singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
22 December 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 was a little bit disappointed with the new Camera Obscura album, possibly because my hopes were so raised by Lloyd I’m Ready to be Heartbroken Still, it has some cracking songs, of which this is certainly one. Perhaps my problem with the LP is that, I miss the variation that used to come from having two singers. In seven inch doses, however, that doesn’t matter so much, especially when you’ve got lovely thick white vinyl and a Sheena Easton cover on the b-side.

4

This is on Slumberland, and also on blue vinyl. It has four songs, none of which are rubbish, and yet still plays at 45rpm. It’s very rough around the edges. The songs could all have been lengthened, polished, and better recorded. Would it then have got four stars? Of course not.

4

Apparently these are very popular with the young people. This led me to expect some 2006 generic indie, which bores me rigid, makes me complain and shows my age. This is pretty good though. A bit odd, with a good echoey rockabilly guitar twang. Their name doesn’t suit their style.

3

Now known as “that thing off that Intel advert”. I question the benefit of multi-core processors for standard desktop applications, especially with an operating system that scales as poorly as Windows.

3

I have a feeling New Rhodes was a patch on the DX7. All of Star Trekkin’ was done on a DX7.

I’ve heard this compared to The Smiths, but for me it sounds more like a less pompous Gene.

2

The word on the street is that shoegazing is coming back. Oh for a return to the heady intoxication of a Catherine Wheel gig.

This is the thing. Movements are only ever remembered for one or two bands. People will tell you they loved Madchester or baggy or whatever it was called, but did they really love The Dylans and The Mock Turtles? Spend nine hours hitching to get to a World of Twist gig? Thought not.

I once saw Slowdive and Miranda Sex Garden at the Leadmill, and it wasn’t something that requires a revival. And don’t bring up My Bloody Valentine. My Bloody Valentine weren’t even part of that whole thing. This is pretty good, and not as derivative as all the MBV comparisons might lead you to think.

3

Kind of bland and generic. Slightly catchy.

2

Screaming Mimi does not scream, and is quite likely not called Mimi. This seems to have sprung from Sheffield, which is Cassingle’s home town, fact fans, and is far better than that Funky Monkey or whatever it’s called, that everyone goes on about these days.

Repo Men wander a little bit. Repo man is always intense, but Repo Men aren’t. Screaming Mimi’s song is terrific, and very well recorded. She (I know it’s a “they” really) gets 4/5, giving an average of

3

Something to do with The Pipettes, apparently. Three cool girls are better than one bad keyboard, but I don’t think it’s the impossibly cheap instrumentation that makes this so underwhelming. The melody reminds me of something I can’t put my finger on, which is annoying.

2

Charmingly lo-fi and shambling. The a-side reminds me of Polvo and is three minutes too long, the b-side reminds me of Swirlies. It’s okay.

2

Want to make a pop song better? Put a siren in it. This doesn’t have a siren in it. Perhaps it should. Goes “hey” just like Firestarter, which kind of had sirens in it.

2

Is this the Mekon that did Last Breath, donkey’s years ago? Must be. Blimey, I loved that record. This is effing gigantic. The bass, and the drums. Huge. I think this is cool, and good for dancing, but I don’t know what I’m talking about. It probably isn’t.

5

I always enjoy these one-off tour single type things that Stereolab chuck out every now and again. My short attention span can’t deal with all those double albums (I still haven’t listened to Margarine Eclipse yet.) but I can take five minutes of plinky plonky wide-angle French bonkersness.

3

I think the Grates are so much more inventive than most of the stuff around right now. I loved Sukkafish because it was a bit odd. This single is different, less odd, but no worse. It’s quite un-sit-stillable, with acceptable bad language, and there’s something about them that’s cool. They’re good-looking too, as pop singers should be.

5

I’m getting mildly obsessed with this band. I love the crashing, dancing percussion, and I love their voices. They have such strong melodies that the instrumentation need only be simple and stripped down. Every note counts, every word counts. Every stamp and tap counts. Their sound, their look, everything, is relentlessly fresh. There’s more than that though. Somehow they engage me on a very deep level, sweeping me along and filling my heart.

5

There are three things I love about Misty’s Big Adventure. i) Great tunes. ii) Witty lyrics. iii) That he sounds exactly like Julian Cope. This is a beautifully observed piece concerning itself with current trends in the “alternative” music scene. It also sounds, I hope deliberately, just like Franz Ferdinand.

4

What the hell are Tunng supposed to be? There’s the acoustic folkiness, the quiet electronic clickiness. They’re way too inventive and original for a semi-literate (grade C GCSE English) idiot like me to describe. But, I appreciate their music more than I enjoy it. Like, I dunno, TV on the Radio, when I listen to them I see talent, nod my head, then put on some clueless chancers like New Bad Things and enjoy it ten times as much. I think this is my favourite Tunng track that I’ve heard so far, and I know I should investigate them further.

4

Good name, and satisfyingly lo-fi. You’re always waiting for it explode into some noise saturated blitz of clipped frenzy; willing it to, but it never does. Then, suddenly, it’s finished and you think you missed something special and ought to play it again. Good, but not quite great.

3

Seven Days a Week was so unselfconsciously brilliant. Loud, corny, 100% effort, stuck in the past pop music. Of course, being cool means not caring whether you’re cool or not, which kind of made it cool, even though it wasn’t. I don’t know what I’m talking about. This isn’t very good, which is a disappointment.

2

Cheap, clattering, noisy madness, but not half as much fun as it sounds.

3

Unremarkable.

2

I like the shouty, grown-up obnoxiousness of 586. I like the childish joke reference of their name. I also love a good tune, but I don’t need one to have a good time.

4

Damaged Goods used to crank out picture discs like there was no tomorrow. This is by someone called Tom Heinl, who is one of the few people on MySpace who is older than me. It’s ace, daft, funny, and delivered with Holly’s impeccable style. Quite possibly the best Christmas record since Frank Sidebottom stopped making them.

5

The most beautifully packaged CD I ever saw. It comes in an envelope, like a Christmas card. Inside is a 3 inch CD in a box, wrapped in shiny red paper, tied with a silver bow. It also comes with words for all the songs (Little Donkey is not a carol) so you can sing along to the step-time sequenced synth renditions. Joyeux Noel, kids!

3

I think Kevin Barnes writes tunes like David Bowie wrote lyrics. Write some normal pop songs, cut them up, then stitch together random parts of random songs, and bob’s yer uncle.

This is a typically schizophrenic, unsettled, attention deficit job, but, unusually, with glam-rock tendencies. Brilliant, and lovely clear gold vinyl to boot.

4

Deerhoof are a band I’d like to like a lot more than I do. They’re so obviously super-cool, original and inventive, and they have kawaii in spades. Unfortunately, the only thing I have ever fallen in love with is the drum sound on Reveille. This is a picture disc with David Shrigley artwork. Still doesn’t do an awful lot for me though.

2