Song of the Day! BICEP “Rain”

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EMF “Stigma”

Nice progression from their debut “Schubert Dip” – a little heavier, more riffing and a lorry-load of acid squelch’s and melody. There are no duffers amongst the 10 tracks on offer. Although “Stigma” is largely forgotten, has zero kudos, it is rather brilliant. A 1992 highlight. 9/10

Calexico “That Thread That Keeps Us”

Umpteenth album from Arizona Tex-Mex duo Joey Burns and John Convertino is another solid entry in their growing canon. We miss their more authentic, slightly less “indie-rock” early albums, but there is a pleasant variety on display here with Spanish vocals on track “Flores y Tamales” and a splash of sonic playfulness elsewhere. Highlights include the final two tracks “Thrown to the Wild” and “Music Box”, which are really rather beautiful. 7/10.

Fine Young Cannibals “The Raw and the Cooked”

The Brummie three-piece (Roland Gift, David Steele & Andy Cox) cracked America with their huge second (and sadly, final) long player. More synth-driven (and initially appearing pop-lite) than their debut, this is countered with a lyrical pathos which gives the album some real emotional heft. Sounding better than ever, almost 30 years later. 9/10.

Pet Shop Boys “Actually”

Second album proper from Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, which alongside its iconic yawning cover and irresistible pop-chops was a huge seller. Very much a document of Thatcher’s 80’s England, the four huge pop singles (two were UK number ones) ensures Actually’s place in pop history. However, there are further delights to be found – not least the sombre, yet utterly sublime “It Couldn’t Happen Here” which has only grown in stature as the years have passed. Note: the 2018 remaster sounds particularity glorious on vinyl. 9/10.

Fischerspooner “Sir”

Largely excellent fourth album from former electroclash duo is an explicit homoerotic journey replete with lashings of minimal synth work and late-night sexual lamenting. With contributions from Michael Stipe no less, Sir’s highs are gloriously lurid and catchy. 8/10.

Roxy Music “The Best Of”

For the casual Roxy Music observer, this is the compilation to buy or stream. Sequenced in reverse chronological order, this is as good as things get in the art/pop universe. 10/10.

John Tejada “Dead Start Program”

Umpteenth album from LA based techno stalwart (and latest on the Kompakt label), Dead Start Program has a pleasing analog sheen across its 11 tracks. After a strong start, the album does occasionally slip into generic techno territory. However, a proficiently solid 7/10.

MGMT “Little Dark Age”

What initially sounds like a muddy and directionless fourth album from the Brooklyn duo soon reveals its hidden charms. Defiantly off-key and at times decidedly bleak, yet replete with huge bouncy 80’s synths – Little Dark Age showcases MGMT’s way of straddling the mainstream, yet not actually being very mainstream. Their second best album to date. A result. 8/10

Nils Frahm “All Melody”

Berlin based Nils Frahm releases his latest opus which incorporates his trademark modern-electronic-classical approach with an increased focus on acoustics. “All Melody” is a stunning piece of design, which may possibly lack cohesion over it’s 73 minutes, but is still a must-listen. 8/10.

Associates “Fourth Drawer Down”

1981 compilation from Scottish duo (Billy Mackenzie and Alan Rankine) collects six A & B sides from the singles released that year. The sonic experimentation on show is spellbinding as are the chill-winds blowing through the lyrics. 8/10

A-ha “Scoundrel Days”

Superior 80’s pop from the Norwegian trio; a maturer sound than their debut, “Scoundrel Days” has confidence and is often inspired. Anyone interested should go for the remastered 2010 issue which includes demos. 9/10.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood “Liverpool”

Somewhat forgotten follow-up to “Welcome To The Pleasuredome”, Liverpool is actually a more consistent listen which deserves re-appraisal. Contains some great FGTH moments along with one of the best pop songs ever written: “Watching The Wildlife”. Superb. 10/10.

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