City Reign – When You Got It All (Live) [Car Boot Records]

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City Reign – When You Got It All (Live)

Formats: Digital

Label: Car Boot Records

Release date: 22nd September 2014

How do you measure success? After bursting onto the scene with their debut album ‘Another Step’, City Reign enjoyed support from the likes of Steve Lamacq, Clash Magazine and This Is Fake DIY.

This left the band with the unenviable task of writing a follow up. They had spent 4 years writing the first one, could they come back with something new? Something better?

The new single blows any doubts out of the water, all clatter and excitement that can only be the mark a band still fizzing with creativity and ideas.

Few bands Since The National’s early records have combined such introspection and sometimes brutal self-assessment with the energy and vitality that City Reign are fast carving out as their hallmark.

Nowhere is this collision of ideas more apparent than on this track, in which the band embarks on a part daydream, part crushingly real portrayal of the daily grind. All against the backdrop of guitar fuzz, clatter and excitement that can only be the mark a band pushing each other to their limits.

It’s this tension that makes this next phase such an exciting chapter in the City Reign story.

Pre-order now:

iTunes | Amazon

Listening Center – Other Voices 02 [Ghost Box Records]

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Listening Center – Other Voices 02

Formats: 7″ Vinyl / Digital

Label: Ghost Box Records

Release Date: 17th September 2014

NYC’s Listening Center return to Ghost Box with another 45. The second in the Other Voices series, in which David Mason puts his analogue electronics to work on two powerfully melodic pieces. Drawing on the classic library-esque, music for schools and colleges sounds that inspired Ghost Box at its very beginnings.

The state51 Conspiracy are handling physical distribution for Listening Center – Other Voices 02. If you are a record store and would like to place an order, please send an email to support@state51.com

To view the state51 physical distribution catalogue, click here.

Ghost Culture – Arms [Phantasy Sound]

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Ghost Culture – Arms

Release Date: 1st September 2014

Label: Phantasy Sound

Format: Digital

With his first two singles for Phantasy, “Mouth” and “Giudecca”, Ghost Culture emerged from the shadows with a beautifully elusive sound – Winning plaudits from the likes of Pitchfork, The Guardian and more, they marked out London’s Ghost Culture as one to watch, a hype most definitely consolidated with new single “Arms.”

Arms” is its own breed of electronic songwriting: a low, malevolent thrum emanating from serpentine grooves and whispered vocals, it’s a record that moves entirely at its own pace, creating an atmosphere heavy with tension and mystery. The flipside “Understand” is born from a dusty corner of the nightclub, relentlessly growing in intensity throughout, it surrounds the dancefloor in a beautiful techno sprawl. This single, along with the forthcoming debut album released later this autumn, was co-produced and mixed with Erol Alkan between studios in two quiet corners of the city. Ghost Culture’s time is here.

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Nick Nicely – Space of a Second [Lo Recordings]

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Nick Nicely – Space of a Second

Label – Lo Recordings

Format – Digital

Release Date: 8th September 2014

Pre-order: iTunes | Amazon Digital

Bursting onto the UK’s music scene at the start of the ‘80s, Nick Nicely’s debut single ‘DCT Dreams’ was a remarkable slice of ‘synth-pop on acid’ (FACT Magazine), perfectly fusing the electronic sounds of Neu and Kraftwerk with the psychedelic lyricism of Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles and Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd.

Since then Nick’s reputation has continued to grow with critically acclaimed releases on US labels Burger Records and Captured Tracks.  Contemporary psychedelic acts like Bevis Frond and Amorphous Androgynous citing him as a key influence and following his live debut in 2008 appearances on bills alongside artists such as Ariel Pink and John Maus.

As a fresh wave of psychedelic sounds spreads across the globe, Nick’s music is more relevant today than ever before and now we have Space of a Second’, 14 songs that range from the “prime shoegaze bliss” (Pitchfork) of ‘Wrottersley Road’ and ‘HeadwindAheadwind’ through to a brand new reimagining of ‘Hilly Road’ that reveals Nicely to be once again at his bewilderingly creative best.

Bringing to the fore Nick’s unique take on lo-fi baroque psychedelia, Space Of A Second’ bends influences from across time and space into an exhilarating construction that evades easy definition; perhaps the best description comes from The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis, who simply hailed Nick as “Unique, almost inexplicable”.

Dan Michaelson and the Coastguards announce live dates in support of ‘Distance’

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The latest album from Dan Michaelson and The Coastguards ‘Distance’ has been released to huge critical acclaim.  Eclipsing the success of 2013′s ‘Blindspot’, ‘Distance’ displays an artist at the top of their game. Mixing bittersweet blues with melancholic heartbreak, Dan Michaelson has a record that sits rightfully alongside the likes of Tim Rutili and Bill Callahan.

In support of the release, Dan has just announced live dates where he will be performing songs from both ‘Distance’ and his back-catalogue.  Click the links below for tickets:

Manchester The Castle 11th September

London Slaughtered Lamb 15th September

Guildford The Keep 18th September

Some quotes about ‘Distance’:

“A miniature masterpiece” – 4 stars, The Guardian

“Stands proudly alongside Bill Callahan and The National” – 8/10, NME

“An album of melancholic gold” – 4 stars, MOJO

“Takes the intensity of 2013’s ‘Blindspot’ and doubles it” – 8/10, Uncut

‘Distance’ released 18th August 2014 by The state51 Conspiracy, available on CD from Dan’s store and digital formats in the usual places.

Ephemerals – Nothin Is Easy

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Ephemerals – Nothin Is Easy

Formats – Digital/CD

Label: Jalapeno Records

Release Date: 1st September 2014

DIGITAL PRE-ORDER | CD PRE-ORDER

Fresh out of London comes one of the hottest soul sensations you’ll hear all year. Meet Ephemerals, whose debut LP “Nothin Is Easy” will be released via Jalapeno Records on September 1st.

On vocal duties is Franglo-American singer Wolf, originally from New York but who has been living in Paris since the age of 14, Ephemerals deliver a debut album that is fresh and soulful and will command some serious attention.

Hillman Mondegreen, formerly writer-producer and a founder member for Hannah Williams and The Tastemakers, was on a quest to find the singer for his next project when the Tastemakers tour passed through France. Wolfgang Valbrun was singing for the group that was supporting them and Hillman felt instantly that the New Yorker was the perfect voice.

Hillman assembled the band from a crack team of players and taught them song by song, and within three scorching days — thanks to a broken air conditioning unit during the July heatwave — the seven-piece had recorded the album live to analogue tape at The Cowshed in North London, and Wolf was on his way back to France. The strings and backing vocals were added in Winchester and “Nothin Is Easy” was complete.

Members of the band include Damian, who also plays trumpet for Kalakuta Millionaires and is also in Hillman’s afrobeat supergroup Keke Mokoro; Char, who plays baritone sax for Dakhla, a band with a unique afrobeat/gypsy styling; James, who plays organ for Hannah Williams, as does Jimi Needles, who has been Hillman’s drummer of choice since they met at university in 2008. Rob Jones was the final piece of the puzzle, recommended to Hillman by WahWah45’s boss Dom Servini. He played every instrument on the epic Gene Dudley Group album and was brought in to play bass with his trademark tone and casual style.

Also at this session, Hillman gained the backing vocal services of Hannah Curtain (lead singer of HWTastemakers), whom he had traded the favour in return for him writing a song for her next album. “Nothin Is Easy” features heavy grooves and slick production, with Wolf’s distinctive howl on top, emoting as only he can about love, social justice, environmental damage and self-determination.

You can pre-order the album digitally at iTunes, or if you want a physical copy, go to Jalapeno’s Greedbag store to purchase directly from the label!

Soft Hearted Scientists – The Slow Cyclone

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Soft Hearted Scientists – The Slow Cyclone

Formats: Digital / CD

Label: The Hip Replacement

Release Date: 22nd September 2014

The Slow Cyclone‘ is the 6th album by the Cardiff based psychedelic collective Soft Hearted ScientistsIt is an ambitious song cycle of 24 tracks comprising full songs, instrumentals and tiny interludes, divided into 4 groups of 6 tracks.

The songs include the spooky silent movie accompaniment style organ playing of “Flying Horses”, which lets the listener settle into their seat before the show starts; the mid period Byrds flavoured “The Ups and the Downs”, which features cascading chiming guitars, choral harmonies, and lyrics featuring Alexander the Great and Basil Rathbone as well as domestic conflict;

Frozen Waterfalls” is riddled with fear and sounds like it was recorded in a derelict theatre at midnight using a haunted Wurlitzer organ; “Dark Departments” has a Led Zeppelin 3 feel to the relentless riff  and the lyrics feature a day dream about Nazis being burnt at the stake; “South Shropshire Tales” is a harpsichord instrumental conjuring up images of Emma Peel and Steed in some creepy country house surrounded by suits of armour which may just start to move in a threatening way; “Robots Remember” is Isaac Asimov meets Kraftwerk jamming with Harry Belafonte – unlikely to spawn a new genre of decommissioned robot diary techno calypso, but all the better for being a one off. The album ends with the Leonard Cohen inspired meditation on death, “Before I Was Born”.

The recordings are intentionally “mid fi” having been recorded in three different home studios. Rather than produce an ultra polished anodyne sound, little real life touches have been left in on some tracks – count ins, coughs, cats scratching at the bedroom door, birdsong, and inconvenient phone interruptions. This causes an interesting confusion in places, as the innocent sound of bird song outside the window in “Dark Departments” gives way to aforementioned Jimmy Page style acoustic riffing. Together with some tracks overlapping with each other, the overall effect is to create a nocturnal dream feel, which persists for some time after the fade of “Before I Was Born”.

The state51 Conspiracy are handling physical distribution for Soft Hearted Scientists – The Slow CycloneIf you are a record store and would like to place an order, please get in touch with us at: support@state51.com

Praise for their 5th album ‘False Lights’…

“…tracks feature generous dollops of Beatles/Barrett whimsy, with surreal lyrics involving squids, goldfish, piranhas, Sid Vicious, Nagasaki, the Gestapo, ‘Halloween People,’ and psychological ‘Monsters of The Id.” - Shindig magazine, June 2013

“False Lights” has more twists and turns than most bands cram into an entire career.
Certainly one of the most tuneful albums I’ve heard this year. Highly recommended.”
The Active Listener

“…Songwriter Nathan Hall’s lyrics poke fun at modern mores and are at times funny, occasionally beguiling, but always memorable. His deadpan delivery doesn’t mask the fact that he actually writes some rather ace and catchy tunes.” - Harmonic Distortion

“The album is crammed with whimsical melody, sweet psychedelia, harmony and a charm that is hard to describe” - Terrascope.co.uk