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singles/eps - may 2011



 

Go-X – Pi (The Animal Farm)

If you like your music jerky, spiky, loud and performed by a band named slightly like an episode of Thunderbirds then Go-X may be just up your street. They sound pretty hyped up and the singer manages to spit out an unfeasible number of words per minute while the caustic guitars do their thing as backing. 7/10
www.myspace.com/gox

SB


Alvarez Kings – Patience is Strength EP (Of National Importance)

I don’t get it. I really don’t. They write a song as good as Patience is Strength - an upbeat rush of endorphins for the ears, with its yelped chorus of “This is your last chance!” and for a brief, brief moment, Alvarez Kings suddenly become important. They force the clouds away, the sun to shine and enter the running for the essential component to an upcoming hedonistic summer. Then they utterly ruin it by delivering sub-standard Sheffield indie drivel over the EP’s other four tracks. I mean appalling, derivative pastiche nonsense dominated by the sound of Reverend and The Makers (“You, Me, Them, Us”), the not-from-Sheffield-but-still-mercilessly-aped Kings of Leon (“Funeral Reunion”) and the other two tracks which are so forgettable, I can’t even remember their names but the Arctic Monkeys stood hovering like a giant jobby in the corner, wafting its influence across the room. In a way I’m gutted; I actually stopped what I was doing to listen to the chorus of “Patience is Strength” the first time I listened to it, that’s how much it grabbed me. A wise soul once said “every band has one song, one song where it all goes right”. I really hope this isn’t the case with Alvarez Kings because if that’s them shot all their songwriting jizz into this one song (and what a song), then, frankly, they are fucked.

9/10 for Patience is Strength, big fat zero for the rest of the EP.
www.alvarezkings.com

Rory Mac


 

Jack Beats – All Night (feat. John B) / Elevator Music (Cheap Thrills)

Although slightly disappointed that Jack Beats is a group name and not a very coolly named individual, generally speaking I have enthusiastic feelings about this one. Although the intro to ‘All Night’ is definitely in the cheesoid realm, things perk up markedly as the skronky synths warp their way through the rest of the track. It sounds as though Jack Beats turntables are powered by a hamster and he is definitely in need of some Lucozade as the sounds speed up and slow down randomly but pleasingly. It’s still a bit cheesey though. ‘Elevator Music’ is a much trendier beast altogether, melding acid house and techno in a clinical way (well, the sort of clinic where they grow ears on the backs of mice maybe). Ironically, if you did hear this in an elevator, you would probably be sick. 7/10

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The Graceful Slicks – demo 3

Wow – headline billing on the press release from one of our previous reviews. I hope we like this one then or we will look like right charlies. Happy days indeed as it turns out that the third demo from Oxford based The Graceful Slicks does not disappoint. Not only does the track ‘Bul Bul Tarang’ sound very nice and psychedelic but it is also informational, teaching me what a bulbul tarang is. This is no Kula Shaker hippy chic though – if anything, the undertones to this track are more of the Death in Vegas kind – live music which sounds more trip hop than shoe gaze.

The slashy chords played through an analogue amp/effect of ‘Jalapeno’ form the driving backdrop to what could otherwise turn into a bit of a monotonous effort but the stacks of reverb are back in ‘Fire’ which has a big, baggy jam feel to it. This is the sort of endearing stuff which we are more used to hear coming from the Sonic Cathedral label. 8/10
www.myspace.com/thegracefulslicks

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Yonderboy – All Bob Minor / Too Easy

No matter what you think of the song writing, you can’t help be struck by the clarity of the guitar work and production on ‘All Bob Minor’. And all this is recorded just down the road from Tasty HQ – we never even realised there was a studio there as we wondered past to the New Inn pub (now known as the ‘snot in a glass pub’ following an unfortunate incident) and the Cottage Road Cinema. As the songs go – I am finding ‘All Bob Minor’ a lot more impressive than ‘Too Easy’ which, frankly, is nothing more than aural wallpaper to me (though I do still get to listen to those lovely guitar tones). So just put ‘All Bob Minor’ on repeat and marvel at the falsettos vocals, the calmly building crescendo and the good old Yorkshire brass. 7/10
http://soundcloud.com/yonderboymusic

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The Musgraves – Lost in Familiarity EP (Lookout Mountain)

Very sunny cheery pop here from The Musgraves. Sounding like a cross between the Kooks and Leo Sayer, this isn’t a sound which will universally appeal (don’t they know there is a recession on?) but I guess they do it as well as anyone else around at the moment. 6/10
www.myspace.com/themusgraves

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Bad Sign – Exit EP (Bangers, Clive!)

Bad Sign sound like a very serious sort of band. There’s no lightweight frivolity or playfulness about the ‘Exit’ EP. Via a combination of wrought vocals, heavy basslines and cinematically epic guitar soundscapes, this band have a ruthless streak which can’t help but leave you impressed. The counter argument is that the complete lack of any levity can make the recording as a whole feel like cracking a walnut with a sledgehammer. But I’m all for kernel destruction so Bad Sign get the thumbs up from me. 8/10
www.facebook.com/badsignband

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Pigeon Detectives – Done in Secret (Dance To The Radio)

I was never a fan of The Pigeon Detectives, always thought they just seemed to be surfing along on the wake of the whole Leeds music scene wave. But bugger me if I don’t quite like this single. It’s their typical jerky power pop with no great musical ability but they know how to write a hook and get the crowd going. A 2011 resurgence is fully on the cards. 8/10
www.thepigeondetectives.com

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Mamas Gun – On A String (Candelion)

Leo Sayer meets Mika anyone? Not really for me either. 3/10
www.mamasgun.co.uk

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XisForEyes – Insidious Existentialism

Hmm, quite heavy this one. Like an explosion in a rivet factory. Wang in a few pretentious titles like ‘Inisidious Existentialism’ and ‘Ubiquitous Deterrent’, deliver every track like an exploding stick of dynamite and you’ve pretty firmly pigeon holed yourself into the metal scene hierarchy. People with normal hearing, who can‘t really perceive more than 5 kicks of the bass drum per second will probably welcome this release in a more lacklustre manner. I do really like the name of the band though. 5/10
www.myspace.com/ukxisforeyes

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Damn Vandals – Bayonet (Sexy Beast)

Presumably named after their shared love of graffiti art, Damned Vandals don’t sound like they look. When you see their admittedly posed press shot, dressed in sports wear with miniature angry dog in a scene of urban decay the last thing you are expecting is a band that sounds like an angry Chris Isaacs. Good though. 7/10
www.soundcloud.com/damnvandals

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The Sounds – Dance with the Devil (SideOneDummy)

Well this is a bit bombastic from these Swedish new wavers. 50% modern and 50% cheesey euro dance but you can’t argue with a lyric like ‘we conquer our planet with dance’. 6/10
www.myspace.com/thesounds

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Detachments – Audio/Video / The Flowers That Fell (Thisisnotanexit)

Not a band, not a duo but a ‘troupe’ apparently. Whatever the distinction, despite the outwardly synth-noir vibe at face value, the more listens you take of both these tracks, the more you start to pick out little elements which warm the cockles in an otherwise icy electro tundra. 7/10

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Lotus Mason – Rust ‘n’ Roll (GlowB)

Musically there are obvious Suede comparisons here. But that all kind of pales into insignificance when you read, with admirable understatement, ‘the single was not one of the easiest to record with guitarist Rhys John Hughes encountering a bizarre health issue in which he faced his ribcage eventually collapsing and puncturing his lungs within days. After numerous procedures, Hughes had metal rods inserted through his body in order to survive and recording finished.’ What?! The next time you hear of a gig being cancelled because some singer has a sore throat, spare a thought for Mr Hughes. 6/10

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Terhi – Diaries of a Mending Heart (Rockhopper)

Truly abysmal. As if Terhi’s dead vocals weren’t bad enough, the song writing and performance are awfully plodding too. Too dismal to even contemplate a second longer. 1/10
www.myspace.com/terhi

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Arnaud Rebotini – All You Need is Techno (Blackstrobe)

Every bit as ear grinding as Rebotini’s April release ‘Personal Dictator’, in fact, possibly moreso. This time the hardcore Germanic techno beats and bleeps are punctuated by a sonic laser show. It’s definitely not easy listening which is what makes me like it even more. 8/10

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Aloe Blacc – I Need a Dollar (Epic)

Surely some typographical mistake when down at the registry office when this guy’s parents were sorting out the birth certificate? ‘I Need A Dollar’ certainly hits a resonant political note at present and Blacc’s easy hip-hop/soul sound lends itself perfectly to delivering this song. 7/10

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Owen Franklin – The Not-So-Great Gatsby

It seems to me that during the course of this four track EP, Owen Franklin sometimes gets a over-ambitious mixing up different genres and influences when perhaps the strongest song is one where everything is pared back and kept nice and simple – ‘The Tempest (Part 1)’. For example the title track sounds like Frank Turner then mysteriously turns into Ocean Colour Scene. I know it is part of the narrative of the track that things suddenly turn on their head but musically it just sounds disjointed. But all praise to ‘The Tempest...’ which admirably retrieves a bit of poignancy. 6/10
www.owenfranklinmusic.com

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Limozine – Deep Fried Love / Drink Ya Self Out Of It (Beat Atlast)

Deep Fried Love – what is that then? It certainly doesn’t sound very healthy does it? Similarly ‘Drink Ya Self Out Of It’ doesn’t sound like brilliant advice either. Aspiring to the likes of the Cramps and The Stooges, Limozine just sound like a good pub band – I bet they are having a wail of a time being in a band and good on them for it. It’s just that personally I don’t think they are very good. 5/10
www.myspace.com/limozine

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Hal Flavin – The Talk EP (Watt Blizzard)

I thought I’d heard of this guy Hal Flavin before but then on reading that Hal Flavin is a band from Luxembourg, I guess I was wrong. But then perhaps I should have heard of them (the band, not Luxembourgers in general) because this is quite a polished and impressively put together release.

Essentially electro at the poppier end of the scale, they do dark and icy (‘The Talk’), they do bleepy swooshy verging on industrial (‘Higher Life’), they do minimal iron lung sound effect Aphex Twin alike (‘Broken Waves’) and they even roam into the territory of proggish (‘Animals of the Future’). But they always touch back to their start point of making them catchy pop tunes and not some esoteric exercise in musical experimentation which has minimal appeal to Joe Public. 7/10
www.hal-flavin.com

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Burn the Fleet – River Song

It’s almost as though Burn the Fleet actually read my review of their previous single ‘Black Holes’ and then followed it up with this one as a direct response to my criticisms. Avoiding any traditional verse-chorus-verse patterns, when the heavy parts of this track kick in, they really do kick, a vast improvement on ‘Black Holes’. Euphoric and cinematic, they remind me a little of Iliketrains in this respect but just utilising a different set of instrumentation. 7/10
http://burnthefleet.bandcamp.com/

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Cattle & Cane – Sold My Soul EP (Toasty Recordings)

I have to sadly admit that sometimes we only get one shot at listening to some singles releases. Normally it’s two or three and if we are feeling really luxuriant, it can be more. Due to a combination of circumstances this CD has been on the player now a good dozen times but I’m still failing to warm to it. All four tracks are beautifully played, mainly by members of the Hammill family. The picked guitars are particularly pleasing, the vocal tones of singer Joe are a little bit Mark Lanegan and some strings add an extra layer. All these components sound positive but it just comes across a little bit like a lacklustre Mumford and Sons. In the case of ’Falling Over You’, it just seems plain lazy. Fortunately things finish strongly with the pretty ‘We Stand’ which has lots of vocal layering and echoey guitar. 6/10
www.myspace.com/cattleandcanemusic

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Amida – The Spite House Plot (Fika)

The lo-fi nature of this 6-track collection crackles pleasingly out of the speakers from the very outset. Whether its slow building shoegazey affairs like ‘Midweek Debauchery’ or more clattery offerings like ‘A Month of Sundays’, Amida eschew the opportunity to jam up the recording with lots of over-dubs and effects – it’s very much an as-played sound, in the case of ‘Black Balloons’ based o little more than a demo Casio drum pattern. Amida are one of those indie nuggets who everyone claims to love but who ultimately seem to remain on the fringes. I don’t expect this trend will change here but I’d still recommend this EP for a bit of old school indie nostalgia if nothing else. 8/10
www.mypace.com/amidaband

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Big’n – Spare the Horses EP (African Tape)

I have thus far through my life managed to completely avoid crossing paths with Big’n who, some rather difficult research later, were Chicago noise mongers making a bit of a splash in the 90s. Here they are back with a 4 track EP of new work which frankly is an ear-breaking glory. Like an angry version of Shellac (or a livid version of Fugazi) – the practically indecipherable vocals are spat out through a very fuzzed up mic as the drums and guitars pummel and drive remorselessly. I admire their single mindedness, this relentless nihilistic stream of spite which bombards me out of the speakers. 8/10
www.myspace.com/bigchicagonoise

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Kitten – Sunday School (Fierce Panda)

Similarly precocious as LibDem MP Sarah Tether but much cooler, 16 year old Chloe Chaidez fronts Kitten who sound far from adolescent and frankly sing about things which might get Esther Rantzen’s ears twitching. For all the overt commercial appeal of these fizzling guitar pop songs, I can’t help being impressed by Kitten. It all seems so wrong but I reluctantly find myself liking them – their songs are so perfectly formed and despite her tender years, Chaidez is a formidable front woman – part Pink, part Karen O, she powers her way through the morally dubious EP closer ‘Kitten With a Whip’ with a disturbing amount of sassiness an self confidence. 8/10
www.myspace.com/kittentheband

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The Lagan - Work Away EP

The Lagan are a London Irish Celtic Folk band, and I feel like that sums up all the parts you need to know about their identity. Not Ireland Irish, not American Irish, but that peculiar brand of London Irish which always seems to me like it wants a good riot much more than any other subgenre of the type. It's refreshing to hear an English accent in this type of music! It doesn't happen often enough.

The Irish and Celtic parts are self-exposing, and on a scale of Flogging Molly to Dropkick Murphys the Lagan lie in the middle. They're less likely to start a fight than DKM and they retain the gentle folk parts of Flogging Molly, like the fiddles and tin whistles which are judiciously scattered throughout the songs.

The Lagan are, like many others of their ilk, seemingly obsessed with religion. Work Away is a song that Flogging Molly's Dave King could have written (and he's probably wishing he did) with a catchy refrain that is begging for a crowd to be singing along. The lyrics of Guinness and Chips are somewhat too prosaic but being backed by that gorgeous Celtic feel saves the song from blandness, plus the line "I'm just full of piss and vinegar" could probably save entire albums in my opinion. Sunny Day in Southie has a comfortingly familiar backing chorus of 'ohhh's that will be at home at every gig this band probably ever play. Their website is currently running a campaign to get them opening for Flogging Molly over here (http://www.thelagan.co.uk/2011/05/flogging-molly-are-coming.html) which would NOT be a bad thing - do help out if you can.

I have absolutely no criticisms of the music because I love it - jaunty tunes, clever lyrics, nice sing-a-long bits - but this EP, at three tracks, is woefully short. Come on lads, where's the rest?

Rebecca McCormick

 

Land of Bingo – Bottle It In (mini album) (Peski)

7 tracks? That’s not that mini an album is it? 7 good ones though, including plenty of variety. There’s the annoyingly catchy ‘Headwarmer’ which really reminds me of the music of another previous Tasty reviewee whose name temporarily eludes me – suffice to say they were very lo-fi Casiocore. But then towards the end of the track there is a nice grumbly bass sound – very Death in Vegas. ‘Company Hymn’ sounds in parts like it is actually being played backwards and makes me wonder why and indeed who did Barry Fry give the sack to.

The more serious moments are very polished pieces of electro pop such as ‘Bottle It In’ but always delivered with a certain refreshing levity. It’s just a shame I lost the download for so long and the record has now been released for over a month. 8/10
www.myspace.com/landofbingo

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Tokimonsta – Creature Dreams (Brainfeeder)

Apparently Jennifer Lee, the nom de plume of Tokimonsta likes to work late, between 2am and 7am, and ‘Creature Dreams’ is the product of these nocturnal outings. And it kind of makes sense when you listen to it – a lot of the tracks feel a little fuzzy, a bit spaced – the way you feel when you have not been getting enough sleep but you get through the day with unhealthy quantities of caffeine.

But scrape a little below the insomniac surface and there’s a wealth of intricate, overlapping ideas going on here. Unfortunately the complexity leaves me feeling a little bit bombarded with sounds, like listening to long wave radio when the signal is being bombarded with foreign shipping forecasts and sinister sounding foreign voices. It’s a lot to take on but undoubtedly an impressive piece of work. 7/10
www.tokimonsta.com

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Ladytron – White Elephant (Nettwerk)

We love a bit of Ladytron here at Tasty. This track isn’t a classic but it’s OK – it sounds a little more like Dusty Springfield than Ladytron courtesy of the airy orchestration but after two or three listens you’ll start to find your head swaying back and forth appreciatively. 7/10
www.ladytron.com

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I Am in Love – I Want You (Robot Needs a Home)

Very much rising from the ashes of dark 80’s synth pop, ‘I Want You’ is a very moody, catchy little number. I have a slight issue with the vocal which I think collapses a bit o some of the high notes but if you overlook this minor flaw you are left with a little pop belter – the guitar and synth interplay during the outro alone is worth buying this for. Like a more mild mannered Minaars (try saying that when you are drunk). 7/10
www.facebook/iaminlovemusic

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Eskmo – We Got More / Moving Glowstream (Ninjatune)

Seven great tracks here on one EP but only the one that features the work of Eskmo alone so we will concentrate on that one. Well, it’s bloody brilliant actually. A crazily deep dirty bass drop over some organ work and a robotic chant make this feel like a track wrought in some futuristic, steam bellowing ironworks. 9/10
www.eskmo.com

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Jim Kroft – The Jailer (Jackalope)

Lovely packaging here reminiscent of Clockwork Orange style imagery starts things off well but unfortunately the music within sounds like it’s free fallen from 1980s Rocky training scene. Plod plod plod of the bass, twang twang twang of the guitar, blah blah blah of the voice – it wouldn’t inspire me to do a hundred press ups.
www.jimkroft.com

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Black Circles – Final Straw

There’s nothing complex at work here, take power trio, write songs like Queens of the Stoneage / Foo Fighters, perform with gusto, cash in. And I’m not suggesting this in a cynical way – Black Circles are bloody good. 8/10
www.myspace.com/blackcirclesband

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Grey Reverend – One By One (Motion Audio)

Very much one for any fans of Jose Gonzales – Grey Reverend has one of those taut song writing abilities and focussed performance skills which are immediately arresting and continuously transfixing. Nothing but acoustic guitar and voice, there’s arguably a folk heritage at work, despite his very urban NYC upbringing. Excellent. 9/10
www.motionaudiorecords.com

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The Strange Death of Liberal England – Come On You Young Philosophers!

Strange Death just don’t do loose, throwaway three minute pop songs. It just seems that each track is a mini epic with a message which is sung out like the final wish of a dying man. The tumbledown world weary vocals are given a clever polish by the vibrant brass parts and everything rip roars along like a sea shanty on speed thanks to the military drumming. Rabble rousing. 8/10
www.tsdole.co.uk

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The Savage Nomads – The Magic Eye (Alaska Sounds)

Startling stuff here from Londoners ‘The Savage Nomads’ who eschew any traditionally standard song structure to wreath their sounds around 5 minutes of slightly goth/math/art house indie with some glorious Adam Ant style chants and baritone vocals musings. It’s just a snippet – intriguing to see what follows. 8/10

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India Mills – Morning Song

This is good old fashioned rock music with the emphasis on good. Although you will have yourself grabbing at influences and derivations, ultimately the songs are well written and strongly performed, even if they do sound a bit dated. In fact I’d go as far to say that the lead track was my least favourite, being a little bit earnest while the other two seem to revel more in their own comfort zones rather than trying to appeal to a non-existent stadium audience. 7/10
www.myspace.com/indiamills

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Husband – Love Song / Slow Motion (Robot Elephant)

This is all a bit confusing seeing as this disc features 6 tracks numbering what appears to be various remixes of the two title tracks but none of which match the titles exactly. A more generalist approach to the review required then. Most generally, it’s a really good listen. There’s a rather claustrophobic, dark atmosphere to a lot of the tracks despite their echoey psychedelic reverb and I’m putting this malaise down to the very industrial style beats and loops which wouldn’t be out of place on a Coil CD. Contrary to all that, there are also light moments of euro disco. I said it would be a generalist review.
Post review note: Ha! My misinterpretation of the poor CD typography was to blame – the two lead tracks were indeed played in their original entirety! 8/10
www.myspace.com/husbandworld

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Michael Franti & Spearhead – The Sound of Sunshine (EMI)

Sickly summery – this is the sound of Radio 2 apparently. Speaks volumes. Oddly anodyne for a guy who was in an industrial punk band before starting The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and who, according to Wikipedia, does not wear shoes. 6/10
www.michaelfranti.com

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Smod – Ca Chante (Because)

Because Music seem to have a conduit straight into the epicentre of the finest Malian talent, such as it is. Recorded at Amadou and Mariam’s home, ‘Ca Chante’ probably lends more to the sounds of the French banlieue rap than any indigenous influence (though there is undoubtedly a hint of local instrumentation. Smod is a great name but this track seems to fall between two corners. Neither owt or nowt as they say round these parts. 6/10

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The Naked and Famous – Girls Like You (Fiction)

This Kiwi fivepiece have little in common with their better known comic countrymen, The Flying Conchords. This might please some people but will probably displease an equal number. To cut to the chase it’s finely honed pop, temporarily euphoric but ultimately a bit forgettable – like a candy floss inspired sugar rush. 6/10
www.thenakedandfamous.com

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Delta Maid – Of My Own (Geffen)

I never cease to be amazed that someone could be called Delta Maid. But this warbly voiced, faux blues driven by simpleton piano does nothing to impress. 5/10
www.deltamaid.com

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Sophie Barker – Seagull album sampler (Ho Hum)

As the voice of some Groove Armada tracks and others, this album sampler comes from Barker’s forthcoming second long player. She certainly possesses a great whispish, breathy voice but the songwriting, although solid, feels very derivative – the Morcheeba meets Carly Simon of ‘Bluebell’ as a classic example. Then again, those are two worthy influences. 6/10
www.sophiebarker.com

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The Victorian English Gentlemens Club – A Conversation (This is Fake DIY)

It continues to baffle me why more people aren’t aware of The VEGC. They are by far one of the most inventive and playful of a group of art rock bands knocking about and ‘A Conversation’, written describing a woman’s conversation with her executioner (as you do) is typically off kilter but manically catchy. The two part vocal with near unintelligible female falsetto droning in the background is pretty eerie next to the growly guitars and the drumless chorus embellished with ghoulish fairground sound effects is equally ace. 8/10

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Hanson – Give a Little

Eh. Hanson? The Hanson? Yes indeed it is and with some grizzly curiosity I decided to give this one a listen. It appears that Hanson have grown up a bit since their ‘mmmBop’ days. They’ve even got facial hair (though one of them looks uncannily like Darren Osbourne from Hollyoaks). Well, they were never going to turn into Radiohead – this is still jive-pop for teenagers but it’s harmless enough. 6/10
www.hanson.net

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All Mankind – Break the Spell (So)

Does name-checking Coldplay and Keane in your press releases these days act for or against you? Seeing as we don’t read musical press we aren’t in much of a position to judge, but last time we checked these two were anathema. And that would be a bit unfair to All Mankind. Sure they have pianos. Sure they have vocal falsettos but this is actually a pretty good tune. Bugger, I guess I’m just not down with the kids anymore (or maybe I am, in kind of ironic way).7/10
www.allmankind.com

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Urchins – Xylophobe/Whispers (Cheaper Thrills)

First things first – there’s a good two minutes at the start of ‘Xylophobe’ which could be culled straight away before anything of interest starts happening. From there on it’s very Orbital but without any twiddly bits. Plus it has a truly dismal ending which just fizzles out. Onto ‘Whispers’ then. I had to check I hadn’t put the same track on again as it seems Urchins are going for a very similar vibe from the outset. But happily ‘Whispers’ has a much funkier bass drop and some twinkly little key sounds. Sounds even more Orbital than ‘Xylophobe’ but I could definitely get into this one.7/10

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Sparrow and the Workshop – Snakes in the Grass (Distiller)

‘Snakes in the Grass’ sounds like some glorious anachronistic ramble which has been displaced from 1970’s San Francisco via The Gorbals. Vocalist Jill O’Sullivan powerfully and adeptly soars through the song with able accompaniment both vocally and musically from the band. Oh, and the guitar break sounds like it’s penned by Joey Santiago. It’s just great really. 9/10
www.myspace.com/sparrowandtheworkshop

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Various Cruelties – Neon Truths (Almanac)

‘Set the night on fire, we’re gonna tear it apart like a young messiah’...not a promising start is it? Musically damn near indistinguishable from Last of the Shadow Puppets, I’m afraid Various Cruelties are doing nothing for me with this release. 5/10

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Our Mountain – Wooden Hearts (Dancing Daughters)

This is bloody marvellous – kind of like a gothic, evangelical David Bowie fronting the Bad Seeds. ‘Wooden Hearts’ is the brainchild of slightly tapped Australians via New York Our Mountain. I imagine a live show would be equal parts exhilarating and scary. 8/10
www.our-mountain.com

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Kill Cassidy – Animals (Sugar Shack)

Kill Cassidy? Are they like, quite well known? The name kind of rings a bell and they are produced by Chris Sheldon so someone has got a few quid to spend on them. Then there’s the rock star names which battle with one another for the most impressive; Tim Sensation? Martino? Andrejs Anonims? Dan Imperial? You are kidding right?

Then again, ‘Animals’ is really bloody good. Poignant without being too earnest. Beautifully played without getting too mathy. I’m seriously impressed – I should never have doubted their rockstar credentials with names like that? 8/10
www.myspace.com/killcassidy

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Mike Marlin – No Place Like Home

Another impressive outing from the consistent Mike Marlin. That said, this time, ‘No Place Like Home’ sees Marlin in more reflective mood, very much an album outro sort of track, it feels more genuinely ‘Marlin’ rather than calling on any of his many influences for musical style.7/10
www.mikemarlin.co.uk

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Mind Museum – Rat Race

I have to admit that Mind Museum seem to have successfully steered bang slap between the ideas of alt-rock and post punk without pigeon holing themselves in the mire of either. There’s a technicality about ‘Rat Race’ which is also matched by an immediacy which will appeal to fans of more basic rock music. Singer/bassist Justin E Percival oozes frontman charisma, Will Slater’s guitars are slick and powerful and drummer Chas Bacon, well he’s got a good name for a drummer. No, that’s uinfair actually as even our Chas makes his presence felt a little bit more heavily in ‘Everything Eventually’. Lap it Up. 7/10
www.mindmuseum.com

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Scumbag Philosopher – God is Dead So I Listen To Radiohead (Words on Music)

Currently supporting The Fall on tour, this should give you a little clue to Scumbag’s sound. It’s outwardly punky but a pretty neat version of punk where all the menace is in the reserve of the delivery. I really like this track and its playful poke of fun at over-serious but ultimately superficial urban philosophers. 8/10
www.scumbagphilosopher.com

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Herman Dune – Tell Me Something I Don’t Know (Fortuna POP!)

Fantastic beards. That’s what I remember of Herman Dune last time I saw them. That and the way they skulked around the Brudenell Social Club like ghosts in between sets. This tracks sets the world weary motif of the title against an unrepressable upbeat summery pop tune very nicely. 7/10

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Comet Gain – Working Circle Explosive (Fortuna POP!)

Fine purveying of the scratchy, noisy 2 minute poppy nugget on offer here from the Comet Gain. Think The Fall at their most melodic. Not quite so sure about the inspiration for the track though so I’ll leave the description from the press release to explain.

“’Working Circle Collective’ is a furious paean to the Baader-Meinhof affiliated ‘proto-illness’ group SPK (Socialist Patients Collective) who, diagnosing a deeper cultural malady behind the individual’s experience of psychological and physical sickness in a capitalist society, organised themselves around the exhortation to ‘make illness into a weapon’. Got that? 8/10
www.myspace.com/thecometgain

SB

 
 

Aviv Geffen – Mr Down and Mrs High (Mars)

I don’t like this from the outset. There’s something horribly polished about the Tony Visconti/Trevor Horn produced title track that cannot scatter any stardust over the lack of song writing. He may be a cross dressing political activist but I’m always wary of artists getting involved in politics - concentrate on your craft first before using it as a vehicle to espouse your views. 5/10

SB

 
 

Common Tongues – Jumping Ships

This is kind of a free-flowing folky effort which is impressive as the vocalist crams in his glut of words into the most unlikely of places. Brings to mind a simplified version of Arcade Fire. 6/10
www.myspace.com/thecommontongues

SB