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singles/eps - march 2015



Orphan Boy – Beats Like Distant Tides

‘Beats Like Distant Tides’ captures that archetypal run down northern town vibe perfectly, the contradictory sense that everything is futile but hope springs eternal. Whichever side of that equation you land on, there’s something in the song which you can cling to – the expansive ringing guitar lines and the pithy percussion for the optimists, the dystopian distorted ice cream van intro and doleful verse vocals for the miserablists. And that’s life innit? Seldom black and white but a constant flux between these two extremes. 8/10
www.orphan-boy.com

SB


Physical - Someone Leave The Lights On

Now this is something you don’t hear a lot. Avant-garde meets industrial minimalism with almost a Bjork quality to her voice backed with the occasional fiddle. I’m reminded of Nine Inch Nails in areas and maybe even The Avalanches. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Washington DC’s Physical, though I’m quite impressed. It’s not everyday you hear something unique, but you definitely will in “Someone Leave The Lights On”, so be sure to dig for it.

Gavin Tate


Swoons - The Night

Kicks off sounding like Maximo Park but the voice ruins it. The lyrics are more than dreadful, banging on about some poor unfortunate soul being his only girl.. balls!! Every now and again the guitar peaks and the only thing I really like about this whole tune is the drums at the beginning. This is definitely the type of band you would see playing your local pub in Luton!

Gavin Tate


Braids - Taste

Begins a 4 bar beat pattern on a drum machine with Sigur Ros meets Philip Glass style keys and as soon as the vocal comes in, I’m reminded of the magical Sky Ferreira. This is not usually my thing but I’m enjoying the atmosphere that surrounds it. The chorus is really uplifting but again not something I would play as personal preference! It’s very Sky-esque though, that probably being the reason I’ve given it half a chance. Again, the ending on this is ace! Like waves of interstellar movement.

Gavin Tate


PINS - Too Little Too Late

In with a drum intro and an organ lased sub-pop rhythm section meets guitar from the garage revival of early last decade, though more generic! “Too Little Too Late” is lyrically poor in the verses and not very exciting in the chorus. I like her voice purely for the fact that it sounds similar to Jonnine Standish of Melbourne exports HTRK. The only excitement in this whole tune, is the bit of feedback in the middle eight before coming to an amazing climax in the outro.. and much akin to the Brighton femme post-punk quartet Electrelane. Why didn’t it sound like that all the way through?

Gavin Tate


Vince Grant – ‘Sweet Addiction’

Long-time musical veteran Vince Grant has battled both depression and addiction over the years, but has since been through a successful recovery. He’s distilled his experiences on his new EP, the aptly-titled My Depression is Always Trying To Kill Me. It’s a heartfelt and involving EP of five tuneful indie-rock songs that feature a matter-of-fact Vince straightforwardly delivering powerful messages about the persistent lure of addiction and the continual fight against depression. Vince takes on singer-songwriter and acoustic guitar duties and is joined by talented collaborators like the EP’s producer, Doug Grean, on electric guitar.

The highlight of the EP is the almost-10-minute opus “Sweet Addiction”. It encapsulates the trajectory of an addict – the siren song of drinking (or whatever substance is abused), its false sweetness, the eventual pain and shame, as well as the addict’s admission of using and hope of coping with the disease. Vince sings in a clear, but passionate tone on the verses, declaring “Alone with my thoughts / tearin’ at the walls…” amid a steady beat and his gently picked, anchoring acoustic guitar. The song opens up with wavering reverb guitar and bright instrumental accompaniment that includes light, higher pitched synth notes. Vince’s desperate pleas about his plight are riveting as he proclaims “I’ve been caught drinkin’ / and I can’t stop / because it hurts / Sweet addiction…” Vince’s ‘for real’ lyrics and plaintive emotions will hit home for anyone who has struggled with, and hopefully recovered from, depression and addiction.
https://soundcloud.com/vincegrant/sweet-addiction

Jen Dan


Taxi Taxi – ‘Floating Forever’

Stockholm, Sweden-based twin sisters and Bjork-vocal doppelgangers (in the best sense!) Johanna and Miriam meld their keeningly sweet and passionately emotive voices with lushly shimmering synths and sharper-edged guitar lines on their recent EP, Floating Forever. The EP’s title track is a captivating stunner (well, so are all the song off the EP!) swimming in chiming guitar lines, brightly wavering, spacey synths, sporadic cymbal crash, and a steady beat. The delightful, softer toned verses lead to more intense chorus passages and winter-weary folks can rejoice in the lyrics “Summer is arriving / We’re waking up to the light.” The sisters are planning on releasing their sophomore album later this year. It’s on the highly-anticipated list!

Jen Dan


Nick de la Hoyde – ‘The Longest Way’

Mark my words: Nick de la Hoyde is going to be massive. Well, he damn well should be with his appealing blend of hip-pop rapping and Boy Band pop crooning. The young Sydney, Australia-based singer/rapper/songwriter has rounded up a ton of fans via Instagram and his YouTube profile, where he’s posted lots of song clips of himself rapping and singing his original lyrics over current hit songs from the likes of Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, and One Direction. Nick’s been discovered by master-producer Lamoyne “LA” Alexander and has released his debut single, ‘The Longest Way’, to much acclaim and continuing chart success.

Nick radiates a laid-back coolness that is the antithesis of the aggressive swagger of most rappers. He genre-hops between rhythmic, but smoothly flowing raps and airy, wistful singing within ‘The Longest Way’ (and on all his songs), peppering his dense, complex, and extremely insightful and self-reflective lyrics throughout the track (“Everybody sees what they want / but they’re too scared to get it / Like, what will they say / if they regret it.”). It’s an exciting and inviting melding of musical styles and Nick has the vocal and lyrics-writing chops to match any of the artists topping the music charts today. He may be waiting in the wings at the moment, but his time to shine brightly in the spotlight should come soon.

Jen Dan


Aradia – ‘Today’

Seattle-located electronic-pop singer-songwriter Aradia is a DIY artist who does it all, from composing her songs, playing the synths, programming the drums, and singing on her tracks, to recording her output and designing her own outfits and artwork. She dropped her album, Citizen of Earth, last fall and the up-tempo ‘Today’ is one of the highlights off of it. The song continuously flows forward with a flat-smacked beat, clacked-wood percussion, strummed acoustic guitar, and extended synth strings in the background. It displays a more delicate and vulnerable facet of Aradia’s singing style as she wistfully lilts her bittersweet sentiments that “I’ve got to focus on today / Can’t let the moment slip away.” Frizzled electronic notes appear near the end of the tune as Aradia warbles her wordless coos lightly against the electro beat.
https://aradia.bandcamp.com/track/today-2

Jen Dan


Fraems - 'Drones'

What with all the mild controversy dronecraft have created over the last year or so there's a certain dry humour in Fraems offering this track as a Free Download, conjuring as it does images of little helicopters making unscheduled landings at random locations, and setting up their portable soundsystems. Fraems own particular craft appears to have set course for Ibiza this year, and Fraems take on the sort of electronica that can be played at any venue and at differing social occasions is a pleasant one. And everyone can listen for free, so thank you Fraems.
https://soundcloud.com/lost-tribe-records/fraems-drones-1/s-VRxve

JG


Calexico - 'Falling From The Sky'

'Like a bird lost inside a cloud' sings Calexico's Joey Burns, 'where do you fall when you've nowhere to go'. The laws of gravity being what they are, falling almost always involves an inevitably downwards trajectory but Calexico's cheerfully summery anthem will leave you forgetting that you left the parachute at home with its ringing guitars, church bells, gleefully brazen horns and all.
https://soundcloud.com/casadecalexico/falling-from-the-sky-ft-ben-bridwell/s-xRAO9

JG


Little May - 'Hide'

Ones to watch on the Australian scene just now, Little May turn in a wistful guitar number backed with doomy sounding percussion that recalls one or two other female fronted bands including Peggy Sue and Florence, going a bit folksy. The cinematic video that goes with the song is a full length feature waiting to be made, in which relationship problems lead to all three Mays turning their backs on civilisation and going into the outback to wave snakes around a bonfire. Which is how you keep the spiders off down under.

JG


YAK - Hungry Heart

Begins with voices, like club toilet ramblings followed by laughter and then a count in.. 1,2,3,4 and in with the best bass line I’ve heard since The Rapture’s ‘House of Jealous Lover’s’, with tremolo heavy guitar stabs and a voice as haunting as Guy McKnight of The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster. Wolverhampton’s YAK have possibly wrote the best single you’ll hear this side of Christmas! The chorus on “Hungry Heart” is manic, lyrics “Again and again and again” surface an enigmatic wave of pure brilliance. The bass is what does it for me, though the drums and guitar are just as sensuous.. sounds you’ll more or less hear during explosions on Jupiter. B-side “Something On Your Mind” is a bit more subtle, showing a calmer side of the group but just as effective. A bit like Mick Jagger singing with latter day The Strokes! This band are definitely one to watch out for.

Gavin Tate


Wires - Backsliders

Opens with a film sample and then a dirge-abilly guitar pattern with stomping drums and bass lines much akin to the long gone Leeds outfit ‘Black Wire’. I like the jangly breaks in the verses followed by hectic bridges.. lyrics “You’re never around” in the chorus backed with vocal harmonies over a field of stop starts and creep riff-age reminding me of Melbourne garage heads ‘Bird Blobs’. I could imagine this band being quite fun to watch live, then again anything with a stomp usually is.

Gavin Tate


Siv Jakobsen - 'Dark'

I was just expecting a mellow acoustic number until Siv brought out the orchestra and piano, to give her song the added depth that some thoughtfully arranged instrumentation can provide, although 'Dark' would work just as well on its own as a guitar and vocal track, such is the talent of Brooklyn based Norwegian Siv. Just over three minutes isn't anything like enough of its melodic loveliness.
https://soundcloud.com/abadgeoffriendship/siv-jakobsen-dark

JG


The Daydream Club - Saltwater'

Properly setting their controls for Dreampop mode, some notes on modern living as two emotionally committed hipsters go off on a bit of an adventure, cycling through the woods and setting sparklers off on the beach, that kind of stuff. If anyone was planning on filming Georges Perec's 1960s existentialist novel 'Things' then it could look something like this:

JG


Joanna Gruesome - Honestly Do Yr Worst

I wasn’t sure at first but “Honestly Do Yr Worst” gradually grew on me. There’s an almost ‘The Pains of Being Pure At Heart’ quality about this 2 minute gem! Their voices glide together immensely over a lucid wave of palm muted shoegazing guitar sequence, backed up by pop driven bass lines and speedy drums. There’s a manic burst 1 minute in that reminds me of the ever great pop-tastic noise outfit ‘Bearsuit’. If this is anything to go by, I think Joanna Gruesome’s forthcoming album looks to be a much enjoyable offering.

Gavin Tate


Gallows - 'Leather Crown'

I wasn't sure what this was going to sound like. Last I heard of Gallows they were covering The Ruts 'Staring At The Rude Boys' but this is entirely their own work and, pushing the melodic post rock envelope as if it were empty it's a blistering, coruscating, headbanging reintroduction to a band that have a lot more to give us than just old school punk covers. Industrial atmospherics and double timed frenzy in equal measures, prog metal mania done with a lot of skill and about as good a heavy rock track as I've heard in the last 12 months (not that I hear a lot of them).

JG


Surf City - 'One Too Many Things'

Traditional West Coast guitar pop from a New Zealand band that put an added turn of garage rock into the mix, a sound that owes more to the mid 80s Paisley Underground bands than the more laid back country tinged sound of say, Green On Red and Teenage Fanclub. A recognisable tune performed with more vigour than is usual among the more recent psyche pop enthusiasts I've heard. There wasn't much laid back about the Long Ryders.
https://soundcloud.com/firerecords/surf-city-one-too-many-things

JG


Walter TV - Surf Metal

Right away I’m reminded of ‘Trompe Le Monde’ era Pixies, that being my favorite album by them so the Walter’s have already won me over within a few a seconds of hearing “Surf Metal” which definitely abides to the title. The psyche-matic Canadian post punk outfit are fronted by Mac DeMarco‘s Pierce McGarry who looks to have given birth to a peach of a side project! Very reminiscent of C86 claimers ‘Orange Juice’, though the vocal takes on a more Steve Albini approach rather than Edwyn Collins. Also, it sounds like the voice has been harpered 50 feet below water. The drums playing a constant repetitive beat which alters for an erratic climax in the chorus. The bass lines are not far off that of Josef K’s ‘Sorry For Laughing’. This track wouldn’t sound out of place on a Postcard Records compilation.

Gavin Tate


The Dropout Collective - Tales From The Brunswick EP

Kicks off with “Tragic Afternoon Rising” ..great introduction, haunting organs and dreary guitars.. the bass prominent. Vocals roll in sounding like Pete Doherty and Amanda Palmer having a duet. I like mostly the pace of it, perfect tempo and quite akin to Dresdon Dolls. And on to “Dropout Boogie” ..classic 12 bar blues bass line and 50’s rock’n’roll guitar that is more catchy than a dog flying for a bone. Great arrangement and structure, this will be hard to beat. “They’re Real” I love it from the word go. The Brian Jonestown Massacre springs to mind ! Singer Ellie’s voice is perfect for this groove, riff tastic with a steady rhythm section. The chorus reminds me of B.R.M.C’s first album, as good if not better.. this is my favorite track so far. “Being Chased by a Gorilla” great title! Sounds like it should be on Babyshambles first album ..great storyline lyrically and speeds up faster than a panther on whizz!!!

Gavin Tate


The Pocket Gods - 'Black Friday 13th'

Few bands nowadays are even aware of the existence of late 60s psychedelic obscurities The Red Crayola but I was listening to them just the other week and I'm reasonably sure there's a copy of 'Parable Of Arable Land' on the Pocket Gods mp3 player. I mention that probability as there's a copy of the Pocket Gods 'Plan Nub' album on my own player, which I stick on when I want to hear some properly wigged out lo-fi esoteric eccentricity, which is what 'Black Friday' definitely is.

JG


Faerground Accidents - She Makes Me Want To Die

I’m reminded of ‘Dog Man Star’ era Suede from the first verse.. the guitar and keys have a Cure like feel more prominent than Jabba the Hut on a levitating island. The vocalist has an edge close to Morrissey but at times more like Bowie.. a classic 90’s Britpop feel in the rhythm section. Sounds like it would fit well on a Shine Compilation, somewhere between Pulp’s ‘First Time’ and Rialto’s ‘Monday Morning 5.19’. Lyrics “I saw my bloodshot eyes in the mirror, then my gaze turns upon the bleach” pour over a barrack of hook laden jangly guitar that matches the vocal immensely. Sheffield seems to have given birth to an almighty glam beast armed with anthems and quirky lyrics. If Woolworths was still open and “She Makes Me Want To Die” was available on cd, I’d definitely queue for it.

Gavin Tate


Slow Turismo - 'Corners'

'Corners' goes off in all sorts of directions, tuneful technopop with a very nearly danceable rhythm, and a more than competent display from a band yet to release their first album.
https://soundcloud.com/slow-turismo/corners

JG


The Cathode Ray - 'Resist'

Edinburgh music veterans whose lineup has at various times included members of Josef K, Scars, TV21 and The Bluebells (and probably at least one of the Fire Engines) partying like it's 1979 and it's really quite good in a Rezillos if they'd signed to Postcard records sort of way, jittery and angular and with a retro futurist twist. Post punk like it's supposed to sound, performed by experts.
www.facebook.com/thecathoderay

JG


 

In Tall Buildings - 'Flare Gun'

Funk tinged electropop which reminds that house music did indeed originate in Chicago, as do In Tall Buildings. Very melodic and nearly three and a half minutes isn't quite enough of Erik Hall's competently realised Dreampop mini epic.
https://soundcloud.com/western_vinyl/in-tall-buildings-flare-gun

JG


Mercury Blast - 'Mercury Blast EP'

Putting a picture of an exploding planet on the cover of your debut Ep certainly suggests ambition of some sort, and also that the Ep tracks are too loud to be actually heard by humans. The sound of global catastrophe? If you think reanimated late 80s spandex metal is the most dangerous noise in the galaxy then, yes, Mercury Blast put on a spirited defence of our humanity and I'd like to say more about their music but their Soundcloud page crashed about a minute into first track 'My Desire'. I'll listen again tomorrow, if we're all still here.
https://soundcloud.com/mercury-blast

SB


The Tamborines - 'Ghost At The Lighthouse'

Classic indie pop from a London duo making absolutely no apologies for wanting to sound like proper shoegazers, although at less than two minutes it's very nearly over before it starts for The Tamborines. More please and with a chorus this time?

JG


 

Thee Riptide Movement - 'All Works Out'

You've never heard of them either but they are apparently one of the biggest bands for a while to emerge from Ireland, and they've made one of the creepiest videos I've ever seen to accompany 'All Works Out', in which a probably obsessed female fan hallucinates Thee Riptiders while in a psychiatric hospital. Has a happy ending though.

JG


Is Tropical - 'On My Way'

Quality loungecore electronica from Is Tropical that's a month or two early for these grimy March skies. The sort of music that makes people want to book holidays.

JG

 

A Place To Bury Strangers - We’ve Come So Far

Breaks in with a savage cloud of shoe-gazing guitar, somewhere along the lines of Ride’s ‘Nowhere’ album meets Sonic Youth’s ‘Kool Thing’. Also a constant 3 note repetitive bass line that more than works. Lyrics “It tastes so real, I lost myself today” striding as both vocals blend dynamically. The drums play the same beat throughout. This wouldn’t sound out of place on My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Isn’t Anything’ album. A structured fuzz of dirge racket getting louder and louder! And when it finally calms down, the bass punches through harder than Evander Holyfield back in his heyday. An absolute mammoth of a tune.

Gavin Tate

 

Turbowolf - Nine Lives

Straight away from the opening guitar, I can tell this is going to be poor. More than unbearable, surely they must’ve listened back and thought “Wait a minute, this is shocking!” but no, unfortunately it carries on in to complete and utter bedlam. The only time there’s any fire is when the chorus comes with an almost ‘We Are Scientists’ feel but still nowhere near as good. The lyrics are beyond dreadful “I ain’t got nine lives” ..yeah, shut up! Straight in the bin.

Gavin Tate

 

The Hysterical Injury - Blood Burst EP

Have always loved The Hystericals.. by far one of Bristol’s best exports. “Under Milk Wood” is hypnotic, the bass and drums slowing down and speeding up with a quality that is akin to Stereolab and maybe even Death From Above 1979. I like how the vocal is clear as day with no effects or altering! It’s as if she was just singing live in rehearsal, something a lot of groups today hide with layers of reverb.. PISH !! “Blood on the Daisy” begins a constant beat of drum rolls, much tamer.. a subtle phaser runs through amazing vocal harmonies that leads to everything eventually beefing up to a phantasmical effect, amazing! From the opening bars of “Woken with a Warning” I’m reminded of Factory Floors ‘Lying’ except no synthesizers, just riff heavy with a climax on the chorus that could wake up a sleeping policeman (yes that bump in the road). Ends with “Ready to Burst” which is a bit more down tempo until midway through where everything flows elliptically, and followed by a manic scream solo which bursts in to a Jacuzzi owned by Sleater-Kinny. Fucking FAB!!!

Gavin Tate

 

Breeze - Post Youth EP

Hailing from Hull, the EP title track rolls in with a drum intro followed by chirpy guitar and bass lines that makes me think of The Von Bondies first album.. catchy and hook laden. Could imagine this being on a Sub-Pop compilation! “Lovestoned” begins with a Sonic Youth ‘Nurse’ era style guitar very distinctive, can’t think of what else it reminds me of. Will come to me when I least expect it! I love the bass in the break, drums playing the 16th pattern throughout and a Pixies quality excels at some points. Vocals sound a bit like Pavement singer Stephen Malkmus, I love this track. “Goodbye, So Long” hears main man Aron banging on about guns and knives and then a sudden burst of Dirty Boots solo style guitar! They have mastered the grunge revival meets stoner rock to a tee !! I look forward to hearing more from them.

Gavin Tate

 

The Cribs - Burning For No One

Begins with a Johnny Marr sounding guitar stab but nowhere near as good. Like a bad tribute band attempting ‘Barbarism Begins At Home’. There’s no punch whatsoever like on their early material and they sound more exhausted than a knackered exhaust pipe! The drummer must’ve fallen asleep midway through cos he’s barely able to keep up. I can’t relate to the lyrics at all, they just sound uninspired.. well Cribby’s, you’ve certainly burned for me on this one as it’s going straight in the bin. B-side “I See Your Pictures Every Day”.. this is much better than the A-side bin track, but still nothing to get excited about! What happened to the bounciness like on “Hey Scenesters”?? Long gone along with your ability to write good songs.

Gavin Tate

 

Lightning Bolt - The Metal East

Still to this day the loudest band I’ve seen live as well as Sonic Youth. LB’s latest offering “The Metal East” is a manic claustrophobic monster of a racket. The ripping noise sounds like a constant loop of menacing chaos !! The vocal sounds like it’s being hurled through a megaphone of death. Flat out drumming with Lot’s of off beat timings and the bass howling with feedback. Put it this way, it wouldn’t go down too well at the family dinner table. If I could compare it to anyone.. it would have to be The Melvins, but even they would seem tame next to this. I love the climb towards the end, amazing!!!

Gavin Tate

 

Crocodiles - Crybaby Demon

I’ve always loved the distinctive surfy wave of noise filled melodies that gets catapulted across the room when I listen to this band. “Crybaby Demon” does not disappoint. A constant flow of feedback rich guitars that makes me think of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘Stoned and Dethroned’ album, also the infamous Davey Brothers. Chorus lyrics.. She gets so high, striding over a psychedelic surf funk laden of catchy organ laced garage punk beauty. I’m totally blown away by this track! B-side “U Sexy Thing” is a calmer voyage. I wasn’t expecting a cover of the Hot Chocolate parody as it sounded nothing like it until the vocal rolled in. I love the sounds of metal bins being thrown about throughout.. top marks for making it their own.

Gavin Tate

 

Hazy Fiction - 2 Track Demo

From hearing the opening bars of “Soul Mates”, I’m already reminded of the long finished London post-punk force that was Twisted Charm being Nathan of Hazy Fiction’s former band. But Hazy has more of a pop feel to it. Almost a French vibe and much akin to “This Is The Day” by The The. Lyrically.. this song basically sums up the eternal romance of a couple as the title indicates, but there is a slight sadness to his voice. I love the Lo-Fi feel !! Next up “Sacred Line”. The vocal follows the guitar immensely making it very catchy and reminiscent of the ever great Scritti Politti. Much darker lyrics on this track.. the bass breaks through mid song and his voice flows marvelously till the end, and more prominent than a fat kid at an ice cream van.

Gavin Tate

 

Barringtone - Feverhead/Foxes & Brimstone

I’ve been looking forward to Barringtone’s new release for a while. They take time between each single (I’m no one to talk). There’s something post modern and futuristic about double A-side header “Feverhead”. The progression reminds me of The Alan Parsons Project.. also, Mike Oldfield known for his spectacular work that is ‘Tubular Bells’. This is much calmer than previous single “Snake In The Grass” which was a frantic monster of a song. Next up.. “Foxes & Brimstone”, I’m blown away by everything going on here. The guitar jangly and spiraling yet stabby at times.. synthesizers minimal but still effective. The rhythm section tighter than a posho at a cocktail bar. His voice has always reminded me of Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, well not far off! The classic changes throughout that only this group and probably The Mars Volta or An Albatross could pull off nowadays. I’m left feeling exhausted after listening to this.. outstanding!!!

Gavin Tate

 

Spoilers - 3 Songs Tape

I know from the first few seconds in that I’m going to like this. “I’m Awake” by the Bedford quartet is reminiscent of Mudhoney’s Superfuzz, Bigmuff meets Swervedriver. Great breakdowns, especially like the high pitched tremor guitars in the chorus. “It Would Be Nice” ..love the opening riff! I’m reminded of The Datsuns ‘Like a Mother Fucker From Hell’. Tribal like marching drums.. I’m all over this, would definitely play it in a DJ set. Rapid and none stop! Prefect for this style of music. And finally “Trash Poisons” ..this is the heaviest track so far, it’s menacing.. like the batman theme from the 60’s gone wrong in the bridge. Rumbling bass lines backed up by dirgy guitars, the outro is epic. I look forward to seeing them live.

Gavin Tate

 

Dark Stares – Soul Contract

The languid delta blues of opener ‘Liquid Reign’ seem an odd choice to start this EP but just serve as the calm before the storm of ‘Hypnotize’ which does more than a passable impersonation of a very good Queens of the Stoneage track. US spelling, US influences – whereabouts stateside are Dark Stares from? St Albans you say? OK, well that’s a bit of a surprise. But there’s no denying the distorted slide guitar of Hypnotize’ sounds great and the big fuzzed up bluescapes of ‘Animal’ are equally impressive.

We finish with another ode to QUOSA via cruise control. Let’s not dress this up – it’s a bit derivative. But again, it’s done really well and I’m definitely convinced that Dark Stares have a few more tricks up their sleeve to come. 7/10
http://www.darkstares.com/

SB

 

Dolce – Inez Palema

From their photo, Dolce’s Anna Levander and Leopold Nilssen look like they could do with some cheering up. All those long, dark, cold winter nights no doubt. But until they do get over their seasonal affected disorder, I’m quite happy for them to keep recording pretty yet haunting tracks like this one. 7/10

SB

 

Idlewild – Come on Ghost

What a change of pace from ‘Collect Yourself’ this turns out to be. Sounding a bit like a mash up of Sergeant Pepper’s, Aladdin Sane and the Wurzels, there is a complexity at work here which is so far away from those early Idlewild punk tracks that you would think it is a completely different band. Everyone else is saying that ‘Everything Ever Written’ could be their best album yet and I’m not sure I can argue with that. 8/10
http://www.idlewild.co.uk/

SB

 

Idlewild – Collect Yourself

Being the laggards that we are (or more accurately, that I am) this one is a little bit late. But coming as a the first release from Idlewild’s from the long awaited new album ‘Everything Ever Written’ we thought it was noteworthy enough to document. And noteworthy it is as Idlewild seem to have taken a Franz Ferdinand pill and then injected themselves with a meaty shot of Simple Minds. Lazy Caledonian comparisons perhaps but musically valid also. And I for one love it – great choppy guitar lines and a pop sensibility combined in a perectly restrained way. Welcome back. 8/10
http://www.idlewild.co.uk/

SB

 

Shield Patterns – Silver (Gizeh)

There are some people who go through life completely risk averse, never trying anything which may make them feel uncomfortable or challenged in any way. There are people who also do that with their music – flick on Radio 1 on the way to work and that will be the sum of their cultural immersion to new talent. These folks are unlikely to like Shield Patterns and they won’t have ‘Silver’ queued up no their iPod shuffle for the gym. ‘Silver’ proves that music does not have to be singalong, catchy, throwaway. It can be dark, unsettling, uncompromising yet still lovable. 8/10
http://www.shieldpatterns.bandcamp.com/

SB