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Weekly Update Mugstar, Sensate Focus, Goat, Roseanne Barrr, I O, and more...

Wow! It’s been a stressful month for us here at Norman, and we’ve been grafting like nobody’s business trying to get all your records out in time for the big day. I hope those of you who’ve ordered presents managed to receive them in time! We’ll be operating on a skeleton staff between Christmas and New Year so if we’re slow to respond please bear with us - we’ll be back in full force on January 2 for another year of relentless audio retail. If you, like so many, were too slow and are now in a Christmas gift panic, never fear, you can still make yourself look thoughtful and prepared to the music geek in your life with a Norman Records gift voucher!

Today is our last day of our daily 12% discounts from our Top 50 of 2012, which is probably old news to you by now but if you’ve not checked it out then take a look - they’re all good records! - and we’ve finally finished posting all of our Staff Top 10s, too, in case you want to know what’s been spinning in our respective houses this year.

As you’d expect the release schedule is sparser than usual this week, and for once there’s a clear and obvious winner of our Album of the Week title, which is the stunning and epic new double-LP from Ela Orleans, her most ambitious slab of cobwebbed spook-pop to date and a joy from beginning to end. It’s on the excellent Clan Destine, who’ve also sent us a super-limited Ela Orleans remix LP and some glitchy sampledelica from Curt Crackrach. Highbrow experimental specialists Pan have sent us three new LPs, with arguably the most exciting being Lee Gamble’s future-electronic abstractions, although the new offerings from Sensate Focus and Robin The Fog look pretty interesting too.

Elsewhere, Buck Gooter have an LP of slicing minimal noise rock that’s impressed us, Slim Twig’s new album is a sprawling arranged baroque pop jumble with Owen Pallett in charge of the strings, queer DIY sex-rockers Roseanne Barrr have a gritty and uncompromising debut LP, Russell Hoke & Mark Semmes’s The Warped Wave have a curious LP of lo-fi experimentalism recorded between ‘82-’93, Aidan Baker’s got a new CD of his trademark drones and textures, mysterious Hacker Farm-related project IX Tab has a curious pastoral-psych-glitchtronica CD, psych gods Motorpsycho’s finest couple of albums from the late ‘90s, ‘Trust Us’ and ‘Angels & Daemons At Play’, have both been repressed on vinyl, there’s a very limited ‘Solo Guitar Volume II’ three cassette set in a handmade wooden box, and there’s other new albums from oh/ex/oh, Crooked Fingers, Long Arm, Los Chicos, 40 Winks, DJ Nu-Mark, Kangding Ray, P16.D4, Eyeless In Gaza, John Tilbury, Picore, Diagonal, Eleh, Richard Chartier, I O, Lamont Kohner and Esther Maria.

Oh, and if you’ve been waiting on restocks (which can be slow at this time of year) of any of these popular LPs you’ll be happy to know that they’ve finally turned up just in time for the last UK Christmas post - Aaron Dilloway, Andy Stott, Roberto Cacciapaglia, Pye Corner Audio, Mugstar, X-TG and Goat!

And a quick dip in the singles before I go. Our “Christmas #1” has to be the debut solo effort from Kim Deal, with some wistful Breeders-esque pop on the A and some surprising Beak>y repeato-kraut on the flip. Apart from that there’s some quirky danceable indie rock instrumentals from Crap Crab, not one but three of Fruits de Mer’s EPs, two of old-meets-new psychedelic covers including a tribute to the Beatles’ ‘White Album’, Temple Music and Vespero covering the Hollies and Faust, and my favourite of the three, a four-way ‘League of Psychedelic Gentlemen’ split of originals which includes Nick Nicely and The Bevis Frond. And if those don’t whet your appetite maybe you’re hungry for the new singles from Toy, Animal Youth, Genetix, Scuba, Alt-J, The Jim Jones Revue, Throne or Wayter.

And with that we wish you a marvellous Christmas and New Year (provided the world doesn’t end tonight) we’ll see you in 2013!

Lots of love,
Mikeyanna Jones and the Crystal Normskulls
xo


Best records this week

According to our review team at least...

Ela Orleans

Tumult in Clouds

10/10 from Mike

Here at Norman Towers we’re tireless exponents of Ela Orleans’s dreamy haunty weirdpop so I think it’s fair to say I’m pretty excited about this album ...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 »

Curt Crackrach

Lonely Holiday

9/10 from Mike

Curt Crackrach, aka Nattymari, is a man I don’t know an awful lot about, although I did very much enjoy his side of the ‘80 Minutes of Funk’ split tape he di...read on »

Buck Gooter

Witch Molecules

9/10 from ReviewBot300

This one is interesting. I didn’t know anything about these guys before today except that they play noise rock, so I was expecting some kind of formulaic pig-fucker scre...read on »

Kim Deal

Walking With A Killer / Dirty Hessians

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Following her departure from the reformed Pixies, Kim Deal has made this limited 7” of solo material to coincide with her recent ATP gig, and this is the first record th...read on »

Crap Crab

Crab Riff / Crap Crabenstein's Monster

9/10 from Mike

This is one of those proper old-skool DIY releases where you open the sleeve and all manner of gubbins fall out. There’s a 7” with two songs, a CD with those two a...read on »

Kangding Ray

The Pentaki Slopes

9/10 from Brian

This is totally my kind of techno. Built around a wicked metronome bassline, a warm slamming kick and some woozy panning/trippy ricocheting, this opener of ‘The Pentaki ...read on »

Lee Gamble

Dutch Tvashar Plumes

9/10 from Brian

This record opens up with a right awkward blast of mangled alien electronic shavings that veer from bright to dull in fidelity. It has one foot in glistening ambient pastures ...read on »

Sensate Focus

Deviation Heat-Treated

9/10 from Brian

Shit, with the other techno head probably grappling with several of his mad children right now, fifteen miles away, it’s up to me to get to grips with the new Mark Fell ...read on »

Robin the Fog (Howlround)

The Ghosts Of Bush

9/10 from Brian

Well this is another of those fascinating archive experimental gems, the source material of which has probably laid gathering dust for years because Robin the Fog most likely ...read on »

Eleh

Retreat, Return, Repose

9/10 from Ant

A much needed CD issue of this trilogy, previously only available on vinyl direct from the label and now somewhat collectable. The audio has been remastered especially for the...read on »

Various

The League Of Psychedelic Gentlemen

9/10 from Clinton

Wow. The best of this week’s three Fruits De Mer records was hiding, unreviewed in the stockroom when my eye wandered to its place on the shelf. To my utter surprise I s...read on »

IX Tab

Spindle & The Bregnut Tree

9/10 from Brian

I’ve listened to this dense mass of sparky ideas three times now and I’m still stumped as to what to compare it to. Which means it must be ace if it’s beyond...read on »

Action Beat

The Condition

9/10 from Mike

Well we’re down to the last couple of hours in the office and I’m just rushing off a couple of reviews before we break off for Christmas so I’m going to have...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 »

Roseanne Barrr

Repulsion

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Not to be confused with prime-time-sitcom-legend-cum-political-oddball Roseanne Barr, Roseanne Barrr are a boy-girl bass-and-drums duo of DIY queer punkers from London who I&r...read on »

The Warped Wave

Oooh-ahhh

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Lo-fi Americana weirdo Russell Hoke keeps sending us records with grubby handmade covers and music which I think it’s fair to say divides office opinion. Phil thinks he&...read on »

Sroeng Santi

Pai Na Pai

8/10 from ReviewBot300

We’ve got this limited hand-numbered 7” here in a stitched sleeve from the good people at Paradise Bangkok, and the A side Pai Na Pai is a quality Thai funk rock t...read on »

Throne

Heavy Lies The Crown / The Loser Must Bow

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Ahh, I do like a bit of stoner rock, and here’s a little debut 7” slab of hard-riffing doomy fun from London’s Throne, beautifully packaged with a bonus trac...read on »

Lamont Kohner

Willamette Dubs

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Wil-Ru releases rarely disappoint so I’m pretty intrigued to hear what their latest discovery Lamont Kohner has to offer on this debut album, which comes complete with a...read on »

Slim Twig

A Hound At The Hem

8/10 from Mike

Here’s a pretty weird album, the latest effort from prolific Torontonian oddball Slim Twig and easily his most ambitious to date. He’s enlisted the help of various...read on »

Aidan Baker

Origins & Evolutions

8/10 from Clinton

Subtitled ‘a composition for multiple guitars’ this features the axe talents of Jon Attwood (Yellow6), David Tagg, and, amongst others, someone seemingly calling h...read on »

Temple Music / Vespero

Pegasus / Jennifer

8/10 from Clinton

New single from the phenomenally popular Fruits de Mer label. As usual what we have here are cover versions. On the A side Temple Music do a messy, slightly shambolic take on ...read on »

Various

The White EP

8/10 from Clinton

Fruits de Mer - you’ve really done it now. You wait all year and someone finally releases an EP of songs from ‘The White Album’ - you know the album The Beat...read on »

Ela Orleans

Ela and Thee Prophets

8/10 from Clinton

No more ‘thee’ please, there’s enough already! Other than that minor quibble this is another very strong record in which various artists tackle, re-work and ...read on »

Michael Pollard

Translations 01

8/10 from Brian

Well this record is a challenge to comment about on the drab morning that is apparently the last day of Earth if those pesky old Mayans were as visionary as these internet-clo...read on »

I O

Flamenco Abstractions

8/10 from Clinton

I’m generally happy with anything that makes my life easier. A chair for example. This morning I was moving stock around the stock room, on my feet the whole time. After...read on »

Wayter

Team Spirit / Urugauy

8/10 from Clinton

I’m getting hurled way back into my young adulthood with this breezy little 7”. The A side has a fairly decent stab at the type of sound produced by swathes of pla...read on »

John Tilbury

For Tomasz Sikorski

8/10 from Brian

I’ll make this a short(er) one, it’s a four-headed piano attack by an old respected British avant-garde ivory-smasher and forms a loving tribute to a fellow obscur...read on »

Nick Diamonds

I Am An Attic

8/10 from Clinton

No relation to Neil Diamond(s), this instead is the guy from The Unicorns, whom, it transpires from a glance at my font of all knowledge Wikipedia once played in a band with a...read on »

Rites Wild

Ways Of Being

8/10 from Clinton

The final review before Christmas and we’ve just had our resident comedy customer in store. After forcing Mike to feed him a crisp [This actually happened! - Mike] he we...read on »

Featured albums

oh/ex/oh
Ela Orleans
Curt Crackrach
Eyeless In Gaza
Kim Deal
Picore
Ela Orleans
P16.D4
John Tilbury
Crap Crab
Diagonal
Sensate Focus
Buck Gooter
IX Tab
Roseanne Barrr
Various
Aidan Baker
Various
I O
Various
Esther Maria
Lee Gamble
Wayter
Robin the Fog (Howlround)
Slim Twig
The Warped Wave
Temple Music / Vespero
Richard Chartier
Lamont Kohner
Genetix
Animal Youth
Scuba
Throne
The Jim Jones Revue
Kangding Ray
DJ Nu-Mark
TOY
alt-J
Motorpsycho
40 Winks
Los Chicos
Long Arm
Crooked Fingers
X-TG
Eleh
Roberto Cacciapaglia
Pye Corner Audio
Mugstar
Goat
Andy Stott
Andy Stott
Aaron Dilloway
Motorpsycho