archiv – singled out missive 100….

originally appeared in 2006 via losing today……part 2 of an extended missive…..


camera obscura, this et al, longcut, candie payne, crackle box, tapes n tapes, pizzy yelliott, bricolage, tv on the radio, feathers, the cardinals, the broken family band, fanfarlo, saudi playboys, screaming mimi, repo men, education, bro toek, iv thieves, daddy long legs, stasi, rosemary, mississippi witch, the black angels, finger twister, paul de aragon,

Missive 100 – part 2
Camera Obscura ‘Lloyd, I’m ready to be heartbroken’ (Elefant). Another of life’s great puzzles – just why aren’t Camera Obscura massive, I mean there’s some serious tat about these days masquerading as perfect pop which frankly I struggle to remember within 30 seconds of it finishing. Camera Obscura on the other hand never cease to amaze, each time we’ve had the pleasure of hearing their stuff, which admittedly has been with much grating annoyance very few and far between, we’ve always been struck by their astuteness for carving out pristine pop gold at the drop off an hat in fact the cheeky blighters have even had the nerve to bring out an album called ‘Under achievers please try harder‘ which I suppose says it all about this Glaswegian gang – it‘s all well and good hiding your light under a bushel but there really is a need for a return to coolly sophisticated melodies basking in the charts if only to show up the uninspiring insipidness of some of the dross that all to frequent takes up residence there.- I’m thinking that atrocious ’punk rock’ thing again. ’Lloyd, I’m ready to be heartbroken’ pulled from the recently released ‘Let’s get out of this country’ buckles with shimmering chords, curvaceous chimes, sweeping strings, late 60’s pop kitsch romanticism to a point were we could be describing St Etienne but then you wouldn’t be far off the mark, this priceless portion of pristine sugar coated pop is a breathless throwback to a time when pop music was a universal language, sexy as hell, relevant and timeless with it. Within it’s finite grooves ‘Lloyd’ exudes a three minute slice of infectiously numbing somewhere else excellence, a distant echo from the past, colourfully decoded and sprinkled with traces of heaven sent mercurial melodic dust – in other words petty damn perfect kids. Flip side features a truly disarming cover of Skeeter Davis’ ’I can’t stay mad at you’ which to be honest the wiser among you may do well to hide away from your hi-fi for fear of being party to some sort of hitherto illegal act – take it from me though – utterly divine stuff.

Camera Obscura ‘Let’s get out of this country’ (Elefant). Indeed a sentiment I wholly agree with given that my long held ambition is to vacate these creaking at the seams isles and set up a groovy record hut on some isolated stretch of beach in a remote part of Australia – somehow I scarcely doubt it’ll ever happen given that we have trouble enough getting out of the singled out shoe box. Ah Camera Obscura, you see that’s what happens when you start moaning about never seeing certain bands’ releases – two come along in quick succession and well quite frankly if I had my way I’d make it law that these cute blighters put out a record each and every week such is the rare ray of sunshine they momentarily bathe my life in. ‘Let’s get out of this country’ the title track from their third and rightly critically acclaimed full length comes on various formats – the CD backed by two new cuts ‘Lemon Juice and Paper Cuts’ and ‘Return to send her’ (which sadly isn’t some sort of coded reply record to Presley’s ‘Return to Sender’) while over on the flip to the 7” version there’s a suitably tasty cover of Sheena Easton’s 80’s hit ‘Modern Girl’ which if you are fast enough you’ll also find glued to the front of the current Q magazine as part of their depressing 80’s re-appraisal (which it seems is catching worryingly enough with the ‘they should know better’ Word magazine following in similar suit – why I’d want to be reminded of the 80’s is beyond me – still there’s no accounting for taste is there Toyah? -Telly – fookin’ -Tubbies indeed). Okay lost my train of thought there and very nearly rambling at length as to why the 80’s in terms of music of the pop variety was so – well – vacuous! Camera Obscura then (and I’m sure there was meant to be a pause there somewhere otherwise it reads to insinuate, which I wasn’t, that Camera Obscura are vacuous – perish the ruddy thought), ‘Let’s get out of this country’ is admittedly not as luxuriant or for that matter as up front as their previous outing ‘Lloyd, I’m ready to be heartbroken’ yet still manages to floor the opposition in terms of their unfailing ability to carve pop cherries of the highest order. Succulently softened strings sizzle and shimmer seductively weaving sugary patterns through the romping countrified pop motifs themselves a delicious distillation of St Etienne and Strawberry Switchblade and oozing tenderised chords that curve, curl and caress their way into your headspace. The affectionately warm ‘Lemon Juice and Paper Cuts’ takes its cue from Mazzy Star as though found hazily lazing their summer evenings on Nashville prairies with early career Belle and Sebastian foe company playing spin the bottle and sipping homemade lemonade. However it’s ‘Return to send her’ that gets my personal vote mainly for the fact that aside the life affirming array of honky tonk popified sliding chimes it gently nibbles away with a measured craft David Essex’s ‘Gonna make you a star’. A very special release from a very special band. Camera Obscura will be guests on the Mark Radcliffe show via BBC Radio 2 this Thursday (31st August) where they’ll be teasing the nations airwaves with a selection of delectable to die for pop gems one would imagine and rightly expect.

This Et Al ‘Wardens’ (Jealous). Recently having had all us all in a lather following the release of the audaciously perfect ‘Sabbatical’ set we’ve managed to nail down this past life nugget from Leeds finest. This little cutie originally saw the light of day last year following on from an acclaimed split release with Forward Russia ! and an outing for Double Dragon records. ‘Wardens’ is a sprightly though none the less discordantly melodic affair that tip toes at a dash across the hi-fi as though hot coals had been placed underfoot which means it never really settles with any definable certainty into a groove with which to be at ease with. That said its short comings are more than capably forgiven by the ostensibly more impacted and controlled ’Rotary Queen’ over on the flip – our preferred cut of the set – carved typically out of the kind of cloth you’ve come to expect records from This Et Al to have been dressed up in – gritted no nonsense heads down bludgeoning boogie decorated throughout with soaring stratospheric piercing guitars that towards its loud / quiet fast / slow finale seems to strangely occupy orbits more commonly associated with early Radiohead which I suppose translates as neat as f*ck then.

Long cut ‘Vitamin C’ / ‘A tried and tested method’ (Deltasonic). Yes, yes, yes I know ‘Vitamin C’ has been out for ages – no doubt topped the charts and I the process found welcomed sanctuary in well looked after record collections across the length and breadth of the nation – but truth is we lost it and were only reminded of its obvious absence from our life with the arrival of the forthcoming Longcut release – ‘A tried and tested method’ – gets confusing this doesn’t it – you wanna try sitting in my spot and try and make sense of it all. Culled from their acclaimed debut full length ‘A call and response’ which we have to say is one of those records that from the word go has the hairs on the back of your neck standing rigid as though having been wired to the mains, ‘Vitamin C’ strangely adopts a midway point that lies between being something that sounds like its literally dropped out from out of the whole early 80’s austere post electro industrial scene to brave itself against nature’s harsh wintry elements draped in an army surplus styled overcoat while simultaneously managing to procure a vibe that’s positively now. At various junctures you’ll hear the stark retread of ‘Movement’ era New Order dallying with the more spectral moments as found loitering on old Chameleons flipsides while all the time being cut to the core by the numbing glacial edge of the much overlooked Passage and very early career Felt – the only thing missing from the equation being a suitably honed mix by the late great Martin Hannett. As an added bonus if you can still track down the 12” version there’s apparently a rather nifty remix courtesy of Fourtet to had, loved and played to the point of breakdown. Not out for a few weeks yet but you can be sure that all the relevant radio shows will be picking up on this shortly and hammering it to death – ‘A tried and tested method’ again culled from the aforementioned full length comes complete in two varieties – the original version and a rather fine remix by the Go! Team crew. Both finding Longcut in mellower moods ‘A tried and tested method’ is rooted with an effecting pulse like pop prowess though still sounds to overtly informed by New Order – this time the ‘Run 2’ era version, yet is found deliciously basking in star crossed configurations of citrus sweet overlapping chords that lull dreamily acting at odds to meticulous repetitive throb of the weaving bass grind burrowing below. Go! Team on the other hand do as the Go! Team do best – inject a buzzing Technicolor charm to whatever they touch in Longcut’s case by virtue of sprinkling the originals DNA with the subtle wash of fuzzy Byrds like needling chimes – totally loveable stuff it has to be said. And that’s not all you may also be interested to hear that there’s a bargain priced download only EP to be had as of now via the bands website – which we did try to access so as to take a sneaky peek but the damn thing crashed or else refused to play ball – either way the EP titled the Airtight Sessions features 4 cuts produced by the Earlies Giles Hatton – ‘Idiot Check’ exclusive to this set, ‘Vitamin C’, ‘Lonesome no more’ and ‘The Kiss Off’ – who said you’re never treated eh? Bloody spoilt the lot of you.

More Deltasonic goodness in the shape of…….

Candie Payne ‘All I need to hear’ (Deltasonic). Much deserving of brownie points aplenty and again another release where it’s the b-side that proves to be the cherry on the icing so to speak. The so far flawless Deltasonic catalogue continues apace this time providing something of a reclining nugget in the shape of Candie Payne. Strictly limited to 500 copies and apparently a bugger to track down – though strangely we’ve managed to acquire two copies of it by sheer accident – one via Probe in Liverpool and one courtesy of Manchester’s Piccadilly Records – so if you are having problems nailing this beauty make your first stop at these two outlets. We admit that we are a little late to this given that her second single ‘By tomorrow’ is due any day now but hell you just can’t keep a good song down. Ms Payne is, we are led to believe the kid sister of the Zuton’s drummer and ’All I need to hear’ is the beginning of what promises to be a promising and lasting career. Very much moulded and cured with a seriously acute 60’s vibe this cutie sounds like a smoke filled members only jazz club blind date between Julie London and Sandie Shaw softly spellbinding all in their presence with a softly sensual studded fleeting funky groove that the more in tuned folk among you may well happily file aside those essential Cannonball Jane releases currently doing the rounds with much gusto. As mentioned previously though it’s the flip cut ’No other’ which proves to be a peerless master stroke. Courting with the darker elements of the McCartney inspired Beatles pop canon such as the willowy ’Fool on the Hill’ and assuming a style not unlike a more frail and shaded toned Mary Hopkins, ’No other’ is minimally noire-esque in stature, sweetly soured throughout in a winter beckoning pastel tapestry and subtly embraced by the delicate breeze of aching strings and a fluttering flute recalling in the main very early Pram. Quite beautiful stuff.

Crackle box ’Winter Radio’ (Earsugar). Really has been too long since we had any releases from Earsugar which though momentarily making us feel a tad sad soon turned to having us thrashing about in horror when visiting their website and finding out about a plethora of top drawer releases that we seem to have missed out on. Still at least I know where they are and you can be guaranteed that in the coming weeks we will be tracking down every single one of them while forgoing both sleep and food (one suspects) in the process. For now though this delightful treasure of a record by Ireland’s Cracklebox. Admittedly it’s been out for ages and unless I’m very much mistaken I suspect we’ve reviewed it previously – but hey so what – such small inconsequential details have never stopped us before. Cracklebox are in essence vocalist Ann Scott paired up with Earsugar ever present Hi Lonesome Electric and ’Winter Radio’ is their debut release. No doubt ridiculously limited and pressed up on another of those jukebox styled slabs of wax which always look rather nifty in our book ’Winter Radio’ is a nimble gem of rustic electonica that’s been softly bathed in the cosmic candyfloss that night-time stars are made from, sweetly kissed with a richly affecting serene personality this slice of reclining craftsmanship could woo the steeliest of hearts and pick away at the sturdiest of defences at will while being spectrally hushed with a lilting charm of the type you feel compelled to throw your arms around a cuddle for dear life. Think Dream Academy’s ‘Life in a Northern Town’ being fed through an ornate lullaby playing musical box. Flipside features ’Winter – Instrumental’ which is – er – an instrumental version of the lead cut – that’ll be one without vocals then. Right you are. Perfect if you ask me for cuddling up blissfully in front of an open fire for those fast approaching long dark winter nights.

Tapes ‘n Tapes ‘Insistor’ (XL). Another head rattling debut release this time from hotly tipped Minneapolis based quartet Tapes ‘n Tapes. ‘Insistor’ pulled from their debut full length ‘the Loon’ pays dutiful nods to the likes of Pavement and the more 50’s attuned elements of the Pixies back catalogue while being braided with an array of resonating mooch like darkly intense atmospheric twangs that’d make Tarantino piss his pants and fronted by a howling dusty lo-fi mexicana country vibe that scuttles about as though mutated by the scouse-a-delic craft of a twinned early career meeting of the Coral and the Zutons. Flip cut ’Frankfurt’ in demo form is better still, a thickly crafted crawling from the swamp and out of its head curdling mess o’ psyche blues that mutates unexpectedly into a brief fucked over slab of head trepanning hardcore – did it for us I’ll say. More please.

Pizzy Yelliott ’Could you be loved’ (1965). Third release from the much informed and perhaps grooviest label in London, to date 1965 have put out a brace of much sought after debut singles by the View and Billie the Vision and the Dancers (which we are frantically trying to track down – no rest for the wicked eh?) along with a full length by NYC’s the Occasion billed as a ‘psychedelic masterpiece’. Label release numero three as weird and wired as it is has by all accounts been the current cause of much fuss among the in crowd classes. A unfeasibly barking and totally unfaithful shit kicking bastardisation of Bob Marley’s ’Could you be loved’ that strangely sounds like Prince at his most wilfully anti commercial shimmying up to a seriously evil Kid 606. Deeply unsettling stuff indeed, Pizzy Yelliott are apparently from Norway which by the mere fact that I’ve just pointed that out doesn’t mean being from Norway is in anyway contagious – why oh why and how did I get into this in the first place. ’Could you be loved’ left in their hands emerges not so much a mutated, warped and skewed slice of demented electronica but rather more as though it had been plugged into the national grid and given a session of shock treatment it’d never forget – can be played at various speeds to add to the excitement and features Grandmaster Flash samples – bet you are ordering it right now aren‘t you. Flip side features the instrumental version of the same cut – still sounds as eerie as f*ck words or no words. Essential if only to play loud and scare the neighbours shitless.

Bricolage ’Footsteps’ (Creeping Bent). Blimey the return to the fold of the highly esteemed (well in our gaff they are anyway) Creeping Bent label – home previously to such should have been legends Nectarine No 9, Revolutionary Corps of Teenage Jesus and the Secret Goldfish to name but three. ’Footsteps’ as stupidly limited as it is provides Bricolage with their highly engaging debut outing and as hard as you’ll no doubt try it’s difficult, in fact read nigh on impossible, to avoid the urge to fondly recall early Postcard guitars ‘n’ haircuts Josef K and Orange Juice. Slyly catchy, chiming chords zig zag in lightly tip toeing formations with a veritable floor pumping mutant like disco-fied underpin while being blessed with the kind of twisting hooks many a band would turn green in envy for. Perfect for these fading summer nights. Flipside features the romping jab chord spectacle that is ’Flowers of Deceit’ and sees them loosening themselves of such easy comparisons, lighter in tone than the lead cut though no the less sounding slightly more frayed and better for it – kind of like a less agitated Fire Engines being blended with the Nightingales with the Farmers Boys smoothing out the bumpy bits. A treat no less – and pressed up on snow white vinyl.

TV on the Radio ’Wolf like me’ (4AD). Admittedly a band who previous to this release I’m embarrassed to say I’ve had next to no exposure to, well there are only so many hours in the day and though I do love nothing more than spending them by and large listening to stuff there is the small detail of eating and sleeping to factor into to my life – especially since I’ve long since jettisoned my social existence – and anyway there are always going to be casualties, regrettable yet necessary. That said having actually heard ’Wolf like me’ I can fully understand why this lot are so precious to some of you young persons. Prised from their current (and acclaimed) full length ’Turn to cookie mountain’ these Brooklyn based kids do the unimaginable by translating into the confines offered by four minutes a slice of metamorphing dazzle pop that’s not only audacious and infectious but pretty damn euphoric with it. And with that the type of thing that Religious Cults are usually formed in honour of. This jet streaming baby is a grittedly grooving juggernaut of some measure, a bastardised space rocker bitten by a gnarled funky bug that immediately tunes into to your nervous systems wavelength to play untold havoc – irresistible. Flip side features the smouldering ’Snakes and Martyrs’ and sees the TV kids getting, dare we say, a little romantically swept, sensitive and mercurial with it, replete with sleigh bells, deftly absorbing carved in granite feedback shimmers, boy / girl vocal interchanges – hell if we didn’t know better we’d say it was ripe for a Xmas number one – which bugger turned off the heating then? Tragically beautiful stuff.

Feathers ‘Synchromy’ (Hometapes). Literally just arrived through our mail box this cutie, and when we say cutie lets put things into perspective here – if it weren’t for the fact that I’m currently shoulder deep in CD’s demanding my attention we swear we’d have worn this through by the day’s close. Not out for a month or so – so get your requests in now sharpish and billed as the second part of the Miami based trio’s series of three planned EP’s – the first being ‘Absolute Noon’ which we regretfully report sadly passed us by, ‘Synchromy’ features five wonky slices of sumptuous space age bachelor pad lounge loveliness that in many ways appears to have come from the same melodic map reference and birthing pool as Zombi (reviewed elsewhere here) with the keynote constituents of Carpenter and Goblin replaced on this occasion by Wendy and Bonnie, White Noise and Stereolab. The Gane and Co connection is furthered by the fact that the EP was produced by John McEntire who if memory serves me right had his association with the ’Lab curtailed quite recently so in many respects what better way of repaying the debt in kind than overseeing what is essential pristine ‘Lab velour melded into realms you secretly hoped you’d hear but never imagined you would. ‘Synchromy’ is a charted cosmic caper that blends generic references at such a rate that they blur, an alluring amorphous audio adventure that ostensibly takes its roots in the lightly spaced out of Broadcast though ostensibly finds itself informed by late 60’s flower pop and early 70’s prog / kraut rock (Can, Harmonia, Tangerine Dream) and everything between and after. Opening with the delicious ’Skara Brain’ a chilled mind altering lunar-esque lounge suite dusted with heady lysergically laced kooky Doors-esque keys that soon melt away to reveal a hypnotic inducing chunkily funky cosmic space groove. ’Tone Poem’ is similarly fluffily svelte sounding like a dubby blood relative to Stereolab’s ’Velvet Water’ while the buzzing and gorgeous detachment of ’Iron Mountain’ with its whirring electronics and piano led virtue once settling down after the initial drive pop dynamic is endowed with a sensually refined trippily sophisticated aura. Elsewhere there’s the seductive galactic drive by night futuro space rock groove of ’AP (Parenthe) – Synthesis’ which could easily be, if that is, we didn’t know any better, early analogue Kraftwerk forging an alliance with Fly with a view to shoulder charging their way to a residence at Studio 54. Bringing up the rear so to speak, ’Mint Cairo’ is pure night time noire-esque electronic exotica comprising in the main of a beautified drifting cortege of sweetly souring string arrangements that whisper wintry lost lullabies (very much in the style of Nyman’s score for Greenway’s ’The Draughtsman’s Contract’) to lull impish ethereal star crossed electroid echoes that in truth had us very much recalling Tank’s ’Bedtime for Rio’. So wonderful a release you’ll probably have to brandish a big stick with which to beat your hi-fi with if only to stop it hogging it as it’s own. Near perfect stuff.

Feathers ‘Absolute Neon’ (Hometapes). And a massive thanks to Hometapes who reacted with much gusto to our little moan about not having heard Miami’s Feathers previous ‘Absolute Neon’ release by sending the little darling on a little trip across the big pond to pair up with its sibling and into the bargain give us another chance to wax lyrical about the merits of the trio. ‘Absolute Neon’ features five more crafted nuggets of serenely flighty lunar lounge jazz delectably cured with what one would imagine the same substance that holds the stars in place in the night sky. Lovers of Stereolab’s ‘Cobras’ and ‘Sound Dust’ phases will be suitably smitten by the succulent chill like carnival of sounds that evolve here to engage, caress and romance your listening space, the wonderfully perky ’My apple has four legs’ opens the set – and I’ll be damned if we don’t make it a habit loving these chaps for life. A beautified blend of the ’Labs aforementioned full lengths, this delicious slice of amorphous space jazz is led from the fore by keys that navigate through the cosmic folds, the textures sumptuous, the mood light and fluffy and the melodies cut with a milky charm that even arrives replete with a dippy childlike waltz interval for good measure. ’Coral Fingers’ is similarly touched with that self same 70’s retro gossamer feel, the textures fluid and marked by a trippy though elegant soft futuro funk poise underlined by a subtle sense of exoticness as though the whole thing has been conceived under the glow of alien night skies. The string laced ’The Rise’ belies an almost innate folk charm to it at times recalling the late Douglas Gamley’s superb score for the film ’Spring and Port Wine’ while the brief – 46 seconds in length ’Coffee Bean’ adds a sense of humming oddness to the proceedings. The lilting affectionate caress and the pelvic ‘Hustle’ of ’Older Cutler’ brings things seductively to a close, serenading flutes, breezy brass arrangements and longing string arrangements endow this sweetly tingling gem with an air of the classically sophisticated aural adventures of both Pram and L’Augmentation to handsomely wrap up another disturbingly beautifully release.

The Cardinals ‘All talk’ (Tri Tone). There was a time – in fact twenty something years ago when a certain Irish band still sitting on the fringes but causing all manner of buzz among the underground chattering classes, both ‘Boy’ and more so with ‘October’ they revealed (pardon the pun) an edge that had essentially been crafted in the spirit of the era from whence it came – skeletal austere post punk – and while no doubt taking note firstly as to Joy Divisions soon to be enshrined era defining sound template it would be the Bunnymen’s edgier yet more obliquely coded pop accent that would tip the scale into them realising their trademark imprint – ’War’ would follow the band would go stellar while some of us would still fondly reminisce what if it hadn’t. Of course that band was or more rightly are – U2. Nudging the time frame slightly along and relocating to Manchester this time – again another band tipped at the time and still feted today as one of the undergrounds classic should have been bigger bands – again undoubtedly sparked into action by the fuse lit by the two aforementioned ensembles and in many ways incorporating much in terms of sound textures and influence in to their work, of course I’m referring to the Chameleons. So where is this going then – what relevance does it have on the Cardinals and is their debut release ‘All talk’ any good. Well pardon the French – f**k – hello – yes – durrr. Seems Manchester’s latest addition to the swelling ranks of top bands to name check and to have your faith re-ignited in indie pop rock, albeit of the long over coat kind, have negotiated the narrow confines of the slight but recognisable divide that exists between to the two aforementioned bands and as you’d rightly come to expect of Cardinals have housed their sky piercing sound in a Cathedral like setting. Limited to just 500 copies and available to the wider public at large next month this twin pronged pop assault should see itself spanking most of the clued up radio shows nationwide. The quartet have only been around for a few months but have already been causing something of a buzz in their native hometown. ‘All talk’ the lead out cut is packed to the rafters with see-sawing bitter sweet riffs that jar, jut and jab and are woven like an tear inducing impenetrable wall of effects laden guitar pyrotechnics. Cut with a bruised euphoria this babe literally opens you up from the inside out to exact its own sublime heart surgery. Flip cut ’All messed up’ is a more stripped down and rockier affair by comparison, this honey coated paint bomb still braided with the now trademark sky piercing siren like riffs and flooded with tenaciously hollowed jangles is anchored by a to die for soaring chorus that sounds for the best part like its been literally ripped from the heavens. Absolutely gem like stuff, check out the bands website to hear what all the fuss is about –

The Broken Family Band ‘You’re like a woman’ (Track and Field). The absolute dogs dangly bits. We swear if people stopped sending us records packed to the outer grooves with spanking melodies to die for we’d probably have to fill the void by getting ourselves a social life. Case in point enter if you will the Broken Family Band – darn it I could kiss this record (and just between you and me I have okay – but keep that to yourselves otherwise they‘ll all want kissing and I‘ve reason to believe it may well be a tad illegal). The three tracks that feature here and all primed, poised and packaged into dinky sub three minute slices of good wholesome pristine pop. Recently seen regaling the more clued up record racks with their ‘Balls’ full length – which I’m sad to say has kinda passed us by disappointingly) ‘You’re like a woman’ taken from that aforementioned set is a rollicking slab of effervescent countrified rock ‘n’ roll rumble that takes it’s cue from Hefner and Wreckless Eric and welds onto it a seriously pumped up foot stomping bar room boogying corker of a driving melody the type of which that swings you around by the hair roots. Opening shyly to a delicately frail spoken word intro with oh so cutesy sighing harmonies this honey soon fires up as if from nowhere executing a flurry of combination punches to lay you out flat and cut through with a hook that apart from being as catchy as f*ck will have you requiring an eviction order to wrestle it out of your headspace – all in all darn good fun you hear. Flip over for ’Gavin’s Dead’ – fuzzy and loose and scratched with raw ’n’ wired pop sensibility that had us recalling in the main a more muscularly developed variant of the clipped soft psychedelic found on Freed Unit’s criminally overlooked ’Gigglegoo’ full length. Personally though – if we had to choose of favourite cut then nothing here quite touches the bruising beauty of the nakedly drawn ’Poor little thing’. Rustically hued banjos, accordions and softly served twinned harmonies sweetly engage to silkily shimmer and endow upon this timeless heart tugging nugget a breathless reminder that come and go as fashions, fads and styles do that nothing quite seduces the senses or lulls the emotions than a finely executed slice of old school song craft – perfect.

Fanfarlo ‘Talking Backwards’ (Fortuna Pop). Damn those Fortuna Pop dudes for hogging our hi-fi with tunes so tasty you can’t help but go back for second and third servings. Second featured release from the Fortuna Pop empire with (all things being right – and assuming we haven’t keeled over in all the excitement) the woefully undervalued Butterflies of Love nuzzling with intent somewhere about these pages (between Apartment and Scaramanga Six is my guess) comes from London based quartet Fanfurlo who, apart from having had our ever attentive radar twitching like nobody’s business following their appearance on that recent ATP compilation with the crushing ‘Two Months‘ – which I’m not ashamed to admit had us weeping like a baby, have to date had one (by all accounts) rather well received outing tucked firmly under their collective belts in the shape of the ’Look both ways’ set from earlier this year. ‘Talking Backwards’ is one of those records that starts so unassumingly that you would well suspect its playing hide and seek with you only for it to appear shyly ambling up to your side just when you least expect it. So reticent and frail its almost coming apart at the seams this dewy eyed tingling nugget slyly sweeps you off your feet as though carrying you along on some unseen tip toeing faintly dispatched West Coast breeze invested with the lulling pop craft of a downcast lost and weary World Party and blessed with a joyously uplifting chorus hook that despite it perkiness crushes you underfoot into the ground – irresistible. And whatever emotional resources you still find you have in tact find themselves sweetly dispatched to the four corners of your listening space under the visibly withering weight of ache that ‘Tuesday (you come when we call)’ imparts – a kind of traditionally sombre New Orleans funeral dirge transplanted with a kooky almost child like and lolloping folk accent – think upon it as a wonky Garlic meets Pavement sprinkled with the more outer margin flavourings of the Elephant 6 Collective – and bloody gorgeous with it.

The Saudi Playboys ‘Psycho Killer’ (Fleet Street). Dirty, dirty…very dirty. This cutely decadent darling arrived into our lives just as we were putting the finishing wraps to this exhaustive missive and well frankly we couldn’t let it go unmentioned until next time (where no doubt given our previous track record it’d would have been lost in the unfeasibly bulging CD mountain). Absolutely no information with this honey though we can reveal that it isn’t strictly out for a month or two where it will be available as a download only type thing via Fleet Street records – the label and home of Apartments (whose frankly glorious ‘10,000 times’ you’ll find mulled over elsewhere amid these pages). ‘Psycho Killer’ is a horny as hell buzz sawing mutant hot pot of so many polar references as to make your head dizzy with delirium, of course it’s the old Talking Heads nugget finding itself put through the paces and dragged through a multi generic blender only to have itself meeting its own future sound incarnations and acquiring along the way all the stylised nuances via ‘Remain in Light’ right through to ‘Little Creatures’. Factor in some unfeasibly catchy early 80’s white funk accents and a curiously meeting of darkly beset retro new romantic meets latter day electro clash fashion accessories and you have yourself something of a rebellious gem that refuses to settle into any consistent groove and frankly just itches as though bitten by a potent groove bug. Within it’s four minute duration don’t be to surprised if you start suffering from fleeting flashbacks of Toto Coelo, Rockwell, Thomas Dolby, Lene Lovich and Kid Creole moments while trying unsuccessfully to shake of that unmistakable feeling that this is the nearest thing to a love child you’re ever going to get to hear resulting from an illicit threesome between Prince and Cobra Killer with Noblesse Oblige present as god parents. Cold shower please.

Screaming Mimi / RepoMen ‘Split’ (Phantom Power). Pretty nifty double header from out of Sheffield featuring old friends of these Singled Out missives – RepoMen and quintet Screaming Mimi. Of course RepoMen should really need no introduction to even the most casual observers of these pages, for a year or two now they’ve been peppering our hi-fi with some of the most tasty tunes on the underground. Snaring our attention a few years back courtesy of their appearance on the inaugural Slow Noire compilation ‘Sunset : False’ – they’ve since filtered into our listening space via two damn fine EP’s – ‘Moonlight Driving’ (check missive 28) and ‘Out of here’ (featured in Missive 57) whilst a sixth – ‘Dietrich’ seems sadly to have gone MIA. As brief as it might be (tipping the scales at exactly 172 seconds in length) this cutie mainlines directly to your nervous system with the acute precision of a needle driven substance – ‘Trophy’ is a crunching slice of vein pumping pop that tunes craftily into the reinvigorated mindset of the latter day Buzzcocks as though being hotwired and infused with ’the light pours out of me’ era Magazine, featuring guest vocals by Screaming Mimi’s Loretta Chantry this dark nugget is driven by a persistent locked down warped like rhythmic underpin that sounds like its about to derail itself at any given moment while decoded throughout with the subtle sprinkle of jangling 60’s accents that could easily have been torn from the Autumn Leaves scrap book. Not to be outdone in the face off stakes Screaming Mimi’s ‘Who is Louise?’ had us recalling a darker yet more focused variant of the Brand Violets. With several self released EP’s already under their collective belts and received by all accounts to much local acclaim its easy to see how and why Screaming Mimi might be simultaneously pushing all the right buttons of all who’ve encountered them thus far. Providing a sumptuous cross pollination of darkly brooding countrified death boogie, subterranean 60’s surf via a speed induced Link Wray as though recalibrated and given a potent oil change mix by a travelling band of riff manic guitar slingers made up of members of the Phantom Surfers and Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet and lushly treated to some niftily spiked John ‘Banshess’ McKay fretwork. From out of the mists of the smoking pyrotechnic seesawing a calm as you like Loretta Gantry seductively weaves her spell (here strangely sounding like Sleeper’s Louise Wener) to draw you ever closer bewitched and beguiled. Not so much a case of pushing the right buttons then but rather more nailing the blighters down firmly and squarely.

Education ‘Cool as you’ / ‘Charles’ (Self Released). We are loving this – indeed we are – oh yes. Arriving with a hand written postcard no less from vocalist Chrissie Taylor who in true Jim’ll Fix It style as me to make them popular. Well Chris while I am much indeed honoured – nay – humbled by your request – I should point out that it might be a tad bit optimistic given that readership to these very excruciating examples of badly written verse extend to last count – exactly three people (source – Mori); of those three hapless souls – one seemingly has no control or otherwise since we wired up their internet access directly to the Singled Out server, the second visited accidentally thinking it was a some bizarre dating agency while the third I deeply suspect tunes in regularly because they feel somehow sorry for the other two. That said ‘Cool as you’ / ‘Charles’ make for a damn fine debut – the former getting right under your skin from the word go and dispatched with a breathlessly edgy spiked Mod-tastic like zeal. Packed to the rafters with razor sharp riffs that jab and sting this cute nugget could easily be a distant rough around the edges half cousin of Supergrass replete with bashed and bruised Monkess (in this case the Monkees from the wrong side of the street) harmonies hammering their way through a rollicking homage to the Small Faces 60’s growing pains canon. Factor in a vocal that sounds like a less world weary Morrissey having his DNA tweaked and twisted with David Gedge and you have yourself a little stripped and ready for action nugget that’ll nag, nag, nag until your driven to the point of distraction – oh yeah and its damn cool to. Flip over for the ode to the poor hapless ’Charles’ – the Charles in question being his right royal nerd-ness. Echoing the sentiment found on the Smiths ’Queen is Dead’ and in some ways more scathing in its scorn for the flower talking one it strangely takes in its stride another old Smiths gem ’William it was really nothing’ and though removed of Marr’s silken 60’s needlework it sounds suspiciously like a spiteful Gene. Nibbling away at the essence of the Beatles’ ’Nowhere Man’ it portrays Charles in the role of a non person whilst suitably braiding the tale with a superbly blanked melody. Frankly you need this and with that I’ve a sneaking feeling that this lot may well be worth keeping tabs on over the coming months.

Bro Toek ’Demo v.1’ (Self released demo). Another release that we stumbled upon via the ever expanding and all consuming my space universe – and it has to be said (much to our annoyance, bewilderment and embarrassment) another release that promptly disappeared out of sight leading to us draft together and dispatch forthwith an elite search party to track it down. Bro Toek is none other than Cumbria based musician Tony Kelly who it seems has been idling his spare hours away crafting out slices of rather tasty interloping psychedelic / progressive tuneage which until recently (and with the advent of a friends advisory intervention and the resource tool my space) he had selfishly been keeping to himself and out of the glare of public attention. Citing a desire to work with Nigel Godrich or some similar minded producer, Kelly carves out sounds that are all at once vaguely familiar and yet original in design. Four tracks feature on this ’demo’ CD revealing not only his depth and breadth of style but his intuitive grasp of all things considered outer fringe from not only the late 60’s and early 70’s but far and beyond to present day. A release that features amid its grooves the kid of head expanding pupil dilating aural accessorising that today’s space cadets so readily tune into. ’See Blue 202’ opens proceedings, a slice of lysergic wig flipping 60’s matrixes tie dyed and washed into a heady road blues blending of wah wah’s, chilled out grooves and Hendrix inspired bliss out soft psychedelic. ’Acoustic Sunrise Acoustic Sunset’ is better still, loosely tuned chords endow an almost middle eastern sitar like mantra to the cause begetting a vibe not so far removed from the Sunray the candy coated riffs delicately and deftly worked to provide something that will not only appeal to lovers of early feedback less Flying Saucer Attack but the mercurial sounds found on those rare acoustic fan club freebies issued by Porcupine Tree. ‘Angry’ sounds like its stepped from an old vintage Peel ‘Perfumed Garden’ show – kind of Blue Oyster Cult meets Curved Air set to a beat box. Yet its ‘Thing’ that provides the sets best moment, imagine a three way split between Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd and Goblin, with limited resources Kelly carves out a succulent montage of disarming ambience and glacial elegance that artists more readily associated with the genres rarely seem able to conjure with such nurturing guile. Combining a numbing wide screened demeanour this softly lingering slice of hurt and hope is braided throughout by swathes of heart sapping
‘Brotherhood’ era New Order keys upon which a masterly needle like riff arcs, flirts and etches its way upon your psyche like nothing this side of Godspeed – an absolute treat. For further aural adventures check out to hear streams of a brand new cut entitled ‘Mayong Love’ which unless our ears deceive us is something of an acid fried aboriginal stoner dude of some measure.

And to what’s getting dafter by the minute – another corking release….

IV Thieves ‘Day is Downer’ (One Little Indian). A stunning debut from Texan based quartet IV Thieves which has already had the nodding approval of a certain Mr Gallagher (of the Noel variety). ‘Day is a downer’ is a rollicking three track broadside taster for the ensembles forthcoming ‘If we can’t escape my pretty….’ full length due early next year. ’Day is a downer’ has you instantly transported back to that moment when for the first time on British TV courtesy of the ramshackle late night pop music show known as the Word a gang of Mancunian reprobates with attitude, hearts and tunes as big as their ambition by the name of Oasis took to the stand. Then imagine that swagger and uber cool cocky arrogant sneer of Mr Gallagher (of the Liam variety) that bled through ‘Supersonic’ that night being welded wholesale onto the primitive scouse skiffle pop of the LA’s and early Coral utilising the Beatles ‘I’m only sleeping’ as its foundation and investing it with a naggingly infectious zig zagging riff that sounds like it’s been separated at birth from the theme to 70’s cult cartoon ’Rhubarb and Custard’. The result of which you get something so f*cking achingly cool it should come with its own designer label wear. ’Catastrophe’ provides further evidence of dead air studio time spent chilling out to essential Beatles ear gear in the shape of both ’Rubber Soul’ and ’Revolver’ while closing cut ‘Chase me off / out’, essentially the best thing here, sees the band opting for a spot of laid back serenity and into the bargain relocating the Mersey for a brief spell via the West Coast whilst dusting it down with some magically breezy soft cured MOR accents – kind of Summer Hymns meets The Aeroplanes type thing – very tasty indeed.

Daddy Long Legs ‘Captain Aqua’ (Conker). Another release that suffered at the hands of the pressing plant resulting in it having to be left on the back boiler until the next Missive whereupon James from the band will have hopefully furnished us with a dinky seven inch version of said release. That said well worth mentioning even if it means you doing a spot of homework and checking out what the fuss is all about in readiness for next times incomprehensible review spot – ‘Captain Aqua’ is the debut release from London based trio Daddy Long Legs features two tracks – ‘Captain Aqua’ and ‘Soup’ which by the wonders of modern technology you can hear now via their fangled my space thing type site at where you will also be treated to a cut by the name of ‘Tummy ache’ as well as a funky little re-tread of the title cut and if your suitably smitten by those there’s a stack of early demos to be had via a link on the site which much to our annoyance and gnashing of teeth registered zilch when we accessed it – tut tut.

Stasi ‘Mixed Inglish’ (Riot Club Music). I must admit that I’m a trifle annoyed at myself for not picking up on this sooner – but then it was buried beneath a shed load of CD’s – still regardless this really is something of a killer release all said and done. Second outing for West London trio following their ’Dystopia’ debut (another release we sadly – much to our muttered under breath annoyance – we missed) features three cuts that we’d like to think offer up the most deceptive aural adventure you’ll have the pleasure of stumbling across in a fair few weeks. Granted there’s no real envelope pushing going on here however what Stasi manage to do and with much aplomb is to cleverly cross pollinate varying rock genres into an amazingly delectable canvas that finds itself superbly blending elements of effects laden space rock, ethereal glacial backdrops, late 60’s soft psyche accents, math / post rock, progressive rock and a spot of hardcore for good measure – all bases covered them. ‘Mixed Inglish’ opens the set, in the space of its 5 minute gestation period this brutish sort zig zags at such an alarming pace and through so much rhythmic restructuring a neck brace is a highly recommended accessory for total listening pleasure. All at once turbulent and yet serene, what were once jagged formations of angulated riffs transform mid way through in shimmer like chiming spectres a la Chameleons as though replicating an air clearing calm after a fiercesome torrential storm. Yet it’s on ‘Riding the Biaxial’ and therein where Stasi start to play with your head and begin to morph into an altogether different proposition. Seemingly sub divided into two movements this monolithic gem is all at once angelic and ethereal yet fragmented and disorientating, ’Riding the Biaxial’ is rather more an aural odyssey than strictly a song itself, it pulls, prises and teases with the same mercurial tousled though doomed atmospherics of Radiohead’s more darker moments constantly evolving one minute evoking dream like fractures the next immersed in what can only be described as a lush like emotionally crushed operatic ballad that rears up to explode in a glorious haze of frenetic vanquished intensity. The very brief ‘I collect unwanted apologies / We must be left alone’ which forms the second movement is rather more tranquil in texture full of yearning heavy hearted bliss laden comatose atmospherics which after a spell spent seducing your hi-fi morph into ‘Travel in the light’ a strangely brewed concoction of after dark down lounge grooves and noodle like twisted jazz funk accents laced with some of the most unchecked examples of loosely fitted falsetto vocalising heard here since the Associates. Unreal stuff but essential all the same.

Rosemary ’Suburban Kings’ (MA2). Much touted in certain circles as the next Libertines – but don’t let that small detail put you off from what is a pretty nifty debut from Dartford based trio Rosemary. This hum dinging slab of terrace charging beer swilling guitar ridden sloganeering is a limited 500 pressing all hand signed and numbered by the band – well our copy is anyway. If I were to tell you that ’Suburban Kings’ is not a million miles in terms of appearance from those early radio friendly outings from Scotland’s most famous twins the Proclaimers, I suppose the common consensus would be to switch off. But then factor in to that the Proclaimers with a shed load of attitude doing wannabe classic Pogues routines with Strummer and Jones sharing vocals duties, while onto a train wrecking rhythm is welded to its under carriage a see sawing sky piercing siren like riff and a frenzied boot shaking dynamic that aside driving you to distraction is a cut above similarly inclined ensembles by some distance – sh*t it is not. Flip cut features the driving skiffle-delic meets rock-a-billy-esque ’….for he’s blue’ which to these ears had us recalling Wall of Voodoo as though there DNA had been hot wired with early career pre ’Sit Down’ James – did it for us.

Mississippi Witch ‘Just for Roosevelt’ (Colony2). Oh mama. Fuck me what a row. This brute is so fucking raw it oozes puss and pain in equal measures, those much in need of injection of scathing up and at you ‘n your face and smiling menacingly beatified rock ’n’ roll then look no further than this wholesomely pure two faced bastard of a release. Duo Mississippi Witch sound like they’ve been distilled and bottled in a cask of Tom Waits favoured bourbon and this their debut single is a death rattling hotrod meets gnarled coffin blues nugget that blisters across the hi-fi like an evil preacher collecting souls for the eternal funeral pyre. Ripped from their forthcoming full length ’Black Gamble’ ‘Just for Roosevelt’ is a scorched swamp infested and snarled take no prisoners rout that’s been meatily bludgeoned by an underpin that aside sounding like a mutant cousin of Zep’s ‘Kashmir’ could easily have been hoodwinked straight from beneath the noses of Killing Joke and then had several shades of the brown stuff kicked out of it by a seriously agitated gathering of John Spencer Blues Explosion, the Ministry (though here Od’ing on valium) and Monkeywrench and then near drowned in an acutely hip grinding and ear gouging thickly set throbbing groove that even lovers of classic era Queens of the Stone Age may well decide to swap loyalties for. Absolute brutal stuff. Flip over for the equally restless railroad blues of ’Alligator Mechanics’ which replete with banjos, squawking riffs and a hugely dust ball like lolloping vibe, arches and creaks ominously parched as though a younger bad boy Johnny Cash had met Beefheart at rock’s infamous crossroads. A killer debut and not surprisingly joint single of the missive. Now for that album then!?

The Black Angels ‘The First Vietnamese War’ (Light in the Attic). Billed by their press folk as the years most exciting debut release and frankly we’d be for once inclined to agree. There‘s no doubting that ‘The First Vietnamese War’ is indeed cut with a walk the walk / talk the talk cool and having recently heard their soon to be released debut full length ‘Passover’ there’s no doubt that come the year end this lot could and should be chewing press column inches at such a rate you’d swear an ink shortage was on its way. Based in Austin, Texas and named after an old Velvets song, featuring amid their ranks – apparently – the son of a preacher (no puns, songs please), someone born on a cult compound and another who grew up in a mortuary and all prone to being haunted at the group’s HQ by a little girl in a red linen dress – well frankly if I was being sold this on that pitch alone I’d be heading in the opposite direction at speed and several blocks away and counting fast. A protest song no less with a candid ’didn’t you learn from your mistakes the first time around’ by using the Vietnam war fiasco as a lesson to be drawn for the hostilities in Iraq. Calling up the ghosts of Cash, Grateful Dead and Link Wray whilst similarly updating Dylan’s template and primed and deadly as an exocet missile loaded with lethal chemical warfare. ’The First Vietnamese War’ is a killer thing, in fact a kool killer thing – shades, leathers, square jaws, big shiny belt buckles – the lot, in fact if it weren’t for that Mississippi Witch release we’d be hailing it as the uber dogs bollocks. Coming across like a hellfire and brimstone ranting boogie man and wired into the more darkly honed moments of the Fuzztones back catalogue, the Black Angels are non to keen on taking prisoners. Armed with wah wah’s a plenty this maddening drone like psyched out baby slithers snake like rather than gliding across the turntable, dirtily vengeful this revelatory psychotropic beast is the kind of thing that cults are founded on while those prepared to scratch just a tad deeper below the scorched surface will unearth the subtle traces of Wall of Voodoo and the Gun Club wafting throughout the mind altering experience. Over on the reverse side of the disc more wig flipping head re-arrangements in the shape of ‘Nine Years’. Less gritted than ’the First Vietnamese War’ though similarly basking in late 60’s kaleidoscopic accents this babe is drenched seductively in a hypnotic array of authentically dated swirling keys and the kind of trip induced psyche mantra much loved by Sunray et al and is, to coin an old Inspiral Carpets sales pitch, as cool as fuck. Nuff said.

Finger twister ‘I remember Jah’ (Chillosophy). Smoking stuff indeed and just what the Ganja doctor ordered. Second release from the newly inaugurated Chillosophy label (the first being from Omni motion – which I swear we’ve had, heard and reviewed fondly though being unable to lay my hands on it leads me to suspect otherwise) features Fingertwister who though previously unknown to me appear to have been causing something of a buzz on the underground appearing on various compilations for Digital Structures, Mental Arts and Just Create. ‘I remember Jah’ is a killer tripping dub beast which features guest vocals courtesy of Ras Iyah, a deliriously sultry slice of chilled out exotica braided by half cut horns and an alluring sax section that sounds like its made its way from Jamaica surrounded in a haze of potent marijuana puff with a stack of King Tubby records stashed under its arm. Also featured here are three re-cuts of the same track by Ooze, Sushi Club and Solead. The Ooze duo stay pretty faithful to the original mix keeping the dub essence intact and endowing it with a subtle yet kooky electronic refit which becomes ever more dominant as the track unfolds to such an extent that towards the end it’s almost transformed into a seriously chilled out slice of exotic starry eyed down tempo suite of sorts. Solead’s Vincent and Charles have a CV of releases between them that quite frankly could be the subject of a thesis in itself – more of a case of who they haven’t worked with rather than who they have. Here they strip the original to near unrecognisable and recalibrate its chassis to weave their collective intuitive house knowledge base to craft a pulsating head expanding electronic lunar-esque star hopper of a gem. Last but not least Tomio Tremmel under his Sushi Club guise endows the collection with a deeply lush and sophisticated exterior that one would suspect may well be the favoured choice of those preferring their sounds a little, shall we say, after dark in texture.

Paul De Aragon ‘Linear phase’ (Microdot). Indeed probably the strangest release featured in this particular missive and not so much strange due to the sounds themselves but rather more the depth, breadth and width of the varying styles incorporated in order to realise them. This is the debut release for De Aragon’s fledging Microdot label, a label principally set up as a vehicle for releasing his own work as well as other like minded and similarly left of centre artists operating on the outer there musical landscape. ‘High Windows’ the first of 6 cuts here is rooted in swathes of minimalist electronica, native beats, whirring bleeps ‘n’ blips, female operatic samples and a decidedly Spartan though juicy clipped funky lounge backdrop that pitched together as a whole sound somewhat coldly disconnected and dislocated and yet intriguingly fluent and malleable – in many respects like effect gained through fiddling with the radio dial tuner across the various night time LW frequencies. Cast with a noire-ish broody Bristol-ian 90’s sound base it curiously recalls Stockhausen as though re-drilling Muslim Gauze. Slightly perkier in texture and outlook the psychotropic ’Linearphase’ utilises a dash of hypnotic mind expanding house accents cleverly undercut by a jazzy disco bop reminiscent in the main of early Squarepusher while ’Linearsophie’ had us principally recalling Creeping Bent’s Elemental, awash in half woken dream like states of confusion the fuzzy matrix is twisted with jazzy vibes that dissolve and drop out continually to morph into subtle abstract traces of exotica more inclement of early Mice Parade. From therein the rest of the set is made up of the three part ’Phase’ suite. ’Phase 4’ provides for an uplifting spectacle of overlapping samples and lunar-esque accents that are endowed with a distinct optimism that strangely provides the umbilical link that connects Jean Michel Jarre to Orbital. The floor rumbling pulsating ’Phase 5’ follows in quick pursuit housing a veritable austere texture borne out of its claustrophobic edge and sounds as though its been strapped under the crafts control panel plugged into the hectic conversational traffic of the chattering overloaded diodes within. ’Phase 6’ wraps up the set – the mood one of resigned regret braided by clipped heavenly choirs and transmissions as they strain through the ether. Classy stuff.

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