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Various Artists – Album Roundup

May 31, 2016

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This album, originally released in 1989, was for a long time the definitive answer to the question ‘what do Thinking Plague sound like?’ It was ten years before In Extremis presented a new line-up and a changing sound to the record-buying public (sans legendary founder-member Bob Drake) – and let’s face it, bands as daring and un-commercial as this tend to communicate with their audience more by the medium of recordings than by live performance. Cuneiform Records, with whom Thinking Plague have been since that follow-up, characterise this album as the band’s ‘stylistic coming of age’, and that certainly seems a fair …

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Karen Grace – Bitter Sweet (avant-folk)

April 12, 2016

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I’m sure that Karen Grace thinks she’s just writing songs about the things that matter to her, and recording them in the way that suits them best. There’s a whole world of acoustic singer-songwriters out there, all doing that, and a frightening number of them do it really well. Doing it really well is not enough to make it outstanding however, or even, unless you happen to have a personal connection to the artist, worth listening to at all – because however particular it is in detail, in almost all cases that particularity is paradoxically generic. So what is worth your time in this brave new world of saturated exposure, of …

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Die Goldenen Zitronen – Flogging A Dead Frog (art-punk)

March 15, 2016

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Formed at the inception of what would come to be known as the Hamburger Schule (from which they vehemently distance themselves), Die Goldenen Zitronen had their beginnings as an identifiably punk band, but a commitment to creative, aesthetic and political rigour has led them to a variety of stylistic positions, some quite avant-garde. Entertainment might be claimed as a touchstone of punk aesthetics, though, and in that sense, as well as in the overtly political character of many of the songs, it would seem fair to argue that this album of predominantly electronic New Wave/ avant-funk sounds is still clearly situated …

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