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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

    David West With Teardrops

    Cherry On Willow

      David West is a musical artist from Western Australia based in New York City. He's been active in the shifting sands of underground pop for over a decade. Not dissimilar to the main character in Star Wars, his musical career began in a backwater desert village, in this case, Perth, before he migrated to more glittering metropolises like San Francisco and Melbourne, and finally landing in his current home of New York. He presently plays in the contemporary outfits Rat Columns, Rank/Xerox and Liberation. In the past he has participated in such groups as Lace Curtain, Burning Sensation and Total Control. DW began releasing eponymous platters in 2015 with the Night People/Happy Endin' full-length cassette Drop Out Of Collage. This was followed in 2016 by the Peace Or Love LP which featured the radio semi-hit ‘Dream On Dreamer’. DW's move into the "own-name" category of artists came as his other bands began to develop defined identities.

      He felt that recording under his own name would be an excellent umbrella for both roving experimentation and a more frivolous, post-modern style of pop music that would not fit in the frameworks of his other projects. Also, after crafting band names for over a decade, it was just time. Cherry On Willow is DW's audio pop vision for 2017. It differs from the last two DW releases by introducing a more collaborative framework, creating the backing group Teardrops - an open ensemble of friends and collaborators, including Bob Jones of Eaters, Louis Hooper of Rat Columns, Mikey Young of Total Control and Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Raven Mahon of Grass Widow, dynamite drummer Griffin Harrison and other supremely talented individuals from the past and future. 


      Light In Your Mind

        // Light in Your Mind is the first new material from CYMBALS in 2 years, and their first album since 2014. If the wait seems long for the listener, for those involved in its creation the time in between pulls in a lifetime of unexpected experiences. That Light In Your Mind even exists is a testament to not giving in. Since their inception, CYMBALS line up has been subject to a great deal of change. Amidst that change there has always existed the songwriting duo of Jack Cleverly and Dan Simons, who formed the band in 2011 with the sole intention of “having fun”.

        A noble aspiration, but one that became increasingly hard to realize when the realities of a 9-5 existence started to corrosively rub against the expectations of being in a band that wanted to tour the world. At various points over the last 6 years and across 3 albums, a rotating cast of at least 10 other people have formed some version of CYMBALS. More still have contributed to Light In Your Mind - Justin Goings and Josh Hefferman both provide drums, while Alabaster DePlume plays saxophone on ‘Fully Automated Luxury’. Producer Kristian Robinson (Capitol K) is a major presence across the album and played a key role in guiding the transition from the band’s sound on their previous record to this one.

        The music itself possesses a sedimentary quality, a residue of each contributing member compressed into what it is that band have become. Consistent throughout has been the relationship between Cleverly and Simons. Failing relationships, betrayal, addiction, illness: the emotional challenges were huge. Thankfully, they were not insurmountable. Second track ‘Car Crash’ addresses that period head-on, a typically effervescent synth line from Simons disguising lyrical content that traverses that fine line between blind arrogance and tortured self-loathing.

        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.


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


        Coloured LP Info: The coloured LP is for Cargo Collective stores only and is yellow vinyl with a bonus 7”.

        The Proper Ornaments

        Waiting For The Summer


          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…. 


          Early Recordings


            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.


            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. 


            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.


            LP includes MP3 Download Code.


            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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                162 NEW ITEMS

                Ahead of stocktaking next week, we've had a tidy up. Loads of one off warehouse finds here: Don't snooze!
                Fri 23rd - 12:11
                Laura says: My album of the week this week! Gorgeous cosmic Americana. As much lazy Summer sunshine listening as it…
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                RT @Sinkyateeth: DEBUT ALBUM out 1st June!! Pre-order VINYL or CD here:
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