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SO MUCH BELTER

 

Evening! 

If you happen to be reading this in Hamburg (could happen!), be advised that Nina is hosting our very own Kenneth, Meg, Jim and full Nunhead No Wave crew at Golden Pudel this Saturday. Will be gut>>>

Looking further ahead, and as we've mentioned before, the Low Company 2nd birthday thing is on Bank Holiday Sunday 26th May - details next week, finally, promise! 

MEANWHILE...

 

JEAN RITCHIE
SINGING THE TRADITIONAL SONGS OF
HER KENTUCKY MOUNTAIN FAMILY 
FANTOME PHONOGRAPHIQUE | LP | £21.99

Time to leave the city! The expansive, homeopathic teachings of Jean Ritchie’s 1952 debut sees its first vinyl reissue (LORD how needed it was) in perfect cadence with our first glimpses of summer.

Her all-encompassing, powerful yet TREMBLIN’ voice, accompanied only by a home-built, calmly flayed mountain dulcimer, Ritchie’s own fantasies and imaginations are injected across sixteen songs that were first taught to her by her mother, father and fourteen older siblings - fully set to dial us into the bewildering PHENOMENON that is the natural world. This collection also somehow manages to make the thought of growing up amongst the bees n trees, sharing a bedroom with 10 + of yer brothers and sisters and doing actual physical labour every day sound quite, er, idyllic…?

Calorie counting commuter-(b)rat daydreams to one side, the liner notes read: 
“These songs did not come from books”.

Too right - a million miles from the stiff, procedural conventions you may or may not expect from songs that are centuries old, what ye have here are HEART-STUNG ballads played with a strong, intuitive rhythm. Songs like “O Love Is Teasin” and “Black Is The Colour” effortlessly evolve, traversing their traditional trappings and giving new life to these visions of the country. TEEMING with personality, the phrasing and flexibility (FOLK AEROBICS?) of these translations ascend into love-lorn mountain mantras and sparse, rhythmic dulcimer enchantments with Ritchie’s life’s practice blended and embedded deep in every note, drawing timeless parallels between all mortal struggles and the cyclic comforts of nature. FFO Basho, Collins, “Gardens Where We Feel Secure”, The Fates, Sandy Bull ++

CARLA DAL FORNO
SO MUCH BETTER
KALLISTA RECORDS | 7" | £5.99

Our Carla returns with the 'So Much Better' 7", her first release since last year’s Top of The Pops covers tape, and her first original material since 2017’s The Garden EP, and it also happens to be the maiden voyage for her own Kallista label, envisioned as an outlet for contemporary deconstructed club sounds / neo-braindance. JOKES. The title track and A-side, ‘So Much Better’ seems to occupy, at first, a similar zone to her immaculate reimagining of Renee’s ‘Lay Me Down’ on TOTP... But while certain signature CDF motifs are firmly in place – spacewalk bassline, strafing mysteron synths and submerged, ricocheting snare hits – it’s not quite business as usual. The refined, startlingly intimate vocal style she unveiled to A+ effect on The Garden - its crisp diction and in-yr-ear intimacy a world away from the claggy distance and dissolve of You Know What It’s Like – becomes an offensive weapon here, as the lyrics move from dazed urban travelogue to a caustic, confrontational, unambiguously fuck-you-mate climax. Blimey. Incidentally this is probably the first, and undoubtedly the best, song in the history of recorded music to use the word “unseemly” – bo! Meanwhile anyone who felt stirrings of the second coming of trip-hop (NOT a dirty word) in Carla’s earlier work can witness its full flowering in instrumental B-side ‘Fever Walk’ - its scuffed breakbeat, moody keys and death-ray bass distortion reminding me of nothing so much as the Folk Implosion’s Kids score (!). SO MUCH BELTER.

VARIOUS ARTISTS
DESTROY ALL ART VOL.2
ROCK'N'ROLL PARASITE | LP | £16.99

The second (and final?) instalment of Andrew Winton’s DESTROY ALL ART compilations, plus very last copies of the now classic Vol.1. These amazing LPs do for raw 90s US murder-punk / lo-fi spazz what Killed By Death did for the ’70s/‘80s sub-underground, lining up 30-odd tracks of obscenely grotty, no-hope, no-legacy GENIUS from a time before the internet, nice coffee and COLOURFUL GRAPHIC DESIGN ruined punk forever.

I mean maybe the likes of The Conmen and Splayed Innards and The Ignatz WILL have some kind of a legacy now, the same way that the KBD sides taught suggestible late 90s weirdos to fuck their music (and themselves) up a little bit in pursuit of the scumbag sublime. AS IF. Still, what tunes. “These particular singles earned mostly ZERO distribution at the time thanks to the then-dominant ‘punk’ trends of pants-shitting emotional and prog-metal wankage,” ,” says Ryan Wells in his priceless sleevenotes. “Chances are if you were even alive and starving for the real deal in the 90s you never caught a whisper of any of these, but better late than never.” We’re talking properly, hilariously obscure - take Austin, TX’s The Nubees, who only issued 45 copies of their lone 7”, or Portland, OR’s Disasternauts, who apparently “grew so bored of the basic idea of their 1998 7” that it never got a pic sleeve, and [they] defaulted to ‘distributing’ their records by leaving them in random phone booths.”

The fruits of Winton’s late 90s / early 2000s committed rummaging through the used bins at Amoeba and Rasputin's in Oakland, walking away with armfuls of $1 blind-buys and then carefully dissecting them at home, Destroy All Art is everything you want from a compilation series: flashes of unfathomable oneaway brilliance from bands who were otherwise pretty pedestrian, brilliant bands lost on dreary labels, brilliant bands who broke up before anyone bought their first record, bands who definitely aren't in any way brilliant but are somehow inspirational nonetheless. Vol.1 is perhaps a little more out-there/art-damaged, Vol.2, is more straight-up death-stomp... both are essential. 

MARK
INTEGRIERT EUCH NICHT
UNTERTON | 12" | £10.99

Mark back with another maxi of coiled, concussive breakbeat brawlers, and another rebuke of our limited grasp of German possessive grammar. ‘Fucking Sick Of Myself Since Day One (Hotdesk Mix)’ is a radgy, super-hectic breakbeat brawler, and a teeming gorescape of self-loathing, as if the Chapman brothers had populated Fucking Hell with rictus-smiling co-working space / start-up c***s instead of Nazis, while ‘Hats Off to Herr F’ offers something more in line with the rolling, handbrake-turning technoid d’n’b of his previous 12”s – all sinewy, minimal funk and churning Reese bass. Toll! The title track, with contributions from Silvia Kastel and Wilted Woman, turns like a jaded, strung-out Jedi back to the darkside, ultimately settling into a lithe, trail-thrashing dungeon flex reminiscent of classic Ruffhouse. Hieronymous BOSH. Arf. 

SKIFTANDE ENHETER
SKIFTANDE ENHETER
LEVANDE BEGRAVD | 12" | £14.99


Short sharp SICK LP of javla rock n roll, JJ Ulius and this Swedish squad SKIFTANDE ENTER kick out a thumpin, mob-minded debut of fierce, CALAMITOUS garage-punk autopsy, rife with warble’d organ and drunken nunchuck drumming. We went bonkers for Ulius’ solo 7” last year, that lackadaisical brawling of “Tander Ett Ljus” barely recognisable here (‘cept for the one track available to preview - d’oh), that slow-motion Buzzcocks swagger ramped up into a ferocious, Eddy Current-esque boil. Trust us, DAMAGE.

NO MORE SMOKO

HI ALL

New one on in-shoppe label landed this week, debut LP from BOBBY WOULD - more thoughts and feelings on it’s brilliance below and a snapshot from the currently unreleased promotional video above.

We can now also safely/softly announce that these troops will be playing at the next LC swally, amongst some other SERIOUS talent tba - Sunday 26th May - keep THE WHOLE DAY free.

Anyway, nuff riddling - plenty to be getting thru

LC xxx

BOBBY WOULD
BABY
LOW COMPANY | LP | £13.99

"IT’S HAPPENING TO YOU, AGAIN…" Lovelorn, tranq’d-out, majestically understated rok y roll lullabies and dub-pocked, acid-damaged, pain’-it-dark drone-punk from Robert P. of Heavy Metal and Muscle Barbie++, coming over like some celestial 4AM face-off between George Harrassment, The Great Unwashed and Can. Gulp. Yeah this is a record so patently, self-evidently brilliant that we have to stop ourselves from calling it an instant classic (oops). There are some affinities with the homesick jangle of Itchy Bugger’s Done One, an album which R. played on (and painted the cover for), and the songs sure are pretty (find me a more romantic refrain in 2019 than ‘Luna''s "You and me / shivering in the street"), but Baby feels like more of a TRIP, as if some 23rd century Martian moptop-pop combo crash-landed at a dosed up Kensington houseparty circa ’66, plugged in their gear and got stuck right in: hypnotic space-guitar ultra-reverberant and in a permanent state of comedown/dissolve, choppy death-surf riffs and gently weeping leads ringing into infinity, squeezed and smeared for every last trace of scorch and sting…wooiii! There are some echoes too of banner UK DIY/squat-wave and the mildewed NZ psych of the Spies and the Renderers, but all shot through with a kinda Teutonic sensibility/rigour, loopy and ultra-repetitive - equal debts to the full-throttle drainpiped psycho-beat of 39 Clocks’ ‘Dom’ and the glacial ambient-glam sampledelia of Love Inc.’s ‘Life’s A Gas’ (!). Rare to encounter a record as simultaneously heart-rending, sonically intrepid and effortlessly SWINGING as this. Couldn't be more in love. Edition of 275. xxx

BARBARA KINGA MAJEWSKA & MARCIN MASECKI
TARATIL’ID AL-MILAD
BÔŁT | LP | £16.99

YES it’s April and YES we are recommending you an LP of Christmas carols. And no we haven't lost our f****ng minds. We're talking Polish Christmas carols, translated into Arabic (more specifically a dialect from the region of Aleppo), and reimagined as political lamentations, and interrogations of Christian charity, or what’s left of it. “Songs for the time of contempt we live in,” according to Barbara Kinga Majewska and Marcin Masecki. “[An] era of rising xenophobia replacing care and empathy in relation to to the growing number of defenceless victims of wars, conflicts and other calamities. When thousands of unwanted strangers, searching for shelter from a certain death, die at the gates of fortified Europe, we cannot sing about any joyful news as we have always done.” It's a noble cause and conceit, and the music is up to the task, thanks to a number of factors: the innate beauty of the carols themselves, new to us and we assume to most non-Polish ears; the ways in which the imported Arabic language compliments, and complicates, and at times palpably chafes against, the sonorous high-Catholic melodies (“the songs run out of words; begin to sound in strange keys…”) but above all the sparseness and ECM-spaciousness of the arrangements. Majewska’s voice is the most haunting instrument of all, supernaturally crystalline at times, but also capable of drawing on deep wells of hurt; while Masecki’s minimal synth, harpsichord and piano accompaniments offer daubs of cooling, consoling ambient texture and, at times, something more atonal, frictional, closer to complaint. There are obvious parallels with Svitlana Nianio's and particularly Jessica Kenney’s work, but this one’s ultimately out on its own - stunningly poised and powerfully emotive music. It's also clad in the most exquisite/evocative artwork we’ve beheld in a while. It's really something...do not miss.

GRAMM
PERSONAL ROCK
FAITICHE | 2LP | £24.99

Front-rank, smoked-out, 1999-vintage but utterly future-proof microhouse / dub abstractions from the mind-machine of Jan Jelinek. 1999, fuck me. Coming hot on the heels of his Farben 12”s, and with Loop-finding-jazz-records still two years away, this ultra-broken, ight-on-its-feet but properly soundboy-clobbering 2LP bridges those two projects: combining a clipped, swung, almost two-step momentum with fathomlessly deep basslines and that droning, melancholic, acutely paranoid but never explicitly DARK textures that Jelinek is THE master of, and which has always elevated his work from the turn-of-the-millennium morass of clicks’n’cuts. I’d literally forgotten how good Personal Rock is… and right now I can’t think of anything, not even those early SND records, that comes close. Truly some of the most spatially dynamic, hallucinatory post-techno hocus-pocus ever to grace our ears. We are not worthy. FLAWLESS MASTERPIECE. 

IKURO TAKAHASHI
しりえないものとずっと 
AN’ARCHIVES | LP | £21.99

Master drummer Ikuro Takahashi is a bona fide living legend / dark prince of the Japanese psychedelic underground, having served time in the cockpits of void-chasing juggernauts like High Rise, Fushitsusha and LSD March, as well as anchoring more pastorally minded, slow-burning troupes like Nagasa Ni Te and Maher Shalal Hash Baz (we could list at least a dozen more).

Born in Hokkaido in 1957, he lived in downtown Tokyo for some years before settling back in Sapporo with his partner, dancer Yoko Murunoi. All the music featured on this LP from An’Archives was composed for live performances from their Anoyonodekigoto duo project. Yoko died in 2017, so しりえないものとずっと(Shirienaimono to Zutto) is a kind of elegy, “the last flower laid at the shrine of her dance.” There are some passages of bin-lid crashing catharsis, no mistake, but the most striking of these six improvisations venture into a more granular ambient realm - although I’m not sure“ambient” is exactly the right word to describe music so teeming and twitching with anguish and fury and general unrest. Overlaying oscillators, music boxes and metronomes, Takahashi generates rhythmic, fluid, circular patterns (the influence of Takehisa Kosugi looms large) that seem designed to unpick the locks of the spirit-world, if he doesn't kick the goddamn door down first. Very special presentation from An as usual, with silkscreened jacket, obi, inserts and postcard. Edition of 275.

TOM PHILLIPS
WORDS AND MUSIC
RECITAL | LP | £27.99

This contemporary album of Brexit-inspired electro-acoustic improvisations is a fascinating exploration of what "remain" could mean for-- JOKES! Words and Music is a rare and deeply idiosyncratic 1975 album by artist Tom Phillips (b.1937), who really had no way of foreseeing how jarring/button-pushing his use of the Union Jack would feel in the confused, conflicted, auto-annihilating Britain of 2019. Actually you’ve probably encountered Phillips’ work before, even if you didn’t realise it: the cover image of Brian Eno’s Another Green World is a detail from Phillips’ 1972 painting After Raphael, and it was in fact Phillips - teaching at Ipswich, Bath and Wolverhampton art schools - who introduced his star-student Eno to the ideas that would help him develop his ambient and generative musics>>>>>. In addition to his prolific and venerated painting (the National Portrait Gallery mounted a solo exhibition for him in 1989), Phillips collaborated with Cornelius Cardew in The Scratch Orchestra, and in 1990 co-created an award-winning TV adaptation of Dante’s Inferno with Peter Greenaway (A TV Dante). His key work remains A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel, a reworked version of W.H. Mallock’s obscure book A Human Document, each page painstakingly painted and collaged over, and published in six editions between 1970 and 2017.

The second side of the Words and Music LP - originally published by Hansjörg Mayer and never re-pressed until now - is comprised of readings from Humument, with Phillips himself narrating its strange, romantic poetry. It’s the other half of the LP that’s of chief interest, though: four Cardew-ish chamber works grown form impressionistic and graphic scores. Subdued, submerged, at times heart-stoppingly lyrical and melancholic, these pieces exude, as Recital so beautifully put it, “an air of forlorn fantasy", and there are passages that could have sat comfortably alongside Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman et al on Eno’s Obscure series. Urge you to check this one out, even if you can't bare the sight of it! Edition of 215 and not expected to come around again.

PREPARE YOUR PRUNES

Last week of freedom before daddy's home. Gotta clean up so just a couple of quick announcements. 

Check this week's NTS show with a guest mix from Macker in the second hour. 

Also, not prepared to divulge more details just yet but make sure you keep the 26th of May free. It's a Bank Holiday Sunday and it's gonna be WILD. 

LC xxx

HEITH
MUD
SAUCERS | 12" | £9.99

Blind-siding EP of devil-mix atmospherics and shapeshifting, fractural sound design - the latest offering from Heith (Haunter Records ++) and the first release on his new outlet - SAUCERS.

For all its psychic, slow-burning umami, “Mud” floats with an urgency that’s almost impossible to place - the raw, dry-ice rudeness of some Reinforced synth sweeps playing 800% slower than intended, fused and tightened with the immersive, sci-fi wonder of Dopplereffekt’s “Calabi Yau Space”. Heith utilises this deadly sound palette and moves with an unbeknown stealth and liquid agility that generates some sorta demented sense of adrenalin (and that’s just the intro!).

“Extra Melma” sounds like it could have been recorded in a magma chamber deep in the earth’s core - waves of THICK molten chords drift across most of Side A, slowly diffusing like a lava flow gradually rolling into the ocean, intermittently disrupted by swiftly evaporating fissures of digitally distorted sub-bass. Totally addictive this one - teaming with the forward leaning phuturistix you need to feel like you are actually living in 2019, without getting too, ya know, Matrix: Reloaded.

On the other side, a booming, steadily paced stepper - “Yoga Of Stealth” comes primed with apathetic synth sweeps that vaguely recall JTG’s “Angela” from last year, further extraterrestrial club tension forged by cyclic string samples folding in on themselves. It’s the perfect lead-up to the clattering, dislocated grime swordplay of “?” - it’s shattered, naked-flame melody revolving on and on until Heith closes with a deep, aching cut of computer-soul - the vocals on “Mud Queen” singing an untranslatable romance of two distant planets.

Hands down our fave EP of the year so far.

VARIOUS ARTISTS
NO ORDER IN DESTINY
KASHUAL PLASTIK | 2LP | £29.99

World building compilation of boundless, sinister post-industrial and blissfully sedated, synth muzak from Kashual Plastik, presented in an intricate, rope-bound and hand-crafted wooden cover with several earthy screen-prints across the two panel gatefold (can only imagine the cursing that went down on the assembly line, good heavens!).

Contemporary kosmiche offerings from our folks Brannten Schnure and Lamusa II instantly catch the ear and pulled us into the spacious, wooden constructs of “No Order In Destiny”, before taking the subnarcotic night drive from F ingers’ ’Orgy In The Country Homestead…’ to the astral-outerplains of Milan W.’s “Astra”. A sloppy nose-grind from Steve Pepe’s ‘Interlude’ and we’re trapped in the vacuumized, percussion-led, downward spirals of Nadine Byrne (Ectoplasm Girls) - all the selections here so, SO on the money, all delicately placed to induce completely abstract noggin’-wandering into previously unchartered ecosystems.

I mean, it feels like ANYONE can release anything these days, so ya kinda want something more from your VA comp than tracks from a bunch of folk whose email addresses you happen to have. Hacking and sawing against the grain KP cough up this carefully assembled, labour intensive package, its powerful, lucid sequencing MORE than dignifying its concept - the design, the sound all completely coherent in their confusion and perfectly snapshotting the odd-ball DIY fringe of which we are so utterly enchanted by. Sturdy, underground offering in the veins of Sordide Sentimental - future artyfact, no doubt.

MARIACHI
MARIACHI
NO LAGOS MUSIQUE | LP | £17.99

LOUD free-form, dead space texture generation and stripped back, Glenn Branca- style studio devolutions from Nina Garcia and her untameable guitar, grinding up every inch of the poor instrument, wiring it through a humble pedal and exploring it’s full sonic potential with a certain ferocity and yet, deeply considered prowess.

It’s taken us a few weeks to get our heads round the twists and turns of Mariahci - it’s stark minimalism staring you in the face and demanding you to get on board. Managing to keep our lunch down over the course of this rickety, INVIGORATING rollercoaster, we are left with a few cracked ribs and an insightful, genuinely exciting sense of thoroughness that recalls the first time we heard Guido Bresaola’s “Esterno / Interno” (not a comparison we would make lightly!!) - Bresaola summoning the deepest, DARKEST shudders of the double bass across a whole LP to terrifying, demon-conjuring effect (ye, you just gotta to check that one too!). Highly, highly recommended to any of you sound explorers out there needing to rattle the cage a bit.

HAMILTON SCALPEL
HAMILTON SCALPEL
CONCRETE CABIN | 12" | £9.99 

Four asbo-dodgin’ harmdashers from the dear grey place, unknown duo Hamilton Scalpel step out on the new imprint from warehouse-of-horrors club night Concrete Cabin (home of go-to guns for hire Mother Mark and DJ Crud).

Highly anticipated round these parts, this one - a twisted tale of dark-side ruffage that lands it’s first swing with the Blantyre-breakcore RAMMY (eh?!) of “Anti-Vibe (UK Compliance)” - the sound of Tango & Ratty failing their M.O.T. test - the amen gearbox sticking, kruschin’, REVVING - before flying out the stops with a twitching, British Murder Boys style blood-thirst and enough disorderly conduct to dwarf adjectives a la “rowdy”, every word in the English language seeming far too polite to capture the immeasurable fury of the windmilling, jungle-tekno on show here.

“Slewn Kin” is a blazing wheelie bin of new-skool Chronobrain / Acid Planet madness, concealed weapon on Side B - “Coventry Dump Valve” - the one to watch as it rushes ya with seasnake hi-hats and underwater-dancehall sub-bass, a circling, crystl clear / LED-lit melody hanging around to keep the peace and offer non-violent resolution (“soundboy drops a swadger and briefly forgets his troubles”, mebbe?). Further raucous bam-tune breaks on “Uprated Night Zone” round off a bone-shattering debut - one to well n truly blow the cobwebs off/aff. 200 copies, all hand-scrawled n’ sticker’d by the Crud.

>>>> SHIPS FRIDAY >>>> 

BUNNY LEE & THE AGGROVATORS
ENTER INTO DUB / COME TO ME IN DUB
PRESSURE SOUNDS | 12" | £10.99

Four glassy-eyed reworks of Bunny Lee & The Aggrovators’ productions cut to 10” on Pressure Sounds. Sinuous heavy-weight, glue-on-your-soles excursions, dripping with condensation. Transplanting Johnny Clark’s ‘Enter Into His Gates’ and Jackie Edwards ‘Come Dub Me Girl’ from their original rhapsodising contexts, each side contains two splayed-out, half-speed dub rhythms which emphatically hit the original Bunny Lee / Aggrovators’ axis with crisp staccato snares and glorious tape echo delay ad infinitum. Total scorchers, destined to fly out the door.

VITAL IDLES
EP
UPSET THE RHYTHM | 7" | £6.99

The Glaswegian indie poppers Vital Idles return to Upset the Rhythm with a BANGIN’ four track 7” swerving towards (and away from) Exit Order, Slender and Liliput. After the minimalist, clean compact riffing of last year’s Left Hand LP which channelled The Feelies or any of the Flying Nun ensembles you’d care to mention, these minutes long shoutings are distinctly more out of the studio in into the garage. Prolly the same garage as Current Affairs, Shopping and Sacred Paws. BELTER.

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH OUR RECKON STORE?

Solid week over ‘ere, strong ciders and storming live debuts ++ at Cafe Oto last Saturday night - massive thanks to that talented bunch on stage and all who came down! Massive get it up ya to the plums who snuck in without paying and whoever it was that didn’t cough up for their drinks tab - no darling, it wasn’t us!
Anyway hypothetical fire-starting and classik mancunian death-trips to see you through - spoilt for choice this week. Until next time! 
LC xxx

THE FALL
BEND SINISTER / THE "DOMESDAY PAY-OFF" TRIAD-PLUS!
BEGGARS ARKIVE | 2LP | £19.99

BLEURRRRGH!!!!!! That’ll be the sound of 50,000 Fall fans/bores coughing out their dentures when we say that 1986’s jet-black space-punk death-trip Bend Sinister is their greatest LP bar none. More than that, it's easily among the four or five greatest rock’n’roll records EVER MADE. No YOU fuck off. This was the third and final Fall LP with John Leckie attempting to impose mixing desk order, and a reliably paranoid Smith railed at the swampy, trippy feel he was convinced the producer was smuggling in. That tension was presumably key to bringing about this most satisfying iteration of the Fall sound - murky but never muddy, lean and propulsive but almost Flying Nun WIDE, with Steve Hanley’s locomotive basslines flattening everything in their path. It’s also the pinnacle of Brix’s contribution to the group, her unmistakeable VYBZ all over the Lonely Surfer squall of ‘R.O.D.’ and slashing bubblegum riffage of ‘Terry Waite Sez’. Dunno if the received wisdom that this is the Fall’s “gothiest” record holds water - it's just a bit of a moody bastard, not least on the bleakly poetic ‘Gross Chapel - G.B. Grenadiers’ and cruise-control comedown classic ‘Living Too Late’ ("Crow's feet are ingrained on my face...") and their are occasional echoes of McGeogh’s Siouxsie juju in Brix and Scanlon’s locked-antler guitar damage. But these darker innervisions are offset, if not outnumbered, by moments of uninhibited JOY: chief among them the ragged cover of the Other Half’s ‘66 ode to getting twatted, ‘Mr Pharmacist’, which twists whimsical West Coast psychedelia into rowdy terrace-chant while also serving as a gloriously literal expression of Smith's underlying avant-garage agenda. BOOF. Remastered gatefold double-LP with a raft of bonus B-sides strapped on. This is the first and almost certainly the last time we will bother to recommend a Fall reissue to you. Forget everything else they did, just listen to THIS, on repeat, forever. "Watch out! Makers of fads / It's MES in shoulder pads..."

NATE YOUNG
VOLUME ONE: DILEMMAS OF IDENTITY
LOWER FLOOR MUSIC | LP | £17.99

Ruff n tumble slasher-cinematics from Wolf Eyes’ QB Nate Young - a hooliganistik ID crisis that is every bit as streetwise as it is atmospheric, “Dilemmas Of Identity” drags it’s knuckles through yelping industrial self-assessment and barges into a mutant techno soundtrack to some misunderstood youth skulking around a concrete jungle, setting empty shipping containers on fire (maybe). Imaginative, synthesised vandalism that is quite a stretch from the plasmic studio madness and droning malnourishment of the EXCELLENT Regression series, this first volume of Young’s latest direction coming very much swaggering outta isolation with A LOT to say.

The crackin' artwork (also by Young) sizes it up pretty perfectly, minimalist approach yielding VAST and varied communication - tracks like “Mindless Voices” sounding a bit like Cabaret Voltaire doing an instrumental of “Seconds Too Late” with their chins up - sitting next to the pensive, night bus gloom-core of “Pardon The Mess” and demented piano lament on "Vents Of Blue" - our personal highlight, the acid-dashin’ STREETWALKER that is “The Weeping Babe” and it’s sinister beat-machine menace. When ingested as a whole, the album begins to channel a similar atmosphere (perhaps in a sturdier, tech-wise style) to the all time shut-in shunter - “FAULI TIL DAULI” (when are any of you reissue wurmz gonna sort THAT one out, eh?!) - both laying down monophonic smak-tracks that have the attitude of a thousand rat’s arses AND an almost automatic, inner-mind sensitivity, without any particularly colourful studio equipment. BANGER.

VOX POPULI!
HALF ALIVE GANJA MUSIC
COR ARDENS | CD | £11.99

MORE Half Dead Ganja Music?! Shove this in ur vape and smog it - new imprint Cor Ardens answers the prayers of all humble worshippers to Vox Populi’s 1987 triumph by getting up close and personal with the groups founders to unearth further, lost studio and live cuts that never saw the light of day, now presented as “Half Alive Ganja Music”.

Ever since Spencer Clark slapped together the vinyl reissue of HDGM in 2013 it has sat firmly at the top of our pile, with the thought always present that if the house were to tragically catch fire and we for some reason, categorically decided we could only escape with ONE reissue from the last decade - we would watch with a shallow, ambivalent grin as all other revived esoterica melted into an indistinguishable dollop - deeply content in the knowledge that we still had our paws on this indispensable, vampiric-industrial meditation.

Yeah, a serious game changer for us, so excuse us as we wipe the drool from our jaw in the wake of new routes - Half ALIVE Ganja Music gets high on the cinders of our burning abode and provides a welcome macro-dose of SEVENTEEN burnt-ends (including an epic 12 min live improvisation) - spanning the breadth and depth of the original release, dabbling in realms of psychedelic, nosferatu folk, engulfing feedback swells and paranormal synthesiser ascensions that never drift into the trappings of the polite and pyjama-clad, NO CHANCE. These lost boys n girls have bite - even by the second track on this collection, “Ala Okie”, you are welcomed back to all the growling gristle and frantic percussion of Half Dead, Mithra’s vocal enchantments gently hovering in the ether, forming what, to us at least, is the signature sound of VP! - HAUNTING, mystical beauty that no amount of faded photo’s the whole crew in the rustic, French countryside would make you believe that you are hearing music from this dimension. Proper vibes-akimbo on this one, not enough in-shoppe superlatives to even touch the sides on this beast - endless thanks to Jim Strong for digging this up and the ever on-it Nick horn o' plenty for alerting us to it’s existence - would recommend this to anyone who is even a tenth alive.

Also arrived from Cor Ardens - killer cassette comp feat unreleased tracks from Blue Chemise, Yixuan Pan, Jim Strong +++. Presented in laser-cut wood cover - bosh! 

LEIGHTON CRAIG
DIAMOND EYE
BRUIT DIRECT DISQUES | LP | £16.99

Lonely rafts of song bobbing on a sea of pink (?), foamy, minimal electronics - this spot-on new solo side from Oz career outsider Leighton Craig (one half of the excellent, underrated Primitive Motion and alumnus of noise-rock puzzlers/legends Lost Domain) - has an extremely gentle, private, almost post-traumatic feel, reminding us a little bit of Brunnen’s wispy Valium-ballads, the rural stargazing of Hood and Flying Saucer Attack or, closer to home, the most desperately yearning, burned-out moments of Michael Morley’s Gate... Creeps up on you... got a feeling this is one we’re gonna be talking about again come end of year.
VARIOUS ARTISTS
SPORTS
YOUTH | CD | £9.99

thhhporthh! Knock tha wind out ya comp of contemporary club tackle - turbulent beat tracks from the likes of FUMU and Shamos as well as a hissing, ballistic MISSILE from unknown producer LDWG - their contribution sounding like Footsie and Shiken Hanzo met at the genius bar and decided to start sharing a hard drive, at least until a seductive, vocal incantation drops in and propels “DRM1MKII” into a club-sphere totally of it’s own.

There’s also heaps of high-grade ambient, acid-smattered techno on offer from cautioned YOUTH Yugen Disciple and lord-of-the-dust Kassem Mosse, the chill-oot party thoroughly crashed by carefully placed, abrasive beat disruptions from the likes of Sensu and Turinn and shop fave Iueke’s hypno-percussive court dance. Deadly! Limited edition CD, 150 copies.

STATE OF THE NATION

 

A wearier week than usual (should be used to it, right?) waking up to the increasingly exasperated choir of grey faces hoarsely speculating the future of UK and its residents when in fact they don’t know if it’s frikkin' New York or New Year. General mood made only worse this morning after asking a fellow member of the public for the time (phone died fuqsake) only to be told with a warm smile and sincere apology that they didn’t have any spare change. If you don’t laugh you’ll cry, eh? Thank fuck for MUSIC AND ALCOHOL. Tickets for our Saturday night social below. 

xx LC


LOW COMPANY AT CAFE OTO, SATURDAY 16TH MARCH
ILTA HÄMÄRÄ + CUCINA POVERA + MALVERN BRUME + XVARR


Join us as we leave the safety, comfort and, er, CONFINES of our four walls as we once again plunge in to the ocean of LIVE music with five of our favourite sound explorers: from the wilds of Belgium, Ilta Hämärä aka dark magi Timo Van Lujik and Bart De Paepe, purveyors of punishing, baddest-trip psychedelia and haunting outsider concrète....Cosmically-aligned art-songs from our favourite Finnish-Glaswegian psalmsorialist (no that's definitely not a word), Cucina Povera..the ritual electronics / planet-gargling noise of XVARR...and hermetic sound collage x suspensive beat cycles from Malvern Brume. Intro/intermission/extended outro provided by the SO MUCH BELTER SOUNDSYSTEM: Kenny / Carla / Sanjay
AKIO SUZUKI
JUMPING AND STANDING
ART INTO LIFE | LP | £23.99

 

Emphatic, rhythmic MELTDOWN courtesy of Japan's Art Into Life - a live and previously unreleased recording of Akio Suzuki performing at Musashino Art University, in 1984, using a combination of metallic percussion, a reel-to-reel and five wind-up, toy rabbits which have been employed as a shockingly effective / cute as fuck rhythm section - the audience in this recording HOWLING with laughter for the opening couple of minutes as Suzuki presumably attempts to herd and conduct a small orchestra of mobile Furbee percussionists.

All these initial shambolics set the record up perfectly, as it is the interactive nature of Suzuki's work that separates him from the rest of the ol’ time avant-gardies (at it since the sixties!), a rare engagement with audiences and a deadly focused, but ultimately light-hearted ideal - standing and jumping, throwing and following - playful ideas and their resulting rhythms are sat right at the core of this exploratory performance - as well as being integral to Suzuki’s lifetime experiments in sound and the spaces which can imprison them.

As the noise of the audiences’ laughter seems to make way for the silence of their enchantment, we hear the subtle nuances of Suzuki and his robotic mob catching a “groove” - a chorus of feedback loops that begin to sound like a mechanical birdsong, a rattling dither of phasing harmonics that fills the space between a drifting, percussive noise scape of wood and metal bric-a-brac, which over the course of thirty minutes (it goes fast!), begins to feel like a tiny, charmingly unoptimised ecosystem that has been attentively grown and nurtured by Suzuki and his seemingly doting audience. Genuinely wish we’d been there to see this in ’84 - a deftly measured, nigh-on shamanistic incantation and a truly innovative document as to what sound-art can offer. FFO: Company series on Incus, Kosugi, Alvin Curran, Michael Snow.

Japanese import, limited to 300 copies. A couple of ours have VERY slight warping but you’ll live.

LOW LIFE
DOWNER EDN
ALTER | LP | £14.99
 

Long-time followers of the shop (not that we’ve been around that long eh) will be well aware of our love of DOGGING… by which we mean not ONLY exhibitionist sexual activity but ALSO the ripping album of that name by Oz mutantes Low Life. A cult classic pretty much on arrival (2014 to be precise, courtesy R.I.P. Society / Disinfect), the more widely available 2017 pressing on Luke Younger’s Alter confirmed its burgeoning LEGENDARY STATUS. Downer EDN is the follow-up, and what a beautiful snarling sobbing brawling beast of a record it is… a worthy successor to Dogging, I mean, might it even be better than Dogging?! The production/mix is less uneven, is bang-on in fact (Mikey Young innit), the songwriting's tighter, the vocals bolshier, the swearing more gratuitous, the wall of guitars thicker and nastier and more recklessly overdriven than before. But what makes Low Life special, and always has, is the way they queer their full-throttle, bonehead street-punk/noise-rock pitch with subtle currents of more spectral, brittle sonics and dare we say SOUL-SEARCHING lyrical appeals - capturing the desperation and futility not just of footie-loving, pint-smashing Sydney 'Lad Life’ but of ALL LIFE. An absolute blast, do not miss. 

FELIX KUBIN
MAX BRAND STUDIE IV - T O P I A
VIS | LP | £13.99


Essential harbour city sorrows and nightmare, electro-bubblebaths in the Hamburg docklands, top synth physician Felix Kubin and his Max Brand hash out their differences to create two spacious, long-form oscillations of rasping analogue textures for the walking wounded. 

The two pieces cycle through a series unnerving, high-alert, underpass sonics and stark, mirror-symmetry minimalism, allowing for no distractions as to the Max Brand’s monophonic, HAUNTING prowess and the abundant vault of Kubin’s ideas - each movement sidewinding beyond it’s solution - expanding, inverting and taking on a life of their own with poise reminiscent of Laszlo Dubrovay or a seventies Subotnick LP and all the imagination of that HEAVILY underrated Onomatopoeia LP from the 90s, or the earlier works Ursula Bogner. Dimly-lit wizardry, not to be overlooked!

Handnumbered LP with insert and download code. Limited to 300. 
ANNE GILLIS
ARCHIVES BOX 1983-2005
ART INTO LIFE | 5XCD | £44.99

 

A devils picnic INDEED, found-sound TITAN Anne Gillis’ definitive archive, in a gloriously presented CD box-set that leaves little else to be desired in the realms of unique, gristly sound exploration. Her works throughout the eighties (and beyond) cut a path completely of their own - hypnotic compositions of circling, reverberant feedback and whistling, GRINDING sample manipulation that slide on the slants of industrial, are paired off with the unnatural, chaotic beauty of her all-encompassing, innovative sound collage and wound together with a seditionary minimal-synth sensibility. This collection also crams in a remaster of the often passed over “Pomme Ou Pas Pomme” cassette, where Gillis effortlessly drifts into graceful, kosmiche synth-“pop” skeletons.

Properly FLOORED by this - can’t remember the last time we actually ENJOYED a box set, the format most famously known for gathering dust and sharing more in common with some sorta boutique jigsaw than something you would actually listen to, no, having all this material in once place really gives some perspective to a body of work and hammers home the once whispered idea of Gillis being one of the most exciting and impulsive artists to ever do it. Highly desirable item - one please!

 

Contents are as follows:

Disc 1: Lxgrin (1984), Aha (1984); Disc 2: Montetachek (1985), Bisherigori (1986); Disc 3: Devil’s Picnic (1983), Rementact (1989); Disc 4: Manon Anne Gillis & G.X. Jupitter-Larsen - Encored Dust (1994-95), Euragine (1994); Disc 5: Compilations + Unreleased Works.

CRAZY DOBERMAN / BLACK VOMIT
CRAZY DOBERMAN / BLACK VOMIT
POST-MATERIALIZATION MUSIC | CS | £6.99

Absolute pearler from our favourite freaks across the pond, Crazy Doberman, via Russian tape label, Post-Materialization Music. Sordid sax freakouts and cantankerous spatterings sound like Pierre Brotzmann’s junkyard terriers let off the leash. More free than they’re last 7” outing on IDDB but the same brutish no wave dolDRUM energy as Implog colliding with the Joe McPhee/Bryan Eubanks collab. Proper open-circuit, open vein outer limits music. The flip diverges somewhat with two excursions from The Black Vomit who seem to have a penchant for redlining the woodwind section into a frenzied, ESP-asthma attack with such fury only matched by their terrifying pastiche of various vocal shriekings that drift in and out over the course of the two tracks. One for the masochists.