There was enough pre-signing buzz on the Long Blondes to make anyone sick of hearing about "the hottest thing from Sheffield since the Arctic Monkeys" before they even released song one. Don't believe the hype; just check out their four-track, 12-inch EP - sweetly packaged in a screened plastic bag by New York's What's Your Rupture? label - and listen to these five boldly bookish brunettes rock out like Human League, circa Being Boiled (i.e., when they were good). The best Blondes' banger, Autonomy Boy, will be filling dance floors by the time you read this, but you won't find it on their Someone To Drive You Home debut for Rough Trade. Same goes for the rambunctious Darts and Polly, taken from the out-of-print Giddy Stratospheres UK single on Angular. www.thelongblondes.co.uk.
When Nigerian percussionist Solomon Ilori came to Rudy Van Gelder's famed studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, to cut his first session in 1963, the Blue Note engineer may have been superbly skilled at recording small-combo bop jams, but he was clearly out of his element when faced with cutting a frantically pounding Afro-percussion ensemble armed with congas, shekeres, talking drums, sakaras and cowbells on top of a xylophone, guitar, flutes, saxophones, etc. By the time Ilori returned the following year with a pared-down attack involving Donald Byrd, Hubert Laws and Elvin Jones, Van Gelder was up to speed, judging by the two marvellous mid-tempo spiritual jazz joints Igbesi Aiye and Gbogbo Omo Ibile that Honest Jon's has just issued on vinyl for the first time ever. Those interested in getting the storming third track, Agbamurero, from the second session will need to pick up the Blue Note reissue of Ilori's African High Life CD.
Labour of Love
Swinging Toronto club selector Davey Love has an appreciation for the sweet simplicity of the 7-inch vinyl format that borders on obsession. So if global production levels are in decline, he'd be the boy most likely to pick up the slack. Sure enough, the first two singles have just appeared on Love's own Magnificent Sevens label. While Lipstick Machine's darkly brooding rm 111 (part one) lipstick kisses and suicide smiles CD wasn't a terribly enthralling debut, the threesome's hot new single b-side, Gimme The Time, is a joyously jarring recovery. Equally impressive are the My Bloody Valentine-inspired Easy Targets whose slow-building I Don't Want To Think will have Alan McGee checking the label fine print to see if the recording wasn't licensed from Creation. There's more on the way so watch for future Magnificent Sevens corkers from Love's myspace pals in the Mark Inside, Action Makes and the Disraelis. www.myspace.com/magnificentsevens.