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Gil Scott-Heron

We’re New Again – A Re-imagining By Makaya McCraven

    To mark the tenth anniversary of the release of I’m New Here, the thirteenth - and last - studio album from the legendary US musician, poet and author Gil Scott-Heron, XL Recordings will release a unique reinterpretation of the album by acclaimed US jazz musician Makaya McCraven. Titled We’re New Again, the album will be released on 7th February 2020; exactly a decade after the release of Scott-Heron’s original Richard Russell-produced recording. It’s set to follow in the footsteps of Jamie xx’s highly acclaimed 2011 remix album We’re New Here and will be McCraven’s first release of 2020, following the huge global acclaim heaped upon his 2018 album Universal Beings. One of the most vital new voices in modern jazz, McCraven is described by the New York Times as a "Chicago-based drummer, producer and beat maker, [who] has quietly become one of the best arguments for jazz’s vitality"

    The first new Låpsley music since debut album "Long Way Home", which across its four tracks expresses a newfound confidence and glimpses the brave new direction her life and work are taking. Intimate and heartfelt but with expansive and expressive lyrical content; the songwriting prowess, combined with the finest modern production techniques (especially vocal layering) create an arresting and
    magical piece that glimmers in the clear Winter crispness.

    Comes in a screenprinted reuseable poly bag sleeve, with photography by Maisie Cousins.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: Poised electronics merged with sincere and layered vocals maketh a pretty arresting combo here as Lapsley finds her stride for XL.

    Jack Peñate

    After You

      Over a decade in the making, ‘After You’ was produced in collaboration with Paul Epworth, Inflo and Alex Epton. Prayer, the first single from the album, features Peñate playing several instruments, as well as the production credit he set out to achieve. It carries more than a nod to gospel, all set around a glorious pop hook, played on a Farfisa organ. Its musical and lyrical complexities belies the fact it was written in twenty minutes. “Once we had written it, all the pieces of the past ten years fell into place. It was like a puzzle coming together.”

      Former Spankrock member turned producer and jazz drummer, Alex Epton came on board and set to bring together 10 years worth of work into a cohesive album in XL’s New York studio, adding in additional programming and production as well as drums and percussion. Paul Epworth, with whom he created Everything Is New, came back in and worked on several tracks.

      The album doesn’t just draw on his musical journey of the past ten years, it brings in influences from the music he heard as a child. Loaded Gun has a prechorus that Lennon and McCartney would have liked to have written. As a child his brother would play him Jungle music. There’s elements of that too. His dad ran acid house raves – that’s in there. But perhaps, the most poignant track is Gemini. With nothing more than piano, vibraphone and drum beat, the words of Peñate’s grandfather, the writer and artist Mervyn Peake, are read by his uncle Fabian. And it’s not the only family tie. The artwork for the album, and the first video, has been done by Peñate’s cousin, the acclaimed artist, Eddie Peake. “We both grew up with an uncanny focus on what we wanted to do, but had never worked together,” says Jack. His work is both incredibly joyous and melancholy, and it does something to me that music does to me too.”

      If Peñate’s ambition was to be able to make a sound that sounded like a feeling felt, and to be able to master studio production, and to be able to have longevity in his career, then it’s safe to say that with After You, that ambition has been realised.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Peñate returns after a full decade (almost) to reiterate his dedication to smooth, richly produced soulful downbeat business, and it doesn't disappoint. Full of momentum and perfectly measured instrumentation bolstered with Peñate's unmistakable acrobatic vocal bliss.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive blue and red split vinyl.

      Previously only available on CDR promo and in limited quantities on the relaunched www.jaipaul.com, this 2011 classic by BTSTU comes to shops for the first time.

      Still sounding fresh, and arresting in its simplicity, this faultless slice of neo-soul highlighted a particularly fruitful time in UK music with artists like James Blake, FKA Twigs, The XX and many more grabbing the finesse and minimalism of dubstep and flipping it into a unique take on modern soul that was / is totally UK-bred and forged.

      Remastered for 2019 on vinyl and taking us right back thru a rose tinted lens to this fertile time. 


      STAFF COMMENTS

      David says: Bedroom soul for bedouin beatniks and street urchins the world over. Now available for all to enjoy.

      Jack Peñate

      Prayer

        Jack Peñate’s new single ‘Prayer’, is his first official release in a decade since his second album ‘Everything is New’ was released on XL Recordings in 2009.

        Jack took time away from releasing music to experiment with writing and production, collaborating with others along the way (including David Byrne’s ‘American Utopia’). ‘Prayer’ was written and recorded in the space of one day when Jack meet the producer Inflo. They immediately jumped in a car and drove to Jack’s garage-converted studio in Oxford where ‘Prayer’ was born, before being finished in New York with Alex Epton.

        “Prayer was made for and with my family and friends. It’s a piece about the unifying nature of loss and the thread of hope that survives throughout.”

        Thom Yorke releases his new album ‘ANIMA’.

        ‘ANIMA’ was written by Thom Yorke and produced by Nigel Godrich.

        A ‘one-reeler’, also entitled ‘ANIMA’, will be available exclusively via Netflix, made by Paul Thomas Anderson and set to three tracks from Thom’s new album.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: ‘Anima’ is yet more evidence of Yorke's endless artistic vision and his ability to turn his hand to any musical or audio-visual endeavour with unparalleled success. ‘Amina’ is both an arresting visual feat and a brilliantly realised auditory artifact, as comfortable being listened to in situ (with visuals) or on it's own.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        2xColoured LP Info: Includes a free EOY 2019 CD sampler.
        Indies exclusive 140g orange vinyl in a wide-spine single sleeve with an additional 10th track (Ladies & Gentlemen, Thank You for Coming). This bonus track is exclusive to the vinyl and not included on the CD version or downloads.

        2xColoured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        2xDeluxe LP Info: Includes a free EOY 2019 CD sampler.

        A beautiful hardback book containing both the lyrics and many strange drawings done in pencil by Stanley Donwood & Dr Tchock.

        Orange 180 gram double vinyl with an additional 10th track (Ladies & Gentlemen, Thank You for Coming).

        Printed onto Italian Fedrigoni Special Brown material paper and section sewn, the book is made up with an exposed orange cloth spine and orange gilt edging and finished with Bodonian Binding.

        2xDeluxe LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        2xLP Info: Includes a free EOY 2019 CD sampler.
        Black 140 gram double vinyl in a wide-spine single sleeve with an additional 10th track (Ladies & Gentlemen, Thank You for Coming). This bonus track is exclusive to the vinyl and not included on the CD version or downloads.

        2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

        CD Info: Includes a free EOY 2019 CD sampler.

        The White Stripes

        White Blood Cells

          THE PICCADILLY RECORDS ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2001

          The band's commercial break through, this 2001 album went gold, spinning off the Top 20 Modern Rock hits "Fell In Love With A Girl" and "Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground".



          STAFF COMMENTS

          Darryl says: The selection of songs is dynamic, everything from country tinged ditties to dirty garage blues style fizzbuckets, with the Led Zeppelin / Beatles songbook thrown in to throw the dogs off the scent. This is their best album to date.

          The White Stripes

          The White Stripes

            In 1999, Jack and Meg White released their self-titled debut album, introducing an explosive new mix of punk, blues, and garage rock. Jack has described the album as 'really angry... the most raw, the most powerful, and the most Detroit sounding record we've made.'



            STAFF COMMENTS

            Darryl says: First album from this Detroit brother / sister duo. Raw as you like dirty blues in a Royal Trux / Blues Explosion stylee. This is gonna be huge, you have been warned!!

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            LP includes MP3 Download Code.

            Powell Tillmans

            Spoken By The Other

              XL Recordings release ‘Spoken By The Other’, the first release by Powell Tillmans. It’s a collection of recordings from two of the most interesting artists in Europe and one whose short length belies its radical tenderness, sonic language and political ambition.

              The first part of the partnership is Oscar Powell, the London-based electronic musician. The second is Wolfgang Tillmans, the Turner Prize-winning fine artist and musician who lives between Berlin and London.

              After 25 years away from music-making, Tillmans began releasing his own vocal-led electronic tracks in 2016, with a series of EPs and collaborative visual mini-albums, with one track closing Frank Ocean's Endless album. Powell, meanwhile, has been releasing music since 2011, on his own label Diagonal and XL, drawing from the history of machine music to create a bold new language. They met at the Tate Modern, where Tillmans was programming a series of performances to coincide with his 2017 exhibition. Quickly the conversation turned to talk of a full collaboration and following Tillmans’ video for Powell’s track ‘Freezer’, over the summer they got into the studio to begin making music.

              Recording took place in Berlin, London and Turin, with Tillmans’ vocals working in tandem with Powell’s synthetic processes. Rather than a simple producer-vocalist arrangement, explains Powell, “Wolfgang’s voice and my sounds drive toward some sort of shape or feeling together.” These tracks were workshopped live at European festivals Atonal and Club2Club in the second half of 2017 and with no small number of emails and voice files exchanged, these ideas evolved into the final release this year.

              Thom Yorke

              Suspiria (Music For The Luca Guadagnino Film)

              Suspiria consists of 25 original compositions written by Thom specifically for Luca Guadagnino reimagining of the 1977 Dario Argento horror classic. The album is a mix of instrumental score work, interstitial pieces and interludes, and more traditional song structures featuring Thom’s vocals such as “Unmade”, “Has Ended” and “Suspirium,” the album's first single featuring the melodic theme that recurs throughout the film and its score.

              As scoring a horror film presented Thom with altogether new challenges and opportunities, Suspiria stands apart from any of his other work. Piano/vocal ballads, Krautrock-esque modular synth work inspired by the film’s Berlin 1977 setting, multilayered vocals, and melodies that convey terror, longing and melancholy combine to create a chaotic yet cohesive musical spell.

              Suspiria was written and arranged by Thom Yorke, recorded and produced by Thom and Sam Petts-Davies. The album also features the London Contemporary Orchestra and Choir, Noah Yorke on drums on “Has Ended” and “Volk,” and Pasha Mansurov on solo flute on “Suspirium.”

              Thom Yorke

              Tomorrow's Modern Boxes



              FORMAT INFORMATION

              Coloured LP Info: Printed with a metallic silver laminate and multi-tone black, the album is pressed onto heavyweight 180g white vinyl completed with undersize 75mm centre labels, housed within heavy white board inner and outer sleeves (Side B contains a locked groove).

              CD Info: The CD is a ‘mini gatefold’ with an 8 page artwork booklet.

              One of the most celebrated figureheads on the independent British scene, Archy Marshall returns with the dense, sprawling “The OOZ”, the much anticipated follow up to his debut “Six Feet Beneath the Moon”. Drifting and seeping through the cracks of South London like the album title, King Krule casts an unflinching eye over his kingdom, transforming his observations of all the disorientation and heartbreak of his youth into piercing narratives and poetry that are both startlingly honest and brutally beautiful. With “The OOZ”, Marshall finally takes the crown as poet laureate for the dazed and confused generation, painting a bleak and sometimes harrowing picture of a rapidly splintering city.

              Where “Six Feet Beneath the Moon”, released in 2013, was a rigorous, rambling excavation of Marshall’s expansive body of work to date, “The OOZ” snaps into focus quickly and sharply, his modus operandi coming into view almost immediately. Over jazzy curlicues and guitars, the opener “Biscuit Town” sets out its stall irresistibly as Marshall sings about rapidly disintegrating romance and personal dissolution with acute, almost painful detail. These wrenching themes of self-annihilation and fraying relationships seem inextricably linked in Marshall’s eyes – once you lose yourself to someone else, you inevitably wind up losing yourself completely when they leave – and recur in other tracks. “Why’d you leave me? Because of my depression? You used to complete me but I guess I learnt a lesson” he spits on the roiling “Midnight 01 (Deep Sea Diver)”, and, even layered with the warm vocals of Okay Kaya, “Slush Puppy” is an unsparing dissection of a couple with nothing left to give, like a Gainsbourg and Birkin ballad gone toxic. Elsewhere, things only get darker, as Marshall desperately tries to find safe harbor in the city he knows and loves, only to be thwarted constantly, as on “The Cadet Leaps” and first single “Czech One”. Not even the synthetic high of chemicals, as shown in “Emergency Blimp” and “A Slide In (New Drugs)”, can stanch the suffering.

              Although seeming at first abstract, “The OOZ” as a title proves oddly fitting. There are references littered throughout about its physical manifestation, or as Marshall himself says, “about earwax and snot and bodily fluids and skin and stuff that just comes out of you on a day to day basis”. But it works on a more figurative level too, with the OOZ also representing the unknown depths or horizons the solitary mind can travel to, whether it’s sinking into the deep sea or soaring through the night sky. It may be messy, unwieldy, even unsightly, Marshall seems to say - but we need The OOZ in order to exist.

              Radiohead

              OK Computer - OKNOTOK 1997-2017

              Rescued from defunct formats, prised from dark cupboards and brought to light after two decades in cold storage… OKNOTOK will be issued on June 23rd through XL Recordings, coinciding (roughly) with the original 1997 release date(s) of Radiohead’s landmark third album OK COMPUTER.

              OKNOTOK features the original OK COMPUTER twelve track album, eight B-sides, and the Radiohead completist’s dream: “I Promise,” “Lift,” and “Man Of War.” The original studio recordings of these three previously unreleased and long sought after OK COMPUTER era tracks finally receive their first official issue on OKNOTOK.

              All material on OKNOTOK is newly remastered from the original analogue tapes.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: I can't think of anyone that wasn't floored by Radiohead's transformation from grungy gloom mongers to the indie/electronic greats they have become today, and this was the turning point. Liberally spread with their trademark morosity but with an unheard technical ability, ‘OK Computer’ was a stinging criticism of modernity delivered via a new sonic language. Now, twenty years after its landmark release, the band revisits this masterpiece with the definitive version. Alongside the original twelve track LP we’re treated to eight B-sides and a trio of previously unreleased tracks from the same era. This isn’t just an LP, it’s a historical document.

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              3xLP Info: Standard black vinyl edition.

              Sigur Rós

              Ágætis Byrjun

                ‘Ágætis Byrjun’ (pronounced ‘Ow-gy-tiss Bi-ar-yun’ - A Good Beginning) is the second album by the Icelandic post rock band Sigur Rós, originally released in 1999.

                ‘Ágætis Byrjun’ was recorded between Summer 1998 and Spring 1999 with producer Ken Thomas. It became Sigur Rós’ breakthrough album, both critically and commercially.


                STAFF COMMENTS

                Darryl says: The sophomore release from Iceland's favourite sons, this was the album that propelled them to a wider audience. Soaring and comforting soundscapes with a glacial chill that perfectly encapsulates both their surroundings and winter's frostiness.

                Radiohead

                Pablo Honey

                  Released in 1993, Pablo Honey is the debut studio album from Radiohead. Produced by Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie, the album was recorded at Chipping Norton Recording Studios and Courtyard Studio, Oxfordshire. The album features the singles, "Anyone Can Play Guitar", "Stop Whispering", and "Creep". - The standout single "Creep" was the international hit that helped propel Radiohead and Pablo Honey to popular acclaim. Released several months before the album itself, "Creep" went on to define the band's early career. Also included on Pablo Honey are ethereal rocker "You", fan favorite "Thinking About You", and "Blow Out", all of which point to the band's future sonic manipulations.

                  "In 2005, having decided to approach Gil Scott-Heron to suggest that we made a record, I stopped listening to any of his previous output. This was to avoid feeling intimidated by the weight of Gil's musical history, and by the sheer quality of the 14 studio albums he'd released since 1970.

                  Part of my initial suggestion to Gil was that we recorded sparse, stripped down versions of his old songs. We both thought that might make an intriguing album. So we started off recording versions of some of Gil's repertoire, just voice and piano. But our album gradually evolved into something different - "I'm New Here", which as the title suggested, didn't touch on any of Gil's previous recordings (except for "Your Soul And Mine", which is a re-imagining of "The Vulture" from Gil's 1970 debut LP "Small Talk at 125th and Lennox").

                  I didn't pay much attention to the acoustic versions of Gil's older repertoire that we had recorded, as I was so focused on our making an entirely new album. We didn't make the album we set out to; we made something different.

                  In November 2011, six months after Gil died, I sat down to listen to the whole of Gil's back catalogue, on vinyl, album by album, chronologically. It's an incredible body of work; 13 albums between 1970 and 1982, and then 2 ("Spirits" and "I'm New Here") until Gil passed in 2011. I did this as a sort of meditative exercise, for the joy of sitting and listening to Gil, now that I was no longer getting to hear his voice down the phone from Harlem.

                  I listened to these 15 albums over the course of a few weeks as a way to keep our communication going. They led me back to the acoustic piano versions of Gil's old songs that we had captured in New York and I found that they were in themselves remarkable; completely different to the originals, and full of magic in their simplicity. I realised we in fact had made the album we originally set out to, as well as "I'm New Here". We had recorded an album's worth of new, stripped down versions of some of Gil's best (but not necessarily best known) songs. We had recorded an album I thought should be called "Nothing New".

                  "Nothing New" is recordings Gil and I made in New York of songs he chose from his catalogue, just voice and piano, pure Gil. I realised that each song he had chosen was from a different album of his. He had carefully curated the selection, so the album serves as an excellent introduction to his previous output.

                  In our early letters, Gil had picked up on my use of the word "spartan" to describe how our record could be. The Oxford dictionary defines "spartan" as showing "indifference to comfort or luxury". Very Gil. "Nothing New" is truly spartan in that it is utterly sparse and devoid of anything that is not completely necessary. All it contains is Gil's singing and piano playing.

                  You also hear excerpts of our conversations between takes; these give a sense of Gil's profound and profane nature. I believe Gil would approve of calling an album of him covering his own material "Nothing New"; the wordplay is inspired by him. Gil once expressed that he felt our album "could do with a few more yuks" - so now you can check out some of Gil's asides, and particularly the final interlude "On Bobby Blue Bland" for a glimpse of the man's playful sense of humour.

                  Once I'd compiled and edited these songs, I made three acetates, and we screenprinted artwork at XL. I gave one of these three special copies to Gil's son Rumal Rackley, sent another to Gil's friend and keyboard player Kim Jordan in Washington DC, and the third went to Ms Mimi, who kept Gil's house in order. This could have been the end of the process, but Rumal felt we should share this work with people - so here it is.

                  I hope you enjoy this album. It completes the set of 3 albums generated from our sessions in New York between 2005 and 2009 - the first 2 records being the main work "I'm New Here" and Jamie xx's remix album "We're New Here".

                  This is "Nothing New"."

                  Richard Russell, XL Recordings, London, 2014

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  LP Info: Includes DVD 'Who Is Gil Scott-Heron?'.

                  LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                  Sigur Rós

                  ()

                    ‘( )’ is the third full-length album from Icelandic band Sigur Rós, first released in October 2002.

                    It comprises eight untitled tracks, divided into two parts: the first four tracks are lighter and more optimistic, while the latter four are bleaker and more melancholic.

                    The two halves are divided by a 36-second silence and the album opens and closes with a click of distortion.




                    Sigur Rós

                    Von

                      ‘Von’ is the debut album from Icelandic post rock band Sigur Ros, originally released in 1997.

                      The sixth track consists of 18 seconds of silence and gave name to Sigur Rós’ official website, ‘eighteen seconds before sunrise’.

                      The last track starts with six minutes and fifteen seconds of silence, then consists of a portion of ‘Myrkur’ played backwards, hence the name of ‘Rukrym’.

                      Reissued here on heavyweight 180g double vinyl by XL Recordings.

                      Includes a copy of the album on CD.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

                      Recorded over 15 months in the band’s east London studio-laboratory-bunker with co-producer Craig Silvey, it’s the follow-up to the band’s 2007 debut Strange House, the Mercury-nominated Primary Colours (2009), and the critically-acclaimed Skying (2011) – a record that entered the charts at Number Five, featured prominently in the end-of-year magazine/newspaper polls, and was anointed NME's Album Of The Year.

                      Luminous is an album that, for once, merits that over-used phrase “keenly-anticipated”. Tipped to be one of the biggest British albums of 2014, it follows the breakthrough success of the silver-selling Skying, an album beloved of heroes and peers such as Bobby Gillespie, Alex Turner and Trent Reznor and that also brought The Horrors into the world of the Radio 1 A-list and Later… With Jools Holland. Tasking themselves with, as ever, moving onwards, The Horrors determined to make an album that was brighter, more positive, more electronic. ‘We’ve refined our sound,” affirms lead singer Faris Badwan, “and in terms of songwriting it is the record I'm happiest with.” Or, in the words of bass player Rhys Webb, “it’s not so much about heavier guitars as a heavier potency… We want to make music you can dance to, music that elevates…” Luminous by name, luminous by nature: this is an album radiating light and energy. These songs are The Horrors writing at their instinctive, intuitive and accessible best.

                      By way of explaining the intense but unhurried writing and recording of the album, the frontman says that, “If you're happy with one record I think you always have those fears that you'll somehow never be able to write a good song again. But I think between us we would never allow something that we weren't happy with to be released. I can imagine it taking us 10 years to finish something – but I'd rather that than be a band who regress with each release.” Shedding some light on the intra-band, in-studio creative process, keyboard player Tom Furse mentions an ever-evolving playlist featuring “so much, the usual – Beatles, Sabbath, Kraftwerk also Eno, J Dilla, Metroplex/Trax Records…but as always psychedelic music from all over the world, soul, funk, dub…”

                      Further input came from producer Paul Epworth (Adele, Paul McCartney, Foster The People) on the track Falling Star. There was also a crucial role for a new piece of kit. Badwan reveals that Richard Russell, boss of their label XL, “had the pyramid synth from our Changing The Rain video built for us.”

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Andy says: Beautifully produced, deep, melodic, doomy yet somehow skyscraping album. Great songs, bringing the past into the future. Their best album.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      2xLP Info: Standard vinyl comes in a wide spined sleeve and includes a download code.

                      Radiohead

                      Kid A

                        "Kid A is like getting a massive eraser out and starting again," Thom Yorke said in October 2000, the week this album became the British band's first Number One record in America. "I find it difficult to think of the path we've chosen as 'rock music'."

                        "In texture and structure, Kid A, Radiohead's fourth album, renounced everything in rock that, to Yorke in particular, reeked of the tired and overfamiliar: clanging arena-force guitars, verse-chorus-bridge song tricks.

                        With producer Nigel Godrich, Yorke, guitarist Ed O'Brien, drummer Phil Selway, bassist Colin Greenwood and guitarist Jonny Greenwood created an enigma of slippery electronics and elliptical angst, sung by Yorke in an often indecipherable croon. The closest thing to riffing on Kid A was the fuzz-bass lick in "The National Anthem"; the guitars in "Morning Bell" sounded more like seabirds.

                        The result was the weirdest hit album of that year, by a band poised to be the modern-rock Beatles, following the breakthrough of OK Computer. In fact, only 10 months into the century, Radiohead had made the decade's best album — by rebuilding rock itself, with a new set of basics and a bleak but potent humanity. Yorke's loathing of celebrity inspired the contrary beauty of "How to Disappear Completely," with its watery orchestration and his voice flickering in and out of earshot. His electronically squished pleading in "Kid A" sounded like a baby kicking inside a hard drive.

                        Ironically, Radiohead, by the end of this decade, had fulfilled much of that modern-Beatles promise by following rock's first commandment: Go your own way.

                        "Music as a lifelong commitment — if that's what someone means by rock, great," Yorke said in that 2000 interview. By that measure, with Kid A, Radiohead made the first true rock of the future." - Rolling Stone.

                        Radiohead

                        OK Computer

                          THE PICCADILLY RECORDS ALBUM OF THE YEAR 1997

                          This is the album that started to show their real potential and their first use of electronics (which mix beautifully with their older rawer rock style). The album that pushed them to the very top.

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Martin says: There can be few greater endorsements for anything than winning over a convinced sceptic. I started off from the premise that I didn't like this corporate indie sellout, but that, I am happy to say, proved an utterly impossible position to maintain after I actually heard it. Every last track is an utterly mesmerizing glimpse into blighted existence; a beautifully rendered, multilayered kaleidoscope of angst. 'Classic' is an overused word, but this is precisely the kind of idea it was coined for.

                          Vampire Weekend

                          Modern Vampires Of The City

                          Vampire Weekend’s third album is ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’, released on XL Recordings.

                          When asked in interviews about the new record, the band have been guarded in describing it, but have stated the album is darker and warmer, saying in Triple J Magazine that “this is our most American album” and citing New York City at night as inspiration for the new sound. The band told interviewer Zan Roew that they focused on “good songwriting”, saying “we wanted the songs to just be amazing”, working towards a sound in which “something that sounds traditional and maybe something that seems modern come together and it feels natural.”

                          The cover art is a 1966 photograph by Neal Boenzi of the smoggiest day in New York City history, on which the air pollution killed at least 169 people.

                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          LP Info: Standard black vinyl edition.

                          ‘Amok’ is the debut album from Thom Yorke (Radiohead)’s new project Atoms For Peace.

                          Atoms For Peace include Thom Yorke (vocals, keyboards, programming, guitars), Nigel Godrich (production & programming), Joey Waronker (drums), Mauro Refosco (percussion), Flea (bass).

                          In Thom Yorke’s own words: “We formed to learn to play ‘The Eraser’ record, if you know that, and discovered a really good energy doing that… and it fell into this record. I’m still reeling from being on tour for much of the year but we are planning to get together and play etc next year! We’re figuring all that out right now. Atoms… is an ongoing and open ended project, where it leads I know not for certain... which is what is nice about it.”

                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          2xLP Info: Double LP with widespine sleeve.

                          CD Info: Housed in a 4-panel wallet.

                          The long awaited new album from Mr Jack White.

                          Produced by White and recorded at his own Third Man Studio in Nashville, 'Blunderbuss' has been described by White as "an album I couldn't have released until now. I've put off making records under my own name for a long time but these songs feel like they could only be presented under my name. These songs were written from scratch, had nothing to do with anyone or anything else but my own expression, my own colors on my own canvas."

                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          LP Info: LP pressed on heavyweight 180gm vinyl and features download code and poster.

                          Radiohead's eighth studio album, "The King Of Limbs", is an experimental progression on the sound of its predecessor, 2007's "In Rainbows". Lyrically the record harks back to 2001's "Amnesiac", and indeed the heavy use of electronic instrumentation and distortion also recalls both "Amnesia" and "Kid A". Announced only a week before its intended release date, "The King Of Limbs" is named after an ancient tree near Radiohead's recording studio.

                          The White Stripes

                          Under Great Northern Lights

                          In the summer of 2007, The White Stripes embarked on a cross-country Canadian tour to accomplish their goal of performing in every province and territory across the expansive northern nation. Presented here is a unique documentation of that journey, providing a fascinating look into the on and off stage lives of one of the world’s most enigmatic bands.

                          Having first premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2009, the film "Under Great White Northern Lights" documents the band playing to crowds in towns of all sizes across the Great White North - from traditional venues to matinee gigs at unusual locations such as a bowling alley, a boat and even on a city bus - culminating in a momentous 10th Anniversary show at the historic Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. A captivating mix of striking live footage and poignant off-stage moments, this visually stirring and emotive feature length film celebrates the band’s 10 year history, bringing the band full circle in their career to a place reminiscent of how they first started out; shows where no one knew who they were, where they were left to make a first impression with their music.

                          The live album continues that celebration and is a perfect companion piece to the film, featuring 16 songs recorded at various shows throughout the Canadian tour - a collection that captures all the aural intensity and spontaneity that The White Stripes have become known for. A compelling reflection of the band’s career - both the live album and the documentary will allow fans to reminisce about where they were when they first heard The White Stripes, while also adding extraordinary pieces of work to their already stunning artistic cannon.

                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          2xCD/DVD Info: The DVD included here is the documentary film Under Great White Northern Lights, directed by Emmett Malloy (92 mins). Region code 0 (Zero).

                          Vampire Weekend

                          Contra

                            Some bands stay in a holding pattern their whole careers. Others jerk the steering wheel hard and fly off the road. On their second album, Vampire Weekend do neither. Or maybe they do both. “I think we sound more like Vampire Weekend than we did on the first record,” says drummer Christopher Tomson.

                            "Contra" pulls off a series of impressive feats: It’s bustling with fresh ideas and yet it sounds immediately familiar; it’s heavily layered but taut and kinetic; it chews ravenously through sound palettes and rhythms, and yet it’s nimble and assured; it’s still breezy, and yet it smolders with a newfound emotional heft. “It’s sadder than the first one, a bit more sentimental,” says singer Ezra Koenig. The songs are catchy, fast, twinkling, clattering – the darker themes of loss, doubt and regret accumulate almost imperceptibly, but they land a powerful blow.


                            The Horrors follow-up 2007's critically acclaimed debut "Strange House" with "Primary Colours", a record that represents a band striving for musical progression and, in doing so, finding an interesting new direction. While the gothic punk influence of such bands as The Cramps remains, there is now a strong 80s Chameleons / Echo & The Bunnymen style flavour to The Horrors' sound, resulting in a well-rounded and engaging listen. Includes the single "Sea Within A Sea".

                            Dealing in genres the band have dubbed 'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa' and 'Upper West Side Soweto', Vampire Weekend is a breath of fresh air, both musically and lyrically, with this New York band endeavouring to make music that is anything but straight ahead rock. This is indie-rock that isn't indie-rock, a joyously exuberant carnival of melody and rhythm. Strings. Organs. Afro-funk guitars. Courtly 18th century harpsichord. A bit of post-punk (maybe Franz Ferdinand crossed with the Bhundu Boys?). Lyrics about grammar and architecture and preferred bus routes and the British Imperial origins of American preppie fashion. With fleet-footed pizzazz Vampire Weekend deploy all these to craft a tinglingly refreshing sound. Anyone for brainy party music?

                            Adele

                            19

                              Already the winner of a Brit Award (Adele was voted the 'Critics Choice' - the most exciting new British artist expected to 'make it big' in 2008) (and didn't she just!), "19" is Adele's debut album. She combines the full range of her influences: Etta James, Jill Scott, Bjork, Dusty Springfield, Billy Bragg, Billie Holiday, Jeff Buckley, The Cure and Peggy Lee with her stunning voice on this great debut. Includes her classic debut single "Chasing Pavements"

                              Radiohead

                              In Rainbows

                                Following the landmark independent digital release of Radiohead's seventh LP whereby customers could name their own price, the experimental British rock stalwarts finally issued "In Rainbows" in its physical formats. Musically, this release can be seen as a logical culmination of much of the band's previous work, incorporating the avant-garde electronics of later records and more traditional guitar-heavy elements synonymous with their inception. The overt political themes of previous album "Hail To The Thief" are largely jettisoned for an altogether more romantic milieu, with songs such as "Videotape" and "Nude" showcasing the intimate nature of singer Thom Yorke's voice.

                                This is the first time the White Stripes have ever recorded and mixed an album at a conventional modern studio. It was still, however, recorded to reel-to-reel, and mixed to tape in complete analogue fashion. It was recorded in three weeks - the longest they've ever spent working on a record. Here's some more interesting facts about the album, "Icky Thump" has no piano performances or piano-based songs (unlike it's predecessor which was mostly written and performed on piano). It has the most guitar solos Jack White has ever recorded to tape. It is the first time the band has collaborated with horns and bagpipes. "Icky Thump" contains the first spoken dialogue song to appear on one of their albums; "Rag And Bone". It is the second longest album of the Stripes pantheon thus far. Second to "Elephant" with more than 48 minutes in running time. The album's title is a morphing of the phrase 'Ecky Thump' which is an exclamation of surprise or wonderment in Northern England. The synthesizer used in the title track was also used on the song "Telstar" recorded by Joe Meek.

                                Radiohead

                                Hail To The Thief

                                  Has anyone ever done this before? Achieved massive commercial success and followed it with three totally uncompromising, madly unexpected records. You have to admire their integrity. This album is something of a consolidation of their post- "OK Computer" direction. While it's choc-ful of analogue electronics, jazz-rock oddness, techno Gothic wierdness, scatterbrained drum-machines and insanely-inspiring words - there is actually more to properly grab a hold of this time. There's a number of conventional(ish!) piano songs including one acheingly gorgeous standout called "Sail To The Moon". There's also more obvious(ish!) rockier moments like "2+2=5" which ends in punky, thrashed guitar, and "A Punch-Up At A Wedding" that has lyrics you can follow (!!) and a sweet, undulating bassline. This album's just as challenging as the last two, but a lot more rewarding.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  2xLP Info: The vinyl is a beautifully packaged double, in a gatefold sleeve.

                                  The White Stripes

                                  Elephant

                                    Recorded in ten days flat, in England's own Toe Rag studio (8-track, valve amps, nothing new in fact since 1963!) the White Stripes' fourth album is everything you ever wanted it to be. Same formula, but with a warmer, fuller tone, but... we're in it for the songs, aren't we? Well, NME nailed it when they said this album's like a White Stripes' Greatest Hits, every song's a potential single - it really is that strong. Who'd have thought they could actually go one better?! It feels stupid to write about stuff this pure, real, honest and passionate; I know you'll just buy it, play it, and allow yourselves to be taken over! Analysis ain't necessary, it's rock'n'roll distilled and it's happening right now. We're very lucky girls and boys!

                                    The White Stripes

                                    De Stijl

                                      The band's second album, recorded on 8-track analog tape in Jack's living room, was released in 2000 and today is a cult classic.




                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                      Darryl says: Detroit brother / sister duo's second album. Fantastic heavy raw blues that bring to mind Royal Trux / Blues Explosion at their best.


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