A lull after the last couple of frenzied weeks, only especially notable for the Decemberists' inevitably excellent O Valencia coming out on 7". Dammit, why couldn't we get to see them on tour last week? ¡Forward Russia! make a sojourn into actual track titles with the sprawling eight minutes of Don't Be A Doctor on limited edition 10", a very late 7" single, Empty, is sprung from Metric's album, and amazingly some people do still release singles on CD, Liam Frost and the Slowdown Family's luscious She Painted Pictures getting another go.
In the week of release of an album called A Gothic Acoustic Tribute To Evanescence we perhaps need The Fall more than ever. Peel may have gone, Mark E may be a month away from the fiftieth birthday he's looked like he's been well past for the best part of a decade, but number 27, Reformation Post TLC, finds them on familiar form - opaque, pisstaking lyrics over rockabilly-influenced full throttle reptitive grooves by some people who weren't in the band on the last album. There's more than a touch of Fall about Tokyo Police Club's lyrically dystopian non-sequiturs and raw pre-punk approach, eight tracks in eighteen minutes A Lesson In Crime also introducing us to their Strokesian sinewy guitars and clattering neo-futuristic garage. Another winner from Memphis Industries, by and large. Kevin Barnes's latest set of playful multilayered electrodanceindiepop as Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, delicately conceals a dark lyrical heart reflecting Barnes' depression and seperation and is very much a grower. Soul Jazz Records, for some reason, are behind Do It Yourself: The Rise Of The Independent Music Industry, which kicks off as only a 1970s DIY compilation can, the Buzzcocks' Boredom, and progresses through among others Scritti Politti (another outing for Skank Bloc Bologna), the Fire Engines, Swell Maps, Throbbing Gristle, Patrik Fitzgerald, Blurt and Mick Hucknall's first group The Frantic Elevators. (And before you pull out that Observer interview, lest we forget Hucknall has provided a business model from scratch for self-releasing material in the post-Internet age, was at the first Sex Pistols Lesser Free Trade Hall gig, helped form Blood & Fire records to reissue his favourite obscure reggae and his company manage Stina Nordenstam and invest in DrownedInSound, so let's not judge him entirely on Stars.) Where were we? The Triptych: Mixed By Fred Deakin is a typically obtuse mix selection from half of Lemon Jelly which veers across three CDs between the Selecter, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Pete Seeger, Japan, Mama Cass, Thin Lizzy, Siouxsie & The Banshees, N.O.R.E., Supergrass, Saint Etienne, Jesus & Mary Chain, Bernard Cribbins...and CDs two and three have a decent range on too. If you find a better run anywhere than CD2's P Funk Allstars/George Michael/The Seeds/Sounds Orchestral/Pentangle, do get in touch, if you're that desperate to pass the information on. The only good thing about Stiff Records' name being revived just for releasing records by The Enemy (who describe it as a "punk label" on their press release, which doesn't cover a tenth of its story) is that Warner, who bought it off Universal, who bought it off Island, who bought it off Dave Robinson and Jake Riviera, neither of whom would have given The Enemy a second hearing, is that should mean a set of reissues are on the way. Certainly here's the marque being used, even if Amazon briefly made our head really spin like Linda Blair in an owl sancturary by crediting it to ZTT, for a debut CD issue of ultracaustic rock'n'roll singer-songwriter Wreckless Eric's 1980 LP Big Smash which, as with some versions of the original, features an earlier material odds'n'sods second disc.
Even if it all contradicts itself, interview compilations from classically caustic singers are always worthwhile, and few have obfusticated their mythology in so much tale telling and scene-setting over the years more than Tom Waits. Innocent When You Dream covers thirty years of chats, reviews and profiles including input from Elvis Costello, Charles Bukowski and Jim Jarmusch.