singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
11 July 2021
(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

Four months ago I sent my tonearm in for an overhaul. I was having the odd ground-loop hum issue, so I got in touch with the chap who made it and he said “send it in, we’ll have a look”. Yesterday, I got it back, and he couldn’t find a fault.

This is the peril of having hi-fi made by eccentric geniuses, which most of mine is. On the plus side, it sounds incredible.

The upshot of all this is that I’ve got a four-month vinyl backlog. We’ll just be doing the singles here, but there are albums too. Double albums. A triple album. It’s going to be a long night Bubbles.

The Engerland have just lost the final of the Euros on penalties. I’m disappointed, but at least the rest of the world will be happy. If you are not English but you hate the English, please hate us a little less knowing that an awful lot of the English also hate the English, probably even more than you do.

But also temper your justifiable hatred by realising that as well as giving you various species of superior, ignorant, jingoistic, red-faced pricks, we also gave you Amelia Fletcher OBE, and she offsets a whole lot of “it’s coming home”, “freedom day”, plastic-chair throwing wankers.

Amelia Fletcher’s music has been in my life since I was a teenager. She’s always been a few big-sisterish years ahead of me, and she’s passed along her wisdom of indie tribalism, shit boy/girl-friends, carefree fun, awareness of passing years and now, reluctant nostalgia and bereavement.

I have two Catenary Wires and one Tender Trap album in the backlog, and I’ll be listening to them carefully, to see what Amelia and Rob Pursey make of this phase of all our lives. I think real art makes you understand yourself better, and the various bands of Amelia Fletcher and friends have often helped me to do that.

4

“There’s a goal at Deepdale, but for who?”.

Marcia Blaine offer up a minimal, heavy-ish electronica homage to badly mustachioed football irritant Chris.

d_rradio mix some languid guitar with some awkwardness.

“Unbelievable Jeff!”

4

I don’t know what it is about Molly Nilsson, but something about her music fascinates me. Some undefinable aspect of it, or of her, feels quite alien to me, and I like that. The instrumentation is lo-fi/lo-tech, her voice has a torpid langour, and it all casts a spell on me. She writes good words too; really good words.

The sticker on the label urges we unite against fascism, which certainly sounds like a good idea, and is undoubtedly a thing most young people seem very earnest to do. I am fortunate enough not to see a lot of fascism in my daily life, but I’m certainly against it in principle. You bet. Proceeds of the record go to Black Lives Matter, which is doubly great because it is the kind of thing that upsets people you enjoy seeing upset.

As usual the sleeve, and the lyric insert are stark black and white. I love the united visual style of Molly Nilsson records too.

The ‘b’ is very good too.

3

I have no idea what this is. It’s in a purple and orange sleeve. It appears to me a split single, and the Yellow Swans song has no title. Not even Untitled. I can’t even tell what label it’s on. Possibly Not Not Fun.

Robedoor’s side is seriously hardcore drone. One discordant forever note with wailing and fluttering noise. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but tonight it got in my head and I liked it. Lasts bloody ages too, and that’s assuming it isn’t a secret 33rpm-er.

Yellow Swans aren’t here to make friends either. Sheets of noise, driven by some kind of off-centre cam in a factory that makes toothache. “GMS” is credited with “electronics”. Christ knows what. Maybe putting a thousand volts up a robotic grizzly bear’s aris.

Oh, hang on, it’s on Arbor.

3

Some records make you dance. Some records make you happy. Some records make you sad. Some records change the way you look at the world. Some records crystallise a moment in time for ever. Some records are by Madonnatron and Meatraffle, and that’s enough.

1

This is the original version of the French version on the b-side of the thing April March sang at the end of Death Proof. Got it?

On the sleeve France Gall is ridiculously beautiful. She is also, I think, 16, but she certainly doesn’t look it. That was a ’60s thing. look at Helen Shapiro; when she was 14 she looked 45. Tell it to the judge, creep.

Anyway Laisse Tomber Les Filles is about a minute and a half of perfect ’60s French pop, written by Serge Gainsbourg. Was he an absolute perv? I don’t know, but I wonder. He did rather have a “type” of collaborator, that’s all. Modern times you see: we’re getting conditioned to always suspect the worst. Michael Jackson: he did it: for sure. But they still play his records on the radio. I don’t like Michael Jackson, and not just because he sexually assaulted kids. That story about Quincey Jones and “no more squeaks” completely sums up my feelings on the “king of pop”. Or did before I saw Leaving Neverland. I got more hardline after that.

This is a four-track EP. 45rpm no middle, mono. Sweet. Nice condition too, given it’s fifty-odd years old. Le Premier Chagrin d’Amour is track two. I’ve had a fair bit of Chagrin in my Amour, I can tell you. Then Christiansen, who I think plays for Denmark, and On T’Avait Prévenue, about which I have no “smart” remark. I should listen to more of this stuff.

5

These days, though, I mostly just listen to Radio 2. Apart from Michael Ball on a Sunday, my favourite is all request Friday. Sometimes I note down the people who ring in (or whatever) to tell the nation what they’re doing. The other night we got: Going to Northumberland with Ollie and Isaac to spend the weekend in a shepherd’s hut looking at the stars. Bopping along to Def Leppard on our narrowboat. Drinking red wine and toasting marshmallows. Driving back south from North Yorkshire after meeting our new labrador. Sitting the grand-dogs. (Your child’s dogs.) I can’t leave it alone. It’s like picking a scab. Stuck in traffic on the A-30 in our camper van, “Bumble”.

This is an 8” lathe cut EP of mildly pastoral electronica. It cost more than most people’s record players.

3