finally part of the extended archive missive 259….from 2010……
first aid kit, peggy sue, jimi Hendrix, tender trap, pipettes, the kabeedies, bardo pond, duke Garwood, ryan driver, pulled apart by horses, aquaserge, the scratch, buck brothers, erland and the carnival, yellow moon band, inch time, rubicks, the blanche Hudson weekend, the bad apples, high places, umbrella in the rain, noise park activities, the gaa gaas, marshmallow staircase, the chemistry set, Campbell stokes sunshine recorder, the luck of eden hall, robedoor, sightings, lost idol, space weather sounds, zun zun egui, jedethan, machinefabriek, Eric Chenaux , Andromeda mega express, guy hamper trio, quatershade, French for cartridge, bdi’s, extreme of, Pamela Wyn Shannon , the Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree, man from another place, get drunk and play records, haunted shack, beat the radar, shindig, Daniel land and the modern painters, wye oak, sone institute, olof arnalds, little philistines, mr cloudy, gradient, allo darling, halves, karl brummer, seahawks, shady bard, black tzar, adam and sarah, Hannah peel, the fades, the hush now, yellow6, the European, das wanderlust, pains at being pure at heart, pacific, lord skywave, broken bones, bad guys, animal collective, mixtapes and cellmates, her name is calla, Jedethan Vs. Crossing the Rubicon, kurran and the wolf, black September, three mile pilot, velvet underground
First Aid Kit / Peggy Sue ‘split’ (Wichita). Limited split release pairing together label mates First Aid Kit and Peggy Sue – the latter of whom I swear we’ve mentioned here in previous despatches. First Aid Kit offer up the sweetly affectionately breathless and breezy ‘josefin’ – a beautifully sparse sweetie that tingles with a smoked porch sat warmth that’s beset beautifully by a disarming spectral timelessness more becoming of a recently unearthed sepia cast 50’s countrified cutie that’s been dressed in a faintly folk ghost light to bring with it a dimpling of yearning promise. Flip over for the aforementioned Peggy Sue who for their part stump up the rather delightful ’I read it in the paper’ – more exquisitely bathed unerring pop that’s peppered with the silken braid of casual strums that sumptuously replicate the sound of a ticking clock, add in some wind blown brass arrangements and the rain swept dusting of 60’s noir treatments and you have yourself something that teeters between the dots that link together the Siddeleys and L’augmentation. Not content with stopping just there Peggy Sue have entered into the spirit of record store day by making available to download what was originally conceived as an ultra limited hand made cassette featuring an assortment of rare cuts, early recordings and a live take of their next single ‘watchman’ – go to http://soundcloud.com/brilliantlydifferent/sets/peggy-sue-abodyofwork
And while we’re here the video to ’watchman’ goes a lot like this…..
Jimi Hendrix ‘valleys of Neptune’ (sony). As you’re probably no doubt aware there’s been something of a stir and cause for celebration among the Hendrix loving community with the news of a wealth of unreleased material, out takes and lost edits having resurfaced through the meticulous tidying up of the Hendrix estate. The task falling to Hendrix’s step sister Janie has hinted at the possibility of more recordings to come not before however the release of the ’valleys of Neptune’ (featuring 12 tracks and an hours worth of previously unavailable material) set along with a re-mastered and polishing of the three original Hendrix / Experience studio sets. Released as part of record day and strictly limited to just 1000 numbered copies all pressed on red vinyl the title track from that aforementioned set gets an airing backed by an alternate take of ‘cat talking to me’. its been forty years since Hendrix passed away, a guitarist of such unique discipline and artistry – he has never been surpassed in terms of his ability to be at one with the guitar, within years of early support slots with the Floyd, Amen Corner and the Move the Experience were pushing their bliss kissed psyche blues freak outs into un-chartered territories and with it shifting the rock pop landscape at a head dizzying pace, into new found worlds of possibilities and experimentation they ventured and in so doing opened up the channels to what would become heavy rock / metal. Before his untimely death Hendrix had hinted often at his desire to craft a new sound form fusing elements of jazz, funk and his love of the blues. Alas these recordings don’t really push the envelope, archivists and completists will salivate of course yet those coming to Hendrix first hand may well be advised to check the studio albums before proceeding on. The recordings date from ‘69 the last working sessions of the Experience before their disbandment, ‘valleys of Neptune’ is typically grooved in Hendrix’s trademark acid tipped fringe flicking hypnotic blues funk stew – both slick and sensual and just the perfect soundtrack for getting wasted to. Over on the flip an instrumental take of ‘cat talking to me’ offers another slice of smoking beatnik blues boogie grizzled and growling in all manner of sun kissed trip wiring mantras.
Tender trap ‘girls with guns’ (fortuna pop). Swelled by the addition to ranks of Allo Darlin’s Liz Morris on fuzzy guitar and Kat Dixon on stand up drums this catchy and caustic cutie is a turntable turning taster for what will be the bands third full length – entitled ’dansette, dansette’ – due for record counter action sometime in July. Pierced with that nagging trademark pristine pop parlance forged from years crafted marshalling the indie pop high waters of the 80’s and 90’s ’girls with guns’ is a rollicking sub 2.30 rollercoaster ride that sways, shimmers and struts between the 60’s shade wearing day-glow twists of the Primitives and the bracing bubblegum breeziness of the latest psych pop pups the Blanche Hudson Weekend, add to this some pulse racing honey tipped riffola of a ‘meat is murder’ era Johnny Marr and the smoking barrel ricocheting echo of subtle lip curling countrified 50’s flicks and flashes and you have yourself a rather dandy twang thrilled splash of uber cool pop perfection. http://www.fortunapop.com
Pipettes ‘stop the music’ (fortuna pop). Good to see productive pop perfectionist Martin Rushent applying his admirable craft to this the new ditty (or four) from the ever lovable Pipettes, don’t know about you but it seems like an absolute age since the name Rushent adorned the jacket of record delighting the dansette at the dimly tho’ demurring dancehall decorated losing today pop pad (cue complaints aplenty from seething souls with lists as long as long things detailing Rushent’s perpetual productive power play over the days young things with guitars and toons). Heralding the arrival of an album shortly due to orbit ‘earth vs. the pipettes’ – ’stop the music’ marks a glitzy new direction for fortuna pop’s finest, seductively awash in all manner of Chic-esque floor fluttering fancies and clipped with a Studio 54 finesse enhanced and calibrated within an 80’s dance orientated dynamic all underpinned by a grinding chart bound appeal that shimmies and swoons in the kind of populace loving pop fixated silkiness more associated with the likes of Sophie Ellis Bextor et al. elsewhere the same track is given something of a mood mellowed lights dimmed temperature lowered suaveness at the hands of a rather demurring Kompakt remix. Its space pop to go for ‘so I’ll say goodbye’ which you’ll find doing the flip side honours – a freefalling buzzy fuzzy slice of saccharine dipped bubblegum electro pop that morphs together the Buggles, Dollar and Hazel O’Connor – then there’s ’who made you doctor?’ another string adorned seventies sugar tipped salvo equipped with a kind of full on pop productive disco soul prowess of ABC’s ’beauty stab’ albeit as though tinkered by Baccara. Add in the curvaceous 80’s cosmic catwalk pop thrill of ’our love was saved by spacemen’ and you have yourself a one stop disco party pack. http://www.fortunapop.com
The Kabeedies ‘jitter bug’ (nr one). Ripped from their media praised debut full length ‘rumpus’ of which this is and a fair old one at that and treated to some rather testy and testy re-tuning – ’jitterbug’ is re-drilled into a frenzied panic stricken and rollicking radio rogering roller coaster of some note, hoisted upon a blazoning bed of abruptly punctuated seizure stammering saluting strums and wildly precocious fanfares crested by a heart stopping surge of stirring siege racked string arrangements that’s topped off with the usual inclusion of shouty vocals and impatiently corkscrewing time signatures which in turn give it the appearance and appeal of a ticking bomb aural action painting carried aloft over the hill by an advancing cavalry – or something to that effect. Over on the flip to acoustic re-treads ’petroleum jelly’ and ’we make our own adventures’ – the former given a dinky summer breezed wayfaring aspect probably best served listening from beneath the shade of a tree while watching the world sail by into the distance with the latter laced with all manner of erratic rousing terrace touting kooky calibrations that at one time used to be the remit of the so called shambling bands of the mid 80’s – bogshed, stump – aw you know the type. Don’t you just love ‘em. http://www.nrone.co.uk
Another Record Day exclusive this time from Fire records is a tape (housed in mock matchbox sleeving replete with download code for the heathens among you so quick to trade in your tape playing hi-fi’s in favour of modern ways) only effort bringing together 6 tracks from an enviable host of weird and wired psychotropic talent. Here you’ll be wigged out to the out there and frankly out of it wasted and warped sub psych hippy-esque scowling bleached blues mantra of the can do no wrong Bardo Pond who for their part stump up ’fixed’ – a kind of shit faced and gone Sonic Youth. Jackie o motherfucker by turns deliver up ’amazing grace (dub version)’ though wherein hell the dub part of the equation comes into being is anyone’s guess – a seriously barking slice of fried, grimy and grimly rain swept Albert Ayler nodding mooching noir gnawed smoking sax. Equally edgy and ominous is Duke Garwood’s ’panther’ – Garwood first came to pop prominence at the tale end of the 80’s appearing on the Orb’s ‘perpetual dawn’ – these days culturing an art weathered in timeless primordial instruction with this particular sounding more like its been excavated rather than crafted draped as it is in a seriously pre civilisation rub of Tibetan transcendentalism. As brief as it there’s an unerring faded supernatural beauty to the feint spell craft that Josephine Foster weaves on the porch sat apparition that is ’touch lightly nature’s sweet guitar’ – dimpled with the most delicate of rustic detail and whispering from a world long past, like a fleeting moment of déjà vu or a rekindled memory courted momentarily by a smell, a sound or an occasion its gone leaving you all the more deflated by its absence. Harvesting the rich embers of faraway translucence so quaintly portrayed the Wicker Man soundtrack whilst similarly casting a detached air once frequently summoned by a certain Nick Drake there’s something vaguely broken, skewed and innocent about ’they still don’t know why we sleep’ by Ryan Driver as he threatens on more occasions than I care to count to impishly lose his wheels and come perilously unstuck on the tracks. Last up Matthew Sawyer and the Ghosts who on ‘she, the farrey tree’ does a remarkable take on Robyn Hitchcock albeit as though the occasion had arose wherein the former Soft Boy decided to turn his gaze to the kind of shanty shaded sorties more expected of Tom Waits – that said it would also appeal now I come to think of it to fans of June Panic. Good then, eh?
Pulled Apart by Horses ’live at Leeds’ (Transgressive). Limited 500 only official bootleg type thing housed in a stamped card jacket that harks back to the who’s legendary set of the same name. originally issued on record store day wherein brisk business was being made on it at a certain record store in Kingston who shall remain nameless. Er yeah we’ll leave it there for now. Anyhow Pulled Apart by Horses are the kind of band whose name – were we say a score of so years younger – we’d happily have tattooed on our left tit and would no doubt follow with stalker .like intent the length of the breadth of this fair nation and beyond to witness live. Man are they are fucking chaotic, no scratch that shambolic, nah try again – how about dysfunctional – ay that’ll be the bunny – chaotically dysfunctional and shambolic – and unruly – so that’s chaotically unruly n’ dysfunctional and shambolic – and just a tad mental. Young folk of today – eh – bless ‘em. 8 tracks and plenty of between song in band banter and baiting feature on this live set recorded for posterity at the Packhorse in Leeds on an evening early March this year – the 7th to be precise. No doubting these kids have been long subscribers of Peel trading tapes c. late 80’s and early 90’s – hell we can hear Stump, Mudhoney (as on the misfitting skewed and schizoid sear of ‘meat balloon‘), Sink and the Pixies (the later noted especially on the blistering opener ‘high five’ which teeters between falling apart in some demented stupor or else attempting to split your cranium wide open – whilst sounding not unlike Sonic Youth doing their own faithful take on the Fall) spewing forth from the grooves thick and fast and that’s just for starters, sounds like their having way too much fun for our liking curdling a brazen brew that checks in (and out with much head swerving verve) elements of slacker, grunge and razor sharp ramshackle punk – Jeez do they make a fair old racket – the pixies – damn we’ve mentioned them already haven’t we – are well starred on the ‘Doolittle’ like dementia of ’yeah buddy!’ elsewhere there’s carnage, slavish riffage and go mental pogo discordance and waywardness aplenty shrink wrapped and flame thrown with much gusto to be had here the best moment being left till last with the appearance of the scathing and frenzied bad assed hairy boogie that is ’I punched a lion in the throat’. http://www.transgressive.co.uk
The Scratch ‘x-ray eyes’ (pony land). Frankly too cool for their own good. Much loved and obsessed at the losing today record shed are the Scratch that we actually foolishly forgot to actually review this blighter given we were having so much of a wheeze dancing around the kitchen CD player and neatly exhibiting our prowling and preening panache of the foot shuffle to all and sundry – in fact there have been press reports and we hear – much hoo-ha at the hastily convened impromptu ad hoc midnight committee meetings at the funny hand shakes are us local council (tabled no doubt after the under dimmed lights submission of expense receipts and some nifty double entry reconciliations). Ah well I digress – the Scratch – from St Albans – as you should all know – have graced these pages much over the years – informed by a late 70’s new wave long since passed and blessed with a knowing knack for kicking out day-glow dinked three minute killer cuts en masse the band have now retrained their sights on their recorded past and decided to polish, re-master and re-release their teasingly limited debut full length ’diy’ (streuth and gadzooks even we don’t have a copy of that one – a pox upon your houses sire or some such foolish nonsense). as a taster for said event they sent out this nifty number entitled ‘x-ray eyes’ on a reconnaissance mission. Ah be it the dog bollocks I say – originally commented upon way back at missive 35 wherein we described said funky bug as –
‘X-Ray eyes’ sees them cocking a snook at the dance floor crowd, an unrelenting beauty that channels the grittier elements of the Gang of Four’s trademark grind and marries it to the dub / disco crossover that Strummer and Co aimed for on the often overlooked ‘Sandinista’ throw in for good measure Big Audio Dynamite, a taster of Pigbag a few sly Ry Cooder sliding hooks and you have something of a dirty disco assassin that Bobby Gillespie you’d imagine would be happy to be caught in the line of fire of.’
Wise words and still they hold true given its exactly the same track on the player right now playing as I write (okay copy n’ paste) mind you we neglected to mention the seriously loose limbed and mooching R L Burnside blues blissed side winds and the tightly drilled cornucopia of hot n’ horny early 80’s NY dance floor vibe – oh yea and add in A Certain Ratio factor to proceedings. Limited to just 100 copies – can I have one please. http://www.myspace.com/ponylandrecords
A video of them….
Aquaserge ‘….present Ce Tres Cher Serge’ (manimal). If like me you’re one of those types who when faced with reviews or press releases that mention the dreaded word ‘unclassifiable’ are forced to pack bags and head to the hills rather than hold an enquiry after foolishly partaking of said releases in the hope of finding some musical holy grail only to kick yourself for wasting the best part of an hour of your life then you may be forgiven a wide berth the width of a small ocean when it comes to records bearing the name Aquaserge. I mention this because its nigh on impossible to find a review of Aquaserge that doesn’t at some point take the cursing ’unclassifiable’ tag in its wordy stride. A spot of dedicated background research did in fact have us worrying – nay fretting – nay resolute – to the belief that this wasn’t going to be anything less than disappointing. Even the mere fact that it features members of Stereolab and a guest appearance by Acid Mother main man Kawabata Makoto couldn’t shake us of our mildly alarmed indifference. Ah well bang it on we thought and bang it on we did. And do you know what – it is unclassifiable, even in an age where musical extremes are constantly pushed with questions asked of a listeners tolerance and understanding, ’c’est tres cher serge’ the latest opus from these French psychonauts still sounds like some rule book ripping pill popped psyche jazz flashback seeking to blur the lines and craft out a species of sound so molten and malleable that even as it cools its still unstable and shifting direction. A mind tripped mirage of late 60’s and early 70’s references – that in terms of modern day nods perhaps only Dungen perhaps veers ever so slightly to maintain any notional common ground. It really is a hot setting tumble dryer of cross wiring markers, disjointed, deranged and defiantly somewhere else far off the populace preferring pop map. Book ended by the sedate entrée / exit passages ’la genese’ and ’retrouvailles’ – the eight suites packed between are delivered with a fried n’ flipped panache, skewed ad hoc time signatures create a fluid freeform core that constantly shifts in form as though someone is at your feet impatiently yanking a rug from beneath you, one minute there’s the post punk earth beat of ’errance’ itself soon braided by an array of mooching brass punctuations and a want for fracturing prog disciplines that in turn cook up an exotic brew that by turns seems to touch base with Cluster, Supersister, Quickspace and mid career Stereolab , elsewhere the frayed and skewed jazz signatures and post / art rock intricacy of ’un soir de tempate’ could easily be three separate cuts in one such is its erratic knack for skin shedding. Those loving of their sounds drizzled in kraut groove may do well to visit ’ce cher serge est perdu’ wherein you’re treated to momentary glimpses of the kind of grizzled and wasted bliss fuelled vietcom psych so admirably forged by the Black Angels. Fellow countrymen La STpo are recalled on the frankly wigged out ’on monde englouti’ while ’tombe dans la selve’ has the kind of wiring psych prog complexity you imagine being instigated by VdGg albeit as though re-wired by a ’SF Sorrow’ era Pretty Things or better still a seriously wired Pink Fairies. Then there’s the hyper galactic space tripped juggernaut that is ’les algues’ – a control panel jamming voyage into the oblivion – a psychotropic and mind expanding slab of wig flipped howling skree and grizzled beatnik blues – much we suspect perfect for you Mugstar loving types. And then – calm. Tranquillity. Peace. As though a storm has passed the mellowed ’vers le neant’ emerges – a beautifully wistful slice of wood crafted Oriental tinged folk that trips ever so softly into a curious Ghost meets Le Mans dreaminess persued by the unsettling atmospherically wide screened noir scarred ’visions’ a kind of ice tingled solemnly stirring Grails meets Komeda overseen by Oddfellows Casino. Which leaves the effervescent radiant rush of the sun drenched lysergic thrill of ’retrouvailles’ to wrap up proceedings in a most breathless way applying as it does all manner of bright eyed and optimistically upbeat harmonic la la’s a la Cockney Rebel with a healthy side serving of Small Faces and Kinks and oodles of Stereolab like bracing bachelor pad bubblegum pop. ’ce tres cher serge’ is classily unclassifiable. http://manimalvinyl.tumblr.com/
Buck Brothers ‘pop muzik’ (back2forward). Much loved around these parts and a much welcomed return to these pages are the Buck Brothers, this particular cut culled from their current ’we are merely filters’ full length whose absence from our turntable and grasping hands I should add at this juncture has been the cause for much weeping and uttering of ill deeds in our gaff so much so that dark ponderous clouds have been seen residing sky bound above our neighbourhood. Mind you just between us that’s the volcanic dust clouds but hey nothing like creating a little atmosphere and sense of occasion to the proceedings – kind of reinforces matters – that said we could have refrained from wasting everyone’s time by getting to the point with a curt ’where’s me record ya bastards?’ which now I come to think of it is probably more effective. Where is me record then ya bastards. There its out of my system. Anyhow this cut is a sneak teaser for an album which is already out and no doubt being played to death on turntables up and down the length and breadth of this fine nation by the tuned in youth of the day – all except that is – ours. Harumph. A cover of M’s global smash hit from that golden year of 1979 no less here dinked, dusted and given a fair old rakish re-spray by the Buck dudes, its all typically insane melodic mayhem, deliciously goofy with the original template pummelled with a power shocked terrace chanting two chord punk throb that’s insistent, loud, shouty, snotty and which if your grasping for reference markers sounds like a drunken studio gathering of Dickies, the Damned and Spizz Energi types. Infectiously insane stuff.
Okay plenty of Static Caravan related goodies to mention…first up something of a very limited treat…
Erland and the Carnival ’sirens’ (private press). Now here’s a strictly limited oddity and one for the collectors out there. Apparently there are only 100 of these babes kicking around, which if you discount my copy – now leaves you 99 to fight over. Word has it that a friend of the Static brothers pressed this up so I’m guessing that should you so wish to get your mits on one of these that your first port of call might be a nicely worded begging letter to Static Caravan. So what is it you may well ask. Well it’s a one sided 7 inch featuring current darlings of the musical press Erland and the Carnival – these days plying their trade with Full Time Hobby – sound tracking Dizzee Rascals ‘sirens’ and quite frankly upping the ante to boiling point and giving it a considerable sense of urgency replacing the originals tripping and somewhat lackadaisical trip hop beats with a searing shot of floor rumbling punk pressed panic so that the end result approaches something akin to the walls closing in in a cutely claustrophobic, caustic and damn well contagious type way.
Yellow Moon Band ‘barehed’ (static caravan). Ready for some bearded beatnik boogie – of course y’are – again another ultra limited slab of grizzled wax on this occasion coloured yellow all housed in specially crafted Ben Javens jackets and boasting two nuggets of head nodding primal prog psych blues from those much celebrated and dandy dudes Yellow Moon Band. Brief as it may be – clocking in at approximately 90 seconds in length -‘barehed’ is a 70’s echo traversing through the ether, a corking slab of wasted groove that’s rooted to the spot by some nifty corkscrewing riffage shot through with moments of animated wig flipped hi-jinx which to these ears sounds not unlike a primitive old skool jam between Avenging Force, Mugstar and Mountain. Classy then I’m sure you’ll agree. Flip over for ’reign’ for a much needed shot of proto kraut grind that courts to its matrix a trip wiring post rock noodling that’s sumptuously wrapped in a lazy eyed bliss kissed swathing of 70’s accents and mellowed by a sun kissed countrified breeze – again the reference markers dutifully indicate a smattering of Mountain admirers in the YMB camp albeit on this occasion with the resulting brew heavily dosed up with some fringe flicking Snares and Kites styled groove. Essential in case you hadn’t already gathered for yourselves. http://www.staticcaravan.org
And here’s a little moving picture thing to accompany it….
Yellow Moon Band “Barehed” from Ewan Jones Morris on Vimeo.
Inch Time ‘a handful of dub’ (static caravan). We must admit to being at a slight disadvantage with this one given we haven’t had the pleasure of hearing the original mixes which as it happens you can en joy to your hearts content by tracking down the limited to 500 only ‘Aurora’ 12 inch – same artist same label which alas we are at present trying to source – mentions in later dispatches are guaranteed. This particular is a dub dipped recalibration of that set with re-drills being exquisitely equipped by a hand picked invitation only gathering of kindred aural alchemists. Again housed in the usual eye catching Static Caravan packaging of which inside the hand numbered (100 in total – ours in case your keeping tabs being #10) seven inch bag you’ll find an original Roy Anada print, a badge, a fridge magnet and a six track cassette collecting together an assortment of well heeled and rewired interpretations of material found on the ‘Aurora’ set. As to the sounds – impeccably carved sonic dream weaves sculptured in sensual serene skins of mind morphing mirages, the mood one of smoothed the effect – chilled and blissed out. ‘Aurora’ opens the proceedings – here reconfigured as the ‘summer dub’ at the hands of its author Stefan Panczak and given a misty eyed and trippy cosmic cruising hypnotic hyper gliding chassis to which admirers of Biosphere would be minded to consult. He also applies his retuning skills to ‘suspension’ – its layer by layer application of cosy cosmic tonalities endow it with a strangely playful cast not unlike a nuzzling nocturnal suite clipped to the flip side of an early Pram release. Shoeb Ahmad applies a more considered approach to his take on ‘suspended’ – lovingly smothered as it is in a bruised shell smothered by a luxurious though spectrally tipped glassy shimmer toned glacial drone. Radovan Scasascia adopts a similarly detached tone for his AM/PM Dub drill of ‘a handful of dust’ with the oscillating opines drawing him ever close to the suspense shrilled sensations one time courted by both Budd and Mancini. Those loving their ambience bathed in forlorn panoramic swathes of celestial caresses will be suitably seduced by the ‘crystal visions’ mix of ‘1000 lights in the sky’ by Lawrence English while for us it’s the welcomed return to our decks of Paul Gough AKA Pimmon whose reworking of ‘suspended’ perhaps achieves the desired disciplinary effect of the sets remit by woozily concocting a dreamy collage of mesmerising transcendental treatments, reverberating echoes and spacey loops into one humungous terra-forming soup. Tasty. http://www.staticcaravan.org
Classic Rock #June 2010 – latest issue has just bounded through our door strutting its stuff accompanied by the obligatory writers choice cuts packed CD and a huge double sided poster – one side depicting a repro of the ‘monsters of rock’ ad from 1981. This particular issue is billed ‘the rock n’ roll survivors’ special – UK Subs main man Charlie Harper heads up a list of death defying dandies – the list including such notables as Frankie Miller, Mike Monroe, Tony McPhee, Steve Adler and Johnny Winter – elderly statesmen Keith Richards and Charlie Watts are also invited along for the ride to discuss the making of the Stones legendary though at the time derided ’Exile of Main St’ just ahead of its expanded and re-mastered deluxe re-issue next month. Nick Cave is the focus of this months ’how to buy’ – the list including to oft overlooked ’junkyard’ by the birthday party a release that still some three decades on sounds deliciously threatening, shambolic, deranged and evil. Rick wakeman is relieved of his caped crusader exploits only to be recalled from being bound in a flight barred blighty airport and occupying the ’ever meet Hendrix’ chair. Elsewhere Status Quo-er Francis Rossi hogs the end credits and faces the unmerciful dread of the CR Q’n’A while Wilko Johnson recalls his one time sparring partner Lee Brilleaux. Buried treasure courts and queues the Incredible Hogs one and only full length from ’73 plus bits and bobs from Andrew WK, Marseille, Coheed and Cumbria et al.
Rubicks ‘giddy up’ (sharp attack). Are these the same cute pups who used to at one time ride roughshod across these very pages having us all a swoon with each defence disarming drilled dansette despatch. My haven’t they blossomed. Somewhere along the line there’s been a debut platter and the occasional stage sharing support slots with such esteemed electro heavyweights as – the strangely absent from our radar of late – White Rose Movement, John Foxx and Gary Numan. Already selected to head up the Valentino fashion houses current campaign, ’giddy up’ serves as an early warning call for their as yet untitled and impending second full length due to hit the racks in the summer. A glorious electro / death disco / cold wave hybrid that joins the dots between Landscape, the Knife and Cobra Killer to craft something that’s all at once dark, dirty and demurring not to mention sinister, sleazy and sexy, its core a tingling ticking bomb of the tense and tender, clock working chills endow an edginess rooted in a fragmented framing of unravelling psychosis pierced by an anxious panic shrilled cloying claustrophobic persona. Over on the flip an extended mix of ’blackout’ – best described as one of those slow to grow babes – which for the best part of its 8 minute duration mooches about very much cast in the kind of clipped dance orientated pseudo funk glow that graced the 12 inch mixes of most mid 80’s wannabes and here I’m thinking Thompson Twins and Heaven 17 albeit immersed in the kind of stateside sheen grafted by Arthur Baker on to the hides of New Order and Cabaret Voltaire – that said just when you are beginning to think where the hell is this going and the blighter rewires itself after a momentary false ending at 4.30 to incorporate a very noticeable late 60’s hymnally hued psychotropic kraut prog thread.
The Blanche Hudson Weekend ‘the rats in the cellar’ EP (odd box). More sun kissed bliss blown tangy tastiness from the much loved the Blanche Hudson Weekend. This three track fuzz strewn nugget is the second outing for ex Manhattan Suicide-rs Caroline and Darren and friends who it must be said have an unerring knack for turning out shades adorning Velveteen buzz pop like no ones business, both ’grip of fear’ and ’sharks’ are tuned and turned from the castings left by fringe flopped JMC treats of years gone by, each sweetly dappled and drizzled into the uber cooled aura of the Shangri-La’s and informed by a soft psych trimming with the former applied by a Pastels braiding and liberally cultured in all manner of shimmering buzz pop eruptions while the latter longingly trades with a restrained wooziness pierced by a reflective rainy afternoon casing. That said ultimately for us it’s the flip cut ’only snow’ that had our heads a turning and our heart a skipping a beat as its sumptuously connects and traverses plains more commonly frequented by the annoyingly absent from our turntable of late – Insect Guide, everything about this babe from it softly unwinding purr, its layer by layer shift in depth and dimension to its soft hazily glazed psych tinkering accentuated by the murmuring howl of arabesque squalls serving as a lysergic back lining mark this out as a classic in waiting – so any questions then from the back. No – then buy the bugger a quick about it. Oh yeah its on red vinyl as if you needed further prods of encouragement. http://www.oddboxrecords.com
Those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of the Insect Guide – they go a lot like this….
http://www.myspace.com/thebadapplesuk – okay the name Grimsby mightn’t roll off the rock n’ roll tongue with much the same seduction as say Memphis Tennessee, Detroit or Sutton Coldfield – but one suspects that while local hop misfits reside there it’s a case of give it time. Admittedly we spied this lot on the old my space thingamajig – something we admit to neglecting of late – fear not you’ll be inundated with ear candy concocting dandies in days to come. It was The Bad Apples graphics that caught our eye initially – a b-movie kitsch appeal and knowing Kozik flavouring. Upon the player some firm favourites from a misbegotten youth the Purple Gang’s ’granny takers a trrp’ here treated to a roving hillbilly honky tonk hue which quite frankly sounds more shambolically daft than the original, a sterling n’ smoking rock-a-billy version of ’16 tonnes’ a song covered by everyone and his / her dog including Frankie Laine and Johnny Cash, a blazing take of the Seeds ’strychnine’ and a Jefferson Airplane styled 60’s psyche soul re-wire of Depeche Mode’s ’personal jesus’ which frankly needs to be heard to be believed. The band headed up by Keeley Deville describe their ’shocking’ sound as ’cowpunk trash‘a’billy’ and hey who are we to argue especially when they cutely cook up the twang tastic ’attack of the surfin zombies’ – (sure this isn’t a cover – Ed-) which to us sounds like a 50’s sci-fi summit gathering together members of the Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, the Ventures, Dick Dale and Man or Astro Man. Oh yea they do a pretty nifty cover of the Cramps ’thee most exalted potentate of love’ which you can see on this here video thing….
High Places ‘can’t feel nothing’ (thrill jockey). Hailing from LA, High Places are duo Mary and Robert who just about now should be glowing in praise directed at their second full length ’high places vs. mankind’ which alas the cute cuts that appear here do not feature. I think I’m right in saying that this 4 track release is I believe – you’ll have to bear with me because the press release has gone west – pressed up on 12 inches of wax and culls together both the original mixes to ’can’t feel nothing’ and ’I was born’ along with two re-wirings of the same cuts. Dreamy stuff indeed, the glacial tonalities of ’can’t feel nothing’ are loosely threaded with an noir tipped atmospheric brush stroke and draped with a subtle sophistication once applied to releases bearing the 4ad imprint, reference wise think of a slightly less bruised this mortal coil flirting with portishead. ’I was born’ is sparser still, shuffling beats ether strained serenades arcing angelic vocals give this a sense of reverential majesty that’s momentary dappled and dimpled mid way through by a brief early Eurythmics meets Cocteaus iciness. As to the brace of HP mixes – the duo apply their dub-tronic skills to proceedings, admittedly the recalibration is left wanting on ’I was born’ though that said there are some lulling moments of orbiting arabesque mirages to contend and delight you though it’s the refit worked on ’can’t feel nothing’ that works best – completely rephrasing the original and crafting a new individualist hybrid offspring to boot, the bpm racked up, hypnotically looping drone sheen swathes and skipping beats which should see it being something of a choice cut of the more demurring dance floors.
http://www.myspace.com/noiseparkactivities – I have this deep rooted suspicion that over time this little imprint could well be a regular fixture in these pages. Ah well so much for the kiss of death. We did forewarn you about these dudes at the start of the week promising to mention them in greater detail later that day only to – in typically lame fashion – forget. Noise Park Activities reside in Austria – they describe themselves as a ‘nice place for DIY releases, zines, comic and other cool hand made stuff’ – and really who are we to argue that – boasting a roster made up of some 30 plus releases (we want them all) that come in all manner of shapes and sizes from cd’s, cassettes, customised credit card cd‘s, comics and patches and all replete with hand drawn inserts in ridiculously limited quantities and featuring names known and some unknown such as Endometrium Cuntplow, Apes fight Back, Grim Kirby, they all had tentacles and sloppy seconds – to name just a few. Ostensibly catering for the more considered and out there loving sounds music fan – Noise Park Activities deal in the abstract, the surreal, the noisy and the experimental – from power electronics to doom drone all bases are covered. On their my space player a smattering of aural delights await your discerning ear – here you’ll find the demented and deranged New Jersey sonic terrorists they all had tentacles menacing all and sundry with their mental as fuck Jap dipped grind core. Elsewhere there’s the bpm pummelling and kooky blip core spazz electro grind of the playfully caustic Les Trucks while Neon Navajo stump up a nifty line in scalding Atari Teenage Riot dementia and P.U.T. stoke up and grim apocalyptic post everything landscape blistered by a 70 Gwen Party like aura. Then there’s Fucking werewolf asso’s with their crooked shouty schizoid casio toned day-glow punk pop with melted cassettes blitzing everything in sight with their nagging skree scowled carnage which should go some way to appeasing those of you missing Tayside Mental Health. All said those of you loving of the cutely curvaceous retro cosmic interludes that at one time graced in abundance the work of Stereolab may well be advised to fall head long into the dream-weaving spacious soup being cooked up by Umbrellas in the Rain while we here are thinking the A Beautiful Lotus’ grimly bleak and blistered panoramic meltdown portraits may well be worth hooking up to for further listening appreciation.
http://www.myspace.com/thegaagaas – haul your hides over to the Gaa Gaa’s page for a sneak peak of what these imps have been cooking up in the studio – an un-mastered version of ‘hypnotized’ is what’s on offer – don’t know about you but it sounds like its been time tunnelled from a Peel play list tape c.1981 towing with it an austere post punk rapture of Section 25, Scars, PIL and Artery types.
Various ‘a phase we’re going through’ (fruits de mer). Of course you want this, you desire it, you need it – who wouldn’t – the first fully fledged full length from those freakish freak beat loving folks at fruit de mer, pressed up on vinyl, limited to just 500 copies and containing a cornucopia of cherry picked psychedelic seasoning of lost, legendary or just bloody mindedly lysergic nuggets from the 60’s all housed in a ’psyched out’ sleeve. If that doesn’t get the mystical third eye wobbling weirdly woozy then you’re reading the wrong page. Of course we did mention this in previous dispatches when we waxed words of worldly fondness upon the latest Vibravoid release – same label, different record. And then we lost the blighter in the haphazard and shambolic cd pile we laughingly refer to as a filing system. Utter hopeless. A concerted and hastily gathered search and rescue mission was in place before you could scream in a dark place ’spam fritters I’d die for’ before being momentarily paused to ask you to consider whether or not screaming in a dark place ’spam fitters I’d die for’ is the kind of thing normal folk do. Much rummaging was done this fateful day – no hedgerow remained undisturbed, no cushion upturned and no freezer shelf un-inspected – indeed these cd’s get everywhere. After much upturning, disturbing and inspecting said disc was found in the dreaded potting shed – a place so scary and terrible that the local council approved coven have been known to weep in fear of the horrors inside. And there inside behind the mouldy green door with creaks for added atmosphere was the errant CD – sitting amid the mass of dismembered and cannibalised mower parts and assorted lime green paint tins smoking strange herbal ingredients one whiff of which had us a flying across the mythical cosmos of the inner minds eye – mind you it could have been the skateboard that some whit had left right by the door which at a dizzying pace transported us from point A to point B in an eye blink. As we blinked from beneath the carnage of one time cupboards, cardboard boxes and various assorted DIY tools we spied another thought lost to the great CD pile release – Fruits de Mer / Bracken Xmas cassette from last year. With rapier like briskness and ninja like deftness we prized both from their slumber and galloped across the undulating greenery (that’ll be overgrown weed riddled rain lashed garden to you) and banged the blighters on the hi-fi. ’a phase we’re going through’ is a 11 track hallucinogenic gathering of floppy fringed shade wearing cosmic beatnik type souls set the task of covering a psychotropic parade of paisley preened ptalent from the psixties. Some names you’ll know from these pages – geese, chemistry set and cranium pie others you won’t but should and will – zombies of the stratosphere, the luck of eden hall and the marshmallow staircase to name but three. The album – a tribute to the psych art of phasing – which to confused consumers like what me and you are is that pedal effect treatment that makes guitars go weewoowee or something to that effect. Anyhow enough dithering onward to the psounds inside. The chemistry set open up proceedings with a nifty rephrasing of Del Shannon’s much overlooked ’silver birch’ – a solemnly ghostly tale of a jilted brides fate culled from his ’the further adventures of Charles Westover’ set from ’67 – tucked between the subtle strains of Love in their ’alone again or’ mode, the Chemistry ones weave a beautifully string soured dust drenched wind swept Spaghetti western flavoured flower pop epic presaged by swathes of tear stained drama dipped in woozy folds of mind altering aural additives and serviced with a tender timeless wood-crafted aura that was once found branded upon releases bearing the name Soft Hearted Scientists. Tangy sherbet buzz pop is the order of the day from Permanent Clear Light who fall headlong into the Who’s ’in the city’ and re-wire it with an attractively sun kissed pickled paisley persona replete with arabesque accents. Much loved in these pages Geese set their controls for the heart of Floyd’s ’point me at the sky’ – no mean feat it should be said in trying to improve on the already perfect but the Geese chaps acquit themselves admirably calibrating the original template with a sumptuously wide screened mind warping jubilantly marshmallowy and hallucinogenic Beatle-esque ’Sgt Pepper’ / ’Lucy in the Sky’ styled floorshow. I must admit to not recalling having heard Clouds original take of ’mind of a child’ – is that bad – here reclaimed by Rob Clarke and the Wooltones and sweetly glazed in a hermetically sealed hazy pop capsule serenaded by some delightfully wiggy and wonky milky way hued cosmically enhanced ice cream van styled key braids. We must admit to being totally smitten by the Marshmallow Staircase’s re-reading of Jefferson Airplane’s ’plastic fantastic lover’ – here rendered totally unrecognisable and treated to the kind of mind fragmenting unravelling psychosis of Floyd’s ’vegetable man’ albeit as though marshalled by the Butthole Surfers with the attending fried fall out figuratively freaked by the Black Angels. Well cool. There’s much to be admired about the Bee Gees – many the time in years gone passed I’ve been subjected to playful derision from so called psych pop enthusiasts who’ve chortled at my suggestion that the Bee Gees early career work was worthy of admiration, largely influenced by the Beatles the Gibbs were more than adept at crafting pristine flower pop pearls with unnerving enviable ease and so its with a certain amount of anticipation to find Sidewalk Society re-lining ’red chair Fade away’ – this gemstone is positively brimming and oozing in a warming radiance of honey tipped harmonies and mellowed lysergic lilts dimpled by curvaceous kaleidoscopic wraps and wrested by a ’within you without you’ afterglow – absolute bliss. Not to be out done and perhaps all said – the sets best moment – comes courtesy of Zombies of the Stratosphere who we in are suspecting are named after the Zombies (like durr) and XTC’s psychedelic alter ego the Dukes of….and not the b-movie sci-fi flick of the same name – ah but who knows – anyhow they tangle themselves up with a faithful re-drill of Billy Nicholls lost nugget ’london social degree’ and thread it with a seductively boutique beat grooved cool as f**k effervescent shimmering swagger while elsewhere another forgotten nugget is unearthed by the Campbell Stokes Sunshine Recorder who turn their considerable talents to re-tuning Caleb’s ’baby, your phrasing is bad’ by the appliance of some cutely catchy fuzz thrilled sugar tipped primal lo-fi loveliness. basking in mind bending hypnotic lysergic swirls July’s ’my clown’ is given a cross-wired Love meets Chocolate Watch Band chemical reaction by the Swims while the Luck of Eden Hall calibrate the Monkees ’love is only sleeping’ with a bliss tweaked power pop throb welded on with some seriously hairy way out wah wah hi-jinx leaving Cranium Pie to close proceedings with the trip wiring cosmically dreamy and orbiting re-cut of Jimi Hendrix’s ’little wing’. All essential of course – consider it your hippy, trippy, dippy soundtrack to the summer. http://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com
Robedoor ‘burners’ (important). There are mugstar and skull defeekts sets just out on the streets put out by this most esteemed of Stateside imprints both are on our must have wants list, while sitting patiently amid the piles of CD’s, records, music related magazines and books there’s an absolutely daunting collaboration between John Mueller and Z/Ev awaiting due care and listening dissertation. For now though this brooding bastard. Limited to just 500 copies and set to fly off the racks faster than shit off a hot shovel the latest ominous opus from LA beatnik groovers Robedoor. This lot have been smudging people’s copy books and messing with fringes for a fair few years now, recent times have seen a plethora of releases passing sadly beneath our normally obliging radar – with imprints such as ketchup kitchen, not not fun, monorail trespassing and seacave all getting a bite of the action with promised despatches for the likes of music fellowship, jerkwave and stunned all in the offing. ’burners’ comes housed in a nifty mock weathered sleeve inside of which you’ll find three extended sub psych suites, a monolithic psychotropic beast of that there’s no doubt, this is nothing if it isn’t grim, foreboding and forbidding for those of you who’ve wigged out on the delights of Brian Jonestown, Cave, Wooden Shjips and the Black Angels then Robedoor are your next passage in the road to listening enlightenment, like a brooding and bloodied White Hills this set is upon you with like a threatening contagion – from the minute ’radiant command’ kicks in, stirring from kits slumber and emerging like some awakening leviathan, you’re already spellbound by its primitive craft, its claustrophobic clang maddening and punitive unfurls a gripping sludge grilled swamp grizzled dark psych dronal mantra whose remit it seems is to burn holes in your hi-fi and very psyche, the ensuing feedback howls – controlled and withering – build in density tapping out a dust riddled Tibetan chant that blisters into a calamitous tornado of sound to which reference wise perhaps only the White Hills or Acid Mothers at their most freakish ever dare to forge or veer. Those foolishly seeking refuge within ’I thought you were the devil’ – think again, emerged in the same scarred swamp dragged grind this buckled babe broods with a becoming menace drizzled in mind weaving strobes of hypnotic loops and locked groove corteges that gather to coalesce into a stirring wig flipped thick psyche stew that’s almost hymnal in design. Mind you nothing quite prepares for the main event the 18 minute ’burning man’ – to describe this as epic is to underplay its majesty, a throwback from another age, to its bow it threads a gathering of hazily glazed prog and psych dialects to its bow, the mood removed of its previous threat is corralled into a bitter sweetly blistered haloing of a mountain ravaged bliss tweaked and shit faced blues beauty which at 12 minutes in shape shifts and applies a sumptuously out there and wasted Doors-esque hoodoo. http://www.importantrecords.com
The Scratch ‘x-ray eyes’ (pony land). Many thanks to Andy Scratch for despatching with haste a finished copy of the must have 100 only 10 inch repress of the bands ‘x-rays eyes’ single – our copy coming adorned in all manner of autographs and well wishes which I don’t mind saying that aside having us much humbled and at a loss for words will be find itself pride of place framed and hung in a suitably centre of attention location when the losing today singled out shed of sound finally moves into pastures anew (more about that shortly).Anyhow this cute thing first saw the light of day in that golden year 2004 and serves as a pre-teaser for the re-release of the bands debut and re-mastered debut full length ’diy’ which I think I’ve commented on in the not so distant past is of such scarcity that I’m fairly certain we’ve not got a copy. Enough of that – this ten inch set gathers together a brace of golden oldies from the Scratch’s back catalogue ‘x-rays eyes’ itself briefly commented upon a blog or seven ago asserting itself amid a rather nifty austere post punk throb fused to a pulsating and dirty grinding death disco underpin replete with Gang of Four additives, Ry Cooder slides and some classically drilled Pigbag re-wiring. Over on the flip ‘brainstorm’ offers a spot of darkly unfurling softly seducing and brooding psychotropic loveliness, the marinating of mooching locked grooved chime riffs, the spy school noir tipped backdrops and the subtle bathing in swathes of electronic hypno swirls all coalesce with mercurial mesmeric zeal to fracture and unravel into something that both Working for a Nuclear Free City and Genaro would weep with envy on hearing. Essential type purchase then.
Sightings ‘city of straw’ (jagjaguwar). Never previously featured in these pages, well not by our recollections anyway, how did that happen I wonder, for it appears that Brooklyn‘s Sightings craft the kind of fuck you stew that may find some cross genre favour amid the many disparate strands of musical factions currently subscribed by listeners so tiring of the formulaic gimmicks plundered to saturation by this commercially dumbed down thing we call pop. Now we here won’t beat about the bush when we say there’s been much nodding of admiring heads since this wilfully wayward slab of wax bullied its way into our affections to claim residence on the turntable, its been an absolute age that we’ve had the pleasure of hearing anything that whether deliberate, by design or accident baited the listener so much, its ability to teeter between being all at once callous, caustic and quite frankly couldn‘t be arsed. Sightings occupy a dimly lit musical nether-world existing between the aural axis’ of noise and abstract carrying with it a sound that see-saws menacingly between the blistered, the belligerent and the bloody minded. From the word go your immediately alerted to the small but consequential detail that something ominous looms locked within the withered grooves within, the opening moments of ‘tar and pine’ are marked by a series of dull clicks that have you obliged to check your stylus in thinking the needles stuck, from therein your subjected to a exercise in disharmony, amid the scowling and scarred angular riffage itself fracturing and festering with slavish malcontent and a sense of estranged apathy Sightings wearily weave a caustic line between a wasted no wave oblivion (‘jabber queen’) and a wilful and aggressive no prisoners taking punitive non conformist grind (as on the spiked attrition of ‘saccharine traps’). If its reference markers that you require then consider the anger, the adrenalin and the acute agitation of Big Black dragged, damaged and drowned by Albini’s future self Shellac for ‘city of straw‘ doesn‘t seek to make your listening experience easy in fact it repels, baits and taunts – none more so is this the case than on ’tar and pine’ its insectoid minimalist lurches and blistered and punctuating tribal like sonic shrieks metered out by a edgy icy chilled vocal mantra veer ever so close to the kind of monotone detachment once rallied by a youthful PIL. Counter this with its partner in crime ’city of straw’ its darkly choking sense of menace saps and stirs in equal measure traversing a brooding and bloodied line not so dissimilar to that effected by the Bithday Party on the quieter and grimly foreboding moments of ’Junkyard’ though ostensibly removed of the slash attack ferocity and replaced by a head fucked Suicide meets 70 Gwen Party like sparseness. More menace awaits on the flip side, ‘we all amplify’ opening the proceedings on side 2 and sounding like their not done yet in having you pinned cowering behind the sofa, braided by howling discordance and cultured with an atmospherically threatening aura the negativity oozes from its grooves like seeping puss from an open wound. Contrast this with the razor like freeform scalding goo that is the jarring and corrosive ’Weehawken’ and you begin to realise that these imps are playing with your headspace constantly keeping you on the back foot the point being hammered home by the clearly shift faced freeform white noise fracturing and shape shifting gruel that is ’hush’ – in short an unruly squalling inferno. Bringing up the rear the wired as f**k scowl of ’sky above mud below’ will keep the most ardent Jesus Lizard, early career Pixies and Helmet fans with jaws agape in admiration.
Lost Idol ‘lightwerk’ EP (Cookshop). And just a second or two we thought we0 heard the strains of ‘happy talk’ when we banged this little beauty into the CD player and pressed go, culled from his ‘brave the elements’ set (a copy of which I’m not sure we’ve heard, played or reviewed – hang on I’ll check later). Of course no stranger to these pages Lost Idol – better known to kith n’ kin as Brighton based James Dean (no not that one) has already graced these pages with – if I recall rightly – a rather superbly down tempo treated EP sometime last year (a copy of which we can’t at present lay hands on due to the chaotic nature of the in moving mode singled out listening shed on wheels). Anyway ‘lightwerk’ is proving by all accounts to be something of a live hit among the gig going cognoscenti, as the title hints its a homage to Dusseldorf’s kosmiche kruising kadets Kraftwerk here found freewheeling the stars and beyond on a hyper galactic charged ice cream van merrily seducing starry eyed passers by with some keenly coiled Meek motifs, sherbet swirly opines and mind weaving montages cultured with a fascination borne of an era obsessed by Apollo missions, flock wallpaper and spangles, of course its impeccably scored – a kind of ‘sailing by’ for nebula navigators hooked upon a pulsating motorik backdrop that had us imagining the Fly and a youthful Echoboy commandeering a rocket ship designed by way of blueprints drawn up by Gerry Anderson. Over on the flip you’ll find ’beesmouth’ – by all accounts named after a watering hole to be found in Brighton – a gorgeously lightly toed trippy bugger it should be said replete with mind melting hypnotic weaves wrapped around the suggestively seductive strains of a demurring and lilting female vocal that had I not known better would have said it was the divine pairing of a certain cosmically entwined J Xaverre and dream weaving Discordia. As a bonus the EP comes equipped with two remixes of the aforementioned featured cuts – Zoon Van Snook nabs ’lightwerk’ for his own and applies some ruggedly bullish tweaking to the original template along the way enhancing its psychotropic value and serving it up with floor trancing turn of phrase that dips somewhere between the Paris Angels and landshipping. Digital Midgets are left with the task of re-culturing the already near perfect ’beesmouth’ and acquit themselves admirably by stripping the original mix so far back its left unrecognisable only to then weld on some shade adorned techno implants and lost in the moment Takako Minekawa traces.
http://www.myspace.com/spaceweathersounds – we don’t get many requests round these parts, well I say requests – I mean demands – when I say demands I mean threats – when I say threats – I mean handwritten notes – done in a blackmail stylee from words and letters of the alphabet cut from newspapers and magazines all glued on a piece of chip paper – and how do we know kit was chip paper – well it was the tell tale stain of vinegar traces, salt extracts and the five crispy crumbs found inside that gave the game away – and quite nice they were too – this culinary delight finding itself wrapped around a brick and lobbed through the window – an event that may have ended in injury were it not for your brave and less than industrious scribe being ensconced in the kitchen area of these parts making strange shapes to the latest sounds from the Seahawks (more about them later). Alas Dylan the cat was not so fortunate and has been since the event in hiding fearing that the skies falling in. Anyhow to the contents of said note ‘we want something strange, something weird, something woozy, something that’ll make the head expand, the mind float and make our listening space a little wobbly’. we checked for finger prints, could only find our own and with no other clues to which to go on other than a bastardised copy of the latest edition of Uncut at the scene of the crime and a pair of scissors we could only presume that we’d be sleep requesting again. As to strange, weird, woozy and wobbly may we draw your ears and senses in the general direction of Strange Weather Sounds. Strange Weather Sounds is or was the mind evaporating trip wiring sonic alter ego of Pete Fowler and Jon Tye until that is they discovered another ensemble trading under the same name wherein they quickly morphed into Seahawks (again – more later). Two ultra limited cassette releases escaped into the hands of a well tuned in chosen few – ’Zombie OST’ and ’illusion ships’ – extracts from both you can hear on their my space player. Blending psychotropic glazes, drone swathes, cosmic kookiness and locked looped montages, Strange Weather Sounds manage to craft between them a deeply engaging albeit fried auditory experience, trading the hypnotic with the lysergic, these escapist suites lilt and lull with an aura of demurring detachment from the glacial tidal silvery shimmers of ’illusion ships’ to the subterranean atmospherics ventured on ’space creeper’ (itself immersed in the kind of fluid flotation tank submersions that once seeped through the core of the Bunny men’s ’fuel’) their sounds teeter between the more out there ambient climes explored by the likes of We All Inherit the Moon and the industrial tipped transcendental tonalities prescribed by Bronnt Industries Kapital (see ‘sounds of earth’ and the minimalist micro verse whirr of ‘2nd ceremony’ – the latter acting like some distant communique traversing across the galactic heavens sent forth from a long since dead civilisation). Elsewhere there’s the hazily glazed psych toned sonic shower ‘reflection in a cracked mirror’ itself recalling a serene Roy Montgomery as though rewired by a spaced out Flying Saucer Attack while the three ’Zombie’ excerpts though eerily atmospheric in design are momentarily lightened by the opining sereneness of the shanty like ‘clip 3’ leaving in our humbled view the mind warping and hymnal ‘cosmic arm’ to provide the sets best moment expelling a wheezing dust grained ghostly and woozy rustic ramble to proceedings.
http://bunkland.blogspot.com/ – mentioned this lot in passing a little while back when we ran the ruler across Drumcunt’s ultra limited ‘fags’ which alas is now sold out of its 65 only pressing, those of you now kicking yourselves at missing the event can at least console yourselves by hooking up to an extended mix courtesy of the Drumcunt one entitled ‘kill drumcunt’ which as we’ve previously advertised serves to re-affirm our belief that he really is the bastard son resulting from a brief bunk up liaison between Muslim Gauze, Depth Charge and Wagon Christ who admirably trip wires a menacing dark dub-tronic tech-noid groove more familiar to admirers of the Alrealon imprint (Black Saturn, subduxtion et al…more about this lot in the coming days). Current additions to the bunkland roster include a frankly must have 65 only 3 inch cd from Karl Brummer whose ’megali’ finds him taking time out from work with chora and the notorious hi-fi killers and turning in some blistered late 80’s styled New Zealand noise groove – a kind of freeform freak out of Dead C meets Albert Ayler fracturing. And then there’s the first of three promised releases from Seahawks (more about them in a second) – alas no sound files on this with which to comment but guaranteed to shift (if that is it hasn’t done so already) like the proverbial shit off a hot shovel.
The Seahawks ‘astral winds’ (static caravan). Can’t recall for certain how many of these babes are set for consumer consumption though we do know that two hundred of them will come accompanied by an additional seven track CD. Okay the Seahawks – formerly known as Space Weather Sounds (see above) – an auditory adventure captained by Pete Fowler and John Tye, this limited – and I should say at this point – rather gorgeous looking – 7 inch picture disc is the second of three planned releases from the duo – the first being an ultra limited outing via the bunkland imprint, the third a proposed 12 inch and the second for the hugely admired Static Caravan label. Okay so you want a little more info on the Seahawks – well suppose its best to let the lads describe their sounds themselves –
’…a slice of deck shoegaze and pan fried beach pop, Seahawks sail inland with two sun bleached slices of psychedelic deck shoe gaze and pan fried beach pop.
Moored offshore next to a Cornish atoll and utilising modern aqua technologies they captured the sounds of snorkelling, the melodies of the ocean and sub Neptune deep harmonics.
Obsessed with the sounds of the smooth and the deep, seahawks create an oceanic tapestry of deep listening ambience, phased beats and celestial debris filtered from the briney ether.
Swim with the dolphins and take a trip into the blue if a merman you should be‘.
Sounds like these dudes have been fried by the salt saturated sun rays if you ask me that said the description does go someway in describing the effect their sounds capture, the accompanying CD entitled ’secrets of the deep’ culls together a selection of sumptuous dream weaving gems that they’ve been showcasing on a weekly basis via their Ocean Trippin blog spot at http://seahawks77.wordpress.com/ – exploring territories not so dissimilar to beyond the wizards sleeve and lemon jelly, the Seahawks hone their sights and sounds for the mind, engaged in trip wiring moods, utilising all manner of cosmic trickery and idling spectral sea faring shanty reared in subtle dub-tronic cultures informed and lovingly equipped with lounge like lilts and down tempo collages they craft a mind expanding stew of chilled out radiating psychotropic bliss groove to which seasoned fans of ghost box, trunk and the more playful moments from the BBC radiophonic workshop back catalogue will swoon. Two cuts feature on the picture disc – (have I said its gorgeous looking, brightly coloured attractive to the eye so on and so forth – indeed) – ‘high winds‘ (sea side) – (did I forget to mention the cosmic and nautical references – well be warned) opens their account – an oceanic mind warping voyage of sorts peppered by lysergic swirls, cyclic loops and the tender braiding of opining glacial sirens that congregate to form dissipating woozy decorations in your headspace while simultaneously having you feeling as though your chartering some trip across the serene depths of the ocean on the back of a humungous space whale – or is it just me. Flip over for the far superior ‘astral winds (space side)’ – alas desperately brief but in the short time it takes to dock and refuel we here must admit to being rather smitten by its silvery cosmic shimmer tones and spaced out fluffiness which all said really does has that lazily hazed not a care in the world lilt that so spellbound all on Ronald Binge‘s ‘sailing by’. in other words – yep I’m afraid you need it in your life. As to the accompanying CD – as advertised seven cuts feature within with ‘deep secrets’ very much equipped with a curious hyper galactic aura and a motorik dance grooved propulsion that all at once had us .recalling some strange new found species borne of a cross DNA matching exercise based on the collectively interwoven samples taken from Tank, Jean Michel Jarre, Ozric Tentacles, Magic Mushroom Band and 70’s pop cosmonauts Space putting what at times sounds like the Dire Straits ’private investigations’ through a rather groovy and spacey workout. Elsewhere the lulling ‘spaced rider’ is tinkered and tingled by a lightly dusted South Pacific airiness that’s soon pervaded and cowered by the oppressive shrill of an oncoming storm while those among you preferring your listening experience purred and approaching something smoochy, sophisticated and lights dimmed in a retro big hair 70’s way (like Go Team for instance or the Superimposers) may well be advised to hook up to the dream weaved disco dolly ’sun trails’. up for a spot of smoked, chilled and drifting sun drenched tropicalia well ’fantasy’ may well ease the itch though for our moment of the disc is without doubt the parting ’high seas drifter’ – a super sensual slice of down tempo exotica that takes as its core reference marker the feline fancies of Komeda’s ’rosemary’s baby’ soundtrack and re-drills them with the exquisitely softly purred brush stroke of Musetta. Classy.
Those of you forgetting exactly who or what Musetta sound like (shame on you) here’s a timely moving pictures thing with sound to accompany ‘ophelia’s song’….
Shady Bard ‘trials (part III)’ (reverb). With an album currently looming large on the horizon, ‘trials (part III)‘ marks the return to the more reflectively timid turntables of this fair nation of Shady Bard who should be in need of no introductions to these pages given their past recorded exploits have had cause to have us crushed and tearfully in awe of their wounded and bruised recitals to mother nature. ‘trials (part III)‘ the teaser preceding release marking the coming of that aforementioned second full length entitled ‘trials’. A stirring gem it is to and part of a collective suite recounting the tale of a sleepy village being ravaged by fire. Those of you familiar with Shady Bard of yore may do well to strap yourselves in for this mini pop epic sees the collective in bracing form marshalling from the aisles an unfolding misty eyed drama landlocked and flanked by a blood rushing tempestuous hymnal charge and a galloping ceremonial procession of wind swept brass fanfares a la Morriconne, the effect one of numbing and breathless dark beauty betwixt a sense of forlorn loss. The release comes backed by two additional cuts – ‘Trials (Part IV)’ and ‘El Dia de los Fuegos’ – sadly both omitted from our one track white label and will arrive housed in hand packaged sleeves made from scorched paper replete with signed inserts and photos.
BlackTzar ‘fade into life’ (scooter). Word reaches us from afar – okay their press release (we do occasionally like to give the impression of having a secret hotline to the pop stars whilst hobnobbing till the wee small hours in some hip and trendy lair sharing jokes and the passing up of paternal words of advice to the scenes glitterati – sounds horrendous and almost illegal doesn’t it), that the BlackTzar’s will having secured finances be releasing a single a month throughout 2010. Of course no strangers to these pages our radar has been firmly tuned and turned on by the sounds emanating from their Glasgow based bunker ‘fade into life’ is the duos second official outing and happily was mentioned in passing despatches at missive 238 when we waxed fondly in word type ways about their debuting ‘rust’ release and added of ‘fade into life’ thus…..
‘Whilst we are here we may as well give an early warning mention for the bands forthcoming second single ‘fade into life’ which isn’t due for release until November and which Tom from the band kindly emailed an MP3 demo of. Think prime electro pop era Vince Clarke in situ Depeche Mode playing tag and swapping notes with a ‘low life’ era New Order, ‘fade into life’ is the sound of a band growing in confidence and finding their own voice in pop’s vast cosmos, a quietly alluring nocturnal anthem of sorts for all those crushed by ill fortune and swept into the forgotten sidings of life, bathed in orbiting oscillations this babe purrs with such majestically remote and refined nonchalance at turns fracturing to blossom into beatified spectral shimmer toned showers of Moroder – esque floor flashing grandeur’….
Call it laziness on our part but in all fairness we can’t really add anything to what was previously said only to comment upon its bespoke streamlined sophistication which should you get the chance to sample and partake of – and we suggest you should – is best served in an atmosphere suitably left chilled and preferably with the lights dimmed to a flickering glow that way you’ll be able to bask in the slick sheen glow of its hyper driven tail smoke. One for the lost hearts I suspects. In addition to the original mix you also get three additional mixes thrown into the bargain, ‘the Boris mix/’ opts to inject a turbo traced floor throbbing re-fit the original suave and chic exterior discarded to be replaced by a seducing bliss fuelled Balearic boogie whose overriding template tweaks and taps into a locked grooved matrix sourced as were from New Order’s ‘blue Monday’. the ‘loudleef mix’ is a ridiculously gritty and infectious vamped up floor caning cutie scored through with braids of hypnotic hip hugging euro-disco accents all pierced by an eclectic framing of late 80’s acute rave / acid era dialects and much of appeal to fans of ‘en tact’ era Shamen by our reckoning. Not to be outdone and perhaps the best of the three re-drills is the ‘mash compact disco mix’ which wraps up the set in fine style setting about deconstructing the template and applying a devilishly dirty and cosmically funky grind that at times veers towards territories once occupied by a youthful Seal, a furious and frantic mash up that one suspects throws in everything including the kitchen sink whilst embracing sublimely elements of industrial, white funk and drum n’ bass to its cause. Will devastate and indeed decimate the local indie floors. http://www.blacktzar.com
Hannah Peel ‘re-box’ EP (static caravan). More Static-y delights and another release to which we must own up to being rather smitten about each and every time it rears into earshot. Armed with all manner of music boxes and chiming devices to hand, Liverpool lass Hannah Peel has crafted perhaps one of the most dainty, dinky and demurring releases you’ll quite possibly have the fortune to hear all year, the hypnotic melodic cycles (themselves embraced with a becoming wide eyed and childlike naivety) married to her carefree willowy and chirpy vocal tones breath a renewed life into four celebrated chestnuts from the 80’s, the seeming simplicity should not be mistaken for the masking of what is an intricate and cleverly conceived sound board. Minimal and lo-fi is I think how most will describe the quartet of cuts within which despite their snow globed exterior exude an inner purring warmth which aside being rather demurring also serve to be quite shyly fetching. Her re-calibration of New Order’s ‘blue Monday’ frankly needs to be heard to be believed – the distinctive isolationist persona of the original is hitherto thawed, mellowed and moulded into something akin to a heart lassoing love note while ’tainted love’ is wiped clean of the acute pop panache served upon it by Soft Cell and in its place sprinkled with an intimately cosy toed soulfulness. And staying with things being lassoed, the Cocteau Twins simply divine ’sugar hiccup’ is rested from its heavenly moorings over on the flip and relocated to the dreamy confines of a nursery lullaby its breathless love crush rush sweetly tendered by a cutely fragile silken sensitivity. Rounding up the set a welcomed re-wiring of OMD’s ’electricity’ (and yes – before you all start writing in to complain – I warrant all three of you – indeed originally out in ’79 and not the 80’s) beautifully serenades you to rest. In short gem like. Any questions – right then – off you pop – 300 copies mind – so skates on. http://www.staticcaravan.org
And as we had occasion to mention OMD here’s a oldie from the oft overlooked classic full length ’organisation’ entitled ’stanlow’…..
Head over immediately to http://hometapes.tumblr.com/post/279254127/the-first-day-of-hometapes-download because unless I’m very much mistaken there’s the festooning of seasonal good cheer over at the rather wonderful Hometapes imprint who over the course of the next few days will be gathering together around a suitably decorated open fire a few label mates in order to serenade you in seasonal jollification. A track each day for the next eight days suitably described as ’the eight days of Hometapes’ is the promise to the eagerly attended masses with Slaraffenland stepping up to the plate to open proceedings bringing in their way a ribbon and bows wrapped cover of the immortal ’little drummer boy’. As you’d imagine at this time of year this re-thread is timidly traced with frost tipped glockenspiels cradled by acoustic strums and peek-a-booing brass fanfares and quite sweet too given it sounds like it was recorded in some North Pole igloo retread – best served with a mug of steaming mulled wine.
Staying with Home tapes – and again being served up as free to download gift – more seasonal jollification is to be found on Adam and Sara’s cutely wide eyed and fluffy re-engagement of Mr McCartney’s ‘wonderful Christmastime’ – a perky and precociously affectionate would be waltzing ice cream vans in promenade jaunt spectacle lovelorn and starry eyed beneath a flurry of snowy garlands. Not to be outdone Magafaun stump up the rather delightful ’I saw three ships’ – which via a spot of quick research is revealed to be an olde English carol whose origins are a tad sketchy – so much for the journalistic investigative powers ha ha – anyhow left in the hands of Megafaun this timeless gem assumes a deliciously hymnal aspect that’s tenderly coaxed by a deceptively alluring festooning of archaic shanty – esque folk trimmings which if anything should give you more than adequate reason to sway and swoon without the aid of alcoholic additives whilst simultaneously filling you all aglow with a tingling inner warmth.
http://www.myspace.com/thefades – okay there’s a fair amount of information about this lot to sort – so here goes. Fresh from knocking us arse over tit when they tore a strip or three off our hi-fi with the recently re-recorded ‘caca’ the band are currently trying to raise funds in order to attend next years SXSW festival hopefully leaving some over for the recording of new material. In order to do this there will be the arrival shortly of a self financed twin set which – if all things go according to plan – will hopefully be followed by an official release via music glue. Think we’ve got that right – but then probably not – if that’s the case we blame the scotch kicking in at long last. Anyhow the twin set to which we refer pairs together a cover version with the bands first new material since 2007’s ’the split’ EP. Alas we’ve only heard clips so far – both tracks being showcased on the bands my space page. The cover version in case you were wondering admittedly a strange though arguably refreshing one given that it’s a rehash of the New Seekers ’I’d like to teach the world to sing’. we say refreshing and strange because the New Seekers are a 70’s era combo who appear to have been somewhat written out of history – arguably – if you don’t count the Free Design that is – the grandparents of twee they were the ultimate craftsmen of saccharine induced soft sentimental peace love and harmony idealist pop this particular track perhaps providing them with their most telling moment – a tad difficult trying to adequately judge something on the basis of a truncated one minute sample though that said there’s more than enough here to get a grip of things – left to their own devices the Fades scour it with a markedly glam fixated aura – images of spandex, big hair and hulking great platform shoes may well enter your minds eye with a worrying regularity while older listeners might be minded of the potential for a spot of a groove torn hip wiggling stylee as though Sweet were exchanging punches with Slade with the victorious being set upon by the Heartbreakers. As to the new cut ’your eyes’ – a typically frantic nerve end jangling slice of uber coolness that pokes and prods with desire and sounds to these ears as though it was cut from a cloth not so dissimilar utilised on Chron Gen’s ’outlaw’.
The Hush Now ’wishing you a happy Christmas’ (self released). Having already graced our listening space with the exquisitely sugar toned perfect pop shimmy of their debut ’hoping and waiting’ – (a record which we must admit we had to do a double take with thinking it was a prime time slab of ‘Ash and Earth’ era Velvet Crush) – Boston‘s finest herald the holiday season with something rather special and desirably nuzzling. Available as a free download via http://www.thehushnow.com (our hard copy – a sweet little thing it is to – came housed in hand made wrapping) and arriving just ahead of their eagerly anticipated second single – ‘contrails‘ – ‘wishing you a happy Christmas‘ is a nimbly trembling beauty, the lilting chime cascades decorating the opening softly stir to wake, all the time endowing your senses with a bitter sweet rainy day intimacy that curls and coos to an era sound tracked by the likes of the Pale Fountains, the Daintees and the Pale Saints, treading delicately assuming stature it longingly ruptures and ripples to blossom, unfurl, soar and peak to be adorned with the kind of richly lush and hushed hollowed perfection once scribed by Prefab Sprout albeit here touched by the mercurial gaze of Bert Bacharach. Those wanting more of the same should go to the bands my space page at http://www.myspace.com/thehushnow where you can download their debut album for free while their second album ’constellations’ should around February be landing to do sizeable damage at a record emporium near you. Here’s a little video of them……
Get your backsides along to http://rcpt.yousendit.com/795595278/467ea7876c3d75b7a951533e2540c231 and grab yourself a little bundle of seasonal loveliness from those Stolen recordings folk, ’walking on the air’ indeed the self same song that propelled choir child Aled Jones to the topper most echelons of the record sales chart finds itself spruced up with a little magic dust and relocated to the chilly climes of the North Pole by the European. The solo project of one Simon Break – known formerly around these parts by way of his previous membership to Piano Magic his treatment of this yuletide classic is both ethereal and hauntingly beautiful, reference wise you’d need to go back the Teardrop Explodes’ ’tiny children’ for a suitably comparable example, the frost bound spectral electronic decorations frail and fragile are countered by the hypnotic pulse of mind weaving glassy drone shimmers that should appeal first and foremost to Spacemen 3 cadets. Tenderly distant and detached Break endows it with a curiously church like albeit fried daydream detail. Quite a classy thing if you ask me.
Yellow6 ‘merry 6mas – 2009’ (editions6). Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the sounds of Yellow 6 filtering around our head space, since 1998 or was 1999 these annual melodic Christmas cards have ventured through our letterbox and straight onto the hi-fi and in turn have become as obligatory as the festive roasted ham, tinsel and Morecambe and wise re-runs around our gaff. Initially cobbled together by way of a thanks to various people who’ve somehow helped, harassed and hindered him in some small way throughout the previous 12 months in recent years limited runs have been made available to the greater public at large. This particular volume we believe comes as a pressing of 150. Markedly different from previous issues in three respects – firstly a new label – erditions6 which I’m assuming is Mr Atwood’s own imprint, secondly the faux Crass sleeve – a nod to Jon’s teeth cutting musical past as a member of Hagar the Womb and thirdly the actual content which on this occasion features music specially written and recorded (though ultimately not used) for a forthcoming short film by Norwegian director Niclaz Erlingmark entitled ’9732’ (which should see the light of day sometime early next year). Nine tracks feature within, a treasure trove of lights lowered mood music that includes a re-draft of an old Y6 nugget ‘telescope peak‘ which first appeared on his ‘music for pleasure‘ set from 2001. A collection both thoughtful and tempered with a degree of melancholia, Atwood has proved time and time again his prowess at carving out the cavernous and the Cathedral-esque, these hurtful honeys are presented as measured and painstakingly intricate sonic sculptures, gracefully cinematic and eloquently toned each wallows and woos in equal measure shedding elements of the tender and the tearful, its restrained and reverent, perpetually poised between the monumental and the elegiac. These drifting dream coats glide to plot similar afterglow trajectories as godspeed and Gnac, looping corteges carve a serene melodic navigation that‘s subtle in its sensuality and captivating in their caress – all the time drawing the listener subdued into their unfurling solace – from the parched beauty of ‘9732 #2’ with its head bowed resigned and introspective bruising to the trembling twinkle of ‘9732 #3’ with its Fahey like pared down resonance as though relocated to the arid sunburnt landscapes of a Leone calm before the storm finale. To his palette he utilises the hollowing timbres, the pauses, the momentary lulls of silence, the pensive tension traits and the reverb opines to full effect with all playing their part to colouring Atwood’s aural portrait – none more does this touch such than on ’light #1’ whereupon from its sparsely woven initial greeting something shy emerges to thaw and blossom momentarily before timidly retiring into the shadows. All said it’s the parting ’dead voice’ that sealed the deal for us edging as it does ever so delicately in to terrains more commonly countered by Roy Montgomery and the late 80’s NZ noise / ethereal set.
Yellow6 also appears on a specially selected double disc compilation being put out by Silber entitled ’a cold slow Xmas’ – the set available as a free download via http://www.silbermedia.com/downloads feature a 25 track gathering of talent that includes the aforementioned Yellow6 offering up ’5-0-3’, gorgons, lozninger, this quiet army, subscape annex, electric bird noise and many more – a review will feature at some point in these very pages.
Das Wanderlust ‘someone to pull crackers with’ (self released) gather close little ones – here’s something a little sweet.
Hands up who remembers Das Wanderlust.
Weren’t they the ones who recorded that rather spiffing ‘orange shop’ a few years ago that appeared on a compilation for Transformed Dreams. What happened to them?
Yes I know they kinda disappeared off our radar to – but we got a message out of the blue telling us about a freebie Christmas download type single.
Pray tell us more for I fear I may spontaneously combust in anticipation .
Well its called ‘someone to pull a cracker with’
That sounds sweet.
Indeed it does and is.
So where do I get it from?
You have to log onto the bands site at http://www.daswanderlust.co.uk where you can download it as a high quality mp3.
For nothing you say?
Well yes – in a way – though the band will be hoping that to match their generous turn that you’ll reciprocate likewise and donate something to the Brooke Animal Hospital.
Because they care for working horses, donkeys and mules – and Laura from the band is potty about donkeys.
I like donkeys – they’re cute – I’m also potty though not necessarily about donkeys – just potty. So what’s the song like is it any cop?
Indeed it is.
What does it sound like?
Toasted mallows, cranberry sauce and roasted chestnuts.
Hang on isn’t that a recipe?
Indeed it is – a recipe for a beautifully sculptured yuletide tingler that’ll make you feel all aglow with a fuzzy felt aura.
What – like the Weetabix kid?
Go on what does it really sound like?
Two parts Vernon Elliott albeit as though concocted by a glowing fireside inside of a snowbound wood hut, one part Dickensian like Christmas card winter wonderland scene, features lots of sleigh bells, slyly arresting carol-esque coos, nuzzling piano keys and blessed with such an abundance of seasonal good cheer that you keep expecting snow to start falling each time it comes into listening view. Will appeal to fans of Shady Bard et al.
That sounds nice.
Just one thing – what happens if I don’t donate?
Then you’ll be visited nightly by the donkey demon who’ll scare you witless while you dream.
Did I mention I have recurring dreams about masking tape, Velcro and rubber?
The Pains at being Pure at Heart ‘higher than the stars remixes’ (fortuna pop). Pressed up on 12 sumptuous inches of wax and housed in the kind of plain die cut sleeve that was much the favoured fashion accessory of alternate club pressings throughout the 90’s – the ultra limited ’remixes’ issue is a thing to die for. Of course the Pains of being Pure at Heart need no introductions in these pages, for a fair while now their captivating heart skipping knee trembling bubblegum twee fuzz pop has been a constant choice of listening over at the losing today singled out tree house their acutely addictive fusion of the Pastels, JMC, Belle and Sebastian and Trembling Blue Stars has been the cause on several occasions of bouts of unforced swooning each and every time their sounds have filtered from the cooing hi-fi and ’remixes’ proves no exception to the rule. Two recalibrations of ‘higher than the stars’ are up for grabs here, first up featuring the mercurial mixing desk sassiness of the uber cooled St Etienne whose ‘lord spank’ edit is a thing of unsurpassed gorgeousness, a bulging Balearic beauty, both forlorn and ethereally bliss grooved, entwined amid a frosted procession of twinkling garlands of cosmic swirls all tempered to a pulse racing purr and streamlined with such precision based warmth filled sultriness and lights dimmed seduction it makes you ache, apply stylus to this in a club land settings and the paying punters will feint at the feet of its numbing sophistication. Not to be out done – over on the flip you’ll find the same cut reframed by Skanfrom who by day and out of the confines of the studio is better known to ma and pa as Roger Semsroth, a workaholic whose been delighting the underground cognoscenti for a decade or more with his analogue electro cross culturing and who on this occasion in our humbled opinion judge edges it in the best re-drill stakes, for his reworking of ’higher than the stars’ gives it something of a hurtful and detached hue that suggests its primary purpose is to evoke a fair amount of tear trickling amongst all who dare to hear. Factor it some lushly toned air brushing of starry eyed sugar honed candy pop and house it all within a fragile and frail framing and you have something that’ll break hearts in a murmur. Lest we forget the third and final mix which finds DJ Downfall tinkering and touching up ’falling over’ here rephrased as the ‘Sprechenbann’ edit – what can we say a frisky and perky slice of retro electro pop which to these ears sounds not unlike an affectionate euro pop dream weave pairing together a Vince Clarke era Depeche Mode with a mid 80’s New Order, will flatten club floors each and every time it comes into ear shot – if not questions will be asked.
If you head over to the Fortuna Pop site at http://www.fortunapop.com you can grab yourself a free download of ’higher than the stars’ again by Skanform though this time in his Others in Conversation guise – well tasty it is to – 80’s swoon-tastic bubblegum twee which admirers of Another Sunny Day will do well to hook up to without further delay.
Pacific! ‘sunset blvd’ (half machine). Think what the world needs now is a spot of sumptuous snow surf – agreed. Step up Pacific! who hail from Gothenburg – beyond that of whom we know bugger all about, safe to say that ‘sunset blvd’ may well be our favourite guilty pleasure at this moment in time. Not sure how long its been out but given the time of year – you know the deal the arrangement of sleigh bells, snow tipped harmonies and feel good warmth so on and so forth – this may well – play lists permitting – prove to be a worthwhile outsider bet in the race for the festive summit – or some or other nonsense. ’sunset blvd’ is a tenderly roasted on an open fire pic n’ mix of seasonal fair, a kind of melodic ghost of Christmas past, present and no doubt future, best described as a mulled wine serving mince pie munching master class of pop perfection – okay admittedly a little on the sugary side but then what do expect when its overall pull appears to impishly invite you to a glimpse of what might have occasioned had their been a Lapland summit of Beach Boys and Spector types with the occasional guest appearance of arrangements by Freddie Mercury and a production gloss by Jeff Lynne. And before you all start grumbling – it works – the gushing tides of homely west coast sprays, the euphoric arcs and swoons of silken strings, the heart arresting multi part harmonies, the chiming serenades and the overall frost tipped celebratory verve of the occasion will serve to melt the most chilled of hearts. If you hunt down the 12 inch version you’ll find an additional three edits – frYars opt for some kookily keen eyed jittering and jiggling minimalist set friskily funky electro body popping while over the flip Popular Computer tease it from its frosted roots thaw it out and apply some sterling cosmic cuteness to it leaving Triangles don the snow visors to seemingly re-trace their steps in the opposite direction to build it a snuggly little igloo apply some over eager and frantic glitch treatments which unless our ears do deceive should appeal aplenty to lovers of Swimmer One and Birdpen.
Get your backsides and mouse into gear and shuffle along http://www.myspace.com/pacificremixes in a neat and orderly line for Lord Skywave’s ethereal re-drill of ’Sunset Blvd’ which to these ears has something of a KLF ’kylie said to Jason’ era aura about its wares while those itching for more Pacific! action should immediately sign post themselves to http://www.myspace.com/musicpacific where you’ll be treated to a new cut ’narcissus’ which should by rights be high on the radar of those of you moved by all things pertaining to the space rock, prog and krautrock species of sound (Goblin, Zombi and La Dusseldorf – are instantly called to mind) given it sounds like some retro spectral galactic communication sucked through the ether.
And here’s a video – we are so good to you…….okay not so much a video but rather more a photo with music backing it…..just clearing up that small detail to stem the flow of complaining emails – yes we do get them – just don’t read them…..
Broken Bones ‘death walks the streets’ EP (dr strange). Not sure how many of these babes are in circulation though we have been told there are just 100 coloured wax copies of which 50 have gone to the band direct, so if you want you better get your arse into gear. Alas ours is the bog standard black vinyl (cheers Cargo!) though that hasn’t dimmed our excitement at the prospect of three new cuts by these spiked topped doom overlords gracing our turntable. Featuring founding members of Discharge among their ranks Broken Bones are a rare breed of band whose mere utterance of their name is the cause of adoration and respect among the punk community. ‘death walks the streets’ features as previously advertised three spanking new cuts, its grimly forbidding and foreboding stuff and not we hasten to add for those with sensitive listening palettes for to call it brutal doesn’t really serve it justice. From the moment the grooves of ’enemy within’ connect with the stylus you’re already under siege courtesy of the no holds barred intensity of the full throttle attack your subjected to, admittedly not as ferocious as Discharge at full tilt but still with its scowling vocals, punishing 100mph pile driving sticks and lacerating riffmanship betraying enough savagery to scald you out of your lethargic cosiness. Flip over for ’stop em now’ and ’downfall’ – the former a scathing onslaught and by our reckoning best thing here capturing perfectly the punishing hard core scene of the early 80’s oi / second wave punk scene – that said sounds to us like a supercharged DK’s crossing swords with Mayhem – the latter a pogo pummelling slab of up close and personal speed freaking doom crowed carnage. Does it for us. http://www.myspace.com/brokenbonesukhc
Bad Guys ‘hips’ (everyone we know). Another damn fine release that has – since arriving in our gaff – being hogging time on the turntable – as usual bugger all info on these chaps other than to say we suspect this twin set outing is in fact their debut release. Strictly limited to just 500 hand numbered 7 inches – ours in case you are taking notes is #134. Anyhow what matters is that we here love it, produced I think I’m right in saying by those Part Chimp chaps – ‘hips’ is wonderfully unkempt stuff replete with intricately crafted needling riffs aplenty and cut with such an irregular off kilter melodic thread that you half expect any time now that it will stumble, topple over and end up in a calamitous pile up, a definite detecting of post rock noodling afoot here yet carved incisively by a subtle off key and buckling blues throb which in all honesty at times rears up at moments to make you think that it’s the work of some Melvins meets Captain Beefheart meets Jon Spencer get together. Flip side features the frenetic and totally wired ‘livewire’ which from initial moments sounds like the ripening opening of a spot of gnarled skeletal garage groove though soon blossoms and blisters into a heated slab of wildly addictive bad assed boogie sounding to us not unlike a fist fight between a tamed though all the same clearly deranged Bogshed and the Beastie Boys after a bout of Birthday Party-esque DNA cross culturing with Mark E Smith refereeing. http://www.myspace.com/badguysfuckingrock
Animal Collective ‘brothersport’ (domino). One of our great personal regrets in recent years music wise that is – is that somewhere along the line we’ve kind of lost track of Animal Collective – co-incidentally it seems tying in with their move from Fat Cat to Domino – so with that in mind you can imagine our expectant joy pierced of course with a sense of dread when we spotted and indeed purchased a copy of their latest offering ‘brothersport’. of course it was the fact it was pressed up on 10 inch of wax that sealed the deal – though don’t go telling the band that. Of course the sense of dread to which I refer was purely born of the fact that these days they appear to be everyone and their pet dogs favourite listening option and without sounding snobbish that as is often the case usually attracts a diminishing of the style and sound that we first loved and attracted us in the first place. How pleasantly surprised we were when said cut crackled into life on the turntable for ’brothersport’ is a radiant union of feel good gospel / ethnic and Dadaist mantras woven sublimely into a multi coloured cross genre weaving dream coat of kaleidoscopic delights, ridiculously catchy and bearing a lushly textured calypso-esque celebratory aura that permeates a similar sun shine beckoning complexion as was once the domain of the Polyphonic Spree. Utterly lovable in short and quite likely the cause of swooning affection each and every time it rears into listening view. Flip side features a live edit of ‘bleeding‘ recorded at their recent Californian appearance at the Big Sur – echoing atmospherics, haunting detachment, hollowing celestial intermissions, subterranean drone collages and heaving motorik industrial loops and dissipating mind expanding tripping mirages – damn I could love these rascals. http://www.dominorecordco.com
Mixtapes and Cellmates ‘Soon’ (tangled up). Another ensemble of whom we must profess to not having heard previously. My my aren’t we slipping. That said all that changes as of now as purring away in quite the most perfect way in the background as we write is this – their forthcoming single ’soon’. hard to imagine that they were on the verge of calling it a day after a bout of internal wrangling following the completion of touring commitments showcasing their debut full length. And so they parted – each pursuing their own creative avenues until by accident they found themselves again together in the same room discussing the merits and pitfalls of ever working together again. A few line up additions an agreement to start again from scratch soon saw to that. And so fast forward a year or so and the finishing coat is found touch dry on their second full length – entitled in case you’re asking ’rox’ and due for record store action next March. In the meantime ’soon’ provides hints aplenty of what to expect. Not officially out until the tail end of January next year ’soon’ is a tightly wound and searing slice of sub four minute stratospheric pop, both breathless and bracing, its equipped sumptuously with cross cultured elements of Archer Prewitt at his most vulnerable and spiked with the kind of angular unravelling more commonly associated with prime time Dinosaur JNR and accentuated by starry eyed chiming riff corteges the likes of which graced ’wish’ era Cure which are all then rounded up and woven into a heart arresting power surging pop gem replete with bristles of pulse racing urgency and capped with lovelorn lilts that gathered together will more than likely send your DAB sets into meltdown and yourselves into moments of bitter sweet oblivion. Enough said methinks. Any questions from the back? http://www.tangleduprecordings.co.uk
Should have mentioned this earlier – though there’s still time enough if you’re interested – but Tom from the highly regarded Her Name is Calla is starting a subscription only club next year – well we’ll leave him to take it up….
‘A limited edition subscription club limited to 40 places.
Starting in January, solo work by Tom Morris of Her Name is Calla under his Lupercal guise- a handpackaged CDR every other month. The price is for the full term and includes postage and packaging to anywhere in the world. There may be a few interesting collaborations along the way….
Each release will vary in length and design each time’
On a related note the bands debut album ‘the heritage’ is treated to a limited vinyl pressing – alas copies of the clear with violet haze variations are long since sold out (happily we’ve secured ours) but you still have time to bag either a black vinyl version or a clear and violet mix type coloured thing – further details for all items at http://www.hernameiscalla.com
Sticking with subscription series’ – a little more pricier this time but I’m sure those of you familiar with the Artic Circle and LOAF will consider it good value for money…..we’ll let the AC people talk you it – be mindful its £45.00 – details via http://lorecordings.greedbag.com/buy/explorers-club-subscription-pack/
Explorer Club Subscription
The Explorers Club is a collaboration between LOAF recordings and the Arctic Circle collective.
Together we plan to bring you The Explorer’s Club, a series of special, one-off singles released once a month from 30, or so artists from the four corners of the globe.
Following in the footsteps of the highly praised That Fuzzy Feeling Album and subsequent EP of the same name, The Explorers club will bring you a unique selection of modern sounds that
challenge how we receive and experience music.
The Explorer’s Club will offer a chance to subscribe to this great wonder of music that will allow you to get it delivered every month to your e-mail inbox. As a special bonus for those who subscribe, we’re offering the Explorer’s Club survival bag, which includes a quality organic cotton tote bag, screen printed calendar & poster and some extra little surprises, all
specially designed by the Pika Pika design team.
Zun Zun Egui ‘bal la poussiere’ EP (blank tapes). Now it takes a ,lot to have us floored and lost for words, but floored and lost for words we are – and the reason – well you can thank or blame (depending on your viewpoint and indeed which way you are sitting facing into the wind) Bristol’s Zun Zun Egui. Apparently the objects of desire of several independent labels who’ve been tracking this lot for some time trying fruitlessly to secure their signatures. Boasting a line of members culled from as far as Mauritius and Japan, ’bal la poussiere’ their debut release features three cuts pressed up on 12 inches of wax, comparisons to date have been as far and diverse as Mars Volta to Can to Fugazi to Funkadelic, a sterling terra forming brew is guaranteed within wherein a blending cross pollinating cornucopia of delights awaits, don’t be too surprised if one minute your being serenaded by skittish post rockist math inspired needle like complexities moulded around African-esque dialects, stuttering jazz signatures and freewheeling surreal lunacy as exemplified perfectly by the mutating montages of the opening ambit ’chunk and swirl’ itself ending in a calamitous cacophonic finale recalling the fractured moments of the Pretty Things ’defecting grey’. lovers of the loose limbed exotic sun bleached chime textures of the Four Brothers and Diblo Dibala may well find much to love within the hypnotically charmed ’brown mao’ – its subtle jitterbug jazz funk accents dislocate and fragment with an unreal intricacy that calls to mind both on one hand the Native Hipsters and on the other less obviously Slint and June of 44, the sound building in depth and density blossoming at its end into a gloriously syncopating psychotropic carnival. All said best of moment of the set is without doubt the parting ‘sun god’ – taking its cue in the initial stages from Pere Ubu this freakish mind expanding spot of beatnik boogie soon mutates with admirable ease to cross culture the schizoid ju ju blues of Captain Beefheart with the psychotropic warp driven cosmic fuzz of the Acid Mothers somewhere in between finding time for a pit stop in African climes before jettisoning off into deep space for some serious nuts down and tripping hyper galactic groove replete with full throttle white noise feedback meltdown. In short – stunning. http://www.blanktapes.org
Jedethan Vs. Crossing the Rubicon ‘split’ (three fist). Buggering hell – this young folk is a titanic release. The debut outing for new imprint Three Fist all pressed up on limited quantities (300 if you must ask) of 10 inch wax slabs. This head charging brute gathers together two bands currently bubbling beneath the radar and in their own right the cause of much fervent chatter amid the hipper and more in tuned of the underground – on one side Jedethan who in recent times have been hailed in some quarters as ‘London’s best kept secret’ while over on the flip French hardcore combo Crossing the Rubicon who’ve already satiated the cognoscenti courtesy of their recently released self titled debut full length for Guerrilla Asso. Each band allocated a side upon whose grooves are pressed three cuts apiece to include one previously unreleased and exclusive to this set nugget each. If there/‘s any grumbles to be had here its just that their side of the deal is a little to brief for its own good, Jedethan open the proceedings in fine style with the criminally hardcore funkiness of ‘fresh prince’ – this babe is out of the traps in an instant, its easy to see why they’ve been compared in passing to both Queens of the Stone Age and At the Drive In their brutality of sound is eclipsed with a becoming playfulness with this particular track tightly wired and instantly addictive whilst blessed with tendencies to un-harness itself a blister veering ever so sharply into territories more readily occupied by a youthful Faith No More given its hard edged speed funk grind and obvious radio play listing verve. Mind you the form book is quickly jettisoned out of the window when the scathing and tormented ’bagel shop’ rears up bloodied and unbowed, a searing and volcanic melodic maelstrom, a jarring juggernaut of a cut courting elements of ravaged hardcore and nailed firmly to the decks with an unflinching throat throttling skull trepanning ferocity. All said it’s the choking claustrophobic beatnik grind of the parting no prisoners taken instrumental ’smoked salmon’ that gets our vote nodding aplenty along the way in the general direction of Mugstar. Nuff said I reckon. Flip the disc for the aforementioned ’crossing the rubicon’ who themselves weigh in with three cacophonic corkers of their own, a high wiring frenetic display of scalding and grizzled blues laced with hooks aplenty and bullied by a withering and frantic pulse piercing intensity that’s riddled by driving gridlocked riffs – well that’s the state of play on ’the paris chain saw massacre’ while the lock grooved savagery of ’brutal duke’ has about its wares something truly angst ridden, untamed and unravelling that recalls a seriously demented Jesus Lizard persona at work. ’emperor and nightclubs’ wraps up the set to speed freaking volatile effect and unless our ears do deceive sounds not unlike a bad assed and scathing Monkeywrench kicking several shades out of the Sabbath. Essential in case you wondered. http://www.myspace.com/jedethan
Kurran and the Wolf notes ‘whatabitch’ (chess club). No surprises then when I say that we know absolutely nothing about these people in fact I’m not even readily sure how many copies of this are around – though safe to say you need it in your life. Judging from titles alone you’d be forgiven for thinking that ‘whatabitch’ and its flip ‘here to fill you in’ bared the traits of a band who held grudges firmly to their bosom and played with a scarring and withering verve to match, not so for Kurran and the Wolfnotes are the latest members to be ensconced into the bristling new folk scene. ‘Whatabitch‘ betrays a gently lolloping country tweaked breeziness sweetly curdled with an invigorating Marr like airy honey toned rustic signature throughout and serviced with an affectionately lulling twee throb that cascades to endow the landscape in a sun screened autumnal glow, as much of interest to fans of Blue Oyster Cult as it to admirers of early James. Over on the flip the previously advertised ’here to fill you in’ which for us edges itself as the preferred cut, a gorgeously homely cut trimmed with staggering rhythms and shy eyed sugar toned harmonies which for the best part again sounds not unlike Blue Oyster Cult albeit found here sparring with Tom Waits backing band until that is the arrival of an abrupt sea change mid way through wherein the appearance of radiant flashes of west coast hues welded onto to a drive time dynamic add a sense of tenseness and colour to the proceedings – should appeal first and foremost to fans of Snakes and Kites – quite fetching if you ask me. http://www.myspace.com/kurranandthewolfnotes
Black September / Thou ‘split’ (gilead). More happy pop. Of course I jest – a demonic double header that gathers together in the black corner Chicago’s premier doomsayers Black September with in the even blacker corner still Baton Rouge’s Thou. Available as a limited repress (on red vinyl no less) via Gilead – a label who marked their first appearance in these very pages a few weeks back courtesy of that quite spiffing Hewhocorrupts / Phoenix Bodies split set, this morbidly essential twin set first appeared via a joint release between the halo of flies, shamen, buried in hell, injustice of humanity, knvbi and one eye imprints and found itself becoming an instant much sought after collectors item. A gruesome face off awaits, Black September offer up for sacrifice the nlo mercy shown hell born ’under the rising’ – a gloom doom tune of some merit, a claustrophobic beast of a cut as equally scalding as it is scathing and in its wake laying waste to all it touches like some avenging apocalyptic angel, calling it grim doesn’t really do justice to its senses devouring wretchedness. Not as you’d rightly imagine one for the feint of heart. Those seeking solace with Thou’s offering over on the flip may as well abandon all hope now for the full tilt horror and sense of desolation that pierces throughout Thou’s part of the split agreement is all too explicit, the dread that pours from ’Smoke pigs’ is chokingly putrid at best and at worst sounding for all the world as though its been dragged kicking and screaming from some sort of purgatory for the damned. The sounds epically dense, swamp dragged, evil and scarred with retribution – comparison wise imagine some feasting bloodbath pairing together Helmet and Carcass. Word has it a split with Leech is currently in circulation while there’s mutterings of an album next year both via Gilead – both as you can imagine are on our wants list. Recommended. http://www.gileadmedia.net
Three Mile Pilot ‘planets’ (temporary residence). Indeed we can scarcely believe it ourselves but here it is – the return after 12 long years of Three Mile Pilot. This two track set is an ultra limited exclusive taster for those who can’t wait until the release of the bands as yet untitled new album tentatively pencilled in for 2010 – a strict pressing of just 2000 seven inches guaranteed to sell fast sees the reconvening of a band whose abrupt hibernation at the tale end of the 90’s stunned their loyal fan base. Temporary Residence remark of ‘planets’ thus ‘you’re reminded right away of the connection between Pinback and the Black Heart Procession – an unusually upbeat and infectious slice of weird pop perfection’. couldn’t put it better myself, like the donning of a familiar old glove there’s a knowing comfort about ‘planets’ or rather more a gentle re-acquaintance, it neither asks, stretches or tests the listener neither does it push the envelope, instead it’s a more casual welcome, nothing to testy or surprising just a signal that its here. Surprising light and friendly, its immediacy understated its template and execution softly dwelling, breezy almost lulling – a slyly undulating coda here the genteel flick of side winding riff there and off it perkily bobs deftly gracing your listening space with a breathless yearning ease. That said its ’grey clouds’ over on the flip which we deeply suspect will be the track of play list choice among fans both old and new, the subtle shading of Neil Young and Peter Gabriel bleeding through the wax are undeniable and unavoidable, gorgeously decoded with an affecting weightlessness upon which is harnessed the purring repetition of the spacey looping lock grooves, spatial textures, cosmic swirls, layer by layer circular interweaving which when all gathered in union serve to craft out a desperately desolate distant star communiqué that’s blessed with a becoming hypnotic lull that’s sprinkled ever so delicately with a blurring fuzzy kaleidoscopic framing. A gem. http://www.temporaryresidence.com
The Velvet Underground ‘singles 1966 – 69’ (sundazed). I’m not even going to bother going on at length describing the sounds found housed in this box set for they should be indelibly printed upon each and every self respecting music lovers mind, all I’ll say on the subject of the Velvets is that for once the rewritten history surrounding the bands worth, influence and relevance is for once deserved. A quick peak at David Fricke’s liner notes includes a quote from John Cale commenting in a nutshell the key note aim of the Velvets thus ‘we were trying to do a Phil Spector thing with as few instruments as possible’. As relevant to the 60’s as both the Beatles and the Stones and embraced still even to this day primarily by bands emerging from the underground they were the legendary outsiders not through choice though one suspects through the jealously of their peers and having the unquestionable knack for being in the wrong place and time. A typically perfect package by the Sundazed crew who it seem with each and every release of finds gotten through archive digs appear determined to impart their time consuming detailing and labours of love into ensuring their releases not only sound top notch but are visually breathtaking thus giving the punter an eye catching historical artefact. ’singles 1966 – 69’ is no exception, all the stops have been pulled out on this release, housed in a box are contained 7 seven inch vinyls (2 being housed in copies of the original sleeves) which comprise the entire single release catalogue of the Velvets to include the complete recorded output on Verve and MGM. Each is pressed up in mono and arrives sporting facsimile DJ demo labels with the set completed by the inclusion of two additional pressings which were initially touted for release but cancelled at the last moment (those being ’white light / white heat’ and ’temptation inside your heart’) while of special interest to completists a rare unearthing of a VU radio spot. Irresistibly cool. www.sundazed.com
Further Sundazed goodies kicking around in record world – a limited issue 10 inch featuring unreleased demo recordings by the legendary Alexander Skip Spence; Phil Spector’s classic seasonal cheer ’a Christmas gift for you’ pressed up on high definition vinyl; both Traffic and the Blues Project are given the mono wax treatment with their respective ’heaven is in your mind;’ and ’projections’ getting the high definition gloss – elsewhere there’s a rare unearthing of Fever Tree self titled set while the Youngblood’s have both ’all my dreams blue’ and ’sham’ pressed up on a limited 1000 issue 7 inch.
http://www.myspace.com/zunzunegui – must admit we can’t get enough of these pranksters, no sooner do we despatch eager helpers to file away (to much grumbles) their debut release ‘ba lal poussiere’ (a review of which you’ll find either somewhere here or else on some recently posted missive) then we get a rather lovely little note of thanks along with a friend request giving us an excuse (as if we needed one) to check out the sounds looming on their my space page and bugger us if we’re not much loving and smitten of ’el chuppakabra’ which unless our ears do need syringing sounds to us like some left to slowly stew cross weaved art rock hybrid of Thomas Mapfumo, Konono No.1, the Contortions, Captain Beefheart and ’flowers’ era Public Image LTD types all seemingly locked into the same studio space and each determined to stamp their own aural jiggery pokery on to the proceedings, a bonkers as hell schizoid beauty leathered by intricately drilled post rock dialects, deranged and punctuated seizure wired time signatures and skewed world jazz braids – a kind of one stop party pack if you ask me.
http://www.myspace.com/jedethan – again another combo who we’ve recently had the pleasure of mentioning courtesy of their split release with Crossing the Rubicon via the newly formed Three Fist imprint (see elsewhere here) which resulted in a message from Dave from the band alerting us to the fact that their debut full length was currently in the workshop being serviced its finishing coat – its arrival at a record mart near you pencilled in for spring next year. So being the nosy blighters we are – we decided it was high time to have a gander at the wares available on their my space player. And hell are we glad we did for tucked between two cuts that feature on their aforementioned split you’ll find the rag-taggle scowl of ’fights’ – a bruising bastard of a cut it has to be said laced aplenty with an acutely agitated aggression that ruptures to scathing effect blessed as it is with a front line armoury of lacerating needle picked math contortions that rampantly unravel to jar and jab viciously amid your headspace as though a bloodied last man standing face off between Part Chimp and Jesus Lizard was at play. Caustic stuff young folk.
Reading wise – a present we have our noses stuck in several books mentions of which you should find littered throughout no doubt with frequent annoyance in these very pages. However the one that is proving to be the most satisfying so far by some distance is Mick Middles tome ‘the Fall’. admittedly its been out for a fair while (this being the recently updated version) and ordinarily we’d have snapped this up on sight – however – so disappointed were we with Mark E Smith’s painfully erratic and inconsistent (ghost written) ‘renegade’ publication (also first published early this year) that we passed over this book in a defiant fit – shall we say – of pique. Picked up on a recent visit to our local Borders – unhappily in its death throes and something which we must admit has troubled us of late not since because we used to love this particular shop mainly for its friendliness and wide selection of imported music magazines – the likes of which will now no doubt disappear given that WH Smith’s – the obvious beneficiaries of Borders demise – will continue their drab display of magazine distribution. Anyway enough grumbling – and as said currently our favourite page turning obsession ’the fall’ sees long time friend and fan Middles stirring Smith in coherent direction and crafting for once with wit, intelligence and personal recollection an absorbing read that refreshingly comes across like a Fall book that doesn’t try to preach to you what the Fall are about, or mean or ram down your throat some ill-gotten and misunderstood pseudo socio political thesis written by some over zealous wordsmith whose obviously missed the whole point from the start. As Smith is at pains to point out the Fall are pure and simply a by product of his ’instinct’ and one would imagine whim – it’s a rare and priceless quality and something that the late John Peel grasped when he remarked of the them ’always different, always the same’. published by omnibus press.
Here’s a little moving picture action of Smith and Co doing the Big Bopper’s ‘White lightning’….
Those of you searching long and hard for a present for the discerning record lover in your life may well do yourselves a favour bagging a copy of ‘the Wire primers’ – the Primer has been something of a flag ship mainstay of the monthly publication since December 1996 (Karlheinz Stockhausen was the subject for the first and happily features here), it has proved to be an invaluable resource and entry level discovery point of the sounds / genres and artists operating in Wire’s sphere of critical interest. Each written both from the twinned perspectives of critical appraisal and fan like awe, these authoritative accounts have enthusiastically shone the light on a varied and disparate melodic underworld, typically eclectic in choice they serve as a much need navigating tool providing purchasing / listening recommendations to the informed and well versed as well as offering the novice a clearly signposted invitation to a body of work / genre previously unheard. Within its 200 pages ‘the Wire primers’ gathers together 19 such articles – in the main featuring archive raiding reprints of some of the more well known and established (Beefheart, James Brown, Fela Kuti, AMM et al) along with items previously published but revisited and revised purely for this gathering (the Fall, Ornette Coleman, Dubstep, Stockhausen, Cage and Sonic Youth) and finished off with three previously unpublished commentaries on Zappa, the noise scene and Derek Bailey. Mind you if you invest in it as a potential present you might want to consider throwing in a suitably sized record token in order to no doubt feed the recipients want for the new found sounds they’ve discovered. ;published by Verso Books – http://www.versobooks.com
Machinefabriek ‘slovensko’ (eatsleeprepeat). A few weeks ago we received a mysterious red and white calling card – upon it our address and contact details on one side and over on the flip an email address simply stated as http://www.depteh.com – I must admit to being all at once concerned, puzzled and curious. We typed in said address only to receive an error message. That’s strange we thought. A further clue was revealed by way of an email contact. Again only this time with a growing sense of concern, puzzlement and curiosity we despatched an enquiring email. And waited. A reply was eagerly received had we signed up inadvertently to some anti-establishment forum the kind usually tempered and propagated by the likes of Messrs Drummond and Orridge. Instead we were directed to a further web site. The puzzle was unfolding and the chase continued merrily.
http://www.eatsleeprepeat.com/disinformation.html was the name of the linking web page, with graphics looking not unlike those utilised by those nice people over at both Expanding and Trensmat – EatSleepRepeat is a new label promising – well we’ll let them take that up in their own words –
‘Welcome to eatsleeprepeat.com, a new label created simply to serve the uncompromising expressions of alternative, drone, electronic, experimental jazz, krautrock, minimalist and post-rock movements.
The site is a little bare at the moment while we sort out some things but plenty more disinformation will be added in the near future‘.
The label promises future outings from Expo 70, Black to Comm and Eric Chenaux – first up though for their debuting release a limited 7 inch from Dutch aural alchemist MachineFabriek or as he’s better know to the underground cognoscenti Rutger Zuydervelt. Clocking in at around 14 minutes in total this tastily tailored seven inch features two glimpses into Machinefabriek’s intricate sound craft. The base framework for ’slovensko’ (parts 1 and 2) was inspired by field recordings collected on a digital recorder during a visit to Slovakia in September (we’re assuming 2009 and not as noted in the press release – 2010 – in which case we here are thinking that Mr Zuydervelt has secret access to time travel – which would indeed make this a truly unique and exceptional release). By way of some applied sonic manipulation via a laptop and some carefully cultured editing, cutting and pasting of the gathered sound files, Machinefabriek concocts a curiously sparsely soothing albeit desolate melodic landscape, a glitch drone collage blending and freewheeling between moments of earthiness and elements of tensely coiled foreboding, though as some wit once said the devil is in the detail, the detail here being the subterranean undercurrents continually ebbing and flowing, evolving, mutating to turn and twist and shape shift with a fluid fascination – references to 70 Gwen Party would not appear out of place though it’s the more spectral speaker spooking periods of unsettling disquiet found of the work of Muslim Gauze that may well strike a relevant chord. File under epically minimalist. Flip over for ’cast 2’ – a little more forthright in design than its predecessor and in some ways structured seemingly to reflect a reverse mirror image in so far as the impacting sun burst scalding noise quotient arrives face on from the start and then dissipates to a calming lull though happily that finds itself tempered by a degree of decidedly unhinged to be viewed with lights on from behind the sofa glassy globes of spine tingling eeriness. Goes without saying that you need this instantly in your life.
Expect further Machinefabriek action somewhere later in these very pages when we cast an eye over his collaboration with Tim Catlin for the esteemed Low Point imprint.
As is a typical with these things – the productive gestation issues we’ve had in getting this missive together so on and so forth – our Christmas treat came a day early in the guise of two releases gratefully received here at the snow capped singled out shed of sounds – a rather wonderful cassette compilation put out by those rather nice Fruits de Mer / Bracken entitled ‘we come bearing gifts’ more of which about we’ll reveal a little later – and secondly the second 7 inch from the eatsleeprepeat camp……..
Eric Chenaux ‘warm weather’ (eatsleeprepeat). Not strictly out for a month or so but all the same deserving of a heads up this release features two suites by the highly regarded Eric Chenaux, part of the much admired Constellation set Chenaux is something of a workaholic with a recording CV stretching back some two decades, having cut his teeth on the post rock underground with Phleg Camp – recent years have seen him expanding his sonic repertoire to incorporate lounge jazz and fried improv (think I’m right in saying that both nightjars and the reveries have been mentioned in some form or other in previous despatches), often compared with the late Derek Bailey in terms of his improvisation prowess, it’d be more true to true to say that Chenaux is a purist of the bruised ballad with the emphasis on melody being given centre of attention – his compositions creak with a strangely off set passion, spectral and seemingly threadbare they are endowed by an archaic alchemy that’s both lilting and haunting (we suggest you head without further delay to his my space page at http://www.myspace.com/ericchenaux and partake in the delight that is ’rest your delights’ a kind of Palace Brothers meets Radiohead re-sculptured by Three Mile Pilot. Best described as heart hurting archaic spiritualist folk montages Chevaux offers up two distinctly polar portrayals of his artistry on this ultra limited seven inch outing, ’le vieux favori 4’ suffuses guitar and melodica in a most rewarding way, like some celebratory Celtic fanfare streaming through the fog bound wilderness, this mind expanding reverie weaves and woos with a strange detached fascination that should appeal in equal parts to fans of both Ivor Cutler and Flying Saucer Attack. Flip the disc for the near gemlike ’warm weather’ – shyly romantic and frosted with a twinkling soft centre, the deftly fingered skeletal rustic fretwork is found beautifully woven upon a fragile and frail framework that’s blessed with a beguiled albeit bitterly sweet introspective glow to which you can do nothing but be arrested by in the company of.
Okay those of you nearing the vicinity of the Union Chapel this Saturday (12th) should consider yourselves cordially invited to a very special Arctic Circle evening featuring a select seasonal gathering of Notwist, Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra and the Sleeping Years – tickets for which are in very short supply. By way of a taster of what to expect the ever wonderful Arctic Circle brethren have made available a free to download zip file featuring contributions from the aforementioned array of talent which you can access from http://www.jointhecircle.net/freeep/12december.zip – the Sleeping Years stump up the bitter sweetly tearfully touching ‘katherine cove’ – typically graced with the kind of trademark lush presentation that we’ve all come tol love and indeed expect of them this forlornly scripted love note trembles and treads snow bound landscapes beautifully brittle and braided by the succulent swirl and arc of aching string arrangements and the lilting canter of shy eyed keys – utterly arresting is I think the description I’m struggling towards. Notwist for their part of the bargain offer up a Grizzly Bear recalibration of ’boneless’ – again touched with a certain something approaching exquisite, this frost bound slice of glitch traced minimalist throb pop should appeal first and foremost to admirers of Tunng as it slyly sneaks up on you from behind with its off centred chilled tweaked effervescence to embrace you all aglow with a warming fuzzy felt feeling. All said though its Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra’s ’gamma Pluto delta’ which attracts our affections. Indescribably gorgeous – elements of Nyman flirt with heart racing succulence amid a pulsing cornucopia of lounge dialects, retro kitsch traced jazz mirages and library exotica, here’s you’ll find the straying echoes Tank, Henry Mancini, Lalo Schifrin, Tubby Hayes and Stereolab rubbing shoulders with the kind of no boundaries genre fusing application of they came from the stars and crafting out of sumptuous slab of mind melting kaleidoscopic calypso.
Guy Hamper Trio ‘polygraph test’ (damaged goods). We’re kind of getting confused in our old age – but through the haze of a failing memory speckled with a growing incompetence we here swear we’ve mentioned the Guy Hamper Trio kin some shape or form in these very pages not withstanding the fact that this ultra limited die cut housed custom sleeved 500 only pressing is being billed as their debut release. Ho hum. Anyway whatever the case its damn smart, two Billy Childish penned ditties for your brow raising listening consumption with Hamper and wife along with Wolf Howard who on this occasion are accompanied by ex Prisoners man James Taylor. Of course its Billy Childish again in another of his guises this time opting for spot of jazz punk and bugger us ’polygraph test’ is laced with so much far out and zany Hammond sounds that for a second we thought we’d somehow fallen through a time tunnel straight back into the sixties, a damn fine brew of sassy tail feather shaking acid jazz boogie that should sit quite prettily exchanging notes alongside that recently released full length by Big Boss Man for the Blow Up imprint – totally smoking and arrives replete with fuzzy flashbacks. Flip over for the equally inspired uber cooled shade adorning ’sally sensation’ for more of the same sly handed wig flipped loosely limbering kookiness – sounds like these dudes are having way to much fun if you ask me. http://www.damagedgoods.com
Quartershade ‘statues’ (yellow noise). No strangers to these pages and unless we are very much mistaken a much welcomed surging shot of speaker spanking brittle and blistering pop. About you in an instant the rampaging ’statues’ is a hulking brute of a cut, pierced and ablaze with soaring riffs all cut to the core and nailed firm to the floor with a volcanic angst ridden urgency all buttressed and breached by a pulse racing dynamic so strut laced and rampaging it should come equipped with health warnings as to its potential onset for a coronary failure or at the very least some bruising hi-fi meltdown. Recommended in case you hadn‘t worked out that bit for yourself. http://www.yellownoise.org
French for Cartridge ‘oooh’ (dance with daisy). Many many years ago huddled up to a rickety transistor the strange sounds of ‘birthday’ by the Sugarcubes crackled and cooed from out of the ether courtesy of the nightly grooved play list of the late John Peel. It was strange and curious mixing eeriness with enchantment. A few years earlier their had been the quite unmistakably kooky sounds of the Frank Chickens aired by the same much missed platter player. While in recent times the crooked charms of Serafina Steer have on more than one occasion tweaked our radar and sent our senses into pathways veering towards deranged befuddlement. And your point being – you might reasonably ask. Well its simply like this dear hearts – from the moment that ’oooh’ the debut release from French for Cartridge rears into view on to the turntable and out of the speakers an almost instant recall is upon me wherein I’m transported and reliving the same first encounters as way laid me the moment I initially heard the aforementioned trio of cuts. Of course ’oooh’ isn’t really their debut release – well okay arguably it is – a tweaking of the line up and a slight name change later – they were originally known as Cartridge – an ensemble who I deeply suspect may well have featured in these pages at some point or other. Featuring ex members of Luxembourg and Scandinavia (was that the same Luxembourg who spawned the post fall out careers of Melting Ice Caps and Jonny Cola and the A Grades I hear you cry). Anyway enough of that ’oooh’ is delicious, daft and just a tad dippy, crooked time signatures, impromptu melodic meanders delightfully possessed of an abstractly drawn childlike naivety that comes across at any given point both fried and bonkers not to mention ghostly, dreamy, surreal and alarmingly cute – kind of gathering of Brecht and Weill types scoring some tripped out musical odyssey out of the crooked recesses of Lear’s kaleidoscopically creative mind. flip the disc for the autumnal inflections of ’picture negative’ found here offering a wholly differing and delicious kettle of fish, quietly unassuming there’s a gracefully slender majesty at work here that warrants the blossoming of a strangely fuzzy glow upon the listener, a mid west cosiness scratched by a delicately hushed soft psyche top coat much recalling ‘white room’ era Archer Prewitt albeit as though tenderly harnessed by a super chilled ‘durable dream’ era Moviola – class in our books I think you’ll find. Single of the missive. http://www.frenchforcartridge.com
The BDI’s ‘it was not serious’ (self released). I must admit we here owe a massive apology to the BDI’s (formerly the Panda Gang) – I think it might have been Ian from the band who kindly sent over MP3’s of the bands second album ‘glorious return’ (which incidentally is by all accounts doing brisk business over in Japan at present – a full official UK release is mooted for early 2010). Anyhow it seems we may have inadvertently mislaid said cuts and indeed emails (migrations to new computers so on and so forth) so give us a wee while to sort out the glitches. For now though and serving as a taster for that aforementioned imminent second full length this tasty twin set, quite frankly impeccable stuff, three part harmonies, sumptuously crafted with an eye for the smoked and sophisticated, both ‘it was not serious’ and it’s accompanying flip cut ‘original version’ are air brushed with such an exquisitely out of step with current trends song craft that you’d be forgiven for thinking that these gems were unearthed treasures from another musical age or else the trio had somehow recently awoken from a near forty year coma and in the process had completely bypassed the coming and going of the intervening decades’ sound fashions. Delicately decoded with their now trademark smoked soul sound, the BDI’s are one of pop’s rare resources, in Brent Thorley they have a singer who if you didn’t know better you’d swear was a young Smokey Robinson and whose tones are blessed with such emotional dexterity as to cause admirers of classically trained Motown / Stax et al sounds from yesteryear swoon in envy. These finitely drawn nuggets tug and purr with a timeless detail ‘it was not serious’ in particular lilts and smoulders with the kind of silken brush stroked breeziness as is befitting the mercurial talent that is Difford / Tilbrook albeit dashed with the kind of flightiness of a youthfully honed Ben Folds 5. That said we here are rather more smitten by the shy eyed treat that is ’original version’ over on the flip, the sound looser and readily more playful in texture is caressed by a becoming off centred sun kissed west coast sourced funky drill – blissfully radiant stuff. http://www.thebdis.com
The Scratch ‘teen idol’ (pony land). Getting near the end of the year – a time when most mags / sites turn their attention to listing their favourite moments of the year – we here of course have none of that though if we did you can bet your backside that hogging paragraphs of much devoted praise you’d find St Albans spiked pop tops the Scratch warranting much deserved admiration – here’s a video for their current swoon fest ‘teen idol’ culled from their riff rupturing retro extravaganza ’whatever happened to Friday nights’ which of course as you all know every home should own ……..
And did we just mention Autumnal things a little earlier well here’s the second instalment of Autumn Ferments celebrated Seasonal Seven Series….
Pamela Wyn Shannon / the Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree ’split’ (autumn ferment). Alarmingly gorgeous is this, pressed up on wood stove burnt vinyl – alright then brown wax to you – and there’s me trying to create a little mystique – really I do wonder why I bother sometimes. Anyway the much anticipated second instalment of Autumn Ferments seasonal sevens series is upon us, the series intended and indeed dedicated to celebrating the four seasons – those being summer, autumn, winter and spring and alas not the Frankie Valli led combo of the same name – will be heralded by the arrival of an ultra limited 7 inch release featuring a groove sharing feast of tunes marking the occasion. Last time out treats were abound with summer’s offering which saw the pairing of Emily Scott and Helene Renaut. Now for Autumns turn and a beautifully leaf bearing treat it is to. Pamela Wyn Shannon takes up residency on one side, relocated these days from the States to Wales ’woolgathering’ culled from her 2007 ’courting Autumn’ full length is simply spellbinding, a lushly bathed slice of bliss laden and lilting timeless folk craft speckled with enchantment, a seductive courtship of a long forgotten archaic melodic tapestry woven from a secret source of a would be love potion that enlists the aid of all manner of sounds to its bow from the creaking tones of a spinning wheel, the distant bleating of sheep and the gentle unassuming caress of souring string arrangements which once all gathered up merrily dance an alluring rustic woodland waltz. Flip over for Ireland’s mysterious and excellently named collective the Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree. Our only grumble here is that its too brief for its own good, again an old recording this one culled from their long out of print ’the middle leaf’ set from a few years back the sweetly bitter and reflective ’blackthorn tree’ is their side of the bargain – a sensitively stirring and breezy beauty that’s blessed with lolloping banjo braids and a flighty free spirited flute detailing, sparse in texture humbled and homely in execution and delivery, its winter bound gaelic charm and campfire introspection may in its wake leave you a tad low and tearful. A bruised gem. http://www.autumnferment.com
Extreme O.D. ‘This is the End’ (self released). Clues I guess are apparent for all to detect from their name alone, be warned this ain’t cosy or easy listening. ’this is the end’ features three festering cuts of grimly sapping oblivion, its a towering set that sees the Stoke based grim lords of grind upping the ante and serving warning as to their arrival on the metal scene, the set nothing less than blood thirsty and volcanic is scarred and devoured by a wretched wrath bearing dynamic, of course it’s the lead out track ’this is the end’ that’ll be the subject of admiring glances and fondly woven appraisals from the rock critic wordsmiths a scowling brute it is to and indeed much befitting of its title given its apocalyptic dressings. But we advise the more intrepid of you to brace yourself and go in search of ‘renounce’ – a darker more pensive affair that prowls about with an innate sullen menace making you feel the hunted rather than the hunter while simultaneously finding itself equipped in a gripping darkly coated industrial sheen – mind you all said we are much loving of the parting ’own worst enemy’ – a searing heads bowed no nonsense and no prisoners taking grizzled and growling slab of bad boogie that sounds like on leaving hells furnace it was kissed, handed a sandwich box and bade farewell to do evil deeds. http://www.myspace.com/extremeod
The Man from another place ‘the loneliest cowboy’ EP (meerkat). The much anticipated debut from the mysteriously named the Man from Another Place whose real identity I’m sure we’ve managed to reveal in a previous despatches though for now we’ll settle for Dan of Edinburgh. We first stumbled across TMFAP while doing a spot research on 88 tapes way back sometime last year – in fact there have been frequent sightings of TMFAP in these pages since – mainly due to the fact that we here are positively smitten by the stuff. Best described as a porch lit moonshine swigging get together of Oddfellows Casino, Go Team, Mike Post, L’Augmentation, the Heartstrings (check out the rather out of step and out of time ‘guess who’s back in time’ – simply exquisite) and Morricone types with Burt Bacharach as their host. Better still the author himself described the aural odyssey within as ’soundtrack music from a lost film’. listening to the five tracks featured ‘the loneliest cowboy’ there’s a sense of being awash by a veritable cornucopia of styles and moods, one minute it’s the souring reflective nature of Post’s most memorable TV themes, the next extensions of Morricone’s playfulness as revealed via his soundtrack for the Spaghetti western epic ‘once upon a time in the west’ specifically the scenes featuring Jason Robards’ ‘Cheyenne’ character – none more so is this the case than on the flotillas of inebriated banjos that find themselves lolloping with crisp lazy eyed mischief across the title cut abridged with the winter-esque brush strokes of sighing brass fanfares much nodding in the direction of Brighton’s much admired Oddfellow Casino’s debut full length. Elsewhere there’s the sweetly bitter swansong reprise like lilts of the Post meets Ronald Binge’s ’sailing by’ or the gorgeously smoked library sound lull of the marimba drenched ’IYS’ to send you into untold chilled raptures. All said our current favourite moment (it changing each and every time we hear these tracks) is the parting ‘Spelunking (part 1)’ which finds itself operating in worlds previously advanced by Stereolab in their ’dots and loops’ phase albeit as previously noted in past appraisals given a tightly grooved Studio 54 facelift and then tweaked by a flirty Giorgio Moroder. And with that there’s not a lot more I can say other than to recommend you get this into your life as soon as. Joint single of the missive. Any questions. Thought not. http://www.themanfromanotherplace.com
Haunted Shack Theater #15 – the Halloween special no less – more creeping transmissions in the company of your ghoulishly genial host Uncle Wah Wah – a slight departure from the normal format this one forsaking the usual b-movie double bill chill and opting for a shrieking slice of uncanny un-holiness, blade wielding bloodbaths, grim supernatural tales from beyond – all bites, frights, Lugosi, Poe, chainsaw wielding Texans and Komeda.
Get Drunk and Play Records #82 – another Halloween hoe down albeit less on the splatter, gore and entrails and more on the beer, belching and brazened bad boogie, a toe tapping, hip wiggling popcorn double feature of tasty tuneage and teen beat turntable turn ons from the 60‘s and beyond – some unearthed nuggets here like the opening salvo from the Choir with ’it’s cold outside’ which sounds admittedly a mite like ’eve of destruction’ at times, some Byrds, some rarely heard Deep Purple groove in the shape of ’Kentucky woman’ which according to some wikipedia sources was considered at the time to be the first heavy metal record, some locomotive racing primitive rockabilly from Ray Wilson, a more than welcomed whiff of Gene Vincent meets Eddy C sounds of Wisconsin’s own Johnny Edwards and the White Caps, the Beau Brummels and Bubble Puppy’s immortal ’hot smoke and sasafrass’ a flipped and wigged out fusion of freak beat mod and psychedelic blues.
Expect more Garagepunk pods in the coming days – mainly because we’ve been neglecting the blighters – for now though here’s a billed as re-booted, enhanced and expanded oldie from Mal Thursday – this Halloween special was originally aired in 2006 but now available as a super duper MP3 type thing via http://m.podshow.com/media/22543/episodes/188764/floridarocksagain-188764-10-07-2009.mp3 – a quick at the play list reveals a gathering of tasty licks from Fred Neil, the Royal Guardsmen, the Classics IV, the Security Blankets, Ella Washington and much more…….
Beat the Radar ‘18, 19, 20, 21, 22’ (akoustik anarchy). To the sound of much grumbling in our gaff we appear to be somewhat light on this lots debut single ‘telephone conversation’ via the same label which garnered airplay aplenty we’ll have you know via certain up to the mark in tuned folk over at BBC’s 1 and 6. Culled from their forthcoming ‘from the city to the sea’ debut full length platter – already the cause of flying sparks through our speakers and stylus ‘18.104.22.168,22.…’ is a tear arsing nugget of such chest beating anthem sized euphoria you feel almost obliged to sign up immediately to the nearest cavalry, find a decent sized hill to descend down upon en masse with this blighter as your war cry. Filleted with rapid fire drills of needling post punk riffage whose sole purpose you suspect aside sending your hi-fi into near fits of frenzy is to jab, spar, jar and sting you out of your complacent comfort zone all the time serviced with acute adrenalin popping chorus hooks the size of skyscrapers and detailed with an intent to cause your transistor to spontaneously combust – now remind me – what is there not to love.
Shindig #2/13 and psychotic reaction – we happened upon something of an early Xmas double treat when we spied and indeed picked up from the stands of our local newsagent not just the latest issue of Shindig but a bumper sized special put out by the same beat grooved dudes entitled ‘psychotic reaction’. Alas we haven’t had time to read these cover to cover so we’ll just briefly mention them in passing. Without doubt the best written and most eye catching magazine to be found on the high street news stands not counting the equally authoritative ‘Classic Prog‘ publication, #13 features Procul Harum on the cover. Inside its your usual cornucopia of strangely fried fuzzy delights among the gathered brethren features on weird folk-ists Fresh Maggots, Cob and Heron; the lost sounds of the Litter; the composer responsible for the legendary themes for Jason King and the Avengers – Laurie Johnson – who is currently the subject – if I recall rightly of a triple deluxe CD retrospective; a six page Britsploitation special with an additional chance to win a copy of that excellent ’psychomania’ OST unearthed by those strange sound archivists Trunk – while talking of comps International Artists usual advertisement spec on the back cover notes that the exhaustive 10 CD 13th Floor Elevators set ’sign of the three eyed man’ has all but sold out with only one copy remaining signed by Roky himself and being offered up for grabs by logging into their website. Elsewhere there’s news of a book, EP and possible reunion show in the offing by the Fleur De Lys; volume 2 of that rather crucial Bomp book from a year or so ago and literally shed loads of reviews – not for those who get squeamish at the sight of blokes aplenty with basin hardos, wearing scarfs and floral prints. If that wasn’t enough to get your psychedelic radar all chemically frazzled there’s a corking one off special entitled ’psychotic reaction’ to be tracked down, purchased and savoured. Unsurprisingly a 60’s garage special comprised of articles salvaged from the archives of Shindig augmented by a host of new essays and interviews featuring some of the major players of this most rich and fertile scene. Inside you’ll find spots on the Standells, the Sonics, the Rationals, Count Five and We the People along with focus’ on some of the lesser known and celebrated acts working the in crowds in San Francisco – the Spyders, the Gotham City Crimefighters, the Harbinger Complex – and the Tampa Bay area – the Tropics, the Roemans and the Outsiders. Add to the mix and extended feature on the Pleasure Seekers – featuring the combined talents of the Sisters Quatro with yes – a young Suzi and a retrospective of garage in the movies featuring forgotten nuggets such as village of the giants (Beau Brummels), the Cool Ones (the Leaves), Pyche Out (the Seeds and Strawberry Alarm Clock) and It’s a bikini World (the Cataways). Priceless stuff.
Observer Music Monthly #74 – continuing to disappoint I’m sad to say is the OMM which arrived in today’s copy of the Observer – still appearing to be suffering from its summer vacation hangover issue 74 is the most lack lustre edition to date – apart from Mr Lydon discussing his ‘soundtrack of my life’, a spot on Muse and a few brief quotes culled from Tom Waits ‘glitter and doom’ – oh and some X Factor baiting by Tony Morley and a spot on a forthcoming Lennon biopic there’s little more with which to recommend this once excellent read now somewhat sidelined.
Daniel Land and the Modern Painters ‘love songs for the chemical generation’ (St Cecilia). We happened to mention this lot to much admiring glances and jaw dropped admiration a few months ago when we happily happened upon the delicately demurring sounds filtering from out of their my space site. Oh you remember the one where we observed and related with affection abundance the fact that we spent our youthful learning years at a school named after St Cecilia – the patron saint of music I’ll have you know whilst not forgetting to comment upon the yearning slenderness of Mr Land‘s vocals awash, glazed and serenaded by the sumptuous surrendering surge of silken star crossed sheens of dream woven sound-scapes. a replying email to those aforementioned words revealed an album that was currently at the sprucing up and completion stage. several months on and that eagerly awaited full length has arrived. ’love songs for the chemical age’ is its name and an absolutely gorgeous thing it is to, a delicately spun dream coat of bliss fuelled dream pop loveliness all at once measured, murmuring and majestic, one we feel ripe for those whose listening tastes occupy the echoing ethereal ether breaching melodic shape shifts of Chapterhouse, Cocteau Twins, Kitchens of Distinction and Slowdive (none more so than on ‘run silent run deep‘). featured amid these grooves you’ll find retreated takes of the previously ’Locust’ (a beautifully introspective moment wrapped by aching crystalline curvatures of crisply serviced forlorn hollowing that orbits left of centre from an aural axis more familiarly traded by Robin Guthrie), ’off your face again’ (undoubtedly the sets key note moment – a lushly choreographed free spirited angel christened with lilting frost flecked chime tones that soon thaw, stretch, awake and unfurl into a breathless tide of colourised showers of heart arresting jet streamed spectral symphonics) and the hymnal hush of ’the magic in my head’ (which unless our ears do deceive at times nibbles ever so gently upon the coda to Sting’s ’fields of gold’ albeit as though buried deep in snow drifts). Also included are the forthcoming singles – the homely spun frost tipped and shy eyed ’glitterball’ and ’smiling in slow motion’ replete with its pulse purring countrified tweaks and love tipped bows of sky lighting steel guitars. where ‘love songs for the chemical generation’ excels is its ability to capture a homely winter-esque glow that’s enhanced and charmed by an inescapable sense of nuzzling warmth, its dulcet hypnotic tonalities serenade and swoon betraying both an undeniable feeling of hurt and hope whilst offering a safe haven for the romantic and those seeking solace. it’s a beautified carnival dappled and dimpled by the forlorn frosted framing of star lit stratospheric sirens, here the sugar rushed gemstone of effects laden tip toeing glacial glides are mercurially .married with an often found hymnal stillness and eloquence, the crystalline signatures lilt and lull with a tender celebratory touch the type of which are so often referred as cathedral-esque in some quarters yet to us appear here with healing properties. while we may have already noted ’off your face again’ as being the sets centrepiece it should be noted that ’benjamin’s room’ is no slouch in the ’bugger me that’s good’ stakes – a bit like imagining a very youthful pedal pushing Verve b-side being found cosy-ing up to the Dream Academy while elsewhere there’s the stately shimmer tones of the looping chime caresses of the radiant softly purred euphoria of the statuesque ‘codeine’ to contend yourselves with. An absolute gem and one best viewed by the snuggling up to a loved one with lights dimmed we suspect. http://www.myspace.com/danielland
Wye Oak ‘the knot’ (affairs of the heart). alas we missed out on hearing – nay – savouring Wye Oak’s debut release from few years back – ‘if children’ described in passing as a shoe gazed psyche pop nugget of ‘youthful love and dread in distortion’ were the first murmurs of Maryland, Baltimore friends Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner – collectively gathering under the Wye Oak banner. several years on – the distortion remains yet the shoe gazing fascination appears somewhat dimmed, in its place a head bowed and impenetrable dark Americana mid west drift resides in its place. for ‘the knot’ is an album that touches in the most curious of ways, apart from being a collection of songs scoured and pitted with such a scarred passion that you deeply suspect its secret agenda is to prize itself from the grooves to simultaneous strangle and serenade you in an instant, its also an album that once stripped of its world weary want is darkly romantic and richly rewarding as it coils with maddening ease in to your psyche. its union of swaying swathes of souring strings, rupturing riffs, dust ridden epitaphs and mellowed melancholia (best exemplified by the resolve draining and scarring love noted ‘take it in’) have I won’t deny found their way to the forefront of our comforting listening list during the daily drudge of travels to and from work of late. from the sound of the bell at the beginning of the opening cut ’milk and honey’ your immediately drawn into Wye Oak’s bruised and simmering world, a world of shadow fallen brooding intimacy fraught with moments of confessional lulls and tormented intensity much like an emotionally frazzled Delgados courting a similarly distressed Beach House. as said ‘milk and honey’ opens proceedings sounding not unlike a burdened soul starched shanty as imagined by Black Heart Procession itself freefalling with symmetrical ease into the airily drifting ‘for prayer’ wherein between moments of reflective whispers the maddening pangs of twisted riffs fire up with a turbulent sting before exiting stage left down a corralling caustic countrified path. elsewhere there’s the stripped to the core hurt of the tear streaked ‘talking about money’ and the hollowed hymnal murmuring opine of ‘Mary is Mary’ the latter fractured by a quietly engaged sensually haunting aspect that resonates with a deeply set longing with the former shimmer glazed with the bitter sweet looping of corteges of spiral spun chimes. its not all doom, gloom and hurt – in fact its not doom, gloom and hurt at all but you know what I’m saying – for ‘Siamese’ sparkles and shines like salutary solar rays lighting up an autumnal scene, the opining strings and the lightly toned countrified curvatures colliding succulently with demurring deftness, and if that doesn’t warm the heart cockles there’s always the celebratory verve of ‘tattoo’ to smother you in all manner of warmth filled homecoming hues as it jubilantly breaches the horizons with its coalescing cocktail of fuzz drenched jubilance. best moment of the set by far though is the hollowed and buckled sparsely wound bleached blues of the crippled ache of ‘that I do’ – never at any point throughout ‘the knot’ does Wasner sound so vulnerably cast to the fates like a forlorn and wounded PJ Harvey which leaves ’sight flight’ to bring up the rear guard and sounding to these ears not so dissimilar to something concocted by a meeting of Moviola and Snares and Kites – classy eh. http://www.affairsoftheheart.de
Sone Institute ‘curious memories’ (front and follow). Ah – Sone Institute – last spied romancing our hi-fi with oodles of spell crafted sonic wooziness on the criminally limited ‘silver leaves and woolly dreams’ EP which if memory serves well came accompanied with pressed leaves in limited quantities of 60 only. think we are right in saying his debut outing for the esteemed Front and Follow troupe, the title itself should go someway to giving hint as to what to expect here, without doubt Roman Bezdyk’s most accomplished and dare we say accessible release to date for ‘curious memories’ is a sumptuously cooked fry up of lounge dialects, library accents, dub aspects, noir codas and general all around woozy wanders into the vast underworld of strange pop and just like that recently released corker by the Council Flats of Kingsbury via Uncharted Audio another outing that’s sure to have the radars of those dudes over at Trunk records pinging furiously. of course those of you foolish to ignore our praised words earlier in the year with regard to the aforementioned ‘silver leaves’ may well have cause to breath a sigh of relief given that some if not all that sets cuts feature among these chilled and serenely sophisticated baubles – well we say we think because bugger us we can’t lay our hands on the blighter at this given moment. Anyhow fourteen weirdly wonderful wonky wanderers are woven onto this surreally impish suite to collectively reveal Bezdyk’s ever widening appetite for all things a little – shall we say – off centre and somewhere else, his sonic palette has developed to such an extent that a various points throughout ’curious memories’ don’t be to surprised if hear the distant echoes of Budd (the glassy spectral effects applied to ‘steps to the sun – part 2‘), Goldsmith (especially on the latter half of futuro jitter funk groove of ‘the wind began to switch’ where the mood takes of a distinctly exotically psych set dream woven tread), Gamley (the introspective noir down tempo timbres of the solace primed ‘french woods’), Barry (none more so than on hallucinogenic spy theme warps of the mind weaving ‘burnt land‘), Komeda, Satie, Autechre, early career Go Team (just check out the Meek meets ‘legend of Xanadu‘ space waltz with kaleidoscopic ‘fool on the hill‘ mirages ’on tree hill’), Broadcast, Plone and Emperor Penguin bleached, bundled and baked into this hazy light headed mix. It’s a melodic palette that owes much to the genre bending vision and creativity of Cornelius and something that in recent memory draws comparable notes with that very excellent Winston Giles Orchestra full length ’soundtracks for sunrise’ from a year or three ago. here you’ll find the chic chamber lounge of the lysergic ’lazy London ways’ trippily rubbing shoulders with the cavernous calm of the lolloping sleepy headed bliss breezed sighs of the serenading orbital shanty weaves of ‘plane sailing songs’ itself found much furrowing pastures previously ventured by Adam Franklin on his debut Toshack Highway full length whilst simultaneously teased with momentary pastoral follies. Elsewhere the lulling interweaving cycles find themselves momentarily broken by the brooding atmospherics of the sinister ‘hobbyhorse’ (a la Add N to X) while the simply enchanting ‘tea for four’ impishly plays peek a boo amid some erstwhile make believe magic woodland as inhabited by a mixture of Postgate and Camberwick Green types. utterly arresting stuff. http://www.frontandfollow.com
and just for the hell of it here’s a sprightly little video to accompany ‘London heir’ curiously not on this set – very Radiophonic Workshop meets Tony Hart – so there – smoke that.
Ólöf Arnalds ‘Við og Við’ (one little indian). ready for something a little frail, fragile, haunting and not to mention enchanting. something perhaps best savoured in the quietened still moments offered during the hours when most right minded folk sleep. Something maybe mesmerising, magical and quite possibly not of this world. enter stage left the shy eyed twinkle some ghostly folk of Iceland’s Olof Arnalds.- a name that some of you may well recognise from her appearance among the ranks of Mum, Mugison, Slowblow et al. this album originally saw the light of day in her native Iceland in 2007 and has since assumed admiring glances in the US with the likes of Paste featuring it in their top 100 listings for the year. Currently busy recording a follow up with Sigur Ros’ Kjarten Sveinsson – its release pencilled in for early next year ‘Við og Við’ finally gets its official UK outing courtesy of One Little Indian. Captivating doesn’t begin to adequately describe these ten beguiling baubles – much like that exquisite and of course essential Haruko debut ’wild geese’ released earlier this year by those ever impeccable souls over at Bracken records – Ms Arnalds occupies a landscape that is equally at home being both enchanting and eerie, ten intimately woven lullabies feature on this beautifully sparse and minimalist love note that collectively serve to bewitch and beguile, each finitely cut and serviced with such deft delicacy of emotive beauty that you cannot help but take a moments pause from the trappings and tribulations of this hectic modern life and succumb to its entrancing and silently woven graceful charms. Admirers of Vashti Bunyan and Mellow Candle may well find much to admire and swoon to here, the spectral touches, the rustic washes and the impish wood crafted chemistry of it all belies a sense of unbound wildness, the slender detailing of the delicately plucked fretwork counters a detached though hitherto warmth more commonly found on the work of the late John Fahey – none more so is this the case than on the rustic lilt provided for by the spring hued ‘englar og darar’. Yet despite all this the strange thing that sets ’Vio og Vio’ apart from the other Icelandic treats that have breached the public conscious in recent memory is despite its rich investment of Icelandic folk heritage the sounds brewing within are endowed with a curious Oriental flavouring, none more so is this the case than on the lightly fluffy and touchingly tingle some ’klara’ – it’s a theme though subtle as it is that is found woven through the albums underlying tapestry to find itself pervading throughout the set. But then lest we forget Ms Arnalds ability to draw you close and serenade you in moments of seduction and sweetly bitter solace, the latter catered admirably for by the hurting and timid ’vittu af mer’ while the former encroaches with sublime slight of hand courtesy of the hush love rush of the undulating push pull dynamic of the lullaby like ‘I nyju husi’ – which in our humbled opinion really is something to behold delicately pierced as it is with a mesmeric allure. Elsewhere there’s the breathlessly soft centred love rush of ’vio og vio’ and the sighing ‘skjaldborg’ to prize apart and peel back your failing defences whilst not forgetting the clock working picture box pit a patter of the near exquisite ’moldin’. that said the most stirring moment though comes to fruition on the frost bound and hollowing ’nattsongur’ – a trembling gem caressed by the subtle braiding of noir treatments which once accompanied by the oncoming string recitals soon blossoms and sweetly unfurls as though thawing from some ice bound prison. Touchingly timid stuff. http://www.indian.co.uk
Record Collector #370 – features the Moz on the cover who inside is treated to a 50 rarest records special – with the former Smiths mans ebay worrying cover version of Raymonde’s ’no one can hold a candle to you’ getting top billing with a valuing of £225 whilst arriving replete in a rare promo only custom made sleeve. Andy Weatherall is invited in to show off his records for the celebrated ’collector’ feature while to tie in with their own 30th anniversary Roger Mellie of Viz lore unveils his top 10 of shittest records 1979 – a posse of usual suspects among the offenders Keegan, Rogers, Martell, Boney M, Fiddlers Dram, Cliff and ’hello this is Joannie’ by Paul Evans the latter of which for many years we underwent deep psychosis and aversion therapy with which to remove from our memory banks – so er cheers Record Collector for unhappily recalling it. Bastards. Klaus Voormann and Alan White meets for the first time in nigh on 40 years to collectively give account of their time as part of the Plastic Ono Band. This months label of love is Tapeworm who we must admit to being strangers to us while Edward Williams’ self financed 100 only private pressing ’music for life on earth’ is the subject of this issues ‘diggin for gold’ feature – of course as you all should know b y now the set has been repressed and issued by Trunk records.
With Christmas approaching with all the sly stealth of a twitter obsessed serial killer with an aversion to the discreet decked in day-glow apparel and playing horror themes full tilt on a hand held Spencer Leigh decks the hall with holly folly to reveal the 100 least likely Christmas records where you’ll find gathered around the seasonal tree of shame the likes of the Ivy League, Bobby Darin, the Crickets, Moody Blues, Emile Ford and Otis rubbing shoulders with serial seasonalists Elvis, Shaky, Barron Knights and Keith bloody Emerson – only joking about the last one – hang on no I’m not. Richard Morton Jack – author of the essential tome Galactic Ramble casts his eye over a few pre metal rarities as part of an extended two part special entitled ’1969 – the year rock got heavy’ – notables here being the Open Mind’s self titled debut for Phillips fetching these days a whopping 750 notes. This issues centrepiece though marks the 40th anniversary since the release of Nick Drake’s near perfect debut ’five leaves left’ – over 9 pages Dave Lewis faithfully unearths the story behind this nearly forgotten gem taking in along the way its pre-history, the BBC sessions and the fabled Warlock acetate.
The Little Philistines ‘bus pass’ (john riordan). More apologies indeed due this time for South London beat pop combo the Little Philistines whom it seems have tried fruitlessly tried to engage us via all means of communications these last few months to no avail. So in an attempt to breach our defences they kindly sent over their latest platter wrapped inside a hand written note telling us of their fruitless woes. We feel bad. In fact real bad considering that after some rooting around the gaff we actually unearth an intended review that was due for online patronage sometime earlier this year though sadly still appears somewhat half finished. Anyway as recompense we’ll dust down said review give it a finishing top coat and have it singing and dancing in a forthcoming pre Xmas missive. For now though and just to get things kick started and to prove that we hold no grudges there’s the small but consequential detail of their latest offering to consider. A twin set no less and a pretty nifty one at that – ’bus pass’ leads the charge, a tightly harnessed and straitjacketed slice of wiring punctuating angular pop bleached and spiked with a head jarring urgency and equipped with a pulse racing panic stricken precision that finds itself burrowing insidiously beneath your skin and causing your vital signs to go into frenzied meltdown – of particular essential listening to lovers of ’drums and wires’ era XTC. As is always the case with these things – and being the awkward buggers we are we prefer the flip cut – the shimmer toned ’Judith cut my head off’ is a head swirling sugar twist of sun bleached bubblegum groove which unless our ears are deceiving nibbles ever so gently at the soft centred fringes of the spike topped wide eyed west coast tonalities of Teenage Fanclub, the Raspberries and Velvet Crush – does it for us. http://www.myspace.com/thelittlephilistines
Mr Cloudy ‘sensitive crop’ (rednetic). Not one but two outings via Rednetic’s ongoing minimalist series – well I say minimalist series more in a fading hope that that is actually what its called because ooh er – I’ve – er – forgotten. Goes without saying that I think I’m right in saying that we don’t need to do the domestics on these releases – that said just for those of you who’ve been spotted nodding at the back – this series features an enviable gathering of aural alchemists much admired and respected operating on the experimental borders of the ever mutating techno / house scene, each release comes pressed up on limited quantities 3 inch CD’s (I think the actual pressing is 100 – but don’t quote me – all you need to know is that if you want one you better get hauling backside to save from tears later) all housed in bespoke sleeves. To date there have been 8 instalments – this one being the eighth and featuring the talents of a certain Mr Cloudy who to friends, family and certain government authorities is better know as Sergey Barkalov. According to the accompanying press release seems Mr Cloudy has been wowing the underground cognoscenti with releases via such trendy pulse feeling online imprints as zeecc, deepindub and Kyoto digital as well as intoxicating the masses with an acclaimed issue of ‘different lives’ for Shoreless recordings. ‘sensitive crop’ is a sumptuous mind weaving tour de force featuring four tracks clocking in for a total of 21 minutes. a kaleidoscopic dream coat of sorts that courts deep dubtronic templates with an atmospheric nocturnal countenance, the sophisticated mooching sounds built upon layers of terra-forming textures and shifting mind expanding mirages that collectively gather to craft out hypnotic inclines that are rooted firmly to the spot by fat spongy bass underpins themselves succulently woven with subtle strains of eastern promise. Sadly our copy proved to be a tad temperamental in resisting repeat plays though from what we managed to salvage we suggest this is something that should be high on the radar of admirers of sounds as wide and disparate as Dub Syndicate, Biosphere and Muslim Gauze – the latter of course in his more playful and less abstracted moods. http://www.rednetic.net
Gradient ‘dispersing sectors’ (rednetic). Again same label same uber limited series, instalment numero seven sees the appearance of Gradient – better known to the record buying public as Waveform and to his parents as one Igor Arsenjev – hailing from St Petersburg Gradient or indeed more precisely Waveform’s recorded CV reveals releases in the recent past for the likes of deepindub and Schall. Traversing similar mind expanding transcendental territories as aforementioned label mate Mr Cloudy, Gradient sets out his stall with a hitherto more playful prowess, less on the atmospherics and despatched with a terra-forming fluidity that again utilising utilises trance like dub techno grooves there‘s a smooching seductive side to these more playfully sculptured cuts, best experienced in some tranquil setting, the fusion of laid back down tempo textures and purring dynamic shifts calibrated by a minimalist detailing usher in a becalming stoned like bliss toned effect with ‘dispersing sectors’ especially proving the case blessed as it is with hypnotic layers of pushing motorik kraut dub beats. That said we here as per usual must admit a fondness for the seriously sparse ‘duplex’ which despite several attempts on various players struggled somewhat to play without with any degree of grief, that said from what we managed to savour there’s something impishly locked grooved afoot here – a bit like sinister ducks wafting through the ether – and before you ask yes you do need this in your life. http://www.rednetic.net
Further listening – go to http://www.deepindub.org and hook yourselves up to the labels latest release – a three track EP by Italian electro dance floor alchemist L_Cio entitled ‘Aidni’ – we suggest you download the seductively intoxicating and free spirited slice of noir swept Australasian minimalism that is ‘ori’.
Allo’ Darling ‘the Polaroid song’ (fortuna pop). More tigerish-ly tasty twee tuneage from those hit making hipsters over at fortuna pop this time courtesy of the ever some nimble and shy eyed creatures known as Allo, Darling. Led from the fore by Aussie born Elizabeth Morris and featuring the impeccable talents of a certain Terry Edwards this lot have already raised pulses to near popping levels by virtue of a debut single released earlier this year via Wee Pop which to much tutting and uttering of words such as blast, bugger and bollocks appeared to have mischievously escaped the gaze of our ever watchful radar. Currently putting the finishing coat on their as yet untitled debut full length ’the Polaroid song’ serves as a sneaky peak as to what to expect, gorgeously silken and traced with an immediate ear catching tanginess that’s crested by chirping chiming cheek burning riffs, shimmering shuffles of breeze swaying care freeness, loveably cute hip wiggling melodies the likes of which as though imagined by some impish cross wiring of the DNA’s of the Sundays with Derrero all fondly glazed in a stirringly affectionate bitter sweet afterglow of the Siddeleys. Irresistible. flip over for the equally appetizing porch prettiness of ’will you spend new years eve with me’ – sumptuously braided in an abundance of creaking acoustic loveliness shepherded by the dimpling of lolloping banjos and whistling aplenty n’ serviced with a homely off centre though ever so subtle South Pacific undertow – bit of a gem if you ask me.
Halves / Subplots ‘split’ (hate is the enemy). Third release from the hate is the enemy imprint of whom you won’t be too surprised to hear we haven’t a clue about – though we can confirm we’ve been grinding our teeth like no-one’s business at the discovery of releases numero uno and deux seemingly flying the coup and escaping our attention. Rest assured dear folk reconnaissance troops have been dispatched to pursue said items for future evaluation. For now though this rather delightful split release which pairs together the becoming talents of Dublin’s finest – Subplots and the critically valued Halves. Both previously unknown to us – now there’s a surprise – Subplots have it seems been basking the best part of the year under the glow of purring press notices for their debut full length ’nightcycles’ from which their half of the split – ’leech’ – is culled. An autumnal little cutie it is, intricately layered, at various points pensive, considered and measured, the post rockist math calibrations delicately despatched etching an ebbing and flowing fluidity to the proceedings that’s all at once genteel, lulling and incurably isolated in both terms of texture and appearance. Flip over for the Halves who for their side of the split pact serve up ’blood branches’ and sweetly glazed beauty bounded in sweetly distressed heart tugging ribbons and sounding to us not unlike some tear stained wood shed get together featuring a gathering of old school Constellation types – and here we are thinking Sackville, Set Fire to Flames and godspeed – around a winter’s night log fire armed with aching accordions, crestfallen cellos and a hatful of hollowed heartache. Bit of a gem. www.hiterecords.com