singled out – missive 235

Singled Out
Missive 235

For Kelly and Mark

Singled Out – man – its all just so weird…..

Records….. – mentioned these last time out when you checked out their rather fine ‘three tunes’ demo set a copy of which you get yourselves by messaging the band through this here site. Anyway we must admit to being rather partial to ‘2003’ – an ode dedicated to the late, great and much missed John Peel – is it just me or is the radio a redundant and lonely thing since he vacated from the schedules. This slyly prickly and purring sunburnt slice of East Coast power pop is blessed with a gorgeously undulating effervescent throb that had us here much recalling some dream-team studio gathering between the Summer Hymns, the Doleful Lions, Moviola and Kevin Tihista’s Red Terror – nuff said I think. Mind you if that fails to hit the mark there’s always the aching rustic pine of the silken soft entrancement of the coalescing Cambridge folk ‘tiny hands’ – mellow and masterful and to these ears sounding not a million miles from Declining Winter applying a quick re-drill of Simon and Garfunkel – well saves you asking doesn’t it.

Inf ‘the go round’ (beats broke). Don’t you just find that some releases just write their own reviews. Take the debut instrumental solo from Holland’s Bas te Braak better known among the hip hop / sampling community as Inf or infinite to give him his full head phonic nom de plume. A turntable alchemist with an acclaimed pedigree stretching back some 15 years who latest floor throbbing head weaving fusion of sound is as slick, sensual and sophisticated a release that we’ve heard since – er – the Gaslamp Killers soon to be released rewire of the Finders Keepers back catalogue. Just over a half hours worth of hip hugging workouts, ‘the go round’ literally slides across the turntable like some purring uber cool nu thang in town, a silken shoehorning of exotic ear candy spliced amid a sound-scape peppered by hulking beats, sumptuous library lounge motifs, lost blaxploitation soundtrack, heady doses of coalescing soul funk and interspersed with mind warping erogenous zones zapping disco strings cultivated and sourced from a primitive pre Studio 54 fermentation tank – the latter admirably catered for by the disco diva decorative seduction of the sets title track. From the minute the fat n’ fuzzy funk grind of the opening salvo ‘the choir’ kicks in your dragged back through the years to an era of big flares, big shoes and big hair, its spirograph design styled sleeve ought to give you fair warning, ‘the go round’ is over you like a dirty rash – a cosmopolitan beauty that dips somewhere between the Winston Giles Orchestra and Emperor Penguin. Everything works at a premium here – the super chilled ‘the boogie man’ sounds like a Morricone spaghetti western soundtrack cast amid some dream weaving shimmer toned prog montage that’s relocated to some far flung sultry Australasian paradise pitting its wits against some Chandler-esque spy theme mirage. Similarly coaxed is whodidit’ – a Barry-esque 70’s thriller theme here given dub spoilers and a two week break in the Marrakesh. The noir theme continues on ‘city delights’ its sly eyed dub-tronic casing revealing the subtle tonalities of Chic’s ‘I want your love’. Elsewhere there’s the decidedly horny ‘power moves, baby’ which unless we are very much deceived have an air of a wired Add N to X about its wares albeit as though recalibrated by Air and given a t-cut waxing by Belbury Poly while the brief but tasty ‘symphonic chopsticks’ incorporates a whole host of sultry middle eastern motifs to its amorous bow. And should we dare to forget the mentioning of ‘yes my dear’ with its peppering and dimpling of flowery substances and prettified sun drenched accents all sweetly serviced by invigorating brass fanfares and fat grooved funky electro squiggles. Soundtrack for summer anyone.

Vowels ‘the pattern prism’ (loaf). A strange one this. its kraut but then again its not kraut. Its jazzy but then again not jazzy. Its proggy but then again its not proggy. Its improv but then again – yep you guessed it – it is improv – just our little way of easing you into what is a most curiously rewarding release that may well catch a few people off guard. Vowels are a duo – drummer Chris Walmsley and one James Rutledge – someone who always guarantees to provide something challenging and who has already had occasion to flip our wigs in the very recent past with his ‘ecstasy of….’ set released earlier in the year. Eight cuts feature on this – best described loosely as an – off the radar and voyaging fast out of sight abstractly avant garde set. Part trippy part pummelling ‘the pattern prism’ loosely joins the dots between This Heat and Puffinboy in fact if I’m totally honest this has the scribing of Puffinboy’s Andy Pyne all over it, embracing as it does his kraut grooved Puffinboy alter ego as well as his current obsession the freeform art / prog / ethnic / dub rhythmic fusionists Medicine and Duty who dear hearts really deserve your closer and considered attention. Anyhow enough of that, ‘the pattern prism’ opens to the rather jarred and confused melodic matrix meltdown of ‘Sonny’ – much like its partner in crime ‘eh uh’ it provides for a mind overloading influx of fried binary squiggles and psych prog detours the latter especially tarnished so as though some wiring schizoid jam face off between Acid Mothers and Cave is afoot pierced in its closing stages by some brief intones of primitive Tangerine Dream trippyness while the former shows euphoric vital signs buried beneath the insurgent haze of art grooved dislocation. ‘two wires’ calms the nerves and senses and takes them on an galactic cruise liner for a voyage beyond the stars, your rudimentary kraut space grind much like Fly’s one and only release for the much admired though rarely seen around here Elefant imprint it applies a crystalline and classical graft of the genres streamlined chassis. ‘swim pool’ is where things begin to get a little skewed and interestingly so, a brooding drone bastard that sounds for all the world like the inner working of some huge and hulking celestial spacecraft in the process of take off – all whirring pulses, hypnotic hums gathering en mass to achieve critical meltdown. Next up ‘appendix’ – undoubtedly the sets centrepiece, aside being the longest cut here – a mutating sub twelve minute colossus all told – its where the duo reveal themselves at their loosest and most malleable. A big bearded Dadaist art rock sound clash of sorts replete with skewering contortionist jazz signatures much reminiscent of Ma Cherie for Painting, densely layered and forever terra-forming amid a landscape of sonic sub plots notably at 2.30 in wherein matters calmly dissipate briefly before firing up in volcanic style must admit we love the chilled and snoozing bells chimes sharply contrasting to the frantic and busy rush of the percussive underpinning beneath not to mention the subtle though distant sounds of calypso shimmering adding to the mix. All goes critical around the seven minute mark – all the attending seemingly converging as one to exact a black hole like sonic furnace before again fragmenting and ending the show with some tasty Grails meets Goblin sereneness. Lest we forget to mention both ‘on up!’ and ‘closing circles’ – the former an industrial tag team as were made up of members of Add N to X and Front 242 crafting out something that removed of its mind warping kraut calibrations is lushly laced in all manner of jubilant opulence while the latter – which ominously rounds off the set is a slab of macabre monophonic flat lining grind with impish BBC Radiophonic Workshop retro squiggles and momentary brass inclined noir interludes which by its finale assumes a strangely entrancing hybrid like
carnival-esque setting to proceedings. More where that come from please.

Christgau’s Last Stand ‘shredding winter coat’ (love torture). We love the exclusivity and collectible nature of these releases – this particular one comes pressed up in an edition of just 11 CD-or’s – all hand numbered – ours being #8 in case your interested in such details and pointless facts. We’ve mentioned Christgau’s Last Stand in previous despatches – in fact at missive #209 to be precise wherein we ran the thumb over the Love Torture family noting at the time this lots ‘nickel back is the best heavy metal band ever’ and making reference that they were ‘fu””ing scary’. Well several months down the line and our initial assessment of them hasn’t altered judging by the content of this six track salvo though it should be said that Assholemouthhead – incidentally coming via the same imprint may well prove to both f””king scary and nasty’. ‘shredding winter coat’ is Christgau’s Last Stand’s first outing since ‘I’ – its absence indeed noted here ho hum. According to the liner notes it was recorded just before Easter as an attempt to shift the CLS sonic perspective into a more ambient / noise based realm by way of the fusing of computer synths, field recordings and live electronics. Well we’re not sure about the ambient side of the equation but the noise factor is to say the least skin peeling. Housed in a sleeve depicting – how do I put this – a drawing of a dick and some hairy balls ‘shredding winter coat’ is a demented and damaged decibel distorting slab of unrelenting and scalding power electronics. Opening with the aforementioned ‘nickel back is the best heavy metal band ever’ a scarring slab of aural atrocity which just between me and you sounds like a seriously wired Clangers on crystal meth. ‘media fire’ starts up quietly enough before that is the onset of torrential downpours of sand blasted skree envelop and consume the listening space with a ferocious white noise scowl all metered with Dadaist pulse waves. The aptly titled micro-cosmic ‘tinnitus’ is more of the same, modulating frequency waves cross weave soon finding themselves flanked by armies of marching insectoid glitches and clicks – its all ominous stuff the near negligible sounds casting an unusually ill at ease demeanour to the proceedings. Elitist Bastards step up to the plate to deliver their re-edit of the lead track lulling you into a false sense of security with its ear phone channel switching swirls themselves strangely inducing you into a state of would be hypnotic bliss before without warning literally taking the top of your skull clean off with the violent thrust of their frequency fracturing shards of deteriorating machine gun white noise sprays. ‘yr in the clear’ opts for a spot of unusual calm with its scuffed up lo-fi field recordings leaving ‘whelk’ to round up the pack leaving you admirably pinned in hiding behind the sofa, squirreling noise manipulations, wind tunnel effects harnessing – or so it seems – the extreme elements of nature itself all built upon a festering dronal hum that quite frankly sounds like the equivalent of someone dragging nails slowly down a blackboard and neatly rounded off with the same whining hum that used to accompany the televisual transmission ending white dot. Scary stuff. – we got a friend request a few weeks back from John Carpenter – no not that John Carpenter. this John Carpenter are a band hailing from New York headed up by a certain John Carpenter (well we say a band – its more John Carpenter and Co) – again not that John Carpenter. Getting a tad confusing eh?!. We shouldn’t wonder that they are the toast of the New York underground and if they aren’t then we want immediate reasons in writing to the usual address, for John Carpenter may well have hatched some of the tastiest slices of cross generic engineering not heard in pop since the heady days of Prince. Therein the similarity ends for the popular culture pools that John Carpenter and Co dip their toes are crafted with a keen eyed detailing that’s been informed by rock n’ rolls primitive legacy. the howling dust bowled death rattle of ’seasons’ culled from their current 7 inch set for Mexican Summer (more about them later) with its smoked Link reverbs and wasted and threadbare gallows creaking spaghetti western hollowing, like a ghostly opine from rocks forgotten wilderness this bruised beauty squirms and shimmers seductively as though some neo shade adorned psyche twang snake grind crafted by a youthful Gallon Drunk found sparring with the Flaming Stars with Wall of Voodoo hiding in the sidelines twiddling with the mixing desk dials. Its flip side also featured here – ’haunt my house’ is a spectral charged lovelorn lovely whose aching resonance nibbles ever so delicately into spheres once occupied by Chris Isaak. Elsewhere you’ll find the four cuts culled from his as yet download only (though soon to appear on vinyl) ’possibilities’ EP wherein Carpenter and Co reveal themselves at their most mercurial, ’one for me’ traces at times the slick artistry of Porcupine’s Tree’s ‘stupid dream’ set and welds upon it a strangely beguiling and sleekly seductive uber cooled hip grind that’s dimpled with a seriously attractive snaking strut whose bloodline can be faintly sourced all the way back to Marc Bolan. ’strange house’ imagines the Sparks in some lushly laced psyche furrowed English eccentricity while ‘without a sound’ purrs and permeates succulently weaving its way beneath your defences sumptuously unfurling to briefly teasing moments of glorious euphoria who noir shaded chamber pop resplendence much recalls mid 90’s harbingers of heartbreak Rialto. The haunting ’sail on’ just needs to be heard to be believed – both tender and supernatural, this eerie shanty of doom romance woos with an other worldly ethereal grace – those of you needing references – then imagine Billy McKenzie fronting an early career Black Heart Procession while the fracturing and fragmenting ’bones’ with its slickly racy shoe shuffling skiffle wiring sounds like its fallen off the back of some Victoriana freak circus wagon train – admirers of Lupen Crook and Paul Hawkins will find much to swoon about here. The slyly distracting ’all that glitters is gold’ rounds up the set braided bitter sweetly by a quietly effervescent thrill and treated to a swirling soul consuming wide screen presence that’ll literally crush you and have you begging for more once in earshot. Did we mention the vocals – damn – they’ll floor you – think of a scale soaring brew cultivated from the cross matching of a young Bowie without the monotone tonal trimming, a controlled falsetto styled Billy McKenzie, Brett Anderson and Scott Walker. If such things are your bag – then I guess welcome to your new favourite band.

And as promised who we mentioned in passing just a second ago when we were swooning to the sounds of John Carpenter – Mexican Summer appear to be a subscription based imprint dealing in finely tailored vinyl releases and downloads while boasting a roster that’s the envy of the underground we shouldn’t wonder – I mean Dungen, Ariel Pink and Wooden Shjips (and of course John Carpenter) are enough to have the most self respecting record buying enthusiast and psyche loving dudes radar going ape. And while we could wax lyrical for days about both artists we’ll instead turn our viewfinder on some of the previously unknown talents found lurking amid their back catalogue. Ten cuts feature on their my space player – all must have gems of disturbingly dishy delight – the set opening with the nag nagging ‘Cherokee’s fan club’ by Bipolar which unless we here are very much way off the mark is a hulking slab of austere late 70’s post punk groove which these ears sounds like some wired and wasted face off between the Scars and PIL with the resulting studio tapes being impishly hi-jacked by Killing Joke. Up next the Young Prisms whose quite stunningly bliss hazed ’weekends and treehouses’ opts for a spot of sumptuous lazy eyed soft psych glazing that’s dizzily burnt by some wig flipped west coast trippyness haloed by the feint allure of kaleidoscopic 60’s colourings. I’m certain we’ve come across Orkustra in previous despatches and if we haven’t then at least our listening experience has been momentarily enhanced by hearing something of their cuts at some point, ‘flash Gordon‘ is a fit all operetta of sorts that weaves from sultry Marrakesh intones to neatly trimmed finger clicking smoking skat cat rock-a-boogie at the blink of an eye the type of which would have a certain Mr Setzer pausing in his tracks for a quick and keen earful. Is Farmer Dave Scher some bastard offspring of some strange union between Nick Lowe and Ian Hunter we wonder, in fact no don’t answer that – ’Bab’lon nights’ is a driving slab of fuzz buzzed cool that transplants Lou Reed’s ’transformer’ into some soft psych music hall would be rock opera – any questions. Fancy a spot of drifting idyllic star eyed lazy layered pop – then we suggest you partake of the Donovan-esque loveliness that is ’one mile from heaven’ by Bobb Trimble – a milky season glowed nugget that may well have admirers of Nick Nicely and Bevis Frond near feinting at its softly toned spectral pastoral exquisiteness – think that covers it. If JMC’s ’Psychocandy’ was considered at the time to be like a searing sonic surf appreciation of a Spector meets Beach Boys with feedback lashed spoilers then Little Girls’ ’what we did’ infuses the bloodline with the kind of productive skin more associated with the Mummies, threadbare and primal but delicious dimpled with a throbbing primitive pop thrill that may well have a fair few of you rooting out not only your Reid brothers gems of yore but some Meteors, Gun Club and Triffids side serving just to be on the safe side. Last but not least Kurt Vile whose ’beach on the moon’ had us reaching for our copy of the Go Betweens ‘Streets of your town’ not least because it draws upon that cuts coda and wires it into a seriously lilting and summer hugging Rodriguez styled tug that sounds to these ears like its just returned from some South Pacific vacation. Well smoked in a demurring and deceptive way. We suggest you go forth and purchase the labels wares sooner rather than later.

And it seems while our back was turned Mr Steve Moore of Zombi fame has been knocking out albums like no ones business, his latest – you well recall us raving rather loudly about his ‘the henge’ solo outings via Static Caravan – according to Mr Moore may well have a hand in Gianni Rossi’s ‘gutterballs’ OST – but don’t quote us as the information on this is scant to say the least – that said it seems that Mr Rossi is something of a godfather of the Milano disco rock sound of the 70’s and who according to Boomkat – always a great and informative resource and record outlet to boot – went off radar for the best part of 25 years to return with this Moroder meets Goblin meets Carpenter gem – sounds as though its been safely bubble wrapped in the mid 70’s and left in an attic mistakenly forgotten only to be recently unearthed in a conversion of said loft and dusted down ready to do some serious electro prog dance floor damage – fans of Zombi and Dusseldorf will not be found wanting with this truly re-sheened slab of retro groove – we suggest you hook up to one of the albums more spectral and eerie moments – the ice cold thrill chill of ’murder’ and save yourself a prime spot behind the sofa – – then there’s Titan which we can definitely vouch for as featuring Mr Moore in their ranks – – a quartet who after a moment of deceptively lulling psych tweaked rustic kookiness fire up the turbo charged valves for a spot of grizzled primal stoner grooved beatnik boogie courtesy of ‘annals of the former world’ that aside giving you a big beard before its disappears off into the night may well cause the follicles on your scalp to go all fuzzy and put in some eye blinking rapid growth requiring of hair bands not to mention zapping you’re your speakers to Asgard. ’die morgensonne’ is equally tempted though this time treated to some deliciously dizzy arabesque swirls that if you’re none to careful may well cause your head to expand whilst tweaking your third eye. ’improv’ as the title suggests is your classically honed kraut jam – kind of Amon Dull II meets La Dusseldorf leaving the foreboding ’sleeping hands’ to wallop you somewhere into next week with its grimly grouted no nonsense stoner space rock mutant hybrid which if we here are honest had us recalling the earlier work of a certain Green Milk from the Planet Orange. Zombi you’ll be happy to know will be returning to action shortly following their prolonged hiatus with shows penned in the States later this month.

And last up for this particular missive – we gotta message from J Explosive who’s the right hand man and drummer in John Carpenter quickly advising us that their aim is to be a ‘sweatier slightly stinkier version of Be Bop Deluxe’ which in our view is a bloody good call – bill nelson you’ll be happy to note features in Classic Rock’s all time best 100 guitarists – which you’ll find published in the latest issue itself arrives bearing 4 limited edition covers – ours incidentally bearing the uber talented axe man Eddie Van Halen – anyway Mr Explosive (surely not his real name – airport authorities must have a field day with him) also sent along two vid links – Be Bop and Alex Harvey – and well bugger here they are – fine things too……

And that’s it for a day or three – okay three then – there’ll definitely be two of these at the weekend – who knows maybe even three if you’re really unlucky. As ever a huge thanks to all those who’ve somehow inadvertently been responsible for aiding and abetting these musings and most of all to you – yes you – I can see you – and quite frankly I hope your going to wash your hands now. Also a massive thanks for all the messages either via email or via our myspace site the Sunday experience – I sometimes blush and feel most humbled by it all. Updates and various other things like addresses so on and so forth please refer to either of the last two missives.

Till when never take care of yourselves.


from August 2009

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