singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
14 February 2006
(listening through speakers)Linn LP12
Linn Ittok LVII
Linn Arkiv
TAG McLaren CDT20R / Chord DAC64
TEAD Microgroove Plus
Linn Kairn
Linn LK140 (x3)
Linn Espek

God, I’ve got a great stereo. This sounds so fantastic, and it’s not even particularly neighbour botheringly loud. Earsugar is a top label with a focussed sound, into which Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory (their ampersand – I hate ampersands) fit perfectly. All their records seem to match their name perfectly (especially Cracklebox.). This is typically soft, sweet, and granular. It eats into your ears like sugar dissolves teeth; pleasantly, sweetly, and always with a warm analogue crackle. Lovely, and not even bad for you.

4

Nice guitar sound, nice guitar riff, good name, but for some reason I don’t like this. It has a pleasant tune, for sure, and it’s a little bit country, which I usually like, but I think it sounds like old people’s music. The sort of thing Ken Bruce might play.

The b-side is a lovely instrumental, which made me play the a-side again, and realise that it’s the singer’s voice that makes it sound the way it does. I don’t like the singer’s voice. Sorry singer. It’s nothing personal. Like the previous band, they’ve got a crackly record sound too - surely you don’t think I’ll think it’s my beloved Sondek making that noise? Is this a new fashion? I presume it’s a filter in whatever digital recording software people are using these days. The aural equivalent of the lens flare.

2

It’s Valentine’s day, and this half of The Research’s new single is a picture disc bearing a painting of a man and a woman, in a heart! Awwwwww! I hate Valentine’s day (a sentiment which seems increasingly common, which is good) but I promise not to let that prejudice me. This is the boy singing version. I haven’t played the girl singing version yet, though I expect to prefer that.

Here we have a good pop tune (though nowhere near as good as the b-side, which is great), more evidence for my theory that almost all decent pop bands at the moment are obscure bands with independent labels and attitudes, whilst the pop charts are clogged up with unimaginative crap made by mainstream-marketed faux-independent guitar bands.

4

Christ, it’s the Rolling Stones! Are they still going? I know someone who insists on referring to The Stone Roses as “The Stones”, because The Rolling Stones should now be known as “Los Rollings”. He has a lot of funny ideas though.

I really don’t like this, it’s very long. and it employs god-awful marketing strategy of having the band sign all the singles. I remember up-to-that-point-good The Basement doing this, and going crap overnight. The sleeve suggests they’re from New York, which is surprising as they sound like one of those bands formed by polite boys called Ben and Dan. with very expensive vintage copy guitars, in their first years at a red-brick university, which they invariably call “uni”. Grey vinyl, but that’s not getting you out of this hole.

1

Part two of The Research single. This one’s on boring black vinyl, so it sounds better than the picture disc. As expected, I prefer the girl singing, and once again there’s a corking b-side. In fact, of the three songs on the two discs, I think the single itself is the weakest.

Despite what I said in the review of the previous single (twisting the facts to suit my argument), this double pack thing rather smells of big label masquerading as small one. I don’t care, but I thought I’d mention it. The sticker on this one boasts that the b-side isn’t on the album. Things wrong with modern music #44: singles being nothing more than trailers for albums. What happened to singles not on albums (Always on My Mind, Peppermint Pig), or singles re-recorded or mixed differently from the album version.

4

I’ve only just become aware of Sing-Sing, though this single is dated 2000. Emma was always the one I fancied out of Lush, and she wrote most of my favourite songs, like De-Luxe and Lovelife. (I kind of hope I’m wrong about that, because if I’m right, it’s a bit sad. I’m deliberately not checking.) Sing-Sing is her “new” band, and this is the first thing I’ve heard by them. Doesn’t sound like Lush, but does sound good. Poppy, guitary, with a bass sound I like very much, and - yes! - vibes (or something) near the end. The b-side reminds me of Marnie, and if you remember them, you’re as hopeless a case as I am. I’d buy the album, if I could afford it.

4