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Weekly Update Electric Moon, Plastikman, Stephen Steinbrink, Owl & Mouse, Voices From The Lake, and more...

Welcome one, welcome all to the latest slice of Norman Records sweetness from the big vinyl cheesecake in the sky. We have fresh new blood in the office in the shape of Chris and Robin who will each help dispatch your records with the kind of youthful enthusiasm which has long departed from our tired bones. A big welcome to both of them.

The mid-summer release schedule throws up one or two gems this week. We have an Isengrind tape. Yep that’s right an Isengrind tape. This is one half of the very popular Natural Snow Buildings, it's limited to 100 and it's one per customer. Gulp are a new name to add to rock's rich tapestry: they are from Wales and feature a Super Furry Animal amongst their number. Their light frothy take on Broadcast/Stereolab style niceness comes with a free flexi if you are swift in getting the vinyl. And we all really liked the charming new album by Stephen Steinbrink on Melodic, a word which perfectly describes the tuneful Elliott Smith meets Real Estate vibes enclosed within its grooves.

What else?

  • Fire! Orchestra return with some quite alarming shrieking amidst some sensitive and accessible repeato-grooves.
  • James Blackshaw has a nice album of a live score he recorded in France.
  • there’s another reet cool comp of Manchestah! bands from the excellent Only Joking camp - children, don’t look at the sleeve!
  • Ben Chasney (Six Organs of Admittance) is back a-collaboratin’ again, this time with Dredd Foole (real name or not?) on an album of experimental folk/country.
  • Traams unleash a new mini album of disciplined yet raucous indie/psych rock fun.
  • There’s a swaggering new album from The Icarus Line.
  • Bonged out hypno-rock from Electric Moon.
  • Another album of hushed acoustic weepies from Dakota Suite, this time with Quentin Sirjacq in tow.
  • A brand-new EP of unreleased tracks and covers from Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld.
  • An LP of quirky, likeable indie-pop from Landlady.
  • And some intense drone-scapes from Lawrence English.

There are also massive big things from Morrissey, Jungle, Anna Calvi, Slow Club and Honeyblood...and tiny little ambient things from The Sly and Unseen, Glen Johnson, Melodium and Simon Whetham.

Electronic-y things are in from:

  • Richie Hawtin’s Plastikman, who releases a live set of first new material in God knows how long.
  • An album from soporific hoppers Submerse.
  • A magnificently psychedelic picture disc on Deep Distance by Razen.
  • Nothing is more unusual and forward-thinking than the new DJ Rashad 12” - genuinely new stuff for a change.
  • The ever-great Madlib returns with part 2 of his ‘Rock Konductor’ series.
  • Voices From The Lake’s self-titled tranquil techno classic has been re-issued on three lovely slabs of vinyl.
  • Dauwd re-presses his 2011 EP ‘What’s There’ for those who missed out on it first time round.
  • Eleh walks into a bar and asks for a pint of beer, the barman scowls at him and refuses. When pressed as to why he says, "I don't like your tone”. Boom boom.

Where would we be without our weekly flange of re-issues? Out of business probably. This week we have:

  • Ahead-of-their-time/unlistenable (depending on your viewpoint) proto-no-wave/noise punk troupe Jack Ruby.
  • Two albums from warbly and feathery dreamsters Cocteau Twins.
  • A nice re-issue by Sergio Mendes and Brasil 1 Germany 7.
  • There’s a first appearance on vinyl for Brian Eno & Robert Fripp’s third collaboration, ‘The Equatorial Stars’.
  • We've got the Fabio Frizzi soundtrack for ‘City of the Living Dead’ in on clear red wax.
  • Legendary New Zealand strummers The Clean bring us a wondrous 46 track compilation of their finest moments on 2CD or 4LP.

Finally, quite a few 7”s this week to prove that the format isn’t completely dead:

  • Pick of the bunch from Manchester baggy enthusiasts Kult Country.
  • Harry Nilsson covers garage-rock outfit Grey Hairs.
  • Have a Vampire Weekend/jellied eel knees up with The Rusty Suns.
  • Some ukelele-wielding twee strummers: Owl and Mouse.
  • And some great lost classic soulful rock and roll from The Valdons.

And that’s yer lot. As usual we’ve just scratched the surface - lots more excitement on our website we promise. Have great weekends all!


Clint and the lads/lassies
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Best records this week

According to our review team at least...

Dalhous

Will To Be Well

9/10 from Mike

Here's the second full-length to be released by Marc Dall and Alex Ander under the their Dalhous moniker, and one which sees them refining their understated synths'n'samples a...read on »

Helen (Italo disco artist)

Witch / Zanzibar

9/10 from Brian

Most welcome re-issue of the two earliest and rarest Italo-disco sides by cult collective Helen, passionately re-packaged here by those nice Dark Entries people. There's a who...read on »

SND

Tplay (Special Extended Edition)

9/10 from Mike

Here's something a bit special - it's an expanded 70-minute reissue of SND's debut album 'Tplay' from back in 1998, which was now 16 years ago. Doesn't that make you feel old?...read on »

Hildur Gudnadottir

Saman

9/10 from Brian

Out of all the modern classical practitioners, Hildur Guðnadóttir is probably my favourite. That she shares her surname with a certain international superstar from ...read on »

Attrition

Demonstro: 1982 - 1985

9/10 from Brian

This is fascinating. I'd heard the name but now I get to put some music to the doom-laden face. As a Yorkshire lad of a certain vintage I've always had a passion for the Gothi...read on »

Carbo Flex

Trifolium

9/10 from Li'l Biz

Love Central Processing Unit. They can do no wrong. And look at ‘em now, shredding Soundcloud in search of new artists to promote and support, that’s democracy in ...read on »

Jeff Burch

Jeff Burch

9/10 from Mike

Bringing me back to earth gently after a hard week's reviewing is this new CD from Jeff Burch on Important. I'm rather fond of its cover, too. I do like a good owl, me. The tw...read on »

Pjusk

Solstov

9/10 from Brian

I'm late getting this in so no waffle from me. No waffle at all. This Norwegian duo specialise in some of the lushest, strangest ambient sound-scapes I've had the pleasure to ...read on »

Heldon

Soutien à la RAF

9/10 from Jim

High quality vinyl reissues of 3 ultra-rare, groundbreaking 7”s by France’s greatest guitar innovator and electronic music pioneer, Richard Pinhas. Pinhas is a piv...read on »

Schizo

Le Voyageur

9/10 from Jim

High quality vinyl reissues of 3 ultra-rare, groundbreaking 7”s by France’s greatest guitar innovator and electronic music pioneer, Richard Pinhas. Pinhas is a piv...read on »

Heldon

Perspectives

9/10 from Jim

High quality vinyl reissues of 3 ultra-rare, groundbreaking 7”s by France’s greatest guitar innovator and electronic music pioneer, Richard Pinhas. Pinhas is a piv...read on »

Maps & Diagrams

Alluvium

9/10 from Mike

Tim "Maps and Diagrams" Diagram returns this week with another sinfully limited collection of slow, warm ambient subtlety. The 14 tracks on 'Alluvium' are split into three num...read on »

Formation

Formation EP

9/10 from Mike

I've got the first surprise of the week on my hands with this debut EP by Formation, a duo of brothers from south London who make soulful, driving and uncluttered electronic p...read on »

Wolves in the Throne Room

Celestite

9/10 from ReviewBot300

This new Wolves in the Throne Room album is a little different to what we've come to expect from these astral metal brothers from Olympia, Washington. It's a sister album of s...read on »

The Clean

Anthology

9/10 from Clinton

"Just one record". I hear Li’l Biz cry. Can we just have one record to enjoy this week? We can’t be relying on Madlib every single week can we? This compilati...read on »

Fire! Orchestra

Enter

9/10 from Mike

Fire! Orchestra are back! Fire! is of course the trio of Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin, and they love to collaborate. They've done albums with Oren Amba...read on »

Fabio Frizzi

City Of The Living Dead

9/10 from Mike

Fabio Frizzi's 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' was Death Waltz's inaugural release (shortly to get a fancy gatefold reissue by the look of things), and they've got more Frizzi for us th...read on »

Jack Ruby

Jack Ruby (Volume 1)

9/10 from Mike

Feeding Tube Records this week drop the first of two LPs chronicling little-known proto-no wave band Jack Ruby, with this platter chronicling the period of 1974-'77 with demo ...read on »

Glen Johnson

Same Sex

9/10 from Jim

You know you’re in for a treat with any recording that has a felt tip drawing of a six-eyed, green skinned girl dancing with another goat headed girl gracing its cover- ...read on »

Madlib

Rock Konducta Part 2

9/10 from Li'l Biz

Madlib returns with a second installment of his Rock Konducta series and what is there to say that hasn’t already been said? Madlib is the master. His beats are the NV o...read on »

The Valdons

Stop, Wait A Minute Girl / Whatcha Gonna Do

9/10 from Mike

Here's a fascinating record. Back in 1971 The Valdons brought out a solitary 7", 'All Day Long'/'Love Me, Leave Me' before vanishing into obscurity...until 2012, when Secret S...read on »

The Icarus Line

Avowed Slavery

9/10 from Mike

This new Icarus Line EP is being touted as a companion piece to last year's 'Slave Vows' LP, which wasn't so much a return to form as a career peak for the band, distilling th...read on »

Landlady

Upright Behavior

9/10 from Mike

Landlady have a new album of clever indie pop out this week, their first on Hometapes. This lot, led by singer/songwriter Adam Schatz, play a grand and universal indie-soul wi...read on »

Electric Moon

Innside Outside

9/10 from Mike

Stoner rock fans will be well excited to get their hands on this new Electric Moon offering. There's two side-long tracks here which are just lengthy riff-rituals in a pummell...read on »

Cloud Becomes Your Hand

Rocks Or Cakes

8/10 from Clinton

Nice to hear a band sounding pretty much like nobody else in the world...... apart from maybe The Cardiacs or possibly Oingo Boingo. Its an oddball brew of the types of sounds...read on »

Total Control

Typical System

8/10 from Mike

Total Control's debut album 'Henge Beat' was a big hit around the office and remains a regular fixture on my turntable, and this week the wait is finally over for a follow-up ...read on »

Head High

Megatrap

8/10 from Clinton

I thought it was really thick vinyl but there’s actually two slabs in there. This is a windswept piece of techno if techno can be described as windswept. This is from th...read on »

Autobahn

Autobahn 2

8/10 from Mike

Here's a 12" on Tough Love from Autobahn, who are apparently from Leeds. I need to start paying more attention because I'd not heard of them before. This is their second 12" o...read on »

Bronze Teeth

O Unilateralis

8/10 from Ant

Here’s the first outing from Bronze Teeth; the duo of Dominic Butler (Factory Floor) and Richard Smith (Optimo Music’s L/F/D/M). The pair serve up three gnarly clu...read on »

British Murder Boys

Live In Tokyo

8/10 from Brian

This is possibly a little austere for Friday morning; It's pooing-out the lad who's unexpectedly popped around to do some decorating. So I'm gonna put it on again a bit louder...read on »

Max Richter

The Congress OST

8/10 from Phil

Max is back! It’s been a busy ole year for Max with the Retrospective set and the Recomposed work of the ‘Four Seasons’ and now here’s a soundtrack to ...read on »

Hurricanes of Love

Quintorian Blues

8/10 from Mike

I've not encountered Hurricanes of Love before but I have just learned that the act is just this one dude Frank Hurricane (I wonder if that's his real name) who plays a guitar...read on »

The Heliocentrics

Sirius B

8/10 from Mike

London's progressive funksters Heliocentrics are back in action this week with this latest 12" EP, which features guest vocals from rapper Vast Aire on lead track 'Sirius B', ...read on »

School House

Soft Focus

8/10 from Jim

School House is a solo project of UK composer Peter James Taylor, who usually composes pieces for multiple guitars that often draw comparison with Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatha...read on »

Mordrake

Every Shadow Is A Ghost

8/10 from Mike

Here's the debut album from Leeds-based trio Mordrake, the only band to have filmed a music video right here at Norman Towers (while we've been here at least). Fronted by form...read on »

Telstar Sound Drone

Feel It ​/​ Someone

8/10 from Mike

Lots of effort gone into presentation here. This picture 10" comes in a transparent sleeve with a band logo sticker on the front, and comes complete with an individually-wrapp...read on »

Astralasia

Wind On Water

8/10 from Mike

Astralasia are "one of the UK's best-loved festival bands". I haven't come across them before but then I don't get to many festivals. It does make me wonder how many festivals...read on »

Savage

Ten Years Ago (Ultimate Edition)

8/10 from ReviewBot300

'Ten Years Ago' was, confusingly, recorded 30 years ago, way back in 1984, and has since then been "Italo Disco star Roberto Zanetti’s “lost” second album" w...read on »

Frog Eyes

Carey's Cold Spring

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Frog Eyes' Carey Mercer had a worrying battle with the big C shortly after recording this album which messed with the release schedule and threw into doubt whether they'd even...read on »

Devon Williams

Gilding The Lily

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Former Osker vocalist Devon Williams has brought out album number three of his ambitious soft-pop business on Slumberland. It's a finely crafted blend of different types of mu...read on »

The Valley And The Mountain

Another Portal

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Okay, I don't know anything about The Valley and the Mountain I'm afraid, and all the press release has to tell me is "Marvin Gaye and Tangerine Dream together in an elevator ...read on »

Lost Wax

Gongzhufen Breath

8/10 from ReviewBot300

I've got an intriguing tape here of musique concrete adorned with subtle drones and twinkles by Lost Wax, also known as Ben Morris out of Chora. The audio presented here was r...read on »

Melted Toys

Melted Toys

8/10 from ReviewBot300

You've got the old-school options of either vinyl or cassette for the debut Melted Toys album. These cats are from San Francisco and they play a sun-hazed slacker pop that fal...read on »

Various

Tetramer EP

8/10 from Souki

 A nice trip down memory lane to the days I first moved to Leeds back in 2000-and-something and started fishing around in the electronica section at Jumbo Records…...read on »

Stephen Steinbrink

Arranged Waves

8/10 from Jim

A sweet, country-tinged album by singer-songwriter, Stephen Steinbrink here. Opener, ‘Now You See Everything’ starts with a Byrds-esque chiming two chord arpeggio ...read on »

Anna Calvi

Strange Weather

8/10 from Clinton

Anna Calvi returns to place her reddest of red lips around a bunch of covers to 'make up' this mini LP.  See what I did there? I’m not inspired by the choice of co...read on »

Submerse

Slow Waves

8/10 from Clinton

This is a record ideal for those times when you need something dangerously relaxing on your ears. It should come with a health warning: "Do not drive or operate machinery whil...read on »

Dredd Foole & Ben Chasney

Drunk With Insignificance

8/10 from Mike

Here's an album by someone I've heard of and someone I haven't. Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance and Ben Chasny fame has teamed up with a character called Dredd Foole. I...read on »

Razen

Reed Bombus

8/10 from Mike

This latest offering from Great Pop Supplement's cosmic little sister Deep Distance comes courtesy of Belgian duo Razen. However it's not the synths-and-drum-machines kosmisch...read on »

Gulp

Season Sun

8/10 from Clinton

I’ve been looking forward to this one as so many of you have been pre-ordering it. You often know stuff we don’t so it would be daft to ignore the excitement. This...read on »

The Joe McPhee Quartet

Underground Railroad

8/10 from Mike

Here's an exciting late '60s jazz gem back on vinyl for the first time since its original run of 500. 'Underground Railroad' is in fact legendary trumpeter and saxophonist Joe...read on »

Luluc

Passerby

8/10 from Laurie

Luluc is the latest band to fall under the mentoring of the National’s Aaron Dessner, who continues to produce soft, reliable folk records that concentrate on the sparse...read on »

Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld

Spring!

8/10 from Mike

Teardo and Bargeld's 'Still Smiling' LP was one of the real surprise hits of last year, in our hearts if not the actual charts, so it's satisfying to see that they're continui...read on »

Grey Hairs

Schmey Hairs

8/10 from Li'l Biz

Hehe...this is a good one. Mid-life crisis garage rock outfit Grey Hairs (members of Kogumaza/Fists/ex-Cult Of Dom Keller) return with a second 7” (on Hello Thor this ti...read on »

DJ Rashad

We On 1

8/10 from Li'l Biz

Aw, this is just sad. ‘We On 1’ must have been the last agreed release prior to DJ Rashad’s recent death (though I might be wrong there???) stemming from a c...read on »

TRAAMS

Cissa

8/10 from Li'l Biz

Yo! FatCat superstars Traams return with an EP to tide us over until record number two. I’m biased when it comes to these lads, I’ve got nothing but good things to...read on »

Plastikman

EX (Performed live at the Guggenheim, NYC)

8/10 from Jim

This album presents a live performance of specially composed music Richie Hawtin gave at  New York’s Guggenheim last year and as such is also the first new Plastikm...read on »

Voices From The Lake

Voices from the Lake

8/10 from Clinton

Absolutely lauded is this album. “One of the best albums ever” someone has proclaimed. Pitchfork and Resident Advisor both love it. The usual caveat applies, possi...read on »

Demdike Stare

Testpressing#005: Procrastination / Past Majesty

8/10 from Ant

Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty unleash the beastly fifth installment in their ongoing Test Pressing/ Research and Development series. ‘Procrastination’ is industr...read on »

The Forest & The Trees

Missions

8/10 from Mike

This one here is an album of dreamy and dramatic indie-pop from Stockholm's The Forest & The Trees. They're a husband-and-wife team by the looks of it, but I'm not sure wh...read on »

UltraMantis Black

UltraMantis Black

8/10 from Mike

Meetings between music and professional wrestling haven't historically yielded credible results, hitting a nadir a couple of decades ago with the Wrestlemania song (link here:...read on »

Various

Manchester Standards Sides 3 & 4

8/10 from Mike

Here's a fairly bizarre compilation that puts together some of the more interesting stuff that's been going on in Manchester lately. Genre-wise it seems a little unfocused but...read on »

Dakota Suite & Quentin Sirjacq

There Is Calm To Be Done

8/10 from Mike

Get out your hankies! Thoughtful music makers Dakota Suite are back this week with a new collaboration with Quentin Sirjacq, which in contrast to recent Dakota Suite work cent...read on »

Tessela

Rough 2

8/10 from Souki

A totally rugged and immense slab of slamming breakbeat techno from Tessela, his second release for the ever-reliable R&S, that manages to pull off the task of taking the ...read on »

Time Attendant

Bloodhounds

8/10 from Mike

I was somewhat dreading listening to this because I was told "I think it's going to be noisy soundscapes" when it was handed to me. I'm relieved to discover that isn't really ...read on »

Lawrence English

Wilderness Of Mirrors

8/10 from Mike

Sound artist man Lawrence English is back with a new one this week on Room 40. It's a multi-movement tapestry of drones and samples that often achieves a mind-meltingly powerf...read on »

Featured albums

Glen Johnson
Melodium
The Rusty Suns
Submerse
Dauwd
Isengrind
Dakota Suite & Quentin Sirjacq
Slow Club
Morrissey
Voices From The Lake
Fripp & Eno
Simon Whetham
The Sly and Unseen
Kult Country
Anna Calvi
Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66
Madlib
Honeyblood
TRAAMS
James Blackshaw
The Clean
Fire! Orchestra
Owl & Mouse
Landlady
Stephen Steinbrink
Plastikman
Grey Hairs
Lawrence English
Jungle
The Icarus Line
Electric Moon
Razen
Fabio Frizzi
Dredd Foole & Ben Chasney
Gulp
DJ Rashad
Eleh
Jack Ruby
Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld
The Valdons
Cocteau Twins