Selected Releases: 28 July and 4 August

Conor Oberst
MP3: Souled Out!!!
Black Affair
Pleasure Pressure Point
MP3: Subfuge
Port O’Brien
All We Could Do Is Sing
MP3: Stuck On A Boat
Little Ones
Morning Tide
Stereo MCs
Dubble Bubble
Simian Mobile Disco
Sample and Hold
MP3: Hustler (A-Trak Rmx)
Santogold & Diplo
Top Ranking
MP3: Guns of Brooklyn
XX Teens
Welcome To Goon Island
MP3: B-54
Sonic Youth
Andre Sider Af

You can vote for your favourite release over in the left sidebar

The last poll results were:
1. Primal Scream – Beautiful Future
2. CSS – Donkey
=3. Micah P. Hinson – And The Red Empire Orchestra
=3. The Hold Steady – Stay Positive

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Selected Releases: 14 and 21 July

The Hold Steady
Stay Positive
MP3: Yeah Sapphire
MP3: Sly Fox
Object 47
One Day As A Lion
The Dodos
MP3: Ashley
She & Him
Volume One
MP3: Black Hole

You can vote for your favourite release of the last two weeks in our poll over on the left.

Last time’s winners were:
1. Beck – Modern Guilt
=2. Tricky – Knowle West Boy
=2. Black Kids – Partie Traumatic
=3. Leila – Blood, Looms & Blooms
=3. Melvins – Nude With Boots

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Selected Releases: Monday 7 July

Modern Guilt
MP3: Chemtrails
Knowle West Boy
MP3: Past Mistake
Black Kids
Partie Traumatic
MP3: Hurricane Jane

Album of the week is Beck’s Modern Guilt. Both progression and regression from Mr Hansen, as he builds on the success of Guero and The Information, yet strips away many of the superfluous gimmicks that littered his mid-90s albums. Full review later on in the week, but definitely get your hands on this one. Adrian Thaws up next, as Tricky returns with Knowle West Boy. Whilst still not a return to the form of Maxinquaye and Pre-Millennial Tension, this is a marked improvement on 2003’s Vulnerable. An improvement, despite a decidedly unusual cover of Kylie’s Slow. Nevertheless, five years in the making, and a welcome return. Sounding at times like it was five minutes in the making, Black Kids’ debut platter is something of a disappointment. Seemingly rush-released to consolidate their position after the success of single I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend…, this album comes across as unfinished and a bit half-arsed. Which is a shame because when the Floridians get it together, the result can be truly exciting.

Nude With Boots
MP3: Billy Fish
Blood Looms & Blooms
MP3: Norwegian Wood
MP3: Falcon Jab

Co-hosts of this winter’s ATP Nightmare Before Christmas, Melvins trot out their 16th LP Nude With Boots. Still garnering influential fans, this is pretty much Melvins on auto-pilot. The last time I encountered Leila was within a booing Björk crowd, now new Warp-signee unleashes her third LP. I’m assuming I’m missing something here, or the record must be a grower, as up to now I’m not all that impressed. Ratatat’s third record, on the other hand, is pretty obvious. Take it or leave it Justice-esque electro stomping.

Eat Static
Back To Earth
Crooked Still
Still Crooked
MP3: The Absentee
Cute Is What We Aim For
MP3: Safe Ride

Three varied releases make up our third tier this week, with some dance from creaking Eat Static, straight-up indie pop from Brooklyn’s Cute Is What We Aim For and a third LP from folky-bluegrass types Crooked Still. The latter two are particularly enjoyable, even if Rotation has the projected lifespan of a mayfly.

Five O’Clock Heroes
Speak Your Language
MP3: Who
Kids Aflame
Great Big Sea
Fortune’s Favour
MP3: Long Lost Love

Our last three releases throw up two surprises and one dreadful non-surprise. That comes in the form of Five O’Clock Heroes’ second record Speak Your Language. Way back when, I quite enjoyed the Time On Your Side single, but the following album and recent godawful Why have destroyed any enthusiasm for this kind of turgid nonsense. The suprises are particularly good this week, our second Brooklyner, Todd Goldstein aka Arms providing the biggest. The record is some really sharp songwriter stuff, the highlight for me being the wonderful Sad, Sad, Sad. Fans of Bon Iver’s debut will really enjoy this. And finally, the most bizzare concept of the week is Great Big Sea’s continuing journey into rediscovering traditional Canadian folk songs and sea shanties. This is apparently their 9th release, and it is a record full of vim, a great blast of Newfoundland air.

You can vote for your favourite record of the week using our poll in the left sidebar

Last week’s meagre pickings gave the following result:
=1. Watson Twins – Fire Songs
=1. Dirty Pretty Things – Romance At Short Notice
3. Fonda 500 – J’Mapelle Stereo

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Mogwai – The Sun Smells Too Loud

Mogwai release their new LP, The Hawk Is Howling, on September 22nd on Wall of Sound. Today, however they have released a preview of that in this track. The Sun Smells Too Loud continues the Scots’ run of superbly titled, well-tooled instrumental post-rock. Doesn’t carry the Young Team -era menace, and actually sounds quite breezy at times. Something different I guess. I love the page you get the download from: check here.

Of course, I’ve included a link to it on this post too.

Mogwai – The Sun Smells Too Loud

Thanks to The Quietus for the heads-up on this, and for being generally great.

Photo: Base10

Selected Releases: Monday 30 June

Watson Twins
Fire Songs
MP3: How Am I To Be
Seth Lakeman
Poor Man’s Heaven
Fonda 500
Je M’Appelle Stereo
MP3: Ihopekyliesok
Dirty Pretty Things
Romance At Short Notice
MP3: Chinese Dogs
The Subways
All Or Nothing
MP3: Move To Newlyn
Alkaline Trio
Agony & Irony
MP3: In Vein
Harvey Milk
Life…The Best Game In Town
Kid Carpet
Casio Royale
Albert Hammond Jr
Como Te Llama

Haven’t had chance to listen to much of this week’s releases, so I won’t try and lie my way through some reviews. Went away for the weekend, mountain biking in the New Forest, more of which to follow in an Aural Geography special later in the week. From the brief listens I’ve given to some of these, I liked The Watson Twins’ stuff the best, so they grab the Album of the Week accolade pretty much by default.

Last week’s poll results were:
1. Sigur Rós – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
2. White Denim – Workout Holiday
=3. The Presets – Apocalypso
=3. Big Blue Ball – S/T

You can vote for your favourite albums released this week in the poll, located over <- there

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Manchester Stirs, The World Slumbers

Manchester - So Much To Answer For

Photo: Neil101

Within a week, two of the biggest bands of my teenage years announce new singles and albums. The Verve return from their extended hiatus with Forth, to be realised August 18th. Lead single Love Is Noise is currently doing the rounds on the web, and you can find a link below.

Oasis, or to be more precise the hulking shadow of what used to be Oasis, kick out their latest offering on October 6th. Dig Out Your Soul is the Gallagher’s seventh LP, and depsite all the usual bombast surrounding the release I think we all know what to expect. The Shock Of Lightning (“a demo” according to Noel) precedes it on September 29th.

What makes this all the more sad is that the two of these used to be great, and would have represented big red circles on my calendar. Now I couldn’t be less bothered.

The Verve – Love Is Noise

Selected Releases: Monday 23 June

Big Blue Ball
Big Blue Ball
MP3: Habibe
Sigur Rós
Með suð í eyrum við
spilum endalaust
MP3: Gobbledigook
Wolf Parade
At Mount Zoomer
MP3: Language City

There is an amazing record getting a physical release this week in the form of the Big Blue Ball projects’ self-titled LP. The album brings together almost 18 years of open-studio recordings at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios in Wiltshire. A collaborative effort, featuring names like Natacha Atlas, Jah Wobble, Tim Finn and Sinead O’Connor, helmed by Gabriel and Karl Wallinger. The music itself is like the entire catalogue of Real World records, a mix of superb instrumentation and strong, haunting voices all melded together onto one LP. So impressive is the end product that it may have a shout for album of the year.

Sigur Rós return with their fifth LP, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, translated as ‘With A Buzz In Our Ears We Play Endlessly’. Expect the usual melodic epics, bursting with slow burning crescendos and, for the first time, an English language track. This is a good, rather than great, album but definitely warranting further investigation. It’s streaming on and their Myspaz.

Canadian quintet Wolf Parade unleash their follow up to 2005’s Apologies To Queen Mary with this fantastic effort. A real mix of accessible stuff, such as the track provided here (via SubPop), and the more experimental gear, it’s a record that bears out repeated plays.

The Presets
MP3: This Boy’s In Love
White Denim
Workout Holiday
MP3: Let’s Talk About It
Universe In Reverse

There’s an old saying that runs along the lines of “talent imitates, genius steals”, and two of these three records prove that saying is completely bunk. For the new albums by Aussie group The Presets, and the sophomore record by Infadels, are completely derivative yet only someone with a complete lack of cognitive functions would call their creators geniuses. Some tracks of The Presets record are alright, just nothing special. Universe In Reverse is just fucking dreadful, I mean their debut was bad (it lasted all of three days in my record collection before it was unceremoniously flogged on ebay) but this ramps the shiteness to a new level. Rabble-rousing tosh. White Denim provide some much needed respite on our second-tier releases this week with the accomplished Workout Holiday. A noisy, DIY-sounding record, this treads ground that is well worn, but manages to find its own charm and niche.

The Beep Seals
Things That Roar
MP3: I Dreamt A Metal Hat
(They Came From The Stars) I Saw Them
We Are All In The Gutter But Some Of Us Are Looking At…

Releasing their second album this week are London’s Semifinalists, whose debut was solid if unspectacular. Graceful indiepop with decent vocals. Heron Recordings, home of The Beep Seals claims they sound like “pure pysch-slacker pop”, and who am I to disagree? I’m also not going to disagree with the world’s best record shop, Norman’s, who have named They Came From The Stars as owners of album of the week. I’ve included it here as it is basically demented bastardpop. Check out the Myspaz, the sound is pretty spectacular.

The Rascals
The Legend Of Yeti Gonzales
Cage The Elephant

The Rascals are the Arctic Monkeys’ best mates, and to be honest that is the only reason I can think they got a record contract. Deltasonic are the offending label, the band sharing a Merseyside heritage with their lead names The Coral. Unlike them, or the Monkeys they have no spark of originality and no charm. Bland indie-rock for the lads. As, unfortunately, is Yeti’s effort. Yeti feature former Libertines bassist John Hassall who aptly shows that he wasn’t the creative driving force in the Libs. And finally this week we end with live mavericks Cage The Elephant. For all the hype surrounding their gigging prowess the record is stodgy sub-Stooges schtick.

You can vote for your favourite release of the week over in the left sidebar!

The results from the last poll were:
=1. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
=1. Lykke Li – Youth Novels
3. My Brightest Diamond – A Thousand Sharks Teeth

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