archiv – singled out – missive 244 …..

Archive Singled Out originally published …. 2009 via losing today …..

features …..

full scream ahead, bleachbaby, thumpermonkey, the brothers movement, charlotte hatherly, erland and the carnival, steve abel, gable, al qaeda, dossano, the vinyl stitches….

missive 244
Singled Out
Missive 244

For Kel n’ Mark

Singled Out ‘everyday is like Sunday’

Hey ho pop kids we are on the move – so we’re looking for digs – preferably a house in South West London – any ideas or suggestions welcome – okay that’s the crap bit out of the way….

The important bit – records…..

Its hands up time in the haplessly homely surroundings of the singled out sound shed because somehow for one reason or another this review was actually done and dusted many weeks ago and somehow got lost in the traffic – don’t ask how it just did and all we can do is hang our head in embarrassment………

Full Scream Ahead ‘we write our anthems’ (sugar shack). Indeed they do – six of them as it happens. This debut EP has just literally popped through our mail box earlier today and found itself onto our hi-fi not 20 minutes since to frankly hold it hostage. Not strictly out and about in record shops for a month or two Full Scream Ahead are a Bristol based quartet whose six track calling card is blessed with the kind of polished production, acutely crafted snaking riffage, hip hugging shimmies and emotion shifting gear changing effervescence that makes radios pine and coo in abandoned admiration. Its an unrelenting set that dips, swerves, sears and veers between the euphoric, the turbulent and crushing, maximum teen angst drilled to the boards with a head nodding rampant and frenzied flair that may well instil seizure attacks upon those of you much loving of your sounds coming across like a flag waving crusade advancing on the horizon – and here we are thinking primarily of the Alarm as your starting marker albeit refracted and stone washed through an MTV walloping viewfinder and clipped with a brittle pop primed emo exuberance replete with Edge styled riffolas, stateside soft core MOR metal and a demurring drive pop chassis. Evidently indebted to your Green Day’s, your Foo Fighters and your Mega City 4’s – obviously the panic attacking ’to be you’ and the lovelorn prowl of ‘heart still beating’ are the immediate choice cuts here both drizzled in shrilled pop accents and acutely insidious stratospheric hooks but fast forward through the set to the pause you in your tracks reflective ’play with the lights’ as it rampantly ruptures and bears its teeth to achieve a somewhat grizzled meltdown somewhere around the 2.30 mark.

Bleachbaby ‘stamp her out’ (self released). This three track debut release from buzz causing Manchester based quintet Bleachbaby came wrapped inside a pres release promising that the sounds primed and perched within the enclosed grooves had an air of Transvision Vamp, Blondie and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s about their being. A good call it should be said for opening salvo ‘stamp her out‘ certainly does smart, shimmer and strut like a seductively pouting and purring butter wouldn’t melt lip curled sneer of a Wendy James fronted beat combo all bubble wrapped within a feisty coalescing pop thrilled neo death disco dance grooved grind that’s admittedly reminiscent of the much missed Brand Violet. Clipped with a dirtily decadent snaking riff ‘control me’ broods and burns like some slick handed pulse racing come on that freefalls through the cracks between something bitten with a wanton primal urge and yet something hitherto coyly innocent either that or some bastard lovechild borne of an illicit bunk up between Curve and Garbage. All said its ‘she knows it’ that possesses all the smarts which unless our ears do deceive is bathed with the same entrancingly smoothed pop delicacy as was once the given remit of the much missed Melys in their more mellowing and tonally playful demurring persona. Ones to watch we suspect.

Got an email from Michael Woodman ex of Brand Violet and these days trading weird and wobbly punch drunk pops as Thumpermonkey who have it should be said had the most unnerving effects on our hi-fi system whenever their wares have come within earshot….here’s a video for a track called ’419’ from their forthcoming opus ’we bake our bread beneath her holy fire’ – an absolute gem – first listens here and we are thinking the latest class of prog revivalists Porcupine Tree, Future Kings of England and Radiohead colluding in an epically psychedelic fry up of a jam liberating as were lost nuggets from Gabriel era Genesis, Soft Machine and King Crimson – of the track Michael reflects – ’I think we’ve outdone ourselves on this one……’ – Michael is of course patron founder and president of the understatement league……begging letters have been issued post haste to secure said album for future appraisal….

‘419’ by Thumpermonkey Lives! from Michael Woodman on Vimeo.

The Brothers Movement ‘standing still’ (rocket girl). Buggering hell this is good – frankly responsible for leaving us paralysed and weak at the knees in a haze of wooziness has this little lysergic lovely. Formerly known as Mainline and already the cause of heart fluttering swoons among pop writers with well tuned tastes and an ear for a drop dead gorgeous gem groove when they hear one courtesy of the debuting ‘blind’ EP from late last year. There’s an album mooted to be looming large on the horizon, though for now by way of a teaser comes ’standing still’ to set your speakers in stunned awe and your hips a shimmied. The attached press release makes reference of the Dandy Warhols – a good call when you consider that this 3 and a half minute nugget is blessed with a most unsubtle sassiness that’s threaded through the kind of kaleidoscopic pop aperture that was much a feature of the briefly latent paisley pop scene that reared its head at the moment when the woefully named baggy scene passed the baton to the odiously named brit pop brigade. Audacious and immediate, ’standing still’ is a finitely honed shot of spangled beat pop lavishly rooted upon a crunching glimmer twinned riffage and percussive underpin that suggests some unholy glam tweaked alliance between something purloined from both Bolan and Glitter’s back catalogue, nail to it some nifty snaking dialects some head expanding psyche calibrations and a veritable ‘fuck you drop dead cool’ Mod strut and bob’s your floppy fringed uncle. Mind you flip side ’lay alone’ literally trashes it out of sight, a smouldering honey crusted sweetie that’s softly bathed in the same revelatory glow as found on the Mamas and Papas ‘California dreaming’ and Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘don’t fear the Reaper’ – add to the mix some softly radiating uber cool shade adorned psyche much loved at one time by the criminally overlooked Autumn Leaves and a smidgeon of early career Somatics and prepare to swoon at the timeless pop majesty of it all.

Erland and the Carnival ‘was you ever see’ (static caravan). We’ve got oodles and oodles of information on this latest slice Static Caravan crafted groove. This time courtesy of the debut outing from Erland and the Carnival – a like minded collective culling together the gathered talents of Erland Cooper (as in Erland), Simon Tong (Verve and latterly of the Good the Bad the Queen), David Nock (the Fireman’s engineer) and Andy Bruce, Danny Wheeler and Georgia Sands (as in the Carnival). There’s promise of an album in the very near future, the band coming together through a series of coincidences and connected acquaintances happily describe their sound as something akin to Ennio Morricone meets Love meets 13th Floor Elevators meets Joe Meek – it’s a likeness not lost on us when the crackles, hisses and pops of ‘the tempest’ peeks through the haze and rears itself into view and meters out what can only be described as the arriving over the horizon of a flag bearing cavalry fanfare marching to the sound of a panic shocked psyche tweaked carnival-esque cortege whose disarming DNA matrix appears to be the fusion of Lee’s ’Along again or’ and Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich’s ’Legend of Xanadu’ with a healthy side serving of the Tornados’ ’telstar’ all nailed down with a pulse racing wind swept dust scorched soft psyche and gritty wide screen grandeur. Snuggled up on the same flip side you’ll find a breezily and homely re-drill of Leonard Cohen’s ’you have loved enough’ all sequined with a ghostly old country campfire glow that truth be told id disturbingly affectionate. That said the obvious pride of the pack is the lead out ‘was you ever see’ – a track based loosely on a traditional Welsh folk song about Cosher Bailey, an iron monger who builds his own steam engine invites along all the local society faces to board its launch only to have it get stuck in the tunnel because its too wide. Anyhow Erland and Co set about concocting something of an uber cool soft psyche brew that aside sounding not unlike a fairground vamped lysergic waltz drilled aplenty with stepping stone staccato rhythms, 60’s key montages and shimmer toned rays of Stereolab-ish space age bachelor pad decor has it should be said something of ’la folie’ era Stranglers about its presence. Suppose you’ll be wanting it now – and why not – though be fair warned – comes in an edition of 500 only.

Charlotte Hatherley ’Alexander’ (little sister). Maybe its just me but has the experience of working alongside the audaciously talented Natasha Khan nee Bats for Lashes rubbed off on Ms Hatherley to some measurable degree. ’Alexander’ – the second single culled from her forthcoming third full length ’new worlds’ – is faultless. In fact we’ve had a sly peak at ’new worlds’ and initial thoughts being fed from our ears to head suggest its her most focused collection of work to date, but then Hatherley is of that rare breed of musician whose star almost exploded before it first had a chance to ascend, dazzle and glint (the Ash years) and yet had managed to crawl from the wreckage and for want of a better word – rehabilitate herself. Weaving within an inescapably entrancing tonal tapestry that veers from the exchanges of the sweetly lilting to the euphorically roller coaster like ’Alexander’ is about you in an instant like an air borne virus. The beckoning and affectionate lulls of the opening moments are arrested with a delicately soft psyche folk acoustic tremble all twinkling and intimately hushed with a woodland charmed fancifulness that draws you near possessing you with its enchantment before the spectacle blossoms briefly to shift swiftly through the gears to fracture and soar with such consuming desire that you’re literally knocked backside over bosom by the velocity of the knuckled down strut grooved Peter Buck styled power chord chugs only to recoil back to its opining yearning thus setting into motion the quiet / loud dynamic. Something which it should be said reaches critical state at approximately 2.59 wherein for just a solitary split second the dividing worlds collide and phrasing of the chords abruptly alters and changes course and in so doing perhaps provides one of the best moments we’ve heard all year. Flip over for the BLACKnRED mix of the same cut – here given an electro shocked shave and dutifully spruced up with a subtle mutant drum n’ bass meets dub tweaked futuro funk phrasing which given enough exposure should cause temperatures to rise when it does its thing on the most select of club floors throughout the land.

Gable ‘EP2’ (LOAF). No idea what happened to EP1 – its absence here being met with the occasional puzzled and perplexed looks not to mention the accompanying of grumbles and the odd teeth gnash. You may recall us fondly swooning in print or rather more in written word to the sounds found on Gable’s ’I’m okay’ full length released earlier this year – see missive 218 – as a follow up to their debut opus ’7 guitars with a cloud of milk’ again another release who absence without a note from its mother has been duly noted, recorded and remembered (cue – more teeth grinding and disbelieving expressions). I think its fair comment to assume that Gable are clearly bonkers and perhaps not your usual French pop types, in fact now we come to think of it they don’t seem to fit anywhere such is their want for concocting pearls of clipped crookedness which appears flighty and shall we agree to say – scrambled, a kind of more fractured, skewif and deranged Daniel Johnston if truth be told (none more than on ‘I‘m okay‘ – incidentally a reply to a previous Johnston album ‘hi how are you‘). Four tracks feature on this brand spanking new EP – total duration just shy of the 8 minute mark and featuring a trio of recently penned head scratching nuggets as well as a welcome return for the aforementioned ’I’m okay’ title track called obviously ’I’m okay’. the beauty here is Gable’s refusal to be pigeon holed, of course there’s a certain Guided by Voices charm to them as well as youthful Gorki’s Zygotic Mynci wackiness about their ways, ‘puree hip hop’ could easily be Tom Waits locked in some weird and wired Beefheart jam with Eugene Chadbourne, rhythmically all over the shop the ideas, the styles and the u-turns coming at you thick and fast leaving you in a spin. ’old policeman’ with its swaying off kilter tavern tweaked shanty like punch drunk demeanour shifts dynamic without any warning leaving you feeling obliged nay inclined to make sure the track you thought you were listening to is in fact the same one you started with such is its curious knack of changing lanes and swimming down stream. All said it the parting ‘Georges W Perrier’ that was found pulling heavy on our ear lobes – curbed with a campfire cosiness and a worrying feline accompaniment – lovably kooky, can’t say fairer than that eh.

Steve Abel ‘heart of misery (the Bough)’ (kins’land). One of our greatest regrets this year – and there have been many – is our recent realisation that we never committed pen to paper or more precisely finger to PC key stroke in cobbling together an appraisal of Mr Abel’s recent ‘flax happy’ full length. Its been much a puzzle for us given that when said album arrived in our gaff its became for a while the chosen soundtrack with which we wound down to in the wee small hours. Comprising of four cuts this EP gathers together a solitary cut from his ‘little death’ debut and a trio of gems from the aforementioned ‘flax happy’ – the sounds within all at once stirring, tender, intimate and crushed. Veering between the mellowing and melancholic, Abel’s nearest reference marker is first and foremost the criminally overlooked June Panic none more so is this the case than on the head bowed ghostly glow of darkly neglect ’gone’ with its early career Black Heart Procession trappings, measured and elegantly daubed with the same richly vibrant intimacy that loitered amid the grooves of Panic’s ’horror vacui’ set from a few years ago. That said elements of Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen in his more considered and wounded moments are never to far from the mix, the former certainly the subject of nods via ’sweetheart’ though it’s the chemistry brought to bear by the book-ending duets with Jolie Holland that seal this set and make it something of an essential purchase. ’heart of misery’ may just prove to be one of the saddest things you’ve ever heard, there’s something beautifully broken about this tear swept lip trembler, Abel’s ever watchful melancholic murmurs transfused with the spirit of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash and tempered by the same resigned resonance of Leonard Cohen after a failed happy pill detox wither in the weeping wind drifts of the sympathetic string arrangements with Ms Holland’s supportive softly purred Texan tones shimmering softly with a sepia streaked timelessness. yet in all fairness it’s the parting ’cinders in the sun’ that’ll floor you in just one brief listen, beneath its hitherto aching cello and fiddle braids a warmth filled gospel tweaked road folk blues stirs, swirls and seduces.

Al Qaeda ‘collaborative works’ (scotch tapes). We don’t mind admitting that we’ve been eagerly awaiting the day that this beauty would appear on our welcome mat and immediately find its way onto our turntable since an excitable and chuffed as hell Al of Scotch Tapes alerted us to it a little while back of its imminent appearance. This is strictly limited to just 300 copies, all pressed up on seven inches of ultramarine marble vinyl with fold out sleeve and inserts and is set to fly off the racks and become a much sought after nugget in the coming months. Why you might ask – well aside being the latest outing from the eclectic genre bending workbench of San Fran trio Al Qaeda this brace of cuts sees them collaborating with Mike Watt (Minutemen, Firehose… ), Gabe Serbian (Locust) and Chris Carrico (Aarktica) on one side while on the other again with Mr Watt and the recently relocated experimental hip hop duo Occasional Detroit. Both entitled ’untitled’ (I’m sure that’s bad grammar on my part), the lead out cut once emerging though what appears to be a momentary sleepy headed haze grips you with the initial impression that your listening to two separate songs being performed as one. Takes a second or two for your head to acclimatise and once attuned you find yourself greeted to a seriously head expanding slice of mind evaporating psyched out locked down motorik kraut groove which unless our ears do deceive sounds not unlike a primitive studio face off jam between a gathering of Silver Apples, Amon Dull II and Neu! types. That said we’ve just discovered that we’ve been playing it at the wrong speed – this point being brought home to us by the fact that the flip side when played at 45rpm sounds like the Chipmunks on crack. Mind you even at 33rpm it still sounds like some mind warping out there cosmically enhanced psychotropic stew favoured by the likes of the Psychic Ills – just means its longer in duration and that you have the added bonus of being able to play it at a choice of speeds without need to worry that your radar is going to wooble. Flip the disc for ’untitled (2)’ which we are certain in saying we have it at the right speed – ho hum – and you find the Al Qaeda troop on familiar grounds and impishly messing with your head as is their given want, there’s a doomed menace at work here, a haze of cross wired transmissions as though someone is tweaking with the radio dial settings, a grimly lurching flat lined and oppressively monochrome industrial tweaked rhythmic underpin all metered out to the occasional infusion of squalling aural abrasions from beneath which and buried deep in the mix the Occasional Detroit dudes do their thang. Admirers of 70 Gwen Party will certainly find much to swoon about. Don’t think you need me telling you its all essential stuff.

The Vinyl Stitches ‘beautiful mistake’ (death pop). Currently razzing up on the outside lane in a choking haze of burning rubber London’s Death Pop imprint is fast becoming our favourite wasted label. Having already blown us away with outings by Atomic Suplex and Brain Washington whilst not forgetting quite frankly the horniest slice of wax we’ve heard this year in the guise of Teeth’s ’god of sex’ – you’d be right in thinking how could these dudes up the ante on such a formidable back catalogue roster. Well in the finest tradition of Estrus the blighters do – for the Vinyl Stitches sound like tripped out beatniks recently released on parole from a 40 plus year incarceration inside of Lux n’ Poison Ivy’s basement. The Vinyl Stitches hail from some subterranean swamp deep in the hearty of London – a trio raised, informed and drawn together by a shared love of trash culture, grainy horror b-movies, vintage pedals, kitsch and an aural overdose of 60’s garage beat – its a passion shared on this their – we assume – debut release. Four primitive floor rumblers are what you get for your hard earned dosh, as per usual stamped upon seven inches of juke box cut black wax and suitably housed in a smoking Death Pop jacket. ’beautiful mistake’ opens the set – a scuffed up and scuzzily lunging lo-fi bone rattler, raw n’ razor sharp and cut finitely in uber cool hip hugging togs, broken in leather winks and brandishing some of the wildest and most decadently damaged three chord spiked blues riffola you’ll hear this side of a time travelling romp back to a mid 60’s down town garage beat club night – fans of the Nomads and the Fuzztones will swoon. Over on the flip both the slinkily strut grooved ’I said alright’ and lust laced wigged flipped psychosis of ‘runaway baby’ are prime time retro stylus salivating relics that should fry the minds and be the cause of admiring head nodding glances from garage punk purists and patrons of the legendary ‘Nuggets’ compilations alike, the former a ringer for the Troggs the latter a bruisingly frantic face off between the Standells and the Seeds. That said its on the reverb fuzz soaked ‘panther sex’ which for us edges it in the bugger me this is good stakes, a howling slab of serious smoked and wasted Link Wray styled shade adorned primal prowl, so dirty it literally slides and slithers from the grooves and so salaciously sassy that you have the unerring urge to do bad things. Essential in case you hadn’t already worked that one out for yourselves. – just as we were winding down yesterday night and putting up the shutters on the singled out shed we received a message from Eliza – better known to us and hopefully to you (and if she isn’t we want to know exactly why not) as Dossano who you might recall we mentioned with much fondness several missives ago when we described her as a Nico to Cheval Sombre’s Velvet Underground. Possessed of an unquestionably mercurial talent and currently putting together a demo CD which by rights should make labels weep and coo in equal measure, Eliza made mention of two new tracks that she’s just made available on her my space player. ’monster’ and ’desert of love’ are exquisitely tailored in what appears to be a trademark dark beauty. Both are haunting leaving the listener to sense and suspect they were crafted by the hand of a hitherto broken, crushed and bruised persona. I’ll start by saying of ’desert of love’ that it will tear at your very soul and leave you destroyed and abandoned such is its resigned demeanour, Eliza’s vocals clipped with such an irrefutable sadness its as though it was born for sorrow – its DNA fused with elements of Nico, London, Carina Round, Hope Sandoval and less obviously perhaps Liz Fraser mainly due to the quivering timbre phrasing – this trembling gem is pitted against a deceptively intense and distressed introspective glow of a hollow and haunting sepia trimmed minimalist folk weave whose remit it would appear is to sting and scar as its lovelorn hanged dog persona seeks the solitude and solace of a withdrawn shaded retreat. There’s an innately betrayed longing about ‘monster’ riddled with an inescapably intense passion, through the fog blurred apertures its entrancing charms beckon like the fabled calls of Sirens seeking to lure sailors to their untimely doomed fate as they crash upon the rocks, at first hand its spectral scuffed blues intones immediately recall a youthful PJ Harvey but then scratch a little deeper and beneath the Spartan desolate wind chills there’s the subtle undertow of a ghostly like intoxicating blissfulness much reminiscent of a fragile and detached sounding Grace Slick opining a skeletal ’white rabbit’ love charm.
We suggest you bombard her with messages of adoration and while your there wish her a happy birthday.

Thanks for being here back in a few days with more of the same only the titles will be changed – for correspondence type things see somewhere above after the opening credits. As always a heartfelt thanks to all who’ve made these rambling affairs possible.

Till next time take good care of yourselves –


‘You have just been blessed by the Sunday Experience‘.

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