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Weekly Update Land Observations, Fawn Spots / Cum Stain, The Declining Winter, Seasfire, Ryan Teague, and more...

It’s mid-February and we’ve finally experienced the first proper sunlight of the year in the midst of a week which has seen us flooded with particularly exciting releases, and we’ve received the delightful shock of having been nominated by Music Week Awards for best independent record store. It’s true what they say, it really is great just to be nominated. Anyway, now that the sun is back behind a cloud and we’re once again freezing our tits off I’ve managed to calm down long enough to sit down and take my usual weekly stroll through all our fine new records, and as I said before this week’s batch really are fine, in fact at the time of writing I’m still torn over which record should be awarded Album of the Week. Enough jabbering though, I’ll run you through them now.

The excellent Thought Forms have a new album of their monolithic doom-drone/downbeat indie hybrid, Parquet Courts’ mindblowing debut LP of infectious slacker post-punk came and went in a flash but we’ll have more of those late-March so don’t despair, Soul Jazz have the second of their incredible ‘Deutsche Elektronische Musik’ compilations full of seminal kraut masterpieces from ‘71-’83, Digitalis have reissued Leven Signs’ bonkers ‘85 experimental post-punk obscurity ‘Hemp Is Here’ and it still sounds amazing, Cankun has an intriguing album of warm and danceable loopedelia, Keb Darge & Cut Chemist’s brilliant crate-digging mix of early rockabilly and jump blues has a 2LP pressing on BBE, and Phil reckons Prurient’s new album of ominous ambience and harsh noise is his best yet! Mogwai’s soundtrack to French zombie series ‘Les Revenants’ is finally upon us, as is the long-awaited album from Thom Yorke and Flea’s latest supergroup Atoms For Peace, and the debut from hyped up indie popsters Palma Violets, and Smiths legend Johnny Marr’s solo album too! A veritable flood of things you’ve been wanting to hear!

That’s not all I’m excited about though. Bad Guys have an LP of whacked-out fast-paced stoner riffing man rock that’s all kinds of fun, and while you’re getting high you might as well pick up the reissue of Dead Skeletons’ modern hypno-rock classic ‘Dead Magick’ and Rocket’s handy one-CD edition of both Gnod’s monolithic ‘Chaudelande’ LPs. Over in Indierocksville, Don Caballero have some kind of new/old thing that I’ve not had time to properly examine yet, I think it’s a live one but whatever it is, it’s a Don Cab album you’ve not heard yet, also Buke & Gase’s new album is an impressive swirl of hard to pigeonhole progressive pop, Golden Grrrls have a dangerously catchy debut LP of NeoC86 shamblepop, Menomena’s ‘Moms’ has finally made it to the UK on vinyl, and Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged has been re-waxed to boot.

Those of a more serious disposition might be tempted by the fourth LP from elusive braindancers Photodementia, the tape from ambient heavyweights Celer & Hakobune, the repress of the Silver Apples’ ‘The Garden’ on Enraptured, the soundtracky avant-garde wonder of Jimi Tenor’s Soft Focus trio, Ben Fleury-Steiner’s CD of delicate, haunting ambience, Karen Gwyer’s otherworldly synth explorations, the two new offerings from ambient techno mainstay Bvdub, a CD of carefully arranged Balkan-tinged neofolk instrumentals from Directorsound, or the most recent albums from classy neoclassicists Ryan Teague and Keith Kenniff and Snow Palms which are finally here on vinyl from Village Green. If none of that floats your boat there’s always these albums I didn’t have time to describe from Keaton Henson, John Foxx and The Maths, Orlandivo, Savaging Spires, Pearl Necklace, Doldrums, Sally Shapiro, Benjamin Damage, Marika Hackman, The Invisible, Oh No, Talk Normal, an 8x7” edition of J Dilla’s ‘Donuts’, Maxmillion Dunbar, Fawn Spots/Cum Stain, Autre Ne Veut, Woodpigeon, Dinos Chapman, Lost Animal, Soosh, Loch Lomond, Ed Harcourt, Theme Park, Benjamin Shaw, Voigt & Voigt, Heaven’s Jail Band, Femminelli, Rainbow Valley/Wind In Willows, Darwin Deez and Tresors. See, loads!

There’s some less substantial offerings for those of you with shorter attention spans too. The Kramford Look have a superb 10” of playful vintage-sounding soundtracky instrumentals, Idiot Glee has an accomplished 12” EP of his minimal synth-soul-pop, Bitchin Bajas have a stunning near-40-minute 12” with two lengthy pulsating synthkraut bliss-outs, and French synth-house wizard Kavinsky (notably featured on the ‘Drive’ soundtrack) primes us for his long-overdue debut LP with the jaw-dropping synth heroics of ‘Protovision’ and some strong remixes, and there’s a Silver Apples 7” with a brand-fudging-new song performed live, Liverpool’s Iron Witch have an entertaining 7” of stoner sludge metal, and fans of early experimental electronics will be excited about the 10” on Trunk with rare recordings by both Daphne Oram & Tom Dissevelt. Apart from that, observe the offerings from Keaton Henson, Libythth, Sumsun, Land Observations, Jagwar Ma, Seasfire, MO, Local Natives, The Declining Winter, Powell, Northern Portrait, Vondelpark, Nick Hoppner/Deadbeat, Collateral and Shifted!

I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.

The Mike from N.O.R.M.A.N.


Best records this week

According to our review team at least...

Parquet Courts

Light Up Gold

10/10 from Mike

I’m convinced this lot have impressed me before somewhere but this seems to be the first of their records we’ve stocked so who knows where I previously encountered...read on »

Ghostwriter

Dimensions

9/10 from Phil

Yo Yo Yo! I was most looking forward to this 7”. We got emailed about it, I got all excited, I got distracted by something shiny and then forgot about it, today it turns...read on »

Amor De Dias

The House at Sea

9/10 from Clinton

I’ve pulled back the blinds, the sun is streaming through and there is just the faintest glimpse that winter may be fading into a glorious spring. If that event does hap...read on »

Inc.

No World

9/10 from Clinton

One of Boomkat’s six albums of the week no less (it actually may be easier just to say which albums aren’t their album of the week) though it’s easy to see w...read on »

Apache Dropout

Magnetic Heads

9/10 from ReviewBot300

This is a lot of fun! What we have here isn’t exactly a “new” Apache Dropout album, but a rummage through their early self-released tapes, made between 2008 ...read on »

Mueran Humanos

El Circulo

9/10 from Mike

This latest one from Vanity Case comes from Berlin-based Argentinian couple Mueran Humanos, who on ‘El Circulo’ mix a tribalistic mechanised stomp with hypnotic sl...read on »

Bad Guys

Bad Guys

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Nice! I’d not heard this lot before but the sun just came out and Leeds is experiencing its first meaningful warmth in about six months and this is just the kind of adre...read on »

Cankun

Culture Of Pink

9/10 from Mike

The good records all seem to come in waves. Some weeks it’s a disheartening trudge through a reviews pile of mostly chaff, but then there’s weeks like these where ...read on »

Various

Keb Darge and Cut Chemist present Lost and Found: Rockabilly and Jump Blues

9/10 from Mike

This has been a week laden with treats and this double LP of classic rockabilly from A-list crate diggers Keb Darge and Cut Chemist is the one that’s been making my day ...read on »

Bitchin Bajas

Krausened EP

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Cosmic explorers Bitchin Bajas, the other band of CAVE’s Cooper Crain and Mahjongg’s Dan Quinlivan, are back with a lengthy new 12” EP containing two side-lo...read on »

Leven Signs

Hemp Is Here

9/10 from Mike

This album originally appeared (and quickly sold out) all the way back in 1985, a shining example of out-there futuristic new wave experimentalism which was quickly forgotten ...read on »

Karen Gwyer

Needs Continuum

9/10 from Phil

I’m so tired today I misread the press release of this. It says she “makes slow-burning and sexy ‘bath house’” and I read that as bath noises... ...read on »

Prurient

Through The Window

9/10 from Phil

The gloved wonder Prurient has been busy impressing everyone everywhere lately with his Cold Cave and Vatican Shadow projects. I remember years ago his earlier records used to...read on »

Various

Deutsche Elektronische Musik 2; Experimental German Rock and Electronic Musik 1971

9/10 from Mike

Sadly I missed the boat on the first of these awesome kraut comps on Soul Jazz, which is now long gone, but it only takes the most cursory glance at the tracklist to tell I&rs...read on »

Thought Forms

Ghost Mountain

9/10 from Ian

‘Ghost Mountain’ is a superbly heady mix of full on doom rock drone and effects laden MBV style indie rock, on first listen I’m blown away by the ease of tra...read on »

Powell

Untitled

9/10 from Ant

Powell makes a welcome return, having caused a stir with a couple of very well received 12"s for his Diagonal label. This untitled 12" is the second release for the fledgling ...read on »

Powell

Body Music EP

9/10 from Ant

Powell follow up their well received debut 12" for Diagonal with 5 track EP 'Body Music'.  The title track is an upbeat post punker with woody, slightly tr...read on »

Hair Police

Mercurial Rites

9/10 from Ant

Shit it's been like five years or something since these guys unleashed the beast that was and is 'Certainty Of Swarms'. They've been keeping themselves busy in the meantime th...read on »

Buke and Gase

General Dome

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Here’s the second album from Pitchfork-lauded experimental indiepop duo Buke & Gase, and a slick and confident effort it is too. Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez whip up ...read on »

Kavinsky

Protovision EP

9/10 from Mike

By never releasing an album, French synth-house genius Kavinsky appears to have passed under boss man Phil’s radar, and I’ve had to retrieve this one from the stoc...read on »

Atoms For Peace

Amok

9/10 from Mike

Here’s the debut album from the new supergroup on the block, Atoms For Peace, featuring in their ranks Radiohead Thom Yorke, Chili Pepper and Big Lebowski star Flea, pro...read on »

Johnny Marr

Upstarts

8/10 from Clinton

Sometimes you just have to sit back, relax and admit that you are good at one particular thing. For me: eating cake. But after a post Smiths career of veering this way and tha...read on »

Girls Names

The New Life

8/10 from Clinton

I seem to have reviewed every Girls Names record to date. Every time the words ‘Echo’ and ‘The Bunnymen’ are 100% guaranteed to feature somewhere withi...read on »

The Wolfhounds

Cheer Up

8/10 from Clinton

Oh my days! For every 1,000,000,000,000 bands who reform there will be one or two who get me off my chaise longue to see what they are up to. First up, The Wolfhounds were a s...read on »

The Inventors Of Aircraft

Where The Light Stops

8/10 from Clinton

Comes in two versions. For £33 or so you get the super deluxe insanely packaged version, comes in a hand sewn, 5.5″ x 14″ folding wallet type sleeve…f...read on »

Lusine

The Waiting Room

8/10 from Clinton

The opening track here from Seattle-based producer Lusine stuns. It starts with a tight Neu influenced drum beat with jittery synths, pumping bass and fizzy keyboards. It boun...read on »

Innercity

A Lion Baptism

8/10 from Mike

It’s taken me a few minutes to decipher the cryptic hand-printed artwork and figure out that this is actually the newest album from the prolific Innercity, this time app...read on »

Idiot Glee

Life without Jazz

8/10 from ReviewBot300

I saw this guy a couple of years ago with the Black Lips and Carnivores (if memory serves me correctly) when his first album came out and was pretty impressed, he does a kind ...read on »

Iron Witch

Hangover Suicide

8/10 from Mike

Got a 7” of sludgy stoner post-blues doom metal here from Iron Witch. As far as I can tell these lads are from Liverpool and recorded this at Bradford’s legendary ...read on »

Ben Fleury-Steiner

Clearings

8/10 from Mike

I’ve had a big pile of almost entirely brilliant records to review today and I’m getting somewhat euphoric about it all, perhaps I’m just in a good mood and ...read on »

Soft Focus

Soft Focus

8/10 from ReviewBot300

“This record is for the hardcore avant garde fans”, exclaims the press release for this record, seemingly inviting those with a less-than-hardcore interest in the ...read on »

Golden Grrrls

Golden Grrrls

8/10 from Mike

After a couple of singles and a tape, shamblepoppers Golden Grrrls finally have a full-length LP ready for public consumption, and an infectious little concoction it is too. T...read on »

Benjamin Shaw

Summer in the Box Room

8/10 from Ian

Glass Reservoir have released this latest (Ltd. to 50!) EP by minimalist composer Benjamin Shaw, Summer In The Box Room is a wonderful collection of dark ambience that at firs...read on »

Mogwai

Les Revenants Soundtrack

8/10 from Ian

Mogwai have been hard working boys recently, with the sounds of ‘Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will’ still ringing in our ears they’ve come back with this ...read on »

Beach Fossils

Clash The Truth

8/10 from Clinton

I get all the beach bands mixed up you know; Fossil Boys, Dirty House. It turns out that I remember these for their Field Mice circa ‘Emma’s House’ 12”...read on »

Jagwar Ma

The Throw

8/10 from Clinton

The attempts to turn Animal Collective/Panda Bear’s euphoric brand of rave like psychedelia into something approaching chart friendly (circa 1991 maybe) continues unabat...read on »

bvdub

At Night This City Becomes The Sea

8/10 from Clinton

Another day, another Bvdub album. Now this guy is nothing if not prolific. I have enjoyed several of his past efforts, ‘The First Day’ especially has the ability t...read on »

Directorsound

I Hunt Alone

8/10 from Clinton

Sufferers from aulophobia need to be aware that there is a lot of flute work in the opening tracks to this album. Likewise if you also have fear of accordions and carefully pl...read on »

Vondelpark

Dracula / Closer

8/10 from Clinton

My memory, at the best of times, resembles a sieve. Phil, despite having a million things running through his brain, recalls that I liked the previous 12” from Vondelpar...read on »

The Kramford Look

Bip Bip Bip?

8/10 from Ian

A fun little 10” from The Kramford Look on the Wonderful Sound label which is steeped in ‘70s TV theme easy listening jazz, I’m normally put off by the amoun...read on »

Mark Kozelek

Like Rats

8/10 from Clinton

Everyones favorite mopey guitar plucker Mark “I’m a hit with the ladies because of my sad, sad songs and deep brown voice” Kozelek returns with another of hi...read on »

Maxmillion Dunbar

House of Woo

8/10 from Ant

This chap runs the Future Times label and has popped up on L.I.E.S and Ramp Recordings. What we have here is a pretty tidy album of slinky and funky house with lots of tropica...read on »

Fawn Spots / Cum Stain

Wedding Dress

8/10 from Clinton

Ah York, Yorkshire’s walled City, the historic place I trail in from at the tail end of each week to bring you missives such as this. Its so great to see some great thin...read on »

Johnny Marr

The Messenger

8/10 from Clinton

Johnny Marr’s creative renaissance is long overdue. Its almost 30 years since he really jangled and strummed with real effect and having moved back from Portland to rain...read on »

Photodementia

Fig. 04

8/10 from Clinton

The next installment in the series that has got Brian hot under the collar of late. A 15 year old recording that was strangely left unreleased at the time. Initially a collabo...read on »

Dinos Chapman

Luftbobler

8/10 from Mike

Here’s something interesting - the debut album from famed artist and Chapman brother Dinos Chapman! Best known of course for their prints, sculptures and installation ar...read on »

CWK Joynes & The Restless Dead

8 Selections and Premonitions from the Tower, Vol.IV

8/10 from Clinton

The title suggests eight selections, alas we have only two but who is to worry when the music is of such quality. On the A side thumb pickin' guitarist Mr Joynes is joined (ha...read on »

Featured albums

Keaton Henson
Keaton Henson
Bitchin Bajas
Photodementia
Powell
Leven Signs
Northern Portrait
bvdub
Directorsound
Silver Apples
Soosh
Daphne Oram/Tom Dissevelt
Celer And Hakobune
Benjamin Shaw
Soft Focus
Rainbow Valley / Wind In Willows
bvdub
Ben Fleury-Steiner
Parquet Courts
Heaven's Jail Band
Johnny Marr
Nirvana
Vondelpark
Marika Hackman
Cankun
Woodpigeon
Buke and Gase
Kavinsky
Various
Loch Lomond
Doldrums
Benjamin Damage
Voigt & Voigt
The Invisible
Jagwar Ma
The Kramford Look
Autre Ne Veut
Ed Harcourt
Sally Shapiro
Various
Mogwai
Seasfire
Bad Guys
Local Natives
Golden Grrrls
Karen Gwyer
Idiot Glee
Libythth
Shifted
Bernardino Femminielli
Collateral
Trésors
Iron Witch
Thought Forms
John Foxx And The Maths
Savaging Spires
Prurient
Dinos Chapman
Fawn Spots / Cum Stain
GNOD
Darwin Deez
Maxmillion Dunbar
Oh No
Theme Park
Lost Animal
Pearl Necklace
Palma Violets
Sumsun
Atoms For Peace
J Dilla
Nick Höppner / Deadbeat
Orlandivo
Don Caballero
Talk Normal
Snow Palms
Menomena
Keith Kenniff
The Declining Winter
Ryan Teague
Dead Skeletons
Land Observations
Silver Apples