Low End Lowlife: 24.01.12

Bearded's Lowend Lowlife Matt Bayfield throws off the shackles of oppression and throws on a sequinned catsuit.

Posted on Jan 24th, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Matthew Bayfield
Low End Lowlife: 24.01.12 Loyalty and honour are two very rare things in the modern world. Many moons ago, in those halcyon yester years, if, heaven forbid, a fight were to erupt and you were foolish enough to be the single-malt soaked mouthpiece at said eruptions' unfortunate epicentre, it was more or less a given that the people you were out with; your steely comrades, would stand shoulder to shoulder with you and face the seaside Ludite who had just gingerly asked if you fancied a half Smirnoff bottle to the scapula head on. Even if odds were slim and survival chances were fat, it was in for a penny in for a pound. Brothers In Arms to quote Mr Knopfler... Alas those days have passed. Now, in the bitter present, as I get familiarised with the dental capacity of a John Smith's injection moulded ashtray, I am more likely to find my friends tweeting about the skirmish on their iPad 2 from the safety of the back of a fruit machine, or curled up in a corner with 15 wet wipes trying to get the mud scuffs off their new high tops. If their stock in trade was reliability they would be well advised to float their shares with high-street "fashion" store Peacocks. Because they're not worth a toss on the balcony of a scummy Yarmouth nightclub.

Luckily there has been a swell in the sequinned sweatpants of disco music recently. And if there is one thing that the genre pumps harder than groin muscles it's probably reliability... Or perms. Our first release this week comes from mystery couple Pop & Eye who have just dropped their second EP on the ever mysterious Editainment imprint. The label seems to specialise in disco edits all by duos (who may in fact be the same person or persons) with names like Tiger & Woods and Cleo & Patra. As I said I've no idea who or what these people are, but they do make banging disco in the most proper sense of the word, fresh from the late 70's. So boys, fire up that Old Spice and ladies... Well, it's a night off from the homemaking! Pop & Eye's newest collection, the whimsically titled Toil For Olive Oyl EP comes crowded with four bizarre slices of cut up and revamped disco. Pet Shop Boys 'Being Boring' gets a washed up beach house disco groove which flows nicely on a rubbery bass line and tropical percussion in 'Being Boing' and George Benson's 'Give Me The Night' gets a right good seeing to on 'Give Me A Fight', coming out sounding like it may have been rerecorded through a wall of jelly and ice cream, sprinkled with tranquilisers. 'Spinach Life' contains the most obvious edit of the wax, but I won't spoil it, go hear it for yourself and play the "trawl youtube 'til you get linked to that video game. TFOO is available in the standard Editainment format; that being a white label with a single cheeky rubber stamp to represent the artist; Pop & Eye (of course) are represented by a bulging bicep. The white labels are always very limited, so as Noah said to the lowly Baboons aboard the Ark mid biblical tempest "shit or get off the pot primates"

Red Rack 'Em, the house producer who presumably read too much Tintin as a boy, returns in his Hot Coins disguise again this week to throw some boogie inflected disco reworks of Ron Basejam & Wave Pictures onto the funky fires of entertainment with his self titled Hot Coins label. Taking Basejam's 'Voices’ and tacking a preposterously elasticised bass line over the ethereal vocals is a move of blissed out mastery that leaves you floating on a gentle aural tide. On the flip the Wave Pictures 'Greatest Escape We Ever Made' gets a techno bass line and some addictive handclaps to turn it into a deep, deep rump shaker. I've just conducted a scientifically accurate field study in my empty bedroom and it says hand claps are the most addictive form of percussion on the market right now. This cut highlights why.

Escort finally dropped their self titled debut LP on TIRK Records at the end of last year. I was a bit late getting to this as I had to sleep off a fortnight's worth of festive beverages and shift about four stillborn food babies, but nonetheless, I have got round to it and it sits a top this week’s little disco pile like a shimmering mirror ball atop an appropriate 70's pudding. Maybe a baked Alaska or a nice plum crumble. If you are not familiar with Escort it is high time (very high) you got to. Possibly the only live disco group in existence that manage to play regularly outside of Billy Ocean comeback tours at rapidly decaying, morbidly oppressive east coast holiday resorts, they cut a fine, all live, all instrument created groove like no other. From the straight up cowbell led boogie 'All Through The Night', a classic style disco number that caused quite a stir on 12" a few years ago it was clear Escort would deliver when they finally got round to a full length album and by Barry Gibb's Beard they did. 'Starlight' is one of the most infectious grooves ever committed to record in my opinion and is only galvanised further by some wonderfully old-school orchestral strings straight out of the Diana Ross playbook. Tracks like 'Love In Indigo' with its house precursor piano stabs are just as exhilarating in the studio as the band are in live format but the cream of the disco cheese is without doubt delivered on 'A Sailboat In The Moonlight'; bongo percussion, dramatic kick drums and far too many analogue synthesizers all clash with a cheeky brass section create one of the most daring things to be put on record in a non-ironic context since Cher's musical comeback in the mid-nineties (that's right friends. Cher... I'm not scared)

Finally, to round up this week’s disco themed nostalgia, comes the new Digital Mystikz 12" on their own DMZ imprint, which is the furthest thing from disco you could probably cut into a twelve inch wax plate bar the sonic faeces of northern dour peddlers Elbow. Who, if they have ever made it to vinyl I pray never make it to my house, let alone record deck. Anyway if you are not familiar with the manner in which DMZ release their wax then it may already be too late for you this time. Pressed in one single batch, not released digitally and never repressed again they are, to coin a phrase, rare like "the glittering turd of the horse that doth rock”… It is not abnormal to see a DMZ cut sell online for upward of eighty of the Queens finest pounds (I'm still saving for a copy of 'Ruffage' by Loefah so please start a petition for Bearded to pay me if you know how to use Facebook or Twitter.) At the time of going to press I'm yet to receive my copy, so will hold back judgement on whether it is any good just yet.

On the plus side though if I decide it's shit I can launch it onto eBay and pay off some of my student loan... Or buy trainers. Whichever come easiest really. Anyway it's not quite sold out yet so go grab a copy before it does a Ben Mitchell on you. The snivelling little sell out shit.

Additionally you can now follow Bearded's resident shit talker on Twitter. I've been told if you type @lowendlowlife you can see inside my head and soul and whisper things that aren't strictly true to me in the late night hour.