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Careless Demos Cost Lives: #2

Hookers Green No.1, CDR

An odd name. Sounds like the address of the village brothel. (“Turn left in front of the duck pond, that’s Hookers Green. Number one. Open all hours.”) Peaches could do a lot with a name like Hookers Green No. 1. But her (metaphorically) balls-out electro aggro is a long, long way from the swirling songish atmospherics of these three tracks. There Is An Equilibrium is the star turn, blending the theme from Quincy with jazz parpings and a bit of Frank Sinatra. HG#1 is an odd name. HG#1 sound like they should be on Pickled Egg.

Blanket CDR

You could really get wrapped up in this, this fragile acoustic guitar and the (mostly) female vocals. There’s a pop heart in these few songs, but it never gets in the way of the natural flow.

We Can Build You, Comprehensive Details of Everything CDR

I like this because one of the band’s dad designed the back cover. Nice job, Dad. Clean lines do it for me too. Shame you had so much text to fit on there. But they did call the demo Comprehensive Details of Everything, so you can’t say you weren’t warned.

You might’ve gathered that the music’s not quite there. And you’d be right. But it could be. PJ Harvey and The Pixies, the band say. They should try listening to some Babes in Toyland and Hole and perhaps Slits and record the next demo in a shed while pissed and angry. Then maybe it’ll sound the way they want it to.

The German Exchange, Onward CDR

Sometimes I wish I was Kevin Rowland (too.) Sometimes I want to be in an indie disco circa 1986 (again.) Sometimes I’d listen to The German Exchange and think it really was onward. But most days I’d say backwards.

Immi Wood, Margaret/ Oh Bud Come Back/ Dreams Smashed all CDR

Immi Wood delivered a dreambomb a couple of months ago. Margaret arrived with no information save an address in the US and I played it non-stop for about a week, revelling in the fact that Brian Wilson had joined the Velvet Underground and I was the only one who knew. I sent a paper copy of Robots ( to get yours) to the address hoping Brian would send some more music, expecting that if any ever arrived it would be crap. (Disillusionment is a daily hazard in this job.) Brian turned out to be Cris and the address disappeared from subsequent CD cases, but the music continues to be weirdly brilliant. Apart from the words (“It get me high, it make me fly, to the land of ganja trees”) Oh Bud Come Back is Playschool cod-reggae fronted by Brian Cant after he’s had a few. Dreams Smashed mellows out further as Cris sings through a long bendy tube and strums on his acoustic guitar and a bluesy piano break takes the middle 8.

Scramble, My Apprentice CDR

Talking about weirdly brilliant, Scramble’s new one is weirdly brilliant disconnected dubbed-out disco. You can’t dance to this. Unless you dance like a weak old lady trying to wrestle stringy chewing gum off the bottom of her shoes on a very hot day. You can’t dance to this. Until about half-way though when they flick the switch from 33 to 45 and the dub bass turns into drum’n’bass and the old lady’s pacemaker malfunctions spectacularly. At the point where she’s just about ready to drop a calm descends and My Apprentice turns into an extended effect from Blake’s Seven – probably involving one spaceship dissolving another with some kind of wobbly vector ray (but no old ladies.) 96 Dorset Street, Bolton, Lancashire, BL2 1HR

Conformist, Paid To Fake It CDR

Steinski and Mass Media pretty much did the definitive deed way back in the day. We’ll Be Right Back was a masterpiece of sample stitchery, beats and words – like Paul and Stevie – in perfect harmony. Sure, Conformist’s not trying to be Steinski. His beats are never as chirpy (which is no criticism) but the scraps of film dialogue, crammed like sardines into the cracks in the tracks, never quite hang together either. Which is a shame because Computer Generated has an excellent sludge groove.

mRGandRich CDR

mRGandRich are also known as Skinflowers. As such they’ve just self-released a retrosplendid album packaged like a Transformer and decked out in black and white old-school vector graphics. The two tracks on this demo under the new name are packaged like a blank CDR and decked out with a black and white blurry picture of two bald blokes. Something seems to have gone wrong in the design department. Nothing’s gone wrong in the music department. They still (won’t thank me for saying that they) sound like Radiohead going round The Bends, but it’s meant as a compliment. These songs are big, and full of bile, and ideas, and dreams. 18 Fernhill Close, Kidlington, Oxford OX5 1BB

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