The Great Pop Supplement 7″ x 3 (Snails, Mike & Cara Gangloff and The Hanging Stars)

Whilst vinyl-only label entrepreneur Dom Martin’s primary focus has shifted somewhat of late to his trailblazing Krautrock-driven Deep Distance imprint (as exemplified by three terrific 10” EPs recently reviewed on these very pages), the fires of parent/elder sibling label – The Great Pop Supplement of course – are still being stoked for when the right artists turn up in need of a hospitable home.  So whilst a deluge of Deep Distance releases are lined-up for the coming months (along with even more on micro venture Polytechnic Youth, just to confuse things and trouble our wallets), here comes three fresh yet familial GPS 7” releases to remind us of the original label’s broad yet inclusive scope.

Snails “Talking to Anthony” b/w “Winter Hearts”

Snails “Talking To Anthony” b/w “Winter Hearts”

The pick of the trio is a long-awaited second 7” from Snails, belatedly following up 2011’s sublime “She’d Like An Hour” b/w “Daylight Ends” GPS 45.  A Bristol outfit led by vocalists Mog Fry and Dan Weltman and co-produced by the adroit Ali Chant (past studio aide to Howe Gelb, John Parish, Euros Childs and many more at Toybox Studios), the two tracks cut to clear vinyl here are equally as swooning and graceful as those on the preceding release; with the flute-infused “Talking To Anthony” cleaving closely to the softer side of The Incredible String and the richly-arranged pastoralism of Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left and the more sprightly chamber-pop of “Winter Hearts” warmly recalling early-Belle & Sebastian and middle-years Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.  A must for psyche-folk nugget collectors in short.

Mike & Cara Gangloff - “Durang‘s Hornpipe” / “Rake and Rambling Boy”

Mike & Cara Gangloff – “Durang‘s Hornpipe” b/w “Rake & Rambling Boy”

Contrastingly more challenging but no less worthy of investigation is a seven inch from Mike & Cara Gangloff, whose prior GPS connection comes via releases from Jack Rose & The Black Twig Pickers.  Enthralled by rustic drone abstractions the twosome take two traditionals into austere yet hypnotising realms; through the near-atonal wordless fiddle and shruti box meshing of “Durang‘s Hornpipe” on the A-side and the minimalist harmonies and acoustic whirring of “Rake & Rambling Boy” on the flip.  Whilst new converts to The Black Twig Pickers on the back of the recent revelatory collaboration with Steve Gunn (the sublime Seasonal Hire on Thrill Jockey) will find it a tougher listen in comparison, it’s clear that old time American folk experimentation is a wide and fertile field to plough-up.

The Hanging Stars - “Golden Vanity” b/w “Floodbound”

The Hanging Stars – “Golden Vanity” b/w “Floodbound”

Rounding-out this trio of GPS seven inches is an inaugural appearance for The Hanging Stars, the second spin-off venture from virtual GPS house band The See See, hot on the heels of the recent first LP from the sub-editor enraging Thelightshines.  Whilst the latter sibling outfit took The See See’s retro-psyche jangle into more overtly spacier realms to suggest a future transfer request to Deep Distance, The Hanging Stars are more earthbound but no less lysergically-intoxicated.  Marinated in cosmic Americana, the A-side of “Golden Vanity” takes lyrics from an antique ballad anthologized by Alan Lomax and sprawls them out into a heady folk-rock tangle that makes a leapfrogging link between the early Turn! Turn! Turn! and the mid-period Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde eras of The Byrds.  The AA-side of “Floodbound” is more laidback and subtly countrified with lambent instrumental passages of plaintive pedal steel, swelling organs and less layered-up vocals.  With a full LP due later in 2015, this is certainly another avenue for admirers of The See See to keep a close watch on.

All in all, these 21 inches of audio product from The Great Pop Supplement offer another set of good quality reasons why Dom Martin continues to risk being indicted to appear in the divorce proceedings of many profligate record collectors, who can easily and understandably be seduced into buying almost everything that comes out of his Crouch End kitchen.

The Great Pop Supplement