Sunday, July 27, 2014


I'm assuming this is an internet first: Reviewing a neo / modern classical piece whilst watching an episode of 70's TV mainstay The Double Deckers. It's the one about the runaway go-cart, which is incidentally driven by the character 'Spring' (Brinsley Forde) who went on to become the lead singer of British reggae hit makers Aswad. We are watching this at the request of my son who wanted some kind of distraction from my company other than the plastic toy dragons toys I picked up for him from McDonalds. My parenting skills are having an off-day. 

So 'Nocturnes' by current minimalist composer of the moment William Basinski, I know little about him aside of the reviews of all of his work, especially the six CD magnum opus 'The Disintegration Loops' is very favourable. Spring is now chasing a horse around a barnyard on an out of control go-cart whilst being pursued by a motorcycle policeman. 'Nocturnes' is an easy listen, perfect modern BGM. My wife hates it, her two word review being 'creepy and depressing.' I don't think its either of those things but regardless it is now filed under 'Can we put something else on?'

Spring crashed into a pond and it appears that the leather clad go-cart bad guy is played by Robin Askwith of saucy handyman / milkman film fame. Another episode of Double Deckers has started, the gang are fixing up an old ladies house so that she doesn't get evicted, regardless of the fact that landlords are of course responsible for structural repair. Despite this minor detail it makes for some good physical comedy/slapstick.

The movement in Nocturnes is subtle, tidy and hypnotic. On first listen it comes across as very minimal indeed, pulsating and dark yet uneventful. By about the third time I'd had this on it started to come into it's own, justifying much of the hype. It's moody and melancholy but has enough going on for me to sit through it without feeling I am being patient. The new classical scene being en vogue at the moment means that 'Nocturnes' comes to a very crowded market-place, with the likes of the Erased Tapes crew and the newly anointed Max Richter upping the anti to a point where it makes it quite hard for any other players to stand out. I've bought fairly heavily into the whole modern classical thing on CD format (Wise investment that) and have to say that despite numerous albums by Nils Frahm, Winged Victory for the Sullen etc being played over and over I find it hard to tell the difference a lot of the time. In my defence it's a subtle scene and I am very new to it. Cue wallpaper paste accident... Those kids are really fucking up that old ladies house.

So, the packaging is a bit of a non event. At a time when people just aren't buying CDs you need to give them every reason to crave owning a physical copy, neither the yawn-some artwork or near blank flimsy fold-out cardboard sleeve get me excited about owning this rather than having it on invisible MP3 format. All this aside I'm glad I dropped this onto an order of house-hold flim-flam from Amazon and it was absolutely worth the seven or so quid I paid for it. 

Friday, July 25, 2014


We are in the middle of a heatwave and there are a million things I should be doing that don't involve being in a loft room listening to this, even if it is playing on a really nice stereo - It's like 36 outside or something, I can hardly breathe and I am stuck to my pants. I am dealing with this by pretending to be in SAS extreme weather training.

Released as part of DeathWaltzRecordings big and seemingly failed Record Store Day putsch I initially steered well clear of this due to the weak packaging: A generic factory sleeve isn't always a bad thing but when you have a logo that's as poor as DeathWaltz' you don't really want it emblazoned across the front of anything let alone an album sleeve. Anyway, eventually courtesy of a trip to a record store in Glasgow I did pick this up. Much like the film it's a mixed bag. It plays at 45 in a struggle to fill an entire album's play length. It's duration isn't the only clue to the fact that it was never supposed to be analysed separately from it's role as incidental music to the film - It's full of filler, some of it so utterly dreadful it should never have seen the light of day. 

That's the downside out of the way - Apart from the poster which is horrible given the visuals you have to choose from and use here. The big plus is the title theme and 'Bronx Suspense', yes it's wanky jazz fusion but it's good wanky jazz fusion. 'Bronx Traffic' on side 2 is also a hit and if you like your Goblin then it's well worth giving a go for that alone.

For me the greatest thing about this film aside of the bikes, exploding mannequins and choice of fire arms is the scene with the drummer (above). It comes during a meet under the Brooklyn bridge, is literally a couple of minutes long and focuses entirely on the guy smashing out some dirty early 80's New York breaks for no reason what so ever, it's not central or even incidental to the plot. So why is it there? Rumor has it that the guy was using the waste ground as a practice space, they saw him and thought 'fuck it' let's put the kid in the picture because it's cool... And more importantly it adds precious minutes to our running time.

Here he is again from another angle. Guy's a legend and not just because he's playing on disused cinema seats. That all said, he's in the film, not on the soundtrack so back to that. Is it' any good? It's alright. Do I need it? No. Do you need it? Honestly ask yourself do you need 85% of DeathWaltz' output? The real answer is no, of course you don't. If you are one of those new wave of record collectors who chases coloured vinyl(s) or even worse fucking 'wax' then good for you, that's great, really it's so important to have a worth while hobby. But if you are a vinyl speculator, one of these people sucking up multiples the second a record hits you will already be learning an expensive lesson - A reissue is as a reissue does... It get's reissued... In a different coloured 'wax' (fuck off) next month. In the case of Bronx Warriors, this is as far as I am aware the first time it has ever seen the light of day (for a reason) and DW promise it's release is a one time thing. Quite possibly, but you can be sure that Mondo, One Way Static etc will jump on it for US rights the second it looks like selling through (This has yet to happen and if you want a copy they are as of writing marked down on DW's website).

So, to conclude, not bad but utterly un-essential (That's the opposite of Boomkat's favourite word of the month for December 2013). More to follow on DeathWaltz, mainly because at a quick glance I own way more records from that label than I thought I did and I'd like to try get to grips with how and why I got sucked in to the great  'Horror' soundtrack revival of 2012. 

Right, now to let my eyesight to adjust to British summertime.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


By rites this should be a detailed and all encompassing appraisal of Tokyo's many and varied record shops, it's not. I have forgotten the finer points and the trip was 'whirlwind' to the point of me not even being sure it actually happened. 

One of the very last things I did whilst in gainful employment was insist that my team embark on a trip to Japan. It is after-all a global consumer capital and home to some of the most intriguing and inspiring retail experiences on the planet (my job involved trainers and marketing and markets yada yada). So on getting a 2.5 day foray during a stop-off to Hi Chi Mihn signed off I made sure I had the names of at least one or two record shops in my phone. This trip came at a time when my vinyl consumption was down to a manageable fifty quid every couple of months on Boomkat or Normans Records (both stirling sites), so I hadn't expected to go particularly crazy.

I did. On one fateful day in mid May 2014 I managed to spunk 700 quid between five shops in about four hours. Had I had the luggage room the damage would and should have been a lot more considerable. (See guy above about to jizz over a record).

My main recollections are shortness of breath, palpitations, continuously asking myself it this was actually happening or if it was just in my head. It's weird but even at a time where I had my little problem in check I found myself nose deep and utterly aroused. The intoxicating smell of ancient card battling protective plastic alone was enough to say fuck every dry day and all of the money I've saved not dicking about like a complete fucking loser in record shops.

It had been so long since I'd walked into an even half decent record shop that I'd forgotten that buzz, that thrill - Just how pant-shittingly exciting it can be to be faced with so many of your round, black  and plastic dreams coming true at once. The only way I can attempt to describe the feeling is as pure specialist retail pleasure. It bordered on sexual, it nearly spilled over firmly into sexual and that's not something I've felt since Copacapbana records opened in Nuremberg: I still recall the cold and sobering chill of my face on it's window as I made out the sleeves through the half-light the night before it opened.  

If you are interested in the specifics or any names to go with the pictures there are a few blogs out there that do the experience a justice complete with addresses. Sadly the best I can do is tell you that it was for me at forty a game changer. I had always known Japan would be special - they've spent the past four decades robbing the west of it's vinyl. But to see it first hand. Crikey fuck.

On a practical note Japanese grading appears to be the most consistent and accurate I have come across.

On an impractical note the flimsy plastic/polythene sleeves with the sticky edges that they house records in are utter shit.

I had hoped that this trip would act as an exercise in 'binge and puke', idea being I made myself sick to death of record shopping, kind of like the kid caught smoking by his dad who was made to smoke a pack of 20 straight in an attempt to forever put him off smoking - Flawed fucking logic there in both cases. I do recall that the lady above is right to walk past this particular shop. Miserable staff, pricier than most and way too much bollocks to sort through. But in saying that had this one shop been my local i'd be happy as pancakes with a side of crispy bacon.

Yeah, this was the entrance to that shop. Not all that despite the Richard Hell poster.

See what I mean about wheat Vs chaff? Anyway, this is a bad example. I went to one called Disk Union, had about seven different stores, all for specific types of music. They was fucking awesome. The last time I was in a situation where I was having to put stuff back because there was too much affordable stuff that I wanted was a record fair in Cheltenham in 1996 - Back then it was because I was a student and buying a VG copy of Shirley Collins' 'The Power of The True Love Knot' for 50p would have been a considered purchase. This time around it was because my suitcase was only so big and my back was fucked from carrying kids. Anyway, I always knew it would be but now it's official Japan is record shop heaven and everything I thought I had seen and knew has now been reclassified... With a couple of honourable mentions including Night Owl Record Fair Portland OR and Pied Piper Records Northampton circa 1998.

So there it is, a totally useless guide to record shopping in Tokyo. The legend of Big-foot is real.


It seems like the very last thing I did over a year ago was draft this review. By 'draft' I mean upload an album shot, which if you are as compu-savvy as me, is no mean feat. Why did I do that? What was it about this album that had me so excited in April 2013? Is it that I have a massive 'thing' for the two right side of kooky, fine fly-away hair throwbacks that make up First Aid Kit? There is that. I have a friend who very unkindly said they looked like they had Downs, fuck that guy, he's an idiot. Anyway, that's not the reason. I'm here for the music, always have been (apart from in any instance involving the un-bridalled gorm of a young Roger Waters - See 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' in which case the sleeve alone is enough to permanently sour the listener to any or all of Pink Floyd's output).

Anyway. First Aid Kit. 'The Lion's Roar' is a great album. It's chock full of musical and actual references to the golden age of 70s (or at the time 'New' Country) and sits nicely next to Lee Hazlewood's Swedish era output in my racks... They aren't racks, I'm not a fucking DeeJay, they are value friendly Expedit shelving from Ikea. I hate myself for owning Ikea product but in this instance they were free and do do the job... Wait, both Ikea and First Aid Kit are Swedish. If I was better at this I could turn that into a very clever review referencing cheap plywood flat-pack furniture, horse meat balls and useless sales staff but I could only ever see that kind of likening as unkind and for all that Radio 2 were all over this, meaning that it's about as alternative as my dad's choice in slacks. 'The Lion's Roar' is a great album.

Why? Dream-like vocal harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, wistful and lush arrangements that never get to the point of being over-baring. It's 'country folk' leanings are very easy to listen to and it works excellently as a whole. The sleeve sets the scene perfectly with it's sun burnt upper corner and washed out summer meadow photo call. The title track is an obvious stand-out as is 'Emmylou' but for me the one single pinnacle is very specifically the final phrase in the chorus of 'In The Hearts of Men' in which one of the two sister? sings the line 'and you do it all with a goddamn smile' turning the final word of that line into a sigh or whisper. Tiniest thing, most completely unforgettable nuance.

Winner. On a scale of 1 to 10 this album would not be a monkey pissing in it's own mouth.


I remembered I had (or had had) a blog a few nights ago. I wondered to myself why I didn't write in it anymore and then decided regardless of the reasons: Children (multiple now), job searches (made redundant), mental imbalance (borderline depressed) that I should fire up this fucker and get back into having terribly opinionated yet at the same time aft utterly uneducated opinions on music. It's my niche, it's what I do. In the past this blog has been key in keeping the wolf from the proverbial door so much like Michael Gira suddenly going 'ooooh shit! Swans!' (in a 'I've left the iron' on style) I am reactivating 32RPM hence forth. More on what you've been missing out on in the guise of 'reviews' (see thinly veiled self help sessions) as we move forward...

So what's been going on in the year and something since I deemed it expedient to tap shit out on a grubby silver porn-tired Mac?

This guy.

Ever wonder what Bob Dylan would sound like if he had been born in 1998 and came from Nottingham?

No me neither.

If you own this you are either a relative or a fucking stool sample. If you are a relative it's not too late to buy him a copy of 'Beneath The Remains' by Sepultura and fix the course of history.

In my humble opinion, on a scale of 1 to 10 this is a monkey pissing in it's own mouth.