There aren't many gigs in January, and apart from Sheffield progcore quintet Rolo Tomassi I haven't been out to experience much live music. This means I've been able to almost catch up with listening to all the new releases and cheap charity shop promos I've accumulated. These are the spinning discs due to be released in February 2010 that I have been enjoying:
1. Retribution Gospel Choir II (Sub Pop)
The second album from Alan Sparhawke's other trio is harder rocking and more experimentally produced than their debut, and an early contender for album of 2010 status. This could even be the best thing he's done, so all the Low fans who missed the half full Retribution gig last time they came to Manchester should be advised that they are back on March 11th.
2. Plank! - La Luna EP (Akhoustik Anarkhy)
I have a CDR of this so I'm not sure if I've spelt the name of the label corrrectly, or if this EP is really called "La Luna" but that's the first instrumental, which will be familiar to anyone who has heard the numerous gigs Plank have played around Manchester in 2009. These tunes have both mutated and been surpassed by new ones, but this forms a fine document of their genesis; the final piece is a more keyboard led doodle that was birthed before bassist Ed got on board and has never been played at a gig. The other three songs have formed the backbone of their set. They had no reservations about me flinging comparisons to Mogwai, Battles and most obviously Neu at them after the first time I saw them at Islington Mill, and these have all certainly been influences on maybe Manchester's best band right now. No frills, just great tunes and fine musicianship make Plank worth walking. If you like this be sure to check out Ed's other band, the funkier FTSE 100. Guitarist Davey Rowe tells me release date is 19th April but you can buy a copy off the band at their gigs before that.
3. Lonelady - Nerve Up (Warp)
Check next issue of Flux magazine for a very very short drastically edited interview.
4. Jack Rose - Luck in the Valley (Thrill Jockey) RIP
Guitar pickin' master two years my junior passed away due to heart attack.
5. White Hills (Thrill Jockey)
6. Cluster - Qua (Klangbad)
Two old Germans show younger technoids how it should be done.
7. BJ Nilsen - The Invisible City (Touch)
Ominous ambience with chairs scraping all over the world.
8. Anna Kashfi - Survival (Little Red Rabbit)
9. Charlie Alex March - Home / Hidden (Loaf)
10. Nedry - Condors (Monotreme)
11. Puerto Muerto - Drumming for Pistols (Fire)
12. The Album Leaf - A Chorus of Storytellers (Sub Pop)
March releases I'm enjoying:
BARDO POND - Bufo Alvarius (Fire reissue)
PAVEMENT - Quarantine the Past: the best of Pavement (Domino / Matador)
GALAXIE 500 - Today
GALAXIE 500 - On Fire
GALAXIE 500 - This is Our Music (Domino double CD reissues)
AUTECHRE - Oversteps (Warp)
TO ROCOCO ROT - Speculation (Domino)
ROBIN HITCHCOCK AND THE VENUS 3 - Propellor Time (Sartorial)