missive 200 (d)
Fever Ray ‘when I grow up’ (unknown). And so there we were casually flicking through the pages of the latest issue of Plan B when we came across a most striking photograph of the Knife’s Karin and looking not unlike some Apache styled shamanic priestess, it really is inspired imagery. But then this is one half of the Knife a duo who excel to enthral in all manner of breathtaking and more often than not eerily supernatural visual detail. It seems Karin and Olaf are on sabbatical, re-emerging as Fever Ray the sister side of the equation appears determined not to rest on her laurels and in the shape of her debut self titled full length has delivered a set of such strange chemistry and ethereal beauty that you’d be almost forgiven for thinking the Knife – who? We are assuming that this is the first track culled from the set, well its either this or ’If I had a heart’ the albums opener – itself coming across like some archaic mystic mantra which at times could easily pass for Fleetwood Mac’s ’tusk’ albeit relocated to some dust bound and remote Aboriginal spiritual burial ground. ’when I grow up’ on the other hand possesses all the tricks and trappings that first had the Knife tweaking our radar all those many years back, elegant and magisterial its framed in a hollowed and ghostly exotic hue beneath which a becoming unfurling seduction quietly stirs, hypnotic in texture and mistral like it glides and draws softly expelling a mysterious potion sweetly tendered with ethnic garlands all the time slowly but surely assuming depth and dimension like a developing image of a photograph, the full focus being complete with the arrival of the sweeping and arcing oriental rapture like motifs from 2.20 onwards. Gorgeous stuff. You can hear the album in full by redirecting yourself towards http://feverray.com/music/fever-ray/ while the rather wonderful video that accompanies said cut looks something like this……..
Ash Pool ‘Satan’s Slave’ (Hospital). We’ve tried playing this blighter at all manner of speeds each sounding wilfully ferocious to varying and dare we say terrifying degrees. Arriving as a rather pricey coloured vinyl 7 inch – 900 on blue 100 on clear via the eclectic New York based doom, drone, noise, psyche and everything in between imprint Hospital Productions whose catalogue in recent times seems to have boasted outings by the likes of Kevin Drumm, the Magik Markers, Prurient and the Hair Police, ‘Satan‘s Slave‘ sees the return to combat (and no doubt via for your soul) of Ash Pool (headed up by Hospital head honcho Dominick Fernow) following their full length ’world turns on its hinge’. As said two cuts feature within – we’ve settled for the 33rpm as it sounds less tormenting though must admit giving it a quick spin at 45rpm is akin to standing head on in the line of fire of some dastardly sand blasting exercise. Anyhow its vicious, its scalding, scares small children and animals alike and is frankly compulsive listening, the apocalyptic fury of lead out cut ‘origins of man’ really does have the hallmarks of some thing that’s recently crawled and slithered from the bowels of hell to front up some end of days crusade, utter sonic carnage that ruptures amid swollen seas of puss venting sickness, a bit like Killing Joke with a rocket up their arse if you must know – and evil at that. Flip the disc for ‘origins of aids’ – no doubt more head drilling brutality – we say no doubt as our copy sadly appears slightly pressed off centre and refuses to play even after persistent threats with the trusted hammer and pliers. Still bet you it’s a killer thing all eked in dread, despair and dark things alas we can but guess. http://www.hospitalproductions.com
Cold Cave ’painted nails’ (hospital). More essential ear gear from those unlovable rascals over at hospital productions, apparently this caustic cutie sold out of its initial pressing in the blink of an eye forcing the label to quickly dig out the stampers and in order to satiate the demand press up a further batch this time on clear vinyl. As with the previous Hospital release by Ash Pool (or rather more the flip side of it) we here are suspecting some pressing skulduggery is at hand of the a side which despite repeat plays appears to be sticking, stuttering and stopping at various intervals making our listening pleasure somewhat fraught with impatience and annoyance – so while we resend back to Cargo in order to get a playable copy then you’ll have to wait for the verdict on both ’sex ads’ and ’I’ve seen the future and its no place for me’. On a happier note – and a frustrating one it has to be said – the flip side actually plays fine and is rather we must admit rather spiffing at that. ’always someone’ – a gloriously hazy celestial trip primed with stratospheric swathes of shade wearing psyche tinged electronic washes and prepped with pupil dilating fringe arranging hypnotic mantras all dutifully bound up in chorus’ of shimmering white noise which to these ears sounds not unlike a seriously bliss driven Spacemen 3 poking around at the underside of Kevin Shields galactic mixing desk. A gem in a word. Oh yea they are from Philadelphia and we wouldn’t be surprised if they shortly end up being your new favourite band – certainly the best thing we‘ve heard around these parts since Cheval Sombre – class in other words. http://www.hospitalproduction.com
Wake the President / Je Suis Animal ‘split’ (electric honey). Thought the label name was familiar but didn’t make the connection until we did a bit of delving about. Basically overseen by HNC / HND music business students under the watchful eye of Creeping Bent head honcho Douglas MacIntyre, the principle behind which each year the students select a band and basically spend twelve months developing and polishing them up resulting in an album release. The label has in the past had the distinction of kick starting the careers of no less a formidable roll call whose names include Belle and Sebastian (’Tigermilk’) and Snow Patrol. Apparently Wake the President already has two single releases to their name as well as the recently surfaced debut full length a copy of which we’ll have to nail. This particular release pressed up o seven inches of black wax sees them sharing groove space with one of our current obsessions Je Suis Animal. Stumping up ’miss Tierney’ Wake the President do a neat line in affectionately sun breezed chiming twee pop the type that was once the remit of the Hoverchairs, Hey Paulette and the Bachelor Pad of whom we must admit in saying this throbbing sub three minute nugget is a ringer for while I suppose for good measure you could add in Decoration as an added reference marker, as to the sounds within the slender like cultivated slices of fleeting driftwood pop sweetly flavour the air space to bypass your defences and refresh and rejuvenate your surroundings with the delicate cascade of softly thrilled melodic hooks the type of which make you yearn for those celebrated Sarah morsels from yesteryear – blimey we’re getting all misty eyed now. Flip the disc for the simply adorable can do no wrong Je Suis Animal who if I recall rightly we mentioned last time out courtesy of their rather fine ’the mystery of marie Roget’ single for Angular which if you haven’t purchased by now and loved and played to the point of destruction then shame on you. Norway’s favourites pepper their side of the proceedings with ’fortune map’ – its another slab of c-86 caressed sugar glazed shimmering soft psyche pop liberally dusted and decorated with the subtle twist of 60’s motifs which to these ears sounds not unlike Camera Obscura upping their game several notches and found etching their own honeycombed take on a Shangri-La’s meets Spector type montage, its all hip wiggling good fun the donning of shades thoroughly recommended.
http://www.myspace.com/dirtystrangersw12 – those of you out there considering yourselves to be purists of the finest and dandiest rock-a-boogie turntable threads will do well to tune into the neatly distilled raw and free spirited garage blues aromas wafting up through the drain vents from the oily basement confines that houses the Dirty Strangers. Led from the front by Alan Clayton this beat pop combo have been around on and off since the mid 80’s stuffing under their collective big buckled leather belts two full lengths before embarking on a extended period of what can only be described semi retirement to which only recently they‘ve re-emerged clutching in their wake a bit of a bitch of an album in the shape of ‘West 12 to Wittering‘. And okay you might be thinking to yourselves at this point so what, what’s to get excited, well young folk only the merest detail that they are mates of both Keef and Ronnie, both of whom briefly cut loose from their Stones moorings and found hanging around the streets kicking their heels waiting for a tour call from Mick of the Stones decided to call in on the Dirty Strangers sessions and lay some vintage grooves to the proceedings. Add to that the appearance of 60‘s Brit rocker Joe Brown, the odd stray member of Chuck Berry‘s entourage – Scott Mulvey – and the appearance at the mixing desk of a certain Brian James (albeit for only one track – incidentally featured here – the hip hugging riff shimmying cool as f**k new wave kiss off that is ‘she‘s a real Botticelli‘ – which should in the first instance curry the adoring glances of Marco Pirroni‘s latest garage glam charges the Wolfmen) – and you have a veritable pedigree of iconic talent muscling up to what can only referred to as a super group wet dream – agreed? Anyhow their aforementioned new album is currently waiting in the wings – by all accounts a musical of sorts loosely based and inspired by Laurent’s ’west side story’ from which you‘ll find five teaser cuts currently rotating on the show-casing player and damn smart stuff it is to. Amid the roll call an impish cockney twang like pastiche of Ike and Tina Turner’s ’nutbush’ here re-dressed as ’shepherd’s bush city limits’ citing quite possibly the first reference of that postal areas most famous duo Steptoe and Son on a song. And while ’liberty smile’ is a killer slice of strut sneer and possessed of a riff veering in close proximity to ’I want candy’ it’s the ’diamonds buried treasure mix’ that had us suffering near fatal palpitations, cut with a seriously smoked and chilled laid back blissed out soul groove that if you didn’t know any better you’d swear had been intended for the Stones’ immortal ’exile on main st.’ set but had been too wasted to be arsed attending the track listing roll call. All said and done one for fans of the Makers’ own musical opera the criminally overlooked ‘rock star god’ from a few years back. Hell we wanna a copy.
Alan Vega and ARE Weapons ‘see tha’ light’ (blast first petite). Not sure how limited this is but to be on the safe side we suggest you get your arses into gear a grab a copy just in the case. Think we are right in saying that this is part of the ongoing covers series to celebrate Alan Vega’s 70th birthday – a series which basically gathers together a shed load of Suicide admirers and has them doing covers of all your favourite and universally well known Vega / Rev ditties. Sadly it seems we’ve missed a fair few of these along the way in fact we haven’t had a sniff since we featured Mr Springsteen and the Horrors outings – rest assured we’ll try and nail the absent members for a future missive. For now though comes this pretty nifty 2 track one sided twelve inch wherein you’ll find Mr Vega sharing studio space with Suicide obsessive’s A.R.E. Weapons. ’see tha’ light’ is so slyly dirty and disquietingly seductive its enough to give you the horn, bedded upon a seriously comatose and chilled out stutter drilled psych tinged funk loop the type of which that should find adoring and admiring glances from the likes of the Black Angels and the People’s Revolutionary Choir base camps and kitted out with a floor rumbling percussive underpin A.R.E. Weapons equip the grooves with a simplistic hazily glazed lysergic landscape that leaves Mr Vega to step up to the microphone and frankly do very bad things that all said and done border on sexual and no doubt are probably deemed illegal in certain territories, plenty of crooning to – hell its been an absolute age since we heard the damn man sound so blissed out and wasted. In addition you get a rather frazzled and dislocated in an electro mutated type way version of Edwin Starr’s ‘war’ which should serve to have all you lovers of the early 80’s proto techno minimalist future groove of the kind drifting across the ocean from the New York underground (Arthur Baker et al) literally falling over yourselves in swoon like adulation – mind you not a patch on ‘see tha’ light’ alas. http://www.blastfirstpetite.com
The Cocktail Slippers ‘st valentine’s day massacre’ (wicked cool). We featured this lot in past despatches over the yuletide season when they featured on the Way Cool primed slice of seasonal salutations that was the ’Christmas a go go’ set with ’santa is coming home’ whilst additionally noting if I recall rightly that the track ‘stop‘ – currently to be found residing on their my space player was a bit of a belter. hailing from Oslo this lot are a quintet of fine felines going by such names as Rocket Queen, Squirrel, Bella Donna, Sugar Cane and Lisa Farfisa who should shortly see the emergence of their ‘st valentine’s day massacre’ full length doing no doubt brisk business down at the local record emporiums across the continents. By way of a taster of things to come comes this quite nifty brace of Van Zandt penned ditties to sizzle your radar sand send you scampering in search of the pre-order buttons. Pressed up on 7 inches of jukebox styled vinyl the title track leads the charge, a purring power pop glide of country breezed honky tonking adorned groove it is to, festooned with Shangri La’s like la la la harmonies and lovingly braided in all manner of honey combed Hammonds and demurring 60’s hip shimmying motifs the type of which that had these ears much imagining a youthful Bangles in a face off with the Runaways. Flip the disc for the far superior ’heard you got a thing for me’ – a shy eyed harmony fronted babe laced with the softly pining shrill of 50’s styled bubblegum meets doo-wop curvatures and devilishly delivered within a slyly slinky chassis that you’d be easily be forgiven for thinking ought to come branded with the seal of approval from Chess / Ace. A gem. http://www.wickedcoolrecords.com
And here’s a video type thing for the single….
Plastic Toys ‘still alive’ (hill valley). Apt title considering we thought they’d thrown in the towel such is the seeming age since we last had any of their ear ware with which to woo our hi-fi with, in fact to much gnashing of teeth mainly due to the fact that we appear to have missed out on it, it seems this lot have been busy upping their profile by releasing a whole albums worth of stuff in the shape of last years ‘for tonight only’ debut. Of course no strangers to these pages given we eyed and were indeed blown away by their debut and debut single from what seems like aeons ago. Culled from the aforementioned debut full length ‘still live’ is a succulent desire laden bitter sweet and shadowy pop anthem of some measure, dinked in the braiding of retro glazed star crossed stadium saturating electronic swathes (think Duran Duran cross weaved with ‘jump’ era Van Halen) and armed and rippling with more hooks than a fishermen’s convention, this sleazy babe should by rights come accompanied with health warnings such is its addictive nature, evidently ripe for Stateside consumption and radio rotation it seems Plastic Toys still haven’t shaken off that unerring trait for kicking out grooves that instantly mainline into your senses and send your nervous system into scramble mode, all at once pulsating and throbbing and dare esay straying very much on the dirty and decadent side and frankly putting us in mind of Love and Rockets albeit that’ll be Ash and Co sent through White Rose Movement’s seduction blender. Flip over for crowd favourite ‘fabulous’ previously only available on an ultra limited CD accompanying the album (again to much grumbles something we seem to have missed out on – questions will be asked and blood will be spilt I can tell you). Anyway there’s a definite Nine Inch Nails thing going on here, very dark glam and frantic and furious and pretty much something that you’d imagine would lay waste to the most resistant of underground club floors across the land. Did we say essential – no – well its essential. http://www.myspace.com/plastictoys
Attica Rage ‘dark city’ (vanduara). Apparently there’s a debut full length kicking around by this lot entitled ‘ruin nation’ which we’re inclined to think is either imminent or at the very least has only just been released – which having heard this two track juggernaut we feel may well be deserving of more than a passing inquiring interest. Hailing from Glasgow Attica Rage as you’d no doubt gather from their name are a power driven tour de force, ‘dark city’ is a heavy load bearing bastard, fast, slick and raging and riddled with all your dietary required festering chops and splintered with an underlying wind swept apocalyptic menace that’s serviced with a scalding and frenzied armoury of heads down no nonsense pummelling melodic blues rock – the type of stuff we suspect will equally appeal to both fans of Mendeed and Iron Maiden. That said our favoured moment is found looming large over on the flip side (isn’t it always the case) wherein the big guns are trundled out to wage all manner of carnage for their fierce some re-drill of Motorhead’s iconic speed metal nugget ’overkill’. Admittedly they don’t add or detract to or from the original but hell if like us you foolishly decide to play at maximum volume then may we suggest you don tin hats and gaffa tape your prized possessions or else suffer the fate of having yourself pinned to the wall as though facing up some land flattening tornado of biblical proportions and your listening space reduced to dust. Criminally good. http://www.atticarage.com
http://www.myspace.com/odlandmusic – sounding not unlike something you’d expect to be appear on the Constellation or the nurturing arm of Fat Cat’s eclectic Splinter / 130701 sub imprints, Lyon based quartet Odland (that’s Odland with the Scandinavian accents on the ‘o’ making it meaning to be pronounced – if my schooling recalls rightly – Oooh – dland or at least something along those lines). They appear to have one release to their name at present – the recent ‘Ottocento’ full length which we here are thinking admirers of all things Eno, Budd, Satie and Hauschka should be seeking out without further delay notwithstanding the fact that these cuts are sometimes crafted and sculptured with a curious post rock symmetry that draws an affinity with Set Fire to Flames and Godspeed (especially on ‘les yeux de l’oiseau’), a tendency to be – shall we say a little impish in nature (see the tavern-esque up-tempo shanty like crookedness of ‘de Vienne a Paris’ and the bewitching switch that takes place on ‘la chanson du parasite’ wherein one minute its all deeply intense and sophisticated in a Serge type way the next seemingly relocated to some barrel piano festooned saloon bar replete with mewing stray cats) though mostly caressed with the deeply alluring sweep of classical intonations. Overall there’s a disquieting enchanted alchemy at work here whose roots can be traced to Goldfrapp’s ‘felt mountain’, these frail water coloured folk fancies tingle and twinkle within a sepia trimmed nostalgic canvas all the time endowing a sense of beguiled ghostly mystery that’s dressed and decorated by the teasing cortege of chiming lullabies, heart skipping cantering flurries and noir tweaked dramatics – as on ‘hype’. best moment of the set by a persuasive yank of the arm up the back proving to be ‘sur les murs de ma chambre’ not least because its possessed of a daunting bitter sweetness that tilts and lilts between the macabre and the magical and may well strangely find admirers in fans of Black Heart Procession’s earlier career work especially with its sighing string arrangements and creaking calibrations.
And here’s a video of them….
http://www.myspace.com/jarmean – mentioned this London based collective of kindred souls in recent singled out dispatches wherein their debut ’mind the gap’ EP was awarded the all to rare single of the missive honour – those of you who missed said words of unflinching fondness re-direct your mouse in the general direction of http://www.losingtoday.com/tales.php?id=241 and then proceed to annoy the bollocks of your local record emporium owner with requests for a copy of said outing – you will not be disappointed – one of the finest and most curiously off the beaten track debuts its been our pleasure to hear in such an age.
Here’s a video of them (again) – any questions – thought not…..
Eskimo Project ‘hydrogen bomb’ (brass monkey music). Oh that we could do with more of this though sadly on this occasion we’ll just have to settle for the one track promo – for now that. Not officially out for a week or three and hailed in the press release as ‘the song of summer 2009’ which as you can imagine they would given they are trying to sell you the blighter so to speak – oh alright encourage you the unwitting scribe to pick it out of the mountains upon mountains of cd’s that come flying through the press box each and every day – (I only wish) and give it a deserved spin in the hope that kind words will flow through your critical quill or in our case the in house crooked keyboard buttons type typ-ey things with letters on. See faultless descriptions are us – why say something in one word when 27 will do nicely. Anyway where were we before we got hopelessly side tracked by our own inane rambling. Ah yes the press releases intimation that this here single – ‘hydrogen bomb’ – is THE (we forgot that bit – the stressed and in bold to boot ‘the’) song of summer 2009. Do you know I think they might be onto something here because there’s certain no refuting that there’s an uplifting radiant effervescence pouring through the grooves of this, clipped with Beatles-esque melodic mantras hell there’s even a moment when it veers into the wacky baccy vapour trails of ’I am the walrus’ as it glides heaven bound in a kaleidoscopic halo of honeycombed hues whilst sounding not unlike Julian Lennon shimmying up to the Soft Parade to re cut their finest moment ’nobody told you anything’. If this isn’t a hit then we’ll eat our hat which as it happens today is a family sized one of the pork pie variety – might be one of those with an egg in the middle – does this count – anyhow too late its been eaten – it was well tasty. As to the single of summer lets not jump the gun so soon we still need to wait for the sun first. http://www.brassmonkeymusic.com