Lemuria – The Distance Is So Big (2013) {Bridge Nine Records B9R190}

Lemuria - The Distance Is So Big (2013) {Bridge Nine Records B9R190}

Lemuria – The Distance Is So Big (2013) {Bridge Nine Records B9R190}
EAC rip (secure mode) | FLAC (tracks)+CUE+LOG -> 270 Mb | MP3 @320 -> 91 Mb
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© 2013 Bridge Nine Records | B9R190
Rock / Indie Rock / Indie Pop / Pop Punk

Lemuria might not sound like they are from Buffalo, NY, but the band was proudly birthed there, following the legacy of an oddly eclectic, if not eccentric, music scene. When you loosen your ears to the sugary indie-pop, you’ll discover discordant notes, odd time signatures, and brutal riffs creating menacing yet catchy music.

Their most mature and best effort to date, The Distance Is So Big was recorded at the Magpie Cage with J Robbins (Against Me!, Jawbreaker, The Promise Ring) earlier this year.

Lemuria – The Distance Is So Big (2013) {Bridge Nine Records B9R190}

Billy Bragg – Mr. Love & Justice (2008) {2CD Cooking Vinyl COOKCD452X}

Billy Bragg - Mr. Love & Justice (2008) {2CD Cooking Vinyl COOKCD452X}

Billy Bragg – Mr. Love & Justice (2008) {2CD Cooking Vinyl COOKCD452X}
EAC rip (secure mode) | FLAC (tracks)+CUE+LOG -> 430 Mb | MP3 @320 -> 181 Mb
Full Artwork @ 300 dpi (png) -> 28 Mb | 5% repair rar
© 2008 Billy Bragg / Cooking Vinyl | COOKCD452X
Rock / Alternative Folk / Folk / Folk Rock / Singer/Songwriter

It’s both significant and troubling that Billy Bragg’s best albums since releasing Talking with the Taxman About Poetry in 1986 were the two Mermaid Avenue volumes, in which Bragg set Woody Guthrie’s unpublished lyrics to new music with Wilco serving as his collaborators and backing band, suggesting that this former one-man band suddenly needed plenty of help to communicate with his audience. Bragg sounded confident and all but unbeatable on his first few albums in the ’80s, but political and creative uncertainty have dominated much of his work since then. Which is why Mr. Love & Justice is a pleasant and encouraging surprise – while hardly perfect, it’s easily Bragg’s best and most consistent solo effort since Don’t Try This at Home, and finds him coming to terms with maturity and the changing face of the world, two bugaboos that have been dogging his muse for some time.

Billy Bragg – Mr. Love & Justice (2008) {2CD Cooking Vinyl COOKCD452X}
Morrissey - Bona Drag (1990) (2010 20th Anniversary Edition Holland Press)

Morrissey – Bona Drag (1990) (2010 20th Anniversary Edition Holland Press)
XLD rip (secure mode) | FLAC (tracks)+CUE+LOG -> 492 Mb | MP3 @320 -> 160 Mb | Artwork | 5% repair rar
© 1990, 2010 Major Minor / EMI | CDSMLP 70
Rock / Indie / Alternative

Digitally remastered and expanded 20th Anniversary edition of the former Smiths vocalist’s 1990 album. Bona Drag brings together his first seven singles including ‘Suede head’; ‘Everyday Is Like Sunday’; ‘Interesting Drug’, ‘The Last of the Famous International Playboys’, ‘Ouija Board, Ouija Board’, ‘November Spawned a Monster’ and ‘Piccadilly Palare’ alongside a selection of high quality b-sides from all the singles. With Morrissey’s full involvement, the original album has been remastered and expanded with six previously unreleased tracks. Directing the artwork for the reissue, Morrissey has chosen to return the cover art to it’s natural color and to update the back and inner artwork with a selection of favorite, hand-picked and rarely-seen photos.

As he was toiling on Kill Uncle, Morrissey released Bona Drag, a compilation of singles and B-sides, including “Everyday Is Like Sunday” and “Suedehead” from Viva Hate. While the record conveniently overlooks some rarities, the selections on Bona Drag are uniformly first-rate and many of the songs – “Picadilly Palare,” “Interesting Drug,” “November Spawned a Monster,” “The Last of the Famous International Playboys,” “Lucky Lisp,” “Disappointed,” “He Knows I’d Love to See Him,” and “Ouija Board, Ouija Board” – are Morrissey classics, arguably making Bona Drag a more consistent and entertaining record than Viva Hate.

Morrissey - Bona Drag (1990) (2010 20th Anniversary Edition Holland Press)

01 – Piccadilly Palare
02 – Interesting Drug
03 – November Spawned A Monster
04 – Will Never Marry
05 – Such A Little Thing Makes Such A Big Difference
06 – The Last Of The Famous International Playboys
07 – Ouija Board Ouija Board
08 – Hairdresser On Fire
09 – Everyday Is Like Sunday
10 – He Knows I’d Love To See Him
11 – Yes I Am Blind
12 – Lucky Lisp
13 – Suedehead
14 – Disappointed
15 – Happy Lovers At Last United
16 – Lifeguard On Duty
17 – Please Help The Cause Against Loneliness (Demo Version)
18 – Oh Phoney
19 – The Bed Took Fire
20 – Let The Right One Slip In (Long Mix)

Morrissey - Bona Drag (1990) (2010 20th Anniversary Edition Holland Press)
Morrissey - Bona Drag (1990) (2010 20th Anniversary Edition Holland Press)

Imandra Lake – Seesamseesam (2010) {Seksound SEKS030}

Imandra Lake - Seesamseesam (2010) {Seksound SEKS030}

Imandra Lake – Seesamseesam (2010) {Seksound SEKS030}
EAC rip (secure mode) | FLAC (tracks)+CUE+LOG -> 337 Mb | MP3 @320 -> 111 Mb
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© 2010 Seksound | SEKS030
Folk / Alternative / Doom Folk / Sadcore / Shoegaze / Slowcore / Indie / Estonia

It’s little surprise that the debut album from Imandra Lake sounds rather like the band that spawned it – both Rein Fuks and Eve Komp are longtime members of Pia Fraus, and the same sense of sweetly tuneful shoegaze (as opposed to full sonic violence) carries over to Seesamseesam. With its linguistic focus fully on the performers’ native Estonian, there’s a slight statement of purpose at work, but given the sonic style’s emphasis on music and harmonies over lyrical straightforwardness it’s more of a sidestep – and above all else, it still sounds lovely.

The opening “Öö Laul” may begin with what sounds like autoharp or ukulele but within a few seconds it’s all rich woozy feedback and often enveloping half-sighed singing, so if it’s business as usual in ways it’s still thoroughly enjoyable. From there the bandmembers make their way across 11 songs all told, steering clear of overt electronic/dance fusions in favor of rock arrangements and playing everything themselves. There are all sorts of now classic tropes at work – not for nothing does “Ilus Aeg” start off with a slightly slower version of the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” drums as swathed with the Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Just Like Honey” echo, followed later in the song by none-more-Kevin Shields guitar tones – but if the reference points are clear, the resultant efforts still sound good (the song in question has a stately roll to it, emphasized by a deep-as-hell bassline). There’s also a regular emphasis on acoustic instrumentation, as can be heard on the heavily drone-touched “Ole Mu Laev.” Above all their singing, constantly harmonized throughout, has its own take on dream pop’s possibilities, a little more clear, airy, and – perhaps strange to say – restrained than many of its contemporaries.

Rein Fuks – Drums / Bass / Guitar / Metallophone / Synth / Percussion / Trumpet / Flute / Ukulele / Vocals
Eve Komp – Synth / Piano / Metallophone / Clarinet / Vocals
Margus Voolpriit – Drums

01 – Oo Laul
02 – Liugle Liugle
03 – Ilus Aeg
04 – Majades
05 – Vajun
06 – Ole Mu Laev
07 – Kulm
08 – Puhangus
09 – Seesam
10 – Rabajarv
11 – Igane

Imandra Lake - Seesamseesam (2010) {Seksound SEKS030}
Imandra Lake - Seesamseesam (2010) {Seksound SEKS030}
Imandra Lake – Seesamseesam (2010) {Seksound SEKS030}
John Harle & Marc Almond - The Tyburn Tree (Dark London) (2013) {Sospiro Noir SOSTT100114}

John Harle & Marc Almond – The Tyburn Tree (Dark London) (2013) {Sospiro Noir SOSTT100114}
EAC rip (secure mode) | FLAC (tracks)+CUE+LOG -> 321 Mb | MP3 @320 -> 127 Mb
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© 2013 Sospiro Noir | SOSTT100114
Adult Alternative Pop / Neo-Opera / Jazz / Cabaret / Contemporary Classical / Eectronic Dance / Ambient Music

John Harle’s epic CV includes soundtracks, classical works and drama, all of which feed into the saxophonist’s ambitious song cycle about “dark London”. Its tales of the Limehouse Ripper, Spring Heeled Jack and the Highgate Vampire are centred a few centuries back, with words from William Blake and John Dee, though most of the lyrics are by Marc Almond, along with Tom Pickard and Iain Sinclair. There are splashes of cabaret and jazz, but the echoing, crepuscular atmosphere is dominated by Almond’s impressive neo-operatic singing (some distance from electro-pop!), with a thumping, galloping finale that uses an extract from Blake’s “prophetic book” Jerusalem. Dark but dashing.

London and its darkest stories are the theme for The Tyburn Tree, the new collaboration between composer/saxophonist John Harle and singer Marc Almond.

The Tyburn Tree is an epic song cycle that shines a lantern into the terrifying corners of London’s history. The infamous Tyburn gallows at Marble Arch, where convicts were hung in public, providing a gory spectacle for the masses; the dark labyrinths and alleyways frequented by Jack the Ripper, Spring Heeled Jack and other murderous legends. Followed by the plight of ordinary people in William Blake’s poignant visions and the trapped spirits behind the origins of nursery rhyme London Bridge is Falling Down… all provide compelling material for this new collection of songs.

Marc Almond is our ringmaster-style tour guide through these tales from the shadows. In turn darkly humorous and heroic, Almond’s unique voice combined with Harle’s pulsating score promises an overwhelming experience.

Almond is also the primary lyricist, bringing his own take on the dark London theme, creating lyrics that have both historical relevance and an ear-catching quirkiness. Alongside this, John Harle, whose canon of work to date includes his O Mistress Mine for Elvis Costello and the theme to BBC1’s Silent Witness, has written new music that proves once again that he is at the very height of his powers. For The Tyburn Tree, he draws on contemporary classical, electronic dance and ambient music to match Almond’s lyrics with punchy, bitter-sweet songs full of emotion, driving rhythms and black humour to create a cult masterpiece.