another archive posting from 2010, originally appeared on losing today…..further instalments of this particular missive – i think there’s about 9 parts in all – tomorrow….
antonymes, kria brekken, standard fare, aino tyyti, benjamin shaw, nosferatu d2, slow six, post human, erland and the carnival, speak and the spells, laura marling, goldheart assembly, algernon, brown vs brown, new york art quartet, radio massacre revolution, cuneiform, philM, tayside mental health, endometrium cuntplow, avi buffalo, the blanche hudson weekend, sissy spacek, hexicon, the last rapes of mr teach, smoke faeries, hygiene, cam deas, spirit spine, drumcunt, notwist. laurence son, kathryn williams, an experiment on a bird in the air pump, hoop dreams, fuck montreal, granny frost, banned books, fossils, spoils and relics, shrag, jack rose, table, john foxx, thee vicars, the granite shore, the morning after girls, the woven project
http://www.myspace.com/antonymes – long time observers of these occasional journals will no doubt note with some interest that we featured Antonymes in previous dispatches wherein if I recall rightly we likened his frost tipped serenades to among others – Satie, Debussy and Harold Budd. Well we received a rare nudge from Ian (Antonymes) inviting us to have a peak at his re-interpretation of the seasonal hymn ‘silent night’ (incidentally a childhood favourite of mine if truth be known – still makes me well up when I hear it – even the Dickies version though for differing reasons obviously. Retold as ’the night is silent’ – what can I say. Impeccable. As though ripped from the very heavens themselves this twinkling star crossed beauty is justly serviced with the reverence it richly deserves, unassuming and elegant, the slender and measured tendering of the sleepy headed piano braids succulently bathed in raining showers of celestial feedback halos and bliss drenched chorus’ impart upon it an unworldly aura that just leaves you breathless, speechless and rooted in awe to the spot – references if references are desired would have you relocating a point of origin somewhere near OMD’s ’Architecture and Morality’ set for comparable class. Oh and just in case you were wondering – indeed yes we did shed a joyful tear or three.
Staying with Antonymes – that’ll teach us for not reading our messages properly there’s word of an album primed for release on Cathedral Transmissions entitled ’Beauty becomes the enemy of the future’ which apart from being mastered by Wil Bolton better known to the more clued up as Cheju – is also produced by Paul Humphreys of OMD fame.
And here’s a little video featuring Ian’s ‘grotesquely beautiful’ which was used to accompany a festive decoration set commissioned for his niece and her husband for Heathrow Airports 5th terminal…..
Kria Brekken ‘uterus water’ (paw tracks). Like Olaf Arnalds (whose ‘vio og vio’ full length released on limited licence via one little Indian mid way through last year to much adoring love over here at the singled out frost topped record shed), Kria Brekken is another of those ex members of Mum (oh okay – more precisely one of the bands founder members and better known to all as Kristin Anna Valtysdottir) currently to be found cut loose of their musical moorings and left to their own devices to craft out strangely enchanting aural figurines. As always with these things we’re having trouble downloading this cut and its accompanying press release from the press people’s site though not to worry where there’s a will there’s a way and its not for us to be halted in our pursuit by mere ’nah mate who are you again’ error messages. Instead we steeled forth into the voids of my space world and found said cut sitting shyly on her musical player eagerly awaiting some playful fun. Apparently this soon to be cutely pressed upon 7 inches of wax treasure comes strictly limited to just 100 copies via the weird and wonky workshop that is Paw Tracks. ‘uterus water’ was apparently written during a period of illness when she was holed up reluctant to brave the elements outside – written specially to ‘lull children to sleep’. there’s no doubting its entrancing lullaby-esque nature, one suspects something to be savoured first and foremost by fans of moomlooo (who you may recall paired up with Phelan Sheppard as Smile Down Upon Us for the esteemed Static Caravan imprint) for ‘uterus water’ sounds like some half woven dreamscape, imbibed with a woozily soft psyche centre as though a snoozing Damon and Naomi with Ghost it teases tenderly disappearing and re-appearing into view like some gaseous apparition reaching from the haze bound ether weaving its potions primed upon long thought lost primitive and arcane mystical folk love charms. Bewitching in a word. http://www.myspace.com/kriabrekkan
Standard Fare ‘fifteen’ (thee Sheffield phonographic corporation). Already the cause of much swooning around these parts with their dinky drilled darling of a debut ‘dancing’ mid way through last year – Sheffield’s favourite tune terrific toe tapping tearaway trio return to the fray with another cutely coiled slice of razor sharpened spiky pop loveliness courtesy of ‘fifteen’. pressed up on blue vinyl this little cutie seesaws and shimmies with such affectionately drilled wonky aplomb you could almost kiss it for its sheer audacity as it opines more bitter sweet scars from the affairs of the heart and into the bargain turns in a neat and dandy line in classic era Postcard cues albeit as though rewired by some drop dead and dandy pact formulated by a pairing of a lovelorn shoe shuffling early career Weddoes and the Shop Assistants. Repeat plays may cause pleasurable panic attacks. Consider yourselves well and truly warned. http://www.theespac.com
http://www.myspace.com/ainotytti – with a debut album entitled ‘apophenia i – iv’ about to surface next month via the phantom channel imprint, aino tytti construct beautifully glazed and parched portraits that bleed and fuse the celestial with the mesmeric, two sneak peak edits of what to expect feature on their my space player, ’apophenia extract 1’ is the sound of sepia faded memories bitter sweetly wrapped in honey glazed halos of ether torn feedback mistrals while ’apophenia extract 2’ imparts a somewhat strangely innate serenely simmering countenance about its wares that’s only matched one suspects by the aching harmonic lull and finality of the sea itself. dream pop and demurring drone purists will be blissfully beguiled.
Benjamin Shaw ‘I got the pox the pox is what I got (anti-hero). Admittedly this popped through our letter box before Christmas had a brief nose around and was much adored during the few momentary turns it had gracing the hi-fi – and then it went AWOL. cries of frustration followed and a full scale rescue was detailed to track the blighter down. And tracked down it was though slightly light of its press release (and its partnering Anti Hero release which we assume to be Nosferatu D2’s lavish and lovely full length – rest assured we will find it in the fullness of time). Anyhow back to Benjamin Shaw, we are assuming this is his debut release – and mighty fine it is to as it creaks, groans and wonkily weaves and waltzes its way around the listening space, between the rushes of discordance and the warmly inviting tonalities of his rustic rambles Shaw is blessed with a creativity that picks and fuses at the frailness of Daniel Johnston, the cleverness of Jeffrey Lewis (’when I fell over in the city‘), the subtle detailing of Elliott Smith, the turn of phrase of Simon Joyner and the carefree nonchalance of Jonathon Richman. Part bitter sweet and bruised there’s something beautifully broken about Benjamin Shaw’s compositional line in that despite their brittle and befallen braiding there’s an undeterred optimism that shines throughout to which makes its listening strangely rejuvenating and healing. Add to that the varying richly woven palette to which he incorporates – from the bar room slumber of the wounded and weary ’12,000 sentinels’, the parched road blues (albeit as though casked in the remotest regions of Ireland) stroll of affectionately adorned lovelorn ‘when I fell over in the city’ to the lurching and wallowing campfire stupor of the cosy toed and snoozing ‘I got the pox the pox is what I got’ – imagine if you will a sunnier sided Will Oldham. All said though nothing quite matches the drop dead allure of ‘chocolate girl’ – a beautified slice of fragmented love notation that’s cast succulently amid a finite detailing of mountain gospel glow which unless we are seriously mistaken may well give even those heart hurt lovelies the Low Anthem cause to keep a check over their shoulder. Genius.
Think we mentioned Nosferatu D2 in passing just a second ago – well sadly it seems they are no more having parted ways some time last year – the aforementioned album we will try to nail for review treatment though for now feast upon a freebie alternative Christmas song of sorts available to download from this here link leading from here http://www.audioantihero.com/Home.htm entitled ‘its Christmas time (for god’s sake)’ which should appeal first and foremost to fans of Decoration.
And while we are still loosely on the subject of Christmas things – yes I know it was last month blah blah blah – but we had toothache so our Christmas is now and anyway its snowy so its Christmassy -.Nuff said I think – there’s a specially selected spotify play list put together by those nice people over at drowned in sound which you can access via http://open.spotify.com/user/seaninsound/playlist/2sFop4Z6a9oczYj8nGwSLL
And back with Benjamin Shaw (you didn’t think we/’d let you get away that easy did you) – a video for ’when I fell over in the city’……
Slow Six ‘tomorrow becomes you’ (western vinyl). Another release which I’m afraid to say we’ve foolishly mislaid the press release for. Where do they all go I lie at wake wondering (answers on an e-postcard to the usual address). Undeterred by our obvious carelessness and ineptitude we hooked up to their my space page for some background info which reveals they hail from Brooklyn are a quintet and have had to their name two full length releases prior to this latest for the much admired of late Western Vinyl imprint both of which have found themselves the subject of critical adoration from such esteemed folk as Wire, Brainwashed and Stylus in recent memory. it’s a trend that we suspect will continuer a pace judging by what ‘tomorrow becomes you’ has to offer for pushing the ticker tape past the 50 minute mark Slow Six draw you seductively into their hermetically sealed playroom, it’s a playroom that serves as sanctuary to the broken, the thoughtful, the bruised and the reflective. Seven tracks feature within that dip deftly between the mood contours imparting the mellow and the lilting with the hypnotic and the stately, the keynote intricate math / post rock signatures find themselves underpinned and distilled by a classical detail that at times has a feel of a youthful Nyman, from the frost dripped opening passages of ’the night you left New York’ which soon defrost to blossom into a wholesomely mesmeric feast of arcing riffs duelling atop softly tenderised musical box chimes to the undulating cross weaves that sumptuously saturate ‘the sympathetic response system (part1)’ itself a mind expanding slice of bliss grooved cosmic boogie much reminiscent of a tranquilised Tank while elsewhere ‘the sympathetic response system (part 2)’ could easily pass for a laid back and twinkle eyed minimalist Tortoise cavorting with a particularly chilled to almost comatose Boards of Canada. Lest we forget to mention the albums more introspective instances – namely the storm approaching calm of ’cloud cover (part 2)’ dutifully graced by a frosted elegance and the kind of tear evoking stillness more commonly encountered these days on releases bearing the name Inch Time on their hide, that said get through this cut without being struck by an overpowering sense of hollowed awe and you’re a better man than me. There is of course its other half to contend with via the storm brewing tension curdling within of ‘cloud cover (part 1)’ while the unsettlingly lullaby-esque gaelic / Australasian / oriental harmonics (think Set Fire to Flames in romantic moods) of the sighing optimism of ‘because together we resonate’ is something best savoured with lights dimmed in the re-assuring embrace of a loved one. http://www.westernvinyl.com
And here’s a little video for an oldie entitled ‘the pulse of this skyline with lightning like nerves’…..
Post human ‘uncharted audio presents the dub plate sessions – volume 3’ (uncharted audio). The third instalment in Uncharted Audio’s ongoing though obviously crucial dub plate sessions – a limited series of specially commissioned releases pressed up on thick slabs of ten inch wax with a strict no repeat pressing of just 250 copies. The basic idea of the series was the extending of invitations to a celebrated artist from the electronica / dance underground to stump up an original cut on one side and have said track re-wired and reconstructed by another aural alchemist from the field of experimental ssoundscapes. Post human (Josh Doherty & Rich Bevan) find themselves given the honour of wrapping up this highly acclaimed series. At 6 and a half minutes in length ’europa sky’ provides a sumptuous finale to the series, a pristine playroom of smoothly contoured mind expanding groove that reaches back to classic era house / techno a la 808 State, FSOL and Biosphere. A gorgeous and richly tailored palette of cerebrally turned nocturnal seduction tweaked upon wave upon wave of purring milky white tonalities and bliss tipped trancendentalist motifs that craftily join the dots to link the past to the present as it veers ever so deftly into spheres these days more commonly associated with Cheju. Flip the disc to find the same cut put through its recalibrated paces by the much admired Cyan 341 who if I recall rightly has featured on more than one occasion in previous singled out despatches via releases for uncharted audio and rednetic. Staying pretty much faithful to the original template Cyan 341 dons his overalls and sets about applying his cosmic dub brushstrokes and engages a delirious workbench of trip-wired sound patches to reform Posthuman’s remote and distantly observed glacially tipped gem stone into something hitherto more in touching distance and equipped for some sophisticated lights dimmed shadow cutting club floor action. Well worth a peak. Future uncharted audio releases we are advised will see outings shortly from the likes of LJ Kruzer and Cursor Miner – just between you and me I think their spoiling us. http://www.unchartedaudio.com
Hopefully next month we should have an earful of Static Caravan’s new season of sounds, head honcho Geoff has promised us copies of a new Table 7 inch, a 12 from Inch Time, in addition there are 7’s on the horizon from both Hannah Peel and Tula as well as a new Men An Tol full length with the first 50 copies coming replete with a specially commissioned Pete Fowler art print. Sadly though unless you’ve already pre-ordered one – the 100 only Billy Mahonie lathe cut album has completely sold out – sorry folk but we nabbed the last copy. Also there’s a limited 80 only cassette release by Southall Riot’s Phil M – again sold out at source and Normans – and we should know because we had it in our basket only for the blighter to jump ship at the checkout. Thankfully Phil was on hand with a few spares. For now though and with a self titled debut album looming near via Static and Full Time Hobby here’s the second single from……..
Erland and the Carnival ’trouble in mind’ – think I’m right in saying that we hooked up to this lots debut a few months ago – well sometime when the sun was out in what was allegedly our summer time, a trio no less formed around the talents of Orkney Isle resident Erland Cooper and aided and abetted by Simon Tong (see Verve et al) and David Nock. Described in passing as Pentangle flavoured by Morricone with a dash of Love, a sprinkling of 13rth Floor Elevators and a smidgeon of Joe Meek. All sounds fine by us. As previously advertised the bitter sweetly reflective ’trouble in mind’ is their second release, a taster if you will for the aforementioned arriving full length embraces according to the press release notational elements culled from Alan Lomax and Bruce Springsteen and weaves them into a curiously lilting soft topped super chilled slice of drive time wired west coast pop that’s indelibly sprinkled with all manner of lysergic wooziness – in fact at times its sounds are warped and silvery as though to suggest the result of a tape left on the window ledge exposed to a bright hot sun, obvious comparison notes suggest a Blue Oyster Cult fan in the ranks not to mention a hint of ? and the mysterians though scratch a little deeper and the melodic tonalities softly secrete a subtle B-Movie ’remembrance day’ vibe. Does it for us. http://www.staticcaravan.org
Speak and the Spells ‘she’s dead’ (robot elephant). Alas we haven’t got a finished copy of this devilishly dark and sinisterly cute 7 inch debut though rest assured we won’t be sleeping a wink until we’re safe in the knowledge that one is tucked under our pillow. Why you might well foolishly ask is that so. Well frankly kids it’s the pack of ravenous and leery dogs bollocks that’s why. A three piece hailing from West London and by the sounds of things the toast of the psycho-billy underground, this should be ripe for the picking for fans of the Birthday Party, Meteors, Inca Babies, Gallon Drunk, Link, the turbines, those old Nuggets and Back from the Grave recording relics et al and of course – goes without saying – the Cramps. Grave stone kicking twanging groove that howls, rattles and kicks with such bare boned parched monochromatic primitivism that it could have easily arrived for all the world dumped in a 60’s lay by having been jettisoned out of some reefer smoke choking car boot driven by the Blue Caps with the Trashmen blearing out of the sound system – best filed under wild and fried grizzled blues perhaps somewhere not a million miles from your prized David Cronenberg’s Wife records. Flip the disc for ’brianna’ – a certified slice of skin peeling shock treated frenetic boogie that had us recalling in the main the panic attacking void-ist three chord punk pop shrill of Spizz Energi albeit as though re-wired by a pop fixated Dead Boys. Nuff said. http://www.myspace.com/speakandthespells
Laura Marling ‘goodbye England’ (virgin). Frankly to yummy for its own good, a one sided etched type vinyl seven inch thing that pines, purrs and coos with such simplistic majesty that it leaves goose bump traces on your skin. Billed as a limited Christmas release and spotted adorning a record shelf by this hapless scribe at a local sound emporium whispering ‘wanted good home buy us please you’ll love us’ or was I just imagining that it did (that’ll teach me to water the heady cocktail of cough medicine, painkillers and two types of antibiotics with Kentucky’s finest malt). Anyway this comes replete with demurring strings arrangements, warm fuzzy glows and the kind of soft centred chocolate box sweetness that makes you want repeatedly dip in again and again until you’ve filled and smothered yourself to the brim within its sweetly coiffured embrace, admirers of the Earlies will be notably drawn by its heart string tugging beauty.
Goldheart Assembly ’so long St Christopher’ (heron). Yes I’m well aware its been out for yonks – but hell we’ve only just picked up a copy and frankly it blew our wig clean off. Hymnal Hammonds, opining slides, caressing west coast drifts and senses melting lilts – what can we say – the warming and mellowing tonalities of Goldheart Assembly’s softly subdued ’so long St. Christopher’ makes the heart swell, the emotions tug and the senses overcome with a touching awe struck aura, the lazy eyed glazes the introspective foot notes and the liberated longing are deftly weaved into a head swirling carnival of countrified mirages that tease and scratch with a carefree fond affection much recalling a starry eyed Gram Parsons twisted and turned by the picture book prettiness of the Low Anthem and the Leisure Society. One for the feint of heart I suspect. Flip over for ’oh really’ – a scorching slab of 60’s sourced wig flipping lemon popsicle garage soul pop that should by rights give their label mates the Soundcarriers cause to keep peaking over their shoulders with a mild degree of envy. http://www.heronrecordings.com
A few new releases heading towards clued up record emporiums near you for considered listening consumption come in the shape of five new full lengths from those arbiters of cool Cuneiform records sound clips / free mp3’s for which you can window shop before purchase over at http://www.cuneiformrecords.com – first up Chicago five piece Algernon whose rapid word of mouth reputation among the chattering classes is fast circulating the confines of their Chicago hometown stump up ‘ghost surveillance’ from which you’ll find ‘broken lady’ selected as the freebie taster download cut. All chilled out pastoral post rock perfection, duelling guitars navigating an intricately weaved looping tapestry of undulating pastures peppered by the subtle tones of lilting jazz lounge motifs, softly tendered South Pacific sea breezes and embraced with a 60’s library-esque brusqueness that might appeal asides to fans of Isotope 217 and David Grubbs, Komeda. Next up Amsterdam based quartet Brown Vs Brown whose ’odds and evens’ throws up the jagged and dislocated ’whirlpool’ a cut that sounds as though it was reared on Henry Cow and Captain Beefheart and no doubt hugely inspired and informed by Touch n’ Go’s mid 90’s catalogue, this lot craft out an infectious array of dislocated and punctuated art rock, just love the mooching and impatient horns as they agitate and dictate the pace and the freeform casualness of the whole thing as it leads the listener by the hand on a strangely wig flipped voyage – something that should first and foremost appeal to lovers of Storm and Stress and the Sea and the Cake. Next up perhaps the pride of the new release pack variously described as an avant garde jazz chamber ensemble, the New York Art Quartet’s flame briefly burned for a short while in the early 60’s – short as it may have been but Tchicai, Rudd, Graves and Moore left a lasting and resonating impression on the jazz scene pretty much tearing up the rule book and turning established notions on their head, their only recorded work was a self titled full length via the hip and trendy ESP until that is now. ’old stuff’ cooks up a collection of early recordings culled from two shows in Copenhagen in ’65 within a fried cornucopia of loose and primal jazz located somewhere between the converging worlds of Ayler and Hayes and sure as hell something that should strike familiar wig flipped chords for fans of Now. Radio Massacre Revolution – a UK trio have been around together as a recording entity for some two decades now, their current opus ’time and motion’ is – if the exquisitely tutored ‘chronus’ the free to download MP3 taster here is anything to judge by – a wide screen masterpiece of prog psych kraut electronic study – a by all accounts 2 and a half hour feast of Tangerine Dream meets Zombi via Floyd and Vangelis mind wiring soundtrack ambience set across 2 discs that are meant to act a four separate lp’s. last up Univers Zero serve up the rather sprightly mayday pageantry ’les kobolds’ culled from their latest unveiling ’Clivage’ – courts the same kind of sweeping floral Elizabethan regalism as was encountered on Nyman’s score for Greenaway’s ’the draughtsmen’s contract’ – ingenious in other words.
And returning back to all things Static Caravan related – that promised cassette release from former Southall Riot man Phil M. Entitled the ’Phil ((m) mix)’ this limited to 80 only cassette comprises 14 tracks all haunseemly packaged in cardboard covers reclaimed and bastardised from boxes ‘pilfered’ from Sainsbury’s, Somerfield and Fat Cat records. Initially intended to be a pure 100% analogue recording – Phil’s apologies on the accompanying track list insert note with a certain degree of disappointment the finishing process being tampered ever so slightly by the introduction of Audacity software. A gem of a release it should be said, those familiar with Southall Riot recordings of old will not be found wanting neither will admirers of both the Freed Unit (‘ok fly girl’ and ‘penny your eyes’) and those recent 4 track recordings by the Bordellos (especially ion the bubblegum psych of ‘impossible thoughts of the late dream‘ or the fried ‘paradising‘) – in fact the minute this release kicked in after its initial Judith Chalmers spoken word sample (yes you did read right) the savoured memories of those SR releases came flooding back in an instant, nice to see that in the intervening years since he last had cause to adorn our turntable that Phil hasn’t lost any of his knack for the turning out of crisply phrased lysergic lo-fi loveliness, imagine the honey tipped kaleidoscopic pop detailing of say the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band dimpled with the mindset of Half Japanese or Jonathan Richman and applied with the skeletal threadbare touch of Guided by Voices. it’s a bracing affair of quickly drilled minimalist psych pop treasures in the making briefly appearing / disappearing in a fleeting instant all deftly despatched in a lysergic flavouring of sugar drizzled lazy eyed tonalities. That said its not just sun shiney radiant pop that you’ll find here, dig a little deeper and a few surprises are there for the discovering such as the darkly disturbed dream weaving mirage that is the instrumental ’telephone box = prison’ with its nods to Barrett era Floyd. Elsewhere there’s the cosmic promenade pop of ‘were’ which could easily be Meek meets Tornadoes meets Pluto Monkey via Wire in another time, age / world while purists of late 90‘s Montreal pop would do well to scout ‘songbird‘s return‘ while simultaneously refreshing your memory banks with Constellations finest moments whilst dare we neglect to mention ‘fade back as luck‘ which if we didn‘t know any better sounds not unlike an unlikely studio meeting between Gnac, Roy Montgomery and L‘Augmentation. Flip the tape to be greeted by a spot of ’hex’ era Fall via ’the unexplainable’. All said it’s the sets obvious out on its own curio ’do you know’ that gets our vote as the collections best moment – a kind of hot spin wash of loosely fragmented and unrelated sounds weaved into a discernibly weird and wired lurching and mooching montage of ghostly Cab Calloway apparitions refracted through the sonic sound chamber of the much missing Element of Creeping Bent fame and dutifully peppered with the mind altering and trippy vibes of ’bad orb whirling ball’ era Walking Seeds.
A wholly analogue version of the ‘mix’ is apparently available on polite request – a copy of which we’ll try to nab for further mentions.
And there we were perusing one of the many music titles to be found in our local newsagents when we spotted a review for ‘Spring and Port Wine’ which for so long being out of print and unavailable on general release is finally being given a full outing on DVD. About time we here you say – and if you didn’t say – then why not – because this is one of the oft overlooked silent classics of northern Brit realism of the 60’s. okay yes it was released in 1970 – a screen adaptation of a Bill Naughton play featuring a stellar cast headed up by James Mason, Diana Coupland, Susan George and Rodney Bewes. A tale of the Cromptons, a northern family headed by a strict disciplinarian factory hand father (Mason) and a doting subservient wife / mother (Coupland) – bringing up four children – in some ways an excellent historical reflection of life in the 60’s – all at humbling (the religious dogmas of the day), harrowing (Hilda’s pregnancy out of wedlock and the potential shame) and hilarious (Harold and Wilfred leaving home or not as the case turns out) – famous perhaps for the fish scene a fish scene and graced with one of the most sympathetic and fitting musical scores courtesy of Douglas Gamley.
Staying with DVD’s – one of our wee Xmas treats was the purchasing of the ’Absolutely’ box set. A show I remember being aired at the tail end of the 80’s via Channel 4 – and as I seem to recall much influenced in presentation terms by Monty Python albeit sprinkled for good measure with the essences of the Goons and a degree of NTNON – this gathers together the imps four televised series in their unadulterated glory, mind you we swear we only remember being only two stretching to three and was most surprised to note the fourth series ended up being aired in ’93 – maybe our memory is playing tricks. Again maybe our memory is a playing tricks – the little bugger – because we swear we remember one of the ongoing gags surrounding the hapless Stoneybridge Councillors (Bruce, Boab, Ek, Maigret, Gordy, Erk and Wully to you) pestering Sean Connery to appear at a promotional event only to be told ‘dear Stonebridge – fuck off’ – alas we haven’t come across it yet it despite managing to happily get through half the box set. Elsewhere there’s everyone’s favourite stalker in the making Calum Gilhooley and Don and George a kind of Gilbert and George meets Derek and Clive – for more information on this iconic series go to http://www.absolutelyandy.com
Just before Xmas we received a rather nice little note from Al Scotch Tapes saying he was sending over a parcel of new releases – alas said parcel never arrived – hopefully it hasn’t gone west in the mail system as is the case of a fair few packages these days – however our mood was lifted with the arrival of a seven inch split featuring –
Tayside Mental Health / Endometrium Cuntplow ‘spilt’ (scotch tapes). Regular patrons of these pages will need no introductions nor reminding of our fondness for Tayside Mental Health – they have since appearing on our radar a little over a year ago provided something of a listening obsession in our bijou record playing space not to say scaring our neighbours witless with their sand frosted squalls and stylus melting power electronics. This particular release sees them paired up with Endometrium Cuntplow – alas not playing together (now frankly that would be spoiling us) – no instead each is left to their own uniquely corrosive devices to fill one side of wax as they see fit. Played at a number of speeds (including 78rpm – indeed we managed to salvage an old turntable from imminent destruction) and all sounding dare I say pretty nifty not to mention scary, Tayside Mental Health opt to show their playful side via the slightly misleadingly enchanted titled ‘cuckoo ping ping green fairytale’ – a delightfully skewed and ostensibly wired and wonky slice of fried fun metered out amid a playful landscape of hotwired aborted Cartoon Network themes seemingly jettisoned through some impish mincing machine. In sharp contrast the charmingly titled ‘retreating scrotum, heaving bowel’ (a title straight out of the Carcass abattoir technicians beginners guide to anatomical nasties) is a little more – shall we say – moulded in the skin peeling acid bath mindset, a punishing head scrambling exercise in finger nails gouging blackboards, dismembered fairground follies and demonic primal shock therapy screams – agreed not as caustic or wilfully antagonistic as fellow noise-nik Kylie Minoise and dare we say edging into territories more readily occupied by a mentally deranged Zea with murderous intent yet all the same spiked with enough volcanic attrition to make your ears pop and your eyeballs bleed. Flip over for Endometrium Cuntplow’s (now there’s a name made for t-shiirts) – again no strangers to these pages, the work of one David Lucien Matheke who if we recall rightly heads up the Nihil Underground and Love Torture imprints (though don’t take our word for it as we haven’t had time to do the requisite research). As with the fun loving Taysider’s Mr Matheke occupies his groove space with two ominous slabs of creeps-ville fayre. The deeply unsettling ’rinsom wars edit minus’ opens his account – eerie communications, weird whirring collages and atmospheric apparitions are the order of the day, disembodied frequency flips coiled around manipulated hypnotic trance waves that to these ears sound like the amplified chatter of a processor chip – admirers of the more oblique work of Dreams of Tall Buildings and Mount Vernon Arts Lab will savour to their hearts content. Better still the industrial mechanised kraut dread drone of ‘in needles’ offers up something of an apocalyptic ill wind – a kind of hell bound meeting if you will of 70 Gwen Party, Depth Charge and the Ministry as rephrased and refracted by a darkly diluted Front 242. http://www.myspace.com/scotchtapesoincorporated
Future Tayside and Endometrium wares will see Scotland’s favourite sons hooking up for a split release with Great Slave Lake via Scotch tapes while the Cuntplow has a busy schedule that promises – pause for sharp intake of breath……
-split w/ Kitten Glitter CD-R [Placenta Recordings]
-split 3″ CD-R w/ RedSK on [Love Torture Records]
-split 3″ CD-R w/ Noise Nazi on [Love Torture Records]
-split 3″ CD-R w/ Mixedupmess on [Love Torture Records]
-split c35 w/ Gorgonized Dorks on [Love Torture Records]
-Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails split w/ MCPIBTYCP c35 on [Love Torture Records]
-split c53 w/ Al Qaeda (Part III of III) on [Love Torture Records]
-split c35 w/ REACHING. on [Scotch Tapes]
-Tides c53 on [Love Torture Records]
-split w/ Yūko Imada [tba]
-split CD-R w/ El Diablos Bloncos on [Love Torture Records]
-Burn Los Angeles, Burn!!! on [Love Earth Music]
-tba on [Kwark Records]
-split tape w/ Zombie Bite on [Love Torture Records]
-split w/ Koobaatoo Asparagus
-split c10 w/ Churner on [Violent Noise Atrocities]
-split c40 w/ Fag Priest on [The Pet Goat]
-3 way split CD-R w/ Big Drum In The Sky Religion / Color Rabbit on [Love Torture Records]
-split c40 w/ BBBlood
Avi Buffalo ‘what’s in it for?’ (sub pop). Our oft grumbled utterings about how we rarely get the chance to hear, see or indeed buy the wares of Sub Pop repeatedly – with much sadness – always seem to fall on deaf ears and so we console ourselves with the occasional scraps whenever we have the chance or fortune. So as you can imagine when we saw this little cutie waving and winking (yes I did say winking – you lot will get me shot – there’s young folk around do you mind) from our pc screen via an online record retail source (no names – RT – oh bugger) well we just had to have it. A scrumptious debut offering from West Coast pop smiths Avi Buffalo. Pressed up on darkish red-dish vinyl and housed in a rather cute and colourful sleeve this beauty beams and radiates with such opining loveliness that it’ll subdue you in an instant as it bathes your winter woes in caressing halos of sensuous sunburnt silkiness, equally relevant to admirers of Simon and Garfunkel as it to lovers of the Clientelle and the Summer Hymns, the vibrant tapestry dappled with corteges of longing crystalline riff chimes borrowed from the Byrds and the softly scaled vocal pitches usher in a would be imagining of Clock Strikes 13 types meeting a youthful Animal Collective. Utterly perfect. Flip the disc ‘Jessica’ – beautifully wonky I think is the way to describe it, plenty of playful campfire chatter like kookiness in the background, some hymnal organs (think Procul ‘whiter shade’ meets Lennon’s ’Jealous Guy’, some whistling (always a good thing around these here parts) and plenty of early 70’s styled Beach Boys motifs – hell kids if we didn’t know better we’d have had this down as some long lost Doleful Lions curio. Buy on sight – an album is reportedly hatching. http://www.subpop.com
The Blanche Hudson Weekend ‘the letters to daddy’ EP (Squirrel). Absolutely stunning – more buzz sawed bubblegum groove from the label responsible for putting out those essential playing platters by the Manhattan Love Suicides – two of whose ex members incidentally feature in the line up of the Blanche Hudson Weekend. Three tracks feature on this peachy playable treat – ‘crying shame’ leads the charge – a gorgeously lilting lovelorn cutie that manages with some admirable aplomb to fuse the essences of Link, Jesus and Mary Chain and the Shangri-La’s into a succulently strut seized beehive babe and adorns it with all manner of shade wearing sherbety sighs – former fans of MLS will not be found wanting when the love jaded soft psyche garage purr of this pretty rears into view of the jukebox. Better still are the brace of beauties lying in wait on the b-side from the bliss grooved fuzz of the crestfallen rainy afternoon reflection of ’the last ride’ which should appeal to those with a pang for things with the name the Siddeleys tattooed on its hide while ’noise and fury’ is a sugar laced melodic buzz bomb cemented by windswept effervescent skrees of MBV feedback albeit informed by a Ramones mindset. http://www.squirrelrecords.co.uk
Sissy Spacek ‘fortune’ (gilgongo). Again another avant noise collective who are no strangers to these pages – see missive 230 and 239 respectively – who are based around the warped and wired no wave brainchild John Weise. Not sure how many of these are kicking around but I wouldn’t hang around to long if you want one as your own. A seven inch platter no less featuring as billed two songs. What you really get in exchange for your hard earned dosh is not two but rather more twenty six impish bursts of skree scorched discordance, its brief and its blistering and should by rights appeal to any right minded person with a certain aural acclimatisation to the work of Hijokaidan and Masonna, brutal or caustic doesn’t come into it all you need to know is that the minute the stylus touches base with the wax your immediately under siege amid a scorching head pounding sand storm of skin peeling velocity. Not one for the timid in nature. http://www.gilgongorecords.com
Hexicon ‘something strange beneath the stairs’ (haircut). Getting a bit daft this now for here’s another faultless release this time displaying the mercurial talents of Messrs Collins and Rains who can also be heard penning perfect pop nuggets as part of Allo, Darling whose recent debut release ‘Polaroid song’ (mentioned elsewhere amid these never ending pages) for those bastions of boot tapping boogie – Fortuna Pop – had us all a cheering and a swooning in the aisles. And so to Hexicon their other obsession – since 2006 we’ll have you know or rather more as the press release would have us know, ‘something strange beneath the stairs’ has proven something of a crowd favourite in recent times and its easy to see why, its lilting demeanour, the breezy embrace of its carefree nonchalant nature not to mention its lazy eyed shuffle pierced as were by a strangely becoming wintry dusting of noir drizzled French horns all collide to give it a sweetly sighing signature that had us recalling with much fondness both Garlic (before they become the new Pavement) and Jumbo (before they weirded out and disappeared to much upset and tears off everyone’s radar) before planting fuzzy glowing feathery kisses upon our furrowed brow and proceeding to exit stage left. Over on its flip sits ’still here’ – something of a reflectively mellowing porch lit countrified cutie despatched with hymnal and homely keys, opining slides and twinkling bells which all gathered together should strike dreamy chords among long standing country pop admirers of Buffalo Springfield, Gram Parsons and Michael Nesmith. http://www.haircutrecords.co.uk
The last rapes of Mr Teach ‘the blood of another man’ EP (les disques steak). Must admit that this has in its own insidious way been growing on us with each repeated play. The last rapes of mr teach hail from france and play a roughshod variant of garage grilled cowpunk, plenty of twanging guitars for the purists among you while initial reference markers would suggest that their stripped to the bone and almost ramshackle approach to recording point to souls in the camp being inspired by the Violent Femmes (non more so is this the case than on the brazenly blistered ‘I saw a corpse‘). Anyhow to date they’ve put out a handful of releases included a brace of recent splits with Sex Beet and Movie Star Junkie all of which we’ll have to nail for ourselves for fear of sleepless nights fretting about their omission from our well heeled record collection. As to this particular EP – four cuts lurk within with title track ’the blood of another man’ doing a rather neat take on the swamp dragged primal scowl of Gallon Drunk albeit here as though spiked by the Scars while over on the flip side ’it’s all over’ sounds like some recently unearthed long lost chirpy throwaway beat grooved ditty the type of which would grace the end credits of some grimly gruesome dread racked horror flick though why oh why it sounds like it was recorded under water is beyond me while the wasted ’gypsy night’ is stacked aplenty with the kind of reverbs and primitive 60’s shade adorned motifs that suggest a loosely forming kinship with the much loved Fuzztones. http://www.myspace.com/thelastrapesofmrteach
Smoke Fairies ’gas town’ (third man). Been a fair while since we had cause to feature anything by Jessica and Katherine for it is they who are the Smoke Fairies, in fact the last time was when we passed words of affectionate fondness in the general direction of their demo CD set. A year or two on and there we were spying an online record emporium shop window and up popped in to view this rather dandy and dainty 7 inch. Of course we had to have. Smoke Fairies occupy a strangely beguiling twig light world lushly decorated with the sweet pastoral tug of soft psyche 60’s trimmings, woozy Canterbury folk accents and sensual shades of rustic reclines, it’s a tapestry woven to enchant and spellbind, the beautified caress and the coalescence of harmonies and melodies usher in like Siren-esque apparitions drawing you close and delicately whispering of sultry wantonness. As you’d rightly imagine by title alone ’river song’ is softly smoked with a mountainside woodiness that oozes a ghostly calm, its hypnotic allure owes as much to John Fahey as it does Mellow Candle and Pentangle or indeed Curved Air as its fragmented and fractured finale duly notes. That said it’s the lead cut ’gas town’ that is bound to strike chords with admirers of nu-folk, sharing something of an affinity with the Owl Service collective this flighty beauty sounds as though its stepped through some tear in time arriving from an age of innocence and tranquillity and by rights shouldn’t look to out of place sitting next to your much cherished ’Wicker Man’ OST. A gem. http://www.smokefairies.com
Hygiene ’town centre’ EP (static shock). Now there has been much grumbling and muttering of ill thoughts not to mention an occasional usage of Anglo-Saxon phrases not heard on these shores since men with big beards, bigger hair and hats with tusk-y bits on top entered through customs at ye olde Dover. And the reason for such cussing you might well ask. Well it seems these urchins have already sneakily serviced a hungry fan base with a prior rarer than hen’s teeth release entitled ’tv girl’ to which this hapless scribe has seemingly missed. Ah well such is life we’ll just continue a cussing until we go hoarse. Mind you we do I’m glad to say have this – its follow up. Limited to just 320 copies (319 now considering I’ve got a copy) this particular release comes courtesy of London’s Static Shock imprint – a label who last appeared in these pages courtesy of a killer release from the Shitty Limits. Featuring three cuts this disgruntled view from the council estates sounds not unlike something that’s fallen from a Peel play list c. 1979, the agitated negativity and blankness literally pours from the waxen grooves of ’town centre’ the monochrome riffs chugs scowl and spar blending a superbly lo-fi low grade proto post new wave art rock spiky-ness to proceedings as though the result of some rain drizzled street meeting between a youthful Fall and an equally young Wire. Flip the disc for more of the same with ’mrsa’ sounding not unlike (and a second mention this particular missive) a seriously bored and pissed off Scars with a case of bad attitude while the blank generation apathy of ’dissertation’ is so acutely bracing that you may just feel totally un-arsed to rise from your pit. We need more. http://blog.staticshockrecords.co.uk/
Cam Deas ‘my guitar is alive and its singing’ (self released). There’s only 100 hand made and hand numbered copies of this release to be had which we are suspecting – should word get out – will fly from the racks – so do yourself a favour and get your backsides into gear sprightly if you want to avoid the obvious resulting untold disappointment. This cd features three cuts spread across 42 minutes – there’s been a prior release with Spoono via Blackest Rainbow that we’ll have to nail as our own as well as selected cuts from imprints such as great pop supplement, dead pilot, curt and sunburnt tongue all of which we’ll be setting our radar for deep scan to nab as our own. Hailing from Sheffield Cam Deas makes great use of atmosphere and silence, of course opening salvo ’the waters of kvaloya’ will appeal to long standing admirers of Roy Montgomery in the ways the author scripts playfully a sense of drama as the cavernous mood phrasings swell and arc between moments of lulling calm to minor bursts of intricate activity with hymnal primitivism at times passing through to pay subtle nods to Mountain. In sharp and marked contrast ’my guitar is alive and its singing’ opts for a spot of ominous drone, the glassy whirrs interrupted and punctuated by the occasional neutered strum recall the brooding effect of Aidan Baker’s more unsettling and darkly woven work. That said parting cut the nature bound and woody ‘as spring fell from the leaves’ should prove something of noteworthy interest to John Fahey purists – the stilled resonance of the mesmeric chiming cascades of delta folk drills usher in a sense of disarming sereneness, the detail and delivery exquisite in its despatch and by our reckoning the best thing we’ve heard of its ilk since the late Jack Rose’s ‘the black dirt sessions’ set for three lobed recordings last year. http://www.myspace.com/camdeasmusic
Spirit Spine ‘crashers’ (make mine). Again another young musician previously unknown to us who appears of late to be causing something of a kerfuffle among the chattering classes of the clued in underground scene. Spirit Spine (named after a condition experienced by people with severed spinal chords leading them to believe they can still walk) – or 19 year old Joseph Denney as he’s better known to friends and relatives – hails from Bloomington, Indiana – to date there’s a self titled album kicking about in record world as well as an EP entitled ’surf hunter’ which you can down load for free by hooking up to his my space site at http://www.myapace.com/spiritspine – anyhow he trades in suave strains of honey tipped electro pop which on the evidence of ’crashers’ initially has your radars alerted to report back ’sounds like Animal Collective cross-wired with the Earlies‘, though delve a little deeper and succumb to the hugely uplifting and celebratory softly coiled west coast motifs and the hitherto arresting sun parched jubilance and you’ll hear something a little more attributable to the pristine pop alchemy of J Xaverre and Tex La Homa which as you all know is a pretty nifty feat if you can pull it off.
Drumcunt ’fags’ (bunkland). Julian Cope is a fan by all accounts – take from that what you will, it’s a limited thing pressed up on a 3 inch CD and all hand numbered – 65 in total in case you were going to ask – our copy being #54. They or he / she hail from London and on this frankly must have set sit four tracks that lurk within vying for your attention. As to the sound – pretty bloody ominous as it happens, very much stilled in a bleakly blank post apocalyptic landscape scarred and scribed by a mutant fusion of chilled monochrome industrial accents and drum n’ dubby (of course with the occasional bassy bits) and dare we say traversing territories more readily occupied by those souls occupying the collective groove space of the Alrealon imprint and here we are thinking Subduxtion et al. n one more so is this the case than on the opening salvo ‘fishlicker’ which it should be said really had the floor shaking in our gaff regardless of the fact that we’d hiked up the volume to levels where the resulting vibration was causing the plaster to disintegrate on the walls and ceiling. Mind you that said ‘old cunt’ does stray ever so slightly into sound spheres previously navigated by a darker in intention Add N to X and the more obtuse and less playful work of Echoboy while there’s tomfoolery aplenty on ’bonnie tyler / snow white’ which unless our ears do deceive had us recalling the impish kookiness of those early 8bit recitals put out by Casino vs. Japan though all said it’s the manically wired and unhinged ’I’m head feels like a chemist’ that caught our attention dipping ever so slyly into the less fractious elements of the Tigerbeat6 imprint and ending up sounding like some mantra warped collision featuring various parts of Wagon Christ, Puffin Boy and Muslim Gauze. And before you ask – yes you do need it in your life. www.myspace.com/drumcunt
The Notwist ‘come in’ (city slang). Probably been out for ages, years even – and you’ve probably gone through the full gambit of emotions from loving it to bits to being tired of hearing it so often – who knows – but then we would have to question any of you suffering the latter because no matter how often we hear it each new listen is like reliving the blossoming moments of a love affair. The Notwist are – as you shouldn’t need telling – quite perfect, hatching and concocting chill tipped ice sculptures in the form of evensong each and every time they go anywhere near a recording facility, the application of melody fused to harmony is impeccable – hell these cute things could have been cobbled together in a north pole grotto for all we know such is their twinkle toed lulling perfection. ’come in’ is arresting and beyond that there is nothing more to say though add Grizzly Bear to the formula as on the flip cuts ’boneless’ and the whole nuzzling fuzzy felt winter warm cosy-ness rears into view full circle. Delicately drop dead gorgeous is I think the best way to describe it all. http://www.cityslang.com
Laurence Son ‘a few drops of muzzled milk’ (self released).don’t you just find that some of the best and most interesting releases arrive without fanfare or celebration or indeed introduction. And so to a five track release from the mysterious Laurence Son. Entitled ’a few drops of muzzled milk’ it comprises five tracks. Arrived at gaff waiting to greet our return this very day housed in a reclaimed battered about the edges envelope with staples were once there had been adhesive and an address label barely hanging from the seams to such extent we here were surprised it got to us in the first place. And like its packaging the songs within are dispatched with minimal application, threadbare and rickety almost transparently feint in design, a lo-fi afterthought if you will. Pressed up on a CD-r and housed in hand crafted sleeves depicting childlike caricatures and a rather cute hand penned thank you note with little all else in terms of information other than a myspace address and a mobile contact number – we puzzled at this strange looking DIY artefact. However uncork the wayward treats within and let the air at them and rather than slap you around the chops and poke you in the eye, the melodies within – both frail and crooked – have an uncanny knack of drawing you in close with intimate invitation. Perhaps something for the archaic folk blues purists among you, the scratchy detail the limited production presence endow a primitive aura upon these five off kilter sorts both opening salvos ’to ease the fat’ and ’slack jaw blade’ have a sense of the Waits and Beefheart about their wares the latter appealing one suspects to those who purchased the recent ’dust sucker’ sessions set via Ozit while the former mentioned is shrouded with the same darkly set creakily sketched ramble as has become a trademark of the stateside bar room bard. All said we here are more than a tad smitten by the parting ’the bunny dip’ as it wheezes ominously through fogbound landscapes to sound like something much deserving of being filed alongside your prized Smog / Bill Callahan releases. http://www.myspace.com/laurenson
Observer Music Monthly #76 – ah well guess we kinda suspected, the last few editions – when they’ve appeared (seem to recall a few issues going amiss around Summer) – have had the feel of something distracted and neglected – and so arrives #76 of this most relevant of Sunday supplements (since September 2003) – the last one as it happens and an other music periodical biting the dust (another informed read – Plan B – folded mid way through last year). To mark its exit from our reading list this parting issue is devoted to an extended feature entitled ‘American Legends’ – a fitting goodbye in so far as the artists mentioned are responsible for moulding / setting the templates for this multi faceted thing we call pop, in many respects OMM understood that pop was just the reserve of the charts but was something of a genre bending beast forever evolving and to this end its monthly musings became a free spirited adventure unperturbed or dictated by fads and fashions or indeed bandwagons instead taking the would be listener on a journey through the stranger passages of pop’s rich tapestry. A year in the collating American Legends features a collection of photographs by Jamie James Medina – a hall of honour focusing on the greatest living legends from the spheres of rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, country, blues and folk, among the billion dollar gathering Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, BB King, Wanda Jackson, Ornette Coleman, Etta James, Sonny Rollins, Honeyboy Edwards, Buddy Guy and Les Paul who sadly passed away before the projects completion – all feature with accompanying words from musicians of whom they’ve influenced or inspired. OMM – RIP 2003-2010.
Kathryn Williams ‘50 white lines’ (0ne little Indian). Oh how we love the tension, the anticipation and the drama of this as it gathers apace with sly stealth breathlessly unpeeling your defences with deft precision with each passing melodic gear shift, the beauty and the clarity of the honey toned pastoral patters metered to the dusty percussive shuffles and married to Williams’ carefree lovelorn intonations endow upon the would be listening space a demurring spring hued radiance. Mind you as lovely as ’50 white lines’ is it’s the arresting lovelorn and resigned reflection of the souring serenade ’nothing to offer’ over on the flip that had us a cooing as you will to especially if your idea of toe tapping willowy country tinged folk purity and perfection comes bearing the name Laura Cantrell tattooed on its hide. An album – her eighth (where have you been all my life girl) precedes entitled ‘the quickening‘. http://www.indian.co.uk
An Experiment on a bird in the air pump ‘silent hour’ (buy a life). Mentioned these ages ago when we took a casual peak at the sonic wares adorning their my space page, three young ladies c-bird, d-bird and x-bird are their names, the band named – one presumes after a painting by 17th C artist Joseph Wright. Anyhow this 7 inch EP comprises three tracks that should by rights be setting the radars of Katastrophy Wife, PJ Harvey and Carina Round admirers all alight and buzzing hot given that their sound is finitely cut with a brooding primitive blues sparseness. Opening cut ‘silent hour’ is scarred and scalded by a frenzied mania as its choking voodoo love charms encircle with the kind of bleakly brittle bastardised beauty of ’ju-ju’ era Siouxsie albeit cross-wired by a less threatening and debased Lydia Lunch. That said with its desolate post punk austerity ‘smear’ taps superbly into the despondent consciousness of Xmal Deutschland where it transplanted into the mindset of Controller. Controller while its left to the brief but unquestionably raw and spiteful ‘only in death’ over the flip to steal the set – a primal lo-fi soul sucking bare boned garage growler unless our ears do deceive and one for the Mr Airplane Man admirers among you. http://www.myspace.com/anexperimentonabirdintheairpump
Various ‘holiday 4-way’ (Stumparumper). I’ll be honest it was the name of the label that attracted us and after a spot of hasty research (that’ll be looking at the back sleeve) there’s been 7 outings courtesy of this Stateside based imprint (and brainchild of a certain Pat Kelley) whose glaring omission from our impeccably maintained record collection will no doubt be the cause of cold sweats and bouts of insomnia. A Christmas treat no less (and just as well really because the promised Cherryade Christmas collection and bracken festive cassette reviews are a tad delayed due to us having mislaid said items in the humungous release mountain which is currently threatening to take over our gaff). Anyhow as the title surely gives hint to – this limited 300 only 7 inch features a gathering of four likeminded ensembles all abusing the festive season as they see fit. Here you get the willowy (Hoop Dreams), the wonky (Fuck Montreal), the weird (Granny Frost) and the quite frankly warped (Banned Books). Each of these cuts are gems in their own little way and much to our embarrassment served up by bands previously unknown to us. First up Banned Books unwrap ‘xxxmas’ – a razor sharp fuzzy scuzzy glam drizzled new wave sortie that manages with some aplomb to splice together elements of Jonathan Richman with Magoo. The fuzziness continues apace with the arrival of the scuzzy blues despondency of Granny Frost’s ‘cystic Crisco lipstick Christmas’ which in many way had us recalling with much fondness Captain Polaroid who as you all know is a trademark celebrity of the Filthy Little Angels family – and yes favourable words about FLA’s 5th anniversary set are currently brewing on the back burner. Hoop Dreams serve up the seriously lo-fi tweaked sparse west coast pop thrill of ’under a Christmas star’ replete with Raspberries meets Cockney Rebel meets Cheap Trick cuteness while it’s the parting offering from Fuck Montreal that held our affections to ransom, a wonderfully kooky and childlike dream weaved apparition of ’do you hear what I hear?’ all sweetly brushed with a gorgeously goofy side serving of crooked Elephant 6 Collective impishness. More of the same please when your ready. http://www.myspace.com/stumparumper
Fossils / Spoils and Relics ‘split’ (mantile). The first of three releases that you’ll find dotted across these pages in the fullness of time courtesy of tape only label Mantile. Recently salvaged from a mail order record emporium the label provides what can only be described as cryptic verses as to the contents of the releases. Run by – we assume – Johnny Scarr – a name we suspect not on his passport or readily known to his family – the label prides itself on producing limited run cassettes (50 in case you are asking) housed in hand crafted / stamped artwork sleeves the first of which procuring our attention being this ominous split outing from Fossils and Spoils and Relics. A release one suspects not for the feint of heart or indeed to be appreciated alone in the dark if the formers salvo is anything to judge. Eerie doesn’t really do it justice for ‘why brow’ is shrouded amid a parched and desolate dread landscape, part oppressive part apocalyptic, it groans, creaks and slithers with a bleak abandon, sounding at times not unlike a skin crawling backdrop to some darkly disturbing horror flick, its doom draped hollowness metered out by an array of scrapes, wind chilled rusty swings, monolithic opines (recalling the death ridden sirens of the Tripods from War of the Worlds), white noise chatter and a general sense of something not of this world and which on reflection nods its atmospheric alienation to the abstract sonic micro verse once countered many years back by Pimmon. Flip the cassette over for ’shut in place’ – those thinking solace awaits – think again – through the – as were – magnified subterranean textures leviathan like communications can be heard between the moments of petrified stillness and echoing resonance the morbid clatter of dragging chain mail is heard, something lurks in the shadows, a hellish creation slavering, hungry and pensively plotting – disturbed stuff. http://mantile.blogspot.com/2010/01/mantile-012-013-014.html
Shrag rabbit kids’ (wiaiwya). My my how they’ve blossomed since they last ventured these pages, once the authors of shouty spiky skewed punk pop these days the adorable alchemists of day-glo daubed throb pop, ‘rabbit kids’ leads the charge a kind of feistily fey and flighty twee coaxed Echobelly meets Lush cross-matched with side rations of Helen Love, an irresistible and infectious well aimed arrow to the heart longingly adorned with hooks aplenty and a cavaliering chorus to make the most steely eyed swoon and sigh fondly. Better still is the accompanying flip cut (isn’t that always the case eh?) – ’erratic fictions’ decorated in all manner of early 90’s indie pop accents lushly lightened by twinkling highlights of honey glazed fluffiness all woven amid oodles of la la’s and loved up late 60’s girl pop flashbacks that summarily peak and fracture to the bleaching burn of a white hot noise nuking finale. Cute. http://www.wiaiwya.com
Jack Rose ‘woodpiles on the side of the road’ (thrill jockey). A talent tragically extinguished before its time, Jack Rose’s passing at the tail end of last year was a sad and unexpected shock and took from the music scene a young and rare talent whose craft and artistry was fortified and informed by the hallowed legends of folk and blues’ rich and primitive lineage. As though overseen by spectres from another age the gift entrusted to Rose was one that shared its bloodline with the finest exponents of the six and twelve string, a disciple of delta blues Rose’s clearest reference was that of the late John Fahey his work proving – especially on last years Three Lobed outing ’the black dirt sessions’ – to drew an irrefutable line extending back to Fahey’s earliest landmark recordings. And so to ’woodpiles on the side of the road’ – culled from a forthcoming set for Thrill Jockey entitled ‘luck in the valley‘ (label press release below) which is due to hit the most relevant record emporium counters next month, it’s a track that encapsulates the timeless beauty of Rose’s craftsmanship – the richness of the woody textures, the maturity of the deft finger work and the mellowness of the smoked mountain side distilling are harnessed into something both free spirited and pure from modernist pollution. A free download of the track is available by clicking on the following link…..
Thrill Jockey say of the release in their press blurb…..
‘A native of Virginia and resident of Philadelphia since 1998, Jack Rose first rose to prominence with the drone/noise/folk unit, Pelt. Pelt can be counted among the early influential new music underground bands such as UN, No Neck Blues Band, Charalambides, Tower Recordings and Six Organs of Admittance. Rose recorded and toured with the band up until 2006. Rose released his first solo LP in 2002, “Red Horse, White Mule”, of post-Takoma, American primitive guitar. Along with the influences of John Fahey and Robbie Basho, Rose also incorporated North Indian classical, early American blues, bluegrass and minimalism into his singular style. 2005 saw the release of his fourth LP, “Kensington Blues”, which incorporated all of the aforementioned influences and his playing/composing fully flowered. That LP is now considered a classic of contemporary guitar music.
In 2008 and 2009 Rose released “Dr. Ragtime and Pals” and “Jack Rose and the Black Twig Pickers” respectively. Those recordings featured many additional players like Glenn Jones, Micah Smaldone, Harmonica Dan and the Black Twig Pickers. The songs drew heavily on pre-war influences, either written by Rose or were his arrangements of early American classics. “Luck in the Valley ” will be the third album in this set of recordings that Rose jokingly refers to as his “Ditch Trilogy”. Rose continues his exploration of pre-war American music with a set brand new material featuring the Twigs, Jones, Harmonica Dan and Hans Chew along with a handful of solo pieces. This recording set out to capture the energy and feel of the classic three-track shack recordings by the Wray Brothers and Mordicai Jones. “Luck In The Valley” was written and recorded over a period of nine months off the road, an unusually long time for Rose to be at home and woodshedding. The album finds Rose employing new themes and techniques that haven’t appeared on previous releases.
Like all pre-war recordings and all of Rose’s releases, this album was recorded live. It was not created using overdubs but rather by recording a few “takes” and selecting the best performance out of those. Rose stated, “I wanted the songs to have an immediacy and spontaneity as they were being recorded. All the musicians chosen for the record know how to play the songs without overworking the material, but at the same time creating memorable accompaniments on the spot.” Several of the songs are in fact the first takes like “Blues for Percy Danforth”, “Lick Mountain Ramble” and “Woodpiles on the Side of the Road”. Also Included in the set are three covers: “St. Louis Blues”, “Everybody Ought to Pray Sometime” and “West Coast Blues”. All of these pre-war classics are Rose’s unique arrangements.
The album title refers to the old red light section of St. Louis and was a code for procuring the services of a prostitute. Says Rose “I read about it on some liner notes to a reissue of pre-war St. Louis recordings and I liked the ring of it.” An avid record collector with an encyclopedic knowledge of pre-war American music, Rose has been acknowledged as a rising star among contemporary guitar players. “Luck in the Valley” finds Rose at his best surrounded by like-minded friends on a recording that is enriched by a sense of history but entirely new, vibrant and warm‘.
To celebrate the life of Mr Rose and to mark a respect for his passing there will be a special night of performances – billed as A Requiem for Jack Rose there will on TUESDAY 16th February 2010 at the Cafe Oto in London will host a gathering of talent that includes sets from HUSH ARBORS, HEATHER LEIGH MURRAY, VOICE OF THE SEVEN THUNDERS, MICHAEL FLOWER BAND and C JOYNES. For more information and tickets please follow this link:
Table ‘songs you can sing’ (Humble Soul / Static Caravan). Typically tasty looking hand numbered release (500 only) that comes adorned in hand finished die cut sleeves housed in a Hessian bag. Doesn’t sound half bad either – in case you are wondering. A six piece hailing from Manchester led from the fore by David O’Dowda ’songs you can sing’ is as it happens their debut release, a wonderfully reflective twin set the lead cut shyly marking its presence as though coated in the kind of starry eyed aural afterglow much admired by those Arctic Circle types, through the frost melting stillness a magically melancholic reverence softly purrs, a daybreak setting moreover a cautious campfire celebration overseen as were by a mellowed Robert Wyatt cradled and caressed by a collective alliance of timid and blurry eyed journeymen made up of Earlies, Low Anthem and the Leisure Society sorts – utterly beguiling and lump in throat numbing. Need we say more. Of course there’s always the flip side ’most’ is to not to put to finer point on matters – scrumptious. Playfully twinkling electronics that wibble and wobble all forlorn and sleepy headed lost in a moment – or so it would seem – amid the safe confines of their nursery room surroundings longingly sprinkled and peppered with fairy dust and decorated by the disarming lull of the frost bound intimate harmonies of a North Pole relocated Beach Boys – kind of makes you feel fuzzy on the inside. http://www.staticcaravan.org
John Foxx ‘burning car’ (Metamatic). Now we’ll readily admit to being a little late with some of the reviews we post here, but we have to put our hands up in saying 18 months since the train left the figurative station is pushing things even by our own woefully ad hoc standards. Anyhow there is a reason for this. So gather round. It was Cargo’s fault. Indeed you’ve guessed it – the now obligatory monthly visit to Cargo to raid their vaults turned up this little gem which we must admit caught our eye and indeed later therein – our ear. Originally out in that golden month September – er – 2008, this cutie was a limited 500 only vinyl issue and saw two cuts that previously saw the light of day stamped side by side on wax way back in that evergreen year – 1980. Fast forward some three decades and adorned with artwork by Karborn, these two tracks are hauled from the garage and given a re-tuning, re-spray and a re-fit by Dubterror. Nothing is lost of the originals oblique and detached chill, cradled as it was in a slick minimalist sterile futura sheen, its update in fact sounds ever more ominous and distant, a future echo perhaps wrapped and coiled with bass driven industrial sombreness these days the trademark of erstwhile Foxx acolyte Gary Numan. ’20th Century’ over on the flip is more the given deal, a liberal re-translation of meaty dub-tronic treatments, apocalyptic scratches and looping spacey spirals set to a vacuumed void canvas – hell where are my Landscape records when I need them. If you want one of these we spied about a dozen or so at Cargo so pester en masse.
Thee Vicars ‘you lie’ (dirty water). Buggering hell this is good, wig flipping groove zapped out of Bury St Edmunds and straight into your living room courtesy of a dinky 7 inch wax slab housed in a cool as f**k pastiche 60’s EP sleeve. This quartet of fringe floppy dudes have been the cause of feverish chatter among the underground garage cognoscenti for a year or two now having let loose several prime select platters of beat pop boogie for the likes of dire, holy twist, eh steeeve, murder slim and of course premier scuzz freak beats Dirty Water. ‘you lie’ sounds for all the world as though its been drop kicked straight out of a hip n’ trendy mid 60’s boutique and into the present, harvested with a superbly primitive scowl elements of the Wailers are subtle though detectable throughout, though repeat plays reveal something of a deliciously dirty shade adorned pact formed between the Standells and Seeds at work factored in with the sassiness as were of a Brian Jones mindset with a youthful Arthur Lee hogging the mixing desk. Flip the disc for more freakin fun in the shape of ‘gonna see me again’ – to these ears has all the hallmarks of another rarefied slab of forgotten buried treasure that’s somehow slipped the shackles of a Nuggets / Pebbles styled retrospective – don‘t know about you but it sounds like a whole heap of twang-licious fuzz to us which unless we’re sorely reading off the wrong page should appeal in the first instance to admirers of the Troggs. Crucial stuff. http://www.dirtywaterrecords.co.uk
The Granite Shore ‘tomorrow morning 3am’ (Occultation). And before you all start bombarding me with complaint missives pointing out the small detail that this has been out for yonks – then yes we know. Better late than never as my late father was once heard to comment as I made my entrance into this world as a slightly overdone and overcooked 10 pound six ounce bouncing bomb much to the relief I should add of my slightly later mother who may well have been forgiven for thinking she was carrying an oversized beach ball. You’ll be late for your own funeral they’d oft cry after me. But enough of that. The second release for the newly formed Occultation imprint who if memory serves right did in fact write to me many many months ago offering promos of this and the Wild Swans release (their first outing) – a hasty reply went unheeded alas – though we did track down the rogue Wild Swans release and mentioned it favourably in despatches. In fact they are currently up to release number three which given Cargo’s impeccable finger on the pulse order delivery we should have in say – June whereupon by that time they’d have released their third while the Granite Shore would have released their second. Is this getting terribly confusing or what. And so to the Granite Shore – alas no time to do a quick spot of google research (connections to the distractions anyone) – pressed up on 10 inches of wax limited to 700 hand stamped copies ours being #217 in case your note taking and featuring two frankly numbing and shy eyed treats. Mellow – and to call it such – doesn’t do it justice, the melancholic opine of ‘tomorrow morning 3am’ cuts to the quick, the sweeping strains of the breezily attuned strings caressed by the flotillas of delicately sturdy riff strums swell and contract freewheeling between the tearfully hollow and touched to the towering and swoon steeped euphoric, a bruised love note of sorts cast upon a wave of lump in throat forming majesty and equipped with the kind of heart sapping finale not heard here since Wylie as in Pete decided to make the ever more rare application of pristine pop pen to paper. Flip the disc for the equally graced ’workhouse’ – a magically mournful and hollowing broken hearted babe lavishly cradled by ornate arrangements and primed and peppered with an intimacy that reaches through your very being and yanks heavily on your defenceless heartstrings. Tissues and a shoulder to cry upon are required listening accoutrements. A blessed thing. http://www.occultation.co.uk
The morning after girls ‘the general public’ (tee pee). Again – not sure how long this has been out and about for, but our copy come pressed up on white vinyl and very pretty too via those Tee Pee sorts whose recent releases (featuring a brace of Night Horse splits) should be due for some deserved mentions later on in these pages though not before we‘ve had a chance to partake in the sounds of the morning after girls. A quintet who hail from Melbourne, been around for a few years now having cut their teeth sharing stages with the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols they’ve earned themselves something of an admired and envied reputation and its easy to see why for ‘the general public’ blurs the core DNA of the Warhols spangled paisley purred power pop with the hazy glow of a youthful Ride and bleaches the shimmer toned fuzzy flecks with a subtle shading of west coast accents and blesses the whole thing with a bliss grooved fringe flopping dream pop fizz that on any given day would make Asobi Seksu gnash their teeth with envy. Flip side ’who is they’ only serves to re-affirm what the lead out track hinted, the approach more mellow and reposed this time of asking – statuesque spirals of glassy effects laden showers saturate the listening space with stutter gun lysergic halos themselves catapulting sighing opines into the milky white ether to cause you to go all a swoon or at least something similar to that effect. And in case you haven’t already gathered for yourselves – yes you need it.
http://www.myspace.com/thewovenproject – we here feel somewhat embarrassed for not having tripped upon or indeed mentioned the Woven Project previously, based in Hartlepool they number five among their ranks – describe their sounds as ’lo-fi, acoustic and experimental with a folk influence’ which if they don’t mind me saying on their behalf smacks of hiding ones light beneath a very big and obscuring bushel. And there I’ve said it – something perhaps one suspects for fans of early Fence releases, the Autumn Ferment imprint and the Owl Service collective, the Woven Project have to date I think I’m right in saying released one self titled EP a copy of which we’ll endeavour over the forthcoming days to have as our own for further listening pleasures. For now though the small matter of the handful of timid treats that shyly populate their my space page with which to disarm defences to. Appreciably best listened to in the stillness of the wee small hours or at worst aided by the intimacy afforded by headphones with eyes closed and the hustle and bustle of this time greedy society shut out for the Woven Project occupy an aural landscape delicately detailed in windswept noir passages that are filtered by the overcast shading of creaking bruised hollows. Intimate and hurting these four cuts silently bound you amid a forlorn and solemn shackling, each pierced with a defence breaching imploring distress, the airy gracefulness of the whispering accordions arcing to the tear stained string arrangements coalesce to realise a demurring solitary ache. Reference wise the softly undulating ’quiet girl’ is timidly cast with a subtly stirred and thoughtful psych folk dreaminess more associated with Robert Wyatt while elsewhere Peter Gabriel is recalled on the battle scarred solitude that is ’souls’. All said the uninitiated among you will do well to begin your journey’s starting point with ’breathe’ which magically manages to tap into the hurtfully woven tapestry of an as were withdrawn and stripped bare Porcupine Tree as though found recalibrating the lost and more tenderly spectral moments from Levitation’s back catalogue.