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  singles - tasty 22
  - Astropop 3
- Ambitious Beggars
- Movielife
- Read Yellow
- Spearmint
- Ella Guru
- Hoboken

-
Engerica
-
Athlete

-
Tahiti 80
-
Surferosa

- The Frenchmen
- My Teenage Stride

- The Snowdrops
-
The Young Tradition

- The Wildhearts
- Bearsuit

- Primal Scream (feat. Kate Moss)
-
The Pines

-
Mogul
-
Sundown


The Pines - True Love Waits Volume 2 (Matinee)
Featuring the folk-core voice of Pam Berry, The Pines' latest ep makes for joyful listening, even if it is a bit topsy-turvy. The first two tracks 'Ungrammatical' and 'Anita O'Day' are very much your standard Pines fayre, with Berry's voice to the fore. It's till you get to the brilliant nursery rhyme that is 'Marie Claire' that this record really hits its stride. Berry and her co-conspirator Joe Brooker come up with some killer vocals, that bring to mind Belle and Sebastian at their whimsical best. As does one of the finest long songs of the last few years 'The Rest' - a laid back skiffle jaunt that pushes through the 8 minute mark without ever becoming dull. Most lovely.

 
Ambitious Beggars - Parallel Universe ep (Firestation Tower Records)
Mmm...the kind of worthy indie that makes me feel a bit queasy. This chunky ep's saving grace is the swooping 'Comet People' which comes on strong at just the right time. Overall though, I can't help but feel that Ambitious Beggars worship at the altar of the La's. And I just can't be doing with that sort of thing.

 
The Movielife - Jamestown (Drive Thru/Eat Sleep)
The sort of horrid crossover between punk and metal, that, as far as I'm concerned should be banned. This is, apparently, Movielife's last single, as they're splitting up. Maybe they realised they were crap after all.

Read Yellow - Read Yellow ep (Fenway)
Four tracks of massive guitars, screaming vocals and, undoubtedly, big hair - Read Yellow are undoubtedly now. Fans of the equally as frightening Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster will love this ep. Myself, well, it's Friday morning - a weekend of relaxation awaits - the likes of the wired 'Fashion Fatale' and 'Static' aren't making my slippers ease on any quicker or lighting my pipe any faster. But then again, I think that's the point. One for the noise junkies in the audience.

 
Spearmint - Left Alone Among the Living (hitBack)
Ahh, welcome back Spearmint. Welcome back from a two year gap when you...well, you went a bit shit I'm sorry to say. Any song that rips off 'Sweeping the Nation' is fine by me, and, to be honest, Spearmint rip their own song better than most. 'Left Alone...' doesn't quite hit the heights of their masterpiece but echos the almost perverse tragi-comedy of much of the 'A Week Away' album. Meanwhile, 'Death of a Scene' echoes mid-period Morrissey, with it's 'We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful' ethos, and, indeed sound. Lastly, 'Uninvolved' takes you back a couple of decades using retro synths. Good to have them back.

 
Ella Guru - 3 Songs from Liverpool (Banana)
In truth, these songs sound about as far away from Liverpool as it's possible to get. Not to say that's a bad thing - this is a pretty impressive debut, that sees Ella Guru gather up their chaps and drink their milk and get off their horses...or something...it's sort of, y'know...alt.country. Having been to Liverpool a few times I don't remember many cowboys and indians. Then again, at least they're not The Farm.

 
Hoboken - Hotel Lisboa (Royal Jelly Records)
If this isn't Babybird in disguise then I am Mother Teresa. Which is good news because I suit one of those big, all-in-one shawl things she used to go about in, but that's another story. Think Hefner's electronic turn and mix it with - some more - early 80s noises and you have 'Hotel Lisboa'. 'Safe' is even more futuristic in a 1981 Mute Records way. If that butters your toast, cool. But it's a bit too cool for me...

Engerica - Trick or Treat? (Wrath)
You know what to expect from Engerica, but this is a little more interesting than usual. Instead of trying to sound like a terrible sixth form grunge band, 'Trick or Treat?' stops and starts and is generally quite good. Think Ikara Colt at their angular best. Down this road lies excellent, now do please keep it up.

Athlete - You Got the Style (Parlophone)
Oh why don't Athlete just call their songs 'Umm'...or 'Maybe'...or 'Yeah, We Could Do, I'm Not Fussed'. This is so inconsequential and dull that you have to wonder if the people making this music actually like it, never mind about those who are gonna buy it. Deary me.

The Frenchmen - Powdered Blue (Shelflife)
The French, The Free French, and now the Frenchmen - has the world of indie-pop turned totally Gallic or what?! Anyway, it's good to note that all three bands make a wonderful sound, and are totally different, oh yes. The Frenchmen make the sort of 'Kennedy'-era pop thrash that the Wedding Present were so joyously good at. But with the odd female vocal thrown in for good measure. Lovely, warm pop music.

My Teenage Stride - I'm Sorry (Becalmed Records)
My Teenage Stride come across on this charming five track single, as the sort of anti-Tindersticks. Where as Staples and co (isn't that an envelope shop?) often fear the worst in their lyrics, My Teenage Stride know they've buggered up, but lace it with a ramshackle 60s bubblegum pop sound. Whilst 'I'm Sorry' could be Pavement playing the hits of Cliff Richard, 'Everyone's to Blame' recalls the finer points of early Hefner. All round, a rather special piece of black plastic.

The Snowdrops - Mad World (Matinee)
What is it with this song that makes everyone want to cover it. Maybe it was Orzabel's nasal whine that makes it prime for a conversion to the sort of twee glacial splendour that the excellent Snowdrops sprinkle on it. This version is hardly far removed from the original, and, if anything, sounds like it's been covered by some kind of new wave, early 80s synth band...possibly even before Tears for ruddy Fears were around. Meanwhile, on planet b-side is the anti-consumerist call to arms that is 'Don't Buy Anything', which is quite the most beautiful lullaby you'll ever hear, and makes me want to go back to bed with a good book, to be quite honest. Good, then.
 

Astropop 3 - Anything (Planting Seeds Records)
Apart from Don Villanueva sounding like he's got a big blocked nose ("return ticket to dottingham please" - who remembers that?), this is a lovely little single, with almost Marrsian guitar. He sounds very sad, does our Don, but never mind, I'm sure he's alright really, although this ode to a lost love is a bit weepy. Fetch him a puppy or something - that should do the trick.

 


The Young Tradition - California Morning (Matinee)
The Young Tradition are Brent Kenji of the Guild League and some Swedish sort called Erik Hanspers....and they've never met. Which makes this massively enjoyable single even more remarkable. It's such a shame that the English winter is upon us, because, if I listen to this one more time and I might have to put on my water wings and jump in next doors paddling pool, such is its summery vibe. The title track starts off like The Byrds version of 'Mr Tambourine Man', and doesn't let up on the west coast feel, whilst 'All Up to Me' could easily be Donovan at his hippy drippy best. Final track, 'Isolation' is far more downbeat - thank god, all this happiness isn't good for you - and takes a more introspective route....there's a still a sneaky farfisa in the background, mind. Cracking grown-up pop.

The Wildhearts - Top of the World (Gut)
Now is as good a time for the Wildhearts to have another stab at it all, what with the D*rkness making spandex fashionable again. This isn't at all bad, actually...did I just say that? I did! It reminds me of one of those songs that they used to use in 80s American teen flicks, and they always give me a sense of well being. So, if the Wildhearts'll have me, I'll endorse this single....
 

Bearsuit - Itsuko Got Married/Rodent Disco (Bearslut)
Quite simply, an awesome single, even if it has got a bloody recorder in it. 'Itsuko..' is the sound of a spastic orchestra...playing at the wrong speed....and conducted by Stephen Hawkins. There - is that offensive enough? And it's also so flippin' catchy that it'll rattle round your head for years. Which is nothing on 'Rodent Disco', which comes on like a car boot Stereolab, and has an excellent shouty call to arms in the middle of it. Pop at it's finest.

Primal Scream featuring Kate Moss - Some Velvet Morning (Sony)
It seems so long ago that the latest Primal Scream single was something to write in your diary about, and this cover of the Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood hit can hardly hold a flame to long ago glories. It's okay, but that's about all I can say about it. Is Gillespie really happy putting out such mediocre records? And does this sound like I'm insanely jealous about him being able to hang out with Kate Moss? It does....well... SO WHAT?!

Tahiti 80 - 1,000 Times (Atmospheriques)
If Sophie Ellis Bextor was singing this, it'd go to number one. As it is, it's a load of burly French blokes, so it won't. Which is a shame, because it's damn near perfect pop music, replete with synth strings and whispered vocals about love and girls and stuff, and possibly the best swoonsome chorus this year. So, if Tahiti fancy decking themselves out in Top Shop vintage gear, they're bound to be huge. There; never say I don't try and help.


Surferosa - Neon Commando (SV_ENG)
It's hard to put into words just how bad this is. Not only have they nicked the name of one of the best albums ever (and dropped an 'r' - I ask you!), but they seem to think that Republica are still somehow new and vital. They are not and this is very shit indeed.


Sundown - Rewind (Fortune and Glory)
Another single that takes me back about ten years. Sundown are from Birmingham, if that's at all important and make the sort of anthemic pop that would probably go down a storm in a student union kind of way, but in the real world went out of fashion along with Kingmaker. No as bad as Surferosa, but not in any way good at all.


Mogul - Play Away (Wretched Recordings)
Is it 2003 isn't it? And not 1994? Mogul aren't that bad actually, in an early Radiohead kind of way. So, if you're a doom laden, woe-is-me, kind of person, then Mogul will butter your toast. Especially 'Play Away', which has a very nice guitar part in it indeed. Look, muso talk in tasty...great, eh?