This week: primordial doom, acidic euphoria and community

By in Features





Essential weekend listening.

This week’s rundown is by VF’s Kelly Doherty and Becky Rogers, alongside contributors Annabelle Van Dort, Emily Hill and James Hammond.

Anna B Savage


(City Slang)


Anna B Savage finds comfort in uncertainty with her second album in/FLUX. Self-described as an “​​exploration of recovery and the journey of therapy”, in/FLUX’s disposition flexes to fit the temperament of each track–taking the listener along in Savage’s journey. From acoustic fragility in “I Can Hear The Birds Now” to erratically layered sonic battles in “Say My Name”, it’s well-crafted throughout. Savage isn’t afraid to divulge her vulnerabilities here, and with a perpetual sense of hope running throughout, invites us to follow her lead.–BR

Library L’Amour

Premier Caprice



Nosedrip’s curatorial prowess has long been visible in his work as a long-standing NTS radio DJ and his visionary approach to the iconic label Stroom. Montreal’s Library L’Amour and their new release Premiere Caprice is a welcome addition to the cherry-picked catalogue. Sultry and hypnotic, it invokes warm vintage energy with a gravitational pull. This EP is a priceless example of new-age dream pop at its very best, with hooks that will be stuck in your head for weeks.–EH


Release Spirit



Canadian producer Khotin returns to Ghostly International for Release Spirit, a dreamy, playful release that is heaving with charm. Despite its washed-out ambient stylings, Release Spirit demands your attention through keen attention to detail and a strong sense of narrative world-building. Whether it’s acidic euphoria (“Fountain, Growth”), video game progression (“Computer Break (Late Mix)”) or industrial distortion (“Techno Creep”), Release Spirit is always changing direction whilst consistent in its ethos. An album that seems modest at first glance yet contains entire universes within.–KD

Rubinho e Mauro Assumpção

Perfeitamente, Justamente Quando Cheguei

(Mr Bongo)


The ever-consistent Mr Bongo add to their expansive Brazilian back-catalogue with their reissue of Rubinho E Mauro Assumpção’s Perfeitamente, Justamente Quando Cheguei.  Rubinho and Mauro Assumpção’s blissful blend of samba, folk, MPB and psyched-out riffs makes this record a vastly varied listen, full of unexpected genre shifts throughout. A true rarity, the release of this much-sought-after classic will be welcomed by Brazilian music aficionados everywhere.–AVD


Our Likeness



Phew’s free-roaming voice and experimental ethos are in full bloom on 1992’s Our Likeness. Running the gamut of vocal expression with a group of musicians who can readily traverse such territories, this one goes from a whisper to a scream without losing its way and presents a set of songs that hold an uncanny balance between form and volatility. Head to the skulking low-down groove in “Depth of the Forehead” or the spontaneous flip-switch heaviness of the title track for a dose of what this one’s all about.–JH

Jon Hassell

The Living City



Playing amidst the palm trees of the Winter Garden in New York’s World Financial Centre in 1989, this archival gem from Jon Hassell gives an inspired airing to the ideas and sounds of his 1990 LP, City: Works of Fiction. With Brian Eno’s “Stockhausen-like-graph” of rainforest field recordings playing out as installation during the day, Hassell’s “City” group took over for the evening performance with Eno behind the mixing desk. Performed by a tightly knit group of musicians who were fresh out of the studio, this entanglement of musical imagination and diverse sound stands as a highlight of Hassell’s live work.–JH

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

Land Of Sleeper

(Rocket Recordings)


Pigs x7 have had a dark awakening on their fourth album Land Of Sleeper. Weighted down with sludging doom, the Newcastle rockers have accepted the woes of life in 2022 and taken it out on their amps. Sabbathian doom-blues string-shrieks withstand full-frontal drum attacks, while vocalist Matt Baty’s rallying cries drive the noise-metal fury forward. It’s not all brash recklessness–moments of solitude are welcomed, albeit sporadically in the form of a trad-folk-leaning duet (“Ball Lightning”) and unsettling choral chants (“The Weatherman”). Once a band of drawn-out stoner-metal jams, the band’s embracement of primordial quickfire dread with Land Of Sleeper is a natural progression.–BR


La Croix des Cros

(Bamboo Show)


French producer Jonquera returns with his second album La Croix des Cros for the Lyon-based imprint Bamboo Shows. Half of the esteemed Pilotwings outfit, this album traverses a mythological language of French folk-tales around the fantastical inner demons of a countryside dweller. It blends ethereal vocal samples, which have been contorted and carefully reworked over a year, with each mistake welcomed. La Croix des Cros calls upon a host of influences and genres from cosmic space rock to a Twin Peaks-esque eeriness, telling the lamentable tale of a wistful cowboy.–EH

Various Artists

Transmissions From Total Refreshment Centre

(Blue Note)


Total Refreshment Centre, a music venue and recording studio founded by Lex Blondel, is the type of place that serves as the beating heart of a music community and this compilation from Blue Note attempts to capture the variety and strength within the scene around it. Transmissions From Total Refreshment Centre has a little bit of something for everyone; the opening track “Visions” sees 2/3 of The Comet Is Coming teaming up with rapper Kieron Boothe for a lilting collaboration that would unite both the musos and contemporary popular music fans. Whilst it would be easy for a compilation like this to feel disjointed, the selections are shrewd, maximising its appeal for an audience far beyond those involved in the London jazz scene. A musical variety show with a welcoming atmosphere.–KD

Pedro Ricardo

Sopem Bons Ventos



Pedro Ricardo’s impressive debut stands as a paean to his diverse influences—from the folk traditions of his homeland Portugal to the danceable rhythms of Cape Verde and Brazil. Ricardo bridges these varied reference points with a distinct flair, utilising electronic experimentation and field recordings with idiosyncratic vision and execution. Full of luscious textures and expansive soundscapes, this debut on Soundway marks an exciting chapter for the Portuguese multi-instrumentalist, producer and DJ.–AVD