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Staff album reviews

Good or bad, here's what we think of the last month's crop of new releases. Prefer to read what actual paying customers think instead? Take a look »

Please note: All views expressed are those of individual staff and not Norman Records as a whole!

Adam Winchester - Muutto

Album review: Adam Winchester - Muutto

from Ant

Edinburgh’s RIOT Radio Records boot off their sister imprint a quiet RIOT with a wicked LP from Adam Winchester whom you may know is half of Dot Product alongside Chris Jarman (aka Kamikaze Space Programme). ‘Muutto’ is Adam’s second release under his real name - the previous...

  • Published: Thursday 18th April 2019

Heith - Mud

Album review: Heith - Mud

from Ant

It’s always interesting hearing how UK Bass music mutates as it travels - from Peter Runge over in Milwaukee twisting it up as Sd Laika or Eric C. Burton as Rabit genetically modifying Grime’s DNA out there in Houston. More often than not, the further they stray from the original templat...

  • Published: Thursday 18th April 2019

Justin Sweatt (Xander Harris) - Say Your Goodbyes

Album review: Justin Sweatt (Xander Harris) - Say Your Goodbyes

from Ant

As Xander Harris, Justin Sweatt has been reasonably prolific making records channelling Giallo/horror soundtracks, electro/Italo disco and synthwave. He began using the handle when he emerged on L.A. label Not Not Fun and has gone on to release on Mogwai’s Rock Action imprint and most recently...

  • Published: Thursday 18th April 2019

Amnesia Scanner & Bill Kouligas - Lexachast

Album review: Amnesia Scanner & Bill Kouligas - Lexachast

from Ant

Amnesia Scanner return to PAN, this time joined by label boss Bill Kouligas documenting their Lexachast collaboration. Initially an audiovisual work - it has mutated to its current state where we’re left to imagine the visuals behind our eyelids. This isn’t difficult as the sounds are pa...

  • Published: Thursday 11th April 2019

Ghostride The Drift (uon, Exael and Huerco S.) - Ghostride The Drift

Album review: Ghostride The Drift (uon, Exael and Huerco S.) - Ghostride The Drift

from Ant

Note: the initial pressing sold out quickly - the second pressing is now available to pre-order. Exquisite EP from some of the West Mineral Ltd. crew released on a new label from D. Tiffany and uon. Ghostride The Drift comprises Ryan Fall (aka uon, Caveman LSD, DJ Paradise, Special Guest DJ) Exael ...

  • Published: Thursday 11th April 2019

Dungeon Acid - Dungeon Acid

Album review: Dungeon Acid - Dungeon Acid

from Ant

Debut album proper from Jean-Louis Huhta's Dungeon Acid project which has the Swedish artist creating a bunch of killer serpentine acid trax that sound like radioactive waste bubbling under Gothenburg where he dwells. His roots in the punk and experimental electronic music underground give his machi...

  • Published: Thursday 11th April 2019

Cressida - Borneo Function

Album review: Cressida - Borneo Function

from Ant

The latest emission from Berlin’s VOITAX label sees Cressida return to the imprint for whom he released his debut EP - the absolutely punishing ‘Hymn To Lust’ in 2017. He’s reined in the ferocious tempos for this one in favour of a sticky grime/dub infused stepping techno sou...

  • Published: Thursday 4th April 2019

RX-101 - Dopamine

Album review: RX-101 - Dopamine

from Ant

The story of RX-101 is very interesting… it would be easy to conclude that this artist was some sort of smoke and mirrors fabrication like Abul Mogard supposedly being an ageing former Serbian factory worker or one of Rephlex’s old stunts like The Tuss being Karen Tregaskin and not Rich...

  • Published: Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Sonmi451 - Nachtmuziek

Album review: Sonmi451 - Nachtmuziek

from Ant

The ever-reliable Astral Industries label shine a light on the work of Belgian ambient producer Bernard Zwijzen with this expertly compiled EP of six resplendent tracks of pure bliss - pressed to vinyl for the first time. Had I not had prior knowledge, I would never have guessed this wasn’t in...

  • Published: Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Slow White Fall - Total EP

Album review: Slow White Fall - Total EP

from Ant

Slow White Fall is the latest project from Oliver Ho AKA Broken English Club, Zov Zov, Raudive etc. and feels right at home on Downwards. It offers a different sound to the aforementioned projects - it still resides somewhere within the lineage/influences of those works but utilizes guitar alongside...

  • Published: Wednesday 27th March 2019

Salford Electronics - Deconstruction

Album review: Salford Electronics - Deconstruction

from Ant

Salford Electronics is the latest handle of David Padbury who is perhaps best known for his role since the mid-‘80s in industrial/noise duo The Grey Wolves alongside Trevor Ward. Indeed, Dominick Fernow reissued a couple of their albums on Hospital Productions which seems to have led us here -...

  • Published: Wednesday 27th March 2019

Domenico Crisci - Velvet

Album review: Domenico Crisci - Velvet

from Ant

Domenico Crisci (Jealous God, Summa Cum Laude, Opal Tapes, L.I.E.S etc.) lands on Black Opal with a relentlessly punishing, absolutely bangin’, lethal four track techno EP that takes zero prisoners. Kicking off with the slammin’ ‘Velvet’, driving full force with ferocious ki...

  • Published: Wednesday 27th March 2019

W. H. Lung - Incidental Music

Album review: W. H. Lung - Incidental Music

from Benn

W H Lung are part of a long and rich tradition following in the footsteps of German krautrock pioneers like NEU!, Faust, and Cluster, as well as 80s synth legends like New Order or Gary Numan. In the past there have been artists such as Stereolab who have also trod this path, as well as, in more rec...

  • Published: Thursday 4th April 2019

Aldous Harding - Designer

Album review: Aldous Harding - Designer

from Clinton

She's at it again. The unusual thing I noticed about Aldous Harding' previous album Party was that she sings in lots of different voices. It seems she's carried that on into this third album which confuses my brain into thinking there are lots of different singers on the album but it's all her and a...

  • Published: Thursday 25th April 2019

Deadbeat & Camara - Trinity Thirty

Album review: Deadbeat & Camara - Trinity Thirty

from Clinton

Back in the early 2000s a series of clever clogs with time on their hands at some American University or other decided to translate the silences and squeaks made by the puppet duo of Sooty and Sweep into actual words. It ranks as one of the most pointless exercises ever undertaken. My first thoughts...

  • Published: Wednesday 24th April 2019

Reptaliens - Vails

Album review: Reptaliens - Vails

from Clinton

Reptaliens sound like a Captured Tracks band to me. They have the watery guitars, the lilting melodies, the primitive early 80s sound going on but they go further into an easy listening/lounge direction than many of CT's other artists and Valis is a smooth ride through the back roads of charming wou...

  • Published: Wednesday 24th April 2019

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - In The Capital

Album review: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - In The Capital

from Clinton

Oh lord this band. Turns out I love their 2018 full length debut Hope Downs even more than I thought at the time so I'm excited to hear what happens next. Well here's a taster  - a two track 7" of new material. The lead track is as lovely as a spring day in Melbourne - a gorgeous glinting beaut...

  • Published: Wednesday 24th April 2019

Craig Finn - I Need A New War

Album review: Craig Finn - I Need A New War

from Clinton

Often coming across as Bruce Springsteen as interpreted by Wayne Sleep, Craig Finn seems to have spent a lifetime noting the comings and goings in his Twin Cities home town. If you like the Hold Steady and have a never ending tolerance for lyrics about St Paul's then I Need A New War will have much ...

  • Published: Wednesday 24th April 2019

Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation - Sacred Dreams

Album review: Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation - Sacred Dreams

from Clinton

Has anyone ever tied themselves in such knots trying to explain the meaning of an LP as Josefin Ohrn does in the press release to the third LP by her space rock collective?.."a sacred dream, the way we see it, is not necessarily a golden fluffy cloud river, but instead also contains all the shadows ...

  • Published: Wednesday 24th April 2019

The Mountain Goats - In League With Dragons

Album review: The Mountain Goats - In League With Dragons

from Clinton

The absolute best thing about the Mountain Goats is how they've successfully seamed the transition from indie boys to grown men. John Darnielle in particular rivals Ben Gibbard in his ability to match indie Tees with grown ups suit jackets. Musically they are truly grown up now, less the yelping fol...

  • Published: Wednesday 24th April 2019

Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres - Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres

Album review: Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres - Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres

from Clinton

Peter Doherty, in the Libertines (half a good song in 2002), ate a really really big breakfast in 2018. That's about it. Proclaimed a 'genius' by blithering idiots and now setting out to prove that moniker with an album which runs out of ideas after precisely 24 seconds. From thereon it's a sort of ...

  • Published: Wednesday 24th April 2019

Mammoth Penguins - There Is No Fight We Can’t Both Win

Album review: Mammoth Penguins - There Is No Fight We Can’t Both Win

from Clinton

You might not expect it from a middle aged man who works in a record shop but I do have an actual girlfriend  - and she's real and everything not someone I've just made up. One of the major issues with having a girlfriend is sharing music. It's more of a problem when one of the parties (me) lik...

  • Published: Tuesday 23rd April 2019

Dreamtime - Tidal Mind

Album review: Dreamtime - Tidal Mind

from Clinton

Dreamtime are yet another psych rock band from Australia. Where are they all coming from? There's a few things that set Dreamtime apart though. They ain't all that new as this is their forth album and they have a more proggy, dreamy sound that pranksters like King Gizzard and Porn Crumpet. They are ...

  • Published: Thursday 18th April 2019

The Drums - Brutalism

Album review: The Drums - Brutalism

from Clinton

On the Drums last album Abysmal Thoughts singer Jonny Pierce was left all on his own after Jacob Graham left to 'concentrate on his puppetry'. It showed somewhat as despite the odd good track it sounded more like a bedroom project than the energetic indie-pop of yore. I suggested he needed some frie...

  • Published: Wednesday 17th April 2019

UT - Conviction

Album review: UT - Conviction

from Clinton

UT were a no wave group out of early 80s New York and as Stewart Lee tells you in his sleeve notes were hard to categorise in that less connected decade. Conviction was released in 1986 but the band had had a long gestation period beginning in 1981 emerging shyly out of the same loft apartments as t...

  • Published: Wednesday 17th April 2019

Drugdealer - Raw Honey

Album review: Drugdealer - Raw Honey

from Clinton

I bet they had a right old wheeze making this. Serial name changer Michael Collins has already made one album of so-so blue eyed soul under this moniker but this time he's teamed up with Mac De Marco who sprawls over the producer's chair. Collins pals list is often superior to his abilities as a mus...

  • Published: Wednesday 17th April 2019

Gently Tender - Some Hard Advice

Album review: Gently Tender - Some Hard Advice

from Clinton

Today's question. Did people have lower voices in the 80s? After watching a documentary about people like Paul Haig it really made me wonder. Gently Tender are a new project made out of members of the Palma Violets and the Big Moon but look set to be musically more interesting than those two. The le...

  • Published: Wednesday 17th April 2019

Carla dal Forno - So Much Better

Album review: Carla dal Forno - So Much Better

from Clinton

You learn something literally every day. Carla dal Forno used to be in F Ingers. Didn't know that. Anyway she's one of those artists who despite the slathering adulation heaped on her by the Wire and the Quietus is actually really good. The lead track here is a wonderful slow moving thing with eerie...

  • Published: Wednesday 17th April 2019

Nouvelle Vague - Curiosities

Album review: Nouvelle Vague - Curiosities

from Clinton

There's nothing music fans like better than repetition. The same thing album after album. Just look at Status Quo and the Brian Jonestown Massacre for good examples of doing the same thing over and over to ecstatic responses. So Nouvelle Vague are onto a good thing. For 15 years they've been remakin...

  • Published: Tuesday 16th April 2019

Gang of Four - Happy Now

Album review: Gang of Four - Happy Now

from Clinton

What the hell is this? Sometimes, you know.. Pledge Music and Kickstarter are the very worst things. Back in the day record companies would decide whether a record was worth funding. Now bands can take advantage of well meaning fans in order to fund records that shouldn't have happened. Albums like...

  • Published: Tuesday 16th April 2019

Bibio - Ribbons

Album review: Bibio - Ribbons

from Clinton

It's hard to put a finger on why I/m not sure I care much for Bibio anymore.  I loved Ambivalence Avenue, Silver Wilkinson, Mind Bokeh and pretty much everything up to A Mineral Love. His previous Phantom Brickworks was interesting in that took his music in much more ambient territories yet it ...

  • Published: Tuesday 16th April 2019

Callum Easter - Here Or Nowhere

Album review: Callum Easter - Here Or Nowhere

from Clinton

You can count the number of footballers turned musicians on one hand...Actress, Owen Paul....does Dion Dublin count? Anyway Callum Easter decided that rather than tear up defences for...say Partick Thistle he'd rather play music for a living. From the sounds of this his debut release on Excellent Sc...

  • Published: Wednesday 10th April 2019

Damien Jurado - In The Shape Of A Storm

Album review: Damien Jurado - In The Shape Of A Storm

from Clinton

Why spend years concocting a stellar ambitious album such as Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son when you can just knock out an acoustic album in a couple of hours? Honestly most people won't even notice. But I do. Damien Jurado went from lo-fi troubadour to stellar cosmic songcrafter and back ...

  • Published: Tuesday 9th April 2019

The Leisure Society - Arrivals & Departures

Album review: The Leisure Society - Arrivals & Departures

from Clinton

It's bad enough going through a break up but imagine the situation where the singer/guitarist of a middle brow folk collective is going through a break through up with the flautist. Evil looks across the rehearsal room at literally every piece of flute. Anyway there's not much flute on this new albu...

  • Published: Tuesday 9th April 2019

Shana Cleveland - Night Of The Worm Moon

Album review: Shana Cleveland - Night Of The Worm Moon

from Clinton

What is it with worms? Everything is 'worm' these days. In order to counteract the horrific imagery the word 'worm' brings up, Shana Cleveland has made a delightfully pretty album of lush harmonic folk pop. It's a slow moving stretch of atmospheric Laurel Canyon styled finger picking bliss. Songs li...

  • Published: Tuesday 9th April 2019

The Cool Greenhouse - Landlords / 4Chan

Album review: The Cool Greenhouse - Landlords / 4Chan

from Clinton

I enjoyed the previous the Cool Greenhouse 7" somewhat but this one is an absolute stonker. Landlords is near perfect avant pop which hits you square in the eye between the Normal and the Fall. It has a squeaky DIY sound with repetitive guitar riff and drum machine. Over the top is a vocal rant some...

  • Published: Tuesday 9th April 2019

Witching Waves - Persistence

Album review: Witching Waves - Persistence

from Clinton

I'm just listening to Witching Waves previous albums trying to find out what my earlier enthusiasm was all about. Persistence initially sounds like a very lo-fi punk racket and that possibly doesn't sit in with my earlier Sonic Youth and Beat Happening comparisons. It's true that they've sped up con...

  • Published: Tuesday 9th April 2019

Insides - Euphoria

Album review: Insides - Euphoria

from Clinton

Oh this album. So important to us long running Norman Records types that we tried our best to get permission to re-issue it ourselves before we heard Beacon Sound had done the decent thing. This is one of *the* key 90s records. I barely want to attach it to a genre as it sits so perfectly between el...

  • Published: Monday 8th April 2019

Rozi Plain - What A Boost

Album review: Rozi Plain - What A Boost

from Clinton

Didn't get round to reviewing this last week not because of any dearth of enthusiasm but we didn't have soundclips (hint hint record labels). So I spent the half hour that I should have spent reviewing the record trying to work out where she got that blue anorak she wears on the sleeve.  It's d...

  • Published: Monday 8th April 2019

Ela Orleans - Movies For Ears

Album review: Ela Orleans - Movies For Ears

from Clinton

To the uninitiated, you should really check out Ela Orleans. There are several long pieces on this site (usually penned by Brian) which tell of her excellence but in line with Night School's attempt at collecting her best work into one easi-browse album, I'm going to be short and succinct in an atte...

  • Published: Monday 8th April 2019

Girls In Synthesis - Pre/Post: A Collection 2016-2018

Album review: Girls In Synthesis - Pre/Post: A Collection 2016-2018

from Clinton

So we have an exclusive on this thanks to the kind people at Louder Than War and we want to do a good job for them. So Phil says I get two options  - either I write a glowing review and promote it like mad on social media or I buy all the records myself.  I'm busy considering the latter b...

  • Published: Thursday 4th April 2019

Spiral Stairs - We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized

Album review: Spiral Stairs - We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized

from Clinton

New album from The One Out Of Pavement No-one Gives A Shit About. Actually that's cruel. We could be looking at a Bob Nastanovich album here (lock up your daughters!) The opening track is a sort of Iggy Pop like thing that is as far away from Pavement as it's possible to get with a Lust For Life typ...

  • Published: Thursday 4th April 2019

Ratso - Stubborn Heart

Album review: Ratso - Stubborn Heart

from Clinton

Who *is* this guy? actually who isn't he? Larry "Ratso" Sloman has authored some pretty big biographies (Howard Stern, Anthony Kiedis and Mike Tyson)  collaborated on lyrics with the likes of John Cale and generally been a New York scenester. At the age of 70 he's decided to make his own album....

  • Published: Thursday 4th April 2019

Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising

Album review: Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising

from Clinton

Do we have time for this?  Latest from Pitchfork's answer to Karen Carpenter and an artist who has an unlikely fan in the form of my dad who has already placed his pre-order for this. I'm not sure what he's going to make of it all. Her previous Front Row Seat To Earth (she has a penchant for a...

  • Published: Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Cowboy Flying Saucer - Travel Lodge

Album review: Cowboy Flying Saucer - Travel Lodge

from Clinton

What a disgusting racket. This noise/psych/garage/kraut/splurge lot have been around the block a couple of times which means that maybe they remember the 90s and the sort of disgusting avant noise made by people such as Moonshake and Thee Hypnotics. This is one of those records that will be loved by...

  • Published: Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Lawrence Arabia - Lawrence Arabia's Singles Club

Album review: Lawrence Arabia - Lawrence Arabia's Singles Club

from Clinton

Ooph. Just look at him. James Milne is bold. Not just with the moustache he's sporting on the inner sleeve but with the fact that he launched a Kickstarter so he could record these songs and that he contacted Sir Van Dyke Parks to play on it. It sounds a lot like a kind of bucket list but the good n...

  • Published: Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Idlewild - Interview Music

Album review: Idlewild - Interview Music

from Clinton

Our former scribe Robin may disagree but I'm finding it hard to work out what the point is of an Idlewild revival. But there again what is the point in anything? Opener Dream Variations literally does nothing in its first half to make me even realise the record is on but at the half way mark it seem...

  • Published: Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Martha - Love Keeps Kicking

Album review: Martha - Love Keeps Kicking

from Clinton

"Martha have already made a case for themselves as this generation’s Buzzcocks (if not this generation’s Clash)" says the press release rather optimistically. Now, I know people need to sell records and I'm sure the record label are very excited about this new album but.. come on. I don'...

  • Published: Wednesday 3rd April 2019

C Duncan - Health

Album review: C Duncan - Health

from Clinton

I've almost never been so bored.  C.Duncan's debut album Architect was a lush multi layered piece of pop music that sounded like Grizzly Bear if they decided to make an album for summer listening. Then came The Midnight Sun which had some useful songs but some tinny synths and now....this. (I ...

  • Published: Tuesday 2nd April 2019

Chris Cohen - Chris Cohen

Album review: Chris Cohen - Chris Cohen

from Clinton

Last time round I accused Chris Cohen of being just a bit too laid back and not engaging with his material...yup I'm fun to be around at parties... anyway this time he has made an album about his parents divorce and his dad subsequently coming out as gay. Therefore on lead track Green Eyes you can h...

  • Published: Wednesday 27th March 2019

Sophia - The Infinite Circle

Album review: Sophia - The Infinite Circle

from Clinton

I'm weeping. WEEPING I tell you. There's three Sophia re-issues out this week and all are worth owning but the Infinite Circle is the one that tore my heart in two in 1998. I'm struggling to remember which of my many break ups I was trying to get over back then but the Infinite Circle was the near p...

  • Published: Wednesday 27th March 2019

Rain Tree Crow - Rain Tree Crow

Album review: Rain Tree Crow - Rain Tree Crow

from Clinton

New Romantic clothes horses Japan didn't ever reform following their 1981 dissolution but in 1989 the four members along with Bill Frisell album reconvened to spend some time improvising the music that would become Rain Tree Crow. The opening Big Wheels In Shanty Towns immediately suggests that thi...

  • Published: Wednesday 27th March 2019

MALK - WMAIDIT

Album review: MALK - WMAIDIT

from Clinton

I was just listening to some boring UNKLE album or other when it hit me that it would be much more responsible of me to tell you about this ace new MALK tape on Lost Tribe Sound. You'll know MALK from last years superb Norman Records Album of the Year A Death to a Love and his remarkable hip-hop tri...

  • Published: Wednesday 27th March 2019

Garcia Peoples - Natural Facts

Album review: Garcia Peoples - Natural Facts

from Clinton

You could write everything I know about the Grateful Dead on a lock of Jerry Garcia's silver hair but this New Jersey band match their love for the long running long hairs with the sort of lop-sided approach of the likes of Pavement. What results is an enjoyable album of guitar tangling which veers ...

  • Published: Wednesday 27th March 2019

Budos Band - V

Album review: Budos Band - V

from Daoud

After kicking the habit on album four, Budos Band are back on the pragmatically titled albums with V. Without hearing the album this suggests uncertainty. They tried something new last time, maybe it didn’t work. With hearing the album though… Budos Band are clearly incredibly confident...

  • Published: Thursday 11th April 2019

Nilüfer Yanya - Miss Universe

Album review: Nilüfer Yanya - Miss Universe

from Daoud

Indie rock has become something of a “bad word” ever since British music industry tried to eat itself and birthed the concept of landfill indie. Now I’m of the right age that I was entirely susceptible to the marketing that went behind that sort of stuff to the point where I bought...

  • Published: Tuesday 26th March 2019

Akiko Yano - Japanese Girl

Album review: Akiko Yano - Japanese Girl

from Daoud

In 1976 Akiko Yano released one of the greatest left-field pop albums ever made. Sorry, I needed to get that out of system. You see, Japanese Girl is an utter marvel. It’s catchy and clever and serious and silly and it never falters once across its 10 tracks. Yano makes this album so easy to ...

  • Published: Tuesday 26th March 2019

Joni Void - Mise En Abyme

Album review: Joni Void - Mise En Abyme

from Jamie

Joni Void, then… One of the more enigmatic stars in the current, expanding Constellation roster of artists (which is saying something, as you may well know -- I hasten to add).  Jean Cousin (for Joni is he) has lately extended -- if not exactly expanded -- his sound palette for his seco...

  • Published: Thursday 4th April 2019

Ex Confusion - I Remember When

Album review: Ex Confusion - I Remember When

from Jamie

[*sings, in a minor key* Ohhh, twinkling ambience… where have you been these past few months, oh reviewer…] Mostly listening to noisier music than this, I’ll admit. Well, I’m back in the chair in this corner of melancholy (but not doom, oh no that’s entirely differe...

  • Published: Thursday 4th April 2019

Various - Additive Noise Function: Formative UK, European and North American Electronica 1978-1984

Album review: Various - Additive Noise Function: Formative UK, European and North American Electronica 1978-1984

from Will

The late 70s and early 80s were a pivotal moment in electronic music. The capabilities for making electronic music had been massively expanded with the advent of (relatively) cheap musical equipment, and, aided by the success of bands like Kraftwerk and New Order, there were many artists experimenti...

  • Published: Wednesday 17th April 2019

David Cronenberg’s Wife - The Octoberman Sequence

Album review: David Cronenberg’s Wife - The Octoberman Sequence

from Will

MY FIRST 10 FOR NORMAN RECORDS. THIS IS A CALENDAR EVENT, PEOPLE.  It’s a wonderful thing when a band you had completely forgotten about comes back into your life. I had thought David Cronenberg’s Wife had disappeared in the way that some bands just do, so was overjoyed to see thei...

  • Published: Wednesday 17th April 2019

Hoodna Orchestra - Ofel

Album review: Hoodna Orchestra - Ofel

from Will

For those unaware, the Hoodna Orchestra are a Tel Aviv-based orchestra specialising in afrobeat, funk, hints of jazz, as well as Ethiopian music. Ofel is a compact work with a lot of energy and a very interesting mood. I say ‘mood’ because afrobeat (what this LP is primarily based around...

  • Published: Wednesday 17th April 2019

Heather Woods Broderick - Invitation

Album review: Heather Woods Broderick - Invitation

from Will

‘Invitation’ is the new record from American composer Heather Woods Broderick. It’s a subtle and gently magisterial work that takes in folk, ambient, and tinges of Americana. The focal point is always Broderick’s voice, which rises, falls, croons, and intones, and draws every...

  • Published: Wednesday 17th April 2019

Fat White Family - Serfs Up!

Album review: Fat White Family - Serfs Up!

from Will

More ink has been spilled about those Fat Whites boys than from a squid in a ghost train. Whether they deliberately court the press or not, people just love to talk about the Fat White Family. For the most part, I think this is justified. They’re certainly one of the most interesting guitar ba...

  • Published: Wednesday 17th April 2019

Mekons - Deserted

Album review: Mekons - Deserted

from Will

When this review dropped onto my desk, I thought ‘Oh no, it’s that sludge metal band with that bloke with the big hair’ but upon further investigation I was thinking of Melvins not Mekons (it’s this kind of quality control you can rely on Norman Records for). Anyway. I digres...

  • Published: Friday 12th April 2019

Daniel O'Sullivan - Folly

Album review: Daniel O'Sullivan - Folly

from Will

From his work with Norwegian experimentalists Ulver and the mighty This Is Not This Heat, you already know the new Daniel O’Sullivan record is going to be special. It’s a record that knows exactly what it is: big-hearted, expansive, dreamy pop. To put Folly in some kind of context, &nbs...

  • Published: Friday 12th April 2019

Mark Guiliana - BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC!

Album review: Mark Guiliana - BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC!

from Will

I try not to judge a book by its cover (or record by its liner notes/photos), but I was initially put off by Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music Album. There is a photo of him in an all-yellow ensemble wearing chunky glasses and trainers. I thought ‘oh great, more hipster dreck I’ve got to ...

  • Published: Wednesday 10th April 2019

Lee Fields & The Expressions - It Rains Love

Album review: Lee Fields & The Expressions - It Rains Love

from Will

Lee Fields, the American soul singer, is releasing his seventh studio album with his backing band The Expressions. Fields has had amazing longevity, and, although The Expressions have been going since 1979, has been active since 1969. He sounds remarkable youthful, but his voice is not without a cer...

  • Published: Wednesday 10th April 2019

Jay Bolotin - No One Seems To Notice That It's Raining

Album review: Jay Bolotin - No One Seems To Notice That It's Raining

from Will

Jay Bolotin is a new one on me. As a massive fan of mournful American singer-songwriters playing acoustic guitars (Van Zandt, Prine, Basho, Fahey, the list goes on ‘n’ on), I was immediately drawn to this hitherto-unknown figure. Bolotin is a Kentucky-born, Nashville resident that, in th...

  • Published: Wednesday 10th April 2019

Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel

Album review: Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel

from Will

Fontaines D.C. are an Irish band who are soon to be releasing their debut album, ‘Dogrel. It’s a heady blast of post-punk, art-punk, and garage rock. Something I always listen out for in new bands is an authentic voice, and in singer Grian Chatten they have found it both in accent and ly...

  • Published: Monday 8th April 2019

White Denim - Side Effects

Album review: White Denim - Side Effects

from Will

I’ve never listened to White Denim before, always dismissing them as a kind of Wolf Alice, Black Keys kind of band for some reason (I literally have no idea why I thought this). Alas, how wrong I was! Their new album is a soup of psychedelia, jazz, loops, experimentation, odd song structures, ...

  • Published: Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Pozi - PZ1

Album review: Pozi - PZ1

from Will

This POZI record has been on in the office a few times, so I’ve absorbed this LP through osmosis but this is the first time I’ve sat down and had a dedicated listen. PZ1 is eleven songs of wiry, taut post-punk reminiscent of bands such as Wire, Gang of Four, and Devo. This LP definitely ...

  • Published: Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Locust - Red

Album review: Locust - Red

from Will

Red is an EP made by Locust, the alter-ego of Mark Van Hoen. It’s a four-song suckerpunch, full of odd twists and turns; it’s totally heavy and totally enthralling. There isn’t a weak track on this album, each track develops the overarching feel of the EP, before being knocked out ...

  • Published: Wednesday 27th March 2019

Floating Points - Late Night Tales

Album review: Floating Points - Late Night Tales

from Will

This is the third compilation I’ve reviewed today and I’ve got to say, it’s a treat. Gone are the worries about plucking some kind of redeeming feature from an utterly uninspiring album, with compilations if you don’t get on with one track, the next track will be a complete s...

  • Published: Wednesday 27th March 2019

Stick In The Wheel - present From Here: English Folk Field Recordings Volume 2

Album review: Stick In The Wheel - present From Here: English Folk Field Recordings Volume 2

from Will

The term ‘modern folk’ is a term that elicits in me the same feeling as when someone says ‘Modern jazz’ or ‘gastropub’; it’s a sense of displacement and difference. That initial discomfort aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this compilation of ‘modern folk&rs...

  • Published: Wednesday 27th March 2019

Various - Nigeria 70: No Wahala: Highlife, Afro-Funk & Juju 1973-1987

Album review: Various - Nigeria 70: No Wahala: Highlife, Afro-Funk & Juju 1973-1987

from Will

I love compilations like Nigeria ‘70 because, although they must inevitably exclude notable  luminaries from a particular scene or genre, they are democratic; they allow for a diverse amalgamation of music to be considered as one sprawling whole and brought into the conscience of people t...

  • Published: Wednesday 27th March 2019