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This is our roundup. It's a short selection of things we've missed, things we didn't get sent, things that we bought, things that deserved a mention. Here they are:
Always, 1995 by Baker Island
Sean Dodds is certainly in a rich vein of form at the moment. Just a few months after releasing Baker Island's second album Restless Legs, they're back with a new EP Always, 1995 which features a guest turn from Life Model's Sophie Evans. It opens with the thundering drums and typically bendy guitar of the title track and then rattles through three equally impressive new recordings which take the band in some interesting, more synth-led new directions. "Low Cost Locust" is probably the best of a good bunch, where Dodds tones down the racket and moves into more contemplative, gothic territory, not a million miles away from peak-Cure.
Powerfrau / Skank Witch by Blom
Blom is a new band featuring two members of Tough Tits (who in their short life gained a load of goodwill and good press before calling it a day after just 1 classic EP and a single). This debut EP is angrier, and meaner than Tough Tits but there's still that keen ear for a hook and a sharp sense of humour prevalent in these two tracks. "Powerfrau" is as direct and potentially alienating introduction to a band you're likely to hear and judging by "Skankwitch" it looks like they might even threaten the take fellow NE noise-mongers Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs' crown as the grand masters of sleazy doom. The latter also seems like a pitch perfect satirical dig at social media misogyny and the closing lines of "difficult woman", "disgusting woman", "she needs to die", "I know your type" will be depressingly familiar to anyone who's ever had the misfortune to look on twitter. Exciting stuff!
Abbey Wood by Jack Hayter
12 contemporary folk tales centred around Jack Hayter's time living in a leaky abandoned children's home on Abbey Wood Rd (before it was demolished). This is an album that oozes with warmth and beauty, from the DIY percussion to the ramshackle strings and horns to the field recordings of local church congregations. It's like the last hurrah of a local community which is about to disappear. Fans of Ian Dury, Tom Waits or even Hayter's old cohort Darren Hayman would be wise to give this record a spin.
HiggledyPiggledy by Slug
HiggledyPiggledy sees Ian Black playing every instrument himself (ditching his mates Field Music who helped out on the last one, Ripe). The results are an entertaining, zig zagging trip through madness, music hall and a multitude of other styles. This album was intended to be more minimal than his debut, and whist there is clearly an attempt to give the percussion a bit more space, it could only really be described as minimal when compared to other Slug material. In other words, there's still an awful lot going on. Highlights include the masterful and muddy "Earlobe" which borrows elements from prog and classical whilst finding time for some trademark crunching guitar riffs. A typically untypical Slug album.