singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
14 August 2022
listening through speakersAvid Acutus
Benz Micro LP-S
Linn Klimax DS (Renew)
TEAD Mastergroove Mk 2
TEAD Vibe Phoenix / Pulse 2
TEAD Linear A mk 2
TEAD Model One
12" single

Something on Domino from 1996. Still has the £4.99 sticker on it. What’s a 12” these days? Three times that? Four? “They” have just reissued that semi-listenable Delia Derbyshire single from a few years ago, on 7”, and it’s £22. Twenty. Two. Quid. For a seven-inch that didn’t even incur any recording expense. Records, for the most part, have gone way beyond a functional way of distributing a sound wave. I think that might be why I’ve started selling them. I guess through the ’90s, I liked the counter-cultural element. Now, just like everything else, vinyl is a tool from which to extract the maximum capital for the minimum effort, and buying records makes me accessory to the fact.

Ganger are kind of Tortoisey. That was all the range back in ‘96. That and mad cow disease and football coming home. It sounds great, and when the low-pitched drone came in near the end of side 1 I thought it was some kind of big vehicle outside the house. (You may not get the same sensation playing it through your phone off YouTube.)

It was all going so well, then side 2 kicked off with some squealing sax. There are two things which, for me, ruin anything they touch: the saxophone, and cumin. You can give me the best piece of music in the world, something I love absolutely, put a bit of honking saxophone on, and that’s it: it’s all I can hear, and I hate it. Or put a pinch of cumin in the best chilli, and it just tastes of cumin. Horrrrible. I hate it. I hate them both. You know, this might not even be a saxophone. It’s something reedy though. I’m not sure. There are all sorts of different saxophones aren’t there? It’s a shame, because otherwise this is pretty good. They can’t half play.

After an abnormally long gap, the final track is a Third Eye Foundation remix. Ah, it’s a clarinet. I can tell now. Third Eye Foundation take something broadly similar to what we’ve heard so far, add a drum machine, and make it sound like it’s being played back through a ’70s car radio.

After a promising first song, this is on its bike.

12" single

I, of course, love the idea of Mudhoney. They were super-cool and smart and funny, and who doesn’t love Mark Arm? But musically, they leave me cold, and that’s what’s happening here. I like the sleeve though. They’re all covered in mud. Geddit?

12" single

Mark Arm would hate this. Twee british indie shit. It’s great.


“Saturdays”, eh? Sleeping off Friday’s night out. Going to the football, and Sports Report in the car home. Mollie, Rochelle, Una, Frankie, Vanessa. What do Saturdays mean to you? Tell me in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe.

We’ve got one of those not-for-playing-at-home things here, with three versions of the same song. “Disco edit” and two “rmx”s.

Disco Edit is okay, but would have been better without the singing. Kingroc (whatever that is) does a storming job with it. Something calling itself Headman does the next “rmx” and even if it does go on a bit long it has some pleasing cowbell and square-wave bleeps. There’s another song tagged on the end, and it’s the future and it’s the past, and it’s good.

I didn’t think I’d like this, and I did. There’s probably some kind of lesson there, but who’s got time for lessons (or admitting they were wrong) these days?

Back on the shelf it goes, between Curve and Ivor Cutler.

12" single

Sounded probably too fast at 45, but sounded definitely too slow at 33. Mostly it’s a guitar, a tambourine, and a LOT of reverb, and it’s enough. There’s a great deal of nonsense talked and written about “authenticity”. No one can define what it is, but you know it when you hear it, and I hear it here.

The sleeve art is perfect too: multiple exposures, washed-out colours, off-centre framing, just like the sound.

12" album sampler

Bring it Down and Panic On are two terrific records. Here are four songs from the latter, perfectly illustrating the sickness of record collecting. Because why would you exchange money for another record of some of the songs on a record you already have? Especially when said other record doesn’t even have any artwork, and is a slightly scratched.

12" single

We’ve done the September/name/coincidence thing before, so we can move straight on to the band. Like Madder Rose, languid, NYC, female-fronted, and totally underrated. They were sort of the pop version of Bowery Electric.

Though laptops and DAWs have undoubtedly made home-production infinitely better, they’ve also kind of made it worse. Everyone seems too bound up in the technology, and the stuff it can do for you, and the infinite possibility. I love listening to 80s 12” mixes, and knowing that someone had to cut and loop tape to make it. The inherent technical difficulty somehow adds value. It’s like seeing a film where they really raced the cars or climbed the building or blew up the helicopter. Now everything’s CG, nothing’s impressive. It’s incredibly good but it’s so ubiquitous we take it entirely for granted, and it doesn’t thrill us or surprise us.

12" single

More of the same, but with samples. Holland Tunnel samples a Speak ‘n’ Spell, something so lazy and cliched that I’ve done it myself. Teddy Breakbeat samples Disney or something. I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t dare.

I always wanted a sampler so much, then when I got one, I didn’t know what to do with it. I don’t mean I didn’t know how to use it, that’s easy, I mean I didn’t have any ideas that involved sampling. I still don’t, but I still like the idea.

The ‘b’ has the “Karaoke mix” of Holland Tunnel which is, of course, an absolute karaoke staple. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a middle-aged drunk grab the mic and murder Holland Tunnel. You pretty much expect it, don’t you? Don’t Stop Me Now, Valerie, Holland Tunnel. Always with the Holland Tunnel. To complete the set, Sonic Creature has loads of sampling and no singing. It must have been the singer’s night off.