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Best & Worst: April 2018 Friday 27th April 2018

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Record Store Day. The massive, inescapable road block plonked in the middle of April. But, and maybe it's just pressing plants wising up to RSD's annual impact, to our minds there hasn’t actually been the same drop in the quantity of releases that we have seen in some previous years. Which means that, despite RSD, there have been plenty of enjoyable records out this month.

First up, there have been a load of quality re-issues - including some truly great records that have passed under the radar in previous years. Re-presses of Belong, Stars of the Lid and Disco Inferno were the pick up the bunch and all come highly recommended by us to fans of forward-thinking music. In particular, the Belong record is a tour de force of the sort of powerful-but-heartfelt noise perfected by acts like My Bloody Valentine and Flying Saucer Attack.

We also recommend reminding yourself of the genius of Shudder to Think, and if you are a fan of The Feelies then their side project Yung Wu got a re-issue this month. The Feelies didn’t make too many records in their heyday so this will help sake your thirst.

On to the new stuff. Clint’s favourite release of the month was the new one by The Amazing. The band has hinted at greatness for many years now but on ‘In Transit’ they have put together a near-seamless record of mopey dream pop that will appeal to those who loved the likes of Red House Painters and Idaho. Clint also liked the Minami Deutsch record. The Japanese psych band count techno among their influences, but if we're honest we were expecting an album of po-faced, done-to-death psych sludge.  Not at all. It’s beautifully tuneful, and if you liked the recent Cavern of Anti-Matter record this could be for you. So give it a go. A Place to Bury Strangers also released an impressive record this month, and although their sound is very clearly influenced by like Joy Division, Mary Chain, etc. their clanking racket brought something new and visceral to Clint's old, old ears.

Some of us liked the DRINKS record a lot more than Robin, who seemingly couldn’t stand it. It can be a bit wearing, maybe, but its an inventive take on spindly, Slits-style post punk with some nice melodic manouvres. Robin does, however, love the Hop Along record which rejoices in the title 'Bark Your Head Off Dog' and is a broth of left-turning grunge, pop, lo-fi, folk and feelings.  

Somewhat suprisingly, one of our least-liked records was the new Hinds one which, despite being highly rated pretty much everywhere else, we couldn’t find much to enjoy about. Maybe it’s a grower, and so maybe we'll give it another go. The jury is still just about out for us, too, on the Unknown Mortal Orchestra album: perhaps not the breakthrough record we hoped for them. Same goes for the new one from Mouse on Mars which, though certainly having stellar moments, seemed a little too in awe of its guests to be comparable with their best work.

In the electronic sector, the µ-ziq album was a nice reminder of Mike Paradinos’s production skills, whilst The Caretaker’s delve into total blurriness was a harder listen (but maybe that is the point). The now sold out Ross From Friends 12” was great, and it’s nice to see a longform 12” from 154 in circulation.

Please forgive us for mentioning it again but having listened to the entirety of the Space Afrika LP half the office bought it immediately. This is exemplary, dub-drenched techno for fans of GAS, Chain Reaction, etc. Legendary producer Gerard Donald - famed for some of the most cutting-edge electronica out of Detroit - is also back with an impressive album as XOR Gate, whilst Rival Consoles made a strong album of pulsating Carpenter-esque electronics.

Just in this week: the brief-but-beautiful new record from Grouper and a beguiling, chiming and skronking mixture of free jazz and pop from Eve Essex.  

And, finally, we had an exclusive on the new Concretism record - filtering the usual Boards of Canada influences through into a more dystopian brand of synth worship that totally suits the name. Still a few copies of the black vinyl left at the time of writing, although the turquoise is now long gone.

So that’s it for April. Now that RSD is out of the way expect an even bigger pool of records to choose from for May. Already we know about some upcoming things we are pretty excited about including a re-issue of Bark Psychosis's overlooked 2004 album ‘Codename: Dustsucker’, re-issues of the Breeders albums, more Coil stuff, plus upcoming new things from Sleep, Ryley Walker, the Brian Jonestown Massacre and a randomly-coloured Goat 7” that is flying out.


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