Review: Finale Sessions welcomes Anaxander to join label main man Michael Zucker for another one of those impeccable trips through top shelf deep house. Anaxander gets busy with "Stabs Of Love", a truly ear nagging piece that cuts through the glut of soundalike productions to say something truly special. Meanwhile his "Heart 2 Heart" resides on the B2, presenting a lighter, more playful cut peppered with pattering bongos and sprightly keys. Zucker gets into a slightly off kilter funk on "Greater Is He" before dropping into a perfect bump on "Lost Without You", putting some swing into dub house and making it sound natural.
Review: The recent news that the Jealous God label is planning to wind down was slightly softened by the impressive selection of releases that will appear before it does. Chief amongst those was this EP from Champagne Mirrors, an alias of Blackest Ever Black contributor Alex Barnett. Extended Communication Techniques is as dark, unsettling and creepy as you'd expect, with occasional shards of light - a headline melody here and there, with similarly rare slivers of woozy electronic positivity - helping to balance out Barnett's dystopian tendencies. It's one of those sets that benefits from repeated listens, with each successive play revealing additional layers of moody detail.
Review: The Decemberists' eighth album sees the Portland gang return having significantly changed tack in the four years since their last album. Working with John Congleton, producer for St. Vincent and Future Islands, the band have made their use of synthesisers and electronics a focal point on 'I'll Be Your Girl', an element that had previously stayed in the background. To accompany this change, they've shifted their songwriting towards more synth-pop territory, evident on opener 'Once In My Life', 'We All Die Young' and lead single 'Severed'. A number of tracks bear the hallmarks of The Decemberists' classic Americana sound, but the contrasts at play make 'I'll Be Your Girl' their most adventurous record to date.
Review: Earlier this year, Indianan dream-pop group Hoops' confident debut album 'Routines' established the band amongst the stronger acts in the genre, comparable to Mac DeMarco, Mild High Club, Homeshake, Soft Hair and more. This compilation of demos and home-recordings is equally as strong, in all their retro and nostalgic haze, made even hazier by the sound of the tapes they were recorded on. For a collection of demos, it's overall wholeness is pretty impressive, and should be essential listening for any fans of dreamy, 80's-inspired VHS indie.
Review: UK based French underdog Arnaud Le Texier returns on his Children Of Tomorrow imprint with a collection of fierce and functional cuts for clandestine warehouse parties. On the Spilt 7 EP, the label head honcho himself takes care of proceedings on the A side: with the tunnelling, mentalist epic "Ooze" that's perfect to take the punters further down the spiral, while the greyscale and textural mood of "Le Gratteur" calls to mind the sinister industrial experiments of Shifted's Avian imprint. On the flip, the reins are handed over to Russian producer Unbalanced - who hasn't been on our radar for a while, but we're certainly curious to hear what he's been up to since his stellar releases on his eponymous and Rebalance imprints. Indeed "Warehouse Tool 2 & 3" respectively do exactly what they say on the tin. These two seething, steely and austere cuts are perfect for maintaining the adrenaline levels on the dancefloor.
Jordan Fields - "Lifted My Soul" (Larry Heard remix dub) (6:54)
Maxi Aubert - "Message In The Box" (6:13)
Africans With Mainframes - "Loving Photons" (5:42)
Gene Hunt - "Native 1987" (JF re-edit) (4:04)
Review: There's something delightfully simple about the formula behind Descendents of the Deep's From Chicago To Detroit series, which predictably aims to bring together top-notch deep house from the Windy and Motor cities. This second installment begins with JF's previously unheard re-edit of Gari Romalis' 1995 cut "Butcher's Choice", a righteous lesson in bumpin', New Jersey-influenced deep house. It's followed by a typically emotionally-rich Larry Heard dub of Jordan Fields' 1994 cut "Lifted My Soul", before Maxi Aubert combines Heard style analogue deepness with rich, Motor City electronics on "Message In The Box". Elsewhere, there's a new JF edit of Gene Hunt's throbbing 1987 jack-jam "Native", and a wonderfully broken chunk of techno/house fusion from Africans With Mainframes.