And behind day one on the advent calendar is…
Well this is pretty special. Fireside Stories (Hebden Bridge circa 1971-1974) is an album of never-before-heard 70s British folk by unknown teenager Trevor Beales, recorded alone in the attic of his family home in Hebden Bridge, sometime between ‘71-74. This posthumous set - Trevor Beales died suddenly and unexpectedly on March 29th 1987, aged just 33 - is a wonderful listening experience, new songs to devour about all the big themes in life from a commanding baritone voice. He is reminiscent in tone and style of Michael Chapman or John Martyn, but with regional traditionalism giving him his own distinct space. There is a real sadness to some of the songs that is eerily reminiscent of Jackson C Frank, himself a mysterious character celebrated outside of his lifetime. Fragile, full of melancholy and fleeting like sunlight through cobwebs. The release of the album itself is a really beautiful story too, with Henden-based label Basin Rock lovingly bringing together the songs and stories from tapes and reels.
A time capsule and a real treasure, our December Record of the Month.
Do you want our staff-picked Record of the Month sent directly to your door? Subscribe for three, six or twelve months to our record club and start adding to your amazing collection.
This Is What We Do is the first album in seven years from seminal electronic music pioneers - and twice Mercury Prize nominees - Leftfield. Full of pulsing oscillations and dancefloor-ready beats, it really is full of energy. There is a real charm to just how much like Leftfield it sounds; big house beats with rave timbres and other club music tones that they were themselves such a huge part of bringing to the mainstream. Nostalgic without sounding outdated and more than capable of dragging any old curmudgeon onto the dancefloor. Record of the Week.
+ Available on limited Opaque White colour vinyl.
Premonition is the fifth and final album from the Canadian three-piece White Lung. Such a lot of drive, this one is jacked up and explodes to life, hardly taking a breath throughout. Punk and Thrash energy with plenty of pop hooks, they sure are evocative and this is a fine and fitting swansong.
+ Available on exclusive Orange Crush colour vinyl.
The fifth and six volumes of Heavenly’s excellent remix series are released this week, with banging and squelching reworks of their roster. The many highlights include Confidence Man taking on The Orielles, Psychemagik’s Dub take on Mildlife, Daniel Avery remixing David Holmes, Erol Alkan reworking Working Men's Club and more more more. Absolutely stacked full of life.
+ Available on 2CD and each volume (five / six) is available as a double LP.
Rogues Gospel is the splendid new album from London based multi-instrumentalist Duke Garwood. A real fever dream quality to it, hypnotic and dreamlike. Highly recommended.
Prima Facie: Original Theatre Soundtrack by Rebecca Lucy Taylor (Self Esteem). Now we thought we had well and truly sold out on this one, but not only do we have a few more copies, we also have a print signed by Rebecca Self Esteem and director Jodie Comer!
Purchase a copy to go into the draw, we’ll include all of you early birds that got in early too!
Choosing is the Bella Union debut from London-based singer-songwriter Sophie Jamieson. Minimal arrangements with loads of space for her voice, which is pretty mesmerising.
Sufjan Stevens releases a super limited 7” single with two versions of Fourth of July. The song appeared on his masterful Carrie & Lowell album and these two reworks are as chilling and as powerful. “Fourth of July (April Base Version)” was recorded in Eau Claire, Wisconsin at Justin Vernon’s April Base studio, and “Fourth of July (DUMBO Version)” was recorded in Sufjan’s old studio in Brooklyn, NY. Red vinyl, 45rpm, blink and thou shalt miss it.
Lastly this week, antipodean dream-boats HighSchool join the Speedy Wunderground roster with a fantastic 7” single called Only a Dream. A new cut that is drooling with gothic pop excess! As ever, pretty limited, so don’t miss out on this one.
Another excellent set of reissues here too, with 2manydjs, Fela Kuti, Blue Mitchell, Arthur Russell and Chet Baker & Art Pepper in the racks now and to be discussed in full on Monday.