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singles - october 2006


Omerta – One More Minute (Northern Ambition)

My word, Omerta sound even more new-wave than Sound Team. Frankly, I’ve had enough of these new fangled vocalists trying to sound like Ian Curtis, whilst a keyboard wibbles away in the background. I mean, this is Interpol. Or The Killers. Or something equally as dull. I blame Martin Gore for a lot.
Watch video to 'One More Minute'

Sam Metcalf


DaPunkSportif - Ready! Set! Go! (PHD)

A deliciously grungey punk rock number that sounds like a cross between Queens of the Stone Age and Siouxsie  & the Banshees. The droney guitar part half way through is genius and not a hint of either Ainsley Harriet or Mike Reid in site.



Starky – Is This How it Ends (Loog)

I’ll ignore the poor grammar in the song title, and cut straight the chase. It’s more Razorlight-lite. I’m heartily bored of this kind of nonsense now. Please make it stop. Fucking hell. The b-side is called ‘Hey Bang Bang’. Imbeciles.

Sam Metcalf


Blood Safari - Turn to Shit

No rose tinted spectacles here as Portuguese outfit The Blood Safari sing about 'Everything I touch turns to shit'. I know the feeling - only this morning I spilt a bottle of milk, nearly a whole pint. But this tune is heavily heavily influenced by the likes of The Cramps and has a raw sound with clattering drums and garagey guitar. According to the press release 'our intention is to create a new group of evildoers, to give to migraine the virgin minds and to all make solid the "zombidification" of the universe' [sic]. The music is good but god knows what the hell that is on about.



Sparklehorse – Don’t Take My Sunshine Away (Capitol)

Oh, what a let down. After liking some of Sparklehorse’s stuff down the years, this sounds like the Beatles covering an Eagles song. Or the Eagles covering ‘Dear Prudence’. It’s limper than a lettuce leaf that’d been left out in the sun without any hat on.

‘Ghost in the Sky’ is more like it, and is delightfully frazzled, but if Sparklehorse are going for the Guardian readers, then they’re halfway there with this single.

Sam Metcalf


Jamie Says - Machine (Sorted)

A one man walking noise machine who fills every pore of your hearing with some musical device, Jamie Says is the working title of Kyle Hill. There is a glorious lo-fi atmosphere to the title track with the Christmas single style percussion (bells and maracas) forming a steady backdrop to the Carter USM style guitar lines. Poppy but indie, even slightly punk

the ever-present fuzz is continued through 'Remember' and 'Jamie Says' is more like a two minute manifesto where the words are so distorted the message is indecipherable - a bit like a Conservative Party Political Broadcast then. But with much groovier guitar hooks.



The Gossip – Standing in the Way of Control (Back Yard)

Fashionistas sing along. The Gossip do their quirky art punk thing as well as anyone else, I guess. And this sounds a bit like Tammy Wynette fronting Bis, and that’s quite refreshing. And then it begins to sound a little Franz Ferdinand. I’m pretty sure there are only three songs being written these days. And this is one of them.

Sam Metcalf


The Juliana Down - Cold (Horus)

'Four piece alternative rock bands' - ten a penny aren't they? Some impressive guitar hooks rapped up in a bit of a stadium rawk tune complete with bass solo and heartfelt vocals more like. not my bag but as 'alternative rock' goes, pretty well done.



Serena Maneesh – ‘Sapphire Eyes’ (Playloudrecordings) 

Serena Maneesh follow up their critically acclaimed, self-titled debut album with their second single ‘Sapphire Eyes’ remixed by producer Brendan Lynch of Primal Scream ‘XTRMNTR’ fame. The single features a variety of remixes kicking off with the single version, think growling guitar with banging drums contrasting with the soft trance-like voice of. The second mix comes from Tony Doogan, who’s produced post-rockers Mogwai, and takes you on a trippy journey waking you up at the end to the growling guitar heard on the first remix. An eerie ending to a psychedelic trip, the third remix has a pounding baseline with the fourth sounding pretty much like the first, except shorter. Nominated in the ‘Best Norwegian Band’ category for the MTV Europe Music Awards, Serena-Maneesh has made an impression over the festival period playing at NYC’s Siren and gaining them a following. Well worth a listen.
Watch video to 'Sapphire Eyes'        

Claire Maciejewski


Quad Throw Salchow - The Unwelcome Guest / Speed (Try Science!)

Curiously minimalist bass hook and an electronic backing throb all the way through this track and provide the basis for some other worldly vocals courtesy of O de Lanzac. Very bugged out and a little bit unsettling.

'Speed' is very similar and equally creepy. What strange minds are at work within Quad Throw Salchow?



The Voom Blooms - Anna / Models of Soho (23rd Recordings)

Is this another one of those bands like The Kooks who just seem to sound like Supergrass but who the kids will love? Oh yes, I think it is. At least b-side 'The Models of Soho' has a groovy kind of ska vibe.



The Answering Machine - Oklahoma / The Hold Up (High Voltage Sounds)

The Answering Machine are unremittingly bouncy and energetic which is what you need when you peddle out just a couple of jangly chords per track. Yelpy yelpy vocals and 3 minute pop wizardry aplenty.



Sound Team - Born to Please

It would seem that Sound Team's mission statement is to hit their audience hard and sure enough, when I listen to this record with its marauding guitars and needy vocals and when I hear this bass line that's raunchy enough to conjure memories of U2's 'New Years Day', I can't help but feel physically entombed by the solid wall of sound that rips through my Lansings. 

Forgive the purple brevity of this review, but it is a little niggardly of The Sound Team to give us only one song to go at and I'm not even going to try and differentiate between the radio edit and the album version that appears on this single. Give 'em a go - I'm sure they'll be temporarily huge.

Alex Clark

Sound Team – Born to Please (EMI)

Sound Team are perfect teen sound fodder. Edgy, good-looking, making music that was originally written in 1983. Thankfully, they’re not quite as bad as Simple Minds.

I’m being cruel. ‘No More Birthdays’ is a pleasant little folky vignette., and ‘Movie Monster’ could quite easily be the best Flaming Lips song released this year.

All round this is a pleasing, I quite obvious single. I feel the urge to be surprised…

Sam Metcalf


Joan as Police Woman - Christobel (Reveal)

An eerie backing vocal throughout this delicate yet maudlin song generates a real uneasy  and slightly disturbed atmosphere. The nicely muted guitars leave Joan Wasser's haunting voice to take centre stage, which is exactly where it should be. Cool video too.
Watch video to 'Christobel'



Rose Kemp – Violence (One Little Indian)

I’m not really sure whether Rose Kemp is just another kooky female singer-songwriter, or is something genuinely okay. ‘Violence’ starts off sounding like something from the first Cure album, but then drips into a more FM-raydeeo sound, and that’s never helpful.

One doesn’t need another Alanis Morrissette, and one won’t listen to another one. However, there’s enough here to suggest that Rose Kemp isn’t just another faux-hippy in bare feet. Must try harder.

Sam Metcalf


Bureau - After Midnight /DollHouse (High Voltage Sounds)

A twinkling synth intro heralds the dawn of another band in the currently long line of Manchester bands staking a claim in the electro pop field. What threatens to be sound like a rather poor Killers song soon throws off these shackles and starts to shine more in the vogue of fellow Mancunians Performance.

Doll House is a more assured and dirtier track which has a similar rotten groove to defunct Leeds act Bedlam Ago-Go. Play loud for maximum effect.



Be Your Own Pet - Bicycle Bicycle (XL) 

Sonic Youth like them, they’re better then The Raconteurs, and there a bunch of rich snotty shits. So put your hair spray on
                      Then get on a
                         Bicycle Bicycle
                      To the Record Store.
                         Then get on a
                      Bicycle Bicycle
                         Home. Put the
                      Bicycle Bicycle
                         Away. And listen to……..Bicycle Bicycle.

It’s the best song if you haven’t got the album yet.  

Chuck. A. Wobbly


Nemo – Lifespan (Deepsee Records) 

‘Lifespan’ is the debut single from North London band Nemo taken from their album ‘Post Human Love’. With a combination of energetic punk, rock, electronics and pop melodies this quartet sound somewhat like The Kings of Leon and The Killers mashed together, sprinkled with a bit of Franz Ferdinand. ‘Lifespan’ itself is a frenzied rock infused number with a fast energetic pace. The B sides vary within the electro / punk / rock and pop sound that they’ve established over the past 2 years in which time they’ve supported acts such as The Paddingtons, Sneaker Pimps and We Are Scientists. The single looks promising and with all the backing they’ve had, it’ll be interesting to see what comes of their debut album.

Claire Maciejewski


Seth Lakeman - The White Hare (Relentless)

It seems everyone wants to jump on the indie folk bandwagon. I'm sure that Seth is a nice enough chap and there are some splendid mandolin sections in this track but it's, well, a bit boring innit? Have a listen yourself below - I stand by my word.
Listen to 'The White Hare'



Firebrand Boy – Orange/Three Mile Wish 7” (Pale Fox)

The song is called “Orange” and it’s on orange vinyl. Cackling being tickled girl voice kicks it off. It’s very synth pop, and has touches of lovelorn soft boy vocals while the wibblingness does its stuff in the background. Pleasant enough for a summer day sat under a tree having your head stroked by a young lady/lad. “Three Mile Wish” is a big fat Gameboyesque instrumental sort of thing that if I knew anything about programming keyboard might be the sort of thing I’d try and do before I gave up clueless. Overall, as debuts go, promise shown.

Dave Procter


Clinic - Harvest (Within You) (Domino)

Creepy. It's only after you have been listening for about 5 minutes and a bit of scratchy guitar and Hammer hose of Horror organ creeps in that you realise that the whole track thus far has been built on the pulsing bass and wailing vocal harmonies. Ade Blackburn's almost spoken word vocals sound almost unwillingly released through gnashing teeth. All very atmospheric and all very good.
Watch video to 'Harvest'


Clinic – “Harvest” 

It can sometimes be reassuring to catch up with a band you lost track of a few albums down the line, only to find their modus operandi is much the same. In the case of Clinic, those voodoo-stomp vibes, indecipherable lyrics sung as if through clenched teeth, and backing vocals akin to a horde of slightly perturbed owls are like old friends. So, no huge difference…except that all their new stuff sounds a bit like 70’s cop show theme music as well. Nice one!

Will Columbine


Call Me Loretta/Nuit Noire – Split 7” (Dead Bees)

What’s that mother, more vinyl? Has santa been? It’s red vinyl this time, a double helping of Gallic pop music. Call Me Loretta head down the lofi indie autoroute, coming out a bit Dinosaur Jr and with a bit of See See Rider chucked in for very good measure. I also sense some Pavementy thoughts and some Velvet (underground + nico) mornings. Tres bien.

Nuit Noire’s fans apparently think they’re Black Metal. I think they’re punk/speedcore, which would suggest 1 of us is wrong. It’s not Black Metal, it’s too scratchy and fast and not enough laden with the doom of the world. Is it any cop? The recording is rough, but, yes. Ear syringingly so.

Dave Procter


The Hedrons - I Need You (Measured)

The Hedrons are all ladies. From Glasgow no less. They have guitars and they like the sort of simple riffs that the Stooges would thrash out. The vocals are pretty impressively screamed out too and would give Iggy a run for his money. All in all good signs then, which is vital as they will need the royalties to fund lozenge purchases.



Agent Of The Morai – Left With Nothing But Their Eyes To Weep With 12” (Christmas Eve Records)

Our final bit of vinyl is the red and black 12” produce of Agent Of The Morai. The title track is heavy, with a sort of War Pigs type 2 chorder thing. Then we get some vocals, but not your normal sort of vocals. Napalm Death meets Frank Black meets Steve Albini meets Extreme Noise Terror type doom metal. Not the sort of stuff Gordon Brown or Dave Cameron would claim to have on their mobile wax cylinder machine. The riffs are intense, the brain is unsettled and the kidneys vibrate while “Escape The Torment” deals with any doubts to the intensity of this music. You’ve got to be into this stuff to fully appreciate it. It’s well recorded and produced which surprised me a bit, but if a bloke screaming into a mike while what sounds like a nuclear demolition is taking place behind it is your bag, you’ll love this.

Dave Procter


Lorraine - Heaven / Saved (Waterfall/Columbia)

Hmm, what's this? Although Lorraine claim to take influences from Depeche Mode, The Cure, New Order and The Smiths, 'Heaven' sounds more like mediocre 80's pop music as peddled by Waterman an co. The reverse of the double AA single 'Saved' is doubley mediocre. Go back to your fjords you naughty Norwegians.
See the 'Heaven' microsite



We Are Trees – Piece of Plastic / Trace (Self-Release) 

It’s the 60s and you’re sitting in an opium den with Jim Morrison, Kulashaker and The Inspiral Carpets and they’re all creating sweet, psychedelic, crunchy, poppy music and you’ve got something of what ‘Piece of Plastic’ sounds like. The Caerphilly quintet ‘We Are Trees’ release their second single after already having rave reviews for their first single ‘See You Later’. A brilliant follow up, this song has catchy lyrics, an infectious tune and in my opinion is top notch. They don’t disappoint either with the second song ‘Trace’ and its addictive chorus. The boys are currently gigging it in London but are returning to their native Wales for the single launch on Saturday 21st October at Callaghans in Cardiff so if you’re in any of these places, go see them. Already they’ve supported such fine acts such as Kasabian and The Subways and me thinks they’re only going to get better and better. A top notch act to say the least. Log on to to check out their next port of call.

Claire Maciejewski


Kat Vipers - Summer Bloody Time (Pyre)

Thank god that for every ten drab Coldplay soundalikes there is someone like Kat Vipers who consistently defies categorisation. Not that I wont try of course.

The Vipers sound is a gothic cabaret fling based on percussive piano playing and extremely strange vocals ranging from purring like a cat to the ranting incantations of a verbose witch. On this EP, Vipers has even managed to reign in her instinct to go for the extreme reaches of what is listenable and provided in 'Queen Bee' a track which is almost quite accessible. She still scares the life out of me though.



Husky Rescue - Diamonds in the Sky (Catskills)

'Diamonds in the Sky' sounds like Chrystal Gayle singing the title music to a late night detective show. Well, alright, as well as the slide guitar there is a little bit of float Air-style whooshes. But not much else.

The remixes on the other hand are damn fine, especially the robotic 'Emperor Machine Vocal Remix' which really gets going after about 3 minutes with a real disco vibe.
See the video to 'Diamonds in the Sky'



Melynk - Fabulous (Gaymonkey)

Well this is an agreeable Euro club track that features the slightly drunken sounding vocals of Sara Berg and some whooshy beats and rhythms. Quite simple in structure, not too demanding but not too housey either. Plus three other equally inoffensive but unarresting remixes. If this is your bag then you will be swirling glow sticks like a banshee, if not you will be ignoring it as the background music in the Slug and Lettuce on a Saturday night.



The Follow – “Smashed Heart”/Mimas – “Thought Discuss” 

Another double-header from WCS Records proves to be their finest so far. The Follow kicks off with Joy Division/Cure-influenced pop that explodes into a propulsive chorus. Those yowling vocals could strip paint though, so three cheers for Mimas who dispense with singing in favour of undulating post-rock loveliness. Neither act is in any danger of letting the other side down.

Will Columbine


The Knife - Like a Pen (Brille)

The second great single by The Knife in just a couple of months sees the return of their other-worldly metallic grating sound which could best be likened to a loved-up Aphex Twin. The loops are hyper-synthetic and the vocals are produced to match.

As if this wasn't chilling enough there are 4 other remixes on the release which are even more eerie and sinister. The extended club remix even introduces some scary, growly dog noises that eventually morph into a vocal loop. Very disturbed but very neat.
Watch the video to 'The Knife'



Love Death Dreams – Demo 

Not the best band name in the world, but at least LDD already has its basic musical identity intact. “Your Little Dream” is a rousing soft-rock anthem with a memorable chorus vocal – in fact I can already picture the video on MTV2 – and if the other two tracks are less memorable then at least they aren’t identikits. Those fiddly Muse piano bits have got to go though.

Will Columbine


Archie Bronson Outfit - Cherry Lips (Domino)

More cheese-grater percussive guitars and mentalist screaming vocals that sound like the man on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The sound of a three vehicle pile-up involving a travelling circus sideshow, a van full of chainsaws and a second hand ukulele salesman's Ford Mondeo.
Watch video to 'Cherry Lips'



Ben Marwood – “Hold Your Breath”

If Death Cab for Cutie tried to write an acoustic number in the style of Elliott Smith whilst singing in a South London twang, the end result might not be entirely dissimilar to this pleasant enough emo/folk-ballad. With a little luck, Ben could soon be winning the hearts of girls with horn-rimmed glasses everywhere.

Will Columbine


Techno Squirrels - Om Mani (Rave Police)

Ah yes - find inner piece my friends as LA based electro vermin Techno Squirrels return with their mantra based single 'Om Mani'. Whether or not you take on the Dalai Lama's personal advice and 'be thinking on its meaning' while reciting these words (god bless Wikipedia), you will be treated to a track that sounds very Orbital/Chemical Brothers, a kind of retro techno, if you will.

More interesting is the B-side 'My Shrimplike Beat' which is a warbling trancey tune and reminds me of a mix tape I got given in 1994. Hey - I liked it very much but it did end by just fizzingly out a bit weakly.

There are also three remixes of the single which further seem to delve back into electronic musical history for their queues - Rene Patrique's mix seems definitely 80's based. I don't know who Robert Jax is but his horrible mix sounds like it should be confined to a concrete lined time capsule in 1990s Ibiza. A bit of a disappointing close to an otherwise decent ep.



ddd – “Knives/Jealous” 

Two brain-pummelling tracks that threaten to slit your ear-drums open, such are the razor-sharp qualities of the guitar and “singing”. “Like Thom Yorke jamming with Suicide” is how ddd is keen to promote himself. Like Brian Molko giving mouth-to-mouth to the still-twitching corpse of Test Icicles would be an equally apt summation. Not half as bad as that sounds but definitely not for everyone.

Will Columbine


Henrik Schwarz - Imagination Limitation (!K7)

A pretty uneventful piano-led dance track that only really gets going after about 3 miutes when some 'The Box' era Orbital style effects come into play. The 'Mix 3' version is a bit more interesting in a harp-filled way but certainly couldn't keep my attention for its full 8minutes 42 seconds.



The Acutes – “When I Left Work Today” 

Like The Violent Femmes foaming at the mouth on amphetamine, “When I Left Work Today” is the sound of two men railing against the daily grind in a blizzard of furious strumming and mash-up drumming. “The Man in Me” is nowhere near as frenetic, but both tracks are master-classes of economy (one voice, one guitar, one drum-kit) and quite unlike anything I’ve encountered before.

Will Columbine


redcarsgofaster - 24 Passes/House of Flies (High Voltage Sounds)

redcars are certainly a very self assured band and one that seem to be able to weave together a decent pop tune within a bleak post-rock/post punk frame of reference while still imparting their own individuality on proceedings. The chorused vocals still resonate of Punish the Atom (which I guess will soon be a sound of their own since the split of PTA) and the slashy guitars are still a bit Forward Russia. But this single packs an unexpected punch at the end in the form of a fantastic drum-smashing finale that will leave Zildjans the world over trembling in fear.



Michael Rossiter – Demo 

It’s always a refreshing change to listen to music without any agenda. Michael Rossiter turns in three examples of hushed folk music, one instrumental in a Jim O’Rourke vein (“Nameless Lick”), as well as his own take on two traditional arrangements. Very Fairport Convention…their modesty is what makes them so lovely.

Will Columbine


Six Nation State - Fire! (Jeepster)

A rampant and unexpected combination of Mariachi style guitars and song writing with a punk rock attitude. It all sounds very sweaty and worth brushing off your chaps and re-frying your beans for.



Centrifuge – “Carnival/Carnivore”/”Shotgun Funeral” 

Hearing singles of this quality is the main perk of fanzine writing. Taking the Fugazi blueprint and adding a dash of post-rock, Centrifuge offer up more twists and turns inside of four minutes than an entire Snow Patrol album….just when you think you’ve got them pegged, they head off in yet another direction. The instance when the sliding bass-line kicks in makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Quite simply, it rocks. 

The B-side manages to be more conventional and, dare I say, emo-centric without being any less predictable. This band is a well-oiled machine, and if they were a car then you can be sure that Clarkson would cum in his Levis

Will Columbine


Protokoll - DNR (Illicit)

Another next big thing being touted by arbiters of style and taste Lowe and Lamacq, Protokoll have that sound which is just so 'now'. Keyboards + slashy guitars and mid-Atlantic twang=Killers=paydirt. They do seem to have a sense of humour though because their third track on this single sounds a bit like a cross between Sigue Sigue Sputnik and MArk Knopfler's' Local Hero!



Little Barrie - Pin That Badge (Genuine)

Sadly not an opus to the versatile Aston Villa utility player but a couple of tracks of heavily funked up bluesey nonsense that seems to have been squeezed out of some antique valve amps turned up to within an inch of their lives. A bit of a curio but all harmless enough fun.



The Blueskins - Change My Mind (Domino)

Never ones to miss a trick - Domino are releasing this track which recently featured on a Lnyx deodorant advert. But if you think this stinks (haha!) then take a listen to the kick ass slide guitar that's going on and the frenzied gospel tinged vocals. Mind you, I bet there are loads of bands in the mid-west of the US who are doing this better and who haven't been paid to flog pit spray.
Watch video to 'Change My Mind'



Jacksonswarehouse - Hotel By the Sea (SX)

Not a repository for second hand MJ songs but the jangly indie of the latest tasty CD submission. Actually, 'Hotel by the Sea' sounds more like a cross between the Rolling Stones' 'Paint it Black' and Little Man Tate's 'Man I hate Your Band'. Not too bad either.



Santa Dog - Belle de Jour ep

Belle de Jour is surely Bristol-based Santa Dog's finest hour to date. A wonderfully languid yet taught piece of song writing in '1000 Cranes', the EP closer is by far my favourite track with lilting, unexpected key changes and a ringing, trippy guitar tone. But the fore-running 'Belle de Jour' and Rosa are also self assured efforts, harnessing a summery pop ethic with bitter sweet lyrics that build triumphantly to a rousing outro.



Bonemachine - God Save You (Amerika)

I am a bit confused. I first heard this track on the Hackpen compilation album 'The Nyquist Theory' but it was called 'America 4 Ever' and it was credited to a band called Myth of the Elite Brigade. Very odd.

But the track remains heavily bass driven with its mass of crime statistics sampled over a mechanical guitar hook and ranting vocals line. About as subtle as a one liner from Lily Savage and all the better for it.



SiXeR - Moomin Love

SiXeR certainly achieve what they set out to do in terms of creating a dreamy, echoey sound with loads of guitar delays on this track. But it's just a bit drab. No wonder they list their greatest musical achievement so far as having an instrumental released on a computer game.



Twisted Charm - Boring Lifestyles (Because/Alt-Delete)

I accelerated this one towards the top of the singles pile merely on the basis that it had kind of groovy seventies suburbia style cover artwork. As it turns out, it is also one of the weirdest and most fantastical releases this month.

'Boring Lifestyles' is all warped punk-ska-electro with just a bit of Blur-pop thrown in for good measure. It sounds like half of the instruments have not been tuned correctly and they all jar against each other in a triumphantly archaic noise that begins to make sense once your synapses have recovered adequately. B-side 'Happy Alone' is, well, more of the same really.



Chickenhawk / With Scissors / I Breathe Spears – split EP (Milliepeed) 

An EP split between three UK bands with a fondness for being a bunch of noisy bastards here from Southampton’s Milliepeed records, and what better band to kick off the proceedings than Leeds based hardcore-thrash schlockers Chickenhawk. The two tracks here show exactly why Chickenhawk are being embraced by all who love rock as they demonstrate their love of razor sharp riffs, complex time signatures, flashes of beauty and masses of noise to boot. Excellent stuff indeed but two tracks just isn’t enough.

And then following that the rest of the release just feels a bit like an anti-climax. I Breathe Spears and With Scissors are both perfectly good at what they do and fly the hardcore flag with pride but it just fails to excite. The first two tracks on repeat it is then.

Luke Drozd


Exile Parade - Fire Walk With Me/Get Your Gun Boy (Bangkok)

From the opening strains of feedback guitar this sounds like the lively promise of the north east's The Sound Explosion. And not a david Lynch reference in sight.

'Get Your Gun Boy' is a thigh slapping, liquor drinking, cotton pickin' country and western number but with big crunching distorted guitar choruses. Like the Who playing a honky tonk saloon bar. Yeehah!



Ellenby - Circling (Levelsound)

Definite Celtic overtones (or undertones?) to this sweeping ballady affair with soaring vocals from Liz Young and some ringing guitars from Ben Goddard. The harmonica sounds a bit strangled at times and occasionally Young's vocals are a bit too pure for the sound, seeming rather incongruous. It's all a bit big on glossy production but lacking in substance.



Various Artists - Musowire Promo

So the concept is this - Musowire provide an internet based CD distribution service. Anyone who has ever tried self releasing a CD will know how difficult it is to get a distribution deal so this sounds like a good idea - no contracts, no commitment to follow up albums etc. So the plus side is there for all to see - any hopeful young things wanting to release a CD can get in touch and get Musowire to do it for them. Sorted.

Then there are the downsides. Quality control for one. It's a pity this promotional compilation contains a selection of seriously dated, unoriginal and leaden sounds. I can be critical but seriously - these are awful. Despite reducing the difficulty of getting a CD out there is something useful about the Machiavellian workings of the music industry. It acts as a natural break on people who want to release music but really shouldn't do. It's not just about being commercial but not flooding the world with mediocre music (we have MySpace for that). Just because you want to release a CD does not mean that you should. End of today's sermon according to tasty.



Grief Society - Balance of Power (Gentlemen in Exile)

Not even a tremendously named record label or even some pretty groovy slide guitar can lift this song above the tedious 3-chord progression that it truly is. Soz.



Fell City Girl - February Snow EP (Lavolta)

What is about Oxford that makes all the guys sing like ladies? Well not quite true but Phil McMinn's opening lines sound very gentle and womanly before building up into a rousing crescendo. This is so reminiscent of iLiKETRAiNS, Snow Patrol, Sigur Ros et al that it hurts, but it is still pretty good. 'These Are heart Attacks' has a bit more of an up and at 'em beat to it that no doubt gets the heads bobbing at Fell City Girl shows. Restrained yet triumphant.
Watch video to 'February Snow'



Enter Shikari - Sorry You're Not a Winner (Ambush Reality)

Ahh, Enter times like these I am reminded of my esteemed colleague Luke Drozd who I believe once said 'Why the sweet lord of fuck does this melodic hardcore punk monstrosity have an early nineties rave backing to it?'. Have we received a suitable answer yet. We have not. And the pain continues.



The K.B.C. - Test the Water (High Voltage Sounds)

The most exciting thing to come out of Preston since, err, David Moyes, The KBC release  another classic single to follow up 'Sherlock Groove Holmes' that will get the indie dance floors pounding. Similar to The Sunshine Underground, this single sees a highly successful marriage of funk basslines with a more mainstream indie guitar and vocal style. Drums are scattergun which adds to the excitement. Definitely ones to watch methinks.



Radio 4 - Packing Things Up On the Scene (EMI)

Not a million miles from the K.B.C. actually this one. From the highly listenable album 'Enemies Like This', 'Packing Things Up..' is one of the highlights, bass heavy, tune heavy and atmospheric agit-punk (much though I hate that description). Quite what anyone would need with an unrecognisable 9 minute long 'Loving Hand Remix' is uncertain but I guess it's better than the pointless instrumental version also included.



Deluka - Stop Stop (Kill Sound)

The highly agreeable mix of scuzzy mashed up electronics and overdubbed female vocals always gets the tasty trainers grooving a little around our rented 2 room bedsit. A bit like The Soho Dolls used to soud before they hired two guys in band and got all serious. This is much more fun, and mainly produced with analogue Casio synths by the sound of it. Splendid!



Air Traffic - Never Even Told Me Her Name (EMI)

If you are a fan of Supergrass then you may like this as it is very similar. Alternatively, you may think that Supergrass were far superior to Air Traffic and so will continue to listen to 'Richard IIIrd' and 'Moving'. Funny how music comes full circle...
Watch video to 'Never Even Told Me Her Name'



Prinz Ezo - Organic Squares (Tendertronic)

Prinz Ezo (aka Bjørn Svin) dishes up some deliciously squdgy and squelchy electro beats and bleeps in this four track release. The minimal 'Ice' and 'Insect' manage to cut through the air like a sonic laser and proving that sometimes less is more. This is highly atmospheric and despite being almost muted, the underlying rhythm weaves its subtle charm without ever over crowding the filigree of loops and samples.

'Hedgehog' sees a distorted heartbeat like beat forging away like the Aphex Twin's noisier moments - slowly phasing in and out until ultimately reducing to just a few clicks then nothing. Closing track 'Semi Mood' is an icy series of tones and rings occasionally interspersed with bird song like clicks and oscillations. Ostensibly electronic but overtly organic too.