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TOUGH LOVE

Value Void

Sentimental

    London trio Value Void are an offbeat proposition. A sui generis bolt from nowhere, their debut album Sentimental (due out in October on Tough Love) is a collection of luxuriantly deep, shag pile-warm, analogue proto-punk. Paz Maddio and Marta Zabala grew up with each other in Azul, a small town south of Buenos Aires, where the seeds of this project were sown. They collaborate in the same way that Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote songs, with Marta penning lyrics then taking them to Paz to spin them in to music. Marta first came to London on tour with the super-slanted art punks Los Cripis, where she met Luke Tristram (of Cop, Score and Owner) who released their record via his Unwork label.

    Paz followed to join them and scrape rent from the city's bars and cafes. By early 2017 the three of them were holed up in practice rooms, Luke adding Evens-esque basslines that laid concrete to their minimalist guitar-lead pop songs. Originally as WVS, they started playing shows with bands that had once orbited the tiny Power Lunches venue in Hackney and, since its death, were now to be found on bills at DIY Space, New River Studios and other dusty successors of its autonomous, cheap drink, creative-friendly spirit. In common with bands like Shopping, rudimentary surroundings and resources fed into nonetheless ambitious, hooky work. Songs such as “Teen For Him,” a self-effacing lark importing strains of Leslie Gore and the Velvets; the minimal, Guided by Voices-reminiscent chug of “Bariloche” and “Cupids Bow,” an up tempo, Breeders-esque standout, were lynch pins of a pummeling, inspired set. In April of that year, they recorded with Euan Hinshelwood of Young Husband at the studio TVT, in an overlooked corner the other side of Blackheath, tucked under giant knots of flyover on the way to Charlton in South East London.

    The intention was casual but the results, seven dazzlingly assured songs nailed in a couple of days, sucked attention from several quarters as they skipped between hard drives. They secured a tour with Frankie Cosmos and signed to London label Tough Love, who released the single “Back In The Day” in May 2018. Upon deciding to flesh the songs out for a full length, they returned to TVT studios with Euan in April this year, tweaking the mix and laying down two new songs: “Mind,” a down tempo lullaby/lament in which the band track into the territory of early St. Vincent, Grouper or Julianna Barwick, supported by a raw dirge that blossoms in feedback, and “The Deluge,” which is also reflective but structured by a roaming curiosity and big chorus seeking road movie oblivion. 

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Pale green, limited edition vinyl.

    Toy

    The Willo / Energy

      Since 2010, Toy have earned a reputation as a band of integrity, virtuosity and taste, with Tom, Maxim, Dominic, Charlie and (joining in 2015) Max creating a sound that is embedded in the underground tradition, yet distinctly their own. Now here comes a two-track twelve-inch on Tough Love, a foretaste of a forthcoming album in January 2019, which marks a new dawn for this most singular of bands.

      ‘The Willo’ is a dreamlike, seven-minute glide, redolent of a forest at sunset and just as pretty, but not without hints of malevolence. Maxim's fingerpicking acoustic melds with electric twang from Dominic, and a whirling organ from Max Oscarnold gives this elegant creation an extra layer of disorientation and depth. “People appear to have seen Will-o’-the-wisp, a mysterious green-blue light, over the centuries. It generally means something ominous is about to happen", says Tom.

      Then there is ‘Energy’, which lives up to its name with thunderously metronomic drums from Charlie Salvidge and a ferocious guitar from Dominic O’Dair. The lyrics, culled from a story written by Max about a nighttime ritual, are obscured by the barrage-like forward momentum of the music.

      The twelve-inch, recorded and mixed by the band between Oscarnold’s Stoke Newington flat and a south London studio, is the first release for Toy on their new label Tough Love, representing the latest stage in the evolution of the band. Since their inception, they have released the acclaimed albums Toy (2012), Join The Dots (2013) and Clear Shot (2016), and toured everywhere from Serbia to China, while holding onto that youthful, magical moment of discovering strange new worlds of innocence and experience.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Mine says: Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of TOY. The band return with "The Willo", a dreamy, innocent sounding song that quickly develops into the soundtrack to a ride through a magical forest, and "Energy", which with its pounding drums, driving bass and post punk-y, occasionally chaotic guitars could hardly sound more different. Two interesting songs that leave us excited for the new album!

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd 12" Info: Indies store exclusive - limited to 300 copies on black vinyl.

      It stands to reason that many vital albums come critically close to never being made. The eight-track upshot of doubt, upheaval and financial strain, Stains on Silence by Girls Names is one such release. Following 2015’s blitzing Arms Around a Vision, and the parting of drummer Gib Cassidy just over a year later, the Belfast band suddenly found themselves facing down a looming void. “There was a finished – and then aborted – mix of the album, which was shelved for six months,” reveals Girls Names frontman Cathal Cully. “We then took a break from all music and went back to full-time work. We chilled out from the stress of rushing the record and not being happy with it, as well as being skint with no impending touring on the cards and constantly having to worry about rent.” The stumbling blocks that proved a strain became the album’s defining breakthrough. Recorded in various locations including Belfast’s Start Together Studio with Ben McAuley, Cully’s home and the band’s practice space, spontaneous creation, cut-up techniques and self-editing took centre-stage for the first time.

      "We started tearing the material apart and rebuilding, re-editing and re-recording different parts in my home in early Autumn last year,” says Cully. “When we got them to a place we were happier with we went back into Start Together Studio with Ben McAuley to finalise the mixes to what they are now." Where AAAV proved a brazen statement of intent, Stains on Silence bounds forth as its feature-length comedown. What could have seen the band buckle became an opportunity for approaching things tabula rasa. During its two-year transmutation, Cully, bassist Claire Miskimmin and guitarist Philip Quinn had a single aim for their fourth album: to make an old-fashioned record clocking in around 30 to 35 minutes in length that made the listener reach straight for repeat. From the Bang Bang bar-summoning swoon of opener '25’ and the submerged disco doom of ‘Haus Proud’ to the rapt, dub-leaning ‘Fragments of a Portrait’, Girls Names have excelled in their goal by forging an LP of synchronous nuance and defiance.

      Marked by the presence of drum machines and programming throughout, these eight masterfully-woven tales are once again commandeered by founder Cully, whose words, understated yet defiant, mine purpose and meaning from the mire ("I want to bathe again, I want to swim again / In a pool of twisting bodies, blackened gold." — ‘25’). But while Stains on Silence came critically close to never being made, having lived with it, reconfigured it, and guided its metamorphosis from flickers of inspiration and half-formed schemes, it’s both a statement of pure perseverance, and a head-on confrontation with ambivalence that couldn’t be more assured. (Brian Coney March 2018)

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Channeling the gothic spirit of 80's new-wave into a hazy filter of chorused guitars and flickering electronic drums, Girls Names have constructed a visceral and evocative landscape of lovecraftian atmospherics and simmering gothic melodicism.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Limited to 300 copies for UK Indies only it has a black sleeve with orange vinyl.

      Girls Names

      Primitive Desire

        Primitive Desire is an 11-track collection of the first ever studio sessions by Girls Names, recorded in 2009 in Belfast. It compiles their debut EP originally released on Captured Tracks, the eight songs that originally featured on the long-out-of print You Should Know By Now mini-EP released on Tough Love, and a hereto-unreleased bonus track. Primitive Desire is exactly as labeled and provides fans with a document of the band's early years as a two-piece, fuelled by a distinct nervous energy and nascent dark edge that would manifest itself much more obviously on subsequent albums. 

        Ulrika Spacek

        Suggestive Listening E.P

          THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2018 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

          Following the release of two consecutive albums over two consecutive years (2016's 'The Album Paranoia' and last year's 'Modern English Decoration'), Ulrika Spacek release new music in the form of an extended play record titled 'Suggestive Listening'. Recorded at both KEN and a rural studio in France, this work reveals experimentation in both a home and studio environment. A departure from the band's beloved album format, and perhaps a suggestive insight into future endeavours. Tracks: 1 - No. 1 Hum 2 - Black Mould 3 - Freudian Slip 4 - Lord Luck 5 - Wave to Paulo, he's not there

          Autobahn

          The Moral Crossing

            “Melancholy and darkness, and dissonant, uncomfortable music, resonates with us, for whatever reason,” says singer and spokesman Craig Johnson. “The new record is more melancholy than dissonant. I feel we're just opening up a bit more on this record.” A sliver of strings, a squeal of feedback, pulsing drums, sheets of steely guitar and sonorous bass, and a rough, declamatory voice - from these primary components, Leeds quintet AUTOBAHN unfurl their second album, The Moral Crossing, which adds more finesse, dynamic and colour to the commitment and energy shown on their debut.

            While Dissemble was made by imagining what the late, great producer Martin Hannett would do, The Moral Crossing is the sound of what AUTOBAHN would do. To capture the new sonic details of the band, lead singer and principal songwriter Craig Johnson, guitarists Michael Pedel and Gavin Cobb, bassist Daniel Sleight and drummer Liam Hilton decided to give up their practice room that doubled as a hardcore/punk venue (which influenced their original sound, as did a love of The Birthday Party) and build their own studio space. The album was mixed in New York by Ben Greenberg (Sacred Bones label). On top, Johnson taught himself how to make a record after the studio was built. We’ve had the chance to create the sound we want, at times it’s more melancholic, and romantic.” Part of the shift comes from Johnson’s newly honed melodies such as ‘Vessel’ and ‘Torment’, part from a greater use of electronics, such as the synthesiser underpinning a haunting ‘Future’, evoking neon-lit rainy-nocturnal rides through a cityscape, likewise the album’s title track, which is one song to benefit from the judicious addition of violin and cello

            Ulrika Spacek

            Modern English Decoration

            The relatively short amount of time between their first and second albums is testament to the band’s self-contained creative environment and the productivity it encourages. There’s a tendency to label this degree of self-reliant creativity ‘DIY’ - and the band do certainly feel emboldened by that ethos - yet to consider Modern English Decoration solely in these terms is a disservice. Their craft is considered and purposeful, the means of its production reflecting the band’s overall vision rather than the value system of an often haphazard and accidental DIY culture. “We enjoy listening to music through the album format and want our records to reflect that”, says Rhys Edwards (guitars, vocals, synthesiser).

            Ulrika Spacek formed in Berlin in one night, when 14-year-long friends Rhys Edwards and Rhys Williams conceptualised ‘Ulrika Spacek’ and came up with The Album Paranoia as their debut album title. Moving back to London with the intention to record it, they were joined by Joseph Stone (guitars, organ, synths, violin), Ben White (bass) and Callum Brown (drums, percussion), ossifying into the five-piece they are now. The album was released soon after with little forewarning and was accompanied by a year long, near-monthly club night called Oysterland.

            Given the lyrics often favour abstraction and the vocals can be more impressionistic than declarative, the album title itself offers perhaps the most telling entry point to the record. In part, it’s a self-effacing play on an interior design cliché that references the meticulous creative processes the band adheres to. There’s also a nod towards the environment in which it was created – a Victorian house turned art gallery turned home studio

            Unsurprisingly given the context of its creation, Modern English Decoration might be considered a companion piece of sorts to The Album Paranoia.But there are crucial differences. Most notably, this isn’t the work of the Ulrika Spacek conceptualised by Edwards and Williams in Berlin – Modern English Decoration is the band as five rather than two people, and it shows. Those who have witnessed the intensity of their live show will instantly recognise the merits in this. The bass and drums provide a versatile anchor, at once soft, then aggressive, while the vocals drift woozily in and out, like druggy hindsight or skewed premonition. With three guitarists in the band guitars were always going to be central to the music, but what is less expected is the dynamic interplay between the trio that suggests a three-headed version of the Verlaine-Lloyd axis at the heart of Television. What’s more, the absence of reverb is integral, in part attributable to the ambience of the studio, but also a conscious decision in order to add focus. And focus is the abiding term: this is an album designed to be just so - a 45 minute commitment, a surrender.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Laura says: A fabulous second album, channelling 90s American indie rock with occasional shoegazey shimmer and a smattering of melodic psych.

            The Proper Ornaments

            Waiting For The Summer

              THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2017 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

              Following the release of Foxhole in January of this year, Tough Love will issue on vinyl for the first time The Proper Ornaments debut long-player, Waiting for the Summer: a compilation of their first 10 songs, originally released on CD in 2013. What they said in 2013… Is perfect pop still possible? It’s hard to imagine, but the answer is Yes, and The Proper Ornaments are here to prove it. A timeless beauty that reminds us of The Velvet Underground and The Jesus & Mary Chain and yet sounds classic and effortlessly original. Produced by Charlie March of NZCA Lines and featuring ten golden nuggets of pure pleasure. James Hoare and Max Claps formed The Proper Ornaments in 2010. The first line up included bassist Michael Lovett and Lets Wrestle front man Wesley Patrick Gonzalez. Micheal went on to form NZCA LINES, but Wes remained part of the tag team thanks to a nifty half nelson and the offer of a night in the corner of London's darkest stages and the theft of his organ…. 

              Priests

              Early Recordings

                THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2017 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                Priests’ Early Recordings combines the band’s first two cassette-only tape releases, originally recorded in 2011 and 2013. The small run cassette releases were originally intended to be for purchase only at the band’s live shows. “We didn’t want everybody to hear it,” said drummer Daniele Daniele. “We were still learning our instruments, so these tapes were not intended to impress the world, just document where we were for our own sake.” Daniele met vocalist Katie Alice Greer the same week she arrived in Washington, DC to complete a fellowship at Georgetown University, and the two decided to start a band. Guitarist GL Jaguar joined soon after, and bassist Taylor Mulitz completed the lineup the following year. Tape 1 was recorded by Jaguar in his parent’s basement in Maryland. The band had existed for one week, and the trio had written four songs. “I was very eager to have evidence of the band exist for myself, because I didn’t know how long it would last, and I wanted to make music more than anything, said Greer. “Diet Coke”, the band’s first song, is a hundred second blast of pummeling energy and what would become Jaguar’s signature riffage. A winking nod to advertising that sneaks into culture, the tune is followed by the more contemplative “Talking”, a song on which both Greer and Jaguar play guitar. Greer’s lyrics speak to US public school systems “rewarding complicity” and children being “being socialized by reality TV”. “The World”, perhaps foreshadowing the band’s krautrock-inspired penchant for repetition, is a jubilant intermission before “Cobra”, a playfully minimal stop-start closer inspired by cult favorite rock group She (also known as “The Hairem”). On Tape Two the band was eager to showcase their fuller sound as a newly expanded quartet. The tape’s seven songs were recorded by Kevin Erickson and Hugh McElroy, who had already recorded the band’s first single “Radiation/Personal Planes” a year earlier and would go on to produced half of Priests’ Bodies and Control and Money and Power EP and all of Nothing Feels Natural. “Leave Me Alone” nods to the Priests’s affinity for inverting the cool funk of a song like Bush Tetras’ “Too Many Creeps” (“I see you when I’m out on the street/ I think you look like a creep”) while exploring more melodic territory on tracks like “Twelve”, hinting to material that would later surface on Nothing Feels Natural. Lyrically, Priests continued to explore themes that center women’s lives (“Lillian Hellman”), critique social perception of female celebrity (“Lana”), interrogate assumptions of US history (“Incantations”), and invert the male gaze on the Daniele Daniele-penned closer “Watch You”. Priests was already interested in expanding their musical palette, as evidenced by metallic clangs and a purring drum machine on “Watch You” and creeping mellotron weaving in and out of a few different tracks throughout. Early Recordings lays the groundwork for Priests longer releases in the following three years and provides context for the band’s evolving sound.


                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: LP vinyl (opaque white) 1000 copies.

                RIYL: Grizzly Bear, Dirty Beaches, Deerhunter, Women, Viet Cong, Beach House, Wild Nothing, Youth Lagoon.

                Weird Dreams is the nom-de-plume of Doran Edwards, a London-based artist returning nearly four years after the release of his band's debut album, Choreography. This new record, Luxury Alone, is a collection of ten songs made over a 3 year period of uncertain times in different rooms in various homes, and was written, produced, performed and mixed by Edwards. Luxury Alone documents a very difficult period of emotional turmoil and various health issues for Edwards, and the result is an extremely moving and beautiful personal journey. “All this music is how I felt in the world. I eventually choose to learn to mix the record myself, design my own fantasy image and then have that world disappear. “ Luxury Alone is hundreds of songs down to just ten. 

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: Limited sky blue vinyl is for Cargo Collective stores only.

                Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Ulrika Spacek

                The Album Paranoia

                RIYL: Mercury Rev, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead, Deerhunter, Atlas Sound.

                Ulrika Spacek is a British experimental rock band formed in Berlin by Rhys Edwards and Rhys Williams, relocated to Homerton, London. Work on debut album ‘The Album Paranoia’ began in the summer of 2014 in the band’s shared house KEN, and was finished there last month. In conjunction to the making of ‘The Album Paranoia’, the band has curated a number of nights under the name ‘Oysterland’ combining their first live performances with a series of exhibitions. The band's music has drawn various interpretations, a cross pollination of hypnotic fuzz, Verlain-Malkmus guitar idiosyncrasies and intertwining feelings of both angst and melancholia. 

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Mine says: Ulrika Spacek's debut album is an addictive roller coaster of blissful psychedelia, hypnotic melancholy and raucous, repetitive kraut rock. Heavy and droning in some places, dreamy and pensive in others, its atmospheric soundscape makes it an album to get lost in.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Autobahn

                Autobahn 2.

                  Leeds-based five-piece AUTOBAHN follow last year’s sold out debut EP 1, with a second 3-track 12”.

                  2. channels the same aggressive post-punk of their debut, but feels sharper, more focused in its intent. And it’s hardly surprising – the first EP was a document of the band’s first three songs. Time has afforded the chance to hone the creative process with an almost military precision: cut the excess; find the point; hammer it home. If that approach recalls the crack-the-whip intensity of early Greg Ginn-led Black Flag rehearsals (legend states that Ginn would have the band practice 8 hours a day, 6 days a week), then it’s fitting of the conditions in which the music was conceived. AUTOBAHN’s practice room also plays host to Leeds’ DIY hardcore/punk venue, and elements of that lifestyle have filtered into these new songs, in spirit if not aesthetic. Indeed, AUTOBAHN should not be mistaken for a hardcore band and its associated dogma. There’s too great a range of influences at play – current listening includes Chron Gen, Tubeway Army and Rowland S. Howard. This breadth of influence has informed the band from conception, but it’s never been as manifest as on 2. You can hear it on the krautrock-inspired EP closer, ‘Ulcer’, with its metronomic intensity and subtle-but-persistent synth line, and in the myriad of guitar lines that close ‘Pale Skin’. A nod must also be made here to producer Matt Peel, who the band credits for pushing their songwriting in new directions.

                  “YVETTE are a two-piece band, but sound like an army … an industrial act in the truest sense of the term, transforming scabrous raw materials into beautiful, glistening, chrome-plated objects that cast an uncanny allure” – Pitchfork (8.1)

                  YVETTE are Noah Kardos-Fein and Dale Eisinger. The duo is based in Brooklyn, and make deeply spiritual, wildly aggressive noise music in the tradition of early post-punk and industrial artists like Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, and This Heat. A barrage of rolling toms and sub-bass triggers, processed guitar noise, and monk-like incantations means the music is always physical, but the joy of YVETTE is how well they structure the chaos.

                  "Theirs is a noise molded into the contours—if not the sound—of pop music, offering an accessible entry point into a world of ugly brutalism," wrote Pitchfork's Stuart Berman, who gave the band's debut record "Process" an 8.1.


                  The long-awaited new album from CYMBALS is named after a book by Princeton academic, Daniel T. Rodgers, which addresses the fragmentation of ideas towards the end of the last century and how collective meanings have become uncertain. Singer and guitarist Jack Cleverly writes: "It hit me that I often feel paralysed by the feeling that everything is 'too complicated', and that many people I know feel that paralysis. I realised that this way of thinking can be traced through these songs." Produced by Dreamtrak (Swim Deep, Chad Valley, Hot Chip) in his Hackney studio and written collectively over the last 12-months, the group have taken their time to carefully piece the album together, song-by-song, in sequence.

                  The album was completed following a final mix from Daniel Rejmer (Foals, Everything Everything) and the result is testament to the band’s attention to detail: a cleaner, brighter sound than their brattier early recordings, edging towards the European sophistication of the end-of-the-century French house Jack grew up around. Singles 'Like An Animal', 'The End' and 'The Natural World' are characterized by an upbeat disco cool and all push the 7-minute mark, whereas ‘Winter 98’, ‘This City’, and ‘Call Me’ are brooding, stark synth-led numbers reminiscent of early-New Order, with some lyrics sung in Jack’s native French. The literary inspiration runs further through the album. The track ‘The 5%’, more obviously making reference to the themes of the album's namesake, declares “Time can be erased, you’re stupid if you try and stay in place,” over a pulsing bassline and swirling electronics. ‘Like an Animal’ is inspired by the intellectual and moral confusion of the main character in Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. The album has even garnered literary responses of its own by British poet and novelist Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine. “I told Joe about the book and the way the album was kind of a reaction to it, and he threw my rationalisation of it back at me through a short story inspired by the album.” says Cleverly. “It helped reveal the emotional territory of the songs. He showed me how I had been dividing things up artificially - desires and priorities, getting older and not being able to stop writing music…”

                  Through the writing of this album, CYMBALS have inevitably matured. “We've never been in it just for a laugh," says Cleverly; “but things got confused when we said we wanted to keep it fun – we just didn't want to end up bitter, having chased a hollow dream. But this album is less about us; it's more outward looking, more aware of the world at large." Despite the weighty literary influences, the band are keen to separate themselves from the over-earnestness that can sometimes accompany such associations. “I hate the whole 'serious earnest-singer-songwriter-thing,’” says Jack. “With this album I really wanted to get away from that and make music that makes people want to dance and feel joy. Neil's kick drum is the most important thing we have to say as a band. Is this all "fun"? Yes, of course, but at the same time, not just that." Produced by Dreamtrak & mixed by Daniel Rejmer. Featuring a new poem and short story by Joe Dunthorne.

                  Toronto’s Moon King will be issuing their debut European release on September 16th via Tough Love (Girls Names, Weird Dreams, CYMBALS). Entitled Obsessions, the record compiles all of the band’s output to date as well as one previously unreleased track.

                  Comprised of Toronto native Daniel Benjamin and collaborator/co-conspirator, Maddy Wilde, the duo have been making music together for most of their lives. As Moon King, the two singers weave dreamlike harmonies over buzz-saw guitars and electronic percussion, their live performances capturing a raw-nerve intensity that verges on ecstatic. While they have ties to a handful of other Canadian projects – Majical Cloudz, Grimes, Austra – they more obviously share a sonic affinity with the alien androgyny of Cocteau Twins, mbv and The Breeders.

                  Many of Daniel’s songs appeal to our darker subconscious desires, revelling in the embrace of fear and ego as a means of escape. Daniel also frequently performs with his brother Airick's group, Doldrums.

                  Jethro Fox

                  Blinding Light

                    Jethro Fox is a Biblically named singer from a family of Atheists, and his celestial music is set to light up 2012. Brought up in Colchester, Essex and sharing a proud 6th Form College music teacher with Damon Albarn, Jethro moved to Liverpool to study and has since become a central character in a once again thriving music community. A multi-instrumentalist, he has played in most of the new bands in the area’s resurgent scene, which is centered on the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.

                    Now playing under his own name, Jethro’s own music is urgent and life affirming in a manner that belies the rainy gray of Liverpool. Characterized by his already-distinctive golden harmonies, and the echo of school halls and cavernous churches, his music suggests a deep affinity with the classic symphonic pop of The Beach Boys, Roy Orbison and Grizzly Bear.

                    A few months ago, Jethro posted his first track online, ‘Before’. Received to great acclaim (“One of the most exciting musicians on the planet”, John Kennedy, XFM”), Jethro was subsequently invited to record a Steve Lamacq Maida Vale Session for 6 Music: an almost unprecedented opportunity for an artist yet to release a record.

                    That’s all set to change with the release of his debut single, ‘Blinding Light’, through Tough Love Records (Weird Dreams, Girls Names). Backed by ‘Lonely Sound’, it’s the perfect introduction into Jethro’s immaculately conceived world. "A staggering set of vocal chords...there’s not a great deal of ground that it fails to cover." This is Fake DIY. “Hotter than the surface of the sun…One of the most exciting musicians on the planet.” John Kennedy, XFM.

                    Following feverish response for their two EPs and recent single ‘Holding Nails’, East London’s psych-pop four-piece Weird Dreams are set to release their brilliant debut album, Choreography, on Tough Love. Influenced by both the Beach Boys and the films of David Lynch, Weird Dreams draw equally on the intricate harmonies of the former and the latter’s penchant for twisted suburban ennui.

                    “The way David Lynch pushes reality to a point where it feels uncomfortable, his obsession with 1950s culture, his stream of consciousness approach to working”, says frontman Doran Edwards. “Weird Dreams is a bittersweet pop band with twists.” On record, it translates to the highly melodic, self-produced Choreography, an album on which every track has the right to be considered single-worthy. Written in Doran’s studio flat overlooking the train tracks, the tunes may be sweet but the words often have a sting in their tail. “I love how idealistic and overly gushy ’50s doo wop and ’60s girl groups were, but I wanted to produce an even more dreamy-sounding version with lyrics that could be quite dark and resentful,” says Doran.

                    True to that vision, tracks such as “Little Girl” and “Hurt So Bad” speak of unusual relationships, while album centerpiece “Suburban Coated Creatures” is a personal unraveling of difficult teenage years dealing with small town life. Initially built around the nucleus of Doran (guitar and vocals), Craig Bowers (drums), Weird Dreams formed when Doran and Craig met working in a vintage clothes shop, where talk frequently turned to ’50s pop, ’60s girl groups and – naturally – David Lynch movies. Releasing a joyous, cassette-only debut EP on an imprint of Craig’s aptly named Sleep All Day label, they recruited Hugo (bass), then adding James (guitar) for live duties and in time for second EP Hypnagogic Lullaby, a notably darker, harder-edged affair. And it’s with their debut album that these early forays have coalesced into a coherent, immersive whole.

                    The band’s name – and much of its outlook – is taken from Doran’s propensity for real-life weird dreams. “Since I can remember I've always had incredibly vivid dreams, both good and bad,” says the frontman. “They've always felt like an important part of my life.”


                    The record starts with the pop-nous and angular guitar stylings of "Five Minute Wonder" and doesn't let up until the chaotic climax of "Zhero". Various influences are apparent but never entirely or obviously replicated, William creating a sound that is very much their own. Taking the lo-fi spirit of The Replacements and Pavement and pairing it up with the intensity of Rites Of Spring and The Van Pelt, William are an exciting and brave prospect. Guitar lines repeat and adapt, all kept in line by a rigid and melodic rhythm section. Tracks such as "Porco Dio vs Schweinehund" and "Thomowski" echo these songwriting sentiments perfectly, both containing memorable instrumental hooks to back up Gavin's impassioned vocals. "Self In Fiction" is one of the most consistent releases of this year, of any year, and is an album that deserves to find a home in the hearts of hipsters, indie-kids and punks alike.


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