Folk / Country / Singer-songwriter

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Bob Dylan

Desire was Bob Dylan's second burst of return-to-form creativity in the mid 70's following  the earlier Blood on the Tracks. The record is further song story ruminations from the bard with lengthy, sprawling songs featuring some of the most controversial and personal lyrics of his career.   

Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert
Here Lies The Body

Look at this all-star cast. Arab Strap's Aidan Moffat teams up with guitar ace RM Hubbert in a super-sized collaboration that also includes guest appearances from Siobhan Wilson (cello/vocals) and Rachels Rachel Grimes on piano. All comes out on Mogwai's Rock Action to keep it all in the Scottish family.  

Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood
With Animals

Mark Lanegan - former Screaming Tree, part-time Queen of the Stone Age - teams up with his old chum Duke Garwood for their second LP in a half-decade (though they’ve worked on some stuff together in between). Lanegan’s vocal performance on With Animals is rote at this point - if you’ve liked his rich baritone in the past (and most people have) then you’ll like it here too - but the music is some of the most interesting he’s been involved with in a while. Full of smoky organs and gently pattering electronic drums, this record is reminiscent of when Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds did a stylistic 180 on Push The Sky Away.

Iron & Wine
Weed Garden

Sam Beam & co return as Iron & Wine to follow up their Grammy-nominated LP released in early 2018, 'Beast Epic'. Weed Garden is a collection of songs to complement the aforementioned record; its writing has been an evolving process the past three years. The six-song album was a smaller but significant part of the process, all unfinished at the time; includes the fan favourite 'Waves of Galveston'.

At Weddings

Sarah Beth Tomberlin is the daughter of a pastor, and attended a Christian school before dropping out. Through the plaintive folk of At Weddings, she searches for an identity distinct from her faith. At the same time the album is inspired by Christian music, creating a profound tension at her music's heart. 

Juanita Stein
Until The Lights Fade

Until The Lights Fade is the sophomore long-player from Howling Bells and former Waikiki vocalist and guitarist, Juanita Stein. Musically the album stays true to her 2017 solo debut, America, whilst lyrically its subjects and musings are closer to Stein, both geographically and emotionally. LP and CD on Nude.

Neil Young
Hawks & Doves

No, Hawks & Doves is nothing to do with Cheshire rockers Doves. How could it be, given that, as it was first released in 1980, the members of Doves would have all still have been at primary school? Bet you wish you’d thought that through before opening your mouth and embarrassing yourself… Anyway, this an album by Neil Young, so there’s all that that entails. Nice songs etc.

Neil Young
This Note's For You

I know that this is an unfashionable opinion, but this particular Norman Records™ description writer thinks that Neil Young did his best work in the 1980’s. Albums like Trans and Everybody’s Rockin’ are either some of the all-time great musical shitposts, visionary records that simultaneously trailblaze and satirise the retro-maniacal curve of the decade, or both. 1988’s This Note’s For You manages to yoke together Young’s contemporaneous archness with some of his best mid-period songcraft. There’s also plenty of anti-corporate fire here - possibly something to do with the fact that his old label Geffen had just sued him for, in essence, not being Neil Young-y enough.

John Grant
Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

Following collaborations with the likes of Sinead O’Connor, Goldfrapp and Elton John, as well as sell-out European show and a recent US tour with the Pixies, ‘Grey Tickles, Black Pressure’ is Brit award winner John Grant’s third album release. The tone of the record is heavy with Grant’s dark humour and features an eclectic mix of ecstatic electro-pop, rich, cinematic ballads and desolate synthscapes.

Alexander Tucker
Don't Look Away

Don’t Look Away completes the trio of LPs that the Grumbling Fur's Alexander Tucker started with 2011’s Dorwytch. It’s a record of whimsical, finely-crafted, Brian Eno-esque pop. Factory Floor's Nik Void guests on the hypnotic, droning 'Gloops Void (Give It Up)'. This one's out via Thrill Jockey.
  • Vinyl LP (THRILL469LPX)
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  • Limited edition
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Courtney Barnett
City Looks Pretty / Sunday Roast

City Looks Pretty/Sunday Roast by Courtney Barnett is a special release for Record Store Day. The limited edition 12” features two tracks from her second album Tell Me How You Really Feel. The record perfectly displays the two sides of Courtney Barnett - upbeat and quirky vs reflective. On Marathon Artists.
  • Vinyl 12" (MA0124)
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  • Limited edition
  • Last copy

Kathryn Joseph
From When I Wake The Want Is

Kathryn Joseph's debut Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I've Spilled was a bit of a sad corker winning all kinds of Scottish awards. This is her second record and first for Mogwai's Rock Action imprint. Expect windswept bleak confessionals with a warm heart and quivering delivery that soothe rather than haunt. 

Ned Collette
Old Chestnut

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Me and My Kites
Like A Dream Back Then

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Me and My Kites
Is it Real or is it Made?

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Neil & Liam Finn

Nice family get together here as new Fleetwood Mac guy Neil Finn (Crowded House etc) teams up with son Liam Finn. Mum is on here as well as is Liam's brother Elroy and weird uncles Connan Mockasin and Mick Fleetwood also put in appearances.  No sign of Tim Finn but there's still more than enough family talent here. 

Buck Curran
Morning Haikus, Afternoon Ragas

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The Devil Makes Three
Chains Are Broken

The Devil Makes Three - a name which could be a Marilyn Manson reference, but given the style of music they make we’ll wager it’s got more to do with Emmylou Harris - release their first full-length of original material for five years. Chains Are Broken is way more polished than a lot of Americana LPs, and this allows the group’s full-throated anthems like ‘Paint My Face’ and ‘Bad Idea’ to ring loud and true.

Glenn Jones
The Giant Who Ate Himself And Other New Works For 6 & 12 String Guitar

With a title I could well imagine existing as a cautionary yet inspiring tale for young children, possibly animated by Studio Ghibli (disclaimer: before we're sued, it wasn't) The Giant Who Ate Himself - And Other New Works For 6 & 12 String Guitar is a beautifully crafted recording by Glenn Jones. It's something to do with the big frog with a little guitar on the front cover. Melodies are spun into fine gold thread in Glenn's expert hands, the master of American Primitive guitar that he is. LP in black or 'frog green' virgin vinyl editions, in heavy stock jacket with sleeve notes, tuning details and download card. CD version in four-panel, LP style gatefold. On Thrill Jockey.

Giant Sand
Returns To Valley Of Rain

Giant Sand’s debut album,Valley Of Rain was originally released in 1985, although it was recorded some two years earlier. The band had started to play the songs on tour again, which made them think re-recording the album would be a good idea. They got the original line-up back together, augmented by two newer members and some proper equipment. 

F.J. McMahon
Spirit Of The Golden Juice

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Papa M
Whatever Mortal

Papa M’s 2001 Drag City LP Whatever, Mortal is one of the great overlooked gems of turn-of-the-Century popular music. Taking the reins from artists like Bonnie Prince Billy and Low, the sophomore full-length from Papa M (real name David Pajo - he of Slint fame) is a record of brooding folk and country plagued by dark visions. It is deeply beautiful.

Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
The Radio Winners

A mother-and-son duo here, which isn’t something you see every day. Mama Bear - the mum of the duo, if that wasn’t obvious enough - strums a nice guitar while her handsome son Madisen Ward intones in a manner similar to Ray LaMontagne and Iron & Wine. New EP The Radio Winners is embellished with strings and drums and various other Baroque niceties. There’s a lot of whistling on it, but you can skip those bits. The rest is pretty good.
  • Vinyl 12" (GLS023401)
  • £8.99 £5.39 (saving: £3.60)
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Jess Sah Bi & Peter One
Our Garden Needs Its Flowers

An altogether calmer release than we’ve come to expect from Awesome Tapes From Africa here. Jess Sah Bi & Peter One were a duo famous throughout West Africa in the 1980s. Combining the songwriting techniques of their native Ivory Coast with American and British folk styles, they hit upon a great formula for 1985 LP Our Garden Needs Its Flowers. This reissue sees the audio quality restored in order to let these beautiful melodies ring clear as day.

Conner Youngblood

After turning some heads with 2016 EP The Generation of Lift, Texan singer-songwriter Conner Youngblood comes through with his debut LP on Counter Records. Cheyenne shares a few tracks with TGoL, and the Bon Iver-meets-Sufjan Stevens vibe of that release is also carried over to this full-length. It's very nice stuff. If the video for highlight ‘The Birds of Finland’ is anything to go by, Youngblood is also an indie heartthrob in waiting.

Great Lake Swimmers
The Waves, The Wake

2018 is the year in which Great Lake Swimmers will get to their fifteenth birthday, and what better way to celebrate than with a new album? The group forbade the use of any acoustic guitar on The Waves, The Wake - a bold move for such a folksy outfit - and as such have come up with a collection of very pleasant chamber pop. Woodwind and strings give songs like ‘The Talking Wind’ a Baroque flavour akin to Sufjan Stevens and some of David Byrne’s Grown Backwards.

Elephant Micah
Where In Our Woods

Southern Indiana singer-songwriter Elephant Micah aka Joseph O’Connell releases his 15th album on LP and CD via Western Vinyl. It’s a typically assured effort from the Americana veteran, utilising minimal instrumentation and O’Connell’s smoothly engaging voice to deliver a compelling form of countrified magic realism. Backing vocals are provided by none other than Will Oldham, which is a recommendation in itself, surely? Of course it is.

Paradise: The Sound Of Ivor Raymonde

Not many people are in the position to release records by their dad but head Bella Union honcho Simon Raymonde had a most unusual childhood. From seeing Scott Walker in his back garden to watching dad on 'Hancock's Half Hour' the boy didn't realise at the time the range and influence of his dad. But now he does and here is a lovingly compiled compilation of dad's best bits from hits with Dusty Springfield and the Walker Brothers to obscurities, unearthed gems and everything in between.   

Live At The Music Hall

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Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop
Love Letter For Fire

Love Letter For Fire by Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop is an eclectic collection of unique folk and pop. Beam brings the wit and melancholic guitar of his Iron & Wine project, whilst Hoop contributes her experimental songwriting. The male-female harmonies are beautiful and an all-star band, including Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, flesh out these delicate folk-rock ditties.

Mark Lanegan
Scraps At Midnight

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Mark Lanegan
I'll Take Care of You

Of course he long as you can cope with a little alcohol and being woken by the snuffling that is the preserve of the whiskey-soaked. This was Mark Lanegan's fourth solo LP and sees his gravel voice being deployed to grunt a selection of covers from the likes of Tim Hardin, Booker T Jones and Tim Rose. Lanegan makes them his own though so the sound and feel isn't altogether different to one of his albums of originals. 

The Invisible Way

We moaned that Low were playing it just a little too safe on their 2013 album The Invisible Way. Ha! After Double Negative maybe we could do with some predictable Low as contrast. This was produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and is a warm, acoustic sounding album that contains a bigger slice of Mimi than you usually get. All Low records are worth listening to and this is no different. 

Jesca Hoop
Memories Are Now

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Iron and Wine
Beast Epic

Ol’ big beard Sam Beam is back with a record that he says harks back to his earlier works such as ‘The Creek Drank the Cradle’. This brings Beam’s work a full circle as he seems to be rediscovering the simplicity that made those records such hushed delights. This his his 5th album and contains the type of songs that Beam hinself admits he does best. 

Jose Gonzalez
In Our Nature

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Tearjerking indie strummer Mike Rosenberg, stage name Passenger, is back with another probable chart-topper in Runaway, packed to the gills with yearning songs about love and heartbreak. The combination of pseudonym, title and cover art suggests a North American hitchhike gone a bit wrong, so let’s hope Mike makes it safely to the next town on foot.

Mikaela Davis

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The Self Preservation Society

Throwback artisans ECC Records have spent three years curating this compilation. They’ve taken standards from The Best Era For Music - ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’, ‘White Rabbit’, ‘Kashmir’ and so forth - and got a load of young pretenders to ‘update them’, so to speak. The result is thirty-four tracks that’ll please your uncle. Comes in a nice triple-gatefold package.


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Bert Jansch
L.A. Turnaround

As a glance at the album title might lead you to guess, L.A. Turnaround was one of the albums that grew out of the time that Scottish folk troubadour Bert Jansch spent in America, adding a certain twist to Jansch’s formerly rather traditional sound. This reissue presents the original 1974 album along with a bonus brace of four additional tracks. CD and LP edition by Earth Recordings.

Odetta Hartman
Old Rockhounds Never Die

Odetta Hartman’s sound is an odd mish-mash of stuff. It’s rooted in post-blues styles like rockabilly, 50s r ‘n’ b, country-rock and soul, but there’s also influences cropping up on Old Rockhounds Never Die from genres as diverse as psychtronica and future-boogie. It makes the fifteen tracks of this LP hard to predict, but in a good way. Imagine Jack White of the last few years if he was everything Jack White isn’t.

Mountains Hills Plateaus and Plains

MayMay is Laurel Simmonds from Portland, Oregon. She is a multi-instrumentalist possessing a mesmerising voice and a member of folk band Loch Lomond. She has worked with a number of people including Heather Woods Broderick, Peter Broderick and Alela Diane. Mountains Hills Plateaus and Plains is her third album and follow-up to And So I Place You In The Setting Sun.
  • Vinyl LP (oscarson no 09)
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Delphine Dora & Sophie Cooper
Divine Ekstasys

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Andrew Combs
5 Covers & A Song

This new EP from Nashville singer-songwriter Andrew Combs does what it says on the tin. 5 Covers - of tracks by The Strokes, Radiohead, Lucinda Williams and more - pave the way for an original to close the record out. Stylistically the music is a nice blend of Brian Ferry and Swordfishtrombones-era Tom Waits.

Elephant Micah

Generica is Elephant Micah’s new album: the title mashes together ‘generation’ / ‘genre’ and ‘America’ / ‘Americana’, resulting in a jumbled-up suite of sounds, made with an array of second-hand idiosyncratic gear, including a tape deck, some Hindustani synths, and a digital synth made with Elephant Micah’s brother. Intuitive feels throughout.

What Another Man Spills

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Damien Jurado
Rehearsals for Departure

The 1999 album from Damien Jurado is back back back in the form of vinyl and cassette reissues on Sub Pop. Rehearsals For Departure is Jurado’s second full-length, and rather more (indie) folky than his debut. Each song feels long lived-in and heavy with melancholy, although Jurado’s delicate constructions of guitar, voice, harmonica, and occasionally a fuller band, make the album a compelling experience.

Damien Jurado
Ghost of David

The 2000 album from Damien Jurado is back back back in the form of vinyl and cassette reissues on Sub Pop. Ghost Of David is Jurado’s third full-length, and it finds the man shedding a lot of the indie folky textures of the previous album in favour of some spiky indie guitars. Just as effective at conveying weighty melancholy.

Michael Nau
Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread

The Mighty Thread is not a really bad conversation on a message board that deviates into people agreeing to disagree, but rather the bonus name for Michael Nau, who made a bright, folksy record in Some Twist. He's back with this knottily poetic follow-up that embraces ambiguity and uncertainty with odd writing and performing decisions: different members of his makshift band placed their instruments in different rooms of the house, with an amp in the bathroom and a piano in the living room. This seemed to encourage a strange, communal vibe for a record that feels like a crew going one level extra to help out each other.

Daniel Bachman
The Morning Star

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Jeff Buckley
Mystery White Boy

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Richard Youngs

Troubadour, jester, joker, prankster. These are all words that have probably been used to describe the gleefully playful Richard Youngs. A rare voice in experimental music that is simultaneously very good and also entirely up for taking the piss. Arrow was recorded between Glasgow and Hebden Bridge, and has Youngs playing a kind of free psychedelic jazz.
  • Vinyl LP (PS47LP)
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  • Limited edition
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Rue Royale
In Parallel

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Lindi Ortega

Canadian singer Lindi Ortega is back with her 7th album, a trailblazing concept record that reflects deeply on heartbreak, loss, resurrection and, ultimately, redemption. This record journeys through the American West, with twanging guitars, relentless drums and choral, gothic vocals. A rollicking good listen. 

Ryley Walker
All Kinds Of You

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Gillian Welch
Soul Journey

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Jessica’s Brother
Jessica’s Brother

The debut LP from London trio Jessica’s Brother arrives courtesy of Fika (Tigercats, Allo Darlin’). The Dirty Three and Neil Young are the comparisons that most readily spring to mind with Jessica’s Brother. These ten tunes, rooted in folk techniques but not afraid to plug in, come with a liberal sprinkling of fiddle and the fine piercing tenor of singer/songwriter Tom Charleston.

The Skiffle Players
Piffle Sayers EP

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Us and Them
When I Was Walking

Having put out a lilting psychish-folkish album with Mega Dodo Records in 2015, Swedish duo Us and Them return to the label with a lilting psychish-folkish double-A. I’m going to take a punt and guess that they’ve lifted their name from the Pink Floyd song. 7”. Sleeves are hand-numbered so it’s a good job they’re only making 150 of them because any more would likely mean cramping for the numberer in question.
  • Vinyl 7" (MEGA5)
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  • Limited edition
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Grimm Grimm

The new record from Japanese expat Grimm Grimm is a fine piece of contemporary psychedelia. Cliffhanger has its roots in the psychedelic folk of Syd Barrett, but also takes in psych-rock, freak-folk ala mid-period Animal Collective and even a little of the Ghost Box ilk. It’s testament to Grimm Grimm’s skill, and a real asset to Cliffhanger, that he manages to shackle his freaky-deaky tendencies with a knack for good songcraft.

Nathan Salsburg

Nathan Salsburg has allowed five years to elapse since his previous album, during which time he’s been working with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Joan Shelley and James Elkington, among others. But on his own, Salsburg’s sound really shines, working his acoustic guitar with intricate precision, with a swirl of folk influences shining through here and there. Third is released by No Quarter.

Stuart A. Staples

Now resembling a kind of cross between Tosh Lines and Frank Burnside (both formerly of the Bill), Stuart Staples takes a break from Tindersticks to make his first solo LP in 13 years. The album has an unusual structure consisting of four songs but with one clocking in at thirty minutes in length, Staples has created a unique and experimental piece of work.    


Luluc have friends in high places. They can count Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney) and Matt Berninger (The National) among their fans, while Sculptor features contributions from J. Mascis, Dirty Three’s Jim White and more. Their second LP for Sub Pop is full of plaintive, wistful synth-pop ditties evocative of both Zola Jesus and Angel Olsen.
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  • Folk / Country / Singer-songwriter

Robert Forster w/ Jherek Bischoff & String Quartet
People Say

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Peter Stringer-Hye
Sunday Girls EP

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Jon Collin
Water and Rock Music Volume 1

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Sharron Kraus
Joy's Reflection Is Sorrow

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Advance Base
Nephew In The Wild

Advance Base has spent the three years since his last record contributing to the works of Sun Kil Moon and Serengeti, but now the time is right for a proper new album. Nephew In The Wild is an American record, full of old-time tales put to a slightly lethargic indie-rock tune. Released as CD and LP by the Tomlab label.

Bobby Brown
Prayers Of A One Man Band

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Holly Throsby
After a Time

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Beautify Junkyards
The Invisible World of Beautify Junkyards

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Lux Harmonium
Soap And Silk

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Lilly Hiatt & Aaron Lee Tasjan
Luck Mansion Sessions

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the innocence mission
Sun On The Square

the innocence mission have been around a while now, but Sun On The Square marks the Pennsylvania trio’s first LP for Bella Union. You can see why the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Iron And Wine list them among their favourite acts. The group’s mix of guitar, strings, ukelele and Karen Peris’ lovely voice has clearly had a strong influence on the work of both of those artists. The band stick to their guns on this album, but why change when you’ve got a good thing going?

John Stammers
Waiting Around

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Ana Silvera

In 2011 Ana Silvera composed her piece Oracles in response to losing her mother and brother in quick succession. Playing it to sell out shows with Imogen Heap, she went into the studio in 2015 with Bill Laurance (Snarky Puppy), Jasper Høiby (Phronesis) and a number of musicians to lay it down. Finally released through Gearbox this is a truly soul stirring affair.

Jaye Jayle
No Trail and Other Unholy Paths

The latest LP from the doom-mongers at Sargent House (Chelsea Wolfe, Boris) comes courtesy of Young Widows frontman Ewan Patterson in his Jaye Jayle guise. His powerfully charismatic performances on No Trail And Other Unholy Paths recall Tom Waits as well as Nick Cave at his most blood-and-thunder. Tracks like ‘Ode To Betsy’ would have had no problem slotting into Cave classics like Let Love In.

This Is The Kit
Moonshine Freeze

Kate Stables’ project This Is The Kit has a new album out, and it is a beautiful and multi-angled thing, with instrumentation and production (by John Parish) that moves lightly around Kate’s songs. Moonshine Freeze feels playful and fleet-footed without being lightweight, making it a bit of treat. Out on Rough Trade.

Freschard & Stanley Brinks
Midnight Tequila

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Jacob Olausson
Morning And Sunrise

  • CD (IND097CD)
  • £12.99 £6.50 (saving: £6.49)
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Judy Dyble
Earth Is Sleeping

Folk-rock singer and songwriter Judy Dyble is set to return with a new solo album, Earth Is Sleeping -- following hard on the heels of her work with Andy Lewis, last year's ‘Summer Dancing’. Former (pre-Sandy Denny) Fairport Convention vocalist Judy has garnered much critical acclaim with her own woven strands of English psychedelia, gaining noteworthy National Radio attention. The new record is an ideal showcase for her influences who include Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins and Phil Ochs.

Loch Lomond
Night Bats / White Dresses

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Jacob Yates
The Hare. The Moon. The Drone

The third album from this underrated Glaswegian band grabs us by the hand and leads us through concrete new-build estates, shadowy lanes and vast misty moors. The dark earthy vocals (think: Glaswegian Nick Cave) at times let through a ray of folk soaked light. Is that a love song, making it’s way through the dank? Yes, but before you know it we’re back to a bleak tale of a karaoke addicted murderer. What a whirlwind.  

Doug Paisley (featuring Bonnie Prince Billy)
Until I Find You

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Gwenifer Raymond
You Never Were Much Of A Dancer

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Jim James
Uniform Distortion

My Morning Jacket’s angel-voiced frontman Jim James is getting angry about the way our news is delivered. His third solo album, Blanket Distortion explores ways in which we can escape the fuzziness that’s dividing the world and get back to appreciating the simpler things in life. Clear vinyl LP and CD on ATO Records.

Current 93
The Stars On Their Horsies

Current 93 continue their near-40 year experimental musical journey by scoring a pair of group founder and only constant member, David Tibet’s recent nightmares. Their umpteenth album, The Stars On Their Horsies is one long song clocking in at precisely 39 minutes and 39 seconds. CD on The Spheres.
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