CATHEDRAL BELLS – Cathedral Bells EP

A dreampop and shoegaze influenced project helmed by Matt Messore (previously of Dear Tracks), Cathedral Bells’ debut EP isn’t exactly shy about recycling musical influences. With strong elements of the more commercial Jesus & Mary Chain, the synthier and more cinematic aspects taken from The Cure and more than a trace of Pale Saints, its six tracks play like the greatest EP not to be released by 4AD Records in 1990. When influences and moods are recycled as well as they are here, originality is more than welcome to take a back seat as Cathedral Bells join Norway’s Spielbergs in heading up a full-on 90s revival.

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A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS – Fuzz Club Session

Once claimed to be “the loudest band in New York”, noise rockers A Place To Bury Strangers have carved out a true cult following since forming in 2002. By creating a sound that fused heavy distortion with gothic and shoegaze tendencies, their first two albums laid down some wantonly dense retro sounds, while their later releases somehow managed to feel a little more accessible without losing too many of the band’s most confrontational elements.

Their 2019 release ‘The Fuzz Club Session’ was recorded in a single day when APTBS visited Love Buzz Studios in South London at the end of a tour. According to frontman Oliver Ackermann, there are times where it’s possible for a band to feel tired of their own material after being on the road, so a little re-invention is needed to keep things interesting. That’s very much where this release comes in.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS – Big Gold Dreams: A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

A comprehensive five CD anthology telling the story of independent music from Scotland between 1977 and 1989, ‘Big Gold Dreams’ is an interesting box set. From the no-frills and DIY ethics of punk through to lavish alternative pop, Scotland had more than enough talent to make a huge mark upon music in the 70s and 80s and the country’s greatest bands were every bit as good – and better – than many of the hugely celebrated acts from Manchester and the south. The many independent labels had as much to give the world in terms of underground talent and beyond, so in lots of ways, ‘Big Gold Dreams’ isn’t so much a box set, an anthology or collection as a celebration.

For admirers of Cherry Red’s 2018 power pop and new wave anthology ‘Harmony In My Head’ and Edsel’s Gary Crowley curated box set of punk curios, the first two discs of this five disc set will alone be worth the purchase. Covering the period between 1977 and 1982, as you’d expect, these discs have more than a decent amount of punky fare and the nature of the source material means that various obscurities are released on CD for the very first time.

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SPIELBERGS – This Is Not The End

In 2018, Norway’s Spielbergs made a grand entrance into the music world with their debut EP, ‘Distant Star’. With an epic fusion of 90s indie, shoegaze and a touch of dark synth pop, it’s five tracks took the listener on a retro journey that managed to feel very nostalgic but still sound great in the present. The signs were all there for a band whom were going to release a fantastic full-length the following year.

Two of the EP’s key numbers have been recycled for their full-length debut giving a strong feeling of continuity. The EP’s masterpiece, the sprawling eight minute epic ‘Ghost Boy’ has been left behind (giving listeners the ultimate reason to backtrack and check out the previous release if they’ve not already done so), but ‘Distant Star’ and debut single ‘We Are All Going To Die’ sound superb nestled amongst the newer material – and it’s a genuine thrill to discover these aren’t even the album’s best tracks!

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The House of Love’s debut to get 5 disc deluxe treatment

Back in 2012, Cherry Red Records issued a lavish 3CD package of The House of Love’s UK debut album.

‘House of Love’, or as it is informally referred ‘The Black Jumpers Album’ turns 30 by the end of June and to celebrate, Cherry Red have dug into the vaults once more to expand the much-loved disc a second time. For the thirtieth anniversary reissue, the album will be released as a fully comprehensive five disc set.

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