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Shoegaze / Post-Rock / Math / Experimental Indie

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Fuck Buttons
Slow Focus

Four years ago Fuck Buttons proved their phenomenal debut album was no fluke with a similarly amazing Weatherall-produced effort, and now for the first time they’re producing themselves on album number three, ‘Slow Focus’, further refining t...view item »

Sonic Youth
Murray Street

Sonic Youth..... You're pleased to have them around still but really they haven't done much worth any salt since Goo I reckon. So the CD was inserted with great fear in to the stereo...... and I actually think it's alright. It's quite poppy and tuneful for them and I think it's the best thing I've heard from 'em since Goo. Yowsers..........view item »

London Grammar
If You Wait

I'm getting very tired of the 'girl next door singing the white blues with loads of reverb' type thing couched in layers of breathy and flimsy soulless melancholy. There's quite a lot of this annoying and insipid 'Birdy' - lite around at the moment. Still the punters seem to lap it up so what do I know? Well I do know that it bores me to tears. ...view item »

MONO
For My Parents

As the title suggests, For My Parents sees Mono tracing their roots, and I think this important for a band that previously gave no indication of their Japanese heritage. Even as someone of Asian descent myself, if I only looked at their album sleeves and listened to the music, I would not guess Mono even had any Eastern heritage, let alone Japan...view item »

Kitchens Of Distinction
Folly

The arrival of the long awaited new album (about 20 years to be exact!) from Kitchens Of Distinction sparked a debate here at Norms over which was their best album, Chris and Phil say 'Love Is Hell' but I say definitely 'Death Of Cool'. After such a long absence though, this is a bit of an odd comeba...view item »

Birds of Passage
This Kindly Slumber

This Kindly Slumber is the third album by Birds of Passage, AKA New Zealander Alicia Merz. The sound is made up of layers of ethereal ambiance underneath Merz’s philosophical poetry. For fans of Zola Jesus, Cocteau Twins, Sigur Ros and Grouper. This Kindly Slumber is available on v...view item »

Nothing
Guilty Of Everything

Guilty Of Everything is the debut album by Nothing. despite being signed to metal label, Relapse Records, Nothing take their cues from shoegazing maestros My Bloody Valentine and the arena alt. rock of Smashing Pumpkins. The heavy swathes of guitars, introspective, dark lyrics are offse...view item »

Halls
Love To Give

At 23, Sam Howard has already set himself a difficult task in following up his raptly received debut album 'Ark', which he released as a mere nipper at the end of 2012. 'Love To Give' is a record which centres around the ex-choirboy's angelic voice, but there's a lot more to it than initially meets the eye, as he deftly throws around spiritual-s...view item »

The Notwist
Nook

Nook is the second full-length album to be recorded by German band, The Notwist and was originally released in 1992. Nook is an example of their early sound which took in elements of heavy metal and dark indie rock rather than their later electronica sound for which they are more well known. Nook...view item »

Labradford
Fixed:Context

I think I'm right in saying that this was the final release from post-rock legends Labradford before new projects, including the excellent Anjou took shape, and it's a pretty decent way to bow out. Opener 'Twenty' fills the whole of side one, and features the trademark bass sound coaxing you ever deeper amongst the shimmering hum and cli...view item »

Dope Body
Natural History

Ooh, I'm not familiar with Dope Body but one track in and this CD has already reminded me of Floor, Shellac and ...view item »

Chaos Destroy
Lightning Strikes Twice

We’ve got a slab of frantic Jap-influenced noise punk shrapnel here from America’s Chaos Destroy, who turn out ten tracks of head-fuckingly frantic, blown out hardcore punk which is all but obscured by tape muck and feedback and broken, distorted equipment. The primary influences here would have ...view item »

Implodes
Black Earth

Surprising one this. I've heard of guitarist Ken Camden because I loved that kosmische-styled slab of vinyl that came in last year but now his complete Chicago-based brotherhood/collective have erm...Imploded onto the scene with this rather superb long player. I especially love the shifting, hazy, spangled s-s-s-sound of this record because it g...view item »

Melvins
Tres Cabrones

The MELVINS are busy lads. Eager to keep things interesting whilst maintaining their daft work ethic ‘Tres Cabrones’ sees Buzzo and Crover reunite with original drummer Mike Dillard under the guise of Melvins 1983. It’s not strict reunion as such but it’s a close as the lads are willing to get and, of course, having Dale ...view item »

Bad Guys
Bad Guys

Nice! I’d not heard this lot before but the sun just came out and Leeds is experiencing its first meaningful warmth in about six months and this is just the kind of adrenalised riff-a-thon we need to celebrate that. It sounds just like you’d want a band called Bad Guys to sound like, neanderthal...view item »

Beauty Pageant
Torso

There’s never really enough dirty bands that raise their middle finger at anybody who doesn’t like noise, although Beauty Pageant are definitely doing enough to fill all our needs in that department. Their newest EP, by the name of Torso, is a celebration of the body at the cost of all pretense - ex...view item »

Thisquietarmy
Hex Mountains

Thisquietarmy is Eric Quach, with Scotty Rooney on drums, bassist Dorian Williamson and vocalists Émilie Bresson and Jeanne Peluard for this album. Post-rock,booming drone soundscapes meet thundering drums and eerie shrieks. Double 180g coloured vinyl on Denovali as well as CD. Definitely a headphone albu...view item »

The Fauns
Lights

Ooooh Geoff Barrow and Clint Mansell are fans so they MUST be good? The Fauns are a 6-piece, female-fronted band from Bristol who do that whole modern stadium shoegaze thing very, very well. It’s hard to know what to say when you’ve consumed/been buried under so SO so much music of this ilk ove...view item »

Ensemble
Disown, Delete EP

And the last one from me this week is a 7" by ENSEMBLE who are a load of folks I've never heard of. But interestingly it does feature Chan Marshall (that lady from Cat Power) making a right drifty affair making us think a little bit of the more orchestral sound of Bjork. Very glacial, spacious and pretty soun...view item »

No Joy
Pastel And Pass Out

No Joy continue their journey into cleaner focus with a 12” EP follow up to their second full-length, Wait to Pleasure. Thankfully there is still plenty of dreamgazing to be had in songs like opener Last Boss, which brings the noisy guitars crashing in after a patient build-up. Pas...view item »

Sonic Youth
Anagrama

Instead of taking songs and crafting them into noise-rock assaults or chiming meditative love songs, Sonic Youth decided to take their time and slowly craft instrumental pieces. The result of this is the SYR (Sonic Youth Recordings) series, a departure but also a logical progression from the band's most recent works, Washing Machine and A Thousa...view item »

Ghost Maps
The Ocean From The River

Quiet dramatics filter in above the steady pulse of folk rock that Ghost Maps are conjuring from several graves. These songs swell with twinkling guitars, lilting strings and intensive percussion, but do what the best folk music does: they rest on a nice bed of melancholy. The Ocean From The River is...view item »

Big Sister
Lets Go Fly A Kite / Step Outside

Big Sister are Nico and Joahnna Curwood on vocals and guitar and Remi Lamarcq on bass. Loud noise-fired guitars fuelled by a love for the wah wah pedal not matched since the heady days of Eddie Hazel of Funkadelic. On Crocodile Records, who have vowed to smooth the edges off raw bands and send their music out ju...view item »

That Fucking Tank
A Document of the Last Set

Don’t worry guys, despite the title of their new live LP suggesting the contrary, Leeds instrumental riff veterans That Fucking Tank haven’t split up yet. The more eagle-brained amongst you may remember that Abbot and Islip’s very first release was a live recording called ‘A Documen...view item »

Connan Mockasin
Caramel

New Zealand psych-pop maverick Connan Mockasin delivers the follow-up to 2011’s brilliant ‘Forever Dolphin Love’ this week, his distinctive ambient/psych/lounge aesthetic pushed into floatier territory than ever with watery reverbed guitar, boomy chorus-heavy bass and breathy, almost whispe...view item »

Butthole Surfers
Rembrandt Pussyhorse

Weirdo bullshit from ear-to-ear grin rockers Butthole Surfers, who continue to draw on -- and then scribble over -- genres as far and wide as punk, surf psych and avant-garde. They use their powers for evil, of course, offering the silly Rembrandt Pussyhorse, full of catchy, fuzzy tunes about disgusting nothin...view item »

Dead Gaze
Brain Holiday

Dead Gaze is the brainchild of Mississippian Cole Furlow, turning out for his first collection on Palmist. Cole sounds like he has honed his craft tinkering in the bedroom with eyes fixed firmly on the stars, with big fuzzy hooks on humble budgets. This is super-catchy stuff to file in-spirit next to 2014’...view item »

Widowspeak
The Swamps EP

Ever since I’ve worked here I’ve kept seeing records by this band coming in and out of the shop and I’ve somehow managed to go all these years. Finally I get to answer some (but not all) of my burning questions about this band today. Who are they? What do they sound like? Is it pronounced “widow speak” or “wid...view item »

Cuntz
Aloha

Purveyors of high-quality Filth from the Outback for a few years now, Aloha is Cuntz second album, and it's even better than the first. It's nasty, scuzzy and it'll smash your ears in with a hammer before sewing new ones back on. Your mum probably wouldn't be a fan. The tribal, repetitive drum beats remind me of King ...view item »

Littlebow
Pi Magpie

Littlebow’s previous CD on Second Language, ‘The Edge Blown Aerophone’, impressed our Phil and Brian so much a couple of years ago that they bestowed our coveted album of the week trophy on it. This week Katie English (Isnaj Dui, The Owl Service) and Keiron Phela...view item »

Tomahawk
Mit Gas

While I'm in the minority of folks who preferred Mit Gas to Tomahawk's debut album, I still found it to be somewhat disappointing. The band’s primarily vocalist Mike Patton and guitarist Duane Denison, produced a pair of records with similar moods-- angry, aggressive music. But on Mit Gas, the music is matched by much more in your face pro...view item »

Tropical Trash / Alcohol Party
Split

I'm only going to be able to squeeze out a few words about this one because we're short on time this week but I've been enjoying it so I feel like I should speak out. Here's the second split cassette on Loin Seepage featuring label honcho Jim Marlowe's no-brow noise punks T...view item »

Magik Markers
Ice Skater / Machines

Sometimes I sit here on a Friday wondering if I’ll ever like music again. I’m terminally frustrated this morning. Not that everything is shit, just that it's all sorta OK I guess. The sound on the A side is incomparable to the words I see written about their previous releases, words that seem to suggest both psych and ...view item »

God is an Astronaut
Origins

Latest and seventh full-length from epic post-rock/metal twins Niels and Torsten Kinsella aka God Is An Astronaut.  I'm usually not one to moan about the labels that the music press like to invent to make it easier for people to understand genres in music. The term 'post-rock' to me covers ...view item »

Outfit
Performance

The hotly-tipped Outfit finally release their debut album this week, having relocated to London from their native Liverpool looking to experience a bigger city (and no doubt the connections and exposure that living in a bigger city can provide), and as far as I’m aware re-relocating back home where they could a...view item »

65daysofstatic
Wild Light

This is the ending 65daysofstatic somehow always makes its way back to, the one that keeps the engine fired up after five LPs, countless EPs, and over a decade as a band--this inextinguishable flame of theirs that says the world’s falling apart and we may as well try to put the pieces back together. This is our only hope in trying times, t...view item »

Esmerine
Dalmak

If Norman Records’ sales were anything to go by, Godspeed You Black Emperor would be Top of the Pops. Esmerine are one of the Godspeed people plus a lady from A Silver Mount Zion (even more pretentious). The first track...view item »

Jonathan Rado
Law And Order

Looking somewhat like a man with Adam Green’s permanently open-mouthed face topped off with a chunk of Syd Barrett’s curly hair, Jonathan Rado looks something like a heart-throb. Also his day job is in Foxygen so there you go. The opening track plods along, a drone like affair with heavy slabs of organ. Funny I should mention Adam Gr...view item »

The Unit Ama
The Mason's Mallet

Here’s a surprise from a band I thought was long-gone. I’m sure I saw The Unit Ama supporting Fugazi years ago, and they did that one LP with the awesome packaging on Gringo and then vanished into the night, only to reappear recently for a series of gigs including...view item »

Etai Keshiki / Amorous Dialogues
Split

Hah, today is going well so far. First I got to review the superb new Dark Acid II compilation 12” on Clan Destine and now I’ve got the Etai Keshiki/Amorous Dialogues split to sink my ears into. That’s five songs of ferocious n...view item »

Arbouretum
The Gathering

Now on their (yikes) fourth album, this is the project of some time Bonnie Prince Billy guitarist Dave Heumann. They have been compared to Will Oldham fronting Espers and certainly their Richard Thompson like compositions stretch out into the wilderness with lengthy guitar jams into progressive folk territory but tracks like 'When Delivery Comes...view item »

Zorch
Zzoorrcchh

This is a very fun and interesting recording. I honestly do not know how to describe it, but you can go to bandcamp and listen to it. It's an amazing drummer and a great keyboard player. It's not dance music. It's not rock, I guess it's just Zorch. I saw these guys live and they put on a great show - where live drumming meets inventive multimedi...view item »

Explosions In The Sky & David Wingo
Prince Avalanche

Explosions In The Sky team up with fellow Texan David Wingo to produce this soundtrack to David Gordon Green’s latest film project ‘Prince Avalanche’, starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch. The film sees two friends leave their hometown on a job to paint traffic lines on a wildfire rava...view item »

Butthole Surfers
Brown Reason To Live

What you will have, in your hands upon purchase, is the Rosetta stone of True Underground Music, an American original taking monstrous, hallucinatory baby steps to legend. Highlights: "Cowboy Bob" unreels like a horror-film soundtrack, all menacing bass and clashing guitars and horns, and ends with Gibby inexplicably proclaiming, "Aye Calypso." ...view item »

AUN
Alpha Heaven

I remember seeing Sonic Youth years ago and it was possibly the worst gig I've ever been to. Utter self-indulgent toss. The only highlight was my mate shouting "F**k she's got a trumpet now" when Kim Gordon emerged brandishing the offending item. I only mention this as the press release mentions Sonic Youth in their "for fans of". This r...view item »

Hreda
Minnows/ Dead Horses

Hreda have been described by Drowned in Sound as post-rock and grandiose, intricate as lace and heavier than their peers Explosions in the Sky. Hailing from Oxford, they are presented here on 7” vinyl with two of their fantastic tracks, "Minnows" and "Dead Horses". For fans of Don Cabellero...view item »

Hebronix
Unreal

Here’s a slow-burning by Hebronix, led by 23-year-old ex-Yuckite Daniel Blumberg. His new band offer up a dreamily psychedelic and weary-sounding take on indie rock, taking the time to jam out their songs into unexpectedly spacey territory which is always anchored by a clear love for by-the-book ‘90...view item »

Tunng
Comments On The Inner Chorus

What is it about Tunng? Why are they soooo good? They have the magic that's why. Precious few bands achieve what they do. Simple, beautiful & lovingly layered songs that take you to another place. A land carpeted with woodland creatures, the finest wine, the prettiest girls, all imbued with a quietly sinister spirit, no...view item »

Field Harmonics
Walls

In a sign of the audience-splitting effect that this new album from Epic 45's Rob Glover is likely to have it fell on me, by far the least experienced of our venerable reviewing staff, to offer my services as an objective gun for hire. Or, as Phil put it, "you can be the review bike". I think it's fai...view item »

Black Pus
All My Relations

Here’s the latest CD from Black Pus, aka Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt and Mindflayer notoriety, who here blasts out a chaotic collection of upbeat lo-fi noise-pop with bass distorted into a big farty rumble, hollered vocals low in the mix and process...view item »

David Yow
Tonight You Look Like A Spider

You already know David Yow’s garbled vocalisations from his historically important work in such legendary bands as Scratch Acid and The Jesus Lizard, but now, 15 years after the ‘Lizard last put out a studio record, he has a solo album for us to list...view item »

Victoria and Jacob
Festival

“Somewhere between Kylie Minogue, Young Marble Giants and The xx”, lies the press release. It possibly, at a push, sounds a little like Kylie Minogue, nothing like the others. Yes everyone it’s festival season and Victoria and Jacob have managed ...view item »

Peals
Walking Field

After listening to Future Islands' second release In Evening Air, and some lurking about their old Thrill Jockey label, I came across Peals. Walking Field feels as much like a single soundscape than as a record of songs arranged one after another. An audio landscape uninterrupted, or worse complicated...view item »

Saltland
I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us

Everything you'd expect from a Rebecca Foon solo outing. Interesting strings, other worldly percussion, gentle vocals. Quite similar to her output in Esmerine, but different enough to warrant the different moniker. Very glad I bought this album, it's sits extremely well amongst the other Constellation releases. Another release that adds further ...view item »

Pan American
Cloud Room, Glass Room

Yo. Anyone out like sleeping? Know what I’m saying? Great isn’t it. Alas, it seems I don’t do it anymore. It’s a drag I guess and something that makes it harder to enjoy records like this as listening to the utterly gorgeous opening tune my eyelids are drooping, my body shutting down...zzzzzzzzz. It’s a wonderful wa...view item »

Futurebirds
Baba Yaga

This reminds me of my favourite My Morning Jacket albums--The Tennessee Fire, At Dawn and It Still Moves--I say this in the best possible way. I don't feel like Futurebirds are derivative. One time while driving this perfectly matched the tone of the city lights and their conversation with the night...or something. I loved Hampton's Lullaby and ...view item »

Barberos / Dispo
You Vs Us/Us Vs You

Another split release from Payper Tiger, this time via the grey streets of Liverpool and the sunny climes of Italy with Barberos alongside electro-math wizards Dispo. It brings together a range of influences including Battles, The Mars Volta, Kraftwerk and ...view item »

Low Sea
Remote Viewing

I’ve done my own Remote Viewing recently trawling through the back catalogue of Haslingdon’s finest electronic duo Remote Viewer. But enough about my weird nocturnal habits, this is a very different beast. Produced by Human League producer Stephen ...view item »

Steve Mason
Monkey Minds In The Devil's Time

This is my favourite record of 2013 and I listened to it non-stop most of the Summer. When a lot of people I know went crazy in the heat and bad luck of last year, this record kept me sane. The album works as a whole with some tunes being variations: using reprises and (dub style) 'versions'. Binding it altogether is ...view item »

Purling Hiss
Water On Mars

Hey, remember grunge? It’s back, apparently...or did it never go away? I suppose it depends who you ask. Anyway, there’s been some really great neo-grunge out in the past couple of years from the likes of Cloud Nothings, Culkin, ...view item »

Conquering Animal Sound
On Floating Bodies

We’ve listened to Glasgow’s Conquering Animal Sound a few times here in the now office and we can’t seem to get past the Bjork references, another go through the headphones though has revealed a few more levels to this record, beyond all th...view item »

Aidan Baker & Plurals
Glass Crocodile Medicine

Aidan Baker is back with his second Latitudes session after 2010’s Nadja one, this time accompanied by tour-mates Plurals for two epic and very different passages of drifty atmospherics which run to about 20 minutes each. First up is &ls...view item »

The Dead C Vs Rangda
The Dead C Vs Rangda

Here’s an LP that’ll make noise-rock fans sit up and take notice! Ba Da Bing have been kind enough to put together a split LP containing one side of lost sessions from New Zealand legends The Dead C (aka Michael “Gate” Morley, Bruce Russell and Robbie Y...view item »

Dog Bite
Velvet Changes

I’m not sure if you are aware dear readers that we have a policy of writing little post-it notes on promos to ‘help’ us remember what they sound like. Brian is extremely prolific at this, typical descriptions include ‘generic lame indie toss’, ‘hideous Chris Rea/Paul Weller...view item »

Plantagenet 3
The Darkening Green

Ah, this is nice. I’ve just spent the past few hours reviewing difficult dark ambient and noise records so it’s a welcome relief to be listening to a record with easily defined melodies and recognisable tones on it. Here London’s Planta...view item »

Boduf Songs
Burnt Up On Re-entry

The excellent Mat Sweet, aka Boduf Songs, has a new album of his hushed late-night introspection on Southern on the heels of a droney offering to their Latitudes series. My first impression of this one is that it comes across as more...view item »

Moonface with Siinai
Heartbreaking Bravery

Canadian Spencer Krug (Sunset Rubdown, Wolf Parade) with his 2nd Moonface album, this time with Finnish band Siinai, formerly known as Joensuu 1685. The result is a sort of diverse, medium paced indie rock with a flair for epic drama based around subtly developing rhythms and a powerful voice. Elements of pulsing Krautrock, punctuated by bursts ...view item »

Do Make Say Think
Do Make Say Think

Do Make Say Think have a sound somewhere between Tortoise and Godspeed You Black Emperor! If that sounds appealing to you, pick this up. Heck, even if it doesn't. Do Make Say Think write brilliant songs and they play them even better. You could almost call this al...view item »

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