It’s been a while since I posted here – I’ve been sans turntable for a few months now (I know, it was cruel and inhuman) but I’m celebrating seeing in 2014 with a new one, which arrived today. So let’s get back to business!
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before, The Great Pop Supplement is one of a few labels whose releases I’m pretty likely to pick up as soon as they come out. Because of this I’ve got quite a few records by London’s The See See, who I imagine are one of the artists released by GPS with the highest count of ‘product’. It’s lucky that they’re good, otherwise I’d have a pile of The See See records getting in my way.
This 7″ comes packaged in a sleeve with a spine, which is always a pleasing thing – nothing wrong with giving such records a bit of bulk and presence; they deserve it. The artwork here – a fish-eye pastoral photograph thang encircled by liner notes – is repeated on both sides, meaning that the sleeve can be held and flipped around with nothing changing. It’s the text on the spine that dictates which is the front and which is the back, unless we decide to use the ‘other way round’ way of reading text on a spine, like they do (for example) in Germany. The sleeve design is by El Señor Gómez & Srta. Swallow, which I was convinced was some kind of in-joke name until a quick Google search turned up their (rather fine) websites here and here.
Musically these are three good songs for a grim, chilly winter day, like it is today. ‘Featherman’ is a slice of sun-kissed melodic guitar pop with at least one foot in late 1960s California; ‘Let Me Be The One (For You To Love)’ is a slightly more psych-tinged romp of a song with a wicked descending-note chorus; ’35 Across The Water’ is halfway between the two – eyes-of-wonderment vocals leading the lyrics around a richly tuneful slice of pop-psych with an oh-heck-now-we’re-heading-into-space outro.
Links: The See See / The Great Pop Supplement
Here’s an interesting situation. For the first time, my random number generator has pointed me at a record that I know I own, but which has become misplaced in my carefully-arranged (or perhaps, not so carefully arranged) A to Z seven inch shelves. It’s just not to be found. Can’t find it either under J (my first instinct) or under C. It’s not even near the places that it could or should be. This is mysterious, as I know that I have not lent it to anybody, and I certainly haven’t thrown it away or sold it. I rarely lend records to people (not least because people rarely have record players these days); and I haven’t gotten rid of a record since an unfortunate incident involving the cheap sell-off of a pile of now-rare-as-hens-teeth hip-hop albums that I (in hindsight) erroneously offloaded in the early nineties.
So, the photograph shows a patch of ground where the record would have been placed if it had been found. The tags and categories used for this post are either drawn from memory or from the spreadsheet I used to catalogue my records. That spreadsheet includes information about inserts, numbering, and so on. Should I be embarrassed at having such a spreadsheet? I’ll tell you know, it was incredibly enjoyable to put together. I assembled it ostensibly for insurance purposes – should burglars ever feel like making off with one of the most extraordinarily difficult and heavy things that they could choose to – but in reality, I put it together as a way for me to comprehensively reminisce about them all. It was that process that led me into starting this blog, in fact.
Anyway. If I ever track this record down, I’ll update this post accordingly. As it is, a couple of points to leave you with:
- I can’t remember what C Joynes or this record is like at all. I vaguely recall some kind of scrappy fingerpicked guitar folk music.
- The record is on the always fine The Great Pop Supplement label, so if you could see the packaging and inserts, you’d surely agree that it’s a nice looking artefact.
Another release on the always-beautiful Great Pop Supplement label: this one looks particularly fine, with its tracing paper wraparound sleeve, hand-finished with a stamp and a comic strip cut from what looks to be an old Dandy or Beano. This is one of GPS’ earlier releases, back when every one came as a limited run of just 111 copies. Mine is hand-numbered 60, and also contains a tracing paper insert. Tracing paper a-go-go. Tracing paper is often favoured by the hand-production indie pop/post rock crowd, and with good reason. It virtually never fails to look cool and special.
I really like the style of the cartoon that’s affixed on this sleeve – that classic British comic strip style with faked halftone textures painstakingly finished by the illustrator, and the addition of sound effect-type words like the ‘SPELL‘ in the third panel here. It’s such a classic and particular style, and it always seems so effortless and sketchy – whilst being in fact completely consistent in characterisation and pseudo-realism. Love it.
Look at that vinyl – it’s a joy to behold! The gorgeous orange/green split reflects the colours of the band names on either side of the skimpy insert that’s also held within this record’s plastic sleeve. Plain, simple, effective. Love it!
The Great Pop Supplement is a label I’m inclined to buy every release from, as they’ve proved consistent form not only in putting out interesting, out-there music, but they also package stuff brilliantly and uniquely. You don’t get a two-coloured MP3 arriving in five seconds after an iTunes download, do you? There’s more to music than just, er, music. The label is run by Dom, the guy that previously ran Earworm, another inspirational label with a ton of fantastic releases under its belt. I’m sure I read in an old fanzine somewhere that Dom’s inspiration for starting up Earworm came from Keith, the guy behind Wurlitzer Jukebox, a doubly special label that seemed to in some ways signify the early days of the whole alt-folk/post-rock scenes that are now such a massive influence over modern independent music. So you see how the baton gets passed from person to person, and the creativity continues? It’s inspiring!
Oh, and what of the music on this record you ask? Well, I’ll just whip out my jukebox-hole-adapter and give it a spin.
Jerusalem and the Starbaskets: Fuzzy, droney modern take on ’60s R&B. Like an out-take from a sedate Monks session, heard through a filter of Elephant 6 bands and perhaps with a sliver of Sebadoh in there too. Short and sweet.
Hush Arbors: Whacked out, skiffley foresty folk music. Sounds like fun was had. According to the liner notes, ‘Recorded at The Bong, London’. Say no more.