Friday, 12 January 2018

LIST 230 - 12/01/18

Hello again,

More stories behind the older selections than the new this time, with the recent passing of France Gall and the announcement before Christmas of the temporary reactivation of magnificent 1980s polemicists Microdisney (any of you going to their Dublin or London gigs this June?) obvious reasons for their respective inclusion.

The reissues of early-1980s works by Solid Space (imagine Young Marble Giants on the moon) and Welwyn Garden City's angriest bards The Astronauts seemed like excuse enough to fashion a trio of space-themed performers in succession, brand new fare by impressively doomy electronics prodder Stupid Cosmonaut completing the dose. 

Not from another planet but from another land come the Moomins, and the compilation by Andy Votel's Finders Keepers label of the theme tunes and incidental music from the 1983 British import of the Polish fuzzy felt animated version of the Moomins story was, by a very long way, my favourite reissue of any description last year.  

By turns minimal, doleful, experimental, playful and sinister, the soundtrack was conceived and realised not in Lodz, but in Leeds, on a budget of buttons, by post-punk performers Graeme Miller and Steve Shill at the behest of Anne "Teletubbies" Wood.  One wasp synth, one flute, and most of the time not much else, other than a boundless sense of imagination - this week's contribution is unlikely to be the only one to feature on a List.

Finally, this week's Then and Now features tracks from Secret Shine 24 years apart, making them the second Sarah Records act still active enough to warrant this treatment in the past four Lists.  Their appearance at an all-Sarah line-up in Leeds this coming July, alongside Even As We Speak, Action Painting! and Boyracer, was additionally confirmed on social media only this week.

Who'd have thought they'd last that long, eh?  Well, not the late NME writer Steven Wells, who actually recommended the band finish themselves off with a warm bath and razorblades in his "review" of the 1993 single Loveblind included this week.  To this day that remains the singlemost vituperative, hateful and irresponsible piece of music journalism I've ever seen committed to print, something that transcended simply not liking a record, and it's to Secret Shine's credit they were not cowed out of continuing by it.  

Folks, dislike a piece of music by all means.  Dislike anything and everything on this List, even, if it doesn't agree with you.  But keep things in some sense of perspective when appraising that music, please.  It's not worth recommending killing people for.

J xx


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