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singles/eps - feb 2012


Master & The Mule – Kingdom (QNQ)

Master & Mule are the latest genesis of the band Immune who I remember listening to what seems like ages ago. M&M (an unfortunate abbreviation) retain the headache inducing level of intensity that was prevalent with Immune but with ‘Kingdom’ they have adopted a bit f a doom-drone rock outlook. It’s thoroughly miserable really but no poorer for it – you can almost feel the dark closing in around you. 7/10



Anomie Belle - Slither

Anomie Belle’s new single, ‘Slither’, follows November’s ‘Machine’, a single widely cited as an important part of the soundtrack to Occupy Wall Street. ‘Slither’, a collaboration with Sneaker Pimps’ Ian Pickering, is much less urgent - a new age, floating down the river kind of track. Frictionless and sleek in its dynamics, it’s both unchallenging and subtly sophisticated.

Anomie chews her words in a strange sort of way, with tones, pronunciations, and articulations the conventional singer wouldn’t go near. In a way it’s very similar to what Joanna Newsom does, but in place of Joanna’s folky innocence Anomie has a cool similar to Bajka (known for her work on Bonobo’s ‘Days To Come’).

‘Slither’ might not have the punch of protest that ‘Machines’ brandished, but its understated presence has a tender, almost otherworldly beauty. With its gentle gongs and House Of Flying Daggers strings towards the end, this is the sort of track Buddhist monks would be swaying to if they’d entered the iPod age.

Lars Donohoe


Honour Before Glory – The Maison EP (Listen to the Silence)

It’s a very Leeds month isn’t it? Honour Before Glory is the latest solo work of ex Forward Russia guitarist Whiskas and sees a marked move away from their sound. Opening with ‘Maison’ a more lo-fi, twinkly electronica which although not immediately obvious, is pervasively gripping. More familiar ground with ‘Maisonette’ which hears a nice tremulous reverby guitar line underpin things. Promising signs for the forthcoming new album ‘This is broken lines’. 7/10


Capital Sun – Forgotten Songs

Clearly admitting the influence of the bands of the late 60s and early 70s, Capital Sun have a sound which is slightly awkward for modern ears (or, at least, my non-modern ears). Touches of proggishness and quite a strained vocal over a bit of a muddy sound don’t do this track any favours – I think it could probably be better than the version recorded here. 5/10



Ego Troopers – Polar/Whale (Blood)

It’s a chastening experience when you hear a 15 year old and 17 year old churning out the kind of dirty techno that it takes normal humans far more years than that to create. Maybe it’s because they’re unshackled by any memories of the nineties and acid techno that they just let their synths fly in and the bass drop out. Either way, these Belgian teens have got it going on with both these tracks – ‘Polar’ rising and falling like discoing parking barrier and ‘Whale’ skittering along like rabid castanet trying to avoid fast moving traffic on a motorway. My ears don’t really know what to make of it. 7/10



Johnny Wore Black – All the Rage

Produced by David Bottrill (Tool, Placebo, Muse amongst others) you will not be surprised to hear the rich, full sound of ‘All the Rage’, perfectly balanced and epic. However, whilst not wanting sound like a stick in the mud, I know the song is officially endorsed by Help for Heroes, Canadian Hero Fund and Dare to Live (a ‘unique horse therapy programme that is designed to help veterans with post traumatic stress’...) but all these references to soldiers in graves is a bit earnest and obvious. 6/10



The Connectors – Naked

This is proper punk music – rusty strings guitars, a good stick in your head riff and delivered with a swagger. Not to mention some bugger sounds like he is destroying the drum kit in the background. 7/10



Ideals – Altar

Nothing too tricksy here, just more rusty stringed guitar lines, a nice spaciousness to the production and a decent tune. I also like the vocal – it’s attention grabbing without screaming listen to me for the sake of it. 7/10



Jack Robert Hardman – Famous (Pleasant Pursuit)

Luscious English indie folk here from the breathlessly voiced Jack Robert Hardman. Simple finger picked guitar and a voice that needs no further accompaniment. 7/10



The October Game – Answers and Keys

This is actually pretty awesome – where does that growly electro backing bass come from? It sounds like some kind of Martian death ray scattering its listeners while the rest of the band stomp out their emotive beats and vocals. It’s a deceptively simple composition completed by killer melody and pin sharp vocals. 9/10



So Many Animal Calls – Traps (Overlook)

These four youthful buggers may be fresh faced but they sure are damned talented. Hard to pin down but with a little bit of lots of good things floating around in ‘Traps’ – big grandiose choruses like Twin Atlantic, lovely mathy guitars chopped up with slabs of power chords, slight overtures of early punky Idlewild. Maybe it’s just the Scottishness that makes me think of these bands. Or maybe it’s because I like them too. 8/10.



Blacklisters – Trickfuck (Brew)

‘Trickfuck’? We’ve err, all been there right? Well, maybe not but regardless, some dirty sludgy sounds here from Leeds’ Blacklisters, doing their very own Helmet renaissance. Just going to prove that to be as heavy as fuck you don’t need to use gothic style text on your artwork. There’s a great dropped out mid-section which is going to sound great live and probably did when they supported Future of Left before Christmas – if only I’d arrived half an hour earlier. 8/10



Nada Surf – When I Was Young

I haven't ever been as big a fan of Nada Surf as I expected I would be. My favourite track of theirs is Popular. This isn't a spoiler, I wrote that line while I waited for the track to download. I am a busy man. I do things while I wait for other things to be ready to do.

This song makes me want to listen to Nada Surf. It's fantastic. Maybe I finally get it, maybe they're finally the college rock I always thought they'd be. I don't think it matters. When I Was Young is what I wanted to listen to just then, and also just now. I think the line “I don't need more wine, I'm coming for you” is wonderful. I like Pulp though, so I didn't look up the rest of the lyrics. I just listened to them in the song.

Christopher Carney

The Good The Bad – 023 (Stray Cat)

You may be waiting a long time for the bass to drop into this track – it never really does in a conventional way (or the Soundcloud stream was so poor that no bass came through.) But even without the lower frequencies, the baritone guitars of ‘023’ from the Danish three-piece fairly propel this delicious slice of surf punk along with a dizzying loveliness. 8/10



Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun – A Song About Death

Sounding good chaps and fair play releasing ‘A Song About Death’ on Valentines day. Jim’s full pelt vocal style is equally matched by a chunky performance from the Solemn Sun. There’s a slightly odd interlude in the mid-section where it sounds like a completely separate sing has invade but things return to normality with a barn storming finish – huzzah! 7/10



Straight Lines – Half Gone (Xtra Mile Recordings)

Although you’d be forgiven for thinking that singer Tom Jenkins’ near chipmunk quality vocals would begin to grate (especially when he is singing ‘tick tock tick tock’ in the pre chorus), I defy you not to get carried away listening to this one. The word effervescent springs to mind. 8/10



Rams Pocket Radio – 1+2

Another excellent single from Lisburn’s Rams Pocket Radio. I’m not sure anyone else uses a piano quite as effectively as a sonic weapon as Peter MaCauley – this single is driving and anthemic without sounding trite or earnest. Turn off the Brit Awards and turn this on. 8/10



The Creeks – Make It/Crawl demo

Very fuzzy guitar lines and an incomprehensibly growly singer – The Creeks are very dirty boys. A nice break down in ‘Make It’ elevates this above just a noisefest but by crikey, they must have sore throats. 7/10



Raffertie – Mass Appeal (Ninjatune)

I raved a bit about Raffertie’s last release and this one follows on in a similar style. But although it is immensely listenable, I expect the title is a little tongue in cheek. These four tracks are noticeably darker and a little more introspective than those on the ‘Visual Acuity’ EP. It’s cutting edge electronic music for sure but the likes of the ten minutes plus ‘One Track Mind’ will certainly isolate as many listeners as it enagages as it rumbles along its experimental path like a tranquilised Aphex Twin. 7/10



Lapalux – When You’re Gone (Brainfeeder)

There’s something both soothing a little bit frustrating about this EP. It’s a little bit like wading through a beautiful enchanting forest but doing so while under the influence of heavily physcotropic drugs. You feel from time to time like it would be best to appreciate all this beauty with a clear head yet you stumble around from hook to hook, beat to beat as though you’re completely smashed out of your head. Great background music for quiet reflection (or examining CCTV footage of drainage surveys in my case) but probably not so good as a pre-going out sound track. 6/10



Mike Marlin – This Town (AMP)

I feel a bit sorry for Mike Marlin – sounding uncannily like Bowie must be both a gift and a curse. But his song writing goes on from strength to strength. ‘This Town’ sees Bowie, I mean Marlin, returning to his ‘Heathen’-era sound. Dammit, done it again. Oh well, just enjoy it. 7/10



Finn Bonel – Love’s the Only Thing (Fat Controller)

Roll up, roll up for the great Valentines cash-in rip off extravaganza. Or maybe that’s cynical and all these artists releasing love-related singles this month are just feeling nice and smooch. Either way, Finn Bonel sounds like he could do with a good dose of Lemsip and maybe a couple of cans of Red Bull while he’s at it – if he struggles to sound awake throughout his own single I’m pretty sure I’m not going to make it, regardless of how pretty the string arrangements are. 5/10



The Broken Vinyl Club – Diamonds in Her Eyes (Acid Jazz)

Hey little Genie...oh no, it’s changed into something different. Suffice to say that The Broken Vinyl Club are not pushing the barriers of modern music forward here, rather preferring to fall back into a 60’s rock n roll style approach, like wearing a nice comfy pair of slippers. 6/10



MaLoKai – Heart Beats EP (Nameless/Faceless)

Two whole listens – nearly an hour of my life I’ll never get back (though admittedly I did have a little shufty at the Autotrader website while the CD was on.) All I have to say on the matter is that Jimmy Eats World and their kind have a lot to answer for. Horrible cover version of Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’ but otherwise I guess MaLoKai [sic] are pretty competent – I just don’t like it. 4/10



Zenon – Love You Forever (Matrix)

Little doubt when you name a song ‘Love You Forever’ it’s going to be a bit mushy and Zenon seems to have reverted to his pop sensibilities following a little excursion into rock with his last single. Just as good as Take That in my opinion – but I wouldn’t buy or listen to their records out of choice either. Cynically released the day before Valentine’s Day perhaps? However, extra kudos for recording a Polish version as well – come on, sing along now... hold on – it’s still in English – what a fraud! 5/10



DJ Format – Spaceship (feat. Edan) / Terror (feat. Mr Lif) (Project Blue Book)

I think I must be having some kind of identity crisis at present as I’m finding myself ever more drawn to good hip hop. And this is the best, a real kick up the arse to all the guys lazily slinging together house beats with a dull rap line over. ‘Spaceship’ is suitably sci-fi with some great old school samples and sounds over an understated break beat. And simply by adding a reverb to Edan’s lines adds a further string to an already well strung bow. ‘Terror’ reminds me a bit of old Depth Charge sound with a rap track overlaid – this is how good hip hop should be. 8/10



The Trudy – Dirt Cheap Melody

I’m afraid this wasn’t what was required to raise me from my state of suspended animation following listening to the Moya single. Again, it’s kind of OK – like a good pub band has saved up and paid for an expensive recording studio and decent producer but it’s nothing special. 6/10



Moya – The Acoustic EP

It took about one verse before my eyes started to glaze over, my pulse started to slow and my metabolism generally went into self preservation mode. Moya can definitely sing but her ostentatious vocal gymnastics over a single piano line are dull as dishwater to me, even covering Primal Scream’s ‘I’m Losing More than I’ll Ever Have’. 5/10



Emika – 3 Hours (Ninja Tune)

You’ve not heard Emika yet? Shame on you. Not that it is our style at Tasty to try and make you feel inadequate or anything, we’d be on a very loose footing with that approach. But really, you should get your hands on some of this Emika action, so why not start with ‘3 Hours’ – a track which sums up her unearthly approach to music in combining dark and disturbing basslines with her ethereal vocals. Then, buy the album – although there are a few other mixes on this disc, frankly they aren’t up to much compared with the other tracks on the long player (though the nice and gnarly Kilon Tek Rework version is worth a bit of further investigation). 8/10



Experimental Pop Band – Little Things (Wear It Well)

Lovely start to the week with Experimental Pop Band’s quirky take on electro pop, complete with awesome guitar breakdown. It’s a kind of languid yet urgent beast, all very well done. 8/10