singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
20 February 2019
(listening with headphones)Avid Acutus
Funk F·XRII
Benz Micro LP-S
Linn Kilmax DS (Renew)
TEAD Mastergroove Mk 2
TEAD Vibe Phoenix / Pulse 2
Luxman P-1u
Sennheiser HD800

Tonight we have a bunch of sale stuff. These sale splurges haven’t been going all that well lately, so don’t get too excited, eh?

I don’t know why I bought this. The name, the title, and the artwork all point to it being rubbish. Let’s get it out of the way first.

The French Word for Love is a mash up of most early 21st Century indiepop cliches. Like a whole Indietracks album in three minutes. Sappy love song about a girl you wouldn’t be surprised to find out doesn’t exist, and how cool she is. Girl/boy harmonies, choppy guitar, annoying stylophone-type keyboard. Yet it’s not bad. Not bad at all.

The ‘b’ is probably more interesting. Really quite a good song. 6/8, full of regret and earnestness. I like it. My early 21st Century girl/boy indiepop b-side of choice these days, and possibly for ever, is All these Feelings by The Research. I have that on heavy rotation, and it ticks a lot of the above boxes but still manages to be one of the best pop songs I know. The French Word for Love isn’t as good as that, but it really isn’t bad either. And the artwork isn’t objectively bad at all. But it’s not to my taste.

3

I thought we had a Living in a Box/Living in a Box situation here. But check the spelling carefully. Imagine if Living in a Box called their song Loving in a Box. That’s where we’d be. The insert (with lyrics!) tells me that Cayucas (not Cayucos) is a one-man band. Zach Yudin doesn’t have cymbals strapped to his knees, but I bet he could do that if he wanted, because he seems pretty talented.

I liked this record a lot. It made me feel better than usual, and you can’t ask much more than that. The gold and blue artwork fits the sound of the music. It puts me in mind of night time on a California beach. Not that I’ve ever been on a Californian beach, at any time. I’m not really a beach person. Or an anything else person, probably.

Swimsuit, on the ‘b’ is more of the same. Echo-soaked vocals, and snappy percussion that makes you move something. (In my case, my right foot.) Good record.

5

The last record had a song about a Swimsuit, and this has one on the front cover, adorning a young woman with a terrific waist. She is being held aloft by a man with very big muscles. You get a lot of young men with very big muscles these days. When I was a young man no one had big muscles. There were some proper hard bastards though.

The ‘a’ is more dreamy California type stuff. I haven’t a clue what it’s about. Probably nothing. We’re more interested in setting a mood here, though the mood it sets is so far removed from my life that I can’t describe it to you.

The ‘b’ is more my bag, and I particularly enjoyed the percussion. A big booming floor-tom type thing, with some woodblocks.

2

You know a band with a name like that aren’t particularly bothered about being number one. The sleeve layout is also pleasingly tossed-off and amateurish, with everything about it seemingly designed to be a bit irritating. The ‘b’ is called I Don’t Like Your Friends. So, high hopes for this one.

Color Vibration is okay. The vocals are far too high in the mix, and the bass line is nicked from something I can’t pin down. The guitars are a sheet of noise, but buried at the back of the right channel. Playing is pleasingly lumpen, and they slightly lose time once or twice.

So often songs with great titles fail to deliver. I Don’t Like Your Friends does not. It’s gloriously, knowingly, dumb and pleasingly obnoxious. We hear of a party guest who “was wearing a bulletproof vest and looking deranged”. Rhyming is slightly forced, some of the lines don’t exactly fit, and the music is slightly too difficult for the musicians to play. Couldn’t be more up my alley.

I’d like more The German Measles, but I’d like it more if this was the only record they made, because they couldn’t get their collective shit together enough to make another. They sound like that kind of band.

4

By spooky coincidence, the German Measles record was mastered by Paul ‘Solid’ Gold. And here we are, a song called Solid Gold, sung by Seafang, one of whom might even be called Paul, or at least know someone called Paul. Makes you think, right? I know. Glitch in the matrix, yeah?

Seafang are proficient, and well recorded. They do slick pop music with guitars and ‘ba ba bas’. The other stuff I’ve heard of theirs has been rougher, noisier, and therefore better, than this. It’s right enough though.

Solid Gold is “c/w” Stardust. What does “c/w” mean, exactly? I know it means the ‘b’, but what does it stand for? I’ve always assumed “b/w” means ‘backed with’, but that’s blind assumption. Complete with? Something in Latin?

2

A self-released thing here, and someone’s gone to a lot of trouble. What looks like a hand-printed, folded sleeve, a card inner that’s been sprayed gold, lovely found artwork on the middle, all on a nautical under-the-sea theme. The spray paint on the inner reminds me of my uncle. who wanted a black watch. The black watches at the petrol station were £2, but the coloured ones were £1.50. So, he bought a coloured one and sprayed it black. It looked terrible, and the paint all came off on his wrist, but 50p is 50p, right?

Musically: scratchy guitar work and some very handy percussion. Vocals are spoken, aloof, and distant. It feels like it might go nuts any time, but there’s control, holding back.

The ‘b’ is riffage, with kind of spoken lyrics. There’s a tension to it all, slightly reminiscent of Polvo or Slint. I think the lyrics are bilingual.

An interesting, intriguing record. I bet they looked cool too.

3

Finishing off with a bright red, 33rpm, bona-fide EP.

Like Seafang, Nosoträsh do “ba ba bas”, but they’re not half so tight. They want to have a word with North American War; see if they can borrow the drummer. The sleeve is all in Spanish, and as my command of that language only stretches to “vino tinto”, I haven’t a clue what any of it means. I think this might be our second bi-lingual record of the night though, and I’m fairly confident Marie Lu says “there’s no breakfast without you”. This reminds me of that YouTube compilation of people saying “Brexit means breakfast”, which is the sole positive to come from the last three years’ politics. The lead track is subtitled cancio’n de Amelia. As in “Fletcher, MBE”? Certainly her influence is here.

The final track is that same song, ineptly remixed, and prefixed by a completely random snippet of Can You Feel It?, which I liked because it reminded me of Mulligan and O’Hare’s Tamperer cover. Oh, that drummer.

So, Nosoträsh. Not complete träsh, but not Euroträsh.

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