Mostly Records, January 2013

By Jim Eaton-Terry

In retrospect maybe Tuesday wasn’t the best day for Dido to announce her comeback

Obviously there’s only one story this week.  Like everyone (OK, like everyone over about 35 with an interest in pop music) I woke up on Tuesday to find my Twitter feed melting with the news that Bowie had reappeared with a new single, something I’d given up on years ago.  In the time since it seems that pretty much every music writer worth reading has held forth on the subject[1] so I’m not sure there’s much to add.  The single is lovely, the video deeply peculiar, the cover is awful, and I’ve already ordered the album.

MostlyRecords has been away for a while, and there’s rarely much released in December (even for you I’m not listening to the Danny and Sandy Christmas Album), so this is a roundup of what I’ve been enjoying lately

Mogwai – A Wrenched Virile Lore

This selection of remixes from Mogwai’s 2011 album by people ranging from Zomby to Xander Harris is an absolute treat; as with all the best remix albums it mostly ditches the originals, and the outcome ranges from mimal techno (above) to thunderous electro.  It’s a truly lovely record

Darren Hayman – The Violence

My biggest discovery of the past few months has been Darren Hayman.  I entirely missed Hefner, assuming, I think, that they were another lumpen indie act, but I stumbled across The Violence in  December and have also gone back to investigate his previous 2012 album, Lido (which is also well worth a listen).

The Violence is a concept album, based around the 17th Century Essex witch trials and combines incredibly visceral and  moving lyrics against a multi-instrumental folk backdrop and instantly memorable tunes.  I can’t remember the last song using the creak of a gallows as percussion to be as catchy as Parliament Joan.

Belbury Poly – the Belbury Tales

I’ve always been in two minds about Ghost Box Records.  I hugely admire their consistent vision of a lost analogue Britain, all episodes of The Changes and test cards, but until this year their records have left me oddly cold.  The Belbury Tales, though, is an incredible jump forward, keeping the signature haunted nostalgia but adding a pop sensibility.  The Green Grass Grows could easily be the theme music to Candle Cove

The North Sea Scrolls

Another concept album from british indie survivors  (and, bizarrely, former Melody Maker journalist Andrew Mueller) The North Sea Scrolls is pretty much indescribable.  The songs alternate between Luke Haines and Cathal Coughlan, interspersed with readings, to create an alternate buried historyof the UK, from Broadmoor to Van Der Graaf Generator.  Gomezturn up, of course, and the devil.  It’s a completely baffling listen.  Listen to it.

[1] actually Simon Reynolds has been oddly silent, but then I don’t think he’s ever written much on Bowie

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