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Weekly Update Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory, Koudede, Stafraenn Hakon, The Lemonheads, Edgar Wappenhalter, and more...

Hello again, Normy buddies, it’s that time of week where I write you a letter saying what’s new in our little black hole of audio retail, and as usual there’s some pretty interesting new titles for you to wrap your ears around.

If you’re a fan of Scandi-skronker Mats Gustafsson there’s a double treat for you from Rune Grammofon this week as his 31-piece FIRE! Orchestra have a surprisingly accessible album of hard grooving free expressive big band action as well as a more stripped back collaboration with Canadian sax-man Colin Stetson. The Peoples Temple up their game with a stonking album of lively melodic garage rock’n’roll on HoZac, Ergo Phizmiz has a clever and whimsical new LP of psychedelic songs, Cold Pumas dude The Soft Walls has had his excellent genre-defying cassette pressed on a very limited LP, new Leeds label Cardinal Fuzz have an LP of previously unheard jams by fuzz lords The Heads, indiepop daydreamers Yo La Tengo have a new album out, as has post-rock survivor Stafraenn Hakon, Chora’s Ben Nash has a beautiful album of uplifting psychedelic drones, Wooden Wand is back with another one on Fire Records, and there’s an LP of newly unearthed KPM library fun.

There’s been plenty of weird darkness this week too as Digitalis boss Brad Rose puts his The North Sea alter-ego to bed with an epic and ambitious LP of doom-laden synthscapes, maverick percussionist Ben Bennett have an album of blown out free drum tomfoolery on Experimedia, Acid Mother Kawabata Makoto and Anla Courtis go for a wild psych adventure, Fluid Audio have sent an exquisitely packaged LP of decaying looped analogue sadness by Tape Loop Orchestra, while on Trensmat A.M has an LP of dense lo-fi drone-noise. Not only that but the 1974 cosmic rituals of Moolah’s ‘Woe Ye Demons Possessed’ has got itself a CD pressing and Editions Mego’s reissue offshoot Recollection GRM have pressed an LP of experimental late ‘70s electronic fun by Ivo Malec. Not only that, but there are new albums from Nils Bech, Jacob Morris, I.R.O.K., Liberez, Serafina Steer, New Order, Everything Everything, Girls’s Christopher Owens, Dutch Uncles, Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory, People Get Ready, Villagers, Neud Photo, Theme Park, two from Arthur Doyle, Dan Haywood’s New Hawks, Shiggajon, Hahn Kult, Nite Lite and The Untied Knot. Oh, and Arthur Magazine is back (but now you have to pay for it)!

As for the singles and EPs, there’s a 7” of atmospheric spindly garage weirdness from the excellent Pheromoans, J.R Alexander dispenses of his Message To Bears alias for a solo EP of lush pastoral-neoclassical electro acoustic gorgeousness, Plantagenet 3 have an ace 7” of slow, minimal, otherworldly surf instrumentals, while Thee Cormans have some surf of a much wilder variety, London indie hopefuls Teleman have an interesting debut, Girlseeker mix synthpop with garage fuzz, indie warhorses The Lemonheads are back with a new 7”, and elusive French psych monsters Aqua Nebula Oscillator have a wild new seven of blown out jams. On top of that, there are also new short-play offerings from Koudede, Mgun, Acolytes, Everything Everything, Peace, The Neighbourhood, Emmanuel Holterbach, Heavy Times Edgar Wappenhalter, Michael Price, Sofa Club, Dungeonesse, The Coathangers/Heavy Cream and Gap Dream!

Keep warm!

Captain Mikelet and the MysterNorms


Best records this week

According to our review team at least...

Joanna Gruesome

Do You Really Wanna Know Why Yr Still in Love with Me

9/10 from Mike

Here’s a 7” from Cardiff’s Joanna Gruesome, who have impressed me on a split single or two in the past. I’m enjoying this one too. They’re playin...read on »

Pere Ubu

Lady From Shanghai

9/10 from Brian

One of the strangest and most challenging bands on the international experimental rock/post-punk circuit must be these Cleveland OH oddballs led by the larger-than-life David ...read on »

Hacker Farm

Poundland

9/10 from Brian

I dunno who checked out the Wire spread on this Yeovil collective in the Scott Walker issue but I have been scouring the net ever since, all over the Festive period, attemptin...read on »

Ben Nash

The Mineral Victim

9/10 from ReviewBot300

After a lengthy silence, Chora’s Ben Nash came back recently with an album made entirely on his computer, and now here’s another one which seems to have been made ...read on »

Tape Loop Orchestra

In A Lonely Place

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Fluid Audio always go to great lengths to ensure their vinyl packages are as lush and deluxe as possible and this one is no exception, coming in a thick card gatefold sleeve w...read on »

Plantagenet 3

The Darkening Green

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Ah, this is nice. I’ve just spent the past few hours reviewing difficult dark ambient and noise records so it’s a welcome relief to be listening to a record with e...read on »

The Heads

Inner Space Broadcasts Vol.1 Part 1

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Still in its infancy, Cardinal Fuzz is a Leeds-based label doling out absurdly limited psych platters by sought-after names, and here finally is their first from the band who ...read on »

J.R Alexander

Moments EP

9/10 from Mike

J.R Alexander often goes by the name Message To Bears, but on this new EP for Sound In Silence he’s chosen to use his real name, although much of the music contained her...read on »

Ivo Malec

Triola ou Symphonie pour moi-meme

9/10 from Brian

I cannot seem to get any normal records these days, largely because a lot of what we sell completely pisses off L’il Biz, baffles Mike or scares the bejesus out of our C...read on »

Aqua Nebula Oscillator

Om Na Mio / Freak Out

9/10 from Mike

French psych madheads Aqua Nebula Generator have a new 7” out this week with two rocking jams at 33rpm. The first is ‘Om Na Mio’, recorded in 2004, which is ...read on »

Fire! Orchestra

Exit!

9/10 from Mike

Mats Gustafsson has been a heavy hitter in the international skronk market for years now, with his wild and expressive free-honking style admired by musos the world over, but ...read on »

The Peoples Temple

More For The Masses

9/10 from Clinton

Sounding not unlike a Rolling Stones who have grown up solely on The White Stripes and Beck, the opening title track here blasts in with a guttural scream, riffs churn effecti...read on »

Jeff Keen

Noise Art

9/10 from Ant

Hats off to the good people at Trunk for unearthing these archive recordings from maverick avant-garde UK film-maker Jeff Keen as they really deserve to reach a wider audience...read on »

Thee Cormans

Mingo

9/10 from Mike

I like this band! I’m glad they put out so many records. This one’s on Total Punk and guess what? It’s got two cracking cuts of lo-fi reverb-drenched surf ro...read on »

Silver Pyre

AeXE

9/10 from Brian

You know, we got this album pushed at us with the legendary comment "Think The Fall meets Autechre". Even the phrase had me shaking my head in disbelief. That sounds fucking a...read on »

Heavy Times

I'm Single

9/10 from Mike

We’ve had a couple of these guys’ records in before from HoZac but I’ve never found time to check them out so this is my first exposure to Chicago’s He...read on »

Ben Bennett

Spoilage

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Ah, the joys of working in audio retail mean that today I get to start my review session with this platter of confrontational and mostly percussive free-clattering on Experime...read on »

The North Sea

Grandeur & Weakness

8/10 from ReviewBot300

On the back of the sleeve of this record it says “The North Sea is Brad Rose. R.I.P.”, which got me worried for a brief moment that the Digitalis honcho and prolif...read on »

Emmanuel Holterbach

Léonore

8/10 from ReviewBot300

According to the press release this 7” sees Emmanuel Holterbach, best known for his field recordings and work on the Eliane Radigue archives, “reinterpreting a cla...read on »

Girlseeker

Lonely Hours

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Girlseeker are a trio featuring two synthesizists and singer/guitarist Alexander Fnug Olsen, and this is a charming little nugget of lo-fi garage pop which as you would expect...read on »

New York Trouble / Electric Progression

Unreleased Recordings From The KPM Vaults

8/10 from Mike

Here’s a treat for all you library music hounds - two newly-discovered collections of previously unreleased music from the KPM archives totalling 20 tracks of smooth inc...read on »

Teleman

Cristina

8/10 from Mike

The latest London indie popsters to emerge from the scrum of hopefuls is Teleman, a guitar, drum and synth trio who have for this single crafted two nuggets of simple but clev...read on »

Stafraenn Hakon

Prammi

8/10 from ReviewBot300

The latest from the Norman Records where-are-they-now files is this brand new offering from Icelandic post-rock survivor Stafraenn Hakon (real name Olafur Josephsson), a ...read on »

Kawabata Makoto & Anla Courtis

Live At Namba Bears

8/10 from Brian

This record is on astonishing coloured vinyl, like some yellow sickness splatter yawn design. We have an old boy comes in a few times a week to spend the DSSS’s (or what...read on »

The Pheromoans

Art Mist

8/10 from Mike

Pheromoans really seem to have been upping their game lately, with their recent ‘Does This Guy Stack Up’ LP being their most rounded and enjoyable album yet, so I&...read on »

A.M.

Black Night Burning

8/10 from Mike

This very limited LP on Trensmat is from A.M, aka New Zealander Antony Milton, who has constructed seven cacophonous passages of hypnotic dark ambient noise with guitar, effec...read on »

Yo La Tengo

Fade

8/10 from Clinton

I was massively MASSIVELY into Yo La Tengo for many, many, years. Pretty much from ‘New Wave Hot Dogs’ through to ‘I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One’...read on »

Serafina Steer

The Moths Are Real

8/10 from Clinton

This album has an opening track so good that everyone might as well pack up and go home when it’s finished. It opens with delicate harp and lovely warm bass. The voice e...read on »

Colin Stetson & Mats Gustafsson

Stones

8/10 from ReviewBot300

When it comes to free jazz/fusion sax honkers, there are two names which seem to keep cropping up, but aside from Brotzmann and Edwards there are other uniquely expressive bra...read on »

Mil Mascaras

Fuzz

8/10 from Clinton

From what I can gather this is/was a French all women band from the turn of the 2000s (was it really so long ago?). Presumably this is some kind of reissue thing and as such s...read on »

Beat Hotel (featuring Jim Shepherd)

Best of Our Years / The Fire

8/10 from Clinton

It says ‘featuring Jim Shepherd’ all over it but I didn’t know who Jim Shepherd was. Turns out he was the lead singer in the Jasmine Minks. It also features ...read on »

Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory

Elements Of Light

8/10 from Clinton

This is described on the press release as a symphony for electronics, percussion and bell carillon, a three-tonne instrument comprising 50 bronze bells. And certainly from the...read on »

Michael Price

A Stillness

8/10 from Clinton

This is a four track EP from composer Michael Price who from the sounds of this works within the parameters of a very ‘nice’ take on neoclassical composition. Util...read on »

Tod Dockstader

Electronic Vol. 2

8/10 from Clinton

This is the long awaited next installment to the original ‘Electronic Vol1’ as written about expertly by Ant here. For the uninitiated what we have are 23 short pi...read on »

Ergo Phizmiz

Eleven Songs

8/10 from Clinton

Phil had to wake me, dribbling and drooling from packing the records in order to “persuade” me into reviewing this. “Remember,” he said in a calm voice...read on »

Featured albums

MGUN
Moolah
A.M.
Arthur Doyle
Theme Park
Arthur Doyle
Dan Haywoods New Hawks
Hahn Kult
Shiggajon
Sofa Club
Ivo Malec
The Untied Knot
Tape Loop Orchestra
Arthur Magazine
Thee Cormans
Neud Photo
Ben Bennett
Nite Lite
The North Sea
Aqua Nebula Oscillator
Liberez
The Pheromoans
Plantagenet 3
Dungeonesse
Gap Dream
Acolytes
The Coathangers / Heavy Cream
Emmanuel Holterbach
Edgar Wappenhalter
Girlseeker
New York Trouble / Electric Progression
I.R.O.K.
Stafraenn Hakon
J.R Alexander
Fire! Orchestra
Koudede
Colin Stetson & Mats Gustafsson
Nils Bech
Everything Everything
The Neighbourhood
Yo La Tengo
New Order
Christopher Owens
Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory
Villagers
Peace
Everything Everything
Dutch Uncles
People Get Ready
Wooden Wand
Ben Nash
Kawabata Makoto & Anla Courtis
Michael Price
Teleman
The Heads
Serafina Steer
Ergo Phizmiz
Jacob Morris
The Peoples Temple
Heavy Times
The Lemonheads
The Soft Walls