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singles/eps - february 2011



Andreya Triana – Far Closer (Ninja)

Triana is an impressive character, if only for the reason that she has me listening intently to a genre which I wouldn’t normally give the time of day to. Her dark soul delivery is perfectly set off here by the accompanying remixes courtesy of Mr Scruff, and TOKIMONSTA. 7/10
www.andreyatriana.com

SB


CD/EX – I Need Your Touch (Armellodie)

A blast from the past here as Chris Devotion and the Expectations dish out unabashed rock n roll from their lofty perch up in Glasgow. It’s all very testosterone fuelled and scampers along at a pace so brisk you will likely not notice you have also listened to the B-side ‘Pinhole Suit’ also. 6/10
www.myspace.com/chrisdevotion

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Car Alarm Quartet – (under) Water Music (Occasional)

I like to think we are pretty open minded here at Tasty. We may not be big fans of mambo or Ecuadorian throat singing, but if a CD comes across our path then we’ll normally give it a fair listen. And so it is to Car Alarm Quartet.

We are told at the outset that this is a concept record to beat all concept records. All three tracks are music derived from and for broadcast in the medium of water. Got that? So with first track ‘Water (Head) Phones’ we are told that a Waterphone (an instrument deriving its sounds from water) was deployed and due to it being submerged and the consequential loss in stereo, the track is in mono. Clever eh?

Other tracks include a musical interpretation of palindromes (through palindromic loops, samples etc and electronically coercing some recordings of the North Sea to act as triggers for some wind chime type of device. Also, very clever.

So what of the results? Well for all their engineering wizardry, much of the time these tracks sounds like a pair of wet jeans flapping on a clothes pole as police car drives past in the distance with its sirens wailing. I have nothing but admiration for the thoroughness of the concept but in terms of listening pleasure it’s more like trying to interpret an A-level physics lesson than providing anything enjoyable. Truly a record to test the rhetorical question of ‘what is music?’ 5/10
www.myspace.com/caralarmquartet

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Kinema – My Beautiful Machines (Hot Pockets)

South coast synth lovers Kinema return with a kitschy disco divo of a track here in ‘My Beautiful Machines’. These aren’t big orchestral walls of sound by any means – they are little parpy Bontempi style musings over the airy vocals which leaves the sound being a bit camp and summery. It’s February and I am freezing – ‘My Beautiful Machines’ is therefore not really hitting the spot tonight. Odd really as the band’s excellent pack shot where they are all wearing garish Christmas jumpers clearly indicates that it is intended for winter consumption. 5/10
www.kinema.co.uk

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Hammer No More the Fingers vs Voo – split single (Inhaler)

This split single was spawned back in 2010 courtesy of a mutual love-in between North Caronlina’s Hammer No More... and Liverpool’s Voo . It’s an interesting combination as there are clear similarities and differences between the two acts – doppelgangers would be very dull.

HNMTF seem to specialise in a brand of light funk rock, almost verging on muso-lounge/jazz during second track ‘Star Taste’. By comparison Voo have a much more direct and dynamic approach and evoke memories of classic British indie. ‘Schnick Schnack Schnuck’ is a belter of an instrumental – beautiful guitar work embraced by big choruses which climax furiously. Of the two bands I would clearly favour to hear more of Liverpool’s Voo, especially after hearing their Dinosaur Jnr-esque track ‘Pages’ but as a package I suppose you get the HNMTF tracks as a bit of a bonus too. 7/10
www.inhalerrecords.co.uk

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VVOLVES – s/t EP (Peski)

Welshmen VVOLVES (that’s a double V if you are asking) have created a bit of a belter here where they seem to be able to combine nu-rave energy and shoutiness along with old school analogue live sounds. ‘Birds in Berlin’ is enough to leave you feeling breathless before you receive a brief breather at the start of ‘Sailing from Youth’ and then back to business, like a quartet of panel beaters attacking a stash of Rickenbacker guitars.

The vocoder in ‘Wolves’ (that’s a single W if you are asking) adds an interesting twist and then the main sample in ‘Vogue’ propels you through a dizzying two minutes of misspent Welsh youth. 8/10
www.myspace.com/peskirecords

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Peter Kernel – Il Pomeriggio non sis a mai bene cosa fare (On the Camper)

Hot on the heels of Car Alarm Quartet’s concept record we have Swiss/Canadian art-punk band Peter Kernel releasing this audio-visual feast. Except in this case, it’s just an audio feast, possibly a snack. Literally translated as ‘In the afternoon we never know what to do’, ‘Il Pommeriggio...’ spends around the opening three minutes sounding like someone just scratching a rusty stringed guitar against a brick wall. But then things change and a simple, taut guitar line is introduced. Despite being convinced I was going to be bored stupid, I found myself gripped to this for the full 20 minutes duration. The track itself incorporates many movements which could easily have been split into separate ‘songs’ but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have made much sense alone. Sure there’s more lo-fi minimal interludes but there is a string of suspense running through the whole piece which creates an intrigue between the more traditionally ‘musical’ parts. Challenging but rewarding. 8/10
www.peterkernel.com

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Double Muscle – Jail EP (Best Enemies)

It only takes me about 7 seconds of listening to the title track here to work out that I’m going to like Double Muscle a great deal (I am very fickle and work very inefficiently so instant impressions are much appreciated). Between their wailing rusty stringed riffs and howling vocals there’s something steely lurking beneath the surface of Double Muscle. Not a million miles away from stoner garage contemporaries like Wonderswan with backing tracks ‘Bore’ and ‘The Rack’, it’s with ‘Jail’ where they really impress. 8/10
http://www.myspace.com/doublemuscle

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Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Pictures EP (Dirty Hit)

Fortunately Leftwich (or should that be Francis Leftwich?) has a fragility in his voice and a delicate touch in his songwriting and minimal production that makes listening to this 4 track EP a lot more than just a trudge through another mediocre singer-songwriter effort. There’s a reasonable comparison to be made with Jose Gonzales – interesting guitar arrangements and ethereal vocals abound throughout. 7/10
www.benjaminfrancisleftwich.com

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Twin Atlantic – Edit Me (Red Bull)

Gil Norton’s (Foo Fighters) silky touch smoothes over the edges of brash Glaswegian rockers Twin Atlantic while they launch into a full on lung-busting, drum skin bursting assault in edit me. The guitar overdubs are particularly impressive with a very Pixie-esque wailing tone over some chuggy guitar chords. Music for grownups who like to rock. 7/10
www.twinatlantic.com

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Mojo Fury – Colour of the Bear (Graphite)

I’ve had an uneasy listening relationship with Ulstermen Mojo Fury to date, finding them just a bit to old school rawk for my tastes. But maybe the frostiness is beginning to thaw here with ‘The Colour of the Bear’ and I can finally hear the McCluskey comparisons coming through. The acoustic version of ‘The Mann’ is also excellent, worth getting this single for alone. 7/10
www.myspace.com/mojofuryband

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Thirteen Senses – The Loneliest Star (b-sirius)

Perhaps not unexpectedly for a band who catapulted to prominence in 2003 and had a had a number of inclusions on US TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and ER, Thirteen Senses offer up a pretty polished effort here with ‘The Loneliest Star’. That said, it’s also quite bloated and to my mind sounds instantly dated and uninteresting. AT least they’ll have all those royalties to kick back with. 5/10
www.thirteensenses.com

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Christian Kjellvande – Bad Hurtin’ (Tapete)

A transient modern bluesman Mr Kjellvande may be, but this track offers up very little to pique my interest. It’s a spot of Knopfler, a smidge of Chris Rea actually – I like Kjellvande’s creamy voice but the song itself is a bit of a dull dog. 5/10
www.startracks.se

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Jimmy and the Sounds – Heart for Rent (New Blood)

This is a decent little track here that could elevate Smoggies Jimmy and the Sounds to th heights of fellow north easterners Maximo Park. In fact the comparisons are plain to hear with the possible exception that Jimmy and the Sounds are a little bit more cheery than the Park. You could also picture ‘Heart for Rent’ as being the result of a crack fuelled duet between Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen (and both of those guys did OK for themselves.) 8/10
www.myspace.co/jimmyandthesounds

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Steve Craddock – Last Days of the Old World (Kundalini)

This is pretty much like a single straight out of the sixties but with superior recording quality. There’s a trippy psychedelic quality and an unabridged optimism about it. Damn it, Craddock has even squeezed the full track under 3 minutes so it sits comfortably on a 7” vinyl. Trail blazing it is not. Brilliantly done it is. 7/10
www.stevecraddock.com

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Stateless – Assassinations (Ninjatune)

Lovely stuff here from Stateless who deploy a full smorgasbord of percussion to carry this track along. There are some bassy drop outs early on before a nice meaty dub harmony kicks in. The whole track plays out a lot like a round, with constant overlapping of vocal/bass/percussion to create an ever changing palette of sounds culminating in a massive finale.

There’s the usual accompanying remixes on offer, but at least these feature a full blooded deconstruction of the original to effectively give you two additional new tracks. 8/10
www.myspace.com/statelessonline

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RSS – Wife Her Up/Rude (Wall of Sound)

So used to hearing various misogynistic lyrics accompanying bassy, bumpy, grindy types of music am I that I was instantly on the lookout for the offending words in ‘Wife Her Up’. A wholesome surprise then that the track is all about the writer loving his lady despite her flaws and wanting to marry her. That’s nice – I thought that ‘wifing someone up’ was going to be a reference to something that you could only see through a peephole in an Amsterdam sidestreet.

Similarly, the press release explains that the sound of RSS is the combination of music you hear blaring from bedsit windows, out of cars and mobile phones. God, I bloody hope not – everything sounds like happy hardcore on a mobile. Happily enough this preconception is also crushed as RSS go for a more throbbing grimecore approach with refreshingly sparingly used MC’ing. 7/10
www.thetruerss.com

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Dog is Dead - River Jordan

Atmospheric introductions and guitar parts that sound they have been cheekily stolen from Maccabees ‘Wall of Arms’, this is a choral call of youthfulness and sheer delight. Gloriously uplifting harmonies are the key to the heart of the listener as this band have obviously learnt. Teamed with a sparklingly euphoric instrumental shimmer, ‘River Jordan’ is given a life of its own as the lyrics lift from the audio and dance around your heavy head.

Backed already by radio 1’s Huw Stephens and bagging themselves a live performance on ‘Skins’, with more tunes like this, they could just be the ‘Next Big Thing’. Move over The Vaccines.

Eloise Quince

 
 

Eels on Heels - Letters EP

The second EP released by this mystical Italian four-piece is a little gem in the world of rip-it-up-and-start-again electro, defying the ears and creating sounds of pure wonder. In the vein of These New Puritans, this could be the calling of a new electronic revolution.

Hauntingly beautiful, but not without touches of the sinister, ‘Y’ is a fantastic introduction to the sound of the band and the atmospheric that surrounds their music. ‘N’ on the other hand is slightly more upbeat track, maybe from the use of bubbly synths, but it is not without its clashing and crashing as introduced by a dark guitar and those gorgeously distant vocals. Just as you think that you are beginning to get to know the song, an obscure twist of fast paced tribal drumming and squealing instrumental takes you to a new place of shadowy sound.

Final track ‘G’ sounds like it was played in an abandoned mental asylum, evocative shimmers of vocal and distortion mask the haze of roaring fury that appears from nowhere and shakes your psyche into a misty musical mess. I cannot begin to fathom how good this is live.

Weird, avant-garde and chaotic all reside in these three letters. Listen if you dare.

Eloise Quince

 
 

The Brute Chorus – Birdman (Tape)

Few details to accompany this one but suffice to say it is every bit as memorable and annoying in equal measures as the ‘Surfin Bird’ featured on Family Guy. It’s basically the same surf-rock type song as ‘Surfin’ Bird’ and as such I wouldn’t want to listen to it ever again. 3/10
www.taperec.com

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You Me At Six – Rescue Me (Virgin)

Well this is all very cosey – label mates Chiddy Band (sounds like some kind of cleaning product) feature heavily on this track supplying the MCing while YMAS churn out the overwrought piano led power chords. Good staple fodder for the youth I suppose. 6/10
www.youmeatsix.co.uk

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The Good Suns – Shadow / At Last I’m Bored

I’m sorry to report that these two songs passed by my ears without making any lasting impression other than that he vocals in the chorus were terrible – someone murdering the words ‘I’m a shadow’ over and again. That’s not a great recommendation is it? Might interest those with a sunny pop disposition and high tolerance level of poor diction. 4/10
www.myspace.com/thegoodsuns

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Cornelia – By the Fire / Now and Hereafter (Camp Mozart)

This is an intriguing mix of Scando folksiness combined with a Napoleon IIIrd level of inventiveness and warbly synths. ‘By the Fire’ has a strange song structure that doesn’t really go anywhere (clearly Cornelia agrees by fading it out at the end) but does provide a very pleasant background music. ‘Now and Hereafter’ is a much more direct effort, pared back to just some glockenspiel and sweet vocal harmonies. The TOKiMONSTA remix of ‘By the Fire’ wraps the original up in a far more luxuriant hip hop sounding backing track which alters it beyond recognition (though not in a bad way). The result is a much more expansive trip hoppy sound. 7/10
http://www.myspace.com/corneliadahlgren

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Funktechnologie – s/t EP (Occasional Records)

Despite being recorded over the past five years, there’s a progressive quality to this 5 track EP by Huddersfield’s Funk Technologie. It also marks a huge departure from the material of Occasional label mates Car Alarm Quartet. We’re treated to the silky tones of the trip-hop infused Crab Nebula to whet our appetites before being challenged further by the clatterbang percussion of synth-funk ‘Across the Tracks’ which brings to mind the style of The Chemical Brothers’ ‘Brothers Gonna Work it Out’ EP.

Funktechnologie refuse to pigeon hole themselves. There’s a further departure in ‘Natura Non Contristatur’ which in ambience brings to mind the likes of Ozric Tentacles though in application it is a much smoother electronic version. Propellerheads anyone? Yes? Well look out for ‘Analogue Tony’. Then we finally come round full circle with a trip hop outro of ‘A Final Afterthought’.

It’s difficult to place as a whole – each track is so different. It’s clearly an accumulation of influences which is being regurgitated in a new way by the band. Some people will see these as clashing too much to make a coherent whole, others will be grateful for the eclectic mix. 7/10
www.myspace.com/funktechnologie

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Clockwork Radio – The Soul Harmonic

I’ve had this disc kicking around these parts for some time and as such it’s probably receiving more spins than our average reviewees. There’s undoubtedly some excellent musicianship on show here – the guitar work which interjects a some eastern influences and scales is particularly effective. But overall I get the feeling that the whole EP is subdued and a little bit claustrophobic. It comes across as so slick and loungey that it sounds like the band isn’t really that bothered about it. They list an impressive range of acts with whom they have shared live bills – The Prodigy, Skunk Anansie, Bombay Bicycle Club, Blood Red Shoes et al but the one thing missing from this Ep is the vitality which all of those aforementioned bands have in spades. Clearly there is something exciting waiting to surface but on this outing it sounds more like the Arctic Monkeys on heavy tranquilisers. 5/10
www.clockworkradio.co.uk

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Gretanova – 100th Idiot EP (Corporate Records)

From the Iron city we bring you Gretanova and their apparently ever metamorphosing band line up. Currently settling on a five piece, this three track EP also comes adorned with the highest quality paper ever seen for a press release – bravo!

Musically, the sound is outwardly grungey with lots of overdrive on the guitars and earnest vocals. The application of this sound is very crisp and precise and the song writing is very promising – the tracks featuring nice time changes and maintaining a tautness that even signed bands often can’t be bothered with. ‘Brilliant Sun’ is a fine example of this – constantly driving towards an inevitable finale but twisting and turning on its way.

They are the good points. In the debit column are also a couple of things. I really don’t like the mix – it sounds as though someone has just set all the parts at an equal level. All very democratic but the resulting sound is a bit of a sonic quagmire with individual parts always struggling to be heard – there really is a strong case here for bringing a few bits forward forward, especially the vocals which seem a little weak (though possibly due to the wall of sound they are being sung through more than any vocal weakness of the singer). Secondly, the guitar effects often sound a bit cheap and fuzzy, like they are being put through the cheapest pedal possible. It gives the whole recording a bit of a DIY, done in the back bedroom kind of sound.

So fidelity issues aside, there is promise here and it’s much better to have the songs then refine them than to have the best recording equipment available but no songs. 6/10
www.gretanova.com

SB

 

Minnaars – Ideal and Error (Strata)

Just to confirm my suspicions about their stupidity, Radio 1 claim that ‘Minnaars are the best thing to come out of Leicester since Kasabian’. Lazy bastards (and arguably factually incorrect) as Minnaars are definitely superior to Kasabian as are several other Leicester alumni previously featured here on the pages of Tasty.

Given that Minnaars were formed by Neil Humphreys of Tired Irie fame (they were better than Kasabian too) it was pretty likely that this EP was going to be pretty good. Blessed with one of those voices which refuses to sound uninteresting whether it is chanting the cryptic, ‘Love your not obtuse enough’ in ‘Capricorns’ or ‘I’ve been falling into bits it’s been like this since the blitz’ in ‘Busy Hands’. But then that’s no accident when the sound of the words employed has its own little rhythmical qualities. Musically there are loops and drum patterns but there is also a large live element which is heavily mixed to sound quite synthetic. The result is a heady urgency and a breathless journey through twinkling guitar loops and dynamic driving bass and drum lines. Bloody excellent. 9/10
www.minnaars.com

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Frank Turner – Rock and Roll

It's difficult to hate Frank Turner, in fact I wouldn't recommend even trying, but sometimes you feel like you should. For those unfamiliar with what he does (and if you are, why?) he plays that familiar acousto-punk that's all the rage at the minute and sometimes his lyrics are a bit naff. These are the only two problems you will ever have with Frank Turner's songs and there are two perfectly good responses: firstly, he is the original and best and secondly, he believes every word he sings.

The Rock and Roll EP is the best introduction to Frank Turner you could ever ask for. These five tracks encompass everything he's good at and everything he stands for. First track I Still Believe is a punk rock call to arms, a gigantic sing-along in the making. It's got a bit of a naff opening, but the sheer conviction and belief in rock and roll fixes everything before the chorus. Second track Pass it along is a lush, pastoral, dusk-tinged slow burner. Frank Turner's song writing is brilliant and getting better, he writes songs that swell and manipulate you. The EP closes with the next round, which starts melancholy and grows into something hopeful and huge and heartfelt.

Rock and Roll is Frank Turner's most concise manifesto, touching on his three most important themes: love, mates and rock and roll. Like every one of his releases and just like watching the Blues Brothers, this EP reminds you of exactly what makes music so vitally important. The key point is that Frank Turner does it in a fraction of the time that a movie can. It’s just five tracks of insanely well-crafted, punk tinged perfection. 9/10

Daniel Shields

 

Emmy’s Unicorn – Singular [Demo]

Emmy’s Unicorn are singer Emmy-Lou Kay and Welsh composer/ producer Mr Ronz. Having made a name for himself working on many television and film scores previously, Mr Ronz’s sound falls somewhere between a cinematic soundscape, hip-hop and electronica. Emmy’s Unicorn are no different on this front, being very hard to define maybe Emmy-Lou Kay describes it best when she labels them ‘Dream Pop’. However you would like to think of it, ‘Singular’ itself has a dreamscape that is easy to get lost in: Charmingly smooth pads layered with delicate arpeggiated synth sounds and clean guitars are contrasted perfectly by a busy rolling drum track. Add to this the quite haunting ‘Number Station’ breaks and giant vocals from Emmy-Lou Kay and you have something quite special.

After the success of their two shows at the end of 2010, Emmy’s Unicorn are planning a host of other live dates in the near future with the accompaniment of a string quartet which will be something not to miss. However if you can’t wait until those dates are announced, they will be releasing a free single soon to whet your appetite; recorded at their show at The Union Chapel in December, it is sure to give you a taste of what is no doubt going to be a great year for the duo. 9/10
http://emmysunicorn.blogspot.com/

James Borland

 
 

Amelie’s Orchestra - EP

Delightful stuff here from Preston 3-piece Amelie’s Orchestra or combine delicate loops, guitar effects and rich reverb to layer together mainly instrumental and ethereal tracks together really impressively despite their bedroom recording techniques. The way the four tracks on here work together is also clever, the first three almost passing away before you know yet forming the perfect preamble before the main course of ‘Stars, Plethora, I Adore’ which in its near 9 minutes has time to build and phase in a way its predecessors cannot achieve in their short lives. 8/10
www.myspace.com/ameliesorchestrauk

SB

 

Malachai – Let ‘Em Fall (Double Six)

Bristol duo Malachai have created a really infectious sound here. There’s definitely elements of fellow Bristolian’s Massive Attack involved but it’s all overlaid with a harder, warped production. There are some fantastic bassy warbles and grumbles that sneak through the speakers if you listen closely enough and it’s all pinned together over a decent melody. Epic in a cinematic sort of way – surely not long before some of this is used as soundtrack music to some film or TV show? 8/10

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The Bambinos / The Ran Tan Waltz – split single (Philophobia)

A Wakefield double bill here, and no help from Kevin McCloud. The Bambinos offer a very particularly English style of indie with lots of fuzzy guitars and wailing vocal tones which give their music a wistful air. By comparison and contrast, The Ran Tan Waltz also sound very specifically English but in a much starker, northern way. There’s glimmers of Joy Division here but these guys are very much in control of their own sound. It’s a strong pairing from Philophobia but given a vote I think I’d punt for The Ran Tan Waltz’s bleakness over The Bambinos optimism. 7/10
www.myspace.com/wearetherantanwaltz
www.myspace.com/vivabambinos

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Jim Kroft – Memoirs from the Afterlife

Lavishly packaged in every respect – both the bits and pieces of card and paper which make up the physical packaging (what a good idea including the biography with the CD sleeve instead of an afterthought A4 onesheet) and also the musical production which although being 60s infused is most definitely forward thinking. I didn;t quite know what to make of it after first listen, but after second and third attemts there’s a small corner of my heart warming to Kroft’s neo-nostalgia and quaint Parisian coffee shop cabaret sounds. 7/10
www.jimkroft.com

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Miles Kane – Come Closer (Columbia)

The best Miles Kane track I’ve heard by far, ‘Come Closer’ finally feels like it has a bit of Kane’s own attitude stamped over it rather than some of the nostalgia drenched previous outings. That said, the chorus is a bit too ‘wooo’hooo’ for my liking still so there remains room for improvement before my own and Mr Kane’s tastes become parallel. 7/10

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The Seven Deadly Sins – demo

I think I can see where The Seven Deadly Sins are coming from – the wailing guitars shout rock and the clipped vocals spit punk but the opening track ‘Work Me Like a Dog’ comes across a bit like it was written by someone else and is being performed by the Seven Deadly Sins somewhat under duress. IN stark comparison, the alt country tones of ‘Silver & Gold’ is effortless silky, verging on a stonery shoegaze vibe with a great hook. Then I’m left unsure again by the return to pace of the final track ‘Seven Deadly Sins’. Promising and a little bit contrary, what more could you hope for from a young band? 7/10
www.myspace.com/thesevendeadlysins

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The Sounds – Something to Die For (SideOneDummy)

With a seemingly exhaustive list of live dates it’s no wonder that the Sounds have little time to write songs of any real substance. ‘Something to Die For’ sounds like general pop fodder not so cunningly wrapped up in a few squelchy synths and other radio friendly apparel. No Doubt-lite. 5/10
www.myspace.com/thesounds

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Tim Kasher – I’m Afraid I’m Gonna Die Here (Affairs of the Heart)

Coursing between ska-tinged brass, boom-chacka guitar rhythms and big beat compositions, Kasher leaves no musical stone unturned here in his quest to find the perfect combination for a single. At times it seems like it stutters and falters, at others the mini pauses and breaks seem to work perfectly – it’s like a weird alchemy that sometimes turns out a rusty copper instead of a gleaming gold nugget. But if everything was a gold nugget then the gold wouldn’t be that precious at all. 7/10

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Toy Horses – And It Was You

Words to make my heart sink – ‘internet viral success’. What do those three little words really tell us? I mean, millions of people watch videos of cats pretending to play pianos. So the only true thing it can presume is some kind of mass appeal, not necessarily any great concept or skill. And so it is with Toy Horses. They make nice and gentle winsome indie music and are championed by the same influential US DJ who spring boarded the careers of Dido and Coldplay in the US (now there’s someone to cross off your Christmas card list). My guess is you’ll get consistently well written and performed songs out of these boy but they are unlikely to ever inspire anyone with a grain of originality in their corporate sodden souls. 6/10

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Stanley Odd – Pure Anti Hero Material EP (Circular)

Funky Caledonian hip hop is quite a niche field but I reckon Stanley Odd might just have got it sussed. An attention to everyday detail in the vocals and a sassy female vocal provide a heady combination. Add to that some fab Spartan bass lines and melodies and you have a latter day Stereo MCs with an infinitely more energetic version of Rob B on MC duties. 8/10
www.myspace.com/stanleyodd

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Valentina – Weights (Little Chaos)

There can’t be many EPs which heavily feature the use of a dulcimer around these days. I had to Google it and look it up on Wikipedia to even work out what the hell a dulcimer was. But it turns out this unusual yet jangly stringed instrument lends a fragile quality to Valentina’s tales of coming of age in this four track EP. Its refreshingly sparse composition and production give ‘Weights in Your Shoes’ an immediacy lacking in more glossily produced efforts. My Favourite track would have to be the lighter ‘It’s a Line’ with its overtones of Joni Mitchell in there. Some other tracks have a little less impact on me but they are all pretty little tunes. 7/10
www.valentinamusic.co.uk

SB

 
 

Scumbag Philosopher - Scumbag Philosopher (Words on Music)

Born of the ashes of Fuck Dress, you will not be amazed to hear that Scumbag Philosopher have a bit of a warped sound. Bits of Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club and Adam and the Ants thrown in – it’s 90% attitude and 10% application and this is the way it has to be when you are giving someone a good slagging off via the medium of music. 7/10
www.scumbagphilosopher.com

SB

 
 

Goodluck Jonathan – This is Our Way Out (Something Nothing)

As soon as I heard this I instantly warmed to it, like greeting an old friend. Then I realised it was because I’d already reviewed this EP just a few months ago.
www.myspace.com/goodluckjonatanofficial

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Melonheadman – This Life (Savage Acts)

The press release for this CD seems to have eluded me in the morass of papers and CD sleeves which have been tussling for supremacy on my desk over the past week. However, suffice to say that ‘This Life’ is little improvement on Melonheadman’s last outing reviewed on Tasty – it’s kind of a honky tonk salon bar twist on pub rock. 4/10
www.myspace.com/melonheadman

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The Kill Van Kulls – Fools Wish (First Love)

Somewhere between 80’s synth pop (think Bryan Ferry on vocals) and a more serious contemporary tone, ‘Fools Wish’ is a nice atmospheric track full of earnest intentions and a cinematic production. 7/10
www.soundcloud.com/thekillvankulls

SB

 

Trophy Wife – The Quiet Earth / White Horses (Moshi Moshi)

Following hot on the heels of the excellent ‘Microlite’, Trophy Wife follow up with the equally impressive ‘The Quiet Earth’ which showcases the band’s self proclaimed ‘ambitionless office disco’. It’s a fitting description of the sound which is at once a little desperate but also glamorous through its introspective vocals yet atmospheric layering of words and guitars. ‘White horses’ is no laughing matter either but it does include quite a bright little guitar line which sounds a bit like a cow bell. Effortlessly cool and pristine – music to get hot under the collar about but not requiring you to break into a sweat. 8/10
www.myspace.com/atrophywife

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Simon Says No! – Solitary Rush

Tasty Says No! To the band name at least – how cumbersome. The tunage n the other hand is in a different league – mysteriously blending the droning guitars and reverb of My Bloody Valentine with a poppier sensibility. Some people are calling it ‘foo-gaze’. We aren’t, but only because we are disappointed not to have come up with the term ourselves. 8/10
www.simonsaysno.com

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Darren Hayman & the Secondary Modern – Winter Makes You Want Me More (Fortuna Pop!)

I first misread this title and found myself nodding in agreement – winter does make you want more, more food at tea time, more cups of tea, more pints of beer in the pub – it’s all due to the weather of course. But then, oops, does winter make you want me more? This is a nice slacker alt country effort which reluctantly wades along ably enticed by rusty guitars and ringing mandolins. There are times when it feels like the whole track needs speeding up by just a small amount to get where it is inexorably going, but overall the journey is worth the wait as it is.7/10
www.hefnet.com

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Buen Chico – Happiness is Important (Philophobia)

There’s no hiding the fact that we are long time fans of the Leeds’spawned three-piece Buen Chico, not least due to the fact that we here at Tasty found them thoroughly pleasant folks as well as very able musicians. Some surprise therefore that they are now writing about trying to be nice and not being a git as we always assumed it came naturally to them. No matter, it’s still good yet a more studied and deliberate song than some of their previous hyperactive tracks. There’s even a quite self conscious fuzzed up guitar solo which almost perfectly and apologetically sums up the meaning of the song. 7/10
www.myspace.com/buenchico

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Bearsuit – When Will I Be Queen? (Fortuna Pop!)

I don’t know what has happened of late but I bloody love Bearsuit at the moment. I’d like to say it was a mellowing of my own tastes but I think it’s more the fact that Bearsuit have metamorphosed from worthy provincial heartthrobs of the twee indie scene into full on dance-punk kittens capable of stringing together tracks like this which would make Ladytron and Crystal Castles wince with admiration. And what better time to talk about becoming Queen than in Royal wedding year? Top marks for dance funktasticness combining sarcastic social comment. 9/10
www.bearsuit.co.uk

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Isolated Atoms – Play (Progressive Pure Sounds)

I normally think it is a bit of a bad sign if I am undecided between thinking something sounds either very good or very cheesey. Isolated Atoms fall foul of this general rule of thumb. Musically there is quite an interesting mix of rusty stringed guitar and industrio-rock type arrangements and production. Then there is the vocal. A little over-earnest verging on the melodramatic or even operatic – I find it undermines the track as whole, no matter how precisely engineered and composed it is. 6/10
www.isolatedatoms.com

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Thousand Autumns – City of Sun EP

There’s something wrong with this – despite its impressive arrays of guitar riffs and spatter gun drum patters, ‘In the City of Sun’ sounds excessively tinny. It’s like listening to the EP through someone else’s headphones (while they are wearing them). Which is a great shame because there is some awesome stuff going on here – lovely little drop outs and about turns of pace. But every so often a little bit of proper bass pops through making you realise what you were missing the rest of the time – highly frustrating. The speakers have been checked and are definitely not to blame.

Good news then that ‘Terrified’ is a much chunkier, meatier sound from the outset (even though I still think the bass could go up a notch or two further). Some of the lyrics are a little trite but you can’t escape the impressiveness of the guitar playing. 6/10
www.myspace.com/thousandautumnsuk

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