Saturday, December 24, 2016

Singles of the year: 71-80


Welcome back to in love with these times, in spite of these times, the fanzine that has just discovered that Catapult and the Windmills (i.e. two of the best bands of all time) were once on the same record label… if anyone can tell us more about the dispiritingly short-lived S.T.S. Records (we’ve already checked out their old mailing address on the Holloway Road, without success) then, please, DO.

71. Corrupt Moral Altar / Hicks Kinison split (Fat Ass Records)

Shouty all-action split 7” as the barnstorming Liverpudlian combo Corrupt Moral Altar, who wowed us at the Garage back in Jan supporting Venomous Concept, share four tracks of vinyl with girl-fronted Portuguese grindsters Hicks-Kinison (well, Portuguese except for their bassist, because of course they also turn out to be one Shane Embury’s 119th band).

72. Brakeman ft. Footsie "What You Working With?" (Soul Music)

On “What You Working With?” young Brakeman, declaiming over slabs of icy, knife-scraping Iron Soul production, is very clear that you don’t want to end up 'like Byron'. We’re attuned enough to our own deficiencies to know that he probably doesn’t mean the late Lord B. of lolling-around-Lake Geneva fame, though it would be a bonus if he did.

73. Karen “Ocean” (via Music Glue, we think)

Davey Woodward’s latest project, Karen, deliver the appropriately glimmering “Ocean”, which is both slow-burn and feral, and puts me in a Bristol state of mind: maybe Kyoko vs Forest Giants vs the undersold brittleness of some of DW’s slept-on solo thing “6 Miles East Of Here, 5 Miles North Of Nowhere”. Our copy of this one didn’t arrive, but we’re content to put that down to “corrupt postman” (obscureish ‘we were there in the 80s’ lo-fi cassette-based reference there) rather than docking the lads of Karen due kudos or chart-ranking points.

74. Darkness "Arrogant Stance (Eski Thug)" (Triangulum)

Nothing to do with The Darkness, now best known round our way for appearing on the takeaway menu of a certain Indian restaurant, a menu which garlands our doormat on the regular (the band are featured as being 'celebrity' frequenters of said establishment, rather than having now turned their own primary attention to the purveying of exotic cuisine). Instead, this is the usual cast of grime thousands, including Nico Lindsay and Triangulum’s own Ghostly, getting tooled up in order to set a proto-eski retro banger utterly aflame.

75. Rabit & Dedekind Cut “R&D” EP (Ninja Tune)

Rabit teams with Dedekind Cut (aka Lee Bannon) for two sides of cut-up ambient noise / dance madness with “R&D”, very loosely carved into four tracks over 12" which collide styles and rhythms with such verve that we’d almost believe this was on Swarf Finger (how we miss them). “R&D – IV” settles into an almost commercial, looped vocal-sample dance groove equal parts Burial and Pariah’s “Detroit Falls” (2010, #42) but there’s plenty of fun to be had before that as jarring drum & bass segments flirt with calm neo-classical packages and lashings of electronic noise.

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

And our own wise ol’ man reviewed this one, back in those halcyon days of BEFORE EVERYTHING WENT WRONG.

77. Manhattan Love Suicides “Look Who’s Coming To Town (Please Let It Snow)” (Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club)

I’m really pretty sure that the Manhattan Love Suicides split up some years ago. I distinctly remember being quite upset about it, given how crucial & *alive* their records were and how much I enjoyed watching them play (their classic 15-minute set at Spiral Scratch lives with me to this day, and their LDN baptism at the Luminaire wasn't far behind).

Anyway, I have to say that the Manhattans’ model for splitting up (i.e. carrying on releasing records – also known as the Boyracer model) suits me down to the ground, and on this evidence it should be adopted by more great bands that have broken up. For this is one of the few Xmas singles that would be excellent even if Caroline was singing about Easter or lost love or canoeing or whatever instead: classic MLS fuzz and fury, punctuated by a glorious, breathy, snowflake-frosted slow section. Even better, in fact, than their OddBox single in the very early throes of 2016, the gloriously heady "Bikini Party / Birthday Kill".

78. Manipulate “Becoming Madness EP” (Flatspot)

Mainly for the tower of power that is “Beaten Path”, a song which swaggers into view with a blinding grindcore riff before shapeshifting into some proper stomping lean street, mean guy New York hardcore.

79. Joker Starr “Shottas” (Boot) 

Betjeman might have reconsidered his views on Slough if he’d copped this 7”. As we hinted in the spring it’s, um, the bomb.

80. Pale Spectres “Your Boyfriend’s Girlfriend” (self-release?)

This charming lo-fi French old school indiepop toe-tapper recalls a mix of Pale Sunday and ‘milky tea’-era Secret Shine (you know, “After Years”, “Unbearable”). Transpires that they’ve also got a 7” coming out on Cloudberry, which is none too shabby either.

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