Thursday, December 31

Top releases, 2009:

The countdown begins, the Two-Thousand-And decade is almost finished: here's the best (in our view) of its last year. A happy New Year to all. Thank you for your continued support and interest, and please enjoy your 2010.

1. The Big Pink - Velvet

2. Ulterior - Sister Speed / Aporia

3. Hatcham Social - Crocodile

4. Fever Ray - Fever Ray

5. Hatcham Social - You Dig The Tunnel, I'll Hide The Soil

6. An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump - Buy a Life
7. A Place to Bury Strangers - Exploding Head
8. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
9. The xx - xx
10. Lydia Lunch / Suicide - Frankie Teardrop
11. The Horrors - Primary Colours
10. HTRK - Marry Me Tonight
13. R O M A N C E - Another Place / The Art of Losing
14. The Spectrometers - Make Your Own Instrumented Glove
15. Disconcerts - A. Medic
16. Spider & the Flies - Something Clockwork This Way Comes
17. The Big Pink - A Brief History of Love
18. KASMs - Spayed
19. Electricity In Our Homes - Gymnastics / Motorbike
20. Neils Children - X.Enc.

Wednesday, December 30

Tonight we recommend. . .

Shoreditch's Old Blue Last plays host tonight to what promises to be a riotous punk show. Brighton's Bad for Lazarus (led by ex-Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster guitarist Rich Fownes) will be flailing around and making a brilliant racket, preceded by two of London's brightest hopes: blues-punk terrorists Stavin' Chains, and the dark, driving clank of The Murder Act. It's free. Go.

Thursday, December 10

an experiment on a bird in the air pump : BUY A LIFE


You would never guess that this self-released three-track EP was produced by The Charlatans' Tim Burgess: he, by all accounts, is a fairly laid-back kind of guy, and this 7" buzzes with pure, venomous aggression from beginning to end. I can only conclude that the Birds themselves have got a lot of rage stored up, and that they've fortunately (for us) chosen the recording studio as the best place to get it out of their systems - you can hear it in the drumming alone, really. Each of the three sings on one track, the vocal highlight being some fantastic distorted soul shrieking from C-Bird's on 'Only in Death'; X-Bird smoulders in the dark on 'The Silent Hour', and D-Bird's more untrained voice lends opening track 'Smear' a vulnerable edge - not that she sounds any less angry, what with the snarling fuzz of two basses and a minimal tribal beat backing her up. It's certainly a step up from last year's 'These Sins', distilling bits of Hole, The Stooges, and Sonic Youth into a visceral seven-minute punch. Recommended.