A sporadically-updated music collection blog. Send questions to twitter or email me.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Quadrilles - Isotopes

Quadrilles are a band who have been on my radar for a while now - their first few EPs were pretty solid and then they seemed to disappear a little bit. Indeed, the impending release of this EP completely passed me by until I received an email from them about it. The inevitable then happened (I bought it), then something slightly more unusual happened. A fortnight ago, on the EP's release day, I conducted what might loosely be described as an interview with the band's guitarist Ken. I know, I'm confused too. It's probably somewhat of a reassurance that it's still somehow taken me two weeks to write it up. Some things never change. This isn't something I've done before so the format is going to be a bit of a deviation from the norm, but hopefully it'll still be alright.
Am I right in thinking this is your first physical release? Was it an important thing for you guys that it was on vinyl? 
We've made our own CDs in the past which we have sold or given out at gigs but yes, the main release format at that point was digital 'cos we didn't really have enough money to do anything else. It does feel more 'physical' releasing vinyl and that was important to us for this release. It was a tough decision because when we priced it up it was terrifyingly expensive! Most of us in the band have been buying a lot of vinyl recently and we are fairly in agreement with the cliches about the better sound and having nice artwork etc, while digital releases can feel quite throw-away. We were really into the idea of creating some kind of artifact we could look back on and have some sense of achievement. In the end when we decided to do it, it felt like it was the right thing to do. 

As you mention, having nice artwork is pretty important for a 12" record. How did you go about picking the artwork for this release? It's pretty distinctive - was it something you'd seen separately and enjoyed or was it created specifically for this purpose? 
This lovely man called Michael Parkin (drummer from Olympians) came to the rescue here. We had seen some of his work before and its always been excellent, so we asked him he if would like to do something with us. Amazingly, he didn't tell us to fuck off...

So was the red vinyl planned before or after his particularly bloody composition had come back to you? Such a visceral cover deserves some colourful vinyl, no? 
We knew we wanted to do colour vinyl but we went for red after we saw the artwork. Actually, we tried the match the red colour on the artwork with the red that the pressing company had available since Parkin was the most flexible in terms of making changes. Then we realised it was see-through so the red changes shade with whatever is behind it! D'oh! But it still seems to work, so we are happy with that.

That you even tried to colour-match makes me disproportionately happy. Any reason for doing a coloured record, or just that it looks objectively more interesting?

Ah, it's just a bit more interesting isn't it? When I buy a record and it's coloured, I always get a little bit more excited.

Definitely the words of an appropriate interviewee for this blog. Your own record collection, then - what would be your personal favourites? Either in terms of things that are important to you or aesthetically pleasant releases.

One of my favourite records is Low's Things We Lost In The Fire. It's a double LP with 3 sides of music but side D is all of the lyrics etched into the vinyl in a circular spiral direction from outside to in. I also have a copy of Mogwai's Young Team signed by their drummer. While I was at university they did a tour of small venues and the Portsmouth Wedgewood rooms was one of them. I managed to get to the front and asked the guy Martin to sign it. He signed it with his pseudonym he used for that record which was "demonic" or something like that. That's pretty special to me.
One last question for us - who's your favourite wrestler? 
I had to defer this one to the rest of the band - our drummer Luke says Stone Cold Steven Austin, because sometimes he storms in during a royal rumble and does his special move like, 8 times in a row and sometimes he just has a chat with the crowd about what he had for his tea.

So there we have it! I think it should be evident from the words above that I'm a big fan of both the artwork and the pleasant redness of the record itself. As for how the EP sounds, it's a very pleasantly smooth slab of math rock.  My personal highlight is probably the lovely March of the Clowns, largely for the delightfully abrupt change of place about half way through, and you can stream/buy the whole thing on their bandcamp. Good work, lads.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Clippers - An Evening With

I realise that the end of one year and the start of the next is usually a time for people to do "album of the year" chat, but that causes me some problems as I don't have my number one album of the year on vinyl (yet!!!) and have already written about my number two album. So instead, here's a post about something I listened to an awful lot in 2014, even though it's from 2010. Happy New Year (over a month late, because I'm the worst).

So, this release is An Evening With The Clippers. The cover is fairly appropriate - showing two gentlemen in what might reasonably be described as "evening wear". Do I like it though? Eh, not massively. The "An Evening With" at the top gets kinda lost in the background, and there's nothing particularly memorable about the cover for me.

A lovely two-sided insert, which I think it should be fairly obvious by now that I'm a big fan of. Also note - there's only two chaps in The Clippers. That cover seems even more appropriate now, doesn't it?

This is an absolutely gorgeous record. I paid probably a little too much money to get a copy of it shipped from Germany (with other things), but "green with black smoke" was too tempting as a colourway (out of 285, pressing nerds!). Moreover, this is an utterly fantastic release. Clocking in at a remarkably precise 8 minutes across 5 tracks, such short tracks would normally suggest a grindocre release or similar, but that's way off the mark. The Clippers play summery poppy emo, and there's not a single missed step on this release. Every single song on this release has the capacity to wedge itself firmly into your head, the centrepiece being the magnificent Mature Women. It was with this song that I realised that The Clippers were a bit special, hearing it on a car journey to ArcTanGent and making a mental note to listen to the EP again. From that point onwards, I think I've listened to this EP most weeks. It's infectious, I can't listen to it and not be smiling. What a tremendous shame, then, that this is The Clippers' only real release. They have two other songs, on a split with Coping, and that's everything they ever did. What a tremendous shame. No matter - go get this EP from their bandcamp and let it make you smile.