Last week’s staff meeting descended into a piss-up that ALMOST COST KENNY HIS LIFE after the feckless wee man attempted an early-hours cycle ride home to Catford, having mistaken the ability to have a lucid conversation about Christoph de Babalon (or something) for ACTUAL LUCIDITY. We did warn him. Thankfully he DIDN’T die, but he did break his arm and his wrist, which is obviously no fun but has at least given him even more of an excuse than usual to sit around in his pants watchingHellraiser. Be sure to TUT the One Armed Man when you see him next.
Speaking of which, next Friday, 10th August, we’re having another in-store swally, BYO as usual, 6pm-11pm or something like that. This one’s a FRIENDS AND FAMALAM SPECIAL so come have a drink and buy some rekids while Meg, Jim, Estelle, Kenny, Carla, Sanjay (pictured above contemplating the ultimate fate of the CD) and JAMES SINGER serenade you. More details next week.
LOW COMPANY | LP | £12.99
Pristine rhythm and blooz for fugitive hearts from David C. Gray and Guy Gormley, recorded round the corner from the shop. The Word’s sleek, synthetic urban pastorals collapse the space between the OCD pop geometries of Pyrolator, the opaque art-ache of Eno’s Before & After Science, and the sloooooow, sweet seduction of choice Jam & Lewis productions. Romantic but ever so slightly paranoid, all muted lovelorn horns, sighing synths and playful bossa/house-wise drum loops, it’s true DIY in that it simply suits itself. Mostly instrumental, it's bookended by two Gray-sung songs, 'The Hours I Wait' and the title track: drifting, downbeat, quietly devastating things, with a blue-eyed soul vibe judged just right (down-at-heel not flash with cash), and echoes of Scritti, The Blue Nile, Gareth Williams, Disco Inferno, Fish From Tahiti… but really the The Word has a sadness and sway all its own, and above all it feels OF THE NOW: with tight, tucked-in arrangements and ultra-lucid production (a Gormley trademark, but especially apparent here) that leaves just enough space to dream. The original tape release on Jolly Discs last year was our first introduction to that outstanding label - and a rare example of music EVERYONE here could agree was genius. Bless them for consenting to this limited vinyl pressing, it's one we'll cherish for the rest of our sorry lives. Highest possible recommendation, obviously.
YOUTH | CD | £9.99
Andrew Lyster’s Youth (or is it YOUTH?) label follows a pretty impeccable run of 12”s from Yard, Shamos and Yugen Disciple with this winningly bolshy 18-track CD drop from FUMU. It’s the Manchester producer’s debut, in fact, and a promising one at that: a blistering, Robocop-grim showcase of hard-edged, sweaty-palmed industrial electro, wrong-techno and aggro hip-hop jams which (for us at least) hangs together brilliantly well, and without compromise. ‘Disto Beatz2’ and ‘3’ seem to channel the Bomb-Squad-on-a-budget sound-murdering of Criminal Minds and Unique 3, while '15’ sounds like a Sidewinder grime plate bitcrushed by Tad Mallinux. Elsewhere a path is plotted somewhere between, what, Neubauten’s abvant-bonehead klang, Final Cut’s mutant beat dance and Lego Feet’s B-boy cubism, but the vibe is very much FUTURE, whether on burned-out Memphis-via-Hulme low-riders like ‘Graveyard’ and the witchier ’Nununununun7oldold’, or exploring minimal dancehall (‘In The Darkness Girl’) or boinging breakbeat science (‘Untitled 5’). 'Late’, incidentally, sounds like it escaped from the Dust Brothers’ Fight Club soundtrack (in a good way honest!). It’s all pretty unrelentingly radgy, alienated-sounding stuff, but the quality is such that it doesn’t get tiring. I mean the fact that these EIGHTEEN tracks, far from outstaying their welcome, actually leave you wanting MORE, tells you all you need to know: FUMU’s one to watch, and this disc is a must for all paranoid anti-social beat-heads, which is what, at least 40% of yous reading this.
PRISONER OF SOUND | 2x12" | £24.99
Seminal Brum techno from Simple Elements aka House of God resident Nicky B. This rare double-pack, originally released in ’97 on Neil Macey's Ideal Trax, has accrued something close to legendary status, and it's easy to see why: er, it's f*****g great! Across six cuts Simple Elements channels some of the Downwards crew's imperious, drop-forge physicality but in the main it's a lusher, trippier, rootsier affair - far more in thrall to the classic Detroit techno shimmer that Neil Rushton and co flooded the Midlands with a few years earlier.
It's still raw, though, and very British-sounding...in fact sonically it's closest cousins are in early bleep’ n’ bass - particularly (and logically) the Network side of things (Nexus 21, Rhythmatic and the rest of the Bio Rhythm bods). Unlike that stuff though, 9.2%, came out in 1997 - and so in some ways its pointedly psychedelic but ultra-rugged, low-end-driven machine-funk must have sounded retro on arrival. Who knows. All we say for sure that this is timeless, transporting rave music - from the brawling, high-velocity title track (pure HoG no-coat-no-home abandon) to the moody, b-boys-on-acid electro of ‘R.E.C'. Check the clips!
C. MEMI + NEO MATISSE
NO CHOCOLATE / DREAM'S DREAM
BITTER LAKE | 7" | £13.99
Bitter Lake Records (Japan-o-centric reissue label run out of Material World store in NYC) realise the wet dreams of many current record seekers (yes, you at home with the unpaid Discogs invoice!) / hit a total bullseye with this limited re-run of the 1980, NOT ON LABEL, MINIMAL / EXPERIMENTAL…JAPANESE 7 INCH SINGLE - C. Memi’s 'No Chocolate' / 'Dreams Dream'.
Maybe 'No Chocolate' is the one for you, gleeful piano bashing and that new wave BOUNCE, but for us it’s the whacked-out flip, 'Dream's Dream', that steals the show. Absolutely no idea what Megumi Nagahara is singing about here, but her words are phrased with a MOST PLEASING rhythm that transports you back to the first time you heard Martin Rev's atonal, afflicted bleating. There's an immediacy here that you always hope will be part of any DIY project, it’s a personal, imaginative and timeless song that resonates in the moment while also boasting all the intrigue and mystique that you could hope for in that early-80s-German-sculptor-that-done-this-one-self-released-single-thats-really-hard-to-find-but-is-actually-quite-gnarly-and-could-totally-trip-out-a-dancefloor” shit.
Aye, 'Dream’s Dream' is full of impulse, most notably delivered by a shrieking winkle-pong synth (courtesy of Tohru Saitoh) that drives a spike through it’s slurred, enchanting rhythmic strut, its squeal, the only thing slapping you out of the tense cowbell clank of this totally off the hinges, woman-from-the-moon, ritualistic dance.
Not entirely sure if this one will speak to everyone who copped the recent reissue of the Heavenly Peace 12", this 7” came three years earlier and feels far less refined, less sure of itself - and in the best way possible. But also tougher. More leather jacket than pyjamas!
Limited copies of this in stock now, act fast to avoid that 'orrible NO CHOCOLATE feeling.
YOU / KING OF THE BEATS
DOM & ROLAND PRODUCTIONS | 12" | £10.99
Ugh! Dom & Roland blow the cobwebs off what is surely the tuffest of the unreleased Dillinja dubplates that ex RAVERS turned Youtube gawkers / Discogs contributors have coveted for all these years.
'You', hammered out in ’94, sports some fearless filter dread whilst descending into timeless drum-hurricanes akin to DJ Fokus / Akustik Research, all the carnage rolling under an unsettling, don’t-push-your-luck tone float that helps you catch you bearings for just a brief moment, before being dragged back under and into the inimitable Dillinja death-roll. 'King Of The Beats' on the flip has a tighter, JUMP UP swagger that feels as though it could have been written a bit later on in the heyday, it’s relentless torque sharing more with ’95 and onwards Ed Rush / No U Turn style sounds.
D&R spoiling us rotten with this one! Gold Vinyl (why?!) and edition of just 200.
IRON LUNG | 7" | £11.99
Punk in essence/origin only on this top new 7” from Iron Lung, which seems more interested in droning industrial dankery and brittle, brain-damaged drum-machine/art-rock minimalism than, you know, the other stuff. Atmospheric, above all, in a harrowing, suffocating sort of way: the kind of leering, bloodthirsty take on Fourth World tropes that has more in common with Force Publique Congo or Whitehouse’s Racketthan Jon Hassell. Brilliant!