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Weekly Update Why?, Hiss Golden Messenger / Elephant Micah, Ty Segall, Bonnie Prince Billy, Voltigeurs, and more...

Well it’s been another hectic week here at Norman Towers mk. II. Before I get started it’s worth noting that we’ve switched servers this week. This should result in better site performance in the long-term, but these things are rarely without hiccups so if you spot any issues with the site don’t hesitate to let us know!

Also if you’ve been hiding under a rock all week you may have missed the exciting news that Godspeed You! Black Emperor are breaking their decade-long silence with a brand new album next week! Unsurprisingly demand has been red hot, to the point where Constellation have stopped taking preorders on their own site but you can still order it from us for now.

But more about that next week when it comes out I’m sure! We can’t let it distract us from the other hot new platters that have been shaking up the air here in our office this week. Prolific garage rock prodigy Ty Segall is back with his fourth album of the year(!) of near-perfect stoner psych-pop garage fuzz genius, London’s Bo Ningen have an album of absolutely blazing krauty psych rock action which you will love, those psychedelic riff-popsters from down under Tame Impala’s new album is a real feel-good gem too, and backpack hip-hop veterans Why? have a slick new LP of their distinctive twinkly beats and confessional wordplay. Matt Bower and Samantha Davies’s Voltigeurs are back with another album of electrifying noise, ex-Gnac lad Mark Tranmer has a beautiful new LP of cinematic soundscapes, Bardo Pond are the latest heavyweights to contribute to the Latitudes series, and Tom “Charalambides” Carter and Pete “Yellow” Swanson team up to create an LP of fizzing, spacious guitar psych-drone as Sarin Smoke, from which all the proceeds go towards Tom’s recovery fund following his recent bout of severe pneumonia while on tour in Europe.

Mysterious sound art production duo zK have a new album of varied, detailed ambience, The American Dollar have the third in their ambient CD series which heads in a lush melodic soundtracky-sounding direction, the ever consistent Ekoplekz has another LP of his smoky creep-dub, while Celer’s new CD sees him push his boat out into previously uncharted harsh noise territory in places, and there are more weird noises on this split cassette from My Carapace Is Leaking/Astral Social Club! Other albums have also arrived courtesy of the Mountain Goats, Paws, Delphine Dora & Half Asleep, MFH, Unnatural Helpers, Diva, Sweater Girls, Arc In Round, This Many Boyfriends, Telephone Man, Daphni, Chris Cohen and Lorenzo Senni.

As for the shorter releases, Ergo Phizmiz has done a bonkers one-sided 7” where he takes Pet Shop Boys’ ‘80s pop masterpiece ‘It’s A Sin’ into lo-fi “baroque-skronk” territory, Tweak Bird have an EP/mini-album of wacky luminous sludge-pop, Bonnie Prince Billy has modestly made a tribute EP to himself where he covers some of his own classics. There’s a loose and lively split 7” from garage surf goons Thee Cormans and The Pacifics, and there’s a synthtastic split 7” between Nite Jewel and Woo, and other singles have come courtesy of Ike Yard, Willie Burns, Daughter, Echologist, Beth Jeans Houghton, Hiss Golden Messenger/Elephant Micah, Rats on Rafts and Fawn Spots.
Cats always land on my feet.

Soylent Mike and the Norman Greens


Best records this week

According to our review team at least...

DJ Stingray

Imping Is Easy

9/10 from Brian

This is a funky, furious beast of a 12” from old Drexciyan cohort/DJ erm...DJ Stingray. A stingray is a kind of vicious yet playful aquatic beast that tantalises, the...read on »

Quiet Evenings / Former Selves

Split

9/10 from Mike

Ooh, this is a very cool-looking tape. There’s little additional bits inside that makes it look like reel-to-reel spools! It’s a proper classy touch and I alread...read on »

Flying Lotus

Until The Quiet Comes

9/10 from Clinton

You know  - so many things go on these days that I somehow missed Flying Lotus’s last opus ‘Cosmogramma’. Just never got round to it. Shocking isn&rsquo...read on »

Fennesz

Fa 2012

9/10 from Phil

Here’s a rare sight. It’s a Fennesz 12”! I don’t think I’ve seen one of those before. ‘Fa 2012’ is a remix of ‘Fa’ which ...read on »

Legendary Hearts

Music from the Elevator

9/10 from Phil

I like listening to tapes at home (the office tape player is knacked again). I’m always pleasantly surprised that tapes sound ace (I forget...). The tape I’m liste...read on »

Various

Lunar Jams For Tom Carter

9/10 from Phil

You probably heard that Tom Carter aka Charalambides head honcho contracted pneumonia on his recent tour of Europe. He had to cancel the tour and also incurred some hefty medi...read on »

Dam Funk

I Don’t Wanna Be A Star!

9/10 from Li'l Biz

The ever impressive future_funk flag bearer Dam_Funk returns with a taster of what’s to come from his sophomore effort (the follow up to awesome ‘Toeachizown&rsquo...read on »

Liz Christine

Sweet Mellow Cat

9/10 from Phil

Here’s a newie on Flau by Liz Christine. There’s little for me to go on with the press release as it’s basically just a poem and a tracklisting, so I can&rsq...read on »

Expo 70/ Ancient Ocean

Split

9/10 from Phil

I do like a bit of Expo 70. He’s done some top records over the years! This beastie is a split with Ancient Ocean on the Sound Of Cobra/No Fi labels and they did only pr...read on »

Jessica Bailiff

At The Down-Turned Jagged Rim Of The Sky

9/10 from Brian

Well, if there's a label you can trust to be honest in their press releases it is the quite wonderful Kranky, one of the few internationally renowned labels of great stature t...read on »

Aleksi Perala

Mental Union

9/10 from Brian

I've delayed my trip to Wales this morning in order to fully digest this riveting and breathtakingly sculpted double set from the man formerly known as Ovuca, a Finnish man, a...read on »

Beak> / DD/MM/YY

Split EP

9/10 from Mike

Everyone here at Norman Towers was mightily impressed with Man of the Year Geoff Barrow’s BEAK>’s sophomore album a couple of months back, so it’s a tre...read on »

Magic Castles

Magic Castles

9/10 from Nathon

Is it possible to review this without mentioning Anton Newcombe? It seems not - but then it's a decent indicator of where this is coming from.  That said, the BJM link i...read on »

Thee Cormans / The Pacifics

Big Twins Forever / Caveman

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Yeah! Always nice getting a new cut in from Costa Mesa trash-surf madheads Thee Cormans. Their singles consistently rule and the song on their side ‘Big Twins Forever&rs...read on »

Sarin Smoke

Vent

9/10 from Mike

Sarin Smoke is a duo comprising the humans better known to you as Pete “Yellow” Swanson and Tom “Charalambides” Carter, teaming up to create a collecti...read on »

Fawn Spots

Spanish Glass

9/10 from ReviewBot300

York is the new New York, you know. Or so you would think if you believed the hyperbole of platform-toting cultural commentator, self-publicist and occasional musician John Ro...read on »

Bo Ningen

Line The Wall

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Coming at you from London via Japan via outer space, the wailing steam-powered psychedelic juggernaut Bo Ningen has resurfaced for a brand new album of pounding grooves, babbl...read on »

Mark Tranmer

How Scarlet The Leaves

9/10 from Phil

Ooh, a new Mark Tranmer LP! The older folks amongst you may remember him from Gnac and The Montgolfier Brothers from the late ‘90s who were popular back in the day (and ...read on »

Voltigeurs

Possession

9/10 from Ant

I’ve barely had a chance to catch a breath and recover from Voltigeurs flooring ‘Carrion’ full length on Second Layer and then this beast arrives courtesy of...read on »

Willie Burns

The Overlord

9/10 from Ant

Super smart four track EP on The Trilogy Tapes from NYC’s Willie Burns, real name William Thomas Burnett who also records under the pseudonyms, Grackle and Speculator an...read on »

Ike Yard

Remix EP 1

9/10 from Ant

The icing on the Ike Yard and Monoton LP reissue cake comes in the form of this superb remix 12” courtesy of Desire Records and Blackest Ever Black with none other than ...read on »

Ekoplekz

Intrusive Incidentalz Vol 2

9/10 from Ant

I honestly can’t think of an artist right now who’s output is so prolific and yet is consistently of the highest quality. I try to keep up with every Ekoplekz rele...read on »

Lorenzo Senni

Quantum Jelly

9/10 from Ant

90’s trance music and I never really got along. It’s like kryptonite to me. When I hear it I begin to bleed from every orifice. Bearing that in mind when I read th...read on »

Ty Segall

Twins

9/10 from Brian

How can a band be so damn prolific but also responsible for so many consistently great records? Segall is kinda like The Stones to fellow travellers Thee Oh Sees’ Beat...read on »

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

ALLELUJAH! DON'T BEND! ASCEND!

9/10 from Mike

It was a genuine surprise to all of us earlier this week when the mighty Godspeed You! Black Emperor announced the near-instantaneous release of this new album after a full de...read on »

Bardo Pond

Yntra

9/10 from Brian

Hehehe, we used to have a mad picture of Bardo Pond on our wall at the old place which was the cause of much celebration and mirth, I’ve never seen a bunch of less ph...read on »

Tame Impala

Lonerism

9/10 from Phil

I’ve got a massive soft spot for these lads. I was a bit late getting to the first album and I only heard it about a year or so after it came out. I saw loads of folk...read on »

Mark Stewart (featuring Factory Floor)

Stereotype

8/10 from Brian

Weird one this, I never heard Stewart’s latest album or much of his Mafia stuff at all. the guy is a top personality but should stop ligging with useless twats like Pr...read on »

Dark Dark Dark

Who Needs Who

8/10 from Clinton

Melodic started off as a dancey type label for the post-Fourtet brand of backpack knob twiddlers but you could say that these days their roster is pretty much ‘owt. &n...read on »

The Soft Pack (The Muslims)

Strapped

8/10 from Clinton

The Soft Pack were called The Muslims before they had to change their name for one reason or another. Whatever moniker they have traded under, they have always been a force ...read on »

Darren Tate

Calm In A Teacup

8/10 from Clinton

Being a York resident myself, it’s fascinating to learn that this kind of music was coming out of the city in 1986/87, it’s not all Minster peals and Shed 7 you ...read on »

Gary War

New Raytheonport

8/10 from Clinton

Now that Ariel Pink has pretty much screwed things up with that so-so hit and miss last album, it could be former bandmate War’s turn to shine. This, however, is a rei...read on »

Ultraista

Small Talk (Remixes)

8/10 from Clinton

Bloomin’ heck, this is a collab between heavyweights Nigel Godrich (Radiohead producer) and Joey Waronker (late period REM drummer, Beck etc). This is the first taste ...read on »

The Owl Service

Garland Sessions

8/10 from Phil

Clinton always seems to end up with Owl Service CDs to review. I thought he liked folk music but obviously not. I’ll do a brief one for this one as it’s essentiall...read on »

Mars

Live at Irving Plaza

8/10 from Phil

If you ain’t familiar with these guys then here’s a bit of info about ‘em. They’re a seminal New York no wave band, none of ‘em could play instru...read on »

A.R. Kane

The Complete Singles Collection

8/10 from Brian

Like everyone else from the era that sported similar taste in music to me, although I really dug large chunks of '69' by A.R. Kane, I loved 'Suicide Kiss' especially and sat a...read on »

Taken By Trees

Other Worlds

8/10 from Brian

Concretes chanteuse Vicky Bergsman has released an album with Panda Bear in the past that she recorded in an inspired mood following a trip to Pakistan. This time it's the Haw...read on »

Hiss Golden Messenger / Elephant Micah

Hiss Golden Messenger Plays Elephant Micah Plays Hiss Golden Messenger

8/10 from Mike

On this 7” two celebrated American songwriters, M.C. “Hiss Golden Messenger” Taylor and Joe “Elephant Micah” O’Connell, take on each other&...read on »

Why?

Mumps, etc.

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Yoni, Josiah and co finally release their fifth album this week after teasing us with the unpredictable ‘Sod In The Seed’ EP earlier in the year. Here we see them ...read on »

zK

Aethyr Jumpers

8/10 from Mike

I’m struggling to find much information at all about this mysterious CD by zK, the duo of Mark Godwin and Gareth Ormerod whose “approach is based on a singular con...read on »

MFH

1979-85

8/10 from ReviewBot300

In 1979 MFH were formed, in the words of the liner notes, “by Andrew Cox (Maths) and David Elliott (Geography) at Sussex University in November 1979”, they were a ...read on »

Celer

Redness + Perplexity

8/10 from Mike

Celer is one of the most prolific and consistently enjoyable artists putting out records right now, with every one a pretty much guaranteed excursion into gorgeous drifting te...read on »

The American Dollar

Ambient Three

8/10 from ReviewBot300

The American Dollar are back once again with another CD of their lovely unobtrusive melodies, opening here with some smooth epic-sounding synth drones as they launch themselve...read on »

Various

An Okkvlt And Witch House Tribute to Suspiria

8/10 from Mike

This is a compilation where all sorts of weird gothy types (“Okkvlt and Witch House”! Yes, someone is still using the term witch house!) take on Goblin’s tim...read on »

The Mountain Goats

Transcendental Youth

8/10 from ReviewBot300

I’m somewhat on my own in this office as far as my affection for John Darnielle’s Mountain Goats is concerned. I don’t know what it is about him that polaris...read on »

Chris Cohen

Overgrown Path

8/10 from Brian

Cohen is, according to the press release, “the child of a former music business executive and a former Broadway actress”. Nice genes if you can get ‘em. &l...read on »

Daphni

JIAOLONG

8/10 from Brian

There’s something I don’t like in dance music and that’s heavily looped samples of soul singers (bar Pangaea’s Gladys Knight-filching ‘Memories...read on »

The Telephone Man

Anthology

8/10 from Brian

I really, really love a great portion of this CD, The TM were a famous Louisville KY act from the early-mid ‘90s. There was another band from the same area who they m...read on »

Tweak Bird

Undercover Crops

8/10 from Brian

First time for me, not really heard the Tweak Birds [sic] at any great length. They seem to have a female singer but no, they’re just comprised of two brothers but in ...read on »

This Many Boyfriends

This Many Boyfriends

8/10 from Brian

Hmmmm. This is the kind of indie I’d have adored as kid. TMB are apparently from Leeds and do the scratchy tub-thumping jangle pop of old, late ‘80s style, Malco...read on »

My Carapace Is Leaking / Astral Social Club

Split Cassette

8/10 from Phil

Nice packaging this ‘un. It comes in a tasty lino print oversized cardboard box thingy with artwork by Jake Blanchard, which comes as no surprise as Torpress is his la...read on »

Ergo Phizmiz

It's A Sin

8/10 from Phil

Someone else I have a soft spot for...Ergo Phizmiz! I picked up this single and wondered if it was a cover of the classic Pet Shop Boys tune and it was. I was expecting some k...read on »

Arc In Round

Arc In Round

8/10 from Clinton

I’d heard bits and pieces about this lot from various sources and that name caught my eye being a quite obvious Disco Inferno reference. I had, however been useless en...read on »

Daughter

Smother

8/10 from Clinton

I’m launching a one man campaign to cut down on our unneccessary reviews, hence I’ve just tossed the new Bonnie Prince Billy CD in the bin, what is the point of ...read on »

Woo / Nite Jewel

Intensity / P.S.

8/10 from Clinton

A lovely split 7” from Drag City. Nite Jewel has been around a while, polishing a brand of electronic pop that initially wasn’t too far removed from the hypnagog...read on »

Sweater Girls

Sweater Girls Were Here...

8/10 from Clinton

Okay, tweeness overload. This is the type of thing that makes Camera Obscura sound like Sunn O))). It’s full of sparkly jangly guitars, prozac-fuelled female vocals an...read on »

Echologist

Buzz Factory EP

8/10 from Clinton

Coming in on ‘butterscotch angel delight’ coloured vinyl, I’ve already played the whole thing through once at what I now suspect was the wrong speed. I&rsq...read on »

Featured albums

MFH
Celer
Half Asleep & Delphine Dora
Sweater Girls
My Carapace Is Leaking / Astral Social Club
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny
Lorenzo Senni
Hiss Golden Messenger / Elephant Micah
Sarin Smoke
Voltigeurs
The American Dollar
Willie Burns
Mark Tranmer
Ergo Phizmiz
Bo Ningen
Why?
Bonnie Prince Billy
Ty Segall
This Many Boyfriends
Tweak Bird
Woo / Nite Jewel
PAWS
Echologist
The Mountain Goats
Daughter
Ike Yard
Diva
The Telephone Man
Chris Cohen
Unnatural Helpers
Arc In Round
Bardo Pond
Fawn Spots
Rats On Rafts
Daphni
Tame Impala