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  albums - october 2006



The Rogers Sisters - The Invisible Deck(Too Pure)

The one problem with being a journalist is as you develop a fondness for your subject, it soon becomes incredibly difficult to remain impartial. I suppose it's kinda like employing your best buddy to work for you; so long as you remain pals, it's easy to turn a blind eye to the fact that he's a work-shy bastard with a penchant for drug taking and hard drinking. So he turned up Monday morning with cocaine residue bubbling away on his top lip - we all have our imperfections, don't we? Back to what matters… 

… I'm afraid I've become a fan of the Rogers Sisters. Hell, I think they're fucking rippin'.

Those heavy, heavy riffs and tantamount to abusive vocals make me want to grab you by the shirt collar and hurl you in the direction of this band. The acid meltdown of 'Your Littlest World' makes me feel as though I should recommend you play the song real loud on repeat whilst you screw your girlfriend. But of course I won't do any of this… it's a well known fact that all journalists are well rounded (plenty of which, physically) individuals who strive to give their audience only the most honest and to-the-point of information.   

Go forth to the Rogers Sisters and be rocked.

Alex Clark

The Rogers Sisters - 'The Invisible Deck' (Too Pure)

The Rogers Sisters' last record, the long EP/mini album 'Three Fingers' was a bit of a mini-favourite of mine. I liked the odd feel, the way a lot of the music was bass led, the new-wave meets B52s vibe. It was patchy, sure. But it had a kind-of-original feel to it which made it stand out a little amongst the deluge of new-wave chancers.

'The Invisible Deck' was a shock to me on first listen. It seemed like the band had no idea what was good about them. They'd just decided to make a balls out, new-wave garage rock record. 'Why Won't You' is just so brash compared to the relative languidity and kookiness of the last record. It's a great song though, probably the highlight of the record. Which is a shame, as it's the first track. There's a definite sense that the Sisters have sought to develop their sound. There's a lot of stuff here that suggests the success of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs may have turned their heads. There's still some originality here though, although the Kills-esque 'Your Littlest World' falls short in its attempt to be a menacing dirge, sounding more like a slapdash Cure covers band doing Jesus & Mary Chain songs. Some good ideas, just faltering slightly in their execution.

Besides the aforementioned opener, the other highlight on here is the superb 'The Clock', which seductively recalls the finer moments of Les Savy Fav. But the rest I can take or leave. This is a more predictable record than its predecessor, but is different enough and just about strong enough in itself to garner some new appreciators. For those who were smitten prior, this is likely to be a significant disappointment, slightly redeemed by a couple of quality singles.

Craig Wood


Billy Bragg – Volume II (Cooking Vinyl) 

Probably not before time, Bragg’s collection of tunes have been brought together in a couple of box sets, and the CD I’m listening to here is a snifter of what comes out in a few weeks. It’s a collection of 2 songs each from “Workers’ Playtime”, “Don’t Try This At Home”, “William Bloke” and “England, Half English” and some sundry bits and bobs of live stuff and covers. As a taster, it’s a top piece of work and a suitable reminder of the quality of work he’s done, and also how few ranters who entertain there are. It’s mostly sparse solo Bragg and guitar, but sometimes songs are filled out. You’ll recognise the singles “Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards” and “Sexuality”, but there’s more to the Bard of Barking than this in his other offerings. No idea how much this box set of goodies is likely to be, I expect will furnish you with the required information.
Watch exclusive videos from the album

Dave Procter


The Early Years - The Early Years (Beggars banquet)

It's arrived! The long awaited and greedily received album from The Early Years has finally arrived! This band are here to ensure that iLiKETRAiNS don't get an easy ride of it and as we're thrust into the buoyant 'All Ones and Zeroes', it's easy to imagine that Ashley Dean's cornet flourishes'll be sounding slightly more tremulous than normal when his band takes The Early Years on tour with them later this year. 

What with the enormous 'I Heard Voices' and 'So Far Gone Part II' having not made the running list for this album, you'd be forgiven for thinking on the first couple of listens that this record comes over as a little milky in comparison to the previous EP and single releases. Delve a little deeper, my friends; swathe yourself in the warm, encompassing sounds and see if you can be put in mind of the vocal warmth of some dude called David Gilmour. Delve deeper still and see if you don't end up being reduced to a completely catatonic state by these ten benign works of beauty.  

'Song for Elizabeth' reigns supreme here. Again, The Early Years trick you into thinking that what you're listening to is a glib song of melancholy longing, but just dip beneath surface. The layers of swirling, ethereal sound creep up on you just slowly enough that you hardly even notice the songs’ transition from humble and coy beginnings to that of a sonic wonderland where anything goes. By the time you wonder what happened to the lyrics, it'll be four minutes since they were consumed by the towering audio-veils. 

So, with the alternative music genre becoming fast smitten with a music that's without a definite beginning or ending, who will emerge as victor? Will we tire of iLiKETRAiNS' natty videos and unreasonable devotion to the glory days of British rail, or are we ill-equipped to deal with the quintessential English gentry of the Early Years? It's gonna be interesting to see who prevails at the end of the day. One thing's for certain - I'm sure this battle will enjoy more longevity, if a little less frenzy, than the heated Oasis VS Blur debate.

Alex Clark

The Early Years - 'The Early Years' (Beggars Banquet)

The debut album from London trio The Early Years has three main reference points: Neu!, Spiritualised, and The Velvet Underground. Opener 'All Ones And Zeros' is a total Neu! soundalike, all thin motorik drumming and shimmering translucent guitar lines, whilst 'Things' feels like a soporific later-period Pink Floyd type thing, until late into the track when there's a bit more energy injected into the thing. Whilst not particuarly grabbing, it's quite nicely done, the guitars are subtle, not showy, and it does what it sets out to do competently.

In places they seem to be aiming for a combination of krautesque beats underpinning swathes of atmospheric guitar, elsewhere aiming for minimalistic Spiritualised atmospherics. The tracklisting is such that the two song-types take turns through the record. Rather than mixing up the feel of the record it more gives the sense of a limited range. The vocals are one of the weaker aspects of this band - pretty anonymous, sounding like an amalgam of Dave Gilmour and Jason Pierce.

The standout track is the epic 9-minute 'Song For Elizabeth', which includes all the aforementioned features, and adds in a section which strongly evokes ambient droners Stars Of The Lid before exploding and then ebbing gently to its end. Single 'So Far Gone' is another slab of shoegazey retrokraut which for all its dynamism doesn't do that much for me. Ultimately, the kraut-influenced bands that have found their own voice sound less like the originals than The Early Years do. This is a relatively one-dimensional record, albeit one with some great moments but not enough to convince.

Craig Wood


Basement Jaxx - 'Crazy Itch Radio' (XL)

You pretty much know what this record will sound like already. Trademark Jaxx production (busy, eclectic, extrovert), guest vocalists all over the shop, token inclusions of diverse dance music styles and subgenres, all put through the relentless Jaxx-mill to create something that always bears the Jaxx hallmark no matter what it's doing.

'Take Me Back To Your House' at least has some of the qualities present in the pair's vintage era output, with a catchy little banjo hook thrown in. I'm a big fan of some of Swedish popster Robyn's stuff, but her contribution to 'Hey U' is overpowered by the Eastern European cartoonism of the chorus and retains none of the sass that typifies her own material. The token grime effort, featuring Lady Marga, is excruciatingly bad, a total knock-off that sounds like about 5 minutes thought went into it.

On balance there's enough stuff here that sounds reminiscent of older glories to draw in existing fans but this is the sound of a group treading water, and churning out an utterly predictable sounding record. The brush strokes are big and brash enough as you'd expect to enrich their rightly lauded live shows, but somehow it all sounds like a Basement-Jaxx-by-numbers record with very little to entice anyone other than the already converted.

Craig Wood


The Bluetones - The Bluetones 

The Bluetones are back with their fifth studio album to date, the self-titled ‘The Bluetones’. Keeping to their usual brand of crowd pleasing pop, this album doesn’t disappoint and at times surpasses their debut album ‘Expecting To Fly’. Their opening track ‘Surrender’ is the classic trademark Bluetones sound with the familiar poppy melodies which remind you of what you liked about the Bluetones in the first place. There are a few slower tracks on the album as well like ‘Fade In/Fade out’, which was written for David Walliams of Little Britain fame while he was in training for his swim of the English channel, ideal for listening to on a Sunday morning while reading the paper and having your bacon roll in bed. Their new single ‘My Neighbours House’ is a cracking little gem of a song full with a rockier sound to their usual style but definitely the best on the album in my opinion and the one that says the Bluetones are back.
Stream the new album 'The Bluetones'

Claire Maciejewski


Lovemat - 'The Fearless Hair Days Of Youth' (Disturbia)

Unremarkable and inoffensive slightly bawdy pop-metal lacking any real teeth, but at least ballsy enough to be genuine heavy metal rather than ironic pastiche. Lovemat are a four-piece from the North-East who've picked up praise from the likes of Bruce Dickinson over the course of this year. Their press release kind of sums it up - citing Guns 'N' Roses & Kaiser Chiefs as touchstones. If that sounds appealing to you, or the thought of a less interesting 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster, or even a less exciting Terrorvision butters your muffins, then Lovemat are for you. To be fair this type of thing has never got me salivating too excessively, but to be harsh it's just a bit pants.

Craig Wood


Babyshambles – ‘Back To The Bus – What Goes On Tour Stays On Tour’ (DMC) 

The follow up to their 2005 celebrated LP ‘Down In Albion’, Babyshambles return with the second instalment from the ‘Back To The Bus’ series with ‘What Goes On Tour Stays On Tour’. For a band that have built their reputation poetic lyrics, some comparing Pete Doherty to the late Jim Morrison, and the media frenzy they’ve created with the drugs, the supermodel, the numerous brushes with the law and the failure to turn up at gigs, this album gives an insight into what really goes on behind the doors of one of Britain’s most talked about bands. An eclectic mix comprising of reggae, soul, folk, jazz, punk and rock, this album kicks off with the mod band The Creation and the brilliant ‘Making Time’, going on to showcase a wide array of their many different influences including the reggae phenomenon Dennis Brown dubbed the Crown Prince of Reggae and the inspirational jazz connoisseur Graham Collier. Nearing the end with the timeless classis ‘Going down’ by the Stone Roses, before the album goes on to feature an acoustic version of ‘What Katy Did’ and ‘Tour Bus Tales’ where the band recount tales of their endless frolics with groupies.  

This album makes a refreshing change from your usual compilation albums, as well as having some classic artists they’ve also got some new and upcoming bands like ‘The Cazals’ and ‘The Social’. Whether you’re a fan of Babyshambles or not, this album is well worth a listen to and with the sheer diversity of the tracks, there’s definitely something for everyone. Unless of course you’re a fan of McFly in which case it’s probably best you switch of your computer and leave the room, now.

Claire Maciejewski


South - Adventures in the Underground Journeys to the Stars (Cooking Vinyl)

South's unremittingly upbeat mid-Atlantic feel good pop is drawn from a delicate palette of understated vocal harmonies, handclaps, little xylophone pieces and Joel Cadbury's radio friendly crooking. little surprise then that they have achieved recognition on US programmes such as the OC and Six Feet under (=pay dirt presumably?)

A heavy influence of New Order often spills over, though is always treated with a lightness of production that keeps it from sounding too copyist. Most of the time. 'A Place in Displacement' sounds remarkably like a clumsy rip off of 'Regret'. But generally this is pretty well produced, inoffensive pop that would not be instantly chucked off the Tasty CD player.
Stream the album



Dynasty Handbag – ‘Foo Foo Yik Yik’ (Lovepump United) 

Jibz Cameron aka Dynasty Handbag, treads a very similar musical path to such female-led electro outfits as Peaches and Chicks on Speed, but with one slight difference; the tempo. If you imagine either of afore-mentioned bands but with the music played at approximately half the speed, then that’s Dynasty Handbag. The tracks on ‘Foo Foo Yik Yik’ vary from silly carnival noises and vocals (Squinty Eyes), creepy slow-motion funk (Face Dancing) and genuinely quite sad, but at the same time very amusing, electro ballads (Tapes). The whole affair is ironically retro and seems fairly tongue in cheek, but as well as being an amusing post-modern joke it’s also very enjoyable to listen to. Winning combination really. 

Michael Pearson        


Juliette & the Licks - Four On the Floor (Hassle)

Would the Licks get any coverage if they were not fronted by the actress turned rock bitch Juliette Lewis? I'm not sure. In fact, why would you even name yourself after your famous front woman unless you were trying to cash in on her stardom? Either way, this album is unashamedly rawk of the leather chap/long hair variety. The single 'Hot Kiss' reminds me of 'Electric' era The Cult with Lewis forcing her vocal chords into rawkus knots to get that croaky sound.

Dave Grohl's drumming provides further credibility to the album and there is the occasional interesting musical idea emerging. But there are also some bad ones like the Rolling Stone inspired plodder 'Get Up'. The jury is definitely out.



Dufus – ‘The Last Classed Blast’ (Iron Man) 

The first two tracks of ‘The Last Classed Blast’ are genuinely two of the most annoying pieces of music I’ve ever heard. Capering self-consciously weird folk, which simply made me think of a more experimental version of Dexy’s Midnight Runners. I think people can draw their own conclusions as to whether this is a good thing or otherwise. The vocals are especially grating. As the album progresses the songs become less hectic and less annoying, the majority of the material on this records is good, though relatively tame, weird pop/folk. Dufus made me think of a duller version of Neutral Milk Hotel. However I can’t find it within myself to like this album, simply due to the ‘quality’ of the first two tracks. Uncharitable maybe, but listen to them and I’m sure you’ll understand. 

Michael Pearson


Angel Tech - Angel Tech (Brain-Gel)

Starting your eponymously titled album with a track called 'Angel Tech R.I.P.' suggests a perverse logic at work here and you'll be glad to know that it continues through the music. Angel Tech seem to specialise in very personal, to the point of claustrophobic, simple song writing that every so often just collapses in a clatter bang of electronic chaos. Not to say that Angel Tech are an electronic band. Live guitars and even a cello are present. And the lyrics further add to the sense that you have somehow stumbled upon someone's own personal disaster as described by the medium of music. Titles such as 'Molotov', 'My Part in Your Downfall' and 'The Jukebox Will Tear Us Apart' further indicate that this isn't going to be all happy go lucky. But every so often little glimpses of musical genius like moments of clarity, shine through and illuminate the otherwise dismal musical landscape. A little like New Order and quite a lot like Napoleon IIIrd. Seek them out.



Hanno Leichtmann - Nuit Du Plomb (Karaoke Kalk) 

Leichtmann is better known for his work under the moniker “Static”. With “Niut Du Plomb” he is heading back into the ambient arena with an album that was originally made to accompany a reading of a little known Hanns Henny Jahn novel “The night of Lead” (the music supporting the sensation of images and spatiality.) so I guess the reader would have to sink up with a metronome or something.

There really doesn’t seem to be anything new here apart from the original idea, maybe if you get the book with it, there’d be a point. Track three is quite impressive entitled “Wind” for the sheer feeling it effects on you. Wind has always been one of my long standing greatest enemies, ever since my paper round and here Hanns Leichtmann had me swinging wildly at a none existent enemy.

There’s two things you could do with this album either go to sleep or make love to it (not using the actual hole in the c.d. as sex pocket).  But then what would you do with your Boards of Canada or Barry White.

Check out the synthy track “Andres” to download its pretty good.

Chuck A. Wobbly


Nuccini! - Matters of Life and Death (2nd rec) 

Looking at the cover of this album (an unkempt Italian man in a suit holding a rose) I can’t help but have a preconceived idea that this could possibly quite shit.

Nuccini is the guitarist in Italian Post Rock band Giardini Di Miro, but he also likes hip hop so hence his solo project and like the press release says “who is to say where Hip Hop stops, Post Rock starts, Pop makes a stand or electronica rears its tentative head.”

Well I say it sound like Linkin Park without the guitars. Are Linkin Park Still around? If they are lets hope there’s a few more high school killings this year so there wont be any more kids left to buy their shit albums.

Just look at the cover.

Chuck A. Wobbly


Pernice Brothers - Live a Little (One Little Indian)

Not knowing much about the Pernice Brothers, a glance at the press release reveals only a mini-essay on the merits of Ben Hur vs Spartacus and an analysis of the famous 'Oyster or Snails' scene from the said Spartacus. Hmm. This could be tough.

Fortunately 'Live a Little' kicks off with the jaunty 'Automaton which moves things smartly in the the correct direction for an interesting listen displaying a Bowie-esque attention to detail in the lyrics and their delivery, slightly behind the rhythm of the music.

Sadly. although the brilliant lyrics continue throughout the rest of the album, the simplicity of the music leaves me feeling a little short changed. Well, it would do if I had paid for the CD. There are a few pleasing melodies but where are the hooks? The album runs on to it's conclusion in a very pleasant but startlingly uninteresting way.



Dani Siciliano - Slappers (!K7)

If Pernice Brothers' 'Live a Little' was like a comfortable but ultimately unrewarding trip in a Ford Mondeo, 'Slappers' is a seat of the pants voyage via a sidecar strapped to a very fast moving motorbike. Over speed bumps. This is a superb example of innovative song writing displayed across a realm of styles that would leave most artists dizzy.

Title track 'Slappers' is an electro via soul number that unexpectedly work really well due to the sheer edginess of the electro sounds. 'They Can Wait' is a joyous little ditty which borrows the kitchen sink percussion from the likes of Psapp and threads it together with Siciliano's molten vocals. 'Frozen' by contrast, is exactly that - a chilling Massive Attack inspired number that sees Sicilaino's hitherto staccato vocals float airlessly across the pulsing beats.

It seems unfair that Sicialiano has such a mastery of this stack of styles when so many other submissions to tasty struggle to find their feet with just one chosen ouvre. But it has certainly brightened up my recent stack of listening.



DJ Andy Smith – ‘Freestyle Mix’ (Freestyle) 

The multi-talented DJ Andy Smith churns out an eclectic mix of sounds in this release from Freestyle Records, and they couldn’t have chosen a better man for the job. The former Portishead DJ’s first mix CD ‘The Document’ first graced our ears back in 1998 and amassed critical acclaim, combining a broad range of genres which are again executed in his new CD. Focusing on the modern funk side of things, with a side helping of Latin and soul thrown in, this CD demonstrates Andy’s talents in the art of break.    

The mix kicks off with Andy’s first venture ‘Sound Start Rockin’ which has been getting heavy rotation on Kiss FM and carries on through a plethora of toe-tapping tunes including the funky ‘Gravel Rash’ by Cookin’ On 3 Burners which samples the brilliant soul jazz star Brother Jack McDuff. You also get treated to a never before released track ‘Freestyle Mash Up’ which does exactly what it says on the tin with funky harmonies floating in and out of this mash up of Freestyle past hits.

All the tracks are taken from the Freestyle Record back catalogue and the company have certainly proved they’ve got talent turning out the records. A brilliant compilation that I could listen to all day, it’s ideal for chilling out to but crank up the volume, send the neighbours away and invite all your pals round and you’ll be on you way to having a mad funk-fest that’ll leave you feeling all funked up and souled out.

Claire Maciejewski


Jane's Addiction - Up From the Catacombs (Rhino Relapses)

If nothing else, Jane's Addiction have taught me two important lessons in my life. Firstly, aged 17, I was asked by my brother to go and see them play Brixton Academy. No I said, it would mean an afternoon off school. A year later and they had split up. Lesson 1 - don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today - it may never happen. Secondly, after finally getting to see them play live in 2004 when they toured after releasing 'Strays', I was left to ponder how Perry Farrell, a good ten years older than me, looked so much healthier than I did. Lesson 2 - a debaucherous lifetime of sex and drugs and rock n roll is not necessarily bad for you.

But this time the split is permanent apparently so 'Up From the Catacombs' represents a best of compilation that tries to draw together nearly 20 years of recording and more importantly, Jane's legendary live performances. Perhaps more than any other band at the time, in the late 80's and early 90's, Jane's Addiction were splicing together strange and wonderful styles on their records, a product of their multi ethnic background, the vibrant US west coast music scene and an unfathomable amount of narcotics. It would be easy for a casual observer to recall their brand of MTV friendly punk metal from videos to songs like 'Been Caught Stealing' but delve a little deeper and you will discover songs welding together tribal drumming, swingtime rhythms, jazz bass and surf pop all on the same album.

Unsurprisingly the bulk of this compilation comes from the two albums recorded at the height of Jane's fame, 'Nothing's Shocking' and 'Ritual de lo Habitual'. The octopus-limbed drummer Steve Perkins really makes his presence felt on these albums, driving the melodies along equally adeptly with power-house performances or jazzy virtuosos. The best example of this is in the prog-length epic of 'Three Days' which builds over 10minutes to a frenzied instrumental solo that sounds like an explosion in a spanner factory.

But talk about Jane's Addiction and most people will instantly think Perry Farrell. As he says himself at the start of 'Ain't No Right' - 'I am skin and bones, I am pointy nose, But it mother fuckin makes me try!'. Too right. And if ever a voice was fit for body - then Parrell's reedy yet haunting tones are bang on. Add to that some weird phasing, chorus and delay pedals and you get some really hazy, hallucingenic vocals on tracks like 'I Would For You', 'Ted Just Admit It' and 'Summertime Rolls'.

It will always be difficult to pin down a band in just 16 tracks and a few notable omissions are the tribal mantra 'Chip Away', the jazzy horns of 'Idiots Rule' (with trumpet played by Flea) and a couple of tracks from the much undervalued come back album 'Strays'. But what you do get for your 16 songs is nearly two hours of music which remains completely undated and which paved the way for bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Sonic Youth and even Nine Inch Nails to follow.



Loney, Dear - Sologne (Something in Construction)

The broad spectrum of soulful indie folk music can make way for another star in Loney, Dear. Step aside Sufjan Stevens and Broken Social Scene and make room for Emil Svanangen, the latest super-talented Swede to break out of his homeland's bulging DIY scene.

The scene is set with album opener 'I Fought the Battle of Trinidad and Tobago' which thrums along magically with some softly strummed guitar and a haunting round-type vocal arrangement which fades in and then away just as mistily. There are frantic, upbeat moments like the single 'The City, The Airport' but it is the more pared down tracks where Svanangen sticks to his trusty soft strumming style and airy vocals which appeal most. Even in these minimal tracks, there is a sense of dynamism and progression as the time elapses, often accompanied by a welling but indistinguishable wash of sound effects and accompaniments. Beautiful mellow stuff.



Agoria - The Green Armchair (Wall of Sound/PIAS)

I know hardly anything about this chap but by God, this is a great album. Treading the fine line between clubby dance music and more 'sit down and listen to it' electro is never easy but Agoria seems to have pulled it off triumphantly. 'Baboul Hair Cuttin' kicks off with a beat heavy crash that is lightly touched by a bit of a north African or even Bangra vibe. Agoria's harder techno edge is in evidence with dynamically building crescendo of 'Code 1026' with more than just a nod and wink to the likes of Daft Punk and Josh Wink.

The realm of dubby trip hop is also expertly negotiated in 'Million Miles', a track that would quite easily grace an album of the best work that Massive Attack could muster. 'Europa' is just that - an electro dance number that is geographically unplaceable, taking in German techno beats, French dub sounds and even a Nordic chill of synths and tones.

I have to admit that I am a bit unsure about 'Edenbridge' which may be a bit of a pompous dalliance. But one man's pompous dalliance is another man's epic so I'll even forgive Agoria this indulgence. If I was much younger, much cooler and spent much more time in clubs then this is what I would want to listen to. As it is, staying at home and listening to it here is also equally good - praise indeed.



Doug Wapner – “Introducing…” 

Here at Tasty, we like our singer-songwriters to be just that little bit fucked-up. Odd characters make the most interesting music, and it’s fairly obvious from the opening chords of “Babe” (sadly not about the talking pig) that Doug Wapner has no social defect or emotional axe to grind. He’s quite content to offer his beloved a hot chocolate and to a tune that sounds like Robbie Williams tackling “Dry the Rain”, no less. 

As if to redress the balance, this mini-album ends with an expletive-ridden ho-down which I can only assume by the lyrics to be entitled “Shit Damn Fuck”. I say “assume” because it isn’t listed on the back of the inlay card, so the fact that everything in-between sounds like it should belong to an episode of Dawson’s Creek isn’t that surprising.

Will Columbine


Akira the Don - When We Were Young (Something in Construction)

After a brief dalliance with some pretty major players in the US, Akira the Don's or AK Donovan's or A Zilla's (name depending on his mood) debut album is finally released on Something in Construction in the UK.

What is loosely termed as a rap album is probably more accurately in the form of hip hop poetry set to soundtrack. Strong social ideals consistently come through in the lyrics as they are set to various breakbeats, heavy samples and melodic backings. This closer resembles the likes of Pop Will Eat Itself and 'Clones' is quite reminiscent of 'Info Freako' era Jesus Jones than Wu Tang Clan.

It's a refreshing piece of work that makes a welcome change from the hordes of rap artists who take themselves too seriously and spend to much time describing how they will be wreaking revenge on personal misdemeanours rather than narrating a balanced view of the world. Oh yes, err, mofo.



Fat Jon & Styrofoam – ‘The Same Channel (Morr Music) 

This collaboration between Fat Jon and Styrofoam is a very curious record. By and large it seems to be an attempt to combine straight-up hip-hop with various other musical styles / influences. With varied results. For instance take the opening track, the marvellously titled, ‘Acid Rain Robot Repair’, which is a mixture of hip-hop and kitschy electro. It even features a vocoder at one point. It almost sound like a Trans Am record with someone rapping over the top, which works surprisingly well and is very dance floor friendly. 

However if you take a track like ‘Bleed’, the result of the combination of styles is rather less pleasing. This seems to be an attempt to combine mournful indie-pop, such as Arab Strap, with hip-hop. Slow beats, guitar picking and softly sung vocals are very much the order of the day. Unfortunately it’s sounds rather too nu-metal for my taste, and is frankly shit. The album continues in this vein, some of tracks are extremely good, some dismal. By and large the more upbeat, electro numbers (such as ‘Scream It Out’ and ‘Space Gangsta’) are more successful that the slower tracks (such as the instantly forgettable ‘Upgrade’). ‘The Same Channel’ is an interesting attempt to meld different musical traditions and genres, but unfortunately Fat Jon & Styrofoam haven’t quite managed to pull it off. 

Michael Pearson


Part Timer –‘Part Timer’ (Moteer) 

As the nights draw in and the weather deteriorates to the point where it becomes acceptable never to go outside, ‘Part Timer’ is precisely the type of record I find myself wanting to listen to. Gentle guitar pickings complemented with a background of crackling ambient fuzz. The icing on the cake is that vocals are provided by Nicola Hodgkinson of the excellent Empress, they work perfectly with the music, understated and beautifully sad. There’s not a great deal more to be said other than this is an album of great warmth and feeling, and well worth anyone’s time. 

Michael Pearson


Athletic Automaton – 5 Days in Africa / Split with Made In Mexico (Liquid Death/Hello Pussy/Armegeddon Records) 

Athletic Automaton are the pure and real treat that is men, real men, dressed as dodgeball players and creating the sound of disco crazed bees fucking your temporal lobe.

‘5 Days in Africa’, a vinyl only release, is a dark, rich and heavy tome that sits revolving hypnotically whilst it weaves is anti-party music like Lightning Bolt’s sexier brother. ‘Marathon Mammal’ is the chirping of beasts from another world set to tribalistic drums while meanwhile ‘African Autobahn’ is a near madness inducing repetitive beauty that leaves your head with a somewhat exhilarating throbbing.

For those that that’s not enough for, then why not delve further into the heady world of Athletic Automaton with the split mini album with equally brutal Made in Mexico, a CD of primal and battered noise that is like someone playing music to the shell-shocked and laughing at their confusion.

Athletic Automaton create a noise akin to having your soul smeared in liquid sugar and fed to musically gifted invertebrates. They are a two-piece Sherman tank of joy that only an inadequate fool would ignore. Put simply Athletic Automaton deserve your love.

Luke Drozd


Clinic – “Visitations” (Domnino) 

Liverpool’s answer to the Velvet Underground, the sound from inside of a wasp’s nest, and the Wicker Man on acid are all phrases that can be used to describe the music of Clinic. A lot of bands would kill to be portrayed thus. Alas, “Visitations” throws in too few new ingredients into the Scouse foursome’s cauldron which, seeing as I neglected to check out their last two LPs, really puts things into perspective.  

Ok, so there’s a new spookiness (and wah solo!) on “Animal/Human”, and a couple of fun garage rock thrashers here and there, but “Harvest” is just a slightly slower version of “Return of Evil Bill” and there just isn’t enough variation to attract anyone other than hardcore fans. At least they’ve had the sense to keep it down to a trim 30 minutes, but newcomers would be advised to snag a copy of “Internal Wrangler” and leave it at that.

See the Clinic 'Visitations' e-card

Will Columbine


Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – ‘The Letting Go’ (Domino) 

For those of you who, like me, are Will Oldham obsessives let me put you out your misery straight off the bat, ‘The Letting Go’ is good.  In fact it’s REALLY good. When the taster that was ‘Cursed Sleep’ came out it certainly felt like it had been a long while coming. Feeling like an eon had passed since ‘Master and Everyone’ and filling the gap with projects that while sometimes being rather wonderful did leave Oldham fans wondering when we would actually be treated to the intimate occasion that is a Bonnie Prince record proper. Well that time has indeed come and with this record we are allowed to glimpse both familiar Oldham faces as well as some new profiles.

Whilst there is much of the bleak stripped flavour that ‘Master…’ left on our tongues, ‘The Letting Go’ also treats us to bouts of lush grandeur. We have strings weaving their way through the record often to dramatic effect, we have the otherworldly vocals from Faun Fables Dawn McCarthy, which seem to compliment and jar with Oldham’s in equal and arresting ways and we have drumming extraordinaire Jim White to augment the whole proceedings. It is a record that is folk and electric, blues and soul, simple and yet utterly and unequivocally complicated. It is in short Will Oldham and in fine form. Thank the lord and God bless…

Luke Drozd


Various Artists – “Svenskt” 

For some reason I continue to have a soft spot for Swedish indie, so a compilation CD of their hottest new musical talent is a mouth-watering prospect. For the most part it’s a success, with our Scandinavian chums treating us to their own interpretations of Sonic Youth-inspired guitar workouts (KVLR, Ellis the Vacuumchild, Logh), post-rock (Audrey, Ef), and hardcore emo (The Sound OE, Alama Man). Hmm, actually I wasn’t too keen on that last bunch… 

Still, all is forgiven upon hearing the dry humoured folk of Suburban Kids with Biblical Names and the heart-swelling finale offered up by Last Days of April. And who but the Swedes would name a track after “Godalming” of all places? It would be ungrateful of me to suggest that 18 tracks might be too much to digest in one sitting, with such rich fare on offer. I’ll certainly be returning for another helping. In fact, if the Swedish music scene continues to produce acts of this calibre I may just move there.

Will Columbine


Jenny Piccolo – ‘Discography’ (3.1.G) 

Hailing from Northern California Jenny Piccolo were a band that new what visceral hardcore was all about. On this 52 song discography which weighs in at around 35 minutes it easy to see why they built up the kind of reputation they did. Fast and brutal there is rarely a chance to catch your breathe and let your throbbing head settle before the next audio pummelling.

Whilst it can be levelled at Jenny Piccolo that they weren’t necessarily the most original and like much of the hardcore from the late 90’s its production values can be a little on the shoddy side, what they lack in other areas they more than make up for in sheer energy and balls. Turn it up loud.

Luke Drozd


R*E*P*E*A*T Fanzine: Issue #24 

Can one fanzine review another? Well, seeing as this issue comes with a rather fine compilation CD…why not? Eschewing the internet for that good, old-fashioned cut-and-paste aesthetic, R*E*P*E*A*T has been in existence since 1994 and is at least as thick as yer average edition of Q, but with a distinct lack of Keane, Dido, and all the stuff middle-aged businessmen like to shove in their Bang & Olufsens. Hurrah for that. Instead, you get a serious wodge of demo, single and album reviews, articles, and some impressive interviews with acts such as The Kooks and Hope of the States. They even have a 20-point manifesto; rather political, this lot…make us at Tasty look positively disorganised (no arguments here!). All-in-all, easily worth £2 of anyone’s money…unless they have a serious aversion to the Manic Street Preachers, in which case avoid like the plague ‘cos the fuckers are on nearly every page.

Will Columbine


Midlake – ‘The Trials of Van Occupanther’ 

When you review music it can become harder and harder for music to actually reach out and grab you. More and more I will dismiss records on a quick scan and pass it on to another reviewer. This has led to me missing out on some gems in the past I’ll admit but when you get so much music sent to you its hard not to become a little ruthless. However every once in a while I'm saved the trouble of the ‘do I like this?’ moment by a record that is so lush and startling that it’s impossible not to fall for it instantly. As you may have guessed Midlake's ‘The Trials of Van Occupanther’ is such an album.

‘The Trials of Van Occupanther’ is a record of gentle but immediate beauty, a record tinged with 70’s folk rock but avoiding all the traps that could have lead it to being twee, think Fleetwood Mac’s finest moments or more recently the less bearded hippy moments of Vetiver. Songs swell and drift on impeccable vocal harmonies, piano and acoustic guitars whilst tales of strange worlds and ambiguous happenings are weaved before us as we have to agree we do want to run with bandits and change our name to Roscoe.

Midlake have produced a gentle and immediate record peppered with hair raising moments that has more subtle layers than really should be allowed and as these dark nights draw in it should prove to be the ideal soundtrack indeed.

Luke Drozd


Mouse Eat Mouse – Mair Licht (Hackpen Records)

Every so often an album comes along and tweaks your testicles in such a pleasant way, that you wonder why you listen to half the stuff you do. ‘Mair Licht’ is such an album.

Mouse Eat Mouse had a single out on Shifty Disco a few years back, and ‘Hush Nou’ is indeed included here. What Mouse Eat Mouse do best is a very groovy impression of a working class intellectual lush singing indie lounge pop to an increasingly bemused audience. The title track itself is equal parts hilarious, sad and demented. But that’s CD Shade for you.
Mair Licht is very much in the same vein as those other long lost tasty favourites – Neave vs the Jazz Cigarettes. Spoken word (when they’re not ranting) vocals trim a tight backdrop, with a quiet ace saxophone present half the time, and particularly alluring on last track ‘Psst…’, which sounds like one of those ace tracks Madness used to whack out at will.

If you want to hear 2006’s truly original album of the year, then look no further.

Sam Metcalf


Espers – ‘Espers II’ (Wichita) 

It seems almost impossible when listening to Espers not to have images of medieval woodlands filled with dark menace and fog drenched nights seep into your mind for Espers are most certainly THAT sort of folk through and through. I mean that in the best possible way of course.

‘Espers II’ picks up the baton where their first release left off. Again we have the similar mix of traditional folk leanings and beautiful vocals mixed in with whirling drones and distortions. It is a record full of almost misheard moments like music carried on whistling breezes and its effect can be woozy and even a little disorientating, but what is really Espers triumph here is making that sound natural and unforced. Espers II seems to do away with the elements of the debut that felt that little too precious and leans a bit heavier of the sickening and odd properties of the band.

Espers show with this latest release a continued growth in the right direction and while it still does occasionally misfire and there is still a definite lack of pace change from track to track, ‘Espers II’ is certainly an uncanny and bewitching record. I for one however would just like a little more discomfort and drone.

Luke Drozd


Dan Sartain – Join (One Little Indian)

Dan Sartain deals in the dirty, grimy world of blues rockabilly. You might want to call him the next Johnny Cash. I don’t think I would. I think I’d rather call him a second-rate Nick Cave.

I’m maybe being too harsh, for ‘Join’ isn’t too bad at all in the grand scheme of things. But for every Jon Spencer-inspired moment, there’s a sorry pastiche of Chris Isaak. ‘Gun vs Knife’ is probably the best track here – it’s a straight down the line psychobilly ramble, which has a lovely guitar sound. But overall, I shan’t be restyling my quiff tonight.

Sam Metcalf


Young Widows – ‘Settle Down City’ (Jade Tree) 

Young Widows are a band rising from the ashes of their previous guise as Breather Resist, a band who in their own right gathered a good following but who ultimately had to change and move on with the amicable departure of vocalist Steve Sindoni. Rather than crumble under this bombshell the rest of the band knuckled down and got back into the studio to write and perform new material that would be all their own. The resulting songs form ‘Settle Down City’ and the new band crowned themselves Young Widows.

Young Widows, rather than treading the same path as their previous incarnation as a band known for noisy, hardcore-tinged rock have developed their sound and audio palette and the result is a record of Jesus Lizard inspired post-punk, noise-rock. From the moment the opening foray kicks in to the last rock soaked chord it’s hard not to fall for Young Widows swagger and grooves. ‘Settle Down City’ is a complex and entertaining record peppered with references and knowing nods to kings of the avant-rock scene like Shellac, Big Black and Jesus Lizard but it also side steps any direct comparisons and mixes this pumping rhythm and discordant rawk with a healthy dose of DC flavoured hardcore. This all adds up to a solid and heavy slab of rock that while maybe not the always the most original is always unwaveringly honest and brutal.

Luke Drozd


The Nightingales – ‘Out of True’ (Iron Man) 

If you haven’t heard of or for that matter actually heard The Nightingales you are quite frankly barely worth acknowledging as a human being. A band formed in the early eighties after the demise of the wonderful Prefects they soon shone out as a midlands contemporary to such post-punk luminaries as The Fall (and as a midlander myself that can’t help but endear me to them) and under the leadership of Robert Lloyd they made some hugely underrated and downright wonderful music. They then slipped away and followed other careers whilst band after band of absolute fucking morons made it huge. Well thank god then that Lloyd and co, though with slightly different line up, have decided to grace us with the first new record in twenty years to claim their place in the hearts of British rock fans.

The first thing that hits you about ‘Out of True’, considering its twenty years since the last Nightingales record, is just how fresh it sounds. This is a record that manages to sound more youthful and vibrant and packed with genuine humour and vitriol that any band currently pedalling themselves as post-punk  or anything near it, will no doubt be left feeling deflated. It is a record packed with complex times signatures and grooves, intensely witty and deeply observational lyrics (which bring to mind a British, and more specifically very Midlands, Tom Waits) and complex and wonderfully engrossing song structures. It’s an album that draws you in instantly and yet reveals more and more to you the further you allow yourself to seep into the dark world of Lloyd and co.

A Peel favourite and a band long over due the widespread recognition they deserve ‘Out of True’ could well help The Nightingales be embraced into a few more music lovers hearts.

Luke Drozd


Animal Collective – Hollinnagain (Paw Tracks) 

Available again for the first time since 2002 when it was originally released on super limited vinyl, Animal Collectives own label ‘Paw Tracks’ have given us the chance to indulge in the early live sets that encompass Hollinnagain.

Recorded during the first half of 2001 when the band were aiming to produce a different live set with every gig, the songs, or more specifically jams, that make up Hollinnagain were never recorded for a studio album and so this record works as both a documentation of the collectives live sound at the time as well as a record in its own right. And a very interesting one on both counts it is too. Far less complete, structured or realised than their more recent work Hollinnagain none the less has that distinct looping and hypnotic Animal Collective sound but coupled with a looseness and spontaneity that suggests the whole thing could fall to pieces at any given moment. But where as this could result in a messy and unrealised noise there is always something there or an overall direction that brings it all back from the brink each time.

While this may not be for many recent inductees to the Animal Collective’s more latest more polished offerings like ‘Feels’ it certainly provides fans with an interesting testament to what a sonically interesting band they have always been.

Luke Drozd


Max Richter – ‘Songs From Before’ (130701/FatCat) 

‘Songs From Before’ is the fifth release from FatCat’s 130701, the label they set up for their more orchestrated and instrumental releases and follows on from Richter’s last release ‘The Blue Notebooks’. As with that work ‘Songs From Before’ retains both emotionally resonant tones and narrative landscapes but further pushes and refines the work. Richter, rather than producing individual albums for albums sake, is a composer continually writing and constructing and albums act more as a momentary snapshot of the progress rather than an end or final product.

‘Songs From Before’ is a record of breath and depth built around tightly structured string arrangements and piano and punctuated by Robert Wyatt’s readings from text by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. It is a record full of dream like textures and melancholy that sounds like a classical masterpiece from yesteryear filtered though lost memories and damaged 78’s. It is at times unspeakably beautifully and totally engulfing. Whether you think of yourself as a lover of instrumental or orchestrated music or not I implore you to open your self up to ‘Songs From Before’. The rewards are insurmountable.

Luke Drozd


Math and Physics Club – Maths and Physics Club (Matinee)

You know when they talk about brilliant debut albums, like ‘The Smiths’ or ‘Ride’, well, they don’t know anything. 

For sure, MAPC have joined the Ace Eponymous Debut Album Club, but their record far surpasses the other two mentioned. It’s hard to put into words how great this record is. Imagine that sour puss of a Belle and Sebastian album that came out this year was exactly how you wanted it to sound, instead of a band treading water. Well, MAPC have made the best Belle and Sebastian album you’ll ever hear.

That’s not to say they’re copyists (although the influences are there), but this is just about the most perfectly whole album you’ll ever here.

From the gentle yearning of ‘Darling, Please Come Home’ to the very Smiths-y ‘Look at Us Now’. But it’s ‘Cold as Minnesota’ which is the real centrepiece. On the surface it’s a dainty motown ditty, but try walking round town on a cold autumn’s day with this in your ears, and you’ll realise its worth.

MAPC have delivered, big style. If you think you’ve heard your album of the year already, think again. Because this is it.

Sam Metcalf


The Pixies - loudQUIETloud

A multimedia version of tasty this month - first a printed zine and now a DVD reviewed. But when you get the chance to preview a documentary DVD about one of your favourite bands of all time then you have to push the boat out.

However, after the first viewing it occurred to me that there is a fundamental difference in reviewing a CD produced by an artist and the reviewing of a documentary about an artist. The editorial act of the documenter stands between the artists and the viewer and can skew things in a way that may not be a true representation of the artist. Or, in other words - you may have to take the content with a pinch of salt.

loudQUIETloud is the story of The Pixies reunion tour in 2004 and demonstrates a real chasm between the cold, non-interaction between the band members as opposed to the huge adoration the band as a group receive from audiences throughout the shows. The film maker seems to have concentrated on depicting the band members, rightly or wrongly, as a horribly disparate bunch, each with their own personal demons and character flaws. Charles Thompson (Black Francis) comes across as some kind of despot whether with his band mates, in interviews or with his family. The scene where he is seen reciting self-help tapes is surely some kind of gag but left open as though he might really be reciting the mantra 'I am a good person. People think I am cute'. There is also a sense of a burning resentment for the success of The Pixies overshadowing his solo career and the resulting lack of self confidence that that brings.

Kim Deal is portrayed as some kind of chain-smoking, ditsy recovering alcoholic who looks like she is wrestling with her bass every time she plays. Her past problems with her vices and her band mates seem to be be returned to on a regular basis, just to hammer home her weaknesses.

Joey Santiago plays the down on his luck homesick father who has to make the tour work to look after his kids and wife. He's also haplessly struggling to get a soundtrack commission completed while on tour, roping his bandmates in to record tambourine backing. And perhaps the reluctant star of the show is drummer David Lovering. His problems coping with the loss of his father seem particularly savagely dealt with in the film.

The backstage scenes that are presented in the film show a completely non-functional unit who seem incapable of any kind of communication. All of the band members individually allude to the fact that they would like to start recording new material but 2 years after the recording of the documentary there is still no new material. Perhaps the documentary maker was particularly prescient on this matter.

But all of these negative vibes are amazingly counter-pointed by the live action action where The Pixies suddenly fuse into something perfect and deliver the incendiary contents of their back catalogue with the kind of self assuredness that can only be achieved with the knowledge that your work has stood the test of time and you are stilling selling out venues across the world. The adoration from the teenagers who weren't even born when The Pixies were releasing their records is extremely powerful yet Kim seems to be the only band member affected, the others being more concerned with its commercial success.

But despite all of the legendary performances of a band at the top of their game (these are thankfully largely uncut for the duration of each track) and one heart-warming scene at the end of the final show of their tour when the whole band share an embrace, my overwhelming feeling was one of disappointment and uneasiness. Could the band really be that personally dysfunctional? Could they really be as unhappy as they appear on screen? I'd like to think not. Thompson has been reported in the press as saying the film was not a true representation of the band. But either way, the music is superb and the documentary is a fascinating insight into the inner turmoil behind The Pixies.



Freshkills - Creeps and Lovers (Arclight)

Powerful, but without emotion; raucous with no definition, the Freshkills are merciless and incorrigible. They're a filthy conglomeration of sweat, guitars, bravado, and I'm afraid, listless vocals.  

They make it immediately clear from the get-go that what we're embarking on is an ill-disciplined rollercoaster ride of gutsy guitars riffs, brain-bursting drums and smash-you in the face bass. And then there's the vacuous vocals. It's the scenario of the ugly, maladjusted neighbour's son inviting himself 'round for dinner with the close-knit family.  

The vocals are the dog-hair in the in the custard; the rent in the suit jacket.  

The raunchy punk and don't-give-a-shit attitude will guarantee this band gigs, woman and booze, but the tired and mediocre vocals will ensure a perennial 'sunshine in the E-league' status.

Alex Clark


Lekiddo - Many Are Called

This album starts off with the nicely leftfield title track which squirms and shoots off in all sorts of unexpected directions with a quite distinct and original slightly off tone vocal delivery. This motif of delivering the unexpected is also continued in the way that many of the vocals seem phased after the rhythm. At it's best moments it creates a lush, liquid mix that seems to flow along like aural honey. At times though this time signature collapses and leaves you sprawling for clues as to whether the song will ever reach a satisfactory end.

'This Cafe' is a humorous rap-cum-junglist thing that is the main highlight before I start to lose interest in a series of  samey numbers which range from the competent (Let Me Love You All Over) to the cringeworthy (Travesty). A game of two halves then.



Pet - Rewind the Sofa Lady (Gronland)

Are Pet being ironic with their song: 'All the Same', or is it a scathing attack on what's considered to be contemporary pop/ rock? Either way, there's an unwitting poignancy to the songs' lyrics, because yep, here's a record of songs which are consistency flat and unarousing. 

This is a fine band. Really, they're OK. It's just that their career won't enjoy any serious longevity because they're doing just as any other - 'well, actually we consider ourselves to be pop' - rock group are doing.  

The music is good. It sways gently between subtle post-rock with some quaint euro-electro thrown in for good measure and a fairly timid alternative rock with its mandatory 'hooks' and 'melodies' - boy have those terms been watered down after a year of reviewing bands like this.  

The best two songs here will, of course, miss out on the mainstream flow because of their ill-suiting to radio play. Slow Machine is a placid little instrumental that evokes a cozy sense of warmth but offers no sustenance. Wurlitzer Jukebox is more satisfying in a 'hey, we like the Cocteau Twins too' kind of way, but with such an enormous weight of Myspace do-gooders and the unrelenting bilge pump spewing out the same old stuff day in day out, it's nigh on impossible to imagine myself taking enjoyment from this record in six months time.  

Closing verdict: *huff *puff *groan. What's next in line?

Alex Clark


Four Tet - Remixes (Domino)

This is a 12 track retrospective which aims to document the breadth of remixes that Four Tet has carried out to other artists work over the last 6 years. Having listened through his collaboration on the 'Exchange Sessions' less than than enthusiastically I was a bit sceptical about this release. And the remix of Lars Hornveth's 'Tics' was everything I had come to expect from Kieran Hebden's trademark sound. I can best  summarise this the sound you would get if you unleashed a family of largish rodents with wooden spoons attached across their backs into a series of biscuit tins and pottery mixing bowls.

But this album is better than that - oh yes. Exposing me to a hitherto unseen depth of work where the percussion is not left only to rats. Madvillain's 'Money Folder' is the first chirpy reminder of a brighter sound full of whirring and clicking noises. Generally there is a lighter touch to the mixing than in 'The Exchange Sessions' - subtle nuances are gently teased out of the Aphex Twin track and the army of mice are kept in check. Hebden demonstrates a healthy minimalist feel to his work that is a strong contrast to his latterly fussier moments.



The Dagger Brothers - Peach Denim (Void of Ovals)

As second release from the Bristol-based Void of Ovals label sees The Dagger Brothers take a sledgehammer to a set of electronic equipment then try to selotape it back together. It's a bit of a mystery with no track listing or bio (quite refreshing really) and the only other thing I know is that the Jagger Brothers are chefs to make a bit of cash and also make up the rock combo Eftus Spectun.

Apart from a male arse sporting a pair of sequinned denim hotpants on the front cover, you get 10 mashed up electronic tracks for your money. But only 12 minutes of music as most tracks are only a minute long - brilliant! There are plenty of samples and indecipherable haughty sounding German electro vocals. This is the sound of a couple of dudes exercising all their creativity in a home recording studio and even Angela Lansbury gets in on the act, being sampled in a goth operetta to 'Murder She Wrote'. Extremely weird but most enjoyable. A 'romp' as The Sun would probably say. Maybe chopping carrots for a living warps your mind slightly.