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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

Follow up album to his hugely limited cassette debut The Purge in 2016, London based multi-instrumentalist and improviser Ben Vince is especially adept with the saxophone. Working with loose improvisation but with a progressive drive, Monuments doesn’t stick in a loop builds and develops in front of you with stunning drones and bass tones that’ll make your heart melt.

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

Demian Castellanos (of The Oscillation fame) recorded the material that makes up Ether back in 1995. He then left the recordings to mature and ripen for twenty years, before mixing them for release in 2015. This is psychedelic music for guitar, four-track and effects pedals, and it reaches some lovely outer limits. LP in nice gold screen-printed sleeve, co-released by Cardinal Fuzz and Out Of Phase Frequencies.

Domenico Crisci
Body Punishment

Falling into the second month of the year and Italian producer Domenico Crisci is already on his second release, with previous outings on L.I.E.S., Russian Torrent and Jealous God he brings the aptly titled Body Punishment to Opal Tapes. Relentless, cold and nerve wracking techno that shakes the foundations.

Eat Lights Become Lights
Nature Reserve

Eat Lights Become Lights are excellent modern practitioners of krautrock and kosmische music, keeping the eternal motorik momentum alive with not one but two drummers! Nature Reserve is split between ferociously-forward-moving freakouts and spacier drift-pieces, and it turns out the band excel in both modes. The album is out on Deep Distance in an edition of 500 pink vinyl LPs.

FOUDRE!
Earth

FOUDRE!, a remarkable quartet including members of Saåad, The Rustle Of The Stars, Extreme Precautions and I Pilot Dæmon, performed this piece (in a Gothic church!) as a live accompaniment to Ho Tzu Nyen’s film Earth. Deep and rich drone pieces that really go some places. Edition of 300 blue vinyl LPs on Gizeh.

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. 
  • Vinyl LP (FAUX46LP)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • CD (FAUX46CD)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy

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.
  • CD (HOMEN100)
  • £9.49 £1.99 (saving: £7.50)
  • In stock and ready to ship

Lawrence English
Cruel Optimism

Room40 bossman Lawrence English shows us why he is where he is with an excellent record of dense electronics. Cruel Optimism has the elemental drones that English is so good at, but also contributions from amazing guest musicians like Mats Gustafsson, Werner Dafeldecker and Tony Buck of The Necks. Quite a set of sounds.

Mahatma X
A Mobtown Suite Vol 1

If the new A Tribe Called Quest record has reignited your fire for new sounds straight out of rap’s golden age you could do a lot worse than A Mobtown Suite. The Dilla and Jay Rock comparisons are obvious, but the subtly evolving live instrumentation gives these 17 instrumentals consistent interest that sets them apart from the beat-tapers and nudges them into the space occupied by BadBadNotGood when they worked with Ghostface Killah. The Roots stalk ‘citycide’ and ‘MurdaUS’; ‘Mahatma and the White Devil’ recalls Madlib’s best excursions into Bollywood. Includes download in a choice of formats - wav, mp3, aiff etc.
  • CD (HAM015CD)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy

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.
  • Vinyl LP (BBR03)
  • In stock and ready to ship

Oliver Wilde
Post-Frenz Container Buzz

Bristol-based Oliver Wilde doesn't create normal music. In fact, some material branded 'intricate' would be made to sound chart-worthy next to this record. His third full-length, Post-Frenz Container Buzz, is as maximalist and bombastic as its retrofuturist artwork; electronic music at its most esoteric.

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.
  • Tape
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Limited edition

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
  • CD (EV-2017-1)
  • In stock and ready to ship

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

Scald Rougish drops a new LP on the Ge-stell label, and it arrives laden with full-on Autechreisms: check out ‘N(U()(_{C}SyfR(‘ for a track title! Idioal Oifrmech also throbs and clicks with the same kind of intensive convolutions as that duo, building up a dense wall of abstract un-dance music.

Skullflower
The Black Iron That Fell From The Sky, To Dwell Within (Bear It or Be It)

Skullflower return with the evocatively titled vinyl LP The Black Iron That Fell From The Sky, To Dwell Within (Bear It or Be It). Since the 1980s Matthew Bower and assorted collaborators have been making pitch-black drone, noise, industrial and metal hybrids that defy classification. With this release on Nashazphone they’re once again leading the way.

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

Stef Ketteringham (the leader of Shield Your Eyes) is a remarkable guitarist who freely mixes composition and improvisation in his playing, which recalls Derek Bailey here, John Fahey there. He’s so remarkable that he actually completed this album after losing part of his main fretting finger in a motorbike accident: the cover of Guitar Arrangements serves as a defiant riposte to the idea that such a thing could stop Stef playing. Out on Romac Puncture Repairs.

Thet Liturgiske Owäsendet
Hafvet


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

Tiphaine Belin is Tryphéme, a producer with a fresh and lively sound that is as much about the rich melodies as the drum patterns. Plus vocals too! All that means that the tracks on Online Dating present an unusually fun and human version of IDM: perhaps what the genre could have been if fewer self-serious dudes had been involved? 12” on Central Processing Unit.

Yerba Mansa
Yerba Mansa

Crashing into action with a flurry of distorted guitars and schizophrenic drums is s/t - the contorted stab from Manchester's noisy outfit, Yerba Mansa. Hearing the group live is a must, but hearing this collection of anarchic expeditions is the next best thing. Sizzling, stifling and ever so slightly ear-scraping - this is a must for any lover of untamed guitars.
  • Vinyl LP (DD26)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Coloured vinyl
  • Limited edition
  • Last copy