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30 Rather Good Independent Records from 2017 so far

As an antidote to Record Store Day with its Toto and Fawlty Towers records we thought we'd take time out to select a handful of interesting independent records that have come out this year. Stuff that is perhaps under the radar but could provide you with something new in your life. Have a glance through anyway and you may find a new favourite. 
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Ben Vince
Monuments

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Bossk
I II

I / II is an album by Bossk first released in 2008 that resides at the pinnacle of the post-rockers catalogue. These are thoughtful compositions that take their sweet time building up intricate webs of guitar and rhythm. I / II is reissued on vinyl by Holy Roar, available in both standard and ‘Seafoam Green In Snot Green’ (yum!) coloured vinyl, while limited stocks last.

Broadway
Debut

“Der-ner-ner-ner, der-ner-neeeer, on broadwayyyyy”. Those coming here for rousing soul cuts ala The Drifters will leave empty handed. However, there is a soul of sorts to what Broadway do, if you can trace that path down to The Fall and Sleaford Mods. Much like the latter, many a track here fuses cheap Casio drum loops with laconic half-ranted vocals. Two thirds of the band are the much-vaunted Aussies Art Rush and David Nichols.

Demian Castellanos
Ether

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Domenico Crisci
Body Punishment

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Eat Lights Become Lights
Nature Reserve

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FOUDRE!
Earth

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Gnoomes
Tschak!

Russian psych rockers Gnoomes had access to a bank of presumably indestructible vintage Russian synths when making this record. Experimenting with these beasts has allowed them to marry their stargazing pulsating kraut rock with the sort of brave new world synth exploration found in the back tunnels of the War records back catalogue.   

Great Ytene
Locus

It's very good (great in fact) to have Great Ytene back. Their debut self titled record was one of 2014's best. Here they pursue darker textures perhaps taking their cure from the concrete grey rock of the likes of Preoccupations. This one was mixed by MJ at Suburban Home who has added his trademark tape delay to the voice. Expect dark billowing avant-rock for bleak times. 
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HKE
HK

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Horsebeach
Beauty & Sadness

Oh lovely Horsebeach. I hope we didn't fall out too badly in that we maybe didn't give their last album quite the plaudits of their first one. Listening to this lovely new record make me feel even worse about that. The band superbly marry the melancholic rain drenched sound of the Smiths with the jangling beauty of Real Estate.  Here they've introduced some synths too adding to the feel of early 80s dreamers China Crisis and the Lotus Eaters.  

Ian Hawgood
Love Retained

Incredibly bare piano pieces, presented with thanks, love and admiration for those around him. Battling with depression for decades Ian Hawgood found a release, but also a trigger in composing, these unfinished and unmastered piano sketches serve up as a mirror to that fragility, and mark his departure from his own label (Home Normal) and possibly music itself.

Lawrence English
Cruel Optimism

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Mahatma X
A Mobtown Suite Vol 1

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Mario Batkovic
Mario Batkovic

Mario Batkovic does for the accordion something like what Colin Stetson does for the saxophone: he opens everyone’s favourite wheezy-bag instrument up to new sonic possibilities. Solo statement Mario Batkovic uses extended techniques and minimalist structures to create a really captivating of accordion compositions. CD / double LP release on Invada.

Meat Wave
The Incessant

Meat Wave are a Chicago punk crew, and this third album of theirs is partly the result of the end of a serious long-term relationship. The Incessant is a means of processing difficult times into something creative and valuable: hard-edged and shouty but with a complexly human emotional core. The Incessant is out on Big Scary Monsters.

Novella
Change of State

London based Novella provide a soul warming slab of indie rock with a psychedelic tinge. Returning to Sinderlyn with a follow up album to their debut Land, Change Of State is a reflection on returning from touring to a very different Britain, politically and socially. Stripping back to bare basics by recording straight to 8-track with James Hoare  of Veronica Falls adds an exposed charm.

Old Fire
Songs From The Haunted South

Old Fire presents a collection of remarkably lush and rich Songs From The Old South, thick with bass and strings and reverb. The presentation of this release is really very fine, being a 180g heavyweight vinyl LP housed in a Vaughan Oliver-designed sleeve with metallic printing. Additionally, there is a download code and a bonus CD containing an ‘ambient album deconstruction’. On Brooklyn Bridge Records.

Oliver Wilde
Post-Frenz Container Buzz

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Onus
Ratsickles

Debut by Onus presenting six tunes honed from baritone guitar, bass and drums, each hosting intricate, chorus-sung narratives from vague and seemingly remote space-time locations. The music is dark-toned and downbeat; with descending arpeggios and sparse cyclical riffs a-plenty, interlocking with skeletal drums to provide lean bones for nebulous melodies and scuffed harmonies to take hold. Lyrically, the album opens up snapshots of rewilded outskirts, ritual humiliation, generational rifts and dispossessions; mining deep veins of residual cultural memory vivid enough to feel like premonitions. Lighter relief is to be had with more abstract grapplings with mapping the unknowable and framing a response to divine silence. Limited to a measly 50 cassettes with lino-print sleeves, each including a download code.

pHarmerz
20 Acid Clonk Greats

Can you imagine what would happen if Farmer Glitch (ex Hacker Farm) met Ekoplekz and started collaborating? Well it really happened and this double 3"CD is the result. It's full of wonky acidy tones all bent and stretched into all manner of shapes and sizes. One for fans of Rephlex and early Warp records

Piano Magic
Closure

Piano Magic album have declared that this will be their final album. The suitably-titled Closure, released for the band’s twentieth anniversary, is a subtle and carefully considered set of what the band call ‘ghost rock’. It is sad in places, as one might imagine, but it is great to hear a band able to consciously make a final statement. Closure is released on CD and vinyl by Second Language.

Sarah Davachi
All My Circles Run

The vast soundworld of Sarah Davachi expands a little further with All My Circles Run, her second LP of the year after the stunning modular portraits of Dominions. While that record continued to investigate Davachi's juxtaposition of straight-up tone drone and rippling, Radigue inspired movement, All My Circles Run sees her depart from modular synthesis for a record of instrumental experiments, with separate excursions taking place on strings, organ, piano and vocals. She's one of the best drone artists out there, both in practice and presentation, so dig on this, please.

Scald Rougish
Idioal Oifrmech

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Slomo
Transits

2017 album from the Hebden Bridge based illustrator and musician. 'Transits' is an exercise in restrained and minimalist drone music, evoking frozen night skies with its three shimmering pieces.

Slowcoaches
Nothing Gives

Slowcoaches are outright liars: they move much too quickly to inhabit that name. Debut record Nothing Gives is in fact a torrential set of songs, throwing bad-time lyrics at you with good-time energy. Basically this is DIY punk made just the way you like it, with noisy production and no nonsense. Vinyl release on Leisure & District.

Stef Ketteringham
Guitar Arrangements

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Thet Liturgiske Owäsendet
Hafvet

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Those Who Walk Away
The Infected Mass

Those Who Walk Away is a contemporary music project helmed by composer Matthew Patton, also incorporating members of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. New piece The Infected Mass mixes classical instrumentation with sinister drones and, remarkably, recordings from the black boxes of aircraft in distress, which certainly makes this a powerful listen. Released by Constellation.

Tryphème
Online Dating

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Vargdöd
Brutal Disciplin

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Yerba Mansa
Yerba Mansa

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