Archive posting originally posted on the losing today web site …. April 2004 …..
Dedicated to Kelly and Mark as always in my waking thoughts.
Honorary dedications to both Kurt Cobain and lest we forget Dr Feelgood mainman, Lee Brilleaux, both 10 years gone and a moment of silence for the passing of one of the best exponents of the guitar to emerge in the last 25 years, John McGeoch, we salute you.
Cooked and prepared for your delight (condiments optional) 18th April 2004
Bet your sick of these Singled Out missives now aren’t you, like London transport you wait for hours no buses in sight then three come at once, except in this instance its four (the fourth is at present is held up in traffic but I’m reliably informed will be here very shortly, once that is I have regained the feeling in my typing finger, such is life, it’s a lonely one for me…boo hoo..boo hoo boo boo hoo hoo).
Okay as with all the others less chat more tunes so without further (agg) ado the records you should have…….
Black Wire ‘Attack Attack Attack’ (Wrong Crowd). Pretty much crawling from the same primordial ooze as was Whirlwind Heat before they hit pay dirt though the more well read of you may prefer to compare it favourably alongside a more playful sounding Chromatics or the much loved Futureheads and if you like throw in a little ‘Fresh Fruit’ era Dead Kennedy’s for safe measure. Black Wire hail from Leeds, courting a sound that has been described as ‘glam-tronic punk rock’ ‘Attack Attack Attack’ their debut single pretty much nicks the whole Suicide routine, chews it up and regurgitates all the wired elements into something approaching three minutes, partly tame and partly toxic and thread through with an austere sounding discordant post punk edge that has more to do with the early 80’s underground sound than many of the pointless pretenders choosing to band wagon jump these days. Flip over for the arresting nostalgic sounds of the potent ‘Very Gun’ which for me edges the ante ever so gently, imagine Gun Club mixing it up with ‘Alice’ era Sisters of Mercy with early SPK mopping up the remains of the carnage, wired, dangerous and very infectious. Be warned. http://www.blackwire.tk
The Scratch ‘X-Ray Eyes’ (Ponyland). And staying with the retro angle, the welcome return of The Scratch. ‘X-ray eyes’ is the bands second release following on from their stupendous debut ‘I relax to spiral scratch’ late last year, with an album ‘DIY’ in the can and due for release any day soon this two track affair pressed up on 10 inches of wax has the band flexing their collective influential muscles to reveal a wicked grooving genius in their midst. Whereas ‘Scratch’ capped them as renegade punksters ‘X-Ray eyes’ sees them cocking a snook at the dance floor crowd, an unrelenting beauty that channels the grittier elements of the Gang of Four’s trademark grind and marries it to the dub / disco crossover that Strummer and Co aimed for on the often overlooked ‘Sandinista’ throw in for good measure Big Audio Dynamite, a taster of Pigbag a few sly Ry Cooder sliding hooks and you have something of a dirty disco assassin that Bobby Gillespie you’d imagine would be happy to be caught in the line of fire of. Flip over for the mooching ‘Brainwashed’ which hazily throbs with laid back darkly lit druggy vibes floating in the distance, not a million miles from the Shamen before they discovered E had they decided of course to remould the whole of Happy Mondays back catalogue and dispatch the baggy scene for their own, but all you want to hear at the end of the day is that it sounds like Duran Duran and the good news is that yes it sort of does had they of course ever been fed bad pills and suffered psychotic reactions, wore shades and instead of listening to Japan and Bowie in their formative years chose to listen to Japan and the Velvets. Pretty damn essential. http://www.ponylandrecords.co.uk
Yeah Yeah Yeahs ‘Maps’ (Interscope). I blame the wilful child in me but I always have this maddening urge to say no no no when I hear the name Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I know its sad but some of us have to get by on whatever minutely frivolous cheap laughs that we can wage upon ourselves. This cutie is pressed up on a handsome looking red vinyl 10 inch, apparently ultra limited, marketing ploys I’m a sucker for it, hell that never stopped me buying ‘D-D-Dance’ by the Lambrettas with the hint that the smart looking picture disc edition was virtually non existent and later found that even the geek down the street whose record taste stretched from novelty Christmas records to tasteless comedy songs (remember ‘Arthur Daley (E’s alright)’ get the picture) had a copy, swines the lot of them. Which neatly brings me back to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs not that their swines you understand, ‘Maps’ best track on the ‘Fever to Tell’ album take it from me, the one where everything is tautly kept at bay, a curdling hotpotch of twisting arty punk rock shrouded in claustrophobic hysteria nullified to the point that it insidiously nuzzles beneath the skin to sit jabbing its intoxicating stings, one of those hold your enemies close moments as Karen O weaves her menacing magic upon the proceedings, one to hide under the blankets for like Siouxsie’s ‘Drop Dead’. Flip the disc for two exclusive cuts that find the Siouxsie infatuations getting a little unreal, not that we are complaining no siree, ‘Countdown’ struts and spits like some arrogant psychobilly bitch, raucous, rough and rocking. While ‘Miles Away’ which initially featured on the bands debut EP is found here kicking the daylights outta the John Peel show, this session version trashes the original, boogying guitars fuzz up with all the subtle of a Panzer attack and did we mention that its reminiscent of a more together Birthday Party being done a wrong ‘un by the Meteors, well it is, okay! Cool. http://www.yeahyeahyeahs.com
The Hellacopters / The Datsuns / The Flaming Sideburns / The Casanovas ‘Split’ (Butchers Hook). This raging four-track arse kicker you will find in the vinyl racks under ‘St Valentines Killers’. Pitching together and blazing shot of incendiary ridden potency, this is probably the meanest grouping of souls since that fateful day that war, conquest, famine and death all meant by chance at a water spot, exchanged how do’s and polite comments about each others horse grooming skills before getting seriously rat arsed and deciding to join forces to maraude the lands a trash everything in sight. This 12” is limited to just 2000 copies and features four of the biggest players on the current garage punk / rock scene kicking seven bells out of an assortment of covers, so that for your entertainment you get Sweden’s finest the Hellacopters setting aflame Smokey Robinson’s ‘Little Miss Sweetness’ and into the bargain giving it a stinging 60’s bulging beat pop re-tread. The Datsuns get to do all manner of deranged damage to the Fun Things ‘I ain’t got time for love’ and come out the other side sounding like prime time Dead Boys. Flip over to find house favourites the Flaming Sideburns decidedly laid back and bluesing out with an uncharacteristic seedy groove while tangling themselves up in Lou Reed’s ‘Leave me alone’, last but by no means least the Casanovas are found lacing Ted Nugent’s ‘Just what the doctor ordered’ with dynamite laughing as they run off in the dark waiting for the whole thing to kick off, think early AC / DC rumbling alongside the pub blues of Dr Feelgood, real neat stuff.
The Dead Calm ‘The lost tapes’ (Arc). Things get stranger still. With a press release that reads like ‘War and Peace’ and yet manages to give little away in terms as to who this lot are and with word reaching us that future tape / vinyl and CD releases will be allocated on the basis of a high scoring reply to a questionnaire supplied by the band (now didn’t I warn you that they were strange) you have to ask yourself is this band for real. The Dead Calm could be the band that most mourning the supposed death of anything of real substance or interest will embrace with a new found glee, let’s put it this way this lot will be the top of everyone’s shopping list come the end of the year. It’s hard to tell whether its all an elaborate hoax or whether this lot are in for the coup of the year, publicity alone it whiffs of the Residents, sounds like PIL and as out there as Pluto. This release precedes their ‘the lost CD’ collection which was pressed on a cassette, this obviously being ‘the lost tapes’ is, how did you guess, on CD. The Dead Calm’s sound is shapeless yet it evolves at will to mirror moods, none of the 13 tracks on show here give any hint as to reference points, depending on your perspective it’s as hard a listening experience as you want to make it yet maintains an alluring curiosity from the word go to its closing gasp. Recently reformed, they were previously known as the Iconoclasts (among their many band names), releasing a body of ultra limited releases in the 80’s they split after a parting of the waves to find the same waves meeting again just under two years ago where they’ve since been holed up wherever they ‘could find peace and quiet’ to set about laying down some 100 plus tracks of which the first fruits can be heard on these two releases. Quite where you begin with this quartet is anyone’s guess, ‘Symphony at the beginning’ is everything from hypnotically soothing to perilously destructive, a feast of Jeckyl and Hyde pop while the absorbent psychedelic pop thrust of ‘At the bottom of the hill looking up’ is literally so lysergic you feel dizzy beneath its weaving spell. Love comes (in spurts – ED…sic) to a poignant crescendo and sense of finality on the entrancing epic like shredder ‘The distance between us measured in heartbeats’ while unbridled lunacy is the order of the day on the hilariously spasmodic ‘Remember the sunny afternoon when the village folk turned to Zombies (Part 1)’. Though if its good wholesome inches from death by the seat of your pants antics your after, then cast a reluctant ear over the vicious ‘Everywhere I’ve never been is where I want to be’. Up next according to the accompanying terms of ‘musical’ engagement will be a triple CD entitled ‘A secret history (Volume 1)’ which will, in their words, ‘disturb the dust on the archive vaults that have remained secret and still for over 20 years’, whatever that means. Worth looking out for. Contact email@example.com
Various ‘Times Beach Sampler 2004’ (Times Beach). Those dudes over in Detroit, Times Beach Records, not content with wooing us with the almighty Gold Cash Gold, the arresting Audra Kubat and stars in waiting the Deadstring Brothers have compiled a 10 track label sampler that showcases their wares for all to see. Five artists showcasing two tracks. Audra Kubat’s beautifully haunting ‘Georgia’ (featured in these very pages last time out) taken from her recent album is worth the entrance fee alone. House favourites Gold Cash Gold kick in with the sublime ‘Vultures’ and ‘The World in my head’ while the soon to be your favourite band, Deadstring Brothers are represented perfectly by the awesomely heavy hearted ’27 hours’ (again featured in the last missive, a truly exceptional release). Also included for your aural entertainment two artists who are new are new to us, the much touted MAN Incorporated and Ethan Daniel Davidson. On the evidence of the brace of cuts from Davidson taken from his current album ‘Don Quixote de Suburbia’ he’ll be a formidable force to be reckoned with given time, the best of his offerings being ‘Only one world blues’ which sees the ghosts of Guthrie and Dylan squaring up to Cave for a bout of conscience pricking folk punk. MAN Incorporated is on the other hand an altogether more brutal beast, in essence just one man, Matt McGuire who armed with a bass drum, guitar and an amplifier sets about torching his personal hates to the backdrop of fuzz happy aggression think of Black Flag firing on one cylinder but still looming large with unbridled menace. http://www.timesbeachrecords.com
Gold Cash Gold ‘Damaged’ (Times Beach). And staying with those dudes from Detroit, one methinks that’s best noted in the old diary as it’s not out for a fair few weeks, the new release from Gold Cash Gold. ‘Damaged’ is part of a twin-set that will be available as a free download on the 14th June. The band have recently welcomed to their ranks ex Distillers guitarist Rose Mazzola. Taken from their current debut album ‘Paradise Pawned’, ‘Damaged’ is a real lazy eyed blues beauty, spiced with all manner of ‘Exile’ era Stones grooving with the classicism of ‘Toys’ era Aerosmith it’s provides one of the albums centrepieces that’ll literally blow you away. As an added extra ‘Back in the Universe’ is a new track, again keeping with that lazy vibe but this time lacing it with a lysergic edge that to these ears recalls Mott the Hoople as done by the Eskimos, one of those tracks that invites you to lie down in a wide open park space and just watch the world flicker by in a blur while your head slowly dissolves. Cool as fuck if you ask me. http://www.timesbeachrecords.com
The Reverse ‘Downtime’ EP (Self Released). Just to prove we don’t throw these things together, in the last missive we mentioned a certain Carina Round who it seems feature a certain Nathan within their ranks who kindly rendered his services to provide backing vocals on the aforementioned ensembles ‘The Disconnection’ album. Natham’s full time interest is with the quite tasty North London quartet the Reverse who in the course of the next few months will be putting out releases on the Kabukikore label as well as featuring along such souls as the very excellent Richard Youngs and the awesome Melt Banana on a compilation entitled ‘There is no hidden meaning’. ‘Downtime’ features four tracks of such elegant poise as to have your head spinning in a swoon, not immediate it has to be said but stay with this and the rewards will payback in kind. The Reverse flirt with all manner of melancholic etchings and moodist swings that are fuelled with emotional rages that are cleverly kept at bay, they play a guessing game drawing you to the point where an expectant crescendo and torrential storm threatens and yet never occurs so that you are left breathless and drained, at times it recalls the numbing eccentricities of Radiohead especially on the tortured semantics of ‘The Game’ but scratch a little deeper and the essence of the well crafted compositions come to the fore especially on the Candidate like ‘Take a deep breath’ which sweetly ambles to the sound of cascading acoustics and deviously longing hooks. ‘Broken roads’ gracefully sizzles sombrely, gentle and punishing, a more withering track you’ll struggle to hear all year, the sound of heartbreak extracted, encapsulated and magnified into a potent fix that edges just below four minutes. Leaving the best until last, ‘Falling Behind’ mooches sophisticatedly embracing an almost secretive charm, haunting piano threads navigate a choppy path for the blurry eyed accompaniment to crawl and stumble to just below simmering point, a crushing parting shot all said and done. http://www.thereverse.co.uk
Cousin Luke ‘Cousin Luke’ (Self Released). Oi, oi, oi, okay not quite then, Cousin Luke are without doubt the noisiest band in this particular missive by several streets and the odd overloaded amp and who by their youthful exuberance and revved up ear candy alone near blew off the losing today record shed roof. A hardcore emo punk three piece from East London who’ve been crafting their skills for five years now and in the process have built up a fiercesome reputation on the live circuit. As with the term emo punk the obvious Offspring and Green Day comparisons are mentioned and quickly dispatched (thankfully), courting a mix that throws up elements of Mega City 4, early Senseless Things and Sink, Cousin Luke have that same razor sharp melodic jangle that made early Buzzcocks and SLF records so loveably catchy, except this time played at 100mph and equipped with pleading vocals that through out all the wanton inclinations to pogo make you swallow back hard on the lump developing in the throat. Favoured cut is the mental ‘Taking Heat’, stuttered serrated riffs that swing you by the neck around your listening space with adolescent fervour not that we are overlooking the merits of the chord crunch happy ‘Everybody’ a galloping bruiser of the highest order or for that matter the spiked ‘Six Weeks’, high adrenaline gems the lot of them. http://www.cousinluke.co.uk
Mohair ‘Brown eyes blue’ (M1). If it’s something a little more poppified and tranquil your looking for then I have to admit that this tasty little debut from Mohair should satiate the hardiest pangs of hunger for good wholesome melodies. Arrangements that are saturated in Hammond’s and breezing guitars peppered and enhanced
by a brass core that’s all undercut by breathless harmonies, Mohair conjure with vibrantly colourful washes to lure you in and it works wonderfully. Initially sounding like the Waterboys (I kid you not), Mohair don’t really adhere to any restrictive pigeon holing instead they subtly pick and mix at various stylings that call to account anything from Hurrah!, the Daintees, Boo Radley’s, the Times, Divine Comedy and believe it or not Right Said Fred (now that’s got you running for the hills), admittedly all these influences manifest into the highly infectious bristling summer warmth of the catchy 60’s Brit Pop feel good vibe on ‘Something to remember’ a damn fine corker of a track that’ll drive you to distraction. ‘Brown eyes blue’ is slightly more quirky centring on the joys of failed relationships yet the pick of the bunch is the elegiac ‘Getaway Car’ which rounds up the set. Imagine Nick Drake doing sensitive duets with Porcupine Tree to haunting folk lined backdrops that appear to pirouette in space, a beautiful teaser it is. M1records@ntlworld.com
Flotel ‘Bowd’ (Expanding). Deliberate maybe, but I couldn’t find a better way to end these particular musings than with this snoozing gem to tenderly tuck you to bed with. Again like the Praveen release reviewed in the last missive, this is part of the seven-inch series (in fact release number 1), on this occasion pressed on snow-white wax. Flotel is Nottingham based musician Leigh Toro and one suspects somebody who you’ll be hearing a great more of shortly now that his debut album ‘Whispering City’ is in the can and due imminently on Expanding. For now though treat yourself to a momentary period of calm as ‘Bowd’ sighs and nuzzles into you to lavish you with its lilting electronics and sleepyhead symphonies, reminiscent of a dozing ISAN who strangely enough appear on the flip for a spot of remix duties on the said track. Incorporating their toy box dynamics and ice ream van waltzes ISAN redecorate the sleepy hollow scenery with freshly fallen snow and impart a cutely innocent facet to the whole enterprise. Enchanting. http://www.expandingrecords.com
And that’s pretty much it for this Missive, keep your eyes peeled for another quick fire Missive (36) which will be landing on the site very, very, very shortly, like in a day or two.
Until then have fun and take care of yourselves….and sweet dreams…