Later period, post-4AD Cocteau Twins pressed on vinyl for the first time since its original release.
"Four-Calendar Café is the seventh album by Scottish band Cocteau Twins. It was originally released on 18 October 1993 on Fontana. The album distinguished itself from the rest of the Twins’ catalogue in two major areas: The sound was much more pop-oriented and less ambient than previous works, and Liz Fraser’s lyrics were much more intelligible than usual."
While the filtered, tape-fuelled obfuscation of Grouper's signature sound remains, Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill is far more resonant up front about the songs at the heart of her work.
Opening track 'Disengaged' offers a segue from the cloudy, amorphous Grouper output of old and this current strain of more easily deciphered writing: it's a mass of mesmerising magnetic hiss and soft noise, with a voice cloaked in lo-fi haze somewhere at the back. Soon after, Harris' guitar and voice emerge, reverberant and phantom-like, and yet comprehensible.
If previously you've struggled to make out Grouper lyrics, and wondered what's going on beneath that veneer of musty, degraded audio, 'Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping' offers you a way in. Those dense recording techniques have become a unique production signature and it's virtually impossible to separate Liz Harris' creative identity from that uniquely ghostly sound of hers, but now it feels like a conduit to her songs rather than a barrier. There are echoes of her earliest work on the album too, as on the wordless, partially acappella atmospherics of 'Wind & Snow', but the overall impression left by this album is one of inspired creative renewal, and the unveiling of a songwriting talent that's previously been content to dwell in shadows and deflect attention with smoke and mirrors.
A real milestone release for Harris, and a definite high point for the rejuvenated Type label, we've been unable to stop listening to this incredible album for weeks - it's an absolute must.
First ever official vinyl reissue of Neil Young’s beyond-classic 1996 soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch's 'Dead Man' - a mesmerising exercise in tightly controlled improvisation mostly made up of solo electric guitar interspersed with organ, piano, field recordings and excerpts of Johnny Depp reciting William Blake. Sounds awful - we know - but actually a uniquely gripping, inspired piece of work - one of the great soundtracks of the late 20th century.
Vague recollections of the film and its fever-dream topographies are most likely responsible for the almost mystical aura that surrounds ‘Dead Man', but Young does much to heighten its bizarre sense of place with a process of recording that was both off the cuff and bursting with inspiration - taking things to almost transcendental dimensions. Young improvised on his electric guitar Old Black in real time as he watched the film in his studio, throwing in bits of dialogue between tracks and - most bizarrely - lots of weird ambient sounds that aren't in the film - including a prominent car engine running in the background - something that makes no sense for a film set in the 19th century.
It all adds to a sense of physical and metaphysical displacement that's connected to but not reliant on any knowledge of the film, running its own sense of fuzzy logic. Musically, it reminds us of everything from John Fahey’s ‘Red Cross’ to the more introspective end of Goran Bregović’s soundtrack work for Emir Kusturica, or even Ry Cooder’s iconic Paris Texas, Bruce Langhorne’s 'The Hired Hand’ and classic Earth playing at the same time as some weird field recordings open on another tab. In other words; just the sort of precious shit we spend our lives digging for.
“The fourth leg on the early emo table of Rites of Spring, Moss Icon, and Cap’n Jazz, Indian Summer’s Giving Birth To Thunder compiles their complete discography. Emo’s second wave crashed into the Bay Area in the summer of 1994 in a rage-filled capsule of quiet and loud, octave chords, angry sons, Spock haircuts, and screaming. At the eye of this pissed-for-the-hell-of-it storm were Indian Summer. In the quartet’s 12-month existence they wrote ten songs, appeared on half a dozen singles and comps, and played over 100 gigs across the U.S. and Canada before burning out, passing out, and moving out of their Blue House in Oakland. Their hand-screened aesthetic is replicated in alarming detail in the accompanying by 28-page book with detailed liner notes, flyers, and miscellaneous propaganda.”