Album reviews

Lia Ices - Ices

I've really enjoyed tapping my toe to Ices whilst ironing, or holding the door to the Jakes open, to hear it better when it's playing in the living room.

Robyn Hitchcock - The Man Upstairs

The Man Upstairs, is a good record mind; and a sort of refocus, even a realignment, where the Hitch gently polishes his psychicke crystal ball, often using other Sonic Mages' cloths.

Ought - More Than Any Other Day

This is a razor-sharp collection of passionate, informed, funny and often ebullient rock songs.

Black Walls - Communion

So; if you dig that sub-Victorian 'Gothicke' J W Waterhouse scene, you will dig this record's opening numbers; there is no doubt of that.

Grumbling Fur – Preternaturals

Rather, Preternaturals carries on in a grand tradition of subversive English camp, and very refreshing it is too.

David Thomas Broughton and Juice - Sliding the Same Way

Even better, folk troubadour David Thomas Broughton manages to sound sinister and plummy and eccentrically Northern all at the same time.

Amen Dunes – Love

Damon McMahon comes on like Van the Man on Astral Weeks; wild, unhinged, preaching but seemingly vulnerable; working out stuff as he goes along.

Sunwølf – Beholden to Nothing and No One

So, a wipe out of a listen; a right mix of things, but really great. Beholden to Nothing and No One lives up to its title in that the record is all-enveloping, something that could completely take over if you let it.

Ian Humberstone and David Chatton Barker - Theo Brown and the Folklore of Dartmoor

Let me state now; the music on Theo Brown and the Folklore of Dartmoor is wild.

Donna Regina – Holding The Mirror For Sophia Loren

Brilliant, it really is the perfect set of miniatures. Get it, give it three or four plays and you’re hooked.

Archie Bronson Outfit – Wild Crush

Spacier, druggier and more (ahem, sorry) “pastoral”; full of semi acoustic strums, passages of phaser and tappety drums. A music perfect for hunting crop circles.

Islaja – Suu

Suu often sounds like some high gloss mid-eighties record – the sort of Art of Noise mash up, albeit that bit weirder, more in tune with the whacked out world of the Residents; a high gloss chart-bound Residents.

Sangre De Muerdago / Novemthree - Braided Paths

A magical dark folk record that’s certainly worth your time, especially if you are feeling meditative.  

Koen Holtkamp – Motion: Connected Works

But then you’ll stick this record on and you’ll be lost, or rather, suspended like a prehistoric fly in amber, in a powerful collection of tracks that do little else but emanate an incredible sense of presence.

Go Back To the Zoo - ZOO

Amsterdam’s a bit like a patchwork quilt. A bit homely, a bit old-fashioned but reassuringly comforting and welcoming. All of which is a bit of a long-winded introduction to a band, I’ll admit.

The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream

TWOD have craftily created their own little sonic ballpark to play around in and Lost In The Dream shows that they’re simply getting better at it.

The Afghan Whigs - Do To The Beast

a beautiful, throbbing, tender bruise of a record

Keel Her - Keel Her

What is it about Keel Her’s debut? Well, maybe it’s the way that things are just never what they seem.

EMA - The Future's Void

Tracks such as Satellites and Cthulu are like staring at a range of mountains and seeing the thunder clouds form. Drums in the deep. It’s epic stuff, it really is.

Hauschka - Abandoned City

Throughout there’s a feeling of industriousness; the record’s like a production line; these restless, fluid, but preplanned rhythmical structures that ebb and flow through the music, almost becoming narrative threads over a number of tracks.

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