Tuesday, 27 April 2010



This was the final record I bought at Record Store Day, which was being pushed with the premise of being a Mogwai remix. To be buying such a seven inch for £5.99 featuring two acts that I haven’t had any interest in for years. This purchase truly represents the meltdown felt from the frenzy of Record Store Day.

Over the past year I have been watching Ash valiantly shit out regular seven inch singles attached to letters but never once have I been inspired, motivated or compelled to actually buying one of them. Today things have reached letter N (number 14) so I guess by now it is probably too late to begin my collection if I should desire so.

And I don’t. “Dare To Dream” is something of a mess. A mess with sprinkles. Even now after both acts have had their best days Ash and Mogwai make for awkward and uncomfortable bedfellows and on this release it only appears to etch out the worst elements in each band as Tim Wheeler’s silly vocals emerge very camp against a dragged out and doggy Mogwai aural drawl. In a way it sounds like Joy Division mutating into early New Order as they discover drum machines but from another perspective there is a sense of languid betrayal in how it also sounds something of a sonic abortion.

The release is a one sided affair with an etched b-side that looks relatively aesthetically pleasing. It’s all relative.

Thesaurus moment: hill.


Monday, 26 April 2010



This is a confusing release on many many levels. Firstly I experience “the Peel” in not knowing whether I am playing the seven inch at the correct speed or not. When the vocals appear on what I believe to be “David Comes To Life” I would seem that I am indeed playing the record at the wrong speed. My confusion from what the actual track is stems from the fact that the single has the b-side label on both sides of the record. Was this a mean track done playfully on purpose?

The biggest confusion for me however arises due to the fact that I just don’t get Fucked Up. I sincerely want to love them and indulge but when the record comes up to plate and faces an open goal somehow it just spoons the effort beyond the grave.

Starting again now at the correct speed the store opens up with “Magic Word” which is a mesmerising shuffle that sounds almost skiffle and strangely Ice Cream For Crow all at the same time. I think this is something Charlie Hodge would recommend to Elvis during a drinking session. Wha’ happened? Isn’t this supposed to be the current pinnacle of punk?

Listening to “David Comes To Life” at the correct speed is a far more enjoyable experience than listening to it at the wrong. Go figure, I’m an idiot. The vocals sound discerningly dub as the guitar loops all surrounding parties in unnecessary fashion.

“Crooked Head” is the track most recognisable as Fucked Up with Pink Eyes trademark artistic expression being best represented with a backbeat that feels as if it is working against him rather than with him. As with much of their material it makes for an uncomfortable sync, one that does not do as much justice to the other as should be.

Coming with a useful Fucked Up 7” list insert, this release is culled from a session at Daytrotter Studios in November 2008 and is the Fucked Up contribution to Record Store Day 2010 on many levels.

Thesaurus moment: balk.

Fucked Up

Sunday, 25 April 2010



With Beck still in tow this is a Sunset Sound Session single released to coincide with Record Store Day 2010 of two tracks culled from said session recorded for KCRW radio in Los Angeles.

“Heaven Can Wait” is a plonking ditty that brings to mind rural green California in the late sixties just as the dream is dying and all the idealists are frantically clinging onto their dreams. In other words it is a summery sounding affair with an explicit spring in its step.

Charlotte Gainsbourg possesses a genuinely unique vocal style. By unique I mean that she often sounds male, perhaps this is the result of too much Lemon Incest (although equally this could just be the influence of Hansen). Regardless it means that her act/spiel/shtick is full of quirk and character which serves to enable her to appeal to an uncomfortable audience.

The Beck input as composer and lyricist is tangible as a bendy narrative is churned out, one that possesses the devil may care attitude of a person that no longer need worry about the world.

Roaming onto the other side things sound/become very mechanic and minimal with the frenetic rush of “IRM” that almost rides into Stereolab territory screaming of a person desperately trying to be kooky and different while running the music equivalent of an egg and spoon race.

Its all breezy and disposable stuff, material that could equally be at the beach or in the sewer come a few months time.

Thesaurus moment: spring.

Charlotte Gainsbourg

Saturday, 24 April 2010



I once saw Foals play live at Latitude Festival and unfortunately it was one of the most feeble sets I have ever witnessed from a band with such clout being pumped into and put behind them.

Its not all hate from me honestly I have genuinely liked a number of their singles but sometimes you just have to shrug and concede “I don’t get it.” I remember when I worked at the studio and how the A&R (A&E) lady was raving about in the context of all this nu-rave gimmick stuff. At this point I genuinely thought there was more to them. Then Sub Pop signed them in the US so surely there must be something there to grab hold of. So with nice looking artwork on Record Store Day as all the limited edition releases I actually want have gone to pushier individuals than myself here is me giving them another chance.

On that note I’ll be fucked if I know what they are doing on this single. For starters it is so fucking quiet and subdued. Why is this? What point are they trying to make? Is this them sounding mature? Sounding as if operating on a knife edge? Am I playing the record at the wrong speed again? (no to that last one).

So well done, once again the kids have been let down by a band claiming so much and delivering so little. How the fuck can Warners be justified in supporting this? Why are they wasting the earth’s resources on such dross?

Eventually the song crawls out of its stupor only to resemble some eighties sports television soundtrack. Can the bar be actually lowered any further?

Thesaurus moment: spoon.

Warners Music Ltd

Wednesday, 21 April 2010



For the longest time on Record Store Day 2010 I found myself wandering around with just this seven inch in my hand. Truly people were swarming all over limited edition stuff in the style of Sex And The City wannabes at a Next sale. For a moment I felt panic, I wanted out of the record shop but there was no escape. So instead I found myself just standing in a corner breathing heavily hoping to bide my time until the real goodies hidden behind the counter were to be unveiled for the patient mannered types such as myself. It didn’t happen. As I saw somebody carry off their vinyl version of the Sonic Youth Starbucks compilation for the eleventh time I knew my She & Him seven inch would not be alone in order to maintain cred as I approached the counter. From here when I finally approached the checkout with my pile of potentially mediocre vinyl, including my £6 She & Him seven inch, my pain was justified as the man smiling behind the till handed me a cloth tote bag that came exclusively with this release. Had my pain in one foul swoop suddenly been justified? I had only been in the store almost two hours by this point. Was it worth it? For £41.42 I got my record store rush.

I just dropped this record. Literally and physically, I haven’t even got around to listening to it and the corner of the spine is now already bent. The value has just gone from mint to just very good. Suddenly it doesn’t feel worth it.

She & Him feel like flavour of the month right now, which is not necessarily a band thing because Zooey Deschanel has a high level of cred right from back when she was a scene stealer in The Good Girl. That said actresses taking up indie rock has something of jaded history (Juliette Lewis and Scarlett Johansson a dubious list begins with you).

In a sad way Deschanel’s efforts remind me a bit of Reese Witherspoon in Walk The Line and as such make them DOA. In John Peel style I begin listening to the seven inch at the wrong speed (listening to it after the Factory limited edition ten inch I also got at Record Store Day). Dare I even suggest that it may sound better at such a speed (I’m down with the kids and their chopped and screwed).

I was given to believe that this would be a full on country assault but instead it is a far more sprightly affair. Her voice reminds me a lot of Tanya Donnelly, Shannon Wright and Sarah Shannon from Velocity Girl (all fantastic vocalists) but strangely the most striking aspect that grabs me is the piano line courtesy of M Ward that reminds me of the “Self Preservation Society” theme song from The Italian Job and thus it all comes full circle and the selection never escapes Hollywood.

Thesaurus moment: wrap.

She & Him

Monday, 19 April 2010



Life is all about small victories.  While the big wins remains out of reach of mere mortals, time can be well spent stopping to smell the flowers and realising those times/moments when things go right, when effort pays off and when fortune smiles on our efforts and actions.  Music holds many small victories.  The play of your favourite song on the radio, coming across a lost record in the racks or basically sharing something wonderful with an acquaintance.  Everything has a soundtrack, even pinfalls in professional wrestling.

My fondest memory attached to “A Small Victory” is actually pinned to the wartime artwork and the fact that seeing a large fly poster of it plastered to a wall in Bloomsbury presented London to me as being a different world.  It suggested the band as being more a majority concern than the handful of use that rocked the record in coastal Essex.  I was so happy that day.  It was a few weeks before my birthday and after my parents had gone on holiday leaving me behind to baby-sit the dog for a week, seemingly out of guilt dad took me to London to attend a copy fair in Bloomsbury one summer Sunday.  Things felt that they were trending upwards.  I was wrong.

“A Small Victory” is a great accompaniment and antidote to “Midlife Crisis”.  On the surface it is an upbeat, optimistic song as it opens with oriental strains by Roddy Bottum which serve to conjure wonder.  However there is quite the darkness attached to it as a military/war motif remains.  Mike Patton has said that it is about his father who was a coach and wanted to win all the time.  Its about competition and the reality that you cannot always win and small victories should be appreciated and valued.  By the time the song reaches the chorus he is unleashing a mantra about not letting it bother him but conceding that it does.  In essence this is a man having a conversation with himself, waging an internal battle.  It’s a sexy scene.

Originally I bought this on cassette single but later purchased it again on CD single at a record fair because I needed the b-side “Let’s Lynch The Landlord”.  At the time I didn’t even realise that this was a Dead Kennedys cover version and certainly did not appreciate how they mutated a west coast punk song into an accordion driven skiffle blast sung in the style of Elvis, I just found myself blown away by the track on its own merits.  To the day this remains probably the best Faith No More b-side they ever made (which itself originally appeared on an Alternative Tentacles compilation of Dead Kennedys cover versions called Virus 100).

Other than that the disc is just an edit and full length version of “A Small Victory” along with album track “Malpractice” (with its Kronos Quartet sample).  I’ll just keep my mouth shut.

A big victory.

Thesaurus moment: conquest.

Sunday, 18 April 2010



Released for Record Store Day 2010 this ten inch sampler features four tracks from the strongest arms in the Factory Records legacy. As ever with most Factory releases the packaging looks amazing, minimal but stark and tastefully done as in some respect/degree this release just represents the latest plundering of the Factory back catalogue.

After visiting Manchester earlier this year I now find myself with something of a larger appreciation for the place and the music that came from within it. Indeed it was watching 24 Hour Party People almost ten years ago now that snapped me with a moment of clarity that read “this is how a record label should be” and within a few weeks I had jacked in my own label Gringo Records.

Back on vinyl this music sounds better than ever. Despite the best efforts of Peter Hook to undermine their legacy a song such as “Transmission” will always represent the pinnacle of British independent music. The playing is frenetic, the intentions and message are just terrifying as it represents all things that were right with a genre that was supposed to be about disenfranchised individuals. This was the band performing at their peak.

“Ceremony” by New Order follows still enabling the dark elements of the band that they used to be. In comparison to Curtis the vocals of Sumner sound robotic by design, required to be startling and cold by necessity. In order to keep up business as usual it all had to be aloof.

Turning over The Durutti Column selection “Sketch For Summer” is a tweeting bird affair creating a casual roam for the listener as the label’s mentally challenged older brother act takes a stroll around the recesses of their own mind. It’s a window.

Smartly the Happy Mondays selection is the club mix of “Hallelujah” which serves to remind the listener that the band was not necessarily always the cartoon drug addled idiots that they resemble these days as they take their touring circus act around the globe doing the festival circuit cheapening their act with each blow. Received from its natural home on vinyl “Hallelujah” is such a sickly smooth piece of work with the best kind of grooving bassline offering the recipient the best in both worlds of beats and guitars. This still probably sounds magnificent in a club today, this has genuinely aged majestically. Well done chaps.

I’d take the exploits of Tony Wilson over Malcolm McLaren any day of the week. He was only a pretend prat.

I love ten inches.

Thesaurus moment: tool.

Joy Division
New Order
The Durutti Column
Happy Mondays
Factory Records

Wednesday, 14 April 2010



A TagCloud is a visual representation for text data.  In this example it is a sonic endeavour that hangs as the result of supposedly naïve experiments that involve manipulation of found sounds and field recordings.  This is music in a most natural form, one that serves to explain and expound the author’s surroundings in a tactical fashion.

The TagCloud version of the LDWR EP is one of the most dragged out and quiet contributions of the project.  There is no rush here and not necessarily any dynamic either.  It’s all about atmosphere and establishing a scene, a mood to contrast existence against.  Subtly it fills the room.  And not necessarily with light.

This work originates from Washington D.C. (the second version of the project after BLK w/BEAR to come from the city).  It is a place I imagine to be suffocating, that despite housing some of the most important people on the planet, there is shocking degradation in its motion.  And with such a mentality, for me this is how these tracks work.

Impressively track two finds itself stretched to over eleven minutes sounding like some ethereal orchestra on a journey to a higher plain making it one of the most expansive issues of the project.

This afternoon my mother overheard me listening to this release and asked “am I in mourning?” I guess representing the bleak tone in its execution.  In its explanation, it has its uses.

Thesaurus moment: barren.

Saturday, 10 April 2010



Opening with a sense of urgency that sounds akin to a ticking time bomb, the latest offering from the Tindersticks is a wider selection of sounds than their previous album “The Hungry Saw” and for it the band appears to have taken on a new kind of persona and objective.  Whether this progression has worked its way into the actual songwriting remains open to debate but from the off it is evident that something is up, something has happened.

Emerging victorious from some kind of resurgence in recent years their influence feels wider than ever as the measured sound of Tindersticks offers a kind of indie decadence that feels somewhat more permissible in this age.  Maybe this the result of an audience maturing or perhaps just the positive affect of an industry look back to a time more tangible and analogue.

There is immediately a Lalo Schifrin feeling to proceedings as via the title track a new kind of looseness prevails as an expansive loungey sound prevails.  This dramatic and mysterious stuff, in a world where Stuart Staples appears to be harbouring a secret and a confession looks destined to follow albeit with something of a struggle.  This is sex music.  I have had a friend confide in me how he used to shag to the Tindersticks music and now it would seem that person (the receiver) is somewhat sexually damaged as result.  Where there is blame, there is a claim.

The songs on show range from the exciting to the tender but as the album reaches the fourth song it draws a real clunker as “Peanuts” plays out teasingly in the most stupid of fashion.  Yes the word “peanuts” is easily substituted for the word “penis”, it does not take a four and a half minute song to demonstrate and demonise this.  So horribly cheese, much like Staples’ cock I would imagine.

Thankfully of the ten songs on display that the one real disappointment as the lyrics remain explicit but equally amusing in thankfully not so childish a manner.  “Hubbard Hills” sounds like the closing credits music of Withnail & I while “Keep You Beautiful” is earnest in every way that is good and professional.  The single “Black Smoke” offers the biggest hook in an acceptable manner.

Of all the tracks most resolution appears to be found in “No Place So Alone” which seems to go around the houses in desperate fashion before arriving at some kind of accomplished understanding and happy outcome.

From here the remainder of the album cascades into oblivion offering the atmosphere of a beautiful ending (“Piano Music” does exactly what it says on the tin).  These are the closing credits.

Tindersticks are a great band without doubt; they just take up a bit too much time and patience on occasion.

How could something this good emerge out of Nottingham?  It’s a rotten rotten place.

Thesaurus moment: siren.


Monday, 5 April 2010



Despite their garb there is something positively refreshing about The Vermin Poets.  This is an outfit seemingly brought together to produce art in an offensive manner and be suitably derided using the garage rock form.

This four song seven inch EP is the formal introduction of the latest musical outfit of Billy Childish.  For it he has teamed up with Neil Palmer, former singer and guitarist with Fire Dept.  Filling out the foursome are Wolf Howard previously seen in the Buff Medways and Childish’s wife Julie (Ju Ju Claudius) exchanging drum duties.

It begins with something of a mission statement and the track “Vermin Poets”.  If calling cards were a concept with these guys, this would be it.  Not that there’s make any sense.  The words are very self defacing, defeatist and defiant, which is a combination of attitudes and aspirations I am not necessarily convinced is a winning stroke.  At least they use the word sonnet.

In execution there is something very The Who sounding in the work.  As Palmer leads on vocals at times his strains remind of Robert Pollard in safety mode.

The second side of the record opens with an ode to Jim Morrison and “The Doors Of Perception” which feels like a total piss take of the Lizard King.  And rightfully so.

The band appears to be telling some kind of joke, one that is more likely to be on you rather than them.  After all I did pay £6.49 for a seven inch single.

Thesaurus moment: parody.

Saturday, 3 April 2010



This is something of a refreshing throwback to spiky and scratchy lo-fi DIY bands from a few years ago, the ones that pushed forward an idea that my own generation were able to attempt and succeed at in producing on the proviso that there was something more to it than the desire to be a star. For this a sardonic wit always felt essential, necessary with view to confuse and sometimes abuse anyone around looking to be of a discerning nature.

The most obvious reference for a single such as this is Art Brut along with the early boy girl dynamics of the Delgados before they discovered strings and bloated arrangements. In this it is obvious just where the appeal comes from, in the desire and need for the listener to hear nasty yet tuneful guitar music that doesn’t sink and drown in cliché.

Hailing from Cardiff (although without being Welsh) it is strange how so many bands are emerging from Wales at the moment. They are not necessarily all good but it does suggest something about the way boredom is being dealt with in places away from the supposed centre of the universe (London).

“Romance Is Boring” is a great sentiment, one that points at something away from Care Bears and daydreams. As ever I sense I am arriving late to the party with my enjoyment of this band but giving them the benefit of my doubts of try hard this is the kind of fun explosive indie guitar song that sadly feels rare these days.

“Too Many Flesh Suppers” on the flipside is an altogether more angular and confused state of affairs, less directed and suggestive of their appreciation/fondness for Broken Social Scene. To some ears this will sound like a mess but to others it will be gold. Sadly though it is a song that never lives up to its great title.

This won’t help me recapture my youth, nothing will.

Thesaurus moment: bellow.

Los Campesinos!
Wichita Recordings