After several years working at Factory and Creation, Heavenly Recordings was set up by Jeff Barrett in 1990 as the acid house revolution was in full swing; early releases set the tone and tempo for the mood of the decade to come – their first release was by perhaps the most revered acid house DJ of them all, Andrew Weatherall; and this was quickly followed by singles from St Etienne and Manic Street Preachers. Heavenly was always different to other labels; more of a ‘club’ with a defiant spirit of inclusiveness, and in 1994 they set up The Heavenly Social, which alongside the Hacienda, became perhaps the most famous club in recent British history, where the Chemical Brothers made their name. Here at Fopp we’re taking a look in no particular order at ten of our favourite Heavenly releases of recent memory, all of them featured in our current Heavenly promotion in-store.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Flying Microtonal Banana
Being one of the five brilliant albums released in 2017 by King Gizzard & the Lizard wizard, the band delve into the world of microtonality, music using intervals not found in the customary Western tuning, which lends an eastern feel to the music. The songs are still packed with all the usual fuzzed out psychedelia that we’ve all come to expect from a King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard album. The hypnotic guitars, motorik beats and howling Turkish horns set you up for a hair-raising listen.
CD £8 LP £25
Audiobooks – Now! (in a minute)
The debut of an unlikely music duo, Now! (In a Minute) introduces the arty synthesizer pop of David Wrench and Evangeline Ling, who call themselves audiobooks. With danceable electroclash-esque production and a vocal range from Ling that ranges anywhere from a punk screech to a softly spoken, sardonic storytelling, the duo have crafted a charmingly pretentious record.
CD £8 LP £17
Pip Blom – Boat
The Dutch quartet Pip Blom spent a couple years releasing home-recorded songs, mid-fi EPs, and the occasional single, all the while refining and honing their ’90s indie rock-loving sound into something sleek, sharp, and powerful. The result was the groups debut album Boat, and boy, it’s one hell of a debut record. Boat has all the hallmarks of classic indie rock — loud/quiet dynamics, crashing cymbals, guitar overload, yearningly off-kilter vocals, and hooks that cut flesh while breaking hearts.
CD £8 LP £22
Confidence Man – Confident Music for Confident People
The party doesn’t stop on Confidence Man’s irrepressibly upbeat debut Confident Music for Confident People. The Australian quartet — fronted by duo Janet Planet and Sugar Bones and backed by synth man Reggie Goodchild and drummer Clarence McGuffie — do not relent over the course of 11 pulsating dance anthems, infusing each one with a heavy dose of campy, tongue-in-cheek fun like predecessors Scissor Sisters, Fischerspooner, LCD Soundsystem, and CSS.
mattiel – Georgia Gothic
Mattiel’s third album, Georgia Gothic, signifies a change in process and configuration: it’s their first release as a duo. It’s an album that pays tribute to the contemporary music scene of their base of Atlanta, Georgia. To that end, they incorporate elements like Americana, sleek pop, and even hip-hop — mostly subtly and without losing a grip on their punk blues-rock anchor.
CD £11 LP £22
Working Men’s Club – Working Men’s Club
Working Men’s Club started out making music heavily influenced by jittery post-punk and new wave, but after a sea change and some lineup adjustments, they re-emerged as a jittery post-punk-influenced synth rock band. The band’s leader, Sydney Minsky-Sargeant, wanted to make music that was more suited for dancing and more reflective of his love of techno, and their self-titled debut album certainly does that. The record is decked out in vintage synths, rippling 808 sequencers, thudding drum machines, rubbery synth bass lines, and grooves that split the difference between Inner City and the Human League.
CD £8 LP £20
Stealing Sheep – Big Wow
The third album by the London trio Stealing Sheep finishes the transition from brooding folk-rock to sparkling modern pop that began on 2015’s Not Real. Almost the only thing that remains from their early days as a group are the bewitching vocal harmonies that Rebecca Hawley, Emily Lansley, and Lucy Mercer spin as easily as they breathe. Big Wows is a bright and shiny modern pop album that’s full of bleeping synths, rubbery dance beats, and big fat hooks.
CD £8 LP £17
Mark Lanegan Band – Somebody’s Knocking
Like most of his releases credited to the Mark Lanegan Band, Somebody’s Knocking finds him collaborating with Alain Johannes and Rob Marshall, who play most of the instruments — Johannes is also credited as producer — and this time Lanegan’s unlikely fascination with electronics and dance music dominates the set. Clean keyboard lines and the steady pulse of programmed percussion are the foundation of much of this album even as Lanegan’s singing reflects his raw and blues-infused vocal trademark. And while there are numbers that sound bigger, harder, and more rock-oriented, they’re all designed around grooves that would make any misanthrope worth their salt shake their money maker.
CD £8 LP £23
The Orielles – Disco Volador
Since the release of their debut, The Orielles added a keyboard player to their guitar-bass-drums lineup, added new influences (Turkish psych, Italian film music) to their already full plate, tightened up the grooves and got a little weirder too. The result Disco Volador is bass heavy, insistent, and built for inclusive dancefloors.
CD £8 LP £17
Temples – Sun Structures
Temples are four young lads from Kettering who for all purposes sound like they just popped in from 1967 after a short trip on a paisley-bedecked TARDIS. On their debut Sun Structures they don’t miss a single sonic trick; from soaring 12-string jangle to backwards-tracked guitars, flowing vocal harmonies, swooning Mellotrons, and baroque organ interludes, they know their musical history like they lived through it. Sun Structures, is a nostalgia trip for sure, while at the same time sounding completely contemporary.
CD £8 LP £17