singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
22 October 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

I didn’t like Absolutely Fabulous the TV programme, and, it turns out, I don’t like Absolutely Fabulous the single, by Absolutely Fabulous the artist.

This is a collection-filler, because it’s written, produced, and at times sung on by Pet Shop Boys. It’s almost certainly the worst thing they’ve ever done. Even the sampling is rubbish.

The ‘b’ is The Dull Soulless Dance Music Mix. It repeats a sample of “dull soulless dance music” nearly the whole way through, livened up by a couple of visits from some TB303 (style?) acid bass. Without the samples it would probably be reasonably good, and it’s remarkably long for a 45rpm 7”.

When this was new, proceeds from its sale went to Comic Relief. I was once approached about a job with Comic Relief, which I declined. They kept coming back, offering what ended up being an obscene day rate. Obviously some of what people donate must be spent managing the rest of the money, but it made me feel a bit off, and I don’t think I’ve given them anything since. Probably some bullshitter took that, and took the piss for six months. That’s what usually happens. Maybe I should have done it. At least I’d have done my best for them.

2

There are a lot of big kids around now aren’t there? About thirty years ago, someone from Holland told me “my country is a country of spoilt children, and yours will be soon”. I can’t speak to whether he was right about his country, but he was right about mine. Look at them all now, kicking off because they’re not allowed to do whatever they want to do. People love to blame “generations” don’t they, but behaving like a spoilt child knows no boundaries of age.

I think these two bands were on the fringe of Elephant 6, but nothing on the sleeve suggests a link, so maybe I’m wrong. (I almost was one time before.) Isn’t there a book or a film or something coming out about Elephant 6? That’s what happens at my time of life. The bands who were once vitally important to me now write books, of have books or films made about them. And we read them and watch them because we don’t know what else to do, and they’re unfulfilling and we hate ourselves for wallowing in our past. It’s what ex-indiepop dads do. A Kickstarter film about Elephant 6 is our Nazi Megastructures.

I prefer the Midget and Hairs side, because I like the singer’s voice, and I didn’t particularly like that of the Marshmallow Coast guy. Midget and Hairs have a woozy sleepiness and oddness which I enjoyed, and even do a bit of (very Elephant 6) sound collage. Marshmallow Coast play it straighter, and though I liked their side just fine, they were less memorable.

It’s a super-DIY sleeve, and the front cover is taken from a potty training book. (Pro tip: don’t bother, it’ll happen when it needs to) Back cover is a rank photocopy of, as the liner notes say, a cool pic of the person writing them’s dad. Looks like he was a cameraman. Camera 2, in fact. We also get two 7” square “mini posters”. I liked the Midget and Hairs one of those best as well.

Sadly, it says that Midget and Hairs can be found on three vinyls now. This came out in 1996, so that cancer’s been around longer than I realised.

3

Another in the Awkward Silence series of split singles. I don’t seem able to leave the house without finding more of these. (Not that I leave the house any more, of course.)

Epic45 are always a quality turn. Their side is slow and beautifully put together. You don’t want to use words like “crafted”, do you, but it’s an excellent piece of workmanship. If Mogwai did this, Jo Whiley would have shat her pants. On the insert, they thank their mums and dads, which is lovely. As David Beckham said: “I owe it all to my parents, especially my mum and dad”. Epic45 have a Yahoo! e-mail address. And as someone else said “If Yahoo! won’t give up, why should you?”.

100 Pets, I’ve never heard of. We have three pets, and that’s three too many. Though I’m fine with eating animals, I’m slightly uncomfortable with people keeping them in unnatural environments purely for amusement. It seems somehow worse, but I can’t explain why. Unlike Epic45, 100 Pets do a bit of singing, and the dude sounds good. The whole band sound good actually. Really good. I’m surprised I haven’t run into these before.

4

Co-written, apparently, with Johnny Marr, sinking my cast-iron theory that he hasn’t done anything of any value at all since the Smiths packed up. But then, if it was cast-iron, it shouldn’t have floated anyway, should it? I didn’t think it through well enough.

The front cover is pretty wretched – which makes sense given Phill Jupitus was involved – but you’ll find no other faults on this little belter.

How can you not love Billy Bragg, especially when he’s so invitingly framed in pop glitter? The ‘b’ is great too, and all the better for changing Johnny Marr’s almost keyboard-like, paper-thin strumming for Billy’s chunky chordage.

“I demand equality”, he says. Of course you do. You’re Billy Bragg.

5

It’s only very recently that I found out Curve did a cover of this. Naturally, I expected it to be awful, but it’s not. It’s great. But it’s not this great, because nothing is this great.

They had to record it in ten-second bits, you know. Because the synthesizer oscillators were so unstable. And the kick drum is real because they couldn’t synthesize one they liked. Did you know that? I bet you did, didn’t you?

The ‘b’ is pretty boring, but I Feel Love gets at least ten out of five, so whichever way you look at it, this is a

5

“Bloomer” is a word not seen much outside the Private Eye crossword, where it’s used to imply “large women’s knickers”, but actually means “flowers”. And if they say “flowers” they mean “rivers”. Because they “flow”, right? They’re “flow-ers”. Get it? And “tip of todger” means either “t” or “r”. Elk’s ego gets my goat. Head of MI-5 upset the French by reversing into dad’s underpants: it’s a doddle.

This is one of a series on Odd Box. I don’t know how many records were in the series, but I know there were a hundred copies of each. You have to wonder, don’t you, about “limited edition” records. You know, “we’ve strictly limited this Waxburger/Covert Ingress split 7” to 500 copies.”. Right. So how many tens-of-thousands would you shift if it were unlimited?

The ‘a’ is reverb-soaked indiepop blast right on the edge of the band’s musical ability, and it sounds wrong at both speeds. We love all of that here. My friend shows me all these unbelievably talented singers and guitar players on YouTube, and think they’re great. But deep down, what I love most is when the ambition and enthusiasm outstrip the talent.

All that said, on the ‘b’ they sound quite proficient. Nobody’s perfect.

4