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Wednesday, 03 October 2007

JACK PENATE - Matinee, XL Recordings

JACK PENATE

Matinee

XL Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £7.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: XLCD289

Jack Penate might look like a mod plasterer who's just left your ceiling half done while he embarks on a jolly to Brighton on his scooter, but in truth, he's quite the troubadour. Having built his way up through the ranks of London's club scene Jack found himself on the receiving end of a considerable amount of buzz and hefty radio airplay, and after the release of his debut limited 7", 'Second, Minute Or Hour' (probably still the finest thing he's written), XL came knocking. Penate is a likable, kitchen sink-type songwriter, not of the grittier, Byronic mold the Dohertys of this world are cut from.… Read more
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JACK PENATE - Matinee, XL Recordings

Monday, 01 October 2007

JAKOBINARINA - The First Crusade, Emi

JAKOBINARINA

The First Crusade

Emi

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: REG143CD

Enter Jakobinarina, proof that Iceland continues to invade the UK's dominance of angular indie pop! The record's opening line features head henchman Gunnar Bergmann breathlessly exclaiming "Its Monday, I'm in vain, stuck in the mundane!". Further evidence?! Amongst primary influences, the band cite Wu Tang Klan and Audrey Hepburn. Fittingly then, the bulk of The First Crusade clocks in at the two and a half minute mark, itself perhaps a by-product of the sustained sweat-inducing pace of the record. And what sets these boys apart from the rest of the rabble? Simple. Unlike much of the UK's… Read more
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JAKOBINARINA - The First Crusade, Emi

Thursday, 27 September 2007

VARIOUS / RINSE FM - Rinse 01, Rinse

VARIOUS / RINSE FM

Rinse 01

Rinse

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

GRIME / FWD

Cat. Number: RINSECD001

'Rinse' is the new definitive compilation series for pirate music enthusiasts brought to you by the infamous station that has championed a myriad of incendiary underground artists - Rinse FM. Each instalment will reflect the sounds championed by Rinse FM with each DJ showing their own perspective of uk pirate music by way of track selection and tempo of mix. Fittingly it's Geeneus, head boy at Rinse FM who kicks the series off. A DJ and broadcaster by the age of 15, Geeneus is one of the main people behind Rinse FM's success. His consistent success rate has made a show on Rinse an ambition for… Read more
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VARIOUS / RINSE FM - Rinse 01, Rinse
NANCY ELIZABETH - Battle And Victory, The Leaf Label

NANCY ELIZABETH

Battle And Victory

The Leaf Label

Format_dot_cdCD // £4.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: BAY60CD

Hot on the heels of a couple of limited 7" singles, Wigan's Nancy Elizabeth delivers her debut LP, Battle & Victory. Underpinned by Celtic harp, dulcimer and acoustic guitar, the thirteen songs on the album are very much steeped in the singer-songwriter tradition, evoking Nina Nastasia, Laura Veirs and, of course, Joanna Newsom at her best. There are moments inside Elizabeth's debut which sparkle, the close, pure three-part harmony of "The Remote Past", or the bare-bones emotion of album-closer "Battle & Victory" being notable highlights. Essentially though, its Elizabeth's voice whic… Read more
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NANCY ELIZABETH - Battle And Victory, The Leaf Label

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

STARS - In Our Bedroom After The War, City Slang

STARS

In Our Bedroom After The War

City Slang

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: SLANG1048682

Hot on the heels of Kevin Drew's magnificent Spirit If... album comes yet another Broken Social Scene-related release, Stars' In Our Bedroom After The War, the band's fourth LP to date. There's something of an epic quality to the music here, with a blending of electronics, conventional rock band dynamics and a liberal helping of more orchestral elements, that culminates in mightily impressive tracks like 'The Night Starts Here', a grand, romantic-sounding piece of work that masquerades as a hedonistic anthem. The same could be said of the next track, 'Take Me To The Riot', which erupt… Read more
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STARS - In Our Bedroom After The War, City Slang
LES SAVY FAV - Let's Stay Friends, Wichita Recordings

LES SAVY FAV

Let's Stay Friends

Wichita Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: WEBB152CD

Les Savvy Fav have got to rank as one of the finest rock bands working in the industry today. okay so this sentiment might be shared by the Gods of all things online Pitchfork, but really this is a time to believe the hype. Apart from having quite life-affirming live shows (where lead singer Tim Harrington has a tendency to get nekkid, oh yes) they actually have the songs to back this up. The band have actually been together since 1995, but now, over ten years later they're finally ready to commit their finest material to disc, and 'Let's Stay Friends' is easily the band's most consisten… Read more
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LES SAVY FAV - Let's Stay Friends, Wichita Recordings
JIM WHITE - Transnormal Skiperoo, LUAKA BOP

JIM WHITE

Transnormal Skiperoo

LUAKA BOP

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: VVR1048482

Alt Country purveyor Jim White is probably best known, at least on these shores, as the host of the BBC documentary 'Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus' which saw him exploring the American South. 'Transnormal Skiperoo' is his latest album and is his fourth 'proper' full-length and offers a fabulous picture of his musical loves. The title comes from "a strange new feeling I've been experiencing after years of feeling lost and alone and cursed. when I find myself dancing around in my back yard for no particular reason other than it feels good to be alive" - so you can probably imagine the … Read more
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JIM WHITE - Transnormal Skiperoo, LUAKA BOP
SATURATION POINT - Three, Very Friendly

SATURATION POINT

Three

Very Friendly

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: VF043CD

Another instrumental post-rock group hit the scene then, and this one are louder than most, avoiding the painfully overdone peaks-and-troughs alternation still hammered out by so many of their peers. Saturation Point apparently originated after spending some time with the Tate Modern's collection of Mark Rothko's paintings - a source of inspiration for many a musical endeavour (Morton Feldman and Bernhard Gunter being notable contributors to the Rothko tribute sub-genre) - which in this instance makes about as much sense as Explosions In The Sky claiming to have taken influence from Robert Rausch… Read more
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SATURATION POINT - Three, Very Friendly

Monday, 24 September 2007

JAKOBINARINA - His Lyrics Are Disastrous / Riding, Regal

JAKOBINARINA

His Lyrics Are Disastrous / Riding

Regal

Format_dot_cdCDS // £2.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: 5099950529520

Having previously seen a release via Rough Trade, this old Jakobinarina single, sporting a title that's simply asking for trouble, sees a re-release via Regal, still sounding as brash and anthemic as previously. Imagine Einar Orn from The Sugarcubes fronting Bloc Party and you won't go far wrong. Dodgy accented whoops and hollers come cascading over waves of dense guitar pop on the A-side, while the B features 'Do My Love', a comparatively spare number that brings to mind the opiated rock Velvet Underground.
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SUPERSILENT - 8, Rune Grammofon
Featured CD

SUPERSILENT

8

Rune Grammofon

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.49

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: RCD 2067

It's great to see one of Rune Grammofon's definitive acts making a return: it's been nearly two years to the day since the concert DVD Supersilent 7 saw a release, but a full four years since the band last delivered a full studio album (Supersilent 6 if you're counting). Since Supersilent's inception the various members of the group have catapulted themselves to solo stardom (if indeed stardom is a term applicable to avant-garde Norwegian jazz), with trumpeter Arve Henriksen and super producer Helge Sten (aka Deathprod) coming close to overshadowing the band's success with their solo efforts - both Henrik… Read more
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SUPERSILENT - 8, Rune Grammofon
VARIOUS / WILDSTYLE - Wildstyle : 25th Anniversary 2CD Edition, Mr Bongo
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Source Magazine hailed "Best Hip-Hop movie of all time!", Mr Bongo Recordings release the Wild Style soundtrack in this deluxe, expanded two-disc edition. This is just a treat in the purest, dirtiest sense. Alongside the uncompromised original soundtrack on disc one, disc two provides a feast of previously unreleased bonus material of instrumental beats and loops as well as the one thing you've been secretly waiting for all these years, a Wild Style Lesson by Kev Luckhurst! Disc one is the classic forty-seven minute origina… Read more
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VARIOUS / WILDSTYLE - Wildstyle : 25th Anniversary 2CD Edition, Mr Bongo
WILLIAM HOOKER WITH EYKIND KANG & BILL HORIST - The Seasons Fire, Important Records

WILLIAM HOOKER WITH EYKIND KANG & BILL HORIST

The Seasons Fire

Important Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: IMPREC133

Drummer William Hooker has assembled a trio with violinist Eyvind Kang and electric guitarist Bill Horist for this latest disc, which explores the outer limits of jazz, noise rock and modern harmony. The seven cuts here range from spacious elongations of 'Seasons II' to the frenzied, maniacal Woodstock vibes of 'Outcry', but are by no means limited to the extremes of anarchic improvisation. 'Under The Hammer' finds Kang at his most lyrical, serving up technically dextrous electrified violin phrases while Hooker keeps the energy levels up. A blast.
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Thursday, 20 September 2007

NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL - Everything Is, ORANGE TWIN

NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL

Everything Is

ORANGE TWIN

Format_dot_cdCDS // £6.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: ORANGE TWIN 005

This EP originally surfaced in the UK on Fire Records, quickly going out of print. For this re-release the people behind Orange Twin (namely the Elf Power crew) throw bonus track 'Tuesday Moon' into the bargain (originally available on the Hype City soundtrack). The tone of the recordings is very messy, far more primitive and experimental in its recording than the band's now legendary, landmark album "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea", but shares that album's unshakable grip on '60s-tinted indie rock tunefulness. Ace.
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PHOTEK PRODUCTIONS - Form & Function (Vol. 2), Sanctuary

PHOTEK PRODUCTIONS

Form & Function (Vol. 2)

Sanctuary

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

JUNGLE / FOOTWORK

Cat. Number: SANCD433

Review to follow shortly…
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Wednesday, 19 September 2007

DEVENDRA BANHART - Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, XL Recordings

DEVENDRA BANHART

Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon

XL Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £7.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: XLCD283

Alongside Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart probably stands as the highest profile figure to have been lumped in with the dubious freak folk movement, but despite always being too popular, and too much of a personality to be embraced by the underground crowd he courts, he's been previously responsible for "Rejoicing In The Hands...", an album that's right up there with any contemporary hipster free folk jaunt. The old guard certainly seems to get on with him very well: Vashti Bunyan famously broke her thirty-odd year silence on Rejoicing, and for this record none other th… Read more
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DEVENDRA BANHART - Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, XL Recordings
AKRON / FAMILY - Love Is Simple, Young God

AKRON / FAMILY

Love Is Simple

Young God

Format_dot_cdCD + DVD // £16.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: YG34CD

*INITIAL COPIES COME WITH A FREE DVD!* There's been no shortage of love for US collective Akron/Family over the last few years. Consistently named by Michael Gira as one of the best bands on the planet (so good in fact he snapped them up to be his own backing band...) they have been the darlings of the indie media and the perfect entry point for many listeners into a wide world of abstract folk and rock sounds. Okay so the whole New Weird America fad may have loosened a little over the last twelve months, but Akron/Family simply offer so much more than any pigeon-hole could ever suggest. 'Lo… Read more
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AKRON / FAMILY - Love Is Simple, Young God
VS PRICE - Songs06.Txt, Expanding

VS PRICE

Songs06.Txt

Expanding

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.49

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: ECD28:07

In case the file extension in the title hadn't already given the game away, this latest from Vs_price (aka Vincent Papon) is another bulletin from the post-IDM electronica hinterlands. As ever, Expanding and their roster of artists should be commended for sticking to their guns in a climate that attempts to sweep the genre under the rug at every opportunity. While there's plenty of bitcrushed chaffe to go around there remains a healthy supply of compelling new home listening electronica records, and Vs_price has been doing his bit in this field ever since his 2002 Expanding debut. For this latest f… Read more
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VS PRICE - Songs06.Txt, Expanding
THE INSTRUMENTS - Billions Of Phonographs, ORANGE TWIN

THE INSTRUMENTS

Billions Of Phonographs

ORANGE TWIN

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: ORANGE TWIN 010

The Instruments is another one of those supergroup projects that seem to be so popular nowadays. This one has a wealth of Elephant6 regulars on board, including Neutral Milk Hotel's Jefff Magnum, Olivia Tremor Control's Will Hart, Laura Carter of Elf Power and Japancakes' Heather McIntosh. Considering there are some fourteen band members playing on this record, you'll be unsurprised to discover how musically diverse the tracks here tend to sound, ranging from the spooky fairground ride dynamics of the Saint Saens-meets-Tom Waits-style 2/4 of 'Carnival' to the accordion-fuelled se… Read more
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THE INSTRUMENTS - Billions Of Phonographs, ORANGE TWIN
RST - Axes, LAST VISIBLE DOG

RST

Axes

LAST VISIBLE DOG

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

EXTREME / NOISE / COMPUTER MUSIC

Cat. Number: LVD 114

Having previously released on Ecstatic Peace! and Corpus Hermeticum, Rst's Andrew Moon specialises in creating walls of droning electric guitar. At times, the aptly titled Axes feels like a lofi recording of Earth or Sunn O))) at their most monolithic, but delve deeper and you'll find a lot going on beyond the confines of mere distorted hum. 'Stone Circle Free' features pitchshifted tones ringing out in a creepy, occultish fashion, while 'l.a.s.e.r.' is the kind of stripped down tonal exploration you might expect from Oren Ambarchi. There's a great deal of depth and variety to the kind of low register experime… Read more
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RST - Axes, LAST VISIBLE DOG
EYES LIKE SAUCERS - Still Living In The Desert (And Mostly Inside My Own Head), LAST VISIBLE DOG
Eyes Like Saucers is the solo project of Jeffrey Knoch, formerly of urDog. Here's an artist who isn't afraid of staring into the abyss: the music on Still Living In The Desert evokes the apocalyptic folk of Current 93 and taps into the kind of outsider songwriting of Jandek or Robert Wyatt - the latter being literally the case on Knoch's version of Wyatt classic 'Sea Song'. The principal instrument on the album (made up of both instrumentals and sombre vocal tracks) is an Indian harmonium, although you'll also hear extensive use of glockenspiel,… Read more
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EYES LIKE SAUCERS - Still Living In The Desert (And Mostly Inside My Own Head), LAST VISIBLE DOG

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

SCORCHER / VARIOUS - Thunder Power, THE MOVEMENT

SCORCHER / VARIOUS

Thunder Power

THE MOVEMENT

Format_dot_cdCD // £7.99

GRIME / FWD

Cat. Number: SCRCHRCD003

Following two killer artist albums (including the genre-defining self-aggrandising 'Simply the Best') Scorcher finally unleashes his production prowess on the world with this unbeatable selection of tracks showcasing his patented 'Thunder' style of grime. It's easy to see from the first few tracks how he managed to name his style too, within minutes we're into a place where beats are huge and heavy, accompanied by metal guitar riffs and gigantic synth stabs. This is grime that ain't afraid of hitting that little bit harder, owing more to the production of Dr.Dre or Public Enemy than anyon… Read more
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SCORCHER / VARIOUS - Thunder Power, THE MOVEMENT
TEENAGER - Thirteen, GODLIKE

TEENAGER

Thirteen

GODLIKE

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: GAECD002

Teenager (not to be confused with The Teenagers - either the Parisian synth rock outfit or the '50s doo-wop ensemble) is the amalgam of Pnau's Nick Littlemore and Two Lane Blacktop's Pip Brown. The pair have rustled up an album's worth of rowdy electro punk with a little help from increasingly regular guns for hire, Steve Shelley and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth. Their contribution comes on 'Liquid Cement', which perhaps inevitably is a clear standout moment on the album. Sadly, Ranaldo's hard work is rewarded with a misspelled credit. The cheek! He's only a freaking legend. 'Bound & Gagged' and 'Alone … Read more
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TEENAGER - Thirteen, GODLIKE
THE SKATALITES - Rolling Steady : The 1983 Music Mountain Sessions, Motion
In 1983 all of the original Skatalites (minus trombonist Don Drummond) reformed to appear at Sunsplash in Jamaica where they supported Bob Marley. While they were in JA preparing for the show, they recorded ten tracks at Music Mountain studio under the guidance of producer/promoter Tony Owens. This is the first time any of this amazing material has been heard before and Includes tribute song Big Trombone with vocal by Lord Tanamo. With detailed sleevenotes by David Katz, this is an absolute must for Skatalites and reggae followers amongst you - and another excellent release for the Motion imprint. Highly Recommended.
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THE SKATALITES - Rolling Steady : The 1983 Music Mountain Sessions, Motion
VARIOUS / TOMLAB - Puppy Love : 10 Years Of Tomlab, Tomlab
Celebrating a decade of bringing you the very finest in electronic pop quirk, Tomlab have assembled a collection of their best material over the last 10 years. Actually, that's not entirely the case: the earliest work here is Xiu Xiu's 'Suha' from 2003, but that's a mere technicality. Any such quibbles will be forgotten during The Blow's 'Parentheses' however, particularly by the time the line: "Something in the deli aisle makes you cry/Of course I'll put my arm around you and walk you outside." crops up. Other stellar contributions come from the current wave of Tomlab stars… Read more
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VARIOUS / TOMLAB - Puppy Love : 10 Years Of Tomlab, Tomlab
TELEPHONE JIM JESUS - Anywhere Out Of The Everything, Anticon
The sophomore album from Telephone Jim Jesus (aka George Chadwick) is something of a melancholy affair. That's not to say that usually an Anticon album is a barrel of laughs, but there's a definite sense of sadness and disillusion on offer on 'Anywhere Out of the Everything', which becomes clearer when you read about the conditions it was created under. Chadwick tumbled on tour after the break up of an eight year relationship and ended up staying in Europe for four months, hopping from city to city before eventually returning to the USA. But far from go back to his eve… Read more
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TELEPHONE JIM JESUS - Anywhere Out Of The Everything, Anticon
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM - Two Hunters, Southern Lord Recordings

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM

Two Hunters

Southern Lord Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: SUNN83

Black metal, the often derided genre which came to prominence in Northern Europe thanks to cold weather and an abundance of face paint, has reached a strange popularity of late. Thanks to bands such as Sunn O))) and their label Southern Lord, countless hipsters have delved into a genre previously earmarked as the sole refuge of the Warhammer player and discovered the illicit pleasures of Burzum, Emperor, Darkthrone and much more. Wolves in the Throne Room are a part of the new wave of black metal; not necessarily connected to the upsurge in US black metal (Nachtmystium, Leviathan, … Read more
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WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM - Two Hunters, Southern Lord Recordings
SANDRO PERRI - Tiny Mirrors, Constellation

SANDRO PERRI

Tiny Mirrors

Constellation

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: CST047-2

Re-align your minds for a second, for Sandro Perri, the hero of this epic new tale from pioneering Canadian label Constellation, is a man of many disguises. Chances are if you've browsed through our site you've bumped into the feller once or twice before, maybe one of his albums under the Polmo Polpo moniker for instance? Or maybe you might have noticed him lending his well trained guitar skills to fellow Constellation act Glissandro 70? It's the work under his own name, however, that sees the finest realisation of his musical activities, something which became incredibly clear on the release … Read more
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SANDRO PERRI - Tiny Mirrors, Constellation
SKEPTA - Greatest Hits, Boy Better Know

SKEPTA

Greatest Hits

Boy Better Know

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

GRIME / FWD

Cat. Number: JME020CD

Skepta is possibly the most talked about underground grime artist on the circuit, and this is his debut artist album proper. It needs to be restated that this is no ordinary street mixtape, this is the real deal, a full album project. Having already featured on MTV Base 'About to Blow', graced the pages of magazines from i-D to Dummy to RWD to Blues & Soul, performed the world over spreading his sound across Israel, Russia, New York and Europe whilst also making the bill at a plethora of UK festivals, Skepta has achieved all of this without even having an album in the shops. Fans of "Boy Better Kno… Read more
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SKEPTA - Greatest Hits, Boy Better Know

Monday, 17 September 2007

VARIOUS / DURTRO JNANA - Wild Tigers I Have Known : Songs From Cam Archer's Film, DURTRO JNANA
This soundtrack to Cam Archer's Film "Wild Tigers I Have Known" gets off to a most peculiar start: a reading by Current 93's David Tibet, whose delivery here sounds less like one of his finer, end of the world intonations and more closely akin to something you'd encounter at your local community centre amateur dramatics groups. Nate Archer hooks up with Dan Kocher and Stephanie Volkmer on the jangling percussive improv of 'Summoning', while elsewhere field recordings like the very literal 'Ocean & Bells' brighten things up no end. The biggest … Read more
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VARIOUS / DURTRO JNANA - Wild Tigers I Have Known : Songs From Cam Archer's Film, DURTRO JNANA
JOY DIVISION - Closer (2CD Edition), LONDON

JOY DIVISION

Closer (2CD Edition)

LONDON

Format_dot_cd2CD // £18.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: 2564 69779 1

** Comes with a bonus disc of a previously unreleased live show from the Town Hall, High Wycombe February 1980 ** Well, there's hardly any point tackling anything so superfluous as a review of this album, is there? We're all perfectly aware that this is one of those outright seminal releases, inspiring and defining the careers of so many great bands (and of course one or two not so great ones) so all you probably need to know about this new, reissued 'Collector's Edition' is that it's been carefully remastered and packaged with a bonus disc featuring a previously unreleased live set reco… Read more
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JOY DIVISION - Closer (2CD Edition), LONDON