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by Jimmy Possession -- Robots and Electronic Brains (UK)

27 March, 2000

54 Nude Honeys, Hot Generation (Mademoiselle) 7"
Played, not by half a hundred naked sexbombs, but by five rubber- and leather-clad Japanese "kickass girls," "Hot Generation" is little more than a spunky chorus, a heavy pinch of sass and a dirty fuzz break played with one foot on the monitor and the other in the faces of the front row. But what more do you want from two minutes of garage punk rock? PO Box 19049, London N7 7WU

The Diaboliks, Never Thought You'd Leave Me (Mademoiselle) 7"
Proudly wearing the Mono flash on its label, this jukebox 7" from the same label is also a bunch of Japanese ladies with distinctly garage tendencies. "Never Thought You'd Leave Me" is booming British Invasion reaction psychobilly where echo and sludge mixing do little to hamper the spirit of a song which neatly twists your expectations when "..alone" is added to the title. On the other side, "I Can't Sleep at Night" is hewn from the same rock (punk, that is) and is, if anything, slightly better. Address as above. I'm about to order the Lulu's Marble 7" which promises a track called "Jack The Lipper": humour or naivete? I'll let you know.

Lazarus Clamp, Left-handed (Bearos) 7"
Or cack-handed as they'd say round our way. But not cack. Fresh from the release of "Such as You Are and Still Not Seeming To Mind," the debut album (reviewed elsewhere if I ever get to the bottom of this pile of reviews), The Clamp revisit their Slintier moments, give them a good working over, and emerge grasping a tune that fairly cracks along, compressing all the elongated beauty of something like "Good Morning Captain" into a thrill-packed zig-zag of a song. PO Box 7179, Birmingham B29 6RA

Accelera Deck, 7ep (English Muffin) 7"
Scruffy beats and ambient synths make up "Eject," a classy specimen of the new school of indie. That's the one where instead of slouching around behind long fringes in groups of 4 or 5 (the potential band) comparing notes on the Dinosaur Jr. bootlegs or Talulah Gosh fanzine interviews, the protagonists sit at home alone (no band required) behind 4-track and PC sending emails to like-minded souls about the latest Steward 7" or Aphex Twin pseudonym. This one comes on clear red vinyl and is absorbingly minimal as it nods along. Very nice. 39 Skehan #2, Somerville, Mass 02143, USA

Gary Burt, Meeting Someone/Electrical Cells (both Rice Pudding) both CDS
There's ore in every rock liberated from the Rice Pudding quarry. By which flawed metaphor I mean that of every four tracks Gary Burt commits to tape, one will be an absolute blinder. On "Electrical Cells" it's the title track (mysteriously appearing second on the disc). A kind of musique concrete mixer, it features various power tools and household appliances making noise over a selections of loops while Trillion from The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy reads out their technical specifications. Gary says it's a play on "Tubular Bells". I say it sounds like he spends too much time at Do It All. On "Meeting Someone" the plum in the pie is "Maybe," a jug band lollop of skiffle scratchiness and scalp scratching over the Nativity story. PO Box 135, Totton, SO40 2ZN

Grover, Like a Bunny (Bearos) 7"
I was young, I was free, I kept my teeth relatively clean and was just discovering the world of deodorants and shaving paraphernalia. Ah, they were the days and I used to spend them watching the Sandkings (amongst others) play around Birmingham all the time. Jaz Man hadn't quite developed the mystical one-hit wander personality he later cultivated but was already something of a spaced-out man. He had enough nous, though, to see the electric brilliance of Drop, The Sandkings' regular support band. Drop released a short succession of 12" singles ("Ambience," "Reflections") and a mini-LP ("Within and Beyond") on the Chapter 22 label before disappearing into a fog of indifference leaving only a heavily effected shimmer of guitar haze as their legacy. Now, ten years later, Grover---completely unrelated to Drop---are making records with the same effervescent qualities, the same drone sensibility, the same latent pop dynamic and very similar results if "Like a Bunny" is any guide. The difference is that where Drop showed very clear genealogical links to Spaceman 3, Grover's take on the thing is more incisive and informed by the recent reverence for Slint (who hadn't released "Spiderland" at the time Drop were mesmerising a young Possession) although without ever dropping into post-rock formulae. This is officially a Splendid record. PO Box 7179, Birmingham B29 6RA.

Southall Riot, A Warp In My Dreams (Earworm) 7"
Split with George but, trust me, you'll only be wearing out one side of this vinyl. The dream in question involves the Mary Chain's "Upside Down" without quite so much distortion, a more obvious Brian Wilson fetish, a super huge fuzz bass and a super reverb vocal. And the warp, of course. This is catchier than Chinese Flu. 29 Deeside Rd, London, SW17 0PH

Montana Pete, An Outreach Program (Po-Homo) 7"
Toss Cable and the jaggedy-jag of early Wire into a clunky, dirty guitar salad and you have the recipe for this lovely noise from Montana Pete. The singer screams, the music chugs, he stops, it twists around on itself, stutters and stomps off elsewhere. PO Box 24356, Tooting, London SW17 9FE.

Milky Wimpshake, Dialling Tone (Ferric Mordant) 7"
Daniel Johnston's got a new album coming out on Pickled Egg soon. In the meantime, though, investigate The Wimpshake's cover of "True Love Will Find You In The End" which buzzes immaculately like the Weddoes did immediately post-"Seamonsters" and somehow manages to absorb "Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste" into a kind of bleed-out middle-8. On the other side, "Dialling Tone" reconfirms what we already knew about Pete Dale's willingness to go for the obvious in pursuit of the perfect guitar pop tune. Once again, he succeeds. PO Box 54, Heaton, Newcastle-U-Tyne, NE56 5YW.

The Various Artists, Lo-Tech Toy Noise TAPE
Not to be confused with Various Artists, the German electricians, or Various Artists, the BBC Christmas edit-fest single for charity, this The Various Artists are a strictly bedroom proposition. They do, however, favour Krauty tones and the odd cut-n-paste moment. They're literalists, too, as the title (a few of my favourite things, incidentally) demonstrates by describing the tape with admirable economy. "There Was a Revolution (We Weren't Invited)" sticks Neu synth in amongst broken beats for a lesser-fi Lali Puna sound: hum'n'space, perhaps. Elsewhere, the hi-pitched whistle of a Spectrum slowly filling its 16k memory from cassette careers into chattering robotic beats and burbles, the frantic mantra of the repeated phrase ("All we really want is a beautiful day") and beatbox rhythms from page 1 of the manual. Track 9 is "The Joy of Being Electronic," presumably that it's possible to simply sample and loop a beat and some kind of overload into a mesmeric cycle. Endpiece "You Could Never Be In Our Band" suggests that the Various Artists think that's not the case after all. 26 Elthorne Park Rd, Hanwell, London W7 2JA

The Teenbeat, A Year In The Attic TAPE
"Bulimia Queen, I bought you pop and crisps from the vending machine" croons Adrian Shaw in the ode to a sixteen-year-old whose name appears to be Urina. Not a common name, admittedly, but it does help the rhyming scheme later on when, in a sad climax, she drinks---wait for it---toilet cleaner. Such lack of respect for taste and convention along with the irony-free delivery are probably what makes this 90 minutes of The Teenbeat such a joy.<p>

What the tape most resembles is one of those cut'n'paste collages where sloppy editing, a Dadaistic sense of context and plenty of hiss make everyone a potential phono-terrorist. The difference here is that everything, except for the odd John Shuttleworth skit, is played by a band favouring the spasticity of early Wire filtered through Half Man Half Biscuit via Jim Reeves and the leapfrog logic is the inside of Shaw's head. The whole lot is recorded on a borrowed walkman and can be yours for just a quid to cover costs (cheques to K.Ferguson): Teenbeat HQ, 25 Redwood Ave, Royston, Barnsley, S71 4JP or adrian_r_shaw@yahoo.com Look for a split single with Baxendale shortly and some kind of release on Short Fuse to follow.

You can now listen to Jimmy's radio shows (archived) online!

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Robots and Electronic Brains

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