Thursday, 30 October 2008

Mysterious Records

Anyone listening to Auckland's Fleet FM at some point last week may have had the pleasure of hearing me say something along the lines of "okay I'm going to play an great song by Crystal Stilts, which is either called 'The Sinking' or 'Shattered Shine', I'm not really sure." Then later on I say I'm about to play 'Backwards' by The Motifs, only to play 'Yours & Mine' instead. Then do it all over again when I played Henry Dress' 'Zero Zero Zero' instead of 'Hey Allison'. In the space of one radio show I was foiled by three different mysterious records.

My definition of a mysterious record is one whereby it's impossible, or at least difficult, to know side a from side b. The Crystal Stilts has three tracks on each side and there's nothing on the label to tell you which side is which. So I get to know one side as the side with writing on it, and the other as the one with the Woodsist logo - but I've no clue how that relates to the track. Okay so the sides are etched on that bit inbetween the label and the vinyl where hip labels like to leave little messages, but it took me a while to notice that.
The Motif's record has completely blank labels and no etching at all, so they only way to tell side a from b is to count the tracks - 12 on side a, and 11 on b - but who can be bothered counting that high.
But Henry Dress' lone LP 'Bust 'Em Green' is the most confusing of all. On side has 'Stop' on it and the other 'Go' - and despite what you may think the album starts with 'Stop'. But then the track listing is listed in just one big block of text with nothing to distuigish tracks, let along sides. So unless you have some prior knowledge of the songs (from mix tapes and the like) it's truly impossible to work out which side is which.

This is probably also a good time to point out the Crystal Stilts EP and the Motifs LP are two of the best records I've heard this year. The Motifs LP compiles some older singles they've recentyl released, as well as a bunch of new stuff too. There's only 200 being pressed so, if it hasn't sold out already, get to Knock Yr Socks Off's myspace to order yourself a copy. The Crystal Stilts LP has just been released by Slumberland and is pretty awesome, though I think I still prefer this EP. They keep getting compared to New Zealand bands, mostly just because Hamish Kilgour "discovered" them, but that doesn't mke much sense to me. To me they sound like early Felt, only much more dancable - that's bedroom dancing, not the silly club type.