SO MUCH BELTER

 

Evening! 

If you happen to be reading this in Hamburg (could happen!), be advised that Nina is hosting our very own Kenneth, Meg, Jim and full Nunhead No Wave crew at Golden Pudel this Saturday. Will be gut>>>

Looking further ahead, and as we've mentioned before, the Low Company 2nd birthday thing is on Bank Holiday Sunday 26th May - details next week, finally, promise! 

MEANWHILE...

 

JEAN RITCHIE
SINGING THE TRADITIONAL SONGS OF
HER KENTUCKY MOUNTAIN FAMILY 
FANTOME PHONOGRAPHIQUE | LP | £21.99

Time to leave the city! The expansive, homeopathic teachings of Jean Ritchie’s 1952 debut sees its first vinyl reissue (LORD how needed it was) in perfect cadence with our first glimpses of summer.

Her all-encompassing, powerful yet TREMBLIN’ voice, accompanied only by a home-built, calmly flayed mountain dulcimer, Ritchie’s own fantasies and imaginations are injected across sixteen songs that were first taught to her by her mother, father and fourteen older siblings - fully set to dial us into the bewildering PHENOMENON that is the natural world. This collection also somehow manages to make the thought of growing up amongst the bees n trees, sharing a bedroom with 10 + of yer brothers and sisters and doing actual physical labour every day sound quite, er, idyllic…?

Calorie counting commuter-(b)rat daydreams to one side, the liner notes read: 
“These songs did not come from books”.

Too right - a million miles from the stiff, procedural conventions you may or may not expect from songs that are centuries old, what ye have here are HEART-STUNG ballads played with a strong, intuitive rhythm. Songs like “O Love Is Teasin” and “Black Is The Colour” effortlessly evolve, traversing their traditional trappings and giving new life to these visions of the country. TEEMING with personality, the phrasing and flexibility (FOLK AEROBICS?) of these translations ascend into love-lorn mountain mantras and sparse, rhythmic dulcimer enchantments with Ritchie’s life’s practice blended and embedded deep in every note, drawing timeless parallels between all mortal struggles and the cyclic comforts of nature. FFO Basho, Collins, “Gardens Where We Feel Secure”, The Fates, Sandy Bull ++

CARLA DAL FORNO
SO MUCH BETTER
KALLISTA RECORDS | 7" | £5.99

Our Carla returns with the 'So Much Better' 7", her first release since last year’s Top of The Pops covers tape, and her first original material since 2017’s The Garden EP, and it also happens to be the maiden voyage for her own Kallista label, envisioned as an outlet for contemporary deconstructed club sounds / neo-braindance. JOKES. The title track and A-side, ‘So Much Better’ seems to occupy, at first, a similar zone to her immaculate reimagining of Renee’s ‘Lay Me Down’ on TOTP... But while certain signature CDF motifs are firmly in place – spacewalk bassline, strafing mysteron synths and submerged, ricocheting snare hits – it’s not quite business as usual. The refined, startlingly intimate vocal style she unveiled to A+ effect on The Garden - its crisp diction and in-yr-ear intimacy a world away from the claggy distance and dissolve of You Know What It’s Like – becomes an offensive weapon here, as the lyrics move from dazed urban travelogue to a caustic, confrontational, unambiguously fuck-you-mate climax. Blimey. Incidentally this is probably the first, and undoubtedly the best, song in the history of recorded music to use the word “unseemly” – bo! Meanwhile anyone who felt stirrings of the second coming of trip-hop (NOT a dirty word) in Carla’s earlier work can witness its full flowering in instrumental B-side ‘Fever Walk’ - its scuffed breakbeat, moody keys and death-ray bass distortion reminding me of nothing so much as the Folk Implosion’s Kids score (!). SO MUCH BELTER.

VARIOUS ARTISTS
DESTROY ALL ART VOL.2
ROCK'N'ROLL PARASITE | LP | £16.99

The second (and final?) instalment of Andrew Winton’s DESTROY ALL ART compilations, plus very last copies of the now classic Vol.1. These amazing LPs do for raw 90s US murder-punk / lo-fi spazz what Killed By Death did for the ’70s/‘80s sub-underground, lining up 30-odd tracks of obscenely grotty, no-hope, no-legacy GENIUS from a time before the internet, nice coffee and COLOURFUL GRAPHIC DESIGN ruined punk forever.

I mean maybe the likes of The Conmen and Splayed Innards and The Ignatz WILL have some kind of a legacy now, the same way that the KBD sides taught suggestible late 90s weirdos to fuck their music (and themselves) up a little bit in pursuit of the scumbag sublime. AS IF. Still, what tunes. “These particular singles earned mostly ZERO distribution at the time thanks to the then-dominant ‘punk’ trends of pants-shitting emotional and prog-metal wankage,” ,” says Ryan Wells in his priceless sleevenotes. “Chances are if you were even alive and starving for the real deal in the 90s you never caught a whisper of any of these, but better late than never.” We’re talking properly, hilariously obscure - take Austin, TX’s The Nubees, who only issued 45 copies of their lone 7”, or Portland, OR’s Disasternauts, who apparently “grew so bored of the basic idea of their 1998 7” that it never got a pic sleeve, and [they] defaulted to ‘distributing’ their records by leaving them in random phone booths.”

The fruits of Winton’s late 90s / early 2000s committed rummaging through the used bins at Amoeba and Rasputin's in Oakland, walking away with armfuls of $1 blind-buys and then carefully dissecting them at home, Destroy All Art is everything you want from a compilation series: flashes of unfathomable oneaway brilliance from bands who were otherwise pretty pedestrian, brilliant bands lost on dreary labels, brilliant bands who broke up before anyone bought their first record, bands who definitely aren't in any way brilliant but are somehow inspirational nonetheless. Vol.1 is perhaps a little more out-there/art-damaged, Vol.2, is more straight-up death-stomp... both are essential. 

MARK
INTEGRIERT EUCH NICHT
UNTERTON | 12" | £10.99

Mark back with another maxi of coiled, concussive breakbeat brawlers, and another rebuke of our limited grasp of German possessive grammar. ‘Fucking Sick Of Myself Since Day One (Hotdesk Mix)’ is a radgy, super-hectic breakbeat brawler, and a teeming gorescape of self-loathing, as if the Chapman brothers had populated Fucking Hell with rictus-smiling co-working space / start-up c***s instead of Nazis, while ‘Hats Off to Herr F’ offers something more in line with the rolling, handbrake-turning technoid d’n’b of his previous 12”s – all sinewy, minimal funk and churning Reese bass. Toll! The title track, with contributions from Silvia Kastel and Wilted Woman, turns like a jaded, strung-out Jedi back to the darkside, ultimately settling into a lithe, trail-thrashing dungeon flex reminiscent of classic Ruffhouse. Hieronymous BOSH. Arf. 

SKIFTANDE ENHETER
SKIFTANDE ENHETER
LEVANDE BEGRAVD | 12" | £14.99


Short sharp SICK LP of javla rock n roll, JJ Ulius and this Swedish squad SKIFTANDE ENTER kick out a thumpin, mob-minded debut of fierce, CALAMITOUS garage-punk autopsy, rife with warble’d organ and drunken nunchuck drumming. We went bonkers for Ulius’ solo 7” last year, that lackadaisical brawling of “Tander Ett Ljus” barely recognisable here (‘cept for the one track available to preview - d’oh), that slow-motion Buzzcocks swagger ramped up into a ferocious, Eddy Current-esque boil. Trust us, DAMAGE.

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