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Indie Pop / Experimental Pop / Electro-Pop

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The Human League
Travelogue

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Ibeyi
Ash

One of those acts who very quickly achieved ubiquity after their 2015 debut on XL, Ibeyi are here to make good on the promise of that record with another LP of emotive soultronica. As befits their elevated status, Ash includes guest spots from Kamasi Washington and Chilly Gonzalez, among others. The sisters channel Frank Ocean, James Blake and London Grammar across the dozen tracks here.

Pete Astor
One For The Ghost

I just don't like wine but I can understand what Pete Astor is doing here. The extra glass is to mourn people and times past. I'll do the same next time I have a flapjack. Anyway 'One For the Ghost' is the latest solo LP from the former the Loft and Weather Prophets chap and here he is joined by the rhythm section from the Wave Pictures.   

The Orielles
Silver Dollar Moment

The Orielles are a three-piece made up of a Post Office Christmas temp, and English Lit. student and an A-Level student. Despite their tender years, the trio have made a very enjoyable indie-pop record in Silver Dollar Moment. It is reminiscent of many bands you loved in the ‘80s and ‘90s, whilst maintaining a certain freshness. LP and CD on Heavenly

Nadine
Oh My

Oh My is the debut album by Nadine, a trio who come from Minneapolis and New York. Not to be confused with ‘90s alt country band of the same name. They are made up from members of Ava Luna and Phantom Posse. Whilst firmly holding on to their pop sensibilities, they say that their oeuvre is poetry set to music and are not afraid to experiment a little. LP and CD on Memphis Industries.

The La's
1987

If not quite the holy grail, this looks like an essential release for all those frustrated the La's fans. It features sessions from 1987 (natch) recorded at the Flying Picket and at Echo & the Bunnymen's studio. There's also a few live tracks and rarities which may part satiate those still hoping for new material.   

Hattie Cooke
Hattie Cooke

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Björk
Joga

One Little Indian with a great Björk reissue here. ‘Jóga’, from 1997 LP Homogenic, remains one of the artist’s best-loved songs. Co-produced by Mark Bell, this is a majestic combination of baroque pop and electronica that takes the template of tracks like ‘Hyperballad’ to new heights. This accompanying EP (more of an LP, to be honest) is full of goodies - remixes by Alec Empire and Howie B, alternate versions of both the title track and ‘All Is Full Of Love’ and three rare Björk treats.

Miracle
The Strife Of Love In A Dream

Here we are with more sci-fi synth heavy beat work, though this time pitting arpeggiated synths against distant chants and odd ritualistic darkness. This collaboration between Steve Moore and Daniel O'Sullivan also has ties to metallic genres, and so finds itself quite at home on the legendary Relapse Records.

Wild Beasts
Last Night All My Dreams Came True

Wild Beasts, who’ve been bringing perverse arty falsetto weirdness to indie rock for more than a decade, are calling it a day. As part of their farewells they present Last Night All My Dreams Came True, a sort-of greatest hits that features new recordings of old material, recorded under live-in-the-studio conditions. They will be missed. On Domino.

C.A.R.
Pinned

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Dita Von Teese
Dita Von Teese

Quite a collaboration here, between legendary US burlesque revivalist, model and occasional actor Dita Von Teese and naughty French synth-romancer Sébastian Tellier. Mutual admiration brought about this collaboration, with Tellier and his wife Amandine de La Richardière respectively handling music and lyrics while Von Teese performs vocals. The music is familiar Tellier-territory - all engorged, liquid synths and seductive motifs, to which Von Teese’s suggestive voice is, unsurprisingly, an ideal match.

The Divine Comedy
Loose Canon (Live in Europe 2016-2017)

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POLIÇA and s t a r g a z e
Music For The Long Emergency

The interesting pairing of Polica and s t a r g a z e, (an electronics-focused pop group and a chamber orchestra respectively) return for an album of original collaborative material, following on from their recent Steve Reich album. Music For The Long Emergency fully enmeshes the groups’ sounds, with grand and intriguing results. On Transgressive.

Nadah El Shazly
Ahwar

Nadah El Shazly is an exciting new producer from Egypt’s underground scene, and Ahwar is her excellent debut album, recorded between Canda and Egypt. Collaborators including Sam Shalabi and Maurice Louca helped Nadah to get her vision of semi-improvisatory avant-jazz Arabic songcraft down on tape. Ahwar really sounds like little else.

The Number Ones
Another Side Of The Number Ones

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Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern
Essex Arms

Former Hefner man Darren Hayman drops the second LP in his Essex trilogy. Essex Arms follows on from 2009 opener Pram Town by chronicling the whys and wherefores of life in a Home County with deftness, wit and charm. Musically Essex Arms nods to twee-pop luminaries such as Belle & Sebastian, The Magnetic Fields and Graham Coxon.

September Girls
Veneer

Five shoegazers on a mission to find some melodies in a glorious sea of shitty feedback, September Girls are the noise act to follow, making the kind of No Age ruckus that actually has light (or pop songs) at the end of the tunnel. Their new 12", 'Veneer', boasts four well-doused tunes, each performed by a different member of the outfit.

Mt. Si
911

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The Apples In Stereo
Velocity Of Sound

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The Glove
Blue Sunshine

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Julia Holter
Don't Make Me Over / Hello Stranger

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Lou Rebecca
Lou Rebecca

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Montero
Performer

This new LP from Australian ditty-spinner Montero was recorded with Tame Impala’s Jay Watson and Riccardo Damian, a man who has worked on records for Drake and Sampha. As one might expect from that cast list, Performer fronts cut after cut of expensive-sounding, vaguely psychedelic soft-rock. Tracks like ‘Vibrations’ sound like a lost collaboration between Burt Bacharach and Ariel Pink. Lush.

R Stevie Moore
Ariel Pink's Picks: Volume One

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Liss
First EP

Despite being called First EP, this is the second release by Denmark-based four-piece Liss. In November ‘15 you may have caught their double A sided single Try/Always which won plaudits from The Guardian and Crack Magazine. The lofty praise likened them to a meeting of minds between Michael Jackson and Arthur Russell….interesting!

Ezra Furman
Transangelic Exodus

Ezra Furman presents Transangelic Exodus, a somewhat epic queer song-suite following a narrative about being in love with an illegal angel. Furman is a real showman and a dramatic songwriter, and his personality drives these songs on and on. Transangelic Exodus is a powerful statement made in defiance of contemporary America. On Bella Union.

Joan As Police Woman
Damned Devotion

Damned Devotion is the 5th album proper album by Joan As Policewoman. It sees the Connecticut-born singer/songwriter returning to the emotionally charged music of her earlier releases, such as 2006’s Real Life. Damned Devotion has lyrics tinged with regret about her previous mistakes in love and life.

Kat Frankie
Bad Behaviour

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The Wombats
Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life

The Wombats are back back back, with their fourth album to date: who knew? The mid-2000’s indie upstarts are now an international proposition, and they’ve got some synths now too. Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life (is this a problem The Wombats face?) is released on the group’s own imprint in both CD and vinyl editions.

I Monster
Neveroddoreven

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MGMT
Little Dark Age

MGMT’s new one, Little Dark Age, is being dubbed their gothy album, with an all-round Curetastic presentation of moods, looks and sounds. Really, this is the ideal MGMT album for you if all that technicolour fun just made you want to curl up in the dark and, well, listen to The Cure. On Columbia.
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  • Indie Pop / Experimental Pop / Electro-Pop

Mammoth Penguins and Friends
John Doe

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Psychic Markers
Hardly Strangers

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Anna Burch
Quit The Curse

Detroit’s Anna Birch writes beautifully crafted, melodic songs with glorious harmonies then adds lyrics that cover the plethora of dark subject matter synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll. Failed relationships and drug abuse. The songs on Quit The Curse come via a childhood love of Carole King and Disney, filtered through a later fascination with Bright Eyes and Fiona Apple. An assured debut, for sure. LP and CD on Heavenly.

Fazerdaze
Morningside

Flying Nun are beloved by many for their central role in documenting New Zealand’s underground indie scene, but they haven’t rested on their laurels. Here they have brand new work from up-and-coming artist Fazerdaze, who has swiftly moved from bedroom production to the fully-fledged ecstatic indie pop we hear here. Morningside is released on CD and vinyl LP.

Butterfly Child
Futures

Butterfly Child, who are essentially one man, Joe Cassidy, plus a revolving cast of characters, have a penchant for shimmering dream pop. After releasing a trio of albums and six EPs in the ‘90s, Belfast-born, Los Angeles based, Cassidy quietly released a single, No Longer Living In Your Shadow, in 2012. Now, with a little more fanfare comes the band’s first album in 18 years, Futures.

Superorganism
Something For Your M.I.N.D.

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Band Of Holy Joy
The Clouds That Break The Sky

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Tori Kudo
GALA-KEI

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The Cold Spells
- .... . / -.-. --- .-.. -.. / ... .--. . .-.. .-.. ...

Kind of eponymous album from East London/Essex weird folk duo, The Cold Spell. I say kind of because, for those of you not fluent in morse, those dots and dashes spell the band's name. Eccentric songs with a traditional soul made from acoustic guitars, drum machines, and a The Wicker Man-ish sense of unease.

The Limiñanas
Shadow People

Shadow People is the fifth album proper by Perpignan’s hazy psych-pop duo The Liminanas. Their sound is harks back to Serge Gainsbourg’s work with female vocalists such as Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin. Needless to say, then, that they exude cool. 180g vinyl LP, in a gatefold sleeve, and CD on Because Music.

Rhye
Blood

Rhye, the mysterious band that turned out to be two men, and is now just one man called Michael Milosh, are back with another album of softly spoken R&B and cool, stark production. They've also kept their whole 'high quality photos of anonymous naked women' thing for all their artwork. So that's good. 
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Everything Everything
No Reptiles

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Life Pass Filter
Joseph EP

Life Pass Filter have recorded their Joseph EP for a baby called Joseph. The boy is the first born to the band’s group of friends and therefore is quite special to them. The band, who hail from Lille in France, take their influences from modern indie and ‘60s pop. Their lo-fi acoustic approach has drawn comparisons to some sort of mythical Tyrannosaurus Rex-meets-Beck type band. CD on Garde Du Norde limited to 80 copies.
  • CD (GDN45016)
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  • Limited edition

Django Django
Marble Skies

Art rockers Django Django have established themselves as one of Britain’s more original bands. From their unpigeonholable eponymous debut to it’s follow-up Born Under Saturn they have mashed genres together to make a sound all of their own. Their new album Marble Skies, like their debut, is a more lean affair than Born Under Saturn, but doesn’t fail to explore new territory.  

The Yearning
Take Me All Over The World

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Camera Obscura
Keep It Clean

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Porches
The House

Porches, aka Aaron Maine, began work on his third album, The House, straight after his last, and most successful album to date, Pool, was finished. He spent a year-and-a-half perfecting his musically upbeat electro sound. The House features guest appearances from, among others, Sandy (Alex G), Dev Hynes, and even his own dad. LP and CD on Domino.
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Gulp
Morning Velvet Sky

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Holy
All These Worlds Are Yours

Expansive garage rawk hijinks mark the new release from HOLY, who builds hooking songs around wide-open sonic environments. All These Worlds Are Yours breaks free of Hannes Ferm's initial life as a home recorder and sees him getting his songs a little more widescreen. For fans of psych-tinged indie rock.

Cornelius
Mellow Waves

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Billy Mackenzie
Beyond The Sun

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Nick J.D. Hodgson
Tell Your Friends

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Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly
Young Adult

After shutting up shop for less time than LCD Soundsystem, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, is back with another album, Young Adult. If the solitary star in the middle of the confusing artwork didn't give it away, Sam Duckworth is openly left-wing, and is unafraid to let that ring out through his songs.  

SOHN
Tremors

London native, producer and songwriter Sohn had already released three tracks from his debut album, Tremors. The Wheel, Bloodflows, and Lessons left those that heard them watering at the mouth with anticipation of the full-length release. Having signed to 4AD, Sohn is part of their increasingly strong roster. Tremors is available on vinyl LP, with download code and CD.
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  • Indie Pop / Experimental Pop / Electro-Pop

John Grant
Queen Of Denmark

Despite always standing in the shadows of her Shakespearean significant other, the Queen of Denmark has her own story. And John Grant, formerly of the Czars, has taken it upon himself to tell that story in his debut solo effort, available only on limited edition tape. Better get it before the play moves to another town or something.

Alvvays
Antisocialites

There’s a feeling that you get when you find out a great band is about to release another album, and it’s a good feeling. Just like Alvvays’ retrostyled artwork, soaked in the hazy colors of an 8mm film, never fails to invoke great associations. Antisocialites will follow up their excellent self-titled debut, with more crystal-clear high notes from singer Molly Rankins floating over the band's shoegazy pop.

The Times
Go! With The Times

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******** [The Drink]
The Drink [********]

Front room-fi, gallows humour pop from the sparse, search engine-confounding duo ******** (Ailie Ornston and someone known only as 'Ω'). Weird World have seen fit to elevate the pair’s only album from mere YouTube playlist to limited CD and LP editions, and it’s clear why. The scuzzy, wilting tunes, assembled from bass, guitar, drum machines and various samples, are sung to with tongue-in-cheek bitterness to round off an irresistibly forlorn charm.

Johnny Jewel
Digital Rain

Just six months after Windswept, which featured some of his memorable contributions to the latest Twin Peaks series, Mr. Jewel’s ready with the next batch. The concept of Digital Rain is to evoke precipitation, which Johnny doubtless experiences little of in Los Angeles, and to convey liquid structures. Expect lots of gentle transitions between vignettes of rain samples, melancholy synths, dripping glockenspiel and the like.

Dream Wife
Dream Wife

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Fits
All Belief Is Paradise

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Johnny Jewel
Home (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Johnny Jewel’s notable soundtrack work to date includes Drive, Lost River, and Those Who Kill. Here we have his soundtrack to Fien Troch’s Home. On gorgeous limited vinyl, one side is entirely his solo cinematic 80s ambience, backing a mix of tracks with some of his other projects Chromatics and Symmetry.

The Spook School
Could It Be Different?

Who'da thunk that the Spook School were onto their third album? I can't remember hearing either of the previous ones but here we are. The band are back with more of their distinctly Scottish sounding indie -pop which covers all kind of subject matters such as gender identity and abusive relationships. Full of catchy empowering choruses you can dance along to down the independent discotheque.

Club 8
Golden Island

Though they haven't exactly pushed the boundaries of music as the press release tries to suggest, Swedish indie-poppers Club 8 aren't afraid to experiment with their sound and following on from their early pop-lite performances have over the years delved into the deeper murky waters of electronic textures.  Here they use unusual instrumentation and sampled voices to create an album of haunting but soothing music.    
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  • Indie Pop / Experimental Pop / Electro-Pop

Propaganda
A Secret Wish

A Secret Wish is the debut LP from German synth pop group Propaganda who were taken under the wing of producer Trevor Horn and signed to his ZTT imprint. The album yielded a superb timeless hit in 'Duel' but also contains much more inventive synth pop including an inspired cover of Josef K's 'Sorry For Laughing'.  
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Sin Fang, Soley & Örvar Smárason
Team Dreams

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The Fiction Aisle
Jupiter, Florida

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Shy Boys
Shy Boys EP

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The Monochrome Set
Maisieworld

London’s Monochrome Set were post-punk before the genre was even defined, falling into stylistic territory somewhere between Magazine, Orange Juice and Blue Orchids. Their influence was evident in the more arch corners of Britpop and, arguably, the Dunedin Sound groups. Their fifth album since their reunion a decade ago retains all their breezy and spiky melodicism.

Chemistry Lane
Mirrored Wall / El Acusador

'Mirrored Wall' opens with the kind of woozy synth layers you would expect to soundtrack a Blade Runner style sci-fi movie. The vocals are surprisingly contrasting, but only add to the atmosphere, before a disco-ish beat breaks the spell and carries the track along in a stratospheric, rhythmic journey.

First Aid Kit
Ruins

Swedish sister duo First Aid Kit return with their fourth album, Ruins. Previous albums have been increasingly more confident but their first album, with tracks like "Ghost Town", will be hard to beat for many early adopters of their music. They still have it though, so expect more assured songwriting, beautiful harmonies and foot-tapping sing-a-longs.

Even As We Speak
The Black Forest

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Cleaners From Venus
The Best Of

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tUnE-YaRdS
I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life

Merrill Garbus’s splendid odd-pop project (do I really still have to capitalise tUnE-YaRdS like this?) is now formally a duo with Nate Bremmer, and they are back with a fully-fledged full-length album. I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life is pretty sleek production-wise, though that tasty tUnE-YaRdS wonkiness still remains. Out on 4AD.
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Chromatics
In The City

Italians Do It Better here bring back an excellent 2010 EP by Chromatics. In The City contains 12” and instrumental versions of the title track, plus a brace of originals and a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s majestic ‘I’m On Fire’. Total woozy late-night 80’s synth vibes all over, perfect to brood and luxuriate in. Repress LP.

They Might Be Giants
I Like Fun

I love They Might Be Giants but with every album they release I worry that it won't be very good. For every terrible album they've made there'll be a good one right after .....and even on the bad albums there's a great track or two. But wouldn't it be nice to have a really great all the way through They Might Be Giants LP? Here's hoping. Still brilliant live though. 

Weaves
Wide Open

Artful shambles Weaves released a loud and lovely debut a year ago so it seems only right they do it again: their guitar rock is bursting at the seams, barricade-tumbling wonder and they continue to dance about the limits on Wide Open, which offers a slightly poppier approach to a band who used to get in, race through and get out.

Warm Digits
Wireless World

Punchy electronic tuneage from Warm Digits, who here add vocals to some of their home electro-funky tracks for the first time. Wireless World’s guest singers range from Sarah Cracknell of Saint Etienne to Mia La Metta of Beards, not to mention a particularly Sparks-like turn from Field Music. Out on Memphis Industries.

The Phoenix Foundation
Give Up Your Dreams

Give Up Your Dreams is the sixth album by pop-rock happy people The Phoenix Foundation. The title track compels the listener to sacrifice ambition for realist acceptance, and yet remains very upbeat: nice one! Notable also for its cover, which seems to be a piece of 1990s computer-rendered landscape paired with an Illuminati symbol. Wow.

The Go! Team
The Scene Between

‘The Scene Between’ is the latest album release from Brighton indie, garage rock six piece The Go! Team. Following a hiatus during which the other members dispersed to explore various musical projects and life commitments, this record marks a return to the bands origins with founder member Parton writing and recording by himself, creating a vocal/melody driven record utilising his love of sample collection and songwriting, full of catchy hooks and varying production styles.

Pure Bathing Culture
Pray for Rain

Duo Pure Bathing Culture have a slick pop sound, and have stepped up the colour on this record. Pray For Rain is shimmering with electro-synths and a real spark of energy, a forward jump enabled by producer John Congleton. The album is pressed to see-through turquoise vinyl LP (nice!) by Memphis Industries.

Outfit
Slowness

Originally from Liverpool, five piece Outfit have been spreading themselves around the globe for the purposes of touring, relocating and transatlantic relationships. Their second album release ‘Slowness’ is a very personal record about physical and emotional distance, explored through their haunted piano sounds, edgy synths and angular guitar work, propelled by their momentous rhythm section. For fans of John Hughes movies.

NZCA Lines
Infinite Summer

NZCA Lines follows up his debut with more Italo-inspired electro ballads and playful pop. Infinite Summer showcases his unforgettable hooks and ability to be intimate and sleazy at the same time. I dare anyone not to swoon at the choruses on this CD and coloured vinyl LP. This is witty sci-fi, R&B made with help from Bat for Lashes and Hot Chip members.

Milagres
Violent Light

Brooding Brooklyn band, Milagres’ last album, Glowing Mouth, was written from a hospital bed in a vicodin fog following a climbing accident suffered by singer, Kyle Wilson. Its themes centred around the fragility of life. Conversely it’s follow up, Violent Light is about living life and flippin’ the bird to mortality. The sound of the record has been described as mid-seventies Bowie meets southern rapper Waka Flocka Flame: Samples, synths, guitar distortion and deep brass.

Menace Beach
Ratworld

Named for a NES games from way back when, Menace Beach are a five piece Leeds-based indie rock band. Headed up by Ryan Needham and Liza Violet, and obviously heavily influenced by the 90s pinnacle era of indie pop, this album is fun and well worth a listen for fans of The Seahorses and Ash. On vinyl.

Field Music
Commontime

Field Music went on hiatus after touring their brilliant 2012 album Plumb. Brothers Peter and David Brewis undertook various projects including David’s School of Language album Old Fears and producing and playing on Ripe by Slug. Now they’re back with a new album, Commontime. Whereas Plumb was a stream of consciousness - melodic ideas melding into one another, Commontime contains more conventionally structured songs taking in ‘70s influences such as David Bowie and Roxy Music and filtering them through ‘80s influences such as Talking Heads, Japan and Scritti Politti. Available on indies only double Neon Orange vinyl LP, standard double vinyl LP and CD.

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