Features

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In 2018 Brexit trundled forwards/backwards, England did quite well in the football and Pete Shelley died. Meanwhile some excellent musicians released some excellent records which I've attempted to put into some sort of meaningful list below. Thanks to all the labels, bands and promoters who sent be things to review this year. See you in 2019!

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Frog, a two piece band from NYC comprising Danny Bateman (Vocals/Guitar) and Tom White (Drums/Bass), are about to release a new mini-LP called Whatever We Probably Already Had It.

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After a couple of albums of instrumental experimentation, Benjamin Shaw has returned to us with a brand new record called Megadead.

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Leeds musician break_fold is set to return with his second solo album, a follow up to last years superb 07_07_15 - 13_04_16.

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Ivan The Tolerable is probably the most prolific of Middlesbrough musician Oli Heffernan's many monikers. So prolific in fact that he's preparing to unleash his third collection of the year so far, a new album called Le Monde Inversé, which is "soundtrack to a film that was never made" (it's available to pre-order on limited 10" vinyl now, but act quickly as the cut off for orders is on July 15th). To celebrate the release, we asked Oli to tell us about his own record collection for Broken Record #57, and the results are as vast and eclectic as his own output.

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Jessica's Brother are a new band made up of songwriter Tom Charleston, Jonny Helm of The Wave Pictures and Charlie Higgs previously of Ramshackle Union Band. They play a highly pleasing brand of loose, feelgood indie-pop, with nods to Pavement, Silver Jews and a bit of Nick Cave thrown in for good measure (and perhaps to darken things up a little). They've just released "Humdinger" (listen below), a teaser from their debut album which will arrive on  Fika Recordings on 20 July.

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It took him a fair while, but Mark Peters - co-founder of Engineers and Ulrich Schnauss collaborator - has finally released his debut solo album Innerland. It's an ambitious and atmospheric record which is themed around the local landmarks of Peters' homeland, the industrial English North West (locations that are beautifully presented on the album's sleeve design). To mark the release we asked Mark to tell us about some of the records from his own collection, and what they mean to him. This is Broken Record # 54.

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In case you missed it, Cloud (or Tyler Taormina) is back with a brand new LP called Plays With Fire.

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Norwegian composer and musician John Erik Kaada has had a varied and prolific career, working in the realms of classical, rock, avant-garde and soundtracks. You may have heard him last collaborating with Mike Patton on 2016's superb Bacteria Cult  LP. He's about to release a new collection called Closing Statements, a concept album of sorts, centring around the theme of obituaries and last words. Fans of Kaada's previous work will not be disappointed. Here though, in #53 of our Broken Record series, Kaada talks us through a few of the albums from his eclectic collection.

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As a result of an obsession with BBC4's "Top of the Pops: 1984" we had a look at the era's other pop behemoth - the sprawling Now That's What I Call Music series.