Dart #58: Blue Orchids “The House That Faded Out”

Blue Orchids “The House That Faded Out”
Single
1981
Rough Trade

Been flying a bit under the radar of late whiling away at a record but treat your ears to this Labour weekend special. Blue Orchids would be one of the only post-Fall outings to really stick, and it’s exactly what you’d expect from the formative minds behind the Fall’s unmistakable aesthetic minus Mark E Smith. Guitars clamour and stutter and drums unspool out of time to the manic staccato of the Count Dracula keys line, while Martin Bramah envisions a world where Smith could hold a note. Enjoy your festival weekend, and remember orange juice helps.

Dart #56: Sleeper – French Toasty

Sleeper – French Toasty
“Seagulls/French Toasty”
2017
Chestplate

Sleeper hit the ground running this year with “Seagulls”/“French Toasty”, and where ‘Seagulls’ is a solid but straighter dubstep release, hip hop instrumental “French Toasty” stands out as the more inventive of the two. Packing Wu-Tang/jungle horror samples, a splash of grime bass and enough swing to make Kendrick Lamar blush, you’ll half expect the laconic drawl of Tricky to come puckering in at the 1 minute mark. Nice to hear the sinisterness of modern grime/dub finds its way onto a hip hop track too.

Dart #54: Bobby Womack – Fact of Life/He’ll Be There When The Sun Goes Down

Bobby Womack – Fact of Life/He’ll Be There When The Sun Goes Down
“Facts of Life”
1973
United Artists

Ahh, take me there Bobby.

Originally every dart on the DD had the pre-requisite of a long rambling spoken word intro, but I had to cull that cache down to this cheeky number.

‘Facts of Life’ is full of crackers but the highlight is when, after being invited to a love interest’s room for a drink, Bobby cracks the case: “We can have a drink right here… you just want to get me up in your room… if I want water then I’ll ask for water. Im thirsty” (you said it Bobby). Then, mid-sentence, the vocal cords leave the tarmac, letting us know everything is gonna be alright. You may have heard every soul banger under the sun, but if you haven’t heard this one do yourself a favour and throw it into rotation.

Dart #53: Mace. – Banks Battered

Mace. – Banks Battered

“Four Things Everyone Will Be Talking About Today”
Lux Rec
2016

Mace. picks up where Powell left off with a swagger-inducing blend of minimal wave, post-punk and industrial. The EP title “Four Things Everyone Will Be Talking About Today” says it all: delinquent grooves for a whole new generation of malcontents.

Dart #52: Arthur Russell – Home Away From Home (Andy Stott Refix)

Arthur Russell – Home Away From Home (Andy Stott Refix)
(Soundcloud release)
2017
Modern Love

For those who missed it, Andy Stott’s refix of this Arthur Russell banger is top shelf dart. ‘Refix’ greets with the unmistakable subterranean groan of Luxury Problems-era Stott before it eases invitingly into Russell’s cello and vocal, warped and caressed for a whole new generation of dub/Reich heads. They’re not so different Stott and Russell – it’s not just the perfect tone they are after, but the most dynamic posturing of space and depth – and here a common philosophy unravels in linear time. It’s a classic Stott storm-in-a-teacup: soothing in the most forceful way possible.

Dart #51: The Durutti Column – Never Known

The Durutti Column – Never Known
“LC”
1981
Factory

A forgotten staple of the dysfunctional Factory family, Durutti Column are one of those bands you can’t quite fathom bypassing so flagrantly. Maybe they were just a little monastic, a little too 4AD to occupy the same geographical space as Happy Mondays and Joy Division in our minds; either way, their second record is a clear reference point for the more consonant tier of shoe gaze – Slowdive, Ride et al. Where excessive vocal/guitar effects can often dilute emotional impact, Vini Reilly’s hazy vocal is achingly gorgeous, and the song’s generous length allows you to plunge ever deeper into the drone at the heart of it all.

Dart #50: BBU – Estonia

BBU – Estonia
EW001
2016
Eine Welt

A choice cut from the first release of Euro synth-pop cultivators Eine Welt. ‘Estonia’ is a fresh take on the sound championed by the likes of DAF, taking spacey minimalist soundscapes into deeper territory. It has all the touchstones of minimal wave – whip crack claps, the woosh of hyperspace, the omnipresent cowbell – but its all far too proggy, too sedate, to simulate the genre’s pop ambitions. The Gothic bassline suggests early Cure but the Blade Runner synths suggest BBU love Disintegration just as much.

Dart #49: An-i – Gutz

An-i – Gutz
“Gutz”
2014
Cititrax

Conceived in the heart of the industrial techno revival that exploded a few years ago with labels like Jealous God, Perc Trax and Blackest Ever Black and festivals like Unsound, CTM and a reanimated Berlin Atonal, ‘Gutz’ is a tasty revisitation of the Birmingham sound. As with his previous release ‘Kino’, An-i knows how to chart a course for armageddon with a skeleton crew, but here he’s reigned it in further to just a nasty bass line, some filter sweeps and a disembodied voice or two. If you’re one for punching invisible demons on the dance floor, ‘Gutz is your best friend’.

Dart #48: Girl Band – Paul

Girl Band – Paul
‘Holding Hands With Jamie’
2015
Rough Trade

Girl Band have a refreshing take on punk in hi fidelity, one with a surreal sense of humour and the strength to be unironic. ‘Paul’ is a demolition ball of a song, high octane to the point of imploding, yet it never relies on tired ideas of lyrical intimidation (probably stems from the fact these are just a bunch of likely lads from Dublin – I mean they are smiling and laughing in their Facebook cover photo for fuck’s sake.) Lead singer Dara Kiely, meanwhile, sings like James Murphy pre-1988 when he was buying Fall records.

Dart #47: Minor Science – Naturally Spineless

Minor Science – Naturally Spineless
“Whities 008”
2016
Whities

Combining the hypnotic detuned synth whirlpools that make every Hessle audio release your best friend when you’re not making sense and a gooey dub centre, Minor Science has undoubtedly come up with a unique selling point. In a time when young adults are still needlessly obsessed with a thirty year old genre, to the extent that simply having visited your aunt in Detroit in ’86 will secure you a prime time slot at any Novel event, we need producers like this to keep us restless. Aggressive one minute blissful the next, I just can’t put my finger on where this song is trying to take me. All I know is its somewhere strange and beautiful.