singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
30 May 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

Bands like Girlfrendo and The Chalets are great, with their retro poppiness and immaculate style, but while the style is willing, the substance is all too often weak. The Pipettes seem, to me at least, to have the substance. Yes, they’re lookers, but it wouldn’t matter a damn if they weren’t, because they have great songs, a good backing band, and good voices. Extra cachet for having released a number of records nobody managed to buy, on impossibly obscure labels.

This is another of those double 7 inch efforts, one green, one white, and they manage to effectively give us the same song three times, which, when you think about it, is shit. Still, the song, even played three times in ten minutes, remains, short, cool, catchy, and despite being nowhere near as good as I Like a Boy in Uniform, it will tide us over until Pull Shapes comes out. Middling, for them, but it will probably end up being the best thing in today’s stack.

4

This week we’re unusually light on the whey-faced, skinny-jeaned, lager-sipping socially retarded indie boys, and heavy on the nice looking lady singers.

Jenny Lewis is, of course, a total fox, on top of being gorgeous singer and a terrific writer. She’s got a good ear for a tune, but I think her words are her strongest suit. This light countryish style suits her - it’s the kind of music that makes you pay attention to what’s being said. Not the perfection of You are what You Love, but that still leaves plenty of room to be great.

4

I wanted this to be boring, so I could flippantly write “Not half as bored as I got listening to it”, and pat myself on my smug little back, like I write for the NME or something, but fortunately it’s good and daft and shouty. Trashy in the best possible way, with superb delivery. On Tiger Trap, which hopefully is knowingly named after one of Rose Melberg’s old bands.

4

This has a lovely sleeve, which is enough for me to part with money. I expected it to be clever and electronic, but it isn’t. It does have a big fat-assed farty synthesizer and a hint of vocoder, but it’s light, summery pop which could well end up on an advert. Nice.

3

Two Daniel Johnston covers, and with sleeve art by the man himself. Six or seven years ago, I’d have been creaming my jeans over this one, but lately I’ve rather cooled on sensitively unbalanced American non-singers.

The backing is typical Fannies. Solid, but kind of flat. Unremarkable. Of course, Jad Fair has enough “character” that this doesn’t really matter, but you’re never going to get the amiable flakiness of the stuff he did with The Pastels. I have to admit I don’t know the title track, but I was once mildly obsessed with Artistic Vice, so I know Happy Soul inside out. It’s a good choice and it’s done justice. I once saw Jad Fair live, boy he knows how to clear a room.

3

I don’t like the sleeve. A bad cross between something off Warp and something released by Visage. I also don’t like that the words are on it, because if you’re not Morrissey, your words will most likely look crap written down.

Sonically it’s a bit of a racket, which is, of course, what we want. Sharp and edgy sounding, there’s lots going on but it’s not busy or messy. I dunno. It’s kind of drifting past me, but I get the feeling on another day I might think this is amazing. One to try again later.

2

Ooh, this is classy. “Classy” usually implies “boring”, but in this case it shouldn’t. She’s a beautiful singer, just accompanied by an acoustic guitar and something that sounds like, and most likely is, a mouthorgan. What’s interesting though, is that, despite these age-old, simple ingredients, both these songs are fresh and original. Really interesting, but more exciting than that.

3