This CD was marked down from $23.99! It is a French reissue of 2 LPs on one CD by this 60's Texan band - Not the Nick Cave band "The Bad Seeds". Pip had alerted me to the presence of this disc in the hallowed markdown section of Newbury Comics, where it was marked down amazingly from $23.99 to $2.99. He warned me that to him they were somewhat of a 'one song band', but added that Oh what a song it was. That song would be the first on this disc, "Taste Of The Same".
June 6, 2000
Entitled the same as their (amazing) recent single, this 11 song disc is definetely stronger than their "England Made Me", which was in itself a decent record. Luke Haines has had three projects going recently (The Autuers and Baader Meinhoff the other two). Black Box Recorder is by far my favorite of the three. I found the other two bands interesting, but rarely just pulling a vibe that hooked me in, as this crew so easily do. Sara Nixley is as distinctive a vocal presence as Jennifer from Royal Trux. Her vocals are icy cool detached, (to me) speaking more Twin Peaks than Julee Cruise ever could. Do you remember the Star Trek episode with the con man Harcourt Mudd, who had gained control of androids and made fantasy girl servants by the 100 for himself? When Spock and Kirk saved them, they had to de-program them. Kirk or Spock would say "I am not a pleasure unit", and the android girl would repeat "I am not a pleasure unit". The two traded off this exchange until the idea soaked in. Luke and Sara exchange a trade off of the words "It's the art of driving" that to me completely recalls the Star Trek exchange, with Sara's blank Stepford Wife reply to Luke's sneering statement. All this over a backing tune that recall's the Dylan song "Lay Lady Lay" (is that the title?) in parts. Quite the thing, and Black Box recorder's own, to be sure. My fave of the week.
Piano Magic is Glen Johnson. He has released oodles of 7"s on may labels, a few 12"s, and two other full lengths. His first was on Che Records. 'Artist's Rifles' is his second for the UK label Rocket Girl, following up last years 'Low Birth Weight'. Almost all songs here have vocals and a somewhat consistent sound, unlike his mainly instrumental singles. Caroline Potter and Glen Johnson handle all the vocals, which is a change from the last CD which saw many guest vocalists includingf Darren from Hefner and Rachel from Baby Birkin. There is only one song I really like a lot. It is called 'No Closure'. It sounds like it could be from Section 25 or Crispy Ambulance, with it's Joy Division tom tom heavy drum sound and chiming sparse guitar on top of a sombre beat. Glen's voice has nothing in common with the baritone voices of those other bands though. That one song 'No Closure' has all of the magic I look for in a song. The melody works, and the lyrics are story-like, as Arab Strap so successfully have made a career of. The winter like wraith sounds of the rest of the CD remind me of Quigley or even The Durutti Column. Sadly not so much my thing, but maybe quite yours!
Rumor of The Super Furry Animals Welsh language album had been circulating for some time, and here it is, released on their own new label 'Placid Casual'. This record is hardly a tossed off between proper album gig though, it is very fully realized; better than their last CD 'Guerilla' to my ears. When SFA put out their first 7" in 1995 on Ankst Records (the Llanfairpw... in space EP) they sang in Welsh. By their second 7" for Ankst (the moog droog EP) they already copywriten their stuff as 'Placid Casual' and they had changed to mostly singing in English, though they continued to record Welsh B-sides and occasional tracks. At that time they were just an opening act for the much more successful Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, the band which had really opened it up for the Welsh band explosion. A funny thing happened though. SFA got signed to Creation and quickly eclipsed Gorky's, who even got dropped from their label, Fontana Records. Now in 2000, both bands are doing very well. After losing on of their founding members and signing to a new label (Mantra) Gorky's have gained respect and success. SFA were caught in the snafu of the dissolution of Creation Records. Whether Placid Casual will continue to be their outlet I don't know, but I do know that I've been enjoying this disc. This 10 song CD also includes the single 'Ysbeidiau Heulog' which is quite catchy and rocking, whereas many of the songs on this disc are somewhat mellow, though harmony vocals and strange musical embellishements appear everywhere.