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Physical Format-20190612

Fickle Friends are the first act in the November Flying Vinyl box. Unfortunately they aren't featured in the accompanying booklet so I've no further information about them other than that they get three tracks on their transparent green 45 - 'Broken Sleep', an upbeat slice of pop if ever there was one. A summer song released at the end of autumn. 'The Moment', more of the same. Thankfully seemingly light on the autotune (if used at all) and 'San Francisco' again with the poppy and pleasant air. Each tune deserves a bit of attention this summer if they're lucky. The internet shows the band have played the Far East but not released any new music for a while.
 
Secondly, on red vinyl, we have Bristolians Swimming Girls doing their bit for the '80s revival. 'Back Of Your Car' is nicely upbeat but the lyrics are nothing special and overall it's forgettable compared to the Fickle Friends songs. 'Asking For It' is slower and again nothing of note. They've not risen any in my estimation since their 2017 release. The band's site shows they've just begun playing a few festival dates in Great Britain.
 
Eliza Shaddad has a breathy singing voice. Not unpleasant but 'This Is My Cue' is in no way the sort of thing I'd choose to listen to. all a bit too angsty as it gets going. 'Just Goes To Show' is a bit more considered but still strives towards the anthemic at times. Well crafted and she probably deserves better attention on the back of it. Eliza's site shows she has one live date coming up.
 
Loners apparently have the "undertones of the anthemic early '00s indie" in their sound but all I'm getting is more '80s and Erasure on 'He Looks Like Me'. Less Erasure and more Simple Minds on 'Give Up', which I do before the halfway point. Facebook indicates it's a slow process for new music coming out.
 
Lucy Lu's cover for 'Adonis'/'Down For The Third Time' flatters to deceive, giving the false impression that you'll be in for some muscular jazz funk. Instead you get fairly tepid and unmemorable modern soul. Definitely not my choice for the soundtrack of my lazy Sunday morning, unless by way of encouraging me to get up so as to turn it off. No one seems to want it on Discogs either so it's into the flea market pile. The band's site shows they have one live date still to come this summer.
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Physical Format-20190605

No September review folks as someone at the pressing plant or Flying Vinyl HQ left my discs for that month shrink wrapped so they're up for sale in mint nick, much as I think I like Kagoule and a couple of the other discs actually looked interesting. If only I could download the tracks to find out ...
 
Anyway, October 2018 instead and first up are Black Honey, who I think I disliked last time they featured in a box. Apparently they've "stormed the charts" since then, which says a lot about that institution and why many people pay no attention to them. 'Blue Romance' passes by barely noticed as I'm typing the above and 'Crowded City' isn't too bad, in a Gwen Stefani-like way when it cuts loose but outside of those bits it plods. The band's site shows them to be touring Europe & England over the summer.
 
Nancy get a nice purple vinyl disc for the oddly wobbly 'Teenage Fantasy'. Think Tame Impala and you'll know what to expect. The B side just features a remix of the A side so nothing very special overall. Facebook shows the band are still active.
 
Elle Musa has a nice voice. 'Lime Green' is pleasant, in the singer-songwriter vein. It could though be any number of falsetto-voiced folk singing and strumming away. It's also a very short song. 'Rosa & Henri' adds a piano to the mix and things come over all Amelie OST. Pleasant. Facebook advises that Elle now has an album out.
 
Mint (this week's other act who are likely hard to find online) hail from Grimsby and are another act seemingly styling themselves on The Wonder Stuff, if their photo's anything to go by. 'Nothing Seems To Get Me High' is a pretty good track in the thumpy/shouty vein of rock. The band have elements of The Hives in their sound but, as seems to be the case often with songs in this column, the track ends too soon. 'Superglue' chugs along at a good pace but there's a comedic element about the band's sound which makes it hard to take the whole thing seriously. Maybe that's the point - they're here for a good time not a long one. Overblown solos abound but this time the unexpected ending is pulled off fine. Have a click on the band's site to see what they're up to at present.
 
Blood Red Shoes are an act I'm surprised to see in this box, thinking them a bigger act than would need the association. Here they are though with 'Mexican Dress' and 'Beverly'. Our regular contributor (and instagram guru) Steven is a big fan of the duo but I've never been bitten deep by their work. This single seems unlikely to change that. The A side is efficiently melodic and a bit dark with a tune which, if heard repeatedly might be something you'd find yourself humming snatches of. As I'll only be playing it once that won't happen here. 'Beverly' goes down the moody & slow route. Fine if you like that kind of thing but I don't get past halfway. The web shows the duo are touring Europe & the UK from now until the end of November.
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Physical Format-20190529

So I've finally gone and done it. The email to cancel my Flying Vinyl subscription has gone in. Originally the intention was to do it after having reviewed all of the releases I have but, given the chances of me suddenly finding I want to keep all 50 of the discs remaining to be written up are slim, it felt right to pull the plug now. The label's 50th box was waiting for me when I got back from holiday in the first week of this month (when this is being written) and the contents were visually unappealing and the assumption is that the music will be too. The box also had some rubbish on it about your music collection resembling your coffee collection. Who collects coffee?

Everything's being got rid of one way or the other after being played for review purposes too. The chances of future plays are near zero for any of those I've kept hold of up to now (the Pip Blom disc is the only one I can think of which could well get that, or the Theo Verney one) and I need the space for the numerous good singles from my youth that I want to keep. Those won't get may more plays over the years either but that's beside the point.

Which fate then awaits the releases from August 2018? Discogs or the fleamarket for someone to take a 50p punt on?

That month found the orange vinyl going to Bad Sounds with 'Couldn't Give It Away' and 'Honestly'. Poppy and upbeat though it is the first track has no depth and is totally disposable. 'Honestly' sounds a bit like De La Soul round about when they first started. Amusing but not really funny so clearly one for folk already into that sort of thing rather than me. The duo's site shows they have an album out but no upcoming live shows.

Fur (a band probably destined to be hard to find online) get the clear vinyl this time around. 'If You Know That I'm Lonely' has a pleasing indie jangle and pacing to it, bringing to mind more the likes of Peter & Gordon rather than The Beach Boys, if we're sticking with the booklet '60s comparisons. B side 'What Would I Do' has a definite 'last dance' thing going on. It's even better than the first track (apart from the sudden ending) and I'd keep it in a flash but it seems to command good money on Discogs so on it goes. Facebook shows the band will be on tour in the UK in the autumn.
 
Citrus Heights first track is called 'Vanilla' and it's a wholly apt name. Limp and weak as piss. 'Lovers' seems like wishful thinking on the band's part. Wedding band material. Facebook shows the band have a new song out and will have played a show by the time this column is published.
 
Sports (another bunch it may be hard to search for on the web) start things off on 'Shiggy' with a meaty bit of synth. They and the previous band share a bit of '80s smoothness but there's more conviction here and the American trio would steal Citrus Heights' dates with barely any effort. 'Don't Tell Me' is a pacier, funkier affair and less to my taste in this genre but it's still obviously an accomplished track which would fill the dancefloor. The ending's a bit weak though. The band are still active online although not much in the past couple of months.
 
Last up this time around are Yassassin with 'Wreckless' and 'Sinner'. Imagine Elastica's comeback and you're in the same room as this lot. Except they seem to be doing it at half speed. 'Sinner's a bit quicker but still a mite ploddy. Not the sort of thing that would encourage me to seek them out live, on the off chance that they liven up when on stage. By the time you read this the band will have played at The Great Escape & maybe have some other new information on social media.
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Physical Format-20190522

It's a few weeks since I last wrote one of these columns, having bunched a few together in advance of going away at Easter but, with one lot of holidays done and the summer ones within sight, it's time to get on to July of 2018's Flying Vinyl box.
 
Since last actually writing there's been a Discogs sale - £2.50 for the Boniface single to someone in Poland. There's hope yet then that the other discs I'm wanting rid of will also shift.
 
The Night Cafe get a cheery orange vinyl for their songs 'Turn' and 'Felicity'. The latter is thankfully not a cover of the Orange Juice number. On both tracks they get a decent bit of shoegaze/indie guitar going without overblowing it. Pleasant stuff which I'll be keeping although, having not heard their name mentioned before digging the disc out tonight I'm presuming I'll not find much action about them when I have a look online for the current state of their affairs. The band's Facebook shows they're debut album will be out in the autumn, which is probably more than I was expecting.
 
Tempesst are London-based Aussies (at least they were last summer) who resemble The Wonder Stuff a bit. 'Doomsday' was supposedly one of the 'psych-rock hits of your summer' but it must have happened when I wasn't looking. They have a big sound which would no doubt reach apogee if they ever get to play stadiums but, as it goes, the strings bring to mind late Verve. 'Roller Coaster' feels more like ABC. Smooth with strings. Okay but hardly psych by any stretch. Keeping it for now though. Facebook shows the quintet are still plugging away at it.
 
The Flying Vinyl discs have some truly awful covers. Sports Team's 'Liberal Friends'/'Stanton' is definitely one of the worst, a shit bust of Charles & Diana (the point obviously being to be crap but still). Their name rang a vague bell but it seems that they're not in fact who I thought, which is handy as they're nothing special. Plodding, mid-paced indie and a singer who sounds as if he apes Bryan Ferry on stage. Something North of a tenner is apparently possible on Discogs so listed it is. Facebook reveals the band have played a couple of festivals this year so no doubt they'll be doing a few more of those over the summer.
 
Krush Puppies and Good Foxy also have rubbish covers. The former do at least have the better name of the two.
 
'Petal Head' is a moody, breathy effort to start off as it plods along. The guitars go a bit Elastica then its back to plodding. On 'Passata' the vibe is lighter but unfortunately to the point of inconsequence. No one seems interested on Discogs so off to the fleamarket it goes. The band seem to have been quiet since February 2019, according to Facebook.
 
Good Foxy are apparently a quartet yet their booklet photos contain five blokes. They're also apparently 're-energising '60s psych-rock'. So much so that of course they've become massive since last summer and there's no point in me reviewing 'Winning Man' or 'Don't Get It'. Part of that last statement is at least true. Another one for the fleamarket. The band's website shows them to have a few live dates in the coming months.
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Physical Format-20190515

Things don't begin particularly summery with the June 2018 selection from Flying Vinyl. Nova Twins' Skunk Anansie meets The Prodigy sound is as heavy as that description is intended to convey. 'Hit Girl' pounds away with stacks of attitude and anger infused through it. 'Lose Your Head' does pretty much the same thing, although it lacks a hook & I barely took it in as I was typing a message whilst it was on. I think I've filled all the head space I have for this sort of thing so it's going up for sale. The duo have a new single coming out in the near future, according to Facebook.
 
Premium Leisure apparently curate their rock (so says the booklet this month), whatever that's supposed to mean. 'Water Pistol' doesn't make me think "classic rock 'n' roll" so that's another badly written element of the blurb. It's okay; no edges and no hooks but inoffensive. Like George Harrison's comeback in the late '80s. 'Gold Tunes' is more of the same. No one seems to want it on Discogs so it's into the fleamarket box. The act seems to have little online presence and to have been quite quiet since last summer.
 
Paris Youth Foundation (from Liverpool) get off to a good start with the sprightly paced 'The Off Button'. There's a good mix of synth-backed bits and guitar-heavy passages and I find myself comfortably nodding along to it. 'London', on the flip side, is a bit less accomplished and Snow Patrol-like but it's the second song so who ever plays those anyway? The band have a few live dates coming up this month.
 
Kashmere, from their photo, look like they enjoy Kasabian via Manic Street Preachers. 'Tokyo' fits firmly into the post-Britpop landfill indie bracket so that impression wasn't too far off although it does kind of come into its own just as it's winding to a close. 'Codeine' is thankfully not another version of that much covered '60s track but is rather more polished and synth-driven than the A side. Someone's apparently so loveable they're as addictive as the drug. Holy moly. Unsurprisingly the chances of a sale on Discogs appear slim but it's listed anyway. The group seem to have released no music in the past few months but do have a new badge for sale.
 
The Pale White also seem to be channeling Kasabian a bit on 'Loveless' and, as the track progresses I find myself thinking about Secret Machines, who I streamed earlier today having been reminded of them whilst getting rid of the singles I'd bought years ago. Decent enough indie rock which didn't find major favour & seems to have seen them disappear after only a few years. Unfortunately I predict the same for this trio. 'Peace Of Mind' is a grittier affair than the first track, however, and I find myself warming to the group. This one stays with me for now. The band toured Northern Britain earlier this year but their own site lacks any further information just now.
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Physical Format-20190508

And we're at the 12 month mark! At this rate I'll be cancelling my subscription by the end of the summer, or sooner if I keep getting more than five discs dealt with at a time.
 
Whilst typing the above the scarlet 7" by Ten Tonnes has been spinning. The stage name of Ethan Barnett, 'Cracks Between' is decently listenable '90s indie, albeit I'm not grabbed enough to play it twice. 'Lay It On Me' is equally Radio 2-friendly but not for me in the long run. You can order the debut, self-titled Ten Tonnes album, out May 03, here.
 
Hatchie also has a '90s feel to her sound but there's a catchier element to 'Sugar & Spice' without it descending into pop dross. 'Sure' though starts off rather too slowly for my taste and then becomes formulaic. The best part of £20 could be mine according to Discogs so it's on the list. Hatchie has just finished a tour of the USA and UK dates for the summer can be found here.
 
Husky Loops I've already heard of but have no recollection of hearing. 'When I Come Home' is a pretty slow and ponderous semi-acoustic effort, with a kind of crap rap in the middle. 'Daft' is apparently the sort of song they more usually do. It's a bit like Arctic Monkeys on their third album, if a bit slower. Not a good advert for seeing them live. On to the Discogs inventory for this clear disc too. The band's website seems to indicate they've not much going on at the moment.
 
For four lads to all agree that The Old Pink House is a good name for a band is pretty amazing. The Geordie quartet have a bit of the Maximo Park about their sound on 'Jaded' whilst 'Black Hole' (very topical at the time of writing this review) plods along easily enough at a reasonably upbeat pace but neither song's that exciting and they don't sound like they'll ever make that much of a splash. Like Husky Loops there's little seemingly going on with the band online just now.
 
Calpurnia are signed to Transgressive and there seems to be a trend that the discs co-produced with that label end up on Discogs for sure. Then again I've got rid of nine of the ten I've been playing tonight so that statistic probably means little.
 
'Greyhound' has quite an AOR-ish guitar solo at one point and 'Louie' also manages to sound far older than the combined ages of the four band members. It's in fact very good. And, now that I've re-read the booklet I remember that one of the quartet is the lad who plays one of the main characters in Stranger Things, Finn Wolfhard (the lads from Newcastle might want to appropriate that as a better band name). Keeping it for now but it's also listed as future plays will no doubt never happen. Again they seem to have not much in their diaries for the coming months.
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