Review: The latest Emotional Response release provides something very special indeed, in the form of a new track from under the radar psychedelic rock musician Nick Nicely. Nicely has been making music from the 70s onwards, but his music has recently undergone something of a critical reappraisal, with the likes of Robert Wyatt and Robyn Hitchcock supposedly inspired by his work; "Wrottersley Road" provides the ideal entry into his music, a masterful piece of shoegaze pop filled with fuzzed out guitars and Eastern psychedelic tones. Remixes are provided by Invisible Hands, who provide a minimal 80's inspired electro-pop version, which comes saturated in radiophonic textures, and The Oscillation, who take the track into even more abstract ambient territory than the original, deep into a place where time seems to stand still entirely, drawing its rich textures out into infinity.
Review: Marking the start of an exciting new collaborative project, Wolf + Lamb proudly share the debut release of The Waves & Us. Formed out of
a creative meeting of minds between Maayan Nidam, Markus Nikolaus and Louis McGuire, theirs is a sound that strengthens the storied
approach of a live band with the experimental thrust of analogue electronics. Pop and rock fundamentals lend an earthly hook to the
tracks, but these are anything but straight-forward songs.
Maayan has already forged a formidable career in electronic music, both under her own name and as part of Mara Trax, scoring releases
on such celebrated labels as Perlon. Markus performs his own solo project Cunt Cunt Chanel, while Louis is part of Ballet School, a band
releasing on noted indie label Bella Union. The whirlwind of creativity that has whipped up around the trio has yielded an album which will
follow this single, made up of one-take recordings that capture the energy and adventure that powers The Waves & Us.
Maayan's electronics provide the atmospheric backdrop to the songs, running modular synthesisers and drum machines through detailed
chains of processing and effects with an emphasis on a warm, charmingly rough finish. Markus' guitar undergoes a similar fuzzy treatment
while his voice calls out introspective, abstract lyrics to set the mind racing. Louis' bass underpins the music with a dubby sensibility,
bringing a necessary balance to the frequency range.
Making the most of their in-the-room recording approach, the singles will feature alternative takes of the songs that will appear on the
album, providing a little insight into the flutters and fluctuations that shape the development of this project. With their eyes fixed on live
performances and an arresting sound already formed, this is a vital time for all three artists and the people that listen to them.
Review: The Fryers sub-label of Jazzman Records come correct once again with this crucial 7" reissue from The Isley Brothers! With a career spanning some 50 years and covering R&B, Rock, Funk, Soul and Disco, it's fair to say The Isley Brothers have been one of the most influential groups on how 20th Century music turned out, yet few people actually know that their universally regarded 1973 hit "That Lady" was in fact a cover version of a track they'd previously recorded a decade earlier. Presented here in all its dusty glory, "Who's That Lady" is a jazzy doo-wop workout that will have the collectors out there running towards the turntables to find out whose version it is. On the flip is their wonderful version of the Blues standard "St. Louis Blues" which has been freshly pressed from the original master tapes!
Review: Turbotrax was an intermittent curio that belched out of the Bristol underground in a fit of tongue in cheek edits and samples back in the '00s. Someone's clearly rebooted the mainframe and brought this elusive collective out of hiding for another bout of cheeky lifts from more esoteric corners of culture. Library Vultures says it all - this is the work of dedicated diggers pulling forgotten bits n' pieces out of retirement, such as, on the A side here, the storming theme to a Commodore advert, and giving it a buff up more extended retro-pleasure. "Whatever Happened To The Hippies?" on the flip is a more light-hearted affair with a jaunty lilt and a message of positivity for all.
Review: Slingin' slangin guitars, skittering drums and synths from BRIT School graduates Black Midi deliver a sound that's semi-ironic with all matter of punk leanings. With references abound to New York's heyday of experimental new wave and art rock, this two-track 12" for Rough Trade sees the four-piece edge that bit closer to their anticipated debut album called Schlagenheim. Due for a release this June, most of Schlagenheim was said to have been laid down in five days with producer Dan Carey (Bat for Lashes, Bloc Party) and these two tracks go to some length in introducing the band's raw talent, their meteoric rise and vision of a gone but not forgotten CBGBs.
Review: Deep into his chamber-lurking follow-up Wu odyssey, Leon Michels stumbled upon shy New York twosome The Shacks and convinced them to record this hazy summer-primed 45". Singer Shannon steals the show with softness and honesty as the band weave a psychedelic bed of sliding guitars and faraway harmonies. Both laced with a woozy 60s edge and beautifully playful lyrics, the whole EP sparkles with soul and talent from both The Shacks and Leon's ever-reliable troupe.
Phantom Band/Linear Johnson & The Protons - "Rush Rush"
Drums Off Chaos - "Drums Off Chaos"
Review: The sadly departed Jaki Liebezeit was the kind of drummer whose influence will be continually recognised over the decades to come. Best known for his work in Can, there are also many more sides to this singular sticksman, and Emotional Rescue has chosen to shine a light on his post-Can period living in Stollwerck. On the A side of this 7" curio is the sound of Phantom Band with Linear Johnson & The Protons. "Rush Rush" has a spiky new wave bent to it, but still Liebezeit's drumming stands out. The B side "Drums Off Chaos" need little explanation - it's the sound of one of the all-time drumming greats letting rip in a ferocious blast of percussive abandon.
Review: Two of Funk Night Records' most distinctive and innovative acts join forces for two outstanding pieces of psychedelic fiery funk fusion. Estonian duo Misha Panfilov Sound Combo set the bedrock on "Soul Strut". All fuzzy, unkempt and energetic, it sets the scene for Detroit's Coco Buttafli to lay her scorched heart on the line in an almost metal-like style. "Electrifying Woman" takes us even deeper into the psychedelic mindset as the groove is given a swampy, dizzying feeling while Coco spits spoken word with such a savage honesty you can't helped but get sucked into the story. Two of a kind.
Review: Soul Tribe celebrate the epic legacy of Chess subsidiary Argo with two of the label's many outstanding soul burners. Etta's big swing sauce-pot number takes pride of place with all 55 years of sultry devotion still deeply embedded into the recording. Banks' slightly lesser known pastoral ballad sets up camp on the B. Lilting and lolloping with horseback storytelling, it's the perfect foil both musically and narratively.
Rushing Through My Mind (Mang Dynasty extended version) (8:03)
Rushing Through My Mind (Mang Dynasty instrumental version) (7:00)
Rushing Through My Mind (Mang Dynasty radio edit) (3:56)
Review: Ray Mang's slick disco stable Mangled calls upon a new pair of provocateurs to lay down a sun-kissed steamer to blow away those winter blues. The agents in question are Josefin Ohrn and The Liberation, and their "Mang Dynasty" is every inch the Balearic idyll rendered in a long form discoid jam. The extended version on the A side fully floats out into gently psychedelic waters guided by Ohrn's infectious hook, "I've got you rushing through my mind." For those who just want the groove there's the instrumental mix available as well, or you can always plump for the radio edit if time is short.
Review: For their latest trip into musical paradise, Zurich's Phantom Island crew has turned to debutants The Gagosians, a trio made up of former Soulphiction guest vocalist Suzana Rozkosny, A.C. Kupper (Guitar) and Kay-Zee (Synths). In its original form "Run For My Honey" is a slightly creepy but hugely enjoyable 4-minute chunk of no-wave wonkiness, with Rozkosny's strutting, post punk style vocals rising above lo-fi drum machine beats, surf-rock style guitar loops and elongated organ chords. On the B-side, Label co-founders Lexx and Kejeblos provide a stellar remix that drags the track further towards skewed, Balearic-minded electrofunk territory. While many of the original instrumentation remains, their body-popping beats and thickset synth bassline give the cut a whole new dancefloor dimension.
Review: The latest essential missive on San Francisco-based Cumbia label Discos Mas comes from a previously unheard artist: confirmed vintage drum machine and fuzzy psych-guitar lover Pancrudo. The producer's vinyl debut, which has been pressed in limited numbers on gorgeous marbled vinyl, includes two impressively retro-futurist workouts. Check first languid and decidedly psychedelic A-side "Pulsatron", a hip-hop tempo kaleidoscopic dream that sounds like Harry Nillson after a few too many swigs of liquid acid and a fistful of hallucinatory chili peppers. Pancrudo returns to his cumbia roots on flipside "Maestro Del Kiosco", which wraps wonderfully fuzzy, boogaloo-era guitars round a shuffling rhythm track.
Review: The latest dusted down archival dig from Emotional Rescue is by Politrio, a short-lived new wave / post punk band from Italy who released one album in the mid 80s. The focus of this release is their cover of Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer," which originally appeared on the Amnesty International P.E.A.C.E Benefit Compilation in 1987. It's a wild take full of rampant guitar wailing and limber slap bass that teeters towards the 80s funk rock of Faith No More et al, and that's no bad thing at all. On the B side of this 7" Double Wave gets busy in the edit, offering up a stripped back version for the spinners.
Review: The colourful obi strip astride the cover of this audiophile reissue boasts that Imani's "Out of The Blue" album is "the ultimate private press jazz holy grail". While that claim is debatable, copies of the Gilles Peterson championed 1983 edition, which the San Francisco based band pressed up themselves, have been known to change hands for four-figure sums. Musically, the four tracks are breezy, sunny and summery. Opener "Just Another Love Song" sets the tone, with soulful group vocals and jazz solos rising above a warm groove, while "Somebody's Love" is a slow jam smothered in spacey synthesizers. "Byrd's House" is a jazz-funk dancefloor number - this time blessed with extended, eyes-closed guitar and piano solos - while "Friendship Cover Charge" is a stomping peak-time workout that should send dancers spinning.
Review: Along with the extended retrospective detailing their earlier music escapades that's surfaced this week, U.S. based reissue gods Superior Viaduct have masterfully relicensed Liquid Liquid's final iconic Optimo single, originally out on 99 Records in 1983 and still a heavily coveted four tracker from all corners of the digging spectrum. "Optimo" - an utterly break-ridden, funked-out monster - "Scraper" and "Out" are all full bodied and sublime on the low frequencies, but it's "Cavern" that gets all the attention on here, bass-heavy roller filled with wavy vocals, a heavy percussion swing and a penchant for being mastered by the kings of hip hop and house. Totally essential 12" in our books.
Review: There's definitely something in the water round Bristol way right now - the city currently seems to ooze punk spirit and has a habit of producing ferociously good acts, from the raw, gnarling guitars of Idles to the unfettered electronic juggernauts of Giant Swan. Those already familiar with Heavy Lungs will know this is another outfit to add to that list, with "Measure" their most complete and daring body of work to date. Opening on "Half Full", which builds atmosphere gradually, before the first ferocious chords drop the listener is already hooked, the moment of release is at once necessary and rather unexpected, setting the tone for a collection of songs that are as intelligently conceived as they are vital. From here we get "Self Worth", "T.O.T.B", and "(A Bit Of A) Birthday", spanning walls of white noise through to skudgy, loose, garage-y tones.
Review: For Sufjan Stevens, "With My Whole Heart", is said to be a self-described attempt to "write an upbeat and sincere love song without conflict, anxiety, or self-deprecation." This single arrives as a most prominent work since his album for 4AD in 2017, and the title track sees rolling toms and keys glitter alongside call-and-response choruses, and a commanding guitar solo. The 1996 demo, done entirely on acoustic guitar, carries even more melancholy and like a lot of his work from this early period, it feels fragmented, even vulnerable, but never without touch of hope and sentimentality. A voice for a new generation.
Review: Even though it appeared on his fine 1971 album "Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse" - a suitably dystopian set in which our hero rails against the ills of godless society - "Jagger The Dagger" is not one of Eugene McDaniels better known tracks. Yet as this Japanese seven-inch reissue proves, it remains a superb chunk of bizarre-but-brilliant jazz/rock/soul fusion full of delay-laden country style guitar solos, weirdo backing vocals, sumptuously laidback grooves and vocals that take aim at Mick Jagger and his "devil's dance". Flipside "Cherrystones" is a Vietnam War-era civil rights cry built around good old-fashioned fuzz-toned grooves, Chuck Berry style rock 'n' roll guitar solos and a pretty crazy lead vocal.
Review: Ah, a real gem of the NYC No Wave era is the focus of Dark Entries attentions here as the stunning Holland Tunnel Dive by ImpLOG is given a more than timely reissue. For the uninitiated out there, ImpLOG were formed by The Contortions band members Don Christensen and Jody Harris under the name ImpLOG, after the former left the iconic No Wave act in 1979, and released just the two records together. The story goes that Christensen's recorded experiments with found sounds, and an array of instruments such as a Univox drum machine and Casio keyboards impressed Lust/Unlust Records founder Charles Ball sufficiently enough to issue two tracks from the submitted demo tape as the Holland Tunnel Dive 12? in 1980. It's remained a highly prized record ever since and this lovingly recreated edition from Dark Entries is a must!
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a must-have seven-inch containing two curiously off-kilter cuts from obscure "beat generation" bands of the early 1960s. Der Evergreens "Es Lilin" (that's "Ice Lolly" in English, apparently) is a sun-kissed rhythm and blues cover of a Sudanese love song recorded in Rotterdam in 1965. It's fairly short but very, very sweet. Arguably even better is Les Jaguars De Casablanca's 1962 cover of surf classic "Gonzales". The band was truly international - Spanish and French guitarists and a Moroccoan rhythm section - and on the resultant recording you can tell. Think of it as an "outernational" take on the Shadows, and you're close.
Review: Since launching last year, Lil Static has offered up new, lightly altered editions of classic tracks from Jeru the Damaja, Kraftwerk, Run-DMC, Nas and the Notorious B.I.G. Here they continue to serve up vital beats for break-digging DJs via classic cuts from Eric B. & Rakim and Mountain. The A side sports an edited version of 1986 cut "Eric B. Is President", a synth-bass propelled NYC hip-hop gem rich in unmistakable rap vocals and tight scratching. Over on side B there's a chance to savour Mountain's late '60s rock cut that provided the Eric B. & Rakim track (and so many others since) with its distinctive drum break, "Long Red". This edited version gives more prominence to the breaks, making it an ideal mixing tool for hip-hop DJs.
Review: The latest outing from Swiss reissue specialists WRWTFWW takes us back to 1981 and the debut single from Bern-based post-punk combo Grauzone. The 12" release of "Eisbaer" has long been a must-have amongst fans of off-kilter, dancefloor-ready new wave, and this replica reissue includes all three tracks featured on that version. Opener "Eisbar" sets the tone, with the bands weary, half spoken/half sung vocals rising above a backing track that's powered forwards by relentless bass guitar, screeching riffs and broken computer style electronics. "Film 2" is a heavy, synthesizer powered workout peppered with delay-laden drum hits and odd noises, while closing cut "Ich Liebe Sie" is a clicking and quietly melodious affair that's almost entirely electronic.
Review: While he lived a musical life that spanned from boogie to gospel before he passed away in 2016, Nairobi's David Waciuma didn't get to record much. He was known much more for his live performances with bands such as The Monks Experience then, later, Rapture Voices who he recorded these two records in the mid-70s. "Devil Go" is a thumping rhythm and blues call and response piece while "Jesu Kristo" hits with more of a frazzled bluesy funk. Both make you wish he recorded much more.
Dance Your Life Away (Andrew Weatherall remix) (7:51)
Review: The pairing of Evangeline Ling and David Wrench might seem an unlikely pairing. Yet a chance encounter at a mutual friend's party just one week after Wrench moved to London had led to an experimental studio session that's been going on ever since. Speaking about the track, Audiobooks claim to have wrote and recorded this "Dance Your Life Away" in a couple of days, with Ling so excited that she travelled across the city in her pyjamas so as not to waste any time. The pair's groovy disco-pop is complimented wonderfully by the inimitable Andrew Weatherall's groovy remix on the flip - working his magic as always.
Review: We love Talking Drums. At the core, they are simply our type of band. An album, a few EPs, and then disappear before the scene kicks off and becomes commercialized. Boxes all well and truly ticked. The early 80s were a period of change what with punk music evolving into post-punk, and while the nu-romantic fashion that came to prominence in the mid 80s was a national movement, it was bands like Talking Drums which initiated it. Thanks to the ever-reliable Dark Entries, we now get to enjoy their best single, Courage, in all its glory - and it sounds like it's been pressed up properly, too! All you need to know at this point, if you haven't come across this already, is that it's one of the best disco-not-disco singles you'll ever cop...and we don't have a favourite tune...they're all equally raw, drum-heavy, house-envisioning, and utterly addictive. Hotly tipped!
Review: Following previous outings for Los Angeles-based imprint ESP Institute such as 2016's Jaguar Mirror and 2017's Night School Of Universal Wisdom, Swedish multi-instrumentalist Oscar "Thunder" Tillman and his 'personal shaman' Pontus make the kind of music you only hear in your most vivid dreams. Incorporating kraut, prog-rock, ambient and disco at the heart of their boundless sound creations, they complete an illustrious trilogy here on their most expansive work to date. "Condor Sunflower" is a truly mesmerising psychedelic folk journey in convincing '70s fashion. On the B side, things take a more upbeat direction on the tripped-out disco funk of "Creation Discotheque".
Review: Destination mid 70s Nairobi where Madagascan guitarist Jimmy Mawi was laying down some serious vibes... Signed to EMI's Pathe imprint, he released three singles during his career which have all since faded to obscurity. Until now. Dusty, garagey and steaming with raw blues fusion, it's hard to deny any parallels to Hendrix as Mawi expresses himself with a rough heartfelt frenzy. Highlights include the Zep-level smoked out soul of "Blue Star Blues" and the insistent drive and reverbed out faraway vocals on "Black Dialogue". Another exemplary Afro-funk find from Soundway.
Review: Claremont 56 continue to disregard the genre boundaries - preferring instead to give good music the attention it deserves - as their latest looker of a twelve inch presents us the sounds of Torn Sail. Fronted by Smith & Mudd vocalist Huw Costin, Torn Sail go all 60s West Coast rock on us with the gloriously rich sounds of "Birds". From its acoustic beginnings the track gradually unfurls into a delightful groove embellished by soothing vocal harmonies. It's almost a thankless task enlisting anyone to try and remix what sounds like a perfect song, but Claremont 56 obviously chose right in requesting the services of Tiago. In the Portuguese producer's hands "Birds" is transformed into a heavily psychedelic freakout which gently develops into a kraut rock behemoth filled with swathes of heavy organ vibes. Containing several shifts in momentum - including a glorious half speed finish - this is a truly stunning remix which left our jaws occupying the floor!
Better Man (Craig Bratley instrumental remix) (4:44)
Review: Here's a question for you: What happens when you take a track by a British power trio heavily influenced by blues and psychedelia, and get a master of wayward, left-of-centre Balearica to remix it? You get the latest 12" missive from Claremont 56, which sees Bella Figura's "Better Man" reworked twice in impressive fashion by Magic Feet boss Craig Bratley. If you are familiar with Bratley's output for s It Balearic, Bird Scarer and Tsuba, you know the man breathes cosmic goodness and his work on Bella Figura's track offers a subtle new version that loses none of Justin Gartry's bluesy poignancy whilst adding a sparsely treated beat and plenty of low lying studio trickery.
Ain't That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One) (3:11)
Blues In The Night (3:13)
Review: A powerful Stax flashback of two tracks from Arkansas soul don Taylor's 1967 debut album Wanted One Soul Singer. As covered by the likes of Lou Rawls, "Ain't That Loving You" is heartfelt bluesy ballad with a sultry swagger and serious yearning on the choruses while the even rarer "Blues In The Night" closes the B on a super-tight floor-bound riff and gutsy delivery from Taylor. Both bonafide northern soul classics and confirmed rarities with both cuts regularly fetching triple figures, this reissue changes everything. For more reasons than one.
Review: It's always a pleasure to find another release from those well-dressed men: Interpol. That great New York band that defined an era and a sound of their own with a stretch of LPs across the 2000s; from Turn On The Bright Lights all the way to 2010's self-titled triumph. With the release of "A Fine Mess" there's seems to be a new influx of energy dedicated to their 2019 world tour, laced with the group's unique tonic of melancholia, of course. This is undeniably heard on opener "Fine Mess", and at five tracks long it's something of a mini album. Recorded during their time spent in upstate New York with acclaimed producer Dave Fridmann (think Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips and Mogwai), the resulting collection of tracks delivers something of a fiery compliment to the deep and visceral energy heard on their sixth studio album "Marauder". Long live Interpol.
Review: This desirable 7" single brings together two of the many highlights from the bulging catalogue of New Orleans soul singer Ernie K Doe. On the A-side you'll find 1961's "A Certain Girl", a sweet rhythm and blues number from the dawn of the soul era that ticks all the right boxes (strong lead vocal, jaunty piano lines, lolloping groove, question-asking female backing vocals). Arguably even better is the better known "Here Come The Girls", a later K-Doe recording that was produced by the song's writer, Allen Toussaint, and originally appeared on the artist's eponymous 1972 album. We all know it, of course, but it still remains a sing-along soul staple.
Review: A Merle Travis blues standard, as laid down by the one and only BB King in 56. A homage to the coal miner with strong clear lyrics and vibrant horns, the original was one of many breakthrough's BB made in the 50s. It was also futureproofed for Belgium's popcorn sound with a bold brass version that's loaded with so much swing you almost forget its deep deep blues. Records like this are what 45s are made for.
Review: Legendary alt-rock group spearheaded by Robert Pollard delivers a massive 32-track double-album called Zeppelin Over China. Guided By Voices have released more albums than you can poke a fender at, and this whopper makes it 10 LPs in 10 years, straight. In a sentence, it's an album of balanced positivity avoiding the pitfalls of nihilism to a degree, and perhaps best suited for that whiskey drinking malaise. Deep inside the music you'll hear references (owing or given to) from the likes of Pearl Jam and David Bowie (most obviously), with nothing to be taken away from Pollard's songwriting and vocal presence, and along with the band's lucid technique, it's 75-minutes of the good stuff, neat or on the rocks.
Review: The mercurial and magical Jeff Buckley departed this realm leaving a severe shortage of actual material, thus this collection of early demos - recorded in 1993 in advance of his debut album proper 'Grace' - marks a cherished opportunity to experience his soulful intensity and otherworldly powers as an interpreter of song. The majority of 'You And I' consists of covers, traversing all the way from Sly & The Family Stone to The Smiths, yet all imbued with his uniquely raw, intuitive and captivating approach. The world will never see the like of Jeff Buckley again, which makes 'You And I' a document worth savouring.
Review: This is a reissue of Bikini Kill's second EP, "Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah". Recorded in 1992 with Tim Green (Nation Of Ulysses) at The Embassyia group-house in Washington, DC, it was the first Bikini Kill release to feature the band's song, "Rebel Girl." Originally a split EP with the Brighton, UK-based band, Huggy Bear, the B-side now features seven previously unreleased Bikini Kill songs drawn from era-appropriate live shows and practice tapes. The artwork has also been updated to include archival photos and liner notes from the Bratmobile's Erin Smith, Comet Gain's David Feck, and the members of Bikini Kill.
Bikini Kill was a feminist punk band based in Olympia, WA and Washington, DC, forming in 1990 and breaking up in 1997. Kathleen Hanna sang, Tobi Vail played drums, Billy Karren (aka Billy Boredom) played guitar and Kathi Wilcox played bass. Bikini Kill is credited with instigating the Riot Grrrl movement in the early '90s via their political lyrics, zines, and confrontational live performances. This EP is the second release in a larger campaign to reissue the complete Bikini Kill catalog on vinyl and CD.
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: This New York City based duo comprises Che Chen and Rick Brown, largely on guitar and drums respectively, and their inspiringly unclassifiable sound, influenced by Indian music and Mauritanian guitar work alongside the likes of The Velvet Underground and Bert Jansch, weaves a mantric tapestry that's as minimal as it is expansively majestic. These four lengthy excursions whir the listener into a drone-fuelled and raga-infused frenzy that's as likely to appeal to fans of Sun City Girls and Tony Conrad, packing an elemental charge that's as richly invigorating as any summer soundtrack you care to mention.
Review: The preaching sirens of Deerhunter return, long has everyone been waiting, since the band's Fading Frontier LP of 2015. The group have moved on from the pinky-pop nostalgia they've described as their last album, and moved into and towards a darker and more intensifying feel. The Atlanta group's eighth full-length in total finds itself tripping out on klaviers and chant-like numbers as heard in "Element" and the rickety jingle of album opener "Death In Midsummer". While there's some crooked-eye positivity to be found in the James Dean referencing "Plains", the masterwork of the band's ambient and cinematic scope remains as strong as ever, and alongside Bradford Cox's undeniable haunt, vocal contributions and extra (subtle) hints of subversive nihilism come from Cate Le Bon and White Fence's Tim Presley.
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.
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.
Review: It seems everyone has their own story when it comes to Cat Power; from first albums purchased, to seeing her perform live on stage with a broken ankle, all the while never ceasing to maintain her blissful air of elegance and withdrawn charisma. Chan Marshall's latest album, six years from her last, provides her debut on Domino, bringing with it three defining aspects, most notably a collaboration with Lana Del Rey on title track "Woman". A Rihanna cover version of "Stay" also makes an appearance mid-way through while tinges of auto-tune inside "Horizon" only add to her continuous extension of folky, blues & roots Americana.
Review: Icelandic music producer Bjork, who requires absolutely no introduction given her massive contribution to electronic pop music over the last twenty years, finally returns with her new album Vulnicura on One Little Indian Records. Although the LP represents her breakup with Matthew Barney, there are vivid rays of light nested among the more dreary-eyed vocals and melodies. As per usual with her work, there is a distinctive personal touch to her songs. This is most vividly characterised by the droning style of her singing, a sort of juxtaposition when combined to the music below it. Expect an intricate blend of sci-fi electronics, break-ridden power beats and of course, plenty of hard ambience. Bjork's ninth studio album is another winner. This deluxe edition comes with a download code!
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: Time marches relentlessly on as does the immortal sound of iconic Manchester band Joy Division. At the heart of Unknown Pleasures was the alarming vocal talent of Ian Curtis. His alien wails, echoed expressionistic vistas of urban alienation over No Wave tribal beats and Gothic guitar impressions. And despite the breathtaking intensity of the angular acid comedown "She's Lost Control", the soaringly depraved detachment of "New Dawn Fades" and the proto-slowcore "Candidate", opening track "Disorder" remained the piece years ahead of its time and most immediately enduring. This anniversary record arrives almost forty years to the day after it was originally released, splashed out on 180g ruby red vinyl with an alternative white sleeve to resemble the original and legendary cover design. Unquestionably authentic, Unknown Pleasures was a vision so uncompromising and haunting that each track was worth its length. This commemorative reissue, then, continues the celebration of one of the most important albums of our time as well as highlighting the record as a landmark in music-design crossover history.
Review: This deliberately mysterious outfit hailed from Italy, and this, the first of two previously ultra-rare and highly collectible LPs, is no less than a psychedelic classic, chock full of wild keyboards, fuzz guitar rampage, blissed-out trance states and fearful avant-garde trickery. It's been ascertained that Braen's Machine was the work of heralded soundtrack composer Perio Ulimani, as well as Morricone collaborator Allesandro Allesandroni, and this would make perfect sense, as "Underground" is very much in the metier of Italian soundtrack legends Goblin, and bound to appeal to fans of the widescreen psych sweep of Aphrodite's Child. Bellisima.
Review: There's plenty of anticipation around Big Thief's third record U.F.O.F., and we can say with confidence that it delivers on every front. A solid expansion of their last record, Capacity, U.F.O.F. for the most part goes deeper into diverse sonic territories that's emotionally raw and rich, calling to mind Elliott Smith, Joni Mitchell and various other accomplished singer songwriters especially in songs like "Contact" and "Cattails". Elsewhere, "Strange" and "Orange" provide a backing that seems more upbeat on the surface, yet the varied vocal technique of Adrianne Lenker, ranging from a whisper to a vulnerable bellow keeps us firmly captivated. The album really shines through when it reaches for slightly louder soundscapes, best heard on "Terminal Paradise" and "Jenni" (with the latter reminding us of "Washer" by Slint). All in all, U.F.O.F. will be a record that entrances you with its subtle yet haunting charm.
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: It's not hard to understand why people so often ignore album release blurb. Sales-y, hyperbolic, and on more than the odd occasion rather poorly written, it's hardly required reading in order to get the most out of the record. That is unless it's Big Thief's 'Two Hands', a collection of music that genuinely makes more sense when you know the back story. For one thing this long form offering is arriving just months after its predecessor, which is always either the sign of a band that don't need big ideas to facilitate rapid-fire output, or a band that have so many big ideas they literally can't stop the momentum. This is a case of the latter. Timescale aside, "Two Hands" genuinely feels as though it was born in the Badlands, epic songs that invoke endless vistas across barren settings in a way that makes you feel as small as you actually are in a global context. Like cosying up in a log cabin away from the chilly endless dark of a desert night.
Review: Julien Baker's debut 'Sprained Ankle' garnered critical acclaim on its release last year for its impressive writing. Considering Baker's age, at only 22 years old she's already creating worlds of stunning dream-pop with a craftsmanship that could stir envy in more experienced songwriters. 'Turn Out The Lights' showcases her talent even further, exploring a melancholy world against a backdrop of sparse echoing instrumentation. The moments of subtle intensity are striking, such as the album's cinematic opening 'Over', whose stirring strings and sparse piano pour seamlessly into the next track 'Appointments. Baker's voice is controlled and her harmonies are arresting, and she uses expansive vocal layering to build intensity, pulling back just before it overbears the listener. This impressive second milestone in Baker's work is heartfelt, cathartic and more than impressive.