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singles/eps - july 2014


Astronauts – Skydive (Lo Recordings)

Skydive is a track of rare beauty, created by former Dark Captain, Dan Carney. Electro clips, acoustic strings, lullaby harmonies – it’s a perfect warm summer evening track. 9/10


Colo – Doorframe

Deep rich atmospherics that don’t feel the need to build to any kind of commercial crescendo are the order of the day here from Colo. Perfect aural wallpaper which ceases unexpectedly yet pleasingly abruptly. 7/10



Remember Remember – Magnets (Rock Action)

Beautiful stuff here from the stablemates of Mogwai and they’ve certainly learned a thing or two from Stu Braithwaite and co. A foreboding drum intro gives way to lilting, tinkling keys and drones over the top of the constant bass tone which lends a certain gravitas to proceedings. This all breaks on a key change chorus and the whole thing returns full circle. There’s a long, quiet bridge before a wonderful cascading reprise. Quite stunning. 9/10


Genna Marabese – Toys

Are these joyful little gifts in the form of EPs becoming an annual ritual for Genna Marabese? After 2013’s frighteningly delicious ‘The Birthday Party’, the songstress is back with her new and arguably improved material.

Kicking off with the title track, we hear her distinctive and compelling sneer, accompanied by a very Bowie-esque piano chord rhythm. ‘Like a Pigeon I Will Home’ is a complete delight of a song, with rambling lyrics that have her crooning “I don’t need anyone” with soulful emotion. Followed by this is my personal favourite ‘Lost for Words’, with Marabese’s vocals conjuring a strange but flawless mixture of Gwen Stefani (No Doubt era, of course) and a laid back Chrissie Hynde. The EP is brought to a close with ‘News’, where she is able to show off her skills as a talented multi-instrumentalist; the percussion, however, is the driving force, with fantastic random spurts of infectious drumming.

If this EP has proven anything, it is that Genna Marabese is a woman who learns, experiments and continuously improves. I feel she has raised the bar as a lyricist, and her dark, captivating melodies are as lovely as ever. Will there be a debut album somewhere down the line? We can but rest assured that whatever happens, she will only get better and better.

Helen Grimshaw

Bears Den – Elysium

If you shut your eyes and listen you could be more than forgiven for thinking this was a Biffy Clyro acoustic track. And that is meant as a compliment, not a reference to their ridiculously pompous rock posturing, complete with bagpiper at T in the f*cking Park (not sure why Simon Neil has to sandwich every sentence with an expletive, but he does).
Anyway, enough Biffness and more Bears Den. This one explodes into life with a bagpipe solo, sorry, some kind of anthemic drumming and call to arms via a horn part. It’s really good actually. 8/10



The Connectors – Pretty Ugly

There’s a lovely North African vibe to this scratchy, pre-aged, garage offering from North London duo The Connectors. You might not like the effort that’s gone into making this sound the way it does but in this case I think there may be a small touch of genius at work. 7/10


Volcanoes – Up in Smoke

Another great track from Volcanoes to follow up ‘When We Melodise’. The duel vocals give it a richness over the top of the otherwise simple but melodic composition. It’s got a slow burning vibe which builds powerfully without any studio tricks, just good, strong songwriting. 8/10


JFhny†iger - pFr†als

I like Miami based producer and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Roswell for a number of reasons. Firstly no PR spiel - just a graphic of the latest release and a link, you’ve got to admire the brevity. Next up, here’s a man who loves windings, or webdings or whatever they are. As a consequence there’s a fairly good chance that the title of this review and Jonathan’s alter ego title of JFhny†iger will not be displaying correctly in your chosen viewing device – I like this kind of self destructive couldn’t give a damn attitude. And finally, he makes damn fine tracks. ‘pFr†als’ is a typically gothic and heavily electronic example. Good luck finding some stencils if you ever want to go and do some JFhny†iger graffiti though. 8/10


Purple – Wallflower

I really love this track – it’s just so rock n roll. Singer/drummer Hanna Brewer’s vocals are just fab – like a female Lenny Kravitz meets Courtney Love. And she looks like Tanya Donnelly. Dirty guitar riffs and stonery solos, man this is where the party is at. 9/10


C’Mon Tigre – Federation tunisienne de football

It’s so great to hear something completely out there. Safe to say that C’Mon Tigre are probably not fishing for a headline spot at Glastonbury with this one, it’s more, as they say themselves, ‘music from the belly’. It’s an east meet s west, polyrhythm meets drum machine, jazz meets Arabic melange which is totally engrossing. Great artwork too. 8/10