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Big Bend

Last Circle In A Slowdown

    Big Bend’s new album is a monument to listening through the veil of time and space. Ohio native and primary songwriter, Nathan Phillips, built upon ensemble jam sessions he hosted at a residency in Australia and collaged those recordings alongside co-producer Shahzad Ismaily to make Last Circle in a Slowdown.

    Reflective, hi-fi, and elemental, the folk-meets-freeform sonics evoke rich 90s acoustic rock and the British post pop songwriting of Mark Hollis and David Sylvian. Lyrical observations of nature’s mystery and modes of regeneration consider the looming chance all things could move in any direction.


    The Exit
    Last Circle In A Slowdown
    Fast Moon
    Same Hour
    At The Door
    Rolling Chair


    Tailem Bend

      It wasn’t meant to be six years between albums for ORB. The Geelong-forged trio last graced us with a studio offering in the form of 2018’s characteristically heady ‘The Space Between’, before touring Europe and America back-to-back supporting King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard in 2019. But time rarely passes as expected, whether slowed by pandemics, side pursuits or other vagaries of daily life. What’s important is that a fourth album is finally here, with enough byways and trapdoors to keep us well occupied indeed. The long-awaited ‘Tailem Blend’ LP arrives July 12th 2024 on Fuzz Club in Europe and North America.

      Saturated in vintage warmth and depth, ‘Tailem Bend’ showcases ORB’s knack for achieving tuneful hypnosis amidst a dank roominess. It snakes through big, brash riffing as often as it does sun-dappled psych pop, with memorable rhythmic runs and funky wah licks along the way. As signalled by the cover artwork from Parsnip’s Paris Richens – which depicts either a swan or a fish, depending on how you look at it – ORB have returned with an album that rewards taking it in from multiple angles. There’s plenty of the band we know and love, but there’s also enough of the new to prompt a healthy succession of double takes.

      There are still the inevitable avalanches of fuzz, but also present now are mellower passages and a renewed focus on rhythm and space. It’s not a wholesale departure, but it’s distinctive enough to be reflected in the album title itself. The source? Tailem Bend is a quiet town in South Australia whose name was evocative enough to catch the band’s collective eye on tour. Conjuring images for them of some lost prog act, the name reportedly derives from the Ngarrindjeri word “thelim”, referring to a sharp bend in the nearby Murray River. That made it especially suited to a record that packs many dramatic turns of its own – all without breaking its natural flow.


      1. Tailem Bend
      2. Karma Comes
      3. Can't Do That
      4. Golden Arch
      5. Skyclock
      6. You Do
      7. Morph
      8. Commandment

      U-Benders are back - and have revealed a little more about their identity... we know now that they are brothers, so that dispels my theory about it being Luke Unabomber (unless he's calling Justin a brother now) - the mystery certainly continues as we get volume 2 from this anonymous outfit.

      Side A chops up the Orange Juice classic - "Rip It Up", utilizing that catchy guitar hook and deploying extra drums and tweaking with expert filter usage and flanger. It's another one of those 'so simple I wish I'd have done it' edits that'll absolutely blow the roof off Croatian boat parties or Stretford pub raves.

      "How's Your Father" takes things a little more obscure with the 1978 hit from lesser know group - Exile. Also used by Seahawks on one of their early 12"s, U-Benders extend the Balearic hook, add bubbling 303s and generally chug the whole thing up, making for a rather splendid soft-rock-Balearic-house crossover.

      Limited copies. 


      Matt says: Second double header from the elusive U-Bend. That Orange Juice edit is slick and as spirit rousing as you like, while the Exile flip on side B should keep the train spotters excited.


      Side 1
      1. Rip It Off 
      Side 2
      1. How's Your Father 

      A chance first time meeting one morning in Block 9 at Glastonbury 2022 between Graham Massey and Nice Swan Records lead to this serendipitous release between London newcomers Malady and Hacienda legends 808 State. Fitting in line with Malady's remix packages over the last 18 months this seemed like the perfect alignment between old and new.

      The original is a jaunty, electrified indie-dancer number powered by fast AFX-ish beats and high voltage synthesizers with a yearning male vocal that's a bit like Moving Units (remember them?).

      Remixing their own track, Malady emphasis the top drawer synthesis- - deploying wubbing Reeses, precision breaks and ricocheting rave stabs - nice!

      Onto the 808 State side and it's a highly engineered bleeps and breaks workout with advanced sound design and almost Autechre-like drum programming; weaving around the vocal track like a mechanized snake whilst bombarding the listener with a barrage of snares. Their instrumental, as you can imagine, does away with the vocal part and really let's that drum assault hammer home.


      Matt says: Proudly current indie-dance act Malady strike an amazing partnership with 808 State for this rather mesmerizing 12" which perfectly balances intricate sound design with anthemic song writing.


      A1. Round The Bend 
      A2. Round The Bend (Malady Remix)

      B1. Round The Bend (808 State Remix)
      B2. Round The Bend (808 State Instrumental)

      Sinead O'Brien

      Time Bend And Break The Bower

        Communing at the triangulation of words, music and image, O’Brien has always conjured powerful worlds: but none more powerful, or as immersive, than on her debut record. In the space that exists between her delivery – at once wry, silky, vicious, and self-assured – and the music – a dynamic, dancing call-and-response from her collaborators, guitarist Julian Hanson and drummer Oscar Robertson – lies a productive tension. Using a method of creating on-instinct, in constant communication with multisensory cues, O’Brien is carving out a space as a musical oracle for an ever-shifting era. The 11-track album was produced by indie super-producer Dan Carey (Fontaines DC, Squid, Black Midi, Kae Temptest, Bat For Lashes, Hot Chip, Franz Ferdinand) and recorded in his south London studio Mr Dan’s in late 2021.

        “The story of the album is built up in layers; one song giving context to the next” explains Sinead; “I thought about becoming undressed; testing my ideas, my voice. Working myself out across themes of identity, curiosity, creative process. Experimenting with the form and shape of language, using tone and delivery to get to the immediate centre of what I am saying. The record opens and closes with poems, these tracks have a really clear direction - a form which is set apart from the ‘songs’. I hold stops in different places, moving emphatically through the lyrics, changing the meaning. No punctuation - only the voice mapping out the way.”

        “The album title “Time Bend and Break The Bower”, from the song ‘Multitudes’, came into my head and made its demands, an idea that pressed on me throughout the record. It has a very active role. The clock symbol is enlarged, it looms like a moon over my activity watching, counting me down to zero. Dripping with self-sabotage and the feeling of being chased; it pulls and pushes against the verses which talk of ’Multitudes’; the things that faithfully come back - the images, the words, creativity. It is creativity itself.”

        Since 2020, O’Brien has garnered international critical acclaim from titles like Rolling Stone, DIY, Dazed, Dork, Loud & Quiet, NME, Paste, Stereogum, The FADER, The Guardian, The Quietus, and AnOther Magazine, among others. O’Brien has also been consistently supported on national radio: she counts Jack Saunders at BBC Radio 1, and Steve Lamacq and Amy Lamé at BBC Radio 6 Music as champions of her music, with the latter station giving two tracks a spot on their B List. And O’Brien is building on her US support from the likes of Seattle’s KEXP alongside appearances at SXSW – in virtual form in 2021, and live with her band in Texas later this spring.

        With a background on the design teams for John Galliano and, later, Vivienne Westwood, it’s no surprise that raven-haired O’Brien’s cultural touchstones also span a rich history of art, photography, film, dance and movement: from Helmut Newton femme fatales and Henri Cartier-Bresson’s bleak landscapes to modern performance by Michael Clark and Michael Laub companies, to the writings of Virginia Woolf and Samuel Beckett. Recently tapped by Alessandro Micele’s Gucci to perform, it’s clear that O’Brien’s esoteric instincts will continue to inspire those beyond the industry as well as within it.


        1. Pain Is The Fashion Of The Spirit
        2. Salt
        3. Girlkind
        4. End Of Days
        5. Like Culture
        6. The Rarest Kind
        7. Holy Country
        8. Spare For My Size, Me
        9. There Are Good Times Coming
        10. Multitudes
        11. Go Again

        Explosions In The Sky

        Big Bend (An Original Soundtrack For Public Television)

          Following nearly two years of global touring in support of their adventurous and acclaimed album, The Wilderness (2016), Explosions In The Sky paused on the future to reflect on the past. Celebrating their 20th year as a band with a pair of remastered reissues of early beloved classics – How Strange, Innocence (2000) and The Rescue (2005) – they embarked on a memorable series of anniversary concerts in 2019. It was around then that Explosions In The Sky was approached to craft the score to a new documentary about a place with which, as native Texans, they were very familiar: Big Bend National Park.

          That documentary, Big Bend: The Wild Frontier of Texas, premiered on PBS in the United States as well as on a variety of networks in other countries in early 2021. The hour-long film intimately follows the lives of native animals amid expansive aerial views of the iconic desert landscape that makes up one of the grandest natural wonders in the world. The band set these sights to an inspired, melodic, and meaningful blend of acoustic guitar, slide guitar, strings, piano, bells, and drums that feels as alive and diverse--and vast and lonely--as the place it depicts.

          Big Bend (An Original Soundtrack for Public Television) takes that mesmerizing score and recontextualizes it as a standalone album. Those brief cues have been expanded and transformed into a thoughtful, gorgeous full-length album that recalls some of the band’s most magical and memorable moments from their storied history.

          Big Bend: The Wild Frontier of Texas is a film that explores the past and present of the vast, complicated landscape that still holds countless mysteries yet to be uncovered. In Big Bend (An Original Soundtrack for Public Television), Explosions In The Sky pursue a similar approach to their own past and present, and find inspiration in all that has yet to be discovered.


          Barry says: I'm a BIG EITS fan, and one of my favourite soundtracks of all time was their Prince Avalanche OST, so it's with no small joy I get to add this one to the collection. It's a beautifully majestic and uplifting set of acoustic / post-rock vignettes, rich in texture and wonderfully brought together.


          1. Chisos (4:11)
          2. Climbing Bear (3:19)
          3. Woodpecker (2:05)
          4. Spring (2:38)
          5. Flying (3:03)
          6. Camouflage (2:29)
          7. Swimming (1:05)
          8. Stories In Stone (2:36)
          9. Summer (3:14)
          10. Nightfall (2:22)
          11. Owl Hunting (2:15)
          12. Sunrise (3:30)
          13. Big Horns (2:11)
          14. Autumn (2:41)
          15. Cubs (1:54)
          16. Pallid Bats (2:56)
          17. Rains Legacy (2:28)
          18. Bird Family (2:10)
          19. Winter (3:17)
          20. Human History (6:08)

          The Fall

          Bend Sinister / The 'Domesday' Pay-Off Triad-Plus!

            Beggars Arkive reissue The Fall’s ninth studio album, Bend Sinister, originally released in 1986. This edition is titled Bend Sinister/The 'Domesday' Pay-Off Triad-Plus!

            It was the last of three albums in a row produced by John Leckie and was named after a dystopian novel by Vladimir Nabokov.

            After the universal acclaim for the previous year’s This Nation’s Saving Grace, Bend Sinister often stands in its predecessor’s shadow. It is a dark, brooding album made at the height of the group’s Beggars Banquet years and many people include this at the top of the list of favourite Fall albums.

            From Bend Sinister, “Mr. Pharmacist” is a lurching instalment in pop music’s ongoing conversation with drug dealers, illicit and otherwise. Actually a cover of 1960s garage-rockers the Other Half, it’s also a demonstration of how the Fall’s relatively unchanging style could bolster other people’s songs. – PITCHFORK

            “Part musical hypnotist, part ranting madman, Smith was a singular figure in post-punk. His Mancunian accent, dry witticisms and plays on words were one of the Fall’s most constant characteristics. Their songs were odysseys into his ever-verbose psyche, marked by repetitive rhythms and melodies.” – ROLLING STONE

            “At various points in the band’s four-decade career, the Fall might sound like punk, hard rock, psychedelia, funk, blues-rock, jazz-rock, electropop or sheer noise. “If it’s me and your granny on bongos, it’s the Fall,” Mr. Smith once declared. The BBC disc jockey John Peel, an early and steadfast supporter, said of the Fall that ‘they are always different, they are always the same.’” - THE NEW YORK TIMES

            "Mark E Smith’s group of psychedelic post-punks rank as one of the most visionary, singular British bands of all time.” -THE GUARDIAN

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Darryl says: Originally released in 1986, one year after the highly celebrated ‘This Nations Saving Grace’, ‘Bend Sinister’ was a darker brooding album, but had the Brix pop sensibility to counteract Mark E. Smith’s caustic vocals. Still highly regarded by Fall fans to this day, this was MES and his band hitting their creative peak. Reissued as a double disc edition with a plethora of bonus material.

            TRACK LISTING

            LP TRACK LISTING:
            A1. R.O.D.
            A2. Dktr. Faustus
            A3. Shoulder Pads 1#
            A4. Mr. Pharmacist
            A5. Gross Chapel – British Grenadiers
            B1. U.S. 80’s – 90’s
            B2. Terry Waite Sez
            B3. Bournemouth Runner
            B4. Riddler!
            B5. Shoulder Pads 2#
            C1. Living Too Late (From The Living Too Late Single)
            C2. Hot Aftershave Bop (From The Living Too Late Single)
            C3. Lucifer Over Lancashire (From The Mr.Pharmacist Single)
            C4. Auto Tech Pilot (From The Mr.Pharmacist Single)
            D1. Hey! Luciani (from The Hey! Luciani Single)
            D2. Entitled (from The Hey! Luciani Single)
            D3. Shoulder Pads #1b (from The Hey! Luciani Single)
            D4. Living Too Long (From The Living Too Late Single)

            CD TRACK LISTING:
            1-1. R.O.D.
            1-2. Dktr. Faustus
            1-3. Shoulder Pads 1#
            1-4. Mr. Pharmacist
            1-5. Gross Chapel – British Grenadiers
            1-6. U.S. 80’s – 90’s
            1-7. Terry Waite Sez
            1-8. Bournemouth Runner
            1-9. Riddler!
            1-10. Shoulder Pads 2#
            2-1. Living Too Late (Remastered/from The Living Too Late Single)
            2-2. Hot Aftershave Bop (Remastered/from The Living Too Late Single)
            2-3. Lucifer Over Lancashire (Remastered/from The Mr.Pharmacist Single)
            2-4. Auto Tech Pilot (Remastered/from The Mr.Pharmacist Single)
            2-5. Hey! Luciani (Remastered/from The Hey! Luciani Single)
            2-6. Entitled (Remastered/from The Hey! Luciani Single)
            2-7. Shoulder Pads #1b (Remastered/from The Hey! Luciani Single)
            2-8. Living Too Long (Remastered/from The Living Too Late Single)
            2-9. R. O. D (Peel Session, June 29 1986)
            2-10. Gross Chapel – British Grenadiers (Peel Session, June 29 1986)
            2-11. U. S. 80s – 90s (Peel Session, June 29 1986)
            2-12. Hot Aftershave Bop (Peel Session, June 29 1986)
            2.13. Luciani (Original Version, Previously Unreleased)
            2.14. DKTR. Faustus (Rough Mix, Previously Unreleased)
            2.15. Terry Waite Sez (Yellow 2 Mix, Previously Unreleased)
            2.16. Lucifer Over Lancashire (Abbey Road Take 2, Previously Unreleased)
            2.17. Entitled (Abbey Road Take 2, Previously Unreleased)
            2.18. Town And Country Hobgoblins (Live, From The Bend Sinister Cassette Release)

            Hard to believe a full decade has passed since the release of Yanqui U.X.O., the last album by GYBE. Never a band to care for conventional industry wisdom, Yanqui was released shortly before Xmas 2003 with little publicity and no press availability, no marketing plans or cross-promotions or brand synergies, with back cover artwork tracing the inextricable links between major music labels and the military-industrial complex. Driven by word-of-mouth from a passionate and committed fanbase galvanized by the group's sonic vision and its dedication to unmediated, unsullied musical communication, the album found its rightful audience.

            To suggest that such simple principles and goals have become harder to maintain and enact a decade later is an understatement. For all the contents and discontents – for all the "content" – of our present cultural moment, the idea of circumventing the glare of exposure, the massaging of media cycles and the calculus of identity management appears quaint, if not futile.

            But Godspeed is looking to try all the same. The band wants people to care about this new album, without telling people they should or talking about themselves. They want to hold on to some part of that energy that comes with the thrill of anonymous discovery and unmediated transmission, knowing full well that these days, anti-strategy risks being tagged as a strategy, non-marketing framed as its opposite, and deeply held principles they consider fundamental to health as likely to be interpreted as just another form of stealth.

            The band has been carving its own path again since 2010, regrouping as the same self-managed collective entity it has been from the outset, making appearances at a tiny clutch of music festivals, and otherwise just touring its own shows. It's been a disorienting time to resurface, but it has felt overwhelmingly right, honest and good. We think Godspeed has made a new record that maintains if not exceeds the standards of their previous work – a high bar, many would agree.

            GYBE picked up right where they left off, and after almost two years of practicing, playing and touring, ‘Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! Delivers two mighty sides of music (bookended by two new drones) that the band had been working up prior to their 2003 hiatus, which they have now shaped into something definitively stunning, immersive and utterly true to their legacy. The future looks dark indeed, but on the evidence of this new recording, Godspeed appears wholly committed to staring it down, channeling it, and fighting for some rays of sound (and flickers of light) that feel righteous, unflinching, hopeful and pure.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Darryl says: A full decade on from their previous release, Montreal’s instrumental alchemists GY!BE bring us their astonishing new masterpiece "’Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!" Having taken a hiatus in 2003 the band reformed as a touring entity in 2010 honing their craft again before unexpectedly offering us this new apocalyptic vision. "’Allelujah!" brings us two 20 minute sprawling epics in the form of "Mladic" and "We Drift Like Worried Fire" and two shorter drone pieces. "Mladic" begins proceedings with an Eastern hypnotic vibe which gradually transforms into a raging torrent of intense and menacing guitar noisecapes dipping and soaring to a thrilling crescendo. "We Drift Like Worried Fire" builds from a simple repetitive three note sequence into a monumental storm of euphoric guitars, strings and pounding rhythm section before falling back and rising again to a brutal and majestic peak of cinematic noise euphoria, it’s like Morricone gone punk. These tracks are bookended by two shorter drone pieces that menace with dynamic intensity, the calm after the storm! ‘Allelujah indeed!

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Mladic
            2. Their Helicopters’ Sing
            3. We Drift Like Worried Fire
            4. Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable

            Architecture In Helsinki

            Places Like This

              Melbourne's now globally dispersed musical chameleons Architecture in Helsinki release the exhilarating album, "Places Like This". It could not be more removed from their previous album, "In Case We Die". Fizzing with electrical currents, channelling calypso rhythms and tropicalia flavours with lashings of percussion a-go-go, the new songs pack a kaleidoscopic punch that is little short of breathtaking. Pop effervescence hasn't sounded this fresh in ages. Laced with steel drums, single "Heart It Races" builds through infectious pitter-pat crashing beats, layered 'na na na na na' vocals to hands-in-the-air dancefloor breakdowns and swooshy, glittering rushes. The rest of the album follows in the same mad yet wonderful vein throughout. Recorded by Brooklyn based engineer Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, !!!, TV On The Radio) "Places Like This" was written by Architecture In Helsinki's songwriter Cameron Bird after he'd relocated to a Puerto Rican neighbourhood in Williamsburg last summer. It's the sound of a New York melting down, with South American poly-rhythms and street beats clamouring for attention.

              The Fall

              Bend Sinister

                "Again working with John Leckie on production, the Fall's third Beggars album, Bend Sinister, was a distinctly down affair -- not that the Fall were ever a shiny happy band, of course, but both music and lyrics seemed like a darker corner to dwell in. Happily there was no worry that the Fall would ever go goth; one suspects Mark E. Smith would rather have his tongue removed. Still, opening track "R.O.D." makes for a distinctly lower-key start in comparison to recent leadoffs like "Lay of the Land" and "Bombast," almost sounding a bit like fellow Mancunian legends Joy Division, Smith's lyric his own depressing vision of a beast slouching toward Bethlehem. Leckie's production emphasizes space in the recording, while the band as a whole sounds generally more deliberate and understated, even Craig Scanlon's guitar not leaping quite as much to trebly life as is normally the case. Songs like "Gross Chapel - British Grenadiers" favor Steve Hanley's bass work as much as anything, while the almost industrial/hip-hop beat of "US 80's-90's" sets the tone for a glowering vision of the States from, as Smith puts it, "the big-shot original rapper." Elsewhere, there's Smith's vision of the eternal outsider comes to life once again -- "Shoulder Pads 1," a hardly disguised sneer against being surrounded by people who "can't tell Lou Reed from Doug Yule," for all that there's a slightly quirky arrangement thanks to Simon Rogers' keyboards. Still, there are certainly moments of sheer fun -- in keeping with the band's regular ear for good cover versions, this time around psych-era obscurities the Other Half get the nod with a brisk rip through the obvious drug references of "Mr. Pharmacist." Brix again shares vocal leads with Smith at various points, notably "Dktr. Faustus," a distinctly reworked version of that particular legend that turns into a frantic, audibly unhappy dance groove." - AllMusic.

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