archiv: singled out – missive 200 (f)…

missive 200 (f)
Bird by Snow ‘industrial collapse’ (gnome life). One of those ‘look ma what I found hiding under the bed’ type releases that will be popping up at regular intervals during this April batch of missives, haven’t a clue how long we’ve had this but judging by the dust sediment covering it we’d hazard a guess at Neolithic a fact summarily backed up by the primitive folk brew being cooked up inside. Anyhow there are just 300 of these babes kicking around (there are a few available still – don’t worry we’ve checked), comes housed in a hand printed sleeve with inserts and features two cuts to which admirers of Will Oldham may do well to enquire further about. Apparently these tracks where recorded way back in 2006 by way of a trusty 8 track cassette and are plastered two sides of wax each advisably labelled ‘play loud’ and ‘play quiet’ – ah how we love instructional tips on records such as recommended speeds to play the blighters at – which alas this omits. Ah well we’ve put it through its paces at a number of rpm selections and happily opted for a safe 33rpm – well it could have been 45rpm but we have the sneaking feeling it wasn’t meant to sound like the Chipmunks on acid. ‘no beard now’ starts sombrely then quickly shifts towards something that could quite easily be described as wasted – its all a deliciously and devilishly inscribed species of frazzled, unhinged, dislocated and buckled out of shape folk blues that the further in its goes the more wired and weird it gets assuming along the way some neat trimmings of good wholesome grizzled
Americana and ultimately culminating in some strangely becoming fringe parting progressive folk. Frankly has to be heard. Flip over for the excellently titled ’chew your fucking legs off (if you have to)’ – achingly slow, pensive, crafted from a woody resonance and bruisingly hollowed yet for all that touched with more than a passing nod to a certain Neil Young albeit harbouring a Leonard Cohen fixation. A whole albums worth entitled ’songbird / another ocean’ lies in wait seeking sympathetic ears. – and while your there check out the warmth filled vibes of the tender cascades awash within ‘if you wait’.

Hjaltalin ‘traffic music’ (self release / download). One of the key tracks featured on their recent and much desirable debut full length ‘sleep drunk seasons’ released via the miniscule but perfectly so kimi imprint, ‘traffic music‘ gets a much deserved showcase outing albeit only as a limited download only single. A deceptively breezy gem dizzily dinked with a most desirable slow / fast / stutter dynamic which upon first hearing admittedly sounds fuzzy and confused, stick with it though because ruminating amid those crooked and ad hoc time signatures elements of a youthful Pavement drawing pistols with an equally early career Jumbo bubble to the fore to decorate your listening space with carpets of spring time flora whilst their off kilter bent out of shape and sweetly radiant bitterly tangy woodland folk follies – themselves rippling tenderly with flutes, sun drenched harmonies and quirky Vernon Elliot styled brass arrangements mysteriously appear like spell charms bringing with them the onset of April showers. Accompanying said cut is an exclusive to this release new track entitled ’Stundarkorn’ – a noir tweaked spectral honey who once free of its initial minimalist overtures soon blossoms and unfurls into a gorgeously conceived slice of twilight tipped majestically frayed atmospheric campfire loveliness which unless we here didn’t know any better would have to say had been crafted by a gathering of various Godspeed, Set Fire to Flames and Black Heart Procession folk under the ever watchful eye of a certain Ennio Morricone. Classy eh?

And here’s an animated video for ’traffic music’ made by Hermann Karlsson… ….

Noiserv ‘bullets on parade’ (autumn ferment). We have this sneaking feeling that if Autumn Ferment continue to slyly off load releases matching the calibre of those that have already escaped into the public domain (Lisa O Piu, James Reid et al) and dare we say equal to those issued by the Fence Collective in their earlier formative years, then this small but special Moray based imprint may well indeed prove to be an invaluable incubator and shop window for that rare breed of eclectic up and coming musicians before they jettison to the bigger league much the same way as Twisted Nerve once was. Release number three sees them casting their net as far as Portugal this time hooking up to the looped folk montages hand crafted by Lisbon based Noiserv – better known to his parents and friends alike as David Santos. Having already released an EP ‘56010-92’ (free to download via the Merzbau imprint) and one full length ‘one hundred miles from thoughtlessness’ (again courtesy of Merzbau) the latter of which had the folk at Autumn Ferment literally licking their lips and rubbing their hands in admiration. Limited to just 500 vinyl copies builds in stature upon a looping acoustic framing over which the twinkling sounds of a clock working musical box slowly and ominously uncoil as though counting down the arrival of the gathering dust bowled storm that approaches in the distance, the shuffling textures thick with impending anticipation freewheel between being hypnotic and resigned while simultaneously woven by a crooked carnival of scratches and crackles, accordions and ethereal symphonies acting as though like ghostly epitaph signatures drifting through the ether, reference wise much deserving being filed alongside your prized Static Caravan era Tunng, early King Creosote and Birdpen releases – in other words quite smart then. Flip the disc and you’ll find Dollboy fresh from his ‘the beard of bees’ recordings via Static Caravan (a lovely thing it is to) and re-aligning Noiserv’s ‘Tokyo Girl’ into a strangely absorbing and dare we say head turning psychotropic glam tweaked re-wire that imagines Glitter’s ’rock n roll’ relocated to the urbane futuristic sparseness of Bowie’s Berlin trilogy and making it through the sonic worm hole sounding not unlike Swimmer One albeit trip wired by a certain Bill Nelson with his Red Noise head on though clearly still transcribing sounds in Be Bop (Deluxe). Recommended stuff.

And those with a fondness for Mr Nelson – a bit of an oldie from yesteryear…be warned we will be testing you later in this extended missive as we’re near finishing a biography about him via Helter Skelter…. – unsettlingly good and named after the Chrome album of the same name we wouldn’t wonder, from the grim imagery to the Dadaist chilled landscapes, there’s something unquestionably edgily austere about the aural wilderness that Alien Soundtracks navigate and explore, it’s a landscape similarly being plundered by the much admired Alrealon imprint at present, crafting out a psychotropic dub canvas that shares loosely an affinity with ’metal box’ era PiL albeit as though rewired by Cabaret Voltaire and admitted for further remoulds by a seriously out there 70 Gwen Party (the latter especially noted non more so than on mutoid drum n‘ bass styled ‘from here to infirmary‘ where to these ears it sounds like them crossing swords with Wagon Christ). Add to the equation a brandishing of titles such as the Fall-esque ‘opium den disco’ and ‘from here to infirmary’ then its easy to see why we just couldn’t resist. Mind you that said ’opium den disco’ is pretty much that – a seriously flipped and fried ’n’ wasted slab of dissipating nightmarish flashbacks of wailing guitars and ominous regimental marching treads. But then just like the name suggests Alien Soundtracks deal in a vaguely familiar though ostensibly fragmented and confused litany of sound collages, part ethnic / tribal – much drawing similarities at times with Muslim Gauze – though again abstract and part out there art rock in a skewed Henry Cow kind of way yet uttering a strange and discernible psyche dialect granted immersed in all manner of dismembered dislocated time signatures and squalling coils. Elsewhere ‘meet the new boss’ very much tunes into elements of early career Play Dead, the industrial intonations melded and moulded made more malleable by the curious appearance of reference markers nodding towards 23 Skidoo and Clock DVA (with a dollop of Muslim Gauze thrown in for good measure). All in all wonderfully wired and weirded out stuff and the kind of ear gear – had he been alive to hear it – that you could bet your arse a certain Mr Peel would have festooned amid his transmission play lists much to the annoyance of his ever receding in numbers ‘dandelion’ and flowers in their hair old time listening purists. – okay – yes the name admittedly amused us, we strongly suspect we shouldn’t like the lonely schizophrenic but damn the blighters they’re so scurrilously addictive and ‘couldn’t give a toss’ offensive that quite frankly we here feel mildly attracted not withstanding the fact that there’s just to much bloody PC around these days ruining people’s impish fun – and no spotty geeks we don’t mean PC as in pretend courtship (oops sorry Personal Computer – mind you it amounts to the same thing). Describing their sound as being pigeonholed under the ’acoustic / traditional Chinese / Celtic’ bracket (what the hell ever that is) you instantly get a measure of what this – essentially an Irish duo based in Dublin – are about when you eye their upcoming shows list at the top of which you’ll no doubt note ’resurrection gig with Jesus H Christ – part deux’ which barring rain and train works was due to take place yesterday – Easter Sunday no less. Okay not content with having offended at least half the population of the world with that one they set about targeting the rest. Now the curious thing about the lonely schizophrenic (look its all tongue in cheek okay – their not serious – or at least we assume their not serious) is that they are guaranteed to split a room in an instant between those who want to marry them and those who want to seriously maim them, there’ll be no Liberal Democrat styled fence sitting here. Apparently there’s an EP out and about – a copy of which we’ll have to nail entitled – er – ’greatest hits’ and on this here showcasing MS player you’ll find five various assorted drinking songs such as the explicit no holds barred home truths giving ’I miss me da’ – a sprightly Irish rover shanty jig that lurches more towards the bawdiness of ’Good Ship Venus’ than ’cockles and mussels’. ’rest in pieces’ tells the sad tale of a poor fluffy – a cat without a face owing to him being run over – see I told you they’d find some kind of Achilles like subject matter with which to offend. Mind you its not all in your face baiting – opening cut ’Panda Porn’ (look please don’t even trying asking) is a dirty as they come smoking and sleazy slinky slice of retro late 70’s funk – a bit like Rick James mooching up to Sylvester – plenty of swear words, very explicit and near the knuckle and backed by Shakatak like harmonies and rounded off with a neat but naughty Barry White moment that finds its way onto the glitter ball shone dance floor at 3.50 in. though all said and done our favourite moment comes courtesy of ’crab people’ – and yes we do agree with the Black Lodge when they refer to it as ‘this nations ‘children of the revolution’’ mind you that’ll be ‘children of the revolution’ refracted through a chemical lens belonging to those impish rock-meisters Tenacious D – which in that case why oh why do I feel compelled to step up with the odd (in fact very odd) spontaneous blast of the Osmonds ’crazy horses’ each and every time I hear it. Scary. – we eyed these via the friends list on Alien Soundtracks MS page and just loved the name and well – hell – thought we’d take a peak. Halloween Swim Team are a LA based trio who to date have snuffled up their collective jumpers a full length in the shape in of ‘the end of sky’ via the Modern Sleaze imprint which after hearing the cuts currently showcased on their MS player we are much of the mind that it’s a set we need to hear sooner rather than later. A curious blend of minimalist electronics and mutant dance collages whose obvious affinity lies first and foremost with current trendsetters Ladytron and Health, though scratch a little deeper and the frost dripped synth chimes and amorphous sheen of austerely applied sparse electro pop calibrations reveal something of a mindset shared with the likes of Modern Eon and Dalek I Love You – especially on ‘the magick song – not to mention the vaguely subtle intones of early career B-52’s especially viewed best on ‘country first’ wherein the strangely monochromatic edginess and sense of underlying menace harks back to the darker elements of Landscape’s skewed pop vocabulary. Best moment of the set is ‘inside out TV’ – an infectious slab of shimmering strut looped casio wiring coolness that superbly ruptures from moments of cosmic lulls to panic shrilled animation. Classy – certainly ones to watch all you Devo dudes.

Here’s a video of them doing the gliding and glassily slinky ‘coincidence’….well catchy….

Halloween Swim Team – Coincidence from Joshua Clarkson on Vimeo.

Favours for Sailors ‘furious sons’ (tough love). Blimey – this cutie is so radiant and effervescent we’ve had to spend the last half hour donning shades and rubbing ourselves down with sun lotion. Sparky and affectionate, we were imagining it had hotfooted across the pond having somehow strayed from its West Coast moorings – alas not so instead this six track outing finds its roots in London via a crooked path initialised in Cornwall. Freewheeling upon a melodic baseline whose matrix is founded about the subtle signposts of hardcore power pop and mathy motifs though liberally sprinkled in all manner of beaming shafts of razor sharp lemon twists, Favours for Sailors procure a dizzying distillation of deck pleasing fodder that calls up the sunny sided groove impressed spirits of the Lemonheads (immediately seek out ‘our name‘), Dinosaur JNR, Teenage Fanclub and Snares and Kites and moulds and melds the assembled nic nacs into a fuzzy feel good glow. Housed in an impressive looking gatefold sleeve that plays host to a 12 inch slab of wax and accompanied by a CD of said tracks for all you heathens without the luxury of stylus driven vibes, this is one hell of a slyly addictive and infectious release that insidiously grows with repeat listens while enlisting elements of Pavement to its cause none more so than on the unfeasible buzz sawed chugging and punchy ’n’ hopelessly hook laden ‘I dreamt that I dreamt that you loved me in your dreams‘ which finds itself blessed with all manner of catchy as f*ck woa woa chorus‘ while packing curious a subliminal messaging that quietly persuades you to go off seeking your stash of db‘s goodies for swift comparison. That said there’s more than a hint of that same Buffalo Springfield styled southern breeze that spiked the set of Moviola’s excellent ’durable dream’ set from a few years ago (whatever happened to them?) on the opening ’erode my empire’. Best moment of the set though by some marked distance is ’the nihilist prays’ as it shuffles and nudges with such an affecting casual air past your defences sprinkling your listening world with such an unerring warmth filled fondness that all you can do is surrender and swoon amid the spectacle of it all. – recommended not to be listened to alone in the dark in fact it’s a fair achievement getting through it in broad daylight such is the intense icy grip to which it claustrophobically conveys upon you the would be listener. the Vultures are a London and thereabouts based dark ambient / drone / noise collective who number four in the ranks each bringing with them an eclectic range of musical disciplines that range from jazz, improv and industrial right through to goth, rock and classical which by and large you be hard pressed to identify if you hadn’t been told such are the abstract and out there climates that they sculpture. Three extended suites feature on this here showcase player, deeply wayward stuff ‘blinded by squid ink’ in particular is parched and pierced by the same haunting tonalities that ventured forth on Volcano the Bears ‘yak’s folks y’are’ set furnished as it is by subtle arabesque mirages themselves sounding like they been sourced from the very heart of a Tibetan basin, the bowed chimes, the eerie monastic chill and ritual reverberations exacting a kind of archaic tribal like folk tablature to the proceedings. Its stunning stuff, arid and austere, the treated guitars slowly pining out distress calls into the wilderness amid fragmented landscapes dappled ominously by the wiring whirrs of manipulated laptop treatments and insectoid scratches and screeches – the scenery bleak, abandoned and distressed. Our favourite moment though is ’deep within the bat’s lair’ littered within ghostly glacial shimmers, looming improvisations and thick with skin prickling atmospherics brought to bear by the doomed drone collages themselves freewheeling in a strange hybrid alchemy that fuses ancient Aboriginal motifs to something sounding not unlike the fog bound echoes of dread you’d imagine chilling you to the core as you ventured forth upon Charon the ferryman’s boat towards your final resting place. As said not one for the feint of heart and deliciously despatched in a gripping detached despair and frankly the kind of dark psyche droned ambient folk that should first and foremost appeal to lovers of Aidan Baker et al whilst finding itself very much pissing in pools that those much admired Beta Lactam Ring dudes relieve themselves in.

Mainliners ‘dead mans hall’ (crusher). Quick mention for a few things that we managed to nail a few weeks back from Cargo, now either these have been given a limited re-issue / re-press or else I’ve been flogged old stock because it seems that this release in particular dates back to 2004 and was indeed the debut outing from Swedish imprint (hell we’ve got another a little later in the missive). These days expanded to a sextet and to date having proudly posted two full lengths (via Get Hip) both of which having been the subject of much chatter among the 60’s freak beat garage head. And rightly so we hasten to add because ’dead mans hall’ (despite being 5 years old – tut tut – there will be words) is a seriously smoking affair, bruising, licking its wounds and clipped with a seriously crippled late 60’s Stones-esque blues attachment whilst staring woefully from out of the bottom of a pain anaesthetising bottle of bourbon, laced in all manner of Hammonds and dutifully decorated in a decaying dispirited 60’s garb hell this sounds like something that Bad Afro are probably kicking themselves stupid for not putting out given its cut with the kind of authentic retro twist more associated with Baby Woodrose albeit bled through with elements of an early career ‘Leonne’ era Devastations. Classy stuff. Flip the disc for ‘daughter of dimes’ – a more up beat affair laced with all manner of slinky struts and pouting an ageless decandence, a purified slab of good time glam tweaked rock ‘n’ roll indelibly crafted from the more malleable and melodically astute and kick ass bits from both the New York Dolls and Heartbreakers back catalogues. Any questions then….did we mention the well tasty faux 60’s EP sleeves – look well dandy I can tell you.

Mainliners ‘Lucy’s Fur’ (Human Bretzel). Picked up on the same shopping expedition as saw the previous Mainliners release fall happily into our mits (see elsewhere somewhere on this missive). Again pressed up on seven inches of black wax though this time appearing on the previously unknown to us Human Bretzel imprint which we believe is based in Brest, France. As previously two more slabs of authentic 60’s groove crystal cut and primed with some killer soulful intonations, again as before it seems the Mainliners have a thing for adorning their platters with one side of pain and sorrow while the other is left for them to wander through the back streets of garage land and beyond and so with that in mind lead out cut ‘lucy’s fur’ finds itself tear stained and torn with the spectres of a faded love, a raging tornado of emotionally splintered soul blues succulently bedded upon classically trimmed shade adorned reverberating riffs whose remit it seems is to hung heavy on the heartstrings until the blighters snap or else wither away with inconsolable solitude. Flip over for ‘round 5’ – a nifty slice of cool as f**k speaker spanking ear wear which we here are thinking wouldn’t look to out of place not to say more than able in holding its own among your prized collection of early Who releases. Nuff said I think. http://www.humanbretzel.xcom

Mastica ‘uomini’ (crusher). Yes I know its been out for years, so long in fact that the band in question have probably called it a day retired and gone off in pursuit of some strange mystic commune. Again another item recently plundered from the pre sales list of Cargo and something no doubt that they’ve managed to trip across in a recent spring clean of the vaults. Issued in 1985 – well lets not beat about the bush here with such small details as dates because quite frankly we here are eyeing suspiciously the aforementioned date noted on the sleeve and label and are busy looking for tell tale clues that might indicate its origin being truer to the late 60’s – we’ve so far managed to find a bead, a bus ticket and some weird looking herb type leaves that when smelt lift your wig. Hailing from Northern Italy and numbering in five Mastica serve up the quite mind frying ‘uomini’ – jeez – all we’ll say record buying people is that this ought to come with jabs of some kind, a humping slice of psychotropic stoner groove unless I’m very much mistaken, this fried babe really does sound like its been propelled by thought straight from a beatnik commune filled magic bus from the 60’s and jettisoned across the astral corridors into a spiritually bereft modern day climate, elements of the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane undeniably stoke the grooves while there’s more than a shared affinity with all things PSF mooching about – especially Acid Mothers – flavouring the head expanding brew, add in some Blue Cheer and a smidgeon or two of classic era Black Sabbath and you have yourself a serious ear popping pupils dilating slice of mind arranging lysergic grind. Flip the disc and you’ll find ‘scemo chi spara’ awaiting in all its blistered garage soul majesty, squirreling harmonicas and freak beat grooves aplenty this flipped and rampant blues renegade sounds for all the world like an echoing flashback from the mid 60’s packing some of the dirtiest and meanest riffs this side of a Scandinavian nuggets convention. Classy stuff – frankly we need to hear more – and soon.

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