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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
The Kid

The bearer of Norman Records’ Album of the Year 2016 returns just over a year later with a follow-up, and by the looks of it she’s more of a cosmic traveller than ever. I’m sure you’re all wondering what’s changed since EARS, and don’t worry, this ain’t no acoustic interlude album. It’s full of tho...view item »

Goldmund
Occasus

Hello! It’s Jamie here, again. Time for my Top 5 Nouveau Classical Records of the Week rundown. Only joking, it’s really time for my review of ‘Occasus’ by Goldmund. Goldmund, or Keith Kenniff for it is he; he who is on occasion also ...view item »

Jessica Risker
I See You Among The Stars

Missouri-born, Chicago-dwelling Jessica Risker has signed to the fab Western Vinyl label for the latest chapter in her lo-fi, psych-folk, DIY crusade. I See You Among The Stars is a beautiful record that takes in the influences of Nick Drake, Sibylle Baier and Broadcast at their most gentle. LP an...view item »

Goldmund
Sometimes

Goldmund, aka Keith Kenniff has apparently had great success squeezing his music into films and adverts and such, which makes sense in some ways: he writes very elegant, dramatic piano music. But also, most of Sometimes is just as dark as the sleeve art suggests: I can’t imagine many of these trac...view item »

Caroline Says
There's No Fool Like An Old Fool

Having previously made an incredible record ruminating on the floods of inertia she felt moving back in with her parents, Caroline Sallee’s music continues to beguile from unexpected corners on ‘No Fool Like an Old Fool’. This gorgeous, amorphous record has hints of ‘Nebraska’ and shades of decades-old pop; it hides...view item »

The Skull Eclipses
The Skull Eclipses

This coming-together between Spencer Stephenson (Botany) and Raj Haldar (Lushlife) has produced an intriguing LP. While in aesthetic it skirts close to the stables of Brainfeeder and Liquid Amber, the sonics reference everything from Matthewdavid to The ...view item »

Air Waves
Warrior

Third full-length from Brooklyn-based Air Waves, aka Nicole Schneit. A collection of melodious but powerful indie pop tunes, covering themes from Schneit’s mother’s battle with cancer to queerness and identity politics in the age of Trump. Out on Western Vinyl, on black LP or an indies-only coloured version....view item »

In Tall Buildings
Akinetic

If you're wondering who specifically is in these ostensible tall buildings, it's Erik Hall, a nerd-of-all-trades in the sphere of songwriting. His project continues to communicate a whole lot of self-reflection and deprecation on Akinetic, a record of vices shot through a shiny musical metropolis of big, busy pop music....view item »

Peter Oren
Anthropocene

I have a question for Peter Oren. My question is… can he please explain this lyric? It goes like this: “I came to at half past two to a diesel engine’s roar”. Has anyone ever woken up and thought, damn, that specifically diesel-run vehicle is giving me grief? No. Oren is unprecedented in this. A country singer with a kee...view item »

Grooms
Exit Index

Continuing their trend of releasing a full-length record every two years are Grooms -- ostensibly a highly melodic indie band featuring Jay Heiselmann (array of guitars, bass and effects pedals), Steven Levine (drums) and Travis Johnson (frontman, showmanship, easy vocal style). Those melodies, then: they’re pretty darn lush; check...view item »

Lean Year
Lean Year

This is a lot more relaxing than listening to Phil bang on about his decorating issues over the sound of a malfunctioning printer.  Unlike Phil, it’s quiet. They have all the right influences in place (Karen Dalton, Fred Neil and ...view item »

Balmorhea
Clear Language

There are definite similarities between Balmorhea and Memory Drawings. I can hear it in their blend of neo-classical and post rock, in the use of dulcimer and sweeping string parts but whereas Memory Drawings sound rustic and made of wood, Balmorhea are smooth and silky.  The reason I mention th...view item »

Joseph Shabason
Aytche

Look at all these synth folks and their brassy buddies, making music together as if it’s totally normal. Well it is normal, much more normal than any of the other random noise noodling that Robin is forced to endure every day at the review station under threat of the sack. Robin Sackville-Baggins. This is not too random or noisy, but there...view item »

Caroline Says
50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong

Caroline Sallee made this album when she moved back to her parents after college. A time in your life that can be seen as a retrogressive step but one which allows time for self inspection. Those times were some of the most important of my life and when I remember the furious dusting my mum undertook when I announced I was getting my own place I...view item »

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Euclid

‘Euclid’, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s debut record, is a bubbly and striking record, a playful experiment that sounds more suited to a party than a deconstruction. It didn’t begin that way; composing music almost entirely on a compact Easel synthesizer, Smith intended to defer all of her song structures to “euclidean ge...view item »

Art Feynman
Blast Off Through The Wicker

Literally everything is made in the bedroom these days. Understandable  - the technology is there and no-one has any money. This is fine but it's no good to just make bedroom recordings and thinking that is enough to cut through. Luckily Art Feynman disarms with the first two tracks here which guide me gently into his world. He makes a kind...view item »

Abram Shook
Love at Low Speed

It’s a cliche, but I can’t help but love “The Hours”, the opener to mumbly folk boy Abram Shook’s new, appropriately named record ‘Love At Low Speed’. The tune is evergreen on a break-up, relating it into weighty existential terms, strapping itself into a time in life where you gotta work out how to do r...view item »

RG Lowe
Slow Time

I can't actually believe we are selling music like this. What are we ..like 105? This would be too polite even for Radio 2's pensioner-friendly playlist. This is quite similar to the Slow Dancer LP but at least that had a few 'Astral Weeks' flourishes but this is just tediously dull soul-pop-lite and reminds me ...view item »

Botany
Lava Diviner (Truestory)

On Lava Diviner (Truestory), Botany offer a record of sparkly IDM wonder as informed by cresting seas of New Age -- shimmering and echoing outward, these songs feel like they're on the edge of the earth about to find out it's not flat. The beats help ground the record, taking it away from its cosmological...view item »

Nightlands
I Can Feel The Night Around Me

Nightlands is War on Drugs bassist Dave Hartley and if his other band are the stadium rocking side of 80's yacht rock then Nightlands are the intimate, home alone comedown. He has a very specific sound here which marries glistening 70s synths with the sort of robo- vocals Jeff Lynne was always using in ELO. It'...view item »

Botany
Dimming Awe, The Light is Raw

You may have heard of Botany through such previous journeys as (Norman favourite) Deepak Verbera, back in the heady days we now call Autumn 2016. For that record, Spencer Stephenson’s rich tapestries were formed by the clashes between moogs, harps and other such acoustic things, woven with such silky fluidity -- suffused with the spirit of...view item »

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
EARS

The sounds Kaitlyn has produced for "Ears", her second album, are an intriguing and compelling synthesis of electronics, woodwind and her own shimmering voice. Smith recorded and studied bird calls prior to the composition of these pieces; this shows in her music's sense of lightness and momentum, layers of looped woodwind frequently popping up ...view item »

Botany
Deepak Verbera

If Dilla had droned, he might have been Botany. An artist who collates fractures of euphoria from an open beta astral plane, Spencer Stephenson’s music is busy with parchments of bliss, coming together to create a wonderful ambient collage that flees through noise, free jazz on synths, foggy percussion, Garson-e...view item »

Christopher Tignor
Along a Vanishing Plane

On Along A Vanishing Plane, Christopher Tignor focuses foremost on instrumental music as a means to introspection, personal analysis and reflection. Wordless elegies seem to be entry point into a world of exploration which will hopefully bring about a catharsis. Tignor has been working like this both solo and in bands (Slow Six, Wires U...view item »

Moon Bros.
These Stars

It’s a Chicago affair! Sort of. I’m reaching for a narrative because this is basically a slowcore barnyard record, but ‘These Stars’ involves crater jock Matthew Schneider, post-rock noodler Dan Bitney (of Chicago’s Tortoise), a local Iron & Wine pal and even a mem...view item »

Lymbyc Systym
New Varieties

Lymbyc Systym is a pair of brothers, putting in the commitment to make things work over long distances. The New Varieties EP is another step into brightly-coloured synth lands, with heartfelt melodies played out in all kinds of textures over a dance beat. 3 original tracks, rounded out neatly with a remix by Bot...view item »

Young Moon
Colt

This new music from Young Moon looked at one point like it might never come into being, after the relationship the initial 2012 debut was rooted in fell apart. But some new blood in the band (Syam Zapalowski) got things moving again, and the moody confessional songs of Colt were born. Out on Western Vin...view item »

Ava Luna
Electric Balloon

Stumbled upon these guys while checking out bands from SXSW 2012. I was not expecting something even more addicting and polished than their Ice Level album . These guys seemed to have really found their sound and they are having a blast. Without trying to explain their sound I would say the first track "Daydream" and "Electric Balloon" gives you...view item »

Carter Tanton
Jettison The Valley

The second solo work from ex-Tulsa frontman Carter Tanton. The gorgeous folk and pop songs on Jettison the Valley were all written whilst Tanton was visiting England and he also recruited Marisa Nadler and Sharon Van Etten to lend him some vocals. These beautifu...view item »

Lushlife + CSLSX
Ritualize

Lushlife produces and raps, and duo of CSLSX, whose name is apparently pronounced ‘Casual Sex’, co-produce. The results are cinematic, grand, shiny, like a well-washed humvee sliding down the midnight streets of Los Angeles. Some especially impressive material from Lushlife here: ...view item »

Lymbyc Systym
Split Stones

Do siblings always make great music together? The press release for Lymbyc Systym’s latest seems to think so. Maybe they’re both good musicians. Maybe there’s no connection other than genetics. Maybe Santa’s a lie. Before I ruin too many cute sentiments, let’s take a look at the music itself. They’ve b...view item »

Air Waves
Parting Glances

Nicole Schneit’s has her own paradise away from the jangle lovers Crystal Stilts, and believe you me it is different: Air Waves’ music is clearer and more contemporary than the usual nostalgia her psych friends purvey, offering plaintive solutions to pop music. Acoustic ditties get turned into tor...view item »

Diane Coffee
Everybody's A Good Dog

One half of the increasingly terrible pop duo Foxygen. Diane Coffee is yet another male artist using a female name - a trend I’m starting to get thoroughly sick and tired of. Anyone who was subjected to Foxygen’s ‘And Star Power ‘ shambles will understand the kind of complicated ...view item »

Grooms
Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair

A beautiful record with the melodic tactfulness of Real Estate, the unseemly dark atmospheres of Radiohead circa ‘Kid A’ and the looping riffs of Unwound -- plus a fair bit of shoegaze and the self-awareness to go with it -- ‘Comb Th...view item »

Abram Shook
Landscape Dream

Following up last year’s Sun Marquee, an album called Landscape Dream was always going to furrow similar sunny and soulful territory for Abram Shook. Abram spreads his yacht-chill over 12 tracks that would sound ridiculously exotic yet enjoyable if blaring from a boombox during an afternoon of barbecuing ...view item »

Ava Luna
Infinite House

Between their several hundred members, you could forgive Ava Luna for absorbing and then transmitting into orbit as many genres as they can: R&B, funk, stoner, psych rock, glitch, whatever sounds like pop music but totally, absolutely, categorically is not. This band have been known for their gleeful missteps and momentary hooks, refusing to...view item »

Stone Jack Jones
Love & Torture

Stone Jack Jones is not making Americana. Not really; not the kind you’re thinking of. He is a hard-worn traveller, and he sees the open road as a potential song, but he is also a goth -- his banjo stretches into dark tunnels and his voice lurches, grumbles and salivates towards its listener. ‘Love & Torture’ is a folk reco...view item »

In Tall Buildings
Driver

Are you in the mood for some plaintive acoustic pop? I SAID PEOPLE: ARE YOU IN THE MOOD FOR SOME PLAINTIVE ACOUSTIC POP? Well if so then you could do worse than check out this debut album by home recording maestro Eric Hall as In Tall Buildings. He produces neatly polished widescreen pop that on opener ‘Bawl Cry Wail’ sits nicely bet...view item »

Elephant Micah
Where In Our Woods

With the sorrow of Jason Molina and the resilience of Will Oldham in his voice -- as well the next-gen acoustic rock dramatics of Ben Howard in the arrangements department -- Joseph O’Connell has been able to carve out an excellent career as a folk all-rounder, one in whi...view item »

Balmorhea
Balmorhea

Balmorhea self-titled debut album, originally recorded in 2006 and self-released in '07, finds its way back onto wax this week courtesy of Western Vinyl, who put out the four albums which have so far followed. I've always thought their name sounds like a particularly posh bowel complaint, but their music itself tends to be uniformly lovely, and ...view item »

Glass Ghost
Lyfe

Indie pop band Glass Ghost is host to singer and master of the keyboards Eliot Krimsky and drummer Mike Johnson, who made their new record 'Lyfe' with a sprinkling of indie rock royalty: from Sharon Van Etten to members of Here We Go Magic. Glass Ghost's idiosyncratic take on indie and synth pop styles -- throw in some harp for good measure -- m...view item »

The Rosebuds
Sand + Silence

Whilst on holiday and taking a morning coffee in Berwick-on Tweed's branch of Cafe Nero, I came to a realisation. Perhaps.....just perhaps I don’t actually like music all that much. Its a terrifying thought, particularly as I’ve devoted most of my life to it. One to ponder I reckon. I certainly have no enthusiasm for man...view item »

Alexander Turnquist
Flying Fantasy

I loved Hallway Of Mirrors so much that it was my favourite album of 2011. I was 40 then and I still did things like that. Anyway his new album sounds like a return to form and it's more lush orchestration and 12 string guitar wonderment. I 'need' to spend more time with this fella but I reckon it's an absolute winner (on first listen!)....view item »

Diane Coffee
My Friend Fish

California-spawned Shaun Fleming, aka Diane Coffee, is perhaps best known as the sometimes drummer in avant-garde rock outfit Foxygen. His debut solo album 'My Friend Fish' was recorded in his Manhattan apartment shortly after he fled sun-soaked Agoura Hills in search of new inspiration. Following a bout of 'flu, ...view item »

Stone Jack Jones
Ancestor

Stone Jack Jones is the descendant of four generations of coal miners and here he explores the hardness of the coal mines amongst other mysteries of suicide and dogs. It features many a Lambchop on backing duties but its a dark album as you may imagine from the subject matter. Jones plays a kind of off-ki...view item »

Secret Cities
Walk Me Home

After nine long years of making music together, Secret Cities have finally made an album with all three of them in the same room. 'Walk Me Home' is a gentle bit of indie rock with boy/girl vocals and a chameleon-esque changeability, although the songs are without exception smooth and pleasant. Sometimes they're opting for windswept ...view item »

Nat Baldwin
In The Hollows

If you were to tell me that someone played low-key indie rock with falsetto vocals and understated violins it’d probably be enough to keep me from checking them out, but Dirty Projector Nat Baldwin’s latest effort is actually something a bit special. It has the clarity and purity of focus that ma...view item »

Christopher Tignor
Thunder Lay Down In The Heart

This is Christopher Tignor's second record (after Core Memory Unwound) under his own name - after recording - Slow Six & Wires Under Tension. (it's his 7th full length release) This is a good record, I think it might be a very good one. Excellent restraint, build up, and release. Some of the most beau...view item »

Abram Shook
Sun Marquee

Another retrospective review as its already in the shops and available to purchase, you lucky, lucky  people. This is the debut album from a lad who has been all around this great big world but he can’t find his baby and only on occasion here has his full muse intact. What we have is another variation on the ‘chill-wave&...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 »

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 »

Lymbyc Systym
Symbolyst

From the very opening seconds of this album, when Prairie School bursts exuberantly from the speakers, you can tell you're in for something special. This is electronica (or is it post rock?!) at its most accessible - I could try and describe it as a more energetic version of The Album Leaf, or Ratatat with more varied instruments, but neither of...view item »

Carter Tanton
Freeclouds

I listened to the rest of this album after catching the waning moments of the opening track on satellite radio. The last few chords struck me, and I was optimistic that there was more attached to them. Damn, was I right. The first track, "Murderous Joy," should have been all over the radio, but I do not recall having heard it anywhere. The songs...view item »

Balmorhea
Constellations

Is Balmorhea a sudden, urgent shifting in the bowels when visiting the country home of our gracious Queen? Like, OMG does she have gold leaf bog roll or what? What if I use a full roll? Will I get billed? What if the bailiffs come round and kick my door in? Just because I've had a dump on Lizzie's throne!!! Worries aside for now as I investigate th...view item »

Secret Cities
Strange Hearts

I've not heard this band before, just picked this one out of the review box on the strength of its art, which is proper '70s-style psychedelia like I've not seen in a while. Turns out it's actually pretty great, so that's a nice surprise. These guys play drifty falsetto-voiced psychedelic pop, kind of like a much more polished Ariel Pink's Haunt...view item »

Callers
Life of Love

These guys are doing something a little unusual. They're an NY based outfit who blend folksy art-rock, gospel, Americana & and an abstracted form of psychedelic blues into something that sounds much more appealing than what I just said. The lady singer is the main draw here. Somewhere between the Karens Dalton & Carpenter with maybe a bi...view item »

Gary Wilson
Electric Endicott

This is, I think his strongest collection of songs yet. The album flits back and forth between jazzy avant garde piano tunes against a floating rhythm but the pop tunes are just magnificent. Very loudly mixed bass but flawless lines... that trademark 'Gary sound' is present. Based on this, I hope he doesn't stop making new ones. Not many people kno...view item »

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