singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
10 July 2011
(listening through speakers)Avid Acutus
Graham 2.2 Ceramic Deluxe
Linn Akurate DS
TEAD Groove Anniversary
TEAD Vibe / Pulse 2
Linn Klimax Twin
Wilson Benesch Arc

Slipping into it with a nice bit of 1999’s easiest listening. The sleeve says “as the old adage goes ‘why try to fix something that isn’t broken’ we’d like to add the following words of wisdom ‘why not re-release the worst ever UK number one single and make it even worse on the B side’.

Sure enough, the a-side (it’s impossible to tell which side is which, even by examining the matrix number in the run-out groove) is just a sample of the whole of Lieutenant Pigeon’s Mouldy Old Dough, which is rubbish, but certainly no longer the worst UK number one single.

The B-side is the usual V/Vm recipe of hacked up, arrhythmic (is that a word?) samples, ring modulation, loops and noise. Then suddenly it goes into a sample of the theme tune from Stop the Pigeon, and finishes. Kids today don’t know they’re born.

My copy is called “Gordon Burns”, host of the Krypton Factor, but you’ll probably know him best from the line “Nero fiddles while Gordon Burns”. It comes with a square plastic sachet of something that looks worryingly like mouldy dough.

You have to admire, even love the utterly perverse bloody-mindedness that drives V/Vm. The sleeve is full of lies, the insert is disgusting and possibly dangerous (though not so much as Lateral Agricultural Order when they used to put “infected blood” in their records), half the record is someone else’s music, and the whole thing is wilfully bad. Genius.

1

I’ve got three of these Oddbox singles club splits, and this is the first one up. One Fathom Down go first, with some kind of noisy surf type guitar instrumental, sort of like if you described The Cramps to someone then got them to play what you’d described, even though they’d never heard The Cramps and they didn’t have a singer. Nice spring reverb by the way. The second track’s a bit more Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. It’s good.

The Humms on the other hand (or at least the other side) sound like they should be stroking their chins on Great Pop Supplement. American style folky picking, but the vocals don’t seem to sit well with the music and despite its vogueish hillbilly pretensions, it’s nothing more or less than a simple, poorly recorded, pop song, and all sounds a little false and uncomfortable. And their name is rotten.

3

Second of these, and it’s superbly monickered Santa Monica Swim and Dive Club doing that slightly fuzzy US indiepop thing we’ve heard a million times. I still enjoy the slightly fuzzy US indiepop thing though, so I like it, even though every note somehow echoes with underachievement. I can see most people not liking this, but they’ve hit one of my weak spots. Two, in fact, because they’ve got an electric piano.

The Give It Ups have a girl who shouts! Yes! And they want to know why we won’t go out with her. I’m married, what’s your excuse? In their second song, a nerdy sounding boy sings, and there are chords on a shit keyboard. God, this ticks all the boxes. Five for this, three for Santa Monica Swim and Dive Club, giving us four out of five.

4

I can’t decide if I like or dislike these two names. Blanche Hudson’s rather an obvious reference point, and I’m guessing Horowitz refers to Winona. I guess that’s okay as long as they’re not taking her name in vain.

BHW start their song copying the guitar sound from Garlands, then do the Jesus and Mary Chain mixed with all those late 80s/early 90s indiepop bands you can’t remember the names of. Obviously, I think it’s great.

Have Horowitz been going for years? The name seems familiar, and the style of music certainly is. If it wasn’t so hot and humid, and I’d slept better, I’d be able to tell you exactly who all these bands sound like. It’s more fuzzy indiepop. Think Happy Happy Birthday to Me ten years ago. It’s so hot I’m having to fan my face with the V/Vm single from earlier.

4

When I was on the dole I used to go to Chesterfield flea market every Thursday, where I would sometimes spend my dole money on indie pop, though not usually on indie rock.

This is an odd little thing from years ago. The record looks like it might glow in the dark because it looks like clear vinyl, but the grooves are kind of green. So what about the music? Edsel should get a job, get out, and get a girlfriend. Cheer up lads, it might never happen! Heartworms did that amazing No Way No Way split thing, but otherwise, I found, were boring. This is okay. Quite sharp and noisy. Low are a band I want to like, but am one day going to have to admit that I don’t, and stop buying their records. Their track here sounds like, er, Low. Andrew Beaujon, yes, that Andrew Beaujon sounds like Jad Fair if he got better, or Elvis Costello if he was too scared to leave the house. Either way, he’s easily got the best song on here.

3

Stock, Hausen and Walkman think they’re clever because they’ve written their name in Japanese katakana on the middle of the record, but they’ve used an English comma, not a Japanese one, which goes the other way. MUGS. They also think they’re clever with their clever name, and their clever clear sleeve/clear vinyl combination. But what’s really annoying is that both sides of the 33rpm record are dozens of locked grooves of samples from records of people saying “me”, or in the case of David Bowie, “I”. Annoying and pointless, but somehow not as wilfully uncommercial as V/Vm.

2

Remember them from earlier? Well, they’re back, and they’re still sounding like the Jesus and Mary Chain, but also like the Popguns this time. Not as good as earlier, but okay.

2