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Weekly Update The Monochrome Set, Sleaford Mods, Steve Reich / Ensemble Avantgarde, Pefkin, Ablaze!, and more...

It’s our Christmas party tonight. Check the front page of the Daily Mirror tomorrow morning for full gruesome details. In the meantime we have work to do. Firstly: to remind you that if you live in Western Europe or USA you better get those Christmas orders in pretty darned quick. UK residing people: you have the rest of next week so sit back, relax and let us tell you about all the new things that have come in this week before entering panic mode.

Stuck for pressies? Here is our guide to the most obvious stuff, some stuff you might not have thought of and some other gift ideas. Still completely stuck? We have loads of Gift Voucher options.

Oh and if you put in an order for over £60 before Christmas, you’ll be in a hat for a chance to win £250 bloomin’ quid! Aren’t we nice?

There’s still NEW stuff being carried through the door by big men…….

  • Phil’s favourite plucker James Blackshaw releases a limited edition vinyl of his early recordings.
  • Tarcar make a brooding folk and cacked up IDM soundscape, out on Blackest Ever Black.
  • Sleaford Mods ‘Chubbed Up +’ is now in on vinyl.
  • The thing with Thurston Moore is that he’s pretty tall. The Thing with Thurston Moore is a collaboration with the Sonic Youth lankster and the madcap Scandinavian free jazzers.
  • Ellis Island Sound swiftly follow up their last album with another batch of delightful pastoral compositions.
  • Psychic TV keep on rockin’ with a new album of pitch-defying psych.
  • Nottingham rockers Six by Seven release a very limited vinyl of demos and stuff.
  • Avant orchestra Zeitkratzer battle gamely with the work of Whitehouse.
  • This Heat chap Charles Hayward releases a solo album of electronics and drums featuring members of Gnod.
  • Wee Scottish lassie Pefkin has provided us with some of her eerie, ghostly early recordings.
  • Two more things on the Hibernate postcard series. The Inventors of Aircraft soundtrack a move to the country with harsh disorientating soundscapes while Ghost and Tape provide us with some Friday morning spook music.
  • On Hibernate’s sister label comes an album of ambient bliss from Chihei Hatakeyama and Good Weather For An Airstrike.
  • D.Dumbo -- an Australian man -- releases his first EP on 4AD.
  • Stephen Molyneaux releases an album of Grouper-like crystalline folk music.
  • Witching Waves release some pretty ace indie pop a la Sonic Youth/Beat Happening. They pose beneath a big concrete thing on the cover.
  • Both of Brian Reitzell’s ‘Hannibal’ soundtracks are now in stock on vinyl.
  • One-idea grit minstrels Fat White Family claim “I Am Mark E Smith”. In their dreams.

They bleep, they bloop, they cut and they splice: it’s the LEFT FIELD ELECTRONICA family………...

  • Ambient lad Wil Bolton soothes our heavy hearts with a limited new album on Sounds In Silence.
  • Heavy, nasty techno from Sunil Sharpe.
  • Can we use the word ‘fabulous’? Ok then. Two faaaabulous 12”s in stock from Deft. Bright vibrant electronica reminding us of Machinedrum.
  • The sprawling and varied Afrikan Sciences LP is in stock at last.
  • Deas (aka Cameron Deas) unleashes his first all electronic album. Not an easy listen.
  • Two remix 12”s from ‘dog vs babysitter’ bliss-ters Sinner DC, one with Sonic Boom mixes.
  • In stock last week -- but finally written about this week -- is a lovely bumper 3 12”s of ambient and techno by Conforce.
  • Vintage styled drifting synthesisers from Carlton Melton type folkies Night Flights.
  • There’s a very limited (100! whaaaat?) CD from ambient lord Marsen Jules.
  • There’s a double whammy of textured techno from Shifted that’s so far up Ant’s street it’s climbed into bed with him.
  • Dark and distorted techno comes on the collaboration between Ugandan Methods and Prurient.
  • Finally, just to cheer you up, there’s some bleak and atmospheric downbeat techno from Grebenstein.

As much as we moan, if there weren’t any RE-ISSUES out this year we’d be dead by now. Here’s the latest batch…

  • Motorpsycho’s ‘Demon Box’ is now in on 4CD + DVD set.
  • Eyebrow arched ‘80’s sophisticates The Monochrome Set have their ‘Eligible Bachelors’ album out on cream vinyl.
  • Gruff C86 barkers The Wolfhounds ‘Unseen Ripples from a Pebble’ is now in on vinyl with bonus stuff.
  • Mop topped ‘60s mod/soul group The Action have some unreleased stuff unleashed on 10”.
  • It’s a Komplete Katastrophe. The Kinks Kracking Katalogue is Kicking around on Kool Vinyl.
  • Tame Impala’s ‘Live Versions’ was a limited Record Store Day release right? Oh yeah, I forgot. It’s back in again on vinyl.
  • Loads of soundtracks in this week from Henry Mancini’s ‘Pink Panther’ to ‘Batman’ to ‘Vertigo’ to Morricone’s ‘Il Prefetto Di Ferro’.
  • There’s nothing we like more here at Normans than some Steve Reich in the afternoon.

Pint sized records (aka 7”s)

Indie pop noisemakers Joanna Gruesome and their American counterparts Perfect Pussy have released a split 7” and comic book. Phil likes Kitty Daisy and Lewis. He’ll be chuffed that they have a new single out. Barely listenable (especially when the vol's at 11) noise punksters Electric Eels have a 7” out.

Books

Books are good for reading, especially when you are tired of the computer screen. We’ve got in some of these lovely looking tomes about Mark Burgess -- singer and founding member of legendary post punk band The Chameleons. We’ve also got the massive big bloody Ablaze book of legendary fanzine scribblings in at a cheaper price.

That’s it from us. Give me a beer. I’ll be the one under the table in half an hour. Have great weekends everyone.

Clint and the Christmas Crackers
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Best records this week

According to our review team at least...

Odd Nosdam

Music To Psychic Drive By

9/10 from Laurie

Here we have a li'l tape of big reworks from California-based noise assembler David Madson who is a rather Odd Nosdam. At around 2 tracks and 20 minutes per side, this isn&rsq...read on »

Shifted

Arrangements In Monochrome Part One

9/10 from Ant

Holy shit! Mandatory double whammy from Shifted that’s so far up my street it’s actually in my house, sleeping in my bed. It’s like Shifted is inside my brai...read on »

Shifted

Arrangements In Monochrome Part Two

9/10 from Ant

Holy shit! Mandatory double whammy from Shifted that’s so far up my street it’s actually in my house, sleeping in my bed. It’s like Shifted is insi...read on »

Afrikan Sciences

Circuitous

8/10 from Jim

The man behind the Afrikan Sciences alias, Eric Douglas Porter, has built a reputation in electronic music as something of a rhythm visionary, an innovator who manages to fuse...read on »

James Blackshaw

Apologia

8/10 from Robin

James Blackshaw might be the patron saint of finger picking by now, but ‘Apologia’ documents a young and ernest experimentalist throwing himself into the unknown. ...read on »

Stephen Molyneux

The Shape of Clouds to Come

8/10 from Robin

Stephen Molyneux makes crystalline folk music and then lets it fade like a shadow losing light. His newest work, ‘The Shape Of Clouds To Come’, is a startling, org...read on »

Wil Bolton

Whorl

8/10 from Laurie

The word ‘Whorl’ must be so current. This is the second album to feature a word which would have otherwise barely entered into the collective lexicon, and also hap...read on »

Cuticle

Mind Holding Pattern

8/10 from Laurie

From the great purveyors of fringe electronica Not Not Fun we have US techno-esque trio Cuticle’s 2nd LP, seeing them at their most playful. Various sources have been ba...read on »

The Inventors Of Aircraft

No Answers, Not Even Any Questions

8/10 from Robin

‘No Answers, Not Even Any Questions’ documents Phil Tomsett uprooting his life, moving from the bluster of urban life to the natural inclines of the countryside. T...read on »

Grebenstein

Grebenstein EP

8/10 from Ant

This four track EP from Jan Grebenstein sounds custom build for Downwards current bleak direction. Opening with the apocalyptic strings and martial drums of ‘Acting With...read on »

Ugandan Methods / Prurient

Dial B For Beauty

8/10 from Ant

This EP sounds pretty much how I imagined a collaboration between Ugandan Methods and Prurient would. By no means a bad thing. Ugandan Methods is of course Ancient Methods and...read on »

Ellis Island Sound

Divisions

8/10 from Clinton

Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass. The first two tracks here are so Phillip Glass the band might as well reside in a New York Loft apartment writing spherical song...read on »

Deft

Voight Kampff

8/10 from Clinton

Two things in by Deft this week: the one I’m writing about and the 'Blue Jasmine' 12" which Kim likes so much it’s going home with her. This one is full ...read on »

David Holmes

'71 - Original Soundtrack

8/10 from Clinton

Electronic artist and film score specialist Holmes scored this soundtrack without having glimpsed a single scene of the feature length picture about a soldier getting lost in ...read on »

Grey Branches

Lower Bounds EP

8/10 from Ant

Grey Branches is a new alias from Belgian producer Yves De Mey (Sandwell District, Opal Tapes, Modal Analysis, Semantica etc.) and showcases the artists vision of techno, both...read on »

The Wolfhounds

Unseen Ripples From A Pebble

8/10 from Clinton

It's nice that after a morning of writing about music purely for contractual reasons (and to receive a much needed wage), I have stumbled across a record that I’d go out...read on »

Witching Waves

Fear Of Falling Down

8/10 from Clinton

More fabbo guitar music for you. I’m reviewing this off the internet as the copies we’ve had in have sold out, and what does that tell you? It tells you it’s...read on »

Acolytes

Acolytes

8/10 from Ant

This is the first I’ve heard from Acolytes, an alias of London artist D Shan. I’m truly lost for words in describing this record. An album which veers schizophreni...read on »

Chihei Hatakeyama and Good Weather For An Airstrike

Falling Sun

8/10 from Laurie

It’s approaching the big X, which means things are getting crazy at Norman Towers - Phil hasn’t stopped to sit down for days, and Ian is muttering about a token at...read on »

Conforce

Machine Conspiracy

8/10 from Laurie

Don’t be afraid - these machines aren’t interested in subduing our species in a virtual world in order to power their kind. They only want to subdue us by getting ...read on »

Featured albums

The Inventors Of Aircraft
Ghost and Tape
Stephen Molyneux
Nelson Riddle
Charles Hayward
Henry Mancini
Grebenstein
Wil Bolton
Chihei Hatakeyama and Good Weather For An Airstrike
Marsen Jules
Pefkin
James Blackshaw
Tarcar
Deas
Afrikan Sciences
Mark Burgess
The Fat White Family
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
D.D Dumbo
Psychic TV
The Thing with Thurston Moore
Night Flights
Ellis Island Sound
Steve Reich / Ensemble Avantgarde
Zeitkratzer
Conforce
Six By Seven
Ugandan Methods / Prurient
The Wolfhounds
Witching Waves
The Action
Motorpsycho
Joanna Gruesome / Perfect Pussy
Electric Eels
Bernard Herrmann
Ennio Morricone
Sleaford Mods
Sunil Sharpe
Tame Impala
The Monochrome Set
Ablaze!