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MAXTON GRAINGER: Samosas! (7″, Kabukikore Special Editions KKSE02, 2003)

If you look very closely at the dog image on this record’s cover, you will notice that it bears the all-too-familiar pixellated look created by one of two situations:

  1. A JPEG that’s been saved at too low a quality
  2. A low-resolution image that’s been blown up in size.

I suspect the first as the image looks to have ‘artifacts’ – blurry blocky bits that mask detail. Not sure why they’re called artifacts. As usual though, Wikipedia can help, although it just explains what they are, rather than why they are so named.

Artifacts aside, I like this artwork. If I was really clutching at straws I might suggest that it is a precursor in style and content to Shellac’s Excellent Italian Greyhound sleeve: white background + dog. But that would be pushing at the edges of what’s possible in reality, I feel. No offence meant to Kabukikore, but I doubt that Steve Albini has ever seen this record’s artwork, as the label that released it is very, very tiny. That doesn’t stop it being interesting and exciting, though. Anything but. I would say that, however, as it’s a label run by an old pal of mine, who calls himself Crayola but I know that he’s really called Simon. Why would anybody ever change their name from Simon? That baffles me.

Crayola/Simon was somebody I knew waaaay back when, as we both used to dabble in the surprisingly vibrant and creative Telford music scene. I still distinctly remember seeing him play a gig where he performed a faithful cover version of Syd Barrett’s ‘Rats’ – as a huge Barrett fan now, and even more so back then, this was exciting to me. In an example of how the independent music world is a funny old thing, Crayola/Simon later popped up playing in a band with another guy I knew through the fanzine network of the early 1990s. These two people were from completely different cities, and I knew them entirely separately. And they were brought together by music. Beautiful!

A final word: I love this record’s name. ‘Samosas!’ – it’s like the vegetarian teetotaller version of ‘Tequila!’.

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