Single of the Week!
The Insomniax - ‘Love She Wants’ EP (Earnest Endeavours)
At the tail end of summer I get on a rescue mission, clinging to singles with any kind of bright aspect, as if they could prolong what little daylight is left, before we're plunged into stygian doom. So imagine how heartened I wor listening to the whole of ‘Love She Wants’ - which is UK hip-hop that wields its influences lightly, swamp-bass and bashment-tinny drums are used here to highlight and accent the proceedings; so you never get that strange feeling of LOOK EVERYONE HERE'S THE BASHMENT ONE and then LOOK NOW WE ARE DOING A DUB TUNE - range, for range's sake. Which is to say that there is a lot of (justifiable) confidence at work here, as well as that endearingly British flow which is basically a kind of unapologetic drawl, as if it rather bored The Insomniax to relate their tales. It comes as no surprise to learn that their EP is based on a screenplay. It is fresh!
Marry Waterson & Oliver Knight - ‘Going Going Gone’ (One Little Indian)
Modern pop music is not meant to be nice, and if you are not simultaneously defacing some sort of religious text by using it to wipe your bits or wearing a dress made of dog’s mess and (a little too) loudly declaiming an interest in varsity-level rope bondage; NOBODY’S LISTENING. So nice is not cool, nice and pleasant are the worst, even if Marry Waterson and Oliver Knight are best at it. I love them.
The Castanets - ‘I’m No Stranger To The Rain’ (Wool Recordings)
As you might have gathered, 'I'm No Stranger To The Rain' is about being in tune with the drear, in part because The Castanets want us to know they are professional cynics, who always want the bad news first, and never start a novel at the front. What's strange, then, is how they have managed to make this song sound so charming and upbeat. But then, that's what you're meant to do with a cover, so let's be patronising and say WELL DONE CASTANETS.
Golden Grrrls ‘On & Off’ & Sea Lions - ‘Billy’ (Split 7”, on Nightschool Records)
If Doing The Singles (sadly not a euphemism) has taught me owt, it is that you are guaranteed to receive a surfeit of scrappy and toilet-recorded singles in any given release week. So while there is always the nagging doubt that deciding which toilet-recorded band is empirically best is rather akin to being able to pick the best bap in Greggs (which is to say: not much of a cherry-pick); let me say ANYWAY that Golden Grrrls and Sea Lions are still empirically best at chucking a song onto a bit of plastic without worrying if all the 'levels' are good. BECAUSE let's face it, the sort of people who bollock on and on and bloody on about 'levels' are not the sort of people who know very much about 'spirit'. And there's buckets of that on this.
Pale Seas - ‘My Own Mind’ (Communion Records)
As you can imagine, toilet-recorded scrappiness is not the only trope you notice after precisely 193 weeks of reviewing middling indie bands, non-threatening electronica and conscious hip-hop (WHY DO I NEVER GET SENT ANY OF THE REALLY OFFENSIVE STUFF). Because another thing you get 'a lot' of, is swirl - textured, dizzying, prom-night nonsense by bands who have put the word 'pale' in their name so it will immediately put you in mind of the wan, frail creatures who make it. Thing is, I don't even mind that Pale Seas are singing indulgently about how ‘something had to break us up’ because a) on any given day precisely 2826329732832 humans will have broken up with someone and also because b) they are very good at it. Woo swirl, it's not going anywhere, anytime soon.
Seaming - 'Threads' from ‘Mermaid’ EP (Lumin)
Party-killers, flat-clearers, date-enders, joy-squashers - genuinely terrifying songs like ‘Threads’ don’t come along too often. So if you do fancy listening to something that sounds not unlike the noises on the Shining soundtrack when Jack Nicholson is having a jolly hard time in the maze, do have a listen to ‘Threads’. Once was quite enough for me, I said ‘I don’t like it!’ in a voice I usually reserve for the upward trajectory of carney-cobbled rollercoasters; before making the man stop the thing because I want to get off.
Also out this Week!
Castrovalva - 'I Am The Golden Widow' (Brew) Patterson Hood - ‘Better Off Without’ (PIAS)
Negative Pegasus - ‘Psychic Energy’ (Small Town America)
Drop Out Venus - ‘Elastic Teen Rent’ (Dirty Bingo Records)
Grass House - ‘The Boredom Rose’ (Dancing Coins)
Best Friends - ‘Surf Bitches’ (Too Pure)
The Cribs - ‘Anna’ (Wichita)
First Aid Kit - ‘Wolf’ (Wichita)
The Neighbourhood - ‘I’m Sorry’ EP (the [r]evolve group)
Thank You - ‘Mother’s Nose’ (Thrill Jockey)
Tom Williams & The Boat - ‘Little Bit In Me’ (Wire Boat Records / Moshi Moshi)
Lianne La Havas - ‘Forget’ (Warner)
Mock & Toof - ‘My Head’ (Tiny Sticks)
Casablanca - ‘Yes’ (Party Politics)
Detachments - ‘Fade’ EP (Hacienda Records)
Sonic Boom Six - ‘Virus’ (Xtra Mile Recordings)
Howlin’ Rain - ‘When The Morning Comes’ (Agitated Records)
The Sea & Cake - ‘On and On’ (Thrill Jockey)
Wendy is on the internet, here.