After last week’s lovelorn thought bog, this time around we turn our attention to the idea of imperfection. And why it is that naïve records with darling little rough edges have a charm all their own.
And I say all this as someone who recently decided to make it her mission to rescue all the unloved, hand-knitted Nanna cardigans from the charity shops of The Shire. Believing - as I genuinely do - that there is more sartorial (possibly even um, philosophical) value in garments that have been troubled over by arthritic fingers, especially when they have then been tossed aside by ungrateful – and frankly spoilt – grandchildren. Not least when you compare unwanted woollens with the wonky-hemmed jersey tat slaved together by toddlers for the high street. [Believeyoume, I am thinking of writing a whole massive blog on the relative values of chazza shop finds - have in fact done a first draft – so if you think I’m twee now, wait till that particular bit of textual whimsy gets ‘published.’ Coz it’s gonna blow your Hello Kitty socks off.]
Single of the Week!
Black Daniel - ‘Look Away Sancho’ (Dustbowl Recordings)
Black Daniel make the sort of bombastic sludge rock which is never not fun, and what is more ‘Look Away Sancho’ - in all its shouty, singalonga brilliance, is free here. Thing is, it’s hard to pull this sort of thing off – because these dark Daniels really do sound like the sort of dirty-haired naughties who’d squawk ‘Daaaaaang, girl!’ at you, should you take their fancy. To listen to it is to have some Wild Turkey slopped in your face by someone who wants to wind you up precisely so that they might catch you off guard; whereupon they would lick it off your face while smirking to themselves. Basically it is top, top, top larks - as, incidentally, is any song that features the Stoogian concept of a girl so dastardly, she 'wants you to beg'. MySpace here.
Kap Bambino - ‘Deadtheme’ from 'Batcaves EP' (Wwilko)
Kap Bambino have made what I can only describe as a school orchestra instrumental. Because ‘Deadtheme’ really does sound like the sort of A-Level composition I might have attempted to score had I not chosen the monstrously dull combination of French, History & English. Anyway, I want you to imagine the exam paper - the handful of broad themes meant to inspire - before Kap Bambino’s collective eyes wander down the topics and stop at ‘Spooky’. 'Score some music for a Ghost Train ride of 2 minutes and 40 seconds in length,' it says. 'Marks will be awarded for both spooky, ooky and kookiness.' And being fond of red pens and the bossiness teaching might afford me, I jump at the chance to award these upper sixth Bambinos a thoroughly respectible passmark of 89% for all three. Granted, 'Deadtheme' is absolutely not representative of what Kap Bambino 'do', (one need only glance at the bruised legs of young Caroline Martial on their Myspace for that), but it is entirely charming in its own, unpolished way.
Golau Glau - ‘Foolstide’ Free download, here
When Welshers Golau Glau wrote to me this week (it means 'light quickly' and is pronounced ‘Goll Eye Gly’ - it being an amalgam of “normal Welsh” and “superarchaic odd Welsh” [THEIR WORDS]), they tole me they had a Christmas song. And I was a-feared it would be something plain dreary about Why Christmas Is Like, Really Bad? Not that I had reason to suspect this, for me and my new Welsh internet friends have previously corresbonded over amusement parks - which means they are fun sorts. But still, I had to check because I love Christmas, me. Anyway, as it turns out ‘Foolstide’ is the sort of thing that brings a smile to your face even if you are in Tesco’s of a Thursday evening crap-hounding your way to the cheapest drinkable bottle of Rose known to humanity. Naturally I found it (£3.20), and all the way to the self-service tills I thrilled at a single that - even though it has slightly rubbish beatmatching - sounds like a Christmas madrigal gone two=step - with all the delightful silliness that implies. It's a homemade wreath of a thing; all wonky holly wound around a coathanger and the red berries are plastic. And yet, it really is quite brills.
When you have not been out on your bike as much as you should, a tune by Crookers does you no end of favours when you're trying to get uphill. Especially if you have some sort of brain-jam / are the kind of idiot who sets herself pointless mental challenges, as in 'If I get up this slope without using 1st gear I am officially a good person.' And it does you no end more good if Kelis is involved - her particularly winning brand of tawky sass still sounding tremendous 10 whole years after Ihatechoosomuchrihnow. ‘No Security’ is – I think – about the fact that there is simply no burly bouncer alive who can get inbetween Crookers and their essential, very slammingness - and it does of course involve a shout-out for ‘all the boys’ because this is Pop Law when Kelis is involved. Punctuated with as many sirens, WOOP-WOOPs, Yello-style ‘ooo-yeahs’, sun-rising bass wobbles and hi-hat crashes as they can cram into three and a quarter minutes, ‘No Security’ does not bother its silly head with things like dynamics, pace or architecture. Because Crookers know all they have to do is shout at you; and that if they do it loud enough you won’t have time to think about whether it’s a good idea or not. It sort of works, because I’ve already put their promotional sticker on my favourite notepad, believing it will somehow make me cool. Yes.
Lord Auch – ‘Welcome To The Shithouse EP’ (Young & Lost Club)
Terrifying sex party house band Lord Auch are named after the pseudonym Georges Bataille used when writing top sauce pamphlet The Story Of The Eye. I only know this because of someone on Twitter, which proves just how useful a widget it is (and - in the spirit of balance - if that fact is wrong, Twitter is shit.) Anyway, I remember bringing home a copy of Story of the Eye in a fit of self-shockery - only to find it was all about French people who Go Mad With The Sex. I think I might have grown out of this woeful rude littry habit now - which in any event was only to make up for the fact that I spent my teenage years as a rather fervent evangelical Christian. Luckily I am not as bored by Lord Auch as I am by my quite ridiculously classic and cliche-riddled erotica habit. Because they make records that are uncommonly amusing in their own, worryingly naughty way. Doom-laden, suggestive and buckets of clever - listening to Lord Auch is like being pushed into the adult section of Waterstones and finding yourself nose to nose with a story in which people seem to have got in a bit of a tizzy because they’ve got pain and pleasure all mixed up. Silly old perverts. More here.
Apropos of nothing (other than the fact that Little Red have ‘red’ in their name) ‘You’ve got red on you’ is one of my favourite lines from a film ever - so I imagined a rather useless and fat (but ultimately sort of perfect) man-pal saying it to me as I listened to ‘Waiting’. And though there are no zombies on this single, there _is_ doo-wop, and that reminds me of when my Mum and Dad get up to dance and how they look 18 again when they jive - even though they are actually now two minutes from Death Central, having stopped off at Retirement Parkway (a badly re-appropriated Alan Partridge joke for you there, for which I apolly most profusely). Though I hate to use this sort of phrase, I believe Little Red are well worth ‘keeping your eye on’.
Cass McCombs – ‘Dreams Come True Girl’ (Domino)
There is the bit where we ponder musical serendipity – those times when you are perfectly placed to receive a band’s ‘output’ and when their music strikes you at your most ready. This happened to me with Cass McCombs - and I have to say, it was all kinds of wonderful. ‘Dreams Come True Girl’ features the vocal stylings of Karen Black, although sadly not this one - who let's face it, coulda-woulda-shoulda been the best lady lead singa ever. Not to worry though, because ‘Dreams Come True Girl’ is shuffle pop with twanging offshoots that happens to be unutterably pleasant. Also, I like how Cass’ font reminds me of the uncommonly fearsome twiggy things out of Blair Witch. I know someone who once made a twiggy effigy out of Pepperami. It wasn’t very scary though, and it smelt rotten.
Alan Pownall – ‘Clara’ (Young & Lost Club)
Music this un-guarded and unfettered should come with a warning. It should say ‘Do not listen to this unless you want to sing along even though you don’t know the words yet and have never known anyone called Clara, much less penned a skiffle pop song about the fact that she sort of stopped thinking you were brilliant after you’d been going out with her for a month and the initial shag-shag-shaggery had disappointingly tailed off.’ I mean, let’s face it, if WIMMIN weren’t so flipping brilliant all the people of music would be out of a job, wouldn’t they? Even if 'we' do make (albeit) casual suggestions about where you might buy your next cardigan from and, before you know it, your friends start saying things like ‘When did you start using moisturizer?’ and you sort of hate yourself for changing / bettering yourself but in the end you can’t help it because WIMMIN are quite literally amazing. Lucky for he, we will take Alan as he comes - and will not try to make him put his XBox on Ebay because he spends too much time on it, even if his name reminds me of an 1980s sports announcer. Uncommonly jaunty, is this.
No videothing, so here is Alan doing his take on Bouncy’s 'Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)'. A SKIFFLE RE-RUB! IMAGINE! (Hactually I mean that, I like it).
O’Spada - ‘Time’ (Make Mine)
It strikes me upon hearing ‘Time’ that it is the sort of tune Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King - attired in a flame-seeking 80s negligee (because this is how I like to imagine her) - would happily have stood next to a three bar fire for, especially if it meant O’Spada gave her the recording rights to their single. Because it is one of those pickled-in-aspic pop funk tunes where the spirit of 1983 has been so closely captured, Peter Duncan could very possibly have used his creepy fingers to screw the lid on the time capsule containing it. ‘Time’ also provoked me to Google ‘Seinfeld + slap bass’ and this is what happens when you are that foolish / have too much time on your hands. None of which necessarily means that ‘Time’ is ‘wrong’ [IS TIME WRONG? etc] - because it is so cheerful, feel-good and willfully infectious it is hard to resist. I just don’t think anyone over the age of 18 should dance to it in public.
Tango In The Attic – ‘Seven Second Stare’ (Keep Calm Records) More here
TITA - who come from Glenrothes - say they are doing music because they are ‘shit at golf’. This is quite a good reason to be in a band when you think about it - although I did wonder if this sort of excuse could be retooled when people ask me what I do at dinner parties. ‘Oh,’ I would drop in casually, ‘You see, the thing is, I’m rubbish at rocket science, so I decided to write about music for pence.’ And - with a neat shrug - the Worst Question In The World would be swatted away - or even better - squashed against the window so a bit of blood came out and its death made you feel strangely guilty. Lucky for we, Tango in the Attic are quite good at their second choice profession, making slightly angular, almost chatty indie which rolls along on cutely raw basslines before exploding into an amiable chorus I have nearly forgiven. Because it does steal its pretty organ stabbings from ‘Oxford Comma’. An enormously polite single, if that does not sound too dread.
Detachments - ‘Circles’ (This Is Not An Exit)
I was fond of Detachments’ ‘The Flowers That Fell’ earlier this year, but the 7” of ‘Circles’ is a much more explicitly pulsing affair. And I think the point I made then still stands – that though they’re quite comfortably nestled on a synth tree that has Vangelis, Numan and Almond sharing a tree house on one branch (while Ian Curtis jerks about trying to break another), as long as you don’t think about this for very long it doesn’t matter. Whenever and wherever Detachments’ thing hails from – it is still the perfect music for snogging tiny-hipped, eye-linered boys to. So if that is what you fancy, do go forth and pash. Also: Mr. Andy Weatherall produced it.
Also Out this Week
Thos Henley - ‘Live EP’ (Tape Club Records) More here.
Joe Goddard – ‘Apple Bobbing EP’ (Greco Roman)
Mmmn, love lovely Joe and his lovely curly hair. And yes, I will quite happily ‘take it in’ if it is you doing the ‘giving’ (etc).
Young Rebel Set - ‘Walk On’ (Our Broadcast)
Buraka Som Sistema - ‘Restless’ (Fabric)
Bad For Lazarus - 'Old Rats On A New Ship' (Shit Chic)
Mayer Hawthorne - ‘Green Eyed Love’ (Stones Throw)
The Prodigy - ‘Invaders Must Die / Thunder Remixes’ (Cooking Vinyl)
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