• Ben Lee

New Releases: 19th February 2021

Ben brings you all the new releases and reissues to arrive at The Vinyl Whistle this week, featuring releases ranging from indie, synth-pop, lofi, hip-hop, electronica, rock, folk, RnB, soul, jazz, punk, dance, psychedelic rock, pop-punk, funk, metal and pop. To order, you can find the items on the links below. Here's Ben's roundup of his Top 10 Picks of the week:

Another New Thing - XYZZY (Indie / Synth Pop / Electronic)


Dipped In Gold Recordings are proud to announce Another New Thing The latest project from Sheffield’s number one purveyor of synth pop Dean Honer ( All Seeing i, I Monster, Electronic Research Council, Moonlandingz, ITOP).

Take three self professed toerags, one in Sheffield UK, one in Preston UK and one in Pennsylvania USA, quarantine them in their houses for 6 months for their own safety, tell them to make an album.

In 2015 Honer, Nagle and Himlin met on a Sonic Weekend in Wales. An annual event which was organised by Ann Shenton of Add N to X. People from all over the world gather in a remote farmhouse surrounded by sheep, to get hammered and make and record noise. Honer (ITOP, Moonlandingz, All Seeing I, I Monster) plays the role of producer for the weekend.

Himlin said to Nagle “One day we should make some music together”. 2020 Lockdown – Nagle sends Himlin some of his extended modular synthesizer workouts. Himlin writes songs over them and also adds guitar and bass. Nagle said to Himlin “These arent too shit, we should send these to Honer to do some mixes and production” And so the the game of audio “exquisite corpse” began. The tunes were passed from person to person via the transatlantic telegraph cable (Wetransfer) to add to or subtract from, until lockdown was eased and they were deemed complete. Himlin casually dubbed the project “Another New Thing,” “because that's what it is!”.

Nagle dubbed the album XYZZY after a magic password key he had discovered playing text based adventure games on his computer in the 70s, the unknown pronunciation being a bonus in his mind.


David Bowie and Morrissey - Cosmic Dancer (Pop Rock / Indie)


Morrissey and David Bowie’s duet of T-Rex’s ‘Cosmic Dancer’, that was recorded live at the Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles on 6th February 1991, is to be released officially for the first time. The 7-inch double A-side single featuring ‘Cosmic Dancer’ alongside Morrissey’s 2020 cover of The Jam’s ‘That’s Entertainment’ is to be released on 19th February. The sleeve front and back features photographs of David Bowie with Morrissey and were taken in New York City by Linder Sterling.


Bradford - Bright Hours (Indie / Rock)


Distressed of sound and disturbed of subject matter, “down-faced doll” sees the classic indie outfit connect with their dark-sides to deliver a cacophonous alt/folk stomp unlike anything they’ve released before.

based on a chilling true story told through the eyes of a discarded toy, its lyrics like clues, begin to lay evidence to a scene enough to turn anyone’s blood blue. as vocalist ian h. says: “by far the most disturbing song i’ve ever written. some songs seem to have a strange compelling energy which no one can rightly claim authorship to. they ‘write themselves’ but of course a great deal of working and shaping occurs too… a true story - well the first two verses are. the last two verses are my attempt to imagine “how did it ever get to this”…” customised with discomposing eastern-inspired guitar riffs and clamouring percussive rhythms, “down-faced doll” instils an unshakable feeling of paranoia, pursuit and unsease to match its haunting storyline. “ewan and stephen immediately tuned into its unsettling vibrations to create sounds and dark corners as you are unwillingly dragged through the scenario.” ian adds. created & produced by bradford (ian hodgson, ewan butler & stephen street), “down-faced doll” was mixed by stephen street (blur/new order/ kaiser chiefs) and mastered by john davies.


Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump...on a Wooden Piano (Indie Rock)


Jason Lytle set up a new plan when he decided to re-record the songs from Grandaddy’s “The Sophtware Slump.” Twenty years ago he made this ageless record while red-eyed and running around a sweltering slipshod home studio in his boxers using some gear he planned to return to Best Buy as soon as he was done. For this new, piano-centric “The Sophtware Slump,” Lytle traveled around Los Angeles, sourcing studios and pianos like a master chef selects foods from a farmer’s market. He identified three instruments and three studios that would suffice. Everything was in place. As with many best-laid plans, his were scuttled. In this case by a pandemic. So two decades after making a DIY masterpiece, Lytle found himself recording those songs again, sweating in his apartment again, trying to create a controlled environment while surrounded by chaos.

“I wrote a list of things I had to work around here,” he says. “Traffic. Pretty strong from 8-10, commute times. Then 2 to 5. Helicopters, garbage trucks, weed whackers, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, motorcycles that inevitably always drive by during the middle of a take, sports cars, lots of fancy luxury sedans with no mufflers, parrots.” Parrots. So unlike the old days where the coming and going of birds could be electronically punched in, Lytle 20 years after “The Sophtware Slump” found live birds willing to contribute to his album, and at no cost.


Ryan Hemsworth - Pout (Indie Pop / Electronic)


The first release in the Friends Of series, a new project that extends dedication to dynamic and innovative collaboration. Features from Ms. John Soda and BadBadNotGood’s Leland Whitty."For this EP I was trying to live less in nostalgia and function less off obvious references. I worked on 'Pout' while becoming a dad, sitting a lot in my garden, and trying to kill my ego. Tracks like “Mountain Access” make me think about driving around Hamilton, Ontario, my home as of a year ago. I hope people can still get a chance to walk around with this on headphones or daydream while listening to this project." - Ryan Hemsworth


Hey Colossus - Dances / Curses (Rock / Psychedelic / Post Rock)


Amplification moves air and gestures to the celestial. A splitter van parks in a service station. The afterglow of the stage. The weight of a bass cab up a steep flight of metal stairs. Hey Colossus are no strangers to the dualities of life as a loud rock band. But more importantly, they know how to channel both facets into records that transcend all limitations in a blinding volley of incandescence.

Dances / Curses - their lucky thirteenth record - is the work of six musicians at the peak of their considerable powers of intuition and inspiration. Constant motion is also something Hey Colossus know a little about, now into their eighteenth year as a band in a never-ending search for new trouble and new epiphanies. When this iteration of the band - which came together around the making of their last release, 2019’s Four Bibles, geographically spread between Somerset, Watford, London, Nottingham and Sheffield - first began work the chemistry apparently took care of itself, with their meetings at weekend rehearsals seeing them undergo a process less like jamming and more like a particularly intensive form of instant composition. Whatever sparks were spontaneously flying in these initial sessions, they gave rise to enough material to make Dances / Curses a double record, running the gamut from the rhythmically-driven, infectiously melodic songcraft of Donkey Jaw and Medal via the slow-burning atmospherics of U Cowboy to the mightily motorik-driven 15 minute travelogue that is A Trembling Rose, which takes in a plethora of unified headspaces in richly cinematic style.

Longterm Hey Colossus fan Mark Lanegan makes an appearance amidst the languid and sun-soaked denouement of The Mirror, the existential gravitas of his tones entirely at home in these revelatory surroundings. True to form for a band in full control, Dances / Curses is far from the kind of sprawling psych opus that exists purely due to the band being too baked, biased or blasé to edit it down. Indeed, this serendipitous record marks something even these six musicians never necessarily intended - a work in the tradition of the double album with an element of mystery, a record that somehow changes itself every time it returns to the shelf. Somewhere on the great continuum between Unwound’s Leaves Turn Inside You and Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants, somewhere between the dances of aspiration and the curses of reality, Hey Colossus have created their finest alchemical achievement to date.


SG Lewis - Times (Dance / Electronic / Disco)


Following the release of his huge summer singles Chemicals and the Robyn and Channel Tres collaborative smash Impact, UK songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist SG Lewis releases his long-awaited debut album, times. The LP, via EMI Records, finds one of modern pop’s secret weapons stepping out front and centre, as he takes listeners on a voyage through soaring electronic dance and kaleidoscopic future disco, with the help of a few friends along the way.


Lael Neale - Acquainted With Night (Indie / Alternative)


Lael’s new album Acquainted With Night is a testament to this poetic devotion. Stripped of any extraneous word or sound, the songs are lit by Lael’s crystalline voice which lays on a lush bed of Omnichord. The collection touches on themes that have been thread into her work for years: isolation, mortality, yearning, and reaching ever toward the transcendent experience.

Lael grew up on a farm in rural Virginia, but for nearly 10 years called Los Angeles home. Those years were spent developing her songwriting and performing in venues across the city, but the right way to record the songs proved more elusive. She says, “Every time I reached the end of recording, I felt the songs had been stripped of their vitality in the process of layering drums, bass, guitar, violin, and organ over them. They felt weighed down.”

In a moment of illumination the solution presented itself: do the simple thing. In early 2019, in the midst of major transition, she acquired a new instrument, the omnichord, and began recording a deluge of songs. Guy Blakeslee, who had been an advocate for years, set up a cassette recorder in her bedroom and provided empathic guidance, subtle yet affecting accompaniment and engineering prowess. Limited to only 4-tracks and first takes, Lael had to surrender some of her perfectionism to deliver the songs in their essence.

While Lael returned to her family farm in April 2020, Los Angeles is a player on this album, and “Every Star Shivers in the Dark” is an ode to the sprawling city, the outskirts of Eden. One can envision her walking from Dodgers Stadium to downtown, observing strangers and her own strangeness but determined to find communion with others. “Blue Vein” is her personal anthem, a Paul Revere piece that gallops through the town as a strident declamation. It is an amalgam of thoughts, concerns, and lessons as she nearly speaks the words, unmasked by flourishes, ensuring the meaning cuts through.

Normally a morning person, Lael recorded most of these songs in the darkening of the early evening, and so became Acquainted With Night.


Tash Sultana - Terra Firma (Indie / Alt / Rock)


Tash Sultana offer up their sophomore release on Lonely Land Records, via Sony Music. The follow up to the critically acclaimed "Flow State" from two years ago.


Tindersticks - Distractions (Indie Rock / Alternative)


Just before the end of the year 2020, a mere 12 months, after the release of their celebrated record No Treasure But Hope, Tindersticks surprised everyone with mentioning a new album to be released in 2021.

Stuart Staples was already nurturing seeds for a different kind of Tindersticks album before lockdown halted their tour in early 2020, singer. If 2019’s No Treasure but Hope saw the band rediscovering themselves as a unit, the follow-up reconfigures that unit so that everything familiar about Tindersticks sounds fresh again. Distractions is an album of subtle realignments and connections from a restless, intuitive band: rich in texture and atmosphere, it lives between its open spaces and details, always finding new ways to connect with a song.

If it’s an album that resists easy summation, at least one thing is clear: though it isn’t untouched by the lockdown, Distractions is not ‘a lockdown album’. As Staples says, “I think the confinement provided an opportunity for something that was already happening. It is definitely a part of the album, but not a reaction to it.”


Here are the best reissues coming out this week at The Vinyl Whistle:

Anti Flag - For Blood and Empire (Punk)


For Blood and Empire is the fifth studio album by American punk band Anti-Flag, released in 2006. In the same year, the song “The Press Corpse” entered the Hot Modern Rock Tracks Chart. Anti-Flag are known for their politically charged songs, often criticising right wing policies and conservative ideologies. For Blood and Empire was released during the reign of George W. Bush, so naturally the album boils over with vehement anti-Bush attacks and confrontational lyrics that overwhelmingly target the war in Iraq. Featuring classic Anti-Flag songs “The Press Corpse”, “This is the End (For You My Friend)” and “Depleted Uranium Is A War Crime (feat. Tom Morello)” and “1 Trillion Dollar$”. The LP set includes an 8-page booklet, which contains short essays for all but two songs, providing more in-depth perspective on the inspirations for the song subjects.


Paul Chambers - Bass On Top (Jazz)


Part of the Blue Note Tone Poet Series. When jazz bass virtuoso Paul Chambers recorded Bass On Top, in 1957, his third and final album as a leader for Blue Note, he was only 22 years old but already well established as one of the top bassists in jazz. This brilliantly seductive album features stalwarts Hank Jones on piano, Kenny Burrell on guitar, and Art Taylor on drums. Highlights include the chamber-jazz interpretation of Jerome Kern’s “Yesterdays” and a lightly swinging version of “Dear Old Stockholm,” a tune often associated with Miles Davis who was Chambers’ employer at the time.