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Alternative & Indie - To be released November 12, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

Welcome Break is the second studio album from pop/rock band Pip Blom, the follow-up up to their 2019 debut, Boat. This record features a lot more of Pip's brother Tender on vocals, lending an extra layer of harmony to the choruses and bridges. Welcome Break includes the track "Keep It Together." © Liam Martin /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - To be released October 29, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 12, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 7, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 1, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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The 2018 debut of the studio project audiobooks -- the duo of producer/engineer David Wrench and singer/artist/model Evangeline Ling -- was a theatrical, form-shifting work born largely out of improvisation. When they re-teamed for the follow-up, they took a more deliberate, streamlined approach, focusing on their playfully arty, club-minded post-punk and techno tracks for the creation of Astro Tough. A nonetheless moody, volatile set of songs, it also finds the duo committing to Ling as sole vocalist. They set the scene with pulsing bass, upbeat hi-hat chicks, and a repeated melodic synth hook on opener "The Doll," whose vocals in the first half consist of a spoken word narrative involving a child and a lost doll. Adding layers of synths to looped beats, the second half switches to DJ-friendly sung vocal samples that include the phrase "So hard to let go." Elsewhere, "First Move" has a more melodic, dance-pop disposition, while "Driven by Beef" features an increasingly outraged Ling as she rants about acne and enemies atop overdriven synth bass and skittering drums. Wry highlight "The English Manipulator" ("He was so rude and well-mannered") offers another danceable narrative, this time with colorful bleeps and bloops ornamenting dramatic sung-spoken recollections and the contrasting melodic choruses. When audiobooks occasionally opt out of dance spaces for something more jazz-rock-oriented ("Blue Tits") or for the melancholy Baroque pop of closer "Farmer," these tracks still manage to sound like they belong, as they play into the album's self-medicating, easily triggered emotional arc. A welcome evolution from the debut, Astro Tough's lingering inconsistency is part of the fun. © Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 22, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Pop - Released September 10, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Twenty years and ten albums into a career as one of the most consistently rewarding English pop acts around, Saint Etienne have delivered a work that is brimming with a sense of finality. It's not so much that I've Been Trying to Tell You is mournful—it definitely is not—but more that every track on the album sounds like a dramatic, last-song-on-side-two statement of closure. The textures on this largely instrumental album all lean toward the sweepingly cinematic, which could be attributed somewhat to the collaborative presence of film and TV composer Gus Bousfield, who joins the core trio of Sarah Cracknell, Bob Stanley, and Pete Wiggs on a few of the songs. More likely, though, the mood is defined by the working materials the band used: the bulk of the album is composed of samples and sonics culled from the late '90s. While the era—in the UK at least—was one of prosperity and optimism, the mood recreated here is far more nostalgic and wistful. Stanley and Wiggs have proven to be remarkable curators of place-and-time-specific vibes on their ongoing series of compilations they've overseen for the Ace Records label, and that spot-on curatorial sense serves Saint Etienne quite well here. Instead of indulging in a straightforward recreation of a trance-pop wonderland, cuts like "Little K" and "Broad River" give the listener—most likely one well past their clubbing day—a warm, gauzy sense of the same blissful feeling from a night out back then. Trip-hop beats make their way into "Pond House" and glitchy ambience punctuates "I Remember It Well," yet both of these songs manage to be both challenging and disorienting in their presentation. It's a stunning feat that the group has accomplished here. In making an album that is both evocative of an era but respectful of the reality that time moves on, Saint Etienne have crafted a challenging and rewarding work that manages to be incredibly emotionally resonant on multiple levels. One hopes that I've Been Trying to Tell You isn't, in fact, a final statement from the band, but if it is, they will have gone out on an incredibly high note. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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House - Released September 9, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Techno - Released September 9, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 7, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Dance - Released August 24, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Pop - Released August 19, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 17, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 11, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Dance - Released August 5, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 3, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Pop - Released July 27, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released July 27, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 15, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 6, 2021 | Heavenly Recordings

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