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singles/eps - august 2014


J Mascis – Every Morning

Sometimes there’s a man. He’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. For the late eighties, early nineties that man was (and is) J Mascis. He’s emblematic of a golden age.

Every Morning is exactly what you’d expect from a solo Mascis: upbeat acoustic guitars are layered with bursts of truly beautiful electric guitar squall. Mascis’ mumbly, croaky vocals betray the joy of the music with a mantra of ‘every morning makes it hard on me’. It’s bittersweet and it’s what we’ve come to expect. I don’t know about you, but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ he’s out there, wailing away for all us sinners.


The Rentals - '1000 Seasons'

Forget for a minute which of The Rentals was in what band or other (Weezer in this instance), '1000 Seasons' is a fizzingly tuneful summer powerpop anthem that a few bands and other musicians might covet or wonder exactly where they heard those melodies the first time. Right from its synth led intro its sunnily summery tune puts a techno gloss on some of the most blatantly Emo lyrics I've heard this year - 'one more summer / one more season / one more winter by yourself' intones Matt (formerly of Weezer) Sharp although he doesn't sound very fed up with things and neither do his finely tuned backing band. It's 1979 all over again round at The Rental's place.


Paloma Faith - 'Trouble With My Baby'

No-one really wants to hear the words 'trouble' and 'Paloma Faith' in the same sentence, but it looks like she's having a bad one this week, done up like a film noir villaness and wondering who nicked her watch but enough about the CD sleeve, it's a big jazzy soul number with a Motown twist and vocal coaching by Aretha, and as Paloma bemoaned her ill fortune I started wondering exactly what the problem is although the follow up to this snappy lil' foot tapper probably isn't 'I'm On Jeremy Kyle Next Tuesday'.



Nicole Atkins - 'Who Killed The Moonlight'

Sometimes an artistes PR does it all for you. In her own words : ‘In the dream I lived next door to four magical and beautiful Sicilian sisters,” Nicole explains. “They were preparing me for a wedding. As the night fell we went to the riverside to toast the new full moon with wine. As we toasted the moon slowly fell from the sky and landed in the river. Slowly flickering off and on like a light and dying. As it died, all the fish died, then the birds, then the air and everything with it. Yet [though] it was sad or scary, it was beautiful.”' Various people involved in producing 'Who Killed The Moonlight' have worked alongside (deep breath) Nick Cave, The Cramps, Franz Ferdinand, The Cardigans and with it's spag western guitar riff and deeply dark lyric - 'we are by the riverside / in the water the moon is dying' you might mistake this for a track written for Nick C in his late 90s prime until it all goes a bit disco in the middle. Who killed the moonlight? We did. All of us ...


The Courtesans - 'Genius'

The shadow of Trip Hop lowers notably over this moodily performed piece of bad girl blues : 'I'm a genius / truly poisonous' runs the lyric and the Courtesans themselves turn in a mercilessly defiant video performance with all four of them tied to a stake, waiting to be cleverly poisoned you might expect until the talk turns to 'fingerprints on gloves' and after much grimy growling and hints of genuine wickedness in the background some not very clever person sets the stake alight although all four Courtesans do in fact survive their ordeal, which is what listening to 'Genius' could resemble, depending on your own mood.



The Family Rain – Hunger Sauce EP (Mountbatten Recordings/Kobalt)

There’s something a bit early noughties about this EP and it sounds great. From the plinkety opening salvo of the drum machine on ‘You Should Be Glad You’ve Got a Man’ to the Supergrass sounding ‘Tarantula’ there’s something wistfully retro about each of these tracks. But there’s also a bit of acerbic wit in the lyrics such as ‘We are in love, you just don’t know it yet’. We end with a nice crunchy 2 minute pop song, part Arctic Monkeys, part Monster Mash. Shouldn’t work but bloody well does. 8/10


Tankus the Henge – Recurring Dream (SRM)

A bit of a baroque intro anyone? This is seriously energetic stuff from the mysterious 6-piece Tankus the Henge and could be the soundtrack to Papa Lazarou’s circus. 6/10


Alone with the Wolves – The End of Nothing EP

I don’t really know enough about this sort of music to write an authoritative review here. Suffice to say it’s pretty raucous stuff and the dual vocals are conveniently split between clean and scream parts – very good of you Alone With Wolves. But I know enough to know that this is a pretty polished effort and I loved plenty of the guitar parts, especially the breakdown in the middle of the title track. Good work wolverines. 7/10


The Sea Kings – Bible John (Iffy Folk)

This has got one of those rollicking good 70’s style bass lines that sound merges mainstream rock and country plus it sounds a bit like it is being sung by a Glaswegian Morrissey. What’s not to like about any of this? 7/10


Dagny – I Say

I actually watched Eurovision for the first time in my life this year and reluctantly have to admit I found it rather enjoyable. And before even reading that Dagny was a Norwegian singer song writer I was querying the grey cells to try and recall if this was actually one of the tracks I’d heard on that fateful night. It wasn’t as it turns out but it does have a kazoo solo and a slightly satirical lyrical slant. 6/10