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singles - september 2006



 

Josh Pearson / Dirty Three – Split 7” (Bella Union) 

It is rare that a small slice of vinyl gets me this excited but as this record means two of the worlds most beguiling presences are brought together on one piece of white vinyl its hard not to.

Josh Pearson’s offering here is a reworking of the Hank Williams standard ‘I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry’ done to truly haunting effect. If you thought the original in all its boozed soaked pity was a bleak and beautiful number well wait till you hear what Pearson’s done to it. With a pace close to crawling, the track glides by with breathy vocals and a crypt like throbbing and wheezing accompaniment as if Hank’s very own spirit were propelling it along. It takes everything you have in you not to just break down into tears by the end. Frankly if Pearson’s solo record (if it ever appears) is half as good as this I may struggle to cope.

Dirty Three’s track, ‘Doris’, is very much from the more upbeat end of their body of work and perhaps has more of their live sound to it than usual. Tight percussion and an Eastern-European folk slant to it its reminiscent of a barn dance in Hades and just goes to prove that absolutely no-one else sounds like Dirty Three.

A strictly limited pressing of this release has been made so I say bag one now or regret it for eternity.

Luke Drozd



 

Pifco / Bilge Pump – Jonathan Richman Split 7” (Run of the Mill) 

Two Leeds bands go head to head with a cover of a Jonathan Richman track each, frankly what could go wrong?

I’ll admit I’ve often found myself unsure of what to make of Pifco but their cover here of ‘She Cracked’ oozes with lo-fi, punk rock delight that its damned hard not to fall for.

Flipside finds Leeds heroes Bilge pump in fine fettle and treating ‘Government Center’, a personal favourite Richman track of mine, to its very own Pumpian rendition. Its tight, handclap filled musical joy that unsurprising sounds like Bilge Pump covering Jonathan Richman. A record guaranteed to put a smile on your face and not just because it’s on lovely crimson vinyl.

Luke Drozd


 

Monster Killed By Laser / That Fucking Tank – King Crimson split 7” (Run of the Mill) 

Take two Leeds based rock behemoths with a love of being noisy buggers and ask them to pick a King Crimson song each to cover and pray tell what do you get? Well a bloody lovely bright green 7” of rockovian proportions that’s what.

Monster Killed By Laser opt for ‘Larks Tongues in Aspic (pt 2)’ and give it a damn good going over too. Its like prog rock with a filthy aftertaste.

That Fucking Tank then offer up their unique take on ‘Red’ and rather than a mere cover we find them honing in on the songs riffs and grooves and teasing them out to create a repetitive and rather sexually stirring number.

As one in an ongoing series of split 7”s from the Run of the Mill stable all I can say is keep them coming.

Luke Drozd


Thom Yorke - ‘Harrowdown Hill’ (XL) 

Okay I know that Thom Yorke has been coy about his reasons for wanting to work solo, lets just say he wanted to do something different with more electronica, that’s fine. The problem is his sneering vocals are Radiohead, are how they sound. Therefore this sounds like Radiohead with more electonica. A bit dull if I’m honest. 

MJL

Thom Yorke – Harrowdown Hill (XL)

As a confirmed hater of Radiohead, this fills me full of dread. My fears are realised when I find out that this is the whingeing twatbag’s ‘ambient’ ‘project’. Is there anything more bloated or self-important than that? This is as boring as every other thing this man has drawled across for the last 15 years, and I, for one, won’t be having it. Next!

Sam Metcalf


The Rolling Stones - Biggest Mistake (Virgin)

Not content with being with being hugely successful over the last 40 years the Stones are still churning out this stuff. All the Stones signatures are there, the Richards guitar sound, distinctive Jagger vocals and the three part vocal harmonies. In fact it isn't that bad. But they are filthy rich and should be spending their fortunes falling out of palm trees rather than clogging up young ears well into the 21st century.
www.rollingstones.com

SB


Cassius - Toop Toop

Cassius were part of the pioneering group of French artists who managed to fuse jazzy hip hop with more common club dance sounds. 'Toop Toop' is the first single of their new album '15 Again' and settles nicely into a bouncy, vaguely reggae-based number complete with Zdar's megaphone distorted vocals. Damn cool these Frenchies.
watch video to 'Toop Toop'
www.cassius.fm

SB


Phoenix - Consolation Prizes (Virgin)

Probably the best track from their album 'It's Never Been Like That', 'Consolation Prizes is all summery and optimistic. Much like The Kooks, I still don't see what all the fuss is about but each to their own.
watch the video to 'Consolation Prizes'

SB


Adem – ‘Launch Yourself’ (Domino) 

Having very much enjoyed Adem’s 2004 record ‘Homesongs’, with its charming mixture of folk and electronica, I was delighted to receive ‘Launch yourself’ to review. However it has left me somewhat cold. This single contains three remixes of ‘Launch yourself, as well as the original album version. The album version is pleasant enough, but no-where near as striking as any of the material on ‘Homesongs’. The radio mix seems to me absolutely identical to the original, and the two others remixes, by Four Tet and Hot Chip, add very little to the track Without meaning to be coarse, you can’t polish a turd. Which is slightly unfair, ‘Launch yourself’ isn’t a turd, it’s simply too bland to have much of an opinion of. 

Michael Pearson


The Wombats - Moving to New York (Kids)

I remember getting The Wombat's album some time back and consigning it to the 'unreviewable dull' pile of CDs. I can only conclude I was having some kind of breakdown as 'Moving to New York' is a truly magnificent slice of indie pop. Harmonies, ludicrously high guitar parts and a boundless energy - it's like listening to The Lodger on speed.
www.myspace.com/thewombatsuk

SB


The Rogers Sisters - Why Won't You 

You almost didn't get this review. For some hours last night, I was drinking alone and I fell asleep, dropping a bottle of beer that ejaculated excitedly all over a stack of CDs I had to review. Fortunately it was shielded by a Ludes album, which sadly, is no longer with us.  

'Why Won't You' is an excellent rocker, courtesy of two sisters with a zero tolerance for the mediocre. Play this one loud the morning after your zappy neighbours have kept you awake all night with gabba. With a little bit of luck, the relentlessly heavy and merciless guitar riffs, with the pounding drums and no-nonsense yelling will cause their brains to seep out of their ears.

The remix of 'Sooner or Later' is a more chilling offering. With layer upon layer of haunting nuances and ethereal ghostings that emanate from well beyond the wall of infinity, this is a delightful piece of music and not in the least comparable to the industrial strength of the first track. Brilliant stuff. When's the album due?

Alex Clark


Bricolage - Flowers of Deceit (Playlouder)

Someone's grown up listening to The Cure on repeat methinks. complete with Smithsian vocals and 'Lovecats' style double bass sound. Still quite agreeable mind.

SB


 

Jack Butler - Velvet Prose (Whimsical)

With an intro that sounds like it is born of a Killers B-side I may have been hasty in quickly categorising this release in the plagiarist camp. It suddenly sneaks off in a completely different twinkly guitar direction before returning to the touchstone shouty chorus again. Most unexpected.

'Candles' is like the Arctic Monkeys meets The Police doing a post punk rendition of Walking on the Moon'. At pace. Most unexpected.

'He Got No Game!' is another weirdly Police inspired guitar frenzy of twinkling guitars cutting across each other and played very high up the fret board to give that quick, short sustain sound. A bit new wave, but not. Most unexpected.
www.jackbutler.co.uk

SB


 

Mekon - Boy Bitten (feat. Rita Brown) / Blood on the Moon (feat. Alan Veag and Bobby Gillespie) (PIAS/Wall of Sound)

This is exceptionally good filthy electro/industrial techno stuff to get your teeth into. Samplers and sequences are ritually mashed through an angle grinder before being dismembered  and mashed with a pile driver beat. Two slightly more accessible remixes for the weak of heart too - very considerate.

SB


The Black Tulips - The Dogs' Home / Lie Detector / Under the Skin

The Black Tulips do not do things by halves. 'The Dogs' Home' is a full on gothic operetta complete with harpsichord-noir. 'Under the Skin' has the potential to be a gentle love song to soothe the soul before the genius of the butchered vocals tear it to shreds and the bass wobbles slightly. Uncategorisable and intriguing - you always get value from The Black Tulips.
www.theblacktulips.com

SB


 

James Yorkston - Steady as She Goes (Domino)

One of the poppier numbers from sleepy voiced Yorkston's forthcoming album 'Year of the Leopard', 'Steady as She Goes' would still not exactly get the dancefloors brimming over. But in much the same vain as Jose Gonzalez, Yorkston continues carving out his very own non-niche market in personal melodic folk-based pop.

SB


The Needles - Summer Girls

I gather that The Needles have been gaining a bit of momentum recently and with ‘Summer Girls’, it’s easy to understand why.  

It seems as though Dave Dixon has taken Brian Wilson’s song-writing ideals by the scruff of the neck and dragged them kicking and screaming into 2006.  

Sure, the song’s a whimsical flight of fancy all about girls and good times, but it’s got a very modern catch to it. Expect this to stand head and shoulders above all of the other young pretenders. 

‘How Come it Doesn’t Rain’ is mercifully far withdrawn from a drab lamentation. Instead, it’s upbeat, shining and most importantly, there’s something to groove to.  

‘Starting to Worry’ is an excellent rocker with a guitar that sounds as though it could’ve come from Led Zeppelin’s ‘Physical Graffiti’ sessions. 

The three songs on this single barely even reach a total play time of seven minutes, yet it yields such a rich listening experience. 

And there’s something here for the ladies… Dave Dixon has a certain something of the Ville Valo about him.

Alex Clark


SiXeR - Love Me Like You Do  (Snowy Memo)

Overlooking their abuse of the caps lock in their title, SiXeR produce a powerful dreamy sound full of reverb, echo and pounding drums. Quite an achievement for just a twosome though at times the vocals suffer from being a bit weak, especially on the B-side 'Inside My Heart She Grows'. Otherwise though, VeRy GoOd.
www.sixermusic.co.uk

SB


 

Yo La Tengo - Mr Tough – (Matador) 

Yo La Tengo’s recent work seems to fall into one of three styles, leftfield American rock, late night beauty or pop ditty, this, taken from the forthcoming album ‘ I Am Not Afraid Of You And Will Beat Your Ass’ sits nicely within the pop ditty area and confirms the bands enormous talents again. Not many bands could produce such music without it sounding simply twee and annoying, however, these poppy moments are best enjoyed when heard within the context of a whole album, so it’s not until such songs are heard sandwiched between two eight minute instrumental drone tracks their true genius is discovered.   

Ron Beasley


Badly Drawn Boy - Nothing's Going to Change Your Mind (EMI)

Wussy piano driven ballad which breaks into pompous string chorus from indie pop's prime woolly hat wearer ? Someone explain what all the fuss is about please.
www.badlydrawnboy.co.uk

SB


 

The Dresden Dolls - Backstabber (Roadrunner)

Not your average cup of tea The Dresden Dolls. No guitars for a start. But their is a faded Vaudevillian glamour to the powerfully delivered 'Backstabber' as the keys are hammered out and the drums form their own patterns rather than just providing a backing. By far the most uncompromising of the current  swathe of keyboard driven bands and also probably the best.
www.thedresdendolls.com

SB


The Vitamins - You Got Me Singing (3byk)

Any band which name checks Stevie Nicks and The Cars as reference points has me reaching for the eject button. 'You Got Me Singing' is a ludicrously simple verse-chorus-verse-athon that somehow does not sound as jaded and dated as it should. Credit probably goes to vocalist Rebecca who manages to animate the simple but dynamic guitar hooks. Unlikely but gets a tentative thumbs up.
www.thevitamins.co.uk

SB


Zox - Can't Look Down (SideOneDummy)

A screeching string sound running right through this track will mean you will either love it or it will drive you mad. Harbouring a long standing suspicion of The levellers I am on the back foot but 'Can't Look Down' is so slickly produced that it carried off the sound with ease. But there are warning signs like 'Thirsty' which sounds like the bastard offspring of We Are Scientists and Dexys Midnight Runners. Be vigilant comrades. A cover of The Pixies 'Where is My Mind' settles the nerves to close with.
www.zoxband.com

SB


Underdog - Sunny Estate EP (Criminal)

Slick packaging. nice photography. Good production. But what makes us want to listen to this? 'Watching and Waiting' sounds a lot like a Marillion song spliced with The Killers - not a good combination. Underdog are not a bad band but they are just so derivative. I bet there is a really talented band lurking under there but someone has pummelled them into this corner because they think it will make a few quid. Sad really.
www.underdogtheband.co.uk

SB


The Authentics - Supercharge EP (UNOB)

If there is any reward for hard work then The Authentics should have their feet up around a pool in the Caribbean by now. Over 50 gig s in 8 months, running your own label and putting out three EPs a year must take it out of you. They don't pretend to be doing something they are not - this is out and out riffmongous rock of the type that the Manics were doing early on when they still gave a damn. The energy in the music provides the explanation as to how they keep up such a workload - they really love to do it and they want to succeed. I don't think I would buy this myself but you have to admire their effort.
www.theauthentics.co.uk

SB


 

popup - Lucy, What You Trying To Say (Art Goes Pop)

A tumbling guitar riff set to a raw drum beat and some cute melodies. So simple, scratchy and yummy that I have descended into baby talk.
www.popuptheband.com

SB


Devastations - Take you Home (Beggars Banquet) 

This is the first single from Australian Music Prize nominated album “Coal”.

With a guitar melody that’s repetitive to the point of insanity, “take you home” gives the feeling of some kind of indie pop post rock. Its not and if its meant to be then its not. It’s not DOOP either however.

“Can I take you home so I wont be alone tonight?” Sings the lead singer. Maybe that’s also the reason they made a band (to not be alone) instead of writing good music. Either way I wont judge to harshly, they got nominated for a music prize. Plus Australia gave us the Go-Betweens, The Chills and Gina G.

There’s a pointless Velvet Underground cover for the B-Side which suggests some merit or possibly not. 

Chuck.A.Wobbly

Devastations – Take You Home (Beggars Banquet)

Devastations are the Australian Buffalo Tom, and as I’ve missed Buffalo Tom a bit over the last few months, then ‘Take You Home is mighty fine by me. It’s a driving song with a harrowing middle eight that would probably feature in a film where a someone is pining over a dead puppy, or something. Kleenex at the ready, comrades.

Sam Metcalf


Stephen Malkmus - Kindling For the Master (Domino)

Ex-Pavement frontman goes dancey in funk pop shocker? That's right, at least on this bunch of remixes which weigh in at over 25 minutes long. There's a lo-fi dubby mix by the ubiquitous Hot Chip and a very minimal chopped up Polmo Polpo mix (my own personal fave). But what is going on Stevie? 70's funk?
www.stephenmalkmus.com

SB


 

Tapes’n’Tapes - Cowbell (XL) 

This being Tapes’n’Tapes second single from their debut album “The Loon” is suitably fast paced and short. Not fast like thrash oh no. It just begins with a sliding bass line and the drums hammering away 4/4 before the funny little singers’ wobbly wine comes and then every one sings in the chorus. It’s enjoyable and as I’m finding with Tapes’n’Tapes they write songs I don’t like but then put something in that makes me like it. Does the singer sound like Frank Black?......I don’t know.

The best thing though is the remix buy the Black Keys because it’s better. 

Chuck.A.Wobbly


Psapp - Hi (Domino)

Is anything as joyously twinkly as a PSapp single? I think probably not. This one, complete with trademark kitchen sink percussion and velvety vocals is no exception. Marvellously summerific!
www.psapp.com
Watch video to 'Hi'

SB


 

To My Boy -I am X-Ray/Outer regions (Abeano) 

As soon as you hear this single it conjures up an image of a smoky room filled with skinny spods in tight jeans at the Faversham. Some in velvet blazers, another in an old soldiers jacket with a hair cut like a fat African porcupine, all having the time of their lives in a fine pair of winkle pickers.

I’d be outside though with some brandy in a smoking jacket picking up all the young girls who couldn’t get in like a heterosexual Jonathon King. “Don’t worry dear have some of this it’ll warm you up. What’s that? You’re in a new wave band but no one will sign you, how very awful.”

Any way they sound a bit like OMD so check them out remember I said “a bit” obviously no one can come close to the Demi-Lords Paul Humphries and Andy Mclusky.

Chuck A. Wobbly

To My Boy – I Am X-Ray (Beggars Banquet)

Aww, this is dead pretty. To My Boy are futurepop to the max. Imagine Devo playing Bis songs. Yep, that good. And catchy as fuck, too. If the future is To My Boy, then the future is going to made of pop songs full of bleeps and loops and cute vocals. I love the future.

Sam Metcalf


c24

Chapter 24 - Albatross Candyfloss/Chapter 24 and the Hep Cats (Sorted)

This is totally ace! Chapter 24 sound like they just make it up as they go along with a gloriously chaotic sounds complete with strug-out wacko female vocals. 'Albatross Candyfloss' seems to unravel to the point of no return then suddenly drags itself back together with a whiff of audio smelling salts before cruising back off with another verse. Weird space synth guitar effects too. How brill is this?

the answer is just a little bit less brill than Chapter 24 and the 'Hep Cats' which lurches along on a catchy guitar hook but is wholly underpinned by the reliable bass. It's not immediately obvious that vocalist Claire actually knows the words and that this is not some kind of freeform creation. And they pick their set list from a tea pot on stage. Chapter 24 you have made my night!
www.myspace.com/chapter24

SB


 

Conway - A Mover & a Shaker ep

There's a bizarre rockabilly vitality about this EP that makes it hard not to like, even though the second track (sorry, no track listings included) makes me feel wistful about Patrick Swayze in the film Roadhouse and makes me wonder if Jeff Healey is now working in the kitchen of a Little Chef in the Norwich area...

SB


Hot Club De Paris – EveryEveryEverything (Moshi Moshi)

I think someone’s been listening to Arctic Monkeys. Hot Club De Paris’ new single jumps all over the place, without really going anywhere, and is mercifully short at just over two minutes. It’s even got northern vocals. Okay, so they might be northern. But no-one quite that northern…dull at best.

Sam Metcalf


Breed 77 - Blind (Alberts)

Weird how Breed 77 are a 100% British metal band but manage to fuse almost every one of their tracks with some Latino rhythms or in this case, some spoken word Spanish (I think it was Spanish) - we truly are a multicultural society. A lot more refreshing than your standard grindcore.
www.breed77.net

SB


 

IV Thieves – The Day is a Downer ep (One Little Indian)

Imagine is Cast had been locked in a shed for 10 years, and had been unleashed onto the world with at least three half written songs. Imagine then if Paul McCartney was asked to supply vocals. Imagine then if you had to listen to it. Unimaginable, isn’t it?

Sam Metcalf


Voxtrot - Mothers, Sisters, Daughters and Wives (Playlouder)

Lovely echoey guitar sounds kick off this pleasing pop quintet of songs. the short guitar hooks keep coming, interspersed with little peeks of horns and strings. No real stand out songs but a sound EP all the same.
Watch video to 'Soft & Warm'

SB


Dan Sartain – Replacement Man (One Little Indian)

Like a post punk Johnny Cash, Dan Sartain’s new single is quite wonderful. Half 50s rockabilly, half country, it slides all over the place like a snake about to attack Steve Irwin…oh. Anyway, if you wanna shake quiff in the air like you just don’t care, this is a great place to start.

Sam Metcalf


 

Gus Black - Certain Kind of Light (India)

Another day another earnest singer songwriter. And this one is a year old too. 'Certain Kind of Light' is OK although the delicate vocals verge on being weak. Ultimately forgettable though.
www.gusmusic.com

SB


 

Screaming Mimi – Who Is Louise demo

Lovely, tense indie spaz pop from Screaming Mimi – a name I’ve been aware of for a while now, but have been able to hear anything from. Think Long Blondes mixed with Pixies, and just sit back and wonder how good that sounds. Wonder no longer, for it is here. ‘Who is Louise’ is a quite marvellous piece of nouveau-pop. Listen to it. Immediately.

Sam Metcalf


babypinkstar - Poseur (Underachiever)

An original mix of squelchy electronics and old school rock and roll disguise the fact that 'poseur' is all about the effect and not the content, which is thin on the ground. A riotous crowd pleaser rather than needing some cerebral effort, you get the feeling that this might appeal to 17 year olds more than 27 year olds.
www.babypinkstar.com

SB


Pilotlight- Music to Cross the Road to (Coercion Records)

Okay, we’re in the emo/indie field of tunage here. Originally from Dublin, ‘Pilotlight’ relocated to London in late 2005 after already releasing two singles in their native Ireland, apparently to a good deal of acclaim. Anyhew, new record ‘Music to Cross the Road to’, seems to offer nothing new than many other UK bands of the same genre and tendencies. That’s not saying there’s anything bad with this release; both tracks are really lovely and there’s something about their ‘stadium’ sound that is very familiar and comforting. Even the b-side, ‘all purpose underneath’, though not having the punch of the title track, is indeed well crafted and played. I like records like this from time to time. It’s good to just sit back with the headphones on and listen to some guy wailing his heart out.
www.pilotlightmusic.com

TM


The Victorian English Gentlemens Club - Impossible Sightings Over Shelton (Fantastic Plastic)

One of the more overtly Pixie-ish tracks from their album, 'Impossible Sightings Over Shelton' is all military snare and thrumming bass set to male-female yelping vocals. The VEGC sound like nothing else around at the moment, some achievement in itself. Add to that a song of psychedelic dizzyness that deconstructs itself before conking out completely and you have got one superbly kooky bunch.
Watch video to 'Impossible Sightings Over Shelton'

SB


Aliens - The Happy Song (EMI)

Like Oasis on some kind of pyschedelic disco space dust. If this sounds exciting to you then listen away. Otherwise move on please.
Watch video to 'The Happy Song'

SB


 

Neatpeople - Baby I’m Bored/Anchor (Rekabet Records)

Poptastic! I really hope to God these guys aren’t all in their forties because it might make this single less good and a bit weird. Sort of how the ‘The Get Up Kids’ are still called ‘The Get Up Kids’, but haven’t been “kids” for a very long time. As it happens, they all look quite young and carry the scraggy pop look which is needed almost as much as the songs these days.

There’s a real ‘80’s feel to the opening track ‘Baby I’m Bored’. Maybe a bit of ‘Dexy’s…’ I don’t really want to get wrapped up in listing loads of bands that put there instruments away twenty years ago. The whole record is in general very uplifting, even if the lyrics to both tracks are fairly melancholy. In fact, I was in such a good mood after hearing this that I told my 7 months pregnant wife to get up off of her knees and stop scrubbing the kitchen floor and offered to do it for her.

The band are making this single available to download so you won’t even have to leave the house to buy it. You can stay indoors, buy it, buy an I-pod, have it delivered, buy your food online, and have it delivered. In fact the only time you’ll need to leave the house is if you go to see Neatpeople on their tour supporting the release of the single where they’ll be playing some of the greatest toilets up and down the country like most hard working bands. Do I advise you to go see them? Yes. Yes I do. And make sure you pay.
http://www.neatpeople.co.uk

by TM


 

Open Mouth - demos

The acoustic offspring of Seymour Glass from Miss Black America, this 4-track demo is really quite impressive. Great melodies and velvety vocals that ebb flow instead of just wandering aimlessly. Opening track 'Castle Keep' builds like a majestic storm cloud to a massive finale without ever leaving the acoustic field. Glass has an impressive ability to change mood without ever sounding trite. There is also an amazing, swirling cover version of Nirvana's 'Love Buzz' Perhaps the start of a marvellous new thing.
www.openmouthmusic.co.uk

SB


Signal Generator - Output (Occasional)

Some ambient electro synthpop here from Calderdale-based Signal Generator. With a penchant for weird titles like 'Cerebral Sit', Legno Lungo' and 'Radix Lecti', the EP starts of at the bouncy, fuzzy, friendly end of the spectrum and moves through various phases before settling into the slightly disturbing final track - which is very 'I Care Because You Do' era Aphex Twin. Not ground breaking but pleasing enough evening entertainment.

SB


Dashboard Confessional - Don't Wait (Hassle)

Not only is this unfathomably dreary teen indie pop but it has an embedded video file which has shagged up my media player settings. Out damn spot!

SB


Nerina Pallot - Sophia (14th Floor)

Falling firmly into the ever-popular female-singer-songwriter-with-angelic-voice category, Nerina Pallot does have a fantastic sound. Try to block out the over produced string and keyboard sections and enjoy Miss Pallot's unfeasibly high voice.
www.nerinapallot.com
Watch video to 'Sophia'

SB


Eftus Spectun - demo

Always a pleasure to get unmarked CDs with no blurb and no bio. A quick squiz on WhySpace yields little clue either so on with the listening experience unhindered with hyperbole and marketeering.

Suffice to say Eftus Spectun will not be bothering Top of the pops anytime soon. In fact, it seems they have little mastery over their respective instrumentation at all. This is obviously to be commended as why should making music be merely within the realm of the musically gifted? In this 14 minute track, all remnants of conventional song writing are eschewed in favour of intermittent chords of dread, apparently meaningless vocal chants and the occasional spatter of drums. This is either genius or total tosh depending on your standpoint.

SB


Creeps - demo

As unmarked demos go this one if pretty middle of the road. Not horrifically terrible but sadly not amazingly terrific either. More in the frustrating 'competent' bracket I'd say. Guitar based indie rock, not too leaden, not too dynamic. Four tracks, not too long , not too short. Don't write them off but don't queue for tickets either. getting the picture here?

SB


 

The Vines - Don't Listen to the Radio (EMI)

I didn't realise that there was anything salvageable from 'Vision Valley' by The Vines but heard in isolation this track isn't too bad. It's got a great soaring chorus and is a snappy 2 minutes long with that Supergrass style feelgood factor about it.
www.thevines.com

SB


Placebo - Meds (Virgin)

Ok - so I'm going to put myself firmly in the untrendy camp again. I don't sit around wearing badly smudged mascara and I don't have a particular penchant for black leather or spandex combinations. But I do like a bit of Placebo and this is no exception. Despite the earnest lyrics (boo hoo!) it's a top tune that builds and builds. I'm off to hide in a dark room away from the fashionistas...
Watch video to 'Meds'
www.placeboworld.co.uk

SB


 

Silvertop - Office Girlfriend

A taut guitar triplet of songs greet us here dear listener. The guitars seem to work tirelessly through each song weaving new and intricate sounds so the tracks never become formulaic or boring. They possess a slightly dark side that lends some additional gravitas to the proceedings. Indie pop for grown ups.
www.silvertop.co.uk

SB


The Sleepy Jackson - I Understand What You Want But I Just Don't Agree (Virgin)

Another The Sleepy Jackson single leaves me asking the question, 'What is the big deal here?'. A featureless Abba-esque pop song (without the ironic cheesiness) begs the question how many more unfortunate session musicians were culled by control freak Luke Steel during the making of this record? Call our advice line to help them out...
www.sleepyjackson.com

SB


 

First of the Giants - Obsessive Compulsive (Little Think)

First of the Giants carry a stately grace like a musical elder with some forceful guitar parts that both power the single 'Obsessive Compulsive' and chop it up into definable segments. They use some slightly quirky key changes that make this edgy and modern sounding (urgh, what a horrible description - I do apologise). In the minus column the vocals sound a little wobbly and weak in places (though this does add a certain vulnerable charm to things). A useful debut, to use a football parlance.
www.firstofthegiants.co.uk

SB


Rose Kemp - Violence (One Little Indian)

With a title like that, this was never going to be a charming little love song. But for the first minute or so it sounds like a proggy Stevie Nicks offshoot. But once Kemp's slightly nasally vocals give way to the destructive wall of distortion in the choruses you know that this is a bit more powerful than a Fleetwood Mac B-side. Backed by an intriguing and haunting vocal round that only concedes the bare minimum of guitar feedback as accompaniment, this makes for a pretty interesting release.
www.rosekemp.co.uk

SB


 

Luxembourg - Sick of DIY (Dogbox)

Not quite as superb as previous single 'We Only Stayed Together for the Kids' Luxembourg still know how to get a good hook into a song and the 'It's not enough Friday to Sunday, I want you here from Tuesday to Monday' chorus delivers the goods. It's a bit more twee than some of their other stuff and tasty comrade columbine even described them as 'glam' recently. Hmm, maybe he's right but there's nothing wrong with having a good old jig around your kitchen while wearing your Marigolds is there?
www.luxembourgband.com

SB


Akira the Don - Oh! (What a Glorious Thing)/Boom (Smash Stuff) (Construction)

We maybe a bit outside Tasty's comfort zone here - reviewing hip hop records - whatever next? But this is not your aggro hip-hop nasty shooty gang type thing. No, this is lovey dovey hip-hop with sprinklings of summery love, a chorus of school children and the awesome rhyming couplet of 'when the sun's blistering, I'm gonna have to take an antihystamine'. Medical advice too - who could argue with a release like that?

To regain some credibility 'Boom' is all about, err, smashing things up, including Elastica's 'Connection' (and by definition, Wire's 'Three Girl Rhumba from which Elastica stole the riff). Enough scary Britpop knowledge from me - time you went and listened to Akira the Don.
www.akirathedon.com

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Sound Team - Born to Please (Parlophone)

Born to Please indeed - pleasing rattly guitar hooks left to reverb around the mix while the vocals remain understated and feature a few little two part harmonies on the way. Very agreeable.
www.soundteam.net
Watch video to 'Born to Please'

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Iain Archer - When it Kicks In (PIAS/Wall of Sound)

Rampantly energetic stuff that sees Archer describing his experiences of growing up in terrorist rife Belfast. His voice lifts the lid on the choruses, tearing away from the rapid delivery of the verses. Just proves you don't win an Ivor Novello award for nothing.
Watch video to 'When it Kicks In'

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The Pipettes - Judy (Memphis Industries)

The Pipettes seem firmly entrenched in the sound of a previous age. If that means lovely girly three way harmonies then so be it. If that means parpy horn led choruses then so be it. If it is means describing childhood friendships so be it. But mixing them all together in this hackneyed mish mash just bores me. Plus I listened to the single edit loads of times as I thought there might be a rude word in it (the promo version also listed a 'clean' version) but not a jot. How disappointing.

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John Zealey - Dave? Funny Name for a Girl (Gaia Media)

'Dave? Funny name for a Girl' sounds suspiciously like 'We Didn't Start the Fire' by Billy Joel in places. Hmm, I wonder if self confessed child carer Zealey has similar leanings to tree-hugger Joel? Either way, this collection of three songs are expertly produced like a labour of love but they won't exactly get you scrambling for the rip button on iTunes. Good luck to John combining his family and music ambitions though. And he does have some very funny pictures of his previous career as a robotic dancer on his press release.
www.zealey.co.uk

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Shut Your Eyes And You'll Burst Into Flames - Drop the Decade (Dance to the Radio)

It's easy to see why this band are touring with The Sunshine Underground as they share that same kind of intelligent break beat intelligent indie funk a la The Rapture and counterparts. As such, 'Drop the Decade' is achingly now but no worse for it, especially the hollowed out snare drum sound.
www.myspace.com/shutyoureyesandyoullburstintoflames

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Dananananaykroyd - Some Dresses (Jealous)

Lovely clean guitars and a great tune give this track a really well finished feel. The impossibly named Glaswegians share more than just a record label with This Ain't Vegas. There is a similar DC hardcore sound. But where TAV really push the raw energy in their sound, Danananaykroyd really weave in some great melodies that make their sound a little bit more accessible to your average music listener. great stuff.
www.myspace.com/danananaykroyd

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The Answer - Under the Sky (Alberts)

Another onslaught from Irish rockers The Answer which will polarise opinion more than Marmite. the difference since I listened to their last single is that I recently saw a repeat of that dog of a film Roadhouse in which Jeff Healey does a lot of the soundtrack. This sounds very similar. Which means the Answer are very talented musicians, not necessarily very inventive musicians.
www.theanswer.ie

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Circuits - Say No Say Yeah (Try Science!)

Various reggae break beats and a slightly punky vibe string together the scatter gun drums and pristine guitar licks. A bit like The Police, a bit like 10CC. But there's even a bit of an interlude suggesting that Circuits are happy top break out of the late 70's sound and, errr, even further back to brass bands.
www.circuitsband.com

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Imogen Heap - Headlock (White Rabbit/Megaphonic)

An Imogen Heap single is a dizzying mix of electronics, orchestral arrangements, airy vocals and sudden thundering choruses. 'Headlock' is no different and there's even some harp thrown in for good measure. This single has a radio friendly veneer but retains a slightly leftfield attitude. Maybe it is this very property which seems to polarise opinion about Imogen Heap so viciously.

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Holy Hail - County Fair (Playlouder)

Another search for the 'next big thing' leads to us being afflicted by this piano led disco frenzy from US disco fiends Holy Hail. Similar to the Scissor Sisters but possibly worse.

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The Two Headed Monsters sampler (Orson)

I've heard quite a bit about Orson, much of it positive media hype and the rest negative reaction from friends. Which is slightly confusing because this isn't even by Orson - aargh - they get everywhere. no dear readers, this is neat sampler from The Two Headed Monster's forthcoming album and mainly features Warp-style minimal beats and electro sounds that just seem to noodle and nurdle along quite happily without any need for a strong  song structure. From what I can make out, the album is a compilation but it seems many of the contributions are pretty similar in format. 'Spot the Difference' features some squelching and icy tingling and there's a really annoying sample in 'Cocopuffs' but otherwise the method is not to stray too far fro the Warp path. Nice stuff.

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