singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
1 April 2012
(listening through speakers)Avid Acutus
Funk F·XRII
Linn Akurate DS
TEAD Groove Anniversary
TEAD Vibe / Pulse 2
TEAD Linear A
TEAD Model One

Singles By Choice changes pace this week, with a guest contributor.

Peter Harper is co-author and publisher of Licking Railings fanzine. As part of a special promotion we are proud to present exclusive excerpts from issue 5 of Licking Railings.

Sadly the restrictions of HTML, and the fact that all pages have to fit our rigidly enforced look-n-feel paradigm means that though we can present examples of Licking Railings’ writing, we lose much of the fanzine’s unique character.

All text is either handwritten in black biro or typed on a half-working typewriter, then cut out and stuck onto backdrops which make imaginative use of newspaper collage; badly photocopied and misogynistic pornography; and a wide array of defaced, copyright protected material. It is this attention to detail which has made Licking Railings one of the top grossing fanzines at Halifax’s Pet Sounds second hand record and CD shop.

Readers of Licking Railings enjoy in-depth reviews of music from many underground genres; interviews with leading lights in alternative music and film circles; essays of heart-breaking openness and introspection; and a great deal of free-verse poetry about Christina Ricci.

Subscriptions to Licking Railings can be made through Singles by Choice. Each issue costs fifteen pence, and the first twelve-or-so copies will be photocopied onto green paper.

Peter’s contacts in the record industry (though Peter is keen to stress that the creative process should never be subjugate to the demands of the shareholder) mean that he gets quite a lot of free records. The very fact that these are records which local radio stations and mainstream press reviewers do not want should be an indicator that Licking Railings only deals in music outside the mainstream.

Just like everyone else on the planet we loved Goatbang Autopsy’s debut release, Grinding Glass into My Crack Baby’s Dinner, but this new release just stinks. The hard edged post-ironic social agenda that made Grinding Glass so essential has been replaced by saccharine pop sensibilities more suited to Brittany Spears. For this reviewer’s money Goatbang Autopsy might as well have titled this release Please Sign Us Sony and included with each copy a free blowjob voucher redeemable by any major label CEO.

Whereas Grinding Glass was available only on a mail-order cassette, Carcass Rapist comes on a one-sided white-label 7”, and the whole package stinks of corporate sell out. You don’t need this.

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Bausch are surely one of the most uncompromising of the duos currently redefining the south-coast electro-noise anxietycore scene, and this release may be their most brutal to date. Opening track a, is not unlike having your head caught in a machine used to stamp coins. The unrelenting straight four beat never shifts or changes as Bausch take tonal asceticism to new levels. The only concession to melody and texture is an unwavering pure tone which begins at 1600Hz and ends, precisely 20 minutes later, at 2800Hz – shifting 1Hz in frequency each second.

The album continues in a similar vein, but no piece outstays its welcome. Though there are not many obvious standout tracks, perhaps the most accessible is h, weighing in at a snappy five minutes. It’s a sonic Dadaist crackhaüs party in which Neil continually and arhythmically shouts “Aus!” whilst Emmanuel bangs a metal bar against a hot water tank. Sublime

4

Five tracks of staggeringly inept festive rawk recorded in one take at Clay’s house last Christmas. The highlight, if I had to pick one, would have to be Clay’s attempt to play his father’s saxophone in the most ramshackle of takes on the Gelatin Goodness classic Cake Bakin’ Jesus.

It is said that the most fundamental part of playing in a band is to all start at the same time and all finish at the same time. Breadweiner cannot do this, but it just doesn’t matter. Their infectious enthusiasm and sheer love of music make this an essential selection for your next Christmas Party, even if it is just you, Meat is Murder, and the Holy Ghost again. The liner notes tell us two carpets were harmed in the making of this record. It was worth it.

5

Though their critics accuse them of trying too hard, Bonehandlecockhammer have a gift for putting a new spin on age-old ideas. Each song on this five track stunner eclipses the high-octane visceral edginess of the one before, building to an explosive climax. Not since the singer from Piggfu-KKK-a attacked his brother with a screwdriver at the end of what turned out to be their farewell gig has any band excited me in quite the same way as the ‘Cockhammer. Keep your eye on these boys - they’re gonna be big.

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A rare and beautiful treat for those of us who have been following the work of one of the most underrated of the Kikugawa experimentalists. This forty-six CD box set draws together everything released by Kajikawa in an eighteen month period of feverish activity.

Though you will probably already own much of the material on here, it’s worth the money for the astonishing raw beauty of Fish Fish Fish Flight, three minutes of layered and multitracked guitar and amplifier abuse slowed down to last seventy six tortured, haunting minutes. Another highlight is Septurn, a recording of Kajikawa’s baby daughter crying dubbed over a time stretched and vocoded tape loop of news footage reporting the sinking of the Belgrano. Spanning three full discs, this makes for a challenging, but ultimately rewarding listening experience. Essential.

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This is, of course, the latest volume of Will’s Music to Listen to Whilst Reading The Lord of the Rings cycle. Will assures me that if you are a quick reader then his compositions now cover the Fellowship of the Ring almost up to the point where Tom Bombadil first appears.

Available on cassette or CD-R by writing to Will at his parents’ address, or you can download it – in something called OGG format? – along with all the previous volumes, from his website. Great stuff, and a return to form after the – dare I say? – slightly pretentious Music for The Silmarillion Appendices.

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The Consortium re-emerge from a two year hiatus with what they describe as a faux-ironic cover project. Five theme tunes from 1970s children’s TV programmes played in the style of stereotypical porn movie soundtracks, rounded off with an ill-advised and very poorly executed bootleg which attempts to mate the music from Chorlton and the Wheelies with the vocals from Sexy MF. Avoid at all costs.

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Remember the moment in Summer With Kellerman where Tony Arletty tells Janine Wall he knew all along that her brother had never played pro baseball? F–k Walter Koenig have made a career out of recycling that moment ad infinitum, and the act has finally worn too thin to cover their utter lack of musical and lyrical direction.

This double a-side single commits the unforgivable sin of playing it safe, and no amount of oblique logical positivist references and Ersatz Titanium Pizza pedalwork can save it. Destined for the bargain bin.

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Seemingly destined to forever be written off as a My Professional Focus side project, Lemon Lettucecake finally step out from Jensen Fouret’s shadow with a record fit to put the smile back on the North-Central Mid-West retro-para-futurist movement’s collective face.

Deconstructing their own skewed perceptions of what to anyone else would be the first-principles of the classic three minute pop song; Lemon Lettucecake’s intuitive principle of melodic derivation deposits us in the unseen suburbs of Anytown USA. Sure, the destination’s unremarkable, and the mode of transport unconventional, but that’s not important. It’s the way we got here and the company we kept. Truly dystopian.

4

Now 76 years old, Benford still manages to amaze and astonish with the sheer diversity of his work. No wonder he is cited as a major influence by such Boise-suburb scene luminaries as NSGG47, Drawn In Suet, and By Induction. (Who, of course covered his 1968 classic Counting the Yesterdays Between Today’s Tomorrows on last year’s unsettling No Glass Glasses.)

Throughout Aspercia Benford returns to his roots; a music forever trying to make peace with itself but being perpetually second guessed by the awareness of its own shortcomings.

Once again Benford utilises a wide variety of home made instruments, and though at times he borders on self-indulgent (most notably the baroque free-jazz/hey-nonnycore crossover The Darkest Cave May Not Be The Deepest) the listener always feels welcome worshipping at his neo-Miltonian altar of herbal tea-soaked eclecticism. File under catholic

4

Though the turnout for Surgery Enthusiast’s first live outing in over a month was somewhat disappointing, it was good to see that most of the support acts stopped around almost until the end, and finally it appears there is a new girl - who no one knows! - attending at least some of the area’s alternative gigs. She isn’t that amazing looking or anything, but she dyes her hair black, has a Hello Kitty watch, and though she never took her coat off, I’m pretty sure I could make out a Sister T-shirt underneath! She arrived half way through My Cat Had Kittens, and seemed to quite like them, so if she’s at their Freemason’s Arms gig on Tuesday, I’m definitely going to talk to her. I might even take along a spare one of those MCHK live cassettes Hugh gave me last year!

Despite not only lot of late arrivals (including You Know Who!) interrupting their set, but also a delivery to the bar of bottled lager which required that the room lights were switched on, My Cat Had Kittens were as well received as ever. Their C86ish tweeness is girlishly exciting, and bassist Helen definitely has a hint of Buffalo 66-era Christina Ricci about her! Best song was probably Kiss For Cassavetes, though Hugh sometimes tries too hard to look gay, and I wonder if his and Helen’s relationship is affecting the music.

Nailbombs Tore Out My Anus were, well, Nailbombs Tore Out My Anus! I’ve reviewed them so many times now that even if you don’t get to too many gigs these days you should know their set inside out. The highlight was a typically menacing version of Dirty Bitch, though the oppressive, black as tar mood was rather spoilt when Dan’s guitar strap came undone and a couple of people laughed as the instrument slipped from his grasp.

It pains me to say it, truly, but since Tim started seeing Kirsty from HMV, Surgery Enthusiast have lost direction and at times come over as little more than some kind of Tasty Melanoma tribute band. Songs like Nut Cluster, and that one that sounds like Lithium, are no longer infused with the bile and vinegar that once was Surgery Enthusiast’s trademark. Suddenly their much vaunted plans for that split CD with Zippy don’t seem quite so exciting.

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