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Weekly Update Harmonic 313, Sir Stephen, Baffin Island, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Hercules & Love Affair, and more...

Holy shit it’s almost November already! Where has this year gone? I guess we’ve been too busy listening to records to pay too much attention to the passage of time but it surges inorexably on regardless. On the bright side some of us did finally get the chance to see Goat live in Newcastle last weekend, which was a very memorable gig indeed. If you’ve not got their album yet then you should probably remedy that before you’re ostracised by your peers, although if you want the vinyl then you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks for it to get repressed (again).

Anyway, there’s plenty of sweet new shit for you to wrap your lugholes around as it’s been an impressive week for new music. My personal favourite (but not album of the week because most of the rest of the office hate it) is the triumphant new LP of bounding prog-jazz fusion from Norway’s Elephant9 with Reine Fiske, and other records that I really liked which won’t be AOTW are the LP of blown out stoner fuzz from bass-and-drums duo and sometime The Heads collaborators Big Naturals, Six Organs of Admittance making a welcome return to the acoustic guitar, and Sublime Frequencies’ heart-warming and wonderful ‘Bollywood Steel Guitar’ collection. Oh, in case you were wondering the album of the week is the worthy Pye Corner Audio offering on Ghost Box so don’t get me wrong, I ain’t grumblin’.

There’s also a haunting and tinkly album from ‘79 by The Cults Percussion Ensemble, a group of 11 Scottish schoolgirls featuring a very young Evelyn Glennie, Horseback have an album of warm fuzzy blurred guitar ambience, Cheval Sombre’s got a new long-player of his psychedelic slo-pop, the productive Twinsistermoon from Natural Snow Buildings has a new CD and horror-synth revivalist Umberto has dropped the first of two spooky Halloween releases on Rock Action, with the second still to come on Not Not Fun. If that’s not spooky enough for you, maybe you should give Vatican Shadow’s new LP a try. If I had more time I’d also tell you about the new albums by Neurosis, Gudrun Gut, Non/Boyd Rice, Hercules & Love Affair’s DJ Kicks, Angel Olsen, Strategy, Nico, Plateaus, Punks On Mars, Sir Stephen, ADSR, Dark Horses, Matthew Friedberger, Prins Thomas, BMX Bandits, Stumbleine, Pangaea, Michael Tanner, two from Seas, The Boats, Spires That In The Sunset Rise, The Datsuns, My Cat Is An Alien and there’s even a Christmas album from Tracey Thorn. Oh, and Tortoise’s seminal ‘TNT’ has been reissued on vinyl and there’s a box set of the first five Velvet Underground LPs. Also, if you’re waiting on a copy of Liminanas’ ‘Crystal Anis’, they have been heavily delayed but should be with us within the next week or two.

I’ve barely got any time left to tell you about the singles but there’s an impressive split EP of radio sessions with three songs apiece by HTRK/Tropic of Cancer which we like, and besides that we’ve also got a whole mountain of stuff from Kindness, John Talabot, Bat For Lashes, Lotus Plaza/Nice Weekend, Future Islands, Kelpe, Morgan Zarate ft Stevie Neale, Toe, JMII, The Unified Field, Berghain 06, Wave Machines, Harmonic 313, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Blindness and Baffin Island.

Smokes, let’s go.

Chef Mikewon and the Norm-Tang Clan


Best records this week

According to our review team at least...

Kevin Drumm

Crowded

9/10 from Ant

The latest emission from one of my favourite sound operators comes courtesy of Poland’s increasingly great Bocian label. This fine slab of wax contains two rather splend...read on »

BJ Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa

Goda Nott

9/10 from Ant

BJ Nilsen and Helgi Thorssen go back to business after a brief excursion into nu-kosmische terrain on their ‘Big Shadow Montana’ LP. The story goes that the artist...read on »

Russell Haswell

Factual

9/10 from Ant

When listening to Russell Haswell’s output I’m often given the impression that he primarily creates to fulfill his own personal sonic cravings. I can somehow just ...read on »

The Men

Immaculada

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Given the rate at which they’ve been accumulating plaudits and column inches over the past couple of years for their gnarly post-grungey noise rock dirge-pop, on the bac...read on »

U.S. Girls

GEM

9/10 from Brian

From humble beginnings with the murky ‘60s girl-group-channelling spectre-pop and lo-fi psychedelia/grainy hypnagogic noise of her first couple of records, the lovely Me...read on »

Reines D'Angleterre

Globe Et Dynastie

9/10 from Ant

This one has been knocking around for a short while on CD and didn’t receive the review treatment. As it’s a great record and now available on vinyl I thought I&rs...read on »

Mac DeMarco

2

9/10 from Clinton

Despite the sleeve depicting him as some kind of buffoonishly made up grandson of one of the New York Dolls, I fell very quickly in love with Mac DeMarco’s debut 12&r...read on »

Fieldhead

A Correction

9/10 from Clinton

On the ever dependable Gizeh records, first up it must be said that the packaging is spot on superb, on delicious 180 gram vinyl with download code and when you open it all ...read on »

John Carpenter & Alan Howarth

Halloween II

9/10 from ReviewBot300

This has got to be one of the most exciting developments in the unfolding Death Waltz saga so far - reissues of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth’s scores to his excelle...read on »

John Carpenter

Halloween III: Season Of The Witch

9/10 from ReviewBot300

This has got to be one of the most exciting developments in the unfolding Death Waltz saga so far - reissues of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth’s scores to his excelle...read on »

Oren Ambarchi & Robin Fox

Connected

9/10 from Ant

Oren Ambarchi has released countless records this year, both solo and collaborative works. He appears to be unstoppable at the moment and has unleashed some real gems. Fellow ...read on »

Snowy Red

The Ultimate Edition

9/10 from Brian

Well I was hoping for a Wikipedia entry on this most celebrated of underground Belgian synth-wave artists but there isn't one. Marcel Thiel (aka Micky Mike) was originally t...read on »

Umberto

Night Has A Thousand Screams

9/10 from ReviewBot300

With all the horror soundtrack reissues that everyone’s been buying lately, the influence of the synthy slasher sound of the ‘80s is truly back, and Kansas City&...read on »

Prins Thomas

Prins Thomas 2

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Prins Thomas is back with an album of joyous, playful and irreverent dance music which borrows from house and techno traditions while maintaining a freewheeling spirit all ...read on »

Six Organs of Admittance

Mariakapel

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Ben ‘Six Organs’ Chasny has been a busy boy lately, largely in his plugged in psych-fuzz mode but also in his ultra-trio Rangda with Richard Bishop and Chris Cor...read on »

Tuff Sherm

Pharmacy

9/10 from Ant

Right here we have a most welcome vinyl outing from Tuff Sherm, an alter ego of Australian wonder-kid Dro Carey. This follows a couple of cassette releases under the alias whi...read on »

Bleaching Agent

Part One

9/10 from Ant

This is the debut release on new label Mira which is apparently from the Avian camp so presumably that means that Shifted, MPIA3 or Ventress are behind it but who knows, they ...read on »

Lakker

Torann EP

9/10 from Ant

This is the second outing on Blueprint from Lakker. It’s not difficult to hear why James Ruskin is behind these guys. Some of their sounds do fit in with what’s cu...read on »

Shadows

Where There Is Only Light

9/10 from Ant

Anyone like me that’s been following the output on Avian is in for a real treat here with yet another project from a mystery producer. Kicking straight off with a suprem...read on »

Shifted

Sickness By Means Of Clairvoyance

9/10 from Ant

We’re spoilt with quality techno transmissions from the Shifted / Avian camp this week with a mighty 10” from Bleaching Agent, a 12” from Shadows and a this ...read on »

Big Naturals

Big Naturals

9/10 from Mike

We’ve all had a titter about this band name here in Norman Towers, we’re a smutty-minded lot and who doesn’t like a bit of innuendo? Thankfully Big Natural...read on »

Various

Bollywood Steel Guitar

9/10 from Mike

We had this on in the office yesterday and by the time work was over I’d splashed a hefty wad of my own cash to take one home, so irresistible is this collection. Even...read on »

Elephant9 with Reine Fiske

Atlantis

9/10 from Mike

Elephant9 are probably my favourite jazz-rock fusion band doing the rounds right now. They’re like a free-prog juggernaut, every release more tense and danceable than...read on »

Twinsistermoon

Bogyrealm Vessels

9/10 from Phil

Ooh, a new Twinsistermoon album! In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last while Natural Snow Buildings have been pouring out occasional releases since 1997...read on »

Michael Tanner

Witch Elder

9/10 from Phil

I knew this guy was quite prolific after recordings as Plinth and United Bible Studies but no-one told me he was half of the A Lords. No-one tells me anything anymore! I&rsq...read on »

Savage Pencil

Trip or Squeek's Big Amplifier

9/10 from Phil

I’ve been a big fan of Savage Pencil (or Sav X) for years now. Ever since I clocked those early Blast First record sleeves I’ve been hooked! He’s done artwor...read on »

Pye Corner Audio

Sleep Games

9/10 from Brian

A fresh selection of dilapidated sloth-techno and decaying witching-hour electronica from this new master of home-brewed analogue doom. His wonderful eerie sounds come replete...read on »

Horseback

Impale Golden Horn

9/10 from Mike

These guys are called Horseback, they have a black metal-style logo and the album is called ‘Impale Golden Horn’...this has to be an album of hissy, fuzzy, creak...read on »

Vatican Shadow

Ornamental Walls

9/10 from Ant

The recent splurge of Vatican Shadow vinyl is most welcome as most of the releases either appear on cassettes that vanish immediately or digital downloads. This collection for...read on »

HTRK / Tropic of Cancer

Part Time Punks Radio Sessions

9/10 from Clinton

This split features two sets of recordings from radio sessions but if blindfolded you wouldn’t know that they were anything else but studio recordings. The choice of b...read on »

The Boats

Our Small Ideas 2012 Edition

9/10 from Brian

This album is reportedly a favourite of the Boats boys themselves and to be honest I'm not surprised. As an expanded version of a sought-after CDr which kicked off the Our S...read on »

The Cults Percussion Ensemble

The Cults Percussion Ensemble

9/10 from Mike

Although it sounds somewhat sinister, Cults Percussion Ensemble are in fact named after the Aberdeen suburb of Cults where they were formed by percussion teacher Ron Forbes ...read on »

Spires That In the Sunset Rise

Ancient Patience Wills It Again Part II

9/10 from Brian

But I never heard Part 1 gawdammit!  Seriously, there's some very powerful and rather eerie stuff going on here throughout this second leg from our cult Illinois Fem-ps...read on »

Cut Hands

Black Mamba (The Album)

8/10 from Brian

Professional grimacing noisy bastard "Lovely" Bill Bennett (as me girlfriend likes to call him after he cadged a ciggie off her at Supersonic) brings forth the percussive terr...read on »

Halls

Ark

8/10 from Brian

Another of these youngsters brandishing a form of sad, soulful confessional chamber pop for these strained times, this young south Londoner looking to dust his work with somet...read on »

Lukid

Lonely At The Top

8/10 from Brian

Well I've been struck down with an awful cold this week, always in October I land myself with this unwelcome curse but enough of my saga into of unwellness and cheers to Lukid...read on »

Dakota Suite

Accompanying Music From Other Rooms

8/10 from Brian

Not massively familiar with much Dakota Suite music. Chris Hooson and co. have been a staple feature of the dreaded Norman stockroom since its very inception but because of th...read on »

Majeure

Solar Maximum

8/10 from Brian

Always makes me giggle this music, mainly due to the fact it's really audacious and very slightly preposterous. Cosmic ‘70s disco strut, cruising sci-fi bliss-scapes and...read on »

Paul Banks

Banks

8/10 from Clinton

Main Interpol slightly strange man Paul Banks finally releases his debut album although he seems to have changed his name back from Julian Plenti. What on earth goes on in t...read on »

Blue on Blue / Os Ovni

Vision Imaginary / Holographic Dreams

8/10 from Mike

This split 12" here has two variations on dreamy synthpop on it. On side A Blue On Blue open with a kind of twinkly toytown thing that morphs into a free-churning nightmare of...read on »

September Girls

Green Eyed / Danny Wood

8/10 from Clinton

Ah, September Girls or Gurls. A good song eh? Pretty much the blueprint for every Teenage Fanclub song ever written. This is the band September Girls and they are girls appa...read on »

Sealings

Sealings

8/10 from Clinton

Forgive me if I get a little emotional during this review but I’ve just got a lovely card and cake from the guys as they found out it was my birthday...thanks everyone...read on »

Ital Tek

Nebula Dance

8/10 from Brian

Jeeez, this sounds "well Planet Mu" from the off. Alan Myson opens his "difficult third album" under his iTAL tEK moniker with a chunk of plunging kaleidoscopic tribal grime...read on »

Martin Kuchen

Hellstorm

8/10 from ReviewBot300

This is the new LP from Martin Kuchen, who we in the office have established is a very serious man. You won’t find anything to smile about on this here record, it&rsqu...read on »

Cheval Sombre

Mad Love

8/10 from ReviewBot300

The sad horse himself Cheval Sombre is back with another album of slow psychedelic pop, once again with buddies Sonic Boom and Dean Wareham in tow, among others. This album ...read on »

Sachiko

Bird Songs In A Deep, Hollow Tone

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Japanese drone-queen Sachiko has a very limited CD here from Linney’s ever-prolific Reverb Worship workshop, recorded and mastered by long-time collaborator Rinji Fuku...read on »

Cultural Amnesia

This Is Not Your Shape

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Cultural Amnesia are a post-punk synth-pop band originally active from ‘79-’83, who reformed in 1998 and yet have taken close to 15 years to actually come up wit...read on »

Cam Deas/Chie Mukai/Lena Circus

Cam Deas/Chie Mukai/Lena Circus

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Here are two extended improv jams from the one-off five-piece of post-takoma guitarist Cam Deas, Botuh dancer and improviser Chie Mukai and the Parisian three-piece improv u...read on »

Shinies

Ennui/ Eighteen

8/10 from ReviewBot300

I remember Shinies’ previous single was a total Teenage Fanclub worshipping bit of summer indie pop, so it should be no surprise that we’ve got a similar thing g...read on »

Seas

Seas 2

8/10 from Clinton

Wowee. Right, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. There are two CDs in by Seas this week. This is number two and the newest. This is a long term collaboration between ...read on »

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

Jeremy / My Life Is Wrong

8/10 from Clinton

Rarely has a band risen so far while showing so little ability. It seems they just caught perfectly the wave of My Bloody Valentine, shoegaze retro wannabees and good on the...read on »

Adele

Skyfall

8/10 from Clinton

It’s great to see that in this image obsessed world someone like Adele could be so successful. She is huge. HUGE I tell you. So big it’s just unbelievable. I was...read on »

Luls

Swing Low/ Young

8/10 from Clinton

What’s with all the loud shouting these days? This is actually not a bad tune at all, it’s just that in an attempt to M83 it to the max, they’ve ended up w...read on »

JMII

Nueva York

8/10 from Clinton

I don’t know about you but after recent events I’m very wary about people called Jimmy. No wonder this Jimmy (actually his name is Jamy) has chosen to drop a few...read on »

Neurosis

Honor Found In Decay

8/10 from Mike

Ooh, hello. One of the things that’s found its way onto my review pile this week is Neurosis’s first album in five years! I think you probably already know what...read on »

Dark Horses

Black Music

8/10 from Brian

Clint liked Dark Horses’ last single and so do I on adopting a promo of their album for the night. There's more to them than that dreamy pulsating shoegaze/Spector psy...read on »

Tracey Thorn

Tinsel and Lights

8/10 from Clinton

In my youth it was the big pop stars of the day who released Christmas records and the indie underground who thought it was all a bit naff. The whole thing has turned right ...read on »

Strategy

Strategy

8/10 from Clinton

There are very few people producing dub/kraut/disco/techno/ambience with the consistency of Portland’s Paul Dickow AKA Strategy. All his releases seem to veer off int...read on »

Lotus Plaza / Nice Weekend

Split

8/10 from Clinton

I was a bit disgruntled with Lotus Plaza’s (Mr Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt) last album. I loved the first one but despite the odd killer track it all went a bit...read on »

Harmonic 313

Lion

8/10 from Clinton

New on Warp a quick 10”-er featuring some skippy dubstep from Harmonic 313, weird little ticky noises are interspersed with sub-bass and snatches of vocals for a minimal...read on »

Angel Olsen

Half Way Home

8/10 from Clinton

First coming to attention via appearances with Bonnie Prince Billy, Olsen’s voice is initially disconcerting but by only the second track in I’ve decided that it...read on »

Sensate Focus

2.5

8/10 from Clinton

It always picks my mood up to hear a bit of a Chicago-style house type platter in my pile on a Friday morning. This came from the pen (okay they probably don’t use pen...read on »

Chelsea Wolfe

Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs

8/10 from Brian

Here we get to indulge in an atmosphere-drenched album of dusky American chamber-folk from a woman who is apparently a heavier sounding proposition on her previous recording...read on »

Pangaea

Release

8/10 from Ant

Super smart double pack right here from Kevin McAuly and the ever reliable Hessle Audio imprint who released the artists first 12” back in 2007. Six 12”s later and...read on »

Featured albums

BMX Bandits
Michael Tanner
Spires That In the Sunset Rise
Six Organs of Admittance
Seas
The Boats
Baffin Island
Seas
Blindness
Pangaea
ADSR
Twinsistermoon
Nico
Vatican Shadow
Angel Olsen
Lotus Plaza / Nice Weekend
Strategy
Big Naturals
Bat For Lashes
Pye Corner Audio
Harmonic 313
Tortoise
HTRK / Tropic of Cancer
Matthew Friedberger
John Talabot
Hercules & Love Affair
Tracey Thorn
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
Dark Horses
Cheval Sombre
Prins Thomas
Umberto
Wave Machines
Mark Broom / Birds Two Cage / Patrick Graser
The Cults Percussion Ensemble
Kindness
Neurosis
Elephant9 with Reine Fiske
The Unified Field
Stumbleine
Horseback
NON / Boyd Rice
JMII
Punks On Mars
Plateaus
Sir Stephen
The Velvet Underground
Toe
Gudrun Gut
My Cat Is An Alien
The Datsuns
Morgan Zarate
Kelpe
Future Islands
Various