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Careless Demos Cost Lives: #8

De Stijl, Let’s Go Out CDR

You’ve never heard De Stijl. (You will.) You’ve never even heard of De Stijl. (They’re Swedish.) But you know them. (Yes, you do.) You know them because you know rock’n’roll and they know rock’n’roll and they know you know rock’n’roll. (Tricky, eh?) That’s why this bleached-out picture of the four of them in matching outfits – black drainpipes, black cardigan with white shoulder details and thin vertical red stripe – matching guitars and a single snare drum is the way it is. (It’s a code.) That’s why the crunching powerchords, the crisp, raw production and the short songs are the way they are. (They’re the reward.) That’s why you’re already thinking you’ll give them a listen even though you know exactly what you’re going to hear and when you do, you’ll still love it. (That’s just the way it is.)

Thee Transmissions, Shadow of the Mushroom CDR

Thee This, Thee That, Thee Theother. I’ve just looked thee up. It’s an alternative of thou which in turn is an archaic form of you. You Transmissions? Hmm. It’s shorthand, of course: "hey, we’re out there! We’re down with Billy Childish! Some bands just have the one E, but we can go up to two!" If only it was true. Somebody should give Thee Transmissions a few more Es, it might make this mush-mash into the kind of psychedelia they think they’re making.

One Window, Never CDR

I’m as imaginative as the next bloke, but I’m having a hard time conjuring up even a vague idea of what "dirty urban summer beatpop" could possibly sound like. The CD that comes with the description doesn’t help much. Dirty? I’ve had dirtier weekends at the Dettol health farm run by eunuchs. Urban? You won’t find the hustle and bustle of a crowded city here, nor the grime of mass transit, nor the edginess and danger of the run-down estate. Summer? I could be persuaded on this one, but it’s not exactly The Beach Boys hanging ten. Beatpop? No moptops, although track 2, Battles, is almost an anagram of Beatles. It does have an anodyne formulaic quality though. So what have we got? Clean suburban pop-lite for an indiscriminate season. I’ll pass.

Contak CDR

It’s easy to say floatation tank. So I will: floatation tank. It’s also easy to sound like you know what you’re talking about. So I’ll just add that I’ve never been in a floatation tank. For the benefit of anyone reading this who has been in a floatation tank and knows what the music they play in them sounds like, and for those who’ve never been in a floatation tank and don’t know what the music they play in the sounds like (and other permutations of the above) I’ll mention that Push is a metronome that only tocks beneath the sound of distant electro interference with long-wave radio transmissions fading in and out.

Bugfly, Someone Else CDR

"Bugfly are a London based female fronted band in their early 20’s." Brilliant, catch my attention by making the band the same as about a million others. The press release might as well just say they sound like an amalgam of any three records you might hear on the Evening Session and Sleeper. Of course it doesn’t. But I will.

Stars of Aviation, Carol CDR

The Stars of Aviation are a just a handful of letters and one hit single away from outdoing the Carpenters. Why? Well, the full title is Stars of Aviation Are Singing About The Summer, But Is It Going To Be Sunny, Carol? The longest-ever title of a hit single was Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognised Anthem of World Contact Day) by The Carpenters. (I say was because my Guinness Book of Hit Singles is from 1995 and there’s probably been a TV cash cow thrusting a troop of Tommy Cooper impersonators into the charts with I Went To The Doctor And Said Doctor When I Do This It Hurts And He Said – And You’ll Like This – Well Don’t Do It Then since.) But the Stars are not The Carpenters, although in my perfect world this would be a hit single. Carol sounds like Grandaddy used to, only British, and inspired by June and poetry, not dunes and peyote. It is gorgeous.

Bouvier, Three Songs CDR

It is nineteenseventye-dye. You are sitting in a cow-filled field in the middle of nowhere, gazing blankly at a stage set up on the back of a flat-bed truck while a bunch of hairy wankers in horrendous shirts drool over each other’s major Aeolians. You are beginning to think that a key of hash isn’t going to be enough and you might have to start smoking your plimsolls. An hour and three-quarters of a shoe later, thank Christ, The Zany And Incredibly Zany Jug Band Extravaganzany stop. Even the cows look relieved. Wow, this sole is good stuff, you could swear that Friesian is eyeing you up. What? Oh another band. You squint at the hand-painted sign in the distance. Bouvier. You take another toke on the pump. Wow, this band is good stuff. Is she really singing "how can you treat me like a pig in a blanket?" She is, and did she follow it up with "sometimes you treat me like I’m just a psycho" while veering between sweet, sweet folk music and splenetic rocking out? She did and then she lashed out "I’m not taking any more shit from you!" This is a wonderful noise. You haven’t heard anything this good since David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name album. You hope this isn’t hallucination at the onset of rubber poisoning. It isn’t. (Although you do later get off with the cow.)

Super Yob CDR

The Super Yob, for those of you too young, or too old, to remember was Dave Hill of Slade. A stack-heeled, silver-clad, guitar-toting Colossus, the Super Yob was unsubtle, route-one, in-yer-face, straight-to-the-point, unsophisticated, you-know-what-you’re-getting good times. And this Super Yob are the same. Stomping beats and shoutalong punka choruses seemingly sung with a twinkle in his eye by Frank Butcher. Brilliant.

Skintrade CDR

The biography is interesting: "Although four strings short, Andy is perfectly able to make up for them in height." It’s a nice idea, but the logical conclusion is that a band of giants wouldn’t need any instruments. How tall were the Flying Pickets again? Skintrade’s stock in trade is interesting: a Mandolin, Djembe and voice combination intended to fall "somewhere between Cocteau Twins and Afro-Celt Sound System." It’s a nice idea, but at the moment it sounds like a half-finished attempt to recreate The Mission’s worst moments.

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