• Our 10 favourite mixes of 2017

    By | December 20, 2017

    The live sets, radio shows, and tune fiestas that moved our feet.

    Whether you are an espresso’d early bird having it large on a Monday morning soul tip, or a nocturnal rave crab who canes it all weekend long, 2017 offered something for everyone.

    As such, our favourite mixes this year appeared in shapes and sizes as varied as the sounds contained within: online radio stations, YouTube algorithmic suggests, and even via good old-fashioned, real life dance floors.

    Featuring everything from arabic funk to shaolin jazz to cosmic electronics, the unifying theme amongst this diverse group of mixes is that they each brought new and exciting takes on sounds both familiar and unknown.

    You may have also noticed that we’ve changed the emphasis of our lists this year, away from the tired, arbitrary and frankly over-used ‘best’, to the more openly subjective ‘favourite’. We believe this more accurately reflects the fact that these rundowns are essentially recommendations of what we’ve enjoyed most this year, as selected by VF’s editorial team, Gabriela Helfet and Anton Spice.

    What were your favourites this year? Let us know in the comments below.

    See the rest of our 2017 review:

    Our 50 favourite albums of 2017
    Our 20 favourite 12″s of 2017
    Our 10 favourite 7″s of 2017
    Our 12 favourite reissue singles of 2017
    Our 30 favourite reissues of 2017
    Our 12 favourite soundtracks of 2017
    Our 12 favourite record sleeves of 2017

    Magical Mystery Mix
    ’70’s Japanese Jazz Mix


    Downtempo French radio show Magical Mystery Mix kicked off its second year with the launch of the new Beats From Japan series. Though they released numerous noteworthy sets (including hip-hop meets Fantastic Planet) the ’70s Japanese Jazz Mix came out tops. Criss-crossing through lesser known jams alongside those made more familiar via hip-hop samples, it’s an hour-long journey through a decade of Nippon funkiness in 1967 through 1976. – GH

    Charlie Bones
    The Do!! You!!! Breakfast Show, 13th July 2017


    Audio sherpa Charlie Bones singlehandedly eased us from every morning doldrum this year thanks to his weekday Do!! You!! Breakfast Show. Though a rotation of memorable guests ranging from Alice Coltrane’s Devotional Singers to Theo Parrish rolled through, his solo days were amongst our favourites. Sometimes this meant turning to the chat room for jokes and inspiration – as seen in his Do!! You!!! jukebox and readers .wavs shows – sometimes this meant letting his selects do all the talking. This particular 13th July 2017 instalment showcases Bones’ ability to traverse everyone from Bill Evans Trio to Fatima Yamaha to Elliott Smith with pizazz and sass that is distinctly his own. – GH

    Truancy Volume 193


    Joe re-emerged in late 2017 to release a wide and wobbly new 12” channeling George Duke’s Brazilian boogie on big-time banger ‘Tail Lift’. Alongside the release he also turned out a similarly sideways mix for the ever consistent Truants, moving seamlessly between sunset boogie, machine funk, and raking bass music. Tearing up the rulebook at every turn, this one goes every which way but never lets the intensity drop. – AS

    Avalon Emerson
    Live at Hydra 4th March: Printworks, London


    The opening of new venue Printworks was one of the most exciting things to happen to London’s club scene in years. Promoter The Hydra hosted a series of Printworks’ best parties – that rare combination of a great line-up with an all-around lovely crowd – kicking off with its first event in March. Though much has been said of Printworks’ main room, with its emotionally impressive lighting rig (yes, really), the standout set of the year came in the altogether unremarkable, standard black rectangle of room two courtesy of Avalon Emerson. Throwing in everything from Magnetic Fields to Objekt to Aaliyah, in two hours Emerson transformed the half empty space into a packed dance floor sweatbox of the highest order. – GH

    Habibi Funk
    Habibi Funk 007


    “Just 2 days ago I was sitting in a cafe during my recent trip for Lebanon and Egypt when Donald Trump announced his ban of Muslim people visiting the USA marking another climax of xenophobia, anti-Muslim and anti-Arabic narrative,” writes Jannis Stürtz beneath the seventh instalment of his his Habibi Funk mix series. The fruits of a life spent digging for rare records in the Arab peninsula, Stürtz’s mixes have become the touchstone for golden era funk and soul from the region, and recently spawned a seventh compilation which is also well worth checking out. As Stürtz continues, aside from the incredible wealth of musical influences on show here, the timing of this one felt particular poignant: “I’m aware that in times of these music is just a tiny piece of the puzzle to tell a different story but given that this is what I’m working with I felt it was the right time to drop another mix of music from Arabic tapes, vinyl and master tapes. Music that is very different to what a lot of people might expect…” – AS

    A Crushing Glow Mix


    Jazz, soul and ambient electronics filtered through the astral plane, Drumtalk’s A Crushing Glow mix was premiered on VF to support the release of ‘Out of the Blackness, Into the Blue’ 12”, one of our favourite record sleeves of 2017. Spanning the spaceways between spiritual jazz heavyweights like Pharoah Sanders and Alice Coltrane, the organic modular electronics of Kaitlyn Aurela Smith and the motoric kosmische music of Cluster, let this one clear your spirit and soundtrack your quiet winter nights. – AS

    Peggy Gou
    Beats in Space Radio Show #880


    As ever, in its 18th year Tim Sweeney’s weekly Beats in Space show continued to host a formidable selection of DJs. Highlights included Powder (who we discovered via BiS), Hunee, Denis Sulta and Cooper Saver. Peggy Gou’s episode, however, was our firm number one. Serving up a soulful blend of older house tracks alongside her own productions, edits and new jams, the guest spot shows off why Gou has rightly became one of the most in-demand DJs on the planet. – GH

    Helena Hauff
    Live at Dekmantel Festival 2017


    Dekmantel rang in its 10th anniversary by delivering an abundance of mix riches – via podcasts and radio shows as well as uploads of live sets from its festivals – while also saving us from extreme fomo in the process. In this throw-down recorded at its August festival in Amsterdam, Helena Hauff takes you on a razor sharp, hour-long technotronic ride. Consider it an instant-dose of audio heat fit for any season. – GH

    Operator Radio: 22nd April 2017

    Prolific maestro selector Ge-ology dropped mighty sets all over the world in 2017, including Dekmtanel’s podcast, its festival, Do!! You!!! and Beats in Space which also appear on this list. Delving into his deep record bag with trademark skilful finesse, Ge-ology’s rapid-fire 61 minute set for Rotterdam’s Operator Radio was the most thrilling. The finest hour of boogie, funk and soul you’ll hear this year, from one of the most technically impressive DJs around. – GH

    Lakuti & Tama Sumo
    Discwoman 25

    NYC’s Discwoman collective continued its ascendancy in 2017, giving women and LGBT artists a much needed platform in the dance community. In the 25th edition of Discwoman’s mix series, Uzuri Records founder Lakuti and Berghain/Panorama Bar resident Tama Sumo are at the helm for the duo’s first ever online b2b mix. Seamlessly weaving through genres including spiritual jazz, gospel, house, and techno with a mix that’s as close to seeing their uplifting live sets as you can get in 2D. – GH

  • Our 20 favourite 12″s of 2017

    By | December 5, 2017

    From essential track IDs to crafted EPs.

    Having picked out our favourite 7″s and 10″s, we turn our attention to the 12″ in the second of our retrosepctive rundowns of the last twelve months.

    And just as 7″s no longer represent the year’s biggest chart hits, so has it been some time since 12″s were exclusively the domain of the dance floor.

    From the simple 2-track club banger to EPs that border on mini-albums, we’ve demanded that each 12″ offers something more than just an aggregation of the year’s best tracks.

    Some though, like Objekt, Denis Sulta and Bufiman do represent the year’s most urgent dance music, or in the case of Bicep, Four Tet and Nathan Fake distil new albums in more forms.

    This year, the 12″ has also been the friend of the UK’s burgeoning grassroots jazz movement, capturing the nascent scene as it grows and evolves, whether on Joe Armon-Jones & Maxwell Owin’s Idiom, Moses Boyd’s Absolute Zero or the improvised voyages of A.R.E. Project.

    And finally, the 12″ was also home to several beautifully crafted EPs, cementing concepts and musical ideas – from Fatima al Qadiri’s provocative sexual politics to LAPS’ DIY dancehall – that circumvent generic boundaries for something true to the musical diversity of 2017.

    You may have also noticed that we’ve changed the emphasis of our lists this year away from the tired, arbitrary and frankly over-used ‘best’, to the more openly subjective ‘favourite’. We believe this more accurately reflects the fact that these rundowns are essentially recommendations of what we’ve enjoyed most this year, as selected by our weekly contributors Patrick Ryder, James Hammond and Chris Summers, alongside VF’s editorial team, Gabriela Helfet and Anton Spice.

    What were your favourites this year? Let us know in the comments below.

    See the rest of our 2017 review:

    Our 50 favourite albums of 2017
    Our 10 favourite 7″s of 2017
    Our 12 favourite reissue singles of 2017
    Our 30 favourite reissues of 2017
    Our 12 favourite soundtracks of 2017
    Our 12 favourite record sleeves of 2017

    20. Bicep

    Glue EP

    (Ninja Tune)

    Listen / Buy

    Bicep may have dropped their long-awaited debut album, taking first place as the most track ID-requested producers of the year by a country mile in the process, but the audio pinnacle from this Belfast duo actually came in the form of their final release of 2017. The Glue EP delivered one of the LP’s finest cuts on the A-Side, plus fresh tracks which included the delightfully acid-tinged ‘DLR’ on the reverse. – GH

    19. Dazion

    Don’t Get Me Wrong

    (Second Circle)

    Listen / Buy

    This curveball dropped right at the start of 2017 and hasn’t left the record bag since. Lead track ‘Be A Man’ sashays across the dance floor with jasmin-infused disco pizzazz, lush synths and a belly-dance bassline underpinned by sharp-as-brass percussive shuffle. Things take a step down to Room 2 on ‘Rigola’, the groove staying in the pocket, with vibraphones to the fore. A triumph for the Music From Memory off-shoot that was heard far and wide this year. – AS

    18. Carla Dal Forno

    The Garden

    (Blackest Ever Black)

    Listen / Buy

    A VF favourite coming off the strength of last year’s debut full length You Know What Its Like and its accompanying singles, this year gave us four new cuts from Carla Dal Forno which made for more essential listening. An artist who sets out an alluring sound world of mysterious and uneasy pop music, The Garden carried on where her debut left off in its sparingly affective structures and ability to craft distinctive vocal hooks that work their way in with repeated listens. – JH

    17. Denis Sulta

    Nein Forteate EP

    (Sulta Selects)

    Listen / Buy

    Glasgow homebro Denis Sulta launched his own label with two choice EPs this year, the highlight of which was its inaugural release, Nein Forteate, featuring ‘Dubelle Oh XX (JVIP)’. The kind of synthy club anthem that Sulta is rightly becoming known for, its greatness lies about 3 and a half minutes in, when the track, seemingly at its peak, suddenly cuts out… Is it a mistake, a DJ faux pas, a power problemo? Nah. It’s Sulta bringing in a silky smooth “ohhhh yeah” vocal, before dropping the ole hook in back again to maximum effect. – GH

    16. Beatrice Dillon & Call Super

    ‘Inkjet / Fluo’

    (Hessle Audio)

    Listen / Buy

    One of our favourite collaborations of the year also appears on one of our favourite labels in sweet symbiosis, as Beatrice Dillon unites with Call Super for this Hessle Audio affair. As with many of the 12”s gracing this year’s list, the A-Side ‘Inkjet’ is a legit slice of aqua electronics, but it’s the flip – ‘Fluo’ – that we’ve been rinsing since it dropped. A soundtrack for the robot takeover to come, with Blade Runner-esque dial tones making way for exquisite saxxy breakdowns midway through. Proof, if ever you needed it, that no B-side should be left unturned. – GH

    15. Avalon Emerson

    Whities 013


    Listen / Buy

    Avalon Emerson returns to Whities for the follow-up to her Narcissus in Retrograde EP – one of our favourite 12”s of 2016 – on a different, but no less excellent, tip. With this catchy double-dose, she continues her well deserved ascent as one of the most exciting producers around: ‘One More Fluorescent Rush’ serves glitchy, spaced out feels, before ‘Finally Some Common Ground’ takes off on a Soichi Terada-esque, one-way trip to the intergalactic mothership. – GH

    14. Four Tet

    ‘SW9 9SL / Planet’

    (Text Records)

    Listen / Buy

    Aside from a couple of split 12”s last year, 2017 marked something of a return to the prolific output we’ve come to expect from Kieran Hebden, releasing a handful of 12”s, a load of material via multiple Spotify aliases, some brilliant remixes, the year’s most ID’d edit ‘Question’, and a new full-length infamously made using just a laptop and a view over some unspectacular woodland. Thankfully, the album’s two stand-out tracks were also collected on this limited 12”. Propulsive, melodic dance music for the headphones or the dance floor, ‘Planet’ is Four Tet’s finest since There Is Love In You. – AS

    13. Craven Faults

    Netherfield Works

    (Lowfold Works)

    Listen / Buy

    Elusive, evasive, but delivered with unerring authority, Craven Faults is one of this year’s wildcards. Arriving on a mysterious label with a soaring two-track EP of airborne krautrock, Netherfield Works pays its dues to ’70s Düsseldorf and the San Francisco Tape Music Centre and casts them to the English winds, forging two sprawling tracks from within a nest of patch cables in an old Yorkshire textile mill. A modular synth record that, like recent works by Kaityln Aurelia Smith seems to shed its machined origins to become something altogether more organic, Netherfield Works overflows across two sixteen minute tracks that will appeal to fans of Cluster, Steve Reich and the like. – AS

    12. Fatima Al Quadiri



    Listen / Buy

    Few EPs set out to challenge norms and hegemonies like Fatima Al Qadiri’s Shaneera, which riffs on the English mispronunciation of the Arabic word for “outrageous, nefarious, hideous, major and foul.” Reconstructing snippets of Grindr chats, online drag and femme comedy skits, and Iraqi proverbs into a hybrid vernacular built from Kuwaiti and Egyptian Arabic, Shaneera is an intoxicating listen – all menacing dubbed-out electronic arrangements – and a self-confessed “love letter to evil and benevolent queens around the world.” – AS

    11. Bufiman

    ‘Peace Moves’


    Listen / Buy

    Dekmantel celebrated a decade as a champion of left-field, dance floor meditations by delivering its strongest year yet, hosting an annual sell-out festival in Holland, a smaller soiree in Croatia, and releasing some of the label’s finest music along the way, including Dekmantel 10 Years 04 EP and Juju & Jordash’s Sis-Boom-Bah LP. However, it was Bufiman aka Wolf Muhler’s Peace Moves EP that best represented the weird af and wonderfully off-kilter sonics which have come to define the Dutch imprint. A seemingly bizarre combination of growling vocals and cranky, bent out of shape jack-in-the-box effects that sounds so wrong it’s right. – GH

    10. Moses Boyd

    Absolute Zero

    (The Vinyl Factory / Exodus)

    Listen / Buy

    Drummer and producer Moses Boyd exploded into the wider musical consciousness with ‘Rye Lane Shuffle’ in 2016, and this EP, co-released between VF and his own Exodus imprint, was his much-anticipated follow up. Ditching the horn stabs for shimmering krauty synths, Absolute Zero was born out of Boyd’s solo live shows but has since been reintegrated into the Exodus band with which he has sold out the likes of Corsica Studios and Jazz Café this year. Underpinned by his live-wire drum sound, this EP swells with a restless ease, referencing influences as broad as grime, ambient and hip-hop, rooting this new jazz mode in an urban context. One of the year’s breakthrough artists, expect to hear much more of Moses in the coming months. As objective as we can possibly be, the soft-touch laminate artwork by Optigram may also make this one of our favourite sleeves of the year. – AS

    9. Agnes Obel

    ‘Stretch Your Eyes (Quiet Village Remix)’

    (Phonica Special Editions)

    Listen / Buy

    You don’t need us to tell you how great it is to share a building with a record shop, let alone one as consistently on point as Phonica. So when manager Simon Rigg called us into his office one afternoon last summer with news of an extra special 12” on one of the shop’s in-house imprints we knew it was going to be good. Here Quiet Village pull apart Danish singer Agnes Obel’s ‘Stretch Your Eyes’ into a dark and dubby chorale, backed by an eerie a cappella imbued with the same haunting longevity of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrops’. – AS

    8. SW. / SVN

    ‘Sued 18’


    Listen / Buy

    Who needs things like track names when the music can do the talking? Not SW. that’s who. The producer follows up a close-to-perfect 2016 LP (appropriately called The Album) to team up with SUED co-founder SVN. SUED 18 kicks off with Pepe Bradock-esque house heaviness on the A-Side, plus a knockout, subdued techno ride on the reverse. – GH

    7. Floating Points

    ‘Ratio (Deconstructed Mixes)’

    (Pluto Records)

    Listen / Buy

    Though Floating Points debuted versions of the slow-rolling, emotional synth-filled ‘Ratio’ via live shows and DJ sets last year, it finally saw a long-awaited official release this October. Well worth the wait, ‘Ratio’ is a shimmering number that harkens back to Floating Points’ supreme ‘Myrtle Avenue’ and ‘ARP3’ fare. And though it may seem like a mere sales gimmick to release the track in ‘deconstructed’ parts, as he did on the B-side, it’s not. If you caught his live set this year, this seemingly fractured 12″ actually makes perfect sense because no live version of ‘Ratio’ was identical. An exciting hint that the best of his new material is yet come. – GH

    6. Joe Armon-Jones & Maxwell Owin


    (YAM Records)

    Listen / Buy

    A record that captures the jazz routes and roots coursing through London at the moment, tying together the convergent legacies of broken beat, house, 2-step and fusion that having been coalescing south of the river for some time. Aside from being assembled from a quintet of fiercely accomplished musicians (Armon-Jones & Owin are joined here by Nubya Garcia, Oscar Jerome and Jake Long), Idiom is a refreshingly playful record that never takes itself too seriously. With discrete improvisations woven into the fabric of each track, Idiom is greater than the sum of its parts, and a testament to the community that has helped elevate it. – AS

    5. Nathan Fake

    Providence Reworks – Part I

    (Ninja Tune)

    Listen / Buy

    A primer on how a track, in this case Nathan Fake’s ‘DEGREELESSNESSS’ from his Providence LP, can be turned into (two times the) greatness, thanks to formidable edits. A-Side sees Overmono assuming the rework duties to craft one of the anthems of 2017’s festival season, teasing out the most euphoric moments of ‘DEGREELESSNESS’ across seven and half minutes. Meanwhile, a no less worthy of rotation revamp from Huerco S brings a psychedelic, Middle Eastern-hued séance to send you into a zen-filled trance. – GH

    4. LAPS

    Who Me?


    Listen / Buy

    LAPS are Ladies As Pimps, the Glasgow duo and Golden Teacher affiliates forging an industrial dancehall sound that’s unlike anything else we heard this year. If there’s one big hit here it would be title track ‘Who Me?’, which finds a sweet spot between the sensual, the confrontational and the surreal we had no idea existed. It’s a trick ‘Edges’ manages too, before rounding off the EP with the fragmented “pyjama house” of ‘Lady Bug’. A charismatic record that pulls no punches, and a fine first foray into new music for 2017 label newcomer MIC. – AS

    3. Objekt

    Objekt #4


    Listen / Buy

    If in January someone had told us one of the biggest tracks of the year would be a slowed-down two-step garage beat-meets-techno superjam, we would have been rather confused about what the year held in store. But so it was. TJ Hertz’s first release since 2014, a 12” on the club-focused white label series under his Objekt alias, stormed dance floors far and wide thanks to its unexpected B-Side. ‘Theme From Q’ is the kind of track that works in sets of all shapes, speeds and sizes, because it’s just that great. – GH

    2. Hieroglyphic Being, Sarathy Korwar & Shabaka Hutchings

    A.R.E. Project EP


    Listen / Buy

    Arguably one of the UK’s most prolific and inspiringly creative musicians, Shabaka Hutchings leant his saxophone touch to a number of contenders for our favourite releases of the year, including the Comet Is Coming’s psychedelic jazz 12” Death To The Planet 12”. That said, A.R.E. Project, a unique and forward-thinking, improvised collaboration between Hutchings, Hieroglyphic Being and Sarathy Korwar was the obvious choice. Captured during a completely live, two hour performance aboard a studio moored inside a ship along the Thames, the EP sees cosmic sax merging with Indonesian folk music and space-age electronics for a truly one-of-a-kind result. – GH

    1. Sudan Archives

    Sudan Archives

    (Stones Throw)

    Listen / Buy

    One of this year’s most enchanting debuts came from violinist, producer and vocalist Sudan Archives, whose self-titled EP on Stones Throw takes the award for our favourite 12” of 2017. Channelling the bedroom RnB production that sustained her early forays into music into an outward-looking hybrid sound, Archives draws as much on North African melodies and instrumentation as Stones Throw’s storied left-field hip-hop tradition.

    A self-taught violinist, she weaves finger picking rhythms into the fabric of her productions, and uses its sawing melancholy to lend a gorgeous nostalgia to each song. And while ‘Come Meh Way’ might be the track you’ll have heard most, ‘Oatmeal’ and ‘Goldencity’ exude the same singular clarity, marking out a route between the percussive, earthy RnB of opening track ‘Paid’ and the syncopated folk musings of final track ‘Wake up’. A modest record, both utterly new yet uncannily familiar, we revisited this EP time and again this year, and can’t wait to hear what comes next. – AS

    Illustration by Patch D Keyes.

  • The 10 best new vinyl releases this week (30th October)

    By | October 30, 2017

    Including John Frusciante’s ’94 debut, a new Jane Weaver EP, dreamy Nippon fashion show instrumentals and more.

    Winter is upon us, with shorter days, longer nights, and more time to cuddle up to your warm and toasty records.

    In singles, Jane Weaver follows-up her Modern Kosmology full-length with rhythmic heavy hitters, Avalon Emerson is back with an intergalactic double-dose, and Al Zanders delivers euphoric house on Phonica’s main label.

    On the albums front, John Frusciante’s solo LP comes to vinyl for the first time, Metro Area’s dance floor education returns and 1980s Japanese synth from maestro Jun Fukamachi receives a long-overdue release.

    Scroll down for our definitive across-the-board rundown of the week’s new vinyl releases as selected by The Vinyl Factory’s Chris Summers, Patrick Ryder and James Hammond with help from Norman Records. 5 singles and 5 LPs every 7 days that are unmissable additions to any collection.


    Jane Weaver

    The Architect


    Listen / Buy

    Hot on the heels of this year’s Modern Kosmology LP, the ever-adventurous Jane Weaver has a new 12” that takes inspiration from the spiritually charged paintings of Hilma af Klint. Some incessant synth and rhythm work is given room to breathe on this one, with Weaver’s distinct vocals and sense of melody wrapping around its kosmiche pulse.

    Jorge C

    Sueño Viejo

    (Dopeness Galore)

    Listen / Buy

    After a decade of under the radar excellence, Chilean producer Jorge Cortés is ready to rock the boat and/or spot with a superb addition to the Dopeness Galore catalogue. Taking cues from fellow countryman Ricardo, as well as the Detroit school of dance floor minimalism, Jorge lets loose with seven loose, limber and lopsided house cuts perfect for the peak hours of your set. Disjointed disco loops trip around filtered keys, distorted kicks rumble under spangled melodies and drunken rhythms stumble through the strobes, pointing the way to higher club consciousness.

    Cigarettes After Sex


    (Spanish Prayers)

    Listen / Buy

    If Cigarettes After Sex had a decent name they’d be as good as Low. Still this is another superb example of their post Mazzy Star dreamy stuff. Features REO Speedwagon cover. What else do you want?

    Al Zanders

    There Is Rhythm

    (Phonica Records)

    Listen / Buy

    London producer Al Zanders (aka disco edits whizz Lodger) delivers a double A-side of anthemic house for Phonica’s latest 12″. ‘There Is Rhythm’ is a tropical cowbell and piano number that will make you forget it’s sweater weather. On the flip, ‘Song About A Dream’ tugs on the ethereal dance floor heart strings, with an Amnesiac sample paving the way for euphoric choir loops.

    Avalon Emerson

    Whities 013


    Listen / Buy

    Avalon Emerson returns to Whities for the first time since her 2016 Narcissus in Retrograde EP on a different, but no less excellent, tip. ‘One More Fluorescent Rush’ serves you with glitchy spaced out feels, before ‘Finally Some Common Ground’ takes off on a Soichi Terada-esque, one-way trip to the intergalactic mothership.


    John Frusciante

    Niandra Lades And Usually Just A T-shirt

    (Superior Viaduct)

    Listen / Buy

    Originally released on CD and cassette as John Frusciante’s debut solo album in 1994, Superior Viaduct deliver a much hankered after vinyl edition of this overlooked masterpiece of raw expression and song form at the thresholds. Recorded on a Tascam 4 track and never originally intended for commercial release, Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-shirt is an intimate and uncannily atmospheric work of fractured beauty that stands a world away from his work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the time. There’s a very limited deluxe edition of this one out there too which disappeared within hours, and seemingly to more than a few profiteers looking at the crazy prices its going for on Ebay.

    Metro Area

    Metro Area


    Listen / Buy

    Messers Geist and Jesrani make the old feel happy, the youngish feel old, and the fresh faced feel wholly uneducated, with their lavish fifteen year celebration of quite possibly the finest album in house history. Originally dropping in 2002, off the back of a quartet of club ready singles, Metro Area’s self titled LP saw the NY/NJ duo paying reverential tribute to disco, boogie and proto-house that ruled the ‘80s dance floor. Meticulous rhythm programming, infectious grooves and the warmest production you’re ever likely to hear set the duo apart from their contemporaries, and resulted in a record everyone should own.

    Jun Fukamachi

    Nicole (86 Spring And Summer Collection – Instrumental Images)

    (WRWTFWW Records)

    Listen / Buy

    A beautiful, synth-filled “image album” from Japanese composer Jun Fukamachi, created for Nicole’s 1986 fashion show, and given away exclusively to attendees of the event. Written, recorded and composed entirely by Fukamachi, the LP’s eight, percussion-led, ethereal and shimmering tracks finally get a long-overdue release.

    Daniele Lupi and Parquet Courts


    (Monitor Pop, Inc.)

    Listen / Buy

    Luppi’s follow up to his concept album about Rome is a concept album about Milan but weirdly enough it could also be a tribute to some of the great bands that have come out of NYC. Featuring Karen O and the Courts’ Andrew Savage the songs tell tales of the misfits of that great Italian city but they come on sounding like Television, Talking Heads and James Chance as well as later Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and the Courts themselves. A killer pop record on Dangermouse’s label.

    Julien Baker

    Turn Out The Lights


    Listen / Buy

    A stern and in depth look into faith and romance with this Memphis songwriter who uses her second record to explore big and emotional textures creating a haunting album of sad tones. Dare we say Coldplay? I think we dare.

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