Mr. Ally Craig of Oxford, England, was lucky enough to meet me through a mutual affinity for the music of the Eels. And consequently, a couple of years later, I was lucky enough to hear this uncommonly unassuming gentleman’s own uncommonly, fretfully (frightfully?) good music.
I’m referring specifically to Ally’s double a-side, “Angular Spirals” and “Get What You Pays For”, which was released way back in the summer of 2008, but which, since the money just now cleared, I’m just now talking about. Now, “Angular Spirals” is great, and it’s frantic and odd and succeeds in making me like it, so okay. But “Get What You Pays For”…that’s gold.
It’s framed awkwardly but to great effect. It’s willful and meandering, interjected with a Rain Dogs-like saxophone (courtesy Pete Wareham of Acoustic Ladyland) that pushes it just into the realm of the sublime. But it’s grubby, too, with a British punk vibe. Probably because Ally is British, and of course they all sound the same. [This is me being facetious.] And the production values are off the charts.
The single was released exclusively on vinyl, in a crazy limited supply. Ally underwent the “arduous process of personally hand-etching two songs into 500 pieces of shiny black vinyl,” noting that, unlike most records, these “pieces of vinyl are flat, round and about seven inches in diameter.” Quality Oxford craftsmanship! I have two copies, one of which is signed, because I’m so cool (and because Ally forgot to sign the first one and went back to the post office later that day).
You all absolutely should definitely browse Ally’s blog for free downloads and links to odd music videos he’s made.
Also, Ally got me to take jazz more seriously, and anytime someone opens a door like that, they’re probably a most valuable acquaintance indeed. Cheers, Ally!