another missive archive originally posted on http://www.losingtoday.com way back in 2011…..
this ‘in features……
laura j martin, Dangermouse and Daniele Luppi, yann tiersen, et tu bruce, cloudsounds, organic is orgasmic, gary numan, james ferraro, Rolex Zouche, forest fire, paperhead, volcano the bear, matt dibble, the heartstrings, odonis odonis, Michael Garrick, my sad captain, lydmor, mood rings,
‘wired for sound’
Whispers from under the record counter…….
Laura J Martin ‘inside your bones’ (battered ornaments). Those of you with near perfect recent memory recall may remember us falling head over heels for Miss Martin’s (current) outing for Static Caravan (those of you afflicted with temporary amnesia or else weren’t paying attention the first time of asking – tut tut – can swot up now via http://www.losingtoday.com/tales.php?id=372 ) and mentioning that there was an offering via Battered Ornaments doing the rounds. Well a tad delayed it might be but this here dinky 7 inch is that promised ’debut’. magic, mystery and something of the macabre in abundance on what is a limited hand numbered 500 only set, much like the previous ‘kiss by goodnight’ cut Miss Martin weaves an utterly enchanting and bewitching spell craft to the proceedings. For moments throughout I was relocated back to my child hood on hearing ‘inside your bones’ to replaying in my head my mothers surrealist Lear like nursery rhymes albeit here bobbing ominously to a canter brought to vivid melodic realism by a shadow playing darkly unfurling inebriated waltz peeled from a would be eerily magical imaginarium of a Tim Burton freak circus animation silently pulling into town under the cover of a twilight embrace, the hushed timbres, the flute florets, the demurring lackadaisical riff strum and the music box twinkles all blending with alluring fascination to weave a misshapen and oddly desirable enchanted wood carved knot hole of seductive psych folk. Over on the flip you’ll find ‘Spy’ originally on the flip of that aforementioned Static Caravan adventure though here remixed by the Simonsound who to their credit hatch out a simply smoking and seductive snake winding torch jazz motif that’s cast with a sumptuous offset 60’s chic nuance that sits and purrs between the lounge eclecticism of Emperor Penguin and the psyche smoulder glow of the sound carriers. Essential then…..
Staying with the Battered Ornaments / Finders Keepers / twisted nerve family the collective are releasing a series of 10 CD’s over the forthcoming weeks in response to recent matters surrounding the destruction of the Sony / PIAS distribution centre in Enfield last week which as a result the finders keepers crew were the victims of stock loss, friends of the label have rallied in support to compile their favourite moments from the collectives extensive back catalogue. The collection goes by the name ’make do and mend’ – as said 10 cd’s in total released at a rate of two a fortnight available via download or in physical form via the labels online shop or at selected independent outlets – first in the series finds Jarvis Cocker rummaging through the grooves and stylising his stylus to the seductive sounds of Jean Claude Vannier, fusioon, billy green, carol batton, Jane Weaver and Wendy Flower and more. Support your independent label and record retailer. http://www.finderskeepersrecords.com/discog_helpfk001.html
Dangermouse and Daniele Luppi ‘seasons tree’ (EMI). Embarrassing as it may first sound but we must admit that Dangermouse have kind of passed us by, whether it was the press coverage overload, the hype or rather more down to the simple fact we were far too busy listening to other stuff at the time to notice or care there was a cautionary quizzical furrow that appeared across our handsomely maintained brow when this limited 7 inch release was pushed beneath our noses on a recently brief record emporium visit. For a brief second we paused and considered though given the limited amount of new releases on offer in part due to the normal summer season release drought and more worryingly on account of recent events surrounding the demise of the Sony / PIAS warehouse in North London we decided to take a punt on said offering. And glad we did because this is something of a gem, featuring guest vocals by Norah Jones ‘seasons tree’ is deliciously set amid the graceful arcing swoon of smoked and svelte symphonic nocturnal soul clipped sophistication, bit like imagining a candlelit get together of Massive Attack, Musetta and Komeda types chilling to the ambient velour of lounge stoked chic in the company of Mancini, Barry and Bacharach opining on the dansette to the heady tuneful tide of love noted motifs. And while the lead side is all fluffy, demurred and lilting over t’other side lurks ’the rose with the broken neck’ which treks a similar path though this time tainted by a souring bittersweet elegance that again recalls Komeda though this time ensnared by a regretful malaise that’s strangely seduced in all manner of delicately dinked dream woven decorations and equipped with a ghostly head bowed murder ballad like lilt – lyrics by Jack White no less.
Yann Tiersen ‘monument’ (mute). Must admit that on first hearing we were a tad let down on this one leading us to believe that our normally trusted purchase on spec radar had failed us miserably. Yet us being us we’ve persisted and stuck the blighter on the turntable decks for a repeat listen the following morning and to coin lamely a lyric from an old song ’what a difference a day makes’ – perhaps it was fatigue or a day listening to all manner lysergic and kaleidoscopic cuts that marred this limited 7 inch’s affectionate advances upon our retiring defences, though in the light of the morning following the night before it all kinda makes sense for ’monuments’ is possessed of a glassy statuesque grace as though J Xaverre and the Earlies had ventured out into some ice bound wonderland to throw snowballs at each other, should also mention there’s a strangely becoming festively spruced winter long trim to its persona, of course as spectral and dreamy as it might seem its almost apparition like ambient wonderment should see it appealing in the main to admirers of all things Paw Tracks related. Over on the flip side is ’love me’ which I do seem to recall reading in passing is a remix of an original YT cut entitled ’love me (fuck me)’ which first appeared on his ’dust lane’ full length (indeed the info to which I refer is to the rear of the sleeve – for a second I thought I was dreaming this up) – the preferred cut of the brace it has to be said not least because it has this redeeming quality as though an uplifting gospel gathering around a campfire of broken hearted types getting lashed on moonshine and in the process coming out of their bruised shells with a newfound optimistic radiance – is now a good time to mention it sounds not unlike the polyphonic spree or are they still in the naughty cupboard.
Et Tu Bruce ‘this city’ (worldwide). Much adored around these here parts since arriving through the letterbox, Et Tu Bruce are a young bright eyed beat pop combo hailing from London town – well Hanwell is you want specifics – ‘this city’ be their debut offering and a swooning gem it is to packed to the rafters with a delicious sun crusted shimmering cortege of honey glazed harmonies, west coast flurries and cloud parting silken strum seasonings which if I’m honest put us in mind of the Thrills in some love locked embrace with the Mayflies, though scratch a little deeper and this uplifting transistor turning popsicle purrs radiantly to a summer longing echo of post ’Smile’ Beach Boys licks lilting and lulling to the pop perfection of Kevin Tihista and the Summer Hymns whilst blissfully chilling to a lazy eyed glaze of the Raspberries, Gram Parsons and Michael Nesmith. Upon the flipside sits ’never seen you cry’ – a more matured side to their becoming persona and more countrified in delivery featuring some sterling harmonica work and sounding like a less agitated British Sea Power seen here colluding with the Brakes if you ask me.
Gary Numan ‘the fall’ (mortal). Welcomed return to these pages of Mr Numan who surely needs no introduction as apparently he’s the Godfather of everything – cold wave electronica, industrial, emo, goth, road signs, sprouts and pyramids which were you to read Artrocker of late would have you believe he’d built by solitary hand – only joking Art rocker – see I was careful not to mention your assertion that the Numan one had invented NIN and built Pixie Lott from meccano cast offs. A very amicable chap as I can readily testify given he was subjected to one of my rare interrogative interviews (indeed we came pre-packed with our own dentist chair, household drills and a pen to sign autographs and blank cheques) which came at a time when he was still a little suspicious and shouldering the scars of the damning hostile press excesses of the 80’s and no doubt more ill at ease to find said scribe setting up home in his recording shed – I kid you not about the recording shed – an epic interview wherein we ate Numan HQ out of house and home of bacon butties and argued over just what was the best Bowie album – look Numan it was ’low’ okay. End of. Now back sporting a new album in the guise of ’Dead son rising’ and on the eve of a nationwide tour to boot through our mail box drops teaser single ’the fall’ and damn fine it is to with Numan’s ice cold God warring apocalyptic sonic countenance somewhat mellowed and made melodically malleable by a becoming off centred sub funk accent, still darkly brooding and very much mainlining into his ’pure’ and ’jagged halo’ personas with the jarring and thunderous low strung riff incisions still a prime feature of his sound with the author still for all the world coming across like some end of days dust ravaged preacher espousing conscience pricking sermons. Delicate and demurring the amorphous ‘dead sun rising’ over on the flip is the preferred cut tapping dreamily into Numan’s more tenderly scripted song craft. With Numan sounding not unlike some wearisome omnipresent eternal ‘sun’ is much turned and tuned to the same graceful celestial and airy environs as marked out the more emotionally torn and personalised moments found on ’Pure’ though here imbued with a spectral distance and a blameless detachment rarely heard on his recordings since the ‘principle’ / ’telekon’ eras and simultaneously taking up the sound space batten left by the Greyed up mixes of old. All said and with no disrespect meant and only a cautionary note to make its safe to say that Numan is for now comfortable in his newfound safe haven having found an artistic niche so to speak but one wonders whether after sixteen years ploughing the same sonic terrain its time to turn the corner and consider pushing the envelope again.
And many thanks to Brian Bordello for flagging up the fact that a new cut from the bands forthcoming ‘idiot savant’ set is to found gracing the airspace of a previously unknown to us pod cast show by the name of Cloud Sounds the latest episode of which you can hear right this minute should you so please……….okay very funny – of course you want to tune in and hear it and you can by twiddling your mouse / cursor in the general region of http://www.cloudsounds.co.uk/2011/09/11/cloud-sounds-10th-september-2011/ whereupon such delights as the bell poppers (who incidentally on first hearing sound like a twanged out Stairs wearing the Beatles suits and carrying an away day ticket to Hamburg), the travelling band, plank, douga, featured artist Ivan Campo and more will decorate your listening space in blossoming bouquets of arresting honey crusted pop pretties. Anyhow spanking brand new cut from the Bordellos is given its inaugural airing, now I don’t about you but we here are much loving their battered about the edges and shit faced lazy eyed lo-fi psych doodling which unless we are very much mistaken appear evermore to be these days venturing into territories more commonly associated with the likes of Daniel Johnston, Jad Fair and Camper van Beethoven. That said ‘weird k’ sees them hitching up their day-glo dansette to inhale the same smoke tooted upon by guided by voices though repeat plays and the eking out of some deliciously distressed wood burnt alt psych folk accents and the nifty inclusion of breezy harmonicas would suggest a mindset shared with of arrowe hill being closer to the mark. We await more of these rarefied nuggets in due course. And returning to a related note can someone somewhere please get me a contact address / email for the Wolves’ label……
Organic is Orgasmic ‘as we speak of space and wisdom’ (self released). In truth one of the finest releases we’ve heard all year and certainly one of the finest to have come via our earshot since we all inherit the moon – it has admittedly been on constant rotate since being picked up by our listening radar a week or three ago. From what we can gather Organic is Orgasmic appear to be a 9 piece collective based in St Peterburg’s with this their debut full length out now via the flower punk imprint. They loosely describe their sound as experimental cosmic ambient drone with fuzz noise psychedelic additives and in truth their not far wrong for this 7 track opus reveals something of a nocturnally prowling pan galactic primal prog jazz stew which admirers of the likes of Ozric Tentacles, Magic Mushroom Band (especially on the kookily arabesque and sultry mind melting prog psych jam ‘the ghost of Kubla Khan‘ – Enid meets Jah Wobble‘s Invaders of the Heart anyone), Black Star Liner and the Moonflowers should be dropping all and tuning into without a moments haste as should freak emporium consumers who bought into any number of Delirium celebrated ensembles of the 90’s. utilising spacious star hugging overtures and equipping them with murmuring meditative mirages, organic is orgasmic have crafted a truly cerebral affair, sveltely tailored saxophones lilt in harmony with church toned organ intones their union instilling and inscribing a deeply alluring reverence and the kind workmanship classicism afforded to an early 70’s musical landscape surveyed by men in beards and occasionally by some truly out there freak beat moments wherein the occasional spike of primitively grizzled blues blow outs momentarily ripple and disappear. Here the melodies are curvaceous and beset with a familiar retro texture are dimpled with a poise and majesty more becoming of some Floydian flight embarked upon by Amon Dull II or Tangerine Dream – the case borne out by the panoramic opener ‘at the dawn of man’ and ‘lifeless void’ the latter being cajoled and trimmed in all manner of watery shimmers and possessed of a regality and an artistic armoury that tailgates the vapour trails of a beatnik offspring of goblin and White Noise. Venture further into the void and you’ll unearth the snoozing and sighing title track as it casts it sonic net to post rockist pastures as though a lazy eyed and wheezing Billy Mahonie. Applying krautrock principals ’Chinese horoscope’ has a feel of ’scene 30’ Echoboy cosmically cosying up to La Dusseldorf while elsewhere ‘Fuji dance’ as you’d imagine by title alone is sumptuously framed in a heady corkscrewing Oriental motif that for the best part sounds like some dust ravaged Ry Cooder having tuned into a cross wired frequency and absorbed a blended cocktail of Bill Laswell’s head flipped ‘dub chamber’ volumes via ROIR fused with some lost Tibetan tabla crafted by Edward Ka Spell. Particular favourite for us though all said is the elephantine ’nostromo’ – absolutely off its chops – framed in pseudo post punk motifs and melting melodies that exert a controlled discordance that’s metered out by a squirreling sax solo losing itself in a haze of fried trip wiring antics brought to bear by the unhinged revelry of descending melodic spirals that blur with freakish delight to dissolve dreamlike to cause wormholes in your minds eye. File under absolutely something else. http://organicisorgasmic.bandcamp.com/
James Ferraro ‘excerpts from Condo Pets’ (hippos in tanks). Now I’ll openly put my hand up to admitting that our radar has been somewhat pointing in the wrong direction when it appears that James Ferraro has been around, accompanying press and various critiques have suggested an artist literally reshaping the boundaries of pop and sound itself whilst similarly possessed of an impish streak to confound, confuse and cajole all whilst forevermore continually pushing the envelope. A new album is the offing via latest label luvvies hippos in tanks entitled ’far side virtual’ for which by way of a teaser the release of the ’condo pets’ hit’s the cyber community. The EP comprised of seven workouts and is described in passing as Ferraro’s symphonic take on the 21st C’s embrace of fusion and consumption. Two tracks have been made available for listening delight via the soundcloud platform – ‘eco-tot’ and ‘text bubbles’. the former a tripping treat that goes someway to updating Raymond Scott’s ‘soothing sounds’ trilogy whilst dragging it out of the nursery and into the lounge for some seriously kooky and wonkily warped 70’s styled kiddie TV show theme tune recycling, all dinky, disarming and as daft as several Hatters at Hatters are mad as hell ball, squeaking toys, party whistles as though a studio head off between J Xaverre and early career Go Team and the type of thing you’d well imagine the Superimposers to turn out where they ever found locked in toy r’ us for a night and on rooting around the storeroom discovered a lost stash of analogue kiddie keyboards. As to the latter well in short relieving itself in the same sonic pool recently frequented by Dieter Moebius though here seasoned, trimmed and framed by all manner of Studio 54 drapery and kitted out in a velour more in common with something heading out of the LOAF / Lo recordings stables. Incurably infectious all said.
You know how we here are always looking out for things with a weirdness bent – so its with thanks to those folk at Second Layer records who redirected our radar tuning towards NTS live a radio station doing the strangest things to headspaces and listening enjoyment not least Rolex Zouche – which I’m assuming is not the name he was blessed with at birth – whose show is described in passing thus ‘lonely goofball in the basement vibe – dream psyche – primitive / naïve zones – off the radar outsider out there jams’ – couldn’t put it better myself – all mind morphing meditative mirages and melodic mosaics – this show features zonked out trip tooting tunes from the likes of Ashra, JD Emmanuel and Matrix Metals. While your there also hook up to Wayne Poole’s night moves transmission which seems to include several kitchen sinks and various kitchenware appliances in what can only be described as a clearly head flipped 60 minute set that covers everything from Beefheart boog-a-loo’s, sharp suited mod pop, psych twang, doom warping skin crawling overtures from the beyond, star watching ambience and more besides – and was that Serafina Steer we heard piping through the ether? Anyhow its all via http://ntslive.co.uk/?author=107
Talking of things all out there and tripping……
The Paperhead ’focus in on….the looking glass’ (TIM). This came highly recommended by those dudes at Probe, apparently this little limited gem is far more zonked out than the bands official self titled debut full length via the same imprint earlier this year which alas was out of stock so we’ll have to take their word for it. ’focus in on….’ is an ultra limited 500 only numbered ’bootleg’ vinyl repress (on grey-ish blue wax to boot) of a (100 only) cassette the band put out last year via infinity cat at a time when they traded by the name the looking glass. Absolute must have listening apparel for all those who love their sounds stoned and stewed in all manner of reverse loops, phased freak outs, psyched out mind warping mirages and sitars a go go.
Starts out with the stoned out wasted lysergic trip wired ‘rounding out’ – that has you imagining a totally chilled Love high and loved up freebasing on a mercurial moonshine cocktail of freaky Beatles-esque day-glo aftershocks spiked by a barbed Brainticket kaleidoscopic karma which in turn dissipates and morphs into ‘yellow book’ where the ensuing paisley purred prettiness wanders lost in the fuzzy folds of an Apples in Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel summit meeting replete with acid tab drenched woozy organs a trick replicated on the cool as cool lysergic strut of the Floyd-y ’in a living swing’. then its off for a spot of transistor friendly lemon popsicle kookiness courtesy of ’dear Mr Vacant’ with its snazzy hip hugging hooks before blurring in to the main event with a head tripping hyper galactic drive to the dark side of Barrett’s mind for the psychosis psyche of the mind morphing ‘symon’s monthly meteorological magazine’ which finds the star glazed spectacle of a UFO era Floyd in a tripped out jam juggernaut with the Doors and the Grateful Dead and venturing out the exit sounding like a spiked ‘bad orb’ era Walking Seeds leaving the dust kicking airy fairy prairie lilt of ‘carousel’ turns matters on the head and voyaging a ‘gigglegoo’ era Freed Unit kookified simplicity.
This particular edition as said features all the cuts that arrived via the aforementioned cassette with the addition of a side full of tracks recorded during the same sessions though left last minute unloved on the cutting room floor all of which you‘ll find occupying the groove space of side 2. An altogether more experimental and woozy side to the Paperhead artistic persona with ‘haze’ in particular sounding like one of those old school metal oxide cassettes having been re-recorded over with the ghostly residue of earlier recordings peaking through the crackle as though its two separate songs in some calamitous head swirled fusion. Elsewhere ‘evergreen tangerine’ is a slice of hotly baked lazy eyed and drifting prairie blues while the scene stealing 13 minute opus ‘the Cayote’ is a mind fried meditative trip to the beyond and far again recalling both the Doors and the ‘Dead though here lost in a arid dust fuelled Tibetan head trip of beatnik gorged wasted freakish tripped out drug addled grooves whilst ending the set ‘greeting hare’ is lushly serviced with a hazily glazed Beatles-esque pastiche that sees them dreamily abandoned in the lysergic lilts of a clearly mind mushrooming landscape one suspects redecorated by a seriously out there Olivia Tremor Control and shoehorned by all manner of wispy flute florets and zonked out kiss the sky motifs. Too damn essential listening apparel for its own good.
Not quite done yet for this is The Paperhead’s self titled ‘official’ debut outing which comes replete with lyric insert sheet and download codes for all you non turntable owning heathens in which case while we are talking loosely of wax attractions this beauty it should be said arrives finding itself pressed up on a rather nifty shade of purple plastic. As with the previously mentioned ‘looking glass’ set this curio sounds like some recently unearthed lost artefact from another age, the sounds here mainlining to a hazily glazed out of focus and seriously wasted psych drone dialect that purrs to an almost lackadaisical sereneness. Hard to imagine then that these dudes are a trio of 18 years from Nashville who between them have harvested the kind of authentic late 60’s sonic tongue that ridicules and makes mockery of many bands dubiously hailed elsewhere suckling the same scene for hipster kudos. That said whatever this lot are smoking I want given their want for freebasing on a heady cocktail of time tunnelled tuneage informed by a quintessential English eccentricity culled from a myriad of influences stretching from the Beatles (especially on ‘come again? with its Revolver-esque motifs while ‘do you ever think of me?’ opts for a spot of Rubber Soul revisiting)/ Floyd to Kember / Freed Unit and all between. For here you’ll find the Barrett inspired cosmic lysergia of ‘can’t keep my eyes open’ dream weaved within a gorgeously dizzy day-glo dimpling of paisley pop perkiness and mind mushrooming locked grooved star gouged Meek mirages spiked upon big bearded beatnik stone space struts. Shoehorn onto this palette the happening reality dislocating lysergic shape cutting ’back to those days’ with its fuzzed out garage grooved kaleidoscopia whilst those among you much admiring of sitar drenched trance tripping ought to proceed at your earliest convenience to ‘excerpt from Simon’s 1’ where a gathering of Sunburned Hand of Man types sit cross legged around the ceremonial campfire getting high. Somewhere else there’s a welcome re-appearance of the sleepy headed prairie opine of ‘evergreen tangerine’ (which initially finding its way on the bands ‘looking glass’ outing) while opening salvo ‘let me know’ is a Monkees meets Lemon Pipers pristinely turned pure popsicle couched within a deliciously fringe parting dust riddled and corkscrewed psyche mantra that inhales the opiate fuzziness of Cheval Sombre before fracturing and loosening itself of its moorings to reset its cosmic dials and set off on a Peter Green-esque journey embarking on some clearly bonged out third eye traversing astral incline. Much in common with the aforementioned ‘looking glass’ set side 2 is where things gets fractured, frazzled and somewhat weirdly woozy, aside the obvious addition of slyly crafted Beatles-esque ingredients (‘do you ever think of me?‘ and ‘come again?‘) there’s the backward looping strangeness of ’easy living’ which had us in mind of a youthful Of Arrowe Hill all said, the mind morphing sub spaceman 3 beatnik blues freak out ’excerpts from Simon’s 2’, the fog bound drone doodling of ’wisdom’ whilst the parting tranquilised tailoring of ’he’s mirrored’ returns the headspace safely back to reality. To re-trim and rephrase a populist 60’s idiom an album to drop by, turn up and tune out to. Via trouble in mind records – http://www.troubleinmindrecs.com
Been way too long for our liking since we featured anything by volcano the bear so as you can imagine we were quick off the blocks with curious anticipation when the offer of a sneak listen to their take on Ultravox’s ‘Vienna’ was passed beneath our noses via a recent mail shot of VTB happenings. Now I must admit that in recent days we have seen fit to revisit the Vox’s Midge Ure headed debut full length platter, a forgotten nugget all said comprised of gems aplenty – ’Mr X‘, ’Western Promise‘, ’thin wall’ and ’astradyne’ to name just half the set. Those long familiar with all things Volcano the Bear might well imagine their particular version (incidentally initially appearing on a WMFU benefit CD) to be somewhat mired in all manner of block disassembling weirdness – not so – for this stark re-visualising retake of the Vox’s most epic moment is graced by something that you’d been forgiven for imagining was the result of Messrs Cross, Currie (and) Cann (indeed I agree there’s a joke to be had there) hastily scrabbling up Foxx path begging him to come back having witnessed Ure’s art deco sculptured tache and sideburns during auditions. Now this being the Volcano’s you always expect the impish curveball to be thrown in just when you expectantly least expect it but in truth it never really happens – okay there’s the vocalised hisses and pops replicating the locomotive signatures and the obvious lack of a Roland CR-78 to hand and the merest fact that the swooning string symphonies that arced arrestingly on the original are here replaced by the wintry hue of brassy treatments but asides that its oddly faithful to the script yet that said where the original was cast in a crushed noir traced lushness VTB re-upholster things with a deathly detached and sombrely fractured melancholy that mirrors the clinical ice cold shiver of an Ultravox Mk 1 relocated amid Bowie’s Berlin trilogy. http://volcanothebear.bandcamp.com/album/miscellany – more Bear frolics can be found via footage culled from their recent Fusion appearance – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ry3cTfhlEkk which by the looks of things involves drain rods – look don’t ask just watch. Very strange and amusing.
Forest Fire ‘staring at the X’ (fat cat). It marks the creative astuteness and dare we say confident swagger of a band comfortable in their own skin pleasing themselves without a care or thought for media opinion or acceptance when bang in the middle of a records running order they seemingly turn everything on its head and momentarily shed their skin to aurally freebase on a spot of subtronic studio 54 mooching by way of the albums darkly seductive centrepiece ’they pray execution style’ – its demurring subterranic psychotropic disco detachment is PIL’s ’metal box’ gone Chic commando on a sparse and sensually slinky detox of proto post punk NY club floor minimalism and mutant Moroder manifestations.
‘staring at the X’ is without doubt the coolest thing we’ve possibly heard all year, its trace Velveteen elements only serve to mask its scarred and forlorn beauty, in truth one of the best things we’ve heard in yonks, this NYC / Brooklyn ( incidentally the best thing from that particular musical quarter since the onset of the Werewolves’ ‘pill box’ from their ‘ES’ debut for BNS sessions a year or three ago – whatever happened to both label and band we oft wonder) based beat grooving combo have already had many a swooning following the quiet release of their ‘survival’ debut full length of a year or so ago – which incidentally is due for re-release by fat cat next year.
Now there may well be some among you who will be all too aware of our affection for the Crimea’s ‘secrets of the witching hour’ – it is and still is in our humbled opinion one of the best releases to hit the decks post 2000, that said there’s something about the wares deep rooted amid the Forest Fire’s second full length that suggests a similarly tempered mindset at work in so far as that sense of being unfettered by the fates and pitfalls of idle generic boxing – best evidenced on the dandified demur of ‘the news’ as it strays into glam rock environs – less Max Factor and satin in outlook and more detailed with that retro eye for the re-visualising of the golden age of rock n’ roll as reframing the Mott amid a hail of sneers and lip curls.
On first hearing ‘Staring at the X’ sounds not unlike some long lost teen rocker from the 50’s golden age returned from some cosmically exiled road trip steeling upon a sonic template charmed with a futuristic retake of a by gone bubblegum pop era immersed by an all too apparent austere chill and withdrawing coming down weariness (the countrified slow to unfurl opine of the introspective ‘staring at the x‘ and the soft sway and sigh of the shouldering embrace of ’Mtns are Mtns’) – in short imagine a cosmically upgraded Flaming Stars subtly frisked by feedback, static reverb, twangs and a melodic wherewithal that finds them fearlessly patching and soldering together essences of shimmer toned torched blues scalps and lip curling glam sneers (none more so is this the case than on the frost bound ice cooled funk svelteness of the slinky ‘future shadows‘). But then on repeat listens and the scratching of the surface reveal a revelation unfolding, a revelation that appears to flit and hop to touch base with elements and echoes of all the keynote releases occupying the shelf space of any record buying fan insistent they have their finger on the coolish cult pulse with each track cutting deeply with a mercurial resonance dispatched by a quietly anthemic and touching outsider looking in forlorn isolationist mournfulness that’s best served by the emotionally raw end game ‘visions in plastic‘.
Add to the mix the wiry and whirring flat lining corkscrew motifs of opening ambit ’born into’ which comes across like a super calibrated fusion of a slick neo new wave post everything bleak beauty as envisaged by a cross matching of Television and Sonic Youth DNA’s while elsewhere there‘s the hollowed and stricken down cast bleached and blemished glam blues of ‘blank appeal’ that finds Vince Taylor crawling into the skin of some hybrid Alvin Stardust (I kid you not) / Marc Bolan persona and flanked by some gloriously epic and bedraggled Ronson-esque squalls and you have yourself an album tender, torn and trembling in its own unique space.
Matt Dibble ’daytime TV’ (gongo). There’s an incurably inviting warmth that pervades throughout the very spine of this genteel wonder that is ‘daytime TV’ that may well strike a chord among admirers of Oddfellows Casino (’we are kings‘ providing the sets best example traced as it is by a hollowed reflective beauty and tempered by a blossoming floral classicism that treads a magical path oft visited by the OC one on his criminally overlooked ‘yellow-bellied wonderland‘ debut for pickled egg whilst similarly courting svelte like aural wanderings of an ‘Andromeda heights‘ era McAloon). The tones both casual and breezy are clipped with a purring soul jazz pop purity and a finite prowess that sees it scampering about ricocheting to a early 70’s styled MOR modus whilst simultaneously couched in a radiant easy pop mastery that the more exquisitely engaged mining for melody enthusiasts out there may well be advised to root out their beloved BDI nee Panda Gang releases of old for comparison.
Of course Dibble is a stranger to these parts, several albums under his belt and a wealth of musical education has honed and sharpened his ear for the catchy and the satisfying. Applied by way of delicately toned brushstrokes Dibble charms and turns a sound (that’s not intended to be disparaging) that’s cultured, turned and tuned for a daytime Radio 2 listening soiree that skirts delicately around worlds occupied by Friedman, Gold and Clifford T Ward and broadens his viewfinding spectrum to mix up the moods.
Here you’ll find the odd smattering of honeyed harmonies amid a palette peppered by array of easy on the ear delights unto which the 60’s scatty beat jazz friskiness of the sets seeming sore thumb ‘yeah yeah yeah’ finds itself rubbing shoulders and sharing floor space with the funky loose limbed ‘get on’ which in truth breezes in like a youthful Ben Folds 5 while references for the aforementioned Prefab Sprout main man rear again into view on the stricken spectral sophistication of ’ballad for no one’ – further along buried and tucked deep into the grooves there’s the gorgeous meander and canter of the gently beset to a spring set romanticised pastorally tweaked hymnal hush of ‘chorus unplayed’ replete with Vernon Elliott like wind chiming noodles while the seductively shy eyed and forlorn parting of the ways ‘miles to go’ casts an eye upon the considerable sound canon of Mike Post to usher in something momentarily awash in wintry hues and pause for thought introspection. Aside all that lest we not forget lead out title track single ’daytime tv’ which effervescently tootles along disarming defences of all who hear with its overtly cheery exterior while best moment of the set by our reckoning is the hurting love note ’I tell myself’ which once passed of its opening ghostly apparition like shimmer crushes and caresses with the kind of emotional stripping artistry of the Heartstrings in full flight. Nuff said really.
Seamless link time….
The Heartstrings ‘the five minute wonder boy’ (grandpa stan). I’m suspecting there’s a new album by this lot kicking about in record world though alas information is – shall we say – a little scatty – rest assured a message has been jettisoned through the cyber cosmos and we await explanations as to why – if there is a said disc in orbit – the blighter isn’t on our record decks causing outbreaks of swooning fits. Anyhow enough of that – we eyed this cute little cut on a random search fumble – ‘the five minute wonder boy’ is a typically tasty morsel parading to a procession of tripping and skipping beats to which front up a kind of neon trimmed soft neo psych pulsar odyssey of sorts that’s caught swirling through the celestial voids piping a triumphant love note of the type that makes you feel all warm, fuzzy and glowing as it embarks of a lunar voyage sprinkled in all manner of chiming charm corteges and full on chilled out bliss kissed follies – just between you a me it may well be the illegitimate love child of an Earlies / Animal Collective bunk up but keep it under your cosmic hat. http://soundcloud.com/grandpastan/the-five-minute-wonder-boy-by-the-heart-strings/
Trust us to open our big mouths because no sooner do we file away the Forest Fire cd ‘staring at the X’ remaking that its one of the best things to drop out of the Fat Cat HQ in ages then along arrives the debuting long playing platter from Odonis Odonis to trump it and take up residence in our undying affections. Of course keen eyed spotters will be alerted to the fact that we mentioned this lot in passing when they appeared on our radar sharing wax space with the Lotus Plaza via Fat Cat’s new all singing and dancing imprint Palmist (whose first three releases we are having a miserable time trying to nail down as our own – hint, hint, hint – lazy bastards and those suffering acute memory lapses may care to retrace your steps back to http://www.losingtoday.com/tales.php?id=373). ‘Hollandaze’ is the title of this frankly killer snarling brute – made up of 11 cuts selected by an all accounts from a stack of approximately 40 odd demos that Dean Tzenos knocked out in a productively creative 18 month period. Catering for all Tzenos and Co run the gamut of primitive beat groove boogaloo and riff rupturing dream drizzled shoe gaze and all between taking times out to nibble at the tried and tested back catalogues of the Pixies, JMC, John Moore and MBV from the minute the Dick Dale grizzled reverb rumble that introduces the opening title track fires its way to life then your off being dragged kicking and screaming into a one stop primal pic n’ mix spitting all manner of bad to the bone nuggets nurtured groove with this particularly piston pumping bad boy hitting the tarmac to a blistering psycho-billy squall which all said sounding about right given that for the best part this set sounds like it was reared in a basement shared by an IRS era Cramps and the Meteors and left suckling on lost 50’s swamp dragged scraps. Those ever found lying awake at night troubled by gnawing pangs of how the Pixies might have sounded had they been hybridised by the slick sickness of Gallon Drunk will do well to check out ‘busted lip’ while ghostly manifestations of a youthful Ariel Pink rear their dysfunctional head on star gazed strut seizured howl of ‘blood feast’ albeit not before having been given a heavenly flat top by the Church. Space cadets among you are advised to pitch your radars skywards for the vapour trailing effervescence trailing of the fuzz trimmed pointed shoe gazey ‘seed gazer’ while the lysergically swirled ‘new world’ has a more than noticeable whiff of the Mac less ‘reverberation’ era Bunnymen ear gear about its wares. Somewhere else there’s some nifty Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet needlework etched into the core of ’handle bars’ while the Doors-ian key toned ‘we are the left overs’ is clipped with the kind of fringe messing wooziness and hollowed garage psyche shimmer that suggests it has more than enough shade adorned kudo trading smarties about it as to have the Horrors glowing luminous green with envy while ‘ledged lip’ has a proto post punk needling Magazine chinning Love thing gloing on between its groove space whilst hints per the press release of a less feedback / distortion obsessed second full length in the offing are much evidenced and hinted by the parting ‘tick tock’ which if our ears don’t deceive ought to serve as entry point for admirers of the criminally neglected Mirror Mirror. Essential but then I guess you gathered that for yourselves.
There’s a new trunk release in the offing which we’ll try and nail for review in a later batch of missives whenever they’ll be or more is the point if there be – anyhow this comes straight from the Trunk press release…….’Called Rising Stars, it features Shake Keane, Michael Garrick and the Hastings Girl Choir. Yummy. It moves delightfully from exotic, spooky loveliness to early bossa nova and has quite a moody sort of modal thing going on as well. The recordings were taken from a rare EP called Case Of Jazz and a peculiar acetate found in Michael Garrick’s cupboard. The recordings date from 1964, as do many other things in Mr Garrick’s cupboard‘.
As usual should you so wish to have one – and I’m thinking that you do then address your enquiries to the usual trunk portal which you can find by going somewhere near http://www.trunkrecords.com
My sad captains ‘orienteers’ (stolen). Another band who’ve been away from our turntable a little longer than we’d care to like, seems that instead of hibernating or seeking fortune and infamy on celebrity shows – like most – these chaps have been quietly cobbling together and putting the finishing touches on their soon to be released second full length entitled ’fight less, win more’ which all things being fine and dandy is scheduled for record counter action early November via Stolen. Produced by Elliott Smith and Stephen Malkmus collaborator Larry Crane the album will arrive specially packaged as a limited to just 300 copies hand silk screened edition. But enough of that – for kicking around in cyberspace right now is a sneak peak free to download cut off the album accompanied by one of those moving picture show type things – video that’s the bunny and not a praxinoscope as one wit suggested. Swiftly back to ‘orienteers’ by application of the chat less write more modus this cutie is something of a tranquil little treasure, casually lazy eyed and set to a pulsing block beat pattern that’s framed by an ambling corkscrewing bass line and the purring hush of thoughtfully murmured vocals that until the passing of the 3 minute mark seems content to mooch about it in a lights out moon lit reflection until that is all the attending wisps navigate to a central point join up and from the initial sparse mainframe something quietly irresistible assumes definition to blossom into view in a Dark Captain Light Captain meets Working for a nuclear free city type way.
Mood rings ‘promise me eternity’ (double phantom). ’no information alas on this lot except to say they are nerds – and before you all start writing in to complain (yeah right that’ll be a laugh because a- no bugger knows we exist, b – if they do they avoid us like the plague and c – we’d no doubt ignore your email, delete you and put an extra lock on our web door as a result of mistaking you for a cyber stalker) that’s what it says on the press release (in fact I’d go so far to say they obsess about the fact). Apparently pressed up on a dandy 7 inch – we have the download though will have the 7 inch soon because there’s a helpful note at the foot of the press email saying if we want the seven inch all we need do is ask – so we do and we have and we are now waiting by the mail box in anticipation having prepared enough sandwiches to last several weeks as we hole ourselves up in the hall awaiting delivery from the post man, Dylan the cat is meanwhile outside in the cold as an added incentive to prick the guilt button. You can tell its late at night and I’m tired can’t you. Anyway back to Mood Rings, we’re assuming that ’promise me eternity’ is the bands debut single – a bit of an uplifting corker which radiates amid a curiously attractive jangle happy c-86 shimmer and yearnful Moz like vocal which admittedly took two listens before we nailed the shy eyed Another Sunny Day meets the Orchids tug yet scratch a little deeper and beneath the old skool twee like affection there’s a becoming hollowing crystalline beauty that subtly undercuts throughout to suggest someone in the ranks has been stocking up on a cocktail of daintees, china crisis and lotus eaters records whilst spending tear stained rain swept afternoons watching old 60’s Brit pop kitchen sink flicks. ’exorcised painting’ .features on the flip and just edges matters in the affection stakes mainly due to the fact that there’s a faintly detectable frosted paisley pop glow to this nugget albeit buried deep beneath oodles of honey glazed harmonies and baroque pop pouts with the only complaint to be had being its so brief it could count as an apparition. More where that come from please. http://doublephantom.com/
Lydmor ‘electric mistress’ – this came via an unsolicited email from someone by the name of Isabelle the contents of which tickled us a little bit – is Danish radio really that bad then and described in such graphic language I should say – still thank yourself for small mercy’s at least you don’t have to contest with kiddie pop jingle jarring Radio 1 a station which we’ve wired up all our radio receiving appliances in such a way that its banned in our gaff. Anyhow Isabelle appears suitably smitten enough about Lydmor to drop us a line advising us to check out ‘electric mistress’ – and blimey she’s right. Lydmor is better known to close friends as Jenny Rossander who based in Copenhagen has been described in passing as a cross between Agnes Obel, Fallulah and Regina Spektor which in truth is a fairly good call, that said though with its seductive chill woven dub tronic grooves and its subtly playful ice sculptured Oriental motifs (in truth not so dissimilar to the Knife’s ‘heartbeats’) not to mention its dimpled fashioning of the kind of minimalist electro vibe much adored by those esteemed tastemakers over at the Weird imprint we’d hazard a guess that this little gem may well cause the pulses of Fever Ray and Bats for Lashes to quicken. However get onto her face book page check out the info section wherein you’ll find tucked at the bottom a 4 track player featuring the equally cute ’young’ and ’paired up couples’ though by my reckoning best of the set is the parting ’habit of mine’ which unless our ears do deceive sees her freewheeling a darkly brooding archaic folk axis exacting .a kind of softly turbulent beauty to which fans of Anna Calvi and Lauera J Martin will do well to seek out. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lydmor/117954458231343?sk=app_178091127385
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By the way another missive shortly…….
Take care of yourselves,