Sunday, April 17, 2016

Jeff Rushin “Decline Into” (Wall Music)

Amsterdam producer and ON impresario Jeff Rushin manages to top even his (luscious) “Red Velvet” and (sumptuous) Mote Evolver EPs with this breathtaking, clear vinyl single on Berlin’s Wall Music. ”Decline Into Space” launches the love parade @ the statutory 128 with a swooning tranche of steady minimalism, its beautifully austere, crepuscular cadences combining the steady pulse of Rushin’s “6” contribution, “Tusk” with the understated, sibiliant genius of Michael Schwarz’s “She Doesn’t Ask For”. Which was recently, as you may recall, another somewhat world-beating 12” on Wall Music.

It thus seems pretty self-evident that “Space” is going to be unmatchable, but hold your horses, because it’s followed by the similarly sleek construct of “Decline Into Shadows” which is… wow… even better. Fuller and more dancefloor-honed, it triggers (a) paroxysms of delight in your humble narrator and (b) the need for to him to lie down in a dark room to recover.

In that room we briefly speculate as to what might come next – “Decline Into Winter” would be good, or maybe “Decline Into the Vanarama Conference”? – but when we do get round to braving the light again and reuniting an eager stylus needle with these transparent grooves, the answer is “Decline Into Chaos”, a second variation on the lead track which picks up seamlessly where we left off, still gently drilling the EP’s rhythmic patterns into our skull, but takes the tempo down just a notch, at 126. The mood is darker, more malign, with a prowlingly-low, no, crawlingly-low bassline offset by rattling, plangent synth chimes. The 12” concludes with a “Chaos” redux, this time by Glasgow's finest, Edit Select, that nicely ramps up and amps up the industrial elements of the original.

Whenever we return to asking ourselves why we started this fanzine, and all the stories we wanted to tell in our ever-desultory prose, well it was an attempt… um, well it was all about… no, *is* all about, conveying that despite the vagaries of age and the various compromises that life throws at us, that new EXCITEMENTS are ever-possible, & that this is the surging JOY of the format, as we’ve been saying since roughly the Antediluvian period – as we wrote, gosh, 9 years ago, but it seems like yesterday...

"singles must be kept alive, in any way possible. for both band and for fan (and we "write" always as fans), they are the flag that a 3 minute pop song, or an 8 minute techno 12", or a hip-hop white label or a grime download or whatever is intended to transcend the wadeable sludge of the 40-minute album or the 80-minute mixtape or the 400-minute audiophile wet dream that is the box set and to be instead a perfect or imperfect statement of intent, of the desire of the moment, of one-off communication, of trying to distil the ESSENCE OF BAND into a solitary take"

... oh, and we know now it’s protean, so even when that single isn’t a fizzing, crashing flexidisc, but instead unfolds in four movements over 24 unmissable minutes like this one, it's still how the artist has chosen to make his or her STATEMENT of their *now*, and can still transmit an unbridled ecstasy that tingles like… like the moment of promotion back to the league, or the spring breeze swishing baptismally-refreshing rain across Parliament Hill, or this falling cherry blossom in Bow Churchyard… all springs from the fact that even in 2016 a pizza-sized slice of vinyl can transmit pinpricks of electricity to every pore in a way that defies the meretricious, unmagical mundanity of day-to-day life. ELEVATE.

Sorry to gush so, but we wanted to end this brief burst of posting activity on a high, and as you can see (especially from the last three or four posts), we weren’t disappointed. We don’t say these things lightly, but “Decline Into” - just like “She Doesn’t Ask For” – is a potential all-time classic.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Close Lobsters “Desire & Signs EP” (Shelflife)

London stories have been told through song since the banks of the Thames were first settled. We must confess up front to a soft spot for Wendy James’ “London’s Brilliant”, the solo ‘breakthrough hit’ written for her by Cait O’Riordan and Elvis Costello that was roundly panned, and then flopped, because we think it’s a stirring, if tongue in cheek, girl-in-the-city romp through modern London’s cultural history – “digging up the bones of Strummer & Jones”, as Wendy sang - that got the London love/hate dynamic down just right. Mind you, we might never have heard it had we not spotted the cassette single version on sale for 10p in a bargain bin.

In the twenty years this fanzine has now been based in our capital city, we’ve loved an array of hymns to it: we’re thinking not so much of the usual suspects (the Kinks or the Jam or Squeeze), but the sadnesses-through-song of Trembling Blue Stars’ “A London Story”; or how Annemari and Bobby, missing the moon, said goodbye in central London; or the generation’s worth of moving dramas and London life-panoramas of the magnificent Comet Gain; or the pockets and suburbs of west and north London respectively celebrated in song by prime storytellers the Hit Parade and Chas & Dave; or out-of-towners Cinerama’s surprisingly effective torch song version of fellow outsiders the Smiths’ “London”; or perhaps the ultimate outsider, Mark E. Smith, declaiming “a hand on your shoulder in Leicester Square… Exit this Roman shell” on “Leave The Capitol”; or the parody-as-original of Alan Parker Urban Warrior and his BAFTA-drenched house band, out-shamming the Sham with smash-the-system classics like “Tube Station Lies”…

Why are we going on about this, exactly? Well, partly because we’ll bang on about London history and/or the deepest recesses of our record collection any time any place, given half a chance. However, the immediate prompt is that the reformed, renewed Close Lobsters, authors of 2014’s very finest single even amidst some seriously stiff competition, are finally BACK with its successor; and the first song on it, “Under London Skies” has wasted no time in joining the canon of in love with these times, in spite of these times first-city favourites.

More importantly than that, the song is an absolute belter, a rollicking ride of finely honed guitar-pop which amply demonstrates that “Now Time” was no fluke and that Close Lobsters are another combo, like fellow Glaswegians the Orchids or London’s own Wolfhounds, now producing 21st century work every bit as impressive as the releases we still treasure that made them first time around. I don’t mind admitting that a tear was brought to one eye on first listen (a little embarrassing when you’re on the 43 to work) as the song, driving ever on, decided that its blissful guitars and theme of memories from halcyon times hadn’t churned my emotions quite enough, and turned for good measure into a touchingly raw potted history of the band.

Like Morrissey, Smith or Gedge, all contemporaries really (indeed, Gedge had earlier, with the Wedding Present, put a version of "Let's Make Some Plans" onto the flip of a UK Top 20 single), Close Lobsters are also out-of-towners. Indeed, they’re visitors hailing from a different, if adjacent country, a group we'd always associated - through a jumble of snatched memories from their songs, interviews, record sleeves - with Paisley, Larkhall, St. Mirin...

We’d guess that they might have first encountered London at any length on early tours, playing to the press pack in the 1980s, but it’s still a little of a surprise - after the striking & independence-fuelled clarion call of “Now Time” – that memories of this English city, oft-painted in the British media as a collective enemy, or the home to a remote elite, can inspire not only a paean to London in a Scottish accent (the closing bars make it crystal clear that the song's authors have London's longstanding radical tradition in mind), but also frankly a song this simply bloody AMAZING, another vinyl A-side slice of pure Scottish Electric Lightning that’s fit to match past high water marks like “Going To Heaven To See If It Rains”, or “Never Seen Before” or, yes, “Now Time”. Blog and press release writers risk underselling this point because - please let's be candid - Close Lobsters were, and are, a great British band, who just happened to appear on C86.

As we observed last time around, the Lobsters still have a knack of taking lyrics that might sound cheesy in lesser hands (“we get high / in the summertime” really doesn’t sound too promising written down, does it?) yet somehow coming up roses. Later on in the song, they get more specific: “this is the London of the Clash” sings Andrew Burnett (yup, we're digging up those bones again) and, unless our ears deceive us, there’s even a shout-out to Alternative TV, which would be great if we’re right because ATV are one of the most perennially underrated bands ever to emerge from London or its environs.

On the other side of the record, the almost Go-Betweensy “Wander Epic Part II” offers further proof that Close Lobsters are no longer content with writing mere pop songs, but seem to have decided that they’re only going to write anthems: when they’re this strong, that’s fine by us. The guitars continue to encircle and chime, but “Wander Epic” is lyrically somewhere else entirely, charting a recluse’s pilgrimage to “purify the malady of the soul” as he follows brooks, streams and rivers to the wide open sea.

And that’s your lot – because “Desire & Signs”, like “Kunstwerk in Spacetime”, is one of those two-track EPs – but really, what an artefact, twelve minutes of knocking-off-your-socks genius on 7”. There is no danger whatsoever of this one ending up in a bargain bin for ten new pence or any other amount, so we urge you to get your order in before the single lands (or whatever it is that singles do now) at the start of June.

Next month, as fortune would have it, we’re heading off to see Close Lobsters for the very first time. Under London skies, of course. It’s going to be an absolute privilege.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Simon Shreeve “Healing Bowl” (Downwards): Leon Switch “Intrepid” (Chestplate)

And so happenstance dictates that Simon Shreeve’s first own-name solo release, on Birmingham’s Downwards label, comes out on the same day as the new single from his former partner in crime in one of the best British combos of the last decade or so, the ever-amazing, decline-of-dubstep-defying Kryptic Minds. As the boys go head to head, the big question is this – who will win?

The answer, of course, is that we all win. Bouyaka. “Healing Bowl” is a five-track, five star tour de force of nightbus-friendly headphone throb; all clipped subterranean beats, carefully deployed breaks, [k]ryptic Virus synths and industrial techno vibes that fuse together in bass-blessed bliss so effectively that you’re extremely likely to miss your stop and end up somewhere in the suburbs trying desperately to persuade a minicab to take you back.

In contrast to Shreeve's elegant suite, it’s all about the A-side on Leon Switch's new two-track 12", with “Intrepid” being markedly less subtle than anything on "Healing Bowl" – its eerie atmospheres are shot through with crunching elephantine beats, several-storey drops and darting passages of what we call wobblestep & quack-step, albeit that those probably aren’t the correct technical terms. Plus, icily grime-tastic loops and handclaps. It reminds us a little of our phase of getting (forgivably) obsessed with Raffertie 12”s a while back. Have this one on too loud, and you’ll probably crash the nightbus.

Although dubstep inevitably succumbed to the law of diminishing returns (after a while, it all got just a little too much “there’s always been a trust fund element to our music”), singles like this are a reminder that in small doses it can still refresh and reinvigorate, rather than just annoy and enervate. And if the net result of Kryptic Minds splitting in half is that we get two highly capable solo artists to keep a weather eye on, then all hail the art of falling apart.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Lightning In A Twilight Hour "And All The Ships At Sea" (Elefant)

Nothing warms the heart more than seeing those four words: "Written by Robert Wratten".

Not that it would really matter if you missed them (tiny font in the centre of bright white 12" vinyl), because your ears may just connect the easy, poppy rhythms of "The Sky Beyond The Sky" with the breezier numbers on "Her Handwriting"; or the autumnal swirl and roving basslines of "Black Circles" with the splendid "Dark Eyes", the song that first reunited Messrs Wratten and Hiscock (there’s something almost unrepentantly Field Mice-esque in the weave of climbing bass, simple drum machine and clanging rhythm guitar); or the gently unfolding Cure-ish majesty of "Krzysztof Kieślowski's Lullaby" and its Peter Hook bass runs with the five-piece Blue Stars' moodily gothic "With Every Story".

Seasoned Wratten-watchers will glean from this that there's none of the liberating, lyrical directness of the first half of "Slow Changes", none of the free-form escapism of the second half of the same record and little of the ambient, achingly splendid field-recorded vistas that were the highlights of "Fragments Of A Former Moon". Instead, you 'only' get... well, an object lesson in smooth, sophisticated, mournful, full-on grown-up pop genius. “Beauty still gets through”, sings Bobby, and in his hands it does, it really does.

And that's just side A. To be fair, when the curtain comes up after the interval, the grooves of side B feel marginally less compelling, yielding 18+ carefully textured minutes of what's effectively a three-song medley (a woozy brace of ballads bookending the extended soundscape of "Lenticular" that tip the collective LIATH hat towards the eliding songscapes of Northern Picture Library), but, as the cliché goes, "you had me at hello", and we were already sold not just by half-time, but - courtesy of the minimal yet fabulous Elefant sleeve art and design, and of course by those four words - before even sticking the record on.

Long may he reign over us.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Lamont featuring Grim Sickers and Nico Lindsay “Missed Calls EP” (Keysound)

The mysterious Lamont is another of those Bristolian musical miscreants who so brilliantly soundtrack the underbelly of that city and, for us, sit firmly within its proud underground artistic traditions. Here, recent Trim and Last Skeptik collaborator Nico Lindsay, from north London, and Brizzle’s own “100 Bags”-man Grim Sickers, are persuaded to slow things right down from their normal grime pace, and each use the opportunity to deliver an edgy, night-time, missed-call themed elegy to difficult relationships (not least the one between technology and distance). Lamont’s music is sparing and spaced-out, but when a beat hits, you certainly know about it.

Heavens. If you’d told us that spoken-word deep dubstep poetry would be a ‘thing’, yet alone work this well, we’d have doubted you. But we don’t doubt any more.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Milky Wimpshake "Velvet Pants" / "Interior/Exterior" (Tuff Enuff)

INNA DIF'RNT STYLE. Le Wimpshake return to shake it down on the sevens, having decamped (temporarily?) to Brighton's Riots Not Diets empire for 250 copies of sweet, sweet black vinyl, and it turns out they've jettisoned the wonderfully pretty indie-pop of last year's precious gem "You Don't Look Twice" & become ROCK MONSTERS, like when the Rejects got into UFO, or Action Painting! discovered 1977. Sort of.

Two excellent tunes here (plus sew-on patch): this might be their spikiest, freshest 45 since we liberated "Home Is Where The Hate Is" from that basement room under Slam City Skates, and whatever rut they were in two albums or so ago, they're not in it now. Suge - take them back, whatever you do.

Monday, April 11, 2016

DJ Cable featuring Ghostly “In ‘Ere” (Triangulum Recordings): Dexplicit featuring Chip, Durrty Goodz, Swiss, Black The Ripper, Flowdan and Rocks FOE “Link Up Season” (DXP Music): Commodo featuring Rocks FOE “Set It Straight” (Black Acre): Pinch featuring Riko Dan “Screamer” (Tectonic): Chase & Status featuring Novelist “NRG” (Mercury)

Yes, ‘featuring’ is the new ‘x' is the new ‘vs.’ is the new ‘featuring’.

“In ‘Ere” is as much a certified BANGER as any stock car or sizzling sausage, and quite possibly – epically delayed 7”s aside – our favourite single of 2016 to date: West London teenager Ghostly boasts panache aplenty and his adroit & cheeky spraygun bars on this exquisite freestyle have more than a soupçon of a young Durrty Goodz about them. Triangulum’s own hostest with the mostest, DJ Cable is on hand to provide the effortlessly effervescent riddims, which suit G to a tee. *Primary* rhyming.

We’ve also been hurling ourselves about the kitchen in a tizzy to “Link Up Season” (watch out for that knife rack, Eugene): by their very nature, few posse cuts can match the best MCs drilling out 96 bars solo, but Dex was the real driving force behind the daddy of all grime posse cuts, “Pow!” (dig out those “Forward” and “Backwards” white labels now and go mental) and as well as dishing up this new track in a frankly not dissimilar-style he’s recruited a phalanx of London MCs to toast it: Goodz and Flowdan predictably boss things totally, but Black the Ripper’s amiable outlaw schtick, and a rousing last verse from Croydon’s rising star Rocks FOE, are well worth the entrance fee too. Especially when the entrance fee is no more than 79p, if you’re doing it legit.

And Rocks then er, rocks up on distinguished dubstep-head Commodo’s “Set It Straight” single too, lacing its vaguely oriental stylings with a righteous, frothing fury.

As we shift to d-step territory, a shout-out next for “Screamer”, on which old pals Pinch and Riko Dan reunite for a follow-up to their genuinely mighty “Big Slug“ 12” with Mumdance, and Riko resumes his life’s work of an all-consuming diatribe against yr local neighbourhood informant.

Lastly, “NRG” is something else again, the sound of an intriguing timewarp by which C&S hit us with some very Junkie XL-circa ‘98 floor-messing, and the ever-ascending star of Lewisham, Novelist steams in with the vocals. It can’t match the chemistry that Nov has with Mumdance (we’re beginning to suspect that “Take Time” and “1 Sec” may remain the former’s calling cards for some time), but it’s a blast all the same.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Nothing Clean split 7” with Higgs Boson (MMXVI FHED Records / Glass To The Face Records / Samizdat Records / SuperFi Records)

Last year, Leicester’s Nothing Clean thrilled us several shades of skinny with nine combustible tracks on one side of a split 7” (with Madrid's La Letra Pequeña), co-released by three improbably-named labels. This year, they thrill us with nine more combustible tracks on one side of another split 7” (with Oslo's Higgs Boson), co-released by four improbably-named labels. Oh, how the late John Peel would have been absolutely in his element announcing these, before playing them at the wrong speed.

Again, the new record near-overflows with lyrical vitriol, but there’s a rugged discipline to the band’s high-falutin, powerviolencey howl, with the staccato stop-starts both between and within tracks adding even more excitement to the endeavour. As we’ve mentioned in past dispatches, there are traces of a UK hardcore lineage that includes erstwhile ilwtt,isott flavours of the month Scalplock and Flyblown, but the riffage and the sheer *purpose* of this also remind us of the early grindcore legends.

Nothing Clean are not only on fire but sound like they’re on fire and - in keeping with the Midas touch being worked by Claudio Ranieri just down the road at the King Power - we’re not sure that’s there’s anything (on either side of the Atlantic!) that can touch them right now.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Joker Starr "Shottas" (Boot): Joker Starr featuring Durrty Goodz "Don't Watch Man" (Flukebeat Music)

BOOM. Fresh from bossing "Tell 'Em" on Jazz T's "Run The Changes", the irrepressible Slough-representing Joker Starr (no relation to Ringo, Fredro or, er, Atlantic or Gang) brings his A game to another masterful Zygote / Jazz T production on 7", a tale of street wheeling, dealing and thieving which also cements Boot's place as one of the UK's top labels right now. In any genre.

"Don't Watch Man" actually dropped in November, but this feels like a good time to big up this rather smoothly-produced, accomplished Micall Parknsun joint which includes a still relatively rare hip-hop/grime collabo, with Joker and Micall's contributions joined by an easy-flowing but relatively timid verse (by his standards) from the normally unflappable Durrty Goodz. For once, Jazz T's remix is actually more frenetic than the (jazzily) piano-led, laid-back original...

Taken together, the two singles showcase Joker Starr's versatility (and that he's more than just a bundle of energy).

Friday, April 08, 2016

The Fall “Wise Ol’ Man EP” (Cherry Red)

Being a combination of new, old, rehashed and live material, this EP is neither fish nor fowl, but us being vegetarians that may be just as well.

The lead tune is actually great (do persevere, because it’s a grower), a guitar stomp in classic-ish Fall style punctuated by Elena's backing shouts and - more bizarrely - that noise that doors in newsagents make when a new customer comes in, but for us the chief attraction of this release is the rumbling, unattributed remix of the last LP’s “Dedication Not Medication”, which lumbers into view with a cavalcade of live and electric drums (almost as heavy as that final Scorn EP) before Smith bellows“I’M BACK! I’M BACK!” and the track, already an improvement on the original, settles into Fall-when-the-electronics-were-to-the-fore mode, as if it were 1991 all over again and Smith was still an Edinburgh Man.

We’re less sure about the rest of the 12” (nobody on the globe can really have a need either for an instrumental of the title track or a less-fi version of the excellent last LP-opener "Venice With The Girls", while the chaotic medley of “Facebook Troll” and “No Xmas For John Quays” does less than justice to the brilliance of the two, 37-year apart originals), but then we suppose the Fall wouldn’t be the Fall if they didn’t delight and disappoint in roughly equal measure. We'll see you soon at their forthcoming Highbury Garage residency, no doubt.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Hard Left “Economy” (Future Perfect)

Get in! Here comes another 7” from Oakland's back to the future agit-punk supergroup Hard Left that’s bursting with all Alan Hansen’s favourite adjectives: pace, purpose, passion, pride, power, that sort of thing.

This time, in addition to a brace of familiar-sounding shouted/sung belters on side A which continue to land somewhere between prime Oi! and prime SLF, there’s the bonus of two side B tunes narrated/ranted by an Anglo (as Hansen would have had it), poet Tim Wells, with the entirely authentic account of lower N1 gentrification, “Hoxton Market Forces” being joined by a possibly unlikely take on DH Lawrence’s almost spookily-still apt “The Oxford Voice”.

A splendid package, all told, though we’d still love to see them tour with Violent Reaction. And recruit Pam Berry, if only for old time’s sake.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Downpour "Do You Remember When It Was All About The Drums? (II)" (self-released)

A 30+ minute EP of self-confessedly retro northern English drum and bass from the fearless Downpour, with the straight-up 1994 stylee magnificence of "This Sound" and "Trust Me" in particular matching the heights of last year's "DYRWIWAATD?" (if we may) part one.

And this sort of thing - crafted period instrument orchestra-style from pure authentic Akai, Roland and Atari -sounds even better to us two decades on, what with us not having what was then the somewhat significant distraction of revising for finals. Also, 20 years on, they're on bandcamp not 555, which means we could buy this one without having to walk to the Replay that used to be in the shopping arcade near the coach station. Halcyon.

Word is that the new Bracken album is imminent, incidentally, in which case this will be far from the last time this year that we give props to a Chris Adams release...

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Rotten Sound "Abuse To Suffer" (Season Of Mist): Magrudergrind "II" (Relapse)

For this 'battle of the long-anticipated new grindcore albums', furious Finns Rotten Sound's fiendishly fast, molten noise is galvanised into a thick, rich abstraction of groove-laden, bass-riven music and sunken growls that along its merry way co-opts everything from the looping riffs of Unsane to the deadening powerviolence chords of Weekend Nachos as their LP, some 5 years in the making, ricochets between minute-long blasts of post-hardcore adrenalin and longer, slower, slugs of primal gutter-metal. Feverish, frenetic and fantastic.

By comparison with the somehow glorious surround-sound ugliness of "Abuse To Suffer", Brooklyn's Magrudergrind take their turn in Relapse's revolving door grindcore roster with a musically thinner, treblier offering (marshalled inevitably by go-to producer Kurt Ballou, the Scott Burns of the genre) although their ear for toe-tappingly punkish riffs remains finely honed - we can go wild for "Hara-Kiri" or "Husanyi/Handschar" any time you like - and their lyrics indisputably spot on (see "Sacrificial Hire", dealing with the sadly topical theme of suicide bombings, or pro-gay rights piece "Regressive Agenda").

We do understand that it's seven years since their last full-length, and that all things done changed. But we must confess that we miss the ragged sense of fun (and hip-hop interludes) featured on earlier outings, those little touches that nicely leavened the rawness and red mist of yer all-guns-blazing Magrudergrind.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Sven Wittekind "Reflection" (Sick Weird Rough): Ginnels & Tangible Excitement! split EP (Emotional Response)

In 2008 a fairly established German producer by the name of Sven Wittekind crept into our annual 'festive hundred' at #95 with "Never Forget", an adjunct to his earlier war-cry of "Fight For Techno" (and oh, how we have). Little did we know how that drunken year-end tangle with Sven under the mistletoe would blossom into a long-term love affair, with us lapping up his gratifyingly frequent singles and remixes pretty much the instant they appeared for download.

So if you'd been wondering where we've been, these weeks of winter into spring (you haven't? Oh.) the answer would have been, at least in part, digesting and delighting in this titanic, faintheart-baiting 20-track two-and-a-half-hour monster, "Reflection", which compiles a representative selection of his own-right, own-label releases between 2009 and now (right up to last year's"Butterfly Effect" single), i.e. basically the entire length of time we've been banging on about what an utter techno legend the man is, the lord of the 128, the Stewart Anderson of blackened German beats. You need to check this one out, people.

Talking of Mr Anderson, Tangible Excitement! (a new bi-continental supergroup helmed by members of Summer Cats, the Lucksmiths and of course Boyracer) have turned out four splendidly accomplished tunes on a 12" for Emotional Response, split with the redoubtably dark independent pop of Dublin's Ginnels. "Effectively Wild" has to be the pick, simply for its added guitar punch, as if Boyracer themselves were taking on Summer Cats' superb high water mark "Your Timetable". This first outing more than justifies the Tangible Excitement! moniker, right down to that crucial exclamation mark.

Ginnels, in contrast to TE! feature absolutely nobody from any bands that we've been buying records by since approx the dawn of time, and are therefore forced to win us over entirely on their own merits. Which they do, consummately. It seems that Ginnels revolve around songwriter Mark Chester, who has an easy turn of phrase and a feel for blending glistening guitar tunes with thoughtful, sometimes anguished lyrics (when he coos & croons little storytelling phrases like "disappointed doesn't cover it..." we feel ourselves ever-so-slightly folding up inside). The galloping "My Eyes! My Ears" just about nudges in front of long-distance lament "Easier When I'm Gone" as our pick of their three songs here: don't sleep on this one.