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singles - june 2007



 

The Wombats - Kill The Director 

Usually music goes in cycles. If you subscribe to Factory Records’ supremo Tony Wilson’s theory, it happens every thirteen years, which is why acid house took so long to arrive after punk. But what I want to know is why loads of bands are suddenly ‘The something’ again? I thought we left that back in 2002 where it belonged? Seriously, it’s these kinds of questions that keep me awake at night.

Anyway, no matter. Liverpool’s The Wombats (you see? Can’t get my head around it) have come a long way in a minute time-frame, which would usually mean there’s a large hype engine behind them. But no, they appear to have made it on merit, since ‘Kill The Director’ is a cracker. Less than three minutes to invade every cell in your body with Futureheads-style glee, it’s so sweet you could take it on a mountaineering expedition for sustenance. “This is no Bridget Jones,” screams lead singer Matthew Murphy at the song’s climax. I still have no idea what it’s in reference to, but it sounds ace. However far “The” Wombats get, they’ll have deserved it.
www.myspace.com/thewombatsuk  

Chris Stanley

 
 

Pull Tiger Tail - Hurricanes 

Being from the Black Country, we don’t really have ‘scenes,’ more bands that will play gigs if we ask them nicely. You see, we West Midlands natives get a bit suspicious of hype and stuff, because there’s very little about where we live to big up. We get especially restless when so-called “London folk” tell us what we should and shouldn’t like. Take it from me – the less we hear about the “New Cross scene”, the better.

Pull Tiger Tail are part of this hyped area, which apparently isn’t all that great. But behind all the bluster, they’re actually pretty good. ‘Hurricanes’ is a nice whip of a single, not as catchy as something like ‘Let’s Lightning’ or as cutting as ‘Mr 100 Percent’ but still miles above what others are producing. Grab onto their tail while you can, ‘cos they’re going all the way. Away from New Cross, at least.
www.myspace.com/pulltigertail
www.pulltigertail.net

Chris Stanley

 

Spitfire Charlie – “Hard To Let You Go” 

Since reviewing their previous demo last year, Spitfire Charlie seem to have moved on somewhat from merely replicating what is currently popular in the charts, casting their nets a little further influence-wise. The lineage of both tracks on this demo can be easily traced back to The Buzzcocks with maybe a little Futureheads and Bloc Party thrown in to keep it relevant. SC sound like a band that have a lot of energy, chemistry and a top quality singer to boot, which means that, even when the end result isn’t particularly original, you can’t help but enjoy them.
www.myspace.com/spitfirecharlie

Will Columbine

 
 

Kap Bambino - New Breath/Hey! (Alt < Delete)

The opening of this sounds like the Clangers before a rather irritating electro punk squeaking noise begins to dominate. I say noise, it could have been Caroline Martial's voice. Frenchies Kap Bambino certainly look exciting live judging by the press pack pictures but this single sounds like a brainstorming session involving Fisher Price toys. Hard going.
www.myspace.com/kapbambino

SB

 

Wild Beasts – “Through Dark Night” 

Bloody hell, you’ve got to wonder what checklist Domino are working with when it comes to signing bands…how exactly do you get from Arctic Monkeys to Justin Hawkins having his scrotum mangled in a vice against a background of ineffectual rockabilly? I mean, I’m all for musical diversity but I fail to see the logic. Still, says here that Wild Beasts aren’t concerned with being part of a scene. Well, mission accomplished, boys…now go and stand quietly in the corner.
www.myspace.com/wildbeasts

Will Columine

 
 

The Rosie Taylor Project – “Scotland Sketches Demos EP” 

Is The RT Project aiming to be the Belle & Sebastian of Leeds? Here we have four rustically charming forages into the realm of chiming indie-pop; plenty of squeaking and slightly out-of-tune acoustic guitars, hushed vocals and the odd trumpet here and there. Very pretty stuff, and if these are just demos then their debut single should be worth keeping an eye out for.
www.myspace.com/therosietaylorproject

Will Columbine

 

Bonde Do Role “Office Boy” (Domino) 

The Brazilian invasion continues with this brightly coloured bunch of disco freaks that are obviously looking to cash in on the popularity of their chums CSS. Indeed, their mates from back home even give them a leg up in the form of a remix. Unfortunately, it’s a million times catchier than the original. Oh dear.
www.myspace.com/bondedorole

Will Columbine

 
 

Rotary Ten – “We Traveled Without Mentioning It” 

Rotary Ten like to mix up influences from both sides of the pond. They do that judder-y Libertines thing, but their guitarist can’t decide whether he wants to be Johnny Marr or try and get all subversive with his delay pedal like he’s auditioning for Explosions in the Sky. Surprisingly the contents of such a melting pot don’t taste as foul as you’d think, although I can’t remember for the life of me how any of the songs go once the CD stops a-spinning.
www.rotaryten.co.uk

Will Columbine

 
 

Rob McCulloch – “Golden Boy” 

Another bastard child of the post-Libertines era, Rob McCulloch’s “Golden Boy” is (and I quote) “an 18 carat offering from the indie/rock genius who’s proving to a priceless gem in the industry’s crown”. At this point I feel compelled to ask, why not 24 carat? Is it because young Rob is still honing his craft and will surely reach the pinnacle of song-writing perfection in due course? Or perhaps it’s down to the fact that there’s nothing here to contend with yer average Kooks b-side. Now I understand why Rob looks so nervous in his picture.

Will Columbine


 

The Mighty Roars - Funky machine (One Little Indian)

The London new wave scene is hardly that new anymore and The Mighty Roars are only adding to an already crowded shelf in HMV. ''Wish Everything' is a slightly surprising departure and sounds like it is about to turn into the Kinks' 'Lola' at any moment. Very forgettable.

SB

 
 

Authors of Malicious Code - Part Two EP

The second of four EPs to be released by Leeds' Authors of Malicious Code sees the band clearly growing in confidence and delivering a really professional performance. There's hints of Biffy Clyro and Placebo about this. AOMC seem to play well within themselves and I mean this in a good way - there's always a temptation to throw everything into a promo EP but these excesses have been eschewed in favour of a rigorous pair of songs that are tight, dynamic and definitely build on the right direction from Part One.
www.myspace.com/aomc

SB


 

Lau - Butcher Boy (Reveal)

Lau's Kris Drever is a busy boy - when he's not finishing up his own solo album he's adding the primary parts to Lau's sound. 'Butcher Boy' is a faintly morbid folk song with a distinctly celtic vibe to it, not least due to Drever's Caledonian intonations. The fellow musicians Martin Green and Aidan O'Rourke provide a rich tapestry of accordian and fiddle that weaves more than just a rich cloth of backing music. Perfect music to accompany a gentle ramble through the Cairngorms.
http://www.lau-music.co.uk

SB

 
 

Heather Greene - Always Something

Opening with a vocal that sounds like a whining cat is never going to win me over. We have plenty of acts to do this for us - Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse etc. Though it does seem that Heather Greene's day job does share another of Winehouse's passions - she is a whisky taster for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. I'm sure there are plenty more Winehouse jokes available in there somewhere. Either way, this is not for me.
www.heathergreen.com

SB

 
 

Koopa - One Off Song for the Summer

Remember Koopa? the first unsigned band to make it into the 'Official' Top 40 UK chart? No, thought not. 'One Off Song for the Summer' follows the template of 'Blag, Steal & Borrow' - light hearted teeny indie rock. Didn't do McFly any harm I suppose but it's certainly not going widen their appeal to post GCSE listeners.
www.myspace.com/koopa

SB

 
 

Irritant - Voice of the Siren

Is this crap single half hour or something? Chorused guitars, vocal harmonies, drum patterns tighter than a gnats arse - there's no room for any invention here between the obligatory guitar solo and general rock posturing. Soul sapping - ejected mid-solo.

SB

 
 

Molloy - Tracy/Futurist Suit (Way Out)

Single 'Tracy' has not really changed in my eyes since I reviewed it in December 2006 - it's still very good and it saves me typing away all over again. So onto 'Futurist Suit' which swaggers between synths and slashing guitar with Caz singing about 'dreaming in orange and green' - their sartorial colours of choice. Once again, incredibly self assured and silkily produced - have a listen and I defy you not to just wobble gently in your seat in a way you might think is funky (but actually makes you look like you have sat on something unpleasant.)
www.myspace.com/thisisfuckingbrilliant

SB

 
 

Secretly Soulmates – Sky of Steel EP (due later this year)

I can only tell you about the first three songs of Secretly Soulmates' forthcoming EP because the other two tracks have yet to be recorded. However, it is a safe bet that both tunes will contain a combination of pounding drums, dark guitar riffs and death-rattle vocals, much like the three un-mastered tracks on offer to this reviewer.
 
At the best moments, these songs recall A Perfect Circle with shifting drum patterns and textures, whilst the title track 'Sky of Steel' builds nicely from its relatively calm breakdown back to full-mosh mode. But at times these tracks struggle to escape the cliches of the genre and sound like everything else on Kerrang's playlist. It will be up to Scunthorpe's metallers to decide if this offering, when it arrives, is sufficiently 'post-hardcore' for their tastes.
www.myspace.com/secretlysoulmates

Chris McCague

 
 

Odi – Crawl (self-released)

Claire Odlum, aka Odi, has conjured a marvellously edgy trio of expertly crafted folk-rock songs for her debut release. Odi's warm, soulful voice achieves the rare feat of sounding instantly familiar whilst retaining something distinct from the rest of the pack. The chromatic notes she sings on the line 'I will never forget your face' on the B-side 'Mariposa' are at once both haunting and brilliant and will have the likes of Gemma Hayes shaking her head in admiration.
 
The first track 'Crawl' is the single and rightly so for it is a strong, muscular tune using gritty electric guitars to frame Odi's winning voice perfectly. Very, very promising. More please.
www.odimusic.co.uk

Chris McCague

 
 

Adjágas - Lihkolaš (Ever)

The opening track from their self titled album, 'Lihkolaš' demonstrates all of the beautiful qualities that make Adjágas so special. The timeless Sami song writing skills that seem to create a round in this track are both spartan yet warming at the same time - undoubtedly a handy quality if you live in the Arctic circle.
www.everrecords.com

SB

 

Calvin Harris - The Girls (Sony)

You have no doubt already seen the posters and probably the video which seems to be getting an unhealthy amount of airplay on TV at the moment. I'm hoping this is supposed to be tongue in cheek but it just sounds a bit unwholesome and misogynistic to me. Don't get me wrong -I'm not some kind of bra burning feminist. But these lyrics sound like they could have come out of the mouths of the dickheads who have been on Shipwrecked for last 5 months. And that is why it will be a hit. Youth of today and all that...
watch the video to 'The Girls'
www.myspace.com/calvinharristv

SB

 
 

Air – Mer Du Japon (EMI)

When you listen to this track you can instantly tell its Air, with the synths, bass and rolling piano. ‘Mer du Japon’ directly translates to ‘Sea of Japan’. That’s the limit of my French skills but despite not understanding the other lyrics, I really like this tune. It’s a chilled track that puts you in a summery mood with the sound of lapping waves, but the potential’s there for some harder remixes. I haven’t heard anything by Air for a while, but this track is certainly encouraging so I’d be tempted to check out the album its taken from ‘Pocket Symphony’. 

Louise Butler

 

Dragonette – I Get Around (Mercury) 

I was looking forward to listening to this track. I’d not heard of Dragonette before but their My Space page describes them as electro pop. The track starts off quite promising with a filthy bassline, but it never really gets going and the vocal ‘I say yes when I oughta say no’, gets repetitive and boring. I was expecting something more from the Trophy Twins 24 mix but wasn’t impressed. There’s nothing new or interesting here either. 

I wouldn’t write off Dragonette completely as I like the electro elements to their sound, I just don’t think they’ve got this track quite right. I’m optimistic that their other stuff might have something more to offer. 
www.dragonette.ca
www.myspace.com/dragonetteband
watch the video to 'I Get Around'

Louise Butler

 
 

Nerina Pallot – Peg (14th Floor)

Peg sounds a lot like what over diluted Ribena would sound like, if over diluted Ribena was a song. Weak, weak, and weak. The lyrics are embarrassingly juvenile, the bass line sounds like it’s been done on an Early Learning Centre keyboard (and not in a cool way), and there don’t seem to have been any actual instruments used. Throw it away and start again.
www.nerinapallot.com

Catriona Boyle


 

Johnny Foreigner - Yes You Talk Too fast / Sunset Cinema Club - Down on the Farm (Launderette)

Split singles - a weird concept if you ask me. But you aren't asking me, you want to know what they sound like. Well, I'm pleased to report that Johnny Foreigner sound very nice indeed, all twinkly cascading guitars and lively boy girl vocal repartee. Absolutely smashing on a summer evening like today. Remind me a bit of the magnificent Buen Chico actually.

Sadly I'm not so fond of Sunset Cinema Club who have a staccato, disjointed, yelpy, shouty, slightly dub punk sound that frankly makes my ears hurt. Then things get really incestuous with each band covering a song by the other and I really begin to lose the plot. The only constant is Sunset Cinema Club who still make my ears hurt though.
www.myscape.com/johnnyforeigner
www.myspace.com/sunsetcinemaclub

SB

 
 

Air Traffic – Shooting Star (Tiny Consumer/EMI)  

It appears I had a somewhat delusional impression of these guys, i.e. I though they were alright. Turns out I was a bit wrong there. Shooting Star is an over sincere, watery, piano driven balled, featuring some slightly hard to reach vocals for lead singer Chris Wall. Isn’t one Keane enough?
www.air-traffic.co.uk
Watch video clip to 'Shooting Star'

Catriona Boyle

 
 

Cherry Ghost - People Help the People (Heavenly/EMI)

I may be off the track here and just not 'getting it' but this sounds like sub-meatloaf piano-driven power ballad pop drivel. Maybe others would call it 'anthemic' and 'moving'. I don't. It is lumbering tosh.
www.cherryghost.co.uk

SB

 
 

Lekiddo – Many Are Called…The Remixes

The opening drum beat sounds a lot like the opening drums to that Spiller song Sophie Ellis-Bexter did guest vocals on many a summer ago. At least that song had a catchy chorus. The vocals get a bit interesting halfway through the first remix (or Rmx as the cool kids write it) as they have a lilting far away quality which juxtaposes nicely with the synths. If less is more Lekiddo must be the greatest artist alive, as these tracks are definitely minimalistic. Perhaps this is stuff is cutting edge, and I’m just missing the point. However, my ears have been in no way delighted, challenged, or even vaguely amused.
www.myspace.com/lekiddo

Catriona Boyle

 
 

Swound - Disco Siberia (Stressed)

I love the band name and they look fun too - all dressed in matching hoodies on the press release. They sound like an early Pop Will Eat Itself - all youthful exuberance, layered guitars, massed vocals and simple chords. 'Disco Siberia' will not help them win a Novello award but it is 3 minutes of energetic punk pop fun.
www.swound.co.uk

SB

 
 

Neil McSweeney – Postcards (KIDS)

McSweeney’s vocals are a glorious mish mash of current folk singers like Richard Thompson, and older protest singers like Pete Seger, as well as his own musical stylings. Postcards is a rousing song with rich lyrics, and a nice loud/quiet/loud balance. It’s hard to not been drawn in by McSweeny’s emotion and subtle simplicity. B-side My Design is a bit of a toe-tapper with country influences and a takes an interesting twist with a breakdown in the middle eight followed by a soaring ending. Cracking stuff.
www.myspace.com/neilmcsweeney

Catriona Boyle

 
 

Nate James - Kingdom Falls (FroFunk)

How the devil did this make its way into the Tasty mailbag? Someone nominated for a Mobo Best R'n'B male - not the stuff of your average indie zine is it? But despite suffering the standard heartfelt r'n'b vocal affectations which see James warbling away like every other singer in his genre, their is a slightly dark undercurrent to the song and the composition. Which there should be - it is about the genocide in Rwanda. I'm not sure I'd buy it but it hasn't completely offended me.
www.natejames.com

SB

 
 

Findlay Brown – Losing The Will To Survive (Peacefrog)

The simple yet incredibly effective percussion drives this track, one of the more folk influenced songs from Findlay Brown’s brilliant album, Separated by the Sea. Findlay’s vocal take on a more traditional, folky feel, and the backing vocals add depth to the simple acoustic instrumentation. Findaly’s cover of the Jesus and the Mary Chain’s Just Like Honey is the real treat on this CD. The track is stripped bare, with just an acoustic guitar, Findlay, and some otherworldly backing vocals. An absolute heartbreaker.
www.myspace.com/findlaybrown

Catriona Boyle

 
 

Their Hearts Were Full of Spring - A Question of Trust (Marketstall)

A bit of a mouthful of a name for a band who sound not unlike the Divine Comedy. I swear at times it was like Neil Hannon and Bono having a vocal sparring match. That said, quite a pleasing little indie pop, almost Smithsian number that is timed to be released the same day as Tony Blair leaves Downing Street. Lines like 'We don't believe any more of your lies' and 'don't trust politicians' are hardly going to inspire any revolutionary fervour - they are such a theme du jour, but at least the sentiment is in the right place.
www.myspace.com/theirheartswerefullofspring

SB

 
 

Tiga - You Gonna Want Me – The Remixes (Different)

Due to the obvious grammatical errors, fact that Tiga sounds a lot like Mika, and that the press release uses the word ‘fabulous’ to describe Jake Shears from the Scissor Sisters, I find listening to this with an open mind a bit of a challenge. Much to my surprise though, it’s quite good. The lyrics, although naturally one dimension, are quite fun, as is the funky bassline and hook filled synths. There’s even an opportunity for a little hand clap. The Tocadisco remix ruins the fun slightly, and appears to have the sound of a bus stopping half way through. It’s also twice as long as the other remixes, which is a few more minutes than I can stomach.

It won’t change your life, but with all the factors against it, it could have been a lot worse.
Watch 'You Gonna Want Me'

Catriona Boyle

 
 

Superkings - Hit the Ground Running (Feedback)

Hmm, not sure what to make of this. inspiration from the press release only confuses further as it sees the band inexplicably posing for a photograph knee-deep in a lake somewhere. It's enigmatic innit? Like those Echo and the Bunnymen covers. I digress.

'Hit the Ground Running' is a slow piano-led ballad that keeps a tight grip on any instrumental excesses to allow the oodles of schmaltzy sentiment to ooze through. Not entirely a bad thing in my book - have a plan and see it through. I guess there's quite an appetite for this sort of thing so the fact that the song lacks any real hook should not be too much of a problem.

'Wolves and Ravens' is a world apart with it's chacka-boom guitar, warehouse recorded drums and disconnected backing vocals (which would be better off being scrapped altogether). Not good.
www.superkings.org

SB

 
 

The Nextmen – Let It Roll/Concentrate (Antidote)

There seems to be a bit of a revival of lounge music at the moment, with the likes of Mr Hudson getting a bit of attention. The Nextmen, sadly aren’t quite cool enough for longue music. They’re more front room or sitting room music. Also there’s been a bit of a cock up with the tracklisting on the CD so I’m not quite sure what’s going on. The instrumental version of Let It Roll has a lot of vocals on and mentions the word Concentrate, which is the name track two, which turned out to be an instrumental version of track one. Still with me? All of this is fairly irrelevant anway, as aside from Let It Roll, which features some quality vocals, there’s little else to get excited about in the other three tracks.  
www.nextmen.com

Catriona Boyle

 
 

Black Strobe - I'm a Man (Playlouder)

Oh good grief. I was quite a fan of Black Strobe's debut single 'Shining Bright Star' but this is terrible. A cover of Bo Diddley's classic, what strives to be an electronic rockabilly masterpiece sounds more like the Glitterband. Thank christ there are some decent remixes included on the CD and also a fantastically sneering and warped techno bonus track 'Pins and Needles'. Just scrap the radio edit of 'I'm a man' and release the rest of it would be my advice.

SB

 

Willy Mason – We Can Be Strong (Virgin)  

Well, I don’t know much about Willy Mason but this song was a good introduction. It has a gorgeous melodic acoustic guitar rift, with piano overtones and a strong bassline. Surprisingly, KT Tunstall also does vocals on this track, just on the chorus, but her voice contrasts well to the deep tones of Willy Mason. Definitely a tune worth a listen. 
www.willymason.com
Watch the video to 'We Can Be Strong'

Louise Butler

 
 

twentysixfeet - My Dead Organ/Hejira

It's not often you can say that a band seems to have created a completely new sound so congratulations to twentysixfeet who have fused a drum and bass breakbeat, techno bleeps and beats, guitars which sound like they are being chain sawed to pieces with disturbing haunted vocals.

Just when you are considering the possibility that 'My Dead Organ' is a masterpiece and twentysixfeet maybe be the saviours of rock music, 'Hejira' brings us back to our senses. Not that it is a bad track. it's not bad, it's actually quite good. But it definitely sits more comfortably in a pigeon hole with the likes of 65 Days of Static and reminds us that not every track is genre defying. Drags a little bit too - maybe they should bang in some more breakbeats...
www.twentysixfeet.net

SB


 

Tracey Thorn – Raise the Roof (Virgin)

With the dance influenced bassline accompanying her airy vocals, Tracey Thorn immediately distances herself from Lilly Allen et al with this low fi 80s sounding track. There is however little variation in the track, mainly due to the lack of instruments, and the four minutes seem longer than necessary for Raise the Roof. But it makes an interesting listen, Thorn’s vocals are very easy on the ear, and it’s a breath of fresh hair in a predominantly Cockney accent dominated sector.
www.traceythorn.com

Catriona Boyle

 
 

Sounds Like Violence - Heartless Wreck (Burning Heart)

Although this has a few ingredients that might otherwise define it as more Euro rock cheese than flying-V shaped block of Edam, 'Heartless Wreck' is a fair stonker of a single. Simple, punchy guitars (ignore the 'White Wedding' style pick slide intro), urgent choruses (ignore the Scorpions-like intonations) and fantastic rhythm section arrangements (there's no need to ignore anything here - they really are that good). That was a pleasant surprise wasn't it?
www.myspace.com/soundslikeviolence

SB

 
 

Polytechnic - Won't You Come Around? (Shatterproof)

Following in the finest Manchester traditions of glittering guitar arrangements a la Marr, Polytechnic try to gloss over the fact that 'Won't You Come Around?' doesn't really have much of a tune. Sadly no amount of intricate guitar, 'ooh ooh oohs' and bobbling bass can disguise this fact. Not to worry - I'm sure it won't stop NME from loving them.
www.wearepolytechnic.com

SB

 
 

The Search Map – Tiny Victories EP  

With song titles like Victory of Ghosts and Our House Fell Down (But Now We Can See The Stars), it’s not difficult to guess that The Search Map are a little bit on the epic side. And this – the debut three-track EP from the southern five piece – is a fine example of the sort of music made by a new band with a great deal of ambition. With almost sing-along choruses, their sound sits on the poppier side of post-rock, more reminiscent of M83 or Hope of The States than any of the instrumental groups (e.g Do Make Say Think, Godspeed You! Black Emperor). Not that that’s a criticism by any means, as this EP is packed with the kind of creativity that shows a band not content with leaving something merely alright. A good example of this is the way that final track, Victory of Ghosts is a good fairly standard epic indie-ish song, but is perfected with some avant-garde Battles-esque beat-boxing. 

This is very nice. Very nice indeed. And if they can pull off what they do on record on stage, then they’ll be a very inviting live proposition. 

Patrick Dowson

 
 

Mothguts/Honey Ride Me A Goat – Split 12” EP (Kitchen Dweller Records) 

The world’s a bit devoid of good old noisy jazz bands, these days. And Mothguts do the “if Lightning Bolt were a jazz band and even weirder” sort of thing very well. Mind you, it’s not easy to get into at first, but once the flailing saxophone claws its way into your conscience, there’s nothing you can do to get it out. 

A flip of the vinyl later, you can find the even more interestingly monikered Honey Ride Me a Goat. In my opinion at least, this is even better. It’s the sort of music Don Caballero should be making instead of the flawed-but-still-alright World Class Listening Problem, and there is a significant amount of Damon Che’s Pennsylvania lot’s influence on this side of the record. However HRMAG do put their own manic spin on things, and keep you hooked for every single second that they’re playing. Vinyl fans might be interested to know it’s on a red 12” limited to five hundred copies. Well worth a tenner or however much it costs. 

Patrick Dowson

 
 

The Whip - Divebomb (Kitsune)

Would you believe me if I said I'd just written a rather long and impressive review of this when my PC crashed and all was lost? Well it doesn't matter if you believe me or not, we like a bit of The Whip here so I'll even make the effort to write a second review.

'Divebomb' will be familiar with anyone who has heard Kitsune's 'Maison 4' compilation and is a relatively simple arrangement of seemingly disjointed synth parts that build and coalesce before finally arriving at one glorious layered finale wall of techno sound. More in keeping with chic French electro labels and acts than the more desolate German and Scandinavian exponents of the electro art, The Whip are surely one of the must see gigs of the summer.
www.myspace.com/thewhipmanchester

SB


 

Scrim - My Revolution/Old School (Black Moon)

Surely a contender for worst band name of the month? Not only is scrim a horrible sounding word - it's a little known fact that 'jute scrim' is a fabric type mesh that is used to seal joints between plaster boards before they are skimmed. Consider your lives enriched by this fact? Thought not.

Scrim (the band) are all about rock however. Both tracks on this single are really well produced and competently performed but lack that bit of oomph to get me hooked - even the 30 second guitar solo (this surely is 'Old School' eh?) seems a bit mechanical. I do really like the dropped tuning and driving guitar in 'My Revolution' though - a bit reminiscent of Pearl Jam's 'Even Flow'. Plenty to work with on future releases.

SB
 

 
 

Phonic Rapture - The Arrow (Chapter Fourteen)

Scrim - I take it back - you do not have the worst name of the month. Phonic Rapture? Now that is pompous - can the music live up to the name? Well, to be honest I'd say not. 'The Arrow' is a bit of a lumbering bluesey rock song with funny electro bass sound which cannot be masked by any amount of admittedly impressive guitar licks, riffs and soloing. There is no drive to the track and the long drawn our vocals only emphasise it's like of dynamism.
www.phonic-rapture.co.uk

SB

 
 

Nifters - If This one Becomes a Hit , I Swear I am Going to Kill Myself (NZW)

That's right - that really is the song title. And that's right - they really are called Nifters. But don't worry - there will be no bloodshed caused by this harmless euro rock outpouring. Admittedly I couldn't sing in Swedish but Mats Larsson's vocals are unconvincing - I didn't even realise he was singing in English until it got to the chorus. Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, bridge, key change, chorus. Rock by numbers. Nifters look quite scary though so I'll pretend I actually really like it - honest.

SB

 
 

Archive of Everything - Hello Children (Simulated City)

Well here's a rather catchy little number dripping in a warped sample that would certainly scare the children the song is supposed to be greeting. Heavily influenced by the likes of Death in Vegas I would guess, there's a rather unexpected clatter of bass and guitar midway through the track after you had probably consigned yourself to thinking this was going to be an electro only number. Short and not necessarily sweet but certainly a great way of getting rid of unwanted trick or treaters around Halloween. I'm intrigued.
www.myspace.com/archiveofeverything

SB

 
 

Scarlet Blonde - Bedroom Superstars (HyperMEDIA)

A bursting riffmongous drum clattering electro rock romp. Sounds like a News of the World headline. It is unashamedly dated without a hint of irony which may be why it almost works - a bit like the Emperor's new clothes scenario. But ultimately it's just 80's pop innit?

SB

 
 

Guster - 'One Man Wrecking Machine' (Reprise)

Boston-based power-poppers Guster have been around in one form or another since the early nineties and are now on their fifth album ('Ganging Up On The Sun') from which the single 'One Man Wrecking Machine' is taken.

I must admit, I took an instant dislike to the actual title of the track and this was exacerbated when I heard the rather naff opening lines to the song which involve time machines and the homecoming queen's pants. No, I'm not making this up. However, putting these annoyances to one side, the track is a bit of grower and actually quite decent methinks - a slow-burning , guitar-driven pop ballad offering a glowing, reflective look back at life from the perspective of a pensive thirty-something. No need to bring people's underwear into it though.
www.myspace.com/guster

Tony Robinson

 

The Ripps - Holiday (Catskills)

Coventry threesome The Ripps release another energetic slab of punk-pop from their debut album Long Live The Ripps. 'Holiday' is a tongue-in-cheek indie homage to the summer, predictably involving beers, piers, and almighty hangovers. Unoriginal subject matter yes, but the breakneck pace and undeniable effervescent charm of the song would win over even the most ardent of non-believers. As for the other tracks on the single, the remix version of 'Holiday' is utterly pointless and unnecessary, whilst non-album track 'Black Eye' is a punky effort with bags of perspiration but little in the way of inspiration. The Ripps are certainly not going to change the world, but with 'Holiday' they might just put a drunken smile on your face this summer.
http://www.myspace.com/theripps
Watch the video to 'Holiday'

Tony Robinson

 
 

Unkle - Night's Temper EP (A Prelude To War Stories)

The packaging to this EP is a reviewer's dream - a double 7" gatefold with extra card sheath, yum yum, all red and black and beautifully designed. Are the tunes contained herein up to the promise of the outer? In glorious remembrance of John Peel, I play side A "Chemistry" at the wrong speed and actually prefer it to the right speed. The sign of a top tune, with Josh Homme's trademark guitar squeals all over it. Side B "Morning Rage" is a nice, fuzzed up overdriven and synth underlaid piece of prog punk, reminding me a bit of Radiohead 10 years ago at times and at others, echoes of Mansun. Good. Side C "Persons and Machinery" is dronefest musically that Velvet/arcade fire fans would like, there's some sparse glockenspiel going on, accompanied by sumptuous organ, oh, it's lovely. So lovely that I'm going to play it again. yes, it's lovely still. And after another 6 listens, it's the business. Side D's "Mayday" is a rousing, Glitterband of a stomper and a pretty good way to close this collection. So James Lavelle, still asking questions and spreading the collaborative effort. Buy this 'ere EP is my advice.

Dave Procter

 
 

Alex Cornish - This One’s For You 

“If there’s such a thing as talent, then this lad shits it,” said the agent of Marc Park, the Peter Kay creation who sang such cheesy ballads as ‘African Tears’ and ‘Christmas 2000.’ Trouble is, I can’t think of any other way to describe Alex Cornish, the young and prodigiously talented Scottish singer-songwriter. He’s got a song on a film soundtrack, runs his own label, plays loads of instruments, and makes beautiful music. If there was a way of bottling potential, he’d never have to work again after going to the loo in the morning.

This download-only single, recorded totally in Cornish’s bedroom, is a lovely wash of strings and picked guitar, suggesting the mournful lament of a lover staring out at the grey skies. It’s a melancholy triumph, and Cornish is old beyond his years if this offering is anything to go on. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, the cream rises to the top for a reason.
www.myspace.com/alexcornish

Chris Stanley

 
 

Device - Essex County Line (Vashon Ferry)

The rather drably-named Device release their debut UK single on the fledgling Vashon Ferry label and kick things off with the excellent pounding intro of lead track 'Essex County Line'. It's an intro which hints at great things to come, but despite plenty of bluster, the track never delivers on its initial promise. It's hard to escape the fact that 'Essex County Line' is about a train ride around the south of England. Wooo-hooo!! Rock'n'roll dudes!! Pleasantly anthemic, if slightly-overblown pop, for people with little imagination and/or an obsession with train-journeys. It will probably do very well.

Second track 'Sirens' is a more understated and affecting affair. A well-crafted pop tune, it gently rolls around in an intelligent and satisfying manner and, for me, would have made a better A-side than 'Essex County Line'. They still manage to get in a mention of trains though. They're obsessed!

Third and final track 'Angel of the South' is just dull, dull, dull and despite several listens it has failed to lodge a single thought, image or emotion in my brain. But, wait, no trains on this one! Maybe that's what it's missing. Yeah, 'Railway-Rock' - it's the next big thing don't you know.
http://www.myspace.com/devicemusic
http://www.devicemusic.co.uk
 

Tony Robinson

 
 

Gallows - ‘Abandon Ship’ (Black Envelope) 

I’ve heard only good things about Gallows. If Kerrang! has them featured in every issue then they must be great..only kidding. But seriously, all the articles featured photos of gingernut frontman Frank Carter snarling and sweating and twatting someone in the head with a microphone so I was happy for a chance to give them a good listen. For what they’re made out to be, you’d expect something with more impact, not a mediocre song with whining vocals in parts. Don’t believe the hype (read: press release), it’s not hardcore. And it. is. not. punk. It’s boring. I’m just happy I didn’t get the version with the Black Flag cover (remember kids..WWHRD?)

Willa C

 
 

Truckdriver Jnr. - ‘And Then You’ll Burst Into Flame’ (We Like Danger!) 

‘And Then You’ll Burst Into Flame’ is as much a housewarming present from Staffordshire band Truckdriver Jnr as it is for the new independent record label We Like Danger! At five songs long (the opening track is a sampled intro) it becomes clear that this band is about minimal vocals and structured sections of guitarwork and drumming. It’s heavy and rides the very thin line between rhythmic and monotonous, but if you like bands like Devil Sold His Soul you’ll know what I mean, and in that case I recommend it to you. Keep an eye out not only for this band, but for their label too. It’s more than a good start. Best tracks: ‘We are Men of Action’ and ‘Pretty Black’.

Willa C

 
 

Kris Morris – Little Light (self released)

There’s few people who have a strong enough voice to have unaccompanied parts on the first song of their first EP. Kris Morris is certainly on of them though. Broken is a song to warm the coldest of hearts.  

This EP is one of the most sincere and heartfelt collection of songs I’ve heard in a while, and I’d challenge anyone not to get something from it. The simple melancholic strumming of the acoustic provides Kris will all the backing his voice needs.  

Whilst its unfair to say there’s no honesty in music these days (The View’s declaration of their unwashed clothes, Maximo Park’s heart –on –sleeve relationship analysis) there’s only a few people who actually go a little deeper, particularly into the not so pleasant things, but Little Light articulates this perfectly. 

Why this man had to release his own EP is an absolute mystery/travesty. Someone sign him. Now.
www.krismorris.com

Catriona Boyle

 

Dame Shirley Bassey – Get The Party Started (Lock Stock and Barrel Records)

First used on an M & S ad at Christmas (and undoubtedly did wonders for their sales figures) Dame Shirley’s cover of Pink’s Get The Party Started sees a very very mediocre pop song transformed into a melodramatic theme tune in the way only Dame Shirley can, and will leave you saying Pink who? (if you weren’t already).  

With the addition of her trademark cascading strings, incredible voice, and cheeky sense of humour the song is given an air of mystery, class and sparkle. Fabulous.
www.myspace.com/shirleybassey

Catriona Boyle

 
 

TD Lind – Her (Tall Tale Records)

Her kicks off with a slightly disjointed rhythm, making it a bit tricky to get in to. It’s pleasant enough though, with a quirky Clap Your Hands Say Yeah feel.  I’m Not Worried is a laid back track, displays TD’s warm voice in a country influenced track which is far better than the A side. Disco Beat strays even further into country with slide guitar and muffled vocals. It seems that this is where TD Lind is most comfortable, although is versatility makes for an interesting listen.
www.tdlind.com

Catriona Boyle

 
 

Marsha Swanson – Still Wrong (Proper)

A lilting piano ballad with gentle vocals. It won’t offend you, but it won’t bowl you over either.

Catriona Boyle

 
 

The Wayne Foundation – Friday Night Nation (North West Side Records)

No, not quirky American popsters Fountains of Wayne, but altogether slightly more serious ‘musical collective’ The Wayne Foundation. The off beat ska chords in first track Friday Night Nation seduce you into thinking maybe its not so bad… when what sounds like Westwood kicks in with vocals about Smirnoff Ice and vomiting girls. And not in a humorous Arctic Monkeys way either. Boring boring boring. Oh and apparently the rhythm is ‘drunken reggae’ and not ska. Silly me. And what’s this? They’ve used the exact same drunken rhythm in track two.  

Don’t Want To Be A Daddy has a vocal style reminiscent of The Streets honesty and attention to detail, but the faux strings in the background and the boy band chorus ruins it.  

Prick Tease is quite frankly vulgar and unnecessary, and perhaps all the girls that won’t sleep with the singer have heard his music. And the fact that it sounds a lot like Madness just makes my head hurt. 

There are plenty of people that do this better, funnier, and with a little more class. www.myspace.com/thewaynefoundation

Catriona Boyle

 
 

BC Camplight – Lord, I’ve Been on Fire – One Little Indian 

It’s so tempting to lay into little old BC Camplight, deride him, say that you wished, Lord, that He’d Been on Fire. But to do so would be an act of callous jealously.  Unprovoked assaults for no other reason than because frustration boiled in your belly every time you picked up a guitar. Boiling and spluttering since, unblessed of the talent bestowed upon this individual, you sound rubbish and he sounds effortlessly cool.  

Being cool, not easy. Being brilliant at guitar doesn’t equal cool, look at Johnny Marr since he left the Smiths. Being lyrically gifted doesn’t either, look at Craig David, sorry, bad example. Switch that one around to ‘being vocally talented’ for me. Thanks. You see, BC Camplight is all these things and you get the impression he doesn’t need to try. If he made you a cup of tea, it would be the best cup of tea you’d ever had, and he wouldn’t be able to tell you the secret it would just always happen like that for him. 

The title track is a haunting melodic thing of beauty. Imagine early Gorky’s, performed while the band were simultaneously high on LSD, visualising a perfect world and playing through a magic filter that made them sound like late 60’s visionaries 13th floor elevators. It’s just a lovely song. Backed up with two further glorious offerings, The Hip and The Homeless and the joyous Say Tonto, I’m off to actually pay for the album.

Ian Anderson


 

Van Tramp – The Ultraviolet EP – Tunepony 

Super super heartfelt lead singer Tim recently won a Brian Adams soundalike competition, beating both Ryan and Brian Adams in the process. An amazing feat for one man, and a great accomplishment I’m sure you’ll agree. So now, when Tim joins up with his band Van Tramp, he loves to show the old dogs his new tricks. Showcasing his emotional vocals and tingeing them with so much emotion that nobody could deny that he had a very emotional voice, so full of emotion, it could almost be, Brian Adams. 

Beyond that though, there’s not a whole lot to say about Van Tramp, except that they construct their songs nicely and your dad would love them. Good luck to them, in an increasingly crowded marketplace, it’s hard to sound like Brian Adams and not stand out.

Ian Anderson