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Pick of the pops: Sound Records’ best of 2021

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The iconic record store at the top of Stroud High Street has gained a reputation as a go-to shop for all things vinyl.

Run by Tom Berry and Sean Roe, and sometimes assisted by Enid the cat, they describe Sound Records as ‘a high street and online shop selling the best records of all genres including rock, jazz, funk, experimental, house, soundtracks, breaks n beats, Latin, African and hip hop.’

Tom and Sean have highlighted the following five as their albums of the year:

Dry Cleaning – New Long Leg

Florence Shaw’s deadpan and sardonic ‘speaking in tune’ singing style is at the heart of this great debut LP by Dry Cleaning. With the band providing a superbly taut and riff-rich backing her surreal observations, vivid descriptions and image laden wordplays are given a launchpad to propel themselves into the listener’s brain! You’ll find yourself head banging to a refrain of ‘’Tokyo bouncy ball, an Oslo bouncy ball, a Rio de Janeiro bouncy ball…’  not knowing what it means, but feeling all the better for it !

Floating Points / Pharoah Sanders LSO – Promises

Pharaoh Sanders’ collaboration with Sam Shepherd, the British producer and composer who records under the name Floating Points, is an expansive nine-movement piece. They are assisted by The London Symphony Orchestra who create a lush backdrop to the melody lines performed by Sam on electronics, and Sanders with his distinct tone on the Tenor Sax. It’s an absorbing and fascinating listen enlivened by the playing of the veteran jazz saxophonist and his ability to stitch the movements together creating an overwhelmingly beautiful tapestry of sound.

Nine – Sault

Music’s worst kept secret. Delivering their fifth album in three years and the quality control is still very high. This LP focuses heavily on London as a city and a slight return to the post-punk sound of their first two albums. With producer Inflo also delivering records with Little Simz and Cleo Soul this year he is still the man of the moment.

Patched In – Various

We had to include our own release – featuring the cream of Stroud’s electronic talent including Orbury Common, Mermaid Chunky, Wooolheads and many more. All proceeds go to the Prince Albert who once again are having to cancel events due to Covid so buy this and help them out while supporting local music!

Voka Gentle – Writhing

Stroud-based Voka Gentle’s sophomore studio outing is a perfect blend of well-crafted melodic pop hidden under denser more avantgarde-leaning electronic experimentalism. There are hooks galore – little earworms that you only hear twice in the song which makes you want to hit repeat repeatedly. Superbly produced with beautifully detailed sound, and a guest spot from Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne. This remarkable trio have done the town proud with this fantastic release.

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