Monday, October 31, 2011

Danny Brown & Black Milk - Black and Brown

01 Sound Check
2 Wake Up
03 Loosie
04 Zap
05 Jordan VII
06 Dada
07 WTF
08 Lol
09 Dark Sunshine
10 Black & Brown

To say that Black and Brown, the new collaborative EP from Detroit indie-rap producer Black Milk and shock-rap loose cannon Danny Brown, feels "half-finished" would be over-generous. Covering 10 tracks in a scant 22 minutes and bearing a forehead-slap obvious title that probably existed before the project did, Black and Brown is hastily assembled, thoughtlessly sequenced, and conspicuously truncated. There are two songs, back to back, titled "WTF" and "LOL". Four songs don't exceed the two-minute mark. The overwhelming impression is that the EP exists because an assistant stumbled across an "in-progress" folder of mp3s on Black Milk's desktop and leaked the results.

And yet, Black Milk is one of indie rap's best and most reliable producers, and Danny Brown, fresh off his brilliant XXX, is riding a white-hot creative streak: which means that Black and Brown is 22 hastily assembled, thoughtlessly sequenced minutes of vivid beats and incredible rapping. Black Milk's beats are boilerplate Black Milk-- post-Dilla instrumentals hitched to hard-knocking drums-- and Brown brings none of the songwriting skill or emotional range that marked XXX, with its tales of stripping hot water heaters from abandoned houses and harrowing accounts of substance abuse. It's a low-stakes affair, aiming at nothing more than head nods, but it induces some deep ones.

Brown tamps down the keening high edge in his voice, with the result that he sounds more like Pharaohe Monch than usual. Lyrically, he mostly coasts, but even on autopilot he remains absurdly quotable. "Morphine metaphors make you do the shoulder lean," he spits on "Loosie", and the line is a finely tuned mini-marvel of alliteration and craft. Few rappers are as creatively disgusting as Brown-- his missing tooth is "perfect for lickin clits," he informs a potential partner-- but even his shock raps hit their target, more often than not, through some deft bit of linguistic three-card Monte: "Used to make out with runaways in crack houses/ Now I run away from making out with brick houses," he leers on "Loosie". Got that?

Black Milk's production, meanwhile, continues his career-long argument for the power of immacuately prepared comfort food. His work gathers a lot of strength from old-fashioned flipped samples, but the sound he wrings from them is compellingly tactile, as if the samples were made of some dense-but-yielding material only he knows how to manipulate. His drums have so much character and texture they almost seem to hit twice; "Zap"'s bone-jarring backbeat lands somewhere indistinct in headphone-space, over a feebly quavering mini-choir of chipmunk-soul voices, and it sounds like you could reach out and run your fingers over it. Milk switches the beat up every one or two minutes, like impatient channel flicking, which both reinforces the beat-tape feeling of Black and Brown and handily keeps it from getting boring. The whole EP is over seemingly as soon as it begins and is the definition of a simple A+B proposition, right down to its name. But it works, and if it means there's a more considered full-length from these two on the way, even

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Real Estate - Days

1 Easy
2 Green Aisles
3 It's Resl
4 Kinder Blumen
5 Out of Tune
6 Municipality
7 Wonder Years
8 Three Blocks
9 Younger Than Yesterday
10 All The Same

For a mix of songs made at different times, Real Estate's self-titled 2009 debut was impressively consistent. Given how well the New Jersey band fused disparate moments, you had to figure they could reach even greater heights were they to craft their next set all at once. They did just over the last winter, and the result is indeed a step forward. Cleaner, sharper, and just plain stronger, Days is like a single idea divided into simple statements-- a suite of subtle variations on a theme.

Its coherence sounds remarkably effortless, as if stringing together catchy gems is as easy as, in the words of one song, "floating on an inner tube in the sun." Interestingly, Real Estate actually acknowledge this sense of ease. The opener is bluntly titled "Easy", and references to carefree simplicity abound. As singer/guitarist Martin Courtney puts it, "If it takes all summer long/ Just to write one simple song/ There's too much to focus on/ Clearly there is something wrong." But the band's celebration of the uncomplicated is less about how Days was written than about the beauty of life seen in retrospect, especially young life in small towns.

Like the stirring scenes of suburban Texas in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, these songs find meaning in daily mundanities-- in houses and gardens, phone lines and street lights, names carved in trees and leaves pressed by footsteps. "All those wasted miles/ All those aimless drives through green aisles," sings Courtney wistfully. "Our careless lifestyle, it was not so unwise." That sentiment was evident on the band's debut, but here they've honed it to its essence.

The music bears a simplicity to match. These aren't minimal songs by any means, but the layers of cycling guitar, rolling rhythm, and gentle echo are always understated, more about conveying feeling than showing off the band's considerable chops. There's also a smooth efficiency in these rich tunes. No note feels wasted, and nothing happens at the wrong time or in the wrong place. Much of this precision comes from guitarist Matt Mondanile, whose nimble playing adds color to each song's shape. It's most noticeable in the insistent "It's Real", but I'm even more taken with his sonic smoke rings in "Out of Tune", and how his shimmering guitar evokes sunrays mingling through branches and sparkling off pools.

That idyllic tone permeates Days, and in lesser hands could deprive it of tension or variety. But Real Estate have such a knack for classic-sounding melody that every song quickly engages on a musical gut level. It's a quality their music shares with the jangly hooks of early R.E.M., the breeziness of later Pavement, and the garage twang of the Fresh & Onlys. But their closest kin are New Jersey forefathers the Feelies. That group's undying ability to mine repeated chords and Zen phrases is matched best by the album's closer, "All the Same", a looping study of how night and day are merely sides of the same coin. Lasting over seven minutes, it might be Real Estate's first epic. But it's as subtle and unassuming as anything on Days-- more evidence from this band that great music doesn't have to sound hard to make, even if it

Rangers - Pan Am Stories

01. Zombies (Day)
02. Zeke's Dream
03. Sacred Cows
04. John Is The Last Of A Dying Breed
05. Bronze Casket
06. Jane's Well
07. Zombies (Night)
08. Luncheon Ghana
09. Khyber Pass
10. Podunk Baal
11. Conversations On The Jet Stream
12. The Mule
13. Bad Flan

After clocking up huge plaudits from Fact Magazine, The Wire, SImon Reynolds and Altered Zones for their 'Suburban Tours' release, Rangers arrives on Not Not Fun with his 2nd album proper, 'Pan Am Stories'. The mind-child of one Joe Knight, Rangers deal in especially evocative soft-psych charms which share a clear love of '80s MOR culture with James Ferraro and Ducktails. It's reflective of the music most Americans (we'd imagine) have absorbed by some kind of as-yet-unidentified radiopathic osmosis; the soul-absorption of thousands of criss-crossing radio transmissions beaming 24 hour soft rock and cable stations emitting unending re-runs of mood-manipulating TV theme music and vibes. But most crucially Joe's music has filtered only those most warbly, hooky parts and sifted out the cloying earnestness of so much coffee table Americana, yet retained its sun-smacked and soulful intentions. And it's the sly, wry glaze of electronics and occasional overblown noise which gets warped in transmission that does it for us, an empathic hypnagogic affect which translates to European tastes very well. If there's anything to distinguish this album from the last, there's perhaps a more blown-out grunginess, not in terms of fidelity, which is actually higher here, but just a burnt twilight tone which feels moodier and more autumnal than say the last Ducktails, and like a pop refined version of Ferraro's immense 'Last American Hero'

Water Borders - Harbored Mantras

01. Tread On Them
02. What Wiwant
04. Bad Ethos
05. Even In The Dark
06. Feasting On Mongeese
07. See Bank
08. Miners
09. Antechamber

Another compelling entry from Tri Angle Records, who've cleverly snapped up the frightening debut album by Water Borders. With 'Harbored Mantras' the San Fran-hailing duo of Amitai and Loric use the rhythms of contemporary ritual dance music to resurrect the occult soul of Coil and their cabal in unique and succinctly pop balanced new forms. A couple of mixtapes - both self-released and for the brilliant DIS magazine - display their influences quite clearly, working in a circle of influence ranging from Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson's eerie Threshold HouseBoys Choir to James Blake's chamber pop and the rhythm schematics of Doc Daneeka or DJ Elmoe, and it's fair to say this album sums up all of those and more. The opening palette cleanser 'Tread On Them' crosses swords between gamelan, narcotically-blunted House and a deeply uncanny channelling of Jhonn Balance-like vocals, whose inspiration looms large into the stunning 'What Wiwant', practically scratching at the hairs of the neck with vocal anguish over the tuffest 'ardcore subs and clammiest ambience. We could happily play this on repeat this until the national grid shut down. That chilling vocal continues to pervade deeper in, with 'Bad Ethos' summoning depth charge Bristolian Dubstep in a tableau of sneering choirs and poltergeist shrieks, and to sour effect on 'Even In The Dark' and the 'Feasting On Mongeese', beautifully sustaining the aura of affected gothic torment. In the closing rites, this poise is held to elegant effect in the sepulchral space of 'Seed Bank', MIDI sax bleat circling abyssal 808 bass hits, and to exotic infusions of 'Antechamber' leaving us to dreams of grotesquerie even Pasolini would be proud

Ursula Bogner - Sonne = Blackbox

01. Sonne = Blackbox
02. Jubiläum
03. Nach Europa
04. Trabant
05. Or Dor Melanor
06. Uranotypie
07. Strahlungen
08. Der Chor Der Oktaven
09. Illusorische Planeten
10. Permutationen
11. Shepard Monde
12. Signalfluss
13. Homöostat
14. Refrain für einen Formanten
15. De Planetarum Influxu
16. Liner Notes

Germany's answer to Daphne Oram or Raymond Scott - or more likely an elaborate wind-up perpetrated by Jan Jelinek, on whose Faitiche label her "archive" recordings sporadically appear - Ursula Bogner is back. Whether or not it's Jelinek behind the Bogner corpus (and I think by now we know the answer to that), there's no disputing the consistently brittle beauty, dizzying complexity and easy charm of her radiophonic constructions. You certainly get a lot of Bogner for your buck on Sonne = Blackbox, with 15 tracks showcasing her brand of primitive electronic composition and tape manipulation. On 'Or Dor Melanor', 'Shepard Monde' and the title track, Broadcast and Stereolab immediately come to mind, while the eerie synthetic ramble of 'Trabant' is like the Ghost Box crew relocated from Belbury to Berlin. There are killers throughout: 'Signalfluss' and particularly 'Uranotypie' with its combo of droning, minimal electronics and Teutonic spoken voice, sound like vital cold wave (cold war?) artefacts, while the playful, impish quality of 'Der Chor Der Oktaven' and 'Permutationen' (before it lapses into a kind of slanted techno groove) invoke the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's John Baker and Delia Derbyshire. If there's a dead giveaway that this is Jelinek's work through and through, it's the heaviness of the sub-bass and the attendant dub-head's sense of space, both hard to imagine in late 60s and early 70s Germany. Whatever you want to believe, make no mistake, this is a truly delightful collection of off-kilter electronic music and quite simply a must for all dedicated

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nils Frahm - Felt

1. Keep
2. Less
3. Familiar
4. Unter
5. Old Thought
6. Snippet
7. Kind
8. Pause
9. More

There's a very literal reason for the title of Nils Frahm's new album, Felt. He wanted to play the piano during the dead of night, without disturbing his neighbours, so he layed thick felt in front of its strings to muffle the sound. Rather than being frustrated, he unexpectedly found himself enchanted by this dampened sound, and it opened up new compositional as well as playing possibilities for his inquisitive mind. The resulting work is varied in style but it all has a close, confessional, nocturnal quality that's beautifully wrought and expertly recorded: from the Reich-a-like layered arpeggios of 'Keep' and 'More', to the wistful, jazz-tinted Glassisms of 'Familiar', there are plenty of grand harmonic gestures, but these are nicely
interspersed with, and balanced by, eerie ambiences like 'Pause' and 'Less'. Really lovely music for the arriving Autumn days, and recommended for fans of Machinefabriek, Isan and other masters of subtly romantic electro-acoustic

Soul Clap Social Experiment 002

1. Lee Foss - Foxy
2. James Teej - Galaktik Option
3. Miguel Campbell - Kiss & Tell
4. Nightplane - Parallel Lines
5. Teeloo - Sooo Oooh
6. Soho 808 - Just To See
7. Jonny White - Rainsong (Rainbeats)

Soul Clap are a DJ/production duo from Boston, which is notable only because Boston would probably finish somewhere between third and fifth in a straw poll of "least techno-y cities in America." Nonetheless, Cnyce and Elyte have been stirring there for several years now, releasing a handful of singles and edits as well as venturing out on a few tours. Social Experiment 002, both the first commercially available mix the duo has produced and the first mix on Art Department's Jonny White's No. 19 Music label, should kickstart a busy year for Soul Clap. (Social Experiment will be proceeded quickly by a DJ Kicks mix Soul Clap created with New York up-and-comers Wolf + Lamb.) While Soul Clap are arguably the most visible electronic artists from Boston in some time, one thing they are not is a harbinger of a new or exciting style or scene; their success as DJs (and producers/remixers) is predicated on an elegant, elastic mix of house and techno.

Soul Clap are also not classicists: Social Experiment mostly features tracks from young East Coast and European producers. They're kin to DJs like Seth Troxler and Wolf + Lamb in their sly funkiness and preference for making folks dance over making a statement. Social Experiement is not an exercise in momentum, studied repetition, or steadily building toward a climax. They favor quick-striking, vocally oriented tracks over tension and release. Nothing here qualifies as an anthem: even the most melodic tracks tend to be self-contained, or seem so in this context. To borrow a sports term, Soul Clap "play within themselves," never reaching for catharsis or exultation. The mix picks up quickly-- the brief cuts that dominate the early minutes are smart-- and stays tense and alive throughout.

That might make Social Experiment sound easy or even pandering, but Soul Clap avoid those trappings. There's plenty of challenging, off-kilter music here. It's just that Soul Clap are particularly adept at spinning it into warmhearted, bright-eyed jams. SECT's "H.T.A.D." is a lurching acid-bass track but any lingering salty aftertaste is exploded by Michael J Collins' whooshing, Kraut -y "Schizotypal" (and then extending the bliss with Night Plane's "Parallel Lines"). They swing the reverse trick too, leading Benoit & Sergio's silky pop-house track, "Principles", blindfolded into Tanner Ross' "4 U", a choppy, psychedelic churn. Clashes like these provide the tiny combustions that keep Social Experiment rolling.

Social Experiment is a mix without an obvious agenda. It sounds like it wants to make me dance, but it's not pushy. It's not a label showcase or a genre exercise; the only two summary descriptions I can really pin on it are "fresh" (most artists here are relatively new to the scene) and "North American" (for its creators and their choices: Art Department, Benoit & Sergio, Jimmy Edgar, Lee Foss, Seth Troxler, and Nightplane, among others, hail from this side of the Atlantic). All of this makes Social Experiment 002 unlikely to represent anything more specific than "Hey, Soul Clap: pretty good!" a year from now, but asking for anything more from a mix so contented and hardworking seems in poor

James Blake - Enough Thunder EP

1. Once We All Agree
2. We Might Feel Unsound
3. Fall Creek Boys Choir (With Bon Iver)
4. A Case Of You
5. Not Long Now
6. Enough Thunder

Brand new six-track EP, an addendum of sorts to James Blake's widely-acclaimed debut album. Most notably 'Enough Thunder' contains his sought-after 'Fall Boys Creek' collaboration with Bon Iver, and his cover of Joni Mitchell's 'A Case Of You' recorded for Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show, but for us the best moment is found in the Footwork-inspired fusioneering of 'We Might Feel Unsound'. It also includes three other new songs 'Once We All Agree', 'Not Long Now' and 'Enough Thunder'

Tickles - Call 4 Backup

1. Call 4 Backup
2. Da Growler
3. Crater Face
4. Zombie

Surefire Funky 'floor shakers from the Tickles production unit. 'Call 4 Backup's a bit of a beast, working the simple but deadly formula of Dutch Rave synths and infectious Funky swing, while 'Da Growler' tucks into a more percolatin' sort of dutty ruffige, and 'Crater Face' piles in with roguish bleeps and hardcore drum programming for the get down. Tip for the Funky fiends!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lando Kal / Stillcold Mysteres - Rhythm (Version) / Opinwide

01. Lando Kal - Rhythm (Version)
02. Stillcold Mysteres - Opinwide

Fresh from wrecking us with that Electroid monster for Rush Hour, Lando Kal slices up 'Rhythm Of The Night' on a wicked 808 tip for Stillcold. The first in their white label series features the Lazer Sword dude ripping the main motif over cracked woodblocks and busy bass hits somewhere between Girl Unit-style Hip Hop rave and juke muzik, strictly for the dance. Flipside Stillcold's Mystéres project debuts with an iced fusion of hypercolour boogie swing and throbbing Techno, and most importantly, it works. Mastered at Berlin's D&M for optimal

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Daphni - Ne Noya / Yes, I Know / Jiao

1. Cos Ber Zam - Ne Noya (Daphni Mix)
2. Yes, I Know
3. Jiao

Jialong is a new label operated by Daphni aka Caribou. Like his Resista label it's also an outlet for his rewired dancefloor edits, but there's perhaps a more synthetic bias to these three aces. On the A-side is a remix of Cos Ber Zam's 'Ne Zoya', snatched from the 'Afro Beat Airways' compilation and shook down with bumpin' subs and cascading radiophonic synths to deadly effect. Flipside, it's his 'Yes, I Know' ace from that classic RA mix, playing rough with biting Funk-Rock samples and screwed acid lines for a proper ass-whipping 'floor mover, while 'Jiao' cuts loose to an exotic fusion of kosmic synth spirals and Far-Eastern melodies with a psych-techno burn. Limited edition, be quick!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kuedo - Videowave EP

01. Take Off (Remix)
02. Starfox (Illum Sphere's Re-fox)
03. Glow (Clark Remix)
04. Shutter Light Girl (Heterotic Remix)
05. Oh

'Videowave' marks the conclusion of phase 1 in Kuedo's oeuvre. Backed with remixes from Illum Sphere, Clark and Heterotic, he presents two brilliant new tracks conceived and executed between 2009 and 2011. His 'Take Off Remix' was (air)borne as a remix of a Slugabed track, but the original schematics were so far from the original that's it ended up here, and its techy arpeggios contrast quite sharply with his other new track 'Oh', whose flighty slowfast programming and sweeter melody almost feel like they're from a different artist. On the remix tip, Illum Sphere offers a symphonic rework of 'Starfox' full of cascading synths and bulbous bass shapes, while Clark redraws 'Glow' in a staggeringly vast 3D sphere and Heterotic takes 'Shutter Light Girl' for a beautifully romantic 808

Emika - Emika

01. 3 Hours
02. Common Exchange
03. Professional Loving
04. Be My Guest
05. Count Backwards
06. Double Edge
07. Pretend
08. The Long Goodbye
09. FM Attention
10. Drop The Other
11. Come Catch Me
12. Credit Theme

The eagerly anticipated first album from Berlin-based, Bristol-hailing Emika, who's impressed over the past two years with singles and EPs that occupy the kohl-eyed space between electronic pop, dubstep, techno and minimal house, meaning she's equally at home with the Ostgut Ton crew (whose Funf comp she provided field recordings for) as with Ninja Tune, who are issuing this fine LP. There's a darkly sultry edge to all the tracks here, perfectly evocative of messed-up wee hours in some Kreuzberg basement, and the best tracks really ramp up and exploit that future-noir vibe. At times there are echoes of Emika's West Country forebears Portishead ('Professional Loving'), while 'Be My Guest' is a Subloaded/DMZ-friendly stepper with an injection of feminine pressure, and elsewhere the combo of heavy subs, spaced out snares and emotionally ambiguous vocals is pure Various Production. For all these reference points, Emika has cultivated her own sound here, and she keeps it tight throughout, refusing to deviate from the near-gothic moodiness but experimenting with rhythm and texture all the while. A bruising, seductive debut that pulls off a rare and remarkable trick: opening up dubstep to pop influence without pandering to the requirements of the

Oren Ambarchi & Jim O'Rourke - Indeed

1. Indeed A
2. Indeed B

Following their work together on remixes and in trio with Keiji Haino, 'Indeed' is the first proper full-length collaboration between Oren Ambarchi and Jim O'Rourke. Recorded in Tokyo, January 2011, the piece takes form as one long electroacoustic meander with both artists operating at the more meditative and reserved end of their respective abilities and disciplines. The label compare the session to "...the warm post-minimalism of composers like Alvin Curran, David Behrman and Luciano Cilio" and "...the collective textural and melodic personality of their respective solo albums filtered through the highpoints of the Lovely Music catalogue", which we'll happily concur. Side A opens though a passage of frictional electro-acoustics before calmly coursing along rich, humming subbass tones joined by quietly rippling marimba-like rhythms and dissolving into languorous drones and deft spatial detailing. Side B continues to meditate on these drones before more playful, high-pitched dissonance carries to the end.

Pole - Waldgeschichten

1. Wipfel
2. Wurzel
3. Wipfel Dub

Good to have you back Pole, where've you been lad? Germany's foremost practitioner of crackle-infused dub atmospherics seems keen to emphasize his music's reggae DNA here: the organ melody of 'Wipfel' sounds like the hook from a Jahtari digi killer put through the Berlin blender. 'Wurzel' is similarly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but with a fiercer skank on it, and a more minimal, focussed sound design. The highlight for many though will be Pole's own dub of 'Wipfel' - in which he hollows out the original, filling the space with extra sub-bass pressure and some rude echo FX. It's the sound of a master at work and demands to be heard

Gemmy - Too Far / Da Dodgems

1. Too Far
2. Da Dodgems

Future-fresh Dubstep-Boogie weight from one of Bristol's most colourful producers. The one to check is obviously the massive 'Da Dodgems', finding a sweet spot between jerkin', late '90s Timbaland-style R&B and rolling Dubstep-Boogie like few others we could think of. The flipside 'Too far' is a cool and kinda unusual piece of halfstep funk, but trust us, you simply need this for the B-side!

Goth Trad - Babylon Fall EP

01. Babylon Fall (ft.Max Romeo)
02. Falling Leaf
03. Itinerant Priest
04. Sublimation

The Far East assassin drops his most substantial work yet for Deep Medi. The lead cut features legendary JA vocalist Max Romeo on one of Goth Trad's sweeter riddims, but there's still enough menace and bass weight to hold it down in any of the bigger dances. The rest is back to meaner business, from the hard rolling Techno vibes of 'Sublimation' to the fluctuating double time flex of 'Falling Leaf' and the Coki-style, wile-out rave pressure of 'Itinerant Priest'

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blue Daisy - The Sunday Gift

01 Distance (Once Upon A Time)
02 Firewall (feat. Anneka)
03 Fallin Prelude
04 Fallin (feat. Heidi Vogel)
05 Descend
06 Shadow Assassins
07 Psyche Inquiry (feat. Hey!Zeus)
08 Raindance
09 Only For You (feat. Stac)
10 Spinning Channels (feat. Anneka)

Impressive debut album from Blue Daisy, sidestepping post-dubstep, post-FlyLo trip-hop cliche and fashioning his own distinct sound, one that's surprisingly full of harsh textures and hard angles. There are some lovely moments on here; we're instantly drawn to 'Spinning Channels', featuring amorphous vocals from Anneka, which begins in synthetic drift-psychedelia mode before organising itself into a nicely nocturnal, dubbed, boogie-house groove. Heidi Vogel's vocals are also treated and cut up to the point of abstraction, a wail of humanity echoing through the cavernous reverb of 'Fallin'. The Stac-sung 'Only For You' is the only outwardly pop number, and even that's weighed down by a palpable veil of melancholy. It's really refreshing to hear a contemporary debut from the beat-head sphere that's unafraid to wallow in emotional ambiguity and, at times, out-and-out darkness. Engrossing stuff, and definitely worth

Jasmina Maschina - Alphabet Dream Noise

1. Scott Free
2. Noise is Noise and Feelings Are Feelings
3. Forgotten Wood
4. Sun
5. Retrospective Hallucination
6. The City is Moving Like a Map
7. Crying Dream
8. Invisible Rays
9. Marry Me
10. Community
11. Nina's Feelings

Jasmina Maschina is Australian Jasmine Guffond, and ‘Alphabet Dream Noise’ continues her voyage into shimmering avant pop territory after 2008’s killer ‘The Demolition Series’. Through noisy field recordings, chattering guitars and her own gorgeous vocals we are led on a journey that is neither pop music, rock or drone – and like fellow Aussie Sanso-Xtro she manages to emerge with a sound that defies easy classification. There’s a little bit of Empress, a little bit of Hood, a little smattering of Slowdive, a hint of Stina Nordenstam – but nothing in ‘Alphabet Dream Noise’ sounds nostalgic or retro. Rather this is an album with both feet in the unsettling misery of 2011, and one that isn’t afraid to represent this with music just as woozy as its setting. Gorgeous