Generator, Output EP (Occasional) CDS
Two years in the making, according to the press release. Two years
that could've been better spent deciding to reverse the order of this
4-pack. For a start, don't start with Memory Helmet and its dull and dated
synthorama. Don't follow with the superior but third-best wobbleboard
and tickle placid ambience of Cerebral Sit and definitely push the deserted
beach bathed in winter dawn glow of Legno Lungo nearer the top. And then
only a sucker would place the pick of the pile so perversely: Radix Lecti
drops a straightish break at a medium fast pace, embellishes with the
sound of a robot cat wanting to be let out and tops with bass last heard
as Fast Eddie disappeared down the plughole with the rest of Hip House.
If good things really do come to those who wait I must be in line for
something pretty special one day soon. I don't like to talk about it,
but in these enlightened times perhaps it's not such a big deal. I'll
just whisper it: I've got a wait problem. I always think that if I hang
on a bit longer I'll get the perfect one. A saucepan or a pair of trousers
or a way to fix the back gate or an MP3 player or which Indian restaurant
to go into in a strange town, I am guaranteed to prevaricate. I just know
that as soon as I decide, and put down hard cash, I'll find something
better. And I'm mean.
waited too. Waited for his bands to do something. They didn't. So he went
his own way. Waiting is the one of these three that really hits the spot.
A fuzz lick and a murky stomp of a beat and his words buried below. Simple.
No need to wait:
Dogs Lie, Head First Down The Stairs (Shitvision) CD
Bounces about like a frog yo-yo but that's the charm. Here's three in
a row from the beginning: Try Not To Go Head First Down The Stairs attended
one or two Nevermind 101 classes, but clearly bunked off when memorable
choruses were covered. Not a negative in our book. Mike Fixed My Car follows
hot on its heels. A quirky jerky narration about, yes, a chap called Mike
fixing a car with bonus points for unexpectedly shoehorning the beginnings
of a great big pop chorus into it. Ray Liotta is all latino flash on a
budget with a lovely brass solo.
Gateau, Channel 333 (Studio 45) CD3
Another in the John Cake series. John is now dead and locked in some kind
of hell with a demon who waits til he's asleep "crawls up John's
butt and torments him from the inside. John has to wake up and chant a
mantra until the demon is expelled from his body." Jean Gateau channelled
the transmission from the other side. The absurdist back story and the
DIY fold-out cruciform packaging only add to the edginess of the repetition
played through twisting distortion and processing. As usual, compelling
and puzzling and wondering if he's taking the piss in about equal measure.
If It Ain't Staff It Ain't Worth A Fuck (Homesleep) CD
Hey Sister is worth a fuck Two Fucks, in fact. Geoff and Tim. In the nicest
possible way, Geoff and Tim are two Fucks. Members of Fuck, that is. The
band. They're assisted here by members of Quickspace, the Grifters and
Yuppie Flu - not Fucks, perhaps just Gropes. Hey Sister is where J Mascis
joined Buzzcocks. Even in your imagination that's got to be worth a couple
of fucks. Hell, even the idea of imagining it is worth a quick wank. So
the self-assured title isn't as fucked-up as it might look and when they
follow Hey Sister with another nine slackerfuzzcuts that mostly duck under
the 3-minute mark you're beginning to see their point. Dating Myself is
the story of a wanker with either a large member or a long neck. It's
followed by Metal where an early Sub Pop vibe is straightened out by a
metronomic grind and smothers the simple lyric "I've been laughing
at you. Do you really want it?" Metal? Yes. We Do Weddings rounds
the set off sounding like The Monkees on a slow day. Did I say worth two
fucks? Make that three. No, four.
Philmankind, Ask (Le Parc) CD
Kinks, Beatles, Floyd, Stones. The mid-late 60s in a tin, as seen from
Italy, forty years later. Not essential but I like it.
Great Depression, Prefix EP (Fire) CDS
Not manic, this depression, although the slowly-undulating acoustic guitar
instrumental nature of the best part of tracks like (The Real) Danger
At Make Out Pass makes the brief bipolar switch to frenzy and volume all
the sweeter. Like smoke swirling up out of a wood fire, lazily circling
above, the same but different whenever you look away and back, and then
disturbed and destroyed by a gust of wind. A Blasé Melody adds
strings to the repetitive rotation and dives deeper into fuzz on the breaks.
Thinking of Galaxie 500 and Savoy Grand.
Sad Autumn Roses CDR
Nice to see Filip back after his Bukowski album earlier this year. Sad
Autumn Roses is Sunday night music. Quiet music. Out at a gig. A poorly-attended
gig. A gig where you sit at tables and there's no stage and the band just
pull up chairs and stare at each other second-guessing where they're going
next. Where the double-bass and something wooden and percussive can just
take over half-way through and send the music off somewhere else. Somewhere
Tom Waits would like.
Nightingales, In The Good Old Country Way (Caroline True) CD
The Nightingales passed me by. I can't think why. I was listening to Peel
when he was saying things like "their performances will serve to
confirm their excellence when we are far enough distanced from the 1980s
to look at the period rationally, and other, infinitely better known,
bands stand revealed as charlatans." I knew others on the Vindaloo
roster - Fuzzbox, Ted Chippington - and I was buying records by bands
it's now clear had heard a couple of Nightingales records - step forward
Eat, one of my first loves. Oh yes, and I lived in Birmingham where they
spot like me, or just too young, or maybe too blinkered at the time, or
a fan first time round - 1986 - doesn't matter, you won't want to miss
this reissue. For the old-timers, the thing has been remastered. ("The
album sounded like it had been recorded in a gigantic tin shack without
a bass player" - Peter Byrchmore, guitars.) It sounds thick now.
Dense. Intense. That's a good thing. For the too young, do a web search
on Robert Lloyd. Read what people you respect say about how much they
respect him. For the too blinkered at the time, probably either you've
reached that point in your life where you've stopped buying new records
or you're reached that point in your life where you're so jaded you can't
like anything at all. Either way, a reissue fits the bill. New and old.
Known and unknown. Perfect. And for the blind spotters, there's just no
excuse whatsoever - I'm telling you not to miss out second time round.
The Good Old Country Way was the third Nightingales album. Ongoing personnel
changes in the band that had itself been a kind of Frankenstein conjunction
of previous members of The Prefects changed its direction by adding a
fiddle and a C&W edge to an inventive and varied punky rattle. Think
weirdo Dexys, Pete Astor, Eat, Gag, C86, Cherry Red, PiL and Morrisey
without the irritant factor. Lloyd is the backbone and it's his arch lyrics
and delivery that drive the thing along. The Headache Collector and Down
in the Dumps both kick a swampy country beat under Lloyd's deadpan dead-straightness.
Both could've fallen straight off Sell Me a God although that wasn't released
for three years and In The Good Old Country Way isn't buried under a ton
of smack. Leave It Out dubs down while the fiddle turns gypsy and something
that feels like a half-hour trip turns out to be over in under four minutes.
I Spit in Your Gravy drones and drones and Lloyd intones while the violin
swirls and moans. It sounds like the Loft playing inside a bagpipe. No
Can Do is the closer, a knees-up, hoe-down, pogo-along spluttered and
sneered out like there's no coming back after this. A 10-song set. No
encores. Go home.
of course this is a reissue so there's another 9 tracks culled from singles
and gigs. Pick is the single What a Carry On from 1985. The band thought
this could be a hit single at the time. Not now. "It is a really
cynical lyric with an anti-melody sung over some weird shit" - Lloyd.
Can't argue with that. Just buy this. Then look for the first two records
out again on Cherry Red.