archiv : singled out – missive 259

Another delve into the vaults – this extended missive is from 2010 or thereabouts – the links might be broken, the submission addresses incorrect (we are these days at 46 Webster Avenue, Bootle, Merseyside, L20 9JF, UK) and some bits might be faded or underlined while much won’t make sense – don’t ask why……so without further ado your latest lashing of eye ache…..

missive 259a
Archive 1 – long time observers of these occasional journals will no doubt note with some interest that we featured Antonymes in previous dispatches wherein if I recall rightly we likened his frost tipped serenades to among others – Satie, Debussy and Harold Budd. Well we received a rare nudge from Ian (Antonymes) inviting us to have a peak at his re-interpretation of the seasonal hymn ‘silent night’ (incidentally a childhood favourite of mine if truth be known – still makes me well up when I hear it – even the Dickies version though for differing reasons obviously. Retold as ’the night is silent’ – what can I say. Impeccable. As though ripped from the very heavens themselves this twinkling star crossed beauty is justly serviced with the reverence it richly deserves, unassuming and elegant, the slender and measured tendering of the sleepy headed piano braids succulently bathed in raining showers of celestial feedback halos and bliss drenched chorus’ impart upon it an unworldly aura that just leaves you breathless, speechless and rooted in awe to the spot – references if references are desired would have you relocating a point of origin somewhere near OMD’s ’Architecture and Morality’ set for comparable class. Oh and just in case you were wondering – indeed yes we did shed a joyful tear or three.

Staying with Antonymes – that’ll teach us for not reading our messages properly there’s word of an album primed for release on Cathedral Transmissions entitled ’Beauty becomes the enemy of the future’ which apart from being mastered by Wil Bolton better known to the more clued up as Cheju – is also produced by Paul Humphreys of OMD fame.

And here’s a little video featuring Ian’s ‘grotesquely beautiful’ which was used to accompany a festive decoration set commissioned for his niece and her husband for Heathrow Airports 5th terminal…..

Kria Brekken ‘uterus water’ (paw tracks). Like Olaf Arnalds (whose ‘vio og vio’ full length released on limited licence via one little Indian mid way through last year to much adoring love over here at the singled out frost topped record shed), Kria Brekken is another of those ex members of Mum (oh okay – more precisely one of the bands founder members and better known to all as Kristin Anna Valtysdottir) currently to be found cut loose of their musical moorings and left to their own devices to craft out strangely enchanting aural figurines. As always with these things we’re having trouble downloading this cut and its accompanying press release from the press people’s site though not to worry where there’s a will there’s a way and its not for us to be halted in our pursuit by mere ’nah mate who are you again’ error messages. Instead we steeled forth into the voids of my space world and found said cut sitting shyly on her musical player eagerly awaiting some playful fun. Apparently this soon to be cutely pressed upon 7 inches of wax treasure comes strictly limited to just 100 copies via the weird and wonky workshop that is Paw Tracks. ‘uterus water’ was apparently written during a period of illness when she was holed up reluctant to brave the elements outside – written specially to ‘lull children to sleep’. there’s no doubting its entrancing lullaby-esque nature, one suspects something to be savoured first and foremost by fans of moomlooo (who you may recall paired up with Phelan Sheppard as Smile Down Upon Us for the esteemed Static Caravan imprint) for ‘uterus water’ sounds like some half woven dreamscape, imbibed with a woozily soft psyche centre as though a snoozing Damon and Naomi with Ghost it teases tenderly disappearing and re-appearing into view like some gaseous apparition reaching from the haze bound ether weaving its potions primed upon long thought lost primitive and arcane mystical folk love charms. Bewitching in a word.

Standard Fare ‘fifteen’ (thee Sheffield phonographic corporation). Already the cause of much swooning around these parts with their dinky drilled darling of a debut ‘dancing’ mid way through last year – Sheffield’s favourite tune terrific toe tapping tearaway trio return to the fray with another cutely coiled slice of razor sharpened spiky pop loveliness courtesy of ‘fifteen’. pressed up on blue vinyl this little cutie seesaws and shimmies with such affectionately drilled wonky aplomb you could almost kiss it for its sheer audacity as it opines more bitter sweet scars from the affairs of the heart and into the bargain turns in a neat and dandy line in classic era Postcard cues albeit as though rewired by some drop dead and dandy pact formulated by a pairing of a lovelorn shoe shuffling early career Weddoes and the Shop Assistants. Repeat plays may cause pleasurable panic attacks. Consider yourselves well and truly warned. – with a debut album entitled ‘apophenia i – iv’ about to surface next month via the phantom channel imprint, aino tytti construct beautifully glazed and parched portraits that bleed and fuse the celestial with the mesmeric, two sneak peak edits of what to expect feature on their my space player, ’apophenia extract 1’ is the sound of sepia faded memories bitter sweetly wrapped in honey glazed halos of ether torn feedback mistrals while ’apophenia extract 2’ imparts a somewhat strangely innate serenely simmering countenance about its wares that’s only matched one suspects by the aching harmonic lull and finality of the sea itself. dream pop and demurring drone purists will be blissfully beguiled.

Benjamin Shaw ‘I got the pox the pox is what I got (anti-hero). Admittedly this popped through our letter box before Christmas had a brief nose around and was much adored during the few momentary turns it had gracing the hi-fi – and then it went AWOL. cries of frustration followed and a full scale rescue was detailed to track the blighter down. And tracked down it was though slightly light of its press release (and its partnering Anti Hero release which we assume to be Nosferatu D2’s lavish and lovely full length – rest assured we will find it in the fullness of time). Anyhow back to Benjamin Shaw, we are assuming this is his debut release – and mighty fine it is to as it creaks, groans and wonkily weaves and waltzes its way around the listening space, between the rushes of discordance and the warmly inviting tonalities of his rustic rambles Shaw is blessed with a creativity that picks and fuses at the frailness of Daniel Johnston, the cleverness of Jeffrey Lewis (’when I fell over in the city‘), the subtle detailing of Elliott Smith, the turn of phrase of Simon Joyner and the carefree nonchalance of Jonathon Richman. Part bitter sweet and bruised there’s something beautifully broken about Benjamin Shaw’s compositional line in that despite their brittle and befallen braiding there’s an undeterred optimism that shines throughout to which makes its listening strangely rejuvenating and healing. Add to that the varying richly woven palette to which he incorporates – from the bar room slumber of the wounded and weary ’12,000 sentinels’, the parched road blues (albeit as though casked in the remotest regions of Ireland) stroll of affectionately adorned lovelorn ‘when I fell over in the city’ to the lurching and wallowing campfire stupor of the cosy toed and snoozing ‘I got the pox the pox is what I got’ – imagine if you will a sunnier sided Will Oldham. All said though nothing quite matches the drop dead allure of ‘chocolate girl’ – a beautified slice of fragmented love notation that’s cast succulently amid a finite detailing of mountain gospel glow which unless we are seriously mistaken may well give even those heart hurt lovelies the Low Anthem cause to keep a check over their shoulder. Genius.

Think we mentioned Nosferatu D2 in passing just a second ago – well sadly it seems they are no more having parted ways some time last year – the aforementioned album we will try to nail for review treatment though for now feast upon a freebie alternative Christmas song of sorts available to download from this here link leading from here entitled ‘its Christmas time (for god’s sake)’ which should appeal first and foremost to fans of Decoration.
And while we are still loosely on the subject of Christmas things – yes I know it was last month blah blah blah – but we had toothache so our Christmas is now and anyway its snowy so its Christmassy -.Nuff said I think – there’s a specially selected spotify play list put together by those nice people over at drowned in sound which you can access via

And back with Benjamin Shaw (you didn’t think we/’d let you get away that easy did you) – a video for ’when I fell over in the city’……

Slow Six ‘tomorrow becomes you’ (western vinyl). Another release which I’m afraid to say we’ve foolishly mislaid the press release for. Where do they all go I lie at wake wondering (answers on an e-postcard to the usual address). Undeterred by our obvious carelessness and ineptitude we hooked up to their my space page for some background info which reveals they hail from Brooklyn are a quintet and have had to their name two full length releases prior to this latest for the much admired of late Western Vinyl imprint both of which have found themselves the subject of critical adoration from such esteemed folk as Wire, Brainwashed and Stylus in recent memory. it’s a trend that we suspect will continuer a pace judging by what ‘tomorrow becomes you’ has to offer for pushing the ticker tape past the 50 minute mark Slow Six draw you seductively into their hermetically sealed playroom, it’s a playroom that serves as sanctuary to the broken, the thoughtful, the bruised and the reflective. Seven tracks feature within that dip deftly between the mood contours imparting the mellow and the lilting with the hypnotic and the stately, the keynote intricate math / post rock signatures find themselves underpinned and distilled by a classical detail that at times has a feel of a youthful Nyman, from the frost dripped opening passages of ’the night you left New York’ which soon defrost to blossom into a wholesomely mesmeric feast of arcing riffs duelling atop softly tenderised musical box chimes to the undulating cross weaves that sumptuously saturate ‘the sympathetic response system (part1)’ itself a mind expanding slice of bliss grooved cosmic boogie much reminiscent of a tranquilised Tank while elsewhere ‘the sympathetic response system (part 2)’ could easily pass for a laid back and twinkle eyed minimalist Tortoise cavorting with a particularly chilled to almost comatose Boards of Canada. Lest we forget to mention the albums more introspective instances – namely the storm approaching calm of ’cloud cover (part 2)’ dutifully graced by a frosted elegance and the kind of tear evoking stillness more commonly encountered these days on releases bearing the name Inch Time on their hide, that said get through this cut without being struck by an overpowering sense of hollowed awe and you’re a better man than me. There is of course its other half to contend with via the storm brewing tension curdling within of ‘cloud cover (part 1)’ while the unsettlingly lullaby-esque gaelic / Australasian / oriental harmonics (think Set Fire to Flames in romantic moods) of the sighing optimism of ‘because together we resonate’ is something best savoured with lights dimmed in the re-assuring embrace of a loved one.

And here’s a little video for an oldie entitled ‘the pulse of this skyline with lightning like nerves’…..

Post human ‘uncharted audio presents the dub plate sessions – volume 3’ (uncharted audio). The third instalment in Uncharted Audio’s ongoing though obviously crucial dub plate sessions – a limited series of specially commissioned releases pressed up on thick slabs of ten inch wax with a strict no repeat pressing of just 250 copies. The basic idea of the series was the extending of invitations to a celebrated artist from the electronica / dance underground to stump up an original cut on one side and have said track re-wired and reconstructed by another aural alchemist from the field of experimental ssoundscapes. Post human (Josh Doherty & Rich Bevan) find themselves given the honour of wrapping up this highly acclaimed series. At 6 and a half minutes in length ’europa sky’ provides a sumptuous finale to the series, a pristine playroom of smoothly contoured mind expanding groove that reaches back to classic era house / techno a la 808 State, FSOL and Biosphere. A gorgeous and richly tailored palette of cerebrally turned nocturnal seduction tweaked upon wave upon wave of purring milky white tonalities and bliss tipped trancendentalist motifs that craftily join the dots to link the past to the present as it veers ever so deftly into spheres these days more commonly associated with Cheju. Flip the disc to find the same cut put through its recalibrated paces by the much admired Cyan 341 who if I recall rightly has featured on more than one occasion in previous singled out despatches via releases for uncharted audio and rednetic. Staying pretty much faithful to the original template Cyan 341 dons his overalls and sets about applying his cosmic dub brushstrokes and engages a delirious workbench of trip-wired sound patches to reform Posthuman’s remote and distantly observed glacially tipped gem stone into something hitherto more in touching distance and equipped for some sophisticated lights dimmed shadow cutting club floor action. Well worth a peak. Future uncharted audio releases we are advised will see outings shortly from the likes of LJ Kruzer and Cursor Miner – just between you and me I think their spoiling us.

Hopefully next month we should have an earful of Static Caravan’s new season of sounds, head honcho Geoff has promised us copies of a new Table 7 inch, a 12 from Inch Time, in addition there are 7’s on the horizon from both Hannah Peel and Tula as well as a new Men An Tol full length with the first 50 copies coming replete with a specially commissioned Pete Fowler art print. Sadly though unless you’ve already pre-ordered one – the 100 only Billy Mahonie lathe cut album has completely sold out – sorry folk but we nabbed the last copy. Also there’s a limited 80 only cassette release by Southall Riot’s Phil M – again sold out at source and Normans – and we should know because we had it in our basket only for the blighter to jump ship at the checkout. Thankfully Phil was on hand with a few spares. For now though and with a self titled debut album looming near via Static and Full Time Hobby here’s the second single from……..

Erland and the Carnival ’trouble in mind’ – think I’m right in saying that we hooked up to this lots debut a few months ago – well sometime when the sun was out in what was allegedly our summer time, a trio no less formed around the talents of Orkney Isle resident Erland Cooper and aided and abetted by Simon Tong (see Verve et al) and David Nock. Described in passing as Pentangle flavoured by Morricone with a dash of Love, a sprinkling of 13rth Floor Elevators and a smidgeon of Joe Meek. All sounds fine by us. As previously advertised the bitter sweetly reflective ’trouble in mind’ is their second release, a taster if you will for the aforementioned arriving full length embraces according to the press release notational elements culled from Alan Lomax and Bruce Springsteen and weaves them into a curiously lilting soft topped super chilled slice of drive time wired west coast pop that’s indelibly sprinkled with all manner of lysergic wooziness – in fact at times its sounds are warped and silvery as though to suggest the result of a tape left on the window ledge exposed to a bright hot sun, obvious comparison notes suggest a Blue Oyster Cult fan in the ranks not to mention a hint of ? and the mysterians though scratch a little deeper and the melodic tonalities softly secrete a subtle B-Movie ’remembrance day’ vibe. Does it for us.

Speak and the Spells ‘she’s dead’ (robot elephant). Alas we haven’t got a finished copy of this devilishly dark and sinisterly cute 7 inch debut though rest assured we won’t be sleeping a wink until we’re safe in the knowledge that one is tucked under our pillow. Why you might well foolishly ask is that so. Well frankly kids it’s the pack of ravenous and leery dogs bollocks that’s why. A three piece hailing from West London and by the sounds of things the toast of the psycho-billy underground, this should be ripe for the picking for fans of the Birthday Party, Meteors, Inca Babies, Gallon Drunk, Link, the turbines, those old Nuggets and Back from the Grave recording relics et al and of course – goes without saying – the Cramps. Grave stone kicking twanging groove that howls, rattles and kicks with such bare boned parched monochromatic primitivism that it could have easily arrived for all the world dumped in a 60’s lay by having been jettisoned out of some reefer smoke choking car boot driven by the Blue Caps with the Trashmen blearing out of the sound system – best filed under wild and fried grizzled blues perhaps somewhere not a million miles from your prized David Cronenberg’s Wife records. Flip the disc for ’brianna’ – a certified slice of skin peeling shock treated frenetic boogie that had us recalling in the main the panic attacking void-ist three chord punk pop shrill of Spizz Energi albeit as though re-wired by a pop fixated Dead Boys. Nuff said.

Laura Marling ‘goodbye England’ (virgin). Frankly to yummy for its own good, a one sided etched type vinyl seven inch thing that pines, purrs and coos with such simplistic majesty that it leaves goose bump traces on your skin. Billed as a limited Christmas release and spotted adorning a record shelf by this hapless scribe at a local sound emporium whispering ‘wanted good home buy us please you’ll love us’ or was I just imagining that it did (that’ll teach me to water the heady cocktail of cough medicine, painkillers and two types of antibiotics with Kentucky’s finest malt). Anyway this comes replete with demurring strings arrangements, warm fuzzy glows and the kind of soft centred chocolate box sweetness that makes you want repeatedly dip in again and again until you’ve filled and smothered yourself to the brim within its sweetly coiffured embrace, admirers of the Earlies will be notably drawn by its heart string tugging beauty.

Goldheart Assembly ’so long St Christopher’ (heron). Yes I’m well aware its been out for yonks – but hell we’ve only just picked up a copy and frankly it blew our wig clean off. Hymnal Hammonds, opining slides, caressing west coast drifts and senses melting lilts – what can we say – the warming and mellowing tonalities of Goldheart Assembly’s softly subdued ’so long St. Christopher’ makes the heart swell, the emotions tug and the senses overcome with a touching awe struck aura, the lazy eyed glazes the introspective foot notes and the liberated longing are deftly weaved into a head swirling carnival of countrified mirages that tease and scratch with a carefree fond affection much recalling a starry eyed Gram Parsons twisted and turned by the picture book prettiness of the Low Anthem and the Leisure Society. One for the feint of heart I suspect. Flip over for ’oh really’ – a scorching slab of 60’s sourced wig flipping lemon popsicle garage soul pop that should by rights give their label mates the Soundcarriers cause to keep peaking over their shoulders with a mild degree of envy.

A few new releases heading towards clued up record emporiums near you for considered listening consumption come in the shape of five new full lengths from those arbiters of cool Cuneiform records sound clips / free mp3’s for which you can window shop before purchase over at – first up Chicago five piece Algernon whose rapid word of mouth reputation among the chattering classes is fast circulating the confines of their Chicago hometown stump up ‘ghost surveillance’ from which you’ll find ‘broken lady’ selected as the freebie taster download cut. All chilled out pastoral post rock perfection, duelling guitars navigating an intricately weaved looping tapestry of undulating pastures peppered by the subtle tones of lilting jazz lounge motifs, softly tendered South Pacific sea breezes and embraced with a 60’s library-esque brusqueness that might appeal asides to fans of Isotope 217 and David Grubbs, Komeda. Next up Amsterdam based quartet Brown Vs Brown whose ’odds and evens’ throws up the jagged and dislocated ’whirlpool’ a cut that sounds as though it was reared on Henry Cow and Captain Beefheart and no doubt hugely inspired and informed by Touch n’ Go’s mid 90’s catalogue, this lot craft out an infectious array of dislocated and punctuated art rock, just love the mooching and impatient horns as they agitate and dictate the pace and the freeform casualness of the whole thing as it leads the listener by the hand on a strangely wig flipped voyage – something that should first and foremost appeal to lovers of Storm and Stress and the Sea and the Cake. Next up perhaps the pride of the new release pack variously described as an avant garde jazz chamber ensemble, the New York Art Quartet’s flame briefly burned for a short while in the early 60’s – short as it may have been but Tchicai, Rudd, Graves and Moore left a lasting and resonating impression on the jazz scene pretty much tearing up the rule book and turning established notions on their head, their only recorded work was a self titled full length via the hip and trendy ESP until that is now. ’old stuff’ cooks up a collection of early recordings culled from two shows in Copenhagen in ’65 within a fried cornucopia of loose and primal jazz located somewhere between the converging worlds of Ayler and Hayes and sure as hell something that should strike familiar wig flipped chords for fans of Now. Radio Massacre Revolution – a UK trio have been around together as a recording entity for some two decades now, their current opus ’time and motion’ is – if the exquisitely tutored ‘chronus’ the free to download MP3 taster here is anything to judge by – a wide screen masterpiece of prog psych kraut electronic study – a by all accounts 2 and a half hour feast of Tangerine Dream meets Zombi via Floyd and Vangelis mind wiring soundtrack ambience set across 2 discs that are meant to act a four separate lp’s. last up Univers Zero serve up the rather sprightly mayday pageantry ’les kobolds’ culled from their latest unveiling ’Clivage’ – courts the same kind of sweeping floral Elizabethan regalism as was encountered on Nyman’s score for Greenaway’s ’the draughtsmen’s contract’ – ingenious in other words.

And returning back to all things Static Caravan related – that promised cassette release from former Southall Riot man Phil M. Entitled the ’Phil ((m) mix)’ this limited to 80 only cassette comprises 14 tracks all haunseemly packaged in cardboard covers reclaimed and bastardised from boxes ‘pilfered’ from Sainsbury’s, Somerfield and Fat Cat records. Initially intended to be a pure 100% analogue recording – Phil’s apologies on the accompanying track list insert note with a certain degree of disappointment the finishing process being tampered ever so slightly by the introduction of Audacity software. A gem of a release it should be said, those familiar with Southall Riot recordings of old will not be found wanting neither will admirers of both the Freed Unit (‘ok fly girl’ and ‘penny your eyes’) and those recent 4 track recordings by the Bordellos (especially ion the bubblegum psych of ‘impossible thoughts of the late dream‘ or the fried ‘paradising‘) – in fact the minute this release kicked in after its initial Judith Chalmers spoken word sample (yes you did read right) the savoured memories of those SR releases came flooding back in an instant, nice to see that in the intervening years since he last had cause to adorn our turntable that Phil hasn’t lost any of his knack for the turning out of crisply phrased lysergic lo-fi loveliness, imagine the honey tipped kaleidoscopic pop detailing of say the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band dimpled with the mindset of Half Japanese or Jonathan Richman and applied with the skeletal threadbare touch of Guided by Voices. it’s a bracing affair of quickly drilled minimalist psych pop treasures in the making briefly appearing / disappearing in a fleeting instant all deftly despatched in a lysergic flavouring of sugar drizzled lazy eyed tonalities. That said its not just sun shiney radiant pop that you’ll find here, dig a little deeper and a few surprises are there for the discovering such as the darkly disturbed dream weaving mirage that is the instrumental ’telephone box = prison’ with its nods to Barrett era Floyd. Elsewhere there’s the cosmic promenade pop of ‘were’ which could easily be Meek meets Tornadoes meets Pluto Monkey via Wire in another time, age / world while purists of late 90‘s Montreal pop would do well to scout ‘songbird‘s return‘ while simultaneously refreshing your memory banks with Constellations finest moments whilst dare we neglect to mention ‘fade back as luck‘ which if we didn‘t know any better sounds not unlike an unlikely studio meeting between Gnac, Roy Montgomery and L‘Augmentation. Flip the tape to be greeted by a spot of ’hex’ era Fall via ’the unexplainable’. All said it’s the sets obvious out on its own curio ’do you know’ that gets our vote as the collections best moment – a kind of hot spin wash of loosely fragmented and unrelated sounds weaved into a discernibly weird and wired lurching and mooching montage of ghostly Cab Calloway apparitions refracted through the sonic sound chamber of the much missing Element of Creeping Bent fame and dutifully peppered with the mind altering and trippy vibes of ’bad orb whirling ball’ era Walking Seeds.

A wholly analogue version of the ‘mix’ is apparently available on polite request – a copy of which we’ll try to nab for further mentions.

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Singled Out
Missive 259b

Archive 2

And there we were perusing one of the many music titles to be found in our local newsagents when we spotted a review for ‘Spring and Port Wine’ which for so long being out of print and unavailable on general release is finally being given a full outing on DVD. About time we here you say – and if you didn’t say – then why not – because this is one of the oft overlooked silent classics of northern Brit realism of the 60’s. okay yes it was released in 1970 – a screen adaptation of a Bill Naughton play featuring a stellar cast headed up by James Mason, Diana Coupland, Susan George and Rodney Bewes. A tale of the Cromptons, a northern family headed by a strict disciplinarian factory hand father (Mason) and a doting subservient wife / mother (Coupland) – bringing up four children – in some ways an excellent historical reflection of life in the 60’s – all at humbling (the religious dogmas of the day), harrowing (Hilda’s pregnancy out of wedlock and the potential shame) and hilarious (Harold and Wilfred leaving home or not as the case turns out) – famous perhaps for the fish scene a fish scene and graced with one of the most sympathetic and fitting musical scores courtesy of Douglas Gamley.

Staying with DVD’s – one of our wee Xmas treats was the purchasing of the ’Absolutely’ box set. A show I remember being aired at the tail end of the 80’s via Channel 4 – and as I seem to recall much influenced in presentation terms by Monty Python albeit sprinkled for good measure with the essences of the Goons and a degree of NTNON – this gathers together the imps four televised series in their unadulterated glory, mind you we swear we only remember being only two stretching to three and was most surprised to note the fourth series ended up being aired in ’93 – maybe our memory is playing tricks. Again maybe our memory is a playing tricks – the little bugger – because we swear we remember one of the ongoing gags surrounding the hapless Stoneybridge Councillors (Bruce, Boab, Ek, Maigret, Gordy, Erk and Wully to you) pestering Sean Connery to appear at a promotional event only to be told ‘dear Stonebridge – fuck off’ – alas we haven’t come across it yet it despite managing to happily get through half the box set. Elsewhere there’s everyone’s favourite stalker in the making Calum Gilhooley and Don and George a kind of Gilbert and George meets Derek and Clive – for more information on this iconic series go to

Just before Xmas we received a rather nice little note from Al Scotch Tapes saying he was sending over a parcel of new releases – alas said parcel never arrived – hopefully it hasn’t gone west in the mail system as is the case of a fair few packages these days – however our mood was lifted with the arrival of a seven inch split featuring –

Tayside Mental Health / Endometrium Cuntplow ‘spilt’ (scotch tapes). Regular patrons of these pages will need no introductions nor reminding of our fondness for Tayside Mental Health – they have since appearing on our radar a little over a year ago provided something of a listening obsession in our bijou record playing space not to say scaring our neighbours witless with their sand frosted squalls and stylus melting power electronics. This particular release sees them paired up with Endometrium Cuntplow – alas not playing together (now frankly that would be spoiling us) – no instead each is left to their own uniquely corrosive devices to fill one side of wax as they see fit. Played at a number of speeds (including 78rpm – indeed we managed to salvage an old turntable from imminent destruction) and all sounding dare I say pretty nifty not to mention scary, Tayside Mental Health opt to show their playful side via the slightly misleadingly enchanted titled ‘cuckoo ping ping green fairytale’ – a delightfully skewed and ostensibly wired and wonky slice of fried fun metered out amid a playful landscape of hotwired aborted Cartoon Network themes seemingly jettisoned through some impish mincing machine. In sharp contrast the charmingly titled ‘retreating scrotum, heaving bowel’ (a title straight out of the Carcass abattoir technicians beginners guide to anatomical nasties) is a little more – shall we say – moulded in the skin peeling acid bath mindset, a punishing head scrambling exercise in finger nails gouging blackboards, dismembered fairground follies and demonic primal shock therapy screams – agreed not as caustic or wilfully antagonistic as fellow noise-nik Kylie Minoise and dare we say edging into territories more readily occupied by a mentally deranged Zea with murderous intent yet all the same spiked with enough volcanic attrition to make your ears pop and your eyeballs bleed. Flip over for Endometrium Cuntplow’s (now there’s a name made for t-shiirts) – again no strangers to these pages, the work of one David Lucien Matheke who if we recall rightly heads up the Nihil Underground and Love Torture imprints (though don’t take our word for it as we haven’t had time to do the requisite research). As with the fun loving Taysider’s Mr Matheke occupies his groove space with two ominous slabs of creeps-ville fayre. The deeply unsettling ’rinsom wars edit minus’ opens his account – eerie communications, weird whirring collages and atmospheric apparitions are the order of the day, disembodied frequency flips coiled around manipulated hypnotic trance waves that to these ears sound like the amplified chatter of a processor chip – admirers of the more oblique work of Dreams of Tall Buildings and Mount Vernon Arts Lab will savour to their hearts content. Better still the industrial mechanised kraut dread drone of ‘in needles’ offers up something of an apocalyptic ill wind – a kind of hell bound meeting if you will of 70 Gwen Party, Depth Charge and the Ministry as rephrased and refracted by a darkly diluted Front 242.

Future Tayside and Endometrium wares will see Scotland’s favourite sons hooking up for a split release with Great Slave Lake via Scotch tapes while the Cuntplow has a busy schedule that promises – pause for sharp intake of breath……

-split w/ Kitten Glitter CD-R [Placenta Recordings]
-split 3″ CD-R w/ RedSK on [Love Torture Records]
-split 3″ CD-R w/ Noise Nazi on [Love Torture Records]
-split 3″ CD-R w/ Mixedupmess on [Love Torture Records]
-split c35 w/ Gorgonized Dorks on [Love Torture Records]
-Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails split w/ MCPIBTYCP c35 on [Love Torture Records]
-split c53 w/ Al Qaeda (Part III of III) on [Love Torture Records]
-split c35 w/ REACHING. on [Scotch Tapes]
-Tides c53 on [Love Torture Records]
-split w/ Yūko Imada [tba]
-split CD-R w/ El Diablos Bloncos on [Love Torture Records]
-Burn Los Angeles, Burn!!! on [Love Earth Music]
-tba on [Kwark Records]
-split tape w/ Zombie Bite on [Love Torture Records]
-split w/ Koobaatoo Asparagus
-split c10 w/ Churner on [Violent Noise Atrocities]
-split c40 w/ Fag Priest on [The Pet Goat]
-3 way split CD-R w/ Big Drum In The Sky Religion / Color Rabbit on [Love Torture Records]
-split c40 w/ BBBlood


Avi Buffalo ‘what’s in it for?’ (sub pop). Our oft grumbled utterings about how we rarely get the chance to hear, see or indeed buy the wares of Sub Pop repeatedly – with much sadness – always seem to fall on deaf ears and so we console ourselves with the occasional scraps whenever we have the chance or fortune. So as you can imagine when we saw this little cutie waving and winking (yes I did say winking – you lot will get me shot – there’s young folk around do you mind) from our pc screen via an online record retail source (no names – RT – oh bugger) well we just had to have it. A scrumptious debut offering from West Coast pop smiths Avi Buffalo. Pressed up on darkish red-dish vinyl and housed in a rather cute and colourful sleeve this beauty beams and radiates with such opining loveliness that it’ll subdue you in an instant as it bathes your winter woes in caressing halos of sensuous sunburnt silkiness, equally relevant to admirers of Simon and Garfunkel as it to lovers of the Clientelle and the Summer Hymns, the vibrant tapestry dappled with corteges of longing crystalline riff chimes borrowed from the Byrds and the softly scaled vocal pitches usher in a would be imagining of Clock Strikes 13 types meeting a youthful Animal Collective. Utterly perfect. Flip the disc ‘Jessica’ – beautifully wonky I think is the way to describe it, plenty of playful campfire chatter like kookiness in the background, some hymnal organs (think Procul ‘whiter shade’ meets Lennon’s ’Jealous Guy’, some whistling (always a good thing around these here parts) and plenty of early 70’s styled Beach Boys motifs – hell kids if we didn’t know better we’d have had this down as some long lost Doleful Lions curio. Buy on sight – an album is reportedly hatching.

The Blanche Hudson Weekend ‘the letters to daddy’ EP (Squirrel). Absolutely stunning – more buzz sawed bubblegum groove from the label responsible for putting out those essential playing platters by the Manhattan Love Suicides – two of whose ex members incidentally feature in the line up of the Blanche Hudson Weekend. Three tracks feature on this peachy playable treat – ‘crying shame’ leads the charge – a gorgeously lilting lovelorn cutie that manages with some admirable aplomb to fuse the essences of Link, Jesus and Mary Chain and the Shangri-La’s into a succulently strut seized beehive babe and adorns it with all manner of shade wearing sherbety sighs – former fans of MLS will not be found wanting when the love jaded soft psyche garage purr of this pretty rears into view of the jukebox. Better still are the brace of beauties lying in wait on the b-side from the bliss grooved fuzz of the crestfallen rainy afternoon reflection of ’the last ride’ which should appeal to those with a pang for things with the name the Siddeleys tattooed on its hide while ’noise and fury’ is a sugar laced melodic buzz bomb cemented by windswept effervescent skrees of MBV feedback albeit informed by a Ramones mindset.

Sissy Spacek ‘fortune’ (gilgongo). Again another avant noise collective who are no strangers to these pages – see missive 230 and 239 respectively – who are based around the warped and wired no wave brainchild John Weise. Not sure how many of these are kicking around but I wouldn’t hang around to long if you want one as your own. A seven inch platter no less featuring as billed two songs. What you really get in exchange for your hard earned dosh is not two but rather more twenty six impish bursts of skree scorched discordance, its brief and its blistering and should by rights appeal to any right minded person with a certain aural acclimatisation to the work of Hijokaidan and Masonna, brutal or caustic doesn’t come into it all you need to know is that the minute the stylus touches base with the wax your immediately under siege amid a scorching head pounding sand storm of skin peeling velocity. Not one for the timid in nature.

Hexicon ‘something strange beneath the stairs’ (haircut). Getting a bit daft this now for here’s another faultless release this time displaying the mercurial talents of Messrs Collins and Rains who can also be heard penning perfect pop nuggets as part of Allo, Darling whose recent debut release ‘Polaroid song’ (mentioned elsewhere amid these never ending pages) for those bastions of boot tapping boogie – Fortuna Pop – had us all a cheering and a swooning in the aisles. And so to Hexicon their other obsession – since 2006 we’ll have you know or rather more as the press release would have us know, ‘something strange beneath the stairs’ has proven something of a crowd favourite in recent times and its easy to see why, its lilting demeanour, the breezy embrace of its carefree nonchalant nature not to mention its lazy eyed shuffle pierced as were by a strangely becoming wintry dusting of noir drizzled French horns all collide to give it a sweetly sighing signature that had us recalling with much fondness both Garlic (before they become the new Pavement) and Jumbo (before they weirded out and disappeared to much upset and tears off everyone’s radar) before planting fuzzy glowing feathery kisses upon our furrowed brow and proceeding to exit stage left. Over on its flip sits ’still here’ – something of a reflectively mellowing porch lit countrified cutie despatched with hymnal and homely keys, opining slides and twinkling bells which all gathered together should strike dreamy chords among long standing country pop admirers of Buffalo Springfield, Gram Parsons and Michael Nesmith.

The last rapes of Mr Teach ‘the blood of another man’ EP (les disques steak). Must admit that this has in its own insidious way been growing on us with each repeated play. The last rapes of mr teach hail from france and play a roughshod variant of garage grilled cowpunk, plenty of twanging guitars for the purists among you while initial reference markers would suggest that their stripped to the bone and almost ramshackle approach to recording point to souls in the camp being inspired by the Violent Femmes (non more so is this the case than on the brazenly blistered ‘I saw a corpse‘). Anyhow to date they’ve put out a handful of releases included a brace of recent splits with Sex Beet and Movie Star Junkie all of which we’ll have to nail for ourselves for fear of sleepless nights fretting about their omission from our well heeled record collection. As to this particular EP – four cuts lurk within with title track ’the blood of another man’ doing a rather neat take on the swamp dragged primal scowl of Gallon Drunk albeit here as though spiked by the Scars while over on the flip side ’it’s all over’ sounds like some recently unearthed long lost chirpy throwaway beat grooved ditty the type of which would grace the end credits of some grimly gruesome dread racked horror flick though why oh why it sounds like it was recorded under water is beyond me while the wasted ’gypsy night’ is stacked aplenty with the kind of reverbs and primitive 60’s shade adorned motifs that suggest a loosely forming kinship with the much loved Fuzztones.

Smoke Fairies ’gas town’ (third man). Been a fair while since we had cause to feature anything by Jessica and Katherine for it is they who are the Smoke Fairies, in fact the last time was when we passed words of affectionate fondness in the general direction of their demo CD set. A year or two on and there we were spying an online record emporium shop window and up popped in to view this rather dandy and dainty 7 inch. Of course we had to have. Smoke Fairies occupy a strangely beguiling twig light world lushly decorated with the sweet pastoral tug of soft psyche 60’s trimmings, woozy Canterbury folk accents and sensual shades of rustic reclines, it’s a tapestry woven to enchant and spellbind, the beautified caress and the coalescence of harmonies and melodies usher in like Siren-esque apparitions drawing you close and delicately whispering of sultry wantonness. As you’d rightly imagine by title alone ’river song’ is softly smoked with a mountainside woodiness that oozes a ghostly calm, its hypnotic allure owes as much to John Fahey as it does Mellow Candle and Pentangle or indeed Curved Air as its fragmented and fractured finale duly notes. That said it’s the lead cut ’gas town’ that is bound to strike chords with admirers of nu-folk, sharing something of an affinity with the Owl Service collective this flighty beauty sounds as though its stepped through some tear in time arriving from an age of innocence and tranquillity and by rights shouldn’t look to out of place sitting next to your much cherished ’Wicker Man’ OST. A gem.

Hygiene ’town centre’ EP (static shock). Now there has been much grumbling and muttering of ill thoughts not to mention an occasional usage of Anglo-Saxon phrases not heard on these shores since men with big beards, bigger hair and hats with tusk-y bits on top entered through customs at ye olde Dover. And the reason for such cussing you might well ask. Well it seems these urchins have already sneakily serviced a hungry fan base with a prior rarer than hen’s teeth release entitled ’tv girl’ to which this hapless scribe has seemingly missed. Ah well such is life we’ll just continue a cussing until we go hoarse. Mind you we do I’m glad to say have this – its follow up. Limited to just 320 copies (319 now considering I’ve got a copy) this particular release comes courtesy of London’s Static Shock imprint – a label who last appeared in these pages courtesy of a killer release from the Shitty Limits. Featuring three cuts this disgruntled view from the council estates sounds not unlike something that’s fallen from a Peel play list c. 1979, the agitated negativity and blankness literally pours from the waxen grooves of ’town centre’ the monochrome riffs chugs scowl and spar blending a superbly lo-fi low grade proto post new wave art rock spiky-ness to proceedings as though the result of some rain drizzled street meeting between a youthful Fall and an equally young Wire. Flip the disc for more of the same with ’mrsa’ sounding not unlike (and a second mention this particular missive) a seriously bored and pissed off Scars with a case of bad attitude while the blank generation apathy of ’dissertation’ is so acutely bracing that you may just feel totally un-arsed to rise from your pit. We need more.

Cam Deas ‘my guitar is alive and its singing’ (self released). There’s only 100 hand made and hand numbered copies of this release to be had which we are suspecting – should word get out – will fly from the racks – so do yourself a favour and get your backsides into gear sprightly if you want to avoid the obvious resulting untold disappointment. This cd features three cuts spread across 42 minutes – there’s been a prior release with Spoono via Blackest Rainbow that we’ll have to nail as our own as well as selected cuts from imprints such as great pop supplement, dead pilot, curt and sunburnt tongue all of which we’ll be setting our radar for deep scan to nab as our own. Hailing from Sheffield Cam Deas makes great use of atmosphere and silence, of course opening salvo ’the waters of kvaloya’ will appeal to long standing admirers of Roy Montgomery in the ways the author scripts playfully a sense of drama as the cavernous mood phrasings swell and arc between moments of lulling calm to minor bursts of intricate activity with hymnal primitivism at times passing through to pay subtle nods to Mountain. In sharp and marked contrast ’my guitar is alive and its singing’ opts for a spot of ominous drone, the glassy whirrs interrupted and punctuated by the occasional neutered strum recall the brooding effect of Aidan Baker’s more unsettling and darkly woven work. That said parting cut the nature bound and woody ‘as spring fell from the leaves’ should prove something of noteworthy interest to John Fahey purists – the stilled resonance of the mesmeric chiming cascades of delta folk drills usher in a sense of disarming sereneness, the detail and delivery exquisite in its despatch and by our reckoning the best thing we’ve heard of its ilk since the late Jack Rose’s ‘the black dirt sessions’ set for three lobed recordings last year.

Spirit Spine ‘crashers’ (make mine). Again another young musician previously unknown to us who appears of late to be causing something of a kerfuffle among the chattering classes of the clued in underground scene. Spirit Spine (named after a condition experienced by people with severed spinal chords leading them to believe they can still walk) – or 19 year old Joseph Denney as he’s better known to friends and relatives – hails from Bloomington, Indiana – to date there’s a self titled album kicking about in record world as well as an EP entitled ’surf hunter’ which you can down load for free by hooking up to his my space site at – anyhow he trades in suave strains of honey tipped electro pop which on the evidence of ’crashers’ initially has your radars alerted to report back ’sounds like Animal Collective cross-wired with the Earlies‘, though delve a little deeper and succumb to the hugely uplifting and celebratory softly coiled west coast motifs and the hitherto arresting sun parched jubilance and you’ll hear something a little more attributable to the pristine pop alchemy of J Xaverre and Tex La Homa which as you all know is a pretty nifty feat if you can pull it off.

Drumcunt ’fags’ (bunkland). Julian Cope is a fan by all accounts – take from that what you will, it’s a limited thing pressed up on a 3 inch CD and all hand numbered – 65 in total in case you were going to ask – our copy being #54. They or he / she hail from London and on this frankly must have set sit four tracks that lurk within vying for your attention. As to the sound – pretty bloody ominous as it happens, very much stilled in a bleakly blank post apocalyptic landscape scarred and scribed by a mutant fusion of chilled monochrome industrial accents and drum n’ dubby (of course with the occasional bassy bits) and dare we say traversing territories more readily occupied by those souls occupying the collective groove space of the Alrealon imprint and here we are thinking Subduxtion et al. n one more so is this the case than on the opening salvo ‘fishlicker’ which it should be said really had the floor shaking in our gaff regardless of the fact that we’d hiked up the volume to levels where the resulting vibration was causing the plaster to disintegrate on the walls and ceiling. Mind you that said ‘old cunt’ does stray ever so slightly into sound spheres previously navigated by a darker in intention Add N to X and the more obtuse and less playful work of Echoboy while there’s tomfoolery aplenty on ’bonnie tyler / snow white’ which unless our ears do deceive had us recalling the impish kookiness of those early 8bit recitals put out by Casino vs. Japan though all said it’s the manically wired and unhinged ’I’m head feels like a chemist’ that caught our attention dipping ever so slyly into the less fractious elements of the Tigerbeat6 imprint and ending up sounding like some mantra warped collision featuring various parts of Wagon Christ, Puffin Boy and Muslim Gauze. And before you ask – yes you do need it in your life.

missive 259c
Singled Out
Missive 259c

Archive 3

The Notwist ‘come in’ (city slang). Probably been out for ages, years even – and you’ve probably gone through the full gambit of emotions from loving it to bits to being tired of hearing it so often – who knows – but then we would have to question any of you suffering the latter because no matter how often we hear it each new listen is like reliving the blossoming moments of a love affair. The Notwist are – as you shouldn’t need telling – quite perfect, hatching and concocting chill tipped ice sculptures in the form of evensong each and every time they go anywhere near a recording facility, the application of melody fused to harmony is impeccable – hell these cute things could have been cobbled together in a north pole grotto for all we know such is their twinkle toed lulling perfection. ’come in’ is arresting and beyond that there is nothing more to say though add Grizzly Bear to the formula as on the flip cuts ’boneless’ and the whole nuzzling fuzzy felt winter warm cosy-ness rears into view full circle. Delicately drop dead gorgeous is I think the best way to describe it all.

Laurence Son ‘a few drops of muzzled milk’ (self released).don’t you just find that some of the best and most interesting releases arrive without fanfare or celebration or indeed introduction. And so to a five track release from the mysterious Laurence Son. Entitled ’a few drops of muzzled milk’ it comprises five tracks. Arrived at gaff waiting to greet our return this very day housed in a reclaimed battered about the edges envelope with staples were once there had been adhesive and an address label barely hanging from the seams to such extent we here were surprised it got to us in the first place. And like its packaging the songs within are dispatched with minimal application, threadbare and rickety almost transparently feint in design, a lo-fi afterthought if you will. Pressed up on a CD-r and housed in hand crafted sleeves depicting childlike caricatures and a rather cute hand penned thank you note with little all else in terms of information other than a myspace address and a mobile contact number – we puzzled at this strange looking DIY artefact. However uncork the wayward treats within and let the air at them and rather than slap you around the chops and poke you in the eye, the melodies within – both frail and crooked – have an uncanny knack of drawing you in close with intimate invitation. Perhaps something for the archaic folk blues purists among you, the scratchy detail the limited production presence endow a primitive aura upon these five off kilter sorts both opening salvos ’to ease the fat’ and ’slack jaw blade’ have a sense of the Waits and Beefheart about their wares the latter appealing one suspects to those who purchased the recent ’dust sucker’ sessions set via Ozit while the former mentioned is shrouded with the same darkly set creakily sketched ramble as has become a trademark of the stateside bar room bard. All said we here are more than a tad smitten by the parting ’the bunny dip’ as it wheezes ominously through fogbound landscapes to sound like something much deserving of being filed alongside your prized Smog / Bill Callahan releases.

Observer Music Monthly #76 – ah well guess we kinda suspected, the last few editions – when they’ve appeared (seem to recall a few issues going amiss around Summer) – have had the feel of something distracted and neglected – and so arrives #76 of this most relevant of Sunday supplements (since September 2003) – the last one as it happens and an other music periodical biting the dust (another informed read – Plan B – folded mid way through last year). To mark its exit from our reading list this parting issue is devoted to an extended feature entitled ‘American Legends’ – a fitting goodbye in so far as the artists mentioned are responsible for moulding / setting the templates for this multi faceted thing we call pop, in many respects OMM understood that pop was just the reserve of the charts but was something of a genre bending beast forever evolving and to this end its monthly musings became a free spirited adventure unperturbed or dictated by fads and fashions or indeed bandwagons instead taking the would be listener on a journey through the stranger passages of pop’s rich tapestry. A year in the collating American Legends features a collection of photographs by Jamie James Medina – a hall of honour focusing on the greatest living legends from the spheres of rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, country, blues and folk, among the billion dollar gathering Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, BB King, Wanda Jackson, Ornette Coleman, Etta James, Sonny Rollins, Honeyboy Edwards, Buddy Guy and Les Paul who sadly passed away before the projects completion – all feature with accompanying words from musicians of whom they’ve influenced or inspired. OMM – RIP 2003-2010.

Kathryn Williams ‘50 white lines’ (0ne little Indian). Oh how we love the tension, the anticipation and the drama of this as it gathers apace with sly stealth breathlessly unpeeling your defences with deft precision with each passing melodic gear shift, the beauty and the clarity of the honey toned pastoral patters metered to the dusty percussive shuffles and married to Williams’ carefree lovelorn intonations endow upon the would be listening space a demurring spring hued radiance. Mind you as lovely as ’50 white lines’ is it’s the arresting lovelorn and resigned reflection of the souring serenade ’nothing to offer’ over on the flip that had us a cooing as you will to especially if your idea of toe tapping willowy country tinged folk purity and perfection comes bearing the name Laura Cantrell tattooed on its hide. An album – her eighth (where have you been all my life girl) precedes entitled ‘the quickening‘.

An Experiment on a bird in the air pump ‘silent hour’ (buy a life). Mentioned these ages ago when we took a casual peak at the sonic wares adorning their my space page, three young ladies c-bird, d-bird and x-bird are their names, the band named – one presumes after a painting by 17th C artist Joseph Wright. Anyhow this 7 inch EP comprises three tracks that should by rights be setting the radars of Katastrophy Wife, PJ Harvey and Carina Round admirers all alight and buzzing hot given that their sound is finitely cut with a brooding primitive blues sparseness. Opening cut ‘silent hour’ is scarred and scalded by a frenzied mania as its choking voodoo love charms encircle with the kind of bleakly brittle bastardised beauty of ’ju-ju’ era Siouxsie albeit cross-wired by a less threatening and debased Lydia Lunch. That said with its desolate post punk austerity ‘smear’ taps superbly into the despondent consciousness of Xmal Deutschland where it transplanted into the mindset of Controller. Controller while its left to the brief but unquestionably raw and spiteful ‘only in death’ over the flip to steal the set – a primal lo-fi soul sucking bare boned garage growler unless our ears do deceive and one for the Mr Airplane Man admirers among you.

Various ‘holiday 4-way’ (Stumparumper). I’ll be honest it was the name of the label that attracted us and after a spot of hasty research (that’ll be looking at the back sleeve) there’s been 7 outings courtesy of this Stateside based imprint (and brainchild of a certain Pat Kelley) whose glaring omission from our impeccably maintained record collection will no doubt be the cause of cold sweats and bouts of insomnia. A Christmas treat no less (and just as well really because the promised Cherryade Christmas collection and bracken festive cassette reviews are a tad delayed due to us having mislaid said items in the humungous release mountain which is currently threatening to take over our gaff). Anyhow as the title surely gives hint to – this limited 300 only 7 inch features a gathering of four likeminded ensembles all abusing the festive season as they see fit. Here you get the willowy (Hoop Dreams), the wonky (Fuck Montreal), the weird (Granny Frost) and the quite frankly warped (Banned Books). Each of these cuts are gems in their own little way and much to our embarrassment served up by bands previously unknown to us. First up Banned Books unwrap ‘xxxmas’ – a razor sharp fuzzy scuzzy glam drizzled new wave sortie that manages with some aplomb to splice together elements of Jonathan Richman with Magoo. The fuzziness continues apace with the arrival of the scuzzy blues despondency of Granny Frost’s ‘cystic Crisco lipstick Christmas’ which in many way had us recalling with much fondness Captain Polaroid who as you all know is a trademark celebrity of the Filthy Little Angels family – and yes favourable words about FLA’s 5th anniversary set are currently brewing on the back burner. Hoop Dreams serve up the seriously lo-fi tweaked sparse west coast pop thrill of ’under a Christmas star’ replete with Raspberries meets Cockney Rebel meets Cheap Trick cuteness while it’s the parting offering from Fuck Montreal that held our affections to ransom, a wonderfully kooky and childlike dream weaved apparition of ’do you hear what I hear?’ all sweetly brushed with a gorgeously goofy side serving of crooked Elephant 6 Collective impishness. More of the same please when your ready.

Fossils / Spoils and Relics ‘split’ (mantile). The first of three releases that you’ll find dotted across these pages in the fullness of time courtesy of tape only label Mantile. Recently salvaged from a mail order record emporium the label provides what can only be described as cryptic verses as to the contents of the releases. Run by – we assume – Johnny Scarr – a name we suspect not on his passport or readily known to his family – the label prides itself on producing limited run cassettes (50 in case you are asking) housed in hand crafted / stamped artwork sleeves the first of which procuring our attention being this ominous split outing from Fossils and Spoils and Relics. A release one suspects not for the feint of heart or indeed to be appreciated alone in the dark if the formers salvo is anything to judge. Eerie doesn’t really do it justice for ‘why brow’ is shrouded amid a parched and desolate dread landscape, part oppressive part apocalyptic, it groans, creaks and slithers with a bleak abandon, sounding at times not unlike a skin crawling backdrop to some darkly disturbing horror flick, its doom draped hollowness metered out by an array of scrapes, wind chilled rusty swings, monolithic opines (recalling the death ridden sirens of the Tripods from War of the Worlds), white noise chatter and a general sense of something not of this world and which on reflection nods its atmospheric alienation to the abstract sonic micro verse once countered many years back by Pimmon. Flip the cassette over for ’shut in place’ – those thinking solace awaits – think again – through the – as were – magnified subterranean textures leviathan like communications can be heard between the moments of petrified stillness and echoing resonance the morbid clatter of dragging chain mail is heard, something lurks in the shadows, a hellish creation slavering, hungry and pensively plotting – disturbed stuff.

Shrag rabbit kids’ (wiaiwya). My my how they’ve blossomed since they last ventured these pages, once the authors of shouty spiky skewed punk pop these days the adorable alchemists of day-glo daubed throb pop, ‘rabbit kids’ leads the charge a kind of feistily fey and flighty twee coaxed Echobelly meets Lush cross-matched with side rations of Helen Love, an irresistible and infectious well aimed arrow to the heart longingly adorned with hooks aplenty and a cavaliering chorus to make the most steely eyed swoon and sigh fondly. Better still is the accompanying flip cut (isn’t that always the case eh?) – ’erratic fictions’ decorated in all manner of early 90’s indie pop accents lushly lightened by twinkling highlights of honey glazed fluffiness all woven amid oodles of la la’s and loved up late 60’s girl pop flashbacks that summarily peak and fracture to the bleaching burn of a white hot noise nuking finale. Cute.

Jack Rose ‘woodpiles on the side of the road’ (thrill jockey). A talent tragically extinguished before its time, Jack Rose’s passing at the tail end of last year was a sad and unexpected shock and took from the music scene a young and rare talent whose craft and artistry was fortified and informed by the hallowed legends of folk and blues’ rich and primitive lineage. As though overseen by spectres from another age the gift entrusted to Rose was one that shared its bloodline with the finest exponents of the six and twelve string, a disciple of delta blues Rose’s clearest reference was that of the late John Fahey his work proving – especially on last years Three Lobed outing ’the black dirt sessions’ – to drew an irrefutable line extending back to Fahey’s earliest landmark recordings. And so to ’woodpiles on the side of the road’ – culled from a forthcoming set for Thrill Jockey entitled ‘luck in the valley‘ (label press release below) which is due to hit the most relevant record emporium counters next month, it’s a track that encapsulates the timeless beauty of Rose’s craftsmanship – the richness of the woody textures, the maturity of the deft finger work and the mellowness of the smoked mountain side distilling are harnessed into something both free spirited and pure from modernist pollution. A free download of the track is available by clicking on the following link…..

Thrill Jockey say of the release in their press blurb…..

‘A native of Virginia and resident of Philadelphia since 1998, Jack Rose first rose to prominence with the drone/noise/folk unit, Pelt. Pelt can be counted among the early influential new music underground bands such as UN, No Neck Blues Band, Charalambides, Tower Recordings and Six Organs of Admittance. Rose recorded and toured with the band up until 2006. Rose released his first solo LP in 2002, “Red Horse, White Mule”, of post-Takoma, American primitive guitar. Along with the influences of John Fahey and Robbie Basho, Rose also incorporated North Indian classical, early American blues, bluegrass and minimalism into his singular style. 2005 saw the release of his fourth LP, “Kensington Blues”, which incorporated all of the aforementioned influences and his playing/composing fully flowered. That LP is now considered a classic of contemporary guitar music.
In 2008 and 2009 Rose released “Dr. Ragtime and Pals” and “Jack Rose and the Black Twig Pickers” respectively. Those recordings featured many additional players like Glenn Jones, Micah Smaldone, Harmonica Dan and the Black Twig Pickers. The songs drew heavily on pre-war influences, either written by Rose or were his arrangements of early American classics. “Luck in the Valley ” will be the third album in this set of recordings that Rose jokingly refers to as his “Ditch Trilogy”. Rose continues his exploration of pre-war American music with a set brand new material featuring the Twigs, Jones, Harmonica Dan and Hans Chew along with a handful of solo pieces. This recording set out to capture the energy and feel of the classic three-track shack recordings by the Wray Brothers and Mordicai Jones. “Luck In The Valley” was written and recorded over a period of nine months off the road, an unusually long time for Rose to be at home and woodshedding. The album finds Rose employing new themes and techniques that haven’t appeared on previous releases.
Like all pre-war recordings and all of Rose’s releases, this album was recorded live. It was not created using overdubs but rather by recording a few “takes” and selecting the best performance out of those. Rose stated, “I wanted the songs to have an immediacy and spontaneity as they were being recorded. All the musicians chosen for the record know how to play the songs without overworking the material, but at the same time creating memorable accompaniments on the spot.” Several of the songs are in fact the first takes like “Blues for Percy Danforth”, “Lick Mountain Ramble” and “Woodpiles on the Side of the Road”. Also Included in the set are three covers: “St. Louis Blues”, “Everybody Ought to Pray Sometime” and “West Coast Blues”. All of these pre-war classics are Rose’s unique arrangements.
The album title refers to the old red light section of St. Louis and was a code for procuring the services of a prostitute. Says Rose “I read about it on some liner notes to a reissue of pre-war St. Louis recordings and I liked the ring of it.” An avid record collector with an encyclopedic knowledge of pre-war American music, Rose has been acknowledged as a rising star among contemporary guitar players. “Luck in the Valley” finds Rose at his best surrounded by like-minded friends on a recording that is enriched by a sense of history but entirely new, vibrant and warm‘.

To celebrate the life of Mr Rose and to mark a respect for his passing there will be a special night of performances – billed as A Requiem for Jack Rose there will on TUESDAY 16th February 2010 at the Cafe Oto in London will host a gathering of talent that includes sets from HUSH ARBORS, HEATHER LEIGH MURRAY, VOICE OF THE SEVEN THUNDERS, MICHAEL FLOWER BAND and C JOYNES. For more information and tickets please follow this link:

Table ‘songs you can sing’ (Humble Soul / Static Caravan). Typically tasty looking hand numbered release (500 only) that comes adorned in hand finished die cut sleeves housed in a Hessian bag. Doesn’t sound half bad either – in case you are wondering. A six piece hailing from Manchester led from the fore by David O’Dowda ’songs you can sing’ is as it happens their debut release, a wonderfully reflective twin set the lead cut shyly marking its presence as though coated in the kind of starry eyed aural afterglow much admired by those Arctic Circle types, through the frost melting stillness a magically melancholic reverence softly purrs, a daybreak setting moreover a cautious campfire celebration overseen as were by a mellowed Robert Wyatt cradled and caressed by a collective alliance of timid and blurry eyed journeymen made up of Earlies, Low Anthem and the Leisure Society sorts – utterly beguiling and lump in throat numbing. Need we say more. Of course there’s always the flip side ’most’ is to not to put to finer point on matters – scrumptious. Playfully twinkling electronics that wibble and wobble all forlorn and sleepy headed lost in a moment – or so it would seem – amid the safe confines of their nursery room surroundings longingly sprinkled and peppered with fairy dust and decorated by the disarming lull of the frost bound intimate harmonies of a North Pole relocated Beach Boys – kind of makes you feel fuzzy on the inside.

John Foxx ‘burning car’ (Metamatic). Now we’ll readily admit to being a little late with some of the reviews we post here, but we have to put our hands up in saying 18 months since the train left the figurative station is pushing things even by our own woefully ad hoc standards. Anyhow there is a reason for this. So gather round. It was Cargo’s fault. Indeed you’ve guessed it – the now obligatory monthly visit to Cargo to raid their vaults turned up this little gem which we must admit caught our eye and indeed later therein – our ear. Originally out in that golden month September – er – 2008, this cutie was a limited 500 only vinyl issue and saw two cuts that previously saw the light of day stamped side by side on wax way back in that evergreen year – 1980. Fast forward some three decades and adorned with artwork by Karborn, these two tracks are hauled from the garage and given a re-tuning, re-spray and a re-fit by Dubterror. Nothing is lost of the originals oblique and detached chill, cradled as it was in a slick minimalist sterile futura sheen, its update in fact sounds ever more ominous and distant, a future echo perhaps wrapped and coiled with bass driven industrial sombreness these days the trademark of erstwhile Foxx acolyte Gary Numan. ’20th Century’ over on the flip is more the given deal, a liberal re-translation of meaty dub-tronic treatments, apocalyptic scratches and looping spacey spirals set to a vacuumed void canvas – hell where are my Landscape records when I need them. If you want one of these we spied about a dozen or so at Cargo so pester en masse.

Thee Vicars ‘you lie’ (dirty water). Buggering hell this is good, wig flipping groove zapped out of Bury St Edmunds and straight into your living room courtesy of a dinky 7 inch wax slab housed in a cool as f**k pastiche 60’s EP sleeve. This quartet of fringe floppy dudes have been the cause of feverish chatter among the underground garage cognoscenti for a year or two now having let loose several prime select platters of beat pop boogie for the likes of dire, holy twist, eh steeeve, murder slim and of course premier scuzz freak beats Dirty Water. ‘you lie’ sounds for all the world as though its been drop kicked straight out of a hip n’ trendy mid 60’s boutique and into the present, harvested with a superbly primitive scowl elements of the Wailers are subtle though detectable throughout, though repeat plays reveal something of a deliciously dirty shade adorned pact formed between the Standells and Seeds at work factored in with the sassiness as were of a Brian Jones mindset with a youthful Arthur Lee hogging the mixing desk. Flip the disc for more freakin fun in the shape of ‘gonna see me again’ – to these ears has all the hallmarks of another rarefied slab of forgotten buried treasure that’s somehow slipped the shackles of a Nuggets / Pebbles styled retrospective – don‘t know about you but it sounds like a whole heap of twang-licious fuzz to us which unless we’re sorely reading off the wrong page should appeal in the first instance to admirers of the Troggs. Crucial stuff.

The Granite Shore ‘tomorrow morning 3am’ (Occultation). And before you all start bombarding me with complaint missives pointing out the small detail that this has been out for yonks – then yes we know. Better late than never as my late father was once heard to comment as I made my entrance into this world as a slightly overdone and overcooked 10 pound six ounce bouncing bomb much to the relief I should add of my slightly later mother who may well have been forgiven for thinking she was carrying an oversized beach ball. You’ll be late for your own funeral they’d oft cry after me. But enough of that. The second release for the newly formed Occultation imprint who if memory serves right did in fact write to me many many months ago offering promos of this and the Wild Swans release (their first outing) – a hasty reply went unheeded alas – though we did track down the rogue Wild Swans release and mentioned it favourably in despatches. In fact they are currently up to release number three which given Cargo’s impeccable finger on the pulse order delivery we should have in say – June whereupon by that time they’d have released their third while the Granite Shore would have released their second. Is this getting terribly confusing or what. And so to the Granite Shore – alas no time to do a quick spot of google research (connections to the distractions anyone) – pressed up on 10 inches of wax limited to 700 hand stamped copies ours being #217 in case your note taking and featuring two frankly numbing and shy eyed treats. Mellow – and to call it such – doesn’t do it justice, the melancholic opine of ‘tomorrow morning 3am’ cuts to the quick, the sweeping strains of the breezily attuned strings caressed by the flotillas of delicately sturdy riff strums swell and contract freewheeling between the tearfully hollow and touched to the towering and swoon steeped euphoric, a bruised love note of sorts cast upon a wave of lump in throat forming majesty and equipped with the kind of heart sapping finale not heard here since Wylie as in Pete decided to make the ever more rare application of pristine pop pen to paper. Flip the disc for the equally graced ’workhouse’ – a magically mournful and hollowing broken hearted babe lavishly cradled by ornate arrangements and primed and peppered with an intimacy that reaches through your very being and yanks heavily on your defenceless heartstrings. Tissues and a shoulder to cry upon are required listening accoutrements. A blessed thing.

The morning after girls ‘the general public’ (tee pee). Again – not sure how long this has been out and about for, but our copy come pressed up on white vinyl and very pretty too via those Tee Pee sorts whose recent releases (featuring a brace of Night Horse splits) should be due for some deserved mentions later on in these pages though not before we‘ve had a chance to partake in the sounds of the morning after girls. A quintet who hail from Melbourne, been around for a few years now having cut their teeth sharing stages with the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols they’ve earned themselves something of an admired and envied reputation and its easy to see why for ‘the general public’ blurs the core DNA of the Warhols spangled paisley purred power pop with the hazy glow of a youthful Ride and bleaches the shimmer toned fuzzy flecks with a subtle shading of west coast accents and blesses the whole thing with a bliss grooved fringe flopping dream pop fizz that on any given day would make Asobi Seksu gnash their teeth with envy. Flip side ’who is they’ only serves to re-affirm what the lead out track hinted, the approach more mellow and reposed this time of asking – statuesque spirals of glassy effects laden showers saturate the listening space with stutter gun lysergic halos themselves catapulting sighing opines into the milky white ether to cause you to go all a swoon or at least something similar to that effect. And in case you haven’t already gathered for yourselves – yes you need it. – we here feel somewhat embarrassed for not having tripped upon or indeed mentioned the Woven Project previously, based in Hartlepool they number five among their ranks – describe their sounds as ’lo-fi, acoustic and experimental with a folk influence’ which if they don’t mind me saying on their behalf smacks of hiding ones light beneath a very big and obscuring bushel. And there I’ve said it – something perhaps one suspects for fans of early Fence releases, the Autumn Ferment imprint and the Owl Service collective, the Woven Project have to date I think I’m right in saying released one self titled EP a copy of which we’ll endeavour over the forthcoming days to have as our own for further listening pleasures. For now though the small matter of the handful of timid treats that shyly populate their my space page with which to disarm defences to. Appreciably best listened to in the stillness of the wee small hours or at worst aided by the intimacy afforded by headphones with eyes closed and the hustle and bustle of this time greedy society shut out for the Woven Project occupy an aural landscape delicately detailed in windswept noir passages that are filtered by the overcast shading of creaking bruised hollows. Intimate and hurting these four cuts silently bound you amid a forlorn and solemn shackling, each pierced with a defence breaching imploring distress, the airy gracefulness of the whispering accordions arcing to the tear stained string arrangements coalesce to realise a demurring solitary ache. Reference wise the softly undulating ’quiet girl’ is timidly cast with a subtly stirred and thoughtful psych folk dreaminess more associated with Robert Wyatt while elsewhere Peter Gabriel is recalled on the battle scarred solitude that is ’souls’. All said the uninitiated among you will do well to begin your journey’s starting point with ’breathe’ which magically manages to tap into the hurtfully woven tapestry of an as were withdrawn and stripped bare Porcupine Tree as though found recalibrating the lost and more tenderly spectral moments from Levitation’s back catalogue. 


missive 259d
Singled Out
Missive 259d

Archive 4

The Shirks ’dangerous’ (big neck). Another release that appears to have been languishing in the Cargo vaults for longer than one dare imagine is this tasty debut three track debut from Washington DC spike topped dudes the Shirks. Apparently seeing the light of day in 2008 and still sounding like a riot on the turntable, it seems that the Shirks have something of a fondness for the Dead Boys or at least that’s what opener ’dangerous’ hints, a primed and potent slice of snot nosed pogo groove earthed with a 1,2, 3, 4 chugging Ramones like riff romp and grizzled and grafted with an razor like gurning terrace chanting chorus. Does it for us. More of the same comes courtesy of ’young and filthy’ though obviously found on this occasion mainlining heavily on Saints gems of yore while over on the flip sits and glares the best of the trio – ‘get out‘ is a corking and frantic boot stomping free for all scored with a raucous in your face agit grained adrenalin pumping verve and kicked in to shape by a seriously fuck you no future grind.

Dakota ‘we get along’ (grl). Culled from their forthcoming debut full length ‘heart and soul’ ’we get along’ sounds like its been primed and geared for maximum drive time radio play. Named after the NY apartment block in which Lennon lived and ultimately died, Dakota’s trailer teaser purrs and opines to the trademark motifs of not John but Julian, as the press release rightly notes its anthemic prowess is awash with a post Butler pristine bitter sweet pop flavouring of Suede motifs that glide, ricochet and despatch heaven bound like sparks from a Catherine wheel, its aching lovelorn crush tugs and tears to transform with a deftly alluring artistry into euphoric halos of redeeming radiance. Well either that or the funny juice is kicking in. perhaps a little saccharine for the palettes of faithful observers of these musings – there’s still the spectre of the Cutting Crew’s ’I just died in your arms tonight’ to contend with though that said its still equipped with more than enough of that heart tugging epic detailing to have you doing a quick and sly double take.

Victoria and Jacob ‘with no certainty’ (voga parochial). Damn – we are so in love with this that we’ve been bestowing fond kisses upon its forehead when no-ones been watching. The second release from the voga parochial imprint whose previous gift to record buying punters came in the shape of that rather spiffing Lulu and the Lampshades single from a little while back. So not for them the sitting around basking in the glory of rooting out a veritable gem, instead the blighters went off in search of more ear candy, no stones left unturned in their quest for another something rather special, their journey’s rest deserved with the unearthing of these three cute cuts from Victoria and Jacob. An electro duo – opines the press release – compared in passing to the Animal Collective and the Knife who’ve been known on their travels to share the boards with such illustrious names as the Mystery Jets, Jeremy Warmsley, Gaggle and Broadcast 2000 (whose new full length incidentally should have favourable notices posted in these pages shortly). As previously advertised – three cuts feature on this gem like release from Victoria and Jacob who themselves could be best described as possessing the lo-fi pop finesse of once upon a time Peel favourites Sophie and Peter Johnston, the sepia coiled virtuosity of Shortwave Set and the lilting lullaby-esque timidity of Mum. ’with no certainty’ opens the set to the lulling sweetness and breathless feyness of an as were star crossed Sundays, the air brushed dimpling of stuttering beats usher in the swirling dream-scaping corteges of lunar looped hypnotic keys over which Victoria’s sighing vocals coo carefree lost and lovelorn. The glitch blip bop shuffle of the twinklingly snoozing and adorable ’what’s your face’ closes the set to the transfixing glazed mirage of a demurring New Order recalibrated and relocated to an early 90’s Bristol scene while its left to ’there’s a war’ to provide the collections centrepiece – a gorgeously frost tipped tempered and touching slice of orbiting nocturnal noir replete with heart string tugging motifs and serene head swirling accents that slowly but surely begins to thaw and blossom into a beautified surrendering spectral satellite that by rights should give you swooning fits.

The brothers movement ‘blind’ (rocket girl). Why aren’t this lot massive, perhaps they are already and happily bestriding pop’s cosmos like some gargantuan beast casually observing the enviable swoon spectacles of bands caught in their head lights seeking to bask in the adoring glow of their artistic heraldry. No we haven’t been bunged a load of crisply pressed notes and coins of the realm by the band or their press people. Ah were it the case dear hearts. Last spotted loitering amid these pages way back at missive 244 wherein ‘standing still’ – a then teaser for a forthcoming debut full length served notice of something rather special looming on the horizon – and if I recall rightly even on that occasion the blighters had us all a wow and begging for more. Fast forward 6 months or so on and the Dublin based band formerly known as Mainline are back to remind those of you who refused to pay heed the first time of asking just what in the hell all the fuss is about. The single features a brace of nuggets culled from that aforementioned set, the crusading ‘blind’ swaggers and seduces as though the word epic was conceived with it in mind, an audaciously consuming master class of dust scarred brooding finesse that’s bleached by a mountain dry howling rawness that sends pulses pumping, sinews seizing and fists a clenching, reference wise imagine the darkly unfurling moods of the Bunny men’s ’porcupine’ sweetly rounded, refined, becalmed and then scored and branded by a spaghetti western obsessed Verve. Wouldn’t mind its not even the best track here for ’sister’ earns whatever spurs are to be had. A gorgeously tear stained slice of glassy eyed forlorn redemption soul pop tentatively spiked by the honey glazed opine of subtle hymnal motifs and the sugar laced chill of 60’s west coast motifs. So tell me again – what is there not to like. – much loved around these here parts, in previous despatches we’ve been found nearly tripping over our dropped jaw in positive admiration of the delights dream weaving from our much loved and loft beleaguered speakers. Two singles in (we’ve deffo reviewed the debut – see missive 175 – the second I’m so sure about – their label did promise a copy ho hum) and much atop the radar of most self respecting space cadets Eat Become Lights are fast becoming the darlings of the kraut grooved fraternity. With distant communications reaching us that their debut full length – tentatively titled ‘autopia’ – is now in stasis and awaiting docking sequence schedules at a record emporium near you they’ve kindly started transmitting from the safe confines of their cosmic base camp waveforms of Teutonic tastiness in the guise of pre release tasters via their my space sound player the first of which sees ‘Gods of the super continent’ relayed across the heavens. Made from the same stuff that holds the stars fixed in the night sky, this quietly arresting slice of hyper driven galaxy gliding loveliness buzzes and fizzes with a warming 70’s electro retro familiarity to which those acquainted first and foremost with early career La Dusseldorf vinyl voyages may well find engaging, amid the fuzzy felt collage of motorik loops and lunar laced swirls there’s something positively uplifting about this cut to which admirers of the tunes tucked on the flip side of the Go Team’s debut outing ‘get it together’ for Pickled Egg may well readily identify with either that it could easily been some fantasy soundtrack pastiche blending some porch quaint take of the Bonanza and High Chaparral themes and relocating the settings into some idyllic twin mooned cosmic retreat.

Bilge Pump ‘the fucking cunts still treat us like pricks’ (gringo). Not quite as volatile or baiting as the Flux of Pink Indians set of the same name from a time long past when we were oh so much younger and carefree. Bilge Pump are the reviewers nightmare, a band that refuse easy categorisation. And for that reason we love them. Their sound is intricate, free flowing and as Peel would no doubt comment curbed in something to which their immediate reference points are not as obvious as they would first appear to be. Well to that end there’s a half truth for Jesus Lizard to some extent play a major inspiring role in the Bilge Pump formula but then of equal measure so do the Playwrights as the opening salvo ’tommy’s out’ so ably provides evidence bleached as it is in an most amazing and wiring detached off kilter art funk grind. Oft sighted somewhere along rock’s family tree upon a distant twig linking Blue Cheer and Funkadelic, what – you may well ask – are you on – acid sir – not quite but then the intake of acid or some illicit substance might well help to un-ravel and make sense of the ad hoc – albeit disciplined – goo that Leeds’ secretly celebrated sons concoct with admirable aplomb . Into the melting pot the Bilge dudes fuse curiously skewif and swampy slabs of ear gear – the type of which that wrestles the listener onto the canvas in a submissive headlock, its progressive blending of math, art, noodling are grafted upon a nagging and dislocated hybrid jazz spine where defined time signatures become a thing of fanciful folly. All said an impishness lies at the core of the Bilge mindset ‘tilly’s balls’ is a casually roving romp of a stew whose ingredients amass various parts of This Heat, Half Man Half Biscuit, Stump and most curiously the Bonzo Dog Band (you see I’ve been on the magic juice again) into its frothing broth. However its left to the parting ‘are you there yet Judy? It’s me Barry’ to grace the set with its defining moment. Imagine if you will San Lorenzo playing tag with Mark E Smith and your kind of in the right district, a head jarring jigsaw collage of a cut replete with a locked grooved despondency and blessed with oodles of corkscrewing motifs that quite frankly seem to serve to wrap you up in knots – the rascals.

Andrew WK ‘I’m a vagabond’ (big scary monsters). Been years since we last had the pleasure of featuring anything g by Andrew WK in these pages. Up pops this curious sortie just ahead of a collection of hand picked unreleased rarities entitled ’mother of mankind’. pressed up on limited quantities of square plastic its features three of the most contrasting cuts you’ll find sharing wax grooves probably all year. Housed in a sleeve depicting the author in bow tie and tuxedo looking for all the world like a John Travolta with intent to do you lasting harm, ’I’m a vagabond’ is a strangely becoming 70’s rock romp pomp pastiche that initially navigates territories previously ventured by the Makers ’rock star god’ and the Crimea on ’secrets of the witching hour’ (which incidentally if you didn’t know by now was the best album of 2007 – and bugger me can still be downloaded gratis via ) before blossoming in a state of overblown and bombastic glam trimmed grandeur that you’d be forgiving for swearing was some colossal head to head between a mid 70’s peak of their powers Queen and Mott the Hoople threatening to overspill on your hi-fi. ’doing Andrew WK’ can only be described as a filler, a drone-y spot of briefness with Darth Vadar asthmatics. Flip over for ’let’s go on a date’ a power pop throb of a cut which unless our ears do mistake sounds like a ringer for the Motors. I’m thinking nuff said.

Night Horse / the High Saints ‘split’ (tee pee). As promised earlier on – those mighty fine Night Horse splits – alas we featured this in an earlier missive – #238 to be precise – so obviously we’ve had a cock up in the Cargo ordering type situation which we will resolve – split lips and harsh words are on the agenda – seems we may still have to nail their split with the Dirty Sweet though fear not for we’ve managed to grab their shared billing with…..

Night Horse / Sea of Air ’split’ (tee pee). Comes pressed up on slabs of clear dark green wax, Night Horse as we’ve established are the grizzled troubadours bearing aloft a brand of bruised and buckled blues, ’come down halo’ sees the LA based quintet chartering ever more into a territorial time line once occupied by the likes of Mountain and more specifically the Allman Brothers. grounded in the finest tradition of beatnik branded blues, ’come down halo’ howls and writhes amid a raw and potent dirty stoner grind that draws to its dust caked spur adorned leather boots elements of early ZZ Top, leaf hound and AC/DC – the result being a thickly fired swamp fuelled slab of smoking hip hugging groove that kinda shits on most of the piss poor posing dullard rock of today’s bright dim-witted things. There I’ve said it. Flip the disc for fellow LA residents Sea of Air’s ’holy roller’ – another slab of fuse lit and let fly hedonist classic 70’s rock beastiness, a prime slice of primal scored blissed out and ballistic blues leathered with wah wah’s and keys and sounding for all the world like its arrived on your turntable recently awoken from some 40 year long narcotic induced coma episode. Quite out there stuff.

The Branded ‘she’s my woman’ (dirty water). Last seen around these here parts via missive 163 when we had the very good fortune to hook up to their second outing ‘you got the hurt’ and find ourselves totally blown away by their fuzzed up authentic groove. A little while down the line and rumours of an album abound – which alas we haven’t heard or seen as yet, now comes a limited re-pressing of the bands debut single ’she’s my woman’. by all accounts the Dirty Water types were inundated and besieged by hordes of shade adorned skinny things all gnashing teeth and looking ruefully hurt at the prospect of having missed out on the releases original 100 only pressings that they’ve decided to buckle and concede to the amassing begging letters and make it available for public purse again. A bit of a blinder if you ask me, as much for fans of Bad Afro charges Sweatmaster and Baby Woodrose as it is the Troggs and Standells, the fuzz fest that is ’she’s my woman’ is a wantonly untamed garage boogie beast of some measure, tattooed with a prehistoric three chord throb all metered out by primal howls and shrieks so primal and raw that they sound as though they were cured and cultivated in some lo-fi garage grooved cave, add in some neat at the height of their powers Stones and Muddy trimmings and a mooching grind that could be arguably done for stalking and you have something instant and infectious not to say liable to have your winkle pickers breaking out in toe tapping seizures. Flip side houses the sharp suited and strut grooving ‘justine’ – a slamming and howling twang trashed nugget that unless our ears do deceive sounds not unlike an uber cooled summit meeting between Link, Vincent and Dawson. Go buy.

Dusty Stray / Flake Brown ‘split’ (Autumn Ferment). Literally hot off the presses, the third instalment of Autumn Ferment’s much championed seasonal seven series which for those of you who’ve either been found nodding at the back or plainly not taking heed the first time of asking is a limited collection of split sevens each marking nature’s four seasons. Each release limited in quantity to 300 hand numbered copies come handsomely packaged in clear PVC bags replete with cards featuring artwork sympathetic to the season’s mood in question. So far the series has played host to the groove sharing delights of Helene Renaut / Emily Scott (Summer) and Pamela Wyn Shannon / the Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree (Autumn). Winter’s instalment pressed up incidentally on seasonally snowy white wax brings together the flighty and disarming charms of Dusty Stray and Flake Brown. The former an exiled American these days residing in the Netherlands and better known to kith and kin as Jonathan Brown. Culled from his Basta set ‘tales of misfortune and woe’ from last year ‘winter’s day’ finds him accompanied on this rare occasion by Marjolein van der Klauw and brings to your attention a strangely uplifting though discomforting ode about a chap lost in the ice bound wilderness and at the mercy of the surrounding half starved wildlife who take it upon themselves to feed off him, glazed with a comical tongue in cheek twist and sprinkled aplenty with the buoyant braiding of flotillas of half drunk banjos, deftly plucked acoustic riffs and weeping string arrangements all crisply exercised with a curiously bracing wintry Southern cast which just between you, me and the porch post had us hankering after a spot of Shoeshine loveliness courtesy of Michael Shelley and Ben Vaughn. Not to be outdone Brighton’s Flaky Brown or Tony Ramsay as he’s known to friends and acquaintances evens up the affection score card with a track culled from his ‘help the overdog’ debut full length (which if you don’t own now then I suggest you make it your months must do task in order to avoid future weeping and gnashing when they are all gone and fetching silly money on the internet auction sites). Sounding not unlike a youthful Stan Ridgeway, ‘cool is the snow’ is a gorgeously concocted slice of deathly dipped western hued rustics impeccably detailed with some of the most deftly detailed finger plucked riffmanship you’ll hear this side of the late Jack Rose, minimal, sparse and lo-fi it may first seem to appear but listen close to the unfolding arrangements and within the struggle of the elements is at work lies just beneath the surface. Essential in case you hadn’t already gathered for yourselves.

Cloud Control ‘gold canary’ (passport). Keeping up their impeccable release profile Cloud Control become the latest acquisitions to Passport’s enviable roster of Aussie talent. Been around for a few years have these Blue Mountain (nr Sydney) sorts having already released a well received 6 track debut EP way back in 2007. Cloud Control’s pop vision is smothered with an off kilter silkiness that though not immediately in tune with the usual radio frying melodic jingle jangle catchiness instead has a disturbing knack of catching you somewhat off guard grazing your defences and indelibly casting about your person a fixing look that guarantees further investigation via repeated plays. ‘gold canary’ is almost two songs in the way it manages to mutate and manifest from something that initially has all the hallmarks of a yearning campfire carousel between the Earlies and the Low Anthem before craftily changing tact to the subtle though detectable strains of a chilled variant of the Skids ‘masquerade’ which kin our book is no bad thing, in between all this be prepared for all manner of homely gospel mountain strains, smoked hymnal accents, native rhythmic beats and swirling cosmic electronics. Very tasty. The girl / boy interweave via ‘vintage books’ on the flip is in sharp contrast a tight as a gnat’s back passage slice of nuzzling shimmy strut pop whose reference markers point irrefutably to Australia’s finest the Go Betweens – indeed you may well ask – it is that classy.

Ian de Sylva ‘Josephine’ (playground). Back with a bite and rekindled and possessed of his inner rock roots, after what seems like a lengthy lay off from the scene former Silver man Ian de Sylva is set to return to the fray with this spiked renegade twin set. ‘Josephine’ purrs and prowls with a shade adorned tattooed primitive seduction, all at once slick, sensual and strut grooved its initial Lou / Velvets riff pouted uber coolness gives way to a stick in the sand line drawing marker that links John Moore Expressway to the Wolfmen and everything in between and beyond. That said it’s the be-quiffed flip cut ‘gas, electricity phone’ that steals the show hands down, cast amid the spectre of Johnny Thunders and Gene Vincent this back to basics shot of rollicking 50’s motif rock-a-billy incidentally replete with howling harmonicas tunes into the devil dealing hot rod groove of the Reverend Horton Heat’s early catalogue, you know the drill death head twanging riffs, stripped bare production and a vision of a golden age long since past. Enough to make a grown man cry.

Model Society ‘city of romance’ (self released). A rather spiffing three track demo from a London based quartet headed up by ex Le Neon front man Danny Clare, barely out of the wraps the Model Society have recently completed a handful of live appearances one being sharing a prestigious board slot with Mark Morris of Bluetones fame. Don’t be fooled by the lead out tracks opening clockwork music box chime charm that this is some dinky dream weaving waltz that’s about to melt your heart for its sweetness soon dissolves and dissipates and in its place ‘city of romance’ about turns and rears into a frantic panic stricken slab of in your face and up close and personal squalling and squaring up frenzied aural assaulting, barely pausing for breath its effect is immediate, underpinned by flotillas of sky piercing riffage and leathered and laden by a pulse pounding crunch of agit artillery the type of which are cut and fashioned in the finest tradition of transistor trouncing pristine punk pop that summarily find themselves laced aplenty in honey dipped harmonies and clipped with an exacting acuteness that swerves and swoops with all the animated seizure racked attrition rarely heard hear since the Saints or the Scars. ‘Luxembourg’ loosens the mood somewhat and opts for a spot of mid 90’s jaunty jangle pop whose reference marker points undeniably to the early career wares of the aforementioned Bluetones though from a personal point of taste it’s the parting introspective and sensitively cooled love note ‘sweeter life’ that took our fancy, hints of a youthful Blur curdle through the grooves ever so subtly but what sets this apart is its strangely alluring sun shot bristling and breezy melodic tug which briefly radiates and blossoms on occasion through the seemingly impenetrable flat lining winter bound casing. Pretty nifty all said and done.

Warpaint ‘exquisite corpse’ (manimal). Apparently this LA based combo has been high on the radar and the cause of much fond chattering since dropping off their debut EP this time last year, such was the fuss and wild fire like spreading of word that they were soon invited on prestigious support slots sharing billings with the likes of Black Heart Procession and the Slits – in the meantime the buzz surrounding the band saw their EP scaling the stateside independent listings to eventually top the charts. Several months on and Manimal have secured the rights to the EP and with the addition of a new and previously unreleased cut have decided to re-issue said platter across the UK and European territories in order that potential swooning hordes can hook up to what is now a household name among the stateside underground cognoscenti. Blending soft psych and a tender 80’s 4AD goth like majesty, Warpaint’s sonic imagery is one of brooding beauty and stealth borne seduction, these opining spectres bleached, bruised and beguiled as they are sound like lovelorn siren calls (none more so is this the case than on the utterly drop dead and gorgeous ‘billie holiday’ – a sweetly glinting slice of bliss grooved kaleidoscopically trained pastoral paisley pop that lilts and lulls amid a ghostly rush of dream woven interweaving hazily honed harmonies whilst not forgetting to mention the equally hypnotic ‘burgundy’ freefalling as it does into territories once countered by the Banshees on ‘a kiss in the dream house’. elsewhere the brooding mellowness of the aching and wind swept allure of ice dripped 60’s psyche folk atmospherics of opener ‘stars’ with its lonesome piercing of forlorn abandonment much recalling the mood swerving mercurial touch of the much admired Smoke Fairies to the maddening love burn of the haunting and tempestuous ‘elephants’ which by degrees unravels into wiring moments of jealousy stricken post punk psychosis, Warpaint weave a most enticing tapestry. it’s a tapestry that claws, sighs and scowls amid a landscape of elements colliding controlled rage. Over on the flip the playfully teasing ‘beetles’ re-opens proceedings to an off kilter post punk funkiness before succulently reducing the temperature to near chilled states to train its glare of something readily more emotionally tethered and underpinned by milky white glassy chime opines. ‘krimson’ wraps up the set, an effects laden shoe gaze sortie that weaves an intricate trajectory to touch points on the map occupied by a youthful Cure and Controller. Controller. Recommended without question.

Echoes Fall ‘ignite the fury’ (self released). Don’t know about locking up your daughters and stuff but we’ve taken refuge in the pantry hoping they’ll go away pretty damn soon such is the imminent threat being implied by the volcanic sounds ripping and peeling themselves from the grooves of this the debut release from Suffolk sorts Echoes Fall. the band – formed at the tail end of 2008 – have already been garnering nods of approval from a growing band of disciples, described as ‘melodic death core’ a description which might seem ill fittingly at odds at first glance but is justified when you actual get a chance to witness or hear Echoes Fall rampaging to trounce the crap out of your turntable, the quintet appear like some abominable bastard off spring of an unholy union of Ozzy, Carcass and Nepalm Death types, a kind of Grim Reaper with a natty line in poker hot apocalyptic chords, with the exception of the opener ‘intro’ which as it says on the tin is just that, a kind of sorcerer’s lair entrée the remaining three cuts are blood curdling juggernauts of some mite and measure. Furious and without mercy ’ignite the fury’ is out of the traps and about you before you’ve barely had a chance to sit and settle and exclaim ’fuck me it’s the end of the world!’ which had this been Nepalm Death or ENT you’d have gone through a whole albums worth before hitting the exclamation. ’The Wraith’ as you’d rightly imagine from a cut titled such is a choking maelstrom of titanic turbulence, an end of days battle cry replete with cranium crunching riff ruptures dripped in dread bearing 100mph speed freaked oblivion. Those still standing by the time the parting ’confessions of a self righteous mind’ will do well to don tin hats and prepare the final bloodied assault for what is a scalding beast whose birthright owes much to Killing Joke.

The Who ’at the isle of wight festival, 1970’ (Lilith). Think I’m right in saying that this is the entire Who set from their legendary performance at the final Isle of Wight Festival, August 1970 – well we say entire set – mainly because previous releases has in their curious wisdom either dropped tracks, re-edited the running order or at worse been released without due care or attention (the infamous sound to vision timing lapse and piss poor dubbing on one of the many DVD releases in the 90’s). 1970’s Isle of Wight gathering was an occasion that for many saw the passing of the love and peace ethos and its transition into heavy metal and country folk. A sea change was looming large on the horizon. The Who at the height of their powers had confirmed their credentials with the blistering ‘live at leeds’ set and of course ‘Tommy’ an extensive tour in support of which they were already exhaustively mid way through. Headliners the year before they were one of the first acts to sign along the dotted line and be confirmed. This collection – incidentally also available as a double CD replete with a 12 page booklet featuring copious amounts of rare photos and other such gubbins – comes pressed up on three humungous slabs of wax one red, one blue the other white (of course – would you want or expect it any other way) this collection gathers together an extensive set that not only consolidated their position amongst rock’s aristocracy but saw them not content to rest on their laurels and looking optimistically forward to the future and the next progressive stage of their career bedding and showcasing tracks intended for an intended ‘lifehouse’ set which alas ended up being abandoned with some of the cuts re-emerging salvaged to appear on their ’who’s next’ venture. As said six sides of vinyl, extensive liner notes by Michael Heatley who sets the scene and gives flavour of the days events, 30 tracks – that include a smattering of as then new cuts ’naked eye’ and ’water’ a host of scorched up classic covers Cochran’s ’summertime blues’ and Johnny Kidd and the Pirates ’shakin all over’ – pretty much the entire ’Tommy’ set plus a few well celebrated nuggets dug up for good measure ’I can’t explain’ a pretty rum run through of ’substitute’ and a blistering ’magic bus’. a perfect though pricey partner for your copy of ’live at leeds’.

A few little Static lovelies next….

A video for Table’s debut release – which I think I’m right in saying we mentioned a few pages earlier….

Songs You Can Sing – Table from Table on Vimeo.

missive 259e
Singled Out
Missive 259e

Archive 5

Shindig # jan / feb 2010 – getting better by the issue, this particular edition features cover stars the Bonzos getting a well deserved appraisal inside you’ll be entertained to their weird and wonderfully wacky surreal world courtesy of an extended 10 page special with Bonzo band leader and founder Roger Ruskin Spear happily guiding you through the perils and pitfalls of this most uniquely eccentric troupe, there’s also a brief but selective potted history of their recordings plus a focus of the much missed Viv Stanshall’s re-emergence in the 90’s and the staging of his ’Rawlinson End’ – already previously the subject of an album, a book, a film (with no less a formidable actor as Trevor Howerd taking up the lead role as Sir Henry) and several well received and legendary John Peel sessions recorded in the 70’s (and again re-aired throughout the 90’s). As an aside there’s also a by all accounts excellent limited edition tome entitled ‘jollity farm’ via Angry Penguin which features interviews and insights into the barn pot legacy left by the Bonzos by all the key note players and again featuring a wealth of in depth accounts by Viv. Elsewhere this issue there are interviews with Vashti Bunyan, Todd Rundgren, Mimsy Farmer, the Amorphous Androgynous as well as the usual vault upturning reviews section replete with tips of turntable turn on’s in addition to features on Procol Harum, the Bosstown Sound and the Paupers with vinyl art wrapping up things by taking a closer look at Fairport Convention’s ’what we did on our holidays’. next issue of Shindig is due to fall from orbit sometime late next week.

Billy Mahonie ‘BM hearts BM’ (static caravan). I don’t mind admitting that we’ve been cautiously eyeing this since it arrived in our gaff, expecting some resulting trouble or grief from it. Why oh why you may well ask for the Mahonie’s have always been well received in these hallowed pages. Pray tell us why the fear and trepidation. Well it goes like this. Its pressed up on clear lathe cut polycarbonate vinyl. Ouch. Indeed ouch, for regular observers to these whimsical scribbles will be all too aware that our labouring turntable has an awkward relationship with said releases, either preferring to glide its stylus from edge to middle in a split second refusing to even consider momentarily hanging around to at least reveal the secrets coded in the grooves or else on a good day happily skipping and hopping giving an all too brief though not quite satisfying flavour of what’s afoot on the decks. And so after a week or three staring glibly at said disc – as beautiful as it is housed in a typically minimalist BM styled sleeve designed by Static artist in residence Ben Javens – our curiosity got the better of us. The release – an ultra limited outing – only one hundred hand numbered copies available and all – I’m afraid to say – gone with our copy being the last to be had (don’t worry though there is a download version) finds the pared down duelling talents Gavin Baker and Howard Monk locking musical horns across an 8 track set. Of course Billy Mahonie should need no introductions in these pages the are one of the last surviving ensembles of the late 90’s brit post rock wave, under their collective belts they’ve released a formidable body of work for the likes of too pure, Jonathon Whiskey, Fierce Panda, Livid Meerkat, Goldhole, unlabel and Euphrates. In terms of your standard BM releases ’BM hearts BM’ is decidedly playful and light, awash with a sparse lo-fi detailing and perhaps owing to the pared down nature there’s – one suspects – a chance to stretch, explore and cast their line into territories previously only hinted at, assuming we have the sides the right way around ’Krimson’ which rounds off side one is an intimately smoked slice of drifting delta blues much influenced one would imagine by the early career work of John Fahey, then there’s the dreamily spring hued pastoral forays of the reflective and quietly captivating ’new cheap funk’ while ’bottle breaks’ is superbly coded in some seriously intricate primitive 70’s styled beatnik boogie which you feel enhanced with flotillas of rock star guitars would be a demon of a cut. ’power of veto’ is just – well – gorgeous, a mellowing babe lushly caressed by the soft shimmer of breathlessly braided undulating twinkle toed folk motifs which at times could easily pass for the more nature bound and carefree moments from Nick Drake’s treasured work while ‘a part of me flows to the sea’ has all the innate trappings and hollowing effects of a lost Magazine gem which leaves the parting ’dublin fight song’ to thoughtfully see you on your way dizzy and swoon filled to the delicate despatch of jazz induced dream weaving sleepy headed chimes. Priceless.

Lost Idol ‘a sorrowful thing’ (cookshop). With its hush brushed bruised withdrawn to the shadows persona and softly coiled solitary maxim there’s much to adore about this star lit forlorn orbital babe, caught in the stellar headlights of Swimmer One, Working for a Nuclear Free City and Birdpen and sounding not unlike you’d imagine the resulting by product had Simon and Garfunkel bumped accidentally into Cheval Sombre in a studio corridor to translate as, ‘a sorrowful thing’ is as apt a title as we reckon we’ll see and indeed hear all year. A taster for his second full length ‘brave the elements’ due for docking sometime next week, Lost Idol is secret ident (well not so secret now as we’ve just revealed it) of Cookshop head honcho James Dean (yes, yes, yes we know – now come on get it out of your system and settle down). A tear stained slice of bitter sweet nocturnal pop it is to, breathlessly chilled, from the moment the forlorn Apollo styled celestial swathes crackle into life your immediately transfixed, Dean’s slender softly flexed tones are captured and adrift amid the twinkling spacey folds like cosmic spectres dissipating into the stilled airless voids. Utterly touching. Flip over for the same track remodelled as the ‘IQ Two Plum Re-Jig’ and seemingly loosened of its celestial moorings and brought back to earth with a bump to be relocated in some idyllic South Pacific hideaway to be retuned to a rather sun braced and dreamy dub dipped dialect.

Brown ‘up again’ (unpopular). You can imagine this being handed across the chemist counter as some kind of feel good meditative prescription, must admit its quite unreal, chilled and absolutely loveable in a kind of loosely willowy woozy floaty type of way. The latest release then from Nottingham based aural alchemists Brown is what we are talking about in case your not paying attention at the back ‘up again’ features here in four incarnations, the original, the dub, house mix and the radio mix that gathered together total up to a 32 minute dream weaving odyssey. the original a seven and a half minute slice of auditory astral plane-ing is sprinkled longingly with all manner of amorphous atmospherics metered out to a chorus of bird song, trippy blissed blessed signatures, bassy squelches, smoked 60’s lazy eyed glazes, spectrally ethereal accents and slight of hand studio trickery which all gathered together impress upon the listener a kind of strange sedate out of body experience where you find your ghostly inner self hoisted aloft with the collaborative aid of Lemon Jelly and Ooberman types. The effect is rekindled and rephrased on the ‘dub mix’ which with its celestial trimmings and ether pierced vocoder styled spectres has the illusion of those dissipating dissolve like moments when your between sleep and wake. As you’d no doubt expect the ‘house mix’ adds a bit of body and substance to the airy apparitions while the parting ‘radio edit’ tightens the nuts and compresses the template of the original into something that more of a quick hit and with that readily more spacey and funky by design. Best appreciated whilst rolling and toking on a fat ’un.

Much missed around these here parts all 46 issues of Plan B can now be downloaded for free as a PDF via

Charlie Alex March ‘home / hidden’ (loaf). From the opening orbiting overture ‘plan 9’ – a kind of universal ‘sailing by’ for star crossed cosmonauts – with its cross fused pollination of Kraftwerkian motifs, lunar lullaby like loveliness moulded as were in the kind of drift away heavenly harmonic electronics encountered on Toshack Highway’s ridiculously oft overlooked debut full length and galactic promenade serenading to the parting sleepy headed recline of the sepia tweaked and pirouetting ‘son of a joke’ – ‘home / hidden’ is a most entrancing, nimble and shyly rewarding listening experience to behold. Already a firm favourite of a certain David Bowie by way of two previously released EP’s – both alas missed here, ‘home / hidden’ is the debut full length from Charlie Alex March who aided and abetted by various High Llamas, Metronomy and Stereolab types lushly sweetens and peppers the grooves with the promise of a magical odyssey, an odyssey informed by library lounge and an appreciation of a retro vision of the future offered by the engagement of analogue electronics all curdled and caressed by the braiding of sweeping string arrangements. The mood is one of reclined cosy toed romance, the symphonies unfolding within are majestic especially the Debussy dustings of ‘cortot no 6’ with its breathtaking and elegant snow globed waltzing nibbling ever so delicately into forays once toyed upon by Stereolab courtesy of ‘emperor tomato ketchup’ – contrast that with the Theremin coiled Nyman twists on brief though brooding ‘the lost levels’. Elsewhere ‘snow feet’ could in a parallel world be the defining signature tune for the Beach Boys cars n’ girls fascination re-translated to a Jetson’s future world and found rushing along the galactic highway to the impatient prod of the playful procession of powerhouse styled Raymond Scott string stings. Then there’s the mellowing baroque beauty of the harpsichord flutter within ‘telephone song’ as well as the lilting orbital tide of ‘Mao’ replete with typewriters and again sounding uncannily like Mr Scott though this time in his godfather of electronics era albeit as though rephrased by a particularly chilled Manual. Arresting.

Kissaway Trail ‘sdp’ (bella union). Culled from their forthcoming second album ‘sleep mountain’ due for busying record counter business 8th March and sounding not unlike a jubilant cavalry fanfare charging over the hill concocted by an arresting array of Battles and Amsterdam types are gathered and led orchestrating a wind swept and lump in throat forming epic of resolve and against all odds triumph by a cross wired Meek / Morricone mastermind – contain bells and chimes and sinew straining gusto…‘s a video…..

The Kissaway Trail – SDP from Bella Union on Vimeo. – recommended to us by Brian Bordello whose tips to date have never failed, though on this occasion I’d like to think he’s excelled himself because this is quite – well – extraordinary. Alright – admittedly – a bit weird and whacked – and annoyingly by all accounts signed up to Sea (Scouse label and home of Mugstar and various other tastiness) records who’ve either forgotten about us and set about kicking us off their mailing list or else just lost our address. Alisia Casper hail from somewhere in the North East liken their sound to ‘…someone a bit upset….’ – (your probably getting the drift as to why we like them aren’t you) and beyond that we know bugger all about them which these days appears to be par for the course. Anyhow they sound like they ought to inhabit the ever wonderful Bearsuit imprint – something you’d imagine scaring frail people and little pre schoolers whilst simultaneously no doubt causing the occasional disapproving eye brow raise from pop punters in dire need of a piss poor verse – chorus – verse fix. Or at least that’s what your initially led to believe as both ’updownround’ and ‘monsters see more’ filter through the speakers endowing your listening space with their unsettling macabre embrace, the former a crookedly dinky lullaby motif very much inspired one imagines by Komada’s ’rosemary’s baby’ soundtrack while the latter is very much shrouded in a haunting and eerie sepia strewn playroom by night disquiet. But then there’s a sea change, with the onset of ’both were mad’ something quite magical begins to appear through the haze, quiet and unassuming – clearing into focus, its something wounded, introspective, crushed, sensitive and quite bewitching, both sparse and in detailing yet powerful and fulsome in its ache. ’opulence’ is similarly graced, the key teased piano refrain almost childlike and musical box by design is tenderly serenaded by the whirring waltz of ether sighing ebbs and flows while ’blue follow’ bears the branding of a heart heavy 50’s torch ballad who trace lines strangely evoke some cross divide between Julie Cruise and Roy Orbison though for us we here a quite smitten by the airy pastoral sereneness of the wind clipped 60‘s folk frayed ‘mother I am free’ with its looping camber wick green accents – quite irresistible. by all accounts there’s an EP somewhere out there in record world which I think we really need to hear as do you. – hells teeth makes you wanna get scuzzed up, grow your hair and a beard and just frug out big time, dressed as worlocks – thorlock are a trio hailing from Missouri or more precisely cape Girardeau, between them they craft a neat line in beatnik-fied blistered swamp dragged blues boogie – it’s a brutal and bludgeoned brew of rawk n’ drawl both wired and wasted and oozing in slavish dread core which would in all honesty aside sounding ripe for an outing via the Leeds based Brew imprint also reveals a collective body of souls clearly wearing their finest scavenged morsels hoodwinked from touch n’ go’s era defining mid 90’s catalogue on their sleeves whilst simultaneously paying nods along the way to jezus lizard, shellac, the melvins and less obviously pussy galore. Though don’t be surprised if repeat listens reveal a somewhat distant affinity to both Motorhead (incidentally their band banner has a distinct Lemmy and Co element) and early Bon Scott era AC/DC albeit both being at the wrong speed. The hairy ’triceratops’ in particular sounds like a primitive renegade throwback to the 70’s while the gridlocked corkscrewed riffage on the head pummelling ‘extinct’ takes a leaf ort two from the wares of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. All said it’d be a cue for hanging our heads in shame where we not to mention the bloated and fuzz festering doom dealing n’ shit faced ‘beyond cosmic dimension’ – a kinda fist fight between killing joke and tad with hawkind refereeing if you like. There’s a copy of their self titled full length from 2008 and the ‘crumbling fortress’ EP both available as free downloads…and while we’re here a video clip for ‘epic fail’ captured live goes a lot like this….

output message ‘get away’ (output noise). Our thanks to Naomi for making this available to us, culled from his latest album ‘autonomous’ – a copy of which we must either beg, borrow or steal for fear of combusting – this mp3 is a sneak peak at what Output message is up to these days. Last heard around here courtesy of a smattering of releases for the mighty fine melodic imprint of Manchester, he’s now forged his own imprint entitled output noise. In short we‘ve never heard Output message sound so flighty, frisky or indeed funky – ‘get away’ is a joyously feel good anthem the likes of which you suspect may well serenade the sun scorched night skies of the forthcoming festival season (that is I should add if we actually see the sun over here this summer), a throwback of sorts to the halcyon dance days of the early 90’s dance scene and here we are thinking Dr Devious and other such like, though closer inspection may warrant you to dig out your aural arsenal of various pet shop boys, electronic and early 90’s new order platters and with Bunsen burner in hand try melting said discs and moulding them sound wise for a relative reference point. Tasty stuff…..and here’s that promised mp3 thing…..

Sergeant Buzfuz ‘here come the popes’ (blang). Continuing their recent obsession with Papal history and ripped from last year’s ‘high slang’ full length, the absolutely smoked and shit faced ‘here comes the popes’ is liberally dusted in the kind of wasted and off centred fat funky fancifulness that was once the loose fit sole remit of a ‘bummed’ era Happy Monday’s though obviously here appearing to have debunked Shaun and in his place hastily acquired John Cooper Clarke for vocal niceties, lest we forget to mention the let it hang loose trippy looping locked groove shuffles and momentary excursions into BAD styled hook hungry mild psyche tweaked choral tastiness. Well smart. Psych purists may well be advised to head trip over to the flip side, ’here come the cops’ is a suitably chilled and bliss wired re-drill of the original mix inspired in the main by red light prowling Vatican priest Cesare Burgazzi’s embarrassing buzz with the fuzz. A mind wiring trip wiring tapestry of mood melting retro groove that’s heavy on the bass and delay effects dissolving dreamscapes and very much dipped and draped deliciously in a kind of spaced out 70’s styled fried funk that to these ears sounds not unlike those dudes of cool Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve shimmying up to a particularly out of it though all the same sublimely irresistible Superimposers to score for your considered listening appreciation a chic lysergic tipped variation of blaxploitation muzak with the help of the Ozrics and the New Fast Automatic Daffodils.

Gary War ‘horribles parade’ (knife slits water). Again another artist who to much embarrassment appears to have previously fallen beneath our radar, ‘horribles parades’ is we believe, the second full length by Brooklyn’s Gary War, already having seen the light of day on vinyl via Sacred Bones its now given a European release via the knife slits water (anyone for a certain ratio) whose reasoning for issuing it on cassette was because they felt it was a medium that suited Gary War’s sound. And we here have to heartily agree because unless our tape decks are beginning to warp there is a delightfully schizoid persona about these cuts which in the initial stages through their opaque haziness instils upon the listener a blameless and suspicious belief that their seemingly lo-fi roots owed much to being recorded in a bathroom or more specifically being immersed in the fully drawn bath in that bathroom. Anyhow ultra limited in number – 100 in case you‘re asking (and ours is #94) – ‘horribles parade’ is a 10 strong set of mind melting shimmer pop coiled soft psyche, it’s a curious collection that blends analogue electro accents and aural manipulations and refracts them through a kaleidoscopic viewfinder which when assembled from out of the other side appear as dream woven myriads of shade adorned motorik magma. Don’t be to alarmed by the ghostly cosmic interfaces that usher in the arrival ‘highspeed drift’ for it soon blossoms amid a cortege of dissipating swirls perilously trip wiring between 50’s space age sci-fi kitsch and lunar lounge lysergic waltz whirrs, reference wise think early career Echo boy (check out the hymnal hazes of the celestial ‘costumes’) bleached in a Meek-esque soft psyche snow storm. ’sold out’ quickly follows in hot pursuit traversing the cosmic tail smoke left by its partner in chime, elements of a chilled and austere landscape proffered by a Doktor Avalanche era Sisters of Mercy are teased through the ether as is the archaic retro minimalism of Suicide. ‘no payoff’ with its gothi-que cathedral textures fuses a deliciously trippy and fuzz frayed bubblegum pop motif to the proceedings while the ominous ecclesiastical cosmic drone grooved ‘for cobra’ may well have you thirsting for a spot of elementary krautrock for comparable reference. Flip the cassette for more opiated oscillations and myriads of dissipating swirl pop collages ‘clean up’ in particular sounding a ringer for any number of nuggets that once upon a time the Passage strung to their oft and criminally forgotten bow then there’s the ice tipped cool wave of ‘what you are’ sounding as though its been transmitted across the galaxy through a worm hole from some point in the future leaving the static scarred orbital pop of ‘nothing moving’ to sweetly serenade you into moments of lulled bliss.

Swing Youth ‘jennifer’ (bloody awful poetry). Having already confirmed a lasting place in our hearts courtesy of their speaker sizzling debut ‘blade of grass’ Twickenham’s Swing Youth return swiftly with another double dose of nifty ear pricking ear gear in the groove laden shape of ‘Jennifer’ and ‘hey Keith’. starts of quite quietly brimming as it is with Hammond swathes and the finite tailoring of a subtle buzz sawed sketching that’s rooted with a pushing and shunting motorik growl – yet don‘t be fooled for ’Jennifer’ soon blossoms and busies itself amid a frenzying cavalcade that’s clipped with the feverish purring pulse of soft though discernible lilts of a lysergic cradling rooted upon a bed of pulse prowling power pop intones all lavishly sprinkled by showers of star crossed jet swirls. In short very tasty. Typically though we here are all a smitten with the flip offering ’hey Keith’ which according to the attached press murmurings was inspired in part by Mr Keith Levene (classic era PIL chord curator and erstwhile austere aural alchemist), anyhow a more frisky and decidedly immediate offering this time of asking that’s very much located in a late 70’s new wave orbit and rippling with the kind of sing-a-long chorus hooks and ridiculously catchy tunesmith-ery that finds its located reference points pinpointed somewhere between a playfully punk pop toned XTC and the Revillos.

Spartak ‘Verona’ (low point). A most curiously arresting second outing for Australian duo Spartak following their quietly acclaimed ‘tales from the colony room’ debut from a few years back. Blending electronics, looping guitars, found sounds and percussion they’ve together hatched a mind weaving soundtrack that appears left to its own devices to terra-form, mutate and evolve in a most extraordinary way, its means or so it seems by way of the fusion of a loosely defined jazz discipline splintered and spiked by grafted moments of improvised math intricacies, post rock noodling, ambient airiness and dissipating nu folk mirages. Built upon deft layering, ’Verona’ through each passing cycle (8 in total in case you were wondering) evolves, stretches, swells and contracts – the overall result approaching an almost daydreaming collage with the structure-less compositions attaining a deeply intoxicating open ended and fluid grounding, reference wise fans of the Kranky era work of Stars of the Lid, LaBradford and Amp – to name just three – will not be found wanting while admirers of Ma Cherie for Painting and Magnetaphone may be similarly satiated.

From the wheezing genteelness of the ornate opener ’morning prayer’ an apt title given it shimmers and tingles with all the frosted calm of a thawing twilight scene, the bubbling bowed instrumentation seductively surrendering and yet isolated and haunting and yet turned with an lilting oriental lisp – ’verona’ navigates a strangely dense trajectory. ’tweezer’ ominous and spectral as it may first seem to be courts with all manner of noire-stained cinematic accents – think Budd meets Gnac with a particularly vibrant and clearly unrestrained Tortoise, beneath its mooching signature a cacophonic treat without boundaries impishly wiles away veering with the rueful indiscipline into territories more commonly expected of something emerging from Andy Pyne’s Foolproof Projects collective while ’sleepstalker’ – as the title gives hint – is an ice sculptured celestial babe wrapped in glorious halos of hazy psych tinged transcendentalism, warped and fried and liable to lift your wig clean off, this scorched and withering Tibetan talisman is inscribed with an archaic sourced mind weaving out there spiritualism. All said best moment of the set comes courtesy of ’second half clouded’ which features guest vocals by Lucrecia Perez whose hymnal and yearning seductive whispers hover ever so drift like atop a fog bound landscape of calming droning motifs pierced by some busily distractive and unrestrained percussive underpins leaving the annoyingly brief 80’s styled New Zealand noise / feedback / Flying Saucer Attack like ’tape machine dream’ to bring matters to a conclusive stop. Recommended.

Beach House ‘Norway’ (bella union). Bit of a gem this ‘un, pressed up on clear red vinyl – the first offerings from the forthcoming Beach House full length ‘teen dream’ – ‘Norway’ is a drifting slice of beguiling beautified pop, immaculately drawn and curvaceously slender, a fleeting moment of subdued seduction driven by the genteel waft of opining sliding riff orbs sweetly engaged by the woozy refracted sun burn of lulling wonky synth codas and the breathless caress of tip-toeing honey crusted harmonies all admirably sugar glazed in a demurring west coast after glow – utterly adorable. Flip the disc and you’ll find ’baby’ doing mercurial things amid the allotted groove space, succulently tapered in a sepia tinged setting this spectral honey shimmers with a deceptively ethereal undertow that’s both hymnal and quietly jubilant. Arresting stuff.

Teenagersintokyo ‘peter pan’ (back yard). I suspect we’ve mentioned this lot in a passing missive – probably quite recently because I swear their sound has left some sort of lasting ingrained trace on our memory banks. Hailing from Sydney and these days dividing their time there and here in London they’ve to date already released a well received self titled EP which by all accounts flew from the racks in the blink of an eye. Currently putting the top coat to what will be their debut full length with Bat for Lashes producer David Kosten commandeering the mixing desk, ‘peter pan’ offers a glimpse of what to expect in the forthcoming months. Immersed in all manner of 80’s electro shadow playing ’peter pan’ is an acutely addictive slab of pulsating dark wave groove that liberally borrows and indeed pays dues to A Flock of Seagulls ’I ran’ albeit as though re-wired by some cross fused coming together of the March Violets and Flesh for Lulu – the result all suitably attired with a locked groove dance floor attack that may have several of you pining for a spot of early Comsat An gels / Sisters of Mercy groove on your hi-fi. Flip side features a more than welcoming re-drill by the Horrors who in their creative wisdom apply some rather neatly detached Dusseldorf-ian dreamweaving motorik minimalism to the cause – think late 70’s ’beat the clock’ era Sparks meets ’autobahn’ Kraftwerk with Moroder in attendance spiking the hypnotic hubris with some sensually trained mind expanding calibrations of his own.

missive 259f
Singled Out
Missive 259f

Archive 6.

Gaggle ‘I hear flies’ (transgressive). Quite frankly the dogs bollocks pop kids, on the face of things everything about this release screams put it back in the record rack and walk briskly away – maggots on the front cover and on the back a picture of a lot of ladies in shrouds of some description – though just between you and me they look like ill designed rugs of the type you used to find blinding you in the early 70’s. still we persevered despite the Polyphonic Spree connotations – there are twenty of them ladies all said and this here seven inch single be their debut release. And a mighty thing it is. Headed up by classically trained musician Deborah Coughlin, to describe Gaggle is to imagine a kind of dream team gathering of the Slits, Au Pairs, the Dolly Mixtures, the Bodysnatchers and the Belle Stars. described as an antidote to boring male bands ’I hear flies’ the lead out cut is a richly woven choral tapestry worked over a loosely drilled drum ’n dub chassis, what first may appear unruly, rowdy, raucous and out of time soon begins to channel a mesmeric montage with the interweaving and overlapping chants crafting out a propulsive head melting pulse, its simple though nevertheless effective – any questions. Same deal over on the flip ‘I like cigarettes’ which indeed for our own sins we do – more playful and spiky this time of asking, the layer by layer building of harmonic lines craft out with sly stealth a thunderous depth, dimension and tension whose looping lyrical leer and subliminal messaging soon assumes hysteria fuelled manic proportions until your head finally caves leaving you going yabba yabba. Recommended purchasable poison.

A video….

Two door cinema club ‘undercover martyn’ (kitsune). There’s a debut album entitled ‘tourist history’ kicking about somewhere in record land round about now with this darling of a dance wired ditty having been culled and paraded around to do the taster sessions for. If ‘undercover martyn’ is anything to judge by then these young gentlemen – who incidentally hail from Bangor – appear to have a neat line in extracting the kind of precociously perky and jerky albeit bitter sweetly glazed pop that we here feared had been lost forever. Despatched at a rumbling pace this panic attack strewn babe is awash in sugar rushed angst aired adrenalin and summarily toned and honed by the sky piercing needling of see-saw like codas whose remit it seems is to busy themselves away borrowing under your skin and setting your nervous tract into a frenzying meltdown, part effervescent and criminally immediate and cradled by a slow / fast dynamic – aw shucks – just buy the bugger and be done with it. Flip side has the same track re-serviced as the ’passion pit’ remix and sprinkled in all manner of space dust and twinkle some orbital turns of musical phrase that we here suspect may just have you cooing for more.

The boy who trapped the sun ‘home’ EP (Chess). A little something we happened upon on a whirlwind visit to our local record emporium, a five track EP from the boy who trapped the sun – better known to the parish and personnel of the Isle of Lewis as one Colin MacLeod. Apparently this release – being sneaked out by the ever lovable Chess Club imprint – is his second foray into pop’s ever expanding universe – cue the gnashing of teeth for having missed the first outing. Anyhow an affectionate collection of drifting lo-fi porch driven folk blues is what you get for your money, exquisitely detailed and just a tad alluring, the rosewood rustics that greet the opening entrance of the sets title cut ’home’ from therein replaced by a richly mellowing casing of delta refrains smothered by a mature woody and smoked lolloping lilt the type of which wouldn’t look to out of place on a release bearing the names of either June Panic or Archer Prewitt. Then there’s the reflective intimacy of the hollowing beauty that is ’in the dark’ which despite several attempts of persuasion via a kindly threat of lasting damage at the hands of a hammer and chisel still refuses to play all the way through without sticking, skipping or jumping – in some cases all three all at once – still there’s a youthful tug of Rodriguez meets Loudon Wainwright III to be cherished when the blighter does acquiesce to play. ’the fox’ rounds up side one and reveals the full blossoming potential of MacLeod‘s artistry, harbouring elements of Radiohead or more specifically Thom Yorke in brooding and bruised moments, this bitter sweet beauty is caressed and teased by an emotionally surrendering piano braid that swells and sways with a majestically reposed sighing solemnity – will cause tears to flow and lumps in throats to appear. Flipping the disc you find the mood loosens up considerably – the spectral ’lying to get on your good side’ is bleached with a haunting and genteel like ethereal 60’s aura which at times does a pretty good and nifty double take of Simon and Garfunkel as though rephrased by a clearly weird Everly Brothers while the magically hypnotic lull of the shy eyed and airy rustics of ’change the clocks’ brings the set to a seductively snoozing close. A gem of a release but then you probably gathered that.

Speak and the Spells ‘she’s dead’ (robot elephant). If there’s just one record that we’ve mentioned in recent blogs / missives that you need to get your mits on – other than that spiffing La Shark debut and the Conway Hall corker via Death Pop and oh yea that Branded latest via Dirty Water, then its this three track trash trouncer by the Speak and the Spells. Already mentioned in passing wherein we bemoaned the fact that we hadn’t managed to nail a proper copy thus……(purely for those of you not paying attention the first time of asking)…

‘Alas we haven’t got a finished copy of this devilishly dark and sinisterly cute 7 inch debut though rest assured we won’t be sleeping a wink until we’re safe in the knowledge that one is tucked under our pillow. Why you might well foolishly ask is that so. Well frankly kids it’s the pack of ravenous and leery dogs bollocks that’s why. A three piece hailing from West London and by the sounds of things the toast of the psycho-billy underground, this should be ripe for the picking for fans of the Birthday Party, Meteors, Inca Babies, Gallon Drunk, Link, the turbines, those old Nuggets and Back from the Grave recording relics et al and of course – goes without saying – the Cramps. Grave stone kicking twanging groove that howls, rattles and kicks with such bare boned parched monochromatic primitivism that it could have easily arrived for all the world dumped in a 60’s lay by having been jettisoned out of some reefer smoke choking car boot driven by the Blue Caps with the Trashmen blearing out of the sound system – best filed under wild and fried grizzled blues perhaps somewhere not a million miles from your prized David Cronenberg’s Wife records. Flip the disc for ’brianna’ – a certified slice of skin peeling shock treated frenetic boogie that had us recalling in the main the panic attacking void-ist three chord punk pop shrill of Spizz Energi albeit as though re-wired by a pop fixated Dead Boys. Nuff said.’

…well guess what – a recent rummage through a record emporium rack turned up said nugget – so we can sleep peacefully that we’ve nailed the blighter. Limited to just 500 hand numbered copies – ours being #68 – this bad assed slice of blistered boogie is just what the good doctor ordered. A spanking debut which on hearing in all its full unadulterated waxen glory the above brief mention still applies though on the real copy found lurking on the flip you get the added treat of ’caleb pink’- a spy school twang tastic moocher groove gouged in all manner of Link Wray reverbs and spiked with the sonic surf sassiness you’d imagine an encounter between Man or Astro Man and the shadowy men on a shadowy planet would spew forth. Utterly essential.

Goldheart Assembly ‘king of paris’ (fierce panda). By all accounts selling fast – limited to just 300 copies and acting as a taster for the bands debut full length ‘wolves and thieves’ (which should be weighing in at local record stores some day soon), ‘king of paris’ marks the welcomed return to these pages of the Fierce Panda imprint and indeed the first recorded fruits from London based 6 piece Goldheart Assembly. A sublime slice of sun bearing radiance, ‘king of Paris’ canters and shimmers with such purring precision masterfully coalescing between honey toned west coast breeze pop motifs and a healthy euphoric serving of airy 60’s pop gold, a kind of Eagles recalibrated by the Mammas and Papas with a side serving of Buffalo Springfield thrown in for good measure. Better still is the flip cut ’wolves and thieves’ – a softly slinky distraction from the normal hustle bustle of here now gone tomorrow look at me pop that laughingly passes for populist listening pleasure these days, this honey is clipped with the artistry of Wilson and Co and executed with the alluring pop resolve of a disco discovering brothers Gibb – think that says it all – oh yea and admirers of Brigadier et al will swoon.

Tayside Mental Health – sad news reaches us from the Tayside Mental Health camp – with the band announcing they are no more. from the bizarre, the blistering to the bollock dropping brilliant, Perth’s impish pure noise misfits will as most regular readers will attest been a source of searing sonic comfort around this here parish. Tumbling across them one snow bound afternoon February last year we’ve championed their dansette damaging power electronic playfulness until our typing finger (left hand first digit in case your taking notes) has bled to near feinting, where most found occupying the noise genre and its varying extremes have taken to pummelling and compressing your cranium to pea sized proportions, there’s been this sneaky notion around these parts that TMH have added to their collective cause a sense of dark humour born out of surreal childlike tomfoolery. And its to this end why they’ve always struck a chord albeit a decimated and blistered one, and one melded with molten precision to an experimental flair more readily identified in the realms of psyche, art rock and abstract pop. With releases pouring forth thick and fast through a host of net and physical imprints, its been Scotch Tapes who have remained true to their cause in recent times – the band will feature on a promised planned summer compilation on the label as well as being the subject of an Anthology treatment – rest assured they’ll feature here in these pages in future missives. Health problems have been cited as the reason for the bands demise, we here were aware of Claire’s continuing condition which has in recent months prevented the band from playing live. We wish her all the best for the future and hope that she gets better – and keeps off the fags – and continues to keep in touch. As to Stu and Mikee – fear not for plans are already afoot for a new set up in the near future – so your not off the hook just yet. For now we heartily recommend you tune your pc’s in the direction of their my space site at and leave well wishes while sampling the demented delights of the skewed and oddly eerie ’yeasturday’ which by rights ought to come with an advisory sticker stating to be listened to from being the sofa in daylight with the lights on……oh and here’s a video thing of them…..

tayside mental health cuckoo ping ping green fairyland from claire gordon on Vimeo.

Calories / William ‘split’ (tough love). Another release with which we must admit our ears have been totally smitten by is this ultra limited twin tracked double set from South London’s William and Birmingham’s Calories. First up on the inspection blocks William – a three piece who’ve acquitted themselves by all accounts with both a admirable full and mini full length last year entitled respectively ‘self in fiction‘ and ‘slightly demented’. both cuts here ’dilettante’ and ’lustreless’ are undercut by a rather tasty and dare we say shambolic hardcore under pinning much reminiscent it should be said of Sink at which through whose core – and mainly highlighted by the lead singers curiously high pitched tubes – has that kind of mischievously deceptive melodic pop gold effect that was once the sole remit of a certain Mascis / Dinosaur JNR while simultaneously being serviced with a liberal smattering of push / tug hooks the type of which lend themselves to having you hitting hard on the repeat button to immerse yourselves with another sly sneaky peek. Calories – formerly Distophia – have credited themselves to date with one full length with a second shortly due to zero in on record emporiums shortly via the hip and trendy Smalltown America imprint. Sound wise a devilishly attractive line in power popped emo replete with strutting running on the spot riff jabs is what‘s on offer via ‘mortal boys‘ though for us ‘drink the potion‘ provides the best moment here, a kind of Mega City 4 meets a youthful Therapy refitted with an early career Idlewild mindset. Need we say more. Limited to just 500 hand numbered copies all pressed up on snow white wax.

The Ruby Suns ‘cranberry’ (Memphis industries). Absolutely bugger all information about these dudes – hell who cares though if they continue making head expanding groove like this – ’cranberry’ is something of a slow burning one stop summer festival anthem that manages to touch base with everything from the Beach Boys to the Animal Collective and all between and welds a woozy lysergic like carnival montage atop what can only be described as a slightly shit faced and blissed out house vibe albeit re-scored by the Battles, did we mentioned its quite euphoric glow and celebratory caress – an album ‘flight softly’ is about in record world and by our reckoning deserves closer listening attention.

Colour music ‘put in a little gas’ (Memphis industries). More space dust scattered slinkiness from the Memphis industries HQ, this time the welcomed return of Colour Music a collective made up of members located in Yorkshire and Oklahoma whose debut airing ‘yes’ I seem to recall getting the deserved thumbs aloft in these very pages when it reared its slinky hide into view at the tail end of last year sometime. ‘put in a little gas’ is a psych tinged glam cavalry call heading over the hills, a kind of deeply seductive lazy eyed T-Rex and friends rummaging through the considerable riff rallying back catalogue of Led Zep whilst being led in a Pied Piper style by the Black Angels which young folk I guess means its essential purchasing.

The man from another place ‘the insomnia’ (remix). About time. Any self respecting lover of all things Wilson, Gibb, the Heartstrings, Nilsson et al should already b e in possession of a copy of his debut ’loneliest cowboy’ EP – it is without fear of overstatement both exquisite and endearing. However I think we may have made something of the man from another place’s melodic kinship to Brighton’s own pop alchemist the Brigadier. And so it was with much joy to find Scotland’s answer to Bacharach tweaking the tenderly tailored and timeless treats of Matt Williams who just to put the record straight we owe a huge apology to because following a small write up on his work a year or so ago he did in fact send over his two self released full lengths for review – which alas – though much loved didn’t make it to print. Left to the devices of TMFAP the Brigadier‘s ‘the insomnia’ is summarily teased and tinkered by a sweetly radiant and snoozing minimalist touch, a bit like imagining Vorhaus’ White Noise chilled and churchlike being summoned to recode the Beach Boys finest and most introspectively yearning moments into a lounge lulling lovelorn celestial recital. Perfect.

Dan Deacon ‘woof woof’ (amazing sounds). Limited to just 500 vinyl copies and sure to sell fast. we first encountered Dan Deacon sometime last year via the ever wonderful and weird Paw Tracks imprint, possessed of an acutely abstract aural alchemy, Baltimore’s most bonkers of sons had us pinned close to the hi-fi with his day-glo glazed brand of bubblegum pop. Culled from his current ’bromst’ set ’woof woof’ channels an intricately impish inroad into worlds once occupied by early 70’s children’s TV culture, all at once wonky and woozy and wayward and wired, a lysergic carnival erupts through the sherbet haze, Deacon’s melodic mosaic crooked and kooky whirrs and woos like some trip wired acid flashback suffered by a blending of the Battles and the Busy Signals as though relocated on a warped Sesame Street set. Elsewhere you’ll find the party invitations sent out to a host of specially selected re-mixers first up being Hudson Mohawks who totally de-construct ‘woof woof’s original template to craft in its place a slyly seductive softly shrilled soul funk trim while Allez Allez apply some nifty and austere motorik hypnotic euro groove for ’build voice’ which should by rights appeal immensely to admirers of Swimmer One and Birdpen while Luke Abbot brings up the rear for a re-spray of ‘Surprise Stefani’ and into the bargain imparts some well heeled mind warping kraut locked grooving a la Sunray / Sonic Boom / Tangerine Dream / OMD.

Cluster ‘QUA’ (Klangbad). Rhythmic looping, terra forming textures, dissipating mirages, celestial carnivals, electro dub strobes, sea faring chill downs and evensong exotica – what can it all mean. well you’d think after 40 years that Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelus would maybe take several steps back, be content with their legacy and perhaps crack of wry smile and raise an approving eye brow each time one of the new pretenders following through sought to consolidate, surpass and maybe further upon the richly woven template that they amongst themselves have woven over the course of some decades now. Some perhaps would wish, yet while others from a similar distant era are content to retune their own perfect legacy and bask in the back slapping recognition that they are responsible for re-wiring modern day pop as we know it, Cluster remain a very visible, very active and should you have forgotten to realise it very much integral players upon this multi-generic universe we call pop. For a collective mindset whose personnel whose combined age is 140 plus ’QUA’ is very much curbed and crafted through a very youthful eye, while it doesn’t really push the ambient / electronic envelope any great deal it is in its defence an album bubbling with creativity, ideas and invention. In one respect across these 17 miniature mosaics a condensed and all you need to know history of ambience through all its varied tailored forms is celebrated. In another respect ’QUA’ could be viewed as a truly adventurous multi-lingual hybrid which – to pardon a much of late cheapened generic term – world music – there I’ve said it – incorporates a deeply luxurious ethnic charm to its cause. Best viewed late at night when all is asleep and the mood becomes one lending itself to withdrawing to recline and rest, ’QUA’ comes in to its own, its genteel almost lulling resonance playfully percolates through the still night air tracing out a contour that blends the kooky experimental raptures of the BBC Radiophonic collective with the innately natural tribal dialect of the wilderness especially on the likes of ‘Malturi Sa‘ and the oriental mystique of the bowed chamber drawn ‘gissander‘ (see Orbital, Biosphere et al). Along the journey ‘QUA’ touches base with all manner of sonic travellers on the ambient highway – playful nods to the wheezing lullaby lilts of Raymond Scott’s ’soothing sounds’ series are enjoyed on ’albtrec com’, elsewhere the teasing rustic-onics of Wagon Christ as though fused at the hip with Vernon Elliott on ‘zircusile’ while the ominous stillness of the mysterious ‘xanesra’ with its wave forming void veering noir optics clearly occupies worlds once ventured by Add N to X though these marshalled by the likes of the Advisory Circle et al. those of you admiring of something a little mid 80’s euro disco slanted a la Front 242 will do well to tune into the star lit vibes of ‘no ernel’ with its spacious Space like retreated kraut glazes. Of course those in need of a little – shall we say – soothing mood lowering seduction ought to fast track yourselves to the cosmic funk silkiness of the laid back and sumptuous ’formalt while the blurry eyed parting shot ‘imtrerion’ could easily pass for a remodelled for a future era take of Ronald Binge’s ‘sailing by’. quietly exquisite stuff.

Rose Elinor Dougall ‘find me out’ (dance to the radio). Best described as one of those smoked and stoked after the parties finished and every one has gone home moments, ‘find me out’ is a flashback to the classically grilled femme forlorn kitchen sink cry offs, all at once mellow and bruised this drift winding torch ballad is teased and torn in introspection, its reference markers cradled in solemn seduction sting like a lonesome Dusty infused by the darkness of Nico upon a softly weaving rain swept noir romanced backdrop that’s delicately sweetened by all manner of spectral arrangements whose remit it seems is to have you throwing a consoling arm around it. Over on the flip the reflectively heart broken lovelorn photograph that is ’I know we’ll never’ – a beautified slice of porch primed rustic goodness undercut with a withering ache the likes of which not heard around these parts since the quieter and more intimate moments of the Smiths back catalogue shyly peeked from the flip sides of various 80’s chart worriers. An album arrives shortly.

Eddy Current Suppression Ring ‘anxiety’ (melodic). Melbourne’s best kept secret Eddy Current Suppression Ring are about to unleash their third full length ‘rush to relax’ shortly though not before allowing this little reprobate out on early release parole. Already loved by the Brit press and likened at various points to Wire, the Fall, the Pixies and the Violent Femmes among others, teaser track ‘anxiety’ rattles off the quartet’s melodic conveyor belt with much gusto sounding not unlike some bastard off spring spawned from a cross match of DNA samples belonging to Monkey Wrench, Jumbo and yes indeed – Violent Femmes, festooned with all manner of skull drilling cork screw riffage it’s a frantic dash of intricate collages of skewed art rock time signatures that sound for all the world as though they‘ve been hoodwinked from a late 70‘s new wave underground scene to be fused with surging ear candy fanfares and distressed n’ impatient vocals – all apparently recorded on a shoe string budget and sounding none to worse for wear for the fact – but why oh why – do I have an urge to play Tom Petty’s ‘running down a dream’?

Her Name is Calla ‘long grass’ (denovali). At last – it finally arrived – a little worse for wear we should say – its journey from Germany seemingly along the way being – judging from the remaining packaging – used as some kind of replacement for a basket ball, the 10 inch format of the set particularly bashed and torn and without the promised photograph insert. A pricey acquisition which much to our aggrieved annoyance turns out would have been cheaper purchasing from the band direct. Ah well a lesson learned. Of course just to save confusion we‘re not blaming the label for this set is exquisitely packaged, a beautiful thing to behold – three available formats – two 10 inch versions one pressed on black the other on clear haze both replete with a CD featuring the three tracks (for all you who pitched your turntables in the great vinyl is dead quest of the recent past) and each strictly limited in quantity to 200 / 100 copies respectively. In addition there’s a rather spiffing looking and dare we say handsomely presented box set type thing containing said CD, oodles of inserts and a nifty little square badge which again given its 100 only pressing is bound to fly from the racks. With word of a new album looming on the horizon ‘long grass’ marks the return to these pages of Her Name is Calla. Of course Her Name is Calla should need no introduction to seasoned patrons of these musings given they’ve been high on our radar for some years now. Over the course of that time we’ve marvelled at the musical growing pains that have seen this most unique collective unfurl from their shy eyed and torturous spectral nurturing (a la Radiohead’s more reflectively bruised back catalogue) to blossom into song smiths of a titanic artistry whose lineage nods to the mercurial standards of godspeed and mogwai. ’long grass’ taps directly into the very essence that initially drew us to Her Name is Calla, that sense of it being not what you hear but rather more what you don’t hear, amid the distressed and doomed overcast shadings a tender yearning struggles for recognition, the thread bare open wound tonalities drawn from an archaic folk instruction cast their hypnotic line – part heart tugging and solemn on one side part seductive and mesmeric the other, soon with the accompanying nature bound noir string serenades it weaves its love laboured spell, its rising tide gathering momentum and definition until your defences buckle and yield beneath the strain to have you smothered and consumed by the soothing soft psych aural opiates. The woody and aromatic ‘a sleeper’ – found nuzzling on the flip side finds the collective in fine fettle – overtly optimistic in a happily rejoicing hymnal recital type way, both jubilant and joyous and dare we say summery in appeal – a bit like the mamas and papas bitten by the polyphonic spree bug if truth be known and very much courting the kind of embracing tongue countered once upon a time by Quickspace on their ’death of…’ swansong set which leaves ‘the white and the skin’ to bring up the rear – originally released in 2006 as a limited single accompanied by ‘nylon’ on the flip – it’s a full blooded whirlwind of fracturing emotions clipped with a darkly brooding under cast of dark romance that’s splintered and torn by a seeming rage of nature or in short the backdrop to some titanic death drilled guns drawn finale that one would imagine emerging from the creative fusing of Morricone and godspeed had they consorted to score a western. Of course you need the blighter in your record collection.

Isaacs Aircraft ‘head to the feet’ (crash). More pulse racing punk pop this time from a youthful gang of souls hailing from Cambridgeshire by the name of Isaacs Aircraft. ‘head to the feet’ follows their acclaimed debut ‘friends and foes’ which to much disbelieving nods and grunts around these parts we appear to have missed (though you’ll be happy to know our uttering of archaic curses summoning up all manner of beastly misfortunes to those responsible have been somewhat soothed by the fact that said cut assumes the groove space afforded by the flip side – still – don‘t let it happen again). for while ‘head to the feet’ may well be deliriously draped in the kind of angst addled urgency and emotion riddled overloading of tender hearts embattled by what life has to throw at them whilst simultaneously attuned to a sinew snaring tightly wired strut licked groove the type much loved and utilised by Nephu Huzzband it’s the aforementioned ‘friends and foes’ that still smarts of things that turn heads in an instant. A titanic slab of surging pop the likes if which we haven’t had the pleasure of encountering since Jezus Factory dropped Suzerain’s drop dead gorgeous EP ‘Apocalypse disco’ into our laps and had us all a swoon. A bracing colossus of uber cooled melodic twists, wind rushed harmonics and seizure stricken infectious transistor terrorising ear candy laden with drama and buckling beneath the weight of jaw dropped thrill pop classicism and nailed firmly to the floor with a pristinely turned precocious pedigree in the crafting of beneath the skin blistering euphoric swagger. – sadly the two tracks available for listening enjoyment are mere excerpts which despite their teasing briefness reveal more than enough of a hint to suggest that Nadine Shah may well be a mysterious and mercurial talent worthy of keeping an eye (and indeed ear) out for. From the intimacy of her self contained sound bunker somewhere in a North East district by the name of Whitburn and armed with a piano for comfort Ms Shah crafts sparse and haunting heart heavy love notes that reveal a wounded world weariness that makes a lie of her tender years. A ballad for the bruised the darkly romantic ‘all that I want’ is cast and scratched in head bowed sepia scarred hurt, the contrast between the lightened tones of the near negligible threadbare melody is summarily overcast by the crippling emotional torment at play beneath the surface which if references were required – and they are – you’d have to re-visit Nico’s more burnt and harrowed torch traits for comparison. Likewise ‘aching bones’ mooches with a degree of the macabre, Shah firmly in control on this occasion rather than an acquiescent to her soul sucking emotions, the atmosphere chilled to a deathly dread almost fairground and funereal in composure and delivery and very much clipped with the dark and surreal guiding hand of Weill / Brecht. Startling stuff.

Thus : Owls ‘cardiac malformations’ (hoob). Disturbingly beautiful. There is no other way to adequately or effectively describe the debut full length from Thus : Owls for where there any justice in this world ‘cardiac malformations’ would be rightly heralded a modern day classic. A five piece hailing from Sweden led from the fore by Erika Alexandersson whose previous work as one half of the Moth we have a distinct and ever so familiar feeling we’ve featured at one time or other in these very pages. By turns this eleven track set is haunting, effervescent, surreal and stately, imparting upon the would be listener a sense of hypnotic captivation and while the tonal tributaries may swell and cross weaves sonic streams occupied and dwelled upon by Piath, Nico, perhaps a little Siouxsie, a sprinkle of Julie Cruise, a dusting of Serafina Steer (check the quirky torch like mooching and prowling shunt of ‘sometimes’ – with its straying Nina Simone meets Eartha Kitt – a low lit funky bug replete with some nifty Stray Cat styled snazzyness) and a wee smidgeon of Bjork (especially on the arresting pulse quickening crusading like ‘climbing the fjords of Norway’) the underlying source and inspiration in terms of vision, detail and cinematic expression must surely owe a considerable nod towards Goldfrapp. For like the conscious awakening ’felt mountain’ – Thus : Owls operate in climes pitted and pockmarked by a svelte and unworldly darkly wounded persona that’s graced in sepia trimmed drama and found reading from an overtly differing pop manual than the more overt quick buck making sortees that taint the daytime radio schedules and make the high street record stores places of dread to avoid. Like the prey upon the preyed, Alexandersson leads her merry troupe on a beguiling and most bewitching journey, the imparting emotions and unfolding dramas pitted in terse tension and graced with majestic repose stretch, twist and toy with the listener dragging them from the depths of despair to the peaks of unworldly discovery. The sounds – minimal and sparsely formed creak with crooked delight, from the woodcrafted and off centred waltz of ’yellow desert’ with it flute shrills to the beautifully magical and shy eyed hollowing love note ’the sun is burning our skin’ with its dream woven pageantry of lulling pastoral chimes ‘cardiac malformations’ has you constantly reeling on your back foot, cuts such as the sepia trimmed ghostly folk meets campfire evensong ‘my thoughts ain’t lovely’ appear pulled from another time and age. Elsewhere the disquietly eerie and at times torturously intimate and threadbare ‘eagles coming in’ ambles solemnly for the best part of its gestation, Alexandersson’s hushed almost whisper like cry soon blossoms and rises with resplendent majesty cradled by the tension racked storm gathering arrangements soaring in the kind of bitter sweet formations more readily associated with Black Heart Procession while those of you with a thing for the abstract and slightly schizoid and the no wave / art rock will do well to check the opening moments of the skatt jazz-ering ’a volcano in my chest’. all said best moment of the set is the parting ’the atlantic’ whose utter bewitchment and beauty words cannot adequately described though we here will be surprised that if your not smitten from the moment the heavenly chorus’ and the spectral ‘twin peaks’-esque twangs usher and escape the confinement of the speakers then frankly you haven’t a romantic bone in your body, one for the wounded and broken hearted. A faultless debut.

Conway Hall ‘pull of love’ (death pop). More perfectly honed spiky pop platter fodder from the much loved death pop imprint whose previously outings courtesy of wax turn-ons from the likes of the Teeth, the Swankers, Atomic Suplex, the Vinyl Stitches et al have all been lapped up in the this here Singled Out shed of sound. Add to that enviable list if you will trio Conway Hall whose rather spanking head turning turntable twin set may just have a fair few of you panting and straining at the leash for more in the near future. Taking a sizeable leaf from the Teeth, Conway Hall’s ’pull of love’ has to be up there as one of the slinkiest things we’ve heard in a fair old while, a pulse purring slice of uber cooled and off centred lights dimmed and smoked floor mooching funkiness that manages to cut a delicious dash between being subtly skewed and wanton for a spot of discordance, horny and just a tad bit decadent in a right side of the sleazy marker. By far the best thing we’ve heard around these parts since the Werewolves and Gold Cash Gold, these crafty chaps blend the boundaries between the Modern Lovers, Jad Fair and mid 70’s Stones with just a dash of Pavement for seasoning – well chilled. Flip the disc for the ear candy effervescence of the rather slinky ‘erosion’ – a kind of time warped west coast bad trip that really ought to come with its own 60’s beat grooved teen flick and trendy boutique and which frankly is the kind of fried power pop sound you’d imagine rumbling through the monitors had the Fall or more appropriately the Monks the occasion to shimmy up alongside the Raspberries. Limited to just 500 copies and by rights selling by the shed load – if not questions replete with menacing long face will be asked.

Robin Guthrie ‘sunflower stories’ (rocket girl). Robin Guthrie. What can we say. A more perfect soundtrack to serenade a dawn awakening Sunday morn we couldn’t even begin to contemplate. Currently putting the finishing top coat to his third collaboration with Harold Budd before then the small matter of this fanciful four track treat entitled ’sunflower stories’. in short the sound of stars coaxed from their heavenly moorings, Guthrie’s exquisite artistry is such that it is instantly recognisable, the lulling orchestrations, the softly sugared gliding glazes and the swooning swathes of adoring aural arcs create an arresting and sedate backdrop, the timing, the textures and the overall tenderness are delicately stirred to craft a momentary safe haven from the madness and stresses brought to bear by the outside world, hermetically sealed – or so it would seem Guthrie’s angelic porcelain pirouettes navigate an astral line where the bruised and betrayed flow and cross weave the beguiled and the beautiful all the time the deftly spun discipline of Guthrie’s considered and intimate fret interplays engage and blur the divides that separate the forlorn and the romantic from the snow clipped elegance of the tail smoke stratospheric designs of ‘horse heaven’ to the shy eyed spectral shimmer show that is ‘petals’ perhaps only Jon Atwood nee Yellow6 is similarly blessed with that innate ability to lushly orchestrate moods and capture a given moment. And while the parting ’sunflower stories’ with its elegiac touches and trimming and its seductive unfurling may have you tear stained and breathlessly rooted to the spot in adoring awe for me personally ‘slightly out of focus’ offers that momentary glimpse of heaven with its sepia strobes, opining chime cased echoes and celestially caressed reverence all converging to weave a longing though lonesome heart string hanging introspective cast. Peerless.

The Loves ‘sweet sister delia’ EP (fortuna pop). It vexes me I must admit that the Loves aren’t huge globally in a pause the printing presses at the merest hint of new material seeing the light of day or the arrival of a new release way because for 10 years now they’ve despatched with a seeming casual ease a most envied back catalogue of beautifully blistered bubblegum pop whose hooks and melodic twists can compare without feeling foolish or in some way short of the mark to some of the most accomplished and readily identifiable architects of head turning ear candy from pop’s rich and lasting tapestry. Culled from last year’s ‘three’ set ‘sweet sister delia’ is a homage of sorts to long time friend Delia Sparrow – brimming with hip hugging honey crested 60’s scented motifs and subtly embracing to its undercarriage the distant though familiar under tug of Spencer Davis Group’s ’gimme some lovin’ albeit here found tightly wired into a speaker throbbing beat beast that freewheels with the kind of upfront pouting and purring slyly sassy sexiness that at one time you’d rightly expect records with the Dandy Warhols signature about their wares to come adorned with. The lazy eyed ’low’ is a rare and previously unreleased demo recording from 2001 – a softly off kilter countrified slice of woozy psych that to these ears sounds not unlike some erstwhile studio meeting between the Freed Unit and a youthful Of Arrowe Hill while rounding up the pack is ‘God save our souls’ – a sneak peak first outing for Simon Loves side project the Turkey’s – a gorgeously dizzy and lolloping porch crooning gem – a kind of bluegrass prairie howling version of the Travelling Willbury’s re-imagining Jagger taking lead of a troupe of journeymen whose line up may well include Dylan, the Band, Plastic Ono band – and that’s just for starters. Damn fine if you ask me.

Cut Iowa a Network ‘project gunship held {Ø,{Ø}}’ (champion version). Ready for some mind morphing melodic collages then may we suggest you train your radars in the general direction of Cut Iowa a Network. Released on Champion Version – the sister label of Eatsleeprepeat – you know the label – mysterious though admittedly tasty looking and arty / collectible press release calling cards – who to date have engaged us most admirably by way of releases from MachineFabriek and Eric Cheneaux – and who have promised shortly some forthcoming taste bearing discs featuring Expo 70 who should be no stranger to observers of these missives. Anyhow more of that nearer the time for now though to more pressing matters that aforementioned Cut Iowa a Network release.

Again as with the recently mentioned Spartak set via Low Point, ’project gunship held’ is awash with the layer upon layering of harmonic textures, though whereas the former was rooted in math / post rock accents and a loosely spontaneous gauzing, Cut Iowa a Network discipline themselves in the structuring of rigid time signatures whose rudimentary reference base is found in the motorik head spanking echelons of krautrock, the sounds – vibrant and propulsive push and pull as though fired by a galactic engine housing some hitherto dying sun. this 8 track behemoth – the second instalment of a planned trilogy finds the UK based trio securing and advancing with stealth their position as sonic alchemists drawing to themselves an ever growing fan base by virtue of releases for the much admired binnacle (‘junkyard transmissions’) and panic arrest.

Make no mistake ‘project gunship hold’ is a titanic odyssey – to be honest the best thing we‘ve had on our turntable since the Crystal Sun‘s ‘klandscape‘ set from a few years back via 12 Apostles, on one hand expansive and dream like t’other a brutal star crossed overdrive, its nods to the krautrock generals of old are not lost (especially the dream weaving collages of a more sedate and abstract Tangerine Dream) yet repeat listens have on more than one occasion warranted us to compare the sounds seething up through the grooves as being akin to a less shit faced Heavy Winged being cajoled by a more laid back godspeed with impish souls tarentel cranking up the dials and the Grails applying some nifty retro recalibrations. Don’t be fooled – in fact what am I saying – do be drawn by the lulling sculptured atmospherics of the opening ’halo antennas’ with its spacious dream weaving shimmer toned echoes and sprawling bliss driven lysergic afterglows or the playfully engaging and cloud parting ’horizon 78 dimension event’ – a gorgeously seductive sea faring reprise which manages to all at once cross weave the floaty elements of Discordia criminally overlooked ‘la luna Discordia’ full length, the woozy retro signatures of Adam Franklin’s alter ego Toshack Highway’s self titled debut and Ronald Binge’s ‘sailing by’. then there’s the cosmic drone interlude ‘we are super eight’ and the sedately brooding calm of ‘propulsion system left us for dead’ – the latter freewheeling in the same snoozing contours of a post storm eclipsed Roy Montgomery. Matters become more pronounced on the monolithic ‘beneath sound we shiver’ – the hypnotic locked grooves casting a curious trance like sub nine minute space cruising sound-scape which by its close leaves you feeling as though your heads been scrambled on a spin setting with the hot wash dial having being ratcheted up for good measure. All said its left to the parting ’altitude battle scar (arc light operations)’ to exact appropriate damage to your disc delivering device, in short a storm lashed skull splintering brew wherein our sonic tour guides twiddle the dials and rack up the engines to overload embarking on a voyage to the sun, a punishing and uncompromising heads down slab of grizzled galactic groove that veers just the right side of the oblivion overdrives often metered out by scouse space cadets Mugstar and which in terms of description we’ll happily settle for colossal. File under mind melting.

La Shark ‘a weapon’ (so darn so). Absolutely smitten by this. Could it be the quirky off centre funky licks a la Talking Heads, the skewif time signatures much awash at one time via releases bearing the name Pere Ubu, or is it the peculiar softly spangled psych oddness of Psychic TV, Bowie’s mid 70’s soul boy phase or the flawed genius of the Unicorns or maybe the crookedness of the Liars. So wonky and wiring ’a weapon’ may well prove to be the years best debut, the band the hottest thing on the London underground discounting the non existent air conditioning have already shared stage space with Good Shoes and the Maccabees. Obviously reared on the stereo strange brew of Captain Beefheart, ‘a weapon’ is one of those rare musical events where your left agape in its wake uttering the seldom versed ‘what the fuck was that’ – featuring crooning aplenty, lashings of strobe effected white funk sassiness and the most insidiously catchy coda this side of a Fall meets Tom Tom Club jamboree. Any questions – thought not. Flip side is equally dandy – just in case you were wondering – slick 60’s accents bleached and buried beneath an off kilter sonic suite comprised of shoe shuffling rumba motifs, harpsichord hued bachelor pad baroque signatures a la Stereo lab / Broadcast with a tasting of ‘steppin out’ era Joe Jackson for good measure. Ah still no questions – guess that means you’ll be buying the blighter then.

Being 747 ‘shake your backbone’ (wrath). Welcomed return to these pages for both Leeds based imprint Wrath and Being 747 as it happens in the shape of two cuts recently released from captivity bearing the early un-ripened fruits of a forthcoming rock opera of sorts entitled ’amoeba to zebra’ – a tribute of sorts celebrating the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s defining tome ’on the origin of species’. sounding as though it was hoodwinked from the creative sound table of a certain Dalmatian Rex and the Eigentones ’shake your backbone’ is a sub three minute slice of sassy and classy hip wiggling shock therapy pop that manages to ingest into its slender groove lines a veritable feast of throw-backing glam wired 50’s rock n’ roll laced up with speaker blowing power pop surges and tickled by all manner of devilishly dinky goofiness cut finitely to a hyper driving strut laced chassis as though Viv Stanshall were heading up the Rocky Horror troupe. Flip le disc for the superior ’reigning reptiles’ – a post punk primed cutie nailed to the floor by an as tight as a gnats chuff scowling and chugging riff much reminiscent of the Scars as though having their heads messed by a collaborative wig flipping foray by Devo and a youthful Cud. Well tasty. – been a fair old while since we featured anything in these pages by quite possibly the coolest band in record land who just in case your sitting there on your own-some scratchin your arse trying to think who the hell we mean – well none other than those wig flipping of fried freak beat groove the Fuzztones. word from afar has had our trusted radars scrambling into frenzy with the news that the Fuzzed ones organ player Lana Loveland has stepped out from the shadows to release a debut solo platter via the ridiculously hip n’ trendy Spanish imprint Butterfly (perhaps now they’ll add us back to their mailing list eh?). Described by the Fuzz camp as a cross between the Doors, Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Seeds and the Music Machine this 7 inch salvo is primed as a taster for Ms Loveland’s forthcoming debut full length entitled ‘order to love‘. Alas we’ve only heard edits of these twin turn-ons via her my space page, both cuts written back in mid 90’s with Loveland’s first band Cox Orange have been polished and re-recorded, the originals salvaged rumour has it from a dusty 4 track practice tape. ‘missing illusions’ on initial listens is carved with a purring primitive psych pageantry that nods to the acid glazed hallucinogenic mirages one time the keystone to Jefferson Airplane’s sound though here sprinkled with the mind weaving montages of a youthful Curved Air. That said admirers of all things Pebbles, Nuggets and wigged out 60’s west coast vibes will be suitably satiated by the woozy lysergic Hammond kookiness of ’black glove’ wherein Ms Loveland concocts a delirious brew of honey tipped shimmer pop piped through with oodles of sassy psychotropic feline freakiness. Consider yourselves warned.

Mentioned Expo in passing a little while back – in essence the creative genius of Baltimore resident John Lane aided and abetted by like minded friends, we’ve just received a note from John to say his ’she sells seashells’ full length is out and about and destined to cause swooning fits among all who hear – for more info go to and while your about it check out this breathtaking Beach Boy like beauty for starters….

The Doomed Bird of Providence ‘S/T’ EP (Front and Follow). From the creaking curvatures of the forlorn string arrangements aligned to the archaically regal like swell and fall of the waltzing tempo, these four gravel grounded murder ballads haunt the night air like troubled apparitions in search of rest and salvation. Despite their minimalist upbringing there’s a sweeping majesty to their tavern tilted shanty scarred nature that all at once instils a sense of warmth and belonging on one hand and on the other grips tightly to portray the looming spectre of a shadowy underworld where death and deceit are the marked requisites of survival. Hailing from parts of London and Colchester, The Doomed Bird of Providence are a quartet who excel in the brooding, bruised and the blistered, as the press release so rightly notes equal measures of the Bad Seeds and the Pogues are poured into the mix with the side order flavouring of Black Heart Procession and vocals that sound not unlike a certain Robyn Hitchcock at times readily invested to accentuate the wheezing Brecht / Weill regales, beneath this tales of old Australia tremble forth recounting tales of death rattling dark deeds, treachery and torment. yet beneath the consuming swirl of these oppressing overtures to the doomed and damned a beauty albeit flawed, fractured and fatal permeates – best exemplified on ’Dorothy Handland’ – cultured with such a quietly epic grandeur this aching ballad is braided with a crude and crippled blackened imagery whose mood is summarily lifted by the gust swept throes of weeping Nyman-esque strings and the solemn countenance of a classic wide screen Morricone detailing. And then just when your drained and sucked dry of emotion along comes the fog bound funereal finality of ’bells in the dead of night’ to rest and arrest you, tempered with lolloping banjos and snoozing orchestrations a grimly macabre reverie is threaded that’s both lilting and love laboured though soured by a bleakly betrayed burden. An album looms in the distance for release later in the year.

Phoenix ‘1901’ (v2). Apparently this lot have been the cause of heart flutters and swooning moments among the nations young folk or so we’ve been led to believe, to be honest it’s the first time we’ve encountered the blighters – how did that happen I hear you cry. Anyhow pressed up on purple red wax and pulled from their full length which we understand goes by the title ‘wolfgang Amadeus phoenix’ – ‘1901’ is one of those thrill pop moments that manages to harness into its finite grooves all the box ticking traits of a would be slice of feel good ear candy transistor tinkering tastiness. bleached with an effervescent radiance and a purring pop perfection its beautifully braided by tingling shocks of cosmic buzz pop – ’1901’ swirls, swerves and soars amid airless stratospheric divides sweetly pouting and delicately dishing out love tipped servings of space dust – well it does it for us. Flip the disc to find the same cut stripped to the bone and recalibrated by the Memory Tapes who I must admit bring to the party something of a hollowing celestial gracefulness by rendering it within a deliciously spectral and dare we say joyously embracing fanfare type thing. Those of you who hook up to the 12 inch version also get the added bonus of said cut being re-serviced by the Animal Collective – alas we’ll have to nail that one for ourselves on a later record purchase foray. – buggering hell this is good, one for the shaded psyche minded folk among you, hailing from East Kilbride / Glasgow and centred around the core talents of brothers John Paul and Gary Hughes, Helicon have been seducing locals with their hazily glazed trip wired transcendental tunes for nigh on two years now, currently unsigned (yea we had to doubler take that one) they’ve slipped out the odd EP or two which have returned words of praise from all who’ve had the great fortune to hear. And to that there should be no surprise for Helicon appear to be astral alchemists brewing an engaging soft psych pop potion whose sedate and clearly blissfully smoked instruction appears to be at a spiritual one with the likes of the Black Angels (see ‘truth or consequence‘), Cheval Sombre, Sunray (especially on ‘requiem’) and the Wooden Shjips. Here you’ll find the mind expanding chill down of the hazily undulating ’panic, everything is ok’ – a kind of hymnal Velveteen dream coat weaved by a clearly stoned and out of it JMC found re-wiring an astral axis once traversed by Galaxie 500. Both Spaceman 3 and Brian Jones Town Massacre are recalled on the mystical fringe parting 10 minute ’the point between heaven and hell’ itself finding our intrepid space cadets seemingly awash in a hypnotic embrace of arabesque mirages, all glassy psych apertures, lysergic lilts, fuzzed out reverbs and desert dragged drone montages which mid way through without warning unfurl to get their shit together for a spot of jangling comatose chime groove which in all honesty wouldn’t look to far out of place on a Rose of Avalanche platter. All said though its their near cataclysmic reworking of Neu’s ‘hallogallo’ that had us yanked up by the ears, freewheeling in territories not so dissimilar to Mugstar especially when it rears full tilt into animated kraut grooved glory, this mind melting odyssey trips into areas once occupied by Tank at one time, both exotic and intense, a veritable hallucinogenic floor show veering between the meditative and the mind blowing. Ones to watch no doubt. – just one track posted so far with the promise (or is that threat) of more to come and what a cutie it is too, the work of prickly pop pups Rabbit Years – a trio who hail rather mysteriously from somewhere in the United Kingdom over on the East side of the map. Gorgeously ramshackle and oozing with a DIY mentality ’crossword’ is a deliciously skewed slice of shouty, strummy, scrumptious indie punk pop featuring two boys one girl – the boys no doubt wanting to be the Wedding Present as done in a Stump type stylee with added Popticians overtones and the girl – who just for arguments sake we’ll call Kayleigh – because that’s her name – wanting something a little more Shop Assistants by design. Anyhow its feisty and fun stuff and the type of thing that would happily find a loving home on the Cherryade, filthy little angels and NRONE imprints which kis just as well as they count the latter labels lovelies Violet Violet as friends though strangely sound more like the Kabeedies which as you all know is no bad thing…….

And just in case you’ve forgotten what the kabeedies sound like – you hapless fools – here’s a wee video type thing of them….

And many thanks to Transgressive for sharing this link of Gaggle – whose debut single we mentioned to much deserving fanfare a wee while back – a recording of the troupe taken from their appearance at the St Giles in the Field Church…just go to

Anonymous Tip ‘the weirder brave’ (triumphant sound). Are you sure this is the first time we’ve featured Anonymous Tip in these pages (Ed), seems so – hard to imagine they’ve been around since 2002 and somehow escaped our radar. Anyway enough grumbling – with a second album looming large on the horizon entitled ’snitches and stitches’ the attending press release makes mention of the bands first EP having been released on Snuff’s 10 past 10 imprint, such connections aren’t lost on us for when we first gave this pre-release teaser (incidentally their lead out single – ’the weirder brave’) its initial spin at – I hasten to add – volume pitched full tilt it was Snuff’s ‘Snuff Said’ full length that we went scampering for comparison. Of course how could we fail to miss the Ruts / Malcolm Owen riff rumbles and vocal urgency spliced as were by a youthful Leatherface c. ‘razorblades and aspirin’ – in short the resulting brew is a sinew seizing 3.27 slab of grizzled punk metal carnage of the highest order, a hulking juggernaut careering at speed tearing up the tar with its duelling vocals and defence busting armoury of serrating fuzz torn riffs. Toxic stuff – absolutely recommended. Any questions. – been a while since we featured anything noisy with which to terrorise you with and so its off to Buenos Aires for that’s where playing with nuns hail. Now we don’t mind admitting that it was the sight of a naughty looking damsel dressed as a nun that in part caught our wandering eye, add to that the name of the band – playing with nuns and you could forgive us for thinking that what lay in waiting hooked up to the my space player was some sassy and salacious feline groove. Not so. Mind you we ought to qualify that b y asking whether or not noise can be considered as sexy. Not forgetting the old adage – beauty is in the eye of the beholder I dare say that the same maxim could be (and is) applied to sound otherwise we’d all be tuned into some tediously vacuous karaoke cabaret of the type that suffocates prime time TV and wrestles for column inches in ink rags masquerading as newspapers and publications of interest. Anyway enough of that – alas you won’t be too surprised when you hear us say that we know bugger all about this lot – if that is they are a lot – or perhaps they are merely a he or a she – who knows. What we do know is that there’s been a hive of activity on the release front – in fact some 30 odd releases most of them sold out sadly and most appearing via the 7579r imprint (with news that they’ve / he’s / she’s just signed deals with the al Hadiid and Cubiculo Noise imprints). Self describing the sounds within as ’a mix of ambient, dark, noise, field recordings, sex, beats and any kind of shit’ playing with nuns explore the kind of sonic micro-verses found looming large on labels such as scotch tapes and love torture, aural manipulations are the order of the day as these cuts found looming ominously large on their player do attest, these subterranean broadcasts charter into sonic regions undiscovered and as yet unmapped by populist consensus, the aptly titled ’without decorative stuff’ is foreboding and deeply eerie stuff – as its title suggests free and undeterred by gimmick, instead it’s a lengthy and abstract voyage into pure manipulation, scrambled insectoid transmissions, low density shards of white noise pushed to melting point seemingly sand blasted along the way. ’mandragora autumnalis’ if anything is a little more playful in design its scarring dronal hums lightened briefly by the unexpected albeit abrupt arrival of some clockwork chimes. Elsewhere ’amorphous dream’ we assume a field recorded exercise from some rollercoaster associated fairground ride is warped and worked into a nightmarish hell bound orgasmic collage while ‘from the glory transmition’ sounds like the innards of a magnified wind tunnel with accompanying Geiger counter, test tubes and Bunsen burning apparatus for company – look don’t ask us. And just to confuse matters somewhat there are two cuts entitled ‘untitled’ – the first pulled from ‘killing vinyl’ an doom drilled slab of apocalyptic gruel fired by the bleak and unswerving lull of a gruesome dystopian industrial hum which should appeal in the first instance to fans of both Shift and 7p0 Gwen Party while the latter ripped from (we assume) ‘the horse surgery’ set being a macabre mantra of sorts that playfully toys with minimalist glee the more mind erasing moments of Add N to X’s ’add insult to injury’ full length. Rest assured this will not be the last time this lot will feature here in these pages – begging letters for releases are already in the mail.

We here are still pinching ourselves silly at the prospect of a second album currently spending time being ironed out on the Shady Bard work bench. After what seems like a lifetime the collective are about to emerge from hibernation and embark on a short tour which all things being well will neatly lead into the release of a new single ‘trials (part III)’ – if like me and busting to hear something new then as a treat the band have posted a brand new cut from the album sessions entitled ‘(the boy who cried) volcano!’ – described in passing as part of a suite (to feature on the album) recounting a tale of a village ravaged by fire. A sweetly souring bruised beauty that‘s countered by a see-sawing sugar rushed cantering piano motif over which Lawrence’s mournfully hollowing tonalities find themselves soothed and softened by the ghostly underpin of Jasmin’s tender tear stained harness which itself soon dissipates midway through to quietly trail out strangely seductive though conscience pricked head bowed, regretful and reflective – its numbing though drawn with the trademark feint folk detailing to which we’ve breathlessly been beguiled on platters past. Sheer class. 


missive 259g
Singled Out
Missive 259g

Archive 7

SFX ‘Horror’ – okay a slight detour for a change but we did eye this special SFX magazine spying at us in our local newsagents – agreed it’s a little on the pricy side and comes sheaved in one of those humungous card envelope type things wherein you’ll find a massive double sided poster replicating the billboard hoardings for Halloween and the Thing, three novelty beer mats and two button badges along with a highly readable 132 page magazine. Inside a positive smorgasbord of sinister delights await you dear haunted heart which aside the obligatory top 20 horror villains which incidentally has Freddy Krueger heading up the infamous cast – a feat that’s marked by an exclusive interview with the man behind the pizza mask Robert Englund. Fans of video nasties are treated to a list to end all lists of the 74 most goriest releases to fall foul of the DPP’s video witch-hunt with ’75’s ’expose’ gaining Russell Lewin’s vote ahead of seasoned favourites ’the evil dead’, ’the last house on the left’ and ’tenebrae’. elsewhere there’s a feature on an oft forgotten 70’s bookshelf fixture (is it just me or did everyone have a copy of the twelfth one loitering somewhere in the shadows) – ’the pan book of horror stories’ which aside detailing the background of these near iconic pulp chillers also gives news of a new 500 page tome celebrating this much maligned and overlooked publication entitled ’back from the dead – the legacy of the pan book of horror’. inside it promises 16 new stories along with 5 classic reprints along with a detailed biography on its original editor Herbert Van Thal.- and from books to comics or more precisely a brief guided history into the horror comic much loved by me personally as an impressionable child especially anything relating to Vampires – the gorier the better though at times the ones we managed to procure from the older boys did seem a little shall we say – artistically explicit in their portrayals – as said all things Famous Monsters from Filmland, Marvel, EC, DC and beyond are swiftly covered. Now from a person note of interest I was never really aware of a becoming cult Spanish horror scene – for me I was always a sucker for Italian cheap budget zombie flicks – though having now read Calum Waddell’s insightful article I shall be spending the rest of the night frantically nailing as many as possible for future viewing via eBay. You want more – then hook up to the little known blaxploitation horror scene of the early 70’s (hello eBay) for the likes of ’blacula’ which I swear I’ve seen at some point or other along with its add on instalments, dr black and mr hyde, blacken stein and sugar hill while for those of you admiring of good old fashioned gothic horror flicks – there’s a feature on the silent horror films sadly lost forever – including the first celluloid appearances of Frankenstein and the wolf man – through decay and poor storage and the lost edits of films re-cut for the day’s populace suitability (spider scene from king kong, the vampire bats from tarzan and the fabled castration scene from the freaks to name just three) and more recently the wiped tv serials such as the trollenberg terror, the haunted and out of the unknown are all rekindled and regaled though alas not repatriated for viewing delight. And just to round things off an extensive feature on Carpenrter’s reworked the thing which did you know was a critical box office flop on its release only to attain cult status and beyond courtesy of the video – be buggered if I knew that myself. And talking of remakes – the crazies – what’s the point I ask?

Hancock’s Half Hour – it was by sheer accident that we stumbled across two CD releases featuring 4 recently recovered ’lost Hancock’ shows – two audio recordings of his TV show and two rare finds from his legendary radio broadcasts. Part of the BBC’s on going amnesty on home bootleggers the cassettes were received by the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society. Like many shows transmitted in the 50’s and 60’s the legacy of Hancock’s Half Hour has probably been the most famous (aside Dr Who) to have suffered at the hands of the corporations ‘wiping’ campaign. Of the 101 broadcasted radio shows stretching 6 series from 1954 to 1959 – 28 episodes are still missing including several featuring Harry Seacombe taking up the lead role when Hancock went missing. Fairing slightly worse are the treasured TV shows – to date all of the first series is currently AWOL as well as the second bar one episode while both the third and fourth – txd in ‘58 and ‘59 – are only partially complete. Accompanied by Sid James, Hattie Jacques, Bill Kerr and a youthful pre ‘Carry On’ / ‘round the Horne’ Kenneth Williams the Hancock radio broadcasts were landmarks of British recordings, so successful and avidly listened to its rumoured that public houses would revise their opening times to fit around the shows broadcast. In writers Galton and Simpson, Hancock was equipped with writers whose finger was on the pulse of the events of the day and who weren’t afraid to lampoon the stars and films of the day, in fact one of the ’missing’ episodes ’the wrong man’ is a spoof of the Hitchcock film of the same name. In fact BBC7 aired over the recent Easter bank holiday weekend the specially recorded live take of the famous ’blood donor’ episode (commissioned by Pye for audio release at the time) wherein Hancock is heard to remark of a fellow patients blood ‘give it to Cliff Richard – that’ll slow him down’ (the show can still be heard via the BBC iplayer at ). As to the four episodes, the quality is as you’d imagine from basic home recordings ranges from poor to good, both ‘the wrong man’ an d ‘the flight of the red shadow’ date from 1959’s fourth TV series and find – respectively – the lad on the run from unpaid cast members of his East Cheam Repertory Company along the way being mistaken for a rich oil sheikh – the latter – as previously noted – a twist on Hitchcock’s ’the wrong man’ wherein in Sid and Tone volunteer to appear in a police parade only for Hancock to be identified as the culprit of a robbery. The other CD features two lost radio shows ’the diet’ from the third series and originally aired in 1955 sees Hancock vying for a lucrative film role and having to lose weight all the time unbeknownst to him Bill has been offered the part and has to put on weight. Best of the set though is ’Sid’s Dad’ – much to Hancock’s disbelief Sid has a Dad, the only problem being that Mr James Snr (played exquisitely by Williams) has been led to believe that Sid’s frequent appearances in court are because he’s the country’s leading judge and not the local constabulary’s most wanted and that his frequent terms of imprisonment are in fact holidays to get over the trials and tribulations of lengthy court hearing..

A full and un-revised list can be found at

Here’s the man himself……

Angry Vs. the bear ‘show emotion’ (all sorted). Something of a temperature tilting turn on is this debut from Essex based quartet Angry Vs. the bear. Having already secured prestigious support slots with the likes of current flavours of the month Florence and the Machine and the Dirty Pretty Things as well as wowing audiences across the pond courtesy of their tongue wagging appearance at Texas’ landmark SXSW festival they’ve managed to engage the services of in demand producer Simon Gogerly to polish and perfect their sound onto wax. The result a soaring slice of overtly primed populace friendly radio rattling electro funk grooved sultriness that’s arrested by a seductive floor throbbing light show fusion of ’heart of glass’ and ’I feel love’ motifs draped with a demurring daintiness by an uber chilled glacial peppering of early Eurythmics like sophistication and braided by an amour allure of euro disko cosmic swirls. Next please. More of the same over on the flip for the pulse racing thrill drill of ’mystery girl’ – at best this time cradled in an unmistakable 80’s wrap and crafted in the kind of melodic skin much admired by the disposable pop loving MTV generation at worst veering ever so worryingly into Gwen Stefani spheres which depending on your chosen listening slant is either one mans idea of heaven and another’s a fortnight’s all inclusive holidaying in the bowels of hell.

Harold Nono / Hidekazu Wakabayashi ‘s/t’ (bear suit). Apologies to all concerned – seems we’ve had this little cutie for a week or two, its been staring at us forlorn and unloved like a lost puppy chirping to life each and every time we’ve had occasion to walk within spitting distance of it. For our sins we only got around to actually hearing the bugger today or tonight more precisely – and may I say its in the stillness and relax calm afforded by an evening glow that this uniquely beautiful collaboration comes into its own fort you feel that were this to be played to the hectic backdrop of passing traffic, holidaying children and other such invaders to peace and quiet – that it may fearfully wilt, wither and withdraw to the shadows. Released via those nice people over at Bearsuit who in recent times have puzzled, perplexed and playfully messed with our heads courtesy of releases by the likes of kiramiki, whiz kid and anata wa sukkari tsukarete shimai. And now for the pairing of the year – perhaps – that is if you decide not to count d_rradio’s smooching up to Lianne Hall (more about that at some point later), both should be no strangers to fans of Bearsuit indeed the two appeared on last years critically acclaimed ‘captain woof woof’s guitar’ compilation. Positioned at opposing ends of the musical spectrum Nono having cut his teeth in the indie punk pop combos Pep Boys and Idiot Half Brother and Wakabayashi informed of a more classical jazz musical culturing, this collaboration has been it seems on the back boiler for some two years or so now, an exchanging of admiring words of fondness for each others work across the my space network led to the hatching of a paired enterprise, sound files where passed to and forth and from skeletal beginnings a creative blossoming was hatched – the result – this rather genteel and divinely intoxicating eleven track suite. Slender in detail and frost bound in design, its hard to get passed the well oiled description – disarming. Yet disarming is what this venture is, romantic and lulling, each party complimenting the other perfectly to blend an absorbing and sedate fusion of atmospheric airiness. The twinkle some cosmic caress of the snoozing ‘nobody plays baseball here’ opens the proceedings setting into motion a hermetically sealed tapestry that purrs and tugs with an elegant wistfulness, reference points are many elements of Roy Budd (especially on the graceful ‘I’ve heard giants’) and Charles Atlas frequently filter in and out of the grooves like apparitions as do nods to Isan’s ‘digitalis’, l’augmentation / pram (a la the lounge like ’scobies roundie’ – trunk record admirers be on alert) and early career Landshipping especially on the Cornelius styled ornate chime chill pop of ‘teenage desk’ with its lilting lullaby strokes and cooing baby chuckles. Elsewhere those trying to imagine what an ice bound and lazy eyed Komeda might sound like will do well to navigate your way post haste to the lovelorn ’family’ (and ‘a shout away’ while your at it) wrapped as it is in dream drifting orbs of yawning and wheezing mirages. Whilst not always obvious to the ear throughout the ambient fabric there’s a distant oriental flavouring intoxicating the mix – none more so does this rear its head than on both ’I wanted to go to the party’ and ’akarui akari’ the former dinkily decorated as though some playfully thoughtful backdrop to some 70’s styled tv show a la ’Vision On’ the latter a gorgeously conceived and tenderly spectral glaze of deftly delivered library pop. Then there’s the glassy bowed drones found on ’let’s go find mushrooms’ which without warning softly unfurls into a teasingly impish slice of woozy psych pop replete with kooky 60’s sunshine spoked west coast intones. Which leaves just enough time to mention the stately noir sweetness of the tear stained and parting ’wild blue yonder’ with its spectral celestial chorus’ and the nuzzling nocturnal glow of ‘ya chaika’ with its softly pillowed piano braids. Faultless.

Dozelimit ‘discover / the entering’ (raig). Caught an ear load of this while rooting around the web – I know I know – I hear what your saying about clearing the great CD mountain – the one which in fact has us kind of land locked in our gaff at present – but hey I’m a sucker for finding things that I don’t have. Absolutely no information on these dudes – we know there’s two of them – preferring g to call themselves 01 and 02 – oh yea and they hail from Omsk and have to date released one full length entitled ‘constructions of the highest architecture’ and this free to download which if is anything to judge by have them fully fluent in the crafting of sound-scapes that would easily grace any psyche / noise / ambient / space pop imprint you’d care to mention. Two tracks then – ’discover’ and ’the entering’ – the former a mere slip of a track edging the ticker tape at just 3.36 the latter a humungous sub 14 minute trip wired odyssey and described by their label and thus ’The duo produces explorations in heaviest guitar feedback drone and noise with large black, doom and sludge metal influences; and draws inspiration for their dark and contemplative music from various sources, including the concepts of cosmism, determinism and global collapse‘. now we here are all in favour of your occasional spots of black drone sludge metal doing its stuff on the hi-fi yet on this time of asking I fear we may have missed something for far from being doomy and dark these two cuts are – shall we say psychedelically enhanced ’the entering’ in particular sounds for the best part like some sort of cosmic voyage piloted by Stars of the Lid under the stewardship of Kawabata Makoto, an effects pedal laden cosmic juggernaut replete with dronal tides and in whose company has the unnerving knack of making you feel as though your being dragged backwards through a sonic sand storm suffering acid flashbacks whilst fastened to the under carriage of a leviathan like space cruiser, its fried stuff both entrancing and transcendental in design and riddled by wave upon wave of honed and toned mind melting white noise skrees. The previously mentioned ’discover’ is no slouch either – festooned with looping reverbs, ether plucked celestial chorus’ and rooted with a dreamlike oceanic serenity there’s an almost solemn though reverential mournfulness about its wares which in part should no doubt be of particular interest to admirers of Roy Montgomery. For the link to the EP download and more information go to

And here’s a video of them…..

Dozelimit on ‘Kvadratnij Mir – 2’

Dozelimit | MySpace Music Videos

Jarmean? ‘bad penny’ (self released). Certainly one of the most memorable and innovative releases we had the pleasure of hearing last year was the debut outing by London screwballs jarmean? ‘mind the gap’ proved to be a furiously addictive fringe flicking feast of punk jazz music hall hullabaloo that simply had us cooing in fond admiration while simultaneously being electro shocked into reaching for the hi-fi remote to frantically push the repeat button on the player. Several months down the line and with the band having been holed up putting the finishing touches to their debut full length – tentatively titled ‘the bad penny opera’ (which should be gracing both record counters and home loving players any day soon) the London town rapscallions take up tankards offer good cheer and parade their vintage Victoriana verve by way of the pre-teaser cut ‘bad penny. sitting somewhere between the Cesarians and Paul Hawkins and thee awkward silences (an new album from whom – or more precisely their label Jezus Factory – I’m sure we have about our person – hang on will check and get back to you on that one) jarmean? exist or so it seems in a parallel space rooted into the subterranean terrains of a smog bound olde London town festooned with narrowed cobbled archways whose shadows whisper of death and decay and where in the illuminated glow of creaking taverns the night’s dark and fearful dread is left at the door to be replaced by a moments merriment and jollity, ’bad penny’ is a glorious strike a match light the fuse and scamper for cover fusion of frenetic toe tapping groove that embraces to its considerable far reaching canvas a mercurial blending and bending of rousing rag time and skat jazz motifs trip wired by a contagious cortege of music hall fanfare set to skewed time signatures awash with twists and hooks aplenty that’s all at once unstoppable, unforgettable and above all incurably infectious. Just buy the blighter and see if I’m wrong – go on dare you.

And talking of Paul Hawkins and Thee Awkward Silences – a video to accompany the 50 only cd release of……(blimey better nail a copy for myself – as to the album – still looking for it)…

Vibravoid ‘what colour is pink’ (fruits de mer). We do love the occasional veiled threat of harm about our personage such candid notes expressing ill intentions are immediately tossed in the trash can emblazoned in florescent marker pen with – depending how the mood takes us – daubs of sprinkly glitter for decoration in letters one foot high spelling out ‘tosspot’. later in the day we chuckle and sometimes if we’re feeling particularly devilish we psychically message the local government sponsored coven and have them fashion a doll in the perpetrators likeness so that in our wiling hours we can throw darts at it. And so this morn approximately 10.37am if your taking notes, the postman ventured up path (I should say at this juncture that it was overcast the first signs of drizzle had begun to fall – nothing like a little scene setting) and posted the days listening treats. The envelope we eyed was a familiar one, from across the pond, far far away posted from the new country – quickly x-raying it for signs of blank cheques or lose cash – damn blast there was none – another day touting the big issue for us we thought we proceeded eagerly to open said packet, inside a promo CD no doubt containing cuts so wigged out that the minds of mere mortals might melt if marvelled in one sitting. And then – shock horror. A pink post it note. Upon it the words ’review these…..or else!’ or else what we thought – perhaps we’d go to the musical dark side and start ogling pop idol or whatever the hell the nonsense is called, perhaps hair would grow from my head rather than the back of neck like a mane, perhaps the sun would venture out for a rare guest appearance or perhaps I’d spontaneous combust on the spot and in the place where was I a little orchid would rise from the ashes. We waited. And waited. Waited. Three cups of coffee later. And still nothing. We were heartily disappointed – incidentally it was still overcast only more so. The rain in case you were wondering had subsided – it lay in wait for me later in the day when venturing out for tabs. The lesson that needs to be learnt here is don’t send threatening notes – remember – doll type thing for darts practice or really painful and tedious reviews – your choice.

Where were we – ah yes the CD, nearly forgotten – blimey is that the time – Lordy I’ve grown a beard. Another brace of essential ear gear from those flowery fried souls over at Fruits de Mer, the first a stunning 11 track compilation entitled ‘a phase we’re going through’ featuring a lysergic gathering of wig flipping souls covering a positive cornucopia of dream weaved gems from the 60’s among the invited casts to the pysurreal party old favourites Geese, the Chemistry Set and Cranium Pie along with a host of practicing patrons of the out there and wired groove such as the Marshmallow Staircase, the Luck of Eden Hall and Zombies of the Stratosphere to name just three – more of this a little later. More pressing is the arrival of a new three track platter from psyche overlords Vibravoid. Of course no stranger to these pages having made fleeting appearances in the past the last being that rather spiffing ’krautrock sensation’ via the same label – a release (and limited repress) which according to the FdM folk both sold out in double quick time. With the prospect of a guaranteed cash cow and mindful of the old adage to do with staring out gift horses or something such, they’ve re-enlisted the services of Dusseldorf’s finest to see if they can repeat the stunt. Pressed up on limited quantities of pink wax, housed in a pink sleeve and entitled ’what colour is pink’ (do you detect a theme emerging here) this trip wired trio of tracks sees Vibravoid set their cosmic sights for all things Floyd. A smoking set indeed the object of their fringe flicking fancy being Floyd’s ‘a saucer of secrets’ set – a landmark album and key turning point in the Floyd legacy as this marked the cruel end of the Barrett era and the installing of a new order. ‘set the controls for the heart of the sun’, ‘let there be more light’ and ’a saucer of secrets’ – all three donned in shades come accompanied with their own swirly shape cutting light show donned with shades are given a faithful rewire hell its as though these dudes have about their person a time travelling magic bus, the former totally wigged out and cast amid oodles of swirling organs is so blissed and far out that its gone, guaranteed to get you high just by being in its company. Their take on the cosmic jam that is ‘a saucer of secrets’ is afforded a mind blowing spectacle, all at once reverential, spacey and trippy as hell and still sounding like a hitherto celestial opus marking the engagement of some star searching voyage. Yet all said it’s the treatment of ‘let there be light’ which had us gagging for more, pardon the vernacular but the dog’s bollocks is the only way to describe it, it’s a track that has among the Floyd community over the years caused something of a critical divide – that said Vibravoid nail it perfectly bringing its hum drum lethargy and momentary flashes of mind melting English psych eccentricity into full fried focus, the repetitive looped bass lines casting a hypnotic lull pierced by astral planing hallucinogenic motifs all serving to accentuate a bad trip vibe. Does it for us. Goes without saying you need this in your life and record collection.

The band also have a CD / DVD out at the moment – ’triptamine’ – the CD gathers together specially selected prime cuts of head swirling psyche pop from an assortment of long out of print EP’s while the DVD has a complete live performance specially recorded and transmitted by German TV along with some live footage from Athens and Helsinki. We’ll try and nail a copy for future review.

Classic Rock presents Prog – Feb / March ‘10 – because we are slackers we have two issues to mention of this most excellent of tomes, think you know the drill by now, housed in one of those humungous card envelopes inside of which you’ll find a CD with specially selected cuts with which to soundtrack your reading delights plus a magazine so well written, authoritative and gushing with such love of the subject matter that you feel obliged to take their word as gospel and purchase said platters – by jiminy I should know blighters have nearly had me stocking up on Yes albums before now – oh and it’s a little on the pricey side though not as pricey as the publications related Slash special which should be landing at newsagents any day soon and features Slash’s debut full length a full month before its official release, also included are a massive poster and patches set along with a Mick Wall edited 132 page magazine no doubt telling in print all you need to know about the ex Guns n’ Roses axe man. Any way back to Prog – current issue has Peter Gabriel beaming ominously from the cover inside there’s a lengthy chat with the ex Genesis bod in addition to an invited cast paying tribute in print while elsewhere his record sleeves are subjected to the critical eye of ’art for art’s sake’. Heather Findlay ex of Mostly Autumn is hoisted against a wall a forced to tell all while Astra chew the fat just ahead of their Scala appearance with Diagonal and Litmus – an event which should you decide to attend and happen to be part of the first 300 through the door then an uber limited split 7 inch featuring Astra on one side and Diagonal on the other will be pressed into your palm gratis courtesy of those kind souls over at Rise Above. Meisterworks centres its attentions on re-evaluating Camel’s ’moonmadness’ while there’s a brief focus on Dutch prog from the early 70’s – Focus, Supersister and Earth and Fire all attaining equal star billing. You want more eh – well there’s a host of interviews with the likes of Solstice, trans Siberian orchestra, Twelfth Night and No Man while Sky’s impertinent brush with chart success a la ’toccata’ is examined with Medicine head’s oft overlooked ’dark side of the moon’ is dusted down and given the once over by the Vault Age engineers. February’s edition goes Muse mad – ha ha that had you going – nah just messing with your head – instead this issues focus is on the concepts, the creators and the artists who’ve graced some of the most lavish looking platters over the last 30 or 40 years – so that you have art guru Jasper Goodall summarily beckoned to the prog offices to give account of his work with the Muse-y ones while art for art’s sake takes a gander at the cover work adorning platters by Dream Theater. Floyd’s key image visionary Storm Thorgerson is collared by the Mavericks team, Curved Air’s ’Air Conditioning’ – the first rock picture disc is evaluated at length, while Jethro Tull’s defining ’Thick as a brick’ or rather more the elaborative false pre history piss take that they sought to unleash on the prog rock populace is discussed in detail while talking of concept albums (okay loosely in Jethro’s case) Dave Greenslade’s exhaustive ’the Pentateuch of the cosmogony’ artwork, imagery and all is thirty years after its original release taken to task by its author and creator plus an extensive 8 page art assessment of Marillion to navigate through. Elsewhere in this issue Iceland comes under the prog radar with usual suspects Sugarcubes and Sigur Ros hauled in for inclusion and some notable nods to trubrot and eik. And there’s more besides – Todd Rundgren, Rob Reed, yak and Ultravox.

As to the CD’s each going under the name ‘prognosis’ – among ‘#7’s selected treats there’s Mandalaband parading ’eden’ a mystical floral folk folly grounded in a centuries old timelessness, beguiling and bewitching – a disarming pageantry of flutes, arabesque charms and monastic heraldry that all at once curiously manages to touch base with Circulus, Sisters of Mercy and the Zep though scratch beneath the trip wiring woodland tapestry and you’ll find a kindred spirit of those wonky wizards of the weird the Soft Hearted Scientists. Hailing from St Albans (home of the Scratch – whose new – well old – but repressed – limited slab of tastiness will feature further along) Touchstone are a kind of storm lashed Curved Air wrapped in tender temptation and a scorning tempest of pulse pumping rock dramatics. Fancy something a little whacked and screwball then Elephant 9’s seriously goofy ’hardcore orientale’ may well tempt you away from your prized Ozrics platters, hailing from Norway these three dudes are currently hovering about on the most self respected radars at present – a furious freeform fusion of psych prog jazz cross wiring elements of VdGG, Brand X and Supersister in to a molten brew of skewed time signatures and wig lifting kookiness. Maybe its just me but is there something of Rush about Karnataka’s ’the serpent and the sea’ albeit as though fused with All About Eve – perhaps it is just me then. Ah well while rounding off things quite sedately is ‘angelus‘ by Manir Donahue – a bit of a cosmic voyaging treat and by our reckoning something of a must hear moment for admirers of Vangelis and perhaps Sigur Ros now I come to think of it. Scarcely had the time to hear ’prognosis #6’ in its entirety but don’t let that deter the potential listening pleasure to be had from it – that said we’ve at least eyed Steven Wilson’s ’harmony korine’ culled from his ’insurgentes’ set from last year, other notable attractions Lime Shark’s grizzled grinder ’not quite Nashville’, the excellent named the brimstone solar radiation band and their honey tipped west coast toned 60’s folk rushes within ’strings to the bow’ and lest we forget to mention Jupiter Society’s undulating silken overtures on the near cataclysmic epic ’rescue and resurrection’.

Elvis Presley ‘off duty’ (Memphis recording service). From the same archive service that brought those excellent ‘beginning of Elvis’ and ‘the rise of Elvis’ packages each coming replete with an abundance of rare recordings, a hefty tome featuring many unpublished photographs backed with detailed research as to the King’s early career recording sessions rounded off by replica Sun 7 inch cut from the original stamper for ’its alright mama’ and ’mystery train’ – the label now turns its gaze to Presley in the service. Marking the 50th anniversary of his completion of service, this hardback 100 page book is an Elvis fans treasure trove that features page after page of rare previously unseen photographs documenting Presley’s two year conscription to the services all accompanied by informative snippets of interest. Not as lavish and handsome as the two aforementioned sets though a worthwhile addition to your collection if you’ve shelled out on the four or five sets that has pre dated this. As an added bonus – though strictly for completists there’s An hour long 35 track CD that includes the master recordings of the only four original Nashville recordings that Presley committed to tape during his service along with two complete private home recordings – one taken from Eddie Fadal’s home and recorded in May ’58 the other at Presley’s digs in Bad Nauhelm from the Summer of ‘59. The former has Elvis in relaxed mood and features on two cuts Anita Wood with Elvis on the piano for two tries of ‘who‘s sorry now‘ – it’s a kick about collection of varying quality ’sail along silvery moon’ and ‘just a closer walk with thee’ are passable, there’s Elvis adding in vocal doo wop bass tones to ‘tumbling tumbleweeds’ and basically being up for a spot of tomfoolery crooning his way through a host of records playing in the background. The Ad Nauhelm recordings are little more together – a slow version of ’I’ll take you home again Kathleen’, a stab at ’que sera sera’ which explodes impromptu into a wildly ragged take of ’hound dog’ and a rousing though seriously lo-fi shot of ’the titles will tell’ – written by Charles Underwood it was originally recorded by the late Barbara Pittman for Sun (a version of which we’d love to hear) yet by all accounts never saw the light of day until the early part of this decade. And that’s your lot.

The Hornblower Brothers ‘give and receivers’ (static caravan). We must admit to having absolutely bugger all info on this lot other than to say they hail from Brighton, number 5 in the ranks and have previously availed themselves of a recently sold out EP entitled ‘adventures in the national geographic’. so there. Probably ridiculously limited and no doubt destined to follow its predecessor lead into creating some mild fuss on inflated auction sites – for their second offering two treats are up for grabs – incidentally pressed up on 7 inches of black wax with the hallowed Static Caravan seal of approval tattooed to its hide. Something of style shift for the Static brothers for we weren’t expecting the sudden embrace of effervescently feel good indie guitar fanfares to come piping out at gusto from our puzzled speakers, ’give and receivers’ is just the type of thing that the late John Peel would have championed and no doubt played somewhere at the tail end of one of his late night broadcast shifts one suspects not only out of fondness but to shake you from your slumber following the playing of some uber rare though tediously torturous 10 minute slab of twitchy transcendental tomfoolery from somewhere with an intelligible postal address by persons unknown with a name equally unpronounceable. About you like a rash this blighter is so radiant and bonkers that the sun literally shines out of its waxen arse, awash with chirping chiming riffs it’s the Small Faces as done by the 14 Iced Bears dashing and darting across the turntable teetering upon a fine line that separates teen thrilled terrace pop and the more spangle flavoured sections of the great mid 80’s strum happy day-glo in die crowd and managing along the way to tightly shrink-wrap more hooks than a butchers basement. Not done yet for over on the flip there’s the equally contagious ’the ghost of karouake’ to contend with – this cute pup is festooned with seaside horns, Meek-esque kookiness and emblazoned with all manner of sunshine appeal and not a million miles it should be said from Half Man Half Biscuit albeit removed of the impish baiting and the veiled surrealist humour. Go buy.

Slaraffenland ‘meet and greet’ (home tapes). First single culled from Hometapes honeys Slaraffenland third opus – ‘we’re on your side’ a copy of which we have somewhere about our person – comes beautifully pressed up on blue wax all housed in a rather colourful cut away card sleeve. Copenhagen’s finest and dare we say most fried pop export return to these pages with the delightful twin set ‘meet and greet’ and ‘my bad ways’. ‘meet and greet’ starts unassumingly catching you off balance, the undulating time signatures a la Fleetwood Mac’s ‘tusk’ and roving rhythmic canters usher in a genteel pastoral serene-ness, add to the mix the looping riffs impressing a hypnotic weave and the arrival of brass / horns section bringing with them their wintry casting and before you know it your already caught spellbound, locked and lulled into Slaraffenland’s mystical tapestry each passing turn the composition gathering a slow predatory depth and dimension until it ultimately ends up sounding like some archaic may day pageantry in the wiles of Summerisle musically transcribed by a three way blend of early tunng, birdpen and swimmer one serenades. Flip over for the previously unreleased ’my bad ways’ – again braided in all manner of lolloping signatures that curiously appear to drag and scuff across the turntable and which very much nod towards the mid 90’s Birmingham scene – most notably L’Augmentation while simultaneously murmuring with the sallow and silken pastoral peculiarities of a youthful Oddfellows Casino as though found cosying up to Archer Prewitt. Quite sweet really if you ask me which alas you probably weren’t.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists ‘the oldest house’ (matador). Part of the (third annual) record day extravaganza (Saturday 17th April) – a limited twin set exclusive from New Jersey misfits Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Having returned from a brief hiatus marked by the release of their fourth full length ’the brutalist bricks’ for new label Matador, this uber limited 7 inch features two exclusive non album cuts. Nailed down amid an infectious surge of strut honed power thrilled pop riffage and honey glazed with a throbbing day-glowing glam tinged pulse ’the oldest town’ arrives as a bracing blast of panic frenzied feel good skewed bubblegum pop that manages with a rapid fire urgency to join the finite dots separating classic era Dinosaur JNR, Teenage Fanclub and the Velvet Crush. May cause swooning fits. Flip side lassoes ’north coast’ a swaggering babe that sounds like its been drop kicked from the mid 70’s ushering in its wake a molten blend of power pop bravado and a subtle though shimmering west coast coolness that recalls all at once the raspberries, the db’s, the flamin groovies and todd rundgren. Kind of essential I’m sure you’ll agree.

Tula ‘no name’ (static caravan). Another essential static caravan purchase that we happily picked up today whilst on a brief reconnaissance trip to Cargo, this is the debut release from Tula – who I think I’m right in saying is Scandinavian (ace journalistic researching eh?) – again no doubt ridiculously limited as its on Static Caravan and on initial listens quite possibly the sweetest thing the label has released since – oooh – whatever we said was the last sweetness thing released by the label. Seriously though an absolute gem of a release that finds Tula paired up with Cameron Miller who I swear we’ve read somewhere in despatches has worked or is part of the Adrian (and not Alistair) Crowley set. ’no name’ opens to the cascading caress of lightly thumbed woodland rustic lilts, the vibe light and dreamy tip toes by, Tula’s hushed angelically mellowed tones seductively thoughtful and faraway casting a bewitching aura which as though by some slight of hand and the arrival of – is that a mellotron or accordion – (whatever it is – it makes a wheezing sound – I’m really on top of this today don’t you agree) the mood swiftly drops changing to something readily more demurring in a beautifully supernatural way as though the aforementioned woodland scenery had suddenly adopted an eerie casing and had found itself wrapped in some ghostly like descending fog. Irresistible. over on the flip you’ll find the equally adorable ‘remind me’ – braided by celestial arpeggios this frosted beauty in its initial moments recalls this mortal coil’s enchanting and numbing cover of Tim Buckley’s ‘song to the siren’ that is until the emergence of the tear welling sky piercing opining slide riffs begin to sting and seduce with equal abandon blossoming with a tender timeless flair to lasso the drifting Tula whose found lost in the moment firing her love tipped bows amid a cosily serene time stilling landscape of spectral Mazzy Star finesse. Elegiac in a word spellbinding in another.

Allo Darlin’ ‘dreaming’ (fortuna pop). More fanciable fringe flopping fey follies from fortuna pop, think I’m right in saying there’s a full length lurking just around the corner from these cute pups which we will get around to hearing someday – though I’m suspecting not in the too distant future having eyed the teetering piles of must hear ear gear currently pinning us to the corner of our listening space. Anyhow can’t recall if this is the second or third swoon filled salvo from Allo Darlin’ I do recall their last platter knocking us bandy with unbridled fondness – ‘dreaming’ – alas not the Blondie ditty of the same name – features some guest duet duties from Monster Bobby (no me neither) on what is a peach of a summer tinged exuberant jangle-tastic pulse throbbing teen thrill pop type thing, think you know the drill with these things hooks by the shed load and sprightly cosy toed tuneage the type of which make the bumps on the back of your neck tingle wildly, passing similarities to all the usual suspects that at one time lovingly loitered on labels such as sarah, summershine, bus stop et al awaiting the feint hearted friendship of shy eyed youths adoring of love lulled chime charged slices of briskly cool indie pop which as you all know is no bad thing – anyhow this cute pup is draped in all manner of emotion surrendering snoozing pedal steel riffs which if you ask me has a kind of sugar rushing love crushed South Pacific relocated St Etienne vibe about its wares. On t’other side you get the hollowed heartbreak of ‘you still send me’ to have your heartstrings ominously throttling the life from you – gorgeously bruised, ripped to the core and hurtfully melancholic whilst breathless dimpled by weeping slides – not for the feint of heart, reference wise imagine a betrayed Sundays. Now just where the hell is that album.

Another label who we’ve been sadly lacking in featuring of late (filthy little angel, nr one, weird and alrealon – your time will come) has been Australia’s prime ambient / dream pop imprint Hidden Shoals (it’s a glaring omission that we‘ll be resolving to rectify over the course of the coming weeks), with a spare few minutes to wile away we did happen across this delightful slice of genteelness by Markus Mehr. Taken from his forthcoming debut full length ‘lava’ – due for release mid June – ‘hubble’ is available as of now a taster serving free down load, by the application of minimal synth and guitar texture this softly drifting fuzzy about the edges is measured, what first appears like some distant echo to a hitherto mid 90’s Kranky styled dronal recital is tenderly coaxed and brought into sharp focus by Mehr’s slender slow drip layer by layer building with the sparsely applied guitar shimmers, the ebb and flow of the celestial sways and the twinkling orbs shifting its mood from one of solemnly detached and remote to something hitherto more quietly demurring and jubilant, should appeal in the first instance to admirers of Manual. – last time found adorning these pages he was blowing us away to the smoked sounds of ’IDK’ – now recently released from the confines of his studio where he’s been hatching plans for hi-fi domination and sneaking out under his arm a spanking new full length type release by the name of ‘beautiful isolation’ with which to have you all agog and agape in awe, herb recordings Kingbastard return s to the fray to mess with your head and retune your playing preferences. The album – released next month – is currently the subject of a competition via this site up for grabs a signed and framed art print of the sleeve, a limited t-shirt, copy of the album and various other trimmings. For now though the title track gets an early showcase – admittedly not as animated as his last visit to these despatches, this time a bliss bathed lushly hushed amorphous ambient gemstone whose integral reference point tingles and twinkles affectionately in the same lovelorn orbits that once shrouded OMD’s ’souvenir’, a celestial love note wrapped in the lulling layering of spectral whispers and the beckoning beguilement of pulse slowing heavenly chorus’ threaded finitely with space dust rubbings and the ability to have you defenceless, arrested, surrendering and cooing as though momentarily touched by an angelic apparition.

Something tasty we happened upon is ‘I don’t want to lose you’ by stateside power poppers Rooney. Pulled from their third full length ‘eureka’ via the California Dreaming imprint this cutely breezy slice of deftly drifting melodic pop taps into the self same purring transistor tingling trajectory that both Kevin Tihista and Nick Lowe seems to nail with much admirable aplomb without seemingly daring to break into sweat, add into the equation some touches of the Mayflies and Weezer’s softly succulent shimmer and the coolly coalesced essence of ‘durable dream’ era Moviola and you have a sly slice of smoked hook hobbled countrified chug that may well require an eviction order to stop it pinging incessantly about your headspace.

Video to accompany the latest outing from Jason Urick, this title track culled from his soon to be released ’fussing and fighting’ full length – incidentally via the esteemed thrill jockey imprint and appearing on vinyl in a strictly limited cut of just 500 copies housed in a hand pasted sleeve adorned by a 6” x 10” photo print – is a mind melting psychotropic mantra replete with droning swathes and dub-tronic accents that gathering together instil a delirious dream weaved looping locked grooved mirage which aside appealing immediately to admirers of Edward Ka Spell has something of a Clock DVA meets 23 Skidoo with AR Kane on their knees impishly busy re-wiring the underside of the mixing desk rhythmic allure about its wares……

Jason Urick – Fussing & Fighting from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

Hollyann and the Katie Winter ‘the sky inside’ (treetops). Heartfelt embarrassed apologies are due to Hollyann and the Katie Winter for our foolish neglect of this their official debut release. Having previously graced and indeed let it not be forgotten – wooed us in previous despatches and purely just for those a little slow on the uptake or just plain ignorant, the Katie Winter is none other than Les King who was in a previous musical life Uncle Black – whose releases for Backwater records wrestled quiet acclaim from all who had the fortune to trip across their wares. The Katie Winter – initially just a side project to fondly feed his folk muse soon found kindred spirits – one such equally minded soul was Holly Burton of Manchester via Seattle, midi files were traded to and forth across the web with Holly’s lilt lined drifting vocals providing the perfect foil to King’s roving rustic rambles. ’the sky inside’ features four such genteel and lulling nuggets, weaved of a tapestry once thought lost and of late rekindled anew by the likes of a growing list of labels such as Autumn Ferment and Rif Mountain – to name just two – it’s a mercurial art timeless, unbound and wild, like fleeting apparitions to a tradition past these faded folk follies spectral in detail archaic in design are mellowed and cut to the heart beat of nature herself, a breathless feast of idyllic lazy eyed mayday mysticism and an olde village green flavouring dappled in a craft once captured by such esteemed play smiths as Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Mellow Candle and the Watersons. Atop of King’s delicately despatched pastoral strums Burton’s vocals shimmer with a softly opining spell craft their serene beckoning mystery inhabiting a place somewhere between Anne Briggs and Alison O’Donnell its something best exemplified on the sets defining moment ’giving’ which all at once as though by some devilish slight of hand manages to conjure a demurring draft whose ingredients court with a warming homely hushed hymnal tinged love noted murmur spiced with a drifting medieval pageantry whose tongue talks in a language more familiar of those Soft Hearted Scientists types. A gem.

Staying with Katie Winter we got an email from Les King once of Uncle Black and now the Katie Winter drawing our attention to an ambient re-drill of an old KW centred around Holly’s original vocals – not entirely sure how these things work and whether or not we here are meant to give out the link for public consumption no doubt we‘ll get some kind of complaining email so bugger it here we go – – anyhow its been done by a work colleague of Les’ by the name of Bassik Grooove – clearly not the name he was born with – here re-wired as the Bassik’s Bones of my Feet mix ’each day a song’ is transformed and turned from its woody 70’s folk environs and caressed with an icily detached – and we might add – woozily arabesque armoury that somehow manages to instil, fuse and speak in a timeless Tibetan tongue whilst simultaneous gathering to its bosom a subtle though all the more recognisable minimalist noir tweaked landscape more pertaining to a 90’s era Bristol underground scene. While you’re there check out Bassik Grooove‘s own ‘the kozmic phonk’ a kooky and off kilter funky slice of trance tipped lounge exotica trip wired with a head turning nocturnally toned trip hop n’ chilled drum n’ bass flavouring.

Fair Oh’s vs. Spectrals ‘split’ (tough love). We are I must admit a tad fond of this in the losing today listening lounge and so with that we bowed to the tough Love crew and hoisted hats aloft in celebration of another corking split collaboration. This time hot on the heels of that must have Calories / William face off the blighters have only gone and paired together two leading lights of the UK underground scene. First up the Fair Oh’s who I swear we’ve featured in previous accounts are a London based trio who’ve treaded a handful of uber limited releases across the most informed counters of record emporiums gracing this nation – all of which I’m at a disgruntled loss to say have all passed us by. Two cuts feature here on this – incidentally limited issue blue wax beauty – Fair Oh’s deliver a nifty side order in the type of effervescent sun shining optimistic jangle riffage on ‘hey lizzy’ that was once the trademark of the Four Brothers though here retrained and rewired into a tightly knit rhythmically adept and contagious gem of mutant pop that’s primed and spiked by all manner of swagger and verve not to mention an off kilter calypso / reggae flavouring that had us all here much recalling a youthful Age of Chance as though fused by a mid period Animal Collective / Ariel Pink. ’himalayas’ is equally invested though here possessed of a more math core grounding. Well worth an investigative play or three in our much humbled opinion. The Spectrals are a more laid back prospect kinda like the Gallon Drunk had they been raised on the Stray Cats rather than the Inca Babies and the Bad Seeds, their smoked 50’s blues soul creaked croon comes to pass on these two primitive slices of sepia stilled schmooze, the creaking bar stool coolness of the sparsely drawn ’birthday kiss’ is edged only slightly by the cosy toed winter’s night hollowness of the bruised and beguiled ’keep your magic out of my house’ which to these ears have the same kind of minimalist lull and archaic melodic moulding as was once so exquisitely despatched by the likes of the Orson Family and Swansway – frankly we need to hear more.

More record store loveliness this time from those Bella Union types – to mark the festivities the label will be releasing a 4 track 500 only 12 inch by the – much admired around these parts – Beach House. As though such an event wasn’t spoiling you enough and to ensure those amongst you who might occasion bouts of restlessness at being unable to wait that long then the label have generously made available both cuts for early preview listening – one as a free download the other as a stream. ’zebra’ – via is typically drenched in the kind of honey tipped west coast magic dust we’ve come to love and cherish about Beach House, succulent, tender and dizzyingly romantic and spectral, trip wiring a similar heart hugging path of the Low Anthem this softly undulating babe swells and swerves with an affectionately woozy and willowy elegance that may just catch you off guard to pass a momentary adoring glance. Better still is the exclusive mix of ’the arrangement’ via – the anticipation, the poise and the disarming grace all sweetly interweave to craft a harmonious heavenly unison that to these ears appears to breathlessly pick away at the template of the Pixies ‘trompe le Monde’ albeit as though realised and revisited by an adoring fusion of Earlies and Shady Bard types.

Record Shop day – so how was it for you – if you happened to be at Rough Trade – it was probably productive as you happily ticked off the releases from your wants list – if however you had the misfortune to go to Beggars Banquet it meant queuing for 2 and a half hours only to get there inside and find a pitiful selection of some – less than – thirty releases propping up the stands – excuses ranging from thirty or so editions didn’t show up, the yankee stuff hasn’t been seen at all (but we nailed Happy Birthday and Hendrix?) and did you pre-order it – which I thought was a no no and not in the spirit of the event – oh yea and they had put an embargo on doing the card stamp thing – don’t bother asking about Blur, Rolling Stones or the Beatles – which was just as well cos we didn’t really want them (of course I lie) because they’d well gone (Neu, sound garden, metallica, electric eels, laurie Anderson, cave, deerhoof, bon iver, dum dum girls, elvis’ presley and Costello, b-music comp, fahey, factory, sonic youth, moby grape, Mississippi john hurt and many more were what our hearts and ears desired). It really was poorly staged, no updates, no information – the queue which must have swelled with about 300 took what seemed eons to shuffle to the store front – once inside you sensed most felt obliged to make purchases (despite that elusive Blur single having well gone) even if there was nothing interesting catching the eye. Good job it was sunny that’s all I can say.

Anyhow enough grumbling – one or two things we did manage to salvage was a rather dinky thing by Vermont based trio Happy Birthday courtesy of (the sounding rather snazzy of late) Sub Pop (whose cynical slant on the whole record day thing is that it gives them a chance to sell shed loads of records – ahem – depends which record shop they unhappily end up in or not in as may be the case – see above). already buoyed by a self titled full length that’s kicking around somewhere in record land this uber limited dinked 7 inch features two exclusive cuts (played at a variety on the losing today sound system) finds the cute pups busy concocting a curiously addictive day-glow pop brew, certainly on ’shampoo’ there’s the sweetly slick glaze of west coast kookiness tenaciously threaded by some serious crooked cosmic contagion that’s packed to the rafters with wonky chugging riffs bliss kissed harmonies and a whole shaboodle of softly fondant fizzy bubblegum trappings. Flip over for ’alien’ – buggering hell sunshine-y pop to go, embracing all manner of Beach Boys motifs side spiked by a fringe flicking cortege of woozy lysergic lilts that veer and woo beneath an array of warming chimes and demurring bell peels that all said finds it easily filed alongside your treasured Summer Hymns, Ariel Pink, Doleful Lions and Panda Bear type stuff.

I am arrows ’nun’ (mercury). Apparently the new Andy Burrows of Razorlight fame combo though don’t take our word for it, well worth trying to track down because aside coming pressed up on a limited and rather fetching looking 7 inch picture disc housed in a clear PV C sleeve with equally colourful insert ’nun’ is a stirring slice of early 70’s MOR pop gold moulded by a mercurial montage of honey tipped harmonies, heart rushing chorus inclines and mellowing west coast drift breezes that converge to cocoon you in a slyly shy eyed swoon of exquisitely detailed sun kissed and radiant retro groove. Blissfully beautiful stuff. Flip over for ’bruises’ – an all together different prospect awaits, draped in all manner of deranged and skewiff time signatures and the kind of pathological peculiar pop perkiness not heard here since the youthful days of the Knife, then wire into its matrix some skewed funky accents and a disarming side order array of flighty and frisky sun beamed briskness and you have yourself something that once inside your head may well require a warrant from the authorities to remove. Quite gem like all said.

Fuck Buttons Vs. Mogwai ‘split’ (rock action). I know it sounds daft but we’ve played this at a variety of speeds – incidentally each much loved – and yet we’re still no wiser as to the correct one. Nah just pulling your leg – we’re playing it at the officially unofficial wrong speed. Another record store day exclusive and seriously limited in nature, pressed up on 10 inches of white vinyl it features both Mogwai and Fuck Buttons recalibrating a chosen tune from the others illustrious back catalogue. Admittedly it’s the Fuck Buttons who win out in the stand off their re-drill of Mogwai’s ‘fear Satan’ is recast as a hypnotically tranced out hulking and buzz sawed droning psychotropic leviathan that steadily builds in depth and dimension until it blisters spectacularly mid way through exploding into a seismic flat-lining fuzz drenched shower storm. Mogwai for their part turn their considerable talents to re-shaping ’colours move’ here re-titled as the ’Shibuya drunk remix’ and re-housed in a superbly restrained and stately not to mention panoramic sheen that manages by turns to instil both a sense of celebratory jubilance and tear stained bruising – the result an emotionally draining tyrant.

The Nowhere Boys ‘that’ll be the day’ (rca). Both ‘that’ll be the day’ and the accompanying ‘in spite of all the danger’ over on the flip are a brace of cuts culled from the soundtrack to the recent John Lennon biopic ‘nowhere boy‘ – housed in 60’s styled retro RCA die cut promo stamped sleeves replete with authentic looking labels. the release – again strictly limited in issue – pulls together one of the first self penned recordings by the Beatles or the Quarrymen as they were known at the time as re-recorded by the films in house band along with another playing cut of choice from the day the Holly / Allison penned ‘that‘ll be the day‘ – suitably vintage sounding and well if you don’t know the originals by now then the question begs to be asked – have you been living under a rock for the past 50 odd years in which case if your reading this do you mind if I ask who your internet provider is cause ours is seriously crap. As to the release consider it something of a consolation prize if you happened to miss out on nabbing ‘paperback writer’.

That blur song… it just me or does it sound like a hum drum sounding ‘3’ era Peter Gabriel retuning and cannibalising the codas from Cutting Crew’s ’I just died in your arms tonight’ – sorry but it needed saying – of course if you give me a copy I’ll happily say it sounds like Ray Davies…….

The Fall ‘bury’ (domino). Since doing these singled out rambling type things one thing that’s always irked us is our persistent nay faultless ability at never featuring the Fall in print – too busy enjoying their releases to have time to comment. This record store day release comes limited to just 750 copies and features the first fruits from their forthcoming Domino debut full length ‘your future our clutter’. ’bury’ won’t disappoint the old guard, typically abrasive and tight as a gnats back passage, Smith drills the latest recruits for a rousing and sneering slab of non conformist anti-trend setting baiting boogie, very much re-locating style wise back to the Fall’s early 90’s work this caustically knowing beaut is a killer return to form with Smith’s casual deadpan delivery underpinned by a seething and spiked chugging 50’s garage growl. Better still is ’cowboy gregori’ over on the flip which is sure to appeal to fans of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet et al given it comes replete in all manner of wiry twanging riffage coded in 60’s styled spy theme velour with Smith coolly despatching casualised commentary asides over the top. Frankly essential.

missive 259h
.Singled out
Missive 259h

Archive 8

First Aid Kit / Peggy Sue ‘split’ (Wichita). Limited split release pairing together label mates First Aid Kit and Peggy Sue – the latter of whom I swear we’ve mentioned here in previous despatches. First Aid Kit offer up the sweetly affectionately breathless and breezy ‘josefin’ – a beautifully sparse sweetie that tingles with a smoked porch sat warmth that’s beset beautifully by a disarming spectral timelessness more becoming of a recently unearthed sepia cast 50’s countrified cutie that’s been dressed in a faintly folk ghost light to bring with it a dimpling of yearning promise. Flip over for the aforementioned Peggy Sue who for their part stump up the rather delightful ’I read it in the paper’ – more exquisitely bathed unerring pop that’s peppered with the silken braid of casual strums that sumptuously replicate the sound of a ticking clock, add in some wind blown brass arrangements and the rain swept dusting of 60’s noir treatments and you have yourself something that teeters between the dots that link together the Siddeleys and L’augmentation. Not content with stopping just there Peggy Sue have entered into the spirit of record store day by making available to download what was originally conceived as an ultra limited hand made cassette featuring an assortment of rare cuts, early recordings and a live take of their next single ‘watchman’ – go to

And while we’re here the video to ’watchman’ goes a lot like this…..

Jimi Hendrix ‘valleys of Neptune’ (sony). As you’re probably no doubt aware there’s been something of a stir and cause for celebration among the Hendrix loving community with the news of a wealth of unreleased material, out takes and lost edits having resurfaced through the meticulous tidying up of the Hendrix estate. The task falling to Hendrix’s step sister Janie has hinted at the possibility of more recordings to come not before however the release of the ’valleys of Neptune’ (featuring 12 tracks and an hours worth of previously unavailable material) set along with a re-mastered and polishing of the three original Hendrix / Experience studio sets. Released as part of record day and strictly limited to just 1000 numbered copies all pressed on red vinyl the title track from that aforementioned set gets an airing backed by an alternate take of ‘cat talking to me’. its been forty years since Hendrix passed away, a guitarist of such unique discipline and artistry – he has never been surpassed in terms of his ability to be at one with the guitar, within years of early support slots with the Floyd, Amen Corner and the Move the Experience were pushing their bliss kissed psyche blues freak outs into un-chartered territories and with it shifting the rock pop landscape at a head dizzying pace, into new found worlds of possibilities and experimentation they ventured and in so doing opened up the channels to what would become heavy rock / metal. Before his untimely death Hendrix had hinted often at his desire to craft a new sound form fusing elements of jazz, funk and his love of the blues. Alas these recordings don’t really push the envelope, archivists and completists will salivate of course yet those coming to Hendrix first hand may well be advised to check the studio albums before proceeding on. The recordings date from ‘69 the last working sessions of the Experience before their disbandment, ‘valleys of Neptune’ is typically grooved in Hendrix’s trademark acid tipped fringe flicking hypnotic blues funk stew – both slick and sensual and just the perfect soundtrack for getting wasted to. Over on the flip an instrumental take of ‘cat talking to me’ offers another slice of smoking beatnik blues boogie grizzled and growling in all manner of sun kissed trip wiring mantras.

Tender trap ‘girls with guns’ (fortuna pop). Swelled by the addition to ranks of Allo Darlin’s Liz Morris on fuzzy guitar and Kat Dixon on stand up drums this catchy and caustic cutie is a turntable turning taster for what will be the bands third full length – entitled ’dansette, dansette’ – due for record counter action sometime in July. Pierced with that nagging trademark pristine pop parlance forged from years crafted marshalling the indie pop high waters of the 80’s and 90’s ’girls with guns’ is a rollicking sub 2.30 rollercoaster ride that sways, shimmers and struts between the 60’s shade wearing day-glow twists of the Primitives and the bracing bubblegum breeziness of the latest psych pop pups the Blanche Hudson Weekend, add to this some pulse racing honey tipped riffola of a ‘meat is murder’ era Johnny Marr and the smoking barrel ricocheting echo of subtle lip curling countrified 50’s flicks and flashes and you have yourself a rather dandy twang thrilled splash of uber cool pop perfection.

Pipettes ‘stop the music’ (fortuna pop). Good to see productive pop perfectionist Martin Rushent applying his admirable craft to this the new ditty (or four) from the ever lovable Pipettes, don’t know about you but it seems like an absolute age since the name Rushent adorned the jacket of record delighting the dansette at the dimly tho’ demurring dancehall decorated losing today pop pad (cue complaints aplenty from seething souls with lists as long as long things detailing Rushent’s perpetual productive power play over the days young things with guitars and toons). Heralding the arrival of an album shortly due to orbit ‘earth vs. the pipettes’ – ’stop the music’ marks a glitzy new direction for fortuna pop’s finest, seductively awash in all manner of Chic-esque floor fluttering fancies and clipped with a Studio 54 finesse enhanced and calibrated within an 80’s dance orientated dynamic all underpinned by a grinding chart bound appeal that shimmies and swoons in the kind of populace loving pop fixated silkiness more associated with the likes of Sophie Ellis Bextor et al. elsewhere the same track is given something of a mood mellowed lights dimmed temperature lowered suaveness at the hands of a rather demurring Kompakt remix. Its space pop to go for ‘so I’ll say goodbye’ which you’ll find doing the flip side honours – a freefalling buzzy fuzzy slice of saccharine dipped bubblegum electro pop that morphs together the Buggles, Dollar and Hazel O’Connor – then there’s ’who made you doctor?’ another string adorned seventies sugar tipped salvo equipped with a kind of full on pop productive disco soul prowess of ABC’s ’beauty stab’ albeit as though tinkered by Baccara. Add in the curvaceous 80’s cosmic catwalk pop thrill of ’our love was saved by spacemen’ and you have yourself a one stop disco party pack.

The Kabeedies ‘jitter bug’ (nr one). Ripped from their media praised debut full length ‘rumpus’ of which this is and a fair old one at that and treated to some rather testy and testy re-tuning – ’jitterbug’ is re-drilled into a frenzied panic stricken and rollicking radio rogering roller coaster of some note, hoisted upon a blazoning bed of abruptly punctuated seizure stammering saluting strums and wildly precocious fanfares crested by a heart stopping surge of stirring siege racked string arrangements that’s topped off with the usual inclusion of shouty vocals and impatiently corkscrewing time signatures which in turn give it the appearance and appeal of a ticking bomb aural action painting carried aloft over the hill by an advancing cavalry – or something to that effect. Over on the flip to acoustic re-treads ’petroleum jelly’ and ’we make our own adventures’ – the former given a dinky summer breezed wayfaring aspect probably best served listening from beneath the shade of a tree while watching the world sail by into the distance with the latter laced with all manner of erratic rousing terrace touting kooky calibrations that at one time used to be the remit of the so called shambling bands of the mid 80’s – bogshed, stump – aw you know the type. Don’t you just love ‘em.

Another Record Day exclusive this time from Fire records is a tape (housed in mock matchbox sleeving replete with download code for the heathens among you so quick to trade in your tape playing hi-fi’s in favour of modern ways) only effort bringing together 6 tracks from an enviable host of weird and wired psychotropic talent. Here you’ll be wigged out to the out there and frankly out of it wasted and warped sub psych hippy-esque scowling bleached blues mantra of the can do no wrong Bardo Pond who for their part stump up ’fixed’ – a kind of shit faced and gone Sonic Youth. Jackie o motherfucker by turns deliver up ’amazing grace (dub version)’ though wherein hell the dub part of the equation comes into being is anyone’s guess – a seriously barking slice of fried, grimy and grimly rain swept Albert Ayler nodding mooching noir gnawed smoking sax. Equally edgy and ominous is Duke Garwood’s ’panther’ – Garwood first came to pop prominence at the tale end of the 80’s appearing on the Orb’s ‘perpetual dawn’ – these days culturing an art weathered in timeless primordial instruction with this particular sounding more like its been excavated rather than crafted draped as it is in a seriously pre civilisation rub of Tibetan transcendentalism. As brief as it there’s an unerring faded supernatural beauty to the feint spell craft that Josephine Foster weaves on the porch sat apparition that is ’touch lightly nature’s sweet guitar’ – dimpled with the most delicate of rustic detail and whispering from a world long past, like a fleeting moment of déjà vu or a rekindled memory courted momentarily by a smell, a sound or an occasion its gone leaving you all the more deflated by its absence. Harvesting the rich embers of faraway translucence so quaintly portrayed the Wicker Man soundtrack whilst similarly casting a detached air once frequently summoned by a certain Nick Drake there’s something vaguely broken, skewed and innocent about ’they still don’t know why we sleep’ by Ryan Driver as he threatens on more occasions than I care to count to impishly lose his wheels and come perilously unstuck on the tracks. Last up Matthew Sawyer and the Ghosts who on ‘she, the farrey tree’ does a remarkable take on Robyn Hitchcock albeit as though the occasion had arose wherein the former Soft Boy decided to turn his gaze to the kind of shanty shaded sorties more expected of Tom Waits – that said it would also appeal now I come to think of it to fans of June Panic. Good then, eh?

Pulled Apart by Horses ’live at Leeds’ (Transgressive). Limited 500 only official bootleg type thing housed in a stamped card jacket that harks back to the who’s legendary set of the same name. originally issued on record store day wherein brisk business was being made on it at a certain record store in Kingston who shall remain nameless. Er yeah we’ll leave it there for now. Anyhow Pulled Apart by Horses are the kind of band whose name – were we say a score of so years younger – we’d happily have tattooed on our left tit and would no doubt follow with stalker .like intent the length of the breadth of this fair nation and beyond to witness live. Man are they are fucking chaotic, no scratch that shambolic, nah try again – how about dysfunctional – ay that’ll be the bunny – chaotically dysfunctional and shambolic – and unruly – so that’s chaotically unruly n’ dysfunctional and shambolic – and just a tad mental. Young folk of today – eh – bless ‘em. 8 tracks and plenty of between song in band banter and baiting feature on this live set recorded for posterity at the Packhorse in Leeds on an evening early March this year – the 7th to be precise. No doubting these kids have been long subscribers of Peel trading tapes c. late 80’s and early 90’s – hell we can hear Stump, Mudhoney (as on the misfitting skewed and schizoid sear of ‘meat balloon‘), Sink and the Pixies (the later noted especially on the blistering opener ‘high five’ which teeters between falling apart in some demented stupor or else attempting to split your cranium wide open – whilst sounding not unlike Sonic Youth doing their own faithful take on the Fall) spewing forth from the grooves thick and fast and that’s just for starters, sounds like their having way too much fun for our liking curdling a brazen brew that checks in (and out with much head swerving verve) elements of slacker, grunge and razor sharp ramshackle punk – Jeez do they make a fair old racket – the pixies – damn we’ve mentioned them already haven’t we – are well starred on the ‘Doolittle’ like dementia of ’yeah buddy!’ elsewhere there’s carnage, slavish riffage and go mental pogo discordance and waywardness aplenty shrink wrapped and flame thrown with much gusto to be had here the best moment being left till last with the appearance of the scathing and frenzied bad assed hairy boogie that is ’I punched a lion in the throat’.

The Scratch ‘x-ray eyes’ (pony land). Frankly too cool for their own good. Much loved and obsessed at the losing today record shed are the Scratch that we actually foolishly forgot to actually review this blighter given we were having so much of a wheeze dancing around the kitchen CD player and neatly exhibiting our prowling and preening panache of the foot shuffle to all and sundry – in fact there have been press reports and we hear – much hoo-ha at the hastily convened impromptu ad hoc midnight committee meetings at the funny hand shakes are us local council (tabled no doubt after the under dimmed lights submission of expense receipts and some nifty double entry reconciliations). Ah well I digress – the Scratch – from St Albans – as you should all know – have graced these pages much over the years – informed by a late 70’s new wave long since passed and blessed with a knowing knack for kicking out day-glow dinked three minute killer cuts en masse the band have now retrained their sights on their recorded past and decided to polish, re-master and re-release their teasingly limited debut full length ’diy’ (streuth and gadzooks even we don’t have a copy of that one – a pox upon your houses sire or some such foolish nonsense). as a taster for said event they sent out this nifty number entitled ‘x-ray eyes’ on a reconnaissance mission. Ah be it the dog bollocks I say – originally commented upon way back at missive 35 wherein we described said funky bug as –

‘X-Ray eyes’ sees them cocking a snook at the dance floor crowd, an unrelenting beauty that channels the grittier elements of the Gang of Four’s trademark grind and marries it to the dub / disco crossover that Strummer and Co aimed for on the often overlooked ‘Sandinista’ throw in for good measure Big Audio Dynamite, a taster of Pigbag a few sly Ry Cooder sliding hooks and you have something of a dirty disco assassin that Bobby Gillespie you’d imagine would be happy to be caught in the line of fire of.’

Wise words and still they hold true given its exactly the same track on the player right now playing as I write (okay copy n’ paste) mind you we neglected to mention the seriously loose limbed and mooching R L Burnside blues blissed side winds and the tightly drilled cornucopia of hot n’ horny early 80’s NY dance floor vibe – oh yea and add in A Certain Ratio factor to proceedings. Limited to just 100 copies – can I have one please.

A video of them….

Aquaserge ‘….present Ce Tres Cher Serge’ (manimal). If like me you’re one of those types who when faced with reviews or press releases that mention the dreaded word ‘unclassifiable’ are forced to pack bags and head to the hills rather than hold an enquiry after foolishly partaking of said releases in the hope of finding some musical holy grail only to kick yourself for wasting the best part of an hour of your life then you may be forgiven a wide berth the width of a small ocean when it comes to records bearing the name Aquaserge. I mention this because its nigh on impossible to find a review of Aquaserge that doesn’t at some point take the cursing ’unclassifiable’ tag in its wordy stride. A spot of dedicated background research did in fact have us worrying – nay fretting – nay resolute – to the belief that this wasn’t going to be anything less than disappointing. Even the mere fact that it features members of Stereolab and a guest appearance by Acid Mother main man Kawabata Makoto couldn’t shake us of our mildly alarmed indifference. Ah well bang it on we thought and bang it on we did. And do you know what – it is unclassifiable, even in an age where musical extremes are constantly pushed with questions asked of a listeners tolerance and understanding, ’c’est tres cher serge’ the latest opus from these French psychonauts still sounds like some rule book ripping pill popped psyche jazz flashback seeking to blur the lines and craft out a species of sound so molten and malleable that even as it cools its still unstable and shifting direction. A mind tripped mirage of late 60’s and early 70’s references – that in terms of modern day nods perhaps only Dungen perhaps veers ever so slightly to maintain any notional common ground. It really is a hot setting tumble dryer of cross wiring markers, disjointed, deranged and defiantly somewhere else far off the populace preferring pop map. Book ended by the sedate entrée / exit passages ’la genese’ and ’retrouvailles’ – the eight suites packed between are delivered with a fried n’ flipped panache, skewed ad hoc time signatures create a fluid freeform core that constantly shifts in form as though someone is at your feet impatiently yanking a rug from beneath you, one minute there’s the post punk earth beat of ’errance’ itself soon braided by an array of mooching brass punctuations and a want for fracturing prog disciplines that in turn cook up an exotic brew that by turns seems to touch base with Cluster, Supersister, Quickspace and mid career Stereolab , elsewhere the frayed and skewed jazz signatures and post / art rock intricacy of ’un soir de tempate’ could easily be three separate cuts in one such is its erratic knack for skin shedding. Those loving of their sounds drizzled in kraut groove may do well to visit ’ce cher serge est perdu’ wherein you’re treated to momentary glimpses of the kind of grizzled and wasted bliss fuelled vietcom psych so admirably forged by the Black Angels. Fellow countrymen La STpo are recalled on the frankly wigged out ’on monde englouti’ while ’tombe dans la selve’ has the kind of wiring psych prog complexity you imagine being instigated by VdGg albeit as though re-wired by a ’SF Sorrow’ era Pretty Things or better still a seriously wired Pink Fairies. Then there’s the hyper galactic space tripped juggernaut that is ’les algues’ – a control panel jamming voyage into the oblivion – a psychotropic and mind expanding slab of wig flipped howling skree and grizzled beatnik blues – much we suspect perfect for you Mugstar loving types. And then – calm. Tranquillity. Peace. As though a storm has passed the mellowed ’vers le neant’ emerges – a beautifully wistful slice of wood crafted Oriental tinged folk that trips ever so softly into a curious Ghost meets Le Mans dreaminess persued by the unsettling atmospherically wide screened noir scarred ’visions’ a kind of ice tingled solemnly stirring Grails meets Komeda overseen by Oddfellows Casino. Which leaves the effervescent radiant rush of the sun drenched lysergic thrill of ’retrouvailles’ to wrap up proceedings in a most breathless way applying as it does all manner of bright eyed and optimistically upbeat harmonic la la’s a la Cockney Rebel with a healthy side serving of Small Faces and Kinks and oodles of Stereolab like bracing bachelor pad bubblegum pop. ’ce tres cher serge’ is classily unclassifiable.

Buck Brothers ‘pop muzik’ (back2forward). Much loved around these parts and a much welcomed return to these pages are the Buck Brothers, this particular cut culled from their current ’we are merely filters’ full length whose absence from our turntable and grasping hands I should add at this juncture has been the cause for much weeping and uttering of ill deeds in our gaff so much so that dark ponderous clouds have been seen residing sky bound above our neighbourhood. Mind you just between us that’s the volcanic dust clouds but hey nothing like creating a little atmosphere and sense of occasion to the proceedings – kind of reinforces matters – that said we could have refrained from wasting everyone’s time by getting to the point with a curt ’where’s me record ya bastards?’ which now I come to think of it is probably more effective. Where is me record then ya bastards. There its out of my system. Anyhow this cut is a sneak teaser for an album which is already out and no doubt being played to death on turntables up and down the length and breadth of this fine nation by the tuned in youth of the day – all except that is – ours. Harumph. A cover of M’s global smash hit from that golden year of 1979 no less here dinked, dusted and given a fair old rakish re-spray by the Buck dudes, its all typically insane melodic mayhem, deliciously goofy with the original template pummelled with a power shocked terrace chanting two chord punk throb that’s insistent, loud, shouty, snotty and which if your grasping for reference markers sounds like a drunken studio gathering of Dickies, the Damned and Spizz Energi types. Infectiously insane stuff.

Okay plenty of Static Caravan related goodies to mention…first up something of a very limited treat…

Erland and the Carnival ’sirens’ (private press). Now here’s a strictly limited oddity and one for the collectors out there. Apparently there are only 100 of these babes kicking around, which if you discount my copy – now leaves you 99 to fight over. Word has it that a friend of the Static brothers pressed this up so I’m guessing that should you so wish to get your mits on one of these that your first port of call might be a nicely worded begging letter to Static Caravan. So what is it you may well ask. Well it’s a one sided 7 inch featuring current darlings of the musical press Erland and the Carnival – these days plying their trade with Full Time Hobby – sound tracking Dizzee Rascals ‘sirens’ and quite frankly upping the ante to boiling point and giving it a considerable sense of urgency replacing the originals tripping and somewhat lackadaisical trip hop beats with a searing shot of floor rumbling punk pressed panic so that the end result approaches something akin to the walls closing in in a cutely claustrophobic, caustic and damn well contagious type way.

Yellow Moon Band ‘barehed’ (static caravan). Ready for some bearded beatnik boogie – of course y’are – again another ultra limited slab of grizzled wax on this occasion coloured yellow all housed in specially crafted Ben Javens jackets and boasting two nuggets of head nodding primal prog psych blues from those much celebrated and dandy dudes Yellow Moon Band. Brief as it may be – clocking in at approximately 90 seconds in length -‘barehed’ is a 70’s echo traversing through the ether, a corking slab of wasted groove that’s rooted to the spot by some nifty corkscrewing riffage shot through with moments of animated wig flipped hi-jinx which to these ears sounds not unlike a primitive old skool jam between Avenging Force, Mugstar and Mountain. Classy then I’m sure you’ll agree. Flip over for ’reign’ for a much needed shot of proto kraut grind that courts to its matrix a trip wiring post rock noodling that’s sumptuously wrapped in a lazy eyed bliss kissed swathing of 70’s accents and mellowed by a sun kissed countrified breeze – again the reference markers dutifully indicate a smattering of Mountain admirers in the YMB camp albeit on this occasion with the resulting brew heavily dosed up with some fringe flicking Snares and Kites styled groove. Essential in case you hadn’t already gathered for yourselves.

And here’s a little moving picture thing to accompany it….

Yellow Moon Band “Barehed” from Ewan Jones Morris on Vimeo.

Inch Time ‘a handful of dub’ (static caravan). We must admit to being at a slight disadvantage with this one given we haven’t had the pleasure of hearing the original mixes which as it happens you can en joy to your hearts content by tracking down the limited to 500 only ‘Aurora’ 12 inch – same artist same label which alas we are at present trying to source – mentions in later dispatches are guaranteed. This particular is a dub dipped recalibration of that set with re-drills being exquisitely equipped by a hand picked invitation only gathering of kindred aural alchemists. Again housed in the usual eye catching Static Caravan packaging of which inside the hand numbered (100 in total – ours in case your keeping tabs being #10) seven inch bag you’ll find an original Roy Anada print, a badge, a fridge magnet and a six track cassette collecting together an assortment of well heeled and rewired interpretations of material found on the ‘Aurora’ set. As to the sounds – impeccably carved sonic dream weaves sculptured in sensual serene skins of mind morphing mirages, the mood one of smoothed the effect – chilled and blissed out. ‘Aurora’ opens the proceedings – here reconfigured as the ‘summer dub’ at the hands of its author Stefan Panczak and given a misty eyed and trippy cosmic cruising hypnotic hyper gliding chassis to which admirers of Biosphere would be minded to consult. He also applies his retuning skills to ‘suspension’ – its layer by layer application of cosy cosmic tonalities endow it with a strangely playful cast not unlike a nuzzling nocturnal suite clipped to the flip side of an early Pram release. Shoeb Ahmad applies a more considered approach to his take on ‘suspended’ – lovingly smothered as it is in a bruised shell smothered by a luxurious though spectrally tipped glassy shimmer toned glacial drone. Radovan Scasascia adopts a similarly detached tone for his AM/PM Dub drill of ‘a handful of dust’ with the oscillating opines drawing him ever close to the suspense shrilled sensations one time courted by both Budd and Mancini. Those loving their ambience bathed in forlorn panoramic swathes of celestial caresses will be suitably seduced by the ‘crystal visions’ mix of ‘1000 lights in the sky’ by Lawrence English while for us it’s the welcomed return to our decks of Paul Gough AKA Pimmon whose reworking of ‘suspended’ perhaps achieves the desired disciplinary effect of the sets remit by woozily concocting a dreamy collage of mesmerising transcendental treatments, reverberating echoes and spacey loops into one humungous terra-forming soup. Tasty.

Classic Rock #June 2010 – latest issue has just bounded through our door strutting its stuff accompanied by the obligatory writers choice cuts packed CD and a huge double sided poster – one side depicting a repro of the ‘monsters of rock’ ad from 1981. This particular issue is billed ‘the rock n’ roll survivors’ special – UK Subs main man Charlie Harper heads up a list of death defying dandies – the list including such notables as Frankie Miller, Mike Monroe, Tony McPhee, Steve Adler and Johnny Winter – elderly statesmen Keith Richards and Charlie Watts are also invited along for the ride to discuss the making of the Stones legendary though at the time derided ’Exile of Main St’ just ahead of its expanded and re-mastered deluxe re-issue next month. Nick Cave is the focus of this months ’how to buy’ – the list including to oft overlooked ’junkyard’ by the birthday party a release that still some three decades on sounds deliciously threatening, shambolic, deranged and evil. Rick wakeman is relieved of his caped crusader exploits only to be recalled from being bound in a flight barred blighty airport and occupying the ’ever meet Hendrix’ chair. Elsewhere Status Quo-er Francis Rossi hogs the end credits and faces the unmerciful dread of the CR Q’n’A while Wilko Johnson recalls his one time sparring partner Lee Brilleaux. Buried treasure courts and queues the Incredible Hogs one and only full length from ’73 plus bits and bobs from Andrew WK, Marseille, Coheed and Cumbria et al.

Rubicks ‘giddy up’ (sharp attack). Are these the same cute pups who used to at one time ride roughshod across these very pages having us all a swoon with each defence disarming drilled dansette despatch. My haven’t they blossomed. Somewhere along the line there’s been a debut platter and the occasional stage sharing support slots with such esteemed electro heavyweights as – the strangely absent from our radar of late – White Rose Movement, John Foxx and Gary Numan. Already selected to head up the Valentino fashion houses current campaign, ’giddy up’ serves as an early warning call for their as yet untitled and impending second full length due to hit the racks in the summer. A glorious electro / death disco / cold wave hybrid that joins the dots between Landscape, the Knife and Cobra Killer to craft something that’s all at once dark, dirty and demurring not to mention sinister, sleazy and sexy, its core a tingling ticking bomb of the tense and tender, clock working chills endow an edginess rooted in a fragmented framing of unravelling psychosis pierced by an anxious panic shrilled cloying claustrophobic persona. Over on the flip an extended mix of ’blackout’ – best described as one of those slow to grow babes – which for the best part of its 8 minute duration mooches about very much cast in the kind of clipped dance orientated pseudo funk glow that graced the 12 inch mixes of most mid 80’s wannabes and here I’m thinking Thompson Twins and Heaven 17 albeit immersed in the kind of stateside sheen grafted by Arthur Baker on to the hides of New Order and Cabaret Voltaire – that said just when you are beginning to think where the hell is this going and the blighter rewires itself after a momentary false ending at 4.30 to incorporate a very noticeable late 60’s hymnally hued psychotropic kraut prog thread.

The Blanche Hudson Weekend ‘the rats in the cellar’ EP (odd box). More sun kissed bliss blown tangy tastiness from the much loved the Blanche Hudson Weekend. This three track fuzz strewn nugget is the second outing for ex Manhattan Suicide-rs Caroline and Darren and friends who it must be said have an unerring knack for turning out shades adorning Velveteen buzz pop like no ones business, both ’grip of fear’ and ’sharks’ are tuned and turned from the castings left by fringe flopped JMC treats of years gone by, each sweetly dappled and drizzled into the uber cooled aura of the Shangri-La’s and informed by a soft psych trimming with the former applied by a Pastels braiding and liberally cultured in all manner of shimmering buzz pop eruptions while the latter longingly trades with a restrained wooziness pierced by a reflective rainy afternoon casing. That said ultimately for us it’s the flip cut ’only snow’ that had our heads a turning and our heart a skipping a beat as its sumptuously connects and traverses plains more commonly frequented by the annoyingly absent from our turntable of late – Insect Guide, everything about this babe from it softly unwinding purr, its layer by layer shift in depth and dimension to its soft hazily glazed psych tinkering accentuated by the murmuring howl of arabesque squalls serving as a lysergic back lining mark this out as a classic in waiting – so any questions then from the back. No – then buy the bugger a quick about it. Oh yeah its on red vinyl as if you needed further prods of encouragement.

Those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of the Insect Guide – they go a lot like this…. – okay the name Grimsby mightn’t roll off the rock n’ roll tongue with much the same seduction as say Memphis Tennessee, Detroit or Sutton Coldfield – but one suspects that while local hop misfits reside there it’s a case of give it time. Admittedly we spied this lot on the old my space thingamajig – something we admit to neglecting of late – fear not you’ll be inundated with ear candy concocting dandies in days to come. It was The Bad Apples graphics that caught our eye initially – a b-movie kitsch appeal and knowing Kozik flavouring. Upon the player some firm favourites from a misbegotten youth the Purple Gang’s ’granny takers a trrp’ here treated to a roving hillbilly honky tonk hue which quite frankly sounds more shambolically daft than the original, a sterling n’ smoking rock-a-billy version of ’16 tonnes’ a song covered by everyone and his / her dog including Frankie Laine and Johnny Cash, a blazing take of the Seeds ’strychnine’ and a Jefferson Airplane styled 60’s psyche soul re-wire of Depeche Mode’s ’personal jesus’ which frankly needs to be heard to be believed. The band headed up by Keeley Deville describe their ’shocking’ sound as ’cowpunk trash‘a’billy’ and hey who are we to argue especially when they cutely cook up the twang tastic ’attack of the surfin zombies’ – (sure this isn’t a cover – Ed-) which to us sounds like a 50’s sci-fi summit gathering together members of the Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, the Ventures, Dick Dale and Man or Astro Man. Oh yea they do a pretty nifty cover of the Cramps ’thee most exalted potentate of love’ which you can see on this here video thing….

High Places ‘can’t feel nothing’ (thrill jockey). Hailing from LA, High Places are duo Mary and Robert who just about now should be glowing in praise directed at their second full length ’high places vs. mankind’ which alas the cute cuts that appear here do not feature. I think I’m right in saying that this 4 track release is I believe – you’ll have to bear with me because the press release has gone west – pressed up on 12 inches of wax and culls together both the original mixes to ’can’t feel nothing’ and ’I was born’ along with two re-wirings of the same cuts. Dreamy stuff indeed, the glacial tonalities of ’can’t feel nothing’ are loosely threaded with an noir tipped atmospheric brush stroke and draped with a subtle sophistication once applied to releases bearing the 4ad imprint, reference wise think of a slightly less bruised this mortal coil flirting with portishead. ’I was born’ is sparser still, shuffling beats ether strained serenades arcing angelic vocals give this a sense of reverential majesty that’s momentary dappled and dimpled mid way through by a brief early Eurythmics meets Cocteaus iciness. As to the brace of HP mixes – the duo apply their dub-tronic skills to proceedings, admittedly the recalibration is left wanting on ’I was born’ though that said there are some lulling moments of orbiting arabesque mirages to contend and delight you though it’s the refit worked on ’can’t feel nothing’ that works best – completely rephrasing the original and crafting a new individualist hybrid offspring to boot, the bpm racked up, hypnotically looping drone sheen swathes and skipping beats which should see it being something of a choice cut of the more demurring dance floors. – I have this deep rooted suspicion that over time this little imprint could well be a regular fixture in these pages. Ah well so much for the kiss of death. We did forewarn you about these dudes at the start of the week promising to mention them in greater detail later that day only to – in typically lame fashion – forget. Noise Park Activities reside in Austria – they describe themselves as a ‘nice place for DIY releases, zines, comic and other cool hand made stuff’ – and really who are we to argue that – boasting a roster made up of some 30 plus releases (we want them all) that come in all manner of shapes and sizes from cd’s, cassettes, customised credit card cd‘s, comics and patches and all replete with hand drawn inserts in ridiculously limited quantities and featuring names known and some unknown such as Endometrium Cuntplow, Apes fight Back, Grim Kirby, they all had tentacles and sloppy seconds – to name just a few. Ostensibly catering for the more considered and out there loving sounds music fan – Noise Park Activities deal in the abstract, the surreal, the noisy and the experimental – from power electronics to doom drone all bases are covered. On their my space player a smattering of aural delights await your discerning ear – here you’ll find the demented and deranged New Jersey sonic terrorists they all had tentacles menacing all and sundry with their mental as fuck Jap dipped grind core. Elsewhere there’s the bpm pummelling and kooky blip core spazz electro grind of the playfully caustic Les Trucks while Neon Navajo stump up a nifty line in scalding Atari Teenage Riot dementia and P.U.T. stoke up and grim apocalyptic post everything landscape blistered by a 70 Gwen Party like aura. Then there’s Fucking werewolf asso’s with their crooked shouty schizoid casio toned day-glow punk pop with melted cassettes blitzing everything in sight with their nagging skree scowled carnage which should go some way to appeasing those of you missing Tayside Mental Health. All said those of you loving of the cutely curvaceous retro cosmic interludes that at one time graced in abundance the work of Stereolab may well be advised to fall head long into the dream-weaving spacious soup being cooked up by Umbrellas in the Rain while we here are thinking the A Beautiful Lotus’ grimly bleak and blistered panoramic meltdown portraits may well be worth hooking up to for further listening appreciation. – haul your hides over to the Gaa Gaa’s page for a sneak peak of what these imps have been cooking up in the studio – an un-mastered version of ‘hypnotized’ is what’s on offer – don’t know about you but it sounds like its been time tunnelled from a Peel play list tape c.1981 towing with it an austere post punk rapture of Section 25, Scars, PIL and Artery types.

Various ‘a phase we’re going through’ (fruits de mer). Of course you want this, you desire it, you need it – who wouldn’t – the first fully fledged full length from those freakish freak beat loving folks at fruit de mer, pressed up on vinyl, limited to just 500 copies and containing a cornucopia of cherry picked psychedelic seasoning of lost, legendary or just bloody mindedly lysergic nuggets from the 60’s all housed in a ’psyched out’ sleeve. If that doesn’t get the mystical third eye wobbling weirdly woozy then you’re reading the wrong page. Of course we did mention this in previous dispatches when we waxed words of worldly fondness upon the latest Vibravoid release – same label, different record. And then we lost the blighter in the haphazard and shambolic cd pile we laughingly refer to as a filing system. Utter hopeless. A concerted and hastily gathered search and rescue mission was in place before you could scream in a dark place ’spam fritters I’d die for’ before being momentarily paused to ask you to consider whether or not screaming in a dark place ’spam fitters I’d die for’ is the kind of thing normal folk do. Much rummaging was done this fateful day – no hedgerow remained undisturbed, no cushion upturned and no freezer shelf un-inspected – indeed these cd’s get everywhere. After much upturning, disturbing and inspecting said disc was found in the dreaded potting shed – a place so scary and terrible that the local council approved coven have been known to weep in fear of the horrors inside. And there inside behind the mouldy green door with creaks for added atmosphere was the errant CD – sitting amid the mass of dismembered and cannibalised mower parts and assorted lime green paint tins smoking strange herbal ingredients one whiff of which had us a flying across the mythical cosmos of the inner minds eye – mind you it could have been the skateboard that some whit had left right by the door which at a dizzying pace transported us from point A to point B in an eye blink. As we blinked from beneath the carnage of one time cupboards, cardboard boxes and various assorted DIY tools we spied another thought lost to the great CD pile release – Fruits de Mer / Bracken Xmas cassette from last year. With rapier like briskness and ninja like deftness we prized both from their slumber and galloped across the undulating greenery (that’ll be overgrown weed riddled rain lashed garden to you) and banged the blighters on the hi-fi. ’a phase we’re going through’ is a 11 track hallucinogenic gathering of floppy fringed shade wearing cosmic beatnik type souls set the task of covering a psychotropic parade of paisley preened ptalent from the psixties. Some names you’ll know from these pages – geese, chemistry set and cranium pie others you won’t but should and will – zombies of the stratosphere, the luck of eden hall and the marshmallow staircase to name but three. The album – a tribute to the psych art of phasing – which to confused consumers like what me and you are is that pedal effect treatment that makes guitars go weewoowee or something to that effect. Anyhow enough dithering onward to the psounds inside. The chemistry set open up proceedings with a nifty rephrasing of Del Shannon’s much overlooked ’silver birch’ – a solemnly ghostly tale of a jilted brides fate culled from his ’the further adventures of Charles Westover’ set from ’67 – tucked between the subtle strains of Love in their ’alone again or’ mode, the Chemistry ones weave a beautifully string soured dust drenched wind swept Spaghetti western flavoured flower pop epic presaged by swathes of tear stained drama dipped in woozy folds of mind altering aural additives and serviced with a tender timeless wood-crafted aura that was once found branded upon releases bearing the name Soft Hearted Scientists. Tangy sherbet buzz pop is the order of the day from Permanent Clear Light who fall headlong into the Who’s ’in the city’ and re-wire it with an attractively sun kissed pickled paisley persona replete with arabesque accents. Much loved in these pages Geese set their controls for the heart of Floyd’s ’point me at the sky’ – no mean feat it should be said in trying to improve on the already perfect but the Geese chaps acquit themselves admirably calibrating the original template with a sumptuously wide screened mind warping jubilantly marshmallowy and hallucinogenic Beatle-esque ’Sgt Pepper’ / ’Lucy in the Sky’ styled floorshow. I must admit to not recalling having heard Clouds original take of ’mind of a child’ – is that bad – here reclaimed by Rob Clarke and the Wooltones and sweetly glazed in a hermetically sealed hazy pop capsule serenaded by some delightfully wiggy and wonky milky way hued cosmically enhanced ice cream van styled key braids. We must admit to being totally smitten by the Marshmallow Staircase’s re-reading of Jefferson Airplane’s ’plastic fantastic lover’ – here rendered totally unrecognisable and treated to the kind of mind fragmenting unravelling psychosis of Floyd’s ’vegetable man’ albeit as though marshalled by the Butthole Surfers with the attending fried fall out figuratively freaked by the Black Angels. Well cool. There’s much to be admired about the Bee Gees – many the time in years gone passed I’ve been subjected to playful derision from so called psych pop enthusiasts who’ve chortled at my suggestion that the Bee Gees early career work was worthy of admiration, largely influenced by the Beatles the Gibbs were more than adept at crafting pristine flower pop pearls with unnerving enviable ease and so its with a certain amount of anticipation to find Sidewalk Society re-lining ’red chair Fade away’ – this gemstone is positively brimming and oozing in a warming radiance of honey tipped harmonies and mellowed lysergic lilts dimpled by curvaceous kaleidoscopic wraps and wrested by a ’within you without you’ afterglow – absolute bliss. Not to be out done and perhaps all said – the sets best moment – comes courtesy of Zombies of the Stratosphere who we in are suspecting are named after the Zombies (like durr) and XTC’s psychedelic alter ego the Dukes of….and not the b-movie sci-fi flick of the same name – ah but who knows – anyhow they tangle themselves up with a faithful re-drill of Billy Nicholls lost nugget ’london social degree’ and thread it with a seductively boutique beat grooved cool as f**k effervescent shimmering swagger while elsewhere another forgotten nugget is unearthed by the Campbell Stokes Sunshine Recorder who turn their considerable talents to re-tuning Caleb’s ’baby, your phrasing is bad’ by the appliance of some cutely catchy fuzz thrilled sugar tipped primal lo-fi loveliness. basking in mind bending hypnotic lysergic swirls July’s ’my clown’ is given a cross-wired Love meets Chocolate Watch Band chemical reaction by the Swims while the Luck of Eden Hall calibrate the Monkees ’love is only sleeping’ with a bliss tweaked power pop throb welded on with some seriously hairy way out wah wah hi-jinx leaving Cranium Pie to close proceedings with the trip wiring cosmically dreamy and orbiting re-cut of Jimi Hendrix’s ’little wing’. All essential of course – consider it your hippy, trippy, dippy soundtrack to the summer.

Robedoor ‘burners’ (important). There are mugstar and skull defeekts sets just out on the streets put out by this most esteemed of Stateside imprints both are on our must have wants list, while sitting patiently amid the piles of CD’s, records, music related magazines and books there’s an absolutely daunting collaboration between John Mueller and Z/Ev awaiting due care and listening dissertation. For now though this brooding bastard. Limited to just 500 copies and set to fly off the racks faster than shit off a hot shovel the latest ominous opus from LA beatnik groovers Robedoor. This lot have been smudging people’s copy books and messing with fringes for a fair few years now, recent times have seen a plethora of releases passing sadly beneath our normally obliging radar – with imprints such as ketchup kitchen, not not fun, monorail trespassing and seacave all getting a bite of the action with promised despatches for the likes of music fellowship, jerkwave and stunned all in the offing. ’burners’ comes housed in a nifty mock weathered sleeve inside of which you’ll find three extended sub psych suites, a monolithic psychotropic beast of that there’s no doubt, this is nothing if it isn’t grim, foreboding and forbidding for those of you who’ve wigged out on the delights of Brian Jonestown, Cave, Wooden Shjips and the Black Angels then Robedoor are your next passage in the road to listening enlightenment, like a brooding and bloodied White Hills this set is upon you with like a threatening contagion – from the minute ’radiant command’ kicks in, stirring from kits slumber and emerging like some awakening leviathan, you’re already spellbound by its primitive craft, its claustrophobic clang maddening and punitive unfurls a gripping sludge grilled swamp grizzled dark psych dronal mantra whose remit it seems is to burn holes in your hi-fi and very psyche, the ensuing feedback howls – controlled and withering – build in density tapping out a dust riddled Tibetan chant that blisters into a calamitous tornado of sound to which reference wise perhaps only the White Hills or Acid Mothers at their most freakish ever dare to forge or veer. Those foolishly seeking refuge within ’I thought you were the devil’ – think again, emerged in the same scarred swamp dragged grind this buckled babe broods with a becoming menace drizzled in mind weaving strobes of hypnotic loops and locked groove corteges that gather to coalesce into a stirring wig flipped thick psyche stew that’s almost hymnal in design. Mind you nothing quite prepares for the main event the 18 minute ’burning man’ – to describe this as epic is to underplay its majesty, a throwback from another age, to its bow it threads a gathering of hazily glazed prog and psych dialects to its bow, the mood removed of its previous threat is corralled into a bitter sweetly blistered haloing of a mountain ravaged bliss tweaked and shit faced blues beauty which at 12 minutes in shape shifts and applies a sumptuously out there and wasted Doors-esque hoodoo.

The Scratch ‘x-ray eyes’ (pony land). Many thanks to Andy Scratch for despatching with haste a finished copy of the must have 100 only 10 inch repress of the bands ‘x-rays eyes’ single – our copy coming adorned in all manner of autographs and well wishes which I don’t mind saying that aside having us much humbled and at a loss for words will be find itself pride of place framed and hung in a suitably centre of attention location when the losing today singled out shed of sound finally moves into pastures anew (more about that shortly).Anyhow this cute thing first saw the light of day in that golden year 2004 and serves as a pre-teaser for the re-release of the bands debut and re-mastered debut full length ’diy’ which I think I’ve commented on in the not so distant past is of such scarcity that I’m fairly certain we’ve not got a copy. Enough of that – this ten inch set gathers together a brace of golden oldies from the Scratch’s back catalogue ‘x-rays eyes’ itself briefly commented upon a blog or seven ago asserting itself amid a rather nifty austere post punk throb fused to a pulsating and dirty grinding death disco underpin replete with Gang of Four additives, Ry Cooder slides and some classically drilled Pigbag re-wiring. Over on the flip ‘brainstorm’ offers a spot of darkly unfurling softly seducing and brooding psychotropic loveliness, the marinating of mooching locked grooved chime riffs, the spy school noir tipped backdrops and the subtle bathing in swathes of electronic hypno swirls all coalesce with mercurial mesmeric zeal to fracture and unravel into something that both Working for a Nuclear Free City and Genaro would weep with envy on hearing. Essential type purchase then.

Sightings ‘city of straw’ (jagjaguwar). Never previously featured in these pages, well not by our recollections anyway, how did that happen I wonder, for it appears that Brooklyn‘s Sightings craft the kind of fuck you stew that may find some cross genre favour amid the many disparate strands of musical factions currently subscribed by listeners so tiring of the formulaic gimmicks plundered to saturation by this commercially dumbed down thing we call pop. Now we here won’t beat about the bush when we say there’s been much nodding of admiring heads since this wilfully wayward slab of wax bullied its way into our affections to claim residence on the turntable, its been an absolute age that we’ve had the pleasure of hearing anything that whether deliberate, by design or accident baited the listener so much, its ability to teeter between being all at once callous, caustic and quite frankly couldn‘t be arsed. Sightings occupy a dimly lit musical nether-world existing between the aural axis’ of noise and abstract carrying with it a sound that see-saws menacingly between the blistered, the belligerent and the bloody minded. From the word go your immediately alerted to the small but consequential detail that something ominous looms locked within the withered grooves within, the opening moments of ‘tar and pine’ are marked by a series of dull clicks that have you obliged to check your stylus in thinking the needles stuck, from therein your subjected to a exercise in disharmony, amid the scowling and scarred angular riffage itself fracturing and festering with slavish malcontent and a sense of estranged apathy Sightings wearily weave a caustic line between a wasted no wave oblivion (‘jabber queen’) and a wilful and aggressive no prisoners taking punitive non conformist grind (as on the spiked attrition of ‘saccharine traps’). If its reference markers that you require then consider the anger, the adrenalin and the acute agitation of Big Black dragged, damaged and drowned by Albini’s future self Shellac for ‘city of straw‘ doesn‘t seek to make your listening experience easy in fact it repels, baits and taunts – none more so is this the case than on ’tar and pine’ its insectoid minimalist lurches and blistered and punctuating tribal like sonic shrieks metered out by a edgy icy chilled vocal mantra veer ever so close to the kind of monotone detachment once rallied by a youthful PIL. Counter this with its partner in crime ’city of straw’ its darkly choking sense of menace saps and stirs in equal measure traversing a brooding and bloodied line not so dissimilar to that effected by the Bithday Party on the quieter and grimly foreboding moments of ’Junkyard’ though ostensibly removed of the slash attack ferocity and replaced by a head fucked Suicide meets 70 Gwen Party like sparseness. More menace awaits on the flip side, ‘we all amplify’ opening the proceedings on side 2 and sounding like their not done yet in having you pinned cowering behind the sofa, braided by howling discordance and cultured with an atmospherically threatening aura the negativity oozes from its grooves like seeping puss from an open wound. Contrast this with the razor like freeform scalding goo that is the jarring and corrosive ’Weehawken’ and you begin to realise that these imps are playing with your headspace constantly keeping you on the back foot the point being hammered home by the clearly shift faced freeform white noise fracturing and shape shifting gruel that is ’hush’ – in short an unruly squalling inferno. Bringing up the rear the wired as f**k scowl of ’sky above mud below’ will keep the most ardent Jesus Lizard, early career Pixies and Helmet fans with jaws agape in admiration.

Lost Idol ‘lightwerk’ EP (Cookshop). And just a second or two we thought we0 heard the strains of ‘happy talk’ when we banged this little beauty into the CD player and pressed go, culled from his ‘brave the elements’ set (a copy of which I’m not sure we’ve heard, played or reviewed – hang on I’ll check later). Of course no stranger to these pages Lost Idol – better known to kith n’ kin as Brighton based James Dean (no not that one) has already graced these pages with – if I recall rightly – a rather superbly down tempo treated EP sometime last year (a copy of which we can’t at present lay hands on due to the chaotic nature of the in moving mode singled out listening shed on wheels). Anyway ‘lightwerk’ is proving by all accounts to be something of a live hit among the gig going cognoscenti, as the title hints its a homage to Dusseldorf’s kosmiche kruising kadets Kraftwerk here found freewheeling the stars and beyond on a hyper galactic charged ice cream van merrily seducing starry eyed passers by with some keenly coiled Meek motifs, sherbet swirly opines and mind weaving montages cultured with a fascination borne of an era obsessed by Apollo missions, flock wallpaper and spangles, of course its impeccably scored – a kind of ‘sailing by’ for nebula navigators hooked upon a pulsating motorik backdrop that had us imagining the Fly and a youthful Echoboy commandeering a rocket ship designed by way of blueprints drawn up by Gerry Anderson. Over on the flip you’ll find ’beesmouth’ – by all accounts named after a watering hole to be found in Brighton – a gorgeously lightly toed trippy bugger it should be said replete with mind melting hypnotic weaves wrapped around the suggestively seductive strains of a demurring and lilting female vocal that had I not known better would have said it was the divine pairing of a certain cosmically entwined J Xaverre and dream weaving Discordia. As a bonus the EP comes equipped with two remixes of the aforementioned featured cuts – Zoon Van Snook nabs ’lightwerk’ for his own and applies some ruggedly bullish tweaking to the original template along the way enhancing its psychotropic value and serving it up with floor trancing turn of phrase that dips somewhere between the Paris Angels and landshipping. Digital Midgets are left with the task of re-culturing the already near perfect ’beesmouth’ and acquit themselves admirably by stripping the original mix so far back its left unrecognisable only to then weld on some shade adorned techno implants and lost in the moment Takako Minekawa traces. – we don’t get many requests round these parts, well I say requests – I mean demands – when I say demands I mean threats – when I say threats – I mean handwritten notes – done in a blackmail stylee from words and letters of the alphabet cut from newspapers and magazines all glued on a piece of chip paper – and how do we know kit was chip paper – well it was the tell tale stain of vinegar traces, salt extracts and the five crispy crumbs found inside that gave the game away – and quite nice they were too – this culinary delight finding itself wrapped around a brick and lobbed through the window – an event that may have ended in injury were it not for your brave and less than industrious scribe being ensconced in the kitchen area of these parts making strange shapes to the latest sounds from the Seahawks (more about them later). Alas Dylan the cat was not so fortunate and has been since the event in hiding fearing that the skies falling in. Anyhow to the contents of said note ‘we want something strange, something weird, something woozy, something that’ll make the head expand, the mind float and make our listening space a little wobbly’. we checked for finger prints, could only find our own and with no other clues to which to go on other than a bastardised copy of the latest edition of Uncut at the scene of the crime and a pair of scissors we could only presume that we’d be sleep requesting again. As to strange, weird, woozy and wobbly may we draw your ears and senses in the general direction of Strange Weather Sounds. Strange Weather Sounds is or was the mind evaporating trip wiring sonic alter ego of Pete Fowler and Jon Tye until that is they discovered another ensemble trading under the same name wherein they quickly morphed into Seahawks (again – more later). Two ultra limited cassette releases escaped into the hands of a well tuned in chosen few – ’Zombie OST’ and ’illusion ships’ – extracts from both you can hear on their my space player. Blending psychotropic glazes, drone swathes, cosmic kookiness and locked looped montages, Strange Weather Sounds manage to craft between them a deeply engaging albeit fried auditory experience, trading the hypnotic with the lysergic, these escapist suites lilt and lull with an aura of demurring detachment from the glacial tidal silvery shimmers of ’illusion ships’ to the subterranean atmospherics ventured on ’space creeper’ (itself immersed in the kind of fluid flotation tank submersions that once seeped through the core of the Bunny men’s ’fuel’) their sounds teeter between the more out there ambient climes explored by the likes of We All Inherit the Moon and the industrial tipped transcendental tonalities prescribed by Bronnt Industries Kapital (see ‘sounds of earth’ and the minimalist micro verse whirr of ‘2nd ceremony’ – the latter acting like some distant communique traversing across the galactic heavens sent forth from a long since dead civilisation). Elsewhere there’s the hazily glazed psych toned sonic shower ‘reflection in a cracked mirror’ itself recalling a serene Roy Montgomery as though rewired by a spaced out Flying Saucer Attack while the three ’Zombie’ excerpts though eerily atmospheric in design are momentarily lightened by the opining sereneness of the shanty like ‘clip 3’ leaving in our humbled view the mind warping and hymnal ‘cosmic arm’ to provide the sets best moment expelling a wheezing dust grained ghostly and woozy rustic ramble to proceedings.

missive 259i
Singled Out
Missive 259i

Archive 9 – mentioned this lot in passing a little while back when we ran the ruler across Drumcunt’s ultra limited ‘fags’ which alas is now sold out of its 65 only pressing, those of you now kicking yourselves at missing the event can at least console yourselves by hooking up to an extended mix courtesy of the Drumcunt one entitled ‘kill drumcunt’ which as we’ve previously advertised serves to re-affirm our belief that he really is the bastard son resulting from a brief bunk up liaison between Muslim Gauze, Depth Charge and Wagon Christ who admirably trip wires a menacing dark dub-tronic tech-noid groove more familiar to admirers of the Alrealon imprint (Black Saturn, subduxtion et al…more about this lot in the coming days). Current additions to the bunkland roster include a frankly must have 65 only 3 inch cd from Karl Brummer whose ’megali’ finds him taking time out from work with chora and the notorious hi-fi killers and turning in some blistered late 80’s styled New Zealand noise groove – a kind of freeform freak out of Dead C meets Albert Ayler fracturing. And then there’s the first of three promised releases from Seahawks (more about them in a second) – alas no sound files on this with which to comment but guaranteed to shift (if that is it hasn’t done so already) like the proverbial shit off a hot shovel.

The Seahawks ‘astral winds’ (static caravan). Can’t recall for certain how many of these babes are set for consumer consumption though we do know that two hundred of them will come accompanied by an additional seven track CD. Okay the Seahawks – formerly known as Space Weather Sounds (see above) – an auditory adventure captained by Pete Fowler and John Tye, this limited – and I should say at this point – rather gorgeous looking – 7 inch picture disc is the second of three planned releases from the duo – the first being an ultra limited outing via the bunkland imprint, the third a proposed 12 inch and the second for the hugely admired Static Caravan label. Okay so you want a little more info on the Seahawks – well suppose its best to let the lads describe their sounds themselves –
’…a slice of deck shoegaze and pan fried beach pop, Seahawks sail inland with two sun bleached slices of psychedelic deck shoe gaze and pan fried beach pop.
Moored offshore next to a Cornish atoll and utilising modern aqua technologies they captured the sounds of snorkelling, the melodies of the ocean and sub Neptune deep harmonics.
Obsessed with the sounds of the smooth and the deep, seahawks create an oceanic tapestry of deep listening ambience, phased beats and celestial debris filtered from the briney ether.
Swim with the dolphins and take a trip into the blue if a merman you should be‘.
Sounds like these dudes have been fried by the salt saturated sun rays if you ask me that said the description does go someway in describing the effect their sounds capture, the accompanying CD entitled ’secrets of the deep’ culls together a selection of sumptuous dream weaving gems that they’ve been showcasing on a weekly basis via their Ocean Trippin blog spot at – exploring territories not so dissimilar to beyond the wizards sleeve and lemon jelly, the Seahawks hone their sights and sounds for the mind, engaged in trip wiring moods, utilising all manner of cosmic trickery and idling spectral sea faring shanty reared in subtle dub-tronic cultures informed and lovingly equipped with lounge like lilts and down tempo collages they craft a mind expanding stew of chilled out radiating psychotropic bliss groove to which seasoned fans of ghost box, trunk and the more playful moments from the BBC radiophonic workshop back catalogue will swoon. Two cuts feature on the picture disc – (have I said its gorgeous looking, brightly coloured attractive to the eye so on and so forth – indeed) – ‘high winds‘ (sea side) – (did I forget to mention the cosmic and nautical references – well be warned) opens their account – an oceanic mind warping voyage of sorts peppered by lysergic swirls, cyclic loops and the tender braiding of opining glacial sirens that congregate to form dissipating woozy decorations in your headspace while simultaneously having you feeling as though your chartering some trip across the serene depths of the ocean on the back of a humungous space whale – or is it just me. Flip over for the far superior ‘astral winds (space side)’ – alas desperately brief but in the short time it takes to dock and refuel we here must admit to being rather smitten by its silvery cosmic shimmer tones and spaced out fluffiness which all said really does has that lazily hazed not a care in the world lilt that so spellbound all on Ronald Binge‘s ‘sailing by’. in other words – yep I’m afraid you need it in your life. As to the accompanying CD – as advertised seven cuts feature within with ‘deep secrets’ very much equipped with a curious hyper galactic aura and a motorik dance grooved propulsion that all at once had us .recalling some strange new found species borne of a cross DNA matching exercise based on the collectively interwoven samples taken from Tank, Jean Michel Jarre, Ozric Tentacles, Magic Mushroom Band and 70’s pop cosmonauts Space putting what at times sounds like the Dire Straits ’private investigations’ through a rather groovy and spacey workout. Elsewhere the lulling ‘spaced rider’ is tinkered and tingled by a lightly dusted South Pacific airiness that’s soon pervaded and cowered by the oppressive shrill of an oncoming storm while those among you preferring your listening experience purred and approaching something smoochy, sophisticated and lights dimmed in a retro big hair 70’s way (like Go Team for instance or the Superimposers) may well be advised to hook up to the dream weaved disco dolly ’sun trails’. up for a spot of smoked, chilled and drifting sun drenched tropicalia well ’fantasy’ may well ease the itch though for our moment of the disc is without doubt the parting ’high seas drifter’ – a super sensual slice of down tempo exotica that takes as its core reference marker the feline fancies of Komeda’s ’rosemary’s baby’ soundtrack and re-drills them with the exquisitely softly purred brush stroke of Musetta. Classy.

Those of you forgetting exactly who or what Musetta sound like (shame on you) here’s a timely moving pictures thing with sound to accompany ‘ophelia’s song’….

Shady Bard ‘trials (part III)’ (reverb). With an album currently looming large on the horizon, ‘trials (part III)‘ marks the return to the more reflectively timid turntables of this fair nation of Shady Bard who should be in need of no introductions to these pages given their past recorded exploits have had cause to have us crushed and tearfully in awe of their wounded and bruised recitals to mother nature. ‘trials (part III)‘ the teaser preceding release marking the coming of that aforementioned second full length entitled ‘trials’. A stirring gem it is to and part of a collective suite recounting the tale of a sleepy village being ravaged by fire. Those of you familiar with Shady Bard of yore may do well to strap yourselves in for this mini pop epic sees the collective in bracing form marshalling from the aisles an unfolding misty eyed drama landlocked and flanked by a blood rushing tempestuous hymnal charge and a galloping ceremonial procession of wind swept brass fanfares a la Morriconne, the effect one of numbing and breathless dark beauty betwixt a sense of forlorn loss. The release comes backed by two additional cuts – ‘Trials (Part IV)’ and ‘El Dia de los Fuegos’ – sadly both omitted from our one track white label and will arrive housed in hand packaged sleeves made from scorched paper replete with signed inserts and photos.

BlackTzar ‘fade into life’ (scooter). Word reaches us from afar – okay their press release (we do occasionally like to give the impression of having a secret hotline to the pop stars whilst hobnobbing till the wee small hours in some hip and trendy lair sharing jokes and the passing up of paternal words of advice to the scenes glitterati – sounds horrendous and almost illegal doesn’t it), that the BlackTzar’s will having secured finances be releasing a single a month throughout 2010. Of course no strangers to these pages our radar has been firmly tuned and turned on by the sounds emanating from their Glasgow based bunker ‘fade into life’ is the duos second official outing and happily was mentioned in passing despatches at missive 238 when we waxed fondly in word type ways about their debuting ‘rust’ release and added of ‘fade into life’ thus…..

‘Whilst we are here we may as well give an early warning mention for the bands forthcoming second single ‘fade into life’ which isn’t due for release until November and which Tom from the band kindly emailed an MP3 demo of. Think prime electro pop era Vince Clarke in situ Depeche Mode playing tag and swapping notes with a ‘low life’ era New Order, ‘fade into life’ is the sound of a band growing in confidence and finding their own voice in pop’s vast cosmos, a quietly alluring nocturnal anthem of sorts for all those crushed by ill fortune and swept into the forgotten sidings of life, bathed in orbiting oscillations this babe purrs with such majestically remote and refined nonchalance at turns fracturing to blossom into beatified spectral shimmer toned showers of Moroder – esque floor flashing grandeur’….

Call it laziness on our part but in all fairness we can’t really add anything to what was previously said only to comment upon its bespoke streamlined sophistication which should you get the chance to sample and partake of – and we suggest you should – is best served in an atmosphere suitably left chilled and preferably with the lights dimmed to a flickering glow that way you’ll be able to bask in the slick sheen glow of its hyper driven tail smoke. One for the lost hearts I suspects. In addition to the original mix you also get three additional mixes thrown into the bargain, ‘the Boris mix/’ opts to inject a turbo traced floor throbbing re-fit the original suave and chic exterior discarded to be replaced by a seducing bliss fuelled Balearic boogie whose overriding template tweaks and taps into a locked grooved matrix sourced as were from New Order’s ‘blue Monday’. the ‘loudleef mix’ is a ridiculously gritty and infectious vamped up floor caning cutie scored through with braids of hypnotic hip hugging euro-disco accents all pierced by an eclectic framing of late 80’s acute rave / acid era dialects and much of appeal to fans of ‘en tact’ era Shamen by our reckoning. Not to be outdone and perhaps the best of the three re-drills is the ‘mash compact disco mix’ which wraps up the set in fine style setting about deconstructing the template and applying a devilishly dirty and cosmically funky grind that at times veers towards territories once occupied by a youthful Seal, a furious and frantic mash up that one suspects throws in everything including the kitchen sink whilst embracing sublimely elements of industrial, white funk and drum n’ bass to its cause. Will devastate and indeed decimate the local indie floors.

Hannah Peel ‘re-box’ EP (static caravan). More Static-y delights and another release to which we must own up to being rather smitten about each and every time it rears into earshot. Armed with all manner of music boxes and chiming devices to hand, Liverpool lass Hannah Peel has crafted perhaps one of the most dainty, dinky and demurring releases you’ll quite possibly have the fortune to hear all year, the hypnotic melodic cycles (themselves embraced with a becoming wide eyed and childlike naivety) married to her carefree willowy and chirpy vocal tones breath a renewed life into four celebrated chestnuts from the 80’s, the seeming simplicity should not be mistaken for the masking of what is an intricate and cleverly conceived sound board. Minimal and lo-fi is I think how most will describe the quartet of cuts within which despite their snow globed exterior exude an inner purring warmth which aside being rather demurring also serve to be quite shyly fetching. Her re-calibration of New Order’s ‘blue Monday’ frankly needs to be heard to be believed – the distinctive isolationist persona of the original is hitherto thawed, mellowed and moulded into something akin to a heart lassoing love note while ’tainted love’ is wiped clean of the acute pop panache served upon it by Soft Cell and in its place sprinkled with an intimately cosy toed soulfulness. And staying with things being lassoed, the Cocteau Twins simply divine ’sugar hiccup’ is rested from its heavenly moorings over on the flip and relocated to the dreamy confines of a nursery lullaby its breathless love crush rush sweetly tendered by a cutely fragile silken sensitivity. Rounding up the set a welcomed re-wiring of OMD’s ’electricity’ (and yes – before you all start writing in to complain – I warrant all three of you – indeed originally out in ’79 and not the 80’s) beautifully serenades you to rest. In short gem like. Any questions – right then – off you pop – 300 copies mind – so skates on.

And as we had occasion to mention OMD here’s a oldie from the oft overlooked classic full length ’organisation’ entitled ’stanlow’…..

Head over immediately to because unless I’m very much mistaken there’s the festooning of seasonal good cheer over at the rather wonderful Hometapes imprint who over the course of the next few days will be gathering together around a suitably decorated open fire a few label mates in order to serenade you in seasonal jollification. A track each day for the next eight days suitably described as ’the eight days of Hometapes’ is the promise to the eagerly attended masses with Slaraffenland stepping up to the plate to open proceedings bringing in their way a ribbon and bows wrapped cover of the immortal ’little drummer boy’. As you’d imagine at this time of year this re-thread is timidly traced with frost tipped glockenspiels cradled by acoustic strums and peek-a-booing brass fanfares and quite sweet too given it sounds like it was recorded in some North Pole igloo retread – best served with a mug of steaming mulled wine.

Staying with Home tapes – and again being served up as free to download gift – more seasonal jollification is to be found on Adam and Sara’s cutely wide eyed and fluffy re-engagement of Mr McCartney’s ‘wonderful Christmastime’ – a perky and precociously affectionate would be waltzing ice cream vans in promenade jaunt spectacle lovelorn and starry eyed beneath a flurry of snowy garlands. Not to be outdone Magafaun stump up the rather delightful ’I saw three ships’ – which via a spot of quick research is revealed to be an olde English carol whose origins are a tad sketchy – so much for the journalistic investigative powers ha ha – anyhow left in the hands of Megafaun this timeless gem assumes a deliciously hymnal aspect that’s tenderly coaxed by a deceptively alluring festooning of archaic shanty – esque folk trimmings which if anything should give you more than adequate reason to sway and swoon without the aid of alcoholic additives whilst simultaneously filling you all aglow with a tingling inner warmth. – okay there’s a fair amount of information about this lot to sort – so here goes. Fresh from knocking us arse over tit when they tore a strip or three off our hi-fi with the recently re-recorded ‘caca’ the band are currently trying to raise funds in order to attend next years SXSW festival hopefully leaving some over for the recording of new material. In order to do this there will be the arrival shortly of a self financed twin set which – if all things go according to plan – will hopefully be followed by an official release via music glue. Think we’ve got that right – but then probably not – if that’s the case we blame the scotch kicking in at long last. Anyhow the twin set to which we refer pairs together a cover version with the bands first new material since 2007’s ’the split’ EP. Alas we’ve only heard clips so far – both tracks being showcased on the bands my space page. The cover version in case you were wondering admittedly a strange though arguably refreshing one given that it’s a rehash of the New Seekers ’I’d like to teach the world to sing’. we say refreshing and strange because the New Seekers are a 70’s era combo who appear to have been somewhat written out of history – arguably – if you don’t count the Free Design that is – the grandparents of twee they were the ultimate craftsmen of saccharine induced soft sentimental peace love and harmony idealist pop this particular track perhaps providing them with their most telling moment – a tad difficult trying to adequately judge something on the basis of a truncated one minute sample though that said there’s more than enough here to get a grip of things – left to their own devices the Fades scour it with a markedly glam fixated aura – images of spandex, big hair and hulking great platform shoes may well enter your minds eye with a worrying regularity while older listeners might be minded of the potential for a spot of a groove torn hip wiggling stylee as though Sweet were exchanging punches with Slade with the victorious being set upon by the Heartbreakers. As to the new cut ’your eyes’ – a typically frantic nerve end jangling slice of uber coolness that pokes and prods with desire and sounds to these ears as though it was cut from a cloth not so dissimilar utilised on Chron Gen’s ’outlaw’.

The Hush Now ’wishing you a happy Christmas’ (self released). Having already graced our listening space with the exquisitely sugar toned perfect pop shimmy of their debut ’hoping and waiting’ – (a record which we must admit we had to do a double take with thinking it was a prime time slab of ‘Ash and Earth’ era Velvet Crush) – Boston‘s finest herald the holiday season with something rather special and desirably nuzzling. Available as a free download via (our hard copy – a sweet little thing it is to – came housed in hand made wrapping) and arriving just ahead of their eagerly anticipated second single – ‘contrails‘ – ‘wishing you a happy Christmas‘ is a nimbly trembling beauty, the lilting chime cascades decorating the opening softly stir to wake, all the time endowing your senses with a bitter sweet rainy day intimacy that curls and coos to an era sound tracked by the likes of the Pale Fountains, the Daintees and the Pale Saints, treading delicately assuming stature it longingly ruptures and ripples to blossom, unfurl, soar and peak to be adorned with the kind of richly lush and hushed hollowed perfection once scribed by Prefab Sprout albeit here touched by the mercurial gaze of Bert Bacharach. Those wanting more of the same should go to the bands my space page at where you can download their debut album for free while their second album ’constellations’ should around February be landing to do sizeable damage at a record emporium near you. Here’s a little video of them……

Get your backsides along to and grab yourself a little bundle of seasonal loveliness from those Stolen recordings folk, ’walking on the air’ indeed the self same song that propelled choir child Aled Jones to the topper most echelons of the record sales chart finds itself spruced up with a little magic dust and relocated to the chilly climes of the North Pole by the European. The solo project of one Simon Break – known formerly around these parts by way of his previous membership to Piano Magic his treatment of this yuletide classic is both ethereal and hauntingly beautiful, reference wise you’d need to go back the Teardrop Explodes’ ’tiny children’ for a suitably comparable example, the frost bound spectral electronic decorations frail and fragile are countered by the hypnotic pulse of mind weaving glassy drone shimmers that should appeal first and foremost to Spacemen 3 cadets. Tenderly distant and detached Break endows it with a curiously church like albeit fried daydream detail. Quite a classy thing if you ask me.

Yellow6 ‘merry 6mas – 2009’ (editions6). Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the sounds of Yellow 6 filtering around our head space, since 1998 or was 1999 these annual melodic Christmas cards have ventured through our letterbox and straight onto the hi-fi and in turn have become as obligatory as the festive roasted ham, tinsel and Morecambe and wise re-runs around our gaff. Initially cobbled together by way of a thanks to various people who’ve somehow helped, harassed and hindered him in some small way throughout the previous 12 months in recent years limited runs have been made available to the greater public at large. This particular volume we believe comes as a pressing of 150. Markedly different from previous issues in three respects – firstly a new label – erditions6 which I’m assuming is Mr Atwood’s own imprint, secondly the faux Crass sleeve – a nod to Jon’s teeth cutting musical past as a member of Hagar the Womb and thirdly the actual content which on this occasion features music specially written and recorded (though ultimately not used) for a forthcoming short film by Norwegian director Niclaz Erlingmark entitled ’9732’ (which should see the light of day sometime early next year). Nine tracks feature within, a treasure trove of lights lowered mood music that includes a re-draft of an old Y6 nugget ‘telescope peak‘ which first appeared on his ‘music for pleasure‘ set from 2001. A collection both thoughtful and tempered with a degree of melancholia, Atwood has proved time and time again his prowess at carving out the cavernous and the Cathedral-esque, these hurtful honeys are presented as measured and painstakingly intricate sonic sculptures, gracefully cinematic and eloquently toned each wallows and woos in equal measure shedding elements of the tender and the tearful, its restrained and reverent, perpetually poised between the monumental and the elegiac. These drifting dream coats glide to plot similar afterglow trajectories as godspeed and Gnac, looping corteges carve a serene melodic navigation that‘s subtle in its sensuality and captivating in their caress – all the time drawing the listener subdued into their unfurling solace – from the parched beauty of ‘9732 #2’ with its head bowed resigned and introspective bruising to the trembling twinkle of ‘9732 #3’ with its Fahey like pared down resonance as though relocated to the arid sunburnt landscapes of a Leone calm before the storm finale. To his palette he utilises the hollowing timbres, the pauses, the momentary lulls of silence, the pensive tension traits and the reverb opines to full effect with all playing their part to colouring Atwood’s aural portrait – none more does this touch such than on ’light #1’ whereupon from its sparsely woven initial greeting something shy emerges to thaw and blossom momentarily before timidly retiring into the shadows. All said it’s the parting ’dead voice’ that sealed the deal for us edging as it does ever so delicately in to terrains more commonly countered by Roy Montgomery and the late 80’s NZ noise / ethereal set.

Yellow6 also appears on a specially selected double disc compilation being put out by Silber entitled ’a cold slow Xmas’ – the set available as a free download via feature a 25 track gathering of talent that includes the aforementioned Yellow6 offering up ’5-0-3’, gorgons, lozninger, this quiet army, subscape annex, electric bird noise and many more – a review will feature at some point in these very pages.

Das Wanderlust ‘someone to pull crackers with’ (self released) gather close little ones – here’s something a little sweet.

Hands up who remembers Das Wanderlust.

Weren’t they the ones who recorded that rather spiffing ‘orange shop’ a few years ago that appeared on a compilation for Transformed Dreams. What happened to them?

Yes I know they kinda disappeared off our radar to – but we got a message out of the blue telling us about a freebie Christmas download type single.

Pray tell us more for I fear I may spontaneously combust in anticipation .

Well its called ‘someone to pull a cracker with’

That sounds sweet.

Indeed it does and is.

So where do I get it from?

You have to log onto the bands site at where you can download it as a high quality mp3.

For nothing you say?

Well yes – in a way – though the band will be hoping that to match their generous turn that you’ll reciprocate likewise and donate something to the Brooke Animal Hospital.


Because they care for working horses, donkeys and mules – and Laura from the band is potty about donkeys.

I like donkeys – they’re cute – I’m also potty though not necessarily about donkeys – just potty. So what’s the song like is it any cop?

Indeed it is.

What does it sound like?

Toasted mallows, cranberry sauce and roasted chestnuts.

Hang on isn’t that a recipe?

Indeed it is – a recipe for a beautifully sculptured yuletide tingler that’ll make you feel all aglow with a fuzzy felt aura.

What – like the Weetabix kid?

Not quite.

Go on what does it really sound like?

Two parts Vernon Elliott albeit as though concocted by a glowing fireside inside of a snowbound wood hut, one part Dickensian like Christmas card winter wonderland scene, features lots of sleigh bells, slyly arresting carol-esque coos, nuzzling piano keys and blessed with such an abundance of seasonal good cheer that you keep expecting snow to start falling each time it comes into listening view. Will appeal to fans of Shady Bard et al.

That sounds nice.

It is.

Just one thing – what happens if I don’t donate?

Then you’ll be visited nightly by the donkey demon who’ll scare you witless while you dream.

Did I mention I have recurring dreams about masking tape, Velcro and rubber?

You’re weird!

The Pains at being Pure at Heart ‘higher than the stars remixes’ (fortuna pop). Pressed up on 12 sumptuous inches of wax and housed in the kind of plain die cut sleeve that was much the favoured fashion accessory of alternate club pressings throughout the 90’s – the ultra limited ’remixes’ issue is a thing to die for. Of course the Pains of being Pure at Heart need no introductions in these pages, for a fair while now their captivating heart skipping knee trembling bubblegum twee fuzz pop has been a constant choice of listening over at the losing today singled out tree house their acutely addictive fusion of the Pastels, JMC, Belle and Sebastian and Trembling Blue Stars has been the cause on several occasions of bouts of unforced swooning each and every time their sounds have filtered from the cooing hi-fi and ’remixes’ proves no exception to the rule. Two recalibrations of ‘higher than the stars’ are up for grabs here, first up featuring the mercurial mixing desk sassiness of the uber cooled St Etienne whose ‘lord spank’ edit is a thing of unsurpassed gorgeousness, a bulging Balearic beauty, both forlorn and ethereally bliss grooved, entwined amid a frosted procession of twinkling garlands of cosmic swirls all tempered to a pulse racing purr and streamlined with such precision based warmth filled sultriness and lights dimmed seduction it makes you ache, apply stylus to this in a club land settings and the paying punters will feint at the feet of its numbing sophistication. Not to be out done – over on the flip you’ll find the same cut reframed by Skanfrom who by day and out of the confines of the studio is better known to ma and pa as Roger Semsroth, a workaholic whose been delighting the underground cognoscenti for a decade or more with his analogue electro cross culturing and who on this occasion in our humbled opinion judge edges it in the best re-drill stakes, for his reworking of ’higher than the stars’ gives it something of a hurtful and detached hue that suggests its primary purpose is to evoke a fair amount of tear trickling amongst all who dare to hear. Factor it some lushly toned air brushing of starry eyed sugar honed candy pop and house it all within a fragile and frail framing and you have something that’ll break hearts in a murmur. Lest we forget the third and final mix which finds DJ Downfall tinkering and touching up ’falling over’ here rephrased as the ‘Sprechenbann’ edit – what can we say a frisky and perky slice of retro electro pop which to these ears sounds not unlike an affectionate euro pop dream weave pairing together a Vince Clarke era Depeche Mode with a mid 80’s New Order, will flatten club floors each and every time it comes into ear shot – if not questions will be asked.

If you head over to the Fortuna Pop site at you can grab yourself a free download of ’higher than the stars’ again by Skanform though this time in his Others in Conversation guise – well tasty it is to – 80’s swoon-tastic bubblegum twee which admirers of Another Sunny Day will do well to hook up to without further delay.

Pacific! ‘sunset blvd’ (half machine). Think what the world needs now is a spot of sumptuous snow surf – agreed. Step up Pacific! who hail from Gothenburg – beyond that of whom we know bugger all about, safe to say that ‘sunset blvd’ may well be our favourite guilty pleasure at this moment in time. Not sure how long its been out but given the time of year – you know the deal the arrangement of sleigh bells, snow tipped harmonies and feel good warmth so on and so forth – this may well – play lists permitting – prove to be a worthwhile outsider bet in the race for the festive summit – or some or other nonsense. ’sunset blvd’ is a tenderly roasted on an open fire pic n’ mix of seasonal fair, a kind of melodic ghost of Christmas past, present and no doubt future, best described as a mulled wine serving mince pie munching master class of pop perfection – okay admittedly a little on the sugary side but then what do expect when its overall pull appears to impishly invite you to a glimpse of what might have occasioned had their been a Lapland summit of Beach Boys and Spector types with the occasional guest appearance of arrangements by Freddie Mercury and a production gloss by Jeff Lynne. And before you all start grumbling – it works – the gushing tides of homely west coast sprays, the euphoric arcs and swoons of silken strings, the heart arresting multi part harmonies, the chiming serenades and the overall frost tipped celebratory verve of the occasion will serve to melt the most chilled of hearts. If you hunt down the 12 inch version you’ll find an additional three edits – frYars opt for some kookily keen eyed jittering and jiggling minimalist set friskily funky electro body popping while over the flip Popular Computer tease it from its frosted roots thaw it out and apply some sterling cosmic cuteness to it leaving Triangles don the snow visors to seemingly re-trace their steps in the opposite direction to build it a snuggly little igloo apply some over eager and frantic glitch treatments which unless our ears do deceive should appeal aplenty to lovers of Swimmer One and Birdpen.

Get your backsides and mouse into gear and shuffle along in a neat and orderly line for Lord Skywave’s ethereal re-drill of ’Sunset Blvd’ which to these ears has something of a KLF ’kylie said to Jason’ era aura about its wares while those itching for more Pacific! action should immediately sign post themselves to where you’ll be treated to a new cut ’narcissus’ which should by rights be high on the radar of those of you moved by all things pertaining to the space rock, prog and krautrock species of sound (Goblin, Zombi and La Dusseldorf – are instantly called to mind) given it sounds like some retro spectral galactic communication sucked through the ether.

And here’s a video – we are so good to you…….okay not so much a video but rather more a photo with music backing it…..just clearing up that small detail to stem the flow of complaining emails – yes we do get them – just don’t read them…..

Broken Bones ‘death walks the streets’ EP (dr strange). Not sure how many of these babes are in circulation though we have been told there are just 100 coloured wax copies of which 50 have gone to the band direct, so if you want you better get your arse into gear. Alas ours is the bog standard black vinyl (cheers Cargo!) though that hasn’t dimmed our excitement at the prospect of three new cuts by these spiked topped doom overlords gracing our turntable. Featuring founding members of Discharge among their ranks Broken Bones are a rare breed of band whose mere utterance of their name is the cause of adoration and respect among the punk community. ‘death walks the streets’ features as previously advertised three spanking new cuts, its grimly forbidding and foreboding stuff and not we hasten to add for those with sensitive listening palettes for to call it brutal doesn’t really serve it justice. From the moment the grooves of ’enemy within’ connect with the stylus you’re already under siege courtesy of the no holds barred intensity of the full throttle attack your subjected to, admittedly not as ferocious as Discharge at full tilt but still with its scowling vocals, punishing 100mph pile driving sticks and lacerating riffmanship betraying enough savagery to scald you out of your lethargic cosiness. Flip over for ’stop em now’ and ’downfall’ – the former a scathing onslaught and by our reckoning best thing here capturing perfectly the punishing hard core scene of the early 80’s oi / second wave punk scene – that said sounds to us like a supercharged DK’s crossing swords with Mayhem – the latter a pogo pummelling slab of up close and personal speed freaking doom crowed carnage. Does it for us.

Bad Guys ‘hips’ (everyone we know). Another damn fine release that has – since arriving in our gaff – being hogging time on the turntable – as usual bugger all info on these chaps other than to say we suspect this twin set outing is in fact their debut release. Strictly limited to just 500 hand numbered 7 inches – ours in case you are taking notes is #134. Anyhow what matters is that we here love it, produced I think I’m right in saying by those Part Chimp chaps – ‘hips’ is wonderfully unkempt stuff replete with intricately crafted needling riffs aplenty and cut with such an irregular off kilter melodic thread that you half expect any time now that it will stumble, topple over and end up in a calamitous pile up, a definite detecting of post rock noodling afoot here yet carved incisively by a subtle off key and buckling blues throb which in all honesty at times rears up at moments to make you think that it’s the work of some Melvins meets Captain Beefheart meets Jon Spencer get together. Flip side features the frenetic and totally wired ‘livewire’ which from initial moments sounds like the ripening opening of a spot of gnarled skeletal garage groove though soon blossoms and blisters into a heated slab of wildly addictive bad assed boogie sounding to us not unlike a fist fight between a tamed though all the same clearly deranged Bogshed and the Beastie Boys after a bout of Birthday Party-esque DNA cross culturing with Mark E Smith refereeing.

Animal Collective ‘brothersport’ (domino). One of our great personal regrets in recent years music wise that is – is that somewhere along the line we’ve kind of lost track of Animal Collective – co-incidentally it seems tying in with their move from Fat Cat to Domino – so with that in mind you can imagine our expectant joy pierced of course with a sense of dread when we spotted and indeed purchased a copy of their latest offering ‘brothersport’. of course it was the fact it was pressed up on 10 inch of wax that sealed the deal – though don’t go telling the band that. Of course the sense of dread to which I refer was purely born of the fact that these days they appear to be everyone and their pet dogs favourite listening option and without sounding snobbish that as is often the case usually attracts a diminishing of the style and sound that we first loved and attracted us in the first place. How pleasantly surprised we were when said cut crackled into life on the turntable for ’brothersport’ is a radiant union of feel good gospel / ethnic and Dadaist mantras woven sublimely into a multi coloured cross genre weaving dream coat of kaleidoscopic delights, ridiculously catchy and bearing a lushly textured calypso-esque celebratory aura that permeates a similar sun shine beckoning complexion as was once the domain of the Polyphonic Spree. Utterly lovable in short and quite likely the cause of swooning affection each and every time it rears into listening view. Flip side features a live edit of ‘bleeding‘ recorded at their recent Californian appearance at the Big Sur – echoing atmospherics, haunting detachment, hollowing celestial intermissions, subterranean drone collages and heaving motorik industrial loops and dissipating mind expanding tripping mirages – damn I could love these rascals.

Mixtapes and Cellmates ‘Soon’ (tangled up). Another ensemble of whom we must profess to not having heard previously. My my aren’t we slipping. That said all that changes as of now as purring away in quite the most perfect way in the background as we write is this – their forthcoming single ’soon’. hard to imagine that they were on the verge of calling it a day after a bout of internal wrangling following the completion of touring commitments showcasing their debut full length. And so they parted – each pursuing their own creative avenues until by accident they found themselves again together in the same room discussing the merits and pitfalls of ever working together again. A few line up additions an agreement to start again from scratch soon saw to that. And so fast forward a year or so and the finishing coat is found touch dry on their second full length – entitled in case you’re asking ’rox’ and due for record store action next March. In the meantime ’soon’ provides hints aplenty of what to expect. Not officially out until the tail end of January next year ’soon’ is a tightly wound and searing slice of sub four minute stratospheric pop, both breathless and bracing, its equipped sumptuously with cross cultured elements of Archer Prewitt at his most vulnerable and spiked with the kind of angular unravelling more commonly associated with prime time Dinosaur JNR and accentuated by starry eyed chiming riff corteges the likes of which graced ’wish’ era Cure which are all then rounded up and woven into a heart arresting power surging pop gem replete with bristles of pulse racing urgency and capped with lovelorn lilts that gathered together will more than likely send your DAB sets into meltdown and yourselves into moments of bitter sweet oblivion. Enough said methinks. Any questions from the back?

Should have mentioned this earlier – though there’s still time enough if you’re interested – but Tom from the highly regarded Her Name is Calla is starting a subscription only club next year – well we’ll leave him to take it up….
‘A limited edition subscription club limited to 40 places.
Starting in January, solo work by Tom Morris of Her Name is Calla under his Lupercal guise- a handpackaged CDR every other month. The price is for the full term and includes postage and packaging to anywhere in the world. There may be a few interesting collaborations along the way….
Each release will vary in length and design each time’

On a related note the bands debut album ‘the heritage’ is treated to a limited vinyl pressing – alas copies of the clear with violet haze variations are long since sold out (happily we’ve secured ours) but you still have time to bag either a black vinyl version or a clear and violet mix type coloured thing – further details for all items at

Sticking with subscription series’ – a little more pricier this time but I’m sure those of you familiar with the Artic Circle and LOAF will consider it good value for money…..we’ll let the AC people talk you it – be mindful its £45.00 – details via

Explorer Club Subscription
The Explorers Club is a collaboration between LOAF recordings and the Arctic Circle collective.
Together we plan to bring you The Explorer’s Club, a series of special, one-off singles released once a month from 30, or so artists from the four corners of the globe.
Following in the footsteps of the highly praised That Fuzzy Feeling Album and subsequent EP of the same name, The Explorers club will bring you a unique selection of modern sounds that
challenge how we receive and experience music.
The Explorer’s Club will offer a chance to subscribe to this great wonder of music that will allow you to get it delivered every month to your e-mail inbox. As a special bonus for those who subscribe, we’re offering the Explorer’s Club survival bag, which includes a quality organic cotton tote bag, screen printed calendar & poster and some extra little surprises, all
specially designed by the Pika Pika design team.

Zun Zun Egui ‘bal la poussiere’ EP (blank tapes). Now it takes a ,lot to have us floored and lost for words, but floored and lost for words we are – and the reason – well you can thank or blame (depending on your viewpoint and indeed which way you are sitting facing into the wind) Bristol’s Zun Zun Egui. Apparently the objects of desire of several independent labels who’ve been tracking this lot for some time trying fruitlessly to secure their signatures. Boasting a line of members culled from as far as Mauritius and Japan, ’bal la poussiere’ their debut release features three cuts pressed up on 12 inches of wax, comparisons to date have been as far and diverse as Mars Volta to Can to Fugazi to Funkadelic, a sterling terra forming brew is guaranteed within wherein a blending cross pollinating cornucopia of delights awaits, don’t be too surprised if one minute your being serenaded by skittish post rockist math inspired needle like complexities moulded around African-esque dialects, stuttering jazz signatures and freewheeling surreal lunacy as exemplified perfectly by the mutating montages of the opening ambit ’chunk and swirl’ itself ending in a calamitous cacophonic finale recalling the fractured moments of the Pretty Things ’defecting grey’. lovers of the loose limbed exotic sun bleached chime textures of the Four Brothers and Diblo Dibala may well find much to love within the hypnotically charmed ’brown mao’ – its subtle jitterbug jazz funk accents dislocate and fragment with an unreal intricacy that calls to mind both on one hand the Native Hipsters and on the other less obviously Slint and June of 44, the sound building in depth and density blossoming at its end into a gloriously syncopating psychotropic carnival. All said best of moment of the set is without doubt the parting ‘sun god’ – taking its cue in the initial stages from Pere Ubu this freakish mind expanding spot of beatnik boogie soon mutates with admirable ease to cross culture the schizoid ju ju blues of Captain Beefheart with the psychotropic warp driven cosmic fuzz of the Acid Mothers somewhere in between finding time for a pit stop in African climes before jettisoning off into deep space for some serious nuts down and tripping hyper galactic groove replete with full throttle white noise feedback meltdown. In short – stunning.

Jedethan Vs. Crossing the Rubicon ‘split’ (three fist). Buggering hell – this young folk is a titanic release. The debut outing for new imprint Three Fist all pressed up on limited quantities (300 if you must ask) of 10 inch wax slabs. This head charging brute gathers together two bands currently bubbling beneath the radar and in their own right the cause of much fervent chatter amid the hipper and more in tuned of the underground – on one side Jedethan who in recent times have been hailed in some quarters as ‘London’s best kept secret’ while over on the flip French hardcore combo Crossing the Rubicon who’ve already satiated the cognoscenti courtesy of their recently released self titled debut full length for Guerrilla Asso. Each band allocated a side upon whose grooves are pressed three cuts apiece to include one previously unreleased and exclusive to this set nugget each. If there/‘s any grumbles to be had here its just that their side of the deal is a little to brief for its own good, Jedethan open the proceedings in fine style with the criminally hardcore funkiness of ‘fresh prince’ – this babe is out of the traps in an instant, its easy to see why they’ve been compared in passing to both Queens of the Stone Age and At the Drive In their brutality of sound is eclipsed with a becoming playfulness with this particular track tightly wired and instantly addictive whilst blessed with tendencies to un-harness itself a blister veering ever so sharply into territories more readily occupied by a youthful Faith No More given its hard edged speed funk grind and obvious radio play listing verve. Mind you the form book is quickly jettisoned out of the window when the scathing and tormented ’bagel shop’ rears up bloodied and unbowed, a searing and volcanic melodic maelstrom, a jarring juggernaut of a cut courting elements of ravaged hardcore and nailed firmly to the decks with an unflinching throat throttling skull trepanning ferocity. All said it’s the choking claustrophobic beatnik grind of the parting no prisoners taken instrumental ’smoked salmon’ that gets our vote nodding aplenty along the way in the general direction of Mugstar. Nuff said I reckon. Flip the disc for the aforementioned ’crossing the rubicon’ who themselves weigh in with three cacophonic corkers of their own, a high wiring frenetic display of scalding and grizzled blues laced with hooks aplenty and bullied by a withering and frantic pulse piercing intensity that’s riddled by driving gridlocked riffs – well that’s the state of play on ’the paris chain saw massacre’ while the lock grooved savagery of ’brutal duke’ has about its wares something truly angst ridden, untamed and unravelling that recalls a seriously demented Jesus Lizard persona at work. ’emperor and nightclubs’ wraps up the set to speed freaking volatile effect and unless our ears do deceive sounds not unlike a bad assed and scathing Monkeywrench kicking several shades out of the Sabbath. Essential in case you wondered.

Kurran and the Wolf notes ‘whatabitch’ (chess club). No surprises then when I say that we know absolutely nothing about these people in fact I’m not even readily sure how many copies of this are around – though safe to say you need it in your life. Judging from titles alone you’d be forgiven for thinking that ‘whatabitch’ and its flip ‘here to fill you in’ bared the traits of a band who held grudges firmly to their bosom and played with a scarring and withering verve to match, not so for Kurran and the Wolfnotes are the latest members to be ensconced into the bristling new folk scene. ‘Whatabitch‘ betrays a gently lolloping country tweaked breeziness sweetly curdled with an invigorating Marr like airy honey toned rustic signature throughout and serviced with an affectionately lulling twee throb that cascades to endow the landscape in a sun screened autumnal glow, as much of interest to fans of Blue Oyster Cult as it to admirers of early James. Over on the flip the previously advertised ’here to fill you in’ which for us edges itself as the preferred cut, a gorgeously homely cut trimmed with staggering rhythms and shy eyed sugar toned harmonies which for the best part again sounds not unlike Blue Oyster Cult albeit found here sparring with Tom Waits backing band until that is the arrival of an abrupt sea change mid way through wherein the appearance of radiant flashes of west coast hues welded onto to a drive time dynamic add a sense of tenseness and colour to the proceedings – should appeal first and foremost to fans of Snakes and Kites – quite fetching if you ask me.

Black September / Thou ‘split’ (gilead). More happy pop. Of course I jest – a demonic double header that gathers together in the black corner Chicago’s premier doomsayers Black September with in the even blacker corner still Baton Rouge’s Thou. Available as a limited repress (on red vinyl no less) via Gilead – a label who marked their first appearance in these very pages a few weeks back courtesy of that quite spiffing Hewhocorrupts / Phoenix Bodies split set, this morbidly essential twin set first appeared via a joint release between the halo of flies, shamen, buried in hell, injustice of humanity, knvbi and one eye imprints and found itself becoming an instant much sought after collectors item. A gruesome face off awaits, Black September offer up for sacrifice the nlo mercy shown hell born ’under the rising’ – a gloom doom tune of some merit, a claustrophobic beast of a cut as equally scalding as it is scathing and in its wake laying waste to all it touches like some avenging apocalyptic angel, calling it grim doesn’t really do justice to its senses devouring wretchedness. Not as you’d rightly imagine one for the feint of heart. Those seeking solace with Thou’s offering over on the flip may as well abandon all hope now for the full tilt horror and sense of desolation that pierces throughout Thou’s part of the split agreement is all too explicit, the dread that pours from ’Smoke pigs’ is chokingly putrid at best and at worst sounding for all the world as though its been dragged kicking and screaming from some sort of purgatory for the damned. The sounds epically dense, swamp dragged, evil and scarred with retribution – comparison wise imagine some feasting bloodbath pairing together Helmet and Carcass. Word has it a split with Leech is currently in circulation while there’s mutterings of an album next year both via Gilead – both as you can imagine are on our wants list. Recommended.

Three Mile Pilot ‘planets’ (temporary residence). Indeed we can scarcely believe it ourselves but here it is – the return after 12 long years of Three Mile Pilot. This two track set is an ultra limited exclusive taster for those who can’t wait until the release of the bands as yet untitled new album tentatively pencilled in for 2010 – a strict pressing of just 2000 seven inches guaranteed to sell fast sees the reconvening of a band whose abrupt hibernation at the tale end of the 90’s stunned their loyal fan base. Temporary Residence remark of ‘planets’ thus ‘you’re reminded right away of the connection between Pinback and the Black Heart Procession – an unusually upbeat and infectious slice of weird pop perfection’. couldn’t put it better myself, like the donning of a familiar old glove there’s a knowing comfort about ‘planets’ or rather more a gentle re-acquaintance, it neither asks, stretches or tests the listener neither does it push the envelope, instead it’s a more casual welcome, nothing to testy or surprising just a signal that its here. Surprising light and friendly, its immediacy understated its template and execution softly dwelling, breezy almost lulling – a slyly undulating coda here the genteel flick of side winding riff there and off it perkily bobs deftly gracing your listening space with a breathless yearning ease. That said its ’grey clouds’ over on the flip which we deeply suspect will be the track of play list choice among fans both old and new, the subtle shading of Neil Young and Peter Gabriel bleeding through the wax are undeniable and unavoidable, gorgeously decoded with an affecting weightlessness upon which is harnessed the purring repetition of the spacey looping lock grooves, spatial textures, cosmic swirls, layer by layer circular interweaving which when all gathered in union serve to craft out a desperately desolate distant star communiqué that’s blessed with a becoming hypnotic lull that’s sprinkled ever so delicately with a blurring fuzzy kaleidoscopic framing. A gem.

The Velvet Underground ‘singles 1966 – 69’ (sundazed). I’m not even going to bother going on at length describing the sounds found housed in this box set for they should be indelibly printed upon each and every self respecting music lovers mind, all I’ll say on the subject of the Velvets is that for once the rewritten history surrounding the bands worth, influence and relevance is for once deserved. A quick peak at David Fricke’s liner notes includes a quote from John Cale commenting in a nutshell the key note aim of the Velvets thus ‘we were trying to do a Phil Spector thing with as few instruments as possible’. As relevant to the 60’s as both the Beatles and the Stones and embraced still even to this day primarily by bands emerging from the underground they were the legendary outsiders not through choice though one suspects through the jealously of their peers and having the unquestionable knack for being in the wrong place and time. A typically perfect package by the Sundazed crew who it seem with each and every release of finds gotten through archive digs appear determined to impart their time consuming detailing and labours of love into ensuring their releases not only sound top notch but are visually breathtaking thus giving the punter an eye catching historical artefact. ’singles 1966 – 69’ is no exception, all the stops have been pulled out on this release, housed in a box are contained 7 seven inch vinyls (2 being housed in copies of the original sleeves) which comprise the entire single release catalogue of the Velvets to include the complete recorded output on Verve and MGM. Each is pressed up in mono and arrives sporting facsimile DJ demo labels with the set completed by the inclusion of two additional pressings which were initially touted for release but cancelled at the last moment (those being ’white light / white heat’ and ’temptation inside your heart’) while of special interest to completists a rare unearthing of a VU radio spot. Irresistibly cool.

missive 259j
.Singled Out
Missive 259j

Archive 10

Further Sundazed goodies kicking around in record world – a limited issue 10 inch featuring unreleased demo recordings by the legendary Alexander Skip Spence; Phil Spector’s classic seasonal cheer ’a Christmas gift for you’ pressed up on high definition vinyl; both Traffic and the Blues Project are given the mono wax treatment with their respective ’heaven is in your mind;’ and ’projections’ getting the high definition gloss – elsewhere there’s a rare unearthing of Fever Tree self titled set while the Youngblood’s have both ’all my dreams blue’ and ’sham’ pressed up on a limited 1000 issue 7 inch. – must admit we can’t get enough of these pranksters, no sooner do we despatch eager helpers to file away (to much grumbles) their debut release ‘ba lal poussiere’ (a review of which you’ll find either somewhere here or else on some recently posted missive) then we get a rather lovely little note of thanks along with a friend request giving us an excuse (as if we needed one) to check out the sounds looming on their my space page and bugger us if we’re not much loving and smitten of ’el chuppakabra’ which unless our ears do need syringing sounds to us like some left to slowly stew cross weaved art rock hybrid of Thomas Mapfumo, Konono No.1, the Contortions, Captain Beefheart and ’flowers’ era Public Image LTD types all seemingly locked into the same studio space and each determined to stamp their own aural jiggery pokery on to the proceedings, a bonkers as hell schizoid beauty leathered by intricately drilled post rock dialects, deranged and punctuated seizure wired time signatures and skewed world jazz braids – a kind of one stop party pack if you ask me. – again another combo who we’ve recently had the pleasure of mentioning courtesy of their split release with Crossing the Rubicon via the newly formed Three Fist imprint (see elsewhere here) which resulted in a message from Dave from the band alerting us to the fact that their debut full length was currently in the workshop being serviced its finishing coat – its arrival at a record mart near you pencilled in for spring next year. So being the nosy blighters we are – we decided it was high time to have a gander at the wares available on their my space player. And hell are we glad we did for tucked between two cuts that feature on their aforementioned split you’ll find the rag-taggle scowl of ’fights’ – a bruising bastard of a cut it has to be said laced aplenty with an acutely agitated aggression that ruptures to scathing effect blessed as it is with a front line armoury of lacerating needle picked math contortions that rampantly unravel to jar and jab viciously amid your headspace as though a bloodied last man standing face off between Part Chimp and Jesus Lizard was at play. Caustic stuff young folk.

Reading wise – a present we have our noses stuck in several books mentions of which you should find littered throughout no doubt with frequent annoyance in these very pages. However the one that is proving to be the most satisfying so far by some distance is Mick Middles tome ‘the Fall’. admittedly its been out for a fair while (this being the recently updated version) and ordinarily we’d have snapped this up on sight – however – so disappointed were we with Mark E Smith’s painfully erratic and inconsistent (ghost written) ‘renegade’ publication (also first published early this year) that we passed over this book in a defiant fit – shall we say – of pique. Picked up on a recent visit to our local Borders – unhappily in its death throes and something which we must admit has troubled us of late not since because we used to love this particular shop mainly for its friendliness and wide selection of imported music magazines – the likes of which will now no doubt disappear given that WH Smith’s – the obvious beneficiaries of Borders demise – will continue their drab display of magazine distribution. Anyway enough grumbling – and as said currently our favourite page turning obsession ’the fall’ sees long time friend and fan Middles stirring Smith in coherent direction and crafting for once with wit, intelligence and personal recollection an absorbing read that refreshingly comes across like a Fall book that doesn’t try to preach to you what the Fall are about, or mean or ram down your throat some ill-gotten and misunderstood pseudo socio political thesis written by some over zealous wordsmith whose obviously missed the whole point from the start. As Smith is at pains to point out the Fall are pure and simply a by product of his ’instinct’ and one would imagine whim – it’s a rare and priceless quality and something that the late John Peel grasped when he remarked of the them ’always different, always the same’. published by omnibus press.

Here’s a little moving picture action of Smith and Co doing the Big Bopper’s ‘White lightning’….

Those of you searching long and hard for a present for the discerning record lover in your life may well do yourselves a favour bagging a copy of ‘the Wire primers’ – the Primer has been something of a flag ship mainstay of the monthly publication since December 1996 (Karlheinz Stockhausen was the subject for the first and happily features here), it has proved to be an invaluable resource and entry level discovery point of the sounds / genres and artists operating in Wire’s sphere of critical interest. Each written both from the twinned perspectives of critical appraisal and fan like awe, these authoritative accounts have enthusiastically shone the light on a varied and disparate melodic underworld, typically eclectic in choice they serve as a much need navigating tool providing purchasing / listening recommendations to the informed and well versed as well as offering the novice a clearly signposted invitation to a body of work / genre previously unheard. Within its 200 pages ‘the Wire primers’ gathers together 19 such articles – in the main featuring archive raiding reprints of some of the more well known and established (Beefheart, James Brown, Fela Kuti, AMM et al) along with items previously published but revisited and revised purely for this gathering (the Fall, Ornette Coleman, Dubstep, Stockhausen, Cage and Sonic Youth) and finished off with three previously unpublished commentaries on Zappa, the noise scene and Derek Bailey. Mind you if you invest in it as a potential present you might want to consider throwing in a suitably sized record token in order to no doubt feed the recipients want for the new found sounds they’ve discovered. ;published by Verso Books –

Machinefabriek ‘slovensko’ (eatsleeprepeat). A few weeks ago we received a mysterious red and white calling card – upon it our address and contact details on one side and over on the flip an email address simply stated as – I must admit to being all at once concerned, puzzled and curious. We typed in said address only to receive an error message. That’s strange we thought. A further clue was revealed by way of an email contact. Again only this time with a growing sense of concern, puzzlement and curiosity we despatched an enquiring email. And waited. A reply was eagerly received had we signed up inadvertently to some anti-establishment forum the kind usually tempered and propagated by the likes of Messrs Drummond and Orridge. Instead we were directed to a further web site. The puzzle was unfolding and the chase continued merrily. was the name of the linking web page, with graphics looking not unlike those utilised by those nice people over at both Expanding and Trensmat – EatSleepRepeat is a new label promising – well we’ll let them take that up in their own words –

‘Welcome to, a new label created simply to serve the uncompromising expressions of alternative, drone, electronic, experimental jazz, krautrock, minimalist and post-rock movements.
The site is a little bare at the moment while we sort out some things but plenty more disinformation will be added in the near future‘.

The label promises future outings from Expo 70, Black to Comm and Eric Chenaux – first up though for their debuting release a limited 7 inch from Dutch aural alchemist MachineFabriek or as he’s better know to the underground cognoscenti Rutger Zuydervelt. Clocking in at around 14 minutes in total this tastily tailored seven inch features two glimpses into Machinefabriek’s intricate sound craft. The base framework for ’slovensko’ (parts 1 and 2) was inspired by field recordings collected on a digital recorder during a visit to Slovakia in September (we’re assuming 2009 and not as noted in the press release – 2010 – in which case we here are thinking that Mr Zuydervelt has secret access to time travel – which would indeed make this a truly unique and exceptional release). By way of some applied sonic manipulation via a laptop and some carefully cultured editing, cutting and pasting of the gathered sound files, Machinefabriek concocts a curiously sparsely soothing albeit desolate melodic landscape, a glitch drone collage blending and freewheeling between moments of earthiness and elements of tensely coiled foreboding, though as some wit once said the devil is in the detail, the detail here being the subterranean undercurrents continually ebbing and flowing, evolving, mutating to turn and twist and shape shift with a fluid fascination – references to 70 Gwen Party would not appear out of place though it’s the more spectral speaker spooking periods of unsettling disquiet found of the work of Muslim Gauze that may well strike a relevant chord. File under epically minimalist. Flip over for ’cast 2’ – a little more forthright in design than its predecessor and in some ways structured seemingly to reflect a reverse mirror image in so far as the impacting sun burst scalding noise quotient arrives face on from the start and then dissipates to a calming lull though happily that finds itself tempered by a degree of decidedly unhinged to be viewed with lights on from behind the sofa glassy globes of spine tingling eeriness. Goes without saying that you need this instantly in your life.

Expect further Machinefabriek action somewhere later in these very pages when we cast an eye over his collaboration with Tim Catlin for the esteemed Low Point imprint.

As is a typical with these things – the productive gestation issues we’ve had in getting this missive together so on and so forth – our Christmas treat came a day early in the guise of two releases gratefully received here at the snow capped singled out shed of sounds – a rather wonderful cassette compilation put out by those rather nice Fruits de Mer / Bracken entitled ‘we come bearing gifts’ more of which about we’ll reveal a little later – and secondly the second 7 inch from the eatsleeprepeat camp……..

Eric Chenaux ‘warm weather’ (eatsleeprepeat). Not strictly out for a month or so but all the same deserving of a heads up this release features two suites by the highly regarded Eric Chenaux, part of the much admired Constellation set Chenaux is something of a workaholic with a recording CV stretching back some two decades, having cut his teeth on the post rock underground with Phleg Camp – recent years have seen him expanding his sonic repertoire to incorporate lounge jazz and fried improv (think I’m right in saying that both nightjars and the reveries have been mentioned in some form or other in previous despatches), often compared with the late Derek Bailey in terms of his improvisation prowess, it’d be more true to true to say that Chenaux is a purist of the bruised ballad with the emphasis on melody being given centre of attention – his compositions creak with a strangely off set passion, spectral and seemingly threadbare they are endowed by an archaic alchemy that’s both lilting and haunting (we suggest you head without further delay to his my space page at and partake in the delight that is ’rest your delights’ a kind of Palace Brothers meets Radiohead re-sculptured by Three Mile Pilot. Best described as heart hurting archaic spiritualist folk montages Chevaux offers up two distinctly polar portrayals of his artistry on this ultra limited seven inch outing, ’le vieux favori 4’ suffuses guitar and melodica in a most rewarding way, like some celebratory Celtic fanfare streaming through the fog bound wilderness, this mind expanding reverie weaves and woos with a strange detached fascination that should appeal in equal parts to fans of both Ivor Cutler and Flying Saucer Attack. Flip the disc for the near gemlike ’warm weather’ – shyly romantic and frosted with a twinkling soft centre, the deftly fingered skeletal rustic fretwork is found beautifully woven upon a fragile and frail framework that’s blessed with a beguiled albeit bitterly sweet introspective glow to which you can do nothing but be arrested by in the company of.

Okay those of you nearing the vicinity of the Union Chapel this Saturday (12th) should consider yourselves cordially invited to a very special Arctic Circle evening featuring a select seasonal gathering of Notwist, Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra and the Sleeping Years – tickets for which are in very short supply. By way of a taster of what to expect the ever wonderful Arctic Circle brethren have made available a free to download zip file featuring contributions from the aforementioned array of talent which you can access from – the Sleeping Years stump up the bitter sweetly tearfully touching ‘katherine cove’ – typically graced with the kind of trademark lush presentation that we’ve all come tol love and indeed expect of them this forlornly scripted love note trembles and treads snow bound landscapes beautifully brittle and braided by the succulent swirl and arc of aching string arrangements and the lilting canter of shy eyed keys – utterly arresting is I think the description I’m struggling towards. Notwist for their part of the bargain offer up a Grizzly Bear recalibration of ’boneless’ – again touched with a certain something approaching exquisite, this frost bound slice of glitch traced minimalist throb pop should appeal first and foremost to admirers of Tunng as it slyly sneaks up on you from behind with its off centred chilled tweaked effervescence to embrace you all aglow with a warming fuzzy felt feeling. All said though its Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra’s ’gamma Pluto delta’ which attracts our affections. Indescribably gorgeous – elements of Nyman flirt with heart racing succulence amid a pulsing cornucopia of lounge dialects, retro kitsch traced jazz mirages and library exotica, here’s you’ll find the straying echoes Tank, Henry Mancini, Lalo Schifrin, Tubby Hayes and Stereolab rubbing shoulders with the kind of no boundaries genre fusing application of they came from the stars and crafting out of sumptuous slab of mind melting kaleidoscopic calypso.

Guy Hamper Trio ‘polygraph test’ (damaged goods). We’re kind of getting confused in our old age – but through the haze of a failing memory speckled with a growing incompetence we here swear we’ve mentioned the Guy Hamper Trio kin some shape or form in these very pages not withstanding the fact that this ultra limited die cut housed custom sleeved 500 only pressing is being billed as their debut release. Ho hum. Anyway whatever the case its damn smart, two Billy Childish penned ditties for your brow raising listening consumption with Hamper and wife along with Wolf Howard who on this occasion are accompanied by ex Prisoners man James Taylor. Of course its Billy Childish again in another of his guises this time opting for spot of jazz punk and bugger us ’polygraph test’ is laced with so much far out and zany Hammond sounds that for a second we thought we’d somehow fallen through a time tunnel straight back into the sixties, a damn fine brew of sassy tail feather shaking acid jazz boogie that should sit quite prettily exchanging notes alongside that recently released full length by Big Boss Man for the Blow Up imprint – totally smoking and arrives replete with fuzzy flashbacks. Flip over for the equally inspired uber cooled shade adorning ’sally sensation’ for more of the same sly handed wig flipped loosely limbering kookiness – sounds like these dudes are having way to much fun if you ask me.

Quartershade ‘statues’ (yellow noise). No strangers to these pages and unless we are very much mistaken a much welcomed surging shot of speaker spanking brittle and blistering pop. About you in an instant the rampaging ’statues’ is a hulking brute of a cut, pierced and ablaze with soaring riffs all cut to the core and nailed firm to the floor with a volcanic angst ridden urgency all buttressed and breached by a pulse racing dynamic so strut laced and rampaging it should come equipped with health warnings as to its potential onset for a coronary failure or at the very least some bruising hi-fi meltdown. Recommended in case you hadn‘t worked out that bit for yourself.

French for Cartridge ‘oooh’ (dance with daisy). Many many years ago huddled up to a rickety transistor the strange sounds of ‘birthday’ by the Sugarcubes crackled and cooed from out of the ether courtesy of the nightly grooved play list of the late John Peel. It was strange and curious mixing eeriness with enchantment. A few years earlier their had been the quite unmistakably kooky sounds of the Frank Chickens aired by the same much missed platter player. While in recent times the crooked charms of Serafina Steer have on more than one occasion tweaked our radar and sent our senses into pathways veering towards deranged befuddlement. And your point being – you might reasonably ask. Well its simply like this dear hearts – from the moment that ’oooh’ the debut release from French for Cartridge rears into view on to the turntable and out of the speakers an almost instant recall is upon me wherein I’m transported and reliving the same first encounters as way laid me the moment I initially heard the aforementioned trio of cuts. Of course ’oooh’ isn’t really their debut release – well okay arguably it is – a tweaking of the line up and a slight name change later – they were originally known as Cartridge – an ensemble who I deeply suspect may well have featured in these pages at some point or other. Featuring ex members of Luxembourg and Scandinavia (was that the same Luxembourg who spawned the post fall out careers of Melting Ice Caps and Jonny Cola and the A Grades I hear you cry). Anyway enough of that ’oooh’ is delicious, daft and just a tad dippy, crooked time signatures, impromptu melodic meanders delightfully possessed of an abstractly drawn childlike naivety that comes across at any given point both fried and bonkers not to mention ghostly, dreamy, surreal and alarmingly cute – kind of gathering of Brecht and Weill types scoring some tripped out musical odyssey out of the crooked recesses of Lear’s kaleidoscopically creative mind. flip the disc for the autumnal inflections of ’picture negative’ found here offering a wholly differing and delicious kettle of fish, quietly unassuming there’s a gracefully slender majesty at work here that warrants the blossoming of a strangely fuzzy glow upon the listener, a mid west cosiness scratched by a delicately hushed soft psyche top coat much recalling ‘white room’ era Archer Prewitt albeit as though tenderly harnessed by a super chilled ‘durable dream’ era Moviola – class in our books I think you’ll find. Single of the missive.

The BDI’s ‘it was not serious’ (self released). I must admit we here owe a massive apology to the BDI’s (formerly the Panda Gang) – I think it might have been Ian from the band who kindly sent over MP3’s of the bands second album ‘glorious return’ (which incidentally is by all accounts doing brisk business over in Japan at present – a full official UK release is mooted for early 2010). Anyhow it seems we may have inadvertently mislaid said cuts and indeed emails (migrations to new computers so on and so forth) so give us a wee while to sort out the glitches. For now though and serving as a taster for that aforementioned imminent second full length this tasty twin set, quite frankly impeccable stuff, three part harmonies, sumptuously crafted with an eye for the smoked and sophisticated, both ‘it was not serious’ and it’s accompanying flip cut ‘original version’ are air brushed with such an exquisitely out of step with current trends song craft that you’d be forgiven for thinking that these gems were unearthed treasures from another musical age or else the trio had somehow recently awoken from a near forty year coma and in the process had completely bypassed the coming and going of the intervening decades’ sound fashions. Delicately decoded with their now trademark smoked soul sound, the BDI’s are one of pop’s rare resources, in Brent Thorley they have a singer who if you didn’t know better you’d swear was a young Smokey Robinson and whose tones are blessed with such emotional dexterity as to cause admirers of classically trained Motown / Stax et al sounds from yesteryear swoon in envy. These finitely drawn nuggets tug and purr with a timeless detail ‘it was not serious’ in particular lilts and smoulders with the kind of silken brush stroked breeziness as is befitting the mercurial talent that is Difford / Tilbrook albeit dashed with the kind of flightiness of a youthfully honed Ben Folds 5. That said we here are rather more smitten by the shy eyed treat that is ’original version’ over on the flip, the sound looser and readily more playful in texture is caressed by a becoming off centred sun kissed west coast sourced funky drill – blissfully radiant stuff.

The Scratch ‘teen idol’ (pony land). Getting near the end of the year – a time when most mags / sites turn their attention to listing their favourite moments of the year – we here of course have none of that though if we did you can bet your backside that hogging paragraphs of much devoted praise you’d find St Albans spiked pop tops the Scratch warranting much deserved admiration – here’s a video for their current swoon fest ‘teen idol’ culled from their riff rupturing retro extravaganza ’whatever happened to Friday nights’ which of course as you all know every home should own ……..

And did we just mention Autumnal things a little earlier well here’s the second instalment of Autumn Ferments celebrated Seasonal Seven Series….

Pamela Wyn Shannon / the Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree ’split’ (autumn ferment). Alarmingly gorgeous is this, pressed up on wood stove burnt vinyl – alright then brown wax to you – and there’s me trying to create a little mystique – really I do wonder why I bother sometimes. Anyway the much anticipated second instalment of Autumn Ferments seasonal sevens series is upon us, the series intended and indeed dedicated to celebrating the four seasons – those being summer, autumn, winter and spring and alas not the Frankie Valli led combo of the same name – will be heralded by the arrival of an ultra limited 7 inch release featuring a groove sharing feast of tunes marking the occasion. Last time out treats were abound with summer’s offering which saw the pairing of Emily Scott and Helene Renaut. Now for Autumns turn and a beautifully leaf bearing treat it is to. Pamela Wyn Shannon takes up residency on one side, relocated these days from the States to Wales ’woolgathering’ culled from her 2007 ’courting Autumn’ full length is simply spellbinding, a lushly bathed slice of bliss laden and lilting timeless folk craft speckled with enchantment, a seductive courtship of a long forgotten archaic melodic tapestry woven from a secret source of a would be love potion that enlists the aid of all manner of sounds to its bow from the creaking tones of a spinning wheel, the distant bleating of sheep and the gentle unassuming caress of souring string arrangements which once all gathered up merrily dance an alluring rustic woodland waltz. Flip over for Ireland’s mysterious and excellently named collective the Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree. Our only grumble here is that its too brief for its own good, again an old recording this one culled from their long out of print ’the middle leaf’ set from a few years back the sweetly bitter and reflective ’blackthorn tree’ is their side of the bargain – a sensitively stirring and breezy beauty that’s blessed with lolloping banjo braids and a flighty free spirited flute detailing, sparse in texture humbled and homely in execution and delivery, its winter bound gaelic charm and campfire introspection may in its wake leave you a tad low and tearful. A bruised gem.

Extreme O.D. ‘This is the End’ (self released). Clues I guess are apparent for all to detect from their name alone, be warned this ain’t cosy or easy listening. ’this is the end’ features three festering cuts of grimly sapping oblivion, its a towering set that sees the Stoke based grim lords of grind upping the ante and serving warning as to their arrival on the metal scene, the set nothing less than blood thirsty and volcanic is scarred and devoured by a wretched wrath bearing dynamic, of course it’s the lead out track ’this is the end’ that’ll be the subject of admiring glances and fondly woven appraisals from the rock critic wordsmiths a scowling brute it is to and indeed much befitting of its title given its apocalyptic dressings. But we advise the more intrepid of you to brace yourself and go in search of ‘renounce’ – a darker more pensive affair that prowls about with an innate sullen menace making you feel the hunted rather than the hunter while simultaneously finding itself equipped in a gripping darkly coated industrial sheen – mind you all said we are much loving of the parting ’own worst enemy’ – a searing heads bowed no nonsense and no prisoners taking grizzled and growling slab of bad boogie that sounds like on leaving hells furnace it was kissed, handed a sandwich box and bade farewell to do evil deeds.

The Man from another place ‘the loneliest cowboy’ EP (meerkat). The much anticipated debut from the mysteriously named the Man from Another Place whose real identity I’m sure we’ve managed to reveal in a previous despatches though for now we’ll settle for Dan of Edinburgh. We first stumbled across TMFAP while doing a spot research on 88 tapes way back sometime last year – in fact there have been frequent sightings of TMFAP in these pages since – mainly due to the fact that we here are positively smitten by the stuff. Best described as a porch lit moonshine swigging get together of Oddfellows Casino, Go Team, Mike Post, L’Augmentation, the Heartstrings (check out the rather out of step and out of time ‘guess who’s back in time’ – simply exquisite) and Morricone types with Burt Bacharach as their host. Better still the author himself described the aural odyssey within as ’soundtrack music from a lost film’. listening to the five tracks featured ‘the loneliest cowboy’ there’s a sense of being awash by a veritable cornucopia of styles and moods, one minute it’s the souring reflective nature of Post’s most memorable TV themes, the next extensions of Morricone’s playfulness as revealed via his soundtrack for the Spaghetti western epic ‘once upon a time in the west’ specifically the scenes featuring Jason Robards’ ‘Cheyenne’ character – none more so is this the case than on the flotillas of inebriated banjos that find themselves lolloping with crisp lazy eyed mischief across the title cut abridged with the winter-esque brush strokes of sighing brass fanfares much nodding in the direction of Brighton’s much admired Oddfellow Casino’s debut full length. Elsewhere there’s the sweetly bitter swansong reprise like lilts of the Post meets Ronald Binge’s ’sailing by’ or the gorgeously smoked library sound lull of the marimba drenched ’IYS’ to send you into untold chilled raptures. All said our current favourite moment (it changing each and every time we hear these tracks) is the parting ‘Spelunking (part 1)’ which finds itself operating in worlds previously advanced by Stereolab in their ’dots and loops’ phase albeit as previously noted in past appraisals given a tightly grooved Studio 54 facelift and then tweaked by a flirty Giorgio Moroder. And with that there’s not a lot more I can say other than to recommend you get this into your life as soon as. Joint single of the missive. Any questions. Thought not.

Haunted Shack Theater #15 – the Halloween special no less – more creeping transmissions in the company of your ghoulishly genial host Uncle Wah Wah – a slight departure from the normal format this one forsaking the usual b-movie double bill chill and opting for a shrieking slice of uncanny un-holiness, blade wielding bloodbaths, grim supernatural tales from beyond – all bites, frights, Lugosi, Poe, chainsaw wielding Texans and Komeda.

Get Drunk and Play Records #82 – another Halloween hoe down albeit less on the splatter, gore and entrails and more on the beer, belching and brazened bad boogie, a toe tapping, hip wiggling popcorn double feature of tasty tuneage and teen beat turntable turn ons from the 60‘s and beyond – some unearthed nuggets here like the opening salvo from the Choir with ’it’s cold outside’ which sounds admittedly a mite like ’eve of destruction’ at times, some Byrds, some rarely heard Deep Purple groove in the shape of ’Kentucky woman’ which according to some wikipedia sources was considered at the time to be the first heavy metal record, some locomotive racing primitive rockabilly from Ray Wilson, a more than welcomed whiff of Gene Vincent meets Eddy C sounds of Wisconsin’s own Johnny Edwards and the White Caps, the Beau Brummels and Bubble Puppy’s immortal ’hot smoke and sasafrass’ a flipped and wigged out fusion of freak beat mod and psychedelic blues.

Expect more Garagepunk pods in the coming days – mainly because we’ve been neglecting the blighters – for now though here’s a billed as re-booted, enhanced and expanded oldie from Mal Thursday – this Halloween special was originally aired in 2006 but now available as a super duper MP3 type thing via – a quick at the play list reveals a gathering of tasty licks from Fred Neil, the Royal Guardsmen, the Classics IV, the Security Blankets, Ella Washington and much more…….

Beat the Radar ‘18, 19, 20, 21, 22’ (akoustik anarchy). To the sound of much grumbling in our gaff we appear to be somewhat light on this lots debut single ‘telephone conversation’ via the same label which garnered airplay aplenty we’ll have you know via certain up to the mark in tuned folk over at BBC’s 1 and 6. Culled from their forthcoming ‘from the city to the sea’ debut full length platter – already the cause of flying sparks through our speakers and stylus ‘,22.…’ is a tear arsing nugget of such chest beating anthem sized euphoria you feel almost obliged to sign up immediately to the nearest cavalry, find a decent sized hill to descend down upon en masse with this blighter as your war cry. Filleted with rapid fire drills of needling post punk riffage whose sole purpose you suspect aside sending your hi-fi into near fits of frenzy is to jab, spar, jar and sting you out of your complacent comfort zone all the time serviced with acute adrenalin popping chorus hooks the size of skyscrapers and detailed with an intent to cause your transistor to spontaneously combust – now remind me – what is there not to love.

Shindig #2/13 and psychotic reaction – we happened upon something of an early Xmas double treat when we spied and indeed picked up from the stands of our local newsagent not just the latest issue of Shindig but a bumper sized special put out by the same beat grooved dudes entitled ‘psychotic reaction’. Alas we haven’t had time to read these cover to cover so we’ll just briefly mention them in passing. Without doubt the best written and most eye catching magazine to be found on the high street news stands not counting the equally authoritative ‘Classic Prog‘ publication, #13 features Procul Harum on the cover. Inside its your usual cornucopia of strangely fried fuzzy delights among the gathered brethren features on weird folk-ists Fresh Maggots, Cob and Heron; the lost sounds of the Litter; the composer responsible for the legendary themes for Jason King and the Avengers – Laurie Johnson – who is currently the subject – if I recall rightly of a triple deluxe CD retrospective; a six page Britsploitation special with an additional chance to win a copy of that excellent ’psychomania’ OST unearthed by those strange sound archivists Trunk – while talking of comps International Artists usual advertisement spec on the back cover notes that the exhaustive 10 CD 13th Floor Elevators set ’sign of the three eyed man’ has all but sold out with only one copy remaining signed by Roky himself and being offered up for grabs by logging into their website. Elsewhere there’s news of a book, EP and possible reunion show in the offing by the Fleur De Lys; volume 2 of that rather crucial Bomp book from a year or so ago and literally shed loads of reviews – not for those who get squeamish at the sight of blokes aplenty with basin hardos, wearing scarfs and floral prints. If that wasn’t enough to get your psychedelic radar all chemically frazzled there’s a corking one off special entitled ’psychotic reaction’ to be tracked down, purchased and savoured. Unsurprisingly a 60’s garage special comprised of articles salvaged from the archives of Shindig augmented by a host of new essays and interviews featuring some of the major players of this most rich and fertile scene. Inside you’ll find spots on the Standells, the Sonics, the Rationals, Count Five and We the People along with focus’ on some of the lesser known and celebrated acts working the in crowds in San Francisco – the Spyders, the Gotham City Crimefighters, the Harbinger Complex – and the Tampa Bay area – the Tropics, the Roemans and the Outsiders. Add to the mix and extended feature on the Pleasure Seekers – featuring the combined talents of the Sisters Quatro with yes – a young Suzi and a retrospective of garage in the movies featuring forgotten nuggets such as village of the giants (Beau Brummels), the Cool Ones (the Leaves), Pyche Out (the Seeds and Strawberry Alarm Clock) and It’s a bikini World (the Cataways). Priceless stuff.

Observer Music Monthly #74 – continuing to disappoint I’m sad to say is the OMM which arrived in today’s copy of the Observer – still appearing to be suffering from its summer vacation hangover issue 74 is the most lack lustre edition to date – apart from Mr Lydon discussing his ‘soundtrack of my life’, a spot on Muse and a few brief quotes culled from Tom Waits ‘glitter and doom’ – oh and some X Factor baiting by Tony Morley and a spot on a forthcoming Lennon biopic there’s little more with which to recommend this once excellent read now somewhat sidelined.

Daniel Land and the Modern Painters ‘love songs for the chemical generation’ (St Cecilia). We happened to mention this lot to much admiring glances and jaw dropped admiration a few months ago when we happily happened upon the delicately demurring sounds filtering from out of their my space site. Oh you remember the one where we observed and related with affection abundance the fact that we spent our youthful learning years at a school named after St Cecilia – the patron saint of music I’ll have you know whilst not forgetting to comment upon the yearning slenderness of Mr Land‘s vocals awash, glazed and serenaded by the sumptuous surrendering surge of silken star crossed sheens of dream woven sound-scapes. a replying email to those aforementioned words revealed an album that was currently at the sprucing up and completion stage. several months on and that eagerly awaited full length has arrived. ’love songs for the chemical age’ is its name and an absolutely gorgeous thing it is to, a delicately spun dream coat of bliss fuelled dream pop loveliness all at once measured, murmuring and majestic, one we feel ripe for those whose listening tastes occupy the echoing ethereal ether breaching melodic shape shifts of Chapterhouse, Cocteau Twins, Kitchens of Distinction and Slowdive (none more so than on ‘run silent run deep‘). featured amid these grooves you’ll find retreated takes of the previously ’Locust’ (a beautifully introspective moment wrapped by aching crystalline curvatures of crisply serviced forlorn hollowing that orbits left of centre from an aural axis more familiarly traded by Robin Guthrie), ’off your face again’ (undoubtedly the sets key note moment – a lushly choreographed free spirited angel christened with lilting frost flecked chime tones that soon thaw, stretch, awake and unfurl into a breathless tide of colourised showers of heart arresting jet streamed spectral symphonics) and the hymnal hush of ’the magic in my head’ (which unless our ears do deceive at times nibbles ever so gently upon the coda to Sting’s ’fields of gold’ albeit as though buried deep in snow drifts). Also included are the forthcoming singles – the homely spun frost tipped and shy eyed ’glitterball’ and ’smiling in slow motion’ replete with its pulse purring countrified tweaks and love tipped bows of sky lighting steel guitars. where ‘love songs for the chemical generation’ excels is its ability to capture a homely winter-esque glow that’s enhanced and charmed by an inescapable sense of nuzzling warmth, its dulcet hypnotic tonalities serenade and swoon betraying both an undeniable feeling of hurt and hope whilst offering a safe haven for the romantic and those seeking solace. it’s a beautified carnival dappled and dimpled by the forlorn frosted framing of star lit stratospheric sirens, here the sugar rushed gemstone of effects laden tip toeing glacial glides are mercurially .married with an often found hymnal stillness and eloquence, the crystalline signatures lilt and lull with a tender celebratory touch the type of which are so often referred as cathedral-esque in some quarters yet to us appear here with healing properties. while we may have already noted ’off your face again’ as being the sets centrepiece it should be noted that ’benjamin’s room’ is no slouch in the ’bugger me that’s good’ stakes – a bit like imagining a very youthful pedal pushing Verve b-side being found cosy-ing up to the Dream Academy while elsewhere there’s the stately shimmer tones of the looping chime caresses of the radiant softly purred euphoria of the statuesque ‘codeine’ to contend yourselves with. An absolute gem and one best viewed by the snuggling up to a loved one with lights dimmed we suspect.

Wye Oak ‘the knot’ (affairs of the heart). alas we missed out on hearing – nay – savouring Wye Oak’s debut release from few years back – ‘if children’ described in passing as a shoe gazed psyche pop nugget of ‘youthful love and dread in distortion’ were the first murmurs of Maryland, Baltimore friends Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner – collectively gathering under the Wye Oak banner. several years on – the distortion remains yet the shoe gazing fascination appears somewhat dimmed, in its place a head bowed and impenetrable dark Americana mid west drift resides in its place. for ‘the knot’ is an album that touches in the most curious of ways, apart from being a collection of songs scoured and pitted with such a scarred passion that you deeply suspect its secret agenda is to prize itself from the grooves to simultaneous strangle and serenade you in an instant, its also an album that once stripped of its world weary want is darkly romantic and richly rewarding as it coils with maddening ease in to your psyche. its union of swaying swathes of souring strings, rupturing riffs, dust ridden epitaphs and mellowed melancholia (best exemplified by the resolve draining and scarring love noted ‘take it in’) have I won’t deny found their way to the forefront of our comforting listening list during the daily drudge of travels to and from work of late. from the sound of the bell at the beginning of the opening cut ’milk and honey’ your immediately drawn into Wye Oak’s bruised and simmering world, a world of shadow fallen brooding intimacy fraught with moments of confessional lulls and tormented intensity much like an emotionally frazzled Delgados courting a similarly distressed Beach House. as said ‘milk and honey’ opens proceedings sounding not unlike a burdened soul starched shanty as imagined by Black Heart Procession itself freefalling with symmetrical ease into the airily drifting ‘for prayer’ wherein between moments of reflective whispers the maddening pangs of twisted riffs fire up with a turbulent sting before exiting stage left down a corralling caustic countrified path. elsewhere there’s the stripped to the core hurt of the tear streaked ‘talking about money’ and the hollowed hymnal murmuring opine of ‘Mary is Mary’ the latter fractured by a quietly engaged sensually haunting aspect that resonates with a deeply set longing with the former shimmer glazed with the bitter sweet looping of corteges of spiral spun chimes. its not all doom, gloom and hurt – in fact its not doom, gloom and hurt at all but you know what I’m saying – for ‘Siamese’ sparkles and shines like salutary solar rays lighting up an autumnal scene, the opining strings and the lightly toned countrified curvatures colliding succulently with demurring deftness, and if that doesn’t warm the heart cockles there’s always the celebratory verve of ‘tattoo’ to smother you in all manner of warmth filled homecoming hues as it jubilantly breaches the horizons with its coalescing cocktail of fuzz drenched jubilance. best moment of the set by far though is the hollowed and buckled sparsely wound bleached blues of the crippled ache of ‘that I do’ – never at any point throughout ‘the knot’ does Wasner sound so vulnerably cast to the fates like a forlorn and wounded PJ Harvey which leaves ’sight flight’ to bring up the rear guard and sounding to these ears not so dissimilar to something concocted by a meeting of Moviola and Snares and Kites – classy eh.

Sone Institute ‘curious memories’ (front and follow). Ah – Sone Institute – last spied romancing our hi-fi with oodles of spell crafted sonic wooziness on the criminally limited ‘silver leaves and woolly dreams’ EP which if memory serves well came accompanied with pressed leaves in limited quantities of 60 only. think we are right in saying his debut outing for the esteemed Front and Follow troupe, the title itself should go someway to giving hint as to what to expect here, without doubt Roman Bezdyk’s most accomplished and dare we say accessible release to date for ‘curious memories’ is a sumptuously cooked fry up of lounge dialects, library accents, dub aspects, noir codas and general all around woozy wanders into the vast underworld of strange pop and just like that recently released corker by the Council Flats of Kingsbury via Uncharted Audio another outing that’s sure to have the radars of those dudes over at Trunk records pinging furiously. of course those of you foolish to ignore our praised words earlier in the year with regard to the aforementioned ‘silver leaves’ may well have cause to breath a sigh of relief given that some if not all that sets cuts feature among these chilled and serenely sophisticated baubles – well we say we think because bugger us we can’t lay our hands on the blighter at this given moment. Anyhow fourteen weirdly wonderful wonky wanderers are woven onto this surreally impish suite to collectively reveal Bezdyk’s ever widening appetite for all things a little – shall we say – off centre and somewhere else, his sonic palette has developed to such an extent that a various points throughout ’curious memories’ don’t be to surprised if hear the distant echoes of Budd (the glassy spectral effects applied to ‘steps to the sun – part 2‘), Goldsmith (especially on the latter half of futuro jitter funk groove of ‘the wind began to switch’ where the mood takes of a distinctly exotically psych set dream woven tread), Gamley (the introspective noir down tempo timbres of the solace primed ‘french woods’), Barry (none more so than on hallucinogenic spy theme warps of the mind weaving ‘burnt land‘), Komeda, Satie, Autechre, early career Go Team (just check out the Meek meets ‘legend of Xanadu‘ space waltz with kaleidoscopic ‘fool on the hill‘ mirages ’on tree hill’), Broadcast, Plone and Emperor Penguin bleached, bundled and baked into this hazy light headed mix. It’s a melodic palette that owes much to the genre bending vision and creativity of Cornelius and something that in recent memory draws comparable notes with that very excellent Winston Giles Orchestra full length ’soundtracks for sunrise’ from a year or three ago. here you’ll find the chic chamber lounge of the lysergic ’lazy London ways’ trippily rubbing shoulders with the cavernous calm of the lolloping sleepy headed bliss breezed sighs of the serenading orbital shanty weaves of ‘plane sailing songs’ itself found much furrowing pastures previously ventured by Adam Franklin on his debut Toshack Highway full length whilst simultaneously teased with momentary pastoral follies. Elsewhere the lulling interweaving cycles find themselves momentarily broken by the brooding atmospherics of the sinister ‘hobbyhorse’ (a la Add N to X) while the simply enchanting ‘tea for four’ impishly plays peek a boo amid some erstwhile make believe magic woodland as inhabited by a mixture of Postgate and Camberwick Green types. utterly arresting stuff.

and just for the hell of it here’s a sprightly little video to accompany ‘London heir’ curiously not on this set – very Radiophonic Workshop meets Tony Hart – so there – smoke that.

Ólöf Arnalds ‘Við og Við’ (one little indian). ready for something a little frail, fragile, haunting and not to mention enchanting. something perhaps best savoured in the quietened still moments offered during the hours when most right minded folk sleep. Something maybe mesmerising, magical and quite possibly not of this world. enter stage left the shy eyed twinkle some ghostly folk of Iceland’s Olof Arnalds.- a name that some of you may well recognise from her appearance among the ranks of Mum, Mugison, Slowblow et al. this album originally saw the light of day in her native Iceland in 2007 and has since assumed admiring glances in the US with the likes of Paste featuring it in their top 100 listings for the year. Currently busy recording a follow up with Sigur Ros’ Kjarten Sveinsson – its release pencilled in for early next year ‘Við og Við’ finally gets its official UK outing courtesy of One Little Indian. Captivating doesn’t begin to adequately describe these ten beguiling baubles – much like that exquisite and of course essential Haruko debut ’wild geese’ released earlier this year by those ever impeccable souls over at Bracken records – Ms Arnalds occupies a landscape that is equally at home being both enchanting and eerie, ten intimately woven lullabies feature on this beautifully sparse and minimalist love note that collectively serve to bewitch and beguile, each finitely cut and serviced with such deft delicacy of emotive beauty that you cannot help but take a moments pause from the trappings and tribulations of this hectic modern life and succumb to its entrancing and silently woven graceful charms. Admirers of Vashti Bunyan and Mellow Candle may well find much to admire and swoon to here, the spectral touches, the rustic washes and the impish wood crafted chemistry of it all belies a sense of unbound wildness, the slender detailing of the delicately plucked fretwork counters a detached though hitherto warmth more commonly found on the work of the late John Fahey – none more so is this the case than on the rustic lilt provided for by the spring hued ‘englar og darar’. Yet despite all this the strange thing that sets ’Vio og Vio’ apart from the other Icelandic treats that have breached the public conscious in recent memory is despite its rich investment of Icelandic folk heritage the sounds brewing within are endowed with a curious Oriental flavouring, none more so is this the case than on the lightly fluffy and touchingly tingle some ’klara’ – it’s a theme though subtle as it is that is found woven through the albums underlying tapestry to find itself pervading throughout the set. But then lest we forget Ms Arnalds ability to draw you close and serenade you in moments of seduction and sweetly bitter solace, the latter catered admirably for by the hurting and timid ’vittu af mer’ while the former encroaches with sublime slight of hand courtesy of the hush love rush of the undulating push pull dynamic of the lullaby like ‘I nyju husi’ – which in our humbled opinion really is something to behold delicately pierced as it is with a mesmeric allure. Elsewhere there’s the breathlessly soft centred love rush of ’vio og vio’ and the sighing ‘skjaldborg’ to prize apart and peel back your failing defences whilst not forgetting the clock working picture box pit a patter of the near exquisite ’moldin’. that said the most stirring moment though comes to fruition on the frost bound and hollowing ’nattsongur’ – a trembling gem caressed by the subtle braiding of noir treatments which once accompanied by the oncoming string recitals soon blossoms and sweetly unfurls as though thawing from some ice bound prison. Touchingly timid stuff.

Record Collector #370 – features the Moz on the cover who inside is treated to a 50 rarest records special – with the former Smiths mans ebay worrying cover version of Raymonde’s ’no one can hold a candle to you’ getting top billing with a valuing of £225 whilst arriving replete in a rare promo only custom made sleeve. Andy Weatherall is invited in to show off his records for the celebrated ’collector’ feature while to tie in with their own 30th anniversary Roger Mellie of Viz lore unveils his top 10 of shittest records 1979 – a posse of usual suspects among the offenders Keegan, Rogers, Martell, Boney M, Fiddlers Dram, Cliff and ’hello this is Joannie’ by Paul Evans the latter of which for many years we underwent deep psychosis and aversion therapy with which to remove from our memory banks – so er cheers Record Collector for unhappily recalling it. Bastards. Klaus Voormann and Alan White meets for the first time in nigh on 40 years to collectively give account of their time as part of the Plastic Ono Band. This months label of love is Tapeworm who we must admit to being strangers to us while Edward Williams’ self financed 100 only private pressing ’music for life on earth’ is the subject of this issues ‘diggin for gold’ feature – of course as you all should know b y now the set has been repressed and issued by Trunk records.
With Christmas approaching with all the sly stealth of a twitter obsessed serial killer with an aversion to the discreet decked in day-glow apparel and playing horror themes full tilt on a hand held Spencer Leigh decks the hall with holly folly to reveal the 100 least likely Christmas records where you’ll find gathered around the seasonal tree of shame the likes of the Ivy League, Bobby Darin, the Crickets, Moody Blues, Emile Ford and Otis rubbing shoulders with serial seasonalists Elvis, Shaky, Barron Knights and Keith bloody Emerson – only joking about the last one – hang on no I’m not. Richard Morton Jack – author of the essential tome Galactic Ramble casts his eye over a few pre metal rarities as part of an extended two part special entitled ’1969 – the year rock got heavy’ – notables here being the Open Mind’s self titled debut for Phillips fetching these days a whopping 750 notes. This issues centrepiece though marks the 40th anniversary since the release of Nick Drake’s near perfect debut ’five leaves left’ – over 9 pages Dave Lewis faithfully unearths the story behind this nearly forgotten gem taking in along the way its pre-history, the BBC sessions and the fabled Warlock acetate.

The Little Philistines ‘bus pass’ (john riordan). More apologies indeed due this time for South London beat pop combo the Little Philistines whom it seems have tried fruitlessly tried to engage us via all means of communications these last few months to no avail. So in an attempt to breach our defences they kindly sent over their latest platter wrapped inside a hand written note telling us of their fruitless woes. We feel bad. In fact real bad considering that after some rooting around the gaff we actually unearth an intended review that was due for online patronage sometime earlier this year though sadly still appears somewhat half finished. Anyway as recompense we’ll dust down said review give it a finishing top coat and have it singing and dancing in a forthcoming pre Xmas missive. For now though and just to get things kick started and to prove that we hold no grudges there’s the small but consequential detail of their latest offering to consider. A twin set no less and a pretty nifty one at that – ’bus pass’ leads the charge, a tightly harnessed and straitjacketed slice of wiring punctuating angular pop bleached and spiked with a head jarring urgency and equipped with a pulse racing panic stricken precision that finds itself burrowing insidiously beneath your skin and causing your vital signs to go into frenzied meltdown – of particular essential listening to lovers of ’drums and wires’ era XTC. As is always the case with these things – and being the awkward buggers we are we prefer the flip cut – the shimmer toned ’Judith cut my head off’ is a head swirling sugar twist of sun bleached bubblegum groove which unless our ears are deceiving nibbles ever so gently at the soft centred fringes of the spike topped wide eyed west coast tonalities of Teenage Fanclub, the Raspberries and Velvet Crush – does it for us.

Mr Cloudy ‘sensitive crop’ (rednetic). Not one but two outings via Rednetic’s ongoing minimalist series – well I say minimalist series more in a fading hope that that is actually what its called because ooh er – I’ve – er – forgotten. Goes without saying that I think I’m right in saying that we don’t need to do the domestics on these releases – that said just for those of you who’ve been spotted nodding at the back – this series features an enviable gathering of aural alchemists much admired and respected operating on the experimental borders of the ever mutating techno / house scene, each release comes pressed up on limited quantities 3 inch CD’s (I think the actual pressing is 100 – but don’t quote me – all you need to know is that if you want one you better get hauling backside to save from tears later) all housed in bespoke sleeves. To date there have been 8 instalments – this one being the eighth and featuring the talents of a certain Mr Cloudy who to friends, family and certain government authorities is better know as Sergey Barkalov. According to the accompanying press release seems Mr Cloudy has been wowing the underground cognoscenti with releases via such trendy pulse feeling online imprints as zeecc, deepindub and Kyoto digital as well as intoxicating the masses with an acclaimed issue of ‘different lives’ for Shoreless recordings. ‘sensitive crop’ is a sumptuous mind weaving tour de force featuring four tracks clocking in for a total of 21 minutes. a kaleidoscopic dream coat of sorts that courts deep dubtronic templates with an atmospheric nocturnal countenance, the sophisticated mooching sounds built upon layers of terra-forming textures and shifting mind expanding mirages that collectively gather to craft out hypnotic inclines that are rooted firmly to the spot by fat spongy bass underpins themselves succulently woven with subtle strains of eastern promise. Sadly our copy proved to be a tad temperamental in resisting repeat plays though from what we managed to salvage we suggest this is something that should be high on the radar of admirers of sounds as wide and disparate as Dub Syndicate, Biosphere and Muslim Gauze – the latter of course in his more playful and less abstracted moods.

Gradient ‘dispersing sectors’ (rednetic). Again same label same uber limited series, instalment numero seven sees the appearance of Gradient – better known to the record buying public as Waveform and to his parents as one Igor Arsenjev – hailing from St Petersburg Gradient or indeed more precisely Waveform’s recorded CV reveals releases in the recent past for the likes of deepindub and Schall. Traversing similar mind expanding transcendental territories as aforementioned label mate Mr Cloudy, Gradient sets out his stall with a hitherto more playful prowess, less on the atmospherics and despatched with a terra-forming fluidity that again utilising utilises trance like dub techno grooves there‘s a smooching seductive side to these more playfully sculptured cuts, best experienced in some tranquil setting, the fusion of laid back down tempo textures and purring dynamic shifts calibrated by a minimalist detailing usher in a becalming stoned like bliss toned effect with ‘dispersing sectors’ especially proving the case blessed as it is with hypnotic layers of pushing motorik kraut dub beats. That said we here as per usual must admit a fondness for the seriously sparse ‘duplex’ which despite several attempts on various players struggled somewhat to play without with any degree of grief, that said from what we managed to savour there’s something impishly locked grooved afoot here – a bit like sinister ducks wafting through the ether – and before you ask yes you do need this in your life.

Further listening – go to and hook yourselves up to the labels latest release – a three track EP by Italian electro dance floor alchemist L_Cio entitled ‘Aidni’ – we suggest you download the seductively intoxicating and free spirited slice of noir swept Australasian minimalism that is ‘ori’.

Allo’ Darling ‘the Polaroid song’ (fortuna pop). More tigerish-ly tasty twee tuneage from those hit making hipsters over at fortuna pop this time courtesy of the ever some nimble and shy eyed creatures known as Allo, Darling. Led from the fore by Aussie born Elizabeth Morris and featuring the impeccable talents of a certain Terry Edwards this lot have already raised pulses to near popping levels by virtue of a debut single released earlier this year via Wee Pop which to much tutting and uttering of words such as blast, bugger and bollocks appeared to have mischievously escaped the gaze of our ever watchful radar. Currently putting the finishing coat on their as yet untitled debut full length ’the Polaroid song’ serves as a sneaky peak as to what to expect, gorgeously silken and traced with an immediate ear catching tanginess that’s crested by chirping chiming cheek burning riffs, shimmering shuffles of breeze swaying care freeness, loveably cute hip wiggling melodies the likes of which as though imagined by some impish cross wiring of the DNA’s of the Sundays with Derrero all fondly glazed in a stirringly affectionate bitter sweet afterglow of the Siddeleys. Irresistible. flip over for the equally appetizing porch prettiness of ’will you spend new years eve with me’ – sumptuously braided in an abundance of creaking acoustic loveliness shepherded by the dimpling of lolloping banjos and whistling aplenty n’ serviced with a homely off centre though ever so subtle South Pacific undertow – bit of a gem if you ask me.

Halves / Subplots ‘split’ (hate is the enemy). Third release from the hate is the enemy imprint of whom you won’t be too surprised to hear we haven’t a clue about – though we can confirm we’ve been grinding our teeth like no-one’s business at the discovery of releases numero uno and deux seemingly flying the coup and escaping our attention. Rest assured dear folk reconnaissance troops have been dispatched to pursue said items for future evaluation. For now though this rather delightful split release which pairs together the becoming talents of Dublin’s finest – Subplots and the critically valued Halves. Both previously unknown to us – now there’s a surprise – Subplots have it seems been basking the best part of the year under the glow of purring press notices for their debut full length ’nightcycles’ from which their half of the split – ’leech’ – is culled. An autumnal little cutie it is, intricately layered, at various points pensive, considered and measured, the post rockist math calibrations delicately despatched etching an ebbing and flowing fluidity to the proceedings that’s all at once genteel, lulling and incurably isolated in both terms of texture and appearance. Flip over for the Halves who for their side of the split pact serve up ’blood branches’ and sweetly glazed beauty bounded in sweetly distressed heart tugging ribbons and sounding to us not unlike some tear stained wood shed get together featuring a gathering of old school Constellation types – and here we are thinking Sackville, Set Fire to Flames and godspeed – around a winter’s night log fire armed with aching accordions, crestfallen cellos and a hatful of hollowed heartache. Bit of a gem.



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