singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
28 August 2019
(listening through speakers)Avid Acutus
Funk F·XRII
Benz Micro LP-S
Linn Kilmax DS (Renew)
TEAD Mastergroove Mk 2
TEAD Vibe Phoenix / Pulse 2
TEAD Linear A mk 2
TEAD Model One

According to the label, both sides of this are the ‘a’ side. I guess that means they’re both going to be great, eh? And equally great. None of that judgmental A/AA stuff here.

Airport Girl could be really nice when they were quiet, and they start Cold off being quiet, and finish it being quiet. But in between they do short noisy bits, which spoils everything.

The Static Waves invert this, punctuating their fuzzed-up, raucous blast with rather pointless quiet bits. The whole thing’s pretty unsatisfactory, but what do you want for £1?

On “Sorted”, which reminds me: what do you call a raver in a filing cabinet?

2

Ui are another band I found via the Incredibly Cool Girl in Chesterfield Hudsons, though even she wasn’t sure whether it was “Wee” or “You Eye”.

I think there is another version of this single, a remix or something, and I think I have it. I’m not going looking for it now though; it’s already past 1am and we’ve more to get through before bed.

Side ‘a’ is nice. Tippy tappy drums you’ve heard a thousand times before, over a nice ascending bass riff. The ‘b’ is a remix, and you know I don’t like remixes unless they’re the ones on Disco. It sounds kind of like the first one, but channeled by Ivor the Engine.

3

Pop, indeed, Goes the World. Gets closer every day, I reckon.

A four-way split on, so far as I can tell, a Japanese label called CTB. Let’s hope it’s more use than CBT eh, therapy fans! The record is made of that weird translucent black vinyl you used to see quite a lot, but never do any more. I always wondered whether people picked it because it was cool, or because it was cheap.

The photocopied insert has been highlighted with, er, a highlighter, and has a cute sticker attached. It has postal details of all the bands involved, so if you ever find yourself trapped in the late ’90s, you can write them a real letter with a real pen. Yayoi, who put together (or in modern bullshit “curated”) the record also gives us her crazy Japanese e-mail address. (All Japanese e-mail addresses are pretty much yk@fo.wj2.yh.jf3goa.jv.co.jp.) No one puts a hyphen in ‘e-mail’ any more do they? No wonder the world’s going to hell.

Said insert describes, in charming Japanglish, Beanpole’s song as “sweet”; Wack Cat as “the COOLEST band in this planet”; Recycledpop’s track as “one of the best songs ever”; and Bunnygrunt’s as “absolutely brilliant”. So this had better be good.

Regarding the “Pop Goes the World” title, Beanpole was from California, Recycledpop from Japan, Bunnygrunt from whatever US state is abbreviated to “MO”, and Wack Cat from, er, Leeds. LS15 actually, which is probably a distant suburb. Still, all pretty global.

Beanpole’s song is quite sweet. Wack Cat do sound pretty cool. Recycledpop’s was good, but I wouldn’t put it in the best songs ever bracket, (but I’ve only heard it twice, and these things take time). Bunnygrunt’s is good too. It sounds familiar, and I’ve a feeling I might already have it…

This is a nice record, and probably the nicest thing about it is its insert. It shows an enthusiasm, positivity and genuine love for music that lifts the heart.

3

This record is a tribute to Geoff Goddard. No? Me neither. He was mixed up with Joe Meek, and wrote dead-girlfriend classic Johnny, Remember Me, a song so strong that it was okayed by Buddy Holly from beyond the grave, and covered by Showaddywaddy.

This was on Boa. Remember how the last record was put together by a woman? A woman ran Boa, too. I don’t think anyone cared about stuff like that back then. It’s like this year at Glastonbury, when there was all that fuss that a black British artist was headlining FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, and everyone forgot Skunk Anansie did it years ago, because when they did it, we weren’t sufficiently hung up on race to make a song and dance about it. It was just a band. I liked the old way best. So back then, as now, loads of labels, fanzines, club nights etc were done by women, but as I remembered it no one cared. You liked the label, or the zine, or you didn’t. No one gave two squirts for the race, gender, sexuality or religion of the person who made it. Or maybe they did but I was too naive to notice. (Also, who gives a you-know-what who’s headlining Glastonbury anyway?)

One side of this is how I expected (droney, echoey, 50s sci-fi through an oscillator-ey) and the other is not (poppy and melodic). Both sides are good. It’s on beautiful, thick, transparent green vinyl, and it has a nicely written pen portrait of Geoff Goddard on the back. I feel I am richer for knowing about him, and hearing these interpretations of his music.

4

Eugene Chadbourne from out of off of Shockabilly and (kind of) Camper Van Beethoven, with whoever the hell Evan Johns is, on Alternative Tentacles, massively, brilliantly disrespecting Achey Breaky Heart.

If I had to pigeonhole it, imagine the band off the Muppets, blind drunk, covering Achey Breaky Heart when only one of them knows it and the others are following the chords while someone puts powertools through an overdriven amplifier and someone else who can’t play the saxophone plays the saxophone. Honestly, it’s that good. Also, it’s on clear red vinyl, and the sleeve is awful.

The ‘b’ is a banjo picked, out of tune, half-spoken tale of walking up and down on a train to alleviate a sore bum and finding two blood-covered men playing draughts and ignoring a screaming baby.

5

I liked The Male Nurse back in the day, although I only have a couple of singles. Did they ever make an album?

They made antsy, abrasive indie-pop with smart and unusual words. They also did good sleeves, and this one has a drawing of a doctor using an endoscope to look up a man’s bum. Or possibly a woman’s. You can’t tell. I imagine they both look the same from the inside.

I could make some kind of HILARIOUS answer to the rhetorical title of the ‘b’. What Does Woman Want? (even though the lyric is the more grammatical “what do women want?”.) Instead I’ll point out that it has a lovely winding riff, namechecks the band, and rhymes “psychosis” with “atrocious”. Class.

4

Standard Hydroplane stuff. Strummed open chords with plenty of reverb, background drone, lovely singing, usually a cover. They were a good band. I always assumed there were two of them, but apparently they were a foursome, which seems overkill for the music they made. Like S-Club 7. You could easily have lost four of them and had no difference. (I’d have kept Jo, Rachel, and Hannah. But I suppose you’d need Bradley for Don’t Stop Movin’, so I guess Hannah has to go. Maybe he could guest on that. It’s complicated. But S-Club 8 definitely didn’t need all eight.)

Hydroplane always had nice sleeves, and this has a photograph of Howard Hughes’ big aeroplane on it. It’s so huge, and floating in water, and the effect is unsettling. There’s something uncanny about it.

On Bad Jazz, which prompts the obvious question “is there any other kind?” and the equally obvious answer “No”.

4