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Careless Demos Cost Lives: #9

Minor Planets, Swallows and Amazons CDR

It’s not a great day for me when the first demo out of the box is coupled with a letter that begins "apparently we sound like Dubstar, Morcheeba, Zero 7 etc." Nothing improves when it concludes that the band is "quite commercial." I’m an optimist at heart (OK, that’s a lie, I’m a cynic who can’t escape the feeling that if I don’t listen to absolutely everything that falls through the letterbox I’ll miss something great) so I listened to it anyway. Apart from a reasonably groovy version of the Knight Rider theme ("just for fun") the band’s self-assessment is spot on. And so I turn to the next packet.

Scramble CDR

I know it’s going to be a great day when the second demo out of the box is coupled with a letter that reads "Helo, I am from a band called Scramble. Enclosed is a demo CD from us. Hats off to you. Andy. Of Scramble." 20 minutes later I’m smiling beatifically at my reflection in the window and wondering how a pulse, a hum, a skitter and a tiny melody can leave me this blissed-out. 96 Dorset Street, Bolton, Lancashire, BL2 1HR

Alpine Low Tape

The first demo. Two film students. No capital letters. Sounds pretty bad? Better than expected. Want my advice? Should try harder. Should play less. Less is more. See Savoy Grand. Three more words. I like it. 67 Chalvington Rd, Chandlers Ford, SO53 3EF

DJ Komikon/Y Crwydryn, Hurt Tape

I always thought S4C’s version of Countdown would be even less of an event than the real thing. Consonant please, Gladys. Consonant please, Gladys. Consonant please, Gladys. Vow.. no, consonant please, Gladys.. DJ Komikon and Y Crwydryn, while probably agreeing that Richard Whitely is a fanny, would happily shove this causal jingoism back down my throat with a meaty helping of off-beat minimal clanking, disorientating techno chatter and drone. Why is there so much astonishing experimental music coming out of Wales at the moment? Maybe it’s because they’re working hard at 4.15 every weekday afternoon. PO Box 88, Mold, CH7 4ZQ

The Radiator Experts Tape

If only this was crap. The Radiator, plumbing the depths.. The Radiator Experts, bringing the cistern down from the inside.. The Radiator Experts, a load of ballcocks.. It isn’t crap, but what the hell, I might never get the chance again. Bit of Looper, bit of Belle & Seb, bit of Arab Strap, bit of football commentary, bit too long. They should let it come naturally and not try to faucet. Thenkyewngudnite.

The State of Samuel, The Slick-Johnson Expedition Tape

Call the cops! Crime committed in downtown Cambridge! Careless Talk writer in audio scandal! IT’S! ALL! TRUE! (in this magazine, anyway.) I confess. Guilty as charged. But there are mitigating circumstances, Your Honour. It is the case that this tape has sat on piles, been casually mislaid, languished in various boxes, carrier bags and even a tin and been hidden under a heap of carelessly stacked singles for the best part of 12 months. In my defence, I can only say that, well, tapes piss me off. I’ve lost all patience. I’ve been spoilt by random access technology. I am, ultimately, a product of a society that has forgotten how to wait, has destroyed the link between effort and reward and has replaced graft with gratification. But I’m doing my best to atone for my errors. Look, these demo reviews are the result of hours spent wading through the woolliest bullshit ever to have been burned onto CD and sent through the post. If that’s not repaying my debt to society, I don’t know what is. And I’m making it up to The State of Samuel. Listen to this: The State of Samuel’s grasp of pop music’s primary elements (the hook, the chorus, the vibe) and their refusal to waste any of them, or put anything substandard between them explains why ten tracks are over in as many minutes. The State of Samuel’s grasp of 4-track recording (the vibe, imagination, the vibe) explains why, even though these ten cuts might not be the slickest you’ve ever heard, they’re ten you’ll want to hear again and again. Your appreciation of Elephant Six’s finest pop moments (melody, the vibe) explains why you’ll shortly be emailing this address:

Napalmed Tape

Napalmed Live, side one. Fuck. Waves of aural abuse incessantly crashing on rocks of hard noise. A lull, silent but for the electro torment of a canful of angry insects. Is that a piano? Not for long. Napalmed compilation, side two. Fuck. Waves of aural abuse etc etc Radek Kopel, Lipova 1123, 434 01 MOST, Czech Republic

Moloch CDR

Hey, I saw Stevie Chick on one of those nostalgia telly programmes the other night. He didn’t look quite like I’d imagined him: less a fukken wild, hard, half-cut, leather-clad man of rock; more a rosy, cheerful, clean-cut, sensibly-clad chap. Funny the impression you get down the email wires and through the magazine print isn’t it? Of course, he probably always thought I was a prick and this just confirms it for him, so perhaps it’s just me with the misrepresentation problem. Which brings us to Moloch onto whom I’ve projected a façade three parts Mark E. Smith, one part drunk, one part wonky musician. OK, five parts Mark E Smith. I like to think of him hunkered down over a straining 4-track, gurning his way through another bendily brilliant blast of gristle and then immediately sticking it in the post without mixing. Suburban Orbit, the lead track here, adds some Joy Division overtones but otherwise sticks to the winning formula. PO Box 1229, Springfield, TN 37172, USA

Archie Bronson Outfit CDR

Archie Bronson, if this picture is to be believed, are five blokes. At least one of them is dead. The other four don’t look in the best of health. Or spirits. This much would be obvious even without the picture – listening to Nick Cave can do odd things to your music. Pick of these tunes, Curse Your King, adds a distant Cajun flavour to the brooding anger, slowly screwing itself up into a ball of intensity and V-flicking.

The Reverse CDR

Dead was pop indie thought you. Yoda, no but. Well as kicking , alive just not and. 3 Dynevor Road, London, N16 0DL

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