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singles/eps - aug 2012


Lightships – ‘Fear and Doubt’ (Domino Records)

Lightships is the solo vehicle for Gerard Love, bassist and songwriter for Scottish power pop legends Teenage Fanclub. While the material Love has released so far hasn’t provided a massive departure from his old band, Lightships seems to be generally a more laidback, atmospheric affair: the gorgeous melodies are still there but they are given time to emerge organically from the washes of distorted guitar and subtle electronics. This track from the new EP is a gentle, reflective song which won’t change the world but will make anyone who hears it feel a bit happier for four minutes or so. Love-ly stuff.

Matt Brown


The Gaslight Anthem – 45

What do you want from The Gaslight Anthem? I don't care.

What trouble in your heart are you hoping to have understood and expressed? It doesn't matter.

You'll put that responsibility on a band. I know, I've seen it happen. I've seen you do it. I've watched you put them in your heart. You have to stop. They're just a band.

That doesn't matter either. The Gaslight Anthem, on this showing, are continuing to be amazing and continue to do amazing jobs of writing exactly the sort of damaged, kind-soul punk-rock you probably love them for.

You should love them for it.


Melodica, Melody And Me - 'Imperfect Time'

Jaunty piano riff, mandolin and duetted male/female vocal making for a summery slice of jazz inflected grooviness, stylishly performed and possesed of definable charms. Very near folk pop perfection, the clarinet/trumpet interplay featured in the remix version shows some real imaginations at work around the Melodica campfire, and an actual melodica and panpipes just finish things off with a bit of a flourish that's heard all too rarely these days.



Left Of Manila - 'Coast EP'

Interesting press release of the month. Left Of Manila (that's Mish Pharaon and Ed Bentley) started out running club nights in the French alps and are now based in Oxford where they built a studio and recorded among others folk near-legend Peggy Seeger, while Mish moonlights as a member of Babyshambles offshoot Roses Kings Castles. About the Coast EP, there's a very obvious French electronica influence at work, subdued and ambient and verging into orchestral if not actual OMD territories and it's a pleasant if hardly groundbreakingly original sound although if you wanted that you'd listen to Ty Segall attempting to plug his guitar into a microwave or something. Probably a bit of a grower, as they used to say.



My Tiger My Timing - 'The Gold Rush'

'Well I know who I'm playing / the house always wins' is the opening of what's one of the best lyrics I've heard recently and only my own practised writerly disciplines prevent me from quoting the song in its entirety here. As for the music, that's quite excellent too. Already gaining the big kudos from 6Music, Lamacq, XFM et al, this is that really good song you heard the name of whose performers title irritatingly escaped your hearing. So now you know, and My Tiger also know what they've done as the single contains two near and perhaps unimprovable upon mixes of 'The Gold Rush', one of which is exactly one second longer than the other. Yes of course I wanted to hear it twice and so, indie electropop fan, will you.



Cave Birds - 'In Love From Afar'

Invoking the Glamsynth vibes of Belouis Some, Steven 'TinTin' Duffy and even 'Breakfast Club' era Simple Minds, Cave Birds turn in a stonking great dancefloor shaker that'd storm up the charts of 1986 without a shred of irony then or indeed now. The sound of Club Tropicana reopening, of people actually dancing instead of just waving their arms about, of MTV when it was all we had to watch and of Steve Wright when he was really, really funny, Cave Birds deserve an honourable mention for their efforts and who knows, perhaps they'll actually get one.



Metric - Speed the Collapse

Metric return this year with a follow-up to Fantasies (2009), which I particularly enjoyed. It built upon the success of earlier albums and focused the band’s sound - polishing rough edges and delivering a radio-friendly finish. I would expect this album to continue that journey, and Speed The Collapse, the second single to be released from the upcoming album Synthetica, follows suit.

The verses are led by a prominent beat, bass, distant tremolo tremors and of course, Emily Haines’s soothing vocal. It’s slightly dark in feeling, with the reverb from the vocal and distant guitars only adding to the mystery. The chorus retains the pace of the verses and in all honesty doesn’t quite deliver the anthemic explosion I anticipated - but still ticks plenty of boxes as it bleeds into a melodic post-chorus vocal routine. Dark synthy punchy indie. Yes.

If the rest of the album is of a similar quality then this could very easily be near the top end of our charts this Summer.

Thom Curtis


Nathan Fake - Iceni Strings

Fans of Nathan Fake won't be disappointed with the latest offering from the Norfolk retro-futurist - a snare-less rattle-driven gargle of softened synths that has "total Celtic tribal campfire vibe to it." For those unacquainted with Fake, this is the first single from his upcoming third album which promises to be another dose of fuzzy yet organic synth sounds and driving beats - the bubbling electronics that could power an afterparty on to dawn. This particular track has a pacey burbling melody coupled with a distant four-to-the-floor kick and a rattling shuffle - with certain elements showing an Aphex-like crunchy edge. This slowly builds in the latter half, with long sweeping synths and finally higher icy twinkles, and ain't half bad.

Thom Curtis


Dinosaur Jnr. - Watch The Corners

I met J Mascis once. He was being interviewed by Ian Svenonius at a Nightmare Before Christmas and he couldn't remember the name of something. I was sat nearby, he asked me, I knew, he said thank you. Afterwards I exchanged some words with him and Ian. It was cool.

I am sure that producing new and interesting ways of sounding like yourself is a skill that it takes time to acquire. I'm sure it can only be acquired once you know what you're supposed to sound like. I imagine that eventually you could feel trapped. Trapped by fans expecting something and trapped by your fears of escaping a safe, often profitable, past. This is obviously a lie. The easiest thing in the world is to sound like you expect yourself too. Everything aids you. Your own fear, the expectations of others and most of all? The fact that to do it requires no effort and less thought.

If you're really really cool, your output sounds like none of this matters and you've just written some more songs that are really good. My impression, upon hearing Watch The Corners is that Dinosaur Jnr. are really really good. (Still)

I would guess, with bands who have been awesome for so long, that there are some people who want to know similar things each time new music is produced. For you guys: The solo is really good, this song in no way disappoints and it's really good rock music. Isn't that intro killer?

Everyone else? This is Dinosaur Jnr. If you do not know them rectify that immediately. Don't leave this song out when you do.

Christopher Carney


Gallows – ‘Last June’ (Venn Records)

Following the highly publicised departure of singer and human graffiti wall Frank Carter, this is the first taste of Gallows’ self titled third album which is released in September this year. Despite showing absolutely no musical progression from their previous work, ‘Last June’ remains an exhilarating slab of unreconstructed hardcore punk. As outdated as this might sound, sometimes there’s nothing better than hearing a bunch of sweaty, tattooed men screaming and hitting their instruments as hard as they can.

Matt Brown


Crushing Blows – The People You Will Never Meet (Super Heavyweight)

The latest release from Derby’s excellent Crushing Blows sees them in a slightly calmer, psychedelic light than their previous EPs. Still shimmering and distinctive, this is the opiated cousin to the spikier predecessor ‘Nightworker’. 7/10