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Tuesday, 29 May 2007

POEM ROCKET - Invasion!, Atavistic

POEM ROCKET

Invasion!

Atavistic

Format_dot_cd2CD // £13.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: ALP133CD

After years of silence, Poem Rocket (a band based around the nucleus of Michael Peters and Sandra Gardner) have returned with a CD double harbouring an album of monstrous proportions. This is the kind of apocalyptic folk you might expect to hear from David Tibet and his crew, and though a predominantly acoustic affair, the music on the first disc has a morphinated, doomy quality with tracks like 'Into The Night Sea' and 'Ileah' weaving a bleak, dramatic narrative. The second disc is slightly more raucous with distorted guitars and pummelling drumkits driving the music forward. Here the music takes … Read more
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POEM ROCKET - Invasion!, Atavistic

Monday, 28 May 2007

WIGHNOMY BROS / ROBAG WRUHME - Remikks Potpourri II, Freude Am Tanzen

WIGHNOMY BROS / ROBAG WRUHME

Remikks Potpourri II

Freude Am Tanzen

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

TECHNO / HOUSE

Cat. Number: FATCD002

It says a great deal about how highly regarded Wighnomy Bros. and Robag Wruhme have become as a production team that they can boast such a star-studded roster of remixing clients for this collection. Looking over the tracklist you'll notice Depeche Mode, Royksopp, Underworld and Nitzer Ebb all get the makeover treatment, and the collection kicks off with a reworking of a track from another big name in electronic music: Future Sound Of London, whose 'Lifeforms' gets translated into a highly modern, atmospheric piece of hi-tech hip hop. It's back on more familiar ground for… Read more
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WIGHNOMY BROS / ROBAG WRUHME - Remikks Potpourri II, Freude Am Tanzen

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

AARON SCHROEDER - Southern Heart In Western Skin, LETTERBOX

AARON SCHROEDER

Southern Heart In Western Skin

LETTERBOX

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: LETAAR

American songwriter Aaron Schroeder condenses as many indicators of his sound as possible into the sleeve of this album. The title tells you a lot about the musical stylistics of the album, taking an outsider's stance on country. In addition to that the sleeve photo (like his MySpace picture) depicts Schroeder in Cobain-style white-rimmed sunglasses, which ties in nicely with a grunge-style re-reading of more traditional forms of Americana. 'Don't Go Home' touches on Elliott Smith-style vocal delivery but musically has more of a barroom country rock feel to it. 'Antlers' f… Read more
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AARON SCHROEDER - Southern Heart In Western Skin, LETTERBOX
DAN DEACON - Spiderman Of The Rings, carpark

DAN DEACON

Spiderman Of The Rings

carpark

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: CAK37CD

Baltimore's Dan Deacon has earned himself quite a reputation as a unique performer in the field of electronic music. His showmanship has earned him legendary status, no mean feat in a world of desk-bound laptop craftsmen and furtive knob manoeuvring. Uncommonly for a composer of such high grade party music, Deacon is a classically trained composer with an MA in electro-acoustic composition. Thankfully, he checks his qualifications at the door for 'Wooody Woodpecker' (sic), which refreshingly turns out to be a rather literal title - the track is comprised largely of the aforementione… Read more
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DAN DEACON - Spiderman Of The Rings, carpark
WHEAT - Everyday I Said A Prayer For Kathy And Made A One Inch Square, Ever Records
Wheat are a band still best known for their Dave Fridmann-produced 2000 long-player Hope & Adams, an album featuring their career-defining 'Don't I Hold You' single, as recently revived by Cameron Crowe for his Elizabethtown soundtrack. This album comes after a few years in the wilderness after seeing major label deals fall through and founding band members leaving. Despite all that brouhaha the band have returned with a triumphant new take on their melancholic brand of college rock, which stripped of the fancy Dave Fridmann production sounds all the… Read more
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WHEAT - Everyday I Said A Prayer For Kathy And Made A One Inch Square, Ever Records

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

AFRICAN JAZZ PIONEERS - The Best Of African Jazz Pioneers, GALLO

AFRICAN JAZZ PIONEERS

The Best Of African Jazz Pioneers

GALLO

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: 5051442-1169-2-2

Quite unexpectedly, African jazz Pioneers is in fact not a compilation title but the name of the band itself. Confusingly, this IS still a compilation, drawing together the group's best-loved tracks since their formation back in 1982. The group were active under South Africa's apartheid regime meaning they had no access to the mainstream white South African markets. Throughout this period the band managed to flourish and stick together regardless, fusing '50s American big band disciplines with more traditional African sounds. There's no denying that the music here… Read more
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AFRICAN JAZZ PIONEERS - The Best Of African Jazz Pioneers, GALLO

Monday, 21 May 2007

MELT BANANA - Speak Squeak Creak, A-zap

MELT BANANA

Speak Squeak Creak

A-zap

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: AZCD-0004

Another early emission from the Melt Banana camp, this album was originally released by Nux Organisation in 1994 only to see a reissue in 2001 courtesy of A-Zap. Speak Squeak Creak finds the band working with a couple of big names: KK Null is credited as co-producer while the album was engineered by none other than Steve Albini. Perhaps because of Albini's involvement there's that perfect balance between visceral, dangerous sounding instrumentation and recording clarity. Melt Banana are a band that thrive on contrasts though, you only have to consider the juxtaposition between the nuclear… Read more
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MELT BANANA - Speak Squeak Creak, A-zap
MELT BANANA - Charlie, A-zap

MELT BANANA

Charlie

A-zap

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: AZCD-0001

Charlie was Melt Banana's 3rd album and the first to be released on their own A-Zap imprint. The album marks quite a departure in the band's sound, with longer, and dare I say it, more accessible songs than on their previous recordings. The recording is characterised by a heavier electronic presence. Just listen to the barroom brawl that is 'Spathic!', the track melds the band's playfully aggressive guitar riffing with a verse part constituted largely by layered samples of breaking glass as the primary accompaniment to Yasuko's voice. As a mark of how far the groups sound had moved into more listena… Read more
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MELT BANANA - Charlie, A-zap
MELT BANANA - Cactuses Come In Flocks, A-zap
In its original form this album dates back to the early days of Melt Banana, seeing an initial release in 1994 on British cassette label Chocolate Monk. This reissue is of the 1999 A-Zap edition and In typical Melt Banana fashion it crams 32 tracks into a brisk 28 minutes, exhibiting a sense of efficiency only previously found in Napalm Death's catalogue. The first side of the original cassette was occupied by a live recording made at an improvisation festival in 1992, while the second side was recorded to a multitrack cassette recorder in 1994. This is about as raw as the band have … Read more
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MELT BANANA - Cactuses Come In Flocks, A-zap
MELT BANANA - Teeny-Shiny, A-zap

MELT BANANA

Teeny-Shiny

A-zap

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: AZCD-0003

Originally released in 2000, Teeny Shiny pursues the more pop-friendly tactics of Charlie. The speed and voracious riffing certainly doesn't seem to have suffered at the hands of any real alterations from the band's early days, yet the sounds seem to be put together with a little more leniency on the listener. 'First Contact To Planet Q' harks back to the band's early sub-60 second hardcore sounds, segueing seamlessly into the searing guitar fizz of 'Warp, Back Spin'. Further in to the album, 'Flip and Hit' begins with the usual barrage of double-time punk rock but ends up sounding like a full-o… Read more
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MELT BANANA - Teeny-Shiny, A-zap
BEBO & CACHAO - Bebo & Cachao : First Release Of Original Cuban Recordings, RUMOR
Mambo greats Ramon Bebo Valdes (piano) and Israel Cachao Lopez (double bass) enjoy a full CD outlining some of the highlights from their extensive careers. The disc is divided into two parts, the first bringing together some of Bebo's finest moments, the second dedicated to Cachao's recordings. It's on pieces like 'Tranquilo Nino' and most obviously 'Special Del Bebo' that the pianist's considerable talents are best showcased. Clearly Bebo is a unique talent in Cuba's rich music history, his improvisation-heavy performances coloured by a tremendous ear … Read more
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BEBO & CACHAO - Bebo & Cachao : First Release Of Original Cuban Recordings, RUMOR
VARIOUS / MOODMUSIC - Moodmusic Records Ten Years Anniversary Compilation, Moodmusic
As the title informs you, Berlin's Moodmusic is currently celebrating a decade in existence with an enviable back-catalogue to call upon for a compilation like this. Fortunately, the Moodmusic crew haven't rested on their laurels and in addition to the classic 12" cuts brought together here, there are 10 unreleased tracks from some of the label's favourite artists. In on the party are Dave DK, Henrik Schwartz, Code E and Dirt Crew, with tracks reaching as far back as Ewan Pearson's 'Chroma' under his World Of Apples guise. There are plenty of solid p… Read more
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VARIOUS / MOODMUSIC - Moodmusic Records Ten Years Anniversary Compilation, Moodmusic
MELT BANANA - 13 Hedgehogs (MxBx Singles 1994-1999), A-zap
Back in stock! 56 tracks culled from a total of 13 singles and splits (you do the maths...) by Japanese nutjobs Melt Banana, including favourites and a clutch of aural gold nuggets rarer than the proverbial chicken's dentures. With many of the tracks hovering around the one minute mark, Melt Banana's methods are clear; get the message delivered fast, loud and as raucously as possible. Melt Banana revel in their messiness whilst the tight structures and cacophonous melodies belie a highly tuned sense of musical acumen behind the scuffed exterior. Not the kind of record to stick on if you've got a headache, '13 Hedgehogs' is nevertheless an exhilarating ride.
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MELT BANANA - 13 Hedgehogs (MxBx Singles 1994-1999), A-zap
STEVE NOBLE / JOHN EDWARDS / ALAN WILKINSON - Obliquity, BO' WEAVIL RECORDINGS

STEVE NOBLE / JOHN EDWARDS / ALAN WILKINSON

Obliquity

BO' WEAVIL RECORDINGS

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: WEAVIL 23CD

In recent years free jazz has been heavily reappropriated by the American underground community, with recordings by the likes of Flaherty/Corsano/Yeh bringing a refreshing new slant to the field. It's similarly refreshing to hear a group of musicians taking avant-garde jazz back to its origins, referencing the kind of '60s, virtuoso stream of consciousness approach with a swinging verve often absent from contemporary improvised music. "Obiquity" is no time capsule however: the abstract percussion interludes that interrupt the free flow of music bear the hallmarks of mod… Read more
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STEVE NOBLE / JOHN EDWARDS / ALAN WILKINSON - Obliquity, BO' WEAVIL RECORDINGS
NOAH HOWARD - The Black Ark, BO' WEAVIL RECORDINGS

NOAH HOWARD

The Black Ark

BO' WEAVIL RECORDINGS

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: WEAVIL 24CD

Bo Weavil have done a magnificent job in unearthing this unbelieveable lost classic from the free jazz underground. The Black Ark (recorded in 1969, released in 1973) is regarded as one of the outstanding examples of second generation free improvisation, following in the footsteps of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Albert Ayler. Alto sax player Noah Howard is accompanied here by a stunning line-up of musicians including drummer Mohmmed Ali, Juma (of Jimi Hendrix's Woodstock set) on percussion, and Arthur Doyle playing tenor sax, making his recording session debut. And what an occasion to de… Read more
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NOAH HOWARD - The Black Ark, BO' WEAVIL RECORDINGS

Thursday, 17 May 2007

MICHIO KURIHARA - Sunset Notes, 20-20-20

MICHIO KURIHARA

Sunset Notes

20-20-20

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.49

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: 202020.04

Chances are the last time you stumbled across Ghost axe-man Michio Kurihara was in his shockingly good collaboration with Japanese doom-monsters Boris. Funnily enough their album 'Rainbow' has been re-issued by Drag City only this week, and this week is also where we get to hear Kurihara's latest solo emission, the gorgeous 'Sunset Notes' which slips out on the Damon & Naomi curated 20/20/20 label. So far, so psychedelic then, but 'Sunset Notes' is as enjoyable a revelation as 'Rainbow' was for us, and is just as eager to cross genre territories wilfully and using as much guitar soloing as … Read more
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MICHIO KURIHARA - Sunset Notes, 20-20-20
STEVEN BROWN - Brown Plays Tenco : Le Canzoni Di Luigi Tenco Studio & Live, LTM Recordings
Steven Brown started his career in the late '70s as part of American New Wave band Tuxedomoon. After six years Brown embarked upon a solo career (it was 1983 by this point) and then several albums down the line he committed this long-player to tape - 1987's Brown Plays Tenco + Live 1988. The album is a project based around reinterpretations of music by Italian singer/songwriter Luigi Tenco, who found popularity in the 1960s before killing himself at a music festival in 1967. As you'd imagine from such a character, this music isn't always a cheery hoed… Read more
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STEVEN BROWN - Brown Plays Tenco : Le Canzoni Di Luigi Tenco Studio & Live, LTM Recordings
DUNGEN - Tio Bitar, Subliminal Sounds

DUNGEN

Tio Bitar

Subliminal Sounds

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: SUBCD24

Psychedelic rock - is it the new black? That was the question on my lips this morning as I dragged my hungover body into work, tripping slightly as I walked. I couldn't be bothered to go get washed or have a shave so instead I used the precious time to take a listen to Dungen's marvellous new opus 'Tio Bitar'. You see, this kind of music appealed to the masses in the early 70s, and back then you could wear a couple of flowers in your hair, blast some psychedelic rock out of your bedsit and you were almost guaranteed an audience. These days the opposite is true, so I wonder how it is that Swedish feller… Read more
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DUNGEN - Tio Bitar, Subliminal Sounds

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

VON SUDENFED (MARK E. SMITH & MOUSE ON MARS) - Tromatic Reflexxions, Domino Recording Co
As those of you who caught the recent 'Fledermaus Can't Get It' single will testify, this collaborative project between Mouse On Mars and The Fall's Mark E. Smith is a surprising creative success. It could easily have been a wayward, undisciplined affair that sounded like a Mouse On Mars album with a few snippets of Smith's demented poetry tacked on as an afterthought, but instead Von Sudenfed succeed in producing a very organic sounding collaboration. Smith raps a distorted vocal over the subwoofer-worrying tech-step of 'Flooded' and drawls his way across 'T… Read more
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VON SUDENFED (MARK E. SMITH & MOUSE ON MARS) - Tromatic Reflexxions, Domino Recording Co
BORIS WITH MICHIO KURIHARA - Rainbow, Drag City

BORIS WITH MICHIO KURIHARA

Rainbow

Drag City

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.49

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: DC338CD

**Previously available as an extremely limited Japanese release, now issued on Drag City with a slightly differing mix to the final track** Japanese psych-metallers Boris got just a tiny bit of press support last year thanks to the ridiculously good 'Pink' album and the equally as jaw-dropping collaboration with Sunn o))) 'Altar'. These two mammoth statements set them instantly in the sights of collectors and rabid hipsters the world over, so much so that we could have almost forgotten that they actually make incredibly good music. It's a pleasure then to announce that we've managed t… Read more
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BORIS WITH MICHIO KURIHARA - Rainbow, Drag City
COLDITZ - We Are Animals, Creeping Bent

COLDITZ

We Are Animals

Creeping Bent

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.49

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: BENT069CD

The predecessor to the recent "People Like Diagrams", this debut offering from Colditz is a real mixed bag of influences, starting out with an opening triptych of post-rock workouts for piano, drums and elegiac horns, the album quickly shifts into murky drone territory with the onomatopoeically title 'Stummmmmmmmm'. After this, it's all change again. 'Deranged Life' is a cheeky cover of Pavement's classic 'Range Life', obscured almost to the point where it becomes unrecognisable, the words muffled and hummed through with an opiated nonchalance, sounding like Jonsi from Sigur Ros in a particularly… Read more
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COLDITZ - We Are Animals, Creeping Bent
ROBERT DRASNIN - Voodoo II, DIONYSUS

ROBERT DRASNIN

Voodoo II

DIONYSUS

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: ID1233136

In 1960, Robert Drasnin released the (now) exotica classic 'Voodoo', a record which proceeded to be ignored by the mainstream for years until its eventual re-issue on the Dionysus label in the late 90s - when it had become a coveted collectors item. In 2005 Drasnin performed a live show and was overwhelmed by the praise and interest in his work, so the long-standing idea to record 'Voodoo II' was moved to the top of his priorities list, and after much deliberation the sessions were finally booked in and this is the culmination of many, many years of ideas. It's funny too - although these are mo… Read more
ROBERT DRASNIN - Voodoo II, DIONYSUS
CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX - A Love Of Shared Disasters, INVADA
Back in stock. Something of a post-rock supergroup, there has been a lot of interest in Crippled Black Phoenix - thanks I'm sure to sharing a bassist with a certain Mogwai? When it comes to post rock it's hard to get more right royal than those Scottish gentlemen, and as you can imagine their loyal legions of fans would snap up pretty much anything they are involved with - but Crippled Black Phoenix is more than a mere side project, and includes a whole bunch of esteemed folks; Justin Greaves (Electric Wizard), Joe Volk and Andy Semmens and Kostas Panagiotou (of Panthie… Read more
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CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX - A Love Of Shared Disasters, INVADA
BROTHER ALI - The Undisputed Truth, Rhymesayers

BROTHER ALI

The Undisputed Truth

Rhymesayers

Format_dot_cdCD + DVD // £12.99

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: RSE0080-2

**Now on CD - with Bonus DVD featuring Interviews, Live Footage, Web Spots and More!** The albino rapper and one of Rhymesayer's brightest hopes returns with 'The Undisputed Truth', his fourth full-length record and, my, it's a good 'un. It seems like after a lot of hardship (homelessness, the breakup of his marriage, a custody battle) his flow has merely got even more soulful, and the anger and passion drips from every syllable on the album. There are a few standout tracks here, notably the hit single 'Truth Is' which has an interesting reggae leaning and the album's hard-hitting opene… Read more
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BROTHER ALI - The Undisputed Truth, Rhymesayers

Monday, 14 May 2007

WILCO - Sky Blue Sky - Special Deluxe CD & DVD Edition, NONESUCH

WILCO

Sky Blue Sky - Special Deluxe CD & DVD Edition

NONESUCH

Format_dot_cdCD + DVD // £16.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: 7559-79979-8

*Special Deluxe Edition : Contains CD of the Sky Blue Sky album and a bonus long-form DVD featuring 8 live performances in Wilco's Loft studio and interviews with the band* Three years after A Ghost Is Born (a real modern masterpiece of a rock album) Wilco return with Sky Blue Sky, a more easy going, even traditional record. Gone are the fifteen minute electronic sound pieces, ushering in a return to the band's early form taking on sophisticated Americana. Of course, it's never going to be quite as straight as Being There or Summerteeth, especially since those days the b… Read more
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WILCO - Sky Blue Sky - Special Deluxe CD & DVD Edition, NONESUCH
LOS AMIGOS FEATURING CACHAITO LOPEZ - Los Amigos Feat. Cachaito Lopez : First Release Of Original Cuban Recordings, RUMOR
Back in 1958, Cuban drummer Guillermo Barreto formed the group Quinteto Instrumental de Musica. The group's unwieldy name was soon streamlined to Los Amigos and enjoyed a twenty-year career reinterpreting songs from popular Cuban repertoire. This collection brings together recordings made in 1960 and 1975 by two slightly different line-ups. Both sets of material draw from an easy jazz sensibility, driven by Frank Emilio Flynn's florid keystrokes. While in 1960 the group's sound was a pared down, traditional jaz… Read more
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LOS AMIGOS FEATURING CACHAITO LOPEZ - Los Amigos Feat. Cachaito Lopez : First Release Of Original Cuban Recordings, RUMOR
VARIOUS / JAZZCUBA - 9 Divas : First Release Of Original Cuban Recordings, RUMOR
This collection of recordings documents the 25-strong Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna in session with a number (that number being 9) of female vocalists including Elena Burke, Omara Portuondo, Maraima Secada and Ela Calvo, all of whom, though differing in style wildly, bring a hugely expressive approach to singing on board, which proves to be more than a match for the brilliant musicianship of the orchestra backing them up. Rosita Fornes in particular has that slightly frightening Shirley Bassey quality to her vocals with an incredibly broad vibrato … Read more
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VARIOUS / JAZZCUBA - 9 Divas : First Release Of Original Cuban Recordings, RUMOR
CHICO O'FARRIL - Chico O'Farril : First Release Of Original Cuban Recordings, RUMOR
One of the founding fathers of Afro-Cuban jazz, Arturo 'Chico' O'Farill initially embarked upon a career as a trumpeter before turning his hand to composition and arrangement of orchestral music. His 'Afro Cuban Jazz Suite 1' stands as a pioneering work, which led him onto the sort of definitive style which characterises the recordings collected on this excellent disc, such as 'Descarga No. 1' and 'Descarga No. 2'comitted to tape in Havana circa 1957 and still sounding fresh, with those blasting horns and flamboyant percussion lines. Later in life… Read more
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CHICO O'FARRIL - Chico O'Farril : First Release Of Original Cuban Recordings, RUMOR
VARIOUS / ZONOPHONE - La Musique Du Moment - The French Sound Now, Emi
Collecting music from the current wave of French pop artists, this compilation showcases the considerable Gallic talents of artists like Keren Ann, Camille, Sandrine Kiberlain, Coralie Clement and Alexis HK. The disc commences with the epic singer/songwriter wares of Raphael, whose credits include a support slot with David Bowie. For 'Mon Amour M'A Baise' Raphael recruits Francoise Hardy to help with vocals on the chorus. Keren Ann makes two contributions to the compilation, the first taken from 2004's Nolita album ('La Forme Et Le Fond') 'Seventeen' drawn fro… Read more
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VARIOUS / ZONOPHONE - La Musique Du Moment - The French Sound Now, Emi
THE RACE - Ice Station, FLAME SHOVEL

THE RACE

Ice Station

FLAME SHOVEL

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: DIG038

This second album by The Race was produced by Telefon Tel Aviv's Josh Eustis in his Chicago studio, in collaboration with the central creative force behind the band, Craig Klein. I say central, but at the time of recording, Klein had taken on all the writing and performance responsibilities after the band's initial line-up dissolved. With Ice Station, Klein only recruited extra performers as he felt he needed them, so this album isn't really comparable to the more openly collaborative If You Can album (The Race's 2004 debut). The songs here are preoccupied with conjuring frozen, icy landscape image… Read more
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THE RACE - Ice Station, FLAME SHOVEL