Deltasonic Records go back to its roots with The Vryll Society!



A few years ago it was touch and go for Deltasonic Records. They appeared to be going through the motions, but there wasn’t a real direction. There were very valid reasons for this, which I shan’t go into, but it wasn’t looking good. Then all of a sudden they were releasing some of the best music they had for a decade and everything looked better than ever.



One of the reasons for this new found form is The Vryll Society. This quintet make the kind of music that made Deltasonic famous in the early 2000’s. It hankers to the past, but it has its eyes, and feet well and truly planted in 2016. Their brand of pysch bristles with melodic invention, lurid lyrics, pounding drums and throbbing bass.


They are currently on tour with Blossoms and then their own headline tour, so catch them as and when you can, as they’ll defiantly be playing in a town near you soon!


Tour dates Feb/March 2016 with Blossoms




Feb 10th READING, SUB 89
















The Vryll Society headline UK tour April 2016













This single is released on March 11th, better pre-order now as this one is set to sell out!







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Zooz return with jubilant new single



Don’t you just love it when everything just clicks together? Just as the weather is starting to get a bit warmer and lighter in the evening those jangly guitar worriers Zooz unleash a beast of a song, Redeem, that while the lyrics are slightly morose and melancholy the music is uplifting and full of the joys of spring!



Sounding like it was written and recorded in some sun lashed studio, rather than in grey old London town, Redeem is a story of love, loss and redemption, like all the great songs are. But that underpins everything Redeem stands for, and Zooz for that matter, is their ability to back up even the most mournful subject matter with exquisitely jubilant music. The guitars crackly with optimism and hope while the drums bounce and skitter along their merry way.



It can’t be long before Zooz put out a long player as the music they’ve released so far has been sublime to say the least. But for now bask in the glow of Redeem until the weather is warm enough to bask properly!



Oh and it’s produced by The Death of Pop too. What more could you ask for…?









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Star Wars comp gets the green light, and the tracklisting is in another galaxy!



OK, this is actually happening now. A few months ago it was rumoured that there was going to be a Star Wars inspired compilation album simply titled Star Wars Headspace. You know like the Game of Thrones inspired Catch the Throne mixtapes that has seen Anthrax, Big Boi, Raquel Sofia, Kilo Kish, Method Man and Mastodon each contribute a GoT themed song. They were strong, but this is in another galaxy!



Putting the whole thing together is Rick Rubin. Apart from being one of the most in demand producers in the world, he also know how to curate an album. The 1987 soundtrack to Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero has always gets regular plays on the thisyearinmusic stereo, and Rubin was behind that, so this should be pretty special.



The fifteen track running order has just been announced and it’s pretty jaw dropping. Breakbot, Shag Kava, Bonobo, Shlohmo, Rustie, Claude Von Stroke have all thrown their songs in the mix. So far only three songs have been officially premiered, Baauer-Cantina Boys, a rare solo track from Rick Rubin called NR-G7 and Flying Lotus’ minimal R2 Where R U?



R2 Where R U? sounds like an awkward conversation between R2-D2 and R5-D4, set to music, before R5 gets picked by Uncle Owen and has a break down and well, the rest is history. Musically everything is kind of shapeless and in a constant state of wobbly flux, but the droid blips and beeps keep everything grounded and from floating off into deep space.



Star Wars Headspace is out digitally on February 19th and on that all important physical on March 18th.









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This is one of those releases that as soon as you hear it you immediately like it, yet you have no idea what it’s all about. The opening track בבי בבילון or Bubby Babylon starts with an infectious guitar and bass combo, as the song progresses it gets slower and then faster. It sounds like a Klezmer band interpreting a Clash track from their debut, but without the feedback and distortion. Bubby Babylon bounces along you get drawn into it. Track two כמה זה עולה AKA How Much Is It, has a dancey beat and spikey guitar riff. This propels the music and keeps it twisting the turning until it’s logical conclusion. הלם קרב AKA Shell Shock sounds like the Kooks, but don’t worry, due to the Israeli influence it doesn’t end up like a turgid mess. The vocals are heart felt and I feel generally moved. Next up is אהבה ללילה AKA Love Night which follows on form Shell Shock. Laid back guitars and vocals are backed by incessant drumming. Its ok, but not the best track on the EP. קצת ערס Some Pimp closes the EP. This is far more ‘funky’ and the Hammond organ makes it sound a bit like the James Taylor Quartet. This is one of the strongest tracks on the EP and closes the set in fine form!



What is understated about this EP is the audience. Apart from a little bit of interaction at the end of each song, you never hear them throughout the set, which is guess is either down to the recording techniques or cultural differences between British/American audiences and Israeli.



Ultimately I hope these aren’t some propaganda songs exulting the benefits of carpet bombing swaths of the West Bank. I really really hope it’s not about that…









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What happens when you mix introspected lyrics with burgeoning soundscapes? SULK, that’s what!



London’s indie pop quintet SULK have been a bit quiet since their 2013 debut album Graceless. After finishing off touring duties they took a brief break and then high tailed it to Ramsgate to start work on their follow up No Illusions. Recorded in Big Jelly studios, originally a Neo-Gothic church, they enlisted Graceless’ mixer Jonas Verwijnen to produce. This was a wise move as No Illusions builds on Graceless’ sound, but also moves everything on.



This newly expanded sound is prevalent in comeback single The Tape of You. Mixing elements of classic British singer songwriter pop, Britpop, alt-rock and a slice of prog. The harmonies are buoyant and full of the exhilaration you only have when you are young and doing things on your own terms. The riffs and rhythm section are thunderous. They put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. Oh and in places it’s catchy as hell!



Whether you’re into revivalists or bands that conjure up a time that never really existed SULK have expertly crafted a delicious slice of nostalgia that doesn’t leave you feeling a bit sick. They’re under no illusions as to whether or not they’ll hit the big time, but they’re going to have a good time trying!









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NY*AK start to gear things up for his new EP on Technicolour Recordings



After a seemingly inauspicious start to 2016 Technicolour Recordings are getting set to release Newcastle’s NY*AK’s new EP Dollar. Like with all previous Technicolour releases Dollar will be released on 12”, and like all previous releases it packs a massive punch.



Hard rhythmic beats are juxtaposed with lyrical synths and high pitch tweaks all underpinned by a groove based bassline. Dollar is interspersed with vocals samples and free flowing vocals. At first these vocals feel slightly out of place, but after a few listens you being to realise that if they weren’t there Dollar would just be another low tempo track. When all of these elements are combined Dollar sounds like a Herbie Hancock remix via Detroit, the Motor City.



Dollar is officially released 11th March on Technicolour Recordings









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Thor Rixon Creates a gentle giant on new single



Some songs get into your head. Others get into you psyche. South Africa’s Thor Rixon’s latest offering, Monogamy, is the latter. It’s hard to actually explain in great detail what makes Monogamy so amazing. I know I like it, and I know it’s good, but apart from



The layered round faux-panpipe intro just keeps building and building and building and building until you think “This can’t be the whole song right?” and then it breaks, but instead of it being this balls to the wall beast, it cuts it all back and this hypnotically melodic song emerges. This then starts to suck you in slowly, through clever orchestration and production. At about the half way point it’s pointless to resist. Like Darth Vader to the Darkside. It owns you, toys with you and ultimately throws you aside when it’s finished. The vocal “Yeah Monogamy” is so simple, but it says so much. Just like when Ernest Hemingway wrote “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn”. You know exactly what has happened, but you don’t need to be told the horrible story. Monogamy is exactly the same, but if feel far more euphoric and uplifting. Then you get a nagging feeling to play it again. Which you do and the whole cycle starts again…



Throughout its five and a half minute duration Monogamy is showcases why Rixon is making a name for himself internationally and how he continues to create and release forward thinking music for an every growing fan base! This is a song not only to embrace, but to share. So what are you waiting for!









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Brighton’s FUR reference the past while showing the future



What’s better than going to a gig to see a band you like? Going to a gig to see a band you like, but the support band blows you away and they’re all you can think about the next day. This is what happened last night.



Jimmy Whispers was playing at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar in Brighton. thisyearinmusic decided to head down as Post Heather were also on the bill. However instead of being blown away by Post Heather and Whispers is was the opening band that set the bar so high the others only just cleared it.



One of the stand out tracks was One and Twenty. Sounding like Alex Turner covering a Matt Monro classic, basically it’s a slow burner but by the half way mark it incinerates everything it touches with a flourish of cascading guitar riffs and melancholy rhythm section. It was mesmerising!



The only real downside with FUR is that when their songs start you know exactly why they wrote it. This isn’t a bad thing, but you get the impression that they’ve gone through their collective music collections and picked out songs they liked and tried to write songs in the same vein, either lyrically or musically. Their overall sound is that of the Brian Jonestown Massacre covering jangly R.E.M. songs from the 80’s from while Alex Turner sings. This isn’t a bad thing and it keep you on your toes, even if one of the songs sounded a bit too much like The Fratellis for our linking…



FUR show their influences a bit too much, and hopefully they’ll grow stronger and most confident in their song writing as the year goes one, but with songs as good as these, what’s wrong with that from time to time?









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Polish Patti Yang looks set to make 2016 her own!



Remember Patti Yang. This is a name you’ll be hearing a lot of this year. Not only has Yang just released just release the lead single from her debut album, Black Box, but the album was produced by Chris Rotter, Matty Skylab and thisyearinmusic’s favourite Jagz Kooner. If this isn’t a reason to get excited we don’t know what is! The album was recorded between London and California and encompasses Yang’s love of electronic music, punk and everything else in-between.



“My Black Box turns to gold!” Patti Yang sings as euphoric synths, divisive bass and woozy beats swirl around her. As Black Box progresses the music gets harder and more abrasive, until a delicious outro that brings to mind Phuture and other Roland 303 bothers.



As if Black Box isn’t enough, there is a rumour that one of the albums producers, will furnish a remix. The producer in question is Jagz Kooner. Kooner has remixed some of the biggest and most influential songs over the years and we are chomping at the bit to hear his remix!









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Yuck announce their new album and release their most cohesive singles to date!



Yuck return with new single Cannonball, taken from their third album Stranger Things, released on Mamé Record on 23rd February. After a first listen Cannonball has a striking severity that hankers to their self-titled debut, but there is a constant melody that stops it from being an abrasive dim and a slice manic pop majesty, comes from their 2013 followed Glow and Behold. This amalgam makes Cannonball Yuck’s most cohesive and immediate single to date.



Stranger Things was recorded in London over the space of a few months last year, and the city can be heard throughout Cannonball’s two and a half minutes. The production conjures up a dense cacophonous feeling, and the constant flux and movement of the bass and drums shadows that of the millions who live and move about the city daily. The album itself was recorded at front man’s Max Bloom’s parent’s house, where the first album was recorded. This feeling of return, or things going full circle is mirrored in the sound, but lyrically things have progressed and Bloom and co appear to have something important to say.



As this is one the first songs released from the album, we’ll have to wait until next month to see how it all pans out, but after this initial run of songs, we should all start to make a Yuck shaped hole in our lives to digest the album fully. Some strange things are on the horizon, but they’re also exciting, as all the best things are!









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Dark techno, bright future!



You can hear the dull throb from behind the closed door as you approach the club. The queue isn’t too bad, but it’ll still take a few minutes to get in. Eventually after an age, mere moments, it’s your turn to pay the entrance fee, smile at the doorman and you’re in. Everything goes into some weird slo-mo montage from a crap film about over privileged kids who get wasted on the weekends as you walk through the doors and toward the bar. But then it hits you. The heat, acrid smell of sweat and spilt alcohol. After a few moments you know it’ll pass, but until then you wish you could still smoke in clubs, to cover all this up. As you wait patiently at the bar, while the guy next to you awkwardly tries to chat up the barmaid, even though she can’t hear him, you start to become aware of the music. At first it’s a slight tap of your foot on the bar’s rail. Then a modest banging of you knee to the bar’s tiled frontage. Eventually you’re tapping your head and nodding slowly. Partying so the bar staff will hopefully make you out from the others waiting their turn, and partly because the music is getting a-hold on you.



While I’ve never heard Guzzy Bowen’s music in a club, this is what I’d imagine would happen after hearing the opening strains of Grandeur, the main track from Bowen’s new EP The Dark Place. While nothing majorly exciting happens, it does evoke a certain emotions. Constant 4/4 beats and broody synths conjure up early Dave Clarke, pre-Skint, and how the thought that it could all be let loose at any moment and consume you in a wall of ear bleeding techno is far more exciting and interesting than if the break did actually come. The rest of The Dark Place follows this pattern. Each track slowly progresses, Beat #8 especially, following the line of production to its logical conclusion before going back to the start and doing it slightly different. Download bonus track Sordid Synths ends the EP as Grandeur started it, with hints of malice and confusion all backed by a solid 4/4 behind it.



Bowen is still young and relatively new to the music buying public, but it appears as he might have the potential to release something very exciting over the next few years. This is definitely one to watch!







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Over Sands release a video for stand-out track Gyroscope!



After the critical success of their debut self-titled EP, Over Sands have finally released a video for its standout track Gyroscope. Like the music, the video is a lurid experience that skews, contorts and alters it course throughout its duration. Starting deep in a luscious forest and ending on a desolate beach it tells an emotive and almost parable tales. Musically though its slightly more straight forward as glimmering guitars nestle with meandering and nomadic synths all the while underpinned by pelting drums and beatific vocals. Combined it creates an outright joy for the ears and eyes.









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Hunck have unveiled their strongest release to date



Those guitar bothering types in Hunck have unveiled their strongest release to date with the Never Had a Dream EP. Consisting of four tracks full of forward thinking woozy indie pop it bubbles along, ever quite breaking a sweat, but looking amazing.



Opening track I’ll Wait takes their melancholic blueprint, but juxtaposes them with jangly surf-esque guitars and a driving rhythm section. After a single listen you feel the urge to play it again, and again. Lyrics like “I’m tired of dreaming of hell, can’t even look at myself, but I’ll Wait, and I’ll Wait, and I’ll Wait, and I’ll Wait, and I’ll Wait, until I’m someone else” and “I’ve been drinking all night, but I’ve been smoking alright, but I’ll Wait, and I’ll Wait, and I’ll Wait, and I’ll Wait, and I’ll Wait, Til I know I’m fine” show a tongue in cheek and sardonic take on self-help and nights out. This is Hunck’s real power, their ability to show us society in a self-deprecating mirror, while giving us something to dance along to.



So Far So Deep is a slow burning three minutes of indie pop greatness, showing that less certainly does deliver more. So Far So Deep is crammed full of melody and pathos that it takes a few listens to penetrate its core. After this has happened, you experience luscious, gooey production that is hard to extract from your ears. The lyrics, like I’ll Wait have a slight existential twist to it, never at the expense of songs central theme.



Title track Never Had a Dream as an intro that sounds like a slower reimagined version of Pulp’s classic Sorted for E’s and Wizz. The lyrics are a mixture of So Far, So Deep and I’ll Wait. They are full of longing and remorse, but at the same time there is that spiked deprecating spirit that give Hunck’s songs an edge over their peers.



Never Had a Dream cements Hunck’s position at the forefront of the indie-pop revolution that is sweeping live venues and headphones throughout the country. There is a rumour that they are working on a debut album, that looks set to be a must have item when its finally released. Their brand of clever wordplay and vibrant melodies means that we’ll be hearing more from this bunch of hunck’s for a long time to come!










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My Cruel Goro return with new single



Last year My Cruel Goro released their debut EP. It was a short sharp affair that never really deviated from a 4/4 beat, fuzzed guitars and a shouty vocal. This was fine, who doesn’t love that from time to time? The problem was that was about it. There wasn’t much else going on.



They’ve now returned with new song Lost E. On one hand it’s another balls to the wall, foot all the way to the floor and other clichés that always get thrown about then a band plays fast and hard. But just like their self-titled EP that’s it. I was hoping for some key change, shift in tempo, or anything else to break up the 4/4 beat, fuzzed guitars and shouty vocals, or a hint that they were more than a one trick pony. But alas no. That being said, clocking in at two minutes, there probably isn’t a great deal they could do to alter the course of the song.



Basically this sounds like Kelly Jones fronting Ash for a Ramones cover. That’s it. No sugar coating or dressing it up. But come on, even the Ramones changed things a bit on their albums….










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Two White Cranes kicks off Art is Hard’s 2016 Singles Club in style!



When you look back at 2015, what are your fond memories? Luckily 2015 was great got everyone one at thisyearinmusic, but one thing that we all looked forward to, was the new instalment in Art is Hard’s Hand Cut Record Club. Those square lathe cut pieces of plastic really made the dark months worthwhile. Part of the appeal and thrill was not knowing what was coming next and hoping you didn’t miss out on a release.



They’ve now returned and this year’s single club looks set to be even more elaborate and lo-fi. This year Art is Hard have decided to go for pin badges, which they’ve aptly named the “Pin Pal Club”. The first instalment comes from Two White Cranes. Last year Roxy Brennan was pretty busy touring and putting out an album with her day job band Joanna Gruesome, an album with her side project Grubs, and lending vocals to Trust Fund, as well as the second Two White Cranes album.



Somehow she’s found time to record Unattached the inaugural Pin Pal Club. As expected its pretty lo-fi, just Brennan’s voice and a guitar, but its chocked full of charm and melody. The longer you listen to the more hypnotic it becomes!



You can either buy the pins you want each month or you can subscribe to the whole thing for £45. We know what we’re going to do!









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Producer extraordinaire steps form behind the mixing desk



Dan Carey should need no introduction, and I’m not going to give him one. However for the fifteenth release in the illustrious Speedy Wunderground series Carey has stepped from behind the mixing desk and his Swarmatron to become an artist in his own right. The track in question is called Firewater. Throughout its two and a half minute duration, Firewater slowly jerks and throbs while nubilous roily beats churn everything up. This is the musical version of when a speed boat starts its engine to close to shore and all the silt and mud get mixed together and you can’t see the bottom.



If this isn’t enough, it features Detroit veteran Guilty Simpson on vocals. Simpson, like Carey, Simpson needs no introduction. His back catalogue it nigh on flawless, but this collobration almost never happened. When Carey had finished the track he set it to Simpson. “There was no way I thought I’d get a reply.” Carey said recently. But Simpson didn’t just reply, he delivered immaculate rhymes that when coupled with the music took Firewater to another level. Firewater has a touch of UNKLE with Kool G. Rap to it. Which is basically just the icing on the cake or the ice in the firewater…



Firewater is released on 26th February, but as usual there are only 150 of the buggers, so if you want one, better get on the pre-order now, or forever hold your piece.









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NAH’s new single hints at a softer, poppier side



Last year I had the privilege to see NAH live and it was one of the most amazing gigs I went to. For over half an hour he pummelled us into submission with blastbeats, hypnotic songs that merged and skewed into each other, more like the best mix album every performed live than a live set. Needless to say that after I was a 100% devotee, and the next few weeks all I played was NAH.



Now he’s returned with his first new material of 2016. Simply titled January 2016 Cassette, this release consists of two songs, noonewanna and Weight (cassette version). Instead of the challenging claustrophobic nature of previous releases, noonewanna and Weight sounds notoriously up beat and poppy. The change is dramatic and makes these two songs some of the most instantly gratifying and embracing music NAH has released. Whether this will be a permanent sonic development or not will remain to be seen. However this new aesthetic has yielded seven minutes of fantastic music that demands to be played and played!










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PARKGOLF delivers another par round with latest single on Activia Benz



Sometimes it feels like each week there is a new genre on the block. Seapunk, Elevatorchill, Gitchpop and Retrofuturism have all yielded fantastic results in recent years. Once such genre that appears to be having a slight renaissance is Vaporwave. For those of you not in the know Vaporwave is an offshoot, Chillwave, but with a few subtle differences. Vaporwave is basically obsessed with retro video games, technology and incorporates jazz and lounge into its compositions. Samples are also used, but they are usually chopped, glitched and pitched either up, or down, to create something that sounds futuristic, but also keeps it retro.



Last year PARKGOLF released the album Par, through Day Tripper Records. Glitchy beats merged with woozy synths and inspired production to create a vaporwave classic. Now PARKGOLF has returned with Silk Curtain, another slab that shows his credentials as not just a producer, but as an arrangers too. As the title suggests it has the texture of silk, but a silk curtain billowing in the wind. There is a fragility to this, and at times it feels that if the bass was heavier it would be destroyed, but luckily this doesn’t happen and PARKGOLF’s deft touch means that everything sounds like liquid silk poured around you.



Let’s hope it isn’t long before PARKGOLF releases the follow up to Par, as it appears he’s got a prodigious talent and the Midas Touch!











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Fairhorns returns with an album that delivers more secrets with each listen



Last year Matt Loveridge AKA Fairhorns released FUCKUP RUSH, an album that was rammed full of psych singed Motorik. It contained more ideas concepts than most musicians could wish for in a good year, and what’s more it was incredibly listenable. Needless to say it was our album of the year. Nothing came close to the sheer scope and vision. Now he has returned with a new album COMMITTEE XIV.



The first thing that makes COMMITTEE XIV different to most conventional albums is the packaging. Instead of a standard case or gatefold packaging COMMITTEE XIV is housed in a sixteen paged book/pamphlet/zine with a map that tells the unofficial story of the Croatoa Institute and its mythology. It’s pretty cryptic and in places rabidly frenzied. But this is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Loveridge and his musical aliases. From what we are told this links all of his work in to one universe, as his different nom de plume’s either work for, or against the Croatoa Institute.



Like FUCKUP RUSH it is a dense beast that pummels the listener for its forty minute duration. And just like its predecessor its jumps from styles and motifs at a drop of a hat. Some are forgotten, whereas others return later slightly tweeked and rammed full of cheap wiz. But unlike FUCKUP RUSH it is a more challenging listen. This is down to how Loveridge envisaged us listening to it. Instead of individual tracks it’s just one forty minute soundscape. On the last page of the zine is the breakdown of COMMITTEE XIV. There are eight suites (i) the lodge : (ii) hibernator/incubtor : (iii) canzone di sangue : (iv) meteoriq thrum : (v) unseen 5th head : (vi) chemical divorce : (vii) no omms : (viii) xiv true. As there are no breaks you have to listen to the album as a whole. At first it feels slightly unnerving, as passages of sound and noise merge and curve into each other, but when you start to re-play COMMITTEE XIV, you realise it makes perfect sense to listen to it this way. The suites inadvertently pass on the information and coupled with the zine, its tells the the Croatoa Institute’s story.



(i) The Lodge opens with electrical blips, then the bass, drums and growly vocals kick in. As the song progresses demonic howls erupt from the speakers, matched only by the intensity of the music, then it clams down for a bit, and things go post-rock. Quiet guitars juxtapose with massive drums until it momentarily all kicks off, only to trail off almost immediately and the whole cycle/motif starts again. As COMMITTEE XIV continues the music get more and more fractured and aggressive. At times you feel that it’s going to collapse under its own momentum, only to right itself and go off in a totally different direction. About a quarter in it goes all ambient, a distorted telephone conversation is played while field recordings, the sound of running water, babbles underneath, then its switches to avant-garde/experimental territory before going back to the heavy post-rock motif of its beginning imagine Basil Kirchin covered by Neurosis. Half way through COMMITTEE XIV map co-ordinates are given and a female voice speaks of shredding documents. Then it all kicks off! The rest of COMMITTEE XIV carries on in this vein until it feedbacks on itself into infinity.



In a way this is the most balanced and cohesive album Loveridge has released to date. Because everything is so stark, and in places sparse, you find yourself engaging with the material a lot quicker than on his previous releases. But this is by no means an easy listen. At times it feels like Loveridge is trying to get you to switch off and give up before the end. When you make it to the end, there is no the great reveal and we aren’t told that Fairhorns is actually just an old man from Kansas behind a curtain who is really good pretending to be a mighty wizard or corrupt organisation. At times COMMITTEE XIV feel like a musical version of Channel 4’s ground breaking programme Utopia. And just like Utopia at first it’s overwhelming and terrifying, but after you get your head round it, and listen to it a few times it slowly starts to slot into place.









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Warrington’s Viola Beach have a lot to live up to, luckily they’ve great songs, so everything should be alright



Hype bands are one of the banes of my life. That and seagulls the size of small dogs. The problem with hype bands is once they’ve been hyped they can never be unhyped. They will forever be linked, in your mind and being, to all the hyperbole that you first read/heard about them. Occasionally however one will release a song, off the back of the hype, that gives you hope. That has just happened.



The band in question are Warrington’s Viola Beach. Their latest single Boys that Sing is a slice of indie pop that puts a spring in your step, a smile on your face and a twinkle in your eye. What grabs you first is the jaunty drum beat couple with sun drenched guitar riffs. Next up it’s Kris Leonard’s optimistic leaden vocals, that lead into a catchy as chorus. Then, after a delightful instrumental break, then it’s another chorus that leans slightly into surrealism, but not enough to get a daft tash and mongoose for a pet. The rest of the song follows this pattern until its logical conclusion.



At times Boys that Sing sounds like a calypso cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit due to the simplicity of the rhymes and some slightly abstract imagery. This is a good thing as it shows that Viola Beach have a sense of humour! It’s refreshing to see a hyped band release something that isn’t just good and catchy, which it is, but its tongue is pressed firmly in his cheek. What’s not to like?










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Manchester’s AFFAIRS are hitting their stride with another slab of electro indie-pop


Almost a year ago a single came out that I quite liked. I played it a lot but, as happens a lot now, a few days later I heard something else and caned that for a week, then moved on to something else, ain’t I fickle? I didn’t really think much about the band, expect a few times I read they were recording and then, as usually happen, I moved on.



That band was Manchester’s AFFAIRS and they have returned with new single Play, produced by none other than Ed Buller. Him out of the Psychedelic Furs and that bloke who has produced Pulp, Suede and White Lies, to name a few. On their previous single Blood Science they breathed some new life into electro indie pop, by making it sound like Alt-J and Wild Beasts covering Madonna’s Express Yourself in an ethereal synth drenched chill-pop style. This time they’re staying with this blueprint, but they’ve added some oomph through letting their drummer Michael Bradnam come up with an infectious pattern that keeps things moving.



Just like last years Blood Science, Play has interesting subject matter. Instead of being about rival brothers, this time they tackle that age old topic. Relationships and how some people play games and put up shields. Ironically like the subject matter, AFFAIRS don’t cut to the chase either, and use subtle imagery to tell their story.



The only disconcerting thing about Play is that the vocals sound either like David Bowie doing his best Ian Curtis impression or Tom Smith from the Editors doing his best Bowie. Given what’s happened recently, and this has nothing to do with AFFAIRS at all, it feels like a step back rather than the slab of forward thinking electro indie pop we were hoping for.









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Coosbay get us excited about their future possibilities with debut song



I’m transfixed. I can’t really explain what it is, but Coosbay have me. Whether it’s the luscious harmonies, sparse production, questioning lyrics or how the second half sounds like Orange Can, its captivated me like little else has recently. But as I sit here listening to it again for the twelfth time on repeat, it’s starting to dawn on me, yes it is all of the above and another countless number of things I haven’t worked out yet, but will strike me between the eyes in the coming days.



What makes Coosbay so captivating is the mystery. There is little or no information about them online. Their soundcloud account only currently has this song. Their face book only has three pictures and two of them are logos. The third is of a pysch inspired landscape. This lack of information is on one hand liberating as I know nothing about these people, assuming they are a band rather than a solo project, I can create my own fantasy band in my mind. But on the its also confining as after spending the duration of the song trying to work out who plays what, I still have no answers, and won’t until Coosbay reveal themselves a little bit more.


Part of me hopes they never do, as it’s so much more fun imagining what band look and act like, then being presented with the finished article. In a way this is why being a music fan in the early 1990’s was so much fun. MTV didn’t really exist in most homes and the only way to get to hear new music was either through friends or the radio. I remember how the day used to drag when an exclusive was going to be aired in the evening. I’d stay in my room all night, with a tape on rec/pause just so I wouldn’t miss the start of the song. Then I’d spend three minutes in bliss filled agony while it played. Was I recording it ok? Did I like it? Was it as good as the other songs I liked? Would anyone else at school have recorded it? Generally the answers were Yes, Maybe, No. The next day if anyone asked what you were listening to you could casually say, “Oh it’s the new XXXXX song. Its not even out yet”. Word would go round and for about fifteen minutes you’d be king.


Anyway I’ve digressed a bit, but the point remains. When you don’t know anything about who or what you are listening to it makes it slightly more personal, as there is nothing based on it other than your own opinion at the time. I know in due course Coosbay will release more music and eventually I’ll see pictures of them playing live, recording and generally sitting around. While this isn’t a bad thing I implore them to keep their identities secret, like a band full of super heroes. It’ll keep us guessing and wanting more, and ultimately isn’t that what you want?










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C Duncan covers Cocteau Twins on new EP



2015 was a pretty good year for C Duncan, musically speaking. His debut album Architect was nominated for the Mercury Music prize, and received nigh on universal praise. After a brief break he’s now back with a new EP. This in itself would be cause for celebration, but one of the tracks is a cover of the Cocteau Twins. Yup, those Cocteau Twins. Better break out the good stuff.



The song in question is Pearly Dewdrops, taken from The Spangle Maker originally released 1984. From its opening moments Duncan wraps you up in a shimmering bubble, and bombards you with ethereal vocals until the bubble finally bursts in Pearly Dewdrops exquisite outro. But it isn’t just the vocals that blow your away, oh no, it’s also the composition and instrumentation. Pearly Dewdrops is a gentle maelstrom of layered guitars, swooney keyboards and muted drums. It all makes for a fascinating and bewitching listen.



As well as this delightful cover there are two new songs and a BBC 6Music Session included. Sadly the EP isn’t released until 19th February, but until then just sit back and bask in the beauty and elegance of this luxurious cover.










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Benjamin Schoos might well be releasing the Francophile album of the year!


If you’ve ever walked through a town or city, after dark you realise how still everything is. Normally busy thoroughfares, streets and boulevards are eerily empty. On these nocturnal sojourns, if you bump into anyone it comes as a shock. In a weird roundabout way, this is what Belgium’s Benjamin Schoos’ new material feels like. After enjoying the solitude of a late night promenaded, you are now joined by a stranger and now together you’re enjoying something special.



Belgium’s Schoos use of stark instrumentation means that there is a level of poignancy to the music. At times it’s just Schoos’ voice and a piano, or strings. This brings to mind Benjamin Biolay’s work form the early 2000’s. It’s haunting, but the immediacy of the vocal performance keeps you listening and your jaw on the floor. There is an eloquence to the vocal performance too. Lyrics like “You say you dream of being, The scale, My I love you, From the lives of two, your poem, Love is so seen” isn’t just poetic, or gorgeous, but delicately alluring! This might be down to the juxtaposition between slightly gruff vocals and luscious piano and strings. It could be called neo-chanson, but that would be too lazy, but whatever it is, Schoos is touching on something glorious and elegant.



Schoos third album, Night Music, Love Songs, will be released on 29th January. Given the strength of I Love You, this looks set to be a high water mark for Francophile music this year!









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Plastic Animals look set to release the album of 2016!



Since 2006, well 2011 really, Edinburgh’s Plastic Animals have been making a wonderful noise, that incorporates indie, sludge, pop, motorik, prog and pop. Since their inception they’ve played countless gigs and have released a slew of singles that demonstrate their ability for melody as well their penchant distortion pedal.



Next month Plastic Animals release their debut album Picture From the Blackout through those good noisenicks Song, By Toad Records. Picture From the Blackout is forty five minutes of Radiohead, Broadcast and My Bloody Vaneltine along with a dollop of Can all mixed together, but with some of best compositions this side of 2015.



This is an album that looks set to be on loop until at least June, and if you’ve any sense you’ll do the same!










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Pulled Apart By Horses cover Bowie for charity. Where was this when I needed it at college…



It’s been a few days since David Bowie has died and now it feels right to say a few words. I was never a fan of his music, this doesn’t mean I’m not saddened to see him pass away. I am. Its sad whenever anyone dies, especially a father and husband. Yes he helped change the world for the better. He made it acceptable to be different and walk a different path to what society says you should do. For that he will be missed, but sadly his music means little to me.



This is down to a few factors. Firstly after hearing his songs I never felt “WOW! That’s the best thing I ever heard!” or “This guys a genius!” There were a few songs I didn’t mind, but ultimately I felt ‘meh’. Another reason I was never a fan was because I went to a house party when I was 20, at that time I didn’t have an opinion one way or another, but when I went home any chance Bowie had of getting me on side was over.



It was a classic college house party. Someone’s parents were away, the drinks cabinet was open and about a dozen kids were listening to alternative and having classic college conversations “No, Freddy would so beat Jason in a fight” (The Freddy vs. Jason film had either come out or was about to) “The Dadaists were so much better than the Futurists” and so on. At about 10 people had started to drift off home, but as I was staying over I was in for the long haul. The host, after another hefty glass of Tabu had opened the music to the floor and asked what we wanted to hear. A few people went with the host to his room and brought down his CD and tape collection. As Pastichio Medley by the Smashing Pumpkins had just finished I thought we were in safe hands.


When they returned, and another glass of Tabu had been filled it looked like we were in for a Bowie heavy night. As I said at this time I had no opinion and was happy to hear anything. As the host had about a dozen albums they started at the earliest one. At first things were fine, but as the album progressed it became apparent that a few of the party guests were more into it than others and about half way through the album they called for a cease of talking. As I was smoking at the time I could escape with people for a quick chat outside. After the second Bowie album had played it became obvious that something had changed and now this wasn’t just listening to music for fun, it was something far more sinister. As it started people chatted, but they were told to be quiet, never a good sign. Then something weird happened. Out of nowhere the host produced a book and started to read from it. It was a Bowie biography. As the music carried on he, and another party guest, would randomly open the book and read a sentence that matched the music. This carried on for the duration of the album. When the third album started, the book was opened at the first page and was being read in full.


At about 1 more people left and there were four or five of us left. The picking of the albums and the reading of was being done by two people, another two thought it was so funny and clever and were all over it, me and another guest had had enough, so we slunk off to the kitchen. They had gone to the same school as me, but were a bit younger so we exhausted that topic of conversation, then we spoke about college until that was exhausted and eventually we just spoke about how little we like Bowie. Eventually the host had drunk himself asleep and the Bowie-a-thon could end. As I lay there falling asleep my last thoughts were how much I disliked Bowie and how the night had ended badly and I should have left at 12.



That was about fifteen or twenty years ago and I still don’t really like him. Yes the odd song has got through the armour, Suffragette City, I’m Afraid of Americans (Trent Reznor Remix), Hello Space Boy and a few others I’ve forgotten, but ultimately I still feel as I did when I went to sleep that night.



However if this Pulled Apart By Horses cover had been played that night, I’m sure things would have been different. It’s a fitting tribute as they have recorded one of this most famous and admired songs, and are donating the proceeds to the Teenage Cancer Trust. Their version keeps to the structure of the original, but they add more power and noise that the original. The guitars are crunchy, the bass is turned to deaf and the drums pound as they say thank you and goodbye to one of their heroes. If you like this song please follow the links so you can donate to this fantastic and worthwhile cause.









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Field recordings never sounded so good!



Fête d’été, roughly translated Summer Party, by Fissures AKA Ludovic Medery is a rare find. Everything you need to know about the album is displayed in the cover art. On the surface it looks like an old Polaroid that has been put through a mangle, fallen out of a coat pocket, been trampled on by an unsuspecting crowd, then picked up and cherished by someone, only to find its way as an album cover. This is exactly what the music contained sounds like. Ambient noise, at various locations, has been recorded and through thorough digital manipulation, live instrumentation and a vivid imagination a version of reality that never existed has been produced.



At times Fissures is remarkable, and at others unlistenable, but pervading it is a sense of “Is this real?” and “Did this happen?” The answer is no, but that doesn’t take anything from the remarkable field recordings that have been given an Avant-Garde buffing to create something almost other worldly.



Essentially what Medery has done is create a piece of music that doesn’t really contain music. Through lurid soundscapes and ambient workouts you are reminded of past situations and your own view on them, gives the emotional outcome to his work. It’s very clever. Fissures plays with ideas of composition, and styles. One moment it’s full on experimental, another moment it’s just ambient noises, which an underlying theme of Musique Concrète underpinning the whole thing.



Bravo Medery, Bravo!










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Satellite Young show that J-Pop is alive and well in 2016!



There is something refreshingly simple about Japanese music. Firstly they don’t beat about the bush getting to the point. As soon as Satellite Young’s latest single Don’t Graduate Senpai starts you know exactly what will happen. Slick, well produced and catchy as hell! Secondly they aren’t abashed to show their influences and make the kind of music that like. The backing beat sounds like it has been lifted from a Stock, Aitken and Waterman track from the late 1980’s. While I can’t speak Japanese I imagine the lyrics are a twee ode to either a boy or relationship that is coming to an end, but the singer doesn’t want it to. I could be wrong, but the title does help add to this conclusion.



What is really fun about this single isn’t just the carefree fun unadulterated pop music, nor the intricate layers in the composition and production, but it’s the Hanna & Barbara-esque artwork that really gives Don’t Graduate Senpai a timeless quality. Looking at the cover you think “Well it sounds pretty 80’s, is this actually from the 80’s?” This is something I’ll never really know, but I don’t really care as the music is so good!



Ironically the B-Side is a karaoke version of Don’t Graduate Senpai. Through listening to it in its instrumental form, you can really start to pick out more of its elemental parts. The bass really works well with the drums and the keyboards/synths really bring it all together. If this is the quality of music coming out in 2016, we should be in store for a very good year!










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Charles Bronson Moustaches Defenders release one of the best live albums in recent years



Live albums generally don’t work. Just by their nature they are flawed. How can you expect to capture what makes a band live? Seeing music live is a three dimensional experience. You aren’t just listening to music, you are jostling for a good spot, where you can see and not block anyone else’s view. You feel the heat from lights and the amplifiers. There is the smell of feller gig goes. Sometimes this can be pleasant, but generally it’s not. When you go to the bar you’re feet get stuck by spilt drinks on the shabby carpet, and you’re fingers always end up in a puddle of something you’d never order. This being said, the Charles Bronson Moustaceh Defenders live album – Live at Les Citrons Masqués is one of the best live albums released in recent years.



First off, the set is phenomenal! The band are tight, but there is an element of freedom to the playing. They all know their roles, but they are also aware that if they wanted to they could go off on ones and the rest of the band would carry the tune until they decided to come back to the fold. While this isn’t anything new, it is refreshing to hear it happen unexpectedly. In fact through Easy it sounds like it’s all going to fall over, but somehow the band manages to right itself again and move on without too much damage done. When the member crowd whistles, they do what we are thinking, show appreciation for righting a particularly iffy moment of the set.



Secondly the way the set was recorded feels very organic and natural. It feels more like a bootleg than an ‘official’ live recording. That you can hear the crowd talking in between the songs, and in quiet bits is as refreshing as the band themselves. As mentioned before, there is a lot of space in the set, but the recording techniques help to show us where this space is. Everything is light an airy, and not as claustrophobic as live albums tend to be.



Whether Charles Bronson Moustaches Defenders will re-record these versions are some point in the future will remain to be seen, or heard, but these four songs will do more than any re-recordings ever could hope for. They show a band finding their form and trying to create something that isn’t just memorable but enjoyable. And what’s wrong with that?









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This is about a Britpop as you can get, Nervous Twitch are basically the new Lush when they were going through their indie pop phase



This is a cause for a celebration. Go down the offey and by as much mid strength European lager, beef jerkey and all the Pringles as we’re going to have a party. I expect you’re wondering the reason for this level of debauchery. Nervous Twitch have returned with their second album Don’t Take My TV. Given their previous releases and that this Leeds quartet love everything 70’s punk, garage rock and 60s girl groups, the expectations are quite high for this album.



So far all we have to go on is the devine John Power. For those of who might have forgotten John Power was the bassist in The Las and front man in Britpop group Cast, and this song lives up to the initial connection. It’s about a Britpop as you can get in 2016. The guitars a chuggy, but delightfully playful. The structure is designed so that after the second chorus you’re aching for it to come back. The lyrics have a delectable feel to them and everything is wrapped up in a luscious pop sheen. But most importantly there is no feeling of cynicism, which was the undoing of some great Britpop songs. Basically Nervous Twitch are a version of Elastica, Lush and Menswear, but mainly Lush, when they were going through their indie pop phase rather than their noisy shoegazing period.



All of this bodes well for Don’t Take My TV, which is out 26th February on those good people at Odd Box Records. Make sure you order yourself the limited blue cassette, I know I will!









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Right Hand Left Hand give away searing new track to announce release of new album



In 2011 a Welsh duo Right Hand Left Hand released a debut album called Power Grab. This wasn’t just a clever title, the music within was full of clever ideas and forward thinking composition. In the intervening years Right Hand Left Hand have played countless gigs and festivals and supported Super Furry Animals, Futue of the Left, Los Campensinos and the Mae Shi. Now they have announced their return with a free download, Tarts and Darts from their second self-titled album Right Hand Left Hand.



Tarts and Darts picks up from where Power Grab left off, but this they have expanded their sound by adding layer upon layer upon layer upon layer of devastating riffs that starts to redefine post-rock. From the opening layered riff Right Hand Left Hand sound like a different band. The time off appears to have focused them more and the math elements are more pronounced than on previous tracks. By the half way mark, when Tarts and Darts starts to build toward its monumental conclusion, you’re totally swept along with its vim and vision.



Luckily Right Hand Left Hand is released 12th Febraury on Jealous Lovers Club, so we haven’t got long to wait to hear this noe-post-rock opus!









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L/O/O/N looks set to release a powerful and dazzlingly delicate debut album



We’ve all had enough of two dimensional dance music. You know the type, over the top breakbeats, aggressively throbbing basslines, coupled with immense bass wobble and inane vocals. If you’ve had the misfortune to go out and end up in generic bar/club you would have heard enough of this music to last a life time. Norwegian producer Mikael Kanstad AKA L/O/O/N has definitely had enough of this thing and has decided to do something slightly different.



Coming from a hard rock/metal background L/O/O/N’s music feels like it has more ebb and flow to it that his peers. There is an element of space and movement that is sometimes missing form electronic music. Lead single Dropping Faces is a prime example of this. Opening with a wall of swaying synth and keyboards, an achingly simple vocal sample keeps us on our toes by popping up and giving us something immediate to grab hold to. The music is low tempo, borrowing more from hip-hip than house, but don’t let its laid back visage fool you, there is plenty going on just under the surface and what’s more its fun!



L/O/O/N, along with the Activia Benz label look set to be trying to change the conventions of what electronic/dance music can and should be in 2016. We will have to wait to see what L/O/O/N is really capable of, as his self-titled album is out in March 11th, but for now this is something to get excited about!










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Melodic chimes. Speeded up faux 2-Step beats. Glitchy production. Chopped up vocal samples. Woozy bass. These are all the things that make up a great Activia Benz track. Split but Ducky, the latest addition to the series, has all these things, and more.



Opening with the aforementioned chimes, before scattergun beats pepper the mix, turning it inside out and making delicately contorting melodies. Split appears not to be as hard hitting as previous Activia Benz tracks, but this is a misnomer. What it may lack in visceral muscle, it makes up for with intricate melodies and exquisitely built peaks.



As Ducky ratchets the tension through glitchy beats and wonky synth, a childlike chime starts to permeate, bringing order to the chaos. Vocal samples dance about until it starts to build toward a euphoric conclusion.



Is this the shape of things to come from Activia Benz in 2016? We can all hope so. 2015 showed that they were more than just an up and coming label that dished out free songs every once in a while. 2015 showed that they can do pretty much whatever they like. How many other labels put out tracksuits last year? Hardly any. Long may they continue to push the boundaries not only of music, but of fashion too!










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Youngstrr Joey is ready to release his new album, but is the music buying public ready for Youngstrr Joey AKA?



Cal Donnelly Youngstrr Joey AKA is a unique talent. He album Grilled Wiig is in the can ready to go. At first you get the impression that Donnelly has wondered in off the street into a random studio and start to play whatever he can lay his hands on. As he does that he’s just singing anything that comes to mind until the aghast expression of the people in the studio make him wind it up quickly and then leg it. Left with these unusual, almost found tapes, the studio puts them online as there is something bewitching about them.



As I wasn’t at the recording sessions I don’t know what really happened, but after a few listens it becomes very apparent that Donnelly knows exactly what he is doing and everything has been meticulously planned in advance. The deftness on guitar is outstanding and his ability to reign his vocals in nothing short of exquisite. And what’s more, Afraid is really catchy too. So catchy that long after you’ve finished playing it, it’s still lodged in your brain. Slowly turning round and round until you feel the need to play it again, to make sure you didn’t make it up. In short he is a virtuoso not only of guitar, but singing and composition too.



Grilled Wiig is released on 12th February through Song, By Toad










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The Thermals return with one of the catchiest songs in recent times



Seven albums in and it looks like the Thermals, that Hutch Harris, Kathy Foster and Westin Glass to their friends, haven’t started to run out of steam. New albums We Disappear is due in March and lead single Hey You is a short sharp jaunt through fuzzy guitars and shouty vocals, which produces a song that bores into your being with each listen.



As with previous albums, the Thermals, discuss love, death and everything else in between on We Disappear, all wrapped up in their velutinous indie pop sheen. Don’t take our word for it, listen to Hey You more closely. Doesn’t that conjure up images of someone legging it from Death/the Devil, or it is someone running from a loved one? Either way it doesn’t really matter as it’s a complete banger and has successfully blown the dust off from our collective New Year’s malaise.



We Disappear will be released on March 26th by Saddle Creek.










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Public Memory has us right where he wants us. In his palm with our hands in our pockets



“This is my first time” Robert Toher AKA Public Memory swoony vocals utter during lead track Ringleader. If this is your first time at making music under the Public Memory guise we can’t wait to see what you come up with next!



Of course this isn’t Toher’s first time making music, he cut his teeth in the group ERAAS before deciding to try his hand at some solo productions. The results is far more electronic that ERAAS, but that’s not to say this new body work is without a human touch. This is the musical equivalent of Roy Batty in Blade Runner. It’s stark, detached, and clinical but underneath it all beats passion and brooding emotional content. Whether it would dream of electornic sheep is debatable, but it maybe jumping Korg’s or Moog’s at a push.



Sadly we’re going to have to wait until March 18th for the full album, Wuthering Drum, to be released. But we expect this to be the first of several tracks drip released before the full album drops. This is one ring leader definitely worth following!









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Glaswegian duo gear up for album release, and world domination



Tuff Love make the kind of music that it is easy to fall in love with. There is an abundance wonky melody and siren-dreamlike vocals that wrap everything up in a vaporous blanket. Since last month Crocodiles has been on heavy rotation.



From the opening lightly strummed chords, that abruptly get heavy and chuggy, it reminds you of Britpop B-sides. Everything is there that made you buy love the A-Side, but there is a slightly lo-fi sheen the proceedings. This makes for a delicious listen, as you don’t know if they will make it to the end in one piece of if the whole thing will fall over under its own glee and elation that the song is actually being recorded.



Later this month Tuff Love will release the album Resort, that complies their previous three EP’s into one serviceable album. Given the strength of this trio of releases, Resort looks set to be on a loop until the middle of February, and if you have any sense, you’ll end up doing the same. 2016 will be the year of Tuff Love!









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Kentucky resident Idiot Glee gets ready to unveil his lo-fi ballads to an expectant world



Right, Christmas is over, and hopefully paid for. New Year’s Eve is as distant a memory as January the 1st’s hangover and with the feel inducing prospect of work tomorrow getting closer and closer, we all things to look forward to. One these things should be the self-titled Idiot Glee album.



Idiot Glee is the musical nom de plume of James Friley. After a first listen, the glee doesn’t immediately jump out at you, but after repeat listens you start to find it in odd places. A melody here, poignant vocal there and after then suddenly you realise that you’ve played I Don’t Feel Right about thirty times you garn more enjoyment from it each time.



Friley has tapped into a rich American tradition of balladeers, but instead of coating the music in a spangly pop sheen he leaves it without that final gloss coat. Some might call this lazy song writing by not fully realising his ideas, but in fact what we are given is a perfect slice of lo-fi pop. You can see the songs individual parts moving and pulsating under Friley’s rich vocals, which at times sound like sounding like a strung out Ricky Nelson covering LCD Soundsystem after a heavy night out.







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Jorge’s Hot Club are a raucous rabble who plunder pop culture while sticking to an ardent Gypsy Swing ethos



Gypsy Swing is on the rise. Throughout the country you can now easily find pubs and gig venues putting on nights dedicated to the music of Fapy Lafertin, the Moreno Trio, Rodolphe Raffalli and of course the master Django Reinhardt. These nights are full of music that is ridiculously complex, but never excludes the audience, as they are full of a bounce and joy for life that immediately makes a first timer get up and dance, or at least tap their foot.



London has Swingatto, who generally stick to the classics and play them as honestly as the original records. Their musicianship is second to none and when you talk to them after, you realise the enthusiasm they have for music, they also have for life. They’ll happily talk to you in detail about Gypsy Swing as well as current musical genres and trends. In Brighton however things are slightly different. Maybe it’s the costal air, something to do with how the area reimagines music for its own purposes, or perhaps a level of not caring what other people think as long as you have a good time, but things are slightly less formal and a bit more ad hoc.



Jorge’s Hot Club are the premier Gypsy Swing band in town. Their live sets are a raucous rumbustifications where traditional numbers are intermixed with pop songs and number from children’s films. This heady mix is as intoxicating as the viscous liquor the venues they play in sell. In total Jorge’s Hot Club consists of nine members, but they have performed as a quartet in the past. As well as having Gypsy Swing influences, due to the instruments they play, they have the ability to draw from Klezmer and Latin influences to give their performances a depth of variety their peers don’t have. This range and their collective ability, and sense of humour, gives them the power to reduce even the most ardent and stoic fan into a jibbering wreck, dancing until the last note fades out is testament to their power as a live unit.



As far as Gypsy Swing goes, Jorge’s Hot Club are about as far from traditional as you can get, but who wants traditional? Why not have something that is different and slightly better? It’s the element of surprise that makes their live sets such a delightful experience. Where else can you hear Crazy Swing lodged between Everybody Wants to be a Cat and the Cantina Theme #1 and in five songs time hear I Wanna Be Like You? If you know of somewhere please send a stamped addressed email to the usual address.







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So it’s been 1 year, 12 months, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds since thisyearinmusic’s last New Year’s (Dis)Honour list. The whole point of end-of-year-lists is to showcase things that the writer(s) have enjoyed and you, my dear reader, might have missed all the while showing themselves to be much more knowledgably and interesting than you are.



We would like to think that thisyearinmusic is different and we generally try and showcase things that have touched us and defined what 2015 was about, but sadly we’re just as bad as all the others, and this post is just an example of that. Last year’s list was ungainly and bloated, so we’ve tried to cut it down to the bare bones. We won’t be handing out prizes for art direction, production and such, but instead we’ll give you Album and Song of the year, and people to watch out for this year. We aren’t even going to waffle on for ages about why these songs are good and better than millions of over songs released this year, but we will say that each captured the feeling and mood of the year perfectly.


Song of the Year



10. Big Dope P-Still Hood



9. The Bug Zim Version



8. Django Django-Giant



7. Hunck-I’ll Wait




6. The Garden-HaHa



5. Courtney Barnett-Elevator Operator



4. The Death of Pop-Rayban Party



3. Ricky Eats Acid-Carnival of Souls



2. E B U-Dead of Night



  1. Loyle Carner- Tierney Terrace



Album of the Year



10. Warm Brain-Big Wow





9. Grubs-It Must Be Grubs





8. Sasha Siem-Most of the Boys





7. MXLX-^___^





6. Death Grips-Fashion Week





5. Miguel Baptista Benedict-bedsores (regurgitations and loops)



4. Dave Cloud and the Gospel of Power-Today is the Day that they Take me Away



3. Kamasi Washington-The Epic



2. Binker and Moses-Dem Ones




  1. Fairhorns-FUCKUP Rush




One’s to Watch



Activia Benz



Du Bellows



Applewood Road



Oliver Wilde



Baishe Kings


OK, let’s keep this short. The year is coming to an end, rapidly, but standards must be maintained and daily content must be met. So it gives me great pleasure to remind us that Dutch dream pop psychers Pauw are counting down the days until their debut album Macrocosm Microcosm is released next month.



Pauw are basically a love in between prog space soundscapes and dreampop sensibilities. From this brief, but concise description, you get that there is a massage of massive soundscapes but they are coupled with delicious hooks and melodies that keep everything grounded and moving, rather than drifting off into the ether with their weighty ideas about composition and instrumentation.



Macrocosm Microcosm is released on the 22nd of January, and so far only a few songs are available online, but what Pauw have released is exquisite and our collective mouths should be slavering for the official release on whatever format you desire!









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Chas and Dave show they’re still the UK’s premier band



Last night I had the pleasure to watch Chas and Dave. To some Chas and Dave are a dirty word. To those people I question their whether this view is based on their own musical preferences, or peer pressure. Chas and Dave’s music contains an effervescence for life. If you play them on a good day, they make you feel a million times better, listen to them on a bad day and you’ll make you cry. And this isn’t counting their prowess as live musicians.



What makes their gigs such events, is the cross section of society that attend them. Its night on impossible to pigeonhole their fans. Pensioners are mixing with metallers. Football boys are rubbing shoulders with teachers from the university. Parents and their children look relaxed and at easy. It is a perfect microcosm of society, and how everyone should interact without prejudice or distinction.



But what strikes Chas and Dave apart from their peers, isn’t just their musicality, or the ethos that the music is for everyone and no one is excluded, but their ability to not only read the crowd, but pre-empt what they want to hear and feel next. Last night’s gig was a series of well crafted, and constructed peaks and valleys. Just when you thought what the next song would be, they pulled out a different classic from their almost perfect back catalogue. The final 20 minutes could possibly be this reviewers favourite 20 minutes of any set I’ve seen this year.



Oh and it was Chas’ birthday. What more could you want…?









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King of Cats RIP



King of Cats are one of those bands that you either get or you don’t. Front man Max Levy’s scratchy nasal vocals can be off putting at first, but once you get it, you realise that the songs are full of life affirming passion and postmodern pathos. Now Levy has released a new song under his own name, rather than under the King of Cats moniker.



Like his previous material Big Jump is lo-fi, provocative and totally engrossing. Through its three minutes duration Levy weaves a complex story through subtle minimal musical elements. Levy has now retired his King of Cats pseudonym and will release more music under his own name. What is clear however is that it doesn’t matter what name he uses as the music is always incredibly well written and produced. While this is an initial big jump, it appears to be one that could yield some fantastic next year and beyond.









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Activia Benz deliver the perfect antidote to Christmas Carols and turkey



Yesterday I was bemoaning the end of Art is Hard’s Hand Cut Record Club. As its Christmas I’ve been enjoying a self-imposed internet exile from the world, by just hanging out with my family and friends. So today, when I was looking at my feed for the last few days I stumbled across the latest addition to another singles club that has come to define my year.




For those of you who aren’t aware of Activa Benz’, you are in for a treat. There is no time frame as when the songs are released. There is no set genre. There isn’t even a criteria for the artists that release music. They just have to be forward thinking with a sense of humour.



The latest artist to get involved with this epic saga is Carpainter. Seven Sisters start off all lurid and spacey, like a waking dream, then once the beat kicks in, its takes you on a journey through dancefloor culture in 2015, and gives a glimpse of what 2016 could hold. A simple vocal sample adds that all important hookworm that gets lodged in your head and makes you want to play it again!









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Art is Hard end their Hand Cut Record Club in style with I Love Your Lifestyle



So that’s it then. It’s all over. Art is Hard Records have completed their Hand Cut Record Club. Over the last few months they have released a slew lathe cut 7” singles that have run the gambit of indie, synth pop, garage rock and bedsit soul. I would be lying if I said the release of this final record has been met by joy and sadness. The Hand Cut Record Club was something to look forward to, as you never really knew what it was going to be. But now it’s over there will be a slight hole in my months until it is filled by another singles club, or a good run of football results.



The final release is by Swedish band I Love Your Lifestyle. Their distinctive brand of emo is unlike anything that had been released in the HCRC, yet its inclusion works perfectly well everything that has come before. At just shy of two minutes it’s one of the shortest releases in this series, but don’t for a second think that I Love Your Lifestyle have nothing to say. They lyrics are filled with insightful motifs and a slight hint of existentialism that all great music should have.









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Of Arrowe Hill release the second part of their World War 1 theme EP



Last year was the one hundredth anniversary of the start of the First World War. A lot was made about this remembrance celebrations were held. London based musician Adam Easterbrook decided that he would celebrate this by announcing he would release a song for every year the war took place. 1914 was a song about being sent away, being separated from your friends and not knowing where you are going. These are themes that Easterbrook and oAH have written about before, but in the setting of a ‘war song’ they are devastatingly effective.



1915 however is a slightly different beast. Gone is the vinyl crackle and lone acoustic guitar that added the feeling that this was a field recording found by chance in an unlikely place, and while the song doesn’t have the connotations to war of 1914, it does fit in with the spirit of comradery that permeated the previous song. As this is an on-going project it will be interesting to see if a fuller story arc appears or if 1916-1918 end up being stand-alone track. Given what we know about Easterbrook’s perchant for the occult and supernatural let’s hope that one of them is a good old fashioned Christmas ghost story or something Machenian.









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Miguel Baptista Benedict leaves the best for last in 2015



Miguel Baptista Benedict has had a great year. Not only has he released a slew of albums and singles, including the beast mbb_ex album and the glitched out js8h2k singles, but he has now released a new album cow.



Given the diversity and depth of Benedict’s back catalogue cow sits somewhere in the middle between 2013’s Super(b)-Child Ran and this years bedsores (regurgitations and loops). Basically this means that while the music is beautifully crafted and painstakingly organised, there are parts what are just pulsating white noise. While this might not sound like a good thing, given their context in the songs, it is exquisite organised chaos.



The album opens with something that sounds like an Add N to (X) B-Side from 1998, cut up vocals samples that are on the verge of inaudible, but you manage to pick out a few choice words. It’s a bit like going on holiday to a country whose language you studied at school, but you have used/thought about for a decade. You get the jist of it and can work out what’s going on, but you have no idea how to explain what’s wrong with your lunch, without resulting to your native tongue. die ann key ton start off sounding like an ultrasound, while ominous synths fizz and hum about, until a drum beat appears and ushers in the outro. re_2 is made up of a few simple loops that are layered to create an unsettling atmosphere until a faux house melody kicks in which takes the song to an entirely different level. This is the blueprint for the album. Just when you think you have a handle on everything BAM Miguel Baptista Benedict throws in an unexpected element and the song is going off in a totally different tangent.



trek[ed] flush is one of the stand out tracks on cow. A synth builds tension, while a repetitive drum keeps time. As the song progresses glitchy effects lurk and skulk around the shadows of the song, until they are brave enough to come to the forefront and everything takes on a possessed/haunted vibe. yell at selective hearing is the most abrasive track on the album. This doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable, far from it, as it progresses you get drawn into the rich tapestry of its intricate melody, but its not an easy listen. However by the halfway mark you’re so under its spell you don’t realise that its made up of mostly distorted/abused/white nose samples. detergent sounds like a dirty remix of Vangelis as his most fluid and lyrical. This combination really works well and helps push cow into uncharted realms. The album closed as it started with heavily manipulated vocal samples, sounding a bit like a skit form Chris Morris’ excellently twisted Blue Jam series.




Out of all of Benedict’s releases this year it’s hard to pick a favourite. They all sound totally different, but at the same time unmistakably Miguel Baptista Benedict. That being said, there is something about cow’s composition and production that with each listen something new pops out, or you re-think the whole piece. This is a rare trait, and marks a great musician from a bedroom hobbyist. Let’s hope is another vintage year for Miguel Baptista Benedict!










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Ben Lowe first came to my attention when he was part of the band VLAD. For a brief moment VLAD were the most exciting and vibrant band around at that time. But as Eldon Tyrell says in Blade Runner “The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long” and after two exquisite EP’s they disbanded 2012.



Since then Lowe has gone quiet, minus the odd EP here and there, but now it appears this period of has been well spent as he has released his first solo track Morning After Thoughts. While it isn’t as visceral as his work with VLAD, its chocked full of catchy melodies and insightful lyrics. It shows that Lowe has a tender side and he isn’t afraid to use it.




Let’s just hope that in 2016 Lowe releases the debut album he’s been hinting at for the last few years!









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“Everybody’s got a broken heart, to hang on the Christmas tree”



Christmas isn’t just about presents and peace on Earth. Sadly bad things happen at Christmas too. For one reason or another the Christmas period has a high percentage of break up’s. While this has never really been written about, Adam Easterbrook thought he’d have a stab at it on his 2012 break up album Love Letters, Hate Mail & the Haunted Self. The album is a revamping of Blood on the Tracks. While it was a difficult listen at times, it is, sadly, the most honest album Easterbrook has written and is the closest thing I’ve found that sums up going through a break up.



Christmas Distance was a hidden track after the final track Love Letter. This was a clever thing to do. If Easterbrook had done a Melanie, it would have been that track you immediately jump up to skip because it would sound out of place the majority of the year, but through putting it as a bonus track, after you’ve faffed about splitting them up using Audacity, you can select not to play it as part of the album/put it on you MP3 player. Which is a shame as Christmas Distance is an absolutely amazing song, that sums up Christmas when you’re not in the best frame of mind.



In classic Easterbrook fashion Christmas Distance is chockful of lines that make you laugh and cry. The standout line is “Everybody’s got a broken heart, to hang on the Christmas tree”, but “It’s a chance to remember, places and face that make up your life” and “I can’t see the lights for crying” come close though due to their emotional context. While this might not be the best Christmas to play at work or the office party, it is perfect for quiet contemplation about the full spectrum of Christmas.









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