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Sampa The Great, ‘The Return’

For her debut LP, Sampa The Great, AKA Sampa Tembo, crafts some wonderfully slick, genre-bending rap. With influences that range from traditional Hip-Hop through to Southern African traditional music, this is an album that defies any one genre-specific label. Sampa calls upon her many musical connections, including those of Ecca Vandal and London jazz collective Steam Down, which she formed over the years spent honing her talent before the release of ‘The Return’. Centred around questions of home and identity, Zambia-born, Botzwana-raised, Australia-based Sampa The Great dismantles the labels that are all-too-often put upon Hip-Hop. She proves to be a force to be reckoned with: following on from ‘The Return’, Sampa The Great can only go from strength to strength.

Sampa the Great: The Return album art work

P. P. Arnold, ‘The New Adventures Of…’

The legendary P. P. Arnold returns with her first album of new material since the 1960s. With a career that has seen her working with many giants of the British music scene (everyone from Mick Jagger and The Small Faces to Nick Drake, Primal Scream and Paul Weller) in addition to her own career as a musical icon of the 60s with the release of hit record ‘First Cut is the Deepest’, the First Lady of Immediate returns!

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Bat For Lashes, ‘Lost Girls’

This is the fifth studio album from Bat For Lashes, AKA Natasha Khan, and the first to be made independently of any major label contract. Playful and filmic in scope and craft, Khan creates a vivid world steeped in nostalgia; a heady synth-pop ode to the 80s sci-fi films of her youth. But where nostalgia finds its limits in the imagination, ‘Lost Girls’ surpasses to bring us a surreal, enticing album with a modern slant. The record shows Natasha Khan to be at the height of her songwriting power- and at the forefront of contemporary alt-pop. A wonderful new release for fans of 80s synth, vampire films and sci-fi soundtracks!

Bat for Lashes: Lost Girls album art work.

Jerkcurb, ‘Air Con Eden’

Where do we begin? Jerkcurb, AKA Jacob Read, finally releases debut LP, ‘Air Con Eden’. At times delving into a surreal dream world, with characters emerging from the seemingly boundless depths of Read’s imagination (he also created the album artwork), this is a beautifully crafted album. One that demands a level of patience, since the music really gives back to you once you immerse yourself in the depths of its’ charm, of which there is plenty. Jerkcurb pushes and pulls at time, morphing a singular artistic vision with warbly and woozy guitars and Read’s own nostalgic croon. Stand-out tracks include ‘Night on Earth’ and ‘Shadowshow’. Worth diving into!

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JARV IS, ‘Must I Evolve?’

JARV IS, consisting of frontman Jarvis Cocker and fellow band members Serafina Steer, Emma Smith, Andrew McKinney, Jason Buckle and Adam Betts, release their first 12″ single on the Rough Trade Label. At first, this was only available to audience-members at their live shows, but that would have deprived the rest of us of being able to hear this glistening gem of a tune. We have acquired a few copies for your fine ears to hear it too!

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Oh Sees, ‘Face Stabber’

This new release from John Dwyer and co. does what it says on the tin. Pushing their brand of alt-psych-garage-rock to extremes is what the Oh Sees (or Thee Oh Sees, or The Oh Sees, or The Ohsees…) do best: it’s more face stabbing than face-melting. Yet, despite the threat of something sinister lurking just under the surface, the record never boils over into uncontrollable excess. Riding on a wave of molten riffs and driven by searing drums, Dwyer’s artistic vision oozes throughout this 80 minute sonic rampage. Well worth a listen.

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