An extended archive find first published via losing today in 2006, this is the six part Missive 85 ….
… features …..
Dreams of tall buildings and scott smallwood, clap your hands say yeah, stars, shy child, architecture in Helsinki, leave for land, controller controller, two gallants, south, new order, the isles, louie, c-jags, deadzilla, the evenings, open mouths, new projects, shimuru curves, Morton valence, the delilah’s, Gledhill, mr fogg, last stop china town, lupen crook, mushi mushi, the boyfriends, yellow6, decoration, Ciccone, white rose movement, Cadillac, Nancy Wallace, the aeroplanes, the bank holidays, foreign born, the lair of the minotaur, T. Raumschmiere, parisman, mugstar, magnetaphone, the ivories, the shortwave set, Oosterdok, cherubs, infrasound, lucky pierre, david ford, the tambourines, circulus, clearlake, omerta, louis xvi, Mundane Music / Sanjuro 77, broken dolls, miss mcgarry, the new shapes, besnard lakes, Darren hayman, inch time, the paddington’s, tunng, humanzi, the chemistry experiment, the sonic art, suicide sports club, cathode, big stride, mew, The Django Black Ensemble, early year ….
Missive 85 – Radio Edit
�Often quoted, sometimes remarked upon yet never read we wave two big fingers at those arse kissing band wagon hopping, clueless music industry nobs so you don�t have to.�
Dedicated with much love to Kelly and Mark
Singled Out �the home of essential eargear – blowing it�s own trumpet since 2001 mainly because no-one else does�
Blimey bet you never thought you�d see the day – another Singled Out – hey if it makes you feel better then neither did I. That said we are back and boy are we ready to kick big botty with what is admittedly the biggest Missive we have ever committed to cyber paper – a huge hulking baby serving as our way of gently dipping our toes into the new year.
So then apologies for all those we have ignored, forgotten, mislaid and ignored – ha ha I is of course joking its been a fair old hectic time of late since we last crossed swords – ill health, ill computers, ill health (again) and a general air of apathy have all colluded together to bring the mighty monolithic missive to a near bone crunching conclusion. Kind words, begging letters, a proposed mass jump from the Thames Bridge in protest (albeit to be more realistic the �mass� element turned out to be someone�s long discarded teddy bear) and a hearty influx of, quite frankly, records of the highest dogs bollocks appeal suggested to me that 2006 will be the best year for sounds since er last year.
Okay rambling aside – address for communications is still email@example.com for cyber and please be mindful of the fact that our PC went kaput quite recently and as a result we lost about three months worth of emails so if you have emailed since say – September and never got a reply then please by all means email again…
The proposed Singled Out revamp is under way – well I say underway I am now actively looking to see whether this is actually viable – sadly I have been in touch with Losing Today HQ for help and assistance to no avail – I don�t want to get embroiled in name calling but after over 5 years with these people it kinda says it all so it is quite likely that we will be looking to pastures new – though we will still have some kind of presence on the LT web site so any budding web designers out there who want to try and convert into reality the weird and wonderful ideas currently pogoing like a bad �un around my rather spaceous yet empty head then drop me an email – mucho gratis.
In our absence four more heroes of sorts left us – Richard Pryor – perhaps the most dangerous comic to have stumbled upon a stage finally lost his long term battle with multiple sclerosis – Pryor rewrote the rule book to suit himself and in so doing opened up doors that perhaps many might have wished he�d left ell alone – his mixture of perversity, self induced exorcism and creasing like warped viewpoint on life made for an often volatile and yet demanding spectacle the closest of which only touched upon in later years by the late Bill Hicks. Xmas day saw the quiet passing of free improv maestro Derek Bailey who succumbed to complications arising from motor neurone disease – check out the latest issue of the Wire – issue 264 for an excellently written extended obituary / tribute and while you are at it go to the BBC Radio 3 site and point your muse at the listen again option to hear last Friday�s �Jazz on 3� special. Lastly and by no means least Link Wray. Before Dick Dale and Duane Eddy there was Link. Much loved by the Cramps et al fraternity, Link was the quintessential embodiment of cool – leathers, shades and the ability to procure the most primal and sleazy like sound thought possible from a guitar – referred to by many as the Godfather of the power chord Link�s early forays into fuzz / distort territories achieved him cult status in the 50�s with wide spread radio play bans fearing his instrumentals would corrupt the youth of the day or something similarly churlish. Last and by no means least – Ronnie Barker sadly passed away in November -multi talented as though the phrase was thought up with him in mind – aside his long standing TV career as one half of the Two Ronnies exercising his cleverly crafted word plays and script writing (read the immortal �four �andles� sketch), he was also the world renowned star of classic sitcoms such as Porridge and Open all Hours whilst not forgetting playing the long suffering Able Seaman �Fatso� Johnson in the legendary radio show the Navy Lark alongside a stellar cast that featured Jon Pertwee and Leslie Phillips. Our thoughts and wishes go to friends and families alike.
Current listening habits – album wise – that our whirling around in our head space – FortDax �Divers� (which we have literally just taken delivery of – and crikey it�s good); yes call us sentimental (you are sentimental) but the Jam�s �All Mod Cons� has made it�s way into our listening space after a gap of – ooh 23 years or so – their finest full length (if you don�t count �Setting Sons� that is) featuring the gem like �In the Crowd�, �David Watts�, �To be someone�, the elegant and beautiful �English Rose� (which always has me lost for words with a lump in throat) and the absolutely mighty �Down in the Tube station at Midnight�. Elsewhere Plastik�s �How much is enough�; the Open �Statues�; Playwrights �English Self Storage�; Drowsy �Snow on moss on snow�; Capes �Hello�; Portal �Prehistory�; Depth Affect �Arch-Lymb�; Thumper monkey �Five rounds rapid�; Ant �Footprints through the Snow�; a new Hefner retrospective and Ariel Pinks latest not forgetting to mention White Rose Movement�s debut �Kick� both in its instrumental and full vocal formats and loads, loads more besides.
Current (or should that now be recent) viewing habits – Big Brother – everything you ever hated about z list celebrities and more – the personalities are so rank and odious that you feel if Mr Bin Laden appeared he�d find himself in good company with a chance of winning. A stellar gathering together of freaks, fuckwits and frankly long since not funny (if they were ever funny in the first place) fools trying who if not trying to save either their political, pop or acting careers where excruciatingly trying to exorcise and navigate themselves through what could only be described as self procured troubled waters. Three even managed to be in the house without showing any glimmer of actually possessing social skills of which one of these I couldn�t recall actually speaking at all. All were deeply flawed characters, some with serious issues awaiting outside the BB walls and each possessing a acute Achilles heal – it was after all – and here is where I have to doff my cap to Channel 4 – like watching a particular bizarre take on a Hitchcock script with pantomime overtones. The most worrying thing apart from these people breathing the same air as me and you is that Dead or Alive�s woefully excruciating �You spin me� will get a re-release thus ensuring Mr Burns� next visit to the surgery will hopefully be for a personality while all the more concerning is that the absolutely abominable Ordinary Boys will be around for at least another album – we advise you give them record shops a wide berth for a few weeks kids – it�s not funny and it certainly ain�t clever – you have been warned.
Radio wise – check out Friday�s (Feb 10th) Mixing It on Radio 3 were Messrs Sandall and Russell play host to the Fall who�ll be dropping in for a live session (and about bloody time too) – and while you�re there hop across the following day to Radio 4 for a radio dramatisation of the classic literary attack of the American dream
That was �Death of a Salesman� which suitably marks the first anniversary of it�s author Arthur Miller�s death. Followed by a recorded interview with Dustin Hoffman who starred in the ill fated lead role for the plays transition from stage to the big screen.
Current reading habits – well a lie really because we finished it ages ago is the posthumous semi autobiography by John Peel co-completed by his widow Sheila with help from the Ravenscroft clan. Any grumbles about it being a shame John couldn�t complete the tome are soon put aside as Sheila sets about the task of providing a sterling job not so much continuing where John left off (incidentally the early 60�s before his true vocation in life as a disc jockey started) but rather more instilling an air that suggests her one and only true soul mate has been lost to her. While arguably it may appear sketchy what you do get – and this is the important bit after all – is the essence of the man captured perfectly – the same man who many like me welcomed into our homes on a nightly basis as though a friend where dropping by for a chat, a laugh and to play some rather fine tunes we hadn�t as yet heard. �Margrave of the Marshes� captures perfectly that middle ground between John�s most celebrated recent radio work – his genuine and passionate love for music and the paternal streak and sense of the ordinary man at large borne more so through his Home Truths show. Perhaps markedly special if not for content then for the way that it�s written as though you can hear John actual talking to you as you read it. That said it�s a shame that many more of his actual diary extracts (of which a handful are included) weren�t included as they give insight to a rather keen and more often than not witty observer of personalities, surrounding and life�s little foibles. Absolutely recommended without question.
Recently received and currently our favourite bath time companion is an exhaustive compendium entitled �Strange Sounds�. Written by Mark Brend of Farina fame – who incidentally have a new album out right now on Pickled Egg called �Allotments� which we strongly recommend you pester your local record emporium for and a more much loved disc of this parish we�d struggle to suggest. This tome (which will get a full review next time out) charts the history, use and indeed relevance of all things not guitars, bass guitars and drums that have been in the annals of pop utilised to create sounds. Largely centred, as indeed you�d expect, on the electronic age and its continued development from the Theremin, the golden age of the Moog, Casio etc�.as well as featuring the incorporation into the living room conscious of the sitar, the musical saw, dulcimer and the autoharp and more besides. An excellent and easily digestible read that includes as a bonus a CD that contains demo recordings of many of the key instruments referred to as well as a specially commissioned �theme tune� for the book by the author under the guise of The Strange Sounds Orchestra of whom you can hear more of their work via their related release on Static Caravan (more about that later). All said and done a perfect around the table companion for the excellently researched �The Ambient Century� by Mark Prendergast from a year or two ago. Published by Backbeat Books – �16.95 – check out http://www.backbeatbooks.com for further ordering information or see the Static Caravan web site – address elsewhere on these pages.
As you�ve probably read elsewhere – Smash Hits is soon to be no more. As indicative of the whole 80�s decade as say Duran Duran, Stock Aitken and Waterman and feather cuts the teeny targeted magazine was hopelessly in love with pop like no other – daft, sometimes funny and often sarcastic it was for most their first introduction into the minefield world of the music inkies. While the 80�s proved to be its high water mark in terms of sales most forget it�s initial banner waving support of the then emerging new wave scene way back in �78. It quickly assumed the middle ground leaving its bigger and apparently more savvy competitors like the NME to preach existentialism and post Dali origami while the Sounds moved towards troubled waters in the bent out of shape guise of Oi, Record Mirror continued to shine a torch up its own self important arse as it rapidly faded out of view leaving elsewhere the Melody Maker to look across the ocean for inspiration to peddle hard and fast the Police. Like punk never �appened. RIP Smash Hits.
Magazine wise – I have to admit to being quite fond of Borders, it�s here that you get to unearth the odd unusual gem – take for instance Specialten. Okay I know it sounds like a dodgy porno mag (although admittedly not as dodgy as �Popcorn� which we managed to snare at the same outlet some three years ago and not seen since) – Specialten is a music magazine lovingly squeezed within the confines of a DVD. Each issue comes housed in sturdy card A5 sized (or should that be A4 – whatever) booklet – inside which you get a limited print by a featured artist (Issue 11 – Yuko Kondo / Issue 12 – SSR) and a rather lavish looking contents programme – oh yea and a DVD which features amid it�s grooves two hours of documentaries, videos and short films. Latest edition gives over space to such luminaries as Tunng, Coldcut, Black Dice, the Willowz and Sigur Ros – want more then check out http://www.specialten.com – stop press Issue 13 out now – features a limited Daniel Johnston print, plus short film along with the usual crammed packed to the rafters 120 minute long DVD that includes Be Your Own Pet, Smog, Colder, Harrisons, Silver Jews, Zero 7 and much much more besides – oh dammit – just buy the damn thing will ya.
And did we mention Coldcut – well fans and admirers alike should check out the latest issue of Future Music (issue 171) where you�ll find Messrs Black and More waxing lyrical about their new album �Sound Mirrors� and more besides. While your there you can help yourself to a cover mounted DVD featuring more samples and demo software than you can feasibly shake a hand at. http://www.futuremusic.com
And like a battering ram blessed with the ability to take root under the skin Tastes like Chicken continues to amuse, engage and amaze us for all the wrong reasons we suspect. We�ll mention this in greater details next but one missive – wouldn�t want you all thinking I was spoiling ya would I?
Paste issue 17 – yes, yes, yes I know it�s the Fall issue from last year but hey blame Borders. This excellent stateside magazine features not only an accompanying 23 track CD (with Frank Black, the absolutely superb John Vanderslice, Son Volt and much more) but a DVD to (with promo vids and short films galore) – both housing more cool stuff than you can feasibly waggle a funky stick at. Cover stars Death Cab for Cuie skulk inside along with Bob Mould and seriously more gear than we�d care to mention for fear of you switching allegiance.
We happened to chance accidentally upon Rock – a – Rolla at our local paper shop just this very week. Described as being a avant garde / metal magazine – Issue 1 hits all the right buttons simultaneously with interviews / features on the ever excellent Melt Banana which lets face it is alone worth the admission fee, the God like derangement that is Part Chimp, Locust – who we will be checking out following said magazines recommendation, Khanate, Wolf Eyes and wait for it – Merzbow – which all said and done has you thinking how will they maintain the standard for Issue 2. Also included is a feature on Husker Du – more for those who don�t know about Husker Du it has to be said and a label spotlight on the much overlooked and seldom heard (in our gaff – tut) Ipecac. Issue 2 is by all accounts due on parole – 15th February. We�d advise pestering of your local newspaper vendor. http://www.rock-a-rolla.cm
To the records – hell like there�s so many to list among the goodies but over the course of the next few quickly fired missives (over the next few days – ooh shall we settle on Wednesday – okay Wednesday it is then) there among the shed load of Static goodies and more besides – pause for a sharp intake of breathe – the long time arriving Fortdax taster – more later on that one, there should also be a �by all accounts� killer release from Echoboy rearing it�s head along the way if that is we receive it in time brought to you by Jack of Enraptured Records and while we are talking enraptured records check out http://www.pure-delinquent.com for a chance to catch a corking blast of Slipstream�s �AEIOU� (Kraftwerk eat ya hearts out) – Slipstream of course will be playing live shortly to be supported by – yep you guessed it – fortdax; aside these goodies we�ve a jam packed bulging basket of drop dead gorgeous releases (some new, most old – sincerest apologies on that score to all concerned) – dreams of tall buildings; stars; two gallants; lair of the minotaur new order; clap your hands say yeah; architecture in Helsinki; shy child; besnard lakes; noblesse oblige; omerta; the ivories; louis x1v; clearlake; inch time; white rose movement; decoration; the aeroplanes; magneto phone; south; c-jags; louie; the isles; you and the atom bomb; the shortwave set; circulus; foreign born; mugstar; the evenings; t.raumschmiere; the paddingtons; the boyfriends; new project; new order; voo; tunng; parisman; the Delilah�s; last stop china town; tunng (again yes it�s not a typo – two releases – count �em); shady bard; ciccone; the new shapes; nancy Wallace; mundane music; sanjuro 77; miss mcgarry; the tambourines; the climb; yellow 6; broken dolls; morton valence; the Delilah�s; david ford; mr fogg; Gledhill; camera; the new shapes; oosterdok; infrasound; cherubs; tunng; parisman; todd; part chimp; lords; hey colossus; lupen crook; last stop china town and about 50 other great and groovy ear gear – we shit you not���
First up on the chopping block the first of a plethora of releases from those nice chaps with the finely tuned ears over at Static Caravan.
Dreams of Tall Buildings vs. Scott Smallwood �Songs of Opposites� (Static Caravan). Without doubt the best looking thing we�ve received in yonks this – limited or should I say strictly limited to just 100 copies (and word is on presales alone this is fast dwindling) cute thing comes packaged like one of those old floppy disc things from the 80�s – housed in a neat Memorex sleeve to boot. At first we thought uh-ho given that previous dotb releases have either come pressed between planks of wood or as mummified soap slabs, maybe, just maybe this would be another release to merely drool over for looks alone, but hey we are veterans of the Krypton Factor and having pondered after a sleepless night found our way into said package to unearth a CD with 8 tracks to boot – whoopee! Be warned though it�s a lights on to be played in the day time type release, this isn�t your playful dotb here this is their impish alter ego hell bent on frazzling your head and into the process scaring you shitless. Resorting to sound manipulations, distortions and drone-scapes �Songs of Opposites� creates a deceptive barren like collage of moods as eerie as we�ve heard since Tears of Abraham�s �Sacrificing the Text� earlier last year and perhaps further still to those all important early outings of Pimmon (especially on �Red becomes black�). It�s not all doom and gloom though – okay then we are talking degrees of doom and gloom here – after the disturbing opening shot of �96 small squares� which to these ears possesses shades of Barry Gray�s closing credits to �UFO� the doomy bleakness of �Feed� soon dissipates as the organic augmentation begins to take shape a la Set Fire to Flames. On the other hand �Black Ice Letters� could easily be the long lost art of Martian communication chattering incessantly inside your head while the quite frankly ominous and dare we say bed wetting �Patience knows these hands� is distracting only for the fact that you�ll either keep checking behind the sofa expecting to be met by something with large teeth and a taste for human flesh or have the overriding need to impishly scream �It�s behind you�. Perhaps the most together cut to be found on this collection is �Propaganda Film� which itself belies an oddly Far East resonance while being equipped with all manner of bells, chattering clicks and spooky creaks and groans – not so much a song as such but rather more a passing through a point of reverence. Personally though for me the ornate after dark down tempo vibe of �Victory found in books� serves as the high water mark here as for once the abstract / concrete tendencies and the visibly alien terrains are left aside in their place warmer textures and a lunar like calm not unlike the type Warp used to frequently engage in pervades throughout. Eclectic and erratic they may be but Dreams of Tall Buildings can and never will be accused of being dull. Essential and indeed worrying your life mightn�t be made any more enlightened for the experience of having it but your record collection will certainly be that much cooler. Consider yourselves told. http://www.staticcaravan.org
Clap your hands say yeah �Is this love?� (Wichita). Latest darlings of the indie inkies are the New York / Philly based five piece Clap your hands say yeah – this rather limited release acts as a taster for their soon to be released self titled debut full length which we must put on our shopping list soon judging by the evidence gleaned by these two cuts. Think Talking Heads – early TH that is not the noddy consumer happy gear of the mid 80�s going head to head with the Animal Collective and armed to the teeth with a seriously beefy C-86 vibe. Crookedly catchy once this baby seeps through the ears into your headspace it�ll no doubt set up home playing merry hell and waking you up at 3am wanting a feed. Flipside features �Heavy Metal� a toe tapping knee wobbling gem from the top drawer that gives proof to all those who have long since given up hope that 4 minutes of vinyl grooves could contain such perplexingly perfect punch drunk new wave pop – cute bastards. If you go to the Wichita site at http://www.wichita-recordings.com there you�ll find a pretty nifty downloadable pod cast featuring the best tunes of 2005 according to the Wichita crew plus interviews with the Cribs, Espers and the Bronx – sometimes I think we are treating you just a little too much.
Stars �Your ex lover is dead� (City Slang). Bought this on spec on a recent foray into the legendary Probe records of that there Liverpool. Title alone won it for me above that my lips are sealed. If this hasn�t already been a massive global hit then kids you fail me and the return of these missives is indeed long overdue if only to stir in the direction of decent records – I mean Artic Monkeys and Baby shambles – do me a favour. Stars it seems are purveyors of sensibly sophisticated sensitive pop – yep you guessed it this has strings and romance to boot as though the stuff is fast going out of fashion. You won�t be to surprised to hear that I know nothing about this little lot other than they have an album out presently entitled �Set yourself on fire� which incidentally I inadvertently nearly did several days ago in a freak incident involving a safety match and a cigarette. Safe to say there was no lasting harm except I now possess a rather mean looking shirt with an additional (big) button hole and half an eyebrow ad I think there is a lesson to be learnt here that smoking safety matches is a fool�s game. Where were we – ah yes the Stars. �Your ex-lover is dead� s beautiful in a way as to have you thinking that the word was invented with it in mind, harbouring a seriously wintry aspect so much so that you feel log cabins with a roaring fire in some far flung snow bound destination would create an idyllic backdrop this cutie is shyly seductive, the caressing interplay of male / female vocals (that sounds like a young Kirsty Maccoll) and the heartbreaking perfection of the thing – God I want to kiss it. Enough of that. Flip over for a brave and let�s face it rarely chanced upon cover of that classic Christmas chestnut �Fairy tale of New York� one of only two things that have me sentimentally weeping at that special time of year (the other being the last five minutes of �It�s a wonderful life�). While Stars avoid or more so never realistically replicate the drunken sway of the original they admirably navigate their way through and though never succeeding in making it their own at least achieve the merit of bestowing a more warming accent to an already near perfect composition. Grab on sight. http://www.cityslang.com
Architecture in Helsinki �Do the Whirlwind� (Moshi Moshi). Another top class release it has to be said, taken from their full length �In case we die� (which as though we need one – gives us a perfect excuse to beat a hasty path to the nearest record emporium to acquire), Architecture in Helsinki are a Melbourne based 8 piece ensemble who have in the very recent past been approached to open for such luminaries as Belle and Sebastian and the Polyphonic Spree who admittedly they share an affinity with sound wise though on the evidence of �Do the Whirlwind� add in the over liberal quotient of the oddball quirkiness of the Knife and lashings of unworldly frazzled pop that�s been left to overcook in the sun a tad too long and you have quite frankly a more than audacious slice of desirable ear gear. Flipside has the added bonus of the same song being put through it�s paces by the ever more kooky Hot Chip crew and passing out from the other side as a funky little fucker of sorts. Cool record collections need only apply the rest can just drool in jealousy. http://www.moshimoshimusic.com
Shy child �The noise won�t stop� (Good and Evil). Second release from the Good and Evil stable (which we understand to be some kind of 679 related imprint) comes from Shychild and features shouty lyrics, frantic electronic bopping and an unavoidable feeling that you are running fast to escape some out of control Juggernaut mindful of the fact that the ground before you is fast running out – imagine the huddle mentality of the Go! Team being snatched from their 70�s safety spot and slap banged straight into the middle of some kind of �Rock it� era Herbie Hancock sound clash battle with Front 242 and you�ve probably only just scratched the surface – compulsive listening indeed. Flip over for a dub version of the same cut entitled (how ever else) �Dub won�t stop�. Frantic fun for all all copies come replete with a super duper sticker – now you know it makes sense. http://www.shychild.com
Two Gallants �Las cruces jail� (Saddle Creek). Now if we were in the market and mood for handing out a single of the missive which on this occasion we aren�t (there�s just to many corking records to even consider that mind you a joint single of the missive with Decoration would have been a serious contender) we�d seriously be pushed to find a track that runs anywhere near this killer cut. Bloodied and bruised �Las Cruces Jail� summons up the ghosts of Steve Earle, the Devastations, Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer, godspeed you black emperor and the black heart procession. All at once dark, dramatic and dangerous it�s certainly the coolest bastard we�ve had the pleasure of being in earshot since Blanche�s �Who�s to say� and the Devastations �Loene�. Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel have been plying their trade for nigh on four years now emerging from out of San Francisco dragging in tow their heart sapping brand of riotous death country blues. Opening to the sound of a barren desert dry backdrop this baby drags you by the hair screaming – smelling of stale bourbon and the sweat of retribution, the sense of intensity twists awkwardly one minute clubbing you across the head with the force of a life threatening hammer blow the next reducing you to a vanquished shadow of your former self as it drags you low with it�s withering sting. Damn we�d marry this record if it were legal. Flip the disc to be treated to an acoustic version of �long summer day� a sizzling campfire nasty that bleeds outside in – brutish and brooding countering a seriously fucked up Dylan exchanging bar room blows with both Cat Stevens and Donovan – well dunno about you but I�m sold. We suggest you head to your nearest dealer to beg, steal or borrow their full length �What the toll tells� – as for us we already ahead of the queue. http://www.saddle-creek.com
Various �A Flash in the Pan� (Sink and Stove). Last year proved to be something of a purple patch for Bristol�s leading purveyors of all things quite simply superb as this neat but essential 8 track sampler confirms. Commercially available I�m reliably informed – well it is because I�ve already spotted it on the Piccadilly Records website so there and may I say reasonably priced to because in return for your (if memory serves me right) two whole pound coins you get a mighty fine and rather fetching 27 minute long CD that features some of the hippest tunesmiths currently at large today as we speak who by and large in some shape or form have passed through these very pages at one point to rapturous applause. Included are the very wonderful Querelle whose self titled mini album from earlier last year and from which �Insect -o – cutor� featured here is lifted from, very nearly blew us sideways and bandy with joy – a baby Sonic Youth with an armoury of honed honey�s ready to club you out of existence. Elsewhere Organ who continue to garner amazing reviews wherever they go serve up a withering slice of fraught but deadly post punk chilliness with �We�ve got to meet�. Controller, Controller�s excellent �History� mini album from last year was another reason to hang out the street bunting and partake in a delirious jig – �Silent Seven� still sounds immense as it nicks bits from (is it) Rockwell�s �Somebody�s watching me�. Sea change – which with our tin hat glued firmly on for fear of getting a email bollocking from label honcho Ben – we have to say I don�t think we�ve heard previously (damn I can hear that email flying through cyberspace right this minute and I suspect its to tell me that it originally appeared on that fabulous Hospital Radio set from a year or so ago) sound like an reet nice ensemble that you�d be heartily advised to watch for in the future, a sub four minute rollercoaster ride of kick arsing clean as a whistle driving new wave pop with more twists than a corkscrew and a hook line that most bands would die for. Another release much loved here was Leave for Land�s debut EP from last July / August – if �Bonnie Banks� had been written and recorded by Radiohead the gutter press would be slavering and fighting for the rights to pay homage for its mercurial poise and simmering elegance while hiking on another floral tribute in the form of a crown upon Mr York�s bonce – as it isn�t then chaps we�ll just have to sit smugly and pretty while waiting for the rest of nation to catch up. You and the Atom Bomb who open up this set are reviewed elsewhere, The Vibration however slyly tease us with this mighty fine taster culled from their impending debut album �Amarilla�, vocals a la �Dead Popstars� era Clare Grogan backed by a lulling gently prickling backdrop that casually canters with such unearthly ease as to make you fall head first beneath it�s oddly sensual glare. And rounding off things in fine style perhaps best described as Bristol�s worst kept secret and key authors of prime sliced austere, angular agit pop. The Playwrights court a vibrantly caustic post punk rhythmic sound like no-one else, okay Franz Ferdinand may be getting the kudos but their sound is dulled, formulaic and too rounded, compared to the Playwrights seizure inducing grit it�s a piece of piss period. �21st Century Kaspar Hauser� is lifted from their forthcoming full length �English Self Storage� which we have to admit to having hammered to death since it�s arrival in the confines of the Singled Out bunker. �21st Century Kasper Hauser� is your usual stacked high serrated guitars, rumbling bass, toe tapping, hip swerving anthemia siege affair – they make it sound so easy you�d be forgiven for thinking surely their taking the piss. http://www.sinkandstove.co.uk
You and the Atom Bomb �Velocipedes� (Sink and Stove). As previously advertised – a stunning debut release from Bristol based quartet You and the Atom Bomb. Limited to just 500 copies and no doubt sold out but still worth trying to track down this wired twin set will surely find a loving home in the hearts of admirers of Winterbrief, the very wonderful Girlinky and Zea. Scatty and schizoid �Velocipedes� ducks, dives and jerks with such irregular time signatures to suggest you�d be wise investing in a neck brace before you commence your listening pleasure, frantic bubblegum pop executed with interchanging boy / girl vocals that don�t so much sound like they were deliberately delivered in frantic fashion but rather more that the pulse racing pattern unravelling below them is trying to whip the safety mat from under them. �Hotel Terminus� over on the flip is a slightly more sedate affair manicured with see sawing jagged chords that playfully chop chop – in truth not to dissimilar to a skeletal version of the Fiery Furnaces after a chat with �Psycho� era Talking Heads. And indeed we here love it and so will you and your hi-fi – seek out now. http://www.sinkandstove.co.uk
New Order �Waiting for the Sirens Call� (London). The 27th release from the award winning every good home has a copy �Waiting for the Sirens call� full length which really is something of an achievement considering there are only 10 tracks on the album but then I suppose it beats an album length batch of pointless remixes of the same track from say someone like – ooh off the top of my head – New Order- damn. Only joking of course because as you know New Order are an institution, the bedrock of all things wonderful and the Godfathers responsible for everything from sliced bread and traffic lights to dodgy kebabs and happy slapping. This nimble little number (incidentally the title track in case you hadn�t already spotted) is pretty much your standard New Order by numbers affair and pop kids according to the accompanying press release the band state it�s – quote �one of the best tracks they�ve ever made� so like you can rest easy and forget all that 80�s nonsense they did in the – er 80�s like �Age of Consent�, �Your Silent Face�, �The Perfect Kiss�, �Thieves like us�, �Everything�s gone green� etc, etc, etc�.even the way they do the graphics i.e. NEW order resonates loud and clear as if this New is better than the old new. Still churlishness aside they an still shit on 90% of the records produced today without even trying – huzzah!
And staying with New Order – okay loosely you hear comes this this little corker from –
South �A place in displacement� (Genepool). Indeed we are loving this so much so that if it were legal we�d no doubt be betrothed and honeymooning in some wildly exotic far flung place right now with this gem like excuse for a CD. Effervescent life affirming pop culled from the finest melodically enriched resources. South go straight to first base to wipe the floor with your emotions while messing with your delicately tuned pop radar, if one diamond song isn�t enough to have the heart nearly seizing with joy then to get three as you have here is frankly the stuff of being spoilt to the point that you think they may be a tad taking le piss monsieur. Okay lets get the domestics done and dusted – South are a three piece and they make exquisite noises by use of guitar and keyboards and really that�s all you need to know about the band. As to the record – well wow – �A place in Displacement� is, it has to be said, a ringer for New Order�s �1963� but heck who cares – we certainly don�t, it wraps you instantly and cleverly pushes buttons you never knew you had in the process, one minute cresting at high altitude the next earthbound at cruise control, a track that is so inherently fragile you feel obliged to extend an embracing hug of re-assurance before it crumbles before your very eyes. �Fight your cause� over on the flip is frankly scrumptious (are we allowed to say that) classically poised and princely with it, it saps you with each attendant play, like some kind of 70�s MOR gem you�ve kept hidden from those that know you as your one true guilty pleasure only to be savoured late in the day with the lights out – so soft, caressing and not right it kinda makes you blush. Best of the set in my book though is the parting �Addiction to Fiction� – if I say at this point Pellumair then you�ll know exactly where we are coming from. Graceful and grand it sounds like Xmas – that feeling of snuggling up in the warmth to a loved one while outside the temperatures drop rapidly and the landscape for as far as the eye can see is lit resplendently by a huge blanket of snow, if you like a mellowing Dream Academy abundant in dreamily set cascading Fahey accents. Simply stunning. http://www.genepoolrecords.cm
The Isles �Eve of the Battle� (Melodic). So good you could hate them for it. �Eve of the Battle� is the debut release from trio the Isles. Irrefutably cut from the finest spun 80�s swooning UK pop there is – think early outings by the Smiths at their very finest and that sense of something genuinely different albeit fragile, wounded but cured, distilled and harking to an era somehow overlooked perhaps lost and forgotten. Think the whimsicality of say the Farmers Boys – those without bounds melodies and the optimism that bled through the very grooves of each passing release. Think Micro Disney / Go Betweens and the pre twee / C-86 generation catalogue of early Kitchenware – Prefab Sprout �Lions in my own garden�, the Daintees, Kane Gang et al. The Isles �Eve of the Battle� / �Flying under cheap kites� has all this and more in spades. But think again this lot are from New York and not as you�d imagine North England. What makes these two cuts so cherishable is their apparent ease of gentleness – the fact that they don�t immediately connect. Rather more than get in your face and provoke reaction they appear, nudge and depart to leave behind a seed. That seed is embedded, perhaps moments maybe days later when suitably rooted you find yourself humming a melody that soon begins to haunt you. �Eve of the Battle� never really moves beyond third gear preferring instead to pit itself at cruise control, there�s enough deft manoeuvres at play, that sense of something utterly summery, the sly key changes, the veritable air of casualness and that undeniable sleekness that combine to quietly work beneath your skin to undo you – and did we mention the sexiness of the whole thing – Ambulance LTD and Scissor Sisters beware. Personally it�s the flip cut �Flying under cheap kites� that gets the bottom lip trembling and viewers of advancing years (like me) getting all weak kneed and sentimental, lazily eyed jabbing riffs prickle and pinch, there�s even a spot of swearing and the chorus hook – damn that chorus hook so peachy perfect I could kiss it. Only cool record collections need apply. http://www.melodic.co.uk
Louie �Trees� (Loaded Dice). The stuff of riots. Okay fair dues this has been out for a while – but hey we�ve been ill you hear. Anyway no doubt this lot have sold shed loads of records, taken centre place on your bedroom wall and been hailed and deservedly so I might add in all the right quarters – if not why not – see that�s what happens when you lot actually believe the hype of flash in the pan cover stars that certainly rags push down your throat, like my ole girl would say �it�s all fur coat and no knickers� or something or other. �Trees� is, pardon the vernacular, wholesomely fuckin good mental fun, a frenzied 2 minute fumble in the sack of pop, a vocal that sounds like a young �n� wired Jello Biafra and more ricocheting riffs than you�d imagine legally allowed on one record, a ringer for those peroxide pups of yesteryear Birdland found loitering with intent and ready to deliver a spot of kicking several shades outta Television�s �I see no evil� with the Dickies on hand doing their own special �Banana Splits� routine for good measure. Flip side �One big repeat� is pretty much the same well oiled portion of pyrotechnic pogo pop a kinda of head on crash of mangled Supergrass gone bad vibes squaring up to the Angelics and Buzzcocks with seriously ropey though authentic �Complete Control� era Jonesy guitar. Dare you resist. http://www.louie.uk.com
C-Jags �Sandy� (Voluptuous). Much loved in our gaff was this lots debut �Paradise Park� and those fearing it was a flash in the pan better check this out. A killer by any other name. Another release that�s been out and about for ages – but hey that�s no reason not to spend some well earned quality time trying to nail it down as your own. If anything the lead cut featured here – �Sandy� – merely warms you up for the main event – the unliveable �Putty Boy�. Packed with simmering serrated chords that anxiously prowl waiting to spark into life �Putty Boy� is one horny mother fucker, a brazen cock sure slice of pure rampant rock �n� roll that shags your headspace and sends all your vital signs into wanton frenzy A tightly packaged molten brew of T-Rex meets Bowie off the rails 70�s sexiness blended and fortified with a dash of 50�s bubblegum harmonies and served with a hip swerving jacknife like cool as fuck blistering vibe. �Sandy� opens Hefner-ish before laying you to siege with it�s cortege of jarring riffs that dive bomb in your standard driving lush as you like prickly new wave pop formation – will break hearts, drive you to the point of delirium and no doubt bugger your hi-fi into the bargain. http://www.c-jags.com
See you in a second for part 2.
Missive 85 – blah blah blah version
�Often quoted, sometimes remarked upon yet never read we wave two big fingers at those arse kissing band wagon hopping, clueless music industry nobs so you don�t have to.�
Dedicated with much love to Kelly and Mark
Singled Out �the home of essential eargear – blowing it�s own trumpet since 2001 mainly because no-one else does�
Okay the promised second part of this extensive backlogging Singled Out –
The Evenings �Louder in the Dark� EP (Brain Love). The top tunes just keep coming. The first of three releases featured in these pages from the Brain Love collective and all in the own right worthy of adulation. First up on the blocks is the audaciously delicious �Louder in the Dark� by Oxford�s quintet the Evenings incidentally their debut release for Brain Love which if these fine trio of turntable wobbling CD�s are anything to judge will soon be elevated to the top of the favourite label list of all the cool kids shortly. Opening with the head mushing antics of the freewheeling psychotronic meets punked up diodes overloading �Fizzy Piss� – if you like a frantic head on car crash of menacing undertones spontaneous combusting in a veritable haze of android like non nonsense down and boogying krautrock grandeur. In sharp contrast �I don�t remember� is a cutesy knee trembling summer loving ode of sorts that�ll have many a patron idly nuzzling up close to their hi-fi and falling longingly in love. Though for my money check out the crafted nuggets tucked fetchingly in the shadows. �Paste� and �Chicken and Ring� are breathlessly wonderful slices of cool as you like down tempo pop carved of the highest order and the kind of thing that Tummy Touch would die for. The former sounding like the theme tune to a cosmic fairground, a mind bending array of whirling starry eyed down tempo electro vibes think �the Hustle� updated and brought to life by Discordia – and gorgeous to the point of insanity while the latter is a crafty sojourn into the lazy eyed kaleidoscopic world of Adam Franklin�s alter ego Toshack Highway with elements of the softer brushes of Porcupine Tree�s �Stupid Dream� filtering in orbital. In our humbled opinion – as essential as it gets. http://www.brainlove.om
Various �Real Pirate Radio� (Brain Love). Can�t get enough of the Evenings – then you might be keen to know that they also appear with the aforementioned �tastily� titled �Fizzy Piss� (incidentally mine smells of sweet popcorn – more on that later) on a suitably awesomely honed must have packed to the rafters compilation entitled �Real Pirate Radio� – a whopping gathering together of 27 artists from around the world. Already receiving deserved airplay on some of the more clued up radio networks most of these DIY gems exit stage left in a sub two minute fashion not before managing to find their way into your psyche and take it from me there are more than a few classics in the making afoot here such as the Shonen Knife inspired sugar pop of the Schla La Las who take up the time honoured tradition started by the Shaggs and more recently maintained admirably by the 5678�s. Elsewhere there�s the Lou Reed / Velvets honed gem like curdled sentimentality of �Grandma� by the Open Mouths (again another ensemble it�s safe to say �watch for�). Somewhere else there is the quite frankly arresting sound of Bishi – perhaps one of the collections stand out cuts – which is all at once haunting, perky, elegiac and executed with such superbly symphonic grace that believe you me you will stop dead in your tracks to do a quick double take and shake your head in adoring admiration. Fuzz Valentine deliver a tight as you like skinny tied portion of driving New Wave that crashes and crushes all in its wake with the added bonus that it�s not to dissimilar to Dinosaur Jnr but without the sonic pyrotechnics. Leeds based Napoleon IIIrd sidle in with an absolutely bewitching take of a track that features on their second EP (see review elsewhere) – �The Casual Terrorist� is a beautifully encoded slice of exquisite shy eyed pop that�ll literally undo you from the inside out. And we hold our hands up to being quite smitten by the loopy and frankly worrying goings on within Deadzilla�s �Dat ist Gut� – perhaps best described as an early 70�s post Ziggy Bowie under the influence and unravelling fast holed up in a seedy Berlin bar auditioning for a part in the �Rocky Horror Show�. Then there�s the raw as fuck fuzz beat pop of Ex Rental, the fraught and frenzied loon pop of Iceland�s Aela whose wired take on unifying elements of classic Birthday Party with the Fall will surely ensure a home in these pages forevermore. Those with a tendency for funked up torch like tunes will drool over �Small Pieces� by the excellently named Japanese Intelligence Mind Control who on this occasion feature Vicki Churchill – think of a playfully fluffy Siouxsie fronting a union of Pop Off Tuesday and the Frank Chickens and into the bargain hoodwinking a vaguely Tubeway Army – esque bass line into the bargain though perhaps the more savvy among you may cite he Native Hipsters as the overriding influence at large. Then there�s the exhaustive electroid wipe out of the Dickies meets DAF sound of the Blitters while those still mourning the apparent void left by the Cuban Boys would do well to make your immediate first port of call �Hello Daddy� by Nervous Pilot – total madness that once inside your head space ill ping so hard you�ll seriously considered trepanning without anaesthetic to rid yourself of. Those of you found a little wanting of glacial high altitude cerebral celestial pop will be able to don visors and helmets for a cosmic jaunt in the capable hands of the aptly named What the Moon is Like. And it don�t stop there – The Walk Off do a neat line in �Nag, Nag, Nag� era Cabs being seriously fucked over by the Ministry with Albini joining the beating for kicks while lovers of sweetly charming and twinkling nursery / toy box pop should find themselves satiated by Shimura Curves who do a remarkable line in lunar like harmonic manoeuvres that evokes the shyness of some of the Sarah labels finest blending with a softly cured 60�s appeal with early Plone like invention to combine perfectly into a kind of kindergarten Stereolab appreciation of sorts. Who completists among you are advised to check in at the Piney Gir�s freak beat re-drilling of Townsend and Co�s finest teen anthem �My Generation� being put through it�s paces and frankly ending up sounding pretty nifty indeed. Seems the fascination with euro – disko / electro clash hasn�t waned just yet and good job if it�s left in the hands of Trash Fashion – imagine the matter of fact cocky attitude of Blur up close and personal to Front 242 with early Vince Clarke installed Depeche Mode being left to do fluffy radio friendly chorus hooks. I think it�s at this point we should say that it�s goes without saying this compilation is essential – so er – essential. Nuff said. http://www.brainlove.com
New Project �Decay� (Retinue). Yes, yes, yes we bloody know this has been out for a while but hey it scared the bejeezus out of us and we being kind souls just wanted to – well you know – spread the word a little. Okay better mention Retinue records since the press release that accompanies this cutie seems more obsessed with info on it than on the band – so here goes – debut release – Anglo / French based label. All you need to know really except that the immense Die so Fluid are also part of the roster (we missed this one too – I think). Onward we go – New Project are a Sydney based combo and �Decay� is their debut release taken from their full length �Ultraviolent Light� which we assume should already be doing sizeable damage in all the decent record emporium�s across this fair nation. Ostensibly utilising industrial metal textures (look don�t walk away just yet it�s not as bad as it sounds) �Decay� is a warring puss filled baby bulging with playful menace less so much NIN but more Ministry with less carnage and attitude, throw in some lavish futuristic electronic backdrops and a vocal that even super powered strepsils couldn�t cure and you have yourself a pretty neat edge of the seat boogying bastard of sorts. Flipside is similarly touched – Slayer with Casio�s – of course we joke – �Sentinel� with it�s throbbing bass underpin married to some wildly miscalculated lead solo�s the type of hich not ventured n record since the dark days of Journey, Europe and er – White snake (Bad Company indeed – yes and them to) – we can of course forgive minor infringements on this occasion – indeed a rather shapely apocalyptic love song all told. http://www.retinuerecords.com
The Delilah�s �This is it� (Jexed). Okay we could have reasonably left this baby until the next Singled Out having just found it reclining on our door mat with a post it note attached saying �give me a spin if you dare�. Okay the post it note bit is a little lie but I�ll be damned if we didn�t get this played, written up and put in a place of safety because I fear I would have exploded with joy. The Delilah�s are a three piece all girl ensemble hailing from Switzerland who to date have wowed audiences fortunate enough to see them on various support slots for Black Rebel Motorcycle and the Stereophonics (and before I say don�t hold that against them because someone has to – we�d just like to say we love you lots and lots – now can I uncross my fingers I think the blood has stopped flowing?!). �This is it� is, I think I�m right in saying, the trio�s debut release and a killer tune it is to, one of those that�s liable to clobber you out of existence if your not careful and more than likely give you a sly look of sweetest and light butter wouldn�t melt for your troubles. Mooching with raw intensity beneath a pillar of simmering serrated riffs it stalks seductively with a wantonly dark primal urge at its core – as for reference points think of the unbridled ultra cool electricity of Cobra Killer swapping poison pen letters with the Breeders. Flip side features the same cut only this time re-drilled with a deathly addictive late 80�s euro disko undercut that again isn�t to far removed from the aural artillery of Cobra Killer though this time craftily and dare we say sensually fused and bastardised by an attack line offensive featuring Front 242 and DAF. All the coolest club floors will melt in its fixed glare – consider yourself warned. http://www.thedelilahs.com
Morton Valence �Man on the Corner� (Bastard). There�s much to be said about the old adage that says less is more, it is you�d imagine something that�s passed into the very core of Morton Valence�s consciousness to manifest into the very essence of their work ethic. Morton Valence are a multi national quintet of sorts centring around the creative pairing of Morton Junior and Annie Gilpin, to date they�ve featured on a host of celebrated and dare we say cool as fuck compilations strangely enough emanating from Germany and have recently been seen performing crucial support slots for the likes of British Sea Power, the Crimea and the Brakes. �Man on the Corner� is the ensembles debut release and as fine a debut release that we�ve not heard in such a long time because from the tiniest of seeds this cute baby mushrooms into a towering juggernaut leaving you paralysed to the spot with only one overriding concern – that being – �what the fuck was that?� A perfect symbiosis of guitars and electronics that combines the ultra cool shades �n� leather attitude of early career Jesus and Mary Chain and welds onto it the distant half cousin of James� �Come Home� only to deliver the resulting concoction with an undeniable Velvet-esque edge that if played within earshot of Lou Reed might force the usually dour frown and grimace to crack gently into a wry smile. �Sailors� over on the flip is similarly infected with what many would no doubt have down as bit of a �grower�. More forthright and muscular with it than its attending lead flip, it belies a warped like shanty feel, crooked but cute with it and literally without any reference points with which to compare, once this slice of cutely airy pop drops anchor in your headspace it�ll ping around driving you to delirious distraction – more please. http://www.mortonvalence.co.uk and while you are about it check out their page on my space for an adorable treat in the shape of �Hang it on the Wall� http://www.myspace.com/mortonvalence
Gledhill �Remain� (MX3). Key authors responsible for the most expensive record in the Fierce Panda repertoire to date with their debut �Resurrect Me� – now suitably ensconced to MX3 and sitting pretty with a Owen Morris produced debut full length in the can (and no doubt out already or at very least imminent), these Sheffield based scamps desire to �to write the biggest, most uplifting, epic songs that man has ever heard� takes a slight step nearer to fruition with �Remain� An awesome overload of windswept needling sky searching chord torrents hoodwinked straight out of U2�s the Edge�s secret stash that stutter, sting and seduce in equal measures and all lovingly threaded with a desire fuelled undercurrent that recalls for the most part the Beloved�s �Sweet Harmony�. Perfection is a blink away. http://www.gledhillmusic.com
Mr Fogg �Giving In� (Chromium). Regular viewers will know instantly from where I�m coming from when I say to be filed alongside that stupendous Stillman debut from last year. �Giving In� is one of those rare records where you feel compelled to snuggle up under the blankets in order to shut out the big wide world outside and spend some much needed quality time and attention to, a release it has to be said that�s so out of step with anything current that you have to first and foremost admire it�s nerve. Mr Fogg is a self described indie synth pop solo artist based in the Berkshire area or more precisely Reading and is better known to close friends and family alike as Phil Barry and the three tracks to be found snuggling up on this CD are his first steps towards (if there�s any justice that is) a long lasting and fruitful career in music. Though I�ve said it time and time again the joys of doing these incoherent ramblings is rewarded not by monetary means (ha ha this is Losing Today not News International kids) but by the daily treat of having the most unexpected things dropping through the letter box to instantly have any failing doubts about the state of pop music swept aside in an instant. Prided with vocals that could easily be the result of a DNA cross pollination gone awry featuring Robert Wyatt, Robert Smith, Peter Gabriel and Julian �Wilder� Cope this small but perfect collection nibbles, tousles and teases seeking sanctuary from a maddening world. Gentle and perilously addictive it softly unfurls with such unassuming grace you�ll be left wrong footed by its apparent absence of guile. Timidly peeking shyly �Giving In� hits you with such defenceless hurt you feel an overwhelming urge to hug it tightly to offer re-assurance, a bruised but beautiful slice of cowering candy pop set to the gentle yet sapping throb of pulsing electronics and angelically hushed overlapping vocals – it�s enough to reduce your emotions to dust. �Cogs� is equally poised this time framed in a sweetly vacuumed space of noodling clockwork like long discarded toy box ephemera found soothingly pirouetting on the crest of a lunar wave, distantly related to the (soon to be pulled from the airwaves) �Shipping Forecast� as though tinkered by a particularly playful ISAN with Adam Franklin (Toshack Highway) on hand to supervise – touching stuff indeed. Personally though it�s the parting shot �Bloodrush� that presses all the buttons simultaneously to scramble your headspace and set your bones to jelly. Almost as if suspended somewhere in the ether �Bloodrush� is possibly the most elegantly measured moment of frail and fragile sparseness I�ve had the pleasure of being in the company of since the Teardrop Explodes� tear staining twin set �Tiny Children� and �Great Dominions� from their much overlooked classic �Wilder� and with that words literally fail. An absolute treasure of a debut. http://www.mrfogg.co.uk
Last Stop China Town �Just Ashes� (Woodhill). Another must have debut single this time from quintet Last Stop China Town. �Just Ashes� is a pretty neat taster for the ensembles forthcoming debut long player �Vital Signs�. Don�t ask us why but this don�t half remind us of �Phantasmagoria� era Damned – you know where the band kind of gave up the comedy horror antics for a while and set about on an all out assault on the mainstream – okay maybe not the best example to use but then �Just Ashes� does have a certain quota of stadium like grandeur about it�s rugged frame, blessed with a thunderously serrated melody driven demeanour wired with post Dickenson Maiden riffs that does more to pummel you into submission than it does fill your listening space with it�s ever expansive all consuming sound. All in all a seething statement of intent. Flip over for a live rendition of �Down to your knees� which admittedly wears very thin after 10 seconds and an album version take of the lead cut which if anything (no pun intended) sounds more Damned than the Damned – bugger we�ve done that haven�t we?! http://www.laststopchinatown.com
Lupen Crook �Halloween� (Tap �n� Tin). Another release that peaked through our letter box during our absence but given his debut release �Petals fresh from a road kill� earlier last year had s aglow so much then we thought to hell with it this at least deserves a brief mention if anything else. Okay this was out originally in time for Halloween hence the title �Halloween� – so to get in the mood imagine it�s dark, cold, a little bit wet outside (what do you mean you don�t have to imagine) and there are strange looking people wandering up and down the street with the look of menacing intent (so you live in our street to do you). As you�d rightly imagine from the title and bearing in mind the overt oddness of his debut release this makes for an enthralling albeit unsettling listening experience, noire-ish strings play to an impish cortege of peek-a-boo trick or treating as though an darker alter ego of the Coral had been stripped of their happy chords and exiled within the sinister cartoon theatre of �A Nightmare before Christmas�. Add to the sub plot the gently tip toeing acoustics uneasily serenading the eerie death like touch of the suitably doomed lyrical delivery – creepily beautiful. Flip side plays home to �Phantom, my friend and you� accompanied by piano this could easily be a macabre alter ego to the �Beggar�s Opera� classically tuned as it is with it�s cleverly conceived stage craft. Gloomily gorgeous. http://www.lupencrook.co.uk
Mushi Mushi �Chicken� EP (Distraction). The first of several releases from the Distraction label that you�ll at some point encounter throughout this rather rambling text (though I expect or should I say fear they may be well sold out – and if not why not will be the subject of the next Missives newly thought up intensive interrogation spot). First off a debut release for Mushi Mushi who it should be said are not to be confused with the label Moshi Moshi whose wares you�ve probably tripped over in this very missive. I digress – Mushi Mushi are a quartet who on the evidence of the four tracks safely tucked within this debut 500 only 7� pressing delight in avoiding all manner of pigeon holing by exercising what can only be described as a hissy fit on the wheels of steel. Constructing, deconstructing and restructuring from the constructed deconstructed all manner of sonic / aural applications these would be turntable terrorists put the mental into metal. Sounding for intent and purposes as though they�ve thrown everything in to the mix including not one but a whole shops worth of kitchen sinks, Moshi Moshi attack your senses like a skip load of breeze blocks dropped from a huge height though faced with our arms wedged firmly up our backs �Spinoff� in our view provides the highlight here as though Public Enemy have been dragged from out of their retirement hideout under the cover of night and flung into a mincing machine to be chopped and diced then spat out of the other side at such intensity it leaves you wincing. �Sequins save lives� offers perhaps the most together cut though still sounds like a mauled and bloodied Go! Team recovering from the after math of several hit �n� run attempts while the closing �Not dnb� is a bastardised carnage of neck brace inducing proto punk slam dancing that may well become your best mate should you have the misfortune to live next to noisy neighbours. All said and done it�s beat pop Jim but not as you know it – no doubt coming to re-arrange your head soon at a venue near you. You�d be a fool to pass up on the occasion. http://www.distractionrecords.com
Yellow 6 �Merry6mas 2005� (Make Mine Music). Couldn�t get by doing a post Xmas missive without mentioning this sterling release from Jon �Yellow 6� Atwood. I think you know the drill now but a brief recap for those that don�t – each year usually the first or second week of December – while postmen, milkmen, newspaper boys and girls etc�.start looking for their Xmas box several very lucky people in the parish of pop (I think the last count was 100) get to receive a seriously delightful CD packed to hilt with out-takes or as Jon describes them in the accompanying notes �odd �n� ends that for whatever reason never made it to the public by other means�. This is the 6th such Xmas freebie and features within its digitised grooves 76 minutes of the most blissful time standing still serene sonic sculpturing you are likely to be in earshot of until that is of course Mr Atwood liberates from the studio his next full length. This compilation features 8 cuts that will delight and romance the faithful while providing more than enough of an irresistible tug to ensure that the most self respecting passer by is suitably glued to the spot in jaw dropping awe. Exquisitely tempered throughout Atwood provides a master class in resonating moods, the signatures appear initially hollow and fraught with an undisturbed air of desolation yet listen closely and the fret board figurines soon suggestively sway and sparkle lost in their own sweet haze. All at once majestic and stately for the best part hovering in those airless reaches where only stars dare tread, the sounds reverberate between flurries of sapping long ago thought lost flashbacks (�May_b�) to otherwise corteges of finely simmering frosted pockets of chiming jubilance (�Lingering (for Ally)�) that all combine to cascade with an unmistakable air of both Durutti Column and a tenderised version of the Cocteau Twins with �My Atlas� and �Lesson Tre� proving to be the outstanding moments on view. A work of refined genius. Staying with Make Mine Music for a second check out the labels website for details not only of Yellow 6�s recent �Melt Inside� full length (which all discerning music loving homes should have about them) but of an ultra limited compilation (100 copies only) of early recordings by Scott Sinfield better known to the record buying public as Portal. http://www.makeminemusic.co.uk
The Boyfriends �I love you� (Boobytrap). Quite apt for this gem to be released on the eve of St. Valentine�s Day because in all honesty this is by far the sexiest thing we�ve unearthed this missive. Released via those cute as buttons patrons of princely pop Boobytrap �I love you� snags and snares you immediately with it�s hip hugging backline of sleekly strutting phwoar as fuck riffing intercourse to do strange things to your inner chemistry not that you�ll complain as you reach for the repeat button – radio�s will sizzle in it�s wake – cold showers all round highly advised. Flip the disc to be hit between the eyes with the tinged introspective tear jerking glow of �Remember� which manages against all odds to combine all the best bits from C-86 and twee pop wrapping them up with a veritable hug of Smiths / Wedding Present like classicism – the kind of thing that some people prefer to refer to as a slow burner that is to you and me a bit of a grower. Pester your local vinyl retailer now with pre-orders as this is bound to do brisk business on EBAY shortly for silly money. Don�t say you weren�t warned and come crying when they�re all gone. http://www.boobytraprecords.co.uk
Decoration �Pine� �Pine� (SL). Sometimes wonderful things happen when you least expect them. One such occasion was when we first heard this darling of a three track CD (incidentally lifted by and large from their debut full length – �Don�t disappoint me now� which if I�m right in thinking we haven�t heard / seen – jeez now I�m really pissed) while travelling to work one day, we kid you not we stopped in our tracks, not exactly a Road to Damascus moment but pretty close I�ll tell you. The equivalent of emotional dominoes – with each ensuing cut knocking you clean off your feet without so much as a by your leave – �Pine� the opener is perfect, �I just froze� tumbling in at quick attendance is unreal and by the time �See you in the New Year� kicks in we were fast on the road returning home to kiss work goodbye for the day to spend some quality time with our new found find. And before we start bandying about with words like exquisite, gem like, classic let me just say that if Mr Peel was still alive then this lot would surely have enjoyed the celebrated status of being the shows house band. The sound is unassuming almost to the point of being as matter of fact a perfect distillation of that resigned air that made bands like the Wedding Present connect so well (especially on �I just froze� which will rekindle the desire to dust down those old �Tommy� and �George Best� full lengths and swap notes) – this is bedroom pop that�s become stir crazy and fed up to the back teeth blinking at the same four walls and decided to take to the streets armed to the teeth with tunes that blossom with an almost terrace like charm. �See you in the New Year� – words fail – imagine a shy like younger sibling of the Fall�s �Bill is Dead� and then swoon in the spectacle of it all. As though the list isn�t bulging enough another group of likely lads to add to that �your new favourite band� reminder. Classic stuff – more please. http://www.decorationmusic.co.uk
White Rose Movement �Girls in the Back� (Independiente). Hogging all the best stuff or so you�d imagine are Independiente. Not content with having Shortwave Set and David Ford on their bulging but talented roster (both featured elsewhere incidentally) these pups with an ear for delicious pop also have their own dirty Duran Duran in the form of White Rose Movement. No strangers to these pages – their debut release from last year (�Love is a Number�) literally laid siege to our turntable for several weeks and proved to be one of the most infectious and effervescent slices of pristine pulse bopping pop of the year. Now with an album in the can (entitled �Kick�) and due for imminent release – an instrumental copy of which we are already playing to death �Girls in the Back� their third single is another cherries and icing packed portion of radio rogering wide eyed pop. Contagious to the point you�d think it advisable to seek cautionary jabs for, this post three minute dance floor flattening groove truck flirts, poses and struts with such seductiveness you�d be forgiven for thinking it had stridden straight from a Paris catwalk. Undeniably inspired by the 80�s new romantics scene this baby has enough savvy to drink from the same pissing pool as the current trend setters with its mainlining cocktail of cutely vibrant angular riffs, mascara stained synths and backing harmonies ripped straight from Toto Coelo. By heck our kid it�s good. http://www.independiente.co.uk
Ciccone �My summer never comes� (Human). Another record that�s been out for yonks and no doubt during our sabbatical has elevated these band to something approaching world domination status. If that happens not to be the case then really words fail and all I can say is �you should be ashamed of yourselves�. One of those �games of two halves� events is what this particularly sprightly twin set offers up. Lead cut �My summer never comes� is one of those rare releases that when heard makes you want to push out your chest in a display of fit to burst pride safe in the assured knowledge that out there somewhere are talented tinkers who can in the short space of 210 seconds literally turn your world inside out and lift your wig with a blatant and brazen shot of vein tightening indie pop. Partly spikey it�s sting mellowed by the arrival of an accordion (yep you heard right an accordion – and hell it works), �My summer never comes� will knock you clean off your feet and onto your backside being as it is blessed with a coolly executed sucker punch of a chorus, acutely uplifting with an almost anthem like in a terrace type accent once this brittle beauty gets through your defences and into your head space it�ll stay put claiming squatters rights making a raucous, though if your honest about it, but delightful racket. Flip side is your hoisting of the white flag in surrender affair. Absolutely heartbreaking – be warned you�ll be wailing for days – �Last Breath� sounds like an old East 17 specially for the yuletide season tear jerker that soon manifests with the arrival of the female lead into something that even the Delgados would blush to call their own. Perfect stuff. http://www.human-recordings.com
Okay quick as a flash – part 2 of our delayed Singled Out back log – part 3 – tomorrow don�t go away now – ya hear me.
Missive 85 – Extended blah mix
Dedicated to Kelly and Mark – missing you always.
Singled Out – Separating the musical equivalent of the wheat from the chaff so that that you don�t have to.
As promised – the no chit chat 3rd instalment of the quick fire bulging Singled Out – those wanting chat, address� and other general stuff check out Missive 85 for details or else email ….
Cadillac �Wilder than this� (Pop Fiction) / Cadillac �Locomotive� (Pop Fiction). Okay as you probably gather we are frantically playing catch up here given that we now have in front of us not only the current single (�Wilder than This�) from Norwegian uber fuzz lords Cadillac but er – the one before it (with the debut album �Magnetic City� no doubt skulking in the background somewhere) – which okay arguably we could have ignored (and up to this point have – ha ha) but hell it�s so good that we reckon it deserves much lauding over. �Locomotive� is a skull splintering slab of cool as fuck distort pop that could easily have fallen straight from the pages of that all important tome �The Knights of Fuzz�, a sure fire shades �n� black killer toon that soon bubbles and festers from an introductory injection of Nomads like swamp fever into a raging jugular gripping spleen lacerating display of vein tightening pulse pounding punk rawk not before throwing in somewhere along the line a host of 60�s references to keep any would be Pebbles disciple keenly slavering while not forgetting the odd Black Sabbath / Hawkind accents being mercilessly dragged along for the ride. Flip cut �the Saint� while not as immediately intense as it�s lead partner still has more than enough savvy about it to suggest this lot could wipe the floor with most of the current brigade of young people with guitars and three chords to burn. �Wilder than this� marks the Norwegian ensembles third cut to be lifted from the aforementioned �Magnetic City� full length set and well what can we say other than �fuck me what was that?� Those expecting the same fuzz laden treatment as found on �Locomotive� better prepare yourselves because what this lacks in fuzz it certainly more than makes up for in gut tightening riff pyrotechnics. A pedal to the metal no nonsense frenetic boogie of sorts replete with sparring ten to the dozen chord jabs which by the close leave you reaching for the towel in submission, feisty and ferocious but strangely sexy with it. Flip over for �the Sinner� with it�s full throttle impenetrable front line sonic assault of strut happy guitars that conspire to deliver a toon that once in your head the little bastard won�t go preferring instead to party on and drive you to distraction. http://www.popfiction.biz
The Aeroplanes �Somedays� (White Noise). Last time we had the pleasure of hearing this it was criminally tucked behind their debut offering �Don�t stop me�. Now given a street date in it�s own right I�d offer up my hat (if I had one) and eat it on the spot if anyone came up with something even vaguely veering in it�s crushing orbit. �Someday� is cut from the same special cloth that made those legendary Mavers, Gallagher, Ashcroft et al compositions seep with a lasting and meaningful resonance – softly silken in demeanour but carve with the ability to strip you to the bone. In all honesty a track that defies category – just simply tearfully timeless and by rights should come pre-packed with tissues, painkillers and it�s own counsellor – for the lost seeking hope, the down needing a lift and just about anyone who has ever had their dreams reduced to shreds – an anthem like no other. Nuff said. Flip side is your no nonsense get down and boogie hard 3 and a half minutes of gritty hip swerving lip smacking dirty rock �n� roll replete with Mersey drawl and a cool as fuck vibe that�s been tattooed through to its core like words through a stick of candy rock. Surely there must be a full length in the offing to flatten us with. Essential stuff. http://www.theaeroplanes.com
Nancy Wallace �Young Hearts� EP (Hungry Hill). Never ever imagined for a single minute that I�d ever get to hear �Young hearts run free� blaring out of my hi-fi – but here it is in all its wicked glory though obviously not in its more famous soul role. That said I�ve nothing against the track personally it�s just never appealed that is until now. Recently discovered skulking under the ever creaking records to be listened to pile was this quite unassuming little 4 track gem by Nancy Wallace. For those familiar with the Memory Band (at this point I�ll feebly put up my hand in embarrassment) Nancy Wallace should need no introduction being as she is their vocalist and to cut a rather log story short this is her doing a spot of extra curricula duties solo wise (okay then not quite solo as she�s accompanied by both the Memory Band�s Jenny May Logan and Stefan Melzak from the Ralfe Band). This EP features four covers lovingly hand picked by Ms Wallace and given the soft purring folk treatment. �Young Heart� is actually made to sound quite sublime removed of its soul veneer and supplanted with the sound of a deliciously airy sounds violin that you could almost curl up beside it if you were minded such and before you ask yep we did. Another old classic disco blast from the past �Are you ready for love?� as made famous by the Spinners is a suitably lazy eyed affair noticeably slower than the original and set to the magical interplay of a softly strummed acoustic guitar playing a courtship with a serenading fiddle. The set closes with a cover of Big Bazza White�s �You�re the first, the last, my everything� – a brave choice you might say ad you�d be right given the great man�s all consuming performance – let�s face it how could anyone measure up to it. Wallace strips it bare and in doing so cleverly removes all the baubles, the pomp and the tacky trappings of the original in order to get to its very essence and what�s lost in not having White�s overwhelming charisma mooching about its confines Wallace more than makes up for by instilling a less overt and more subtle passion to the overall matrix. However that said it�s on �At last I am free� the old Chic ditty that this collection manages for once to hit its stride and strike a balance of assumed acceptance rather than a pleasurable surprise, maybe it has something to do with the rest of the cuts having such an indelible and unavoidable prehistory about them. Wallace gives the track a new lease of life endowing it with a cooling porch light like mysticism the clarity of the lyrical bite brought superbly to the fore to cut through you with the precision of a surgeons scalpel. A delicately formed gem if truth be known. http://www.spinneyrecords.co.uk
The Bank Holidays �Day for Night� (The Lost and Lonesome Recording Co.). Don�t ask us how – these things just happen – but it seems we�ve managed to mislay the press release on this little honey – though in truth I suspect there was never a press release to lose in the first place. This is a rather dandy 5 track EP packed to the hilt with shimmering summer fresh jangling guitars and honey dripped melodies that sound like they�ve stumbled misty eyed from another era when pop was about being carefree, wide eyed, innocent and literally tripping up to fall in love with everything and anyone (just check out the effervescent tingle making �Leave it out�). �Day for Night� is the ensembles second EP following hot on the heels of a, by all accounts, storming ad critical well received debut �Good looks to camera�. This new EP is simply ridiculously good believe you me – fans of Sarah, Summershine, Bus Stop, Matinee, Fire Station et al will swoon thinking that this had literally dropped into your lap from the sky while those of you much in awe and adoration of the very early Velvet Crush catalogue will check their pulses to make sure they haven�t died and gone to harmony heaven. A homely brew of timeless melodies that bridge the narrow divide between those softening sun dried 60�s classics of old – Mammas and the Papas, the Byrds (as n the pristinely curling chimes of �Not so Long Ago�), the Lovin Spoonful (especially on the skipping cooing pop of �She�s not in Love�) and the 80�s heart string yanking jangle pop – Go Betweens, Orchids and the lighter edges of the Pooh Sticks canon while dipping their toes ever so gently into territories playing host to the more melodically exquisite acts found within the Elephant 6 collective. Each of the tracks that feature on this set are superbly coded to smoulder as they subtly weave themselves around you, personally though it�s the absolutely done to near perfection tug of �Like a Piano� that serves as the sets finest moment. Cleverly crafted key changes, harmonies to kill for and hooks so aplenty that you�ll fear it�ll burst at the seams, laced with the sultry serenade of softly stirring seductive strings and packaged together into a finite 3.26 setting – you�ll just want to reign kisses upon it for sure. For those that might have given up – �Day for Night� offers up 5 perfect reasons to fall in love all over again with the notion of innocently uncluttered pop. Perfect. http://www.lostandlonesome.com.au
Foreign Born �We had pleasure� (Moshi Moshi). Second featured release from the ever cool Moshi Moshi stable. One of those kind of records that was made for a record player. �We had pleasure� is heartbreaking, life affirming, crushing, uplifting – look its fuckin� good okay – e warned once you dare to tangle with this baby it won�t leave the turntable until you�ve worn it a new hole we kid you not. So what does it sound like – well in all honesty (and pardon me at this point if they aren�t hip though yes I agree daft haircuts – can�t argue with that) A Flock of Seagulls. There I�ve said it. Okay pause for a second. Ah see I wasn�t struck by lightning or anything so there – A Flock of Seagulls, A Flock of Seagulls, A Flock of Seagulls. �We had pleasure� is massive sounding, chiming guitars that for intents and purposes sound like celestial epiphanies arc in angelic formation aside 80�s keyboards all the time threatening to overwhelm and smother you in their expansive aura – a more arresting three minute slice of pristine pop you�ll find hard to match all year. Flip the disc for �the Entry Way� and skin as well as hair begin to fly. Imagine a union of prime time Chameleons doing it coolly glacial locked in a studio with the Fixx, early career Icehouse and the Comsat Angels – poised, purring with desire and made literally from the stuff that turns blood cold and hairs to stand bolt upright. Seek out. http://www.moshimoshimusic.com
- Raumschmiere �A very loud lullaby� (Nova Mute). Basking under the moniker �special music for special people� the Shitkatapult label was founded by T. Raumschmiere (or Marco Haas as he�s known to classmates, close friends and family) – previously unknown to me he loosely describes himself as a purveyor of mutant disco and who are we to argue. There certainly is an appealing charm that alerts the senses on this delightful twin set as T.R gets decidedly down and dirty in true throbbing floor shaker style. �A very loud lullaby� features guest vocals from Sandra Nasic – both combine to provide three minutes of sexually charged mutant disco mayhem that at times has you recalling very early career Eurythmics sparring ay below their weight against a prime time teaming of Front 242 and Propaganda – deliriously dirty but delicious with it. Flip over for the altogether dinkier �An army of Watt� – a kind of dippy Android meltdown of impish Add N to X proportions that�s blessed with a seriously throbbing circular beat that once head will ping so rabidly around your head space that you�ll fear for your very sanity. Hurrah to that we say. http://www.novamute.com
Lair of the Minotaur �Cannibal Massacre� (Southern Lord). And just when you foolishly thought it was safe to come from behind the sofa along come Lair of the Minotaur with their brand of apocalyptic death throes to scare several shades of brown stuff out of you. Recommended to remove ear wax at 500 paces this blood thirsty twin set has caused much talk in our neighbourhood in recent days with residents beating a hasty path to our door and one suspects – not to enquire from where they can pick up their own copy methinks. Replete with nightmare inducing cover sleeve this demonic grind core head masher pummels and punishes any would be listener to within an inch of their life – limited to just to just 1000 copies worldwide with 300 on blood red vinyl it provides for an unrelenting skull splinting fest cut from the same cloth that made those early classic Slayer releases such objects of desire. �Cannibal Massacre� leaves no stone unturned, flesh shredding riffs, doom laden frenzied atmospherics and quite frankly schizophrenia riddled vocals combine to trundle merrily along collecting unlikely souls to toss on their hell cart to hell. What the flip side �Horns of the Witch� might lack in terms of power and aggression to it�s partner it more than makes up for in spades in belying the kind of skin crawling wretchedness that suggests lights on even in daylight might be a more than wise idea when playing this – creepy doesn�t even come into it – yet as is the usual tendency with these things there�s always a kick back and the last 30 seconds goes to prove that even in daylight nobodies safe. Those wishing to explore and descend further down into the �Lair� may well be advised to checkout the trios debut full length �Carnage�. Buy on sight even if it�s only to piss off the shite r�n�b loving neighbours next door. http://www.southernlord.com
Magnetaphone ��And may your last words be a chance to make things better� (4AD). Is it still okay to describe a track as heavenly because if anything ever deserved that description hung upon it then I�d seriously wager that you�d not find a release put out in the last six months even remotely approaching this gem�s orbital omnipresence. One of at least four perfect reasons to acquire and simply adore their latest long player �The Man who ate the man� – the others in case you were wondering �kel�s vintage thought�, �a sad ha ha� and �kodiak� – an album you always knew Matt and John had in them but suspected all along they were to bloody stubborn to do. ��And may your last words be a chance to make things better� is a dusted relic from another age, almost peeping through the ether it�s both crushing and gently euphoric – breathtaking to the point it almost suffocates you with its tender yet firmly locking embrace. Featuring some exquisite vocals from HMS Ginafore with the undeniably calming genius of King Creosote on keyboard duties which if memory serves right joined forces for that wholesomely formed Gangplank split release early last year for the Fence Collective and those Static Caravan kids (again). A fairy tale like release that crackles and caresses which will have the most casual observer simply transfixed in awe if not melting from the inside out. Flip side �Something I can understand� is your standard Phone boys being a tad playful in the toy room department – think of a wonky waltzing Plone with the abstract trimming of an advance scout party made up of members from Stereolab and the Polyphonics – damn it�s good – so good that I certainly think that these lads could make a career out of this music lark thing. By the way check out the label site and look for a specially crafted free to download 15 minute interpretation of the �Phones current album as seen and heard through the eyes and ears of our old mucker JM Lapham of the Earlies fame. Sand since you�re there already have a peek at the Minotaur Shock chrimbo pressie. http://www.4ad.com
Mugstar �My baby skull has not yet flowered� (Lancashire and Somerset). More head expanding frenzy from those loveable Scouse space cadets Mugstar. �My baby skull has not yet flowered� is a teaser for the ensembles debut full length due any day soon and provides for a nifty 5 minutes of stellar soaring sonic trepanning that Mugstar seem to be becoming quite the little experts at producing – heaps of Hawkwind overtones lashings of krautrock grind groove with particular attention made in the direction of Neu! Just for a change instead of the usual straight out and at you from the word go this beaut kind of creeps up softly behind to twat the living shit out of you – consider it hypnotic shock treatment with painful hammers though we do detect a very slight yet noticeable for all to see beard stroking jazz vibe going on in the background – of course we lie but at least we�ve managed to unmask the beard stroking jazz dudes among us – damn those jazz traps set to catch me out. Flipside features the far superior �Dik Suk� (are we sure about this?) a fiercesome non nonsense gnarled boogying bastard that takes the old theme tune to ITV�s �World in Action� as it�s main source and basically bastardises the whole thing to within an inch of it�s life. Damn clever if you ask me. All handsomely housed in an attractive wrap around sleeve type thing with a dinky sticker (if you are good that is). http://www.lancashireandsomerset.co.uk – those unable to wait can have a sneak peak at the new album to hear �Good Posture Vs. Bad Posture� by directing your mouse in the direction of http://www.myspace.com/mugstar – did we say we spoil you?
Till tonight�s bouncing fourth instalment cutely called – shall we agree on Missive 88 – yea let�s – Missive 88 online tonight at a time when most respectful people sleep.
Missive 85 – club mix
Missive 85 – part 4
Dedicated as always to Kelly and Mark – missing you.
Singled Out – what your hi-fi and record collection would read.
Okay as promised the continued back log saga – spread over the next few days as quick fire missives.
No chit chat and stuff – for all contact info and other stuff – check out Missive 85 part 1.
Parisman �A place that glows� (48 crash). Been seen recently sharing stages with the likes of Nylon Pylon, Four Day Hombre (later) and er – the Libertines – Parisman have previously managed to snuck under our radar having apparently released three EP�s before this particular record. Not so long ago the plaudits surrounding �A place that glows� would almost have certainly included words such as �shoe� and �gaze� – not quite the kind of plaudits most bands would have welcomed or indeed have hoped to fashion a career with by having on a C.V. given that certain quarters of the press would have hounded them out of existence and those very words would have followed like a very rancid smell. These days the same treatment is afforded to bands of the �brit� and �pop� variety though it�s circumspect that this is still the case given that we now have a trendy �new brit pop� tag flying in certain circles (you know I really must keep up with this genre lark thing). Here at the trusty old ramshackle shed we laughingly call the Singled Out HQ (cats, swinging and box spring to mind) we can say with hands on heart that we love these Parisman dudes- their shoe gazing Brit popping beat pop ditties certainly do it for us – yes siree – a bristling brew of star crossed aural adventures and strangely alluring heart splicing drop dead pulse pacing pop lush with guitar effects galore kinda like a smouldering Ride being reworked by the sublimely cool Kitchens of Distinction. Crushing stuff. Once you managed to recover any trace of emotion from that then the flipside �Radio Mountains� will surely strip you bare – a schizophrenic babe that shifts gear at such a pace from a point of almost reclining beauty to raging foot on the pedal attrition that air bags are highly advised – think of soft progressive rock pop superbly honed by Porcupine Tree on �Stupid Dream� undergoing the quiet / loud shock treatment seizures usually becoming of Radiohead�s more scarred sonic sculptures. Recommended. http://www.48crash.co.uk
The Ivories �Reduce the Temperature� (48 crash). Second featured release from the 48 crash stable comes courtesy of this twin pronged cutie from Leeds based all girl combo the Ivories. We suggest you get your arses into gear to track down this limited debut baby because it�s something of a killer release. Imagine a �Join Hands� era Siouxsie meeting up in a bar with PIL renegades Levene and Wobble to shoot the shit with a view to destabilising an already fractured scene resulting from the implosion of punk�s initial assault. After a night of Tequila shots they stumble into the dawn setting of Soho only to run into the Slits and the Raincoats, discuss their mission to strike while the iron is hot to crash into the nearest studio emerging shortly before noon with a post rock anthem of sorts. �Raise the Temperature� is a veritable test of the nerves – icily encoded it mooches with menace and desire to rear up 2/3rds through with such warring malignant intensity that the donning of big hats is heartily recommended. Equally fraught is the flip cut �Tonight� a bone shredding down and dirty after the lights out amalgamation of those classic 60�s girl bands gone real bad, an resistible slice of feisty felines on heat, drop dead gorgeous jabbing hooks ad ghostly harmonies that when put together and played loud do strange things to your nether regions. Quite frankly a release that�s to cool to live with. http://www.48crash.co.uk
The Shortwave Set �Repeat to Fade� (Independiente). Without doubt one of the most unassuming treats of last year was having the pleasure and indeed honour of hearing the debut full length �the Debt Collection� by the utterly wonderful Andrew, Ulrika and David – collectively known as the Shortwave Set. Our hearts had already skipped a beat on hearing the pre teaser single �Is it any wonder� which we quickly afforded the honour of Single of the Missive. �The Debt Collection� didn�t disappoint, it was romantic to the point of gushing, crackling into life as though being fed through a pre – transistor radio era valve set, it touched, teased and toyed the would be listener into warming rapture. Several months on and �Repeat to Fade� is the third single to be culled from that enigmatic epic, as charming as it is caressing it glides with deftly verve between monochrome and Technicolor in the blink of an eye clutching close to its heart an almost ripple effect calm that blossoms and mellows in equal degrees all the time disarming your steely resolve to leave you emotionally drained and one would guess better for the experience. Flipside features a new cut in the shape of the strolling folk antics of �Apple of my ear� which proves to be markedly more fractured and hitherto darker in tonality than it�s attending lead companion – that said lovers of Goldfrapp�s �Felt Mountain� will undoubtedly fall at it�s feet in admiration while the rest will simply swoon. Another classic methinks to add to their already remarkable CV. http://www.theshortwaveset.com
Oosterdok �Twilights of the weary soul� (Brown House). And it�s with good reason that we follow the Shortwave Set with this absolute diamond of a release by duo Oosterdok of whom if you haven�t heard or been made aware of yet will I�m sure come to be a mainstay feature of your listening habits in the not to distant future. Oosterdok summon up an air of disquieting elegance, intelligent and sophisticated they offer a cleverly distilled mix of fringe theatre adventurousness and high brow calibre. An amorphous style that never dulls, mysterious and refined these four cuts are perfectly choreographed and lush to the point that you�d swear a slow releasing colour bomb had been triggered to seep softly into your headspace. One minute a darkly maddening poisoned cocktail of sneering casualness and effortless un-harnessed sexuality as though Miss Kitten were playing a dastardly type set lead in �Cabaret� (�I am not a nice girl�) – the next hanging perilously on your heart strings for the masterfully hollowed harpsichord happy �Falling Sand� – Oosterdok flirt and tease, the electronic sounds both alluring and familiar harbour classical accents old and new while Becky�s vocals at times veer towards almost scolding you while always maintaining a focus to guide you with all the artistry of nursery teacher enthralling a class room full of hyper tense e number od�ing tiny tearaways. The delightfully dippy gives further proof of their creative process and unwillingness to be easily sidelined to any given generic stable – a kooky yet curiously addictive slice of proto new romantic velour with a side serving of oddly creepy like underpinning – think Stereolab at their most playful reworking the Mobiles one and only 80�s hit �Drowning in Berlin�. Best of the quartet the opener �Elysium�. Whispered sleepy toned vocals, the soothing saturation of softly spidery strings, enigmatic, chocolate box wrapped together all pristinely poised and laced throughout with a becoming latent passion – so beautiful in fact, it�s scary. http://www.oosterdok.co.uk
Infrasound �Final Warning� (Versity). Another release that I�m afraid to say has been kicking about this parish for a few months and we must add sulking big time is the third single from Leeds based Lords of banner waving bone busting boogie Infrasound. Ripped from the safe confines of their forthcoming debut full length �Out of Order� which I think I�m right in saying we�ve just taken delivery of, �Final Warning� is a caustic corker of fuzzily (as in �Rhubarb and Custard� fuzzy) rampant angry pop that hits the senses with such frenetic mite as though frayed wires had been placed on the head in order to channel the entire power of the national grid through the listener. Don�t be to surprised to find when the initial sounds fizzes into action that you�ll be clambering for your Fall collection almost half expecting to hear the odd Smith-ism such as �hey, hey, hey -ah�, �proletariat-ah pick up bar – ah�, �Friday-ah, conceptual – ah disease-ah designed-ah by money makin-ah monetary maggots -ah – Hobgoblin!�. �Final Warning� is more of a cards on the table ultimatum that just happens to be blessed with a gloriously hip swerving strike force of head hooking ear snaring chorus� and pummelling razor sharp riff-tastic antics. Flip over for �Our Own Way� which once applied to with a chamois leather and rubbed away of all its gritted exterior believe it or not sounds like a speeded up Joy Division that soon flares up into a tasty morsel that�s not so dissimilar I sound to latter era spit �n� polished suited and booted Chron Gen – which in my books in no bad thing. http://www.versitymusic.com
Cherubs �A Man of no importance� (Cargo). Frequent visitors to these pages are London based scamps the Cherubs. �A Man of no importance� is their umpteempth release and is proof indeed that these young chaps are far from exhausting their scrap book of sonic pop assaults just yet (and we suspect there is an album either in the offing or already released and by rights doing all sorts of big business in this dank and dreary Bedingfield, Gray, Timberlake infested world of low inspiration pop). Crooked time signatures, wired to the eyeballs spasticated rhythms, the proto punk vibrancy of very early career Cure being fractured dented and bent out of all recognition by a jostling array of fucked up and schizoid white funk accents overseen by a particular impish agit art pop minded Byrne / Talking Heads after a ruck with Richard Hell – sounds to good to be true eh? Fear not intrepid ones this slyly spiteful slice will lay waste to your favourite floor grooving joint for sure and that�s just the flip razor cutting demo version of �Hey Bunny�. �A man of no importance� is a seriously punishing brooding bastard of a cut that�s liable to crawl from your very hi-fi and throttle the life out of you – Television reference bleed from it with life threatening intent – add into the becoming brew a touch of frantically fraught Epic era Chameleons and a dose of the chaotic break neck ricocheting riff displays as beloved by the Fire Engines and you have yourself a pretty daunting disc doing sizeable damage not only to your sound system but to your headspace to. http://www.cargorecords.co.uk
- Pierre �I hate� EP (Melodic). Okay in some kind of spontaneous hissy fit enacted by the said disc i.e. this one, we seem to have managed something of a first here having not only lost the accompanying press sheet but the front of the case housing the CD. D�ya ever have those days? Another release which we feel we should be stumping up an apology right now especially to Melodic main man David who dropped us a line about the EP and er we kind of forgot to reply. Ouch. So er – Dave – like er – sorry. L. Pierre should need no introduction to the cooler quarter but for those in need of a little guilt inducing prod and the whispering of the words �hiding�, �under� and �rocks� then this is the alter ego (erm) experimental arm of Arab Strap�s Aidan Moffat. In his spare time spent tinkering and toying with sounds – predominantly electronic he just happens to have cobbled together a few of the most memorable treasures of counter culture in recent years – imagine what he�d produce if he did it full time – who knows he might get to be quite good at this dance / vibe / mood music type thing. For now though three – hell I just have to say it – corking cuts are yours for the asking in return for your hard earned pocket money. Opening with �I hate T-Shirts that say 1977� – though I will counter that by saying for me personally, that I hate those �yea you are FUNNY� smartarses who wear t-shirts with F*UK emblazoned over them, as though the joke was never a joke in the first place – are these people inbred you have to ask yourself – oh yea and kids of the female kind who walk around in Pl*yboy fashion wear – surely that�s wrong or is it just me – man I should be on that grumpy old men thing ya wouldn�t be able to shut me up. Anyhow I think we kinda lost our thread somewhat – L. Pierre / Aidan Moffat he of Arab Strap bah blah blah – you still with us at the back. Right three tracks – all gems – so what do you need to know apart from the fact that they are all gems and you should own a copy – like durr. �I hate t-shirts that say 1977� is all manner of sweetly tingling drip dried drop dead gorgeous strings and brass arrangements hoodwinked from the very essence of Motown and not so dissimilar in texture and mood as that very wonderful Edwin Moses album from a few years back on Siesta though this time braided by a rap by Notes. Bringing up the rear the curvaceously pulsating �Black Disco Vista� with it�s penetrating hypnotic glare stands like a beacon in the void emitting and translating its signals into brain bending matter that many will find ultimately not a million light years away from the kind of stuff John Barry once cobbled up for fun. Best of the trio by several yards and whiskers is the honed to near perfection master class study into majestic melody that is the sweeping �Biblebash!�. Incorporating all manner of �Oxygene� and �Equinoxe� era Jean Michel Jarre like insignia i.e. that sumptuous free flow of deliciously acute symphonic swirls that curve and arc gracefully to decorate your head space in all manner of weird and wonderful imagery while simultaneously continually pushing the emotion levels step by step to new peaks by the advent of pacy layering and the liberal use of operatic samples. Spellbinding stuff indeed. Essential stuff. Also while you are checking out the latest season�s wares from Melodic (note the Harrison�s second release elsewhere here) tune in for the debut album by one of the highlights from the �Melodic Today� compilation last summer – Department of Eagles (which no doubt we�ll trip over and fall madly in love with very shortly). http://www.melodic.co.uk
David Ford �I don�t care what you call me� (Independiente). When I�m not hastily writing up these ramblings with only the glow of a candle and the toot of (it has to be said) an amorous owl for company in the wee small hours when most normal people are asleep then to pay for the little things in life like food and stuff I have to work. It�s quite boring and keeps me from my CD�s which vis a vis makes me a tad grumpy. That said I actually know David Ford though I suspect not the David Ford or should that be this David Ford not unless he�s leading a double life by night but then we all have our little hobbies and things mine is watching trains – and before you start laughing and mentioning Crewe train station let me just add to that the small glaring fact that I seem to spend most of my time on platforms waiting to go to / come from work watching, while I�m there, all the pretty choo choo�s going by and none of them the one I need. Life�s like that don�t you find? Okay where were we – ah David Ford, this one not that one. Okay no press release here and frankly our cack handed broadband service has gone skewiff so no reams of life story like information to weigh you down with (hurrah you say) other than I think I�m right in saying there�s a pretty nifty full length kicking about the usual outlets which after hearing this rather fetching one track thingamajig we will donning coats and stuff be hot footing to pursue immediately. �I don�t care what you call me� is quite frankly frighteningly wonderful, building with such all consuming intensity that we�d wager you�ll either be turned to stone or drowning in a deep self made pool of your own tears by its close. A kind of cool David Gray that us more reserved types can be rest assured is okay to like without fear of retribution or comedic slating from our peers, features acoustic guitars, harmonicas and a vocal timbre that suggests it�s owner has been on a recurring return journey to hell and back for as long as he could remember either that or supping at the last chance saloon unbeknownst that its quickly burning to the ground around him. Be warned might be a good idea to check the area for surgeons for fear of imminent heart failure. http://www.independiente.co.uk
The Tambourines �What took you so long� (Decadent). Unless we�re very much mistaken or else we�ve somewhere along the line slept for so long that we�ve somehow bypassed winter completely then I�d have to admit to a lot of these records possessing what can only be described as a summery vibe. That said we are also thinking that once this cutie gets to within your earshot then a fair amount of loving is gonna be on the cards. �What took you so long� embraces elements of the Elephant 6 collective to its heart with its ostensibly West Coast accent, add a dash of indie Beach Boys, a smidgeon of Weezer�s �Buddy Holly�, a lot of sun and that oh so small unknown ingredient that made those early Dandy Warhol�s platters to cool to resist. Pepper the whole recipe with the life affirming smile forming delicacy of authentically chilled 60�s Hammond�s and marinate with a chorus hook that could easily pass for a herd of kicking mules on heat – kinda makes you wanna search out and don your favourite summer pants, shades and surf board and go seek the nearest beach to make friends in the sand which given it�s currently -10 outside might be viewed by many as both brave, barmy and a trite optimistic. A damn fine toon all the same. Flippin� over the disc and you have the equally fetching though less immediately effervescent lull of �the Great Division�. A cut that�s so invested in all manner of 60s soft psyche pop yet delicately instilled with a drifting folk feel that methinks you might for a second be checking your calendar to ensure you haven�t mistakenly fallen through some sort of time vortex and oh yeah in terms of reference points imagine West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band being redone by Scrawl while GB`V oversaw the session . Goes without saying you need this our kid. http://www.myspace.com/thetambourines
Circulus �Swallow� (Rise Above). Have to admit that when we first heard this our immediate reaction was yum yum that�s for me the small but minor detail of it being pressed on pea green vinyl only made our determination to have it as our own right that minute something more important than our next intake of air. Circulus look an odd bunch – odd in a Polyphonic Spree odd sense that is, if records were chosen on the sleeve (as is often the case with me) then I suspect most might pass up on this for fearing it had some kind of horrid �age of Aquarius� connotation attached to it (the truth of the matter is they�d be right). Circulus occupy a central place in the magic circle that finds the Beta Lactam Ring stars Whitelodge, Volcano the Bear and Nurse with Wound on one side and the likes of Candidate, Tunng and the Earlies on the other – as though more characteristic of those fabled Dandelion and Vertigo releases of years gone by – they appear to have literally fallen through the very fabric of Middle Earth by way of a hitherto secret vortex and found themselves bleary eyed slap bang and confused as hell in the hostile post summer of love era that is now The two nuggets packaged on this dinky seven inch are as bracing as they are beautiful and as beguiling as they are bright, a mercurial sugared twist of timelessly mercurial charms spun with a breathless fascination for the flowery scented pagan folk pop found caressing the soundtrack for �Wicker Man�. �Swallow� is suitably tripped with flutes a la Love, half drunken lazy eyed summer tinged banjos and the airiest vocal harmonics you�ll hear this side of a May Day jaunt around the maypole – scarily perfect. Over on the flip �My body is made of Sunlight� simply has to be heard to be believed as though the words gem like were made with it in mind, so uplifting the authorities should seize it, bottle it and sell it as a rival for prozac. By rights your new favourite band and if it weren�t for the fact that we aren�t having a Single of the Missive this time of asking – and if we were anyway then Two Gallants would be striding away with it, and if not them then any combination of the Ivories, the Isles, Decoration, the Aeroplanes or Hush the Many – take them out of the equation – make it a different Singled Out and then surely this would have been that SOTM – but alas until next time ladies and gentlemen. Oh damn go on then you�ve twisted my arm – sneaky single of the missive but don�t tell Two Gallants you hear. http://www.riseaboverecords.com
Clearlake �Good clean fun� (Domino). One of our main gripes and hitherto causes for regret is that we don�t get as many Domino releases in our gaff as we�d like – in fact this is probably the first we�ve tripped over in over a year or so – which is a shame really because we fear we are from time to time missing the odd cutely formed nugget like for instance this nifty gem. Damn, damn, damn we do like this indeedy we do. �Good clean fun� is the kind of thing that the Stone Roses should have done immediately after �Fools Gold� instead of sitting around counting their cash, doing stuff and exchanging insults with each other. Think of a particularly up for it Charlatans colluding with �Graduate� era Simon and Garfunkel to plunder the Motors lost new wave classic �Dancing the night away� and give it a vaguely lysergic ally enhanced �Pebble� pop makeover – cute as fuck catchy trip friendly spangled sonics with a more than reasonable quotient of grindingly devilish hooks guaranteed for sure to snare the casual viewer. Damn those kids with guitars that play hi-fi hysteria hummable beat pop. Flip side features the same cut put through a chemically enhanced spin dryer to be tie dyed, shaken and bleached emerging much confused and dazed into the sunlight to sound like the Monkees after a mind expanding manicure by Sunray. Of course you�re interested now – purchase on sight. http://www.dominorecodco.com
Camera �Out on the Water� (My Kung Fu). Stop it please – really, honest just please stop these perfect portions of pop – for I feel my head will explode shortly. There was a time not so long ago in the recent dim past when the night time airwaves teamed with this kind of stuff and yours truly�s record bulged with it – the Chesterfields, the Bachelor Pad, the Milltown Brothers and a cast of thousands besides sought to make our listening experience something florally tinged with the airy crispness of a spring morn. Welsh crimson pop purveyors Camera follow up last years unsettlingly beautiful debut �Hurt� with this their third single (I know it doesn�t add up but we somehow missed the second one – �There�s no way�) and reveal in the process their uncanny and dare we say adept skill at producing beautifully coded cascades of gentle life affirming pop that�s shyly framed and melodically hardy. And though their roots may lie with the bands mentioned above both the title cut �Out on the Water� and the ensuing �Long Enough� have that self same crafted elegance that was once the keep of the World Party. Investing a sumptuous faraway mellowness these slyly inviting morsels prickle and fizz with a cutely honed effervescence that�s simply breathtaking as it is invigorating to catch you off guard and while your quickly fumbling to redress the balance ad your wits your already hooked and well beneath their warming glare. Flipside features instrumental versions of both cuts with �Long Enough� strangely playing home to a driving pop hurting factor that you feel would be best served as a backdrop for some teen angst drama show such as �This Life� – damn it�s good. http://www.cameratheband.com
That�s ya lot for now – two more quick fire missives tomorrow – damn we do indeed spoil you.
Take Care –
Missive 85 – extended remix edit
Missive 85 – part 5
Dedicated as always to Kelly and Mark – missing you.
Singled Out – more tunes than you can wave a groovy stick at.
Okay part 5 of this epic Singled Out – another one shortly��..
Louis XIV �Pledge of Allegiance� (Atlantic). Pressed on a very fetching square picture disc – which for those with experience of such things makes it a slight bastard to get right when positioning the stylus – especially when in this case that picture disc happens to be rather light making it hard to distinguish the grooves. That said there is much to hate about �Pledge of Allegiance� in the way it without so much as a by your leave invades your nervous system to mess with your head and when done and dusted move down stream to set your hackles jangling in frenzy, your hips swerving and the feet a tapping – the vanity, the sexiness and the cocksure cool of the whole thing – think the Streets od�ing on amyl nitrate with a Scissor Sisters sleekness to boot – damn – I fookin hate you record. Flip side features �the Hunt� a tasty slice of reclining under the tree to watch the world pass by sliding blues with beans and bangers cooking on a roaring campfire treat from the old country – honest – I kid you not. Dis we mention it comes with a sticker – that�s got you admit it – you want one now. http://www.tlanticrecords.com
Omerta �One chance� Northern Ambition). From those nice people who brought us those superb Narcissus and Stephen Fretwell releases comes this quite literally superb twin set from Manchester�s moodier quarter courtesy of Omerta. �One chance� – ah the intensity and brutality of it all it�s as though someone has taken a butchers hook to your heart, burning with a resigned passion all the time this restless baby snakes around laying siege to your defences in an attempt to slowly unravel them and lay you wide open – think of the simmering grandeur of Mansun�s long lost �Wide Open Space� and multiply the resulting drama unfolding from out of the hi-fi speakers by threefold. Flip side, incidentally our favourite of the two, �Synchronise your smiles� could easily be a distant cousin of the Stone Roses �Made of Stone� – need I really say more – thought not – emotion sapping all the same. http://www.northernambition.com
Mundane Music / Sanjuro 77 �Split� (Kipper). And the never ending list of apologies continues at pace. And despite all the very wonderful releases featured about these pages we can�t think of a more deserving outing with which to pass on our heartiest best wishes for not only this inaugural release but for future ones to come. This delightful split release is the debut outing for anew homespun independent label by the name of Kipper. Each release we are reliably informed will have an initial run of 100 pressings only and will feature similar pairings under a series entitled �Catch of the Day� of which this is the first. Each will come in beautifully numbered hand made reclaimed cardboard / paper sleeves with inserts all housed in a brown paper bag specialising in everything from electronica to �just mental� and everything in between. As advertised debut release in the series features Mundane Music and Sanjuro 77. Mundane Music need no introduction to avid readers of these pages having featured a little while back with a superb release on the much celebrated in this parish Heliotone records. �The Woeful Pelican� combines all manner of naturist field recordings, wildly tinkled ivories and a massively ceramic wide screen grandeur that you suspect wouldn�t feel out of place serving as a backdrop to one of those adventure productions by that Speilberg bloke, so colossal in fact that one assumes MM may well have to get a bigger bedroom to play in if this continues. Seismic stuff. Not wishing to be left in the shade is Sanjuro 77 who by all accounts is a Japanese born Manchester based whiz kid who whiles away the wee hours creating what he fondly refers to as ILM – Intelligent Listening Music. �In the company of crows� marks his first steps into the big bad world to be separated from the apparent safety blanket afforded by computer games and quality cinema. Inspired as it is ingenious amid the fused din of lunatic glitch beats, droning electronic accents and irregular off the beaten track melodic interludes there�s lies stirring below at the core simply delicious heart sapping battered and bruised string symphony that sounds not unlike a noire-ish take on those classically scored drama infected pre gunfight scenes from spaghetti westerns of yore. Does it for me anyway. More please and be quick bout it. http://www.kipperrecords.co.uk
Miss McGarry �The Galumphing Man� (Heliotone). And didn�t we just mention in passing those fab people over at Heliotone. You know I sometimes wonder whether you deserve being spoilt as such. Release number nine from those nice people who to date have brought you some of the finest and tastiest ear gear there is to be had (Bear Quartet, Luke Hirst, Roy Moller, Anthony Atkinson, the Yam Yams, Michael Shelley, Kimonophonic and of course the aforementioned Mundane Music) comes in the charming form of Glaswegian Clare McGarry. As with previous releases – strictly limited to just 50 lathe cut vinyl pressings (the words get-arses-into-gear springs readily to mind) and why not when the sounds are this special. An absolute treasure is this four track debut a veritable mix of eerily infused imagination set to a piano and diary book storytelling a la �Gregory�s Girl� cut with what can only be described as a classroom charm, in fact don�t be to surprised if mid way through the opening cut – the hauntingly evocatively drawn �The Gallumphing Man� you have the unmistakable hankering for malted milk biccies dipped in a glass of warm milk. Then there�s the enchanted and vaguely creepy instrumental �Micey� to contend with which will ensure that the lights remain firmly on throughout the night. Those who remember fondly Rooney from the late 90�s underground scene and perhaps elements of early Arab Strap will find themselves in familiar safe quarters for the darkly water coloured grainy delivery of �Madman�s Mercy� though for me personally nothing quite compares to the last cut. To say the twinkle like frosted glaze of the parting �The dissapation of that lingering dread� is something approaching heavenly is to be observed as a tad understated, in the short space afforded by just two and a half minutes McGarry crams full to brimming a sterling spectacle of the graceful bordering on the lunatic, beautiful as though the very word was conceived with it in mind, spectral in a warped though wonderfully conceived Kate Bush / Bjork sense and perilously high wired between hurting heartbreak and overt optimism as though Jessie from Toy Story 2 had broke free from her confines and grown up only to find that life really was a bitch. No doubt those guys over at Mixing It have played this to the point of exhaustion. Essential without question. http://www.onoffonoff.org/heliotone
Broken Dolls �Any other day� (Southern Fried). Another release found skulking in the great singles mountain is this niftily brooding bastard by West Midlands based quartet the Broken Dolls. With an album already in the can and awaiting release (in fact its quite possible its out as I write this and no doubt selling by the shed load). Described in passing – okay by the attending press release then – as a PIL�d up mish mash of �13� era Blur dallying with the electronic arm of Radiohead. Mmmm for once I�d tend to disagree preferring to throw my hat in the ring that was once occupied by Gene Loves Jezebel, the Mission and latter career Sisters of Mercy with more than a whiff of that supplanting of McGeoch like drip dried chiming cascades all of course decoded and removed of the ensuing nary do Goth elements you understand. With that borne in mind �Any other day� proves to be a neatly manicured atmospherically muscular grooving baby that seems intent on delivering sucker punches just when you least expect it for fun while being quite readily equipped to work its way beneath your skin and run roughshod throughout your nervous system. Flip side �What the Hell� is a more measured affair being as it is delicately spun with a pensive air that�s both bruised and hurting, at times recalling the Cure�s more introspective �Disintegration� period yet decorated sublimely by an array of heart stopping tip toeing strings and a keen awareness of pristine perfect pop. http://www.brokendolls.co.uk
The New Shapes �Waiting for a God� (Pop). As though we needed any reasons or excuse to whoop it up and holler with joy in our gaff though we�d have to admit that having on the turntable doing its finest strutting stuff a record from the New Shapes kinda adds to the thrill of it all. Second single from these authors of gut tightening anthemic guitar pop follows sharply on from their immense Undertones inspired debut �You got me running round� from last summer. Both �Waiting for a God� and it�s flip cut �New Queen� hark back to an era in the record industry where the listener was spoilt for choice being faced with not only a killer A side but a giving it a run for its money drop dead blazing B side. �Watching for a God� is a blazing slice of searing, short back and sides, skinny tied, drain piped and buckled up to die for frenetic fun fuelled frenzy that has one winkle picker wearing foot in the new wave camp with the other less obviously on the glam side of the fence (I kid you not). Blessed with a chorus that could easily be a seriously bad boy Bay City Rollers being fed speed and dragged through the less salubrious quarters of Soho as was by uber patriarch Malcolm McLaren and readily more infectious that Ebola this cutely sexy baby swaggers, poses and preens before punching the crap out of your senses. �New Queen� is slightly less rounded but equally spirited featuring incendiary laced lacerating riffs, caustic key signatures and the kind of cool as could only have been achieved by distilling down all the potent elements of the New York Dolls and the Heartbreakers only to feed them through a huge motherf***ing instant pop maker machine. Damn those kids with their street partying guitarry toons. A must have release – don�t be daft of course it is. http://www.thenewshapes.com
Besnard Lakes �Would anybody come to visit me� (Static Caravan). More Static delights with which to spend your unused Xmas record vouchers on is this diamond release from Besnard Lakes. Lovingly pressed on 10 inches of sumptuous vinyl each of these 500 pressings comes equipped with a screen print insert and if that wasn�t good reason for a spot of cheering and bunting hanging then the two tunes neatly packed between the grooves may well rekindle your belief that pop music can touch, tease, tussle and do strangely wonderful things to your head. With a follow up full length to �Volume 1� in the can and ready awaiting release this twin set provides ample proof as to why these kids are already the subject of hushed mutterings among those in the know. The beauty of Besnard Lakes sound is that it doesn�t hit you immediately instead preferring to leave enough trace elements of something unknown to snag your senses and put that doubting thought in your head that it might just be a good idea to let the stylus do its thing once more. Three plays in and you are hooked �Would anybody come to visit me� softly unfurls not so much in a rush of colour but more so exacting a slow dripping hue, quietly stirring within an array of familiar sounds and yet not familiar sounds, partly kaleidoscopic, partly epic if only for the way it slyly seduces with it�s soft centred folds. Don�t be fooled by its opening ambit the vibrant array of cloud piercing feedback that whine and shimmer as they soon acquit themselves of their task in creating an atmospheric entr�e and having done so exit stage left leaving in their wake the most off centred slice of laid back coolness you�ll probably find hard to better all year a kind of meeting of minds between early Butterflies of Love (think �Rob a Bank� here) and Galaxie 500 found skulking under a stairs swapping notes on the merits of both Morricone�s effective skeletal spaghetti western scores and John Barry�s mercurial aural sculptures. Likewise BL supply a bagful of crucially gentle strumming, supplant copious amounts of heart sapping finger licking drop dead gorgeous guitar string plucking, throw in some frankly unreal harmonies and mash it all together into something that�ll break hearts of stone at the drop of a hat. Preferring not to let the side down over on the flip there�s the wonderfully hypnotic lull of the sample heavy �Life rarely begins with Tungsten film #2� which comes across deceptively docile to slyly crush you beneath the weight of its hidden beauty – play loud to get the most from it�s spellbinding seduction taking care to avoid the �Cars� like intro as it builds layer by layer along the way making visible post rock nods so much so that you might throughout the duration be forgiven for thinking you�ve stumbled across a secret union between early Arab Strap, San Lorenzo and the much loved Workhouse (which reminds us – are Bearos and Awkward Silence records still around?). Essential stuff. http://www.staticcaravan.org
And staying with Besnard Lakes briefly a well worded email and maybe a small donation to postage etc�.(but don�t say we told you) might secure you a copy of the Static Caravan Autumn Sampler from er- last Autumn not this Autumn which lets face it would be daft being we are still in Winter – but hey forward planning. Where were we – ah yes sampler. This dinky disc features 5 tracks taken from recent Static releases by Darren Hayman (of Hefner fame); Tunng who get to cover (if memory serves – an old Bloc Party nugget – see below); Besnard Lakes as advertised above; the Library Trust who we reviewed way back in the mists of time and a release that we heartily confess much love for and finally Bronnt Industries Kapital who if I recall rightly we last featured in these pages much loving their limited lathe cut release and which to our horror we�ve just discovered we�ve had the release from which this is taken (�Virtue et Industria� – limited to 500 copies kids) here with us gathering an assortment of dust. While we are here best to recap of forthcoming Static releases so you can annoy your ever so friendly record dealer – an Inch Time seven inch (you may recall us reviewing his third full length �Any colour you like� way back when we were ahead of the game); an limited album by YLID – check the Static website for details on how to download a whole YLID album gratis; a Cheju 3� cdr; stuff by Mike in Mono, Shady Bard and a by all accounts nifty package from Mark Brend (he of Farina fame who have an exceptional full length on Pickled Egg doing the rounds and shaping up already as one of the early albums of the year) which features a book �Strange Sounds� and a single by the �Strange Sounds Orchestra� – hopefully more about that before we pack up this particular missive otherwise it�ll be first of the blocks next time out. And continuing with all things Static – friends Millefeuille have made available a free downloadable 25 minute video featuring Tarentel which you can access via http://www.tarentel.millefeuille.fr
Inch Time �Icicles and Snowflakes� (Static Caravan). As advertised just a second ago – blimey we should have called this the Static Caravan newsletter instead of Singled Out but then those nice Static kids will persist in sending us top drawer records of varying size, shape and sound so who are we to argue and complain. Okay mainly for those caught sleeping at the back of the class Inch Time is non other than Stefan Panczak – an Australian musician who to date has put out some of the most sought after releases from that territory across three CD�s the most recent �Any colour you like� found it�s way to Europe to glowing reviews courtesy of Static Caravan (are we on a percentage here or what?) and is still available for download on the labels site for those who never listened first time around. Just ahead of his forthcoming full length �As the moon draws water� due out in March this limited 500 pressing two track 7� acts as a small yet delicious taster of things to come. Less involved melody / structure wise than anything on the �Colour� album – Panczak it seems opts for the simplistic approach – fans of ISAN, Plone, Raymond Scott, Maps and Diagrams et al will find much to love and curl up to here. Both �Snowflakes and Icicles� and �Almond Eyes� are best viewed as lunar suites, and more curiously it�s the flip cut �Almond� that has that distinct frosted glow about it rather than the what would seem obvious to all �Snowflakes�. Reclining and chilled out to the point that you are visibly aware of the temperature dropping, Snowflakes� is an acutely amorous affair that combines hypnotic mind melting accents and down tempo vibes within the safe confine of a child�s toy room – engaging to say the least. Flip for the cosmic caress of �Almond Eyes� a warming mix of 70�s test card TV nostalgia and dippy plink plonk pop lovingly extracted, moulded and baked into a surreal like twilight floorshow where a spliff fuelled and much wasted troop of Clangers have fallen through an unmarked pot hole and into an undiscovered Narnia like world of snow queens, icicles and unnerving calm. Think you need this one.
The Paddingtons �Sorry� (Poptones). Again another release found gathering dust looking for much loving is 43rd single from the Paddingtons debut album �First comes first�. The band have recently completed dates with Baby shambles (who they?) but that�s no reason to ignore these cute spikey topped purveyors of all things terrace chants and three chords – the Hull based street urchins now seem to have honed to manicured perfection the art of the would be standard bearing ball dropping three minute fumble inside the bag of punchy pop as �Sorry� proves perfectly. Damn those youthful pups. http://www.paddingtons.net
Tunng �Pioneers� (Static Caravan) / �Magpie Bites� (Nowhere Fast). The normally ever reliable and informative magazine �the Word� has in its latest issue (March edition – no. 37) something of a new folk special bolstered by a (non to shedding anymore light) feature on Nick Drake, an interview with KT Tunstall and an A to Z list of the various happenings / people / acts of the �so called� New Folk scene – among the four page listing and 31 names / events mentioned – the lists importance, relevance and indeed authority is marred by the absence of one of the scene�s true conspirators – Tunng. Okay you may say – but Tunng are folktronic so they don�t strictly count – but then the Earlies are listed as are the Fence Collective both deservedly so. Ho Hum is all I�ll say. Nevertheless the Static releases continue at pace. Speaking from a personal point of view one of the best finds of the last two years has been Tunng, delivering perhaps one of the albums of last year in �Mother�s daughter and other songs�.� they have recently been the subject of fierce EBAY bidding activity where the ultra limited �Maypole Song� lathe cut release reviewed in these very pages – oh eons ago went for a whopping �100 plus. This time around two releases on the trot, the former marks their last for the esteemed Static boys and in fine style its delivered to. Released in limited format CD and 7� vinyl – the CD features three cuts plus a video �Fair Doreen� (originally appearing on that aforementioned debut full length as well as Specialten issue 12 as mentioned above – getting confusing this – but hey it links – though sporadically you might rightly remark) – the 7� incidentally is a one sided etched type thing and v. limited. The �Pioneers� referred here is indeed the Bloc Party cut magically moulded and melodically enhanced in that unique trademark Tunng brew that you�ve come to love, adore and be bewitched by- tumbling chords, rustic backdrops, the breathless and anticipatory stop starts and like the uncorking of a fine and vintage dust covered wine that whole feeling and sense of releasing something from another age – Tunng aficionados of old will not be left wanting while new viewers may feel disturbingly exhilarated by the whole experience. Flip side features 2 old favourites that originally featured as a limited 500 pressing only 7� way back in 2004 – please keep up at the back. �Tale from Black� sounds like King Creosote armed with his Nick Drake chord book traversing through �Wicker Man� country accompanied by his on hand picked May day merry making mockers while �Pool beneath the Pond� with it�s decidedly off centre, flopping funky folk vibe and overtly lazy like delivery may just adequately fit the very word �sublime� to a tee. On the merits of �do I need this record?� – consider this – do bears shit in woods?
Staying with Tunng for another release currently doing the rounds this time for a relatively new label Nowhere Fast. The law of averages dictates that sooner or later Tunng are going to release something that we truly, utterly hate and which our hip shaking hi-fi will simply spew forth the said disc from its spindle and have it flying at pace across the listening room. Not on this occasion though. Two new tracks – well one is a traditional tune reclaimed by the brothers Tunng feature on this delightful numbered limited edition of a 1000 7� platter which comes housed in a wall filling poster type sleeve (yippee). �Magpie Bites� is arresting – need we say more, gentle cracking pop that sounds like it�s just woken from a summer�s afternoon snooze under the big tree on the local village green, so frail and fragile you feel the mere breathing over it could cause it to break in half – a spectral beauty you�d do well to file alongside those great Robert Wyatt records that you should have in your record collection. Flipside �the Bonnie Black Hare� takes the shyness aspect to new levels, like the aforementioned �Tale from Black� very much a twinkling gem found holidaying on the Summerisles – mercurial stuff indeed. http://www.nowherefastecords.com
That�s your lot until either later tonight – if you are good or more probably tomorrow sometime
Missive 85 – night groove mix
Missive 85 – part 6
Dedicated to Kelly and Mark – thinking of you always.
Singled Out – swooning toons to rodger your ear space
Hey ho – another ramble-tastic Singled Out as promised������������…………………….
Those of you wanting chit chat or contact info please refer to Missive 85 part 1 – from ages back�.ho hum�
Hamanzi �Long time coming� (Fiction). My, my aren�t these chaps rather noisy – closing track �Mass Hypnosis� is what writers from the long and dim past would have termed �fookin� groovy, man�. It�s certainly caused a heated debate down at our local parish hall disco in recent weeks where the assembled throng of fully paid up church goers witnessed on their once sedate spectacle the well advertised monthly derby and joan two step sit down pause for breath dance floor shenanigans of the usually timid over 70�s membership to the sound of said record was reduced to a scene of utter carnage with various artificial hips, limbs, teeth and in one case a pace maker being separated from their owners in what can be best described as the revenge of the coffin dodging pogoers. Okay enough of that – Humanzi – no info – no press release – what is a guy to supposed to do. With an album in the can and slated for street action in May these dudes are a Dublin City based quartet – and this particular release may or indeed may not be their second release – we say that with an uncertain confidence because in all honesty I suspect that this may be their debut – confused – I am – join the club. Okay what we have is a 5 track CD – that much we do know that clocks in at 21 minutes in duration. This brute hits you straight between the eyes from the word go with the angularly rhythmic scorched white funk groove of �Long time coming� opening up the proceedings in fine style – bulging beneath the weight of bass heavy grind, a seriously throbbing robotic weave and culminating in a rebellious you vs. us street mentality this sets about its task of working beneath your senses admirably with the precision of a drill to the head. �Out on a wire� ups the pace and friction considerably, pairing together a chest beating terrace style attitude with an abundance of vividly acute sparing riffs that jab and sting you into submission – not so much a quick 3 minute fumble in the sack of pop but rather more a polite but assured knee capping exercise. And just when you think surely they can�t top what�s gone before the buggers go and ransack the hi-fi with the spleen shredding and criminally wicked �Fix the Cracks� – a manic maelstrom of lushly swept electronic backdrops and fierce some skull shagging high wiring punk pyrotechnics. As for �Help me in the morning� we�ll just say think of a particularly perky Joy Division sharing studio space with a pre �Dare� and disco dollies Human League and Magazine. Last and by no means least – the awesome �Mass Hypnosis� a beastly psychotronic bastard of a cut that we�d hazard a guess should come replete with a health warning given its special mind warping and brain melting properties, a truly fried high voltage head tripping experience as though a particularly recalcitrant Slayer where amid a brutal face off with a hung over and wired to the gills version of the legendary Walking Seeds – destructive stuff. Essential of course but then I guess you�d gathered that bit. http://www.humanzi.com
The Chemistry Experiment �Insterstellar Autumn� EP (Fortuna Pop). Another release that we feel we owe an apology to as it�s been out for a fair while is this very wonderful 5 track EP from the excellent and sadly much underrated Chemistry Experiment. Occasional visitors to these pages the Chemistry Experiment are one of those rare and unique breeds of band that would in another time and place be heralded and indeed applauded for their inspired song craft, last years full length �The Melancholy Death of the Chemistry Experiment� (from which incidentally the sumptuously Rialto / Hefner like love note �You�re the prettiest thing� included here is taken from) was as exquisite as it was dark, a soured beauty of timeless proportions. Those who have witnessed their live shows will be all to familiar with �Interstellar Autumn� given that it�s become something of a jaw dropping show stopper – on paper let�s face it – the mere hint of someone threatening to marinate both the Floyd�s �Interstellar Overdrive� with Justin Hayward�s �Forever Autumn� might leave some of us running for the exit rather sharpishly – but then grown men have been known to stand transfixed, speechless with jaw agape in some cases with a tear gently forming in a show of uninhibited fondness. Here then the full unedited studio cut in all its 8 and a half minutes of finite glory replete with flutes and heart tugging vocals whilst not forgetting the merest glimpse into the darkened void of Barrett�s uncontrollably unravelling psyche – and you thought pop couldn�t move you – foolish child. Those that cant get enough of the War of the World featurette are treated further by the inclusion of a �radio edit� on this collection. Elsewhere �Karin� is a curling nugget of summer pop that some might find not to dissimilar to the Go Betweens finest work as if remoulded that is by Fonda 500 while �Belt and Shoelaces� is a rather zippy and perky cover of a lost Butterflies of Love gem – here given a delightfully mallowy 70�s designed funky candy pop refit which if we told you it was the work of ELO being remixed by Air then frankly you wouldn�t bat an eyelid – clever or what? To clever for their own good these youngsters. Acquire on sight. http://www.fortunapop.com
Suicide Sports Club �The Last Ghost in Town� / �I don�t know� (b_rock). Come on admit it – great name for a band eh? Well we thought so. Better still the sounds are pretty smart to as these two (yea yea okay they�ve been out for a while) releases prove. Suicide Sports Club are (from what information we�ve managed to cobble together – yep you got it we checked the internet) a twosome – Luke and Bruce – who delight in making what can only be described as smokily cool atmospherically tingling down tempo aloof club pop and it seems should be applauded for the very fact that so far we have managed to avoid using the all to fatal combination of words �art� and �pop� when describing their sound. What�s more neither do they merit any references to the Artic Monkeys, the Gorillaz, Franz Ferdinand, the Ordinary Boys (damn where�s that holy water and cross) or as far as we can ascertain have in the past shared a flat with Pete Doherty or been named checked by Noel Gallagher or similarly stalked by Kate Moss – in fact Suicide Sports Club don�t sound like anyone else currently trading their wares on the current pop perambulator. �The Last Ghost in Town� is shrouded in a refined primal cool that�s all at once sleek, enigmatic and curiously sensual – reference wise if you need them then not so far removed from Mick Harvey�s post Birthday Party solo outings primarily his �Intoxicated Man� era work with the obvious 60�s grandeur being replaced subtly by a lock down and loaded meaty club floor throbbing vibe that�s blessed with a vocal that could easily be the lounge lizard alter ego of Tom Waits on the prowl. All in all a sizzling bare bones get it on. Second release up for these SSC guys is the equally allure charged �I don�t know� this time packaged with not one but four different mixes to include the original album (from their debut full length – �Electric Mistress�) mix plus three additional retreads by King Unique, Soul Mekanik and the Loose Cannons. �I don�t know� deals with inner city alienation – how do I know you might ask – well it says it here in the press release – and features rappng duties from the Dead Rabbits AKA Duke and Spirit. A bass heavy funky bastard that darkly smoulders with an unenviable air of the late 80�s club scene – should come pre packed with a prescriptive warning that reads play in small doses the exceeding of which will have you hooked and begging for more. King Unique curb the smoothed lines of the original instilling a brutally addictive stripped to the core house vibe while Soul Mekanik get down and personal with their trademark smooching after hours appeal to redress the original cut with an expanded chilled out loved up veneer. It�s left to the Loose Cannons to completely tinker, toy and bury the template passed to them – the returned retuning housing an array of dub-esque, roving bass heavy lined, grittily edgy city by night atmospherics that you�d suspect even Barry Adamson might pass an approving nod to. http://www.suicidesportsclub.com
The Sonic Art �Do you ever feel� (Rough Justice). More arresting pop of the hand holding variety so frail and fragile in appearance and delivery that you fear the slightest nudge would have it tumbling over and fracturing into millions of tiny pieces. �Do you ever feel� is the bands debut release ad focuses on the core song craft talents of brothers Christian and James Norris. Haunting as it is elegiac �Do you ever feel� though similarly infected by the seductive prowess as say Pellumair and the likes – hints beneath the surface at stolen evenings investing spare time listening to the more sedate moments from the ever wonderfully Porcupine Trees� back catalogue, a gloriously gentle interplay of dreamily derived acoustics and electronics shyly encoded with a spatial intimacy rarely explored these days that is strangely invested with a curiously overwhelming widescreen ambition that if your not carefully may well knock you bandy. Likewise �Nightime trip� is equally engaged, from the most sparse of settings this bruised beauty appears misty eyed as if somehow detached from its heavenly mooring to almost stumble from the ether into your listening space to attach and hang perilously from your heart strings to leave a lasting presence long after the tracks departed. Rounding up what has been a particularly sterling set – �Transient� sounds like it fallen from the work bench of Howard Jones� �Human�s Lib� set not before being tailored and tinkered slightly with the merest of sweeping slow burning Edge like dustings – all in all a release to curl up to a loved one with methinks. http://www.thesonicart.com
Cathode �Chronophobia� (Distraction). I fear that some of these records are just a little to good these days especially the one coming from the Distraction stable. Cathode should be no strangers to viewers of these pages and if they are you probably haven�t been a) paying attention at the back or more carelessly b) not been reading these blood, sweat and tears prepared ramblings – tut tut shame on you. Steve Jeffries, for it is he who is Cathode wiles away the passing days locked away in a sonic laboratory making sounds that make the amps and volts coursing through toasters and other electrical appliances simply jingle and jangle with delirious desire. Previously seen sporting the colours of not only those finely tuned ears of the Static Caravan camp but also those cool kids who know a fair bit about tasty records over at 555 and Awkward Silence (of whom whose mailing list we sadly appear to have fallen off in recent times). �Chronophobia� is of course �the fear of time� – why I tell you that and what it has to do with the review other than stating the obvious is fairly much beyond me. But then it is our discerning service that we like to not only stimulate your mind with top toons but also give you new found words to casually drop into conversations during brief tipples with friends and acquaintances – we are nice like that. Featuring the hushed sensual vocals of Caroline Thorp �Chronophobia� could well prove to be Cathode�s finest release to date, a beautifully and intrinsically worked marriage of sumptuous and suitably icicle like �Low Life� era New Order romanticism suggestively sprinkled within a lunar-esque patchwork of blissfully laden snoozing crackle pop that�s so delicious you could eat it I you had a mind to. Flip side features �Economic Growth� a soundtrack for hand holding amorous androids taking time out to recharge while sitting on a celestial sea front bench basking beneath the glow of alien moons – superbly spacey in texture – think o it as a distant half cousin to Tubeway Army�s �I nearly married a human� – quite classy if you ask me. Available via http://www.distractionrecords.com – while you are there check out details of the much anticipated new single from d_rradio.
Big Strides �Let�s get nice� (Tall Order). By far winning the missives award for most wired release is the Big Strides �Let�s get nice� taster for their forthcoming second album due shortly. By all accounts this London based trio have been known to leave many onlookers at their live appearances positively gob smacked – as the press release states �a melding of lo-fi alternative punk rock, jazz, funk, laconic vocals and a wry sense of humour� – kind of has you worried don�t it? Fear not – although be minded to prepare yourself because �Let�s get nice� is frankly all over the shop and I say that in a complimentary way – imagine the frenetic urgency and schizoid delivery of the Higson�s �I don�t want to live with Monkeys� being pulped by Pigbag who on this occasion have arrived without their brass and somehow managed to acquire into their group members of Carter USM. This baby is serious party music, screw balled – yes, pissed as a fart – possibly, infectious – certainly. Amid the stop start Brit pop abusing mentality the heady but subtle waft of Presley� �A little less conversation� and the hoodwinking of the Italian Job�s �Self preservation society� exchange playful punches between the grooves. Flip over for two more slices of coolness – the short but sweet �Brudenell Groove� a brief but tasty portion of late night instrumental smokiness and �Sad Songs� which on my CD has it as �Sad Soings� (typo error – hello Ebay? – of course we joke) – whatever it makes for a natty toe tapping funky throbber all the same. http://www.tallorderrecords.com
Mew �Special� (Evil). Quick as lightning follow up to that awesome jaw dropping �Apocalypso� single from last summer (well it would have been quick as lightning had we indeed reviewed it at the time – but hey – harrumph). Second release taken from the much acclaimed �and the glass handed kites� full length – and a killer tune it is Mew continue to do what Mew do best that is create mercurial slices of super pop – �Special� again another release that hints at a love of all things New Order and March Violets, lovingly wrapped in the stuff that stars are made of, this cutely honed baby is stream lined designed to mainline into your senses and do things you no longer thought records were capable of. Perfect.
The Django Black Ensemble �Coastal Concert� (Demo). Is it just me or does anyone else think that this sounds not unlike an early Manic Street Preachers being fronted by Tom Robinson well at least the opening track �Coastal Concert� does anyway. The Django Black Ensemble were in a former life known as Yenpox who it seems became disillusioned being met with apathy but still smarting from being bitten by the melody bug soldiered on and in the process honing their ideals and sound. Good job to because this three track demo ain�t bad at all. Opening with the aforementioned �Coastal Concert� a three and a half romp through �Suicide Alley� era Manics, all packed to the hilt with a brew of zig zagging strutting riffs bled through with a pretty neat terrace chant sing-a-long chorus which all said and done given the assistance of a more polished production would sting like hell. Likewise �Ghosts of rock �n� roll� is similarly touched with that early Manics vibe but for me the sets best moment is the cut found lurking with menace sandwiched in the middle. �Glimmer Cross� in another time and place would have been claimed by Joy Division as their own, austerely treated this primal bruiser is stripped to its core to leave in its wake a grittily authentic post punk / death disco groove that hoodwinks and welds together the edgily claustrophobic
body parts of JD�s �Transmission� and the blood pumping bass hook from PIL�s �Public Image� to such clear and unforgiving effect that you can literally feel the temperature plummeting around you. More please. Djangoblackensemble@yahoo.co.uk
Early Year �Backlight� (Algorhythm). As if we�d died and gone to heaven we couldn�t think of a better release out of the current crop that we�d love to wake and find serenading us. Admittedly it�s been out for ages and as we don�t watch TOTP (or at least admit to watching it – look it�s loud, pretentious and really annoying and then there�s the acts – ha ha – presenters were do they get them from – reform school?) we aren�t readily certain that they haven�t already achieved world domination status and that the mere dropping of their names in polite conversation will lead to the rolling of eyes skywards as if to say tell us something we don�t know. Early Year (not to be confused with the Early Years – who should be cropping up shortly in their own right) are a London based quartet who appear to have more decent toons than I readily suspect is feasibly allowed for an ensemble of such tender years to have. With one previous release under their collective belt which annoyingly must have slipped our ever acute radar these four cuts pack an unnervingly enviable punch that methinks if you aren�t to careful will leave you an emotional cripple by the end. What makes �Backlight� so special is the way in which it gives up another little piece of itself with each repeat listen, sounds that initially appear naked and lost soon grow focused all the time expanding not only in terms of texture but colour. Relying on the old chestnut that is the loud / quiet dynamic �Always Up� softly swirls catching you unguarded, breathlessly hushed vocals sensually arc and weave themselves against a backdrop of carefully measured tempting chord chimes to create an alluring atmospheric back drop that at given points break free of their harness to momentarily fizzle and flare until configuring at the close into an assault alignment to rain down a soaring yet sapping intensity fuelled sonic melt down. �Iona� opens to the tumbling cascade of a would be Zeppelin – esque template, beginning softly it soon begins to shift gear, layer upon layer building in velocity, in sharp contrast �Inside You� is fairly sedate paying nods along the way to both Radiohead and Mansun, a cleverly scored cut that�s as intricately pieced together as it is disorientating at times leaving with the fleeting feeling that the whole thing might at any point unhinge itself from its steadying rails. However as is the case with these releases it�s left to the last track to exact that all important killer blow. �Last Laugh� is spectrally cast, less rooted in that sense of underlying friction evidenced on the EP�s three other tracks in some ways it is a mass of contradictions with the atmospheric backdrops though almost fluffy and optimistic in essence revealing below their surface skin a deeply oppressive edge as the maddening drone like riff loops pulverise you into submission not before the ensuing cataclysmic finale brought to bear by the elegant celestial like choir arrives to strip you of whatever resolve you still hold intact. An absolute gem of a release. http://www.algorhythm-records.co.uk
That�s your lot for another day – more tomorrow – same time, same place but different records – stands to reason don�t it – be daft reviewing the same records again – wouldn�t it?! – Hush the Many, the Composers, Echoboy and FortDax loom on the horizon.
Till tomorrow –
Take care – toodle pip and stuff.