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Physical Format-20190724

This is being written on the last day of May, practically two months before it will be published, so who knows what may happen between now and then regards the Flying Vinyl singles I'm trying to offload? The Blinders' 'Rat In A Cage' went off to its new home this lunchtime and I'm fitting in the final five discs of this less than rewarding experiment at helping new acts, in before dinner.
 
Firstly, with one of the better bits of cover art the series has had in the past 18 months, are the duo Black Futures. Sigue Sigue Sputnik come to mind at the start of 'Tunnel Vision' but their pounding industrial sound has elements of NIN etc. as you'd expect at the mention of the i word. It bowls along at a good pace and, although a bit repetitive by the end, is definitely one of the better tunes I've heard whilst writing these pieces. The B side's just a remix of the A side and a boringly slow one at that. Facebook shows the duo to be currently very active.
 
Annabel Allum has a decent line in rocky singer-songwriter stuff on 'Be Mine'. Think Hazel O'Connor meets Joan Armatrading, or Courtney Barnett aping PJ Harvey for younger readers. 'Peachy Keen' (the second time in two months a song with that title has appeared) is a moodier piece of work but still has a pleasing weight and punch at times. A very accomplished double sider. Annabel's site shows she has a few gigs coming up.
 
Do Nothing look like young farmers at leisure in their booklet photo but apparently they inspire mosh-pits. 'Gangs' doesn't seem to be in any danger of doing that, sounding as it does like Gene or a similar second tier indie act from a couple of decades ago. 'Handshakes' displays some funky bass runs during it's couple of minutes and this is obviously where the LCD Soundsystem/Talking Heads mentions in the booklet are targeted. It's not bad but danceable rather than moshable, if a bit overlong. Facebook shows them to be doing gigs over the coming months.
 
Lacuna Common are also apparently in the mosh-pit business. A gruff-voiced Libertines is roughly what they sound like on 'Not The Same'. I expect they're fun live in a small venue. 'Under The Lamplight' pounds along in a similar jaunty manner to the A side. Resorting to Facebook again we see that the band round of a short tour at Truck Festival later this week.
 
Lastly, Chloe Bodur is who you're looking for if you're a Sade fan. 'Billie' features warped sounds but unfortunately it's also one of those discs which sound wonky to the extent that I have to check whether the turntable's suddenly decided to go slow. 'Glory' sounds perfectly normal, however, but it's in no way my sort of thing. Social media shows Chloe's still promoting 'Billie'.
 
And there you have it, 22 months of tunes written up over 22 weeks, with the overall conclusion that the £440 shelled out could have been better spent elsewhere. Ah well.
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Physical Format-20190717

 
Whenyoung have The Cranberries amongst their influences, so that's already got me wary. 'Never Let Go' brings Runrig to mind. As well as Eurovision. Lighters-in-the-air stadium crowds are what their anthemic sound aspires to. Good luck to them if they reach that point. 'Future' has a musical affinity with Snow Patrol and has a more propulsive beat to its indie rock formula. The band's site shows they have a number of live dates in the UK & Europe during summer and autumn.
 
Tusks "formulates indie fusions" says the tongue twister in the accompanying booklet. 'Be Mine' is one of those electronic tracks which are probably better experienced live but you'd maybe still have doubts before going to the show. It also stops too soon. 'Peachy Keen' (or Peen as the booklet states) starts off rather industrially then plods along in a maudlin fashion. Tusks' site shows there is now an album out & some shows booked in Germany for mid-September.
 
With a name like The Blinders I was expecting a lot from the next band. Much like The Killers, however, their name's harder than their sound. This has all been done so much better before. 'Rat In A Cage' plods along and then gets into second gear for the choruses. Think Black Rebel Motorcycle Club doing one of their slower numbers. 'Nuclear Love' aims for tearjerking but who cares? The good thing is you can turn it off. The band's site shows they have a pretty full live calendar at home & abroad for the rest of the year.
 
Hotel Lux are coming in on the coattails of Idles, Slaves and the rest of the first wave of socially conscious lad rock that's popular just now. This lot are more like Madness though on the knees-up of 'English Disease'. 'Charades' is much the same, with a smidgen of Ian Dury added in. Facebook shows the band are still active.
 
Lazy Day vocalist Tilly apparently has evocative warbles. 'Tell Me' certainly shows her voice off to good effect but overall the song's not memorable. The indie quartet's second track, 'Weird Cool', sounds a bit like Sleeper (a filler album track maybe) but has nothing about it to hold your attention. The band's site shows they have a few live dates coming up in the autumn.
 
Whew, only one more set of discs and oddly worded booklet to wade through and then that's it for me and Flying Vinyl, other than to hopefully post out the discs which sell, say goodbye to others at the flea market or try to do something constructive with the coloured ones whilst the black discs go off to become a charity shop's problem. From the above, since originally writing the bulk of the piece, the Blinders & Hotel Lux discs have brought in a few quid so there's hope for the rest yet.
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Physical Format-20190710

It appears I spoke too soon regarding the number of weeks left of this column as the May box arrived through my door yesterday (May 28th) so two more lots of waffle after this one rather than one.

In other news though the disc by Cleopatrick from a column or two ago has sold in recent days, bringing in a few £ so there's hope that some of the rest will sell yet.
 
This time around we begin with another Canadian duo, B.B. Except there are three names on the back of the 7" cover so maybe, a la Dream Wife, their drummer is some kind of non-person. 'Drowning' has obvious shades of L7 & Deap Vally about it, with a bit of surf twang thrown in. Streets ahead of anything similar UK Flying Vinyl acts are producing anyway. 'Nu Blue' takes the surf element a bit further. A very good start to this particular box. Facebook shows the band are doing stuff throughout 2019.
 
Jagara are the second band I've come across in this series who have a two tracker disc described as an EP. Hard to see how that extends things past the length of a single. Anyway, musically they're style is yearning, angsty electro-pop. 'Twice' and 'Real Love' are pretty formulaic, Radio 1-friendly numbers. The band seem to have stopped updating their Facebook page in spring 2018 so your guess is as good as mine as to what they're up to now.
 
Laulia are an indie rock act. 'Burning Out' aims to be anthemic but fails to set the heather on fire whilst 'Machines' is a softer prospect the likes of which you've heard many times before. The band at least have their own site but no gigs past spring this year it seems.
 
Safe To Swim have a bit of Wavves' sound about them. 'Make Things Like They Used To Be' moves along at a good pace and is generally fun but, if that's the best they have then it's still not much. 'Friends' is not as good as the A side. Facebook shows the band had a new track released last week.
 
Food this time around comes in the shape of Mystic Peach. 'Across The Pond' gets a bit muscular and they can growl a bit as well as sing but there's no real hook in this shoegaze/brit-pop/'psych' melange. 'Normal' is a more dramatic song but again it kind of washes over me. The band are still promoting 'Across The Pond' and have been quiet on Facebook for about a month.
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Physical Format-20190703

 
Hey Charlie returned to Flying Vinyl in February of this year, getting the pink vinyl treatment for 'Bad Things' (a heavyweight pop thumper) and 'Electric Dream', more emphasis on the pop here. Both are reasonable with the latter bringing Ash to mind at points. The group's Facebook shows they now seem to be a duo and are on tour for a week in England this month.
 
'On The Subject Of Breathing' doesn't seem like the sort of catchy title that will rhyme easily or be shouted out by stadium audiences. Bryde has it as the A side on her single here though and it's as angsty and heartfelt as the name would have you expect. 'To Be Brave' sounds a bit like The Cranberries. Bryde's website indicates she's playing the SWN Festival in October.
 
Moreish Idols (the worst name this month) will apparently "always leave you wanting more". In the case of 'JnT' it's more earplugs. This smooth, pervy crooning song is laughable. 'Electric Beach' isn't any better. Whoever's not needed anymore in the subject matter of the song is far better off. Unsurprisingly it's the flea market box for this rubbish. Head over to the band's Facebook page if you want to help fund their next video.
 
Spinn are another act keeping stammers in band names alive. 'Notice Me' and 'Shallow' are decent, jangly indie numbers from a quartet who seem like likeable types. Since writing this the disc has been bought by someone in Japan for £11. The group's Facebook page shows they have an album out and will be touring the UK at the end of November/start of December.
 
Seafret end this month with the orange vinyl single. 'Monsters' and 'Can't Look Away' are both decked out in the tropes of indie rock, to no special effect. Anthem fans will probably be well served though. The band's website shows they have two gigs in Brazil this week.
 
Raced through that lot, chucking the word count rule to the winds. Just so little that's possible to say about such generally average music.
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Physical Format-20190626

 
And we're into 2019. Only this and three more weeks of me finding it hard to see any redeeming features in most of the music Flying Vinyl have been releasing, which no doubt makes everyone happy. As an aside though no further sales have been made via Discogs at time of writing (May) so that may be relevant.
 
Right from reading their name I dislike Dahlia Sleeps. As soon as the needle hits their white vinyl my dislike is confirmed. Hold on while I go and turn it off. 'Love, Lost' is one of the drippiest songs I've heard whilst writing this column. Get over it. 'Settle Down' is a bit more like White Lies in pace & weight and indeed has me seeing the quartet in a new light. It would have been a good contender at Eurovision, rather than the lad in jeggings. No one seems to want it on Discogs though so it's flea market bound. Twitter shows the band have a tie-in with Ellesse and are working on new material.
 
Ivory Wave are seemingly trying to be the new Flowered Up. It's probably rather discourteous to mention Oasis in connection with them as the booklet this month does. 'Separate Beat', at least musically, owes more to the wackier group although the vocals do sound a bit desperate to conjure up Gallagher junior at times. 'Club' is a bit more Happy Mondays-like. Facebook shows the band to have a few live dates between now and the end of August.
 
Miqui Brightside's 'Panorama' is a wobbly, drunken slice of electro-pop, the core tune of which quickly becomes annoying. B side 'Burning Bridges' employs the talents of Adriana Proenza to mumble unintelligibly and then witter over it at points, in the age old game of trying to work out why one is no longer wanted. Facebook shows Miqui to be keeping his hand in DJing.
 
The Starlight Magic Hour are trying to hard to create some after-hours, singalong thing on 'Song To Bethy'. Convinced the pressing's iffy too. 'I Am The Swan To Your Song' is a bit better in a Bonzo Dog Band vein. Facebook shows the band have a gig i Manchester in the middle of August.
 
"Vistas are the Edinburgh trio making fiery indie-rock". The only one. In the whole city. And no one I know in town has yet mentioned them to me. That aside 'Fade' isn't bad. It races along anyway. Like a cheerier Hookworms (if one can yet mention them in polite company). I'd stick around to watch a number or two if I stumbled upon them at a festival but I'd not make the effort to walk in to town and see a whole show. 'Like An American' has a more mainstream, anthemic sound about it. Possibly addressing the subject of the city's yearly tourist invasion. The band's website reveals they have a slew of live dates coming up across the UK, particularly in October.
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Physical Format-20190619

The final five discs of 2018 start with Lady Bird (on the near obligatory orange vinyl) and the socially conscious 'Reprisal' and 'Shag Tally'. The trio are on the roster of Slaves' label & that comes as no surprise, given the mainstream modern punky sound they purvey. Nice inclusion of some organ on both tracks though, which lifts it a bit above the herd. Facebook shows the band have an active summer ahead.
 
Bessie Turner is unfortunate enough to get one of the wonky discs that periodically come out on Flying Vinyl (most seem to be the purple ones) but, as I'm never that bothered by singer-songwriters 'Nino' and 'Abseil' don't sound like my cup of tea anyway. Pleasant enough but easy to pass over. Bessie seems to have a fair amount of online coverage but no site or page showing here current doings.
 
Superego are this month's group with a Miles Hunt-alike in their ranks. Apparently they're "the four-piece who've been slowly crafting their sound on the underground scene". The only one. In the whole world, at least five months ago they were. 'Sleep' chugs along but sounds like it would be pretty boring live. 'Black Balloon' is rather quiet in comparison. Even the bits that are obviously meant to be loud. Soundgarden they are not. The band seem to only have a Twitter account to highlight what they're up to but they're obviously active.
 
Doubling up random letters in your band name seems to still be a thing for Llovers (who're definitely not Welsh). The Lego Ninjago Movie comes to mind. More '80s (via Suede) stuff going on here on lead track 'Go Get Her, Go Getter', a piece of wordplay all their own it seems. It's shiny. 'Without You' is yearning and slow. At least up to the point I stop listening at. Facebook shows the band to have had a new single out last month.
 
Cleopatrick are Canadian and manage to sound more accomplished than most of the Flying Vinyl UK bands within about two seconds. 'Hometown' has a very pleasing weight of grunge about it. This is the best tune to come out of one of these boxes for months. 'Youth' repeats the feat on the B side, albeit with a more considered approach. Still a good double-header though. Five months in to 2019 though and I for one have failed to see more of the duo, despite the booklet's assertion to the contrary. The band's site shows they've a couple of UK dates next month though so those may go some way towards raising their profile.
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