix)
                        B2. Sundowning (Richard Norris Remix)

                        Andy Bell

                        Strange Loops & Outer Psyche

                          Ride guitarist and songwriter Andy Bell releases a new compilation album called Strange Loops & Outer Psych on February 10, 2023.

                          The release marks the end of the campaign for Andy’s second solo album Flicker, which came out to great acclaim in February 2022, and rounds up 16 tracks from his recent run of three EPs (I Am A Strange Loop, The Grounding Process and Untitled Film Stills) that were made up of remixes, acoustic versions and covers of songs that inspired the album.

                          The new CD release includes four tracks that weren’t included on the original limited-edition vinyl releases. It also includes his fuzzed-up cover of Yoko Ono’s song ‘Listen, The Snow Is Falling’ – which was recently given the official seal of approval when Yoko herself tweeted the video to her 4.5 million followers – and the majestic Maps remix of ‘It Gets Easier’, as heard on Lauren Laverne’s show on BBC Radio 6 Music. There are further remixes by David Holmes, Richard Norris, bdrmm, A Place To Bury Strangers and Claude Cooper, as well as covers of songs by The Kinks, Arthur Russell and Pentangle and five fragile acoustic takes on album tracks.

                          “Almost a year to the day since I released my second album Flicker, here is a technicolour companion piece that pulls together the tracks from the EPs to colour in the edges of the record,” says Andy. “Influences, stripped down acoustic reworks and remixes by my friends, comrades and heroes all hopefully help the listener see where my head was when I made Flicker, but also it stands up as a decent listen in its own right.”

                          The CD was mastered in New York by Heba Kadry and is sequenced like a mixtape, which makes for a proper listening experience. “Hatful Of Hollow is my favourite Smiths album, just saying,” explains Andy. “Thanks to everyone who supported my music in 2022, I appreciate you all, see you in 2023.”

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Liam says: Collating his three 10 inch releases from last year into a tasty little CD package, with a couple of extra remixes thrown in, 'Strange Loops & Outer Psyche' is the essential companion piece to Bell's fantastic 'Flicker'. With covers, acoustic versions and remixes, this one shouldn't be missed!

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. The Sky Without You (David Holmes Radical Mycology Remix)
                          2. It Gets Easier (Maps Remix)
                          3. Our Last Night Together (Arthur Russell Cover)
                          4. The Way Love Used To Be (The Kinks Cover)
                          5. Something Like Love (Richard Norris Remix)
                          6. Listen, The Snow Is Falling (Yoko Ono Cover)
                          7. She Calls The Tune (Acoustic Version)
                          8. Love Is The Frequency (Acoustic Version)**
                          9. Light Flight (Pentangle Cover)
                          10. Lifeline (Acoustic Version)
                          11. World Of Echo (A Place To Bury Strangers Remix)**
                          12. Sidewinder (Claude Cooper Remix)**
                          13. Way Of The World (bdrmm Remix)
                          14. World Of Echo (Acoustic Version)
                          15. Something Like Love (Acoustic Version)
                          16. Something Like Love (Richard Norris Remix – Instrumental)**

                          MOLLY

                          Picturesque

                            Austrian duo MOLLY return with their second album, Picturesque, via Sonic Cathedral.

                            The album’s seemingly brief tracklisting belies a work of great beauty and depth, and one which turned into a one-man crusade for singer/guitarist Lars Andersson, intertwining deeply personal stories with his love for the era of Romanticism.

                            “Every time I go to a museum and I’m about to pass through the era of Romanticism I stop in awe,” says Lars of the enduring appeal of the 18th century artistic movement. “Whatever it is – stories, paintings, music – it triggers something deep within me, something profoundly human.
                            It really hits a nerve, and it utterly immerses me to a point where I can’t move.”

                            The album replicates this feeling; a gloriously over-the-top blend of Slowdive and Sigur Rós, mixed with the single-mindedness of Daniel Johnston and the noisiness of Nirvana, it’s as bold and beautiful and every bit as ornate as the art that inspired it.

                            Unlike their acclaimed debut, 2019’s All That Ever Could Have Been, which gradually came into focus with a 15-minute opening track, Picturesque hits home from the very first note of the short and sweet opener, ‘Ballerina’. That’s not to say there aren’t epics here – ‘Metamorphosis’ is essentially a 12-minute suite of three movements; blistering closer ‘The Lot’ is 11 minutes of Swans-inspired heaviness – but everything is much more direct and focused. This isn’t an album to lose yourself in, it’s one to get swept away by.

                            “‘More is more’ was definitely the credo when making this record,” agrees Lars. “A big inspiration were bands like Pond and the way they manage to fill their songs up with stuff to the absolute maximum. While I definitely tried to give the listener some room to breathe at certain points and while, in good old post-rock fashion, it still builds up and breaks down, it relies much more on simple melody and harmony as opposed to noisy experimentation to transport feeling.”

                            Never more so than on the first single, ‘The Golden Age’, which is the album’s centre-piece; a soaring slice of über-shoegaze that is so stunning you can’t take your eyes or ears off it.

                            Like all the songs on the album, it’s based around a fairy-tale from the Romantic era. In this case, it’s Heinrich von Ofterdingen by the German poet, author and philosopher Novalis (other influences are: The Steadfast Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Andersen; The Seven Ravens and Hans in Luck by the Brothers Grimm; Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué and The Golden Pot by E.T.A. Hoffmann), with Lars drawing parallels between the titular character’s mystical and romantic searchings and his own personal quest.

                            This is apt as the album has been an overriding obsession for Lars for the past two-and-a-half years; as well as writing and recording the songs (bandmate Phillip Dornauer played drums), he also mixed and mastered them at his Alpine Audio studio and Picturesque is very much his Brian Wilson or Kevin Shields moment. MOLLY were in the middle of their European tour when Covid hit in early 2020, forcing Lars to retreat back to his home outside Innsbruck and giving him time and space to think about every detail of the record.

                            “Well, I was on a quest I guess,” he admits. “Like everyone, I was stranded at home and at some point I just said to myself, ‘If not now, then when?’ It was an intense process. I’ve worked on music from other bands and artists before but producing and mixing your own music is an utterly different animal. It was probably the most intense thing I’ve ever done, but it was also incredibly rewarding and the feeling of it all coming together piece by piece is incomparable.”

                            The artwork is just as effective. “I think of Radiohead’s OK Computer – what you hear on the record is what you see on the cover,” explains Lars. “We were inspired by what we call ‘wimmelbilder’ [hidden pictures] in German, a very specific style in art where there are a lot of little things happening. When you see it from further away, it looks organic like a lost painting from the area of Romanticism, but the closer you look the more digital it gets. It’s a nice analogy.”

                            He’s right, it perfectly sums up the conflict between Romanticism and 21st century life.

                            “Romanticism was basically an answer to the Industrial Revolution as well as the social and political norms of the Age Of Enlightenment,” concludes Lars. “Now, we all live in a much more industrialised, materialistic, individualistic and sterile society than any early Romanticist could have ever possibly imagined. Over 200 years later the Romanticists have lost the battle.”

                            With the divine and downright pulchritudinous Picturesque, MOLLY begin the fightback.

                            TRACK LISTING

                            Side A
                            Ballerina
                            Metamorphosis
                            The Golden Age
                            Side B
                            Sunday Kid
                            So To Speak
                            The Lot

                            Andy Bell

                            The Grounding Process

                              Stripped down versions of tracks from Flicker. “On my debut solo album The View From Halfway Down I did all of my promotion via Zoom and pre-recorded interviews and acoustic sessions,” explains Andy of the EP. “I enjoyed making the acoustic versions and decided to do some more for this album.” “‘Something Like Love’ is the most popular song from Flicker and one of the oldest, starting life in the ’90s. It’s probably the only one that dates back to the Ride era.“The riffs for ‘World Of Echo’ were written while I was on tour with Oasis, at the height of my La’s obsession. It went through a few iterations from then onwards, but never had a final melody until last year.“’She Calls The Tune’ was the first song I wrote after I joined Oasis, ending a period of writers’ block which I had started going through some time in 1999. The very first performance of it was to an audience of Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer and Richard Ashcroft in a Milan hotel room. No pressure! I don’t think I ever saw this as an Oasis song, but I have them to thank for the fact that I was able to write songs again at all.” ‘Lifeline’ was another riff I came up with while on tour with Oasis. I remember being on a UK tour with Shack, and sitting around backstage on acoustics with Mick and John Head jamming around the Simon & Garfunkel version of ‘Scarborough Fair’. The riff for ‘Lifeline’ followed soon after. It was always called ‘Lifeline’ but I never found the right lyric for it until recently.

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Barry says: The Grounding Process has some of the lesser well known (but equally superb) pieces in the Andy Bell canon, being written while on the road and in various cities around the world. Another lovely addition to the discography.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              A1. Something Like Love
                              A2. World Of Echo
                              B1. She Calls The Tune
                              B2. Lifeline

                              Andy Bell

                              Untitled Film Stills

                                Songs that inspired Flicker by Yoko Ono, Pentangle, The Kinks and Arthur Russell. “The idea was that I would be covering songs which helped in some way to colour in the edges of the picture of the influences that make up Flicker,” explains Andy.“The song ‘Jenny Holzer B. Goode’ on the album refers to a few of the female artists from the music and art worlds who I find inspiring, including Yoko Ono, so it felt right to include a cover of ‘Listen, The Snow Is Falling’, my favourite Yoko Ono song. “Pentangle’s ‘Light Flight’ came out in 1970, the year I was born, and I’ve loved it ever since I heard it on the 1997 folk compilation Transatlantic Ticket. “Nat Cramp, the head honcho of Sonic Cathedral, requested that I cover ‘The Way Love Used To Be’. I’d never heard this song despite being a big fan of The Kinks, but it’s lovely and it felt very natural to do a version of. All hail Ray Davies! “Arthur Russell has been a big reference point for all my music away from ‘band world’. There is something impressionistic and open-ended about his records. I guess you could describe the production style I’m trying for on ‘Our Last Night Together’ as ‘World Of Echo meets This Mortal Coil doing Skip Spence’.”

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Barry says: A lovely bunch of covers here seeing the light of day from the ever-talented Andy Bell. Yoko Ono gets the cover treatment as well as Pentangle's brilliant 'Light Flight'

                                TRACK LISTING

                                A1. Listen, The Snow Is Falling
                                A2. Light Flight
                                B1. The Way Love Used To Be
                                B2. Our Last Night Together

                                Andy Bell

                                I Am A Strange Loop

                                  “It was so great to see what came back when I gave these tracks from Flicker to various comrades, friends and heroes to play with,” says Andy. “They’ve given them a new technicolour life.” “David Holmes requested the opening track as he had formed a bit of a connection with it, and what he came up with turns the song into an hallucinogenic beast, taking pride of place here as the opening track but in a whole different way to how Flicker opens. “James Chapman AKA Maps has taken ‘It Gets Easier’ to a bigger, brighter and shinier place, he’s given quite a downbeat track a euphoric and epic sheen. James is an absolute master of electronic production and he’s taken the same care and attention over this remix as he does with his own wonderful music. “I couldn’t put Richard Norris’ lovely widescreen take on ‘Something Like Love’ better than the man himself – in his own words he found the ‘hitherto undiscovered sweet spot between ‘Roscoe’ and ‘Outdoor Miner’’ and he tapped into the melancholy euphoria at the core of the song. “bdrmm’s remix of ‘Way Of The World’ is one for headphones. There are so many great moments to love, all held together by a bassline worthy of Jah Wobble (by way of Andrew Weatherall). Astonishing!”

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: 'I am a Strange Loop' is the first in the trio of Andy Bell recordings this week, seeing the hugely talented Ride legend Andy Bell reworked by a number of today's most renowned musicians. This time we get ambient legend Richard Norris as well as the brilliant bdrmm, Maps and David Holmes. Ace

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  A1. The Sky Without You (David Holmes Radical Mycology Remix)
                                  A2. It Gets Easier (Maps Remix)
                                  B1. Something Like Love (Richard Norris Remix)
                                  B2. Way Of The World (bdrmm Remix)

                                  Neil Halstead

                                  Palindrome Hunches - 10th Anniversary Edition.

                                    Slowdive singer and songwriter’s third solo album, which was originally released in November 2012. It is a stunning record and one which, upon its release, underlined the claims that Neil was one of the finest and most underrated British songwriters of recent times. It’s also a very special release in the Sonic Cathedral catalogue; the shoegaze label licensed the record from Jack Johnson’s Brushfire imprint for the UK and Europe and it was the start of a relationship that also gave us the Black Hearted Brother album in 2013 and, ultimately, brought about the reformation of Slowdive in 2014. But Palindrome Hunches is a very different beast.

                                    Both stately and understated, this moody and mesmerising collection of peculiarly British folk songs was made with the Band of Hope, a Wallingford, Oxfordshire based collective consisting of Ben Smith (violin), Drew Milloy (double bass), Paul Whitty (piano) and Tom Crook (guitar). Together with producer Nick Holton, banjo player Kevin Wells and backing singer Aimee Craddock, they recorded the album to tape over a few weekends in the music room of their local junior school.

                                    “At first we were going to record in a studio, but everything seemed too clean,” said Neil at the time. “We just went through the songs and recorded them live without very much rehearsal. We wanted to be spontaneous and simple and to keep the little mistakes that sneaked in.” This goes a long way to explaining the album’s humanity and intimacy, and also why it has had a quiet life of its own over the past decade, gradually growing in stature alongside Neil’s more high-profile activities with Slowdive; copies of the 2012 original and even the 2017 repress currently fetch up to triple figures on Discogs.

                                    The stunning opener ‘Digging Shelters’ was used to devastating effect in the posthumously released James Gandolfini movie Enough Said – a fitting home for a song that rubs shoulders here with ruminations about love and loss such as ‘Tied To You’ and ‘Spin The Bottle’ and, on ‘Wittgenstein’s Arm’, an Austrian pianist who had his right arm amputated in World War I and lost three of his brothers to suicide. The wordplay of the title track is almost light-hearted in comparison; “I wanted to write a song that was the same forwards and backwards, but it didn’t quite work out,” explained Neil, adding that he also chose ‘Palindrome Hunches’ for the album’s title because “I like the idea of things being reversible”. A couple years later, by reforming his old band, he proved that. And now, ten years on, it’s the perfect time to rewind to this understated, underrated classic.


                                    Praise for Palindrome Hunches on its original release:

                                    “Nope, it ain’t shoegaze as it's been codified and re-codified. But why be disappointed in someone following his muse to a logical conclusion when that path was always the one he walked on?” – Pitchfork

                                    "An exquisite set of dark folk music” – The Times

                                    “Draws from the same understated, reflective well as John Martyn” – MOJO

                                    “‘Tied To You’ doesn’t merely evoke Nick Drake but withstands the comparison – evidence of the songs’ quality” – Financial Times

                                    “Halstead’s songs breathe the sort of honesty and goodness that’s harder and harder to find in the iTunes age” – The Independent

                                    “Given the chance, they could be songs that continue to enchant for many years to come” – The Line Of Best Fit.

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    Side A
                                    1. Digging Shelters
                                    2. Bad Drugs And Minor Chords
                                    3. Wittgenstein’s Arm
                                    4. Spin The Bottle
                                    5. Tied To You
                                    Side B
                                    1. Love Is A Beast
                                    2. Palindrome Hunches
                                    3. Full Moon Rising
                                    4. Sandy
                                    5. Hey Daydreamer
                                    6. Loose Change

                                    Pye Corner Audio

                                    Let's Remerge! (Sonic Boom Remixes)

                                      Pye Corner Audio releases an EP of remixes by Spacemen 3 legend Sonic Boom. Let’s Remerge! takes three tracks from the recent album Let’s Emerge! – which went to Number One in the Official Charts’ dance chart following its release in July – and gives them all appropriately weird and wonderful twists. ‘Haze Loops’ gets turned inside out, the smoke clearing to reveal some new shoots; Andy Bell’s guitar is brought to the fore on ‘Saturation Point’, keeping things together as the rest of the track spins out of control in the background, like a cross between Khruangbin and Ennio Morricone; previous single ‘Warmth Of The Sun’ is put through an acid blender, blurring all the edges and giving us one much-needed final hit of serotonin as the summer recedes into the distance.

                                      “When Nat from Sonic Cathedral said we should ask Sonic Boom for a remix, I thought he was kidding, but as a huge Spacemen 3 fan I felt we should give it a shot,” says Pye Corner Audio, aka Martin Jenkins. “Happily, he ended up remixing three tracks and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. He really took them somewhere special.” “Friends kept mentioning Pye Corner Audio. Friends with good taste. And when I listened, I could hear why,” says Sonic Boom, aka Pete Kember, who has just released Reset, his acclaimed collaboration with Panda Bear. “When Sonic Cathedral approached me about a remix, with Andy Bell in tow to boot, I asked for the stems of the three tracks that I liked the most… and sometimes in life things just flow. “Three tracks and three remixes later, here we are, finally sending them off into the world to do their thing and for us to float and oscillate into their textures. These songs were medicine during troubled times for me. I can’t think of a better endorsement.” Praise for Let’s Emerge! “It was an amazing thing to realise that people connected so positively with Let’s Emerge!” says Martin, “as it was such a personal record to make.”

                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                      Barry says: Sonic Boom takes his deft hand to three of the highlights from Pye Corner Audio's superb 'Let's Emerge' LP (my personal LP of the year), and twists them into psychedelic versions of the originals. In keeping with the originals, but taken in entirely new directions, it's a brilliant outing from Kember, and a wonderful addition to the considerable PCA canon.

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      A1. Haze Loops (Sonic Boom Remix)
                                      A2. Saturation Point (Sonic Boom Remix)
                                      B1. Warmth Of The Sun (Sonic Boom Remix)

                                      XAM Duo

                                      XAM Duo RMX

                                        XAM Duo – the Yorkshire-based pairing of Matthew Benn and Christopher Duffin – follow-up their The A-side features a reworking of the album’s closing track, ‘Cold Stones’, by legendary electronic artist and DJ, James Holden. In one of his first remixes for a number of years, he has taken the original’s calming, comedown energy and transformed it into an epic, 11-and-a-half-minute journey, which somewhere around the five-minute mark comes right back up. “It didn't turn out quite how I expected, but as they say the sculpture is already in the stone, we just have to find it,” says Holden. “It's like the most rave thing I’ve done for ages and also not rave at all, like a blurry dream about a rave?” Whatever it is, it’s incredible, as are the two further reworkings on the B-side. The Early Years resurface after another lengthy hiatus and reframe ‘LGOC’ as a divine astral jazz / krautrock crossover, while Richard Pike (of PVT and Deep Learning, among others) turns ‘Blue Comet’ into a glitchy and discordant soundtrack to the best 1980s computer game you never played. “It’s lovely to hear three different interpretations of songs that we already tend to keep quite loose and elastic,“ says Matthew Benn. “These remixes feel like a natural extension of the music on the album, like they're from the same world, but perhaps in a different language.”

                                        TRACK LISTING

                                        A1 - Cold Stones (James Holden Remix)
                                        B1 - LGOC (The Early Years Remix)
                                        B2 - Blue Comet (Richard Pike Remix)

                                        Mark Peters

                                        Red Sunset Dreams

                                          Mark Peters releases a second solo album Red Sunset Dreams on September 16. The follow-up to his hugely acclaimed debut Innerland, which was one of Rough Trade’s albums of the year when it came out in 2018, it features a number of guest musicians, including former One Dove singer and songwriter Dot Allison and pedal steel legend BJ Cole. Like its predecessor, Red Sunset Dreams is an album about an imaginary landscape.

                                          Whereas Innerland was an introspective psychogeographic trip inspired by Mark’s move back to his hometown of Wigan and the memories it stirred up, Red Sunset Dreams looks outwards, across the Atlantic to the United States of America, but very much through a UK prism; a representation of the subconscious Americana that’s buried deep in our collective psyches. The result is an incredibly evocative trip through the landscapes of old Western movies, exploring their links with the North West of England while touching on wider themes such as isolation, freedom and dementia. Sonically, it builds on the palette of the previous record with instrumentation equally inspired by the ascendant ambient Americana movement and classic country-rock.

                                          As a result it ends up somewhere between Acetone’s peerless I Guess I Would, Diamond Head-era Phil Manzanera and the dusty instrumentals on the second disc of David Sylvian’s 1986 classic Gone To Earth.Mark has spent the four years since Innerland recording and releasing Destiny Waiving, his third collaboration with Ulrich Schnauss, and recently followed up 2020’s new Engineers recordings (the ambient perambulations of Pictobug) with a reissue series of the band’s much sought after early albums. He has recently put a brand new band together and will be playing a series of live shows following the release of Red Sunset Dreams.

                                          TRACK LISTING

                                          1. Switch On The Sky (feat. Dot Allison)
                                          2. Golden Cloud
                                          3. Silver River (feat. BJ Cole)
                                          4. Dusty Road Ramble
                                          5. The Musical Box
                                          6. Tamaroa
                                          7. Red Sunset Dream
                                          8. Sundowning (feat. Dot Allison)

                                          Dummy

                                          Dumb E.P.s

                                            LA five-piece Dummy follow last year’s acclaimed debut album ‘Mandatory Enjoyment’ (released by Trouble In Mind) and their recent single for Sub Pop with ‘Dumb EPs’, a compilation of their first two EPs from 2020, remastered especially for vinyl by Simon Scott from Slowdive.‘EP1’ was recorded from late 2019 and released in May 2020, both digitally and on a tape by Maryland punk label Pop Wig. It became a lockdown essential, and despite the pandemic the band managed to record the follow-up, ‘EP2’, remotely using smart phones. It was released in November 2020 by the Chicago label Born Yesterday. Together, the ten tracks that comprise the EPs manage to show off all of the band’s broad range of influences – from Stereolab-style drone-pop to baroque psych, chamber folk, noisy shoegaze and Japanese ambient and new age – which have made them one of the most exciting new bands to come out of the US for years

                                            TRACK LISTING

                                            1. Angel’s Gear
                                            2. Avant Garde Gas Station
                                            3. Slacker Mask
                                            4. Folk Song
                                            5. Touch The Chimes
                                            6. Thursday Morning
                                            7. Pool Dizzy
                                            8. Nuages
                                            9. Mediocre Garden
                                            10. Second Contact
                                            11. Prime Mover Unmoved

                                            Pye Corner Audio

                                            Let's Emerge!

                                              Pye Corner Audio releases a new album, 'Let’s Emerge!', for Sonic Cathedral. It’s his first studio outing for the label following the acclaimed live recording 'Social Dissonance', which was released earlier this year, and it features Ride guitarist Andy Bell playing on five of its ten tracks.

                                              From the first glimpse of the artwork to the first note of the music it’s a marked deviation from Pye Corner Audio’s more traditional shadowy sounds. Whereas his last outing for Ghost Box (2021’s 'Entangled Routes') was inspired by the underground fungal pathways through which plants communicate, this one is very much above ground, bathed in sunlight and acid-bright psychedelia. “This is a departure to sunnier climes, but a departure nonetheless,” says Pye Corner Audio, aka Martin Jenkins. “It’s something that I’d been thinking about for a while. I try to tailor my work slightly differently for the various labels that I work with, and this seems to fit nicely with Sonic Cathedral’s ethos.”

                                              Designer Marc Jones’ ultra vivid artwork consciously references the likes of LFO, Spacemen 3 and the early output of Stereolab. “I think it mixes together many of my earliest influences,” explains Martin. “I’ve been a long-time fan of Spacemen 3 and Stereolab. Their moments of repetition and drone have always seeped into what I’ve tried to create. “I was living in a small apartment and I’d stripped down my studio set-up when I was recording this album. This enabled me to focus on a few key pieces of equipment and explore them fully.” The recordings were fleshed out by Andy Bell, who Martin first met at the Sonic Cathedral 15th birthday party at The Social in London back in 2019 – the same show that became the live album 'Social Dissonance'. “New alliances were formed and friendships made in that basement in Little Portland Street,” recalls Martin. “When I met Andy, we agreed that we needed to work together in some way. After I’d remixed a few tracks from his album 'The View From Halfway Down', he kindly repaid the favour.”

                                              The end results are incredible, from the first stirrings of opener ‘De-Hibernate’, via the glorious ‘Haze Loops’ and ‘Saturation Point’, the album slowly but surely awakens, blinking and feeling its way into the light. It all culminates in the epic closing track ‘Warmth Of The Sun’ which, with its vocal harmonies and acid breakdown, is seven and a half minutes of pure release. “That one’s about life’s simple pleasures,” concludes Martin. “The Beach Boys, tremolo guitars, infinite drones, Spacemen 3. Let’s emerge from this darkened era and feel the ‘Warmth Of The Sun’. “The last few years have seen huge changes, both personally and in a wider perspective. The album title is a reaction to this, a collective (tentative) sigh of relief. Here’s to new beginnings and a sense of hope.”


                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                              Barry says: I love Pye Corner Audio, always have. We had Andy Bell in the shop a couple months back and he was telling us he'd worked with Martin on some music but I did NOT expect this. Gorgeous, plaintive washes of synth and reverbed guitar, echoes of melody within the expansive, electronic atmospheres. A stunning first one for the great Sonic Cathedral.

                                              TRACK LISTING

                                              Side A
                                              1. De-Hibernate
                                              2. Lyracal
                                              3. Does It Go Dark?
                                              4. Haze Loops
                                              5. Let’s Emerge Part One
                                              Side B
                                              1. Saturation Point
                                              2. Sun Stroke
                                              3. Let’s Emerge Part Two
                                              4. Luminescence
                                              5. Warmth Of The Sun

                                              XAM Duo

                                              XAM Duo II

                                                XAM Duo – the Yorkshire-based pairing of Matthew Benn and Christopher Duffin – follow up their acclaimed self-titled 2016 debut with a new album. They have spent the past few years collaborating with Virginia Wing and releasing the fun single ‘Tisch Tennis’, as well as playing live with everyone from Stereolab, Sonic Boom and Michael Rother to Jessy Lanza, The Necks and Anna Meredith. They are also both members of Holodrum, the band formed from the ashes of Hookworms whose debut album came out earlier this year.

                                                Despite being over five years in the making, ‘XAM Duo II’ is a much more concise affair than their debut, clocking in at just under 30 minutes. The journey begins and ends with the beat-driven ‘Blue Comet’ and ‘Cold Stones’, taking in shorter ambient jams along the way, making use of saxophone, drawn out tape chords, floating Rhodes piano and spaced-out synths, alongside very precise and intentional, sequenced and punchy synth tones. With the digital approach it could feel cold and processed, but it’s the opposite – warm and natural.

                                                This is something that is reflected in the striking artwork by long-time collaborator Jonathan Wilkinson which comes from a series of prints inspired by his time hiking around the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. One thing that has stayed the same is the influence of The Sopranos, with three of the six tracks on the album named after episodes of the classic series.

                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                1. Blue Comet
                                                2. LGOC
                                                3. Kaisha
                                                4. The Middle Way
                                                5. Lifeguard At Mohang Beach
                                                6. Cold Stones

                                                Pye Corner Audio

                                                Social Dissonance

                                                  In the heady days prior to the pandemic, on October 23, 2019, Pye Corner Audio headlined Sonic Cathedral’s 15th birthday bash at The Social in London (on a bill that also included bdrmm and Andy Bell). Now, following a limited cassette release in 2020, the incendiary performance – which mixes improvisations with reworked material from across his career – has been remastered by Antony Ryan (ISAN) and is to be made available on vinyl for the first time.

                                                  Wryly titled ‘Social Dissonance’, it comes on green and blue swirl vinyl in a striking fluoro green and neon blue sleeve by designer Marc Jones. “This is a recording of a gig in a small space with a big heart,” says Pye Corner Audio, aka Martin Jenkins. “A memory of a night before the world changed completely. However, new alliances were formed and friendships made in that basement in Little Portland Street.” Indeed, Pye Corner Audio went on to collaborate with Andy Bell on an acclaimed series of remixes and the Ride guitarist returned the favour by playing on some new recordings that will be coming out on Sonic Cathedral later this year.

                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                  1. Untitled
                                                  2. Untitled

                                                  Bdrmm

                                                  Port EP

                                                    bdrmm release a new EP, featuring their acclaimed recent single ‘Port’, alongside remixes by Daniel Avery, Working Men’s Club, A Place To Bury Strangers and more. The seven-track Port EP will be released digitally and on CD on April 8, with a limited-edition orange vinyl 12” version following later in the year. The EP is the Hull and Leeds-based band’s first major release since their debut album, Bedroom, which was hailed as a latter-day shoegaze classic when it came out in July 2020.

                                                    ‘Port’, which was originally released as a single last October, marked a major step forward for the band. Sounding not unlike the Low of Double Negative or Hey What deconstructing The Temptations’ ‘I Know I’m Losing You’, it’s a much darker sounding song; its distorted drones and beats burst into life with frenzied guitar and howls of anguish. "It helped us consider the band in a much more fluid perspective,” says bassist and synth player Jordan Smith of the pivotal track. “Swapping instruments and redefining roles gave us time to spend working on new and more intriguing sonic ideas.”

                                                    This new experimental and more electronic approach was expanded as the standalone single release grew, almost accidentally, into a full EP, which features radical reworkings by Daniel Avery (a fearless, all guns blazing techno stomper); Working Men’s Club (New Order’s ‘Sub-Culture’ meets a long-lost early Warp Records classic); A Place To Bury Strangers (a feedback frenzy of total sonic annihilation); Tom Sharkett from Manchester krautpoppers W.H. Lung (DFA Records goes down to the death disco); Jonathan Snipes from LA-based experimental hip-hop trio Clipping (glitchy beats imploding into a wall of white noise); and Jordan himself, as Mouth Company, who brings proceedings to a close with a slow-mo trip-hop treatment.

                                                    “The idea originally stemmed from us joking about Daniel Avery remixing one of our tracks one day and we just kind of went from there,” explains singer Ryan Smith of the EP’s unusual genesis. “We’d arranged a remix swap with A Place To Bury Strangers and then somehow managed to gather all these other incredible remixes over the space of a few months, and it seemed ridiculous not to release them as one piece of work. It’s a real journey listening to them individually, but back-to-back it really is something.” He’s right, the seven tracks hang together perfectly, like the best kind of mixtape, despite each one being so different from the next. “I think the sparseness of the original mix gave a fair amount of versatility to whoever wanted to mess around with the stems,” adds Jordan. “I think that shows in the final EP – six completely idiosyncratic mixes that we all fell in love with.” “To have so many influential artists to us putting their own piece of DNA on what has become such an important track to us is so humbling,” gushes Ryan. “It’s brand new territory for us, and we just feel so lucky to have everybody involved.” The EP is being released ahead of bdrmm’s dates supporting shoegaze legends Ride in April and will be followed by their eagerly-awaited second album, which they are currently working on. “I am so excited to embrace the next chapter of bdrmm,” concludes Ryan. “It’s been a fucking tough ride, but one I never want to get off.”

                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                    Barry says: Superb band, brilliant song and LOOK at that list of remixers! Every single one is a wonderfully different take on the source material. The winner for me has to be the W.H. Lung remix by the superbly talented (and monolithically barnetted) Tom 'Sharky' Sharkett. Brilliant.

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    1. Port
                                                    2. Port (Working Men’s Club Remix)
                                                    3. Port (W.H. Lung - Tom Sharkett Remix)
                                                    4. Port (Daniel Avery Remix)
                                                    5. Port (A Place To Bury Strangers Remix)
                                                    6. Port (Jonathan Snipes Remix)
                                                    7. Port (Mouth Company Remix)

                                                    Andy Bell

                                                    Flicker

                                                      'Flicker’ is the second album from Ride guitarist and songwriter Andy Bell. Written almost as a conversation with his teenage self, it follows the triumphant solo debut that was 2020’s ‘The View From Halfway Down’.

                                                      This 18-track double album finds Andy moving towards classic songwriting, notably on the reflective lead single ‘Something Like Love’, the strident harmonies of ‘World of Echo’, the joyous refracted loops of ‘Jenny Holzer B. Goode’ and the fuzz-laden late-’60s balladeering of ‘Love Is The Frequency’. Stylistically, the four sides of ‘Flicker’ take in everything from modern psychedelia to fingerpicked folk, whimsical baroque pop, and Byrdsian 12-string beauty. It’s a breathtaking array and makes it even more abundantly clear that Andy has entered a purple patch in his songwriting, hitting a new velocity in contrast to his initial inhibitions about becoming a solo artist. He gradually overcame these after the passing of David Bowie in 2016, with the Thin White Duke’s bountiful 50 years of music providing inspiration from beyond the grave.

                                                      ‘Flicker’ is also an apt description for the genesis of the album. At the start of 2021, Andy returned to the stems of the recording sessions he made at Beady Eye and Oasis bandmate Gem Archer’s North London studio and added fuel to the fire, writing melodies and lyrics and turning them into fully formed songs. The same sessions were also the starting point for ‘The View From Halfway Down’ and this album picks up where that one left off, quite literally, with the very first words being “I was halfway down…”. This is the first of several playful, possibly intentional, references to albums and song titles that litter the record like a musical breadcrumb trail.

                                                      As much as this is a modern sounding and forward-looking record, it’s also very much about looking back, something that is clear from the first glimpse of the front cover – a previously unseen outtake from Joe Dilworth’s photo sessions for the inner sleeve of Ride’s debut album, ‘Nowhere’.

                                                      “When I think about ‘Flicker’, I see it as closure,” explains Andy. “Most literally, on a half-finished project from over six years ago, but also on a much bigger timescale. Some of these songs date back to the ’90s and the cognitive dissonance of writing brand new lyrics over songs that are 20-plus years old makes it feel like it is, almost literally, me exchanging ideas with my younger self.”

                                                      This conversation takes place across ‘Flicker’’s 18 tracks. Essentially it advises us to stop worrying about the future and enjoy each day as it comes, embracing the crushing, unpredictable lows of life as much as the almighty highs of being in love. Some of it remains unspoken, taking place sonically rather than verbally: the album has a reflective, meditative feeling throughout, exploring many aspects of mental health, and the beautiful stillness of first single ‘Something Like Love’ could almost be a musical salve to the heartache 19-year-old Andy poured into ‘Vapour Trail’ in 1990.

                                                      “The ‘Flicker’ I’m talking about in the lyrics is that flame that makes a person who they are,” explains Andy. “I wanted to find that in myself, so I went back to the teenage me – a technique I learned in therapy and have been doing ever since – and got some advice on how to live and be happy in the 2020s.

                                                      “‘The View From Halfway Down’ was about turning 50 in a very weird time of introspection. ‘Flicker’ is about gathering the tools to equip myself mentally for life in 2022 and beyond – post-pandemic, post-Brexit, post-truth.”

                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                      1. The Sky Without You
                                                      2. It Gets Easier
                                                      3. World Of Echo
                                                      4. Something Like Love
                                                      5. Jenny Holzer B. Goode
                                                      6. Way Of The World
                                                      7. Riverside
                                                      8. We All Fall Down
                                                      9. No Getting Out Alive
                                                      10. The Looking Glass
                                                      11. Love Is The Frequency
                                                      12. Gyre And Gimble
                                                      13. Lifeline
                                                      14. She Calls The Tune
                                                      15. Sidewinder
                                                      16. When The Lights Go Down
                                                      17. This Is Our Year
                                                      18. Holiday In The Sun

                                                      Sennen

                                                      Transmissions EP

                                                        Sennen follow the expanded 15th anniversary reissue of their debut album Widows with a brand new live EP recorded earlier this year when the band were invited to play a live Transmissions session for Rough Trade, which also gave it its title. The four-piece decamped to Goldsmiths Music Studios in London back in June, and four tracks were broadcast via Rough Trade’s Instagram TV channel at the time. It was the first time the band had played together in almost five years, and they worked through a set of tracks from the reissued debut, plus a beautifully affecting cover of Big Star’s ‘Nightime’. The overwhelmingly positive reaction to the reissue (Under The Radar said it fused “post-rock time signatures with the ethereal beauty of early Ride or Chapterhouse”, while Resident Music simply called it “one of the best shoegaze records of all time”) has seemingly given the band a new lease of life, and they head out on the road for a series of live dates later this month.

                                                        “We were thrilled with the reaction to the Widows reissue,” says guitarist and singer Richard Kelleway. “It looks and sounds better than the original and seems to have hit the right note with a lot of people. We’ve seen plenty of photos of the record on people’s turntables, which means they like it, right?” The return to live performances was perhaps more unexpected. “When Rough Trade invited us to record a few of the songs for a live broadcast I’m pretty sure we hadn’t all been in the same room together since we met in the pub at the start of 2020 to discuss the reissue. That was pre-pandemic and it had been a lot longer since we’d played some of the songs. “We booked the studio and once we started playing, it’s a cliché but it was a bit like riding a bike. Those songs are forever lodged somewhere in my brain. Apart from ‘Opened Up My Arms’, I must have banged my head where that one was stored. “We used to do a version of ‘Nightime’ in rehearsals, but very occasionally we’d do it live. The last time we did it was just after Alex Chilton died. It turned out so nice we wanted to include it. “It was really fun to play the songs again so we can’t wait to do a few gigs in front of real-life people at the end of October.”

                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                        1. I Couldn’t Tell You
                                                        2. Opened Up My Arms
                                                        3. Laid Out
                                                        4. Forty Years
                                                        5. Nightime
                                                        6. Widows 

                                                        Mildred Maude

                                                        Sleepover

                                                          Three seemingly disparate characters from Cornwall – Matt Ashdown (guitar), Lee Wade (bass) and Louie Newlands (drums) – Mildred Maude are named after one of their grandmas and play an improvised noise that always seems to be teetering on the edge of chaos, but something incredibly beautiful at the same time, like a cross between Sonic Youth and Slowdive. It is utterly thrilling.

                                                          Sleepover is their second album and bears the influence of Stereolab, Can, Butthole Surfers, Yo La Tengo and Sun Ra, among others, with three of its four tracks being over 10 minutes in length. ‘Trevena’ is the loping opener; ‘Elliott’s Floor’ initially turned into My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Only Shallow’ by mistake and on the vinyl version it never ends, thanks to a locked groove; ‘Glen Plays Moses’ crosses a Red Sea of sound and is just epic in every way.The odd one out is ‘Chemo Brain’ – just under three minutes of Fugazi-esque frenzy, named after a side-effect of bassist Lee’s cancer treatment. The album artwork is also inspired by this – it’s a molecular model of cyclophosphamide, one of the drugs he was given.Mildred Maude’s DIY approach has been the only way for them to get anywhere in Cornwall, where they say they feel more in tune with Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert and the Rephlex Records crowd from the 1990s than any current scene. They do, however, unintentionally have something in common with the medieval Miracle Plays that would take place in the Duchy. “They were notoriously noisy to attract people to them,” explains guitarist Matt, “but were also events that brought communities together, and we like our live shows to have a sense of togetherness.”

                                                          Matt says he is also inspired by historic places of worship. “There are some great places in Cornwall such as St Just Church and the open air Gwennap Pit in Redruth. It’s these beautiful spaces that I try to imagine we’re in when we’re playing live – so it’s fitting that we’re releasing this new album on Sonic Cathedral.”

                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                          1. Trevena
                                                          2. Chemo Brain
                                                          3. Elliott’s Floor
                                                          4. Glen Plays Moses

                                                          Andy Bell

                                                          Another View

                                                            Compilation album featuring Pye Corner Audio remixed tracks from 2020’s “the view from halfway down” Andy Bell’s critically acclaimed album + some unreleased acoustic versions. 

                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                            Barry says: In a brilliant twist, Pye Corner Audio reworked a bunch of Andy Bell's tunes for a series of 12's recently, and the results were stellar, this Cd compilation sees all of those singles and b-sides come together for a superb meeting of minds and a wonderfully rewarding listen.

                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                            1.Indica (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                                                            2.Skywalker (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                                                            3.Cherry Cola (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                                                            4.Love Comes In Waves (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                                                            5.I Was Alone (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                                                            6.Indica (Pye Corner Audio Remix – GLOK Re-edit)
                                                            7.The Commune (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                                                            8.Plastic Bag (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                                                            9.The Commune
                                                            10.Plastic Bag
                                                            11.Love Comes In Waves (Acoustic Version)
                                                            12.Cherry Cola (Acoustic Version)
                                                            13.Skywalker (Acoustic Version)
                                                            14.Perfume (Acoustic Version)
                                                            15.The Commune (Acoustic Version)

                                                            Cheval Sombre

                                                            Days Go By

                                                              Cheval Sombre releases his fourth album, Days Go By, via Sonic Cathedral on May 28, 2021.

                                                              It is his second album this year, and a companion piece to Time Waits for No One, which came out at the end of February to great acclaim. Like that album, it has been produced and mixed by Sonic Boom and features guests including Galaxie 500 and Luna frontman Dean Wareham.

                                                              Cheval Sombre is the nome d’arte of Chris Porpora, a poet from upstate New York whose otherworldly psychedelic lullabies on his self-titled album from 2009 and its follow-up, Mad Love (2012), won him a cult following. Coming just three months after Time Waits for No One, Days Go By furthers the overarching theme of the inexorable and inevitable march of time and, musically, comes across like John Fahey sitting in with Spiritualized circa Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.

                                                              The title Days Go By is actually taken from the lyrics of the previous record’s title track – and this is just one way in which the records are inextricably linked, via a number of symmetries. Both have ten tracks, with eight originals, one instrumental and a closing cover version, which this time around is a take on Scottish folk musician Alasdair Roberts’ ‘The Calfless Cow’.

                                                              “Having the opportunity to release two full-length albums in the same year doesn’t come around too often,” explains Chris, “so I wanted to go to every length to make it special – meaningful. It was a privilege to realise this meticulous level of symmetry – it truly became another vital dimension in the craft of record making. Around each turn, there was a chance to be incredibly measured and thoughtful, not least with Craig Carry’s artwork.”

                                                              But, as the intersecting flight paths of the two birds on the respective covers show, there are also plenty of differences. Not least, the mood, which on Days Go By is lighter, airier, punctuated by strings which are even more beautiful. Chris likens it to Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, but in reverse order. “How wonderful to discover that on the other side of experience, there is an innocence which has endured,” he explains.

                                                              “Beyond politics, love affairs, worldly woes, even life and death, it’s true – there is a calm after the storm. “It’s strange, this life – isn’t it? You’ve got all these songs around conceptions of time, it’s over eight years since your last album, you decide to release twin records, and their release dates somehow fall perfectly in line with the unfolding present. When folks say that the stars conspire to make things happen, I tend to believe it. Time Waits for No One is a dark record, already reminiscent of the shadowy days of winter, of the trials of the pandemic. If Days Go By can coincide with the promise of springtime, bringing with it light, lifting spirits – then I know my work has been done.”

                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                              Barry says: I always thought 'Cheval Sombre' meant 'Sad Horse' which would have made perfect sense, but it turns out it actually means 'Dark Horse'. Anyway, if horses were so inclined, I imagine that this mournful but uplifting suite of perfectly crafted acoustic balladry would make even the saddest of horses a little bit more cheery.

                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                              1. If It’s You
                                                              2. So Long For This
                                                              3. Well It’s Hard
                                                              4. He Was My Gang
                                                              5. Give Me Something
                                                              6. Are You Ready
                                                              7. Pneumonia Blues
                                                              8. Sunlight In My Room
                                                              9. Walking At Night
                                                              10. The Calfless Cow

                                                              Andy Bell

                                                              See My Friends EP

                                                                The two tracks from Andy Bell’s debut solo single reworked by Pye Corner Audio, with the original tracks remastered by Heba Kadry.

                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                1.The Commune (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                                                                2.Plastic Bag (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                                                                3.The Commune
                                                                4.Plastic Bag

                                                                Cheval Sombre

                                                                Time Waits For No One

                                                                  Cheval Sombre releases his third album, Time Waits for No One. It is his first solo release for more than eight years, following 2018’s critically acclaimed collaboration with Galaxie 500 and Luna frontman Dean Wareham, and the first of two new albums scheduled for 2021, both of which have been produced by Sonic Boom. Cheval Sombre is the nome d’arte of Chris Porpora, a poet from upstate New York whose otherworldly psychedelic lullabies on his self-titled album from 2009 and its follow-up, Mad Love (2012), won him a cult following. Time Waits for No One ushers in his most prolific period, and serendipitously the world has finally slowed down to his pace. This is no lockdown record, but Cheval Sombre’s reclusive, reflective music is its perfect soundtrack.

                                                                  “I’ve always said that what I really want to do with music is to give people sanctuary,” he explains. “Pandemic or not, the world has always felt as though it were spinning out of control to me, and so if folks have slowed down, I do see it all as an opportunity to discover vital realms which have always been there, but we’ve been too rushed and distracted to encounter.” Time Waits for No One is also his finest and most fully realised body of work to date and, appropriately enough for a record that has taken so many years to come to fruition, across eight original songs, an instrumental and a closing cover of Townes Van Zandt’s ‘No Place to Fall’, its overarching theme is time itself; what it is and what role it inevitably plays in all of our lives.

                                                                  But the record is also timeless, contrasting the musical simplicity of Cheval Sombre’s open-tuned acoustic guitar curlicues with the beautiful, sweeping and ornate arrangements of Sonic Boom’s keyboards and Gillian Rivers’ and Yuiko Kamakari’s strings. The end result is something akin to Daniel Johnston backed by the Mercury Rev of Deserter’s Songs. Elemental and earthbound, but simultaneously and very subtly shooting for the stratosphere.

                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                  Barry says: A brittle but beautiful combination of folky guitar and heavily echoed vocals, falling somewhere between traditional 60's psych and slow shoegaze mixed with a dash of modern classical. It's tender and haunting, a wonderful journey.

                                                                  Andy Bell

                                                                  The View From Halfway Down

                                                                    Ride guitarist/singer Andy Bell releases his debut solo album The View From Halfway Down on October 9. The product of a gradual, four-year process and finished during lockdown, the album was entirely written and recorded by Andy, engineered by Gem Archer and mastered by Heba Kadry.

                                                                    Back in 2016, Andy was inspired by David Bowie’s death to be more proactive about finishing his songs, more confident about sharing them and to channel all of this into finally making a solo album. He laid down some tracks in former Beady Eye and Oasis bandmate Gem’s studio, but got diverted when Ride’s live reunion blossomed into a full return. A run of two albums, an EP and two world tours later, it would take a pandemic to give Andy the space to complete The View From Halfway Down.

                                                                    “I’ve always wanted to make a solo album, I’ve always said I would do it, although I never imagined it happening like, or sounding like, this one does,” explains Andy. “I’d been sitting on this pile of almost finished tracks, along with all the other hundreds of ideas that had fallen by the wayside since I’ve been making music. Lockdown gave me the opportunity to find a way to present it to the world.

                                                                    “The album is not about songwriting. There aren’t many verses or choruses, because this album is about sounds, a listening experience.”

                                                                    From the ecstatic psych pop of ‘Love Comes In Waves’, to the heady loops of ‘Indica’ and deeply groove-led ‘Skywalker’, the eight tracks mix summery melodies with soundscapes and studio experimentation. The end result sits neatly between Ride’s widescreen shoegaze and GLOK’s textured electronics, variously inspired by The Stone Roses, Spacemen 3, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Beta Band, Stereolab, Neu!, Can, John Fahey, The Kinks, The La’s, The Who and the United States Of America.

                                                                    As for the album title, it comes from a particularly dark episode of BoJack Horseman and a poem that scriptwriter Alison Tafel wrote for the penultimate show. The spoiler-free version of the story goes like this: “The poem describes someone committing suicide by jumping to their death and the regret the protagonist experiences when he sees ‘the view from halfway down’. Although, of course, it’s too late to change what’s going to happen. I read this poem as having a message of suicide prevention: if you could see the view from halfway down, you would never go through with anything that would end your life. I’ve never been suicidal, but I felt really moved by this brilliant poem when I watched the show during Ride’s US tour in Autumn 2019. It’s an incredible message.

                                                                    “There was a small kind of a parallel with me, sitting at home in London in March 2020. In the early stages of lockdown, you could feel the tension in the air, causing what felt like a global panic attack. But, in common with what I’ve heard from others who can experience anxiety for no reason in their everyday lives, I felt strangely calm in the midst of all of this, seeing things in my life very clearly. Such clarity allowed me to finally compile this record. In a way, to see my life flash before me and be able to curate moments of it into a 40-minute listening experience, then find a title that would fit.

                                                                    “My upcoming 50th brought everything more sharply into focus. If you imagine that my entire life was a freefall jump to my death, and you were feeling optimistic about me reaching 100 like my Gran did and getting a telegram from the Queen, this album would be ‘the view from halfway down’.”

                                                                    So there you have it. The near death of a cartoon anti-hero and the actual death of a music legend, feeling the calm within a global pandemic and a musical turning point halfway through life all add up to one glorious, technicolour whole.

                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                    1. Love Comes In Waves
                                                                    2. Indica
                                                                    3. Ghost Tones
                                                                    4. Skywalker
                                                                    5. Aubrey Drylands Gladwell
                                                                    6. Cherry Cola
                                                                    7. I Was Alone
                                                                    8. Heat Haze On Weyland Road

                                                                    Molly

                                                                    All That Was EP

                                                                      Limited-edition EP released to coincide with the Austrian shoegaze duo's extensive European tour. Pressed on snow white vinyl, it compiles three remixes of tracks from last year’s acclaimed debut album All That Ever Could Have Been that have only been released digitally to date. Maps’ version of previous single ‘Weep, Gently Weep’ takes the glacial and grandiose structure of the original and adds an avalanche of electronic beats and snow-capped synths. William Doyle (formerly East India Youth) turns the title track into an ambient epic, with sequencers bubbling like mountain springs, and the bells from the Tyrolean sheep ringing out on what is essentially an Alpine version of The KLF’s Chill Out. Mark Peters, meanwhile, combines Parts I and II of ‘Coming Of Age’ and relocates them from the Alps to the windswept hills of northwest England that inspired his own album, Innerland, resulting in six minutes of cloudy ambient beauty, before the skies clear for a stunning Kevin Shields-style sunset. Rounding out the EP is a brand new re-recording of their classic song ‘Glimpse‘, here re-titled ‘Another Glimpse’ and amplified in every way, veering from serene Sigur Rós to splenetic Smashing Pumpkins within eight minutes. 

                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                      1. Weep, Gently Weep (Maps Remix)
                                                                      2. All That Ever Could Have Been (William Doyle Remix)
                                                                      3. Coming Of Age (Mark Peters Remix)
                                                                      4. Another Glimpse

                                                                      Molly

                                                                      All That Ever Could Have Been

                                                                        “Skeletal, celestial shoegaze [that] reflects the cold beauty of the Austrian Alps” Stereogum. Innsbruck-based Lars Andersson and Phillip Dornauer’s shoegaze-inspired beginnings coalesced on their acclaimed 2017 EP, ‘Glimpse’, which did just as it said, offering a tantalising peek into their world; the full, glorious vista is now revealed on their accomplished debut album. And ‘All That Ever Could Have Been’ really is breathtaking. It begins with an almost 15-minute post-rock epic and takes in nods to ambient, dreampop and even prog, with echoes of Galaxie 500, Low, Beachwood Sparks, Dungen, The Besnard Lakes, Sigur Rós and M83. Its eight tracks belie both the band’s youth and their small number, forming a mountain of sound that suggests they are more of a geological outfit than a musical one.

                                                                        Mexican duo Lorelle Meets The Obsolete release their new album De Facto on January 11, 2019. The album, their fifth, was recorded at their home studio in Ensenada, Baja California, mixed by Cooper Crain (of Cave and Bitchin Bajas) and mastered by Mikey Young (of Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Total Control). It’s easily their best and most coherent album to date, and also the one that fully explores the outer limits of their sound. “There was a conscious desire to push further with what we were doing,” says The Obsolete, aka Alberto González. “One of our rules for this album was to go all in without middle grounds in terms of what we wanted the songs to be. We were committed to developing ideas that made our heads go ‘POW!’ from the beginning.” The end result is somewhere between the brave experimentation of the new Low album, Double Negative, and Tender Buttons-era Broadcast put through a heavy psych filter. There are pure pop songs that come across like lost ’60s nuggets (‘Linéas En Hojas’), blistering white noise jams (‘Unificado’) and meditative incantations (‘La Maga’) – all of which will, indeed, make heads go ‘POW!’

                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                        Martin says: Perhaps the best thing anyone can do with a legacy is build on it. A change of scene certainly helps to avoid getting stuck in the ever diminishing returns of routine, churning out the same result every time, but with ever less inspiration. So when Lorelle Meets The Obsolete swapped the sprawling chaos of Mexico City for the wide open Baja peninsula, Mexico’s remaining bit of California, it turned out to be a very smart move. The formal inclusion of members of their live band, drummer Andrea Davi, José Orozco on synthesizer and bassist Fernando Nuti, into the creative process broadened the sonic palette still more, with the net result that their fifth album, often a marker by which time only diehards have maintained any interest, is their most fully realised and beautiful to date.
                                                                        It’s not as if they’ve abandoned their past mind. Wigout wildness is still very much to the fore in “Unificado”, for example, but change is apparent after the crawling menace of album opener “Ana”. “Líneas en Hojas” introduces itself with a bassline on the verge of breaking into “Billie Jean”, gritty guitar lines and pretty distorted vocals before a bright, clear chorus sends a shaft of light and warmth through the clouds. Perhaps the album’s highlight however is the mesmerising “La Maga”, where the gentle rolling shimmer of the opening three minutes shifts into a drifting, sunset glide of undulating keyboards and repeating guitars that build softly on...and on...

                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                        1. Ana
                                                                        2. Líneas En Hojas
                                                                        3. Acción – Vaciar
                                                                        4. Unificado
                                                                        5. Inundación
                                                                        6. Lux, Lumina
                                                                        7. Resistir
                                                                        8. El Derrumbe
                                                                        9. La Maga

                                                                        Spectres

                                                                        WTF

                                                                          Bristol’s loudest band Spectres return with the brand new six-track ‘WTF’ EP.

                                                                          With recording on their third album almost complete, the band have decided it’s time for one final look back at last year’s album ‘Condition’, which was acclaimed at the time of release, but largely forgotten about by the end of a year which saw some major changes in the band, with frontman Joe Hatt relocating to Berlin and long-time producer Dominic Mitchison joining on bass.

                                                                          The EP pairs one of the highlights of ‘Condition’ – ‘Welcoming The Flowers’ (the video for which was premiered on The Line Of Best Fit recently) – with remixes of other album tracks by the likes of Metrist, who melts ‘Dissolve’ in an acid bath of broken techno; Elvin Brandhi (aka one half of Yeah You) and Mun Sing (aka one half of Giant Swan) who turn ‘End Waltz’ into, respectively, a glitchy explosion of sound and a tribal industrial monster (which was premiered last week on Mixmag); finally French Margot and Silver Waves place a noose of ethereal beauty and bloody-minded sonic terrorism around ‘Neck’.

                                                                          It’s not just the music that comes as a shock to the senses: the packaging of the limited-edition 12” (250 copies only) is, quite literally, a car crash in a bag. It’s pressed on what we’re calling “windscreen coloured” vinyl and comes wrapped in a sleeve covered with tyre marks; inside, alongside the familiar digital download card, you will find an air freshener and a lyric sheet in a child’s handwriting, as you might find near the scene of an accident.

                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                          1. Dissolve (Metrist Remix) 03:26
                                                                          2. Welcoming The Flowers (WTF Version) 04:28
                                                                          3. Neck (French Margot Remix) 05:08
                                                                          4. End Waltz (Elvin Brandhi Remix) 07:04
                                                                          5. Neck (Silver Waves Remix) 03:34
                                                                          6. End Waltz (Mun Sing Remix) 03:41

                                                                          Lifetime of Love is the debut album by Moon Diagrams, the solo recording project of Deerhunter co-founder and drummer Moses John Archuleta. Gradually pieced together over a ten-year period, it finds Archuleta processing various stages of love, loss and regeneration via forlorn outsider pop, minimal techno and warm, weightless experimentation. Hymnal opener “Playground” has echoes of Eno and Grouper; lengthy workouts such as “The Ghost and the Host” recall long-lost Harmonia outtakes, or something from one of Warp’s Artificial Intelligence compilations; the bitter pill pop of “End of Heartache” has the scratchy guitar of New Order circa Brotherhood and the square pegness of Dazzle Ships-era OMD. Several songs are instrumental, while “Bodymaker” features Sian Ahern (Eaux, Sian Alice Group). Subtly grandiose and quietly epic, Lifetime of Love really does live up to its title: a hopeful and curious beginning makes way for a morose middle, before a bittersweet, optimistic end. 

                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                          1. Playground
                                                                          2. Moon Diagrams
                                                                          3. Nightmoves
                                                                          4. Blue Ring
                                                                          5. The Ghost And The Host
                                                                          6. Magic Killer
                                                                          7. Bodymaker
                                                                          8. End Of Heartache

                                                                          Lorelle Meets The Obsolete

                                                                          The Sound Of All Things (Inc. Gnoomes Remix)

                                                                          Red vinyl 7" single coupling the original album version of 'The Sound Of All Things' with a remix by Russian trio Gnoomes.

                                                                          Limited-edition of 274.

                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                          Barry says: One of the highlights of their album, 'The Sound Of All Things' is a slice of motorik guitar-driven synth pop, psychedelic and bracing, all remixed on the flip by Gnoomes into a dystopian re-imagining of the original. Shadowy where it was glittering, but retaining the charm and skill of the original. Great stuff.

                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                          A. The Sound Of All Things
                                                                          AA. The Sound Of All Things (Gnoomes Remix)

                                                                          New outfit formed by Matthew Benn of Hookworms and Christopher Duffin of Deadwall. Its six tracks of improvised ambient beauty are both meditative and peaceful, it is astral jazz with an experimental kosmische undercurrent; modular synths meet saxophones; Cluster meets Terry Riley; Laurie Spiegel meets Pharoah Sanders; Ohr meets Impulse!. A warm, immersive and downright musical record, it rewards repeat listens. XAM was originally Matthew’s solo project, the name borrowed from the closing song of latter-day Dusseldorf-via-Detroit cult classic ‘Subway II’. He recorded a number of tracks at home between Hookworms albums in 2014 which were released last year as the ‘Tone Systems’ EP on Deep Distance.

                                                                          Christopher says he approaches each song as a “mini-soundtrack to an imaginary film that doesn’t exist yet” and reveals that, while he was practising at home, he played along to clips of ‘There Will Be Blood’, ‘Mulholland Drive’ and ‘Synecdoche, New York’ to get the requisite atmosphere. Live sets are also completely improvised, meaning no two shows are ever the same. “I appreciate that improvised music isn’t for everyone, but it’s something I love doing,” Matthew concludes. “And, more often than not, Chris and I create something beautiful together

                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                          Barry says: Otherworldly developing ambience and celestial synth swells, gradual building and eventual fragmentation turn this into a tour-de-force of Reich-esque structural integrity. Jazzy interludes give way to churning echoes, while hints of percussion give just enough purpose to direct the cloud of blissful fog.

                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                          1. Proem
                                                                          2. Pine Barrens
                                                                          3. I Extend My Arms Pt I & II
                                                                          4. Ashtanga
                                                                          5. The Test Dream
                                                                          6. René

                                                                          Spectres

                                                                          Dead

                                                                            Spectres release a new album, ‘Dead’, on March 25. That’s Good Friday, and it will see the songs from the Bristol band’s hugely acclaimed debut ‘Dying’ nailed to the cross by Mogwai, Factory Floor, Hookworms, Richard Fearless (Death In Vegas), Andy Bell (Ride), Robert Hampson (Loop) and many more.

                                                                            The only instruction was “kill our songs”, and so here are the remains, served up on two mortuary slabs of vinyl (and CD) as a stunning, 13-track album that builds on the original’s feeling of claustrophobia and dread, but recasts it across everything from brutal techno (Blood Music’s ‘This Purgatory’) to New Order-meets-Animal Collective euphoria (Andy Bell’s ‘Sea Of Trees’). It’s an occasionally punishing, but always rewarding listen that begins somewhere in the depths of a K-hole, courtesy of Vision Fortune’s ‘Drag’, and ends somewhere rather beautiful, with the celestial synths of Mogwai’s ‘This Purgatory’. (It’s worth noting that Mogwai’s classic ‘Kicking A Dead Pig’ was a big inspiration here.)

                                                                            “We see Spectres as something that can work in a variety of contexts,” says frontman Joe Hatt, as he explains the motivation behind ‘Dead’. “Our musical interests spread out in different angles and we are always thinking of ways for what we do to evolve and mutate. We put together a list of artists who we admired, and thought would deliver a varied and eclectic mix. Some were close friends who are conveniently making some of the best music around, and others were pipe dreams that we thought would never happen. It was both nerve-wracking and fun waiting for each of the artists’ versions to arrive in our inbox, and some definitely surprised us; but none disappointed.”

                                                                            ‘Dead’ serves as an important reminder of what a special band Spectres are, something that can be easy to forget with their anti-industry stance and extra-curricular activities often grabbing the headlines more than their music (“We’ve always been like this, and we won’t cease,” threatens Hatt). In 2015 they ruffled feathers with their Record Store Day Is Dying campaign; their unofficial alternative James Bond theme ‘Spectre’ was erroneously reviewed by the Evening Standard and then some leaked and, it turned out, fake emails managed to upset both the BBC and Sam Smith; they made a video in which they murdered Nick Grimshaw, Reggie Yates, Scott Mills and Fearne Cotton after a Radio 1 Live Lounge appearance went awry; and they ended the year with a massively disrespectful cover version of Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ that had all the good cheer mechanically removed. 

                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                            Barry says: 'Dying' was a perfect pummelling of sonics, unexpectedly brash and brilliantly dark. If anything, this album of reworkings (allegedly handed over to the remixer with the proviso that they 'Kill' their songs) is even moreso. 'Kill' might not be the right word, but they have most certainly stretched, distorted and injected each outing with a dynamic not displayed in the original. Industrial echoes and hammers, cavernous drums. Swashes of distortion swoop and wash over the listener. Barely is there time to breathe between these aural assaults, and when the Stuart Braithwaite remix comes at the end, it feels like you've survived a black storm, and come out of the end all the better for it. Stunning stuff.

                                                                            Disappears

                                                                            Low : Live In Chicago

                                                                              Recording of Disappears performing David Bowie’s classic 1977 album ‘Low’ in its entirety, mastered by Sonic Boom. Limited-edition orange vinyl, housed in a stunning see-through PVC sleeve, complete with the tracklisting on a sticker, as an homage to the original.

                                                                              The band ran through the album twice on November 22 last year as part of a concert series entitled Bowie Changes, which featured several Chicago-based musicians reinterpreting the Bowie catalogue to mark the opening of the ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition at the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art. “Naturally we chose the hardest one,” jokes guitarist/singer Brian Case. They succeed by being faithful to the original, while turning it into something that sounds very much like a Disappears record. The seven regular songs on the first side are buzzing and muscular, injected with steroids by the ferocious rhythm section of Noah Leger (drums) and Damon Carruesco (bass). However, it is the more avant-garde songs on the B-side that are the revelation. Stripped of Eno’s EMS Synthi AKS and Minimoogs, ‘Warszawa’ becomes an intense battleground between Brian and Jonathan van Herik’s treated guitars, ‘Subterraneans’ swaps saxophones for Rother-esque kosmiche curlicues and ‘Weeping Wall’ builds to an appropriate and fearsome (Berlin) wall of noise. It’s stunning.

                                                                              We first met Brian when his old band The Ponys played a Sonic Cathedral show back in 2006. He formed Disappears a couple years later, and the band have since released five albums through venerable Chicago indie label Kranky, the most recent, ‘Irreal’, coming out last January. They were also recently namechecked in Kim Gordon’s book ‘Girl In A Band’, thanks to her ex-Sonic Youth bandmate Steve Shelley being Disappears’ drummer for a time. In 2013 we got them to record a cover of Kraftwerk’s ‘Trans-Europe Express’ for a long sold-out split 7”, but with ‘Low: Live In Chicago’, they have excelled themselves.

                                                                              Disappears are: Noah Leger: drums/tank drum Jonathan van Herik: guitar Damon Carruesco: bass/vocals Brian Case: guitar/vocals Recorded and mixed by: Mike Lust Mastered by: Sonic Boom. 

                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                              1. Speed Of Life
                                                                              2. Breaking Glass
                                                                              3. What In The World
                                                                              4. Sound And Vision
                                                                              5. Always Crashing In The Same Car
                                                                              6. Be My Wife
                                                                              7. A New Career In A New Town
                                                                              8. Warszawa
                                                                              9. Art Decade
                                                                              10. Weeping Wall
                                                                              11. Subterraneans

                                                                              Spectres

                                                                              Spectre

                                                                                Spectres’ alternative Bond theme is a dark and brooding duet between frontman Joe Hatt and chamber pop torch singer Ela Orleans, with strings, horns and a kitchen sink of looming feedback. ‘Spectre’ is beautiful, mysterious and deadly serious; like a shaken and stirred version of Blur’s ‘To The End’, or a cross between Sonic Youth’s cover of ‘Superstar’ and The Smiths’ ‘Death Of A Disco Dancer’.

                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                Spectre
                                                                                Bondage

                                                                                Limited edition bonus disc version also available - click here.

                                                                                The incredible second album from Parisian psych-pop duo Yeti Lane, the follow-up to 2010’s hugely acclaimed self-titled debut.

                                                                                Includes the track ‘Analog Wheel’, premiered on The Line Of Best Fit last December, and the single ‘Sparkling Sunbeam’, featuring guest vocals from Herman Dune.

                                                                                Co-produced and mixed by Antoine Gaillet (M83, Zombie Zombie, The Berg Sans Nipple).

                                                                                Artwork by Jean-Philippe Talaga, founder of the Gooom Disques label.

                                                                                For fans of Kraftwerk, My Bloody Valentine, Broadcast, Stereolab, Can, Pavement and LCD Soundsystem.

                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                Andy says: Grandaddy gone Krautrock. Heavenly.

                                                                                Darryl says: Superb psyche-kosmische indie-pop mantras from this Parisian duo on the Sonic Cathedral label.

                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                1. Analog Wheel
                                                                                2. The Echo Show
                                                                                3. Warning Sensations
                                                                                4. -
                                                                                5. Logic Winds
                                                                                6. Strange Call
                                                                                7. --
                                                                                8. Alba
                                                                                9. ---
                                                                                10. Dead Tired
                                                                                11. Sparkling Sunbeam
                                                                                12. Faded Spectrum
                                                                                13. ----


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