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 

Dan Michaelson and The Coastguards – Distance [Out 18th August 2014]

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Dan Michaelson and The Coastguards will release their new album ‘Distance’ through The state51 Conspiracy on 18th August 2014.

Produced and mixed by Ash Workman, the album was written in Montauk, NY (the setting for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), recorded in Hackney, London and is the follow-up tolast year’s much-lauded ‘Blindspot’.

“Michaelson’s baritone possesses the grain and dirt of life” - MOJO

“The kind of thing you cling to in a storm: sturdy as an oak creaking with a certain humanity” - PITCHFORK

“Michaelson is a master of the bleak atmosphere” - Q

The state51 Conspiracy are handling physical distribution for Dan Michaelson and The Coastguards – ‘Distance’If you are a record store and would like to place an order, please get in touch with us at: support@state51.com

Pre-Order: Scrase – Heart / Another [Love Love Records]

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Scrase – Heart

Formats: 12″ / Digital

Label: Love Love Records

Release Date: 11th August 2014

Providing a state-of-the-art rejuvenation of 90s ambient house, the ‘Heart‘ EP (the first in a 2-part set of records) serves as a fluent example of the lighter side of Greg Scrase‘s previously little-known, but masterfully honed craft – here paying homage to the past greats of electronica, drawing together different threads of influence and applying them to his own colourful sonic palette. The 12” contains 3 exquisite original tracks that bubble and grow with a vibrant analogue charm, imbued with Scrase’s house-ier tendencies and melodic capabilities – backed-up by a very special remix of ‘Flyover’ from like-minded acid aficionado Dave Monolith (under the moniker MNLTH).

The title track, ‘Heart‘, opens the EP with timeless melodies that organically intertwine, drawing back the curtain to reveal a plethora of intricately coalescing layers. With a unique balance of rough and clean a delicate sense of faltering euphoria is created, as augmented vocal swells washed in reverb swim among sparkling synths and broken pianos, driven firmly along by robust kicks and claps. The track moves through shifting sonic pastures, littered with resonant waves and ripples, culminating in a peak that can only be described as epic, before the A-side closes with the palette-cleansing ambient revolutions of ‘Ice Exploration Party‘.

On the B-side ‘Flyover‘ picks up where ‘Heart’ left off, stylistically similar to the title track in its essence, whilst possessing a more majestic feeling – the harmonies confident and the form cohesive. Commencing with a solid beat underpinned by a repeating fog horn-like pulse, streams of soaring voices reach out to trace dreamy outlines of billowing structures, tying together the elements of the track with a blissful simplicity. Monolith’s remix of ‘Flyover’ sees him build upon the euphoric elements of the original, re-interpreting the track as a lush electronic pop classic in his trademark style – blending slick acid and catchy melodies with a subtle poignancy.

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Scrase – Another

Formats: 12″ / Digital

Label: Love Love Records

Release Date: 11th August 2014

In contrast to his ‘Heart‘ release, Scrase’s ‘Another‘ EP provides a dark and twisted journey down more alien avenues – the streaming melodies & warm atmospheres of the previous EP supplanted by arcane wooden rhythms and mechanised bass movements. A small collection of club-engineered tracks displaying a wider range of styles sit amongst intricately constructed percussive tracks, topped off with a brooding remix of the title track by the ever consistent Irish techno duo Lakker. Whilst ‘Another’ delivers a slab of crawling, warehouse-weight with an Eastern flavour, ‘Movon’ provides a minimal take on UK bass music fine-tuned to devastating effect. The three percussive tracks littered throughout the release explore a very different angle, combining dusty wooden rhythms with dread-filled tones and complex manipulations, lending the diverse collection of tracks a strong ritualistic feeling.

The first of three percussive tracks, ‘Perc 12‘ opens the EP on an eerie tone utilising primal patterns and tribal timbres; providing an organic, intricately carved backdrop to the rest of the release. Each with their own nuances, all three percussive tracks give a deeper insight into Scrase’s output through complex polyrhythmic arrangements. The title track ‘Another‘ layers similarly rhythmic wooden percussion into a more regimented structure, bolstered with bone-rattling thuds and topped with warm tropical tumbles. The track’s dance-friendly framework is offset by Scrase’s impulsive twist on the traditional techno blueprint, craftily playing with the listener’s expectations. The Lakker remix of ‘Another’ heightens the hypnotic nature of the original, slicing the percussive elements into grainy syncopated rhythms bristling with a feral industrial edge. ‘Movon‘, the first track on the B-side, instantly leaps into action, with huge 808 kicks and tight percussion providing the backdrop to a razor sharp, shapeshifting bassline. Using stripped down, barebone elements, Scrase create’s a truly original hybridisation of styles, a hallmark which is consistent throughout his work.

The state51 Conspiracy are handling physical distribution for Heart / AnotherIf you are a record store and would like to place an order, please get in touch with us at: support@state51.com

Trwbador – Several Wolves

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Trwbador – Several Wolves

LP / CD / Digital

Label: Owlet Music

Release Date: 11th August 2014

TRWBADOR follow on from their Welsh Music Prize nominated self-titled debut with the forthcoming release of a new album ‘Several Wolves‘, released by Owlet Music on 11th August 2014. Featuring guest appearances from Richard James (previously a member of Gorky’z Zygotic Mynci) and London rapper ESSA.

The state51 Conspiracy are handling physical distribution for Several WolvesIf you are a record store and would like to place an order, please e-mail us: support@state51.com

Click below to hear the album sampler mix on YouTube.

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“Beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!” - Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1

“Powerful but beautiful” - The Music Ninja

“Enchanting electronics” - The Sun

“Love this” - Rob Da Bank, BBC Radio 1

“Be sure that this is on your radar” - **** Buzz Magazine

”An understated giant” - 10/10 Shout 4 Music

“Bloody wonderful” - Phil & Alice, BBC Radio 1

“Blissful production” - Clash Magazine