• Ben Lee

New Releases: 23rd October 2020

Updated: Oct 23, 2020

Ben brings you all the new releases to arrive at The Vinyl Whistle this week, pop into the Headingley store to get your copy or order online on the links below. Here's his roundup of his Top 5 Picks of the week:

Chapterhouse - Blood Music


On 1993's Blood Music Chapterhouse are truly inspired in their attempt to carve out a sound of their own; something at the crossroads of genres that hadn't been really heard before. Many shoegazer bands eventually evolved into electronica later in life (see Seefeel, the Telescopes, etc.) ending up radically different from their original sound. Chapterhouse on the other hand incorporated electronica into their lush guitar thing rather than opt for it over the shoegazer elements that made them (semi)-famous. Blood Music plays like a lush dream.


Faithless - All Blessed


In a history that stretches back some 25 years, Faithless have long occupied a pivotal position in the world of British electronica. Marrying elements of house, trip hop, dub and a songwriting flair into arena filling explosive, euphoric sounds. Their accomplishments tell their own story: seven Top 10 singles, six Top 10 albums (three at Number 1), a Mercury Prize nomination for their brilliant sophomore album, 1998’s Sunday 8PM and their impressive four times Platinum certified Forever Faithless The Greatest Hits adding to a career total in excess of 15 million worldwide. It’s been ten years since Faithless’ last studio album The Dance entered the charts at #2 yet their music continues to be discovered through international DJ sets and the rise of streaming services. Their 2015 remix album Faithless 2.0 took them back to the top of the charts yet again with their friends the likes of Avicii, Claptone, Tiesto, Eric Prydz and Armin Van Buuren coming forward to offer fresh perspectives on their fan favourites, We Come 1, Insomnia, God is a DJ and more. Collaborations have always the hallmark of Faithless’ career, working with Robert Smith of The Cure, Dido and Cat Power to name but a few.


Gorillaz - Song Machine: Season One - Strange Time


Gorillaz started the year with Episode 1 - Momentary Bliss ft. slowthai and Slaves - off Song Machine, a whole new concept from one of the most innovative bands around. Now, six episodes in, Noodle, 2D, Murdoc and Russel have visited Morocco and Paris, London and Lake Como, as well as travelling all the way to the moon, and Gorillaz is ready to bring you the full collection titled Song Machine: Season One - Strange Timez.

Song Machine is the ongoing and ever-evolving process which has seen Gorillaz joined by an expanding roster of collaborators captured live in Kong Studios and beyond. The result is an expansive collection of tracks embracing a myriad of sounds, styles, genres and attitudes from a breath-taking line-up of guest artists including Beck, Elton John, Fatoumata Diawara, Georgia, Kano, Leee John, Octavian, Peter Hook, Robert Smith, Roxani Arias, ScHoolboy Q, Slaves, Slowthai, St Vincent and 6LACK, as well as CHAI, EARTHGANG, Goldlink, Joan As Police Woman, JPEGMAFIA, Moonchild Sanelly, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Skepta and of course Tony Allen. 


Palace - Someday, Somewhere


The Someday, Somewhere EP is made up of unreleased tracks recorded during the Life After album sessions including its much-loved title track, which was previously a live set exclusive. The 3 track EP on limited 12” vinyl edition including the bonus track Trouble On The Water as previously released on the band’s Hoxa Sessions acoustic EP.


Porridge Radio - Rice, Pasta & Other Fillers


Back by popular demand, Memorials of Distinction re-release Porridge Radio's shed-recorded debut album on a limited pressing of 1000 clear vinyl and CD. This comes after a year in which Porridge Radio's Every Bad, their first on Secretly Canadian, led to top reviews in Pitchfork, The Guardian, NME, The Times, The Quietus, Clash, Uncut, Q, The Independent, LOBF, DIY, Stereogum, Paste, Vice, amongst others, and then being shortlisted as one of the Hyundai Mercury Prize's 12 Albums of 2020.  Porridge Radio started as Dana Margolin’s bedroom project, but grew to a Brighton-based band who, on this debut, inelegantly knotted together tender melodic pop songs with vicious and furious emotional outpour. After a series of home-recorded solo demos and the growing legend of their live shows on the UK DIY scene, they originally released this lofi debut full band LP in 2016. The album documents struggles with life, love and boredom - spelt out with sticky fingers by five idiot savants. Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers lyrics, title and artwork, as well as the group's name, brings to mind a certain scrapbook absurdism at the core of Porridge Radio's earlier work. Faced with the dark abyss of existence, Margolin and co. scrape together some value from the nonsensical and the pointless, and then cling to it, giggling, for dear life.


Here are the rest of the new releases arriving at The Vinyl Whistle this week:

Actress - Karma & Desire


Actress, real name Darren Jordan Cunningham, known to friends as DAZ releases his new album Karma and Desire on Ninja Tune. This is his most accessible yet complex and first with featured artist to date including: Mercury Prize winner Sampha, singer and songwriter Zsela, Aura T-09 (co-runs Evar Records with John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Trickfinger), Italian pianist and conductor Vanessa Benelli Mosell and Copenhagen based vocalist Rebekah Christel.


Beastie Boys - Music


The previously mentioned Solid Gold Hits: Revisited is now officially be called Beastie Boys Music and is still a Greatest Hits collection.


CHAI & Hinds - United


Collaborative single from Hinds and Chai featuring lyrics in Spanish, Japanese, and English. Though they may live a world apart, Tokyo-based Chai and Madrid-bred Hinds are cut from the same rebellious cloth. Both acts are celebrated for their euphoric live shows, giddy feel-good free-for-alls often complete with synchronized dancing and sing-a-longs. That frenetic energy is palatable on their albums, which boldly state the case for female empowerment and creativity. Whether challenging out outdated beauty standards or stagediving with reckless abandon, Chai and Hinds are here to make you get up and dance in celebration of life and friendship.


Chavez - Gone Glimmering (25th Anniversary Edition)


First released on May 23, 1995 Gone Glimmering remains an unparalleled slab of visceral rock-action 25 years on - evoking the spooky power and mystery of ’70s hard-rock while charting a course toward a future guitar music where dissonance, hooks, and brain crushing beats might thrillingly exist at once. Freshly remastered by Greg Calbi, Gone Glimmering returns to us as a gatefold 2xLP and now includes four extra tracks drawn from the Pentagram Ring EP.


Clipping - Visions Of Bodies Being Burned


In the horror genre, sequels are perfunctory. As the insufferable film bro Randy explains in Scream 2, “There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel. Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate—more blood, more gore. Carnage candy. And number three: never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead.” Last Halloween, Los Angeles experimental rap mainstays Clipping ended their three-year silence with the horrorcore-inspired album There Existed an Addiction to Blood. This October, rapper Daveed Diggs, and producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson return with an even higher body count, more elaborate kills, and monsters that just won’t stay dead. Visions of Bodies Being Burned is less a sequel than it is the second half of a planned diptych. It turns out, Clipping took to the thematic material of horrorcore like vampires to grave soil. Before the release of There Existed an Addiction to Blood, Clipping and Sub Pop Records divided the material up into two albums, designed to be released only months apart. However, a global pandemic and multiple canceled tours pushed the release of the project’s “part two” until the following Halloween season. 


Drive-By Truckers - Live From Austin


The Drive-by Truckers performance on Austin City Limits was an instant classic. Recorded during the tour to support their studio album Brighter Than Creation's Dark, the band line-up featured is Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, Shonna Tucker, John Neff, Brad Morgan and Jay Gonzalez. The 13 songs recorded for Austin City Liimits feature a mix of new songs from alongside Drive by Truckers classics Let There be Rock and 18 Wheels of Love (off their second album Gangstabilly) and Marry Me (from Decoration Day)


The Fall - The Frenz Experiment (Expanded Edition)


Beggars Arkive reissue The Fall’s 10th studio album, 1988’s The Frenz Experiment. Available as an expanded edition on CD and LP, the releases both contain the original album, plus singles and B-Sides. The CD version also includes a previously unreleased 4-track BBC session and A Day In The Life, a Beatles cover recorded exclusively for the NME charity compilation Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father in 1988, plus a 24-page booklet with new interviews. The LP version contains extensive sleeve notes with new interviews. The notes included with both formats contain brand new interviews conducted by Daryl Easley in May 2020.


John Frusciante - Maya


John Frusciante releases the first instrumental electronic album under his own name on Aaron Funk's Timesig label. The record is dedicated to his cat Maya who recently passed away, a fellow traveller in his otherwise solitary music making sessions. Maya is inspired by John's favourite music: '91 to'96 UK breakbeat hardcore and jungle. It’s a varied and personal take with sophisticated, authentic production balanced against John’s acute sense of melody, an inspired blending of machines and samples infused with a joyful energy. "I don't have that interest in singing or writing lyrics like I used to. The natural thing when I'm by myself now, is to just make music like the stuff being released this year. I really love the back and forth with machines and the computer." The fun he’s having on 'Maya' is infectious.


Fu Manchu - Godzilla's / Eatin' Dust +4


Godzilla’s / Eatin’ Dust is the most popular release in Fu Manchu’s 29 year recorded history. It is the combination of what were originally 2 distinct 10” releases: Godzilla (1997) and Eatin’ Dust (1999). Last year, Scott Hill (vocals / guitar) found the original tapes from the Godzilla recording sessions produced by Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age / Kyuss) and unearthed a secret that had been in his garage since 1996...The band had recorded 4 songs that had never been released. These extra songs are early versions of Grendel, Snowman, Strolling Astronomer and Urethane (whose final versions appeared on 1997’s The Action Is Go) and a cover of Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak (which is a different version than the one which was released on 7” in 1998). The songs line up perfectly with the original tracklist, which includes the band’s crowd pleasing cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s Godzilla and fan favourites Eatin’Dust and Mongoose (which was featured in a Super Bowl commercial for Toyota and included in the TV series Sons Of Anarchy and the films Boondock Saints II and The Hot Chick). 3x10" - The vinyl packaging is comprised of 3 10” records (in a nod to the original 10” releases) with each of the three pressed on a different custom colour in a limited run of 2,000. The vinyl is housed in a triple gatefold package with never before seen photos of the band. 


Guns n Roses - Greatest Hits


Greatest Hits collection from notorious rockers Guns 'n' Roses that spans their career from the late eighties through to the early nineties. The album features 15 tracks including all their classic rock moments - Sweet Child O' Mine, Paradise City, November Rain etc. The vinyl has been updated with their latest hit Shadow Of Your Love from the 2018 Appetite For Destruction: Locked N’ Loaded boxset.


Keaton Henson - Monument


Monument released through Play It Again Sam is Keaton’s first album since 2016’s Kindly Now. Keaton Henson’s new album Monument is a rare thing. It is an album about loss, and dealing with losing the ones we love, but told, in incredibly candid detail, through the aspects of our lives that surround the trauma itself, about love, ageing, recovery, life, seen through the prism of grief. With the posting of an enigmatic and cryptic goodbye in 2016; Epilogue, Henson’s next project ended up becoming Six Lethargies, a complex and ambitious symphony for string orchestra, dealing with the minutiae of mental illness. He put away the guitar and retreated to his home for three years to compose it. Monument now finds Keaton re-emerging with an album of songs about grief, and how it permeates our lives. The record began when, having recovered from both Six Lethargies and the circumstances that inspired it, Henson moved from London to the wilds of the English countryside, spending long days outside chopping wood, tending to the grounds, and watching birds of prey soaring above. It was from this remote outpost that he finally felt ready to look at a subject he had been avoiding for his entire songwriting career; the decades long illness, and imminent death of his father, who passed two days before he finished recording the album. 


I Am Kloot - I Am Kloot


I am Kloot is the second album of the band by the same name. Their music is haunting, melodic and smooth. This second piece yielded five singles, including the hits Life in a Day and 3 Feet Tall. It’s much more than just a standard rock album as it’s expanse their dark and fractured sound. Songs like From Your Favourite Sky and Proof are just brilliant and shows how they developed after their first release from two years earlier. It’s all a bit more streamlined than before but that’s the strength of the band. John Bramwell is a fine songwriter who created this beautiful marvel. I am Kloot was as one of the most interesting bands of its time. Formed from the ashes of The Mouth they stood up and released some very successful releases. 


iDKHOW - Razzmatazz


I Don't Know How But They Found Me, or iDKHOW is the new project led by frontman, multi-instrumentalist, and mastermind Dallon Weekes.  Dallon Weekes made waves in Panic! At The Disco from 2009-2018, touring around the world and picking up Gold and Platinum plaques as a key songwriter on the chart-topping Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! and more. In 2016, he introduced iDKHOW at a small show in Los Angeles before denying its existence for months to follow. The project formally revealed itself prior to hitting the road and performing on the mainstage at UK’s Reading and Leeds Festivals as well as sharing stages with the likes of Twenty One Pilots, The 1975, Billie Eilish, The Killers, The National and Blink 182, just to name a few. With a curated storyline - iDKHOW was initially believed to have been a band from 30 plus years ago that never got their big break. A band that time forgot. But in 2017, an anonymous donor began to release recovered video footage of iDKHOW. The videos, released out of chronological order, span the years 1964 to 1983 and hint to a different story than that of a band lost to obscurity. As this footage of iDKHOW has surfaced in the past three years, fans, music historians and conspiracy theorists have converged on internet platforms to debate the story of iDKHOW.


Kasbo - The Making of A Paracosm


Gothenburg-based electronic producer and songwriter Carl Garsbo aka Kasbo with his second album The Making of a Paracosm via labelmate Odesza’s own Foreign Family Collective and Counter Records.


Adrianne Lenker - Songs and Instrumentals


Big Thief's Adrianne Lenker releases songs and instrumentals on 4AD. songs and instrumentals are two distinct collections, both written and recorded in April after Big Thief’s March tour was abruptly cut short due to coronavirus. After returning to the states from Europe, Lenker decamped to a one room cabin in the mountains of western Massachusetts. This vinyl record is 100% analog-analog-analog (AAA). No digital process was used in the production of this sound recording. The album’s stunning artwork are watercolour paintings done by Adrianne’s grandmother, Diane Lee.


Levellers - Glastonbury 92


It was a busy time - the massive touring schedule brought about by the success of Levelling The Land over the previous two years had cemented the Levellers as one of the most in demand bands in the country. They were rewarded with a slot on Glastonbury's main stage in June 1992. Relive their electrifying performance, remastered by Jon Sevink. Released as a standalone album for the first time with fantastic new artwork designed by Jeremy.


Loma - Don't Shy Away


On December 26th, 2018, Emily Cross received an excited email from a friend: Brian Eno was talking about her band on BBC radio. “At first I didn’t think it was real,” she admits. But then she heard a recording: Eno was praising Black Willow from Loma’s self-titled debut. He said he’d had it on repeat. At the time, a second Loma album seemed unlikely. The band began as a serendipitous collaboration between Cross, the multi-talented musician and recording engineer Dan Duszynski, and Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg, who wanted to play a supporting role after years at the microphone. They’d capped a grueling tour with a standout performance on a packed beach at Sub Pop’s SPF 30 festival, in which Cross leapt into the crowd, and then into the sea, while the band carried on from the stage—an emotional peak that also felt like a natural ending. “It was the biggest audience we’d ever had,” she says. “We thought, why not stop here?” Following the tour, Cross went to rural Mexico to work on visual art and a solo record, while Meiburg began a new Shearwater effort. But after a few months apart (and Eno’s encouraging words), the trio changed their minds and reconvened at Duszynski’s home in rural Texas, where they began to develop songs that would become Don’t Shy Away. Loma writes by consensus, and though Cross is always the singer, she, Duszynski and Meiburg often trade instruments. Meiburg compares their process to using an ouija board and says the songs revealed themselves slowly, over many months. “Each of us is a very strong flavour,” he says, “but in Loma, nobody wears the crown, so we have to trust each other—and we end up in places none of us would have gone on our own. I think we all wanted to experience that again.” The album that emerged is gently spectacular—a vivid work whose light touch belies its timely themes of solitude, impermanence, and finding light in deep darkness. Stuck / beneath / a rock, Cross begins, as if noticing her predicament for the first time. Then she adds: I begin to see / the beauty in it. 


Magik Markers - 2020


Here we are in 2020, exploding like a dream. Processing today’s numbed nation, considering mysteries of growing up and being older (like a memory of the future from your youth (not how you expected, but still your life)), Magik Markers rub upon their roots, art-noise jamming their way into non-linear song-sense and raw, beautiful music all at once.


The Moons - Pocket Melodies


Through these strange and uncertain times it is sometimes a little hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel but this is where The Moons have stepped in. This long player is an album full of colour and raw songwriting recorded live in the legendary Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios. With cinematic string arrangements and masterclass songwriting from the pen of singer/songwriter Andy Crofts this album will be your happy escape.  “Most of this album had been unintentionally sat in my pocket for quite some time. Songs that I had written and forgotten about or had just lost their way and left unfinished. So that is why I wanted the album to simply be named Pocket Melodies. I had this inner feeling to pull them all together and it turned out my favourite Moons record.” Andy Crofts  Pocket Melodies takes you on a journey of glorious melodies leading you through love, romance, nostalgia, regret and unity.  “I wanted to be true to myself with this record. My best strength is writing melodic pop songs so I just let it all flow as I wanted this album to be soaked in colour and completely natural. There’s no pretence, it’s just straight up pop songs. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve when it comes to my feelings and I think you can hear this in the lyrics this time.” Andy Crofts The album features singles Riding Man and Today which received high praise and championed on BBC London and Radio X and a collaboration with Paul Weller on the song Tunnel Of Time. "I wrote all of the songs on the album except Tunnel Of Time which is a collaboration between myself and Paul Weller. He once approached me with a little idea and we slowly worked at it in dressing rooms etc until I took it away and put it all together. Its a nice little song and i'm glad it found a home with The Moons."


The Mountain Goats - Getting Into Knives


On the first of March, 2020, John Darnielle, Peter Hughes, Matt Douglas, and Jon Wurster, aka the Mountain Goats band, visited legendary studio Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, TN. Darnielle armed his band with new songs and reunited with producer Matt Ross-Spang who engineered last year’s In League with Dragons. In the same room where the Cramps tracked their 1980 debut album, the Mountain Goats spent a week capturing the magic of a band at the top of its game. The result is Getting Into Knives, the perfect album for the millions of us who have spent many idle hours contemplating whether we ought to be honest with ourselves and just get massively into knives. Getting Into Knives includes guest performance on Hammond B-3 organ by Charles Hodges (of numerous Al Green records) and guest performance on guitar by Chris Boerner (of the Hiss Golden Messenger band).


Ela Minus - Acts Of Rebellion


Colombian musician Ela Minus announces her debut album, Acts of Rebellion, on Domino. Performed, produced and recorded entirely by herself, Acts of Rebellion is a complex manifesto on simplicity, a call to fight, to live, to be present. It’s a collection about the personal as political and embracing the beauty of tiny acts of revolution in our everyday lives. Using only hardware to perform, write and record, Ela creates complex, technical electronic music that exudes a warm vibrancy, along with a darker, almost celebratory understanding that our breaths aren’t infinite. Her sharp, coiled words are cathartic - due in part to her approach to writing them. Working exclusively with hardware, she's somehow able to draw together each of those influences - the hedonistic abandon of club culture, the creative excellence of avant-techno, and the sheer thrill punk rock can offer.


Nothing But Thieves - Moral Panic


Southend five-piece Nothing But Thieves are back with their third album Moral Panic. Richly anthemic and wildly grandiose, alongside singer Conor’s poignant vocals, the past few years have been quite a ride for Nothing But Thieves.


Palace Winter - Keep Dreaming, Buddy


At the center of Tenerife stands Mt. Tiede, inviting you to climb it’s beautiful slopes, yet reminding you of the destruction it can unleash at any moment. The volcano has become the symbol at the center of Palace Winter’s third album ...Keep Dreaming, Buddy, and their lead single from the LP, Top of the Hill featuring Soffie Viemose of Lowly.

An unmissable, forward-looking optimism shades their previous two albums, despite touching on grave themes of death, grief, and trauma. What is new, however, is not just optimism, but celebration in the face of uncertainty, and the sonic idiosyncrasy this contrast creates. Keep Dreaming Buddy is a portal into their new reality of even brighter colours, even more disparate influences, and constant reminders of life’s fragile existence... A party in idyllic Tenerife with the ever-present volcano rumbling in the distance. Palace Winter are Australian lead singer and guitarist Carl Coleman and Danish, classically trained pianist and producer Caspar Hesselager. Their third album is once again mixed and mastered by Hesselager and produced by both Hesselager and Coleman. And as the story of the album shows, the two have forged an ever-growing and symbiotic relationship together.


Salem - Salem EP


Creeper frontman Will Gould has joined forces with Matt Reynolds (Howard’s Alias, Skylar, Drawings) to create new project Salem. First single Destroy Me fires out of the starting blocks in a ferocious rush of punk rock melody and Gould’s distinctive vocals. His words possess the playfully eloquent set-up and punchline lyrical style that’s a big part of classic albums from the likes of Jawbreaker and Alkaline Trio. Elsewhere, Salem’s debut EP captures the life-affirming joy of hearing a live band erupt into a blast of wild, barely controlled energy. Not that it’s a one-trick pony. Opening track Fall Out Of Love hurtles into the kind of towering chorus that Gould first made his name with, Throat is an ominous, ever-escalating alt-rock slowburner, while the frenetic closer Doomed (For Each Other) sprints for the finish line. And as with all good EPs, when the needle clicks off, the natural thing to do is to flip it over and play it again from the start. When Gould was plotting the album – a labyrinthian Rubik’s Cube in which music, narrative and visuals were all indelibly interlinked – he wanted to blow off some steam. So, he called upon his old friend Reynolds to spend a day making music in the way he had done growing up: by rattling through some new songs just for the sheer fun of it, with no pressure and no greater goal in sight. The songs went into the virtual vault. And in an ordinary situation, perhaps that’s where they would’ve stayed. Always eager to keep busy, Salem was one of Will’s projects that came to fruition.


Singapore Sling - Good Sick Fun


Reykjavík maverick Henrik Björnsson is due to release Good Sick Fun, his eleventh album under the Singapore Sling project. Inspired by goth-rock, dub and big-band jazz on top of the usual fuzzed-out rock’n’roll touchstones that are seared into Henrik’s work, the latest Singapore Sling full-length is as perversely hedonistic as they come – and that’s not without competition by any means. An invitation to “rejoice in doing wrong”, in Henrik’s own words, Good Sick Fun is the latest morbid and characteristically-depraved addition to a back- catalogue spanning nearly two decades from the cult Icelandic band. Arriving off the back of the 2019 Killer Classics LP, Henrik says of the new album: “Old rock ́n ́roll is the main influence on this record, as on most of my records. When I release a record it means rock ́n ́roll has saved my life, my mind and my soul once again. And it does that quite frequently. Sometimes I start running astray, getting sucked into pointless garbage and thinking it actually matters. Then I realize that it ́s absolute garbage and that nothing matters but rock ́n ́roll so I go and make a record instead.”


Skullcrusher - Skullcrusher


Skullcrusher is, by all accounts, an exploration of the ways you become yourself when you aren’t looking – and how that feels once you start paying attention. It’s a quiet power; a hushed celebration of the tiny, understated subtleties that culminate into knowing yourself. On her debut EP, songwriter Helen Ballentine offers an airy, intense, and unflinchingly open collection of songs written about – and from – one of life’s in-between gray areas, a stretch of uncertainty and unemployment, and the subsequent search for identity. Here, as Skullcrusher, Ballentine grapples with how to communicate her private self to an audience. The four dark, dreamy songs on her debut EP were influenced by a strange-but-fitting amalgamation of media consumed in the immediate aftermath of quitting her 9-5. There’s Valerie and her Week of Wonders, the Czech new-wave film that went on to inform Skullcrusher’s aesthetic. There’s Ballentine’s love of fantasy and surrealism, her appreciation of the way fantasy novels juxtapose beauty and violence. Skullcrusher’s understated energy radiates with the atmosphere of waking up to the quiet terror of shapeless, structureless days, but it finds power in eschewing the pressures of careerism and a vapid culture of productivity. Instead, as Skullcrusher, Ballentine has the audacity to be comfortable enough with herself, and to simply accept the unknown as her life.


Slowdive - Pygmalion 25th Anniversary Edition


At the time, this album was under appreciated, now it's heralded as a masterpiece. And it is. When Slowdive disbanded in 1995 music fans widely associated it with the demise of the shoegaze genre. Their last sign of life was Pygmalion (before they reunited in 2014) and it was, after Just For A Day and Souvlaki a totally different and more abstract album. Where the band attempted to put more song structures in place on Souvlaki, they began to incorporate more elements of ambient electronica on Pygmalion. Tracks like Blue Skied An’ Clear and Crazy For You demonstrate that the songs are still there, somewhere - they’re just buried under more abstract sounds than before.


Sparkle Division - To Feel Embraced


After years of producing and mentoring slews of young artists in 1990s Williamsburg, Brooklyn, William Basinski moved to Los Angeles. There he hired a young studio assistant, Preston Wendel, who eventually introduced his own works to the curious composer. That spawned a creative partnership that inspired Wendel to persuade Basinski to haul out his saxophone. Five years later, Sparkle Division has arrived with their enchanting debut album, To Feel Embraced. Produced by Spaarkle Division at Basinski’s Musex International in Los Angeles, the duo were joined by a few notable friends: Mrs. Leonora Russo (who Basinski affectionately calls “the true Sicilian Sparkle Division, my Brooklyn Mom, the Queen of Williamsburg”) offers her sparkling voice to Queenie Got Her Blues; fabled free-jazz icon and genuine bodhisattva, the late Henry Grimes, contributed upright bass and violin to the aptly-named Oh Henry! (“Lotta babies gonna be born from this one,” Henry and Margaret Davis Grimes playfully declared); and London vocalist Xeli Grana offers her ethereal voice to the album’s meditative title track. Conceived and nearly completed in 2016, the increasing environmental and political infernos gave Basinski and Wendel cold feet about unleashing a record intended to be fun, loving, and prone to bouts of euphoria. But as Basinski exclaimed, “Well, damn it, if the time ain't right now, it never will be! Let’s do this!”


Bruce Springsteen - Letter To You


Letter To You is Bruce Springsteen’s new studio album with the E Street Band, and is a rock album fuelled by the band's heart-stopping, house-rocking signature sound. Recorded at his home studio in New Jersey, Letter To You is Springsteen’s 20th studio album, and is his first album including the E Street Band since 2012’sHigh Hopes and their first performances together since 2016’s The River Tour.

“I love the emotional nature of Letter To You,” says Springsteen. “And I love the sound of the E Street Band playing completely live in the studio, in a way we’ve never done before, and with no overdubs. We made the album in only five days, and it turned out to be one of the greatest recording experiences I’ve ever had.”

Letter to You includes nine recently written Springsteen songs, as well as new recordings of three of his legendary, but previously unreleased, compositions from the 1970s, Janey Needs a Shooter, If I Was the Priest, and Song for Orphans. Springsteen is joined on Letter To You by Roy Bittan, Nils Lofgren, Patti Scialfa, Garry Tallent, Stevie Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Charlie Giordano and Jake Clemons. The album was produced by Ron Aniello with Bruce Springsteen, mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bob Ludwig.


This Is The Kit - Off Off On


Since 2008’s debut album Krülle Bol, This Is The Kit (lead by Kate Stables) have unpicked emotional knots and woven remarkable stories, but even by their high standards, Off Off On is a beautifully clear distillation of Stables’ song-writing gifts.  By the end of 2018, the band had finished touring their last album, the talismanic Moonshine Freeze – leading to Kate’s Ivor Novello nomination, but when it came to Stables’ natural impulse to start the next record, her efforts were diverted by an invitation to join The National on the road for multiple tours and TV appearances – a continuation of the role she took on their album I Am Easy To Find. “It was so brilliant when I was writing to be away from my songs and the responsibility of being in charge of a band or a project – I think it really helped my writing and my getting through whatever I needed to get through.” Richly illuminating and acutely sensitive to the pulses and currents of life, Off Off Onshows This Is The Kit overflowing with ideas. In difficult times, it’s a record that feels like a lifeline, moving against the tide, standing against the storm. Keep going.


Laura Veirs - My Echo


Laura Veirs releases her eleventh solo album My Echo via Bella Union. The album features guest appearances from Jim James, Bill Frisell, Karl Blau, Matt Ward and others.  “My Echo is my 11th solo album. It’s my ‘my songs knew I was getting divorced before I did’ album. My conscious mind was trying as hard as I could to keep my family together but my subconscious mind was working on the difficult struggles in my marital life. I was part of a “Secret Poetry Group” that met and wrote poems monthly for a year during the writing of this record. Many of my poems turned into songs for this album. By the time the album was being mixed last fall, my ex-husband / producer Tucker Martine and I had decided to go our separate ways. We were a great musical team for many years but we struggled to be compatible in our marriage and family life and that struggle is reflected in this album. In this new batch of songs I imagine escaping from some sort of prison or cage. Advancing age, the confines of domesticity, our oppressive government and the threat of the apocalypse permeate these songs. In these songs my heart craves certainty and permanence but none is to be found. It’s an album about disintegration. It reveals my artist’s intuition at work. Although these songs were written before quarantine they are strangely relevant to times in which we find ourselves currently. You will find me staring at the walls (Turquoise Walls). You will find me feeling grateful to be alive (Memaloose Island). You will find me accepting the ephemeral nature of life (Vapor Trails and All the Things). You will find me searching for personal freedom while feeling trapped (Freedom Feeling). You will find me trying to accept that sometimes the best thing to do is to sit still and do nothing at all (Another Space and Time). Produced by Tucker Martine in the summer and fall of 2019 in Portland, OR. Includes appearances from Jim James, Bill Frisell, Karl Blau, Matt Ward.


Wallows - Remote


Following the success of their debut album, Nothing Happens, and summer smash Are You Bored Yet? (feat. Clairo), Wallows release their new quarantine-made EP titled Remote. Lead track is quirky love song, Nobody Gets Me (Like You). It's a sun-kissed 80's inspired bundle of joy which is upbeat and instant.


Working Men's Club - Valleys


Working Men’s Club release Valleys, the latest track to be taken from their self-titled 10-track album. It comes backed by a couple of stunning remixes from Confidence Man and Manchester legend Graham Massey.

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