You Tell Me is a collaboration between Peter Brewis from Field Music and Sarah Hayes from Admiral Fallow. It's been about a year since the last Field Music album, and a couple of months since Admiral Fallow co-composed and performed an opera (Navigate The Blood), and in the crazy world of these restless Northern musicians, that's a hole that needs plugging. But this isn't just a quick detour or knockabout, it's about as fully formed and ambitious as you'd expect from their combined previous form.
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.
David and Peter Brewis (and friends) are Field Music, and this is Field Music's sixth album proper. Right from the off you can tell there's something a bit different going on here. The record opens with "Time In Joy", a slow burner. It's pretty downbeat, and seems a million miles away from Commontime's raucous introduction ("The Noisy Days Are Over"). There's no wailing or bendy funk bass, instead it opens with some mysterious (backwards?) synth like sounds, a sad sad vocal and some equally maudlin, but striking strings.
This debut album from Minneapolis trio Nadine is released on Memphis Industries in the UK and I can't think of a more appropriate home for an album which is smooth as an eel and full of pristine pop-jazz-funk. It certainly seems that Memphis Industries are forging their image as a label with a type (certainly Field Music, Dutch Uncles and Slug cross over into similar styles, albeit in very different ways).
Menance Beach bring us their second album Lemon Memory, available on scratch and sniff vinyl (I believe it's the sleeve that you need to scratch, not the record) and other lower-key formats.
As much as the concept of a scratch and sniff album seems like a bit of a gimmick, the music inside it is anything but. The band, a five piece centred around Liza Violet and Ryan Needham, seem to have settled on a more muted, thoughtful sound, at least when compared to their raucous debut, Ratworld.
Apparently this is "Liza's record", whereas Ratworld was Ryan's.
Haley Bonar retruns with a breezy pop record with rough edges
Impossible Dream is the new album from American (actually, Canadian born) artist Haley Bonar and it was, as is becoming the norm lately, recorded on analog tape. I wonder if there will be a time when artists move to digital to capture the long lost sound of the noughties...probably not. Anyway, it was recorded in Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, and the good news is, it sounds really great.
The gist A very welcome return, not that they ever really left us The music The first time I really "got" field music was at an early evening slot on a small stage at Primavera Festival back in 2012. Until then I'd heard them in passing and seen their glowing reviews on Pitchfork etc but at Primavera it suddenly dawned on me that; 1) there was nobody else at the festival playing music like this, and 2) they were making absolutely no effort to look cool or fit into a scene and were therefore the coolest band there (apart from Shellac).
The gist Ian Black steps out from the shadows of Field Music and becomes a Slug The music Firstly lets get the Field Music stuff out of the way. It's been well documented that this debut album from Slug features Peter and David Brewis, it's been produced by David Brewis and it's released on Memphis Industries (home of Field Music). Ian Black was also in Field Music for a while, touring with them as bassist. It would be almost impossible to not hear traces of Sunderland's finest with that sort of backing behind you, but there's a great deal more to Slug than the sum of its parts.
The gist Highly anticipated debut from Leeds 5 piece, out on Memphis Industries The Music Menace Beach are a band of contrast. A kind of good cop-bad cop group led by Ryan Needham (bad cop) armed with his brash distorted ramblings and Liza Violet (good cop) with her angelic, otherworldly vocals and atmospheric keyboards. It's a mix which levitates Menace Beach somewhere outside the shoegaze genre, into which some have been keen to bracket them. Their debut album manages to cram in slacker rock ("Drop Outs"), grunge ("Ratworld") and even a bit of surf-pop ("Infinite Donut").