RECOMMENDED ODDS & ENDS

A selection of essential releases from other labels, selected for import by Radio Khartoum because they were otherwise unavailable in the North American market.

THE BIG I AM: Collecting Skies

Folkwit Records (UK)
f0054

“The Big I Am have been knocking around the Liverpool acoustic scene creating a ripple of fuss for some years now, but never would I have expected such a debut album of poise, strength and the most vociferous magnificence.

At the heart of the band is a trio of ukulele, quatro and keyboards but what elevates this project above what is already undeniably good is its rich orchestrations courtesy of co-producer, Wim Oudjik. Band and producer have found a symbolic collaboration that every musician dreams of. Suddenly everything is inspired, like electricity crackling with charge. The Big I Am sound absolutely confident and joyful in their creativity.

Collecting Skies could be the soundtrack to snows melting and spring emerging. Songs open like a new dawn breaking and hang like blossoms from fragile branches of beauty; then they grow and grow until they are bursting at the seams with catharsis. If you listen to this album, be prepared to have your heartstrings plucked and stroked until you ache with joy and any cynicism you harbour is utterly defeated. Be prepared to be lifted.” *****
- Eddy Cooney, R2 / Rock’n'Reel Magazine

"…subtle, melodic and mysterious…I love it…sounds like Peter Gabriel and Steve Reich having an acoustic jam." - Tom Robinson, BBC Radio

"…the feel of a band flirting on the fringes of greatness." - Neil King, FATEA

"…lovely...fair warms the cockles of the heart." - Russell's Reviews

01. Hole

02. Better Days

03. Banging on the Wall

04. Opposite

05. Clothes

06. Water

07. A Hedge and Heaven and Hell

08. Right About Now

09. Dancing

10. Collecting Skies

11. Board Games

CESSNA: Time Ticks Remixes

Amuri Air (Finland)
lento301

“Time Ticks Away” is the rainy-day synth and acoustic guitar hybrid from Terminus. While on the album the song is rendered with moody restraint, this 12" unleashes the song’s synthpop potential with a very respectful remix (they used to do them like this, didn’t they?) courtesy of analog outfit Nu Science (whose Mikko Ojanen has frequently joined Cessna on keys over the years, in addition to producing the new album). The “handmade” version is Tomi Cessna’s original home recording, radically different from what the song would evolve into, but a lovely item all the same. Flipside remix by Sami Koivikko breaks things down in a dub way: modern and chill. This 12" is a self-release by the band.

01. Time ticks away (Nu Science version)

02. Time ticks in Kauttua (Handmade version)

03. Time dubs away (Sami Koivikko remix)

REBECCA CLAMP: Key to the City

Folkwit Records (UK)
f0055

Rebecca Clamp's second release with Folkwit Records, Key to the City, is a love letter to Clamp's neighbourhood in Helsinki, but you don't need to have been to Finland to appreciate these songs about love, fragility and finding home. As with her debut album Nocturnal Leap (2005), her lyrics delight in the small-great things in life: parasitic wasps, a special bookshop, and a bearded female saint all make colourful appearances here. The album features performances from Franka Oroza (FEW), JP Cavonius (Flannelmouth, Scaramangas and Treehouse), and Alex Reeves (Dizzee Rascal, EZIO) amongst others.

“With free-flowing literacy, she paints somewhat beautiful song-pictures of an elegant romantic world of delicate intense emotion…There’s a particular sense of an artist crafting from nothing something refined and softly vital, not a reflection of the world but a sculptured microcosmos: an elaborate, softly contoured but emotionally real dreamworld...” – Rychard Carrington, Rock’n’Reel

01. Introvert Introjaune

02. Parasites

03. Arkadia

04. Hard Creating

05. Ghostly Tram Song

06. Epiphany

07. Something Important

08. 100 Cold Kisses

09. Kallio

10. St. Wilgefortis

DANIEL CARLSON: Aviary Jackson

Folkwit Records (UK)
f0047

By turns epic, intimate, joyful, and heartbreaking, Daniel Carlson’s AVIARY JACKSON takes us on a cinematic musical journey. “[It’s] a rich album, with Carlson’s breathy, plaintive vocals sighing above a complex tapestry of sumptuously arranged pianos, strings, mellotrons, moogs and occasional harder-edged rhythm. Clever pop without losing that intangible ‘feel’ that makes it pop in the first place, the music here is the great-grandchild of Sergeant Pepper’s and its chamber-pop spawn.” (Oz Hardwick, Rock ‘n’ Reel) Highly recommended to baroque pop aficionados; think Testbild!, High Llamas, Orwell...

01. The Innocents

02. Ending

03. Everything Is You

04. Downtown Again

05. Landlocked

06. Conviction

07. Velvet

08. Monday

09. Aviary

10. Another Week

GYPSOPHILE: Assunta

Lenka lente (France)
lkl-06-03

Languid and intense, atmospheric songs from France, Assunta is the sixth full length album from Gypsophile and marks a further progression away from the nocturnal bedroom bossa of the early records and toward what songwriter Guillaume Belhomme calls “chanson free.” Based in acoustic guitar, bass clarinet and light electronics, and guided by the vocals of Belhomme and Marine Livernette, “Assunta” (assumption, ascension) is perfect music for the small hours of the night. Quiet, but not exactly mellow: Belhomme’s “free chanson” ascends into dissonance at just the right moments...a delicious unease. To be taken alone or with good friends and a good glass of your favorite libation. Tasteful 6 panel digipak.

01. Ouverture

02. Les soulevés

03. Marthe

04. Ceux qui traînent

05. Guimard

06. Tolède

07. Far, Geneva

08. Kiffa

09. Vanderlinden

10. Entretien des grisailles

11. Arrivée

12. Des 3 dunes

13. La vie intense

GYPSOPHILE: Les profils des dômes

Lenka lente (France)
lkl-04-01

Guillaume Belhomme’s Gypsophile began life as a French answer to the bossa influenced pop of A&M acts like Chris Montez, Pisano & Ruff, and Claudine Longet or to his then contemporaries: Blueboy. Gypsophile’s music has always oozed with a continental sensibility. From 2001’s De loin, les choses onwards, Gypsophile has been charting new, twilit territory: somewhere between classical, folk and jazz. Where 2002’s Éloquence des fatigués was a something of a disappointment, Les profils is a liberation: Belhomme makes more with less. A feast, in fact. It is his most intimate and most confident work to date. With greater emphasis on instrumentals (three pieces at the center of the album, as well as the exquisite passages that transport us from one vocal to the next), Belhomme has created an album of remarkable coherency in which it’s frequently impossible to say where one piece ends and another begins. Although less “pop” than before, Les profils embodies the mythical “continental” spirit as much as ever. You romantics who have overdosed on Satie, Duras and Crépuscule should give this a try.

Self-release: professionally printed CDR in heavy (and textured) paper wrap-around cover which appears to have been printed on an ancient ink-jet printer: I actually kind of like the way the defective kerning of the text on the back of the cover adds to the home-made feel, as if it were typed on an old manual typewriter...

More info? Check the review at splendidzine.com

01. L'Ethiopienne inuit

02. La doreuse du Djaï Khan

03. Les banlieuses belges

04. Devant des fleurs singulières

05. Kathleen, Isobel

06. Repose

07. L'Accord de Widor

08. Pour effacer quoi? et attendre

09. Autrement

10. Les voûtes immenses (sous)

11. Les Tambours

THE HAPPY COUPLE: Into the Woods

Félicité Records (UK)
FELP1

Take a German/British duo channeling late ‘60s folk-psych and electronica pioneers like Wendy & Bonnie and The United States of America, mix in equal parts obsessive record collecting and a background in jangly indiepop (with previous releases on Slumberland and Matinée), add vintage equipment from Joe Watson’s studio (Stereolab/The High Llamas) and guest trumpeter Gary Olson (Ladybug Transistor), and there you have it: Into the Woods by The Happy Couple. Quiet piano melodies, guitar noise, and bleeps of all kinds are entangled in unusual song structures to create a sound that is restrained yet exuberant, complex yet accessible. About leaving, coming home, and the journey in-between, Into the Woods reveals its subtleties with repeated listenings. Initial vinyl run limited to 300 copies.

01. Scar On My Heart

02. Mapping

03. Alexisbad

04. Crushed

05. Paper Games

06. Smash The Glass

07. The Bestiary Of Jane

08. Sweet Believer

09. Call And Response

10. Into The Woods

THE HEPBURNS: Trojan Hearse

Bendigedig Recordings (Wales)
bdg001

You want to know what this album is about?

First you have to appreciate the beauty not of Federer’s ‘Backhand’ or of his five-set win over Nadal to take his fifth Wimbledon title—no not the beauty of that—but of his decline, his downward arc, his plimsolled feet as they descend towards the ground.

Ladies and gentleman I give you a toast…

To the latter-day Icarus; to the middle-aged man, his arithmetical cage, struck dumb by the songbird half his age

To hairstyles ruined by the rain and the view from down the drain

The unwelcome guest, the reluctant host; all the ghosts from California to the Baltic Coast!

Trojan Hearse. For drunks, cyclists and drunk cyclists everywhere.

—Matt Jones

01. Paperboy

02. Breakfast of Champions

03. I Remember Your Scars

04. Backhand

05. Ten Years

06. Bad Karma Caravan

07. Celandine

08. If I Was a Hairdresser

09. Luckless

10. Capricorn Gowns

11. Shape Thing

IF WEN: Take a Look at the Sea

Folkwit Records (UK)
f0015

Written on a beach in West Cornwall and recorded in a nearby barn, Take a Look at the Sea is widescreen nu-folk at its most heartbreaking. Imagine an acoustic guitar crossed with an epic film, intimate vocals backed by cinescapes of orchestral strings, wild and windswept, quiet and still—with song-writing and production that belie its humble origins. “Sublime multi-tracked vocals soar over earthy finger-picked guitar with a melodic pop sensibility whose closest comparison is an extroverted Elliott Smith circa Figure 8. The vocals at times bring to mind Nick Drake...breathy and lovely.” (Alex Cleary, Folking.com) “Simple, pastoral, but breathtaking folktronica.” (Radio Caroline TV) “Fine folk from the far beaches of Cornwall…(a) masterful and subtly understated album.” (BBC DJ Tom Robinson)

01. Take a Look at the Sea

02. Good Heart Bleed

03. Stay

04. Nothing Means Nothing

05. Give It All Away

06. Love Letters

07. Wind Blows

08. Eclipse Has Gone

09. Never Ending

10. Lovelight

11. It Always Hurts

12. One Day

LOUISE LE MAY: Tell Me One Thing That Is New

Folkwit Records (UK)
f0039

With a voice that is at once haunting, intimate, and achingly powerful, London-based singer-songwriter Louise Le May blends sensuous, serpentine melodies and thrilling vocal harmonies that swoop and soar. Factor in the magical arrangements of revered songwriter, performer and arranger Louis Philippe and the superb musicianship of pianist Danny Manners, and you have something very special indeed. “This is English music, honest and open. Louise’s songs are strange without being quirky and delivered with a settled assurance. She has the steady delivery of Judee Sill, but the harmonic flavour of Kate Bush or Robert Wyatt.” (Sean O’Hagan, the High Llamas) “This is, quite simply, exquisite, sensual and beguiling…with that kind of Englishness that draws you in like a rose-scented breath.” (Oz Hardwick, Rock’n’Reel)

01. Be My Guru

02. Photographic

03. The Only Fish

04. Coal-Marble-Stone

05. War With Love

06. The Only Fish (Instrumental)

07. Be My Guru (Instrumental)

THE MAMS: Wam Bam!

Gonzo/Muso (Wales)
GM007

I was so confident I would hate The Mams. Now I’m sure my friends will hate me for loving this. There’s zero fashion going on here, but the record oozes cheese AND charm. The hooks are more than adequate (and more than plentiful) and the whole affair is suffused with a self-deprecating wit no American could ever touch. Plus it’s got handclaps galore and a paean to handbag disco that is—how should I put this?—infinitely more sympathetic than The Kink’s “Lola.” And infinitely groovier. Livers and loafing also figure prominently.

The trio on the recording purports to include former members of Tan Tro Nesa (1980s Welsh TV’s answer to The Monkees), Idha, and The Hepburns, as well as a High Llamas fellow traveller, but don’t let that discourage you...

01. Neighbourhood Watch

02. Ten Percent Loafer

03. The List

04. Carscrash

05. Mandy

06. West End Girls 2 Shangalang

07. All Hail the Dilettantes

08. In the Summer

09. Flags in the Basement

10. Catch

11. 40-Something Asthmatic Chancer Seeks...

MICROMARS: Metro

S.H.A.D.O. Records (Italy)
sub012cd / sub012lp

Micromars is the space-age bachelor post-pop identity of Norwegian one man band Christer Jensen. In Metro, Christer blends 80’s analog sounds with 60’s melodic sensibilities—warbling analog synthesizers meeting airy vocals, sambas and drones - to create his most ambitious release to date. French film samples, found sounds from NASA, farfisas, vocoders and distorted Stratocaster merge into bossanova shuffles that go charging through the Pan-Am air terminal. Micromars wields his sonic palette skillfully while never forgetting the importance of original melodies—the key to this album. A few friends show up here as well, including Magnus and Christoffer from Remington Super 60/Nice System, whose vocals and guitars (respectively) pepper various tracks throughout the album. As a bonus, the tail end of the album features three remixes, nicely executed by Her Space Holiday, Valvola and the ever wonderful Safariari.

01. I know about it

02. Why didn't my parents buy me a Casio

03. Mobile

04. Phasing out

05. Along someone else

06. Bright lights

07. Spatial localization

08. Thermoluminescent

09. Cargo

10. She's into cha cha cha

11. No easy way down

12. Remixes:

13. Why didn't my parents buy me a Casio (Ceiling stars mix) remixed by HER SPACE HOLIDAY

14. Thermoluminescent (Thermoluminescent rmx) remixed by VALVOLA & ASTRO BLACK STEREO

15. Thermoluminescent (Credible rmx) remixed by SAFARIARI.

MR. AND MRS. MUFFINS: The Raindrop Dance and Other Songs About Love

Honey Muffin Records
HMR001

Seattle-based storytellers, Mr. and Mrs. Muffins, offer up delicately arranged morsels that wrap the listener in a blanket of violin, classical guitar, melodica, glockenspiel and synth. The music here moves effortlessly from unsophisticated sounds (a toy piano picking out a melody) to full-blown romanticism, string ensembles and airy choral arrangements...and back, veering at times into eerie territory, but never losing its child-like sensitivity. Whistles bend, insects flutter and bubbles in water play out rhythms. Do not be alarmed to find the hairs on your arms standing on end.

Recommended by Louis Philippe, Remington Super 60, Mr. Wright, and Testbild!, this LP comprises the musical interludes from the Muffins' first two audio books and was compiled—by popular demand—for your uninterrupted musical pleasure.

Vinyl-only release. Includes download card.

01. The Magic Cloud

02. The Ladybird’s Theme

03. The Carrot’s Theme

04. The Raindrop Dance

05. The Dream

06. The Rabbit’s Theme

07. The Painter

08. The Happy Garden

09. The Ladybird’s Lullaby

10. The Illusion

11. The Outro

NEOANGIN: Scratchbook

Lieblingslied Records (Germany)
alive6401730

Another healthy dose of cartoon angst and off-brand bargain keyboard brilliance from Jim Avignon. RK loves Neoangin. 26 songs in 50 minutes, plus a 100 page, CD-sized hard cover book of artwork and lyrics. Genius! Inoculate yourself.

01. Lets Go Where The Action Is

02. Conspiracy Of Mind

03. More Days Without Sleep

04. Der Haussegen Hangt Schief

05. I Miss Diego

06. Scrubble

07. Parasites In Paradise

08. Time And Money

09. Die Hormone Spielen Verrückt

10. Golden Harvest

11. Return Of The Soft Rebel

12. Lame Comeback

13. The Moron

14. Scary Diary

15. Diamond Tears

16. Jukebox

17. Einen Ast Lachen

18. Me And The Establishment

19. Falsche Versöhnung

20. Stoli Tonic For 2

21. The Sane Song

22. Places In Mind

23. Just

24. The Finissage

25. Close To Impossible

26. Ciao

NEOANGIN: Unhappy House

Jim Avignon (Germany)
jim7

Congratulations: You have just succeeded to the highest level. Or so I thought at one point while listening to this CD. Neoangin deals in cliches, including video games. Everything is familiar, accessible, and friendly. And simultaneously fierce. In short, Neoangin turns everything sideways with his imperfect English and tech junkyard production values, crafting perfect miniature-pop gems and maybe even prompting us to reexamine some cliches along the way. Which makes Berlin artist Jim Avignon aka Neoangin one of Radio Khartoum’s international favorites. Unhappy House is Jim’s seventh album, but it’s only the second one that RK has managed to get a supply of. It’s yet another self-released number. Gatefold paper sleeve plus 24 page booklet. Happy overdosing.

01. A Different Kind Of Train

02. I’m Taking My Secrets Into The Grave

03. It’s Not Easy Being Easy

04. Spiders In The Same Net

05. The Tourist

06. Antiheroes

07. Where Has Everybody Else Gone

08. The Empty Feeling

09. The Boy Who Cant Relax

10. Cool Today, Cold Tomorrow

11. 3 Foncalls In A Mailbox

12. Old Is The New Young

13. Ballad Of The Stolen Hearts

14. We Don’t Want A Solution

15. Landsend (A Town For No 1)

16. Marooned

17. If Everything’s Repeating

THE OCEAN TANGO: s/t

Wonder (UK)
WonderEta

last 2 copies

2010 collaboration between Testbild! and Louis Philippe, available on these shores for the first time ever, thanks to poor planning and no distribution. Lovely, orchestrated stuff. Besides the above-mentioned musical luminaries, recording personnel includes Danny Manners, Sean O’Hagan and the Covent Garden String Ensemble.

01. Stills

02. Azimuth

03. The Munich Train

04. In Flight

05. A Friend

06. Forgotten Books

07. Hosannah

08. Par Hasard

09. Christmas in July

10. Hirondelles

11. The Ocean Tango

ORCHESTRA DU SOLEIL: Laboratoire Mondial

Sloflo Music (Germany)
flooo1

last copy!

Second album by the dreamy and wonderful Orchestra du Soleil. It’s quite a bit like the first one, which is OK with me, since that was probably my favorite release of 2000 (and definitely my favorite record for napping/falling asleep to so far this decade). This one is a bit punchier, a bit more angular. The interludes are more abstract this time (no summer day lake noises). But basically it’s just waves and crescendos of tripped out, multi-layered pop and airy harmony. Something vaguely late 60s/early 70s about the affair, and yet timeless too. With this guy who sounds like Louis Philippe’s earthy brother crooning on top. Oh, and Carl from Merricks is involved, so how could it go wrong?

01. orgone 1

02. balloon pt. one

03. biosphere

04. soul pavilion

05. oranur

06. dizzy time machine

07. pulsation

08. utopic painting

09. bion

10. balloon pt. two

11. planeta

12. village du soleil

13. rotation

14. dorado de flores

15. solunar

16. la sphere mondial

17. orgone 2

ORCHESTRA DU SOLEIL: A Summerday by the Lake

S.H.A.D.O. Records (Italy)
sub017cd

For you popkids who only like sugar, stay away from this record. But if you fancy honey now and then, this is an album you can sink into. Laid back and trippy, this is an aquatic excursion with a lovely ebb and flow. Paced with interludes and plenty of musique concrete, the soundtrack builds to waves of multi-layered summer pop which overtake you before you realize what’s happening. Louis Philippe stoned out of his mind? Perhaps not the best description (Stefan’s voice does remind of Louis’, however), but this is a wonderful record to play while you’re falling asleep. We found out about this record through the Merricks connection, as Carl Oesterhelt (also of FSK and Carlo Fashion) is part of the trio. If it is possible to be elegant and spaced out at the same, Orchestra du Soleil have created the blueprint. Sweet dreams!

01. Flow 1

02. Spiral

03. Flow 2

04. 35° Celcius

05. Flow 3

06. Chocolata

07. Flow 4

08. Star

09. Canoe

10. Les enfants du soleil

11. Picnic 1918

12. Birth

13. Parade

14. Seaweed

15. Regenbogen

16. Fantome

17. Lake 1

18. Orangiata

19. Lake 2

20. Beautiful Summer

21. Flow 5

ORWELL: Exposition universelle

Europop 2000 (France)
europiste5

As below, but at 33 RPM. Download included (for all 13 tracks from CD version). As a vinyl-head, my ears are very happy with the vinyl’s mastering and the pressing quality.

01. Exposition universelle

02. La vie électrique

03. Je ne sais pas mourir

04. Rengaine européenne

05. Cent façons de se passer du monde

06. Tous les avenirs

07. Pavillon solitaire

08. Courbes

09. L'autre monde vert

10. À ce jour

11. Tu brilles

ORWELL: Exposition universelle

Europop 2000 (France)
europiste6

Airy, orchestral-pop brilliance from Jérôme Didelot and friends, propelled by guitars, piano, strings, brass, vocal harmonies, vibraphone and vintage electronics (Optigan, Mellotron, etc.). Richly arranged, but ever ready with the odd synth, tuba, backmasking or unexpected chord to pierce the mix, Orwell’s fifth album is a return to French after the English experience of 2011’s “Continental.” Vous ne parlez pas français? No worries! Sunshine pop and baroque rock are the lingua franca here.

EXPOSITION UNIVERSELLE was conceived on the tenth anniversary of Orwell’s debut album “Des lendemains” (released as “Following Days” in the US). Listening back to the old material, Didelot felt many leads had been left unexplored: “So I wrote ‘Exposition universelle’ as if it was a kind of follow-up. The themes—the light and dark sides of mankind, the way the future is linked to progress, the gap between collective and intimate issues—are rather similar, as well as the instrumentation (quite orchestral) but the writing is more mature, I guess.”

01. Exposition universelle

02. La vie électrique

03. Je ne sais pas mourir

04. Rengaine européenne

05. Cent façons de se passer du monde

06. Tous les avenirs

07. Pavillon solitaire

08. Courbes

09. L'autre monde vert

10. Les explorateurs

11. Entrelacs

12. À ce jour

13. Tu brilles

ORWELL: Continental

Europop 2000 (France)
europiste4

Another lush opus from Nancy-based songwriter Jérôme Didelot, aka Orwell, with electronics (Stylophone, Farfisa, Moog...) now working hand-in-hand with the orchestral arrangements and Jérôme’s exquisite melodies. “We may have to rethink the adjective Orwellian if this French band keep on making albums this delightful.” —Mark Edwards, The Sunday Times

01. Continental

02. Lonely Ride

03. On This Brightful Day

04. The Wife, the Battlefield

05. Follow Me, Boy

06. Eastern

07. Always

08. Anytime Is Now

09. Them

10. Secret Movies

11. A Long Way to the Start

12. Following...

13. Every Time the World Is Too Loud

ORWELL: Le génie humain

Twin Fizz Records (France)
TFR0707

Pop par excellence, Le génie humain is packed with orchestral maneuvers, soaring synths, and silky, buzzy goodness that bring Eggstone, Louis Philippe and the space bossa moments of Testbild! to mind. With influences running from the early 60s through the early 80s, Jerome’s songs have a folk-like delicacy, but sail on intricate arrangements featuring strings, voices, woodwinds and keyboards galore. Le génie humain features collaborations with Médéric Gontier (Tahiti 80), Alexander von Mehren, JP Nataf, Ruth Minnikin (Heavy Blinkers), Miss Aprilia Sari (White Shoes and the Couples Company) and Julien Lonchamp (Jack and the’), among others. Recommended for fans of all of the above, plus Julien Ribot, Fugu and High Llamas.

01. Au-dessus de moi

02. Tout entier

03. Elémentaire

04. Le bon endroit

05. Septembre

06. Plus l'infini

07. J'ai tout oublié

08. Sun Holiday

09. Le génie humain

10. Sans précédent

11. De ce monde

12. Slow Down

ORWELL: Des lendemains

Europop 2000 (France)
europiste3

Orwell’s first full-length album, from 2002. RK has loved this group from the start. This is the French edition. Digipak.

01. Toutes les nouvelles parlent d'hier

02. Fear of Mars

03. Une si belle aventure

04. Sans cesse

05. Live On

06. L'arrière-boutique (partie 1)

07. Devenir

08. À nous…

09. Clair

10. L'arrière-boutique (partie 2)

11. Seulement la foule

12. Comme ceux qui savent poser leurs cheveux dans un angle de lumière

13. Des Lendemains

14. À nous… (reprise) [Fugu version]

ORWELL: L’archipel

Twin Fizz Records (France)
TFR0504

Orwell’s second full-length album. Orwell can do no wrong in RK’s ears. French edition, digipak with 8-page booklet.

01. In Your Playground

02. Mon adversaire

03. De l'autre côté

04. Everywhere

05. Happy where you are

06. Interruption

07. Les avancées (feat. Hugo)

08. Here and There (feat. James Warren)

09. Monorail

10. Sans le savoir

11. La remise

12. L'archipel

REMINGTON SUPER 60: Go System Go!

Cafe Superstar (Norway)
cafe001

last 3 copies

A trifle from our friends in Norway, but a beautifully crafted trifle. Five or so years in one of Norway's top studios have made a master pâtissier of Christoffer Schou. The melodies are light, the instrumentals are triumphant, and the production is generously sprinkled with masterful touches like layered choral and organ harmonies, or a vocal masked—at the threshold of perception—behind a lead guitar. It's been asked before, but I'll ask it again: Do you know the way to Fredrikstad? Indeed!

01. Go System Go!

02. Out into the Sun

03. Kluster

04. Everyone’s So Strange

05. The Impractical Guide to the Opposite Sex

06. Motorcars & Aeroplanes

07. Theme from the Pierre’s

08. She Don’t Lie

09. Here Comes Christmas

10. Down

ANTHONY ROCHESTER: Hot Hits ’96

Jigsaw Records
pzl019

Our fave from Down Under is back with his fourth album and looking for a hit…or is he? Laughs, grooves, charm and a little sadness are the order of the day. File between Bertrand Burgalat and Darron Hanlon.

01. You're a Singer Now

02. Friend Request Manager

03. Copenhagen

04. Fredrikstad, Canada

05. Endeavourin'

06. At Kingston Beach

07. Excursion to the Planetarium

08. Special Payment Option

09. Even Your Retail Prices Won't Keep Me Away

10. A Dog Staring at an Aeroplane

11. Come Back

12. Positivity Man

RUDOLF ROCKER: Rabbiting With Richard Dido

Mook Records (UK)
mkcd17

First new album in ages from Leeds’ Rudolf Rocker. Jaunty guitar and drum machine pop, a bit UK 80s but with some continental affectations. I’m thinking Wolfhounds, Monochrome Set, Wedding Present...getting quirky, or maybe a crazier Hepburns. Who else would sing about stagecoach hold ups, big-chinned celebrities, and being pursued by an egg-shaped percussion instrument? Oh, you’re wondering about the name, Rudolf Rocker? Rocker was a writer and prominent figure in the anarcho-syndicalist movement of the early 20th Century…

01. Socks and Sandals

02. Hijack

03. Chinsmen

04. Weak Bridge

05. Turner House

06. Valley of Desire

07. Circles

08. Fat Tuesday

09. See Marker

10. Shaky Egg

11. Heresies

RUDOLF ROCKER: Rousseau

Mook Records (UK)
mk08

last copy!

An oddball gem that just kept floating back to the top of my 45s. Although from 1997, this single nails a certain 80s aesthetic so well that nobody noticed when I sneaked the A side into a postpunk mix made for friends a few years back, neatly sandwiched between The Slits and Club Tango. Maybe the Frenchy accordions and the stuck “bossanova” button on the drum machine should have tipped people off? The vocal is pure Mark E. Smith, whereas the music is more in the vein of early/prime period Monochrome Set at their most exotic and berserk. There’s a bit of spy theme business going on, too, and a delightful overdose of flexi-tone keyboard action on the B-side’s chorus.

01. Rousseau

02. Rudolf Rocker Theme

SAFARIARI: Save New York

Cafe 2001 (Norway)
caf003

last 2 copies

An electronic gem from 2001, which got lost in a horrible shuffle that had nothing to do with the music (if you really must know the sordid details, click here). Plone/Cornelius style electronics & wizardry, and a good infusion of house, sci-fi, Beach Boys (via Magnus from Remington Super 60/Nice System on vocals)...all in all a highly dynamic trip. Safariari also contributes an ace remix to the Micromars album on S.H.A.D.O.

This is the original edition from Cafe 2001, as opposed to the dubiously renamed "Zebra Knights" on Trust Me.

01. 3 Feet & Rising

02. Sky is the Limit

03. Honey Making Money

04. Solar

05. Hoshi no ongaku

06. New Zealand Story

07. All About Love

08. Lunar

09. A Taste of Killing

10. Introducing

11. Love & Happiness

12. Save New York

SNIPPET: Slowly Slowly Catchee Monkey

Folkwit Records (UK)
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Snippet is London born / Colchester based Johnno Casson with a little help from Dutch producer Wim Oudijk. Casson cut his teeth as lead singer of trip hop pioneers Deep Joy, working with the likes of Andrew Weatherall (Primal Scream), James Lavelle (UNKLE) and Adrian Sherwood (On-U-Sound).

BBC 6 Music favourite Snippet has released 4 EPs between 2008-2011 that have garnered a great deal of critical acclaim and airplay. The debut album ‘Slowly Slowly Catchee Monkey’ is delivered with a keen understanding of how to present modern electronica-fueled pop music in an original and devastatingly appealing way. Add to this splashes of folk & funk, this album offers light & shade that delivers on a number of levels with a refreshing and unique take on what life has to throw at you.

This is a melting pot debut of the observational and biographical with hooks to die for; yet scratch their surface and you’ll find these are songs chock full of character and substance.

If you fancy something cheeky, squeaky and quite uniquey then throw on your shades, pull up a deck chair and dip your toe in!

01. Just to let U know

02. I love your T-shirt

03. The Imposter

04. Bee stings

05. Chip off the old block

06. Sneer

07. Aint it always the quiet ones

08. Hiccups

09. Man without mobile

10. Get over yourself

11. I’m no nearly man

12. Get my sparkle back

13. Among the hedgerows

STERNPOST: s/t

Kalligrammofon (Sweden)
kalligrammofon24

last 3 copies

Piano-driven, vocal pieces from Testbild! founding member, Petter Herbertsson. Long since sold out at Kalligrammofon, but appearing here now thanks to a shipping snag.

01. Waiting

02. Sunken Ships Ahead

03. The Rain Is You

04. The Storm

05. Almost Transparent

06. A Speck on the Moon

TESTBILD!: Barrikad

Kalligrammofon (Sweden)
kalligrammofon22

Ever mutating, Testbild! return, singing in Swedish this time on a mostly acoustic album built around lots of guitars, harpsichord, a church organ, and all the usual, multilayered melody. New member Petter Samuelsson is probably responsible for the profusion of muted brass arrangements. Elsewhere, I detect a hint of Basil Kirchin circa Charcoal Sketches. Lovely, mysterious, organic and mostly gentle, these are dreamscapes under clouds of falling folk and volcanic ash…

Vinyl-only release. Includes download code and a poster.

01. Barrikad

02. Mareld

03. Watt

04. Tidsstyrd

05. På randen

06. Wales

07. En kartbild utan sand

08. Interlude

09. Stormsvalor

10. Skuggspel

11. Sömn och rök

12. Tegelröda ljus

WATOO WATOO: le fumalin

Les Disques Maladroits (France)
LDM1

French duo Watoo Watoo are back, and with what turns out to be (at long last!) their first proper album. As such, le fumalin pulls together all the band’s experience from their previous efforts for labels Radio Khartoum and Blackbean & Placenta, and builds from there. The basic Watoo Watoo traits are in evidence: Pascale’s airy, lightly melancholic-tinged vocals, jazzy jangle a la francaise, hummingbird twee, and tight little solos—right on the money, as always. The band’s expansion from here takes on two forms. First, in line with the pop world’s increasing openness to non-English vocals, Pascale makes much better use of her native French this time around, reverting to English on only two songs. Second…instrumentation, of course! Lots more…piano, Rhodes, vibes, organ, mellotron, etc. More electronics (check “L’univers etrange,” a standout hybrid of minimal synth work and groovy guitars, as a perfect a backdrop for chanteuse Pascale as you could ask for), more experimentation (check the unexpected conclusion of “Un peu plus loin,” reminiscent of early Rough Trade/Wales experimental pop), and more directions (classic carousel pop, 60s basement groove, chamber pieces, solo piano). As always, Watoo Watoo’s sound takes on a bit from the guitarists that Michael invites (Michael plays everything but guitar), in this case Didier Duclos (aka Christine) and Guillaume Belhomme (aka Gypsophile). Debut release from the new French label Les Disques Maladroits, with two bonus cuts.

01. L'attrait

02. Un peu plus loin

03. Une décision

04. L'absence

05. Vraiment rien

06. Un mot de trop

07. A ma place

08. Histoire d'ombres

09. A Still Day

10. L'univers étrange

11. Lore Stonep

12. The Golden Castle (acoustic version)

13. Les reflets (2003)

My Grandmother

BC Records
bc8

Clarinettist Beth Custer, the composer behind Club Foot Orchestra’s “Rig” (Transmarine, khz398) presents a new score for one of the most whacked silent films I’ve ever seen. Take the wild sets and expressionist angles of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and up the ante with puppetry, stop-motion effects, and a good dose of surrealism. A satire on the then still-young Soviet state, cinematic anarchy abounds as the film follows the trail of a Georgian paper pusher (modeled after American silent comic Harold Lloyd) who loses his job.

Beth’s soundtrack falls into a lovely zone between classical and jazz, reminiscent of Tuxedomoon at their best (with no traces of their worst).

The DVD features two audio tracks, one with English narration (the film’s intertitles are in Russian), and one with just the music, for pure listening pleasure.

Click here to watch the trailer for the film.