singled out – missive 153

Singled Out
Missive 153

Dedicated to Mark and Kelly

‘it’s what your ears crave’

First of all apologies if you’ve sent an email either direct to me or via the losing today contact point – our outlook express decided to dump a shed load of emails hence the reason why you probably haven’t had a reply – ha ha – so don’t feel it’s a personal thing.

Anyhow a waffle free introduction time – the singles……….a short missive this time of asking seeing as we are trying to up operations to include 2 every week to 10 days (blimey lets see how that bright idea lasts – February anyone?)……

Autocolt ‘demo 01’ (self released). If there’s any justice in this world (which incidentally you bright young optimists – there isn’t) this lot should be shortly coming into view of radars frequently scanned by the undergrounds in crowd cognoscenti. At such a tender age (all three are barely 20) Autocolt it seems have spent their formative years rifling through an older siblings record collection and ceremoniously sifting the wheat from the chaff to remould heir elemental DNA in this killer two rack debut. ‘resonator’ nags and jars superbly, restless and oblique, edgy and caustic it sounds like its peeled itself from a TV screen showing a late 70’s except from ‘So it goes’, ‘Revolver’ or ‘OGWT’. For reasons best known to our headspace it appears to recalibrate Colourbox’s ‘the official world cup theme’ and apply to it a frantically fraught primitive buzz sawing post punk personality that borrows liberally the frenetic codas of Radiohead as though found jamming with a particularly potent and early career Fall, add in a few Mountain references, an incessant drum machine pounding kraut rock rhythm and the kind of icily drawn menace as was once the domain of Clock DVA and you have something rather tasty ready to trounce your turntable. Not to be outdone and rough as a bears arse in terms of production (which by the way isn’t a criticism given it adds to the cuts charm), ‘the serpentine’ over on the flip wires itself into Add N to X’s mindset (which is a neat trick if you can pull it off) albeit an Add N to X sent back in time to the late 60’s to sample first hand the delights of the Silver Apples and laces the mix with a neat line in fuzzed out and frazzled side winding psych glam struts that to these ears sound like they’ve been pilfered from the great Captain Beefheart’s arse pocket – has to be heard to be believed – frankly its so good that’s its enough to make a grown man cry and that means you Cope.

Los Campesinos! ‘death to los campesinos’ (Wichita). So ridiculously catchy and cheekily cute it should come pre-wrapped and packed with an antidote. ‘death to los campesinos’ is the Cardiff based seven pieces third outing and a taster for the imminent and much anticipated debut full length ‘now hold on youngster’ slated for February end release. Clocking in at the standard bearing classic sub three minute marker, ‘death to los campesinos’ is wildly audacious and excitable, a bit like a nursery room full of hyper active kids overdosing on additives, this sherbet coated slice of spiked candy pop literally bounces off the walls in erratic and animated euphoria. Recalling the much loved and missing in action Girlinky this sugar rushing baby is rampant in all manner sun shining sweetness enough in fact to wipe away those irksome SAD disorders, a bit like Polyphonic Spree on speed but with the knowing thrust and throb of Helen Love. All in all precocious, prickly, perky and damn perfect – what is there not to love you tell me?

Mild Horses ‘the first spacewalk – 18th March 1963’ (self released). Okay more of a reminder than anything else, we featured Mild Horses in a previous missive (150 – to be precise) – the work of one man who at this point doesn’t want his identity revealed though rest assured he was the co-conspirator (in our humble opinion) of one the finest debut releases from the mid to late 90’s and who appeared in session for a certain Mr Peel if memory serves me right. Anyhow enough of that – re-tune yourself to his my space hideaway at for a spot of tastily reclining rustics in the company of ’a swift walk through Battersea’ and some dream-scaping grandeur in the cosmic lilt of ’the first spacewalk – 18th march 1963’. Both well worth peaking gems in addition to which you’ll also be treated to a newly posted cut journey to the centre of the earth’ though for some unknown reason – and despite many attempts – the player won’t – er – play.

12 Stone Toddler ‘Come back’ (amazon). Last featured in these very pages with their ‘twang’ single (missive 121) though I very much suspect with their crooked wig flipping music hall pop hybrid that they’ve given us cause to mention them in print since. ’comeback’ is culled from the Brighton based combos acclaimed debut full length ’does it scare you?’ and offers further proof of the ensembles adept trickery with the mechanics of melodic structure no doubt intuitively sourced from the schools of Messrs Waits, Zappa and Stanshall. ‘comeback’ is cultivates a strange yet rich fertile pop plot that’s immeasurably drawn from the rudiments of musical hall and yet here dashed liberally with faux 80’s funk dialects, swirling carnival big top routines and an attractive and insidiously additive sense of John Lurie and Danny Elfman’s crooked cine-scopics about its wares that once inside your head space will drive you to distraction with its regaling array of half inebriated peek-a-boo eerie nursery rhyme role playing marionette wonky ness. Pretty smart in other words. Flip side features the same cut only in its instrumental form -which last time we checked is like – without words – still sounds weirdly wonderful words or no words.

Madding Crowd ‘celebration (billy’s back)’ (alegria). In typical time honoured fashion we managed to separate the attending press release and debut album from this single – never accuse of us of doing things by half that’s what I say. Anyhow this is a free download type thing follows in hot pursuit of the bands first outing ‘modern man’ which to much grumbles we appear to have missed out on while simultaneously acting as a taster for their (as yet so far missing action in our gaff – see above) forthcoming debut full length ‘finding the I’ which I have on good authority is due to land among the shelves of record emporiums across the land in March. A strange yet deceptively effervescent happy go lucky cut if I’m honest that somehow manages to shoehorn in its 4 minute duration a becoming hybrid of mid 70’s styled Cockney Rebel and Ray Davies / Kinks accents while investing elements of latter day Misty’s Big Adventure and supplanting the whole spectacle with a prodding ska mod crossover power pub pop throb that’s gently nudged along to great effect by a seriously impatient flanking brass armoury. Now where is that album the blighter?

Cheju / Shoosh ‘Split’ (Awkward Silence). No sooner have we managed to wean ourselves off the delights of Cheju’s ‘hutton’ (out now via October Man) then up pops this rather cute split release with Shoosh. Admittedly I think it was prompted by and large by our bemoaning of the fact that it’d somehow escaped our radar to which Wil (Cheju) immediately responded by dropping off a copy. All the same though its been a while since we had a chance to marvel over anything from the Awkward Silence sound bunker in fact quite possibly the last thing might have been that rather spiffing Marcia Blaine School for Girls split with d_rradio (which blimey was about 4 years ago). Now issued on dinky 3” CD’s as opposed to the old style vinyl – which we kind of miss – any strictly limited to just 300 copies Cheju – who really shouldn’t need any introductions in these pages given that he pops up here with more regularity than Weekender and Static Caravan releases – decorates his side of the split with a brace of exclusive cuts. The exotically located ’moody copy’ is a reclining evensong braided with lightly dusted Vini Reilly styled minimalist lunar rustic finger works that sweetly float atop a gyrating and spellbound field of entranced skittering glitch scuffles – very much appealing to fans of both Manual and Ellis Island Sound and gracefully despatched with prickling perfection. ‘drogo’ is equipped with a more expansive sound and hitherto wide screen presence, sumptuously stirred in a beguiling haze of cavernous drone swathes and deliciously invested with soft centred harpsichord florets, this ornamental odyssey swirls in biter sweet climes of melancholic magnificence.
Shoosh are a UK trio who feature among their collective ranks Neil Carlill who was one time member of Delicatessen and Lodger who these days can be found splitting recording duties with his other band Vedette who we recommend you check out immediately via (we’ll mention them in passing next missive out though frankly I suspect we‘ve mentioned them previously – ah well two mentions never hurt anyone – I hope). Not to be outdone Shoosh’s ghostly alluring ‘elastic soil’ is an off centred though numbingly beautiful work of ethereal psych-ambi-folk, pining celestial sheens, crooked and dust ridden stumbling acoustic flamenco strums serve as deliciously spectral montages underpinning the ether driven wandering vocal mantras – all at once hazy and disquieting though magically omnipresent the individual parts coalesce and caress like heavenly apparitions weaving in and out of view imagining Animal Collective centre stage in a celestial gunfight setting amid supernatural serenades sourced from Neil Young’s ‘eldorado’. ‘come in from the cold’ is an ostensibly more twinkle some affair, tranquil and measured this arresting countrified slice of star watching bliss out groove had us recalling at times Mercury Rev’s lackadaisical ‘Carwash hair’ which in our books is no bad thing – need we say more – I think not.

Further listening – – a tiny peak into the world of Cheju – a world of lush glitch grooves, star hopping amorphic ambient love notes and glacially swept melodic monuments that embrace a clinical IDM matrix with a warming analogue persona. Featured here are a brace of cuts from his ultra limited u-cover outings ‘diode’ which we mentioned in these very pages a few missives ago – however we suggest you go direct to ‘pachinko’ culled from 2005’s ‘taito-ku’ EP which admittedly we missed – and smother yourself in the delicate orientalised Faltermayer like sveltely threaded textures within. – 6 tracks featured all by and large from the Orpheum Circuit sessions – we suggest you rip the weirdly eerie and spectral oriental chamber like frosted ambi-folk elegance of ’snake eyes’ – quite gorgeous once it gets into its sublime groove. – the alter ego of Shoosh man Craig Murphy who it seems from his base of operations up in Ayreshire has been knocking out EP‘s like nobody‘s business making them all – by and large – free to download from Last FM- the words looking and gift horse spring to mind. Non of your half arsed twiddling about here – no sir – what you get are consuming collages depicting in the minds eye intergalactic voyages to far flung milky ways, gloriously wide screen in stature and vividly fulsome in texture. And while the obvious winner hand down here is ’bastardism’ – a lushly envisaged cosmic pit stop where shuffling statue-esque beats orbit amorously across swirling passages of soft psych ambient blissfulness – think Biosphere trading dialects more appreciable to the polar climes of Amon Duul and Jean Michel Jarre – a magnificent dreamscaping delight. Though that said our money is squarely on the monumental ’this is our tree and were not getting out of it’ – a desirable and engaging slice of achingly lonesome spectral beauty, frail and fragile yet none the less chilled, charmed and caressing – culled from the ’free’ EP which like it inadvertently says on the tin is – er – free from the aforementioned outlets. Talk about spoiling you. – its that man Craig Murphy again this time under his guise as Weird Fields – a self described ‘ambient / film soundtrack’ project who not content in dividing himself between his Shoosh and Solopsism identities can be found occasionally orchestrating opining odysseys of cavernous cascades. Delicate, lonesome and hitherto monolithic these somnambulant drone-scapes swirl in frosted pirouette formations applying a stately courtship (none more so than ‘distant star‘). Two free to download albums to his name via Lastfm in the shape of ’a place to call home’ and ’destruct science’ which we thoroughly recommend that you seek out and love – for now though amid the showcase of glacial tides and sparsely drawn and effecting minimalist washes of lilting electronic symphonies we suggest you stop by at your first opportunity to sample the warming radiance of the playfully orbiting oscillations of the melting ’so long good friend’ – bit of a peach by our reckoning appealing to ’magnetic fields’ era Jaare and Vangelis fans alike.

And mainly due to a spelling error we may as well mention… – who hail from Brooklyn and are likewise an ambient type outfit (no relation I expect). Two tracks feature here – both very brief and to the point ’chiste’ and ’ride home’ are the titles, the former a dubby down tempo take on 808 State replete with bird calls and other woodland treats the latter a looping bass underpin set across a daydreaming piano motif – which if expanded we sense something elegant and wide screen – and of course beguiling – would be on the cards.

Kat Flint ‘Go faster stripes’ (Albino). Obviously during the course of the last month or two we’ve suffered a mighty blow to head if not then how else could we possibly excuse ourselves from not featuring this gem sooner. Okay its been out for a while (well a month to be precise) but that’s no reason not to track it down and make it your own. The long awaited follow up to 2006’s debut ‘secret boys club’ EP release – a mighty fine release that alerted those in the know as to the becoming talents of the youthfully daydreaming Kat Flint and out her firmly on the radar as someone to keep an out for in the near future. Between then and now its been a painstaking time though you’ll be happy to know not one in vain or so it seems as Ms Flint has not only crafted two additional gems to her enviable repertoire but a whole album entitled ‘dirty birds’ which by rights and all things being well should hit the shelves in Spring and features guest spots from Singled Out favourites Revere and It Hugs Back. ‘Go faster stripes’ – what can we say – breathless stuff, so light and fluffy, this daintily dizzy and dinky lazy eyed sweetie shuffles along teasingly gathering pace and stature to blossom into a fulsome off centred saloon bar cutie which along the way manages to incorporate a shyly lit serenade replete with barrel organs, whirring electronics and happily hued prairie styled rustics – quite gorgeous if you ask me. But then the true beauty of Flint’s song craft radiates when she’s at her most delicate, the quietly affecting and hushed ‘n’ homely ‘Joseph’ is an intoxicating feast of melting drifting pastoral elegance laced warmly by a magical cocktail of nimble woodland cascades and romance laden mantras all wrapped with an enchanting classically sourced Cambridge folk styled motif that though echoing distantly with the grace of Mitchell and Denny is in our opinion the nearest thing to the perfection by a female song writer since Laura Cantrell signposted her arrival with ‘not the trembling kind’ for Shoeshine. Immeasurably beautiful stuff.

Elephant Sky ‘Live on woman’ (self released). Much apologising I fear is due by yours truly to Elephant Sky who we picked up briefly way back at missive 121 – blimey – wherein we cast a favourable eye over the tracks showcased on their my space site. The trio hailing from London and the South East dispatched without delay their three track offering ‘Live on Woman’ which we promptly played, loved and lost. Typical eh? Well said disc came back into view and our affections during a Xmas spring clean – and dammit it still sounds like the bollocks to us. Sadly the tracks that we ringed out in our last mention (‘misunderstood’ and ‘black jaguar’) don’t feature here which initially had us a tad bit worried until that is we threw said platter on our hungry hi-fi – and boy it was as though by some kind of strange secret trap door we were shepherded back into the early 70’s – bell bottom jeans, cheesecloth, long hair and questionable aftershaves that blistered wood. Both ’live on woman’ and ’made of snow’ (the sets opening brace) possess a mystical freeform looseness that can be carbon dated to that very period, an age where rock dinosaurs prowled the pop land, like the short lived and much missed London combo the Sirens, Elephant Sky possess a pedigree for primal psyche folk blues, the former cut deliciously primitive sounding swamp brew cut through with subtle glam struts as though a snake charming flower powdered blues brew had been devilishly concocted by a youthful Led Zep shimmying alongside a glitter infused T-Rex. ’made of snow’ is similarly touched with he Zep imprint though hazily decoded in a superbly head f***ing Cream-esque glue leaving ’baby’s in the safe’ to pull from the ranks to still retain its blues dialect but shifting the time line considerably and despite its fuzz laden side winds positioning itself not a million miles away from our current obsession Captain Phoenix.

The Indelicates ‘America’ (Weekender). As with the aforementioned 12 Stone Toddler (and Misty’s Big Adventure) the Indelicates are of that rare and special species, a knowing and crafted appreciation of melody attaches to Simon and Julia (the core inspiration behind the Indelicates), an appreciation that’s found not in the obvious indie haunts or bandwagon hopping fashion whispers you read about in blog space or certain inkies – no, its found somewhere off road, in places thought lost or ignored out of hand. Constantly keeping you on the back foot the Indelicates blend a finger prodding political conscience and a simmering anger into cleverly crafted slices of opera hall semantics, power striven bubblegum pop and impish twee cured playfulness. The pile driving rousing frontal assault that is the opening ‘america’ is the case in point, intertwining boy / girl vocals hiss venomously amid sugar rushing chest beating clarion calls for the politically disaffected, swimming in the same currency as early career New Model Army and Fatima Mansions though with their teeth and claws visibly clipped by the sinew snapping dipping into of essences sourced from Deacon Blue’s ‘real gone kid’ al culminating in a walls tumbling bellows of euphoria – just what the doctor ordered. However its ‘no religion’ that takes pride of place on our hi-fi – a pristine execution of hollowing magnificence that lays you out cold with its punishingly resigned and crushed ambition and pepper corned with a glorious wide screen aspect that’s braided with grandeur laced pianos, banjos and throngs of choral harmonies that all seek to coalesce in prickling formations to left this babe into stratospheric realms whilst simultaneously putting it deservingly side by side in your record collection with last years cripplingly perfect ‘secrets of the witching hour’ by the Crimea – sheer class in other words. ‘the last bombed city‘ rounds up the pack and finds Julia at the piano picking up the emotional rubble with a homely nuzzling neatly nifty bar room shuffle. Buy on sight.

Fuckshovel ‘long time dead’ (self released). Fuck we love this – housed in a sleeve depicting a Pistol-ised picture of the people’s princess (or whatever they called her) Diana under the song title ‘long time dead’ and brandishing their formidable armoury under the collective moniker Fuckshovel you immediately get the impression that these dudes do not take prisoners or suffer fools gladly. Equally so then is the music – a murderous walls closing in bludgeoned brew of punk elements born of the grind and hard core variety, ’long time dead’ is an unrelenting mass of festering dragster groove primed with the DNA of old school Discharge disfigured and dispatched with the manic face down aggression of ‘hotrod’ era Ministry being pummelled by Anthrax and spiked with a crowd pleasing terrace styled chorus hook. Blistering stuff. That said we are much smitten with the blood letting and ravenous ’skull and bones’ – stripped of the formers playfulness this bastardised skull twatting feast finds itself catapulted through a 100mph heads down fuck you slice of mental as hell grizzled grind that to these ears at intermittent had us recalling a heavyweight to the death face off between the mighty Killing Joke and Carcass. Bruising.

Operator Please ’get what you want’ (brille). Decorated in all manner of post punk / death disco accents to such an extent we’d swear it’d had been drop kicked from its safe early 80’s confines, ’get what you want’ from Gold Coast teens Operator Please is a deceptively exuberant affair that serves up a frenetic 3.43 slice of hi fi buggering groove all tenaciously nailed to the spot by a maddening clockwork angulated riff that’s as catchy as a Class 1 airborne virus – culled from their ‘yes yes vindictive’ set (blimey we missed that one to) this shock treated floor pummelling cutie cuts into the same detached disco damaging matrix as the much loved Controller. Controller and Striplight with vocalist Amandah stealing the show with her in a flash demurring to demented hissy fitting performance. Well hard.

Tin Man ‘Tonight’ (NRONE). We featured this lot a few missives back with their bristling ‘parallel lives’ release which if you haven’t bought for yourselves by now then we advise do so because this lot our figuring on the underground radar big time. Admittedly we’ve had a copy of their follow up single for a fair while now – been loving it too much to review it seems. Limited to just 250 red vinyl copies plus all the usual sound formats this gem like three track feast provides a taster for the Norfolk based trios forthcoming (and dare we say anticipated) debut full length ’lions, tigers and bears’ which all things being right should see the light of day sometime in spring. A strange release all said and done mainly for the fact that each track builds on the previous so that by the finale – the crushing ’blood on the tracks’ its almost as if the band have been toying with you serving piecemeal their finest in reverse order. That’s not to say that the lead cut is lacking – far from it – ’tonight’ is a pristinely wrapped power hooked melodically astute bubble gum soaring radio rumbler laced seductively with a well oiled throb of crimson cut accents purloined from the annals of pub rock though softly curbed with layers of warming see sawing riffs bedecked in the mellowing glow of mid 70’s MOR. Upping the pace the panging rush that coils throughout the hollowing ’Illusions of Love’ is buoyed by a tightly wound cortege of battle charging jab like struts that by the end coalesce resplendently into a withering haze of agitated anxiety. However its left to ‘blood on tracks’ to provide the set with its defining moment, bruised and wide open the emotional tug within is all to explicit, like having open heart surgery performed without anaesthesia, this lilting gem stone stings, aches and arcs its way into view, the melodies hanging as though to taunt, the sentiment burning with a mix of cower resentment shifting clear occasionally to peak into moments of lushly swept heartbreaking beauty – enough to put a lump in your throat – a bit of a classic in the waiting.

And that is your lot for a few days – as per usual a massive thank you to all those who’ve made these ramblings possible – no names – you know who you are – and its appreciated – next time out (but one – because next time out will be a my space thing) stuff from Computerman, worriedaboutsatan, the beat maras (which is like superb), lonesome fox, sugar drum (honest) and a shed load of other stuff that frankly I can’t be arsed to list otherwise it’d read like a missive in itself…….

As always take care of yourselves – till next time


first transmitted – January 2008

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