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Indie Rock / Alternative Rock

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Joanna Gruesome
Weird Sister

"Heard it all before blah blah blah". I'd like to be all "whatevers" about this album but it's so damn lovable and exuberant that I'd feel like some schoolyard shithead that's just knocked the specs off some poor shy kid and stolen his Monster Munch. I'd feel bad if I accused them merely of aping early ...view item »

Monoganon
F A M I L Y

Scottish art crew Monoganon do some mathy addition and subtraction and cos and sin nonsense, crafting a record that's as exuberant and free-wheeling as it is technically devotional: the time signatures that drive F A M I L Y stutter and change, but these tracks move with the slow, evocative beau...view item »

Mazes
Ores & Minerals

Manchester indie tykes Mazes are back with another album, leading off the press release with the self-same Zane Lowe quote which opened the press release for the debut. While some things haven’t changed, however, it’s immediately clear on listening to the record that these boys have grown up a lit...view item »

Saint Rich
Beyond the Drone

Superchunk's own Merge Records releases this debut album from Saint Rich, a band started by former Delicate Steve songwriters Steve Marion and Christian Peslak; after jamming in Marion’s studio in their native New Jersey they had written ...view item »

School of Night
School of Night

School of Night is the solo project of Antlers dude Darby Cicci, and on this debut EP he’s showing off five tracks of impeccably polished darkpop with an emotional falsetto (Phil points out he sounds like Chris Martin). It’s moody and downbeat but smooth and soulful, with warm round bass tones and flutte...view item »

Foals
Holy Fire / Live At The Royal Albert Hall

The ever evolving Oxfordian quintet decided to accompany the release of their third studio album, Holy Fire, with a CD and DVD recording of their live performance at The Royal Albert Hall. For any Foals fan, this is a must. See the trailer....view item »

The Herms
Drop Out Vol:1

Here we have a collection of demos, rarities and general oddities from The Herms, a ramshackle bunch of lads that make the strangest of lo-fi garage pop with a surreal edge. I'm always amazed at how a lot of these garage rock/pop bands sound so old, like they've stepped into a time machine and recorded their album back in 1975, I guess The Herms...view item »

Jacuzzi Boys
Jacuzzi Boys

Here’s the third album from Jacuzzi Boys, and they’ve decided to go self-titled this time. Their ‘Live At Third Man’ LP resulted in probably my favourite review in Norman history from the much-missed Dave (f'realzies. Look it up), but what’s in store this time round? Well, it&rsquo...view item »

Polvo
Siberia

There's hardly any American rock bands I've heard over the years with a sound as utterly unique as Polvo's. I was greatly touched by something a member of Mogwai once said in the NME (back in the days when it was actually worth picking up) about a friend of theirs who had cried when he hea...view item »

Zoo Zero
Zoo Zero

Here’s the debut LP by Zoo Zero, a band I’ve not encountered before. They appear to be from London and here dish out eight tracks of quirky chiming indie-kraut with a good degree of style, particularly impressing on lengthy opener ‘Fraktion’ which settles into a sweet head nodding groove with minimal fuss. Later on howeve...view item »

Bo Ningen
Line The Wall

Coming at you from London via Japan via outer space, the wailing steam-powered psychedelic juggernaut Bo Ningen has resurfaced for a brand new album of pounding grooves, babbling vocals and swirling buzzsaw guitar scree. Think the metronomic efficiency of ...view item »

Crystal Antlers
Nothing Is Real

I’ve got a lot of time for Crystal Antlers. Their first couple of LPs on Touch and Go and Recreation Ltd both went down a treat and now we’ve got this new one in our office with the group apparently now stripped back to a thr...view item »

Cage The Elephant
Melophobia

Melophobia is the third album by Kentuckian five-piece, Cage The Elephant. Melophobia was recorded in Nashville with the band’s regular producer, Jay Joyce, once again at the helm. With anthemic indie rock songs such as Come A Little Closer, the album is likely to please fans old and new. ...view item »

The Lemonheads
Lick (Deluxe)

"Lick" is the third album and final album to feature founding member Ben Deily. Deily and Evan Dando had fallen out by this time and the band had broken up, but they agreed to do one more album. It didn’t go too well, only 5 or 6 songs were recorded and the holes were patched up with “Glad I Don&rsquo...view item »

The Lemonheads
Hate Your Friends (Deluxe)

“Hate Your Friends” is the Lemonheads punky debut. For the uninitiated, this sounds nothing like “It’s A Shame About Ray”. The songs are short and mostly clock in at under 2 minutes. The songs are pretty basic but do have some merit. “Don’t Tell Yourself”, “Fe...view item »

The Lemonheads
Creator (Deluxe)

“Creator” is the second Lemonheads album. Like their debut it features the original line up of Evan Dando, Ben Deily and Jesse Peretz (Who is now a Film and TV director and directed some episodes of Lena Dunham’s “Girls”) It’s in the vei...view item »

Minus The Bear
Acoustics 2

Following up their first Acoustics EP, this full length unplugged album from Minus the Bear features eight stripped-back, reinterpreted tracks as well as two new tracks, with something for everyone, whether a fan looking for a surprising version of an old favourite or a new listener looking for something different. Limi...view item »

Quasi
Mole City

What makes bands not stop? As far as I am aware there aren’t hoards of people tapping away at the internet hoping against hope that there will be a new Quasi album this year and from the sounds of the initial disorientating organ, the group are not perhaps anticipating world domination. It appears, therefore, an...view item »

Deer Tick
Negativity

Deer Tick take their indie-rock round the full-length block for a fifth time on Negativity. As sure as night follows day, indie-rock bands will eventually end up sounding like Neil Young. Or so the saying goes. Vanessa Carlton turns up on a track to ram it tearfully home. On CD ...view item »

Wax Idols
No Future

Once again HoZac give us some gold, this time in the shape of San Francisco's Wax Idols, who play girl-fronted post-punk that could have come from any point in the past 30 years. The drums and bass are thumping and the guitar is skeletal and all the songs have catchy tunes and big choruse...view item »

Sebadoh
Defend Yourself

There are certain voices within music whose presence instantly soothes me; Leonard Cohen, Neil Tennant, J Mascis, Lou Barlow...I just need to catch a whiff of those voices and I’m happily back in my old teenage fantasy lands far away from the tedious obligations and responsibilities that come with being a proper grown-up. It’...view item »

No Age
Everything in Between

Never been much of a fan of No Age but I'm down with the fact that they've used their relatively high profile as artists to expose, inspire and encourage fellow LA artists/musicians and punkers around the world. It's obvious they are doing good work for the music community but I'm just not that fussed with their music. 'Everything In Between' ma...view item »

Drenge
Face Like A Skull

When it came to finding a name for the band, the Derbyshire two-piece drew inspiration from the Danish word for boys: 'drenge.' this decision, one assumes, must have been met with a degree of irony. Intended or not, there is nothing at all young about their sound. This record is an ambitious start to a musical career with much promise.  ...view item »

S.C.U.M.
Amber Hands

The selling points on this 12" are sure to be the remixes by Sonic Boom and Silver Apples as the original tracks are not too much of interest. Opener 'Amber Hands' comes across like the overblown pomposity of Kasabian or The Verve whilst the second tune 'Fountains' is a forgettable piece of ...view item »

Volcano Choir
Repave

It’s great here at Norman Records when I get to review something that I know nothing about and it truly blows me away. No kidding, ‘Repave’ by Volcano Choir is my new favourite record, after feeling pretty rubbish and generally worn down recently this has perked me up no end. With most of the...view item »

Superchunk
I Hate Music

It’s reassuring to see that Superchunk are still at it, especially since I enjoyed their 2010 “comeback” album ‘Majesty Shredding’ so much. For those in the audience who are under 30, Superchunk are an indie rock band from the ‘90s with fizzy guitars and strained vocals and a b...view item »

French For Cartridge
Boxes/ Piff Paff Pow

Housed in very nice thick card. Very good girth. Last night we had a storm of epic proportions, the rain pounded down. I walked to the open bedroom window and said to my accomplice that “it hadn’t been this hard in years”. Well I’ve not seen anything this thick in years. What’s going on with the music though? ...view item »

Ty Segall
Sleeper

There are a lot of big records out this week but there again Ty Segall seems to release a record every week, if its not him its the bloody Thee Oh Sees. It seems like mere seconds since ‘Twins’ was released and already we have another one to forage through and its a much more reflective introverted ...view item »

Disappears
Era

Disappears are back with, what is it now, album number four? They don’t have Steve Shelley among their ranks any more nowadays but they’re still peddling that same brand of psychedelic indie rock with lots of repetition and touches of goth and no-wave and krautrock. It’s a very cool combination ...view item »

Scott & Charlene's Wedding
Any Port In A Storm

Craig Dermody’s happy campers have been on the radars of a few of us here at House Norman for a few months now. Their debut album, Para Vista Social Club, was one of the highlights of 2012 for me, and their last EP (Two Weeks...view item »

His Electro Blue Voice
Ruthless Sperm

The increasingly erratic Sub Pop this week give us this bit of churning, snotty kraut-industrial madness by His Electro Blue Voice - their debut LP after a string of EPs on supercool labels like Sacred Bones and Holidays Records. Opener...view item »

No Age
An Object

I called this lot New Age last week  - its very much like having your grandad writing reviews. Anyway this is their 4th album. They are one of those bands with two people in them. There a lot of bands about at the moment with just the two people in them. I can see why, its expensive to tour and does it really matter if there is no bass? Wel...view item »

Buffalo Tom
5 Albums

This collection gathers together Buffalo Tom’s 5 albums recorded in the 90s, spanning 1990-1998. Birdbrain, their second album was produced by J Mascis and, because of this presumably, has a dirtier sound than anything that came after it. The title track, “Crawl” ...view item »

Porcelain Raft
Permanent Signal

Permanent Signal is the (difficult) second album from Porcelain Raft.  The atmospheric indie Secretly Canadian is known for is fully intact, here. Classic second album tropes of a more ‘studio’ sounding production and themes of transition and dislocation permeate. On CD and Viny...view item »

Golden Suits
Golden Suits

When Fred Nicolaus was in college, he started a little band called Department of Eagles with his roommate. The band was a moderate success, and while they're still nominally `active', they haven't released a proper album since 2008's In Ear Park. Golden Suits offers up a lot of the slight askew indie-pop that the duo do so well. There's a good b...view item »

Crocodiles
Crimes Of Passion

Latest album by Jesus and Mary Chain wannabees Crocodiles, ‘Crimes Of Passion’ is what I would call “sunglasses indoors” music, uber cool fuzz-rock full of late eighties/early nineties indie cliches. I’m always unsure about music that you can ins...view item »

Shinies
Tangle

This latest MJ (Hookworms) produced EP by fuzzy indie types Shinies really reminds me of something and I just can’t remember what it is, It’ll come to me soon, anyway these four tracks are good ole sunny indie pop gems, loads of fuzzy jangly guitar and sing-along vocals, other than the obvious band that I can’t think of there&r...view item »

Teenage Guitar
Force Fields At Home

More home-spun nonsense comes from Robert Pollard, who is frankly terrible at post-GBV retirement (which he has evoked twice now). Force Fields at Home sees his newest moniker Teenage Guitar spinning through jangle pop tunes similar to those of old, but without the same spr...view item »

Heavy Times
Fix It Alone

Chicago’s Heavy Times are back this week with their third album on HoZac, squeezing 18 songs into just over half an hour - only seven of these cuts even pass the two-minute mark - of their schizophrenic garage punk, which ranges from ‘80s influenced darkpop ditties to nois...view item »

The Feelies
The Good Earth

It took The Feelies 6 years to follow up 'Crazy Rhythms' and following half the band leaving and various side projects (Yung Wu, The Willies, The Trypes) they re-converged with a new line up and a sound that owed a bit more to the college rock as purveyed by the likes of REM (whose Peter Buck co -produced). Yet still The Feelies have a wonderfully ...view item »

Dumb Numbers
Dumb Numbers

‘Have You Ever Seen Such Name Droppage?’ screams the nicely self-aware blurb on the front of this cd and its true, we may not have even noticed this record if it didn’t have guest spots from Lou Barlow, Dale Crover, ...view item »

No Joy
Wait To Pleasure

2nd release from band out of Montreal, Canada who play driving, celestial indie pop that's buried deeply beneath vibrating waves of feedback noise. Gorgeous harmony vocals float, subtly, tantalizingly under the swirling pain-barrage of amplified guitar-screech. It's a potent dream-pop/shoegaze noise fest! Similarities to My Bloody Valentine, Coc...view item »

Vic Chesnutt
At The Cut

Vic Chesnutt has the finest rock star name this week for my money, He sounds a bit like the kinda guy Nightingales should be mates with. He doesn't sound like it though. The Athens GA native is, like our own beloved Robert Wyatt, confined to a wheelchair but this don't stop him making soaring, heartwrenching gothic post rock and folk for the Conste...view item »

Obits
Moody, Standard & Poor

Much like John Reis with his Night Marchers, old cohort Rick Froberg is sticking loosely to his guns, stylistically speaking, with his latest vehicle Obits. Nothing here is quite as feral & volatile as Drive Like Jehu or early Hot Snakes but there's nevertheless an undeniably exciting, fuzzy, post-Garage element to this NY based band's secon...view item »

Grant Hart
The Argument

I have to admit I wasn’t crazy on first listen about the first song we got sent off this album, the Tom Petty-esque ‘Is The Sky The Limit?’, but I have a lot of time for Husker Du sticksman and second singer-songwriter Grant Hart and I’m intri...view item »

Houndstooth
Ride Out The Dark

Epic country-tinged indie rock here from Portland’s Houndstooth. They’re two girls and three boys, none of whom are from Portland, with Katie Bernstein (described in the press release simply as a “Southerner”) fronting on vocals and guitar. It’s quite nice, laid back stuff with pleasantly bouncing grooves, playful i...view item »

White Fence
White Fence

After hearing White Fence's album "Cyclops Reap" I decided to give his earlier records a go. Like many of White Fence's albums this album is home recorded and features some lo fi production. However this doesn't stop the songs from shining. The first two tracks "Mr. Adams" "Who Feels Right?" are the perfect introduction into White Fences jangly ...view item »

Gauntlet Hair
Stills

Denver Duo Craig Nice and Andy Rauworth aka Gauntlet Hair release their second studio album for the Dead Oceans label. It seems the pair have dispelled the myth of the “difficult” second album, ‘Stills’ is a massive leap forward in terms o...view item »

A Grave With No Name
Whirlpool

Phil has mentioned to me a couple of times already that he likes this record so I have high expectations. Phil’s a man who has heard a lot of records, you see. He’s right too, it’s really nice, running the gamut of emotional manipulation from understated but celebratory garage pop like a nerdy cross between ...view item »

Kim Deal
Hot Shot / Likkle More

Look what we’ve got here! It’s Kim Deal’s second solo 7”, which was delivered by hand but an hour or two ago. I’m listening to it right now and it’s great! On side “3” there’s ‘Hot Shot’ which has urgent vocals and casually strummed guitars and lazy tambourine and sweet harmonies....view item »

Fair Ohs
Jungle Cats

Despite being quite good at the information thing, the internet doesn’t tell you everything. Its just taken me 10 minutes to try to find out where this raucous band are from. Why in ears' sake do I need to know? Does it matter? Well, the fact that they are from the grimy street of England's London headquarters provides just the fai...view item »

Corporal Machine And The Bombers
Richard Feaver In Goal

One in and gone! Corporal Machine And The Bombers first and last hit 'Richard Feaver In Goal' scores! Sadly it also marks the band's hiatus before splitting up. Essex finest sons Euan, Matt, David, Liam, Tony, Sean’s street punk is now available on vinyl! And it even manages to capture some of the raw, scruf...view item »

The Music Tapes
Mary's Voice

You will note our new reviewing system where we now have marks out of ten. This is a good thing for picky reviewers such as myself. A large percentage of records get lumped into the four-out-of-five region and as you can imagine there is a huge difference in quality between them. Take this Music Tape...view item »

Fat History Month
Bad History Month

Here’s the latest LP from are-they-serious?/aren’t-they-serious? indie rockers Fat History Month, who peddle a style of slightly folk-influenced indie rock which will remind you of Three Mile Pilot, Archers of Loaf ...view item »

Owen
L'Ami du Peuple

Coming swiftly off the release of 2011’s Ghost Town, L’Ami du Peuple is another delicately constructed record of easy folk beauty. With the single release of the aggressive (by Owen’s standards) “Bad Blood” I was excited for this record, more so than other people - L’Ami du Peuple did not receive much critical...view item »

Chester Endersby Gwazda
Shroud

Chester Endersby Gwazda is a new name to me but he’s a household name back in his native Baltimore, with a history of performing with and producing records for all the Wham City elite as well as touring with the likes of Dan Deacon. On &ls...view item »

Editors
The Weight Of Your Love

Editors are back in 2013 with a new record; THE WEIGHT OF YOUR LOVE. After 3 successful albums with Chris Urbanowicz on the electric guitars and synths on the 3rd effort In This Light and On This Evening, what could we expect after his departure from the band? With 2 new members, fans were forced to forget Chris' Rickenbacker guitar riffs. After...view item »

Queens Of The Stone Age
...Like Clockwork

I’ve a bit of a soft spot for these Californian rockers. ‘...Like Clockwork’ is their sixth studio album on Matador as they appear to have parted company with Interscope. There’s some decent tunes on here, certainly radio friendly such as obvious single ‘My God Is The Sun’. T...view item »

Houndmouth
From The Hills Below The City

The songwriting here is very strong, the three and four part harmonies along with the switching of lead vocalists are both on target and quite welcome, and the lead guitar breaks are often smokin'. Partially produced by the band members themselves, the album accurately reproduces their live impact but with obviously practiced vocals and the very...view item »

The Occasional Orchestra
22 Arches

Ex Home and Abroad frontman Darrell Mitchell's current ensemble The Occasional Orchestra release their third album '22 Arches' on Big Untidy records. Indie folk with an array of unusual stringed instruments, expertly handled by guitarist Jon Taylor. A vinyl release is in the offing, allegedly. Get the CD here now though. ...view item »

Muuy Biien
This Is What Your Mind Imagines

I thought Happy Happy Birthday To Me pretty much exclusively dealt in upbeat and sometimes twee indie pop business, so imagine my surprise when I bung this Muuy Biien LP on the stereo to discover that actually this lot specialise in &lsq...view item »

GRMLN
Empire

More fuzzy guitar pop music, certainly more in a 90s style. You’d think from the sleeve that this was some kind of synth/horror music. If that’s what you want then you will be disappointed by that flat out West Coast punk pop on show. It’s as commercial as a clown's red nose. ‘Hand Pistol’ recalls ...view item »

Hooded Fang
Gravez

I thought nothing of Hooded Fang’s first record but I have kind of enjoyed this second one, they’ve developed their garage rock sound further on to the point that they no longer sound like The Strokes without the tunes. It’s a blitzkreig sound with ...view item »

Bass Drum Of Death
Bass Drum Of Death

With a name like that, you can only expect the very most of Bass Drum of Death.  A noisy swagger dripping from this self-titled release, this is rock. For a second album, you can hear changes going on in John Garrett’s head, songs bubbling to the surface in the wake of his debut. Great in its own right, and a...view item »

Scout Niblett
It's Up To Emma

Here’s the sixth album from confessional indie songstress Scout Niblett, who has always provided value for money in the past with her intimate fingerpicked guitar and bold, raw vocal delivery. She’s taking things down a notch on this latest record, with most songs forgoing any kind of percus...view item »

The Dudley Corporation
Everyone Does Everything Wrong

Ireland’s The Dudley Corporation have been off getting educated and procreating during the half-decade which has passed since their last record, but they’re straight out of the blocks on newie ‘Everyone Does Everything Wrong’ with a succession of short sharp indie pop songs...view item »

Various
Any Love is Good Love

Collated as a response to the hateful Daily Mail’s outing of a transgender person, which led to a violent assault, this compilation is a roaring collection of everything from defiant punk, indie pop and more introspective pieces. With a foreword by Stonewall campaigner Peter Tatchell. Proceeds go to Youth LGBT Manchester. CD from Limi...view item »

Guards
In Guards We Trust

A great set of songs with a great vocalist to boot. The beginning of "I Know It's You" sounds like a Passion Pit song remixed with mainly guitars instead of synths, the vocals make me think of what MGMT might have sounded like if they decided to rock out (check out the guitar break on that song). On another note, the track order leaves a little ...view item »

The Pigeon Detectives
We Met At Sea

Leeds quintet The Pigeon Detectives are back with their fourth studio album: We Met At Sea. This record sees the band go back to basics, in a search for the simple indie sound that defined their earlier success. An upbeat sound paves the way on this record; it sees the popular noughties band reach new heights. ...view item »

It Hugs Back
Recommended Record

As It Hugs Back find their voice, they could be a formidable band to contend with in the future. It Hugs Back could be heralded as the next great reverb-drenched guitar/shoegaze band, they released a stellar series of vinyl only singles that all eventually found their way to the CD record room. The title, of course, says it all and a lot more, t...view item »

Wild Swim
Echo

Wild Swim strike-out to seize the indie zeitgeist with their debut single called Echo. The XX style atmospherics? Check. Idiosyncratic vocal style? Check. The ‘electronic producer’ angle? Check. That one’s on the b-side, and its called Bright Eyes. From Ox...view item »

Melvins
Everybody Loves Sausages

You always know what to expect with the Melvins, if that thing is something totally bloody weird and obnoxious and surprising. This time around, just like last time around, they’re doing something a bit different. This time, though, that something is playing other people’s songs with their famous ...view item »

Deerhunter
Monomania

It’s been a strong morning today. First I had the delights of the new Still Corners and Georgiana Starlington LPs to review, and now the new Deerhunter has turned up! Thi...view item »

Guided By Voices
English Little League

Due to their plethora of never ending releases surely GBV must now be our most reviewed band. I’ve been a little harsh on some of their recent singles, particularly the throwaway B-sides, but it seems that once the albums come around there is plenty to write good things about. Of last years tri...view item »

Animal City
See You In The Funny Pages

As well as getting copies of the first Giving Up album and the ace new 7” of blazing garage pop from Last Year’s Men, this week Sophomore Lounge have sent us this varied album of indie pop from Chicago qu...view item »

Vulgar Fashion
Vulgar Fashion

Ok, outta Denton, Texas (home of Havergal!), I have no idea who these people are. If that is them on their facebook page then they look kind of like Peaking Lights gone feral. They produce a dirty, gritty, grimy electronic dirgey stew full of terrifying synths, one part ...view item »

Kurt Vile
Wakin On A Pretty Daze

I learned something today. I learned that Kurt Vile is not a pseudonym but in fact the actual name of popular singer and songwriter Kurt Vile. I know! Me neither! Anyway, Mr Vile’s got a new album out this week and he wants me to tell you about it. It’s called ‘Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze&rsq...view item »

The Raincoats
Extended Play

A strange thing happened to The Raincoats in the mid ‘90s. After being bigged up by Kurt Cobain, they reappeared and had a little indian summer to their career, having originally split up in the early ‘80s. I distinctly recall them supporting ...view item »

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