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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

THE GUTTER TWINS - Saturnalia, SUB POP

THE GUTTER TWINS

Saturnalia

SUB POP

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: SPCD761

For those not already caught up in the buzz surrounding this release, the first thing to point out is that the album charts the combined efforts of ex-Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli, formerly of the Afghan Whigs. These two Sub Pop stalwarts have previously collaborated via The Twilight Singers project, but Saturnalia marks their first full-length outing together. Lanegan's voice is well on its way to the sort of weathered authority commanded by Tom Waits, fast becoming one of the great world-weary baritones of his generation. While no less emotionally resonant, Dulli's … Read more
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THE GUTTER TWINS - Saturnalia, SUB POP

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

BERT JANSCH - The Black Swan, Sanctuary

BERT JANSCH

The Black Swan

Sanctuary

Format_dot_cdCD // £5.49

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: SANCD430

Back in stock! We all know how influential Bert Jansch has been, with his band Pentangle he created some of the most important 'modern folk' works of the 20th century and his influence lives on today in a time where folk music has been taken into the mainstream once again. With Devandra Banhart and Joanna Newsom taking the cover of magazines it seems just the right time for Jansch to slip in with his finest album in years and he's roped in some pretty worthy collaborators. The aforementioned Banhart weighs with his unmistakable vocals on 'Katie Cruel' and wistful singer-songwriter Beth Orton … Read more
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BERT JANSCH - The Black Swan, Sanctuary
DEMONS - Evocation, NO FUN

DEMONS

Evocation

NO FUN

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: NFP25

Demons, the duo of Steve Kenney and Wolf Eyes' Nate Young have been getting a fair amount of attention recently, having put the feelers out via a number of low-key cassette releases over the past year or two, eventually delivering this, their magnum opus for the scene-leading No Fun imprint. Evocation takes noise music into an entirely more intriguing realm than the usual dirge-bound excursions emanate from the US underground. In fairness, they're all good and well, but an album like this is required now and then to freshen things up a little. Demons fuse abrasive, clamorous sound-sculpting with analog… Read more
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DEMONS - Evocation, NO FUN
JACK KEROUAC - Blues And Haikus, Emi

JACK KEROUAC

Blues And Haikus

Emi

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: ZONO20082

Cult author and icon of the beat generation Jack Kerouac is probably lesser known for his musical excursions than his writings. Certainly having read On the Road I can honestly say I'd never stumbled across any recordings he'd made, but this disc, released back in 1959, is a revelation. It might best be referred to as spoken word, but Kerouac's choice of collaborators, the talented tenor saxmen Al Cohn and Zoot Sims (with Cohn doubling up on piano at times) is truly inspired and pairs wonderfully with the words themselves. Although I'm no great fan of spoken word it's clear that Kerouac kn… Read more
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JACK KEROUAC - Blues And Haikus, Emi

Thursday, 06 March 2008

MIKE PATTON - A Perfect Place, Ipecac

MIKE PATTON

A Perfect Place

Ipecac

Format_dot_cdCD + DVD // £13.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: IPC-100

This special edition film and soundtrack bundle features the DVD of Derrick Scocchera's 25-minute short, A Perfect Place in all its monochromatic glory, alongside the original score by the prolific Mike Patton. The film noir tones of Patton's soundtrack (which curiously lasts ten minutes longer than the movie itself) are likable if a bit too reliant on midi approximations of orchestral instruments. The main theme is probably the worst offender on that front, but it's all to be taken in good humour. This is all highly incongruous with Patton's recent output elsewhere: 'A Perfect Twist' sounds… Read more
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MIKE PATTON - A Perfect Place, Ipecac
BALTIC FLEET - Baltic Fleet, Blow Up

BALTIC FLEET

Baltic Fleet

Blow Up

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: BU041CD

This is the debut album by Paul Fleming, the touring keyboardist with Echo & The Bunnymen. The album was conceived on the road only to be overhauled in the studio by Nick Terry, whose mixing credits include Klaxons and Simian Mobile Disco releases. I felt I should drop in that last sentence in order to compensate for the coolness deficit caused by the one that preceded it. There's no getting away from the presence of the Bunnymen however: Will Sergeant shows up on guitar, which is only fitting given the icy, post-punk aesthetics adopted by certain pieces, notably the new wave-inspired drum mac… Read more
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BALTIC FLEET - Baltic Fleet, Blow Up
THE LOW LOWS - Shining Violence, Monotreme Records

THE LOW LOWS

Shining Violence

Monotreme Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: MONO-32

Two years down the line from their debut, Fire On The Bright Sky, The Low Lows return with their quirksome take on alt. country, adopting a similarly reverberant, ever so slightly ghostly sounding aesthetic comparable to folks like Band Of Horses, who themselves in turn get compared to My Morning Jacket. That's the vibe anyhow. There's a varied line-up of instrumentation on Shining Violence however, calling upon lapsteel and other such country staples as well as brass sections, all of which is put to highly effective use on the lovely 'Disappear', a distorted ballad that fuses Jesus & Mary… Read more
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THE LOW LOWS - Shining Violence, Monotreme Records
SIX BY SEVEN - Any Colour AsLong As It's Black, SATURDAY NIGHT SUNDAY MORNING

SIX BY SEVEN

Any Colour AsLong As It's Black

SATURDAY NIGHT SUNDAY MORNING

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: SNSM013

Six By Seven were a band who seemed to dissolve into the background shortly after their explosive entrance into the UK music scene during the mid-to-late nineties. Despite being championed by certain taste-making corners of the of the press (and most notably, John Peel), the great British public seemed largely unmoved by the group's often very dark, rather complex compositions. This collection presents a handy opportunity for a catch-up with the band's catalogue, collecting a wealth of the band's most notable works alongside some choice remixes from fans like the Flaming Lip… Read more
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SIX BY SEVEN - Any Colour AsLong As It's Black, SATURDAY NIGHT SUNDAY MORNING
D_RRADIO - D_Rradio, Distraction Records

D_RRADIO

D_Rradio

Distraction Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £1.49

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: DIST 12

Sometime Static Caravan stalwarts D_rradio spent some three years piecing together this album. You can hear a clear advancement in the group's craft too, with a multi-layered approach t combining electronic production techniques with more naturalistic sounds. in that respect you could probably draw comparisons between this and the new Skyphone album, also listed this week. The quality of pieces like 'Blow Out' isn't far from the magical warmth of the Rune Grammofon trio, and the stuttery acoustic guitar rhythms of 'So Long' make for an appealing line of enquiry, but the more in-your-face tracks are a … Read more
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D_RRADIO - D_Rradio, Distraction Records
FOOT VILLAGE - Friendship Nation, TOME
These guys sure know how to make an entrance: aside from the daft industrial estate shoe shop vibes of the band name and the rudie nudie sleeve art, they've gone and collared all their weirdo mates for remixes at the end of the album (specifically Robedoor, Silver Daggers, Tussle and BIG A Little a), even recruiting arch filthnik Pete Swanson of Yellow Swans for mastering duties. The album kicks off with the holler "Urination!" signalling a tirade of drums, which actually sound pretty crisp and clean given that they've undergone the Swanson treatment. Just when you're expecting things to … Read more
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FOOT VILLAGE - Friendship Nation, TOME
A SILVER MT. ZION & TRA-LA-LA BAND - 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons, Constellation
On this new full-length from Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra (and the Tra-La-La Band, let's not forget about those guys) you'll find yourself confronted with a series of twelve brief tracks of feedback overtones ushering in the main body of the record, which fires up circa track 13. '1,000,000 Died To Make This Sound' is the fittingly understated title of this first piece proper, striking up with all the bombast you'd expect from such a formidably intense band, led by a central vocal spat out with a whiny venom reminiscent of Public Image Ltd.-era Jo… Read more
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A SILVER MT. ZION & TRA-LA-LA BAND - 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons, Constellation
JACK ROSE - Dr Ragtime & Pals / Self Titled, Beautiful Happiness

JACK ROSE

Dr Ragtime & Pals / Self Titled

Beautiful Happiness

Format_dot_cd2CD // £12.49

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: HAPP010

This double disc edition of Jack Rose instrumentals features one album you might already be familiar with alongside another that's likely to be new to you. Followers of Rose's oeuvre will no doubt be aware of the guitarist's eponymously titled lap steel opus (as previously released on CD via the Archive label and on vinyl through Tequila Sunrise), but it's a welcome reissue nonetheless, as all previous editions are currently out of print. In addition to that indispensable volume comes Dr Ragtime & Pals, a collaborative album featuring fellow Takoma-ite Glen Jones, Micah Smaldone, M… Read more
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JACK ROSE - Dr Ragtime & Pals / Self Titled, Beautiful Happiness
WINDMILL - Puddle City Racing Lights, Melodic

WINDMILL

Puddle City Racing Lights

Melodic

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: MELO049CD

BACK IN STOCK. 26-year old singer/songwriter Matthew Thomas Dillon was born and raised in Newport Pagnell, but you'd never know that from his peculiar, utterly distinctive voice, an amalgam of all his '90s US alt-rock influences. Opener 'Tokyo Moon' demonstrates the unexpected potency of this contrivance, with Dave Fridmann-style overdriven beats hammering away alongside piano chords straight from the great American indie songbook, all the time Dillon's quivering falsetto referencing Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips ' perhaps even Joanna Newsom in its knowingly quirky delivery. There's no ge… Read more
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WINDMILL - Puddle City Racing Lights, Melodic
OKKERVIL RIVER - The Stage Names, Jagjaguwar

OKKERVIL RIVER

The Stage Names

Jagjaguwar

Format_dot_cdCD // £8.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: JAG110

REISSUE! Texan band Okkervil River, despite a huge amount of critical acclaim, have never really managed to achieve the kind of success they seem to deserve. Maybe it's because they don't pander to any cool stereotypes, but what they do manage is to keep releasing great album after great album and forgetting the fact that the public seems mostly unaware of their actions. This latest record is their best yet, following the epic 'Black Sheep Boy' it should put smiles on the faces of musos everywhere. Coming from the same universe as Bright Eyes, Jim White and to a lesser extent Lou Reed (wh… Read more
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OKKERVIL RIVER - The Stage Names, Jagjaguwar
THE KILLS - Midnight Boom, Domino Recording Co

THE KILLS

Midnight Boom

Domino Recording Co

Format_dot_cdCD // £4.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: WIGCD184

"The eagerly anticipated 'Midnight Boom' sees The Kills offering their most stunning album yet. Their first album, 'Keep On Your Mean Side', won widespread critical acclaim, and gained them their ever passionate and devoted cool cult following. When the band returned in 2005 with 'No Wow', they came armed with an edgier, sharper sound that pushed rock 'n' roll boundaries, whilst maintaining their strong ties to the art world. The production on new album 'Midnight Bloom', featuring beats and studio smarts from Spank Rock's producer Alex Epton aka Armani XXXchange, combined with Alison's confident… Read more
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THE KILLS - Midnight Boom, Domino Recording Co

Wednesday, 05 March 2008

RHYS CHATHAM - Guitar Trio Is My Life!, RADIUM

RHYS CHATHAM

Guitar Trio Is My Life!

RADIUM

Format_dot_cd3CD // £22.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: TOE813

The proclamation 'Guitar Trio Is My Life!" sounds like something Tom Cruise might announce whilst bouncing on Oprah's sofa, hardly befitting the kind of radical intensity Chatham has brought to the electric guitar in his large-form ensembles, or indeed within the context of smaller outfits, as explored on this essential insight into the career of one of noise rock's key players. Glancing across the line-up of artists who've queued up to appear on Chatham's work reads like a who's who of avant-garde guitar groups. On Chatham's works you'll find icons in their own right from bands like… Read more
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RHYS CHATHAM - Guitar Trio Is My Life!, RADIUM

Tuesday, 04 March 2008

POLE - Steingarten Remixes, Scape

POLE

Steingarten Remixes

Scape

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.49

TECHNO / HOUSE

Cat. Number: SC50CD

Back in stock. Brilliant remix set from Pole that includes all the tracks from the 12" series plus a whole host of contributions exclusive to this format. The CD opens with the awesome Shackleton remix, his remake of "Achterbahn" making use of all those archetypal Skull Disco signatures - that submerged chord sound, shifting strings and wonky edits of the source material, all underpinned by that uber-warm, ultra deep sub bassline. This is Shackleton at his most contemplative and heavy, the end result sounding more like Pole's own wondrous first eponymous album than anything you could describe a… Read more
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POLE - Steingarten Remixes, Scape

Monday, 03 March 2008

CHRIS SCHLARB - Twilight & Ghost Stories, Asthmatic Kitty

CHRIS SCHLARB

Twilight & Ghost Stories

Asthmatic Kitty

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: AKR404

New on Asthmatic Kitty subsidiary Unusual Animals comes the first album by Chris Schlarb to be recorded under his own name. Previously the Long Beach resident has authored solo guitar records as Xn and as part of various groups with dispositions toward jazz and the avant-garde. On Twilight & Ghost Stories Schlarb recruited an army of additional musicians (including Sufjan Stevens Bhob Rainey and members of The Mars Volta and Dirty Projectors) to supply their own contributions to what seems to be a stream of consciousness continuous mix. However sporadic and seemingly disparate some … Read more
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CHRIS SCHLARB - Twilight & Ghost Stories, Asthmatic Kitty

Monday, 25 February 2008

GOLDFRAPP - Seventh Tree, Mute

GOLDFRAPP

Seventh Tree

Mute

Format_dot_cdCD // £7.49

INDUSTRIAL / WAVE / ELECTRO

Cat. Number: CDSTUMM280

It's come to be expected of Goldfrapp that each album arrives with its own set of themes, its own identity and self-contained universe. Not to mention its own wardrobe for Alison. After the anthropomorphic psychosexual electro rock of Black Cherry came Supernature's 21st century glam, with both albums finding plenty of chart success for Goldfrapp and her cohort Will Gregory. Seventh Tree is a clear departure from all those uptempo pop songs, occupying itself instead with English psychedelia and a kind of cinematic folksy feel, not to mention a wealth of clown references: aside from the harlequin … Read more
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GOLDFRAPP - Seventh Tree, Mute
GOLDFRAPP - Seventh Tree, Mute

GOLDFRAPP

Seventh Tree

Mute

Format_dot_cdCD + DVD // £11.99

INDUSTRIAL / WAVE / ELECTRO

Cat. Number: LCDSTUMM280

*This limited edition CD and DVD edition features special packaging with a foldout poster, a booklet filled with lyrics and illustrations, plus a number of postcards. In addition to the CD album, you get a bonus DVD disc containing the 'A&E' video and a ten-minute film featuring interviews with Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory.* It's come to be expected of Goldfrapp that each album arrives with its own set of themes, its own identity and self-contained universe. Not to mention its own wardrobe for Alison. After the anthropomorphic psychosexual electro rock of Black Cherry came Supernature's 21st… Read more
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GOLDFRAPP - Seventh Tree, Mute
SUISHOU NO FUNE - Prayer For Chibi, Holy Mountain

SUISHOU NO FUNE

Prayer For Chibi

Holy Mountain

Format_dot_cd2CD // £15.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: HOLY2957

You may recall this Japanese electric guitar duo from their recent release on Important Records, The Shining Star, which captured their spectacularly raw astral blues sound in all its live fury. This new double disc release is the most sprawling, unedited representation of Suishou No Fune's sound yet, with twenty-minute slices of audio presenting different angles on the Piako and Kageo's psychotropic scrawl. On the one hand, 'Cherry' on the second disc starts out like a Loren Connors-influenced ditty, with echoing threads of blues reverb cascading over contemplative arpeggios. 'Resurrec… Read more
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SUISHOU NO FUNE - Prayer For Chibi, Holy Mountain
QUINN HARRIS / THE MASTERMINDS - All In The Soul, Undercover Brother

QUINN HARRIS / THE MASTERMINDS

All In The Soul

Undercover Brother

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.49

DISCO / BOOGIE / FUNK

Cat. Number: UB-1201

Under the directorial supervision of Quinn Harris, The Masterminds romp through a host of soul/funk permutations on this 1970 LP, here reissued on CD with bonus tracks in the form of 7" versions of key tracks 'Stop! Telling Me Lies' and 'We Got To Get Together'. In addition to the musicians of The Masterminds themselves, Harris plays sax, flute, piano and organ on the recordings, weaving a lightly jazzy element into proceedings. Some pieces benefit from a vocal presence, most notably the almost operatic, soaring tones of Lady Bianca, which are especially essential to those 7… Read more
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QUINN HARRIS / THE MASTERMINDS - All In The Soul, Undercover Brother
RAOUL SINIER - Huge Samurai Radish, Ad Noiseam

RAOUL SINIER

Huge Samurai Radish

Ad Noiseam

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDUSTRIAL / WAVE / ELECTRO

Cat. Number: ADN89

Raoul Sinier used to go by the name Ra, but that moniker is no more and the producer has opted to stick with his real life full name. The thinking behind such steps tends to be connected with a renewed or consolidated approach to making music, and Huge Samurai Radish finds the veteran of Planet Mu and Sublight darting through various electronic music sub-genres, from the sample warping breakcore of 'Bring It On' to the post-IDM hip hop tendencies of the title track, and 'Solid Flesh (Part 2)'s melodic distortion, there's a great breadth of material on show here, something only compounde… Read more
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RAOUL SINIER - Huge Samurai Radish, Ad Noiseam
MURCOF - Cosmos, The Leaf Label
Featured CD

MURCOF

Cosmos

The Leaf Label

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

MODERN CLASSICAL / AMBIENT

Cat. Number: BAY59CD

It's safe to say that Mexican ex-pat Fernando Corona started a whole movement of classically-influenced electronic music when he dropped his incredible debut album 'Martes' back in 2002. With clipped and perfectly manipulated glitchy beats to rival anything emerging from the Mille Plateaux or Raster Noton stables and the kind of strings you'd expect to hear on a Kieslowski movie, Corona introduced many electronic music fans to the sounds of orchestral bliss and a subgenre was born. Before long we heard the textural explorations of Marsen Jules, the Badalamenti-inspired hum of Deaf Center and the post-clas… Read more
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MURCOF - Cosmos, The Leaf Label

Thursday, 21 February 2008

GARY NUMAN + TUBEWAY ARMY - Replicas Redux (Expanded 2008 Tour Edition), Beggars Banquet
Almost thirty years on since its original release Gary Numan & Tubeway Army's landmark Replicas album gets a double disc deluxe reissue treatment timed to coincide with Numan's imminent touring of the album. Replicas was the first British album to really find commercial success with synthesizer-based music, charting at the top slot in the UK album charts while single 'Are 'Friends' Electric?' was a number one hit single. While Kraftwerk were pioneering exclusively electronic music, Numan and co. were integrating synthesis into an already established rock… Read more
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GARY NUMAN + TUBEWAY ARMY - Replicas Redux (Expanded 2008 Tour Edition), Beggars Banquet
THE AUTUMN DEFENSE - The Autumn Defense, Broken Horse

THE AUTUMN DEFENSE

The Autumn Defense

Broken Horse

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: BKH-CD013

A group comprised of Wilco band members John Stirratt and Pat Sansone, The Autumn Defense are openly besotted with old-fashioned soft rock, which is hardly the sort of thing most bands would find themselves boasting about, but these guys know how to make MOR sound appealing. On the Paul Simon styled opener 'Canyon Arrow' you might find yourself thinking you are actually listening to Wilco, the combination of Stirratt and Sansone's voices oddly making for a decent approximation of Jeff Tweedy's. The spectre of Wilco inevitably hovers over the entirety of this record, with that band'… Read more
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THE AUTUMN DEFENSE - The Autumn Defense, Broken Horse

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM - Wave, Lilith

ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM

Wave

Lilith

Format_dot_cdCD // £14.99

EARLY ELECTRONIC / SOUNDTRACKS

Cat. Number: LR143

"By the time this album was released, Antonio Carlos Jobim was already an international superstar. Having recently won a Grammy (1965) for 'The Girl From Ipanema,' by 1967 all the big name stars from up north were breaking down his door to work with the new 'Gershwin of Brazil.' In fact, Jobim had just finished working on an album with Frank Sinatra when he went into the studio to record this album. Recorded in 1967, Wave is actually one of the lesser known masterpieces of Brazilian music, and undoubtedly one of Jobim's greatest. Here Jobim and the great Claus Ogerman lead a top-flight cast on hidden classics like 'Batidinha,' 'Triste' and 'Wave.'"
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ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM - Wave, Lilith

Monday, 18 February 2008

PATRICK WOLF - Wind In The Wires, Tomlab

PATRICK WOLF

Wind In The Wires

Tomlab

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: TOM47CD

Back in stock. There's been much written in the press about how Patrick Wolf is more in keeping with what The Libertines are about than the actual rabble of smack urchins comprised of Doherty et al themselves. Don't believe a word of it. Wolf is in fact a purveyor of crisp and dry folktronica which wears its heart firmly on its sleeve and sees him more than willing to give a Marc Almond style vocal performance if the song dictates it. Wolf takes bubbling electronica then turns it into a stew of romanticised, impassioned journeys which dip and rise like a rollercoaster. Album opener and le… Read more
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PATRICK WOLF - Wind In The Wires, Tomlab

Thursday, 14 February 2008

THE DOUBTFUL GUEST - Acid Sauna, Planet Mu

THE DOUBTFUL GUEST

Acid Sauna

Planet Mu

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

TECHNO / HOUSE

Cat. Number: ZIQ189CD

Libby Floyd is one of the very few female artists to step into the noisy acidic breakcore universe occupied by her Planet Mu cohorts. Having thus far only contributed to compilations, other people's records and released a single 12" of her own (Electrobotz), the Chicago-born, classically trained musician has at last got round to releasing an entire album's worth of material. You'd certainly never know she had a background in opera. Floyd is right up there with the most fearsome producers in contemporary electronica, taking in elements of gabba, hardcore and all manner of other undignified … Read more
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THE DOUBTFUL GUEST - Acid Sauna, Planet Mu
DOMINIQUE GRIMAUD - Les Quatre Directions, Locust
A talent buried within the annals of France's avant-garde scene Dominique Grimaud's work has been seen as a precursor to the more experimental leanings of Stereolab and Colleen. At least that's what the label's saying - they've got some Gall (Gall! Get it?). having been a part of krautrock-inspired psych group Camizole throughout the seventies, Grimaud later graduated to the new wave act Video-Aventures toward the end of the decade. This album comprised of a single extended piece, brings us right up to date, finding Grimaud exploring a range of ramshackle electroacoustic timbres,… Read more
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DOMINIQUE GRIMAUD - Les Quatre Directions, Locust