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The Dead Albatross Music Prize

You know the nights are drawing in when it's time to announce the Dead Albatross Music Prize shortlist. Take a look at this year's feisty alternatives to the Mercury. 10% off the lot until 28th October 2015!
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Annabel (lee)
If Music presents: By the sea... and other solitary places

If Music is a tiny room of a record store in London Town, someone’s front room rather than a shop, it’s a great, welcoming place so do check it out. Here they present By The Sea… And Other Solitary Places by Annabel (lee). It’s a dark folk album with classical instrumentation and Annabel’s whispered vocals chillingly crawling across the sweeping instrumentation. For fans of Jessica Pratt, Julie Byrne and Cat’s Eyes.

Bourbonese Qualk
Bourbonese Qualk 1983 - 1987

The Eighties were an interesting time. Haircuts transcended the realm of reality and industrial music started its ascent. Of course, who could talk '80s industrial without talking Bourbonese Qualk? Honestly I’d never heard of them, which is a damn shame, if this anthology is any indication. Filled with noise and protest, Bourbonese Qualk 1983 - 1987 is not just a relic of another time, but a great introduction into a wealth of under appreciated music.

Cathode Ray Eyes
Eyes in the Melancholy Palm

The debut LP from Cathode Ray Eyes, Eyes in the Melancholy Palm is a mix of strange melodies and general freakiness with brooding psychedelic guitar repetition, winding it’s way deeper and deeper. It feels very much like the soundtrack to some disturbing monster film, with the protagonist slowly losing their mind as the monster gets ever closer. Limited to 500 copies.   

Crying Lion
The Golden Boat

An interesting one here. Recorded in Govan Old Parish Church in Glasgow, Crying Lion -- who are members of Trembling Bells and Muldoon’s Picnic -- come together to create a marriage of English folk with choir, Georgian chant, medieval madrigal and all sort of pleasant, poetic melodies which create The Golden Boat. Comes in a hand-printed sleeve.

Cut Hands
Festival Of The Dead

William Bennett's new record under the percussive Cut Hands moniker, 'Festival Of The Dead', is based around aggressive, deathly drums, as you'd expect by now -- it's the ex-Whitehouse member's third record under his new alias, and this particular branch of noise continues to sound more organic and rhythmic. 

Ginger Johnson and His African Messengers
African Party

Ginger Johnson and His African Messengers made a glorious, joyful sound with their extra-percussive version of highlife, and nowhere more so than on African Party, now seeing reissue release on Freestyle Records. This stuff, recorded in 1967, really drives forwards: you will enjoy this with your mind and your feet, I assure you.  

Laura Cannell
Beneath Swooping Talons

Laura Cannell has a sonic aesthetic that seems to come from the depths of ancient English time. She improvises pieces using, mostly, recorder and fiddle, and several of these pieces are presented on Beneath Swooping Talons. Deep and powerful work here, all the more so for being recorded in single takes. On Front & Follow.

Liberez
All Tense Now Lax

All Tense Now Lax is a busy, tightly plotted work of tough-to-classify sound, piling up acoustic instruments, snatches of human voice, abstract electronics, field recordings and more, all deftly processed by Liberez main man John Hannon. Things get pretty intense. Released as CD or LP, on the Night School label.

LV & Josh Idehen
Islands

Production trio and lovers of electronic LV have once more teamed up with singer Joshua Idehen for their new record, 'Islands', after successfully using his voice as a fractured imprint on their highly conceptual debut record, 'Routes'. This time, though, there's a sense that the vocals are at the forefront, rather than used in microscopic bursts -- it's a lyrical work in a different way, with a narrative that holds together more fluidly.  

Michael Valentine West
Code 17 Abstraction

Code 17 Abstraction is an album of electronic wonder from Michael Valentine West (who you might know better as Mikimo Sosumi, Twiggy And The K-meson or Lower Third). Mad, funky, energetic styles tumble over each other, (we’re talking glitch, funk, maybe even a touch of drum & bass) forming a wild whole. LP release on Anna Ott.

Muslimgauze
Minaret Speaker

The Muslimgauze project is famed for two things in particular: a very high quality of work, and a very high quantity of work. Minaret Speaker is more or less a new release (a few tracks had a 7” in 1996, but other than that, all unheard), and features his trademark digital distortion, clattering breaks, and samples sourced from the Middle East. CD on Staalplaat.

Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics
Jaiyede Afro

One of the legendary pioneers of Afrobeat, Orlando Julius was among the first Nigerian musicians to mix-up highlife with American R&B in the mid '60s. Here he teams up with encyclopaedic experimental funk adventurers, The Heliocentrics. Going straight to the roots of Julius' earlist experiences and drawing from the rawness of some of his earliest compositions, the group gives the songs a progressive reworking with inventive new arrangements and a liberal sprinkling of psychedelia.

Ramson Badbonez
Silva Surfa

Ramson Badbonez is the name of this artist. Ramson Badbonez. What Badbonez has for us is a semi-concept UK hip-hop 12”, in which he sort of assumes the role of the titular Silva Surfa. Among his rhymes he has the incredible boast “I’ll give it to you straight like Frankie Boyle”, which is worthy of note. On Boot Records.

Singers & Players
War Of Words

1981 saw the release of Singers & Players’ debut record, War Of Words. This is a good-natured war however, the Singers & Players collective (comprising Prince Far I, Bim Sherman, Jah Woosh and more) competing lyrically. A great slice of classic dubwise talent, remastered and reissued by On U-Sound.

Sloath
Deep Mountain

Four whole years after their now sold out debut, Sloath have slovenly and slowly delivered their sophomore effort. Expect slamming riffage, propulsive percussion, flithy mud-spattered rock somewhere betwixt Melvins, Harvey Milk and Bardo Pond. In short a doom rock party -- but doom rock parties never happen in short, now do they?

The Fear Ratio
Refuge of a Twisted Soul

The Fear Ratio is a collaborative project between London techno DJ/producer Mark Broom and Croydon born techno producer James Ruskin. ‘Refuge Of A Twisted Soul’ is their latest release on Manchester based, independent, electro label Skam records. Combining the Balearic/Chicago and acid house influences of Broom with the hip hop/late 80’s Detroit inspired style of Ruskin, the pair have developed a soulfully heavy album.

The Mouse Outfit
Step Steadier

The Mouse Outfit produce music in that jazzy, funky, happy-hippy hip-hop mode. Rolling out of Manchester, they probably did pretty well at this summer’s festivals, and Step Steadier may well make you feel warmer in these colder months. 16 tracks featuring MCs including Dr Syntax, J-man, T-man and Truthos Mufasa.

Twisted
Utopia

Garage punk from a band once populated by members of Hookworms. From Wales, to Leeds and, then back to Wales comes Twisted, drawing heavily on punk influences from the 70s and 80s including the Buzzcocks and Rites of Spring with an unmistakable raw, young edge, rightfully angry at what the world is coming to in 2015. Vinyl LP on Art for Blind.

Various
A New Life

The A New Life compilation gathers up sadly-ignored and underappreciated fragments from the British jazz scene 1966-1990, and packs them up together to make a high-grade 2LP collection. A really great and varied selection, including lots of artists you’ll never have heard before (Spot The Zebra anyone?), on Jazzman.