Our biggest ever newsletter? Well, possibly. You can be the judge of that.
We spoke last week about the utterly brilliant new Gruff Rhys LP (our September Album of the Month) and today Pang! is with us. Pang! developed unexpectedly over around 18 months. A solo album (in name only) of songs by Gruff Rhys, produced and mixed by the South African electronic artist Mmusi with some brilliant guest players. Pang! is Welsh Language pop album with a couple of verses of Zulu and an English title. Summery vibes and densely packed songs of warm pastoral psychedelia. We absolutely love this.
+ We still have just a few copies left of the limited indie shop edition pressing on blue and white splatter vinyl. Includes a deluxe heavyweight hand-finished sleeve with poster.
+ If you buy the album before end-of-play Saturday (in store or online), we'll enter you to win a test pressing.
From Sea Change 2019's Sunday headliner in Gruff, to our Friday headliner and the hugely anticipated return of Metronomy with the euphoric Metronomy Forever. The seventeen-track double album - our Record of the Week - has absolutely everything in one place that makes the band such an idiosyncratic and influential outfit. There are plenty of utter pop bangers (Salted Caramel Ice Cream is far too cheeky for words) that positively drip in crystalline pop production, but they are all the more glimmering against the introspective ambience and woozy soundscapes that completes the trip. And that's what it is: a trip through an imagined space and time with one of the finest producers around. Another immaculate addition to the Metronomy canon and a very strong shout for some of his finest moments.
+ Limited 3LP edition is pressed on Transparent Orange vinyl, including an extra LP (Transparent green vinyl) of mixes. Housed in a special 8 page gatefold sleeve.
When the Stereolab reissue series was announced back in February we, like countless others, were thrilled to look back at a band we love. It was only when we started listening again that we realised how formative they had been for us and sat in the smallest brackets as one of our most favourite bands. There is not a moment on any of their releases that isn't fascinating, rewarding, provoking or exciting... they are and remain utterly, utterly brilliant.
Each reissue in the series has been re-mastered from the original 1/2″ tapes by Bo Kondren at Calyx Mastering and overseen by the band's Tim Gane. This week sees the reissue of Cobra And Phases Group Play Voltage In The Milky Night, Emperor Tomato Ketchup and Dots & Loops, all with bonus unreleased demos, outtakes and alternate mixes.
Whether you know them well, inside out or not much at all, spend a bit of time this week with one of the finest catalogues around... you'll thank us for it!
Days Of the Bagnold Summer is a soundtrack from Belle & Sebastian and features eleven brand new songs, as well as re-recorded versions of classics. We haven't seen the film yet, so hard to tell how it works in that context, but it sits together brilliantly in its own right as an album. The new songs are full of B&S charm and the old ones that are revisited find new space.
Beneath the Eyrie is the seventh studio album from Pixies - their third since reuniting - and sounds totally and inescapably like... Pixies! Plenty of weird moments in the shadows and there is loads of drive about it... I guess it's just always hard not to compare it to their unparalleled early works.
+ Indie version LP is limited and comes pressed on coloured vinyl.
The Practise of Love is the new studio LP from Norway's Jenny Hval. Ethereal and full of synth washes with an otherworldly atmosphere, she really is brilliant.
+ The limited edition LP is pressed on Sand coloured vinyl.
Ma is the first album in a few years from Devendra Banhart and he is in freewheeling, groovy form. Rich analogue vibes with some quite big themes, it's got a great feel to it.
+ Transparent Red coloured vinyl, limited to just 500 copies for the UK.
The Fiery Margin is another fine example of Alasdair Roberts being one of the very finest song writer and adaptors of this, or any generation. Here, eight Scottish ballads are refocused with vintage keyboards, electronic flourishes and his winding picking and singing... Weirdly modern, impressively ancient. Formidable stuff.
Forgive the brevity, but so much to tell you;
The Lumineers release III, the ambitious multi generational concept album. Alex Cameron releases the emotionally unflinching Miami Memory (including a first pressing LP on Sky Blue vinyl), he's a disarmingly brilliant songwriter. A powerful new addition to the Chelsea Wolfe catalogue with Birth of Violence (including a VERY limited colour pressing). The Utopia Strong is the combined forces of Steve Davis, Kavus Torabi (Gong) and Michael J. York (Coil/Teleplasmiste), modular driven kosmische that really gets the heart pumping. Holographic sleeves on both LP editions... Looks amazing! We've got a clear vinyl version of pop pioneer Charli XCX's new Charli LP. Chicago's Twin Peaks return with the jacked-up and growling Lookout Low.
Tell you what is great! Sampa The Great whips up loads of fun on her debut album The Return. Reference points range from classic hip-hop to ancient Southern African sounds. Some vintage soul and some pounding beats, brilliantly weaved together.
+ Double indie edition on transparent green and transparent red vinyl.
Lee.... fire off the essential compilation klaxon!!! The second edition of Luaka Bop's World Spirituality Classics series (following the stunning 'The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda' album) lands with The Time For Peace Is Now, fourteen songs that - while recorded over four decades ago - speak now more than ever. The tracks are a subset of 1970s-era gospel, not directly talking about Jesus or God, but instead tackling how we live with ourselves and each other. These are undeniably soulful, passionate, and urgent songs from obscure 45s, dug up from a long dormancy in attics and sheds across the American South. Compiled by Gospel guru Greg Belson, it is joyous, powerful music. Come and deep dive in.
Couple more excellent Blue Note reissues from trumpeter Freddie Hubbard with Hub-Tones and Kenny Dorham with Una Mas. Both albums feature an unbelievable roll-call of players and these editions sound incredible. They are all-analog mastered by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes and pressed on 180g vinyl at Optimal. A couple of Reid Miles absolute classic sleeves too.
Originally released in 1996, 'Foolish' turns 25 in 2019 and Superchunk have recorded a new acoustic celebration of it with Acoustic Foolish. It's so good this, the songs are beautifully delivered... But, we only have a handful, so... Fight fight fight!!!
+ Black vinyl in uncoated jacket with foil stamp detail.
Couple of nice colour vinyl editions this week with Jeff Buckley's Grace on gold vinyl (a limited physical shop 25th anniversary exclusive) and we have a few more of the red vinyl self-titled Suicide album.
Lastly this week; a zine not a record, with Thom Yorke's curated print edition in collaboration with Crack Magazine. It unites the thoughts and messages of eight artists and activists chosen by Thom, with disparate answers presented together alongside a patchwork of visual fragments from each interviewee’s world. It's a really lovely thing and all profits from the zine go to Greenpeace.
So what do you reckon? Did you even make it to this point? So many killer releases right?! We'll put a playlist up on our blog shortly to enjoy while you browse.
True Love Will Find You In The End.