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Weekly Update Gum / Keel Her / Joanna Gruesome / Playlounge, Micachu & The Shapes, Dog Is Dead, Golden Retriever, Laetitia Sadier, and more...

Happy Friday, Norm-enders, it’s been a pretty sweet week up here in Leeds with some high quality gigs and of course the usual slew of incredible records turning up in our office. Nothing but the best for you delightful sophistophonophiles, of course. We know your standards are high. There really is quite a lot to get excited about this week though. I’ve been having terrible trouble the past month or so with more quality releases than my budget can handle, and that really has continued apace. If anyone wants to throw me a ton or two to help ease my bulging stash then just get in touch via email or to our twitter @NormanRecords.

“What are these records you so badly need?!”, I hear you cry. Well I’ll tell you! Those ex-Raccoo-oo-oon lads Wet Hair have cranked it up a notch with a new bassist and a set of perfectly formed synth-psych-pop masterpieces on their newie for De Stijl, and Sleep’s Al Cisneros has also dropped his latest Om bomb which is getting Phil all excited. There’s been an absolute mountain of high quality synthy stuff this week too. German duo Phantom Horse have dropped a gorgeous LP of summery modular loops and processed guitar, Wolf Eyes dude Failing Lights has an uncomfortable, minimal soundtracky LP, and also making me feel awkward in a nice way is the great new long player of spooked out invocations from Anworth Kirk. Meanwhile on the excellent El Paraiso, Jakob Skott busts out his Prophet 600 for an awesome bit of library-toned kraut-synth bliss, and Golden Retriever pair up the unlikely combination of modular synth and bass clarinet for an arresting and melodic LP on Thrill Jockey. There’s weird sparse post-punky synthpop on this Yves/Son/Ace album, Tomutonttu’s reworked some old rarities for his new ‘Hylyt’ collection, and accomplished bleepy retro tones from Konx-Om-Pax too. If you’re more into the dronier end of the synth spectrum I can recommend the new tape of layered and relaxing textures and slow melodies from Southend-on-Sea’s Rainbow Valley, not to mention the bloopy new offerings from Panabrite and Outer Space and William Cody Watson’s excellently-titled ‘Bill Murray’.

There’s some non-synth records too of course - we’ve managed to wangle a couple of copies of Baltimore repeato-psych duo Weekends’ amazing ‘Strange Cultures’ LP, outsider pop madman Pete Um has another head-scratchingly weird LP, Black Twig Pickers have dropped the brilliantly named ‘Whompyjawed’, Stereolab lady Laetitia Sadier has a new LP of her grown-up arranged pop perfection, there’s a curious CD of proto-techno-sounding stuff made by the stone-deaf-for-real Deafthnoise, fresh new rhymespitter Jeremiah Jae impresses on his debut, NY jamsters Guardian Alien get in touch with their inner Hawkwind on their epic single-track album, while Lee Ranaldo’s long-running guitar/drum/bagpipe trio Glacial finally drop a full-lengther on the ever-awesome Three Lobed, garage popsters White Fence have collected their Family Perfumes 1 and 2 onto a double LP, and we’ve got some copies of lo-fi jangle popsters Golden Grrrls’ ace self-released tape and all. Other lengthy players this week come courtesy of Micachu & The Shapes, Family Band, various artists, Foxygen, TNGHT, Purity Ring, The Cast Of Cheers (no, not THAT cast of Cheers), Devizes, The Smittens, 36, Caught In The Wake Forever, Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO, Ulaan Markhor, Magoo(?!), Horse Feathers, Nice Face, Rayon Beach and Timmy’s Organism.

Meanwhile in my hometown of singlesville, Ben ‘Six Organs of Admittance’ Chasny enlists the help of some Comets on Fire for a smouldering 7” of psych-rock slow-burners, and Black Dice Eric Copeland’s got another seven of his weirdo tropical cut’n’smash pop, there’s a nice fuzzpop sampler on the ‘Family Portrait’ 7” from Art Is Hard featuring Gum, Keel Her, Joanna Gruesome and Playlounge, and indie rock fans would be well advised to check out the YRRS/Honeyslide Split on Keep It Yours as well as this charming EP of bedroom pop from Laser Background. We’ve got some very pretty minimal 3” CDs from The Driftwood Manor, Yellow6 & Caught In The Wake Forever and Good Shepherd, four newies on garage goldmine HoZac from ET Habit, Plateaus, Far-Out Fangtooth and Cozy, and that’s before I get started on the newies from MS MR, Driver Drive Faster, Black Strobe, Dog Is Dead, Justice, Tigercats, Scuba, Pond and Cheap Curls.

Eat, smoke, love.

Mikey Dux und das Superteam


Best records this week

According to our review team at least...

Om

Advaitic Songs

10/10 from Phil

Fuck. I love Om! I saw them play live at Supersonic a while back with our Ant and they blew both of our faces right off. They were totally the highlight of the festival and...read on »

Old Apparatus

Derren EP

9/10 from Brian

Wonder if this is a dedication to that clippy-heeled and vivacious Brown man who makes things vanish and re-appear like erm...magic? After scoring a couple of relatively un...read on »

Team Doyobi

Digital Music Volume One

9/10 from Brian

Well there was a time when both electronic musicians and people like Phil, who hated the bland monotony of most 4/4 dance music, used to produce (or stock) lots of, quite f...read on »

Savages

Flying To Berlin

9/10 from Brian

If you were to lap up every word splurged by writers for the contemporary London music inkies you’d think that Savages were the most breathtaking and profound thing t...read on »

Fabio Frizzi

The Beyond: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

9/10 from Clinton

Burning the Sunday oil last week getting all your lovely orders ready I was struck by how many reissues of obscure (and not so obscure) soundtracks are about at the moment ...read on »

Jóhann Jóhannsson

Copenhagen Dreams

9/10 from Clinton

Beautiful, haunting, twinkly, rainswept, poised. People at Norman Towers are shouting out adjectives to describe this beautiful LP which will (hopefully) make you want to b...read on »

Three Mile Pilot

Maps

9/10 from ReviewBot300

According to my calculations this is rather pricey for a 20-minute 12” EP, but sometimes you need to pay a premium for quality don’t you? I don’t know, ha...read on »

Anworth Kirk

Shacklecross

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Blimey, I’ve just gone and listened to more than a side of this record before noticing that I’m playing it at the wrong speed! The creepy electro acoustic drone...read on »

Phantom Horse

Phantom Horse

9/10 from Mike

Phantom Horse is the duo of Ulf Schutte (aka Alien Radio, also involved with Datashock, Aosuke, Black to Comm...) who deals with the modular side and Niklas Dommaschk who tak...read on »

Debo Band

Debo Band

9/10 from Mike

What we have here is, as our very own Big Boss Phil would say, a fusion. Yes, a fusion. Sub Pop’s output has been frankly confusing lately as they haphazardly put out...read on »

The Fear Ratio

Skana

9/10 from Ant

Following their excellent \'Light Box\' album, UK techno stalwarts James Ruskin (been putting tracks out on his Blueprint label since 1997) and Mark Broom (has been releasing ...read on »

Rrose X Bob Ostertag

The Surgeon General

9/10 from Ant

Rrose\'s identity still remains a mystery, I\'m sure he\'ll be outed at some point but really who cares anyway? It\'s the audio that matters right? Following three excellent E...read on »

Jakob Skott

Doppler

9/10 from ReviewBot300

The Doppler effect is when you perceive a change of pitch in a sound as you move relative to the object producing the sound, since the waveforms are shortened when it&rsquo...read on »

Eric Copeland

Flushing Meats

9/10 from Li'l Biz

Eric Copeland of Black Dice fame returns with another choppy experimental glitch-psych 7”, this time for  the Calico Corp. ‘Flushing Meats’ hits on th...read on »

The Driftwood Manor

Dominican Black Abbey EP

9/10 from Phil

It’s a while since Rusted Rail have chucked some 3” CDs our way but this week three hit our saggy shelves. Much excitement! And if you’re one of those peopl...read on »

Laetitia Sadier

Silencio

9/10 from Phil

Laetitia Sadier is back with her second solo album on Drag City and if you’re into sophisto pop then you’re in the right place! It’s time to run yourself a ...read on »

Jeremiah Jae

Raw Money Raps

9/10 from Li'l Biz

Ah...new rhyme spitter, huh? Thanks very much. Jeremiah Jae hits us with his debut for Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label. Discovered by label mate Samiyam and pretty muc...read on »

Panabrite

Illumination

9/10 from Li'l Biz

Seattle synth enthusiast Norm Chambers, a.k.a Panabrite, returns with a new LP...well, not completely new. ‘Illumination’ was originally released on cassette by ...read on »

Wet Hair

Spill Into Atmosphere

9/10 from Mike

I’ve been monitoring the progress of Raccoo-oo-oon lads Shawn Reed and Ryan Garbes with interest as they have slowly dragged their fractured freak-psych lo-fi jam pop f...read on »

Weekends

Strange Cultures

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Now, we’re a bit late on these babies here, having just picked them up direct from the band on their first trip to the UK. I’m mad psyched to get my hands on it...read on »

Six Organs of Admittance

Mission Abort / Blues For Jack Parsons

9/10 from ReviewBot300

It’s always great to see evergreen axe-slayer Ben Chasny put some more of his amazing fretwork to wax, and I’m especially happy when he’s doing the full ban...read on »

Far-Out Fangtooth

The Thorns

9/10 from ReviewBot300

Always a treat to get some new records in from HoZac. We’ve got four this week and too much to review but Phil’s letting me write about this one anyway as a kind...read on »

TNGHT

TNGHT

9/10 from Brian

Now here we have a pretty mad, bad and powerful record. I don’t know what it means but I’d say this is a progressive bass music/ghetto twelve and the men involved ...read on »

Pete Um

The New Album

9/10 from Brian

There’s not many British eccentrics as wonderful and awe-inspiringly mad as our Pete Um. His scattershot irreverent prose, weirdo-raps and surrealist sound-sculptures ...read on »

Ian Hawgood

The Shattered Light

9/10 from Phil

Ian Hawgood is a busy lad. Not content with running Home Normal, Nomadic Kids, Komu (his new label which this is released on), mastering loads of albums by like minded folk, r...read on »

Meadow House

Tongue Under A Ton Of Nine Volters

9/10 from Clinton

I’ve been waiting almost nine years to write about this album after an early version wound its way to the Norman HQ back in 2004 and it somehow found itself on my wal...read on »

Caught In The Wake Forever

Against A Simple Wooden Cross

9/10 from Clinton

Bleak. If you want cheering up on this drizzly Friday morning I wouldn’t read the press release if I were you. However, the best music is usually borne out personal d...read on »

Gareth Williams & Mary Currie

Flaming Tunes

9/10 from Ant

Now this is a very charming record indeed. Originally issued on cassette it would eventually get a CD release in 2009 but until now has never appeared on vinyl. This is of co...read on »

Micachu & The Shapes

Never

9/10 from Brian

Well, I think I'm safely on stable ground here even if Mica Levi's head is beyond the clouds heading in the direction of the stars, I think she's a bit of a wonderful nutter...read on »

Various

Strange Passion

9/10 from Brian

Well now, given that my lovely late ma was half Irish, I'll always have a soft spot for many things that come from the emerald isle, even early bloody U2 are spirited enoug...read on »

Tomoko Sauvage

Ombrophilia

8/10 from Brian

Well that’s my word for the day, meaning “thriving in habitats having an abundance of rain”, the title of this album is now explained to all you who canno...read on »

Unrecognizable Now

Two Rooms

8/10 from Clinton

This should appeal to all the drone fanatics out there, it’s a limited edition handmade CD on Simon Scott’s label, filled to the brim with gorgeous textures, undu...read on »

Richard Hawley

Down In The Woods

8/10 from Clinton

At my other job (yup, the payola from biggin’ up the latest smash releases don’t fund my Greek yoghurt obsession) I work with a guy called Richard Hawley, the p...read on »

Anasazi

I Saw The Witch Cry / Nuclear Paradise

8/10 from Clinton

This is dark, edgy, troubled New Yoik punk with a paranoid atmosphere throughout. It has that deep dark, dank sound as if it’s been recorded in a mouldy cellar. It ha...read on »

Lali Puna

Silver Light

8/10 from Clinton

I missed Lali Puna’s recent album. I had no idea that there was one but there again I’ve never been overly bothered about them. I’ve recently belatedly got...read on »

Girls Names / Weird Dreams

A Troubled See / House of Secrets

8/10 from Clinton

I have apparently reviewed Girls Names before according to our search engine. My comparison to brittle twee pop bands on that release doesn’t hold sway on their track o...read on »

Jon Mueller & James Plotkin

Terminal Velocity

8/10 from Clinton

I’m so tired today after another sleep that barely lasted even into single figures so forgive me if I’m not my usual ebullient self. Certainly the music on this...read on »

Ether Island

Season Of Risk

8/10 from Clinton

I’ve been beggin’ and pleadin’ and wishin’ and hopin’ for a record for a record to call my own and just like last week it turns up at the very ...read on »

Neptune

Msg Rcvd

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Neptune are a band I’ve always got a bit of time for. Sometimes their recordings can be pretty hard work, but I like the way they operate. These guys play crazy instru...read on »

Gum / Keel Her / Joanna Gruesome / Playlounge

Family Portrait

8/10 from Mike

It’s four way split time. Always a good way to get on top of what’s going on new-bands-wise I think. This one on Art Is Hard opens with Gum doing their very bes...read on »

Laser Background

The Laser Background EP

8/10 from Mike

With a name like Laser Background and a box which features a picture of a kid in front of a laser background, my immediate instinct was that this was going to be a tape ful...read on »

Failing Lights

Dawn Undefeated

8/10 from Mike

This awkward lad is a solo outing from Wolf Eye/Hair Policeman Mike Connelly. According to the press release it’s cut at 45rpm but is supposed to be playable at any sp...read on »

Tomutonttu

Hylyt

8/10 from Li'l Biz

Kemialliset Ystävät head honcho and Avarus, Tuusanuuskat and the Islaja band part-timer Jan Anderzen returns to his solo Tomutonttu guise with another head frying se...read on »

Konx-om-Pax

Regional Surrealism

8/10 from Phil

You might not be familiar with this chap but he’s been kicking about for ages now as a 3D film director for folks like Hudson Mohawke, Mogwai, Martyn, Jamie Lidell, Kued...read on »

MS MR

Hurricane

8/10 from Li'l Biz

MS MR are the latest edition to the Chess Club family. Can’t tell you much about them other than that they are from New York and were recently the Guardian’s band...read on »

36

Hypersona

8/10 from Li'l Biz

‘Hypersona’ is the debut by the still-mysterious-to-me 36. Originally released on CD back in 2009, it’s been lovingly remastered and issued on vinyl for t...read on »

Yves/ Son/ Ace

Unsung

8/10 from Li'l Biz

Yves / Son / Ace is the solo guise of Factums and Love Tan man Matthew Ford. ‘Unsung’ was previously released as an un-mastered cassette for the excellent Night Pe...read on »

Rainbow Valley

Tipoftheredgiantbranch

8/10 from ReviewBot300

You know how the other day I was marvelling over the quality and diversity of music coming out of Southend-on-Sea at the moment? Well, here’s something else from that...read on »

Glacial

On Jones Beach

8/10 from Mike

Three drones in a row for me today! Aren’t I the lucky one? The drones on this record here have been constructed by some pretty illustrious names, though, with Kiwi b...read on »

YRRS / Honeyslide

Split

8/10 from Mike

Ooh, a new split from the good people at Keep It Yours. I was well impressed with the Babies/His Clancyness one they dropped a few months ago so I’m all ears here. On si...read on »

Golden Retriever

Occupied With The Unspoken

8/10 from Mike

We get a lot of synthesizer records in at Norman Towers Mk II these days, so it’s always nice to come across one which messes with the norm a little and gives us some...read on »

William Cody Watson

Bill Murray

8/10 from Mike

I just reviewed the new Rainbow Valley tape a few minutes ago, and it was full of concordant, layered synthesizer drones for an uplifting and immersive listen. Well, this one...read on »

Cheap Curls

Jackie Oh

8/10 from ReviewBot300

Well that’s a cheeky band name isn’t it! Never mind that though, on this seven inch Cheap Curls are dropping three tracks of girl group-influenced garage indie ...read on »

Jacques Greene

Ready EP

8/10 from Brian

This is a pretty buzzing twelve. With remixes under his belt for Radiohead and Jimmy Edgar, this latest on Martyn’s label gallops towards my tired ears in the guise of ...read on »

Devizes

Devizes

8/10 from Brian

Weird slab of stentorian wax next from some dude who has played in some pretty foreboding bands (Anaal Nathrakh anyone?). This is like a DIY neo-classical/gothic folk &ldqu...read on »

Yellow6 & Caught In The Wake Forever

The Slow Manipulation Of Dyling Light

8/10 from Phil

In case you’ve not been paying any attention Hibernate have ended their sell out series of funsized postcards and replaced it with a collaborative series which come in ...read on »

Good Shepherd

Ah... Good The Sea EP

8/10 from Clinton

A lovely little 3” CD from Ireland’s fine Rusted Rail imprint. Fitting perfectly with the label’s gently undulating folky releases this features gorgeously ...read on »

The Smittens

Believe Me

8/10 from Clinton

Aahh some nice fluffy indie pop to counteract the brittle intensity of the last album I’ve had to listen to. The Smittens are a delighfully happy bunch of indie poppers ...read on »

Black Twig Pickers

Whompyjawed

8/10 from Clinton

Yee-haw!! When is an album not an album? I’d have said this was a 12”. It has two songs on it - albeit long ones. The first, ‘Merry Mountain Hoedown’...read on »

Eyeless In Gaza

Butterfly Attitude

8/10 from Ant

Back in the 90's when I was buying records on Downwards by Regis and Surgeon if you would have told me they'd be putting records out by cult post-punk act Eyeless In Gaza I'd ...read on »

Outer Space

Outer Space II

8/10 from Clinton

This is the “debut” “solo” release from one of the lads in Emeralds. Which one? This is the one called John Elliott. I have put solo in inverted comm...read on »

Driver Drive Faster

To Return

8/10 from Clinton

A little bit like my life this record appears to be going nowhere when about halfway through it suddenly changes gear and becomes rather brilliant. There’s a lot of i...read on »

Featured albums

Golden Grrrls
Cheap Curls
Foxygen
Weekends
MS MR
The Driftwood Manor
Good Shepherd
Devizes
Deafthnoise
Yves/ Son/ Ace
William Cody Watson
YRRS / Honeyslide
Pete Um
Caught In The Wake Forever
Phantom Horse
Tomutonttu
Rainbow Valley
Yellow6 & Caught In The Wake Forever
Failing Lights
Panabrite
Eric Copeland
Scuba
Glacial
Gum / Keel Her / Joanna Gruesome / Playlounge
Laser Background
36
Anworth Kirk
Justice
Dog Is Dead
The Smittens
Tigercats
Pond
Black Strobe
The Cast Of Cheers
Laetitia Sadier
Jeremiah Jae
Golden Retriever
Family Band
Six Organs of Admittance
Purity Ring
Black Twig Pickers
Om
Guardian Alien
Micachu & The Shapes
TNGHT
Wet Hair
White Fence
Timmy's Organism
Various
Magoo
Outer Space
Jakob Skott
Konx-om-Pax
Ulaan Markhor
Driver Drive Faster
Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O.
Rayon Beach
Far-Out Fangtooth
Plateaus
Cozy
E.T. Habit
Nice Face
Horse Feathers