originally appeared online at losingtoday in September 2006, this is part 3 of an extended musing…and featured….
the mighty roars, Mise en Scene, DooQ, richard houghten, apartment, scaramanga six, pisskie sits, and his voice became, the electric cinema, Billy Mahonie, The Jesus Years, and his voice became, the needles, dave cloud,matthew bayout, hopewell, lions and tigers, high priests,superthriller, stuart a stables, tiny dancers, the oxfam glamour models, Benjamin Prosser and the Tap Collective, mr david viner, last town chorus, the blood arm, chin chin, paolo nutini, animal collective, guile, firebrand boy, department of eagles, the harrisons, transmission, volcano, the russian futurists, transit kings….
Missive 100 -part 3
The Mighty Roars ‘Whale’ (One Little Indian). This cute thing has literally just dropped through our letter box and well we thought give it a quick spin and put in the pile for stuff to be featured next time out, but Jeez if we’d done that we’d have suffered sleepless nights. This feckin rampant stuff, so rampant in fact we had to threaten the hi-fi with a claw hammer and a bucket of ice cold water for it to give it up. ‘Whale’ is the Anglo – Swede trios second release following their ultra limited import only ‘Take a bite of peach’ EP from early last year, a rollicking 3 minute slice of sizzling 50‘s bubblegum pop rewired and skewed with an unfeasibly brazen dash of raucous honey tinged eye poking punk pop attire and encoded with a pounding melody that rather than you looking for it instead stalks you unrelentlessly from start to finish. Throw in a vocal that sounds not unlike a psychotic Hazel O’Connor whose been receiving instructions on how to purr and impart a seductive casual like matter of fact delivery by Debbie Harry, dippy lyrics, early B-52’s kookiness and a pop fixated cleanly potent Smith – less Fall going at full tilt – unstoppable stuff. ‘Whipped ma bitch’ is a whole bunch of maddeningly frenetic bastardised boogie – think of a cross DNA match between a seriously filthy Suzi Quatro and a demonic boozed up bad mouthing Joan Jett fronting Johnny Thunders Heartbreakers while armed with a barrel load of fierce some hooks that scowl, strut and sting. A gem by any other name. http://www.indian.co.uk
Mise en Scene / DooQ ‘Split’ (Boltfish). Recently unearthed from the CD pile – already been out for a week or three but then that’s no reason not to track this gorgeous little split release down. The fourth instalment of Boltfish’s limited ‘Tandem’ split series sees the pairing together of Israel based Shay Nassi operating under his Mise en Scene guise and Andy Dolphin – one half of Sound hacker – doing a spot of extra curricula work. Nassi or mise en scene as he prefers to be known here (roughly translated as ‘putting into the scene’) serves up five enchanting slices of chilled night time accoutrements opening with ’Under stretching frequencies’ – a lulling lunar-esque setting of extra terrestrial promenade pop paraded by longing Martian ice cream vans deliciously transmitting their airily tendered clock work motifs into the lonesome voids of the star filled night sky. Literally made from the same stuff with which they assemble stars – or so it would seem – ’Landscape TV’ similarly courts with a sweetly frosted exterior bathed in all manner of delicately playful perky motifs as though someone had snuck into ISAN’s toy sound workshop under the cover of darkness to tinker about impishly while from the ominous innately intense ’Yoyo’ therein the mood visibly chills from being open and amorous into something much more guarded and decidedly darker in texture and outlook. Separated at birth time for ‘Organic Shift’ with its chattering beats and solace bearing demeanour could easily be a distant cousin to the Bunny men’s ’In bluer skies’ though scratch a little deeper and you’ll be rewarded with what sounds like a fusion between Carpenter eeriness and Gnac’s Chandler-esque noire-ishness. Dooq serves up four equally compelling electronic gems though admittedly more obsessed with rhythmic interplays that his split counterpart. A spectral lunatic suite of sorts ’Januar’ comes replete with all manner of splintered off kilter funky rhythms that seem to hiccup their way from start to finish while playing home to a subtle rewiring of Budd via ’Get Carter’ and delicately spliced throughout the feint decoration of oriental accents inspired you’d imagine by Japan’s ’Tin Drum’ it’s a style revisited again on the closing cut ’Syfon’ though to a darker less obvious ambition. Contrast this with the opposite end of the spectrum sparseness of the slightly disturbing and dislocated oddness of ’Prowler’ while for me personally ’Ekaarian’ holds up as the best cut here – a electronic montage that craftily utilises a positive carnival of seductively exotic Latino rhythms and deliciously aligns them into a veritable spaghetti western like death dance duel of sorts. http://www.boltfish.co.uk
For further listening experiences just point your mouse in the general direction of this link and you’ll be able to download two demo cuts from Dooq’s other obsession Sound Hacker – courtesy of the Fat Cat demo archive – http://www.fat-cat.co.uk/demo/artist.php?id=66
And staying with the Boltfish label for a wee while longer for another release that somehow slipped behind the ever bulging CD mountain –
Richard Houghten ‘Microscopic Jigglings’ (Boltfish). Limited to just a miserly 50 copies and pressed up on a dinky 3 inch CD ‘Microscopic Jigglings’ is Seattle based Houghtens follow up to last years well received ‘slow Poke’ set (which to much gnashing of teeth we missed). Across three cuts and a guest remix by those Biotron Shelf dudes (Cheju and Mint) Houghten weaves his multi faceted style calibrating a wealth of styles and moods into the mix, the down tempo ’All Pieces’ which opens the set is a dusky drizzle strewn noire-ish score that seemingly takes inspiration from Copeland’s ominous backdrops that swept throughout ’Wall Street’ and transplants them into the early 90’s Bristol scene while giving them an abstract loosely chilled jazz-tronic facelift. Lighter in contrast ’Power Slide’ could easily be ‘Computer Love’ era Kraftwerk being liberally tousled and tucked by an early New Order and re-jigged by Arthur Baker and bled through with a cortege of jittery beats and impatient impish rhythmic arrangements that jostle, jab and jar for prime affection. The beautifully naughty peek-a-boo childlike charm of ‘3 chairs’ with its cutesy hiccupping samples and playful whirrs and springs belies a lullaby-esque simplicity very much in tune with Raymond Scott. The minimalist sounding ’Salvo’ wraps up the set, remixed (as previously advertised) by Biotron Shelf its endowed with a mooching spy theme like tension a la Harold Budd meets Gnac interrogating an undernourished Henry Mancini score – all wonderful stuff if you ask me and well worth the effort tracking down to call your own. http://www.boltfish.co.uk
Apartment ‘10000 times’ (Filthy Lucre). Fourth single and a taster for their debut full length pencilled in for early new year release from Bethnal Green based scallywags Apartment. With previous outings on the celebrated Fierce Panda label Apartment are slowly but surely garnering acclaim and an ever growing fan base to boot for their razor sharp melodically fertile song craft with ’10000 times’ providing ample evidence of their blossoming stature, confidence and unnerving maturity. A tale it seems of political skulduggery and initially inspired by MP George Galloway’s ’getting close to the young electorate’ appearance on TV’s B** B****** show. ’10000 things’ is lushly decorated by a heart melting array of soaring bitter sweet shoe gaze wall of sound effects (via Moose / Chapterhouse) that pierces the skyline like illuminated siren calls in the night to lovingly twist and entwine with the euphoric sinew straining call to arms grind unfolding below. Factor in a few well calculated honeyed harmonies to happily hum along to and a chorus hook so blatantly catchy you’d swear it was illegal. All in all you have yourself something that might just make the radio worth tuning in to again – to be filed aside I like trains. ‘The Flood’ over on the flip – is – what can we say – bracing bloody stuff which we’d highly recommend that you button up and buckle yourselves down for. The far superior of the two cuts, the passion that emits from ’The Flood’ is so sapping and exhausting that you swear you can feel your life force diminishing second on second. Blistering with an aching intensity it slowly unfurls (grudgingly you suspect) to reveal its inner core all the time craftily juxtaposing elements of pessimism and optimism into its landscape levelling path, this brooding and bloodied slice of torrential emotional carnage visibly withers you under its unflinching gaze to the point that you’ll consider being turned to stone a highly viable alternative option to take – epic doesn’t come close to describing it crushing grandeur.
The Scaramanga Six ‘Baggage’ (Wrath). First of two featured releases this particular missive from Leeds finest emporium of pop – Wrath records. ‘Baggage’ – what can we say – viciously contagious pop lunacy and wholesomely gratuitous good fun replete with an all singing and dancing chorus that by rights should come with its own line of trendy designer labelled skinny t-shirts and packing hooks so audacious they make Supergrass look positively pedestrian in comparison. A dastardly rampant romp of early career Sparks-esque kookiness and jaggedly wired Cardiacs inspired vibrancy that bizarrely manages to craft a drop dead gorgeous hi-fi begging for more brew out of a curious marriage of loony operatics, seductively strutting strings and a thunderously locked down and bolted grinding bass underpin that together find themselves all welded onto a rollercoaster like riotous rhythm that aside being as catchy as f*ck may well induce seizures. ’Vesuvius’ over on the flip is pardon the pun – bloody volcanic – starts of quietly as though a wickedly erratic attempt at Two Tone era ska before quickly giving up the ghost to deceivingly opt for a momentary spot of dreamy doodleness before trepanning the crap out of you in the shape of a decidedly white hot and molten skin peeling art rocking freak out replete with belching brass and a demonic head hammering percussion – a bit like a clean shaven pop orientated Cravats if you ask me. Utter worryingly perfect stuff. http://www.wrathrecords.co.uk
Piskie Sits ‘What is the point?’ (Wrath). Second featured corking cut from those mighty fine Wrath dudes comes from Wakefield’s well heeled pop pups Piskie Sits in the shape of this must have taster for their forthcoming debut full length ‘The Secret Sickliness’ due imminently. Quite frankly ’What is the point?’ is so damn good that you’d need a crow bar to separate it from the equally infectious Scaramanga Six release (reviewed above / elsewhere). Fans of Kevin Tihista will swoon to this, carved in the best tradition of all things Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe this cute thing though arriving with a veritable slacker attitude pisses all over prime time Beck and is blessed with an immediate albeit crooked hook laden melody that appears so casually flippant and un-arsed it sounds like it’s going to fall apart any second now and yet is so potently unfeasible you‘ll be whistling it for weeks to come. A chorus to die for and witty attitude laced lyrics which at one point even dare to mention PMT (result) which all pulled together provide something that once heard will naggingly drive you to untold distraction. Proving it’s no fluke the flip side features the equally delectable and lullingly countrified ‘Jelly Ring’ which in essence is Dylan fronting classic early career Pavement with Charlatans c. ’North Country Boy’ drafted in to oversee the controls. So about that album then? http://www.wrathrecords.co.uk
The Electric Cinema ‘Heat Exchange’ (Sugarlow). Now we won’t pretend that this cutie has been much cause of untold delight here at Singled Out HQ. Since it found its way through our letter box and onto our hi-fi we have been very much smitten by the whole affair. A summer single if ever there was one – this in terms of debuts could be perhaps one of the finest its been our fortune to hear in many a year and yet we couldn’t begin to tell you why. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s in a master class of its own as though the work of individuals who’ve lived a nomadic life style while honing their song craft relinquishing all contact from the outside world – radio, TV’s, internet and such like. Part throw back to pop’s classic 70’s era (it belies are seriously sweet lo-fi electronic MOR motiffed attachment throughout) and yet strangely of the now ‘Heat Exchange’ initially crackles into life shyly, drawing you nearer with its crisp almost stately softness only to unfurl and radiate with such an aura of sugary devastating translucent beauty that you can do nothing but stand back in jaw dropping awe – frankly you won’t hear anything of such exquisitely executed pristine pop proportions this side of the Shortwave Set both in terms of feel good intensity and tearful heartbreak. All in all engagingly ethereal, euphoric, effervescent and unless we are not deceived ruddy essential ear gear. Flip over for the acoustically tuned ’It’s the fire we crave the most’ finds the foursome somewhat more earthbound in comparison. A delicate slice of dreamily cascading chords that pursue an oddly wintry tonality that to these ears sounds like a preparing for hibernation Tunng – which as you all should know by now are a byword for excellence themselves. Buy, play and cherish – and with that confusingly enough – the single of the singles of the missive. http://www.sugarlow.co.uk
And his voice became ‘Confusion’ (Bracken). Previously unknown to us prior to this their third outing. Following quick on the heels of their much sought after and extremely limited debut brace of EP’s this two track affair by Kent’s And His Voice Became pressed up on a miserly 300 hand numbered copies is sure to follow suit and into the bargain gives insight indeed as to why this duo are creating a sizeable buzz among the coolest of record labels at present. Kent based – And His Voice Became are duo acoustic guitar and drums only Mark and Paul who to these ears sound not a million miles from those rather nice Tunng chaps. Despite their lacking in numbers and the obviously expectant sparseness in texture And His Voice Became regardless of this apparent handicap craft out a fulsome sound, ‘Confusion’ is a slice of sunshine drenched driving acoustic folk pop built upon a repetitive locked down underpin and threaded throughout with a delicious array of melodic twists becoming of the type of thing that you could easily fall in love with your radio all over again for. Flip side the spectrally heart breaking ’Tell me why’ is by far the stronger cut of the set beginning out to the sound of lulling rustics and a frail sensitive quietness that’s gently scratched with atmospheric electronics that recall last years much loved debut EP from Stillman. What makes ’Tell me why’ such a treat is its attention to space, it goes without saying that the silent pauses are as equally effective as the actual melody which itself gathers pace with such unnatural guile it literally roots you to the spot with its almost resigned emotional outpouring – classy stuff indeed. As an added bonus those purchasing the single get to receive a hidden web link which allows you to access a secret my space site offering the downloadable 4 track live EP ’The Confusion Sessions’ – bargain or what – we’d like to think so while word has it there’ll be a split released currently pencilled for October with Spare Snare. Certainly a duo with a lasting career ahead of them and with that one’s to watch carefully for. http://www.andhisvoicebecame.co.uk
Billy Mahonie / The Jesus Years ’Split’ (Theory of Nothing). Handsomely packaged second outing from those dudes at Theory of Nothing which (not so) quickly follows hot on the heels of their ultra limited debut Hey Colossus / Lords split from er – two years ago (which to much gnashing of teeth we suspect we missed – damn, damn, damn). Pressed up on heavy duty sherbet yellow wax, housed in artwork provided for by Jim Cork (www.explore this.co.uk) and limited to just 400 miserly copies (gonna sell out fast springs to mind) this cutie features a stand off between previously thought MIA Billy Mahonie and the Jesus Years – who word has it are made up of members of the Removals and the Little Explorer (them again – see elsewhere for their tremendous two track release for Reveal) doing a spot of extra curricula work. Well blimey – bugger me with a big stick – never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d hear a Billy Mahonie cut and think – funky bastard that. That’s not to say they’ve never been funky it’s just that previously it’s always been obscured and buried deep within the complex free wheeling instrumental arrangements of intricate post / math rock signatures. ‘New Year’s Eve Song’ is endowed with a glowing clarity and with that quite possibly their finest cut to date which given they’ve been plying their trade for nearly a decade now is alone a remarkable testament to their song craft. Moulded with a definable dance floor edge this beauty nails down the usual loose jazz accents into the mix and wires in a dustily smoking cool as f*ck Ry Cooder like riff tripped with a seriously earthy native like groove that had us recalling prime time 23 Skidoo – all in all absorbing stuff. (For further listening pleasure check out Mr Bakers’ ‘Baker Boys’ full length out now on Unlabel’s Series 52 imprint as well as his Meets Guitar alter ego via Oof!). Flip side features the aforementioned the Jesus Years who stump up ’Tom Seabourne Ph.D’ and a towering thing it is to, post rocking power pop if you like bled through with all the attending stop / start / loud / quiet quick drilled dynamics that purists of the genre will swoon for and braided with a sweetly jangle some melody you could happily marry, deceptively catchy and strangely sounding like a wired up Mega City 4 without the vocals especially towards the end where things get shall we say, wonderfully bent out of shape – which I do believe is pretty fine in our book. Goes without saying that you need this – and now. http://www.theoryofnowt.blogspot.com
The Needles ‘Summer Girls’ (Dangerous). We needed an industrial sized ratchet to prise this baby of the turntable I can tell you. The absolute dogs bollocks this and quite frankly so good its f*cking scary and with that by far the most complete single we’ve heard in an absolute age period. With a debut full length ‘In search of the Needles’ biting at the leash and due shortly ‘Summer Girls’ trounces their previous (and much loved here) EP out of sight and reveals the quickening astuteness of melodic maturity that this Aberdeen based quartet are developing with each passing record. A riotous spectacle of to die for harmonies and hooks that can chill blood, ’Summer Girls’ is a rampant pop fest that takes it’s cue from the Undertones c. ’The Positive Touch’ as though sharing studio with ‘La Folie’ era Stranglers and wraps it in the rich tapestry of 60’s beat pop endowing upon it the same darkly beautiful soft psych aura as transfixed itself to some of the Stones most recognised hit making song craft. Once inside in your head impossible to evict without the aid of some seriously life limiting exploratory surgery. ’How come it doesn’t rain’ over on the flip is a slamming candy coated power pop gem with more than its fair share of Byrds-ian nods which is mighty fine by our reckoning while the smoking ’Starting to Worry’ is a pavement lighting slab of wired proto new wave frenetic that to these ears sounds like Velvet Crush at their most potent blending their love of the Db’s with ’Pictures of Lily’ era Who. Absolutely ruddy essential. http://www.theneedles.net
Dave Cloud / Matthew Bayot ‘Split’ (Fire). Two more wig flipping inducing nuggets from those dudes over at Fire. This split forms the second instalment of Fire’s essential ’Keep Mother’ series which over the coming year should see a total of 13 similarly touched releases that collected together will form an immense body of work by some of the gifted visionaries currently freewheeling on the underground circuit. Each release is pressed up on 10” slabs of vinyl, housed in a generic die cut sleeve and hand numbered in a strictly limited run of just 500 copies per instalment. This release features two artists at the peak of their powers – St Louis based Matthew Bayot offers up the delightfully sultry 11 minute ‘Carousel’. Inviting you to kick off your shoes and rest a spell this smoothly cured folk blues gem exudes a deeply alluring warmly reclining air that has its teeth cut in the truly authentic language of the delta all the time softly hypnotic it soon shifts perspective to evolve into a snaking hazy mind melting Eastern mantra by way of Bayot’s crafted and deftly plucked sitar playing. The result is a highly engaging heaving with late 60’s references aurally attuned out of body kaleidoscopic experience like nothing else you’ll witness for a fair while. Flip side features Nashville legend Dave Cloud who stumps up the awesome ’All the Same’. By all accounts Cloud has never made it out of Nashville till now having firmly plied his trade now for over 20 years. If I didn’t know better I’d swear that ’All the Same’ was the work of a very early incarnation of Porcupine Tree c. ’Up the Downstair’ invested with all the trademark 60’s informed narcotic laced drip dried honeycombed riffs that seemed to dissolve into rays of fluorescence once in view as though here having persuaded Captain Beefheart head honcho Don Van Vliet to assume lead vocal duties. A truly spine tingling exercise of out there psychedelics that midway through lulls momentarily only to return as a curiously dream like spot of oddness that for the best part recalls the more wayward and warped moments from the late and great Arthur Lee’s back catalogue. Of course you need this release if only to have two corking cuts in your record collection with which to bamboozle and be the envy of your friends and peers alike. http://www.firerecords.com
Hopewell / Lions and Tigers ’Split’ (Fire). Third instalment of the ongoing and crucial ’Keep Mother’ series features New York’s worst kept secret Hopewell and East London’s soon to be on the top of every clued up punters wants list Lions and Tigers – as previously pressed up on 10” slabs of wax, hand numbered die cut sleeves and limited to 500 copies. First up Mercury Rev’s Jason and Justin Russo up for a spot of extra curricula activities in the guise of Hopewell – who we quite frankly thought had given up the ghost ages ago given the last thing we heard was their 2001 full length ’The Curved Glass’ – however much to our embarrassment they’ve managed to eke out another since which (as though we need one) gives us a great excuse to wander to our local record emporium in the near future in search of. ‘The Notbirds’ is a seismically colossal aural collage that we’d like to think offers the best 9 minutes of colourfully bathed retro styled pop psychedelic rock opera of sorts that you’ll hear for a fair old while. Initially opening to feed off the energy of the Beatles glorious ‘Tomorrow never knows’ this shimmering babe quickly morphs into a hitherto gem like array of cool as f*ck pyrotechnic pop prowess that between its finite grooves are to be found the early career atmospheric riffs of a young Edge dallying with a potent and at the peak of their powers Chameleons though sounding suspiciously as though they’ve enlisted in to the ranks Neil Young on vocals. Then following four minutes of stomach tightening good to be alive tune craft blessed with floor shredding staccato riffs welded to hooks many bands dream of procuring as their own and a monumentally towering chorus that simply flabbergasts the glowing embers melt away into what can only be described as an MOR wet dream the likes of which more associated with the Eskimos as though they’d had a mind to collaborate with the spirit of classic era John Lennon. And then once your suitably stirred by its holistic effect the buggers switch tact again this time blissfully dissolving into a tear jerking Mott the Hoople meets Generation X by way of the more tranquilised and hitherto overlooked maturing pop vibes as found on ‘Valley of the Dolls’ – even cheeky enough to round it off with a piss taking limp wrested faux ‘A life in a day’ / ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ ending – deadly infectious stuff. With the gauntlet thrown down you feel almost sorry for London’s Lions and Tigers fearing the game lost before they’ve even begun but then this lot are made of sterner stuff. With a debut full length allegedly in the can and awaiting release imminently (which I’ll hasten to add that on the evidence of this cut may well be worth taking the time and effort to invest in) ‘Flight Square’ is a curiously engaging hybrid of stoner psychedelics and bliss fuelled dream pop that between the grooves rustling about restlessly is the
the hazy union of avant jazz cured 60’s inspired folk occasionally spliced by short electrifying shards of white hot fuzzed up shocks. Making full use of the space afforded by 9 minutes of wax and terra-forming their sonic spectrum into the bargain, ’Flight Square’ serenely wanders non-chalantly, one minute sounding like an aching Cocteau Twins collage bespoked by the twinned mindset of Skywave and Asobi Seksu the next like some sort of spaced out freewheeling pot smoking 60’s hippy throwbacks with an unhealthy interest in the Grateful Dead. Wonderfully arranged the Lions and Tigers keep you second guessing while adding to the mix an ethereal trip like resonance – style wise the nearest comparison in terms of their width of melodic references i.e. cosmic gospel, brainwashing psychotropic loops would be by our reckoning Spacemen 3. All said and done an immense split release which all discerning well honed record collections should have as their own. Joint single of the missive. http://www.firerecords.com
High Priests ‘Hibernation’ (Little League). Released onto an unsuspecting public by the same people responsible for putting out those crucial Superimposers records, Little League kick off their new monthly singles club type thing with the debut outing by London trio High Priests and a killer thing it is to. ‘Hibernation’ is so good it makes you weep, a serious booty shaking beat pop soul boogie that’s been lushly drip dried in 60’s accents that at keys points sound like some super group formed out of the bones of early Cream, Spencer Davis Group and the Monkees and bleached throughout with a nagging to die for upbeat grind, harmonies imported from the west coast and fashioned slickly in Carnaby Street threads – so damn cool in fact it should come with its own designer label accessories. Absolute classically drilled rampant fun. Flip over and you get the lolloping ‘Tombstone Dreams’ – campfire inspired banjo crookedness that sounds as though its just emerged from the dark confines of a saloon bar to lazily trip dazed and dazzled into the crisp outside sunlight – quite ruddy gorgeous if you ask me – kinda feel proudly tearful at the spectacle of it all. More please and real soon you hear. http://www.littleleagueproductions.com
Super thriller ‘Superthriller Motherfucker’ (Mint). As objectionable the lyrics are – ‘your mother, your mother – everybody just fuck your mother’ we just can’t help digging this from the vinyl pile for another spot of floor bouncing rumble. Coming on like a dirty Rick James (if that was possible) with Sylvester’s DNA cross matched and sampling a fat salacious groove that sounds like a hybrid bastardisation of Queen’s ‘Another one bites the dust’ as cannibalised by Grandmaster Flash, these London funky freestylers have been setting alight turntables among the in crowd with a plethora of similarly lo-fi Prince induced growlers though this is our first experience but fear not we suspect it won’t be the last. Throw in some dippy casios, a rickety beat box, some Studio 54 grind and an ostensibly electro clash like late 70’s disco road kill and you have yourself a dinky little piece of wax with a melody that gnaw the tits off you and a hook that’ll tattoo itself upon your psyche as though it’d been branded with a hot iron. Flipside features ‘Superthriller Motherdubber’ which as you probably suspect is a rather cleaned up floor caning instrumental dub reconstruction of the lead cut. Pressed on red vinyl and very limited in case you needed any further reason to shift your arse into gear.
Stuart A Staples ’Friday Night’ (Lucky Dog). And before you all start moaning that this has been out for ages – yes, yes, yes we know – but its like this – we have only just managed to nail a copy as own – so er – bollocks. Limited to just 750 juke box styled copies and sure to clear from the record shelves pretty sharpish (which bearing in mind what I just said previously – it obviously hasn’t – shame on you and your record buying choices) is the latest solo release from Tinder sticks (who it seems are still on a lengthy sabbatical) main man Stuart Staples. Put out on his own label Lucky Dog this two track affair is a real gem of some measure. ’Friday Night’ will fail to disappoint the most casual viewer of the Tindersticks hefty back catalogue, all at once hurting and hollow in texture you feel compelled to throw your arms around it for a consolatory cuddle. Staples arms himself with a solitary keyboard fixed to a soft rumba setting and endows a richly smoky vocal the like of which finds him emotionally wide open in a way he’s not sounded for a long time – though all said and done you can’t help looking upon it as a distant downcast and sweetly oblique cousin to ‘Spanish Harlem’. ’Say something now’ over the flip is a more jaunty affair, as though Lee Hazlewood being found doing mutant Dylan / Cohen covers, slickly discordant at key moments and possessing a sucker punching hook that’s made for radio – you can imagine this cut really blossoming given a full orchestral treatment – a treat and proof if any where needed that Staples remains as concise and crafted a songwriter as he ever was.
Tiny Dancers ‘Bonfire of the Night’ (Russian Doll). Sprightly little bugger this. The debut release from Yorkshire’s Tiny Dancers is the first of two quick fire outings on their own label before they complete their pre season transfer to Parlophone. Pressed on heavy duty wax and housed in a poster type fold out sleeve designed, drawn and coloured in by David Bailey (no not that David Bailey – the David Bailey of N*E – oops sorry that should be NM* – damn these keys – ***) and produced by John Leckie as in THE mighty John Leckie (unless of course there are two John Leckie’s in which case it’s your call). There’s so much to love about this delightful double A sided debut that to hate it would suggest a severe loss of musical taste, ’Bonfire of the Night’ cutely ambles along with such disarming sunshine effected gusto that you’re left curling in the corner of your listening space cooing in admiration, handclaps, inebriated rustic inclined acoustics, nature effects and a ridiculously catchy sing-a-long chorus hook together make for an enterprising summers afternoon spent lazing under a tree chewing straw though given the fact that the sun seems to have gone on its own vacation it might be best to replicate the effect in your own front room by snuggling up under a table chewing a piece of celery – albeit agreed – not the same effect somehow. Flip the disc and you get ‘Deep Water’ which is I assume Tiny Dancers in more recognised climes. One of those songs to be filed under a record collection heading that says ’slow to burn’, this really is beautiful stuff replete with softly caressing west coast harmonies and a slowly evolving dynamic that matures with prickling precision from being wintry hued to warmly resplendent by its close. Dusted with a subtle psychedelic folk accent and treated with curvaceously intertwined chiming guitars that softly edge in grace like stature (that for the best part sounds like a illegal mating between a curdling Go Betweens and a honed to their most heart sapping Dream Academy) shimmering all the time gathering momentum until it finally explodes in radiant splendour bathing all below in sugar coated pop particles. My fix is wearing off I need more of this – and fast. http://www.thetinydancers.com
The Oxfam Glamour Models ‘Kick out the grams’ (Marquis Cha Cha). F*ckin hell what a glorious racket – I swear I can feel my brain frying just by standing in the same listening space as this wilfully potent spiked ‘n’ fuzzed f*ck up. Limited to 1000 7” pressings all housed in numbered hand made card sleeves (there’s a CD format to) and doing brisk business on certain internet auction sites. The Oxfam Glamour Models are five degenerate Middlesbrough based teens looking up at the stars only to discover some bastard has super glued the lid of their cardboard box home. ‘Kick out the grams’ has everything you’d expect from today’s disenchanted youth, dirty chords, a wired as you like f*ck you attitude and a skewed waywardness that alone deserves admiration. ‘Kick out the Grams’ is an exercise in pure pop cacophony that bears down with such electrifying bruised beauty it leaves you rooted to the spot, bleached and bathed in a fraught wall of feedback this off the rails nugget refuses to allude to any badge wearing fashion movement – to describe the sound is to think of a youthfully brash Buzzcocks doing their take on an seriously off the wall and spiteful PIL meeting head on the twin pronged venom of the Scars and the Cravats at their most unloving with the end results having the living sh*ite tw*tted out of them by Foreheads in a Fishtank. Worrying stuff. In marked contrast given that they’ve loosely adhered to a vague notion of structure the flip side cut ‘Post Modern Stars’ is a tad disappointing all said and done, yet that aside still seesaws grimly paying nods along the way to Bowie’s ‘Berlin’ era while smothering itself with a deeply chilling hollowed and twisted frenetic sparseness while arming itself with enough blistered aplomb to have most of their erstwhile peers nervously peeking over their shoulders paying silent respect. Recommended. http://www.theoxfamglamourmodels.com
Benjamin Prosser and the Tap Collective ‘Killing Flaw’ (Fitzrovian Phonographic). First of three releases to be featured in this particular missive from the newly augmented London based Fitzrovian Phonographic label. Be warned these babies are scarce each one pressed up in an ultra limited 250 run – that said they are quite lovely things to behold each arriving (bar one) in plastic bags housing a 7” jukebox styled slab of wax, a couple of badges, a hand numbered lyric sheet / poster and a tracing paper textured sleeve (which word has it is really recycled bank notes). First release then for the fledging self described ‘coolest DIY label in London’ comes courtesy of Benjamin Prosser. Talk about taking no prisoners this bruised slab of unloved death rattling hot rod styled psyche blues twang boogie is a calamitous beast of some measure and design, the type of which those legendary clued up dudes of dirty noise Estrus records used to piss out with such frequency you’d have been forgiven for swearing that they had an illegal cloning operation at large in their back yard shed. ‘Killing Flaw’ is the season’s crucial freak out an unholy alliance between a truly out of their heads and wired to breaking point Spacemen 3 grooving with a wildly ravaged Gallon Drunk dragging Dick Dale along for the rollercoaster ride. Flip side ‘Below the Plough’ is a more mellowed affair and thankfully so given that another slice of buckling blues would surely have had our hi-fi spontaneously combusting on the spot. Courting a 60’s vibe this near naked chillingly death like ode recalls Sunray first and foremost that is when he’s not busy consorting with Sonic Boom cooking up head tripping recipes), the scratched stretching of the chords across the fret board resonate hollowly exuding an almost detached bruised beauty which all in all sounds rather nifty to us. Highly recommended. http://www.fitzrovianphongraphc.com
Mr David Viner ‘Silence is gonna break’ (Fitzrovian) Second release from the soon to be essential turntable accessorising kit that is Fitzrovian Phonographic comes courtesy of Mr David Viner. As before ultra limited 250 only release with all the usual gubbins and inserts (and damn no badges on this occasion – tut tut – if it weren’t for the fact that my mood was placated by the sounds within – by George I’d have fired off a disgruntled missive to my local MP forthwith). No information I’m sad to say about Mr David Viner though I do suspect it’s the same Mr David Viner who recently released a full length for the ever cool (when you see their releases – that is) Hollywood based imprint Dim Mak simply entitled ‘Mr David Viner’. At only 23 years of age Viner’s music makes a mockery of his tender years channelling into material and re-evaluating it in his own imitable way with an alarming adeptness and attention to craft as befitting a veteran musician of considerable years and experience. ‘Silence is gonna break’ is a delicate balance and cutely honed melodic slice of drifting ghostly yet richly cured pastoral pop that finds its roots buried deep in the richly veined heritage of delta folk blues that lies somewhere between the polar extremes of Cave and Jansch. This fact becomes more evident on the well equipped and simply amazing flip side ‘Love at first sight blues’ so nimble and dainty are the intricate chord exchanges that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported by a strong and insistent breeze to a deep South prairie to sit on porch watching the dying embers of the days sun while sipping a glass of homemade lemonade – fans of Charlie Parr will be suitably admiring. Recommended. http://www.fitzrovianphonographic.com
The Last Town Chorus ‘Caroline’ (Fitzrovian Phonographic). Third and final release for now from Fitzrovian Phonographic features the Last Town Chorus. Again as previously limited to 250 copies, numbered, badges and inserts etc….though on this occasion our copy is missing the inserts (no pleasing some people is there?). The Last Town Chorus are Brooklyn based duo Nat Guy and Megan Hickey to date with two full lengths under their collective belt the second of which entitled ‘Wire Waltz’ is due on the streets imminently via Loose and from which ‘Caroline’ the lead cut of this two track release is pulled by way of a taster. Beautiful stuff indeed marked out not only for its sweetly aromatic melodic sparseness but also by the unworldly seductive scales that Hickey’s vocals suggestively arc and ache as though somehow symbiotically tied by some unseen apron string to the pining lap steel she plays – at times reminiscent of a very young Sinead O’Connor. ‘Caroline’ is a minimalist countrified gem that catches you off guard to romance and flirt with you while all the time behind your back hastily unlocking your defences – sometimes its just pointless to resist and better to go with the flow. Flip side features ‘Dear City’ which initially appeared on the bands acclaimed debut full length, three minutes of heart sapping crushed pop is what you get for your troubles and I’ll be buggered rigid if a fair few of you that get to hear this don’t need some form of counselling once you’ve emerged from the other side. Ethereal, elegant and simply ruddy exquisite. Need we say more – buy now. http://www.fitzrovianphonographic.com
The Blood Arm ‘Suspicious Character’ (City Rockers). Well you know how it is – you spend ten minutes trying to widen the hole on a slab of vinyl (in the process nearly – not once but twice – breaking the damn thing in two) just so that it fits on the hi-fi spindle only to find that the track is available for preview on their my space site – typical innit. Anyway well worth having as its (we’re led to believe) an ultra limited one sided promo affair that has some etched gubbins on the flip side of the wax. With a handful of releases under their studded belts for Loog and City Rockers and an out of print debut full length with a further one near completion as I write, New York based quartet the Blood Arm continue to create a sizeable buzz on the musical circuit. Long time live favourite ‘Suspicious Character’ sees the light of day and provides for a pretty nifty spot of boot tapping groove that should have the hippest indie club floors bouncing in delerium though be mindful of patrons who feel compelled to handclap throughout it, a kind of down sized book of matches rather than lighter waving bijou anthem of sorts – indie glam anyone? You know you want it. http://www.city-rockers.com
Chin Chin ‘Deafness becomes me’ (Bathysphere). Again I’d have to put my hand up and admit Chin Chin are another ensemble previously unknown to me – blimey to alone just hear the stuff I do know I need the equivalent time duration of a month in one day on a daily basis – and then I’d fear I’d be no nearer to scratching the bottom of the CD mountain that at present resembles a rocky continent. Another (I’m reliably informed) strictly limited release (aren’t they all these days and forming part of Leicester based Bathysphere‘s rare edition of 9 7” releases that’ll find there ay to loving homes over the course of the coming months) comes courtesy of those doyens of the down tempo circuit Chin Chin. Following both their well received debut full length ‘Shallow Dive’ (which we sadly missed out on) and its attending debut ‘2 ft deep ponds’ EP (again much to our derision another potential nugget lost on us) ‘Deafness becomes me’ features two new compositions along with a cut from the aforementioned full length and sees them excelling in their blending of minimalist electronics and lightly dusted pastoral pop. More measured elegance in which to idle away the nights in the company of – ‘Deafness becomes me’ is disturbingly lulling basked as it is in stuttering half woken beats that have been gently tendered by a starry eyed array of lo-fi styled spatial funk-tronica fused with noire-esque textures over which Theresa Connelly adds her unfeasibly becalming vocal which in reality consists of repeating the songs title with a degree of spectral sensuality – quite disarming stuff if you ask me. A sleepy headed nugget it is, ‘Applied Pressure’ over on the flip twinkles seductively within a parade of teetering lazy eyed clicks ‘n’ beats, chilled out lounge jazz accents and deliciously affectionate lunar whirrs that to these ears recalled a shy away from it all playfully attuned d_rradio taking time out to sculpture sumptuously serene sonic snowmen. ‘Monty’ draws the set to a close with a spot of emotion wrestling acoustic loveliness which on the off chance should it fail to whisk you away on some sort of astral away day will at least ensure the toasters, kettles and most electrical appliances are happily chilled and cosily comatose. http://www.bathysphere.co.uk
Paolo Nutini ‘Last Request’ (Atlantic). Normally the kind of stuff that we’d happily move continents to escape from. Armed with the information that this crashed into the pop charts and took up residence at the dizzying number five spot and into the bargain has created a chain reaction of some visibly seismic proportions upon sales of the attending debut album entitled ‘These Streets’ – which to date has achieved sales in excess of 100,000. Factor into that a forthcoming sold out tour of the UK and a prestigious support slot with the Stones and press notices that include references to James Bl*nt then all in all you’d rightly forgive us for feeling a sense of doom and utter fear at the thought of this limited edition 7” rearing into view with the result that we cautiously placed this on the hi-fi and then vacated at speed to the furthest point towards the rear of our gaff expecting the worst. How wrong we were. Revealing a maturity that makes a mockery of his tender years (19 in fact), Nutini indelibly endows a deeply personal touch to the bitter sweet acoustic driven ’Last Request’. Carved with a visible ancestry that finds its roots in classic Stax and early Motown, Nutini craftily blends with much success soul and rock and while it’s arguably a little saccharine for our palette being blessed with a vocal that sounds like the love child resulting from an illicit one night stand between Ryan Adams and a young Lionel Ritchie who can resist. Flip over the disc to be treated to the blink and its gone and equally soft soul lull of ‘Sugar Man’, this time tempered with a deep richness and despite its hollowed appearance crafted with a resonating warmth that even the most ardent fans of obtuse underground singer / songwriters may well find something to swoon about. http://www.atlanticrecords.co.uk
Animal Collective ’Polly’ / ‘Purple Bottle’ (Paw Tracks ). Much cause of joy in our gaff given that we nailed a copy of this just ahead of receiving our advanced copy of the soon to be released repress of the much sought after live set ‘Hollindagain’ (which is due for street action on Halloween – when else?). ‘Polly’ / ‘Purple Bottle’ is a stupidly limited official two track tour bootleg 7” from singled out house favourites the Animal Collective features to suitably re-drilled covers of sorts. ’Polly’ originally done by Nirvana is removed of its lethargic pop thrill and bled through with an inspired and decidedly ominous menace that renders it to much applause near unrecognisable, strangely sparse in texture and lacking in the usual Animal Collective sonic semantics it endows a rawness and edge that for once even managers to trump Cobain himself. ‘Purple Bottle’ originally to be found snuggled up on the ’Feels’ full length has of late been undergoing something of a slight oil change in its live rendition being equipped as it is with traces of Stevie Wonder’s ’I just called to say I love you’ being blended into the Animal Collective surreal sonic sampler and emerging out of the other side somewhat dizzy and disturbed for the experience. Crooked as hell ’Purple Bottle’ scuttles around like an impish infant hyper and wired to the eyeballs on a massive sugar hit engaging in a frantic rain dance around a campfire to a backdrop of skewed 50’s bubblegum pop, abstract pop psychedelics and worryingly detuned classic wild west soundtracks from the 60’s. Haunting, hallucinogenic, happily cracked stuff and essential as though the word was made for it. http://www.paw-tracks.com
Guile ‘Serendipity’ (Salvation). Limited follow up release to last year’s acclaimed self released debut ‘My Salvation’ (another release we managed to miss – damn this is getting well silly now) sees Cannock based quartet Guile getting ever more uber cool with each passing strum of the chords. Marked by the rich resilient and hollowed vocals of Neal Sawyer – think Leonard Cohen meets Jim Reid, Guile ooze with poise and class notably displayed by the flip cut ’Yesterday’s Karma’, this babe snakes about with such casual fuck you finesse as though it were the illegitimate offspring of a one night bunk up between the Velvets and Spacemen 3, spaced out deathly numbing shades wearing psych blues that hits you like some kind of delayed shock therapy. Lead cut the dustily mighty ‘Serendipity’ pales in contrast but still possesses enough clout to wipe out any oncoming pretenders, massively atmospheric in texture replete with regimental drumming, rumbling bass lines, sparring chords that surge skywards like search lights in the night and huge hulking swooping hooks – think New Model Army sharing studio space with the Flaming Stars with Gallon Drunk at the mixing desk, Dylan and Johnny Leyton playing on the decks. Something to file alongside those equally essential Kelman releases – recommended without question. http://www.guilemusic.com
Firebrand Boy ‘Orange’ (Pale Fox). No sooner do you put away one top drawer release when along comes another for you to momentarily fall in love with- that is before the next one comes along. ’Orange’ is the debut release for Glasgow based duo Philip Cunningham and Gordon Turner collectively known as Firebrand Boy a name admittedly not quite on the tip of your tongue just yet but based on the evidence of this four track affair one that will be come the year end if, that is, there’s any justice in the world. Released both on a limited edition 7 inch wax format and pressed on – yep you got it – orange vinyl and via CD whereupon you can find yourself treated to an additional two mixes of the lead cut which frankly are something of a treat even if we do say so ourselves. Apparently – according to the press release – spotted playing at the miniscule but rather wonderful Betsy Trotwood venue, so enamoured were Pale Fox that an immediate board decision to re-activate the fledging label (one release to date – (‘Arizona’ by Playmaker in 2003) was made there and then and signatures were sought the result of which ‘Orange’ sees the light of day. Pretty much separated at birth by way of another duo from Scotland – Swimmer One, ‘Orange’ really does have an extraordinary shared persona to ‘We just make music for ourselves’ as though twiddled about by the mindset of the equally understated Birdpen – those who missed ‘we just make music for ourselves’ the first time of asking can now hear it in all its resplendent glory via the recently released Dogbox compilation ‘Blues Skies Up – welcome to the new pop revolution’ which asides Swimmer One has treats galore from Morton Vallance, the Boyfriends, Robots in Disguise, Luxembourg and many, many more besides. Crafting swathes of richly honed abstract electronica and marrying it to a deliciously acute melodic frame ‘Orange’ is beautifully decoded to the point its arresting, immediately adorable and aching with a softly threaded emotion slicing precision that most bands spend an entire career searching for. The aforementioned CD features two additional mixes of the lead cut – the ‘JC909 mix’ removes the erstwhile shy restraint of the original and welds to it a steely full blooded electro buzz sawing anthemic dynamo that asides being made to measure for growling and rumbling upon the best club floors has the added bonus of being subtly groovy as f*ck. The Sean Kerwin mix is a more abstracted affair, stripped back to the point its unrecognisable, snaking beats and dippily conceived electroid manoeuvres endow it with robust chilled futuristic house vibe. ’Three Mile Wish’ sees the duo opting for a spot of manically deranged candy pop that’s pretty much in the vein of the kooky distracted workouts deployed by the likes of Girlinky, Helen Love, Winterbrief et al. You need this. Nuff said. http://www.palefox.com
Department of Eagles ’Romo Goth’ (Melodic). Is there no holding back Manchester’s finest – Melodic have sweetened our hi-fi more times than we care to mention these last few months with excellent releases from the Isles and the Outputmessage not to mention a debut full length from Working for a Nuclear Free City due shortly and holding our beleaguered turntable to ransom as I write. Two more additions to the pre season Melodic squad include first up – this little beauty from Department of Eagles. Pulled from last years debut full length ‘The Cold Nose’ the Department of Eagles have an unnatural ability of crafting out idling nuggets that appear to pull in opposite directions, fragile and timid folk gems that sound like they’ve been impishly bent, skewed and buckled out of shape. ’Romo Goth’ with it’s decidedly hectic, infected by chattering beats and confused appearance is a misshapen brew of softly lysergic induced psychedelics with looming obtuse progressive vibes and abstract art rock dynamics welded into its matrix that scuttles ominously like a coked up pinball yet stripped of its laden armoury and lightly scratched reveals a cheeky melodically unreal corker at work. ’Sailing by Night’ is tempered a little more serene by comparison and possesses that same smouldering yet beguiling slow to burn song craft as is much loved by Radiohead as though the intensity within had been put on a back burner to slowly cook. Sprinkled with a strangely hollowed beauty it makes for a beautifully disorientating slice of glowing rustic electronica that sounds not to dissimilar to Tunng who strangely enough along with Daedelus feature here each imparting their own interpretation of the DoE vision. Tunng instead of giving the mix the much expected clarity and light instead endow it with a stretched and sparsely wintry vibe that incorporates a delicious wonky feast of half cut clarinets and banjos. Daedelus offer the more interesting spectacle of the two guest mixes if only for the fact that they invest upon the original and aura so fractured it seems not of this world. Recommended without hesitation. http://www.melodic.co.uk
The Harrisons ‘Monday’s Arms’ (Melodic). Second featured summer release for Manchester’s finest purveyors of hip hi-fi haberdashery – Melodic – arrives in the shape of the Harrisons. Two rather tasty releases under their collective belt with ‘Wishing Well’ and ‘Blue Note’ have seen the Harrisons stock rising rapidly in the space of a year. Taking time out to put the finishing touches to their forthcoming debut full length, live favourite ‘Monday’s Arms’ is put through the sampladelic blender of APB for a spot of frenzied club floor coolness. This two track release is a seriously limited outing and (not out officially for a week or three) is pressed up on a hand numbered two track (‘edit’ and ‘full version’) 12” slab of wax and sure to sell out on pre release alone once, that is, it hits the most tuned in radio shows. So consider yourselves warned as of now. This rapscallion slice of electroid new wave meets austere inclined early 80’s cool wave dance accoutrement mischievously hoodwinks New Order and rifles through their dusty box of former glories to rewire their oft overlooked ‘Movement’ era back catalogue and fuses it to a blistering brew of hip grinding booty decoded with flashes of dubby dynamism that includes in the mix fleeting memories of equally forgotten relics from yesteryear – Brilliant, 23 Skidoo and Front 242 only for it to emerge once polished up sounding not a million miles from those bass heavy ’club’ mixes put out by the Clash c. ’Radio Clash’ (especially the ’full length’ version) – of course it goes without saying that it makes for essential listening. http://www.melodic.co.uk
Transmission ‘Noctolucent’ (Malicious Damage). Absolutely ruddy awesome – think hot humid storm with the pre lull and calm and its serenely cooled aftermath erupting on your record deck echoes of Floyd, Workhouse and I like trains flickering bruised though sumptuously coalescing between the grooves. Transmission is a multi faceted and multi talented combo put together by Youth and features amongst its ranks several Killing Joke acquaintances. Those expecting classic KJ armageddon styled heads down no nonsense hair ripped from its roots passion gritted boogie look elsewhere, this immaculate 12” release pressed on clear vinyl (and no doubt stupidly limited) features three soaring bliss fuelled guitar based instrumental epics that attack your emotions from different perspectives. From the dreamy twilight hued 80’s invested New Order like ’Anticipated Pleasures’ which wraps up the set to the atmospherically honeycombed ’Glade’ which to these ears sounds like an early ’Boy’ era Edge shimmying up alongside Chameleons carving out chugging riffs that have been finitely polished, smoothed and mellowed and set out in a suspended aural igloo amid an array of spine tingling drip dried effect laden chord displays. Though all said and done nothing quite prepares you for the oncoming torrent that is ’Noctolucent’, perhaps the best use of twelve inches of wax we’ve had the pleasure of hearing since UK Decay’s ’Werewolf’, 13 minutes of crushing sonic elegance that softly stirs beautifully unfurling slowly in measured resonance between the twin divides of progressive and krautrock all the time growing in stature towards some cataclysmic glacial impasse that literally sucks the life from within you. Tune in, turn up and bliss out. Expect a whole albums worth shortly in the shape of ’Beyond Light’ while those itching for a taster now check out the ink http://www.maliciousdamage.biz/transmission.html for a chance to get yourself a free download of ’Elephant’. Nuff said – blinding stuff – who said cerebral rock was dead. http://www.maliciousdamage.biz
Volcano ‘Apple or a Gun’ (Leaf). Taken from the trios much touted debut full length ‘Beautiful Seizure’ which based on the evidence of this delightfully twisted twin set we feel we really must have as our own and hear very soon for fear of spontaneously combusting. ‘Apple or a Gun’ is one fraught baby – make no mistake – that seesaws precariously leaving you rigid at the end of your seat thinking that at any time now its going to flip over the end and go spectacularly pete tong. Seemingly without any regard for rhythmic structures and refusing to be nailed to any generic post ’Apple’ is wilfully spasmodic, ducking and diving to craftily weave a perverse sense of the old fast / slow and stop / start dynamics but in a way that you never imagined you’d hear or indeed like, think Radiohead’s psyche unravelling fast amid schizophrenic mindsets with one doing obtusely splintered sonic workouts bourn out of densely irregular math rock designs and the other three paying a word homage to the Animal Collective. Flip over for the equally odd and yet irrefutably sexy ’I’ve been loving you since desert storm’. Think Spiritualized possessed of the mindset of Her Name is Calla with Yorke guesting on vocals re-drilling stuff in the style of the classic Chicken Shack back catalogue and finding themselves going superbly off the rails three quarters through. Gemlike is an understatement. Superb. http://www.theleaflabel.com
The Russian Futurists ’Paul Simon’ (Memphis Industries). And just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get any better a record so sexy and summer sounding that we swear our hi-fi have not only gotten a tan from but also a bad case of love sick blues. ’Paul Simon’ is instantaneously infectious – if your not boogying or swooning to this within the first 30 seconds then frankly you ain’t got a pulse. One full length under his belt in the guise of ’Our Thickness’ (a record that we here will be pursuing with gusto as though our lives depended on hearing it in the coming days) the Russian Futurists is the one man and his laptop of musical tricks venture of a certain Matthew Adam Hart – a man who it seems has the ability to piss pure pop at will. Aside the Electric Cinemas’ ’Heat Exchange’ ’Paul Simon’ is a song bursting with such summery effervescence you want to kiss it. Arriving from the same musical quadrant that has already brought both the Go! Team and Cannonball Jane to the most tuned in turntables around, this baby smacks of sumptuous 70’s signposts – Edwin Moses, Jacksons et al bleed through the mix to varying degrees richly flavoured by an irresistible brass section that sounds like a late 60’s pop fixated ’Soul Boy’ era Dexy’s and metered against a repetitive yet deeply delicious three note sample that once heard burrows itself deep in your psyche playing host to all night parties and into the bargain driving you slowly towards the point of insanity. Flip over the disc for the equally engaging ’the Plight of the Flightless Bird’ whereupon we find Hart smothering himself in all manner of Beach Boys inspired old school Elephant 6 warping psychedelic pop. Think Busy Signals tangled up in the mind altering myriad states much loved by those impish souls the Animal Collective. All in all an essential summer accessory and joint deputy single of the missive to boot. http://www.memphis-industries.co.uk
Transit Kings ’America is Unavailable’ (Malicious Damage). Second featured release this missive for the Malicious Damage label (and no sadly we are not on a retainer just in case you were asking). This time featuring a ridiculously ultra limited red vinyl 7” release from the Transit Kings who feature in their ranks various members of two ensembles of whom it can be said without fear of ridicule or question where not only visionaries in their own right but helped reshape the whole musical landscape of 90’s dance culture period – Orb and KLF. ’America is Unavailable’ is as we understand it part of a three disc set entitled the ’traffic light’ series and acts as a taster for the fluid collectives debut full length ’Living in a giant candle winking at God’ due shortly. Fans of KLF and Orb will not be found wanting with ’America is unavailable’ – replete with the legendary trademark milky dub-esque ambient backdrops this babe sets its stall providing a perfect marriage of chill out ambient house and swoon like hypnotic cerebral rock set to rolling bass lines and transcendental bliss out overtures softly cured with finite arabesque touches that shimmer together in heavenly spheres plotting a lushly alluring twilight bound sound-scape to engage the listener in a serene outer body head trip. Flip side features the same track given a robust re-drill as the ’sss ding-dong mix’ – those with fond memories of both the Moody Boys and in particular Dreadzone may well be begging for more before the track is through – sultry festival nights await. http://www.maliciousdamage.biz