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singles - august 2007


The Swims - Swims EP (Distile Records)

Incredibly, given the highly intricate sounds on this debut EP, The Swims consist of just two blokes. Apparently it's just bass and drums which makes this release mightily impressive. What we have here is 6 tracks of dynamic, instrumental post-rock packed to the brim with interesting melodies and clever interplay between the bass guitar and drums. Yes, they do the obvious quiet-loud-quiet thing quite a bit, and at times the tracks are so convoluted that they border on the tedious, but this release is not in any way short on invention. The Swims have created a unique sound here, an interesting blend of math-rock, post-rock, and ambient, and despite giving me a little bit of brain-ache, I kinda like it.

Tony Robinson


Bees and the Birds - EP (Our Neighborhood Productions) 

Bees and the Bees are pretty poor, really. They masquerade as a quirky bunch of singer/ writers that specialise in pseudo-pop, but it’s more an outlet for adolescent nonsense that not even a doped and melancholy 17 year-old art student would enjoy.  

The opener, ‘Birds and Da Bees’ is a silly and thinly veiled ode to a nonchalantly acquired blowjob and for fear of my toes curling beyond their natural ability, I’ll not delve too far into the songs’ deeper meaning. 

From a sonic point of view, the band’s personnel; the male and female lead vocalists complement one another in harmony, the bass player’s highly competent in paving the way through the songs with a strutting and swaggering bass line and the guitar player is obviously no stranger to his instrument. It’s just that it sounds like they couldn’t be bothered to put together anything more adventurous than a very jaded soundtrack to some weedy irk’s drab existence. 

‘Waiting for a Call’, the EP’ closer is about a young man, presumably at the zenith of his formative years who squanders his time, sitting at home and waiting for a phone call from his girlfriend. In this day an age, most folk have mobile phones; couldn’t the protagonist have perhaps visited a Monster Truck derby and there lamented his Girlfriend’s laconic ways?  It doesn’t employ any allegory whatsoever and isn’t very satiating. By its very content, it’s never likely to inspire excitement. In a word, it’s crap; the whole bloody record is.

Alex Clark


Dogs - Dirty Little Shop (Weekender Records) 

Tidier and more restrained than the band’s previous single outing, ‘This Stone is a Bullet’, ‘Dirty Little Shop’ is catchy little indie number that showcases Dogs exemplary song-writing prowess and musical maturity. 

Thinking back to ‘This Stone is a Bullet’, Dogs likened themselves in some degree to Paul Weller (actually, that may well have been somebody else – I’m not convinced at all that Dogs said that, but for the sake of comes next, we’ll pretend that Dogs were once naïve Wellerites), but thankfully in ‘Dirty Little Shop’ and its B-sides, they’ve ditched that stance in favour of adopting a more tailored and individually dynamic sound. After all, for a young band to model themselves on another artist would ultimately prove to be stifling.  

Sure, ‘Dirty Little Shop’ may not pack the punch that ‘This Stone is a Bullet’ did, but it’s more melodious and satiating, it enjoys a higher disciplined composure and yet it rocks. Expect this band to do good things.

Alex Clark


Mosquito - The Crying Girl EP

Oh dear, on the outside this looks to be a promising EP with the PR invoking the spirit of Buckley, the heart and soul of Radiohead and the panache of the Chilli's. It fails, however, to thrill on any level, with an identikit rock by numbers feel to all the songs. Production wise, the EP is pretty slick, but seems to lack passion, and all we seem to get is a plod through some very ordinary fayre. On Heal Me the band seem to want to eventually attempt to break out of their production straightjacket, but are grasping at something that seems be well out of reach. I'm sure that there's a good market for this sound, but not here I'm afraid.

John Kertland


Van Tramp - The Ultraviolet EP (Tonepony)

A claim to fame for Van Tramp is that the final Score backing theme on a Saturday is a tune of theirs, so, is it going to be 0-0 or a resounding victory for this EP? Well, Hope and Pray inhabits a world where the Stones meet the Who in a hard place, whilst the Kinks watch over proceedings. Smooth and well considered balladry that bears closer inspection. Lead singer Tim cuts a fine voice over an agreeable melodic backing. I can imagine this sounding good on the radio, The same goes for The Garden where Rod Stewart get's a look-in with a rousing chorus. Big tunes and unit friendly, the final score is an easy 4-0 triumph for the Van Tramp boys. Well worth finding and checking.

John Kertland


MIT – Good Book (Half Machine Records) 

Although it’s a shame that MIT have dropped their German mother-tongue and adopted English for ‘Good Book’, the track is nothing short of enormous. An achingly fuzzy bass climbs on a crescendo and leaps off into a throbbing and compelling disco/ Indie workout that, depending the inebriate’s barroom etiquette and grace, will ultimately flesh out the best, or worst in a person. 

‘Good Book’ may well be revered in years to come as being the soundtrack to which great memories of part-time love affairs, buffoonery and mayhem are forged to, but it’s there B-side, ‘Auf An Aus’, which is the real delight. It’s sung in native German and as with all good addictive stimulants, it gets its teeth stuck into your flesh and is a swine to get out. Shame it’s only 57 seconds long…

Alex Clark


Jack Peachey - A Typing Error 

Some people will do anything to get famous. Some people, who we have no choice but to pay attention to (I’m looking at you, Charley from Big Brother), try to achieve fame off the backs of people who weren’t exactly Jack Nicholson to begin with. Jack Peachey and Gallery 47 promise tea and tunes, and to be honest, that’s the best invite for a review I’ve heard in a while. When said artist sends you enough teabags to get you through a listen to their material, you have to clap your hands and say ‘Bravo!’

But I must state right now that caffeine-based bribes will only get you so far if the material’s not up to scratch. Happily, that’s not the case, since Jack Peachey has an outstanding voice, and he and the band have created something rather great in the wilds of Nottingham. Opener ‘Companion’ is a stormer, reminiscent of Radiohead before they forgot how to play guitars, and while the rest of the material on the debut EP sits in the shadow of that track, it’s not to say it’s particularly weak. It’s very, very good.

In a music scene where James Blunt sees millions of pounds per second just for singing what’s essentially an extended chat-up line, it’s refreshing to hear an artist that’s talented but hasn’t yet been airbrushed to within an inch of his life. The longer Peachey and Gallery 47 are allowed to keep their idiosyncrasies, the better. 

Chris Stanley 


Andrew Morris - Upside Down 

Much is made in reviews of the fact that Andrew Morris has a day job as a criminal lawyer and makes music in his spare time. I’m not going to do that, but I mention it purely because if I give him a positive critique I can break a law and get some free legal representation. I know how these things work.

Truth to tell, there’s nothing here but the music anyway, which stands on its own legs with no excuses. It’s a really strong set of songs, especially if Morris only manages to write and record in his spare time. A breezy EP with a sheen of summer sun, ‘Upside Down’ may have an interesting back-story but it doesn’t need it, really. Morris’ talent runs deep enough.

Opener ‘You’re Not Alone’ is a sweet ballad that manages to come across as gentle without being twee. It can be hard for solo artists to keep away from the cloying lyrics when they’re trying to be heartfelt, but Andrew Morris keeps firmly in the ‘talented’ part of the chart. The other material is equally adept.

Without wanting to sound patronising, the Aussie-raised Morris brings to mind the best material of fellow Antipodeans Crowded House. It’s just a shame that he’s got a choice to make between being a highly-paid entertainer or a highly-paid lawyer. Lucky bastard.

Chris Stanley


Ilona V - Good Morning EP (Bracken)

What a lovely slice of folk to break the recent reviewing drought with. Ilona V has one of those airy voices that barely seems to make it out of the speakers yet dances perfectly along the sparse guitar lines accompanied by just the right amount of harmonica. Pretty reminscent of the sound of Monkey Swallows the Universe in their quieter moments - 'Good Morning' will most likely make your whole day.



Monte Cristo - Revelation Five (Loriana)

And in a flash my good mood is ruined. 'Revelation Five's' unfathomably dated take on electronica swings us back to the mid 80s and the formative days of synths. The heavily accented narration whispers in and out but maintains steadfastly incomprehensible. Tracks 2 and 3 follow a similar pattern with equally leaden beats. Very disappointing.



The Reluctants - Is That What You Want EP

Hip-hop, soul, rock, reggae, r n b... the collection of influences seem to align like a particularly threatening stellar constellation. But strangely this ain't half bad. MC's MD and Knowledge throw together some pretty rocking sounds and have a west coast rap style that would give Ice Cube a run for his money. This rap-rock crossover would not have sounded out of place on the Judgement Night soundtrack ten years ago (and that is a compliment in my book.) I'm just not sure that the chorused vocals of female singer Maiko add anything to the mix. She's pretty good but I find myself waiting for her to shut up so I can enjoy the beats and the rapping. Personal taste I suppose but definitely an act worth checking out.



Subsource - This Town (Archangel)

The press release says it all - 'Subsource are a scintillating live act that need to be heard live to fully appreciate their dynamic depth'. There's a heap of good things going on in this single but the whispy vocals that seem to phase in and out don't really give it the grunt it needs to really grab the attention in the way a Prodigy or Chemical Brothers would. Which is a real shame because as 'This Town' progresses it builds up a pretty ferocious depth of sound that would sound great really loud in a club. I dont like the fade out much either - write a proper ending. Only 5 out of 10 I'm afraid for the original mix but throwing 5 excellent remixes in to the bag gets this mark up to 7 at least.



Urban Myth Club - Moon & the Night (TRL)

Big in Croatia apparently. But then so was ethnic cleansing. Fortunately Urban Myth Club inspire no such psychotic tendencies - their brand of trip hop broadly encompassing the likes of Portishead, Massive Attack, Oom and Stateless. Luscious atmospheric reverbs and glorious vocals - this is music born to be a cinematic backdrop, whether to a real film, Tv or just while you're dong the ironing.



The Lazarus Plot - Doesn't Change a Thing (Illuminated)

Not a massive punt away from Urban Myth Club, 'Doesn't Change a Thing' has a stark piano line and brooding vocal. But where Urban Myth Club just seem effortlessly cool, The Lazarus Plot just seem to have to force things a little bit. The title is pretty earnest, the guitar gets a little noodley and the vocals are just a little bit the wrong side of heart-felt. I could be persuaded either way about The Lazarus Plot and would need to hear some more before making up my mind.



Nephwrack - By The Light

Oh dear - I shouldn't like it but I do. It's proper heavy metal innit? There's a guy singing well below his vocal range in an angry growl, there's chugging chords which sound like they are being produced on a Black and Decker  and there's even an acoustic bridge. Ahh, the glorious three stage metal plan. But it's all good fun and harmless enough and will definitely hit the massive Maiden-Faith No More axis of popularity. Great ending too.



UXL - Beautiful Today

Oh yuck. 'Isn't she beautiful' croons the UXL mob repeatedly through their choruses. Dreadful radio friendly rock.



Chicane - Come Tomorrow (Modena)

Remember Chicane? They had a massive hit with chill out classic 'Offshore' a few years back. And it seems time has been kind to them as 'Come Tomorrow' demonstrates a skilful mastery of the welding of live and electronic sounds in a trippy, throbbing atmospheric three and half minutes. Welcome back.



Big Arm - Flashbacks (Turn On Tunes)

He may be talking about the sort of flashbacks that his better known namesake and brother Shaun must surely witness on a daily basis but Paul Ryder and co of Big Arm seem to have little else in common with the Happy Mondays than that. A kind of cross between Benny Hill music and a jazz-soul fusion, complete with horns, battle for dominance in this bizarre concoction. Good lyric though - 'I think I'll pop' and a member of the Ryder family who can actually sing.



Brian Houston - Days of Pearly Spencer

The male equivalent of Dolly Parton anyone? Well, without the massive baps obviously. No? Not even with lashings of pedal guitar? And a free video? And a fiddle da dee string section near the end? Still no? You miserable gits.



Look See Proof - Casualty (Weekender)

'Casualty' stagger into action building on it's staccato guitar lines before spreading its wings and flapping into the standard indie guitar territory that you can pick up any day on T4. Look See Proof sound young, vibrant and full of energy but they have much company in the likes of the Dykeenies, Louie et al.



The Shaker Heights - Magna Doors/Pigment in the Rally (Matchbox)

AA singles which kick off with the word 'epic' in the press release along with a plonking guitar line fill me with dread. But the way The Shaker Heights use the keys in different rhythms to break up the various section of 'Magna Doors' is quite unusual. Not unusual enough to avoid the criticism that the track ponders along a bit too long but interesting all the same.

'Pigment in the Rally' demonstrates a similar theme of mixed rhythms but is a more mainstream guitar piece. The production is a little bit muddy and there is nothing much to keep the attention after the novelty beats have passed.



Moonshot - Dirty Hands

It seems that Moonshot have had a bumpy ride in Tasty in the past - sometimes praised, sometimes disappointing. For me 'Dirty Hands' will do nothing to raise their average as it sounds dated and weak. this is not ever-evolving - it sounds more like a band who have run out of ideas and inspiration from one another after a decade. Hopefully the album will prove us wrong.



Abigail Hopkins - I'll Be Waiting For You By The Bus Stand (Possessed)

Taken from the album 'Blue Satin Alley' - you would have to be a real fan to buy a single that lasts less than 90 seconds. Not to say that it is without merit - it really is pretty original - a kind of school yard round built on hand laps and vocals. But it is one of the weaker tracks from the album so I would direct you in the direction of the albums section at HMV rather than any bus stands.



Broken Dolls - Stronger (Southern Fried)

Broken Dolls seem to have found the habit of sitting bang in the middle of 'classic' bands like Echo and the Bunnymen and the current indie scene populated by the likes of Editors and The Killers. 'Stronger' is a pretty moderate affair because of this - not really throwing its hat in the ring either way and lacking a bit of oomph.



The Hair - Disco/Retro (Louder Than Bombs)

Talking of The Killers...actually, that's unfair as The Hair veer well clear of our American brothers after about 30 seconds when they go all electro funk discotastic. 'Disco/Retro' never lets you rest - constantly twisting, jagging and poking you in the ear all while remaining unerringly cool. Bravo The Hair!



Metamatics - Personal Jesus (Hydrogen Dukebox)

Well it's a safe bet choosing the Depeche Mode classic to cover but Metamatics have done it a credit in this version. Gone are the twangy guitar hooks and Dave Gahan's baritone vocals, replaced by an electronic assemblage cut and pasted into place with a dray female vocal track.
Watch the video to 'Personal Jesus'



Stateless – Prism #1 (!K7) 

I was very excited when this single landed on my doorstep. I saw the Leeds combo, Stateless, at the Cockpit in Leeds a couple of years back. I'd never heard of them but their set was brilliant and I was mesmerised by the lead singer Chris James and the emotion in his singing. I came away with a promotional CD and couldn't believe they weren't signed. I havent heard much of them since but I've seen their DJ, Kidkanevil, playing around Leeds so a copy of this single was a nice surprise. 

The single has been released on the !K7 label, known for its awesome 'DJ Kicks' series. Prism #1is an atmospheric track with subtle strings and piano accompanying Chris James, and electronic beats and scratches from Kidkanevil. 

Research tells me this group have already impressed the likes of Roots Manuva & DJ Shadow (lead singer Chris James apparently featured on Shadow's 'The Outsider'!). Its good to hear this band are doing well. Even the b-side on this single, 'Lose Myself' is a quality track. I definitely intend to give them some support and check out the album.

Lou Butler


The Thrills - Nothing Changes Around Here 

'Nothing Changes Around Here' is the first single from The Thrills forthcoming third album, 'Teenager'. Conor Deasy is the lead singer of the Irish five piece, and his croaky vocals accompany the melodic guitar riffs and piano perfectly. This is a great summer track and you cant help tapping your feet. It does have the typical Thrills sound which suggests there style perhaps hasn't changed much for the third album. It is a good upbeat track, but nothing to get over excited about.
Watch video to 'Nothing Changes Around Here'

Lou Butler


The Domino State - Iron Mask (Club AC30 Records) 

There is very little to say about The Domino State. Their cover art reveals little, they write their own songs as a group and the name of their record company is the kind of delicious pun that has me salivating like I’m chewing a whole packet of Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles.

 Oh, and before I forget, The Domino State have made quite possibly the independent single of the year. ‘Iron Mask’ is the kind of spacious, sublime cross between The Editors and Idlewild circa The Remote Part  that I never thought I would play over and over again. But I did, and I didn’t feel sick of it (unlike eating a whole packet of the aforementioned confectionary). Even ‘For Now,’ the b-side, is brilliant.

There’s nothing else to say. There doesn’t need to be. Whatever it takes, be a part of this group’s future.

Chris Stanley


Shin Jin Rui – “Roadside attraction" 

Described as an “insightful, abrasive storytelling via songs”, this three piece Newcastle based band should be something worth listening to, right?

However, none of these tracks entice you to listen to the next one or even the rest of the EP, perhaps with the exception of track 5, which has a slightly more empowering mix of melodies and beats than the others. Even so, the other tracks are repetitive and fail to withhold any new or interesting ideas – it’s all been done before, and more successfully.

The vocals are definitely abrasive, yet the new “faze” of placing wavering, irritating vocalists, accompanied by unexciting guitar riffs and drum beats (aka the new “indie”), seems to be the new theme of this demo.

This may appeal to the greying, geography teaching indie rockers that are still clinging to their youth, as all this band have brought are a crap version of “prototype heavy metal of early Black Sabbath”.

Lid Smith


Hearts Revolution – Choose Your Own Adventure 

Uuuuum, this is a lovely looking thing. It’s a heart-shaped piece of white vinyl. It’s a bastard to find the staring groove, but once you get it, what a treat. The title track is a girly-led shouty chunk of fuzzed and punked up electronica, that has me slavering. It’s an anti-war rant at times and then it’s about foxes and bunnies . Hard to describe how good it is, so I won’t bother. It’s VERY GOOD. “Domino Effect” continues the groove where the first track left off, but takes it further instrumentally, really well mixed stuff this. “Prism Effect” doesn’t wander off too far from the blueprint, but has added blokey vokeys and some filtering, which is always welcome chez Prock. This whole EP is ace, buy it.

Dave Procter


Toy Heroes – A Story Of….. 

Disappointing then to follow up with this. I’m not sure what this band are trying to be honest, probably summat like Evanescence. If that’s your bag, then fine. It’s only plus points for me are the artwork and the fact that this single is on blue Smarties coloured vinyl.

Dave Procter


The Arteries - The Arteries

A decent effort from South Wales' The Arteries who put together a reasonable Robert Plant fronting Green Day racket. I can't get my head around the bizarre slightly off-rhythm drumming on 'Still on My feet' - not so far out of phase as to sound deliberate but just nagging away there slightly behind the rest of the track. maybe it's just a mix thing.

There's a general bluesey overtone to the guitar licks and a willingness to play too fast. Michael Winner would be telling these boys to 'calm down'. But I kind of like the punky ethic - stops it from sounding too contrived.



Commander Keen - Panic Attack (Hackpen)

A most endearing combination of warbling electronics, doleful brass and airy vocals make 'Panic Attack' a wonderful listen. Like being slowly woken from a peaceful sleep by being drizzled in liquid bliss. Actually, that sounds a bit rude but you know what I mean. Second Track 'If I Thought You heard This (alternate version)' is equally mesmerising - all gentle bells, tingling percussion and gentle strummed guitar. File under ambient-electronica-folk - once you stop listening to it that is.



ReCoup - Remind You (Enable)

Here's food for thought. For a song influenced by highlighting the impact of humans on the earth ReCoup have previously packaged their CDs in re-used crisp packets. All very admirable. Not sure about the environmental qualities of the 3 separate CD discs they have had to send for re-release of 'Remind You' or the energy taken to deliver them etc but hey ho. Fortunately this remix (German Drum Revolution) is a whole lot edgier than it's predecessors and adds a much needed aural appeal which stands up as a track in its own right rather than merely as ecological propaganda. I'm off to mulch the CD sleeve in celebration.



Other Passengers - Vacation EP (Something in Construction)

I'm not sure whether this was recorded on someone's home taping system but this CD sounded so dropped out when I played it that I had to double the volume fro the last CD. But it kinds of adds to the intrigue of Other passengers, a band who sound like they are rooted in early Goth rather than New York, 2007. The drumming is steadfastly powerful and the guitars crash around your ears like tumbling musical monoliths. There is a fusion of a mathy rock sound with a shoe gazing sensibility all set to the lupine vocals. Intriguing indeed - I just wish it was a bit louder. If ever there was reason to see a band live...



The Defiled - The Defiled EP

Well, it wasn't going to be bubblegum pop was it? Opener 'Red Tape' is metalcore delivered with molten fretboard, scorched larynx and power driven kick drum. And there's a twist - plenty of little electronic tweaks and twists in the mix so where the likes of Enter Shikari may mess around with their happy hardcore sound, The Defiled merely turbocharge theirs with a bit of 240v through an effects box. Brutally powerful yet very listenable - like getting to Hell's gates and finding it was actually a rather pleasant place you wouldn't mind getting a bedsit in.



Caro feat. Charlie Batchelor - Goodbye Pain (WB)

A big hit in Sweden apparently...not sure what that says in this instance. Extremely MOR schmaltzy crooning from rusty voiced vocalist Charlie Batchelor barely helps animate this sleepy ditty which perhaps should not have made it out of a Sunday lunchtime sing song in any pub in Galway. Dullsville.



Energia feat. Marc Andrewes - This Game (Biondi)

For a name that sounds like a sugary drink, this single lacks any fizz. Sounds like Shy Child without energy and that equals a poor electro version of dated 80s tune. Good job there are 4 remixes, with the Beat Thiefs version offering a slightly more warped take and the Dan McKie edit with heavy beat more likely to find popularity in clubs than their leaden original.



Arrow!!! - D.O.E.S EP (Lobe)

This is more like. A heaving bassy bag of tricks heavily influenced by the French eletro scene and Ed Banger sounds, D.O.E.S. is like tasty bag of mixed sweets sprinkled with that Moondust stuff that crackles on your tongue. Or err, on your ears in this case. Either way extremely impressive.

'Candy Monster' starts off sounding pretty similar to The Chemical Brothers 'There's No Path to Follow' before disappearing into Casiocore groovidelica. It still has a cutting edge but with its squeaks and bleeps is the most frivolous track on the EP. The final and fantastically named 'Superfilth!!!' kicks off with the devils' own bass drum soon joined by a hounding warped bass line which is transposed all over the place in a mad frenzy. The bass gets fuller and fuller in the mix as the track goes on until it fair hammers out of the speakers with a kitchen sink full of electro craziness at the end. Perfect for annoying neighbours with.



Dirty Hands - Get on Yer Bike, Charlie (Happy Release)

I would pre-empt this review by admitting no great interest in any so called 'thamesbeat' scene. Sure the songs may be well structured and the lyrics are oh so smart but 'get on Yer Bike, Charlie' just seems to lack a bit of vitality. The distillation (or the watering down depending on your point of view) of a whole bunch of influences - new wave, mod, punk, hell, even Brit Pop, but will it stand the test of time or be another flash in the musical pan? Good luck to 'em.



The Sonic Hearts - Hold On (EMI)

Shite name, shite song. Just because The Kooks somehow managed to hoodwink the record buying public into thinking that their hackneyed brand of summery pop music was the current next big thing does not mean that anyone else should try to copy them. indeed, it should be a warning against such stupidity. Makes me feel a whole lot less guilty reviewing it a month after its release date.



Codex Machine - Man vs Monkey (Womb)

Nothing to do with that god awful TV programme fronted by Tony Robinson you'll be glad to hear. This is four tracks of break beat and sampling electronica from North London's Codex Machine. There's a great mix of styles from around the globe thrown into the loops including a bit of Bollywood, some dance hall and even a few bars of The Smiths. A bit like The Propellerheads fronted by Andy Kershaw.



Animal Collective – “Peacebone” (Domino) 

Anyone familiar with the infamous media-skewering TV series Brass Eye will find much hilarity in the opening 30 seconds of “Peacebone”, as the Collective set every single knob at their disposal to 11 and let their synthesizers do the squawking. “Imagine the teenage thrill of a drive-in movie that’s happening right now in a different dimension”, say Domino Records. Imagine the sound of DJ Bob Hoskins going mental in a dustbin, say I…it actually makes more (nonce)sense. B-side “Safer”, meanwhile, sounds like early Mercury Rev and seems to go on forever. Is any of it any good? Umm…pass.
Watch video to 'Peacebone' on YouTube.

Will Columbine


Bonde Do Role – “Solta O Frango” (Domino) 

I had the dubious privilege of witnessing Bonde Do Role strut their filthy stuff at this year’s Primavera festival, and while I can’t claim to have been converted one has to admit that their own unique take on hip-hop makes for decent party music. Plus, you can’t claim to have experienced all life’s rich and colourful spectrum until you’ve watched a woman in neon tights and a bra mock-masturbating with a feather boa. Attempting to contain such magic on a small plastic disc is a bit futile, really.

Will Columbine


The Rosie Taylor Project – “Black and White Films” 

The RTP continue to craft beautiful, understated acoustic pop so intimate that it’s almost like they’re playing in the same room as you. Like a more country-fixated Belle & Sebastian, anyone disappointed at that band’s latter-day retro fixation would be well advised to point their ears in this direction. Two voices…two acoustic guitars…sometimes that’s all you need, and here’s further proof that there’s still a lot of mileage to be had from such a stripped-down arrangement. Best of all, there’s no inferior B-side to spoil things because both tracks are good – hooray!

Will Columbine


Groove Armada – Song 4 Mutya (Columbia) 

'Song 4 Mutya' is the new single from Groove Armada, taken from their latest album, Soundboy Rock. I'm usually a big fan of Groove Armada but i'm not too sure about this track, a collaboration with Mutya Buena, former Sugababe. Fair enough, i was never a big fan of the Sugababes but I have tried to keep an open opinion. I just cant get over the fact she's singing about herself. The words aren't even interesting and there's no emotion in her singing. If you can get over that then its quite a catchy, funky tune but nothing special.  

The single will feature a number of remixes depending on which format you buy. Linus Love's Dub Mix loses most of the vocals but even that doesn't make much improvement because he butchers the tune. Hot new talent, Kissy Sell Out, has done a remix though which is good fun. He mashes the track up and adds an electro sound with a filthy beat. Even the lyrics become slightly more bearable!

Lou Butler


Hot Chip - My Piano (!K7) 

This is the second review I've done this month from the !K7 label, and what a brilliant label it is! This track is taken from Hot Chip's recent 'DJ Kicks' album -  the acclaimed series which allows prominent Djs and electronic artists to make a mix cd.  

'My piano' is a mellow track made up of piano, guitars, synth's and percussion overlying a dance beat.

Its quite simple and repetitive - typical hot chip style, yet its still catchy and doesn't get annoying. I'm sure there'll be some interesting remixes out there but the dub version on the single doesn't do it for me. For the first 2 minutes it might as well be an entirely different song. The original gets the thumbs up from me.

Lou Butler


A Day Called Desire - Vital Signs (Casket/Copro)

A bit of a schizophrenic affair here as A Day Called Desire lurch from math rock to hair rock without batting an eyelid. At their best they sound like Leicester's purveyors of math rock par excellence Tired Irie, at their worst they give Whitesnake a run for their money. And I don't mean to be rude but I had to check the sleeve notes to make sure that the singer was a bloke because he has a woman's voice (or at least a pre-pubescent girl's voice). Oh dear, not enough good bits.



Stephanie Dosen - This Joy (Bella Union)

Stephanie Dosen sings her songs not for physical audiences sat before her, but for the occupants of parallel realms, ghosts if you will. Her singing is ethereal; her guitar playing delicate and jovial in the face of her occasionally sombre words.  

It would be unfair to call her target audience imaginary, because I’m convinced that whilst she sings her songs and plays her guitar, she sees her audience all around; she hears them breathing and sees them laughing. Her music is the soundtrack to their new lives.

I think Stephanie feels that her music is a very private and personal thing; it’s close to her heart and it’s an asset which she’s delighted to share with the world and whomever she feels may benefit from it. If you find yourself embracing all things delicate and gentle; if you’ve a love for nature and all its whimsy, you’ll be drawn into the beguiling beauty of Stephanie’s songs.

Alex Clark


Cat the Dog - I'm a Romantic/Devil in Me (BMG)

Ah yes, a band who wears their influences on their sleeve. 'I'm a Romantic' sounds like Bleach era nirvana - simple as that (except the vocals are more Steve Tyler than Kurt Cobain). And flip side 'Devil in Me' is all Queens of the Stoneage. It's all harmless enough, even enjoyable I'd go as far to say, especially if you have been stuck in a musical vacuum for the past ten years and think that this is new and exciting.
Watch the video to 'I'm a Romantic'



Inme - I Won't Let Go (Graphite)

Oh my god this absolutely awful. I can't even work out what Inme were trying to do, let alone what they have actually achieved. Is this really what the kids want to listen to? Sounds like a Scandanavian Iron Maiden cover band on a bad day.
Watch video to 'I Won't Let Go'



Shock Defeat – Guts/Amsterdam vs Berlin

This double A-side single is the follow up to the brilliant ‘How Did We Make It So Angry’. I expected a lot from this single and was slightly disappointed, emphasis must be on the slightly. I enjoyed it but the songs didn’t quite have the punch of the previous single, with songs such as ‘Dance Fatigue’, but none the less the songs still evoked the bands eccentric sound and were a very enjoyable listen. Their off-kilter disco rhythms are jerky, sharp and loud, just how we like it. For the band 3.5/5 for this single 3/5

Gareth Ludkin


Nate James – High Times (Frofunk Records) 

High Times is the second single from Nate’s highly acclaimed album Kingdom Falls. The single comes as part of a whopping 10 track remix “package”.  

I am as usual bored by the endless remixes and the Danny S Club Mix sadly features no S Club or S Club 7 or S Club Juniors whatsoever. Many of them feel like a spot the difference for the very keen eyed. Or eared. The Return on the Slag Wagon Dub is worth a listen to, and not just for the humorous name, as it actually mixes and remixes.  

High Times in it’s original form (radio edit and album edit, apparently) is an up-tempo mainly pop inspired little track. It bops along nicely with some delightful “doo do doo” sections. A portion of slightly better than average R n B radio friendly pie, the album version features a nice string heavy breakdown section and some cheeky bass and drum rhythms.

Catriona Boyle


The Vitamins - Later Will Be Better (Red Flag)

This is a slooow, brooding indie single from London 4-piece The Vitamins. Rebecca's vocals sound like those of a more tired, flustered Kate Jackson, or a slowly-bleeding-to-death Victoria Bergsman. The guitars are all on cue and the song is never in danger of sounding sloppy, but dangerously close to sounding a little not-bothered. That's not to say the guitars are rubbish, just a bit like those of the Howling Bells, without such an "edge". They try to set up a platform for the vocals, which are meant to sound "soulful", but are pretty flat. The track never actually kicks out, ending up sounding like well-meaning, average, late-Sunday-afternoon fare. Simplicity is the name of the game here, but please, The Vitamins, don't overdo it. Not terrible. But could do with a few more smiles.

Phil Coales


GoodBooks - Passchendaele (Sony BMG)

I don't know exactly how young this bands' members are, nor exactly where they were each born. I don't think this matters, but I'm sure as hell not going to be writing for the NME any time soon. GoodBooks are "tipped for great things" - this song follows on from earlier successes "Turn It Back" and "Leni" in establishing them as a cut above the rest of the British indie-pop pretenders pack at the moment. Lyrics are about the death of a young man at the Passchendaele battle in World War One, but the song isn't morbid, depressing or railing against the powers that be - it's a good pop song, and makes a catchy refrain out of "he carried English bayonets / in an English way". Album "Control" is out now, and this is a perfect example of the kind of well-aware-yet-fun indie pop GoodBooks peddle. So I'm tipping them for great things, too.

Phil Coales