singled out – missive 197

Singled Out
Missive 197

For Kelly and Mark – missing you.

Singled Out – ransacking record racks panning for gems so you don’t need to – certified U2 and Moz free zone.

NLF3 ‘Ride on a brand new time’ (Prohibited).

If you had the daunting task of having to plot where exactly NLF3 exist of the ever evolving map of pops cosmos then you’d be a wise soul where you to place them somewhere between Goblin, Zombi, the Grails, Animal Collective, Tank and perhaps the Ozric Tentacles. Considered as one of the key ensembles on the French music scene emerging in their current state in 2000 rising from the ashes as were from Prohibition and heading up the influential Prohibited imprint. They number in three. Anything else you feel you should know. You‘re not sure you say. Well lets try the following.

‘ride on a brand new time’ finds NLF3 navigating the out there territories of cerebral pop, a lushly arresting and mesmerising dream coat of sumptuously drilled psychedelic prog rock, loose and ever morphing it shape shifts seductively amid improvisational scores that are treated to dialects that are part trippy, exotic, sultry, often dream-scaping and deceptively transcendental. it’s a becoming brew that engages, utilises and cross pollinates a wide range of generic sub species from tropicalia, maths / post rock (as on ‘hurricane’ with its frazzled diode degenerating gremlins in the mechanics like impishness) to down tempo / lounge (check out the simply scintillating ’echotropic’ which unless our ears do deceive sounds very much calibrated in all manner of retro loveliness and looping hypnotic jazz signatures as to suggest the aforementioned Goblin crossing swords with Krzysztof Komeda on some thought lost and recently unearthed soundtrack upon whose small printed credits is noted the passive appearance of a certain Ennio Morricone).

Trailing its lysergic footprints like muddy scuffs on a recently cleaned kitchen floor, the trio decorate their aural canvas with skittish rhythms and strangely out of sequence time signatures, the sensation is one of continual fluidity perhaps of something traversing back and forth between what passes for reality and dream, the effect is immediately inviting, intoxicating and irresistible. Both warm and embracing it’s a subtle head trip that evokes a fascination for lost soundtracks from the early 70’s and yet strangely for all its obvious infatuation of the era and their crafted genius (incidentally exquisite) of replicating such tonalities, textures and themes it’s a forward thinking album very much of today venturing forth into tomorrow. Cuts such as ’mmm what curse?’ and ’oxala mon amour’ indeed draw distinct comparisons to the Battles and Cornelius in terms of their ability to cross weave simplistic multi layered melodies and homogenise them into deceptively dinky slices of distracting ear gear.

Elsewhere ’birds no birds’ is a demurring serving of mantra like Oriental motifs faintly scratched and pot marked by hazes of binary squiggles while ‘shadonga falls’ is blessed with the seriously chilled pulsing throb of a reverb laced hypnotic corkscrewing riff (which could have easily been borrowed from Quickspace’s ‘death of’ set) that traces the cosmic contours of the milky dapples it finds itself bathed in themselves nodding in some respect to the mellower moments found on Stereo lab’s ’Cobra’ set. Which leaves ‘fuses apes and doppler’ to provide the albums best moment by a short hair, an orbiting slice of subtly escalating cascades of shimmering and tingling shade wearing kaleidoscopic euphoria tenderly dissipating amid hallucinogenic swells of head expanding fuzziness. A bit of a gem if you must know.

Key tracks –
Fuses apes and Doppler
echo tropic
Birds no birds – French combo Davno are we are assuming a trio alas the information is a little scant or to be more precise non existent as it seems they have things under construction. Hiding beneath a self described umbrella covering ‘folk / tropical and minimalist’ these impish souls have so far submitted just one track for the prying eyes and ears of my space world to sample, savour and no doubt swoon over though admittedly to engage in the latter would require said listener to qualify in a love for the quirky, minimalist and quite possibly eclectic. Teasingly short and barely making it past the one minute ticker tape there’s something crookedly loveable about ‘urban instru’ in so far as it sounds like something of an after thought perhaps conceived by the hand of Cornelius, Pop Off Tuesday or maybe Pizzicato 5 or even Gulliver. Whatever the case it’s a slightly fried, cutely affectionate slice of lounge-y Latino cocktail groove, dippily suave and fetchingly frisky and one hopes the beginning of a blossoming career.

Leech ‘The stolen view’ (Viva Hate).

It’s the smaller details that usually pain me like where did the 5 minutes 30 seconds go on my promo copy of Leech’s brand spanking new full length ‘the stolen view’ go or for that matter the mysterious 7th track as billed on the press release whereas my copy only has six and with that no doubt the reason for my missing as advertised 5 minutes and 30 seconds of sounds. As though such minor details where a problem enough with me, did I mention I’m a slave for the smaller details, this kind of cocks up the running order – I mean which track has gone awol the first or the last or the one in the middle. It’s not as though I can shimmy up to the speaker cock a closely attached ear and figure out such for myself by listening carefully to the lyrics as there aren’t any its an instrumental album. It’s not as if you can listen to the cuts and think ‘well bugger me I reckon that sounds like it could be called blah blah blah’ not that Leech have any tracks called ‘blah blah blah’ at least we don’t think so. Oh Lordy.

So back to the press release and we are looking at it in a casual type way trying to figure what’s happened and convinced in our mind that there’s been a pressing plant cock up (hence our copy is a future collectors item – make me a bid go on dare ya) and then we notice the track listing and er – the track titles are different and guess what -yep you’re right six tracks listed. So while we hot foot it over to their PR to find out whether we have the correct album (you never know – word has ’the stolen view’ was due for UK release having originally surfaced in Switzerland in 2007 and that there was talk of a new album due this year) quietly play among yourselves. Incidentally and just for the record this babe is distressingly beautiful and by far the best thing we’ve heard since the Future Kings of England’s ’the fate of old mother orvis’ for the currently MIA backwater imprint a year or so ago, all at once tender and turbulent and monolithic and majestic. Ho hum.

You can check more via otherwise expect a full review soon.

Navvy ‘disco’ (angular). Lifted from their forthcoming debut full length ‘Idyll Intangible’ due to cause squabbles and all manner of scuffling at a discerning record emporium near you towards the end of next month, Sheffield quartet Navvy serve up a nifty slice of frantically insurgent sub three minute angulated club floor groove that‘s sure to set alight the bopping set at the local town hall hop. Armed and awash with the regimental framing of jabbing, jutting and jangling needle worked riffs that veer in see saw formations all welded to a no nonsense punishing percussive undercarriage atop of which a vaguely excitable sounding youthful like Mark E Smith fused with an equally tenderly aged Robert Smith dispatches instructions. Edgy stuff drilled tightly and one suspects a thing borne of a group of like minded individuals much admiring an older relatives vinyl collection of Fire Engines, Brilliant and Gang of Four regalia.

Walk. Don’twalk ‘day from hell’ (slice the pie download). Apparently this lot have been high on several people’s ‘ones to watch’ list for a fair while now, the Birmingham based quintet are currently confined to quarters putting the finishing top coat to their debut full length which should see the light of day sometime this year. In the meantime this frankly ridiculously infectious sub three minute melodically tingled pop shower of sun drenched frenetic groove should give those not already possessed and swooning at the hands of their fan-faring salvos (so that‘ll be you and me then) a chance to catch on to the fuss building up around them. ’days from hell’ steams in with much gusto, charging down the grooves at break neck pace dispatching a riot of cheerfully colourful radio frying feel good vibes cemented or so it seems by a high grade fusion of zig-zagging needling riffs hoodwinked from the beret wearing baggy trouser adorned soul pop boys of the early Kitchenware catalogue and other such from the early 80’s and drilled with a becoming skiffle meets Mersey delta groove as patented by the Coral. Add into the mix a furiously frantic shanty meets ska like demeanour and a shallow fried serving of brass regales and you have yourself a bit of a bitchin’ brew of effervescent ear candy that once heard will insidiously take root in your psyche and party your tats off.

And from one Slice the Pie to another – could this boutique imprint turn out to be a favourite with us this year we wonder…anyway Shortwave Fade‘s ‘deletia’ (slice the pie) will get a write up next time out for now though we don’t mind admitting that this platter has been causing untold ructions in our gaff since arriving a day or two ago especially the gem like twin set of cuts ‘now we are weapons’ and ‘low’ proving to be instant radio rumbling pop gems. For now check out

Yonokiero ‘blue apples’ (front and follow).

Must admit that this little babe somehow managed to sneak itself into our gaff un-noticed a little while back, a fact that will no doubt not find Justin – the head honcho of Front and Follow – in any way shape or form amused especially given the fact that we’ve been deflecting his emails thinking he was having a wee jape by saying said CD had been sent out. We really do need to get our filing systems sorted once and for all. Still all fun in love and war I guess and anyway the moral of the tale or so we‘ve just learnt is always assume you are in the wrong and that others are in the right until of course you can prove otherwise which on this occasion we didn‘t.

And so to the actual release, the second from the newly formed Manchester imprint whose remit it seems is to is to put out bespoke hand crafted limited releases sourced from the finest melodic hidey holes to be found within the richly fertile plots of pop‘s undisturbed underground.

Yonokiero are duo Chris Baldwin and Tom Coogan, two names that should ring bells to those of you who have ever fondly wiled away the evenings listening to various late 90’s Peel and Lamacq hosted transistorised wing ding’s or loved nothing better than rooting about in the record racks of local vinyl emporiums hooking up to the sounds put out by the Gringo, Jonson Family and Extreme Sports imprints – for they in essence where the much fancied, admired and hotly tipped core mindset behind the much missed Hirameka Hi-Fi.

So now that we secured the attention of a fair few of you lets issue a slight health warning. Yonokiero are not in any way shape or form (the second time we’ve used the expression in the same review – is this allowed?) anything like their former charges much in the same way that Adam Franklin’s debut full length under the chosen moniker Toshack Highway was nothing like his work fronting up Swervedriver (though arguably agreed we will concede to the fact that he soon reverted to type for his ensuing releases).

Instead ’blue apples’ – incidentally comprising of a dozen softly teased idyllic nuggets – reveals a more considered and thoughtful side to the collective persona of HHF and hitherto confirms what most of us have long known for some time now that being the chemistry that exists between Baldwin and Coogan. These sometimes crooked and seemingly unsteady pastoral pretties are best appreciated in quiet stolen moments or else their intimacy is lost in the hustle and bustle traffic of the daylight. Recorded onto a laptop these sparsely serviced homely treats softly ripple like pools cast upon by stones, part punch drunk part porch lit, they shuffle and stumble amid a touching hollowed and lonesome haze that’s both slender and willowy.

From the softly aromatic Americana lilt of the opening woody sound of ‘Sumimasen‘ with its lazy eyed and breezily murmured reflective sun burnt glow and the ensuing delicately stirred rambling shanty-esque waltz of ’invitation to Malmo’ the sounds of Yonokiero quickly draw you in and embrace you like a well worn welcome mat and a smouldering open fire. Tracks such as ’Randolph Bourne’ reveal the kind of light headed faraway sound casing that was much in evidence all over the Freed Unit’s criminally overlooked ’Gigglegoo’ while the piano led – and perhaps one half of a brace of cuts that can be considered the centrepieces of ’Blue Apples’ (the other being the parting ‘the test dream‘) – ’Tsuris’ is so aching and hurt that you feel obliged to throw a consoling arm around it – a track we feel much to be admired by lovers of Tex La Homa’s ’dazzle me with transience’ set.

Those fearing the neglect of the trademark skewed and skewiff riffage need not, both the wiring ‘rewound’ and ‘rare bit’ are succulently awash in all manner of detuned fuzziness the former in particular sounding at times as though its on the point of terminal fracturing. Elsewhere the crooked bubblegum fizz of ’hey, now’ sounds not unlike ’durable dream’ era Moviola shimmying up to the Elephant 6 Collective dudes and having a rummage around the ear ware of Kevin Tihista and the Red Terror’s enviable pop vocabulary. Those preferring something a little tender and demurring should seek out the lonesome delta rustics of ‘cuddly dominion’ imbued as it is with a superbly chilled and ornate noir wind / sax treatment though for us nudging it ever so slightly as the sets best moment is the aforementioned parting shot ‘the test dream’ – a shimmering soft psyche folk gem replete with mind warping hooks and kaleidoscopic cycles – does it for us.

Key tracks –

The test dream
Cuddly dominion

Susumu Yakota ‘mother’ (lo recordings).

Much to our bemusement and dare we say utter shame, it seems that until now we’ve somehow missed the advancing charms of Japan’s Susumu Yokota which given he’s been recording since 1992 under various guises such as EBI, Ringo, Prism, Stevia et al and in that time managed to amass a formidable twenty plus album back catalogue is for us something of a feat to be both quietly proud and deeply ashamed of.

And so it is with great relief that we managed to snare his current opus ’mother’. Such a gem it is that we’ve been raving about it to all and sundry much to such a point that people now risk instant death in order to cross busy streets in order to avoid me (I’m certain its not an aftershave thing) while the cat has now taken to hiding and has since – we suspect – rediscovered his primal feline roots and only emerges at night when yours truly is in the land of nod (perhaps it is the aftershave after all).

‘Mother’ is a truly seductive and softly sophisticated affair, nibbling around the edges of both Broadcast’s and Stereolab’s more lounge laid noir glazed dream coats, this album finds Yokota enlisting an array of vocal talent (Anna Bronsted [Our Broken Garden], Claire Hope [the Chap], Panos Ghikas [the Chap], Casper Clausen Efterklang], Caroline Ross, Kaori and Nancy Elizabeth) in order to demur, compliment and seemingly playfully caress the affectionate and richly hypnotic ambient garlands that smoulder with soothing desire to filter and flicker fleetingly between the aural arteries pulsing throughout the grooves.

‘mother’ is a discreet exploration of mood and textures, arcing between the glacial and the celestial Yokota crafts an unworldly though immeasurably beautiful sound-scape that’s dimpled amid lunar-esque tides and orbiting overtures, the opining symphonies are both lulling and lilting, arresting and amorphous (none more so than on the tenderly bruised ‘breeze’ a shyly threaded cutie marinated by celestial harmonies, lullaby treatments and swirling ether plucked strings which when gathered together sound to us like an ice tipped love tryst or the trippy Oriental crooked folk kookiness of ‘tree surgeon‘ which to these ears sounds like a ‘Wicker Man‘ update likewise with ‘12 days 12 nights‘ which sounds like some recently unearthed archaic folk gem from the late 60’s) and are all finitely calibrated with a subtle widescreen aspect and tenderly traced with an almost forlorn and fragile introspection that’s metered with the kind of suave elegance that suggests its something to be enjoyed in the quiet passages of an after hours lights dimmed setting.

Trip wired with a delicious down tempo / lounge knowingness, the melodies softly purr with a disturbing spell crafted magnetism, the addition of the guest vocals bringing in their wake a consuming sense of sensuality, from the moment the opening ’love tendrilises’ exits stage left you’re already succumbed to the feint bewitchment at work here, the track itself a sedately woven slice of cosmic cocktail pop that sensitively tweaks between the invisible lay lines that exist between Musetta, Heather Duby and early career Monade. Fans of Pram in their more thoughtful persona will do well to seek out the senses surrendering and starry eyed twinkle of ‘a ray of light’ – dappled with a becoming church like reverence and dispatched with a delicately distressed sereneness this chamber-esque slice of lonesome prettiness is admirably serviced by Nancy Elizabeth’s mellowing lost in the moment faraway delivery. All the time throughout Yokota weaves a measured and transfixing transcendental tablature best exemplified by the subtle house dialects found within both ’the natural process’ and ’reflect mind’ – the former a solemnly flat lined and stately (in fact almost regal) like arabesque mantra laced with looping montages, hymnal overtones and dust scarred mirages – the latter a minimalist mind expanding melodic missive prized from the heavens and re-drilled to a cortege of reverse loops.

All in all ‘mother’ is as blissfully enchanting and as refined a release as you’ll ever hope to hear this side of Musetta’s ’mice to meet you’ or Heather Duby’s debuting opus for Sub Pop, in other words quite perfect.

Key tracks –
Love tendrilises
a ray of light
12 days 12 nights

Passe Montagne ‘oh my Satan’ (African tape / Ruminance).

There’s been much love pouring forth from yours truly in the general direction of this acutely agitated release that – hush hush – don’t tell anyone – we’ve been planting the odd discreet kiss upon it since it took up it relatively brief residence on the household player and set about reducing the near surrounding area to rubble. There I’ve said. Done. Dusted. Let us not say another word on the matter.

Mind it does strike a chord – or in this lots case more appropriately a disc(h)ord – when the press release opens its account by remarking ‘what the hell is this record – math rock, noise, spastic funk?’

So much to love about this record you could list its positive on one side of the scales and proceed to fill until over spilling and find the corresponding negative balance sheet being found a tad wanting.

First and foremost though what makes this release work so much is the small but necessary detail of there being 12 tracks shoehorned into a finitely packed 21 minute groove space therefore rendering and removing any notion of fat, filler or trim leaving just prime slabs of toxic head turning grind to pick at to your hearts content which given the degree at which these spiked missiles are served is akin to standing in a wide open space amid some cyclonic storm while wearing steel toe capped boots and a wind-sheeter.

With members drawn from Italy, France and Columbia, Passe Montagne already have one debut full length simply entitled ’long play’ under their belts and are due to descend upon Europe in the Spring for a three week soiree of hot wired blues butchery. And that young people is essentially the nub so to speak, Passe Montagne craft a crippled cauldron of blistered butchered blues that weaves back and forth across rock’s mutated legacy, ‘oh my Satan’ is a landscape where the primal growls of Mountain, Beefheart (think I’m lying eh – then check out the skewed stew that is the rampantly wired ’la loi c’est la loi’ and tell me that this isn’t some illegitimate albeit fried offspring of ’trout mask replica’ pummelled out of shape by a seriously shit faced Jimmy Page after a tutoring session with This Heat), Henry Cow (look no further than ’positive manouche’) and Zeppelin are bastardised and fused into a chronically caustic jagged jam of a tapestry that ushers in the distinct ad hoc handiwork of hardcore and art / math rock via Fugazi, Shellac and John Spencer. Though that said repeat plays may just well reveal a new species of blood bath styled spastic surf to the more discerning ear particular reference being made to the Man..or Astro Man with serious issues ‘made in China’. The resulting effect an unrelenting though controlled cacophony of sheer cranium clamping negativity that‘s so acutely caustic, volatile and agitated that its puts you in a head spin. Maimed melodies dispatched with disfigured and discordant candour, scowling jazz signatures dragged kicking and screaming and flung into a white hot furnace only to emerge like frenetic high voltage aural explosive charges armed with the intricate over wound of see sawing rapid fire jarring fretwork and delivered with a seemingly wilful disregard for the traditional rock book form – mind you that said there are some killer moments of buckled boogie on the frankly deranged heads down groove of ’tractor operator’ where you swear an evil incarnation of Status Quo seemingly yanked from an as were alternative dimension has muscled on into the proceedings, then there’s the impish ’Laurel and Hardy’ codas tickling the high wired contortions of ’premier flocon’ while through the squalling goo that is ’traga maluca’ we swear we hear in the background some current hipster indie nonsense – maybe the Kaiser Chiefs or something of similar ilk – being given a sound kicking atop some briefly swamp-ish buckled and blistered ‘Batman’ styled theme mash.

Remind me again – what exactly is there not to love?

Key tracks –

Premier flocon
Tractor operator
La loi c’est la loi

John 3:16 ‘the stolen truth’ EP (alrealon).

A welcome return to these pages of the mysterious John 3:16 who despite some rudimentary investigative work we still haven’t managed to establish the true identity of . Of course we could just simply ask which now I come to think of it is what we should have done in the first place. Tip top journalism and all that, cutting edge man – why I bother heaven alone knows.

Anyway we mentioned with much love and respect (and a fair degree of fondness to boot) his self titled debut 7 track opus last year sometime, a desirably conceived slice of darkly brooding apocalyptic progressive psych styled electronica whose roots where indelibly cast in an early 70’s era and in particular navigated with unerring precision the rich territories once trod by the likes of Amon Dull II, Tangerine Dream and the mighty Goblin.

Minimalist and monolithic ’the solemn truth’ – comprised incidentally of five further (biblically referenced) chapters – sees John 3:16 continuing his lonesome voyage into the psychotropic realms of ambient / drone sound-scapes and carving out huge hulking instrumental leviathans for lost 70’s thriller / suspense / horror films that were never made.

The mood is one of chilled ecclesiastic reverence perhaps even conceived to be considered ceremonial epitaphs, exacting and piercing as opposed to morose and morbid, each of the suites succumbing to a sense of finality that’s awash with a bleakly swollen funeral grandeur. Again as with his previous outing the reference markers appear to indicate a particular fondness for both Goblin and Add N to X with the sparse detail of Carpenter and the looping calibrations of La Dusseldorf ruminating between the groove spaces, from the hollowed celestial ache of the transfixing ’the kingdom of God’ to the shimmering kosmische chamber prog of the parting ’the one who does not believe’ wherein elements of Porcupine Tree are superbly fused together with aural drone alchemists Zombi John 3:16 crafts a gloriously stirring and entrancing tapestry of classically drilled retro regality. That said ’for God, from God’ provides the collections centrepiece which makes for a sun bathed snowstorm of scintillating heaven prised euphoric jubilance which amid its lysergic overtones, kaleidoscopic inferences and shade wearing melodic mantras the shoe gaze-y apparitions of Flying Saucer Attack and My Bloody Valentine swirl, caress and arc a sugar rushed backdrop engineered as were by the youthful pairing of Add N to X and Echoboy. Utterly recommended.

Thee Jenerators ‘inside outside’ (twist).

Another release to which we don’t mind admitting has been getting a fair amount of spanking on the hi-fi since it reared into view yesterday and parked its considerable arse on our turntable. Much loved and admired around these here parts are Guernsey based garage mod beat poppers thee Jenerators not least for the fact that every so often the blighters come along and crack open a classic in the making upon us.

Third full length ‘inside outside’ could prove to be the sextets best yet, certainly by far their most immediate and accessible to date and unless we are sorely mistaken (which incidentally we are not) this cute little bastard has all the trappings of being a one stop party pack of its own. Just for the record our copy appears to feature an additional six cuts which appear to have stolen themselves on to the advertised 11 track set – not that we are complaining young people – hell the more the merrier we say.

Now fleshed out with the addition of two (yep count em) sax players, ‘inside outside’ finds thee Jenerators in looser moods and widening their sights to craft a consummately bristling brew that literally tears up through the generic maps and divides to concoct a hip shimmying shakedown of some measure, it seems no stone is left unturned by Le Gallez and Co as they rifle through beat pop’s rich and vivid legacy to stir up their own corking Mojo rattling mixture. Amid these tightly trained hipster grinding grooves you’ll encounter all manner of familiar reference points and markers drawn together from 60’s styled beat groove pop, punk (the throwaway ‘tina is a moron’), mod, 50’s bubblegum pop, west coast Nuggets styled sugar tipped groove (‘inside outside’) and some nifty drills of skanking ska bop (as on the insidiously infectious and impish Small Faces-esque ‘I know what I bloody well want’).

Add into that mix some neat nods along the way for the likes of the Coasters, Tommy James (on one of the un-credited cuts – possibly called ‘satisfy me’ a tail feather singeing cutie blessed with some seriously smart braids of duelling sax’s while simultaneously sounding like some almost dance hall fist fight between Chubby, Chuck and James’ ‘mony mony’); Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps (via the simply smoking ‘out of control’ though here sounding like its been rethreaded by Brian Setzer’s Orchestra and been bitten by some bopping funky bug), the Who (none more so than on the nuts down cool as f**k teen spirited opener ‘I feel alright now’) and some neat dashes of Ramones-esque at the hop bubblegum pop (‘best friends girlfriend’).

Elsewhere the frantic lip smacking slyly funk struck soul boogie that is ‘time’ sounds for all the world like its fallen straight out of some rare and rarely shown early 60’s beat grooved hipster teen flick while of the six un-credited cuts that have hoodwinked the groove space of our copy – and we suspect yours to – (the possibly titled) ‘the boys got soul’ is a rollicking twang-meister that to these ears sounds like a rumble face off between Mojo Nixon and Reverend Horton Heat while the parting ‘higher than the sun’ (it might be called) is a stonking slab of toe tapping gridlocked groove replete with some nugget serving slices of frazzled and feisty fuzzed fretwork back dropped by a squealing blaze of brass which frankly ought to blow you away.

Purchase on sight.

Key tracks –

Inside outside
Out of control
Fall on me
I feel alright now
Higher than the sun – you know how it is you dispatch one my space friend request with fond words suitably satisfied that you’ve perhaps heard your favourite band of the day then along comes another ensemble packing a whole load of tuneful tastiness to have you urgently rethinking things while you’re simultaneously frantically scribbling thoughts onto scraps of paper. Talbot Tagora are a trio hailing from Seattle and well frankly this is the best thing we’ve heard in such a long age that we’ve been weeping tears of joy. A quick peak at their friends top 40 list reveals mentions for both Gay Beast and Twin who if I recall rightly featured on a split release that we recently loved and indeed featured in these very pages, the point being in mentioning this that we knew we were on to a winner equipped with this small detail mind you we were already half way through the second track so there was no real need for arm twisting. In terms of reference markers lets start by saying that this lot tweaked a reaction in us that has scarcely been tweaked since the first time we heard Black Dice way back at the start of the decade (none more so is this the case than only the skewed opening salvo ‘hunger strike‘). Talbot Tagora will I’m sure in time prove to be a nightmare for scribes who prefer their sounds safely ensconced into neat pigeonholes because this lot impishly blur the edges and continually switch the goalposts to literally pull the rug from beneath your feet – embracing elements comprised part angular, part art pop, sometime post punk at other kaleidoscopically lysergic, at their heart a disturbed genius lurks, while others may tweak, cannibalise and copy wholesale the sounds of yesteryear this lot could be in truth be as relevant and a determining force to today’s music scene that Devo, Pere Ubu and Wire where to yesterdays. Apparently there’s a CD kicking about from 2006 entitled ’Volcano Girls’ and a self titled 7 inch from 2007 available via Lucky Horse Industries though word has it the band have been saturating the underground with various self released CD-r’s and cassettes (frankly we want them all) while apparently having an impish knack for listing a history of fake gigs. Six tracks feature on their showcasing player all of them winners in our gaff special attention should be made of their applied sense of the schizoid and the distressed to their cover of Elastic’s ’connection’. Throughout the tracks you’ll hear the prevalent elements of early career Animal Collective working their way through the grooves while the less obvious chilled and edgy perspective of PIL era ’metal box’ ritually smothers the high wiring and frantic frenz of ’mouth rainboy’. That said best moment by far for us is the Cardiacs meets Pretty Things ’SF Sorrow’ discordance that is ’we live in sack’ a truly inspired slice of fried and unravelling day-glo pop with the added draw of operatic derangements and trip wired hallucinogenic curvatures. Stunning albeit crookedly deranged.

You may well recall us mentioning a missive or two ago the frankly stunning Norwegian quartet Spirits of the Dead, well throughout our short review we did express a certain amount of frustration in not being able to locate a proper my space page address. Well lead singer Ragnar has been in touch to say its at while also promising to send over a copy of their self titled debut full length for review. So expect more right here as and when.

Bone Patrol ‘Animal’ (smoke). A strange beast indeed, from their re-fuelling space craft currently located somewhere in an abandoned field in Essex the four cosmic interlopers known as Bone Machine have returned from the deepest zones of pop’s great and vast multi textured universe and brought with them a curiously smoked creation whose generic origins are moulded from what they describe as ‘rock / ambient / electronic’. We however are thinking otherwise, in fact we’d go as far to say that the two cuts found on this teaser twin set – which incidentally arrives just ahead of their debut full length ‘organic mechanical’ – are the assembled extracts procured from the resin elements of psychedelia, hip hop, world music and industrial and stirred into a strange edgily sparse yet curiously attractive brew of mind warping future groove that finds itself coalescing amid the bit markers of ‘animal’. Initially having us recalling both Silver Bullets ‘20 seconds to comply’ and the Basement Jaxx, ‘Animal’ is you suspect cut with the kind of ad hoc cross genre appealing grind so much loved one time by MTV (and probably still is), very much sculptured with the kind of heavy rock / hip hop fusion so becoming of Faith No More, a funky little bastard it is albeit neutered with a scarring apocalyptic demeanour – a bit like a less threatening Killing Joke if you must know and chilled with a druggy haze and some neatly dispatched low strung rock riffage that serves to give it a wicked Eskimos in Egypt appeal. That said we prefer the flip cut ‘breakdown’ which unless our ears are seriously deceiving us sounds like some minimalist and trippily treated politicised and spiritual dream collage spiked with the subtlest of dub treatments cobbled together by Adrian Sherwood whilst on location in some sort of African-esque village making field recordings and imbibing of its culture and essence. Damn fine stuff. Mind you we highly recommend you hot foot it to their MS page at and get high on the fumes rising from the super chilled and stoned ‘virus in between’ which aside being sumptuously spaced out and undeniable sexy in an after hours lights off kind of way bleeds the distinct trace elements of Magic Mushroom Band and Afrika Bambaataa. Classy stuff.

Namaste ‘expired’ (crater8). Not to be confused with the Indiana based quartet of the same name and found arriving housed in a stickered brown paper bag comes the latest turbulent twin set from London quartet Namaste. Already amassing admiring glances from the rock fraternity on the back of their ’outside is endless’ full length from a year or so ago Namaste (a Hindi greeting in case you were wondering) have according to the accompanying press release (which you’ll be happy to know for once we haven’t lost) in their time shared stage spots with the likes of Enter Shikari and Do Me Bad Things. There’s already an album kicking around by the name of ‘outside is endless’ this release the first offering of the season and marks the start of a busy year for the ensemble which will shortly see tours of the UK and Europe being undertaken as well as the release of spanking new studio recordings of which both ‘expired’ and ‘cardioectomy’ are the first fruits. ‘expired’ starts out to a nimbly hypnotic and majestically lulling intro – as brief as it is in its ever so finite time frame you’re already pulling up your perch in an attempt to get closer to the speakers only for the blighter to quickly manifest and splinter into a fierce some and volcanic claustrophobic mass of crippling intensity made up of equal measures of searing passion and heart ripping emotional distress whilst underpinned by a hollowing all consuming gridlocked parade of doom bludgeoned serrated riffage which ascends with empirical rage to clobber the crap out of you. If its sanctuary you’re looking for in order to lick your wounds and gather together your wherewithal from the preceding ensuing ordeal then frankly the flip cut ‘cardioectomy’ is no real place to be, admittedly less punishing and apocalyptically draining than its lead track charge, this babe is nailed to the floor with a killer frisky throb that doesn’t so much strut but rather more growls and paces impatiently dispatching a seductive though nonetheless viciously drilled come on. Did we mention it was cut amid an affecting hysteria laced blistered boogie, we didn’t ah well it is.

Si Jubb ‘demonstration’ EP (Pink Hedgehog). Been an age since we had any Pink Hedgehog apparel with which to treat our turntable to and so it was with much joy that we tore open the discreetly stickered package when it arrived and relocated said contents immediately from their confines and onto the house player and proceeded to jump around the bijou dimensions of our gaff. Having recently parted from the Dirty Sleeves and armed with just a guitar and the occasional appearance of a piano Si Jubb Carruthers fixes his observational gaze, sharpens his lyrical pen and exorcises his troubling ghosts and lines up ex lovers, cultural divides and whatever he can find to un-amuse him up against the wall to await the volleys of sarcasm and cutting candour. Featuring four torch bearing salutations barked from one man’s personal life crusade, Carruthers is a bullshit detecting and cutting straight to the quick wordsmith armed and loaded with the kind of personal conviction that will no doubt draw immediate comparisons to Billy Bragg’s ’life’s a riot with spy vs. spy’ work especially where the opening brace of cuts ’state of my union’ and ’malarkey’ (incidentally the best cut here) are concerned given that both are graced with that self same hollowed reverb sound and dispatched equally with that same shut up and listen bar stool politician styled delivery. Yet scratch a little deeper and you’ll find the same acutely open sore and vaguely teeth bared warts n’ all assessment on love (as on the parting and dare I say despairing sounding ‘her indoors’) as often encountered by Darren Hayman in his early career guise as front man for Hefner while the souring ’dear friend of mine’ and the aforementioned ’malarkey’ both point perhaps to a kinship sound wise with the Arms. A bit of gem if you ask me.

And here’s a little video to accompany ‘malarkey’ check out those Buddy Holly moves….

Crescendo ‘don’t let them tell you what to do’ (I blame the parents). Mentioned this a missive or three ago in passing when those to be much admired folk over at I Blame the Parents sent across a sampler CD of tasty treats soon to be dispatched into record world which should see released on parole outings for Chav Stabber, Love Tron, the excellently radio upsetting named Endometrium Cuntplow, the quite amazing Extradition Order whose debut full length should by rights upset the usually safe and conservative end of year polls if the cuts we’ve already heard are anything to judge by and of course lest we forget Crescendo. Only 100 of these cuties are kicking about and believe you me they are sure to shift and be a future collectors item – with the first 50 coming replete with a hand tinted cell insert which I assume is what our copy has (which by way of a spot of simple mathematics means there are now just 49 limited editions up for grabs). Should also point out the mighty fine artwork – looks well smart and worthy of the entrance fee alone especially for those of you much admiring of the pen work of the late Marvel in house artist Jack Kirby, this work provided for by (possibly no relation) Sean Kirby more of whose stuff we here would love to see. To the single then, three tracks contained within, Crescendo are Scouse duo Dan Akerman and Jonson Walker who in all fairness should be about now tweaking the radars of the more in tune among you with this corking debut. And when we say a corking debut we mean just that, a jaw dropping portion of the dogs doo dahs and as previously ventured in these pages perhaps one of the finest debuts to veer into our comfort zone since absolutely anything with the words Grandpa Stan emblazoned on its hide. ’don’t let them tell you what to do’ opens the set, a softly orbiting slice of fuzzily threaded whirly pop that to these ears sounds not unlike some heaven bound fringe flipping love tipped fancy calibrated at some starry eyed intersection between the Earlies, Super Furry Animals and the Flaming Lips with Joe Meek loitering in the shadows taping the event and gleefully rubbing his hands with a view to working his enviable studio craft on the proceedings. Of course its lovable and affectionately so and may in some rare moments cause your mind to expand and emit feelings of light headedness and bliss like states of abandon but then who is complaining – not me. Next up ’we will never let you down’ which we must admit had us spending the best part of the afternoon trying to locate an old home recorded cassette with a much prized Peel session by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark namely for a quick earful of an early version of their hit ’genetic engineering’ to which this cut bears a striking resemblance, not that we are complaining, in fact to the contrary this little cutie which I guess you’d call a ’slow to burn’ gem steadily builds in texture, density and mass as it pulses away on some cruise controlled route way across some un-mapped corner of the cosmos. Quite arresting if you ask me – did we mention its best filed alongside your no doubt prized records by Swimmer One and Working for a Nuclear Free City – no – well it is. That said best of the set by some distance is the parting ’high infidelity’ – up there with your Bang Bang Machine, Sundays, Trembling Blue Stars debuts, a beautifully conceived slice of sub 4 minute perfection tenderly harnessing stolen moments of ’loveless’ era MBV, Curve, Delgados, Derrero and the best thing to have graced our turntable since the High Wire’s ’saint bees’ – consider yourself warned – buy now and avoid shelling ridiculous amounts on future online auction sites.

Latest communiqués from the centre of all things trash, twanging and tasty – that’ll be to all you heathens with questionable musical taste who just haven’t been paying attention at the back – comes via two newly posted pod casts courtesy of Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide #64 and the Desperate Hour #27 – primed packed I-pod incinerating broadcasts for the toe tapping beatnik in your life, a treasure trove of spiked hairy and leery nuggets carved and mined from the annals of the dusty record racks your parents told you not to thumb your way through for fear of going blind, deaf or growing your hair. A one resource for lovers of nuggets, pebbles, back from the grave etc… sets, BOMP, Tapestry of Delights, fuzz, acid and so on and on and on. Moral mauling babes featured here include the Nervous Tics doing their own nifty take as were on the Only Ones ’another girl’, the offenders, the jacks, thee crucials, a killer cut from War, Alex Harvey, the Defectors, the Second Helping and of course the Cramps whose ‘psychedelic jungle’ is we must admit getting a fair old hammering since the sad news of Lux’s passing hit us – we suggest you dig out the infrequently played bad to the bone tripsville happening that is ’beautiful gardens’ and pause for a while to pay respect to the Lords of kitsch trash and consider how crap the record racks down at your local vinyl emporium are going to be without the threat of new ear gear from them ever seeing the light of day again.

Classic Rock #130 – fast becoming our favoured monthly read, this issue features riff overlord Jimmy Page on its cover and sets the stage for a feature that looks at the transition period that saw the demise of the Yardbirds and in their place the crystallisation of Led Zeppelin; buried treasure gives a much deserved mention to proto progists Czar’s much sought after debut full length; classic sleeve feature focus’ on the Doors’ ’strange days’ full length; Thin Lizzy’s chart busting ’jailbreak’ is viewed through the vaults of time – in this case March 1976 – and given a hearty thumbs down from the Sounds clan while falsetto festooned front man of la Rush Geddy Lee is invited for a brief Q&A. the issues main attraction – tying in with the Zep feature is an extended spotlight on that golden year of 1969, the year when innocence ended and the optimistic ideals of the hippies were trod under foot by events ensuing at Altamont and the Tate household. Also readily recognised as the birth year of rock so to celebrate the CR crew put their heads together to draw up a list of the best albums of the year which may appear a little familiar to those of you who’ve already shelled your hard earned dosh on Mojo’s collections 1969 special, throw in a feature on the Stooges – replete with Iggy gurning pics (cf pages 66/67) – and the Allman Brothers while tucked somewhere towards the back end of the mag there’s a short chat with the Sparks as they chew the fat about their night by night live rendition of their back catalogue last year while preparing for their forthcoming shows serenading all and sundry with their rather excellent ’exotic creatures of the deep’. There’s also news of a new sister publication set to hit the stands at the end of the month entitled ’classic rock presents Prog’ while the obligatory cover mount CD features 15 lost gems from the archives with cuts culled from the likes of Mott the Hoople, Spooky Tooth, Caravan, Blue Cheer and much more besides – the CD itself is a taster for a new download service entitled ‘lost tunes’ which specialises in rare hard to find releases – we’ve already got our eye on a killer Moondog album originally put out by Prestige in ‘56 which gathers up his pre Columbia work while elsewhere there’s an extensive package gathering together all of Paul Weller’s BBC recordings which seems like a fair punt.

And yes I know its been on there for ages and that you’ve all got and no doubt exhausted it through repeated plays but if you get your back sides along to the Goldfrapp MS page at then through a spot of careful navigating you should be able to hook up to a link that will get you free to download ‘choral’ versions of ‘happiness’ with the added bonus of ‘clowns’ thrown in for good measure – both of course are culled from their award winning, multi trillion selling every home has a copy except this one full length ‘seventh tree’ and delightful little things they are revealing la Goldfrapp’s obvious affection for all things Bridget St John especially on the sweetly alluring silky sun 60’s pepper corning of ‘happiness’.

Admittedly someone else who bears a mighty fine passing resemblance to Bridget St John is Plumerai’s lead vocalist Elizabeth Ezell. Both ’shapes and trees’ and ‘a slow one‘ via darushka 4 are the first fruits of recording sessions that should see the release of a new CD from the quartet sometime this year. In the bands own words ‘so eager for fans to hear the new tracks’ they’ve made these two teaser offerings available as free to download MP3’s via their website at Having already paralysed us to near swooning sensations way back at missive 171 wherein we were simply blown away by a killer split seven inch they shared with the Brother Kite, Plumerai return to the fray with this delightful brace of beauties. Opening to the mellowing subtle feedback buzz of ‘shapes and trees’ – this babe is framed within a succulently bitter sweetly souring dream pop hybrid that’s liltingly cross weaved with the tender caress of breezy washes of prickling violin arrangements, softly stirred countrified dialects and the jaunty ramble of drifting daydream opines and while there’s a sense of an upbeat persona coursing throughout the core of the divinely hollowed swirling cascades Ezell’s vocals coo, creak and crack sweetly as though on the point of some emotional collapse to sit somewhere between the Delgados’ Emma Pollock and the Sundays’ Harriet Wheeler. ’a slow one’ over on the flip proves to be the head turner and heart string puller, distractively forlorn and crushed, the vulnerability of Ezell’s delivery is such to make grown men weep as it quivers hurtful and resigned across the slow to burn bruised melodic inclines pining beneath that themselves ascend without warning at 2.21 to blossom into a last stand tear stricken explosion of aching radiance. Nuff said – you need this.

Celebrity Chimp ‘celebrity Chimp is the New Royalty’ (green pea productions). Released at the end of the month and by all accounts to be heralded by a launch party at North London’s Hobgoblin which folks are cordially invited to attend wearing pink in return for which there’s a promise of an ‘amazing live show, special guests, dancing, mayhem, nudity (always a guaranteed crowd puller don‘t you find), nice merchandise and chimpagne (their spelling not mine – Celebrity Chimp – Chimpagne – ah so you are still with us)’ in what promises to be a riotous garland of colourfully crooked celebrations. Well that’s the PR done with. So what then will we be celebrating I hear you ask, only the corking toe tapping slightly rollicking mad as a hatter loon-ish tongue in cheek and desirably contagious debut five track EP from impish upstarts Celebrity Chimp. Tagging their sound as bluegrass punk, Celebrity Chimp are I suppose best described as a car crash between Jonathon Richman, Eugene Chadbourne and John Hegley’s Popticians, desperately daft and deliciously dippy this quintet of sharply spun ditties are dispatched with a wonky comic intent. Its all fairly excitable stuff, pristinely turned hooks that are wilfully offered as sacrificial feasts to the great melodic mangler who as reward for such gifts spews said cannibalised pop measures back as skewed punch drunk cuties whose detail and remit it seems is to ping perilously around your head space until you either cry ‘enough’ or spontaneous combust in sheer jaw dropped admiration. Cut to a lolloping parade of weaving banjos – yes banjos dear people – and banjos I should say reared as the devil’s own and threaded with such high octane menace you can smell the feint aroma of singed strings from several counties away. Here you’ll be treated to the trials and tribulations of being in love with a mannequin (‘plastic girl’ which we must admit is crested and cajoled with an embracing and breezy sing a long dynamic that would have the Proclaimers weeping with envy), swingers and living next door to a murderer which alas I can’t ever admit to having done – well not knowingly anyway – in fact I’ve sometimes felt like bestowing harm upon a few neighbours over the years simply through the sheer power of a contrary dirty glance – however I can own up to being the unwanted recipient of an obsessed stalker in recent times the kind of which made us thankful not to own rabbits or indeed a big pan, however we do admit to having a housemate who professes to liking Santana which I suppose could be considered in polite circles as being on the same ladder albeit several rungs down. Anyway the blighter inches it in the best cut here stakes braided as it is by a ferociously rampant and rebellious boot tapping hedges dragged backwards punk thrug – kinda like Wreckless Eric on speed. All in all a bit of a beauty if you ask me. – We must admitting to liking the cut of their jib, there’s a single currently kicking about in record world and an album due entitled we assume (the as yet Irish only released) ‘radio friction’ which has so far been by all accounts been blowing the minds of the local Irish young folk and having scribes furiously translating their fondness into print form. Numbering eight in the ranks and hailing from Waterford in Ireland, Shane Barry and the Distractions have an unquestionable knack of kicking out infectiously drilled toe tapping nuggets, blending elements of mod, Motown, Stax and soul they impishly occupy a pop landscape that seemingly has Alan Price and Steve Winwood on one side and Ben Folds 5 (especially on the silkily smoked trace lines of ‘kites’ with its shimmying white funk accents and easy on the ear slyly contagious hooks) and early career Dexy’s on the other, the sound indelibly coaxed by a fondness for a well turned keenly affectionate love tanned tang that bristles airily between sugar spun 60’s styled drills and lushly caressing 70’s eked MOR radio pop. Admittedly we are more than smitten by the breezily lolloping and sweetly forlorn ‘the ‘strangest hours’ not least because of its wafts of Mexicana brass fanfares though we have to hold our hands up and say ‘Stop’ provides the prime pull here. A pristinely turned out slab of stomping feel good boogie that sounds like its been emailed from some uber cool and ultra trendy members only 60’s soul jazz jive hive while simultaneously sounding right up there with the much loved groove put out by the BDI’s. – we must admit that we’ve never really associated Italy with the hard rock / metal scene (cue the influx of complaints and death threats) but we must admit to being mightily impressed (nay blown away) with the ferociously drilled raging racket emanating from Torino courtesy of trio Loimann. Currently unsigned Loimann craft a curious blend of retro head tripping blistered blues rock spiked and grizzled by elements of stoner and grunge, very much taking their cue from 60’s / 70’s riff overlords Sabbath, Zep and Mountain they’ve cleverly relocated the raw bare bones and wired into it a volcanic white hot sludge mixture of doom lashed swamp laden primordial ooze. Well that’s what ’flashover’ sounds like to these discerning ears, a cut culled from the forthcoming and as yet untitled second full length which if this teaser sample mix is anything to judge by ought to be a bit of a titan given its bludgeoned with a thick molasses like grind that’s grizzled and groaning beneath the stress factor pressure of a punishing front line artillery of deep set gridlocked riffage. A marked shift it has to be said from the earlier stuff which surfaced on 2007’s debut ‘Aechmea’ (which enjoyed a certain amount of acclaim in certain circles) and marked by the odd trimming and tweaking of the line up. They cite both Kyuss and the incredible Electric Wizard in their top friends need we say more – well yes as it happens because you can nail yourself a nifty promo CD download of ’Aechmea’ by navigating to the relevant links on their MS page. Expect to hear more here. – probably would have mentioned this sooner only for the fact that their page had a few teething issues to do with sound glitches which if I’m totally honest made for a rather fine discordant and skewif listening experience though to be fair to the band – not I expect what they intended or indeed wanted to convey. Anyhow enough of that, Mora hail from Mexico and are a five piece with it seems a penchant for beat pop of the new wave variety, just one track posted so far in the shape of the ‘jouit la vie’ which unless my French education is letting me down translates as ‘enjoy life’ n’est il pas. Anyway its all pretty nifty and excitable stuff, a little raw around the edges maybe but then when has that bothered us, as to the track itself well to be fair we are hearing elements of the Only Ones, Rich Kids and the Motors rising from the grooves with the additional flavouring of ’in vivo’ era Wire thrown in for good measure which I’m sure you’ll agree is reason enough to immediately drop everything and seek out and savour forthwith.

And that’s your lot for a few days when we’ll no doubt be back with more of the same (groan) picking up the singles that we should have reviewed ages ago and all that gubbins, plus the previously advertised psyche special materials for which appear to grown 5 fold in recent weeks, the promised Art rocker / Art Goes Pop focus and of course Distant Noise records feature which all being well should lead us happily to the unofficial 200th singled out though strictly speaking its technically the 2,489th or something similarly ridiculous. Initially we were going to do a massive bumper thing but have decided on something a little less adventurous though obviously labour intensive and onerous on moi so once we’ve figured out exactly what this will entail we’ll let you know – nothing like considered planning eh?

Anyhow contact things – see the footings of previous missives or else hook up to for wing ding-ing updates and other such nonsense.

Till next time take care…..


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