singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
26 January 2020
(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

Following on from the hugely successful “12 inch single death row special”, it’s a “seven inch single death row special”. I’ve gone through the sevens, and picked out all the duplicates and all the “I don’t think that’s very goods”. The former are bagged up and ready to go, and here give each of the latter a spin, and see if they warrant a space back on the shelf. If not, they go to the charity shop with the dupes.

I wonder where things like this came from. I don’t like the band name at all (and I normally avoid bands with names I don’t like); I don’t like the sleeve art (and I often buy things because I like the art); and I don’t know the label (I frequently buy things I’ve never heard of because they’re on labels I’ve liked stuff off).

Didn’t like the music either. Like Paloma Faith fronting something off Slampt circa 1996 in the Radio 2 acoustic lounge or whatever it’s called. Didn’t even make it all the way through the ‘b’. The affectation of the pronouncedly dropped “t”s went through me.

1

For reasons I, again, can’t explain, Peggy Sue is back, albeit alone. This is on stupidly thick white vinyl, and the sleeve art’s okay. It’s better than the last one; replacing some of it’s faux-fifties tweeness with folkish Americana. It’s considerably better than the last one. I imagine I bought this one first (in 2008 by the look of it) and liked it enough to buy the previous one. But in 2020 I don’t like it enough to keep it.

2

If you wondered where The Pirates went between record one and record two, they seem to have washed up on record three.

A self-consciously over-energetic attempt at an indie-disco by numbers floor filler, produced by Gareth Parton, which might explain how it ended up here, as I was quite fond of Misty’s Big Adventure for a time. (Probably round about 2007, when this came out.)

‘b’ couldn’t be more different, and is much better. Still not good enough to get it back on the shelf though, possibly because the band name irritates me.

Adam/Ants excepted, I don’t like “…and the…” band names.

2

Speaking of which, I very much dislike Poppy and the Jezebels as a name. You really can try too hard. Poppy, Mollie, Amber and Dom have pretty much the most middle class sounding names they could have, but we don’t hold class against anyone here, whatever level.

Everyone’s a “Nazi” these days aren’t they? Point out an extraneous apostrophe? Nazi. Think it’s okay for a white man to make jerk chicken? Nazi. Vote Leave? Nazi. (Even though they were really keen on a united Europe.) Problem is, when you call everyone a Nazi no one will be listening to you by the time the real ones arrive.

Anyway: I don’t quite buy Poppy’s accent for some reason. Might have kept it if they’d had a better name. Yes, that’s how petty I am. I’m a total band name Nazi.

2

Them again. The verses are interesting, but the chorus sounds like if the Spice Girls had reformed in 2008 and had an ill-advised stab at major-label indie, like Little Mark Owen did.

I have another one of theirs, and it’s gone straight in the out-tray without troubling the Acutus.

2

This is right on that line. It’s certainly not bad. You don’t play it and think “I don’t want this in my house”, but I know that if I put it back on the shelf, I’ll never play it again. So what’s the point of that? Actually, there is a point to that. There’s stuff in the collection that I never play and likely never will again, but I like that it’s there. There’s some pleasure of ownership which can come from many places. When it was bought; completism; cultural cachet; knowing other people covet it; all really stupid reasons, but reasons nonetheless.

I’ve certainly thinned out the “late 2000s lightweight indie pop ‘and-the’s beginning with ‘P’” section today.

2

“Taken from the forthcoming album Girls Can’t Make Gun Noises”. And sounds like it.

1

Opening line, “I’d like to wake up before you and gaze at your profile from my side of the bed” was as much as I needed to know.

Next!

1

When this came out I was friends with (I think) everyone in the band; and probably with almost everyone on the label. (Thee SPC.) So, y’know, you buy it don’t you?

Dark, reverb-soaked garage rock with screaming vocals and screaming guitars. Gains points for the nice clear red vinyl and having the same song on both sides, but loses points for sweariness.

Done well, but not my bag now, or, probably, then.

3

Not a bad record, but rather middle of the road and a bit “proper” at times. I could see Jo Whiley liking this. She’d probably say it was “vital” or “essential”.

It’s on its bike, partly because it’s a gatefold seven inch. There’s never, ever, any need for that. And because Malice in Wonderland is an unforgivable title.

2

Lads, lads, lads! It’s like Soccer AM in here!

1

The Coral made some nice records. This one sounds like it should be playing over a montage scene of a groovy chick exploring London in an early ’70s film that pretends to be from the ’60s.

The ‘b’ is an irresistible toe-tapper. It’s the first reprieve of the night!

3

The (terrible) sleeve has a sticker saying “Limited edition blue vinyl featuring live favourite Downtown”. I don’t have high hopes for this one.

‘a’: unbearable lighters-aloft would-be-stadium-anthem first-year-student love song.

‘b’: Live favourite Downtown, and yes, it’s that one. Let’s just say it’s not as good as The B-52s’ version and move quietly on.

1

Imagine if Lolly had been in Shampoo, and they’d done a theme tune for a Friends rip-off that got cancelled after two episodes.

1

He’s a pillock, isn’t he? I’ve just flogged the first album for about £45 more than it’s worth (i.e. £45). I had a bunch of other singles too, and they’ve already gone. I thought they’d fetch a few quid as well, but they didn’t. Fair enough, I wouldn’t have given you tuppence for them either.

Nice cardboard sleeve, with nice cardboard insert. The music is okay, particularly the instrumental side which, I presume is the “featuring Doves” one. I was going to keep it, then I pictured him in that stupid woolly hat, and I chucked it in the out-tray.

3

In the morning an electrician is coming to wire up my garden shed and greenhouse. I can have power tools, and a propagator. I’m dizzy with anticipation.

Oh, I know this. You hear it on the radio sometimes. Perhaps it was a minor hit. Probably they played it on the breakfast show because it says “morning”. Like Wake Up Boo. That was proper rubbish wasn’t it, and that was everywhere.

Wasn’t keen on the ‘b’. Probably going.

3

Shoegaze. On the one side you had bands like My Bloody Valentine, The Telescopes, Slowdive, Pale Saints, and Swirlies, who were great; and on the other you had Moose, Chapterhouse, Swervedriver and The Catherine wheel, who were rubbish. (You also had Ride, who manged to have a foot firmly in each camp.)

I think the division is that the first lot were all doing something interesting and difficult to pigeonhole. They were all, at times, “a bit weird”, and seemingly interested in sound as much as in song. The second lot were rebadged indie-rock (or just plain “rock”) bands with a few more pedals and some long-exposure artwork.

This is rubbish.

1

There were four versions of this. This is the “acoustic” one, a.k.a. “worst”. It’s okay.

If I’m clearing out records, I should probably ca$h in that Upholsterers single. I’ve probably missed the boat on it though.

I should definitely have flogged the White Stripes stuff years ago. Never really got them, and gave them too many chances, and chickened out of selling their early records when prices were obscene.

2

Considerably better than the ones that got canned in the 12” death row special. This has a good sound. It’s a proper racket, loud and heavy, with a bit of menace. Kind of Penthouse-lite. Actually not bad, but then the ‘b’ sounds like a pub band covering Muse, and that’s not staying in this collection.

2

I had an idea, based on very little, that this was going to be the worst record in the pile. Possibly in the collection.

Turns out that not only does the nice flesh-coloured vinyl sound great, but its grooves hold a couple of properly enjoyable songs.

Yes, it’s Britpoppy four years after the event, and yes it’s on Virgin, and yes, it’s got pretty bad sleeve art, but I enjoyed it, and I’m going to keep it. Yeah, take that preconceptions.

3

I bought this in 2004, when it was probably still arguable that he wasn’t a complete wally.

It’s a couple of live tracks, one of which is There is a Light that Never Goes Out; possibly the most over-rated Smiths song, off definitely the most over-rated Smiths album.

I haven’t listened to The Smiths or the decent solo stuff in years. Maybe I should, but then, it all feels like it belongs to a part of my life so foreign that it might as well have been lived by a different person. That’s not some retrospective woke judgment call, I’m able to separate the art from the artist well enough to be a big Eric Gill fan. And, for completeness, Johnny Marr never did anything worth two squirts post-Smiths.

Redondo Beach is pretty okay, but There is a Light sucks logs.

2

There was a lot of hype about these back in the day, and I picked up the first few singles. Some of them are worth a few quid, and have already gone. This one isn’t. It’s on lovely ultramarine vinyl, but it’s overwrought, anthemic and dull. Got about a minute in and called it quits. Sort of like a thinking man’s late-period Simple Minds.

1

This thing’s oversized sleeve has been annoying me for nigh-on twenty years now. Hopefully it won’t be any good and I can get rid of it.

Yeah, that can go. No worries.

2

ITV Daisy Chainsaw.

2

I hate this record so much.

0

Didn’t Charles Smith used to be their tour manager? For a while I was big on his wine, but I seem to be over that now. The Chateau Smith is waaaay too much.

I just sold their first LP, and listening to this I’m wondering whether I should have. Good hooky tune buried in timeless reverb. ‘b’ is dark and atmospheric. Decent record. Reprieve!

3

Experimental music for people who think Tim Burton films are “weird”. Terminated with extreme prejudice.

1