New This Week

21st June 2019

1. black midi - Schlagenheim

What constitutes a 'song'? We like to think of a song as singular thing, once created it exists. It may take different forms, through covers, live versions, reworkings, remixes, but we're all comfortable with the idea that someone wrote it, recorded it, it sounded like it did, the world takes it and does what it likes with it.

This is not black midi's approach to songwriting. black midi move in a constant state of flux. Ongoing shaping and moulding, the taking on of personas, the disregard for the past, it all makes the writing, planning and recording of an album a monumental feat.

The man tasked with catching lightning in a bottle was Speedy Wunderground's Dan Carey, whose laissez-faire approach to production allowed the band to load their capacity with crashing, screaming and violent jams. black midi's raw talent is undeniable and their unique approach to 'songwriting' is unique. A musical counterpart to William S Burrough's cut-up technique.

Try smashing up all your old Radiohead, Hold Steady and Battles albums, glue them back together, turn the volume up to eleven and you might have something that slightly resembles black midi, or you might not. They are so hard to fit into the categories we too often rely on. These are four kids playing a mutant form of noise and funk, no metal and jazz, or maybe punk and math-rock. The most unpredictable and unavoidable band of the future.

2. Saint Etienne - Foxbase Beta

Limited to 1000 copies.

Richard X's re-imagination/reworking/re-upholstering of the 1991 Saint Etienne debut is getting its first release on vinyl. Working with the original tapes and floppy discs, Richard X added his pop panache to create a bouncier and bolder version of the enchanting classic.

3. Richard Norris - Abstractions Volume 2

Rough Trade Exclusive. Limited to 100 copies on vinyl, 75 on CD.

Richard Norris’ latest project is a crystal-clear healing session for astronauts and dreamers. Divinely homely and soothing in a meditative state of ambience, this cosmic enveloped life form carries the same other-worldly warmth as crawling back into the womb of mother universe to mind and soul delve into an eternal slumber of stardust and silver toned heartbeats. These eight tracks will guaranteed bring the vividest of dreams from peached dawn to dusk magic twilight.

4. Mort Garson - Mother Earth's Plantasia

Rough Trade Exclusive terracotta vinyl.

The cult classic is getting its first ever reissue since its peculiar introduction to the world. Initially released as a free record given to customers at Mother Earth, a houseplant store in L.A., or those who bought a Simmons mattress from Sears, it soon garnered reputation as a pioneering piece of ambient electronic music. Mort Garson, who had previously been a session musician and arranger (he is responsible for the strings on Glen Campbell's By The Time I Get To Phoenix), recorded the album on the Moog Synthesiser, specifically for plants to listen to. Now it's your turn.

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This Week's Top 20

1. black midi - Schlagenheim

2. Saint Etienne - Foxbase Beta

3. Richard Norris - Abstractions Volume 2

4. Mort Garson - Mother Earth's Plantasia

5. Hot Chip - A Bath Full of Ecstasy

6. The Raconteurs - Help Us Stranger

7. Black Pumas - Black Pumas

8. Bad Breeding - Exiled

9. Bedouine - Bird Songs of a Killjoy

10. Thee Oh Sees - Graveblockers EP

11. Egyptian Blue - Collateral

12. Hatchie - Keepsake

13. Jane Weaver - Loops in the Secret Society

14. Titus Andronicus - An Obelisk!

15. Divino Nino - Foam

16. Tenderlonious - Hard Rain

17. Mark Ronson - Late Night Feelings

18. Justin Hopper and Sharron Kraus with the Belbury Poly - Chanctonbury Rings

20. Two Door Cinema Club - False Alarm