Faced with an embarrassment of riches in this week's singles sack, we have cheated and chosen two favourites.
Single of the Week! Although this week there are two!
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – ‘All In One Sixty Dancehalls EP’- (Greco Roman)
There are few labels able to maintain that peculiar singularity of vision, where everything - from the smallest pin-badge to the shoutiest box set - makes a delicious sort of sense. Labels like Heavenly or Warp, whose attention to detail is somehow all of a piece, no matter how huge they become. Now, with Greco Roman, I am glad to say we have another, and it is fair to say that they could release a 12” double-A side of Werner Herzog saying the word ‘DOOM’ over and over and over again, and I would buy it and cherish it and confer upon it a special corner of the rack. Even so, with all that admitted, this is a Giant Peach of a single - a perfect statement of elated intent which does not sound like Germany’s hardest working, full of foreboding, film director. And which does sound like the sort of victory music you would wish to hear to congratulate your rescuing of a princess, after weeks misspent on a console. We are told 2-stepper ‘Bournemouth’ is a tale of seaside teenage pregnancy but I suspect this will be missed amidst the dripping sweat, aching soles and general, gurning joy. ‘Moon hits the Mirrorball’ on the other hand, takes one and a half fidgety minutes before jumping in with some wonderfully understated vocals which are as calm on the ears as Alexis Hot Chip’s tender tones, and just as sincere and affecting. Greco, it should be remembered, are only on release number 5 - and yet they already feel like an old friend. Albeit one who wants to take you out all the time and douse you with booze and naughtiness, but who will also hold your hair your hair back when you vom, and then make you a bacon sarnie in the morning.
Single of the Week #2!
Matt & Kim – ‘Lessons Learned’ (Artwerk)
Quite apart from the brilliant Final Destination stylings of the video (which you are hereby commanded to watch to the end), this is a pop record that comfortably confirms Matt & Kim’s DIY credentials via the ‘It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)’ list-y vocals and a side order of Broadcast/Feist-y (and deceptively cute) da-da-dah-ing. And then occurs a quite magnificently climactic chorus that tumbles into capturing exactly how you feel when you’ve ‘Stayed. Up. All. Night.’ and can’t see either the wood for the trees or how exactly tomorrow is likely to be any better than (horrible) today. It’s a beautiful contradiction, at once pure uplifting pop and sad, tired dejection.
Wave Machines – ‘I Go I Go I Go’ (Neapolitan)
In any normal week a perfect little summery shit of a record such as this one would have strolled, unencumbered, to the top spot. But as everyone in music appears to have released perfect bits of plastic, and - what with this being a re-release - the Machines will have to make do with bronze. Merseyside’s art-poppers are cheery in ways that remind you of things like the Beta Band’s ‘Easy’. And like ‘Easy’ I am happy to report that though it sounds like idiot-grin pop, Wave Machines have deeper layers of messiness and melancholy up their sleeves.
Kasabian – ‘Fire’ (Columbia)
Did you read the marvellous Alexis Petri-dish Kasabian feature in Friday’s Guardian? You really must, as it is an unintentional lol-athon of magnificent proportions. And isn’t it curious how a band who insist on spending entire interviews banging on about how fucken’ fucken’ FUCKEN’ MASSIVE they’re going to (fucken) be, then ally themselves far too close for comfort with nitwit prawns like the Gallaghers, before suddenly wondering why everyone thinks they’re laddites. Anyway, this being a bumper week we shall let the big, swampy, pace-changing rock thing that is ‘Fire’ speak (or perhaps, bellow) for itself. And will not forget to mention – especially as I have spent the week covered in axle grease, WD40 and wire wool doing up a couple of bikes – that it is a stroke of true, unadulterated genius to call a song ‘Swarfega’.
Plastic Little – ‘La La Land EP’ (Half Time)
Sometimes it’s difficult to keep one’s principles in check, which is why there are more than a few retrograde and downright offensive anomalies in my record collection. So while I am happy for Dizzee to insist I let him get behind my backbone, or Mystikal to bark about performing all kinds of wrongness on my bits (the peerlessly sexist and yet peerlessly brilliant ‘Danger (Been So Long)’), I am not happy for Plastic Little to peddle this sort of lazy. Essentially ‘La La Land’ involves them telling some unnamed woman to shut up and stick ‘it’ in their face, and I wouldn’t usually mind for I realise (or at least, have been told on the press release) that this is - ha-ha! – ‘comic’ rap. But this is a) not nearly funny enough and far more importantly b) a strangely empty, hugely repetitive and boring ‘jam’. And no amount of remixing (in this case – count ‘em – four) is going to turn it into something worth getting terribly excited about.
The Mummers – ‘Wonderland’ (Big Bass Drum)
Impossibly lush fairground orchestral pop, the dizzyingly lovely ‘Wonderland’ demonstrates further evidence of The Mummer’s ability to combine Ipcress File-era John Barry with Bjork-style vocal histrionics, and it is blissful hearing records as careful and complicated as this. EDIT: It's also now free to download, here.
Foxes! - ‘Who Killed Rob?’ (Catcutter)
Included mainly because they begin ‘Who Killed Rob?’ with the lines ‘Bicycle I loved you so’ / ‘I guess he’s metrosexual’ and then later ‘Where’s my ambiguous neon vest?’ – none which stand up to close scrutiny, but which made me smile. Anyway - pleasing levels of naivety from indie poppers who clearly live in toy town. Although warning: there is a man eating an ice cream, while wearing a comfy cardigan and riding a bicycle in the video. Then something very bad happens, before it all morphs into Shakespeare’s Sister’s ‘Stay’. Or at least, how Shakespeare’s Sister’s ‘Stay’ might look were it made by the professionally twee.
Gang Gang Dance – ‘First Communion’ (Warp)
Backed by a remix by TVOTR, this spirals off beautifully, recalling the drums and angular jangle of !!! with The Slits’ yelps slapped on the top. This reminds me not to be quite such a massive dick in dismissing things which are not instantly accessible or which are prone to noodle. Accordingly I have given myself a slap and will now go back and listen to the album. (Properly).
White Rose Movement - ‘Cigarette Machine’ ‘Small and the Witches Revenge’ (Domino)
Double A-side worth buying for the delightfully strange, urgent and vocal-free ‘Small and the Witches Revenge’ which manages to combine the found sounds of knives sharpening, a cat purring and a variously sexy/furious-sounding Fronch saucepot. I am somehow reminded of when I used to buy twelves by ROC and enjoy the gathering oddness, and also of records which make little or no sense, but still have the capacity to captivate.