singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
31 March 2014
(listening with headphones)Avid Acutus
Funk F·XRII
Linn Kilmax DS (Renew)
TEAD Mastergroove
TEAD Vibe 1.5 / Pulse 2
Lehmann Black Cube Linear
Sennheiser HD800

I’ve been to my favourite second-hand record shop, and bought a decent handful of seven inch singles. Half of them I’ve already got on some other format, but I am a sucker for a 7” single.

Poor old Trace is now not even known for giving the world The Simpsons, never mind for her rather cracking pop canon. This is, of course, a cover of the astonishingly amazing Kirsty MacColl original, and as she did with all her cover songs, she does it justice. One of my favourite memories is dancing with my wife to this in the middle of the Leadmill while everyone cleared out after a Pipettes gig. It seemed terribly romantic.

B-side is called The B Side, is a bunch of talky bits in various accents, giving “comic” views on b-sides in general, while someone noodles on a piano in the distance.

As Wayne Carr and the Chinnywag Chapter pointed out, CDs have always been a rip-off because they never put anything on the B-side. In this case, that would have been fine. It’s not exactly How Soon is Now.

Ignoring The B Side, it’s a

5

I have, of course, already got a copy of this, but on 12”, not 7”. It was a pound. I couldn’t leave it there.

5

I had a lot of time for Curve back in the day. They were an absolute effing racket for a start, and that goes a long way with me. (They were brutal, live.) This is probably as good as anything they did. That noise that goes with the “you could be my father” bit, loud, through headphones, is glorious.

B-side is Frozen (wasn’t the 12” EP called Frozen? Mine’s a promo with no writing on, so I’ve never been sure), which is a gentler, poppier affair, but full of hooks and massive guitar noise.

5

Back in the early 90s I was quite into shoegaze, but only some of it. I liked the Valentines of course, Slowdive, Swirlies, Curve, Pale Saints, Lush, and Cranes, but I didn’t like Ride, Moose, Swervedriver, Loop, Chapterhouse or The Catherine Wheel. I’ve since come to accept that Ride made some great music, so I’ve been tentatively dipping a toe into some of those other ignored pools. This, is shit. It’s overproduced and boring. It makes me think of an awful hybrid of indie-rock and baggy. Think early Blur trying to sound like Dinosaur Jr. (Shudder.)

It has a clown on the sleeve. Clowns aren’t scary and never have been, but it’s interesting to see how people have lately decided to pretend they are. Wankers.

1

There’s a good chance I’ve already got this, as I picked up most of these Slut Smalls splits when they came out. I thought I’d take it anyway though, just in case.

It’s predictably difficult, with Anthony Child doing some glitchy, atmospheric, lo-fi thing with modulated foreign-language samples. It’s good, but the panning is kind of annoying through headphones.

Flip over to the AA side, and it’s the world’s most wilfully difficult band. To make their usual bloody-minded point, their side starts with a locked groove. Nudge your $5000 cartridge past that, and you’re into one of the slightly effed-up repetitive beats things they do so well. Truth is, they have an ear for a catchy hook, but they’d hate it if anyone ever found out. Just as you’re getting into it, it goes into a V/Vm style loop of some song about a “dirty old man”, then we’re into another locked groove. Bless ‘em.

3

Like Comet Gain, Spearmint are full of northern soul references that I don’t get. But, both bands made great indie pop records that anyone could enjoy anyway. This is not the Little Eva classic of the same name, but it is about dancing, as are the two excellent b-sides.

The sleeve has nice illustrations, it’s on white vinyl, and it sounds good. Spearmint were a band who loved and understood music and records, so paid attention to the details. They deserved more success than they got, and as I’ve only got three or four singles, that’s partly my fault. Check out Sweeping the Nation if you don’t know it. Or this.

4

Back when I was a small child, I had a tape player and one tape. It was a Beatles mixtape put together by my aunt. I played it all the time. Then, from somewhere, I acquired a Showaddywaddy cassette, and even aged six, I knew they were SO MUCH BETTER. I have not listened to the Beatles since.

Up until the age of about 9, when I got heavily into Chas and Dave, I was all about Showaddywaddy: probably late ’70s Leicester’s #1 faux-Teddy-Boy eight-piece. I eventually got my hands on another tape of them, and two records, and they went on heavy rotation. This was my favourite song and, for 25p, I thought I’d revisit it. Assuming it’s an original copy, it’s thirty-eight years old, and it needed a couple of spins on the Loricraft before I could let it near my precious Benz.

It is, of course, a stone-cold classic, and way better than the original. Phil Spector? Amateur! And, say what you like about Showaddywaddy, they never shot anyone through the mouth. (To my knowledge.)

The internet is a big place, but if there’s another single page anywhere which gives favourable reviews to Stock, Hausen & Walkman and Showaddywaddy, I want to see it.

5

If you’d played me this and asked me who it was, I’m not sure I could have called it. It’s very light and poppy, and though Mary Lorson’s lovely voice is clear and distinctive, the A-side lacks any of the drone, melancholy or torpor (which I mean in a good way) that I associate with the band. The B-side is a little more like their usual sound, but it’s not quite as good. With a bit clearer direction and bit less heroin, they could have been an amazing band.

This record is excellent, and I almost put it back in the rack. A nice little surprise.

4

A good band who I tend to ignore. They did that fantastic version of Silver Bells on the Fortuna Pop! Christmas record a few years back. That’s gorgeous.

A-side is a nicely messy, if slightly too long, chunk of indie-pop, which reminds me of a rough-around -the-edges Felt.

B-side has Song for David Jones, which I guess echoes David (Jones) Bowie’s Song for Robert Zimmerman. Then they do the theme from Fireball XL5 which, if memory serves, has also been covered by Frank Sidebottom.

4