Review: The Animal Collective fold can never be seen too far off from each another and with Dave Portner's Avery Tare project delivering a new full length that makes two individual releases from the nebulous group in as many months. With obvious references to Yellow Submarine and 60s/70s psychedelica to be found on "Cows On Hourglass Pond" there's also a route into a alternate sub-pop universe that shares a world one part Postal Service one part Warp Records influences. And fun fact: Dave Portner recorded this album at Laughing Gas Studio in North Carolina on a Tascam 48 half-inch reel-to-reel tape machine, the very same one used for Animal Collective's "Sung Tongs".
Review: It's now been ten years since the world first became aware of Dev Hynes, yet through humble beginnings in Test Icicles and Lightspeed Champion, it seems very much like this last decade has been a journey in the direction of this moment. With 'Freetown Sound' he makes his mark firmly as a modern-day auteur whose co-ordinates can be found somewhere between the funk-pop midas touch of Prince and the firebrand iconoclasm of Kendrick Lamar. A dizzying array of styles can be found in the album's compelling meld of the personal and political, yet with as much melodic richness and musical invention to be found here as confrontational food-for-thought, this is a stridently modern and multi-faceted joy.
Review: Buzzcocks may have become known as purveyors of a marriage of the energetically youthful and the poppily addictive, yet their original incarnation - with cadaverous malcontent Howard Devoto at the helm - was a far more murky and spiky proposition. This live record, compromising early punk rock blueprints that would end up on the legendary Spiral Scratch EP as well as previously bootleg-only efforts that chronicle not only a little-known Captain Beefheart influence but a tinny, rough-hewn and thoroughly addictive sound that's the very essence of punk rock - one that sounds no less vital four decades on.
Review: It seems everyone has their own story when it comes to Cat Power; from first albums purchased, to seeing her perform live on stage with a broken ankle, all the while never ceasing to maintain her blissful air of elegance and withdrawn charisma. Chan Marshall's latest album, six years from her last, provides her debut on Domino, bringing with it three defining aspects, most notably a collaboration with Lana Del Rey on title track "Woman". A Rihanna cover version of "Stay" also makes an appearance mid-way through while tinges of auto-tune inside "Horizon" only add to her continuous extension of folky, blues & roots Americana.
Hands, No More Mosquitos, Calamine, Tangle (live in Copenhagen)
Review: Released back in 2003, Rounds was the third LP from Kieran Hebden as Four Tet and perhaps the first long player that widely established him as a pioneering voice within electronic music. Though it doesn't feel like a decade since it was released, Domino celebrate the album's tenth anniversary in requisite fashion here, reissuing it in double LP format and slipping in a CD of Four Tet performing live in Copenhagen in 2004. Listening back now, it's easy to understand why Rounds is viewed as an early classic in the Four Tet canon, transferring his love for free jazz records to a beat template that's more palatable on the ear (Fact pickers might want to know that Hebden recently revealed to Pitchfork the LP was made entirely from samples) "She Moves She" still sounds absolutely haunting too!
Review: Scottish indie stalwarts Franz Ferdinand thrust onto the scene back in 2004 seeking to antidote the then bad-boy aesthetic of groups like The Libertines with smart, suave 'music to dance to'. Fourteen years on and following a slight lineup change, their objective doesn't appear to have changed with their fifth album 'Always Ascending'. Produced by Philippe Zdar of famed Parisian duo Cassius - it's a slick, tight record that's doused in their trademark off-kilter panache. Over forty energetic minutes, there's a lot to dig into; the ballad 'The Academy Award' and art-pop oddball 'Huck & Jim' let Alex Kapranos' dry wit come to the fore, the infectious funk-channeling chorus on 'Finally' sounds like a dip into 60's pop, while 'Feel The Love Go' is vintage Franz Ferdinand. 'Always Ascending' sees Franz Ferdinand full of charm, reinvigorated, and perfectly comfortable in no longer needing to prove anything.
Lento E Largo, Tranquillissimo - Cantabilissimo - Dolcissimo - Legatissimo (8:19)
Lento, Cantabile - Semplice (15:36)
Review: Five years ago, Portishead front woman Beth Gibbons joined forces with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra to perform Henryk Gorecki's "Symphony Number 3 (Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs)" at the National Opera Grand Theatre in Warsaw. Here, the recording of the concert is finally given a release. It's a stunning suite of classical pieces, with the orchestra making short work of Gorecki's swelling movements and deeply melancholic musical motifs. Gibbons is in particularly fine form, transforming herself into an operatic artist and accurately delivers the stunning, Polish-language pieces. It's an astonishing performance and nothing like we've ever heard from her before. The 24-minute opening track is, in particular, breathtaking.
Review: Julia Holter herself describes this new album as "the cacophony of the mind in a melting world," and it provides the American singer, songwriter with her first studio album since 2015's Have You In My Wilderness. Aviary is an intrigue to say the least and it's hard not to feel as if a horror-thematic runs throughout its 11 tracks, with moments of temporary insanity and distress intertwining with hair-raising spots a ghostly allure, and it's as if any lightness in the album has had to pass its way through a thicket of darkness first. There's much dissonance to be heard here too but in a pleasantly unsettling way akin to listening to an orchestra tune itself, and with all the deep and meaningful aspects behind Holter's inspirations, it's a hell of a ride.
Review: We never quite know what to expect from leftfield explorer Jon Hopkins, but we know it will be worth a listen. Immunity, his fourth solo album (he's recorded two others, one with Brian Eno and another with King Creosote), doesn't disappoint. Rooted in shuffling, forthright and occasionally off-kilter rhythms, it melds hazy, late night atmospherics and subtle melodies with intense, droning chords, woozy electronics and all manner of inventive noises. It's a blend that repeatedly pays dividends, from the mournful pianos and jumpy rhythms of "Breathe This Air', to the crystalline, soundscape ambience of "Abandon Window", and glitchy wonkiness of "Form By Firelight".
Review: More than merely an awaybreak for its members Alex Turner and Miles Kane, The Last Shadow Puppets proved themselves on their debut 'Age Of The Understatement' to be masters of a distinctly '60s-styled world of glamour and arresting artifice, their clever wordplay and swooning harmonies combining with ornate arrangements to create a sound as redolent of black-and-white kitchen sink dramas as the trials and tribulations of the twenty-first century everyday. This long-awaited sequel, meanwhile - reuniting them with string arranger Owen Pallett - displays that whereas their careers may have moved in markedly different directions in the interim, their wry and wordily ditties when united display an enviable chemistry and magnetic charm.
Review: Panda Bear aka Noah Lennox has been one of the more prolific solo artists to come out of the Animal Collective fold. Buoys presents a second album on UK independent Domino and his sixth solo album overall offers something of a new direction. Made in co-production with Rusty Santos (from The Present) the pair have delivered a work routed in hip hop and beat-making inspirations taking Panda Bear's music into a dubby and bass music realm. At times reminiscent of Ed Banger & Mr. Oizo quirkiness, alongside a trademark guitar sound and vocals drenched in reverb, the dub culture influence mixed in with the folk, and pop abnormalities, prove there's a deep layer of experimentation to Panda Bear's music yet.
Review: Over the past 15 years of releasing records it's been a rare sighting to see Paul Webb's music as Rustin Man not up and alongside his partner in sound, Portishead singer Beth Gibbons. With a rich history of putting out music as the bass player in Talk Talk, Drift Code for Domino presents Webb with a fully loaded debut solo album. There's plenty of blues and jazzed laced throughout the LP to be appreciated alongside country western motifs that make you want to fashion yourself an underbite and chew on a some wheat grass. Slightly gospel, wavering croons and storytelling are to be heard amidst the charming clunky-clink of a salon's piano keys rattled in a room of smokey vocals. Something to be savoured.
Review: The skittering drums, sweet nihilistic croons and chiming melodies of Dublin three-piece Villagers make it six albums in eight years. It clearly remains, then, that they are sweethearts of the label, and they squeeze everyone's most trusted vital organ once more by romancing our chest plates with numbers like "Again" and "Fool". There are more experimental dream sequences to be heard in tracks like "Love Came With All That It Brings" though, but back on track you'll find the more feel good in "Real Go-Getter" and "Ada". But really it's about the gnarly synth jam that is this album's title track.