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Monday, 14 May 2007

MAPS - We Can Create, Mute

MAPS

We Can Create

Mute

Format_dot_cdCD // £7.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: CDSTUMM281

After delivering consistently excellent 10"s and singles over the past twelve months or so, bedroom producer James Chapman has finally unleashed his debut album, and it's a bit of a corker too. Channelling the euphoric pop spirit of these early emissions, the album is a persistently engaging body of work, serving up plenty of emotional clout alongside the synthscapes and electronic beats. Improbably, Chapman doesn't use a computer when producing these impressive concoctions, instead he favours a cut & paste approach on his old 16-track recorder. Lucky for him, he's aided by Bjork and Bonnie 'Prince' … Read more
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MAPS - We Can Create, Mute
GIANT SKYFLOWER BAND - Blood Of The Sunworm, Soft Abuse

GIANT SKYFLOWER BAND

Blood Of The Sunworm

Soft Abuse

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: SOFT ABUSE 019

The Giant Skyflower Band is a side project headed by Glenn Donaldson of Skygreen Leopards. The central preoccupation of this record is to explore the darker side of psychedelic folk music, coming across a bit Charles Manson, while also tapping into the mindset of Syd Barrett at his most labyrinthine, or more recently the downbeat blues of The Bummer Road or Wooden Wand at his weariest. From the opening sitar strains of 'Oh Mary Green' you know where this record's going, the song's tangled up guitar chords and murmured pop hooks offering a kind of archetypal '60s prog-stoner ant… Read more
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GIANT SKYFLOWER BAND - Blood Of The Sunworm, Soft Abuse

Friday, 11 May 2007

RACCOO-OO-OON - Behold Secret Kingdom, RELEASE THE BATS
These guys are great, but I can never get past the fact that when I say Raccoo-oo-oon in my head I think of the wolf from ageing TV series 'The Box of Delights' (if there was one, if not just ignore me) howling at the moon. I'm pretty sure that this was the band's intention, I mean they make psych-folk-freak-weird-America-something and you know, those guys are 'proper mental'. Well despite all this, 'Behold Secret Kingdom', the band's first official cd album after a whole bunch of really quite incredible limited releases, is a real honest revelation. Taking cues from their extensive … Read more
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RACCOO-OO-OON - Behold Secret Kingdom, RELEASE THE BATS

Thursday, 10 May 2007

SECTION 25 - Part-Primitiv, LTM Recordings

SECTION 25

Part-Primitiv

LTM Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: LTMCD 2500

Section 25's rich recording history stems back to their Factory Records debut 7", 'Girls Don't Count' produced by none other than Joy Division's Ian Curtis and Rob Gretton. Sadly, this latest album comes after the death of vocalist and keyboard player Jenny Cassidy (whose contributions can still be heard on 'Dream' and 'Better Make Your Mind Up'), which gives some explanation for the band's long time away from the recording process. The music on Part-Primitiv is informed by all phases of the band's back-catalogue, incorporating their ealry post punk impulse alongside their later disposition tow… Read more
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SECTION 25 - Part-Primitiv, LTM Recordings
AVEY TARE & KRIA BREKKAN - Pullhair Rubeye, Paw Tracks Records

AVEY TARE & KRIA BREKKAN

Pullhair Rubeye

Paw Tracks Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: PAW015CD

Pullhair Rubeye is the debut collaboration by Animal Collective's Avey Tare (Dave to his mates) and Kria Brekkan (aka Kristin Anna Valtysdottir, formerly of Icelandic electronica stars, Múm). The two musicians started playing music together in the summer of 2005 and have since shacked up and tied the knot, so you can probably expect to be hearing quite a few more collaborative ventures from them in the future. The duo recorded Pullhair Rubeye using guitars, a piano, an eight-track recorder and most prevalently, the use of their own distinctive vocal abilities. The album (almost in… Read more
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AVEY TARE & KRIA BREKKAN - Pullhair Rubeye, Paw Tracks Records
NELLY (PETRO) VAN DOESBURG (PIANO) - Repertoire De Stijl : Bauhaus : Dada, LTM Recordings
Nelly 'Petro' Van Doesburg was the wife of De Stijl founder Theo Van Doesburg, so as you can probably imagine was present at a number of pivotal points in the foundation of one of the crucial parts of 20th century art. Eventually she began to perform piano-pieces at lectures her husband would make at various De Stijl and Dada events between 1918 and 1925, and this disc is a collection of piano works drawn from that repertoire. Included here are works by Erik Satie, Francois Poulenc, Jacob van Domselaer, Josef Hauer, Arnold Schoenberg, Arthur Henegger and m… Read more
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NELLY (PETRO) VAN DOESBURG (PIANO) - Repertoire De Stijl : Bauhaus : Dada, LTM Recordings
STRATEGY - Future Rock, Kranky

STRATEGY

Future Rock

Kranky

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: KRANK108

Calling your music futuristic is just asking for criticism really. We all know that it's very rare to find music that genuinely hints at the future, and most of it, even the newest selections from the bulging avant-garde scene are often rooted in times past. Paul Dickow (better known to music buyers as Strategy, or one third of Nudge, or a part of Fontanelle) in his role as founder and curator of the very lovely Community Library label is a man whose finger is pressed firmly on the pulse of 'new' music but also a man who clearly has a great understanding of the ghosts of music past. Here is a produ… Read more
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STRATEGY - Future Rock, Kranky

Wednesday, 09 May 2007

DELORIS - Ten Lives, DOT DASH

DELORIS

Ten Lives

DOT DASH

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: DASH006CD

Ten Lives is the sophomore release by Melbourne-based indie ensemble Deloris, though apparently this album was assembled without the benefit of an actual band by singer/songwriter Marcus Teague. The Deloris line-up of their first album "Fake Our Deaths" had dissolved leaving Teague to record almost every instrument heard on this album himself. Quite an undertaking by anyone's standards, but when you hear the epic, string-soaked 'Funes' you'll be even more impressed. It's all pulled off with Arcade Fire levels of cinematic indie aplomb. Even more explosive is 'Everything Ever' which opens with swirling… Read more
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DELORIS - Ten Lives, DOT DASH

Tuesday, 08 May 2007

RUFIGE KRU - Malice In Wonderland, METALHEADZ

RUFIGE KRU

Malice In Wonderland

METALHEADZ

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

GRIME / FWD

Cat. Number: METH008CD

Review to follow shortly…
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MAPS - It Will Find You, Mute

MAPS

It Will Find You

Mute

Format_dot_cdCDS // £2.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: CDMUTE375

Poptronica whiz kid James Chapman is on a bit of a roll. His first 10" for Mute was something of a revelation: Lost My Soul saw Maps managing to tackle electronic pop music in a mature and thoughtful fashion not normally associated with the genre. It was like the Postal Service had met up with Sigur Ros, and the results were simply magnificent. Next came the similarly ambitious Start Something, and soon we'll have the long-player We Can Create to satisfy our appetites, but in the meantime It Will Find You proves to be a tantalising morsel in itself. There's something slightly darker in feel about … Read more
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MAPS - It Will Find You, Mute
DIE! DIE! DIE! - Die! Die! Die!, PET PIRANHA

DIE! DIE! DIE!

Die! Die! Die!

PET PIRANHA

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: PP020

Primal New Zealand rockers Die! Die! Die! are all about garage punk abrasion, with ragged, serrated-edge guitar sounds courtesy of Steve Albini's ever noisy mixing desk. The band have been playing dates throughout their homeland and Australia since 2003, clocking up dates with Wire and Franz Ferdinand along the way. They're currently doing the rounds with fellow antipodean rock behemoths Wolfmother, but those support slots really don't do the band's barbed assault on te senses justice. There's something far more severe about Die! Die! Die!'s apocalyptic jerkiness that aligns them with the likes … Read more
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DIE! DIE! DIE! - Die! Die! Die!, PET PIRANHA
GALLON DRUNK - Tonite...The Singles Bar, SARTORIAL

GALLON DRUNK

Tonite...The Singles Bar

SARTORIAL

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: FIT 020CD

This album was originally issued in 1992 as a collection of the band's vinyl-only singles, material from the early days that won the band acclaim from the British music press. These single include the band's debut 7' 'Please Give Me Something'/'Snakepit' that first introduced their swampy brand of retro rock to the world. This expanded version of that album has been given a 24-bit re-mastering treatment and comes packaged with an entire live set from the Chicago date of their 1993 tour with PJ Harvey. The eight live songs include various songs from their From The Heart Of Town album, which is also freshly re-mastered and reissued this week.
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GALLON DRUNK - Tonite...The Singles Bar, SARTORIAL
GALLON DRUNK - From The Heart Of Town, SARTORIAL

GALLON DRUNK

From The Heart Of Town

SARTORIAL

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: FIT 022CD

Originally released in 1993, From The Heart Of Town stands as one of Gallon Drunk's most highly regarded releases, and for many is the definitive statement of the band's twitchy swamp rock sound. This reissue has been given the 24-bit re-mastering treatment and has been repackaged with a live EP from the band's 1992 show at the Hollywood Bowl where they opened for Morrissey, plus B-sides originally packaged with the singles 'Bedlam' and the immense 'You Should Be Ashamed', which include the band's rather sinister take on Neil Sedaka's 'Solitaire' and Merle Haggard's 'Silver Wings'. A… Read more
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GALLON DRUNK - From The Heart Of Town, SARTORIAL
GALLON DRUNK - You, The Night...And The Music, SARTORIAL

GALLON DRUNK

You, The Night...And The Music

SARTORIAL

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: FIT 021CD

This debut album from bluesy swamp rock maestros Gallon Drunk has been re-mastered and re-packaged with seven extra tracks including an alternate take of live favourite 'Ruby', a previously unreleased instrumental demo ('All Mouth, No Trousers'), three tracks recorded in 1993 at a German radio station, plus a nine-minute rendition of 'Two Wings Mambo' captured from a 1992 London show. Best of all the bonus material is Nurse With Wound's Steve Stapleton remixing 'Draggin' Along' with results situated somewhere between Merzbow and the Rolling Stones' 'Sympathy For The Devil'. Ace....
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GALLON DRUNK - You, The Night...And The Music, SARTORIAL
THE YOUNG PLAYTHINGS - Who Invented Love?, SMALLTOWN AMERICA

THE YOUNG PLAYTHINGS

Who Invented Love?

SMALLTOWN AMERICA

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: STA036

Probably best to pretend you misread the song titles on this release, and that this London-based power-pop trio don't have tracks called 'Hot Sex With A Girl I Love' and 'Yr So Fit (For Me)'. In fact it's blissfully easy to overlook that last title, the song isn't actually on this album (I just thought it my duty to let you know it was out there). There's a certain mucky teenage quality to The Young Playthings, who with their desperately unconvincing American accents assault Top 40 pop sensibilities whilst grazing The Lemonheads, Bob Mould and Weezer along the way. The adrenaline … Read more
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THE YOUNG PLAYTHINGS - Who Invented Love?, SMALLTOWN AMERICA
ROPE INC - Songs Of Love & War, SECOND SHIMMY

ROPE INC

Songs Of Love & War

SECOND SHIMMY

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: SECOND SHIMMY 102

This album by Seattleite Matt Menovcik is a melancholic affair constructed from brittle drum loops and sadness-imbued electric pianos. It makes for a cold yet ultimately very human-sounding collection of pop electronics all lent an emotive edge by Menovcik's rasping vocal, which croaks along like a marginally less weathered Tom Waits. The production is lent extra gravitas by Shimmy-Disc founder Kramer who provides guitar and mellotron in a few key moments, most notably, the rather sinister 'Escape', featuring some peculiar synth-harpsichord lines to creep you out. There's not a great deal you… Read more
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ROPE INC - Songs Of Love & War, SECOND SHIMMY
JOY DIVISION - Martin Hannett's Personal Mixes, INTERSTATE

JOY DIVISION

Martin Hannett's Personal Mixes

INTERSTATE

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: CD 10797

An invaluable document of Martin Hannett (the 'post-punk Phil Spector' as the liner notes would have it) and his work with Joy Division, which not only takes in alternate, 'director's cut'-type mixdowns of the studio sessions which would eventually become 'Closer', but even includes recordings of false starts, dialogue between the producer and the band plus a few snippets of Hannett's sound design exercises such as recordings of lifts creaking into action and assorted weird synth tones. Among the full-length alternate mixes are 'From Safety To Where', 'Autosuggestion' and '2… Read more
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JOY DIVISION - Martin Hannett's Personal Mixes, INTERSTATE
BRANT BJORK AND THE BROS - Somera Sol, DUNA

BRANT BJORK AND THE BROS

Somera Sol

DUNA

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: DUNA 017

Best known for his work in Fu Manchu and as co-founder of Californian rock outfit Kyuss alongside a pre-Queens Of The Stone Age Josh Homme, Brant Bjork is an iconic figure in the 'desert rock' scene. Somera Sol finds Bjork hitting his stride as a psychedelic guitar hero and stoner songsmith accompanied by bassplayer Dylan Roche, guitarist Cortez plus fellow Kyuss (and QOTSA) alumnus Alfredo Hernandez on drums. The bluesy psychedelics of 'Turn Yourself On' should give plenty of clues as to the sort of journey Bjork and his band are on: this is a retro-minded rock odyssey replete with … Read more
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BRANT BJORK AND THE BROS - Somera Sol, DUNA

Monday, 07 May 2007

DEAD MEADOW - Howls From The Hills, XEMU RECORDS

DEAD MEADOW

Howls From The Hills

XEMU RECORDS

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: XM-1016

This Washington DC-based power trio still have their heads lost in the more psychedelic elements of '70s rock music, referencing Led Zeppelin and Hendrix's Band of Gypsys in their pursuit of far-out fuzz-laden sounds. The album is ushered in with an undulating drone that gradually evolves into some echo-drenched guitar tones and cascading drum fills. By the time we reach the three-minute mark, the band's trademark stoner groove is in full-effect. In fact, the stylistic shift from weird atmospherics to pounding classic rock in opener 'Drifting Down Streams' is of Acid Mothers Temple prop… Read more
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DEAD MEADOW - Howls From The Hills, XEMU RECORDS
STINKING LIZAVETA - Scream Of The Iron Iconoclast, Monotreme Records

STINKING LIZAVETA

Scream Of The Iron Iconoclast

Monotreme Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: MONO 27

Some hugely enjoyable instrumental metal insanity from this trio from the Philadelphia underground. The band (comprising drums, guitar and upright electric bass) fuse together the kind of baroque technical wares that you'd associate with prime '80s thrash with a loosened-up, improvised edge that plants them somewhere within the realms of that most specialist of genres, doom-jazz. As with the similarly ear-frazzling Die! Die! Die! album out this week, Scream Of The Iron Iconoclast is produced by noise rock veteran Steve Albini, who for this release does a fine job of leavi… Read more
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STINKING LIZAVETA - Scream Of The Iron Iconoclast, Monotreme Records

Thursday, 03 May 2007

DOG DAY - Night Group, Tomlab

DOG DAY

Night Group

Tomlab

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: TOM98CD

Hot on the heels of their delightful 7" 'Lydia', TomLab's latest pop hope Dog Day have delivered on that promise, producing an album packed with similarly excellent tunes, and a sophisticated, typically Canadian indie rock countenance. 'Career Suicide' is somewhere between Sonic Youth at their most melodic and Death Cab For Cutie's mainstream-ready alt-rock template. It's an absolute winner of a track, certainly not the sort of thing you'd expect from a label who have only just unleashed the latest album of lunatic electro croon from Khan, for example. Instead, Dog Day dish out a very sober kind of … Read more
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DOG DAY - Night Group, Tomlab
ERIK SATIE - Cubist Works 1913-24, LTM Recordings

ERIK SATIE

Cubist Works 1913-24

LTM Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

MODERN CLASSICAL / AMBIENT

Cat. Number: LTMCD 2406

Erik Satie is one of those composers who it seems impossible to get away from, I almost reference him as a reflex action now - minimal but strangely beautiful piano work? I know I'll drop in Erik Satie's name, then people will know what I'm talking about. Of course, we're actually only talking about Satie's seminal 'Trois Gymnopédies' - and the great composer's work stretched far beyond merely three compositions for piano. This disc compiles work Satie composed between 1913 and 1924; collaborations with renowned artist Pablo Picasso, a piece written for the French Futurist dancer and poe… Read more
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ERIK SATIE - Cubist Works 1913-24, LTM Recordings
ALIAS - Collected Remixes, Anticon

ALIAS

Collected Remixes

Anticon

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: ABR0071cd

Over the years Anticon has expanded upon its leftfield hip hop origins to incorporate a broader range of similarly forward-thinking musical styles and genres. It's fitting then that Alias (aka Brendon Whitney), a mainstay of the label, should follow suit and absorb these varied influences. His album "Muted" and the Alias & Ehren collaboration "Lillian" both proved that Whitney was a producer to be reckoned with whose skills certainly weren't restricted to any single approach. If ever there was an apt vehicle for demonstrating this, it's this remix collection. Whitney tackles original material by… Read more
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ALIAS - Collected Remixes, Anticon
DJ SHADOW / VARIOUS - Schoolhouse Funk II, Cali Tex

DJ SHADOW / VARIOUS

Schoolhouse Funk II

Cali Tex

Format_dot_cdCD // £16.99

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: CT-104

Available once again, a limited run of authentic copies of this amazing collection of rock and funk covers by 70s high school marching bands, compiled by DJ Shadow and supplied direct from man himself. Check out some made stomping interpretations of ‘On The Good Foot’, ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’, ‘Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?’ and more. Ace.
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BJORK - Volta, One Little Indian
Featured CD

BJORK

Volta

One Little Indian

Format_dot_cdCD // £5.49

INDUSTRIAL / WAVE / ELECTRO

Cat. Number: TPLP460CD

A Björk album is always a major event in the musical calendar, particularly for any followers of experimental music - no other artist can be credited with introducing such an array of avant-garde elements and production techniques so directly into the mainstream. The same goes for personnel: in hand-picking collaborators from the underground's finest talents Björk has been responsible for drawing the pop chart-following public's attention to the work of Matmos, Zeena Parkins, LFO's Mark Bell and Opiate's Thomas Knak. That's quite some achievement in itself. Only last week she went and put free drumming icon… Read more
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BJORK - Volta, One Little Indian
MAGA BO - Confusion Of Tongues, Soot

MAGA BO

Confusion Of Tongues

Soot

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

GRIME / FWD

Cat. Number: SOOT12CD

Maga Bo is a perfect addition to DJ/Rupture's pan-ghetto crew of riddim addicts. In this DJ performance recorded at Resonance FM in London Maga Bo gives a full frontal display of his international sonic weaponry and rhythm knowledge with tracks ranging from Slaughter mob sweating down with DJ Dolores vs. Taraf De Haidouks, to a flawless selection from Nettle to Enduser via Timeblind's awesome 'pwana frenzy' cut, and a very healthy representation from Maga Bo and Filastine's like minded collaborative project Sonar Calibrado and both artists solo work respectively. Soot have built up a devote… Read more
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MAGA BO - Confusion Of Tongues, Soot

Wednesday, 02 May 2007

THE FALL - Shift Work (2CD Edition), FONTANA

THE FALL

Shift Work (2CD Edition)

FONTANA

Format_dot_cd2CD // £12.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: 9847464

This double disc reissue of The Fall's Shift-Work features the original album re-mastered plus an entire disc's worth of bonus material, including singles, B-sides, Peel Sessions and other assorted rarities from the same period as the album's release. Shift-Work was released in 1991, approximately halfway into the band's career to date. Manchester's music scene was quite the hub of activity back when Shift-Work was being recorded, and the band certainly rose to the climate, producing what's often considered a turning point in their catalogue where the band embraced more openly pop-friend… Read more
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THE FALL - Shift Work (2CD Edition), FONTANA
THE FALL - Extricate (2CD Edition), FONTANA

THE FALL

Extricate (2CD Edition)

FONTANA

Format_dot_cd2CD // £12.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: 9847463

Released in 1990 after the parting of Brix Smith, 'Extricate' was the Fall album the world was ready to hate. It was their first after Mark E Smith had signed the band to a major label, and with that in mind (and the loss of Smith) the fans were ready to hear something that simply wasn't the Fall they knew and loved. How wrong they could have been - 'Extricate' is an insane and beautiful journey, and rather than being the major label dross it so easily could have been it was one of the most unusual albums the band ever committed to disc. Using bizarre instrumentation and incorporating ele… Read more
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THE FALL - Extricate (2CD Edition), FONTANA
REANIMATOR. - Thrashin' The Neighbourhood, GALY
Firstly please be aware that this mini-album is not by Community Library noise-tronic act Reanimator, this is a very different band altogether. In fact they're a bunch of young whippersnappers from Canada who sound like they spent (or should that be mis-spent) their young lives learning how to poorly re-wire Machine Head tracks into palatable pop-metal. This purports to be thrash, but where thrash metal is supposed to have roots in hardcore punk, this seems to be all over the place. Punk's supposed to have attitude and what I struggle to hear in Reanimator is a unique voice, a desi… Read more
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REANIMATOR. - Thrashin' The Neighbourhood, GALY
THE CINEMATIC ORCHESTRA - Ma Fleur, Ninja Tune

THE CINEMATIC ORCHESTRA

Ma Fleur

Ninja Tune

Format_dot_cdCD // £5.99

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: ZENCD122

Ma Fleur represents something of a departure for Jason Swinscoe's Cinematic Orchestra. Although the group have been extremely active in the interim, their last album "Everyday" was released a whole five years ago. During that time Swinscoe's music has clearly taken a turn for the introspective, as although the familiar jazz templates of old are still detectable, the album is dominated by an unexpectedly raw sense of sadness. The Antony and The Johnsons approximation, 'To Build A Home' is an excellent, sweetly maudlin starting point for the album, with Montreal-based vocalist Patrick Wat… Read more
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THE CINEMATIC ORCHESTRA - Ma Fleur, Ninja Tune