singled out – missive 226

Singled Out
Missive 226

For Kelly n’ Mark

Singled Out ‘adventures in modern musings from pops platter playing planet or some such bollocks’

Address for communications, gifts, unwanted record collections, bus tickets and general all round abuse – we love vinyl / cassettes….

Mark c/o

Hello. How are you. Mmmm like that is it. Indeed that is grim. Me? Oh you know so so. Better bang a few records on. – so why do I find myself constantly returning to these treats, is it their smouldered and classicist 70’s MOR tug, their pristine pop calibrated west coast symphonic mirages, the sugared dimpling of Beatles or more precisely McCartney-esque song craft flashed through with elements of the post Brian Wilson Beach Boys, Ashley Park, Alan Price, Brigadier, Epicycle and the more mellowed moments of early career Queen. It’s beautiful. Arresting. And very desirable. Somehow we must have been looking the other way when these gems first broke cover and entered the pop mainstream because these particular recordings date back to the early 70’s and are something best described as ’near lost gems’. in brief Emitt Rhodes was once a member of 60’s beat combos The Palace Guard and the Merry Go Round – the latter a virtual one man band project by its demise. Recording solo under his own name he was signed to A&M who passed on his initial recordings entitled ’the American Dream’ instead releasing ’Emitt Rhodes’ to sizeable critical – three more albums would follow ’mirror’, ’farewell to paradise’ and of course ’the american dream’ before the onset of contractual arguments and ridiculous label demands leaving Rhodes to withdraw from the music business and back to the safe haven of his studio. Occasionally appearing on various compilations and the odd soundtrack recent years have been awash with rumours of a return, so far unfounded until that is – now. Returning into the studio earlier this year with a bag full of new tunes, Rhodes has put together a new band featuring sidekick sticksman Joel Larson from his Merry Go Round days along with Matt Malley, Jim Rolfe and Dan Mayer. There’s also talk of a documentary film currently in its finishing post production stages while all the albums have recently been gathered together into a limited box set via Hip-O-Select – a copy of which we will do our damnedest to nail for future appraisal. For now though we suggest you check out the near perfect kaleidoscopic folk shimmers of ’live til you die’ all tenderly set amid a caressing breezy west coast buzz that’ll frankly melt the steeliest of hearts in a blink and as a bonus give you a warm fuzzy glow.

Here’s an old vid of the man himself doing ’birthday lady’…. – be honest you like their name don’t you – its kind of wacky isn’t it, promising all manner of lunacy and strange mercurial happenings that quite frankly appear to have much neglected in recent years by bands and labels alike. Pigeons and the insane Porridge Makers hail from Saint Petersburg a locality on the global map which we here feel is sadly unrepresented in these pages. They describe themselves as falling under the ’experimental / psychedelic / rock’ umbrella and other than that the trail of information runs cold – alas we did try to access their official web site but found our PC abruptly kicked out twice. Ho hum. Anyway they profess to having a fondness for all things 60’s psychedelic in sound though from what we’ve heard it appears they do a rather freakishly tasty stew that above all sounds not unlike a drinks a flowing studio jam between the Ukranians, early career ‘when in Rome’ era Cud with a particularly chilled Cravats inspecting and co-ordinating the events, skewiff jazz signatures, tribal rhythmic mantras (as on the fried ‘horse‘ with its Beefheart meets Zappa out there oddness), plenty of 60’s hammonds and a general all round trippiness is what’s on offer, hell they could be blood relations of the equally mischievous imps APATT and sound ripe for a spot of Pickled Egg involvement. That said we here are more than fond of the acid fried and lysergic ’craftsmanship’ which amid its wasted psych tonalities and sultry Arabesque snake charms sounds to these ears like some daydream mirage involving Jefferson Airplane’s ’white rabbit’ albeit as though re-wired by a particularly shit faced Bjork with the Walking Seeds applying all manner of psychotropic un-worldliness to the proceedings. We need to hear more.

Lydia Lunch ‘big sexy noise’ (sartorial). Another crucial addition to the select and darkly classical Sartorial catalogue following recent appearances in these pages for killer cuts from both Terry Edwards and Department S. this 6 track vinyl / download outing finds Lunch cosying up to Gallon Drunk-sters Johnston, White and Edwards continuing a recorded relationship extending to a decade now via collaborations on the Smoke in the Shadows and Hangover Hotel projects. ‘big sexy noise’ is brutal and savage, primed perfectly for purists of Gallon Drunk’s grizzled primal blues of yore, this bludgeoning beauty takes no prisoners, Johnston’s swamp dragged riff howls grate and lunge with slavish intent scowling in unison to Lunch’s scarring and spitting venom. Lunch for her part hasn’t sounded this animated on record in such an age, engulfed in uncompromising festering disdainful discontent she blasphemes her way through the scorching set of buckled and bruised primordial blues with such scathing intent that you’re left in no doubt that she’s not the happiest or forgiving bunnies around. Beneath it all Johnston and Co grimly carve out a molten stew of gnarled groove. Opening with the wiring and sleekly hip shimmying grizzled strut of the fried and looping dirty funk psychosis of ‘another man comin’ (while the bed is still warm)’ – has there ever been a fuck you missive delivered with such sadistic satisfaction we wonder. Up next and in sharp contrast the simply smoking sleazy and mooching noir twisted and rain drizzled after hours jazz tweaked ‘bad for bobby’ its horny as hell motifs sullied and tempered by the thickly applied matting of choking claustrophobic darkness. By all accounts left brooding and unloved ‘the gospel singer’ was co-written with Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon a while back, blistering and sleazy and metered out with prowling riff side winds and quite frankly the most wig flipping sax skrees you’ll hope to hear on record in such a long time to come, this babe is seriously white hot as it burrows drill holes deep in to your psyche all the time Lunch seductively purring amid the skin peeling brew like some preacher like temptress. Flip the disc and you’ll find the debauched fuzz grunge of ‘baby faced killer’ and a rather tame take on Lou Reed’s ‘kill your sons’ here done up ever so subtly with the becoming intone of wasted glam psyche dialects. That said best moment of the set is the uber cool parting ‘you’re love don’t pay my rent’ a spiked and seething 60’s garage soul mama of the highest order, all at once vicious and funny – be honest do I need to go on. Just buy the damn thing.

The Teasers ‘sooner or later’ (bucks music). Discovered this sitting somewhat unloved and shivering in a record pile on a recent space clearing exercise, described by their press people as the slinky, sexy and sinister debut release from the Teasers (a trio featuring the combined talents of Moll Teaser, Fu Fu de Fonte and Twosmith Smith – names we are suspecting somewhat markedly differing those found on their passports and tax demands I shouldn‘t wonder). Well we’ll go with the sexy and slinky part of the equation – the sinister bit we’re at a loss to see likewise to the Transvision Vamp and Eminem references – hum – you think so. We here are more in the ’doesn’t it sound a little like Dubstar dimpled with the stray essences of Portishead’ camp given it features a rather attractive formation of neat little stalking strut grooved riffs, trip hop beats and stuttering samples all dinkily ribbon bound amid seductive swirls of electro pulses and clipped with a cutely adorable effervescence slickly suited and primed from demurring dance floor action, quite a little fleet of foot charmer if you ask me. Over on the flip you’ll find three additional mixes of the same cut re-drilled by guest invitation with JakWob applying some throbbing mutant and meaty drum n’ bass club floor highlights while Kid Cola recalibrates the core matrix and adds some tastily frisky electro house implants to the mix leaving J Flows to strip the chassis bare and augment some seriously wired and wonky minimalist head turning frazzled n’ funky accoutrements that may well have the finest night spots around town panting furiously for more.

due to cost cutting exercises of Government bodies in the light of the ever deepening recession hitting the globe the Montreuil based Instants Chavires is under serious threat of going under due to having its support grant considerably slashed while those who conspired through greed to topple the financial houses of the world through their mismanagement and incompetance continue to benefit through undeserved bonus’ – how you sleep at night you bastards. please take time out to sign the petition in support of this famous venue for improvised jazz / noise which you can find at

Findlay Napier and the Bar Room Mountaineers ‘when harry met Charlie’ (the Haymaker Recording Company). Like the previously mentioned release this to was found somewhat shyly retired amid a recently discovered pile of unheard CD’s. Took us a while to prize from out of its cover we’re thinking this debut release is limited to just 500 copies – the tell tale clue being the fact that our copy is so notated on its rear as p / 500 – the p we’re guessing being short for promo. See you have to get up early to fool us and since we don’t go to bed – hang on that wouldn’t make a difference anyway would it. Oh you know what I mean. Don’t you? Anyhow this debut features three cuts well two if you count the additional extended mix of the lead out track as one – gets confusing doesn’t it – it’s the way I write it. Findlay Napier and the Bar Room Mountaineers – love to see that on a t-shirt extra extra large to fit the words I reckon – are a quartet headed up – obviously – by former Back of the Moon founder Findlay Napier. They craft dashingly demurring breeze rushed Gaelic sweethearts of which lead cut ’when Harry met Charlie’ is a prime worthy example, refreshingly airy and nature bound, its sweeping corteges and waltzing rustics make for such an arresting and lilting listening experience that you may feel inclined to breathlessly swoon at impromptu moments throughout. A love song of sorts, if a relationship between man and tortoise can be called such, the Charlie in question being Mr Darwin and Harry being Harriet a giant tortoise native to the Galapagos islands whom the eminent scientist transported by to England in 1835 as part of a collection of wildlife and vegetation surveyed and catalogued during his world wide expedition. Though Darwin died in 1882 Harriet lived to a ripe old age estimated at 175 dying in 2006 in her last resting place – in an Australian zoo. As to the song, tenderly encased in a timeless and tingling aura of willowy violins and caressing acoustics tethered to a melody that rises and falls to the seductive syncopation of an adoring purr all the time sweetly trestled amid honeysuckle garlands of defence peeling beauty. Need I say more. Flip the disc for ‘out all night’ – a smoked and sophisticated slice of noir tweaked nocturnally chilled soul funk, one best appreciated with the lights lowered and the mood reclined, just love that fat chunky sighing fretless bass grind that said reference wise think Christopher Cross sharing graveyard studio time with Ben Folds Five with Paddy McAloon twiddling the mixing desk nobs.

The Woe Betides ‘Sarah and the great glass safety net’ (download). You may well remember us mentioning this lot way back at missive 198 wherein we cast a fond critical eye over their my space / debut EP (‘play dead’) sounds. This particular cut – an exclusive freebie for all who hook up to their mailing list subscription service – finds duo Simon and Grundy weaving their seemingly trademark darkly edgy macabre melodic manifestations to gripping effect, witheringly beautiful and eerily enchanting, embracing a dynamic that’s not unlike that of a youthful Her Name is Calla, ‘Sarah and the great glass safety net‘ assumes an initial austere chill to the opening proceedings, much like the sadly missed Left Hand it begins brooding and pensive, bloated with a hanged dog demeanour all the time fixing you fast in its despondent glare, a spectral overture opining a melancholic mantra that builds grudgingly with a bruised grace all the time softly cracking, fracturing and fragmenting as it advances ever more to it final resting point though not before rupturing into a resplendent and darkly torturous haze of numbed jubilance the type of which in these recent times appears to be the sole remit of a certain Mr Yorke and Co. A deeply deceptive gem if you ask me.

The lads are touring shortly – you can check details of dates via their my space page at

Cranium Pie ‘baby you’re a rich man’ (fruits de mer). Typical isn’t – you hear nothing from one of your favourite labels for such a concerning age (that just between you and me we were seriously considering placing a lost and found ad in the Times as well as getting those fine guardians of criminal justice Crimewatch to conduct a missing persons spot) then along come six of the blighters all be-decked in flowery beads, tie dye flares and dizzy on the bleached concoction of one to many herbal cocktails and much merriment at gaily skipping around the village fayre maypole. First up (we are reckoning that the others will appear here and there like impish mystical hiding and seeking fairies at play during the course of this and no doubt next all singing, all jeering and all partying missive) are the quite frankly barking Cranium Pie. These mind fried love children of the 60’s sound hail from the West Country, well Bath to be precise, follow in the footsteps sound wise of Soft Hearted Scientists suffering from an Ozrics overdose, number in five and Julian, Rob, Tim, Dan and Steve are their names. There may or may not be an EP out and about worrying record world by the name of ’the Geometry of Thistles’ for which we have issued from our querying quill and well worded missive which goes ’give me the record or else’. other than that the information runs cold. Facial hair may be involved. Anyway they do a neat line in misty fairy folk fused with a wired and psych prog dusting. We think they are wizards. At the very they are possessed. Anyway this single follows the acclaimed footsteps left by the labels previous three releases – by Sway, Alison O’Donnell / Head South by Weaving and Schizo Fun Addict just in case you’d forgotten – the remit of these limited seven inch releases being that the invited artist covers a nugget hatched originally in the 60’s sends it sharpish by unicorn to the Fruits de Mer magic cottage who then weave said tokin tunes onto circles of coloured wax – this one apparently set upon ’money grass weed green vinyl. Cranium Pie choose as their favoured obsession the Beatles and the criminally overlooked Dantalian’s Chariot. Their instrumental take of ’baby you’re a rich man’ is dutifully dippy and kooky, draped as it is in all manner of Hammond key lilts, sounds well smoked and seductively soulful a bit like a fried and flirty Procol Harum blissing out with Booker T and the MG’s and the Graham Bond Quartet after a hard days shopping amid the fashionable boutique stalls of the periods hip and trendy Carnaby Street. That said it’s the flip that alone proves its weight in gold and worthy of the entrance fee on its own, a sterling cover of Dantalian’s Chariots legendary ’madman running through the fields’ – absolutely freakishly fried, replete with hallucinogenic mirages so vivid you literally get high just being in earshot of it, freebases on some weird and out of it proggy moments while nailed down with lashings upon lashings of mind expanding backward loops and has a tendency to go wonderfully wandering off at tangents while sounding to these ears not unlike a seriously caned Stanshall fronted Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. Priceless stuff , goes without saying ruddy essential.

The Flaming Gnomes ‘case of cell 44’ (fruits de mer). More youthful folk sky high on the woodland pickings of natures hallucinogenic resources, this bounteous banquet of sumptuous 70’s Beach Boys perkiness comes pressed on limited quantities of seven inch sized swirly burgundy wax and comes courtesy of the Flaming Gnomes who upon a quick spot of research appear to be a quartet hailing from Hertfordshire who came together to record a cover of Pink Floyd’s ’Arnold Layne’ for a competition being run at the time by Gilmour / EMI and My Space wherein the prize was a days recording in Abbey Road Studios and a chance to have a band logo designed by Storm Thorgerson. Sadly they didn’t win though you can hear their mightily impressive re-working of the Floyd classic via their my space at – anyway back to the FDM release as said limited and on coloured vinyl by all accounts – I say by all accounts because we only have a promo CD boo hoo. While we are here we should mention that the artwork has been provided by the hand of Hipgnosis artist Jeff Cummins whose work has graced the sleeves of McCartney, Nugent, UFO and Floyd releases of yore. This release pairs together a brace of covers of songs originally cut by the Zombies and Caravan, the former ’care of cell 44’ is treated to a gorgeously radiant mellowing effervescence, all west coast tingles, lush pristine pop motifs and an alluring early 70’s styled MOR burn which if anything kind of had us recalling Alan Price albeit as though re-wired by those purveyors of perfected honey dripped pop Epicycle. That said as with the previously mentioned Cranium Pie release via the same imprint it’s the b-side that presses all the ’blimey that’s good’ buttons all at once. A cover no less of Peel favourites Caravan’s ’love song with a flute’ – and before you ask – yes it has flutes – in abundance I should hasten to add. Though the original was as perfect as you could get what the Gnomes do is recalibrate the tonalities with a high definition aspect, markedly more vivid and colourful in texture and delivery, the butter kissed sun basked harmonies melting sumptuously into the lushly layered folds of lounge folk silkiness – it really is something to behold and indeed hear, keep it between yourselves though its ripe for being the summers soundtrack – alas if only we could see the sun. rumours abound the next single will be a cover of the Nice’s ’daddy where did I come from’ can’t wait.

And that’s your lot for a day or three. Much gratitude for all those who’ve made these musings possible in whatever shape or form and of course to you for tuning in.

Address for communications / submissions and offers of matrimony please see above – somewhere near the start.

Until next time take care of yourselves



originally published July 2009 via

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