Just eyed this via Dalmatian Rex and the Eigentones – an acoustic version of ‘the folk rock national aeronautics and space administration’ which as you all should know the full on version of which can be found on their quite fantastic ‘the order of the dolphin’ – copies of which found their way into a select few lucky goodie bags at Probe on RSD14. Goonery aplenty here, typically wonky Rex strangeness that tips its hat ever so slightly towards those pillars – or should that be pillocks – of national greatness Half Man Half Biscuit – the full on version is worth an earful or three given it comes razored upon Ramones riffola and a knowing nod to those old school punk tricksters peter and the test tube babies…..
The seventh annual Record Store Day event has come and gone, a celebration of both the independent retailer and the art of vinyl which after years relegated and somewhat consigned to history has over the last few years been making a steady return to form, agreed though it’ll never achieve its golden age high water mark of 1979. Of course RSD is, for the more scrupulous, a chance to usurp the genuine record buyer by nabbing all the exclusive limited editions and then having them posted up on eBay in super quick time at grossly inflated prices – avoid these clowns. The spirit of record store day is somewhat lost at times, no its not a chance for the major labels to rehash crap they can’t shift through the year its more a case of making people aware of their local record emporiums and ensuring that these places stay open, its about old school record buying – not your faceless download purchasing but actually getting off your arses visiting such a shop and asking for the blighters and then holding a real physical copy in your mits and not being passed off with some cheap bit rate reduced copy. These shops are a lifeline to the community, appreciated properly they become a focal resource for the local band scene and live circuits drawing likeminded people together – and they need your support. To sunny skies with a decidedly chilly nip in the air your erstwhile scribe – that’ll be me – spent the day happily manning the doors at Probe records (yes dear reader I was that handsome specimen of the male form laughing, joking and ripping your musical tastes) ensuring order, decorum and no fistfights in the bulging queue that stretched all the way to Prescott postcodes – I jest of course – though it did track back a fair old length of School Lane and I hasten to add continued as such for the best part of 4 hours. Reports had it that the chap heading up the front of the line had been eagerly waiting since 4am to get his Oasis and Paul Weller goodies. Probe opened its door at 8am in expectancy of a surge, Richer sounds were on hand to give out goodie bags with vouchers and all manner of offers as well as feeding the crowds with cookies and biscuit treats, at the counter the staff handed out assorted promos (including freebies from the bordellos, presents for sally, Dalmatian rex and the eigentones and a specially cobbled together Fruits de Mer sampler featuring selections from their forthcoming May selections), bottles of beers and sweets with purchases. With the racks packed with over 200 plus choice cuts – eye catching wise the Ray Parker glow in the dark ‘ghostbusters’ 12 inch, a pink vinyl pink panther OST, a dandy looking Trex box set as well as an Action and Creation box release all looked very tasty as did the Terminator foil sleeve 7 inch, the pixies double plus exclusive RSD 7 inch, there was rumour of a flaming lips release which went in nano seconds. There was of course the now obligatory annual appearances of a Bowie picture disc – this time ‘rock n’ roll suicide’ and a frankly massive rip off Pistols box – incidentally the PIL 12inch looked handsome as did the July repress and the space transmissions box set featuring Spiritualized – alas only one of the them. Albarn and Weller flew the coup before the 15 minute mark – had i gotten down earlier I’d have happily taken said Weller 7’s (just 2 as it happens) around the back and made a warm bonfire from the them. Coldplay had no interest at all from the amassed crowds. Most asked for – tame impala – again gone in the time it took to blink an eye, no Kylie alas and certainly no One Direction of whom a mother who had been queuing for over two hours haplessly enquired about for her daughter – I did feel some regret – honest – and to cap it off no sign of the Sun box set though there was the 4 track EP which by the time we left was still looking for a loving home while others that we missed to much grumbling was a by all accounts dandy looking Everly Brothers box set with six albums apparently pressed on to 45 rpm grooves. The morning passed with good cheer and so we now look forward to what’s hoped will be the second cassette store day in September.
Wibbly wobbly girl played on Brutha Voodoos show
dudes Dalmatian Rex and the Eigentones have just released ‘singing rule Britannia in my union jack pyjamas’ from that set as a single – a name checking foray into Englishness peculiarities hardwired onto a chord coda ripped straight from the post Rotten Pistols songbook – mischievous Half Man Half Biscuit-isms aplenty…….
It’s a fair while since we had the excited feels like Christmas day vibe that usually to comes to pass when new grooves from Dalmatian Rex and Eigentones drop through our mail box. For nearly twenty years the Dalmatian ones have been worrying, amusing and confounding the turntables of those fortunate enough to have fallen under their surreally zany gaze. Happily the intervening years have done little to curb their goofiness, their obtuse oddness and wilful refusal to play the pop game. Still as non conformist as ever it’s a mark of pop’s forgiving nature that the Dalmatians exist, they are a welcome escapism from Saturday night pop blandness and follow the leader bandwagon jumping fashionistas, neither are they backed by money hugging power houses or called upon by the amassing little village pop presses with each passing release to sell their one dimensional souls for a clock ticking slither of action you call fame before being despatched in the forgotten box until next time – should they of course survive the ignominy. Instead the Dalmatian ones enjoy splendid isolation content one suspects to playfully busy themselves in their own little universe shut away from the harmful elements of a society by and large setting upon themselves. Getting a bit bleak this isn’t, time for a switch what say you. ’the order of the Dolphins’ the latest opus from Dalmatian Rex and the Eigentones is comprised of 14 tracks, old school admirers will be all too familiar with what to expect albeit with added surprises while those newly visiting for a first time in short can expect an odd odyssey of peculiar delights teetering from lunacy to English eccentricity (as on the name checking delights of these isles here super glued onto a hoodwinked throbbing groove ripped straight from a post Rotten Pistols back catalogue by way of ‘singing rule Britannia in my union jack pyjamas’) to three chord wipeouts to weird school wonkiness and Vivian Stanshall flights of folly (as on the quaintly disturbing bandstand bonkerisms of ‘wobbly wobbly girl‘) – and that’s just the first track.
Of course I tease.
One glance of the titles is enough to give the casual subscriber a hearty hint of what lies in store – stuff like ’the punk rock national aeronautics and space administration’ is straight out of the Half Man Half Biscuit sketchbook albeit sound wise gouged with a three chord kick that nods directly to the Ramones while old school Peter and the Test Tube Babies devotees will pogo till cardiac arrest with the goofed up groove of ’sourpuss’ . those fancying their sonics snarling and glue sniffed in agitant fury a la Stranglers might be advised to take issue with the bleached and bitched out shock treated ’where the fuck are the dolphins?’and while your there add in some wonderfully grass skirt shimmy toned skanking love notisms (’fancy the socks off you’). At this stage those still not convinced of the Dalmatian credentials and slightly suspect that their tomfoolery masks heavily their lack of knack to address their serious muso shortcomings might want to get you’re your ear gear around ‘it is time to blow your mind’ – a gloriously amorphous dream drift hypno grooving ambient beauty replete with prowling bass lines and Grace Jones-esque side servings that flirts around the outer edges of Ozric Tentacles universe and hones in on the mind tripped aural galaxies once upon a time harbouring the sorely missing in action of late they came from the stars (I saw them) – class in short. One of the sets highlights and a marked move away from the preset formula is the tenderly mellowing distress applied to ‘drowning in the sea of trees’ which aside impishly channelling the coda of Radio head’s ‘all I need’ by its fall fractures superbly into a heads down sonic maelstrom. From therein things take on an unusually darkly subdued turn with the appearance of the seductively fracturing stream of consciousness poured forth within the austere cold wave chilling ‘dead fish’ as it swims into the eclectic territories of Human League’s ’circus of death’ and the ice cold chamber drone of the silently macabre and funereal ’the burning man’ both perhaps hinting at a new emerging chapter in the Dalmatian evolutionary curve.
Recommended in case you hadn’t guessed thus far.
The order of the dolphin was record of the month on the garden of Earthly delights