singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
13 April 2016
(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

Slumberland, white vinyl. Should be good. Sounds a bit early-Creationish, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Kinda fuzzy, bit too much reverb, bit too harsh. Great. B-side Magnetic Moon is even better. There can’t be that many words that haven’t prefixed “Moon” in a song title at some point. Bit of a Black Tambourine vibe, maybe a hint of Clinic in the way it sounds kind of old, but not that much like anything old at all.

4

I liked Lush a lot back in the day. All the EPs are great, and Split is a terrific LP. The other albums were a little bit hit-and-miss, but as that “best of” that came out a while ago showed, they had a lot of very, very good songs. In the flesh they were a bit of a shambles, but that’s okay. Aren’t we all?

In the time since they disappeared I have often played and enjoyed Lush’s records, but never, not once, did I wish for them to make any more, or to see them play live again. I’m not big on the reunion thing at all, and I learnt a tragic lesson by going against my natural inclination, seeing Slint, and somehow spoiling Spiderland. Let the past be the past. Enjoy it, dip into it, but leave it where it is. Especially when it comes to pop music, which is most definitely a young (wo)man’s game.

But, the 90s indie revival definitely bottomed out with the return of Menswe@r, so we should be on the upward trend now. And look, Lush have actually made a new record, on a new label, instead of just going on The Wright Stuff and wheeling out Size of a Cow a couple of times, so let’s give them a chance.

It’s a bit all-star on the credits. We’ve got Terry Edwards, who did that EP of Jesus and Mary chain covers with all the “feedback” done on trombones; we get Justin from off of Elastica (as, sadly, of course there is no Chris Acland from off of Hard Skin). There’s even a shout-out to The Keyboard Player From Suede, in a nod to Lovelife’s (overstated) flirtation with Britpop. Artwork is 4ADish enough to make you assume they’re still on 4AD. That’s because it’s done by Chris Bigg, who I think was the other half of v23.

Music though, eh? What you get is a slightly melancholic synopsis of Lush’s career. Starts off a bit Spooky, goes a bit Split, ends up like a Black Spring b-side, with little shiny bits of Lovelifeishness sprinkled throughout. So, all pretty good then? Yeah, pretty good. Really, pretty good.

4

This, like everything else to come tonight, is on the Emotional Response label, a sort of doss-house built for some of the many bands Stewart from Boyracer is also in. It’s one of those “boutique” or “collectors” labels like Great Pop Supplement, Box Bedroom Rebels, or Cotton Goods (though without the ponciness), and obviously I’m a sucker for that kind of thing.

The Safe Distance’s music is fractured, sloppy, glitchy, and lovable. It’s the sort of music that people who hate indiepop really hate, which makes it even better. Lovely deep red vinyl too. The colour of a particularly delicious boiled sweet.

3

Everyone’s a Critic say Boyracer. Speaking for myself, I have no talent, so what do you want me to do? Make terrible records? At least, unlike lots of bands I could mention, I have the good taste not to. Fortunately though, for every ten like me who are neither use nor ornament, there’s a Stewart Thingie, out there being in about a hundred bands, all of which are a bit different and a bit great. Here he’s in uptempo, noisy, self-deprecating mood. Both sides rattle along, happily and make me feel in love with indiepop again.

4

I don’t know if Shark Toys would be toys for sharks or toys like sharks. Either way, they’d be great. I love sharks, because of shark films. I have a terrible weakness for shark films.

Shark Toys shout on one note and sound make a racket. So two thumbs up there.

UV-TV is perhaps the most 80s band name I have ever heard. They do something similar to Shark Toys, but with a female and more melody. They are also excellent.

4

I promised to stay on Emotional Response, but once again I’ve let everyone down, because this is on Box Bedroom Rebels. It is therefore a 33rpm 7”, and has an envelope full of inserts, one of which is an engaging and relatable tale of one man’s introduction to music. He likes Joy Division, but no one can be right all of the time.

Culte, a further insert tells us, is a young girl (I’m old enough now to consider any woman under 35 “a young girl”, so don’t write in, okay?) in the middle of nowhere in Australia, recording this stuff on her own, on an iPhone. Glossing over the cost of the recording vs playback equipment here, it still must be said that the fidelity ain’t the best. But, it works. The slight buried-ness of the vocal makes you lean in and pay attention. The haze of distortion makes it sound distant and transient, and that gives an intangible value, a specialness to what you’re hearing. It’s not the happiest record, but we can go back to that Boyracer split if we want to jump round the living room like idiots. A beautiful record.

It says “I Love Shoegays”. Don’t we all?

4