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singles - april 2006



Thee More Shallows – ‘Monkey Vs Shark’ (Monotreme) 

There are few things that get me as excited as receiving a new release from Thee More Shallows. Free pornography and really good sandwiches possibly but that’s about it. For those not familiar with the band they play complex and beguiling pop music that can be sweet, dark and utterly engulfing all at the same time all complemented by David Kelser’s dry wit and observations. They play music that gets under your skin like a beautiful musical parasite that you are happy to leave to feed on your flesh. ‘Monkey Vs Shark’ shows this to full effect as it opens with the track of the same name that is charming and simplistic in style before descending into an instrumental hypnotic drone. ‘Dutch Slaver’ with its odd rhythms and bizarre robotic second vocal is haunting and dark whilst the excellent cover of ‘I Can’t Get Next To You’ is sparse and near perfect. The EP ends with a remix of ‘Freshman Thesis’ off their last full length ‘More Deep Cuts’ by Odd Nosdam with Why?, which proves to be a sympathetic and complementary offering indeed.

The EP represents 20 minutes of pure audio pleasure and as ever Thee More Shallows remind you they are simply one of the finest bands out there at the moment. The real question then is, why the hell aren’t these guys huge?

LD


 

The Spheres - Phoenix Soul/Be My Baby

Brit funk? Nu old-soul? Dirty funk? No thanks. You can listen on the bands web site if loike though:
www.thespheres.co.uk
www.myspace.com/thespheresband

SB


 

Be your own PET – ‘Adventure’ (XL)

God this is annoying, grunge-tinged indie rock. It worryingly sounds like a cross between Hole and Placebo. I might have liked this when I was thirteen. According to the press release be your own PET are all teenagers, which makes this marginally more acceptable. But not any more listenable. Very poor.  

Michael Pearson


 

Thumpermonkey - Not the Motorcycle Diaries

Dubious name but a pretty good track. Light and dark in equal measure. Glam rock tendencies suddenly ripped out and hammered under gut wrenching chugging guitar sounding like Tool. No obvious song structure, just series of codas, bridges, outros etc in no particular order. Intriguing and frustrating in equal measure.

SB


 

Celebration –‘War’ (4AD) 

Produced by TV on the Radio’s David Sitek, ‘War’ starts off very well indeed. Catchy, lurching organ tracks combined with spasmodic drums. Initially very promising. The problem is that “War’ doesn’t really do a great deal with this formula. It just meanders aimlessly, lacking the punch that music of this ilk requires. Great sound, but this track isn’t particularly strong. The other track on this single ‘Run Away’, is a more sombre affair, reminiscent of the Black Heart Procession, and is considerably more interesting, albeit a touch too long. However this opinion is probably just a manifestation of my penchant for extremely miserable music, and as such should probably be ignored. Either way this release has made be want to seek out more of Celebration’s work, as this release shows a great deal of potential. 

Michael Pearson


 

Selotape - Injection (Absorb)

The promise of four keyboards plus guitars fails to deliver anything very memorable here. There are some feint phasing loops with the odd keyboard melody but mainly this track consists of pretty mediocre indie guitar strumming and anonymous vocals. Pedestrian and unimaginative.
www.selotape.co.uk

SB


Cat Power -The Greatest 

So cat power wanted to be the greatest, that’s what she says any way. Although considering the lyrics to her b-side this went sour at some point.

A-side “the greatest” is soaked with gentle string and piano backing that make my bum hole flitter like a butterfly, it’s so nice.  

“The Greatest” belongs to the class of chord sequences that no band or solo artist can go too far wrong with, but when done properly deliver heart breaking or mind blowing results and this is what cat power has managed too with this. Universally used chord pattern made individually and originally perfect. Well done

B-side “Hate” just emphasises Cat Powers ability without perfectly intoned backing. An interesting and sparse account of what kind of happened to Kurt Cobain for example. 

Pete Williams


 

Seventythree - Mad Professor (Bunker UK)

'Lysergic, lolloping dance grooves' - what a great description from the press release. Not a foogiest what the hell it means though. I guess it means 'trippy' seeing as lysergic acid is the crystalline compound prepared from natural ergot alkaloids in order to produce LSD. Interested in this little chemistry lesson? Believe me, it's possibly more entertaining than listening to Seventythree try and be Jamiroquoi.

SB


 

Cannonball Jane – Take it to the Fantastic (Fortuna Pop!)

The new star of Fortuna Pop! is Cannonball Jane, and is this doesn’t chart then I want to know why. Insanely catchy, ‘Take it to Fantastic’ sounds like the theme tune to the best Bond movie never made, and is backed by the sugar sweet sample-pop of ‘Slumber Party’ from the recent album ‘Street Vernacular’. If Fortuna Pop! don’t hit paydirt with Cannonball Jane then my name’s Nora. And it’s not. So they better do.

SM


 

They Drove Me To It - Save Me Sinner/Bulletproof (Positive Impact)

They Drove Me to It sound like a band who could really make a decent fist of things in time. There is a waft of Throwing Muses about them (though the vocals lack a Hersh-esque passion) and some of the guitar-bass juxtapositions are really interesting. But their is also a lingering aftertaste of pub rock and until this is eradicated TDMTI will just be another one of hundreds of pop-rock wannabes mithering the charts.
www.theydrovemetoit.co.uk

SB


 

Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory – ‘Memory/Broaden a New Sound’ (Earsugar Jukebox) 

One of the ongoing Earsugar Jukebox 7” series, this double A side single features Nobody and those hazy Americana boys Mystic Chords of Memory and as you’d expect both tracks are sweet and ever so slightly psychedelic slices of summer that will help to beckon the warmer weather into our lives. A promising sign for the album both are taken from then.

LD


Franz Ferdinand - The Fallen (Domino)

The shame. I still haven't listened to 'You Could Have it So Much Better' but this single certainly takes me one step closer to buying it. All the usual Franz Ferdinand elements are in place plus a rather groovy duelling guitar thingy going on in the background. There's also a Justice remix of the track which, although not being to everyone's liking, is certainly better than getting the usual radio edit, album edit and instrumental.

I may be incredibly untrendy for liking Franz Ferdinand (they are sooo 2004) but if they keep knocking out tunes like this then I just don't care about the teasing.
www.franzferdinand.co.uk

SB


 

Hauschka – ‘What a Day / Femme Assise (Earsugar Jukebox) 

More joy from the Earsugar Jukebox 7” series, this time courtesy of Hauschka. Those of you who took heed and purchased copies of his beautiful album ‘The Prepared Piano’ will know what to expect from this release. Simple meticulous melodies, hints of percussion and a big, old bag of love are the order of the day all on another lovely slice of vinyl. God bless you Earsugar and your 45 rpm treats!

LD


Black Ramps - Saucer Crash/Speak and Destroy/Rampenstein (Straight to Tape)

I like Black Ramps. Not only do they like to ham up fake Germanic-souding names but they also resist the almost impossibly tempting option of adding 'The' to their moniker. They are also a very fine band in a raw garage rock way. 'Speak and Destroy' laces a fantastically wasted bass line through slices and angular and scratchy guitar that sounds a fine line away from unravelling into a big old noisy mess but which somehow manages to stagger soberly to its conclusion.

'Rampenstein' is a good old swing your pants indie guitar yomp whereas 'Saucer Crash' really does demonstrate the Japanese monster movie soundtrack vibe that the band were looking for. Die schwarzenrampen? Unheimlich gut.
www.blackramps.com

SB


 

Static – ‘This Morning Without Waking’ (Earsugar Jukebox) 

Another in the Earsugar Jukebox 7” series this time from Hanno Leichtmann aka Static. Fans of Static will lap up the gentle pulsating rhythms and gentle loops of the title track and its slightly more pulsating B-side. I however find it all a little pleasant and not much else. Still I am a sucker for these little vinyl chaps and it would be wrong to leave a hole in the Earsugar 7” series now wouldn’t it?

LD


Clearlake - Neon (Domino)

Seeing as tasty fop Metcalf had always professed a penchant for Clearlake I had always assumed that I would hate them. Don't get me wrong, we're grate mates me and comrade Metcalf but it is a friendship based on a mutual loathing of each other's taste in music. But by God I like Clearlake. 'Good Clean Fun' was great and now 'Neon' concretes this band's place in my heart with some manic harmonica action and a driving guitar riff that might have been nabbed straight off 'Drivin' South' by The Stone Roses' and had all the twiddly bits hammered out of it. Great stuff.
See video (.wmv file)
 

SB


 

Khonnor – ‘Burning Place’ (Type) 

Collectible 7” series aye, don’t you just love them? Yeah of course you do. Well the Type imprint are kicking off one of their very own with Vermont’s Khonner. ‘Burning Place’ is a simple pop record with a gentle hip hop influenced beat that knows exactly how long to stick around for, whilst side B is a slightly more brooding tune with loops and hisses intertwining with Khonner's slow vocal musings but ends up feeling s little directionless. Maybe not the most groundbreaking or awe inspiring start to the series but not a bad one all the same.

Luke Drozd


 

The Budda Cakes - s/t ep (Apple Core)

Blimey. Ppening song 'Unnecessary' is certainly an assault on the sense. All full of big clattering drums and frantic yelps. There is plenty of variety with 'In My Arms' with it's minimal haunting double bass and hand claps coupled with ghostly singing but to be honest, despite all its quirkiness, this CD washed over me without making any kind of impression. Could be worse - I could hate it. But otherwise I'm finding it pretty difficult to say anything about it. Soz.
www.thebuddacakes.co.uk

SB


 

Dirty Three – Great Waves (Bella Union) 

What a band. What a truly magnificent band they are and have become over their career, and this is another, if slightly different example of their brilliance. All the components are in place, but here they are joined by the voice of Chan Marshall, better known as Cat Power. Stunning. 

Ron Beasley


Justice - Waters of Nazareth (Ed Banger/Because)

I have no more superlatives to add about this track that I didn't already use in the album review last month. The natural successors to Daft Punk? Perhaps. Effortlessly cool and funky music that will get you jerking your body round the dancefloor like you've been in a bath with a swarm of jelly fish? Definitely.
www.myspace.com/etjusticepourtous
 

SB


The Drones - Shark Fin Blues / You Really Don’t Care 

There is a lot to like about this but not much to love. Tight, well rehearsed and performed; it recalls some of the good moments of Thin Lizzy. This is going to appeal to a lot of people. The guitars have a pleasant crunch but are too stodgy, it goes but it never shifts. For me there is too much Rock and not enough Roll.  

In the end I’m left thinking yeah, it’s okay but I’m not going to buy the album. 

MJL


Psapp - Tricycle (Domino)

It sounds like half of this was made with a zither and a gazoo for melody and a number of pots and pans for percussion. Perhaps it was. It also sounds a bit like it was spawned in a year 7 music class with an over-zealous teacher keeping their unruly students in check with a few well times handclaps and one of those shaky things with the beads on (what the hell are they called?)

But for all of it's primitive sound, it is also rather intricate, well crafted and just kinda melodic. No pretence, no posturing, just very, very easy listening.
see video (.wvx file)
www.psapp.net

SB


 

Tunng – Woodcat (Full Time Hobby)

This is absolutely fantastic. It sounds like it was recorded in 1968, and is the most delightful contemporary folk music you’ll hear this year.

Imagine The Research playing Donovan songs. I could listen to this over and over again til it turned me into a massive crazy bastard. You’d be hard pressed to hear a better record this month, don’t listen to what the rest of our writers say.

Sam Metcalf


 

Milke - She Says (Fat!)

Bubbly Fluke-ish backing vibe with rent-a-voice vocals. All the radio 1 airplay I the world won't explain to me why this should be anything more successful than a million and one other tracks on early evening radio, let alone wade through 7 remixes. Baffling.

SB


 

Catherine Anne Davies – Long Year

Skirting around the London underground, Catherine Anne Davies makes the sort of music that scary capital walks home are made of. In the absence of anything decent from PJ Harvey over the past year, Davies fills the gap with ease. The title track of this beguiling ep is foreboding and claustrophobic, whilst ‘Bury Me’ is barely there. ‘Lonesome Hunter’ is possibly the best track here; it exits the speakers with a charm that is hard to deny, and, whilst being mournful, is just as huggable. ‘Better Luck finishes the ep on a distinctly wistful note. But downhearted I’m not after listening to this most wonderful set of songs.

SM


The Dresden Dolls - Sing (Roadrunner)

For all the press release hype about 'sonic smears of unclassifiable rock', 'Song' just seems like a typical piano driven ballad, remarkable in only its unremarkableness. Perhaps Amanda Palmer's distinct vocals could be put to some better use on a different project?
www.dresdendolls.com

SB


 

The Crimea – White Russian Galaxy (Warner Bros)

The Crimea’s singer sounds like he really, really needs a poo. And that’s a shame, because some of their music sounds a little like the much-missed Beulah. ‘White Russian Galaxy’ bops around all over the place, and has some rather delightful Waterboys-ish piano in the middle, as well as what sounds like a ukelele. Shame the singer’s constipated, then.

SM


 

Quartershade - Captain My Captain / Fragile (Yellownoise)

Two distinctly different tracks on this double-A single from the East Midlands' Quartershade, both rather good in different ways. 'Captain My Captain' has a rampant searing guitar chorus that has already burned itself onto the small part of my brain that is responsible for remembering tunes. Alternatively, 'Fragile' is a bit more prosaic and lets Quartershade's front man display his rather impressive vocal abilities. You get the feeling that Quartershade could slip easily into the stadium rock genre or just as easily position themselves firmly with a punkier demeanour. Keep your eyes on and your ears open.
www.myspace.com/quartershade

SB


Death Cab for Cutie – Crooked Teeth (Atlantic)

A quite passable song from DCFC, but one does have to wonder how long they can go on churning out the tweesome indie rock before turning into Fountains of Wayne.

‘Crooked Teeth’ chugs along at a decent enough pace, but it never really inspires you to play it again and again, like really great pop songs should. Nice, but totally forgettable.

SM


 

Roger - 'Kids and Thieves' (Mate)

Roger is actually a Finnish architect based in Manchester called Teemu Metsala who also happens to make rather catching euro pop electro. I bet he has a really fit girlfriend and a smart car too. On the plus side though, while all this bleeping and electronic tinkling is all very danceable and agreeable, it does sound like early 80s Duran Duran. Or Pet Shop Boys. Ha! Not so cool after all Mr Metsala!
www.rogerpeople.com

SB


 

Flies Are Spies from Hell – Demo EP

This Chichester-based quintet is quite satisfied to occupy the potentially treacherous middle-ground where post-rock and prog fornicate under a rose bush. Lots of twisting bass, intricate, interlocking guitars, quiet bits, loud bits…you get the picture. They also have a propensity for calling their tracks things like “Blood runs down my face as I scream with delight” and “You’re making me nervous, you’ve got to stop this”. Hmm, sounds like someone’s got a bit too much time on their hands. 

In all seriousness, they do what they do well. “People Not Here” and “Rows of Moving Cages” are quite nice, especially where the piano and guitar synchronise on the latter to produce a lovely winding melody evoking latter-era Mogwai. They also have the most sensible names. Is there a connection?  

Flies Are Spies… do a nice job of paying tribute to all the greats of instrumental post-rock and there’s no reason why a little bit of time and experience shouldn’t help them discover their own unique sound. Just give the comedy titles a rest in the meantime, eh lads?
www.myspace.com/fliesarespiesfromhell

www.fliesarespiesfromhell.co.uk

Will Columbine


 

Strange World - The Extended Play

Pretentious? Moi? Why go to the trouble of calling an EP 'The Extended Play'. As if the shockingly bad production wasn't enough, these four tracks sound like nothing much more than a circuit pub band. Which is a bit weird because the guitars are pretty good, the vocals are earnest enough without being pompous and the bass is, well, proficient. What is it? Ah! Songs! Yes, that would be good.

SB


 

Dead Man’s Root – Demo 

Sounding like a mixture of Alice in Chains and Screaming Trees, DMR’s description of their sound as “caveman rock” is a fairly accurate one. Their drummer even sounds as though he’s beating his toms with pieces of bone. There’s not much in the way of memorable tunes on this three-track CD but singer Ben de la Cour sports an impressive throaty growl and those tiresome guitar excesses we associate with metal are thankfully kept to a minimum. And finally, as if to prove just how un-evolved they are, all the songs titles are printed backwards. Nice touch. 
www.myspace.com/deadmansroot

Will Columbine


 

Alfie Kingston - I Will Wait/14 Days (Whimisical)

Oh yawn...another singer song writer who has fallen into bath full of keyboards and strings and come out smelling of soft rock/easy listening. I'm sure he's a nice chap but life's too short to be listening to this sort of stuff.
www.alfiekingston.com

SB


 

King Biscuit Time – Kwangchow 

Trading in the political bent of last year’s “C I AM 15” for something more personal, King Biscuit shows off his more optimistic side with a track that could quite easily have slotted into the third and final Beta Band album. The determined strumming and repeated refrain of “We are alive” are genuinely uplifting…the kind of thing devotees of Mason have come to know and love. It probably won’t convert many non-believers but then they probably aren’t reading this review so, frankly, who gives a toss about them?
www.kingbiscuittime.co.uk

Will Columbine


 

Ashley Beedle - The Balloon Room EP (Out Hear Audio)

Not a relation of the stun-handed dwarf like TV presenter Jeremy but a guy who has decided to start his own label to get 'some new music out there'. It's an unashamedly disco-ey affair with loads of wakka wakka guitar and synth over some no doubt very obscure samples. Sounds a bit like the 'Brothers Gonaa Work it Out' Ep by The Chemical Brothers. But more boring.

B-side 'Height' is still retro but more in the lounge lizard stylee. Justifying this as getting 'new' music out there would be a very tenuous argument indeed.
www.ashleybeedle.co.uk

SB


 

Shut Your eyes and You'll Burst Into Flames- Signal Noise/Kingdom of Goats (Dance to the Radio)

All yelps and stop starts - Shut Your eyes and You'll Burst Into Flames sound like a pretty scary proposition in name and sound. 'Kingdom of Goats' is a ruthless assault on the ears while 'Signal Noise' is a bit more accessible in the punk pop mould but easy listening this is not.
www.myspace.com/shutyoureyesandyoullburstintoflames

SB


Boys of Scandanavia - Why Do You Love Me (Mate)

Ahhh, fill my ears and flow over aching body with your beauteous electro-funk. Boys of Scandanavia actually are just that - they are from Finland. This single manages to combine a Lydon-esque punk sensibility with the germanic clarity and efficiency of Kraftwerk and makes you want to dance with funny jerky arm movements. that could just be me - I am very tired.
www.boysofscandanavia.com

SB


 

The Rogers Sisters - Never Learn To Cry (single) (Too Pure) 

The press kit for the new Rogers Sisters makes them out to be the best thing since sliced malt loaf, the most exciting thing to have happened since Blondie rapped. Unfortunately it's full of clichés, both lyrically and musically, 'spiky guitars' and 'pounding bass' sum up to to just a bit of a tedious garagey mess and the vocals sound like a Tegan and Sara who are too cool for melody. It may be just that I don't like it, but it's me who is meant to hand my opinions down to you. This is droll.

Will Edmonds


 

The Lodger - Let Her Go/We Come From the Same Place (Angular)

The third single from The Lodger sees the Leeds trio continuing to build on past efforts and brings their finest work to date. 'Let It Go' has pacy urgency, parpy horns and a frantic spiralling vocal delivery which perfectly compliments the lyrics of the song. This is the soundtrack to a twenty-first century kitchen sink drama, fittingly produced in West Yorkshire. Flip side 'We Come From the Same Place' is a bit flat in comparison but don't worry - just pit 'Let Her Go' on repeat.
www.thelodger.net

SB


Story One - Out of Season (Shy)

This CD starts with a strangely incongruent mix as shimmering strings and guitar waft in over a lumbering bass and percussion section. That is probably the most interesting feature of the release which otherwise stumbles along like an out of time pub band.
www.storyone.co.uk

SB


 

Little Klimt and Chofferson (Batteryface 005)

A two-band promo from Californian label Batteryface. 'Candy Kills' by Little Klimt is a wistful bedroom nursery rhyme with a disarming female vocal that meanders delightfully. It isn't matched in 'Re Infecta' by Chofferson, four minutes of gothic piano, found noise and detective show samples that successfully conveys an air of menace but not much more. www.batteryface.com
www.myspace.com/klimt  

Robin Fahy


Joseph Arthur - Can't Exist (14th Floor)

The musicians who Joseph Harper has rubbed shoulders with reads like a who's who of megastars - Michael Stipe, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Chris martin and Dolly Parton to name but a few. Perhaps they helped to finance this most impressive of packages which although it only contains a single track, has a full booklet and gatefold DVD sized case to keep you occupied.

The musings of Arthur are pleasantly warming and build into quite an uplifting finale on 'Can't Exist'. Can't help this may be like the famous New Order packaging for Blue Monday though - losing Factory Records money for every copy sold.
www.josepharthur.com
watch video

SB


 

Imogen Heap - Goodnight & Go (White Rabbit/Sony)

Behold! A new era has arrived! A clear CD. I kid you not - how beautiful and exciting, err, when it's not actually in the CD player. Which is a good thing because the music is unlikely to prevent this becoming an expensive drinks coaster. Another internet revelation (boasting 93,000 friends on DevilSpace apparently) and appearances on Letterman and The OC give you the idea - this is gonna be pretty mainstream. That said, Ms Heap does have a breathless beauty about her voice and the composition of 'Goodnight & Go) is pretty interesting with slide guitar, bleeps, samples and acoustics. All a bit of a schizophrenic mish mash, but that's what you need to keep the kids' attention these days innit?
www.imogenheap.com

SB


 

Enid Blitz - Viva La Blitz! EP

Three tracks of hygienic retro pop from Brighton four piece Enid Blitz, like The Smiths without the angst. An agreeable chap at a party you've forgotten before you've even turned away. Nothing wrong with them - 'Victory Bell' sticks its head out a little more than the others - and I suspect they could be much better live than on this rather bland recording. www.enidblitz.com

Robin Fahy


 

King Furnace - Crash! (Akuaba)

Like Supergrass before them, King Furnace are from Oxford and make a mighty din for just three young men. 'Crash!' is a weird jerky mod-punk guitar ditty that will probably gain great commercial success with it's catchy chorus and youthful zeal- ideal advert/soundtrack material. The supporting tracks by contrast, are truly ordinary.
www.kingfurnace.co.uk

SB


Infadels - Love Like Semtex (PIAS)

The opening track from the album 'We Are Not the Infadels' sees a massively energetic disco orgy of guitar and beats. Add to this 5 other pretty interesting dancey remixes (which make it possible to dance to 'Love Like Semtex' without looking like a Parkinson's sufferer) and this makes for a spiffing package.
www.infadels.co.uk

SB


 

Magic 8 - s/t EP

I think I'm in love. Magic 8 have poise and confidence and a rich seam of class. 'Is this really the life?' is ace. Singer Polly's voice has a piercing sincerity - think Neneh Cherry around 'Manchild' - that smokes and lingers, whilst the rest of the band give support and nourishment. An indie gem. The other tracks mildly disappoint, showing more breadth than depth: 'Sailor' is wonderfully spangly pop that walks a little too close behind Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and 'Battleships' proves they can do spiky nineties punk - but why should they, they're better than that. Carve their name into your pencil case.
www.magic-8.com  

Robin Fahy


We Are Scientists - Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt (Virgin)

Might I refer you to my last review in July 2006 of the same single in which I announced with some confidence that We Are Scientists were fantastic. My confidence in the record buying public was quickly dashed when I saw them play in front of just 23 people during the NME tour in Leeds a little later but endless touring and a furious live set have built up We Are Scientists reputation and NME kudos alike. So who can blame them from re-releasing this track and cashing in on their new found celebrity? Certainly not me, especially as it was one of my favourite records of 2005 and I've now got 2 copies.
www.wearescientists.com

SB


 

Toy Heroes - Painful Painless EP

Mid tempo balladry from a Leicestershire brother and sister act. All three songs have nice arrangements of the more is more variety, and all suffer with unconvincing vocals and woolly lyrics. Far too wholesome.
www.toyheroes.org.uk

Robin Fahy


Richard Ashcroft – Music Is Power (Parlophone)

Ashcroft has a fucking awful voice: fact. He is not a soul singer: fact. This is a fucking dreadful song: fact. He was seen on telly the other day defending Bob Geldof: fact. I’m not listening to this any more: fact.

Sam Metcalf


 

Mr. Fogg - Giving In (Chromium Records)  

The first two tunes on this EP consist of nice electronica/poppy/synthy sounds with a very angelic and innocent vocal. ‘Giving In’ is intelligently written and I especially like the bit towards the end with the multi-layered vocals. The second track, ‘Cogs’ is equally catchy, without being overly cheery; Mr. Fogg demonstrates his knack for this fine balance on this track. My absolute favourite on here though, is the final track, ‘Bloodrush’. It is very subtle yet powerful and it gives me spine tingles… extremely beautiful. I can highly recommend this EP – fab production, total stunner.

Catherine Porteous


Boy Kill Boy – Suzie (Vertigo)

More FM pop punk to follow in the footsteps of everything else, ever. ‘Suzie’ is pleasant enough in an afternoon-on-Radio 1 kind of way, but it hardly breaks any new ground. Truly, if I have to listen to many more poor Jam copyists, then I may have to start my own band and have done with it.

Sam Metcalf


Peace Burial at Sea - Czarina Catherine (Captains of Industry)

Not content at possessing one of the greatest band names around, not content at producing the sonic equivalent of a a beautiful dream gone wrong and not content at producing this masterly three track single, Peace Burial at Sea and their equally noble label COI are giving this release away for free as a CD quality download complete with artwork. If this is still not enough to make you get your your mouse clicking (and by god it should be) I'll continue.

The title track is a heady concoction full of electronic and live reverb which swirls and builds around you like a fierce storm on a mountain top. 'Easy Meat for Faceless Men' is a much more minimal affair until the apocalyptic ending combines massive guitar, drums and Johnny Longrigg's ranting vocals. Despite the amount of loops and samples, the effects pedals and the overdubs, when they feel like it, PBAS are like an incredibly disturbed telepathic beast, feeding energy and ideas off each other to spawn the sound of a thousand nightmares. Like iLiKETRAiNS with an attitude problem.

The final track 'This is a Godless Town' sums up everything that is great about PBAS - the effortless melding of samples, live sounds, atmosphere and menace. Download it now - I command you.
www.captainsof.com/downloads_pbas.php

SB


 

Rob McCulloch - Planet of My Own 

I think this guy is a good songwriter but after the first minute or so of the first track, I got a bit narked by his Gallagher/Ashcroft imitation voice. I’d really love to hear this guy sing naturally without any affectation. Things brighten up a bit in ‘Hard to Breathe’ which comprises of Rob and a piano. I like this better – it seems more natural, despite several occurrences of the aforementioned imitation voice thing. ‘Mr. Nice’, the final track on the EP has a pleasant, relaxed vibe and shows decent song writing ability. Don’t get me wrong, his voice has a lovely tone and that, but the fake indie boy whiney thing lets him down.

Catherine Porteous


The Like – What I Say and What I Mean (Geffen)

This rocks some, and reminds me a little of some of Echobelly’s more outgoing moments. There’s also a bit of Sleater Kinney in here too, and that’s nice. The one on the left on the cover is also very pretty. BUT ANYWAY. Yes. I like The Like.

Sam Metcalf


Rattlesnake Remedy - Drag You Down (BEM Records) 

Woah! Moshtastic! I have visions of Spinal Tap as I listen to this EP. It will definitely appeal to leather-clad rockers with its chunky-clunky guitar riffs (which are all extremely catchy). Sadly, I can’t hear ANY of the lyrics at all so I can’t tell you what the songs are about, but the singer can do the falsetto Darkness thing… It makes me want to mosh. The last tune on the EP, ‘Angels Eyes’, is the obligatory rock ballad which is really rather lovely and sentimental and a bit Wayne’s World. It really is the icing on the cake and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to this EP. You’ll see me crowd-surfing in the mosh pit if these guys ever play a gig around here.

Catherine Porteous


Barbara Morgenstern – The Operator (Monika Enterprise) 

This is the first single from the album ‘The Grass is Greener’, released on 24th April, and if this is anything to go by I don’t think I’ll bother. The song starts off quite nicely with some interweaving synths and Morgenstern’s harmonies floating over the top, but then the chorus comes in and she starts singing in German and it all goes horribly Europop. There are some catchy melodies going on and some lovely harmonies, but the English bits and the German bits just don’t seem to gel and it ends up sounding like two different songs stuck together. The piano version which is also included here isn’t much better either, in fact the 1 minute 43 second B-side, ‘Mein Elektrisches Tier’ is probably the best bit of music on here.

Nic


Evon Brennan - Waiting (Redcliff)

Like a drunken student following a good night on the beer, the opening track on this album sampler makes Brennan sound like she is singing down a traffic cone. A strange production technique for sure, and not adequate to elevate this simple ballad above the mundane.

'Do Not Worry' = Crystal Gayle -no further explanation required. So it's down to final track ' Daniel' to make me want to buy the album...same pace, same over production, sedentary melodies. My tenner will be staying firmly in my pocket.

SB


The Year Zero - Oceania, I Will Return

This is a cd-r of three tracks from a forthcoming album of the same name, there's a certain air of whimsy about the release from the illustration of a pseudo-retro-futuristic sea fortress to the delicate music.

The female/male vocals are in the Cocteau Twins mould with acoustic guitar accompaniment and a backing of droning guitars and heavily reverbed drums edging towards the less heavyweight side of early 90s shoegazing bands. It's pleasant summery stuff you could braid hair to and makes me think of breezy fields and teenage nostalgia. To its credit it has an air of ethereality without being overly fey (I'm not thinking of pixies in the breezy fields), but the three tracks here don't seem to stray far beyond their predecessors bounds.

Richard Faith


Three Mile High - Always Watching (Global Music Development)

Not sure how these scamps managed to sneak under tasty's usually observant Leeds scouts but they allegedly hail from the Knightsbridge of the north. Nothing too ground breaking in style - very bouncy energetic stadium rock which they do as well if not better than most similar acts peddling these wares in the charts. Pity they will be playing in the manky Cardigan Arms pub this bank holiday instead of Madison Square Garden. But hopefully on the evidence of this (the rocking hammer-ons on 'Plastic Superstar' made me get all nostalgic and want to wear my old black wristbands again) Three Mile High will find some position in the national rock pecking order.
www.3milehigh.com

SB


The Fondas - D'Ya Feel Lucky (Levelsound)

More pretty straight forward rawk music on both the title track and B-side 'Be Alone' courtesy of a dizzying array of expensive sounding effects pedals. Perfect music for teenagers to stomp around their bedrooms to before going out and drinking White Lightning in the park.
www.thefondas.co.uk

SB