[sic] Magazine

Gary Stanton’s Top Ten Records of 2008

1. Hypnostasia – “Bagpussy” ( Picus )
A welcome return for Milan DJ, Dario “Daz” Phellatio, and trusty sidekick Professor Yaffle. Souped-up bass and pea-green harmonies have seen this duo fill the dancefloors stretching from the resort of Palma Nova to slightly further inland. Here they’ve sampled Yaffle’s namesake’s famous smug laugh “Nyeh Nyeh nyeh” – the cue to a drumbeat that reaches 180 bpm. I know because I timed it with a stopwatch. That’s faster than a hummingbird with a dodgy wing. In the fictional children’s TV series of the same name, many admired Professor Yaffle’s attempts to maintain order, although I always thought of him as a domineering killjoy and consequently never liked the cunt. As a six year old, I wrote repeatedly to the BBC, accusing them of stereotyping mice as pacifist weaklings. I implored them to feature an episode where the mice have Salfordian accents and “set about” Prof. Yaffle with Stanley knives. I received a snotty letter back, a copy of which I still have, to the effect that while they appreciated viewer feedback, my own suggestions were unsuitable for the target audience – i.e under fives and bored au-pairs. After patronising me on the maturity of my letter, they went on to say that the version I put forward “offered a nightmarish vision of the future” where “respect for authority lay in tatters” and that it also made “a stereotype of Salfordians”. All this, from the corporation that brought us “The Good Life”. The one where that fucking duck flies around some petals .

2. Gaza Incursion – “Ethical Foreign Policy” ( Blast First )
An excerpt of Robin Cook being interviewed by David Dimblebey gives way to the thunderous bass guitars of all-out conflict. Originally called Cluster Fuck, they were hindered by a lack of radio play and changed their name again in 2003 to Cluster Bomb. Sadly, since the outbreak of the war in Iraq, they have been notable on the airwaves only by their abscence. Once again they have reinvented themselves though critics argue timing has never been their strong point.

3. Balsamic Reduction – “Shame about the Souffle” ( Fondue )
This is a project of several anonymous MasterChef contestants who were rejected during the heats. After consoling each other backstage, it turned out they had a shared love of music. The overall mood is of one of those shocking early nineties Journey by DJ compilations, except the “Reduction” have mixed slippery hard house beats with a meringue-kissed piano riff and a puff-pastry brass section. The overall effect is a bit of a dog’s breakfast but originality is the key here. The main refrain takes criticism from corpulent host Greg Wallace and loops it for comic effect “All I’m getting / All I’m getting / All I’m getting is onion ” says Greg, ending on “You also get the smokiness of the bacon” . The cheeky scamps.

4. Group Text Message – “SMS Flirt” ( Ind. )
A tissue-strewn bedroom project of Southport-based teenager, Liam Arnold Spilsbury. Liam has cleverly strung together messages received on his voicemail and has relayed received text messages via a landline to produce a dull BT-enhanced electronic voice. This he has overlayed this with cliched misty keyboard riffs which wouldn’t sound out of place in a New Age bookshop. The whole effect is akin to those EVP recordings which the gullible believe to be voices of the departed, but which are in fact stray radio broadcasts bounced off the Ionosphere and relayed back to the ears of the foolhardy or anyone wealthy enough to own a tape recorder and a faulty din wire. The content of the voicemails suggests that 13-year old Liam would do well to choose his friends more carefully. We are treated to various examples of adolescent bellicosity such as “Kelly thinks you’re a mong”, “Hey dickhead – this is Joey. I just shagged your Mam” and “Meet us outside LIDL or you’re dead “. While Liam may show a precocious talent, popular he certainly isn’t.

5. Rectal Negligence – “Gibby Haynes’ Patio” ( Carnage )
Frontman Peter Spink unleashes a torrent of pent-up fury in this welcome return from the Brighton deathcore merchants. It’s been a bad year for Peter who poured his heart out to this reviewer during a phone interview in late November. Back in February, he was awarded 6 points on his yet-to-be issued driving licence for headbutting a driving instructor after jumping a red light and clipping a wheelie bin. In July, he split with his girlriend of fifteen months when he caught her, or so he believed, poaching trout on his grandfather’s estate. Follow-up 7 inch single “How was I to know they were Sea Bass ? ” finds Peter in conciliatory mood, his ex-partner having since confessed to him that she had been shopping at Sainsburys and had merely used the estate as a shortcut to her Nissan Micra which she had parked nearby. Either way you look at it, it’s still trespassing. He’s best off out of it. October saw him draw his life-savings out of the troubled Halifax bank only then to leave his wallet in a branch of Cafe Uno. A customer handed it in but the money had vanished. Spink sums up his despair with the enterprising vocal “Uuuuuuuuurgh uuuuuuuuurgh uurgh uuurgh uuuuuuuuuurgh rooouuurgh ruurgh ruuggh yaaaaaaaargh uuurgh uuuurgh uuuuuuuuuuurgh” and you really know where he’s coming from.

6. Furnace Viewing Angle – “Malcolm X” (Dust2Dust )
FVA set up their own label Dust2Dust in 2005 on being fired from their jobs in a Leeds Crematorium following demonstrable incidents of malpractice. Lacking in lyrical dexterity, they are a combination of the best bits of ABC, Blow Monkeys and the worse bits of The Style Council and Australian rockers, Expatriate. Somehow they manage to come up sounding like a very good Haircut 100. Singer, Paul Jones, bemoans the state of his love life “All I wanted was a little sex / You insisted on watching Malcolm X ” SIC would suggest to Paul that relationships sometimes require a little give and take and not everyone fancies going at it hammer and tongs 24/7, especially when they’ve just come in from Christmas shopping, a search for mulled wine in Asda having proved fruitless.

7. Bivouac Brothers – “Brokeback Encore” ( Patient Horse)
The Bivouac Brothers are more usually noted for producing an unearthly guttural sound, reminiscent of a man, or several men rolling a refrigerator down a concrete footpath only to discover that their route is blocked further down by a row of bollards. In a departure from their usual fare, they have launched an assault on the Hi-NRG market. Suggestive of DAF at their provocative best, the amyl-drenched beats that permeate this track signpost a utopian future, based loosely on the concept of Millets, one where sex might freely be available, nobody has to work more than a thirty-five hour week, and you can rent a DVD for less than a pound. Seeing as I have a store card with Millets, it’s a future I subscribe to, except the bit about work. I expect my local DVD rental outlet to be open for more than four hours on a sunday.

8. Von Haagens – “Mit der Faust gefickt” ( Leichenschauhaus)
This unpalatable quintet hail from Breisach am Rhein. Maybe you like the sexy-sounding Einstuerzende Neubaten, but don’t know what it means ( collaspsing new builds ) , then you’re gonna love these guys. If you’re looking for that edgy feel to your record collection – look no further. Inspired by the anatomical skills of Gunther Von Haagens and the queasy theatrics of Gwar, these fellows have gone one step further – showering their audiences with real urine, excrement, vomit and left over body parts from a nearby medical school, known since to have closed. Whilst four of their number are currently on remand, drummer “Calcium Markus” is currently running the show and dealing with issues such as fanmail and distribution. You can email him at calcium.markus@gmx.de

9. Supercilious Dutch Relation – “GazProm Queen” ( Bridge Too Far Records )
This female Antwerp ensemble are pitched someway between the wholesomeness of, say, The Hearthrobs and the down and dirtiness of Hole. So not particularly wholesome and not overly dirty. This latest effort sees the band with a renewed political conscience and is nod in the direction of Abba, all the while lacking the shitness quotient. They lyrics pull no punches – “Friday Night and the lights are low / In Kiev, Munich and Oslo / Where they play the right music / If They Only Could / They have a need for gas ” .

10. Bemused Keith – “Come May My Love, The Fascists Will Be Gone From This Island” ( Lithium )
The listening public (you) may raise an eyebrow at the title of this track . Formerly, Keith P. Ferryman was a patient at Ashworth Maximum Security Hospital on Merseyside, a facility that also houses the notorious child-killer, Ian Brady. Keith was recently released on a technicality. This melancholic offering is written from the perspective of Keith’s alternative reality in which Churchill capitulated and the armies of the Third Reich occupied much of Great Britain, save for some of the hillier regions. Keith can often be seen strolling around his native Buxton in his trademark tea cosy hat and is working on a follow-up single “You’ll Never Take Snowdonia” . You can’t email Keith as he refuses to countenance the existence of laptops. Snide critics who take some pleasure in mocking the mentally ill, have derided Keith’s output as delusional – bet they wouldn’t dare say that to his face.