September keeps giving with some bangin' new releases today... the new-not-new ones are pretty special too!
Record of the Week is the third album from BEAK>, an LP that sounds like dreams and memories. There are loads of things going on here. Pounding krautrock and motorik beats, tear-jerking woozy guitar riffs, warped tapes, dense harmonies, sinister cinematics... it's a really beautiful blurry sound. Billy Fuller, Geoff Barrow (of Portishead) and Will Young (not of X-Factor) have created something that really does not sound like anyone else. An album you can lock into and get totally lost in. >>> is the sort of LP that we're going to put on at Drift, stare out the windows and just lose time. A pretty glorious little daze. Thinking about it, It might be called "Greater-than Greater-than Greater-than"... it certainly is greater than a bunch of other things we've heard recently.
The vinyl is pressed on black vinyl, housed in a spined sleeve with artwork by Marc Bessant, with digital download card included.
I know it's hardly like she is underground, not receiving universal plaudits or signed to a huge record label... but Héloïse Letissier is making utterly amazing pop music as Christine & the Queens and at some point this new LP, Chris, is going to be looked back on as a total classic... proper Off the Wall territory. The production is a shimmering wonder. It's totally overwhelming, an immersive, sensory and utterly 3D experience. It also feels really effortless, much like delivering your album in both English and French versions! C'est bon. We're only a few listens in (per language) and it's deep, this is no vacuous sonic exercise, she is smart and this is going to be like a proper coming of age BIBLE to people. Bloody good.
+ There are two versions of the album; one sung exclusively in English and one sung exclusively in French. You can buy either on CD/LP... or
+ The Box Set is limited to 10,000 copies (3,000 for the UK) and include both language versions of the album in gatefolds and 'discobag' inners - 4 LPs, 2 CDs total - 2 posters and has an alternate cover.
Fresh off the back of melting our minds in a field at Sea Change, mod synth wizard James Holden teams up with the Maalem Houssam Guinia, son of the late Gnawa legend and previous Holden-collaborator Maalem Mahmoud Guinia, for a trio of live collaborations recorded during the Moroccan band’s first trip to London back in 2016. Hypnotic stuff and further testament to Holden's abilities to make pulses and drones sound so human. In love with this already.
Oh my god, Gazelle Twin returns with Pastoral and it is SO INTENSE. The lead single Hobby Horse is a right treat, pounding, nightmarish loops and crunching 8-bit beats. A lot of the album has that dream state / waking fever kind of vibe going in, it's really glorious stuff. Fierce production and one of the starkest and most chilling depictions of contemporary Britishness in this climate. Really highly recommended.
Multi-instrumentalist and producer Jordan Lee’s returns under his Mutual Benefit monkier with Thunder Follows the Light and its honestly, lovely. From it's first breath to its last. it is wrapped in glorious layers of strings and Lee's vocals. Nothing has come close to this kind of fragile prettiness this year.
Villagers, well more specifically Conor O’Brien, has a beautiful voice, one of the most recognisable and beautifully controlled about in fact. That is naturally present on The Art of Pretending to Swim, and very much the main event, but the instrumentation that frames it has swelled. Big and swooning instrumentation that's actually really quite progressive. Still subtle, but a lot going on.
Daptone are in prime 'shining a light' form today with Love In The Wind. The Sha La Das are a family affair, comprised of Staten Islanders Bill Schalda and his sons Will, Paul and Carmine. They’re no strangers to Daptone, having previously sung backing harmonies together as a group for Charles Bradley. Will and Paul also toured extensively with Bradley, performing keys and guitar respectively in his Extraordinaires band. Was Love In The Wind recorded in 2018 or 1968? Sun was pouring through the windows whenever it was... this is a hugely evocative album, a real classic with R&B and doo-wop vibes. We're going to be playing this loads.
Brainfeeder announced this week that a tenth-anniversary box set would be dropping late this year. As if we need any more excuse to obsess over them, drummer Louis Cole releases his third LP, Time, today and it has plenty for the Brainfeeder heads new and old. Although a drummer primarily, he sure knows his way around and Time is big, lush, full and moves through complex motifs a mile a minute. Tunnels In The Air (featuring Thundercat) is a prime example of this. Funked up to the max and elevated by some really gloriously unexpected orchestral flourishes. Brilliantly produced, feeling this.
Chilean's The Holydrug Couple return on Sacred Bones with Hyper Super Mega. Wonky, psychedelic electro-pop that really swirls about. Really chill and has some really quite cinematic moments too, big reverberating landscapes. Lush.
Iconic artist, sculptor and improviser Lonnie Holley releases MITH today on Jagjaguwar and it is an indescribable but utterly captivating headspace. It features Laraaji, jazz duo Nelson Patton, the late (great) Richard Swift, saxophonist Sam Gendel, Ismaily, Anna & Elizabeth and Courtney Hartman. It's a wonderful stream of conscious. This fragment of his biography is really fascinating; Born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1950 at the zenith of the Jim Crow south, Holley was the seventh of 27 children. He was taken from his mother as an infant and raised by a burlesque dancer in a whiskey house on the state fairgrounds. A jukebox in the house played a steady stream of rhythm and blues, big band, country and bluegrass music. As a child perched on the roof, Holley watched horror and sci-fi movies from the drive-in theater next door: he credits the experience of hearing the classical, jazz and contemporary music scores as strong influences on his own music making.
Suede return today with the gloriously grandiose The Blue Hour. There are plenty of gestures towards their younger selves, the euphoria between Brett's vocals and the various layers of guitars is a hallmark. It's hugely ambitious, strings, spoken word and dark autumnal themes. We've only had a few listens, but feels like there is much more to discover here.
In 2010 the trio Mountain Man - Molly Sarlé, Amelia Meath, and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig - released Made the Harbor, one of our albums of the year and still one of the great moments in the impressive Bella Union vaults. Out of the blue and with very little fuss after an eight-year hiatus, we're thrilled to have them back with new LP Magic Ship. With the occasional stomp of a foot and strum of a guitar, they sing close vocal harmonies that are souring, homespun, intricate and, for the best, part euphoric. They just sound so perfect together, these three wonders singing is an absolute joy and this subtle album really is one to rave and shout about.
Brighton four-piece Black Honey release their PUMPING debut album, really jacked up pop, high saturation, loads of fun.
Prolific and obsessive, Prince was famed for the secretive vault of recordings and, two years since his tragic death, the first of the recordings are released. No funk and soul cuts, no screaming guitars... just Prince, and a microphone and a piano. Recorded 35 years back, the home recordings are somewhere between demos, studio cuts and an intimate live session, with Prince noodling at his piano and singing Purple Rain and eight other songs in one-take recordings.
Did you see the Wild Wild Country documentary on Netflix? It's an amazing story and Brocker Way did a great job on the soundtrack, super atmospheric. The packaging here is lush too, illustrated sleeve and a split orange and maroon colourway on the record.
Really sad, but a beautiful and roaring goodbye. Before his death in February, Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson scored the horror film Mandy, his final score. The Mandy score was co-produced by Jóhann and Randall Dunn and features Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley on guitar. The album was later assembled with the help of co-producers Pepijn Caudron and Yair Glotman. It is hard and intense and a really superb piece of work.
MC5 only released three albums, but they were ferocious, adventurous, and confrontational enough to secure the group’s place as one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll bands ever. Total Assualt [50th Anniversary Collection] is a limited-edition boxed set that features all three of the band’s albums pressed on coloured vinyl. It includes Kick Out The Jams (red vinyl), Back In The USA (white vinyl) and High Time (blue vinyl).
Feels like we need a whole newsletter just about the MC5... shall we do that?
Following the release of Felt's first five albums in February, the band’s reissue campaign continues with the second half of their discography; pressings of Me And A Monkey On The Moon, Train Above The City, The Pictorial Jackson Review, Poem Of The River and Forever Breathes The Lonely Word. Gatefold vinyl or mixed CD and 7" boxsets.
Sub Pop issue a tenth anniversary pressing of Blitzen Trapper's most excellent Furr LP. Absolutely LOVED this on release, loads of Beatles vibes going on and it still stands up as a great collection of songs. Loser pressing too which is nice.
Trunk continue their exploration into the exotic and corners of the wild British Isles with volume five of the killer Britxotica! series. Goes Wild! is sixteen super-rare and brilliantly bonkers latin and percussive pop cues, pretty much essential listening.
Ending BIG this week with another essential release on the We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want label. Mixing cosmic new wave with avant-garde synth pop and funk, duo (Ichiko Hashimoto and Atsuo Fujimoto) Colored Music's self-titled 1981 album is reissued for the very first time. It sounds very locked to the scene it came from (plenty of Talking Head's shadows), but also super new and vibrant, it's a pretty rare gem in that way. Great liner notes that we're just getting stuck into and it sounds to be a really banging pressing. WRWTFWW are yet to do anything other than thrill us...