Vinyl Analysis
Also: Twisted Nerve

Cool name, huh?

Well. Ripped it off the "Championship Vinyl" store in HI Fidelity so there you go…

Despite its current lack of popularity, vinyl hasn't totally bitten the dust and there are kind folks (labels) out there who are still churning them out and so I have decided to dedicate a whole section to these vinyl warriors. You've got vinyl you want analyzed, send me an e-mail.

B.P. 7042 - 69343
Lyon Cedex 07
Fax: (33)4-78-61-06-25

Specializing in powerpop 45s, this self-confessed "fun and totally pop label" is based in France and run by the fab Gilles Raffier. Pop the Balloon (named after a early version of Velvet Crush) is the fulfillment of Gilles' dream to bring great pop music to France and the rest of the world. His concentration on 45s is derived from the original pop thrill of a three-minute killer song -- it's like Gilles himself says, "There are no filler tracks like an album!" With that in mind, let's have a gander at what Pop the Balloon has to offer to the discerning pop fan. 

A Little Less Love b/w Christmas Love

A breezy gorgeous 12-stringed confection with Twilley's trademark trembling tenor. Immediately infectious! A definite winner with powerpop fans. ***1/2

Perfect World b/w Never Enough

Very reminiscent of Tom Petty's Byrdsian moments. Not as instantly enjoyable but dynamism and drama is more what Twilley is aiming for here. ***

Boyfriend's Heart b/w Fine Afternoon

Lisa Mychol's gorgeous vocal delivery is what sells the 50s styled Buddy Holly-laced rock 'n' rolling A-side. Whilst the flip side is dreamy and reflective, almost softly psychedelic. ****

Rock 'n' Roll Love Letter b/w Permanent Vacation

Backed by the Grip Weeds, the A-side is of course a stunning Who-ish version of the Bay City Rollers' nugget whilst Gary and the Masticators get happy with the Beach Boys-vibe of the B-side. ***1/2

Kasper/Clean/Beau Frere

The only French band on the roster, Strawberry Minds play a innocuous soft pop that brings to mind the current British rage, the New Acoustic Movement except that this 45 was released in 1996! The mood is breezy and the vocals fey - you cannot ignore the Simon & Garfunkal influence here. ***

Part II to come in the next update including singles from Paul Collins, Dom Mariani, Bloom & Teen Appeal. Stay tuned!


The label that gave the world Badly Drawn Boy prides itself at being unconventional. So its twisted vinyl pop agenda seems par for the course. Do not anticipate anything in the way of the pleasing baroque folk-pop of its most famous artist - expect the unexpected instead!

Milk Money EP

Inside that cutesy sleeve lies a clever askew treatment of jazz-folk music. Sophisticated yet avant garde. Joni Mitchell references rise easily in songs like the sombre "Headlights (And When We Drive)" and droning "I, So Many Times." There is Smile-era melancholy evident on "Milk Money" and child-like electronica on "Don't Let The Leaves Fall Down." Nice vocals from Jane Louise Weaver and Anna Greenwood highlight this appealing EP. ***1/2


It makes me wonder whether Will Goddard (who is Supreme Vagabond Craftsman) is taking liberties with arty pretensions on this mini-album. Sketchy instrumentals suggest that the man is just mucking around with recordings that sound like demos. When he does 'sing,' he recalls Syd Barrett at the point of breakdown, ragged and deliberately obtuse. Not much satisfaction to be derived here. Fans of the Fall, Captain Beefheart & Joy Division may see glimpses of talent. But not much. **

am deister

This album is perhaps the prefect soundtrack for trekking in the woods - it should have been used as the score for the Blair Witch Project (which I hated by the way). It is disorienting, discomforting, occasionally lucid but ultimately frustrating that one never seems to see the big picture. Tyack has a way with picking the right sounds for his challenging songs but the ideas seem to run away from him - what is left are fragments of what might have been. Maybe my judgment is flawed - this incompleteness, sense of unfinished business could very well be Tyack's motive all along - y'know what I mean? **1/2