Imagine a Beck album tucked away between “One Foot In The Grave” and “Stereopathetic Soul Manure”. One that features no vocals as such but otherwise bears all the hallmarks of the king of lo-fi. Weird samples, background noise, muttering and all sorts of other distracting elements that could throw the listener off the scent of what are essentially great little songs (albeit recorded through a Dictaphone that has been thrown in a puddle about a mile away from the action). I didn’t realise I liked this album until “Bimbo’s Lament” came sauntering into my ears. A lo-fi acoustic guitar refrain that is paired with a … what ? I think it’s a backward flute (or flute like instrument). It’s quite difficult to tell what it is but it’s a beautiful haunting little tune, one of those things that suddenly throws the rest of the album into perspective. There are a few other highlights on the album as well (the weird off kilter synths of “Mothership” and “Summer Love Tale” which come over like some sort of shattered Boards of Canada demo) but basically this is an album to invite into your brain on a regular basis. It may not take off its shoes and there may be a funny smell when it leaves but its shambolic chaotic style is utterly venerable and a perfect antidote to the anodyne state of most modern music.
Kim Monaghan - (Sitting Now - 6/13)
ageing children - "ageing children" (BS021)
If you could for a moment imagine a seriously beaten around the edges art punk grizzled Ramones in cheap bargain basement productions scuzzing out on a three chord template savagely scratched in a primordial stoner dragster chassis dismembering a ZZ Top songbook and you wouldn’t be so far off the mark as you’d be first led to believe. Now ears are a personal thing and mine as it happens are picking up elements of the Primals ‘rocks’ within the fuzz framed no wave nonchalance of ‘I’m gonna get my dog’ albeit aside the shaming of most stoner psych purveyors it comes rearing up after some seriously bastardised cannibalisation scalped with a locked grooved grind and removed of all the fat and filler of the original whilst being played by a shit faced Gibbons and Co. ‘bimbo the shoulder’ - please do not even begin to consider asking - is a deadpanning ‘Grotesque’ era Fall in skeletal studio draft minus Smithy shock while old school admirers of the much missed Fire Engines may do well to jump the track listing where you’ll find ‘my big engine’ doing all manner of schizo spy soundtrack posturing kind of like Man or Astro Man but without the b-movie sci-fi obsessing and more like a malfunctioning super agent alter ego of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet.
Dour and doomed in slow core detachment ’wee red’ signals the beginning of a stark shift in mood and style, along with ’summer love tale’ and ’mothership’ this triptych decamp themselves to set up an ominously brooding and chill stricken slab of dark hearted oddness, a mirthless melodic mausoleum the second of which mentioned is hooked upon a disturbed austere carousel that sounds as though once upon a time its been abandoned by a MK1 version of the Human League before being discovered, bastardised and left to rot by the truth about frank. ’mothership’ comes similarly affected, an old school electro haunt replete with chamber electronic recitals and eerie vocoder murmurs which if we here didn’t know any better would hazard a guess it was the handiwork of Landscape fashioning out scary versions of the Buggles. And then in a flash where back in the lair of the shit faced for ’mosquito’ which does a freakish line in crooked delta blues whilst under the blurry influence of several shots of moonshine. A particular favourite around these here parts is the arid trade wind blowing ‘dudage’ - a dust kernelled howling blues beauty which invested in the right kind of production has all the ghostly accoutrements to hold its head against anything emanating out of the early careers sound bunkers presided over by the grails or godspeed.
All said the most together and surprisingly most tender cuts of the set appear at the albums final gasp so to speak - here the softly purred ’the kennel club’ a gorgeously crooked slice of caught in the moment day dreamy slowly dissolving psych folk opining to a monochromatic sketchbook of a latter career flying saucer attack while the parting shimmer served folk beauty ‘bimbo’s lament’ is adorned with the kind of hollowing mystique and hazy un-worldliness as to have several of the more astute of you off rummaging about for your cherished copy of Damon and Naomi’s collaboration with Ghost. Irregular music for irregular heads.
Mark Barton (The Sunday Experience - 3/13)
scratchy rock 'n' roll
released 26 April 2013
written, recorded and produced by jim and chuck children