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Staff reviews this month

Good or bad, here's what we think of this month's crop of new releases.

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

Danske Båndamatører // Danish Tape Amateurs 1959​-​1976

The Danish Sound Archaeology imprint shine a light into this fascinating, obscure crevice of DIY European avant garde. Spanning three decades, the works they’ve compiled illustrate what can be achieved within fairly limited means and lots of imagination. These marvellous experiments and adventurous explorations into sound were created util...view item »


More unique man/machine mayhem from NYZ aka David Burraston, whose release schedule is admirably relentless at the moment. At the current rate he’ll be catching up with old Merzbow before we know it -- ‘CSR SHAPERZ’ is his eleventh release under this particular alias alone, and there’s also a NYZ tape imminent on Conditio...view item »

John T. Gast
BTEC Version #1

Limited white label action from the enigmatic John T. Gast (Planet Mu, Blackest Ever Black, 5 Gate Temple, Apron Records etc.) with a pair of cuts apparently recorded in 2013. They’ve been maturing nicely on whatever hard drive they’ve been lurking on for the past five years… Up top, the superb ‘Angela’ is ...view item »

Miss Red
Dagga / One Shot Killer

Banton Israeli MC Miss Red is about to drop her second full-length ‘K.O.’ The album has been produced by kindred spirit Kevin Martin aka The Bug and is due on his own Pressure label. Two taster/teaser cuts from the record appear on this limited edition injury red plate, pressed up in a limited edition of 500 copies. On the strength o...view item »

Dub Hell / Devil's Dance

Limited edition of 250 copies ten-inch plate from Young Echo crew member and Bristol/Berlin DJ/producer Ossia. His mutant strain of technoid dub isn’t concerned with the usual fare of chasing vampires, rather Ossia embraces the darkness and plummets us down into the fiery bowels of hell to prance with demons and toke with the evil cloven-h...view item »

Mark Fell

Having heard this and enjoyed the serene state of mind it left me in, I thought I’d wait for the absolute right moment and headspace to write about it. So I sit down in front of the computer with a cup of Yorkshire Tea and then BOOM. I thought it was a freakin’ earthquake, but no, the bastard neighbour has only gone and hired some ma...view item »

Mika Vainio
Lydspor One & Two (Blue TB7 Series)

Never thought I’d be writing about another posthumous Mika Vainio record after the world sadly lost him in 2017. I so wasn’t expecting more material after ‘Reat’ but here we are with a record in the Moog Recordings Library series. You all know by now I’m a massive Vainio fan, so this one’s a bit special. There...view item »

Nadine Byrne
Dreaming Remembering

‘Dreaming Remembering’ is an album of freeform, explorative electronics and the soundtrack to a short film of the same name (peep the video) from Ectoplasm Girl Nadine Byrne. I was supposed to write about this album last week, but despite having heard it about five times now, I’ve had real difficulty summoning the words. Like t...view item »

Wet Will Always Dry

Blawan’s productions have always stood out in the ultra-saturated world of generic banging techno tracks. Since he launched his Ternsec label and started fully embracing modular gear, he’s been relentlessly forging a very distinctive sound that’s truly his own. Of course, machines/computers/synths are just a means to an end - w...view item »

Daniel Katinsky
Digital Concrete

Hugely impressive debut release of mind-bending synthetic sound from this Glasgow artist. Calum Gunn, curator of the Conditional label seems to have a knack for delving deep into the underground and giving a platform to talented emerging artists operating in the realms of experimental electronic music. I have no idea what Daniel Katinsky is doin...view item »

DJ Lilocox
Paz & Amor

If you’re looking to get a party started or just keep one going for that matter, you pretty much can’t go wrong with records on Príncipe. There’s surely something in the water in Lisbon and DJ Lilocox seems to have been guzzling it. ‘Paz & Amor’ comprises five cuts of expertly tooled Batida that just begs...view item »

Hanging By Faith

When reviewing this five track release from the ever-so dark and deep Spotlights, it is very important to have had a fresh listen to the track the EP is based on: Faith by The Cure. Anyone who is a fan of The Cure will understand that, like Sp...view item »

Princess Nokia
A Girl Cried Red

Phil likes this. I think his pre-teen stepdaughter must have been playing it. No she likes PIL so he's obviously hitting yet another mid-life crisis.  To review it though means I'm breaching my 'no autotune' policy... something that seems to baffle the younger elements in our office. You see, hearing autotune on my records hits a particular...view item »

Stella Donnelly
Thrush Metal

No wonder Matador spent good time re-issuing Liz Phair's 'Exit in Guyville' recently as there seems to be a direct lineage between that album and the current wave of singer songwriters who purvey a similar acoustic melancholy with no holds barred lyrical dexterity.  Perhaps the best of the lot is Ste...view item »

Consolation EP

It's not happening.  As Protomartyr get more and more popular and receive more praise from you our valued customers I keep hoping that their music will click with me but it just doesn't. After liking a small portion of their previous 'Relatives In Descent' I'm back in square one with this EP. As always my issues are with the derivat...view item »

Kamasi Washington
Heaven and Earth

With reference to everyone moaning about the football being on over summer ...what about those of us who don't like saxophones? There are at least two and a half hours of music here.. much of which contains saxophone. Add this to all the other sax music out there and it's starting to become a problem even leaving the house. Sadly our sax...view item »

Johnny Marr
Call The Comet

In which universe can Johnny Marr describe this as the best thing he's ever worked on? It's an incredible thing about musicians that they continually think their best work is what they are currently doing. Imagine this happening in other fields  - Peter Beardsley's best football was played at his short late spell at Hartlepool United, Tiger...view item »

Foreign Affairs

The fact that Connections feature people who were once in a band  famed for being the only non Guided By Voices band signed to Robert Pollard's  label Rockathon should give you an idea where they are coming from. They play a similarly ragged style of near pop glory that sounds like the band are playing really good songs blindfolded. 'C...view item »

Stuart A. Staples

Though Tindersticks' Stuart Staples second full length album under his own name has references to his parent band, this is a bold move away into to new territories. It consists of four long form songs - opener 'A New Real' is fairly straightforward and begins with his distinctive voice over a slow moving drum machine and dub effects before lovel...view item »

Melody's Echo Chamber
Bon Voyage

It's been awhile but since Melody Echo Chamber's debut in 2012 since then she's fallen out with its producer Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) and had a serious but unspecified accident which left her hospitalised. On the early sections of opener 'Cross My Heart' it sounds that nothing has really changed. It is gorgeous, gallic pop with a beautiful mel...view item »

Arthur Buck
Arthur Buck

I'm not overly happy with Joseph Arthur here. What I don't understand is this. When in R.E.M Peter Buck hated guitar solos and wouldn't have them on the records yet here he is happy for someone (presumably not him) to screech them and then for them to be actually left in the mix. Did they get put on after he left the...view item »

Girls Names
Stains on Silence

Like the world itself Girls Names music just seems to have got darker and bleaker over the last few years. Though the fact that they previously appeared on labels such as Captured Tracks and Slumberland would suggest (correctly) that there was a part of their sound that was brighter and poppier.  But this is bleak going on unbearabl...view item »

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Hope Downs

That moment when we say "if you only buy one guitar pop album all year ...." .  Every summer needs a guitar based album we all can enjoy and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have more than delivered here. They are a rough hewn project and much dirtier and grungier than your usual summer fayre of bands like ...view item »

Father John Misty
God’s Favorite Customer

It's tempting to spend all day on the question 'why....and how is Father John Misty so bad?' It's a tricky one to answer as sometimes he comes up with the musical goods which proves that beneath the bluster he has something. He also has a really great timeless voice which *should* be able to sing anything and get away with it. 'God's Favourite C...view item »

Jamie Isaac
(04:30) Idler

I so much wanted to like this as I love his previous album 'Couch Baby' and the even better earlier EPs and I do enjoy it to a degree but.... It's one of those records that both exemplifies the skill of the artist but also frustratingly shows what might have been with better choices. First up  - he has a glorious, glorious sound. Al...view item »

Gruff Rhys

Very talented bloke both with Super Furry Animals and solo I had enormous high hopes for this from the early press clippings but despite many examples of strong songwriting skills I'm finding Babelsberg a claustrophobic and over-sweetened listen.  Babelsberg is indeed an ostentatious album by an artist who is usually noted for ...view item »

Stanley Brinks

PEANUTS!!!!  "I was up to my neck in beautiful girls but I chose you" Stanley Brinks brags on opener 'Sweet Fanny Adams'. Lucky girl indeed. Her bearded beau has perfected the art of writing simple catchy songs sung in a voice that re-configures the word 'nasal'. He is blindingly in thrall to Jonathan Richman and has that travelling...view item »

Dave Evans
The Words Inbetween

You wouldn't think that there was anything else to be mined from the fertile breeding ground of folk music that was the early 70's but this obscurity from this unassumingly-named minstrel Dave Evans is certainly ripe for re-issue. His guitar playing is sparkling. He has a wonderful lightness of touch that is comparable and often betters greats l...view item »

Ceiling Demons

Ceiling Demons are to my knowledge the only hip-hop troupe to come out of Richmond, North Yorkshire. Their rhymes are less about at which delicatessen to get the finest olives and the geranium display on the castle walls but male mental health what it's like to grow up in rural England. William Hague is fan (we think).  'Nil' sounds...view item »

Constant Image

I saw a rather sniffy Uncut review of this the other day but presumably because they are not called Drive-By-Truckers then this won't appeal to their world view. We found this rather catchy when we played it in the office the other day. Well no-one turned it off so that is a start. There's elements of the Breeders...view item »

Michael Rault
It's A New Day Tonight

When I first heard Big Star I remember thinking how raunchy they sounded. It's something that is somewhat overlooked about them. They are dead raunchy.  By the looks of his moustache Michael Rault is raunchy  and by the sounds of opener 'I'll Be There' he is musically raunchy too. This has all tha...view item »

Gabriella Cohen
Pink Is The Colour of Unconditional Love

'Australia's Sweetheart' screams the press release. Definitely better than Minogue, Everage or Barnett then.  This is Gabriella Cohen's second album of perky and quite crunchy pop music. It's simple and effective rather than thrill a minute exciting. The lyrics on 'Baby' must be tongue-in-cheek because no-one over the age of three could hav...view item »

Echo Ladies
Pink Noise

Shoegaze so user-friendly that even Radio X are on board, Echo Ladies are the place where Pinkshinyultrablast meets Chvrches. All the usual influences are very quickly on board  - bits of the Cocteau's, New ...view item »

Adam Stafford
Fire Behind The Curtain

To celebrate Phil's 50th whinge about the fact that I've not reviewed it I decided to finally sit down and give this album a listen....and you know what...he's right. This record shouldn't go unnoticed.  Adam Stafford's compositions sit in that perfect place (to my ears anyway) where the minimalist repetition of the likes of ...view item »

Vital Idles
Left Hand

The thing I liked most about Life Without Buildings was that I hated them. I couldn't stand Sue Tompkins delivery to such an extent that it was good because it meant that someone else would like it just as much as I hated it.  Life Without Buildings were distinct and although Vital Idles ...view item »


Well I have to admit I'm loving that big fluffy thing on the album sleeve and on the videos they've released to promote this record. You should see it dance....remarkable.  Also the music is unexpectedly brilliant. I'm sort of a fan of bits of Laura Marling not so much of T...view item »

The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Something Else

The first of two (count 'em) albums by the Brian Jonestown Massacre this year yet there never seems to be a let up in the demand for their albums. Two reasons probably  - firstly BJM fans are a loyal bunch and secondly their albums always maintain a certain standard. Nothing since 'Revelation' has shimmered quite with the quality of that re...view item »

Richard Edwards

Not, as Ian helpfully pointed out to Phil, the former Manic Street Preachers guy. Now that would be a comeback worth waiting for. Instead this Richard Edwards is a mopey singer songwriter with a horrifying sounding intestinal ailment.  Now that James Blake h...view item »

Whale City

Obviously it goes without saying that there's nothing I detest more than confident, cocaine-addled London bands. The sorts championed by those fellow snorting music press people still left hanging about since the decline of their 90s heyday. Initially Warmduscher are the very worst example. I mean look at t...view item »

Infinite Music
A Tribute To La Monte Young

So you give a 9/10 review to one! (1!) Charlemagne Palestine album and all of a sudden you’re the 20th Century New York minimalism guy. I’d feel like I’d been unfairly type cast except for that fact that… I also like this album. Infinite Music are ...view item »

Charlemagne Palestine

I’d love to see the inside of a piano that Charlemagne Palestine is hammering away at. The speed and regularity of the hammers moving up and down would be as hypnotic as the music he makes. There’s something otherworldly about his compositions, and to see this would ground them. ...view item »

Brendon Anderegg

Yes! Here’s an experimental record of synth explorations from those fine fellows and lasses at Thrill Jockey and a quick glance (on-line, natch) confirms this to be the work of Chicagoan (no surprises, no prizes) Brendon Anderegg. Brendon’s surname is not the only interesting factor to be revealed by this long-player though -- oh no,...view item »

Kerry Devine
Away From Mountains

Mountains! Singer-songwriters love them, oftentimes, but here’s Kerry Devine with her interestingly-named ‘Away From Mountains’ on (limited) vinyl LP *and* the great new format everyone’s talking about, the Compact Disc. I think Kerry’s from Britain (can we get a fact-check on that please, ed?) and we don’t ha...view item »

Marisa Anderson
Cloud Corner

Well, the irony is not lost on me; I’m not quite in the ‘Cloud Corner’ but I *am* in the Reviewer’s Corner this relatively cloudless sunny day in Holbeck, in order to write a little about this spindly guitar goodness from Marisa Anderson. All the instruments on this record were played by the extraordinarily dextrous-finge...view item »

Branches of Sun

Ah, Aukai -- I liked his debut, self-titled LP which was I can clearly recall reviewing just under two years ago. Beautiful acoustic ambience which evoked late-afternoon strolls in the Autumn, watery rays of sunshine filtering through the branches as golden leaves softly tumble in the crisp air. Well, here’s Mar...view item »

My Home, Sinking
King of Corns

Enrico Coniglio is a Venetian, a guitarist, a sound recordist and a human with a particular sensitivity to the beauty in the landscape around him. As a sound artist and multi-disciplined musician through his My Home, Sinking guise, he seems to have a definite ability ...view item »


Sometimes I feel I’m lucky doing this job; I often think this, in fact… The latest person to remind me how fortunate I am -- bearing in mind it’s still only Tuesday -- wasn’t Phil (surprisingly) but this man called Rauelsson who makes beautiful neoclassical sounds concocted from electronic...view item »

Oneohtrix Point Never
Age Of

Harpsichord! Daniel Lopatin has used a harpsichord, and it’s all over the opening, title track of this latest Oneohtrix Point Never opus which he has somewhat open-endedly named ‘Age Of’. Scarlatti has been summoned ...view item »

Mark Van Hoen
Invisible Threads

Former Seefeel member and sometime Locust -- as well as having tucked numerous productions in his own name under his belt -- Mark Van Hoen continues his long line of detailed, often intense ambient electronic albums with Invisible Threads. In ...view item »

Pieter Nooten

Ambient music: yes, subtle it may be -- and often is, if only by its own definition -- but by golly, doesn’t it often tug at the heartstrings? So, here we have ‘Stem’ from ambient and classical composer Pieter Nooten; does it emote? Well, yes, yes it really does. The kind of instrumental musi...view item »

Her Name Is Calla
The Dead Rift EP

Over time Her Name Is Calla have moved away from a bleeding-heart post-rock sound in favour of the sway of the times, going in on traditional songs, windswept landscapes of folk and a more direct kind of dread. On ‘The Dead Rift’, they’re trembling messes, singing chaos through songs that bristle and overshare. The record&rsquo...view item »

Witch Mountain
Witch Mountain

Herein I will give props to Witch Mountain, a band I expected myself to not at all like. My doom preference is the stuff with the indecipherable skramz vocals, where the cleaner, more Sabbath-invoking material usually leaves me wanting more grit and pummel. Witch Mountain have come to kick my ass and tell me to grow up, and I appreciate it: thei...view item »

Alanis Obomsawin
Bush Lady

Constellation’s latest record is an essential find and arguably a massive political artefact. Alanis Obomsawin was a filmmaker and artist who devoted much of her life to telling the stories of Canada’s First Nation families. Before taking on directorial duties, however, she was a songwriter, and after a series of tireless excursions ...view item »

Dos Santos

Blending the Colombian dance sound of Cumbia with a frenetic and well-calibrated post-rock, Dos Santos will offer shades of recognition before departing for an entirely different sound. On “Arc Bame”, the opener to their new record ‘Logos’, their tapping rhythms mix with the kind of sleep-then-wake guitars of Tortoise; on...view item »

New Bodies

Lovely Tangents started their band a little too late: if post-rock was still having the renaissance it enjoyed back in the day, we’d all be fans of their Aussie meanderings, loving the jittery stillness they perform with all our hearts. At Norman, we’re huge fans: there’s something in the way they move their jazz fusion element...view item »

Chris Orrick

Time for some self-realisation, folks. MC Chris Orrick has come into ‘Portraits’ with a harsh look at everything around him but it all bounces back inward. Opening on the loathing “Self-portrait”, he crafts a song as caustically insular and openly damning as Kendrick’s “u”, making a light, mellow beat fo...view item »

Roo Panes
Quiet Man

He might be a quiet man, but is he as quiet as Jon Krasinski was in A Quiet Place? The answer is a resounding no, folks: Roo Panes sings songs, and no matter how soft they may be, they are nonetheless audible. Like Bon Iver shot through a lush environment and a bunch of pretty intense arrangements, Panes has made a record of emotional fanfare ju...view item »

Sorpresa Familia

Okay this is fun. “Barcelona City Tour” is how I would like all the quasy-gnarly noise rock boy bands of the past to actually sound: angular but driving with gang vocal chants that come completely out of leftfield instead of languishing through the whole thing. Despite its brash punky feel, Mourn’s opener for ‘Sopresa Fam...view item »

Lay Llamas

There was a time when all I ever reviewed was the Lay Llamas or bands that desperately wanted to sound like them. Darlings of Rocket, the psych rock band have long been the champion of jangly repetitions, making the best version of a taut, rhythmic jam outfit swimming in a sea with leagues of them. I’ve come to accept this music will never...view item »

Hilary Woods

With a record from doom metal legends Thou on the horizon, I’m starting to think Sacred Bones are entering a troublesome teens era where they’re gonna start releasing beyond the remit of their embryonic goth rock. Ever glum, but in different shades, they’re continuing to confuse me with this gorgeous ...view item »

Virginia Wing
Ecstatic Arrow

I dunno if you know, but it’s pretty hard to do what Virginia Wing do. Maybe it sounds like it, sometimes, and maybe at others it doesn’t: in that conflict is the charm of their sound, as widescreen and blissed out as it is tinkered on a whim in someone’s bedroom. On “Be Released”, the intro to their new record &lsq...view item »

Crayola Lectern
Happy Endings

Obnoxious psych pop for people who like horns and a plethora of things occuring in the highest octaves. What could be more fun? I don’t know; I’ve never done acid. Fans of gloopy, synthy, past-due future-pop will find a lot to love in this wacky tour-de-force that recalls things like Jacco Gardner ...view item »

Blown Out / Comacozer
In Search Of Highs Volume 1

I could really save time on this one by making this review a bulky copypasta of my previous Blown Out reviews, but I won’t. I’ll simply reimagine what I said, what words the band’s blank-dot space void conjured: I imagine psychedelic was one of them, as was slow, as was wah, as was jam, as was solo, as was endless. And let&rsqu...view item »

Snail Mail

Norman Records website editor Clint is absolutely obsessed with the fact that Snail Mail have a bassist called Alex Bass. He’s so obsessed with it that I’ve been left to pick up the pieces and actually tell you what it is that Snail Mail do. Bolstered by the canny and intuitive songwriting prowess of Lindsey Jordan, the band offer th...view item »

Our Raw Heart

What you gonna do with this Yob? You gonna get the head banging and the hair swaying? You gonna send several hundred devil-horn emojis to unsuspecting friends? You gonna just say “Yob” over and over again because it’s a purely satisfying act? Yes, all that and more in praise and celebration of ‘Our Raw Heart’, the l...view item »


This is an all-caps debut for a lower-case lover. serpentwithfeet has made a record of ruinous torch songs on ‘soil’, exploding his humility with a startling record of future-bound gospel, enveloping boisterous vocal performances and melodic laments in contributions from producers and MCs like Katie Gately, A$AP Rocky and Clams Casin...view item »

Neko Case

Neko Case has long been eschewing her alt-country tagline in favour of music weirder and wilder. Mixing a primordial understanding of pop music with oblique lyricism and a love of sonic detours, she delivered ‘The Worse Things Get...’ as her best ever record. Its follow up, ‘Hell-on’, is a similar blend of her experimenta...view item »

Split Cranium
I’m The Devil and I’m OK

To quote Milhouse Van Houten, “fun is fun”. Better still is having fun through the medium of music, which is extremely rare, because music is de facto bad. I’m pleased to say one of the rare opportunities for musical fun exists in this most unlikely of places: an album-long collaboration between members of ...view item »

Robocobra Quartet
Plays Hard To Get

The things we’ll accuse bands of being. “Fugazi meets Mingus”. “Ought with the Mountain Goats”. “Unwound but if they made In Rainbows”. A day will come when we shut up shop on th...view item »

Jenny Hval
The Long Sleep

Jenny Hval returns from a hiatus, relative to her prolific standards, with a novella, a collab album as Lost Girls, and a new EP of her own solo work. Are you not entertained? Having made two brilliant records that approached pop via polemics, she here wipes the slate clean by approaching the material of ‘The Long Sleep’ with intuiti...view item »

Thought and Existence

This, being a Bong record, might do the things you expect it to. Long doom drones that make Stephen O’Malley look entirely humourless and Greg Anderson not stoned enough, the Newcastle slow boys get their guitars groaning with grain and then start the festival of pummel. Gong-like percussive shim...view item »

Joan Of Arc

For SEO purposes we’re not allowed to swear in our reviews, but… when will he fuck off? When will Tim Kinsella retire from all musical projects? When will we have peace? Please. Thanks. With Joan of Arc’s most recent line-up, the smugly offensive stand-up comedian of emo music has continued down the same road with ‘He&rs...view item »

Aisha Burns

‘Argonauta’ is a big sound, but it should be. Embracing music as the catharsis she needed to express the loss of her mother and the experience of a new love, Aisha Burns found herself making a record of terrestrially felt rock music, the kind that intimates the mix-up of tragedy and respite, putting rain and sunshine together like tw...view item »

Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger, James Rushford
Face Time

I’m at a crossroad in my life, here: I’m so excited both at the prospect of a follow-up to the immense ‘Pale Calling’ LP and of an upcoming world cup that I keep billing this as the latest collaboration between Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger and Marcus Rashford. He’s a really good footballer, and might score a few mor...view item »

Father John Misty
God’s Favorite Customer

The night Josh Tillman came to our apartment. The night Josh Tillman wouldn’t stop eating things from our fridge. The night Josh Tillman kept telling us his conspiracy theories about chemtrails but just nodded blankly while texting his wife any time we tried to talk. The night Josh Tillman wouldn’t stop reminiscing about his experien...view item »

Juliana Daugherty

Who amongst us doesn’t want another Sunday morning folk rock record in our life? Juliana Daugherty’s made the most quintessential of them, spending a day she could’ve described as lazy being sad instead, letting the bare white walls and piled-up crockery gather around her as her lonely apartment becomes the only other character...view item »

Natalie Prass
The Future and the Past

Hot off the prasses! It’s the first ever prassing of Natalie Prass’s new album! Prass the ‘Add to Cart’ button immediately. Don’t delay; as soon as you do it you’ll be whisked away from this terrible page of terrible puns about Natalie Prass’ name. You can now add Prass to the club of musicians w...view item »

The Unraveling

The Flenser have flensed another flensing. Thank goodness. In all honesty I just googled what ‘flense’ means in its verb form and I, a squeamish metalhead caught forever in a self-sabotaging paradox, don’t feel good about it. Here’s Ails; blame them not for these ills. Christy Cather and Laurie Shanaman were part of an av...view item »

World’s Blood

If you thought Deafheaven were black metal’s peak of gimmick, look away: this one’s a Western. Wayfarer have made a record of specifically American black metal, taking the genre and using it to evoke the history of their native Colorado. The press release makes it unclear whether this is a glorificati...view item »

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