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2018's Best New Albums (so far)

We'll be unveiling our official Albums of the Year 2018 on Friday 28th December, but here - in completely random order - are the records we've been eyeing up. Sign up for our emails and we'll ping you when our final Top 50 is announced. And remember that from now until Friday 21st December we're offering double NormanPoints on all orders.
Please note that this promotion officially ended on Monday December 3rd 2018. Any discounted items may now have returned to full price, and other items may no longer be available at all. If you missed out on this promotion then sign up for our email alerts so that you stand a better chance of not missing out on the next one.
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NYZ
RLD GLD ET AL

NYZ is veritable polymath David Burraston who is an artist, musician, synthesist AND someone who's interviewed Aphex Twin. RLD GLD ET AL  is a selection of previously unheard generative music made using systems built by Burraston. Experimental music as John Cage intended.

Ethers
Ethers

Ethers are a supergroup. Well, to those who are au fait with the Chicago indie rock scene they are, anyway. They are made up from members of Radar Eyes, Heavy Times and Outer Minds. Their brand of mid-fi, hook-heavy indie recalls band such as Royal Headache, Reigning Sound and The Feelies. LP and CD on Trouble In Mind.

Yo La Tengo
There’s A Riot Going On

I think this is as good a time as any for a new Yo La Tengo record. The world could do with a little bit of the soothing balm they put into their music. Unlike many other bands of their vintage who rely on collaboration and guest stars to ice their records, Yo La Tengo did this all themselves....and that's the way we like it.   

NYZ
CSR SHAPERZ

More generative wild behaviour from the NYZ project, in which Dave Burraston builds up the systems and then lets them run wild all by themselves. CSR SHAPERZ has nine shorter tracks (some very short) and two hefty epics, and listening to the whole lot makes you feel like part of a tangled network of circuits yourself. CD on Ge-stell.

Ty Segall & White Fence
Joy

The Second Coming Of Marc Bolan aka Ty Segall releases his umpteenth album, and this one’s a collaboration with fellow retromaniacs White Fence. Joy - the pair’s first LP together since 2012’s Hair - sees the duo sticking to their guns and cranking out fifteen tunes of melodious, Aladdin Sane-aping niceness. Out via Drag City.
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Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
An Angel Fell

The well travelled and long-enduring Pyramids, led by sax man Idris Ackamoor, ready a new record of fantasy-filtered allegory. An Angel Fell is a jazz record in protest of our environmental complacency. Recorded in a week, it's another intense marvel from a group who still managed to release one of our favourite records of its year in We Be All Africans.

East Man
Red, White & Zero

Anthoney Hart - he of Basic Rhythm and Imaginary Forces fame - drops the first release of his East Man project on Planet Mu. Red, White & Zero is a whip-smart take on grime also incorporates elements of jungle, techno and hardcore, with an overall effect not dissimilar to the ‘ruff sound’ pioneered by Novelist and Mumdance. Features include Darkos Strife, Killa P and Kwam, while academic Paul Gilroy provides liner notes.

Pierre Bastien & Cabo San Roque / Anna Homler, Adrian Northover, Dave Tucker
FTS003

Another split 12” from the First Terrace label. This one here features improvisations from the fresh and adventurous trio of Adrian Northover, Anna Homler and Dave Tucker on the one side, and a Pierre Bastien piece for Cabo San Roque’s massive orchestra of mechanical machines. Very varied material here then, but see if you can draw some links between these two fine sides eh?

Ian William Craig
Thresholder

Ian William Craig is always very welcome round these parts, and Thresholder, the man’s first album in eighteen months, demonstrates why. Those tape machines of his are put to work in the construction of an eleven-track, forty-minute sound environment. Deep and gorgeous smeared ambience, on FatCat sub-label 130701.

77:78
Jellies

In a bid to outdo their previous moniker the Bees and make it something even more inconsequential this Isle of Wight collective have now renamed themselves 77:78. Remember it if you dare. The Bees were always great and this promises to be too with influences ranging from 'Smiley Smile' era Beach Boys to King Tubby to Syd Barrett. 

Minami Deutsch
With Dim Light

Here’s some spirited post-punkish, 60s psych-rock from Japan. Kyotaro Muila spearheaded Minami Deutsch in Tokyo in 2014, drawing together a bunch of minimal techno enthusiasts for the remaining instruments. This keenness for repetitive beats clearly informs the indulgent sections of these billowing tunes, but the songwriting is more elaborate and composed. The knitter’s nightmare of ‘Tangled Yarn’ is, unlike its title may suggest, deliriously relaxed and happy.

Neotropic
The Absolute Elsewhere

Riz Malsen has had quite the career. In the 90s she worked with likes of 4hero and The Future Sound of London as well as a fruitful and varied solo career.  The Absolute Elsewhere is her first album as Neotropic in nine years, an album of industrial psychedelic electronic music that is at home in "new weird Britain".

NYZ
XNOTNL

NYZ aka Noyzelab mastermind and Aphex Twin pal David Burraston with another dose of head-scratching, logic-defying synthesis. Past releases from the mad scientist have seen him delve deep into forgotten gear and arcane processes, emerging with sonic oddities that inspire baffled cries of “how?” and sometimes “why?”. This Tapeworm cassette promises more puzzling thrills, limited to 100 copies that won’t hang around for long.

YOB
Our Raw Heart

Innovative and immense, YOB like to release long, thrashing sprawls, disseminating doom with zero compromise. Our Raw Heart speaks plain of the near-death experience of frontman Mike Schiedt, who praise the stars is still with us, bleeding the metal blood. Over seven very good tracks they play seventy-five minutes of heart-on-sleeve riffage. I honestly cannot wait. 

Lonnie Holley
MITH

The legendary Lonnie Holley returns with Mith. It's an album filled with righteous fire aimed at the chaos and injustice of American life. His impassioned spoken word delivery gives topics like Standing Rock and Black Lives Matter the weight they deserve. As does the beefy instrumentation: wild drums, blasting horns, and always his own distinct piano improvisations. From the music to its lyrics, this is vital.

Julia Holter
Aviary

It may well be difficult to think of a record more expansive than Julia Holter's 2015 opus 'Have You In My Wilderness' but it seems like 'Aviary' might just do it. This 15 song record explores the feeling of cacophony we feel on living in the modern world and a search for solitude and sweetness. Holter's theatrical vocals and cinematic synth work will hopefully find us all a solution.   

Juliana Daugherty
Light

Singer-songwriter Juliana Daugherty is back with this limited-edition, milky-clear LP, out on Western Vinyl, a dreamy record that traverses mental illness, political outrage and societal ills, all laced with Daugherty's crooning, lilting vocals. Expect motorik pulses, vaporous strumming and heartbreaking choruses. Killer.

Taylor Deupree
Fallen

Fireplace soundartist Taylor Deupree offers more of his bitty but warm experiments on Fallen. With principle photography for the artwork taken in Iceland, land the record sees him restrict his pool of equipment, using primarily piano and then falling into a Moog-shaped hole with smatterings of guitar. It took him a long time to write; please listen to it.  

Homeboy Sandman & Edan
Humble Pi

Humble Pi sees alternative rapper and Berklee College of Music dropout, Edan and New York rapper, Homeboy Sandman team up for the first time. The much-anticipated collaboration will please fans of MF Doom, Madvillian, Mike Eagle, Guilty Simpson and Blu & Exile. In short, you know this is going to be good. LP on Stones Throw.

Brigid Mae Power
The Two Worlds

Irish artist Birgid Mae Power follows up her 2016 self-titled LP with The Two Worlds. Her expressive voice, gently warbling with more than a little Americana, could as well be likened to Grace Slick as to Elizabeth Fraser, although neither capture her entirely. On the excellent lead single ‘Don’t Shut Me Up (Politely)’ she sounds weary, indignant and assertive against misogynistic conceit, singing over droning guitar and a dusty, rumbling drum section.

Nathan Micay
Whities 017

You might remember Nathan Micay from his days as Bwana, but the Berlin-based Canadian is done with all of that now. His first release under his given name is a Whities drop, which means that it’s pretty much guaranteed to be good. It would seem that Micay’s new alias has allowed him to clear the fog that often fell over the Bwana stuff. ‘First Casualty’ and ‘Beginning Ballads’ are lovely things that sound like There Is Love In You-era Four Tet.

Kamaal Williams
The Return

Yussef Kamaal may have disbanded, but Henry Wu continues to fly the flag as Kamaal Williams. For the first LP released under his given name we see Williams behind the keys in a jazz fusion trio that brings together the visionary aesthetic of the YK output with the sounds of new London jazz and the shuffling grooves of the Wu project. Out via the new Black Focus records, a label named after YK’s sole full-length.

Shinichi Atobe
Heat

Mysterious Japanese producer Shinichi Atobe surprise-drops a new LP via Demdike Stare’s DDS (Micachu, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe). Heat is a bit more welcoming than the austere techno sound Atobe has previously exhibited, with tracks like ‘So Good, So Right’ and ‘Heat 1’ displaying a stronger house influence than any of his other work. However, there is still a sense of woozy minimalism here that traces a line to records like Butterfly Effect. Fans of Juniper and Detroit Swindle step this way.

Spotlights
Hanging By Faith

Hanging By Faith contains four remixes from Seismic, the 2017 album by ethereal goth metalers, Spotlights.The 5-track EP features remixes by Kris Dirksen, Mario Quintero, Aaron Harris, Void Manes and is rounded off with a cover of The Cure’s Faith. The Brooklyn-based three-piece balance dark, powerful, light and delicate with aplomb. Limited edition white vinyl LP on Ipecac.

Steve Hauschildt
Dissolvi

Former Emeralds synth wizard Steve Hauschildt returns with 'Dissolvi' the name taken from the latin phrase cupio dissolvi, meaning "I wish to be dissolved". Let's hope Steve isn't dissolved any time soon as here he presents another example of his work which contains techno pulses, synth haze, the voice of Julianna Barwick. 

Pieter Nooten
Stem

Fourth album from Dutch ambient neo-classicist Pieter Nooten. Made in collaboration with Stephen W Tayler (who has worked with the likes of Kate Bush and Underworld) this is Nooten's most intriguing work in three decades. Subtle but still incredibly moving, Stem's 60 minutes are well earned. 

Dalham
Janus

Dalham's debut 'Waves' was a word-of-mouth hit here at Norman Records. You all went a bit crazy for its slo-mo, sci-fi, electronic doom and its pressing of 250 sold out pretty damn quick. So it's great news that the mysterious bod behind Dalham has returned with a brand new opus of blurry electronics and eerie soundscapes. 'Janus' is available in a micro edition of 250 copies, in reverse board sleeve as a one-time pressing. No re-press, ever.
  • Vinyl LP (The Swan 18)
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Charlemagne Palestine
AA SSCHMMETTRROOSSPPECCTIVVE

A release to coincide with a retrospective exhibition celebrating the work of minimalism's chief oddball Charlemagne Palestine. Charlie can make the same three notes feel more meaningful than most musicians' entire careers, and this self-made recording from 1974 New York is no exception. Come for the piano, stay for the animal plushies.

My Home, Sinking
King of Corns

This white vinyl release of Enrico Coniglio's, aka My Home, Sinking, 'King of Corns' is as special as the music itself, a bucolic, meditative rumination on melancholia, assembled from the building blocks of gentle folk guitar, lilting harmonica and illuminating, dramatic vocals. Sometimes sweet, sometimes frenzied, this is a gorgeous album.

The Lotus Eaters
Desatura

Please be very very careful. This is not the 1980s Lotus Eaters famous for their 'First Picture of You' single. Instead these are two techno artists Lucy and Rrose. Here the two step away from the usual techno instrumentation and use synthesized sound and feedback to generate both textural and percussive elements to their music.  

Sarah Davachi
Gave In Rest

Proving it's both a marathon and a sprint, drone artist Sarah Davachi puts out yet another record. Hot off the heels of the impressive baroque tone poem Let Night Come On Bells End the Day, Davachi makes the hop to Ba Da Bing! for a record of lonely, isolationist ambient music that reflects the upheaval in her life. Principally a master and architect of synthesizers, Davachi's output has expanded into scores for a wide range of instrumentation, so we'll just wait and see how this likely-to-be opus turns out.

Tropics
Nocturnal Souls

After LPs for Planet Mu and Innovative Leisure, the latest full-length from Chris Ward’s Tropics project drops via Plus Fours. Nocturnal Souls is an accomplished neo-soul album in the vein of his mates BADBADNOTGOOD - indeed, the celebrated jazz group crop up as backing band here. Ward’s fine songwriting style incorporates elements of the French New Wave, cosmic jazz, chillwave and even a little 'Reckoner'-era Radiohead. He’s got a great set of pipes on him too.

The Breeders
All Nerve

Taking a break from their knitting for awhile, the Patti and Selma Bouvier of indie rock re-unite with the 'classic' era line up of the Breeders for their much anticipated first new album in a decade. Expect taut and lop-sided avant rock full of unusual melodies and that golden throated voice. How much better will it be than the last Pixies album? 

Eric Chenaux
Slowly Paradise

Sounding like he's playing jazz and folk influenced guitar pieces whilst sitting in the hull of a tugboat on a particularly windy day, Eric Chenaux has a totally unique seasick sound that is ripe with invention. He blurs the lines between avant garde modern composition and the type of lop-sided fretwork also explored by the likes of John Fahey and Richard Dawson.  

Rival Consoles
Persona

Erased Tapes' cool dance guy Ryan Lee West drops down his newest Rival Consoles record! Making serene IDM with a pounding heart to guide it, Persona sees him do a Jam City by exploring the possibilities of shoegaze. Expect pedals and a heightened sense of drama as he experiments with melody, beats and sometimes beatlessness.

Sons Of Kemet
Your Queen Is A Reptile

Sons Of Kemet return with their third LP of iconoclastic jazz takes. Your Queen Is A Reptile has Shabaka Hutchings and company using sax, tuba and dual-drums to conjure music that sees traditional jazz modes cusping on several sounds of the Caribbean diaspora. Soca, calypso, merengue and more all rumble in the lines of the drum work here, and Hutchings masterfully uses his horn to conduct the proceedings.

Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger, James Rushford
Face Time

Another collaboration for Black Truffle between intrepid sound manipulators Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger and James Rushford. Like its predecessor, Face Time comes on splendid coloured vinyl (neon orange this time) and boasts cover design from Stephen O)))’Malley. The trio produce seductively serene sonic fields, with murmuring textures, quiet harmonics and crumbled, wiry dub rhythms.

Hairband
Hairband

Very good Scottish shop Monorail put their money where their mouth is by releasing the debut LP from this Glasgow collective. Hairband (good that isn't it?) contain members of Spinning Coin and Breakfast Muff and play the sort of joyful, elastic music that you can imagine coming out of Glasgow particularly when you throw in influences such as Orange Juice, Television and Life Without Buildings. 

Soccer Mommy
Clean

Soccer Mommy, aka Sophie Allison, a 20 year old from Nashville, has previously made some lovely mid-fi music that would please fans of Boston bands of the 1990s, as detailed on her recent compilation, Collection. Her proper debut album, Clean, gives her a bigger stage and bigger production values, but the songs remain true to her roots. Clean was produced by War On Drugs/Deerhunter producer, Gabe Wax.

Thom Yorke
Suspiria (Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film)

It's true then. Thom Yorke is soundtracking Luca Guadagnino's reimagining of the 1977 Dario Argento horror flick. And here is as much proof as you'd need. The soundtrack is a mix of score work, interludes and some actual normal songs featuring Thom singing. If you are a Radiohead fan you should be excited. If you are a fan of the horror genre you should also be excited.   

Ben Vince
Assimilation

Very obviously a saxophonist, Ben Vince readies a new record on the wonderful Where To Now? label. Uh. Hell yeah? Assimilation he treads further afield than the usual minimalist focus, collaborating with a bunch of artists who love him to give his sax wild different hues and contexts. Playing solo is one thing; playing with Micachu, Rupert Clervaux and Valentina Magaletti is another. Vince is making a name for himself and he already has a pretty good one and it's Ben.

Grouper
Grid Of Points

Portland's Liz Harris AKA Grouper is one of only a few artists who consistently melts our collective hearts. Her 'Grid Of Points' album (like her previous record on Kranky, 'Ruins') is more stripped-back than her earlier work, with a greater emphasis on songwriting and delicate piano compositions. What was previously submerged in effects resonates with a newfound clarity; what was previously obscured is foregrounded, offering a clearer window into the heart and mind of the artist and revealing previously unheard details within her meticulously crafted, gorgeous compositions. And yet, there's still enough mystique surrounding her songs and fragile, ghostly, ambient soundscapes to make her work as intriguing as ever.

Macintosh Plus
Floral Shoppe

It’s been in vogue, out of vogue, sort-of-vogue and everything between, but fully seven years since the release of Macintosh Plus’s Floral Shoppe the Record That Started Vaporwave™ shows no signs of going away. Heard now, it’s a relic of a simpler, happier time, when Giggs and Scholes were still in the United midfield and no-one knew who Slaves were.

µ-Ziq
Challenge Me Foolish

Here is a 'lost' album of Mike Paradinas's ahead-of-its-time project tapping into the same highly melodic, orchestrated electronic pieces that made his 'Royal Astronomy' album so remarkable. Seen as a sort of companion to that album, 'Challenge Me Foolish' is similarly uplifting creating a mood of gentle optimism with music that is both baroque and whimsical. 

Hieroglyphic Being
The Red Notes

Prolific producer and DJ Jamal Moss puts out another record under his primary Hieroglyphic Being alias. He expanded his horizons with a collaborative album We Are Not the First in 2015, learning from and working directly with Marshall Allen and JITU Ahn-Sahm-Buhl. He follows it up with a record orbiting the same world: The Red Notes plugs in to the legend and legacy of Blue Note, in particular its hardest shredders Thelonius Monk and John Coltrane, marrying their innovations with Chicago house.

Hiro Kone
Pure Expenditure

On Pure Expenditure, Hiro Kone, real name Nicky Mao, approaches electronic music with a brutal intent not heard since the earliest Factory Floor recordings. This all comes from Pure Expenditure's core theme, the non-utilitarian use of surplus energy. The album features the likes of group A and Little Annie, and was mixed by Teflon Tel Aviv's Josh Eustis.

Elephant Micah
Genericana

Generica is Elephant Micah’s new album: the title mashes together ‘generation’ / ‘genre’ and ‘America’ / ‘Americana’, resulting in a jumbled-up suite of sounds, made with an array of second-hand idiosyncratic gear, including a tape deck, some Hindustani synths, and a digital synth made with Elephant Micah’s brother. Intuitive feels throughout.

Cornelius
Mellow Waves

Been awhile since we heard from Cornelius but this album of his smooth, exploratory pop has been knocking about the office for some time and we can confirm that it's pretty good. His part cover here of Prefab Sprout's 'Appetite' points the way on an an album of intricate, soft and masterful compositions  

Daniel Brandt
Channels

Daniel Brandt (of arpeggio-techno krafters Brandt Brauer Frick) is back for another round of restless, jittery rhythms with Erased Tapes. Channels seems to follow on from last year’s Eternal Something, being of an acoustic-electronic hybrid tapestry of instruments (pianos, brass, bass, strings), synthesisers and prepared objects resulting in animated, melodically rich leftfield dance tunes.

Hop Along
Bark Your Head Off, Dog

Blessed are the emo at heart as Hop Along, royalty of woe and heart-wrench, returns with another record of skewed songwriting. Painted Shut progressed her sound further from its entrenched sparsity and its follow-up doubles down on the dynamism: Bark Your Head off, Dog, is a record that collects older and more nostalgic pop influences into the usual broth of grunge, folk and open source feelings.

NYZ
DSP TRX

Very talented man David Burraston, aka NYZ, returns to Psøma Psi Phi for DSP TRX, a four hour rager. This is music for fans of: not quite knowing what's going on, being overwhelmed by the enormity of things, and staring at waterfalls. Comes on four CDs, with disk four being a cute little 3"er.

Thou
Magus

Thou claim greater influence from 90s proto-grunge groups like Alice In Chains and Soundgarden than contemporaries like EYEHATEGOD, a band to whom the Baton Rouge outfit are frequently compared. Magus - Thou’s first LP since 2014’s Heathen - lands squarely between the two camps, but is also much more than that. Sludgy, abrasive and loud as heck, there's more than a little Converge in here. That is to say that Magus is modern metal par excellence. The vocalist’s screech is the first sound you hear in hell. Out via Sacred Bones.

Fallen
ást

Time Released Sound present some lovely editions of the latest album by Italian ambient musician Fallen (you may also know them by the name The Child Of A Creek). ast is a record full of pretty drones, found sounds, loops and touches of piano with just a hint of unease lurking at its corners. Oddly enough it invokes both the early tape stuff of The Caretaker and some of the weightless bits of Jam City’s Dream A Garden. The deluxe edition of the CD is a decadent piece involving Tarot cards, handmade artwork, vintage boxes and other trinkets.

The Field
Infinite Moment

Hope is something we could do with in 2018. Axel Willner AKA The Field had been toying with various new ideas for his sixth full length album before realising perhaps that we could do with an album that is warm and comforting. Therefore 'Infinite Moment' is hued with a rich gauze of straight to the heart electronics to soothe your mind in troubled times.  

Miss Red
Dagga / One Shot Killer

Pure dancehall fire from MC Miss Red with two cuts from her imminent 'K.O.' album. Both are produced by bass quake riddim master Kevin Martin AKA The Bug. Miss Red's fierce chattin' style and Martin's production are a match made in heaven. This limited edition, hand-stamped red wax sampler is hard evidence and will set the dance alight no messin'.

Deepchord
Immersions

Rod Modell is back in his long-running Deepchord guise with a long-awaited solo LP on Astral Industries. 'Immersions' comprises two beautiful, expansive long-form pieces, each adorning a side of the record. It's that wonderfully emotional, elegiac sound we're accustomed to: sparkling and elegant techno textures which wind and wend their way through deep caverns of dub. Submerged sounds that happily bubble to the surface. Also, just look at that sleeve art; another classic from the house of Astral Industries.

Alison Statton & Spike
Bimini Twist

After Young Marble Giants and Weekend, Alison Statton's third major contribution to proto indie were her collaborations with Spike. In fact the duo had already worked together in Weekend but this collaboration is somewhat lesser known. After a few years of doing normal family type stuff the duo have reconvened for further recordings. Anyone who has heard Statton's voice knows that it's a beautiful unique thing so it will be lovely to hear it again after all these years.  

Rezzett
Rezzett

Rezzett’s long-running relationship with The Trilogy Tapes culminates in the release of the pair’s debut LP. This eponymous record is largely comprised of lo-fi, sombre techno tracks that recall Actress and other TTT artists like Samo DJ. When the beats are stripped out, as they are on cuts like ‘Yunus In Ekstasi’, there is a wintry frailty to Rezzett’s synth tones that is reminiscent of Forest Swords.
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Miss Red
K.O.

Queen of the new dancehall Miss Red at last presents her first full-length solo statement! You’ll know her voice from collaborations with Gaika, Mumdance and Andy Stott, but most especially The Bug, for whom she’s been a key part of the sound in recent years. Kevin Martin returns the favour by producing here, giving Miss Red’s music that full Bug-bass-weight. K.O. is released on Martin's own Pressure label.

Vainio & Vigroux
Ignis


The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Something Else

Something Else is the first of two full-length albums promised to us by The Brian Jonestown Massacre in 2018. After dabbling in experimentation - using Brazilian and Middle Eastern Music along with shoegaze as inspiration for a couple of albums, Anton Newcombe returns to the sound his fans know and love. 180g white vinyl LP and CD on ’a’ Recordings.

BEAST
Ens

Beast is Koen Holtkamp, who is also known as one half of Mountains with Brendan Angeregg. Ens sees Holtkamp making more tightly constructed compositions, compared with his previous sprawling explorations. The album was made as Holtkamp’s partner was expecting, then having their first child and the experience plays out in the heartfelt music, some grounded and some more for the clouds. LP and CD on Thrill Jockey.

Siavash Amini & Matt Finney
Gospel

This album carries a content note for CSA.  On Gospel, Savish Amini and Matt Finney work together to explore and process Finney's experiences of being abused as a child. Finney's vocals are unflinching and raw, supported by Amini's harsh and ominous drones. The album is also a testament to friendship, Finney credits Amini with helping him get to where he is now.

Rejoicer
Energy Dreams

After a few years releasing on his own Raw Tapes label, Israeli producer Rejoicer has struck beatsmith gold and signed for Stones Throw. However, Energy Dreams could just as easily have cropped up on Brainfeeder, such is the similarity to Daedelus and mid-period FlyLo. Funky, jazzy, hip-hoppy electronica of the sort that never goes out of fashion.

Eve Essex
Here Appear

Here's Eve Essex with a record of myriad sounds. She uses more timbres than you even knew existed! Sax, piccolo, organ, synths, harmonicas, whistles and pedals all feature on this record, as well as Essex's voice herself, Here Appear is a set of beguiling, initially improvised pieces in debt to both the medieval and futurist. 

Ashley Paul
Lost In Shadows

Lost In Shadows, devised and created shortly after Ashley Paul became a mother, is an album of great collaborative intimacy. Paul built up a small ensemble (including cello and tuba) to elaborate on her ideas, though the material remains remarkably sparse thanks to the careful compositional choices made. A very particular atmosphere on this one. On Slip.

Jake Muir
Lady’s Mantle

Lady’s Mantle is the debut solo album by sound designer and artist, Jake Muir. The LA resident has previously recorded music under the name Monadh which has been released on labels such as Dragon’s Eye Recordings and Further Records. Lady’s Mantle sees Muir channelling Pinkcourtesyphone (Richard Chartier) and Andrew Pekler.

Aukai
Branches of Sun

Markus Sieber -- born in East Germany, 15 years prior to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall -- delivers his sophomore album as Aukai, 'Branches of Sun'. Sieber spent a month holed up in the Colorado Rockies; each day crossing a frozen lake twice, to and from his studio in a cabin in the mountains. The result is an album rich in beautifully sensual, textured tones; featuring piano, cello and Andean ronroco / baritone charango -- a guitar-like instrument in the lute family. Once again Sieber has proved himself a master of delicate, dappled, emotional music.

Oh Sees
Smote Reverser

Seemingly incapable of stopping making music for one second, this is Oh Sees 6th album in the last three years if you include Thee Oh Sees and OCS in that tally. Yet Dwyer keeps pushing forward with his double drum line up with all kinds of alumni making guest appearances. Expect more scorching psych but this time with a heavy prog vibe (see sleeve).   

Stuart A. Staples
Arrhythmia

Now resembling a kind of cross between Tosh Lines and Frank Burnside (both formerly of the Bill), Stuart Staples takes a break from Tindersticks to make his first solo LP in 13 years. The album has an unusual structure consisting of four songs but with one clocking in at thirty minutes in length, Staples has created a unique and experimental piece of work.    

Khruangbin
Con Todo El Mundo

Khruangbin are a band inspired by non-Western music of many stripes, taking what they like from all sorts of cultures. Second album Con Todo El Mundo hones in on Iran and the Mediterranean in particular, whipping up some soulful funky storms as they do so. Con Todo El Mundo is released by Night Time Stories.

Bridget Hayden
Pure Touch Only From Now On, They Said So.

Bridget Hayden is a Yorkshire based artist and musician whose musical output is as beautiful as it is moving. There is a starkness to how she composes her folk songs that gives them a frailty more powerful than most. Mostly though, there's her moving and ghostly vocals that give Pure Touch Only From Now On, They Said So. its power.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Hope Downs

Summer’s coming, which means that we must brace ourselves once more for a deluge of new records featuring pretty guitar riffs and nice singing. Getting in there early are Melbourne group Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. Their debut LP Hope Downs features more of the sunny jangle-grunge that characterised their buzz-building 2017 EP The French Press. Hit play if you find it uncomfortable to listen to Surfer Blood or Real Estate but want similar kicks. Out via Sub Pop.

Kristin Hersh
Possible Dust Clouds

Possible Dust Clouds is the tenth solo studio album from Throwing Muses leader Kristin Hersh. It’s an album of contrasts, dark and light, loud and quiet, chaos and calm. It’s her first for Fire Records and is being ‘bigged up’ as return to form, and we know the heights that form has reached in the past. LP and CD on Fire.

Thembi Soddell
Love Songs

Before we go any further you should know, Thembi Soddell has a dark sense of humour. Love Songs is certainly an album about love, but rather than the highs, it's the toxicity and harm that can lie beneath which Soddell takes as her subject. This is bleak, dense and intense music that is deeply personal and viscerally horrifying. On Room40. 

The Innocence Mission
Sun On The Square

The Innocence Mission have been around a while now, but Sun On The Square marks the Pennsylvania trio’s first LP for Bella Union. You can see why the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Iron And Wine list them among their favourite acts. The group’s mix of guitar, strings, ukelele and Karen Peris’ lovely voice has clearly had a strong influence on the work of both of those artists. The band stick to their guns on this album, but why change when you’ve got a good thing going?

Aphex Twin
Collapse EP

With mysterious artwork appearing everywhere from Turin to Kippax - on people's coffee cups, on the back of tea towels, on the last sheets of loo paper - it's that time again: a new Aphex Twin marketing campaign. Which means only one thing - new music from the maverick electronic producer. This time, a 12" issued with bizarre sprawling text and a video already banned for failing an epilepsy test.

Stella Donnelly
Thrush Metal

Horribly appearing to have a mouthful of garden worms on the cover of this debut release, this Australian singer songwriter blends lovely sweet melodies with bold instinctive lyrics often aimed at men being arseholes. But like Liz Phair on Exit in Guyville the songs are both gorgeous and unique. Donnelly's voice has a lovely Australian twang to it which just adds to the magnificence.

Jono McCleery
Seeds Of A Dandelion

We've heard this one in the office quite a bit, and it has become a personal favourite of mine. Jono McCleery's voice is truly brilliant. He sings with so much soul and genuine passion. It's raw and it's beautiful. Available on vinyl LP and CD and both have been released on Counter Records. Trust me. It's a good 'un.

Mika Vainio
Lydspor One & Two (Blue TB7 Series)

Taken from the recordings the late Mika Vainio made on his visit to the Moog Sound-lab in 2015, it's Lydspor One & Two. Lydspor is Danish for soundtrack, and here -- available for the first time, on two sides of vinyl and CD edition -- are the tracks documenting Vainio's tinkerings with the prototype Moog Modular System 55, a reverse-engineered edition replicating the 1970s classic synth. A second session was planned but sadly Vainio died before that could happen. The record is thus a fitting memorial to a wonderfully gifted, softly spoken man. On Moog Recordings Library.

My Autumn Empire
Oh, Leaking Universe

July Skies/epic45 member Benjamin Holton drops a solo LP under the guise of My Autumn Empire. Anyone who’s copped an earful of previous MAE LPs will be expecting plenty of lush, folky acoustic guitar on Oh, Leaking Universe. They won't be disappointed, but they should also be aware that Holton’s chucked some electronics into the mix this time. The addition of synths and drum machines give tracks like ‘Frost On My Shoes’ a bit of a The War On Drugs feel.

Nicolas Jaar
Pomegranates

Ooh Pomegranates - remember them? Sat in front of Top of the Pops with a pin and some newspaper. Who in their right mind would let children eat fruit with a pin eh? Anyway just like the titular fruit, Pomegranates is a slow moving work, intimate, elegant and contains some of Nicolas Jaar's most touching work. This is the first time it has been out as a double LP and is timed perfectly for pomegranate season.       

Don't DJ
All Love Affairs Fail But They Never End EP

Wise words from Don’t DJ there. All Love Affairs Fail But They Never End is a somnambulant, wistful collection of techno-noir. Don’t DJ’s originals range from purring electronica in the vein of Jan Jelinek (‘Veles’) to lengthy and pensive synth ambiences (‘Two Of Pentacles’). Newworldaquarium provides a deep, minimal and ethereal re-rub of ‘Veles’.

Rauelsson
Mirall

Spanish-born Rauelsson is back with second LP 'Mirall', a captivating record full of lush landscapes, organic beats and dynamic textures. And while melancholia prevails, this is an album peppered with joyful flashes and upbeat moments, filled to bursting with a veritable smorgasbord of instrumentation and genres.

Concretism
For Concrete and Country

Some good old-fashioned idiosyncrasy from Concretism here. For Concrete And Country synthesises much of the Great British oddball lineage - the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Ghost Box Records, Public Service Broadcasting etc. - with a newly-resurfaced Cold War paranoia. It’s the aural equivalent of a day out in Dungeness. The fact that the artwork was done by Richard Littler (the brains behind Scarfolk) only adds to the sense of strangeness.

Kode9 & Burial
FABRICLIVE 100

Here endeth the lesson. The 100th and final edition of Fabric’s Fabriclive CD mix series comes courtesy of two artists who, perhaps above all others, have defined the sound of the London club since the turn of the millenium. Burial’s South London bleakscapes and Kode9’s Hyperdub label have spread their tentacles into nearly every facet of UK club music, and you’d be hard-pressed to argue that any of the other 99 Fabriclive mixes don’t bear their influence in one way or another. Now, as the series rounds out, the pair drop a 37-track mix that shows love to footwork, gqom, jungle, grime and everything in between. Not to be missed.

Jessica Moss
Entanglement

Entanglement is album number three from Jessica Moss. Moss earned her stripes with a fifteen year stint in Canadian post-everything band Thee Silver Mt. Zion (and all variations on that name). She has also worked with such luminaries as Vic Chesnutt and Carla Bozulich. The title of this album explains it all, really: She uses violin and her voice to create twisting, swirling, overlapping - tangling, if you will, soundscapes. LP and CD on Constellation.

Autechre
NTS Sessions

In April 2018 electronic wizards Autechre went into online radio station NTS and broadcast a series of sessions of unheard music which were then released digitally to critical acclaim. Now you can buy them physically either as separate LPs or here an an enormous 12 LP box set or 8CD set. A vast an extensive collection which has been described as being some of the best music they have released to date.   

The Gentleman Losers
Permanently Midnight

Sentimental Helsinkilaiset The Gentleman Losers (Samu and Ville Kuukka, aka Lessons) return after seven years of attention directed elsewhere. True to the meticulously-produced analogue texture and post-rock lounge style of previous releases, Permanently Midnight sounds like a snug, wintry log cabin recalled from a dingy Route 66 motel. Artfully presented by Grainy Records.

Makaya McCraven
Universal Beings

Get ready for some more Epic Jazz -- 2018 has been another good year for it, what with Kamasi and all -- it's hot jazz drummer and producer Makaya McCraven with his latest LP 'Universal Beings'. The record was cut at two intimate live sessions and two impromptu studio sessions, in four cities: New York, Chicago, London and L.A. A total of 15 musicians worked with McCraven -- stellar improvisers all -- with Shabaka Hutchings, Nubya Garcia and Jeff Parker being but three of them. Double LP or double CD, on International Anthem Recording Co.

Cult Party
And Then There Was This Sound

Sad hits for all the family (lest there are happy members of it), it's the brand new record by not-at-all-super stars Cult Party! This wonderful band may have been a solitary, self-preserving bedroom band once upon a time, but on And Then There Was This Sound songwriter Leo Robinson opens up his sounds with the help of pals including weirdo rocker Kiran Leonard. Creative and wayward without sacrificing the delicate and skeletal sound of old, this record is bound to be special.

Laura Veirs
The Lookout

When she’s not teaching kids to play the guitar, Laura Veirs is a singer/songwriter. A good one too. The Lookout is her tenth album and first since her collaboration with like-minds Neko Case and K.D. Lang. The Lookout is inspired by wanting to take care, be aware and look after each other. This need was fired in Veirs, like so many things these days, by the aftermath of Donald Trump becoming president. The velvet voices of Jim James and Sufjan Stevens feature. Gold coloured vinyl LP and CD on Bella Union.
  • Vinyl LP (BELLA744V)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Coloured vinyl
  • Last copy

Mitski
Be The Cowboy

Mitski’s fifth LP - and second for Dead Oceans (Slowdive, Khruangbin) - finds the singer finding great emotional depth in her mixture of college rock, grunge and twee-punk. Her poised vocals and narratives about personal struggle and inner strength are wed to similarly emotive instrumentals across these fourteen tracks. It makes for a defiant and ultimately uplifting listen on Be The Cowboy.

epic45
Through Broken Summer

It's only a new record from Epic45, my favourite Staffordshire-based post-indie rock band. I can only imagine how beautiful Through Broken Summer will be if their other albums are to go by. You can already hear the calming, yet oddly satisfying sound permeating through your brain, melting your very core. Available on vinyl LP and CD and released on Wayside & Woodland Recordings. 

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