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singles - june 2006



 

Scissors For Lefty – Ghetto Ways (Rough Trade)

This is so ‘now’ it hurts. Imagine Bryan Ferry singing with a band of angular haircuts, and you’ve pretty much got yourself the SFL sound. ‘Ghetto Ways’ is particularly vapid, whilst ‘Save It Cory’ is basically The Killers. It couldn’t be more generic if it tried, basically. Last track, ‘Marsha’ is more straightforward, poppy, and therefore BETTER, and reminds me a little of Beulah. But I can’t help feeling that SFL would wind me up a treat if I ever saw them live. Shame.

Sam Metcalf

 

Clearlake - It's Getting Light outside (Domino)

How many more great tracks can Clearlake lift from their album 'Amber'? This one has a great retro vibe with big rolling toms and whispering strings threaded through a simple guitar hook which is perfect for the unfashionable subject matter of the song, getting together with an old friend and losing track of time while catching up. a masterpiece.
www.clearlake.uk.com

SB


 

Attic Lights – “Shiver the Trees” 

Wow, it’s not exactly fashionable to be so blatantly enamoured of Big Star in this day and age, but when I read of this quintet’s Glaswegian origins it all made sense. Following in the footsteps of Teenage Fanclub and Cosmic Rough Riders, the crystalline chords, wistful strumming and laid-back charm of “Wendy” and “Nothing but Love” would make Alex Chilton proud and Evan Dando jealous! 

However, it’s the sweet Burrito’s pedal steel and heavenly harmonies on “Martin” that makes it the cream of this collection and the track I just can’t stop playing. It’s kind of a shame we don’t get many offerings of this calibre here at Tasty Towers, but at least there’s less danger of this CD not making my end-of-year top ten…unless their album turns out to be even better, of course.
www.atticlights.co.uk

Will Columbine

 

The Low Sparks - Out Here in the Woods

A curiously schizophrenic effort here which manages to combine the unlikely recording techniques of both guitar feedback and kazoo action. There is a refreshing quirkiness to the EP which manages to borrow from a whole host of styles but always holds them together with a distinctly home grown and intimate feeling. Gentle but moving.
www.lowsparks.com

SB


 

The Trudy – Oh!

I wouldn’t say this is a bad indie pop/rock record, but there have been millions made like this. This reminds me of a wet Tuesday night at The Adelphi in Hull, watching a local band that will never go anywhere apart from on their own walls. ‘Oh!’ is way too lush, too forced and too bloody long to ever register on your brain for more than 30 seconds. A shame, cos The Trudy have an ace name. There really aren’t enough people called Trudy around at the moment.

Sam Metcalf

 

Roebeck - 22 Seconds EP

Noodling ambient electronica awash with finger picked guitars, analogue synths and 'soulful' vocals. All very nice but I would not recommend listening to this and watching Ukraine v Switzerland in the same evening if you wanted to stay awake.
www.roebeck.co.uk


Placebo - Infra Red (Virgin EMI)

What seems like the 10th single from 'Meds' and, again, I feel myself feeling ashamed into admitting that I quite like it. Plinky synths and massive layered guitars, and the normal Molkoisms. Can't knock it really. Other point to note from the video - when did Brian Molko get so good looking? Damned annoying.
www.placeboworld.co.uk
watch video to track here (.wmv file)

SB


 

Breed 77 – Alive (Albert Productions)

Horrific, riff-heavy metal. The kind which should’ve died in The Barge in Grimsby in 1991, but, mystifyingly, continues to be popular. There’s nowt so queer as folk.

Sam Metcalf


 

Fell City Girl – “Swim” 

I’m ashamed to say this CD has been lying around my gaff for a while now, and my esteemed colleague Mr Blanchard has already beaten me to the punch with a review of his own. Well, there’s no good reason why a band who sends badges should suffer on account of my negligence, and what’s wrong with a second opinion anyway? 

As it turns out, I can’t help but agree with Shane on this one. Radiohead-esque without being annoyingly so, Fell City Girl tick all the right boxes when it comes to sensitive, anthemic rock but offer no real clue as to why they choose to affiliate themselves with Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky in their press release, other than that their lead guitarist uses a lot of delay. But then so do Johnny Buckland and The Edge…you see what I’m saying?
www.fellcitygirl.co.uk

Will Columbine

 

Sigur Rós - Sæglópur (EMI)

Another test for the tasty typewriter with all these funny symbols...Anyone who has seen those simpering BBC adverts for Wimbledon will already have heard this as the backing music is by Sigur Rós. Building up to a simple but layered and anthemic 3 chord chorus, a touch of lightness is supplied by Jonsi's falsetto vocals. The three other tracks on the EP are very minimal, mainly instrumentals, and, to be honest, other than some gentle keys in 'Refur' which acts like an outro to 'Sæglópur', the other two are pretty forgettable.
www.sigur-ros.co.uk
Watch video to 'Sæglópur'

SB


 

The Delilahs – Let’s Tango (Jexed Records)

Spiky, spunky and much like The Pretenders, The Delilahs aren’t ones to be messed with, clearly. ‘Let’s Tango’ falls just the right side of pop metal, and reminds me a little of Elastica in places. Like a sneaky earworm, methinks this could manifest itself on my mental jukebox for some time. How annoying.

Sam Metcalf


 

Tarka Groove Experiment - Get on Down ep (Consequence)

Terrible name isn't it? Everyone knows Tarka was an otter, not some kind of musical scientist. This is a very earnest release packed with full bodied vocal bawling and Jimi Page-like distorted slide guitar sounds. Reef - the 2006 return anyone?

Track 2 is a pleasant quiet one with some simple yet effective song structure and a far more effective, almost whispered smokey vocal style which morphs into a vocoded affair which peters out a bit disappointingly. Tracks 3 and 4 seem to be an amalgam of the first two, in various guises. that, or the vocalist actually does have a voice that sounds like it is vocoded. How cool would that be?

SB

 

Love Ends Disaster! - Faster Faster... (Denial)

'Cut your Hair' is the peculiarly disjointed opener from this EP where the vocals sound like they were recorded a whole land away from the rest of the track and leaves me struggling to get the volume right on my CD player. Which is a pity because there is some interesting stuff going on. 'Fort Washington' by comparison hits the mark straight away and is chock full of unexpected key changes and chord progression that keeps the vocals bobbing around like a discarded corn plaster in the local swimming pool. The track breaks down and reconstructs itself brilliantly.

An unexpected but very successful falsetto accompanies the finger picked guitars to final track 'An Equation' which swells and ebbs away. Another fine offering from LED.
www.loveendsdisaster.co.uk

SB


 

Billy Talent – Devil in a Midnight Mass (Atlantic)

Yikes! There’s more metal to deal with this month than you can shake your flame shaped guitar at. Billy Talent are where Green Day meets Metallica, and therefore have no place in wider society. Billy Talentless, more like. That took me ten seconds to think of.

Sam Metcalf


 

Protokoll - Moving Forwards

Transatlantic jerky synth pop is the name of the day, though there is definitely an inkling of the PR hyped Bauhaus-New Order vibe, especially in B-side 'Holy Divine'. But the main course, 'Moving Forward' goes on a bit too long for my liking - though on the plus side - I've just had time to go to the loo and by the time I've come back, the track is still playing. Swings and roundabouts then.

SB


 

Mike Rosenberg Band – Stray Dog (MRB Music)

For a 21 year old, Mike Rosenbery doesn’t half sound like he’s in Mike and the Mechanics. ‘Stray Dog’ is something you’d hear on Steve Wright (in the afternoon), and can easily be lumped in with the James Blunt School of Deadly Dull cunts. That’s better. More swearing in the singles reviews.

Sam Metcalf

 

David Gilmour - Smile (EMI)

I have a terrible confession to make. No, really - a bad. OK - here goes. I don't like Pink Floyd. never have done. Maybe never will. There. Glad that is off my chest but I am steeled for the hate mail. Taking this into account but also giving David Gilmore's solo work credit in its own right, what can we say about this single?

Well, it's a perfectly lilting, gentle ballad loosely based around acoustic slide guitar. Perfectly acceptable. Perfectly unassuming. Perfectly uninteresting. Would anyone take any notice if it wasn't by Dave Gilmour? Probably not.
www.davidgilmore.com
Watch video here (.wmv file)

SB


 

Autons – “Snakes” 

Pounding electro-pop from a Portsmouth posse who met while auditioning to be extras in Dr. Who, and who have apparently got a couple of Radio One DJs slobbering into their cereal (their own, not the band’s…although you never know). I dunno…just when you’ve got rid of one Test Icicles, along comes another. Quite catchy but, at the same time, quite annoying.
www.autons.info

Will Columbine

 
 

Kobai - Seratonin

Kobai are one of those bands so achingly 'now' that you feel like you have heard it all before. Not to say that they aren't very good, but you should be good when there are 6 of you all plugged in and kicking out a noise. Throw in the obligatory slowey and you have a well rounded, if not ground breaking EP.
www.thekobai.co.uk
Watch video to to 'Seratonin'

SB


 

The Research – The Hard Times (At Large)

In a desert of decent singles this month, The Research are a delightful oasis. ‘The Hard Times’ is the one with the spazzy keyboard riff. Oh, that’s every Research song, isn’t it? Anyway, this is a great POP song. Ideal for picnics in the park this summer, and one for nodding your head along to in times of great strife and joy alike. Thank heavens for The Research.
watch video to track here (.wmv file)

Sam Metcalf

 

O Fracas - Follow Sue (Marquis Cha Cha)

Thank Christ - I thought I had lost this CD down the back of the sofa or something but it turned up sandwiched between some Swedish electronica and some hardcore techno. But then O Fracas defy any standard pigeon-holing. 'Follow Sue' is a perfect case in point where the grating guitars, splattered drums and little anguished yelps all seem to act against each other, or at the very best, don't really compliment each other. But by god, somehow it really does work, colliding together to form something beautiful. Definitely a case of the whole making up more than the sum of the parts. Thank god the band haven't gone through with their threat to start doing funk records yet...
www.ofracas.com

SB


New Model Army – BD3 (Attack Attack)

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the cider pub…

New Model Army have been going for just over 482 years. That’s a FACT. BD3 is certainly an anomaly these days. Of course, back in 1989 all records sounded like this, but nowadays this sounds almost different and vital. But then you remember it’s new Model Army, and you go back to having a little chuckle to yourself. Harsh, but fair.

Sam Metcalf


Fortune Drive - My Girlfriend's an Arsonist (Shy)

2 minutes 17 seconds of belting indie rock here. Fortune Drive are a five piece from Bristol but the number of contributors does not clutter up this recording which is a lesson in directness and energy.
www.fortunedrive.com

SB


 

Hundred Reasons – The Perfect Gift (V2)

Hell, this has been a struggle. ‘The Perfect Gift’ is nothing but a Feeder b-side. And not a particularly good one, either. How are bands allowed to get away with such mediocrity? In my day they would’ve been caned and forced to join the army. It never did me any harm!

Sam Metcalf


 

Circuits - Radio Silence / Half read book (Try Science!)

Being described as a reggae infused punk 4-piece made me instantly suspicious. But what followed happily did not live up (or down?) to the description. Instead it rather formed a twinkling lo-fi pop one-two. Sure, 'Half Read Book' has a slightly quirky time signature, but you won't need to file Circuits in the same section of your record collection as UB40. Think more like The Police but without that annoying tree-hugger up front.
www.circuitsband.com

SB


This Et Al - Sabbatical (Jealous) 

This is the first widely available single by Leeds/Bradford based This Et Al. The first interesting thing I noticed was that there was meant to be 4 tracks but there were only three, and that was about the only thing interesting thing I noticed to be honest. Don't get me wrong, this isn't bad, not at all really, I could see, or hear it easily alongside the likes of Biffy Clyro and most other fairly noisy post punk indie rock bands that have a tendency to break into a Doves-esque melodic droney, sorry, anthemic, chorus. 

This Et Al are tight, confident and accomplished group but for me they don't really offer much beyond the mould that has been cast and used time and time again and is beginning to show it. Sorry but this ain't that good.

Will Edmonds


The Fallout Trust - When We Are Gone (EMI)

Lovely squelchy beats that sound like they might have been generated by some kind of bashed up 80's Casio synth meet a slightly eerie melody and vocal style before building up into a guitar-squawl of a finale. Slightly quirky, slightly leftfield and all the better for it.
www.thefallouttrust.com
watch video here (.wmv file)

SB


 

Mickey Charbagz – “White Gold” 

Ireland has committed many crimes against music (JJ72, The Corrs, B-Witched…and we haven’t even started on the boy bands) but Mr Charbagz’s rather likeable EP atones somewhat. Bolstering these four acoustic tracks with layered harmonies, synth and drum-machine, his vocal style mixes Jim Reid’s drawl with Richard Ashcroft’s phrasing. 

“Whispers in Darkness” and “Night of the Worm” are both reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac, while the opening chords of “California Games” evokes some of the quieter moments from “The Bends”. The last track has a sleazy Afghan Whigs feel about it, which makes “Fuckability” an apt title. Mickey may have questionable taste when it comes to woolly jumpers, but I wish him all the best in taking his musical message to the Leeds massive. 
www.myspace.com/mickeycharbagzband

Will Columbine

 

Cato Street Conspiracy - demo

Wow - this is a pretty impressive demo. 'The Ghost of Simon Taylor' is a difficult act to follow, packed full of great melodic guitar riffs and vocal harmonies. In some ways they remind me of stuff from the Manic's 'Generation Terrorists' where it seemed they could pack more ideas and riffs into one song than most bands would find in a whole album. 'Light the Vermilion Lantern' is a heavier number but I had to check that I wasn't actually playing two tracks at once - the drum part just sounds completely off kilter to me. Demo closer 'Seven Instances Where You Have Caused me Harm' rallies the cause with another storm of riffs and time changes that don't let you get your breath throughout the full four minutes. Watch this space.
www.catostreetconspiracy.com

SB


 

Yes Boss - More or Less / They Think It's all Over (Dance to the Radio)

The increasingly incestuous Leeds scene sees the Kaisers-endorsed Yes Boss hitting our doormat again. And what a nasty piece of work they seem to be. Yes Boss seem to specialise in a low key delivery with a bit of a minimal backing track. But the lyrics are the star here. 'They Think it is All Over' is a three minute rant about shagging the wives of sad blokes who are more interested in football than their spouses - piss funny.
www.dancetotheradio.com

SB


 

Thousand Natural Shocks – “Under the Sun/Attack” 

Since growing up in Devon and boredom go hand-in-hand (and I speak from experience), what better way to release all that pent-up frustration than by forming a band? It certainly was a good move on the part of Thousand Natural Shocks, and beats vandalising phone boxes or committing incest. 

Coming on like At the Drive-In on sedatives, the title track blends the bounciness of The Kooks with chugging QOTSA guitars and is probably the best of the three, although the jerky rhythms of The Rapture-inspired “Never Say Never Do” are also pretty infectious. All that hard graft in their secret Dartmoor hideaway has obviously done the trick.
www.myspace.com/thousandnaturalshocks

Will Columbine


Serena Maneesh - Drain Cosmetics (Playlouder)

Hype alert - 'creating a sound ...that transcends music and offers an otherworldly atmosphere...' Sure. On the other hand, 'Drain Cosmetics' from Norway's Serena Maneesh is rather good, in a swirly Primal Scream sort of way. There are only 4.5 million people in Norway and at least 6 of them make up this band - perhaps explaining the depth and richness of sound they produce.

The other tracks on this EP are also pretty good - very trippy and layered with loads of stuff phasing in and out and some overlapping dirty male- clean female vocals.
www.serena-maneesh.com
Watch video to 'Drain Cosmetics'

SB


 

The Eighteenth Day of May - Hide and Seek (Hannibal)

A curious folk meets rock pomp a la Led Zeppelin from The Eighteenth Day of May. Actually, that may be a bit unfair - just when you are expecting this to mutate into some horrible rock-based hybrid it, err, just doesn't. This restraint and (and perhaps the clue from the band name - very Ralph McTell) show that the band are more interested in making proper bouncey folk-based ditties rather than pandering to any pre-conceived stereotypes. Very summery.
www.theeighteenthdayofmay.com

SB


 

The KBC - Not Anymore (High Voltage)

Not as good as 'Sherlock Groove Holmes' but a perfectly lively effort all the same. Second track, the eponymous 'KBC' is much more exciting and the tight thumping remix of 'Not Anymore' by Performance is also worth a spin. With KBC , Performance and The Whip, the disco-goers of the north west are truly getting spoiled at the moment.
www.thekbc.net

SB

 

Radar - Lunacy (EMI)

Good grief - Radar are a bit weird. Despite sounding like dub reggae meets The Adams Family theme and including the most obvious demonstration of a bass vocal underdub since 10CC's 'Dreadlock Holiday' (shudder...), this single will more than likely get you bending your knees and dancing like your Dad at a Christening.
www.radar.tv
Watch the video to 'Lunacy'

SB


 

Cord - Winter (Island) 

It’s probably safe to assume there hasn’t been a barrage of well-known indie bands hailing from Norwich but Cord are determined to change that. Seemingly touring non-stop over the past couple of years with bands such as Orson and The Upper Room, Cord are now ready, willing and eager to unleash their debut single. The summer release the ironically titled Winter, is a swish of a song. Guitar rifts are heavily doused in strings and adamantly towed along by buoyant drumbeats creating a charmingly satisfying record. Lead singer James’ whines of “You took the sun out of my summer sky, and it might as well be winter” are delivered with such an aching sense of rawness and emotion, that by the end of the song you can’t help but hope the climate perks up for him. Just as the record threatens to become wetter than an Embrace album in a paddling pool, lines like, “If I’m crawling back into bed beside you, you know it’s just to kill” swoop in to fish it back out. Radio playlist friendly and grazing from a similar indie-pop pasture as Starsailor, Cord’s Winter might just save any future Norwich jibes from featuring, “Partridge” or “Delia”.  

Victoria Levitt

 
 

The Black Tulips - We the Lonely Ones

Not only a song of epic proportions but a very complete background into the impossibilities of cultivating a truly black tulip - that's value for money. A deliciously filthy and clipped bassline is the mainstay of this most noir of indie-noir tracks. And you would expect nothing else from a band which looks like it could single handedly keep the Loreal counter at your local Boots in business for a year just through mascara sales. At over 5 minutes long perhaps a little meandering but that is all part of the building atmosphere. I am now quite scared.
www.theblacktulips.com

SB


 

Bone-Box - Dragging Wires (Fat Northerner)

I may be bucking the trend of the massive list of organs that seem to have been raving about this single. 'Dragging Wires' has a beautifully building melody built around strings and brass section which provides a certain type of optimistic melancholia. But contrary to the aforementioned publications, I find the drawled vocals a bit tedious. Can anyone really have such a naturally laryngitic voice? Shame really.
www.bone-box.com

SB


 

Revere – “Skin” 

How disappointing for “London’s answer to Broken Social Scene” to turn out to be yet another band that mistakes “epic” rock for throwing in everything including the kitchen sink and banging on for six minutes without a hook in sight. The ghost of Radiohead looms into view once again but this time with a bit of brass and vocals that sound like Starsailor. Nothing that would warrant a second listen. 
www.revereonline.co.uk

Will Columbine


The Bees - Chicken Payback (EMI)

Sailing the seas of commercial paydirt by getting your single featured a on a primetime world cup advert? Oh yes. But The Bees retro analogue vibe and generally admirable facial hair mean this single isn't too unpalatable.
www.thebees.info

SB

 
 

A+E Line - Christopher Walken (Hackpen)

Very good. Acoustic guitars, harmonies and the wonderful Christopher Walken as subject matter? Sounds too good to be true. Not sure how continually threatening to 'kick your ass' (amongst other far worse threats) can be construed as a 'tribute' to the actor but hey ho, it's a bit gimmicky but it is good.
www.aeline.co.uk

SB


 

Chop Chop: Bear Touch? – Demo 

Schizophrenic metal five-piece who have already impressed me with their shambolic live shows and no doubt disturbed others with their weak grasp of the laws of grammar (see interview!). They don’t seem to know how they want to sound, a fact that this six-track CD demonstrates. Beery shout-a-thons (“Tramps”) sit alongside Libertines-lite (“Boy Racer”), jostle for space with full-on rockers (“Dancefloor”, “I Own the Floor”), and rub shoulders with jangly songs about girls (“Dying to Know Nothing”, “Cows”).  

Always mindful to leave space for a guitar workout, some tracks do tend to go on a bit too long but you can’t deny they have a way with a catchy chorus, not to mention some interesting subject matter. Perhaps too rough around the edges to ever be loved by the masses (and they aren’t doing themselves any favours with those biscuit-barrel drums either), give me a band with character such as this over yer usual slick but vapid fare any day of the week. Safe!
http://www.myspace.com/chopchopbeartouch

Will Columbine


The Kooks - She Moves in Her Own Way (EMI)

Like their previous singles, including 'Naive' which apparently got to No. 5 in the charts, 'She Moves in Her own Way' is another mainly acoustic, unobjectionable offering, the sort of which is regularly peddled in indie bars up and down the land where the music policy is vaguely indie but nothing too challenging that would scare off the Magners drinking weekend clubbers. Rant over.
www.thekooks.co.uk

SB


 

Lost on Purpose –“Anniversary E.P” 

Hard to believe that this multi-layered delight is the work of just a single person, in this case Will Holland from Cleveland, Ohio. Vocally he’s a dead-ringer for Built to Spill’s Doug Martsch although the music is more an indication of what Arcade Fire might sound like if they went acoustic, especially on the excellent opener “London” which features the universally recognisable lyric “My parents paid my way through school/I still don’t know what I want to do”. 

Elsewhere, particularly on the beautiful “Thank You Music Guru”, there’s the kind of Scandanavian kookiness that I’ve enjoyed so much recently from bands like Mew and Shout Out Louds, while “Ophelia” could not be influenced by anything other than the Pixies. On the press sheet, it says Will’s ambition is to be able to quit work and “just screw around on guitar for the rest of his life”…well, he’s definitely got my support.
www.lostonpurpose.com

Will Columbine


 

The Tivoli - Drop Me Off at Rotherham (Bunkeruk)

One can only wonder at what the psychological consequences of watching Ronnie Moore's meagre footballing outfit over the years might have been. But musically, The Tivoli are probably best defined as a Beautiful South meets Del Amitri supergroup, again, not an easily imaginable proposition. But the melodies have a bitter sweet tinge and 'Drop Me Off at Rotherham' contains an indomitable spirit that would warm the cockles on even the coldest Saturday afternoon on the stands at Millmoor.
www.thetivoli.co.uk

SB

 

The Seven Mile Journey - The Journey Studies (Fono'gram)

Just four tracks here but spanning over 40 minutes with a couple topping out longer than a quarter of an hour each - phew. So little surprise then that The Seven Mile Journey sound is that based in a type of minimal post rock. The highlights are an interesting overlap of beats and a kind of phasing of different guitar layers (that, or my speakers are the blink). The weak points being those which affect a lot of this genre - a lacking of any direction during some songs which means despite the seemingly arbitrary 4 bar repeats, no real sense of purpose or tension is built up quickly enough. When two of your songs are over 15 minutes long, this can lead to a particularly ponderous sound.
www.thesevenmilejourney.dk

SB


 

Evil Beaver – “Models of Virtue E.P” 

Hmm, how do I get through this review without mentioning Death From Above 1979? You see, Evil Beaver are a bass and drums rock combo with some serious credentials behind them: not only have they played toured with such big names as Shellac and the White Stripes but drummer Gene Trautmann is also a fully paid-up member of Queens of the Stone Age. But do they put all this experience to good use? 

The answer is yes. First track “Believin’ Deceivin’” sports some mighty riff-age which makes it hard to believe there are only two instruments at work here – it’s amazing what a little studio pixie dust can do. Singer Evie Evil comes across like a female Perry Farrell with twice as much attitude and, just when you think they’ve stretched the gimmick as far it can go, they also serve up an electro-clash version of “I Wanna Be Your Dog”!
www.EvilBeaver.us

Will Columbine

 

The Concretes - On the Radio (EMI)

Tinkly xylophone-smitten, piano driven retro indie foppishness has no place in my heart and this effort from The Concretes is no exception. Much like the Magic Numbers, I just don't know what all the fuss is about. Maybe if I wore a polka dot dress I'd like it, but that is a step too far even for this intrepid reporter my friends.
http://www.lickingfingers.com
Watch the video to 'On The Radio'

SB


 

tKatKa - Lazerslab (Junkbait)

Bloody shift key sticking on the keyboard at Junkbait Music then or what? Apparently not. But ignore the weirdo spelling and immerse yourself in this soundtrack techno which has an equally strange staccato style like a Moog with a stammer. The sound is heavily percussive which maintains a certain driving urgency to the composition as a whole, avoiding the all too easy risk of just swirling round like an amorphous mass of samples and loops. They even wear lab coats and gas masks on the sleevepack - what more could you want from a leftfield electro outift?

SB


 

Mojave 3 - ‘Breaking the Ice’ 

Before receiving this single I had never heard the music of Mojave 3. Before listening to this single I heard an old Mojave 3 album. Despite reading that this single was their poppiest music yet, this wasn’t what I expected and maybe I was a little disappointed.  

It shows great songwriting and arranging and has a charming summery niceness but I couldn’t decide if it was intelligent pop or indie pap. I still can’t, though maybe because the b-sides let it down. In the end I think you’ve just got to go with the optimism of this.  

After all if all throwaway pop music was this great then we wouldn’t need this, but it isn’t, so we do. 

MJL


Guile - Serendipity / Yesterday's Karma (Salvation)

Another strong outing from guile who build on 'My Salvation' with this twin release. Serendipity has bouncey tempo much like the Rawhide theme tune put through a gothic blender to give it a typically Guile-esque darkness. B-side 'Yesterday's Karma' is a much bluesier affair with Neal Sawyer's vocals and the stacks of guitar layers doing a decent job of sounding like The Screaming Trees.
www.guilemusic.com

SB

 
 

Pacific Ocean Fire/Don's Mobile Barbers - Split EP

Not so much a split EP as an album split between two artists...if that makes sense. Pacific Ocean Fire tease out world weary Americana that sounds like a last orders singalong in a honky tonk saloon. Looser and more rambling than contemporaries like the Broken Family Band and South San Gabriel.

The fantastically names two piece, Don's Mobile Barbers produce the kind of wistful, unashamedly gentle pop of the early nineties. Four tracks are offered up here and they are remarkable for the fact the duo play every instrument between themselves. The soundtrack of a lonely stagger home from the pub down cold wet streets at closing time.
www.pacificoceanfire.com
www.donsmobilebarbers.co.uk

SB

 
 

The Antec Sonata- Demo EP

Oops - the tasty filing system fails again - I've had this CD since early May - muchas apologeticas all round. And what a mistake as The Antec Sonata seem to bristle with all the chaotic frenzy of a hive of bees on crack. Impressively scuzzy guitars that sound like they have been put through a £29.99 amplifier from Argos seem to chop in and change at will, not slavishly following the bass and percussion lines. And the vocals are delivered with the languid swagger of a less annoying Brian Molko which provides a smothering honey like quality which smoothes over the more abrasive qualities of the guitars. Fine stuff.
www.theantecsonata.co.uk

SB


Stuart A. Staples - ‘That leaving feeling.’  

I am a big fan of the Tindersticks, (fronted by your man here,) but always feel a little disappointed when I listen to them. They always reach 8/10 but then seem unable to make a truly spectacular album. I was quite interested to see how S.A.S. would fare.  

In truth this sounds very similar to the Tindersticks. (Though that’s fine by me.) It has the typical Townes-van-Zandt-esque-but-more-cinematic-instrumentation, and the Lee and Nancy style vocals. (Which they do better than any other young pretenders.) It is a great song.  

The B-side is also off of the new album and this also sounds like the Tindersticks, this time their poppier recent style with the burbling Hi-Records style organ. It is only a good song. 

I kept coming back to the A-side, it really is a great song, and I am now very excited about hearing the album…. 8½/10.

MJL


 

The Triffids - Wide Open Road (Domino)

Erm, not sure what all the fuss is about here, judging from this very MOR jangly indie. Apparently fan pressure ahs resulted in the band gaining a new record deal. Personally, I'd rather encounter one of John Wyndham's man-eating plants.
http://www.dominorecordco.com/triffids

SB


Nightingales – ‘Let’s think About Living’ (Fake Product) 

Formed from the ashes of the awesome Prefects way back in the ‘80’s, Nightingales were a post-punk band with great songs and sense of humour to boot. Now back touring again we have the first new single from them and it shows they’ve lost none of their verve and direction. ‘Let’s Think About Living’ is a rockabilly tinged pop single that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Broken Family Band record but it is B-side ‘Seconds’ that is the highlight here. Sounding far closer to their post-punk beginnings its all repetitive bass and great rhythms. It’s a choppy, angled song that really shows just how poor these skinny jeaned little shits currently doing the rounds really are. Now all we need do is cross our fingers for a new album. Come on boys, don’t disappoint.

Luke Drozd


 

Low Drive - Something New/Love Will Come (Purpose Built)

It's always going to be difficult to stand out from the company of this mellow rock genre, especially when your choruses sounds like Foo Fighters' reject tracks. And despite some edgy guitar these tracks never seem to get out of first gear, whether hampered by some slightly muddy production or just a lack of ambition and fresh ideas.
www.lowdrive.co.uk

SB


 

Sir Richard Bishop – ‘Plays Sun City Girls’ (No-Fi) 

Sir Richard Bishop is indeed a living guitar legend. Taking tracks from his own seminal group Sun City Girls, Bishop proceeds to offer to live acoustic re-interpretations of them. ‘Space Prophet Dogon’ is a meandering and melodic number whereas  ‘Esoterica of Abyssinia’ is an urgent acoustic exorcism of a track played like it’s being uncontrollable forced from Bishop’s body through his guitar. A wonderful 7” showing bishop is still as urgent and important as ever.

Luke Drozd

 

Cognoscenti - demo

What starts as a catchy precise guitar riff soon becomes annoying as hell after three minutes. A bit like that bridge part in Suede's 'Metal Mickey' - shudder. The monopaced drum part which is clearly turned on and off at the flick of a switch makes for a wholly disappointing opener in 'Who's Alchemical Now?'. 'Marina Walks in Circles' suffers similarly - the use of electronic drum equipment again strangling the potential of rabid guitar part. Will final track 'There Is No You & I' save the day? Sadly not really. It is a bit more bombastic and does achieve some kind of crescendo at least but still sounds more like something from U2's 'Unforgettable Fire' than something produced in 2006. But do not dismiss completely out of hand as there is definitely something more to come from these chaps. They just need to find what it is.
www.cognoscenti.org.uk

SB


 

The Four Fishermen - The Sky is Better, Always

Ahh, this is more like it. Some lovely psychedelic summer folk from the mysterious Four Fishermen. The only info I have, gained form their MySpace page, is that they hail from Nottingham/Wirral and they like to lie around in sand. Cleanly picked guitars, strings and even some (tastefully done in a non-Galway-esque-manner) flute make up these largely instrumental compositions. This EP comprises four tracks, all splendid in their own way, especially 'Folklore' which definitely takes advantage of the wonders of stereo sound (you'll just have to listen to understand) during it's brief lifespan. Ahh, I feel all calm.
www.myspace.com/the4fishermen

SB


Smog – ‘Rock Bottom Riser’ (Domino) 

The latest single to be taken from Smog aka Bill Callahan’s most recent record ‘A River

Ain’t To Much To Love’ and its an introspective slice of subtle American folk complete with Callahan’s usual baritone vocal and sparse backing.

Followed by another album track, ‘I Feel Like the Mother of the World’ is a more uptempo offering but coated in Callahan;s dry wit it manages to feel far from uplifting. However the highlights for fans will be the two new bonus tracks.

‘Bowery’ is a song for Callahan’s grandfather (if it is indeed autobiographical) apparently an Irish Bowery bum and about the relationship between him and Callahan’s own father and it proves to be a powerful and moving track. Finally ‘Fools Lament’ isn’t quite as arresting but it still shows Callahan to be leaps and bounds in front of many of his contemporaries. Add to this the two rather splendid videos and think you have yourself a bit of a gem all in all.
Watch video to 'Rock Bottom Riser'
Watch video to 'I Feel Like the Mother of the World'

Luke Drozd


 

Pale Man Made - 4 Track Demo

Any band which namechecks The Smiths, Joy Division and The Fall has got to be good by me. And having heard some of their previous singles I think I can confidently report this is their best work yet. Leon and Christianne's vocals still weave effortlessly without ever trying to upstage the precise rhythm section provided by Karen and Claire. It still sounds like a garage band but that is a positive in my book. Perhaps a little bit more experimenting with different tempos for the different tracks would have given the overall EP a more varied appeal but it's still good demo of what Pale Man Made are about.
www.palemanmade.co.uk

SB

 

The Soft Explosions - Ride Between the Eyes (Canarsie)

Dreadful name, good record. Finally a four piece from New York that is not agit pop or post punk. No doubt they are still achingly cool but 'Ride Between the Eyes' is trippy 60's inspired narco rock with big reverbing guitars that tumble through their riffs and sound more than a little like BRMC. Great for a road trip.
www.thesoftexplosions.com

SB


 

Omnimotion - Japan (Chillosophy)

A distinctly European sounding slice of nu-ambient electronica here. In fact, it is so ambient that I almost forgot to listen at times. Would be good music to do the ironing to.

SB


 

Liner - Money

An unexpected act of consistency as I instantly recognised this single as the strongest track from Liner's album 'Proper Tunnel Vision' and decided that I still liked it a lot. Alternating between neat, clipped guitar verses and massive ringing choruses, 'Money' fair bops along. Even managed to review it before it got released (by one day at least) - miraculous.

SB


Beth Orton - Shopping trolley (EMI)

She of the tortured vibrato vocals releases another single from the highly successful 'Comfort of Strangers' album. There is no other way to describe it than easy listening and I'm at a bit of a loss as to why people go for it so much. It's not going to really annoy you but you'd be disappointed if it turned up from Auntie June in your Christmas stocking.
www.bethorton.co.uk
Watch video to 'Shopping Trolley'

SB


 

Très! Bien! - “Captured in Colour” (Très Bien International)

If I’m honest, I was slightly unsure over the presumptuous punctuation in the band’s name. Exclamation marks reek of a cocky self assurance and give a We! Are! Great! sort of message but after listening to this Floridian quartet’s latest offering, I soon found I had little reason to doubt. Throughout the album the lead singer frequently squeals like an over- excited Yorkshire terrier which, surprisingly, is not an insult as Captured in Colour is a joyful thrash of a record right. The Strokes-esque guitar rifts of Easy To Love Me help keep things perky and fun whilst the early Green Day sounding punk tracks, Girl You Ain’t Righteous and Two Tablespoons Of Attitude inject the album with an over- healthy dose of rumbling fun. A bumptious indie- rock feast of a record, Très! Bien! appear to live up to their modest continental title. Very! Good! Indeed!

Victoria Levitt


 

BabyPinkStar - I Don't Care

Some kind of horrific Sheffield based Napalm Death meets Shampoo screamathon anyone? Some 8 bit bleeps and beats are soon swallowed up by 2 chord distortion and laryngitis inducing vocals. Put you feet up, have a nice Horlicks and calm down chaps.
www.babypinkstar.com

SB


Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom - Relevee EP (EMI/DFA)

'Relevee' is s 7 minute trance-inducing slice of analogue synths that duel and compliment each other in equal measure. Like taking a rowing boat across a giant washing up bowl of Fairy liquid, this track pops and bubbles  with no respite. Not ambient, not techno but somewhere not far from either. It is backed by three remixes including a very Wink-esque 10 minute mix by Carl Craig which keeps building then crashing down with a huge rumbling bass rumble like an explosion deep underground. This is earsplitmongous. Will annoy the hell out of your neighbours too.

SB


Four Day Hombre - Don't Go Gently (Alamo)

Don't get me wrong. Four Day Hombre are very, very good. Good song writing, pristine musicianship and heartfelt vocals. Trouble is, do we need another Coldplay? I just get the feeling that they will forever be compared to the likes of Chris Martin's mob, Snow Patrol et al. So if you don't want to pay £35 for a ticket then just go and see Four Day Hombre on their current tour - you'll hardly notice the difference.
www.fourdayhombre.co.uk
Watch video to 'Don't Go Gently'

SB


 

Pete Kuzma feat. Bilal - High & Dry (Exit)

'The Bends' by Radiohead - one of the finest albums of all time. Needless to say various tasty colleagues will disagree but then they are probably in their fusty bedrooms dusting off obscure 12 inch singles by Bulgarian folk groups as we speak. But surely they would agree that this soulful bastardisation of 'High & Dry' is one of the worst music crimes ever committed. Truly horrendous. Which is curious, because the B-side re-working of 'Street Spirit' by Telefon Tel Aviv featuring Lindsay Anderson is a thing of beauty. Pros and cons then.

SB


The Wombats - Lost in the Post (Kids)

Scouse scamps in enjoyable indie romp scenario. Also includes a splendid three way vocal harmony bridge. Think The La's but with angular haircuts no doubt.

SB


 

Mono Band - Armies of Mice

This is so achingly like The Cranberries that is quite obvious that there is the hand of Noel Hogan involved. Whether in the clean picked guitar parts or the minimalist electronic swooshes that punctuate the track, the only discernable difference from the Cranberries is the male vocals provided by Richard Walters. 5/10.

SB