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Weekly Update The City On Film, Dutch Uncles, Jamie Hay, Boris / Asobi Seksu, D.E.A.D., and more...

Good afternoon to you all, our Norman faithful, as we shiver our way into the middle of December buoyed by a smattering of quality new releases, the occasional ace reissue, and of course the promise of a big old feed-up and gift-exchange with our families when we take a hard earned break in a couple of weeks.

Have any of you been taking advantage of our wishlist feature? If so, I hope it’s helping you get the gifts you want this Christmas. Speaking of which, if you want to get Christmas gifts delivered on time we should remind you that the last shipping day has passed for international orders but if you’re getting something sent within the UK now’s your last chance as the cut-off for domestic shipping is December 20. And if you miss that cut-off (or even if you don’t!) you might find our vouchers to be a handy last-minute gift for the record geek in your life.

Also, with it being the silly season and all, we’re still discounting two items from our Top 50 of 2012 by 12% every day until the 21st, and we are also in the process of drip-feeding you one our staff Top 10s each day, so if you’ve got a favourite Norman reviewer you can check out their own personal recommendations from the musical rollercoaster that has been 2012.

The year’s not over yet though, and as always I’ve got a mountain of fresh releases to talk you through. One that’s really intrigued me is Edinburgh-based composer Poppy Ackroyd’s offering on the increasingly classy Denovali imprint, where she finds all manner of ways to make noises with a piano and a violin for a multitracked neoclassical gem that’s over all too quickly. Also of note are Hype William Dean Blunt’s debut solo LP of woozy future-r’n’b weirdness, Athens, Georgia’s Dream Boat have an album of melty psychedelic folk-meets-dreampop loveliness, Brooklyn songstress Heidi Harris’s fourth CD this year of brittle, ethereal neofolk on Reverb Worship, who’ve also sent us some drifty folk-drone from The White Meadows, and two splits from Japanese post-metal chameleons Boris - an LP with Joe Volk and a 7” with Asobi Seksu. We’ve got a mountain of earnest indie rock from Aussie label Hobbledehoy Records too, with LPs by Eleventh He Reaches London, Arrows and The Leap Year, CDs from Owen, Arrows, The City On Film, Blueline Medic, Jamie Hay and Oh Messy Life, and 7”s from Blueline Medic, Arrows/Empire Empire (I Was A Lonely Estate) and Jamie Hay.

Captured Tracks have launched a new offshoot label, Body Double, with a couple of impressive reissues from forgotten early ‘80s post-punkers Blissed Out Fatalists and Half Church, mysterious Dutch producer D.E.A.D. has a mini-LP of playful and unusual “doom-dub” analogue spook-outs, Michel Banabila & Machinefabriek have teamed up for a lively patchwork of glitchy ambient sound art and harsh digital noise, and The North Sea/Digitalis dude Brad Rose has an LP of schizophrenic synth tomfoolery under his Charlatan alter-ego on Type, and “the other Yellow Swan” Gabriel Saloman has his debut solo album on Miasmah. Bathetic Records have an excellent cassette sampler ‘Miracle of Love’ with loads of exclusive tracks for less than a fiver, and other albums have arrived from Dopplereffekt, Luc Ferrari, Three Legged Race, Then Comes Silence, Kendrick Lamar, DJ Stingray, Jessica Kenney & Eyvind Kang, and Vegetarian Cannibals.

As for the singles, Norman Man of the Year Geoff Barrow’s neokraut masters Beak> have a brand new 7” with two brand new tracks of repeato class, everyone’s favourite driftstepper Burial has a brand new 12”, Barn Owl’s Jon Porras has a 12” EP of technoid future-drift as Vallens (DVVLLXNS), Will “Celer” Long has his first release from his Oh, Yoko collaboration with Rie “Miko” Mitsutake with DJ Sprinkles/Terre Thaemlitz reworks, and there’s other singles from Novella, Paradise, Dutch Uncles, Django Django, Girls Names, Schleck ^ Stecker, and both last and least Helen Love with Ricardo Autobahn.


Best records this week

According to our review team at least...

Cherrystones

Red Nails

9/10 from ReviewBot300

I’ve really got my work cut out trying to describe this one! Cherrystones is the alias of a certain Gareth Goddard, and on this album here he’s mixing up a whole s...read on »

Terrence Dixon

Midnight Hours / Two Sides To Every Story

9/10 from Brian

We’ve been selling rather a lot of Terrence Dixon recently but as always, we’re the last to ever see any copies (if at all) as they all get snapped up in mainland ...read on »

Motorpsycho

Blissard - Deluxe Edition

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Before I start out here, I think it’s fair to say that I’m biased when it comes to Motorpsycho, and in particular their output between the years of 1994-&rsqu...read on »

Heathered Pearls

Loyal

9/10 from Ant

I had a sneaky skip through this the other day and thought I’d save it for some late night listening to chill me out so I put it on at 2:00 AM to get in the zone. The hy...read on »

Blue Sabbath Black Cheer/Josh Lay/Wilt

Bleak

9/10 from Brian

The main track on one side of this album is an absolutely stunning monolithic sculpture of judgement day-style noise. I'm assuming it's by Blue Sabbath Black Cheer. Sorry if i...read on »

Cemeteries

The Wilderness

9/10 from Clinton

If you give Fernando Torres 100 shots on goal he might eventually score one of them, similarly let Lefse put out a lot of records and one...might...just might be a winner...an...read on »

Various

Touch. 30 years and counting

9/10 from Brian

These are virtually no labels on this planet that are in my thoughts as much as Touch these days, I have releases in my collection by almost the entire current roster, strange...read on »

Blissed Out Fatalists

Blissed Out Fatalists

9/10 from ReviewBot300

I’ve just had the misfortune of reviewing a series of moderately disheartening records culminating in the abomination of a Christmas novelty single from ‘90s lo-fi...read on »

Poppy Ackroyd

Escapement

9/10 from Mike

Denovali always offer a touch of class when it comes to contemporary post-rock/post-metal/neoclassical types and this offering from Poppy Ackroyd is no exception. A composer f...read on »

Various

Miracle Of Love

9/10 from Phil

Well seeing as though the office tape deck is on the fritz and I’ve got a working tape player at home I thought I’d do this compilation from Bathetic. It’s t...read on »

Dean Blunt

The Narcissist II

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Well, as far as I gather this is a mixtape re-issue and Dean Blunt aka one half of post-dub weirdos Hype Williams’s solo debut. It opens with a lengthy, blurry, crackly ...read on »

Dream Boat

Eclipsing

9/10 from ReviewBot300

My interest in this CD was instantly piqued by the cryptic words in a quote from The Fader adorning a sticker on the cover - “what might happen if Peaking Lights got sic...read on »

Django Django

Life's A Beach

9/10 from Clinton

Wa-hey! These seem to be one of the best of all these ‘new’ bands that have started in 2012. I’m now seemingly familiar with several of their tunes despite n...read on »

Dopplereffekt

Gesamtkunstwerk

9/10 from Ant

When Detroit’s Dopplereffekt emerged in 1995 it was like a bomb went off. Unleashing their unique brand of sterile machine funk electro onto the world, heavily influence...read on »

Luc Ferrari

Presque Rien

9/10 from Ant

I’ve listened to this album twice this week. Last night it formed the soundtrack to my journey from home into and around the city and was quite a surreal experience watc...read on »

BEAK>

Mono / Kenn

9/10 from Clinton

It’s amazing how many exciting releases are around this week, hurting your wallets even more when you should be thinking about your latest bauble purchase. Here are TWO ...read on »

Burial

Truant/ Rough Sleeper

9/10 from Ant

Willie B strikes again! This time with his bid for Christmas number one. Hehehe. Gotta admire the fact that despite his success this lad still chooses to hide from the limelig...read on »

Lockets

Camera Shy

8/10 from Brian

This LP was brandished in front of my startled face a couple of hours by our harried manic boss who breathlessly declared that “I don’t know what the fuck this is....read on »

Magic Touch & Sapphire Slows

Just Wanna Feel

8/10 from Clinton

Magic Touch is Damon Palermo, one part of Mi Ami amongst other things, and here he collaborates with Tokyo based Sapphire Slows on a prime slab of euphoric balearic influenced...read on »

Two People in a Room

Endless Bummer

8/10 from Clinton

An ‘Endless Bummer’ by Two People in a Room could create a frisson of excitement if thought about a certain way, not that this album is likely to soundtrack any af...read on »

Martin Eden

Worker

8/10 from Clinton

I’ve just tried to put this record into the CD player but CD players don’t play records do they? It’s good to know I’ve learnt something over the past ...read on »

Pavlov's Children

Little Douglas

8/10 from Clinton

Here is a wonderful little curio from Tim Burgess’s excellent O Genesis imprint. From listening to the first track I could have sworn that this was a reissue by some lon...read on »

Ian Skelly

Cut From A Star

8/10 from Brian

Well, much like Erland and the Carnival and Skelly's own original priority, The Coral, 'Cut From a Star's' vibe centres on the late ‘60s as a minefield of inspiration. T...read on »

Danny Clay

When the curtains of night are pinned back by the stars

8/10 from Brian

I picked this one as it's wrapped with coarse string and I like string. Probably because I am gradually turning into Garfield, a lazy cynical cartoon cat beloved of millions. ...read on »

Vallens (DVVLLXNS)

Lxtvny

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Well I’m not sure how to pronounce this record’s name, although the opening track is called ‘Litany’...so I suppose it would follow that the artist wou...read on »

Heidi Harris

Dream Fodder

8/10 from Mike

Brooklynite Heidi Harris is back with another CD of her haunted minimal neofolk/weirdpop stylings on Reverb Worship - her fourth in the less than nine months! Phil thinks it&r...read on »

Then Comes Silence

Then Comes Silence

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Here’s an album from a brand new band from Sweden, Then Comes Silence, who formed about a year ago out of the ashes of Sad Day For Puppets and Antennas. Interestingly th...read on »

D.E.A.D.

S.T.I.L.L.D.E.A.D

8/10 from ReviewBot300

This one’s interesting! It’s the latest mini-album from Dutch “doom-dub” practitioner D.E.A.D., a spacious, head-nodding journey through six tracks of ...read on »

Boris / Joe Volk

Split

8/10 from ReviewBot300

It’s the split LP you’ve all been waiting for! This one’s got Jap drone-metal kings (and queen) Boris on one side and a solo effort from Crippled Black Phoen...read on »

The White Meadows

The Silk Line

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Here’s the second super-limited offering on Reverb Worship from London’s The White Meadows, a duo playing a peculiar brand of haunted neofolk-drone using tape loop...read on »

Banabila & Machinefabriek

Banabila & Machinefabriek

8/10 from Mike

I have here a CD by a man whose music I have heard, Machinefabriek aka Rutger Zuydervelt, and a man whose name is not familiar to me at all, Michel Banabila (although further ...read on »

Oh, Yoko

Seashore

8/10 from ReviewBot300

The CD single I have playing on the stereo right now is the debut release from Seashore, which features acoustic guitar, piano and vocals from Rie Mitsutake (who I’m not...read on »

Half Church

Half Church 1980 - 1986

8/10 from ReviewBot300

We’ve got two reissues in from this new Captured Tracks offshoot Body Double this week, I just reviewed the excellent one from Californian post-punkers Blissed Out Fatal...read on »

Charlatan

Isolatarium

8/10 from Mike

Charlatan is the synthy alter-ego of The North Sea guy and Digitalis honcho Brad Rose, and it’s my duty on this crispy December morning to start my day gently with his n...read on »

Girls Names

The New Life EP

8/10 from Clinton

So, it turns out that my memory is not completely shot. About three minutes in, striking me like a pudding at a pantomime was the thought that I’d heard this lot before....read on »

Boris / Asobi Seksu

Split

8/10 from Clinton

Brrrrrrr. Its cold inside, especially in our toilet which must be the coldest place on the entire earth. Here’s a 7” where Boris cover Asobi Seksu and vice versa. ...read on »

Dutch Uncles

Fester

8/10 from Clinton

The press release helpfully mentions a whole host of artists to use as comparison to this Manchester five-piece but not seemingly the ones I know as poindexter and his bespect...read on »

Three Legged Race

Persuasive Barrier

8/10 from Ant

Hair Police made some good records. Are they still around? Robert Beatty from the band has been busy of late creating a ton of super nice record sleeves, some for Spectrum Spo...read on »

Woollen Kits

Four Girls

8/10 from Clinton

Without even looking at the press release, I knew these lot were from Australia. They have that shambling glorious pop edge that many of the Antipodean indie bands of the earl...read on »

Mmoss

Only Children

8/10 from Clinton

On the sleeve a blurred photo of four people in the woods. One of them is ‘toking’ on what could possibly be a ‘joint’. On the inside sleeve the same f...read on »

MNLTH

Ages Sound EP

8/10 from Clinton

It’s chaos here at Norman Towers, our window is leaking, water is spraying everywhere and while all that was going on I’ve just cut my finger and now blood is splu...read on »

Novella

Mary's Gun

8/10 from Clinton

A funny old button of a record. The A side is a fuzzy piece of pop that despite a lot of huff and indeed puff refuses to execute its tune into my ears. I can here a bit of The...read on »

Featured albums

Oh Messy Life
Blueline Medic
Vegetarian Cannibals
Jamie Hay
Arrows
Owen
The City On Film
Jamie Hay
Oh Messy Life
Arrows / Empire Empire
Eleventh He Reaches London
The Leap Year
Arrows
Blueline Medic
Gabriel Saloman
BEAK>
D.E.A.D.
DJ Stingray 313
Oh, Yoko
Paradise
Three Legged Race
Jessika Kenney & Eyvind Kang
Luc Ferrari
Then Comes Silence
The White Meadows
Heidi Harris
Vallens (DVVLLXNS)
Various
Burial
Banabila & Machinefabriek
Charlatan
Dutch Uncles
Boris / Asobi Seksu
Poppy Ackroyd
Schleck ^ Stecker
Dean Blunt
Novella
Dream Boat
Half Church
Blissed Out Fatalists
Boris / Joe Volk
Helen Love And Ricardo Autobahn
Django Django
Kendrick Lamar
Girls Names
Dopplereffekt