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TOUGH LOVE

Vacant Gardens

Under The Bloom

    Vacant Gardens is Glenn Donaldson (of The Reds, Pinks and Purples and a hundred others) and Jem Fanvu, collaborating on music and with the latter responsible for vocals and lyrics. The project began with the idea of combining heavy fuzz and slow-mo drum machine beats with Fanvu's gentle almost trad-folk style vocals. Almost all of Donaldson's otherworldly sounds are achieved through layers of guitar fuzz and copious delay, while Fanvu offers an ideal counterpoint, taking the listener on a celestial melancholy trip with her opaque poetry and melodies.

    So inspired were the duo by this blend of styles, they immediately recorded at least two albums of material, Under the Bloom and Obscene, released in quick succession in 2020 and 2021 in swiftly-disappearing micro editions on the secretive Tall Texan label. With those records close-to-impossible to find at an affordable price, Tough Love are now reissuing both LPs on May 20th, alongside a 7" containing two previously unheard songs recorded at the same time as the albums. The albums are pressed in editions of 500, and the 7" 300, and all on transparent vinyl.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Waves On Waves
    2. Slow Diamonds
    3. Sunlight On Dry Grass
    4. Night Bloom
    5. Shorebirds
    6. Open Air
    7. Under The Bloom
    8. Eucalyptus

    Vacant Gardens

    Obscene

      Vacant Gardens is Glenn Donaldson (of The Reds, Pinks and Purples and a hundred others) and Jem Fanvu, collaborating on music and with the latter responsible for vocals and lyrics. The project began with the idea of combining heavy fuzz and slow-mo drum machine beats with Fanvu's gentle almost trad-folk style vocals. Almost all of Donaldson's otherworldly sounds are achieved through layers of guitar fuzz and copious delay, while Fanvu offers an ideal counterpoint, taking the listener on a celestial melancholy trip with her opaque poetry and melodies.

      So inspired were the duo by this blend of styles, they immediately recorded at least two albums of material, Under the Bloom and Obscene, released in quick succession in 2020 and 2021 in swiftly-disappearing micro editions on the secretive Tall Texan label. With those records close-to-impossible to find at an affordable price, Tough Love are now reissuing both LPs on May 20th, alongside a 7" containing two previously unheard songs recorded at the same time as the albums. The albums are pressed in editions of 500, and the 7" 300, and all on transparent vinyl.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. World Inside The Ocean
      2. Obscene
      3. Whorl
      4. Crimson Crush
      5. Three Herons
      6. Loose
      7. As Horses
      8. Untombed

      Vacant Gardens

      Field Of Vines / He Moves Through

        Vacant Gardens is Glenn Donaldson (of The Reds, Pinks and Purples and a hundred others) and Jem Fanvu, collaborating on music and with the latter responsible for vocals and lyrics. The project began with the idea of combining heavy fuzz and slow-mo drum machine beats with Fanvu's gentle almost trad-folk style vocals. Almost all of Donaldson's otherworldly sounds are achieved through layers of guitar fuzz and copious delay, while Fanvu offers an ideal counterpoint, taking the listener on a celestial melancholy trip with her opaque poetry and melodies.

        So inspired were the duo by this blend of styles, they immediately recorded at least two albums of material, Under the Bloom and Obscene, released in quick succession in 2020 and 2021 in swiftly-disappearing micro editions on the secretive Tall Texan label. With those records close-to-impossible to find at an affordable price, Tough Love are now reissuing both LPs on May 20th, alongside a 7" containing two previously unheard songs recorded at the same time as the albums. The albums are pressed in editions of 500, and the 7" 300, and all on transparent vinyl.

        White Flowers

        Are You

          RIYL: Beach House, Cocteau Twins, Cigarettes After Sex, Slowdive

          Isolated from any kind of music scene and enveloped by the cold Brutalism of Preston, White Flowers are a young, enigmatic band developing their own eccentricities away from the influence of big cities. New EP ‘Are You’ is a sonic and aesthetic collage drawing deeply from their environmental and social surroundings. The songs on the EP may at first seem delicate and beautiful, but closer listening reveals dark undertones and dry humour fuelled by the frustration of feeling trapped with no way out. Driven by this sense of claustrophobia, the duo have sought to create a form of escapism outside of their physical and geographical limitations.

          Recorded late 2021 between Preston and Bristol, ‘Are You’ weaves together a mixture of intuitive home recordings and refined studio production aided by producer Ali Chant (PJ Harvey, Portishead, Perfume Genius). The four songs on the EP are an intentional collection of contrasts and paradoxes - beauty and repulsion, calmness and mania, anxiety and stasis - all combined to form a balanced whole.

          Whilst influenced in part by the writings of the late Mark Fisher and his idea that we are haunted by futures that failed to happen, that what might have been may yet be the dream that saves us, White Flowers have also found inspiration in the Brutalist architecture that adorns their hometown - futuristic yet dated buildings that serve as an appropriate visual metaphor for Fisher’s theories. Bleakly imposing yet comfortingly familiar, the monochromatic starkness of these structures has fed into the imagery for the record, as well as the sounds found within. Not intending to wallow in cynicism, however, White Flowers’ art ultimately aims to provide a way out of these dystopian fever dreams and spiralling thoughts into a forward facing place.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Are You
          2. Foreground
          3. This Is Not
          4. Singular

          The Stroppies

          Levity

            RIYL: Guided by Voices, Pavement, The Clean, XTC, Flying Nun

            The title of The Stroppies' newest LP, Levity, serves as a creative statement of intent and an acknowledgment of the dichotomy between the music they have made and the conditions in which they were produced. For a group that started over an initial idea to "create open ended music, quickly and haphazardly”, the logistical challenges of creating their second album in the midst of a pandemic, in a city that endured the longest lockdown in the world, created a need to redefine process.

            Levity, The Stroppies strongest creative statement to date, is the result of this new approach to creative process. Playful yet focused, but broader in scope and experimentation than previous efforts, the ten songs that comprise Levity continue the band's exploration of the pop song as both foil for experimentation and conduit for personal reflection.

            Whereas the group's debut LP Whoosh! demonstrated their ability to craft clean, concise jangle pop, Levity takes a different route by utilizing a darker pallet of sounds to create its impressionistic whole. Fuzz and distortion are employed to add weight to songs built on tape loops and Motorik drum patterns. Warbling synthesisers and modulated keys add new moods and dimensions to The Stroppies unique brand of pop classicism. Thematically, the band continues their exploration of the personal refracted through the lens of the absurd, though this time around the music feels a few shades darker, a somewhat inevitable consequence of the collective trauma of the past 24 months. The songs still hit with the immediacy that made their debut so engaging, but there’s a creeping cynicism and wistfulness that now permeates The Stroppies sound.

            While the narrative around the 'lockdown record' is increasingly commonplace, there are unavoidable realities involved in making creative decisions under such circumstances that can't be overlooked, especially for a band that thrives on collaboration. "The restrictions around COVID really informed the way we made the record', says Angus Lord, the band's co-founder and guitarist. "It meant that there was a lot less opportunity to meet and build ideas collaboratively, which is how we’ve worked in the past. Instead, ideas were developed in isolation, then shared digitally, developing slowly over correspondence and only bearing fruit when we were able to be in a room together. I think this had a big effect on the songwriting and execution.” This process even extended to the studio, where The Stroppies found a kindred spirit in John Lee of Phaedra Studios, who mixed the record in isolation, somehow managing to synthesise the band's pop sensibilities with their penchant for studio experimentation. Furthermore, the addition of new member Zoe Monk, known for playing in a diverse array of Melbourne acts (Eggy, Thibault, The Opals) contributed both synthesiser experimentation and rock solid rhythm guitar, a huge addition to the band's developing sound, an infectious combination of the off-kilter 90s US underground, British artpunk ala Wire and a more than generous love of classic Pop songwriting.

            Reflecting on the making of the record, bassist and co-vocalist Claudia Serfaty understands their shift in approach, noting that, “the world feels strange and in turn making pop music feels even stranger. A healthy dose of levity had to be employed in order to find meaning in the process.” In spite of this light hearted attitude, The Stroppies have managed to craft a record of weight and substance.Through Levity the Stroppies have, at least temporarily, found their feet amongst the chaos..

            TRACK LISTING

            1. The Perfect Crime (04:40)
            2. Smilers Strange Politely (02:49)
            3. Material Condition (05:24)
            4. Butchering The Punchline (02:07)
            5. Up To My Elbows (03:28)
            6. I’m In The Water (03:51)
            7. Tricks On Everything (02:33)
            8. Caveats (03:06)
            9. Figure Eights (02:57)
            10. The Bell (02:08)

            Star Party

            Meadow Flower

              RIYL: Jesus and Mary Chain, Shop Assistants, Black Tambourine, Sarah Records, My Bloody Valentine. Star Party began in March 2020 as a Seattle living room project between Carolyn Brennan and Ian Corrigan (Gen Pop, Vexx) - both sharing a love of high energy rock n roll music. The idea to start a band percolated during trips to the high deserts of eastern Washington to pick sage and see the sun as a brief reprieve from the misty and grey Pacific Northwestern Spring. A few months later, Star Party released Demo 2020 on Feel It Records, featuring two originals and covers of The Shop Assistants' "Something to Do" and the classic "All I Really Wanna Do" (in the vein of Cher's version).

              Over the course of 2021, Star Party wrote and recorded their debut LP, Meadow Flower, wherever and whenever they could. Employing like-minded Feel It label mate Caufield Schnug of Sweeping Promises (who also moonlights as one part of Melody Men Mastering) to mix and master the album, Meadow Flower follows a direct line from where Demo 2020 left off. Brennan's soft and clearly American vocals float over waves of feedback and drum machine racket like a delicate mist sitting just above a mountain lake. Melodies bob and weave inside an omnipresent static that fills in every nook and cranny of the recording. Drawing from a quiver of influences such as Black Tambourine, Confuse (JP), The Count Five, and of course The Shop Assistants (RIP Alex Taylor), Star Party's debut album seamlessly meshes together noise, melody, and harmony. 

              TRACK LISTING

              1. You And Me
              2. Living A Lie
              3. Push You Aside
              4. Meadow Flowers
              5. Shot Down
              6. Veil Of Gauze
              7. No Excuse
              8. A Trip Home

              David West

              Jolly In The Bush

                RIYL: Felt, The Wake, The Servants, Sarah Records, Rat Columns, The Reds, Pinks and Purples. Jolly In The Bush is David West's fourth eponymous record, following Drop Out Of Collage (2014), Peace Or Love(2016) and Cherry On Willow (2017).

                David is an underground pop musician from Perth, Western Australia and has been in numerous interesting and more-or-less obscure acts over the decades - some include Rat Columns, Rank/Xerox, Total Control, Lace Curtain, Liberation, Burning Sensation and Scythe. His solo works allow him free reign to follow various classic and sideways pop rainbows to their illogical conclusions. On Jolly In The Bush, he is graced by the angelic presence of stellar musicians, such as Louis Hooper from Rat Columns, Bob Jones from Eaters/P.E, Mikey Young from Total Control/Green Child/Eddy Current Suppression Ring, and Richard Ingham from Taco Leg/Mink Mussel Creek.

                Jolly In The Bush is a homage to shaggy indie dorks, sub-tropical singer-songwriters, robotic melancholia and the pre-Cold War 'grown and sexy' aisle at the Marina Safeway. The first side of the record sees DW straddle the indie rock horse, indulging in lyrical detours into historical fiction (‘1816’), naughty words (‘The Poet Of My Dreams’) and mumbling (‘Sleeping Head’). 'Sleeping Head' features a startlingly egotistical self-sampling of David and compatriot Bob Jones' atmospheric electronics project, Scythe, and their tune of the same name. Idea glut, or deficit? DW and his team challenge the seemingly pervasive professional competence rife in today's indie rock world. 'Keep indie rock shambolic' seems to be a theme close to his heart. However, a disturbingly serious side emerges in the middle of the record with two minimal, acoustically-minded numbers, 'Not That Lonely Yet' and 'Letters From Home'; light in feel, depressing in subject matter.

                A pleasing but perhaps formulaic shift in atmosphere guides us into Side B. Keyboards are deployed, synthesizers twinkle, beats hit us at a steady, head-nodding pace. 'Prove Your Love' sentimentally shimmies in the light bouncing off the marina's placid waters, 'You Must Be My Friend' is a downtempo electronic paean to illusions lost. 'You Saved My Life' sees our weary traveler finding fleeting succor in jazzy changes and a stranger's touch. Lest it all get too much, 'So We Ran Away' dusts off the glam boots worn on the Cherry On Willow LP but takes them down to a sub-basement chintz floor for a prancing romp through romantic insanity. Please, join us and become Jolly In The Bush! 

                TRACK LISTING

                Poet Of My Dreams
                6am Style
                1816
                Sleeping Head
                Not That Lonely Yet
                Letters From Home
                Prove Your Love
                You Must Be My Friend
                You Saved My Life
                So We Ran Away

                The Reds, Pinks And Purples

                Summer At Land's End

                  Summer at Land’s End is not an interlude or tangent for The Reds, Pinks & Purples but rather a perfect fourth movement following the albums Anxiety Art, You Might Be Happy Someday, and Uncommon Weather. As with these self-recorded records (the primary work of songwriter Glenn Donaldson), the songs on Summer at Land’s End were crafted slowly and then drawn together to make a unified statement. But here, and more than before, Summer at Land’s End combines Donaldson’s rueful pop sensibility with a parallel musical universe, one composed of pictures, dreams, and feelings without words. Even if the underlying theme of this collection is one of conflict or unhappiness, the vision of the music presents an escape to a new world, always fading in and out of sight.

                  For listeners who may not be familiar with Donaldson’s corner of San Francisco––the Richmond district––or the current wave of hazy, melodic DIY pop groups performing in the city, Summer at Land’s End pulls in images and scenes that feel like a collision of the mundane and the sublime of this present landscape. But settings such as these are the backdrop for personal narratives, expressed as a struggle with love, with companionship and the conflicts of home. With this record, The Reds, Pinks & Purples give less focus to the vanities of a subculture and more to the challenge of connecting with someone, to the ordinary goals of being human and finding harmony with others.

                  This deliberate saturation in drama and ambiance, along with some of Donaldson’s best songwriting to date, is what gives Summer at Land’s End its special class in the project’s discography. Of the album’s cinematic mood, Donaldson refers to films like Summer of ‘42 and the influence of the classic 4AD catalogue of the 1990s. This style informs much of Donaldson’s prior and current ventures of course (The Ivytree, Vacant Gardens, and a dozen projects in between) but now The Reds, Pinks & Purples have taken the mantle, embracing this instinct for instrumental or dreamier modes of pop songwriting. It’s a pleasure to experience Summer at Land’s End, as this record finds a thrilling balance between songs and sounds, instruments and voices, and the ironic twin poles of art and life.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Don’t Come Home Too Soon (03:12)
                  2. Let’s Pretend We’re Not In Love (03:06)
                  3. New Light (02:53)
                  4. My Soul Unburdened (02:21)
                  5. Summer At Land’s End (07:02)
                  6. Pour The Light In (04:10)
                  7. All Night We Move (02:42)
                  8. Tell Me What’s Real (03:05)
                  9. Upside Down In An Empty Room (03:15)
                  10. Dahlias And Rain (02:37)
                  11. I’d Rather Not Go Your Way (01:56)

                  DINKED EDITION:
                  Side A
                  Don’t Come Home Too Soon (03:12)
                  Let’s Pretend We’re Not In Love (03:06)
                  New Light (02:53)
                  My Soul Unburdened (02:21)
                  Summer At Land’s End (07:02)
                  Side B
                  Pour The Light In (04:10)
                  All Night We Move (02:42)
                  Tell Me What’s Real (03:05)
                  Upside Down In An Empty Room (03:15)
                  Dahlias And Rain (02:37)
                  I’d Rather Not Go Your Way (01:56)
                  Side C (DINKED EXCLUSIVE)
                  Never Said I Was Sorry Then (02:34)
                  Hummingbirds (03:19)
                  Holiday Cheer (02:56)
                  Randy, If You Were Here (02:34)
                  Public Fountains (02:37)
                  Side D (DINKED EXCLUSIVE)
                  Outer Avenues (02:37)
                  Sea Wall (02:43)
                  Mountain Lake Park (05:10)
                  Conservatory Of Flowers (03:19)
                  Like A Ghost Warmed Over (02:48)
                  Midday Sun (04:05)

                  Cindy

                  Free Advice - 2021 Reissue

                    Tough Love have partnered with West Coast imprint Mt St Mtn for the release of Free Advice, the instant slowcore/dreampop classic by San Fran four piece, Cindy. The full album is available to stream/download now, while a highly limited transparent vinyl pressing will be released on 20th November. Limited to just 250 copies, this pressing follows the long sold-out edition of 100 released earlier in the year and which was previously only available in the US.

                    Free Advice offers a somber-yet-uplifting take on sobered dream pop. Imagine if Galaxie 500’s On Fire didn’t have a guitar solo or if The Trinity Session was stripped of its folk & blues roots; it’s just pure mood. Like sitting in a half-empty movie theater that’s playing Alphaville or Wild Strawberries and watching patron’s heads briefly illuminated from the screen; Free Advice (and all of the Cindy output) transfers you to these momentary worlds.

                    Cindy is Karina Gill on guitar/vocals, Aaron Diko on synth/keys, Simon Phillips on Drums/Percussion, and Jesse Jackson on Bass/Keys + Simon and Jesse on backing vocals. The songs on Free Advice are these moments in mood: Phillips & Jackson’s rhythms create the foundation, while Diko’s keys rise and fall. Gill’s guitar rattles, vocals brood, and lyrics create these narratives that depict observers, not necessarily wronged rather, cautious and investigative of the world around them. 

                    TRACK LISTING

                    1 Discount Lawyer
                    2. Falcon Heavy
                    3. Seeing Double
                    4. Wrong Answer
                    5. Song 23
                    6. Fixed Idea
                    7. A Song In French
                    8. CSI: Creeptown
                    9. April Magazine
                    10. Free Advice
                    11. Lost On Me

                    April Magazine

                    If The Ceiling Were A Kite: Vol. 1

                      The purest a band can aim for is to present their milieu as a time capsule from the morning of. April Magazine deals deep in the hypnagogic charm of their surroundings. Since the 2018 release of “Shirley Don’t” a sneaky classic that first turned ears outside their SF Bay Area home the band has stirred out a handful of cryptic indie pop recordings nestled in warm aerosol hiss and scrappy hand-drawn cover art. Music that glints in the far back of an urban daydream where guitars could be bells, bells could be voices, and voices hardly find use in words. If The Ceiling Were A Kite is a document of things losing definition and time gone slack.

                      The songs on If The Ceiling Were A Kite were recorded over a span of about two years, after Peter, Mike and Kati started playing together around a four track cassette player in Peter’s bedroom. Other kindred spirits like Julia Waves, Ian Collins, Anthony Comstock OBC, Zach Vito, and eventually David Diaz joined in on some of the recordings and live shows adding to the collective ‘whatever works’ ethos of April Magazine.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1. AM
                      2. Shirley Don’t
                      3. Parade
                      4. After Pachalbel
                      5. Pink Hair
                      6. If The Ceiling Were A Kite
                      7. Undone
                      8. Freeway
                      9. Uptown
                      10. Walking To The Pier
                      11. Snow
                      12. Daffodils

                      Cindy

                      1:2

                        Cindy is a band built around the singing and guitar playing of Karina Gill. She became a musician only recently, having sat on the sidelines while ex-partners and friends made their stabs at it. Gill describes a chance encounter with an abandoned Squire Strat left in the basement by a previous tenant, “mummified in electrical tape with the remnants of a burrito on the head stock”, that led her to begin carefully strumming her way through simple chords and making her own songs. After one interesting self-released LP, still finding their footing, the band made the masterful and buzzed-about Free Advice, which went from a limited cassette on local SF label Paisley Shirt to vinyl pressings on Tough Love (UK) and Mt St Mtn (USA).

                        Cindy’s third LP arrives in quick succession, the quietly devastating 1:2. Jesse Jackson on bass, Simon Phillips on drums and Aaron Diko on keyboards weave the perfectly thin web behind Gill’s slow Velvety strums and murmured melodies. The rhythm section brings the crude flow, while the keys add subtle and surreal counterpoint to the withering world Gill depicts in her lyrics.

                        “Just as a mood is made by everything taking part in a pattern of association, so the songs tie together seemingly disparate things by the logic of mood,” Gill tries to explain. This isn’t dream-pop sunshine bliss; half-closed black drapes hang on the window where the narrator stares into the middle distance. “Sometimes you say you’re feeling small/You plan all day for your own funeral”, she intones in Party Store.

                        Gill has a way of halting her phrasing that makes it feel like her thoughts are gently tumbling into the abyss. It’s this unsettling quality mixed with the hazy atmosphere that makes Cindy’s new LP 100% addicting and the perfect antidote to comfort listening.


                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Barry says: The tenderly hushed vocals and lo-fi bedroom pop on offer here has echoes of a more melodic Moldy Peaches, but swims with a clever off-kilter writing style, lending less of a punky lo-fi haze and more of a whimsical, airy breeze to the pieces. It's really quite simple, and swimming in beauty.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. The Common Era (2:04)
                        2. My Friend (3:09)
                        3. Party Store (2:15)
                        4. Song 36 (2:51)
                        5. Lost Dog (3:55)
                        6. To Be True (3:55)
                        7. They Say What I Mean (3:43)
                        8. 1:2 (3:01)
                        9. Sincere Sound (3:12)
                        10. Deer In Japan (4:37)

                        White Flowers

                        Day By Day

                          RIYL: Beach House, Cocteau Twins, Cigarettes After Sex, Slowdive.

                          For songwriting duo Joey Cobb and Katie Drew of White Flowers, one of the most exciting young bands in the UK right now, it was only on leaving London to return to their native Preston that the dark-hued dreampop of their debut album, Day By Day, began to crystalize.

                          "There’s something uniquely bleak about the North,” says Joey, speaking from the abandoned textile mill that White Flowers call home, “but in that bleakness there’s a certain beauty.”

                          The pair had left Preston for London to study at art college, and it was there that they first began to explore the nascent psych scene bubbling under in the few remaining arts-orientated spaces in the east of the city. It soon inspired them to begin work on music of their own.

                          “We didn’t want to be a psych band,” explains Katie, "but discovering that music gave us both energy and focus. We’ve spent so many years developing these songs, because I think it was important we waited until White Flowers became its own defined thing."

                          The pair found that by using equipment they barely understood, they produced their most innovative work. Beginning on GarageBand, they crafted loops that turned into songs, and by the time they’d worked out how to use it, they’d graduated to a drum machine.

                          Now very much in control, and with a clear and determined focus, the pair began producing music that, whilst leaning into the North’s post-punk past, possessed a vision and depth informed by their own post-industrial Preston experiences. Creating all of their artwork, visuals and overall aesthetic, they began building a world that stretched beyond the music alone – in an unusual circular fashion, this auteurist-like approach became a way of translating their environment and experiences into a form of escapism from the very place that inspired them.

                          “We’ve always taken care to control every aspect of the White Flowers ‘world’, and because we’ve developed this over time, it feels to us like there’s a separate realm for White Flowers music to exist in,” observes Joey. “More than anything, the isolation that a place like Preston provides means that what we do is very much its own, separate thing”.

                          That ‘thing’ is the sound of the North at night; the unglamorous North, caught in the hinterlands that divide the main cities, a monochrome psychedelia formed in Preston and the imposing Lancashire hills that envelop them. As if always waiting there for them, in returning to their roots, White Flowers found themselves.

                          Nonetheless, it was shortly before leaving London that another creative breakthrough occurred. While performing a small show as a support act, a fan in the audience, impressed by the wall of noise that would frequently extend for minutes at the end of tracks, suggested they work with a like-minded friend. Within weeks, the pair were recording at the Manchester studio of Jez Williams, erstwhile member of Doves.

                          Williams and Manchester immediately made sense, and it’s that industrial gothic that White Flowers were able to tap into as they built the album during on-off sessions across two years – sometimes leaving the studio for a couple of months to work on ideas, other times crafting the minutiae of details across all-night studio sessions.

                          The access to flexible studio time was telling, and the band were able to develop an aesthetic that, whilst indebted to the various sounds that defined their youth, also leaned heavily into Kevin Shields’ droning wall of noise guitars, the palimpsestic hauntology of early Burial, and the ghost box sampleadelia of Boards of Canada.

                          “We like the more alien sounds” explains Joey, “where the focus is on creating atmosphere.” This is perhaps most obvious on the album title track, one of the more sonically enticing tracks on the record with its pulsing drone and Portishead-esque rhythm, or even ‘Night Drive’, a live favourite that the pair take pride in building into a monstrous wall of sound.

                          ‘Daylight’ pushes forward with a prettiness matched by Katie’s oblique, near-glossolalia vocal. “We don’t like it when things are clean or overproduced” explains Katie, “and there’s something interesting in the instinctive nature of the first thing you sing, because you don’t really know what you’re singing until it comes out and it makes sense.” That psychographic-style process to writing informs a collection of songs that are at once both intuitive and fully-formed.

                          The oldest song on the record, ‘Help Me Help Myself’, bears witness to this approach. Perhaps their most direct and perfect ‘pop’ song to date, it suggests these songs were always there within, just waiting to be divined. "We’d just started using drum machines and there’s something of a naïve quality to it,” explains Katie, though its naivety has now been augmented by Jez Williams’ impossibly diaphanous production.

                          The constant upheaval of, well, everything has fed directly into Day By Day. “The songs on the album were written from when we were teenagers up to our early 20s, so it’s come of age in this weird apocalyptic time,” says Katie.

                          “Everything’s surrounded by uncertainty” notes Joey, "but it isn’t all doom and gloom, there are positives, rules are out the window and you can do what you want. There’s some hope in there.”

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Darryl says: A gorgeously plaintive mix of post-rock quiet/loud instrumentation, shimmering walls of sound and tender, delicate vocal accompaniment. A rich and sumptuous swell of talented songwriting and emotional delivery.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Intro - (02:25)
                          2. Night Drive - (04:57)
                          3. Daylight - (03:45)
                          4. Stars - (03:35)
                          5. Tried To Call - (04:26)
                          6. Help Me Help Myself - (04:43)
                          7. Day By Day - (06:07)
                          8. Different Time, Different Place - (04:16)
                          9. Portra - (04:03)
                          10. Nightfall - (03:23)

                          The Reds, Pinks And Purples

                          You Might Be Happy Someday

                            Deep amidst San Francisco’s Richmond neighborhood misty air and washed-out pastel blocks, Glenn Donaldson has been diligently creating minor masterpieces with rudimentary home technology for some time now. With The Reds, Pinks & Purples, Donaldson has finally created a vivid reflection of this dreary scene. You Might be Happy Someday is an oblique strand of SF outer-avenue cloud cover that stretches across the Atlantic to the grey docks of Bristol as captured in Sarah Records’ fetishized insert photos. Despite the deceptively congenial presentation, Happy is often a heavy record. After a litany of Donaldson’s past iterations (from experimental abstraction to post-punk and pop), The Reds, Pinks & Purples is Glenn D’s most personal project.

                            Balanced awkwardly atop almost ironically upbeat jangles and rhythms Mitch Easter might have captured on his reel-to-reel are prime cuts of bummer pop. Almost every track is written in second person, creating a feeling of overheard private inner conversations-on-repeat: soft-lob criticisms, supportive friend advice and embarrassing confessions, You Might be Happy Someday is a smeared window into the (kindly) cynical thoughts of a romantic misanthrope. Like the work of other U.S. depresso-pop purveyors East River Pipe, The Reds, Pinks & Purples’ mini-album is the kind of record that is both unsettling and comforting. When you’re four drinks deep and you’ve worn your Smiths records out, You Might Be Happy Someday is on deck to have wine spilled on it while you dance alone in the kitchen. 

                            TRACK LISTING

                            1 Last Summer In A Rented Room
                            2 Forgotten Names
                            3 Worst Side Of Town
                            4 Your Parents Were Wrong About You
                            5 Desperate Parties
                            6 Half-a-Shadow
                            7 Sex, Lies & Therapy
                            8 You Might Be Happy Someday

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

                            A message from an old friend earlier this year: “I heard an album yesterday and thought: I bet Laura likes this”. It wasn’t a record I knew, but one look at the record’s sleeve and I was pretty sure he’d be right - It looked like an album I’d love! (We’ve all bought an album ‘cos we love the artwork right?) He was talking about this, the third LP in as many years from San Francisco resident Glen Donaldson. Self recorded and self produced, this collection of 13 succinct, super melodic, understated pop songs has a lovely warm, hazy feel to it. With song titles like “A Kick In The Face (That’s Life)” and “I Hope I Never Fall In Love” you can guess there’s a heavy dose of melancholy in the songwriting, but the gorgeous guitar jangles that chime through the low-fi haze lift the spirit, like the sun breaking through the clouds on a summer's day. 

                            TRACK LISTING

                            Don’t Ever Pray In The Church On My Street (02:46)
                            I Hope I Never Fall In Love (02:56)
                            The Biggest Fan (02:47)
                            Uncommon Weather (01:54)
                            A Kick In The Face (that’s Life) (02:01)
                            I Wouldn’t Die For Anyone (02:35)
                            I’m Sorry About Your Life (02:05)
                            The Record Player And The Damage Done (02:22)
                            Pictures Of The World (03:11)
                            Life At Parties (02:52)
                            Sing Red Roses For Me (03:54)
                            The Songs You Used To Write (02:49)
                            Sympathetic (03:11)

                            William Doyle

                            Great Spans Of Muddy Time

                              It’s nearly a decade since William Doyle handed a CD-R demo to the Quietus co-founder John Doran at a gig, who loved it so much he set up a label to release Doyle’s debut EP (as East India Youth). Doyle’s debut album, Total Strife Forever, followed in 2014, as did a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize. A year later, he was signed to XL, touring the world and about to release his second album – all by the age of 25.

                              After self-releasing four ambient and instrumental albums, Doyle’s third full-length record – and the first under his own name – Your Wilderness Revisited arrived to ecstatic reviews in 2019: Line of Best Fit described it as “a dazzlingly beautiful triumph of intention” and Metro declared it an album not only of the year, but “of the century”. Just over a year later, as he turns 30, Doyle is back with Great Spans of Muddy Time.

                              Born from accident but driven forward by instinct, Great Spans’ was built from the remnants of a catastrophic hard-drive failure. With his work saved only to cassette tape, Doyle was forced to accept the recordings as they were – a sharp departure from his process on Your Wilderness Revisited, which took four long years to craft toward perfection. “Instead of feeling a loss that I could no longer craft these pieces into flawless ‘Works of Art’, I felt intensely liberated that they had been set free from my ceaseless tinkering,” Doyle says.

                              “The album this turned out to be – and that I’ve wanted to make for ages – is a kind of Englishman-gone-mad, scrambling around the verdancy of the country’s pastures looking for some sense,” says Doyle. “It has its seeds in Robert Wyatt, early Eno, Robyn Hitchcock, and Syd Barrett.” Doyle credits Bowie’s ever-influential Berlin trilogy, but also highlights a much less expected muse: Monty Don, presenter of the BBC programme Gardeners’ World, Doyle’s lockdown addiction.

                              “I became obsessed with Monty Don. I like his manner and there's something about him I relate to. He once described periods of depression in his life as consisting of ‘nothing but great spans of muddy time’. When I read that quote I knew it would be the title of this record,” Doyle says. “Something about the sludgy mulch of the album’s darker moments, and its feel of perpetual autumnal evening, seemed to fit so well with those words. I would also be lying if I said it didn’t chime with my mental health experiences as well.”

                              Great Spans of Muddy Time is a beautiful ode to the power of accident, instinct and intuition. The result, however, is far from an anomaly: this celebration of the imperfect album is one that required years of honed craft and dedicated focus to achieve. “For the first time in my career, the distance between what I hear and what the listener hears is paper-thin,” Doyle says. “Perhaps therein reveals a deeper truth that the perfectionist brain can often dissolve.”


                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Barry says: There has been a significant stylistic change in Doyle's output since his early material as East India Youth, and every single note oozes with the intellectual construction and well placed melodic sensibilities that will ensure his place in the musical landscape for years to come. 'Great Spans...' is a wonderfully rich and fascinating journey, and one that rewards with each further listen.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              Side A
                              I Need To Keep You In My Life
                              And Everything Changed (But I Feel Alright) 
                              Somewhere Totally Else
                              Shadowtackling
                              Who Cares
                              Nothing At All

                              Side B
                              Rainfalls
                              New Uncertainties
                              St. Giles’ Hill
                              Semi-bionic
                              A Forgotten Film
                              Theme From Muddy Time
                              [a Sea Of Thoughts Behind It]

                              Badwan / Coxon

                              Promise Land / Boiling Point

                                A collaboration between Faris Badwan (The Horrors / Cat’s Eyes) & renowned guitarist John Coxon (Spring Heel Jack / Spiritualized / Treader), it is the first release of an ongoing collaborative series between Faris and other artists, details of which will be subsequently announced. Badwan & Coxon met some years ago when Faris was looking for producers to work with on his solo material and their working relationship evolved beyond the existing songs into something more improvisational and instinctive.

                                As Faris explains: The new songs we ended up working on were largely spontaneous and cut together from early takes with minimal overdubbing. The lyrics were improvised and the focus was placed more on creating atmosphere and keeping things fairly raw and expressive. I guess I found it rewarding particularly with the guitar playing because it was so intuitive and completely free from any expectations of how a song should be constructed. There are hooks and repetitive sections but fewer traditional structures. We tried to avoid doing any planning beforehand and focussed more on responding to what was happening in the moment. I guess the sessions were kind of a constant dialogue where we would each respond to the other's improvisation.

                                With Promise Land I began by improvising lyrics over a drone track John and I created. Some time later I came across “To Our Land” by Mahmoud Darwish, a Palestinian poet, and was struck by the similarities - there are a few lines that match really closely. Despite being half-palestinian myself this was a total accident and I know for sure I hadn’t seen Darwish’s piece before. With Boiling Point the lyrics are almost the ghost of a narrative rather than an explicit story. I’m interested in the subconscious and how the hidden parts of your brain express themselves when given the opportunity. Looking back it was almost more about creating the right conditions for the subconscious to come out.

                                Peel Dream Magazine

                                Moral Panics

                                  Vinyl pressing of their 8-track ‘Moral Panics’ EP, featuring 6 brand new tracks. This follows its digital and lathe cut only release in July.

                                  Featuring the original 6 unreleased tracks recorded during the sessions for their recently released second album Agitprop Alterna which was released in April of this year, two further exclusive tracks are added to their vinyl pressing. Talking about the EP, Joe Stevens, the main artistic force behind Peel Dream Magazine said: Moral Panics is an EP featuring unreleased songs from the Agitprop Alterna recording sessions over the course of 2018 and 2019. It's kind of like a sibling to that record as well as the Up and Up EP from 2019. The title comes from Stanley Cohen's Folk Devils and Moral Panics which talks about Mods in England during the 1960s. Cohen talks about how the English press and politicians benefited from vilifying that cultural phenomenon, and I wrote about it in the first track New Culture, as well as Permanent Moral Crisis off the LP. I'm really into everything Mod . . . I think it's something I come back to again and again. These songs definitely create their own vibe but they're still connected to Agitprop Alterna . . ." Peel Dream Magazine is the musical vehicle for NYC's Joe Stevens, who launched the band in 2018 with the critically acclaimed album Modern Meta Physic. The debut was a mysterious, liminal tribute to the hazy end of ‘90s dream-pop – a masterful mix of first-class songwriting precision and train-window sonic impressionism. Stevens played all the parts on Modern Meta Physic himself, blending live and sampled sounds into uniquely identifiable and abstractly psychedelic soundscapes.

                                  The album struck a perfect balance between DIY bedroom pop auteurism and studio wizaJoe Stevens, the rdry, and duly found its place on numerous “Best of 2018” lists. Where the creation of Modern Meta Physic was a solitary pursuit, Agitprop Alterna found Stevens channelling the collaborative spirit of the band’s ever-rotating live incarnation in the studio. He worked with close friend Kelly Winrich to develop new sounds for the project, creating musical snippets that Winrich would mix into the cohering whole. Live band members like vocalist Jo-Anne Hyun (later replaced by Isabella Mingione) and drummer Brian Alvarez would stop by and work their magic on the recordings, laying down parts with trademark exactitude. The resulting music revels in its realness: heavier, more dynamic, and truly the work of a band. 

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  1. New Culture
                                  2. Verfremdungseffekt
                                  3. Dialectrics
                                  4. Through You
                                  5. Life At The Movies
                                  6. Geodesic Dome
                                  7. The Furthest Nearby Place
                                  8. Clean Water (DEMO)

                                  Peel Dream Magazine

                                  Agitprop Alterna

                                    After 18 months of writing and playing live with a shifting cast of supporting members, Peel Dream Magazine is back with Agitprop Alterna, their new album which pushes the group’s dreamy, motorik-heavy sound to a deeply melodic and beautifully discordant place. Their 2nd LP pays homage to the fuzzy, mod-ish twee of acts like My Bloody Valentine and early Stereolab, but it's also indebted to stateside bands like Yo La Tengo and Rocketship that were cut from a similar cloth. It's part Chickfactor, part Space Age Bachelor Pad; a shambolic, drone-heavy brand of minimalism, filtered through a cross-section of classic indie pop.

                                    Peel Dream Magazine is the musical vehicle for NYC's Joe Stevens, who launched the band in 2018 with the critically acclaimed album Modern Meta Physic. The debut was a mysterious, liminal tribute to the hazy end of ‘90s dream-pop – a masterful mix of first-class songwriting precision and train-window sonic impressionism. Stevens played all the parts on Modern Meta Physic himself, blending live and sampled sounds into uniquely identifiable and abstractly psychedelic soundscapes. The album struck a perfect balance between DIY bedroom pop auteurism and studio wizardry, and duly found its place on numerous “Best of 2018” lists. Where the creation of Modern Meta Physic was a solitary pursuit, Agitprop Alterna found Stevens channelling the collaborative spirit of the band’s ever-rotating live incarnation in the studio. He worked with close friend Kelly Winrich to develop new sounds for the project, creating musical snippets that Winrich would mix into the cohering whole.

                                    Live band members like vocalist Jo-Anne Hyun (later replaced by Isabella Mingione) and drummer Brian Alvarez would stop by and work their magic on the recordings, laying down parts with trademark exactitude. The resulting music revels in its realness: heavier, more dynamic, and truly the work of a band. Each tune’s unique character fits carefully into a broader thematic whole examining personal freedom from manipulation and misinformation. First single “Pill” examines what Stevens calls the "inundation of performances of normalcy and fulfillment that fuel our desire to consume – self-medication for the pain of doubt, want and need.” “Emotional Devotion Creator” frames advertising (and the cynical, manufactured emotional response it elicits) with a critical eye, while “It’s My Body” is an “anthem against people who want to exert power over you and make you feel small…a reminder that you don’t owe anyone anything.

                                    Agitprop Alterna is ultimately defined by the tension of difference: between itself and its predecessor; Stevens’ and Hyun’s intertwined male-female vocals; the music’s languid dreaminess and concrete sonic immediacy. Deeply rooted in the Brechtian ideas of art as a tool to spur action, Agitprop Alterna deepens the connection between the existential and the interpretive first explored on Modern Meta Physic, giving the listener space to find their own meaning in shimmering guitars, fuzzed-out synths, and buzzing organ drones.

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    1. Pill
                                    2. Emotional Devotion Creator
                                    3. It’s My Body
                                    4. Escalator Ism
                                    5. Brief Inner Mission
                                    6. NYC Illuminati
                                    7. Wood Paneling Pt. 2
                                    8. Too Dumb
                                    9. Burtolt Brecht Society
                                    10. Permanent Moral Crisis
                                    11. Do It
                                    12. Eyeballs
                                    13. Up And Up

                                    The Stroppies

                                    Look Alive!

                                      Originally starting as the DIY home recording project of Angus Lord and Claudia Serfaty, The Stroppies have now evolved into what some might call a “proper band”. Following on from their 2017 demo cassette and a sling of singles, 2019 saw the release of their debut LP Whoosh!, a studio-based affair that evolved The Stroppies sound, underpinned with a newly discovered melodic classicism. Look Alive!, their latest effort which was recorded only months after the bands return to Australia after their second European tour of 2019, represents a marriage of the two different styles of Stroppies recordings and rounds out an incredibly productive twelve months for the group. Look Alive! Is the sound of The Stroppies honing their craft under new and unfamiliar conditions.


                                      Written mainly on the road then finished and recorded at home with whatever was on hand with only three of the four members present, it is according to the band’s singer/guitarist Angus Lord, "an EP forged in circumstance. A sum total of fleeting vignettes on scraps of paper, voice memos and iPhone notepads all collated between soundchecks and long stretches in a tour van rolled pieced together over weekly jams. We didn't want to waste much time when we got home so we opted to record it ourselves". For a band who began with the initial idea to create what the band called “open-ended music, collaged quickly and pieced haphazardly together”, it is in some sense a return to their true self. If Whoosh! glimmered and sparkled with tight production and succinct pop songwriting, Look Alive! is a somewhat darker shade, employing a more diffuse, impressionistic sonic palette and a more obvious penchant for experimentation.


                                      Tracked by the band and long time friend/collaborator Alex Macfarlane (Twerps, The Stevens, Hobbies Galore) at home and then mixed and mastered direct off the tape at Phaedra studios in Coburg by John Lee, it’s also a somewhat collaborative project, drawing in influence and inspiration from myriad sources. Such means of production are evident in the resulting eight songs. The title track sees acoustic pianos duel with synthesizers over Pavement-esque guitar wig outs, whilst ‘The Aisles of the Supermarket’ employs tape loops to forge loose ambient foundations. Though these ideas may reflect the band’s noted “stream of consciousness creativity”, remarkably the songwriting remains as sharp as ever. Album opener ‘Burning Bright’ gallops forward with the propulsive energy of ‘77-era Talking Heads and is transported by a casually brilliant chorus delivered by shared vocalist Claudia Sefraty.


                                      Elsewhere, lead single ‘Holes In Everything’ presents the band at its pop best: "If I could disappear into the atmosphere, I would be around you all the time" sings Lord, before swiftly throwing shade on the sentiment in the chorus, "It's always frightening what I think". It's this penchant for push and pull of light and dark splashed against the backdrop of trepidation and humour that make The Stroppies records so endearing and open-ended. Though undeniably pop structure orientated, the bands propensity for re-inventing and re-appropriating their recording and writing process ensures that nothing starts to fossilize. Indeed, Look Alive! is that most intriguing of records precisely because it represents two ideas at the same time - the sound of a band in flux, but also the sound of a band becoming more sure footed as they walk their crooked line.

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      1. Burning Bright
                                      2. Look Alive
                                      3. Sad Sorry Soul
                                      4. Roller Cloud
                                      5. Holes In Everything
                                      6. The Aisles Of The Supermarket
                                      7. Enter Or Exit
                                      8. Rigid Men And Conduct Codes

                                      The Stroppies

                                      The Stroppies - Repress

                                        Starting out as a recording project between Angus Lord, Claudia Serfaty and Stephanie Hughes, the germ of what would eventually become the Stroppies was formed around a kitchen table in Melbourne's inner west early 2016. The initial idea was to create open ended music, collaged quickly and haphazardly together on a Tascam 4 track Portastudio that drew on stream of consciousness creativity and a DIY attitude a la Guided By Voices and The Great Unwashed. The desire to move beyond the pre programmed drum patterns available on their Casio Keyboard led to the addition of Rory Heane on drums and a more conventional band dynamic.

                                        In Late 2016, Alex Macfarlane recorded the band in their lounge room direct to 4 track, capturing 7 songs that would become their 2017 self titled cassette tape debut. The songs were bounced back and forth from tape machine to computer to tape machine to computer again. In keeping with the bands initial aesthetic, dubs were laid over a 4 month period incrementally on different devices as members had babies, explored intercontinental love affairs and set up homes together. Since the release of the tape, Adam Hewwit has joined the group on third guitar as they settle down into exploring the new band dynamic and focus on their next recording project. The Stroppies is composed of members of many Melbourne and UK bands (Claudia is originally from London) including Dick Diver, Primetime, Possible Humans, White Walls, Boomgates, The Stevens, See/Saw to name a few. They make modest, idiosyncratic pop songs that reward with repeated listening. 

                                        TRACK LISTING

                                        1 Gravity Is Stern
                                        2 Go Ahead
                                        3 No Joke
                                        4 Under Your Sweater
                                        5 Courtesy Calls
                                        6 Celebration Day
                                        7 All The Lines

                                        Toy

                                        Songs Of Consumption

                                          TOY, who released Happy In The Hollow, their fourth, and by far most acclaimed album to date, in January of this year on Tough Love Records, have announced details of Songs Of Consumption, an 8-song collection of unique interpretations of tracks which have inspired the band.

                                          The idea was originally birthed when the band recorded four covers for the bonus 7"s that came with the Dinked and Rough Trade versions of the last album. 3 of those songs feature here alongside 5 new recordings completed last month, which comprise tracks by Stooges, Amanda Lear, Nico, The Troggs, Serge Gainsborough, Soft Cell, John Barry and Pet Shop Boys/Elvis/Willy Nelson (depending on how you know the song).

                                          Talking about the album, TOY said:

                                          Songs of Consumption sonically is a continuation and development of the themes conceived on Happy In The Hollow and it will show people where we are going towards musically. The DIY approach was explored further utilising more of the electronic elements that we touched upon before. Drum machines, stripped down arrangements and rudimentary production give a primitive sound that we thought suited the choice of songs. Some of the songs have very big sounding production, so we wanted to experiment with them by going in a different direction.

                                          Music is consumed voraciously now whereas these songs came from a time when the song was of the most important thing and that's what was appreciated. Stripping them back to the essence of what they are was also something we wanted to explore. Also, we wanted to make a covers record with songs by people that influenced us in the past few years and it’s as much about the way they dealt with their ideas, and how they put themselves in uncomfortable situations in order to make something that in the end is simple. It’s a homage to the spirit of these people, that helped us to untangle ourselves from our inherent complicated nature and create a new space where we can exist.

                                          Additionally, having played a sold-out tour of the UK in February, including a mesmerising show at Village Underground in London, the band have announced a couple of very special shows at the end of the year.

                                          Playing under the banner of ‘Hollowed Out – A night of strange sighting and unhabitual ritual’ the shows will see them re-imagining songs from Happy In The Hollow. In London they will be joined by AV artist Sculpture, live performances from The Thelma Death Stare and Ducasse, DJ sets from Cherrystones and Sheet Noise and live visuals from Daisy Dickinson. In Manchester they will be joined by Mutabase and a DJ set from Sofie K.

                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                          Barry says: It's nice to hear a selection of (superb) covers from Toy, expanding their sound into this diverse range of covers. Though the songs are not their own, it gives us an insigt into their influence, and honestly couldn't be any more their own. Swathes of guitar noise and succinct percussive throbs work their way behind Dougall's recognisable vocals, all accompanied with their ever present crystal-clear synths and melodic sensibilities. Lovely stuff.

                                          TRACK LISTING

                                          1. Down On The Street (The Stooges)
                                          2. Follow Me (Amanda Lear)
                                          3. Sixty Forty (Nico)
                                          4. Cousin Jane (The Troggs)
                                          5. Fun City (Soft Cell)
                                          6. Lemon Incest (Charlotte Gainsbourg & Serge Gainsbourg)
                                          7. Always On My Mind (B.J. Thomas)
                                          8. A Dolls House (John Barry)

                                          Big Supermarket

                                          1800

                                            Rest-of-the-World pressing of Big Supermarket's debut LP, previously released in mid 2018 in Australia only via the Hobbies Galore label. Little information about Big Supermarket exists online - no 'official' band photos, no accurate information re personnel, no social media profile - so much of what is known about the band must be earned in the old fashioned way: from listening to the music itself. That alone has been difficult enough, given that until now the record had no distribution outside of Australia and was only available by Bandcamp. In an era of information overload and endless image cultivation, it's refreshing to uncover a band - yes, a band, not producer or 'solo bedroom auteur' - who favour the shadows, who prefer to leave some things unsaid. What is present is a collection of fourteen songs recorded over a three year period in Kensington, Victoria, that trace a wobbly line through the backstreets of jangle-pop, new wave, and post-punk in a way that sees them oscilate between the melodic and the obtuse.

                                            In that sense, there's an obvious affinity with much of the early Flying Nun output, where an appreciation of the classicism of pop songwriting rubbed shoulders with a fierce DIY spirit charged on the more outre possibilities of punk autodidactism. Australia is making a habit of producing compelling, singular new guitar-led bands. In their shunning of the traditional cycles of publicity and promotion, Big Supermarket have counter-intuitvely emerged as a leading light. A secret to be passed around that doubtless wont remain a secret for much longer. 

                                            TRACK LISTING

                                            1 Welcome
                                            2 Old News
                                            3 The Kisser
                                            4 Personal Pronouns
                                            5 SuperHwy
                                            6 Feel The Warm Breeze
                                            7 Laura C.
                                            8 Peter
                                            9 Pro Gear
                                            10 Armchair Television
                                            11 Big Jean
                                            12 Toll Free
                                            13 Countryman's Boring Chores
                                            14 Black Death

                                            “There is something completely nonsense about it, especially when removed from any kind of context. For me it conjures up images of something absurd and transient - two things fundamental in the experience of listening to or making good pop music.” Whoosh may indeed be a silly word but it almost onomatopoeically captures the sound and essence of The Stroppies first proper debut album, one that breezes along with boundless energy, a refrained pop strut, infectious grooves and the sort of jangling guitar melodies that sound like a prime-era Flying Nun band. Between them, the Melbourne-based band - currently comprising of Gus Lord, Rory Heane, Claudia Serfaty and Adam Hewitt - have been in countless bands such as Boomgates, Twerps, Tyrannamen, Primetime, Blank Statements, The Blinds, White Walls, See Saw and Possible Humans.

                                            The band formed together around a kitchen table in 2016 with a heavy focus around the essence of collaboration and a DIY ethos. This led to an acclaimed cassette release of lounge room recordings, which was then pressed onto vinyl to more acclaim. The Stroppies next step was then taking their DIY approach to home recordings into the studio to make a transitional leap to what would become their proper studio debut. “Whoosh is our first concerted effort to make something with a bit more sonic depth,”says Claudia Serfaty (the bands other primary songwriter). It’s a record that possesses all the spunk and gusto of a young band hurtling forward yet also knowing when to take their foot off the accelerator.

                                            It’s an album that simultaneously feels young and fresh but wise beyond its years. “Whoosh is the most robust sounding release we have ever recorded,” Serfaty says. Combining taut post-punk rhythms, indie jangle, seamless melody and sugary pop, it’s a record that Lord says is influenced by: “All sorts of things - life, work, relationships, old cartoons and the last 60+ years of guitar-based pop music in some form or another. This includes everything from Bill Fay to the Clean to Stephen Malkmus.” We utilised whatever was on hand to pull sounds, including but not limited to vintage synths, rain sticks and an old door frame that we used for percussion.”

                                            TRACK LISTING

                                            1. Nothing At All
                                            2. Present Tense
                                            3. First Time Favourites
                                            4. My Style, My Substance
                                            5. Pen Name
                                            6. Cellophane Car
                                            7. Better Than Before
                                            8. The Spy
                                            9. Entropy
                                            10. Switched On 

                                            RIYL: The Horrors, Moon Duo, Wooden Shjips, Spiritualized, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dungen, Goat, Clinic.

                                            Toy release their fourth album, and their first for new label Tough Love Records, and it is unquestionably their most direct and propulsive album to date.

                                            Recorded between their own home tape studios and mixed at Dan Carey’s Studio B in South London, the album was entirely produced and mixed by the band.

                                            "Happy In The Hollow is entirely uncompromising: an atmospheric capturing of a state of mind that touches on Post Punk, electronic dissonance, acid folk and Krautrock. Familiar qualities like metronomic rhythms, warping guitars, undulating synths and Tom’s gentle, reedy vocals are all in there, but so is a greater emphasis on melody, a wider scope, and a combining of the reassuring and the sinister that is as unnerving as it is captivating."

                                            The sound has without doubt expanded — and grown more confident — in part because this is the first album for which Toy has become a self-sufficient five-person unit doing everything for themselves.

                                            “Each song was a blank canvas,” says Maxim. “Producers inevitably develop their own patterns over time, right down to certain drum sounds. We were starting from scratch and it felt very creative as a result. It’s an album we feel deeply connected to”.

                                            TOY are: Tom Dougall (vocals / guitar), Dominic O’Dair (guitars), Maxim Barron (bass / vocals), Max Oscarnold (synths / modulations) & Charlie Salvidge (drums / vocals).


                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                            Barry says: Toy on fine form here, in a somewhat more dreamy and progressive mood than on 2016's 'Clear Shot', with swirling guitars and cavernous reverb surrounding the psychedelic chord changes and echoing haunted vox. They've managed to craft something that is both immediate and deep, easy to engage with but develops the more you listen. A truly stunning work.

                                            TRACK LISTING

                                            1. Sequence One
                                            2. Mistake A Stranger
                                            3. Energy
                                            4. Last Warmth Of The Day
                                            5. The Willo
                                            6. Jolt Awake
                                            7. Mechanism
                                            8. Strangulation Day
                                            9. You Make Me Forget Myself
                                            10. Charlie’s House
                                            11. Move Through The Dark

                                            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!

                                              TRACK LISTING

                                              A. ‘The Willo’ - 07:09
                                              AA. ‘Energy’ - 04:07

                                              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

                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                1 Prologue
                                                2 Obituary
                                                3 Future
                                                4 The Moral Crossing
                                                5 Torment
                                                6 Low/High
                                                7 Execution/Rise
                                                8 Creation
                                                9 Fallen
                                                10 Vessel

                                                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.

                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                1. Mimi Pretend
                                                2. Silvertonic
                                                3. Dead Museum
                                                4. Ziggy
                                                5. Everything, All The Time
                                                6. Modern English Decoration
                                                7. Full Of Men
                                                8. Saw A Habit Forming
                                                9. Victorian Acid
                                                10. Protestant Work Slump

                                                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…. 

                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                  A 1. Waiting For The Summer 2. Are You Going Blind? 3. Who Thought? 4. Drop Off 5. Recalling B 6. You Still 7. Shining Bright 8. Riverboat 9. Nervous Breakdown 10. Take A Break

                                                  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.”


                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    1. Vague Hotel
                                                    2. Hurt So Bad
                                                    3. Holding Nails
                                                    4. Faceless
                                                    5. Little Girl
                                                    6. Suburban Coated Creatures
                                                    7. 666.66
                                                    8. River Of The Damned
                                                    9. Velvet Morning
                                                    10. Summer Black
                                                    11. Michael
                                                    12. Choreography

                                                    William

                                                    Self In Fiction

                                                      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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