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tasty 17 - singles reviews


  - Goldrush
- My Vitriol
- Antihero
- Jack Drag
- Neil Halstead
- Hundred Reasons
- Gerling
- Schwab
- Sadie and the Scrubbers
- Gold Blade
- Seafood/Jet Plane Landing
- The D4
- The Windmills
- Ben Christophers
- The Liberty Ship
- Pipas
- Mogul/Circa 1983
- The Reverse
- The Bellrays
- Biffy Clyro
- The Butterflies of Love
- Coldplay
- Dirty Vegas
- Pet Shop Boys
- Miss Black America
- Tears in X-Ray Eyes
- Elston Majeska
- The Dawn Parade

 

Goldrush - Same Picture (Virgin)
Kinda cute and kinda nauseating in equal parts, a bit like Kylie. Goldrush make the sort of polite strummed pop that made Travis such an unnecessary evil, but add a touch of C&W dribble in there at the same time. So, a country and western Travis. I do them no favours do I? Nice, if completely unworthy of removing any earwax for. I’m trying to be nice.


My Vitriol - Moodswings (Infectious)
Whereas Goldrush are ineffectual in the gently strummed version of pop music, My Vitriol take the Smashing Pumpkins blueprint and reduce it of any ire or controversy whatsoever. Sounds like Marc Bolan fronting Status Quo. Bastardly bad.


 

 

Antihero - Rolling Stones T-shirt (Integrity Records)
Straight outta detention, antihero have picked an apt name for their little punky band. I hate to say it (or do I?), but this leaves me completely cold. I can imagine a little behind the times Green Day fan tapping his Vans to it (over to you, younger brother), but for someone as ancient as me, there’s nothing here to cause even the faintest trouser stir. Not that that’s what they would have wanted I shouldn’t think, but you know what I mean....


 

Jack Drag - Smile on Fire ep (Shifty Disco)
Thank god, then, for Jack Drag, who have achieved the enviable feat of releasing a single akin to a psychedelic version of the
Sesame Street theme tune. Yep, that good. Like labelmates Beulah, Jack Drag can be relied on to make some of the finest frazzled psych-pop around. ‘Smile on Fire’ is a true summer hit, look out for it skipping through a cornfield in a Laura Ashley frock.


 

Neil Halstead - Seasons  (4AD)
Excellent, if slight, remix of the excellent album track. Halstead was accused in some quarters for lacking passion on his last album. That’s to miss the point. Anyone who has followed his career will know that Halstead has made some of the most subtle, beautiful music of the last ten years, be it with Slowdive, Mojave 3, and now on his lonesome. Five tracks here, every one a fucking gem.


 

Hundred Reasons - Silver (Columbia)
For some reason, and it’s against my better nature of course, I’ll always been quite impressed by this little lot. At least they don’t try and be clever. You’ll have heard it all before of course, but in a way they remind me of being 17 again and trying hard not to like Senseless Things records. ‘Silver’ is basically the Senseless Things for a different generation, and for that I have to love it, just don’t tell anyone....


 

Gerling - Dust Me Selecta (Mushroom)
Never ones to not leave you mystified, ‘Dust Me Selecta’ sees Gerling move squarely into the House arena with the sort of track you’d find the lovely Sophie Ellis-Bextor warbling over these days. A bit too much for me this, as I haven’t got my lippy on, but full marks for continuing chameleon like in the pop world.


 

Schwab - Little Beats (Star Harbour)
Star Harbour has not been renowned for its love of garage blues so far, but that changes with this release from Schwab, which is basically an utter rip-off of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Nothing really wrong with that, as I’d rather listen to a karaoke version of JSBE than the fucking Vines or White Stripes. However, there are influences fully on display and there is theft...mmm...


Sadie and the Scrubbers - Positive (Dead Sister)
Wooahh...take me home daddy! Proper underground punk rawwkk musiiiccc....not quite of the ‘77 variety, but reminding me a lot of the underground punk rock prevalent in the mid to late ‘80s that used to played a lot on John Peel’s show. With it’s next to nothing production values and echoed vocals, this is possibly the biggest anathema to what’s being bandied around as ‘alternative’ music I’ve heard in a long time.

See www.missingimages.com/thescrubbers/nav.html


 

Gold Blade - ac/dc (Twenty Stone Blatt)
And much in the same vein come the wonderfully riotous Gold Blade. ‘ac/dc’ is as adrenaline-fuelled as ever, with John Robb still one of the
UK’s best frontmen. Still polemicising from the front, The Blade have never been backward in coming forward, and ‘ac/dc’ is another huge step in the right direction. Breathe it in ladies....


Seafood/Jetplane Landing - Pleasurehead/When the Argument Has Changed (Infectious)
Seafood remain one of the most underrated guitar groups of their ilk, and nothing here is gonna change my mind. ‘Pleasurhead’ is something of an introspective slow-burner, like Sonic Youth at their most transparent, and - yikes! - it’s a lurvve song methinks...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Jetplane Landing turn up the amplifier marked ‘angular rock’ with a pleasing performance of ‘When the Argument Ends’, which reminds this listener a little of the long lost, and immensely wonderful, Scarce. Two bands, four tracks, one lovely little package.


The D4 - Party (Flying Nun)
And you’re more likely to see a flying nun, than a good review of this poor little effort, made by boys who obviously masturbated too much when they were 14.


The Windmills - Walking Around the World ep (Matinee)
For sheer melancholic pop, it’s hard to beat The Windmills at the moment. Whereas the fucking D4 are probably still squashing their spots on a daily basis, these four tykes from
Southend-on-Sea have been through the wringer. And thank god for that old washing implement, because, otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to make songs so heartbreakingly gorgeous as ‘What Was it For?’, with Roy Thirwall crooning, ‘I’ve tried a thousand times, I’ll try a thousand more...what was it for?’....Over at track 2 ‘Amelia’ is a soft slow shoe shuffle of a song, with Thirwell warning against false hope over Marr-esque guitar pickings...whilst third track, ‘Walking Around the World’ fades in before bristling with trademark Windmills jangling guitars. There’s so much space in these songs, so much to travel through, so much to find out, that resistance is utterly futile. The fact that The Windmills can stick ‘Walking Round the World’ in as a third track shows just how many fantastic songs this band has. In a time when others seem to replicate half a decent song over and over again, crush The Windmills to your heaving chest, they deserve to be smothered.


Ben Christophers - Transatlantic Shooting Stars (V2)
Regular tastyites will know that I wasn’t exactly taken with Mr C’s latest album, but this little gem is much better. Like a hotch-potch of ELO and Jack Drag, Ben doodles his way through a psychedelic pop tune that manages to be the perfect dessert to  the Windmill’s main course. Have a nibble.


The Liberty Ship - I Guess You Didn’t See Her (Matinee)
From
Nottingham no less, The Liberty Ship make the sort of gently strummed, gliding pop that delights these ears. Reminds me a little of Lloyd Cole, but I’m probably wrong, these boys and girls are far to clever for twee yet cute enough to make ‘I Guess You Didn’t See Her’ one of the essential purchases of your pop-drenched summer.


Pipas - Troublesome (Matinee)
Pipas on the other hand, go straight for the pop jugular with ‘ba-ba-ba-baa’s aplenty. Imagine a cross between Atomic Kitten and Stereolab and Pipas emerge, not probably not screaming and kicking - they’re far too sweet for that, but making a right old fuss all the same. A dream in sound.


Mogul/Circa 1983 - Subway Sex/So Easy (Sorted)
The wonderful world of
Leicester’s Sorted Records continues with the latest in a series of cracking split singles.

Mogul hit the ground running with a sleazy run through ‘Subway Sex’ which starts like the Sex Pistols but threatens to turn into T-Rex.

Circa 1983, on the other hand, are your typical Sorted band, and sound mysteriously like 90s Leicester legends, Kooky Monster, in their rumbling, inept, and quite smashing garage pop way. Fun all round then. Should the mood take you, and I know it often does, this delightful little package is available from Sorted Records at £2.25.

Send money and stuff to Po Box 5922, Leicester Le1 6XU.


Reverse - Join the Queue (demo)
When Reverse can knock out demos as classy as this it’s a wonder why it’s a demo in the first place. Okay, so not all four tracks are up in there in the clouds, but for ‘Join the Queue’ alone, they should be snapped up pronto. Said song looks towards the more guitar-based New Order tracks and sounds like those other excellent New Order soundalikes, Baptiste.

‘Blood on the Tape Machine’ is a better produced Velvet Undergound, whilst ‘Exit Stage Left’ is a suffocating amble, with breathy vocals.

For more information see www.thereverse.co.uk


The Bellrays - They Glued Your Head on Upside Down (Poptones)
Bonus points for the title, but they really do sound like a slightly less refined AC/DC....or that bloke who sings for AC/DC playing with the Sex Pistols. Hang on, they’ll probably take that as a compliment. They sound like Johnny Hates Jazz...there...that’s better...


Biffy Clyro - Joy. Discovery. Invention (Beggars Banquet)
Of course whilst the ‘sussed’ new bands are trying to sound like a weird mutation of Dinosaur Jr and The Ramones, Biffy Clyro still worship at the altar marked Nirvana. It’s maybe not as obvious as it used to be, in fact much of this single sounds a bit-prog rock, but then...hang on...what’s that...yep, the inevitable grunge guitars. Move on, please, nothing to see here....


The Butterflies of Love - Dream Driver (Fortuna Pop!)
Having not been totally enamoured with BOL in the last issue of tasty, it with great pleasure and a little smile that I tell about the general greatness of ‘Dream Driver’. This song glides rather than jumps, or indeed, walks, and reminds me of some of REM’s mellower, early moments. Peter Whitney’s voice remains as precious as ever and almost reaches out to take your hand...if that’s anatomically possible, which is isn’t...but I think you know what I mean. Just wallow in this glorious song anyway.....


Coldplay - In My Place (Parlophone)
I’m not being funny or anything, but this is as dull as it gets. I guess it’s supposed to be heartfelt and measured and tender and all those other things that Coldplay think they are. Instead it‘s whining piece of plodding melacholia, that seemingly doesn’t have a chorus. And you know how much tasty likes its choruses....


Dirty Vegas - Ghosts (Credence)
Super stuff - like a poptastic Air, Dirty Vegas groove through a gliding electro tune which is just retro enough to include all of Air’s early 80s electro influences with a degree if futurism that makes me want to wrap myself in bacofoil and float around the living room like Jane Fonda in Barbarella. Frankly, I haven’t got the legs....


Pet Shop Boys - I Get Along (Parlophone)
PSB in glam  stomp shocker! Well, nearly. This is a more bowieesque ballad with the odd bit of hazy psychedelia thrown in for good measure. If you can rely on one thing from the Pet Shop Boys, it’s that you can never rely on them to release predictable singles. This might not be the greatest song they’ve ever written, but Coldplay could learn a lesson or two in subtlety from them. Long may they reign.


Miss Black America - Miss Black America (Integrity)
Constantly trundling hither and thither playing their early-Manics pastiches, you’d have thought MBA would’ve got the message by now. I mean how many times can a person play to a half empty Northampton Roadmenders before he simply breaks down and starts crying.

‘Miss Black America’ tries to be angry and is possibly a ‘live favourite’, but my word, does it leave me cold. See you down the back.


Tears in X-Ray Eyes - My Strange Love (Test Tube Records)
My admiration for Tim Closs and his close associates knows no bounds, and if it were possible, this beautiful ep is an improvement on last year’s album.

‘My Strange Love’ ep contains four more spine-tingling hymns - the best of which, ‘Who’s Gonna Hurt You Now’ sounds like Brett Anderson fronting Spiritualized. My word this is very, very, very good.


Elston Majeska -  The Beautiful Girl That Left Home ep (Star Harbour)
Of Polish origin, and it has to be said that lead track, ‘Piano Time’ has a certain eastern European mystique to it. The song sounds like you’re listening to it wrapped in cotton wool...on a foggy day, lovely. However, second track ‘The List’ is a horrible funky Stereo MCs dirge. ‘Sending Waves to Manhattan’ is a likeable enough little lullaby - tasty waits for Mejeska’s next  moves with interest.


The Dawn Parade - Electric Fence Your Greatness ep (R*E*P*E*A*T/ Sugartown)
Not quite as instant as their last ep, which was headed up by the very impressive ‘Good Luck Olivia’, still - The Dawn Parade do have a certain something about their classic rock/pop songs that it’s hard to hate. It’s just such a shame that the song titles on this ep are so cliched ‘The Hole in My Heart’ and ‘Hailstone Lullabies’, in particular reek of sixth poetry. Still, I’d rather listen to this lot that bloody Miss Black America.