singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
15 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

I like the sleeve, which is thin white paper, all writing rubber-stamped, and two stencil-style ‘C’s cut right through the whole thing.

The music’s a bit rough though. The singer isn’t exactly hitting the notes like Johnny Mathis. Musically it’s all corners, harsh and sharp. The remix on the other side makes it more unfriendly still.

I didn’t know if City Center was the band or the song, so I looked it up on Discogs, and apparently “Disco Plate” is a series of records. I never knew that, I thought it was just some cool/stupid name K had for 7” singles in general. The question now is do I go rummaging through the shelves looking for all the others that I have, and transfer them to my 7” series section? I’ll ask my therapist.

2

Barbara Windsor is on the front of this. A lady who, of course, was noted for her front, though I have a long-standing theory that when people think of Barbara Windsor, they picture Sam Fox. I caught a bit of a Carry On film the other day. (God bless ITV3.) Abroad, I think it must have been. Barbara Windsor told a man “You’re only after one thing” and the man said “No! I’d be happy to have the whole lot”. That was as much as I saw. I can’t place the woman on the other side of the cover, but I feel like I ought to be able to.

Here Sissy et al play it straight, with a mid-tempo pop song that’s effortlessly great. The Edible Eyes drape a decent tune over a Warm Leatherette-ish backdrop and a filthy cheap drum machine. Once, in Japan, I chipped my tooth on a supposedly-edible fish eye.

4

A lathe-cut on Polytechnic Youth. You can smell the resale value. I will not, of course, be flipping my copy on Discogs, not least because this is part of Norman Records’ 25th anniversary festivities. I can’t claim to have been with them for the full quarter-century, but I was definitely buying my records off Phil when I worked at the Poly, and that was 1997-1998, so that’s at least 23 years.

Lathe cut means no printed label, so I have no idea which side is which.

The first side I played makes me wish I hadn’t made that Warm Leatherette reference earlier, because this sounds way more like it than that did.

Oh, hang on, there’s an insert here, which says that e used an 808, an MS-20 and an MT4X, so that was definitely them. I wonder if it’s a real 808? They’re worth an absolute fortune now, and I bet an original MS-20 is too. MT4Xs are probably ten a penny, but what about the tapes? Does anyone still make tapes? Judging by the sound of this, “no”.

On the other side, some nice drumming, some nice analog squelch. Pretty groovy.

Terrific sleeve. I love a collage.

3

Greer, you see, because – break out the Babycham – what we have here is nothing but Ladybands! Yes, there might be a few geezers lending rhythmic support, but let’s not let that spoil our evening.

I bought this because I wanted a good copy of this particular version of The Childcatcher. I had it years ago on a tape that came with Select, and I ripped that to a crappy MP3, probably on Solaris 7. Here it gets a whole side of a (paper thin) 7” and, you know what? I miss the thick dirt of the copy I already have. It’s a belter though, louder and harsher than the version that ended up on the LP. The guitars kicking back in after the middle bit are glorious. And the cymbal at the end doesn’t cut off! Yay.

Ivy next. Never heard of ‘em, but the song they do here is good, in a generic mid-90s guitar-band kind of way. Good singer. I didn’t much care for Solar Race: there was only one Huggy Bear.

On record two we first get Splendora, who sound like a character from a childrens’ TV programme about school-age witches. Reminds me of Veruca Salt. Looks like two of them were sisters. Sisters in bands are cool.

Side four, and it’s Jale. Hello Dad, I’m Jale. I think I have an album of theirs, with a big cake on the front. They were decent, and this is a good song. I especially liked the singing.

Finally, Fuzzy. Fuzzy did a song called Flashlight, which was also on a tape that (I think) came with Select. Took me years to find a vinyl copy of that, and I love it. Here they do something called Christmas, and I would not have known it was the same band. Christmas is very country, very nice, but not very Christmassy.

3

Gatefold 7”s are wrong. Even when they’re things of absolute Julian House beauty like this one, they are wrong. 7”s should be in either a plain paper sleeve, with a piece of paper folded around them in a plastic bag. I don’t actually like gatefolds of any kind, but I’ve moaned about that enough on here.

Though it has two daddies, this record is a collaboration, not a split single.

Painting Box is beyond gorgeous. Like someone pouring pure liquid deliciousness in your ears, but without it tickling. Apparently it’s a cover of an Incredible String Band song, but I don’t know anything about them.

Ritual in Transfigured Time goes a bit more out on a limb, with a harder, percussive mechanical tone, but it’s still nothing but pleasure. Dude has a heck of a voice, and the whole sonic palette is wonderful. There’s a lot going on in both records, but they never sound remotely busy. Quite the opposite in fact.

Also note that it’s a terrific mastering and pressing, and the middle of the record is a ten out of ten, even though it falsely calls itself an EP. I reckon you need at least three songs for an EP. Probably four. I wish there were four.

We don’t do albums here, of course, but the recent Beautify Junkyards one, also on Ghost Box, and with complementary art, is wonderful.

5

Perfectly serviceable indiepop. The insert lists other Love Train releases, which included a Prolapse single whose b-side was called Irritating Radiator. Glorious. Prolapse were good. There was also a record by Suzi Quatro Lives in Chelmsford. I don’t know she ever did or does, but I do know she’s Sherilyn Fenn’s aunt. What’s cooler? Suzi Quatro being Sherilyn Fenn’s aunt, or Sherilyn Fenn being Suzi Quatro’s niece?

I always hated that Love Train’s catalogue numbers were all PUBE something. Why?

2

I was sure I had this. So sure I must have checked three or four times now. I didn’t already have it.

Seatman and Powell sound to me like a comedy act I wouldn’t like. Powell sings (beautifully); Seatman does the rest, (Bing sings and Walt disnae) except for on the first track, which is the Belbury Poly mix of Broken Folk. It’s got some lovely synth action on it. After that, Jim Jupp clears off, perhaps to work on the sleeve. It’s a good sleeve. He can turn his hand to many an art. (Do you see what I did there?)

The original version of the title track is a bird of a different feather. (There’s a crow on the sleeve. I’m unstoppable today.) Sparse and haunting, with that nagging, grooving bass replaced with spare percussion like the echoing flap of a wing.

4

Like Itchy and Scratchy, Blonde Redhead (my wife’s blonde; I’m the redhead) eventually lost their edge, but back in the day they had plenty. Check out the honking trumpet and general abrasiveness of this, paired with the proper musicianship and avant-garde academic composition. Far out.

3

Speaking of Overrated, today, on the radio, Jeremy Vine asked if Joy Division were the best British band since the beatles.

Tomorrow, is 415 the best number since 323?

Disregarding the fact that Joy Division were so bad they had to invent New Order to make them look good, I’m sick of hearing this established fact that the bloody beatles is the pinnacle of all music, and objectively better than anything and everything else. Further, you’re not allowed to disagree with this Fact, and anyone who does is just being contrary.

Are Fightstar the best British Band since Hermann’s Hermits? Equally valid question, and if your two favourite bands are Hermann’s Hermits and Fightstar, in that order, YES.

Side A is remixed by Robin Guthrie. You’d never know. I’M JOKING OF COURSE. It sounds exactly like everything he’s ever been involved with. That is, GRATE. I’ve no idea what the Echo Ladies are on about, but who cares when it sounds like this?

Side AA is Rebel Rebel. Yeah, that Rebel Rebel. That’s a risk innit? Off the top of my head the only good David Bowie cover I can think of is Black Box Recorder’s version of Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide.

You know what? It’s alright. The riff isn’t there, just some echoey bass and 808ish drums. And a shitload of reverb. Yeah, I think they just about got away with that. It sounds like Christmas.

4