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Weekly Update

Well I don’t know about you but we’re wading through a disheartening November here at Norman Towers, but what fragile threads remain of our health and sanity have been hard at work listening to everything so that we can tell you what it sounds like, because that’s our job.

If you’re a lawyer or doctor or something then you might be able to afford the beautiful and heartbreakingly-priced Disintegration Loops Box Set by William Basinski, and if your wallet is still feeling a little heavy after that then why not treat yourself to this super deluxe DJ Shadow box. While I’m on the boxes it’s also worth mentioning that Sufjan Stevens has a much more affordable 5CD box of his Songs For Christmas, Volumes 6 - 10 just in case the first five CDs didn’t contain enough seasonal cheer for you.

As for the regular albums, NHK’Koyxen has the second of his classy, accessible ‘Dance Classics’ collections for PAN, US/German synth-post-punkers Horrid Red enlist Clay “Burial Hex” Ruby for a stunningly grandiose and accomplished sophomore album, the prolific Guided By Voices have 19 more indiepop blasts on yet another new album which our Brian reckons is their best since reforming, garage charmers The Babies have their sophomore full-length effort out, Neneh Cherry & The Thing have a victory lap after their disarmingly wonderful collab LP by dishing out a star-studded remix album (in on CD now and hopefully LP next week), there’s an expertly constructed split LP of ambient drift and field recordings from Gareth Hardwick/P Jorgensen, and Charles Vaughan has the third of his spooky annual ‘Haunted Woodland’ CDs on Wayside & Woodland.

Slow-burning kraut/psych/prog heroes Mugstar have another new album already, the RZA has a 2LP ‘The Man With The Iron Fists’ score, Brian Eno’s back on his best form with his gorgeous new ‘LUX’ CD, and indefatigable Liverpool weirdpoppers Clinic have their seventh album of smooth, krauty dreaminess on Domino. Frantic garage scamps Tyvek have a new one out on In The Red, there’s a mini-album from No Spill Blood on O-Rod’s Sargent House imprint, we managed to score a handful of copies of a weird Ty Segall mini-LP originally released on cassette which might all be gone by the time you read this, and ex-Sun City Girl Sir Richard Bishop’s got a weird newie, and Mississippi Records have sent us one some Ethiopian R&B from legend Mahmoud Ahmed as well as the ‘Hasabe’ comp LP.

If you like things gentle, the always-remarkable ambient explorer Bee Mask has a new LP on Spectrum Spools, soundtracky Frenchman Sylvain Chauveau has a heartstring-tugging collection on FatCat, Michael ‘Plinth’ Tanner is joined by some talented friends for some droney neoclassicism as The Cloisters which comes with a sampler CD from Second Language, who have sent us a beautifully packaged CD of beautiful music from Richard Moult, and Whereabouts have sent us some delicate Japanese folk/neoclassical prettiness by Yuiko. Meanwhile Maria Minerva & LA Vampires team up for a whole LP of hazy, housey synthpop, Hello Skinny has an album of likeable and sophisticated percussive dance fun and LA youngster Lionel “Vinyl” Williams mixes dance, dub and indie rock for an album of crisp beats and reverb-soaked melodies. If none of those tickle your fancy, how about these ones from Andrew Bird, The New Dawn, The Fractal Skulls, Kidkanevil & Daisuke Tanabe, Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, Lone Wolf, Indian Handcrafts, El Perro Del Mar, Golden Void, Lower Dens, Omega Male, Oneida, Pop Levi, Ratking, Snowgoose, Ghost And Tape, Dentistry, Crystal Castles, The Sleep Of Reason, Charlie Parr, Blank Realm and Dariush Dolat-Shahi!

If you’re looking for singles, we’ve got three new ones in from the Great Pop Supplement; psych-pop from Violet Woods, new age/kosmische from High Wolf/Kunlun, and lush sunshine psych from Thelightshines. Psychic TV/PTV3 have a Hawkwindtastic new ltd 12”, Four Tet and Sunroof have remixed a couple of To Rococo Rot classics, Aussie post-punkers Total Control have a 12” of synth-heavy cuts and techno remixes, Adult. are back with their first new material in four years in the shape of a 7” of covers, and there’s a bizarre 7” of weird lo-fi pop vignettes from Mole Says Hi. Other bands rocking the short formats this week include Darkstar, Animal Collective, Bjork, Bon Iver, Holy Shit, Clinic, Doldrums, Findlay, Lee Gamble and Crushed Beaks.

If it’s not where it’s supposed to be, it’s probably down the side of the sofa.


Mikey Koresh and the Branch Normidians


Best records this week

According to our review team at least...

Manual

Awash

9/10 from Phil

It’s been a while since the last Manual album. In the meantime Jonas Munk has been keeping himself busy rocking out out some more with Causa Sui (those Pewt’r Se...read on »

Galaxians / Runners

Split

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Oh, nice! I don’t know a lot about this Stargaze label but this mysterious and very limited (only 100 in the world!) 12” has some super-fresh cuts from two t...read on »

Iggy Pop & Zig Zags / Betty Davis

If Im In Luck I Might Get Picked Up

9/10 from Mike

Ha, what a brilliant combination. If you’re not familiar with Betty Davis I recommend you pick up her two recently-reissued LPs as they’re both superb - she play...read on »

Make Up

I Want Some

9/10 from Mike

Oh yeah! I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this baby on vinyl for a while. Of all the bands Ian Svenonius has played in over the years (and to this day they’v...read on »

NHK yx Koyxen

Dance Classics Vol.II

9/10 from Mike

Kouhei Matsunaga’s work under his various aliases (NHK, NHKyx, Internet Magic, Koyxen, NHK’Koyxen...) is often experimental and oblique and to be honest can be ...read on »

Ty Segall

San Francisco Rock Compilation or Food or Weird Beer From Microsoft

9/10 from Mike

This record is very mysterious-looking but what I’ve managed to glean from the press release is that this is a vinyl release of a Ty Segall album originally released o...read on »

Villages

Theories of Ageing

9/10 from ReviewBot300

I’m not familiar with Villages but I have learned that it is the alias of Asheville, NC’s Ross Gentry, and on this LP here he weaves gentle but dense monoliths o...read on »

Gareth Hardwick / P Jorgensen

Split

9/10 from Mike

On this LP highbrow droney sound art types Gareth Hardwick and P Jorgensen bat it out with a side apiece of gorgeous driftiness. On Hardwick’s side we’ve got a 1...read on »

Clinic

Free Reign

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Liverpool’s reliable weirdpoppers Clinic are still chugging away, and here they present their seventh album, where they’ve enlisted Daniel Lopatin to help out wi...read on »

Charles Vaughan

Haunted Woodland Volume 3

9/10 from Phil

The third in the trilogy of CDs by Charles Vaughan is out this week. The previous two were released on Halloween and this one is no exception. It’s also packaged very ...read on »

Richard Moult

Yclypt

9/10 from Phil

Wow. This looks lovely! It comes in a transparent white paper bag and inside said bag is a CD, postcard, a booklet with a poem in and two pretend leaves (made out of material ...read on »

The Cloisters

The Cloisters

9/10 from Phil

I don’t have much info on this puppy but I know it’s a project by Michael ‘Plinth’ Tanner who I’m a bit of a dirty fanboy of. The album also fe...read on »

High Wolf / Kunlun

Stars Priest / The Eternal Return of the Different

9/10 from Mike

Another of these Great Pop Supplement 7”s which have arrived this week is this split between High Wolf and Kunlun. On High Wolf’s side the mysterious many-faced ...read on »

Bee Mask

When We Were Eating Unripe Pears

9/10 from Mike

The mysterious Bee Mask always seems to make people’s ears prick up when he comes on the stereo...this one had Li’l Biz asking what it was within a couple of min...read on »

Dariush Dolat-Shahi

Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar

9/10 from Ant

A Smithsonian Folkways classic has been unearthed to introduce to a new generation. Just when you think every stone has been unturned and every archive obscurity has been re-i...read on »

Mahmoud Ahmed

Mahmoud Ahmed

9/10 from Brian

Apparently, according to our dear departed Dave (he’s not dead though, like I said, no-one has died) Mr. Ahmed is the total Daddy of Ethiopian singers. This eponymous ...read on »

Guided By Voices

The Bears For Lunch

9/10 from Brian

Didn't expect this to actually live up to its glowing press release but it pretty much does. 'The Bears For Lunch' is the magic number three of a well-documented trilogy of ...read on »

Mugstar

Axis

9/10 from Brian

Mike was shocked the other day when I told him I had never seen Mugstar live. That is if you can imagine Mike actually registering anything as horrifying as shock. I think a...read on »

Golden Donna

Golden Donna

9/10 from Brian

Punny name alert but don’t worry, the music on this sublime disc of wax is no joke - this is one of the best things NNF have put their name to in the last couple of y...read on »

Tyvek

On Triple Beams

9/10 from Mike

Tyvek’s last album proper, ‘Nothing Fits’ was my introduction to the band, a sloppy, snotty blast of obnoxious garage punk delivered at breakneck speed, it...read on »

Brian Eno

LUX

9/10 from Brian

As with all Eno's 'Music For...’ series there'll be those that sneer with derision at the supposed nothingness and futility of ambient because they think all music sho...read on »

Horrid Red

Nightly Wreaths

9/10 from ReviewBot300

I’m a great advocate of everything Teenage Panzerkorps/Horrid Red-related...there’s something about their brand of muffled Ameri-Deutsch post-punk that never fai...read on »

Teenage Panzerkorps

Teenage Panzerkorps

9/10 from Mike

This 7" has the best Teenage Panzerkorps song on it, 'Arc de Triomphe'. If you like this band then you need this one. That's all I have to say....read on »

Mad Music, Inc.

Mad Music, Inc.

8/10 from Brian

Stunning sleeve art aside, this enigmatic record stems from the Boston area and is apparently rumoured to be the work of professional and amateur musicians collaborating. It...read on »

Sic Alps / Freakapuss

New Trawgs / Here Today Here Tomorrow

8/10 from Brian

I’m assuming this is the Sic Alps side? It’s a shambling piece of strum-along sixties melodic genius that trumps the majority of the songs on their last album, p...read on »

Kevin Drumm

Relief

8/10 from Phil

I’ve always been a little scared of Kevin Drumm records. When they’ve been played before in the office they’ve always either scared me or done my nut in s...read on »

Bell Gardens

Full Sundown Assembly

8/10 from Clinton

Kenneth Gibson (Furry Things) and Brian McBride (Stars of the Lid) have come together to produce this lovingly executed slab of orchestral pop. First things first, it sounds...read on »

The Soft Moon

Zeros

8/10 from Clinton

Sounding somewhat like an unearthing of lots of Bauhaus and Killing Joke demos, The Soft Moon is actually Oakland resident Luis Vasquez who, from the evidence of this, spend...read on »

Goldendust

Goldendust

8/10 from Clinton

If I hear another drum machine today I’m going to squeal. What we have here initially is something described by Mike as ‘well Schools documentary’. After l...read on »

Talk Normal

Sunshine

8/10 from Clinton

On vinyl that I can only describe as half red and half pink, this is a messy, scratchy take on New York cool by way of post punk. The usual influences are present, Sonic You...read on »

Mind Enterprises

Summer War / Sister

8/10 from Clinton

The back of the sleeve is upside down. Is that intentional? Who knows in this topsy-turvy world of pop music.  I’m also getting into my usual confusion with Itali...read on »

Jon DeRosa

A Wolf in Preacher's Clothes

8/10 from Clinton

Golly gosh, Jon DeRosa has been around a bit whether by making ambient/drone as Aarktika or doing his country thing as Pale Horse and Rider. It amazes me how artists can swa...read on »

Rone

Tohu Bohu

8/10 from Clinton

I’m on a deadline, it’s waaay after three o’clock but we must continue to bring to you our expert analysis. Here goes - it’s gonna be a quickie - thi...read on »

Various

Hasabe

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Here we have a lovingly-compiled collection of R&B from the golden age of Ethiopian music courtesy of the good people at Mississippi. Now I’ll be honest from the o...read on »

Documenta

Drone Pop #2

8/10 from Mike

This LP looks ace! There’s a simple-but-mind-melting yellow and purple design on the sleeve and centre stickers complemented with a purple and yellow swirl vinyl that ...read on »

To Rococo Rot

Remix 12

8/10 from Mike

I’ve grabbed this one off the review pile because I’m still kicking myself for missing out on Kieran Hebden’s remix of Neneh Cherry & The Thing’...read on »

Mole Says Hi

Lily Lavender "Joy Of It" Fusion Confusion

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Here we have a 7” of weird little experimental pop vignettes from Rebecca Digby, aka Mole Says Hi, who constructs weird disjointed lo-fi loops with childish sing-song ...read on »

Charlie Parr

When the Devil Goes Blind

8/10 from Mike

Celebrated guitar and banjo picker Charlie Parr is back with a new LP and it’s a proper pro deal from start to finish here. Eleven beautifully recorded slices of his d...read on »

Hello Skinny

Hello Skinny

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Hello Skinny is the alias of Tom “Percussionist to the Stars” Skinner, who has worked with such illustrious names as Sons Of Kemet,Mulatu Astatke, Matthew Her...read on »

Yuiko

Felicity

8/10 from Phil

In amidst the chaff of the many, many promo CDs we get sent from artists, labels and distros was this little beastie. It’s worth persevering through the piles of endle...read on »

Ghost and Tape

Home

8/10 from Phil

I’m pretty sure I reviewed this chap’s last album but looking on the site there is no review there. That’s officially mental. Or maybe there’s some w...read on »

Adult

Shara Vari / 122 Hours of Fear

8/10 from Phil

Adult. are back! It seems like ages but it’s only been four years! They’ve been busy making a horror film trilogy which I doubt will be showing at your local meg...read on »

Findlay

Your Sister / You Gave Me Grace

8/10 from Phil

Wow, this single started off with a a huge riff that reminded me of Heavy Stereo. I can’t remember the last time I heard anything that reminded me of them. Anyway I do...read on »

Vinyl Williams

Lemniscate

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Lionel “Vinyl” Williams is the latest wonky musician-producer type to emerge from the fertile fields of Los Angeles with this slick and often weird new album on...read on »

Golden Void

Golden Void

8/10 from ReviewBot300

This group, who feature Isaiah Mitchell of Earthless/Mitchell & Manley on vocals and guitar, have apparently been friends since they were at school and on this album her...read on »

Holy Shit

You Made My Dreams Come True

8/10 from ReviewBot300

When I started this review I briefly got this band mixed up with their contemporaries Holy Fuck, causing a brief “this isn’t what I expected at all!” momen...read on »

Sylvain Chauveau

Simple

8/10 from Phil

I can’t believe it’s been ten years since Un Autre December came out. Mind you it’s been 21 years since Nevermind came out and it doesn’t seem like t...read on »

Violet Woods

Raw Love

8/10 from Mike

Great Pop Supplement have been at it again, with yet another three 7”s for us in this week’s review mountain. This one’s from Violet Woods and has a pretty...read on »

Total Control

Total Control

8/10 from Mike

Total Control’s ‘Henge Beat’ LP is one of the finest post-punk albums we’ve had through this office in many a year, and here’s an EP which serv...read on »

Lee Gamble

Diversions 1994-1996

8/10 from Ant

The first time I heard Lee Gamble twisting old Jungle sounds into new and unexpected shapes was when I tuned into Resonance FM to listen to a Dalglish mix and someone had cock...read on »

LA Vampires With Maria Minerva

The Integration

8/10 from ReviewBot300

On this album Maria Minerva cross-pollinates her synthy lo-fi weirdpop with LA Vampires’ distant, sun-bleached house bump for a sultry album of hazy, distant synthpop ...read on »

Darkstar

Timeaway

8/10 from Brian

I’m one of those moaning stuck-in-a-rut buggers that wishes Darkstar had continued experimenting within a dubstep vein as there’s three twelves by them I could n...read on »

Dawn Hunger

Stumbling Room / Billowed Wind

8/10 from Brian

Fucking weird twelve from the one half of Fuck Buttons that didn’t do that ambient album on Mogwai’s label. One side ‘Billowed Wind’ is pretty abstra...read on »

The Babies

Our House On The Hill

8/10 from Clinton

Although most likely consisting of the sweepings off the floor of the ‘Tracker’ bar factory, a Sainsbury’s basics ‘Chocolate Chip and Raisin Bar&rsq...read on »

Snowgoose

Harmony Springs

8/10 from Clinton

Yesterday I was aching...ACHING to just disappear to a little wind-blown bolthole nestling in a quiet corner of the Yorkshire dales, fire crackling away in the corner. IPad,...read on »

Blank Realm

Go Easy

8/10 from Clinton

From Australia but by the Pere Ubu-style noise quirk you may think that they’d emerged from an industrial US city, Cleveland or Detroit for example. On ‘Cleaning...read on »

Thelightshines

Soul To Skin

8/10 from Clinton

It’s not every day you hear the autoharp but here it is, trilling away. Another 7” on the dependable Great Pop Supplement which, if you are a fan of lolloping, ...read on »

Ratking

Wiki93

8/10 from Brian

Curious story about these guys. The lead rapster/public face is called ‘Wiki’ and he’s a handsome young lad of Puerto Rican/Irish descent with a cracking m...read on »

Steve Hauschildt

Sequitur

8/10 from Ant

This is the second solo album for Kranky from Emeralds' Steve Hauschildt following on from the excellent 'Tragedy & Geometry'. From opener 'Interconnected' it's clear we'...read on »

Butterfly Child

No Longer Living In Your Shadow

8/10 from Clinton

Okay, hands up who HASN’T reformed. I can see Mr Morrissey and Mr Marr’s hands go up but...anyone else? There are so many reformations that even an old cynic lik...read on »

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe

Timon Irnok Manta

8/10 from Clinton

It’s a view held by myself that it’s easier to get away with producing music of an experimental bent than to actually construct something with a bit of a tune in i...read on »

Featured albums

High Wolf / Kunlun
Richard Moult
Dentistry
Violet Woods
Thelightshines
The Cloisters
Ghost and Tape
Total Control
Gareth Hardwick / P Jorgensen
Vinyl Williams
The Sleep Of Reason
Bee Mask
Yuiko
Hello Skinny
Charlie Parr
No Spill Blood
Sir Richard Bishop
Mole Says Hi
Ty Segall
Dariush Dolat-Shahi
NHK yx Koyxen
Charles Vaughan
Andrew Bird
Crystal Castles
Snowgoose
Findlay
Golden Void
Omega Male
Pop Levi
Animal Collective
Bon Iver
El Perro Del Mar
Lower Dens
Oneida
Ratking
Björk
Clinic
Clinic
Crushed Beaks
Neneh Cherry & The Thing
Adult
Indian Handcrafts
Guided By Voices
Sylvain Chauveau
Doldrums
The Babies
LA Vampires With Maria Minerva
Tyvek
Scott & Charlene's Wedding
Sufjan Stevens
Psychic TV/ PTV3
Lone Wolf
To Rococo Rot
Darkstar
Kidkanevil & Daisuke Tanabe
DJ Shadow
Horrid Red
Brian Eno
Various
Mugstar
Blank Realm
The RZA
The Fractal Skulls
William Basinski
Mahmoud Ahmed
The New Dawn