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singles/eps - dec 2012


 

Dinosaur Jr. - Pierce the Morning Rain (Single) [PIAS]

Would you believe these guys are still alive? You betcha, Massachusetts lo-fi veterans Dinosaur Jr are back with their tenth studio album; their third since the reformation of the original line up. And this is the second single - a crunchy thumper that I shouldn’t cause a stir in Dino fan camp. They’re sticking to what they know - and this song explodes into a pacey punk-like riff rich in fuzz and lacking bottom-end like a 16 year old abusing his first 40-watt mini-amp. J Mascis’ dreamy waivering vocals enter mumbling tunefully, as you’d expect, really. Complete with crunchy widdling solos this is a pumped-up single from the Dinosaurs that has a nineties Foo Fighters feel to it - but is ultimately that same rough and raw sound.
http://soundcloud.com/pias/dinosaur-jr-pierce-the-morning

Thom Curtis

 

Shana Falana - In The Light EP

Emerging from Brooklyn, Shana Falana has been writing and performing music for nearly twenty years, immersing herself in different roles in a range of musical genres.

‘In The Light’ is her official debut release and it is certainly a striking opening statement. Heavily doused in reverb and looped vocals first track ‘Dizzy Chant’ does just that, a symphony of gentle chanting slowly reaching crescendo. Featuring another haunting reverb-drenched vocal, ‘Light The Fire’ continues to hypnotise, as the intensive nature of the track submerges the listener in a tidal wave of melody and emotion. ‘Tragic’ sees the tidal wave spin slowly out of control as the aforementioned mesmerising vocals are soon possessed, twisting and turning as the track reaches its abrupt climax. Control is soon established again with the title track’s gorgeous melody revoking memories of School Of Seven Bells, Asobi Seksu and Mazzy Star, comparisons to be taken as great praise indeed.

This is a release that comes highly recommended. Lovingly layered throughout, the effects are impressive and Shana Falana will be worth watching carefully.

Mark Whiffin

 

Plastique – A Papercut From a Paper Kiss

After the first minute of this the hatches is being sharpened. Nut lo and behold, it goes all dirty, grubby harlot and turns out being a right filthy bitch of a song. Brazilian inspired grimey electro-rock would quite a small genre I’m guessing but Plastique have stamped their mark all over this, equalling similar British slutpops Soho Dolls. 8/10
www.plastiqueband.com

SB

 

Pylo – Enemies (Young and Lost Club)

With band members including the brilliantly named Richard Gully and Max Blunos (surely a Bond villain?) this is bound to be a success right? Name checking the likes of Coldplay, Radiohead and Pink Floyd, this has got to be great yes? Well actually yes, it’s awesome. Like a distilled version of all the best bits of those bands – the orchestration of Coldplay without the pomp, the haziness of Floyd without the nurdling and the inventiveness of Radiohead without the overt wackiness. ‘Enemies’ builds up wonderfully, breaks down in a plaintive fragile wail then crusades onwards once again. Beautiful. 9/10
http://www.pylomusic.com/

SB

 

Mooli – Love Hurts EP

Make it stop, make it stop! Within a few seconds of this track starting up I’m hugging a cushion and rocking back and forth on my haunches. It’s like a charmless female fronted version of MGMT’s ‘Kids’. Which is a bit of a shame as the remainder of the EP is better (marginally). It would be better (markedly) with a slightly more judicious use of synths – stop relying on the 80’s synth pop gimmicks and let the songs speak for themselves. Mooli manage it in the best track ‘Everyone is Famous’ which has a much more Spartan approach, more Ladytron than Lady Boys of Bangkok so there is still hope. 6/10
www.moolimusic.com

SB

 

Terry Emm – Gently (Longman Records)

What’s this? Snowflakes? Winter scenes? First sleigh bells of the year? Gah! Christmas single ahoy from singer songwriter Terry Emm. Despite my instant dislike for this most generic of formats, there is also a strange disconnect between the pretty finger-picked guitar which rings crisp and clear as opposed to the vocal and bell track which sounds like it was recorded in a box. 4/10
www.terryemm.co.uk

SB

 

Two Fingers – Vengeance Rhythm (Big Dada)

As one of Amon Tobin’s alter egos, we shouldn’t be surprised that this is pretty awesome. Definitely at the raunchier end of Tobin’s work, ‘Vengeance Rhythm’ is brutally based around a pulsating bass occasionally lasered across with fizzling synths and effects. A proper ‘song’? Barely. But put it on in the car and wind the windows down – it’ll scare the hell out of the neighbours. The Koan Sound Remix version marginally nibbles off the rougher edges before brilliantly regurgitating them in a breakbeaty splat of electro-vomit. 8/10

SB

 

When We Were Wolves – The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same

Yet more growly hardcore. Pretty good as it goes but for the benefit of my ears: put the kettle on and make yourself a cup of lemon tea, sit down, calm the hell down and stop shouting at me. Mitch Bock (what a great name) evens screams the words over the soft intro – whatever happened to variety eh? Otherwise it’s pretty aggressive, choppy stuff – weirdly euphoric in places but ultimately tethered down by the screamo vocals until Phil Cross steps in on guest vocal duties in ‘Hounds’. 6/10
www.facebook.com/whenwewerewolves1

SB

 

Miss Terry Blue - Hush

Yack. I’m sorry but this nurdly funk-soul stuff is absolutely not my kind of thing at all. I’m sure the band is made up of hugely talented musicians (all funkateers seem to claim this so I’ll take it as a given) but I can’t get it off the CD player quick enough. 3/10

SB

 

The Bloogs – Freezing Rain

This track seems to rumble along of its own accord, much like the force of nature it describes. Bubbling indie guitars and harmless vocal harmonies are moderately appealing but it’ll hardly send goose pimples down your neck. 6/10

SB

 

Bo Keeney – Don’t You Worry

What’s going on here – I can hear all sorts of instruments all playing slightly out of time with each other.Eh? Now it’s gone all drum and bass on me. What started off sounding like an ex-factor reject may well be the work of a secret genius or a deluded slapdash of incoherent styles. I’m all for invention though so a tentative thumbs up from me. 7/10
www.bokeeney.com

SB

 

The View – Hold on Now/Tacky Tattoo (Cooking Vinyl)

In the run up to Christmas, The View prove they are Dundee’s very own Slade with their ‘Hold on Now’ and all it’s overdriven, full pelt rompy action. Don’t like it much though. ‘Tacky Tattoo’ is a much nicer track, all introspective, acoustic and sounding a bit like early Arctic Monkeys. 6/10
www.theviewareonfire.com

SB

 

Greenthief – Retribution

I’m a bit late to the Retribution party (now there’s a name for a metal album) seeing as this EP from Australian rock outfit Greenthief was released autumn 2011. But it arrived to review and review I have…

If you like your alternate rock with a hint of glam (Muse, Placebo) you’re not going to be disappointed here, Greenthief tick all the boxes. Fuzzy guitars, bold drums, rolling deep bass, sparse production, high pitched vocals, spacey guitar solos.

Stand out track Vultures opens with a filthy discord, then calms things down before building to the start/stop snarling refrain “beneath the ground, where they can’t be found” before Julian Schweitzer unleashes his most compelling vocal.
Dynamically the band excels, they know how to create atmosphere before kicking in the overdrive. I would well imagine Greenthief make an exciting live trio, however there’s a distinct lack of energy on this record. It appears even producer Steve James , (credits include the Jam, Sex Pistols and Thin Lizzy -to name a few) couldn’t inject the necessary gusto to make this record shine.

For me rock should *ROCK* and the sad fact is, when the Retribution EP tries to get exciting it falls flat. It’s not that it’s a poor record (technically it’s been very well put together), it’s just we’ve been here many times before. While that’s not a necessarily a bad thing (I’d never criticise a band for playing the music they want) the fact that it’s been done far more convincingly, is.

Milo

 

On and On - The Hunter

Massive clattering production overlays the robovox in a broadly euphoric three minutes of eletro pop from Chicago's ON and On. Noisy and ear damaging on headphones- that's got to be positive. 7/10
http://itsonanon.bandcamp.com/

SB

 

Circle of Reason – A Favour for a Stranger EP

This EP sounds a little bit like a welcome throwback to a time of grimey Doc Martens, tie-dye and lumberjack shirts. That scuzzy layered, booming sound beloved of The Smashing Pumpkins et al is well in evidence here and expertly manipulated with a contemporary optimism. The English tinge reminds a little of early Headswim and Flight16 but it’s a lovely mix of commercially acceptable light and social life threatening, brooding dark. 8/10
www.facebook.com/circleofreason

SB

 

Bleak Falls – Another Rainy Day

Sure, everyone wants to sound like the Deftones but normally they don’t. In this case, I’m pleasantly surprised by Bleak Falls whose opening track, the imaginatively titled ‘Intro’ is a stunning instrumental.

Not to say that it’s just a slavish copying of Deftones. ‘Morning Light’ sounds like a disturbed gothic horror film soundtrack with its wobbly basslines. In fact, most of this EP rocks pretty hard for melodic hardcore. 7/10
www.facebook.com/bleakfallsofficial

SB

 

Abagail Grey – Snowflake Remember

I’m afraid that being a stoney hearted bastard I’m struggling to get to grips with this one. Sure it’s kind of pretty but so whispy and floaty that there’s not much to get your teeth into. But then I guess that is the point for the more sensitive listener. 6/10
www.abagailgrey.com

SB