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Grasscut
Everyone Was A Bird (Lo Recordings)

GrasscutAs regular readers will be aware we are proper fond of Grasscut here at TM-Towers (both 1 Inch: 1/2 Mile and Unearth were more or less welded into the office player here and both featured in our end of year lists), often referred to as folktronica the Grasscut duo of Andrew Phillips and Marcus O'Dair encompass that and a good deal more (including strings, samples and, on this album, a clutch of musical friends), not least proving to have a nifty touch with a melody. Dark, deep, uplifting, and genuinely beautiful Everyone Was A Bird makes it three for three, we all await the next instalment with bated breath.
Ruby Palmer

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress (Constellation)

Godspeed You! Black Emperor Although split into four sections, in reality Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress - GY!BE's first new material in many a moon (most recent outing Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! being more of a cupboard clearing exercise) - is one piece of music which, as you might expect, slowly waxes and wanes between monolithic synapse frying clatter, feedback, ambient strings and drones, and if there's nothing particularly new or groundbreaking here, GY!BE are still the only people who really do this, this well and album book ends 'Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light!’' and the monumental 'Piss Crowns Are Trebled' are right up there with their finest work.
Ruby Palmer

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Gentleman’s Dub Club
FOURtyFOUR (Ranking Records)

Gentleman’s Dub ClubApparently something a bit special live (there are several million of them in the band) the Gentleman’s Dub Club’s might have struggled to transfer that energy to tape, fortunately that isn’t the case as they run the gamut of reggae from ska, and lovers rock to dub and digital they may be white boys but, like the Specials and Madness, they ‘get it’ and they aren’t shy of letting more current influences like grime and dubstep (even techno) get a look in, and if that all sounds like they’re trying to cover too many bases don’t panic, the overall vibe is definitely reggae, and it all holds together very well indeed.
Drew Bass

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! (Constellation)

Godspeed You! Black Emperor F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote that ‘an exclamation mark is like laughing at your own jokes’ which as a writer is certainly a bad thing, however in GY!BE’s case it is probably exactly the sort of joke they really enjoy. See GY!BE are about as removed from the whole record/promote/tour treadmill as it’s possible to get and like previous albums this has had no pre-publicity it was just suddenly available (their first in ten years in fact) and is worth getting for the immediacy of the twenty minute post-rock on steroids sturm und drang of ‘Mladic’ alone although the three remaining tracks definitely repay repeat listens.
The Oracle

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The Grid
Electric Head (SFA/Cherry Red)

The GridReckoned by one Amazon reviewer to be the best album ‘ever’, Blimey! It’s not (that would be The Best Of Lieutenant Pigeon), Electric Head is however a damn fine album, one of the first full length ambient house/techno releases (beating both Orbital and The Orb to the record plant) which at the time sounded groundbreaking and still stands up well almost 25 years later. Unavailable for a while now this will be snapped up by fans with knackered cassette versions, especially as it features a second disc of remixes and rarities. If you don’t have this and fondly remember dancing all night in the early ‘90s you can remedy that now.
Drew Bass

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John Grant
Pale Green Ghosts (Bella Union)

John Grant So how do you follow a critically acclaimed solo debut album (Queen Of Denmark) recorded with psych/folk rockers Midlake? Well, if you don’t want to alienate the punters you have just picked up you probably don’t go and record an electronic album with Gus Gus’s Biggi Veira in Iceland, but thankfully John Grant is having no truck with being jammed in any pigeonholes (lest we forget he once fronted alternative rockers The Czars) and thus we have parping synths and (whisper it), disco influences underpinning Grants winning way with a lyric, and regardless of what music he is currently enjoying his way with a tune remains completely undiminished.
Drew Bass

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Girlschool
Torch Of Freedom (Hot Milk)

Girlschool Several bands could lay claim to breaking the ‘all boys’ rock club (we’re plumping for the aptly named Fanny from the early ‘70s), but the bubblegum rock of the Runaways aside the real first ladies of heavy rock have to be Girlschool (and any band who get the thumbs up from Lemmy have to be taken seriously). So this VFM collection of all their output for Bronze Records will be manna from heaven for rock fans the whole shebang collected together in a box which comes with four individual albums in wallets depicting original LP artwork plus bonus tracks and a booklet with detailed liner notes on the bands career with Bronze Records.
Ray Harper

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Ghostigital
Division of Culture & Tourism (Smekkleysa SM/BadTaste)

Ghostigital We all know what happened to ms Guðmundsdóttir when the Sugarcubes called it a day but do you know what came next for her more bonkers co-front person Einar Örn Benediktsson? Well his more grown up occupation is as chair for the Reykjavík City Council’s Committee for Culture & Tourism, but thankfully for us he still enjoys making a racket (although he prefers ‘electronic beat music’) which doesn’t sound a million miles removed from Atari Teenage Riot if they’d had a few more strings to their bow than nosebleed gabba roping in David Byrne, Damon Albarn and Suicides Alan Vega to balance his own more barking vocal approach.
Drew Bass

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Grasscut
Unearth (Ninja Tune)

Grasscut If, like us, you thought Grasscut’s debut 1 Inch/½ Mile was one of the finest releases of 2010 then you will doubtless have been waiting with bated breath for this, the follow up. Inspired by the British landscape, each song referring to a specific place, Unearth continues their very English form of electronic/organic experimentalism roping in Robert Wyatt and some very crackly tape samples – including ‘50s contralto Kathleen Ferrier - on vocal duties. As with their debut an understanding of the song locations helps (the village under a Lake in Vyrnwy, the shell grotto in Margate) but is in no way necessary to enjoying this terrific album.
Drew Bass

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Grinderman
Grinderman 2 RMX (Mute)

GrindermanIt’s been said before, and with good reason, remix albums can be pretty hit and miss affairs and in truth a few of the remodelling efforts here do sound a bit phoned in, however when you have such clonking great source material you really can’t muck things up too much and in the case of the steroid driven ‘Heathen Child’ link up with Robert Fripp (which frankly sounds better than the original), the fantastically woozy Nick Zimmer take on ‘Bellringer Blues’ and the widescreen Barry Adamson romp through ‘Palaces Of Montezuma’ the originals take on a completely new life of their own – surely the whole point of this sort of thing?.
The Oracle

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Noel Gallagher
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Sour Mash)

Noel Gallagher Hot On the Heel of little brother Liam’s, frankly rather pedestrian, Beady Eye (Different Gear, Still Speeding) project we have Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and it’s no surprise to find that Noel’s is a far wider ranging beast altogether – this is after all the man who has an album with Amorphous Androgynous due out early next year. Oasis fans will be delighted to learn that his knack for nailing a big chorus remains intact but it’s clear Noel’s ears are open to far more than old Beatles tunes. Liam may have that voice but there’s little doubt where the real talent behind Oasis lay and on this showing we can’t wait for the next one.
Ruby Palmer

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Trey Gunn
I’ll Tell You What I Saw (Gonzo)

Trey Gunn This retrospective, two-disc set has been out for a while now but as it has been a regular visitor to the office CD slot we thought those of you not aware of its existence – especially all you King Crimson fans - should be given a heads up as it’s a truly remarkable overview of his career to date, cherry picking cuts from Gunn’s eight solo albums and his numerous (and madly eclectic) musical collaborations. A master of the Warr and Stick guitars (you can see him in action with TU here), you just need to be prepared to dig deep as this will doubtless have you hurtling back to the source recordings for yet more touch guitar wizardry.
Ray Harper

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Roger Glover & The Guilty Party
If Life Was Easy (earMUSIC)

Roger Glover & The Guilty PartyRight, fess up, who really expects the bass player, even the bass player in such a major outfit as Deep Purple, to have a decent album up his sleeve? With the best will in the world, Roger Waters and Sting aside, how many rock bass players would you spend studio funds on? And yet if you head straight past the guest vocalists to Glovers own world weary Ian Hunter meets Mark Knopfler vocals (and he can pen a decent lyric as well) as he happily flits between country, rock, pop and reggae (yes reggae) and you find this is in fact an album - actually his fifth solo album to date - which is very easy to love.
Ray Harper

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Gang Of Four
Content (Groenland)

Gang Of FourQuite possibly the most exciting start to a new year for post-punk fans since punk had a period to be post in as both Wire and now Gang Of Four drag their mouldering old carcasses into action and, lawks a lordy, singularly fail to piss all over their reputations by releasing (deep breath) really rather good albums. Nowadays reduced to the gang of two (Jon King and Andy Gill with new young GO4 inductees), Content does exactly what you would hope by being all angular and jagged and whilst it may not quite reach the lofty heights of Entertainment it certainly doesn’t suffer in comparison. It is also yet another successful Pledgemusic.com project.
The Oracle

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Grinderman
Ginderman 2 (Mute)

GindermanIf Grinderman 2 suffers a little in comparison to Cave and Co.’s first outing that is at least partly because we are now familiar with the Grinderman palette, i.e. stripped down and dirty (very dirty), raucous garage blues rock draped with, often hilarious, tongue-in-(somebody else’s)-cheek lyrics, about as far removed from the crooning Cave of The Boatman’s Call in fact as the Cramps are from those twins with the sticky up hair (that would be Jedward Ruby – Ed), and any album which contains the couplet ‘my baby calls me the Loch Ness monster, two great big humps and then I’m gone’ has to be worth a listen right?
Ruby Palmer

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Grasscut
1 Inch / ½ Mile (Ninja Tune)

GrasscutGreat month for us oldies that still love some packaging around our music (see Kristin Hersh’s Crooked – Ed), this one boasting a lovely card sleeve housing a map outlining a South Downs walk to follow whilst listening to the music. All moot if the music is crap mind but fortunately the cardboard sleeve also houses nine slices of wonkily orchestrated, occasionally rather lovely, glitch-folk peppered with spoken word samples and an overwhelmingly English mid 20th century ambience. Needless to say we did the walk (we do live down here after all) but sadly we didn’t manage to find the hidden object near Balsdean, why not have a go yourself?
Drew Bass

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Gogol Bordello
Trans-Continental Hustle (Columbia/American Recordings)

Gogol BordelloEugene Hutz (no relation to the terminally useless Lionel of Simpsons fame) and his band of merry gypsy punks fifth studio album, and their first for Rick Rubin’s American Recordings – Rubin also produces – has split some of the faithful (you know how fans get when everyone else catches on) the naysayers insisting the earlier, independent, releases are more authentic but this is bollocks as Trans-Continental is packed to the gunnels with high octane fiddle and accordion driven Eastern European garage folk topped off with Hutz’s bug eyed Serj Tankian/Joe Strummer flecked vocals which rocks like the Pogues playing pissed polkas.
Ruby Palmer

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Gorillaz
Plastic Beach (EMI)

GorillazMurdoc and Co.’s third effort was always on a bit of a hiding to nothing given the vertiginous heights scaled by their two excellent previous outings (we won’t be mentioning that Damon chappie here, as frankly if you’re not going to join in the general animated merriment then what’s the point?). But fans really can rest assured that the tried and trusted hip-hop based electronica-driven experimental workouts are once again all present and correct, guest slots occupied by Mark E Smith, Lou Reed, Snoopy Doggy Dog Dog (© Father Ted), Gruff Rhys, De La Soul, Bobby Womack, Mos Def, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon.
Ruby Palmer

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Gonjasufi
A Sufi and a Killer (Warp)

GonjasufiSounding a bit like a Bollywood version of Sesame Street sound-tracked by Beck and mixed by King Tubby. No, I tell a lie. It’s ‘60s beat pop with a soupcon of hardcore grunting, oh bugger pigeonholing this is like trying to keep sand in a net - at one point thing get so disturbingly glitchy it was a blessed relief to find the CD player was malfunctioning, and the track in question was merely demented. Germaine Greer has more chance of joining the Taliban than this has of any mainstream success, so if you like your music Cowell-esque this ain’t for you, everyone else should hurtle out and buy it immediately.
Drew Bass

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Peter Gabriel
Scratch My Back (EMI)

Peter GabrielWith uninspired, by-numbers covers littering up the charts thanks to the likes of Cowell and co, the very idea of reinterpreting others’ material is long overdue a reinvention. Well, that moment has now arrived thanks to Peter Gabriel’s bold decision to transform 12 songs – an appealing blend of classics (David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’) and newer favourites (Bon Iver’s ‘Flume’) – with stark, voice-and-orchestra arrangements. It’s an approach that you might expect to pall over 50 minutes, but Scratch My Back is actually a stunning success, with his takes on Elbow’s ‘Mirrorball’ and Arcade Fire’s ‘My Body Is A Cage’, in particular, sending shivers up the spine.
David Davies

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Dusk + Blackdown vs. Grievous Angel
Margins Music: Redux (Keysound)

Dusk + Blackdown This get’s a bit convoluted, so bear with me here. In 2008 Martin 'Blackdown' Clark and his production partner Dan 'Dusk' Frampton drop a very classy collection of grime entitled Margins Music, it is a critical success and for most people that’s where it would have ended, however, noting the work of dubstep wunderkind Paul ‘Grievous Angel’ Meme, they decide to give him free rein to do what he will with the album the results of which are to be found on this part remix album, part DJ set part dub rework which is a complete joy from beginning to end and an essential partner to the original release.
Drew Bass

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Gong
2032 (G-Wave)

GongOstensibly a journey back to the Planet Gong, first encountered throughout the mighty ‘Radio Gnome Trilogy’ (Flying Teapot, Angel's Egg, and You) – I guess now making it the 'Radio Gnome Quadrilogy' – but basically a reconvening of the majority of the ‘classic’ Gong line-up joining main-man Daevid Allen for fourteen tracks of proper wigged out acid-jazz-prog and aside from an ill-advised rap detour on ‘How To Stay Alive’ it’s all delightfully barmy, and does the Gong legend no disservice whatsoever. Fans of Hero The Zero and Planet Gong will adore it, the rest of the world will doubtless just be hugely confused.
Ray Harper

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Jono El Grande
Neo Dada (Rune Grammofon)

Jono El GrandeIf, like a few of the greyer bods in the office, you aren’t opposed to spending some quality time with Frank Zappa, especially convoluted prog-classical mental dodgem rides like ‘Inca Roads’ or ‘Echidna's Arf (Of You)’ then get ready for a real treat as Jono El Grande loves nothing more than paddling around in the same Musique concrète as the sadly demised FZ (hell ‘Oslo City Suite’ even co-opts the riff from ‘Pygmy Twylite’), only Mr Grande also has a passing fancy for the likes of Henry Cow and, judging by this at least, Michael Nyman at his most jazzy and angular. FZ once said, 'Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny', in this case it's funny ha ha.
Paul Riley

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Gallows
Grey Britain (Warner Bros)

GallowsFollowing on from the outright punk clatter of their 2006 debut, Orchestra of Wolves Gallows have muscled up somewhat on this, the follow up album, Grey Britain, prompting some reviewers to label them punk-prog – mistakenly confusing having more than one idea in a song with being ‘prog’ – but in reality this sounds like nothing so much as a mighty ruck between Black Flag, The Clash and Motorhead. They guys even manage to reign in the spittle flecked savagery on ‘The Vulture Act 1’, which is actually rather lovely, and wind things up on the nihilistic ‘Crucifucks’ with some sky-scraping orchestral goose-bumping.
Ruby Palmer

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Clive Gregson
The Best Of… (Gregsongs))

Clive Gregson Grossly overlooked singer songwriter Clive Gregson is one of those musicians that just keeps on keeping on regardless of whether anyone else is coming along for the ride. Initially a founding member of Stiff signings Any Trouble, then half of a successful duo with Christine Collister he has also worked with Richard Thompson, Boo Hewerdine and Eddie Reader and had his songs covered by Nanci Griffith and Fairport Convention, in short you may well have heard him without being conscious of having done so, and this best of is a superb jumping off point for anyone keen to find out more.
Ray Harper

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Grand Duchy
Petits Fours (Cooking Vinyl)

Grand DuchyThose of you that feel that what has most been missed in the, albeit still excellent, solo career of Black ‘Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV’ Francis to date are the sweet female yin vocals balancing out his hoarse yang hollerin’ in the Pixies need miss them no longer as the latest BF project, Grand Duchy, features just such a balancing vocal contribution from new partner and co-writer Violet Clark. Indeed ‘Black Suit’ is possibly the best Pixies track the band never recorded. You have to feel for Ms Clark dealing with the king of control-freakery, but she’s clearly holding her own here and let's hope there's more to come.
Ruby Palmer

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Guns N’ Roses
Chinese Democracy (Polydor)

Guns N’ RosesSeveral millennia in the making and the new Axl Rose solo album is with us (can’t imagine why it’s billed as Guns N’ Roses). When it works, like on the runaway train rackets of ‘Shacklers Revenge’ it almost repays the idiotically long wait, when it doesn’t (like on the hideously overblown ballad ‘Street Of Dreams’), the words ‘polishing’ and ‘a’ spring to mind. For hardcore fans this will be the most eagerly awaited album of all time, and it will be interesting to see how it’s received (indications are good so far), for the rest of us interested bystanders this is, in the main, a pretty good album featuring the mighty Buckethead.
Ray Harper

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Memo Gonzalez & The Bluescasters
Dynomite (Crosscut Records)

Memo GonzalezTexas dynamo Memo Gonzalez fronts a band boasting members from Germany, Turkey and The Netherlands so The Bluescasters can genuinely be labelled as a world music outfit. Theirs is a passionate and infectious blend of blues, rock soul and funk and Dynomite is their second album for German based roots label Crosscut (the previous outing Live In The UK being released in 2006). Head straight for ‘What’s In A Name’, ‘Slip Away’ or ‘One Day, One Kiss, One Night’ to get that full on Bluescasters feel, if you like your music on the energetic and passionate side then Dynomite should be in your collection.
David Blue

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Gong
Arista Years (Acadia)

Gong Recorded when the band were actually known as Pierre Moerlen's Gong and about as far removed from the acid fried lunacy of Daevid Allen’s incarnation of the band as to be an entirely different band. Initially joining the band for the last two parts of their Radio Gnome Trilogy (Angels Egg and You) Moerlan (who sadly died in 2005) went on to take the band in a far more percussion driven jazz fusion direction, best heard on the albums Gazeuse! and Expresso II and later on the three albums collected here Time Is The Key, Live and Leave It Open with guest slots from jazz fusion guitar wizard Allan Holdsworth and Mike Oldfield.
Ray Harper

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Gun Club
The Life and Times of Jeffery Lee Pierce (retro deluxe)

Gun ClubCherry picking moments from the fifteen odd official Gun Club releases (including compilations and EP’s) was never going to be an easy task and certain Gun Club aficionados may find fault with the studio selections on disc one of this ramshackle overview of the Gun Club's career, however it’s the by-and-large unreleased material on the remaining three discs that will entice the faithful, and if you're a newcomers to the world of Gun Club main man Jeffrey Lee Pierce - who underwent surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain and died on March 31, 1996 - and like what you hear then seek out Fire of Love and Miami.
Ray Harper

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David Gilmour
Live In Gdansk (EMI)

David GilmourDavid Gilmour’s 2006 tour-closing show formed part of the 26th anniversary celebrations of Polish trade union federation Solidarity – an organisation whose actions did much to encourage the spread of democracy across Eastern Europe – and this epic live set (available in 2CD, 2CD/1DVD, 2CD/2DVD, 3CD/2DVD and vinyl versions) is more than worthy of the historic occasion. The Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra enhances ‘A Pocketful of Stones’, ‘High Hopes’ and several other Floyd/solo classics to glorious effect, but it’s the 25-minute take on ‘Echoes’ that proves the standout, even surpassing the original studio recording.
David Davies

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Genuine Sun
Return (Blaster Records)

Genuine Sun As the major label end of the record industry continues to self-destruct in front of our very eyes bands continue to look for other ways to get their music out there and Genuine Sun must surely be the first band ever to be promoted alongside penetrants and lubricants (and no, Blaster Chemicals are nothing to do with sex aids), but if that means more people might get to hear the grown up rock of Return then that’s no bad thing. AOR gets a pretty bad press in the UK’s ‘cool’ obsessed music media but done well it’s capable of shifting tons of units and Genuine Sun’s Foreigner-esque melodic rock is certainly done well.
Ray Harper

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Goldfrapp
Seventh Tree (Mute)

GoldfrappThere has been much huffing and bluster in the press of late concerning Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory’s ‘new’ direction, like everything recorded before Supernature wasn’t a dramatic departure from what had gone before or that chart success was the sole arbiter of quality, which is bollocks. One of Goldfrapp’s finest moments was the, far less successful sales-wise, Felt Mountain and this feels like the album fans were expecting to follow that before the glam stomping arrival of Black Cherry. Those looking for a genre to shoehorn this into can try retro psych/folk, just don’t expect more of the same next time around.
Drew Bass

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Genesis
1983 – 1998 (Virgin)

GenesisA ten disc SACD/DVD set which has pretty much everything any self respecting post Gabriel/Hackett Genesis fan could ever desire including the Genesis, Invisible Touch, We Can’t Dance and Calling All Stations albums – available separately if your wage packet won’t stretch (or if you just don’t want the largely rubbish post Collins Calling All Stations effort) – mixed in 5.1 and expanded to include extra DVD’s packed with all manner of eye-candy including videos, rehearsal and live footage, interviews, tour doc’s and all topped off with a case bound 48 page booklet. The perfect Christmas gift for your Genesis loving partner.


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Laurent Garnier
Public Outburst (F Com)

Laurent GarnierRecorded live with Benjamin Rippert, Bugge Wesseltoft and Philippe Nadaud over a six month period in 2006 – being created in fact whilst last years career spanning Retrospective compilation was being released – this set should finally lay to rest the lazy, and wrongheaded, assertions that Garnier is just a DJ, introducing radical reworkings of older material alongside some brand new jams Public Outburst is part squiggly electronica, part hip hop, part drum and bass and a wholly jazz-mungous, walloping great monster of an album which, after lulling you into a false sense of security on opener ‘63’, grabs you by the wobbly bits and refuses to let go.


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Grinderman
Grinderman (Mute)

Grinderman For those of you that have been living in a large soundproofed hole for the last six months this is the ‘foul-mouthed, noisy and hairy’ side project of Bad Seeds' Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Martyn P. Casey and Jim Sclavunos – who, as a recent press release quite rightly pointed out, are ‘damn well old enough to know better’. Recalling Cave's notorious old outfit the Birthday Party, guitars are overloaded and drenched in grunged up effects, drums are pummelled and Cave is in fine testifying form, as they run the gamut from fast and fierce to slightly slower and, umm, fierce. Makes you feel delightfully grubby just listening to it.


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Eric Gales
The Psychedelic Underground (Provogue)

Eric GalesYou just know that an African-American left handed rock guitarist is going to get ‘those’ comparisons – it’s a journalist thing, we can’t help it – but in truth Eric Gales has far more in common with the muscular blues-rock of Stevie Ray Vaughan (who was himself compared favourably to Hendrix back in the day), and yes, he does have the chops to stand alongside both of the above marrying bluesy licks, lightning runs and grungy pyrotechnics, he can sing a bit too. Older readers will hear everything from Robin Trower to Albert King here but Gales is definitely his own man and a prodigious talent to boot.


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The Good The Bad & The Queen
The Good The Bad & The Queen (Honest Jon/Parlophone)

The Good The Bad & The QueenThose of you that recall the great Oasis vs. Blur wars fought a decade past will doubtless recall Oasis were widely held to have emerged victorious, but longevity will always out where talent is in question and whilst Liam Gallagher is now officially the least talented member of a band who have spent much of the interim time struggling, his opposite number has continued to balance experimentation and chart success, flitting between world music, R&B, hip hop, rock, pop and reggae and this is no exception - part Parklife, part Clash style London dub, part Gorillaz lope, part melodic pop, apocalyptically gloomy and 100% British.


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Laurent Garnier
Retrospective (F Communications)

Laurent GarnierThose of you keen on your techno but who prefer not re-mortgaging your house for limited edition 12” white labels will be overjoyed to see this rarity peppered collection of masterful, sometimes minimal, sometimes jazzy, occasionally acidic and often wry techno gems from legendary French DJ Laurent Garnier – an ace face in the late-'80s Madchester scene who later helped found F Communications. Dance music may be in the doldrums right now but tracks like ‘Acid Eiffel’, ‘Man With The Red Face’ and of course techno lodestone ‘Crispy Bacon’ still sound as groundbreaking as they did back when black boxes were far sexier than guitars.


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Thea Gilmore
Harpo’s Ghost (Sanctuary)

Thea GilmoreOften, wrongly, lumped in with the whole acoustic nu-folk scene, although what she does certainly qualifies as British folk music, occasionally mentioned, also wrongly, in the same breath as angry young women like Alanis (she’s far more literate), Thea Gilmore is a managers nightmare, positively overloaded with talent but totally unclassifiable, which in our neat little world of genre boxes is a major problem. So, for the record, Gilmore is possibly the finest lyricist to emerge from the UK in a decade, is as prolific as fuck (this is album seven and she has at least three more ready to go), and the fact she is not a huge star is a bloody travesty.


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Golden Smog
Another Fine Day (Lost Highway)

Golden SmogOnly a daft sod would consider purchasing an album because the word ‘supergroup’ was bandied around reviews (certainly nobody here is given to wearing their pants outside their trousers), but in truth if people of the calibre of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Soul Asylum's Dan Murphy, Big Star's Jody Stephens and the Jayhawks' Gary Louris, Marc Perlman and Kraig Johnson are involved you can’t go far wrong can you? Actually no, you can't, and whilst fans of the above bands will generally be able to tell who has written which song - even if they don't sing it - this still has a very pleasing overall coherence.


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Robin Guthrie
Continental (Rocket Girl)

Robin GuthrieWhilst the NME dubbed shoegazing movement had more than it’s fair share of mundane floppy fringed chancers it was not without it’s inspirational moments, many of them supplied by this man and his then pals The Cocteau Twins and, as you might imagine, on the first run through Continental’s ten instrumental tracks you do find yourself awaiting a bout of Elizabeth Fraser’s ululations. However on second and third listens you find yourself sucked deeper and deeper into the bewitching crepuscular sound-scapes, standout track ‘The Day Star’ building into a positive hailstorm of layered guitar howling.


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David Gilmour
On An Island (EMI)

Dave GilmourGiving old friend Kate Bush a run for her money on the reticence stakes, On An Island is David Gilmour’s first new music of any kind since 1994 Floyd release The Division Bell. But it has been worth the wait, as On An Island is bewitchingly beautiful – and never more so than on the title track, which combines heavenly Crosby/Nash harmonies and an extraordinary extended solo. More subtle and diverse than recent Floyd product, there is room for poised instrumentals (‘Then I Close My Eyes’, featuring Robert Wyatt) and string-touched rockers (‘Take A Breath’). Gilmour’s sublime guitar is the constant.


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Ian Gillan
Gillan's Inn (Immergent: DualDisc)

Ian GillanCelebrating the former Deep Purple front-mans fortieth year in the business, Gillan’s Inn is a quirky beast, being a DualDisc (CD one side DVD on the flip), on which he has chosen to reinterpret tracks cherry picked from his long career. So we’re not exactly breaking new ground here – and die-hard fans may baulk at some of the reinventions – but guest stars like Tony Iommi, John Lord, Ian Paice, and Roger Glover and the DVD footage (including your choice of Joe Satriani, Jeff Healy or Steve Morse guitar solo’s on 'Smoke On The Water', live and studio footage and Gillan's commentary on every track), ensure fans will find much to love.


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Green Day
Bullet In A Bible: CD & DVD (Reprise)

OK, so it’s easy to sneer at sixty odd thousand people cheering maniacally just because Billie Joe yells ‘England’ (which he does, a lot), the earnest DVD interview links raise more than a few unintentional laughs and Tré Fool (sorry Cool, yeesh) is officially the dopiest human being on the planet bar none but Green Day only know one way to play live and that’s to run around like nutters, cranking out punk derived full metal clatter and whilst us old buggers will moan that we’ve seen it all before the Milton Keynes audience clearly had an absolute blast. If you loved American Idiot you will adore Bullet In A Bible.

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David Gray
Life In Slow Motion (Atlantic/iht)

David Gray His seventh album (yup, you read right, hands up who thought it was just White Ladder and maybe one or two more?), and for those of us who have followed with interest the mans career either side of his ‘eight times platinum in the UK’ smash this is yet another in a long list of proper grown up pop music, indeed possibly his best since White Elephant, erm Ladder. Working for the first time with a producer (Madonna’s buddy Marius De Vries), Life In Slow Motion is beautiful varied collection of lyrically thoughtful, sonically muscular songs, which prove beyond doubt, if proof were needed, that Gray is one of our finest singer songwriters

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Goldfrapp
Supernature (Mute)

GoldfrappThe return of the divine Ms G and the cuddly Mr G (that’s Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory respectively), with an album pitched more or less equidistantly between the glacial beauty of their first album and the rude disco squelch of their second, sort of like Kraftwerk in a head on glam pile up with Kate Bush and Siouxie Sioux – although the comparison does neither Alison’s vocal range or Will’s arrangement skills justice. But a word of warning, dip into this sexy, exotic, pulsating stew at your peril, as you’re likely to come over all of a dither and need a sit down with a nice cup of tea

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Gorillaz
Demon Days (EMI)

GorillazThere’s something about presenting your music in cartoon format that gets some music fans (and critics), in a bit of of a tizzy, perhaps because many people confuse cartoon images with comedy – perhaps they haven’t seen graphic novels like Alan Moore’s From Hell? Whatever, and neatly sidestepping the fact that the Gorillaz website is chock full of laffs, Demon Days is seriously dark stuff, beautifully realised, effortlessly executed and overflowing with bucket loads of great ideas. Once again Damon Albarn proves to be the very best kind of a musical sponge, hoovering up influences and leaving a trail of quality recordings in his wake.


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Garbage
Bleed Like Me (WEA)

GarbageFour albums into a massively successful career - their eponymous debut sold four million, the follow up Version 2.0 barely less - and Garbage roll out another collection built around their unique mixture of 'ultra modern production and traditional songwriting' and, in the main at least, it’s back to the initial blueprint - after third album beautifulgarbage's dalliance with Spector-esque production and '60s bubblegum pastiche. Riffs crunch, drums thunder and pop hooks abound. In fact quite why Garbage aren't up there with U2 and REM is a constant source of confusion to many, as there's no better rock outfit making pop music today.


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Go-Betweens
Oceans Apart (Lo-Max)

Go-BetweensRefloating the good ship Go-Between in 2000 - after the intervening solo years found both men struggling to rediscover their muse - Robert Forster and Grant McLennan then promptly struggled to rediscover what it was that made their previous outfit such a class act, and whilst both The Friends Of Rachel Worth and Bright Yellow Bright Orange had flashes of the old magic the overall results were mixed. Five years on and we now have Oceans Apart and praise be if both men aren’t back firing on all cylinders updating their youthful muse into delightful, thoughtful, intelligent proper grown up pop songs


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Laurent Garnier
The Cloud Making Machine (F Communications)

Laurent GarnierThe latest offering from the leading Gallic exponent of thudding dance-floor mayhem is in fact not a dance album at all, but that dance-floor scoundrels refuge ‘the soundtrack to an imaginary film’, wherein the glorified DJ bins the decks and get’s all arty on our collective asses. Only when you’re as full of ideas as Mr G - see also his previous excellent, and sadly overlooked, album Unreasonable Behaviour - then you probably have films roaming around in your head on a regular basis (which must be a bit disconcerting). so the act of sound-tracking one is in fact eminently reasonable, and the end results, whilst tailing off slightly at the end, are once again effortlessly fine.


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Alex Gold
Back From A Break (Xtravaganza)

Alex GoldIt’s been pointed out before and doubtless will be pointed out again that dance music is currently dead (rock is still the current ‘new black’, but beware, it’s on the wane), naturally real music fans don’t buy into genre wars in quite the same way ‘style makers’ do, something is either good or it ain’t and, on the whole, this is. No big surprises mind you from this progressive trance DJ much lauded in Ibizan circles – the title refers to his recovery from a serious paragliding accident which left him with a broken back – but his first artist album is none the worse for all that, and hits all the buttons you would both expect and hope for


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