Review: The brainchild of Alexander Brettin, Mild High Club explore a sepia-tinted world in which gently psychedelic pastoral sensibilities are married to '70s soft-rock bliss, resulting in a decidedly lackadaisical and charming confection as chemically affected as it is melodically engaging. Whilst Syd Barrett-esque songwriting and chamber-pop aesthetics vie for attention here, 'Timeline' is nonetheless an aural Polaroid whose soft-focus production resembles a soundworld easy for the casual observer to lose themselves in. Fans of Ariel Pink )who guests here) and the more deep-end-diving moments of The Flaming Lips will find much to enjoy here.
Review: Shoegaze dream pop duo Molly - out of Innsbruck, Austria - deliver a deluxe alpine coloured vinyl to compliment the elemental themes of their debut album. It follows two previous singles in 2016-17, respectively, suggesting that last year was spent entirely in the studio. As it turns out their studio sits atop their native alps and laced throughout this LP are field recordings of their chosen summit which only offers more space to an already expansive, glacial and epic sound. With the 15-minute album opener "Coming Of Age" a mountain of production in itself, Molly right now are hitting their peak.
Review: When you call your band Moon Duo nobody is expecting clean lines or indeed rough edges. Meeting every one of our expectations, "Stars Are The Light" is a cosmic trip into some psychedelic hinterland where the melodies are as warm as the guitars are crooning. It's a place that's audibly inviting and, while anything but homely in the suburban 2.4 kids kind of way, more welcoming than the warm embrace of a lover. Which makes sense, when you consider it's the product of Wooden Shjips Ripley Johnson and his wife, Sanae Yamada. The title track pretty much sounds like falling in love, "Eternal Shore" dances to the otherworldly rhythms of 1960s opiate seduction, and 'The World And The Sun" grows and grooves to the very centre of your soul. Put simply, it's a pretty compelling argument for the fact that psychedelic rock still has plenty to bring to the table.
Review: Norway legends of the scene Motorpsycho add yet another title to their cavernous discography - that dates back to 1990 - with The Crucible, an album riffing on the Salem Witch trials, which follows up from 2017's The Tower, adding yet more cultural dialect to their artistry following Let Them Eat Cake (2000) and Still Life With Eggplant (2013). Recorded last year at Monnow Valley Studios, Wales, with production hands Deathprod, aka Helge Sten, and Grammy Award Winner Andrew Scheps (think Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Audioslave and The Mars Volta), its epic title track, clocking in at 20-minutes, does the album justice alone. Taking up the entire B-side after two hellraising scrambles of avant-garde, psychedelic rock, Motorpsycho delivers a slow burning, storytelling journey through a thicket of pure sublimation.
Review: Mike Patton's mischievous first band had grown from the stuff of teenage tomfoolery to a band taken seriously as cross-genre pioneers and modern day progressive titans by the time they released this third album proper in 1999. Moreover, this proved to be yet another curveball, being by far the most melodic and pop-influenced thing the band had committed to wax. This being Mr. Bungle however, 'California' also took in movie-scores, doo-wop, Hawaiian music, circus themes and a good dozen other genres besides, confounding the listener even as it offered tunes your milkman could whistle, making for a fitting epitaph for a unique band.
Review: When is a bonus disc not a bonus disc? How about when it's Mudhoney's not-quite-latest, a collection of forgotten moments from 2018's "Digital Garbage", new versions of rare singles and one cover version. Don't assume for a second this is a cynical filler to keep the band's name on the tip of your tongue, or a cash-driven release hastily put together after 12 months void of new ideas, though. After all, few artists or acts make any real money from recording stuff these days, and even if you're not thinking in such jaded terms what's here is an essential anthology of excellence that could serve as a solid introduction to an outfit at the top of their game, or a must-have for devotees. A masterful selection of drawly blues (opener "Vortex of Lies"), dirty guitar refrains ("Snake Oil Charmer"), and twisted, contemporary heavy metal hypnosis ("Let's Kill Yourself Live Again"). Quality, quality, quality.
Review: Rising up through the indie boom of the mid-2000s, New York's The Mystery Lights have landed once again to deliver a sound so fresh it may well just be the swinging 60s. Groovy. The raw, strummed guitars of the very indie "I'm So Tired (Of Living In The City)" harks back to a sound that bands like Manfred Mann popularised back in the day, especially when you hear the screaming howls of "Wish That She'd Come Back". It's a soundtrack for a surfer's safari trekking through the desert with a tambourine in hand, searching for that perfect wave, and with the analogue sound of space echos and reverb splashing throughout the album it's a much desired trip for the modern day.
Review: It's fair to say that when The National release an album the Cincinnati originating supergroup garner the same type of attention that Radiohead once drew. With some futuristic production techniques creeping its way into the band's engineered sound, a new expressionism in the group's sound on "I Am Easy To Find" makes its way into the open, if only subtly. With the opening passages of "You Had Your Soul With You" sounding something like Battles' "Atlas", the music breaks down into a fanfare of traditional yet supercharged folk instrumentations; with drums, spoken word, strings in all their various forms, and the familiar smokey drawl of Matt Berninger's voice sitting snugly on top of subtle drum machines and synthesisers. Super ballads and sincerity.
Review: Be With Records look to continue a consistent run of reissuing important rarities by unearthing this gem from Arthur Russell's discography. This debut from the short-lived New York outfit The Necessaries is a key moment in the city's early 1980's art-rock/new-wave movement. Led by artist and composer Ed Tomney and formed of members of East-Coast tastemakers such as The Modern Lovers & Red Crayola, 'Event Horizon' sounds both of its time and forward thinking - playing with angular garage abrasion, jangling oddball art-rock and pop warmth. Russell's involvement, a year after forming respected disco group Loose Joints and just prior to writing his experimental solo cello work, is testament to his broad versatility and voracious love of music. This is an essential album for both Arthur Russell enthusiasts and collectors and lovers of East Coast new wave.
Review: The 21st Century has been quiet thus far for New Order, with only two full albums to date, and only an out-takes compilation in the last decade. Moreover, 'Music Complete' marks their first album to date without founding bassist Peter Hook, and the return of Gillian Gilbert to the ranks. Yet from this turbulence and inertia they've somehow managed to create a collection of songs that rank as their strongest set since 'Technique' in 1989. VIbrant, upbeat and colourful, yet driven by the same mix of electronic experimentation and effortless pop suss that characterised their '80s heyday, 'Music Complete' is the sound of a timeless and unique force newly revitalised.
Review: For all her otherworldly talents, even hardcore fans of Joanna Newsom will likely be relieved to hear that 'Divers' marks a very slight move back from the artistic brink compared to 2010's 'Have One On Me', an exhausting triple-album embarrassment of riches which few ever made it though in one go. Yet there's no hint of compromise on the deliriously thrilling 'Divers', despite its slightly more concise approach - the elegant yet baroque wordplay, ornate and innovative arrangements and Newsom's unique voice are all present and correct - yet more, these emotive and engaging ditties may mark the most accessible thing this iconoclastic and mercurial artist has thus far summoned from the ether.
Review: Introducing the dirty psychedelia rock of Seattle's Night Beats. At a glance you could be forgiven for mistaking them as a new formation of a swinging '60s inspired Arctic Monkeys. But, really, sometimes someone comes along that just does the old fashioned right, and after eight years of releasing a constant stream of music, Daniel Billingsley, the leading force behind Night Beats along with a host of other musicians who made the record possible can be held in a high regard. Let's say something in a spectrum somewhere between Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Tame Impala - Kasabian - and The Black Keys - contemporarily speaking of course.. With more mic techniques strewn across the album than a burgeoning sound student could bare to fathom, it's quality songwriting with subtle production graces to boot - and what more else can you say about a classic, rock, pysch, surf and funk album done well. Rock on man.
Review: Three studio albums in, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds have managed to distance themselves from their frontman's legacy enough to become a household name in their own right. 'Who Built The Moon' sees Gallagher continue to assert his famed song-writing prowess whilst pushing his band in new directions with bluesy-rock anthems, smoky and atmospheric interludes and the satisfying electronic pop of tracks like 'She Taught Me How To Fly'. It's this willingness to explore and experiment that makes this album his most ambitious to date, and the finest post-Oasis work that either of the Gallaghers have produced.
(Hope) Is Just Another Word With A Hole In It (5:47)
Review: Death metal, sludge to post-rock and synthwave specialists Relapse deliver a third album from the shoegazing Nothing. With artwork to challenge anything conjured up by Aphex Twin or Bjork, Nothing's sound was captured and produced by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.) at Dreamland Studio in Woodstock and it's an album that will send you spiralling back towards what the band call "stories of self-loathing, self-destruction, and a general disdain for humanity." Yep, the '90s; time to lose your job, fall out with your friends, get that eviction notice, and listen to this on a bean bag watching Reality Bites on mute. Let it rain.
Quarteto Em City - "Aleluia" (with Tamba Trio) (3:30)
Lena Platonos - "Bloody Shadows From A Distance" (3:05)
Ray Davies - "I Go To Sleep" (2:44)
Alfred Schnittke - "Piano Quintet, V" (3:21)
Agnes Obel - "Stretch Your Eyes" (Ambient acappella) (6:01)
The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Choir - "Pilentze Pee (Pilentze Sings)" (2:22)
Agnes Obel - "Glemmer D" (2:03)
Agnes Obel - "Bee Dance" (2:34)
Sibylle Baier - "The End" (2:29)
Michelle Gurevich - "Party Girl" (4:28)
CAN - "Oscura Primavera" (3:19)
David Lang - "I Lie" (5:08)
Nina Simone - "Images" (live In New York 1964) (2:50)
Agnes Obel - "Poem About Death" (3:05)
Review: The latest missive in the evocative and open-minded Late Night Tales series comes from Agnes Obel, a Danish singer/songwriter whose fragile, pastoral songs seemingly join the dots between traditional folk music, neo-classical and early music. Fittingly, Obel's selections, while more diverse than many may have expected - see the soulful reggae throb of Nora Dean, the creepy jazz of Yello's "Great Mission" and the whispered synth-pop shuffle of Lena Platanos - are every bit as atmospheric and ethereal as her own work. It helps that she's included several of her own compositions, alongside inspired cuts that touch on Berlin School ambient, hazy easy listening, neo-classical, psychedelia, lo-fi art rock and, of course, folk.
Review: A year shy of its 40th anniversary, Inspiration Information enjoys a reissue and it's still as sparkly and soul-laden as it was in 1974. Ranging from the guitar-twanging smoky blues funk of "Rainy Day" to the sultry, strutting title track, it's largely regarded as Otis's most comprehensive work of that time. According to legend it took him three years to create... 39 years later and it still sounds as good as this? We'd say that's time well spent!
Review: A key component in modern Turkish music since the '70s, Mustafa would have gone under the radar if it wasn't for break diggers. While he's still active to this day, Genclik Lle Elle is largely cited as his creative zenith. Recorded in Istanbul, 1973, the instrumental album takes the funk template and flings it into experimental, often cosmic pastures. Highlights include the planet-hopping glissandos on "Zeytinyagli", the progressive head-swirling frenzy of "Lorke" and the infectious eastern-fused riff on "Emmioglu". Plus it's on coloured vinyl. Plus it's got a monkey sound engineer on the cover. Plus it's limited. This record has a hell of a lot going for it.
Review: Panda Bear aka Noah Lennox has been one of the more prolific solo artists to come out of the Animal Collective fold. Buoys presents a second album on UK independent Domino and his sixth solo album overall offers something of a new direction. Made in co-production with Rusty Santos (from The Present) the pair have delivered a work routed in hip hop and beat-making inspirations taking Panda Bear's music into a dubby and bass music realm. At times reminiscent of Ed Banger & Mr. Oizo quirkiness, alongside a trademark guitar sound and vocals drenched in reverb, the dub culture influence mixed in with the folk, and pop abnormalities, prove there's a deep layer of experimentation to Panda Bear's music yet.
Review: Half journeyman, half David Lynch bar scene, all twisted crooner-dom, and at least a little tongue in cheek, Mike Patton & Jean Claude Vannier are aiming straight for the alternatives with this 12-strong collection of bizarre ballads and obscure odes that will appeal to rarer tastebuds. There's the spoken word and strummed guitars guiding us through the various parts of "A Schoolgirl's Day". The Sinatra-does-sarcasm of closer "Pink & Bleue", and the way "Hungry Ghost" aurally recalls "Everybody Knows" by Leonard Cohen. Truly unique stuff, despite its debt of gratitude to troubadour totems, counterculture rock and The Rat Pack, it's as rooted in the 21st Century as anything you'll hear today. The production process involved two creators in two different parts of the world, Patton and band in L.A., Vannier with a full orchestra in Vienna. Not that you can tell considering how complete the record feels.
Suite Al Culto Solar - Ketzalkoatl Yauh Miktlan (15:16)
Ipan In Xiktli Metztli (En El Ombligo De La Luna) (21:30)
Review: Sacred Summits were the first to reissue Luis Perez's timeless Mexican hymns, back in 2014, but the diligent Mr Bongo has decided to buy the rights to press some more copies up. To us, that's only good news because we absolutely love this album. First released in 1981, it has been an almost impossible record to get a hold of on vinyl, but it absolutely SHOULD be readily available to anyone - through vast landscapes of subtle electronic manipulations and organic instrument improvisation, we are immersed in an endless world of mysticism, where each new listen will unearth something new and wonderful. What a sublime LP. Warmly recommended.
Review: Arriving some twenty years after the last Pink Floyd album proper, 1994's The Division Bell, this new offering - which stands to be their last ever - apparently functions as both a swansong for their enormously influential outfit and a tribute to late keyboard player Rick Wright. Constructed partly from demos for the aforementioned album, as well as recordings from as far back as 1968, it somehow manages to showcase the closest the band has come to the classic Floydian sound in decades. Indeed, replete with Gilmour's soaring leads and ambient dreamscapes, it frequently recalls the heralded days of 'Wish You Were Here' amidst an atmosphere of beatific melancholy. If this is the moment that the rock giants choose to bow out, their legions of fans can rest assured they're doing so with both grace and style.
Review: Dutch indie four piece spearheaded by its singer-songwriter Pip Blom realise their debut album, Boat. Delivered by a label associated with artists like Mattiel and Amber Arcades, Plip Blom see themselves in good company to deliver a full length LP following a run of 7" & 10" singles. The album features previously heard numbers like "Daddy Issues", a riffing example of the band's quick, almost surf rock style, with other semi-ironic titles like "Bedhead" offering something sentimental. With a host of other raucous and heavy distorted numbers too, Pip Blom's music falls somewhere between The Strokes, Hole and the best of alternative but radio friendly punk and garage rock.
Review: When the end days come and it's finally time to write the complete story of American rock 'n' roll, surely Pixies will get their own chapter. Legends of the grunge world, often known for a stylistic simplicity (quiet-LOUD anyone?) but unafraid to go out on a psychedelic limb when the moment suits, they've towered above the majority of acts for 28 years and, as "Beneath The Eyrie" proves, still have plenty to say. "In The Arms of Mrs Mark Of Cain" starts proceedings on a gothic-Western hybrid tip, setting things up perfectly for any song named "Graveyard Hill". Realistically when that track does arrive it switches the mood with a nod to the band's archetypal punk-infused sound, and that's precisely the point. Apparently betting the farm on this one, it's got everything from psych-folk to Tim Burton-ish ghoulish wit, making for the band's finest hour since their 2004 reformation.
Review: Polaroid were an Italian post-punk/new wave band, formed in Turin in 1981. The original lineup of the band consisted of Marcello Zavatto (voice, guitar), Massimo Vagnarelli (bass, drum-machine), Evandro Fornasier (guitar), Claudio Vagnarelli (synthersizer) and Marco Farano (Drums). Polaroid made their debut with the cassette 6-track EP 'Senza Respiro', self-released in 1984. Influenced by Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Cure, Pere Ubu as well as Chic and Talking Heads. The music was dark and cold, but also melodic especially with regards to guitars and voices. At the end of 1984 the band added vocalist Michele Cantoblundo while drummer Marco left and was replaced by a Roland TR-909. With Michele began a period of very dark and poetic music, influenced also by bands like Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and The Sisters of Mercy. The band peacefully broke-up in 1987. This vinyl re-issue of 'Senza Respiro' contains all 6 original songs with 4 bonus tracks from the band's later period. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. The record is housed in custom jacket designed by Eloise Leigh and includes 4 polaroid sized postcards with photos notes and lyrics.
Review: In honour of Record Store Day 2019, French label Revenge has decided to offer up a fresh pressing of a set it first released back in 1977: an acclaimed live album by legendary garage rocker turned car insurance salesman Iggy Pop. The set was recorded at Paris' Hippodrome venue during the artist's "Lust For Life Tour" in September 1977 and appears here on shocking green vinyl, as it did on initial French pressings. As you'd expect, it brilliantly captures the energy and excitement of Iggy Pop's performances during the period, offering up a mixture of much-loved classics ("Lust for Life", "The Passenger", "I Wanna Be Your Dog" etc.) alongside album tracks and powerful cover versions.
Review: Now approaching a half-century of artistic life as the closest we have to a living personification of rock 'n' roll, Iggy Pop nonetheless also continues to carry himself with more class and style than most any lifer that springs to mind. Yet it has to be said that few were expecting the cadaverous king to make his greatest album for thirty of those years, and this is what 'Post Pop Depression' his collaboration with a dream team involving luminaries such as Josh Homme, Dean Fertita and The Arctic Monkeys' Matt Helders is exactly that - a wry, restrained and ice-cool meditation on carnality and mortality without cliche or rehash, this album is all primal satisfaction and righteous revelation.
Review: Jessica Pratt's third solo album is a blessing from the start, with opener, "Opening Night", setting the album's tone as a sojourn through a fresh but solemn memory, like strolling through a mist swept pasture. With Pratt's unique vocal ranging tied up in a mix of space, crackle and forgotten reverie, her vocals at times sounding as if they're lost somewhere in a wireless ether. With softly played chords and delicate strumming sitting in tune with dreamy interludes and folky motifs, City Slang have arguably dropped their best record for 2019 first.
Review: Californian Jessica Pratt may have been born in the late-eighties, but On Your Own Again, her second album to date, is possessed of a strangely timeless quality, apparently beamed in from some alternate dimension where pastoral atmosphere sashays with ethereal quietude to beguiling effect. Somewhat redolent of the sleight-of-hand of Joni Mitchell and the otherworldly subtleties of Karen Dalton, Pratt's small-hours serenades are mostly comprised of merely her guitar and voice - and recorded all-analogue to four track - yet it's testimony to her talents that these simple ingredients weave a delicate spell over the course of these nine songs that is little short of mesmerising.
GRC Five - "Saga Of A Secluded Swamp Monster" (2:52)
Free Fantasy - "Caroline" (3:27)
Jeanette - "L'Amour Joue Au Violon" (4:24)
Wavemaker - "Tunnel Of Love" (3:40)
Bobby Lyle - "Making Love" (4:00)
Babla & Kanchan - "Aay Mere Dil" (6:17)
FG's Romance - "What Is Love Today?" (3:39)
Etienne Vermoessen & Guido Delo - "Easy Morning" (2:50)
Musyl & Joseppa - "Follow Me" (1:19)
Karat - "Auf Den Meeren" (5:59)
Review: Whatever you think of their original productions, there's no denying the continued quality of Psychemagik's compilations. Their latest epic exploration of member Danny McLewin's epic record collection, Ritual Music, is split into three parts. This volume, Love, predictably includes some genuine thrillers, from the new age electronica of Man Parrish's "Water Sports", and the global mysticism of "Amram" by The Rias Orchestra, to the breathy sleaze of Jeanette's "L'Amour Jove Au Viol", and seductive guitar solos of Bobby Lyle's jazz-funk classic "Makin' Love". We could go on. Suffice to say, there's barely a duffer in sight, and more intriguing twists and turns than your average sci-fi murder mystery.
Review: After years of what has seemingly been live record after live record - (not to mention their debut Broken Boy Soldiers album haunting our Juno offices for nearly a decade) Jack White's inspired troupe are back with a bang - exploding with Help Us Stranger. Think the amplified epicness of The Who. The album twists and turns through telephone amplified blues ("Help Me Stranger"), the dandy piano ballads in "Shine The Light On Me" to the rolling, western, country drums of "Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)". Regardless of the tracks, this album teems with an energy that rock music has not felt for some time and there's no denying the future classic that this will become. Rock on The Raconteurs!
Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief (4:38)
True Love Waits (5:08)
Review: A quarter century old now, yet these art-rock giants and eternal malcontents seem as restless in their muse and motion as ever - still chronicling an increasingly complicated and strenuous age yet doing it with finesse, grace and innovation. The urgent, invigorating strains of single 'Burn the Witch' were no anomaly, and 'A Moon Shaped Pool' shows them shaking off the more insular tendencies of their last opus 'King Of Limbs' to engage and electrify in a way that they haven't truly managed for years - radiant, celestial ambience shares space here with impressive ire and emotional engagement, with these peerless experimentalists delivering a record that transcends both their own work and the vast majority of the musical landscape they survey.
Review: British duo Raime are back with the first album since 2012's brilliant Quarter Turns A Living Line and their signature style of dark ambience and haunting imaginary soundtracks which incorporate jungle, dub and post-punk influences into the mix also. The album is said to be largely influenced by their side project Moin which incorporates rock and metal influences too. According to Blackest Ever Black "the DNA of dub-techno, garage/grime and post-hardcore rock music spliced into sleek and predatory new forms." Highlights include the moody subtractive rock of "Dialling In, Falling Out", the dub and post punk crossover of "Dead Heat" and the brooding mood-lighting of "Cold Cain".
Review: If it's both garage-rock ramalama and infectious songwriting you want, not to mention a record that sounds like it's been beamed in staight from 1966, look no further than the current project of Greg Cartwright, legendary progenitor of The Oblivians and The Compulsive Gamblers amongst others, whose incredible tunesmithery as well as his sheer joie-de-vivre have been responsible for some of the most memorable moments of the last twenty years in garageland. "Reigning Sound" takes a more laidback, organ-assisted and string-abetted tack, blending its rock'n'soul blasts with country-tinged melancholy and Brill building finesse, yet always with Cartwright's impossible-to-resist presence at front and centre. You're unlikely to hear an old-fashioned rock 'n' roll record this year that you're likely to want to spin over and over like this one.
Review: Forty years ago a yet unknown cult band was to release a LP that never came. Interesting enough, Rema-Rema - made up of former members of The Models and Siouxsie & The Banshees - delivered 4AD one of its first releases: Wheel In Roses (1980). All tracks from that EP, in their new wave, post-punk glory, feature on this Fond Reflections LP, a compendium of sorts detailing across 17 tracks the band's raw and unplugged sound. Collected, re-mixed and engineered by band member Gary Asquith and mixing technician Takatsuna Mukai, the result is an archival, patchwork collage of a lost but not forgotten trip down the lanes of UK folklore. Get to grips with "Fond Affections", "Feedback Song" and "Why Ask Why".
Review: One of the many remarkable things about Rock Town Express's 1974 debut album - originally eponymously titled but now renamed after the album's most celebrated track - is that it was the work of just two musicians, who each manned multiple instruments during the recording process. Given that it sounds fiendishly loose and live, as if it was laid down in one take, that's seriously impressive. As an album, it offers a decidedly fuzzy fusion of early Afrobeat, Sly Stone style funk-rock and the mind of heady psychedelic rock that's more associated with bands from San Francisco. In other words, it's the kind of obscure but brilliant Afro-rock fusion that you need in your life.
Review: Romania's Rodion GA is by no means a new name. The founding and only remaining member, Rodion Rosca, has been making music since the Communism-oppressed times of the 70's and 80's, where psychedelic sounds were by no means appreciated! It's only recently that Rosca's forward thinking music has truly seen the light of day, and following a retrospective on Strut, the equally on-point BBE present this 20 track selection of long-lost material! This stuff is seriously out-there, and each track brings something different to the table. From the drum-machine, Eastern vibes of "Acvila Fragment", to the gnarly, guitar-thrashing electronic of "Cosmic Game, and even the post-punk oddities of tracks like "Paradox", there's something in hear for all diggers and wax junkies. Recommended, of course.
Review: Communion artist Lucy Rose has no more words left. That being said, her album, of song and siren, manages an ode at least for the lost and crestfallen. With light jazz and choral motifs providing the LP with its eloquent interludes and moments of passage, mood swings in the album's climax hits notes that sets things off like the clapping thunder between clouds. A songwriter's call, no less, Lucy Rose delivers an album full of resilience and praise that's just that bit west of the bible belt.
Review: It's been just over a decade since Rozi Plain debuted with her laid back, summery and melancholic, singer-songwriting sound. "What A Boost" finds a release through North London label Memphis Industries and this fifth studio LP sees the artist go bass heavy on tracks like album opener "Inner Circle", with the slightest of electronic music production ethics making themselves known throughout the LP. Across the record, programmed kick drums are subtle and vocal loops creative, while syncopated jazz beats, sub-sonic grooves and skittering, brushy snares make for a unique take on solo vocalist, folk-inspired, new age sounds. Far from a record that feels as though it was recorded in a bedroom, Rozi Plain's lo-fi sonic only adds to the calming, melancholic malaise of her soulful style.
I Forget & I Can't Tell (Ballad Of The Lights part 1)
Habit Of You
Your Motion Says
Don't Forget About Me
Love Is Overtaking Me
Planted A Thought
Love Comes Back
Review: A musical polymath like no other, the late Arthur Russell turned his hand to a bewildering variety of different musical styles, from avant-garde torch songs to pounding disco, yet all imbued with his otherworldly songwriting skill and richly emotional voice. This posthumous compilation, however, collects together the more oddly accessible material that he created, in largely acoustic and country styles. The cowboy hat on the sleeve may be strangely appropriate here, but more than this, the blend of plaintive melancholy and freewheeling charm can only leave the listener wondering how Arthur Russell managed to avoid mainstream success in his all-too-brief career. A strange and beguiling transmission from a unique talent.
Review: Second Layer's World of Rubber, first released on Cherry Red way back in 1981 - some two years after the duo's first outing on 7" - has long been considered something of an industrial classic by those in the know. Here, it gets a deserved re-press from the folks at Dark Entries. 34 years on, it still retains the power to shock, with Adrian Borland and Graham Green's raw, weighty mix of post-punk basslines, sharp guitars, fuzzy electronics, tape loops and basic drum machine grooves still sounding deliciously fresh. Certainly, it's comparable to many more celebrated releases of the time, and arguably more spontaneous in feel.
Review: It would seem for all the world like Ty Segall is locked in some deathless conflict with Thee Oh Sees man John Swyer to see who can be the most prolific garage rock genius of the here and now, with this self-titled effort - a record as awash with his trademark blend of jam-kicking cheer and stylish chutzpah as ever - the latest case for this cause. But with his band The Muggers taking a more prominent role here, 'Ty Segall' is not just that same old fabulous thing - sure, there are three minutes punk gems, cocky T-Rex ramalama and head-spinning psych-pop, yet one song here hits a mighty ten minutes, hinting that there may be evolutionary pathways open to this modern-day marvel even beyond his ability to rock out like no-one else on earth.
Review: Who knows what Ty Segall's channeling to be quite so prodigiously prolific, yet his rate of creativity hammers powerfully on - it only seems a few months since his T. Rex covers record 'Ty Rex', yet here is another blast of raunch and rapture seemingly time0warped in from the very early '70s. Slightly less grandstanding than his breakthrough 'Redeemer', this is a still more garage-driven, raucous and eternally teenage blast of aggression, supercharged by the pedal-driven intensity that marks his aptly-monickered side-project Fuzz yet showing all the songwriting suss by which he's made his name. Petulant yet impressively potent.
Review: In honour of Record Store Day, Siobhan Fahey has decided to offer-up a special "10th Anniversary Edition" of her 2009 comeback set as Shakespears Sister, "Songs From The Red Room". Most of the set had been recorded four years earlier and mined the rich seam of electroclash/indie-dance fusion that was all the rage at the time. Listening back a decade on, the set still bristles with fuzz-tone guitars, bombastic beats, distinctive electronic motifs and stylized vocals. This expanded edition throws in a couple of bonus tracks plus a quartet of remixes. Of these, the Droyds throbbing Italo-disco style take on "Bitter Pill" and the sludgy, post-apocalyptic revision of "Cold" are the ones to check.
Review: Righteously rare recordings from the annals of UK-US music culture makes its way to disc via the legendary John Peel and the inimitable Steve Albini (and his Shellac band). Containing cuts from the late radio-jock's worshipped Peel Sessions broadcast in 2004, this archival release features a stream of previously unreleased recordings of the Chicago group's live & studio sessions for the legendary radio spot. The CDs deliver raw and seldom heard versions of "Crow" (from 1998's Terraform LP) alongside "Canada," "Disgrace" and "Spoke" from the Excellent Italian Greyhound LP (2007). Filled with stories of the BBC's "live From Maida Vale" sessions and the studio's famous 24-track console, these exhumed artifacts all make it out at a time when Albini has been quoted saying of Shellac: ""There will be more new material in the future."
Review: Reykjavik-based noise quartet, Sigur Ros - translated to Victory Rose - sublime 1999 album Agaetis Byrjun turns 20 this year and to commemorate the legendary band have assembled two luxury box sets featuring all matter of demos, rarities and live recordings. There is also the option to just rebask in the limelight of A Good Beginning (Agaetis Byrjun) repress that's worth it alone for album opener "Svefn-g-englar" - a breathy 10-minute swoon through the ether of sweet harmony. Travel the rest of the album until you get to "Avalon" - one of the deepest classical requiems you can hope to hear. A sonic fortress of bizarre digital noises, weird drones, wispy vocals and breathtakingly radiant percussion, Agaetis Byrjun is a masterpiece of revolutionary proportions.
Review: Dark Entries is proud to release "Versions Of A Life", a collection of recorded works by London post-punk band Ski Patrol.
Formed in 1979 by singer Ian Lowery and guitarist Nick Clift, the band played moody, epic, angular music. Active until late 1981, Ski Patrol's musical and lyrical output mirrored the dub-reggae influences of their Brixton and Ladbroke Grove home-bases, the civil unrest of post-punk Britain and the freedom to push aside the rock rulebook as had been done by their peers PiL and Gang Of Four. They self-released their first single in early 1980 with the help of Rough Trade and came to the attention of Malicious Damage, a label & management operation, formed to release the early works of Killing Joke. This association produced the band's biggest success, the 1980 indie chart hit "Agent Orange" (featuring Killing Joke's Jaz Coleman on synth).
"Versions Of A Life" collects Ski Patrol's recorded output in one place for the first time. This anthology also shines a light on the darkly comic, paranoid, often elegiac gutter poetry of the late Ian Lowery, who passed away in 2001. Including the band's first two singles, previously unreleased mixes of their third single and three unreleased songs from their last studio session. All songs are remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The vinyl comes housed in a glossy jacket with an unreleased photo of the band. Each copy includes a reproduction of a promotional poster with lyrics from 1981 designed by Mike Coles, the Malicious Damage house artist responsible for the label's iconic album and single covers.
Review: Kent two-piece Slaves are purveyors of a wry, raw brand of old-fashioned punk rock that is as equal parts economical, raucous and exhilarating. They may take their cues from the nihilistic spirit of the Sex Pistols and the hormonal rage of garage rock, yet they parlay old-fashioned influences with contemporary spirit and intensity, in the process creating an album curiously timeless and primal. Yet most important to the charge of 'Are You Satisfied' is its scabrous lyrics and drummer/vocalist Isaac Holman's acidic invective, rendering this collection a unique combination of style and ire.
Review: Unabashed satirical wares straight outta Nottingham, Sleaford Mods somewhat charming embrace of British provincialism sees the semi-ironic nature of their music nestle itself in a space shared with Jamie T, Mike Skinner and Blackout Crew. Slightly wayward, political and patronising, their music can sometimes come off something like a scene out of Peep Show, though however tongue-in-cheek their commentary of the UK life can be, it's a gloriously proud album of cultural identity, and in among references to chip tune, bedroom produced beats, alternative Madchester-era sounds to rap and spoken word, it's a record embracing hoodies and trainers as much as it does anarchy and builder's tea. Oi!
Review: The Soft Cavalry have arrived, a new project of husband & wife duo Steve Clarke and Rachel Goswell. Their debut, self-titled album has been described as falling somewhere between Pink Floyd, Talk Talk and R.E.M. To put it another way; slow motion stoner surf rock meets subtle shades of folk and washed-out Shoegaze. Dancier and straight-laced drums primed with disco energy also find their way into tracks like "Bulletproof". The album finds its unique space in seemingly being able to create a new study into cosmic folkology; perfectly weighted with atmospheres that drift across and through the album's many dimensions.
Review: Having made their names respectively as a modern-day psych-pop connoisseur somewhere between Prince and Syd Barrett (Connan Mockasin) and the man behind one of the most underrated debuts of the last decade (LA Priest, AKA Late Of The Pier's Sam Dust), these two charismatic square-pegs have joined forces, and the result is as strange and beguiling as one might hope for. Mixing luminous pop hooks with experimental flourishes, and sexed-up atmospherics with cockeyed '80s sonics, 'Soft Hair' is a skewed and seductive mission statement from an odd couple hopefully built to last.