Review: It's easy to forget, or take for granted, how consistently impressive and solid Pixies were during the late-1980s and early-90s. Thankfully here's a 30th anniversary deluxe edition of 'Bossanova' to bring memories flooding back, a record that stands up with their finest but gets less airplay, playlist love and written references today compared with the likes of 'Surfa Rosa' and 'Doolittle'. Granted, this came after those seminal moments in alt-rock, noise pop and garage punk, so its track list is less sonically arresting. By now we knew to expect shrill, anthemic explosions of riff 'All Over The World' juxtaposes with low-slung, nonchalant grooves; 'Hang Wire' and 'Rock Music''s air of borderline-heavy metal, and the grunginess of 'Stormy Weather'. But that doesn't detract from the fact every song here is a prime example of why this band are so feted.
Review: Kraftwerk's Ralf Hutter has more or less disowned the krautrock-inspired music he and the late Florian Schneider recorded pre "Autobahn". From that album (1974) onwards, they became the electronic futurists we know and love today; before that, they swum in more organic musical pastures, mixing rudimentary synthesizer and other electronic instruments with guitars, drums, flutes and electric organ. It's this sound that's captured on "Soest Live", a rare recording captured for WDR-TV in 1970. Accompanied by drummer Klaus Dinger, Hutter and Schneider offered up a mixture of arty, proto-ambient experimentalism, and surprisingly funky, groove-based krautrock epics that combine prototype Kraftwerk grooves with the organic sounds of flute, violin and organ.
Review: This first album proper from Polish composer/violinist Olga Wojciechowska was originally released on CD only by Time Released Sound, and has been out of print for some years. We are very pleased to be bringing you this long overdue vinyl re-press, in an edition of only 200 copies, each of which comes in a beautiful 24pt heavyweight jacket, with translucent 180gm disc.
Maps and Mazes is a stunning collection of 10 pieces that were originally written for various international theater and dance productions, and their overall feel reflects this performative nature. These electronically treated, modern-classical beauties are somewhat dark and moody at times, and with their elegiac violin and haunting horns are both elegant and absorbing, and the ultimately lingering effect is one of series of spine tingling, late night serenades.
Review: By now we all know Glass Animals were born in and among Oxford's psychedelic pop scene, rather than the trap spots of Atlanta. Although you could be forgiven for making that mistake, if this is your first encounter. The four piece take plenty of inspiration from sweat-soaked, kick and snare-laden southern US sounds, sexy R&B and pimp hop, but it's not a case of imitation as the highest form of flattery - the beats can seriously hold their own, even if the tones will never actually be theirs. Socio-psychological discourse aside, 'Dreamland' is the sum-total of our overall point. There's a sticky, sleazy and altogether intoxicating vibe running through most of what's here, conjuring images of slick-to-touch flesh in deep midsummer party mode. Just check the fittingly explicit 'Tokyo Drifting', featuring Florida rapper Denzel Curry, and the rest should fall into place.
Persian - "Morning Sun" (feat Hannah Small) (5:02)
Seekers International - "FurdaMurda" (4:31)
EBE - "Thinking" (6:13)
Gideon Jackson - "Taj-Mahal" (7:00)
Perpetual - "Awakenings" (6:46)
Mark Seven - "Crank" (5:23)
Paco Pack - "Slap That Bass" (3:05)
Cari Lekebusch - "Output 2" (7:33)
Pauline Anna Strom - "In Flight Suspension" (7:47)
Review: Sadly, there was no Love International festival this year, but the team behind it have given us the next best thing: a new volume in their superb "The Sound of Love International" compilation series from friend-of-the-family and beach stage mainstay Shanti Celeste. After opening with a typically spacey and dreamy new collaboration with her friend Saoirse - the intergalactic techno haziness of "Solid Mass", the Peach Discs co-founder treats us to a heady mixture of chunky, sunrise-ready breaks (Persian), drowsy ambient dub (Seekers International), deep space house and techno (EBE, Gideon Jackson, Carl Lekebusch), Barbarella's-ready peak-time fare (Perpetual, Paco Pack), angular late night dancefloor sleaze (Mark Seven) and weightless ambient bliss (Pauline Anna Stom).
Review: Central Processing Unit's most recent album releases, from 96 Back, Noumen and Nullptr, were all incredible, so hopes are naturally high for this full-length from hip-hop beat-maker turned electro scene stalwart Paul Blackford. It is, unsurprisingly, rather good, with Blackford delivering a string of cuts that mix ear-pleasing analogue basslines (some squelchy, others more angular) with relaxed chords, shimmering synthesizer sounds, picturesque melodies and beats that are largely a lot more laidback than some of the punchy, sci-fi flavoured fare CPU has been putting out of late. Blackford's hip-hop roots can be heard in the swing of the beats, while the melodies and synth sounds used throughout are far warmer and woozier than the often cold and clinical choices associated with the more intergalactic end of the electro spectrum.
Review: On his previous EPs and singles for the likes of Natural Sciences and Emotsiya, Vaseline Sunny Seppa AKA Sansibar has proved adept at delivering otherworldly, off-kilter electro that pairs icy melodies with warm chords, angular acid lines and beats that pop and crackle with giddy dancefloor intensity. "Targeted Individuals", his debut album, expands on this, in part by wrapping his futurist visions in emotive chord sequences, melancholic motifs and occasional bouts of paranoid intensity. It's a blueprint that guarantees far-sighted and ear-catching thrills, with the album's brazen club cuts - see the foreboding hustle of "My Mind" and deliciously Kraftwerkian "Body Rock" - being outnumbered by deeper, more contemplative compositions. Impressive.
Review: Sebastian Mullaert is a real master of depth and atmosphere. He has been for many years and his WaWuWe project is some of his deepest stuff. Here he offers serene techno for late night motorway driving, underwater dub to get utterly lost in and spacious grooves that journey on the most deft and subtle of synths. This is meditative, heady music for thoughtful moments of escapism. The package is jut as special as the music here - it is a double, black, 180 gram 12" sheathed inside a custom cut and full colour printed hansaboard sleeve.
Review: Dana Ruh's third album, a vinyl-only affair stretched across three slabs of wax, is undoubtedly her most expansive and ambitious set to date. Yet while musically eclectic - compare and contrast the spaced-out ambient style minimalist electronica of "Revertigo", the jazz-flecked tech-house hypnotism of "Mr Bang", the bustling breakbeat sweetness of "Gran" and 15-minute fusion of two-step and St Germain style jazz-tronica warmth of fine closing cut "Cross My Mind" - the whole thing hangs together impressively thanks to the German producer's extensive use of dreamy pads, glassy-eyed instrumentation, and the kind of yearning melodies that were once the preserve of turn-of-the-'90s Italian deep house producers. It's a smart and addictive combination that makes for hugely enjoyable listening.
Review: This is the first time ever you can own The Beasties' entire set, as performed at the Open Air Festival in St Gallen, on vinyl. This, then, also marks the first live release of this period from the band's long and illustrious career, and one of the first to feature the legendary Mix Master Mike on stage with the rest of the crew. He takes care of the intro and then its straight into hard bars and crashing hits, blistering drum rhythms and mad scratching. This is an essential cop for any and all Beastie Boys fans.
Review: Admas' debut album, Sons of Ethopia, is probably best known for "Kalatashew Waga", a polyrhythm-fuelled chunk of melodious synthesizer funk that was memorably remixed by Andras Fox back in 2015. Here, the in-demand album gets an official reissue for the first time since it first appeared on the obscure African Heritage Records label way back in 1984. The band's unique blend of styles and instruments - think synthesizer-heavy instrumental boogie, electronic Afro-beat, dewy-eyed AOR soul and cheery highlife - remains as alluring and surprising as ever. Given that original copies are almost impossible to find, this is a much-needed reissue.
Review: Ministry of Sound has decided to shine a light on the roots of jungle and drum & bass with this new compilation series. It takes you back to the time when the iconic amen break was busting out of every sound system, car stereo and home hi-fi in London and beyond, and all the mainstay producers who developed the sound are included here. Goldie, M-Beat Feat. General Levy, Roni Size & Reprazent, Adam F and Noise Factory are not going to be new names to many, but their material was so classic it's well worth hearing again.
Review: Tin Machine II is the second and final studio album by Tin Machine. It was rebased in 1991 by Victory Music and marked the last time Bowie fronted and toured with the band. After this he focused on his solo career but the album quietly, in the background, continued to pick up fans, praise and an increasing reputation. It's often cited as one of the best lost albums of the last millennium and is packed with strong tracks that power along on big, angular guitars with Bowie's vocals soaring up top. This is the first time the record has been on vinyl since its initial rase and comes on limited edition coloured wax.
Review: This record is the first time PJ Harvey's demos for her 1992 debut album Dry have been put out on a standalone album. The rough edge nature of the recordings lends them plenty of extra rawness and character, meaning the low-slung guitar poems the artist serves up sound even more direct. As well as previously unseen photos by Maria Mochnacz, the record comes with brand new artwork, so is a real must for Harvey fans. This release marks the first in a planned series of reissues from UMC/Island and Beggars that will see all PJ Harvey's albums reissued with plenty more demos.
Review: There's been plenty of online chatter about the confrontational title of Omar-S's latest full-length outing, and arguably not enough focus on the music itself (or the fact that the guest list contains Rick Wilhite, Norm Talley and OB Ignitt for that matter). This is unfortunate, because as usual Alex 'Omar' Smith has hit the spot. The six untitled tracks are impressively varied, with Smith effortlessly moving between 21st century P-funk (track one), cowbell-powered deep house funk (track 2), sparse and synth-heavy acid house hypnotism (track three), disco-house jack (track four), sub-heavy Detroit-meets-Sheffield minimalism (track five) and sunrise-ready dancefloor dreaminess (track six).
Review: Floridian modern soul band Rivage recorded just one single and a sole album during their early '80s heyday, and both are apparently amongst Athens of the North boss Euan Fryer's favourite records of all time. It makes sense then that he has decided to reissue their album, "Sittin' On It" - an ultra-rare affair from 1981 that is here presented for the first time with an alternative photo cover (apparently the band hated the original cover). There's plenty to get the juices flowing across the eight tracks, with our highlights including "Sha Na Na", a punchy call for "soul for the people" blessed with brilliant horn arrangements, the Clavinet-sporting disco-funk cheeriness of "I Need Your Love", the deliciously celebratory title track and sweet, flute-laden closer "Strung Out On Your Love".
Review: By the time he recorded "Brazilian Dorian Dream" in 1976, Brazilian composer, musician, producer and bandleader Manfedo Fest had already worked on countless bossa-nova, samba and jazz albums, both in the United States and his native Brazil. Yet the album, which Far Out has now reissued, is like nothing else he recorded before or after - and not just because it was based on "the principle of the modal diatonic scales of the Dorian mode". Musically, it's deliciously vibrant and colourful, combining elements of his native Brazilian samba and bossa-nova with Azymuth style jazz-funk, American jazz-fusion, and futuristic, then cutting edge synthesizer sounds. Above all, though, the album strikes a near perfect balance between funkiness and the sweet sunniness that defines some of the greatest Brazilian music.
Review: Cutting to the chase in an attempt to avoid something cliched like 'what an honour it is to write something on a Joy Division album', it's astounding that 'Closer' has now passed the 40 year mark. Perhaps not as immediate and certainly less familiar to many compared with their 'Unknown Pleasures' debut, in many ways this serves the record well. It's an altogether more experimental beast in terms of song structures and ideas, and as such doesn't feel definitive of a moment but instead timeless. That said, this is still very much a case of perhaps the greatest post punk band of all time delivering a masterpiece difficult second LP, with audible hallmarks of act and era. From opener, 'Atrocity Exhibition', through the whispered and suppressed 'Heart & Soul' and onto the beguiling 'Decades', 'Closer' makes it painfully clear that had circumstances been less tragic Joy Division would likely have continued to deliver for many more years than fate allowed.
Review: Smoked-out Texan psych troupe Khruangbin have picked a pretty apt moment to release this recording of their live show at Villain, Brooklyn. For starters, it's summer 2020, and if it weren't for a global pandemic there's a good chance a few of us would be recovering from the night before to a late-afternoon, or better yet early-evening performance from this lot at some festival or other. Secondly, because of said health crisis, we're all starved of the unique qualities that come from a band playing in the flesh. Dinner is definitely served here, then, via generous helpings of Laura Lee's bass-laden grooves and gorgeous, intoxicatingly airy vocal delivery. First laid down in 2018, when Khruangbin were touring in support of their second album, while 'Con Todo El Mundo' provides the majority of musical moments here, really 'Live At Villain' is a self-contained record - an hour or so of the band's typically magical and engrossing stage stuff, captured for keeps.
Review: The world was very different in 1992, but some of the greatest musical moments from that year stand the test of time. Just take Polly Jean Harvey's staggering debut - the making of a musical icon and one of the era's finest examples of songwriting. It still sounds exceptional and its messages still resonate, lifting the woke-washed veil of our age in one fell swoop, laying bare the fact that many toxic attitudes prevail. It's rock music, but that's hardly the point. What matters isn't so much what's being played, but how and what's being said. Delivered with an air of Pixies and nod to Patti Smith, written in the wake of a relationship imploding, our introduction to Harvey remains vital as ever. A refusal to accept simplistic, patriarchal views of womanhood and femininity, or indeed simplistic patriarchal views of anything, the record's razor sharp observations, cunning wit and deft ability to reference but feel original is remarkable.
Street Dreams (feat Miguel Atwood Ferguson) (2:12)
One More Time (3:10)
1989 (feat Miguel Atwood Ferguson) (3:25)
Toulouse (feat Miguel Atwood Ferguson) (2:48)
Big Rick (3:29)
Save Me (feat Mach Hommy) (5:57)
Mr Wu (3:37)
Hold On (feat Lauren Faith) (3:12)
Early Prayer (5:02)
Review: Given that keyboardist and producer Kamaal Williams' 2018 debut album "The Return" was such a rip-roaring success critically and commercially, hopes are naturally sky-high for this delayed sequel. Happily, we can confirm that Williams has arguably excelled himself on "Wu Hen", once again blurring the boundaries between jazz-funk, seductive downtempo grooves, hazy space jazz, deep house influenced dancefloor workouts (see "Mr Wu", whose title references his other artistic alias, Henry Wu) and soft-focus soul - all with the assistance of an expanded line-up of guest musicians and vocalists. Perhaps the biggest impact is made by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, a composer whose string arrangements add an ear-catching new dimension to Williams work. Stunning stuff all told.
Review: Reissues go one of two ways. Well, OK, maybe three. You're either left blown away by how fresh something sounds, reminded of a special moment in music history and how good an example a record is of that time capsule, or walk away wondering why you thought it was necessary to play, let alone buy, from this particular archive. As you'd hope, listening back to Slow Dive's seminal 'Just For A Day' fits into the second of those conclusions. Yes, soaring rock that seems to foster our dreams and fantasies in walls of power shoegaze does feel like a recollection rather than where we're at today. But my goodness do the epic arrangements and woozy artistry in the songcraft still sound as awesome, grandiose and yet personal as ever. One for the books, for sure.
Review: Toulouse Low Trax has always skirted on the fringes of wider recognition compared to some of his Salon Des Amateurs counterparts (think Lena Wilikens, Wolf Muller and Vladimir Ivkovic), but his legacy to date plots a fascinating course through underground and experimental electronic music with a kosmische bent. This 2012 album on Karaoke Kalk has been highly prized since its initial run first sold out, and it's great to see it being made available again as more people get hip to the incredible body of work behind this maverick auteur. The mood across Jeidem Fall is consistently moody and provocative, capturing the essence of Muslimgauze but replacing the explicit ethnic motifs with a murky abstraction of the Fourth World aesthetic, all tumbling percussion and un-placeable instrumental motifs.
Review: Limited white vinyl reissue....Chicago's Pastor T.L. Barrett has been known for more than four decades as an activist and pastor and for a certain scandal in the late '80s but most of all for gospel records "Like A Ship...(Without A Sail)" as well as this very album that gets a much needed reissue on the Gospel Roots label who have also brought us the likes of Roscoe Robinson and The Dixie Hummingbirds. Originally recorded at the Mount Zion Baptist Church of Universal Awareness, "Do Not Pass Me By" and seen on Miami's TK Disco offshoot. As a press release describes best it "is a real Gospel beauty and features eight tracks of resplendent hands in the air rejoicement.". Worth the price alone for ''I want To Be In Love''....The album comes with the original sleeve artwork and design
Review: Having sold out in record time a couple of months back, Phil Mison's latest album as Cantoma - an all-star affair featuring a wealth of guest vocalists and musicians - has been rapidly reissued, this time with a colour insert. Musically, "Into Daylight" is sweet and soft-focused, with the Balearic veteran prioritising seductively shuffling samba beats, dewy-eyed vocals, gentle melodies, dubby basslines and tactile instrumentation (think meandering trumpet solos, acoustic guitars, flutes, twinkling Rhodes solos and Pat Metheny style jazz guitar). It's the kind of album that warms you like a hug, soothing mind and body whilst providing enough slow-motion excitement to reward repeat listens.
Review: Legendary Norwegian eight-piece Jaga Jazzist are back with a new album that takes a plunge into myriad musical worlds. Post-rock, jazz and psychedelia influences all abound across the four lengthy pieces that make up the Brainfeeder released LP. It was recorded in just two weeks of focussed sessions with plenty of impromptu jams and never too much over-analysis, but plenty of experimentation. It is the band's first self-produced album and overflows with musical stories form the off with synth heavy pieces and afro tinged drum rhythms. Bandleader Lars says: "I felt that this album is a small symphony, each part containing its own rooms to explore."