singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
25 August 2022
listening with headphonesAvid Acutus
Benz Micro LP-S
Linn Klimax DS (Renew)
TEAD Mastergroove Mk 2
TEAD Vibe Phoenix / Pulse 2
Luxman P-1u
Sennheiser HD800
12" split single

Pioneering remote working back in 1997, four bands whose members lived in different parts of America. I don’t know how it worked, they probably did it on a Webex or something. I once worked on a team of seven people, which had members in each of the inhabited continents. It was a pain in the arse. Everything was difficult. Now I just work with people in Tokyo, Arizona, California and Kent, so life is much more straightforward.

I imagine I bought this for The For Carnation, because I would have been right in the middle of my twenty-year Slint phase (which ended after I saw them live, and all the mystique evaporated). At this point Brian was in LA, some dude called Todd Cook was still stuck in Louisville, and Brit was in New York, perhaps working at the “erotic bakery”. He’s just the best drummer and the rest of the music on their song is basically decoration for those drums, which is fair enough.

I assumed The For Carnation came first, because they’re best, but I think they should have been last. Maybe they’ll turn out to be worst. They get a whole side for their slow, long, slightly jazzy noodle, and everyone else has to cram in together on the other side.

F–k are typically languid and cool. Windsor for the Derby have the squeakiest guitar strings ever, and Wino, who I’ve never heard of before, are kind of stoner-post-rock, or maybe post-stoner-rock.

An insert explains that it plays at 33 even though the label clearly says 45. I found this insert way too late, but did at least learn that The For Carnation sound great at both speeds. The sleeve is lovely; soft brown card with silver print, and a kind of Starfleet emblem cut through it. This, apparently, is Volume 3 in a series, but you have to read another insert to know that.

12" single

I don’t know who Microstoria were, but here they’re remixed by Oval on one side and Stereolab on the other, so they must have been in some way significant or interesting.

Oval go first, and their song is just a long, slightly irritating noise. I’m not sure what speed it’s supposed to play at, but I left it at 45 so it would finish sooner. Stereolab’s one is quite nice, but it feels like a five-minute doodle. Almost every copy ever pressed is currently on Discogs, and I can see why.

12" split single

I had to go to Discogs to work out what this was. I think Not Waving are first, and that’s a good song, with a sample that keeps saying “don’t care”.

The problem is, I reckon, not that people not that people don’t care, it’s that we too often care about the wrong things. Like caring about what you think other people will think about your car or something. They don’t care. But even caring about things you should isn’t good. Do you care about climate change? I do, and it just makes me worried all the time, even though I don’t actually care about humanity as a whole. I care about (some) individual people a lot; I care about all the people in the world a bit, but I don’t care about the long-term survival of the species at all. If anything, I’d rather we all died out, but I’d want other things to survive, you know, plants, and little animals and crabs and stuff, so a decent-sized comet or something, not a local supernova. But knowing us we’ll survive, and eff up whatever’s left behind even more. We might be going back to the moon soon, which excites me, but also makes me sad that we can’t leave anything alone. Not even the moon. And as soon as we can we’ll go to other planets, and mess those up too. As the man said, we’re a virus with shoes.

Pye Corner Audio does the Pye Corner Audio thing, so that’s a fantastic bass sound with an arpeggiator over the top. Nice.

I think the other side must be Silent Servant. Nice fast filter envelope on the sequencer, science fiction sounding sample with some delay, some whooshy noise, and a TR something-oh-something. You’ve heard it a million times, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.

12" single

First up Speed Bike with snappily titled Along With the Rest of this Racist System, We Left the Body of Indy Rock on a Plateau for the Vultures to Eat. I’d say “Indie” myself, but the point’s still a good one. There’s a lot of unnecessary badly looped noise, and a general desire to make something that’s difficult and contrary.

Melt-Banana run some vocals though autotune and accompany it mostly with the sound of ball bearings dripping into a lake of mercury in a cave on a moon with a thick sulphur-dioxide atmosphere. With an acoustic guitar. It’s not very Melt-Banana.

Jason Forrest and Donna Summer do a song next. Obviously it’s not that Donna Summer. it’s the other one. You know, like Duran Duran Duran.

I expected this to be far, far noisier than it was. It was alright though.

12" album sampler

A promo for some 4AD retrospective thing, featuring some quintessentially not-very-4AD bands. Shea’s song is pretty decent, but is the sort of thing that would really have been helped by being ninety seconds long. They rocked,though. Give them that. I remembered Air Miami as electronic, but here they sound like Black Flag or something, and with the vocals literally phoned in. (Or at least put through a four-grand box that makes you sound like you’re on the telephone.)

On the other side, The Amps; most under-rated of Kim Deal projects. The album is ten times better than Pod. The Amps sound like absolute toilet. There is a song in there somewhere; there’s definitely a vocal, and at times you can make out drums, but it’s so insanely overloaded that it’s kind of funny.

Mojave 3 are last, and best. Weren’t they most of Slowdive? They sound lovely, and sad. I don’t want to feel sad today.

12" split single

Like that Tele:Funken/Flying Saucer Attack thing the other day, two pieces made by artist A sampling the work of artist B. And, in this case, vice-versa.

Like the Sounds of the Geographically Challenged, part three of a three-part series, but I didn’t realise that until today, and I don’t have either of the others.

Like Sounds of the Geographically Challenged, Windsor for the Derby are on one of those others too, which goes to show how narrow my record collection really is. You like to think it’s all diverse, but what you’ve really got is a very deep, very narrow seam, with some outliers.

It never occurred to me until fairly recently, but virtually all the music I have is made by white people. I think this is fine. I am a white person who grew up in a world entirely made up of white people. That’s my culture, and I believe it’s hard to make a deep connection with art that isn’t rooted in the same culture as your self. I think that’s why I don’t “get” music made today: the people making it aren’t the same as me, because they’re from a different generation, and they see everything differently. I can enjoy new stuff, but I can never truly understand it. The question is, should I feel bad because I don’t have many records made by black people, or, as a white person, am I not supposed to consume black culture? I’m pretty sure I could easily find someone on Twitter to support either viewpoint, but I don’t care. I think I’ll just not think about it, and enjoy what I like.

Labradford’s side still sounds pretty much like Stars of the Lid, as does Stars of the Lid’s side. Stars of the Lid are amazing at any time, but they’re best listened to as you fall in and out of sleep, because that makes their world experientially real. It’s hard to describe, but it’s powerful. They’re mind-boggling when you’re in the right frame of mind.

My copy of this looks pristine, but it has terrible surface noise. Stars of the Lid, like classical music, are better on CD. Yeah, I said it.

12" abomination

Lavender Diamond sing a lovely song with lovely voices; The Long Lost try to do the same thing but fail; Animal Collective are a parody of when The Beatles tried to be weird; Devendrita Y Las Cachapas Peludas are the sound of the the single-origin pourover; Dirty Projectors deliver the results of a multi-billion dollar experiment to make the most annoying song ever; Feathers bring Day Trip to Bangor into the 21st century.


I’m giving Lavender Diamond five points, then taking one off for all of the others.


12" split single

I don’t know who’s who here. First song, probably Shift, takes a Roland-heavy, super-80s soundtrack, kind of like a lounge-John Carpenter, and periodically throws gravel and boiling water at it until it temporarily goes all blissed-out, then falls apart. According to Discogs, Shift’s only other appearance was on a compilation called Porno Music for Porno People, so consider yourself privileged.

The label says 33rpm, and the first song sounded right, but the ‘b’ sounds wrong at both speeds. Let’s stick with the label’s instruction, even though we know for a fact they’re not always right. Platzgumer’s song is heavy and sleazy. I imagine it would suit some kind of dark club in Berlin where sex people go.

Con-Tact know how to put a beat together, but aren’t big on scales or keys. I can imagine this in Berlin again, but this time in a bar where they only serve mixed drinks, and getting a round takes fifty minutes, and it’s so loud you can’t talk at all, and everyone else is thin, but the drinks are really good.