Words by Jamie Hallaman
Hello! This is a proposed new feature on GFP which encourages our writers to dig a little deeper into the catalogue of a record label and offer up ten songs as a celebration/introduction for the GFP readership massive. There’s no particular set rules to the feature, selections can be a “Best Of,” an “Introduction To” or they can be themed in some other fancy way. Given that our beloved editor Tom Johnson has recently started his own label, Night Talk Records, which has just seen its second release and also that our first featured label, Philophobia Music, are currently celebrating five years on the scene….now seemed a pretty good time to get started! Note: “Independently Yours…” was the best name we could think of after realising that all the good names were taken, do let us know if you have a better idea.
Philophobia Music are a small but prolific label from Wakefield in Yorkshire, they specialise in hearty Indie Rock and their better known artists include GFP favourites Runaround Kids and The Spills, plus they also curate compilations which offer a “Deep Six” type introductions for the Wakefield area, offering a great representation of their scene to miserable southerners like myself (London, not Dixie).
It should never be easy to whittle a label’s catalogue down to ten tracks and it really wasn’t easy here. After all, songs I had to leave untouched included the majestic Salvage My Dream, The Compression (when I used to prowl Camden market for bootleg Nirvana demos, I was hoping they’d sound like this), the Lou Reed twang of The Piskie Sits, new music from Michael Ainsley Band and even Lapels with their lo-fi Evil Dead samples. In no way is this “THE TOP TEN” but I do think it’s a pretty good introduction to Philophobia’s deep catalogue. Let us begin…
We Are Losers – Talk
Here’s one we TALKED (lol) about a lot on GFP at the time (see); this is blissfully hook laden Guitar Rock encased in a perfectly Lo-Fi shell. “Indie Done Right” could be their tagline, if they couldn’t think of anything better. Being an Irish band they were just temporary guests for the Wakefield label but the three songs they contributed are more than memorable enough to see them featured here. Editor Tom likes this song a lot too, it probably makes him feel young or something. Nothing could make me feel young again, except for cosmetic surgery.
Clandestines – You’d Have Never Even Asked My Name As Long As You Got The Satisfaction You Need
Similar to We Are Losers, this is another split appearance for the label and it’s another perfect example of marrying gorgeous melodies and lo-def searing rock. The mere two tracks that the band gave the Philophobia catalogue are ones I can listen to over and over and I’d really welcome a return to The North for these guys. They also share a name with another PhiloFave of mine – LISTEN.
St. Gregory Orange – The Hearts Are Tape Machines
“I just called to say I want my records back; if you’re gonna break my heart, I’m gonna give it a fucking good soundtrack” is like “Lyric of the Year – 2009” or something. A huge departure from the usual Philophobia sound, this ambient electronic indie pop is beautifully realised and deeply moving. Dread + Hope + More Dread = the perfect formula. The album is well worth buying but this song is available for free, if you absolutely must.
Jeremiah – I’d Rather Be Here
Jeremiah offer us up some ramshackle quirky acoustic-pop that has a few things in common with The Vaselines and Allo Darlin – they’re light, charming and difficult not to resist. If you can get enough of boys with guitars, then Jeremiah could be a good introduction to the Wakefield sound for you. This was released originally in 2009 on a split with Imp, hand-sewn into a blue fabric heart. Tweelightful.
Imp – Don’t Go Wild
For one reason or another, Imp come across to me as the conceptual musician types of the label with their songs often playing out as beautifully orchestrated atmospheric grooves – with lyrics attached. This one is particularly pleasing to my ear; an effortless guitar line is met with stabbing synth interplay, accompanying a gentle refrain of “Fly – but don’t go wild”…shine on you Northern diamond. Not as adventurous or “big sounding” as some of the material that appeared on their 2nd EP Sewerpop! (How The Castle Was Stormed but a wee gem none the less.
Above Us The Waves – X-ray Eyes
This song from Above Us The Waves features excellent use of the old Philophobia artist trick of finding a good line and a better riff and repeating them over and over to a climactic and heart wrenching finish. It probably sounds like I’m making fun of it but I’m not, it’s totally great and I’ve been playing this constantly since buying it.
Sponge Wings – Ice Cream Headache
This jaunty keyboard ditty sounds a little like a Richard O’Brien demo from The Rocky Horror Picture Show (or possibly even Shock Treatment), it’s a nasal superhit that can’t be denied. This was originally released as a split EP with Lapels and was available on the prettiest 7 inch in town until selling out quite recently. Available now as a ‘Pay-What-You-Want’ download (don’t tell Robert Smith, he’ll flip the fuck out. Again) and I advise you pay big.
The Spills – Atomic Arabian Facebuster
Taking its name from former ECW World Heavyweight Champion Sabu’s high-risk finishing manoeuvre, this was always going to be a sentimental favourite of mine but The Spills probably didn’t get to be one of Philophobia’s top selling artists on wrestling references alone. This is imaginative stadium sounding indie rock compressed into 3.5 minutes of cassette hiss, packed with riffs and soul. We previously covered this release here. EC-DUB! EC-DUB! EC-DUB! (This was actually released on sister label Bitching Cassettes but it’s not like you were any the wiser, was it?)
Gary Gore & E.E. Viles – Decades Erased
When scouring the catalogue earlier this year, I came across another nice surprise in the music of Gary Gore. Sandwiched between some alt.rock/indie-pop was this hugely sophisticated and organic sounding ambient electronica (or is this chillwave? I need a real blogger to tell me), it’s beautiful music for a million occasions (talk about value for money…). The stunning arrangements are a little less of a surprise when you learn that Mr. Gore also performs with Imp and St. Gregory Orange. Talented guy, Yo.
Runaround Kids – I Want To Fall In Love Again
Last but absolutely not least, the stunning final addition to Runaround Kids’ 2012 release series. Honestly, they raised the bar so high in the last ten meters of the marathon that I wanted to see them run it all over again. This is one of those songs, undeniable heartache played at the perfect velocity…the kind of song you had on repeat when you were a teenager. Runaround Kids are the most celebrated of all the Philophobia roster on GFP’s HTML pages – and with this, I think it’s easy to see why. (If you’d like to see more of our coverage of Runaround Kids then click here, it’s fucking endless)
Also, I think an honourable mention also has to go to the decidedly crass “You Got It All” by The Bundesrats: “You’re putting socks down your bra to make them bigger than they are.” – CHUSMA, mang.
I hope you enjoyed the first of what will hopefully be many “Independently Yours…” label features here on GoldFlakePaint and that you might find a song or two to love in the selection presented above. Philophobia, like so many labels are self-financed for the pleasure of sharing music at a higher standard, do consider supporting their work.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rofanator