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Norman Records' Essentials

A bunch of records that no collection should be without, in our humble collective opinion. Take a look at our other Classic 'Essentials' collection too - not that we're keen on every record in there...

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Nils Frahm
Spaces

Here’s something a bit different from everyone’s favourite modern minimalist pianist Nils Frahm, following mounting critical adoration for his most recent couple of albums. However Frahm felt that none of the existing recordings were really representative of his live performances, so he’s spent ...view item »

Sleaford Mods
Austerity Dogs

Months ago, back when I first started seeing this album on this site, I had it judged by its cover, title and band name. "Brilliant," I thought, "more wannabe 'Mod' twats selling that line about how important it is in working class culture to wear a sharp coat." Fully expecting it to contain the latest forgettable rehash of crappy Mod nostalgia,...view item »

DJ Shadow
Endtroducing.....

DJ Shadow’s sample-built 1996 debut album Entroducing….. has all the drama you’d expect from a title with ellipses two-thirds longer than the standard. As tense as it slaps, this is truly one of the the best instrumental trip/hip-hop albums ever made. The deluxe edition comes with expanded lin...view item »

Boards of Canada
Music Has The Right To Children

Here we have a vinyl re-press of one of the most lauded electronic albums of all time and certainly one that could be considered a ‘game changer’. Their particular brand of bleached out, saturated music is much copied but as this years ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’ proves, no-one else really has come close to completely emul...view item »

Throbbing Gristle
20 Jazz Funk Greats

This 1979 masterpiece is probably the most well known LP in the TG catalogue. Probably due to the cheeky title and iconic cover art. Such a pretty location for one of the worlds most popular suicide spots - Beachy Head. The irony of the cover shot was made clearer by a later issue of the album...view item »

Broadcast
The Noise Made By People

It’s impossible to name a bad Broadcast record, because everything Trish Keenan's voice touches turns to gold. Their debut album The Noise Made By People, however, is a strong contender for being a favourite in a relatively short list of wonderful LP’s. By melding '60's girl group hooks with wayward jazz and psychede...view item »

Red House Painters
Down Colourful Hill

It was the best of times, way back when Mark Kozelek was not awful to his audience and offensive to journalists; back when there was a forlorn band called Red House Painters weaving devastating lyrics in and out of slowcore threnodies. Down Colorful Hill was the very first entry into the band's canon...view item »

Red House Painters
Red House Painters / Rollercoaster

The high watermark of Mark Kozelek's career was both reminiscent of his earlier, more dour slowcore and indicative of the sombre guitar sage he'd become on early Sun Kil Moon records (before he became The Worst). Rollercoaster is a classic, a singer-songwriter record that languishes with the form in favou...view item »

Red House Painters
Red House Painters / Bridge

Of the two sorta untitled Red House Painters records, Bridge is the perennial underachiever, a record that's more subtle in places and less focused in tone. It makes for something of RHP rock record: a strangely joyous cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "I Am A Rock" appears, as does a gloomy, pan...view item »

Deerhunter
Cryptograms & Flourescent Grey

Digging this trippy album from DEERHUNTER on Kranky called 'Cryptograms'. It's initially mercurial space rock falling into passages of hugely engaging beatless sound, cascading walls of guitar effects layered in a very 'Loveless' style. Then it's jerky freeform no/nu wave & disjointed punk funk with muffled vocals buried under intense s...view item »

Godspeed You! Black Emperor
F♯ A♯ ∞

Leftfield even to the post-rockers of its heyday, and arguably the crowning jewel in Constellation's long canon of experimental rock music, 'F A Infinity' still surprises me. Godspeed You! Black Emperor became something else after this record: more structured, and sensitive to the symbiosis of their rock and ambient actions. On their debut ...view item »

Neutral Milk Hotel
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

I once nearly had a fight at a party due to my dislike of Neutral Milk Hotel. It seems I was the only one there who didn't think they were the best thing in the world ever (pre or post sliced bread). I accept people have different tastes and see different things in records - partly what makes this job so ...view item »

Jose Gonzalez
Veneer

Hello hello. Its good to be back. Clint back from obscurity with a feast of sounds to moisten your ears with. First up Album of the Year time. Jose Gonzalez. This is just magnificent. A beautiful collection of acoustic gems weighing in somewhere between Nick Drake, Red House Painters, and Miracle Legion's 'Me an...view item »

Max Richter
The Blue Notebooks

The neo-classical album I'm most fond of is this Max Richter LP on Fat Cat. He's a composer chappie who's had stuff out on BBC Recordings before so I'm told and this is just lush. Mainly consisting of pianos and strings it's just some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard.  It's very maudlin and it remind...view item »

Can
Monster Movie

I’ve been asked to write about a bunch of Can albums because apparently I’m the man in the know. So all of those years of unemployment I spent getting high listening to Can weren't totally wasted, tell that to your careers officer. Choosing your favourite Can album is like choosing a favourite child. Put simply it’s plainly wro...view item »

Sun City Girls
Torch of the Mystics

Sun City Girls were responsible for getting yours truly into the conceit of experimental music, while also keeping me at a sizeable distance for many, many years: for every classic piece of Weird they released there was something that made me want to wretch, or something I didn’t understand, or something with a scary title; for every &lsqu...view item »

Moondog
Moondog

Reissue of avant-garde pioneer Moondog’s self-titled album from 1969, It hasn’t been available on vinyl since 2003. Moondog’s unique approach to composition was revered by Phillip Glass and Steve Reich and is heavily sampled across multiple genres Including ...view item »

Tim Hecker
Ravedeath 1972

There's certain music that I find near impossible to "review" at work - analysis & contemplation needs to be done in an environment where there are near to no distractions and somewhere where you can amp it up to your hearts content. Like what i'm doing now with Tim Hecker's new one, my enjoyment enhanced further avec cup o' tea in hand! I'v...view item »

Burial
Untrue

Ah 'Untrue'. To me the pinnacle in the Burial catalogue and that is despite my ongoing issues with the amount of vocal snippets that litter some of the songs (I'm dealing with it...since 2007). Musically however it is utterly gorgeous with those murky garage beats underpinning glorious late night atmosphere's that he...view item »

Can
Future days

This job can truly be a bind at times. “We need all the Can albums reviewing” Phil says. Sigh...well if I have to. To make this chore easier we’ve got an album each and I’ve lucked out with ‘Future Days’ their glistening and gliding 1973 album which was the last one to feature vocalist Damo Suzuki. It ...view item »

Young Marble Giants
Colossal Youth

Excitement abounds this week as my quest to restock, revisit and relive some revelatory Peel discoveries of yesteryear comes in the form of Domino's reissue (is that enough re's for you?) of Young Marble Giants: "Colossal Youth". A band definitely of their time but still of great relevance today. For me the sound of YMG summons up listen...view item »

Massive Attack
Mezzanine

Mezzanine is a dark masterpiece, as black, as glossy and as intimidating as the beetle creature on its cover. Angel and Teardrop turn up on TV often enough (and rightly so), but the whole album is worth digging into for its uneasy moods. This hasn’t been available on record for a while, so...view item »

Madvillain
Madvillainy

Madlib and MF DOOM present an experimental hiphop tour de force that was beset by internet leaks before completion, and initially abandoned midway by its creators before seeing the light of day in 2004 and becoming a crossover hit. Brimming with unlikely samples (Mothers of Invention, Ge...view item »

Galaxie 500
Today

Debut album of the short-lived dream pop band. Galaxie 500 are the kind of band whose mastery of texture and unrepentant slowness makes them an ideal salve for the mind. I don't know how hectic life is on a Tugboat, but if I was on one, I'd be content knowing this calming trio were at the helm. ...view item »

Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven

Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s excellent second album, first released back in 2000. Awing in its scope and ambition, and uniquely optimistic and joyful within the band’s discography. I’ll never forget when I first heard the trumpets creeping in during ‘Storm’, or on ‘Sleep’ where a New Yo...view item »

Slowdive
Souvlaki

A much needed reissue of Slowdive’s second album, Souvlaki from 1993. Hailed as their best album, it doesn’t take long to see why; the classics are on here and they’re ready to make your eyes glaze over, your shoulders slump and your whole body just sink under the bed covers as their blissed, r...view item »

Joy Division
Closer

Second and final LP by doomed Salford post-punk band Joy Division, this is perhaps most often cited their greatest moment. Recorded shortly before the untimely death of singer Ian Curtis, whose health deteriorated rapidly during the making of this album, and produced by Martin Hannet. Limited edition vinyl reissue.  ...view item »

Slint
Spiderland (Remastered)

2014 remaster of Slint's beautiful second and final album. It comes with various outtakes and demos, as well as Breadcrumb Trail, the documentary about the album’s creation directed by Lance Bangs. The band's use of dynamics gave them an uncanny ability to bottle emotions; the words "he de...view item »

Grouper
Ruins

Beginning with a solemn slow tattoo of muffled bass drum and field recordings called 'Made of Metal', Grouper's mooted final album under this piscine moniker is a stark and intimate affair. The majority of Liz Harris's followers are now aware that 'Ruins' is, largely, a piano-based album recorded three years...view item »

Mazzy Star
So Tonight That I Might See

This is a much needed re-issue of the second album from David Roback and Hope Sandoval's dream pop/slowcore band. Originally released in 1993 this contained their superhit 'Fade Into You' which peaked at no 44 in the hot 100. One of those albums that gained momentum this is a fine addition to their small but perfectly formed set of records, &nbs...view item »

William Onyeabor
World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor?

Here’s the long-awaited collection on Luaka Bop from the mysterious William Onyeabor, a Nigerian who studied film in Russia, returned to set up a film and music studio in the ‘70s, produced a series of hits and has since retired from music to become a successful businessman and run his own flour mill...view item »

Broadcast
Tender Buttons

Clint here with the new Broadcast album. First off, the widescreen production values of 'Ha Ha Sound' have gone and replaced by a more lo-fi minimalist approach that over the course of the album often makes it sound like a demo. The main change is the lack of those fantastic drums replaced by a tinny drum machine and there's no (or very little) ...view item »

Galaxie 500
This is Our Music

Extremely classic and crucial album here from Galaxie 500, the dream-pop slow-indie band with one of the most particular sounds around. 1990’s This Is Our Music is the last album they released before splitting up, and contains songs as special as ‘Fourth of July’ and their Yoko Ono cov...view item »

Cocteau Twins
Stars and Topsoil - A Collection (1982-1990)

Liz Fraser’s ethereal vocals, often lyrical gobbledegook, coupled with the sparse backing from Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde (who replaced Will Heggie in 1983) made The Cocteau Twins one of the ‘80s most unique and special artists. The label had a knack back then for signing such acts. Along with Pixies...view item »

Grouper
The Man Who Died In His Boat

Well it's always nice when an artist you love casually unearths an entire album of unreleased material. Liz Harris is a favourite of many of us here, we love her somnolent ethereal ghost-folk and grainy drone-scapes to bits. As these tunes are from the 'Dragging a Dead Deer...' sessions they fall largely in t...view item »

Big Black
Atomizer

Atomizer was the very first full-length album released by Steve Albini’s original group, Big Black. The band arrived fully formed, with trademark violent lyrics and violent production, grinding and growling vigorously along. Contains their particularly classic track ‘Kerosene’. The rei...view item »

Autechre
Tri Repetae

Tri Repetae is the third album by legendary British electronic duo Autechre.  The album is considered one of the best and most influential electronic albums of the '90s and first showcases the way in which the duo combined totally different elements of dance music such as jungle and industrial and blended them into...view item »

Pixies
Doolittle

4AD have seen fit to re release the 1st 3 Pixies LP's on vinyl (Come On Pilgrim, Surfer Rosa and Doolittle) which is a very good thing as they shouldn't have been out of print in the first place. Some of the most important records you'll ever own. I remember being utterly obsessed by Pixies and when I saw 'em live it change...view item »

Radiohead
Kid A

Kid A is still Radiohead's most challenging album and the furthest they've headed into electronic textures but it's all the better for it. The band channelled the sounds they were hearing on records by the likes of Autechre and applied them to their own sound. Such a different beast from OK Computer b...view item »

Four Tet (Fourtet)
Rounds

Hi Folks, Clinton here. First up in our mega review fest this week we have the new album by Fourtet. Well its not up to the standard of 'Pause'. Its pretty good, mind. The boy Hebden sure knows his way around a tune and puts in enough interesting/odd sounds to avoid the aural wallpaper of some of his c...view item »

Pavement
Slanted & Enchanted

This was the Pavement I liked. A sloppy sprawling lo-fi charm fest taking heavy influence from the Velvet Underground and the Fall but stumbling blinking in the sun with classic melodies glinting through the fuzzy production and madcap drumming. On top of that add Malkmus wordplay and you get an...view item »

Beach House
Teen Dream

This new Beach House album was a highlight of one of Clinton's recent lone missions into the office and he really wanted to review it but the promo CD went off to that ethereal parallel universe with the odd socks and Brian's house keys so it couldn't be done. I'll try to do justice to his love though I fear I might be doomed to failure 'cos it's a...view item »

Stars Of The Lid
The Tired Sounds of

Repress of Stars of the Lid’s 2001 neo-classical drone album, The Tired Sounds of. The way this album ebbs and flows is unlike much you’ll hear from music. It has far more in common with waves beating against a shore. The glacial pace of its changes suggest a timelessness. It sounds massive, and I feel.. small. ...view item »

Melvins
Houdini

American noise (then) trio Melvins were named after a grocery store supervisor who was despised by the band member who worked under him. Houdini was their fifth studio album, and the first on major label Atlantic (who dropped them 2 albums later). Championed by grunge Gods Nirvana, 'Houdini' was essentially the band's break-through album. Reissu...view item »

This Heat
Deceit

Absolutely essential re-issue of the second and final album by these Brixton post-punkers who were one of a clutch of bands around the turn of the '80's who completely re-shaped how music would sound, were fearless and innovative and sat in that perfect bit of music making where experimentalism meets pop. And yes prepare for freeform experimenta...view item »

Aphex Twin
Windowlicker

What is left to say about 'Windowlicker' that hasn't already been said? The most perfect piece of electronic music ever produced? It's sexy, it's slinky, it's odd, it's the sort of thing that if things worked properly would have been a worldwide smash. No-one has quite come up with anything since that blends the out there with the streamlined. O...view item »

The Shins
Oh, Inverted World

Exactly what you never knew you always needed: a fifteen-year-old album reissued on cassette. Maybe you need an extra copy for your car. Maybe you want to give it to somebody who can’t afford a record player. What do we know? Either way, The Shins’ 2001 classic Oh, Inverted World is finally stepping into the...view item »

Broadcast
Work & Non Work

The wonderful wonderful sound of Broadcast, brought back onto vinyl again at last by Warp Records. Work & Non Work compiles the singles released by the band prior to their Warp signing, and there are plenty of excellent slices of their alternate universe pop sound here: a universe that is at once shiny future and ee...view item »

Minor Threat
Minor Threat

That familiar bald head can only mean one thing.. a repress of the first Minor Threat album! Unbelievably succinct and vicious hardcore punk, though the whole thing is only 17 minutes it has the weight of something far larger. It even accidentally created a whole lifestyle with ‘Straight Edge’, the band’s clean...view item »

Disco Inferno
In Debt

Ok this isn't going to be a fair review. Reviewing this album is somewhat like reviewing my own mother - it's been so familiar from such a young age that there's no way I'm going to be impartial. If you only know Disco Inferno from their later innovative sample based pop then wipe your slate clean and let's start again. Initially they were ...view item »

Aphex Twin
Selected Ambient Works 85-92

Not sure that you need me to introduce this one to you. The album that broke Aphex Twin to the masses (relatively speaking), Selected Ambient Works 85-92 starts with two genuinely sublime pieces of music, ‘Xtal’ and ‘Tha’, which your collection literally cannot be without. The whole thing is grea...view item »

Arthur Russell
The World Of Arthur Russell

The World of Arthur Russell is the 2004 compilation which captures the breadth of Russell’s musical capabilities. From the banging New York disco cuts, to his more introspective and experimental cello-centric songs, Soul Jazz have created something for both long-time fans and interested beginners....view item »

Elliott Smith
Either/Or

Elliott’s third solo record, and his first after the break up of Heatmiser. An essential release in his back catalogue, Either/Or maintains the lo-fi intimacy of previous efforts Roman Candle and Elliott Smith, whilst upping the complexity and ambition of his arrangements. Miss Misery was even nominated f...view item »

A Certain Ratio
To Each

To Each captures A Certain Ratio in their post punk roots just before they got a little too interested in jazz and wearing shorts. Here they combines Ian Curtis style vocals with funky dance-pop sensibilities, and proto Happy Mondays guitar sounds. A brilliant blend. Dance and be miserable at the s...view item »

Ought
Sun Coming Down

There are some lyricists so good that come review time I just want to splurge their words, plus additional exclamation marks, onto the page. Ought’s Tim Darcy is one of them -- an orator much as a singer, tunneling out of a spoken word night and breaking into a punk gig. To that end, reiterating his words sucks -- to quote him takes the pe...view item »

Hood
The Cycle of Days and Seasons

Hood's fourth full-length album and their second for Domino Records. This one sees them deconstructing their songwriting with a dub-inflected sound incorporating decaying tape loops, found samples and half-speed beats alongside their usual gentle guitars and hushed vocals. Co-produced by Matt Elliott (Third Eye Foundatio...view item »

Hood
Rustic Houses, Forlorn Valleys

'Rustic Houses, Forlorn Valleys' was Hood's first album for Domino following on from their two earlier lo-fi albums for Slumberland. It announced a drastic departure in their sound from the previous inventive indie to a less noisy, more tranquil approach that haunted the edges of post-rock. These six lengthy songs sprea...view item »

Throbbing Gristle
The Second Annual Report Of Throbbing Gristle (40th Anniversary Edition)

Not in fact their second anything, The Second Annual Report Of Throbbing Gristle, is the band’s now four decade old debut. Though their impact on electronic and industrial music is undeniable, listening to these tracks I’m relieved their needlessly “transgressive” lyrics and imagery have not been so influ...view item »

Tame Impala
Innerspeaker

Tame Impala have proved themselves champions of psychedelic rock over the past few years, ascending to the top of the pecking order with 'Lonerism', their tightly-knit collection of fluorescent pop tunes. Their debut 'Innerspeaker' is a worthy record in its own right, deftly navigating their heavy stoner influence with serene and inviting pop ho...view item »

Grandaddy
Under The Western Freeway (20th Anniversary Edition)

Under The Western Freeway was the debut album by Grandaddy. Now, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of its release it gets a double LP reboot featuring some extra tracks in the form of previously unreleased demos that fans of the band will relish. It is arguably the band’s finest work and features such classics as AM 180, Summer Here Ki...view item »

Real Estate
Days

I don't know if I'm just going soft in my old age but I love this sophomore effort from NJ's Real Estate. After an impressive debut on Woodsist, an EP on Mexican Summer and a slew of singles the group have settled in nicely to their nostalgia-inducing style and found themselves a perman...view item »

The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Revelation

I spent the best part of eight years or so listening almost exclusively to The BJM. But following the largely disappointing (to me) 'Sgt Peppers' and 'Aufheben', things changed. Both those albums, and the various singles from around the same time, had their merits but the spell had been broken. 'Revelation', however, is currently dominating...view item »

Bark Psychosis
Hex

It’s hard to be objective about an album that was the soundtrack some of the grimmest times of my life. Early ‘90s, lost in an attic of a shared house in darkest Leeds, forever autumn and it seemed this album was rarely out of earshot. Strange thing is, I've barely played it since. At the time I was obsessed by ...view item »

Stars Of The Lid
And Their Refinement Of The Decline

STARS OF THE LID are back after a long hiatus with a brand new 2CD (vinyl to follow). And Their Refinement Of The Decline sees them in total blistering form. Well as far as Stars of The Lid could ever blister..... it's just about the most breathtaking ambient moving music you'll hear this side of the River Wharf. It's well floaty.... it's l...view item »

The Durutti Column
The Return Of The Durutti Column

Factory Benelux presents a new vinyl edition of landmark album The Return of the Durutti Column, housed in a revised version of the iconic sandpaper sleeve first issued by Factory Records in January 1980. A collaboration between virtuoso guitarist Vini Reilly and legendary Manchester producer Martin Hannett,The Retu...view item »

Steve Hauschildt
Where All Is Fled

Remember Pokemon Emerald? That was a good game. You play as Steve Hauschildt and your rival is called Mark McGuire; Professor Oak is also there, struggling to listen to drone. Since the dissolution of that band/video game, McGuire’s been making lofty beat music like a more reserved M...view item »

Shellac
At Action Park

Shellac At Action Park is Shellac's debut LP following on from the "The Rude Gesture (a pictorial history)", "Uranus" and "The Bird Is The Most Popular Finger" 7" singles. 'At Action Park' was recorded electrically, and features no overdubs, no guest appearances and no tiny cymbals that go "pish". The vinyl forma...view item »

Sonic Youth
Sister

Goofin’ records repress Sonic Youth’s art-rock masterwork Sister, and they’ve even included a download with the vinyl LP. On their fifth album the band’s dissonant no-wave drones are as heavy as ever, but they’re tied to sharper songwriting and thoughtful ...view item »

Lambchop
Nixon

Ah Nixon. The highpoint in the varied career of this Nashville million piece led by Kurt Wagner. Nixon was a glorious romp through the back roads of neon soul with surprising nods to Al Green and Curtis Mayfield -  a beautiful lamp lit album, moving at slow pace with Wagner's idiosync...view item »

Cavern of Anti-Matter
Blood Drums

One of my review highlights of last week was the bargain-priced Cavern of Anti-Matter 12" on Deep Distance which features 45 minutes of freeform kosmische synth jamming from the Stereolab-related trio. Fast forward to this week and they've got two more records out on two entirely separate labels, the most exciti...view item »

Talk Talk
Laughing Stock

Well I never thought I'd be talking about this on the site. One of my all time favourite albums which I now have the excuse of playing again so I can write this! Ba Da Bing have fortuitously decided to release the vinyl of 'The Laughing Stock' which has been unavailable since the year dot in ...view item »

Women
Public Strain

I've been told by people that I should enjoy the new Women album so, as not to disappoint said folks, I'm gonna really go to town with this one... ENJOYMENT TOWN! Though their self-titled (and self-released) debut seemed to be loved by all who came into earshot of its sonic beauty it seemed to pass me by. Well, the same can't be said for 'Public...view item »

Quasi
Featuring "Birds"

Domino have this week re-issued pretty much all the Quasi albums but I’ll write a few words on this one as a) it’s the most familiar to me and b) it’s probably the best one. Quasi were a organ and drum duo consisting of Sam Coombes (Heatmiser) and Janet Weiss (...view item »

Sonic Youth
Daydream Nation

Is there a finer stamp of approval than your album appearing in a pre-millennium episode of the Simpsons? Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, is one of the American indie underground’s epics, and was their last before signing to a major label (take from that what you will). LP box set comes with live versions, covers, and...view item »

Aphex Twin
Richard D James

In a career full of brilliant music, this could possibly be one Aphex Twin's high-water marks, widely popular at the time of release. It introduced his pulverising 'drill and bass' techniques, moving him away from his acid 'n' ambience beginnings. Contains several classics such as 'Cornish Acid', 'Girl/Boy Song' etc. ...view item »

Belong
Common Era

Oh my god. I've been waiting years for this to come out. It's only 5 years since their breathtaking debut which is still being regularly played at home though it feels like an eternity. One thing you know for sure is that when a band makes an album that good and doesn't do another one for 5 years then it's gonna be good. In this day and age of f...view item »

Grouper
Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill

Grouper. More commonly known as Liz Harris, she's become a real cult smash on the underground in the past 2-3 years and many of us here have been seduced. I think this album has been out for years on Type but is HIGHLY sought after on vinyl. So now here's a private (re)press edition, now in a B&W sleeve. Many of her works are built around el...view item »

Cocteau Twins
Heaven Or Las Vegas

‘Heaven Or Las Vegas’ was originally released in 1990 and was to become the bands most commercially successful release, reaching Number 7 in the UK Album Charts. Numerous publications have since declared it one of the best albums of the 90s, with Pitchfork calling it “a core of ungodly gorgeous songs that is every bit as m...view item »

Sigur Ros
Agaetis Byrjun

The album that catapulted Sigur Ros from the obscurity of 'Von' into international stardom, world tours, BBC tie ins and a string of hugely successful albums. Before the icy bleakness of '( )', this sees the band full of hope and wonder. Massive sounding, richly orchestrated post-rock executed in vivid style....view item »

Joanna Newsom
Have One On Me

Maximum excitement levels! It's only the follow-up to one of my favourite albums of those daft old 'noughties' and an epic triple album in the truest sense (spread over either three CDs or three vinyls), one which'll take many, many listens to fully unfurl the delights of. To immediately address the issue that's proved most divisive in Joanna Ne...view item »

Julia Holter
Have You In My Wilderness

Firstly: 10/10 for Julia Holter’s dog. What a long, strange press release it’s been for the mutt with no name, no titles and no accolades. Having put the music video to “Feel You” in quite heavy rotation since its release, I’ve come to think of Holter’s dog as integral to the themes of ‘Have Y...view item »

Pere Ubu
Dub Housing

In our latest filing disaster, Pere Ubu was filed under U so in an attempt to redress the balance I shall say some nice words on what is generally considered to be their best work the magnificently titled ‘Dub Housing’. Pere Ubu are one of those bands which surely must have sounded at the time like they had just arrived from ...view item »

Sufjan Stevens
Carrie & Lowell

Sufjan Stevens has always been a solo artist, but he has never made a solo album. With American states as his muse and orchestras of the Danielson Famile as his sidekicks, he has never had a musical private life. In a recent interview with Pitchfork, he addressed the juxtaposition: “some people h...view item »

Cocteau Twins
Blue Bell Knoll

Released in 1988, ‘Blue Bell Knoll’ is the Cocteau Twins’ fifth studio album.  A beautiful record that showed the band’s continued maturity, it also included one of their most enduring songs, ‘Carolyn’s Fingers’. Now re-issued on heavyweight black vinyl and are being cut from brand-new HD ...view item »

SWANS
The Seer

SWANS return after their outstanding reformation album 'My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky'. While many bands have re-grouped to perform classic albums in their entirety simply for cash SWANS stayed true to themselves, reforming not for dollars - t...view item »

Songs: Ohia
Didn't It Rain

‘Didn’t It Rain’ is a difficult record. Released a year before Jason Molina’s hippy earthquake masterpiece -- the shocking, gruelling, soul-destroying, Steve Albini produced ‘Magnolia Electric Co.’ -- it never makes peace with itself. It toils with folk rock, wrestles with it, struggling through wearied eight-...view item »

Yo La Tengo
Extra Painful

A band that is in existence for as long as Yo La Tengo will divide fans as to which is their ‘golden era’. I am seemingly one of the few who believe that the band went downhill after ‘I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One’, that its golden period was the three ‘90’s albums; the aforementioned ‘I Can Hear t...view item »

Boards of Canada
Geogaddi

Probably the most anticipated release here for us this month and maybe this year is the Boards Of Canada LP. I will admit to being excited at the start of the week this week as I knew it was coming in. Rather sad like, we ripped the boxes open and banged it on..... I was gonna do...view item »

Goat
World Music

Ahhhh, the mysterious Goat from Korpolombolo in Sweden! Yes, if there was a proper buzz band for 2012 it's these cultists and we're not talking what the bloody BBC would have you believe is exciting - this is the sound of the underground lighting a pyre for these dark, troubled ...view item »

American Football
American Football (debut)

I refuse to go in the other room til Led Zep have stopped shrieking and by the sounds of it, that aint going to happen anytime soon. Its now been 7 hours and 7 days since we last played any new music at the Towers such is the plethora of re-issues which hit our shelves but this is one you may want to investigate. These lads went on to be...view item »

Sufjan Stevens
Greetings From Michigan

Now a brilliant and only slightly bizarre re-issue from Sufjan Stevens. Its the "Michigan" album which originally came out on Asthmatic Kitty but has now come out on Rough Trade (with two bonus tracks). What can I say? This was my favourite album of last year. Its an inventive, playful, tuneful work of sheer brilliance. ...view item »

Low
Things We Lost In The Fire

The new Low LP needs that new word to describe it once again. Absolutely marveltastic it is. Glory be the new Low LP for it has to come to save us from mediocrity and lameness. Lush beautiful songs that make you want to cry and jump for joy at the same time. Confusing emotions I...view item »

Spacemen 3
The Perfect Prescription

Reissue of Spacemen 3's second album, which was a wide eyed clash of droning guitar fuzz, psychedelic avant-garage propulsion and heady atmosphere. The line up shift had given rise to an evolved sound, allowing for more space to breathe, casting those shimmering tremolos further out into the stratosphere....view item »

Animal Collective
Merriweather Post Pavilion

So I'm listening to the new Animal Collective 'Merriweather Post Pavillion' for the 1st time and I'm officially blown away. I wish we'd had a listening copy of this a while back so I could digest it properly. Didn't Grizzly Bear leak some of the album a while back? Maybe that's why we didn't sent a listening copy. I suppose once something hits t...view item »

Tom Waits
Bad As Me

It's an exciting day for us at Norman Towers v2.0 today. Tom Waits's brand new LP just showed up! This is his first studio outing in seven years, but Waits is still yet to disappoint with his oft-imitated-but-never-improved-upon trademark gravelly growl taking the fore in these gnarled m...view item »

My Bloody Valentine
Loveless

Fully remastered version of My Bloody Valentine's 1991 classic, Loveless. Done by the man himself it is, as ever with MBV, difficult to work out where the myth ends and the truth begins. Kevin Shields claimed that listening to these new versions would "definitely" produce a different emotional effect from the originals. Listen through headp...view item »

Burial
Burial

So I've just whacked the new Burial CD on for the second time after really enjoying listening to it yesterday. I was into the EP he did on Hyperdub a bit ago so I was well up for checking this out. I really, really like this a lot. The vibe is heavilly dubbed out, futuristic and sinister. The producti...view item »

Boards of Canada
In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country

As you know, In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country first materialised ‘twixt Boards of Canada’s two bumper-length Warp classics Music Has the Right to Children and Geogaddi, and is, rightly, just as acclaimed. For my money, ol’ IaBPOitC is better produced than either album,...view item »

Big Black
Songs About Fucking

You already know it, but Big Black are Steve Albini's old band of pisstakey punk-churners, offering transgressions at a super-fast rate as they squirm and snarl their way through the classic Songs About Fucking. This was the band's second and last record, offering industrial noise bluster like never ...view item »

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