archive reviews salvaged from abandoned hard drives…..this first appeared on losing today in 2007…….x
For Kelly and Mark
Singled Out – Shut the f*ck and dance.
Heroes of Switzerland ‘Wish it away’ (Club AC30). Last featured in these very pages with their debut single ‘Disposable Fiction’ oooh – absolutely ages ago (missive 91 in fact). A quick scout at that review had us mentioning that ’sonic canvas’ where very much something that the then emerging Club AC30 imprint where honing in on to which 18 months down the line they find themselves firmly ensconced. ‘Wish it way’ is an ether fuelled cruise controlled slice of shimmering haze driven shade wearing star kissed pop, more muscular in texture than previous outings and decorated by cascading riffs stressed and torn by flurries of fuzz laden feedback chorus’ – a bit like a seriously laid back Ride with the distant overtones of the much missed Paris Angels fleeting and flirting in the mix. ‘Wonderland’ over on the flip is the best of the twin set. A glorious parade of superbly staggered slow drip shy eyed honey dripped sonic spectral symphonies that deliciously cast a warp like effect only to gracefully flicker and flitter radiating a prickling sweetly honed lilting effervescence as though the bastard offspring of an elicit effects laden studio bunk up between ’Loveless’ era My Bloody Valentine and a super chilled and blessed out ’Wagon’ era Dinosaur JNR. Throw in some neat Thurston and Co motifs and you have yourself a rather neat slab of top drawer dream pop. www.clubac30.com
The Dash ’Broomhouse Road’ (Weekender). Literally just dropped through our letter box, one play is all it took and we were lassoed back to our formative years to bunk off work and re-acquaint ourselves with the pogo. A piss poor plastic pop bashing quarrel of some measure – alert, angry and in your face caustic council estate clatter the type of which was at one time the domain of the much missed Parkinsons. The leery ‘avin it ‘Broomhouse Road’ is the debut release from London based trio The Dash – a rollicking slice of street wise late 70’s invested proto punk that sounds like ‘give em enough rope’ era Clash squaring up to the Ruts not surprising really given that they have a singer whose vocal sounds like it was laboratory bred sourced from DNA cultures taken from Malcolm Owen and Joe Strummer – sparring riffs, knee jerking brittleness grafted on to a raw and potent undercarriage of alarmingly infectious boot blistering boogie – dare you resist. Flip over for ’dear obituary’ which frankly I could kiss mainly for the fact that it sounds like a pristinely turned out homage to ’nowhere to run’ era Chron Gen which just in case you don’t know is le dogs bollocks. www.weekenderrecords.com
The Monks Kitchen ‘Bringing Hurricanes’ (1965). Tinglingly tasty and timeless tuneage (just for a change) from the latest members of the 1965 posse. ‘Bringing hurricanes’ is a gem like sleepy headed cascade of homely harmonies sumptuously intertwining with drifting hazes of crystal tipped porch lit jangles. Softly alluring country pop bathed and basking beneath the willowy lazy eyed charms of feel good west coast vibes – think early career Summer Hymns smooching up to the Doleful Lions taking their source inspiration from the Stone Roses ‘bye bye badman’ and LA’s ‘way out’ whilst spending the night pouring over vintage vinyl artefacts by the likes of Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds and the Raspberries. Drifting, delicious ands dainty – expect a debut full length from the London based quartet in the shape of ’the wind may howl’ in October. www.1965records.com
Headlines ’Takeover’ (Science Fiction Theatre). Science Fiction Theatre – admit it – cracking name for a label eh? Seems the Manchester based imprint have managed to sneak out a fair few well heeled releases (the Stations, 52 teenagers, the hidden messages and vc’s) which have all – we are sad to say – passed beneath our usually acute radar. Second outing for the Headlines – whatever happened to their debut will be something that’ll ensure sleepless nights here until the day we secure a copy as our own. Admittedly we are fair bit smitten by this little babe – maybe its something to do with the Fergal Sharkey meets Russell Mael vocals – both cuts are abruptly threaded with jagged math rock needle like riffs that cast an edgy impatient appeal more associated with the mighty Playwrights though here found less shrouded in sheens of politicised agit angst and instead buckled and bruised with a tenderised personal aspect – non more so is this the case than on the flip cut ‘Cruel escape’ – in our humbled opinion – the best of the twin set – rampantly delicious spaz-pop dipped and braided by with distractive panic stricken stop / start – loud / quiet dynamic add ons yet sizzled through with the power pop purity of early Buzzcocks shimmying with ‘Julie Ocean’ era Undertones. Lead cut ‘takeover’ is crafted with anxiety laden angular beat pop motifs that are pushed and prodded by an impatient strutting underpin and tightly wound by shots of inaccurately layered skinny tied needling riffs that converge to playfully finger their ay bridging a lilting go-between to the sweetly honed vibrant pop nuances that are slowly uncoiling within re-assuringly blossoming into a seismic seizure inducing melodic dynamo of some measure. www.sftrecords.co.uk
The Indelicates ‘Julia, we don’t live in the 60’s’ (weekender). Apologies are indeed due to all involved with this particular release being the numpties that we are – we were under the misguided illusion that we’d actually reviewed this cutie. Okay then its been out for a fair while but then stuff so eye pokingly good as this shouldn’t by rights come with a sell by date. The Indelicates have been romancing the record decks of the clued up minority for a fair while now with several releases firmly stashed under their waist bands (again another cause for much grumbling here given we’ve missed them all so far). Essentially led, motivated and no doubt pummelled into shape by Simon and Julia, this quintet craft a positive smorgasbord of life affirming head in the clouds, sugar laced – perfect pop. The maddeningly loveable and cutely frisky bubblegum pop of ‘Julia, we don’t live in the 60’s’ is aglow with shimmering loveliness longingly drilled in the same fluent pop dialect as time and time again freewheeled by the Loves though here daubed dinkily by the pre ‘three lions’ mastery of Ian ‘Lightning Seeds’ Broudie with the accompaniment of Carter USM chilling in the mix with the Boo Radleys dicking about at the mixing desks. Elsewhere there’s a live rendition of ‘Unity Mitford’ culled from an appearance in Innsbruck – don’t ask me why but when this beauty finally settles into groove it reminds me of Christmas – I know it sounds daft and frankly inexplicable but we’ve been to the local GP and had ourselves checked out along with said track and am now dosed up to the eyeballs with anti-Christmas drugs – which just between you and me aren’t working – magically maudlin yet romantically softened and brushed with a sensual wintry grip – see there it goes again – snow, carol singers, turkey, bad telly – enough! Al said and done best moment of the set by far is ‘point me to the west’ – a kind of anti celebratory after the bar towels go on feeling sorry and angry for / at yourself type epic – a crowd rousing centrepiece of a ‘beggars opera’ as envisaged by a youthful Billy Bragg – one of those rare gems that grips you in the chest and has you reflectively welling up – quite simply magnificent. www.myspace.com/theindelicates
Heavy Winged ‘lost forever’ (Trensmat). Time to don some protective headwear because its time for another of those blink and their gone ultra limited outing for the Belfast based Trensmat imprint. Regular visitors to these pages should by now be familiar with the drill for these releases – Trensmat are fast becoming the purveyors of essential aural terrorising via bespoke noise / drone / deep psyche sound collages. Recent releases have seen well heeled outings from the likes of Magnetize, Area C and of course the Telescopes. Release number 6 sees the label excelling themselves considerably with the arrival of an ultra limited 7” lathe and an accompanying multimedia CD that sees New York trio Heavy Winged wiring up your cerebral impulse drives for three shots of out there oblivion. The six minute ’Concrete Glass’ is a grating slab of furious feedback free form drone, a white hot whirlpool of brain purifying wiring and whirring chaos that lunges out from the word go and doesn’t relent until the stylus is safely back in its cradle – repetitive to the point its almost hypnotic, what might initially be met with trepidation as the sonic shards shower to sting and scar soon (well give it about 5 minutes) begins to grow on you (honest) wherein – if like me – you’ll swear you can hear New Order’s ‘movement’ being remodelled by My Bloody Valentine – of course decked out in their butchers aprons. Less frenzied and just to prove they are not a bunch of arty dead beats out to mess with your heads (though frankly that could actually be true) ‘last forever’ is served – a howling head clamping experience awaits – those fond of long standing Jap core noise-niks Hijokaidan will be particularly smitten though may well feel cheated given that Jojo Hiroshige’s sonic levellers have been known to extend past the hour mark – an ear piercing concrete cacophony of ear melting proportions that to be honest sounds like the trio have just left everything shrieking and gone for a funny fag before remembering ‘shit the electric meter’ and legging it back in pronto to flip the switches – hence the abrupt ending (which having seen the accompanying video is I suspect very much the case). The accompanying CD features two additional cuts not on the 7” – with the 16 minute opus ’on the marble cliffs’ proving a cruel lesson in freeform aural annihilation, we actually slipped this onto the CD player whilst on the bus – the looks of bewildered terror from the other passengers was a picture – an unrelenting, extreme, ravaged and bludgeoning chorus’ of freeform drone that to these ears – at various points – sounded like the oscillating throb from the engine room of one of those flying saucers from 60’s cult TV show ‘the Invaders’ being pummelled into submission by a wrench wielding early career Einsturdzende Neubauten. Elsewhere there’s a 35 minute live video recorded in 2006 featuring ’feel inside’ which sadly our PC spat out – mind you who can blame it after ’on the marble cliffs’ poor things probably had an internal meltdown. Future promised explorations into the void under the trusted navigation of Trensmat come via Circle and the Telescopes. www.trensmat.com
Oh boy we’ve been well lazy of late with these filthy little angels releases so expect plenty of action in the coming week what with various split releases, albums and all manner of cute hi-fi pop racket – for now though just to keep you on your toes so to speak a plethora of pressings barely out of the pressing plant……..
The New Royal Family / Keith TOTP ‘split’ (Filthy Little Angels). Okay you know how we love to spoil you occasionally – well if you get your typing digits into gear and tap out http://www.myspace.com/thenewroyalfamily you will be stupefied by the all conquering and frankly bonkers sounds of the new royal family (we wish) – a group who it seems reform by request to do the odd sporadic gig and feature amid their ranks members of a roll call list of bands such as Gay Dad, The Boyfriends, Luxembourg, Jack, The Low Edges, Salad, Spy 51, Linus, Scarlet’s Well and who split up and make up more times than the tiresome Pete ‘n’ Kate. Their debut release ‘anyone fancy a chocolate digestive’ is one of those bona fide ‘well fuck me’ moments that occasionally crawl out of the wreckage of a warped mindset – sounds like its escaped the surreal chaos that passes for ‘the mighty boosh’ – think Toy Dolls’ anarchic kindergarten terrorism of ‘Nellie the elephant’ nailing Splodgnessabounds ‘two pints of lager and a packet of crisps’ with copious amounts of custard jellies, jolly japes and all round loon pop impish goings on – a kind of turntable Tiswas if you like with Carter USM invited on as guests and an aping yet subtly done Adam and the Ants ‘kings‘ finale. Unstoppable stupidity. Equally wired and wonky is ‘the cornflake family’ (is there a food theme going on here we ask?) – a three minute and a bit diamond cut gem – mischievous crooked power pop with lead riffs nicked lock stock and barrel from the Flamin Groovies back catalogue submerged in lashings of 50’s styled bubblegum pop codas and played by those still remaining standing after a spot of studio fisticuffs between the Dickies and the Ramones. Does it for us – fancy a biccy? Flip over for two slabs of riotously sarcastic curmudgeon pop from the mighty hand of Keith TOTP. Keith – by all accounts – is a real top bloke, hen he’s not helping out other bands (such ass the Indelicates -see above) and participating in various bands he can be found on his all to brief coffee breaks on his own in front of a recording device casually knocking out the odd caustic nugget of side splitting pop before he’s dragged off on his next general good guy assignment. ’I hate your band’ is one of those ditties that you feel will win much support from all those living outside the M25 catchment area (along with a few within it n doubt) who will all breath a collective sigh of relief and think ’about fecking time that someone had the brass balls to stand up and shove two fingers up to the LN scene’. Raw, primitive, agitated, sarcastic and painfully true ‘I hate your band’ is an anti – LDN anthem – in point of fact a dig at the one dimensional guitar bands that certain rags seems to namedrop weekly with quotes such as ‘like jumping on a fat man in a tight white suit’ (will I like this then? – although that was admittedly attributed to Buen Chico who we quite like – just to straighten the record). All delivered with a life ebbing away futile and wearisome ambivalence that recalls a seriously twisted and bitter Wreckless Eric with Lou Reed designs backed by a youthful and acerbic sounding Half Man Half Biscuit taking the whole scene in his sights for a right royal kicking. ’Girl’ over on the flip (and we’ve bloody checked this) is sadly not the Lennon and McCartney stalker callers favourite ditty of yesteryear though that said there is a subtle Beatles-esque vibe about this that mainlines directly to the Moptops ‘and your bird can sing’ and ‘you won’t see me’ – think upon it as a bitterly delivered melodic missive delivered by a scuzzed and fuzzed up Macca – love the parting ’bitch’ retort – and it also features whistling which we feel here is always the mark of class. Go buy. Deputy single of the missive.
The Vichy Government ‘my mail order bride’ (filthy little angels). What can we say – criminally overlooked lords of the ’look I just canna be arsed’ brigade. The Vichy Government have been entertaining and upsetting a small select quota of hi-fi’s across the nation for some years now, a duo comprising Andy on looned up casio and Jamie supplying his often humorous and slanted but realist view of life’s quaint foibles. A kind of bargain basement Human League for pessimists of a blank generation is probably the best way to begin describing the Vichy’s – there’s something very much that identifies a kinsman ship with both the 70 Gwen Party, Ivor Cutler (especially on the attending cut ’bothered’) and Rooney (as in the band from – if my memory serves me right – Southport and who did a session for a certain Mr Peel in the late 90’s). ‘My mail order bride’ is a download only release featuring two more potent shots of desirable non pop. Crafted with the austere minimalism of the early electronic scene a la the Normal and the Cabarets albeit as though re-worked in a kindergarten, Jamie levels his sights on the fascination for internet bidding on Thai brides and stacks it with his trademark non chalant barbed wit while pretty much offending one and all as he solemnly picks away at commercialisms more worryingly distasteful aspects. As for ’bothered’ well as they can’t be bothered to finish ’off this verse’ then we can’t be bothered to do a review – touché I believe – more maudlin mastery as you’ve come to expect. Miniature DIY anthems for those viewing life through cracked rose tinted lenses.
And finally. In the olden days when these missives where a little younger – incidentally we are six this month and can tie our own shoe laces – we used to wrap these ramblings up with something a little – shall we settle for – special. And with that in mind last release on this featured missive comes courtesy of a CD that we did give fair warning about at missive 130.……
Exit Plan ‘Sparks’ (self released). Jeez hat an unholy and ravenous bolted down throat gripping racket these youngsters make. One of those debut releases that by rights shouldn’t need to go looking for seals of approval. Exit Plan are an Anglo – Aussie quartet who on these three tracks clock up the kind of energy, bravado and sheer will of ambition in a potent 11 minute calling card that most bands dare dream of let alone dare achieve – it like being strapped in to a rollercoaster and flung at heart stopping g-force velocity through a melodic cauldron. ’Sparks’ opens the set, a viciously vibrant slice of growling groove that cuts more hip swerves, swagger and chic than a high art fashion cat walk – brazenly bullish and cut through with a honed to near pristine grit that’s armed to the teeth with hooks that hunt in ravenous packs and a vocal that links the divide between Ozzy and Ian Astbury all loosely locked down by a full assault re-wiring of the riff from the Monkees ’steppin’ stone’. The high octane and shimmering ’fuel not fire’ is the ensembles debut single – think Bob Mould’s Sugar leering at full tilt at speaker shredding velocity, a seismic sinew straining babe with stellar searing star kissed symphonic sheens of florescent feedback streams welded onto a thunderously crunching driving underpin – admirers of Snakes and Kites ’tricks of trapping’ will swoon. Last up the ominously apocalyptic ’star’ – which initially had us recalling a more pop orientated Godflesh as though that could ever be possible – a gnarled, swamp like beast riddled with anxiety laden menace that curdles into a becoming claustrophobic mass that’s blessed by a unhinged crippled grind that unravels at pace towards a splintered and fractured climax of seizure edging paranoia – a bit like an evil Mudhoney if you like. Expect great things. www.myspace.com/exitplanuk
Golden Disko Ship ‘bumblebee behind a tree’ EP (forest of sound). Golden Disko Ship is better known to kith and kin as Berlin based musician Theresa Stroetges who to date has firmly tucked beneath her waistband the ‘there’s a chaos’ EP (which we will do our level best to track down for future appraisal) and the forthcoming ‘lonesome cowboy / Christmas tree’. Utilising an array of instruments, found sounds and non melodic objects, Ms Stroetges crafts dinkily drawn sweetly sensitive shy eyed cascading collages of irresistibly beguiling strange pop, combining a disarming hybrid of lucid folk motifs bleached, torn and interspersed with ether emerging electronic transmissions and hiccupping time signatures that impart a feeling on more than one occasion of being afloat some chemically enhanced dream like boat trip – our reckoning is that if this had arrived adorned with the seal of approval of either Fat Cat or Static Caravan then there would be much head nodding glee in certain quarters of the press and media. In terms of reference points ‘bumblebee’ had me recalling very much Takako Minekawa’s excellent ‘fun 9’ set from 1999 while creaking eerily to resemble in terms of the dislocated textures – Serefina Steer’s recent debut ‘cheap demo bad science’. Coming housed in a beautifully looking hand crafted package – each of the six intricately layered and willowy cuts here appear to restlessly terra-form to evolve in real time almost giving the impression of works in progress, for the listener its like walking through a maze and finding the pathways and hedgerows dissolving haze like to re-appear re-aligned in differing formations. ’you blurry dream’ opens the set to an array of deceptively lilting digital chatter before emerging from the haze into a twin tracked overlapping vocals and daintily drawn punctuated pastoral acoustic gem that’s as good as anything we’ve heard since Lucie Wren’s delectable ’a wall, a hole, a daydream’ debut – did we mention it was unsettling enchanting and liberally threaded with delicate Neil Young like motifs (which strangely appear to be a re-occurring pre-occupation throughout). ’I wanna keep this as something that I don’t understand’ along with the closing ’wake / sleep’ perhaps provide the set with its finest moments. The former an ethereal nugget that ventures into realms of Syd Barrett-esque laziness, squealing and pining riffs fracture and tear through the lysergic haze into warping moments of serene head tripping bliss while the aforementioned ’wake / sleep’ is a sumptuously flirty and flighty mallowy slice of delicious dipped crooked romance cultured with looping beats and nursery room twinkling which to these ears sounds like an orbiting cavalry of Clangers tripping to montages speckled with ’Camberwick Green’ accents. Elsewhere there’s the gorgeously shanty like ’insane adventure poem’ with its spring boarding clattering electronics that dissipate in time into a delicious side winding groove while the d_rradio like crunchy electro folk rustics present on (trying to decipher the writing here0 ‘19th floor eshockes’ neatly exemplify Ms Stroetges attention to detail when trying to convey space / distance in terms of switching the vocals from the fore to the back. All in all a very beguiling release of disarming childlike naivety and considerable understated beauty. Single of the missive. www.myspace.com/goldendiskoship
– also check out her video collage at http://youtube.com/watch?v=84_4oXqfZW0
Guess that’s it for a very brief while – expect another quickly turned out Singled Out before this very week is out with another at the weekend – one of which will be another my space type special (missive 133) while the hotly pursuing Missive 134 will feature a cast of cute pop featuring the likes of the rather excellent Deliberate (check www.myspace.com/signaturerecordings), former Clerks gang Maudite Dance whose ’Echoin’ is shaping up for the illustrious single of the missive spot – check www.myspace.com/mauditedance, phosphene, black kites who if you go to www.filthylittleangels.com you’ll be able to bag yourself a freebie download of their version of the Sisters’ ’lucretia my reflection’, kingsize, 3 aft monkeys, nothing rhymes with orange, the lieutenants mistress, mr fogg, tessellators, the bad robots, zebedy rays, butcher boy and so much more…..
Our thanks and gratitude as always to the bands, labels and press people – you know who you are.