The Year 2020 Round Up of music on 7 and 12 inch must start in Helsinki, though the mighty Kynnet single 'Silloin Kun Sä Lähdit' in fact was released on Oslo's Black Pop Records. The A-Side and B-Side effortlessly match Ty Segall's or Plastic Bertrand's zany overdrive punk pop, but another Helsinki ensemble also caught my ear, namely Koma Saxo, with a track 'Koma Mate' culled off their 2019 LP on We Jazz. It brought back happy memories of The Styrenes' 'Just Walking' from forty years ago. Not exactly what one'd call a jazz buff, I've become a dedicated follower of Ikebe Shakedown too. The Colemine label tends to release CD albums prior to making the finest tracks available on precious seven inch vinyl. 'Unqualified' makes for one of Ikebe Shakedown's best shots on the 45 Scale, bringing exactly what's missing from a CD album.

One can buy of course 7 inch records from music stores but catching up often requires joining a label. On Slumberland Records Odd Hope from Oakland in The Bay Area released a gorgeously catchy pop in the label's Single's Club, called 'All The Things'. Twangy like The Byrds with hooks, chorus and melodic harmony, Odd Hope tempted me to reconsider for example my collection of records by The Kinks and Sparks.

London labels On The Corner and Batov Records put out cross genre music singles and amongst these the ones I enjoyed most include Peru's Dengue Dengue Dengue, or DNGDNGDNG if you must, with their EP 'Continentes Perdidos', Siti Muharam with 'Ashikibaya' and Baharat's 7 inch 'The Egyptian' backed with a fabulous wedding tune on the flip, on a seven inch single which slid into my letterbox a mere two days after I had paid for it. Just make sure the letter box is at least 8 inches wide and you'll be a happy bunny. Nothing beats the sheer joy of receiving a hard paper bag with sixty grams of vinyl when it's a matter of Hit or Miss.

The two most daring EPs which I got to hear on the Doncaster purchased turntable during Year 2020 came from Moscow and Chicago. Moscow's Arma Records released the 'Wired' EP by Ena. Only one letter different from te legendary Brian, Ena's EP broadened my horizon of electronic ambient sound, lifting moods from industrial lows to atmospheric heights. On Chicago's God? label Oogbogo's self-titled 12 inch EP achieved the opposite with its rambling ramshackle mayhem making 45 RPM. Just what The Knights of the Turntables ordered. My stereo set is now Half Japanese Half Swiss and the purchase of a new stylus kept me from buying a dozen more singles. Should you ever want to listen to a record in the music store in Nijmegen, you might ask for the old stylus which I donated during lockdown. The quality vinyl lured me into buying a rather expensive stylus and then it showed how poor some vinyl pressings still are. The great Melenas LP 'Dias Raros' for example needed three thorough scrubbings. All for the greater good of warm, analog music.
















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