Every week, Barry aka Apta, over at Piccadilly Records chooses his favourite selections from the new releases that have landed on their shelves. Here’s what he’s selected this week, and why:
I’ve not been in the shop much (or at all really) over the past few weeks, but I do try to keep abreast of any new things landing so have been eagerly awaiting some of this week’s new releases (as well as the long-awaited Pye Corner Audio Black Mill Tapes box set that’s eluded me impressively). There is a psychedelic edge to things this week with both Andy Bell and Fort Romeau encompassing hazy ambiance as well as airy synths and solid groove, but both sitting at different ends of the melodic spectrum. There’s an epic career-defining double album from the wonderfully talented and wildly prolific Big Thief which is as expansive as it is creative and a no-holds-barred hardcore breaks classic to round things off with. What a week!
Andy Bell – Flicker
FFO: Ride, Jane Weaver, Gruff Rhys, W.H.Lung
Following his recent collaboration with Piccadilly Records’ favourite (or, mine to be more exact) Pye Corner Audio, Andy Bell presents his newest solo outing, Flicker. It’s another Sonic Cathedral doozie, with baggy swagger and psychedelic beats abound, falling somewhere between the soaring wall-of-sound waves of Slowdive or the synth-swell grandeur of recent Mogwai LPs and the strutting percussion and lysergic swing of peak ALFOS. Pieces like World Of Echo and No Getting Out Alive manage to keep the tempo up with a sizzling, acidic psychedelia while pieces like Gyre & Gimbal and When The Lights Go Down manage to continue the laid-back shuffle into an even more horizontal redux of acid-folk and slo-mo country. It’s a brilliantly adventurous and wonderfully achieved mixture and one that not many people other than Bell could manage with such aplomb.
If you’re a fan of this one, you’ll enjoy Manchester Psych Festival, which takes place across multiple venues across the city, on the 3rd of September!
Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You
FFO: Aldous Harding, Snail Mail, Hand Habits, Faye Webster
There can be issues with bands being ridiculously prolific, overworking, and the watering down of ideas, etc, but fortunately, it’s not an affliction that seems to have troubled Big Thief. As well as a number of 1-2 album releases as the main band, both Lenker and Meek have done solo projects over the past few years that have been wonderful records in their own right, and yet this is possibly their most conceptually strong and musically monolithic offering yet. It’s a proper double album, 20 tracks ranging from brittle neo-folk croonings and syncopated indie jangle, swooning pop, and synthy psychedelia all wrapped in the always-present sense of melancholic momentum. It’s a ridiculously diverse affair but comes together wonderfully and with every bit of the unhurried class of their previous few LPs. Another stormer from a band at the peak of their game.
Fort Romeau – Beings Of Light
FFO: Octo Octa, Call Super, Jacques Greene, Lauer
I’m a big fan of the Romeau-school of pulsing trance-lite housey electronica that Fort Romeau excels in (Border Community, Hopkins, Rival Consoles, etc), and the previous few outings for Electronica stalwarts, Ghostly have been superb so I knew Beings Of Light would have something special. From the soulful lo-fi hip-hop groove of The Truth through more Avant dubby offerings like Power Of Grace or Ramona, it’s clear that there are similarities and influences creeping into the sound from contemporaries, but also that Greene has meticulously forged his own aural world, meticulously manicured but perfectly loose and stunningly realised. There are a lot of ambient electronica albums around at the minute (lockdown innit) but few producers are talented enough to craft such a clear and precise statement.
If the electronics of Fort Romeau float your boat, you might want to catch KiNK as well as Fred Again.. on our stage, plus you’ll definitely enjoy the likes of TAAHLIAH, Jessica Winter and many more at FAIR PLAY!
Timebase FT. Kromezone: Unity / Fireball
FFO: Deekline, Majestic, Nazca Lines, Wilkinson
Originally landing out Essex-based Boogie Time records which later gave birth to the Suburban Base label, this sees DJ Krome & Mr. Time forego their main nom de plumes in favour of the snappy demi-portmanteau Timebase Feat Kromozone. What you get at the end of it is this chest-rattling hardcore classic, absolutely designed for the dancefloor and the perfect example of a peak-time banger. This week sees the first reissue since its original release in 1991 and is a gigantic label-themed picture disk that sounds SUPERB. It’s Il Bosco approved, being featured on his behind-the-counter Boiler Room 5 Copies 5 Stories video, and will without a doubt fly out in no time. Massive shout on this one.