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Robert Forster

The Candle And The Flame

    Former Go-between Robert Forster announces his 8th solo album 'The Candle And The Flame'.

    It's an album for Forster that has taken a very different path in creating than his previous works. The first single is titled 'She's A Fighter'. It reveals only part of what became a journey of creating music with family and friends with a need to find joy and solace in the face of adversity.

    Robert explains: "'She's A Fighter' is the last song I wrote for 'The Candle And The Flame' album. I wrote the music for it in June 2021. I liked the tune and the quick energy of the song, but I didn't know yet what it was going to be about. In early July, Karin Bäumler, my wife and musical companion for thirty-two years, received a cancer diagnosis. In late July, with a series of chemotherapy sessions about to begin, Karin talked of fighting for her health and a path through chemotherapy to recovery. The phrase, 'She's A Fighter' came to me. I liked it. And I knew immediately that it would work with my new melody. I needed just one other line for the lyric. 'Fighting for good.' The song was finished. I had written my first two-line song. I had just out-Ramoned The Ramones! Because the song has so much meaning to us, we decided to record it as a family. The only time this happens on the album. Karin sings and plays xylophone. Our daughter Loretta plays electric guitar. Our son Louis plays guitar, bass and percussion. And I strum an acoustic guitar fiercely and sing. And that's 'She's a Fighter'."

    That coming together musically as a family is captured in the video for 'She's A Fighter'. "The video was shot in the same studio (Alchemix Studios, Brisbane) as the album was recorded in. So there is continuity," Forster said. "And the way the four of sit in a circle playing, is very much how we recorded 'She's A Fighter' and other tracks on the album."

    'The Candle And The Flame' consists of 9 songs written by Robert. Produced by Robert, Karin Bäumler and Louis Forster (The Goon Sax), the album was mixed by Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey) and features former Go-Betweens and Warm Nights bass player Adele Pickvance as well as Scott Bromiley and Luke McDonald (The John Steele Singers), who worked on Robert's 'Inferno' and 'Songs To Play' albums.

    "The recording sessions for the album were done sporadically over six months. Sometimes just one or two days a month. As that was all Karin's strength and condition allowed her to do. So we had to record 'live', catching magical moments and going for 'feel'. And that became the sound of the album." says Robert.

    TRACK LISTING

    1 She's A Fighter
    2 Tender Years
    3 It's Only Poison
    4 The Roads
    5 I Don't Do Drugs I Do Time
    6 Always
    7 There's A Reason To Live
    8 Go Free
    9 When I Was A Young Man

    Louis Philippe & The Night Mail

    Thunderclouds

      "I have never done a record quite like this before, with a live band in the studio, though I had always wanted to do it," says Louis Philippe. Coming from this golden-voiced born French- and renaissance man, a Londoner by choice for the last 34 years, this seems quite astonishing. After all, this key figure of the baroque pop/chamber pop genre spent a good part of his life making his own as well as producing, writing, arranging, playing and singing on countless other people's records, be it as house producer and songwriter for Mike Alway's legendary él Records or as a collaborator with kindred spirits such as The High Llamas, Towa Tei, Martin Newell, Big Big Train, Testbild!, The Clientele and Bertrand Burgalat.

      Juggling a day job as one of Europe's most high profile and fearsomely erudite football writers (under his birth name Philippe Auclair), in the past decade Louis Philippe kept his global community of reverential fans waiting in vain for new music. But we all know what they say about London buses, and these days Louis Philippe's musical output seems to follow a similarly spasmodic timetable.

      This year has already seen the release of The Devil Laughs, his critically acclaimed second collaboration with Young Marble Giant Stuart Moxham, now followed by Thunderclouds, on which he is joined by The Night Mail, a three-man band made up of fellow EU-citizen around town/musician/journalist Robert Rotifer on guitar, former Acid Jazz artiste and Weller band member, DJ, producer and walking pop encyclopedia Andy Lewis on bass and Papernut Cambridge supremo, ex-member of Thrashing Doves and Death in Vegas Ian Button on drums.

      The Night Mail first appeared together in 2015 on Hamburg's Tapete Records with glamorous cult singer-songwriter John Howard (check out the album John Howard & The Night Mail if you missed it). Last year they formed the core line-up of the high-charting comeback by Viennese artist/poet/chansonnier André Heller, feted by the German-speaking press as an instant classic. In 2017, at Tapete Records' sold-out two-night 15-year-anniversary bash at London's Lexington, The Night Mail performed with Louis Philippe, having backed Robert Forster the night before. "When I played with The Night Mail at The Lexington, I instantly knew that I could make a record with them," says Louis Philippe, "because these guys were good, and they were fast."

      Ironically, it has taken another three years for the album they agreed to make that night to finally materialise. Louis Philippe and Rotifer have been close friends for many years, and more recently their shared experience as democratically disenfranchised onlookers to the upheaval around Britain's extraction from the EU has brought them even closer together. In the end it was the confluence of this escalating crisis with the current pandemic that finally brought the message home: If this record was ever going to happen, it had to happen now. At the end of the first lockdown period, Rotifer went to see Louis Philippe at his flat to go through the endless pile of musical sketches the latter had amassed during his prolonged hiatus. In early September the whole band finally got together for two rehearsals before decamping to Rimshot Studios in rural Kent to record the backing tracks for all thirteen song on the album as well as overdubbing strings (played by violinist Rachel Hall from Big Big Train) and trumpet parts (by Shanti Jayasinha), followed by another session overdubbing vocals, keyboards, percussion and some more guitars, expertly engineered by Andy Lewis at Rotifer's home studio in Canterbury. The result is an album that evokes that city's fabled brand of whimsical prog just as much as Philippe's deep roots in French song-craft and a shared love for the autumnal side of sunshine pop.

      Side A opens with "Living on Borrowed Time", a catchy, bass-driven, sounding like the theme tune to a lost Lemmy Caution movie. While the album's title track cloaks the anticipation of a coming storm in heavily jazz-tinged Wyattesque chords magically rising out of the singing noise emanating from a building site next to Louis Philippe's Shepherd's Bush home, light-footed waltzes like "Fall in a Daydream" and "Once in a Lifetime of Lies" manage to make London feel like Paris, before the closing track "When London Burns" invites the listener onto an imaginary dance-floor where an anglophone Michel Polnareff meets disco boffin Biddu. In between all that, we traverse the eerie aural cityscapes of "Alphaville", the wide dynamic range of two song suites ("The Man Who Had It All" and "Rio Grande"), the Tropicalia/folk-flavoured subtlety of "The Mighty Owl", the surprising gospel grooves of "Love is the Only Light", the arresting stop-and-start dramatics of "No Sound", the unexpected Celtic tones of "Do I" and the equally loony and beautiful semi-instrumental "Willow".

      Quite how Louis Philippe managed to keep all these ideas pent-up inside him for all these years remains a mystery, but once they start pouring out, he is truly unstoppable. And as he rightly predicted back in 2017, at full steam ahead The Night Mail proved able to keep up with him. Undoubtedly though, this new-found urgency is testament to the challenging times we are all going through.

      "Thunderclouds over the mountain, roll on by heavy with rain."

      TRACK LISTING

      1) Living On Borrowed Time
      2) Once In A Lifetime Of Lies
      3) Rio Grande
      4) Willow
      5) Fall In A Daydream
      6) Thunderclouds
      7) Love Is The Only Light
      8) Alphaville
      9) No Sound
      10) The Man Who Had It All
      11) The Mighty Owl
      12) Do I
      13) When London Burns

      Arriving at their fourth album with only eight candles on the cake, unhappybirthday have always tempered youthful energy with an impressive maturity, but this is the moment when they truly come of age. Armed with deeper grooves, tighter arrangements and unconventional hooks, the German trio have found the perfect balance between song and sound on their most irresistible work to date.

      The briefest trip through their back catalogue unearths a wealth of artefacts from an unremembered 80s, be it the cassette tape fuzz which saturated early releases or the genuine love of the decade’s underground outcasts. Recall a distant teenage memory of hours lost in an older, cooler friend’s record collection; a blur of bedsit anarchists, jangling romantics and monochrome poets alive in polyphony. The result is a mirage of Post-punk and Postcard, Penthouse and Pavement, inspired by the past but but impossible to pigeonhole. Ever referential but never reverential, unhappybirthday have that rare ability to distill their influences into an innovative expression far more potent than the sum of its parts.

      For mondchateau, their second LP on the mighty Tapete Records, unhappybirthday swap Cocteau cool for cocktails by the pool, fusing their sophisticated pop with the louche grooves and ambient beauty of Deutsche Balearic.

      Taking a stroll through Miko’s garden, the trio find Sade under the Kalimba Tree, enjoy an I.C. spritz and savour the tristeza of the late afternoon sun. Punctuated by rhythm box exotica and Diana Kim’s limber bass, the nine songs lilt and sway from T.V. Scene to Same Old Scene, the beguiling combination of optimism and melancholy yielding a yearning beauty. Equal parts brooding and ringing, Tobias Rutkowski’s guitar is the embodiment of this tension, while the digital keys, glassy mallets and moonlit chimes of Daniel Jahn’s SQ1 provide a shimmering home for his seductive croon and husky introspection.

      Their ongoing collaboration with Berlin producer Jonas Meyer continues to lend a maturity and clarity to the unhappybirthday sound, while guest vocals from the likes of indie pop icon Andreas Dorau and label-mate Sebastian Lee Phillip (Die Wilde Jagd) add nuance and texture to their sonic palette.

      A resort collection for SS20, mondchateau offers horizontal dancers, beachfront dreamers and tidal drift; an aspirational statement undercut by the inescapable feeling that the summer ends only too soon.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: Hey you! That's right, you with the LNCC subscription - you can put the acoustic guitar down, the Balearic record of 2020 is already here, and it hails from Hamburg. The latest evolution of the Unhappybirthday sound sees the German group in sophisti-pop mode, serving nine swooning, crooning beauties dripping in resort cool. You'll find hints of Blue Nile, Flash & The Pan, Linda Di Franco and Talk Talk in here, but the strength of songwriting and melodic purity ensure 'Mondchateau' stands on its own.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Margo
      2. Cristal
      3. Station
      4. Delon
      5. Burgund
      6. Saiso
      7. Mondpalais
      8. Plaza
      9. Dunster

      Christian Kjellvander

      About Love And Loving Again

        "Christian Kjellvander's voice reminds me of Nick Cave, Bill Calahan, and a somber Chris Isaac. His voice drifts around like an angel and lands right where it should. Beautiful arrangements, great performances and songwriting. 'About Love and Loving Again' is a timeless record that will still sound good in fifty years.” - Mark Kozelek.

        Eight Rounds Rapid

        Love Your Work

          Southend stalwarts Eight Rounds Rapid release their third album 'Love Your Work' with German label Tapete. Rooted in the infamous Canvey Island R'n'B tradition, Eight Rounds Rapid channel the fervour of Dr Feelgood, Wire, Gang of Four and Public Image Limited with their gritty tales of the Essex underworld.

          The band's debut album gained excellent reviews from the likes of Uncut, who said, "Edgy, drugged-up thug punk. 'Loss Leader' is Thames Estuary crude given a vital contemporary twist. Invest now". Mojo gave the band a 4-star review and Classic Rock summed the band up: "Thrashing the moody cut-and-shut Mk1 Capri of Essex geezer rock like they stole it. A welcome blast of no-frills, bullshit-free excitement that can only be deadly live". Eight Rounds Rapid supported Wilko Johnson on two major UK Tours, and have had airplay from BBC DJs Mark Radcliffe, Gary Crowley, Gideon Coe and Steve Lamacq.

          Second album 'Objet D'Art' also received critical acclaim. Mojo praised its "high octane rebelliousness and cheeky wit" and guitarist Simon Johnson's "trashy, thrashy guitar, a cacophonous hybrid of his dad Wilko, Johnny Thunders and early Pete Townsend". Vive Le Rock hailed the band as "One of the most exciting new bands I've heard since Sleaford Mods […] the rhythm section of Jules Cooper and Lee Watkins power it like a V8 cadillac"

          The band's songs are rooted in traditional rhythm and blues, but impulsive guitar from Simon Johnson (Wilko's son) and acerbic delivery from singer David Alexander make the act sound like John Cooper Clarke and Mark E Smith fighting in a Southend bus depot. The line-up also features Jules Cooper [bass] and Lee Watkins [drums]. Everett True said, "This is great. Art Brut meets ATV, with a touch of the old Wilkos. With a smattering of all those (rather scary) old ruffians: The Inmates, Nine Below Zero, Dr Feelgood. All that crowd".

          Recorded under the spectre of a global pandemic, 'Love Your Work' reflects feelings of confusion, angst and isolation - all delivered with singer David Alexander's trademark sneering dry wit. The customary low life and underground subjects are still the only language they know, but this album is as much a commentary on contemporary music confronting modernity as it is a collection of musical compositions. The new album grapples with the folly of nostalgia while singles 'Love Don't', 'Tricks' and 'Eating' ramp up the energy levels. Violent lowlives and losers populate the songs as usual, but David Alexander now draws himself closer into view, with 'Aging Athlete', a metaphor for a musician searching for legitimacy in a dull landscape.

          Music as duty. Love your work.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. You Wait
          2. Passive Aggressive
          3. Love Don't
          4. Letter
          5. Future Estates
          6. Black Tide
          7. Tricks
          8. Retro Band
          9. Eating
          10. Onesie
          11. Mirror
          12. Ageing Athlete

          The Monochrome Set

          Strange Boutique

            The casual prose of pop history is full of backhanded compliments, and The Monochrome Set have received a few, ranging from "should have been massive" to "influential", numbering the likes of Morrissey and Marr, Blur's Graham Coxon and Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos among their celebrity admirers. . Released in February 1980, their first album Strange Boutique, featuring the band's percussion-heavy theme song (predating Adam & The Ants's "Kings of the Wild Frontier" by months) and the Johnny Marr-anticipating "Love Goes Down The Drain", caught the Monochrome Set in full flight, quickly followed by the equally taut, funny and adventurously dynamic Love Zombies. 

            TRACK LISTING

            1. The Monochrome Set (I Presume)
            2. The Lighter Side Of Dating
            3. Expresso
            4. The Puerto Rican Fence Climber
            5. Tomorrow Will Be Too Long
            6. Martians Go Home
            7. Love Goes Down The Drain
            8. Ici Les Enfants
            9. The Etcetera Stroll
            10. Goodbye Joe
            11. The Strange Boutique

            The Monochrome Set

            Love Zombies

              Released in February 1980, their first album Strange Boutique, featuring the band's percussion-heavy theme song (predating Adam & The Ants's "Kings of the Wild Frontier" by months) and the Johnny Marr-anticipating "Love Goes Down The Drain", caught the Monochrome Set in full flight, quickly followed by the equally taut, funny and adventurously dynamic Love Zombies. 

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Love Zombies
              2. Adeste Fideles
              3. 405 Lines
              4. B-I-D Spells Bid
              5. R.S.V.P.
              6. Apocalypso
              7. Karma Suture
              8. The Man With The Black Moustache
              9. The Weird, Wild And Wonderful World Of Tony Potts
              10. "In Love, Cancer?"

              Bobby Conn

              Recovery

                Bobby Conn returns with his first new album in 8 years. As always, the sound is the past 50 years of art rock and soul tossed into a blender and set on liquify. I was really into 10cc, J Dilla, Liaisons Dangeroux, Jean Claude Vannier, Anna Meredith, Slade, D'Angelo, etc. when writing this record, but I'm sure you can hear it for yourself. Musically, this is a collaboration with my partner Monica BouBou on violin and vocals and our Superband of drummer Josh Johannpeter, bassist Jim "Dallas" Cooper, keyboardist and string player Billie Howard, guitarist Devin Davis, and long time sound artist DJ LeDeuce. We recorded it over many months in a basement. There is a cameo by synth genius Felix Kubin on Brother. Mixed by the brilliant Tobias Levin and Hannes Plattmeier in Hamburg, Germany.

                Male

                Zensur & Zensur

                  It was 40 years ago when Germany’s first ever punk band MALE released their 'Zensur & Zensur' album, now to be reissued. Anything was possible in those heady days. The Dusseldorf punk scene was without compare in the years 1977 to 1979 and MALE were there in the thick of it, etching their name into German musical history. MALE arguably reached their zenith as backup for The Clash on the London Calling tour in Germany. In the wake of the name change to Vorsprung, Jorgen Engler soon shifted his focus to die Krupps, but MALE remained close to his heart as new songs and the odd gig here and there demonstrated in the years that followed. 

                  Proper Ornaments

                  Mission Bells

                    9 months since the release of 'Six Lenins', THE PROPER ORNAMENTS are back with 'Mission Bells', a sombre but uplifting record that began its life while they were on tour earlier this year, when new ideas emerged in different soundchecks around Europe.

                    James Hoare, Bobby Syme and Max Oscarnold, the founders of the group, recruited Nathalie Bruno as a bassist for the tour, and then the four.piece began recording in the summer at Hoare's home studio in Finsbury Park, London, using the same 16 track Studer tape machine as on their previous record, but this time they incorporated a moog sequencer and other electronics instruments.

                    On these recordings, meticulous attention to detail is never deployed as an end in itself but always with the song and sound in mind. As the 'Mission Bells' sing, echoes of black albums Velvets, Swell Maps, Spiritualized and Cluster might reach inside your brain, but the truth is that it's hard to pinpoint influences on an album that is the fifth in the life of this band, as they have been becoming more and more themselves, not needing to look elsewhere for inspiration.

                    This is not a retro band, they just happened to like playing guitar, a preference that began, at least for James Hoare and Max Oscarnold, when they were 9 years old. Whoever is familiar with their previous records might agree that 'Mission Bells' has a lot of the innocent elements (drum machines underneath simple songs) of their first record, 'Waiting For The Summer', the melancholy of 'Foxhole' and their heavy live sounds, as drummer Bobby Syme points out. But it's the lyrical maturity that is the real achievement on this record. The words can be read as a William Burroughs cut up experiment on what it is to live in these Dystopian times.

                    'Mission Bells' is a majestic achievement, a musical maelstrom, its harmonies drawing the inclined listener into an irreversible somnambulant state, caught between dreamland and waking hours. The beauty of it is, you won't want to escape, even though the door is flung open as your postmodern life awaits you outside...

                    TRACK LISTING

                    1. Purple Heart
                    2. Downtown
                    3. Black Tar
                    4. The Wolves At The Door
                    5. Broken Insect
                    6. The Impeccable Lawns
                    7. Echoes
                    8. Flophouse Calvary
                    9. Strings Around Your Head
                    10. The Park
                    11. Music Of The Traffic
                    12. Cold
                    13. Tin Soldiers

                    Pete Astor & The Holy Road

                    Paradise

                      With the onset of the 1990s and the conclusion of The Weather Prophets, Pete Astor was in the mood for some artistic regeneration. To this end, he recruited a new group of musicians and friends, forming The Holy Road. The band consisted of erstwhile Felt and Everything But The Girl guitarist Neil Scott, bassist Chris Clarke, (soon to become a key member of both The Rockingbirds and Danny and the Champions of the World), and drummer Russell Lax, late of The Oyster Band and Billy Childish's Pop Rivets. And so arrived Paradise, becoming for many the album in which Astor, along with The Holy Road, most perfectly expressed his indubitable facility as a singer and songwriter. Only ever released in France, in 1992 twenty-seven years later, with Tapete's re-release, Paradise is a vital addition to a body of work which sounds as good now as it did then. 

                      The Monochrome Set

                      Fabula Mendax

                        At the end of the 70s, The Monochrome Set were part of the first wave of 'post punk' bands. Right from the beginning, the band earned a solid reputation as purveyors of fine pop, gaining praise from 80s contemporaries such as Morrissey and Edwyn Collins. The Monochrome Set sound has often been described as 'timeless', and that alone explains why, over the years, the band has continued gaining admirers. As with all TMS albums, "Fabula Mendax" is at once accessible and arcane, upbeat and dark, lush and spare, and with lyrics that as ever remain tantalisingly opaque.

                        Stereo Total

                        Ah! Quel Cinema!

                          Musically, this Stereo Total disc, their twelfth, cannot be readily aligned with anything at all. If earlier albums resonated with influences from chanson, trash or disco to punk, rock'n'roll and NDW (German New Wave), Stereo Total have now arrived in their very own musical universe which pays no heed to stylistic devices, A word to our younger readers: Stereo Total began making music before the internet existed, before the Euro, before Germany reunited and before there were even bands or music. They will probably still be playing when all that has been consigned to the dustbin of history.

                          Robert Forster

                          The Evangelist - Reissue

                            Following the 1989 break-up of the Go-Betweens, the band he had formed at college in 1978 with his friend Grant McLennan, Robert Forster embarked on a solo career, releasing four albums under his own name between 1990 and 1996, before reforming The Go-Betweens in 2000.

                            After the death of bandmate Grant McLennan in 2006 Robert released, this, his 5th solo album in 2008, including the last three songs he wrote with Grant. 

                            Levin Goes Lightly

                            Nackt

                              Take off all your clothes. Shed your armour. Get naked. Everything could have stayed the same, but you can rely on Levin Stadler to break with the norm. His Levin Goes Lightly project has earned a plethora of plaudits in recent times - a cover of Iggy Pop's Nightclubbing made it all the way to the master's headphones and straight onto the aforementioned's BBC radio show. Latterly, Trentemoller was curating a compilation and put in a request to include Levin's song 1989. Levin Goes Lightly has thus transcended the barriers which usually stand between German pop music and a wider audience.

                              The Catenary Wires

                              Til The Morning

                                The Catenary Wires are Rob Pursey & Amelia Fletcher , formerly of Tender Trap, Marine Research, Heavenly & proto-riot-grrrl machismo-mocking punk-pop explosion Talulah Gosh. They specialise in emotive indie duets, capturing the spirits of Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood, Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot, & releasing them into modern Britain.

                                The resulting songs will appeal to fans of Courtney Barnett &Kurt Vile or Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan. On this album, they are joined by Andy Lewis (Paul Weller Group)on cello, mellotron and percussion, & Fay Hallam (Makin' Time, Prime Movers) on Hammond organ & backing vocals. The local Kentish countryside provides ambient noise.

                                Andreas Dorau

                                Das Wesentliche

                                  Andreas Dorau's love affair with pop blossomed early. Long before he had his first top ten hit at the tender age of sixteen, before he became one of a select few German artists to sign to Mute Records and before he hit the French charts with 'Girls in Love' (its rise halting at #2, alas), little Andreas retreated to his bedroom with a handful of singles - Sparks, T-Rex, Beatles, Tina Charles or whoever else was hot in his childhood years - and listened to these discs over & over again.

                                  He has now arrived at Tapete Records, a label renowned for giving free rein to libertine spirits. The songs on 'Das Wesentliche' feel all the more opulent for having left so much out. And they are wonderfully brief. Bubblegum, dance, HI-NRG, leftfield electronica, junk shop glam and yacht rock are all signposted along the way. Dorau is supported by friends like the Marinas, Carsten Erobique Meyer and Gunther Buskies in his daring endeavours to strip away unnecessary ballast from the music. 

                                  The Proper Ornaments

                                  6 Lenins

                                    ‘Six Lenins’, the third album release from The Proper Ornaments, sees the band master their seemingly effortless but finely-wrought sound as their songwriting prowess refuses to plateau. Fresh from an US tour in Autumn last year, the London jangle pop group led by James Hoare (also of Ultimate Painting/Veronica Falls) and Max Claps (Toy) went into James' home studio in Finsbury Park, London and made their finest recordings to date on a newly-installed 16 track Studer machine - joined by Danny Nellis (Charles Howl) on bass and Bobby Syme (Wesley Gonzalez) on drums. Having escaped deep, twisting tunnels of illness, divorce and drug abuse to release their second record in January 2017, it's unsurprising they sound sunnier this time around. What their supremely melodic work suggests is a nonchalance or naivety but is in fact an expensively bought slice of coherence and clarity within a constantly shifting backdrop to their lives and landscapes. The band exists as an unassuming and resilient organism in a fiercely competitive, trashed environmental niche. Throughout their years of hard-edged music industry Darwinism, they've shown longevity and growth scuttling from the wreckage of their previous guitar bands to become one united organism. "We started writing new songs in the Summer. I was in bed recovering from hepatitis and very broken and tired so couldn't do anything else apart from playing guitar," says Max, "and the songs slowly started to appear. In August we realised we had five new songs each and free time, so we decided to record them. The actual recording only took two weeks and it was considerably easier than our previous recordings.” The speed with which “Six Lenins” was made suggests the two songwriters managed to keep a keen focus on what they wanted to achive, further finessing the balance of conflict and collaboration that lends their sweet, succinct tunes their nervous energy. Well-crafted songwriting and a controlled sonic despite a zealous analogue sensibility. The opener 'Apologies', sets out stridently and the mood and momentum, even as we weave through some more sombre moments, never dips before soaring with the Velvets-y propeller riff of live favourite 'In the Garden' to end the record.

                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                    Barry says: The Proper ornaments superbly tread the ground laid by hazy psych-rock aficionados BJM, mixing airy simmering guitars and long reverbs with multi-layered vox, swooning synths and almost-horizontal harmonies. Beautifully warm and brilliantly written summer serenades.

                                    Bill Pritchard

                                    Midland Lullabies

                                      Bill Pritchard is a British singer-songwriter, instrumentalist (guitars, keyboards), musical arranger and producer. Some time ago... "The J.D. Salinger of pop" was how Rolling Stone France described Bill Pritchard after the release of "Mother Town Hall" in 2016. And now 'Midland Lullabies' This is the album Pritchard always wanted to make .Why? Because he always wanted to make a mark as a 'shabby suited crooner'. 'Midland Lullabies' is songs from the Midlands about continental issues bathed in a crooning, piano drenched style that Pritchard has been perfecting over two years! Complete with sumptuous, at times almost Brechtian strings. Produced again beautifully by Tim Bradshaw, Pritchard says that from the very outset he insisted on a stripped-down sound, utilising Tim's brilliant, subtle and sympathetic piano interpretations of his songs.

                                      'Inferno' is acclaimed Australian singer-songwriter Robert Forster's first solo album in four years - his second album over the last eleven years. Forster only makes records when he feels he has the songs - on 'Inferno', he has nine he totally believes in.

                                      They range from the exhilarating top ten pop of 'Inferno (Brisbane In Summer)', the beach shack groove of 'Life Has Turned A Page', via 'Remain's 1977 New York strut, to finish in a way that this concise, brilliant, drama and wit filled album only can - on the big build epic 'One Bird In The Sky'.

                                      'Inferno' was made in Berlin in 2018, during the hottest German summer in decades. Noted producer/engineer Victor Van Vugt (Beth Orton 'Trailer Park', P J Harvey 'Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea'), recorded the album; the first time he and Forster had worked together since Van Vugt engineered Forster's debut solo album classic 'Danger In The Past' in Berlin in 1990.

                                      'Inferno' in its making is a perfect mix of the familiar and the new. Also working with Forster again, are Brisbane based multi-instrumentalists Scott Bromley and Karin Bãumler from 'Songs To Play' (2015), while new recruits are drummer Earl Havin (Tindersticks, Mary J. Blige) and keyboardist Michael Muhlhaus (Blumfeld, Kante). Four musicians from the corners of the world, who, with Van Vugt's bold and beautiful production, sound like a band of the ages. In front of them, Forster delivers the best vocal performances of his career.

                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                      Barry says: Encompassing all of the best melodic aspects of some of the greatest songwriters to date (Forster's vocal drawl sounding not entirely unlike Morrisey's at points), Forster manages to be both poignant and accessible all at once. Shimmering acoustic guitar and crisp production come together to accentuate the country-folk-indie at every turn. A wonderfully written and brilliantly conceived outing.

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      1. Crazy Jane On The Day Of Judgement
                                      2. No Fame
                                      3. Inferno (Brisbane In Summer)
                                      4. The Morning
                                      5. Life Has Turned A Page
                                      6. Remain
                                      7. I'll Look After You
                                      8. I'm Gonna Tell It
                                      9. One Bird In The Sky

                                      The Telescopes

                                      Exploding Head Syndrome

                                        Welcome to the 11th studio album from The Telescopes, their third for Tapete. Consisting of eight new songs and incantations that form a series of sonic convulsions stretching the parameters of intuitive composition to the point of auditory illusion. Conceived in 1987, The Telescopes emerged as innovators in the field of melodic noise, becoming a crucial inspiration to a multitude of artists and listeners alike. The group has consisted of a revolving line up centred around lead protagonist and founding instigator Stephen Lawrie.

                                        Davey Woodward & The Winter Orphans

                                        Davey Woodward & The Winter Orphans

                                          Davey Woodward has been a prolific songwriter with his bands The Brilliant Corners and The Experimental Pop Band. An indie pop legend to some, obscure outsider to most. He approaches his fourth decade making alternative music with the same enthusiasm and single mindedness as he did in the first. Julian (guitar) had not been in a studio for over a decade. Steve (drums) was playing in a million other bands but found time. Steve knew Mark who was a guitarist. Davey said well he can play bass and piano then! Davey played them the songs. The band said they liked the songs. They told Davey the songs sounded very personal, were they? They said it reminded them of English Folk, Courtney Barnett, The Velvets, The Band and Johnny Cash. 

                                          We Are Muffy

                                          The Charcoal Pool

                                            From somewhere wild and strange in Cornwall come the idiosyncratic acoustic sounds of We Are Muffy, the happy alliance of Nick Duffy (The Lilac Time, Bait) and Angeline Morrison (The Mighty Sceptres, The Ambassadors of Sorrow).

                                            With influences including the Incredible String Band, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Sam Cooke, Max Romeo and Shirley & Dolly Collins weaving through their music, We Are Muffy spin poetic narratives of remembered and imagined pasts. Their distinctive strain of folk music combines vocal harmonies with unexpected instrumentation (lyre, music box, cutlery, bottle tops, broken china), in amongst the expected (autoharp, banjo, double bass).

                                            It all began when Nick asked Angeline to provide some guest vocals on his Simulacra Two album (2016) - a collection of unorthodox covers. Whilst lively debate ensued on the themes of folk song and cover versions, it soon emerged that they shared a common homeland - Birmingham. In scenes reminiscent of the industrial heyday of this city they began to turn out song upon song depicting the peculiarities of growing up there.

                                            Frosted Candy is a love song to the delights of colour, of texture, and the delicious mysteries of the adult world that reveal themselves upon discovery of the makeup counter at the local chemist. A joyful song that captures the uncertain balance between appearance and identity, outward poise and inward angst performing an intricate dance in a miniature bildungsroman.

                                            Milk Bar depicts everyday life on the furthest reaches of the 56 bus route, back when Spaghetti Junction was still being built, somewhere just over the horizon. When you were just as likely to go to Elmdon Airport as the Beaufort cinema if you were a teenager looking for light entertainment.

                                            Recorded in Nick's garden studio - once a suburban double garage, now inaccessible by motor vehicle due to encroaching foliage - 'The Charcoal Pool' is replete with the sounds of the neighbourhood. Crows, robins and seagulls all put in an appearance, as does the rain on the skylights and the trains on the adjacent branch line.

                                            TRACK LISTING

                                            1.Civil Service
                                            2.Precious Things
                                            3.Outskirts
                                            4.Frosted Candy
                                            5.Milk Bar
                                            6.The Charcoal Pool
                                            7.Jacobean Reggae
                                            8.Unsuitable Footwear
                                            9.The Map And The Light
                                            10.Black Attracts Heat
                                            11.Strange Admixture
                                            12.Coloured Pencils
                                            13.The Lost Carpenter

                                            Simon Love

                                            Sincerely, S. Love X

                                              If you're thinking of buying just one magnificent pop disc in 2018, you need look no further: I give you, ladies and gentlemen, SIMON FUCKING LOVE! ("The Ballad Of Simon Love"). "Sincerely, S. Love x" (the kiss is meant to be pronounced) is Simon's sophomore solo album (his 2015 debut It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time was released on the brilliant, now sadly defunct Fortuna Pop label) and it features at least ten hits. Proper pop hits, with ELO harmonies, Spectoresque production, strings and trumpets, the whole shebang. All recorded over the last two years in London, England. Big city pop!

                                              The Monochrome Set

                                              Maisieworld

                                                Maisieworld is the brand new studio album from The Monochrome Set. At the end of the 70s, The Monochrome Set were part of the first wave of 'post punk' bands. Right from the beginning, the band earned a solid reputation as purveyors of fine pop, gaining praise from 80s contemporaries such as Morrissey and Edwyn Collins. Importantly, in later years this praise has continued with artists such as Franz Ferdinand, The Divine Comedy and Graham Coxon, all citing the band as a key influence on their own work.

                                                Pete Astor

                                                One For The Ghost

                                                  This is a record born through time; seasoned and erudite Indie auteur, ex leader of Creation Records favourites The Loft and The Weather Prophets, Pete Astor brings together strands and tributaries in his work over the years, mining timeless guitar pop to frame wry lyrical insights and melodic hooks, making music for today, with a true line from the past and an eye to the future. Having released Spilt Milk (Fortuna Pop!) in 2016 to an overwhelmingly positive response, Astor continues the musical spirit of that album with James Hoare (Ultimate Painting, Proper Ornaments, Veronica Falls) remaining a mainstay on guitar. He is now joined by The Wave Pictures rhythm section of Franic Rozycki on bass and Jonny Helm on drums; Pam Berry of Withered Hand and Black Tambourine contributes vocals. 

                                                  The Times

                                                  Go With The Times

                                                    "Lost, Found & Great: Obscure Pop Gems Of The Past" is the title of a series under which Tapete sporadically re-releases brilliant, but hard-to-get or even out-of-print POP albums.

                                                    Now it is the time for The Times' legendary "Go! With The Times" which was originally released in 1985. 

                                                    Jaguwar

                                                    Ringthing

                                                      "Ringthing" is a shimmering, reverberating, crashing monolith of an album. Jaguwar sway from combining saccharine pop with Amphetamine Reptilian noise to sounding like a serendipitous encounter between The Cure and Ride. Prepare to expect the unexpected from their meandering song structures. Successfully unshackled from their paragons, the trio's sui generis sound is destined to be heard all over the world. At thunderous volume!

                                                      Nick Garrie

                                                      The Moon And The Village

                                                        In the final year of the sixties and in the final year of his teens, Nick Garrie made an album that should be regarded as one of the great classic albums of the decade: 'The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas'. It's packed full of smart, romantic, melodious baroque-pop story telling songs with killer string and woodwind arrangements.

                                                        Back to 2017 and now there is a new album by Nick Garrie. It's a thing of great and rare beauty. It's still very much the same Nick Garrie who made that incredible 1969 debut and the 2009 album too, but this time round it's Nick Garrie in a more reflective mood.

                                                        Martin Carr

                                                        New Shapes Of Life

                                                          The former Boo Radleys artist released previous album 'The Breaks' a few years back now, an intriguing document that dealt with the songwriter's increased feeling of isolation from the world around him.

                                                          Spending time working - unsuccessfully, he adds - on pop projects for other acts, the death of David Bowie left an enormous impact on Martin Carr.
                                                          Sparking a period of re-analysis, he emerged stronger and definitely reinvigorated. He explains: "I was wasting my time scrabbling around in the dirt for pennies, making myself more and more miserable. I reflected on how many years I'd wasted chasing smoke and mirrors, living the life of an artist but neglecting the art."

                                                          "I ditched everything else I was working on and decided to write a new album rather than waiting until I had a few songs. I started completely from scratch, writing and recording, often at the same time, in my home studio in Cardiff. I was looking for a sound and a voice to call my own. That was the starting point. The theme was to be myself, to attempt to discover what made me tick, to work out why I behaved the way I did. I wanted to go deeper and find more room in the depths."



                                                          Nick Nicely

                                                          Sleep Safari

                                                            New album & new horizons for psych legend Nick Nicely. "Sleep Safari" delves further into electronics while continuing the artist's psychedelic journey creating a unique pop juxtaposition.

                                                            The Clientele return in September with Music for the Age of Miracles, their first release of new music since 2010's Minotaur EP and their first album on Tapete Records.

                                                            After The Clientele released Minotaur, Alasdair MacLean, singer and principal songwriter for the band, made two wonderful albums with Lupe Núñez-Fernández as Amor de Días, issued a Clientele best-of called Alone and Unreal, oversaw reissues of Suburban Light and Strange Geometry, and played shows solo or as part of Amor de Días or The Clientele. He and Lupe have also been raising a family, so the prospect of a new Clientele record seemed to be diminishing.

                                                            It seems fitting, then, that a chance meeting with a ghost from the past/future is what led to Music for the Age of Miracles, the first album of new Clientele songs in seven years.

                                                            MacLean and Anthony Harmer knew one another and played music together in the mid-1990s but had lost touch. "I had often wondered what had happened to Anthony since," writes MacLean. "It turned out-he told me-he'd studied the Santoor, an Iranian version of the dulcimer, and over decades become a virtuoso, at least by my standards. He suggested we have a jam together. Ant and I now lived three streets away from each other, it turned out. He started to arrange my songs. He let me write and sing them, and he came up with ideas for how they should sound. This carried on until we had an album. I called up James and Mark and asked them if they wanted to make another Clientele record. They did, and this is it."

                                                            So, a new collaboration with an old acquaintance led to a new Clientele album. On Music for the Age of Miracles, Harmer joins the line-up of MacLean, James Hornsey (bass), and Mark Keen (drums, piano, percussion), contributing string and brass arrangements as well as guitars, vocals, keyboards, saz and, yes, Santoor.

                                                            There's something rapturous about the ways in which tracks on side one such as "Falling Asleep" (featuring the Santoor) and the exquisite "Everything You See Tonight Is Different From Itself" stretch out in choral harmony and rhythmic syncopation. Leon Beckenham's trumpet solo on the latter is a highlight of the record, as is the way the words "ballerina, breathe" reappear at the three-minute mark. Similarly, Keen's beautifully evocative interludes "Lyra in April," "Lyra in October," and "North Circular Days," the last of these featuring a recording of the wind captured outside the late filmmaker Derek Jarman's house in Dungeness on the Kent coast, mean this album sounds subtly but significantly different from previous ones.

                                                            Birth, rebirth, the ghost in the trees, something on the edge of sight, the faces we love, childhood, parenthood, the dance of our days; music for the age of miracles, indeed.

                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                            1.The Neighbour
                                                            2.Lyra In April
                                                            3.Lunar Days
                                                            4.Falling Asleep
                                                            5.Everything You See Tonight Is Different From Itself
                                                            6.Lyra In October
                                                            7.Everyone You Meet
                                                            8.The Circus
                                                            9.Constellations Echo Lanes
                                                            10.The Museum Of Fog
                                                            11.North Circular Days
                                                            12.The Age Of Miracles

                                                            LAKE are an experimental-pop ensemble centered around the songwriting partnership of wife/husband duo Ashley Eriksson and Elijah Moore. LAKE's musical kindling is unusual for a band whose genesis was rooted in the punk and indie community - before signing to legendary K Records (for their 2nd album Oh,The Places We'll Go, 2008) Calvin Johnson apparently couldn't believe a band from the Olympia underground would be so keen on reinterpreting the music of mainstream pop acts from a bygone era. LAKE has since converted him, and many more, to a re-sensitized appreciation of big musical ideas, which are non-cynical, joyous, inviting.

                                                            The Monochrome Set

                                                            Cosmonaut

                                                              At the end of the 70s, The Monochrome Set were part of the first wave of 'post punk' bands. Right from the beginning, the band earned a solid reputation as purveyors of fine pop, gaining praise from 80s contemporaries such as Morrissey and Edwyn Collins. Importantly, in later years this praise has continued with artists such as Franz Ferdinand, The Divine Comedy and Graham Coxon, all citing the band as a key influence on their own work. The Monochrome Set sound has often been described as 'timeless', and that alone explains why, over the years, the band has continued gaining admirers.

                                                              The Monochrome Set is black & white, at the same time, with no grey.

                                                              That's what the name always meant - delivering mirth and melancholy, pleasure and panic, delight and dread, wrapped up in tuneful pop songs with curious lyrics.

                                                              The band seem to occupy a parallel universe, with a rich panoply of sounds and words, all somehow evocative of something just beyond reach or remembrance - yet the songs have an immediate simplicity and power.

                                                              "Cosmonaut", the band's 13th album, is a perfect example of this exhilarating mix. The title track opens with a Theremin cyber fly buzzing towards your skull before the song hits, launching you into a mirror dimension that is both familiar and alien. The whole album is a trip that starts with a hallucinating cash-till lady, then travels through dream-sets involving cannibalism, disaffected squirrels, strange gods, dying sweethearts, sexual depravity, Alzheimer's, backward evolution, and ends in an operating theatre, amid a sea of medical tentacles.

                                                              In short, a camping holiday.

                                                              The trademark TMS guitar is ever-present, but this time complemented by delightfully busy keyboards, which give an added richness and spice to the album.

                                                              In just 30 minutes, "Cosmonaut" will catapult you into orbit and take you on a zany, hallucinogenic joyride - not in outer space as it turns out, but in and around the arcane and fantastical recesses of Bid's imagination. With minimal risk of explosion, persistent floatiness or disappointing space food.

                                                              Hurricane #1

                                                              Find What You Love And Let It Kill You

                                                                Batten down the hatches - there’s a storm coming. Former Creation Records act Hurricane #1 are back! After battling cancer, front man Alex Lowe has emerged triumphant (well, they do say 'only the strongest will survive') and resurrected his old band and now Hurricane #1 are about to release their first album in 16 years.

                                                                The original line up included ex-Ride guitarist/vocalist Andy Bell, Alex Lowe (vocals & guitar), bassist Will Pepper and drummer Gareth Farmer. The band split up in 1999 after releasing two full-length albums and several singles on Creation Records. Their anthemic sound was influenced by classic 60s Rock & Roll, Soul and Country Rock, but with a contemporary edge. Paul Oakenfold remixed their debut single, and UNKLE’s James Lavelle revamped 'Only The Strongest Will Survive'.

                                                                After the demise of Hurricane#1, Lowe concentrated on his solo career - his most recent album was recorded under the name Gun Club Cemetery and came out last year on Alan McGee’s new label 359 Music. McGee has been the driving force behind bringing Hurricane#1 back from the dead. This time around, former boxer Lowe has been joined by Brazilian brothers Carlo and Lucas Mariani on guitar and bass, and Chris Campbell on drums. Says Lowe: "I’m really excited about the new line up - there is a real buzz about it and I can’t wait to get back on the road in 2015. It’s going to be fun. It’s great to be back with such a gifted band. It’s been a tough couple of years, but I’ve never been more convinced that this is the time for Hurricane#1. Bring it on!".

                                                                The new album came about when Alex was in hospital undergoing cancer treatments. Alex says: "I would sit there on the bed for hours just thinking, staring out the window, then I thought if I’m spending my time in here doing nothing, I may as well try and keep busy, so I wrote most of the album in hospital." At the time of writing it Alex wanted to write something happy and not too dark to get him out of the horrible state he was in at the time. "When you are wired up to chemo and radio therapy, the last thing you want to do is wallow in it and feel sorry for yourself so I had the idea that the album should be happy and not too dark. I knew I wanted it to be a very organic album, back to basics type of sound, nothing fancy,just good tunes played in a good Rock ‘n’ Roll manner."

                                                                The album was recorded in Turriff Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where Steve Ransome, an old friend of Alex, runs a studio. During the recording sessions Andy Bell contributed the backwards guitar sounds on 'Think Of The Sunshine'. For the artwork the band hunted down loads of ideas, but couldn’t find anything they liked, so Alex painted it.Hurricane#1 will be touring in 2016 and Lowe promises that the band will sound bigger and better than ever. Prepare to be blown away.

                                                                Seven years since Robert Forster's last album The Evangelist (2008). Seven years since one of Australia's most respected singer-songwriters released what was widely regarded as his best solo album, and one that more than lived up to the many high points of his legendary band The Go-Betweens. Seven years for fans and critics alike to ask, what the hell was he doing?

                                                                Quite a lot, as it turns out. Record producer for acclaimed albums by Brisbane bands The John Steel Singers and Halfway. An extended stint as a music critic for the Australian periodical The Monthly that was so well received, a collection of his writings was published as 'The Ten Rules Of Rock And Roll' in 2009 - and was reissued, revised and updated in 2011. Curator and compiler of G Stands For Go-Betweens. Volume 1 - the first of three lavish boxset compilations charting the career of an Australian music icon, of which he was founding member, singer and songwriter.

                                                                Still ... seven years. Long time, musically speaking. Time for writing songs, time for gathering musicians, time spent preparing for what was to be the next chapter of his musical life – a refreshed creative direction that took shape as the new album Songs To Play. Ten very different Robert Forster songs recorded on a mountain top half an hour from his Brisbane home, in an analogue studio, with a troop of young musicians: talented multi-intrumentalists Scott Bromley and Luke McDonald (from The John Steel Singers), Matt Piele (drummer from his touring band), and violinist and singer Karin Baumler.

                                                                "I had originally envisaged the gap between my last album and my new one as five years," Robert says. "I wanted time to pass, for there to be a cut-off. I knew what happened next would be the start of something new."

                                                                "Five years became seven."

                                                                The resulting album is really nothing like he's ever done before, although it retains many of the qualities we know from his songwriting: highly melodic, with incisive, witty lyrics attuned to real people and real lives. The surprise will be the spirit of the record, its sense of adventure and fun - especially after the meditative reflections of The Evangelist (recorded a year after the death of The Go-Betweens co-founder Grant McLennan). Seven years has brought a bolder, wilder approach to sound ... and a set of truly inspiring compositions. Pop songs. Five minute epics. A bossa nova tune. Singer-songwriter classics. Add the more experimental and detailed production assistance of Bromley and McDonald and no wonder - from the album's opening lines on the super-charged Learn To Burn - Forster is bursting to get out and tell his story. Time's a sequence and you wait for changes. Problem is you know I've got no patience. I've got no desire to be the fourth person in line.

                                                                Seven years in the making. And worth every minute.

                                                                The Monochrome Set

                                                                Spaces Everywhere

                                                                "On one hand, the music is very melodic and cheerful. The lyrics, however, deal with death, decay, change ... no wonder we are rather popular with the undead," says singer, guitarist and songwriter Bid of the new The Monochrome Set album "Spaces Everywhere". A very particular humor. And a very unique sound: Although this time banjos, Hammond organ, female backing vocals and even flutes can be heard on the new album, experts and laymen alike will recognize: This is The Monochrome Set. Undistorted, nervous guitars, like the soundtrack to a Nouvelle Vague film ... but one featuring Michael Caine, Louis de Funès and Belmondo (directed by Andy Warhol). Peculiarly timeless, it is a sound that can not be categorized. Although rooted in the 1950s and 60s (the guitar sound, for example, is a hybrid of Duane Eddy and Sterling Morrison), it still feels oddly modern. Then there is Bid's voice, which this time is more reminiscent of the great American crooners than of Lou Reed. Bid wrote most of the songs in May and June of 2014. Perhaps the band's popularity among the undead will diminish upon hearing the springtime air that can thus be detected in this music? Nevertheless - like virtually every album by The Monochrome Set - this album, which was recorded in Brixton in London, has the potential to become a classic, the potential to be a hit. While music historians and critics continue to grapple with the baffling reasons why this band has never attained major success, the in-crowd has always known what they have in The Monochrome Set. Time and again, the story is repeated of how Johnny Marr found a single by the band in Morrissey's record collection and decided it might not be a bad idea to start a band with the somewhat eccentric singer. The influence of The Monochrome Set on bands like Felt, Franz Ferdinand, Belle and Sebastian or the Strokes can hardly be ignored. With "Spaces Everywhere" The Monochrome Set present an album that will become a modern classic like "Eligible Bachelors" or "Strange Boutique".

                                                                And where is the best place to listen to the album? Bid: "In a deconsecrated church, without a mirror." There he goes again.

                                                                Martin Carr

                                                                The Breaks

                                                                  "The Breaks is an album of staggering neo-classic rock ambitions" - Uncut - 7/10 October 2014.

                                                                  Martin Carr was the main songwriter of The Boo Radleys. He was the force behind their position as stars of Alan McGee's Creation Records, their chart hits and NME front covers, and also retains an indelible pop sense and great song craftsmanship.

                                                                  With their follow-up to 2010’s self-titled EP, Brace/Choir have made an LP of idiosyncratic Trancerock geared towards the listener of whole albums. At its core, Turning on Your Double is a series of dark and ecstatic tales of mental illness, written and recorded in Berlin, Germany amidst tectonic shifts both personal and political. The eight songs are a meditation on social and individual struggles with compulsive disorders, power and inverted schizophrenia: four people united by an idealistic vision of collaboration who come to think they’re one - and the cracks that show in their lives and personalities when the music stops.

                                                                  Multi-instrumentalists Alex Samuels, Max Gassman, Cristoph Adrian and Dave Youssef have committed to switching instruments and writing each other’s lyrics in order to allow each instrument to speak with multiple voices and each voice to speak from the depths of multiple psyches. Or is it one? The sound is a shifting and shadowy amalgam of treated hollow body guitars, Farfisa organ, various synthesizers (Roland Alpha Juno 1, MFB Synth 2), percussion, and drums. Themes such as cuckoldry ('Be Let Down'), satanic fiction ('Biond'), technology-related neuroses ('Coil'), and the killing of Osama bin Laden ('Fallmen') are unveiled through a combination of rapturous improvisation and sublime songwriting, while 'Five Fngered Leaf' showcases a powerful reworking of the Arseny Tarkovsky poem 'But There Has To Be More', as featured in Andrei Tarkovsky’s classic film Stalker.

                                                                  The Grand Opening

                                                                  Don't Look Back Into The Darkness

                                                                  Do you have to be Swedish to cast such deep melancholy in music so accurately and so beautifully? The one-man project The Grand Opening by the Stockholm multi-instrumentalist John Roger Olsson proves impressively on his fourth album that he is rightly counted among the finest representatives of this art. Being mentioned directly alongside American Music Club, Talk Talk, Red House Painters and The Blue Nile - as happens in the British music press - is certainly flattering. The recordings for the album began in 2012 with sessions featuring a rotating cast, but the search for the right direction was difficult. Finally, John Roger Olsson locked himself up in his new studio in Stockholm and, inspired by ideas and chords that had occupied him for a long time, recorded the album in four days.

                                                                  Hero & Leander

                                                                  Collider / Soul To Soul

                                                                  Debut 7” from London based band.

                                                                  Pop music should be honest, should have melodies that linger, and lyrics that don't read like bad poems. Hero & Leander try to follow these rules,and it seems to be working. For Fans of Belle and Sebastian, Squeeze, Camera Obscura, The xx and Arcade Fire.

                                                                  Limited red vinyl 7".

                                                                  The Grand Opening

                                                                  In The Midst Of Your Drama

                                                                    "In The Midst Of Your Drama", the new album by The Grand Opening, is dramatic and compelling and singer and songwriter John Roger Olsson's strongest work to date. On previous albums the focus has been to combine and integrate acoustic pop songs with ambient landscapes this third outing however shows a new side of The Grand Opening. There is a real band feel to the recording. Rich instrumentation, strong choruses and beautiful backing vocals by Jens Pettersson and Anna Ödlund.

                                                                    Salim Nourallah is a singer/songwriter/producer from Dallas, Texas, previously with his brother Faris in the Nourallah Brothers. Salim released his first solo record, "Polaroid" in 2004 on Secretly Canadian, and then the critically acclaimed "Beautiful Noise" in 2005, and "Snowing in My Heart" in 2007. "Constellation", Salim's 4th solo CD is a joyous sonic return to the indie pop sounds of Nourallah Brothers while also maintaining the emotional directness of Salim's previous solo CDs. With soaring vocals, catchy melodies and evocative words it promises to be one of Salim's best efforts to date.

                                                                    Manchester-based Dutch Uncles are sub-20 year olds, pulling funny faces, wearing checked shirts, and playing tighter than their drainpipe jeans. The first single "Face In" was produced by Gareth Parton (The Go! Team, Foals, Pete And The Pirates), and the rest of this debut album was recorded in a stormy ten day session in Hamburg, Germany. Call it prog-pop, mathrock, indie, jingle-jangle... John Kennedy XFM said 'Trying to pin down the sound of Dutch Uncles is tricky… somehow they are new wave, no wave, post punk and pop all at once. They have the well drilled groove of The Strokes, the chiming African inflected guitars of Vampire Weekend, the otherness of Shudder To Think but then there's the repetition of Steve Reich and the singular singing of Duncan Paton. These ten songs are just the start. Dutch Uncles are only opening their wings.'

                                                                    Josh Ottum

                                                                    Like The Season

                                                                      After making music in his bedroom for four years, Seattle kid Josh Ottum had the bright idea to make his debut album "Like The Season" a sort of 'personal greatest hits'. Joining Ottum on his solo debut are Sufjan Stevens' drummers and multi-instrumentalists James McAlister and Casey Foubert. Bolstered by semi-hollow body guitars, old keyboards, dry drums, and a hundred multi-tracked voices singing melodies, harmonies and backwards woah-woahs, Ottum's exquisite pop songs harken back to the sweet melodic days of 70s pop, Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan, Randy Newman, but also has the influence of such modern bands as The Flaming Lips, Grandaddy and Phoenix.

                                                                      The Grand Opening

                                                                      Don't Drop Off

                                                                        Another great single from Tapete Records, the label that brought us The Horror The Horror. "Don't Drop Off" is a wonderful slice of simmering pop cool that hints at 80s indie without actually sounding like anything in particular. The track drifts along effortlessly as guitars and drums intertwine under an understated vocal melody. Another winner from Tapete!


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