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From St Vincent to Black Midi: The 10 best records available at Rough Trade this month

Here at Far Out, we are teaming up with the legendary Rough Trade to give you a chance to win ten of the hottest records released throughout May, all on precious vinyl that deserves to be the pride of place in your collection.

Rough Trade began as a humble record shop on Kensington Park Road, a location that founder Geoff Travis opened in 1976. Over 40 years since their doors first opened, Rough Trade has grown a reputation for being one of the holiest places of worship for any devout music lover.

Rough Trade champion creativity and passion in equal measure; nothing else matters. This mantra has served the store well and created an unparalleled reputation. Rough Trade’s flagship store – located on East London’s Brick Lane – is a pilgrimage for musos, with musical magic oozing out of every pore of the building.

In addition to the two stores in London, they expanded Stateside in 2012 when they opened their doors in Williamsburg for Rough Trade New York – which has since made the pilgrimage to one of the Big Apple’s holiest music locations. Two years later, the iconic store opened up another store in the UK in the Lace Market area of Nottingham, solidifying their presence within the alternative music industry.

In a new partnership with Rough Trade, Far Out will be giving one of our lucky readers the chance to win ten records hand-selected by the store that have been released over the last month.

Let’s take a look at what could be yours then, shall we? To be in with a chance of winning all ten records, enter the competition here.

The 10 best records available at Rough Trade in May:

Black Midi – Cavalcade

Black Midi felt a weight of expectation following the release of their critically revered 2019 debut album Schlagenheim, a project which found itself nominated for the Mercury. Now though, Cavalcade was released last week through Rough Trade and has seen them continue their adventurous journey into dynamic new sonic territories.

For this record, Black Midi successfully refined their sound and didn’t rely upon improvisation as heavily. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in the improvisation myth of divine intervention, that if a song doesn’t happen in the room naturally without it being guided by someone specifically, when we’re all just feeling the vibe, then it’s not proper and it’s not pure,” the band’s Geordie Greep previously said. 

“That’s kind of a dangerous thing because you end up never trying something different, or you just abandon an idea if it doesn’t work at first because you’re always waiting for that thing to arrive perfect,” he added.

To buy the record from Rough Trade, visit here.

Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victime

Afrique Victime arrived on May 21st through Matador Records and is the highly anticipated latest record from the supremely talented Mdou Moctar.

The latest album follows up from 2019’s Ilana: The Creator and is another enchanting record that is a must-listen for anybody with even a passing interest in Saharan blues. Moctar crams face-melting riffs with poetic meditations on love, religion, women’s rights, inequality, and Western Africa’s exploitation at the hands of colonial powers. Tuareg’s finest does it again on this effervescent effort.

To buy the record from Rough Trade, visit here.

St Vincent – Daddy’s Home

St. Vincent’s sixth-studio record, Daddy’s Home, is another album that could be yours. There’s an old-school cool that exists on the effort without ever getting too pastiche, and again she linked up with superstar producer Jack Antonoff, who worked his magic at the mixing desk.

“The album was inspired by the classic records of the ’70s. Stevie, Sly, Stones, Steely Dan, Chords, Groove,” Annie Clark previously said. “The days when sophisticated harmony and rhythm didn’t sound heady – they just sounded and felt good. Lots of guitar. But warm sounds, not distortion and chaos. Hopefully a turn nobody will see coming.”

To buy the record from Rough Trade, visit here.

Sons of Kemet – Black to the Future

Black To The Future arrived on May 14th through Impulse Records. Sons of Kemet are led by the inimitable Shabaka Hutchings, who released his second solo album, We Are Sent Here by History, in 2020. The shimmering latest effort marks their first as a collective since 2018’s Mercury Prize-nominated Your Queen Is A Reptile.

Hutchings said about Black To The Future: “Black to the Future is a sonic poem for the invocation of power, remembrance and healing. It depicts a movement to redefine and reaffirm what it means to strive for black power. The meaning is not universal, and the cultural context of the listener will shape their understanding.”

Adding: “Yet in the end, the overarching message remains the same: For humanity to progress we must consider what it means to be Black to the Future.”

To buy the record from Rough Trade, visit here.

William Onyeabor – World Psychedelic Classic 5 – Who is William Onyeabor?

William Onyeabor is one of the most enigmatic musicians of modern times. He passed away in 2017, and had a string of hit records in his native Nigeria throughout the ’70s. Onyeabor originally released music on his own Wilfilms label, which he created after he returned from studying cinematography in Russia.

Years later, the mysterious artist was discovered by David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, who gifted the world with Onyeabor. According to them, he “self-released eight albums between 1977 and 1985 and then became a born-again Christian, refusing to ever speak about himself or his music again.”

The label never spoke personally with Onyeabor himself and, instead, had to talk to people who seem to have firsthand knowledge to understand his life, but after 18 months, they gave up after no success. Thankfully, three years before his death, he made his debut broadcast appearance on BBC 6 Music in 2014, where he poignantly told Lauren Laverne: “I only create music that will help the world.”

To buy the record from Rough Trade, visit here.

Can – Live In Stuttgart 1975

Krautrock legends Can have shared the first in a curated series of live concerts available that are set to be available for the first time on vinyl and CD.

Live In Stuttgart 1975 was initially recorded on tape. They have carefully restored the live albums, which comprises the entirety of each show in the format of a story with a beginning, middle and end, which allows Can’s performances to take on a life of their own.

To buy the record from Rough Trade, visit here.

Billie Marten – Flora Fauna

Not many 22-year-old’s have released their debut album, but Marten, remarkably, is already on her third after sharing her first effort when she was just 17. Since she first arrived on the scene, Marten’s sound has grown and matured, with Flora Fauna signifying her evolution from a teenage acoustic prodigy into a forceful rockstar with an uncanny eye for melody.

Marten’s new material blends her signature folk background with a wider span of influences than ever before, with the Yorkshire singer citing Can, Broadcast, Arthur Russell, and Fiona Apple as influential on Flora Fauna. On top of that, Rough Trade has an exclusive version of the record available on sun yellow.

To buy the record from Rough Trade, visit here.

The Chills – Scatterbrain

The Chills seventh studio album, Scatterbrain, is another record that could be yours. The band were at the forefront of the Dunedin sound in the early nineties, and their latest output shows that they are still firing on all cylinder.

Led by Martin Phillipps, the new record follows on from Snowbound in 2018 and the critically-acclaimed film The Chills: The Triumph And Tragedy Of Martin Phillipps, which arrived a year later. Scatterbrain is their most thought-provoking and reflective record yet.

To buy the record from Rough Trade, visit here.

Portico Quartet – Terrain

Duncan Bellamy and Jack Wyllie began work on what would become Terrain in their East London studio in May 2020 amid the backdrop of a global lockdown that would set the tone for the project. The three-part ambient effort takes inference from American minimalism and sees Portico Quartet expand on new musical horizons.

Wyllie noted: “We’ve always had this side of the band in some form. The core of it is having a repeated pattern, around which other parts move in and out and start to form a narrative. We used to do longer improvisations not dissimilar to this around the time of our second record Isla. On Terrain we’ve really dug into it and explored that form.

“I suppose there are obvious influences such as American minimalism, but I was particularly inspired by the work of Japanese composer Midori Takada. Her approach, particularly on ‘Through the Looking Glass’, where she moves through different worlds incorporating elements of minimalism with non-Western instruments and melodies were at the front of my mind when writing this music.”

To buy the record from Rough Trade, visit here.

Sons of Raphael – Full-Throated Messianic Homage

Sons of Raphael are made up of London brothers Loral and Ronnel Raphael, who have finally shared their long-awaited debut album. The group have been operating together for seven years, and it was worth the wait.

Their first offering features singles including ‘Revolution’ and ‘He Who Makes The Morning Darkness’, which take the listener on this wild sci-fi experience and explodes your mind. Full Throated Messianic Homage was written, arranged and produced by the Raphael brother. In addition, it was mixed by Philippe Zdar and comes in a standard gatefold black vinyl edition, including a special 24-page lyric booklet.

To buy the record from Rough Trade, visit here.

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