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Mid-Year Review 2019
The first half of 2019 will forever be remembered in the UK for its, ahem, underwhelming summer. Luckily for us, black midi graduated from Brit School, we got a double dose of Kevin Martin, and Big Thief failed the 'classic album title' test. Plus Mort Garson wants to remind you to water your plants.

Read it here » Published: Wednesday 3rd July 2019

Archive

Underrated 80s albums

What about hair back then, eh? Maybe you too were swishing your Nick Beggs beads to the aspirational pop of the day, but beneath it all the 1980s was the first decade when independent music started to really come through.

Published: Tuesday 21st May 2019

How to be a more environmentally-friendly vinyl collector

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that vinyl has been enjoying a resurgence in recent years. Good news, yeah? Well, there is a cost...

Published: Monday 13th May 2019

Label Watch: RVNG Intl.

The brains behind the routinely excellent FRKWYS series, RVNG Intl. aren't just allergic to vowels. They're also one of the most interesting, forward-looking labels around.

Published: Wednesday 24th April 2019

Underrated 70s albums

It was all just Barry Manilow, disco balls, big flares, cock rock, actually quite-shit Chopper bikes, Gary Glitter, Christmas-ruining #1s and your poor, overworked mum dancing along to Mud on Top of the Pops, wasn’t it?

Published: Monday 8th April 2019

How to store vinyl records

Store your records with the care they deserve by following some simple rules from our guide to vinyl storage.

Published: Thursday 4th April 2019

How to clean vinyl records

A short guide on how to clean your vinyl records, whether you are on a budget or have money to burn.

Published: Thursday 4th April 2019

How to repair vinyl records

Most of the time you will just have to live with scratches and even warping because there's often sweet FA you can do. But there are a few things you can try before giving up.

Published: Thursday 4th April 2019

Vinyl Jargon Buster

Whether you're a newbie when it comes to buying vinyl records or are one of those (excellent) people who've moved the kids into a smaller room to make way for your collection of wax, here's a handy guide to all that tricky vinyl terminology.

Published: Monday 18th March 2019

Underrated 60s albums

The 1960s - when we all had flowers in our hair. Except I didn't because I wasn't even born then. Anyway, there's no way you're putting vegetation in my hair so forget it.

Published: Wednesday 13th March 2019

Label Watch: Tresor

More than just a record label, Tresor is a Berlin club which since the early 1990s has been synonymous with an almost militantly underground strain of hard techno.

Published: Thursday 28th February 2019

Label Watch: Mute

Mute Records was set up in 1978 to release some songs made by label founder Daniel Miller. More than forty years later and it’s still here, although not just releasing songs by its founder.

Published: Tuesday 19th February 2019

Label Watch: XL Recordings

Beggars Group satellite, talent scout extraordinaire, Mercury Prize collector. Here's the lowdown on the indie label who sign up the biggest stars: XL Recordings.

Published: Tuesday 12th February 2019

Vinyl still ain't dead

In an era of music increasingly dominated by online streaming, there has been plenty of speculation about the ‘death’ of the physical formats: vinyl, CD, tape. However, judging by the UK’s music buying habits across the last year, it looks like there is still plenty of resistance and more than a few reasons to be optimistic.

Published: Monday 11th February 2019

Label Watch: Mexican Summer

Maybe we're just suckers for their coastal, sun-drenched appeal because we're stuck in the cold, grey, landlocked English North. Or maybe it's because their roster is deceptively deep and challenging. Either way, Mexican Summer are a label we love here at Norman Records in Leeds (average July temperature: 16°C / 61°F).

Published: Tuesday 5th February 2019

Label Watch: Constellation

It's been a few weeks since we last spoke of our favourite Canadians. Can we get away with a piece on Constellation that doesn't go big on Godspeed? Maybe we can, maybe we can't. Read on to see.

Published: Thursday 31st January 2019

Label Watch: Soul Jazz

By rights, Soul Jazz Records should really be called Soul Jazz Reggae House Funk Punk Ska Dub (etc. etc.) Records. We take a closer look at this legendarily catholic (small c) label, who've done more than most to broaden our musical horizons.

Published: Friday 25th January 2019

Label Watch: Sub Pop

Shout out Sub Pop. They don’t need it, but shout out Sub Pop nonetheless.

Published: Thursday 24th January 2019

Label Watch: Domino

From Norman stalwarts like Hood through to megasellers like the Arctic Monkeys, Domino are one of the UK's biggest and best indie labels. Let's take a closer look.

Published: Tuesday 22nd January 2019

Label Watch: 4AD

Trendsetting indie heavyweight 4AD turns 40 in 2020 AD. Almost there! Meanwhile, here's a snapshot of its many accomplishments old and new.

Published: Wednesday 16th January 2019

2019: Music We're Excited About

As you may have noticed, 2018 has ended now. New numbers have taken its place: this one is called 2019 and it is set to ROCK! Now, we're not foolhardy enough to try one of those BBC-type 'Ones To Watch' pieces. Instead, we're just gonna focus on some of the things that are making us that little bit more excited about this year.

Published: Thursday 10th January 2019

From Throbbing Gristle to Skullflower: our guide to the best UK experimental underground

A few months back we tried to tackle experimental music. Call us biased, but we think the UK artists we featured then deserve their own feature now.

Published: Saturday 5th January 2019

Albums of the Year 2018

2018 saw MALK hitting top bins, the triumphant return of Yo La Tengo, Sons of Kemet blowing open the doors for London’s jazz scene, and Daughters scaring away the non-believers. Also a surprise cameo from Arctic Monkeys.

Published: Friday 28th December 2018

Label Watch: Kranky

Formed way back in the unimaginable depths of 1993, Kranky has run concurrently with the development of modern experimental music.

Published: Monday 17th December 2018

The Hardest Touring Artists of 2018

Who travelled the most in service of their music this year? We crunched the data...

Published: Monday 17th December 2018

Label Watch: Drag City

Since 1990 the two Dans of Drag City have put up a roster of artists that's as close to Norman Records canon as you're gonna get...

Published: Thursday 13th December 2018

From Juan Atkins to Blawan: our guide to the best Techno

Music that humans can't make without machines. Music that machines can't make without humans.

Published: Wednesday 21st November 2018

Label Watch: Ostgut Ton

The infamous in-house label of an infamous techno temple. With a resident DJ also called Norman. We like.

Published: Friday 16th November 2018

From Ruth White to Aphex Twin: our guide to the best electronic music

Tape tinkerers, Moog botherers, oddball visionaries, dancefloor heroes...

Published: Tuesday 16th October 2018

From Coil to Muslimgauze: our guide to the best experimental music

No, there's nothing wrong with the stereo. It's meant to sound like that.

Published: Thursday 27th September 2018

From Ennio Morricone to John Carpenter: our guide to the Best Soundtrack Composers

Two notes is all it took John Williams to make the world even more scared of sharks.

Published: Wednesday 26th September 2018

From Fargo to Bob’s Burgers: our guide to the Best TV Soundtracks

Binge-watching telly used to be for losers. Now it's for winners.

Published: Tuesday 25th September 2018

From Doom to Minecraft: our guide to the Best Video Game Soundtracks

You've worn out your thumbs, now it's time to wear out your ears.

Published: Monday 24th September 2018

From Big Black to Radiohead: our guide to the best Indie Rock

For all those who still miss Melody Maker...

Published: Thursday 20th September 2018

From Orange Juice to Broadcast: our guide to the best Indie Pop

Cardigan washed? Fringe looking good? Guitars set to jangle? Let's go!

Published: Thursday 13th September 2018

Studio Ghibli soundtracks

A collective cheer went round the office when we heard that Tokuma were reissuing Joe Hisaishi's soundtracks for Studio Ghibli on vinyl for the first time...

Published: Wednesday 12th September 2018

From Can to Hookworms: our guide to the best Psychedelic Rock

Load up the bong. Sit back. Relax.

Published: Wednesday 5th September 2018

From Talk Talk to Swans: our guide to the best Post-Rock

Post-rock is dead. Long live post-rock.

Published: Wednesday 5th September 2018

From Psycho to Reservoir Dogs: Decade-Defining Soundtracks

An in-depth look at the film soundtracks that have helped to define their times, from John Barry to Cliff Martinez.

Published: Sunday 2nd September 2018

From Jaws to Star Wars: Genre-Defining Soundtracks

An in-depth look at the film soundtracks that have helped to define their genres, from Hitchcock to Tarantino.

Published: Sunday 2nd September 2018

From Neil Young to Ryley Walker: our guide to the best singer-songwriters

Tortured poets, hippies, folkies, truth-tellers, all-round sensitive souls...we may scoff sometimes, but the world wouldn't be the same without them.

Published: Saturday 1st September 2018

From Black Sabbath to Pig Destroyer: our guide to essential Metal

It’s nearly impossible to sum up a genre with more sub-genres than there are problems with Lars Ulrich, so we’re gonna lay down the bare essentials and hope you agree with us. Or you can call us names, if you want.

Published: Friday 31st August 2018

Norman Records Vinyl Album Challenge

Test your knowledge of some of the best albums from the 60s onwards with our cryptic image quiz. Do you have what it takes to identify all 30?

Published: Wednesday 29th August 2018

Mid-Year Review 2018

Half time at Norman Records 2018. So far we’ve like righteous polyrhythmic punk from The Ex, top tier summer-time jangle from Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and future-facing emotional soul from serpentswithfeet. Plus a bit of rainy patriotism from Concretism.

Published: Sunday 1st July 2018

Record Store Day 2018

Check the site at 8am on Saturday 28th April to see what RSD2018 stock we've managed to get hold of.

Published: Monday 19th February 2018

Albums of the Year 2017

In 2017 Mount Eerie broke our hearts. Bark Psychosis finally reached the audience they deserved, Richard Dawson released his epic, and Kara Lis-Coverdale dissolved us using an organ. Also Godspeed You! Black Emperor kept us very, very busy.

Published: Friday 1st December 2017

Mid-Year Review 2017

2017 is six months old, let’s celebrate. We’ve had accordion fractals from Mario Batkovic, instrumental experimentations from Sarah Davachi and a happy comeback from Do Make Say Think. Plus Fleet Foxes developed a sense of humour.

Published: Saturday 1st July 2017

Albums of the Year 2016

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s music sounded sweetest to our ears, Gold Panda had some words of encouragement, BEAK> fell for that Hollywood glamour, and Radiohead were at it again. Also David Bowie said goodbye.

Published: Thursday 1st December 2016

Mid-Year Review 2016

As we wave goodbye to June 2016 and hello to July, it’s time to reflect. On how Tim Hecker’s cleaned up his act, on how Jessy Lanza made us dance and on how Idris Ackamoor found the space to skronk. Plus Breadwoman is coming to get you.

Published: Friday 1st July 2016

Albums of the Year 2015

Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld went head to head, Grouper joined a band, Ian William Craig remade ambient music in his imagine, and Steve Hauschildt kept glistening. Also Kamasi Washington released the longest album in the world.

Published: Tuesday 1st December 2015

Mid-Year Review 2015

Are we halfway through the 2010s now? Maybe. What is certain is that we loved Sleater-Kinney as much as we ever have, that Sufjan Stevens made us cry and that Dutch Uncles are from Greater Manchester. Plus what is that on the Blanck Mass album art?

Published: Wednesday 1st July 2015

Label Watch: Hibernate

We have a quick word with Jonathan Lees, who runs the ever-excellent Hibernate label.

Published: Tuesday 19th May 2015

Albums of the Year 2014

Bracken didn’t resist existing, Kate Tempest spoke truth to power, Neneh Cherry came back from a 18 year break, and of course there was a Brian Jonestown Massacre release. Also Aphex Twin sent us his invoice.

Published: Monday 1st December 2014

Sleaford Mods - interview

Interview with the UK's narkiest band, Sleaford Mods.

Published: Wednesday 26th November 2014

Warm Widow - interview

Interview with Manchester's noisy, brilliant Warm Widow.

Published: Tuesday 14th October 2014

Spool and Rewind: The Joy of Cassette Tapes

Like many others, Clinton's reaction to the announcement last year of 'Cassette Store Day' was of the "What are they going to do next, 8-Track Day?" kind. But he's come to love tapes again.

Published: Sunday 14th September 2014

Interview with Emotional Response's Stewart Anderson

Ex-Boyracer and general all-round top chap Stewart Anderson puts out choice 7"s on his Emotional Response label. Despite being one the busiest people in the world he took the time out to tell us where he's been and what's he got up his sleeve for us...

Published: Thursday 14th August 2014

Mid-Year Review 2014

As we’re halfway through 2014 we should revise what we’ve learned. We learnt that no ensemble is too big from Ex-Easter Island, how to make decent post-punk from Protomartyr and how to love with EIAFUAWN. Plus Perfect Pussy upset the right people.

Published: Tuesday 1st July 2014

Albums of the Year 2013

Year of the Austerity Dog. These New Puritans started over, Blixa Bargeld turned crooner, Oneohtrix Point Never invented the future, and Parquet Courts introduced themselves. Also My Bloody Valentine actually finished something.

Published: Sunday 1st December 2013

Mid-Year Review 2013

2013’s been good so far eh? Let’s review. Nick Cave released an album! Grouper released an album! The Knife released an album! Boards of Canada released an album! Plus, most improbably, Zomby released an album!

Published: Monday 1st July 2013

Albums of the Year 2012

Windy and Carl will always be our album of the year 2012. Death and Vanilla did that 60s psych pop thing, Grimes became queen of the blogs, and Mac DeMarco was precocious. Also Drive ruined soundtracks forever.

Published: Saturday 1st December 2012