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WOODS

Simply an iconic track from Swiss brothers Mandrax and Seb K aka Shakedown, ‘At Night’ is one of the most recognisable house tracks of the last two decades. With one of the most-hyped remixes of the year, artist of the moment Peggy Gou delivers with a squelching 7 minute groover, bringing in that iconic synth motif to lift the production and keep it rolling. Stepping up to tackle this masterpiece with a nu-disco dance track, Tiger & Woods use cowbell to accent a b-boy beat, with drum machine breaks bringing it back to the dancefloor. With a sophisticated house remix with a nu-disco edge is Purple Disco Machine, fusing a funk-infused bassline with Terra Deva’s unforgettable vocals. Finally is a brand new version from the Shakedown duo themselves, the Galactic Boogie Mix. With saturated synths and interplanetary breakdowns, Shakedown bring a carefree 80s quality to this iconic track’s irresistible after-dark charm.

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Fresh copies of this absolute essential record from the last decade. Still one of Peggy Gou's finest moments in my opinion (and two year's before she released "It Makes You Forget"), the other remixes are also killer. One of the best house vocals from recent years.

TRACK LISTING

A1 At Night (Peggy Gou's Acid Journey Remix)
A2 At Night (Tiger & Woods Remix)
B1 At Night (Purple Disco Machine Extended Remix)
B2 At Night (Shakedown's Galactic Boogie) 

Tiger & Woods return to the clubs yields more sonic fruits from their musical orchard.

"Fake U" kicks off with their trademark cut-n-loop aesthetic sounding remarkably like two other chop-house superstars: Cassius and Soundstream - with funky licks, disco drums and party energy coursing through its edits. "Do It Do Me" ups the anti with added compression and wild filter usage; again not a million miles away from the cult collected Soundstream tracks of yesterday; with some extra fancy breakdown and FX usage to please the modern connoisseur.

Onto side B and "Silly Little Games" employs an army of Daft Punk-era squelches and synth licks to another electro-disco groove for a nice mid-session burner that'll have bodies gyrating nicely. "Wild Stream" concludes with possibly the tightest and snappiest chops and cuts across the 12"'; a highly distilled example of the duo's winning formular that'll keep the post 3AM crowd wiggling manically into the morning sun. Top stuff as always from the iconic pair... 


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Tiger & Woods hit the greens again, with a uptempo and characterful EP which I have to say reminds me a lot of Soundstream / Soundhack from years ago. That ain't a bad thing - and Tiger & Woods more than do the blueprint justice, four cut-n-splice sample-house future classics to have you gyrating on the floor come the early hours.

TRACK LISTING

A1. Fake U
A2. Do It Do Me
B1. Silly Little Games Feat. ‘Em
B2. Wild Stream

Hilary Woods

Acts Of Light

    Acts of Light is a fugue comprised of nine slow hypnotic dirges. Vulnerability, majesty, and candour elicited with drone, double bass, field recordings and sacred choral chant compose its private ritual. Born out of excavations and explorations in feeling, intuition and physicality through sound which culminated in her 2021 EP Feral Hymns, Acts of Light is a disquiet personal offering to wilderness, loss, absence, mystery and love supreme.

    Its resonant, rich and weighted lament is both subterranean and chasmal whilst simultaneously detailed and tender, awakening hidden forms that emerge from the shadows with each listen. Textural dust and speckled light move slowly and expansively here through a deeply sonic and sensory rite of passage where Woods’ moving compositions confide in us feeling to be received with the entire body.

    Recorded and mixed over a span of two years along the west coast of Ireland and in various other locations, including the Pro cathedral in Dublin where Woods recorded the choristers of the Palestrina Choir and Galway where she recorded the voices of Galway City Chamber Choir, string samples were recorded by Jo Berger Myhrein Oslo, whilst field recordings were recorded nomadically thro ughout her time spent travelling through the north and south of Spain

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Burial Rites
    2. Wife Mother Lover Crow
    3. Where The Bough Has Broken
    4. Acts Of Light
    5. Ochre
    6. Awakening
    7. Blood Orange
    8. The Foot Of Love
    9. Vigil 

    Jamila Woods

    Water Made Us

      On her expansive new album Water Made Us, Chicago musician and poet Jamila Woods shines anew as she asks the question, what does it mean to fully surrender into love? Across Water Made Us, Jamila embraces new genres, playful melodies, and hypnotizing wordplay, as she wades through the exhilarating tumult of love’s wreckage and refuge.

      While 2017’s HEAVN saw Jamila celebrating her community within a lineage of Black feminist movement organizing, and 2019’s Legacy! Legacy! reframed her life’s experiences through the storied personas of iconic Black and brown artists, Water Made Us is self-revelatory in an entirely new way, making this her most personal album yet. Made together with LA-based producer McClenney, and boasting features from longtime friends and Chicago natives such as Saba and Peter CottonTale, Water Made Us is a sprawling and intimate portrait of self-reflection, cleverly designed to echo the different stages of a relationship: the early days of easy compromising, flirtatiousness, and fun; the careful negotiation through moments of conflict or hurt; the grieving of something lost; and the tender realization at the end of it all that the person who is gone never really leaves, but stays with you as you find yourself ready to try again, refreshed and reassured.

      The album’s title -- taken from a line in album highlight “Good News” – is a subtle reference to the famous Toni Morrison quote “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.” It’s this sentiment – of memory, place, and returning – that acts as a pillar for the album’s arc. Water Made Us reminds us that at its best love is a warm, still ocean. Deep, shimmering, and endless in its wonder. And at its worst love can be a riptide that takes us so far away from ourselves we can hardly find our way back, hardly even remember how to swim. And yet Jamila surrenders to this surf — every wave and undertow – because maybe even the most painful endings can in fact be an invitation that calls her back home, back to shore, back to herself.

      TRACK LISTING

      SIDE A:
      1. Bugs
      2. Tiny Garden
      3. Practice (feat. Saba)
      4. Let The Cards Fall
      5. Send A Dove
      6. Wreckage Room
      7. Thermostat (feat. Peter CottonTale)
      SIDE B:
      8. Out Of The Doldrums
      9. Wolfsheep
      10. I Miss All My Exes
      11. Backburner
      12. Libra Intuition
      13. Boomerang
      14. Still

      Riccardo Cioni

      Fog - Morgan Geist, Tiger & Woods, N.O.I.A. &Daniele Baldelli & Marco Dionigi Remixes

      ‘Fog’ is one of most obscure and dark italo instrumental works done in 1984 late at night in Riccardo Cioni’s garage/studio by his trusty Stephen Head experimenting on PPG Wave 2.2, Linn 9000 and Phophet 5.

      Mondo Groove release this 12″ 45rpm involving 4 key figures of analog electro: Morgan Geist (Metro Area), Tiger & Woods, N.O.I.A. and Daniele Baldelli.

      Strictly limited edition.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: An all star cast of cosmic commandos guide Riccardo Cioni's "Fog" through the glitter-galaxy on the way to planet party.

      TRACK LISTING

      1 Fog (Morgan Geist Edit)
      2 Fog (Tiger & Woods Remix)
      3 Fog (N.O.I.A. Remix)
      4 Fog (Remix)

      Woods

      Perennial

        Woods are in bloom again, inviting you to disappear into a new spectrum of colours and sounds and dreams on ‘Perennial’.

        Formed in Brooklyn in 2004, Woods have matured into a true independent institution, above and below the root, reliably emerging every few years with new music that grows towards the latest sky. Operating the Woodsist label since 2006 and curating the beloved homespun Woodsist Festival for the musical universe they’ve built, ‘Perennial’ is the sound of a band on the edge of their 20th anniversary and still finding bold new ways to sound like (and challenge) themselves.

        ‘Perennial’ grew from a bed of guitar/keyboard/drum loops by Woods head-in-chief Jeremy Earl, a form of winter night meditation that evolved into an unexplored mode of collaborative songwriting. With Earl’s starting points, he and bandmates Jarvis Taveniere and John Andrews convened, first at Earl’s house in New York, then at Panoramic House studio in Stinson Beach, California, site of sessions for 2020’s ‘Strange To Explain’. With a view of the sparkling Pacific and tape rolling, they began to build, jamming over the loops, switching instruments, and developing a few dozen building blocks.

        The album’s resulting 11 songs, 4 of them instrumental, are in the classic Woods mode--shimmering, familiar, fractionally unsettling--but with the half-invisible infinity boxes of Earl’s loops burbling beneath each like a mysterious underground source. From source to seed to bloom, each loop unfolds into something unpredictable, from the jeweled pop of the aching “Little Black Flowers” to the ecstatic starlit freak-beat of “Another Side.” They are blossomings both far-out and comforting, like the Mellotronic cloud-hopping of “Between the Past,” or sometimes just plain comforting, like the widescreen snowglobe fantasia of the instrumental “White Winter Melody,” touched by Connor Gallaher’s pedal steel.

        Woods have long used the studio as a place of songwriting, naming 2007’s At Rear House after their shared dwelling and recording space. But Perennial also carries with it an even longer view of Woods. Emerging from the process alongside the music was Earl’s reflection that “perennial plants and flowers are nature’s loops,” an idea rolling under the album’s lyrics like the loops themselves. It certainly applies to the band, too, who have quietly tended to a long, committed project of being a band in the weird-ass 21st century, both individually and communally. Though separated by coasts, the communal sprit carries through Earl, Taveniere, and Andrews’ collaboration, a living embodiment of the freedoms rediscovered every time a new collectively created piece of music emerges.

        For nearly two decades, Woods have survived subgenres, anchored in the fertile soil below hashtags like lo-fi and freak-folk and psychedelic and indie, and built a shared history that’s something to marvel at. As the flagship band for Woodsist, they’ve accumulated a striking extended family of collaborators (and Woods alum) that have made the label one of the most dependable imprints in the kaleidoscopic low-key underground. It’s a glow that’s transferred whole to the blissed-out Woodsist Fests held in Accord, New York in recent years, which have folded in a wide range of diverse sounds, from the the jazz cosmoverse of the Sun Ra Arkestra and adventurous legends Yo La Tengo, to a hard-to-even-count family tree of contemporaries, like Kevin Morby (who served a few tours of duty as Woods bassist) and Kurt Vile (who released his 2009 debut on Woodsist), a living community in sound.

        Perennial carries all of this, shaped by decades, but made in the moment, and here right now. The smell of the flowers doesn’t remain, but sometimes the flowers do.
        Jesse Jarnow

        Recorded and mixed by Jarvis Taveniere at Panoramic House in Stinson Beach, CA with additional recording at The Ship in Los Angeles, CA and Cottekill Bird Sanctuary in Stone Ridge, NY. Produced by Jarvis Taveniere and Jeremy Earl. Mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk at Stereophonic Mastering in Portland, OR.

        Jeremy Earl - vocals, guitars, drums, percussion, sk-5, mellotron, vibraphone, autoharp, loops
        Jarvis Taveniere - guitar, bass, upright bass, hammond, vocals
        John Andrews - piano, organs, mellotron, drums, vocals
        Connor Gallaher - Pedal Steel
        Kyle Forester - sax, wurlitzer


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Andy says: Another masterpiece from Jeremy Earl and his psych-pop troubadours. They're just fantastic song-writers and vibe merchants. Woods are unique in that they're forever on an upward curve. After all these years this could actually be their best record yet.

        TRACK LISTING

        Side A
        1. THE SEED
        2. BETWEEN THE PAST
        3. ANOTHER SIDE
        4. WHITE WINTER MELODY
        5. SIP OF HAPPINESS
        Side B
        6. LITTLE BLACK FLOWERS
        7. DAY MOVING ON
        8. THE WIND AGAIN
        9. WEEP
        10. DOUBLE DREAM
        11. PERENNIAL

        Heather Woods Broderick

        Labyrinth

          Heather was Sharon Van Etten’s longtime collaborator and former band member.On Labyrinth, Heather Woods Broderick serves as our reflective host, subverting expectations of conventional songcraft with impressionistic language and quietly relentless explorations of the human experience that’s at once light and dark, more circular and less linear. “Many of us yearn for stillness and peace, as an escape from the movement all around us,” she explains when asked about the themes of the album. “Yet movement is perpetual, happening all the time on some level. It’s as wild as the wind, yet eternally predictable in its inevitability. It is linear in part, but infinite in its circuitry. Our lives just punctuate it.”

          Broderick began crafting Labyrinth in March 2020, when most forms of movement were brought to a creeching halt. The Maine-born, Los Angeles-based songwriter who, in addition to her work as a solo musician, built a life playing and touring with acts such as Sharon Van Etten, Beth Orton, Damien Jurado, and Efterklang was suddenly forced off the road for the first time in her career. She used this disruption as an opportunity to pare down her creation process and construct the scaffolding for Labyrinth in her apartment. Employing only the most crucial tools at her disposal, Broderick found herself opening different artistic doors as she focused on sharpening her recording skills, capturing the majority of the album on her own before finishing the remainder with co-producer D. James Goodwin.

          For all of Broderick’s sage lyricism and vocal authority, Labyrinth never provides the listener with any easy answers. If the image of the labyrinth represents the enormity of modern life and the difficulty of navigating it, Heather Woods Broder[1]ick provides a guide to its endless kinetic wonders of being present, aware, and

          connected despite its disconnects. She describes the texture of its walls, its indifferent rhythms, and the inherent poeticism of feeling lost amid the dead-ends and unexpected turns. At this point in our history, perhaps that’s all we need to keep moving.

          RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Julien Baker, Julia Jacklin, Weyes Blood.

          TRACK LISTING

          01 As I Left
          02 I Want To Go
          03 Admiration
          04 Crashing Against The Sun
          05 Wandering
          06 Wherever I Go
          07 Tiny Receptors
          08 Blood Run Through Me
          09 Seemed A River
          10 What Does Love Care

          Various Artists

          Deep In The Woods - Pastoral Psychedelia And Funky Folk 1968-1975 (Compiled By Richard Norris)

            Triple CD set collecting rare cuts and cult favourites from the worlds of psychedelic, pastoral and funky folk, 1968-1975.

            Focusing on the outpouring of psychedelic folk flavours that emerged swiftly after the first psychedelic era.

            Featuring some wonderful selections from long collectable acts such as Sunforest, Mellow Candle, Trees, Heron, Trader Horne, Christine Harwood and many more. 

            Compiled by Richard Norris (Beyond The Wizards Sleeve/The Grid) , the compilation is themed around UK and Irish music from that hallowed period, and comes with a 7000 word essay and sleeve notes from the musician/producer.

            Celebrating the collision of traditional folk with new psychedelic studio techniques, new and exotic textures, and a developing groove. It's a wide and broad range of styles, drawing from folk, its oral storytelling tradition, and also from jazz, beat, rhythm and blues, and the more mind opening sounds of psychedelia.

            Housed in a 3 CD digipack, designed in a striking wraparound collage by Lyndon Pike .

            TRACK LISTING

            DISC ONE
            1. FAT MATTRESS Leafy Lane
            2. KNOCKER JUNGLE Not Even A Letter
            3. DUFFY POWER I Need You
            4. MIKE HURST Face From The Past
            5. RAY FENWICK I Wanna Stay Here
            6. HARDIN AND YORK Natural Gas
            7. OPEN ROAD Mother Earth
            8. PAUL BRETT Motherless Child On A Merry-Go-Round
            9. THE WOODS BAND Noisey Johnny
            10. MEIC STEVENS Yorric
            11. MARC ELLINGTON You Just Can’t Believe What You See
            12. ALAN JAMES EASTWOOD Crystal Blue
            13. ARRIVAL La Virra
            14. DANDO SHAFT Cold Wind
            15. LINDA HOYLE Hymn To Valerie Solanas
            16. NIRVANA Nova Sketch
            17. BRIAN DAVISON’S EVERY WHICH WAY Castle Sand
            18. JADE WARRIOR Yellow Eyes
            19. WRITING ON THE WALL Buffalo

            DISC TWO
            1. CHRIS HARWOOD Wooden Ships
            2. BRIDGET ST. JOHN Fly High
            3. DANDO SHAFT Rain
            4. HERON Lord And Master
            5. MELLOW CANDLE Silversong
            6. TREES Murdoch
            7. KEITH CHRISTMAS Foothills
            8. TRADER HORNE Morning Way
            9. MILLER ANDERSON Shadows ‘Cross My Wall
            10. THE GHOST Time Is My Enemy
            11. KEVIN COYNE Flowering Cherry
            12. SECOND HAND Hangin’ On An Eyelid
            13. FUCHSIA Shoes And Ships
            14. MIKE HURST Place In The Country
            15. AMBER Swan In The Evening
            16. GLOBAL VILLAGE TRUCKING COMPANY The Inevitable Fate Of Ms Danya Sox
            17. MIGHTY BABY Jug Of Love

            DISC THREE
            1. SUNFOREST Magician In The Mountain
            2. CHRIS HARWOOD Crying To Be Heard
            3. WIZZ JONES City Of The Angels
            4. JADE WARRIOR Lady Of The Lake
            5. KNOCKER JUNGLE Oh To Be Free
            6. BRIDGET ST. JOHN Silver Coin
            7. FRIENDS In The Morning
            8. ALAN JAMES EASTWOOD Lotus Child
            9. THE DEVIANTS Bun
            10. JADE Amongst Anemones
            11. PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE The Death Of Don Quixote
            12. YVONNE ELLIMAN Hawaii
            13. THE OCCASIONAL WORD The Evil Venus Tree
            14. IAN A. ANDERSON Goblets And Elms
            15. BILL NELSON Rejoice
            16. ZIOR Time Is The Reason
            17. CURTIS KNIGHT WITH ZEUS New Horizon
            18. LINDA LEWIS Reach For The Truth

            Ernest Hood

            Back To The Woodlands / & Where The Woods Begin

              Written and recorded between 1972 and 1982 in Western Oregon, Back to the Woodlands is a previously unreleased, and nearly lost, album made by Ernest Hood during the same era as his near mythical album Neighborhoods. A visionary combination of field recordings, zithers, and synthesizers, Back to the Woodlands offers an unprecedented depth of access to this singular artistic mind.

              Born into a musical family, Ernest Hood began a promising career as a jazz guitarist during the 1940s, touring internationally with his brother Bill Hood and the saxophonist Charlie Barnet, before contracting polio in his late twenties. The disease left Ernest unable to play the guitar and confined him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. It also forced him to adapt and innovate around his musical practices in the face of adversity; Hood’s value of sound matured with a remarkably democratic and nonhierarchical approach and application.

              Taking up the zither, a less physically-demanding stringed instrument to the guitar, embarking upon the unprecedented process of incorporating field recordings into his work as early as 1956, and eventually discovering the synthesizer, Hood’s music became imbued with optimism and subtle cultural critique. This ethos and technique - refined over the coming decades - would lay the groundwork for a sprawling body of radio work, mail order recordings for homebound listeners, and Neighborhoods, self-issued as a small vinyl edition in 1975.

              Where Neighborhoods, a nostalgic opus, drawing from a well of collective memory of the 1950s, is defined by traces of human activity, Back to the Woodlands leaves the modern world behind, delving into Hood’s love for nature. Only recently discovered in his archives, the album dramatically expands his concept of “musical cinematography,” imagistically triggering states of sensory memory from within its zither and synthesizer melodies, intertwined with field recordings made during Hood’s extensive travels throughout Oregon. If Neighborhoods is a retreat into the gauzy joys of a romanticized past, Back to the Woodlands is an immersion in the timeless sanctuary of the natural world.

              A fascinating counterpoint to its predecessor, Back to the Woodlands brings us even closer to Hood’s belief in the transportive qualities of sound; that field recordings could serve as a vehicle for the imagination and liberation, particularly for those with similar mobile disabilities as his own. Across the album’s twelve compositions, the rippling instrumental harmonics - shifting between abstraction and playful melody - fold so seamlessly into the birdsong, bubbling brooks, and other environmental ambiences, that they often give the impression of having been recording within the landscapes toward which they whisper.

              Falling somewhere between the immersive calm of healing music and New Age, the creative field recording practices of sound ecologists

              world building for Folkways, and the jazz infected ambiences during Obscure / Editions EG’s highest heights, Back to the Woodlands sculpts an singular proximity of music for its moment; a form of ambient sonic realism that draws the consciousness toward its surroundings as much as within.

              Working closely with his estate to maintain his original vision, Freedom to Spend has restored and remastered this never before released, lost masterpiece by Ernest Hood from the original tapes. Ernest Hood’s Back to the Woodlands will be issued on vinyl, as well as on CD in combination with its contemporary Where the Woods Begin, with new liner notes by Michael Klausman. On behalf of Ernest Hood and Freedom To Spend, a portion of the proceeds from this release will benefit Oregon Wild, an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife, and waters as an enduring legacy for future generations.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Open Fields
              2. Where The Woods Begin
              3. Train To Grass Creek
              4. Shadows On The River
              5. Riffles
              6. Hay Zephyrs
              7. The Sleeping Gorge
              8. Salmonberry
              9. The Distant Hill
              10. Watercourse
              11. The Mosses
              12. Cloud Across The Field
              13. Little Bug
              14. Sitka
              15. Scintilla
              16. Old Covered Bridge
              17. The Brophy Road

              Midlake

              For The Sake Of Bethel Woods

                Loss and hope, isolation and communion, the cessation and renewal of purpose. Timeless and salient, these themes echo throughout the fifth album from Midlake, their first since Antiphon in 2013. Produced to layered, loving perfection by John Congleton, For the Sake of Bethel Woods is an album of immersive warmth and mystery from a band of ardent seekers, one of our generation’s finest: a band once feared lost themselves by fans, perhaps, but here revivified with freshness and constancy of intent.

                From the cover to the title and beyond, a longing to reconnect with that which seems lost and seek purpose in its passing sits at the record’s core. The cover star is keyboardist/flautist Jesse Chandler’s father, who, tragically, passed away in 2018. As singer Eric Pulido explains, “He was a lovely human, and it was really heavy and sad, and he came to Jesse in a dream. I reference it in a song. He said, ‘Hey, Jesse, you need to get the band back together.’ I didn’t take that lightly. We had already had these feelings with everyone in the band of, oh, this could be a cool thing to do. But the dream was a kind of beautiful depiction of a purpose to reconvene and make music together as friends.”

                Featuring Chandler’s father during John Sebastian’s set, the cover image was taken from the 1970 documentary Woodstock. In 1969, Jesse’s then-16-year-old dad had joined a friend and hitchhiked from Ridgewood, New Jersey, to the legendary festival. Raised in Woodstock after his father moved there in 1981, Jesse later paid pilgrimage to Bethel Woods with his father; there, the elder Chandler recorded an audio account of his festival experience in the museum’s public database. “So for me, the picture of that kid, my dad, forever frozen in time,” says Chandler, “encapsulates what it means to be in the throes of impressionable and fleeting youth, and all that the magic of music, peace, love and communion bring to it, whether one knows it at the time or not. (I think he knew it).”

                A desire to commune with the past and connect with present, lived experience asserts itself from the opening of the album. A song that resonates with Midlake’s return and, perhaps, our lockdown era, ‘Commune’ can also be read in terms of a deeper urge to re-engage with sometimes neglected ideals and beliefs. ‘Bethel Woods’ sustains and develops that reconnection, evoking the steadfast and contemplative urgency of The Trials of Van Occupanther to back a lyric steeped in yearning for a paradisal time and place of hope and optimism. Soaring guitars and atmospheric noise effects extend a sonic scope further developed by ‘Glistening,’ where arpeggios dance like light glancing off a lake. In just three songs, Midlake reintroduce themselves and reach out into fresh territory with a richly intuitive dynamism, honouring their past as a seedbed of possibility.

                The psychedelic space-rock and sticky guitars of ‘Exile’ shift the album to another plane, promising rich returns live, before ‘Feast of Carrion’ splices apocalyptic imagery with lustrous harmonies: darkness and light, held in rarefied balance. A deeply personal turn follows on ‘Noble,’ a song of tender innocence named after drummer McKenzie Smith’s infant son, born with a rare brain disorder called Semi-Lobar Holoprosencephaly. Pulido, who has been friends with McKenzie since they were 16 years old, kept McKenzie in mind for the lyrics. “I wrote the song from his perspective in a way, his expression to me of how he had been feeling towards his son. And then among the lament of his condition, it’s also embracing this child who has only joy. Noble doesn’t know that he has a condition, he just loves life. And smiles, and is so innocent, and perfect in so many ways.”

                Elsewhere, the prog-enhanced funk-rock of ‘Gone’ seeks to find hope in relationships that seem fragile. The ELO-esque ‘Meanwhile…’ draws inspiration from what happened when Midlake paused after Antiphon, developing universal resonance as a song about the beautiful growths that can emerge from the cracks and gaps between things. ‘Dawning’ draws on 1970s soft-rock stylings for another song searching for hope, its keyboard line reaching out towards an uncertain future while everything seems to collapse around it; ‘The End’ reflects on the difficulties of partings. Finally, ‘Of Desire’ meditates on letting go of what you can’t control and attending to what you can during uncertain times. “It’s about finding peace in that humbling,” says Pulido. “Sometimes it’s hard to have a large effect, so it’s just about shrinking that and saying, these are the things I can do and the rest is to be seen, to be known.”

                Midlake began re-attending to their patch in 2019, with the bulk of the album’s work undertaken when the world shut down in 2020. The lockdown turned out to be helpful, in terms of offering an escape from grim reality and focusing the band’s energies – essential for an outfit whose members (Pulido, Chandler, Smith, Eric Nichelson and Joey McClellan) had all pursued alternative ventures following Antiphon. Also on-hand was new collaborator John Congleton, who produced, engineered and mixed the album, marking Midlake’s first record with an outside producer. “I can’t say enough just how much his influence brought our music to another sonic place than we would have,” says Pulido. “I don’t want to record without a producer again. Part of that is the health of the band, because as you get older you get more opinionated and you kind of need that person who says, ‘No, it’s going to be this way!’ It’s hard to do that with your friends.”

                The result is a powerful, warming expression of resolve and renewal for Midlake, opening up new futures for the band and honouring their storied history. Formed in the small town of Denton, with roots in the University of North Texas College of Music, Midlake delivered an auspicious debut with 2004’s Bamnan and Slivercork. For the follow-up, they looked further afield and deeper within to deliver 2006’s wondrous The Trials of Van Occupanther, a modern classic pitched between 1871, 1971 and somewhere out of time: between Henry David Thoreau and Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush, between 1970s Laurel Canyon thinking and a longing for something more mysterious.

                Confidence bolstered by a growing fanbase and a developed sense of their own far-reaching abilities, Midlake – a band acutely attuned to seasonal shifts – then embraced change. In 2010, they visited darker psych-folk thickets for The Courage of Others and backed John Grant on his lustrously spiky breakthrough album, Queen of Denmark. When singer Tim Smith departed Midlake in 2012, Pulido stepped up to the lead vocal role for 2013’s freshly exploratory Antiphon, teasing out singular routes through vintage electric-folk pastures.

                Since then, domestic projects have beckoned as children entered various band-members’ lives. Pulido joined Bob Dylan’s 75th birthday celebrations at Nashville’s prestigious Ryman Auditorium and launched the project BNQT with a cast of all-star guests, backed by Chandler, McClellan and Smith; Pulido and Chandler also recorded solo albums.

                In reuniting, the bandmates were adamant that Midlake needed their absolute focus. The result is an album of tremendously engaged thematic and sonic reach with a warm, wise sense of intimacy at its heart: an album to break bread and commune with, honour the past and travel onwards with. In ‘Bethel Woods’, Pulido sings of gathering seeds. On For the Sake of Bethel Woods, those seeds are lovingly nurtured, taking rich and spectacular bloom.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: Midlake's new LP is a beautiful, rich tapestry of driven guitars and soaring orchestration, full of their trademark melodic turns. Chantler has had a very prolific patch of late, and though the subject matter here is somewhat mournful, out of it has sprung a no doubt cathartic and swimmingly beautiful tribute.

                TRACK LISTING

                1 Commune
                2 Bethel Woods
                3 Glistening
                4 Exile
                5 Feast Of Carrion
                6 Noble
                7 Gone
                8 Meanwhile…
                9 Dawning
                10 The End
                11 Of Desire

                Woods

                Reflections Vol. 1 (Bumble Bee Crown King)

                  With no touring in 2020, and possibly this year, Woods decided to take a deep dive into their archives and put together the first volume of their much discussed archival series, Reflections. Featuring rare and unreleased recordings from 2009 - 2013, including a ghost town desert jam off the side of the highway, their first live performance in Big Sur, the first recorded version of “Bend Beyond” and some shelved diamonds in the rough that were finished up during quarantine. Their hope is that it plays like a “lost record” from an extremely strange and fruitful period in Woods history.

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Barry says: It's always a testament to the strength of a band's output when they can release a compilation of previously unhears recordings and have them be every bit as good as the ones comercially released. This is definitely the case with 'Reflections..' and brilliantly highlights the depth of talent and wealth of skill Woods have. Superb.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Bumble Bee Crown King
                  2. Midnight Moment
                  3. Be Kind My Love
                  4. Skull
                  5. Party In The Pines
                  6. Space And Time
                  7. Ballad Of Jim Jones
                  8. Bend Beyond (First Version)

                  Hilary Woods

                  Birthmarks

                    Hilary Woods’ Birthmarks has been a labor of intensity and intuition, written over the course of two years. Recorded whilst heavily pregnant between Galway and Oslo in the winter of 2019, Woods explores the oscillating and volatile processes of selfhood and becoming, hidden gestational growth, and the birthing of the Self, amidst continuous social and personal change.

                    Birthmarks is a record that hunts for ways in which to revisit and caress wounds left by the memory of their scars. In its mystery and attentiveness to the art of alchemy and the world of the unseen, it is a journey through textural fog and feral density that gives way to passages of voracious sonic exorcism and poetic healing. Its eight songs traverse planes of visceral physicality, stark tender space, and breathtaking introspective beauty.

                    Spurred on and crafted by the impulse to create a more corporeal sonic tendon for her songs to inhabit, Woods took her vision and home recordings to Norwegian experimental noise producer and filmmaker Lasse Marhaug. The collaboration proved rare and fruitful and lies at the heart of this record. Field recordings, analogue bass synthesizers, hushed vocals, and the breath are underpinned with heavy noise processing, fierce and wide cello, rich percussion, sable saxophone, and electronics.

                    Birthmarks is inspired and informed by ideas of inner transmutation in the face of anxiety, post-war Japanese and wet-plate photography, early music, the secret life of trees, wolves, drone, the drawings of Francis Bacon, the images of Francesca Woodman, the films of Chris Marker, the experiential collapse of community, and the power of the lone human voice. It is a deeply powerful and enigmatic record that ultimately transcends its disquiet roots. 


                    TRACK LISTING

                    1. Tongues Of Wild Boar
                    2. Orange Tree
                    3. Through The Dark, Love
                    4. Lay Bare
                    5. Mud And Stones
                    6. The Mouth
                    7. Cleansing Ritual
                    8. There Is No Moon

                    In the clip of an older Eartha Kitt that everyone kicks around the internet, her cheekbones are still as pronounced as many would remember them from her glory days on Broadway, and her eyes are still piercing and inviting. She sips from a metal cup. The wind blows the flowers behind her until those flowers crane their stems toward her face, and the petals tilt upward, forcing out a smile. A dog barks in the background. In the best part of the clip, Kitt throws her head back and feigns a large, sky-rattling laugh upon being asked by her interviewer whether or not she’d compromise parts of herself if a man came into her life. When the laugh dies down, Kitt insists on the same, rhetorical statement. “Compromise!?!?” she flings. “For what?”

                    She repeats “For what?” until it grows more fierce, more unanswerable. Until it holds the very answer itself.

                    On the hook to the song “Eartha,” Jamila Woods sings “I don’t want to compromise / can we make it through the night” and as an album, Legacy! Legacy! stakes itself on the uncompromising nature of its creator, and the histories honored within its many layers. There is a lot of talk about black people in America and lineage, and who will tell the stories of our ancestors and their ancestors and the ones before them. But there is significantly less talk about the actions taken to uphold that lineage in a country obsessed with forgetting. There are hands who built the corners of ourselves we love most, and it is good to shout something sweet at those hands from time to time. Woods, a Chicago-born poet, organizer, and consistent glory merchant, seeks to honor black people first, always. And so, Legacy! Legacy! A song for Zora! Zora, who gave so much to a culture before she died alone and longing. A song for Octavia and her huge and savage conscience! A song for Miles! One for Jean-Michel and one for my man Jimmy Baldwin!

                    More than just giving the song titles the names of historical black and brown icons of literature, art, and music, Jamila Woods builds a sonic and lyrical monument to the various modes of how these icons tried to push beyond the margins a country had assigned to them. On “Sun Ra,” Woods sings “I just gotta get away from this earth, man / this marble was doomed from the start” and that type of dreaming and vision honors not only the legacy of Sun Ra, but the idea that there is a better future, and in it, there will still be black people.

                    Jamila Woods has a voice and lyrical sensibility that transcends generations, and so it makes sense to have this lush and layered album that bounces seamlessly from one sonic aesthetic to another. This was the case on 2016’s HEAVN, which found Woods hopeful and exploratory, looking along the edges resilience and exhaustion for some measures of joy. Legacy! Legacy! is the logical conclusion to that looking. From the airy boom-bap of “Giovanni” to the psychedelic flourishes of “Sonia,” the instrument which ties the musical threads together is the ability of Woods to find her pockets in the waves of instrumentation, stretching syllables and vowels over the harmony of noise until each puzzle piece has a home. The whimsical and malleable nature of sonic delights also grants a path for collaborators to flourish: the sparkling flows of Nitty Scott on “Sonia” and Saba on “Basquiat,” or the bloom of Nico Segal’s horns on “Baldwin.”

                    Soul music did not just appear in America, and soul does not just mean music. Rather, soul is what gold can be dug from the depths of ruin, and refashioned by those who have true vision. True soul lives in the pages of a worn novel that no one talks about anymore, or a painting that sits in a gallery for a while but then in an attic forever. Soul is all the things a country tries to force itself into forgetting. Soul is all of those things come back to claim what is theirs. Jamila Woods is a singular soul singer who, in voice, holds the rhetorical demand. The knowing that there is no compromise for someone with vision this endless. That the revolution must take many forms, and it sometimes starts with songs like these. Songs that feel like the sun on your face and the wind pushing flowers against your back while you kick your head to the heavens and laugh at how foolish the world seems.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Millie says: Jamila Woods returns with her soul-filled lyrics and incredible, strong vocals. The song titles are named after inspiration black people in creative industries and in her lyrics incorporates their experiences and how they came to be. The album is truly beautiful and holds the same strength and passion as her debut, Heavn.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    BETTY
                    ZORA
                    GIOVANNI
                    SONIA (ft Nitty Scott)
                    FRIDA
                    EARTHA
                    MILES
                    MUDDY
                    BASQUIAT (ft Saba)
                    SUN RA (ft TheMIND &
                    Jasminfire)
                    OCTAVIA
                    BALDWIN (ft Nico Segal)
                    BETTY (for Boogie)

                    Heather Woods Broderick

                    Invitation

                      Invitation was conceived on the Oregon coast, an outlier among American landscapes, where vast stretches of empty beach are decorated with silver driftwood and towering pines. It is here among the dunes, tide pools and colossal rock formations that Heather spent her childhood summer day-trips. And it is here that she returned as an adult to construct her newest LP, an album of dreamy baroque-pop that swells and whispers with grand string arrangements, intimately descriptive lyrics, and impassioned songcraft built around earnest piano melodies, painting a lifelike picture of the locale in which it was written.

                      In the years between her early youth and the creation of Invitation, Heather has played in Efterklang, Horse Feathers, the live bands of Laura Gibson, Lisa Hannigan, and Damien Jurado, and has also been a longtime collaborator and bandmate to Sharon Van Etten. But while this list may seem enviable for an aspiring young musician, any experienced player will know that the life of a touring musician comes with its own sacrifices. Lasting relationships and financial certainty can be tenuous, as can mental stability itself. Feeling this first hand, Heather traded her usual launchpad of Brooklyn for the sleepy town of Pacific City where she would quietly take a job cleaning houses for a cast of local eccentrics, sitting down at the piano in the off-hours to unpack the personal tragedies and triumphs of the intervening decades since her first trips there. Throughout Invitation, floral tendrils of sound design and dynamic strings decorate the edges of each track, propelling the album beyond mere singer-songwriter fare into something altogether more grand and immersive in scope. 

                      RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Weyes Blood, Marissa Nadler, Julianna Barwick, Julia Holter. 

                      TRACK LISTING

                      01 A Stilling Wind 5:08
                      02 I Try 4:26
                      03 Nightcrawler 4:54
                      04 Where I Lay 3:59
                      05 Slow Dazzle 4:13
                      06 A Daydream 1:30
                      07 White Tail 3:24
                      08 Quicksand 5:32
                      09 My Sunny One 3:28
                      10 These Green Valleys 4:30
                      11 Invitation 2:30

                      Jamila Woods’s cultural lineage - from her love of Lucille Clifton’s poetry to letters from her grandmother and the late 80s post-punk of The Cure - helped structure the progressive, delicate and minimalist soul of ‘HEAVN’, her debut solo album.

                      “It’s like a collage process,” she says. “It’s very enjoyable to me to take something I love and mold it into something new.” A frequent guest vocalist in the hip hop, jazz and soul world, Jamila has emerged as a once-in-a-generation voice on her soul-stirring debut.

                      Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Woods grew up in a family of music lovers. She is an artist of substance creating music crafted with a sturdy foundation of her passions and influences.

                      You’ll find the bits and pieces of her past and present that make Jamila: family, the city of Chicago, self care, and the black women she calls friends. True and pure in its construction and execution, her music is the best representation of Jamila herself: strong in her roots, confident in her ideas and attuned to the people, places and things shaping her world.

                      ‘HEAVN’ features guest performances from Chance The Rapper, Nico Segal, Noname, Saba and Lornie Chia.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      Bubbles
                      VRY BLK (ft Noname)
                      Popsicle (Interlude)
                      Lonely Lonely (ft Lornie Chia)
                      HEAVN
                      Eve (Interlude)
                      In My Name
                      Assata’s Daughters (Interlude)
                      BLK Girl Soldier
                      LSD (ft Chance The Rapper)
                      Still (Interlude)
                      Emerald Street (ft Saba)
                      Lately
                      Always Loving (Interlude)
                      Breadcrumbs (ft Nico Segal)
                      Stellar
                      Good Morning (Interlude)
                      Holy
                      Way Up
                      Holy (Reprise)

                      Hawkwind

                      Into The Woods

                        Cherry Red Records are pleased to announce the release of the new album by the legendary Hawkwind, Into The Woods. It follows the critical acclaim and commercial success of last year’s Top 40 album The Machine Stops. “Part of this album is a continuation of the story begun in The Machine Stops,” says Hawkwind’s head honcho Dave Brock, “living above the ground and Into the Woods.” Warm-up dates for Hawkwind in mid-March are dubbed ‘A Glimpse Into Greenness’, which gives some indication of the conceptual and lyrical themes behind the new album.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Into The Woods
                        2. Cottage In The Woods
                        3. The Woodpecker
                        4. Have You Seen Them
                        5. Ascent
                        6. Space Ship Blues
                        7. The Wind
                        8. Vegan Lunch
                        9. Magic Scenes
                        10. Darkland
                        11. Wood Nymph
                        12. Deep Cavern
                        13. Magic Mushroom

                        Tiger & Woods

                        On The Green Again

                          Seven years after their pounced onto the scene with the exceptional "Caddy Shag EP" and five years after their powerhouse debut LP "Through The Green", German duo Tiger & Woods are back on Running Back, slipping into the Green Jacket with a double vinyl set of driving club cuts. Once again, the duo apply their hyper edit pressure to the synthetic end of the disco spectrum, transforming boogie and funk originals into unstoppable headnodders awash with shimmering mirror ball brilliance. There's a subtle difference this time, as the duo utilise additional synth work and more adventurous arrangements to inject a dynamic edge we didn't see last time out. "Rockmeloveme" could easily pass as a lost Daft Punk cut with its vocoded vocal and emotive piano line, while "Bestissimo" sounds like another gem from the golden age of French Touch. Imagine Mirwais producing a Phoenix B-side and you'll be right on the money. The party continues with the killer "Ginger & Fred", a classic T&W production with snipped vocals and "Phoenix" a glistening and glam dose of Saturday Night euphoria. Over onto the second disc and we're in boogie paradise with the hydraulic excitement of "Come & Get My Lovin" and the cool and sophisticated " Endless Affair", before the stomping "Radio Tiger" and squealing "Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden" see us home. There's a whole lotta fun to be had for the working DJ here, and if you're looking for a soundtrack to your living room disco or pre-club drinking session, this should do the trick.

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Matt says: Tiger & Woods are back baby! As you'd expect the boys deliver a double LP of hypercharged, steroid infused boogie cut ups and disco house pounders, perfect for a heavy night under the mirror ball.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          A1. Intro
                          A2. Rockmeloveme
                          A3. Bestissimo
                          B1. Ginger & Fred
                          B2. Phoenix
                          C1. Come & Get My Lovin’
                          C2. Endless Affair
                          D1. Radio Tiger
                          D2. Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden
                          D3. Outro

                          Woods

                          City Sun Eater In The River Of Light

                          "Woods have always been experts at distilling life epiphanies into compact chunks of psychedelic folk that exists just outside of any sort of tangible time or place. Maybe those epiphanies were buried under cassette manipulation or drum-and-drone freakouts, or maybe they were cloaked in Jeremy Earl’s lilting falsetto, but over the course of an impressive eight albums, Woods refined and drilled down their sound into City Sun Eater in the River of Light, their ninth LP and second recorded in a proper studio. It’s a dense record of rippling guitar, lush horns, and seductive, bustling anxiety about the state of the world. It’s still the Woods you recognize, only now they’re dabbling in zonked out Ethiopian jazz, pulling influence from the low key simmer of Brown Rice, and tapping into the weird dichotomy of making a home in a claustrophobic city that feels full of possibility even as it closes in on you. City Sun Eater in the River of Light is concise, powerful, anxious - barreling headlong into an uncertain, constantly shifting new world." - Sam Hockley-Smith.

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Andy says: Woods' second album in a proper studio continues where "With Light.." left off with superb tunes, cool grooves (now funky and even jazzy) and their usual mellow 60's vibe. There's also a tangible reggae flavour here, which is a tasty addition to their template (all things transcendent) whilst The Song is still, of course, king. Really good record!

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Sun City Creeps
                          2. Creature Comfort
                          3. Morning Light
                          4. Can't See At All
                          5. Hang It On Your Wall
                          6. The Take
                          7. I See In The Dark
                          8. Politics Of Free
                          9. The Other Side
                          10. Hollow Home

                          “A fog of memories caught in the sun-flakes settling in the forest, a beautiful album indeed... [M]any glittering gems [are] woven into these tunes but one listen is not enough to see them all. Like trying to appreciate the silver strobing of ocean waves, they are different every time you glance at them. Better to watch their reflections on the ceiling and just soak it up.

                          “It seems kind of rare that an album can create and sustain a mood, not to mention such an odd and unique vibe as this. A sing-song tale of a long, surreal journey through canopied pathways, tunnels and spiraling downwards through the earth’s maw…falling, falling, falling and suddenly you wake in your bed. Home-grown in aesthetic, Mirror Woods is a quilt of hues... The colors, albeit gorgeous, are cross-processed, like a polaroid of a cathedral’s most glorious stained glass window: off, slightly sour but just dripping with pop sentiment. This is not an experimental album for young chin-scratchers only, this is a pop record for anyone with a heart; this is a homage to love, to friends and family, to droll existence. Hold up a torch to the dark, make a spark.

                          “Think United States of America meets Vangelis meets July meets Silver Apples in Arthur Russell’s New York apartment (what a family band portrait that would be).” - John Dwyer.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Mirror Woods Morning
                          2. Come Into My World
                          3. Sour Fruit
                          4. Peaches
                          5. (Feel Through A Hole In the Trail To Sound Creek)
                          6. Bacavan Blues
                          7. By The River Again
                          8. Mirror Woods
                          9. The Town
                          10. Shadow People Don't Care
                          11. Mirror Wood's Constant Dream Of Childhood
                          12. (Float Like A Soul As It Drifts From This Realm)
                          13. A Well Placed Mirror
                          14. Mirror Wood's Abduction

                          “Woods’ brand of pop shamanism has undergone several gradual transformations over their past few albums, but on With Light and With Love, the tinkering reveals an expanded sonic palette that includes singing saw, heavier emphasis on percussion, and a saloon piano that sounds like it was rescued from a flooded basement. Distinct from both the stoned volk of their earliest recordings and the kraut-y dalliances of more recent fare, With Light and With Love showcases a more sophisticated brand of contemporary drug music that owes more to Magical Mystery Tour than motorik.

                          “If you’ve ever thought of Woods as a pop group comprised of weirdos, or a weirdo band that happens to excel at playing pop songs almost in spite of itself, With Light and With Love provides a corrective in the form of songs that show these two elements as natural, inextricable bedfellows. Throughout the album, vocals are frequently emitted through Leslie speakers and guitars perform one-string ragas like Sandy Bull reared on shoegaze and skate videos. With Light and With Love is an album of deeply psychedelic, deeply satisfying songs for a new age of searchers, of Don Juan and Animal Chin alike.” - James Toth.

                          • Features guests Tim Presley (White Fence) on slide guitar and Jonathan Rado (Foxygen) on organ.

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Andy says: Woods started life as a collective, running a label, putting on gigs, and releasing home-spun music. Based in Brooklyn but looking West to late 60s /early 70s California, they've arrived here on their sixth album with a rich, hazy, classic vibe, taking in Dylan and The Band, The Byrds, and ‘White Album’ era Beatles . The results are country / folk / psych-tinged gold. With each record Woods have become less ragged, less lo-fi and less experimental, but main man Jeremy Earl has always had a way with heart-rending melodies, and recording, at last, in a proper studio has inspired his best collection yet. There's a groove here, washes of Hammond, pedal-steel and jangling guitars, warming words of hope and longing, perfectly illustrated in the hymn-like “New Light”. But it's the nine minute title track that truly entrances. A freak-out jam and pop song in one, it's an “Eight Miles High” for the 21st century.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Shepherd
                          2. Shining
                          3. With Light And With Love
                          4. Moving To The Left
                          5. New Light
                          6. Leaves Like Glass
                          7. Twin Steps
                          8. Full Moon
                          9. Only The Lonely
                          10. Feather Man

                          Ed Harcourt

                          Back Into The Woods

                            For Ed Harcourt’s sixth studio album, the previously Mercury Prize nominated artist spent just six hours in Abbey Road with three pianos, a guitar, a string section (including Ed’s wife Gita), and a bottle of Wild Turkey.

                            Legendary photographer Steve Gullick was at the historic studios, and his shot from the control room has become the record’s cover art.

                            Think Tom Waits piano ballads, guitars haunted by Jeff Buckley, and a glimmer of ‘69 Love Songs’ sentimentality.

                            One of the reasons for the recording time constraints is that Ed was busy writing songs for the likes of Kristina Train (with Van Dyke Parks) and Paloma Faith, and also for Lisa-Marie Presley’s debut album (with Richard Hawley). He’s also been busy as Faber’s director of music for Beck’s Song Reader project, and recording tracks for the Rogue’s Gallery sea shanty album featuring Tom Waits, Keith Richards and more.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Andy says: Some really beautiful, poetic and always melodic songs here. So talented.

                            Pretty Lightning was formed in 2007 , in essence a raw psychedelic-blues duo that on the surface could be seen as kindred spirits to the likes of Wooden Shjips or Moon Duo, Pretty Lightning also appear to mirror a freak-folk sensibility found in the likes of Sunburned Hand of the Man and their Stateside compatriots. But they also reflect their closer geographic roots - echoing the communal, ritualistic krautrock of Amon Duul II or perhaps the primitivism of Sweden’s International Harvester (both Berghoff and Haas are also part of the Saarlouis-based Datashock collective).

                            But if such comparisons serve to place the band in some kind of loose context, they should not undermine such a heartfelt outcome, nor steer the listener away from the band’s melodic leanings - ‘There Are Witches in the Woods’ delivers hooks and harmonies on a grand scale. Recorded in Autumn 2010, the album is the result of the band shutting itself away in a cavernous room to capture the breadth of their sonic vision. Formed around a crux of drums, vocals and a variety of guitars, the arrangements are bolstered by shruti-drones, organ loops and theremins, giving a sense of space and scope to eleven sweet, succinct chapters, and the album as a whole.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Andy says: Pretty Lightning are Christian Berghoff and Sebastian Haas, two Germans who have crashed into our lives, seemingly from nowhere, sounding precisely like the Black Keys! Not a Black Keys that are headlining the M.E.N. but one that's got lost in the woods and eaten some funny mushrooms! This pair plays heavy, thumping, fuzzed-up blues, but this is rock to the Black Key's pop. The riffs are stoned; slow and grinding, but laced with drone and space-rock elements on the same (astral!) plain as U.S. heads Wooden Shjips or even Sunburned Hand of the Man. Without wanting to get too geographical, a further departure from the blues-duo template is Pretty Lightning's sense of creepy, hazy, freak-folk doominess that, considering their nationality, is tempting to compare with, maybe, Amon Düül II. The use of theremin, shruti drone box and orchestration, combined with those enormous riffs, ferry you away to those dark, early '70s days of fantasy and black magic, rather than a bewildering night at the M.E.N. Arena. It's a trip worth taking.

                            TRACK LISTING

                            1. Down With The Moon
                            2. We'd Rather Be Some Criminals
                            3. Blazing Bright
                            4. Hail Hail
                            5. See No Evil
                            6. Old Lord
                            7. Brother Gold Miner
                            8. The Sound Of Thunder
                            9. An Old Wives´ Tale
                            10. The Wizard
                            11. The Ghostwalk #2

                            Papercranes

                            Let's Make Babies In The Woods

                              Papercranes is the musical home of Rain Phoenix. Born as a studio project in L.A.,Papercranes quickly grew into a band splitting time between Florida and New York City. After a self-released EP in 2003 and debut album "Vidalia" in 2006, Papercranes played frequently, touring the US with their folk-tinged psychedelic sound. In late 2009, with the help of some of Rain's longtime friends, musicians, and writers she began work on Papercranes sophomore album, "Let's Make Babies in the Woods".

                              The recording sessions were experimental, allowing no rest or retakes as an exercise in 'stream of consciousness' writing - a recurring theme for Papercranes. Due to the intensity of the sessions and the non linear production style she favoured, there's a rawness to this record untapped in Papercranes earlier works. Recorded in a garage studio in Los Angeles, the resulting nine-song collection delves into much darker themes. This is evident in songs like "Shell", "Synapses" and "Dust Season" where desolate imagery meet rebellious melody and angry rhythms. Whereas tracks like "Warrior", "Headphones" and "Long Way" seem almost biographical with observances that are poetic yet accessible.

                              Great new album from Woodsist's flagbearers: Woods, and there's a damn fine bio to go with it too... 'The distance between 2007's "At Rear House" and 2010's "At Echo Lake" may at first seem only semantic, but it more properly represents a move from akind of informal back porch jam ethos to a fully-committed vision of the infinite possibilities of group playing. Over the past few years, Woods has established themselves as an anomaly in a world of freaks. They were an odd proposition even in the outré company of vocalist / guitarist / label owner Jeremy Earl's Woodsist roster, perpetually out of time, committed to songsmanship in an age of noise, drone and improvisation, to extended soloing, oblique instrumentals and the usurping use of tapes and F/X in an age of dead-end singer-songwriters. Recent live shows have seen them best confuse the two, playing beautifully constructed songs torn apart by fuzztone jams and odd electronics.

                              "At Echo Lake" feels like a diamond-sharp distillation of the turbulent power of their live shows, in much the same way that The Grateful Dead's "Dark Star" single amplified and engulfed the planetary aspect of their improvised takes. Some of the material here - the opening - "Blood Dries Darker", the euphoric "Mornin' Time" is so lush that lesser brains would've succumbed to the appeal of strings and horns, but "At Echo Lake" is more "Fifth Dimension" than "Notorious Byrd Brothers", nowhere more so than on "From The Horn", a track as beautiful in its assault on form as "Eight Miles High" or Swell Maps' "Midget Submarines". But despite the instrumental innovation the album heralds G. Lucas Cranes psychedelic tape work on "Suffering Season", guest musician Matthew Valentine's harmonica and modified banjo / sitar on "Time Fading Lines", "At Echo Lake" is all about the vocals. Woods' secret weapon is the quality of Earl's voice, absorbing the naïve style of Jad Fair, Jonathan Richman and Neil Young while rethinking it as a discipline and a tradition. Here he is singing at the peak of his powers, in a high soulful style bolstered by heavenly arrangements of backing vocals. "At Echo Lake" feels like the transmission point for teenage garage from the past to the future. Deformed by contemporary experiments, bolstered by magical traditions, it's the sound of now, right here, "At Echo Lake". - David Keenan, Glasgow, March 2010.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              1. Blood Dries Darker
                              2. Pick Up
                              3. Suffering Season
                              4. Time Fading Lines
                              5. From The Horn
                              6. Death Rattles
                              7. Mornin' Time
                              8. I Was Gone
                              9. Get Back
                              10. Deep
                              11. Til The Sun Rips

                              Herman Düne

                              They Go The Woods

                                Long overdue reissue, Herman Düne are comprised of two Swedish brothers and a man named Omé on the drums. Last year they released "Turn Out The Light", their critically acclaimed debut on the European Prohibited label. Mojo magazine observed, 'Herman Dune's idiosyncratic vistas capture the imagination, recalling the cut-and-paste lyricism of Julian Cope, the deliciously woozy chug of the Velvet Underground and the metronomic repetition of Can.' The band has toured the citrus-deprived, pestilence-ridden land mass of Europe, stopping off for appearances on John Peel's radio show and otherwise making quite a name for themselves abroad. The trio currently resides in Paris, France. The brothers Herman Düne - David-Ivar and André - cite as important influences their family home in Dalarna, Sweden (with its silence, space, and trees), the German writer Franz Jung, and the music of VU, Sebadoh and other usual suspects.


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