archiv – singled out – missive 279…

archive singled out originally posted in 2011 via losing today…..

this one features…..

xup, reb capper, the little philistines, Eric de jesus and minus pilots, oomff, the despondents, Alice and her Self Karaoke Machines, tape cuts tape, banjo or freakout, cloud nothings

missive 279


Singled Out

Missive 279


‘Surrounded in sound’


Xup ‘different animal’ (self released). Possessed of a predatory post punk prowl and gouged by a distractively dead eyed sparsely detached noir stained schlock, ’different animal’ is the second full length from Ilana who armed with bass, borrowed guitar, drums and a heaving baggage of emotional distress and darkly throttled romance assumes the alter ego known as Xup. ’different animal’ is edgy. It curdles and twists to a damaged and dented swamp dragged blues dialect, it aches and howls with a deeply penetrating psychosis that at times makes Siouxsie and the Banshees’ ’the scream’ sound like a sunny walk in the park. From the moment the opening salvo – a brief entrée reprise entitled ’dawn’ rears on the horizon the atmospheric temperature markedly drops – its stark minimal pitch purveys a suffocating lust like tension gripped obsession, the fracturing riffs and the coldly detailed spidery codas intimate a souring bleak portent to come its unravelling crafting a deep unease rarely heard around these parts since the Dead Kennedy’s debut full length. The follow up to 2008’s ‘Asteroids’ (alas sadly missing in action in our gaff) ’different animal’ is no easy ride, between its crooked and punctuated codas, a dark unforgiving sensuality sits and festers silently picking away at its scabs – and that’s the cheerful bit out of the way, for amid its deep set brooding and howling wound licking Xup navigate a sounds cape whose path has been trod at some point in time by the likes of – most notably – PJ Harvey ( with the gouged blues introspection of ‘feline‘ particularly re-imaging PJH’s early career catalogue), Kat Bjelland in her Katastrophy Wife guise, Carina Round, Living with eating disorders (see ‘kara’ and ‘dorsal fin’ with its austere post punk solitude the latter cut to the bone with a deeply attractive and hypnotic monochromatic circular lock groove) and the Breeders (especially on muted twang purr of ‘fennec‘ with its subtle arabesque accents). Clouds gather, the air thick with a choking claustrophobia, ’different animal’ marks its territory with an acutely sparse and ominous presence, nagging, clawing and wounded there’s almost a cruel neglect attaching that makes your hackles stand on edge. Further along the grooves you’ll trace amid the inescapable hollowing chill that cuts through the blanked out soured strut laced ’pelt’ a beautified stratospheric bleakness that curiously blends a Cure-esque texture c. ‘pornography’ with the sorely undervalued Xmal Deutschland its an effect that’s repeated to a lesser extent on the scratched and shadow playing maddening blankness of ‘loupe / sleep’. elsewhere ’black swans’ and ‘hiss’ prime themselves as the sets sore thumbs, the former a playfully rickety nightmarish lullaby of hum drum gnarled blues dialects and eerie peek a boo calibrations which to its bosom surveys a graveyard of dismembered Fall melodic parts while the latter weaves with the kind of coolly calmed clipped psychosis that were it to hoodwink itself onto the grooves of the first four Siouxsie albums the most fervent admirer would be none the wiser. All said we must admit to being a tad overtly admiring of the Velveteen coded subterranean electro groove of ‘fwf’ spiked as it is with a Joy Division / early ‘movement’ era New Order detachment whilst gilded upon a austere retro pulse line that will find a fond ear or two among the New York imprint Weird loving community. A torn and tortured beauty.


Reb Capper ‘the half elf’ EP (backwater). Not strictly due out officially until the Summer though available now via the Backwater online shop this may well be one of the most captivating things occupying planet pop right now. ‘the half elf’ EP is the debut four track release from London based singer songwriter Reb Capper and a beautiful thing it is, a world away from the trend obsessed next big thing and quite unlike anything you’ll hear at present these cocooned sveltely seductive spell charms steal away under the cover of night from a secret place fleetingly visible in the corner of the eye, a place shyly retiring, sensitive and cradled with a timeless freewheeling playfulness. From there ’the half elf’ casts and weaves its timid and tender tapestry pitched upon an axis to which the footprints of Kate Bush, Rickie Lee Jones and Sarah McLachlan once trod. Lovingly turned with a spectral folk finesse and traced by the occasional string treatments and the Brontean blush of the most delicately detailed of piano braids, these defence disarming opines crush and caress with equal measure ’the diving bell’ in particular aches with a tortured tenderness that hits low. Throughout the vocal stresses and inclines dispel a siren-esque like supernatural lilt while the melodies are deeply enriched with a vibrant glowing texture as they purr and softly mould and magically curdle your listening space. From the breeze bound rustic flurries of the deceptively dainty demur of the lovelorn ‘securely insecurely’ to the stop in your tracks stone dead melancholic introspection of the lost and soured passion eking throughout the hollowed hurt of the parting ‘untouchable’, Capper reveals a hidden artistry whose serene persona is subtly scratched with an overwhelming passion bubbling at its core, the best moment of the set being ‘king and country’ dinked as it is with a vaguely Mary Hopkins like airiness and tailored with a tip toeing cascade that skips from the skeletal to the grand blossoming to the punctuation of brass florets with unbridled mercurial majesty. A most captivating, unreal and enchantingly exquisite debut.


The Little Philistines ‘hot phone’ (self released). Officially out early February, ’hot phone’ is the welcomed return to these pages of the much admired Little Philistines, a less frazzled and skewed persona from the trademark old pervades the disjointed grooves of this little gem. nonetheless don‘t let that fool you for ‘hot phone’ is still riddled and punctuated by a acutely angular contortionist framing, its sharply intuitive melodic beading harks to the off kilter subdued new wave groove that was for a brief time the hallmark of Joe Jackson, add to the mix a dash of the Pooh Sticks and a smidgeon of a youthful and less abrasively charmed Violent Femmes and the distressed awkwardness of a ‘swoon’ era McAloon and Co and you have yourself something that with deliberate precision may just find itself wiring deep into your psyche and partying hard.


Eric de jesus and minus pilots ‘we won’t be here forever’ (future recordings). As exquisitely packaged a release as we’ve had the pleasure of seeing for an age, so gorgeous looking in fact that since it arrived at our gaff we’ve simply marvelled at it in the process almost afraid to open it for fear of damaging it delicate detailing. Extremely limited in nature – and when I say extremely limited – I mean extremely limited – not certain for sure exactly how many of these things are at large in record world but various sites seem to indicate somewhere between 50 and a 100 – and quite frankly you need this in your life like yesterday. The release itself sees the collaborative experimental union of Philadelphia based writer Eric de Jesus and UK ambi-post rockers Minus Pilots. The background to it goes like this – having published his short novella Eric de Jesus commissioned Minus Pilots to craft a CD to accompany his narrative. 76 pages in length the novella comes housed as an attractively tied and silk screened soft bound book replete with full colour illustrations to include the CD which itself arrives in its own card stock silk screen sleeve. I’m suspecting this is the first time we’ve featured Minus Pilots in these occasional observations, the band have already wowed the more tuned in cognoscenti courtesy of their ‘superior proof of cinema’ full length a few years back via panic arrest. They describe their sonic serenades as being ‘designed for listening through headphones while gazing at the stars’ which admirable as they are for summing matters up succinctly is akin to having your own dog and barking. I use the term sonic serenades deliberately because that’s what in essence these delightfully dinked and dainty 10 track trance odyssey. Of course future recordings ought to be no strangers to regular observers of these pages given that they play home to the amazing we all inherit the moon (of whom we’ve just discovered on account of a spot of research have nudged beneath our radar a set entitled ‘when we finally fall sleep’ – a release whose absence is causing no end of stress to our hi-fi at the moment) and the ascent of everest both of whom shared sides of an absolutely divine split adventure a year or so ago and its primarily these two label bedfellows to which Minus Pilots reveal an aural affinity. Navigating dense dream weaved signatures more readily found within the early catalogue of Kranky records, Minus Pilots achieve their sound by way of a blending of looping tape manipulations, degraded electronics and bass montages, references to Gnac / Budd / Yellow6 are all too apparent when countered by something as richly layered and textured as ‘transmission minus the pilots’ – throughout this most engaging and demurring of sets the delivery is minimal the effect entrancing and serene, while the application may well be sparse the outcome is expansive, the mood part melancholic is traced with a spacious calming detachment, the echoing florets – seemingly a trademark detail – woo and caress with a hypnotic slight of hand its almost like sonar ripples reverberating outwards in wave forms resulting from a clipping riff disturbing the sedate sonic status quo. Add to this the subtle use of clicks, crackles and scratches and a warming intimacy curdles the equation – all said perhaps make your first port of call upon embarking this orbital excursion the forlorn cosmic call signing ‘we are your escape vehicle’ such spectral harmonic beauty is a rare thing. As to ‘we won’t be here forever’ – a master class in lazy eyed lunar lullabies. Exquisite. – I really wish I could tell you more about these chaps / chap or indeed chapesses if that indeed be the case – however since my space decided to bugger up things with their new design – something I note which was forced upon the community rather than being allowed an option – the layouts are now difficult to navigate – add to that the links don’t always work – quite frankly it’s a frustrating mess and something which shortly we’ll be leaving to look to pastures anew. I say this because we’d love to furnish you to your hearts content about the where’s and wherewithal of oomff – there’s an album kicking around that much we know – oomff hails from Corby – yet beyond that I fear losing the will to live trying to track around my space unfriendly code cock up. Grumbles aside three cuts feature on the oomph player – all we assume culled from that aforementioned full length, both the frost glazed ambient sparseness afforded to ‘where the shores meet’ and ‘16-9’ are in their own right serenely coaxed oceanic overtures, lonesome and lulling and both perfect for maximum listening pleasure solemnly serenading through headphones at full volume in order to saviour their statue-esque panoramic grandeur. That said nothing quite prepares you for the dinked and defences disarming rush engaged by ’gold and red’ – an exquisitely enchanting moment of brittle brushed beauty cast upon a playfully alluring oriental motif and treated with a lushly vibrant and teetering classical signature – a youthful post YMO Sakamoto anyone. Rest assured we will endeavour to track down that album for further investigation.


The despondents ‘dress in black’ (dirty waters). Arriving to rip your hi-fi a new hide – we picked up this little teaser track from the Dirty Water site. Culled from their self titled debut full length which I do believe is out and about right now and causing all manner of spike topped carnage in the aisles and racks of well informed record emporiums across this fine nation, the Despondents play it loud and nasty, a toxic three chord garage grooved fuck you salute grizzled and growling with the kind of abrasive snot nosed attitude that was a given trademark of anything born of the hand of Stiv Bators which in short means we need that album in our lives. Need we say more – indeed yes here’s a video thing of the scowling scamps….doing ‘got nothing to lose’
 – regular viewers to these pages will be all to aware of our fondness for the strange, the unusual and quirky and none come more quirky nor strangely un usual as Alice and her Self Karaoke Machines. Perhaps it was the name that first attracted us – well that aligned to the fact that the sounds creaking from the sound player are blessed with a damaged and dented oddness. Alas again no information or exciting titbits of daring deeds done or planned by Alice and Co aside the that she / they hail from Brighton and describe their melodic mutations as break core / concrete / shoe gaze and though you might be forgiven for thinking hell that’s a broad sonic canvas on which to tweak your creative bow – one listen to these nimbly framed hand crafted curios informs that amid these crooked and kooky waif like chirping delights that there’s a budding albeit mad aural alchemist busy at work. Here you’ll be summarily entertained by the frantic toytronic timpani of the excitable spring coiled clockwork cascade of ‘the ants ea view’ or the snoozing micro sounds of the faintly festooned glassy daydream shimmers that sweetly engage ’it didn happen at ian franchis’ alluding to it a childlike ’bafpuss’ aura. Equally touched with a wide eyed nursery like playfulness is the deceptive alluring coo and swoon of the chattering clicks found on ‘the hatching larvae’s ear view’. be warned though its not all rosie and jim in toy tronic world for up pop’s ’feedback fight gently’ which deceptive as it may be has the mood forking to venture another path whereupon through the foggy haze a delicately classically tinged celtic drone recital casually arcs past and off into the distance.- godspeed admirers take note. Our favourite moment though is the gypsy jig styled folk fancy ’the black beetle’s ear view’ a wonderfully sprightly rustic hued snapshot of a merry old English village green mayday jamboree. We need to hear more.


Tape Cuts Tape ’pagan recorder’ (jezus factory). There’s a strange sense of displacement about this – the debut release by trio Tape Cuts Tape – as it constantly seeks – whether by accident or design – to throw you off balance and reeling about your footing. It’s a displacement intensified by its wilful want to avoid categorization or at least settle to a given groove or style. Instead it flits almost apparition like fancifully drawing from this and that. Headed up by Ruby Trouve one time of deus fame and these days seemingly spreading himself thin by having a hand in almost anything of recorded relevance escaping the territory of Belgium, Tape Cuts Tape features long time friends Eric Thielemans and Lynn Cassiers – the fruits of whose first collaborative recordings are gathered into the 12 track set ’pagan recorder’. a quietly beguiling set it is to which applies a disarming scatterbrained brush to its realisation that equally guaranteed to puzzle and perplex as it reward and amaze. Here you’ll find fixed between the grooves elements of distressed post rock cues, subtle jazz montages, disturbed chamber folk interludes (‘vacuum’), shamanic folk blues (‘reckless’) and razored skull grinding kraut boogie (the locked grooved grizzle of the psyched out shimmer tone of ‘this red’ all gorgeously bathed and haloed by Cassiers almost celestial opine to which gathers in stature and density to tail off like a futuristic Jefferson Airplane – while we are here we may as well add to the list the stoner space psyche of ‘layers’ whose enjoyment suffered from the quality control issues present on the CD). From the art jazz blues tomfoolery of the parting ’exit’ shaped in the kind of schizoid no wave crookedness we’ve come to love and expect from Medicine and Duty to ‘petrol blue’ in many ways is the albums sore thumb – rudimentary and focused its longingly brushed with a numbing down tempo groove more prevalent of the 90’s Bristol scene upon which a curious dark seduction is weaved as though some tryst between Garbage, Portishead and the Sneaker Pimps had been hatched, ‘pagan recorder’ is one of those weirdly wonderful records that every so often arrive and depart and without so much as a by your leave have you jaw agape and in its absence has you struggling to nail exactly what it is about it that caused the hairs on your neck to go all a frenzy and your ears to tentively prick up to attention. Both cut from the same melodic cloth ‘heavy’ and ’choosen profession’ offer perhaps the sets most explicit pop moments – the former sounding not unlike the Delgados scratched and splintered by a laid back and chilled Flying Saucer Attack and then delicately detailed with a nimble finger plucked riff artistry more becoming of Vinni Reilly having been commissioned to score some bleakly beautiful retrace by David Lynch of ’twin peaks’ with the latter hollowed, spectral and decidedly hymnal in countenance grained with a deceptively dreamy in a gloom gathering way as it navigates between a choking sonic forest pitched with Artery on one side and the Virgin Passages all the time orchestrated by a brooding and bloodied Bang Bang Machine. All said best of what is a strangely beguiling release is the fleet of foot macabre minimalism of the unsettling and creepy ‘night passage’ which amid the chill toned freak folk atmospherics lurks what could easily be Bjork’s impish elfin alter ego.


Banjo or Freakout ‘105’ (Memphis industries). Apparently named such as it was his 105th recorded demo, Banjo or Freakout is just one of the alter ego’s afforded to the prolific Alessio Natalizia (see Walls) an Italian multi instrumental these days found residing in London. ‘105’ marks his debut outing for Memphis Industries and a sweetly dinked thing it is, it was a perfect yuletide soundtrack around our gaff a week or three ago though I suspect it wasn’t intended as such, maybe it was its reclining lullaby lilts and its distractive sleepy headed wistfulness and comforting smoky toned campfire caress that had us all a swooning in the aisles (lighters optional you understand), throw in the yearning forlorn vocals and the fuzzy felt glow to which it exuberates and blimey our kid a little lazy eyed gem is what you got on your hands or more precisely on your turntable. On the flip side of said disc sits ’dead in the snow’ – more sweetly glazed honey toned drift pop which tinkers and tingles with a frosty ambition of a youthfully snowbound Animal Collective meets the Earlies – almost hymnal in design and disarming in effect and peppered with a subtle celebratory casting that makes you feel all aglow – hey ho. If memory serves there’s an album of this stuff looming near side on the horizon.


Cloud Nothings ‘should have’ (Wichita). Sun glazed power pop all the way from Cleveland, lifted from their forthcoming debut full length platter ‘should have’ is an urgent sugar rush of bliss kissed bubble grooved shimmer pop, effervescent, feisty and cut with the kind of tailored brittleness and feel good hooks that make you want to skip, swoon and shag the nearest movable object in sight, mind you those among you less inclined to be so boisterous may fancy moulding together old Orchids and Pastels wax offerings from yesteryear as a near worthy comparison. Go buy.



And that’s your lot till next time (tomorrow). As ever thanks to all those who’ve made these ramblings possible whether they be labels, musicians, press people etc….and of course to you for dropping by and taking the time. As to submissions and correspondence we are now on face book where you post comments and recommendations on the wall.


All that leaves me to say is happy hunting and take care of yourselves.




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