Whether or not you're making an attempt at giving up booze in the new year, January can often seem like a dry month, particularly for gigs and new releases. This year there seems to be some pretty exciting stuff to look forward to however; Plenty of great reissues, compilations and eclectic new releases and returns from some big names!
Here's a playlist with a track from most of the albums mentioned to give you a little taster as you read:
A big obvious one is the new Deerhunter record, Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?, the follow up to Fading Frontier which I can't believe came out in 2015, 4 (almost said 3, still adjusting) years ago already! We all played that album to death, and the new single's sounding great, very much looking forward to its cardboard and bubblewrap encased arrival. A sci-fi concept album set in the present, it was also co-produced in part by Cate Le Bon, a name that never fails to askew an album for the better.
She also no doubt had an influence on the new album from her drinking buddy and judge of opinions of dogs; I Have To Feed Larry's Hawk by the newly meta-rebranded Tim Presley's White Fence (from the singles so far) sinks itself back into his woozy dreamlike weirdo-pop world. Written while they were living together in Staveley, having swapped California for Cumbria, the record also features Le Bon's fellow Welshman H Hawkline and has an excellent cover disguising itself as a Microsoft Office program.
From Mexico, Lorelle Meets The Obsolete look to have shaped up a solid new LP, first single Ana sounds something like Emptyset and My Disco teaming up with Breadwoman to soundtrack some bizarre funeral ritual, and with the rest of the album promising to sound like "lost ’60s nuggets, blistering white noise jams and meditative incantations" I'm well on board.
Speaking of blistering white noise jams there's a new Dead C record coming too! They've still got the chops, without doubt, 2016's pulverising Trouble can attest to that, so this one's sure to be a doozy too.
I also totally wasn't expecting the new Sneaks single to be such a heavy bass, footwork-inspired-beat club banger, her past 2 records have been amazing bedroom pop snapshots, this new album Highway Hypnosis appears to be upping the production ante in some really interesting ways.
We're totally spoilt this month for acoustic finger pickin' goodness, thanks to three absolute guitar heroes: William Tyler, Steve Gunn and Michael Chapman.
For those unfamiliar, William Tyler played guitar for Lambchop and the Silver Jews before going solo and releasing some of the best American primitive and instrumental country/folk records of recent years. On Goes West he focuses his craft by sticking to the acoustic and enlisting help from the likes of Meg Duffy (Hand Habits/Kevin Morby) and Bill Frisell.
Steve Gunn has also been putting out consistently great, emotionally resonant albums for the past decade or so, and The Unseen In Between looks to be an incredibly tender entry into his canon. Love the double bass work on the singles so far.
Gunn also contributes to "elder statesman of British song writing and guitar" Michael Chapman's latest, True North, released on Paradise of Bachelors on the 8th of Feb. Featuring brand new compositions alongside reworkings of pieces from his incredible back catalogue, this is hopefully another step to Chapman getting the recognition he deserves as one of the great British songwriters.
I can't not mention this incredible looking upcoming Sahel Sounds release from Hama, billed as being "seemingly lifted from a Saharan 1980s sci-fi soundtrack or score to a Tuareg video game." The track available to preview on Bandcamp here has me eager to enter this VR realm and get dancing!
On the reissue front we've got an archive release containing some of Pauline Oliveros' incredibly important early electronic and electro-acoustic works, the soundtrack to an oft-overlooked Alejandro Jodorowsky film courtesy of Finders Keepers, a fantastic early release from Nigerian juju star Shina Peters thanks to Strut and one of my all-time favourite free jazz albums, the absolutely incendiary Nation Time by Joe McPhee, made properly available by Superior Viaduct.
Some wicked comps coming up as well, the third in Soul Jazz's Black Man's Pride series, collecting the best of Studio One's Rastafarian roots output, and the second of Reappearing Records' Life & Death On The New York Dance floor, 1980-1983. No doubt Light In The Attic's massive survey of Japanese ambient music from the 80's will give us plenty to contemplate and research!
I'm actually heading off to Japan for most of January and writing this out has got me jealous that I won't be in the shop! We better not be all sold out of everything by the time I get back.. Go on, I dare you, buy all of it!! Jokes aside, we hope you've had a great Christmas and New Year, and that we can provide some antidotes to a quiet month. All the best and see you all soon!