Chad VanGaalan – Shrink Dust

Chad VanGaalan - Shrink Dust

Chad VanGaalan’s new opus Shrink Dust plays out like the hybrid child of Bright Eyes and Father John Misty. Mr. VanGaalan’s voice is definitely a descendant of the Oberstian warble, while his material circles more towards the esoteric. The Calgary born songwriter sites The Flying Burrito Brothers as a major influence for this release, and doesn’t … [Read more...]

Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow

Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow

Something about Bombay Bicycle Club’s inherent twee-ness often invites scathing criticism. Props to the Crouch End four piece then, for bringing a slice of summer to bitterly cold months. Written after a four year interlude of globetrotting across Turkey, Japan, The Netherlands and India, their fourth full-length release is a buoyant and exotic … [Read more...]

Wooden Wand – Farmer’s Corner

Wooden Wand - Farmer's Corner

Although 2011’s Briarwood and 2013’s Blood Oaths Of The New Blues had suggested that James Jackson Toth was seeking to settle Wooden Wand down into a more stable configuration with a more fixed label home at Fire Records, the last year has proved otherwise.  Through some download-only rarities closet clearing at his Bandcamp outlet, the sublime … [Read more...]

The Kooks – Down EP

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You might expect the Kooks to know what they're doing. Formed in 2004, the south London four piece are unashamed survivors of the wave of 00s UK guitar bands that included The Libertines, Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand, and a decade of experience needn't make any guitar band a dull bunch, as the Kooks can show us today. Lead track "Down" is … [Read more...]

Bardo Pond – Looking For Another Place

Bardo Pond - Looking For Another Place

Whilst it increasingly feels that Record Store Day is being used by bigger labels to eat the hand that feeds - i.e. physical music buyers and independent music retailers - through excessive amounts of exploitative releases at high prices, amongst the hundreds of records crammed into this year’s output there are still things worth fighting for.  … [Read more...]

Cormorant – Earth Diver

Cormorant - Earth Diver

The true black metal aesthetic seems to have been pushed to its outer limits, so when bands utilize black metal as a base and sculpt around it with other styles it can be a worthwhile endeavor.  Cormorant from San Rafael, California manage to do just that on their new self-released album Earth Diver.  This marks their third full-length release and … [Read more...]

Mick Harvey – Intoxicated Man / Pink Elephants (deluxe reissue)

Mick Harvey - Intoxicated Man / Pink Elephants

Thanks to improved international distribution of his work, Sylvie Simmons’ 2001 informative biography, 2006’s Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited tribute LP, Joann Sfar’s eccentric 2010 biopic and copious referencing from contemporary artists, Serge Gainsbourg is no longer such a misunderstood figure outside of his native France or recognised only for … [Read more...]

Owls – Two

Owls 2

It’s difficult to write good music that ventures outside the boundaries of traditional popular music.  Popular music, on the other hand, is relatively easy to write. Since popular music deals in chord sets and forms that exert a proven visceral pull on the listener, it has a built-in direction and clarity.  This is part of what makes it popular … [Read more...]

Oliver Cherer – Sir Ollife Leigh & Other Ghosts

Oliver Cherer - Sir Ollife Leigh And Other Ghosts

During his esoteric journey under the Dollboy alias over the last decade or so, Oliver Cherer has certainly covered a lot of artistic ground through exploring skewed folktronica (2009’s Beard Of Bees), ambient conceptualism (2010’s acclaimed Ghost Stations and this year's Tuning Loops), lopsided folk-pop (2012’s Further Excursions Into The Ulu With … [Read more...]

Deleted Scenes – Lithium Burns

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I had to look up Wikipedia to find out anything much about Deleted Scenes, such as that this is their third album or that more than one of them were once members of another band called Fell Off The Face Of The Earth, which is the kind of band name that might suggest its inspirations derive from 1950s Sci Fi movies, or similar. Quite why I should … [Read more...]