Archiv – Singled Out – Missive 29 ….

Archive posting originally postedcon the losing today site …… January 2004 …..

Missive 29
17-01-2004
Singled Out 29

Alive and Kicking 18th January 2004
Pushing up the Daisies 25th January 2004

Dedicated to Kelly and Mark.

Christmas bah, humbug. So how did yours go, hopefully you all had a great time and are now suitably refreshed and ready to face another year of mirth, madness and top drawer tuneage. The record shed has been bulging with all manner of releases these last few weeks most of which you’ll find carefully dissected below. I am going to attempt to make this a weekly slot, but forgive me if it doesn’t pan out like that as some of us do have to sleep eat and socialise, though the latter I can now barely spell let alone do.

Some good news at last on the magazine front. The pencilled in street date projection is May. Now those of you who meticulously read these ramblings have probably noted that these last two years have proved an ever-increasing source of frustration to yours truly, but I can now say without fear of ridicule and reprisals that the magazine WILL be out very shortly. It will be worth the wait. Media packs are currently being designed and should be sent out sometime next month, those on my contact list will get a detailed email in a day or two explaining changes to the site and general information about the magazine. All I can say is thank you kindly for all your patience and continued support.

Okay time to shut up and put up, without further ado, the singles…

And what better way to kick off the proceedings than with some nerve jangling cinematic pop…

Drunk with Joy ‘I say Goodbye’ (Maze). This, I’ll start by saying, is quite superb. Drunk with Joy are duo Mila Oshin (vox) and Kris Jager (music) and ‘I say Goodbye’ is the duos debut release and a belter it is to, propelled by raging emotions and crisply arranged chilling atmospherics, evolving a hybrid template that cleverly cherry picks the best bits of All About Eve, Goldfrapp, Portishead and early Transglobal Underground and weaves the resulting chemical nutrients into a fabric of sound that invites the unassuming spectator into a world of darkly lit electronic foreplays. Drunk with Joy smother the listener beneath a twisting symphony of sophisticated beats and icily aloof backdrops, both cerebral and sensual each of the three tracks belies a shadowy grain and desolate underbelly. Okay there are no moving of the musical goalposts here, that’s pretty much accepted, but Drunk with Joy set themselves apart by mixing the smooth with the abrasive like a more rounded variant of the rejuvenated Gary Numan sound, emotionally pricking electronics liberally filter throughout, rushing their warming intoxicants with heart breaking glee to spar with the stinging industrial dynamics that pepper the orchestrations, all the while the oozing appeal of Oshin’s passionate vocals stands out like a shining beacon amid the turbulent synthetic waves. ‘I say Goodbye’ is turbo fitted with a predatorial hunting beat, in terms of feel and texture very much in the spirit of Goldfrapp’s ‘Utopia’, elegant and glacial. ‘Nothing like you’ treats itself to some massively executed trip hop beats and utilises a compelling dub dynamic and bells lifted straight from Chic’s ‘I want your Love’, think of a more dance orientated Clash being refitted by Barry Adamson. Best cut off the set though is the parting ‘The Lucky Ones’, pensively saturated with sombre strings and a jiggling grooved out underpinning, Oshin’s vocals flutter angelically across Jager’s (for once) neutered and minimalistic score recalling early Sinead O’Connor. Thoroughly recommended. http://www.drunkwithjoy.com

Boogie Pimps ‘Somebody to Love’ (Data). This is probably flying up the charts as I write not that I’d know as I’m well passed the age where the latest fifteen minutes of fame finger of fate becomes a thing of consequence and sleepless nights. Okay the Boogie Pimps set about giving Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Somebody to Love’ the house treatment and hell despite the fact I stopped listening to chart music way back when you had to wind up the record player to get any assemblage of sound, this is quite good, both my left feet where tapping wildly. My copy has 5 variants of the same song, though the ‘Radio Edit’ stands loud and proud we can still appreciate the appeal of the Ibiza-esque deconstruction of the ‘Ian Knowles Remix’ and best of all psyche mind melting hypnotics of the superior ‘DJ Flex and Sandy Wilhelm Executive Mix’. http://www.ministryofsound.com

And staying with chart contenders for just a little while longer….

Tube and Berger featuring Chrissie Hynde ‘Straight Ahead’ (Direction). Stands to reason I was always going to like this merely for the fact it has Ms Hynde on it, since hearing the Pretenders do ‘Kid’ at a formative age she’s always had one of those vocals that just does it for me, husky and sexy with that kind of held back ‘so what are you gonna do about it’ attitude. Tube and Berger enter Kylie world, a frightening place where the Antipodean Princess of Pop rules with a very small hand as she attempts to vanquish the opposition and develop her master plan to swamp the world with Kylie clones and have every male with a pulse at her beck and call, oh yeah and to make sure she never appears in the same continent at the same time as the demonic Danni. If life was that simple. T & B go in armed to the teeth with all manner of club tricks, neat grooves, devious spins, alluring melodies and the same maddening clockwork rhythm that made ‘Can’t get you out of my head’ a hit and even having the gall to take Kylie’s songwriter hostage on their travels. Still they have to rely on Ms Hynde to kick the butt of the Kult of Kylie in order to save the day. Hip, hip, hooray.

Razorcuts ‘A is for Alphabet’ EP (Matinee). The first of several featured releases that dropped through the mailbox prior to Xmas from those lovely people at the Santa Barbara based Matinee Records. Following their recent retrospective album (‘R is for Razorcuts’) honouring the much missed Razorcuts, Matinee have managed to persuade the powers that be to relinquish their grip on five more cuts from the vaults, of which two are never before heard demo rarities. Formed in the mid 80’s, the Razorcuts sound was among the crop of wide eyed melodically prickly traffic that acted as a precursor to the whole Sarah label template, jangling guitars, innocent sunny side guitar pop for the more passionately distracted souls of the time. The Razorcuts sound could be traced back directly to the more sprightly canon of the Byrds, effervescently swelling with hope and layered with a wholesome thread of tantalising hooks and driving melodies charged with a veritable feel good factor. Though the band split in 1989, various members going on to form Heavenly, the ensembles two key players, Webster and Vass, did collaborate under the pseudonym Forever People for a one off single for Sarah in ’92. Listening to these five tracks it’s easy to see that this lot were slightly ahead of the game, alighting from the same musical station as the Go Betweens, Razorcuts as evidenced here always had that extra tang, take for instance the glowing ‘First Day’, originally appearing on the flip of their third single, now if anyone tells me that’s not classic Stone Roses a whole year before Manchester’s favourite sons blossomed from Goths to 60’s darlings then I’ll consider myself struck dumb. Lovers of the Clientele and Clock Strikes 13 likewise will not be found wanting with this release especially on the heartbreaking demo cut of ‘For Always’ which takes a steely interior to walk away from without shedding a tear, and that’s even before we get a chance to mention ‘A is for Alphabet’ a spangly variant of the Weather Prophets. Just to cool for its own good.

The Young Tradition ‘Californian Morning’ EP (Matinee). A remarkably breezy debut release that’ll simply take your breath away. The Young Tradition happened as a result of a collaboration via transatlantic post between ex Skypark man Brent Kenji and Swedish musician Erik Hanspers. Three tracks that invite you to imagine a dippy meeting between Damon and Naomi and the Mommas and the Poppas. Elegantly willowy, there’s something so trembling fragile about this trio of songs that just makes you want to cuddle them, poignant, hurting and above all magical. Opening with the timeless tones of ‘California Morning’ a crafted gem of perfectly woven 60’s folk pop braided by a brief visitation of a lonesome trumpet, the delicately cared for melodies perfectly complimented by Kenji’s lulling soft vocals. ‘All up to me’ canters with a subtle Francophile twist that imagines what Stereolab might sound like if Paddy McAloon was invited to sit in on the writing process, quite exquisite. Finishing with a cover of Poundsign’s ‘Isolation’ which in all honesty I‘d never previously heard, longing and sugary with a faraway kind of feel that just gets you tingling, thoroughly irresistible of course. The duo are currently working on material for an album to be released later in the year.

Pale Sunday ‘A weekend with Jane’ (Matinee). A trio from Brazil playing perfectly toned English pop, now let’s face it that don’t happen that often so time to make merry while it lasts. A debut release that on first hearing sounds nice, and yes I do mean that in a tad derogatory manner until that is the third track ‘Today’ where upon something magical happens and forces you to reconsider your initial gut feelings. Pale Sunday, a name quite fitting as their songs do have a strange chemistry that marries upbeat pop to downcast storylines making it ultimately appear as though the band permanently walk beneath gloomy clouds or ride off in search of storms to annoy. Again like the Razorcuts it’s by and large all about jangly guitars with the prevalent air of C-86 shimmering brightly throughout. ‘Today’ wrapped in sugary string arrangements all set off over a seriously twisting bass line takes a laid back teasingly sophisticated approach that overall gives it then edge among the quartet of tunes on offer. That said ‘the girl with sunny smile’ points to rainy afternoons stuck indoors watching the days drift away listening to old Bus Stop, Sarah and Summershine records, ostensibly American sounding, very much with a plural hint of Chris Stamey, the Mayflies and a more pop orientated Moviola, fizzing guitars and jabbing hook lines and very tasty with it, while ‘Go Ahead’ has that same emotionally stinging resonance as Another Sunny Day. Leave the disc playing a little longer after the closing track to hear a bonus un-credited cut recorded onto a female friends answer machine, stripped down and pretty much in the BMX Bandits / Speedboat scheme of things, in other words quite dandy.

Simpatico ‘Club Life’ (Matinee). Another peerless release from Santa Barbara’s finest label comes courtesy of Australia’s Simpatico and proving to be their most accomplished batch of songs yet. Simpatico is the musical alter ego of Jason Sweeney and these five tracks represent the first recorded fruits since last years ‘Difference between alone and lonely’ album. Opening to swathes of electronic grandeur on the title track ‘Club Life’ with its driving dynamic which had me recalling Its Immaterial from the mid 80’s switching emotionally into full reverse for the longing hurt of the sensitively challenging ‘Inseparable’ which in terms of moods isn’t a million miles away from Human League’s ‘Louise’. Sweeney peddles an intimate dusty path, tear filled tales half spoken are honed to sweetly digestible 80’s synth back drops themselves locked onto skipping rhythms, the overall effect inherently chilly and distant but providing brief glimpses of upbeat euphoria. If anything this EP gets better the further in you get to explore, it’s melodies and soft intertwining textures implicitly invite you to sit back and float away as the seemingly simplistic arrangements wash over, reference points, if indeed it counts, could arguably cite the more serene moments of Electronic and Pet Shop Boys, after all this is neatly executed thoughtful pop. Best cut of the EP is ‘Garden Greene’, all at once the flurries of strummed chords and electronic orchestrations sting the listener in their tracks, captivating with its faraway yearning, it’s like imagining a super group made up of New Order and the Cure auditioning for a release on Sarah, literally heart stopping stuff. Then there’s the wonderfully fluffy ‘First and Last Warning’ with it’s ricocheting spacey ceramics, tenderised laid back groove and hypnotically swirling melodies, pretty much a similar sentiment to J Xaverre and the current crop of folk-tronic. Lush pop never sounded so lonely.

The Pines ‘True Love Waits Volume Two’ EP (Matinee). A welcome return to these pages for the Pines who if memory serves correctly last appeared here knocking us flat on our faces with the divine ‘Please don’t get Married’ single from what seems like ages ago. ‘True love waits’, yum yum. Fresh from her guest slot on last year’s very excellent Relict album, (which if you haven’t bought now, then shame on you, your record collection is screaming for it or don’t you care?) Pam Berry resumes her partnership with Joe Brooker as the pop franchise The Pines. Five more smouldering counts of deliciously served quintessential folk pop, The Pines will never rock your world but they’ll sure as hell make you swoon till your dizzy with their coaxing harmonies and cautiously nimble arrangements. If anything ‘True love waits’ hints vaguely at early Belle and Sebastian non more so than on the dreamy ‘Marie Claire’ where upon the duo take a gentle detour to play the pristine pop card, complimenting boy / girl vocals ooze, tenderly sparring against the cascading drifting like chord weaves. Nothing quite prepares for the numbing ‘Familiar’ as it gracefully flutters hazily like as though it’s just fell off the back of the Smiths debut album, tumbling chords very much with that classic cavernous Marr touch gently caress Berry’s breathlessly angelic vocals. That said it’s the opening track ‘Ungrammatical’ that holds out for the plaudits, with a cappella delivery it has that sophisticated touch of Christmas carolling about it as Berry delivers a humorous tale of a boyfriends badly written love letters. Simply gorgeous as if you needed telling.

The Liberty Ship ‘Northern Angel’ (Matinee). The last release in this Matinee round up comes from Nottingham based quartet the Liberty Ship and one of those records that takes a few listens before its charm starts to kick in. The first thing that strikes you about the Liberty Ship sound is that it doesn’t lend itself to the rigours of day times jostling, instead it comes into its own beneath the shade of a lonely oak tree watching the outside world slowly drift away while time stands still. Admittedly it’s easy to get suckered in by the opening track ‘Northern Angel’ for what first appears like a sweet piece of tuneage going nowhere, like ensembles from the past and I’m talking elements of Caretaker Race / Orchids / Hey Paulette here, it snaffles you up in it’s spring time neutered anthemic flow, by the end a tune that’s damn near impossible to get out of your head, and if that weren’t enough it’s got some bracing harmonicas on it, well I’m sold anyway. Every thing calms down to a near stand still with the thoughtfully milky hue of ‘This World’ but its the loveably engaging ‘Final Kick’ that gets my vote as the best cut here and sees Rachel Eyres taking up lead vocal duties, summery chords and that same wistful appeal of any number of classic Sarah releases you’d care to mention, simply put, beautiful. Concluding it all with the day dreaming sultriness of ‘Small Lives’, safe to say a record for sensitive souls to snuggle up to. http://www.indiepages.com/matinee

The Bear Quartet ‘Selected’ (Heliotone). Don’t time fly when you are having fun. Third release for Manchester’s Heliotone label and what an inspired choice it is, the same drill as the previous two releases, extremely limited edition pressing on eight inches of lathe cut polycarbonate, and when I say limited I mean limited, like 50 copies and that’s your lot. This time Sweden’s the Bear Quartet get to stand centre stage for this four song compilation of sorts. Safe to say a band who are pretty much unknown outside their native land despite having been together since the late 80’s, the Bear Quartet are one of life’s little mysteries, while the Soundtrack of our Lives get all the plaudits, and yes rightly so as it may be, the Bear Quartet (a far superior band by the way) have always succumbed to the realisation that they might be one of the great never beens and in some small way this release is intended to change all that. With over 200 songs under their belt the Bear Quartet have never lost the faith as this brief selection proves by culling tracks from their debut album ‘Cosy Den’ (‘Suits on for Sandi’); ‘Bad on the Halo’ from their acclaimed ‘Moby Dick’ full length; ‘Load it’ from 2001’s ‘Gay Icon’ album and finally ending things pretty much up to date with ‘All your Life’ culled from their latest opus ‘Angry Brigade’. Phew! A smart selection but by no means perfect as ‘My Vag’ is un-represented, but then that’s another story. First up ‘Suits on for Sandi’, which if memory serves me right was one of the albums more sedate moments, listening now all these years on you can’t help but being struck by the aching solitude that it vests upon the listener, sulking within a wintry caste, to hear such hopeless restlessness you’d have to dig out those early Moviola albums to get a realistic view as to how classy they were even way back all those years ago. ‘Bad on the Halo’ is a much more upbeat proposition, subtle references to the Smiths ‘Big mouth strikes again’ aside as the see sawing strummed chords kick in, a bouncing bomb of adrenalin rushing pop taken from the masterful ‘Moby Dick’ album which found the bands influential glare fully focused on the UK. ‘Load it’ originally a single, is a certifiable schizophrenic pop record of some measure, one minute your drowning in fuzzed up back drops giving the impression of a more brittle Velvet Crush the next goaded and mesmerised by honey honed harmonies and sub Velvets pastoral elegance. Closing with the Dinosaur Jnr scrapping with Teenage Fanclub inspired ‘All your Life’ a song thats guaranteed to get inside your head like ‘The Wagon’ and set up camp in a small vacant corner for life. The dog’s bollocks of a release, if you don’t get this then there really is no hope for your record collection. http://www.onoffonoff.org/heliotone

Earsugar ‘Guitar Splinters’ (Earsugar). Those among you with distant memories may remember me falling over myself with this lots debut release ‘So far, alright’ a little while back. Back again with another nifty two-track release, this time pressed on ten inches of cool vinyl. By far the most delicious release for this particular missive and defying the impossible by bettering their previous release by some distance. Graduating from the same school of elegantly layered electronics as those other missives favourites the Earlies, both bands operate and toy with the Spiritualised template and work it to it’s next logical step, Earsugar adding the extra dimension of honing a hybrid Sonic Boom pop dynamic. ‘Guitar Splinters’ comes on like something you’d expect to find on the Static Caravan label, shuffling beats, playful goofy like lullaby-esque rhythms all chilled within a refined porcelain states of grace, spellbound by the swirling allure of the minutely sugared dramas unfolding within that insistently invite the listener to bath beneath their celestial blanket for warmth. Enchanting to say the least. Equally teasing is cosmic ‘Faust Chick’ on the flip, part Vangelis doing space pop locked in a lunar capsule with Kraftwerk for companions while sensualised vocoder chat drifts in the hypnotic waves set for cerebral scramble. A worthwhile reason to visit the local record emporium then, as if you needed reminding. http://www.earsugar.com

The Tyde ‘Look back in Anger’ (For Us). First release of the year for Rough Trade’s imprint For Us. Limited to just 500 copies, the Tyde get the RT seal of approval this time round and return the favour by dishing up two spanking covers. Those of you who thought this lot were a little to soft psyche pop for the palette will be blown away by this pair of upbeat stompers. One of the Holy Grail’s of punk’s potted history Modern Lovers ‘Roadrunner’ is given a reverential retread and finitely tuned workout replete with swirling keyboards, so faithfully done that you’d be forgiven to give it a double quick take. That said the main baby can be found sitting proudly on the lead side as LA’s finest get chopping on Television Personalities mod classic ‘Don’t look back in Anger’. Originally featured on their debut album ’And don’t the kids just love it’ way back in the early 80’s, Television Personalities where one of THE great abstract punk psychedelists, a band so far ahead of the their time in terms of wit and crafted vision that most of their contempories gave up the chase years ago. Faced with such an act to take on, the Tyde work it admirably to give it a rocking West Coast dayglo gloss with more than a passing nod to the Who, and with that a curiously warming sun shine glow given that we are in the middle of a particularly bracing January. A winner in case you weren’t paying attention. forus@roughtrade.com

The Playwrights ‘Dislocated’ (Sink and Stove). From a personal perspective it’s been a particular enjoyable roster of singles on this first missive of the new year made all the better for the return of another old favourite to the singled out pages, Bristol’s Playwrights. Not wishing to labour the point to much but this lot are perhaps one of this country’s finest ensembles. This little CD-R is not an official release as such but rather a two-track promo billed as ‘recent works’. Currently putting the final touches to their sophomore album ‘When I lived in the Modern World’ to be released at some point this year on the eminent Sink and Stove label, this limited release gives a sneak preview of the forthcoming single plus a chance to hear the opening track from the aforementioned long player. It’s one of those situations that jangles the nerves, having delivered a near perfect debut album with last year’s ‘Good beneath the Radar’ you are left in a quandary that splits between wanting to hear new stuff with the fervour of an excited child at the promise of a reward, yet equally wanting things just to stay as they are fearing that expectations will be shattered. So being the ultimate pessimist I‘ve admittedly held back on this for as long as possible. What a fool. If anything these two tracks see a matured muscular development of sound within the Playwrights ranks, the caustic austere template is still the primary key, ‘Dislocated’ is as perfect a title as you can get as all the contributing parts combine tensely to ride roughshod, crooked white funk frenetically detached, try imagining a super group made up from members of Wire and the Fire Engines, you can’t help admiring the swollen needle like hooks that grab you gently before swinging you menacingly around the room. ‘Welcome to the Middle Ages’ the touted opener for the forthcoming album looms threateningly with a taste and the zeal of the Stranglers ‘Nuclear Device’, a complicated web of sharply disenfranchised chords zig zag furiously within the densely populated melodic matrix peppered by the sounds of breezy brass segments. Time indeed to dance your ass off. Stunning stuff. http://www.sinkandstove.co.uk

The Rebel ‘Bums on a Rock’ (Flitwick). Ah Milton Keynes’ Flitwick Records. Chances are you haven’t heard about this lot. This handy little label provide their wares gratis and while you are sitting there thinking, yeah like for nowt it must be crap, think again as this is the label who at one time put out a release by the Fall, okay bad choice as an example as it seems that everyone and their pet dog are putting out Fall records of late. But at least you get my drift. Currently out there in consumer-ville the label have a neat little compilation doing the rounds called, not surprisingly, ‘the Flitwick Records Compilation LP’ which will in due course get a glowing review as it features among others Kling Klang, 4 treck and Keith John Adams whose debut album ‘Sunshine Loft’ is a bit of a corker. Okay enough of that and to the Rebel, or at least I think it’s the Rebel as there’s no information to accompany the release or for that matter any indication of rpm speed which has led to much amusement here at the losing today record shed as we’ve gotten jiggy at 45 rpm and demonically scary at 78rpm, settling for the safe option of 33rpm. As said no information, but ‘Bums on a rock’ we all swear is Stephen Jones AKA Baby Bird doing a rather inebriated impersonation of the late Johnny Cash, we could be wrong, either way it’s a superbly mawkishly clumsy track that depending on your mental fragility could either be viewed a bizarrely wayward or positively nightmarish, and with that we love it. Things get a little deranged on the flip side; ‘Nurse’ checks out at fruitcake central and straight into barn pot heights, sounding like some macabre dope infested variant on the lysergic 70’s children’s TV show ‘Bagpuss’ with noises that sound like carolling cats on helium, very creepy indeed. Things don’t get any more lucid on the calamitous ‘Black’, ad hoc rhythms and vocals that sound like an army of Van Vliets passed through a jam jar. Ending it all with ‘Brite Yn’s Cnut’, a tumultuous collision of crashing electronics on melt down alert. Absolutely recommended if only for the fact that it’s so distracted. http://www.flitwickrecords.co.uk

The Sirens ‘Chez Maximes’ (Wiped Out). Is everyone who lives in Detroit in a band, I only ask because not a week goes by that I don’t get a record of some description with the Detroit citation somewhere upon it. Hell I’m not complaining, hell no not when it sounds as good as this. The Sirens are an all girl rock band who you suspect have secret urges to be Joan Jett and the Black Hearts. Currently finishing on material for their Jim Diamond produced debut album to be released on Get Hip sometime this year, these five feisty females seem content to plunder rock’s vaults of the early 70’s to deliver up a potent mix of teen punk pop and glam as evidenced by these three lip smacking covers, could they be the feminine equivalent of the Black Halos, only time will tell. For now teetering precariously on their unfeasibly huge platform boots the Sirens dish it out rough and raw, starting out with a rollicking cover of the Hollywood Brats ‘Chez Maximes’ as good a time as any to start nailing down moveable objects as they set about laying waste to the surrounding scenery with their infectious canon of hooks. Next up a cover of an old Suzi Quatro cut from way back in 1973. Suzi Q the original rock chic has one of her best-known rockers ‘Glycerine Queen’ trashed up in fine style as the Sirens impart on it a toxic anthemic edge. Best track of the lot though is the storming cover of Slade’s ‘Gudbuy t’Jane’ providing full on howler replete with handclaps and seriously fuzzed up guitars, like the 70’s never went away. Contact Yannick.valet@hospvd.ch

Swimmer One ‘Come on, let’s go’ (Biphonic). And it just gets better, another old missive favourite back in the fold. ‘Come on, let’s go’ is the delayed follow up to the wonderful ‘We just make music for ourselves’ debut from 2002 (which had us, okay well just me, speechless) from Glasgow based duo Hamish and Andy who occasionally prefer to be known as Swimmer One and who are currently working on their debut full length to be released later this year. Not a million miles in sound and attitude from fellow Scots Hoboken although minus the attention to vaudeville and in its place an impish fix on the more abstract elements of pop. ‘Come on, let’s go’ belies a delightfully sly dance beat that recalls the Associates had they gate crashed club land with Kraftwerk, insidiously catchy, it’s almost thrown down with a casual matter of fact attitude, perky rhythms bounce and jostle with a spacey mellowness, a fluffy and fiercely consuming electro pop gem. ‘Lake Tahoe’ unless my memory is playing tricks featured on the debut single, billed as ‘a bedtime story for people who work for a living’, maybe so if your bag is deranged nightmares, featuring a range of treated vocals that at times sound like Radio 1‘s Mark Radcliffe doing one of his comedic alter egos from the good old days when the graveyard slot ruled the wireless. Packing their bags for an early bath the duo kick in with the sultry ‘How could something like that be love’ which has guest vocals by Cora Bissett who in the past has been known to put her tuppence worth on releases by Arab Strap and Mogwai. Well it’s elegantly slick and sophisticated more Beloved than Moby retreating the more cool passages of Heaven 17’s back catalogue and instilling a soulful edge to the proceedings, the end result, sensually hypnotic wrapped in a darkly lit mindset. You have been warned, essential. Contact http://www.biphonic.co.uk

Why? ‘The Early Whitney’ EP (Anticon). Okay if there’s one release featured in this particular missive which if forced at gunpoint to shout loudly from the roof tops advising you to buy as though your very life depended on it, then this odd little 6 track EP from Why? would without hesitation get the vote. We’ve had them all passing through these pages over the last few years carrying their four track home produced lo-fi material Bright Eyes, Badly Drawn Boy and so on and so on, and though we’ve loved them all in our own special way, none, and I say none have ever quiet come near to Jonathan Wolf or WHY? as he’s known to the authorities. Finding time between his other recorded projects, cLOUDHEAD and Odd Nosdam, Wolf has managed to secure time and space to record a positively gem like release which manages to cover as many of pop’s bases as is humanly possible. From the effectual drifting folk of the opening cut ‘Early Whitney’ itself ushering in a gently wrapping wintry breeze, you know instinctively you are in the midst of something quite special as it curtly blossoms with a unique reaction of lilting haziness and resistant annoyance, ultimately not a million miles from Death Cab for Cutie. Then there’s the willowy click pop of ‘Ladyfingerz’, ethereal pop sounds, fragile and angelic in texture with a deeply radiant touch brought on by the seductive interweaving vocals plucked from the heavens which neatly sets the stage perfectly for the shyly nimble ‘Point Blank’. ‘Darla’ comes across like one of those waywardly odd abstractly tingling guitar abstract that Of Montreal and the whole Elephant 6 Collective are more associated. Best of the lot though is the final track the lysergic off the wall ‘The Crest’ equally tense and haunting, it belies a psyche trippiness that’d make even Mr Barrett glow with pride, sensitive strings and ominous key changes collectively charge this with a nightmarish acid flashback appeal. Stunning stuff. http://www.anticon.com

And that’s pretty much it for this missive for seven days, among the goodies next week a spanking release from the excellent Series 7; a killer three tracker from the hotly tipped Ga Ga’s; a crunching demo from Flawed; a brace of Acuerela releases from the Album Leaf and the Early Day Miners; the unusual sounds of the Vexers; the mercurial Mice Parade; a slice of sizzling retro electronica from the awesome Stained Glass Heroes plus a few delectable releases from Vinyl, Along came a Spider, Indofrumbah and Analog plus whatever else we pick up in the course of the week.

As always thanks for tuning much appreciated, and a massive thanks to all those labels, bands and pr reps that have made these musings such an enjoyable experience.

Take care of yourselves and have fun,

Mark
X

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