archive reviews rescued from lost hard drives – this first appeared on losingtoday in 2007…..x
For Kelly and Mark
Singled Out – put the damn needle on the fookin record
No chit – chat this time you’ll be glad to hear – just spanking tunes…..
The Changes ‘Such a scene’ (Kitchenware). Admittedly we initially lost this and only rediscovered it on a quick reccy for another record that temporarily went walkies. ‘Such a Scene’ is, I think I’m right in saying, the debut release from Chicago based quartet the Changes – a tasty twin set led out by the title cut – a positive feast of sugar rushing guitars and ‘Coming Up’ styled Paul McCartney like vocals built upon an unrelenting throbbing underpin which shimmers with anticipation and passion whilst set ablaze by a gorgeously worked cortege of sky piercing stratospheric riffs. That said its on the flip side ‘her, you and I’ that proves to be the cherry tipped gem here, succulently soulful this honey crusted gem taps into the delicate flair of the BDI’s nee the Panda Gang, smoking jangled pop that superbly managed to cleverly draw from both old and new skool Kitchenware styles – the best part keying into the stately pop model as crafted twenty years earlier by the Kane Gang this being brought to bear by the arresting chorus’ of drip effected guitars that at the close loosen and spark up into a seismic charge of tightly wound skinny jean wearing hip hugging skiffle-tastic boogie. Tasty in a word. www.kitchenwarerecords.com
The Deodates ‘Before the bench’ (Taboo). Occasional visitors to these pages may well remember us swooning at length on the merits of this duo’s debut self release from this time last year – or thereabouts (see Missive 100). Gaz and Thomas – for it is they who are the Deodates crafted a rather enticing line in razor sharp soul beat pop and this spanking twin set ‘before the bench’ is no exception to rule. Shoe shuffling skinny jean wearing tastiness handsomely packaged in a neatly distilled shot of sub three minute effervescent soul boogie, inside of which you’ll be treated to a positively delightful smorgasbord of Darkness-esque falsettos (I kid you not), pulsating honed down channelled punk zig-zagging riff fizzes, stop start dynamics, hand claps all basking in a deliciously overt pristine pop currency to be cut with the kind of nonchalant street wise sassy swagger that these days seems to emanate with rude frequency from New York City by the shed load. All this subtly laced up with a veritable slice of Chic licks – that is if Chic had crossed the road from Studio 54 into new wave underground. Think classic era Supergrass with funky add ons. Irresistible in a word. Flip over for the decidedly loose limbed stripped to the bone, garaged up and beaten black and blue live rendition of the swanky sounding ‘Hippy Crack’. Swelled with some rather tasty Stray Cats like six string smooching and graced with some of the best yelping ‘ows’ we’ve heard since the late Ian Dury and Jagger’s unnaturally sexy delivery on ‘Too much blood’. Essential type thing – expect serious hi-fi damage. www.taboomusic.org.uk
Siouxsie ‘Into a Swan’ (W14 Music). I still say to this day that one of the best gigs I ever attended were the Banshees ‘Ju-Ju’ dates – for drip dried atmospheric effect of the type where beads of ice form on your brow only the Bunny men’s ‘Heaven up Here’ tour matched with equal bleak spectacle. It’s a little known fact that as a youngster my first wall poster depicting anything pop related was of Siouxsie – my mother used to eye it up – worried I suspect in my taste of the opposite sex, evidently this was not helped by my cooing on the rare occasions Lydia Lunch or Kate Bush would appear on the televisual set. Mind you this should have come as no great surprise given that several years earlier I’d made it publicly known in the playground that I’d sent a crayoned request to Gina Lollobrigida asking if she would adopt me. But that was then and this is now. With a new album entitled ‘mantaray’ in the can and cued for street release next month, ‘into the swan’ sees the debut solo release for Siouxsie. Now free of the Banshees, the real regal end of the punk oligarchy assumes position on the radar. For too long Siouxsie has rested on her laurels, the Banshees – apart from the occasional glimmer had all but assumed cruise control from ‘Dreamhouse’ onwards while the Creatures – agreed – edgier and more left field in design – where still in all honesty a re-invention of a previous Siouxsie incarnation. For modern day comparisons note Gary Numan’s transformation crystallising and re-invented with ‘Pure’, so to then with Siouxsie – she knows her appeal – what works – what doesn’t and while its true to say ‘into a swan’ (is this some sort of tongue in cheek play on the ‘ugly duckling’ yarn) doesn’t go pushing the envelope in any great haste it does for once find the reclusive ice queen liberated both in terms of sound and style. Like the aforementioned recalibrated Numan sound, ‘into a swan’ bristles amid a glacially minimalist darkly pensive thickly dense atmospheric industrial grind, the tension perceivable and racked up several notches leaving Siouxsie to playfully engage her mix of ominous menace and sexual allure – agreed that the references clearly point in the direction of Curve though that said a little word in the ear of a certain Andy Gray (‘a prayer for the unborn’) and we might just have a beast of a track yet. Now for the album. www.siouxsiemantaray.com
The Stills ‘Helicopters’ (Drowned in Sound). Second single to be culled from their frankly ridiculously smart ‘Without Feathers’ full length, ‘Helicopters’ is an ostensibly more brooding half cousin to their previous outing – the Soft Boys meets Stax fan faring ‘Destroyer’ – gone are all the lasting traces of their honey glazed shoe gaze infatuation of 2003’s ‘Logic will break your heart’ and into its place a more measured, considered and mercurial craft assumes its position. ‘Helicopters’ does at times sound like New Order as though transplanted onto the mindset of a ‘yourself is steam’ era Mercury Rev, slowly building in stature it divinely shimmers with a casually beguiling sometimes discordant air chorusing a warmly radiating west coast countrified charm that in all honesty causes your senses to prickle, your heart to pine and the pit of your stomach swelled with a fuzzy glow. Cute bastards. www.thestills.net
The Wolfmen ‘Cecilie’ (Stiff). We don’t mind admitting that this damn fine cutie has been the cause of much hysteria in the singled out record shed since arriving through the door towards the tail end of last week. The Wolfmen last featured in these very pages with their rather corking ‘Dirk’ era Ants meets T-Rex bogie ‘Kama Sutra’. The band – well I say band – rather more a duo feature ex Ants Marco Pirroni and Chris Constantinou. Pirroni of course needs no introduction being one of the original key players on the mid 70’s punk scene, appearing briefly with the Banshees on the legendary ‘lord’s prayer’, then with the models, rema rema and latterly post Adam Ant with Sinead O’Connor. While Adam Ant became the pop’s poster boy for a post punk generation it was Pirroni’s who provided the engine and industry to the non stop succession of teen hits – a simplistic though acutely effective moulding of Link Wray twangs and spaghetti western grandeur fused with potent slices of Velvets and T-Rex for added impact. Contantinou on the other hand cut his teeth with late 70’s outfit Drill before joining the ranks of the post fall out Ants later forming SF Go in the 90’s. Now relocated to the re-activated Stiff imprint, ‘Cecilie’ is a shade wearing shimmering slice of cool as f*ck 60’s psyche the type of which Sweden’s Bad Afro release with alarmingly regularity via the likes of Baby Woodrose et al, a honey crusted mooching nugget replete with swirling lysergic flushes and delicately spun kaleidoscopic side winding riffs that to these ears sound prime time Velvets sparring with Love while being led from the front by a seriously chilled out Iggy all the time slinkily prowling like a cat on heat. Flip the disc for the bare boned stripped down throwaway ‘do the ostrich’ a collaboration no less with a certain Lou Reed – taps dead centre into the whole late 70’s vibe dishing out traces of the Modern Lovers and the Damned – albeit in their more reclined and playful moments. Our copy has a unaccredited additional cut ‘looks like Tarzan, sing like Jane’ – a curious thing that literally terra-forms at a frightening pace – opens with a Weissmuller sample (of course who else – though some smart arse will probably correct me and say it’s Ely) – a harmonica drenched barn dancing hoe-down of sorts that pays nods to R L Burnside along the way before mutating to incorporate some well heeled sly licks craftily plucked from the Glimmer Twins while ring fencing the potent brew into a sassy Studio 54 loving bastard of a boogie – an updated ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ anyone – quite frankly once this hits the clubs there won’t be a spare square inch to do your thang on. Elsewhere there’s a disc full of Alan Moulder mixes which I’m not entirely sure will be commercially available – that said there’s five on offer including ’Cecilie’ that range from the reverb twanging ’Jackie Says’ which houses one of the most infectious chorus hooks we’ve heard all year. Then there’s the gritty blues beat pop of ’love is a dog’ which sounds like a garage styled Faces and the princely retro glazed ’While London Sleeps’ which in all honesty has hit stamped through its core. All said and done best of the set (and that includes ’Cecilie’ and ’looks like Tarzan’) – is ’needle in the camel’s eye’ – an addictive and infectious collision of 50’s bubblegum wraps and sugared twists of prime sliced shimmering glam pop via Mott and Sweet all finely tuned and honed into a seismic transistor trouncing babe that’s succulently laced with pristine honey glazed hooks, unmistakably feel good vibes and ablaze with riffs ripped straight from the Flamin’ Groovies hallowed ’Shake some action’. Simply put – it’s the dog bollocks and boy are they big bollocks. Essential. Single of the Missive. www.thewolfmen.net
It Hugs Back ‘Carefully’ (Safe and Sound). Last time out these cute rascals had us swooning in the aisles to the glorious sounds packaged within the gem like ’lights in the trees’ which if you don’t already own then consider yourself missing out of one of last years key stone outings. Now relocated to the newly set up Safe and Sound imprint two more classics in the making find their way to comfortably take up refuge on this the labels debut outing. All at once delicate, dreamy, trippy and fragile, ’Carefully’ is a life affirming shot of twinkle some pop served up in a deliciously airy pastoral framework, like a sprightly toed and upbeat Tunng being serenaded by a youthful Earlies this smouldering honey roasted nugget casually shimmies past your defences bathing you in its subtle west coast warmth eliciting a softly centred mix of deftly plucked chords, melodies that play peek-a-boo and harmonies precision cut to arc, allure and arrest – need we say more. Flip over for the instrumental ’Sometimes the Sun’ – as though you think things can’t get any better – wrong. More noodle some lazy eyed succulence – rustic fretwork, bells, hand claps, whistles and shoe shuffling dainty rhythms – one methinks for taking time out, finding an idyllic spot by a tree and watching the world rush by while making strange montages in the minds eye with the passing clouds above in the sky – if I didn’t know better I’d have thought I’d died and gone to folk pop heaven. Buy, play and cherish – how else will we get an album out of the blighters. Deputy single of the missive. www.safeandsoundrecords.com
Kubichek! ‘method-acting’ (30:30). Frankly they are taking the right royal piss now – fourth single from the acclaimed ‘Not enough night’ full length and yet puzzling enough no sight of the albums best cut ‘start as we mean to’. Now that either tells you one of two things – the band hate it or they are so confident that each and every cut is a winner that they’ll pretty much release the whole damn album with its exclusion just to cock a snoop at the competition. We here quite like the second option. ’Method Acting’ is admittedly – when heard aside the rest of the set – one of the albums weakest cuts – yet isolated it assumes a glorious euphoric thrill. A chorusing front line armoury of cloud bursting chords gracefully arc and spiral skywards to create a divine spectacle of Cathedral like grandeur – all at once basking softly in shimmering stately pools of needling effervescence yet simultaneously exacting in its crushingly singed onslaught like an invincible storm orchestrating Chameleons in their heyday it makes for a brutally beautiful barnstormer. www.kubichek.co.uk
The Ironweed Project ’Boom Boom Clap’ (Fat Northerner). More essential ear gear and hi-fi humping accessorising from Manchester dudes in the know at Fat Northerner. The Ironweed Project last featured in these pages at Missive 84 which frankly lads is well too long a gap in time with which to starve us. On that occasion Anif Akinola for it is he who is The Ironweed Project was simply introduced way back then as Ironweed the attending ‘down to my grave’ a bristling brew of Alex Cox meets RL Burnside meets Stones ‘Sympathy’ bone rattling boogie. Fast forward two years and out pops the equally infectious ’Boom Boom Clap’. Culled from his forthcoming ’dust bowl’ full length, ’boom boom clap’ is a stonking sub 4 minute bass booming babe that pays homage to the tarmac lifting boy racer brigade with the state of the art sound systems and questionable CD selection. A smoking growler that mooches deviously almost snake like across a richter scale registering bass underpin and a side winding hip hop groove filtered through a deliciously arid sounding delta blues weave the type much loved and petty much trademarked by the late John Fahey and latterly by Ry Cooder all delivered with a seriously chilling dusty preacher man vibe – a bit like having Tom Waits, Afrika Bambaataa and Bill Laswell squeezed up into the rear seat of a low slung souped up supercharged Corsa with the tinted windows up sharing a high grade funny fag. We eagerly await that debut full length. www.fatnortherner.com
Gossip ‘jealous girls’ (back yard). In many respects we’ve so far managed to avoid the Gossip – as you’ve probably gathered we are not much fussed about bands that wittingly or unwittingly get caught up in the hype of whatever sound to like right at this very moment mainly because some rag has deemed them fit enough to have them fighting their battles for them. Of course we at the singled out shed of darkness have heard the Gossip – I mean you’d have to avoid all forms of media not to, admittedly we expected the obligatory backlash though it seems a few of you fair weathered friends or is that feathered – never can remember – are leaving the bandwagon in droves – such fickleness is a thing to be frowned upon. ‘Jealous Girls’ is quite smart, sounds like its stumbled bleary eyed out from an induced 1979 coma totally bypassing the 80’s and 90’s only to land smack dead centre in an age that that is dusting down the paper party hats and hanging up the bunting in readiness to celebrate the 30th anniversary of 1977 or was it the 40th university of 1967 – we get confused – and views everything recorded between 1977 -1979 as the gnat’s bollocks – which kids get real it wasn’t. ‘jealous girls is a edgy slice of frayed proto punk pop, kind of a twin set spectacular made up of various parts of the Rezillos and X-Ray Spex put on a slow back burner and left to curdle by Martin Rushent, angular and minimalist in texture it provides for an austere blast of ravaged anxiety decoded with naggingly wiring riffs and a chorus hook swiped straight from the Saints back catalogue. Also included here is a live rendition of the same cut captured at the 100 club which serves to ratchet up considerably the ice cold tension while tagged to the end of the release the wide open and wounded vulnerability of ’coal to diamonds’ – a scared and bruised ballad which suggests there’s more to this lot that the surface brashness and perhaps maybe they might just outstay their one album slice of fame after all. www.back-yard.co.uk
The Tacticians ’Girls grow faster than boys’ (Setanta). Okay something weird is going on in our gaff at the moment. We swear we received a copy of the debut Setanta outing for the Tacticians a few weeks back except it was a version of ’Hardcore Porn’ which if memory serves us right was a cut that we mentioned briefly a while back when it featured on their my space site. So imagine our bewilderment when through the door pops another Tacticians promo claiming to be their forthcoming single – this time its ’girls grow faster than boys’. Of course can we find the other CD – can we bugger as like – its as though its mysteriously disappeared in a puff of smoke – either that or we are slowly unravelling plot wise. Anyway having glued said ’girls’ CD to our forehead mainly in dread fear of this blighter going missing too (honest you couldn’t script it) we can now confirm without a shadow of doubt that this little honey (on Setanta – whether it’s the first or second release for them is anyone’s guess – though sadly not mine we are still highly confused) is a taster for the now expanded to a quartet’s forthcoming debut full length ’some kind of urban fulfilment’ which quite frankly we are busy snaffling up tinsel, balloons and making paper chains in expectant celebration for. Originally seeing the light of day on their own self financed Dancing Giraffe imprint towards the tail end of last year (for those of you not keeping up with these things see missive 107) ’girls grow faster than boys’ is an irresistibly astute slice of pristine pop that succulently dips into of yesteryears pub rock vaults and silkily embraces the mix with the lasting song craft resonance of both Dave Edmunds and Joe Jackson while being braided with a fulsomely breathless chorus hook to die for and the kind of nudging candy coated slick-ness that radiates, disarms and leaves a fuzzy glow that lasts long after you’ve popped it back in its sleeve – simply stunning in other words. Joint deputy single of the missive. www.setantarecords.com
Suzerain ’Apocalypse Disco’ (Jezus Factory). Stunning in a word. This colossal five track debut EP has it all – passion, punishment, glamour and grandeur dished out with unwavering intent combining menace and majesty, like some sort of twisted throwback to the flamboyant peak of early 80‘s new romanticism, Suzerain are the dark inner half of Duran Duran’s extravagant outer skin (especially on the sets centrepiece the measured and elegant slow to unfurl widescreen ‘hostage‘). Bleeding sex and primed with a latent decadence, each cut here is a towering monument of tempestuous grace, cruelly cute and laced with a smothering stadium throb that’s drilled with a darkly set demeanour that assumes for its own the more tangible elements of the industrial scene while picking away at the fractured pop intelligence of Mansun none more so is this the case than on the sinew tightening ‘new car‘ which from out of its frenetic stutter like edginess manages to sublimely coalesce into a soaring breathlessly feel good chorus. Elsewhere opening cut ’apocalypse disco’ is deliriously decorated in all manner of 80’s electro nuances, like a rampant White Rose Movement afflicted with panic attacks this up beat crystalline babe ducks and dives amid a backdrop of razor sharp needling riffs and club floor pounding pulsating zig zagging keys – infectious – what – you’re best advised seeking jabs. Then there’s the impossibly classy and catchy strutting ’Life on Film’ of which might have slightly older readers recalling the massively undervalued Comsat Angels. ’New solution’ wraps up the set, initially sounding like a fuzzed up primal half cousin to INXS’ ‘need you tonight’ – this detached and atmospheric nugget is laden with drip fed glacial effects giving it a seriously crunchy bleached out funky locked down dirty grind that’s teased apart by swells of snaking chimes and bathed in richly vibrant hues of symphonic swathes. Go fetch now or risk shelling out stupid money on the auction sites before the months out. Joint deputy single of the missive. www.jezusfactory.com
Lil’ Lost Lou / Paul Hawkins ’Split’ (Jezus Factory). And blame the previously mentioned Suzerain release for this but its time for us here at the singled shed kitchen table to gather around and partake in the eating of humble pie because over the course of the last few weeks (and in the case of this particular release we can safely stretch that to months) the Jezus Factory imprint have peppered our door mat with some – well how shall we put this – frankly corking releases which in the next few days we will get around to expressing our absolute fondness for in print. If there’s any justice in the world this would have already long since sold out of its ultra limited pressing of 200 copies – pressed on seven inches of wax with artwork by Lil Lou herself all tucked up with a CD-r – damn we want one now ourselves – mind you suppose that’ll teach us for being review shy fops. Anyhow a blistering twin pronged outing featuring a cut apiece from three piece Lil’ Lost Lou – the Lou in question being singer / guitarist Lou Psyche (obviously not her real name kids – the Lou bit that is) and Paul Hawkins who previously featured in these pages when he featured on that rather ripping yuletide stocking burner of a compilation ‘a very cherry christmas – volume 2’ from those loons with toons Cherryade. Lil’ Lost Lou’s ‘Bad bad girl’ is a scalding bone shaking frazzled psychotic bitching bluesy brew that rattles along like an out of control satanic steam train, featuring a frazzled hoe-down-ing harmonica which kids lets wise up a second in saying that aside whistles, barking, yelping and bent out of shape banjos nothing quite matches the sound of a well heeled harmonica breezily piping away literally stripping the skin of your spine. Frantic, frenetic and frighteningly infectious, ‘bad bad girl’ sounds like its fallen through a rip in time straight from the formative days of 60’s garage beat, primitive, primal and minimalist in delivery the tension is visibly suffocating – ‘bad bad girl’ is your defining broken to pieces rampant country punk – think early career Orson Family meets the swamp groove of Gallon Drunk with a fast unravelling DNA spliced Dolly Parton and Kat Bjelland screaming blue murder. Nuff said. We have to admit to quite liking Paul Hawkins brand of wayward fuck off and leave alone buckled pop and so to as on ‘the evil thoughts’ the barbed humour is almost inescapable as he freewheels through what is essentially a quite dandy and strangely dinky drinking song, and yes we have said it before but as curmudgeon as he sounds he still comes across like a depressingly happy Daniel Johnston but with – and it has to be said – better tunes – marked out by its blankly despondent delivery and its looping repetitive underpin this will either drive you to distraction or indeed drink – we especially love the 60’s styled Edwin Astley like TV soundtrack ending. One of those must have releases I’m afraid. www.jezusfactory.com
Adventure Club ‘The Going’ (Re-Action). Welcome return to these pages for Birmingham duo Adventure Club (see missive 121 – Ed) whose debut full length ‘wilderness music’ (out now – we believe) can be found doing strange things each time it makes – what is admittedly – a regular re-acquaintance with our hi-fi. The emotional rollercoaster ‘the going’ prised from said debut album is your full blown out in the wilderness down on your luck trying to find yourself (and I dare say your feet given that with all this rain we’ve been having everything remotely green in colour appears to act like a huge suction sponge), struggling to the summit meeting your inner demons, then finding yourself having a quick chat and few beers with said inner demons and skipping back to reality fully invigorated and invested with a new found zest for life type thing. Of course we could be wrong – nevertheless it is a three and a half minute serving of stately windswept pop daubed with waves of full blown euphoric orchestral intones channelled by blissed out soulful motifs that tug perilously on the heart strings like park side tots on swings and lushly teased away by streaming corteges of interloping chiming riffs which with equal precision both sting and soothe. Thing we’ve covered everything – a minor epic in a major key. www.myspace.com/reactionecordings
Popular Workshop ‘William. It was really something’ (Tough Love). We do love this lot – in fact our love extends to the point that we managed to totally overlook reviewing their last single – which even by our imperfect standards was woefully inept and unforgivable. Anyhow to make up for previous cock-ups in the review department we are actually mentioning this limited two track 7 inch months before its due out – just can’t win can they. Now having found a loving home via Coventry’s premier gritty guitars imprint Tough Love, the trio deliver up the goodies with this blazing twin pronged feast. ’William. It was really something’ which judging by the press release is a heads up for Tough Love’s all stars William and not as initially thought a nifty homage to the Smiths brief but bittersweet hit of yesteryear. ’William. It was really something’ shimmers with a sweetly tugging late 80’s indie pop urgency and a kind of feel good brittleness that recalls the likes of 14 iced bears, ‘the wagon’ era dinosaur jnr and a chilled out pooh sticks albeit as though all parties had been locked in a room Captain Beefheart style and physically forced to re-learn the playing of their instruments with a gnawing Shellac type abruptness, plenty of math rock noodling going on and a general al round feeling of loveliness that makes you glow. The ostensibly more visceral ‘Radical’ over on the flip is by far the best of the twin set, a discordant little gem that see saws menacingly as though any second now they are going to implode or at the very last spontaneously combust, very much old school Touch and Go, the melodies fractured, wired, jagged almost force fed against their will pitted with astute stop start dynamics – so testy you can feel the hackles getting irritated – think of a playful Jesus lizard boogying with a less agit rhetoric Nation of Ulysses with an early career Trumans Water dicking about with the controls – does it for us. www.toughloverecords.com
Cheju ‘Magnesium’ EP (envizagae). Blimey it’s been a good month or two since we had any Cheju goodies with which to seduce our listening space with that both me and the hi-fi where beginning to get withdrawal symptoms. Cheju is of course better known to friends, family and colleagues as the ridiculously busy workaholic Wil Bolton who when he’s not tinkering about crafting symphonies for a generation to come also co runs Boltfish records to whom we owe something of an apology to as they’ve sent us at least two releases (maybe three) that we’ve had cued up awaiting review for a fair while. But enough of that wallowing to the task in hand. ‘Magnesium’ comes packaged on dinky little 3” CD and features 4 brand new star lit gems for the German based imprint who themselves have to date put out 8 rather tasty releases including outings for 8yone and ENV(litre) (both of whom have appeared previously in these very pages) as well Jash, IJO and Volta. ‘Magnesium’ is a celestial suite of sorts, glacial minimalist echoes of a distant fading memory, sometimes mournful, reposed, elegant yet irrefutably classically textured. Bolton’s ear for space, sound texture and melody are impeccable as these dainty delights prove. The stately ’Magnesium’ opens the set, initially set to a slow to uncoil nuzzling dreamscape like weave it soon assumes a sense of regency with the onset of a delicately worked piano motif before blossoming into a richly arresting Brontean folly that to these ears recalls a reclining fortdax. With its contrasting tonality and pirouetting fragile outer shell ‘script error’ is yearningly playful, lunar-esque charms intertwine deliciously amid chattering clicks as though a hibernating retreat housing ISAN and d_rradio had awoken from slumber and braced the icy outdoors for a spot of snowball fighting. The sweetly hurting ‘destination’ with its reprise like ‘thieves like us’ (New Order) motifs and diode de-funked montages makes for a succulent slice of peek – a – boo pastoral electronics while the parting cosmic symphony that is ’Coral Dust’ is wrapped with a expansive airiness and mallowy lightness to shimmer sensually like a super chilled Manual. Faultless. www.envizagae.de
Area C ‘Trick with a Knife’ (Trensmat). Seems that ourselves, the Wire and the highly groovy occasional Ptolemaic Terrascope had a slight delivery mishap when this crucial and dare we say highly essential slice of irregular noise nik apparel originally went out earlier this year. Those curators of unmapped sounds over at the highly wired in Trensmat kindly dispatched another copy much to our joy. We’d been inclined to agree much with what Normans Records when they say of Trensmat that ’they are the most important label to have come from nowhere in ages’ – couldn’t have put it better – not only have they serviced with some quality slabs of primal un-worldliness from the recalibrated Telescopes, they’ve also issued forth onto an unsuspecting populace the odd dinky release by Scouse sonic overlords Mugstar as well as one very compulsive listening experience in the shape of ’noise to signal’ by Magnetize. Release numero trios features Area C who is better known to kith and kin as Erik Carslon a Providence based primary school teacher who asides his Area C guise can also be heard as one half of Death Vessel with Joel Thibodeau. Limited and no doubt rarer than hen’s teeth as these well packaged things of beauty are so often are – our copy came pressed with an additional rogue as untitled or credited check which clocked in at a whopping 35 minutes in duration and consisted of ear splitting shards of white noise. Now having referred to the press release – which I quote – firmly promised as stated ’supreme motorik grooves’ we were beginning to think that those Trensmat folk had began to unravel somewhat – mistakenly hearing things in what can only be described as – a butchering full pelt psychotic sand blaster – that nobody else could decipher let alone agree (update – turns out I was playing the two accompanying videos – d‘oh!). Thankfully the matter was resolved by fast forwarding said disc to track numero two – all sanity restored as well as our hearing and mind of course. Put it down to a pressing plant cock-up type thing. ’trick with a knife’ is a mind melting, wig flipping locked down kraut grooving babe – a sub 5 minute cruise controlled journey into inner space replete with repetitive loops and hypnotic nuances that steadily wire into stature – think Sunray, Echoboy, My Electric Love and Fly locked in a room fighting over pedal effects while undergoing some distinctly hi tec neurosis treatment involving attitude arranging sound frequencies. Flip the disc for the markedly more tranquil, brief and beguiling homely sea sick inducing ’that spark’ – a wonderfully decoded drone-scape that sounds to these ears like a collage of day breaking pier side bird symphonies. Last but by n means least – best of the set if truth be told – the daydreaming mistaken for a sign’. Recalls in the main – well initially anyway – the rain swept noire-ish night time tonality of Gnac and Landshipping only to unfurl in a resplendent haze of drifting pastoral needlework, hypnotic beats and subtle feedback effects – a carnival of sound not dissimilar in fact to the spongy far away chirpiness of J Xaverre. Classy. www.trensmat.com
Go to Area C’s website at http://www.areacmusic.com/ to download a recent live set
Of Arrowe Hill ‘A haunted house ain’t a home’ (Ouija Board). Okay strictly speaking we are cheating here, but we can’t think of a better reason for picking up the latest issue of Classic Rock – that’ll be September’s ‘drug issue’ which comes adorned with a killer cover mounted 15 track CD entitled ‘Wired’ upon which you’ll find the hugely and criminally overlooked Of Arrowe Hill tendering the set with the quite quintessential English blues beat of ’a haunted house ain’t a home’. Culled from their forthcoming full length – by our reckoning their third – ‘Dulce Domun’ – this dark witted hocus pocus Alan Price meets the Kinks casual jangle follows their recent 7” ’your late unpleasantness’ which we’re horrified to find we’ve so far missed out on – though rest assured a quick detour and flashing of the condoles at Normans Records will soon sort that out – dare say you can expect favourable utterings next Singled Out. Elsewhere there’s the impossibly catchy Diablo Swing Orchestra – an evil mash up of Zombina and the Skeletones and Zappa, a feast of freak sounds comprising of fried jazz, boogaloo, twang and er – operatics, think of a bitten by the funky bug Goldfrapp’s ’felt mountain’ relocated to 20’s Chicago – frankly we need to hear more. Vintage kookily trained brit psyche boogie courtesy of the semi legendary John’s Children also features here with a very youthful pre Glam demi-God Marc Bolan in the fried ranks. Turbonegro deliver up their perfectly honed glam garage groove in the shape of the lunging ‘hell toupee’ – think Move and Sweet in a handbags spat refereed by an early career AC/DC. Those preferring their sounds a little more – shall we say – proggy I mindset should tune first port of call into ’motorville’ by Tiny fish – very much Porcupine Tree overdosing on Goblin – rankly its like getting on the magic bus – next stop 1974 though flashed through with moments of deliciously chilled out sereneness – kind of disturbingly epic. An album is on our wants list as of now. Chrome Hoof – stupendous destructive disco floor dance – gore – Sarah Brightman’s Hot Gossip wired with the hedonist austere groove of Grace Jones and blitzed through with shards of Clock DVA’s ’resistance’ all mixed into a throbbing brew by the Sparks. Terrible name granted – but Sweden’s Black Bonzo’s ’sound of apocalypse’ is laden with drama, grandeur, mercurial melodies that hang heavily on the heartstrings – Floyd-ish, reassuringly elegant, measured and blissfully beautiful. Nuff said.
Echo and the Bunny men ’Best of’ (Secret freebie). Another spot of cheating if you must, not that we advocate buying into cheap paper selling promotions that include give away CD’s – but we did spy this earlier today when we were stocking up on our fags and other goodies to ensure a smooth un-rattled day listening to CD’s. A seven track ‘best of’ CD featuring the Bunnymen live – recorded in November 2005 at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Now readers of these pages will need no reminding of our love for the Bunnymen even despite the fact that admittedly their best is well past and long gone – however to get this you have to buy the Daily Star Sunday (you can’t have it all your own way) and there the blighter was sitting typically on the top shelf along with all the other questionable Sunday rags – would have been less embarrassing buying a porno. As said 7 cuts – we could list them all but we won’t – nuggets of the set ’Ocean Rain’ and ’the Killing Moon’ make you weep at how good they really were, those first four albums an absolute essential accessory to any record collection daring to call itself ’cool’ – sadly the death of Pete De Frietas was perhaps one hurdle to many to surpass – Liverpool’s second most famous moptops.
Guess that’s it for a very brief while – expect another quickly turned out Singled Out or two before this very week is out (including another my space special). Our thanks and gratitude as always to the bands, labels and press people – you know who you are.