singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
16 March 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

Happy clappy, poppy, strummy. ‘a’ side vocals not unlike a less pretentious Polyphonic Spree, ‘b’ has a nice girl singing. Trumpet for bass, catchy tunes, unusual structure and a synthesizer that sounds like a cat. HOW CAN YOU LOSE?

4

Madder Rose had a theme song which ended up getting re-recorded and re-released with a new name, because they decided they didn’t want a theme song.

As discussed on a previous occasion, The Chalets have all the parts, but never quite seemed to quite get it right. On here they’ve got a rougher sound, and a bit more attitude, and it all works. The crunch and crash going into the chorus is just magnificent.

No need for the eff-word on the b-side, and the sleeve’s not as good as normal, but still gets

5

One of those records where you have to look really closely at the run out groove to work out which is the a-side and which is the b. (It’s important to me that I play the a-side first. I’m turning into bloody Monk.)

Musically it’s pretty much what you’d expect, a loud, energetic, bit of a racket, but still with a good ear for a tune. I don’t know if it’s because I’m in a good mood, but everything sounds great tonight. Oh, and for the record, I played the b-side first, then had to play both songs again, in the right order. I prefer the b.

4

of Montreal (lower-case ‘o’) are an odd band. They specialise in songs with unusual key change/interval things (I’m not very good at musical terminology), seemingly taking irresistible pop songs and turning them something that isn’t quite so much fun to listen to as you think it could be. They also made Jennifer Louise, which is one of the very best pop songs anyone will ever record, and that nice little cover of Colour Me In. So, you never really know what you’ll get. (Other than great sleeve art.)

This is on Suicide Squeeze, grey vinyl, and it’s accordingly ACE, up until a point about an inch into the record, when the song stops. The groove keeps running though, and you get about two minutes of incredibly quiet piano. There’s a lovely melancholic b-side too, and whenever I listen to of Montreal I always get the feeling that Kevin Barnes must be such a nice bloke.

4

This is on Kids, which seems to be shaping up as a good label, and pressed on nice slightly-off-white vinyl. (Think prawn cracker.) They also have the remarkably simple and sensible idea that written on one of the inserts is a secret word, which you email to them, and get MP3s of the single, saving you the effort of ripping from vinyl. (I’ve been saying for ages that, given what it costs to press CDs today, vinyl LPs should come with a CD chucked in for free, for your iPod pleasure. Shellac did this years ago of course.) This is okay, but sounds a little too like the kind of stuff my sister has on all her 80s compilation CDs, and I don’t like that sound.

The b-side is probably my favourite of the two songs, but it’s not quite up to tonight’s high standards I’m afraid.

3

Yes, that I’m too Sexy. Sounds kind of German, but it’s hard to describe way. Maybe my normally lucid thought process is being polluted by recollections of the perfection of Sexy Model. The b-side is a terrifying dub version. Yes. Of I’m too Sexy.

3

I’m not sure what I make of this current trend of releasing two seven inches with different b-sides. These two are, at least, both on that cool half-and-half vinyl. (One black and yellow, the other black and blue. If you’re going to get one, get the yellow one.)

It’s an okay single, but I absolutely loved You’re Gonna Lose Us, and this doesn’t quite have that flow and swagger. (Perhaps because this is produced by Edwyn Collins and that by Bernard Butler? I’ve never got the fuss about Edwyn Collins).

The middle eight (that’s muso-speak for the crap bit that isn’t the chorus or the verse) is crap, lumpy, and spoils it. Why do people do that? Most of the best songs don’t even have a chorus, or if they do, they use the same chords for the chorus and the verse. Keep it simple kids, and don’t let washed-up old has-beens twiddle yr knobs.

3

Nice DIY sleeve, a contemporary take on the beloved folded card/plastic bag combo. Very DIY sounding, too. Sitting here in my living room it sounds rather like the music is being played next door. I like that.

3

For the first few seconds (or “bar” for the musicians out there) I thought this was that “he was a riverboat gambler” Camper Van Beethoven thing, but it isn’t. It’s in a proper wraparound sleeve, and that’s because it’s on K. Musically, it’s fine, but I just feel like I’ve heard it a thousand times before. Think Bikini Kill, riot-grrrl, Sleater Kinney. The final track is a bit different and bit more interesting

2

Earsugar is starting to remind me of Wurlitzer Jukebox. That was a great label, always interesting, mellow, original stuff, usually fitting in with a general label “sound”.

This is piano music with a bit of electronics going it on, and it’s very engaging indeed. The little hits and cracks and pops are what make it.

3