• Judging A Cover By Its Cover: April’s best record sleeves

    By | April 13, 2018

    Welcome to Judging A Cover By Its Cover, a sideways glance at the month’s most striking vinyl visuals.

    Each month we will be hailing the joys of music packaging as we celebrate innovative and awe-inspiring sleeve design. Walking with you will be designer and author John Foster as he discusses imagery, typography, layout and finishing techniques of the finest artistic talents in the music industry. Occasional forays into classic albums and general pop culture nonsense come at no additional charge. Now, get those eyeballs at the ready as we cue up the opening number…

    Cecil Taylor
    (Blue Note)

    Cover Design: Reid Miles / Photography: Francis Wolff

    Starting things off on a sombre note, April brought with it the passing of free jazz legend Cecil Taylor. Taylor left behind a mountain of wonderfully challenging music, and I have to admit that I loved seeing all of the amazing stories from other musicians who had played with him this week. I could actually hear the crazy sounds Taylor would make offstage before joining the improv fray as I read each loving recollection.

    Deep in his discography are two of the definitive record sleeves from the beloved Blue Note label. While some might lean towards the often imitated cover for Unit Structures, I will always favour Conquistador. Expertly laid out, as always, by the one and only Reid Miles, the cover features some really delightfully subtle type moves. More than that, it has one of my favourite Francis Wolff photographs, which is really saying something.

    Both Wolff and Miles would experiment occasionally with exposure times in challenging settings, often adding motion or mystery to their portraits. In this instance, Wolff literally captured a dynamic and kinetic personality via this technique. Taylor vibrates with creative cool, as Miles provides a crop that seals the deal. Now, he will always look like that to me. The jam band upstairs just got a whole lot crazier.

    Moon Duo
    Jukebox Babe/No Fun
    (Sacred Bones)

    Cover Design: Gabriel Alcala

    I have always been a huge admirer of Moon Duo, and my devotion to Suicide and Alan Vega is at the fanatical stage. So when you pair a cover of ‘Jukebox Babe’ with a take on The Stooges’ classic ‘No Fun’, and have it all produced by Sonic Boom, well, you had me hooked at “Moon Duo”. When you wrap it all up in a wonderfully illustrated sleeve by Gabriel Alcala, and even throw in a poster, you know what everyone is getting for a birthday present this year!

    Alcala always has a playful quality to his work, and his colour palette often reflects that, as is the case here, particularly with the neon pink and cyan working off one another. Simple line work only serves to make the final image even more sophisticated, and his leather-clad rats, cruising for a variety of trouble, feel right at home against the brick wall and era-specific pay phone.

    Alcala comes by his rock and roll bona fides legitimately as a member of Jacuzzi Boys, and he elevates his design chops via the wonderful handmade typography on display here. Clearly referencing both ’50s neon signage and graffiti spray paint in different areas, he still manages to employ a truly distinct personality to both. The overall effect is totally rock and roll, but also fun and in keeping with the disco psych that the listener finds within.

    Goat Girl
    (Rough Trade)

    Cover Design: Philip Laslett / Illustration: Miguel Casarrubios

    One of my favorite aspects of the massive Goat Girl promo push has been their eschewing of easy options when it comes to visuals. Everywhere one would expect a moody portrait of the young band, they are instead met with raw paintings. Those paintings are the work of artist Miguel Casarrubios, who works quickly in acrylic to capture oddly playful scenes from his imagination. They come across as something akin to studies for a Chagall painting, with their bold color and manipulation of scale and form.

    There is also a sense of poetry about them that is at the heart of their appeal. As Beggars Art Director Philip Laslett explains, “Miguel is a good friend of the band and an amazing artist, and the band were very keen to use his work from the start.” Building up a visual system as Laslett “used his paintings for a couple of their 7”s, which allowed Casarrubios’ imagery to really give us a strong aesthetic to work with,” they then added in a fanzine with the debut LP. “For the fanzine, the band wanted to make it more personal, so the illustrations and paintings were made by Ellie and Rosy from the group and the lyrics were written by the rest of the band,” Laslett adds. The end result is a buzz band with a visual base upon which to build a long and lasting career – with the group already clearly wise beyond their years.

    Unknown Mortal Orchestra
    Sex & Food

    Cover Design: Miles Johnson / Photography: Neil Krug

    Unknown Mortal Orchestra have been hit or miss throughout the years, but Ruban Nielson and his assembled crew always give full effort, and when they hit, they hit hard. For the new offering of Sex & Food, the band went to the man you go to these days if you want to capture your indie rock muse in a slightly weird and mildly sexy pose – photographer Neil Krug. Perhaps best linked with his striking portraits of Lana Del Rey, Krug has delivered images for everyone from The Weeknd to Tame Impala to Boards of Canada, which, thinking of those three, makes him a surprisingly obvious candidate for UMO.

    Had he done a typical band photo though, it is unlikely that I would be talking about his work right now. Instead, the cover is intriguingly complex for what amounts to a pretty simple set up. The image is not entirely sexy, or futuristic, or feminine, or provocative, or disquieting, but somehow caught in the middle of all of those feelings, like a quirky hint towards an uneasy experience. Upon close inspection it looks like a fencing outfit and some baggy shiny pants, but the pastel colour saturation, odd cropping and disguised features – right down to the lack of descriptive body form – all make it so much more.

    The real star is the single pink hand on the belly though, as it seems to emerge from an entirely different image altogether, yet is immediately essential to everything happening here before us. It really takes this to another level. Secretly’s Miles Johnson handles the layout and wisely lets Krug’s photo do all of the heavy lifting.

    The Voice of Q
    (Isle Of Jura)

    Cover Design: Bradley Pinkerton

    The underground disco classic ‘The Voice of Q’ has been floating around for years as a pretty bad bootleg, and even worse, it had a terrible clunky ’80s record cover. Isle Of Jura have finally cleaned up the recording and issued a proper release for this looping and lovable piece of space funk. Their passion for the record extends to a new sleeve designed by Melbourne-based Bradley Pinkerton, who emerged on the design scene in a big way over the last year with his simple mix of shapes and textures over scanned images for music and surf clients. I had been watching his work waiting for that next step, where he would discard the found images and really make something bracingly original. I didn’t have to wait long. What he has created here for ‘The Voice of Q’ belongs in the family of the wonderfully simple art from Gina Franklyn for ESG or Richard McGuire for Liquid Liquid, but with a spacey twist. I love it.

    John Foster is the author of Album Art: New Music Graphics (Thames & Hudson), New Masters of Poster Design (Rockport) and numerous other books. As principal of his design firm Bad People Good Things he has designed hundreds of record sleeves for everyone from Teenbeat to Warner Bros.

  • The 10 best vinyl releases this week (14th August)

    By | August 14, 2017

    Steve Reich’s percussive minimalism, ’80s NYC reggae disco and French broken beat.

    This week’s offerings begin with a pair of killer 12″ reissues on Dark Entries and Jamwax / Emotional Rescue, sweepingly epic conscious soul on BBE and shamanic techno from Edinburgh.

    In the album’s section, the trip continues with Oneohtrix Point Never scoring Good Time, Parisian Neue Grafik crossing jazz and house tracks between Paris and London and a reissue of Steve Reich’s seminal minimalist ritual Drumming.

    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.


    Hi & Saberhagen

    Acid Finger

    (Lo Recordings)

    Listen / Buy

    After a slew of impressive releases for the likes of Huntleys & Palmers, Proibito and Belters, Edinburgh’s foremost dance floor mystics bring their mind expanding house stylings to Lo Recordings. Gurgling with psychedelic nuance and futuristic sound design, ‘Acid Finger’ sees the mysterious duo explore wintery synth tones, shamanic rhythm and fractal techno across five dynamic tracks. Though it packs more emotional impact than your average Eastenders wedding, the set shuns cliché completely, adopting the best bits of minimal techno and twisting them into a glorious new vision.

    Savage Hymn

    La Vida Sigue Igual

    (Dark Entries)

    Listen / Buy

    Whilst building up an array of Italo disco 12”s and reissues of sorely under-heard works from the likes of Severed Heads, Dark Entries records have never been ones to neglect propulsive contemporary cuts in the process, and remain an ever-reliable source for synth driven electronica both past and present. This latest offering from Savage Hymn is a fresh cut that dips into ’80s industrial, and varying strands of Detroit and Chicago techno with particular attention to all things percussive. Made for the floor and it looks great in its screen-printed sleeve.

    Glen Adams

    A Beat For You


    Listen / Buy

    Jamwax and Emotional Rescue kick off a series of three reissues from Capo Disco’s Jamaica-meets-NYC vaults. Founded by the multi-talented Upsetter Glen Adams, Capo released a string of dubbed-out boogie bolts in the early ’80s, encouraging NYC’s nascent reggae disco sound while playing a part in hip-hop’s early knockings too. ‘A Beat For You’ is a shimmering low-slung groove and one last effort to reignite love’s dwindling flame. Full of hope and melancholy, just the way we like it.

    The James L’Estraunge Orchestra

    Closer / Groovin’ You


    Listen / Buy

    Unashamedly epic stuff from “the band that never was” aka The James L’Estraunge Orchestra, who drop a limited 200-edition run 12″ ahead of their forthcoming BBE album. While the lyrics are a little naff, ‘Closer’ is nothing if not ambitious, the huge orchestral sound, gospel vocals and sweeping arrangements bowling headfirst at your heart strings. The instrumental on the flip is similarly bombastic, throwing in a little shuffling broken beat for good measure. Fans of Quincy Jones or Gregory Porter take note.

    The Honey Hahs


    (Rough Trade)

    Listen / Buy

    They might be about six years old but they are already infected with the sort of sad that makes grown people weep. We have to admit it, this puts our pre-teen musical endeavours to shame.



    Bene’s World

    (Leaving Records)

    Listen / Buy

    LA native Nicky Benedek returns to Leaving Records after an excellent EP last year, keeping things way cool with this sleazy collection of sun blushed strollers and West Coast rollers. As with previous offerings on PPU and Superior Elevation, Benedek continues to reimagine the stoned drum machines and languid basslines of boogie and proto-house, though this time around the arrangements are tighter, rhythms tougher and hooks way more infectious. Whether he’s bringing those bubbling basslines and steam kettle synthlines to your BBQ, beach party or basement, Bene’s always on point – soak up some sunshine folks!

    Oneohtrix Point Never

    Good Time OST


    Listen / Buy

    Winner of this years Cannes Soundtrack Award, Oneohtrix Point Never’s fourth effort for the big screen is a vivid distillation of Daniel Lopatin’s sound spectrum, perfectly complementing the Safdie brothers’ crime thriller, and holding up as a most assured and exhilarating listening experience when divorced from the film’s imagery. Channeling the atmospherics and synth arpeggiations of Lopatin’s seminal early releases, there’s some masterful production work in this midst of this one that sets it apart, and indeed makes some past glories from this project sound positively 2D in comparison.

    Neue Grafik

    Soul Conspiracy


    Listen / Buy

    Lots to get into from the 22a camp in the last few weeks with new records for Jean Bassa and a superb collaboration between Tenderlonious and Dennis Ayler. But we’ve plumped with the debut from Parisian producer Neue Grafik, exploring the outer reaches of broken beat and percussive house music on Soul Conspiracy with a fluidity familiar to fellow-countryman St Germain. Fans of Harvey Sutherland and Wayne Snow will find plenty here.

    Steve Reich



    Listen / Buy

    Widely recognised as one of the foundational stepping-stones between minimal composition and electronic dance music, Drumming draws on Ghanaian drum rituals and Balinese gamelan ceremonies to create a tapestry of interlocking percussive suites that are as visceral as they are cerebral. This version, recorded for Elektra / Nonesuch in 1987 has been reissued for the first time in 30 years and is an unequivocal must-have for any collection.

    Jen Cloher

    Jen Cloher

    (Marathon Artists)

    Listen / Buy

    Slow and sinewy indie rock from a member of the same Melbourne scene which spawned Courtney Barnett. This is lovely ’90s style indie rock thats sits somewhere between Yo La Tengo, Pavement and Patti Smith.

  • Rise Music to re-open as new Rough Trade record shop in Bristol

    By | August 7, 2017

    The much-loved Bristol institution is changing.

    Rise Music is set to close, joining forces with Rough Trade to open a large new record shop with the London-based chain.

    Read next: Bristol’s 8 best record shops

    Posting a message on its Facebook page over the weekend, Rise said it will shut its doors at the end of the summer, before re-opening as a new Rough Trade, set to include a café, bar and performance space.

    Rise will continue to operate the Worcester branch under its own name, while Rough Trade Bristol will join London shops, Nottingham and New York as part of the growing RT family.

    As fans voiced concerns and muted congratulations on social media, Rise turned to Bon Jovi to help allay their fears: “It’s all the same, only the names will change.”

    No date for the change has been announced.

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

    By | July 10, 2017

    Soulful dancehall, Belgian boogie and psych pop.

    This week’s record bag is bursting with more rays than a Sunny D, with new albums for Broken Social Scene Rough Trade’s This Is The Kit, keeping good company alongside reissues for Yoko Ono and Belgian boogie maestro Alec Mansion, who can’t stop writing songs about swimming under the flight path in the French Riviera.

    In the singles bank, DJs looking for new gear need look no further than the latest Brasserie Edits from Berceuse Heroique and Alexx A-Game’s soulful dancehall vocal ‘Braver’, which would doubtless be the jam of the summer if it wasn’t limited to just 200 copies.

    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.



    The Brasserie Heroique Edits Part 4

    (Berceuse Heroique)

    Listen / Buy

    The latest instalment of the buy-on-sight ‘Brasserie Heroique’ series hits stores this week, finally providing a vinyl home for a quartet of long lost edits from Holland’s Loud-E. Previously available on a 2008 CDr, these cosmic killers have spent the last decade filling floors for the upper echelon of the DJ community, arriving on wax road tested and ready to rock the spot. Flitting between the spangled stomp of ‘2004 Time Machined’, saturated Afro-funk of ‘Bill’s Boa’, chewed up chug of ‘Prox’ and slo-mo slew of ‘Granada Nights’, this four tracker fries circuitry and oozes groove in equal measure, harnessing the power cosmic to turn the party upside down.

    Kiss the Floor / Karl and the Kurbcrawlers

    This Desire/ Same Day

    (Death & Leisure)

    Listen / Buy

    Though you might not know it from the pseudonyms above this is a double a-side collaborative release from Veronicka Vasicka and Karl O’Connor (Regis), a pair with discographies very much worth investigating for the unfamiliar, not only for solo output but also as respective heads of the excellent Minimal Wave and Downwards labels. Here as Kiss the Floor Vasicka and O’Connor deliver some downbeat allure whilst Karl and the Kurbcrawlers up the gear for some jittered, industrial crunch. This one flew out of the gates, so act fast on the remaining few copies if this is your bag.

    Sunset Dreams

    BBR 27

    (Box Bedroom rebels)

    Listen / Buy

    The latest on excellent 7″ imprint Box Bedroom Rebels is the first release by 17 year old whizzkid Dominik Stevenson who gives us 5 blasts of super enthusiastic Tame Impala psych pop. Lovingly rickety and worth watching.

    Labi Siffre / Banbarra

    ‘I Got It’ / ‘Shack Up’


    Listen / Buy

    Love it when one of these split 7’s turns up with two absolute burners on either side, slightly rejigged for maximum dancefloor presure. First up, Labi Siffre’s classic gets chopped a little and then on the flip, Banbarra’s guitar shredding gem gets turned inside out a little. Dre would be proud.

    Alexx A-Game

    Braver (Swing Ting Edits)

    (Swing Ting)

    Listen / Buy

    Lazy summer time vibes from UK duo Swing Ting, who coil Alexx A-Game dancehall vocals around silky smooth Rhodes keys for a stunning slice of soulful roots with a contemporary RnB edge. Just 200 copies out there so get in quick.


    Alec Mansion

    Alec Mansion

    (Be With Records)

    Listen / Buy

    After treating the jazz connoisseurs to an essential bit of Ahmed Jamal last time out, Be With turn their attention to the Belgian boogie scene with this lavish reissue of Alec Mansion’s self titled masterpiece. Originally released in 1983 and almost impossible to track down since about 1997, the LP sees Mansion serve his carefree pop vocals over a bed of moonlit melody, snapping percussion and slick bass. Boasting the production prowess of Placebo hero Marc Moulin and synth programming from Dan Lacksman of Telex, Alec Mansion sounds a million miles ahead of the lo-fi home releases clogging up the rare boogie scene at the moment.

    Yoko Ono


    (Secretly Canadian)

    Listen / Buy

    Two LPs of Yoko Ono at her most adventurous and unrestrained, this effort from 1971 pulled no punches and years down the line sounds all the better for it and certainly deserving of reappraisal away from all those tired Beatle-centric biases towards her work. Secretly Canadian and Chimera records are steadily going about reissuing Ono’s back catalogue on faithful vinyl editions, and kudos to all involved for this first time reissue of what is an oft overlooked and beguiling exploration of sound and certainly a jewel amongst Ono’s most radical works.

    This is the Kit

    Moonshine Freeze

    (Rough Trade)

    Listen / Buy

    Sorta folkie Kate Stables gets dues paid with her biggest and most ambitious record to date. Moonshine Freeze is a silvery tread through mysterious pop folk with hints of kraut and post rock and the sort of song poetry that once emerged out of the mouths of Fairport Convention.

    Broken Social Scene

    Hug of Thunder

    (City Slang)

    Listen / Buy

    Arcade Fire are not the only multi member all singing all dancing gang coming out of Canada you know. After seven years we get to welcome back the amazing Broken Social Scene with their huge new record Hug Of Thunder. Feist and Emily Haines are back in the fold this time and the album is a huge, rushing and rumbling set of anthemic tracks built for festival stages worldwide.

    Hector Plimmer


    (Albert’s Favourites)

    Listen / Buy

    It’s been a while coming but Hector Plimmer’s debut Sunshine has finally made it to wax. When he’s not gracing the pages of this very magazine with his graphic design talents, Plimmer can be found wrapping dusty breaks in otherworldly electronics, looping beat down instrumentals and subtly constructing field-recordings that could just as easily be emerging from the shimmering summer haze as from a smoked-out urban nightscape.

  • The 10 best vinyl releases this week (12th June)

    By | June 12, 2017

    Otherworldy musics from Heliocentrics, Can and Max Richter.

    What a week for albums. Pulling no punches we dive straight in with new releases for Soundway’s psych-funk travellers The Heliocentrics, Ostgut Ton’s Berlin techno heavyweight Nick Höppner and Cigarettes After Sex, while Max Richter and Can take care of the reissue business.

    Singles to look out for this week include a deep and meditative new 10″ from Sad City, interpretations of two Mica Levi originals and some filthy hardcore from Glasgow. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

    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.


    Oliver Coates/ Liza McCarthy

    Micachu- Peace and Drinking Through Harpo Dine


    Listen / Buy

    With this 7” on Foom we have two new Mica Levi pieces performed by key collaborators Oliver Coates and Liza McCarthy. Levi’s work with Coates is still fresh in our minds owing to last year’s excellent end-of-year-list featuring Remain Calm, and McCarthy’s piano work with Levi garnered an Oscar nomination for the Jackie OST. Coates’ strings take up the A side here and McCarthy’s piano the flipside, with both working beautifully subtle and unimposing atmospheres around the compositions. A concise and inspired collaboration, it’s well worth investigating along with the past works from all involved.


    The Human Parasite

    (Big Score)

    Listen / Buy

    Here’s the first ever release on new label Big Score and it comes from Bristol’s Lice, a band definitely on the way up. ‘The Human Parasite’ takes its wonky post punk swagger real well and comes on sounding like a cross between early Pere Ubu and The Fall. There’s not many new bands around as good as this.


    Live Recordings Restored By Zachte Man


    Listen / Buy

    Last time we stepped through the Periodica portal we took a texture mapped tour of the watery world of Riccardo Schiro, shaking a tailfin to the ocean floor funk sounds. PRD04 finds Piyojo soaring through the Stargate, exploring alien rainforests, cybernetic funk and Domenique Dumont style summer-dubbin’ without the faintest shred of sanity intact. Critics will say you can’t dance to it, truth is that they can’t dance to it. This is music for chance takers and backwards dancers of the world.

    Sad City


    (Emotional Response / Meda Fury)

    Listen / Buy

    Sad City’s Gary Caruth returns to his Shapes In Formation tapes to pick out three spaced-out meditations whose personalities were too strong for the original LP. Step up ‘Music Removed’, the EP’s slow-bubbling opener, a patchwork of revelatory incantations and gospel inflections that echo across a rainforest canopy, the 2-minute palette-cleanser ‘Patterns’ and the Laraaji-esque poly-rhythmic weave of ‘Vexillations’. That these could be considered ‘outtakes’ is a testament to the breadth and sophistication of Sad City’s recent work.


    Wild Life

    (La Vida Es Un Mus)

    Listen / Buy

    Horrible Glaswegians Anxiety are used to making a racket but this really ups the growl stakes with a filthy hardcore tour de force that sounds somewhere between My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Feed Me With Your Kiss’ and Jesus Lizard at their nastiest. Not for the faint hearted but feel those cobwebs being blown away.



    The Singles

    (Mute/ Spoon)

    Listen / Buy

    Navigating your way through Can’s recorded works crafts a veritably diverse mind map of genre splicing and twists and turns through downright funkiness, superlative kosmiche and exhilarating avant-rock abandon. This 3LP collection perhaps gives a more direct route into such a nebulous journey by bringing the German group’s singles together in one place – from familiar cuts such as ‘Vitamin C’ to under-heard blasts like ‘Vernal Equinox’ and an amusingly apt version of the ‘Can Can’. As the music and legacy of the group continues to bring new listeners into their wonderfully irregular orbit, this collection serves as a most worthy distillation of one of the most curious and influential discographies of the 20th century.

    Various Artists

    Behind the Counter With Max Richter

    (Rough Trade Shops)

    Listen / Buy

    This is first in a new series from those lovely folks at Rough Trade (the shops, not the label) and here, modern composer Max Richter gets to guess compile a fine selection of tunes that all sit perfectly together. Where else would you find Mogwai, Low and Aphex rubbing shoulders with Philip Glass, Bach and Henry Purcell in such harmony, each working together to make the whole something magical. Limited unmixed green vinyl. Mixed CD. Downloads galore.

    Nick Höppner


    (Ostgut Ton)

    Listen / Buy

    Though the faltering weather may suggest otherwise, it is in fact summer – the season of high grade house music. Right on cue, Nick Höppner steps into the spotlight with his sophomore LP Work, a nine track selection of extended studio workouts which take the German producer’s typically tracky constructions into more musical territories. From the airy electronica of opening cut ‘All By Themselves’ to the motorik sludge of ‘Three Is A Charm’ the LP trades in rich textures, varied motifs and dynamic rhythms whether the mood is gloomy (‘The Dark Segment’) or optimistic (‘Fly Your Colours’).

    The Heliocentrics

    A World Of Masks


    Listen / Buy

    Acolytes of Sun Ra in more than name alone, Malcolm Catto and The Heliocentrics return from far-flung excursions on collaborative albums with Mulatu Astatke, Lloyd Miller and Orlando Julius with a heavy psych-funk LP under their own name. As dedicated to the unpredictability of live recording as they are to the fuzz of analogue gear, the collective have crafted an album-length suite of perpetually expanding worlds, accessible only once you’ve downed their heady elixir of Eastern jazz, dream-like groove and gritty breaks. Look out for our film inside their bunker-like Quatermass Sound Lab studio soon.

    Cigarettes After Sex

    Cigarettes After Sex

    (Partisan Records)

    Listen / Buy

    Glacial and crystalline slow-core from these American dreamers. Perfectly formed slo-mo songs that recall Mazzy Star, Slowdive, Cowboy Junkies and Low. An album of carefully repeating tricks and an emotional heart.

  • Rough Trade shops launch new compilation series with Max Richter mix

    By | May 16, 2017

    Featuring Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and Mogwai.

    Record Trade’s record shops are launching a new compilation series called Behind The Counter, inviting artists to curate mixes of the music that has most influenced them sourced from records sold on the shop floor.

    For this first instalment, composer Max Richter has gathered music both familiar and found, spanning a vast array of influences from electronic producers like Aphex Twin and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, to bands like Mogwai and Boards Of Canada, alongside classic composers, whether Philip Glass, Rachmaninoff or Bach.

    “This is a compilation of music I love,” Richter says. “Some of my choices are things I’ve been listening to for decades, others are new discoveries, but feel like they belong here. I put a couple of things of mine in too – welcome to my world.”

    In what’s perhaps a nod the The Vinyl Factory’s short film series of the same name which has featured both Rough Trade East and West in the past, Behind The Counter hopes to introduce fans to the musical worlds of many more of their most prominent artists and advocates.

    Split across three LPs, the vinyl edition features an abridged, unmixed collection of the 36-track compilation, while download and CD versions carry the full work. There’s also a limited edition with a bonus 7″.

    Click here to pre-order your copy of the green vinyl from Rough Trade ahead of its release on 16th July.


    Side A

    1. The Unanswered Question
    Composed by Charles Ives
    Performed by New York Philharmonic Orchestra
    Conductor Leonard Bernstein

    2. Bach BWV 659 arr. Busoni Nun Komm den Heiden Heiland. Composed by JS Bach arr. Busoni
    Performed by Alfred Brendel, Piano

    3. Partita III. Courante
    Composed by Caroline Shaw
    Performed by Roomful of Teeth

    4. 3 Pieces for Cello and Piano_No. 1. Modere
    Composed by Nadia Boulanger
    Performed by Nicolas Alstaedt, cello and Jose Gallardo, piano

    Side B

    1. Ether
    Performed by Mogwai

    2. Arcadiana, Op.12 (1994)_VI. O Albion
    Composed by Thomas Adès

    3. Hoquetus David
    Composed by Guillaume de Machaut
    Musical Director: David Munrow

    4. Zoetrope
    Performed by Boards of Canada

    5. Starry Sky Cycle (1980-87) Ursa Minor [Peace]
    Composed by Urmas Sisask
    Performed by Lauri Väinmaa, Piano

    Side C

    1. Qui habitat (Psalm 90)
    Composed by Josquin des Prez
    Performed by Huelgas Ensemble and Paul Van Nevel

    2. Of Late
    Composed by Howard Skempton
    Performed by John Tilbury, Piano

    3. Bobbing Beams of Light
    Performed by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

    4. Dixit Dominus, HWV 232_ IX. Die Torrente in via bibet
    Composed by Handel
    Performed by English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot
    Gardiner & Monteverdi Choir

    5. Mercy
    Composed by Max Richter
    Performed by Hilary Hahn, Violin and Cory Smythe, Piano

    Side D

    1. Rejoice O Virgin
    Composed by Rachmaninoff
    Performed by Tenebrae

    2. Last Things Last
    Performed by Rachel’s

    3. Canticles of the Sky_Sky with Four Suns
    Composed by John Luther Adams
    Performed by the Northwestern University Cello Ensemble.

    4. Wasserklavier
    Composed by Luciano Berio
    Performed by David Arden, Piano

    5. Satyagraha: Evening Song
    Composed by Philip Glass
    Performed by New York City Opera Chorus and New York City Opera Orchestra

    6. Deep Six Textbook
    Performed by Let’s Eat Grandma

    Side E

    1. FANTASIA 7
    Composed by Henry Purcell
    Performed by Phantasm

    2. Preludes, Opus 11_XXI Andante – In B flat Major
    Composed by Scriabin
    Performed by Marta Deyanova, Piano

    3. What Part of Me
    Performed by Low

    4. Tenebrae_II
    Composed by Osvaldo Golijov
    Performed by Kronos Quartet

    Performed by Aphex Twin

    6. Immortal Bach
    Composed by Knut Nystedt
    Performed by Schola Cantorum
    Conductor: Kåre Hanken

    Side F

    1. Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls
    Performed by Godspeed You! Black Emperor

  • Elastica to reissue debut album on vinyl

    By | March 17, 2017

    Repackaged with a flexi disc and fanzine.

    ’90s Brit-pop band Elastica will reissue an expanded version of their eponymous debut LP on vinyl for Record Store Day 2017.

    A number one hit, Elastica became the fastest-selling debut since Oasis’ Definitely Maybe upon its release in 1995.

    The new edition via Rough Trade will be booted with a fanzine and a flexi disc featuring ‘In The City’ from their John Peel session. Find the album tracklist below.

    The news came after Elastica were photographed in the studio again after 20 years.

    “The band is shocked and totally overwhelmed at the outpouring of love that obviously still exists for Elastica after all these years,” said the band’s Justin Welch.

    “Unfortunately, there are no immediate plans for a reunion but we are really excited to announce that we are working with Rough Trade Records and the re release of the first album on vinyl to coincide with Record Store Day 2017.”


    01. Line Up
    02. Annie
    03. Connection
    04. Car song
    05. Smile
    06. Hold me Now
    07. Soft
    08. Indian Song
    09. Blue
    10. All – Nighter
    11. Waking Up
    12. 2:1
    13. Vaseline
    14. Never here
    15. Stutter
    16. In The City

  • ANOHNI to release new Paradise EP on 10″ vinyl

    By | January 26, 2017

    “Only an intervention by women around the world … could possibly alter our species’ desperate course.”

    ANOHNI is set to release new EP Paradise on 10″ vinyl as a companion piece to last year’s provocative LP Hopelessness.

    Rekindling that album’s collaborations with Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix Point Never, the EP contains six tracks of new material and songs that have appeared in recent live shows. The portraits used as visuals during these live shows now adorn the EP’s cover artwork.

    In line with the political, social and environmental themes of Hopelessness, ANOHNI also released a statement around the release which says Donald Trump’s new presidency shows that “the skills encouraged in men by their biologies and the tools that boys master in the playground have not equipped them to deal with the unprecedented global crisis we are now facing.”

    Released via Secretly Canadian and Rough Trade, you can pre-order Paradise on 10″ here ahead of its official 17th March street date. See the artwork, tracklist and statement in full below.



    01. In My Dreams
    02. Paradise
    03. Jesus Will Kill You
    04. Enemy
    05. Ricochet
    06. She Doesn’t Mourn Her Loss

    Her gentle touch
    My Father’s Hands
    Rest on my Throat

    “Our new leaders hope to crush our spirits and expedite ecocide in the name of virulent progress, consumerism and false security. Like Jihadis, many capitalists and Christians compulsively seek to facilitate a righteous “holy war”, or apocalypse.

    For millennia, Men have enslaved women and attempted to appropriate female creative power, re-casting themselves as gods and creators. This assault continues today in the forms of ruthless wealth and mineral extraction, genetic engineering, mass surveillance and war mongering.

    But as Donald Trump and his cabinet now demonstrate, the skills encouraged in men by their biologies and the tools that boys master in the playground have not equipped them to deal with the unprecedented global crisis we are now facing.

    Mothers, your sons are trapped in a nightmare; they are not capable of responsibly negotiating the destructive agency that they now wield.

    More profound even than a crime against humanity, fathers and sons now compulsively prepare to commit ecocide, in a final and irreversible assault upon creation itself.

    Only an intervention by women around the world, with their innate knowledge of interdependency, deep listening, empathy and self-sacrifice, could possibly alter our species’ desperate course.”

    – ANOHNI, January 2017

  • Rough Trade

    Rough Trade to open Paris store

    By | October 17, 2016

    The Rough Trade empire expands.

    Mathiau Pigasse, CEO of French bank Lazard, has announced that he is working with the long-standing British chain to bring a Rough Trade to Paris.

    The shop will be part of a major new development project, grouping cultural weekly magazine Les Inrockuptibles, radio station Radio Nova, online platform Vice, publishing house Editions Nova, along with a concert venue, a bar and restaurant, all under one roof.

    Though talks are in early stages, Pigasse plans to use the arrangement with Rough Trade to further invest in the music sector, Music Week reports.

    Speaking at a keynote in Paris, he said: “Since we already help expose new talent [via Les Inrockuptibles and Radio Nova] why not go further, and move into the space between retail [Rough Trade] and exposing talent by investing in the production and distribution of music.”

    The first Rough Trade shop was opened in 1976 by Geoff Travis in Notting Hill. The chain has previously had outlets in London’s Covent Garden, San Francisco, Tokyo and Paris but these outlets were eventually closed following the rise of music sales on the internet. Since 2007, Rough Trade has been expanding again with new shops fronts in East London, the Williamsburg neighbourhood of NYC, and the UK’s Nottingham.

    Read Next: The world’s best record shops – Rough Trade West, London

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

    By | October 10, 2016


    New vinyl releases from Rough Trade, 4AD, Ninja Tune, Soul Jazz.

    An album of the year contender arrives this week in the form of D. D Dumbo’s Utopia Defeated on 4AD. Other long form offerings include wintery folk from Itasca and sub-aquatic library-inspired electronics from The Mystic Jungle Tribe.

    In reissue-land, Soul Jazz captures the sound of forgotten New Orleans soulstress Betty Harris, whilst Bruce Haack’s pioneering The Electric Lucifer album is dug out from the archives. As for singles, Romare drops a new house heating 12″, Rough Trade shines the spotlight on London band Goat Girl and Vancouver-based store Pacific Rhythm releases its third electronic volume.

    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.



    Goat Girl

    Country Sleaze / Scum

    (Rough Trade)

    Listen / Buy

    Looks like Rough Trade have yet again found a band set to go the distance and this time they come from south London. Four young ladies make up Goat Girl and this is their debut release on limited 7″. They got that dark and fuzzy, moody grunge type sound sewn up but both tunes here sound so fresh and now it pulls them away from the pack easily.



    Who Loves You / Together

    (Ninja Tune)

    Listen / Buy

    For his first new material since the stellar Projections LP, Romare sticks with the sample heavy collage style which has served him well so far, plucking at vintage disco, gritty blues and dusty soul to turn out a pair of proper house heaters. A-side cut ‘Who Loves You’ shimmies out the system at a peak time pace, trading in diva vocals and jazz-funk strings as a low slung bassline unlocks our hips, while the hypnotic, super-loopy ‘Together’ just drives the dance floor on and on into infinity. A master-class in repetition and release, this bit of beatdown funk is a strong contender for club cut of the year.


    Chayell ‎

    It’s Never Too Hot

    (Isle Of Jura Records)

    Listen / Buy

    With winter coming, here’s your castaway ticket to a deserted Caribbean island. Released in 1987 on the now-defunct Antler Records, this balmy 12″ funnels sea breeze and tropical rumblings through the sort of slow, meandering new beat rhythms you can imagine Harvey getting down to.


    Rhythms of the Pacific

    Volume 3

    (Pacific Rhythm)

    Listen / Buy

    As with the first two volumes in the series the Vancouver based store and label’s sensibility for top-notch and propulsively heady electronica is conveniently sampled once again for us here. With the series aim being to shine a light on local producers, these editions have popped up as welcome signposts to the sounds brewing in and around Vancouver, and names worthy of further investigation. This time around it’s Slim Media Player, Electric Sound Broadcast and Khotin, who fit that bill and keep the ball rolling for a series and label that’s well worth your attention.


    Oh Well Goodbye


    (Bleeding Gold)

    Listen / Buy

    1980s-influenced mope rock is common place at the moment but Oh Well Goodbye could offer something different by meshing jittering post punk guitars with funky almost Mick Karn style bass runs. Still currently spindly, they are on their way to perhaps providing something new.



    D. D Dumbo

    Utopia Defeated


    Listen / Buy

    There’s been talk about how good this guy is for some time now and here’s the proof with huge bells on! It’s all the work of one Oliver Hugh Perry and is sure to be right up there in every top five of 2016 in a few months time. It’s psychedelic, it’s pop, it’s got huge tunes all over it and the whole thing rolls so sweetly you’ll fall in love with it at the first listen. Track down the limited colour vinyl and thank me later.



    Open to Chance

    (Paradise of Bachelors)

    Listen / Buy

    New York bred singer songwriter Kayla Cohen uses this unassuming moniker to make chilly wintery folk that wraps around you like a warm blanket. Her songs are best when they are stripped back to just intricately picked guitars and her swooning full bodies voice. Comparisons could be made to Laura Veirs or the sparser end of the Suzanne Vega oevre.


    Bruce Haack

    The Electric Lucifer

    (Telephone Explosion)

    Listen / Buy

    From channelling the natural conductivity of the body into sound via his “Dermatron” instrument, to a discography of adventurous sounds for children, and then this exposition of Lucifer’s fall from heaven and an electronic battle between good and evil, Bruce Haack certainly lived an intriguing if unsung career as a musical innovator. Originally released by Columbia records back in 1970, there’s a wealth of sonic imagination at play within this reissued LP of The Electric Lucifer and its head on collision of psychedelic rock and Haack’s singular electronic vocabulary. Certainly one for those with an ear for the lysergic or an interest in pioneering electronic sounds.


    The Mystic Jungle Tribe


    (Early Sounds)

    Listen / Buy

    Never ones to shy away from a concept, Italian trio The Mystic Jungle Tribe swap the craters and moon seas of ‘Solaria’ for the cool sophistication of Capri’s famed Grand Hotel Qvisisana, turning out a five track mini-LP of library inspired brilliance. Awash with bubbling sub-aquatic electronics and remarkably nonchalant funk, this debonair collection is the perfect soundtrack for sipping cocktails in the orange glow of a Mediterranean sunset. Delivered in a gorgeous sleeve indebted to the finest European library records, ‘Qvisisana’ is a treat for all the senses.


    Betty Harris

    The Lost Queen Of New Orleans Soul

    (Soul Jazz)

    Listen / Buy

    Under the guidance of musical legend Allen Toussiant, unsung soul queen Betty Harris released a string of incredible singles that have finally been collected on this new comp. Recorded between 1964 and 1969, and backed by seminal engine room The Meters, the singles capture Harris’ raw, soulful, uncompromising voice that reflected the city’s raucous music scene, spilling out of every joint on Bourbon Street.

  • 20 record labels to follow on Instagram

    By | September 30, 2016


    Having scoured the internet for the best record shops to follow on Instagram and scrolled ’til our fingers bled in search of the internet’s best ‘gramming collectors – we wouldn’t dare exclude one of our staples: record labels.

    Words: Michael Wilkin

    It’s pure gold to be able to get first-hand insight into the life and times of some of the world’s most forward-thinking and essential record labels, and it happens every day on Instagram.

    Following a label you love gives you a direct line to new music and new artists, often before the record is off the press.

    Of course, every label wants to push their own wares, but there’s much more to it than just that. Yes sir. Take Ninja Tune for example; beyond the standard release fare, there’s an array of punchy street photography, abstract art and general sensory goodness.

    Then there’s your Dekmantel style; tour heavy labels with an incredible wealth of live and behind the scenes snaps to devour. All invaluable when you want to keep tabs on your favourite DJs.

    Below we’ve complied a range of labels who absolutely kill it on Instagram, ranging from majors to garage dwelling labours of love.

    Think we’ve missed one? Let us know in the comments section or give us a shout on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

    Warp Records / @warprecords

    Mark Pritchard warming up for James Blake in Melbourne. : Kyleigh Pitcher

    A photo posted by Warp Records (@warprecords) on

    Ninja Tune / @ninjatunehq

    XL Recordings / @xlrecordings

    Brownswood Recordings / @brownswood

    Broadcasting live from Los Angeles. George Clinton just popped in. @worldwide.fm

    A photo posted by brownswood (@brownswood) on

    Rough Trade / @roughtraderecords

    Third Man Records / @thirdmanrecords

    Mondo / @mondotees

    Be With Records / @bewithwrecords

    Be With Records x @spiritland | Saturday 22nd October 3pm-9pm

    A photo posted by be with records (@bewithrecords) on

    Sacred Bones / @sacredbones

    Luaka Bop / @luakabop

    Captured Tracks / @capturedtracks

    Our office dog for the day! #Robby #specialboy

    A photo posted by Captured Tracks (@capturedtracks) on

    Stones Throw Records / @stonesthrow

    Dekmantel / @dkmntl

    Awanto3's temporary studio kicks ass. Have fun, Steven!

    A photo posted by Dekmantel (@dkmntl) on

    4AD / @4ad

    Sub Pop Records / @subpop

    Music From Memory / @music_from_memory

    MFM tote bags up in the web store soon!

    A photo posted by Music From Memory (@music_from_memory) on

    Strut Records / @strutrecords

    RVNG Intl. / @rvngintl

    Mr Bongo / @mrbongowordwide

    BBE Music / @bbemusic

    Limited dub plates exclusively available @indielabelmkt tomorrow thanks @thecarverystudio @opoloposweden

    A photo posted by BBE Music (@bbemusic) on

  • Warpaint to release new album Heads Up on deluxe vinyl with bonus 7″ and pansy seeds

    By | August 1, 2016

    LA quartet reveals third album on Rough Trade.

    Warpaint have announced the release of their third studio album and follow up to 2014’s critically-acclaimed self-titled LP.

    Released via Rough Trade Heads Up marks a return to collaboration for the band after a year spent on solo projects, re-joining with producer Jacob Bercovici who oversaw their debut EP Exquisite Corpse back in 2009. Listen to first track ‘New Song’ below:

    Recorded at House on The Hill studio in downtown LA, Heads Up afforded the quartet the ability to work both individually and collectively. As bassist Jessy Lee Lindberg describes:

    “Everybody was allowed to have their space, time and creative freedom with songs and figure out, ‘I wonder what the best notes would be? I wonder what the best would be to play? Everybody got to sit and go, “What do I want to do to this? What’s my part? What’s My Role? How can I make it the best?”


    Released on pink and black double vinyl, the deluxe edition comes with an exclusive 7” of ‘I’ll Start Believing’ and ‘No Way Out’, the first 500 of which come with a signed postcard.

    All physical pre-orders of the album in the UK will also include a hand-designed packet of pansy seeds and a Warpaint badge.

    Released on 23rd September via Rough Trade, check out the tracklisting and album sleeve below and pre-order your copy here:



    01 Whiteout
    02 By Your Side
    03 New Song
    04 The Stall
    05 So Good
    06 Don’t Wanna
    07 Don’t Let Go
    08 Dre
    09 Heads Up
    10 Above Control
    11 Today Dear

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