originally appearing on losing today way back in 2006, there’ll be plenty more of these over the coming days / weeks – this was part 5 of an extended 100th singled out missive – this un features –
beangrowes, magoo, the soft explosions, the answering machine, bureau, ollo, gomez, embrace, scissors for lefty, the rampton release, white rose movement, peter derzbach, talk, thom yorke, the dears, the view, the hungry, south, cheap dates, lupen crook, art rocker, mojo, the wire, roebeck, amandine, tom brosseau, vetiver, helene…..
Missive 100 – part 5
White Rose Movement ’London’s Mine’ (Independiente). Forever guaranteed a place in our heart following the quite simply breathlessly cool as f*ck ’Love is a number’ from last year. Has there ever been a sexier debut we ask – we‘d edge our bets that you’d not find anything remotely close approaching its orbit. But then White Rose Movement are of a distinctly rare breed, time and time again they stump up releases with such casual air that ooze sophistication and sexuality in equal measure that you begin to suspect they’ve hit upon some hitherto previously unknown seam of stylish song craft. WRM distil elements primarily from the more hi-art pop forms of the 80’s new romantic era – Duran Duran, Classix Nouveau, Japan et al and then blend them with a decidedly alluring cool wave underpin onto which an insidious austere groove fattened by an impenetrable euro disko grind is fused into the mix. Over the last 12 months it seems they’ve honed this melodic matrix into an art form of sorts cutting one album along the way. Now its the turn of the contagiously curvaceous chic and after dark ’London’s Mine’ to cause a flutter among the club floor poseur classes. Rooted to a circular throb ‘London is Mine’ is as deceptive as it is classy, sleekly widescreen in presentation and replete with pop fixated salacious sub plots, swathes of 80’s electro backdrops, a groove borrowed from DAF, seductively laced purring harmonies and cocooned in a steely bearing down driving grind the likes of which scrambles your nervous system to leave you in shreds. The arty sounding ’Testcard Girl’ over on the flip is a lighter option and belies a more distracted and ostensibly looser rhythmic structure braided by a bulging low slung funky bass under carriage and cutely sparring electroid squiggles that could easily be an early Vince Clarke era Depeche Mode colluding with Kissing the Pink. Tempting stuff eh? For the completists among you there’s also a rather nifty and criminally sexy Eugene Machine Remix of ‘Testcard Girl’ currently doing the rounds which strips back the original and fillets it with a seriously gritted edge and a boot tapping space hyper drive which if nothing else should ensure carnage on an informed club floor near you. http://www.independiente.co.uk
Peter Derzbach ‘Deni’ (Self released). Recently rescued from beneath the ever growing CD mountain and a damn good job because we’d have been kicking ourselves senseless for missing this. ‘Deni’ is the lead cut of a debut two track demo from London based Hungarian Peter Derzbach, recorded the tale end of last year it’s an ode of sorts to an older woman set across a strangely hollowingly quirky and utterly infectious slice of simple though effective buzzing lo-fi tuneage set to a casually un-arsed matter of fact vocal that to these ears sounds like a sprightly stripped back to basics ‘Trompe le Monde’ era Pixies re-covering Moose’s ‘Jack’ while throwing in a subtle yet jet streamed cute as hell nod to James’ ‘She’s a star’ by way of a chorus hook – a kind of new generation version of the blank generation if you like. ‘Song for Tom’ over on the flip is pretty much more of the same though teased and tousled with a cutely affectionate sun basked slow to burn edge as though Iggy being invited to front Bob Mould’s Sugar was crafting out candy coated powder pop for kicks that came adorned with the kind of chorus bridge not heard flaunting itself since the early 70’s courtesy of the Rubettes and the Bay City Rollers – but keep that under you hat you hear otherwise they’ll all want one.
Talk ‘Bypass Control’ (Fortune and Glory). A most welcome return for Talk who in a previous life were known as Telex until the late 70’s Belgium based ensemble of the same name thought wise (or should that be unwise) to reform and cash in their chips having heard there was a revival of interest in (nearly) all things late 70’s. That said Talk or Telex as they were had the good sense to release one of the best debuts in the shape of ‘Byp / Ctrl’ (what seems like) a few years back. Now back fully refreshed and sporting a new name (which will no doubt see them falling foul of half of a certain 80’s band) Talk meld their guitars and experimental electronic suites across three sumptuous cuts – well two if you want to be pedantic plus one remix courtesy of Digital Animal. ’By pass control’ is deliciously fractured blessed as it is with all manner of riff seizures and the type of controlled psychosis that was pretty much the bed rock of Radiohead’s ’OK Computer’, a white hot distractive progressive art rock animal of sorts threaded and snared by a bleaching of abstract computer rhythms that craftily find themselves juxtaposing sublimely between the polarised paths of an edgy austere tensely tingling claustrophobia and a warmly honey combed harmony laced mellowness – quite disturbingly superb. ‘Return to the factory’ at times could easily be separated at birth from Floyd’s ‘Time’ ripped from their mixing desk just as the studio lights had dimmed and rewired with a deliciously chilled and sparsely fraught slow building intensity braided by oddly doom laden interpretation of a soulless automated future world fleshed out by vocoder vocals and distorted blip transmissions very much cast in the style of the darker folds of Add N to X’s back catalogue. The ‘Digital Animal Mix’ wraps up the set working his remix charm upon ‘Bypass Control’ endowing it with a rigidly impenetrable hypnotic wall of stuttering beats and loosely twang like fretless bass grooves while bringing to the fore the original cuts more latent pop motifs and at the same time loosening it of its hitherto frenzied displacement. A must have release by our reckoning. http://www.fortuneandglory.co.uk
And talking of Radiohead…..damn we should thrown salt over our shoulder and turned anti clockwise three times because….
Thom Yorke ’Harrowdown Hill’ (XL). Hey kids pop music. Well we think so. Culled from his recent solo ‘not’ full length ’The Eraser’, Yorke it seems has been doing a spot of inner retrospection, because asides all the hyperbole and loftiness attributed to this collection it is, when scratched away of its laptop induced glitches ’n’ groans, a remarkably romantic albeit bruised and isolated album (if that is you shy away from the normally darkly politicised subject matters that Yorke continually explores – on this occasion chemical weapons inspector David Kelly ) that gently nibbles away at the underlying and loosely threaded textures as found on (obviously) ’Kid A’ and (less apparently) ’Hail to the Thief’. Without the disquieting axis of Greenwood and Co’s supplement of fractured aural decorating, Yorke finds sanctuary in the oddly lilting miniaturised netherworld of diodes and circuit boars. Heaving with emotion ’Harrowdown Hill’ finds Yorke sounding surprisingly un-Yorke in terms of vocal delivery endowing the unfolding spectacle beneath with an alluring warmth. Not quite Aphex but rather more Minotaur Shock as though spiralling in the less obvious aural folds of Echoboy, the bleakly beautiful ’Harrowdown Hill’ is replete with stuttering splinter like beats that chatter into the ether under which lies a fulsome sounding yet strangely dislocated and recoiling slice of sparsely detuned electronica, typically numbing stuff of course and craftily uplifting in a kind of deeply despairing way. Flip over the disc for the far superior ’The Drunkk Machine’ – darker in realisation and in execution, deliberately confused, Yorke blends elements of early Warp like ornate lullaby library pop (Plone, Plaid, ISAN et al) and forces them through some extreme contortionist manoeuvres that include clattering spongy beats, a bleached out funky grind and disorientating dreamlike states that ultimately serve to give the impression of two separately (and polar opposite) conceived songs converging ominously upon each other the result of which, and unexpectedly, provides for a curious psychedelic experience that’s as far removed from the West Coast (or the 60’s for that matter) as you could ever wish to be. http://www.xlrecordings.com
The Dears ‘Ticket to Immortality’ (Bella Union). The first track to be culled from the recently released full length ‘Gang of Losers’, ‘Ticket to Immunity’ sees Canada’s the Dears shedding their normally resplendent and vibrantly colourful wall of sound and opting for something a little more stripped down in approach and rightly deserving of the description ‘slow to burn’. Peppered by a cortege of honey dripped harmonies and the sound of silken though subtly invested sweeping strings ‘Ticket to Immortality’ is braided with an alluring 70’s sense of disarming ambition that strangely manifests as though ‘Dog Man Star’ era Suede had shimmied up alongside Mott the Hoople at the height of their powers for a spot of pop boogie with Roy Wood hiding in the shadows twiddling the mixing desk knobs. Flip side features the previously unreleased ’the Highest’ which seems to happily spend the entirety of its 3 and a half minute life just simply rooting you to the spot in numbed awe. If ’Ticket to Immortality’ was a stripped down affair then ’the Highest’ is near naked dressed only with the merest of starry eyed atmospherics and a simple yet painfully slow and emotionally shredding reverberating guitar that to these ears sounds like Blur’s ’Beetlebum’ lost of its building dynamics and in its place an almost blissfully serene though bruised template like facelift that slowly but surely cracks open your defences with its undeniable impenetrable solace.
The View ‘Wasted little DJ’s’ (1965). Second release from the newly augmented 1965 stable – and damn did we have hassle aplenty nailing this one. Pressed up on 7 inches of pink wax, The View are four scamps from Dundee who it seems already have pretty much of what’ll be a full length already in the can and due for release the early part of next year. ‘Wasted little DJ’s’ is a devilishly catchy slice of booty shaking skinny tied lo-fi power pop whose roots seem to be immersed in all things Canvey Island pub rock related and yet that said could easily pass for a seriously bubblegum pop orientated and youthful Teenage Fanclub doing dB’s homage’s for kicks which as I’m sure you’ll readily agree is worth the entrance fee alone. Flip over for a spot of snotty nosed fumbling in the spiky punk sack of pop in the shape of ‘Posh Boys‘ which to these ears sounds like a mutant manifestation of the Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers being rewired with Eddie and the Hot Rods themselves wanting to be the Dead Boys. Pretty damn smart if you ask me which of course you didn’t. http://www.1965records.com
The Hungry I ‘Birthday’ (Self released). Much to our horror its another of those releases that somehow managed to grow legs and started exploring the confines of our listening shed. Limited to just three hundred copies and featuring three new cuts, ‘Birthday’ is the second release from the Hungry I better know to mum, dad and friends alike as the Northampton via South Coast via Edinburgh based Jon Stolber. Armed with just his laptop, Stolber crafts out sumptuous darkly toned yet elegantly carved symphonies that sparkle and twinkle ominously in the evening shadows, opening with the title cut, ’Birthday’ terra-forms spectacularly gyrating through a plethora of musical forms that takes its base cue from the 90’s Bristol scene and rewires it with a distorted dream like vision replete with continual pace and texture changes as though given the impression that the mallowy structures ever more disappearing, blurring and reshaping themselves anew. Starting out like some kind of galactic yet monolithically magnificent sound clash via ’2001 A Space Odyssey’ it soon evaporates and in its place a dreamy cortege of tripping down tempo textures shrouded in pulsating stately beats assume the cause only to be splintered by moments of operatics (a la Associates – the fluency and looseness recalling their old flip sides) and a widescreen cathedral / glacial like grandeur that frankly makes a mockery of its hitherto timid frame. ’Jaws of Love’ is beautifully tranquil and really should be filed under somewhere else pop, haunting yet elegiac as like ‘Birthday’ Stolber continually changes the goal posts creating songs within songs that first appear like ill fitting jigsaw pieces though when viewed as a whole from a distance make perfect sense albeit abstractly. ‘The Idiot’ offers quite possibly the most structurally together cut here, no cul de sacs, changing of grooves or tempos here – in fact you could say it was krautrock without the kraut and rock being bedded as it is on a locked down repetitive groove and laced with a subtle hyper driving psychotropic sparseness – tasty if you ask me. Expect an album of mercurial creativeness later in the year. http://www.thehungryi.co.uk
South ‘Up close and personal’ (Cooking Vinyl). Now we know this came packaged with a copy of the bands forthcoming album ‘Adventures in the Underground Journey to the Stars’ because we’ve heard it, loved it and er lost it along with the pesky press release – well I say lost it it’s more of a case of it buggering off to hang out with the Jade Tree releases or something or other. And while we are here – release date is scheduled for mid September and it comes packaged with a limited full DVD – so pre orders now is advised if only to pre-empt the gnashing of teeth and flowing of tears if you miss out. ‘Up close and personal’ is – I think I’m right in saying – the second cut to be lifted from that aforementioned set following last year’s quite stupendous ‘A place in displacement’ and is quite honestly so stupidly good you’d have to wear a lead lined romper suit to avoid being smitten by its all to petulantly perky pop amore. This cutie disarms and undoes you from the inside out – a maddening sugar rush of potently effervescent exuberance found od’ing on prime morsels of pristine pop that all at once manages to sound sumptuously Christmassy and yet breezily summery and without as so much as a by your leave comes curveballing into your life like a time charged fluorescent paint bomb. So damn contagiously happy sounding you can but wonder why no one has seen fit to bottle it up and license to clinics dealing with severe depression. ‘Autumn Morning’ is your ‘Blue Monday’ by New Order type thing rewired, re-sprayed and re-upholstered with a rather fetching array of the seasons latest fashionable spongy starry eyed hip grinding booty shaking seductiveness which should ensure a certain amount of action on the coolest club floors. ‘Something or nothing’ wraps up the set and nibbles ever so softly at the Roses’ ‘Made of Stone’ while blossoming into an alluring feast of tingling ice cream vans on promenades and 60’s accents that apart from deliciously shimmering appear to tug and tap happily upon your heartstrings like a high wire gymnast – an irresistible release and of course – pretty damn essential in our book. http://www.cookingvinyl.com
Cheap Dates ‘Sodium Lights’ (Self released demo). We stumbled across this London based ensemble via my space would you believe which I supposes puts paid to all those who knock the site as a marketing / exposure gimmick but then I reckon its just sad A&R being cut out of the equation that are moaning the loudest. Sadly this debut four track CD arrived slightly worse for wear and so hopefully once we manage to nail a new copy will feature for certain in all its full resplendent glory in these pages next time out. Once thing we will say is that it’s a damn tasty, sweet as a nut debutante that initially caught our ear because we swear we heard the gentle lull of Anna Kashfi breezily ruminating about its grooves. Not so, soaked in the delicious spectacle of sweetly cured pedal steel motifs so good that you swear you’re in Nashville and cast upon vibrantly catchy bed of softly jabbing 60’s styled guitars that had us recalling, asides elements of Mamas and Papas and Curved Air, early outings from Richard Green’s post Ultrasound outfit the Somatics. For now though wander over to their my space site and check out the killer ’Baby come and get me’. http://www.myspace.com/cheapdates
Lupen Crook ‘A silver boot for Sam’ (Tap ‘n’ Tin). More gem like goings on from the creative canon of Lupen Crook – already occupying safe haven forevermore in our hearts (and nightmares) courtesy of his recent debut full length ‘Accidents occur whilst sleeping’. ‘A silver boot for Sam’ sees Lupen Crook returning to the fray with a new five track set spread over (the now trademark) multi formats that includes among the selection a video directed by various personage from I like trains. Lupen Crook operates in a curious world more readily occupied by the Mersey delta / scousadelic vintage of early Coral / Zuton’s outings (check out the beautifully off balanced romantic Lee Mavers soundalike delivery on ‘Shake baby shake’ with its tenderised Velvets accents) as though cured, blended and laid in casks of archaic folk and bleached with an strangely beckoning yet oddly unsettling eeriness that hints at Barrett more so in essence than delivery. The shanty like ‘A silver boot for Sam’ dressed in sea faring fiddles opens the set finds Lupen Crook in up beat mood, from its initial frail introductions versed with the softly aromatic lull of rustic chords comes a romping boot tapping barn hopping campfire cutie replete with swirling violins, honky tonking keys and kegs of moonshine which many may well decide on executing a delve into their record collections to pull out and dust down Steve Earle’s ‘Copperhead Road’ classic. ‘Washing blood from my hands’ finds LC in familiar territories, shadowy almost abstractly abrupt textures laced with his almost trademark fractured delivery, the skeletal frameworks seemingly flicker, hop and dance with impish menace atop LC’s darkly wired crookedly macabre musical hall storytelling. Best cuts of the set are to be found on what will be the 7” flip sides. ’The Hidden Track’ is suitably blistered, crackled and scratched sounding so raw and naked you can almost hear the beads of cold sweat forming and gently rolling amid the stark tension forming within, all at once creepy and strangely possessing a clipped beauty – despite its untoward frailness this haunting gem resonates deeply visibly leaving a trail of temperature plummeting atmospherics in its wake. ’The Lost Belonging’ is carved of the kind of primal folk that you’d imagine had been excavated from a middle ages legend procured in a dimly lit tavern where dastardly deeds were plotted on a nightly basis, a maddening mantra of ominous may day revelry and long forgotten dusty song craft. And with that perhaps featuring the best stuff LC has committed to tape to date. http://www.tapntinrecords.co.uk
Art rocker #44. To be found plastered on the cover of the latest issue of Art rocker – these days available at the most discernible newsagents across the length and breadth of the nation – is a rather nifty 25 track CD featuring the current wares of Fat Cat, Fierce Panda, Pickled Egg, Wrath, Snakes and Ladders, Fake Product, Half Machine, Tough Love and Tigertrap stables which features an enviable array of some of the best young people there is adorned with guitars and bootylicious toons to match. Among the assembled throng Being 747, Hot Puppies, Blood on the Wall, Shit Disco, Dead! Dead! Dead!, Needs New Body; the Now and the Sequins. Among our favourites the Bow Wow Wow meets the Slits wonky pop of 586; Television with attitude in the shape of William; B Movie via the Normal and early Icehouse sounds of Blah Blah Blasé; the mind melting sonic kookiness of the warped and fraught MIT; Small Wonder era Cure are excavated, dusted down and wired up to the mains in the hands of Neils Children and Levelload who should by rights (all things being right) should feature elsewhere among these very jottings. The magazine itself features the very wonderful Victorian English Gentlemens Club and new to us Bromheads Jacket plus your usual informed live reviews and must have Artrocker singles / album recommendations.
And continuing on with the magazines –
Mojo #155 features a cover mount entitled ’The Quiet Revolution’ which is described by the magazine as ’a summer folk compendium’ and really who are we to argue – featuring as it does 15 sumptuous slices of drifting lazy eyed elegance that spans some forty years of the genre and includes cuts by the rediscovered and re-activated talent that is Vashti Bunyan, Fence stalwart James Yorkston, Pentagle who frankly we’d forgotten how good they were, Davy Graham, Bert Jansch, the scarily brilliant Woven Hand which apparently is the latest musical vehicle for 16 Horsepowers David Eugene Edwards and new kids on the block Sweet Billy Pilgrim. Inside the latest 164 page issue features / interviews with the rug wearing one Elton John which to be honest we thought would be cack but actually had us hankering to hear some old EJ gear by the time we’d got to the end – whether that’s a good or bad thing is your call. Elsewhere Monty Python, Tom Petty and the Jesus and Mary Chain.
Wire #271 – as ever a compulsive albeit wordy read – this particular issue finds a rare in print Genesis Breyer P -Orridge (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV et al fame) going head to head against the Invisible Jukebox and emerging from the experience with the cigar but no lighter. AMM 40 year career is put under the microscope via the Primer, there’s a rare glimpse of the Charalambides, MC Kool Keith, Lindsay Kemp as remembered by a youthful Michael Bracewell and a whole feast of the usual gubbins you come to love, expect and dread in equal portions.
Roebeck ‘22 seconds’ (69db). Time for more apologies because we suspect (and deep down know for a fact) that we’ve had this for a fair while now – our only excuse being that it somehow snuck into the every evolving mass that is the CD mountain and somehow just remained out of sight and with that – out of mind. Now that we’ve found it though there’s no stopping the blighter from weaving its starry eyed seduction on our hi-fi. Those of you with moderate memories will recall us falling off our listening perch at the unravelling spectacle of this duo’s last (and debut as Roebeck) release ‘Do you remember’ (missive 99 – note takers) a kind of Stereolab meets Tummy Touch productions affair resplendent with starry eyed motifs and the kind of sumptuousness that simply left you jaw dropped and numb. ‘22 seconds’ is the second instalment of three promised releases by way of a taster to next year’s debut full length and sees Luke C and Brett Booth occupying more familiar suavely sophisticated environs, from the minute ’Prelude’ briefly filters out to longingly caress the surrounding listening space you’re immediately put on guard that what you have here is a more matured depth laden and considered celebration of sound and in fairness a totally different animal all together from their last outing. Still courting with a curvaceous under tread of down tempo dressage, Roebeck filter an alluring sense of evening exotica toned romance upon ’22 seconds’ – softly lingering melodies play peek-a-boo in the ambient ether bathing all in a lulling lunar-esque spectacle that finds itself finitely clipped and coiffured with the sensual torch like feline fluttering of an unnamed female vocal. Though personally for me it’s the closing track ’A short piece whilst waiting for storm relief’ that deserves special attention – lights fade, the evening lulls, you know the type of thing – milky lounge jazz accents scrumptiously delivered with such delicate artistry that you’d be forgiven for having it pass over your head unheeded. Classy stuff indeed. http://www.roebeck.co.uk
Amandine ‘Waiting for the light to find us’ (Fat Cat). More essential ear gear from Brighton’s Fat Cat records and personally for me the welcome return of Swedish quartet Amandine following last years universally acclaimed ‘This is where our hearts collide’ full length and their ‘Halo’ debut single – both of which I seem to recall being something of a near permanent feature on our hi-fi this time twelve months ago. Since that time the ensemble have released the US only 5 track ‘Firefly’ CD EP of which all those tracks bar the lead cut and the addition of two new cuts feature. Of that two of the cuts -‘Sparrow’ and ‘Between what he’s saying and what he regrets’ featured on the flip of last years debut single all augmented by two previously unreleased tracks ‘Wake’ and ‘All hearts fail’ – which al said and done is a laborious way of saying new release featuring six cuts. Typically (and thankfully) nothing has changed during their brief studio sabbatical overall the compositions provide for lush arrangements that tap directly to the core of the heart, Amandine pride themselves on carving out bitter sweetly cured dusty love letters hazily aromatic of the old country, ‘Wake’ which opens the set reveals them evermore honing their love of early career Neil Young, the smokily cured arrangements vibrantly colourful flitter in the breeze shyly exuding their warmth like caressing touch in a style much reminiscent of the seriously undervalued Moviola yet ache with a distilled and preserved resonance that can trace its blood line all the way back to Buffalo Springfield and beyond. The most disturbingly beautiful thing here is without doubt ’All hearts fail’. With its softly soured strings and delicately plucked rustics it’s enough to bring to the knees the most resilient of souls, sensitively drawn each murmur and creak appears wracked with such heartfelt purpose as though literally torn rather than played that if you didn’t know better you’d swear it was the work of a more crushed Black Heart Procession. ’Lover’s Trial’ though equally inspired and filleted with the same downcast tear inducing demeanour is a more upbeat prospect that arrives replete with the wintry array of brass arrangements while the immeasurably hurting ‘Union Falls’ is cast with a withering splendour that strangely fills you with a heartening chest beating pride though I deeply suspect it shouldn’t. ‘Sparrow’ the most up-tempo cut here is suggestively drenched in accordions (which if we had our way asides whistling and harmonicas we’d make it law that each and every record ever committed to tape would at some point include at least one if not all these three features) and plays home to a buzzing pop dynamic that (and realising that I’ve previously gone on record as saying this) sounds like a dizzying greyhound trip touching through a 70’s who’s who map of country pop rock with Young, Eagles, Blue Oyster Cult, Parsons and post jangle Byrds all blending sumptuously between the grooves – quite irresistible if you ask me. Twelve months on from first hearing prairie tear jerker ‘Between what he’s saying and what he regrets’ and it still sounds like the type of stuff that could break hearts at several paces, led by a slowly cantering piano and braided with the subtle wash of comforting violins and a half drunken banjo this hopelessly cherishable porch like treat just begs to have loving arms wrapped around it for sympathetic re-assurance – a gem by any other name. http://www.fat-cat.co.uk
Tom Brosseau ‘Hurt to Try’ (Fat Cat). If we had to put our hands up and admit to which release gave us in equal parts – the greatest amount of unexpected surprise and enjoyment then this simply delightful two track release from LA based via North Dakota Tom Brosseau would win hands down no argument. ‘Hurt to Fly’ is taken from Mr Brosseau’s ‘Empty houses are lonely’ full length – which I suspect much to my embarrassment I have about me somewhere though can’t for the life of me lay hands to at the moment. ‘Hurt to Try’ sounds like its been stored in casks from an age at the dawn of popular music as we know it and left forgotten to gather dust, their essence protected and somewhat matured, all at once hollowed and haunting yet rich, resonant and rewarding, Brosseau appears to straddle so many generic forms from dusty blues, archaic folk to strangely enough a curious synthesis of drive in culture and softening 50’s doo wop (the latter without doubt influenced indirectly by a formative upbringing listening to the Ink Spots) that it’s really a job trying to distantly compare him with anyone else current or past. That said there is something of the now about his song craft albeit it doesn’t immediately translate as that, the songs creak as though drawing a punctuated breath, the space and conversational attributes that Brosseau invests in his song craft is simply something that’s breathtaking finding as they do, an eerie displacement in tune with many of today’s underground artists – King Creosote, John Stammers, Charlie Parr, Adrian Crowley and the Big Eyes Family Players to name just a few. Factor in a fragile and feminine sounding voice which itself is unreal to say the least and sounds unless I’m very much mistaken like a very young pre glam Marc Bolan and braided with guitars and harmoniums, leave aside those references to Buckley and Drake though arguably you’d be right to associate the connected warmth throughout yet Brosseau is rather more to optimistic and ‘yeah well whatever’ in terms of attitude to sit comfortably in their company – instead think Woody Guthrie transplanted into June Panic. Flip side features the previously unreleased ‘Portrait of George Washington’ which frankly had us all a flutter here as its softly cured with the breezy sound of a harmonica, thread over that some seriously naked and sparsely treated lazy eyed rustic chord work and you have yourself a delicate serene gem of a thing that only now requires a sunny afternoon and a leafy tree near a stream to complete what should be a beautiful moment of carefree idling. http://www.fat-cat.co.uk
Vetiver ‘Won’t be me’ (Fat Cat). Depending on which version of the recent (and of course goes without saying) must have second full length ‘To find me gone’ by quintet Vetiver that you no doubt acquired quite recently then you’ll most probably be aware and much in love with both tracks that appear on this delightful limited as hell 7 inch release. If by some strange quirk of fate or some temporary musical taste dysfunction you happened to miss the album – then why because without doubt its certainly been one of the most unassuming treats to venture out of the Fat Cat stable in such a long time (that is if you don’t include the new Max Richter full length). ‘Won’t be mine’ billed as one of the more overtly upbeat cuts from that aforementioned album is just that. Opening with a similar introduction as that found on the Stone Roses ‘Bye bye badman’ this perkily countrified nugget as with the previously mentioned Tom Brouseau release seductively taps into the rich pop tapestry of June Panic – more precisely his ‘Horror Vacui’ era work to blend infectious hooks and alluringly breezy melodies that have been spending part of their summer vacation on the west coast and the rest listening to a hybrid account of Nesmith, Parsons and Petty. Once inside your head this babe will keep you restlessly awake at night no doubt barn dancing its arse off till the early hours pissed as a fart on moonshine. Flip over for ‘Busted’ which had it not been made available again other than on the limited vinyl / CD versions of ‘To find me gone’ would have been a crime in itself. Awash with longing slides that shimmer and arc suggestively amid the voids exudes a blissfully hurting beauty that encourages the type of numbed drop jawed expressions normally reserved in the presence of understated grandeur. http://www.fat-cat.co.uk
And I know that these releases have already featured (aside the Magoo one that is) in previous Singled Out’s – Helene (at Singled Out Missive 98) and the Bean growers (at Missive 92) but hey these (though I suspect long sold out) are ultra limited heavy duty wax type things all hand signed by the respective bands – which I suppose is obvious really – wouldn’t want them signing each others – but then – hey –
Helene ‘This is all we have to know’ (Series 8). Already responsible for causing a swooning fit in our gaff for those superb recent releases by Oom and the Beangrowers the Series 8 bandwagon trundles on with another slice of must have tuneage with what is a quite simply and utterly gorgeous taster for Helene’s second long player ‘Routines’ due for release in July. Helene are a five piece based around the talents of former Barefoot Contessa members Helene Dineen and Graham Gargiulo (of whose ‘Blues for a Honey’ full length is befitting of the tag – lost gem). Already proud parents of a well received debut album in ’Postcard’ (which we – grates teeth – sadly missed) released in 2003 Helene return to the fray which a two track teaser of such pristine pop perfection it’ll have you swooning in admiration. Softly seductive ‘This is all we have to know’ recalls in the main Manchester’s much overdue for critical acclaim Anna Kashfi (of whom we’ve just discovered have released an album last year ’Palisade’ which we knew nothing about – still – two great reasons to go record shopping in the same review) in the sense that both display a unique talent for timeless song crafting. Gentle, unassuming, fragile but nonetheless potently absorbing ’This is all we have to now’ glides spectrally, liberally dashed with an almost pastel like shading that’s all at once elegiac and haunting, like a light bulb to a moth the nimble pastoral chord play of Gargiulo sweetly beckons Dineen’s breathlessly sensual Hope Sandoval-esque vocal to caress and curl amid the rounded folds that manifests itself into a transfixing chemistry that’s richly beguiling – a half cousin of sorts to Cave’s doomed love epitaph ‘Where the wild roses grow’ touched with an Leonard Cohen like accent though eliciting an endearing 60’s folk appeal. The captivating ‘Nostalgie’ over on the flip side is exclusive to this release – built around a lull like swaying shanty like dynamic and a reclining demeanour it’d take a heart of steel to sniff nonchalantly at this warming nugget of day dreaming Strawberry Switchblade like easy pop. Pressed on blue vinyl as though you needed any further encouragement to make your own. http://www.series8records.co.uk If you check out the bands site at http://www.helene.org.uk you’ll receive words of warning from Helene’s Graham who was in a former life guitarist with the much undervalued Charlottes – a band who it seems are the subject of a retrospective compilation of sorts issued by Cherry Red – which apparently is such a shoddy and cheaply re-packaged set of existing titles that band members Graham and Petra want to distance themselves from unequivocally and ask that Charlottes fans do likewise.
Bean growers ‘You are you are’ (Series 8). Second Series 8 offering comes from those much loved Maltese sorts the Bean growers a band who by rights should be bloody huge by now having already snared the hearts of the Yanks with two acclaimed appearances at the SXSW in 2004 and 2005 as well as gaining several critical support slots playing across Europe with the likes of Stereophonics and Elbow. Last time we had the pleasure of hearing these cute kids we were mightily impressed by their honed to near perfection needling melodies which seemed to all at once pinpoint a veritable though respectable reference map that included Belly, Tanya Donnelly, Melys (again) and PJ Harvey. Three years down the line and its nice to see that age hasn’t blunted their edge or ability to hammer out gems at the drop of an hat. ‘You are You are’ sadly isn’t the old Numan goodie of the same name to be found upping the ante on the superb and much overlooked ‘Dance’ full length. Instead this tight as a gnat’s chuff is a no nonsense heads down low slung skinny tied boogying rocker replete with an awesome frontline artillery that’s bedecked with a gnarled twang-tastic fuzz galore perspective that’s more keenly identified as coming out of parts of Detroit and Scandinavia of late and has to said of strangely had it arrived say with a sticker heralding it as the new Hives release you’d be kissing its butt drooling that it was the best thing to hit music since the birth of ears. Blessed with a seriously needling riff that’s so alarmingly infectious that one suspects you’d need at least a month in detox to ween yourself off and the kind of off track coolness that doesn’t so much rear up into view immediately but rather more like some form of delayed shock creeps up behind and clobbers the shit out of you when you least expect it. Oh yea and did we mention Alison’s femme fatale pouting throughout – let’s put it this way you wouldn’t wanna argue with her. Flipside features the enchanting and emotionally piercing ‘Waltz’ which is quite simply put – elegant and stately. An absolute gem of classically treated crushed emotions dusted with the genteel sprinkle of inspired heart clawing strings and a shadowy late 60’s appeal made up of darkly stalking chords as though the decaying verve of the Animals version of ’House of the Rising Sun’ had been transported back in time to have its life sucked out of it by the restless passion, hurt and regret of Kate Bush’s earlier Bronte inspired outings. A master class of softly stirring tempestuousness. Essential as though you needed telling. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Magoo ‘Superteen Scene’ (Series 8). Words literally fail. Taken from the bands current long player ‘the All electric amusement arcade’ which by our reckoning is one of the best (if not THE best) albums we’ve had the fortune and pleasure to hear this year ‘Superteen Scene’ is one of a handful of cuts to be found therein that reveal Magoo on lightning like untouchable form. An absolute gem of a track that locks wholesale into the whole sugar rushing candy pop climate so diligently guarded as their own by the likes of Bis and Girlinky whilst manoeuvring at stealth as though locked into Jeff Lynne / Roy Wood’s 70’s psyche. Breathlessly infectious rampant pop supernova that swerves, glides and struts with the best of them and with that liable to do strange things to your already frayed nervous system. Simply perfect stuff. Flip side features ‘Are you still hanging around’ which apparently appeared on one of those Metal Queen Projects compilations under the title ’Monkeys’ (which seems sadly to have passed below our radar). Another slice of chugging electronically enhanced buzz sawing pop sweetly cured with lightly hued harmonies and happily droning whirrs – kind of space pop rock with all its metronomic elements sent on vacation to the west coast. Essential of course.
The Soft Explosions ‘Ride between the Eyes’ (Canarsie). Much to our horror we almost missed this completely finding it buried beneath a stack of stuff. No introductions needed for New York based Canarsie records given they’ve drilled our hi-fi in recent times with a handful of superb releases featuring Schizo Fun Addict and Death of Fashion. Now it’s the turn of New York based quartet The Soft Explosion to join the hallowed circle. Previously the David James Motorcycle before giving up on celebrated notices for their sole release ‘A loose mood’ (another record that’s seemingly passed us by – damn) and relocating kit and caboodle to New York. In terms of sound not a million miles away from fellow (relocated) New Yorkers the Brian Jonestown Massacre which is hardly surprising when you consider that SE guitarist Irina can often be found moonlighting with the psyche rockers on tour duty. That said the Soft Explosion have an undeniable English sound that suggests they’ve had their radio dials retuned to the better elements of English underground pop over the last 15 or so years. This their debut release pressed up as a two track jukebox 7“ and a four track CD is led out by ‘Ride between the Eyes‘ which in all honesty is so f*cking cool you feel under dressed for not wearing shades. Combining a hypnotic sonic meltdown of wah wah’s and reverb with mind altering pedal effects, this kaleidoscopic pop gem takes its cue from the 60’s influenced space psyche bands of the early 90’s UK scene who’d seen fit to run against the tide of the once hip and trendy Madchester inspired baggy circus- My Jealous God, the Satyrs, Wonky Alice et al. A positively honey crusted lysergic trip-tastic gem of spiral like pop psychedelia that cutely and subtly pokes holes at the Clash’s rap repertoire via ’Sandinista’ and nails it to a throb that could easily have been conceived by a union of minds between Link Wray and Ry Coder. The sexy as hell day-glo groove laden rough and ready jangle of ’Desert’s Gold’ is a certifiable twinning of the Soup Dragons and Primal Scream mainlining on the Stones ’Exile’ sessions while the snazzy ’Reverberate (let it all start)’ plugs itself into the early 90’s Liverpool scene via Top and Mr Ray’s Wig World. ’Keep all that love’ rounds up the set superbly with a spot of bliss laden and serenely lolloping countrified smoothness which frankly bobs and weaves like an oiled porch lit rocking chair to such an extent you could easily suffer motion sickness though not before undergoing a mini rupture of electrics towards the close a la the Faces. Smitten I am to say the least. http://www.canarsierecords.com
The Answering Machine ‘Oklahoma’ (High Voltage). So bloody good this I could kiss it. A Manchester trio no less who armed with a drum machine called Mustafa Beat (very Clash indeed) have been around for a few months now and in their so far short life time have garnered support slots with the likes of the Good Shoes, Captain and Morning Runner (three more bands to add to my never ending list of stuff to track down and listen to I guess). ‘Oklahoma’ their debut release is a rather tastily trimmed slice of perky pop that apart from sounding like the wonderfully morose Decoration on seriously potent happy pills and an early Micro Disney with speeded strut like jangles after several heavily invested anger management sessions with what to these ears has an air of early chirpy Wedding Present being cross pollinated with the Thrills. Blessed with what is the most maddeningly audacious sounding summery tinged needle like riff you’ll hear in a age the type of which you wake up at 4 in the morning in a cold sweat whistling out loud to (oh what’s that – so that’s just me then is it – okay scrub that last bit), a shouty pub pop sing-a-long chorus which in all fairness sounds like a wired karaoke mish mash of Jilted John and Jonathan Richman and a veritable beat-y pop sensibility – this cutely toe tapping sizzler will be the darling of the youth of today before very long and should by rights come replete with its own dance craze. Flip over for more Gedge-ness and Co with lyrics you suspect secretly written by the man of miserablism himself Moz in the form of ‘The Hold Up‘ – marked mainly for it’s nod paying respectfulness of all things classic Sarah, twisted hip gyrating moves and it’s ear pricking blend of dark / light (happy chord play / solemn lyricism – you get the drift) dynamics – all in all tenacious, tasty and quite ruddy terrific if you ask me. http://www.highvoltage.org.uk
Bureau ‘After Midnight’ (High Voltage). More High Voltage aural apparel which every decent record collection should call its own and with that another debutante so it would seem, again from Manchester which these days seems to be spewing forth bands faster than an in demand chemical lab culturing virus’ to order. Bureau are an electro pop quintet who only as recently as May this year made their live debut at the city’s ’in’ haunt the Music Box garnering in the process a mixture of numbed jaw gaping among the attending crowd and favourable notices from the local press. Not strictly out for a few weeks but sure to be hammered to hell by radio stations with a modicum of taste ’After Midnight’ sees Bureau tapping seductively into the same angulated cool wave vein as the (now missing in action or so it would seem) Koreans and Salon Boris while assuming something of an understudy role to the potently infectious White Rose Movement. Carved with a mercurial pop sensibility of the 80’s more cooler elements ‘After Midnight’ immediately draws you in mainlining into your psyche with its irresistibly finite and gloriously resplendent glacial groove. Initially starting out to sound like Swimmer One’s ’We make music for ourselves’ (second mention the same missive – is there are trend forming here we ask ourselves) it blossoms at pace into a colourfully fluid widescreen spectacle of sugar rushing star hopping chords, twisted loops, curvaceous grooves that find themselves intertwined and bathed beneath a drop dead gorgeous quilt of swirling keys that many of you might on reflection start to reconsider the wisdom of the dumping those old Ultravox and A flock of Seagulls records a little while back. If ’After Midnight’ wins the sexy vote then there’s no doubt that ’Doll House’ is fully deserving of the sleazy award, perhaps one of the most insatiably dirty grooves we’ve had the pleasure of cocking an ear to since almost anything by Noblesse Oblige – the type that crawls up your spine, makes you tingle and think to yourself cold shower time. Imagine if Trinny and Suzanne the disco dollies had hooked up with a seriously loosened up and grittily funky Heaven 17 instead of Mr Oakey’s Human League and armed with more Rick James and Prince records than is probably wise and for that matter legal retired under the cover of darkness to the safe confines of the studio for a spot of salacious extra curricula biology homework the resultant offspring a horny as hell post punk / electro rewired mutant Deep Purple. Classy. http://www.highvoltage.org.uk
OLLO ’Campaign for real bread’ (12 Apostles). There have too numerous to mention reasons for us to feel a tad disappointed with ourselves this year in terms of records that to date we still haven’t had a chance to write up about, perhaps if not topping that list being pretty damn close would be this labels last outing – the third full length from ROC – so good (and arguably one of the releases of the year) that we’d frankly had so much fun with we’d forgotten to review the blighter. Still there’s no mistaking we’ll be making the same inexcusable oversight with this baby the latest offering from Sydney’s OLLO. ‘Campaign for Real Bread’ is a taster it seems for their forthcoming (and long overdue) full length ’The If If’ which all things being well is tentatively scheduled for Autumn release and based on the evidence provided within should prove something of a corker. A fit to burst display of amorphous aural adventure that blends a head expanding luxuriant recipe of beats, arabesque accents, dusty noire-ish landscapes, spongy funk informed electronica, dub and down tempo elements into an ever evolving brew that ultimately mushrooms splendidly into a sweaty and heaving carnival of hip jerking exotica that’s almost impossible to leave alone. Flip the disc for a kooky recalibration of the Fun Boy 3 forgotten classic ’the lunatics have taken over the asylum’ here dressed with a deeply seductive dub-tronic re-drill and a veritable after hours demeanour, take special note of the cleverly factored dippily haddled delivery of the ’lunatics’ contrasting superbly with the calmly collected lead vocal. Now all we need is a suitably re-trod update of Hall and Co’s other lost 80’s gem ’the telephone always rings’ and I’ll be like a kid in his own sandpit replete with sweets and comic shop. Classy stuff. Initial copies come adorned with a two badge set which apart from looking well snazzy will ensure much envy among your friends and peers alike. http://www.12-apostles.com
Gomez ‘See the World’ (Independiente). Alas no information with this one track CD which we assume is the latest Gomez single – well let’s put it this way it’s not a 24 piece silver plated cutlery set that’s for sure because we’ve tried – and boy is it one bugger with soup I can tell you (that’ll be the tomato variety in case you were interested). The second cut to be taken from their back to form full length set ‘How we operate’ sees the Gomez opting for a spot of ambling loveliness carved with a gently rolling vibrant touch of smoking Americana, barely bothering to shift out of cruise control this drifting honey nibbles and nuzzles with a richly melodic warmth that suggests tour bus tapes packed with the Byrds ’Sweetheart of the Rodeo’, CSNY, My Morning Jacket, the Faces and the World Party for company. http://www.independiente.co.uk
Embrace ‘Target’ (Independiente). Admittedly I’m not a great fan of Embrace, I really can’t see the point in them and of the stuff they’ve previously released that I’ve had the misfortune to hear by accident (you understand) I’ve been left cold by the seemingly exaggerated emotion pouring they’ve sought to parcel up their wimp rock with. I really can’t pinpoint were my dislike originates from – maybe it’s the overwhelming hype whereupon their every single / album release is blitzed by the publicity machine and hogs for what seems like months on end the back covers of every music journal and road side advertising space – its almost like an overdose of mass hypnotic suggestion which happily I’m resistant to – Travis are another band that similarly leave me empty. So get this – a new single – mine a one track CD – I’m thinking to myself that I’d happily negotiate the loss of a limb to escape this but then reconsider my stance when I notice that taking into account all the multi formats available to push this upwards into the echelons of the charts that there must be a least three albums worth of b-sides made up of an edit, an orchestral version, an instrumental version, an orchestral instrumental version (?), a live version, an acoustic version – Jesus wept how many versions do you need and where‘s that all important ‘get the fuck off my hi-fi‘ version – I look again at my one track review copy, brace myself with limbs intact for the worst and think well it’s only just under four minutes long – it could have been worse, much worse. They do say of course, that the strangest things happen when you least expect them and though I wouldn’t stoop so close as to say ’Target’ is a ‘Road to Damascus’ type experience it does at least provide Embrace with what is by far their best thing to date. ’Target’ is an unreal explosion of radiating exuberance, in fact its quite colossal in terms of sound, dynamic and stature that blends elements of U2 at the height of their anthem delivering prowess (bathed as it is in all manner of softly tingling Edge accents) and latter career Bunnymen. Swept by a lush cortege of pulse quickening strings that thread across a soaring dynamic that seems to orchestrate the very elements of nature and blessed with a chorus that could flatten entire mountain ranges, ’Target’ is indeed as equally crushing as it is a towering spectacle of pulsating precision based pop grandeur. Still wild horses won’t get me falling head over heels for that rather tepid ’This New Day’ full length lads – must try harder then. http://www.independiente.co.uk
Scissors for Lefty ‘Mama your boys will find a home’ (Rough Trade). Stupidly cute and irresistibly sexy second outing for San Franciscans Scissors for Lefty following hot on the heels on the audacious ‘Ghetto Ways’ debut from a few months ago. Sadly our copy is only a one track affair but hell what a track. A teaser for the forthcoming full length debut due in October entitled ‘Underhand Romance’, ’Mama your boys will find a home’ is an infectious as hell kookily jerking babe as though the result of a DNA mismatch between a dandified ’A different class’ era Pulp replete with new disco dance steps to boot and the splintered hip replacement inducing and intricate barbed rhythmic displays of the power funk ’I don’t want to live with Monkeys’ era Higsons with a psychotically grooving David Byrne at the controls. Energetic, dislocated and encoded with the kind of stuff that makes your nervous system jangle ’Mama…’ possesses some of the most unreal falsetto vocals this side of the Sparks and an unearthly sense of sassiness to match though using it as a backdrop with which to try and impress your friends and other half alike with your swanky new moves may prove if not fatal then impossible at the very least. Unstoppable stuff. http://www.roughtraderecords.com
The Rampton Release Date ’This suicide is costing me money’ (Self released) . For those of you having considered summoning up the courage to come out from behind the sofa following the last Rampton Release Date demo featured here had better prepare to arrange for suitable provisions and sit tight a tad longer with your tin hat well and truly welded to your noggin’ because West Midlands finest purveyors of unrelenting white hot doom trash are back and carrying in their wake for your discerning discomfort a flight case bulging full of attitude, anger and aural atrocity. Featuring ten minutes worth of scorching histrionics distilled into three neat new cuts ’This suicide is costing me money’ sees the ensemble for once at full compliment as a fully fledged quartet, the sound still as brutal as ever only honed and upped a notch or three on the dial. ‘This suicide is costing me money’ sets itself aside from previous outings courtesy of the quality production – the ensembles innate attrition is rendered impenetrable putting to shame in some respects the lo-fi quality Mummies like trash sound found lurking on earlier releases (which in all fairness we happened to like). Still sounding psychotically unhinged like an evil early variant of Queens of the Stone Age kicking slabs out of Ministry and Slayer, the set opens with the apocalyptic ’this suicide is costing me money’ – a bludgeoning spectacle of hot rod psychotronic menace that to these ears sounds not so dissimilar in terms of ably fusing together a festering concoction of bearing down hard no nonsense metal, beatnik psyche and grind core to the criminally under-rated Walking Seeds which is mighty damn fine in our book. ’Don’t suffocate your sister’ ups the ante further mainlining directly into the same white hot warped wavelength as much loved by the currently revitalised and demonic Killing Joke though all said and done nothing quite touches the sadistically scathing battle scarred ’I’m surrounded…..’ – this thickly tense and claustrophobic pain stricken putrefied mass of swamp punk fest drills into your cranium spreading its puss filled toxin, metered out with manic loudspeaker vocals and riffs set to lacerate it makes for a punishing hybrid of dragster grind core that frankly could easily be the soundtrack to the world and with that the end of this thesis styled singled out missive. http://www.rampton.altpro.net
Recommended revision via the quite wonderful my space –
http://www.myspace.com/kimoband – download / rip ‘million words’
http://www.myspace.com/belonetheband – download / rip – ‘to the west’
http://www.myspace.com/theprimary5 – download / rip ‘out in the cold’
http://www.myspace.com/sistercompany – download / rip ‘dreams between two worlds’
http://www.myspace.com/thefliesmusic – download / rip ‘the temptress in dub’
http://www.myspace.com/thevinylgibbon – download / rip ‘dusk trumpet’
http://www.myspace.com/cheapdates – download / rip ‘Baby come and get me’
http://www.myspace.com/vedettemusic – download / rip ‘chessmaniaque’
http://www.myspace.com/zener – download / rip ’infanteza’
￼www.myspace.com/mimashima – download / rip ‘she got the voodoo’
http://www.myspace.com/thergmorrison – download / rip every f*cking thing you can find – this lot I owe massive apologies to as they sent me an album – ages ago – and frankly it is the best thing I’ve heard all year – a glowing review at the weekend – promise.
http://www.myspace.com/sanchezisdrivenbydemons – download ‘a thousand frequencies’
http://www.myspace.com/aluco – download ‘there is nothing’ and ‘every single drop’
http://www.myspace.com/hungoverstuntmen – download ‘united states of emergency’ – the absolute dangly bits ‘Complete control’ era Clash meets the Undertones
http://www.myspace.com/salonborisuk – download / rip ‘number one’
So that’s the 100th missive dispatched – never thought I’d see the day – hope it wasn’t to much of an ordeal. Next Singled Out WILL be in just over a week and then we will be issuing these at weekly intervals (I promise, cross my heart). You can catch updates on the my space page at http://www.myspace.com/thesundayexperience – drop in have a brew and say hi why don’t you.
Take care of yourselves