singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
2 April 2015
(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

Just when I thought the end was in sight, they’ve gone and released a few new GPS records. There’s a Thelightshines album, which I listened to last night and didn’t make any notes about. But, I enjoyed it a great deal. For style and quality, it’s pretty much what you would expect if you’d heard the other stuff they’ve released on GPS, which I think is a strong recommendation.

Blimey, this is a tight fit. Try your best not to rip the sleeve apart as you extricate the record (it’s even snugger once it’s in an antistatic sleeve). That sleeve is quite good, but it’s misleading. The bow and arrow, and ears of corn suggest something far folkier than you get. The b-side is the best, because it has pedal steel guitar, and anything which has that is automatically best.

A pleasant record you could pop on any time, but not one you’re going to struggle to get out of your head.

3

I like their previous GPS single very much, and the near-trademark round sleeve is always a plus. It’s on that lovely, properly clear colourless vinyl too, so a nice artefact whether the music’s any good or not. Obviously, it is, though following the instruction to “play loud” adds little to the experience. This, I find, is often the case. They didn’t have to put “play loud” on Psychocandy or Loveless did they?

This is simple, effortless music. You know, the kind which is so hard and effortful to make, but no one would ever suspect. Lovely, lilting, folk tinged (there’s a flute), very pretty and engaging. It has a sound which, regardless of any conscious message in the lyrics it carries, subliminally tells you everything’s going to be alright, and you believe it. The a-side is so long that you wonder how it fits on one side of a 45rpm 7”, and a few times you think it’s finished, and it delights you by not being.

4

Regular readers (“lol”) will know I approve of records with no middle because I don’t have to faff about with cork mats and clamps to play them. This one has no middle, and is on a hearty shade of red vinyl. Its grooves contain squeezebox and fiddle interpretations of two traditional pieces of Americana.

I’ll be level with you: this is foreign territory for me. I try to pretend I’m all eclectic and shit, but mostly I just like appalling noise and Taylor Swift, and the more “authentic” music gets, the less comfortable I am with it. And this shit is well authentic, trust me.

The hornpipe on the a-side is okay (though not as good, to me, as Frank Sidebottom’s Fantastic Sea Shanty), but I struggled with the b-side. It was such a struggle I feel I could write a folk song about it, and inflict that on someone else, like some awful chain letter. It’s not awful of course, it’s just not my cup of tea. But what do I know? I still miss Steps.

2

I accidentally bought two copies of this rather lovely thing. So, if any GPS collectors out there can’t get a copy, now you know why. Idiots, who buy something twice, and can’t be bothered to make a trip to the post office to send one back.

This is GPS124, which given I’ve got almost all the damn things, I find slightly shocking. The vinyl is half turquoise half green, and the extremely glossy sleeve bears artwork which is pleasingly and appropriately dark and repetitive. BUT – and there’s always a “but” isn’t there? – there are, possibly for the first time in GPS history, no inserts. Seriously. No inserts. Not even a single solitary sticker of an owl, or a flyer telling you everything else on the label is sold out. What’s going on?

Side one’s opener starts all droney, then kicks into something very like a guitary version of Bound for Magic Mountain off that Eat Lights Become Lights album. I love that track. I like this one too, and it has the added advantage of being eight-and-a-half minutes long. The older I get, the more I appreciate a bit of an odyssey. Time goes so fast now that eight minutes is over in a blink. I have wees that last longer than that.

Remember how Snails said “play loud”? I bet you didn’t, did you? Well, when you put this one on, and I’m telling you now, play loud. This is the kind of racket which works so much better when you can only just bear it.

Sometimes it goes a bit off piste and gets hard work. Other times it’s hooky and addictive. Bit of a mixed bag on the first couple of listens, but often those difficult tracks are the growers, and end up being the highlights.

3