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Weekly Update Talvihorros, Vladislav Delay, Gongtrain, The xx, Scott Walker, and more...

Brrrrr, we’re stumbling frostily into the depths of winter here at Norman Towers Mk II as I write this latest letter from the musical underground, huddled around our tiny space heaters to stave off the frost. Thankfully, however, you guys are keeping us busy running about the place, finding your records, packing your orders, and of course churning out endless reviews of as many new titles as we can find the time to listen to.

If you haven’t yet checked out our Top 50 Albums of 2012 feature, you might want to take a look at that and see if there’s anything you’ve missed in what has been another bumper year for great records here at Norman. Not only that, but every day from now until December 21 we’ll be knocking 12% off two randomly selected titles from our list for one day only, so if you keep your eyes peeled you might be able to grab that bargain you’ve been waiting for.

It’s been something of a singles-heavy week this week, but that’s not to say that we’ve not had our fair share of great albums through the door, the most immediately obvious of which is the brand new epic from the legendary Scott Walker, with more than an hour of his ominous, claustrophobic minimal darkpop for you to digest. Besides that, sound sculptor Talvihorros follows up his excellent ‘Descent Into Delta’ with a newie for Denovali, Nils Frahm has a lovely sad little mini-album of pieces he wrote nine-fingered on a forced holiday after breaking his thumb, Taylor Deupree has some relaxing driftiness, the excellent new Brian Eno has finally arrived on vinyl (as has the latest from Darren Hayman & The Long Parliament), and if that’s not enough ambience for you then you could always try Celer’s newest offering too.

The treasure hunters at Mississippi have been at it again, with a retrospective of London anarcho-feminist post-punkers Hagar the Womb, some lovely piano playing from Ethiopian nun Tsege Mariam Gebru, and the beautiful compilation ‘Laila Je T’aime’ of field recorded guitar music from the Western Sahel which comes with an A4 colour booklet full of words and pictures, and a 10” comp of intense and austere small label gospel from the ‘60s and ‘70s called ‘Five Minutes To Midnight’. The amazing Dust to Digital have compiled a book and CD of “historical audio” called Pictures of Sound: One Thousand Years of Educed Audio: 980–1980, Pierre Bastien showcases his self-built Meccano orchestra on a CD & DVD for Rephlex, while the reliable folks at Underwater Peoples have sent us some weirdo lo-fi Canterbury-inspired skronkiness from King Cyst and a curious double LP from Ian Drennan. Oneohtrix Point Never’s ‘Rifts’ (three early LPs collected) has an expanded 3CD/5LP reissue, there’s a 2CD introduction to the mighty Mission Of Burma for those who are as yet unconverted, Cairo Gang has a gorgeously packaged LP of his smooth, downbeat Americana, Bark Psychosis’s bona fide classic ‘Hex’ is finally back on vinyl, and there’s other albums from Monoton, Willy Mason, Discoverer, Inez Lightfoot, Vladislav Delay, two from Complicated Universal Cum, Monopoly Child Star Searchers, Madteo, The Greg Foat Group, Autumn Owls and Mushy.

On to the singles, I’ve really been enjoying this live split 7” with some blazing jazz from Terry Edwards’s The #NJE, with Dear Thief providing some grinding minimal rock, there’s some breakneck Pebbles-style garage punk from Danny & the Darleans (feat Dan from the Gories), Guided By Voices take advantage of their recent hot streak with not one but THREE new 7”s, and Fairytale Of New York has received its annual cash-in reissue while indie scamps Shrag have some less seasonal thoughts. Xylitol and Libbe Matz Gang take a side each of unhinged soundtracky oddness on a very limited 7”, there’s a 7” of covers of Secret History of Mankind ethno-classics by the mysterious Gongtrain, and there’s more singles that are also probably great from the likes of Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, MPIA3, FaltyDL, The Computers, Local Natives, The Prodigy, Rachel Zeffira, Prince, Cayucas, King Creosote, Luke Abbott, The xx, Eaux, Cerati & Di Angelo, Peder Mannerfelt, Allo Darlin’ and last but certainly not least there’s a limited CD single from fellow Leodensians The Blanche Hudson Weekend.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s mini-moon.

Mickey Wonka and the Normpa-loompas
xo


Best records this week

According to our review team at least...

X-TG

Desertshore / The Final Report

9/10 from Ant

The Mission Is Terminated. Or so we thought. In 2007 Throbbing Gristle rose from the ashes and reunited to create the brilliant 'Part Two: The Endless Not' and played some bli...read on »

Lichens

Litio Folk

9/10 from Brian

This is a very lovely sounding record from the super-multi-talented ex-90 Day Man who made the recent live shows by Om sound even more stratospheric than ever the other mont...read on »

Legowelt

The Paranormal Soul

9/10 from Ant

Whoa! It doesn’t seem that long since Legowelt’s last album ‘The Teac Life’ but then Danny Wolfers release schedule is pretty restless. This guy must b...read on »

Lau Nau

Valohiukkanen

9/10 from Brian

This record is easily one of the most sublime releases I've had the pleasure of meeting through the long-running Finnish psych folk stable Fonal. What used to be a safe haven ...read on »

Lust For Youth

Growing Seeds

9/10 from Brian

Oh bloody hell here come the goths again. My mate used to come to Leeds just to go goth spotting and believe me, there was a fair amount of the pasty-faced miserablists shuf...read on »

Gongtrain

Secret Museum of Kind Men Volume 1

9/10 from Mike

This is such a confusing release that I’ve actually nearly finished listening to it by the time I’ve figured out what it actually is. What it actually is is the ...read on »

Nils Frahm

Screws

9/10 from Mike

Lately everyone’s favourite contemporary ivory-tinkler Nils Frahm has been in the wars, suffering a broken thumb earlier in the year (hence the ‘Screws’ of...read on »

Various

Laila Je T'aime

9/10 from ReviewBot300

We’ve got a beautifully put together collection of field recordings of guitar music from the Western Sahel here from the wonderful folks at Mississippi Records, accomp...read on »

Hagar The Womb

A Brighter Shade Of Black

9/10 from ReviewBot300

It’s Mississippi Records morning for me today, having just reviewed the marvellous ‘Laila Je T’Aime’ collection of guitar music from the Western Sahe...read on »

Danny & The Darleans

Don't Ask The Question / You're Driving Me Insane

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Here’s a new single of crunchy garage rock fun from Danny and the Darleans, a trio from Detroit led by Danny Kroha (Gories, Demolition Doll Rods) playing some classic &l...read on »

Guided By Voices

White Flag

9/10 from Mike

Bob Pollard’s rejuvenated Guided By Voices have slowly been winning my heart again over the course of the three albums they’ve brought out in the two or three mo...read on »

Scott Walker

Bish Bosch

9/10 from Mike

Experimental pop godfather and widely acknowledged “godlike genius” Scott Walker is back with only his fourth proper solo album since the Walker Brothers disban...read on »

Dear Thief / The NJE

Split

9/10 from Mike

Got a pretty ace split 7” here from The #NJE# (short for Near Jazz Experience) and Dear Thief. The #NJE#, who I’d never heard of before, are a trio of people I ...read on »

Pierre Bastien

Machinations

9/10 from Brian

Never really heard previous sonic endeavours from this chap. He’s a Parisian composer knocking on 60 years old whose first UK-released material was for Rephlex a decade ...read on »

Madteo

Noi No

9/10 from Ant

This is Matteo Ruzzon’s second album following the somewhat desirable debut on Morphine Records. I’ve been looking forward to getting to grips with this one since ...read on »

Rrose

Wedge Of Chastity

9/10 from Ant

Yet more solid wares from Rrose on his own Eaux imprint. If you’re still weeping about the demise of Sandwell District then rest assured this guy is still flying the fla...read on »

Truss

Splot

9/10 from Ant

Tom Russell seems to be gaining a lot of support lately under his MPIA3 guise, having recently been picked up by R&S, but personally I prefer his productions as Truss. Thi...read on »

Bleaching Agent

Part Two

9/10 from Ant

The second Mira 10” from Bleaching Agent is as twisted if not more so than the first. ‘75ml’ has a pretty funky bassline and looped drums over which some men...read on »

SHXCXCHCXSH

rjrjrffrjrj

9/10 from Ant

I just tried typing the artist and title name out for this and cocked it up so I’m not even gonna attempt it again. Apparently this is a Swedish artist but that’s ...read on »

Mission Of Burma

Learn How: The Essential Mission of Burma

9/10 from Brian

Well, let's face it, Mission of Burma were one of the most exciting, incendiary American bands. They straddled the intersection where the raw, chaotic visceral thrill of post-...read on »

Mushy

Breathless

9/10 from Brian

After her recent collaboration with the enigma that is Thierry Muller and his reactivated Ruth project, this Roman beauty surfaces with her own new full length after languishi...read on »

Yuri Lugovskoy

Yuri Lugovskoy

8/10 from Ant

My first encounter with Yuri Lugovskoy’s music was around two and a half years ago through his debut CD (also self-titled) on Moteer. The Ukranian artist’s soph...read on »

Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin

Instrumental Tourist

8/10 from Ant

It was quite an unexpected discovery to find that these two chaps had collaborated on an album, but hey far stranger things have occurred. From the off you very much get the s...read on »

Alex Cobb

Passage to Morning

8/10 from Brian

Yo, this could be a load of old Cobb-lers, being yet another undulating, reverberating pile of old drone but it often has that magic profound quality that gets stuck in your...read on »

Cloudland Canyon

Prophetic Frequencies

8/10 from Brian

It amuses me that in the press release, this duo are accused of being ‘Synth abusing weirdos’. There doesn’t seem to be much occurring in the way of actual...read on »

Diamond Version

EP2

8/10 from Brian

Impact-wise I’m unsure how I would react to ‘Science For A Better Life’ in a club. I love bits by both producers and this is very much the work of both Bye...read on »

The Wind-Up Birds

The Mild Awards

8/10 from Brian

These fellas are one of those passionate feisty homegrown bands you cannot help but be energised by. They're kind of what you'd term new-wave pub-rock doom and channel the ...read on »

Triad God

NXB

8/10 from Clinton

“Imagine Arab Strap if they came from Vietnam rather than Glasgow.” This is what Phil said to me as he passed me this record to review apart from saying he has a...read on »

I Am Ampersand

Grave Goods

8/10 from Clinton

We had a single in recently by I am Ampersand (the new name for the guy who was one half of Fujiya & Miyagi) which flew out at a rate of knots. The single was rather goo...read on »

Minny Pops

Waiting For This To Happen / Glistering

8/10 from Clinton

Having run out of English and American bands to reform we are now looking to Holland and obscure long forgotten Factory outfits to fulfill the quota. It has to be reiterate...read on »

Love Cult

Fingers Crossed

8/10 from Mike

One of my favourite ever bands, Norsk-psych chameleons Motorpsycho, once brought out an album called ‘It’s A Love Cult’ and I have my “fingers crosse...read on »

Plateaus

Plateaus

8/10 from ReviewBot300

As a man who spends more of his life than he would like reviewing records by non-American bands doing their damndest to sound American, it’s interesting to have a reco...read on »

Cairo Gang

The Corner Man

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Here’s the latest from Emmett Kelly’s Cairo Gang, sometime Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy collaborators and practitioners of smooth, shady Americana with tast...read on »

Profligate

Videotape EP

8/10 from ReviewBot300

The great Not Not Fun have this 12” (which the lovely people at the distributor strangely sold to us as an LP) from Profligate, which as I gather from the press relea...read on »

Xylitol / Libbe Matz Gang

Split

8/10 from Mike

Here’s a very limited split 7” (only 100 made!) from two very different artists. On the first side we’ve got Xylitol, doing an ominous, melodic synth numbe...read on »

Memoires d'Automne

Cliche

8/10 from ReviewBot300

This one here is the first vinyl issue of a 1996 self-produced tape by French coldwavers Memoires D’Automne, and as you would expect it’s full of metronomic bea...read on »

King Cyst

Real Pussy

8/10 from Mike

There’s a peculiar backstory behind the oddly-monikered King Cyst, who were, according to the press release, “primarily...an instrumental Doors cover band”...read on »

FaltyDL

Straight & Arrow

8/10 from Mike

Norman’s favourite spacebarphobe FaltyDL is back with a new single, ‘Straight & Arrow’, which is here backed with a remix from his buddy GoldPanda. Ni...read on »

Cayucas

Cayucos / Swimsuit

8/10 from Mike

Aha, some indie pop! This is especially welcome today because I’ve just had a marathon slog reviewing the new Scott Walker album which, whilst great, was pretty intense....read on »

Rachel Zeffira

Here On In

8/10 from Mike

Here’s the new single from Cat’s Eyes’s Rachel Zeffira, and it also features members of TOY and S.C.U.M so we’re talking serious Lahndaaahn scene cre...read on »

Luke Abbott

Object Is A Navigator

8/10 from Brian

Loving this new Luke Abbott 12”, he’s another consummate player in the melodic electronica field that consistently delivers the goods. The title track opens procee...read on »

Peder Mannerfelt

Come Closer

8/10 from Brian

Some deep atmospheric work here from one half of Roll The Dice. I’ve opted to play this EP at 45, it sounds more enjoyable at this speed regardless of whether it’s...read on »

MPIA3

Your Orders

8/10 from Brian

No idea what the fuck is going on here, some dude has given me all the techno. Possibly as I’m the only one who actually attends techno nights bar our Ant who sprinkles ...read on »

Monopoly Child Star Searchers

The Garnet Toucan

8/10 from Clinton

Toucan eh? According to the press release the toucan is a mediator between human and nature. Next time I want to discuss something with a tree I’ll know who to ask.Anywa...read on »

Discoverer

Tunnels

8/10 from Ant

This is the work of Brandon Knocke who’s turned in a cool long player for Digitalis. From start to finish the LP is packed with sleek soulful synth-tronica and late nigh...read on »

Ian Drennan

The Wonderful World

8/10 from Clinton

R&J Foods, your flapjacks are bizarre. I’ve just bought one from the corner shop and I would dare to say it’s full of salt. I’ll probably enjoy it when I...read on »

You Walk Through Walls

Destroyed Places

8/10 from Clinton

Rising out of the ashes of Air Formation, the south coast’s You Walk Through Walls continue Club AC30’s dream pop/shoegaze revolution by sounding like all of the m...read on »

The xx

Angels / Chained

8/10 from Clinton

I desperately want to be irritated by The xx. That second album is just more of the same but that’s fine by me. I’d get more angry if they TV On The Radio’d ...read on »

The Blanche Hudson Weekend

The Deep Thrust EP

8/10 from Clinton

A retro CD single type thing for you from Leeds popsters The Blanche Hudson Weekend. Opener ‘Consume Me’ uses  the bass line from Joy Division’s ‘...read on »

Shrag

Unseasonal Thoughts

8/10 from Clinton

Shrag are a decent quality indie-pop band from Brighton who take influence from the first wave of such outfits such as Shop Assistants and Tallulah Gosh add a touch of Huggy B...read on »

Allo Darlin'

Only Dust Remains

8/10 from Clinton

I still giggle at the band name. The type of utterance an alpha male like my good self would say to a lady at some Hockney exhibition or other. Anyway I should be getting used...read on »

Various

Five Minutes To Midnight

8/10 from Clinton

This is good. It’s a collection of gospel performances from the 1960s and ‘70s culled from old dusty 7” records. Opener ‘This May Be The Last Time&rsqu...read on »

Four Tet (Fourtet)

Jupiters (Happa Remix) / Lion (Jamie XX Remix)

8/10 from Mike

Our lad Keiran ‘FourTet’ Hebden seems to have it all figured out; a lucrative residency slot to keep the moolah rolling in while he casually works on new stuff a...read on »

Talvihorros

And It Was So

8/10 from Brian

We've supported this Londoner since we stocked his first ever hand-assembled CDr way back in the mists of 2008. Ben Chatwin he goes by the name of when in the company of his r...read on »

Taylor Deupree

Faint

8/10 from Brian

I wasn't aware Taylor Deupree had been releasing ambient music for two decades now or that his esteemed 12k imprint has been operational since 1997. His first CD for this burg...read on »

Featured albums

Xylitol / Libbe Matz Gang
Allo Darlin'
Discoverer
Taylor Deupree
Inez Lightfoot
The Blanche Hudson Weekend
Cairo Gang
Monoton
Cerati & Di Angelo
Celer
Madteo
Autumn Owls
Eaux
Shrag
Peder Mannerfelt
Gongtrain
The Greg Foat Group
Mushy
King Creosote
The xx
Cayucas
Luke Abbott
Prince
The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl
Willy Mason
Nils Frahm
Monopoly Child Star Searchers
Talvihorros
MPIA3
Scott Walker
Complicated Universal Cum
Local Natives
Rachel Zeffira
Complicated Universal Cum
The Prodigy
Pierre Bastien
The Computers
Dear Thief / The NJE
Mission Of Burma
Disclosure (featuring Sam Smith)
FaltyDL
Guided By Voices
Vladislav Delay
Guided By Voices
Guided By Voices
Darren Hayman And The Long Parliament
Various
Brian Eno
Ian Drennan
King Cyst
Hagar The Womb
Danny & The Darleans
Tsege Mariam Gebru
Various
Various
Oneohtrix Point Never
Bark Psychosis