singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
22 June 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

I found a web site selling tons of hopeless shambling crap from the end of the eighties, and went nuts. Primitives completist items? Check! We’ve Got A Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna use it singing Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini? Check! Angry Chair? CHECK!

Angry Chair are, in these parts at least, an act of such legend that they are eclipsed only by the legenderiness of the utterly legendary Prehensile Monkeytailed Skink, and the so legendary they never released a record legendariness of the legendary Cupboard. “Ta, we’re Cupboard”.

The availability of cheap digital home recording has given everyone who wants it the ability to sound like Phil Collins or a Squarepusher b-side. It’s (un?)fortunately rather killed that part of the DIY ethic that was psyching yourself up for a month to borrow a mate’s four track, (which you can’t use) and producing music of such execrable production quality that it immediately alienates 95% of your potential audience.

Try clicking through the less visited corners of MySpace and, however dull and unimaginative the music, pretty much none of it will sound like this. Perhaps there’s hope if you’ve recorded all your music on a mobile phone, which I’m sure someone does.

This seven is busting with badly transcribed enthusiasm, The Losers sound like the Undertones, and Angry Chair are the best/worst by a distance. I love crap like this. It reminds me why I got interested in music.

3

Step forward nineteen or so years, and this is a seven inch of obscurity comparable to the last one. It has a full colour cardboard sleeve rather than the old photocopied/folded/bagged, sounds like being there, rather than like someone is sitting in front of you listening to an incredibly loud Walkman.

I’m waffling because I can’t really think of much to say about this. It’s not bad, for sure, but then, it’s not great either. I prefer the b-side, but it’s still rather unremarkable. You know that feeling when you think you’re just not getting something good? I think I have that. I’ll play it again later and see if I can come to any firmer decision.

Update: I couldn’t.

2

The sleeve looks like Aluminium Tunes by Stereolab. That was a double gatefold triple vinyl job, and it STUNK. I don’t mean it was a bad record, I mean that the sleeve smelt really, really bad. Kind of like cheese. At least, my copy did. I remember standing it up in a zigzag right next to my open bedroom window before I went away for the weekend, to air it. When I got back it still smelt a bit, but not so much that you couldn’t stand it.

This is a good record. It’s nothing you haven’t heard before, but better executed than normal. They’ve got something about them, these lot. It’s quite arse-kickingly hard and energetic. You can imagine them being fantastic live.

4

Why don’t they put telly on the radio? It wouldn’t cost any more would it, and I listen to telly more than I watch it.

This is a band I want to like more than I actually do. They’re different. Full of ideas, engaging, interesting, but somehow always leave me slightly cold. I’ve got the LP, never played, and I keep meaning to sit down and get properly stuck into it.

This is a one-sided promo seven inch, on horrible green vinyl, and I think I like it quite a lot. There’s loads happening, with cool, laid back drums, mad MBV/Dälek style guitar, piano, and that great voice. Yeah, this is good. I’m going to get that LP out soon, I promise.

3

God, this SO reminds me of something! It’s driving me mad! I’m thinking one of those Stereolab offshoot bands. Smooth girly singing, mellow keyboards and someone squirting an aerosol. Lovely.

I think it reminds me of Saint Elmo’s Fire by Uilab, though it doesn’t sound all that much like it now I think of it. The b-side is a remix with that fizzing crackling popping fireside sound that seems so popular these days.

4

Come on everybody! C-C-Come on everybody!

5

A super-deluxe take on the folded/bagged single. The (one-sided) seven slips into a beautiful inner made out of very heavy tracing paper with the title printed on in the middle of a fancy design. Folded around it is thick, hand-made looking card, which I think has been two colour screen printed. The whole lot sits in an oversized, thick polythene bag. Oh, and it sounds like Thin Lizzy

3

I got terribly excited about this because I thought it was on the thickest vinyl ever. Disappointingly it turned out I’ve got two copies of the record pushed inside one sleeve. Like the Copy Haho thing, hard to describe, just pleasant enough contemporary mainstream indie. He has a good voice though, and the songs flow along very merrily.

4

Another of those mystifying 2 × 7 inch releases. I like The Research. But I don’t like bad language in records, or films, or, most especially, telly. It’s okay if it’s done with incredible style like Pulp Fiction, or if it’s kind of the point, like The Man Don’t Give a F**k, but normally it’s just grotty. For shame, The Research!

3

Another stupid 2 × 7, but this time I only bought one. It’s on the most beautiful yellow vinyl I ever saw, holding two slow, melancholic songs. Quite nice but nothing amazing. Great vinyl though. Let’s all focus on the positives!

3