singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
6 November 2014
(listening through speakers)Avid Acutus
Funk F·XRII
Linn Kilmax DS (Renew)
TEAD Mastergroove
TEAD Vibe 1.5 / Pulse 2
TEAD Linear A
TEAD Model One

I’m still mostly filling in the gaps in my Great Pop Supplement Collection.

This vaguely Christmas-themed oldie is getting a spin to see if it qualifies for this year’s Christmas Spacker long-list. Black Snow maybe, Snowman, Snowgirl, not. It’s okay, but it’s not Rock Cottage, and it’s certainly not The Claw. I think my friend’s brother used to be in Ten Benson.

3

Clean, catchy acoustic pop with a riff that reminds me of Blockbuster. (Which was number one the day I was born, fact fans.) Sleeve art is, of course, superb. Here we’ve got a fine marine print on deeply textured card. Inside are a few inserts, one of which is the Ampersand logo, printed onto wood veneer. How this hasn’t got broken by now I don’t know. Ampersand are new to me, but I’m impressed by the couple of singles I’ve heard. Intelligent, simple pop music with hooks and soul. Succinct, too.

4

Not my cup of tea at all this one. Badly monged-out psychedelic drone rock: you can practically smell the smoke and patchouli. It all sounds like it’s happening at the far end of a corridor and, if it was, I would not venture down said corridor to see who was banging the tabla. Hell, there might even be a flute in there. Sleeve art folds out into a fourteen inch square pseudo-Indian thing done in felt tip, and I don’t even like that. I paid way too much money for this. Get your hair cut and get a proper job, hippies.

1

This is a beauty. Half orange, half dark green vinyl, gorgeous artwork, in a clear plastic jacket with a couple of inserts and a “half sleeve” front-cover thing. Music is sweet, spacey pop which manages to have an 80s vibe without being shit. I loved the sound of the guitar towards the end of the side as well. Like all the best pop music, there’s something melancholic about it that’s hard to put your finger on. Class, and not a million miles away from the Ampersand single, if perhaps not quite as good.

4

Stepping away from GPS for the moment, for one of the oddest pairings I’ve seen in a long time. The music is painstakingly constructed from sine waves, or so the excellent sleeve notes tell us, but it flows and bubbles along beautifully. Anthony Newley, of course, sounds more like David Bowie than David Bowie ever managed to.

Side A is melodic and easily pleasing. Side B kicks off with a spoken part that brings to mind some of the Dirty Fan Male that Jonny Trunk (who wrote aforementioned sleeve notes) brought to us some years ago. More than a mere curiosity, this is an easily enjoyable record.

4

The band look so young, and their skirts are so short, that I’m almost worried the police will kick the door down and bang me on a register just for owning it. Which is a sad state of affairs in this dismal country.

I absolutely loved Deers’ last single, and this maintains the standard, albeit in a different style. Cool, breezy strumming with a slightly self-conscious noodling riff sets you in a good mood, and the strong melody only makes things better. I’ve no idea what they’re on about, but I loved the flash of lush chorused guitar right at the end. B-side manages to be swingy and shouty.

It’s just rough enough around the edges to have charm, but it in no way sounds “amateurish”: the band are plenty good enough to do what needs to be done to get their songs across. Both tracks are absolute crackers. Love it.

5