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Shoegaze / Post-Rock / Math / Experimental Indie

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Dreamscape
La-Di-Da Recordings

Is this the point where surprise re-issues of long forgotten bands passes into complete and utter insanity? Dreamscape barely merited a blip even on the demo/tape scene of 1989 and their biggest claim to fame, apart from a review in the Bath Star newspaper, was that two of the band formed Secret Shine, one of the stalwarts of the second wave of ...view item »

Godspeed You! Black Emperor
ALLELUJAH! DON'T BEND! ASCEND!

It was a genuine surprise to all of us earlier this week when the mighty Godspeed You! Black Emperor announced the near-instantaneous release of this new album after a full decade’s studio silence, and I’ve emotionally blackmai...view item »

Pere Ubu
Lady From Shanghai

One of the strangest and most challenging bands on the international experimental rock/post-punk circuit must be these Cleveland OH oddballs led by the larger-than-life David Thomas. Associated with such enigmatic freak units as Red K(...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 »

Buck Gooter
Witch Molecules

This one is interesting. I didn’t know anything about these guys before today except that they play noise rock, so I was expecting some kind of formulaic pig-fucker screech-out but actually what this duo are doing is weirder and more interesting than that, taking minimal rhythms and str...view item »

Paradise
Endless Wave

Here’s a single from the latest London hopefuls Paradise, starting with the ‘80s-inflected indie-synthpop of ‘Endless Wave’, whose verses are reminding me a little bit of The Oranges Band before some brightly coloured lead gui...view item »

You Walk Through Walls
Destroyed Places

Rising out of the ashes of Air Formation, the south coast’s You Walk Through Walls continue Club AC30’s dream pop/shoegaze revolution by sounding like ...view item »

Blissed Out Fatalists
Blissed Out Fatalists

I’ve just had the misfortune of reviewing a series of moderately disheartening records culminating in the abomination of a Christmas novelty single from ‘90s lo-fi survivors Helen Love so it’s about time something decent h...view item »

Sonic Youth
Smart Bar Chicago 1985

Sonic Youth, let’s face it, are a band we all love and a valued part of our modern lives, so how are we supposed to fill the yawning void left in our lives while they’re taking some time off to figure out their future? Well very thought...view item »

Lower Dens
Twin Hand Movement

This album might achieve classic status. Beautiful, mellifluous vocals, intelligent and self-aware lyrics (with subtle, dry humour throughout) and a beautiful haze of laid-back (yet still somehow propulsive and danceable) instrumentation, all under a haze of noir-ish/ Ennio-Morricone Western-themed atmospher...view item »

Melody's Echo Chamber
Melody's Echo Chamber

Tame Impala are everywhere at the moment. The Guardian last week told me they were the best band I’d never heard. But I had heard them and so had loads of other people. Don’t tell me what I have and haven’t heard. ...view item »

Matthew Friedberger
Matricidal Sons Of Bitches

One half of the zaniest indie rock sibling crew of all time, The Fiery Furnaces, Matthew Friedberger takes some time away from writing with genius sister Eleanor to do some solo stuff. Matricidal Sons of Bitches is a self-proclaimed horror show of a concept album. His name does not have the word burger in...view item »

Tamaryn
Tender New Signs

I feel an almost instant affinity with this band because a tamarin monkey (okay, it’s spelt slightly differently but it’s near enough) once pissed on my ex-wife in Cologne. It was proper funny. It still brings a smile to my face now. Amazing hairy tiny pissy things they are....view item »

North American War
Ivory And Geraniums On A Spit

Bit mysterious this one, there’s no press release and the sleeves are all hand-coloured and DIY-looking, and it’s whipping our Brian into a frenzy of curiosity, demanding to know who they are. We’ve figured out they’re from Glasgow and play gigs with ...view item »

Altar Eagle
Nightrunners

Digitalis honcho and North Sea dude Brad Rose spends his downtime on this Altar Eagle project with his wife Eden Hemming, where far from the cha...view item »

King Cyst
Real Pussy

There’s a peculiar backstory behind the oddly-monikered King Cyst, who were, according to the press release, “primarily...an instrumental Doors cover band” until lyricist Luka Usmiani gave them a demo CD of his work last year and they were so excited that within five mon...view item »

Efterklang
Piramida

Is there a band on the planet more pretentious than Efterklang? I stormed out of one of their shows at Leeds Brudenell Social Club, slighted by their unbelievable smugness - sprinting home and locking the door before I shoved their trumpets ...view item »

Various
Electric Voice Compilation

Canada’s Electric Voice Records (is that a Haack reference?) are dedicated to documenting the current state of affairs in contemporary pop, and they’ve painstakingly craf...view item »

Arc In Round
Arc In Round

I’d heard bits and pieces about this lot from various sources and that name caught my eye being a quite obvious Disco Inferno reference. I had, however been useless enough to be completely unable to get round to checking  them out...u...view item »

Tokolosh
The Hollow / TokoHorse

Good ol’ Static Caravan have sent us a new 7” this week from this five-piece Tokolosh, about whom I know nothing. Put the needle on the groove and you’re treated to a soulful downbeat r’n’b ballad with big falsetto vocal harmonies. It’s totally heartfelt and actually q...view item »

Flavor Crystals
On Plastic

Now our Mike said these lot are “Shit, like a stoner rock Stone Roses”. Now, I’m usually respectful of his opinions but in this case he’s Mr. Wrong with stupid trousers on and his ass is a-hangin’ out. Then again that was the latest album he heard from these guys.....On this 2005 ...view item »

Tonfedd Oren
Tonfedd Oren

Weird little lad this. Tonfedd Oren are a Welsh duo featuring guitar dude Rhys Williams and electronics dude John Brenton, and they make weird tinny lo-fi casiopop with a New Order bassline and ...view item »

The Pheromoans
Does This Guy Stack Up?

The Pheromoans are back with a full-length on Upset the Rhythm this week, now expanded to a six-piece and headed in more of an experimental pop direction than their previous spindly post-...view item »

Directions
Directions In Music

Whenever Doug Scharin sits down behind a drum-kit magic starts to take place. Every time I listen to this album I'm shocked at how beautiful, rich, and democratic Direction's music is. It sounds like an entire drum-band, but it's just Doug and his drums. Bundy K Brown again is a 'sound wizard'. He somehow knows when to jump ship. He left ...view item »

Dignan Porch
Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen

Tooting’s Dignan Porch are back with a second album of their dreamy indie-pop for Captured Tracks, offering their consistently palatable mix of indie, dreampop, lo-fi, garage ...view item »

Puffy Areolas
1982: Dishonorable Discharge

I really like these Puffy Areolas. They’ve got a raw obnoxious loucheness to them which I immediately warmed to so I’m very happy to see a new full-length collection turn up at Norman HQ. So happy that I’m reviewing it even though nobody has put it on the review pile. Ta...view item »

The Haiduks (featuring Jordi Rosen)
On Air

I just reviewed the new Fountains 7” which has some super nostalgic shoepop stylings on it and now I’ve got this one from Montreal’s ...view item »

Yeasayer
Fragrant World

I was disappointed to see some of the lukewarm reviews on various websites. It's perhaps understandable though, there are no tracks that are quite as straightforward & accessible as, say "Ambling Asp" or "Madder Red" from their last album. However, this album is more complex, and ultimately more rewarding as a result. I disagree completely w...view item »

Fountains
Easily Led/ Repetition

There’s a couple of tracks of nostalgic boy/girl shoepop style indie on this 7” here. While it fits snugly into the relevant genre boundaries it’s certainly done with style and the songs are totally charming and catchy, bringing to mind the likes of ...view item »

Knife Liibrary
Drowners

This album of muffled incantations here is the work of Matt Williams from the marvellous BEAK> and Team Brick. We gave it a spin yesterday and I was super impres...view item »

Blue on Blue / Os Ovni
Vision Imaginary / Holographic Dreams

This split 12" here has two variations on dreamy synthpop on it. On side A Blue On Blue open with a kind of twinkly toytown thing that morphs into a free-churning nightmare of rattling bass and guitar drones and jazzy drum madness only to drop back into the music box prettiness, like a grimier, dirgier mix of Death & Vanilla...view item »

Stalking Horse
Specters

This band The Stalking Horses are from Leeds, like us, and have played in other bands like This Et Al, Grammatics and ...view item »

Three Mile Pilot
Maps

According to my calculations this is rather pricey for a 20-minute 12” EP, but sometimes you need to pay a premium for quality don’t you? I don’t know, having heard the five all-too-short numbers contained on this here disc I’m still getting one anyway. For those o...view item »

Alice Cohen
Pink Keys

Alice Cohen returns with her second album for Crinoline assisted this time by the newly revived Olde English Spelling Bee. Anyone famili...view item »

BEAK>
>>

Geoff “Portishead” Barrow of Portishead fame has been a busy lad lately, what with his massive hip-hop Quakers thing and his synthy Dredd-fest...view item »

Volcano The Bear
Golden Rhythm / Ink Music

My unique selling point here at Norman Towers is my ability and willingness to review records nonstop for indefinite periods of time, and yet sometimes a band is so uncategorisable that it's pretty much impossible to encapsulate their essence in a couple of paragraphs of pearly prose....view item »

Peaking Lights
936

Dear Mister Record Purchasing Addiction Counselor, I've been doing great recently and not been blowing all of my wages on records... But this new plate came up and I need it so much in my life you wouldn't believe > You need it too. I played this record five times already on promo, it is more addictive than c...view item »

Trailer Trash Tracys
Ester

Here we go, my first review of 2012 and it's from the dodgily monikered great new hopes from indie kings Domino. First impressions of this are generally pretty good, though they have a worrying obsession with that Twin Peaks bassline as it turns up twice, on the Bachman Turner Overdrive re...view item »

Aaron Roche/ R. Stevie Moore / Shahzad Ismaily
Cylco Cardoray/ Synth Essiah

I've already reviewed the Ariel Pink/R Stevie Moore tape today so this is the second offering from “our Stevie” that I've had to tackle today. It's very far from being more of the same, however. On this ...view item »

Marriages
Kitsune

Marriages amazes with this six song debut. Although the track list contains six songs, the record plays like one long song split into two sides. It is easy to hear the influence of Red Sparowes, especially in the bass lines, but make no mistake, this band is a separate entity. Emma Ruth Rundle's voice adds a pl...view item »

Here We Go Magic
A Different Ship

This is Here We Go Magic's third album but my first exposure to them so I can't compare it to their previous stuff I'm afraid. Anyway, they've got Nigel Godrich twiddling the knobs on this one so what I've got going on in my ears right now ...view item »

Gravenhurst
The Ghost In Daylight

Still as strange an anomaly on Warp as they were when first signed back in 2003 or whenever, Gravenhurst (actually just main man Nick Talbot these days) return after a 5 year gap. I loved Gravenhursts first two records (I'm including mini album 'Black Holes in the Sand' here), was less keen on...view item »

The Samuel Jackson 5
The Samuel Jackson 5

I find it hard to tell if this album stands up to the first three. There are elements from just about every style of music from hardcore to jazz to folk to post-rock to classical. The album features questionable high-pitched male vocals that I acclimated to with time and came to enjoy. There are certainly some stand-out tracks, like "Radio Gagar...view item »

Teen Daze
Four More Years / Tour EP

Teen Daze is the kind of band name that makes me do a little sick in my mouth. That aside I'm not having too much trouble with this compilation of Jamison's 2010 EP releases. It's Chillwave. It's Glo-fi. It's easy to define (and listen too) electronic music much like Washed Out, Memory Tapes and Neon Indian, ie; the professional, slic...view item »

Horse Feathers
Cynic's New Year

It's the usual folk toy story of magical banjos and fiddles and acoustic guitars, each instrument used more pastoral than the last, each adding to the fond feeling of rurality Horse Feathers have become obsessed with. Cynic's New Year shows the band as deft as ever at their genre revisionism, though they ornament these so...view item »

Divorce / Jailhouse Fuck
Split

We're all pretty fond of Divorce and their unhinged bombastic Arab on Radar-ish scuzzy noise-punk stylings so I've bunged their side of this split ...view item »

Cock And Swan
Stash

Cock and Swan. Never a good combination except for when these two get together. I don't know who is who but there's a boy (the cock i presume) and a girl (the swan?) and they are both from Washington DC. Anyway together they create a lovely mid fidelity slightly clanky brew of drifting melodie...view item »

Spiritualized
Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Think you know what to expect from Spiritualized by now? Well, you'd be right! Yup, the English band with the American spelling are back with a new platter of their ambitious indie-psych-pop-gospel-drug music packed with 11 cuts that sound jus...view item »

Seamus Cater & Viljam Nybacka
The Anecdotes

This lovely record is somewhat hard to pigeonhole. At its heart is the folk songwriting tradition, and the casually melodic vocal delivery of Seamus Cater is central to this eerily nostalgic collection. The minimal accompaniments conjured by himself and Viljam Nybacka are much more skele...view item »

Zammuto
Zammuto

Zammuto is a weird old proposition. From Nick Books, a man who has had no end of trouble with the security at Waterstones recently, comes his new bizzar-o-pop project which the care-free thieving little tyke has arrogantly named after himself.  This collection of widdly prog pop funk, cascading cluttered psychedelic whimsy and even sl...view item »

Pelican
Ataraxia / Taraxis

Pelican is a post-metal band in the vein of Isis and Scale the Summit that holds down its airy atmosphere with some sludgy guitars in this short four-track EP. The big meaty growling of the guitars is lent memorable varying rhythms and though you might not be compelled to perk up your ears through every second of each song, every progression amb...view item »

epic45
Weathered

Well the band that probably keep dear old Auntie Norm afloat more than most is E45 and here is the companion piece to the multi-million shifting and Stewart Lee endorsed Weathering. Like remix albums usually do, this is a collection of friends and fellow musical journeymen reworking various songs from that very album attempting to put a hazy...view item »

That Fucking Tank
TFT

That Fucking Tank have always been a reliable source of audio entertainment. Their shows are consistently a pleasure to attend and the three LP's that preceded 'TFT' are some of the finest ROCK rekkids committed to tape in the modern (and depressingly digital) age. After a phenomenal amou...view item »

Circle Of Ouroborus
The Lost Entrance of The Just

Ha, I like this band. They write weird and gnarly but perfectly accessible songs and then bury them in so much murky processing that it sounds almost womb-like in its muffled warmth, with tones not too far away from the likes of The Pink Noise or Teenage Panzerkorps in terms of their cons...view item »

Die Hard
Die Hard

First up - Die Hard is a good name for a band. It's almost too good in my opinion, I mean, how do you live up to a name like that? I'm not sure it's possible. So, let's put the name aside for now and concentrate on this oddball record. Die Hard are a new Glasgow based outfit formed very re...view item »

Shoreham Airport
It Was Hot We Stayed In The Version

For reasons only known to themselves, Shoreham Airport woke up one day and decided to cover note for note The Microphones album 'It Was Hot We Stayed In The Water' except in the end they didn't and so they ended up with this instead which they say is a 'dub version' of the album intended to ac...view item »

The Mars Volta
Noctourniquet

Evolution and drastically changing is business as usual for The Mars Volta. Noctourniquet feels like it might be half trying to do something genuinely new and half trying to keep one foot in their previous style. As always with The Mars Volta a lot of fans will hate this album just because it isn't like their debut, a lot of fans will blindly lo...view item »

Pinkunoizu
Free Time

It's taken a little while but the drifting dreamy Beach Boyscapes of Panda Bear's lauded 'Person Pitch' record is finally being re-produced by others hoping to catch onto some of the magic that catapulted that album into the stratosphere. Firstly the excellent recent single by Jagwa Ma bu...view item »

Oneida / Mugstar
Collisions 02

Here's a thing for you. It's a split LP by noisy prawns Oneida and Mugstar. Each band gets a side each and both artists choose to fill each side with one long track. Oneida's contribution  'Shahin's Song' is a 15 minute improv rock beast with sludgey guitars and it's possibly the grimiest ...view item »

Clout!
S/T EP

This is a really good record! I can hear everything from These New Puritans, early Factory Floor to This Heat and Disco Inferno in the first track which marries a grumbling wiry bass to a dancehallesque thud with tons of spangled, clanking, gurgling & ricocheting industrial-tinged samples, a yearning echo-fle...view item »

Ocean/ Conifer
Split

Conifer / Ocean: 'Durance Vile' / 'Building State Empire' (Important) Split vinyl 12" comes packaged in a printed plastic sleeve that works in tandem with the card inner (you'll see when you open it!).Despite what the label says the copy that i'm reviewing is a good old slab of black plastic. Both sides act as a collaboration between two bands...view item »

Battles
Dross Glop 3

The Battles remix project continues with installment III featuring Silent Servant, Kangding Ray and Qluster. If I'm honest I could do without an ongoing Battles remix EP project. Not been overly fussed with the other EP's but this bodes a little better with the inclusion of Qluster. Silen...view item »

Wolfram Wire
Strom

Dropping the needle on this insanely limited LP it would seem that somebody has got to my a-capella drone record idea before I got the chance to record anything, but this does develop into what its own title so aptly describes as an 'Oral Symphony'. This is a track based around vocalising...view item »

Tearist
Living: 2009 - Present

This record is a live album that sees Tearist doing what they do best. These L.A. types have forgotten more than I know about playing live and this collection of songs (culled from various shows at various locations) is a rather heady offering. Building on songs driven by synths and intens...view item »

Dillinger Escape Plan
Dillinger Escape Plan

I don't know if "Dillinger Escape Plan" is the best place to start, but if you haven't had the pleasure of listening to Dillinger Escape Plan before, whenever you get the chance to: Do it! You will find one of the most talented bands around playing some of the hardest, heaviest, and technically chaotic music ever. Fans of non-commercial hardcore...view item »

Animal Collective
Feels

*** FINALLY BACK IN ON DOUBLE 180 GRAM DMM WAX!!*** The crazies that are Animal Collective have a new album out on Fat Cat on dbl vinyl LP or limited 2CD job avec a bonus disc featuring yet more crazyness.... only LIVE. So their new album is a lot different to the last one. It sounds sounds fuller and hazier yet more lo fi and les...view item »

School Of Seven Bells
Ghostory

A band with that most trusted of career trajectory of starting promisingly and managing to get worse on each release, School of Seven Bells have veered from a a vaguely interesting nu-gaze (sorry) proposition that showed hints of heading in a direction that could be termed interesting, to...view item »

Dirty Three
Toward The Low Sun

I've always had a lot of time for the Dirty Three. And since it's been a while since their last album I suppose you're wondering if they've still got it. Both live and on record they've always been a moving and exciting act, capable of conjuring swooping, slow-burning epics that wash ove...view item »

Porcelain Raft
Gone Blind EP

This is the work of Mauro Remiddi, a native of Rome, Italy. The first track here 'Gone Blind' knocked my little socks off with its pastoral lo fidelity glow. It arrives almost at the exact midpoint between Real Estate's watery, reverbed guitar compositions...view item »

Animal Collective
Strawberry Jam

Animal Collective: 'Strawberry Jam' (Domino), seems to take it's cue from the last Panda Bear album, full of vocals to the fore, high melody factor and much more potential for crossover into mainstream radio play. We've been playing this for a few weeks now on promo and by heck it surely does grow and grow to infectious levels. Still, not...view item »

Battles
Dross Glop 2

I'm getting a little jaded by the 12” remix project. There seems to be tonnes of them about at the moment and they don't really add anything to the albums they purportedly are promoting. Here, Battles are reworked in by various luminaries. Firstly The Alchemist does a dark take on '...view item »

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