singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
9 June 2015
listening through speakersAvid Acutus
Linn Klimax DS (Renew)
TEAD Mastergroove
TEAD Vibe 1.5 / Pulse 2
TEAD Linear A
TEAD Model One

Continuing last time’s before and after theme.

BEFORE: I quite like this series, even if the main appeal of it is accumulating all the records, rather than listening to the music they contain. Still, this is an act/band/artist(?) that I generally quite enjoy, so I’m quite looking forward to it. The series looks very nice on the shelf. I have all my series 7” singles together, near to my desk, because I like to bask in their completeness, or torture myself by their incompleteness, depending on my mood.

AFTER: Pretty much what you expect. A more abrasive Magnetic Fields (if you don’t count Distortion). Scrabble high score 409. May not be remarkable, but it’s not bad either, much like the record.


BEFORE: On Static Caravan, a label I like, but have so far not exactly collected. This is healthy, and the behaviour of a normal person. Catalogue number is VAN98, released 2005, so I really, really don’t want to get into trying to get all of them.

AFTER: Starts off like someone tapping milk bottles while a Steve Reich record plays in the background, then gets denser, as warm electronics start to slide in and lock together. Next someone starts dragging a stick against the bars of a musical fence. Very, very nice. B-side is less engaging.

10" single

BEFORE: I’m a sucker for anything with a catalogue number of 001. Maybe someone started a label just to get this record out, which means it must be pretty good, or at least pretty special to them. Or maybe someone has started a label because they always wanted to, and this is the record they’ve chosen, above all others, to launch it. This is their Pristine Christine.

Good artwork, painted, and clearly credited, which is important. (Neil McNally. Cheers. Good job.)

AFTER: No idea what this is. Kind of prog-rock I think, which is totally outside my realm. Good drumming and a filthy guitar sound. It sounds like music made for the people who are making it, which is not a bad thing. At times it’s ’70s rock, then a little bit funky, then noise, then it even sounds a bit like Spinal Tap. Catchy as hell, too. I like it.


BEFORE: World’s gayest sleeve, lovely baby-blue vinyl, and all rather Latin looking. Hopefully some racy electronics, though the fact it’s on Domino suggests I might be disappointed.

AFTER: I was hoping for something much synthier and sleazier. Like Richard X and Peaches molesting a neon donkey in white T-shirts under a UV light. In Soho. Instead we get a sort of sub-CSS affair. Excellent oinking pig thing on the b-side though. The b-side is the better song.


BEFORE: When I was on honeymoon in Tokyo, I wanted to go to a restaurant that serves bear. (Not a restaurant which serves bears. I wouldn’t go there.) My wife was not keen. So, rather than eating alone on my honeymoon, I passed up the opportunity. I also didn’t go to see Melt-Banana, who were playing in a small club not too far from where we were staying. That, I regret. Still, we had a lovely honeymoon.

I’m worried this might be novelty, and I’ve no idea why I bought it. I think it was cheap and I was trying to nudge into the free shipping zone.

AFTER: Nice snare drum sound. Nice guitar sound too. I don’t like the words. They’re a bit “wacky”. The sleeve art should have told me to leave this alone. It’s not my kind of sleeve, and it’s not my kind of music. Breasts is better. It’s a bit like when they have a band with guitars on Eurovision. Actually I quite like Breasts, but not Bears. Much as I might say I like breasts but not bears. And yes, I agree, breasts are getting bigger. (On the whole, not each actual pair, obviously.) A 4 and 1 gives us, charitably, a


BEFORE: I think it’s a split anyway. It could be a collaboration, because the label doesn’t refer to either of the acts alone on either side. The dancing man with top-hat and cane on the sleeve remind me of a phenomenally difficult CD I have which came with an issue of Bananafish. That association leads me to think this might be some kind of noise thing. I can’t remember what prompted me to buy it.

AFTER: This is mental. Imagine, if you will, a mix of The Locust, Bastard Noise, a buggy Amiga Octamed module, and a Japanese cartoon panda that sings. The bit at the end nearly perforated my eardrums. I’ll play this the next time I have people round.


BEFORE: Good artwork. Very self-deprecating and funny, and namechecks Strunk and White. No idea what to expect musically, but it’s worth it for the sleeve.

AFTER: The reverb makes it sounds like it’s all happening a long way away. Musically it’s like Buddy Holly started a C86 band, and it’s every bit as good as that sounds. B-side is more downbeat. Time Brought Age, which it does. I want more music by this band. Just going on two songs and a single sleeve, they make me think of New Bad Things. There’s a joyous waste of talent. They’re not taking themselves seriously, but they don’t sound silly, like The British Public did.


BEFORE: Latest outing for Amelia Fletcher MBE and well-old looking Rob Pursey. (Fair enough. He is well old. He’s older than me.) The words are on the inner sleeve, and they look a bit sad.

Alison Wonderland is still doing the photos.

AFTER: I think I would have preferred this if just Amelia Fletcher MBE sang on it. She still sounds the same, and if I had heroes, she would still be one of them. She still pronounces “over” as “ever” and somehow it’s still not irritating. The words are sad and sorry. We’ve all grown old together haven’t we, and though the fun pop of Talulah Gosh and Heavenly was frequently concerned with serious, even dark, matters, this record makes it clear we are not in our 20s any more. And nor should we pretend to be. This is intelligent, honest, reflective writing from astute and articulate artists, but though the music exists primarily to convey the message, there are some catchy little tunes in there to sugar the pill.

The final track is, as has become customary, a ballad dedicated to “he who can’t be mentioned”. It’s heartbreaking.

12" single

BEFORE: I very much liked the record they released on GPS, so I have high hopes for this lovely pink 12” single. (That most underrated of formats).) The sleeve has some pseudo-scientific waffle on it, which I like, and it tells us that the record was mastered by Sonic Boom. It also thanks Chris Lowe. I have no idea if that’s the Chris Lowe, but I hope so. It’s probably not an uncommon name. Looking forward to this one.

AFTER: Papa got a brand new arpeggiator. Noisy, indulgent electronics, dragging in influences from right across the last thirty years. It’s a potent mix in my current, slightly drunk, unbelievably tired, possibly ill condition. Their name doesn’t suit them. I think I’ve said that before, but it doesn’t.

10" single

BEFORE: No idea what this is a 10” by a band I’ve never heard of on a label I’ve never heard of.

AFTER: Classy, clever, summery, slightly psych-ey pop music. In places it reminds me a little of mid-period of Montreal. Enjoyable without being enormously memorable.