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Thursday, 08 November 2007

BEESTUNG LIPS - Songs To And From An Iron Gut, CAPSULE

BEESTUNG LIPS

Songs To And From An Iron Gut

CAPSULE

Format_dot_cdCD // £6.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: CAPSULE002

This six-track EP from Birmingham noiseniks Beestung Lips is one of the most energised, bracing ventures into alt. metal and sludgy rifferama to grace these pages for some time. Throughout, the band clearly have no problem charging through unabashed heavy rocking song shapes without having to give too many nods to the underground. Only the band's fashionably frazzled taste in distortion pedal settings (and a bit of stray cowbell on 'Sick History') gives them away as hipsters: 'Men Not Worth Their Weight In Words' blasts forth with a guitar sound akin to Jack White soundchecking his way through the Pantera back-catalogue. Ace.
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BEESTUNG LIPS - Songs To And From An Iron Gut, CAPSULE
BLOC PARTY - Flux, Wichita Recordings

BLOC PARTY

Flux

Wichita Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £3.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: WEBB135SCD

Bloc Party are the latest band to release a single in conjunction with the NME, and this CD format is the accompaniment to the remix disc you get with the magazine. Here, you get the original version of 'Flux', a version recorded live at Madison Square Garden and B-side 'Emma Kate's Accident'. The A-side is one of the most electronically enhanced songs the band have ever produced with a thumping 4/4 beat and a rampaging synth bassline. It's interesting listening to the live version immediately after all this studio trickery, it somehow sounds far more energetic and impressive. Finally, 'Emma Kate's Adve… Read more
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BLOC PARTY - Flux, Wichita Recordings
VARIOUS / CAPSULE - SUPERSONIC 06, CAPSULE

VARIOUS / CAPSULE

SUPERSONIC 06

CAPSULE

Format_dot_cdCD // £6.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: CAPSULE001

The Birmingham-based Capsule label, curators of the Super Sonic Festival released this disc as a companion piece to the event itself, back in 2006, featuring such impressive contributors as Zombi, Circle, Alexander Tucker, Michael Rother and the John Carpenter/Halloween referencing Haddonfield Illinois. Also of note is the inclusion of one of Michael Gira's all-time greatest songs, 'My Sister Said'. Great selections all-round, even if it has reached us a tad late in the day.
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MARCEL DUCHAMP - Musical Erratum + In Conversation, LTM Recordings
Marcel Duchamp's Musical Erratum stems back to 1913, and forms the basis of his artwork La Mariee Mise A Nu Par Ses Celibataires Meme (that's The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Batchelors to you and me). The piano piece is based around the central premise that the piano keys are played in a sequence determined by randomly selected numeric sequences, and is a wilfully awkward and clunky thing: A very useless performance, in any event." as Duchamp imself would have it. This disc includes two different versions of the piece: one standard interpretation (if that's an appropriate t… Read more
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MARCEL DUCHAMP - Musical Erratum + In Conversation, LTM Recordings
VARIOUS / SUBLIME FREQUENCIES - Latinamericarpet: Exploring the Vinyl Warp of Latin American Psychedelia Vol. 1, Sublime Frequencies
The Sublime Frequencies audio colonialism carrack docks into South America, having fully exhausted Asia's musical resources. The focus of this latest compilation is Latin America's psychedelic rock and pop music, mainly from the '60s and '70s. The tracks have been collected from a host of lost and discarded LPs sourced from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Isle De Pascua (Easter Island) and vary wildly in style and genre, at times sounding rather folksy and traditional while at others coming across as dow… Read more
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VARIOUS / SUBLIME FREQUENCIES - Latinamericarpet: Exploring the Vinyl Warp of Latin American Psychedelia Vol. 1, Sublime Frequencies
MARCUS SCHMICKLER - Altars Of Science, Editions Mego

MARCUS SCHMICKLER

Altars Of Science

Editions Mego

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

MODERN CLASSICAL / AMBIENT

Cat. Number: EMEGO082

One of electronic music's most versatile voices, Marcus Schmickler is able to alternate between his dream pop persona as Pluramon and cutting edge contemporary electronic composition work like this, under his own name. Schmickler's instrument-based electroacoustic works have always been among the very finest within the genre, with releases like Param and Demos (Music For Choir, Chamber Quintet and Electronic Music) finding Schmickler every bit as adept within academic circles as he is in the electronic pop elite. This latest collection of music marks Schmickler's first solely electro… Read more
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MARCUS SCHMICKLER - Altars Of Science, Editions Mego

Wednesday, 07 November 2007

BEAR IN HEAVEN - Red Bloom of the Bloom, HOMETAPES

BEAR IN HEAVEN

Red Bloom of the Bloom

HOMETAPES

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: HT019

This adventurous album is a tangle of odd electronic tones, cello, acoustic guitar and very strange song structures: the extended noodlings of 'Arm's Length' turn into an extreme case of hiccupping staccato only to collapse into the neon excess of synthesizer noise and airy, vaporised vocals on 'Fraternal Noon'. The band start with a bang and gradually wind down into a more steady state of being, shifting towards the gorgeous, effect-laden hush of 'For Beauty' after the spluttering noise of 'Bag Of Bags' in all its drum-fuelled electro-psych glory.
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BOBB TRIMBLE - Harvest Of Dreams, Secretly Canadian

BOBB TRIMBLE

Harvest Of Dreams

Secretly Canadian

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: SC163CD

The second LP by the intriguing Bobb Trimble gets a reissue under the supervision of the Secretly Canadian label. Harvest of Dreams came two years after the odd, inventive jumble that was Iron Curtain Innocence, and in some respects Trimble sounds more at ease with himself: both the writing and the performances seem more fluent and self-assured, with firm-footed melancholy ballads like 'If Words Were All I Had' sounding at once vulnerable and theatrical, needing far less adornment than the often confusingly busy debut album. You'll find plenty of upbeat numbers amongst the thornier, noctu… Read more
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BOBB TRIMBLE - Harvest Of Dreams, Secretly Canadian
BOBB TRIMBLE - Iron Curtain Innocence, Secretly Canadian

BOBB TRIMBLE

Iron Curtain Innocence

Secretly Canadian

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: SC162CD

Secretly Canadian give Bobb Trimble's long lost, unreasonably rare LPs a reissue, starting with this hoard of buried treasure from 1980. Iron Curtain innocence sounds quite unlike any other singer songwriter: partly because his voice has an odd intonation somewhere between Geddy Lee, Kate Bush and Marc Bolan, and partly because his compositions far exceed the sort of simple acoustic structures that dominate the genre, instead referencing the borderline prog of Pink Floyd or the theatrical flamboyance of early Queen. Heck, even the album sleeve harkens back to a better time: Bobb's wi… Read more
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BOBB TRIMBLE - Iron Curtain Innocence, Secretly Canadian

Monday, 05 November 2007

BARZIN - Barzin, Monotreme Records

BARZIN

Barzin

Monotreme Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £8.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: MONO31CD

The eponymous debut album by Canadian songwriter Barzin gets the reissue treatment from Monotreme Records, who released the quite wonderful follow-up "My Life In Rooms". Like that record, this first full-length explores an aesthetic of incredibly warm slowcore country sounds, with slow flickering waves of tremolo guitar and vast pedal steel slides. While the elements that make up the album are fairly simple and the pace never really exceeds 'glacial', the album has moments of enormous emotional weight, carrying a kind of restrained, graceful force throughout. This is especially true of the sublime 'Pas… Read more
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BARZIN - Barzin, Monotreme Records
THE LADYBUG TRANSISTOR - Can't Wait Another Day, FORTUNA POP!

THE LADYBUG TRANSISTOR

Can't Wait Another Day

FORTUNA POP!

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: FPOP75CD

Can't Wait Another Day is the first album to be released by Elephant 6 band The Ladybug Transistor since the untimely death of San Fadyl, who passed away earlier this year. Fadyl still appears on this record however, playing drums throughout, and the ambitious, often very lavish bittersweet pop the band specialise in makes for a poignant tribute. 'I'm Not Mad Enough', for instance, is a supremely elegant piece of indie pop, with just the right amount of strings poured into the mix to sweeten things up. This same formula is applied to slow jam 'Terry', which sounds like some… Read more
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THE LADYBUG TRANSISTOR - Can't Wait Another Day, FORTUNA POP!
WHITE HILLS - Heads On Fire, ROCKET

WHITE HILLS

Heads On Fire

ROCKET

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: LAUNCH029CD

New York psych-noise loons White Hills unleash a follow up to their Glitter Glamour Atrocity album with this release for the UK's own Rocket Recordings. Regulars on the CD-R circuit, the band have already received a weighty endorsement from Julian Cope, but are bound to find themselves on the receiving end of far wider reaching endorsements from here on. Heads On Fire mixes the acid-trip propulsions of Hawkwind with the fuzzy aggro of The Stooges, resulting in some of the heaviest old-school rock manoeuvres around. These guys have one foot in the garage and the other on the moon, laying down k… Read more
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WHITE HILLS - Heads On Fire, ROCKET
KOOL KEITH - Sex Style (The Un-released Archives), Threshold

KOOL KEITH

Sex Style (The Un-released Archives)

Threshold

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: TEG-THR3017CD

Although 'Dr. Octagon' wasn't released until 1996, KutMasta Kurt was busy producing music with Kool Keith as far back as 1993. A few of these tracks have been floating around on fuzzy tapes over the years and even a few have wound up on bootlegs, but now we officially get a chance to hear these archived tracks as intended. The CD is a 2,500 copy limited edition digipack, each individually numbered, including 12 page lyric sheet and is an essential companion for any fan of the 1997 release.
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MANI - Sketches, Important Records

MANI

Sketches

Important Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

WORLD

Cat. Number: IMPREC161CD

Mani Neumaier has been a part of Krautrock experimenters Guru Guru for some 35 years now, although more recently he's made a notable guest appearance alongside the Acid Mothers Temple crew on the Psychedelic Navigator album (also released on Important Records). Sketches has been a work in progress for the past couple of decades, taking the form of a kind of audio journal culled from countless expeditions across Asia. Neumaier incorporates his own inimitable free drumming style into field recordings and indigenous percussion sounds such as gamelan and bamboo marimba. There are a few instances of Neumaier's… Read more
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MANI - Sketches, Important Records
DANIEL A.I.U. HIGGS - Metempsychotic Melodies, Holy Mountain

DANIEL A.I.U. HIGGS

Metempsychotic Melodies

Holy Mountain

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: HOLY144CD

While the term 'freak folk' has been largely abandoned, that's precisely what Daniel Higgs' ancient Americana lunacy brings to mind - not because he affects a kooked up vocal intonation, or because he has a particularly outlandish beard (although that he can certainly lay claim to that), but simply because these four extended songs sound downright nuts. There's clearly a link to the American primitive references you'd hear in John Fahey's ragas or even the outsider wailing of Jandek, with Higgs alternating between impressive instrumental outings and vocally charged apocalyptic… Read more
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DANIEL A.I.U. HIGGS - Metempsychotic Melodies, Holy Mountain
JACKIE-O MOTHERFUCKER - Valley Of Fire, Textile

JACKIE-O MOTHERFUCKER

Valley Of Fire

Textile

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: TCD16

A great new four-piece set from arch American psych travellers Jackie O Motherfucker, who are in top form right now - 'form' being an appropriate term; there seems to be an increasing gradient of cohesion to the band's work nowadays, with strong song structures now firmly a part of their arsenal. The title track strays into a kind of campfire spacerock, at once referencing plucked Americana and Spiritualized style tripped out repetition, with some phosphorous bands of synth darting through the mix. 'The Tree' is even straighter, occupying a concise two-and-a-half minute folk structu… Read more
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JACKIE-O MOTHERFUCKER - Valley Of Fire, Textile
NICK CAVE & WARREN ELLIS - The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Mute
I suppose this was always going to be good wasn't it? We fell in love with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis's soundtrack to the stunning Aussie western (interestingly enough also written by Cave) 'The Proposition' and this is in many ways the sequel to that record taking many of its core elements but just refining them enough to make this a superior piece overall. Sadly I haven't seen the film but heard on its own this is still an intense and coherent listening experience, and seeing as a good proportion of albums I listen to are allegedly soun… Read more
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NICK CAVE & WARREN ELLIS - The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Mute

Thursday, 01 November 2007

DIGITAL DANCE - Treatment, LTM Recordings

DIGITAL DANCE

Treatment

LTM Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: LTMCD2498

Cult Belgian new wave band Digital Dance were formed in Brussels back in 1978 and quickly found themselves a following thanks to support slots with the likes of Joy Division and airplay from John Peel, who responded particularly favourably to the band's 'I Sleep On The Waves' single which came out at the beginning of 1980. That track and it's B-side, the equally ace 'Faulty' are included on this set, as are all the other key singles and studio works by Digital Dance. The material here is far too good to be consigned to the vaults, so props to the LTM label for reintroducing the band to modern audiences.
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DIGITAL DANCE - Treatment, LTM Recordings
BRIAN REITZELL - 30 Days of Nights (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Ipecac
The idea of a soundtrack to some new Sam Raimi-produced horror movie doesn't necessarily seem Boomkat-compatible really, but this Brian Reitzel OST to 30 Days of Night is quite a piece of work. Reitzel might be best known for his work on Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette and Lost In Translation soundtracks, but here he proves he can strike up some terrifying noise outings with the best of them. Sure there are one or two more conventionally musical sequences here, but at times you'll swear you're listening to KTL, Lustmord or Wolf Eyes, with an abundance… Read more
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BRIAN REITZELL - 30 Days of Nights (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Ipecac

Monday, 29 October 2007

CASTANETS - In The Vines, Asthmatic Kitty

CASTANETS

In The Vines

Asthmatic Kitty

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: AKR033

The completion of this latest album from Castanets coincided with something of an annus horribilis for main player Ray Raposa, who came out of a period of incapacitating depression after 2005's First Light's Freeze. That album's follow-up In The Vines is a fittingly sombre affair, but not one which mopes or sounds weighted down by anxiety, instead there's a certain air of catharsis about the album. Raposa gets by with a little help from his friends, namely Jana Hunter, Nonhorse (of Vanishing Voice), Viking Moses, Matthew Houck (aka Phosphorescent) and some bloke called Sufjan Stevens, all of whom… Read more
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CASTANETS - In The Vines, Asthmatic Kitty
VARIOUS / ALEX TRONIC - Alex Tronic Records: Volume 1, Alex Tronic

VARIOUS / ALEX TRONIC

Alex Tronic Records: Volume 1

Alex Tronic

Format_dot_cdCD // £6.99

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: ATRCD00023

Review to follow shortly…
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BUCK 65 - Situation, Warners Canada

BUCK 65

Situation

Warners Canada

Format_dot_cdCD // £14.49

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: 2564698563

Nova Scotian hip hop impresario Buck 65 (aka Richard Terfry) returns with album number eleven. Situation is a far cry from his days on Anticon when Terfry wowed audiences with the advanced, Metallica-sampling productions and adventurous linguistic extravagances of Man Overboard. Situation is a rather bigger, more coherent sounding album which still finds Mr. 65 on fine lyrical form but the production is more recognisable as modern hip hop with upbeat scratch exercises like 'Way Back When' sounding as poppy as they do articulate. '1957' provides an early highlight, hinging upon a minor-key piano loop a… Read more
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BUCK 65 - Situation, Warners Canada

Thursday, 25 October 2007

THE FRENCH IMPRESSIONISTS - Fete, LTM Recordings

THE FRENCH IMPRESSIONISTS

Fete

LTM Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

MODERN CLASSICAL / AMBIENT

Cat. Number: LTMCD2471

The French Impressionists are billed as a 'new jazz' combo whatever that means, but the cult band to my mind are far better than a tired genre tag could ever suggest. They are probably best known for releases on the Factory-connected Les Disques Du Crepuscule label in the early 1980s, but since then founder member Malcolm Fisher has been busying himself in Milan and has put a new group together. This new group plays the tracks featured on 'Fete', a totally new album for the band, and while Fisher has managed to put out plenty of solo material since the 80s, this new venture features some … Read more
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THE FRENCH IMPRESSIONISTS - Fete, LTM Recordings

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

MV & EE WITH THE GOLDEN ROAD - Gettin' Gone, Ecstatic Peace
Featured CD

MV & EE WITH THE GOLDEN ROAD

Gettin' Gone

Ecstatic Peace

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: E109BCD

Last year, MV & EE delivered two of the definitive entries into the contemporary psych-folk canon: the sprawling masterpiece 'Mother Of Thousands' and its more concise, upscale sibling 'Green Blues'. Getting' Gone marks something of a departure from the beautiful mess-making of those albums, instead opting for a more focussed approach to classic rock templates, albeit with the distinctively obscure lyrical approach that's so much a part of the Matt Valentine mythology. Inevitably this album has drawn comparisons to Neil Young, and the duo certainly aren't shy of acknowledging Shak… Read more
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MV & EE WITH THE GOLDEN ROAD - Gettin' Gone, Ecstatic Peace
SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT DEPT. - Cabbageneck, Creeping Bent

SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT DEPT.

Cabbageneck

Creeping Bent

Format_dot_cdCD // £8.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: BENT065CD

Here's an anomaly in this day and age: a band with a website that looks like it's been programmed by NASA but only three friends on their MySpace. One of which is Tom. Clearly they're new to the whole social networking lark, but seriously people, get some sort of discernable biog or press presence on the net. I have no idea who you are. I suppose that sort of business doesn't matter nearly as much as what the band actually sound like, and based on this set of compositions Scientific Support Dept. have a bit of a soft spot for all things trip hop, adding an electronica edge to their p… Read more
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SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT DEPT. - Cabbageneck, Creeping Bent
LAZARUS - Hawk Medicine, Temporary Residence Ltd.

LAZARUS

Hawk Medicine

Temporary Residence Ltd.

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: TRR124CD

Originally embarked upon as a solo project for ex-Tarentel player Trevor Montgomery, Lazarus has become a fully-fledged band, with this album marking the group's first ever attempt at writing and playing together as a unit. It's a move that's clearly paid off, resulting in a set of classic rock-styled songs coated in a lustrous vintage hue thanks to some meticulous engineering work from Jason Quever of The Papercuts. Opening cut 'Story' makes for a great first track, featuring deep blue organ tones and '70s-style languid bass riffing and a killer melody. After the effect-driven ambience of 'Baby T… Read more
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LAZARUS - Hawk Medicine, Temporary Residence Ltd.
HENRIK SCHWARZ - Live, !K7 Records

HENRIK SCHWARZ

Live

!K7 Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

TECHNO / HOUSE

Cat. Number: K7220CD

Right. First off, Schwarz, it is NOT cool to start a mix CD off with Sun Ra only to chuck the piece into your digital blender with some highly inappropriate filter panning and then... then going so far as to drop a four-to-the-floor beat into the mix. Ouch. Next up comes a double-header of Henrik Schwarz remixes which instantly establish a sense of pace and full-bodied production that's rather refreshing to hear at the beginning of a mix. Strictly speaking though, this isn't really a mix per se. Instead, the tracks played out here tend to be in someway related to Schwarz himself, whether in remix fo… Read more
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HENRIK SCHWARZ - Live, !K7 Records

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

ANANDA SHANKAR - Missing You / A Musical Discovery Of India, FALLOUT
Ananda Shankar has become best known for having reconfigured songs by The Rolling Stones, The Doors and the like, so consequently he's viewed all too often as a novelty artist, occupying tongue-in cheek exotica dancefloors and Clint Boon DJ sets, not to mention getting sampled to within an inch of his life. This reissue might help you get acquainted with a more serious side to Shankar's work however, combining two albums that came some years after his more famous early material: Missing You (from 1977) and A Musical Discovery Of India (from 1978). The fusion of In… Read more
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ANANDA SHANKAR - Missing You / A Musical Discovery Of India, FALLOUT
MIKE SAMMES & THE MIKE SAMMES SINGERS - Music For Biscuits - Lost Advertising & Rare Film Sounds, Trunk Records
Back in stock! Rapidly becoming something of a curate's egg amongst the ranks of faceless labels, Trunk has been on a gold-run; with 'Music For Biscuits - Lost Advertising & Rare Film Sounds By Mike Sammes & The Mike Sammes Singers' coming hot on the heels of 'Fuzzy Felt Folk' and 'Bod'. Apparently salvaged from a skip outside Mike Sammes' gaff by Jonny Trunk himself, the music on 'Music For Biscuits' is harmony-grouptastic - with music from detergent adverts through to ciggie jingles all flashing by with amazing grace. Given the… Read more
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MIKE SAMMES & THE MIKE SAMMES SINGERS - Music For Biscuits - Lost Advertising & Rare Film Sounds, Trunk Records

Thursday, 18 October 2007

DJ VADIM - The Soundcatcher Extras, BBE

DJ VADIM

The Soundcatcher Extras

BBE

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: BBECD82

Having toured off the back of his Soundcatcher album since the start of the year, DJ Vadim has nevertheless found himself getting back to his recording work with this disc of supplementary material. Actually, that's probably a very unfair account of what this record really is - it wouldn't be unreasonable to declare this an album in its own right, although the material is all derived from live tour tracks, remixes previously resigned to vinyl-only releases and even a couple of remixes drawn from an online remix competition. Fortunately, there are a couple of all-new tracks thrown in too… Read more
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DJ VADIM - The Soundcatcher Extras, BBE