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Bon Iver
Bon Iver

Had the marketing team not gone with the whole 'recorded in an isolated cabin' schtick I wonder if 'For Emma, Forever Ago' would have quite had the same impact? That record's quiet desolation seemed to strike a chord with folks everywhere, even with the Tesco brigade (sole UK distribu...view item »

The Mountain Goats
All Hail West Texas (Remastered)

Reissue of the seminal 2002 release by Californian psychobilly band The Mountain Goats. Part rockabilly, part 1960s pop, this is considered to be one of the band's most respected and lo-fi albums. Recorded with a condenser mic and a boom box, with most tracks laid down immediately after being composed. Available now remastered and as a pleasing ...view item »

Matana Roberts
Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile

The second part of Matana Roberts' projected twelve-part jazz tapestry is an extremely confounding and yet gorgeously structured work, based around four-pronged suites of free jazz, operatic vocals, smooth spoken word narratives and gospel chants. The record rises and falls around these passages of music to show the pe...view item »

Happy Jawbone Family Band
Happy Jawbone Family Band

Eighth album from Vermont mentalists The Happy Jawbone Band. The band have generally released home-recorded stuff up to now, and there was a lot of it. Previous album 'Taste the Broom' was a sort of compilation, whittled down to nine songs out of the hundreds these guys have recorded. Here though, they've been into a proper recording studio and ...view item »

Val Denham
Dysphoria

Christ what a back story. Val Denham was involved in doing artwork for the likes of Marc Almond, Throbbing Gristle back in the day and has been involved in Psychic TV and Genesis P Orridge projects, o...view item »

Nathan Salsburg
Hard For To Win And Can't Be Won

Kentucky guitarist / producer Nathan Salsburg's follow up to the debut 'ode to racehorses' album 'Affirmed' (2011). By day, Salsburg is a curator, archiving American folklore. By night, he plays lovely acoustic guitar music. 'Hard for the win and can't be won', whilst still acoustic, has a bigger, grander sound. Available on CD (No Quarter).&nbs...view item »

Dan Haywood
Dapple

Damn, another bell is struck. I remember loving Dan Haywood’s New Hawks record of a couple of years back which I only didn’t fall in love with because weeks after the review when I got round to buying it I couldn’t remember who it was by. This is a less ambitious work, more content to potter ...view item »

Samantha Crain
Kid Face

The second time today I’ve played something which I seem to already know. Are these records just so infectious or have I really heard these things before somehow, somewhere? This Samantha Crain record was produced by John Vanderslice who, as well as having a name you can really get your teeth around, ...view item »

Chance
In Search

Chance Martin began his career as stage manager and lighting designer for his friend, the man in black himself Johnny Cash, and his first guitar was a present from the man himself. Hard to imagine a cooler start! Slightly scary and aggressive, this is the real deal from a man whose life story would no doubt make for quite a read. Vinyl LP c...view item »

David Grubbs
Borough of Broken Umbrellas

Grubbsy. The Grubbsmeister. Grubbsmania. Tony Grubba’s. However you want to greet him, it's clear that David Grubbs has followed an interesting and idiosyncratic path since the sad demise of Gastr Del Sol. This is his first release of solo guitar improvisations....view item »

Aquariana
Aquariana

Aquariana was one of Father Yod’s 13 (thirteen - count em!) wives. And there she is one the cover looking suspiciously like Rick Wakeman in a dress. Father Yod looks on eerily in the background as if wanting his money back after finding out his new wife was the lank haired composer of ‘Journey to the C...view item »

Tom Fazzini
One Shapeless Day

You may remember Tom from Leaf Records artist A Small Good Thing, now out on his own and creating some very interesting music. This latest album on Loophamystery Records begins by leading you into a false sense of secur...view item »

Courtney Barnett
The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas

Courtney Barnett is a storyteller first, relating obscure vignettes of her life to song and then positing them to us, like, "ain't that just the truth?". On The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, she makes mundane stories about gardening sound surreal and cinematic and talks about making out with people at p...view item »

Adrian Crowley & James Yorkston
My Yoke Is Heavy: The Songs Of Daniel Johnston

It's all top stuff I've had to review from home this week, and this baby I've listened to quite a few times. It's a great collection of Daniel Johnston remakes from two renowned Celtic maestros. There's some really odd murky tape weirdness going on under the version of 'True Love Will Find You In The End' bu...view item »

Billy Bragg & Wilco
Mermaid Avenue

I like Billy Bragg, but I'm not a huge fan -- but I do like Wilco so this collaboration with interested me. Basically, they've set previously unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyrics to music. Jeff Tweedy sings some songs, Billy Bragg sings some songs. As it turns out, the one Billy Bragg sings are the best - "Walt Whitman's Niece" with its call-and-answ...view item »

Jorma Whittaker
Jorma Whittaker

Best known as the frontman in Indianapolis dark pop band Marmoset, this eponymous debut is very much a one-man affair despite featuring an array of interesting instruments. Dealing essentially with relationships, and with some impressive Phil Spector-inspired production, it's definitely worth a spin. ...view item »

Shearwater
Fellow Travelers

Featuring former members of Okkervil River, Shearwater originally knocked this record out just to pass the time between full length albums but it’s ended up being a full-on, bona fide release. Covers albums can often be either a little too tongue-in-cheek or too pompous for their own good. &lsquo...view item »

Douglas Dare
Seven Hours

London based singer-songwriter Douglas Dare has come up with an intriguing little debut EP for Erased Tapes. Recorded in south-london bedrooms and practice spaces with drummer/producer Fabian Prynn,  ‘Seven Hours’ is the result of a collaborative process that captures ideas in their infancy and transforms them into odd and impre...view item »

The R.G. Morrison
Diamond Valley

Thankfully, the R G Morrison pick up their guitars to deliver an album of complete ease: Diamond Valley. Recorded in May 2012, this work's relaxed sound seems to permeate whichever space it finds itself filling. The Vinyl LP’s artwork is a fitting reproduction of one of J M W Turner’s landscape paintings. &n...view item »

Laura Mvula
Sing To The Moon

I love hearing a choir belting out something melodic with energy whether its Mozart’s Requiem or The Brothers and Sisters singing Dylan’s Gospel so I was intrigued by Laura Mvula’s debut album. For most of this album, there’s no real ...view item »

Laura J Martin
Dazzle Days

Good old Static Caravan release this latest album from flute-botherer Laura J Martin. ‘Dazzle Days’ features a list of name-dropping collaborations from Tunng’s Mike Lindsay, Benge on synth a...view item »

Jake Bugg
Shangri La

Jake Bugg is back with his second studio album Shangri La. Produced by Rick Rubin, the record is named after his studio in Malibu, California, where the recording took place in the summer of 2013. Writing a much anticipated follow up album was never going to be an easy to task for the much celebrated singer-songwriter, ...view item »

Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman
An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer

This is an interesting puppy. Neil ‘Sandman’ Gaiman and Amanda ‘Fucking’ Palmer married in 2011 and then decided to tour together for 6 nights across the West Coast of Americaland. They were unsurprisingly popular so the newlyishweds Kickstarted to get your money (after much fan clammering) so those precious recor...view item »

Nat Baldwin
Dome Branches: The MVP Demos

Western Vinyl release 'Dome Branches' by double bass/singer-songwriter Nat Baldwin, a collection of demos from his 2008 album ‘Most Valuable Player’. As well as performing with such critica...view item »

The Reverse
Kind Words For Cruel Times

Debut album from North London Indie kids The Reverse. The band have played alongside The Klaxons and The Wave Pictures and have been compared to both Belle and Sebastian and '90s Sheffield pop supergroup Pulp. In the words of a review on their website "It's very much not shit." Well that's a relief. Available on a compact disc with a picture of ...view item »

Neil Mcsweeney
Cargo

Third studio album from Sheffield folk singer-songwriter Neil McSweeney. Sweeney has been making increasingly big waves on the English folk scene with his fresh take on the genre, including collaborations with (among others) Matthew Boulter and Brooke Williams, and a recent tour supporting Richard Hawley. CD on Harbour Song Records. ...view item »

Alex Monk
Indiscreet Mirror

Alex Monk follows ‘The Safety Machine’ with a second outing for Smeraldina Rima that features a bunch of guests (Sand Snowman, Gareth Jones and Steve Dowle) as well as an impressive array of instruments including personal favourites like the Novation Bass St...view item »

Roy Harper
Man And Myth

My knowledge of this legendary British folkie extends to a couple of cursory listens to key albums over the years, the classic 'Flat Baroque and Berserk' being a particularly enjoyable, impassioned listen although I recall the overarching worthiness and his reedy voice grating slightly towards the conclusion. I always preferred the lady folkies ...view item »

Kevin Devine
Bubblegum

Kevin Devine's crowd-funding campaign was a harrowing success and produced 2 new studio albums, one of these is Bubblegum. The electric counter-part to sister album Bulldozer, Bubblegum is rollicking pop-punk played with the assistance of The Goddamned Band. Kevin Devine channels contemporaries Motion City Soundtrack and ...view item »

Kevin Devine
Bulldozer

Perhaps low on funds, Kevin Devine funded his first in a series of new albums using a crowd funding campaign - long story short it was an immediate success and his admiring fans soon got the new album Bulldozer. Filled with Devine's own brand of pop-folk fusion Bulldozer is crammed with soft little ditties. Look out for the tracks Little Bulldoz...view item »

Ramble Tamble
Secret Museum of Kind Men Vol. 2 (Epirus / Tunisia)

Here’s the latest installment in Casual Acid Tea’s ‘Secret History of Kind Men’ series, which sees modern bands reinterpreting songs from the classic historical compilation series ‘The Secret History of Mankind’ in their own style. This time round it’s the turn...view item »

Mike Donovan
Wot

Mike Donovan is back with a new album. If you don't know Mike Donovan he's been part of many bands including the great and prolific Sic Alps who had many great records. This new album is a solo one. The sound of this new album certainly has hints of Sic Alps but also has it's own sound. One of my highlights off the...view item »

Up Around The Sun
Up Around The Sun

Formally a member of Texas punk outfit The Big Boys, Up Around the Sun is a different vehicle entirely for singer-songwriter Tim Kerr. He's teamed up with claw hammer banjo-maestro Jerry Hagins and recorded a lively album of old-time songs. Loads of fiddle, harmonica and banjo and a rollicking good thigh-slapper it is. It's on vinyl and it's ace...view item »

Chris Grant
It’s You!

Liverpudlian singer-songwriter Chris Grant's debut album, out on Alan McGee (who signed Oasis)'s 359 label. Formerly a member of the group The Grants, Chris has drawn comparisons with Noel Gallagher. This is the first single taken from his debut solo album 'It's not about War'. Limited to 359 copies. ...view item »

Mike Gangloff
Poplar Hollow

Pelt/Black Twig Pickers picker Mike Gangloff has a solo album here on beautiful swirly red and green vinyl in an eye-popping Jake Blanchard sleeve. Gangloff plays fiddle and banjo and occasionally sings with the only outside contributions coming in the form of shruti box on a co...view item »

His Clancyness
Vicious

Fat Cat Records have released this full length album from Ottawan Jonathan Clancy, under his musical moniker His Clancyness. He makes cool, quirky, psyche-pop gems, recording mostly in his bedroom and then jamming out with friends. With previous releases being early cassettes of demos, it's nice to hear Clancy with decent production and a backin...view item »

Alex Chilton
Electricity By Candlelight – NYC 2/13/97

It's nice to have this little document of an intimate night in the presence of Alex Chilton. After a power cut at the gig, Chilton decided to carry on with his acoustic guitar. He improvised a few covers to a delighted crowd. it's fun, not brilliantly recorded but again nice to have. Tagged on the end is a supe...view item »

Townes Van Zandt
In The Beginning

If you don't know about Townes Van Zandt and his music then you really are missing out on of the best songwriters ever. Scion of a prominent Texan oil family, Townes Van Zandt was a high-school over-achiever with good looks, a genius IQ, and a career in high US politics mapped out for him. I...view item »

Anna Calvi
Eliza

First single from Anna Calvi's much anticipated second album 'One Breath'. Her debut eponymous album was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, and she has slowly amassed a great deal of critical acclaim since. Available, complete with slightly disturbing artwork, on Domino records on heavyweight 7" vinyl....view item »

Doug Tielli
Kerelsey

Doug Tielli lives in Toronto, where he is a well-known name on the underground music scene. Much of Kerelsey, though, was conceived in a rainy two months spent in the suburb of Coventry, England, with the same name. English folk influences are audible on the album, alongside African and Brazilian vibes. On CD or vi...view item »

BeMyDelay
Hazy Lights

Experimental, hazy folk stripped bare, with breathy female vocals and a slightly unnerving feel. Much more ambient than the previous release 'To the other side', 'Hazy Lights' is meditative, subtle and minimalistic-sounding. Slow-burning, melancholic and emotional. Vinyl LP on the Boring Machines label. ...view item »

Birdy
Fire Within

British singer-songwriter Jasmine van den Bogaerde, aka Birdy, really can't fail at becoming massively famous now. Her debut single, a version of Bon Iver's 'Skinny Love' was a huge radio hit, and she's since gone on to collaborate with some big name producers who have worked with Adele, Arctic Monkeys,Sigur Ros and Beyonce. Her debut album was ...view item »

Aisha Burns
Life in the Midwater

Violinist and vocalist Aisha Burns is from San Antonio, Texas. A former member of folk rock bands Alex Dupree and the Trapdoor Band, and Balmorhea, this is her debut solo release. Dealing with the themes of love, loss and the loss of feeling immortal that comes with hitting your mid-twenties. Vinyl or CD on Western Vinyl. ...view item »

Carol Kleyn
Return of The Silkie

Another lass wi’ t’harp. Done back in '83 when Joanna Newsome was still gurgling (some may say that she never stopped). Nice, folky, New Age-y harp music that had I heard it when ‘The Milk Eyed Mender’ came out would have probably led me to brand Newsome as a copycat rather than harp innovator. Nice....view item »

Ed Askew
For The World

Singer / songwriter and painter Ed Askew is considered something of a New York legend. He released his first album 'Ask the Unicorn' in 1968 and his most recent, 'For the World' in 2013. With only four albums in between, he might not be prolific but what he lacks in output he more than makes up for in admiration. Super fan Sharon Van Etten guest...view item »

Califone
Stitches

“Stitches” is more structured than previous albums. The best way of describing their sound is to say that if they sound like anyone, they sound a bit like Wilco. And on this album they sound more like Wilco than ever before. Two songs here make the album worthwhile: “Frosted Tips” is a great song, much more straight-forwa...view item »

Julianna Barwick
Pacing

Here’s the latest 7” from Julianna Barwick, coming out on Suicide Squeeze this time, with a couple of piano-oriented compositions this time round. On the first side ‘Pacing’ is all delicate tinkles and feather-light vocals layered and reve...view item »

Plankton Wat
Drifter's Temple

As always seems to happen here at Norman, we’re running out of time before we send the weekly update out and a good release just turned up to review. This one’s by Plankton Wat and it comes housed in a very cool sleeve with a big psychedelic jungle collage on it. When I set it spinning on the record...view item »

Willis Earl Beal
Nobody Knows

2nd album from eccentric Chicago artist has a fuller, more produced feel than the debut, but still puts Beal’s unusually expressive voice in the foreground as an unconventional storyteller with an insightfully twisted perspective. The music is a mix of acoustic folk, semi-smooth R&B/soul and street-corner bluesy boot-stompers—wit...view item »

Richard Buckner
Surrounded

One of the perks of this job is seeing a release come in by a favourite artist and being given (or to be honest asking for) the opportunity to write about it. Richard Buckner was initially brought to my attention years ago by my father who leant me his ‘Devotion and Doubt’ album; it’s fair ...view item »

Celebration
Old Green Village

Here’s a repress of a mythical French private press offering which first appeared in 1976 - an album which according to its press release “resulted from the one & only meeting of the group for a single overnight champagne-fueled session”, so as you would expect this is a somewhat rough and ready collection of ‘70s hip...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 »

Various
Country Funk 1969-1975

Country music can sometimes be a bit of a hard sell, particularly in this country where we dont share that culture of wide open spaces, rednecks and hoe downs to the extent of the US where country music fits so snugly into the core of that mythical good ole america (for some at least). However, for music lovers, it really is worth dumping some a...view item »

The Love Language
Ruby Red

The Love Language, aka Stuart McLamb, recorded his first album on his own with a four-track, then went on a critically acclaimed tour with a seven-piece band, reassembling the songs as he went. 2010's 'Libraries' was also a solo affair. This time he's brought in 20 different musicians from all over the world and the result, thou...view item »

Cubs
Perpetual Light EP

Here’s a cute little 3” CD by folk pop types Cubs out on Rusted Rail Records in a hand assembled and stamped card sleeve, loosely followed on from their last EP ‘Willowfield’. ‘Perpetual Light’ is a collection of 10 songs of folky niceness influenced...view item »

Men’s Adventures
Solitary Trip EP

Here’s an EP from Men’s Adventures. Gotta say I’m loving the striking ‘80s style imagery on the cover. When I put the disc on our office record player it turns out they’re playing a heavily country-influenced version of indie rock, like somewhere between the yelpy mid-paced accessibility of bands like ...view item »

Ian Skelly
Cut From A Star

Well, much like Erland and the Carnival and Skelly's own original priority, The Coral, 'Cut From a Star's' vibe centres on the late ‘60s as a minefield of inspiration. That the birth of the ‘70s was s...view item »

Don & Stevie
Don & Stevie

Finders Keepers keep the dream alive with another collection of rare gems from back in the day. This time they’ve come up trumps with a collection of completely unheard tracks by Don Gere (most notable for his totally fucked psych soundtrack to the classic &ls...view item »

Flat Ed
Clapped Out

Decidedly eclectic collection of songs by mystery singer-songwriter Flat Ed (mystery because there is barely anything about him anywhere on the internet -- which makes our job writing this description, er, interesting). A veritable concoction of different styles and flavours, sounding almost like a compilation album of ...view item »

Mark Mulcahy
Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You

It seemed to be a general view of the music press, and a view that I shared, that Mark Mulcahy hadn't really reached his potential on his seven albums prior to "Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You" but now he was showing signs of the singer/songwriter he had promised to be. This is certainly his best album and finds his voice sound not dissimilar t...view item »

Salvia Plath
The Bardo Story

Salvia Plath is Michael Collins, who has previously recorded under the name Run DMT, and on this album he’s making some deeply psychedelic pop with a pastoral folk twist. By the looks of the cover he’s got quite an expansive band together for this but for the most part they’re quite restrai...view item »

Sarah Johns Music Party
Sarah Johns Music Party EP

Having achieved a 'record of the week' on 6 music, as well as a 'best unsigned' accolade on Radio 1, the stripped-back soulful sound of Sarah Johns is gaining a fair bit of attention. Laid-back, yet occasionally unnerving, the 'Sarah Johns Music Party' EP is available on CD from Pyschic Healing Network. ...view item »

Daughn Gibson
Me Moan

Formerly of thinking man’s rockers Pearls & Brass, Daughn Gibson’s solo debut ‘All Hell’ last year was a revelation, introducing a brand of tragic Americana-tinged darkpop which we’d never heard from him before. Myself and our ...view item »

Darren Hayman & The Short Parliament
Bugbears

Former Hefner fellow Darren Hayman is back with an album of seventeenth century folk songs that follows on from his critically acclaimed album ‘The Violence’. Available in a deluxe packaging featuring a lush booklet of Darren’s notes, lyrics, and image...view item »

The Child Of A Creek
The Earth Cries Blood

The Child of a Creek (who is known, internet-wide, simply as The Child of a Creek) is a one-man supergroup who doesn't have any mates. Well, he might have mates but they weren't invited to play on his CD. Covering vocals, guitars, strings, organs, woodwind instruments and synths by himself (he even did the artwork) this is a solitary lament abou...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 »

Beau
Twelve Strings to the Beau

There is a nice story within this release. Beau was a singer songwriter who released the very first record on John Peel’s Dandelion label, releasing two further records before losing interest in the music industry. Then few years later the guy from fellow travellers Tractor got in touch asking him ...view item »

Tom Odell
Long Way Down

I was first captured my the original sound of tom odell when I came across the track "another love", and needless to say this album fails to disappoint! Tom Odell seamlessly blends a melancholy pop and alternative sound, with a range of depth through vocal and instrumental layering, giving utterly beautiful tone a...view item »

Spanish Dance Troupe
La Muerte Del Amor En Andalucia

Spanish Dance Troupe (named after an album by Welsh rockers Gorky's Zygotic Mynci) is the alter-ego of half-south American, half-Japanese musician Ricardo. Now residing in Cardiff, Ricardo has, as you would expect, picked up a lot of international flavours. La Muerte Del Amor En Andalucia is a conc...view item »

Ignatz
Can I Go Home Now

Named after a violent brick-throwing mouse in the comic Krazy Katz, Ignatz is the alter-ego of Belgian acoustic singer-songwriter and artist Bram Devens. Can I Go Home Now is his fifth home-recorded album (the previous four being self-released). Acoustic, effect-driven songs recorded on a four-track and computer. On vin...view item »

Lily & Madeleine
The Weight of the Globe

Signed to Sufjan Stevens' Asthmatic Kitty label, prodigiously talented teenage sisters, Lily and Madeleine will undoubtedly attract comparisons to Swedish Folk/Country/Pop sisters First aid Kit and from the opening track of their debut EP "The Weight Of The Globe", "In The Middle", it's easy to see why: similar harmonies, similar style, similar ...view item »

Peter Delaney
Witch Bottle

Mixing traditional Irish folk songs with vintage Hawaiian melodies, Limerick singer-songwriter Peter Delaney has already cooked up a storm in his native land. Having completed touring supports for The Swell Season and Mercury-nominated song-bard Fionn Regan, Delaney also finds the time to make s...view item »

Ralfe Band
Son Be Wise

Ralfe Band’s warm and evocative soundtrack to quirky Boosh-related surreal comedy ‘Bunny & The Bull’ was my introduction to the band and still gets pretty regular spins at my house, although I’m sorry...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 »

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