Vinyl Reviews: 33-45
33-45 is a celebration of vinyl culture and an indication of the week’s releases that we think are worth owning IRL. All records reviewed in this feature are available to purchase as either a 7, 10 or 12 inch record, just follow the links below, but as ever we encourage you to go to your local record store and have a look around, you never know what you may find.
Male Bonding/EMA – Nirvana Covers Split
I don’t remember the first time I heard Nirvana, I’m not sure what the first track was, I’m not even sure what the first album of theirs I bought was. Somewhere I have a CD in a box with a peeling sticker from a defunct chain of record stores and an odd price by today’s standards that could probably illuminate me. I have been utterly in awe of them since that point. Some teenage fascinations fade but I have been listening to Nirvana ever since, so the idea of a limited edition 7” of people covering them excited me a lot. I would probably have been interested whoever was involved but this is really a bit great. Jointly released by Rough Trade and Sub Pop, on one side it has Male Bonding with a cover of Aneurysm that they recorded with Rory Attwell and on the other you have EMA’s offering from a recent Spin magazine compilation put together to celebrate 20 years of Nevermind.
Ampersand – 20 Seas and 4 Oceans
The Great Pop Supplement
Ampersand means something different to different people, for many it means nothing, for the typographically inclined it is the name of the following symbol & for the geekcore it is the name of a monkey in a seminal comic book. It’s now got a new usage as the moniker chosen by Matthew Hainsby of Fujia and Myagi to release his solo work under. This is his debut release and comes in a limited pressing of 300 with screen-printed art work that he designed himself. While it sort of sounds like it could soundtrack a montage in a quirky indie rom-com, it’s not without charm. A simplistic acoustic guitar part underpins the whole track while Matthew gently sings over the top, subtle harmonies in the background and what appears to be the odd sci-fi sound effect thrown in for good measure. Pleasantly understated.
Zammuto – Idiom Wind
Ian introduced me to Zammuto on the podcast recently. For anyone that wasn’t listening Zammuto is the project of Nick Zammuto from the Books, it’s named after Nick Zammuto from the Books, I think. While it is Nicks project, he has put together a band to play alongside him which also includes Gene Backs from his old group. This limited to 500 copies release comes ahead of a full album that is already being hyped despite the fact that the guys have only just started playing together. This means that a pressing this small may not last too long, although the tracks on it will be on the full length release if you do miss out. It’s an EP of updated and out there psychedelia, modern effects and samples mingling with parts that wouldn’t sound out of place on a record from the seventies.
Los Bonsais – Ultramarinos
Los Bonsais are Asturian. I think that’s the correct word. I’m still not utterly convinced it’s a real thing. It’s on that Internet encyclopedia so it might be, I don’t understand why it’s different to being Spanish to be honest. It’s how they were described when I looked them up so I see no reason not to perpetuate the cycle of usage. Los Bonsais are a 2 piece, this I understand, you can even count them for yourself in the video below directed by Sergio Garai & David López-Dalton. This record is coming out as part of Elefant Records ‘New Adventures in Pop’ series. It’s an upbeat distorted guitar pop and despite not having a clue what they’re singing about it leaves me with an urge to dance about and sing along. Or at least make approximate sounds to the foreign words.
ÓLAFUR ARNALDS – Living Room Songs
Time to get highbrow, or well at least as high brow as this column ever gets. Ólafur Arnold is a composer. That’s like a musician but when you’re smart and you can play music to people who aren’t drunk and sit on seats and things. He is from Iceland and doesn’t squarely fit into peoples clichéd constructs of a classical musican despite how flippant I may have been previously. He used to play drums in metal and hardcore bands, is only 25, and has an interest in experiments in composition. The living room sessions was a project Ólafur undertook in October 2011, he composed, recorded and released a song a day for a week. Filmed and recorded in his living room the recordings are now available on vinyl. It’s a follow up to his 2009 release “Found Songs” where he also pulled the seven songs in seven days trick.