Various Artists – Album Roundup

This is a selection of records that I’d like to review, but for one reason or another, it’s not going to happen. Some (in fact most) of them just didn’t quite make the cut, in light of the extremely high standard and preponderance of physical submissions I get now (these were all received as digital submissions). Others have just been sitting in the queue for too long for a review to be meaningful now, with their release dates receding behind us into historical time… All of them are well worth listening to however, although I do appreciate that most people reading this won’t have tastes quite as omnivorously eclectic as my own; all of them have given me some listening pleasure, and I’m grateful to all of the artists for making the music, and to them and their labels and PR companies for sending them to me. My musical life has become indescribably rich since I started doing this reviewing thing, and it still pleases me to share these treasures with you, even if I don’t have the time to give them all a real write-up.

Zevious – Passing Through The Wall Complex and innovative prog-math of surpassing excellence, that I should really have given a proper review to.

Gargle & Bosques de mi Mente – Absence Beautiful, minimal, piano based pieces, formed in the union of contemporary European classical music and Japanese ambient post-rock. On Fluttery Records.

Tango With Lions – A Long Walk Well made alternative rock from Greece, released by the redoubtable Inner Ear Records.

crashfaster – further Electronic rock with a streak of darkness, jostling for position alongside its equally broad streak of entertaining fun.

Fame Labs – Live At The Lab: Take 2 Training Camp Politically committed American ‘conscious’ rap, with a distinctly nineties vibe to it, produced under the rubric of Wu-Tang affiliate Darkim be Allah.

Goya – 777 Juicy, psychedelic stoner doom, that’s all about the riffs. Nearly as good as doing a bong.

Zenjungle – Circles Experimental ambiences, incorporating field recordings with acoustic and electronic sound sources; inspired by a poem by Cesare Pavese.

The Callas – Am I Vertical Creative and intense art-rock from label-mates of Tango With Lions (above); no-wave and krautrock sensibilities collide with enjoyable results.

OHMU – Hive Mind Instrumental noise-rock of an experimental bent, as inventive as it is eclectic.

Curse – Curse Dark and harrowing post-punk gloom, formed where doom meets synthpop, released on the always interesting Automation Records.

jason m norwood – in absentia Creative and emotionally rich ambient electronica, full of atmosphere and shifting moods.

Nils Quak and Dino Spiluttini – Modular Anxiety An Umor Rex Records split release bringing together an experimental ambient composer I know well (Quak) with one I don’t know at all. The result is splendid.

The White Kites – Missing Psychedelic pop-rock of a distinctly 60s retro cast; catchy, entertaining, and very slightly psychotropic.

The Noise Figures – The Noise Figures Mid-fi, hard rocking post-punk from Greece; plenty of oomph and plenty of melody. Yet another Inner Ear release!

AL_X – Shunt Bittersweet ambient electronica, of the sort with beats – i.e. downtempo, moody chill-out tunes. Another lovely release from Fluttery Records.

Harnes Kretzer – Petrichor Piano based acoustic and processed ambiences; fragile, beautiful simplicity, again brought to us by Fluttery.

Churn Milk Joan – I Live In Your Stomach An utterly unique and brilliant sound at the crossroads of krautrock, funk, surrealism, psychedelia, deliberation and glossolalian improvisation.

Egg Hell – One Half Of A Whole Ship Surely not another great Inner Ear release! This one is a humorous and creative take on indie rock, with some pretty out there lyrics.

Anda Volley – Inside The Ghost Machine Anda Volley is an admirably idiosyncratic creator, pursuing her brand of no-wave influenced art rock with a dogged commitment to her own unique vision.

The Tickturds – Insulting Your Eardrums (Live 2014) Rip-roaring punk metal, all about the sheer bodily pleasure of the music, which comes across better live than any other way. A lot of fun on this album.

Beneath The Watchful Eyes – We Held Our Breath Until Our Hearts Exploded Atmospheric post-rock and electronica, emotive and delicate soundscapes (released by Fluttery Records).

Arms Of Tripoli – Dream In Tongues Lush and dynamic post-rock, built up in layers and washes of sound colour; another from the Fluttery arsenal.

Sleepstream – They Flew In The Censored Skies Darkly atmospheric (gloomy) post-rock with some heavy, crunchy bits. More Fluttery malarkey.

Electric Litany – Enduring Days You Will Overcome Lyrical, haunting indie rock, influenced by Beat poetry and other things, on Inner Ear.

Roladex – Anthems For The Micro-Age (MR-031) Cool minimal synth-pop infused with analogue warmth, and a misty sense of nostalgia that skirts the affective peripheries of dreampop.

The Folk – We All Say Indie rock from Toronto, aglow with the joy of friendship and bursting with enthusiasm.

Plastic Flowers – Evergreen An all analog confection of lo-fi dreampop rock from a duo based in Thessaloniki, but globally engaged. And it’s on Inner Ear.

Battery Face – what’s what stuff Long-form low-brow drone-rock improvisation; a formless, psychedelic soundgasm, equally conducive to oblivion or revelation.

Simon Godfrey – Motherland Intelligent, incisive, and personal songwriting from the man behind Shineback, released by Bad Elephant Music.

The Gift – Land of Shadows Well-made progressive rock, of the gesturally dramatic variety that is usually referred to as ‘symphonic’ (despite not bearing much resemblance to a symphony). Also on the very wonderful Bad Elephant.

Jim Kroft – Lunatic Lullabies Idiosyncratic and creative indie rock, arranged and recorded with some electronic elements.

daysdeaf – When Colour Lost Light Electronic indie-pop with chunky hip-hop beats.

Janneh – Live At Raisio Ambient and easy listening atmospheres, designed for relaxation.

danijel zambo – samsara Dark, quiet acoustic atmospherics; folk-based materials and an experimental attitude.

Repeat After Me – Mapmaker Retro melodic pop-rock and power-pop; it’s available on clear vinyl, if that isn’t recommendation enough.

The Feel Bad Hit Of The Winter – The Feel Bad Hit Of The Winter Melodic pop-rock with noise-rock textures and a garage attitude; released by the splendid Russian Winter Records.

Osmium Guillotine – Osmium Guillotine Rip-roaring old-school metal, or is it shit-kicking street-punk? Either way, it’s one of the most exciting noises making ears bleed in Essex.

Mr. Bird feat. Greg Blackman – Low-Fi Classics Top class modern soul, with vocals from one of the most creative men in Essex.

Mr. B – Mr. Backside Erudite underground hip-hop with a thumping boom-bap groove. A very nice piece of work brought to us by the splendid Amajin Records.

Gorgeous Geordie – CoffinLife I have something of a taste for Geordie rap, but this isn’t it: it’s goth-rap from Canada, and it’s as ludicrously badass as its conceit is amusing. Great stuff.

Goat Monsoon – Blue EP  ‘Solid crust sludge’ is what my rough note on this release says, which sounds like some kind of effluent categorisation, but it’s pretty much accurate; very noisy, thick, saturated sounds, in an atavistic roar of hairy guitar-fun.

VA – The Alternative With Chris Atwood Compilation It’s a compilation. Compiled by Chris Atwood; who’d have guessed? And it’s all some kind of alternative rock. Pretty good stuff on the whole, including some that’s reviewed elsewhere in this survey.

The Breed – Last Of A Dying Breed Downtempo alternative hip-hop from New York. Wait, New York? I thought hip-hop was a North of England thing. Still, it’s not at all bad, even with the American accents.

Kylmyys – The Theory Of Nine Another from the obliquely curated Automation Records stable; dark, melancholy electronica, produced with heart and skill.

Summer Effect – Starting Over Creative post-rock from Indonesia, with both ambient and shoegaze tendencies; all atmosphere, no bullshit.

Pervy Perkin – Ink Not quite as groundbreakingly brilliant as their genius name might lead you to expect, this band nevertheless does a great job on some melodramatic prog-metal, delivered with a pronounced sense of enjoyment.

Chris Tye – The Paper Grenade Gentle, positive indie songs; folky stylings with a calmly urban sensibility.

Film – Eclipse From Inner Ear, an album of indie electro, with a slyly twisted take on the immersive synth atmospherics of certain Greek soundtrack artists… Nice stuff.

Funkghost – Caviar Taste Smooth, funky hip-hop; an entertaining listen that doesn’t ask too much of your brain (seeing as its addressed to your pelvis).

Jonathan Tarplee – Attachment Theories Thoughtful songcraft, realised indie style, from the Blue Yellows front-man. Rewards some detailed attention.

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