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Thursday, 27 March 2008

SECTION 25 - Dirty Disco (Best of 1978-2008), LTM Recordings

SECTION 25

Dirty Disco (Best of 1978-2008)

LTM Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: LTMCD2515

After a string of Section 25 releases, the LTM label issues the first ever Best Of compilation attributed to the band, collecting eight album tracks and key singles 'Knew Noise', 'Dirty Disco', 'Haunted', 'Beating Heart', 'Looking From A Hilltop', 'Bad News Week' and 'Crazy Wisdom'. LTM have certainly gone out of their way to help re-establish the Blackpool-based group, and that's only fair given all the interest afforded more widely known Factory Records acts in recent times. Section 25 were every bit the post-punk innovators as their mentors Joy Division. In fact, after Joy Di… Read more
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SECTION 25 - Dirty Disco (Best of 1978-2008), LTM Recordings

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

TALL FIRS - Too Old To Die Young, Ecstatic Peace

TALL FIRS

Too Old To Die Young

Ecstatic Peace

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: E41D

The second Ecstatic Peace! outing for the excellent Tall Firs clearly bears the influence of their Sonic Youth patrons, but far from being a derivative trawl through the SY catalogue to please their boss, Too Old To Die Young manages to sound entirely fresh, whilst also referencing classic sounds of the American underground like Dinosaur Jr, and to a lesser extent Pavement, who possibly contribute to some of the inspiration behind 'Hairdo' ('Cut Your Hair' perhaps?). There's an undercurrent of darkness running through the album too, with tracks like 'Secrets And Lies' wrenching violin out… Read more
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TALL FIRS - Too Old To Die Young, Ecstatic Peace
THE RACONTEURS - Consolers Of The Lonely, XL Recordings

THE RACONTEURS

Consolers Of The Lonely

XL Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: XLCD359

If you've taken your eye off the internet for a week or so you may well be surprised to find this Raconteurs album even exists. Presumably as a measure against the album leaking several months in advance of an official release (as seems to be the norm nowadays) the band went and gave one week's notice on the street date of their new album, 'Consolers Of The Lonely'. So, now the record's with us, has it suffered from only having a seven-day period to pile on the hype? Given that in certain quarters it seems to have been the principal subject of discussion over the entirety of Easte… Read more
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THE RACONTEURS - Consolers Of The Lonely, XL Recordings
COLLEEN - Les Ondes Silencieuses, The Leaf Label
Featured CD

COLLEEN

Les Ondes Silencieuses

The Leaf Label

Format_dot_cdCD // £8.99

MODERN CLASSICAL / AMBIENT

Cat. Number: BAY57CD

Back in stock! Our love affair with Cécile Schott (known to the world as Colleen) is well documented - all it took was her charming debut album 'Everyone Alive Wants Answers' and we were totally hooked. The Gallic mistress of modern electronic music had introduced a feminine side to a staid masculine world, and we had found an album we could sink into and fall in love with. Her use of samples was totally unique - rather than overlay sound upon sound to create a dense soup of noise she appeared totally happy letting the small silences speak for themselves, and it was this restraint that ga… Read more
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COLLEEN - Les Ondes Silencieuses, The Leaf Label
BARRY LYNN (BOXCUTTER) - Balancing Lakes, Planet Mu

BARRY LYNN (BOXCUTTER)

Balancing Lakes

Planet Mu

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: ZIQ162CD

Back in stock! You'll probably know Barry Lynn better as Boxcutter, whose albums Glyphic and Oneiric have stirred up a fuss in various factions of the music world. You might consider Boxcutter to be a logical update of IDM, taking the expanded sonic horizons of the genre and transposing them into a more contemporary dubstep-related context. This collection of early recordings by Lynn showcases this meeting of styles in its nascent stages, referencing breakbeats, garage, dub and jazz alongside the more distinctive Aphexisms that litter his current crop of material. These productions… Read more
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BARRY LYNN (BOXCUTTER) - Balancing Lakes, Planet Mu

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR - War Metal Battle Master, Southern Lord
You have to respect Southern Lord for releases like this: aside from the label's mighty avant-metal contribution, with artists like Oren Ambarchi, Earth and SunnO))) itself taking heavy music in new directions, it's pretty great to hear old school thrash of this calibre on the same imprint. Drawing influence from the likes of Slayer, Lair Of The Minotaur combine middle-heavy riffing with great harmonised guitar leads on tracks like 'When Ice Giants Slayed All', grinding out dropped tuned chord progressions and pinched harmonics like it was 1993. Which I often wish it was. … Read more
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LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR - War Metal Battle Master, Southern Lord
NICO MUHLY - Speaks Volumes, BEDROOM COMMUNITY

NICO MUHLY

Speaks Volumes

BEDROOM COMMUNITY

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

MODERN CLASSICAL / AMBIENT

Cat. Number: HVALUR1

Back in stock! You may well already be familiar with Nico Muhly's work without realizing it. He has collaborated with Antony (of & the Johnsons fame, who provides vocals for the exquisite 'Keep In Touch' here) and has performed on Bjork's Medulla LP as well as her soundtrack to Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint 9. The album is superbly produced by Valgeir Sigurdsson, who also worked on the two aforementioned Bjork albums, in addition to producing Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's recent work, The Letting Go. The combination of Muhly's formidable modern classical chamber compositions and Sigurdsson's… Read more
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NICO MUHLY - Speaks Volumes, BEDROOM COMMUNITY
RIKO - The Truth, Roll Deep Records

RIKO

The Truth

Roll Deep Records

Format_dot_cd2CD // £7.99

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: RIKOCD8001

Roll deep's Riko comes through with the goods on his long threatened mixtape for Roll Deep recordings. Riko will probably be best known to a lot of you as the fella with bars from behind bars on the Menta remix of Lady Sovereign's 'Random', or for his his years of loyal service in Roll Deep. With the freedom afforded to the mixtape format Riko has selected a top drawer pick of producers and riddim from Wiley on opener 'So amazing', to Wizzbit's staple riddim on 'Do you know my name', Skepta's incredible stageshow riddim, and loads more from Maniac, Chase and Staus, Danny Weed and Jammer. Over the two dis… Read more
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RIKO - The Truth, Roll Deep Records

Monday, 24 March 2008

JOY DIVISION - The Best Of Joy Division, LONDON

JOY DIVISION

The Best Of Joy Division

LONDON

Format_dot_cd2CD // £15.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: 5144273022

The merits of a greatest hits package are always going to be in contention when the band in question has such a short discography, but this double disc release goes about as far as it reasonably could, bringing together 'the hits' alongside the band's Peel Session recordings, plus 'She's Lost Control' and 'Transmission' as performed on Something Else in September of 1979. Finally, there's a brief interview with Ian Curtis and Stephen Morris tacked onto the end of the second disc. It goes without saying, but most Joy Division fans will be familiar with a good deal of this already, a… Read more
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JOY DIVISION - The Best Of Joy Division, LONDON
DEERHOOF - Green Cosmos, ATP/Recordings

DEERHOOF

Green Cosmos

ATP/Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £6.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: ATPRCD17

NOW AT MIDPRICE! Don't let the fact that Deerhoof have been touched by the grubby-nailed hand of Kerrang put you off! The follow-up to their skew-whiff debut 'Milk Man', the San Francisco four-piece have shifted their sound a little, favouring the E-number rush of multi-instrumentation and half woman/half child vocals that distinguished them from the lo-fi inclined releases of the day. Equal parts Melt Banana, Sonic Youth, Wilco, Caribou and a whole Disco of weirdos, Deerhoof kick off proceedings with the suitably nutjob 'Come See The Duck', wherein squally guitars and an Xmas show of strings lurc… Read more
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DEERHOOF - Green Cosmos, ATP/Recordings

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

BEEQUEEN - Sandancing, Important Records

BEEQUEEN

Sandancing

Important Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: IMPREC177

With us the same week as his Freiband alter ego's collaboration with Machinefabriek, Oahu, Frans De Waard's Beequeen project, a collaboration with Freek Kinkelaar and vocalist Olga Wallis. The Beequeen sound combines microsonic details and wonderfully out-of-place acousmatic sounds, mingling with finely crafted electronic pop music. this could almost be a Lali Puna record at times, but somehow these pieces are a lot more like regular songs, and yet the electronics are a good deal more experimental than that would suggest. Away from the conventions of the album's recurring, untreated drum machine bac… Read more
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BEEQUEEN - Sandancing, Important Records
CAT POWER - Dear Sir, Plain

CAT POWER

Dear Sir

Plain

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: PLAIN102CD

Back In Stock! Reissue of the debut Cat Power album from 1994. Guests include Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley and Chan covers Tom Wait's 'Yesterday Is Here' from the 1987 album 'Frank's Wild Years'. Also on here is the now notorious 'Mr. Gallo', dedicated to indie hero, old school B-Boy and former Cat Power Squeeze, Vincent 'Prince Vince' Gallo. There are glimpses at the kind of writing that would carve out her future records, but Chan Marshall's songs here are so much rawer and more unhinged than we've come to expect from her in recent times, which of course, is by no means a bad thing.
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CAT POWER - Dear Sir, Plain
SCOTT WALKER - The Drift, 4AD

SCOTT WALKER

The Drift

4AD

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: CAD2603CD

Back in stock. It's always worth considering the route Scott Walker could have taken following his flirtation with the charts back in the sixties - an endless procession of 'farewell' tours, some dodgy dance collaborations and a slew of moribund chat-show appearances. He might have even got rediscovered at Glastonbury. However, rather than set-off down the tried and tested slope of endless rehashing of the mythical glory years, Scott Walker has somehow installed himself as one of our most esoteric songwriters - fusing a love of European poetry and experimentation with the intense melodies of A-… Read more
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SCOTT WALKER - The Drift, 4AD

Monday, 17 March 2008

WITCH - Paralyzed, TEEPEE

WITCH

Paralyzed

TEEPEE

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: TPE085

More classy stoner metal from J Mascis' other band, and no folks, I'm not talking about The Fog. The Dinosaur Jr. lynchpin sets down his purple Jazzmaster in favour of a pair of drumsticks and bandmates Dave Sweetapple plus Asa Irons and Kyle Thomas of that freakiest of freak folk collectives, Feathers. There's an undeniable authenticity to Witch's output, steeped in vintage heavy metal and the riff crunching sounds of the seventies. There are a lot of people trading in this kind of Led Zep/Sabbath influence nowadays, but few can pull it off as convincingly as this band, who can all play exceptionally w… Read more
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WITCH - Paralyzed, TEEPEE

Thursday, 13 March 2008

VALET - Naked Acid, Kranky

VALET

Naked Acid

Kranky

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: KRANK116

A follow-up to her Kranky debut Blood Is Clean, Honey Owens' latest release as Valet pursues a similar line of enquiry to the homespun avant-garde songwriting you'd find on a Grouper or Islaja album. There's a more emphatic psychedelic element to Owens' work (you need only look as far as the outlandish sleeve art to realise that), much of which stems from some searing, freeform guitar work, as exemplified by the spiralling blues jam 'F**k It'. While Owens' voice can sound oddly vacant, drifting with a lo-fi reverberation over the course of much of Naked Acid, those wild electric lead parts really injec… Read more
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VALET - Naked Acid, Kranky
TRIM - Soulfood Vol 3, SOULFOOD

TRIM

Soulfood Vol 3

SOULFOOD

Format_dot_cdCD // £7.99

GRIME / FWD

Cat. Number: SOULFOOD3

Following up the huge success of last years excellent first two installations and the awesome hookup with Dusk and Blackdown, the Soulfood series rolls onto vol.3 under the direction of master MC Taliban Trim. Since departing with Roll Deep a few years back, Trim has gone on to enjoy some of the best critical and commercial success of any member from the crew, making a massive splash with the first Soulfood volume, cementing his position as a top dog in the Grime game with some canny A+R decisions, pulling in a selection of top producers to deliver some killer riddims to support his unique Jamaican … Read more
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TRIM - Soulfood Vol 3, SOULFOOD
NO KIDS - Come Into My House, Tomlab

NO KIDS

Come Into My House

Tomlab

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: TOM108

Vancouver's No Kids are a mere trio who have nonetheless recorded a debut album of considerable scope and finesse, recruiting the supporting talents of a further nine musicians, apparently with some thanks due to a Canadian government grant. It sounds like the extra cash paid off, because Come Into My House enjoys rich and varied arrangements, charged with strings, horns and even a bit of electronica. You might make a comparison to the more exuberantly lavish sequences on Vampire Weekend's debut, or the chamber-sized orchestrations of Sufjan Stevens, particularly on tracks like the beautiful … Read more
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NO KIDS - Come Into My House, Tomlab
OKKERVIL RIVER - Black Sheep Boy (Definitive Edition), Jagjaguwar
*LIMITED DOUBLE DISC EDITION* Back in the 60's "folk-pop master" Tim Hardin wrote a song called 'Black Sheep Boy' in which he lamented his families treatment of him as an outcast just cos he loved to wander, singing "I'm the families unowned boy, envied with the golden hair". How do I know all this? Well Texas band Okkervil River have taken that song as a starting point (including a very Ben Gibbard-esque opening cover) then got busy creating a story which spirals outwards in a concept that isn't half as annoying as it may sound. Whilst their top half may suggest a Scot… Read more
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OKKERVIL RIVER - Black Sheep Boy (Definitive Edition), Jagjaguwar

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

HARRY ALICE - Eat Your Own / In A While, Hallso

HARRY ALICE

Eat Your Own / In A While

Hallso

Format_dot_cdCDS // £2.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: N/A

Contrary to what you might reasonably assume, Harry Alice is not a name in reference to a solo artist but rather a musical collective headed by Women & Children's Kevin Lasting. Further complicating matters, the songs are all written by one "Columbus Brown", which sounds like another red herring to me. Perplexing nomenclature aside, the release is an unadorned, beautifully plaintive affair focusing on the traditional values of singer/songwriter-dom. Both tracks are hinged upon Lasting's lone acoustic work, all recorded in a warmed-up, faux-vintage style reminiscent of Devendra Banhar… Read more
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HARRY ALICE - Eat Your Own / In A While, Hallso
BONNIE PRINCE BILLY - Master And Everyone, Domino Recording Co

BONNIE PRINCE BILLY

Master And Everyone

Domino Recording Co

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: WIGCD121

Gorgeous songwriting craft is the order of the day for Will Oldham's latest and possibly greatest album to date. Back with his Palace brother Paul and a small gathering of like minded soul searchers, Will's vocals are rustic, like dead bark hanging from tired trees. Guitar, strings, bass, battered percussion and the unique vocals that have gained him such a sizeable following over the last few years. Will's even more effecting in collaboration with the spellbinding angelic delivery of Marty Slayton. With this and the Loose Fur album, it's definitely the week to sling up the hammock and let your weary woes hang down. Shockingly good music, thanks Will.
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BONNIE PRINCE BILLY - Master And Everyone, Domino Recording Co
BONNIE PRINCE BILLY - Greatest Palace Music, Domino Recording Co

BONNIE PRINCE BILLY

Greatest Palace Music

Domino Recording Co

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: WIGCD140

How wonderful to be both madly eccentric and hugely talented. That's the trick of one Will Oldham - king of new folk, veteran of musical eccentricity and, above all, master of unbeleivably good songwriting. Following up the sublime folk masterpiece "Master and Everyone", Mr Oldham digs out some of his own Palace Music material and re-records them under his Bonnie Prince Billy guise. The result is a hugely accessable collection of country folk songs that sound like ageless standards - complete with much twangy guitar and a western drawl that gives this album a somehow familiar … Read more
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BONNIE PRINCE BILLY - Greatest Palace Music, Domino Recording Co
THE GUTTER TWINS - Saturnalia, SUB POP

THE GUTTER TWINS

Saturnalia

SUB POP

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: SPCD761

For those not already caught up in the buzz surrounding this release, the first thing to point out is that the album charts the combined efforts of ex-Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli, formerly of the Afghan Whigs. These two Sub Pop stalwarts have previously collaborated via The Twilight Singers project, but Saturnalia marks their first full-length outing together. Lanegan's voice is well on its way to the sort of weathered authority commanded by Tom Waits, fast becoming one of the great world-weary baritones of his generation. While no less emotionally resonant, Dulli's … Read more
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THE GUTTER TWINS - Saturnalia, SUB POP

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

BERT JANSCH - The Black Swan, Sanctuary

BERT JANSCH

The Black Swan

Sanctuary

Format_dot_cdCD // £5.49

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: SANCD430

Back in stock! We all know how influential Bert Jansch has been, with his band Pentangle he created some of the most important 'modern folk' works of the 20th century and his influence lives on today in a time where folk music has been taken into the mainstream once again. With Devandra Banhart and Joanna Newsom taking the cover of magazines it seems just the right time for Jansch to slip in with his finest album in years and he's roped in some pretty worthy collaborators. The aforementioned Banhart weighs with his unmistakable vocals on 'Katie Cruel' and wistful singer-songwriter Beth Orton … Read more
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BERT JANSCH - The Black Swan, Sanctuary
DEMONS - Evocation, NO FUN

DEMONS

Evocation

NO FUN

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: NFP25

Demons, the duo of Steve Kenney and Wolf Eyes' Nate Young have been getting a fair amount of attention recently, having put the feelers out via a number of low-key cassette releases over the past year or two, eventually delivering this, their magnum opus for the scene-leading No Fun imprint. Evocation takes noise music into an entirely more intriguing realm than the usual dirge-bound excursions emanate from the US underground. In fairness, they're all good and well, but an album like this is required now and then to freshen things up a little. Demons fuse abrasive, clamorous sound-sculpting with analog… Read more
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DEMONS - Evocation, NO FUN
JACK KEROUAC - Blues And Haikus, Emi

JACK KEROUAC

Blues And Haikus

Emi

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: ZONO20082

Cult author and icon of the beat generation Jack Kerouac is probably lesser known for his musical excursions than his writings. Certainly having read On the Road I can honestly say I'd never stumbled across any recordings he'd made, but this disc, released back in 1959, is a revelation. It might best be referred to as spoken word, but Kerouac's choice of collaborators, the talented tenor saxmen Al Cohn and Zoot Sims (with Cohn doubling up on piano at times) is truly inspired and pairs wonderfully with the words themselves. Although I'm no great fan of spoken word it's clear that Kerouac kn… Read more
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JACK KEROUAC - Blues And Haikus, Emi

Thursday, 06 March 2008

MIKE PATTON - A Perfect Place, Ipecac

MIKE PATTON

A Perfect Place

Ipecac

Format_dot_cdCD + DVD // £13.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: IPC-100

This special edition film and soundtrack bundle features the DVD of Derrick Scocchera's 25-minute short, A Perfect Place in all its monochromatic glory, alongside the original score by the prolific Mike Patton. The film noir tones of Patton's soundtrack (which curiously lasts ten minutes longer than the movie itself) are likable if a bit too reliant on midi approximations of orchestral instruments. The main theme is probably the worst offender on that front, but it's all to be taken in good humour. This is all highly incongruous with Patton's recent output elsewhere: 'A Perfect Twist' sounds… Read more
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MIKE PATTON - A Perfect Place, Ipecac
BALTIC FLEET - Baltic Fleet, Blow Up

BALTIC FLEET

Baltic Fleet

Blow Up

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: BU041CD

This is the debut album by Paul Fleming, the touring keyboardist with Echo & The Bunnymen. The album was conceived on the road only to be overhauled in the studio by Nick Terry, whose mixing credits include Klaxons and Simian Mobile Disco releases. I felt I should drop in that last sentence in order to compensate for the coolness deficit caused by the one that preceded it. There's no getting away from the presence of the Bunnymen however: Will Sergeant shows up on guitar, which is only fitting given the icy, post-punk aesthetics adopted by certain pieces, notably the new wave-inspired drum mac… Read more
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BALTIC FLEET - Baltic Fleet, Blow Up
THE LOW LOWS - Shining Violence, Monotreme Records

THE LOW LOWS

Shining Violence

Monotreme Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: MONO-32

Two years down the line from their debut, Fire On The Bright Sky, The Low Lows return with their quirksome take on alt. country, adopting a similarly reverberant, ever so slightly ghostly sounding aesthetic comparable to folks like Band Of Horses, who themselves in turn get compared to My Morning Jacket. That's the vibe anyhow. There's a varied line-up of instrumentation on Shining Violence however, calling upon lapsteel and other such country staples as well as brass sections, all of which is put to highly effective use on the lovely 'Disappear', a distorted ballad that fuses Jesus & Mary… Read more
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THE LOW LOWS - Shining Violence, Monotreme Records
SIX BY SEVEN - Any Colour AsLong As It's Black, SATURDAY NIGHT SUNDAY MORNING

SIX BY SEVEN

Any Colour AsLong As It's Black

SATURDAY NIGHT SUNDAY MORNING

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: SNSM013

Six By Seven were a band who seemed to dissolve into the background shortly after their explosive entrance into the UK music scene during the mid-to-late nineties. Despite being championed by certain taste-making corners of the of the press (and most notably, John Peel), the great British public seemed largely unmoved by the group's often very dark, rather complex compositions. This collection presents a handy opportunity for a catch-up with the band's catalogue, collecting a wealth of the band's most notable works alongside some choice remixes from fans like the Flaming Lip… Read more
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SIX BY SEVEN - Any Colour AsLong As It's Black, SATURDAY NIGHT SUNDAY MORNING
D_RRADIO - D_Rradio, Distraction Records

D_RRADIO

D_Rradio

Distraction Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £1.49

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: DIST 12

Sometime Static Caravan stalwarts D_rradio spent some three years piecing together this album. You can hear a clear advancement in the group's craft too, with a multi-layered approach t combining electronic production techniques with more naturalistic sounds. in that respect you could probably draw comparisons between this and the new Skyphone album, also listed this week. The quality of pieces like 'Blow Out' isn't far from the magical warmth of the Rune Grammofon trio, and the stuttery acoustic guitar rhythms of 'So Long' make for an appealing line of enquiry, but the more in-your-face tracks are a … Read more
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D_RRADIO - D_Rradio, Distraction Records