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

Whatever that means.

Remora do five minutes of noise called Kidnapped in Italian. Wasn’t there a page 3 girl kidnapped in Italy a while ago? Some fruitcake shut her in a holdall or something, pretended he was going to sell her as a sex slave, then decided to let her go? I can’t remember, and I didn’t understand it anyway, but I think it all happened in Italy.

Coits twang acoustic guitar strings really hard over a wall of tape noise. It’s pretty unlistenable.

Turn over and it’s Ashtray Navigations, doing All Bound for Morning Town, Many Miles Away. I can’t see Judith Durham getting behind its five minutes of cut-up noise and Twilight Zone flying saucer sounds.

Ghostdad close it out with an irresistible blast of hook-filled ’80s-style synth-pop. Nah, I kid. They do four minutes of noise.

A genuinely experimental record, but I’m not sure the experiments were a success.

2

At this time of year, Movies24 or something show Christmas films 24 hours a day. You know: high-flying Jeri quits her job in a big city law firm to move back home and save the family bakery, where she meets old flame pastry-chef Tom and learns the true meaning of Christmas.

So, I feel justified buying another one of those Snowflake singles club things: white vinyl, original on ‘a’, cover on the ‘b’. You know the drill by now. The original is good. German Christmas synthpop. Say what you like about yer German, but he knows his Christmas and he knows his synthpop. (They might not be German. The singer just sounds it.)

The cover is the Slah-day classic whose title I never know. (It’s Merry Xmas Everybody, for future reference) and it’s an excellent reading. Vocoder, analogue synths, bit of phaser. Talk among yourselves, I’m going to get myself a Baileys.

4

Baileysed up to the eyeballs, I have absolutely no idea what this is. I don’t remember buying it, and it’s probably one of those freebies people chuck in with an order, sometimes as a package stiffener.

Topically-named The Epidemic scrape a vocoder across some clicky electronica, and it’s perfectly pleasant. Reminds me of King Wasp in the way a koala might remind you of a grizzly bear. Then they do a song called I Just Called to Say I Love You, which is pretty much someone mashing their hand on a touchtone phone over a drum machine.

Rameses III (presumably no relation) does a folkish singer-songwritery thing with a bit of squiggly electronics.

3

I was mad for this stuff back in the day. I don’t know how I haven’t already got it, but times were different then. You had to actually happen across something in a shop, and probably not that many of the 500 copies of this made it to England. The front cover looks like people polishing a telescope mirror, and the vinyl is a beautiful clear carmine.

Miss Bliss do dreamy psych-pop in the sunshine. Flowchart stop sounding like Stereolab just long enough to sound exactly like Füxa. Again, I kid. Flowchart were great, and severely underrated, primarily because lazy people enjoyed pointing out how they sounded like other people.

Moog Monday, according to the inserts, are just Füxa and friends. You’d never know. I’m joking of course. You totally know.

Finally, we get the real-deal, classic line-up Füxa, doing the Füxa song which is a repeating motif over some basic percussion. This is my preferred Füxa song, though I also like the one which is a bleep noise and a hoover.

3

I love records like this. Everything looks like it’s been photocopied onto thin card, and cut with a Rotatrim. Using a Rotatrim is one of life’s simple pleasures. I have one of the really big ones. Wherever we put it, it’s always in the way, and I use it every few years, but I won’t get rid of it. You’re always welcome to use it on paper, but if I catch you putting thick cardboard in it, I will cut you, you toilet.

One of the many inserts is a list of radio stations who played the label’s records. We never had the college radio stations here, of course. We had to make do with Radio 1, but there was always plenty of interesting stuff there in the evening. Far more than simply the Late Great(ly Overrated) John Peel. I used to tape his show and play it in the car on the way to work, and the vast majority of it was just shit. I’m always skeptical of anyone on telly spouting off about how John Peel’s show was their “lifeline” or some such nonsense. I’d like to see their Spotify data. If it’s all Second Phase, Submarine, and Orlando Julius, I’ll let them off. But it won’t be, will it? They’ll just know that one Undertones song.

Windy and Carl are, as always, beautiful, fragile, and magical. Hopewell are pretty dull and a bit earnest.

3

I don’t know if there was a Volume I, but if there was, I’ve probably got it. Magnétophone play chords over a drum machine in way that’s far more interesting than that makes it sound. The Groceries start off faux-eastern, with a sitar, then go a bit Terry Reilly, and it’s all lopsidedly pleasing.

On the other side, Salomé do fuzzed up echoey guitar, simple bass, and distant vocals which all sound like they’re from different songs, but which still all bind together beautifully. Then Our Glassie Azoth – whatever one of those is – go pretty abstract.

Following on the radio discussion earlier, the front cover is a dial from an old radio. All your favourite stations are there: Luxembourg, Brussels, Welsh Hilvers, the lot.

3

An insert explains that we may have problems with the Scarper! track. “Hopefully it’s just my turntable”. Well, let’s see how this big chrome bastard gets on. If this can’t track it, and you don’t have something powered by compressed air, forget it.

It’s late, and it’s horribly sticky and hot. I’m going to run through these quickly and probably fatuously.

  • Mister Jolly – didn’t do a lot for me. Bad fadeout. (Has there ever been a good one? Maybe Glider.)
  • Ennui – sing The Boy Who’s Penis Grew a Fingernail. (Their apostrophe placing.) Wasn’t there a band called Dicknail? Anyway, it’s a Tom Waitsish story about titular boy.
  • Vanilla Pod – poppish punk, like Mister Jolly, even down to the bad fade out.
  • The Pitkins – whimsical boy-girl break-up duet with fiddle. Excellent. Not to be confused with Pipkins.
  • Scarper! – terrible name, great song: I even liked the trumpet. And the Benz tracked it perfectly. See, you do get what you pay for.
  • Egg – fuzzed up and punky, clipping and crashing. The two on the other side would have been better if they’d been as filthy as this.

I like the optimistic leading zeroes in the title. Doubt they were all required though.

3

On Box Bedroom Rebels, so shall we just do the “5” now?

Stomp Talk Modstone are Japanese, and do that stereotypically Japanese thing of doing something that already exists really, really well. In this case they’re doing that shoegaze thing, but they’re doing it with a positivity that slightly lifts me. Their noise is fine-grained, smooth, soft, like a first-class bubble bath. I once got put in a suite in the Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona. I had a butler, and for something like 200 euros, she would run me a bath. I didn’t have one. I couldn’t afford it.

Everything here is good, but Only Illusion is so good it’s stupid. Hurt sounds a lot like the second song on m b v, and that’s absolutely fine. I haven’t done the download yet, but there are apparently more songs than the five on the record.

Sleeve art is great; and the booklet is excellent. Washed-out black-and-white photos of Japanese weddings, all faces elided. Two postcards, one matching the booklet art, the other telling us that BBR are “brewing up with haters’ tears”. Who could hate anything this label puts out?

I think this is the best BBR in, well, I don’t know. Could be “in ages”, could be “since the last one”. Completely, utterly, absolutely

5