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Physical Format-20190227

  • Published in Columns
Edition two of our new irregular column finds us progressing into August 2017 with the Flying Vinyl selection for that month. Three of July's releases were culled from the collection after the previous column so let's see how many survive this time.
First up, on transparent rose-coloured vinyl, were Estrons with 'Strobe Lights' backed with 'Glasgow Kisses'. The A side's a punchy, speedy & nonsense-free introduction to the Glaswegian group, marred only by the fact that my copy appears to have a jump in it. Getting five singles new for £20 unfortunately maybe means a drop off in the quality of the manufacture. The B Side is more of the same (minus the jump) and is over way to soon. Another good initial disc. Fast forwarding to 2019 and the band had a new video out last month (here) and hit the road on tour next month. Their sound appears to have gone a bit pop unfortunately. 
Reading's Palm Honey offer up 'Starving Hysterical Naked', one song split into two parts over the sides of their disc. This month's booklet describes the song as "expansive" but, by the halfway point of Part One I can only imagine it boring me senseless if experienced live. Just after typing that last sentence it actually went silent, before lumbering back into a bit of riffing. A CD would possibly have given this the release it deserved (or an mp3 ...), so as to see what the band were trying to do over the length of the whole piece but, as it is, the whimsy that turns up in Part Two (there are also tortuous guitar strangling bits) just sounds like they're trying too hard at too many things. It seems to be about suicide though. According to Facebook the band have done nothing since May 2018, although that could be fake news.
Hey Charlie get transparent red for their single (an EP has more than two tracks) 'Young & Lonesome' and 'She Looks Like A Dreamer'. 18 months ago their name was apparently "on the tips of everyone's tongues". Surely not for the A side here, which is a dull plodder if ever there was one. They manage though to dig out a funky bassline, some swearing and a good, meaty riff on the second song, however (causing my girlfriend to compare them to L7, though apparently unfavourably). For me though this track has a lot going for it. The trio are finishing a headline tour of the UK as this piece is published and have festival dates later in the year.
On the month's penultimate disc JW Ridley gives us 'Blitz' & '1990'. The first song has a broody, darkwave thing going on and The Smiths are an obvious comparison too. Hearing this now it's actually a surprise it doesn't ring a bell, given that it sounds good enough to have deserved radio play at the time. '1990' is a slower effort, perfectly suited to its place on the disc. Lovers being emotionally reunited in a film is what this could score. JW has live dates coming up in the UK in Spring and a new video here.
Finally for this time around we get to London duo Sides, performing 'Feel Better' and 'Do Tell'. "Inoffensive pop" is the first thing that comes into my head as the needle progesses around the A side. It's pretty danceable too. Possibly it overstays its welcome just a tad by the end. 'Do Tell' is more of the same (as if it would be radically different). Pleasant and equally of use in public spaces on a low volume or in more social environments to break down those inhibitions. Due to their name ithe internet is throwing up a lot of stuff clearly nothing to do with the duo (& I doubt they've morphed into a metalcore quintet) so unfortunately I've no idea what they're up to right now.
Only one culled this week.

Physical Format-20190220

  • Published in Columns


Having finally plugged my speakers back into my amp after relocating the stereo & jettisoning the CD player (and slowly trying to flog off the discs) it’s now possible for me to play the Flying Vinyl 7”s I’ve been amassing since July 2017. I’d have heard the tunes way before now if not for the subscription label’s anti-digital stance. Not a drama as that was clear from the start. There’s something like 200 songs to be got through so let’s crack on with the first month I received.

Taking them in the order displayed on the front of the accompanying pamphlet first up is Bloody Knees with 'Not Done' and 'I Want It All' (hopefully not a cover of the Queen song). The A side actually rings a vague bell so this is probably one of the months selections which actually got a play at the time of release. 'Not Done' is well weighted, fun & crunchy with an obviously pit-inducing pace and enjoyably anthemic lyrics which are howled out for the duration. 'I Want It All' is slower & more grunge than punk so, whilst an obvious B side I can't say it pushes any buttons for me. They appear to have been quiet since the release of their You Can Have It album last October.

Next up is Mellow Gang with 'Vendetta' & 'Lagoon (Solina)'. The mention of Lana Del Ray in the booklet in relation to the vocals here is clearly apt from the off. 'Vendetta' swirls around the place in a shoegazy melange. What's being sung about? No idea. Things are even less clear on the B side, which may not actually employ full words. Reasonably pleasant but probably not quite mellow enough for successful background music. The web indicates they've had no releases in the past year.   

Bloody Knees had the first of this month's two coloured discs (translucent bottle green) and Mellow Gang's is clear. The first black vinyl showcases 'Count Me Out' and 'Heartbreaker' by Berlin's Weirdo & Co. Being unable to live without someone's love (which they would if they could) is the theme of the A side. The Pet Shop Boys have probably done this sort of thing better. Not my sort of pop. At the switch over it turns out I've played the songs in the wrong order and the A side is in fact the worse of the two. I definitely need to see if I can get anything for this either on Discogs or at the flea market at the weekend. The band's Facebook page seems to have been pretty quiet since last Spring.

The penultimate 45 from 20 months ago comes from Theo Verney, someone I've liked since first seeing him play at Long Division a few years ago. We should be on safe ground here. 'Mind Fire' doesn't have the oomph I was expecting and, whilst it's at a better than plodding pace I don't finish playing it to the end. 'Letter Down' doesn't measurably speed things up but it does have some nicely weighty guitar parts bracketing the chilled out verses. Theo also unfortunately seems to have been quiet on the release front in the past few months.

Lastly we get to Swimming GirlsCranes initially come to mind, for the first five seconds of 'Tastes Like Money' but after that it's all pretty vacuous, calling to mind the '80s in the mainly bad way that they're recalled. Off at the halfway point. '2 Kids' has a darker quality to it but it's a bore nonetheless. A look at their online biography shows they're a rather concocted group but they do have some live dates coming up this year so you can maybe make your own mind up by seeing them in the flesh.  

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