Review: It's hard not to see this offering from hallucinogenic and highly visual psych-rockers The Flaming Lips as a "here's what you could have won" release. And that's "here's what you could have won had you been able to attend this performance of one of our most treasured albums in one of the world's most aesthetically astounding venues". FOMO abounds, Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a proper bucket list muso haunt, setting gigs halfway up a Colorado mountain. Throw in live orchestra, the Colorado Symphony, and you've got yourself a truly life-affirming evening. Even on record, there's a tangible difference between the sonics here and the original, still it's an incredibly beautiful and grand album. Perhaps most pronounced during the heart-rendering string sweep of opener "Race For The Prize" (expect shivers), tracks such as "A Spoonful Weighs A Ton" and, of course, "Waitin' For A Superman" feel as though they have finally found their home.
Review: There's a truly undefinable yet wholly recognizable mood to the music of Washington DC native Marissa Nadler, and in places it's hard to not feel the ghost of Roy Orbison's vibrato coming through the vocals sung here. There's some beautiful duets and overdubbing to be heard from Angel Olsen on an album that Nadler co-produced with song-writer Lawrence Rothman and Justin Raisen, the latter known for his production work with the likes of Santigold, Yves Tumor and Kim Gordon to name a few. It's nigh on impossible to not be cast away by wistful forlornness of the LP and its titles alone express the deepest of melancholy blue in Nadler's music, with none more effectively haunting than the album's title track: "For My Crimes". Be brave.
Review: Bella Union's newest faces are Norwegian group Pom Poko whose best and most steely expressions in press shots go some length to reveal the youthful angst and playfulness of their multicoloured, poppy punk sound. That said, there's glimpses of Mars Volta instrumentation in tracks like "Milk Trust", and "If U Want Me 2 Stay" does a good job at building a wall of noise like My Bloody Valentine would, but really the group's true aesthetic lies within an indie mould intrinsic to Scandinavia while still thrashing about the place with a melee of high energy guitars, drums and rebellious vocals (maybe even some bagpipes in "My Blood") to deliver a album your parents might not get, but the headbands and spray jackets waiting at the door a generation after the Modular wave will.
Review: For the second part of their "triptych" of collaborative albums with Patti Smith, the Soundwalk Collective traveled to Africa to re-trace the steps of Arthur Rimbaud, a 19th century French poet who fell in love with a mystical form of Islam called Sufism. The chants and music of Ethiopian Sufi groups feature prominently in "Mummer Love", alongside atmospheric field recordings (including some made by the group of the tree Rimbaud once sat under writing his poems), groovy new electronic instrumentation, fuzzy guitars, drowsy ambient chords and stylish interpretations of Rimbaud's poems by Patti Smith.
Review: With a line-up that boasts Cabaret Voltaire's Stephen Mallinder, you know that Wrangler have got the chops when it comes to deviant electronics with experimental grit and synth-pop nous in equal measure. On their latest album they sound more vital than ever, skirting around a fizzing array of grooves where the human voices and synths speak with equal flair and personality. Craftily sculpted and joyously composed, this is a delightfully modernist twist on the blueprint Cabs helped define all those decades ago. The spirit of progress is alive and well across this beautifully bonkers record - all disco delinquents take note!