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SONIC CATHEDRAL

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

        Sennen

        Widows (Expanded Edition)

          An expanded edition of the 2005 debut album by Sennen, hailed as a latter-day shoegaze classic, with seven bonus tracks, released on vinyl for the first time and remastered by Simon Scott from Slowdive. When Sonic Cathedral first started out as a club night in 2004, there were a number of bands around that reminded us of the stuff that had made us fall in love with music about 15 years earlier. In this so-called ‘nu-gaze’ scene, alongside the likes of Engineers and Amusement Parks On Fire, were an unassuming four-piece from Norwich called Sennen; they played lots of shows for us, and their mixture of melody and noise made them stand out.

          Their debut album, ‘Widows’, was released on October 24, 2005 by the Hungry Audio label to great acclaim from websites such as Drowned In Sound, who, in their 9/10 review, described it as “enticing, invigorating and most importantly extremely enjoyable”. American webzine Somewhere Cold went even further, saying “they have produced what should become a classic in the genre… they have taken it to a new level with their patient compositions, influx of slowcore elements and incredibly talented instrumentation”. Sennen have gone on to release a number of albums, the most recent being 2016’s ‘First Light’, and their music has featured on big TV dramas such as One Tree Hill and True Blood. However, ‘Widows’, which never got a vinyl release, remained a much sought after time capsule of early noughties experimentation. Now, just over 15 years later, we are really proud to be once again shining a spotlight on it – releasing it on vinyl for the first time, as well as on CD and digitally.

          The new, expanded edition doubles the original album with another seven contemporaneous tracks, many of which were live staples at the time, but have never been released before. The whole package has been painstakingly remastered by Slowdive’s Simon Scott, whose then band Televise were touring partners with Sennen back in the day.

          Andy Bell

          Another View

            All formats come with a free Piccadilly Records EOY Sampler CD whilst stocks last.

            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)

            Andy Bell

            All On You EP

              Four tracks recorded by Ride guitarist and singer Andy Bell for radio sessions, including a cover of 1990 Mancunian cult classic ‘Perfume’ by Paris Angels.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Love Comes In Waves (Acoustic Version)
              2. Cherry Cola (Acoustic Version)
              3. Skywalker (Acoustic Version)
              4. Perfume (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

                  You know us Piccadilly cats are gonna keep it ALFOS 4 LYFE, and this record right here is a total doozy, straddling the ol' Indie-Dance divide like an ad-hoc bridge built out of Bez, copies of Screamadelica and Pollock-patterned bucket hats. For you see, the hazy, Roses-esque jangle of Andy Bell’s debut solo album "The View From Halfway Down" has been radically reworked by synth-wielding maverick Pye Corner Audio. 
                  The resulting EP offers squirming acid lines, thunderous 4/4, baggy breaks and hallucinogenic dreamscapes, all topped by the shifting shimmer of Andy's mystic vocals, themselves twisted into a whole new language. If that weren't enough to have you reaching for the glow sticks, Andy's also added an edit in his GLOK alias.

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Patrick says: Spectacularly psychedelic dancefloor tackle here as PCA unspools Andy Bell atop a plethora of spangled synthery. Indie Dance in its most essential form and totally recommended for the ALFOS / Baggy brigade. File next to Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve, Weatherall and Unkle.

                  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)

                  Horsegirl

                  Ballroom Dance Scene / Sea Life Sandwich Boy

                    Horsegirl are a noisy rock trio from Chicago composed of Penelope Lowenstein, Nora Cheng and Gigi Reece, all 17-18 years old. Inspired by the shoegaze and post-punk sounds of the ’90s US and UK indie underground, in their year together they have played contemporary art museums, all ages venues, open mics and house parties. The ‘Ballroom Dance Scene’ b/w ‘Sea Life Sandwich Boy’ 7” is their first physical release and is out on April 2, 2021 via Sonic Cathedral. First written during a Chicago teacher’s strike in 2019, ‘Ballroom Dance Scene’ presents Horsegirl's glassy guitars and vocal counterpoint, like a cross between Yo La Tengo and The Raincoats. The competing vocal melodies cascade over one another, detailing the lives of various fictional characters. With a title inspired by a misread product name sold at their local grocery store, ‘Sea Life Sandwich Boy’ was the first track Horsegirl wrote together and comes across like Pavement or The Breeders (or, perhaps more accurately, The Amps).

                    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.

                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Barry says: 'The View...' is a beautifully meditative, slowly unfolding journey from the mind of Andy Bell. Layers of reverb and delay follow the carefully picked riffs and shifting walls of sound. It's an album for really sitting down and listening all the way through, and in the current climate, that's a perfect thing. Lovely stuff.

                        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

                        BDRMM

                        Bedroom

                          Hull/Leeds based five-piece bdrmm release their much anticipated debut Bedroom on July 3, via Sonic Cathedral. The 10-track album was recorded late last year at The Nave studio in Leeds by Alex Greaves (Working Mens Club, Bo Ningen) and mastered in Brooklyn by Heba Kadry (Slowdive, Beach House). It’s a hugely accomplished debut and a real step up both sonically and lyrically from their early singles, which were rounded up on last year’s If Not, When? EP. Musically, there are nods to The Cure’s Disintegration, Deerhunter and DIIV, while the band reference RIDE and Radiohead. There are also echoes of krautrock and post-punk, from The Chameleons to Protomartyr, plus the proto shoegaze of the Pale Saints’ The Comforts Of Madness, not least in the cross fading of some tracks, meaning the album is an almost seamless listen. As a result, Bedroom becomes an unexpected and unintentional concept album, running through the different stages of a break-up set against the backdrop of the ups and downs of your early twenties. “The subject matter spans mental health, alcohol abuse, unplanned pregnancy, drugs… basically every cliché topic that you could think of,” reveals frontman Ryan Smith. “But that doesn’t mean they ever stop being relevant. It’s a fucker growing up, but I’m lucky enough to have been able to project my feelings in the form of this band, surrounded by four of the best people I’ve ever met.”

                          And that band name, in case it needs explaining, is pronounced the same way as the album title. “I never thought I’d get to the stage where I would have to explain it so much,” says Ryan. “We have been pronounced as Boredom, Bdum and my old boss thought we were a ska band called Bad Riddim. We’re all sarcastic cunts, so Bedroom spelt correctly seemed like the perfect title.” He’s right. The perfect title for the perfect debut album.

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Darryl says: The hugely anticipated debut album from the Hull based five-piece led by Ryan Smith. Released on the ever reliable Sonic Cathedral, ‘Bedroom’ takes its cues from the early 90s shoegazing scene but magnifies it in the huge expanses of their widescreen sound. The effortlessly gorgeous instrumental “Momo” sets the scene as the guitars ripple around a taut rhythm section before the hypnotic opener cross fades into the glimmering introspection of “Push / Pull” with its Chameleons-esque chiming guitar chugs and soft-focus vocals of Smith.
                          Throughout the album the shimmering soundscape pulses along with hypnotic chiming guitars, doomy bass sounds, and dream-pop vocals, all perfectly illustrated on mid-album highlights such as “Gush” and “Happy”. The colossal “If…” dominates Side 2 with huge peaks of crunching fuzz riffs and euphoric vocals, before the album drifts out with the lilting mellowness of “Is That What You Wanted To Hear?” and album closer “Forget The Credits”.
                          Who knows where their next album will take them but with ‘Bedroom’ they’ve created a modern day shoegaze classic.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Momo
                          2. Push/Pull
                          3. A Reason To Celebrate
                          4. Gush
                          5. Happy
                          6. (The Silence)
                          7. (Un)happy
                          8. If....
                          9. Is That What You Wanted To Hear?
                          10. Forget The Credits

                          Moon Diagrams

                          Trappy Bats

                            Moon Diagrams is the solo recording project of Deerhunter co-founder and drummer Moses John Archuleta. Two years after his acclaimed debut album Lifetime Of Love, Archuleta returns with Trappy Bats, a mini-LP that interweaves three brilliant new Moon Diagrams tracks with radiant reworks from Shigeto, Angel Deradoorian and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. Trappy Bats was largely recorded in a single night as a means to process the intense intersection of Archuleta’s social, political and personal hysteria. Having been arrested for an unremembered missed court date, Archuleta spent 24 hours in a holding cell, offering ample time to reflect on his life, the current state of the nation (the jail televisions were showing a constant feed of the then-active Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville) and the other inmates. Upon being released the next day, Archuleta found himself suffering from a bout of insomnia and feeling the need to process everything through music.

                            Here, Archuleta is in his freest and most grateful state, channelling the turmoil and confusion he was experiencing into an unencumbered fit of creativity. It’s pure, unadulterated escapism with an even more callous palette of sounds than before, clearly split between two moods. On what you might call the ‘up’ side, the title track could be the sonic spawn of Not Waving and Terrence Dixon: a snarling mix of percussive clatter and washes of orchestral tones coalesce into a pulsating groove across its almost 12-minute runtime, the underlying ’80s aesthetic making it feel like a turbo-charged Shep Pettibone remix of New Order, looped to infinity. Detroit electronica don Shigeto goes even further and implodes the track into a kaleidoscope of bone-jarring, viscerally giddy dance music. Over on the ‘down’ side, ‘Wipeout’ is a slow-motion waltz of dusty piano and clattering percussion loops that coolly stumble along with the woozy, nocturnal flare of The Caretaker or Philip Jeck. The haunted reverie ventures even deeper with a beatifically electrified ambient re-imagination by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. Daisychain’ goes almost completely off the grid, offering up a sweetly submerged slab of constantly evolving murkiness in the vein of Demdike Stare or a dosed Andy Stott. The sweet shuffle levitates even higher with a celestial re-interpretation by sonic visionary Angel Deradoorian, formerly of the Dirty Projectors.The end result is an extended traipse through Saturday evening fever-dream techno, Sunday morning cigarette jazz-pop and every blank thought in between. 

                            TRACK LISTING

                            1. Trappy Bats
                            2. Trappy Bats Meets Shigeto
                            3. Wipeout
                            4. Daisychain
                            5. Daisychain Meets Deradoorian
                            6. Wipeout Meets Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

                            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

                              Echo Ladies

                              Overrated

                                Cocteau Twins guitar legend Robin Guthrie has reworked one of the highlights of the Swedish shoegaze trio's acclaimed debut album 'Pink Noise'. He's taken the ‘Disintegration’-meets-slightly-out-of-focus-Saint-Etienne of the original and turned it into a classic indie-pop song – like Lush, The Primitives or even Strawberry Switchblade, with some nice Cocteaus-style bits in the background.

                                On the flipside, there's an audacious cover of David Bowie's 'Rebel Rebel' (which often features in their live sets). They slow the song right down and turn it inside out, only adding the famous guitar riff as a synth motif near the end. 

                                Echo Ladies

                                Echo Ladies

                                  Their mixture of guitars, synths and drum machines is more like a Venn diagram of your favourite bands and records. At various points you can hear The Cure’s ‘Disintegration’, The Jesus And Mary Chain’s ‘Automatic’, New Order and A Place To Bury Strangers’ total sonic annihilation, but crossed with the soaring indie-pop melodies of The Radio Dept, Alvvays, Camera Obscura and even a little bit of Saint Etienne. 

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  1. Watching Time
                                  2. Close To Be Close To Me
                                  3. Never The Same Way
                                  4. Nothing Ever Lasts 

                                  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

                                    The eight-track album comes just a few months after their self-titled EP, which got the attention of BBC Radio 6 Music, Radio X, Beats 1, The Line Of Best Fit and Clash, to name but a few, and sold out immediately upon release.

                                    The album mixes A Place To Bury Strangers-style total sonic annihilation with skewed synth-pop and the band cite the Cocteau Twins, Lowlife (not the Scottish dreampop band, but New Order’s 1985 album is as good a reference point) and The Jesus And Mary Chain as the main musical influences, but there’s also a nod to The Cure’s Disintegration and even Saint Etienne.

                                    Lyrically, it’s all about teen angst, which explains their perfect mixture of melancholy, euphoria, anger and tenderness. A sense of emotional confusion that is echoed by the title.

                                    “‘Pink noise’ is a setting on some old analogue synths,” they explain. “It pretty much sounds like the world is ending – the perfect way to describe this album.” 

                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                    Barry says: Just to clarify, 'Pink Noise' isn't technically a setting on analogue synths as the press release indicates, but it is apparently good to listen to whilst you're trying to sleep. This however, is not, because it's interesting and enjoyable and brilliantly written, unlike pink noise which sounds like when tv's used to have static.

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    1. Intro
                                    2. Almost Happy
                                    3. Apart
                                    4. Bedroom
                                    5. Darklands
                                    6. Hard Ending
                                    7. Overrated
                                    8. Waiting For A Sign

                                    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

                                    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

                                        Spectres

                                        Richard Fearless / Factory Floor Remixes

                                        Richard Fearless (ex-Death In Vegas) has reworked the already epic album closer ‘Sea Of Trees’ and, instead of playing up the original’s krautrock groove as you might expect, he loops a five-second sample of the song’s opening on a distorted synth, adds a pulsating techno groove and turns it into something that sounds like a long-lost Metroplex record. That slighty lo-fi edge is accidental – the track was finished not long after Richard DJ'd at Spectres’ album launch show at The Lexington in London earlier this year, but the very next day his studio was broken into and his computer stolen. It contained not only the master of this remix, but almost all of his work from the previous 15 years and, despite appeals for its return, it has never been recovered. But, as luck would have it, he had made an mp3 version to listen to, and it was good enough to master from.

                                        There was less drama with Gabe Gurnsey’s Factory Floor remix on the flipside, but no less excitement, as Spectres are huge admirers of the post-industrial electronic trio, even supporting them at an instore show in Rise in their hometown of Bristol. Here the original’s wall of noise is held at bay, snippets of guitar and vocals breaking through as if phoned in from another dimension, while jerky, jittering rhythms hypnotise for just under seven minutes.

                                        TRACK LISTING

                                        1. Sea Of Trees (Richard Fearless Remix)
                                        2. Sink (Factory Floor Remix)

                                        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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