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Monday, 05 November 2007

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
UNGDOMSKULEN - Cry-Baby, Ever Records

UNGDOMSKULEN

Cry-Baby

Ever Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: EVER12CD

Noisy Berliners Ungdomskulen combine an ear for noise rock and sludgy garage riffing with a sense of humour on their debut album for Ever records. In fact, you suspect that it's this sense of humour that got them a spot on the Ever roster in the first place, the band are far heavier than any of their labelmates (take Amiina for example) but they're digestible in ways their detuned guitars shouldn't really allow for. Listening to Cry-baby you're bound to start thinking of Mike Patton's various projects, you get that same sense of intelligent writing combined with high energy rock silliness. Lines l… Read more
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UNGDOMSKULEN - Cry-Baby, Ever Records
BLACK DICE - Load Blown, Paw Tracks Records

BLACK DICE

Load Blown

Paw Tracks Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: PAW018CD

It's album number four for Brooklyn's electro-psych weirdos, and they don't seem to be getting any more conventional, or for that matter, any easier to write about. While there's certainly something irrefutably experimental about Black Dice's output, there remains evidence of a certain amount of pop music know-how writhing around in the band's work. The tracks here are culled from a number of 12" vinyl EPs, including what must go down as the most bizarre music ever to have appeared on DFA. Check out the laptop carnival vibes of 'Gore', the swampy oscillations of 'Toka Toka' and 'Manoman's chopped … Read more
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BLACK DICE - Load Blown, Paw Tracks Records
CHARALAMBIDES - Likeness, Kranky

CHARALAMBIDES

Likeness

Kranky

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: KRANK113

Charalambides have achieved something of a legendary status among freaky folk followers. Tom and Christina Carter are the Godparents of the unruly children of New Weird America and with their early albums (also on the Kranky label) they set the scene for a sound which would take the world by the scruff of the neck and refuse to let go. Christina Carter most famously popped up on DJ Shadow's last album, but more recently has been seen edging her unique vocal chords into the more respectable areas of Thurston Moore's latest solo effort, and Tom Carter has an almost endless stream of collaborative c… Read more
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CHARALAMBIDES - Likeness, Kranky
VARIOUS / PLANET MU - 10 Tons Heavy, Planet Mu

VARIOUS / PLANET MU

10 Tons Heavy

Planet Mu

Format_dot_cd2CD // £10.99

GRIME / FWD

Cat. Number: ZIQ195CD

*COMES WITH A BONUS SECOND CD - A SPECIALLY COMISSIONED PLANET MU MIX FROM DJ HATCHA!* Another week and another heavyweight package from Planet Mu - this time a double cd package of the toughest, deepest Dubstep from the Planet Mu vaults. There's a lot of super-special stuff on here (see the tracklisting below), with a carefully selected mixture of Planet Mu Gold (see Pinch's immense "Qawwali") to the very recent (Pasron and Skint's mighty "Big Killaz" - and the bonus mix manages to cram 30 tracks into 60 minutes, including tons of previously unheard music from the label and its many coh… Read more
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VARIOUS / PLANET MU - 10 Tons Heavy, Planet Mu

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

SUNSET RUBDOWN - Random Spirit Lover, Jagjaguwar

SUNSET RUBDOWN

Random Spirit Lover

Jagjaguwar

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: JAG113CD

Here's yet more Canadian rock to get very, very excited about. Sunset Rubdown's third album, Random Spirit Lover finds the band's main player, Spencer Krug (also of Wolf Parade and Frog Eyes) accompanied by fellow Montreal scenesters Jordan Robert Cramer, Michael Doerksen and Camilla Wynne Ingr, and by now a far cry from the project's bedroom beginnings, this latest full-length is one weighty tome. Complete with bizarre, rather impenetrable song titles like 'Up On Your Leopard, Upon The End Of Your Feral Days' the band put forth a compelling vision of ambitious, ornate indie rock musi… Read more
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SUNSET RUBDOWN - Random Spirit Lover, Jagjaguwar
PHOSPHORESCENT - Pride, Dead Oceans

PHOSPHORESCENT

Pride

Dead Oceans

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: DOC005

Well here's something a bit special. Pride is actually the third album by one-man-band Phosphorescent (aka Matthew Houck), and far-removed from any run-of-the-mill approach to the singer-songwriter format, this is a record filled with multitracked atmosphere, a wealth of vocal texture and harmony. The music here achieves a bewitching, ethereal sound without Houck having to strive for it in an overt, Grouper-like fashion. This wraith-ish quality is what distinguishes Phosphorescent from any contemporaries: you can hear every creaking floorboard on 'Be Dark Night', every gesture by Houck's multitrack… Read more
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PHOSPHORESCENT - Pride, Dead Oceans
JENS LEKMAN - Night Falls Over Kortedala, Secretly Canadian

JENS LEKMAN

Night Falls Over Kortedala

Secretly Canadian

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: SC160

I ask you, when did indie music get so soulful? Once confined to skinny girlish types with thick glasses and parentally-approved knitwear, in 2007 we are seeing something rather strange happen to the C86 generation. One of my favourite records so far this year was from Broken Social Scene's Feist, and what was so remarkable about 'The Reminder' was its unashamed liberal usage of Motown soul and deep vocal jazz - not things you'd usually associate with the Canadian post-everything scene. Swedish feller Jens Lekman is another pasty feller from colder climes eager to lavish a little … Read more
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JENS LEKMAN - Night Falls Over Kortedala, Secretly Canadian
THE BESNARD LAKES - Volume 1, BREAK GLASS

THE BESNARD LAKES

Volume 1

BREAK GLASS

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: JAGSPEC09CD

Volume 1 was released in 2003 as The Besnard Lakes' debut album. The Montreal duo set themselves apart from many of their Canadian contemporaries with an ambitiously scaled-up hybrid of post-rock and shoegaze influences. Album opener 'Skyscraper Girls' introduces itself with a gradual, grainy tape loop escalation, only developing into a more regular song structure only by the three-minute mark. The vocals are delivered in a suitably echoic fashion, but this is no wispy, insubstantial listen, the instrumentation manages to have one foot in the 'epic' camp and one in the meatier, post-punk doma… Read more
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THE BESNARD LAKES - Volume 1, BREAK GLASS

Monday, 15 October 2007

SUISHOU NO FUNE - The Shining Star - Live, Important Records

SUISHOU NO FUNE

The Shining Star - Live

Important Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.49

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: IMPREC165CD

Brought to the attention of international audiences by PSF's Tokyo Flashback Volume 5 compilation, Suishou No Fune are a guitar duo formed by wailing psych travellers Pirako Kurenai and Kageo. The group invite Fushitsusha comparisons, not just in terms of their sound but also in the Keiji Haino-style blacker than black imagery of the sleeve art and photography. Captured live on this disc, the duo trade licks and vocals in a blitz of effects and atmospheric psych, all to an oddly wispy sounding backbeat. The recording is a pretty idiosyncratic affair, smudging the sound somewhat, on… Read more
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SUISHOU NO FUNE - The Shining Star - Live, Important Records
XBXRX - Sounds, Important Records

XBXRX

Sounds

Important Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.49

EXTREME / NOISE / COMPUTER MUSIC

Cat. Number: IMPREC163

XBXRX have shaken off their punk-inspired roots for this all-improv album for Important records. The band's ferocity and energy levels are suitably primed with plenty of incendiary moments dotted throughout the album, but there's a good deal of texture and nuance to this music too: after the machine gun drumming and processed distortion of 'Infancy Of Millions Pt.1' along comes the more measured 'Asymbol', decked out with bowed percussion and oscillator modulations. At times you'll think your listening to Sunburned Hand Of The Man warming up for a night at the Proms (check out the freeform piano and marimb… Read more
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XBXRX - Sounds, Important Records