archiv – singled out – missive 46

the last missive we managed to salvage before the robot txt. kicked in…….originally online Sept 2004 via http://www.losingtoday.com – notables here being – i think i’m right in saying the first mentions in these musings of soft hearted scientists and mugstar plus the erroneously referred gangplang – of course better known as gangplank ahem…..and something very special from living with eating disorders – now were are they these dayys we wonder……

features…….

drill queen, the room orchestra, rubicks, the paddingtons, flamingo 50, soft hearted scientists, thee unstrung, zombina and the skeletones, special needs, the hurricane state, the deadly snakes, gangplank, 100 bullets back, cherubs, the like, the waking hours, the green and yellow tv, mugstar, telecast, the panda gang, levelload, metro riots, plastic toys, my electric love affair, living with eating disorders,

Missive 46
28-09-2004
Singled Out

Missive 46

Dedicated to Kelly and Mark, missing you so much it hurts.

Singled Out imitation free, often ridiculed and sniggered at, but strangely, never actually read.

I swear I’m aging fast doing these daily Missives and yet because I love you all so much I’ve been caught in two minds whether to split this in two initially or just to go the whole hog and see it through once and for all, so with the non absence of the promised missive from the other day you can gather correctly that I decided very late on to go for the latter option, and boy has it taken a while to put to bed, so much so that at one point we just couldn’t get the literary juices flowing, stalling embarrassingly at ‘and’, ‘is’, ‘that’ and ‘when’ for a whole two days. Added to this the fact that, in all honesty I’ve received what amounts to a sharp shock like punch to the bollocks by a stack of recent releases that we’ve needed heavy duty plant machinery to clear a way to the front door so there let the truth be out. Still love you all the same though. After a very short break (about two weeks) Singled Out will be on a weekly footing woo hoo (typing finger willing).

As with the previous recent flurry of daily delivered butt kicking drop dead something or other Singled Out’s if there’s anything you need to know about the magazine (which is out, somewhere), CD submissions for the forthcoming or one after that cover mount, or you fancy your bands wares ritually humiliated for ever in these pages and you need my address or basically if you just want to chew the fat then please either see intros for the last three singled out’s or drop me an email at mark@losingtoday.com

At this point I should apologise to people who have sent emails very recently and not yet had a reply, I’m onto it, well not like right now as I’m writing this but like er later sometime. Man I’m knackered.

Should have also pointed out yesterday that in addition to the listening pleasures, two we managed to miss (to our utmost horror) where the new album from Oddfellows Casino on Pickled Egg, of whom those with long memories may recall, delivered perhaps one of the debut albums of all time with ‘Yellow bellied wonderland’ and a more enthusiastic mention to Rob McCulloch a solo artist with a penchant for creating classic riffs hoodwinked from under noses of the Verve and of whom, or so it seems, is releasing killer after killer albums on a monthly basis at present. And while we are here we really should mention Warrington based duo Vivahead (lads we have your CD’s..damn fine too) who honestly make listening to Volcano the Bear seem like a stroll in the park, another ensemble who seem to be rattling out quality releases on a regular basis and just to make it fair a stack of CD’s from Steve Fanagan, a Dublin based musician who simply floored us a few years back with his Albini produced ‘There is hope’ full length, this time hitting us with not one, but three albums under his various recording guises as Northstation and Old Man Polka. Reviews of all to follow very shortly elsewhere…..

Also those of you who care to note what’s been sat amusing and enlightening us on the Singled Out coffee table and that there fangled old television thingamajig then we highly recommend the following:

An absorbing tome featuring all the players in Punk’s second generation secret wars entitled ‘Burning Britain: A history of UK Punk 1980 –1984’ by Ian Glasper, a 400 page peek at the movers and shakers of the studs ‘n’ leathers brigade, featuring discography’s, essential listening lists and providing brief up to date biographies and interviews with approx. 100 bands of the day. Available through Cherry Red. Full review to follow shortly. http://www.cherryred.co.uk

And yes, yes, yes it’s a few years old now but we happened again upon Morton and Death’s irreverent comical slant of rock’s history ‘Great Pop Things – the real history of rock and roll from Elvis to Oasis’ published by Verse Chorus Press. No stone left unturned or icon to be big to be felled by the withering wit of this duo and featuring the hugely hilarious letter to Opal records congratulating them on their (as then) newly released ‘Eno Instrumentals’ box set and yet similarly berating the label on the discovery that Phil Collins played drums on a few of the tracks and therefore to the absolute horror of the author, would be up for a slice of royalties to which our erstwhile consumer suggested as a happy medium, it been given to Robert Wyatt in what he referred to as being in line with the said artefacts spirit of ‘a new level of active listener – participation with the recording’. Quality stuff.

Soon to be reading pleasures, just as soon as we lay our hands on them, the latest from Douglas Coupland ‘Eleanor Rigby’ which has been recommended to me by countless people and even despite my sitting on the face over his previous work, I will take a peek. Those of you with a sense of the absurd might care for more than a passing casual interest in the parody ‘Eats, Shites and Leaves’ which obviously goes to the places that the best selling ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’ quaintly side stepped. Elsewhere we will endeavour to purchase a new copy of the Record Collector’s bible the Rare Record Price Guide now up to its 8th edition, the odd book about the White Stripes entitled ‘And the sound of the mutant blues’ by Everett True which we hope will be a more work man like read rather than the usual heard it all before kiss arse excuse for investigative writing we’ve seen elsewhere and a book we saw in passing called ‘The history of Electronica’ which to our annoyance we spotted but couldn’t get because we had left our cash card at home in order to stop us buying albums we didn’t need.

Visual wise: Aside the plethora of Elvis films being re-released on DVD box-sets, of which, both King Creole and Charro have been mysteriously passed up on in favour of the bilge like Double Trouble and Harum Scarum, which are possibly the two worst films ever made with which to insult the intelligence of cinema goers and fans alike. Elsewhere the superb double DVD set from Oasis marking the 10th Anniversary of the impish crew from Manchester’s finest moment ‘Definitely Maybe’, with over four and a half hours footage including a newly (commissioned specially for this release) documentary highlighting the stories behind each of the songs, with recollections from the usual suspects and er, Digsy. Features all the promos, live footage of each and every cut and for the first time the inclusion of ‘Sad Song’. If you get the new Knife album ‘Deep Cuts’ in its limited edition double pack format you’ll find a pretty smart DVD featuring all their cleverly worked and head meltingly surreal promo’s.

And now for something slightly older, UFO seasons 1 and 2, okay it’s a bit kitsch but there was a time when entire childhood’s where ruled by anything Gerry Anderson related. UFO marked Anderson’s departure from the puppets and into live action fusing together elements of Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet along with the short lived series of the late 60’s, ‘Doppelganger’. Featuring a corking sound track by Barry Gray, UFO, though appealing to the children of the day i.e. car chases, galactic shoot outs and big bad aliens aplenty, had stories made from darker stuff (mostly found on Season 2 – especially on ‘Timelash’) that where way ahead (and still are) of their time and now in retrospect can be seen as the Sci-Fi show that all others must aspire. It also tackled issues which today may seem common place but try turning back the clock 35 years, a different world: interracial relationships (‘Computer Affair’), women with high flying (no pun intended) responsibilities (‘Close Up’), drugs (‘The Long Sleep’ / ‘Ordeal’) and divorce / weekend parents (‘A Question of Priorities’). Escalating production costs meant that the show was axed after just 26 episodes in 1970 yet loosely re-appeared some four years later in the shape of the truly atrocious Space 1999. Still childhoods relived (the only thing missing being the cowboy outfit and space hopper though with a 6’ 6 1/2” frame it’s unlikely I’ll get either) its worth noting that Gabriella Drake who starred in the show was the sister of Nick Drake and that Michael Billington has been screen tested for the role of James Bond more times than any other actor in the history of the ubiquitous spy film series.

To the singles then which, we have to admit, this time around contain gems of the highest order beginning with…..

Drill Queen ‘Born depressed’ (Poochie Corp). This literally arrived through the post this morning and has since had to be chained down in an attempt to stop it bickering with the hi-fi. Not officially out for another two months, in which case I suggest you spend the time wisely getting fitted up with some indestructible headwear and making sure those harnesses with which to strap yourself down are fully working because this is one gritty grooving son of a bitch release. Led from the front by the Haitian born model and fetish wear designer Vee who it has to be said is blessed with a vocal matched only in terms of passion and fury by Lisa Kekaula, this Anglo American quartet, hard as it is to believe, formed earlier this year playing their first gig in August just gone (their second outing will be at the Bull and Gate in London on the 28th of this month). ‘Born depressed’ draws equal parts of White Stripes, the Bellrays and the Wildbunch (before they got global as Electric 6) infusing the resulting mutant off spring with a menacing double joint twisting vibe that one minute wires into its console the New York street sounds of the late 70’s, the next, the raw decadent essence of the late 60’s Detroit scene and feeds into its engine a potent mix of possessed classic early career Tina Turner found near drowning in a swamped haze of high octane head bashing dirty glam rock that would make even the Dolls smudged mascara turn a vibrant shade of green. Flip over for ‘Pocket full of fun’ which at times, to these ears at least, sounds like a more playful Nirvana toying around with an assortment of teasingly funky underpins from ‘These boots are made for walking’ and mid career Stevie Wonder, patching them, in their own inimitable way, into a succulent and frenzied blend of skin prickling tenseness and knuckle wrapping arse shaking festering grind. Damn it if we didn’t know any better an awesome hot-wired shakedown of a debut.

The Room Orchestra ‘A collection of Numbers’ (8 Arms to Hold You). Again another record that chirpily announced itself on the front door welcome mat early this morning and has since drove us to a point way past distraction to perhaps undying affection. Be warned this 5 track teaser for a soon to be released full length is ultra limited, how limited is anyone’s guess but its worth stamping on your best friend in an attempt to secure one, which I believe can only be had from the bands website. Formed just over twelve months ago ‘A collection of numbers’ is the quartet’s debut release following acclaim received when they appeared with ‘Breakdown’ on last year’s electronica compilation ‘Little planets in the wires’ for Slow Graffiti. The beauty with the Room Orchestra that sets them apart from similarly styled artists is that you can’t immediately tell for certain where their influence lies, instead what you get are brief washes, almost like flash backs, of distant memories breezily racing to the fore and disappearing just as quickly into the fluffy haze whereupon you shouldn’t be too surprised if you hear echoes of Lennon (both John and Julian), 10CC, Free Design, Robert Wyatt and the most curious and, admittedly most satisfying of the lot, Stereolab. Opening perfectly with ‘1/1 Rock’ which wraps together Lennon’s (Julian and John respectively) ‘Too late for Goodbyes’ and ‘Number 9 Dream’ into a heart pulling journey into a secret world of longing 70’s styled MOR pop that though scratched by an undercurrent of melancholic ripples is caressed ever so softly by the undulating piano motifs and the constant whirr of enquiring electronics snuggling shyly in the shadows. A dizzying collision of lazing late night lounge boogie and jazzy 60’s bubblegum pop awaits on the teasing ‘On sale here’ as though you’ve happened across a private soiree where the guests are Cinerama, Free Design and Die Moulinettes. ‘Easy Run’ is just that, easy pop, both tasty and curling its warmly roving smoky jazz club vibe offers a hospitable sheltered resting place from a drizzly outside world where a Robert Wyatt fused with Marc Almond vocal breathless works through a hitherto unknown Lennon and McCartney composition. ‘Closing track’ as the title suggests is the closing track, simple really isn’t it. A cute little dozing charmer it is to with a sly side-winding riff channelling right through its core and a simplistic, though effective dynamic that recalls Kate Bush’s ‘Army Dreamers’ as though played by the Earlies accompanied by a troop of heaven’s string section. Best cut of the set though has to be ‘Lazy Houses’ which craftily bridges the tenuous gap to perfection between, what most people consider, Stereolab’s creative peak (not me) of their branded Space Age Batchelor Pad Muzak as ventured on ‘Emperor Tomato Ketchup’ and their latter day cosmic rumba down tempo toe tapping hip wiggling inducing ‘Sound Dust’. And with that the words absolutely essential in flashing lights and fanfares springs to mind. You have been told. http://www.theroomorchestra.co.uk

Rubicks ‘I see you (Alan Moulder Mix) ‘ (Sharp Attack). Absolute gem of a record make no mistake about it, starts out merely awesome and ends up electrifying. Rubicks are duo Marc and Vanessa who some might accuse of being work shy fops given that ‘I see you’ is the long awaited follow up to their much loved ‘Midas’ from way back in 2002 which to us sounded like the best bits of the Cocteau Twins’ ‘Waxen Wane’ being delicately chipped away with a cooling pop dynamic that simply had you panting for more. ‘I see you’ is more of the same except the tempo, passion and pop quota has been stepped up several gears so much that it’s gone off the scale. Sadly we’ve only a one-track advance of the actual single, but hell when it’s this good who’s complaining, think of a more seductive version of the Koreans on the edge of an nervous breakdown amid an over heating fusion of robotic rhythms going insane, overloading analogue keyboards and zoned in skin peeling riffs who together have hatched a plot for a coup and in so doing are eking a trajectory towards an inevitable collapse. Add to the ingredients several scoops of intensity, a smidgeon of aloofness, leave it to chill then mix in the crucial X factor, Vanessa’s vocals, which in the duration of the song manage to cover every range of emotion known to man peeking at the finale like an out of her mind Sinead O’Connor. Anxious, pulse racing and perfect. Who said austere had to be doomy? http://www.rubicks.net

The Paddingtons ‘21’ (Poptones). Wow! Do we smell a plot to corner the market because this baby is the first (and best) of three corking releases to come charging out of McGee’s Poptones stables. The Paddingtons (not to be confused with the Parkinsons who we haven’t heard around here since their much wonderful ‘Streets of London’ EP…are they still going?) are from Hull and I apologise if that came across to read as though Hull was a disease, course it isn’t it’s the birthplace of the Red Guitars, to which we doff our caps in much admiration and the Housemartins not themselves bad per say but look what they spawned; Beautiful South and Fatboy Slim nuff said. Only joking Norm and Paul your records are always welcome in our gaff any day and my, we do need a few coffee cup coasters (miaow!). The Paddington’s are the latest in a long line of young gentlemen with guitars, attitude and a more than basic know how of getting some rocking tunes out of just three chords. ‘21’ is their debut single and a belter it is, very 1977 – 79 in spirit in fact so much so that to these ears it has that edge of the Saints and ATV having a rousing inter band fight in the local boozer on a Saturday night. Not so much having killer hooks as having hooks that beat the living daylights out of you, this three minute pogo-tastic act of malicious petulance is clearly the work of people who’ve lightened the Libertines of their pocket money and are around the back of the bike shed smoking their well earned riches. Likewise with ‘Same old girl’ found rumbling on the flip side ain’t a million miles from the kind of barn storming slabs of melodic razor sharp punk pop that Chron Gen used to knock out at frequent intervals, no fat or filler just straight in the face bopping attrition. Blinding stuff to have you bouncing off the walls to. http://www.poptones.co.uk

Flamingo 50 ‘First in Line’ (Keith). Been a fair old while since we’ve had anything by Liverpool trio Flamingo 50 to cheer about in fact the last time was their ‘Go Betsy Go’ release from a year or two ago. ‘First in Line’ is limited to 500 copies and comes backed by four other cuts making this a wall to wall feast of raw ripping riotous lo-fi punk pop that the radars on many older viewers among you might start screaming Vice Squad, Hagar the Womb and the Expelled (especially on the thunderous blink and its gone full throttle head butting ‘R U Patronising me’ which could easily be a tamed Melt Banana ragging the life out of Black Flag). A good call perhaps because there is an element of that second generation punk ‘up yours’ thing running throughout these razor like gems that thankfully has them making a sharp detour in being included in the riot grrl brigade. Flamingo 50 adopt a back to basics approach, combining chunky chords with memorable terrace like chanting chorus’ and hooks that aren’t only immediately infectious but are so jagged they leave lasting scars. ‘All yr money’, the best cut here, sounds like a almighty cat fight between Hole (without the ensuing dramatics) and a particular mean and moody Go Go’s not far behind ‘Shame about blame’ which closes the EP is drenched in a festering sheen of fuzz laden venom but cute enough all the same in being able to punch more than its weight in terms of melody, think of a low strung detuned Lemonheads having a face off with an early Buzzcocks incarnation while elsewhere ‘Dick’, which is planted right at the start of the flip side will more than likely have fans of Extreme Noise Terror dancing in the aisles (and probably thinking they’ve gone prog rock given it’s all of 1.5 seconds long). Shall we settle for essential then? http://www.flamingo50.co.uk

Soft Hearted Scientists ‘The Bethesda’ EP (My Kung Fu). Now bearing in mind the last time we had anything from the My Kung Fu label, (the absolutely mighty Mountain Men Anonymous in case you were asking) it resulted in our gaff looking as though it’d had squared up to a cyclonic episode and come a seriously poor second. So you can forgive us when we say that on seeing those words My Kung Fu attached to this release we readied ourselves in true Third World War fashion by nailing everything loose and decorating the shed like the innards of a padded cell. How embarrassed we felt when we faintly heard the sound of drifting folk coming from the general direction of where we assumed we’d left the hi-fi (approximately 400 yards away from our safety nest). This four-slice set of secret pop is simply the most curvaceous and soothing we’ve heard around here since the Oddfellows Casino debut from a year or two ago. ‘The Bethesda’ EP is the second release from Soft Hearted Scientists following their debut outing ‘The Wendigo’ EP which we are ashamed to say we missed but will do our best to seek out in the coming weeks. Operating in a mystical world where enchantment rules, for Soft Hearted Scientists time is as inconsequential as fashion or fads, their sound is, though obviously scented with the flavour of 60’s Cambridge folk, rooted in centuries old story telling and melodic wizardry. Textured by a sense of the pastoral it’s easy to imagine the likes of Love, a less fragile sounding Nick Drake and ‘Lady Jane’ era Rolling Stones being discovered holidaying and finding peace in the natural almost pagan scenery of Summerisle (an idyllic picture perfectly captured on the Lear inspired ‘The Yongy Bongy Bo’). A richly alluring elegance emits from these carefully weaved compositions that tell tales of friendly monsters and strolls into hidden worlds where fantasy is reality which, okay to some of you, may rekindle memories of the worst excesses of early 70’s progressive rock (Yes, King Crimson et al…) but don’t worry there’s none of that over staying of welcomes to be found here, in fact on the absolutely charmed ‘The Haunted Song’ (by far the best cut here given the interaction between the imagery and the sweeping beauty of the melodies that cuddle and add life to them) they toy with the subtle essence of shimmering psychedelia graced by a warming medieval spin as though both Robyn Hitchcock and Nick Nicely had accepted an invite from Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson to spend a tranquil afternoon pitching stones in a lake surrounded by serenely lush back drops to swap Lear like tales of out of this world lands and fabled adventures from another dimension. ‘Many a Monster’ is equally elegiac and quite possibly the finest thing you’ll hear this side of Candidate’s gentle folk trails. Quite a treasure if you ask me and a preciously rare invitation to drift away from the excesses of everyday tedium into somewhere quite strange, beguiling and hitherto inspiringly beautiful. http://www.my-kung-fu.com

Thee Unstrung ‘Contrary Mary’ (Poptones). Second slice of Poptones for this missive this time a debut outing from London based Thee Unstrung of which I’ll admit has really grown in leaps rather than bounds since it arrived at our gaff. Rather than going for the throat and swinging you around the room like fellow label mates the Paddington’s, Thee Unstrung prefer, or so it seems, to gaze at the stars more from darkly lit alleyways rather than the gutter, a sound that so very much Stiff 1977 at times veering not to far away from Wreckless Eric and strangely developing, over the course of the three songs on show here, as though done by a grittier and younger version of Squeeze without the life experiences. ‘Contrary Mary’ is a damn fine toe-tapping romp of sorts, roving electronic guitars jab and jaunt speedily along with the dippy not so serious demeanour of the Housemartin’s (blimey two mentions in one missive, a revival!?) ‘Happy Hour’ while possessing a devilish hand clapping sing-a-long chorus and hopelessly addictive hooks that combined together make it virtually impossible to hate. ‘You’ is the far stronger cut here, classic Difford and Tilbrook in their formative bedsit, skint, DIY days yet despite clearly attempting to conceal it in a shambolic thick skinned exterior, you can’t help noticing a caustic ‘Hamburg’ era Beatles sound clearly kicking and punching its way out to the surface. ‘Love is’ rounds up the pack and in a mightily fine way too if you ask me, not to dissimilar to ‘You’ but add in a quotient of Canvey Island pub rock to the mix for something quite retro, but tasty all the same. At least it gets my vote. http://www.poptones.co.uk

Zombina and the Skeletons ‘I was a human bomb for the F.B.I.’ (Go Jonny Go Go Go Go). Strange things indeed have been happening during the course of attempting to write up this review, each and every time for no apparent reason after putting it through the spell check, the settings would change, annoyingly refusing to revert to its original type set no matter what I did. Spooky or what? There may of course be a reason behind all this, being a person who has nothing against people dressing up as ghouls and having oh so funny alter egos (we’ve all gone through the whole Cramps / Damned / Misfits thing at least once in our life time), I kinda fear for Zombina and her motley crew because there will be people out there who might pass on this without even hearing a note convinced it’s some old Marilyn Manson tosh (there I’ve said it, he’s not the anti-Christ kids just a very rich bloke playing on your insecurities oh yeah and playing music pretty badly – ((that’ll get the death threats coming thick and fast)) – even by Darkness’ standards…((it’ll be death threats and mildly alarming name calling now))) after going through the grumpy old men thought process that reads as follows: there is a time and place for Ghouls and Goths, sadly that time was 1984 and that place was the Batcave, yet still we are mightily impressed at the sight of people dressed head to toe, in what used to be a small herd of grazing cows, in tarmac melting summertime temperatures, yet please oh please, please, please tell me why the youth of today want to look like the undead, carry up side down crucifixes and get Arabic / Chinese looking tattoos which could possibly translate as ‘I’m a wanker of the highest order’. (Should we carry a few stakes dipped in Holy Water to be on the safe side?). So you can see the dilemma which is a shame because the three tracks on this, the debut Zombina and the Skeletons release, are really quite smart coming across like a hotwired blend of grunge – surf – hot rod which if our ears don’t deceive, the title cut ‘I was a human bomb for the F.B.I.’ is a glorious mismatch of Ramones c. ‘End of the Century’ replete with drop dead groovily carved dumb assed buzz sawing riffs arriving unannounced and uninvited at the night time lair of the Go Go’s who as a result, being really pissed off, trash New York’s finest set with some ballistic 50’s bubblegum wraps and the kind of hip swinging hooks that most bands hang an entire career on. Flip over for the equally rampant get down twisting beach party surf of the overabundant happy pill popping ‘I love rock ‘n’ roll’ which sounds like a trippy take on Shonen Knife drilled with the kookiest of keyboards found outside the 60’s. Ending it all with the frenetic, and it has to be said frankly daft ‘Punk rock vampires: Destroy’ which despite anything you could care to say by way of criticism does have a mean cranked up to full velocity Man…or Astro Man edge to it. Essential stuff then, you bet your sorry arse it is. http://www.gojonnygogogogo.co.uk

Special Needs ‘Francesca’ (Poptones). The third featured release from the Poptones stables and welcome return of Special Needs who had us bopping in the aisles to their debut release ‘Sylvia’ from earlier this year which at the time (and still does) put us in mind of the Modern Lovers meet early Dexy’s meet Housemartins (third mention in one missive…man its getting to be scary now) all congregating together at the local with the inspired idea to kick-start a new 1977 type musical revolution not realising that in fact the 1977 revolution was already under way and kicking up a few heels in some poor soul’s front room in Camden. So it’s back to the drawing board, what about 1978 they all thought. So off they went to do some research returning 6 months later with their brand new 1978 type musical revolution, except what the good people at the public reference hall at the library had failed to tell them was that in 1978 the UK music scene was going through a 50’s obsession that would start with Grease (which to be honest all three tracks here sound like they’ve fallen out off) with John Travolta and the ace Olivia Newton John (Fonz, Darts, Sid ‘Cochran’ Vicious, Matchbox, Shaky, Showaddywaddywaddywaddywaddywaddy and the Clash) and end up high in the stratosphere on top of Stray Cat dude Brian Setzer’s (planning permission applied for) quiff. Hot Dog. Where were we? Oh yes Special Needs new single, three tracks that take you back to a time of flying fins, duck arses, pink ladies, T-Birds, transistors, records that played at 78rpm, drapes (I’m talking a different language aren’t I?) a time when asking for the next dance was just that and not an invitation for a bunk up in the back alley and the days when blokes sported side burns so sharp you could launch rocket ships from. Add to this some neat ‘Leader of the Pack’ moments, plenty of sha la la’s and doo wops, a worrying moment of Flying Pickets scariness (both on ‘the Maddening Glare’) lots of corny bubblegum pop (‘the Winter Gardens’) and what you have is a disc that’ll have your grandparents rocking and rolling around that there settee. The 45th annual 50’s revival starts here and it’s quite cool we’re obliged to add. http://www.poptones.co.uk

Hurricane State ‘The way to a woman’s heart’ (Red Rock). Now for someone who is often corrected on his grammar (these musings are usually written in the dead of night is my defence) I had to double take on the title of this single, spelt incidentally, ‘The way to a womens heart’ as opposed to ‘woman’s heart’, so lads you have my sympathy, not that I’m being a smart arse or anything. ‘The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men’ is the press releases greeting and we couldn’t agree more, Hurricane State are, at least for now, speaking my language. Time again for those hard hats, the same ones you donned for those ball breaking Series 7 releases, because this kids, is scalding stuff. Debut release for both Manchester based band, Hurricane State and newly set up label, Red Rock whose mandate, it appears, is to rid Manchester of the overshadowing and putrefying legacy left by the MADchester / baggy scenes (gets my vote). These two cuts spit with venomous rage, pungent, passionate and towering. ‘The way to a woman’s heart’ is a full on slamming brew of Leatherface at there most lethal found forming an electrifying and volume shattering alliance with a particularly evil version of Ministry all set off superbly by Martin Taylor’s vocals which sound like a positively demonised offspring of Don Van Vliet / Tom Waits and Cathal Coughlan albeit as though they’ve been left to long gargling in a mix of kerosene, broken glass and gravel. Over the flip side there’s an invite to get down and dirty for an oozing dose of decadent sounding 70’s vibed toxic mutant heavy rock blues, as in a brief momentary clearing of the suffocating swampy haze charges ‘Straight to Hell’. A grinding low strung super-fuzzed out bastardised bitch of a tune carved out of flesh and conceived as though from the result of a witching hour summit meeting between rock’s unholy trinity Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Slayer. It don’t get much better than this kids. Essential stuff. http://www.redrocketrecords.tk

The Deadly Snakes ‘I can’t sleep at night’ (In the Red). If there’s any complaint to be had here it’s that we don’t get enough of LA’s premier garage punk label In the Red’s releases and oh yeah, how come we’ve missed out on the Deadly Snakes so far, questions are gonna be asked and the answers better be good or else some one’s in for ear ache. The Deadly Snakes are a six piece from Toronto and judging by this raw as f*** four-track double 7” are probably the hottest thing in the city or for that matter in any city you care to name. Three albums and a plethora of singles under their belt which have annoyingly flown under our attentive radar, The Deadly Snakes are like a more clued up version of the Mummies as though doing the most rough and ready variant possible of the Stones. Over the course of 5 years they’ve honed a potent ragged lo-fi dynamic with a dusty but authentic 60’s sound that, although rooted in that primitive garage punk / beat era (Seeds, Standells, Troggs et al), comes across as a riotous primal brawl that drags subtle strands of Stax and Gospel into its grooves to provide a wig flipping melt down of irresistible face slapping tuneage. ‘I can’t sleep at night’ opens the set, a hip shaking mother of a track that’s a mutant hybrid of the Kinks and the Nomads kicking out a twisted ‘Back from the Grave’ like recipe with the Stones ‘Get off my cloud’ as the keystone to the mix. ‘Shot down’ is drenched in Hammonds aplenty and driven by a seriously meaty bass underpin that welded on to a melody that insidiously burrows holes in your head to strut about until your driven insane, likewise to for the raucous ‘Dirty Boots’ which is blessed with an awesome brass accompaniment. Best of the lot though is the cover of Eddie Floyd’s ‘Big Bird’ so fucking drop dead cool it arrives with its own shades. Forget all the pretenders peddling the Detroit sound while backed by their major labels wallets, this is the real heart and soul deal. http://www.intheredrecords.com

Gangplang ‘Walk the 7”’ (Static Caravan / Fence). It’s the law of averages that dictates that one day those shrewd ears for triffic toons over at Static HQ will come a cropper and actually deliver up an average sounding release for once in order to prove their human after all, yet in the meantime while they keep turning up nuggets like this cute gem they can mockingly sit high above the chasing crowd throwing stones to their hearts content. For those that care this release could be viewed as a match made in heaven featuring as it does Fife’s Fence Collective (whose releases at one time used to litter early Singled Out’s in colourful abundance – sadly not these days, sniff) having a day off and armed with flasks of piping hot tea and cheese and pickle sandwiches getting on board the old charabang for a day out with a view to chewing the fat with the Static Clan of Birmingham. And before you all start saying (with expressions of puzzlement) what?! let me just say that this isn’t as unlikely the alliance it might have been a year or two ago because some of you couldn’t have failed to note a delicate, but all the same, apparent sea change of late in the output of the once welcoming home of frosted leftfield electronics, (Static Caravan) having recently released, both the jaw dropping bone crunching slabs of defiance from Culture Industry and Thread while getting a little decidedly rustic hued with the impeccable Tunng and J Xaverre pressings. This particular release consists of four tracks (in fact two medleys combining two tracks each side) all featuring the erstwhile timeless touch of King Creosote who is helped out on this occasion by HMS Ginafore (Jenny Casino) and Pictish Trail for what is, I suppose, the newly formed Gangplank project. Is it just me or is this getting confusing? Kicking off with the HMS Ginafore / King Creosote head to head on Side 1 which features the haunting wrap of ‘That bus you missed’ and ‘The world this side of Kilconquhar’ which to some of you, may rekindle memories of Space’s wobbly yet ancient sounding ‘Money’ dropped into the unsettling atmospherics of a truly ethereal sounding Portishead and invoking late 60’s memories of Mary Hopkins with glazes of White Town’s ‘Your Woman’ coolly sipping cocktails from art deco designed glasses in the background In the distance the sea shanty melancholia of an Accordion crying in the breeze ala L’Augmentation only for King Creosote to burst in to pull the plug momentarily to tell the dreaming Ms Casino exactly how it is. Flip side has ‘I don’t know where to begin’ and ‘The vice like gist of it’ wallowing together with their supportive arms around each other’s shoulders, with Pictish Trail sounding particularly frail like a shy softly treading pastoral tuned Velvet Underground at the end of their tether sharing a tear stained moment beneath a tree at the rain swept site of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Scarborough Fair’. In similarly touching fashion King Creosote weaves his spectral melancholia, hell if this doesn’t sound like a slightly off centred appreciation of a sentimental and thoughtful Roy Orbison revisiting heartbreak in song being tripped off by the most subtle of drifting rustic psyche then I give up. A timid and timeless treasure and undoubtedly ridiculously limited, to how many, I don’t know but safe to say you need this in your life pretty sharp-ish. http://www.staticcaravan.org or http://www.fencerecords.com

100 bullets back ‘The Lost Souls Club’ (Velocity). Featured only a few missives back when we raved over their current release ‘I know’ which we wholeheartedly recommend, ‘The Lost Souls Club’ is the bands debut single from earlier this year a slightly tampered version of which can be found on the current Smalltown America compilation ‘Public Service Broadcast (Volume 5)’ which we will do our best to track down in the coming weeks. Compared in passing to Franz Ferdinand, though not by me, and while yes there are trace elements granted, it’s a loose and lazy assumption to be drawn into. This debut features two cuts which to these ears reveal a beast of substance in terms of their early musical development especially on the smouldering flip track ‘Violence’ which as the title might suggest, you’d rightly expect fireworks, gnashing guitars and a great deal of ducking behind the sofa to be had, not so. Starting out with a keyboard signature vaguely reminiscent of the opening to Madness’ ‘My Girl’ it soon blossoms into a breathlessly rushing up-tempo though serenely executed slice of twisting pop that you’d more normally expect of Dogs Die in Hot Cars and splintered with moments where they detour briefly in the Pixies mindset to craftily pull out threads of ‘Hey’ from Doolittle. Lead cut ‘The Lost Souls Club’ strangely morphs into two parts, initially opening to recall the elegant haze of Ex Post Facto’s ‘Oceanic Explorer’ before tearing it up as though the kids of C-86 had fallen through the floor into Liverpool c. 1979 to reconstruct those early (and crucial) OMD and Some Detergents releases before growing itself a locked down rugged groove to see themselves through to the end with much gusto. Corking stuff. http://www.100bulletsback.co.uk

Cherubs ‘Hey Bunny’ (Cargo). More of a warning than a review as we don’t exactly know when this baby’s due out as yet but believe you me when it’s out and about you’ll be selling your friends and family to get a quick fix of it. Our copy of the single comes packaged as an un-mastered 5 track album sampler and if we tell you that this is the best thing we’ve heard since Gold Cash Gold’s debut from last year and without doubt just trashes the competition into oblivion then you know exactly from which direction we are coming. Think classic Television, Talking Heads, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Aztec Camera, Josef K, Nightingales, Go Betweens and first album era Smiths gathered together with all their incumbent foibles that made us all love them so much to form a supergroup to end all supergroups. And if you think we are taking the piss with the citing of so many classic bands all under the same roof then blame the screwball antics of the Cherubs, you want wired and angular you got wired and angular (‘Hey Bunny’); you want miserablism you got miserablism (‘Odd Song’); you want spasmodic you got smasmodic (‘9 stars out of ten’); you want C-81 austerity you got C-81 austerity (‘Kiss all morning’). From the minute ‘Hey Bunny’ rears into sight you can’t help but feel being dragged into something scarily special, think Boys Next Door hit by the groove bug, made all the more impressive by the head locking friction resulting from the savagely bastardised mean streak of scar inducing white funk that’s so infectious you can feel the hairs on the back off your neck twisting about to shake their stuff. Intended flip side ‘9 stars out of ten’ is undoubtedly the most frenetic and ostensibly warped realisation of a mindset to be found the wrong side of a mental institution, more splinters than a fence making factory, riffs so sharp they cut though diamonds and a tune so spanking you’ll be sitting gingerly and glowing for weeks to come. Consider yourselves well and truly warned. http://www.cargo.co.uk

The Like ‘Falling Away’ (Falsetto). The first of three featured releases from the Falsetto label sees the debut outing for LA based female trio The Like. Still in high school the story so far goes something like this. As a result of a little string pulling way back in 2001 by their music business fathers (who incidentally comprise of one producer, one A&R and a long serving sticksman for Elvis Costello); and after the release of several acclaimed self financed demos Z, Charlotte and Tennessee have found themselves being adopted by a bustling LA underground scene that includes Maroon 5 (of whom they’ll be touring the UK shortly with), Rooney and the Phantom Planet. ‘Falling Away’ is a smoking slow burner of sly twisting bubblegum pop that’s been ever so slightly wrapped and treated to a subtle glazing of soft 60’s West Coast tasting psychedelia and then left to sunbathe in the Californian heat. Coolly refreshing driving pop that shimmers quietly and unknowingly without you realising the fact that its craftily nibbling under your skin in order to lay lasting traps in your psyche while all the time giving hint at what the Bangles (with a very young Kisten Hersh in tow) might have sounded like if the Pretenders hadn’t gotten there first and if REM and the Flamin’ Groovies had gone to the same school and spent late nights jamming together. Flip over for the far superior ‘Too Late’, a meatier and darker affair that this time incorporates the merest of heart sapping chord cascades to be found caressing within the outer edge folds of what is a longing tragically hurting pop overture of some measure that exits with a stinging aftertaste for a kiss not before being tripped by a delivery you’d swear was a strangely more upbeat Nico. An alluring debut in case you needed to ask. http://www.falsettorecords.com

The green and yellow TV / The Waking Hours ‘Split’ (Falsetto). Second release this missive from Falsetto is a decidedly contrasting though spiffing double feature set. The Waking Hours are another LA based trio (2 guys, one girl) who eke out the most amazingly infectious drip dried sun pop that we have to admit to having heard in too long a time. The two tracks found here happily out on the beach making sand castles, although admittedly ‘1,2, 3’ (with its Ramones Vs Pistols without Lydon three chord 50’s inspired terrace punk pop throb) is more than likely to be kicking them over. ‘Sunshine’ though is so summery it’d be wise to don yourself with some Factor 10 protection, tuned into the happier end of the Brit Pop market it recalls the contagious hooks and smile till it hurts sing-a-long breeze of Dodgy’s ‘Staying out for the Summer’ and the punchy pop ease of ‘Wake Up’ era Boo Radleys. If you like your stuff a little more lysergic and chemically treated LA based The Green and Yellow TV might just fill that aching monochrome void so apparent in today’s pop culture. Sounding like they’ve only just escaped by the skin of their collective teeth from the Beatles psychedelic patchwork (although the catchy off centre wonkiness of ‘Ineffable Blues’ might question that) only to find themselves dropped ominously into day-glo hazed landscapes where they have the Move and Tomorrow for neighbours, ‘That says it all’ is a ear catching slice of rampant hallucinogenic West Coast pop with a liberal sprinkling of part Minders part Apples in Stereo into the e number mind dissolving brew. http://www.falsettorecords.com

Mugstar ‘Flavin Hot Rod’ (Critical Mass). And we here at the Losing Today record shed really like the idea of a flavin’ hot rod whatever it may be. It conjures many possibilities. Do you smoke it, ride it or order from the local pizza delivery service, if you do maybe they’ll deliver it riding one. Who knows, so many questions not enough answers. No sooner do we put down their debut single, the awesome ‘Spotlight over Memphis’ (check out Missive 42, which for fecks sake was last week) and file it away in readiness for the day we can sell it for shed loads of cash to some unsuspecting punter on e**y, the first battalion of the Spacemen 3 (Scouse Division) only go and reel out another brace of head mashing hi-fi melting locked down and heavy bearing galactic grooves that’s sure to lead to a queue of complainants beating a hasty path to the shed door of Losing Today accusing me of having the effrontery to invade their repeatedly shite musical air space. We say more power to your elbow lads. Pressed on red vinyl as if you needed any further prods, these two cuts could be the nearest musical equivalent of a trepanning experiment gone wrong. Last time out these cosmic children, reared on a diet of Sun Ra and Floyd, acquitted themselves superbly in the realms of trigger blazing space rock by running the sword through Hawkwind and this demonic twin-set of charging menace doesn’t disappoint. The same ingredients are all intact, that acute fusion of searing space rock with surf and noise core additives you’ll be glad to hear hasn’t been tampered with, if anything Mugstar have simply raised their game making this a daunting turbo fuelled sonic assault of some measure. Of the two ‘Flavin Hot Rod’ is probably the most punishing, adopting a jagged twanging 60’s Batman-esque motif that’s more commonly found on a Link Wray / Dick Dale / Shadowy Men offering though its short lived finding itself banished deep into the heart of a raging furnace of wig flipping speed licking sonic pyrotechnics that pays lip service and dues aplenty to fellow unsung Scouse sons, the Walking Seeds and all suitably drilled and brought to heel by a vocal that’s obviously been ripped from a primal therapy session of some sort. Flip the disc for more frenetic helpings courtesy of ‘Man with Supersight’ (sounds like an old Hammer Horror or a long lost ATV series from the 60’s) which will have you considering just what if the Vengeance era Cramps had taken their cauldron brew of voodoo / Munsters / garage surf and for once, instead of buying into all that kitsch 50’s gear turned their sights on Neu! Tangerine Dream and Can and nicked their kraut rock templates not before nuking them and branding it for themselves as some sort of mesmeric zombie groove, Mogwai with attitude anyone? Again crucial. http://www.mugstar.com

Telecast ‘The Documenter’ EP (Falsetto). The third and final offering for this particular missive from Falsetto records features this 6-track debut EP from LA based quartet Telecast. More shimmering sun drenched pop that precariously teeters, or so it seems, at the point of impending collapse. Telecast mix a puzzling array of contrasting techniques and dynamics where happy meets sad, sunshine pours out over rain, you get the idea, all dripping with catchy harmonies, tenacious hooks and zig zagging kooky lined 50’s prom night themed riffs. Beneath it all an unusually over saccharine pop core beats of the type that recalls Ben Folds 5 and would easily find willing viewing on easy street early 70’s MOR radio and yet distractively treated to a breezy sprinkling of jagged chords that have been ripped straight from the Elephant 6 Collective via Elf Power and lie somewhere between the seductive drifting of the Raspberries / Box Tops spirit found hovering in the Mayflies (especially on the excellent ‘Modern Rebels’) and a more poppified angulated variant of the very excellent Ambulance LTD. Opening with ‘the Documenter’ a buzz sawing up and at ya slice of soaring New Wave pop replete with Morrissey like vocals and possessing the kind of audacious strut that’d have you believing a classic era ELO had beaten the Ramones to the punch in trade marking the Blitzkreig High School Bop brand. ‘I’m no calculator’ the best track here, begins with the loose, ever so soft waft of the Beach Boys ‘Wouldn’t it be nice’ and then finds the quartet holing themselves up in Brian Wilson’s bedroom refusing to come out until they’ve rifled through his manuscripts in search of lost summertime nuggets and having satisfied themselves that the cookie jars is empty have, undeterred and yet suitably inspired by the occasion dashed off back to the studio to pay their own homage albeit adding the magical twist of Teenage Fanclub to the proceedings, simply delicious stuff. http://www.falsettorecords.com

The Panda Gang ‘Where there’s a will’ (BDI). It’s a fair assumption to say that there’s not another ensemble out there doing quite what trio Panda Gang do, and without any fear of having my head knocked clean off by the act of stretching it so far out on the line I am reliably comforted in being able to remark that these two tracks are the sweetest things you will hear all year. Fact. The Panda Gang live in a different world, a world where the composition is king and the rest of the minor accoutrements such as fashion, genre and hype are revealed for what they really are, fluff passing for substance. Their sound is carved from the same legendary song writing style as befitting the immortal era of Motown, those same timeless melodies that where the sound tracks to many a heart ache or first kiss course throughout the very essence of the Panda Gang. Their ability to tease out the most arresting of soul inspired overtures hasn’t failed to register in some quarters with this singles lead cut. ‘Where there’s a will’, having recently been picked up by Acid Jazz and due to feature very shortly on Volume 18 of their ‘Totally Wired’ series and its easy to see why because this is probably the finest vintage of Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Jackson 5 to be found anywhere happily strutting its stuff under deserted street lights late at night and swimming amid the gentle ripples of smoking late night lounging soul all perfectly trimmed by the drop dead seductive lure of Brent Thornley’s exceptional vocals. ‘Wholeheartedness’ on the flip neatly swings between the caressing after dark sophistication of Edwin Moses and an easy street combination made up of the Pips, the Crusuaders and Chic, really, how you are going to resist this is anybody’s guess. As near to perfection as you’re ever going to be. bdirecordings@hotmail.com

Levelload ‘Palookaville’ (Self Released Demo). Absolutely no information about this lot which is a real shame because this is a killer two track demo that has been rocking our Hi-Fi for a few weeks now and compelled us recently to throw it kicking and screaming into the Losing Today Top 5. ‘Rampaging Electropunk’ yells the front of the CD and my they aren’t kidding. ‘Palookaville’ is a riotous shard-flying bitch of a track, all at once angular, awkward, frenetic and spasmodic it finds itself diving head long into a caustic pool of melting white hot noise borne out of the warring face off between revved up to the point of breakdown wired electronics, grating guitars and the best vocals heard here since Leatherface’s ‘Razor Blades and Aspirin’. A bastard offspring resulting from an unprotected musical gangbang between Sonic Youth, Gun Club, Ministry and the Dead Kennedy’s, comes bouncing out of the speakers like a tamed Atari Teenage Riot though still equipped with more stings than an agitated porcupine. Not a million miles from the sounds that house favourites Girlinky have been providing of late is ‘HND in RNR’. Equally brutal and rampant though this time easing off the hardcore influx and instead tuning itself into a blisteringly infectious early 80’s austere infused slice of dark power punk popping industrial meets new romantic electronica. Think Cabaret Voltaire and Clock DVA pairing up as the architects of some new found desolate art rock revisionist policy and deciding it’s a little to gritty and grim even by their standards and draft in the lead singer of the Mobiles to lighten up the mood. Crunching stuff. http://www.mosaicmusic.at.infoseek.co.jp

Metro Riots ‘And so the tyrants were loose’ EP (Genepool). Literally just arriving through the mailbox is this rucking three-track debut from those dudes at Genepool records who earlier this year delivered the very wonderful debut from Stained Glass Heroes. This time around it’s the turn of the trio Metro Riots to give it their best shot. Cranked up to full velocity these babies could start a fight in an empty room so raw as f*** and gagging to brawl are these cuties, admittedly straying in from the metal end of the garage punk spectrum, the arse whipping ‘R.I.P. Mother’ wastes no time in revealing its traded its soul to 70’s rock blues ala AC / DC and the mighty Zep though here spliced with the mutant grit of early Seattle sounding primal grunge via Green River while ‘Thee Small Faces’ sounds like its been drop kicked straight outta the mid 60’s punk scene replete with razor sharp riffs and a buzzing shakedown appeal that even the Hives would weep in jealous hearing. Of the three though best cut of the set is the wretched though admirably sleazy grind of the fuzzed up oozing glam decadence of ‘Lured into Roulette’ so dirty you’ll need a night under the shower to rid the sensation of your flesh crawling. http://www.genepoolrecords.com

Plastic Toys ‘Let me feel the love’ (Self Released Demo). Sleaziest band in Britain, you decide, what can’t be denied is that image and sound wise Plastic Toys have the ammunition and the required kudos to propel themselves into the major league and heavy rotation on MTV. Dogged by misfortune, in a former life Plastic Toys where known as Karmic Jera winners of Kerrang’s best unsigned band competition, impressed so much the magazine even used one of the bands songs as the theme to their first ever televised award ceremony, an album followed but then recriminations set in amid a year of music industry wrangles and hand cuffs. Now fully recovered from the experience with the scars still showing, KJ’s core members Jon and Mike have recently head hunted bassist Kitty and guitarist Si and drafted in producer Andy Gray (of whom many of you will remember from his scorching transformation of Numan’s heavy heeled industrial sound into something more ethereal and more representative of where he should be today) to oversee the operation. The result is the awesome lipstick smudged ‘Let me feel the love’, a dirty, deviant babe of a record that kicks like a mule and swaggers like a pimp, all at once sexy and sleazy, subtly referencing a more lighter take on NIN and a more grinding variant of the Dandy Warhols yet that said probably owes its dues to a darkly set T-Rex or Sweet because whatever else you might to call it, this cuts a neat hustling fusion between industrial and glam. Our pre release CD features 5 additional cuts from the bands repertoire that includes a slyly primal and strangely funky recalibration of the Peggy Lee’s classic standard ‘Fever’ and the boot shaking ‘Superfreak’ that to these ears sounds like Jesus Jones undergoing meltdown and which may go some way to dispelling any held notions that this lot are purely the property of the metal heads. While lovers of the current 80’s electro scene that buzzing about with the likes of the Koreans and Stained Glass Heroes might to well to check out the Depeche Mode bleakness of ‘Dirty’. For what it’s worth though its ‘Just like you’ that edges the set, replete with kooky keyboards and sneering 80’s electronics, its a sniding up tempo rocker that aches with rampant intent and lust all suitably chilled with a menacing ice cold strutting dynamic that’ll give you whiplash just by being in the same vicinity. A killer debut. http://www.plastictoys.co.uk

My Electric Love Affair ‘As if I get confused’ EP (Self Released). This space cadets is limited to 500 copies only, all pressed on 12” black vinyl and if there’s any justice in the world will fly out of the racks quicker than a bullet from a gun. Now this will probably get me shot and I know for a fact that this is going to the gaff to end all gaffs, but the picture adorning the sleeve, is that a very young Jean Michel Jarre we spy? Okay sleeve review done, nice and easy wasn’t it. This lot you probably won’t be to surprised to hear were recommended to me by Geoff of Static Caravan. My Electric Love Affair are an Edinburgh based quartet though it’s difficult to be certain given their record sleeve / website seems shrouded in the kind of non information as to make early classic New Order / Peter Saville art work look positively abundant in clues. One thing we are certain about though is that like Mugstar, MELA are also fully paid up members of the 1st Battalion of the Spacemen 3 (Scottish Division). ‘As if I get confused’ is cut from the same astral planed meditatively enhanced sonic white noise that Harrison would have achieved if Lennon had allowed him to decorate his sitar with all manner of fuzz and reverb pedals and just go off on one while everyone went for a quick spliff on the roof. Head emptying bleached out mind control is what you get, fans of Boom and Co will not go un-rewarded as this sounds like a fight between Telescopes / Spacemen 3 over whose turn it is to pilot the space buggy though the more attentively tuned among you my suffer flashbacks to a short lived combo from the early 90’s unfairly tarnished with the baggy tag by the name of My Jealous God and whose ‘Everything about you’ this is less than a light star away from. Flip the disc for two more treats from the dark side of your minds eye; ‘Untitled’ (here played at a variety of speeds and all sounding superb) is a slow (again depending on what speed you play it, here done at 33rpm though the 45rpm will mean substituting the words slow moving with cruise control) moving head on collision between (and we kid you not) the Stone Roses ‘Fool’s Gold’ and the latter half of ‘I am the resurrection’ (just after the bit where monkey boy goes home) however not before being dragged through a gritty quarry and forced to smoke a whole bag of skunk. Last call for the space bus is the suitably lysergic ‘Four track demo’ which for those of you like wah wah’s might be inclined to think you’ve dead and gone to effects pedal heaven and which to our utmost delight has a ever so brief moment of harmonica drifting in through the haze of fuzz near the close. The more rugged cut of the three with MELA showing their 70’s prog / psyche teeth, packed to the hilt with dissolving shimmer like riffs its sounds like the themes from ‘OGWT’ and ‘World in Action’ being fed through distortion drive by a particularly chilled out Terry Bickers / Levitation. Deputy Single of the Missive without argument.

Living with Eating Disorders ‘Lullaby’ (Something to listen to). It’s not often you get records popping along with their own emotional baggage and if they do, then not sounding as remotely bruised and hurt to the extent that this trembling beauty does. This is the first release for the newly set up label by world renowned producer John Fryer and features London quartet Living with Eating Disorders who to date have slowly built up a formidable reputation for themselves backed by several self released demos. This EP features six tracks, three of which are the core tracks the other three, remixes of those tracks, that collectively should be the most haunting and yet without doubt the most beautiful you’ll hear all year. Its that starkly contrasting twist upon which LWED seem to teeter upon that alone makes this EP so compelling, charismatic, daunting and textured. LWED occupy a space (in fact it would be truer to say head space at this juncture because there is an air of something truly personalised and private here) that you feel would be beyond most bands abilities or else its a road that many would prefer not to think about let alone travel, the sound-scapes within are pitted with danger / safety; hate / love; turbulence / calm; desire / repulsion; monochrome / colour, for every moment the songs found here hurt then there’s an diametrically opposed response to be found caressing and that’s just the top layer of skin. LWED’s sound is immersed in a shape changing cloak that treads between the extremes of dark electronica, industrial, classic mid 80’s 4AD and the trademark sound of the mid 90’s Bristol scene so that what you have for reference points are Depeche Mode’s ‘Music for the Masses’ and Portishead’s ‘Dummy’ while less obviously that vivid sense of tempered euphoria and awe found on Goldfrapp’s ‘Felt Mountain’ (especially on the milky jazz lounge vibes found warming themselves of the sensual ‘Lullaby’ remix). That said their nearest peers are Curve (no better place is this revealed than on the EP’s centre piece the Garbage – like ‘Horsemilk’ where amid the almost schizoid mind set and brutal industrial squalls there’s a fascinating battle of turbulence and distress under way that culminates it what could pass for as one of those primal therapy outbursts by Yoko Ono). Elsewhere there’s the feeling of being drawn slowly but surely into the passionate world of Andrea’s inner psyche once the opening moments of shy introduction to ‘Lullaby’ have passed, replaced instead by something more fragile, frail, longing yet scared, the doom laden storm gathering dramatics replicated in the sounds pulse ominously as though acting as a warning, atmospherically it passes nods to the more softer and intimate moments found on Gary Numan’s ‘Pure’. A sensual, sinister and above all, devastatingly punishing listening experience. Single of the Missive. http://www.somethingtolistento.com

And before I dash off into the night for a well earned break and by way of a parting shot new that we’ve just taken delivery on the final mixes from Darren Durham for what will be the new FortDax single which now finds itself back in the loving embrace of its spiritual home, Static Caravan. Track listing is not as advertised previously the finalised single now being ‘Horizon Seven Seven’ backed by ‘A Beverley Mythic’ both cuts should be familiar to those who heard his recent Peel session. The release date is tentatively set for November.

So that’s it, many thanks to all those who’ve made these last few missives possible, to many people to name but you know who you are although a special mention to Craig at Cargo and the lads at Probe Records, Liverpool.

As said previously a short break but Singled Out with be back in about two weeks and from therein, weather permitting, on a regular weekly footings.

Anyhow take care of yourselves and have a great time.

May the groove be with you.

Mark
x

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