radio prin #1

Related to Vukovar are the Bordellos whose new album ‘how to lose friends….’ is currently basking in quiet acclaim among the blogosphere and various mix cloud universes, so while we clear the decks and prep it for weekend review you can grab an earful of ‘gary glitter’ – lifted from the aforementioned set which finds itself featured on the first mix list happening from recordiau prin who after a lay off appear to be readying themselves for some release activity shortly with this superbly wiring playlist serving as both a showcase and an indicator as to where their collective headspace is currently located. Anyhow you don’t need telling you that the Bordellos are something of regular visitors around these here parts with ‘Gary Glitter’ somewhat daring to tackle the thorny issue of fallen idols and the bleakening thought of guilt by association, wonderfully shambolic and typically cutting, stoner glam served and sown with disquieting seediness. Keeping thing schizoid and wired, there’s no doubting that the Doo Dooettes have at one time or another spent the occasional evening wiled away listening to Daniel Johnston for ‘baby’ is lovably all over the shop and just a tad bit deranged in a slightly fragmenting way. Next up tremolo ghosts’ ‘bleaching fields’ is a gorgeously rustic sprayed cutie which effect wise isn’t as far from the sonic universe inhabited by Nick Nicely as one would first imagine. And can I ask, is it just me who gets flashes of the Fast Show when ‘egg mombasa’ by the Shadow Ring whirrs oddly into view, we need to be told. Admired around these here parts, his new one is being primed for listening later today, Pulco’s ‘bookworm’ had us much recalling the sadly missing in action of late Tex la Homa in so much as being possessed of that same casual cool and ability to weave such sheer pristine pop candy from out of the barest of ingredients. Next up two ensembles which quite frankly ought to feature more in your daily listening intake, lemon kittens where, to put it bluntly, just out there, four decades on and ‘(afraid of being) bled by leeches’ still puts you in a dark place where in truth you’d rather not be, its that macabre countering of the light airy folk flurries contrasted against the darkly cowering prose that chills. Datblygu – what can we say, the finest that Wales has to offer, sore thumbs who cleverly manage to sound both outside of time and fashion, strangely enough always occurring to me like this heat under the crafted influence of a way out and envelope pushing wire. Having heard ‘little key’ by tapes and tubes I’m now off in search of the album ‘retroactive’ such is the degree of adoration poured forth onto this delightfully spectral slice of hushly toned minimalism – utterly blissful and dare we say heavenly. Equally ear tugging is ‘leather jacket’ by the modern folk of America whose slacker-esque bliss tones had us much recalling a Velvet-esque rewiring of Mercury Rev’s ‘car wash hair’ – indeed that good while rounding up the pack ZNR’s ‘solo un dia’ has had us a tad concerned that somewhere along the line a large chunk of our listening education has been grossly overlooked given that this originally appeared in the mid 70’s – something we suggest for all you Le Bleu admirers.    

Posted in groovy bastards..., Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

archiv: singled out #148

another rescued review from the losing today vaults – this one being a Christmas missive from 2007….x

features – un festin sagital, winston giles orchestra, steve moore, billy d, peril hill, ptv3, sem, edward barrow, green kingdom, the shadow orchestra, xtc, shortwave set, people of the deer, house of love, levitation, mikrokosmos, cardiacs, stars in battle dress, zag and the coloured beads, onomatopoeia, dragons, treblemakers, dionysus, mount vernon arts lab, belbury poly, oggum, nick lowe, aniima, vibratones, cody high school, kelman, ian brown, kate nash, wolf people, ten city nation, unusual and electric, frightened rabbit, the pony collaboration, mpd, circle, the telescopes, muller and patton, owl service, lisa knapp, hobby horse, yellow6, carla, up the royals, one more grain, dj downfall, lam, schizo fun addict, televise, seavault, swedish chef, rose mellburg, the phil collins 3,the original bookkeepers, an emergency, breakneck static, men an tol, danny norbury, serafina steer, dollboy, robin saville, alexandra veanna, harmonium, inch time, ptolemaic terrascope, gilbert, shady bard…..


Singled Out

Missive 148


For Kelly and Mark


Okay a tad later than we originally planned and instead of three missives which was the original idea its just your bog standard Xmas bumper missive all rolled into one like a huge crisp snowball to arrive slightly delayed but hopefully in time to see out the year. The initial bit includes all the my space stuff that you need to hear – like now followed by the singles –  fair few admittedly have been around for a while -so apologies to all concerned. As per usual because of the size of this baby it will be split into several parts. Plenty of goodies to be found lurking around these pages – some ultra limited releases from static caravan and trensmat – woo woo and a fair amount of the usual gubbins you’ve no doubt come to love and hate.


There will be another missive before the week’s out were well pick up the bits that fell off this one at the last minute whether that be due to time constraints or bone idleness (I’m betting on the latter) – apologies to all that we’ve let down in the year – you know who you are – it wasn’t deliberate but there have been things happening behind the scenes that made it nigh on impossible to sometimes keep focused music wise – hopefully this coming new year we’ll get our shit together. One thing I will say is that the Lumerians have nailed the next missives Single of the Missives you can up with these psychedelic dudes via – so expect that sometimes over the weekend. We’ve decided to make the landmark 150th missive a killer my space / pod cast special (seriously we already have about 50 sites which we are running the thumb over as I write including some stunning stuff from – Sam Isaac, the distortions, three cautionary tales, the milk house – who sorry for going on sound superb, don’t tread o the spiders, pretty in velvet, a new track from one of favourite bands of the bands of the year – Tabloid, the coffe killers, luke hirst, daniel persson and last up the Wrecking Dead who I suspect will be a egular feature on the singled out turntable in 2008 – so if anyone’s reading this and has a band they feel will quicken our pulse or has a pod cast which that they reckon will have us about the gaff it raptures then email at the usual address or else visit


Albums / singles and the like that are currently quickening our pulses –


The high wire ‘ahead of the rain’ (impatio) – expect glowing words for the teaser single ‘Easy’ via the next missive


Various artists ‘john barleycorn reborn’ (cold spring) – words fail – a superb double disc set featuring the cream of dark folk secret underground – a mammoth 33 track set with an additional freebie download disc that we still haven’t check out as yet – features a cast of waiting in the shadows stars – owl service (see below), peter Ulrich, English heretic, xenis emputae travelling band and alphane moon plus more  much more.


Talk ‘reset start again’ (fortune and glory) – been a while coming but well worth the wait we feel – ‘return to factory’ will floor you – think Floyd / Radiohead.


Deserves to die ‘surrender all but our skin’ (grind that axe)

Muller and patton ’jonathan and Bailey’

Mississippi witch ’black gamble witch’ (colony 2) – bad ju-ju boogie

Split second feeling ’lo art’

One more grain ’isle of grain’

The hoax ’and so it went’ (detour)

Various ’post Asiatic – lost war dream music’ (URCKarm) – a superb double disc set featuring a positive cornocopia of strange sounds from the likes of muslim gauze, amps for christ, bill horist, metal rouge, f-space, soriah and much much more….


A superb year for music I’m sure you’ll agree, 2007 shifted gear on last year and continued a trend that’s been something of a celebrated feature these last few year  – that being that the underground imprints continue to throw up some of the most interesting and ad hoc sounds to be found having rediscovered its edge and sense of perspective shifting. We won’t go into the highs and lows of 2007 here – mainly for the fact that its been done to death by others to more or less differing standards of revelations and insights – and anyway we can’t be arsed. That said favoured albums, favoured singles and labels we can do.


Labels is easy –

Static Caravan continued to amaze or all the right reasons along the way setting a new task of trying to nail all the ultra limited releases they put out – ecstatic when you did nail one but heartbreaking when you didn‘t – note will Dreams of Tall Buildings- Shady Bard were a revelation (see below) as was Serafina Steer, also worthy of a mention that killer Steve Moore album, while releases from the Owl Service (see below) and Safetyword proved without doubt that these dudes have their fingers well and truly primed on the most essential up and coming sound pulses. Despite a relatively quiet year Pickled Egg whipped in at the final gasp with two certifiable classics in the making – Suzy Mangion’s debut solo full length (Su\zy you may recall was one time one half of the delectable and criminally undervalued George) and APATT – loons from Liverpool and quite possibly the best thing out of their since er – Mugstar. Trensmat – (see below) – Irish noise / experimental label – home to ever presents The Telescopes and a whole host of artists operating beyond the confines of rudimentary pop – ultra limited releases mainly on lathe cut wax and more often than not sold out even before the stamper went down on them at the pressing plant – some mighty fine outings from Mugstar, Circle and Heavy Winged have all served as  remarkable calling card for this fledging imprint – next year will see their profile considerably soared with promised outings from Trensmat include a breathtaking list of who’s who acts in 2008 including Kinski, Acid Mothers, more Mugstar, Astral Social Club, Magoo, Part Chimp and as though the prospect of Bardo Pond wasn’t enough to get us paralysed with fevered fits then the promise of what should prove something a beast – an outing by – wait for it – Mudhoney. Roll on 2008.


Various ‘Beta – Lactam Ring ‘Fall 07 / Winter 08’ (Beta Lactam Ring). And talking of samplers / compilations here’s another worth selling the odd family or two in exchange for – the latest CD compilation showcasing their 2008 line from those finest of dealers in the abstract, strange electronica, noise and avant garde. Featuring 16 selected cuts from their recent releases and including offerings on the horizon and due in the finest record racks in the coming months to include outings from Volcano the Bear (whose ‘amidst the noise and twigs’ needs to be heard to be believed), LSD March, Seven that Spells, the ever weirder LA STOP and Earthmonkey whose ‘be hat charge’ as for us one of the albums of the year blending as it did dub, prog and psych into a funky alluring wide screen brew. If you redirect your mouse via you’ll be able to download / here he latest Beta Lactam Ring pod cast – a mammoth 4 and a half hour sonic odyssey (yes you did read right – 4 and a half hours!) which we’ve downloaded for a rainy day and which features selections from Chilean ensemble Un Festin Sagital – well weird and wired out there psychedelic ju-ju who you can sample via – perhaps the only band on the face of the planet that make Volcano the Bear sound positively pedestrian pop. This revolving / travelling collective have been around since 2004 – to date releasing just under a dozed self financed cd-r’s – here you’ll find an except culled from the sessions for their as yet untitled full length for Beta Lactam Ring – a strangely disquieting pastoral affair that shivers eerily throughout your listening space like some gothic / monastic apparition, dissipating melodies and haunting harmonies are dispatched into the ether to exact a curiously enchanting supernatural glow upon any would be listener.


Elsewhere Art goes pop and Marquis cha cha both continued to give us excited panic attacks each and every time the familiar envelopes housing their releases was stuffed through our door – high lights from each of the imprints came courtesy of Isosceles ’get your hands of’ and lr rockets ‘personality’ via the former and from the latter stranger son of WB though check the link below for a sneak peek of the forthcoming Whitey release.


You can sample stuff via –



Favoured albums –


Radiohead  ‘In Rainbows’ – exquisite to a tee, Yorke and Co delivered an album of tenderness

Both accessible and alluring ‘In Rainbows’ harboured the best moments and nuances from their back catalogue and wove the ingredients into a deceptively beautiful collection.


Psychic TV ‘hell is invisible heaven is her/e’ (sweet nothing)


Heartstrings ‘try fly blue sky’ – heartbreaking stuff……sample via we suggest you fall headlong into the radiating romance of ‘marianna’


Serafina Steer ‘cheap demos’ (static caravan) – Weaving together the absurd, the abstract and the astonishing, Steer applied her classic training to a surreal pop overture that I for one would never have dreamed of hearing without noting it to be the work of Laurie Anderson. Gorgeously off balanced, ‘Cheap Demos’ blended the impetuous with the impish into an intelligent sound collage, sometimes unsettling and never far from perfect.


Shady Bard continued to amaze and ‘from the ground up’ via static caravan didn’t disappoint in the slightest – an evocative and beautiful epitaph to nature go to the end of this missive for their latest limited Xmas treat.


The Winston Giles Orchestra ‘soundtrack for sunrise’ (play up) – irresistible stuff – big band electronics, an effervescent opera of sorts that timidly voyaged the horizons of chill out grooves and bliss out wonderment – gorgeously flighty as addictive as hell – one of very few releases that were a treat from the very start to the finish – key tracks were the fluid ‘welcome to the hotel’ and the horny as f*ck pan psychedelic brew ‘revenge’ just check out the Love like flute florets 3.34 in – amazing stuff.


Finally – okay hats off to Radiohead for their download freebie but for us the best album of the year came courtesy of the Crimea with their frankly awesome ‘secrets of the witching hour’ rock opera – across 11 tracks of such exquisite detail the Crimea wooed, shimmered and strutted with wild colossal abandon – from the opening ‘the Vikings’ sampled ‘All conquering’ to the closing epic styled ‘Weird’ with its Brian May styled guitar pines this bitter sweet beauty beguiled, threatened the emotions freewheeling with exacted pristine precision between flashes of deepening despair rising to the heady heights of ecstatic euphoria – it never left our headphones and guided me for one through the spring / summer months hearing it all these months down the line still sends tingles down the spine – file alongside the Eskimos lost classic ‘something must be transmitted’ and the Makers ‘rock star God’ – pure class.


Best re-issues –

Well two that caught our eye –

Stiff box set which for now has mysteriously gone awol – anyhow a four disc affair culling together everything that was fine and not so fine about the nations favourite indie label – who else would have the nerve to throw together Max Wall and Ian Dury on the same imprint – yea but now I come to think of it – makes perfect sense.


Nick Drake ‘Fruit Tree’ – re-issued in limited quantities following years of featuring via auction sites going for ridiculous prices, culling together the three full lengths and including a DVD ‘skin to few’ (the days of Nick Drake) which replaces the lack lustre (1991 repackaged set) ‘time of no reply’ bonus disc which despite its ad hoc band wagon jumping demeanour did in its favour include a killer version of ‘black eyed dog’. We’ve just ordered the vinyl edition – expect reviews – belated admittedly – shortly.


And we kick off this particular missive with something tasty from Steve Moore who the more clued up among you may well know from his Zombi work and his solo project the latest of which is currently showcased by his very excellent ‘the henge’ available now in limited quantities via static caravan. This time around via Steve along with Lauren Theresa shimmy up with some slushy night time lurrrrve music that taps into the whole slickly sophisticated retro disco vibe of the late 70’s Studio 54 scene – four excerpts feature here -’maybe tonight’ takes its cue from Stereolab’s flirtatious cosmic mirror ball set ’margerine eclipse’ and wraps it in sveltely succulently Chic meets Moroder accents that lovers of early career Marr / Sumner ensemble Electronic may well swoon for though all said and done we suspect a bit of a monster hit weighs heavily on their hands in the shape of the glitter dusted Dollar gone super stellar ’love reaction’ with the aid of Cerrone. – hell – okay it may use every single cliché in the Wilson canon but darn it if this isn’t one the best things we’ve heard around here since the Ashley Park debut from a few years ago or that rather spiffing Epicycle full length ‘swirl’. Ohio musician Billy D it seems has mastered the art of Van Dyke Parks pristine pop prowess resulting in the production of a svelte carnival of homely tingling sounds crafted in the myriads of vintage mercurial bliss. Sweetly honey glazed these little beauties are rich with the memories of classic Beach Boys and Beatles pop echoes from the past, from the snow tipped saccharine dipped sleigh bell swept ’Christ in Christmas’ to the delightfully dinky yet ostensibly frazzled, dreamscaping and trippy ’summer song’ with its warping harmonies and melodies that sound like they’ve deliberately skewered backwards and out of sequence – though all said and done we suggest you make ’western world’ your first port of call – a gorgeously syrupy music hall feast festooned with delicately soft west coast lysergic tipped folk accents a la Oddfellows Casino. – we have more than an inkling that this won’t be the last time we hear or indeed feature the lilting tones of this Manchester via Derby and Sheffield based quintet, Peril Hill cut richly intimate folk spectres that are all at once inviting yet strangely distant, a forlorn marriage of tranquil treasures dusted as though being recently excavated and polished up after being found left and abandoned in a undisturbed attic space. Part mournful this trio of rustic gems shyly serenade all the time weaving a warming web beautifully fashioned in spectral overtures whose roots can be traced to the gentler more free spirited to be found amid the late 60’s Cambridge scene. Awash with lulling cascades of softly unfurling acoustics braided by banjos, violas and concertinas these pastel cuties endow a deceptively hypnotic hue upon the would be listening space to illicit their bewitching and hurt brew – the gorgeously dainty ’heir apparent’ is a beautifully tip toeing slice of maypole enchantment replete with a timeless harvest of clockwork like medieval florets though we suggest you rip for yourself the mesmerising and frailly scratchy banjo swept ’vapours in august’ – a CD is kicking about we believe to which you can bet your bottom we will be enquiring about. – a year that was meant to be one celebrated by rebirth and hope has closed with death and despair. ’Hell is invisible / Heaven is her/e’ marked the long overdue return of Psychic TV – a petrifid collision of references wired up from the 60‘s via Brian Jones, Syd and the 13h Floor Elevators, this was no simple return to the fray that called upon past glories as so many reformations are, this was an ensemble at the top of their game perhaps arguably crafting their most accessible body of work to date. It was a stunning psychedelic odyssey much loved in our gaff and for a fair while earlier in the year a constant feature on the piping through the headphones as we trundled to haplessly work – ’Hookah Chalice’ featured here was its centrepiece a white hot schizoid fuzzed out wig flipping blister forming boogie just check out the re-igniting riffs after the dream-scaping montage half way in – still casts a shiver each and every time. One of the albums of the year. However despite all this what would have been a lucrative tour schedule has had to be cancelled following the tragic and sudden death of Lady Jane – now in disaray, a year end that should have seen Orridge and Co reaping the rewards of a sterling about face has now been catapulted into chaos leaving the band in both emotional and financial ruin. RIP Lsdy Jane 1967 – 2007. – damn this is gorgeous, lovingly wrapped all the way from Paris, Edward Barrow aided and abetted by Fabrice Cloulon crafts alarmingly teasing tastily charismatic morsels of silkily laced pristine pop carved from delicate shimmers made up of lazily spun cascading acoustic riff and the merest trestles of electronic landscapes. Richly textured the hurtfully dreamy ‘again and again’ is a curvaceous beauty that orbits hypnotically with a flailing melancholic design though for me personally nothing quite touches the musical box beauty that is ‘song for a friend’ – brief, sparse and ethereal this gem tip toes seductively with heartbreaking intent – think we need to hear more and very soon. – fledging Paris based label who to date have recently released their inaugural outing in the shape of the self titled debut outing from the Green Kingdom of which you can sample four cuts via this here my space site. A gorgeous collage of sparsely minimalist rustic electronics with a delicate folk ambition emblazoned to its core. The Green Kingdom is essentially Michigan based musician Michael Cottone who delights it seems in composing delicate snow bound treats primed in all manner of honey glazed chilled out ambient textures the best of which without doubt is the divinely beguiling ’wind up wildlife’ – a beautifully curated nursery like picture box braided with the most desirable and alluringly playful clockwork dynamic that lovers of early career ISAN and Plone may do well to stop by for a brief spot of enchantment. Elsewhere the label has just signed up both Letna and Alexandre Navarro – the former a Parisian based artist by the name of Sasa Vojvodic who to date has put out three full lengths with a fourth tentatively titled ’Adria’ due shortly for Sem – the latter again another Paris based musician whose site is devoid of sound files (darn) but who will – we are reliably informed – be releasing an album via SEM in March. – and we feel that apologies are long overdue to the Shadow Orchestra who debut album we swear we received earlier this year and then stupidly got it lost in the CD mountain – and though we’ve searched high and low for said disc to date no sign. Mainly the creative brainchild of Chris’ Bangs and Warren, the Shadow Orchestra have a unerring knack for crafting demurring ditties cared from out of the sweet marriage of strings and laptop manipulations, partly mellowing, partly haunting these perfectly paraded pirouettes hurt, humble and hypnotise in equal measure – rain drizzled forlorn noire-esque landscapes dipped in the finest spectrally sumptuous electronic collages as were once the remit of the early 90’s Bristol underground scene (Portishead, Massive Attack et al) though pulsating with a sweetly curdling bruised romance and loose limbed classicism that suggests that a super chilled exotica of deep set jazz styled free formed psychedelics lies buried at the core of their collective mindset much reminiscent of a more out there and playful Orb – don’t believe me then check out the rather superb ’Spring’ – here captured being performed live at the Luminaire. Though arm forced up the back and asked to chose then ’rain music’ featuring the vocals of Amy Duncan is torturously tasty an best filed along Heather Duby. – one of the finest bands to comes out of these fair isles are XTC who in Andy Partridge had one of this nations finest and dare we say most unsung of song writers. We stumbled across this site by accident – and well hell this being Christmas (just) there are a few festive related nuggets prized from the vaults with which to set off your party poppers to – should you – that is – be so inclined. – not to be confused with the Shortwave Set who in their spare time go sourcing for antique synthesisers in thrift shops and car boot sales throughout East London – no this lot – no sir – seems this quartet have honed to near perfection the art of crafting power driven effervescent dream pop, freewheeling between hazes of spiral chiming riffs and florescent swathes of keys ’stay as you are’ hits you straight between the eyes, a throbbing lovelorn symphony of stratospheric pop cut through with the kind of swagger and savvy that would cause many peers to give up and seek employment elsewhere while being decoded with one of the most infectious chorus hooks we’ve had the pleasure of hearing all year. There’s a three track EP skulking about entitled ’cover your eyes’ via the ever irrepressible Shifty Disco the lead cut which incidentally features here as tasty as it is though we suggest you direct yourselves immediately to the mellowing ’Anything to Anyone’ which reveals an innately tortured tenderness at the core of their song craft. – we happily mentioned People of the Deer or as he’s better known to friends and family – Andrew Perez via missive 140 when we accidentally stumbled upon his secret lair. ’Les conte’s sparrow’ is a newly posted track that’s been made available for your discerning delight. Quite gorgeous if you want my humbled opinion, not as obvious as his previous cuts – more measured it would seem and best viewed nuzzled up to the glow of an night lit open fire while outside the soft treads of snow softly dapple the ground. For your trouble what you get is a gently tingling piano spun folk beauty replete with washes of ivory cascades and a lilting faraway idleness much in harmony with the work of Oddfellows Casino, delicately breathtaking its visitation upon your listening space is served with an almost apparition like aura – all in all an engagingly hollowed beauty. – what can we say – its probably not a known fact – but these things did would you believe happen on occasion – but towards the mid 80’s I’d stopped listening to Peel – I know I hear what your saying – sacrilege isn’t it. Well to be honest the music wasn’t doing it – it was a lull period – I‘d basically fallen out of love with it. However feeling particularly bored one night I retuned to the bearded one and something happened that had me racing back to my local record shop (Probe – in case you were wondering). The sound of ’love in a car’ (featured here) and several nights later ’man to child’ a track so disturbingly unsettling and beautifully bruised that we’d dare anyone to get through it without shedding a tear. Perhaps the finest band to emerge from early days of the Creation catalogue and yes I know that’s a major sticking out of the neck given the roster included such heavyweights as Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and Ride. But in House of Love the label had a band of such immense repose and beauty that descriptions such as sublime seemed to fall short of truly capturing their essence. Mixing silken strokes of 60’s signatures sugar spun into delicately sculptured spectral montages the band were a rare breed opining gems of subtle pop classicism with discreet and beguiling grandeur, possessing an unnerving knack of being able one minute to lay you low and cut you to the emotional quick (’Blind’) – the next carried aloft on euphoric tides (the shade wearing psyche bliss of the crystalline ‘Christine‘) – in Chadwick they had a front man so inwardly bruised and forlorn to the hand that fate had dealt him who rose beyond tragedy and purred with passion – Bickers the perfect foil and quite possibly the finest guitarist to have emerged on the underground scene since Marr – without doubt head and shoulders above his contemporaries Squire et al, provided the intricate sonic detail, the melodic murmurs, the fleeting finesse and the serene ghost like aural apparitions. Of course the pair are re-united now rekindling their lost art, last years ‘days run away‘ was a low key return to the fray and without doubt one of the years most critically overlooked releases – their debut album has been recently repackaged and polished up via Renascent – which we really must check out given our old vinyl  copy is a little worse for wear – though saying that we did spy for ourselves a killer double disc ’Fontana years’ set which we thoroughly recommend if only to hear the divine ’Safe’ – which in my much humbled opinion was the bands finest 5 and a half minutes.

Which neatly leads us to….. – oh yes – on departing the House of Love, after a brief period licking his disillusioned wounds Bickers returned with Levitation, dismissed at the time by the weekly music press as being out of sorts with the current wave of home grown shoe gazing and Madchester sorts and across the pond grunge types, Levitation crafted out fluidly expansive terra forming rock based monoliths whose apparent dark heart could be mapped in the out of favour wastelands of early 70’s progressive rock and the recesses of Syd Barrett’s fried psyche, like a half way house coffee shop frequented by pop’s outsiders such as Zappa, Gentle Giant and Faust, Levitation were a multi faceted animal who portrayed within their intricately layered sound structures a myriad of diverging off the radar influences that made them impossible to pigeon hole with a great degree of success – perhaps at the time only Porcupine Tree and Spock’s Beard came close to occupying their out there sphere – key track here the hallucinogenic mirage ’pieces of mary’ – a ferociously challenging head fuck pre post rocking hybrid that inhabits elements of the brooding claustrophobic darkness apparent via ’heaven up here’ era Bunnymen all nailed firmly amid a freewheeling haze of space / kraut / psyche rock workouts.


Which happily leads us to……seamless all this don’t you think… – Mikrokosmos is the ongoing project of former Levitation, Cardiacs and Dark Star guitarist Christian Hayes, it provides for a wonderfully crafted interplanetary pan psychedelic experience. These cuts showcase material from the albums ‘in the heart of the home’ and ‘the seven stars’ – the former a thought lost project recorded way back in 1994 the tapes were damaged in a flood only to re-surface complete in 1997 and again shelved and forgotten about. Now or the first time lovingly restored and issued on an ultra limited 500 only set each coming replete with a signed letter of authenticity these babies are set to be future collectors items. As to the music Hayes weaves an ever darkening psych odyssey that fans of early career Porcupine Tree may well be best to check out, ‘Guilding the Lily’ in particular could easily be a distant cousin to Wilson and Co’s ‘radioactive toy’ while nevertheless easily finding itself on ‘Stupid Dream’ without looking out of place, bruised but bleakly beautiful this lonesome shade wearing mantra is slender and spectral, ether driven vocals and looping lysergically daubed cosmic interfaces endow this gem with a quietly epic grace while ‘where now earthman’ is very Levitation in texture and appeal, a swirling wig flipping beauty that retunes itself at key intervals into streams of Beatles-esque interference bled through by minimalist woven ominous omnipresent overtures. Frankly we need to hear more.


And so to……. – just in case you decided to ignore all our bunting waving and praise heaped upon this gem in the making (see missive 145) ’ditzy scene’ saw the return to the fray of one of this nations true eccentric institutions, worryingly erratic, the great undiscovered genius – this lot through a plethora of line up changes have been honing their acrylic action painting pop for nigh on 30 years now mixing abrasiveness, weird time signatures and wired to the teeth melodies much to the envy of their peers – fundamentally psychedelic though scarred with and tampered with so many diverging reference points (a few of which we suspect they copyrighted as their own) as to make the most seasoned music fan swoon in amazement – all at once abstract, absurd and undeniably amazing they are pop’s fly in the ointment – ’ditzy scene’ is the sound of the Pretty Things ’defecting grey’ thrown into a psychedelic tumble dryer though in terms of insanity and crookedness we suggest you rip the screwball art pop zaniness of ’res’ – totally bonkers and frighteningly infectious.

. – seems these shy creatures have been plying their trade for a fair few years now – to date one album under their collective belt in the shape of 2003’s ‘secrets and signals’ beyond that there no other information which is rather alarming because these four cuts are stunning to say the least. ‘I spook the language’ (no that’s not a spelling mistake from me) is a gently playful though rather macabre key drenched hallucinogenic promenade parade, think Satie woven in with the Pretty Things. ‘Pinocchio falls in love’ is elegantly ethereal, a dreamy cortege of spidery spectral psychedelics and teasing piano accents that when married together give off a deliciously hazy and trippy vibe while ‘doing well’ is a pepper corned slice of weirdly wafting wonderment that nibbles not only at early career Porcupine Tree but also towards the mercurial melodic flair of Oddfellows Casino. That said our favourite moment comes via ‘Hollywood says hi’ – a crookedly light headed dissipating rock opera of sorts that terra forms sumptuously at any given moment – or so it seems – utilising similar creative curvatures as the Cardiacs in playful moods, this spiralling cyclical cherry pays passing nods to the Sparks and strangely enough – Kate Bush  – with the Pretty ‘SF Sorrow’ Things motifs never far from the creative canvas. Quite perfect really. – insanely good – Zag and the Coloured Beads hail from Croydon, are a five piece and together make music. Any thing you feel you need to know – well of course what do they sound like – well frankly these bright and gifted blighters craft an amorphous freeform progressive psychedelic funk stew – okay not as adventurous and off the radar as the likes of Apatt – but still suitably equipped with that ‘not quite right air’ about them so as to attract fans of Zappa, Soft Machine and dare we say the Crimson as in King – ‘Sweaty thing’ even manages to tailgate spheres more associated with Radiohead while the kooky jazz jamboree that is ‘elongated thing’ has more than a whiff of the Ozrics about but without all the space grooved frippery. Best of the set though – in our opinion that is – is ‘meandering thing’ – we sense there’s a ‘thing’ theme going on here ‘meandering’, ‘elongated’ and ‘sweaty’ – what do you think? This crooked baby is skewiff to say the list – think (well at times) the Cardiacs being zoot suited by Wizards of Twiddly in some freakish cosmic duel whilst slyly nicking and nibbling the coda from Kate Bush’s ‘babooshka’  I kid you not – a bit of a winner around our gaff anyway. – my space presence for the Onomatopoeia imprint who are of course home to the quite brilliant wig flipping space cadets ‘they came from the stars’ – who this year to much personal joy actually re-surfaced with a steady stream of releases culminating in a long overdue full length ‘Vs. Reality’ from which via this site you can hear ‘an Angel’s help’. Elsewhere there’s the simply mercurial ivory intonations of William D Drake and the delightfully ‘biorgan taster’ from Stars in Battledress (see above) – well I say delightfully if we were really honest it’s a bit spooky in a Tubeway Army ‘Asylum’ type way – we understand there will be an EP released in the coming year entitled ‘the story of the hood tapes’ – frankly we can’t wait. – Bristol based six piece – Dragons admirably mix the flair and darkness of early Fields of Nephilm / Sisters of Mercy, the austere blankness of Joy Division (especially on the razored post punk numbness of the sinew snaring ‘condition’) and the pummelling symphonic teeth barred finesse of early career Chameleons (check out ‘lonely tonight’) and for that matter the Kitchens of Distinction into a tormented and epic battleground of searing white hot union of riffs and electronics, in lead singer Anthony Tombling JNR they possess a singer who sounds not unlike a cross DNA experiment derived from the personas of Ian Curtis and Babybird. The sounds are fraught in some ways apocalyptically unravelling bleak portent ‘here come the roses’ proving to be a towering unflinching classic in the making, culled from their debut full length of the same name. Dealt with a pristine production and a voluminous sound metered by intricate storm lashed textures, initially sounding like a ringer for Joy Divisions ‘Isolation’ its soon braided by sheens of 80’s styled goth accents, throw in a spot of PIL, shimmering halos of looping stratosphere piercing keys and a stutter gun attack drum underpin and we are away ascending at velocity towards a critical sonic black hole of cool as f*ck proportions metering out struts like they are fast going out of fashion. ‘where is the love’ is a brooding impenetrable ceremonial black mass seductively tailgating the aural spheres occupied most notably by ‘music for the masses’ era Depeche Mode – bleak but beautifully so it’s a deceptively seducing snowstorm of Ice dripped chiming riffs a la the Mission melded to a paralysing and hollowed claustrophobic tombstone marking a love lost. Certainly a band to watch for in the coming year. – frankly stunning stuff. Tasty twang terrorism from Montreal, Canada in the guise of quintet the Treblemakers. Seems these dudes have been busying themselves releasing – to date three – full lengths whilst appearing on a few prime cut serving compilations all of which we’ve so far managed to miss – though that said you can bet your arse we will remedy that shortly. Ensconced on California’s esteemed Dionysus imprint – a label who we must admit much to our embarrassment we rarely see these days on our record rack travels (see next my space link). – peddling their wares now for over 20 years – blimey is it really that long, like fellow underground ever presents Get Hip and Estrus, Dionysus are the arbiters of cool – mixing exotica with gnarled garage, pristine power pop and the strange. Their current catalogue from these cool cats features full lengths from Hell on Wheels (a fierce some feline quartet hailing from Phoenix who fuse classily sassy mooching rawk ‘n’ roll with primal strands of key drenched garage goo – think Heartbreakers meets the Ronettes). The Satelliters who hail from Franfurt and number in 5 sound like they’ve just stepped out of a mid 60’s beat pop boutique – an unadulterated and authentic call from the formative years of garage that had us recalling the Troggs in a head to head with the Seeds on their cool as f**k ‘you will never be’. Those loving their sounds a little more scarred and wired may do well to hook up with the Controllers whose ‘another day’ provides for a slice of ravaged no future styled wrecking ball grind that to these ears sounds like a primed on speed 13th Floor Elevators having their but kicked big time by early career Mudhoney. Culled from his ‘Voodoo 2’ set Robert Drasnin applies some smoking bossa nova vibed lounge like easy listening courtesy of the slyly sophisticated snake charming ‘Puente doble’ on which said evidence suggests we need to get this beauty in our life and fast. Also via this site there’s a link to a snazzy gratis (that’ll be for nowt) 25 track download compilation entitled ‘keeper of the secret’ – a sumptuous multi generic collection that manages to shoehorn enough styles and fashions as to make the most would be casual listener swon in admiration – from the 70’s styled smooth chill out symphonies of Stereophonic Space Sound LTD to Scott ‘Deluxe’ Drake’s fast and furious Biafra barricade – elsewhere there’s the Young Playthings who sound not unlike a rough n ready early career Blondie while the Buttersprites we feel need further checking given their ‘panic attack’ is so devilishly addictive while we mentioned Karling Abbeygate in an earlier missive (missive 121 to be precise – tut tut if you weren’t paying attention) frankly gorgeous blending countrified pop with breezy bluegrass Ms Abbeygate is Brenda Lee fused with Patsy Cline and ‘tonight is gonna last’ sounds just like its fallen off the Louisiana Hayride stage – perfect stuff. Those pining for a spot of submariner surf should check out Clouseaux while Ruby Dee and the Snake handlers ‘I remember you’ is by far the best portion of hillbilly country we’ve had the pleasure of hearing since Laura Cantrell’s ‘not the trembling kind’ and boy was that a debut and a half. – Ah Mount Vernon Arts Lab – one of pop’s sore thumbs and a collective rarely given the credit and acclaim they so richly deserve, children of an era when the BBC Radiophonic Workshop conquered and championed the surreal, the abstract and the oblique. Personally I was much surprised to find these outsiders still plying their trade as its been  fair few years since we had the pleasure of hearing anything by them – with a fifth album snucked under their collective belt in the shape of ‘the séance at hobs lane’ (which we really must try and nail as our own) – this aural project is named after the fictional underground train station where the supernatural / sci-fi classic Quatermass and the Pit unravels. Deeply indebted to Desmond Leslie and Tristram Carey these excerpts provide or an eerie encounter with one of electronic music’s most noted experimentalists, primitive analogue disturbances to file alongside that very excellent Ochre outing from a few years back gathering together the incidental sounds featured on the Dr Who story ‘the tenth planet’ – these sparse montages pulsate ominously within desolate landscapes – exploring the same aural trajectories as unearthed by Johnny Trunk, Broadcast and EAR. A trio of tantalisers feature here from the tension racked mooching Moondog like anticipation of ‘the black drop’ to the frequency manipulating whirr core of the bleak and alien ‘the submariner’s song’ while ‘dash wood’s reverie’ wraps the set in fine form sounding like a subterranean score eked from the pen of Barry ‘UFO’ Gray.


And while you are there to may well be advisable to hook up to Belbury Poly via – a bit like receiving an mp3 from the early 70’s these fluffily perky celestial gems sound like they’ve fallen straight through a time fracture from a time often referred to as the space age, an age where Gerry Anderson ruled children’s TV and cheesecloth was legally allowed to be sold in shops and marketed as a fashion item – alas the good old days – okay we never had the trials of rickets or small pox but damn it man some of us had to live through Birmingham bags, tank tops and nylon pyjamas which believe it or not if you rubbed real hard gave off so much friction that you became a magnet for papers, comics and magazines – bit like a walking library with Stan Laurel hair. Alas no information on the band if indeed it is a band who knows it could be a randy toaster for all we know – that said these sprightly minimalist analogue nuggets strike familiar distant chords from a past long since gone ‘Wildspot’ in particular is a sumptuous bossa nova ./ samba styled slice of chilled out boogie that has you thinking of an impishly surreal backdrop featuring Joe Meek colluding with an ice cream selling promenade stall marshalled by Jean Michel Jarre on the set of ‘Vision On’ – ‘pan’s garden’ though proves to be our favourite – a wonderfully scribed spring bouquet of pastoral sweetness and idle some carefree cuteness not so far removed admittedly from the sounds found on that rather excellent ‘Ivor the Engine’ collection put out by Trunk. – a quick mention for Oggum records given that we briefly mention them again somewhere about these pages in relation to a planned Owl Service release – all getting complicated this constant seamless toing and throwing is it. Been an absolute age since we heard or indeed spied anything by the Oggum imprint that being because the blighters went awol for a while – our listening pleasure was never the same. One time home to the immense Alphane Moon a band for whom the description drone folk psychedelicists was never lost, the Oggum crew very much tapped into the whole Ptolemaic Terrascope (see below) mind set and with equal impish efficiency released records as regular as the said journal printed issues. Inspired or so it sounded at the time by the late 60’s Cambridge folk scene although appreciably in their hands and the interpretation of their roster – Our Glassie Azoth – this affection had a knack of straying down crooked and overgrown secret pathways via eerie folk drone collages. Still word has it the mighty Oggum are back – we suggest for starters you familiarise yourself in readiness by checking out the pristine pastoral due drop like ‘treflyn – demo 1’ – and don’t forget Owl Service loom large in the background. – been absolutely ages since we had anything by Yep Roc – in fact if memory serves me right last thing we heard was the late veteran of rockabilly Ronnie Dawson’s ‘more bad habits’ and the Mayflies USA’s excellent ‘summertown’ debut. A quick spy on the labels web site had us much miserable to discover that we’d missed out on the recent Robyn Hitchcocks retrospectives and repackages culminating – in what looks like – a superb vinyl box set entitled ‘I want to go backwards’ which features his solo stuff ‘eye’, ‘black snake diamond role’ and ‘I often dream of trains’ all re-mastered and packaged up with a must have 5 disc set of bonus material entitled ‘while thatcher mauled Britain’ (is it too ate for a last minute Santa request we wonder). Anyhow I digress – ‘jesus of cool resurrection’ is the tribute site and name of a specially packaged 30th anniversary set (due in February) in honour of Nick ‘basher’ Lowe (a nickname earned in reference to his ability as a producer to quickly turnaround and capture a subjects essence in such a short time) – or more rightly his debut full length from ‘78 – ‘jesus of cool’ (obviously) which in the states was known as ‘pure pop for now people’. Noted producer and former member of Brinsley Schwartz and Rockpile (alongside Dave Edmunds), Lowe was the first artist to appear on the (as was) fledging and now legendary Stiff label with ‘So it goes’. the repackaged 30th anniversary set gathers together all the available cuts from the alternative UK and US pressings additionally including seven bonus cuts. Mixing pub rock (‘so it goes’), 50’s styled bubblegum pop (‘little hitler’), new wave power pop a la Modern Lovers (‘heart of the city’) with humour and veiled sarcasm (check out the lip smacking sugar laced faux homage to the Bay City Rollers ’Rollers Show’) – despite its age the album appears to have succeeded where most of its contemporaries have sadly fallen short in that its stood the test of time. The site also provides a link from you can hear the album streamed in its entirety – well tasty.


Nick Lowe also appears on the cover mounted CD that adorns the festive edition of the Word (#59) with the quite slyly sublime ‘I trained her to love me’ culled from his ‘at my age’ full length – which we really must remember to add tom our wants lists over the coming days. Elsewhere among the 15 ‘best of 2007’ selection – prime cuts as far as we are concerned come courtesy of Amiina’s absolutely spellbinding and lazy eyed ‘rugla’ kindles with the same lilting resonance as was once the remit of Landshipping – elsewhere there’s the beguiling sonic imprint of Epic 45 who – well maybe its just me – appear to have been hogging a fair amount of tabloid column inches for their excellent ‘may your heart be the map’ set – though all said and done it’s the unlikely pairing of Martin and Eliza Carthy with Paul Weller that really stops you in your tracks – culled from the expansive ‘imagined village’ project which includes guest spots from Transglobal Underground, Tunng and Billy Bragg – ‘John Barleycorn’ is a dizzying spectacle of old skool folk meets new world – frankly so good that words fail us – your gathering rightly its on our shopping list forthwith. As to the magazine all your usual stuff which when combined makes this a thoroughly consistent good read – there’s your obligatory the best and worst of Xmas songs – though how Chris Rea managed to sneak into the favoured side of the deal is quite baffling perhaps the writer had been a little early at the sherry – mind you agreed over the worst list – what a motley crew – the kind of line up that has you dreading the winter months and office parties Further in this issue there’s a Doctor Who special focusing on the up coming Xmas special with Kylie ‘omnipresent’ Minogue – of course we love her to bits who doesn’t – just the right size for our Xmas twig – blimey just buy the damn thing. – twanged up psyche boogie from Munich, the Vibro-tones are a duo who if we didn’t know any better we’d swear had tripped out of the grooves of the ‘Pulp Fiction’ soundtrack, succinctly blending Morricone’s western styled scavenged dust relics with the conscious clarity of prime time Shadows these dudes devise well oiled V12 powered shade wearing surf nuggets from scratch (non more so than the aridly atmospheric Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet like ‘nova express’), these three featured cuties purr and side wind with devious ease incorporating elements of 50’s sourced primitive grind a la the Link with the uber cool stare you down black heart sheen of the Jesus and Mary Chain – just check out the primal voodoo boogie of ’non so lo’ with its looping riffs and latino accents. That said best of the set is the 60’s invested flower power popping shimmer of the Ramones spliced with early career Pastels ’I come’ – think we need to hear more and pretty darn soon.


And just before we round off this my space part of this particular missive two absolute gem like treats with which to leave you with, first featuring one of the best bands we’ve had the pleasure of hearing in a fair old while…. – it all started with an email and a link to an MP3,  a simple message ’check this out I think you’ll love it’ or at least words to that effect. Several plays of said MP3 later and quick visit to their my space site and we were banging on to them how we needed to hear more, in fact so impressed we even pinged ’holy wholly’ (for that was indeed the track that gave us our introduction to Cody High School) immediately on the losing today top 5 chart which as observers familiar with these things will testify is a rare thing given they are unsigned and relatively untested. With an album at the mastering stage tentatively titled ‘last days of the suicide kids’ which the band are looking to self release, Cody (Come on Die Young – to give them their expanded name) High School are a secretive quartet who having only been together for a few months may well be tinkering about with what could be one of the early album highlights of next year if these three cuts are anything to judge by. Breezy 70’s styled drifting pop is the name of the game all delicately offset with sheens of tenderised pastel hues of west coast exquisiteness and the kind of soft lingering hazy laziness that was one time much the realm of Buffalo Springfield. Perfect to a fault these after glowing gems nibble ever so slightly at the more laid back catalogue of Teenage Fanclub while simultaneously investing elements of ’durable dream’ era Moviola, early career Summer Hymns and the odd dash of mid 70’s era Neil Young, ‘you get so alone’ is ready made for long summer evenings idly wiling the days end away beneath the shade of a tree while the slinky easy thrill of ‘it’s about time’ is so melodically astute in all things early 70’s styled super chilled soul pop it leaves you swooning with its slyly carved side winding buzz sawing codas. All said and done if ‘holy wholly’ had of come pre-packed adorned with New York City plates or tattoos then certain elements of the music press would be drooling and pissing themselves with excitement over this, with its lip smacking pop thrilled deep set snaking honeycombed fuzz buzzing groove – all at once sassy, slinky and sexily demurring this uber cool babe is a shade wearing sizzler that craftily imports the warming gulf streams of the west coast and sumptuously blends them in a deliciously addictive hybrid of glam and 50’s bubblegum wraps. We await that album with fevered anticipation.


And as a parting shot and to ensure your all snuggled up something of a tasty new rough mix from singled out favourites Kelman…….. – bugger me with a big stick the enigmatic and ever so crucial Kelman are busying themselves putting the finishing touches to their as yet untitled second full length due to do record rack damage sometime around March next year. As a sneak peak they’ve posted a rough cut of ‘shut a final door’ – a majestic tear stained beauty wrapped in delicate sheens of shimmer like strums that stab and punch holes in your defences in pretty much the same way as was once the forte of the Flaming Stars though here solemnly peering from the bottom of a hopeless glass of sorrow – undeniably aching stuff  – Tindersticks, Wedding Present and Galaxie 500 fans be warned this will seduce, romance, caress and inevitably floor you. A bewitching drunken dandy from the arbiters of pain killer pop.


Ian Brown ‘Sister Rose’ (promo). Ian Brown? What him from the Stone Roses. Old chimp features makes half decent record, well it is the season of miracles I suppose though saying that we‘ve never cared for his solo work so the mere sight of a platter with his name adorned upon it is pretty horrific enough and that‘s even before we put the blighter on the hi-fi. But put it on the hi-fi we did and do you know what I’m happy to say our fingers were out of our ears in a jiffy and the normally reserved for painful listening experiences grimace which we keep in a jar just in arms reach for emergencies was tendered into a sly smile of relief. Culled from his ‘the world is yours’ full length, ’sister rose’ sees Brown getting his shit together in fine style, backed by Messrs Jones and Cook of Pistols fame ’sister rose’ is a hypnotic neo psychedelic snake charmer swept amid swirling strings and side winding riffs that coalesce to create hazily warmth filled eastern mantras atop which the shade adorned Brown ducks dives and shimmies with cool reproach.


Kate Nash ‘Pumpkin Soup’ (Fiction). Rounding off what’s been a pretty phenomenal year for Ms Nash that begun being a struggling unknown armed with a sackful of quirky tunes that quickly rooted themselves in the nations psyche with forest fire spreading word of mouth culminating in a hit album ’made of bricks’ and a shed load of awards. Lazily thrown in with the odiously catch all generic anchor that is the LDN set and often compared to Lily Allen which on one hand is no bad thing but then on the other so painfully off the mark as to make you wonder whether certain people have indeed chosen the right profession to be in. ’Pumpkin Soup’ her best (‘recorded’) outing to date and that includes the annoyingly addictive ’foundations’, sees her assuming a big beat armoury to her sound, the rhythms are still dinky, skewiff, dislocated as they devilishly zig zag their way past your defences – her clever word plays revealing her unending confusion as to playing of the love game is still in tact though this time amid the paranoiac confusion of mixed signals from her beau she’s obviously thought sod this and gone for the direct approach and rather than wearing her heart on her sleeve has tattooed the blighter on her forehead . A hit no doubt.


Wolf People ’Storm Cloud’ (Battered Ornaments). Release number 5 for the highly eclectic imprint Battered Ornaments who in recent weeks appear to have thawed out of their hibernation to come out to play having already planted one quite essential release upon us in the shape of that awesome Beneath Fire and Smoke 10”, now get set to turn heads and minds alike with the long awaited follow up to last years near perfect ‘October Fires’ debut (see missive 101) from Wolf People. This babe comes pressed up on limited quantities of bespoke sleeved 7 inch slabs of wax – 500 in all, the aforementioned debut flew from the racks so be warned no tears when they’re all snapped up. Led from the fore by the princely pied piper Jack Sharp, Wolf People are a travelling band of acid fried drop out minstrels – or so it would seem – who frequent a strange woodland world lost in the mists of time at the crossroads between reality and folklore occupied one would imagine by Cat Weazel. ’Storm Clouds’ sounds like a rarefied trippily spun hocus pocus relic from an era where the likes of Floyd, 13th Floor Elevators and Tomorrow bestrode the hi-fi’s of the clued up cognoscenti with their warped flavours and promises of astral plane trajectories. Embedded with a lushly hypnotic lysergically tipped melodic mantra, ‘Storm Clouds’ is decorated with mind erasing swirls of softly seductive psyche folk treads much reminiscent of Oddfellows Casino as though reworking Cream into chilled states that flickers and flutter in bliss like hazes craftily working their spellbinding potion all the time sumptuously braided by chorus’ of frazzled fuzz laden riffs. The deceptively funky and hallucinogenic ‘Cotton Strands’ over on the flip is festooned with flutes, dreamy harmonies and 60’ pastoral treatments and trips deliciously amid a flashback floorshow delicately underpinned by an exotic floral pageant made up of intertwining melodic threads drawn from Love, Traffic and Soft Machine – all at once enchanting and intoxicating its like partaking of some strangely sweet matured elixir and being inebriated on the timeless vibe of classically calibrated English psychedelic. Quite perfect if you ask me – joint single of the missive.


Unusual and Electric ‘Under the Skin’ EP (Zirkus). Third EP from Mark and Adam’s Unusual and Electric alter ego which by a quick arithmetic check means we’ve missed EP’s 1 and 2 to much gnashing of teeth – a two track turntable taste machine of sorts which unless I’m very much mistaken makes it not an EP at all as such but rather more a bog standard single affair. Am I being pedantic – I guess so. Anyhow gripping stuff, if this don’t get the toes a tapping, the hips a swinging and the body a gyrating cutting cool shapes on the floor then frankly we suspect you could be a corpse. ‘Mad Dogs’ is one funky little bastard, imagine Roy Budd’s theme from ’Get Carter’ given a sassy mutant skanked up dubbed out drum n bass re-cut by a collective headed up by Wagon Christ and Adrian Sherwood who aside bringing along a shed load of samples, grooves and multi faceted genre crossovers have managed to shoehorn in the odd kitchen sink or two and wrapped all the ingredients into a club floor rumbling party pack power house – kinda like Yello’s ‘the race’ but smoking better grade grass. ‘Deep Pitch’ features over on the flip which should appeal in the main to fans and admirers of the mighty Superimposers and Lemon Jelly –  a huge ever growing spongy slice of wig flipping trippyness, a dub-tronic daydream replete with dissipating loops and whacked out chemically enhanced vibes – think upon it as a fried carnival of loony lunatics – of course your record collection needs it. Smoking stuff.


Ten City Nation ‘exhibition time again’ (self released). I feel apologies are due on this one (and it won’t be the first release featured here that’s a fair while old). Sadly this was one that got away and got itself lost – a spanking release which we hope isn’t lost on the band – who by now have probably split up and found careers as bank managers or some thing equally evil. Ten City Nation are a Suffolk based trio who judging by the quality of this three track EP could in time prove to be more than a match for most in terms of aggression, intensity and melodic muscle. This trio of tracks reveal an ensemble not content with being easily pigeonholed, while the raging tour de force ‘exhibition time again’ with its pummelling front line assault of searing riff attacks nailed to the floor by a killer chorus hook that’d make the QOTSA weep with jealousy may well be a ringer for early career Foo Fighters with their mindset well and truly attuned to Nirvana’s Wipers obsessed ‘Bleach’ – the parting shot the emotionally crushed  ‘everyone’s a tourist’ with it needling intertwining cloud piercing riffs reveals an aching lovelorn mindset buzz sawing within their chemistry. That said both are no match for the monumental and refined ‘the air is on fire’ – dark, brooding and epic, this majestic babe mooches in the parched airless stratospheric reaches prickling and prowling amid cavernous cascades of atmospheric chimes momentarily erupting into life to scowl and strut in fearless fashion – damn smart if you ask me. Well worth nailing as your own.


Frightened Rabbit ‘Be less rude’ (Fat Cat). Another release that we found snugged down the back of the hi-fi forevermore thought lost. Sadly the press release which we suspect accompanied it is still AWOL. Anyway been a while since we had anything by Fat Cat since we somehow fell off their mailing list – ha ha – these things happen don’t you find. Anyhow Frightened Rabbit hail from Glasgow are now fully paid up members of the ever evolving Fat Cat roster and have (or should have) their self released ‘sing the greys’ full length polished, touched up, repackaged and doing brisk business at a decent record shop near you right about now and such a wonderful thing as we’ve heard it only for the blighter to go momentarily walkies to which as a result a crack squad of seek and search mercenaries have been despatched to root out. Two cuts feature here ‘be less rude’ the lead out track is clipped by a bitter sweetly happy sad shanty like feel upended by lashings of droned out keys (and unless we are very much mistaken liberally toasted with breezy harmonicas) and chugging guitars which all serve to come across sounding like prime time Pavement duelling with ‘Tommy’ era Wedding Present – fans of Decoration will swoon though the puzzling thing is why oh why does it remind me of Eddie and the Hot Rods? Flip side ‘the Greys’ with its stuttered stop start panic attack dynamics has all the urgency and seizure inducing hysteria of a cavalry regiment fronted by the Weddoes heading over hill to the rescue, slowly building to a steady but sure chest beating crescendo leaving not a dry eye in the house – quite a special thing if you ask me.


The Pony Collaboration ‘Fast Lane’ (Series 8). Another of those ‘blimey where the hell did that come from’ finds in the great pile of lost singles that we recently unearthed – although strictly speaking we are ahead of the game on this for once being that we reviewed it originally at Missive 135 which means – thankfully – that this is a spare we’ve been sent. Any how you can’t keep a good record down and blimey this is a bit of a belter. ‘Fast Lane’ is the kind of thing that frequently slips out of the stables of the Track and Field and Fortuna Pop imprints, vivacious, euphoric and a shimmering belle of loveable 60’s summer pop that sounds like some divine meeting between ‘lazy line’ era Belle and Sebastian and St Etienne – nuff said  think. Flip side as previously noted is a ringer for the Tindersticks or better still sounds like reclining Kelman – which in our books makes it the bollocks wouldn’t you say?


MPD ‘Fruits of the forest’ EP (self released). Now I’m hate to sound like I’m beginning to get a bee in me bonnet about these things – but three tracks does not make an EP – okay fair do’s maybe it is just me – I’m suffering from the flu and I’m a tad short on patience – hey ho. MPD (which incidentally is not the Metropolitan Police Department – or at least we don’t think so) is a young and mysterious soul originating from Preston who according to the attending press release was one time member of a short lived combo by the name of Calderbank who split amid musical differences. Retuning to solitude to lick his wounds this shy eyed soul went back to drawing board dispensing of the collaborative assistance opting instead for the slow but painful process of nailing the sounds in his head culminating in the three cuts found on this debut showcasing release. These mercurial acoustic treats weave an alluring spell, the initial moments of ‘electrical’ the opening cut are infused with a bruised noire-ish shade much reminiscent of ‘murder ballads’ era Nick Cave, aching and longingly braided by sorrowful strings it soon unfurls magically as though a parting of the clouds has occurred to silkily woo and enchant with a haunting pastoral exquisiteness as if ’up the downstair’ era Porcupine Tree where flirting with a windswept Radiohead. ’the first time’ perhaps the weakest of the trio of cuts still has enough resolute bleakness about its being as to cut to the bone the steeliest of hearts though for me personally the best is left till last, ’refrain’ takes its cue from the quieter more intimate moments of Verve’s ’Urban Hymns’ before throwing a curveball


Circle ‘Vaahto’ (Trensmat). Is there anything better in life that having the latest fresh of the presses Trensmat release happily doing its thang on the turntable – well now you come to ask yes in fact there is and that’s two Trensmat platters doing their business on the hi-fi. We must admit it was as though Christmas had arrived one month early in our gaff this morning. The arrival of a familiar Irish postmarked parcel was hastily ripped open its contents immediately fed on the eager as hell turntable and the rest of the day subsequently put on hold while we savoured those all important slabs of ear gear. First up on the inspection blocks are Finland’s coolest dudes Circle who over the course of some 16 years now have graced the more clued up record buying cognoscenti with their defining brand of psyche kraut which to date has culminated in a bulging 20 plus album back catalogue. Pressed up in strictly limited quantities of dinked red wax (and which across its run out grooves has scratched ‘take a stress pill and think things over’ – rekindling a lost art) this baby offers up 12 minutes of mind morphing mutations set across two cuts, quite frankly just what the doctor ordered regardless of whether you wanted it or not in the first place. How best to describe both ‘Vaahto’ and ‘spektaakkelin kritiikki’ would be best summed up by having you imagine having your head forced into a psychedelic tumble dryer on the hottest possible setting. Alternatively you might prefer the notional bad assed krautrock. Whatever your chosen preference these brain mushing babies are the bollocks – ‘Vaahto’ is so brazenly uber cool it could house its own fashion collection, repetitive locked down looping mesmerising motorik grooves spliced with distressed harmonicas give this a deliciously dusty aspect to which fans of old school Echoboy and Sunray will swoon in bliss behind their shades to while casually basking amid a mind enlightening snake winding blues mantra that has you imagining a super chilled RL Burnside tangled up in some sort of amorphous progressive primitive space age stew curated by a meeting of mindsets belonging to Goblin and Neu! Flip cut ‘spektaakkelin kritiikki’ provides the best moment of the brace – the bastard offspring of sorts of Barrett’s ‘Lucifer Sam’ though on this occasion shot through with an edgy psychosis that’s been partly fed through Spacemen 3’s fried back catalogue and then pummelled unrecognizable by the minimalist austere scarring of post punk intonations (think Left Hand’s ‘minus eight’ – second mention same missive) – stunningly bleak if you ask me. There’s a by all accounts absolutely essential full length kicking around entitled ‘the blaze game’ via Conspiracy which features Circle and Sunburned Hand of the Man going head to a head for the mother of all jamming sessions under the guise of Sunburned Circle.


The Telescopes ‘Another Whip’ (Trensmat). Would you believe it we’ve actually mislaid our copy – foolishly – so this is just a warning call -of course it’s already sold out on pre-release alone  though we advise you check with the usual Trensmat stockists – we’ll nail this blighter down and get it reviewed over the weekend. Promise. Well frankly two Trensmat releases in one missive – that’s plainly asking for trouble – don’t want to get spoiling you too much now do we?


Muller and Patton ‘Hows it done’ (Vexin). We don’t mind admitting that since this little cutie arrived at the singled out shoe box sized record shed its been hogging the hi-fi and into the bargain causing a fair amount of swooning from this here scribe. A taster no less for the simply superb would be lemon popsicle opera that is their second full length – ’Jonathan and Bailey’. Sumptuously blending the cheesy with the classical the duo – Jaye Muller and Ben Patton now relocated in London  – apply the key note examples of the pristine pop manual to sound, the completed translation a breathlessly audacious and out of step collection of sugar laced breezy west coast fired tuneage that demands you never leave its presence until the dying crackles of the stylus leaving the run out vinyl grooves conclude. Three teaser cuts feature here all culled from Act 2 of the aforementioned set (which before we forget even has an intermission break – how cool is that?). Think Dean Friedman (especially on the bitter sweet and cleverly phrased wordplay of ‘you obnoxious little brat’), Gilbert O’Sullivan, Alan Price, a youthful Billy Joel and the Beach Boys all locked in a studio charged with the task of concocting a lilting effervescent pop dream. Not since Ben Folds 5’s self titled debut has a musical union been so delicately explicit in their appreciation for the fine art of lovelorn symphonic melodic craft, ‘hows it done’ shimmers with 60’s sultriness and 50’s bubblegum, melting harmonies, 70’s basked zig zagging riffs set to a honey hued re-scripting as were at ‘spread a little happinss’. That said best of the set ‘the Massachusetts slumber party massacre’ manages to arrest your defences like some potently incurable virus, from its ‘over the rainbow’ introduction it freewheels superbly incorporating all manner of enticing tricks and traps with which to draw you in – from the ‘uh oh’ comedic use of the saxophone that strangely sounds like a kazoo, the faux Hitchcockian string slashes, the Beatles-esque dreamscaping flute montages a la ‘strawberry fields’ to the off kilter buzz sawed power pop throb – this goofily purring babe occupies similar pop orbits to both the criminally undervalued Epicycle and the wilfully overlooked Eskimos – frankly there’s nothing else for it other than to pin upon it the joint single of the missive tag.


Okay plenty of Owl Service related goodies flying around our gaff at the moment – though momentarily we seem to have mislaid their debut album ‘A garland of song’ – and not for the first time since it arrived here romancing its way into our life. Beautifully crafted and sadly out of print at the moment though you should be able to nail yourself a download of it with four additional cuts via – though word has it Southern Records have picked it up and are intending to re-release it early next year on CD and vinyl formats (in which case we’ll be nabbing a copy of each – surely we can’t lose a 12” slab of vinyl – can we – oh I don’t know – it has been known). Any how enough tittle tattle – as said several releases have come via our way recently. Those familiar with the Owl Service will be all to aware that this was a one time single handed mystical folk adventure undertaken by one Steven Collins who on the evidence of what we‘ve heard so far appears to have unearthed a somewhat long lost and (we assume) overgrown pathway linking the present to the past along which he‘s seem fit to skip to and forth along with carefree abandon. These days following acclaimed outings via Static Caravan (‘Cine’) and having featured on the simply superb double disc collection put out by Cold Spring records entitled ‘John Barleycorn Reborn’ (where he rubs shoulders with the likes of Peter Ulrich, Alphane Moon, Quickthorn and a whole host of others awaiting affection and love on the underground folk scene) – the Owl Service has expanded into a full compliment even being known to partake in the odd live appearance or two.


Releases via their own Hobby Horse imprint arrive as hand crafted beauties in ever limited quantities – one such being the 8 track ‘Midwinter Concert’ collection. Originally due to be a gig only available affair – however pressing plant cock ups meant it was delayed and made available for a limited period via the Midwich Cuckoos site at As said featuring 4 acts cutting up amongst themselves 8 tracks – the attending parties being Sharron Kraus, Nancy Wallace, the Straw Bear Band and of course a trio of (quite possibly) delights from the Owl Service – we say quite possibly because we’ve have tried playing this on all known devices and nowt, even the PC coughs and splutters barking at us that the disc is blank – oh dear. Steven if you are reading this can you re-do please. Anyhow looks a treat and includes the usual inserts we’ve all come to know and love.


Elsewhere – and again long since deleted (there where only 30 hand numbered copies of this skulking around) is the delightful 10 track ’Chime Hours – live in a room, Autumn 2007’ set. Again a superbly trimmed hand made thing of beauty (believe you me these will be serious collectors pieces in years to come) replete with the usual inserts this aural document catches Steven Collins (nee the Owl Service) performing a rehearsal session in the intimacy of his dining room along with his extended family of musicians who helped record ’A garland of song’ preparing for the ensembles first full band compliment live appearance in support of Lisa Knapp. As said ten tracks feature here (six if you don’t count the alternate re-takes) which apart from ’red haired boy’ and ’a child’s calendar’ all feature on the aforementioned deleted debut full length ’a garland of song’. Despite the minimalist setting the recordings are superbly worked and lose none of their integrity – in fact the first take of ’the rolling of the stones’ actually improves immensely on the original, a gorgeously serenading marriage of Gaelic classicism and timeless medieval styled rustic folk eliciting a spellbinding slice of maypole flirting. Elsewhere ’Apple tree man’ is so delicately unyielding it woos and enchants in in a celebrated union that sits somewhere between Dead Can Dance and Circulus both on location on Summerisle. Then there’s the quite transfixing festivities of the violin / mandolin saturated sprightly village green hoe-down that is ’red haired boy’. Yet for us nothing quite eclipses the disarming ’a child’s calendar’ here found examined twice – a frail, fragile and delectably demurring floral bouquet of pastoral beauty that’s both eloquent and enchanting – a honey due lovelorn gem – a trembling treatise to the seasons past.


Alas we don’t like to rub these things in but we must admit to being more than a tad privileged in having our very own limited edition hand numbered 1 of 1 copy of this compilation of various Owl Service releases. Admittedly we’ve had this for a fair while but stupidly mislaid the blighter in the great CD mountain that seems to be threatening to take over our ‘living’ space. 8 tracks feature here that cull together the ’Cine’ and ’straight on till morning’ sets as well as including ’north country maid’ prized from the aforementioned must have ’John Barleycorn Reborn’ double disc set. Of course we reviewed ’Cine’ when it originally came out in its ultra limited to 30 pressing (and again when it was reprised by Static Caravan) – see – three sumptuous and faithfully crafted re-appraisals of 70’s cult soundtracks – the Wicker Man, Psychomania and Girl on a Motorcycle. In that same review we also cast an eye over the Owl Service’s impeccable debut outing ‘Wake the Vaulted Echo’ – the cuts that make up the four tracks that appeared on the limited ‘straight till morning’ are commissioned remixes by a select number of invited guest musicians. The Heavenly Music Corporation are the first up with their ‘Tigon mix’ of the lead track ‘Wake the Vaulted Echo’ here repatriated masterfully as a timid and fragile glacial heartbreaker replete with looping piano motifs and a breathlessly beguiling celestial sheen peppered with majestic monastic ambient sweeps. Lazy Comet get to grips with ’the two magicians’ and hook it up as ’magicians on comets’ mix to impart a lazy eyed after lights out seductively off kilter funk some down tempo spot of jiggling bliss. In the hands of Pelican Island ’fine horseman’ is given a deliciously sparse though vaguely warming and alluring shipping forecast styled becalming melting away haziness that’s braided by shuffling beats and an ostensibly out there vibe. The Dave Yates Compartment round up the pack to re-drill ’Interlude I + II’ and give it an eerily trippy almost hallucinogenic transcendental texture – essetial if you ask me though how you’re gonna lay your hands on a copy is anyone’s guess.


Hobby Horse / Owl Service plans for 2008 – well the much tooted lathe vinyl series should shortly see the day – initial releases will see the Straw Bear Band and of course the Owl Service laying down the grooves so to speak, the former are busying away at the ’Eccentric Heart’ project while the latter are planning to release not only an EP tentatively titled ’the fabric of folk’ but are also mooted to be planning a mini album for the legendary (well in gaff anyway) Oggum imprint ’the midnight house’.


And to round up this extended Hobby Horse spot news of a freebie download via the Woven Whispers site (for address see above) featuring the debut release by the Kittiwakes entitled ‘lofoten calling’. Currently busying themselves recording their debut full length this free to rip four track EP provides for a taster of the mercurial delights that await, The Kittiwakes are a Brit folk trio who it seems craft timeless and magical acoustically dappled folk treats – gentle and alluring ostensibly gaelic in sound texture and gorgeously flighty braided as they are by corteges of mandolins, accordions and violins. Led from the fore by vocalist Kate Waterfield these traditional old school village fayre sorts are dedicated and hitherto inspired by the Lofoten Islands which are apparently situated in the upper artic circle just above Norway – we suggest you fall head long in to the arms of the charmingly cute sweetly skipping and knee slapping frolicking feast that is the shanty like ‘Ole Petter’ – delicious.


Yellow 6 ‘merry6mas’ (make mine music). Now something of an integral feature in our gaff at festive time to be listed alongside the Christmas tree, crap telly and general all around grumpiness – the Yellow 6 musical greeting card is a thing we look forward to with each passing year. Been a bit quiet this year as far as our hi-fi is concerned has Mr Atwood nee Yellow 6 so its with much delight that we have this 9 track collection with which to re-acquaint – not that we do really – honest. A brief background on these limited releases – originally started in – was it 2000 – this CD’s packed choc a bloc with outtakes, demos, unreleased and live material used to be pressed up and sent out t people and persons who in some way had supported Jon whether that be deejays, music press, long standing fans and friends alike – they were in the real world like gold dust. That said this years edition we have happened to spy at Norman records – so all is not lost. As said 9 tracks feature here – split between 5 home recordings, a reworking of ‘phase 1’ from last years Xmas sampler along with Carta, a my space collaboration with LAM and two as yet unreleased commissioned remixes for Port-Royal and Televise. Monolithic montages that call upon the spirits of Mogwai, Roy Montgomery (especially on the hurting ‘phase 1‘), Floyd and Gnac, there’s no doubting that Atwood is the master of the understated both in terms of beauty, texture and atmospherics – melting moods that freewheel between the pensive and the ceremony, his delicately deft appreciation of space and dramatic tension balances superbly to craft out pristine ice carved aural sculptures – ‘in some other‘ is a perfect example of this technique – each dissipating chord hugging fast to the voids creating an almost majestically repose. The home recordings find Atwood in familiar comfort zones armed with a lonesome guitar eking out pining sonic signatures invested with transcendental curvatures – ’burning holes in the sky’ the opening salvo treads the climatically arid regions as were once prowled upon by godspeed, looping free spirited drone chord motifs collide into a delicately ominous storm passing contrasting with the reverb laden tenderness of the lulling ’diamond’. ’L#4’ provides the best moment of these private recordings – bedded on trademarked / classic Yellow 6 ground – brooding, bewitching and beautiful is all we’ll say on the matter. I have to admit that I’m prone to agree with Atwood’s assessment on remixes, I always find them pointless exercises unless of course you can bring some thing to the table the best remixes have always been the ones were the original template is radically reworked to fit an environment previously never considered by the creator. Atwood’s reframing of Italian combo Port Royal’s ‘karol bloch’ goes someway to achieving this – a chilled out celestial carousel of ice tipped crunchy beats and cavernous ambient shimmers. The re-working of Televise’s ‘life on Mars’ is better still, stuttering dub tuned vocals a la Butthole Surfers ’hurdy gurdy man’ replete with huge hulking Cathedral-esque drenched feedback washes give this an epic and stately persona though ostensibly trippy and dare we say hallucinogenic aspect. Described as a my space collaboration of sorts ‘LAM -Y6’ is exquisite – a hazy fuzz fuelled cyclical psychedelic odyssey is brought to the fore that applies the type of fringe re-arranging mind evaporating touches as more commonly associated with Sunray this babe is emerges into a hypnotic dreamscaped gem. The cosmically pirouetting ‘down’ is also worth checking into to – a collaboration with Jason Perez (Carta) – imagine space walking in a mallowy animation coloured by the Beatles blue meanies – say no more. A bit of a treat.


Further listening – – disarming twinkle some electronic suites is the order of the day  -we suggest you re-tune your radar to the timid though charming ‘internet love’ culled from their current long player ‘afraid to dance’ via Resonant. They also feature on the latest ‘little Darla has a treat for you’ compilation which we’ve somehow missed out on – darn another trip to the record shop I feel is much warranted. – San Francisco based sonic collective who craft out teasingly evocative morsels of beauty, both timid and frail these little pearls of exquisitely carved and slender in detail montages are cut from the stuff that hold the stars in the night sky. Betwixted between roaming cascades of gently lilting noodling guitars refrains (‘perdido’) and warmth fuelled electronic hazes married to key motifs (’Small lights’) Carta all at once woo, enchant and romance – a full length ’an index of birds’ is tentatively slated for a 2008 release. – Televise need no introductions here – they’ve featured on the odd occasion via outings for the esteemed Club AC30 (see missive 68) – essentially just Simon Scott – one time Slowdive member who divides his time with the Televise operations to collaborate with Isan’s Anthony Ryan in a project entitled Sea vault (see below). To describe Televise is to say of them – shoe gaze psych tinged florescent folk pop – these selections reveal the mellower persona of Scott’s work we suggest you hook up to the drifting light headed shimmer of the spellbinding rustic roasted Cul De Sac – esue ‘Neon Stone’. – heavenly made collaborative project featuring ISAN’s Anthony Ryan and Televise’s Simon Steer (see previous) – apparently these two have already issued a single and an album upon the record public via Morr both of which we’ll have to try and snare in the coming days as our own. ’Mercy Seat’ – what can we say – stunning – a faithful interpretation of one of ’dream pop’s’ great lost records – originally done by Ultra Vivid Scene way back in an age when some of us still had a fringe that could be re-arranged in moments of swooning brought to bear by hearing gems such as this. Here repositioned with a tearfully effervescent sheen that’s part celestial part ‘road to Damascus’ visitation – braided upon shimmering hazes of crystalline fuzz laden bliss its enough to make you weep in joy – now where is my UVS copy? And the treats don’t stop there – not content with up rooting one long lost classic the blighters go and unearth another in the shape of Altered Images near perfect pocket posy of pristine pop ’I could be happy’ – regular readers to these pages will note that Scotland’s finest cannae do nothing wrong in our eyes while onlookers misfortunate enough to have heard us wielding the wheels of steel on the very rare occasions we haplessly spun discs in the dead air between support bands may well have been much bemused to hear this particular nugget popping out between ENT and whatever puzzlingly oblique beauts we’ve had about our person. In the hands of Seavault its gorgeously beset with an almost wonderfully blankly non committal vocal that bleakly mooches about the heavenly serenades of celestial styled electronic twinkles – in short perfect. – Italian based collective who it seems have a full length currently sneaking in to all the finest record collections in the shape of ‘house of wax’ which after hearing the evidence brought upon by these four showcasing treats we feel we need to have as our own – and sharpish. LAM deal in sparsely layered electronic / guitar ambient textures, partly influenced by Morricone’s ‘fistful’ scores as though relocated in some far flung idyllic South Pacific hideaway especially on the delectable ‘1’ which sounds like some celestial Hawaiian styled apocalyptic gun slinging closing scene from a Western while the dustily arid ‘half a century high’ I a sumptuous slice of daydreaming retrospection rooted with snake charmer riffs and an inordinately perfect chill out smooze.


Schizo Fun Addict ‘Dream of the Portugal Keeper’ (Bracken). Yes I know we’ve already covered this at Missive 145 – but hey we still think its worthy of another slot especially given that we now have in our hands a finished vinyl copy which comes replete with a CD for al you vinyl-philes who don’t want to spoil your copy as well as for those foolish enough among you to trade in your turntable all those years back – don’t you just feel like dicks now eh? Anyhow a teaser for their forthcoming fourth long player ‘the sun yard’ – which we are eagerly waiting with baited breath to hear. This babe features three cuts – just wait till you hear the lead cut ‘dream of a Portugal Keeper’ think Camera Obscura meets L’Augmentation – need we say more – good – then buy.


Mojo #171 – we haven’t had a proper chance to spec this yet but it’s the one with Radiohead on the cover, inside being interviewed – in fact their everywhere, wouldn’t surprise me if they’d edited, written and printed the bugger themselves. Elsewhere there’s features / interviews with Joni Mitchell, the Cult, Adam Ant – a spotlight on photographer Henry Diltz, Can feature on the ‘how to buy’ section while hello / goodbye trains its sights on the genius of Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys. Oh yea there’s also something about a band called Led Zeppelin – you may have heard of them. Glued to the cover you’ll find the now obligatory 15 track CD – this one entitled ‘OK Computer’ which features the multi generic use of electronics in pop. A wealth of talent on show – some household names and some barely known at the local record emporium – among the culprits on show Tubeway Army, Human League (whose ‘Circus of Death’ has had me hankering to re-investigate both ‘Reproduction’ and ‘travelogue’), Tangerine Dream, John Foxx, the Knife and so on – selected prime cuts for me personally Fujiya and Miyagi’s hypnotically chilled and frayed Normal-esque ’Ankle Injuries’, Claudia’s crooked They Might be Giants on glue like ’dead dogs two’ and Severed Heads jiggly head weaving pan house ’dead eyes opened’.



And for something that got a little lost in the review type heap – a rather nifty 7 label freebie compilation….


Various Artists ‘Lets dream it, dream it for free’ (Bearos, Pickled Egg, Static Caravan, Fortuna Pop, Victory Garden, Where its at is where you are, Vacuous Pop). Another of those superb freebie samplers currently kicking around and about no doubt skulking on the counter of your friendly neighbourhood record emporium. This time around a positive feast of talents some you should know and some you will in time get to know. A bulging package featuring 29 cuts from the rosters of seven of the best underground imprints around each offering a smorgasbord of window delicatessen spiced with more than enough cross generic tuneage to entertain the most hard to please punter. First up three morsels from the vaults of where its at is where you are records who frankly have a ridiculously enviable collection of talented souls on their books as these three choice cuts prove. DJ Downfall AKA John Stanley of Tender Trap fame opens the proceedings with the cutely sassy ‘Rediscover Fire’ – think Sophie Ellis Bextor given a serious cutting edge state of the art re-fit fronting a dinkily delivered Euro disko inspired St Etienne doing seismic damage on the dance floor. Swedish Chef (no not the manic Muppet – the London based ensemble) – I suspect are a band we should really be chasing and literally playing to death in the losing today record shed. ’Hilo’ is simply heavenly – some trippy Beatles-esque mellotron, a vocal not unlike David McAlmont and a shyly sophisticated delivery that would have those rather impeccable souls Shortwave Set swooning in admiration for, all at once enchanting and hurting – we want more and I dare say you will once you’ve sampled this cute twinkle some gem. In a career stretching back some 15 or so years Rose Melberg has acquired a formidable body of work to her name – a member of the Softies and Tiger Trap she’s graced the catalogues of the highly influential K and Slumberland labels. ‘Cast away the clouds’ is a sweetly curdling rustic ramble of some measure, softly drifting acoustic pop that transfixes and tenderly captivates that in truth is no to dissimilar to the more lighter introspective moments to be found skulking within Nick Drake’s lasting legacy. Next up the small but well formed Victory Garden imprint – home of Southall Riot (more about them in a second) and the label responsible for ushering upon the world the debut release from Hot Chip. Four selections culled from their finite file tray of free forming pop beginning with our latest loves – it has to be said – One More Grain. Already responsible for holding our hi-fi under house arrest with their rather essential debut full length ‘pigeon English’ – ‘tropical mother I law’ taken from that set and perhaps – in our humble opinion – the best thing there – imagine Lurie’s ‘Get Shortly’ soundtrack being re-sparked and turned on its head by a Van Vliet fronted early 70’s art house Roxy Music – kookily funky head pop – squares need not apply. The Phil Collins 3 – (great name eh?) – sound like they’ve fell off an old taped broadcast of a John Peel show from yesteryear, ‘Greenfly ate my dog’ is an amalgamation of all those wired releases that the bearded one used to spike his show with – strangely enough mostly emanating from Japan or some strange off the beaten track place in the States, bent out of shape, odd, acutely obtuse and disturbed in a way that only the Cravats come near when considering comparisons. You have bee warned – frankly want more. ’Champion Overseen’ I think I might be right in saying is a previously unreleased nugget from the Southall Riot – who though inactive for longer than I care to remember where at one time a regular fixture in these pages – releasing along the way some spiffing ultra limited releases including if memory serves right one full length – which may or may not have been a split subscription only thing on Earworm (damn we need to get our record collection in some sort of order). Anyway oft compared to Guided by Voices, the Riot boys dished up devious slabs of short and to the point candy floss styled morsels of psyche pop that sounded for all the world like stray west coast birthed Elephant 6 gems that had somehow lost their sense of direction, took a detour and had ended up across the pond – needless to say pop archivists in future years will reclaim them and a whole movement will copy them – for now though bliss out to their fuzzy head trip and think JMC boogying with Sunray. The Original Beekeepers have – assuming they aren’t joshing us – been around in some form or other since 1984 (are you sure?) and have so far done a magnificent job of hiding their light under the preverbal bushel that we suspect it was never switched on in the first place, ’Flow’ is deliciously homely sounding – a bit like a shanty murmuring Earlies cast adrift upon the seas in a rusty tin bath, cutely affectionate and enchanting prickly pop that’ll have you laughing, crying and experiencing all the emotions in between along with a few you never really counted on previously – gemlike in a word. Been ages since we heard anything from Vacuous Pop – I suspect they’ve moved onto bigger things and in the process debunked us from their mailing list – such is life. A quartet of spiked pop tunes feature here opening with An Emergency’s ’I don’t think Tom Cruise is real’ – which strangely enough is something that I used to ponder about when I was somewhat younger and with fringe, the enfant terrible of Hollywood land is so wooden that we wonder whether he has an annual coating of cuprinol. Anyhow An Emergency are an Exeter based combo who to date have littered many of the coolest record racks with what seems like a formidable body of work – all of which disappointingly have so far managed to remain at arms length from our slavering hi-fi. This little ditty is your jagged angular hiccupping stop start gnarled riffs type thing that seems equally happy in incorporating happy go lucky pop fused woo woo’s while devilishly pummelling you into next month with its blistering tight as a gnats chuff intricate sonic needlework. youth movies are next stumping up ’when we won’t have to make the freezing scene no more’, originating from Oxford this quintet display an unearthly knack for crafting crushing slabs of wide screened super charged post rock this tasty morsel proving case in point bathed as it is in sublime swells of euphoric stratospheric grandeur that arcs seismically between heads down razor sharp primitive scorched earth grind and alluring out their bliss fuelled sophistication. Upon hearing ’codeword’ by trouble everyday you’d be forgiven for thinking that these lads spend their nights chilling to the back catalogue work of early career Killing Joke – touched superbly with a sense of the austere laced late 70’s post punk they cleverly fuse the bleak edge of Coleman and Co with the attrition of early Chameleons. Breakneck Static – what can we say – totally fuckin mental and really just too brief for its own good, at 26 seconds in length this caustic cutie flips your wig, ruffles your head and spanks your hi-fi – three guys two girls and what a deliciously unholy racket they make – ’oki gen ika ga’ makes melt banana sounds like the shaggs, disturbingly off the wall, frenetic, fucked up and mighty damn fine – word has it there’s a must have split single with An Emergency lurking about somewhere. Essential we’d say.

Of course Static Caravan need no introductions here – they have for the last few years been perhaps the barometer of taste in terms of what’s happening trend wise on the underground, more of a way of life than simply a label , they have been home to some of the finest sounds to have bridged the divide from a secret shared among friends to something achieving a lasting hold in the greater public conscious – Tunng perhaps most notably where given support, love and care when no one else dared touch them while of the current brigade Shady Bard stand head and shoulders amid most of what the majors seem to be buying into these days. Three selections from the Static roster kicking off with the mysterious, and dare we say, deeply engaging Men -An -Tol . Already having enchanted us with the long sold out ultra limited 200 only EP earlier this year, this cut ’Orange Juice and Vodka’ being taken from that set. Easily comfortable in being filed alongside the like of EPOK, Circulus and the Owl Service, Men An Tol head a becoming list of nu-folk talent, this gem treated to an archaic brushing of village green pageantry is threaded subtly with the drifting essence of yesteryears Cambridge folk and a beguiling gaellic airiness. Tasty. We suspect that we may have missed out on Danny Norbury’s debut release ‘Dusk‘ (we’ve hastily added it to our wants list – so when we do nail it we will mention it in full). ’Lullaby’ offered here is barely a minute in duration – a delicate piano signature a la ’Trois Gymnopedies’ by Satie – beautifully eerie, tender and quite lilting in a one eye turned looking over your shoulder kind of way. Serafina Steer – already having delivered one of the best albums of the year in ’Cheap demos bad science’ – ’Peach Heart’ one of that sets highlights is an obscure Lear meets Tim Burton noire-ish gothic deathly white ballad prickled with haunting imagery and delivered in a style that suggests Laurie Anderson transplanted in to the mindset of a youthful Bronte influenced Kate Bush – chillingly gorgeous. We never get to hear enough Pickled Egg ear gear for our liking these days – whether that’s due to the fact that the releases are more staggered these days or simply due in part to Nigel Pickled Egg haven given up on us we don’t know. That said we have just received our copy of the debut full length by Mass Shivers – great name eh – who incidentally feature here with ’Downwind of Amour’ – think the early white funk groove of Talking Heads though fronted by the Manics’ James Dean Bradfield recalibrated by the 90’s era Touch ’n’ Go crew with lashings of head maddening fried up Beefheartian noodling and a healthy nod in the direction of Bowie’s ‘chant of the ever circling family’ going on in the mix. Fulborn Taversham who appear courtesy of the acutely wired ’beachtune’ feature members of Acoustic Ladyland and Polar Bear amid their ranks along with the indisputably excitable vocal of Alice Grant, think X-Ray Spex whipping Miles Davis good style with Tom Waits masterminding the beating, oft to be found filed under jazz which in itself is a bit of a misnomer because this lot I suspect would be far happier filed alongside the likes of Zea et al. Warped yet addictively tasty. Dragon or Emperor whose self titled debut full length from a while back we still dig out for an occasional spin is one of the many splinter ensembles of the Volcano the Bear family – and before you all groan fearing for your sanity at the expectancy of weird slices of anti pop then think again – ’part of me says’ taken from that aforementioned debut is a molten rock boogie of some measure fusing Led Zep groove with Melvins grind to be dispatched with a vocal that sounds not unlike David ‘Pere Ubu’ Thomas trying out for Beef heart – everything you ever needed to know about decadent 70’s styled street sassiness neatly distilled into 3 minutes of horny hip hugging throb. Apatt – frankly the best thing out of Liverpool right now – they are a class above – sadly we haven’t heard anything by them since they’re debut EP which we reviewed way back at Missive 36 – even then we were hooked by their wilful nonchalance to the burgeoning Mersey scene. ’Happiness’ is without doubt the samplers best moment by some distance an exotic Hawaiian styled ode of stalker intent that melds the oddly unhinged pop vocabulary of Whitetown with the sinister darkly toned language of early career Space both lost beneath the starlit splendour of Stereolab’s self styled bachelor pad down tempo groove all sublimely metered out with doo wops and big band sounding strings – once heard you’ll be spellbound – guaranteed. An album – we hear – is due to surface imminently. Fortuna Pop – the little label with the biggest of souls stump up 5 dainty treasures opening with Airport Girl’s twang-tastic beach boogie ’Black rock sands’ – short ’n’ sweet slickly delivered hip swerving tastiness that pays several nods to the Surfaris. The Mountain Movers – previously unknown to us though we suspect that won‘t be for to long – serve up the delicious ’what the devil wants the devil takes’ – imagine early 70’s cool as f**k Stones overdosing on some of the sleekest vintage Stax there was to be found chilled and classy and perhaps to these ears the best thing we’ve heard since the Panda Gang who incidentally these days go under the name BDI’s and have a stonking debut full length just out that we’ve been swooning to since it arrived here tail end of last week. Few things in life are tastier than the small but well formed bubblegum beat combo The Loves, ’honey’ barely passes the one minute mark yet in that time manages to distil all there is to know about cutesy cute candy pop – think Jan and Dean with the Ramones fused into their blueprint DNA on a 60’s west coast vacation – tangy lovelorn perky power pop of the highest order. And we say this each and every time we hear something from the Butterflies of Love – but seriously – they are one of the most underrated bands around today. Not content with delivering one of the best debuts ever in ’rob a bank’ they’ve cut up some of the best slabs of 60’s invested pop around today – these days loosened of their penchant for the Velvets and to be found excavating in their own imitable way the routes and walkways of Neil Young’s early career work – ’Act Deranged’ shimmers feverishly, a freewheeling countrified pop nugget that subtly pays nods to Dylan and Buffalo Springfield while casually bridging the divide between them and the much overlooked honey glazed homeliness to be found on Moville’s ’durable dream’ – a bit of a treasure if you ask me. My Sad Captains debut ’Bad decisions’ released earlier this yea (see missive 121) is another mighty first outing that will by rights feature on a fair few end of year polls – ’here and elsewhere’ its attending flipside featured here is just simply arresting, a willowy half cousin to the Shortwave Set, that is the Shortwave Set decamped to the wiles of the Southern States of America and partaking in campfire frivolities – hurting but sweetly so – guaranteed to leave not a dry in the house. Rounding up the pack the Chemistry Experiment  – too clever for their own good though perhaps its true to say that this sub 30 second slice of throwaway vocal / drums only petulance entitled (well what else) ’drummer bummer’ doesn’t really paint the picture that way – contrary bastards they are – but bloody good all the same. Bringing up the rear of this excellent sampler come five well dispatched volleys from the criminally overlooked Bearos imprint (and I include myself in that damming charge). Opening with the sound of Richard Burke, the autobiographical ’So quick’ is a sparsely sensitive folk hurter that barely clocks in at one minute in duration, despite its threadbare appeal there’s a warmth that radiates throughout this slender plucked acoustics as though June Panic had consorted to appear with the Red House Painters – an album ’the wintered sea’ should be the first port of call for those wanting more. The baker boys I regret to admit we’ve had a CD by sometime last year – though with one or another encroaching on my personal life we somehow got through half a review before it was abandoned. They are of course father and son duo Dave and Gavin Baker – Gavin you may or may not recall has in the past released some tasty morsels of intimate pop under the guise Meets Guitar. The Baker Boys came to be following the pairs long lasting love of archaic traditional folk and bluegrass from the 20’s, ’Redwing’ featured here for your disconcerting delicacy is a deeply engaging meeting of sprightly Irish folk spliced as were with the drifting nuances of vintage southern state mountain sounds, something a certain Andy Kershaw would know doubt lap up by the barrel load – between the grooves silky laces of subtle possum chomping bluegrass and the timeless tread of delta blues echoes filter softly – quite something else it has to be said. ’Your Song’ by Lazarus Clamp happily minus Simon Bates is to put it mildly like imagining the Gibson Brothers boogying with Jesus Lizard – scuzzy gnarled grind for all the family. If the prospect of a bass intro lifted straight from Queen’s ’you’re my best friend’ doesn’t get your appetite salivating then maybe the thought of the idle some sweetly countrified canter of the curvaceous southern belle styled melodies slickly drifting and arcing lovingly may just tempt you. Failing that perhaps vocals that sound not unlike the late Kirsty MacColl may do the trick or as a last resort the delightful late 80’s indie pop lilt of the chiming riffs a la Hey Paulette – whatever the reason ’puppet’ by Clair Horton just has to be heard – okay. Bringing the whole shaboodle to a close Mills and Boon – no not the books ya div but a quartet from Birmingham who describe their music in passing as ’spaz folk’ – this is an edited version of ‘witches cradle’ which we truly feel the powers that be sorely cocked up on when including this given that they’ve managed to cut it just when things were getting to sound interesting, anyhow before we were rudely excommunicated we did get to hear enough to strengthen our resolve that this lot may well be worth checking out in closer details – intricately layered math rock noodling and a vocal that sounds not so dissimilar to a certain Robert Smith – go on admit it you’re intrigued. A faultless collection.


Key tracks Swedish chef ‘hilo’, The phil collins 3 ‘greenfly ate my dog’, Breakneck static ‘oki gen ika ga’, Serafina steer ‘peach heart’, Apatt ‘happiness’, The mountain movers ‘what the devil wants the devil takes’ and Clair Horton ‘puppet’.


Blimey Static Caravan wonderland – not content with recently dropping by our way the killer George Washington Brown, Steve Moore (see Steve’s side project – somewhere above) and the exquisite Binary Oppositions full lengths – not to mention that rather lovely Yellow Moon Band single – now they seek to adorn our hi-fi with some rather special seasonal treats (well sort of – okay well definitely with regard to Shady Bard – fair enough).


Dollboy / Robin Saville ‘Split’ (Static Caravan). We’re not sure when this cute but well formed beauty is due – its not even on pre-order yet. Strictly limited to just 250 copies all pressed of 7 inches of wax and housed in a hand numbered hand finished wrap around sleeves this little gem sees duties being split between Robin Saville and Dollboy. Robin Saville is better known for being one half of the diminutively demurring ISAN (Anthony Ryan his co-conspirator can be checked elsewhere here with his collaborative project Seavault – seamless eh?). ‘player piano’ – as the very title hints at – is a gorgeously willowy key laden suite – gentle, alluring and transfixing it emerges and tip toes from lamp lit confines of a child’s play room to do a delicately lilting pirouette before winding down and returning to rest in the safe retreat of the musical box – one for fans of Raymond Scott’s ‘Soothing sounds’ series, teething tots and small kitchen appliances though do what out for amorous toasters. Flip over for a spot of flighty overtures from the rarely heard Dollboy (well rarely heard in this gaff anyway – though see below for news of an ultra limited release via Harmonium records). Last featured here in these pages with their remix handy work being applied to Tunng (see missive 71) – former member of 90’s remix collective Cooler, Oliver Cherer has recently sneaked out a full length via Arable in the shape of ‘Casual Nudism’ to much acclaim – another record we’ll no doubt be hunting for in the new year. For now though that Dollboy dude gets to grips for a spot of playfulness with Bach’s ‘prelude no.1’ – though postulating as to whether the words classical and fun should ever be seen in the sentence let alone spoken really should seek this out, more uptempo than the Saville companion, Cherer applies some measured and dare we say crooked funkyness to his aural canvas over which he daubs a deliciously radiant landscape of lightly flecked waltzing whirly-pop-ness that strangely enough had us imagining an electro marriage of wonder comprising of the pairing of ISAN and fortdax. Essential of course as though you needed telling.


You can – should you so desire – and we suggest you do and should – there’s more Robin solo via his my space site at – we suggest you check out the enriched wistful folk treat that is the mesmerising ‘magpie’ – think pastoral Kraftwerk knee deep in woody textures of undulating drift breezes. You have been warned.


While you’re there it might be wise to seek out Alexandra Veanna via a young Israeli duo Maya and Gil who together are responsible for crafting moments of austere minimalism that translate superbly as teasingly beautiful and slender pirouetting honey dripped gems of celestial electronic pop, think of an igloo living chilled out version of Shortwave Set remodelled by the whispery fragile persona of Mum (‘out and in’) or the despondent android boogie of ‘power’ era New Order sparsely sugar twisted with Cobra Killer as on the wistful ‘kaleidoscope’ – while not forgetting the warming daydream ambient treads of the star staring ‘the oak song’ – you can also download their debut album I am like a dog, I never speak but I understand’ for free via this site or for a small fee get a physical copy with postcard inserts and stuff which we did try to order until the web page kicked us out four times on the bounce – oh well – make do with the download then – much gnashing off teeth. – new label type thing by the name of Harmonium promises to deliver bespoke hand made CD-r’s of some of the nations most celebrated artists currently residing below the slipstream surface waters of underground pop. The first release in this series sees Dollboy (they appear again way down towards the arse end of this missive via a must have split with Robin Saville) dividing up duties with Woodcraft Folk – the former covering the Smiths ’last night I dreamt’ the latter redrilling the Fall’s ’English scheme’ – each release ultra limited to only 100 copies available via a link here.


Inch Time ‘Thought Objects’ (Static Caravan). Already sold out on pre release alone – there are only 150 of these babies around with the first 50 coming paired with a specially commissioned hand painted t-shirt designed by Ben Javens. And so the winter season is upon us, its deathly grip ushering in a steeled silence and eerie chill casting upon the land a shadowy hand as the suffocating breath of the still dark night air extends long and perilously cloaking all with its frosted kiss. Those familiar with Inch Time’s (or as he’s better known to his friends and family back home in Adelaide – Stefan Panczak) previous work or who may have (obviously by accident) stumbled across these pages will indeed be all to aware of our fondness for the richly absorbing fluid marriage of organic / electronic melodic miniatures that escape from the grooves of his compositions. This ultra limited 2 track offering reveals a more darker, perhaps sombre – certainly macabre nature to his psyche, frosted gems schooled as were with the grace of Satie and in the technique of Stockhausen, minimalist ambient suites all at once hypnotic and spellbinding ‘Thought objects – part 1’ – is by and large broadly divided into a triptych of suites – initially beguiling with its thoughtful yet lonesome looping piano motif before slyly thawing out of it self contained orbiting igloo to shift trajectory to depart for realms more readily mapped in the minds eye before returning by way of an eerie collage of chillingly sparse atmospherics from what sounds like bowed glass treatments choreographed by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop – will appeal to fans of EAR, Stylus and Mount Vernon Arts Lab. ‘Part 2’ provides for a more sedate ornamental affair – marrying twinkling Cantonese bells, delicately undulating piano motifs and a steely reverential stillness swept with mercurial mystery draped within a dreamy landscape of dissipating aural atmospheres – one for switching off the lights to and kicking back for one of those brief but necessary revitalising meditation moments where its just you and your inner self. Tragically tempting.


And we briefly part with some amazing news that we wouldn’t have scarce believed had it not been for the fact that we actually have a copy in our mits – but after a long lay off especially from these pages where if memory serves me right we haven’t had a chance to fall headlong into its charm for a fair few years (missive 32 in fact) the esteemed Ptolemaic Terrascope is back, now relocated across the big pond  – Oakland, California to be precise, new owners / editorial and a face lift to boot (don’t worry Phil McMullen though having relinquished control will still be around and about and imparting his thoughts and observations via the periodicals web site at Issue 36 marks the dawn of Terrascope’s next phase, lavishly presented in a bookish styled glossy magazine this eventful issue features interviews and spotlights with Vashti Bunyan, Davey Graham, Colleen and Sean Smith as well as being equipped with a rather nifty 20 track CD that includes cuts from Six Organs of Admittance, Willow Willow, Doug Yule, Colossal Yes and a rather smart track from Barbara Manning and the Go Lucky’s.


And literally just arriving in our in box just as we were wrapping things up is this little gem from Gilbert – – a London based six piece currently signed to the much admired Shifty Disco, Gilbert it seems are adept at crafting slyly off centred pop symphonies from a myriad of sources and reference points, like a pocket ethereal epiphany ‘Willow’ deceptively engages the senses with its sugar rush of dream laden piano florets as though a celestial cortege penned by a song craft union of Van Dyke Parks and Phil Spector – all at once fluffy, flighty and gorgeously ghostly his serenading slice of string laden sensuality twinkles and tip toes with such amorphous abandon it leaves you swooning in its wake. ‘Animal Vegetable Mineral’ is a surreal lightshow that imagines the Residents encroaching on realms more readily occupied by They Might be Giants and those warped space cadets They came from the Stars and relocated on some brain fried landscape dreamed up from the recesses of the out there creative mindsets of the Mighty Boosh crew – quite barking in other words. Weeping violins endow a brittle wintry aspect to the deliciously ice coned ‘sigh’ – an alluring wonderland of frosted felicitations laid upon a bed of shuffling beats and orbital shimmers over which Maud pants and purrs softly – if you want my honest opinion imagine Mum casting their fragile icy amour to Animal Collectives left of centre pop mindset. All said and done though ‘self help for the English’ provides the showcases best moment – it really does sound like Stewart Copeland in his Klark Kent guise – a rollicking brigade of sound festooned by ‘Lucky Jim’ and ‘oh lucky man’ styled college hall baritone braids and swirling brass arrangements – effervescent and quite unavoidably addictive if you ask me – expect releases galore next year – we hope – that is.


And by way of a parting shot for this extended missive something a little bit special with which to fill you with a warming fuzzy glow on these winter fuelled festive days…..


There should be more lighting of cigarettes on records


And what better way to round of this particular year end missive with something a little special……


Shady Bard ‘First, the Winter’ (Static Caravan). What’s becoming something of a traditional treat – the Xmas outing for the esteemed Static Caravan comes by way of an ultra limited 4 track release from singled out favourites Shady Bard. This release is sadly already sold out on pre release alone though your usual record emporium stockists (Piccadilly, Norman etc….) may well have a few snucked under the counter looking for loving homes. Only 150 of these cute little things are around, all housed in hand sewn pouches that include a sew on badge and a ‘church service’ styled programme insert – and as though that‘s not collectable enough in itself there are a handful of special editions which come adorned inside their own little hand crafted box – which we will say here and now are a thing of visual beauty. Within these hand made packages a quartet of disarming gems hang upon a threaded snow theme. Viewed as a whole these are not mere pop trinkets but an occasion, an event – perhaps a celebration. Frail, magical and enchanting this truly is a warming experience to behold – those un-familiar with Shady Bard’s previous outings may well be best warned to expect to be guided gently amid a masterfully spectral suite of church like resonance, as said four cuts feature here – three of which to date previous unreleased the fourth ‘these quiet times’ originally found nuzzling on their near perfect debut full length ‘from the ground up’ is found here decoded with a disarming choral braid. As to the music what can we say – exquisite, poised, melancholic yet absorbing, illuminating and hopeful, in Lawrence Becko a vocalist whose hurt and loss cuts to the quick and possesses a tear stained timbre perhaps only out classed by Robert Wyatt. From the opening heartbreaking frailness of the slender piano pining instrumental ‘Snowstorm 1914’ to the Lowry-esque charcoal charmed Christmas card decorated ‘these quiet times’ with its homely snow tipped harmonies (provided by the Ice Park Choral Society) and softly unfurling twinkle some demeanour, Shady Bard it seems have carved themselves a unique niche, a niche that enables them to capture and conjure an impenetrable song craft style that’s timeless, tragic and yet invested with worldly wonder and an unfailing forlorn grace. ‘Big Snow’ with its thoughtfully cantering trickery begs to be a backdrop to an aftermath of a cataclysmic event while in my much humbled opinion ‘Winter Song’ – by far the best moment here erupts the emotions with such slight of hand ease that it numbs through to the bone, an experience rarely stumbled upon it emerges from a position of dulling reflection to embrace and shower all the would be gathered in a quietly euphoric glow.  Remarkable event. Without doubt Shady Bard are the most special of bands – tender and fragile and as such this is a truly special and fitting release to round off a phenomenal year. Roll on 2008.


Future Caravans on the horizon should see outings for the Accidental, a split release between Blood Music and Ass (the latter of whom Geoff Static kindly sent down a copy of their very excellent debut full length on Headspin which we highly recommend you should drop whatever you are doing and check out right now), there’ll be limited lathe releases from d_rradio and men an tol – both of whom have graced this pages to much acclaim and a compilation curated by the Static crew and Inch Time entitled ‘Teaism’ of which we’ve no idea who features or anything other than to say there’s the mysterious appearance of a dedicated web page at – talk about being tight lipped.


And that’s your lot for the year – there will be a quickly fashioned missive in a few days time wherein we’ll scoop up all the releases that should have featured here but which due to time constraints were pulled at the last moment – treats featured include stuff by sine star project (stunning), that aforementioned Lumerians release, let‘s wrestle, exit avenue, personal space invaders, rory mc vicar, the maccabees, great defenders, patscan, gavin Thorpe, Nebraska, death by sadie, stone halos, nephu huzzbard, subliminal girls, butterfly bangs, tin man, jo bywater and those long promised sugar drum releases should all see their way to cyber print.


Till next year take care of yourselves and have a wonderfully peaceful New Year….




Posted in groovy bastards..., other, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

the pattern forms

just out on ghost box……no need for words…..just listen…..however just in case words are needed – reviews coming……

Posted in groovy bastards..., Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

archiv: singled out #147

another rescued singled out – pulled from a dead hard drive – this one is from 2007 and features – john smith, club 8, animal collective, the cinematic orchestra, peggy sue and the pirates, the laughing windows, beneath smoke and fire, pre, aids wolf, sailors, data 70, the new royal family, keith totp, kontakte, the wyo’s, eight legs, the playing fields, the whitest boy alive, the answering machine, new cassettes, the cloud room, crystal castles, we are wolves, dj champion, mother mother, fuck buttons, duchess says, the departure, the travelling band

Singled Out

Missive 147


For Kelly and Mark – miss you.


Singled Out – 100% waffle, fat and wholesome tastiness.


Blimey it only seems a few days since we finally pinned down the beast in the basement that was Missive 145 and word has it that that self same thesis styled behemoth is now being used as a leading scholarly text for students of whom English is not their first language, or second, or third, come to think of it 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th. In years to come it’ll be treated with Dickensian awe many leading authorities will pour over it painstakingly almost weeping at its lack of form, its lack of opportunity, its lack of charisma, start, middle and finish and its unabashed refusal to folly in the use of trite punch lines. The offers to turn it into a film have already started rolling in – well okay we’ve had one, a strange looking bloke down the street who has seemingly acquired a digital hand held video camera (notice I use the description ’acquired’) who has this strange fascination for nocturnal recordings – I’m not saying a thing at this juncture safe to say there have been complaints.


Well kids it would have been a remarkable feat had it not been held up on the buffers due to yours truly contracting the dreaded bug that kicking around – simply known to women as a cold bug but to us blokes as the deadly pan Siberian indo Asian fever. Man have we felt like sh*t, mind you the prescriptive anti-biotics have had us tripping wildly and the inability to eat now means that a sharp reduction in weight that means we are at our feather weight fighting fit – hell our clothes are so big on us now that we look like a cross between Charlie Chaplin and a shop lifter.


Onward young souls to the flippin records, loads of them this time of asking albeit we bought most of them – well a few of them – once again its apologies time this was meant to be a quickly turned out missive and brief at that – but hell there’s been so much top drawer stuff that we felt we’d combust if we didn’t mention as many of them as possible – some corkers feature here, a few familiar names and a few not so but then you can bet your arse that this time next year they’ll be household names.


Also we are cock – a – fookin – hoop to discover plenty of Fall action on the horizon – first up an interview with the great man himself via where Smithy gets to shoot the shit about terrorism, football, horoscopes and the talking heads among things. Also in April next year book shelves across the nation will be taking delivery of two related Fall tomes – first up ‘renegade – the gospel according to….’ by Smithy himself – no doubt triggered by years of misquotes and musicologists screwing up in their notions as to what, how and who are the Fall. While a month later in May Mick Middles ‘complete guide to the music of the Fall’ – a track by track exposition of each and every cut recorded by the Fall – it remains to be seen if it comes up to the standard bearing ‘revolution in my head’ by Ian MacDonald.


Some top pod casts / internet we’ve just discovered we should have mentioned a missive or two back – is a stateside internet radio show who if you go via you can get to access and download a vast selection of interviews with the likes of John Foxx, Banco de Gaia, Steve Reich, Lou Reed and Mark Mothersbough, Ulrich Schnauss, Robin Guthrie and Harold Budd


Those with a fondness for all things surf, punk, garage, trash and all other forms of delinquent guitaring should retune immediately to the legendary GaragePunk HQ for quick fixes of Rock ‘n ‘ Roll Suicide #43, State of Mynd #11, Flying Saucer Rock ‘n’ Roll #40, Savage Kick #45 and shed loads of primitive underground grooves and transistor trouncing tuneage.


Those of you bemused, amuse or simply bored sh*tless by the latest Moz vs. NME spat – two aging queens in career crisis methinks one pissing credibility faster than a Labour cabinet the other a comedy music paper for the NW6 postcode – racism or fair comment you decide.


And a better way to start this particular missive we have struggled to come up with………..


Club 8 ’Heaven’ (Fortuna Pop). Okay lets get two things out of the way first of all. This is an absolute gem of a release. Okay – got that good. Both cuts are freebie downloads serving advance warning of the bands impending sixth full length ‘the boy who couldn’t stop dreaming’ due in early January. Okay so are we clear on that – gem of a release and free download. Much to our embarrassment Club 8 have up to now managed to duck below our usually well oiled radar, apparently according to the accompanying press release (which miraculously we haven’t managed to lose – just yet) this lot have been quiet for the best part of three years with lead man Johan Angergard busy behind the scenes working on his Labrador imprint who you may recall released some much loved nuggets by the likes of Wan Light and the Legends (sadly the hi-fi has been starved of late of similar minded goodies gracing its turntable)  Anyway less of the grumbling two tracks feature here – ‘heaven’ is sublime pop gold make no bones about that, built upon a subtle salsa rhythm this pocket sized grab bag of sunshine pop is sveltely slinky and has you imagining Kirsty MacColl fronting St Etienne with Bob Stanley crafting out indie Sarah styled twee core thrilled recitals of New Order / Cure crossover riffs and casting them into deliriously hazy sugar laced feel good floorshows. After its all to brief ‘Time after time’ like intro ‘Whatever you want’ soon shapes up into an arrestingly perky feast of love note sending pristine pop whose daintily drawn fluffiness and lightly toned effervescence had us recalling early 90’s beautiful beat combos the Catchers and Frente. A delightfully demurring download all said and done – and its for nowt I mean what else do you want – them playing live in your front room – now I come to think of it they probably would.


John Smith ‘the bird and the worm’ (static caravan). There was a brief moment of panic in our gaff when we discovered much to our horror that those Static dudes had sneaked out this rather fetching twin set under the cover of night completely bypassing us into the bargain. Momentarily thee were some very long faces I can tell you  But then google is great isn’t you type in the most innocuous word or expression and get things belonging more readily to bizarre inc. not withstanding how innocent your desired request / query may be. So you can imagine the mere attempt of typing in John Smith on the old search may well return a fair few results – but hell 209 million – that’s a fair sized country that is and guess what our John Smith – well I say our as in the craftsman of this single not in a we own time our – there we go again labouring hard over such an easy point I’m sure there’s a page in the Guardian supplement for us – perhaps Charlie Bookers (only joking). Anyhow getting back on track this John with the record hits home in position numero 10 on the google search engine. Based in Devon and fresh from a recent tour slot supporting both John Martyn and Davey Graham, Smith is this nations rising folk star, wrapping tales of despair to a threadbare but beautifully conceived melodic tapestry that stretches through and past the ages of pop he’s self released a handful of records to date all slowly picking up acclaim of from whoever hears. Limited to just 400 copies ‘the bird and the worm’ makes for a spot of nuzzling timeless folk that trades amid the gently cantering cascades of sweetly tumbling and lilting rustically hued acoustic braids, combing the same pastoral mysteries as Nick Drake before him, Smith exudes that self same trait of being able to sound all at once distant and yet closely intimate whilst crafting as his does on this occasion a richly inviting warmth from out of the available sparse detail unassumingly arresting. The skewed ‘no one knows’ over on the flip is ostensibly a more dislocated affair, formed from twisted acoustic attacks and jabbed strums this darkly weeping brittle slice of creeping with intensity frayed folk howls and eerily taps into the mindset of Tom Waits though strangely it takes a few listens for the bent out of shape brew to ferment and reveal a reward reaping gem that in the main may just cause much swooning amid fans of the darkly genius Lupen Crook albeit the less fractured and unravelling moments to be found in his back catalogue.


Animal Collective ’Fireworks’ (Domino). We must admit there’s much affection (or should that be infection) in the singled out shed for the garbled pop life form that is Animal Collective. Since tripping over Fat Cat’s deliciously packaged twin set that glued together ’Spirit they’re gone, Spirit they’ve vanished’ and ’Danse Manatee’ a few years back we’ve been perplexed, puzzled, prodded, pleasured and pickled by their strange amorphous kaleidoscopic odysseys, several years on they still sound like no one else yet ridiculously sound for all the world like everyone else albeit fractured, dislocated and fused together into a forever evolving myriad of sound. Deceptively enchanting and anarchic in a strange nursery room full of addictively potent highly strung inducing confectionary they’ve been masters at flipping between the ethereal and the eerie in the same note. Culled from their umpteenth full length (we forgotten exactly how many now – s it 7?) ’strawberry jam’, ’fireworks’ comes pressed up on limited quantities of 10 inch candy floss pink wax. Housed in a die cut sleeve, this one sided baby is a real treat to look at etched as it is with Animal Collective doodles over on the flip – as for the actual track itself well frankly its everything you’ve come to love about New York’s strangest sons only his time shot through with the applied accoutrements of a wider dynamic sound, you’ll be happy to know that they’re still schizoid and positively cuckoo as they freeform across a vibrant locomotive shuffle to deliver what is essentially – on initially views – a normal pop record albeit it that‘ll be a normal pop record being hurtled backwards through a velocity defying wind tunnel – but then this being Animal Collective everyone else’s idea of normal is not necessarily the given translation that applies to these impish souls and so it is that just when you’re beginning to think they’ve sold their soul to become the next Doleful Lions (which kids is no bad thing) they go and turn everything topsy turvy crafting out a swirling mass of lysergic tipped day-glowing sherbet pop replete with staggered rhythms, ad hoc and abstract shimmering effervescence and dissipating candy coated helium fuelled Beach Boys harmonies married to the blood rushing inducing anticipation of a spell on a speeding ghost train. Kind of special then.


The Cinematic Orchestra ’to build a home’ (Ninja Tune). Ultra limited or so we are led to believe and probably the sweetest and most arresting thing featured in this particular missive. The Cinematic Orchestra are another London based collective who somehow so far have managed to escape our playful advances and much to our horror have released beneath our noses four full lengths and a remix set. But hey guess we are on their case now having nailed this little beauty. Culled from their current ’Ma Fleur’ set ’to build a home’ featured here via two versions – the radio edit and an acoustic re-read by Brooklyn based Grey Reverend. Delicately woven across sumptuous layers of lushly trod string arrangements the type of which that literally reach into your chest to softly caress and playfully pluck your heartstrings and sweetly glazed by the most achingly tendered and defences down vocal we’ve heard since – well – Thom Yorke’s almost resigned and pained outpouring on the recent ’In Rainbows’ set, with its measured elegance ’to build a home’ resonates with the warming winters glow of the oncoming festive season casting a picturesque snowbound scenery replete with cantering sweeps and an bracing yet arresting homebound beauty. Quite beautiful if you ask me. As previously advertised the flip side features Grey Reverends acoustic version, a magically near naked and touching slice of nuzzling intimacy that quite frankly will have you in its unfurling duration swooning, crying, smiling and throwing a re-assuring arm or two around it for comfort.


Peggy Sue and the Pirates ‘Television’ (Thesaurus). Darn it groove dudes we are loving this – threadbare art rockabilly all the way from Brighton (where else?). Peggy Sue and the Prates are duo Rosa Rex and Katy Klaw – obviously kids not their real names unless of course their parents where stoned reprobates with an unsound sense of humour and a love for the Flintstones – and they have names for their guitar (stud) and their guitar tuner (Sir Pablo) and just between you and me I think they’re shitting me. As with all duos these days with at least one of their number armed with a guitar the likely comparisons will either be the Everley Brothers (ha ha bet that’s got you all fuming now) or the White Stripes, we were going to include Yazoo and the Thompson Twins but firstly the former – you think we were taking the piss and the latter weren’t in fact a duo but a trio who before the great inter-band cull were so big in number that there was talk of actually nominating a postcode for them. Okay we’ve gone off message somewhat. Back to the Everley Brothers and White Stripes (okay we are winding you up) – not a bad call it would seem because ’television’ snatches a twisted and buckled beauty from the jaws of being a dandy radio friendly mass appealing pop treat. Primal, primitive and remarkably beaten up boogie that steals itself with a few well sourced late 50’s styled jazz tinged torch moments a la Nina Simone though spiked with a curious mid 70’s no wave blankness, swept with a strangely becoming  push pull time signature and playing house to some of the most laid back femme vocals we’ve heard since early career PJ Harvey and some of the best stammers committed to vinyl since the Who‘s ‘My generation‘. Add in a spot of skewed skiffle some inebriated guitar twiddling lock the blighter in a darkened cellar for six months until smoking and hey presto let it out to beat up all the other fey sounding acoustic oddments currently circulating around the great pop parish. Mean and bloody marvellous with it. Flip over for what is the best of the twin set – the seductive and deeply intimate ’the new song’ is a gorgeously chilled out spot of cool as f*ck late night jazzed out wooziness which unless I’m very much mistaken finishes well before it hits the run out groove which kinda left us a tad deflated. Those fancying hearing more then we suggest you retune immediately to their my space site and check out their XFM session cut ’spare sparts’ especially for the vocal effects – did we mention Carina Round?


Pre / Aids Wolf ‘Split’ (Sincraft). Absolutely limited and from what we can gather pretty damn elusive. Russia’s Sincraft imprint give your ear lobes a roasting with two ‘unauthorised’ live recordings featuring London based noise niks Pre and Montreal’s crudely chaotic Aids Wolf. With one album under their collective belts in the shape of ’epic fits’ (which we really must try and nail before we get any older) five piece Pre apply their hardcore handiwork in the most uncompromising and unforgiving way possible. Compared by the sleeve notes to the untouchable Melt Banana, Pre certainly know a thing or two about dishing out discordantly damaged and deranged grind, sounding as though each of the players are reading from different pages of the script and with lead vocalist Matsuuara laying down a scalding mental mantra this unrelenting mass of caustic carnage proves a fierce some firecracker of oblivion derailed noise gear. It could be that the five piece alt mayhem juggernaut known as Aids Wolf have spent many a evening gathered around the hi-fi listening to all manner of schizoid jap core and psychedelically brain dead platters from the far east, all at once anarchic, abstract and absented from any notion of form or structure, their frenetic freeform is almost a treat to encounter – both dangerous and delinquent, this untitled slab of gnarled groove tantalisingly tripwires between total collapse and free reign chaos with the kind o deft uneasiness that suggests we really should be featuring them more in the future. And just in case you needed any further prodding – comes housed in a calendar sleeve with breasts no less and available as both a censored and uncensored edition – don’t ask – really – just don’t ask. Just buy the damn thing.


And those with short term memories may well recall that we recently swooned aplenty over the latest outing (Beneath Fire and Smoke) from the highly eclectic Battered Ornaments imprint run of course by Doug Shipton he of Finders Keepers fame (whose back catalogue we really must try and catch up on). Anyhow during said review we may have mentioned or indeed grumbled over the fact that not only had we missed out on Beneath Fire and Smoke’s debut release but also had much to our horror discovered that the Laughing Windows had flown way past our radar…..well happy to say that Doug got in touch pronto and sent along said platters along with the new Wolf People release (which will feature in the next singled out – hey it’s a bit of a beast.


The Laughing Windows ‘Opel Hair’ (Battered Ornaments). This little baby comes pressed on dinked clear wax and is strictly limited to just 250 hand numbered copies (our copy is 239 – so you better get your skates on). The Laughing Windows are a London based collective no less fronted by one Luke Insect (which we suspect is not the name he was born with – and how do we know – well he ain’t in our phone book that’s for sure). Everything about this gem screams 60’s acid flashback right from the bands name (very Pebbles / Nuggets inspired and wholesomely rooted in all things English Psychedelia) to the song title (Barrett) and the sounds within. ’Opel Hair’ could have easily fallen from the sessions of the more trippier moments found on the Walking Seeds ’bad orb whirling ball’, a woozily light headed affair that sounds for all the world like its been nurtured in the fried recesses of Syd’s fading mind, a soft psyche folk apparition combing through lysergic mantras and strangely haunting yet transfixing rustic blues cascades that combined somehow join the distant dots between the late 60’s Cambridge scene and the Stone Roses debut full length. The out there odyssey ’growing pains’ over on the flip is more hallucinogenic in texture, a fried krautrock inspired mind melting experience replete with tripping beats set over droning slices of looping ambience and frayed feedback squalls which we feel unreservedly that fans of Alan Vega’s Revolutionary Corps of Teenage Jesus may well be advised to tune in immediately and bliss out to. Essential type thing.


Beneath Fire and Smoke ’Sometimes’ (Battered Ornaments). Okay just to clear up any possible confusion – this is the debut release from Peter Hedley’s project Beneath Fire and Smoke there is out and about right now a rather killer 10 inch entitled ’the iceberg waltz’ which we strongly recommend you search, purchase and love forevermore (see missive 145 for review). Anyhow this honey is again a strictly limited affair – just 500 hand numbered copies of this dinked 7” are doing the rounds and believe you me this are set to be future collectors items. Hedley it seems operates in a uniquely self contained universe, it’s a vivid and lush play area, the essence of well worn paths into timeless melody may well be familiar yet the setting and scenery have subsequently been re-arranged and shifted out of focus, ’sometimes’ deliciously trip wires between the disciplines of classical, psyche and folk to create a hazy montage of enchantment. Sugar tipped strings cavort, caress and tease in mercurial matrimony crafting out a delirious carnival of trip like symphonics that both arrest and cuckold the senses in washes of dreamily seductive sound-scapes – beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it. Flip over the disc for the inspired ’the man from Pittsburgh’ – the easiest way to describe this would be to imagine a jamming collaborative face off between Broadcast, Pram and Basil Kerchin with Douglas Gamley doing the arranging honours sumptuously carving out a delightfully cascading pastoral prog beauty replete with breathtaking Brontean canters and a silken elegance for which the word exquisite appears aptly fitting. Again an essential release for any well ordered record collection. Both eleases via


Sailors ‘EP’ (Gringo). Been way too long since we had any Gringo ear gear gracing our turntable so you can imagine the bunting billowing big time in our gaff when a rather snazzy 15 track Gringo compilation entitled ‘Oh Yeah!’ came our way (featuring killer cuts from Lords, Polaris, Wolves (of Greece) and San Lorenzo just to name but four) as well as a stunning debut four track EP from Sailors. Now this cutie is strictly limited to just 317 copies (we have two – don’t ask – so that means there are only 315 in existence now). Anyhow this is the bollocks – four grizzled cuts of post everything – so that’ll be your rock variations punk, hardcore and math all blended, bruised and bashed into a blistering sonic stew. Of the current crop the Leeds based quartet share a close affinity with the Arm, stop start rhythms, tension building edginess welded to the floor by a grating austere chill, their sound is a cross generic mutation whose cue and reference points can easily be identified to those of the much under exposed south east London ensemble Left Hand especially on their debut opus ’minus eight’. Having already self released a handful cd-r’s all of which I’m sad to say have somehow ducked below our radar without a warning or so much as a by your leave, Sailors appear to cleverly freewheel between being your classic mid 90’s Touch ’n’ Go starlets – (and here we are thinking Storm and Stress, Jesus Lizard with lashings of the Melvins thrown in for good measure) and fanatics of late 70’s art popped new wave fractured psychosis (think prime time early Fall, Wire and Gang of Four). None more so is this best exemplified than on the opening salvo ‘hot buttons’ with its frazzled canvas of needling riffs, trip wired anxiety, see sawing dislocated shanty like mindsets and unwavering investment of blankly numbed simmer like festering resolve which from start to finish you half expect at any given moment to over spill in the most ferocious of manifestations though it never does. Elsewhere there’s the squalling abstract boogie of the no rock (clue in the title) ’birthday mode’ with its damaged corkscrewing riffs – an inspired bastard offspring to Roland S Howard’s signatures via the Boys Next Door while ’bigger land’ channels into the same gnarled pummelled blues perspectives as was once the sole forte of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. However best of the bunch proves to be the parting shot ’Hex’ – skewif time signatures and a near total disregard for structure this honey wrestles it way into your psyche like an unwelcome sickness giving out a distant sense that its literally trying to peel itself free from the grooves in order to reach out a throttle you. Disjointed and seemingly out of focus, it spits and stings like a less threatening ’release the bats’ era Birthday Party carrying upon its shoulders its fair share of unresolved issues – which in our books is no bad thing. Al good record collections deserve one.


Data 70 ‘Space loops Volume 2’ (Enraptured). The long overdue follow up to ‘space loops – volume 1’ which passed briefly into our orbit some 18 months ago (see Missive 52). Data 70 is the collaborative meeting of mindsets belonging to Jon Chambers (Sunray) and Bob Bharma (West Norwood Cassette Library), the former more characterised by his deep forays into bliss out psychedelics the latter specialising in sophisticated collages of dub fused down tempo grooves though here both finding a common ground in their affection for minimalist transcendental electronics. Ten bite sized shy eyed brief but beautifully lilting cuties feature on this blue vinyl 7 inch package each appearing like glacial apparitions to which the only disappointment registered is the fact that they’re over before they’ve really begun. All bases are covered from the twinkling igloo pirouetting pop preening sereneness of the opening ISAN like ’into the outside’ to the gorgeously celestial exoticism of ’live in munich’ with its mind erasing effects or the binary bleeps of the intergalactic transmissions within ’something returns’. Though for me personally stand out moment is the hypnotic lunar dub funk electronics of ’heartfelt science’ – and that’s just side one. Side 2 provides for a more playfully abstract mindset, the sounds positively more vibrant the textures more layered and arguably more left field with a noire-esque night time appeal, the edgy ’last orders’ pays a distinctive nod in the general direction to Pimmon  while the sparsely drawn ’I think I love you’ assumes a certain amount of eeriness to its armoury as to suggest Raymond Scott collaborating with John Carpenter while elsewhere frankly if we didn’t know any better we’d have said ’stylus’ was prime time Roy Budd. An album I feel is long overdue, for now though ‘volume 2’ is an essential smorgasbord serving of a moods, textures and out there sounds inspired by the pioneers of electronic pop’s godfathers.


Kontakte ’transmitter / receiver’ (Enraptured). These pretty things are strictly limited or so we are led to believed, hand numbered in specially designed die cut sleeves that look well tasty – and just in case you were wondering ours is numbered 170 and is autographed – oh yea – thus ensuring the minute its been played and reviewed that it goes into the pension vault to be sold at some date in the future for a shed load of dosheroonies when the band become famous. First release (though technically the second) for Enraptured’s ultra limited GS series (the first as catalogued was due to be the delayed four track outing from Ojn who readers of these pages will be all to aware is the long running musical guise of former Landshipping / Metrotone mainman John Brenton – anyway word has it it’s the bollocks though we are still smarting from missing that by all accounts killer release via UnLabel’s Series 52 series – ho hum). (taking their name from Stockhausen’s electronic installation of the same name – perhaps) Kontakte are a London based trio who just may be the future of post rock / kraut / shoe gaze only time will tell though after hearing this killer twin-set I personally wouldn’t bet against it. ’transmitter / receiver’ is a humungous free wheeling mind evaporating progressive jam odyssey bled through with thunderous canals of kraut grooves and hypnotic loops that assume mass and texture to evoke a sense of movement as though traversing on some celestial highway. That said the flip cut proves to be the sealer here, we’re not readily convinced that these should be played at 45rpm (as directed) so we’ve thought bollocks to that and spun them at 33rpm to which ’sterile world’ emerges as a glorious celebration of wide screen dream pop – majestic and magnificent this babe soars and solemnly serenades with bleakly beautiful abandon, part jubilant in its own lonesome bliss and yet scarred with a sense of deeply hurt regret – more please and quick about it. Deputy single of the missive.


The New Royal Family / Keith TOTP ‘Split’ (Filthy Little Angels). Okay a bit of cheat with this one considering we gushed big time about it at Missive 132 but them dudes The New Royal Family sent over a hard copy of the split pressed up on seven solid inches of black wax and well if you haven’t got yourself a copy yet then we do have to wonder whether you’ve ever considered reading a different singles reviews site.


The WYO’s ‘A letter from Saint Jude’ EP (Windingstair). Or to give them their full name The Wasted Youth Orchestra are essentially a Dublin based duo – Rory Carlile and Daragh Dukes who somewhere along the line have laid down a well acclaimed (in certain quarters) full length entitled ’throw your arms up to heaven’. This EP is I’m afraid to say one of those essential shopping list record requisitions that features four tracks set across 7 inches of wax and housed in a gatefold sleeve and possibly does more to act as a perfect starter as to what this ensemble are all about being that both pairs of tracks on either side of this platter reveal a differing sound perspective that collectively viewed as a whole show a collective of souls primed with a pristinely honed pop prowess. ’a letter from Saint Jude’ is cut with a glowing homecoming feel as though the wide screen celebration of the Dream Academy had been teasingly dinked by the Waterboys and World Party and dutifully sent headlong into a lazy eyed seductive spread of Beatles ’Strawberry Fields’ motifs and softly surrendering lunatics swirls – makes you kinda fuzzy inside. ’In need of a dance’ is framed in a beautifully bitter sweet tenderness that burns with a encouraging optimism for hearts crushed and crashed on love’s hurtful highway. As good as they are its over on the flip where the real cherries are to be found. ’She couldn’t feel anything’ – the best thing here incidentally – is a slow burning hypnotic honey that taps into the same tramlines as Ooberman and Swimmer One, all at once mercurial and haunting this rustic electronic nugget tip toes to arc seductively across spiralling synth montages and sublimely off centre hook kick backs. The introspective ’before now’ rounds up the pack perfectly an enticingly bruised gem braided by spectral electronics and the arresting cortege of nimbly plucked pastoral loops all invested with a breathtaking breezy chemistry whose simple remit it seems is to floor all who hear.


Eight Legs ‘These grey days’ (Weekender). More hot hi-fi action from those loveable rogues over at the Weekender imprint this time courtesy of a rather nifty twin set from Eight Legs who by a quick toggle of the google search engine we’ve been able to discover are a four piece based in Wood Green which last time we checked was still in South East London (on the Dartford line unless I’m very much mistaken – useless information don‘t you just love it). Anyhow ‘these grey days…’ is your happy / sad jangling skiffle beat pop affair that for a while had us recalling some kind of heaven sent union between Sarah old guard the Orchids and Another Sunny Day, blankly melancholic vocals (did someone say a youthful Robert Smith) bedecked with happily carefree strummed guitars that slyly needle chirpily – oh darn it – look we love it okay. Flip over for the quite irresistible ’staring at the sea’ which for reasons best known only to our hearing had us recalling a very youthful ’bed and breakfast man’ era Madness in exotica climes surrounded by palm trees, banana and Robinson Crusoe look-a-likes – how trange – still you need the bugger.


The Playing Fields ’Glass and Concrete’ (Cacti Shed). Both cuts culled we believe (we say we believe because we haven’t heard) the debut full length ’hello new world’. This baby is a strictly limited 300 only hand stamped 7 inch affair which frankly might have done better being a one sided outings given that ’glass and concrete’ kind of acoustically drifts aimlessly with no particular place to go, even the usually thumbs up serving harmonica doesn’t really save its hide sad to say. However flip over ’protect the humans’ and you’d swear it was a different band that had been ushered into the studio, this baby is a cool as f**k bleached out arid rocker replete with fractured squalling shards of feedback, an apocalyptic edginess, driving grooves bludgeoned into wells of primal swamp like goo and fuse lit with a dust ridden claustrophobia that for the best part had us searching high and low for our copy of Death Cult’s debut EP – yep that’ll be the one before they all went on to become saviours of AOR metal or whatever they called it way back in the 80’s. Top stuff all the same – the Playing Fields track that is – oh yea and it goes without saying that Death Cult EP too which if you see on your travels well recommended that you pick up.


The Whitest Boy Alive ’Burning’ (Modular). Unless we’ve been dreaming or have this totally cocked up – which hey lets face it wouldn’t be the first time – the Whitest Boy Alive have some loose connection with the Kings of Convenience, the Norwegian outfit recently picked up by the super cool Modular imprint already have one full length carefully snucked up their jumpers entitled ’dreams’. ’burning’ is a rather infectious slice of buzz sawing electro candy twisted pop all metered out with circular grooves and clockwork rhythms that have been delicately daubed in latter career New Order motifs sublimely decorated in all manner of ascending / descending needle like chimes silkily braided by shy eyed and homely riff florets and cool as you like kick back struts. Flip le disc for a rather dinky defences piercing cover of Morgan Geist’s ’24k’ – here submerged in a kind of subdued and super chilled Studio 54 texture that’s been dipped in a sassily seductive smoking 70’s styled soul funk stew – one for the loved up and amorous night birds among you one suspects


The Answering Machine ‘Light bulbs’ (Regal). A long overdue return to these pages for Manchester’s Answering Machine who if memory serves right last appeared in these very pages with their spiffing debut ‘Oklahoma’ for High Voltage both of whom sadly disappeared off our radar from therein (see missive 100). The latest round in the Regal singles club series which you’ll have to pardon me when I say – blimey that’s the first I knew about it. This babe sees Manchester’s latest exports doling out two slices of what can only be described as the most ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ release in terms of style, content and presentation that you’ll hear all month – limited to just 500 copies all housed in plastic wallet styled die cut sleeves  – ‘light bulbs’ is an audacious sugar rush of breezily effervescent jangling chorus’ of melodic corteges of shimmering  guitars rooted to underpins hoodwinked straight from the arse pocket of ’Seamonsters’ era Gedge and Co. Check the bands my space site at to hear the same track given a killer re 80’s styled re-drill by James Yuill. However what makes this release so utterly special is the flip cut ’decadent’ which sees Gemma taking up vocal duties. This hazily hypnotic lovelorn honey set upon a simple drum machine beat is despite its minimalist dressing a fulsome beauty that taps into the classically tender realms of the Sundays – which last time we checked is still a pretty nifty comparison to come by. Purchase on sight.


New Cassettes Recover / Retreat (Last Space Recordings). Welcome return to these perky pages for Midland five piece New Cassettes following their long since sold out debut for Fantastic Plastic entitled ‘you won’t stop me’ (see missive 117). Only 500 of these little cuties kicking around all on blue wax – as though you needed any further prodding – ‘recover / retreat’ is a dashing slice of achingly catchy shoe shuffling buzz sawed pop replete with tide rising rhythms and cut through with an unmistakable sense of a deceiving pop prowess held close to its chest all rooted to XTC like backing harmonies and an adorably infectious push / pull dynamic which should ensure its gets a fair amount of repeat needle action on the turntable. ’I’m always right’ over on the flip side with its stuttered stop / start art pop dynamics is blessed with a veering nuts down chorus line and a deliciously agreeable twin tracked vocal overlap that once coalesced might just whip your arse into next week. I think an album must due pretty damn soon.


The Cloud Room Hey now now (Agre). Oh blimey this is tasty, tenaciously tortured and titanic pop from New York based quintet the Cloud Room, culled from their self titled debut album ‘hey now now’ builds in intensity, its bit like the pop cavalry fast hurtling over the hill chirping out a chest beating clarion call of hope and salvation, one of those rare records that immediately mainlines to your nervous systems core operations and sets the blighter all a jangle – in the space of three minutes you’ll cry, laugh, be depressed, be elated, hate, love all interspersed with moments of total apathy – a draining emotional rollercoaster with hooks aplenty. Flip side features the RAC remix of the same cut who we assume are not the same RAC who repair cars with a magic sponge, anyhow whoever he / she / they are they apply a sweetly alluring kooky and dinky musical box appreciation of the original that caressed with a manner of warming electro pirouettes and lullaby-esque treatments to make you go ooh and aah – damn we could just kiss the blighter.


Various ‘Hordes of Canada’ (Cheap Date). Superbly packaged cheaply priced 5×7” box set inaugural outing for new London based imprint Cheap Date. This baby features 10 up and coming Canadian ensembles currently making sizeable waves on the pop underground. First up the Crystal Castles a boy / girl duo hailing from St Helena, ‘alice practice‘ is a just what the doctor ordered, a caustic anti pop rumbler that taps into the same dislocated and frazzled mindset of the excellent Winterbrief, sounds like a prime slice of candy pop undergoing a seriously mental breakdown amid a chaotic sound blanket of fragmented electronics and damaged diode histrionics. Flip side of disc 1 features Montreal’s rampaging trio We are Wolves whose up and at you ’fight and kiss’ is a razor sharp fusion of death disco decimating dance floor terrorism spiked with gnarled kraut grooves and a panic attack stricken surliness that levels your nervous system into seizure like shocks. Les Breast feeders (blimey where do they get these band names from?) are a five piece from Montreal who do a neat line in nagging 60’s garage twist, ’viens avec moi’ is a heads down no nonsense spot of suited and booted beat pop swiped straight from the arse pocket of the Troggs / Kinks though spliced through in some sort of melodic – horror – comedy experiment gone wrong with Plastic Bertrand doing their level best at making a fist out of trying to sound like the Ramones. Over on the flip you’ll find setting their stall some distance apart from their fellow compatriots more Montreal cohorts this time in the guise of the electro / techno / chill out collective DJ Champion who serving of ’no heaven’ is a sassy slice of mooching hipster gospel hoe-down set to a slow but smoking snake eyed side winding underpin. Stunning stuff but don‘t expect me to nail the samples could be Tammy Wynette on e for all I know. Next up Mother Mother are the kind of ensemble who to be perfectly frank with you wouldn’t surprise me at all if they appeared on a regular basis in these pages in the coming months given the fact that I could happily hatch out a career in lovingly hating them. Based in Vancouver and already proud parents of album which we’ll have now have to nail before we get any much older, ’dirty town’ is a ridiculously infectious slice of skewed bluegrass treated cow punk – think Yip Yip Cayote or the Shillelagh Sisters having their redneck DNA fused with Shonen Knife – need we say more – well yes approach only after a course of jabs. Duchess Says’ ‘cut up’ is well – stone me – fucking stunning – a ravaged and frantically festering slice of austere angular manic moog boogie that literally lacerates at will with its searing shard venting hysteria – put this on at the local indie disco hop and it’ll be goodnight Vienna. The dreamily decoded ’architekt’ (demo) from Toronto’s Put the Rifle Down has all the glowing tingle of a lovelorn glacially apparelled cherry tipped A Flock of Seagulls, pristine 80’s styled retro pop bathed in silkily electronic swathes and softening honey crusted vocals deliciously braided in celestial swirls styled on the more laid back moments found on New Order’s ’power corruption and lies’. We must admit having a soft spot for You Say Party! We Say Die! Following their Fierce Panda outings, ’Monster’ reveals their – shall we settle for – tender side, culled from their debut ’lose all time’ full length this babe is less your brittle stutter gun attack antics of their more familiar record rack visitations at times recalling early Quickspace in laid back tones shimmying up alongside Kirsten Hersh – a winner indeed. Rounding up the 5 disc pack something rather curiously and strangely alluring. Think About Life – a Montreal based quintet who already have to their credit a self titled full length out about released via Alien 8 a label who used to send us some mighty fine releases a few years back which sadly dried up (we must catch up). Anyhow ’the blue sun’ is a strangely skewif affair which in many respects had us recalling Pavement lobbed in a tumble dryer with Captain Beefheart with early career Talking Heads overseeing the tie dye wash while last up on the inspection blocks Uncut who hail from Toronto serve up the cool as f*ck ‘out of sight’ a brit pop influenced soft psyche drenched slice of dream pop that at various points had us fondly recalling everything from Swervedriver, Neds Atomic Dustbin to My Jealous God which go on admit it is some rare f*cking feat.


Fuck Buttons ‘bright tomorrow’ (ATP recordings). With a name like the Fuck Buttons we half expected some gnarled and putrid sickly twisted blues groove to be spitting in our eye so imagine our surprise when instead we encountered much to our joy moments of manicured cathedral framed ambience mainlined with shards of grazing feedback. Fuck Buttons are Bristol based duo Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power who it seems have a thing about their hometowns much vaunted sons Flying Saucer Attack by deftly applying the same head drilling melody fractured distortion to their song structures. Released one assumes as a brief but all important taster for their debut full length ‘Street Horrrsing’ due on the streets next year, this baby comes packaged up on a limited to 1000 picture disc pressing and houses a rather deceptive schizoid cutie that’s built upon a persistently unwavering dulled beat a la New Order’s ’Blue Monday’ over which plays out what sounds like a delicately lulling pre ceremony church organ recital scratched by the gentle haze of humming sonic manipulations that once ensured of your reclining dream state without warning crackles and fizzes up into a drone glaze driven slice of jubilant fuzz fare itself once entrusted upon your psyche momentarily goes toxic a la Ministry ’Jesus built my hotrod’ then settles down and races for the run out groove – how strange. Flip side features ‘little bloody shoulder’ and proves to be the least compromising of the duo of the cuts here, fans of Trensmat may well warm to this given its unwavering fuzzed out processional drone and general all round desolate and mind melting minimalist aura and then way it craftily shifts momentum on the tail out to sound like Kratwerk‘s ‘trans Europe express‘ being caught in the speckles of a cosmic hail storm. We await that album with baited breath.


The Departure ‘7 years’ (Parlophone). Limited to just 500 copies and acting as a taster for their as yet untitled due in 2008 second full length comes this one sided hand stamped cutie. Now with a re-jigged line up, signed to a new label and with Ed Buller (Boo Radley’s, Suede, Pulp….) on production duties beefing up the sound – can anything really go wrong for the re-branded and re-invigorated Departure. Well if ‘7 years’ is anything to judge by – no. This buzz sawing beauty is a vibrant slice of sugar rushing dream power pop cutely spiced with hulking hooks and a razor sharp pop prowess replete with insidiously addictive whirring electro swirls that recalls the aforementioned pre west coast spliced shimmer toned ‘wake up’ Boo Radleys shimmying up to crystalline understated beauty of the Stars. What more needs to be said?


The travelling band ‘if this is a gag, I’m in’ EP (Self Released). Okay drop everything – and we mean everything – right now because if like us you have an unerring tendency to be rooted to the spot in jaw dropped awe when you hear something rather special then this is one of those all to rare moments. We are seriously late for work something that’ll get us a swift bollocking when we eventually arrive which at this point is still a minimum of an hour away that is assuming the trains aren’t too wet or that the wrong type of leaves have fallen on the tracks – or worst case scenario steel thieves haven’t stripped bare the signal junction box. And why are we late well quite simply because of this blighter. The instant we banged this on we knew our day would be restless until we had exorcised ourselves and committed pen to paper so to speak. One of those rare debuts that simultaneously moves you between spheres of tear jerking bliss whilst filing you with a good to be alive fuzzy glow. Essentially a Manchester based six piece who it seems has brought all your Christmases crashing down at once if that is your bag happens to be the lush lilting sounds of the dream academy, world party, buffalo Springfield, gram parsons, summer hymns, mid 70’s era Neil Young, Moviola and the doleful lions – and that’s just for starters. A bit like getting a telephone call from the mid 70’s, the Travelling Bands 4 track debut is a treat of timeless beauty that sumptuously arcs and entwines the breezily homebound resonance of that lost era and into the bargain gets your senses tingling. Deliciously housed in a handsome Hessian styled pouch replete with inserts – the packaging alone worthy of the entrance fee – this cute baby is strictly limited to just 200 hand numbered copies – ours in case you were wondering is numbered 89. As to the sounds within, the Travelling Band are a group of gypsy roving melodic minstrels with prairie grass delicately dusting their hair crafting out a glorious jamboree of idling country folk pop much it has to be said reminiscent of the prime Fence Collective sauce of years gone by. Utterly engaging, heart warming and crushingly gorgeous and without doubt the best thing we have had the pleasure of hearing around here since Shady Bard had us reeling in the aisles with their bewitching ’Treeology’ debut. From the bitter sweet melodically astute opening of the dreamily cast pastorally cherry picked ’only waiting’ with its aching vocals, silken harmonies and sugar laced shy eyed thawing winter hued tumbling chimes that together coalesce to stretch out to offer a tenderly sympathetic arm to lean on or the up tempo ’I.n.v.e.r.t.’ with its slyly tempting nods to the Beatles more roots based back catalogue while casually bumping you along amid a beautifully lazy knee slapping bluegrass hoedown of porch lit infected tranquil bliss. The quietly beguiling and intimately touching MOR styled ’biding my time’ perhaps offers the set its centre piece, mellow and tender the delicate brush of hypnotic swirling strings draws you close into its romance laden core all the time working its murmuring enchantment like some lovelorn magician while the parting crookedly nursery rhyme like ’crocodile song’ reveals that amid the smoothly matured Americana trappings that this lot still have time to goof about impishly. A gem. Single of the missive.



Okay that’s your lot for a day or two – hopefully we should be back with more of the same before the weekend – all things being well there’ll be two missives (the first of which will feature two spanking releases from Trensmat and a new 7 from MELA who if Steve happens to be reading this can you send another seven inch as we‘ve damn well scratched the one you sent through overplaying) – the second being a my space type trawl. After that it’ll be Singled Out’s 150th missive which as yet we haven’t quite decided as to how or in what manner we are going to celebrate this feat but being that it will be nearing Christmas / end of the year you can bet your arse that it’ll be a bumper special of sorts (whether it outstrips missive 145 in terms of words and record numbers remains to be seen – it will however feature our personal selection of the best albums / singles of the year).


As per usual many thanks to all who’ve made these incoherent ramblings possible its greatly appreciated and apologies to those whose stuff we haven’t quite got round to – we will get there eventually I promise.



till next time take care of yourselves.





Singled Out – good taste by the shed load.



Posted in groovy bastards..., other | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

archiv : singled out #146

more archive reviews rescued from hard drives – originally appeared on losing today in 2007…..x

feat. tabitha browne, superface, io casino, q without u, the ghost orchid, lo recordings, transistor 6, death of london, modern conya, tokyo skanet, kpm, baby scream, timothy s klugh, dorktones, les responsables, melange promenade, os haxixins, the electric tickle machine, slipper,expresso monofonico, clean video, mari, melnyk, xxxaaaaxxx, aorami, b seegs, hex orchestra.

Singled Out

Missive 146


For Kelly and Mark (and Mr Peel).


Singled Out – remarkably cute and well formed.


More my space meanderings….. – ridiculously gorgeous. We’ve already sent the begging letter off in the post (okay email then) for a real physical copy of the demo and now wait with baited breath so that we can have said baby gloriously enchanting our hi-fi just in time for the festive season. Tabitha Browne is a 27 year old resident of Perth (in Scotland – just in case you were wondering) who armed with just a piano delicately crafts out wells of magically conceived teasingly curvaceous love notes the type of which a certain Ms Bush (that’ll be the same Ms Bush who turned up on the first three full lengths) used to delight all and sundry with before music became a means to an end rather than a youthful folly. Sometimes childlike (just check out the delightful coos, whoops and breathless ease of the vocal delivery arcing against the staggered cantering melodies especially on the near perfect ’ribbon of road’ ) or rather more timid and shy there’s a sweetly beguiling attraction to these daintily lilting pop gems, seductively spectral yet strangely vividly lush they glow and blush as they silently yawn, stretch and pirouette to tip toe through your defences. For now we suggest you move with swiftness to rip the playfully addictive ’see me’ and fall headlong into its sugar glazed softness. – an audacious talent which we mentioned in passing last missive out – rip the uber cool stalker theme tune ‘I can see you’. – Glaswegian based quartet who (again) we featured in the last missive raving as we were about their rather spiffing ’one piece puzzle’ single which pop kids is available at all good record shops right this minute, though for now we are still much smitten by the flip of their debut the Swimmer One-esque ’the face that launched’ – which reminds me expect some Swimmer One album review action very shortly. – we must confess – this my space lark is getting well daft now. Again another corking bag of tunes from an artist previous unknown to us. Filed under experimental, industrial and electronic in my space world Barcelona based sound manipulation composer IO Casino (sorry information is really) shrouds her sounds in strangely affecting textures, interweaving moods and sensations these collages are breathtaking albeit darkly left field. Utilising the disciplines of minimalism, drone and musique concrete IO Casino crafts eerily dislocated suites developed through a wide range of sound sources – monastic / Gregorian mantras as on ’hopieando’, spatial ambience ’ens anem animant’ – a track which had us recalling  Foehn’s lost classic ‘hidden camera soundtrack’ from a few years ago via the eclectic Fat Cat – to date having released thee full lengths IO Casino’s aural world is one of eerie though becalming strangeness best sampled first hand by checking out the quietly unsettling manipulations ‘cetly’ which to these ears sounds like a bow being rubbed up and down a bass string to give an odd didgeridoo texture. – San Diego based duo Mary and Marlon for it is they who are the Ghost Orchid are currently unsigned – how can this be we wonder given that they appear rather adept at crafting out delicate slices of pirouetting lunar-esque porcelain pop that sits somewhere between a thoughtful and frostily glazed Boards of Canada, the amour charged ’bracken’ era FortDax and a spectral though snow tipped Landshipping. Four frosted figurines ushering a dainty child’s playroom aspect and yet swept with a surrendering resonance and pastoral fixated canter from the slyly candy popping electro buzz joy that is the lightly crisp and breezy ‘Ana Mir’ to the lights out twinkling romance of the fragile ‘june’. Sheer ambient bliss. – okay it seems these blighters have released an enviable back catalogue of stuff that so far has eluded us much to our distress. Loaf is the off shoot label of Lo recordings who we are equally sad to say whose recordings somehow annoyingly pass us by (in fact I think the last one we managed to nail may well have been a 7 by they came from the stars which – blimey- was yonks ago. Anyhow Loaf’s mandate is to release top quality new tunes by up and coming artists and package them all up in limited numbers of bespoke beauty. Next release is a Christmas celebratory compilation of sorts featuring 15 acts covering a festive feast of yuletide carols and songs all set to warm the cockles of your heart. Entitled ‘the Artic Circle presents – that fuzzy feeling’ this festive festooned fir tree of folly features artists familiar and not so familiar from all walks of generic life – Ellis Island Sound, Rothko, North Sea Radio Orchestra and Sean O’Hagen are but a few of the named players while showcased on this here site you’ll can sample the decorative delights of ‘brave the cold’ by Loaf regular Vincent Oliver who on this occasion can be found shimmying up to the (rarely heard here these days but when we do the drinks cabinet is unlocked, the glasses for best are dug out and the bunting is straight up) ISAN for a spot of glowing feel good snow globed magic. Elsewhere you’ll be treated to the sound of Dark Captain Light Captain whose ‘jealous enemies’ is simply the most gorgeous thing we’ve heard around these parts since Pellumair’s ‘Iris’, Kid Twist apply some strangely alluring booty bouncing chill out groove via ‘I can’t dance’ and into the bargain manage to shoe in elements of buzz sawing electro funk, soul and down tempo lounge loveliness which as you can imagine is not the easiest of tricks to pull. All said and done our favourite of the lot is Andrea’s Kit’s ‘junket’ a rampantly wired and recklessly abandoned jazz core stew that imagines Pigbag and Miles Davies locked away in Beefheart’s practice shed hammering out deranged and schizoid art jazz beasts. – indeed we swear we’ve got stuff by Frances Castle (for it is she who is Transistor 6) kicking about from a few years back among our vinyl gear – certainly rings a bell being on Blackbean and Placenta. Anyhow we daren’t even bother conducting a search as it’ll only mean uncovering long forgotten gems and trips down a very long memory lane. Like uncovering lost musical relics in an old attic, Castle with the aid of her computer and an array of field recordings, cosmic murmurs, timeless memories and samples coaxes an enchanting tapestry of tenderly beguiling bitter sweet and forlorn symphonies – here you’ll find the lysergic wave forming chilled aspects of the divinely resigned ‘the Neasden poisoner’ with its gently enveloping crystalline loops while on the wonky exotica of lunar promenade wooziness of ‘little joe….’ nods are paid in passing to Adam Franklin’s debut outing as Toshak Highway’s as though fed through the looned minds eye of Joe Meek who it appears arrives with an impish army of Clangers ready to carry out a spot of spring cleaning. Elsewhere there’s the spongy flotation tank conceived ‘back yard rocket ship’ a trippy cosmic transmission replete with bouncing beats, snaking riffs, farm yard noises all sumptuously swept with the kind of dislocated grandeur that re-arranges fringes – think Laurie Anderson facing off the Orb. However for us it’s the new track the enchanting ‘one may morning’ – a snow globed twinkle some toy box of treasures that tip toes in pirouetting formations between snoozing idyllic igloo dwelling cosiness and early 70’s eastern bloc cartoon backdrop kookiness and unless we are very much mistaken features the underused theremin deliriously wallowing in the ether – fans of early ’Digitalis’ era ISAN will be particularly smitten. – currently to be found occupying grooves with their tremendous ‘new york’ on that gift horse looking Herzoga / to the bones split via Org which aside featuring two cuts apiece from the two featured gatherings is further bolstered by an additional gallery 13 cuts from some of the rising stars of the underground. Hard to imagine but currently unsigned Death of London are a grizzled and discordant hardcore blues quartet very much inspired it seems in the halcyon days of mid 90’s Touch ‘n’ Go grooves – the Fugazi references are unmistakable but then scratch below the surface and along with the Shellac markers ‘ex heavyweight champion’ there’s something of Husker Du albeit transplanted in Gringo territories rumbling ominously in the drilled cauldron though for us the unflinching and encircling swamp like consuming mass that is ‘a pound a bite’ gets our vote and should appeal in the first instance to lovers of the much missed Amphetamine Reptile catalogue most notably Hammerhead. – more stunning ear gear from Tokyo this time courtesy of the sophisticated and smoking sounds of the breezy bossa nova grooves of 8 piece cool collective Modern Conya who it seems are able to splice loose limbed stylised slices of chilled cocktail jazz with a sumptuous line in classically conceived and energetically effervescent latino tango that to these ears much recalled the great lost ’satelite 99’ by Ana D for Elefant nigh on a decade ago fused with magical moments of Sergio Mendes and latter career Stereolab and all sugar dipped in a smoothly intoxicating brew of sumptuous easy listening deliciously festooned with bright eyed pop accents whirling freely amid the folds of soft psychedelics – sadly the titles are all in Japanese however we suggest you tune in and rip the fizzing exoticism of the Edwin Moses like lounge chic of the fifth featured cut culled from their 2005 full length. To date they’ve posted three full lengths in the multi generic pop cosmos all of which we will try at some point to nail as our own and review at a later date – apparently this 10 piece Tokyo based collective have been saucing up the coolest and most informed record collections for nearly 20 years now with their audaciously addictive and intoxicating ska fuelled jazz latino soup, among the four posted tunes found here there’s the snazzy ‘call from Rio’ – a sublime slice of south american styled hoochie that frankly is so frisky you may well want to consider nailing your feet to the floor but for us it’s the frantic ‘down beat stomp’ that gets our vote recalling the liberated lunacy of the Bad Manners at their most manic and mental. – another Japanese five piece self described as a ‘reggae / pop / other’ combo though we tend to say otherwise – delving into sweetly tender atmospherically amorphous textures KPM sumptuously fuse night time laid back down tempo bliss corteges, sophisticated loose limbed funk accents braided with deliciously bespoke keys blended with idyllically picture perfect investitures of slimmed skank motifs. Details are sadly scant as the page is all in Japanese but one track that stands out like a beacon is the third cut culled from their current album – disappointingly only an excerpt but there’s enough here to fall headlong in love with – a spectral romanticised folk shanty that swims in aural currents more readily associated with This Mortal Coil and the Bang Bang Machine. – okay this quintet were originally based in Argentina though these days can be found relocated in Londinium town and craft out curvaceous slices of delicately woven country psyche power pop that quite frankly sounds like its been wrestled from the banks of the Mersey delta. There’s a EP entitled ‘monsters’ currently doing the rounds on the Beyond your Mind imprint which we will be searching out for a potential future review and we suggest you do likewise because these showcasing nuggets reveal a softly alluring pop prowess at work that taps into the mindset of the Beatles more reflective moments as well as splicing elements of Epicycle’s mercurial retro tones and Kevin Tihista’s criminally undervalued back catalogue. From the skiffle shanty like ‘slut’ with its LA’s meets the Coral nuances to the slow burning naked ambition of the intimately raw ‘mars’, Baby Scream mine a rich seam in cherry tipped crystalline melodic pop even having time to bypass Nashville for a spot of slide guitar enhanced maturing bluegrass chime as on the frankly exquisite ’skyway’ – though for what its worth the best moment of the set is the power pop glazed ’everyday’ which older listeners may well find much of the long lost late 70’s chord throbbing dynamics of the Distractions about its wares. – hang on is it too early for Christmas cheer we wonder – lets check ah yes it is the telly is rubbish, the weather is freezing and the local supermarket has a whopping big tree up in its entrance (mind you fair do’s it has been there since July when incidentally the telly was still rubbish and the weather though not as cold was cold enough. Any way this is a special festive festooned site put up by Ohio resident Timothy S Klugh who I’m sure we’ve mentioned in passing on a previous missive. In some respects upholding the traditional message of Christmas which these days of mass marketing, greed and credit crunches seems sadly lost, the multi talented and workaholic Mr Klugh has hand crafted a whole albums worth of yuletide themes based on traditional and original arrangements (inspired therein). Four spectral treats feature here ranging from the baroque styled ’gesu bambino’ which initially refocusing ’o come all ye faithful’ into a galactic head on with ’2001 – a space odyssey’ before unfurling into a pit warming glowing seasonal chime bedecked with choir arrangements – though all said and done we must admit to being rather sentimental and much smitten by the lilting brontean canter of the piano swept ’it came upon a midnight clear’ which is only missing the draping of freshly fallen snow to make it just right – now where is my copy of Capra’s ’it’s a wonderful life’? And for those of you who just can’t get enough there’s also a special Christmas themed streamed radio show via – latest pod cast from those Dorktones cats features all your usual across the board tasty transistor twanging tunes opening on the occasion with Cliff with ‘in the country’ and proving that at least there was a time when his being touted as the British Elvis at least had some credible mileage that is before of course he discovered tennis and Christmas songs, elsewhere there’s Dexy’s killer ‘dance stance’, Squeeze’s ‘is that love’ and some rarely heard nuggets from Joe Tex. – more Brzillian based bogie this time courtesy o the Les Responsibles, out of the traps as though having a cattle iron shoved up its rear end ‘le mellotron’ (by far the best cut here) is a kick ass slice of storming beat pop that sounds like it was fathered in the late 70’s new wave born of an illicit meeting Wreckless Eric and Dave Edmunds and dinked by Plastic Bertrand with them doing a spot of punked up 7 +7 is’ by Love. Elsewhere the free spirited countrified 60‘s skiffle styled kookiness of ‘monsieur bouche’ mightn’t have the same razor sharp kick it does at least offer a tantalising glimpse as to this quartet’s impish mindset. – well cool toons from the Brazillian basement of the four piece Os Haxixins and more proof indeed that there is some devilishly happening scene emanating from the back alleys of Sao Paulo. This lot appear to have fallen straight through some weird time fracture that links the mid 60’s flowers and acid early stirrings of Garage beat pop to the modern day – unmistakable lovers of the Troggs, these quartet of kooky keys and fuzzed up riffs aplenty are the kind of vintage retro eyed dirty grooves that these days appear to be lapped up by the (recently in our gaff anyway) missing in action Bad Afro records of Scandinavia. ‘preciso te deixar’ perhaps the best thing here is a blissed out dislocated and primitive power chorded brew of strutting signatures and sh*t faced wig flipping gnarling grooves that could easily draw a loose bloodline to the darker half of the Standells mindset. – there was a time in the early 80’s when punk’s third movement upped the stakes and loosened itself of whatever finesse had gone before, the cold war and the fear of living in the shadow of a nuclear catastrophe had added a more frightening realism to their forbearers preening no future sloganeering – why exactly we mention this is because the Mingers appear to have tapped into that whole scene giving an opportunity for all those who ever wondered what a head on collision between Chron Gen and Vice Squad might have sounded. Packed to the rafters with serrated riffs and primed with a head hammering front line assault of street savvy bludgeoning hardcore – best of the bunch (and to be honest there’s not between them) is the short, sharp and straight to the point eye poking take no prisoners speed freaking oblivion baiting and snarling ‘national cnt’ – a festering slam dancing 200mph carnage cutie – don’t say you haven’t been warned. – hell these honey’s nearly sent our psychedelic viewfinder spinning into oblivion – now we don’t mind saying that we tripped over this (pardon the pun) by sheer accident – but damn its bloody good wholesome dilated pupils wig flipping shade wearing stuff. Chilled mind arranging sonic scriptures from the other side of reality – shimmering haze driven mantras that sparkle with crystalline comatose delight to tap into all manner of previously laid groves by the likes of  the Velvets, Silver Apples, Spacemen 3, Sunray, Brian Jonestown Massacre and our current obsession the People’s Revolutionary Choir. These fried hallucinogenic nuggets snake wind with almost reptilian ease freewheeling their mind bending brew ’only time you living’ in particularly with its dusty side winding motifs and hypnotic pot smoking delta blues like mantras could easily pass for John Fahey blissing out with a super chilled Roky Erickson while ’revolution’ sounds like a drop out bad assed 60’s reprobate preening sleazily amid Seeds and Standells mindsets. Now how cool is that? – more tripped out crooked carnival in town type aural antics this time from the electric tickle machine who it appears – unless we are very much mistaken – are not a band at all but the sole ingenuity of a certain T Olivier, acid tipped wanderings of the lysergic kind with both ‘monkey see’ and ‘honest injun’ belying a deep rooted florescent and chaotic char much reminiscent of early career Animal Collective the latter in particular finding itself soaked in all manner of interweaving hazily glazed sitar mantras and western soundtrack styled whistles (much underused on records these days don’t you find) and stricken with strummed struts that had us fondly recalling some spliff sharing session between Suicide, the Gun Club and the Velvets. However it on mooching dust trodden ’mercitron 1017’ where these spangled dudes really come into their own providing for a honey glazed treat of lilting slow cooked kaleidoscopic stew replete with bliss out curves, a slowly unwinding circular strum shimmers and suited ’n’ booted in late 60’s threads – fans of the Demian Catellanos’ project the Oscillation will swoon. – second Brentford based combo this missive though strictly speaking not really a combo but rather more a evolving door collective based around the unique talents of Loop Guru’s Sam Dodson. To date having released a welter weight of full lengths that fuse an array of sumptuous late night after lights out amorous grooves all distilled with tripping beats and the kind of lightly soft centred fluffiness of a noire-ish charm that forever more will be associated with the early 90’s Bristol scene. Lushly amorphous these cuts orbit in realms deep in the kaleidoscopic reaches of the minds eye eschewing both sophisticating and intoxicating vibes Dodson freewheels with loose limbed abandon across generic mutations – ‘marlene’ in particular featuring acclaimed jazz chanteuse Liz Fletcher on vocals is an enchantingly hazy dream coat of finger clicking exotic psyche jazz braided with siren like mistrals – blimey more ear gear from Sao Paolo – what (we wonder) are they putting in the water over there, anyhow Expresso Monofonico are a quintet led from the fore by Ana Regina who carve out what can only be described as Jefferson Airplane meets Curved Air stoner montages heavily indebted to the late 60’s festival scene, ’eolico’ in particular with its almost dislocated prog like funk grooves had us recalling Quickspace which as regular readers to these ramblings will be all to aware are a much loved thing here. That said it’s ’seja o que parece ser’ that took our fancy, a kind of Free spliced with Le Mans styled gem that amid the lilting latino pastoral pirouettes momentarily detours left of centre for a spot of Weimar versed cabaret – quite gorgeous really. – a damn fine charitable thing going on here – Psychemodo’s current release ‘she’s so clean’ available via this site is donating all its profits to water aid a thoroughly worthy cause and a distressing one given that it highlights a crucial basic need to existence – that being quality water supply while simultaneously giving further evidence of the widening differences in living standards between the more able nations in comparison to the less fortunate so called third world areas. As to the song – a bit of a hi-fi spanker – mixes up a bit of the Spin Doctors basking in cascades of drifting chimes rustled up with a dash of some pretty neat T-Rex styled riff boogie and saturated with hooks and memorable melodies aplenty. – currently residing in the UK, Tokyo based musician Mari is a class apart fro most of the sounds you’ll normally hear or find amid these pages, with appreciations in the traditional classics (the sveltely enticing romanticism of the curvaceous string bathed ‘ballade’ or the floral ivories of the timeless sounding pastoral canter of ‘Motzart piano sonata K332‘) as well as house (as on the driving streamlined candy coated ‘heart disease called love’) and pure pristine industrial framed electro pop (‘Map of the Problems’) she ably adapts and freewheels with much aplomb between the two polar worlds sumptuously colliding on the Morricone meets Hermann inspired dark abstractia of ’tokyo policewoman’. Stunning. – last featured in these pages way back at missive 102 following our outpouring of affection for his ‘fabulous’ single. Further tasty treats come in the shape of a remix of Pet Shop Boys ‘I’m with stupid’ culled from their ‘fundamentalism’ re-arrangements set elsewhere there’s Zwicker’s quite sublime reframing of ‘strut’ taken from the recent ‘Silence’ remodelled set where artists and friends where invited to apply their interpretations of various tracks found on the original Melnyk template both of which we really must try and track down some point soon. This baby left in the capable hands of Zwicker is redecorated with a serious hypnotic underpin and a sassy club floor demonising groove that flits between chilled euro-pop accents a la Front 242 and house vibed beats replete with mind melting seductive signatures a la early Future Sound of London and 808 State. – self described on his my space site as ‘death metal / IDM / jungle’, the mysterious aaaaa it seems delight in nothing more but a spot of aural terrorism where it seems that any style, genre or music fashion is ripe to be thrown in to his spin dryer of sounds ’golden pussy’ in particular had us recalling with much fondness Eskimos in Egypt and even more curiously – where’s the beach. okay not a mental and life threatening as fellow compatriots the Incapacitants yet nonetheless still disturbed. Aonami is a Tokyo based anti-musician who when he’s not terrifying audiences with his wigged out and fried electronic catastrophe’s can be found heading up the Intikrec imprint which he incidentally owes and puts to good use by all accounts issuing ’non genre specific’ releases by similar minded artists and friends currently operating on the outer fringes of pops vast and colourful world. Back to Aonami though who does things to lo tech electronics that we swear had been outlawed years ago by the global community at large, would you describe this as grime – well who knows – what we are certain about though is there are moments of early career Squarepusher and Wagon Christ partaking in fist fights amid a sea of rampant blip core free-formed noise manipulations, cross wired samples and bastardised punk glue, all at once caustic, skewif and seriously essential.


You can check out a brief but essential selection of samples from the Intikrec stable including edits from all the recent releases via – we suggest your first port of call ought to be the Hypo sample though who/what/why it is we ain’t got a clue about – sounds damn nifty though. – oh indeed yes this much to love about these acoustically invested vignettes, hauntingly resonant and delicately spun intimate beauties that slip through the ether like spectres much reminiscent of Townes Van Zandt – sadly we don’t have any information about b but there’s more than enough amid the wares of this quietly shy gems to suggest an emerging talent at play – ’dui blues’ in particular provides a beautifully breezy pastoral eloquence of a timeless art that stretches to the late 60’s Cambridge scene and beyond while ’60 watts of something’ momentarily shifts from the tender comforts of warmly woven acoustics into wonkily abstract ambient minimalism. We suggest further investigation is much needed. – a UK based collective set around the core talents of Lee Groves and Mark Altekruse who disbelievingly are currently unsigned, Hex Orchestra appear to have carved for themselves something of a niche in terms of providing not only multi generic film soundtracks but also pill popping mind expanding montages of such lush texture and curvaceous virtuosity as to have your head spinning with the potential possibilities. From the woozy and sultry middle eastern vibes of ‘nonagon’ to the fringe arranging snake charming floor rumbling and mooching hedonistic grind of ‘terminal earth’. Elsewhere there’s the doom laden ‘cool aid’ with its sample heavy Depth Charge like undertones though for us it’s the astral plane like dissipating trippiness of the down tempo bliss out grooves fed into ’on the train’ that get our votes – think Floyd meets Ozrics – need we say more?


And that’s it pop kids for a wee while back soon with a vinyl only missive, then there will be another usual singles missives plus if your really unlucky another my space missive over the weekend which we can tell you now will be dominated by our latest loves the Cody High School ho young people you can check out right this minute by going to – that is colds allowing etc…as per usual do tune into for sporadic updates. As per usual many thanks to the bands, musicians and labels for making these ramblings possible.


Till whenever take care of yourselves……….



Singled Out is a ‘shit Troy ! pop music let’s rip’ production – all rights retained and if we feel like we might just turn up at your gaff and diss your record collection.


The Small Print – support your local underground record emporium. If you don’t know here that is check the directories under record f**king shop and it’s the ones with weird un -HMV names like Probe, Normans, Piccadilly, Sister Ray, Rough Trade and so on.

Posted in other | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

archiv: glissando

another archive review rescued from salvaged hard drives……this one originally appeared on losing today sometime 2007…….x


With our arms wide open we march towards the burning sea


Last years ultra limited compilation issue of sorts ‘loves are like empires’ gave a brief early warning as to the possible permutations that lay at the core of Glissando’s delicately drawn dust bowl of consuming intimacy and shyly lit beauty. All at once tragic, tumultuous, tortured and teasingly triumphant, the six tracks within where nothing short of magnificent, the ever present Glissando nuclei of Richard and Elly May had delivered a collection of quiet majesty with their momentously scarred storm evoking blisters.

As is usual the case with these things one possible permutation that hadn’t been reckoned with was that Richard and Elly May were an item. An item helplessly unravelling. The fate and indeed future of Glissando hung by a thread. Into the breach step the mercurial Stars of the Lid who were seeking a support for their Holy Trinity Church appearance in Leeds. The gauntlet was thrown to Glissando. It was make or break time. All closely associated with the duo remarked it was their best performance to date. The cold war suddenly went into defrost mode, calls were made and an assembled cast of friends and acquaintances were gathered for the recording of the bands official debut full length – the nine track demurring epic ’with our arms open we march towards the burning sea’.

There’s a ghostly church like calmed presence that breaches the finite grooves of this slow to unfurl masterpiece, the accompanying press release rightly advising ’probably best listened to at night’ – the melodies murmur softly, tenderly wrapped gems crafted and carved for the appreciative isolation and stillness of the witching hour wherein the siren-esque spectres within softly stir from the shadows.

Describing ’With our arms wide open we march towards the burning sea’ as elegant is to allude to an understatement in its starkest form, featuring guest appearances from members of the Rosie Taylor Project, Immune, I like trains, Her Name is Calla and Held by Hands, the nine portraits within are lushly tinkered, whereas previous Glissando releases have hinted at the amorphic arrangements and deeply unsettling mastery lying just below the surface the assembled cast bring that potential into exquisite reality, the monochrome sketches of the previous are daubed and colourised to cement a textured and disturbingly alluring suite that is all at once touching and tender.

Reference points are easy, the more sedate moments culled from Set Fire to Flames back catalogue are an underlying influence as are both the measured and mercurial montages cast into the public eye by early career Sigur Ros and godspeed you black emperor. The arrangements classically based are darkly detached, the fragile ’with a kiss and a tear’ braided delicately by ice formed ivories sequences and the arcing array of pining trumpets and violins is tear stainingly crushing, its innate richness brought to the fore by the measured poise of the near spectral and sparse treatment of the melodies are they swirl from the stage sidings leaving Elly May beneath the spotlight softly shifting gear through the emotional ranges. Sounding like its been unearthed beneath decades of dust from a forgotten box in the attic ‘Grekken’ picks away your defences from the inside out, mellowing though cast with a unerring tranquillity and sense of out of step repose that suggests it was conceived in an era far removed from the present.

Clocking in at 15 minutes the near flawless ’like everything you see’ taps directly in to the sonic landscapes of Stars of the Lid and LaBradford, an extended ambient based instrumental replete with aching tides of glacial drone swathes lonesome orbiting in the voids blistering and hurting in the process. (the same feat is revisited on the monastic like parting shot ‘our flags wave and our arms are around another’s shoulders). Elsewhere spirited away about this set there you’ll find some elegiac morsels of timeless tuneage that should ensure the most passing casual acquaintance with an ear for purist pop is satiated with the appearance of both ‘white silence and the fragile reality’ and ‘goodbye red rose! This was not for you’ – the former a noire-ish slice of spectrally tinged ethereal loveliness that imagines a celestial Bjork ice bound in some frosted snow globe while the latter a nakedly creaking lulling love note that canters hauntingly in softening orbs of psychedelic and a tip toeing like nursery rhyme like persona which is only ruined it has to be said by its briefness. ‘always the storm’ adopts a similar trait – haunting – it bathes itself in a strangely shanty like demeanour pitted with oddly off centred time signatures that when blended give off a curiously intoxicating lilt that’s past eerily supernatural and lysergic.

The show stealing ’Floods’ is the albums centre piece, departing just shy of 14 minutes in length, the tragically epic beauty cuts deep to the quick, dimpled by the most arresting string arrangements we’ve heard since Sakamoto’s early 80’s film scores and shimmering in the same heartbreakingly framed harmonic halos as more keenly associated with the near magnificent and enigmatic Shady Bard this gorgeously sweetly bitter gem ebbs and flows amid a chanting chorus line sourced as it were directly from Quickspace’s hugely underrated ’Death to Quickspace’ before passing out 7 minutes in into an emotional vacuuming lonesome drone suite.

‘with our arms wide open we march towards the burning sea’ is in a nutshell – quietly magnificent.

Key tracks –


Goodbye red rose! This was not for you

Like everything you see

Posted in groovy bastards..., Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

archiv: gusto extermination fluid

Archive review pulled from an abandoned hard drive – guessing this appeared sometime 2006/07 via……x

Gusto Extermination Fluid

The cleaner



In essence the sole work of the mysterious PT who during the early part of the 90’s was a member of – I’m ashamed to admit – the previously unknown to us industrial / dub / noise collective Sonic Violence who in their brief existence released a brace of albums and several 12” before disappearing into the night.


‘the cleaner’ is quite frankly just what the doctor ordered, a bleak and grimly beautiful soundtrack for an age of obsolescence yet to come, 10 solemn suites feature within, a future chill of an ill wind assuming its place among the dark abstract ambient / noise / post house community. Both unsettling and clever ‘the cleaner’ deviously freewheels between the classical and the conceptual, its linear universe dappled with dischord and a sense of foreboding, its medium of mutant dust bowl of drone landscapes, binary converses, dark electronica, wired draconian beats and deeply set dub accents.


All at once bracing, bludgeoning, insular and exacting – PT applies his gloom stricken minimalism with much aplomb, the finite structures like pebbles thrown in a pond reverberate into an omnipresent mass of anxiety and hysteria from the opening lunges of the gruesomely psychotropic ‘wound’ the listener isn’t so much drawn in but dragged by the dense attraction of its black hole heart. With its leering hypnotic layers and Kraut cultured industrial isolationism is magnificently oppressive, imparting the sterile blank detail of early Cabaret Voltaire as though with their noses bloodied by the collaborative combative might of 1919, Einsturzende Neubauten and X-Mal Deutschland and SPK this grinding beast takes the recently acclaimed Battles ’atlas’ / ’mirrored’ aural template to the next level to craft an unrivalled sledgehammer of sonic disturbance


The ominous ‘fistrip’ if we didn’t know any better would have had us thinking the creepier moments from Add N to X’s quintessential ‘add insult to injury’ had been ravaged and maimed amid an unyielding hybrid sonic schism whose initial matrix had originated from some doomed fusion between Moondog and Bernard Hermmann. Repetitive loops build in texture and stature creating a pulsating and punishing sound-scape that by its conclusion is literally fractured and pulverised by its own volcanic insurgency. The same trick is applied to the chilling ‘horselip’ to a lesser degree – amid the mooching montage of Stockhausen like treated sparse string arrangements, crooked Radiophonic Workshop like sonic displacements and subtle tribal timbres it manifests delightfully into a fiercesomely eerie carnival of Hitchcockian suspense and noire-ish grandeur.


To some extent lightening the edge and unyielding claustrophobic textures, both ‘bees tick’ and ‘scurvysh’ shift the dynamics towards rhythmic, the former melding binary communications across the dark cosmic divides the latter a head jarring retuning of Front 242’s ’masterhit’ template.


That said in our humbled opinion ’Oiskobi’ proves to be the sets centrepiece, comprising an affecting nightmarish John Carpenter vision, this trip wired gem captures and crystallises perfectly the penetrating psychosis deep in the heart of Tubeway Army’s ’Replicas’ and the early career ’scene 30’ era work of Echoboy and sweetly teases the bitter pill by imparting a whirring Arabesque dialect to the proceedings. Welcome to the new dark age.


Key tracks –





Posted in groovy bastards..., Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment