singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
1 May 2020
(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

There’s something wrong with some aspect of the vinyl playback chain. Random noise in the left channel. I haven’t investigated it properly yet, but I’m not happy.

Aside from the first one, this is all sale stuff from my usual place.

Two pieces of BBC library music used to fill time before children’s programmes in the 1970s. I don’t remember either of them, but I like them both.

If I ran the BBC, I’d make its sole mission to antagonise the people who hate the BBC. It’d be chockablock with niche interest documentaries: and not those bullshit excuse-to-go-abroad things that tell you nothing. Ones where it’s just a 50+ university lecturer talking, occasionally with some still images taken from books. COBOL; violin making; the rise of the Ottoman empire. Also loads of Snooker. Foreign films. Old films. Repeats of the countless hours of brilliant programmes made before the assumption that everyone watching has a five-second attention span, and can’t understand anything remotely abstract. Match of the Day where it’s only the football, introduced by an off-camera man who just says “Arsenal versus Chelsea” and lets them get on with it. Quiz shows where the questions are hard, you don’t win anything, and the contestants aren’t all pricks. News where they tell you what happened, rather than what people think about it. Zero interaction with the public, so no one telling us Dan from Abingdon’s Popmaster score. No one moaning to Jeremy Vine about not being able to take their dog on holiday. No one ringing All Request Friday on their way to a shepherd’s hut in the Lake District. It would be brilliant.

3

The name makes me think simultaneously of the axolotl (always good), and of Richard Richard’s “Sprouts Mexicane”. Again, always good. So I’m on their side before the needle drops. Let’s see what we get.

Side ‘a’ is great, particularly the title track. On the ‘b’ the first lightweight, and the second tries to be full-on and both miss the mark. Would have been better as a two-song 45 than a 33rpm EP. But Teenage Fanclub Have Lost It excepted, what 7” EP wouldn’t?

On the front cover they’re on a farm, and only one of them looks like he’s behaving seriously. Farms are very dangerous places, and not to be taken lightly. I can’t read the writing on the back of the sleeve in this light. I’m getting to a point where I can hardly read anything. Last time I went to the optician he gently suggested readers, or even bifocals. I need them now. Bi-bloody-focals. I might as well go into the garden and start digging my own grave.

3

The Axolotls Mexicane record was one of a series called “New Adventures in Pop”, and this is on “Destination Pop”. Uncanny, eh?

Erleen Nada has a b-movie horror font, white hair, loads of eye makeup, a synth loop backing track, and no melody. In two minutes gets dumped, gets fired from her job, and is barred from singing backing vocals for her friend’s band because she isn’t a vegan. But she doesn’t care. Everything’s peachy-effing-keen, and she triumphs over adversity by writing and recording these two songs. She even did the sleeve. She’s clearly awesome.

In Cowbell Song, Erleen repeatedly asks for more cowbell, seemingly not caring or noticing there’s no cowbell at all. What a woman. (There is cowbell after she leaves.)

This came out almost ten years ago. How the heck it’s sat on the shelves unsold for that length of time I can’t imagine. What’s wrong with people?

5

“You used to have a parrot didn’t you? No? Everyone says you had a cockatoo before I knew you.” I can never quite make that work. It’s probably just as well.

Brilliant front cover. A man in boxing gear, in a victory pose, holding a can of beer, in a living room, wearing a full-head gorilla mask. Behind him someone with a deliberately creepy clown mask drinks pop through a straw.

Reminds me of Envelopes, if you remember them. Good.

4

Like all Pet Shop Boys fans, I started listening to Molly Nilsson because Chris Lowe said he liked Hotel Home. This isn’t as good as that, but it’s still excellent.

About Somebody is a brassy, poppy, upbeat love song shot through with bitterness. It’s brilliant. Quit (in Time) is more typical of what I’ve heard of her so far, cooler and more downbeat and more obviously melancholic.

The songs are two takes on having a shit boyfriend, knowing it, and sticking with it. There’s nothing worse than a shit boyfriend. Men are, broadly speaking, shit. No wonder they’re all deciding to be women.

4

I don’t know if that’s Silent Diane on the back cover, but if it is, she looks cool. Nice hat.

The music is cool too. In fact, it’s cold. And dark. Ice cold electronics. ’80s music as seen by someone who wasn’t alive then but understands how grim it generally was. If John Hughes had made a film of a Bret Easton Ellis book, either of these songs would have worked in it.

I like the dude’s shirt, too. I used to have loads of daft shirts when I was younger. Now I dress age-appropriately, and completely anonymously. Dignity, people. Dignity.

3

Liquification Process features snippets of dialog, blasts of detuned radio, nagging semi-rhythmic electronics, and feedback. It’s like someone did a dance mix of the Conet Project. (Which someone undoubtedly has.)

Protogenerator edges a little more towards music without ever getting there. Cyclic pulses distort and degenerate. Voices phase in. Everything falls apart. Imagine having a nervous breakdown as the fallout seeps into your shelter and you realise your water supply is poisoned.

“Recorded Summer 09”. Why?

3

The sleeve is plain black, with all the details on what looks like a card machine receipt attached to the top corner. Nice.

In keeping with pretty much everything else tonight, from about ten years ago, but with a distinct 1980s feel. The ‘b’ is more interesting. Raw and clashing. Doesn’t do a lot for me though.

2

It’s the phono amp. Disaster.