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Rothko – A Young Fist Curled Around A Cinder For A Wager

Trace

Rothko - A Young Fist Curled Around A Cinder For A WagerIt has been nearly twenty years since we first marvelled at the extraordinary sounds and textures that three gents could elicit from bass guitars. Catching them in support of Appliance was a revelation and following Mark Beazley‘s mercurial career has been both fascinating and frustrating. I haven’t heard much since the Stateless solo album, but 2016 saw the delivery of not one but two albums.

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Check Out – Check Out

Hornschaft

Check OutBack in 2014, two guys spent one day recording music for a 10″ record in an old school in Nowa Hut to accompany a hardback book of photographs. The result of photographer Giordano Simoncini and musician Alessandro Incorvaia‘s labours, hand-numbered and limited to 500, I hold in my hands and it is a thing of beauty.

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John Cale – Fragments Of A Rainy Season

Double Six / Domino

John Cale - Fragments Of A Rainy SeasonThis is a very welcome reissue of John Cale‘s 1992 solo live album and on listening to it again, I am struck by various things. We know him so well as producer — The Stooges, Nico, Jonathan Richman, Patti Smith, etc — and as a collaborator (Lou Reed, Terry Riley, Brian Eno, Spedding, LaMonte Young, etc), but what this album shows us is just what a fine songwriter and solo performer he really is.

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Low / Kat Hawkins / Erik (live at St George’s Hall)

Low live December 2016

Bristol 7 December 2016

St George’s Hall in Bristol is one of the city’s finest venues, a church set in a lofty position halfway up Park Street, this evening looking splendid in backlit winter gloom. Inside, the stage was lit in red, mysterious yet comforting. I half expected to see Laura Palmer come out to meet us.

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Camera – Phantom Of Liberty

Bureau B Camera - Phantom Of LibertyWell, Bureau B have unleashed another Camera album like some hyperactive missile of joy for us all to experience. This is the third LP from the Berlin duo and this time there is a lot more to it than the feeling of Neu! songs being played by adolescent teenagers with too much energy. There is energy in abundance, but this is tempered with real thought as to how the album is going to hang together and that makes for a very satisfying listen.

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Steve Hauschildt – Strands

Kranky

Steve Hauschildt – StrandsI remember seeing Emeralds, Steve Hauschildt‘s band, whilst touring with the aptly-titled Painjerk at the much missed Croft in Bristol. We were incredibly thankful for the aural balm that Emeralds provided after the assault of Painjerk. It was akin to bathing your face in a warm sunrise after being hit by lightning.

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Papa M – Highway Songs

Drag City Papa M - Highway SongsIt has been a tough couple of years for David Pajo. A suicide attempt after discovering his wife’s affair was followed by a motorcycle accident that left him temporarily wheelchair-bound. We would not be blamed for thinking that music was the last thing on his mind, but Drag City have done us all the great service of releasing Highway Songs, the latest collection of tracks under his nom de plume Papa M.

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Dinosaur Jr / Wild Style Lion (live at Motion)

Bristol 14 November 2016

 Dinosaur Jr live November 2016A revolving blue police light welcomes us to the stage at the cold and cavernous Motion. I puposefully had not looked anything up about Wild Style Lion, so knew not what to expect. Their setup was parked in front of Murph‘s drums with their logo emblazoned on the front and was small enough to be wheeled away afterwards.

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Automat – Ostwest

Bureau B

Automat - OstwestThere were two main reasons that I was eager to hear the latest Automat LP; firstly you cannot go wrong with Bureau B, from current albums by the likes of Faust and Camera to re-issues of important back catalogue from the likes of Conrad Schnitzler, Asmus Tietchens, Palais Schaumburg, etc, they represent the cream of German underground music; secondly was the involvement of Jochen Arbeit, latter-day member of Einstürzende Neubauten and guitar slinger for Die Haut, one of the most important bands from the Neue Deutsche Welle. With this in mind, it is notable that Automat sound nothing like either of these bands.

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Pram – The Stars Are So Big… The Earth Is So Small / Helium

Medical

Pram - The Stars Are So Big, The Earth Is So Small ... Stay As You AreWe should all rejoice in the fact that finally the first two Pram albums proper have been given the re-issue treatment, and what a lovely job Medical Records have made of them: coloured vinyl, recent interviews amongst the sleeve notes and a clear appreciation for the magic contained therein.

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