For Kelly and Mark – missing you terribly.
Singled Out – revolutions of the 45 kind.
Ah indeed another singled out, perhaps its just me (and as its me who compiles them then it is me) but they appear to be getting harder to put to bed these days when in all fairness they should be getting easier now that we’ve passed up on full time employment with the government (cue hint for potential job offers!) and now have endless days to ponder the merits of the ever growing CD collection. Well that’s how I originally envisaged things panning out. The original plan for want of a better word – though arguably there was no planning involved – more just the lazy option – was to spend three months immersed in the CD’s in the promised hot summer. The first two months flew by – gripped with fear and guilt at having left work and with that the pangs and dents to my self confidence set in. As a result the words didn’t flow – the reviews became harder, such situations call for drastic actions and so you fall into the fix that apparently most writers suffer – the dreaded ritual of doing everything no matter how mundane just to avoid sitting down and putting words together in a coherent fashion. Mowing the lawn become an obsession, as time moved swiftly on boredom of doing the same lawn had us moving to mow the front garden regardless of the fact that there is no grass just a tarmac path. Then the stress sets in – part depression – taking to cat naps – well I say cat naps more like a litter of cats napping. And then the guilt of not reviewing CD’s bringing added stress, requiring additional cat naps – hell is that the time blimey the front path needs mowing again.
Ah another week of woe on the financial markets. Not for us to mix politics and economics with music but it really has been something of a laugh listening to all these so called experts trying to pass themselves off as meticulous and intelligent financiers juggling with dangers on a daily basis and bloated by their own self importance. Stripped of all the hyperbole be honest when it all boils down to is privileged public school boys playing a grown up’s version of monopoly. And to the alleged £2.7 trillion lost somewhere in the system. I heard one bright wit actually offer forth the fact that it wasn’t real money – no shit Sherlock – I mean I leave a tenner on the kitchen unit, go to bed, get up next day and its gone, then either a – someone’s nicked it or b – its been moved. I mean how do you lose £2.7 trillion its not as if you can stick it up your jumper. But then he went on to explain that a thing only has value when that value has been realised. Now we understand the concept of value – for instance you might say your copy of a Nick Drake first pressing is worth £500 but until someone actual buys it off you for £500 its worth diddly squat – its value is transient. In the olden days shall we say 500BRS – RS standing for the Rolling Stones as it seems they‘ve been around since the dawn of creation – before the onset of commercialism and greed, there was this unique system of bartering – you swapped something for something else – its intrinsic value based through a necessity / need – I need this you need that lets work a mutual deal so on and so forth. Trouble is these days in order to prove how strong a nation is it has to cost everything – for example where I used to work any PC’s left idle after people had left etc…was in effect taking up office space, office space costs, so the cubic footage of that PC was given a value, I’m not sure if the mere fact that it was switched off and not using electricity was deducted from this calculation – point is it was in the office’s interest to get rid as it was a cost on their budget. And this is the problem, everything value based is artificial. Whether the cost the air that you breath is another debate – though if they could you can bet they would. Also think on even the pot you might or might not have to piss in has a value. It’s crackers isn’t it.
That said we’ve been scratching our heads these last few minutes and have a solution. If this £2.7 trillion is indeed not real money (see above) then why don’t (in the best tradition of monopoly) the heads of state say go to the imaginary bank and say take out a loan for £5 trillion and then give everyone a fat cat bonus instead of the clueless wankers who appear to get rewarded for constantly screwing things up. Rocket science it ain’t. By the way the article you are reading has an intrinsic value of £90 +VAT – for convenience I’ll accept £50 nicker cash.
On the subject of grabbing bastards. Was it just me who felt compelled to put their foot through the television after nearly choking on our melted cheese covered beans on toast when we eyed John Lydon / Rotten advertisement butter? Surely some mistake we thought to ourselves, I mean wasn’t this the same bloke who for years poo pooed any notions of the Sex Pistols reforming almost accusing both Messrs Cook and Jones of being hangers on (just in case you want to deny it I have a tape of an interview with Johnny Walker from the early 90’s that says as much). Funny how times change eh – the Pistols now in their umpteenth re-union with rumours abound of new recordings being hatched, then there was that facile celebrity get me out of here nonsense and now the bloody butter advert. If it wasn’t for the price of good shoes and the fact that the latest episode of ’Massive’ was about to aired – okay we’ll leave it with the shoes because lets face it ’massive’ was as funny as an acid bath and as original as a potato.
Talking of adverts – well loosely – more specifically voice overs, I read in the latest Observer Music Monthly (Sunday just gone) with much amusement as you may well have done yourselves extracts from a new book of cuttings from the hand of the late John Peel. Entitled ’the Olivetti Chronicles’ and published by Bantam press, the 400 page tome is a collection of written commissions submitted by John to magazines and papers such as Observer, Sounds, Radio Times, the Independent and many more to numerous to mention. Collated and chosen by his widow Sheila and his children they reveal – as most listeners of his radio broadcasts were already aware of – an honest and dryly humorous individual without sides able to communicate on a unfailingly honest and personal level. Expect reviews shortly. Of course John’s anniversary approaches and with it we pass our respects to Sheila and the family. He’s still much missed and the radio still sounds somehow redundant without him.
Asides Peel, regular readers to these pages will be all to aware of our fondness for Tony Hancock, its been 40 years since his passing, a man undone by his conspiring self, a truly tragic figure whose lasting heritage is preserved by way of 6 seasons of radio broadcasts and several TV series, if ever you get the chance just listen to the ’poetry society’ or better still ’the last bus home’ – impeccable Galton and Simpson scripts and exquisite comic interplays between Hancock, Sid James and Bill Kerr. This month sees the publication by Harper of ’Tony Hancock – the definitive biography’ – a weighty 480 page tome that meticulously uncovers the rise and destructive fall of one of this nations best comedians.
And to the singles and things….
Maybeshewill / Her Name is Calla ‘split’ (field). A killer head to head it should be said featuring as the accompanying press release rightly notes ‘two of the most original bands in Britain at this moment’. this titanic twinning showcases the individual talents of Maybeshewill and Her Name is Calla spread across three tracks (the former getting two bites the latter being represented by a solitary affair) all pressed on twelve impending inches of wax. I think I’m fairly safe in saying that we haven’t had the pleasure of Maybeshewill featuring previously in these pages and for that we are mightily embarrassed. Already the proud parents of a recently released debut full length in the shape of ’not for want of trying’ (a copy of which we’ll have to nail before we get any older) both ‘this time last year’ and ’last time this year’ are newly recorded tracks specially commissioned for this release and marks in some respects a new dawn for Maybeshewill following the departure of their bassist following a recent Japanese tour and the in-band dissatisfaction with the aforementioned album. Availing themselves with two momentously contrasting cuts a kind of becoming bad cop good cop routine if you like the tempestuous ’this time last year’ is an unflinchingly brutal powerhouse of a cut, a ravaging feast of looming large grizzled doom struck tension interspersed by moments of sedately drawn twinkling clarity caught amid torrential downpours of blistering cranium crunching eruptions, both brooding and bracing it provides a seismic late 90’s Constellation styled apocalyptic halfway house between San Lorenzo and godspeed you black emperor. Located amid the more gritted and intensely burnt dream woven moments of the post rock cosmos ‘last time this year’ finds itself bathed in a searing symphony of sky piercing fury decoded with ad hoc angulated time signatures though scratch away at the surface brittleness and you’ll be endeared by the weaves of beautifully optimistic underlays of sweetly calibrated softly euphoric key canters. A bit of a gem if you ask me. Of course Her Name is Calla should be familiar to the most casual visitors of these pages given that we’ve been on their case from pretty much day one. A plethora of limited self released outings under their collective belts, these days they’ve settled down and found a loving home courtesy of Gizeh records in the meantime releasing upon the nation a frankly immense debut mini album entitled ’the heritage’ – itself serving as a taking stock stop gap while they nail down what will be their official full length (’The Quiet Lamb’) due to hit the streets early next year. ’Condor and River’ initially found its way into the record collections of a select but in tuned cognoscenti last year when it was released through Gizeh’s nursery label Loom in limited quantities of hand crafted packaging (see missive 124), a brooding though utterly beautiful 17 minute epic that perfectly frames their now trademark slow / fast – loud / quiet dynamic to its full turbulent potential. As previously noted imagine Floyd covering something in the vein of Young’s ‘Cortez the Killer’ with a battle scarred and abandoned of hope Thom Yorke applying the hurtful pressure points leaving Roy Montgomery to navigate and weave the attending colossal pieces into a glorious storm ravaged and emotionally consuming aural tableaux – between the three interloping movements within (the storm coming / the storm itself and the calm after the storm as were) you’re dragged literally through a range of moods though it’s the church like stillness and neutered elegance that takes prominence from 8 minutes in that literally serves to clout the living daylights out of you and have you breathlessly humbled at its hollowed beauty. A tragically tormented tearjerker if ever we heard one. http://www.field-records.com
Leslie Overdrive ‘A Tad Askew’ (Hammond Beat). first of four releases that you should find dotted about these pages in some shape or form. Haven’t a clue how limited these dudes are though we can say their a tad pricey and come packaged in generic die cut sleeves, the label Hammond Beat are – if we’ve got our facts rights – an Oregon based imprint who’ve been chilling the tail pipes of the cats on the underground for a few years now with their Hammond obsessed releases, not a million miles in terms of sound and obsession as Spain’s Butterfly imprint (who we’ve recently eyed are back on the game following a lengthy silence – we will chase the blighters in due course). Anyhow first release in this 7 inch series comes courtesy of Copenhagen quartet Leslie Overdrive who to date have been flipping the fringes of 60’s loving beat dudes across the nations with their vibrant hot funky stew. Appealing to both 60’s heads and old school beard stroking purists ’A tad askew’ is a smoked slice of sumptuously slinky Hammond laced jazz funk, as retro as flock wallpaper and darned cool with it these freaky cats sound for all the world like they’ve just tripped out of ultra hip Carnaby Street boutique from the 60’s brandishing a whole bags worth of tooting tunes with which to cut wickedly hip hugging toe tapping shapes out of. Flip the disc for the ostensibly more frisky ’Oily’ – a corking cutie of far out kaleidoscopic jazz hazes blessed with a John Lurie like frazzled kookiness and nailed down by some rather tasty loose limbed riff struts and mind warping key arrangements that should all said and done appeal to lovers of those smoking dudes the Gene Drayton Unit. http://www.hammondbeat.com
Oh yes – indeed despite the wintry stillness outside and the gloomy coverage of the looming overcast clouds outside and our ongoing failure to nail a job even as a street cleaner ha ha – I jest you not and our ongoing battle with our money grabbing bastard landlord – we did at least manage a depression lifting smile at the arrival in our gaff of Static Caravan releases Vans 163, 170, 175 and 176.
The Yellow Moon Band ‘sticker’ (Static Caravan). Label completists alert – this is not a playable release at all but rather more a dinky little promo sticker heralding the expectant arrival shortly (we hope) to turntables across the nation of the debut Yellow Moon Band full length ‘travels into several remote nations of the world’. Regular visitors to these sporadic missives will no doubt be all to aware of our passing fondness for this Its Danny and Jo alter ego – we’ve been warned to expect plenty of freak zone loveliness and strange progressive paraphernalia when it finally drops its be-fuddled load upon us – were busy preparing ourselves by assembling a fall out shed at the bottom of the garden made out of recycled velvet slacks, cheese cloth shirts and 80’s Genesis albums all lovingly festooned with daisy chains and a cute flower box where we’ve planted rows of magic beans. Yum.
Circus Devils ’the girls will make it happen’ (Static Caravan). One track promo no less and a damn fine tasty teaser for a forthcoming debut platter entitled ’Ataxia’. No info with this though a spot of investigative research reveals that this lot are a Ohio based trio headed up by a certain Robert Pollard who the more wisened among you will know from cool as f**k Guided by Voices. To date Pollard and the Tobias brothers – Todd and Tim (for they round up the threesome) have been puzzling the pulse feeling underground with their darkly indefinable angular prog soup since the turn of the decade having released in that time 5 full lengths. ’the girls will make it happen’ provides for a wiring and untamed slice of incisively deranged off kilter groove, the frenetically unhinged and jarringly frenzied riff chugs are gridlocked and squeezed until their pips pop by a flat-lined blankly despondent percussive underpin that aside sounding for all the world like a hurtling train looking for an abrupt spot for a wreckage appears to have no regard for the notion of the rudiments of time signatures. Add in to the mix Robert Pollards vocals and a dash of wayward crookedness that’s cemented by a grizzled lo-fi edginess and you have yourself a rather smart slice of devilishly caustic alt pop – goes without saying that we here eagerly anticipate that aforementioned album with baited breath.
One More Grain ‘Scarborough Fair’ (Static Caravan). Welcome return to these pages of London’s One More Grain following various appearances wherein we swooned aplenty at the spectacle of their debut full length ‘pigeon English’ for Victory Gardens whilst not forgetting that damn smart ultra limited and live three way split with the enigmatic Shady Bard and the frankly astonishing Jacob’s Stories sometime last year. This dinky twin set comes pressed (or will come pressed once its – er – pressed) on seven inch of wax (probably limited though exactly how many we don’t know). Features two sterling covers of traditional arrangements – one well known the other somewhat more obscure. ’Scarborough Fair’ – a traditional folk song about a jilted lover thought to date back to medieval times was famously resurrected and gently taken by the hand into the great pop conscious by Simon and Garfunkel (rumour has Martin Carthy taught it to Paul Simon). Left in the hands of One More Grain the village fair fancifulness of Simon’s tinkered arrangement is replaced by a both haunting and decidedly enchanting yet darker and more forthrightly trippy affair, a mind warping dream like dub collage of dissipating brass arrangements wafting with ethereal grace through the fog bound ether to swirl around day-glo atmospheric apparitions as though anchored in some strangely secret and lysergic haven located deep in the mindset of Sun Ra. A deeply engaging and crafted reclaiming of a folk foundation stone. Flip the disc for ’Giriama Wedding’ – again another traditional arrangement this time a Kenyan wedding song which apparently was stumbled upon by all accounts by way of a release on the legendary Nonesuch Explorer imprint entitled ’Witchcraft and Ritual Music’. A dizzyingly up-tempo and frenetic gem it has to be said that provides for a hot thick stew of wired squirreling ska like brass arrangements all woven into an acutely vibrant and weirdly sultry ethnic groove that quite frankly if we weren’t any the wiser we’d have edged our bets to say it was the Contortions in a gruelling stare down with Pigbag. A must have release.
Wrangler / Scanner ‘two systems’ (Static Caravan). Strictly limited to just 300 seven inch picture discs in card sleeves no less and sure to disappear faster than a quick bunny hop in the Tardis. Oh those geeks with their wiry machines panning out sounds of tomorrow today, there was a time when these noise making computer processed tools where of gargantuan proportions the size of small office blocks, huge hulking light flashing cabinets that whirred into life blew the odd valve and died, the 50’s came two players arrived on the scene – Bob Moog and Raymond Scott, each seeking ways to make these University domiciled toys of beard stroking librarians more commercially friendly – such accessibility would be achieved in the late 60’s endorsed if I recall rightly by a certain Rolf Harris (see we‘re back to the beards and librarian look). Of course I’m having a wee jest here. This ultra limited release is set to tie in with an excellent collection being put out by Expanding entitled ’20 systems’ – a lavishly packaged aural archive that explores the development and evolution of the commercially available synthesiser / keyboard by way of demonstrating the sound of a chosen medium available in each of years 1968 to 1988 – so that what you get is an informative appreciation and aural history of the sound developments provided for by the use of Arp‘s, Yamahas, Fairlights, Modulars, Korgs and of course various species of the Moog. Both releases are an impeccable addition to Mark Brend’s excellently researched ’Strange Sounds’ tome from a year or so ago via Backbeat books. While ’20 systems’ is more systematic and perhaps arguably more instructive in its approach, ’2 systems’ avows itself of a looser and ostensibly more playful approach the Moog Modular system 3C providing the weapon of choice for Ben Edwards and Phil Winter – here operating under the guise of Wrangler and described by the attending press release as a ’radiophonic joy’, the embracing of Moog’s modular system by Wendy Carlos had provided an unexpected hit towards the tail end of the 60’s and with it a clamour from musicians and labels alike to hook up to the nu-sound. Applying their collective mindsets Wrangler juice up the Oscillators and fire up the filters for a devilishly funky slice of old school mind melting fringe arranging tomfoolery with the combination of repetitive loops and trance like house vibes still retaining an eerie wide eyed vintage hue and a strange out there futuristic fuzzy logic this cutie has all the dippy attributes of a 70’s Open University style educational broadcast penned by John Baker being dragged out of the studio workshop plied with mind arranging chemicals and nudged on to a club floor to do its stuff. If anything its the other side wherein you’ll find Scanner (or as he’s better known to kith and kin Robin Rimbaud) donning the Wizards cloak to get to grips with the joys of the 1978 Formant Modular that sounds more like something evolved on a wasted radiation scarred landscape of Skaro via the chin stroking tinkering of Maida Vale’s experimental sound laboratory. Haunting and hypnotically sombre with the fat bottom ended chunky bass rhythms pulsating atop the sparse theremin like tonalities themselves applying a strangely arabesque eeriness – it could be easily passed off as something from a working sound canvas provided by Muslim Gauze or Wagon Christ with the minimalist handiwork of John Carpenter diluting the effects. Mind warping stuff. An absolutely essential release for those of you digging freak zoned strange sounds. http://www.staticcaravan.org
Air Formation ‘things that don’t exist’ (distant noise). Sandwiched between their ongoing monthly album series release schedule which has lately had outings by both Dawn Chorus Ignites and Phasen sending our turntable into a lovelorn tailspin (reviews are imminent), Bristol’s up and coming taste makers Distant Noise take flight into the world of seven inch records to release this 500 only gem from Brighton shoe gaze darlings Air Formation. This lot have been making sporadic visits to these pages with infrequent glee – the first being an album for Drive in at the start of the decade the last a glorious EP for Club AC30 an imprint who seem to have disturbingly gone a tad quiet of late (see missive 68). ‘things that don’t exist’ in short is the resulting mercurial litmus test had an aural chemistry experiment been conducted in the fusing of the Chameleons with Kitchens of Distinction, a shimmering feast of hollowing arcs of swirling tear stained star glazed epic arrangements and opining feedback laden smoke trails all longingly awash in celestial orbs of ether pierced halos of softly psyched bliss, emotionally crushed and head bowed and resigned. Utterly captivating and woundingly disarming. Flip the disc for the equally divine ’fires’ – a beautifully crafted softly speckled and desirably mellowing babe succulently glazed in hazes of tenderly prime sliced dream pop that ignite resplendently on occasions into peaks of mind dissolving euphoria – need we say more – thought not – go buy. http://www.distantnoiserecords.co.uk
Society of Imaginary Friends ‘the Moors’ EP (SOIF Music). I to once had an imaginary friend of sorts, of course not the type that you have meaningful conversations with and adorn with strange names like Petulia, Tilly or Randolph, I was after all still a mere babe in arms – and before you ask no I didn’t have 3 small 6’s tattooed on my scalp or anywhere about my person. My friend sat on the stairs, a stairs screened off by a mistily transparent perspex panel. I’d sit there all day as babies do pondering the complexities of life – like when was feeding time and when will Pinky and Perky and the Flowerpot men next wake up and come out to play from inside the goggle box in the corner of the room. Between these life consuming thoughts I’d fondly stare transfixed looking at the stairs from the living room, chuckle, make childish babble sounds and become strangely animated. My mother alone with me in the house would worry at the spectacle, little did I know at the time that she believed the house to be haunted and feared the stairs worried that an imp lay in wait for her. Years later of course having long left the house and moved we’d discover the place cursed, built upon an unconsecrated 17th C asylum graveyard – I’d also check for the 3 6’s – no sign. Really haven’t a clue why I’m sharing this with you – oh yes I do – Society of Imaginary Friends – great band name eh? According to the press release ’the Moors’ provided the opening salvo to SOIF’s self released debut full length platter ’sadness is a bridge to love’ – released earlier this year to much quiet acclaim – sadly not here as we appear to have missed out on it – a re-release is promised any day now via Cadiz. SOIF are a quartet – two girls / two boys who together collectively make the most touching sounds this side of Goldfrapp’s ’felt mountain’ and the Shortwave Set. With a suggested filing next to Musetta’s exquisite debut from earlier this year, we suggest you dim the lights, loosen up, chill out and be prepared for 13 minutes of unrivalled enchantment. ’the moors’ is a breathlessly beautiful noire laced torch song of some heartbreaking grandeur, both sophisticated and tender it’s a creative colossus of timeless proportions, the gentle caress of the wide screen symphonic aspects recalling Sakamoto’s early solo work, the sepia glazes, the peppering of accordions (has there ever been a better argument for their re-introduction into the pop vocabulary – see L’Augmentation for further evidence) and the overall elegance of the artistry combine to make this a seducing affair that appears to wallow resplendently when what you really expect is that it’ll blossom and erupt at some point – instead it’s a captured moment of refined beauty. ’the lovely rain’ features ex Cardiacs man William D Drake taking up piano duties (last appeared in these pages via his ’earthly shrine’ single last year – see missive 145) – a gorgeously fragile and porcelain slice of numbing classicism that’ll literally tear you from the inside out with its hollowed and majestic tear stained string adorned reflective touch. All said and done though the parting ’Windows’ is it must be said a class apart that just demands to be heard. A truly bracing and reclaimed slice of intoxicating song craft, almost catches you unaware like traps set for poachers, what first appears as a frail and spectral slice of monastic styled timelessly bound folk gracefulness soon unfurls unexpectedly with majestic consequence into a tempestuous operatic whirlpool that combines the unworldly spectral romance of the aforementioned Goldfrapp’s ’felt mountain’ and wires into its melodic matrix Gregorian elements of Kate Bush’s ’Sat in your lap’ and the arabesque swirls of Transglobal Underground whilst applying a drama fuelled underpinning a la Bernard Herrmann with vocalist Louise Kleboe amid the eye of the storm lost in the beauty of it all. Both haunting and hymnal it truly is an emotion sapping experience. Stunning. http://www.societyofimaginaryfriends
Low Fidelity Jet Set Orchestra ‘Bahia soul’ (Hammond beat). Low Fidelity Jet Set Orchestra is the alter ego of Italian duo Messrs Masoch and Negri found here doing a spot of moonlighting from their usual activities as Modulu 5. A killer debut release it has to be said featuring two mighty slabs of mind warping shape making intoxica, the florescent and hip hugging ’Bahia Soul’ is a kookily decoded retro glazed babe festooned with sumptuously seductive day glo patterns made up of a rarefied cocktail that cross weaves elements of Henry Mancini with Lalo Schifrin and blends them superbly within a hot and horny head expanding trippy aura whose nu-jazz deep funk roots are lushly awash with a veritable 60’s Latino dialect. Flip the disc for some cool cat psyche beat courtesy of ’jazz rocker’- a wickedly up tempo wig flipping slice of 60’s groove featuring flighty Hammonds sizzling against backdrops of skewiff jazz funk rumbles – cool, exotic and insane – if wee didn’t know better we’d have it filed under John Lurie with a red hot poker up his back passage. http://www.hammonbeat.com
Captain Hammond vs. the Futuro 7 ‘split ‘ (Hammond groove). More super slinky ear gear via the lovable dudes of groove Hammond Beat – again ridiculously limited we believe (250 unless we are mistaken). We had some initial technical errors with this babe – it refusing to play properly – us introducing it to our cricket bat. I think it got the idea. Anyhow we’re all friends now you’ll be happy to hear, this twin pronged bag of tastiness features the talents of UK’s Captain Hammond (a trio headed up by Bryn Barklam) squaring up to Scandinavian / Italian based Futuro 7 (who incidentally feature Low Fidelity Jet Set Orchestras Negri and Masoch among their ranks). This release sees both ensembles casting glances at each others work and sizing them up for a remix. Featuring trace elements of the Yardbirds ’for your love’ ‘origin’ is a streamlined futuristic ray gun of groove that’s awash with cosmic trippyness, a maddeningly blissed out slice of space age cerebral cheese cake, lashings of Hammonds braided by some wonderfully out there mesmerising retro slabs of freak zone make this a floor caning mind expanding odyssey of the highest order. Flip le disc for the audaciously groovy ‘mercury wonderland’ which sees Negri and Basoch deftly apply their hypnotic funky logic to the proceedings, a cool cornucopia of fringe flicking keys, sassily goofy 60’s soul motifs and subtle jazz intonations all welded to a deliriously vibrant brew of toe tapping hip hugging loveliness – dare you miss out. http://www.hammondbeat.com
Gaybeast / Twin ‘split’ (SAF / Anti Form). Absolutely bugger all information with this but hell what are corking twin set it is. A spot of quick research reveals that Gaybeast are in fact a trio based in Minneapolis and we suspect that sooner rather than later they will be happily hanging from your bedroom wall and taking up residence on your hi-fi as well as being THE band to name drop in the coming months. Alas that would be the case where this a perfect world. But it isn’t. Sadly. Instead the blighters will just have to do the hard way and pummel all who hear them on record and witness them live into states of surrendering submission. ’2 borgs for every borg’ is acutely deranged stuff, in fact its all over the shop – an insane cross mutation that gobbles up reference markers as though they are fast going out of existence, one foot in the no wave camp the other kicking seven bells with impish delight out of the art rock fraternity – erupting thrash flashes and a gridlocked fusion of skittish math rhythms – wired time signatures – a general air of the disturbed – ad hoc melodic landscapes scarred with a sense of brutal detachment and a wilful refusal to kowtow to the norm – eerie, odd and creepily chilled and desolate and very much schizoid and crucially unhinged – more a threat than a treat. Think Fugazi and ’beasts’ era Sex Gang Children being horse whipped for fun by a youthful Black Dice. Certainly not daunted by the gauntlet thrown in their path by Gaybeast, SAF all stars Twin who are indeed we’ll have you know a duo (Ghost and Ray) have to date been plying the cooler and more in tuned elements of the underground with the occasional release via splits with Mikaela’s Friend and Shearing Pinx both of which we’ll do our damnedest to nail copies of for future words of praise. Anyhow hailing from Olympia and featuring among their ranks Allie Alvarado who assumes the guest guitar slot, they stump up ’White Eyes’ – we suggest you nail down firmly all moveable objects because this really is a crunching slice of humungous grizzled swamp like progressive math goo of epic proportions that teeters teasingly between collapse and carnage, a maze of melodic richness that sounds like some rarefied throwback to the early 70’s, squalling riffs, moments of strangely intoxicating 60’s psyche interludes all serviced by hypnotic looped codas and a sense of menacing intent – will appeal as equally to fans of Godflesh as it will Mountain. Ultra limited so get your arses into gear. http://www.safrecords.com
Pete Molinari ’one stolen moment’ EP (Damaged Goods). A peach of a record, how we have so far got through the days without the sounds crafted by Pete Molinari softly offering a back dropping serenade is beyond us. This EP features three devilishly dinky gemstones of yesteryear influenced follies and culls together a showcase of cuts from his ’a virtual landslide’ (released earlier this year) and ’walking off the map’ (his debut) full lengths plus an acoustic reading of Billy Childish’s ’the poets dream’. Sweetly imbibed with the essence of Woody Guthrie and sounding unerringly like a young Bob Dylan fused with the mellowed resignation of Roy Orbison and Frank Ifield, ’one stolen moment’ sounds like a recently unearthed and thought lost to the world aural archaeological find from the mid 60’s. Its vintage hollowed timbre and texture admirably captured by those dudes of authentic retro productions down at Toe Rag studios. With its feint nods to Dylan’s ’tangled up in blue’ – in its brief three minute passage you’ll be left transfixed, jaw agape and touched by its exquisite beauty, admirers and fans of Rodriguez will be equally satiated by Molinari’s timeless artistry – the descending acoustic cascades, the lightly breezy harmonica rushes and the dimples of 60’s keys coalesce delicately to make this a moment of tear stained classicism like nothing else you’ll hear all year. Flip side features the aforementioned acoustic cover of the Billy Childish penned ‘the poet’s dream’ – a touchingly fragile rendition that‘s all at once measured and assured while simultaneously vaguely touching base with the Stones ‘as tears go by’ – that said it’s the parting shot ‘love lies bleeding’ that provides the main attraction here. A dustily scratchy throwback to the folk blues pioneers of yesteryear, its here that the ghost of Woody Guthrie is most realised albeit rooted upon a superbly conceived grainy delta blues texture that recalls the crucial early career work of John Fahey. Essential stuff. http://www.damagedgoods.co.uk
Wild Billy Childish and the musicians of the British Empire ’thatcher’s children’ (damaged goods). And weren’t we just mentioning Mr Childish in passing during the course of the previous release, low and behold here he is in person – well okay on vinyl. The original sore thumb and flag waving punk troubadour, Childish has released more records than most people can count as a record collection, culled from his recent ‘thatcher’s children’ full length this twin set features an alternate version of the title cut. Housed in a sleeve featuring the artwork of KLF’s Jimmy Caulty ’thatcher’s children’ is a gnarled slab of back to basics garage punk – snotty, scathing and seething with caustic anger and firmly giving it the finger to the man while indelibly scribed with the vibe of ’77 though if we’re honest about it sounds like a particularly wound up and pissed off John Cooper Clarke fronting a seriously skewed Ruts. The far superior ’transition girlfriend’ features on the flip and sees Nurse Julie taking up the mic duties for what is a stonkingly spiked bad assed glam punk meets surly sugared 50’s bubblegum pop motifs hybrid, choked aplenty with chugging three chord struts, evil Barbie styled vocals, swearing and f*ck you attitude – a bit like an evil bastard offspring from the soundtrack to ’rocky horror picture show’ if truth be told. Of course you need it and want it – who wouldn’t. http://www.damagedgoods.co.uk
Jonjo Feather ‘Taxi’ (dead young records). Another welcome return to these pages this time from Hebden Bridge based Jonjo Feather who when last time featured here – with his debut ‘I suppose’ – literally knocked us crooked and bandy with his irresistibly skewiff take on Bolan (see missive 159). With an album currently being bolted and nailed down in his sound bunker barn somewhere in the midst of Yorkshire and due to exact freakish shocks to one and all sometime next Spring this brace provides further evidence of an insurgent though wilfully impish rule book tearing talent on the rise. Do you remember when you were a kid when your ma would buy you a brand new pair of trainers, they’d be gleaming in their brand new shiny state a kinda beacon for the bigger boys to eye you from miles out, so to avoid the unpleasantness and embarrassment of being hung by them from the nearest lamp post you’d be off to the field to scuff them up and exact a few footie match scars upon them much to your ma’s horror but enough to make it look as if they weren’t your bessie footwear and that you’d had them ages before they’d become that seasons latest must have fashion accessory. Well in some respects we get the feeling that that is exactly what Mr Feathers does to his ditties. Priceless pop gems to start with warped and skewed by degrees of fuzz and bastardised and bent out of shape by dimples of discordance. Try as he might to throw us a curveball we’re not flinching ‘Taxi’ is a disturbingly contagious and wired slice of frazzled side winding grind, a crookedly funky and slyly sultry groove meister that sassily embraces a curiously wasted vibe whose radar is firmly trained with a coolly mooching skinny tied hip hugging throb that’s smokingly dipped in an street hustle like vibe that bears trace elements of an early 70’s Stones mindset as though found chilling out with a particularly laid back and youthful Ry Cooder. Though for us and again another case of the flip cut stealing the show ‘Count me down’ is just the business. A fuzz laden gem that to these ears sounds not unlike a seriously blissed out Beck crashing in on a Sonic Youth studio session and instigating a pretty nifty slice of off kilter grizzled glam groove. Need we say more. http://www.deadyoungrecords.co.uk
http://www.myspace.com/detoxcuteandthebeautyjunkies – coming across like a sweetly tingling saccharine rash Detox Cute and the Beauty Junkies are London based duo Paisley Playdoh (clearly not her real name) and Charlie Darling (the jury are still out on this one), together they craft cutely affectionate seductive pop treats that they like to call e-pop – that’ll be English pop as opposed to j-pop which is Japanese – are you keeping up at the back? Obvious pop romantics yearning for a time when radio airwaves where awash with catchy melodies sung by brightly turned out clean living young people free from vices, shame and n’er do well deeds who for all the world looked as though they’d stepped out of a catalogue. Of course we slightly exaggerate, but only slightly because this pair of cheeky imps appear to join the invisible dots between Dollar and St Etienne / Dubstar and without wishing to sully the effect with such trite comparisons there is an air of a 70’s Eurovision styled euro pop mentality at work here especially on the polished and streamlined ‘hold me’ – a slice of glittering unblemished starry eyed innocence if ever we heard one. The Dubstar comparisons appear again on the ridiculously catchy ’pop trash’ though this as though somewhere along the line they manage to hitch a lift with Helen Love – extra marks for the ’please Sir’ samples by the way while ‘sex and drugs and Juliet‘ provides for a nifty slice of shimmering up-tempo candy pop as though some day-glo studio car crash between transvision vamp and the darling buds had occured. Though its ’Alarm bells bw Silent Night’ that proves to be the main feature here, a gorgeously drifting pop gem lushly swathed in corteges of lilting strings symphonies and hopelessly crushed with the forlornly bruised lulling introspective bliss drenched delivery of Paisley (you sure that’s her real name?) – fans of early career China Crisis and the Lover Speaks will swoon.
http://www.myspace.com/plugddd – indeed just what the good doctor ordered, now if we had a radio show of our own we’d be fleecing the airwaves with exactly this kind of stuff – hell the blighters would never be off the ruddy turntable. A debut single is looming large on the horizon via parlour records (see below) of which clips of both sides are showcased here – and judging by the racket they make we suspect there’ll be no sleep in our gaff until we’ve nabbed a copy or two of said wax disc as our own. Information is scant about the duo – Sian and Georgie (we don‘t know who plays the drums / sings and who takes care of the bass duties) – in fact there is no information though its quite obvious that there’s a certain amount of fondness for Joy Division at the core of what is essentially some well heeled austere and angular groove. ’fresh pleasures’ is very much a post punk flashback, the blankly dumbed down agitated and chilled textures sounding not unlike something crackling through the static interference of a John Peel show c.79 / 80 between the acutely sparse primitive no wave dialects elements of the Native Hipsters, Delta 5, the Slits and the Passage appear with dislocated delight though its too teasingly brief to fully appraise – a later day perhaps. Likewise with its flip ’nonchalant love’ which on this brief taster sounds like a well heeled slab of primal early career Creatures.
The a side goes a lot like this…..
http://www.myspace.com/parlourrecords – we could and would have – if needed – sworn that we’d come across parlour records previously – alas it appears not. Three releases to date – the third being the imminent Plug debut – see above – with a fourth currently at the pressing plant which when cut, packaged and stickered should see the New York’s Ill Ease shimmying their way into your affections (we suggest you check out their rather audiously slinky ’here comes trouble’ via their site at http://www.myspace.com/illease). As to the labels initial brace of releases – all pressed on limited quantities of ten inch wax – release number 2 came courtesy of project : Komakino who it seems delight in crafting out star hugging celestial shimmers of atmospherically charged post punk exuberance whose dot joining exercises sublimely link elements of late 70’s Factory records to the Chameleons / Artery right through to the Stained Glass Heroes and Heroes of Switzerland – frankly we need to hear more. Release number one came via Norwich based Le Tetsuo – who arguably are perhaps one of the most deranged ensembles around at the moment, the sounds fractured and dislocated erupt with antagonised friction whilst see-sawing menacingly between chaos and collapse – not quite as goofed and f*cked as Chicks on Speed but certainly pissing in the same discordant wig flipped pool – think Yummy Fur lamping the hell out of Johnny Foreigner and then some more. Think we need these records and pronto…..
http://www.myspace.com/allthemouthparts – quartet hailing from the base camp of rock ‘n’ roll world that is Tunbridge Wells – wasn’t that the same town that spawned the Anti Nowhere League, All the Mouth Parts can these days be found strutting their stuff via the acutely enviable Unlabel imprint for whom their currently laying down the finishing touches of their (we understand) debut release ‘in the shadows’. Four cuts showcased here provide evidence indeed that this lot aren’t slouches in the crafting of edgy grunge math, ‘these eyes’ pretty much the sore thumb of the set veers into territories more the prevail of ‘good beneath the radar’ era the Playwrights and the much missed oblique overtures of South East London’s Left Hand whilst simultaneously having a curious knack of mooching around ominously like some flashback from the mid 90’s Touch ’n’ Go catalogue and here we are thinking Storm and Stress. From therein the melodies blister beautifully with a dulling radiance that suggests elements of a blissed out Nirvana shimmying up to Soundgarden with the slow burn fringe flipping ‘do me again’ coming across a lot more fractured in intent, dislocated in design and ravaged by a sense of something fraying at the edges as though QoTSA where buggering about beneath the control desk impishly warping the mix and applying some simmering arid dry snake-winds of their own in order to accentuate the almost comatose and trippy effect etched at its core. Best of the set though is the brooding ‘death defying man’ – a seriously out there slice of fuzzing blankness, a bit like the Ministry played at the wrong speed or perhaps a screwed up Codeine, the textures coldly despondent and acutely riddled amid the maddening looping throb of some killer chop chop riffola a la Killing Joke. Damn fine if you ask me.
http://www.myspace.com/psychedelicpussycatclubnr2 – the alter ego of Norwegian based musician of Daniel and Bjorn Arne who either together or individually (it gets confusing reading the blog entries) have recently released a two part full length entitled ‘on the other side of the other side’ though they may well have different sub titles upon release (we told you this wasn’t going to be easy) which we understand is available a free download on request with their debut full length possibly called ‘later’ available for free at http://www11.nrk.no/urort/Artist/PPC2/default.aspx
Whatever the titles and the formats are they are small potatoes and minor details that can be cleared up later (no doubt via a bemused and slightly annoyed email from the band) – what is of importance here are the sounds within. In short wide screen ambient gemstones, for those of you who prefer your sounds transcendental, spacey and very much as though plucked from the heavens then you are going to think a shed load of buses with Christmases onboard has just pulled up at your door. Six tracks feature here perhaps best described as tenderly demurring orbs of statuesque grandeur, what you get are hollowing heralds of glacially ambient apertures that sound for all the world as though they’ve been woven and sculptured from the stuff that stars are made from in some snow globed paradise. Magnificently cavernous in design these ethereal tides ebb and flow with a deeply affecting allure. The dapples of primordial psyche folk florets and the snake charming mirages of ’whale gods’ – (and yes it does sound at time like the echoes of whale songs) and the casting of the eerie auras of droning primal growls that book end ‘demon voices’ between which is delicately bathed with a mellowing afterglow by way of its gently plucked cascading rustics usher in a finite and free flowing accompaniment to the crystalline swathes of panoramic symphonics metered throughout. That said we suggest you hook up to ’the Ancient Ones’ – as you’d rightly imagine of a track calling itself such the mood is one of serene reverence lushly replete with radiant wells of celestial harmonics and that kind of feeling of being at one with yourself either that or we’ve rudely keeled over in the meantime woken up in the after life (though I’m not saying which side of the fence we’re on) and put on a scratched copy of something by Vangelis resulting in the stylus sticking – hell it is then…only joking. Dare say you’ll be hearing more in due course.
http://www.myspace.com/welandedonthemoon – recently found all a swooning here when this lots ‘these little walls’ fell into our lap and straight into our affections – bite sized nuggets of crunching candy pop is the order of the day for these heaven watching starry eyed dudes – ‘the night was open’ still shimmering and silkily jet streaming in the vapour trails of the March Violets ‘turn to the sky’ while ‘re your letter’ blisters sublimely though we are still much beguiled and humbled by the delicately demurring and forlornly crushed ’happy accidents’.
http://www.myspace.com/lostintymefanzine – damn smart this my space I mean without it how the hell would we have known that we’d been missing out on the Lost in Tyme fanzine. Now up to issue #4 this Greek based publication deals in all things with a psyche / garage / surf bent, current issue includes interviews with Holly Golightly, Stolen Minks, the Dolly Rocker Movement and more besides while also including a whopping 25 track CD compilation that includes tracks from some of the coolest bands operating on the below the radar scene – a taster list of what’s included being – Cynics, Rising Storm, Royal Hangmen, Mean Things, Dorktones and Gitanes to name just a handful of the goodies lying in wait. We’ll do our best to nail a copy or two for a full review in a future missive.
Of course the Lost in Tyme fanzine is put out by the same dudes who run Lost in Tyme records…..
http://www.myspace.com/lostintymerecords – sadly no sound clips here but I think we get the picture when they mention farfisa’s and vox’s as being their bag, there’s been a handful of releases so far – an album by the Mean Streets and the Way Outs who incidentally go something like this….
http://www.myspace.com/wayoutsfuzz – 5 dudes hailing from Belgium and apart from whose band logo is a neat play on the Monkees do a neat line is vintage styled beat pop that’s obviously be borne of wiling the nights away grooving to the classic sounds of the Standells and the Seeds, hell these shade wearing cool things sound like throwbacks from the mid 60’s feverishly decorating your turntable with lysergic flashbacks – we suggest to tune your wigs into ‘going all the way’ which unless our ears do deceive sounds like a face off between the Misunderstood and Love.
Bruce Springsteen / Suicide / Beat the Devil ’dream baby dream’ (blast first petite). If you want one of these we suggest you get off your arses fast because word has it that Cargo are fast selling out of this ultra limited 10 inch. The first in a year long series of monthly releases put out by Blast First Petite to celebrate Alan Vega’s 60th birthday (and not his 70th – or is it – as reported in some press releases – hang on born in ‘48 – yep 60) who kick started their celebrations with the release of that awesome limited edition live Suicide box set a month or two ago. ‘dream baby dream’ was in fact the record that got me into Suicide in the first place, duly noting a favourite records list submitted by – as was then – Generation X’s Billy Idol, this cutie sat atop the list and I knew I had to have it. For months I trekked various records shops trying to squirrel the blighter and once found it took up a month long residence on the hi-fi much to my mother’s puzzlement. Years later I would stumble across a stash of demos and low and behold among the prizes – mainly Island releases dating 78 -80 – there sat two more pristine big A label promo copies of this scarce 7 inch. A few decades on – Suicide’s most accessible cut to date has found itself creeping ever so slightly into the Boss’ live set, this particular version culled from his 2005 ’Dust Devils’ shows is strictly limited to just 4,000 copies and boy does the big fella do it justice, despite its minimalist treatment Springsteen imparts his typically trademark intensity and turns it into a celebratory prayer of grand lump forming in the throat measure – hell if your not touched by its optimistic sentiment and sense of hope in the face of mounting adversity then you ain’t got a soul. By far the most intimate and touching reading by Springsteen since that killer ‘the ghost of Tom Joad’ set. Flags for waving – optional. Flip the disc for a spot of rareness wherein some rummaging around in the vaults has turned up a rarely heard recording of Suicide performing ’dream baby dream’ on an NBC Midnight Special as specially invited guests of that week’s host band the Cars, what marks ’Dream Baby Dream’ aside from the rest of the Suicide catalogue is that it pure pop gold, Rev’s soft psyche electro whirrs in the back ground reminiscent of the Silver Apples underscored by a delicately fragile and incessant minimalist mutant disco beat atop of which Vega’s remarkably controlled delivery – yep its free of the growls and shrieks of their more primitive rock-a-billy roots – adding a sugar glazed cast to the proceedings, no sinister motifs or darkly woven manifestations here just pristine hypnotic candy pop mantras. A bit of a gem even if I say so myself. Last and by no means least Beat the Devil stump up their treatment of ’Mr Ray’. No longer around these days the New York combo headed up by Shipa Ray serve up a rampantly ad hoc though wickedly soulful recalibration – with its white hot wig flipping fractured time signatures and unruly schizoid accents there are times when you’d swear that the ensuing vibrantly smoking stew was the work of an early career Talking Heads in a face off with Captain Beefheart with the Contortions somewhere around in the mix applying their off radar trademark impishness. An absolute must have release. http://www.blastfirstpetite.com
The Horrors / Suicide / Nic Void ‘Shadazz’ (blast first petite). Second in this year long monthly release series (see above for more details) celebrating the milestone birthday of Suicide’s Alan Vega sees the appearance of this frankly stunning 3 track 10 inch featuring the Horrors and Kaito front women Nikki Colk under her new pseudo Nic Void. Limited to just 3,000 copies and as before with the Bruce Springsteen cover sure to sell out in a flash, originally appearing on Suicide’s second Ric Ocasek produced full length, this release sees the Horrors setting their sights of Rev and Vega’s ’Shadazz’ to stunning effect. Those previously attuned to the Horrors previous fixation for all thing garage retro be prepared for a delightful surprise because this babe sees London’s finest and skinniest tearing up their own rule book to pay homage to the New York duo and in to the bargain committing to wax perhaps their finest moment to date. Hot, sweaty, dark and deliriously seductive, the Horrors reframe ’Shadazz’ and take it to a different place, packed with drip effect atmospherics, this shadow mooching babe cuts itself a sublime pedigree in primitive tension as it manifests with reptilian glee welded to a hybrid dub-tronic vibe borrowed from Wagon Christ and loosely bound in a smoking 50’s styled torch like hue that suggests some kind of studio face off between a seriously blissed out Doors crossing swords with an early career Bryan Gregory Cramps with Gallon Drunk doing the business at the mixing desk. Flip the disc for a previously unreleased slab of Suicide captured doing their stuff in 1984 at the Irving Plaza in New York for a particularly punishing rendition of ’Radiation’ – ingrained with a proto glacial electro sheen much akin to Joy Division and late 70’s era Cabaret Voltaire this slice of Dadaist mutant dub is superbly glazed with a grizzled fractured post punk funk groove – bloody awesome stuff. Bringing up the rear another surprise offering it has to be said this time from Kaito’s Nikki Colk who under her Nic Void guise stumps up ’Rocket USA’. Those of you expecting the trademark fractured and frenetic shrieks think again, coming across like a test-tube creation culling together elements of Laurie Anderson, Nina Hagen and Nico, Nikki Void takes the temperature down to blood chilling levels on this bleak tranced out slice of austere electroid minimalism – monochrome and monotone left in her hands ’Rocket USA’ assumes an eerie blankness devoid of emotion almost inhumanly mechanic in detail, stunningly sparse and much reminiscent of the Normal’s ’Warm Launderette’ – goes without saying its an essential purchase. http://www.blastfirstpetite.com
A few Suicide vids….
First up ‘Mr Ray’…
And next ’Dream Baby Dream’…
Future instalments we are promised will feature tributes from Lydia Lunch, Primal Scream, Peaches, Sun O))), Spiritualized and more…..
Alison O’Donnell with Head South by Weaving ‘day is gone’ (fruits de mer). It’s not everyday we get cd packages through our mail box accompanied by press releases inscribed thus ‘please review these or we’ll give you crabs’. Being that we are enormous shell fish lovers we waited for said Hermits to arrive. Alas a week passed and no sign of our favourite crustacean. We were miffed and chomping at the bit ready to fire off a written complaint. But then being simplistic and innocent we scant realised that the crabs in question were not of the bug eyed claw variety but – as someone casually pointed out – something of a more hygiene bent. Shocked at the revelation said CD was immediately placed in a controlled quarantine environment and left to stew for a week only to miraculous unfurl and reveal itself as a rather tasty two track offering featuring the combined talents of Mellow Candle’s Alison O’Donnell and Head South by Weaving which is essentially the one man alter ego of Kilter guitarist Graeme Lockett. Hot on the heels of her recently released and very much recommended collaboration with the Owl Service, O’Donnell trains her sights on the work of two of the 60’s most revered fallen idols – Nick Drake and Nico – as part of Fruit de Mer‘s ongoing covers series. Pressed on limited quantities of coloured wax of the seven inch variety within which you’ll find enclosed a signed insert with sleeve artwork provided by Aritomo who you may – or may not if your so inclined – recall us fondly commenting on that damn fine 7 inch he did for Bracken a while back (Bracken of course loosely being Fruits de Mer’s sister label – for a review reference see missive 143) while prized between the grooves a brace of remarkable re-appraisals whose intention it seems is to have you all a swoon lie quietly in wait. There’s something criminally complete about each and every part of Nick Drake’s work, the deft cast of shy eyed bitter sweetness and naked naivety seduced by the faintness of the lushly treated pastoral aspects that suggests those attempting to apply their own individual stamp in terms of covers are fighting a cause that’s lost before its begun. ’day is done’ originally appearing on Drake’s debut full length ’five leaves left’ is a case in point – refined, elegant and unassumingly exquisite, it is one of the less celebrated compositions in Nick’s canon though nevertheless untouchable. That said left in the hands of O’Donnell and Lockett a sense of measured mesmerising mystery is coaxed to the fore, the texture applied is one that is more spectral than the original, Drake’s mellow pastoral touch is replaced by a caressing ghostly hue woven from the subtle dash of softly shimmering and hauntingly hushed psyche intonations. Flip the disc for the superior ‘frozen warnings’ – originally recorded at the tale end of the 60’s it serves as one of the often overlooked jewels in the Nico canon, O’Donnell captures perfectly the fragile almost chilling monochrome appeal of the original and frames it within a darkly hollowing ethereal soft psyche folk mantra like bewitchment that’s both statuesque in deliverance and enchantingly epic in appearance. Indescribably essential. http://www.brackenrecords.com
Stay ‘rainy day mushroom pillow’ (fruits de mer). Some labels eh – not content with serving up one assured gem seems the Fruits de Mer workshop have been burning the candle both ends so to speak because no sooner do we dispatch with much fondness one release then along comes another in quick succession. The phrase London buses springs to mind. Stay hail from Spain – to be more precise Barcelona in case you were desperate for the information. This lot number four in the ranks and to date have released a handful of home grown 60’s styled singles that we’d like to assume have been eagerly snapped up by the sunglasses adorned in crowd. Again limited in quantity and pressed up on coloured wax replete with fetching inserts this decidedly tasty slab of groove features three covers of certified nuggets from the celebrated kaleidoscopic pens of Strawberry Alarm Clock, Rolling Stones and Graham Nash. Opening with Strawberry’s ‘rainy day mushroom pillow’ Stay embark on a lazy eyed head trip. Deliciously festooned with swirling Hammonds this little cutie apply with sugar glazed brush strokes is endowed with a mallowy aura that’s sumptuously laced with trip wiring hallucinogens and lavishly decorated in mind vaporising dream coats of arabesque mirages that sound for all the world like they’ve stepped straight into the cold bright light of a late 60’s morning sun from an evenings festivities at the UFO club. Next up a spectral and overtly mellower take on the Stones star glazed ’2,000 light years from home’ which I‘ll admit has recently been found looming on our player courtesy of Beyond the Wizards Sleeves re-drill of it which had spending the best part of a day during the summer trying to weed out our Stones copy mainly due to the fact that we’d forgotten how bloody good the cut was, left to the Sway lads a loose drifting gem appears in view that strangely sounds not unlike a seriously chilled out Charlatans shimmying up to a ’Planecrash’ era Inspiral Carpets. Best of the set is their recalibration of Graham Nash’s immortal ’Chicago’ – a stunningly drifting country tinged power driven cutie superbly dashed and haloed with some moments of sublimely smoked passages of freewheeling drive time AOR that had us recalling some of the finer moments from his old sparring partner Neil Young’s back catalogue as though being recast by an in form early career Teenage Fanclub. Utterly recommended listening. http://www.brackenrecords.com
The video for ’rainy day mushroom pillow’ goes a lot like this…..
Uh Oh’s ‘cheat cheater’ (NRONE). More NRONE ear gear for your discerning lugs amid what seems like a positive hive of activity at present from Norwich’s finest imprint given we’ve recently been treated to gem from Tin Man and Aeroplane with a further tasty teaser coming from the Kabeedies once that is we can lay our hands on it in all the chaos in the singled out record shed. Anyhow to the Uh Oh’s – hopefully we’ve got this right when we say that this lot where once the Pistolas in a different life – though you‘ll have to take our word for it cos we’ve somehow – annoyingly I might add – managed to lose the attending press release. Anyhow there’s three of them – 2 boys one girl and ‘cheat cheater’ is their debut sortie into pop’s multi coloured cross textured cosmos and it’s a bit of babe even if I do say so myself. Obviously veering in close proximity to their fellow label mates Violet Violet, the venom lashed ‘cheat cheater’ seethes with impatient agitation a scalding broadside of discovered infidelity that finds itself welded fast to a frankly acutely spiked manically jarring angular underpin whose controlled caustic assaults appear for all the world to be literally trying to poke their way into your psyche, through all this Naomi consumed with betrayal and vengeful scorn unleashes her wrath with such unhinged scalping precision that you’d suspect getting on the wrong side of her would be a akin to turning up an the local accident and emergency requesting surgeons to whip off your crown jewels. Again as is always the case the killer bit of the twin set is over on the flip, ‘your body and CH’ is a blistered kick in the eye, creepily seductive and darkly woven with a sweaty claustrophobic hot ’n’ horny mindset, this sparse and loosely punishing mutant white funk flexed slab of schizoid blistered blues mooches and prowls with a feline prowess as though a youthful PJ Harvey where shimmying up to Katastrophy Wife – well worth sticking around just to hear the freebasing helter skelter free for all carnage crunching finale.
And wouldn’t you know it – with the application of some serious rooting around the gaff we’ve managed to unearth not only the spanking new disc from the Kabeedies but another little gem from the NRONE which somehow initially escaped our attentive affections by the Lost Levels…..
The Kabeedies ‘ten animals I slam in a net’ EP (NRONE). Okay this cutie is out and about in record land right now pressed up on fetching slabs of red wax. Of course there should be no need of introductions given that their debut release ‘lovers ought to’ (see missive 161) for the ever perfect Cherryade imprint had us all in a spin. Now apparently signed up to Fierce Panda’s Cool for Cats off shoot and ready to go nuclear for now though squeezed into their busy work roster comes this spanking three track morsel. Three tracks with a total duration of just over 5 minutes mightn’t sound like a good return but then these cute devils you suspect don’t believe in sticking around and padding out their wares by over emphasising the grooves – just say what you’ve got to say play what you’ve got to play job done seems to be their creed and hell I wish their where more like them I mean who needs stone cold 9 minute solos and frankly endless and pointless extended mixes whose only purpose it seems is to soundtrack me acquiring facial hair and an ever decreasing will to live. Ah the joys of a lonely record reviewer. Where were we – ah yes the Kebeedies. ‘palindromes’ sounds as though its escaped an early 80’s Peel record box, wickedly off the wall dislocated and fried time signatures who appear to have a curiously insidious ability to plug directly into your nervous system and have your feet a tapping wildly to the frenetic floorshow of crookedly skittish white funk art pop – criminally catchy though we suspect they slyly wile away the evenings listening to old Popticians tunes. Barely pausing for breath and up pops the audaciously cute ’king Canute’ – more impish lo-fi loveliness that shares a similar pop art doodled canvas as those loveable rascals the Lovely Eggs for what is a galloping and wonkily dinky dimpled spot of sprightly low calorie fizzy party pop leaving the brief but fluffy acoustic ’coaster game’ to round up the set and weave its lilting Hefner like softness into the ether. Sweet. http://www.nrone.co.uk
The Lost Levels ’never the first’ (NRONE). How we managed to miss this the first time around literally beggars belief, the more in tune among you have probably already bought, played it to near destruction and secretly made jottings noting it as one of your favourite releases of the year so far – and who would blame you. As melodically astute a release that NRONE have released to date, the Lost Levels are a Norwich based quartet who arguably have an enviable knack of finding pristine cuts of pop down the backs of sofas, behind the fridge and up in the loft, this is the sound of the West Coast relocated to East Anglia. Three tracks feature within all indelibly crafted with a inscrutable pop sensibility and yet woven with a mercurial artistry that suggests a record collection fondly poured over and informed by a near distant golden era. So what have we got ’magnificent’ – sorry just couldn’t resist we’ve been overdosing of late on the Clash so forgive us for that impromptu bout of straying. The Lost Levels dole out sumptuous slices of sun soaked honey combed nuggets of invigorating softly toned west coast pop, from the opening rush of the impish ’never the first’ – a bracingly kooky kaleidoscopic beat pop treat that takes its cue seemingly from Cockney Rebels ’Mr Soft’ albeit as though the laddish element of ’Parklife’ era Blur had spray painted it with dapples and daubs of the Small Faces to the tear stained dream pop crests of the wounded and unrequited tingle of ’pop song 2’ the Lost Levels acquit themselves admirably in their ability to field contagious cherry stones of pop. That said its the parting ’shuffle’ that steals the show a gorgeously cute sugar dipped shy eyed tinker bell caressed by warmly radiating mid 70’s AOR harmonies and a goofily flighty melodic framing tenderly recalling the crisply calibrated pop confection of Van Dyke Parks, Ashley Park, Ben Folds 5 and Brighton’s Brigadier. Irresistible stuff.
http://www.myspace.com/v68publishing – okay this is the publishing arm of the Orchestra Pit Collective who are responsible to putting out and indeed promoting damn fine tasty sounds around London town, you may well recall us featuring one of the labels current releases – that superb ’three blind mice’ single from Terry Edwards and the Scapegoats, well in addition to that there’s a spot of tastiness from Country Dad to come – once that is we manage to root the single out from the humungous CD pile and something from the legendary Ted Milton under his more recognisable musical guise Blurt which sadly our copy persisted in playing the Terry Edwards tracks -which is no bad thing though slightly annoying when you’re looking to hear Blurt ditties, management have been notified and the rare miss-press CD has been safely stored in the pension fund vault for safe keeping. Oh and we almost forgot to mention this is the same label responsible for that excellent Naim Amour 10 inch.
http://www.myspace.com/thedirtyhearts – an Austin, Texas based quartet headed up by Frankie Medina and Calida who apparently came about by sheer accident when the former was drafted in to produce the latter. Two albums under their collective belts in the shape of their self titled debut from 2006 and the recently released ’pigs’ which on hearing these cuts we’ve an inkling we need to get in our gaff sooner rather than later.
And that’s your lot until the end of the week wherein we’ll be back with stuff from Muleskinner Jones, Mississippi Witch, the Subliminal Girls, Rod Thomas, loads of NRONE gear and plenty more besides….
As usual thanks to all those who have made these ramblings possible and thanks to you for reading it. As always email firstname.lastname@example.org while updates are via http://www.myspace.com/thesundayexperience
Take good care of yourselves…
first transmitted – October 2008