Jethro Tull ‘This Was’ 50th Anniversary box set coming in November

Over the past few years, Jethro Tull fans have been utterly spoilt.  The lion’s share of their classic albums have been reissued as multi disc sets at very affordable prices.  Typically, each reissue has contained the main album of the chosen title, alongside all available associated recordings, plus a 5.1 remix by Steven Wilson.

Over the past couple of years, there has been a little grumbling amongst fans regarding the lack of Wilson remix for the debut album, 1968’s ‘This Was’.

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KUROKUMA – Dope Rider EP

‘Advorsus’, the 2016 debut from UK sludge fiends Kurokuma, was easily one of the heaviest things to be released that year. Since then, the band have played various live shows, one of which was released digitally for posterity; they’ve contributed to a split release with sludge pioneers Conan and even found time to record a Kraftwerk cover. Nobody expected that. With one thing and another, even though it has only been two years, a proper studio follow up from Kurokuma seemed to be a long time coming.

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1968 – Ballads Of The Godless

At the very beginning of 2016, a doom-blues/stoner trio crawled from the wilds of Cheshire and into the ears of an unsuspecting audience. Amping the blues much further than most had dared, their debut EP presented a cornucopia of heavy riffs; their music a fuzzy love letter to metal’s founding fathers. Almost twelve months later, that EP remained almost unsurpassed, marking a place among the year’s finest metal achievements. A year on, the band signed with Black Bow Records – home to Bast and Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – for a well received follow up.

2018’s ‘Ballads of The Godless’ – released through HeviSike Records is, well, heavy. Sometimes drainingly so. However, if you’ve already been acquainted with the 1968 sound, the album brings forth plenty of superb riffs; riffs which, when dressed in the band’s signature sludgy sound, have a timeless appeal. Timeless, of course, if you like Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard, Sloburn and Slomatics. As before, if you’re able to see through the heaviness, it also includes some fine, blues tinged sounds that – thanks to a very old-fashioned production style – are a welcome nod to a world of fuzzy analogue grooves in an all too digital age.

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DORKATRON – The Extra Mile EP

Dorkatron are a straight-up pop-punk band from Austria. Featuring ex-members of DeeCracks, the band arguably gained their most attention in 2017 when they released a Star Wars themed track, ‘May 4th’…at a timely moment in December. Such a funny thing to do. Perhaps they were inspired by the chaos and bewilderment of The Star Wars Holiday Special? Whatever, the main thing you need to know about Dorkatron is that despite not having the best name in the world, they create fine, fine melodic punk; better than a lot of the tunes given to the world by DeeCracks themselves, in fact, since, above all else the vocals on this second EP are hugely melodic. …And when it comes to a bit of longevity, that’s quite important.

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SHOES – Black Vinyl Shoes: Anothology 1973-1978

The American power pop scene from the mid-70s to the early 80s provided a goldmine of great music. Over the years various compilations have provided a great insight into the burgeoning scene’s classics, self-released gems and genuine obscurities. Delving far deeper than Cheap Trick and the Raspberries, recordings by The Flashcubes, Fotomaker and Earth Quake have become much loved favourites for music fans looking for the melodic charms of Badfinger, but also for the flair and sparkle of the soon-to-be in vogue new wave scene. …And then there were Shoes. In a land where band names didn’t need to be easy to find with search engines Shoes were potential kings, but so much of their early work proved elusive to find. For the many power pop geeks who’ve fallen in love with a couple of their later records – 1979’s ‘Present Tense’ and 1981’s ‘Tongue Twister’, specifically – this finely put together 3CD anthology throws a lot of light upon music that led the band to that career pinnacle.

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