singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
23 January 2021
(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

Never heard of them, but the combination of nice sleeve, lovely turquoise vinyl, on Earworm and cheap, I decided it was worth a punt.

You can’t win them all. The ‘a’ is a decent song, but contains rhymes that would make Jarvis Cocker cringe. Taxi/back seat. Letter/send her. That kind of thing.

The ‘b’ is six to eight times longer than it needs to be.

The whole thing has a “your mate’s band” feel to it. I bet they never did anything else. They probably still play together, because it’s a good bit of fun and they’re all dead sound and great mates.

Extra medium.

2

Due to some really thoughtless label design, I accidentally played the ‘b’ first, so let’s deal with that. It’s a sort of Jools’ jam sketch thing. The drummer is better than the pianist. In a way, it’s a proper ‘b’. Look at the bore-fest on that Screen Prints record: sneaking out something that’s just not very good, however hard you might have worked on it. I’d rather have this: half-arsed dicking about in rehearsal. Quintessential ‘b’. Something totally tossed off, or unlistenably experimental.

Now the ‘a’.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything else The Feeling ever did, and I get the – ooh, nearly said it! – idea that I wouldn’t generally like them. But my goodness, I love this song.

It’s cynically clinical, contrived, predictable, whatever else you want to call it, but I don’t care. I love it. Wooh!

5

In a pathetic bid to to claw back some indie credibility after admitting to loving The Feeling, here’s a seven-track Australian indiepop compilation on which Crabstick are easily the most famous act.

Driving Past (although there was a drive-by shouting once) go first, and they’re pretty good. I didn’t like Pip Proud, and it sounded like he was singing right into my left ear. Headphones can be too good.

The Frustrations sound like the Australian Fall. Actually, now I think of it, didn’t there used to be a band called The Australian Fall? I think I might even have seen them. Could I have made that up? Their song is the standout on side 1, and it’s called Leftist Hipster, which turns out not to be the best title on here.

Crabstick are, as always, shambling and somehow special, but I couldn’t begin to tell you why. Instead, here’s an e-mail I sent in March 2018.

In the same week that the music world mourns the passing of the NME and the death of print journalism, I bought a second-hand Crabstick LP off Everett True.

That, people, is the magic of Discogs.

New Waver close out with the best fidelity and the best title: Too Sober to F–k. They have a catchy riff and some pretty smart words too.

Good stuff from Hot Yorkshire.

4

This and the next one were a moment of weakness. I’ve got almost everything on Box Bedroom Rebels, and I wanted these two. But they’re expensive. Considerably more expensive than I’d normally buy. But I got a new job this week, and I decided to treat myself.

Gorgeous artefact, of course. Properly printed sleeve; disturbing fold-out poster, and the customary BBR envelope full of gubbins.

This particular envelope, which is sealed by an astonishingly sticky gummy strip, contains the traditional plastic confetti (not to be thrown at weddings); a badge; a round red plastic thing which reminds me of Deep Space 9; lovely inserts laying out the ethos of the label; and possibly best of all, a manifest detailing all of the above and the things outside the envelope like the poster and record itself. (The round red plastic thing is actually a UFO frisbee. This is why they needed a manifest.)

One of the inserts explains that this whole record was made by one 17-year-old, in his bedroom, with one microphone and a Tascam 4-track. This makes me sick, because every track is rich and gorgeous and brilliant, and It’s Not Fair. This is why people like me have no talent: because folk like this Dane Chadwick character take it all for themselves. Have you seen that Spiderland film, and been crushed by the fact it was made by children?

Slint actually aren’t a million miles from The Faded Tapes. The music is guitar and drums, instrumental and thoughtful. There are times when the PortaStudio can’t quite take it all in, but I kind of like that

The artwork is as simple, lo-fi, and beautiful as the music. Nice job, Georgina Beresford King. Nice job everyone involved.

It’s great when you spend a load of money on something and it turns out to be worth every penny.

5

The second half of my too-expensive-BBR double-bill. It was twenty quid, which seems an awful lot to me. But we live in a time when you can pay that for a new reissue of a David Bowie single, and when the “new” Fall LP is thirty-eight quid and doesn’t even have to recoup any recording or promotional costs. There are seven tracks too, and a couple more on the Bandcamp download. So, other than the fact it was originally £5.50 it seems pretty good value. Assuming it’s any good, of course…

Artwork first: the good news is the front features a printed postcard. The bad news, it’s a picture of John Lennon’s cock. And Yoko Ono’s equivalent. No one needed that in 1970-whenever, and they certainly don’t need it now.

I expected Atonal Noise to be less tonal, and more noisy than it is. There are six very capably handled psych rock songs and a little snippet of something folky. Fuzzy and spacey, naturally, but it’s also surprisingly uplifting and happy. (Lyrics excepted, I suspect, though I can’t make many of them out.) Actually, it sounds psych, but the music is more like old-fashioned rock and roll. It’s bloody good, whatever it is.

Inserts include “Do It”, taken from Manchester Art Gallery. Mine is an instruction from Tacita Dean to find a four leaf clover and press it in a book. I probably won’t. I assume those things are hard to find. We get a lot of clover in our bottom lawn. Now I’m thinking about John and Yoko’s “bottom lawns”. Thanks, Temple Songs.

4

High time we had a bit of what my friend would call “absolute shit”. This is one of those things where some chancers run someone else’s record through some electronics and ruin it. Kid 606 does, I think, Eminem. It’s hard to tell. It’s way too fast at 45rpm, but unless they want to you to change speed half way through (which is possible) must be right. Because track two is Slave 4 U (or however you spell it), and that sounds right at 45. Well, not exactly right, but a lot less wrong than the first one did.

On the ‘b’, Printed Circuit do Can’t Get You Out of my Shed, a sort of Kylie Minogue/chiptune mash-up. I can’t bear Kylie generally, but her awful nasal tones are pretty well buried here, so it’s better than the original.

3

This is the third record on Broken Dancefloors; an offshoot of Box Bedroom Rebels which releases the kind of electronical dancing music to which the youngsters like to bop.

All the Broken Dancefloors records share the same sleeve design. Brown card, black print. Functional and industrial. And really nice. Inside there are smiley stickers; a postcard of Jeanne Moreau, a nice mono print (not a monoprint) presumably of the artist; and a copy of a clipping from The Daily Star which explains how “The Bill’s thickest copper, Jeff Stewart, has become an Acid House freak at the age of 35”. You’ll be reassured to know that “the TV star NEVER does drugs. He just gets high off the atmosphere”, and that “though girls come flocking” he “often heads home alone”. Very sensible.

Side one has a bit of a late night, contemplative feel. Trapped is particularly good; made with a lot of skill and a good ear for tone, and it’s nice to hear someone making downtempo electronic music with something that doesn’t sound like a Moog. We have incredible technology now, with the ability to build synthesizers that sound like nothing on earth. But what do people want these incredible new instruments to sound like? The old ones. We can model anything. Cool. Model a Minimoog. We reinvent wavetable synthesis. Cool: make it sound like a PPG.

Not long ago some clown paid TWELVE THOUSAND QUID for a Jupiter 8 on eBay. And it was RUSTY. Actually going rusty. Rusty! Twelve grand! When I was a teenager, I wanted so many synths, samplers and drum machines so very much. When I was in my late 20s, they were all dirt cheap, and I had plenty of disposable income. I actually congratulated myself on not filling the house with old keyboards. But if I had, I could probably retire now.

Side two has a more analogue feel to it, but it’s not aping the past. Everything here is strong, considered music. Properly crafted. I was expecting visceral dance bangers to soundtrack the kind of lockdown-busting four-day illegal rave that gets on the front of the Daily Express, and instead I got cerebral solitary listeners. Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong.

4

Speaking of old synthesizers, the Fairlight is an old synthesizer which was somewhat mythologized. I don’t know if that’s what they mean. Probably not. It was the sound of the ’80s though, and this, particulary the ‘b’, sounds pretty ’80s. Eightiesness is forgivable when half of your band is Pete Astor from out of off of The Loft, who’s a proper eighties icon to people of a certain nerd level. (The other half is Keith Negus. I have no idea who he is.)

This is one of those WIAIWYA 7777777 series things. The front cover is Jean Seberg counting on her fingers in A bout de souffle. A man can’t argue with a bit of Jean Seberg.

3