Summer Camp, Wierd Dreams and more
Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny - ‘Liliputt' (Mute)
If you are a woman in music at the moment it is very important to pick a side, otherwise you cannot expect to be included in a crass magazine feature that lumps all the kooky womens together under the heading Baroque Our World!1!!1!!!!! - before proceeding to ask all of them where they get their fucking shoes from or whether their feathered headdresses aren't very heavy to sing in. Oh, songstresses. Anyway, hopefully Beth Jeans Houghton will sidestep all the fuss and honking so she can get on with doing things like ‘Liliputt', which is one of those marvellous many-bitted, impressively chamber-orchestrated, soaring songs that makes me want to write spoof pitches to womens' magazines just to see if they will commission a think piece on how my dad's death from cancer helped me get a boyfriend ten years my junior.* ‘Liliputt' is also wonderfully restrained, despite having quite a bit of drama in its pockets - rather like an am-dram cast who have learnt that stage make up and black-ringed eyes is not really necessary, when you are only playing to the village hall. Really good.
Summer Camp - ‘Down' (Apricot Recording Company)
Much as I like Summer Camp, I must admit that a tiny part of my heart remains unmoved, all that captured longing and the pickling of past sounds and the sheer, ruddy pitch-perfect air of their work makes me long for a few more imperfections - even though I am thinking this is very much Not The Point Of Summer Camp, if I may dare to posit a little. Anyway, this is very much my problem, and something to do with how perfection makes me feel slightly spooked; like looking at an immaculately papered wall, and longing for an unstuck corner to tug on. Even so, ‘Down' is brilliantly, triumphantly sad, and has an excellent video in which someone flicks a jelly (which for some actually quite obvious reason strikes me as rude).
Stay+ - ‘Fever' (RAMP Recordings)
Marketing geniuses Stay+ (The Band Formerly Known As Christian Aids Which Is A Name Some People Found Annoying If Not Actually Offensive But That Was All Part Of The Plan So Shut Up) have ramped up their vision (NVQ in Communication Studies) for release number two. Which is called ‘Fever' and which the press release feels it is important to mention in the same breath as David Lynch and Kraftwerk (and if you are playing Press Release Bingo, do feel free to shout ‘House!' now). It's not as good as ‘Stay' or ‘Young Luv' and yes, I am still annoyed with them even though THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANTED.
Weird Dreams - 'Holding Nails' (Tough Love)
Guitars with an acidic, lemony twang and a stomp to the chorus mark out ‘Holding Nails' which - like all the best things - is less about junior DIY jobs to which you are demoted when your Dad is in charge than it is about heartache. And even though Weird Dreams have been listening to Smile session outtakes in which Brian Wilson gets all aggy because nobody is working hard enough at being sweet, this is not a criticism. There is some nice achey croon on this single, but the lyrics let it down a bit; a 'Polaroid in the fire' and 'sun on your back' are just a little too Tumblr for a song with an air as candy-sad as this one.