missive 300 – part 1
Missive 300 – part 1
‘revolutions of a 45 kind’
Alas dear hearts the last singled out missive
Its been a fair old long trek, 10 years and a little bit to be honest, original born out of the ashes of Tales from the Attic – a feature that appeared in the long since AWOL magazine Losing Today. Ah those were the days – a pre my space, twitter, face book, download age – social networking was still a thing cobbled together by several cans, some well placed holes and a long piece of string – there were still of course pubs – where indeed you could smoke – these were the days before comedy wannabe karaoke made Saturday night TV a good excuse to go out. The I-pod was still on the drawing board the short lived rise of Napster was about to be dismantled and mobile phones still came resembling breeze blocks. Tapes believe it or not were still the standard recording apparatus – word has it they are on the way back – we do love those electronic retail houses – telling you your chosen audio appliance is out of date (turntable, cassette player etc…) and then waiting for a reasonable period of passing before selling them back to you with the promise of a sound experience as authentic as though you were sitting in the studio with the band or some other such marketing trite) as were videos – remember VHS – the mini disc pointed the way but was short lived. These days vinyl is on the return – sales have steadily risen in recent years now that people have realised that these seven inch platters are not to be shoehorned into CD trays and that such things as record players exist.
Hang on I’ve lost my thread – oh yes – the missives – the last one – well I say last one – this will be split into umpteen instalments by which time we would have relocated to shores anew. The reason I hear you enquire – well quite simply we’ve been a tad disappointed by the lack of communications, responses to emails and general omission at sending on press materials clearly marked for particular contributors attention.
I will be deleting the missives from the site over the coming weeks and therefore ask that should you want any of these for posterity then please feel free to copy and paste away – all I ask is that you give us a credit. The missives and reviews will be archived – the intention being that either a sub site will be set up to house them or else we’ll look at getting these pressed up as a limited issue folio / book in the coming months replete with funky artwork – obviously demand will need to be gauged – but that’s the plan for now.
For those who need an address for submissions – we are at –
71 Pennsylvania Road,
Any other address you have is invalid – we stopped the mail redirect ages ago as royal mail couldn’t even get that right.
And so to the first instalment –
The Lovely Eggs ‘allergies’ (too pure). New single, new label and on yellow wax to boot (yellow obviously) – what more can a boy ask for. Welcome return to these pages of the mighty Lovely Eggs – that’ll be Holly and David – who sometime in the distant past used to send us hand made drawings and egg butties through the post until that is they forgot all about us and become famous and la di da and started ligging with other sorts. Ah well such is life – not that we hold it against them – good job they can’t see us right at this minute standing with match a lit next to a homemade funeral pyre assembled from variously assorted Lovely Egg releases from yesteryear. Of course we jest – so happens we’ve made some wonderful looking ash trays instead. Anyhow limited issue thing this ‘un – part of the Too Pure singles club – something else we’ve missed I’m gathering – and as said previously – pressed up on 7 inch slabs of yolk yellow wax. Well nice. ‘Allergies’ heads up the charge in typical raucous style – a gorgeously hazily glazed shot of lo-fi loveliness that sits seductively somewhere between the Shaggs, Shangri La’s and Shonen Knife and finds itself kissed within a freaky fuzz shrilled bubble grooved psychedelic snowstorm spiked with swirling sitars that gathered together sounds as though its been left on a trippy hot wash setting – oh yeah and its produced by Gruff Rhys. ’slug graveyard’ over the flip has an almost Christmassy feel – maybe that’s just me then – mildly discordant, slavish, playful – depending again on whether if like me you think its slightly Christmassy – and er – hymnal (see Christmassy bit for reasoning) – in an ideal world a certifiable chart topping number one smash or something like that.
No Ceremony ‘deliverus’ (self released). From the same mysterious Manchester based collective that brought that devilishly divine ‘hurt / love’ our way a few weeks back, ‘deliverus’ offers a more revealing facet to the No Ceremony modus operandi – gem like, stately and seductively statuesque – this honey arrives shrouded beneath an all at once hollowing and mesmerising frost bitten backdrop of snow crunching reclining folk-tronic minimalism that yearns to the beguiled bathing of a sparsely lovelorn and softly spun lilting warmth filled choral fuzzy glow that imagines if you will a yuletide summit of Fleetwood Mac, Dream Academy and the Lover Speaks types congregating for a service presided over by the Earlies and Shady Bard. Utterly enchanting.
Video is here……
And from the purring to the perfect…..
Faust Arp ‘dominic – FtB unmixed’ (self released). Simply the best thing we’ve heard in recent weeks is this little gem from Radiohead obsessive’s (a slight misnomer as all will reveal) Faust Arp. Alas absolutely no info about these youngsters aside the fact that they are a three piece headed up by a young lady by the name of Audra and who collectively may well be the band to watch for in 2012 given the evidence provided for by the hurting ’Dominic’. starts quietly something which the band impishly describe as a ’margin for error’ – though soon breaks to reveal an emotionally cracked, crushed and hollowed hesitantly slow unfurling bare naked minimalist strum whose thread bare austere post punk vulnerability howls and purrs in equal measure to a buckling bleached blues mantra much recalling of a youthfully head bowed PJ Harvey as though crippled and gouged by the resigning rain swept bleakness of a Decoration and Siddeleys face off, in terms of stature, quiet majesty and listening affection its up there with Bang Bang Machine’s ’Geek Love’ and had the late Mr Peel still been marshalling the airwaves would have surely garnered his unwavering approval and no doubt made a late bid for the years Festive 50 top spot. http://soundcloud.com/faustarp/dominic_ftb-unmixed
One of our favourite finds from a personal point of view this year was stumbling upon the weird world that is Windmill Mothglue whose limited noise niking ‘wizard entrails’ set had us all reaching fervently for our tayside mental health, volcano the bear and bronnt industries kapital references – see missive 293 at http://www.losingtoday.com/tales.php?id=369 for full words of fondness. Fear not young folk more is promised early next year, between then and now though and in time for the Christmas festivities both Ambient Plane Chunks and Granite Mantis (2 / 3rds as were of the Windmill Mothglue jigsaw) have seen fit to opt for a spot of extra curricula activities under the name Mango Shank and release an ultra limited CD set entitled ’the hungry monster musical feast’. there are only 20 hand numbered editions of this 5 track extravaganza (our copy being #4 – which all things being well should mean there’s at least another 16 kicking about – available in part from record Mecca Probe or via the band themselves – contact details to follow). The liner notes declare with much impish optimism – ’this selection is intended for dinner party accompaniment’ which begs the questions what kind of strange souls would dare deem this as a casual mood murmuring backdrop for a dinner time gathering unless of course somewhere upon the listed nights festivities the promise of murder in the dark was on the menu. Anyhow it arrives in hand made sleeves with handwritten listings and stickered surreal visuals to boot – within – the sounds promise an oddly surreal feast of delights wherein crooked incantations, pseudo psychedelic mirages and a by large far off left field appreciation of the weird, the wired and the wilfully obscure come out to play with insane childlike delight. Here you’ll find resonating tuvan throat growls, African rhythms (as on the PIL-esque meets Soriah fright wave like ‘dinner time’) archaic thought lost Tibetan chants and lolloping bluegrass prairie opines extracted from the old country and set beset with brigades of kazoo kookily creating havoc upon your serene listening space – the latter as it happens seemingly missing only an accompaniment of hand made knitted finger bobs navigating an inebriated line via ’trundle on little tuk tuk’. Somewhere else Mountain are summarily put through a prog folk mangle via the opening ambit ‘a dinner party with Gadaffi‘ while admirers of Henry Cow or more pertinently Volcano the Bear’s ’yak folks y’are’ set from many many years back ought to feel comfortably at home on the – I suspect a little too much information revealing – ’post feast trotts’ – those of you none so familiar with Messrs HC and VtB will do well to take up residence behind the sofa and pray that whatever lurks beneath the stairs remains there. For us though best moment comes courtesy of ‘feast feast feast’ wherein through a hazily glazed psych soaked mirage Goblin onset of a classic Argento gore flick are relocated to the fragmented and fried collective headspace of a Mirror Mirror meets Giant Paw séance. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Windmill-Moth-Glue/112479352137985
My Electric Love Affair ‘if I lived here I’d be home now’ (self released). Received an email from these chaps and chapesse in recent times offering by return of a postal address a copy of their new single. Alas said promise was not sealed by the arrival of said promised artefact, the silence of lonesome days and nights keeping a watchful sentry at the foot of our doormat broken only by the occasional pining sound issued by our deflated and unloved selves I suspect scarce registered a momentary afterthought in the hearts of these tykes. And forsooth with much burden did we despatch agents under the cover of darkness to seek out such and bore retribution and the odd plague upon their house. Of course where we of such nature we would have – instead we just ho hummed, sighed and sought solace in our Smiths record collection and thought no more. Until that is we eyed said wax curio in our local record emporium – we’ll have that we thought for its not for us to hold grudges and ill intent. Of course blathering aside you may well recall My Electric Love Affair from a few years back – was it just 2 releases for the esteemed Static Caravan – a killer 12 inch EP as I recall which I’m certain we compared favourably with lost souls of Brit / shoe gaze pop My Jealous God. Anyhow according to the attending insert ’if I lived here I’d be home now’ is the fourth outing for MELA -not quite sure what happened to release number 3 – pressed up on 7 inches of wax and uber limited to a 200 hand stamped issue. Quite dandy to if you ask me, psych drone much in the mould of Spacemen 3 had that is a youthful Of Arrowe Hill sneaked into the studios at night and whisked away the tape masters for twiddling purposes. Appealing in the main to those fringe type people mainlining on items heading skywards from the Northern Star imprint, oodles of mind melting motifs and space rock-y mosaics at times verging on positively stoner given its submerged in all manner of wah wah’s and lysergic pedal effects as though some cosmic tango between the of late missing in action Sunray and the Bordellos. Possessed of an altogether different skin and perhaps edging matters in the favoured side stakes is the flip side ‘seventh sense’ which welcomes to the ranks an unnamed female vocalists who it should be said turns in what can only be described as a rather spiffing and hitherto upbeat and less doom cast and ice formed take of Nico here found stirring the reigns of a hardier Mazzy Star / the Sundays / Delgados pact for a spot of bleak mid winters beauty. Recommended of course.
The Left Hand ‘dodecahedron’ (nems). More turntable tastiness this time from the Left Hand – alas not the same south east London based left hand who delivered upon our hi-fi to much swooning adoration their debuting ‘minus 8’ full length some ten years ago rather more something more local and featuring – we’re led to believe – members of Kling Klang and Part Chimp. On a limited issue two track CD this babe is a stonking mother f**king slab of a bad assed boogieness that should first port of call appeal to those floppy fringe types sporting weathered leather Chelsea boots given its impishly shrouded within a wasted stoner psyche shell that sports hammer headed prog growls splintered and spliced seductively with the occasional rasp of gouged glam pouts which not for the first time in this particular missive had us recalling the mighty of arrowe hill (of whom incidentally we hope to feature later in this extended yuletide missive). Add in some healthy dollops of dragster dredged Glitter band howls and a becoming dour dimmed gloomed disconsolate anthem mantra scarred deliciously with a notable post punk austereness and you have yourself a speaker spiking slab of mind whirring bludgeoned bliss groove. Over t’over side you get ‘the left side of my brain’ which on reflection arrives slightly more upbeat slice of rampantly rumbling twisted blues boogie which once fired up sounds not unlike some bastard offspring resulting from a nocturnal back alley bunk up between Hawkwind and Mountain. Essential in short.
Kool-Aid (global tyranny) ’s/t’ (agitated). Fancy a little zonked out freakishly tripadelic white out psych voodoo that‘s guaranteed to turn your mind inside out amid an hallucinogenic rush of apocalyptic mantras, mind controlling Dadaist dialects, stoned out cosmic hyper gliding and out there bliss kissed molten hot big bearded beatnik rumbles then the self titled Kool-Aid (global tyranny) multi coloured mojo bag may be just what the fried fuzz doctor ordered. Limited to just 500 vinyl copies that each arrive housed in trippy eye catching jackets replete with an accompanying CD of said same wax tracks though slightly tinkered for all you heathens who debunked your turntables in the last great vinyl is dead debacle with the first 100 copies sporting an additional ‘acid mix’ tape of lysergic lovelies rescued from their collective record bag – this may well be the most off radar release you‘ve heard all year.
So little is known about these impishly mysterious psyched out overlords that rumour has it that the dudes up at Agitated records haven’t a clue who they are having found themselves coerced and bullied by way of cryptic notes and the occasional arrival of the odd unsolicited CD into passing up groove space on their celebrated record store day 12 inch ‘I’m so convoluted’ earlier this year to fit alongside Carlton Melton, the Heads and the much admired around these here parts Mugstar the official debut release appearance of Koolaid courtesy of the frankly mind wiring mutant psych disco stomp that was their version of Daft Punk’s ’da funk’ (see http://www.losingtoday.com/tales.php?id=359).
That said the ‘koolaid (global tyranny)’ set isn’t new to these pages, as it happens we’ve had in our possession an intended for release CD of this set for some ten years now which for reasons unknown got lost, forgotten and abandoned by its authors (apparently there were utterances among the collective that the time just wasn’t right and that the public just weren’t ready, a general fear that said aural artefact would cause heads and minds alike to fry and implode presided) only to be recently exhumed, recalibrated, rephrased and phazed for a new generation of fried floppy fringed children bloated on a want for something more than plastic pop. That said the more keen eyed among you may even recall us mentioning it in passing at the time (it did – to add to the intrigue and clue forming – actually appear in print within the hard copy version of Losing Today) – though beyond that we’ve been sworn not to reveal their identities other than to say they reside somewhere in the northern hemisphere located on the 53˚ longitudinal axis.
Appealing as much to admirers of the recorded wares of the important, trensmat and beta lactam ring imprints (and here we are thinking stuff like Seven that Spells, Skull Defekts, Grails, Master Musicians of the Bukkake et al) as those hippy heads turned on by the pages of Shindig and once upon a time (as was) Ptolemaic Terrascope, ’koolaid (global tyranny)’ is a formidable set comprised of 4 hulking opus’ that sound for all the world like some auto piloted Spacemen 3 galactic cruise ship returning from the edges of the cosmic void. Doused in all manner of meditative murmurs, motorik rhythms, cut up samples and wasted fuzz shrilled debris and sprinkled with the rarest essences of magic dust it provides for a colossal and foreboding listening event that finds itself weaving upon an aural axis navigating a terra forming path that shape shifts between the loose generic divides of kraut, drone, psyche and bleached beatnik blues. The set opens with the darkly forbidding ‘18/11’ a parched apocalyptic end of days landscape unfolds as though amid the maddening chime of death’s call some archaic summit presided over by an ‘acid rain’ era Grails and a youthful godspeed you Black Emperor sit morbidly in judgement viewing the carnage before them. The blackened mood soon shifts with the appearance of ‘intercity firm’ – a nose bloodying heads down no nonsense boogie emerges replete with scowling primordial riffage to reveal a free form sun scorching space rocking mother ship. Side two gives hint of a playful and readily more free flowing side to the bands collective psyche ’ritual #3’ providing for a full on 16 minute head trip – chill toned locked grooved crystalline swirls form mind melting arabesque motifs amid a bedrock of hulking head caning percussive loops, throw in some mallowy oceanic mirages that splinter and dissipate to the stoner bleach fuzz hazes and you have yourself something much reminiscent of that transcendental psychotropic lightshow that was Sunray and Sonic Boom’s ’dream-machine’ mind morphing face off. All said its time to fire up a fat one for the best of the set comes with the parting ‘the process’ – a total head fuck of a brutal beatnik inspired head drilling freakout like imagining Blue Cheer and Acid Mothers in a mind lock, this brute comes despatched with all manner of feedback growls and doom dipped sermonising all slavishly wreaking of foreboding whilst fractured and fused by an underlying agitation that boils and scalds to a wasted persona that’s so primitive it comes sporting its own loons and beard to sound as though its just crawled its way out from the dark side of Syd’s frazzled headspace. In short wig flipped freaky boogie for freak beat love children.
Gruff Rhys ‘atheist Xmas’ (Ovni /Turnstile). Don’t you just find that the seasonal occasion always throws up the odd curio, we do love our Xmas fayre here especially when it avoids the usual tinsel toed tidings of joy, not that for a second we here are miserable bastards – rather more for most Xmas isn’t quite how its pictured on the Xmas card and anyway there’s enough sugary things being served as afters for us to have to suffer and stomach some sickly sweet seasonal sentiment written you’d imagine by an infant squealing unpleasantly on the sound system. In fact we do love our festive fancies dashed with a knowing bleak reality check and so with much aghast sighs did we take to our bosom and latter to turntable a rather curious three track 12 inch affair from former Super Furry Gruff Rhys. Title alone – ‘Atheist Xmas’ – guaranteed it a place in our affections as did its wholesomely garish and decidedly un-seasonal sleeve not to mention our eyeing of the third tracks title ‘slashed wrists this Christmas’. not a Wizzard or Slade type thing then we ho-hummed to ourselves. As said three tracks sit wearily on this slab of un-yuletide wax – in fact setting the onerous subject of suicide aside (as Rhys rightly maintains its not his intention to glorify or trivialise this most sorrowful affair) ‘slashed wrists this Christmas’ is almost given something of a Smiths-esque aura, cantering key and shimmering organ motifs endow and vividly bring to bear the fatal subject matter of manic depression at this most lonely period of the year while ’post apocalyptic Christmas’ with its impishly kooky garlands of bells and fuzzy glam mooching imagines a deadpanned Xmas viewed through the eyes of survivors of a nuclear holocaust. For us though best of the set comes courtesy of ’at the end of the line’ – again dealing with manic depression though here uplifted and sporting a tuneful Spector-esque kiss flanked by a gathering of Lennon and Buffalo Springfield types.
Carlton Melton / Mugstar ‘split’ (trenSmat). Just when you thought the record rack pantry would be threadbare leaving you in fear to face the grim reality of maudlin seasonal sentiment being you’re chosen poison for turntable treatment and up pop the esteemed trenSmat to save the day and weigh in with not one – but two – double headed bad boys. As ever strictly limited and no doubt sold out on pre orders alone (though the Norman and Aquarius online outlets may save the obligatory tears of woe) Ireland’s finest noise purveyors bring out the big guns with a curtain closing yuletide thud. First up Carlton Melton (last heard here by way of appearance on that killer record store day 12 inch via agitated) and the mighty Mugstar share the sides of what can only be described as a frankly awesome slab of wax (of the 7 inch variety). As though carefully excavated from the deepest strata of stoner psyche’s founding bedrock, Carlton Melton stump up the monolithic ’company’ – a brooding beatnik grooved slab of primitive skull skree that whirrs insidiously burrowing its trance like transmissions deep into your fried psyche, like a big bearded Mountain gone native crafting crudely locked groove primordial patterns out of old Vertigo records this spliff tipped taps and trips to a mind melting dialect that purrs with an archaic Eastern tongue. Over on the flip scouse spacemen Mugstar deliver up ’black fountain’ a dust ridden bonged out crossroads apparition emerging from a psychotropic haze and sounding for all the world like some mind re-arranged offspring borne of a opiate orgy of brian Jonestown, spacemen 3 and the black angels types in the throes of some fever stricken withdrawal. Darkly demurring stuff.
Whirling Hall of Knives / Tlaotlon ’split’ (trenSmat). Second of the featured trenSmat platters features familiar faces Whirling Hall of Knives and New Zealand’s latest kids on the block Tlaotlon. WHoK serve up the psychotropic fringe parting stew that is ’synapse snaps’ which depending on how robust your psyche is to its brain scrambling charms sounds as equally irresistible played at 33rpm as it does in its prescribed and advised listening setting of 45rpm – not unlike we hasten to add to those curious un named deep house white labels that Peel often used play in the early 90’s to a mixture of delight and frustration from his listeners while off he popped one suspects to jab large pins in a doll form resembling the stations head controller or else be found deeply engrossed thumbing through some ink smudged cobbled up in the bedroom fanzine he’d been sent. Damn fine if you ask me – a mind wiping dream machine of sorts, all locked groove loops and trance tipped meditative murmurs colluding to retune and decode your nervous system into a series of vividly colourful soft psych swirls, repeat listens guaranteed to wipe your headspace clean. Previously unknown to us Tlaotlon offer up ’attitudes blankets to nada’ – one of those quietly fades in type releases given it takes a while to warm up initially shimmering in its own self incubated transcendental sub space, its droning Tibetan pulsar dialects mushroom to see its influence drawn ostensibly from the late 80’s NZ drone / noise scene a la Dead C et al with a knowing eye on the slit breeze and early kranky catalogues albeit as though relocated to some secret bunker shared by Sadar Bazaar, Sonic Boom and Alphane Moon colluding busily on some attempt to achieve sonic enlightenment.
As always both releases come with an additional download bundle which asides the tracks featured on the 7’s with Carlton Melton acquitting themselves with both ‘Death Whisper’ and the full on uncut 12 minute mix of ‘company’ while Mugstar shimmy in with the by all accounts dreamy ‘never (part 1)’. Meanwhile WHoK are served with a 30 minute live video recorded at Dublin’s Joinery Gallery while Tlaotlon – recently acquiring the status as firm favourites around these here parts deal out ‘new horizons’ and ‘spiral arm’. All these cuts will be reviewed in greater length somewhere at the back side of this missive – if that is we can get our email to fire up.
Windmill Moth Glue ‘Christmas – baby please come home’ – scarcely a dry eye in the house, did I not hear on the grizzled grapevine that these dudes are the new Beatles, well we’re none to sure about that rather more perhaps the new Residents would be closer to the mark. One of the few gladdened finds of 2011 are the impish pups known as Windmill Moth Glue whose much adored and overplayed around here ’Wizard Entrails‘ debut (we’re up to our 4th copy having managed to kill the previous three through repeat play) proved to be one our favourite listens of the year. Spewing surreal speed core psychosis with arched humour and a demented Dadaist DIY dialect its inspired murder in the dark peek-a-boo goofiness providing a dot drawing exercise pulling together the missing link between the Banana Splits and Tayside Mental Health with the former trolled out on a 24 hour repeat listening recital of ‘metal machine music’ and suffering acid flashbacks and the latter upgraded with a paranoiac Add N to X skin. Christmas treats abound and armed with a karaoke effects machine the blighters have set about on one of the yuletide holy grails of pop. Unceremoniously trashed on the sacrificial altar Spector’s finest moment ’Christmas (baby please come home)’ – as done by Darlene Love and not I hasten to add by U2 – is tinkered, toyed and turbo charged into a skull splicing sub four minute sonic soiree of slasher shambolic stoner stew and ravaged, ripped and ruptured by a slab of dread headed surf scowling psychotropic unrepentant unruliness that to these ears imagining a seriously fried Butthole Surfers exacting festive revenge after finding out they’ve been put on the naughty list. Rumour has it there may be an album worth of this stuff next year – I’m preparing my wants list of songs for execution right this minute. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D1KZPvJ9tUV0&h=lAQH73Cxz