Editors' Picks: Our Favourite Albums And Tracks
, May 10th, 2013 17:30
John Doran, Luke Turner, Rory Gibb and Laurie Tuffrey sift through 2013's releases to bring you a guide to their favourite albums and tracks
The worst aspect of music journalism, in some respects, is its tendency to encourage lists. It's a bufferish, geeky, male-oriented bad habit - similar in some ways to classifying, dividing and sub-dividing all music by genres - and is the most boring thing about the job. It's also something that we avoid (well, 95% of the time anyway). We're not particularly interested in the Hornbification of pop and rock - essentially the boiling down of the entire history of music into 50 albums - and we're guessing that you're not either.
However... I was in Probe Records in Liverpool recently and I couldn't remember which new albums it was that I really, really wanted on vinyl. This was a prompt for me to update this - our rolling list of tQ's favourite albums and tracks of the year so far. It's not an exercise in reductionism, simply a buyer's guide (or a Spotify user's guide), to the music we really like and we hope that you will too.
It is based on a broad consensus between all the Quietus music staff - Luke Turner, Rory Gibb, Laurie Tuffrey and myself - of what our personal favourites are. To put it as simply as possible - this is the music we play the most. We're not really interested in what the cultural worth of it is, how popular/ unpopular it is, how many units it'll shift or - God help us - how "important" other critics who have one eye on posterity judge it; this is simply a list of new music we enjoy listening to.
For the main part this list currently includes albums and tracks which were released between January and May this year and will be (hopefully) updated at the end of every month. It's unranked.
I hope you find something here that makes you as happy as this music makes me. - John Doran
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats - Mind Control
"'Evil Love' is the true rocker's choice on Mind Control, this album's answer to the band's excellent '13 Candles' from Blood Lust. A petrifying chase through the woods at midnight, it gallops along with urgency, lifting the album out of its murky black hole. If the opening side of Mind Control sought to explore Uncle Acid's hard rock and metal influences, the second side displays a much more psychedelic approach to their sound. While Lennon is often cited as a key influence on the Deadbeats, 'Death Valley Blues' also resurrects George Harrison in its own blue jay way - a brainwashed meander down an English garden that leads directly into the underbelly of that elusive walrus. Goo-goo-ga-joob, this is altogether a different splinter off the Deadbeats' stake. Also with a Harrison influence, 'Follow The Leader' takes a detour via an 'Inner Light'-style raga performed on fuzzbox and shaker in blissy catharsis." Charlie Frame
Savages - Silence Yourself
"This hermetically sealed world around them is the cauldron in which their fire is nurtured and burns. Like many of the bands who inspired them, Savages fight against limitations as they carve out their songs. Gemma Thompson says she had to fundamentally rethink the way she played guitar after Jehnny Beth joined Savages, and steered it away from an experimental noise duo to songwriting band. Her contributions are incredibly impressive on the yearning, straining 'Waiting For A Sign', with the mood created by Faye Milton and Ayse Hassan's rhythm section acting as the base for dissonant guitar aerobics and an abstract vocal screech that recalls Diamanda Galas. It manages to pack into five minutes what Suede took ten to achieve on some of the songs from that second half of Dog Man Star." Luke Turner
(Ensemble Pearl) - (Ensemble Pearl)
"(Ensemble Pearl) is O'Malley and Kurihara on guitars, Atsuo from Boris on drums and Bill Herzog from Jesse Sykes' band The Sweet Hereafter on bass. All of them bar Kurihara played together on the successful Sunn O))) and Boris collaborative album Altar in 2006, but this isn't a sequel and, more to the point, doesn't really sound anything like it. Instead the link is a social one: experimental drone rock played this well depends on an intimacy and shared vision between people who can 'read' each other with a frightening degree of insight." John Doran
British Sea Power - Machineries Of Joy
"The band have said that they wanted Machineries of Joy to be "warm and restorative… like a game of cards in pleasant company." Such modest ambition is perhaps the key to the album's success. Rather than setting their sights on the big stages, as on Do You Like Rock music? or striving for unnecessary eclecticism as on Valhalla Dancehall, here British Sea Power have played to their strengths, relaxing and following their best instincts." Ben Graham
RP Boo - Legacy
"What Boo does with voices is almost too good to put into words. 'No Return' flips between the silky vowels of a soul singer, stitched together into prolonged life, and oblique braggadocio ("Earth– Motherfucker– See me running the floor–"); the feel is somewhere between Carl Craig and a techstep banger. When he takes off from old Timbaland hits it's something else again. '187 Homicide' loops the signature arpeggios and choirs that open Timberlake's 'Cry Me A River' into the kind of spectral delirium you might associate with RZA or Raime, then kicks off all around it ... It should be chaos but you can't help but get caught up. You’d be a fool to miss out on the other footwork artists Planet Mu’s been promoting, but for sheer, lingering, soulful insanity Boo can't be beat." Lee Arizuno
Fat White Family - Champagne Holocaust
"Fat White Family crawled out of the squats of South London. They sounded like a mix of Bong Water, Charles Manson, the Butthole Surfers round a campfire, the most smacked out and slowest Birthday Party and Cramps numbers. And someone on Twitter said that one of them had ridden a donkey into a pub. I could imagine it. With every acid head, junkie, squatter, artist, desperado and caner in the area casting palm leaves on the floor before him. I could imagine him riding right up to the bar and saying: 'Two pints of Stella please and a pickled gherkin for my ass.'" John Doran
Wire - Change Becomes Us
"Recycled the songs may be, but the band have souped 'em up, making Change Becomes Us the band's most bombastic and polished record to date. There are one or two times – such as the Who-like beginning of 'Adore Your Island' – when it sounds like a stadium rock group has been smuggled onto the record. It is as if they have sought to nullify, accentuate – perhaps even send up – the poor quality of the earlier recordings via a wilful act of audio Botox. Voices are heavily treated with effects and multiple vocal tracks are smoothed together using pitch and time correction, and an array of embellishments." Tim Burrows
The Knife - Shaking The Habitual
"This is their most texturally diverse work to date. Shaking The Habitual plays like a reaction chamber of sorts - a space where organic and inorganic sound objects are introduced, heated to boiling point and encouraged to collide wildly into one another. Acoustic and electronic sources are often stirred together so vigorously that it's impossible to determine the origins of any one particular sound." Rory Gibb
Function - Incubation
"'Stasis is death.' These three words are as good a synopsis of Incubation as you're likely to find. David Sumner has been in the techno game nigh on twenty years, but this is [Function's] debut LP and as such really is too big a deal for any label other than Berlin's venerable Ostgut Ton. Anticipation may be the fastest route to disappointment but Incubation, mercifully, more than delivers. Far more than a collection of club tracks, it's an elegant, fully realised narrative. The sound also boasts a newfound clarity. Function's characteristic heavyweight intensity is still at the fore, but rather than the sometimes raw and rough-hewn production of the Sandwell releases (which, it should be noted, was never a failing), here tracks are rendered with crystalline lucidity, no doubt thanks at least in part to sound engineer Tobias Freund." Maya Kalev
Pinkunoizu - Second Amendment
"‘I Chi’ is a trippy foray into the unknown that remains vaguely familiar – you know that psychedelic bands have tread similar ground but it sucks you in, as a percussive groove is embellished with quirky layers. The video is downright bizarre, glazing over a plethora of collaged images, including galaxies and brief homage to the Dark Side Of The Moon album cover. Never lingering in any place for long, it turns into a playful sensory overload reminiscent of Monty Python’s animated sequences." Max Evans
Conny Plank - Who's That Man
"[T]his 4CD box set represents the merest glimpse of a secret history of European pop music; a history to which uber-producer Conny Plank is the key. Plank was a common thread in many of the otherwise disparate recordings of the early 70s German avant-garde quickly lumped together by the UK and US music press as 'krautrock' (a phrase as intentionally dismissive as 'shoegaze' was twenty years later- both descriptions were nevertheless adopted as badges of convenience and worn proudly by champions and revivalists after the fact). His engineering, production and in some cases playing on the seminal early albums by Kraftwerk, Neu!, Cluster, Ash Ra Tempel and Guru Guru among others defines this nebulous genre as much as anything else. As such, he was the man a younger generation of non-German musicians turned to in their efforts to synthesise the magic they heard in those LPs." Ben Graham
Dethscalator - Racial Golf Course, No Bitches
"I think it came about because we found out you can buy 500 golf tees with Dethscalator printed on them for £30. What does it mean? I just had this image in my head of a sign you’d see on a golf course by a picket fence that would make absolutely no sense whatsoever. It’s how we came up with the band name as well. Just sitting around on G-chat coming up with stuff that made us laugh. To be honest we were trying to come up with the worst band name possible but when I said Dethscalator, they said, ‘That’s it.’" Dethscalator's Stu Bell
Matmos - The Marriage Of True Minds
"The duo's eighth album, The Marriage Of True Minds, contains a fairly healthy dose of ridiculousness. Underpinning its ten tracks is a series of "experiments" conducted on friends, students and members of the public over the course of several years. In a variation on the iconic Ganzfeld experiment - designed to test individuals for extrasensory perception - subjects would have their sight and hearing obscured while Daniel attempted to mentally project 'the concept behind the new Matmos record' into their minds. They would then describe any impressions that emerged: images, sounds and so forth. The transcripts of these sessions became musical scores of a sort, to be mirrored closely in sound or treated as springboards for composition." Angus Finlayson
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
"Still overshadowed by the memory of fisticuffs between Mods and Rockers or Fatboy Slim's huge parties on the beach, Brighton has recently lacked many prominent records that feel so imbued with a sense of the city. Push The Sky Away redresses this - that cover photo surely couldn't have been taken anywhere except one of those high ceilinged Regency terraces that go down to the sea in the South Coast resort. The presence of Brighton here must be due to the genesis of many of these songs in a notebook in which Cave noted observations of the world outside those desirable tall windows." Luke Turner
David Bowie - The Next Day
"Fortunately, it’s great. I mean: it’s not just good, it’s great. It’s not Diamond Dogs or Young Americans or Low – get real, this isn’t the 70s and you and I are not twelve – but it’s great in that it’s not Heathen or Reality but better. No wild pioneering sonic experiments here: it’s primarily a "rock" album with plentiful twists, with the closest sibling being Scary Monsters. The gorgeous melancholy of 'Where Are We Now?' is unrepresentative." Chris Roberts
Le1f - Fly Zone
"Reading about Le1f, I kept coming across the term 'banjee', which is an 80s moniker for a Latino or black gay dude who dresses thuggish. He notes that banjee is 'my gay swag, my code word. It makes me feel tall, like a prince'. Listening to thirteen track odyssey Fly Zone, you enter into the mind of someone who is noticeably influenced by vogue-ing and NYC 80s drag, juxtaposed alongside overt masculinity. His style on these tracks weaves from sexy, deep voiced thug, to coquettish, 10 verses-in-one-breath, high-pitched MC. The mixtape features Le1f's incendiary forerunner Spank Rock, plus Haleek Maul, Kitty Pryde and Philadelphia's Don Jones. With production by a slew of leftfield producers who I've never heard of but are clearly beatsmiths (sorry I said that word). Best verse: 'I'm from Mercury, but I'm moving to your anus.'" Jodi B
L.Pierre - The Island Come True
"This album speaks to me of the eternal holiday of the alcoholic. Once you create as much distance from your everyday life as you naturally have from orange tinted Polaroids of childhood caravan trips or stays in seaside hotels and Super 8 film reels of school sports days, then you start to experience your quotidian life like it's the sun bleached memory of a happy event. You feel nostalgia and warmth for boring events that are unfolding right in front of you. You feel wistful about experiences that most people would find barbaric or gauche or unremarkable. You experience the epic, the heart-warming and the hilarious in post office and supermarket queues. You develop permanently rose-tinted glasses." John Doran
Black Pus - All My Relations
"Brian Chippendale, inimitable drummer of US psychedelic noise rock titans Lightning Bolt, is set to release his new album under the Black Pus moniker on 18th March via Thrill Jockey. Entitled All My Relations, it's as storming and abrasive as you'd expect from Chippendale, though surprisingly catchy with it... There's a definite tune buried in there, even if you have to wade through deadly riptides of waist-deep sludge to get to it. Something suitably bracing to open your weekend with a bang, perhaps." Rory Gibb
Suede - Bloodsports
"Rather than the instrument-swapping approach of their previous two albums, Anderson, Osman, guitarist Richard Oakes, drummer Simon Gilbert and keyboard player and second guitarist Neil Codling were back in defined roles, rather than contributing here and there. Bloodsports is a fantastic record by England's most contradictory band - loved by some, derided by many, still 'the best British punk, rock n roll, sex-pop-glam band of the past 20 years' as I described them in NME a couple of years back." Luke Turner
Various Artists - Change The Beat: The Celluloid Records Story 1979 – 1987
"The best tracks here are courtesy of a real colonial culture clash however, African master musicians Toure Kunda, Bobongo Stars and Manu Dibango engaging with the French and New York underground on their own terms. If Hemingway’s Moveable Feast had literally lived up to its name and ended up in late 70s bohemian Paris and early 80s art gallery Manhattan, then this would have been the soundtrack. If this music were being released now most cultural commentators would be pissing their pants about cultural appropriation, middle class entitlement, authenticity and hipsterism but thankfully only those with too much time on their hands will start applying these tenuous criteria to music retrospectively." John Doran
Frisk Frugt - Dansktoppen Møder Burkina Faso I Det Himmelblå Rum Hvor Solen Bor, Suite
"This music is as inauthentic as it comes and all the better for it. Toy horns are processed to sound like interstellar cosmic MOOGs, electric guitar playing tutored by Toumani Diabate starts to sound like the work of Richard Lloyd, folk marimbas sound like they’ve been arranged by Terry Riley. This is perhaps a distant relative of the work done by Jon Hassell and Holgar Czukay in the 1970s and ‘Hvordan To Halvmåner Bliver Til 4/4’ could easily sit on an African Eno’s Another Green World. A massive but effortless achievement." John Doran
A$AP Rocky - Long.Live.A$AP
"An absorbing, immersive listening experience, Long.Live.A$AP outshines the recent full-lengths of technically more proficient rappers as well as those of strikingly safer hip-hop hitmakers. Though the absence of former ally Spaceghostpurrp is certainly felt, Rocky has amassed such an impressive collection of beats that the temptation to skip a song never arises. Such ingenuity is befitting an apparent aesthete like Rocky who, like the stylish Kanye before him, fully if perhaps cynically knows that the devil is in the detailing." Gary Suarez
The Asphodells - Ruled By Passion Destroyed By Lust
"The success of Ruled By Passion Destroyed By Lust lies in a number of differing factors that add up to one almighty whole. Weatherall's ability to cherry-pick any number of wildly differing influences without relying on any one in particular is remarkable in itself but the fact that he and Fairplay consistently come up with something that's their own is a talent to lauded. So yes, while the fat, dubby basslines are firmly in place and the Krautrock influences dance across these 10 tracks, The Asphodells manage the unique trick of being both in hock to everyone and no one at the same time." Julian Marszalek
Endless Boogie - Long Island
"This is fine American blue collar slackness, a paean to the continuing vibe of real boogie, in thrall to the body moving joy formidable - and no retro exercise either. Rather, it's living musical authenticity that hasn't stopped to look in the mirror too many times and dances like no one gives a shit, the good times rolling on down the years. Why stop?" Harry Sword
Broadcast - Berberian Sound Studio
"There is some broadly retro styling – a heavy synth drone here, a churchy organ there – as the gig demands. But you'd have a hard time identifying nods to any particular horror soundtrack from the era (Morricone's alone contain a multitude of styles). Despite their sound palette, reference and pastiche have never been prominent in the Broadcast picture; neither were they a programmatic, disciplined band in the mould of Stereolab. So it comes as no surprise when their curiosity and ear for beauty gets the better of them; 'Our Darkest Sabbath', for instance, sounds like lights bleeding into each other – more Eno than Ennio. There aren't many groups whose lightest listening suite is the score for a horror film of sorts, but there you go." Lee Arizuno
Mohammed Al Ali - 'Mili Alay (Sway To Me)'
"Over the past few years Alan Bishop's Sublime Frequencies label has been responsible for introducing the Middle Eastern dance form dabke to the world, primarily via the medium of Syrian star Omar Souleyman. This year's Dabke: Sounds Of The Syrian Houran compilation found Bishop's friend and collaborator Mark Gergis issuing, on his Sham Palace label, a selection of tracks by other artists. They're astonishing - abrasive, dusty, intensely funky and psychedelic dance music - but none quite as much as Mohammed Al Ali's 'Mili Alay', whose pitched-up chants and pounding drum machine rhythms are as physically powerful and mind-altering as the hardest ends of rave and techno." Rory Gibb
Amr 7a7a, DJ Figo & Sadat - 'Fuck! I've Lost My Slipper!'
"One of Electro Chaabi's biggest dance floor fillers, and reputedly Egypt's first ever song with swearing in the title is called 'Aha el shibshib daa!' or 'Fuck! I've Lost My Slipper!' by producer Amr 7a7a (pronounced Amrir Ha Ha), DJ Figo and 'mic man' Sadat. These are the three guys who started the scene five years ago. It was such a small concern that it was pretty much only them until two years ago but now, post-revolution, it is blossoming into something bigger." Click here to read John Doran's entire Electro Chaabi In Cairo series
King Midas Sound - 'Aroo'
"It's the most direct and pop-friendly track we've heard from the group to date, putting their tectonic dynamics to the service of a structured song." Rory Gibb
Lescop - 'La Nuit Américaine'
"An excellent metonym for Lescop's equally formidable self-titled debut. The record is a hive of fine moments, and its lead-off single - sleek new-wave that's underpinned by a kinetic, nervy urgency and a chorus that encases subtle euphoria - distils them perfectly." Laurie Tuffrey
Pet Shop Boys - 'Axis'
"Woasaaahhh that's more like it chaps! After the disappointment of last Pet Shop Boys album Elysium, Messrs Tennant and Lowe return with an absolutely killer tune that showcases what they do best - decadent, powerful electronic pop with videos of people with weird things on their heads. Heaven knows how good the rest of the LP - with Neil's vocals on - is going to be." Luke Turner
Peter Gordon & Factory Floor - 'Beachcombing'
"'Beachcombing', featuring Gordon alongside Factory Floor's Nik Colk Void and Gabriel Gurnsey, has an almost Kraftwerk-esque clarity, albeit a Kraftwerk bound cosmos-wards. Electronics flicker and pattern the track, while Void's vocals are transmuted into a distant, ancient murmuring. Gordon's soprano saxophone is a fluid element, dropping in and out of focus, sometimes gliding, others frenetically spasming, building towards a final, cataclysmic endpoint." Laurie Tuffrey
Carter Tutti - 'Coolicon'
"We didn't want this single to be like a studio track, we wanted to keep it as crisp as clean as we could from its initial inception. Chris was in the studio, and as usual I was cooking something - which is in the next room for those who don't know - and he did the hook, and I went 'oooo', and he went 'ooo that's nice'. So we wanted to keep it like that, with this surprise that comes in and then it starts driving forward." Cosey Fanni Tutti
Archie Bronson Outfit - 'Dead Duck Dub'
"The second Speedy Wunderground release is the first to see the A-side getting a dub remix by the label's founder Dan Carey and Alexis Smith, and it's an excellent reworking, jolting the drums and bass into a jerky skank, leaving Sam Windett's vocal to spring forward from a reverby hinterland and collapse into an echoing flurry." Laurie Tuffrey
These New Puritans - 'Fragment Two'
"Built on a skeletal piano backbone regulated by the stuttering beat, the track gets gilded by immaculate layers, from the lyrics, only snatches of which are fully audible - 'in between the islands where we used to swim' - intoning a cloudy narrative, to the filmic trumpet volleys at the end (perhaps suggesting the influence of collaborating soundtrack arranger Hans Ek), forging something that feels greater than its 4-and-a-half minute length." Laurie Tuffrey
Girl Band - 'Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?'
"It is Irish noise artistes Girl Band covering Blawan's tune of 2012, 'Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?' and it rules in excelsis." Luke Turner
Gazelle Twin - 'Changelings (John Foxx & The Maths remix)'
"Benge relocates the ghostly, yearning vocal from Gazelle Twin's song 'Changelings' into an endless alien landscape, [with] Foxx forever lurking in the long shadows of the red dwarf sun." Ben Graham
Fat White Family - 'Cream of the Young'
"Fat White Family, are sick. I don't mean this like, they're well sick la, like some scouse teenager would have said eight years ago. I mean, they're seriously not well. I've never seen a more unhealthy looking band in my life, and I saw Poison Idea back in the day. Yellow skin, yellow eyes, even yellower teeth... the ones that aren't missing, that is; rotten dangling tallywhackers like the last five chickens in Tesco; greasy piss mop hair; outfits designed out of bin liners from outside Mencap. They're the sort of band you'd wish would move into the house next door to Bobby Gillespie to hold five day mephedrone jams. They sound like early Liars, smacky Butthole Surfers, slow and steamy Birthday Party, The Happy Flowers, Bongwater and The Cramps. No good will come of it, mark my words, but above and beyond all of this it should be said that they're also slightly brilliant." John Doran
Powell - 'Rider'
"'Rider' is the highlight of Powell's fantastic recent 12" of undead funk, released through the Death Of Rave label: a cavernous, kickdrum-led shuffle buoyed by pulsating low-end and static that percolates like bubbles through sparkling liquid. Forced almost cartoonishly into the foreground, a voice declares puckishly that "I walk with a zombie!" As single line statements of intent go, it's hard to imagine one more fitting." Rory Gibb
Dawn Richard - '86'
"Founded on the synth pads and snare raps of the titular decade, the first single from Dawn Richard's masterful GoldenHeart is placed towards the end of the record. Having been preceded by tracks filled with fantastical imagery and proggy musical tangents, when the track's comparatively straight-ahead R&B flares up, it sounds crystalline and resolute. Best of all, it feels like the slow, syncopated beat never fully breaks out, leaving the whole thing lingering on the edge of finality, fitting for a song that concerns itself with the difficulty of breaking with the past." Laurie Tuffrey
Inga Copeland - 'Speak'
"The duo sometimes-or-formerly-known-as Hype Williams just keep getting better and better, repeatedly stomping from a great height on the naysayers who had them pegged as some sarcastic in-joke, with no substance behind the Pokemon samples, ecstasy jokes and Autotuned baby squeals. 'Speak' rules: taken from Inga Copeland's upcoming new solo 12" (whose other two tracks are equally great, it was bloody hard to choose one), it's a teasingly short two-and-a-half minutes of eccentric, psychedelic disco-dance-pop brilliance." Rory Gibb
Gnod - 'Genocider'
"Witnessing a Gnod show is a transcendental barrage of volcanic psychedelia; the gig equivalent to having your amygdala replaced with a palantir and letting Sauron's will smash your future and your past together with hellish zeal. Gnod will make you dance like St Vitus. They are that fucking good." John Freeman
British Sea Power - 'Machineries of Joy'
"'Machineries Of Joy' comes roaring over the brow of a hill, all cosmic and glowing and warm, great eddies of strings, immense pace and peculiar lyrics of "hobbyists of deranged proportion" and "a vision of extraordinary contortion". A magnificent opening to the forthcoming LP of the same name - one of BSP's finest to date." Luke Turner
Pusha T - 'Millions (feat Rick Ross)'
"An early entry on the excellent start-of-year mixtape Wrath Of Caine, 'Millions' comes on with a torrent of blunt-force sonics: a piledriver kickdrum and a furious synth-brass hook power away underneath the "millions, millions" chorus loop. When Pusha steps forward the result is totally compelling, a revelation he points to himself in the closing volley "this that shit that y'all wanted". (Plus, it's always nice to hear that Rick Ross reserves a place for sartorial pointers - "soft loafer preferred" - in the middle of all this seismic bombast.)" Laurie Tuffrey
Primal Scream - '2013 (Andrew Weatherall Remix)'
"As all well know, the first time Andrew Weatherall came to mass attention was via his work with Screamadelica-era Primal Scream, and now he's back with Bobby G and co for this cosmic reworking of new track '2013', from their album More Light out on May 13 on 1st International, with some fine fine saxophone and a typically "is the sun coming up or have the poppers just made my eyes go weird?" groove. Killer stuff." Luke Turner
Steve Mason, Emilíana Torrini & Toy - 'I Go Out'
"A psyched-out motorik behemoth. Building first on Mason and Torrini's traded verses, all the time gilded by Toy in backing band mode, unfurling swathes of strings and a reined-in storm of feedback. We reach halfway point - the swoosh that marks where the sides split - before it returns, torrential, the colossal wall of noise toppling forwards, colliding with the relentless rhythm of the bass and drums." Laurie Tuffrey
The Knife - 'Full Of Fire'
"The Knife certainly know how to make an entrance. After a seven-odd year wait since last album Silent Shout, they turn up with a 9-minute long, battery acid-splattered banger - some unholy cocktail of post-punk, industrial, techno, coldwave and god knows what else - with Karin Dreijer Andersson's vocals spat out with such venomous force that it's a wonder flecks of saliva don't spray from the speaker cones." Rory Gibb
Hey Colossus - 'Hot Grave'
"We can't remember the 16-legged, Löwenbräu-marinated, cataclysmic sonic bastards Hey Colossus not being part of the UK's throbbing noise rock scene, but as enjoyable as their chaotic live shows have always been, their studio output has really stepped up a few notches recently. Standing somewhere between the Butthole Surfers, Amon Düül II and Loop, they are the esoterrorist sound your record collection is crying out for." John Doran
Uncle Acid - 'Poison Apple'
"It's such a colossal relief to be able to report that 18 months of insane hype hasn't dampened down any of Uncle Acid's evil, tuneful, hypnotic fervour and that this most Satanic, lysergic and mysterious of Cambridge's dark hearted sons, is still sounding like John Lennon channelling Charles Manson fronting Pentagram." John Doran
Neon Neon - 'Mid Century Modern Nightmare'
"Sounding as esoteric as you'd imagine a concept album based on the life of 20th century Italian left-wing publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli involving Gruff Rhys would do — it opens with actress Asia Argento shouting down a megaphone and closes with the clicks and beeps of a telegraph key — it's also a nigh-on flawless piece of synthpop in miniature. In less than two minutes, keyboard flourishes have spiralled up from the gloriously mechanical beat and we get a chorus that's brilliantly upbeat and at total odds with the lyric "it's a mid century modern nightmare, sucking up you and me"." Laurie Tuffrey
Dinos Chapman - 'So It Goes'
Stream and review pending
Heterotic featuring Gravenhurst - 'Blue Lights'
"The Heterotic project grew out of Rix-Martin's first forays into producing electronic music while studying equine science at university, which developed into something more serious as her songwriting skills progressed. (She took on the role of producer to that of her husband's engineer.) Eventually, as they started writing songs together, it ended up being more of a creative partnership, drawing together elements of synth pop, classic house and early 90s R&B, bound together by Paradinas' skill for deep, modern production work and Rix-Martin's melodic sensibility." John Doran