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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… EPs from Andy Partridge and Robyn Hitchcock, Oh Baby, Monoloc, The Hardy Tree, Covenant and The Wildhearts November 23, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Haven’t had a selection of new music in a while so here are six EPs/mini albums from some very different musical outfits working in hugely different genres.

Which of course raises the issue of what is an EP or mini-album in this period of time? Once their function was actually enormously irritating. EPs – not quite a single, not nearly an album – when in vinyl form weren’t great. I’ve a heap of them still in the attic where they will stay. The format was always a bit cumbersome (and there were those who thought it entertaining to mess around with it, I’m looking at you Sad Lovers and Giants and The Virgin Prunes both of which thought it entertaining to have EPs with different speeds on either side of the disc). Then there were the CD EPs? I always used to look at them as a waste of physical space. Why weren’t there more tracks?

And yet I’m probably being a bit harsh. Sounds had a series of great samplers around 1988 that I still cherish (at least in ripped form) and there were others.

Anyhow, all that aside, what of these EPs some of which have physical form, others of which are simply groups of songs under a title existing in the ether.

Andy Partridge and Robyn Hitchcock presumably require no introduction, Partridge being central to XTC and Dukes of Stratosphear and Hitchcock likewise being central to the Soft Boys before a lengthy and continuing solo career. Hitchcock sings lead on three songs, Partridge on another. All are great. Planet England, the EP… hmmm… sub head on the sleeve ‘Sorry luv – we’re closed’ what are they getting at?

Oh Baby are a US based synth pop outfit, feted in the online music sites. Their approach to 1980s revivalism leans in to their influences (Exhibit A – ‘Part of the 80s’ – natch!) but doesn’t hesitate to move beyond them.

Covenant were covered way way back when the This Weekends I’ll Mostly Be Listening were a new enough feature on this site. Their brand of EBM/Futurepop is fairly idiosyncratic in recent years – a lot of hiss, static and so on entering the mix, which I like. And an Irish link, Grabyourface who features on one of the tracks learned her craft in Dublin, no less. Five tracks, each by one of the group. The title of the last track drawn from it clearly political.

Monoloc offers a nuanced take on big room techno (I note that RA are a bit sniffy about Monoloc, but I think there’s a lot of subtlety in his work). For those who like Sandwell District style techno or even at a push Aphex Twin there’s a lot to like in here.

Stagdale from The Hardy Tree is… well, what, pastoral electronica? It seems to be loosely from the same area as Ghost Box hauntology inflected music which is admirable. Also admirable is a book illustrated with images relating to the songs which accompanies the EP.

The Wildhearts continue after a quarter of a century to wrest new melodies from seemingly unforgiving ground is quite something – their Ramones crossed with metal and hard rock approach with a whole heap more thrown in continues to work.

Robyn Hitchcock & Andy Partridge – Planet England

The Hardy Tree – Theme To Stagdale

The Hardy Tree – After the Rain

Oh Baby – Part of the 80s

Oh Baby – What We Do

Monoloc – Mufon

Monoloc – InnerReduction

The Wildhearts – Diagnosis

The Wildhearts – God Damn

Covenant – False Gods (feat. Grabyourface)

Covenant – All That is Solid Melts into Air


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