Brogues rightly picked up on Le Thug just before the Christmas break. For some reason it slipped right past me at the time of posting and I am glad that he nudged my elbow about it last weekend. The gorgeous ‘Paints’ is every bit as special as Brogues suggests and certainly marks a step up in gear from what has gone before. For whilst the debut ‘Ripping’ EP was in places really rather lovely (the opening ‘Tenerife’ and the closing ‘Of Europe (Arc 1993)’ were my particular favourites) it was nevertheless inescapably derivative of My Bloody Valentine circa ‘Glider’ and into ‘Loveless’. Nothing wrong with that of course, and as far as facsimiles go then ‘Ripping’ is right up there. But ‘Paints’ shows Le Thug stepping up, up and away from those blueprints and into the kind of territory that groups like Seefeel, Laika or Mouse On Mars escaped to in the ‘90s. Heady atmospheres indeed.
As Brogues also mentions, ‘Paints’ is no longer available to stream on their Bandcamp page, but should see the light of day very soon on a new EP for Song By Toad records. ‘Basketball Land’ from the same EP is available on the free ‘Magic Beanz’ label sampler now.
I'm going out again<won't you join me with that there download link?
Drifting - The New Romantics (digital single. Bandcamp) SoLong - School '94 (from 'Like You' EP. Bandcamp) Keep Cool - The New Tigers (from 'The Badger' LP. Soliti Records Also on 'Soliti ZIP 4') My Only One - kissing party (digital single. Bandcamp) All Of A Sudden - The Farmer's Boys (from 'With These Hands' LP) Never Closer - Firestations (from 'Never Closer' LP. Bandcamp) On Your Sleeves - Shiny Times (digital single. Bandcamp) Under the Ivy - Tracey Thorn (digital single) Red Planes - Weekend (from La Variete LP) Mixing You With Champagne - lispector (from 'Guide To Personal Happiness' LP. Bandcamp) Le Voyage - Happy Meals (from 'Apéro' LP. Bandcamp) Big Things, Small Things - Rodan (from 'Fifteen Quiet Years' LP. YouTube) Bill & Sarah - Hellfire Sermons (available on 'Hymns Ancient & Modern' LP) Wicklow - The Drink (from 'Company' LP. Bandcamp) New Moon - Cool Ghouls (from 'A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye' LP. Bandcamp) Freudian Slips - Wolf Girl (from 'Mama's Boy' tape. Bandcamp) Come See Me - Love L.U.V. (from 'Come See Me' EP. Bandcamp) Summer Slow Down - Black Twig (from 'Heliogram' LP. Soliti Records. Also on 'Soliti ZIP 4') Die Alone - Jennie Vee (from 'Die Alone' EP. Bandcamp) Walk In the After Light - Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory (from 'Tree Colored See' LP)
The Raddon Hills rise above the village of Thorverton and are marked most noticeably by a sole tree on their summit ridge, bent eastwards by the prevailing wind. At midsummer the villagers make a pilgrimage to the tree, but at the start of January it is instead the shooting of pheasants that appears to be the rather less pleasurable traditional pastime. Less pleasurable, at least, for the pheasants.
I can hear the retort of rifles as I start to ride out of the village along the mud strewn lane. It grows louder past the farms and the turn off to Wattery Lane. Up through the steepest part of the climb towards Raddon House I can hear the rustling of wildlife in the wooded banks and sure enough, as my legs strain and my lungs heave, a pheasant erupts from the hedgerow just ahead of me, flying at just above head height across the track. Instinctively I duck my helmet just as a sharp blast explodes from beside me. In return a stream of curses explodes on my rasping breath as I slog ever upwards.
It’s unclear if the pheasant escaped, but as I crest the hill I wonder if the hunters have a collection of handlebars and cycling helmets amongst their vile trophies.
It’s a dreich and windy New Year’s day and I’ve chosen to ride south to Dawlish. The going is slow and damp. On arrival at Dawlish I ride beneath the railway bridge and take up my usual spot by the repaired sea wall. As I take the customary photographs of my handlebars and the bleary seascape I feel a hand on my shoulder. “Look! A Kingfisher!” says an excitable voice. Turning, I see a woman and what I assume is her husband smiling and pointing to the breakwater. A tiny black dot is just about visible through the rain spattered lenses of my glasses and I although I know next to nothing about birds I do enough to realise that kingfishers are not normally associated with the seaside. “Gosh” I say, “what’s he doing down here?” to which the couple quickly agree that he (it seems to have been assumed it is a ‘he’ by this point - perhaps something in his plumage gave it away) must be catching some fish coming down the stream that runs through the town and divulges itself to the sea at this point. Together we watch the dark blob hop along the breakwater before flying off into the distance. Delighted with their observation, the couple move off down the promenande, chatting and pointing. Bouyed by their shared excitement I clip my feet into my pedals and start my ride home.