missive 200 (j)
‘surrounded in sound’
As is typical of these things – go mentioning cassettes and a whole load of the blighters pour through the letter box – well alright then – just three – but a trio of tasty looking things that we recently eyed on the Norman records web site including a brace from Bristol’s Bum Tapes and a Beach Fuzz babe – Beach Fuzz of course featured earlier in this very dispatch with their latest GPS outing and will again before we wrap things up with a cd’r via Golden Lab.
Beach Fuzz ‘hole of hellos’ (blackest rainbow). A strictly limited to just 65 copies one sided cassette featuring one twenty minute freak out. We won’t bother going in to the mechanics of who / what / where Beach Fuzz are / is / at because a) its boring b) we can’t be arsed and most importantly c) we did all this shit when we mentioned their current outing for Great Pop Supplement (see somewhere above or else http://www.losingtoday.com/tales.php?id=250 ). As you’d no doubt rightly expect from a band called Beach Fuzz these dudes are very much loving of their fuzzy feedback – distorted reverberations of the stuff literally pours from the casing of this release to melt your tape heads, in fact we’d even go so far as to say that amid its heavily waded brand of stoner psyche drones (of course piped with elements of art pop and swampy prog) there’s a head melting ominous spiritualism at work, reference wise its like a seriously spaced out and freaky Sunburned Hand of the Man with detectable overtones of Cave or Heavy Winged in the mix albeit here found re-wiring a primitive head trip collage out of discarded early career Flying Saucer Attack sounds. Its all deliciously wired, trippy and after a while very hypnotic in a kind of Chinese water torture tactic type way, high pitched frequency manipulations, freeform out there grooves and general all round mind warping discordance – we suggest you roll up a fat ’un get totally shit-faced with this a bliss grooved back dropping mantra. There will be more Beach Fuzz later on as we’ve just nailed a copy of their ’Nosferatu Hex’ CD though the elation of its acquisition has been somewhat dulled by our spotting of a further three BF releases that we haven’t got via Scumbag Relations, Lotus Birth and Golden Lab (again) – do you know what I can feel the tears beginning to well. http://www.myspace.com/beachfuzz
Joshooa and the (7 / 13th) Moon ‘the hundred monkey effect’ (bum tapes). Another cassette would you believe, this comes via the Bristol based tape only label Bum Tapes who it seems have been peppering the tape decks of a clued in cognoscenti for a year or so now and in that time have managed to rack up some dozen and a half releases in various limited issues. To date the roster has been graced by the sounds of Kaijo, Zac Kouns, Drunjus and Psychedelic Horseshit – the latter of whom just by name alone warrant further investigation. Joshooa and the (7 / 13th) Moon is the aural alter ego of a certain Josh McCabe a Michigan based sound manipulator who to date has been the proud parent of a handful of releases for the likes of Scumbag Relations (2nd mention this missive kids) and Cloud Valley et al. Strictly limited to just 20 hand numbered copies (ours in case you are taking notes is numero seven) sadly no titles here ’the hundred monkey effect’ found here residing upon a C-32 cassette is comprised – I think – always difficult keeping a check with tapes – of 5 tracks that find Mr McAbe crafting all manner of deeply unsettling dark ambience, both weird and wired, eerie and gloomily ethereal – lets just start by saying that this isn’t for night time listening at least not if you don’t want to remain awake all night cautiously eyeing every creak and shape shift that passes upon your darkened living space throughout the witching hour and beyond. As though revealing a secret aural universe by the application of a melodic microscope McAbe traverses the seldom surveyed outer reaches of ‘pop’s’ vast and sprawling universe, apocalyptic pulsar transmissions ushering in landscapes of sonic textures chilled, parched, arid and stripped to their bare bone by dread filled drone swathes, its grim stuff, stark and oblique, detached and desolate, between the ebbing and flowing of monolithic dronal tides splinters of radio transmission babble and modulating frequencies pierce through the ether to ominously whirr and weave amid the stilled and lifeless cavernous voids. Track 2 perhaps provides the sets show stealing moment, possessed of an almost oceanic sereneness and deathly calm this could easily be the backdrop to some huge leviathan like undersea beast lonesome and navigating with predatorily intent the light forbidding deep depths of an ocean basin. That said what first appears foreboding and daunting ultimately ends up leaving you markedly touched by it being a bruised, isolated and solemn portrait of a solitary existence. http://www.myspace.com/bumtaperecordings
Rahdunes ‘drink and drive or smoke and fly’ (bum tapes). Another cassette via those loveable rascals fond of retro mediums – Bum tapes this time via a trio from San Francisco by the name of rah dunes who to date have managed a fine selection of releases – well we are assuming a fine selection – by way of the likes of blackest rainbow, emperor jones and kill shaman – the latter being a split 12 inch with Expo 70 who as you may recall have featured a couple of times courtesy of these very pages. You can also expect further transmissions in the coming months via ecstatic yod, mistake by the lake and the 8mm imprints. For now though this pretty nifty three track affair which comes as a strictly limited edition of just 40, heavy on the psychotropic drone ’sounds’ the opening salvo is an orbiting monolith, hypnotic and mesmerising it’s a bit like having your wig flipped by a go on the dream machine, looping cycles bathed in sheens of pulsing drone swirls, the kind of pitched purring you’d imagine emanating from the engine room of a parked extra terrestrial space craft. Flip the cassette and you’ll find both ’acid meter’ and ’eruption factor’ occupying the spool space, the former a spot of freeform star glazed motorik groove laced drone kraut which for the best part sounds like Kraftwerk’s ’trans Europe express’ being derailed and sent hurtling to some yet un-chartered region deep in the far reaches of the cosmos – mind you on reflection its not two separate tracks at all but one huge ever growing slab of manipulated mind warping mosaics, the latter half of which assumes a curiously dub-tronic texture albeit framed with unrelenting whirring motifs themselves masking what sounds like some draconian styled clattering busyness from the floor of a Martian industrial workhouse. Decidedly deranged stuff but necessarily essential all the same. http://www.myspace.com/bumtaperecordings
Plastic Zooms ‘under // black’ (well I wonder). Debut single for both band and label, both hailing out of Japan this sure to be rare as hen’s teeth in a week or so outing is strictly limited to just 300 copies, one of those jukebox middle type wax affairs which we must admit a week or so ago where giving us a sizeable headache here as we couldn’t find any spare middles, mind you a quick random trawl through the record collection managed to salvage us not one but five of the blighters. Anyway before we waffle any further – Plastic Zoom as said hail from Japan and number six in the ranks, ’under // black’ is a fair old slab of death disco throb, dirty, dark and decadent replete with a wiring riffage much recalling the Scars, in fact if we didn’t know any better we’d have to say this sounds like something mailed out in the early 80’s that’s sadly somehow gotten itself lost in the postal system until now, pissing in a pool not so far from the much admired Levelload, there’s elements of mid 80’s Mark E Smith vocals here all dutifully clipped by a devilishly delirious dance floor mindset as though Brilliant where rewiring and taming old Fire Engines riffs and fused to the kind of electronic accoutrements you more readily find on a B-Movie record. Anyhow if you don’t believe us Rough Trade say it sounds like Franz and Killing Joke which suggests to me they were listening to a different record while Norman records mention Zongamin – good call. Flip the disc and you’ll find the same cut put on a hot tumble dry by Dandi Wind whose strips the original chassis bare and refits it with a more than admirable Front 242 meets Einstuerzende Neubauten / SPK mid 80’s euro – disko throb. Tasty stuff. http://www.myspace.com/plasticzooms
Lapels / Sponge Wings ‘split’ (philophobia). Must admit we’ve been a little more than smitten by this split release because aside housing amid its groove space four top of the table treats of tastiness the bugger comes packaged in a rather tasty – how best can we describe it – bandage lint that’s the bunny all fastened together by three badges – apparently there’s meant to be a cd with additional tracks accompanying this vinyl set sadly ours has gone west somewhere in transit. Anyhow it all looks quite smart even if the dressing does look oddly smeared and stained as though its been lifted from a hospital waste sack. As to the cuts inside – a brace from each sees Lapels (a quintet who hail from Wakefield) sharing wax space with Sponge Wings (duo Jay and Abi – location unspecified). The Lapels stump up ‘when we were evil’ and ‘abemantis’ – the former resplendently awash in all manner of warmly radiating ooh ooh harmonies and the kind of lushly laid and roving riffage that to these ears had us much imagining twee starlets The Hoverchairs shimmying up to the Weather Prophets and Sugar and kicking out ‘the wagon’ era Dinosaur Jnr tuneage for fun which at intermittent stages erupts into a rather rousing shouty chorus line which I must fear brought a wry smile upon our weathered features. ‘abemantis’ pretty much follows a similar drill, stuttering chugging riffs very much like a crooked and bashed Pavement if you must ask and bringing with it a strangely dislocated effervescent glow. Flip the disc for Sponge Wings who although we shouldn’t say it just slightly edge it for us in the vying for affections stakes, a curious brew which draws heavily it must be said on the essences of early career Hefner, well at least that’s the case on the opening ambit ’ice cream headache’ cast as it is in all manner of bitter sweet homeliness and punch drunk dynamics. That said there are times when ’ruby’s apparatus’ almost feels as though its going to splinter and come to a dead halt such is its becoming dishevelled delivery born of its crooked and creaking aimless shuffling and staggering demeanour. Quite a cutie if you ask me. http://www.myspace.com/philophobiamusic
Mexican Kids at Home ‘recycled songs for a happy environment’ (wee pop). Think we may have inadvertently mentioned the Wee Pop label in passing in previous despatches when we mentioned the loveably cute Motifs, this London based imprint seems to be following in the finest tradition of all things Sarah, Sha La La, Caff, Egg and so on and so forth. To date they’ve dinked the hearts of a loving indie fan base with some two and a half dozen releases from the likes of – the aforementioned Motifs, the Darlings, Summer Cats, Little My and the Just Joans. Pressed upon a 3 inch cd-r, housed in a dinky envelope replete with handwritten authenticity certificate styled inserts and limited to just 160 copies – ours in case you are still taking notes is 103, Mexicans Kids at Home are – or so it seems skateboard fanatics – well at least two of their number are – who‘ve been through something of a line up change recently losing one member and then gaining two in his place – Hollie and Tom. They’ve had one previous release tucked under their collective knee pads in the shape of the long sold out ’when we all lived in igloos’ for Wee Pop with this new four track set destined to follow in quick pursuit. 11 minutes in total length, okay it might seem slight but its gorgeously so for the Mexican Kids at Home seem to delight in crafting out lolloping lovelies at the drop of a hat, this cutely honed acoustic strummed and banjo bristled collection is breathless framed in a laid back affectionate haze that some of you may prefer to refer as twee, well we wouldn’t blame you really because there is something mildly homely at work in the mix not least on the parting ’animal shells’ with its reception class styled chirpy chirpy sing-a-long demeanour which upon closer inspection and removed of its inebriated banjo casing does sometimes veer ever so closely to the more kooky and ghostly apparition like moments to be found on Animal Collectives early career catalogue. Elsewhere teased tales from the riverbank come to the fore on the opening light headed albeit too brief for its own good ’the canal swan song’ while perhaps the sets best moment ’no eyed deers’ is deliciously braided by the gorgeously summer sounding effervescent opine of a needle picked zig zagging riffs seemingly imported from some idyllically exotic paradise that you suspect the donning of grass skirts, shades, Hawaiian shirts and a quick mugging up on a few select hip shimmying moves a must while some of you older listeners out there may well be inclined to root out your copies of Johnny and Patti’s (nee Thunders and Palladin) ’love is strange’ cover for a quick reference. Mind you we here are equally loving of the brightly bushy tailed sweetly bitter folk treat ’one day older than today’ – all loveably lazy and hazy, filled with tambourines and see sawing violins – a perfect invitation to find a quiet spot in the shade and relax for a spell we think, criminally cute. http://www.weepop.net
Beach Fuzz with Dave Jackson ‘nonfatal hex’ (golden lab). Okay third and final mention for Manchester’s Beach Fuzz for this particular missive well that’s discounting the off chance that we nail that errant trio of collection completing releases that we mentioned in passing elsewhere. This CD comes strictly limited to just 80 copies on the – we must admit so far embarrassingly ignored (by us anyway) – Golden Lab imprint who I believe operate out of Manchester. Anyway this caustic slice of tripping bad assed groove comes housed in a recycled card sleeve with the CD decorated in soya based ink. These dudes it seems have a penchant for the Grateful Dead and find themselves accompanied for this fringe parting 24 minute freak out by Solar Fire Trio’s Dave Jackson who diligently applies some blinding sand blasting saxophonic trimmings to the proceedings. Best described as a freeform pre-natural primitive head jam, a mind warping inferno of shit faced swamp groove abridged by moments of cranium caning squeeling jazz signatures and branded and packaged by the kind of wilfully ad hoc and abstract time codes that you suspect are best viewed by your inner eye while under the influence of some chemically enhanced substances. Sounding as though in a constant state of flux, ‘nosferatu hex’ terra forms with precarious intent, like a howling archaic druid ceremony its pitted with intelligible mantras borne of long lost tongues and serviced amid a clearly unhinged landscape of controlled chaos to which to its core elements of no wave and art rock splinter, rupture and are ultimately sucked into its embracing blistered mindset. Simultaneously more intense than previous outings though ostensibly more playful, amid the cauldron like grooves you’ll hear elements of PiL’s ’flowers of romance’ rubbing shoulders with Albert Ayler, likewise Sunburned Hand of the Man are never far from the reference markers while the general all round japery, sense of resistant mischief and wig flipped discordance owes a nod or three in the general direction of Henry Cow / This Heat disciples Volcano the Bear. Its of course weirdly freakish and clearly deranged which when you add it all up means its desirably essential. Any questions at the back? http://www.myspace.com/goldenlabrecords
White Belt Yellow Tag ‘you’re not invincible’ (distiller). Featuring former members of yourcodenameis:milo, left at montreal and cooper temple clause which I guess when you add it all up makes for something of a super group. We’re of the suspicion that this is the debut outing from Justin Lockey’s and co’s new combo, pressed on an uber limited ten inch in a smart looking sleeve that includes a CD for all you heathens without turntables, ‘you‘re not invincible‘ features four cuts the lead out title track being seismically anthem like in stature laced through with a jaw dropped cut you to the quick chorus thrust that’s honeycombed with vapour trails of celestial shoe gazed swathes and leathered throughout with a hackles clenching vibrancy that’s all at once immediate, potent and catchy as f**k. ‘news’ provides a more mellowed and bitter sweetly reclined option, still bruised by stratosphere piercing opines and softly sugar glazed with a demurring forlorn majesty that gear switches between been quietly euphoric and uplifting and laying you low and humbling. Flip over and you get the cantering ’picture all the same’ all ethereal harmonies and gathering in tension threading dynamics which though pretty neat from our vantage point is not one for those of you suffering palpitations and other anxiety related ailments which leaves the homely campfire like hymnal cutie ’song about growing’ to round up the pack, disappointing brief it has to be said just as you are getting into it and thinking nice stuff the blighter only goes and mosies exit stage left leaving you feeling a tad deflated. http://www.distiller-records.com
Geese / Reg Pantal ’split’ (vanity case). Alas no wise words in the form of a press release or intelligible hand written letter accompanying this though we did note that despite there being just 300 copies of this die cut sleeve housed seven inch – our copy is in fact issue number 0308 – therefore making it an instant collectors item before we’ve scarcely coaxed it out of its wrapping to no doubt treat the turntable with its groove locked advances. Some of you may well recall us falling over ourselves courtesy of Geese’s last broadside into the world of recorded releases, in fact so much love was extolled in the general direction of ’the plane’s gone Dad’ that there were momentary bouts of light headedness causing all here in the tune tuck shop to take the rest of the day off and partake in a much needed siesta. Several months down the line and no doubt buoyed by the acclaim from a record buying nation both David and Graham don their Geese guises to lay a little magic dust in the shape of ’Kensington terrace’. we don’t mind saying that we could kiss this – all at once bracing and demurring, this delicately unfurling drama draws you near with an absorbingly frail and fragile enchanted out of step intimacy more readily recognised on records adorned with the name Oddfellows Casino a fact which becomes ever more apparent when you find yourself knee deep in the same kind of mercurial melodic classicism application as Pickled Egg’s finest. Throw in some subtle noir tipped framing, 70’s MOR beadings and a feint glossing of glowing clarinets (though someone will tell me it’s a sax or something or other – they always do – they’re very proud and guarded these wind instrument loving types) and you have yourself a quietly statue-esque and distressed numbed anthem like beauty. Flip the disc for Reg Pantal’s ‘sweetpea and suzanne’, regrettably previously unknown to us – well we say regrettably because we here think his intimately woven pop pastels are just the kind of thing that should be adorning our listening space when the day closes and we happen upon a brief moment to reflect on the day just passed. Anyway he hails from Leeds is firm buddies with Geese and on his side of the split he’s accompanied by Tom Turner on piano. Simply gorgeous and sounding not unlike its fell through a time fracture straight out of a bustling late 60’s nu folk scene, elements of Cohen without the desire to fish out the razor blades, Simon and Garfunkel and not the ’bridge over troubled water’ nonsense, a bit of Dylan and pretty much anyone else you’d care to mention which is not to say its derivative or copyist but rather more is possessed of that warmth filled symmetry of fuzzy feel goodness and sun stroked silkiness that makes you feel all is okay in the world, mind you its best experienced lolling about preferably on a porch or laid back and covered by the shade of a hanging tree. A bit of a gem all said and done.
Ice, Sea, Dead People ‘my twin brother’s a brother’ (buy yourself). About you like a rash, blimey it took us a fair moment to peel ourselves from the wall of our record listening habitat such is the gruff urgency of this veritable feast of sparring art dimpled math rock boogie. To date there’s been one previous outing by this London based trio in the shape of their 200 only ’hence Elvis’ debut 7 inch from way back in November 2007. Some 18 months on and it seems they’ve been quietly honing their craft and sharpening their riffage because ’my twin brother’s a brother’ is a caustic brew of see sawing angular groove, jarring and jagged and not unlike a particularly simmering sounding Erase Errata it should be said, all ad hoc schizoid time signatures, hell what am I saying there are no time signatures just eruptions and seizures all braided by maddeningly impatient vocal drills and caned deliciously with a vaguely volatile and punishing – albeit skewiff – bent out of shape pop sensibility. Flip side features ‘brrrrr’ – the preferred track push come to shove – more of the same potently drilled needle work and flame retardant festering groove gouging all boot laced up in squalling sheens of acutely discordant damaged blues styled grizzled fuzz fried goo. Limited to 500 copies all on dinner plate thick heavy duty vinyl. http://www.buyyourself.co.uk
Of Arrowe Hill ‘the bones saying no to the needle’ (Ouija board). Must admit we have been looking forward to receiving and indeed hearing this since Mr Easterbrook of the band dropped us a note to say it was on its way. Hell we’ve even spent the best part of the week wading through cobwebs, dead beetles and avoiding weird looking house spiders whilst rummaging through nailed up crates in the attic searching for the bunting, balloons and black candles in readiness for its arrival. And so it arrived – today – in fact within the last hour or so if you’re taking notes. A one sided white label seven inch with inserts that noted that this limited to 200 only release (not officially due for a month in both wax and download formats) was a taster that heralded the light of day appearance of the trio’s forthcoming full length ‘a few minutes in the absolute elsewhere’. of course no sooner was the blighter out of its wrapping it was on the turntable doing some serious damage on the hi-fi much to the delight of the neighbours who I should add at this juncture are still knocking at the door – possibly to enquire where such a nugget can be located I wouldn’t wonder. Anyway back to the important stuff not that the neighbours aren’t but lets just say if I hear the distant strains of the ‘South Pacific’ soundtrack and Abba’s ’thank you for the music’ one more time then I fear an injury followed by harsh words typically ending in off and the questioning of parentage will occur. As to Of Arrowe Hill who at this point in proceedings and given we’ve gone off road several times in this appraisal have now probably grown beards waiting for words of wonder to appear and words of wonder are exactly what you’ll get because blimey could it been that Ye Olde London towns psyche Squires and finest purveyors of the magikal and the strange have gone mellow on us. Easily their most accessible melodic missive to date, barely managing to touch the two minute ticker tape ‘the bones saying no to the needle’ is a rollicking death rattled lament, a rumbling dust ridden jamboree – a smoking mojo tooting cocktail of shuffling steam driven like crossroads cruising coffin dodging hearse driven bruised countrified blues finitely soaked in a curiously becoming Buffalo Springfield glow and yet stained with the solemn isolation of ’blind Joe Death’ era John Fahey delta drifts all dashed deliciously with forlornly parched treatments that echo to a primitive path once explored by a Sun era Presley, Cash and Perkins and refracted through a gritted 60‘s styled kaleidoscopic viewfinder. Lest it be said that this should be at the top of all discerning record lovers wants list otherwise questions will be asked and visits under the cover of darkness will be carried out. http://www.myspace.com/ofarrowehill
http://www.myspace.com/vectorlovers – been a fair while since we heard or indeed had cause to feature anything by Martin Wheeler – or to give him his better known to the record buying public ID Vector Lovers, these days located in Berlin and with three full lengths happily stuffed up his shirt as well as collaborating with some of the electronic scenes top table seated artists such as Ladytron, Black Dog and my robot friend. Billed as a ’new mix’
‘Genevieve’ here in all its full uncut 6 plus minute glory is a desirable slice of lights dimmed sultrily spectral shimmer toned glide pop re-aligned to a spacious wide screen aspect and shyly dappled with a purring and subtle techno dialect that finds itself tempered with all manner of crystalline orbs of mesmeric sophistication – a bit like a cosmic Beloved if truth be told re-drilled by a particularly chilled and laid back FSOL. Tasty.
http://www.myspace.com/grahamophone – mentioned this French based trio a little while back well here’s a little dream-scaping treat for you from those DreamKorp dudes – the video to the immeasurably lilting ‘I want success’…….sometimes I think we treat you too much…..