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Weekly Update Sleep, Valgeir Sigurdsson, Proxima, Bracken, Mastodon, and more...

Welcome to the latest installment of the never-ending saga that is the Norman Records Weekly Update.

This week has seen the announcement of our Albums of the Year list. In at number 1 was ‘Exist/Resist’ by Bracken, a record so good that we bought the company i.e. pressed up a bunch on vinyl just so you could buy it (and not simply imagine what it sounded like). You can look at all our Top 50s here including Top Re-issues, Best Sellers and 25 Near misses….and please for God’s sake feel free to shout at us on Facebook or Twitter and tell us the blindingly obvious things we missed.

We’ve also had a big motherfreakin’ SALE but that ends tonight at midnight so BE QUICK.

Of course, today is what has been come to be known as Black Friday and we have several of the titles that have been released on this day - presumably for someone to make money or summat. They include things by New Order, Ramones, Flaming Lips, Velvet Underground, Mastodon and Lee Hazlewood.

Away from all that, it's actually been the busiest week for new releases for some time. PLEASE do not let these treats pass under your radar. Promise?

  • Mogwai have a new single out. The lead track proves that they can be ‘pop’ if they wish. We love it. There are also two further new tracks, and a bunch of remixes including Phil's favourites Pye Corner Audio.
  • Adrian Rew has made an album out of the sounds of Vegas slot machines. Phil likes it. Both people are probably nutters.
  • The Drink make lovely, off-kilter indie - y’know the sort where the guitars go sideways?
  • The Advisory Circle make incidental music for an episode of Tomorrow's World in 1976. William Woollard presents.
  • Beezewax concoct lovely jangly Real Estate-like music according to Robin. Must listen.
  • Those lovely ladies from Ireland September Girls make more of their swirly, gothy shoegaze on their latest 12”. They’re the B*Witched it's OK to like!
  • In unlikely collab no 6534, The Bug teams up with Earth.
  • The Great Electric are a supergroup made up of….oh i don’t know a load of old indie bands….but they make hypnotic, layered kraut that appeals to our Hayley.
  • The Wands are this year's Danish psych revivalists, and they sound like Suede crossed with the Doors.
  • Tyrannosaurus Dead are further proof that there’s life in the DIY lo-fi shambling pop.
  • Drummer extraordinaire James Yates makes a fast ‘n’ ferocious blend of folk, electronica and beats as Seamajesty. See what he did there?
  • Purple sex God Prince’s two new eventually-to-be-forgotten new albums are in.
  • Ol’ misery guts David Sylvian makes an album of bleak sounds overlaid by poetry. Its a long way from Top of the Pops isn’t it?
  • Brian Reitzell’s terrifying soundtrack for ‘Hannibal Season 1’ is in to scare you.

Everywhere you look people are making weird electronic beatery.

  • Insecto makes cut-and-sliced clickery for fans of Mille Plateaux on the ever great Home Assembly.
  • Techno thumper Function has another 12” re-issue out.
  • Acre glides across grime, techno and industrial landscapes.
  • Lord Raja takes in abstract hip hop, footwork and ambience on the cosmic and catchy ‘A Contant Moth’.
  • Smoooooooooooooth sounds on Silk Rhodes' fusion of Stevie W, D'angelo and Prince.
  • Drexciya’s ‘Harnessed The Storm’ gets a re-issue on the format we call WAX.
  • Wonged-out bass an' minimal drum programming on dub-step lads Proxima’s new 12”.

As you might expect there are MILLIONS of re-issues this week. Some of them are good...

  • Remind yourself of how good Pixies were with this generous 3CD/3LP edition of ‘Doolittle’.
  • Yo La Tengo’s ‘Painful’ album is quite terrific. There’s a double incentive to buy it now that it comes with bonus stuff and is called ‘Extra Painful’.
  • C86 barkers Wolfhounds have their first album re-issued.
  • Leeds lot Girls at our Best pre-dated C86 by quite some way advises our Hayley. Check out this spanking new re-issue.
  • Tragic alt-country types Songs Ohia’s best (according to me) album ‘Didn’t it Rain’ gets the deluxe treatment with bonus stuff.
  • Metal stoners Sleep’s first album gets a re-issue. Y’know the one: it's the only one to feature their first guitarist before he became a monk.
  • Australia’s answer to Syd Barrett, Pip Proud, has two of his 60s albums re-issued.
  • Massive Attack’s excellent ‘Mezzanine’ gets the vinyl re-issue treatment.
  • At either end of the musical spectrum, Brian Eno and Bis get their works re-evaluated.
  • Sad Bristolian Gravenhurst has his swoonsome first two albums re-issued plus an album of rarities. Comes as a 3CD package or on separate vinyl releases.
  • Snoozesome alt-country peddlers Wilco have release a bloody great big box of rare stuff.
  • Before he dated MIA/Kate Perry and had Twitter feuds with everyone under the sun, Diplo actually made music.
  • H. Hawkline make weird psych and Gruff Rhys style pop.
  • Neo-classical weeper Valgeir Sigurdsson has his ‘Draumalandid’ back in the shops.
  • I’m now left as the only person on earth not to ‘get’ John Grant. This week you can buy the greatest hits of his previous band The Czars or a recording of his ‘70s Radio 2 aping concert with a 60 piece orchestra attached.

There are plenty of pint-sized 7” records available too.

  • Sleaford Mods have yet another 7” out this time on Germany’s Little Teddy records. Hard to associate them with teddies isn’t it? (Hey, someone should form the Sleaford Teds...swap Jase's French Crop - done by his sister, apparently - for a quiff and a DA, get kitted up in some suede brothel creepers, etc.)
  • Suddenly-reputable Brit poppers The Charlatans have a new single out with a Twitterati-pleasing Brian Jonestown Massacre mix.
  • All those Kim Deal 7”s you frantically tried to buy are now back out in picture sleeves.
  • Oddball collab no 765 sees miniscule bespectacled geek Alexis Taylor split a 7” with big beard Bonny Prince Billy.
  • The new 7” from Stereolab sorts and kraut aficionado's Cavern of Anti Matter will sell in seconds we’re warning you.
  • Domino keep plugging away with angry Scots bluesters The Amazing Snakeheads.
  • Popular Jonathan Richman fans The Wave Pictures have a new 7” out.
  • Eerie Manchester duo Bernard and and Edith misspell ‘Wurds’.

Oh and in miscellaneous news, we have the fifth wave of those little Buddha Machines you all like.

That’s it from us. With Christmas swiftly approaching like a runaway train you might want to check out the Christmas Gift Guide that we made for you - and your friends, family, colleagues - just to everyone's life that tiny bit easier.

Weekend weather report: Utterly abysmal.

See ya!

Clint and the busy people
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Best records this week

According to our review team at least...

Bracken

Exist/Resist

10/10 from Brian

What do you do with the news that one of your favourite producers of the last two decades is suddenly releasing a cassette? In an edition of 100? After not doing remotely anyt...read on »

Songs: Ohia

Didn't It Rain

10/10 from Robin

‘Didn’t It Rain’ is a difficult record. Released a year before Jason Molina’s hippy earthquake masterpiece -- the shocking, gruelling, soul-destroying,...read on »

:zoviet*france: & Fossil Aerosol Mining Project

Patina Pooling

9/10 from Robin

‘Patina Pooling’ wants to weigh you down. This ambient clusterfuck is a heavy and dirty mass, collected in a hefty piece of rusted steel that will turn your hands ...read on »

Girls At Our Best

Pleasure

9/10 from Hayley

It's about time ‘Pleasure’ got the reissue treatment it deserved: the original album is gathered alongside early singles, demos and BBC sessions, not to mention th...read on »

Some Truths

Bliss Abyss

9/10 from Laurie

The modular synth. It is the giant squid of the electronic instrument arsenal - enigmatic and nigh untameable. Unless you’re a synthy Captain Ahab, the beast steers your...read on »

Tyrannosaurus Dead

Flying Ant Day

9/10 from Hayley

Let’s start off by singing the praises of Oddbox Records: the London label has been championing some of the best DIY bands since its inception in 2009, releasing myriad ...read on »

The Drink

Company

9/10 from Ian

Here’s one that grabbed my attention when it flew into the office the other week. Newly signed to Melodic,  ‘Company’ by The Drink collects 2 now hard t...read on »

David Sylvian

There’s A Light Which Enters Houses With No Other House In Sight

9/10 from Ian

One time eighties pop star and prolific ambient composer David Sylvian releases this latest piece on his Samadhi Sound Label. The lengthy Smithsian titled 'There's A Light Whi...read on »

Yo La Tengo

Extra Painful

9/10 from Clinton

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 ...read on »

AN-I

Gutz

9/10 from Tom

Previously releasing Silent Servant and Broken English Club’s excellent industrial EP ‘Violence and Divinity’ the Brooklyn based label Cititrax has followed ...read on »

Drexciya

Harnessed The Storm

9/10 from Jim

There are few acts in underground dance music who inspire as much reverence as the Detroit electro duo Drexciya. Their radically futuristic grooves were steeped in a mystery t...read on »

Richard Dawson

Nothing Important

8/10 from Tom

Nothing Important is a collection of four tracks. Two sixteen-plus minute songs as centrepieces, with two instrumentals book-ending the set. As with his previous two reco...read on »

Seamajesty

Seamajestea

8/10 from Robin

This sparkly pink joy of a record -- called ‘Seamajestea’ and performed by an artist called Seamajesty -- sounds like if M83, London Grammar,  Beach House, Za...read on »

Beezewax

Tomorrow

8/10 from Robin

I’ll never get over these indie rock contradiction records, the ones that sound as blissful and chilled as you might on a warm summer’s day, but writhe with urgenc...read on »

Gravenhurst

Flashlight Seasons / Black Holes In The Sand / Offerings: Lost Songs 2000-2004

8/10 from Clinton

It took me awhile but I finally fell in love with Gravenhurst’s first two albums. In the early 2000’s I have to admit  my reaction to them signing to Warp was...read on »

Peter Philipson

Limefield Sessions

8/10 from Clinton

This is a lathe cut edition of 20 (twenty). I have no information on it at all so much to Phil’s probably annoyance I’m going to have to give it a play so we can s...read on »

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

I'm In Your Mind Fuzz

8/10 from Robin

With one of the laziest but also most apt affixes of all time, ‘I’m In Your Mind Fuzz’ acts as a sort of psych rock primer, an archetypical record of spirall...read on »

Mogwai

Music Industry 3 Fitness Industry 1 EP

8/10 from Robin

“Teenage Exorcists” is the least Mogwai the band known as Mogwai have ever been. It’s a very real mystery, and hearing it, you feel like you’ve been tr...read on »

The Advisory Circle

From Out Here

8/10 from Laurie

From the colourful box of ghosts springs a spectre of the past in the form of The Advisory Circle’s cosmic From Out Here LP. It harks back to a vintage '70's use of the ...read on »

Sleep

Volume One

8/10 from Robin

Sleep’s first record arrived when doom metal was an embryonic wee one, still afflicted with the memory of Black Sabbath and their nasal pantomime performances. ‘Vo...read on »

Insecto

Post Edit de un Cromosoma

8/10 from Laurie

What a surprise, Insecto does actually sound like insects. Chilean producer Jimmy Pizzaro appears to have metamorphosed into the audio equivalent of a stag beetle, with massiv...read on »

Brian Reitzell

Hannibal Season 1 (Original Television Soundtrack)

8/10 from Laurie

As well as putting out an excellent debut from CUTS and a rude 12” from the ol’ Sleaford Mods, Invada have also been slipping in some soundtrack releases this year...read on »

Lord RAJA

A Contant Moth

8/10 from Andy

Chester Raj Anand, a.k.a Lord Raja hits us up with his debut long player ‘A Constant Moth’ on Ghostly International. Having dipped in and out of this labels output...read on »

Hannah Lou Clark

Silent Type

8/10 from Clinton

This is an interesting record. There are interesting records out this week despite it being the ultimate marketing week of the year. Music still wins out eh? We hope so. If yo...read on »

Featured albums

Cavern of Anti-Matter
Adrian Rew
Sleep
Seamajesty
The Advisory Circle
H Hawkline
Bernard + Edith
The Wave Pictures
The Czars
Alexis Taylor and Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Proxima
Wilco
Insecto
Sleaford Mods
John Grant
The Ramones
The Velvet Underground
New Order
The Flaming Lips
Mastodon
Lord RAJA
The Charlatans
Gravenhurst
Diplo
Yo La Tengo
The Amazing Snakeheads
The Bug Vs Earth
David Sylvian
Silk Rhodes
The Wands
The Wolfhounds
The Drink
Acre
Brian Reitzell
Function
Pixies
September Girls
FM3
Tyrannosaurus Dead
Beezewax
Mogwai
Girls At Our Best
The Great Electric
Bracken
Various
Drexciya
Valgeir Sigurdsson
Massive Attack
Songs: Ohia