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Weekly Update Straight Arrows, Daughn Gibson, Darren Hayman & The Short Parliament, The Unit Ama, Hieroglyphic Being, and more...

Hello my Normans, I’ve been off weekly update duties and taking a hard-earned break for the last couple of weeks. I’ve been to see the Pet Shop Boys and Goat both performing amazing concerts (don’t ask me to pick a favourite) and sat around in my pants a lot; it’s been marvellous. All good things must come to an end, though, and now I’m back in the office listening to records and describing what they sound like. Nice work if you can get it, you’re probably thinking.

As if to celebrate my return to the office, one of my favourite bands ever have dropped their first album in 13 years this week. That’s right, the mighty Man Or Astro-Man? are back in business with a vocal-heavy album of their trademark space-surf magic on Chunklet, and it’s making me bop around the office like a giddy teenager, but it’s not the only great album to hit our office this week. A case in point would be the Palm /|\ Highway Chase LP of hard-hitting Carpenter-inspired synth theatrics, finally released on Spectrum Spools after four years of attempting to track down the record’s elusive creator.

Ian’s very impressed with the new 2CD Piano Magic anthology which compiles rarities from ‘01-08. Another band reappearing after time away are north-eastern experimental rockers The Unit Ama, who’ve got an excellent live LP of last year’s Tusk Festival performance which sounds like they never went away, and amazingly Six By Seven are back too (what year is this again?) while ex-Pearls & Brass man Daughn Gibson continues to reinvent himself as a smooth darkpop crooner on an impressive sophomore LP for Sub Pop, and Part Time has a superb second album of ‘80s inspired pop on Mexican Summer.

On top of that, Lustmord is back with an epic and spooky new collection, all three Data 70 7”s of weird sci-fi synth miniatures have been collected onto a single CD, Sun Araw’s buddy Deep Magic has a mind-melting CD of cerebral but soothing ambience, experimental turntable mavericks The Durian Brothers and Ensemble Skalectrik go head-to-head on a killer split LP for FatCat, local boys Sunwolf have an LP of doomy epic rock, Fanny Norman Blake and Pernice Brother Joe Pernice have emerged with an album as The New Mendicants, there’s an LP of early recordings from country rebel Townes Van Zandt, Rose Windows have some hippie grunge business going on, the long awaited Quasimoto LPs have turned up with a career-spanning collection of rarities and a 2LP of Further instrumentals, Phil Tyler’s on his own with his banjo and Aine O’Dwyer is on her own with her harp and Diamond Terrifier experiments with wild treated saxophone madness to good effect while sound recordist extraordinaire Chris Watson follows up his brilliant ‘El Tren Fantasma’ with an album recreating the sounds of Lindisfarne “as it might have been experienced by St Cuthbert in 700AD”.

As is sometimes the way, we’ve had records turn up too late to review them by High Wolf, Russian Tsarlag and Constant Mongrel, although the regular vinyl pressing of the Big Star RSD 2LP is here too so every cloud and that. Other hot albums this week have arrived from 17 Pygmies, Dark, Darren Hayman & The Short Parliament, David Tagg, Diamond Terrifier, Fists, Forrests, Halo Halo, Harold Budd, Hebronix, Hyetal, Lustmord, Maps, Marcel Fengler, Mika Vainio, New Order, Permanent Clear Light, Piano Magic, Royal Canoe, Ruxpin, Safety Scissors, Snow Ghosts, Speedy Ortiz, Straight Arrows, Sun Glitters, The Child Of A Creek, The Red Falcon Projects, The Zero Map, Ü (Joel Brindefalk) and Young Hunting (L.A).

On to the singles, and Norwegian acid wizard Stian Gjevik is back under his EOD alias with ‘Volume 2’, which builds on the mind-boggling brilliance of the previous volume and would make a corpse dance, while Mark Fell continues his series of Sensate Focus dancefloor-friendly collaborations in fine style with number one and two-thirds.

Lola Colt have an impressive 7” of strident girl-fronted pop smothered in harsh guitar noise, and Savages producer Johnny Hostile impresses with some Suicide-esque goth-pop, Hieroglyphic Being’s back in business with a 12” on Alter, Drexciya’s Stingray313 has a new 12”, spunky youngsters The Strypes have a lively 7” of bluesy rock music, Xerxes have one of ‘90s-style emo, and the other singles are by Archive, Congo Natty, Ikonika, Jameszoo, Lola Colt, Lowtec, Mo, Peace, Splashh, Teleman and The Asteroid 4.

Mikey Haymike and the Norm Parliament


Best records this week

According to our review team at least...

Man Or Astro-Man?

Defcon 5...4...3...2...1

10/10 from ReviewBot300

Hurrah! Sometimes when I have a review day I can reach that point where I feel like I’m wading through a sea of unending mediocrity and I don’t even know what&rsqu...read on »

Floorplan (Robert Hood)

Paradise

9/10 from Ant

Detroit’s Robert Hood's Floorplan alias is aimed squarely at the dancefloor and embraces house disco and funk influences. The first Floorplan 12" dropped on his Drama la...read on »

Kevin Drumm

Imperial Distortion

9/10 from Ant

I once zoned out to this album so much that I thought I was actually dead. Originally released on Hospital Productions as a 2CD back in 2008 it was thee Kevin Drumm album that...read on »

Queen Elephantine

Scarab

9/10 from Mike

We’ve got another LP in from Cosmic Eye, who recently brought us the rather impressive second album by The Cosmic Dead, so I’m expecting some collector-friendly ps...read on »

The Unit Ama

The Mason's Mallet

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Here’s a surprise from a band I thought was long-gone. I’m sure I saw The Unit Ama supporting Fugazi years ago, and they did that one LP with the awesome packaging...read on »

Palm /|\\ Highway Chase

Escape From New York

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Here’s an album which was recorded in 2009, sending the Spectrum Spools chaps into a frenzy trying to locate the mysterious Palm /|\\ Highway Chase and get permission fo...read on »

Straight Arrows

It's Happening

9/10 from Mike

This new Straight Arrows album is really hitting the spot today. This quartet specialise in that reverb-drenched ‘60s garage pop sound, only with more reverb. It smother...read on »

EOD

EOD Volume 2

9/10 from Mike

Is it just me or is acid back with a vengeance lately? There’s been all sorts of ace comps, the new Ceephax is devastatingly good, Clan Destine have made a very strong s...read on »

Quasimoto

Yessir Whatever

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Hip hoppers have reason to be excited this week as we’ve got not one but two new titles in from Madlib’s Quasimoto alter-ego, with the 2LP of the instrumentals fro...read on »

Ü (Joel Brindefalk)

Great Dose of Monotonous Techno

9/10 from Ant

Ü was an alias of Joel Brindefalk (RIP) who sadly passed away earlier this year. This album was recorded and released back in 1992 and in some ways sounds very much of it...read on »

Field Harmonics

Walls

8/10 from Nathon

In a sign of the audience-splitting effect that this new album from Epic 45's Rob Glover is likely to have it fell on me, by far the least experienced of our venerable reviewi...read on »

Eat Lights Become Lights / Twelve

Split

8/10 from Clinton

Eat Lights Become Lights eschew their usual motorik groove for something a lot more slowly evolving and euphoric, like an updating on the Ibiza chill out sound, orchestral sam...read on »

Danny And The Nightmares

Death Of Satan

8/10 from Clinton

Daniel Johnston has really been back to his best in recent years; ‘Is and Always Was’ had some excellent moments while his contributions to this years ‘Space...read on »

Morphosis

Dismantle / Music For Vampyr

8/10 from Ant

So good to get some more stuff from Lebanese producer Rabih Beaini so soon after his magnificent ‘Albidaya’ album for Annihaya released under his own name. This ho...read on »

Tame Impala

EP

8/10 from Clinton

Queued for hours for the Tame Impala record store day 12”? Thrilled that you got it? Desolate that you missed out? Well you will either be pleased/infuriated that here i...read on »

Kat Epple & Bob Stohl

Sanctus Spiritus

8/10 from Ant

The Andy Votel curated / Finders Keepers sub-label are doing a mighty fine job at unearthing some long lost obscurities, digging deeper than many current reissue labels. This ...read on »

The Lucid Dream

Songs of Lies and Deceit

8/10 from Nathon

Been listening to this one loads over the past few weeks. And it has been lotsa fun! This album has been a long time in the making and if you've heard the singles that have d...read on »

Daughn Gibson

Me Moan

8/10 from Mike

Formerly of thinking man’s rockers Pearls & Brass, Daughn Gibson’s solo debut ‘All Hell’ last year was a revelation, introducing a brand of tragic ...read on »

Lola Colt

I Get High If You Get High

8/10 from Mike

I like the name of this single. ‘I get High if you get High’. I do enjoy getting high. Listening to it, it’s quite a noisy number with lots of sheet-metal gu...read on »

Benoît Pioulard

Live In Museum

8/10 from Mike

The shadowy Thomas “Benoit Pioulard” Meluch contributed a chunk of loveliness to the gorgeous ‘Musique Pour Statues Menhirs’ compilation on Arbouse int...read on »

Sunwolf

Midnight Moon

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Sunwolf are a Leeds duo (says the press release) containing Matthew Carrington, Dominic Deane and James Clifford (says the album sleeve), and they’ve made this LP utilis...read on »

Johnny Hostile

Jehnny (Show Me The Moon)

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Here’s producer to the stars (Savages) Johnny Hostile with his solo debut, and it’s a glacial bit of synthpop with post-punky undertones which often bring to mind ...read on »

Sensate Focus

Sensate Focus 1.6666666

8/10 from Mike

Those of you with your fingers on the button will already know that Sensate Focus is a Mark Fell project which has seen him collaborate on various numerically-titled 12"s with...read on »

The Durian Brothers / Ensemble Skalectrik

Split Series #22

8/10 from Mike

For the 22nd instalment of its now-legendary ongoing split series with their distinctive drilled sleeves, FatCat have enlisted the services of turntable abusers The Durian Bro...read on »

Deep Magic

Reflections Of Most Forgotten Love

8/10 from Mike

As far as I can gather Alex “Deep Magic” Gray has been involved with Pocahaunted and Black Eagle Child and is a current live member of Sun Araw, plus Phil says his...read on »

Part Time

PDA

8/10 from Mike

I was rather taken by Part Time’s previous album ‘What Would You Say’, which presented a kind of modern bedroom take on classic uplifting ‘80s soft pop...read on »

Piano Magic

Heart Machinery (A Piano Magic Retrospective, 2001-2008)

8/10 from Ian

Hoorah! finally a decent Piano Magic retrospective to get one’s teeth into. If like me you’ve dipped into PM’s 17 year long career in fits and starts but wan...read on »

Marcel Fengler

Fokus

8/10 from Clinton

Phil, our master, our leader, a man short on leg but long on know-how was most enthusiastic this morning when shoving this album into my sweat drenched palms. It’s a ric...read on »

Rank/Xerox

Rank/Xerox

8/10 from Clinton

Sometimes here at the towers, we try to have an afternoon of enjoyable music, particularly on a Friday. Last week, Ian found an old Wire compilation and a great time was had b...read on »

Phil Tyler

We Sunk The Ship To Get Rid Of The Rats

8/10 from Clinton

The first question is “Where’s Cath, Phil?” Tyler is most widely known for his collaborations with wife Cath and as I found out recently is the same ‘P...read on »

The New Mendicants

Australia 2013 EP

8/10 from Clinton

I know a few people who would get themselves in an excited mess at the thought of Norman Blake and Joe Pernice collaborating, they are indeed two sides of the same ultra tunef...read on »

Aine O'Dwyer

Anything bright or startling?

8/10 from Clinton

My goodness this is gorgeous. Áine O'Dwyer is a multi-instrumentalist and singer, best known for her lyrical harp playing with Mark Fry and The A. Lords, United Bible S...read on »

Featured albums

The Asteroid 4
The Strypes
The Child Of A Creek
Chris Watson
Ü (Joel Brindefalk)
The Unit Ama
Ruxpin
Harold Budd & Jane Maru
Palm /|\\ Highway Chase
Sensate Focus
Stingray313
17 Pygmies
Sun Glitters
Phil Tyler
Piano Magic
The Zero Map
Aine O'Dwyer
Archive
Marcel Fengler
The Red Falcon Projects
Lola Colt
Snow Ghosts
The New Mendicants
New Order
Congo Natty
Townes Van Zandt
Part Time
The Durian Brothers / Ensemble Skalectrik
Johnny Hostile
Constant Mongrel
Straight Arrows
Deep Magic
EOD
Speedy Ortiz
Halo Halo
Peace
Teleman
Six By Seven
Mika Vainio
Hieroglyphic Being
David Tagg
Ikonika
Forrests
Lustmord
Darren Hayman & The Short Parliament
Fists
Royal Canoe
Rose Windows
Data 70
Jameszoo
Daughn Gibson
Hebronix
Dark
Hyetal
Xerxes
Russian Tsarlag
Quasimoto
Young Hunting (L.A)
Sunwolf
Maps
Safety Scissors
Diamond Terrifier
Permanent Clear Light
Man Or Astro-Man?
Splashh
Quasimoto
Big Star
Lowtec