singled out – missive 179

 

Singled Out
Missive 178

For Kelly and Mark

Singled Out – revolutions of a 45 kind.
Mahjongg ‘free groove rider’ (k). Limited to just 500 copies and already causing turntable eruptions amid some of the more in tuned play lists and sure to sell out in an instant, this dinky seven inch sees Mahjongg going head to head with the Selector Dub Narcotic (Calvin Johnson) on an uber limited wax treat. Previously unknown to us – the Chicago collective who self describe their ridiculously alluring aural brew – per their my space page – as tropical / industrial / experimental – which I’m sure you’ll agree covers several broad bases drop the incredibly catchy and disturbingly smoked ‘free groove rider’ via the esteemed K imprint, a strangely intoxicating toe tapping workout that incorporates elements of ska, reggae, afro tribal rhythms and dub-tronic dialects and wires them all up into a delightfully skittish though irresistible floor rumbling psychotropic stew replete with vocoder vocals that easily files itself somewhere between Eek a Mouse, Clint Eastwood and General Saint and Dread zone – how neat is that eh? Flip the disc for K records founder and former Beat Happening man Calvin Johnson operating under his long serving Selector Dub Narcotic guise turning in a superbly sultry shoe shuffling floor rumbling arabesque dub gem on his ‘free groove’ re-drill – we suggest you whack up the bass settings and observe your listening space being shaken into oblivion by the fat throbbing grooves – well smart. http://www.krecs.com

Tony Face Big Roll Band ‘Lady Day and John Coltrane’ (Hammond Beat). Those of you with long memories may well recall us raving about the first three limited 7 inch releases via Hammond Beat’s Hi-Fi singles series (we’re sadly a little short on the 5th to round up the set – it being by Phat Fred). This particular release which somehow went for an impromptu wander finds the Tony Face Big Roll Band turning in a superb brace of covers, this is the collective put together by Antonio Bacciocchi that features amid its ranks Captain Hammond’s Paolo Negri whilst incorporating the killer sassy soulful pipes of Yo Kalb. Anyway as previously this babe comes housed in a dinky die cut jacket and is strictly limited to just 250 copies and as it says on the tin features lashings of 60’s keys of the Hammond variety. Here you’ll find a pretty nifty reading of the Beatles’ ’hey bulldog’ being given a big hair hippy dippy kaleidoscopic treatment which featured anywhere else would have given cause for much swooning though here it pails into a seriously lagging runner up spot faced with its lead cut flip. Now we’ll be the first to admit that Gil Scott Heron is a much under appreciated luxury in our gaff, put that down to a) our laziness (the favourite by a country mile) and b) the fact that there are just shed loads of records out there and it just happens that some artists sadly escape the gaze of the turntable – GSH much to our horror and inexplicable embarrassment being one of them (we will I can assure you rectify this forthwith). Anyhow ‘Lady Day and John Coltrane’ – a tribute to Billie Holliday and John Coltrane – is perhaps one of his best loved cuts features here – and frankly it just has to be heard to be believed, by far the best of the releases that we’ve heard emanating from under the Hammondbeat Hi-Fi series to date, featuring an impeccable vocal performance by Yo Kalb that’s stunningly braided by a seriously smoked and sultry up-tempo funk psychotropic mind warping hip hugging groove that sounds for all the world as though its been telephoned in direct from the 60’s. Essential ear gear. http://www.hammondbeat.com

And just in case you’re wondering what the original sounds likes – well…….

It’s a buffalo ‘marbles’(Akoustik Anarkhy). Another welcomed return for a beat pop combo who’ve already graced these pages to much adoring affection in recent times with their essential ear gear wares ‘broken toy’ and ‘divorce song’ (see missive 125). Currently holed up somewhere in the North West busily piecing together gems that will eventually cohesively form together what will be their debut full length entitled ‘don’t be scared’ – this latest release sees the pairing of ‘marbles’ and ‘belt me in the back’ dispatched with much love and destined to plug the aching gap until that aforementioned debut full length platter arrives and into the bargain provide your listening endeavours with another mightily fine brace of ripping tunes tailored to have your toes a tapping until the blighters drop off in exhaustion. Evermore leaning towards something approaching a prairie hoedown, It’s a Buffalo stump up the radiance by a shed load ’marbles’ in order to bring a little sun, cheer and general good feeling ‘n’ well being on these ever darkening nights and brass monkey worrying days, dare we say their best yet this ambling rambling cutie sounds like the cavalry coming over the hill, pepper corned with a punch drunk (on moonshine no doubt) campfire homeliness, blessed with a chorus hook you could shake a small tree at, laden with warmth filled harmonies and buttoned down with some ear bending whistle friendly chim chim cher-ee chimes and invested with a lip smacking prowl happy needling riff that to these ears methinks was bagged from the melody box of Big Country – still you can’t fault them – file somewhere between Pavement and Garlic (which I suppose is like saying file away between light red and lighter red – ho hum). Flip the disc for the equally addictive ’belt me in the back’ which at various intervals had me recalling the ridiculously underrated Half Man Half Biscuit – albeit that’ll be Nigel and Co after several pints and a night tuned into the delights of ’Durable Dream’ era Moviola, a smidgeon of the Summer Hymns and liberal doses of Buffalo Springfield – yee har! Still sounds crooked as hell, slightly off kilter and frankly unlike anything else daring to bother our hi-fi of late which I suppose push come to shove is the reason we adore them. Any questions? No – well buy. http://www.akoustikanarkhy.co.uk

Bearsuit ‘pushover’ (fantastic plastic). Obnoxiously sweet. There’s a faintly worrying though hitherto irresistible charm to the Norwich based pranksters Bearsuit, that kind of beaming cuteness that freewheels amid their carnival of chaos, the way their riotous knee jerking day-glo art styled abstract pop remains acutely addictive and affectionate in an almost calamitous nursery like knowing way, like an impishly erratic and highly strung Magoo tripping on an overdose of e numbers and with that the obvious proud parents of all manner of excitable ensembles who should by rights be decorating your turntable with regular visitations – here we are thinking label mates Victorian English Gentlemens Club, the ever cute Lovely Eggs and Johnny Foreigner. And so to this delightfully disturbed twin set, the agit art disco demolishing ’pushover’ – a tale of little people being pushed around by big people, alas not really an issue I’ve ever had to put up given that at a tender age I was by all accounts made to spend my childhood living in a greenhouse while being force fed illegal growth hormones, the only bonus’ of which I can tell that have thus enriched my life have been I can reach tall shelves (tall shelves not top shelves – just want to correct that here and now), wear long coats and skinny jeans without looking like an umpah lumpa, have unrestricted views at gigs and cinemas and able to tell when the tomatoes have ripened. Alas the downside is that every little bloke and his family and friends (their usually waiting outside unbeknownst to the challenged) wants to prove how hard he is. Ho hum onward we go – where were we – ah yes ’pushover’ – a neat (just over) 2 minute slab of edgily fractured and wired schizoid art pop replete with shouty vocals, crooked bass lines and blessed with a finger jabbing frantic friction that at points sounds not unlike a seriously detached Helen Love playing all the wrong chords. Mighty fine in our book. By all accounts ’Robot Arms’ is soon to feature on a Vo*****ne ad being serviced by M*V, a sprightly bugger less frenetic that its flip side cousin though considerably more off centred, dippily funky in a kind of dislocated way and positively cuckoo. Destined to wire itself under your skin assume tenants rights in your headspace wherein it‘ll hold impromptu parties at 4 in the morning whilst having you resorting to momentary blasts of public whistling much to your embarrassment. Guess that means you need it in your life then. http://www.myspace.com/fantasticplasticrecords – while you’re there also take a peak at the latest I Like Trains release ’the Christmas tree ship’ which we appear at present to be a little light of. Bah humbug.

http://www.myspace.com/theslidingrule – partly by way of an apology for not replying to an earlier email and for not attending the Arrows of Love (by all accounts massively successful) gig at the Scala last month, we are shy creatures who rarely leave our retreat unless jabbed with a cattle prod and even then you have to find and pin us down. Anyway Nima – who is the Sliding Rule was once lead for Hush the Many – who sadly called it a day recently and whose absolutely divine ’Storyend’ you can find on the third killer instalment of Northern Star’s ongoing ’psychedelica’ compilation series – now fronts the newly formed Arrows of Love (gets all very confusing doesn’t it – fickle pop stars eh?). Anyhow back on track and less waffle the Sliding Rule side of matters appears to be taking a sabbatical at the moment – already having released one split single with the Zetland Players in the shape of ’DC-13’ – which incidentally you’ll find here – though we just wanted to draw your attention to ’devil spoke – part 1’ – both hauntingly exquisite and fearlessly fragile and tenderly craft with an acutely beautifully bleak aura this delicately woven babe will cut you deep with its glowering introspection whilst simultaneously imagining a three way split between Lee Hazlewood, Leonard Cohen and Rodriguez. The faraway softly stirred shimmering psych folk of ’moonlight’ – here showcased in its snippet form – has the bare boned hint of another gem in the embryonic stage – did someone really say Tim Buckley?

http://www.myspace.com/arrowsoflove – and as we mentioned them above then why not mention them here we thought and so we did. A holding page as its ruefully described – seems these shy eyed creatures aren’t quite ready to advertise their wares while they busy themselves grounding in the line up. As said previously headed up by Nima ex of Hush the Many and here aided and abetted by five close acquiantances drawn by and large from Eraserhead, Kid Harpoon and friends made along the Hush the Many road. Sadly no showcasing play list – as yet – though you will find a teaser video of a live performance. So – big question – do they sound like Hush the Many – yes and er no in a (as helpful as always) nutshell, difficult to gage on just one cut alone but Arrows of Love appear on initial listens to be cut with a harsher dynamic, all at once ragged, fraught and clipped with an untamed and unhinged intensity that Nima’s former charges often hinted at though never ventured full on into. Throw into the mix the fact that they appear decidedly dishevelled and shambolic which we must admit is all fine and dandy with us and as an added bonus hinting at times towards early career Pixies. We need to hear more.

Holly and the Katie Winter ‘come to me’ (self released). We’d have sworn that we’d mentioned the Katie Winter in passing on a previous missive but we’ll be buggered if we can find a linking tag. Anyhow its essentially the solo work of Les King who some of you may well better know for his work as Uncle Black who in their time have eked out a formidable collection of singles and albums for the strangely quite of late Backwater imprint. Uncle Black in case you were wondering are at present taking a sabbatical following the death of Les’ father with this material being the first tentative recordings since the sad bereavement. The Holly in question – as in Holly and the Katie Winter is a certain Holly Burton who according to the short note attached to this CD heard Les’ tracks and without having ever met delicately applied her vocals to said cuts. Inspired by elements of contemporary folk in particular Will Oldham, a strange beguiling chemistry is hatched amid this trio of cuts, it’s a chemistry that courts with bewitching prowess a timeless flavour that these days seems more attuned and in common with the likes of the Owl Service, Circulus and Men At Tol, the beautified entwining of King and Burton’s harmonies vibrantly compliment each other, the mood and imagery crafted within is one that ushers in a divinely spectral tide of serene un-worldliness. Dappled with village green maypole mirages and softly watermarked by the gentle ebb and flow of drifting rustics the aptly named and willowy ’drift’ frequents the same wild and untamed nature bound lush lined landscapes that was envisaged on Paul Giovanni’s incredibly matured and timeless soundtrack for ’the wicker man’, Burtons vocals in particular deserving of closer attention falling as they do somewhere between Eliza Carthy, Nancy Wallace and Alison O’Donnell, the underpinning melodies carefree and demurring exude a tranquil and subtly smoked sense of enchantment. Assuming something approaching a lovers mantra ’come to me’ is decoded with a briskly forlorn woodland charm that finds itself deceptively spellbinding in its hushed intones though frankly it shies away into the shadows with the onset of the sets best moment, the parting ’each day is a song’ – from the delicate monotone strums acting as a superb undercarriage for the sweetly caressing though clearly bruised and wound licking introspective harmonic freewheeling silkily escaping above, we here are thinking of a shyly retiring Pentangle performing a campfire duet with a seriously chilled Nico and with that look forward to hearing more – soon. http://www.myspace.com/thekatiewinter http://www.myspace.com/hollyburton1

P.S. we should have also mentioned that Les currently has a book available for purchase and download featuring lyrics taken from his work as Uncle Black and the Katie Winter along with some selected poetry – the publication entitled ’the companion set’ is available via http://www.lulu.com/content/2081794

http://www.myspace.com/interkosmosjam – we don’t mind admitting that these dudes have been tweaking our radar like bad un’s since they were found venturing out of our speakers. Interkosmos are an Austrian based three piece who seem to delight in crafting glassy eyed star glazed sonic sculptures, from the trance like hyper driven bliss grooves of ‘rock it’ to the brain washing pirouetting cosmic ambience of ‘float boat’ these space cadet renegades clinically rewire your listening space with effects laden mind vaporising meditative mirages. The far out ‘lift off’ – itself a hulking 11 and a half minute astral planed odyssey – is a sumptuous slice of woozy drug fused laid back lunatics that embarks on a dot joining exercise that embraces to its terra forming tapestry elements of soft psyche, post rock, prog and space rock while finding itself sitting somewhere between Tangerine Dream and Spectrum. ‘Eden trip’ on the other hand provides for an ominous psyche jam work out replete with all manner of droning effects echoes much reminiscent of the likes of Alphane Moon and Our Glassie Azoth, though scratch a little deeper and the subtle in roads of the abstract alchemy brewing within clearly pays dues to those scarce and long since deleted early turntable transmissions from the mighty Green Milk from the Planet Orange while those of you who like your sounds a little more approaching a cinematic styled gun slinging Mexicana stand off will do well to tune into the dust swept ’Kosmas amigos’ where amid the snaking riffs and arid landscapes you’ll be serenaded by the distant aural apparitions of ’Cortez the Killer’ era Neil Young as though here found shimmying up to the Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. Excellent stuff and certainly not the last time you’ll be seeing them featured here if I have any say in the matter that is.

http://www.myspace.com/timelordmichalis – the info is a little fuzzy on this but this appears to be a page dedicated to a Greek radio show called the ‘time machine’ who appear on your nob twiddling transistor dial at 91.5 FM Tripolis, Greece – dealing in all things incense, peppermints, strut and mind warping lysergic tipped garage grooves. Anyhow aside the radio show they also publish a fanzine called Timemazine which arrived pre-loaded with interviews and features on all the essential cats involved in the psych / garage scene while additional being bolstered by a hand picked CD compilation featuring – we assume – some of the coolest around in record-ville – we’ll try and nail copies for a future missive review.

http://www.myspace.com/primordialundermind – seems these dudes have been around for aeons with a selected discography citing 1991’s ’swimming the ultra maroon’ as being their official debut outing. Blimey how we’ve so far managed to remain oblivious to them is beyond us, great name though all the same don’t you reckon, these noise nik freak beat merchants hail from Vienna and as their name so rightly suggests seem intent on pummelling your head space with their unrelenting swamp laced free form sonic skrees, a colossal fringe parting aural alliance that sees splintered remnants of garage grooves acid dipped in ferocious squalls of mind withering psyche stew and dispatched amid white hot cauldrons of intensely festering monolithic overtures of grizzled blues goo the deeply macabre ’intercessor’ in particular veering in close proximity to the much loved Green Milk from Planet Orange (second mention this missive – where are those blighters when you need them?) replete as it is with drifting dust bowled arid mirages, howling cavernous opines, monastic meditative spell charms, claustrophobic swathes of eerie drone atmospherics – one we suspect best viewed from the safety afforded by the rear of the settee though thankfully its chill is watered somewhat by the warming tranquillity of the John Fahey styled fragile and smoke delta blues accented ’breathe deep’.

http://www.myspace.com/sulatronrecords – Dave from Sulatron records kindly got in touch with us following our mentioning of InterKosmos (see above) offering to send a sample of cd’s from their roster as well as a promo for Interkosmos all of which you can expect to see reviews for in these pages in the near future. For now though some serious treats for the psyche loving aural alchemists among you can be found on this the labels MS page. German space cadets Electric Orange open the proceedings with ‘gewaechs’ – seems these dudes have been on an extended intergalactic odyssey since forming way back in 1992 having to date relayed back from the deepest reaches of the galaxy eight cosmic grooved full length transmissions, the quintet craft a mind wiring gridlocked brew that fuses together elements of kraut, astral ambience and space psyche into a lush kaleidoscopic dream coat of sound this warping beauty in particular coming across like Ecstatic Peace’s Awesome Color adding detailed drug blessed psychedelic enhancements to Cluster transcendental hypnotics – that said we suggest you head over and check out ‘wald’ this instant which you’ll find on their MS page at http://www.myspace.com/abgelaufen a treat yourself to a killer fringe parting slice of Goblin meets Amon Duul II. Again hailing from Germany, Berlin to be precise, Zone 6 have been piloting their interstellar sonic trajectories for just over ten years now, showcased here ‘something’s missing’ gives you half a hint of what for some of us has been found going a tad astray on our hi-fi all this time that being a healthy dollop of seductively trance like and out there cosmic spell crafting that to us sounds not unlike a markedly spaced out and celestially haloed March Violets. Further viewings under the melodic microscope are recommended by retuning the dials to http://www.myspace.com/zonesixtrance wherein the reclining lunar orbits of the chilled out ‘hopscotch’ and the speaker thumping untamed cacophonic freak show that is ‘rockhead to eden’ lie in wait. Lava on the other hand are a Swedish eight piece whose MS page incidentally takes what seems like a light year and a half to load, well worth the wait though it should be said given they craft a strangely alluring brew of psych tipped warping prog folk which in the case of the gloriously meditative ‘t-bone’ once inside your headspace proceeds to evolve in the most trippy way imaginable with the looping mirages, backward cycles and hazy hypnotics expanding and free-forming to assume a curiously unsettling lunatic dub spectacle that had us momentarily recalling Muslim Gauze with much affection. Of course the more inquisitive among you may well fancy treating yourselves to the clearly dippy and off centred after hours jazz jug jamboree that is the smoked and skewiff ‘boogie’ via http://www.myspace.com/lavabg. With a handful of releases tucked under his belt Annot Rhul is essentially the solo work of Norwegian star gazer Sigurd Luhr Tonna, irrefutably influenced by post Barrett era Pink Floyd and while ‘carlos brothers‘ may well seductively tap into their pre ‘Dark Side‘ work replete as it is with loungey 70‘s dialects we suggest you skip over to http://www.mysapace.com/annotrhulmusic and tune into the killer ‘lost in the woods‘ wherein Gilmour and Co are found freefalling in the glassie climes of the more mesmeric and cosmically honed moments of Stereolab’s ’Cobra’ set whilst sumptuously serviced with elements of Krzysztof Komeda while ’the dark lord’ is riddled with all manner of Deep Purple meets Hawkwind shenanigans ripe for the space cadets among you. More head tripping groove this time from Austrian psychedelicists Sula Bassana who is essentially the solo vehicle for label head honcho Dave Schmidt (see earlier – who also splits his time playing in Interkosmos, Zone Six and Alice Dog) – anyhow ’von menschenland’ featured here is a natty slice of mind evaporating chilled out cosmically cruise controlled snake winding kraut ambience that nearly had us here reaching for our stash of Harmonia and Tangerine Dream tunes for comparison until that is when things decidedly upped a gear or three 5 minutes in wherein we were helplessly trying to root out our prized Zombi / Goblin offerings – as always though we recommend you shuffle over to http://www.myspace.com/sulabassana and rip yourself the very odd, surreal and clearly fractured ’space taxi’ – a wonderful slice of impishness that to these ears sounds like a recently exhumed gem from an rare attic find featuring a hitherto unknown collaboration between a youthful Suicide and Silver Apples being crookedly tampered and tinkered with by John Baker and his Radiophonic Workshop buddies. Last up for this particular showcase comes courtesy of Norwegian quintet Seid who here are represented by ‘starlas dream’ – a shimmering slice of coolly coalesced effects laden spangled prog pop – did someone say Levitation – though we firmly reckon you should instead twiddle your mouse towards http://www.myspace.com/seidrock for the frankly wired and just a tad bonkers ‘the evil gnome‘ – an surreal prog / art bop carnival liberally laced with acid flashbacks – lets just say we’ll leave you with this think – King Crimson being given a good kicking by the Cravats and the Cardiacs.

Tallulah Rendall ’lay me down’ (transducer). Must take some beating being told you have a ’wonderful voice’ by none other than Shirley Bassey – with that kind of acclaim you’d suspect most artists would happily retire and spend the ensuing years solely trading on that moment sealing morsel. Not Tallulah Rendall this London based songstress has set up her own label so as to keep her music out of the thumb twiddling unit chasing bandwagon jumping controlling freaks that you and I lovingly refer to as major labels. A handful of releases already in the hands of those of the clued up record buying cognoscenti and an album in the shape of ’Libellus’ currently doing the rounds which we suspect we’ll have to nail as our own just so that we can get a peaceful nights sleep safe in the knowledge that its within easy reach of our hi-fi. Clearly freefalling in the vapour trails left by the likes of Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and Regina Spektor, Rendall is clearly touched with a rare and exquisite sense of artistry, both playfully tender and primed with a sense of theatre and classicism much like a youthful Kate Bush, ’lay me down’ is clipped with an eerie enchantment, both demurring and demanding yet spellbinding and sultry, the torch like treatments throughout abridged and sweetly countered by an innate passion that swirls with a subtle though hitherto intoxicating tide rushing dramatic tension – and apologies for ruining the mood so far but it just has to be said – its as horny as hell. Those wanting to hear more – and we strongly suspect you do want more – are advised to head forthwith over to http://www.myspace.com/tallulahrendall and fill your boots with the near divinely siren-esque ethereal folk rocking ’only you’.

Okay that’s it for a day or so – expect another quickly drilled missive hopefully before the weekend closes wherein there will be spots for Expo 70, Black to Comms, Paul Roland, a nifty trio of Trensmat records and a shed load of other top tasty turntable morsels with which you wobble your radar with. As always thanks to all who’ve made these missives possibly – names and addresses of said culprits available on request. Contact details as always via mark@losingtoday.com or else visit the update page at http://www.myspace.com/thesundayexperience where you can grab among other things a snail mail point.

I’m also taking requests for strange, rare and obscure Xmas related tunes so please feel free to direct me to links and such like, these will all be lovingly woven into an extra bumper Singled Out Festive Special which should arrive in cyberspace shortly before Chrimbo day.

Last of all just leaves me to say thanks to you for dropping by and reading this and er take care of yourselves….

Mark
X

first published – november 2008

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