Flipsides & Otherwise: FAO #1

Owen Tromans – Korea / Light It Up (Sacred Geometry, CD-single)

The prodigal hero of DOA’s earlier-years returns with a taster from his forthcoming full-length follow-up to 2004’s promising Place. Yet anyone anticipating a straight re-run of said album’s angular Brit-folk should be pleasantly-shocked by the power-jangle of the soaring “Korea” and the lunging “Light It Up”, which both imagine Billy Bragg lost in the English suburbs with only displaced members of Karate and Bug-era Dinosaur Jr for company – a retroactive juxtaposition that is perhaps a lot more fun and fulfilling to hear than it reads on screen.


Visit: www.owentromans.co.uk


Lavender Diamond – Open Your Heart (Rough Trade Records, UK-only CD-single)

With even the hardiest lovers of gooey folk-pop finding Lavender Diamond’s Imagine Our Love long-player a touch on the twee side, this intriguing three-part curiosity acts as either an appetising aperitif or a sufficient one-off snack. “Open Your Heart” is, of course, the most engaging dollop of sweet melody from Imagine Our Love to latch on to, with its blissful acoustic-rush peculiarly reminiscent of Belle & Sebastian’s “The Boy With The Arab Strap”. Track two is the real scoop though, as Becky Stark and co. surrender “Oh No” (another key highlight of Imagine Our Love) over to The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy, for a yearningly lovely solo acoustic re-interpretation that should win over fans of both bands. Perhaps the most baffling and brave moves come on the tottering baroque take on Abba’s “Chiquitita”; a makeover which could certainly be the pinnacle of the group’s love/hate appeal.

Visit: www.lavenderdiamond.com


Emma Pollock – Adrenaline (4AD, 7”/download)

Despite having been brusquely signed-up by 4AD after The Delgados’ dissolution in mid-2005, it’s taken an inordinately long time for Emma Pollock to deliver her first solo material in the shape of this two-tracker. However, those expecting a more revelatory twist for her muse will be caught-out by “Adrenaline” on the a-side; a sweeping piano-and-guitar-led art-pop barrage, that feels like a lost track from The Delgados’ The Great Eastern, albeit spared the weighty production values of Dave Fridmann. Whereas “Adrenaline” is more or less business as usual, the flipside of “A Glorious Day” is a far more subtle side-step; with Pollock’s delicate pipes turning the prose of published Brighton poet Brendan Cleary into a plaintive and solitary unplugged ballad. If this split sonic persona is more successfully blended on Pollock’s upcoming album (belatedly due in September) then we could be in for a real treat. Failing that, we can at least expect a decent enough Delgados record in all but name.

Visit: www.emmapollock.com


The Piano Creeps – Hey Love / He Likes The Light / In Somerville / Stoned (myspace.com/thepianocreeps)

Picking long and hard through the information overload of Myspace, should lead you to this newly formed musical outlet for Mary Lorson (Madder Rose, Saint Low), Billy Coté (Madder Rose, The Jazz Cannon) and solo songstress Kathy Ziegler. Judging by the four fabulous rough mixes of songs from the trio’s currently label-less long-player on rotation through the website, it would be a heinous crime if no physical release were to be sanctioned. “Hey Love” is (literally) one of the best pop songs Madder Rose never put out officially, now draped in extra studio-enabled dreaminess. The rubbery-bass and slide-guitar pleasures of “He Likes The Light” recall the experimental midpoint of the same deceased group’s near-perfectPanic On platter. “In Somerville” is more luscious and strange, like Judee Sill conjured back to life by a clairvoyant My Bloody Valentine. Although Ziegler’s lead-vocals on “Stoned” aren’t quite as ensnaring as Lorson’s on the other three offerings, her musical mixing of latter-day Yo La Tengo and Automatic For The People-flavoured R.E.M. works remarkably well. Lobby your favourite record label for the release of The Piano Creeps’ debut LP – tentatively-titled The Big Green Nothing – without delay.