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singles - october 2007



 

Underworld - Crocodile (Underworldlive)

'Underworld return with the soundtrack to the summer' reads the press release. Erm, if I'm not mistaken this is released on the 8th October so they may have missed the boat on that one. Similarly comparing it to the likes of 'Born Slippy' and 'Rez' is futile - this single is far more akin to the more laid back, cerebral style exhibited by Underworld on 'dubnobasswithmyheadman' - no rabble rousing ranting chorus of 'lager lager lager' top be heard here. The bass line is pulsating and the trademark vocals are put through a ringer of effects. The overall effect? Very ambient. As are the various remixes. But Underworld have always tapped into a completely different scene from that inhabited by their more famous Trainspotting soundtrack. 'Crocodile' continues the where the album 'Beaucoup Fish' left off.
Watch the video to 'Crocodile'
www.underworldlive.com

SB

 
 

Les Savy Fav - What Would Wolves Do? / The Year Before The Year 2000 (Wichita)

This dazzling double A-side single from NYC's Les Savy Fav marks the release of 'Let's Stay Friends'

, the band's first album for 6 years. 'What Would Wolves Do?' starts off gentle, melodious guitars jangling away in a vaguely Strokesian fashion while endearingly strange lyrics about 'huffing the sky into our mouths' and 'drinking the oceans' conjour up some interestingly surreal images. Anyway, it turns out that they are just messing about with the hushed tones and restraint as the guitars explode into life almost half way through, the singer spitting defiance and vengeance, seemingly upon the entire world. Almost as suddenly as it arrived, the loudness is gone, the song is back to its jangly guitars, and the singer is impersonating a howling wolf ( 'Aaaaa-Whooooo') - I mean, what more can you ask for?
'The Year Before The Year 2000' (or '1999' as I prefer to call it - not the Prince one though) follows a similar quiet-loud-quiet pattern to 'What Would Wolves Do?' but doesn't quite equal it's skewed brilliance. Nevertheless, it is still a great track in its own right, achieving that magic combination of boisterousness and tight riffs packed with melody.

So, what would wolves do? Buy the album, of course.
http://www.myspace.com/lessavyfav

Tony Robinson

 

The Nextmen - Something Got You (Antidote)

A bit of an unexpected pleasant surprise as 'Something Got You' sounds a lot more like White Lines era Massive Attack than their normal pot pourri mix of genres. Simple but bassy keys and a beautiful voice are it has and all it needs.
watch video to 'Something Got You'
 

Ian Anderson

 
 

Laura Marling - My Manic & I EP (Virgin)

Weird - I could have sworn I'd already reviewed this last month...no matter. Laura Marling is damaged sounding young thing with a lark-like voice that dances around her earthy lyrics. The guitars on 'Night Terror' remind me strongly of David Thomas Broughton - all skewed and awkward with all the mistakes left in and all the better for it. It's a strong song and leads on nicely to the title track which is a lilting folky number which is all too easy to slip past after the sombre tone of 'Night Terror'. Worth watching now before she starts selling out the NEC arena.

SB

 

Machine - Please Yourself (Gronland)

A perfect man meets machine (if you forgive the pun) electro pop with dirty guitars and warped loops. Does sound a lot like Garbage or maybe even Curve circa 'Come Clean' - this in itself makes me think it might sound a bit dated but I like both those other bands so sod it - I'm giving it a thumbs up as the ending sounds like a gang of youths swinging hammers in a tin can factory.

SB

 
 

Grand Volume - History (Fat Northerner)

Keep playing, keep playing. Dammit, stop doing that stop start thing all through the verse. I can see where the comparisons with Fugazi come from but I could not imagine the the F-Men ever making such a polished record - this production is far too slick to sound like east coast hardcore. That said, there are some excellent ideas going on, particularly in B-side 'Fire Come Soon' which is dynamically genius. I'm cautiously excited about the album (as long as I don't see a press shot of the band sporting 'hair cuts').

SB

 
 

Motion City Soundtrack - This is For Real (Epitaph)

This is For Real? 'For Real' - that's what Richie Manic carved into his own arm in blood with a razor blade - and even that wasn't really for real (damn good PR stunt though). I'm sorry - I just don't get this radio-ready stuff - it all sounds little better than McFly to me.
 

SB

 
 

Our Dying Concept - Death of an Age (Rising)

Sorry to piss on someone's parade but this single has shocking production. It sounds like music played by gobby oiks on their mobile phone on the back seat of the bus. Well, if gobby oiks played blood curdling metal instead of incessant happy hardcore. Singer Leigh sounds very angry about something too. A scary prospect.
www.myspace.com/ourdyingconcept

SB

 

Fair to Midland - Dance of the Manatee (Universal Republic)

Now this is much chunkier production altogether giving the guitars real grunt and warbly toned singer Darroh Sudderth's vocals a much needed touch of gentleness (apart for during his impressive Patton-esque rant in the bridge). It's still melodic hardcore toss though. Dance of the manatee? A manatee? A small aquatic be-flippered mammal akin to a dugong? Bizarre choice of song material...
watch the video to 'Dance of the Manatee'
www.fairtomidland.com

SB


 

Zebedy rays - Religion (The Little Hellfire Club)

I know it's a download only single and the quality might have suffered as a result but if I had to describe the Zebedy rays in one word it would be 'snarey'. Then I'd have to use a load more words to explain that I meant that all I could hear was lashings of clattery snare drum which got a bit annoying after the first 20 seconds. But then it is supposed to be clatterpop. For me it's too staccato and disjointed to enjoy that much.
www.littlehellfire.co.uk

SB

 
 

Redlands Palomino Company - She is Yours 

Country and Western: the marmite of genres. With such a polarizing effect it could probably counteract the melting of the Arctic icecaps, Its fair to say that most people have fairly strong opinions on the subject. The Redlands Palamino Company fall into the less-offensive side, that the likes of Uncle Tupelo or Ryan Adams used to reside in. 'She is yours' is actually rather pleasant, sitting somewhere between the Pixies' 'Here comes your man' and the Dixie Chicks, (which although I've contrived because it rhymes, isn’t too far from the truth) and even rocks out properly at the end. The rest of the EP, sadly, starts to stray a bit too far into AM ballad territory and might be a little bit too vanilla for some people, still, the leads track is a cool, little jangly pop song that’s definitely worth a listen. 

Andy Glynn


 

Radio Rebels - Telescope

Instantly forgettable lo-fi indie-pop fare. I mean, if you can't get excited about it yourself then how am I supposed to? The vocals sound like they were performed after a hearty dose of Night Nurse. One interesting point of note - it's written about ruining a long term relationship by having 'accidental sex'. The mind boggles with images of haphazard penetrations of passing strangers while trying to get on the tube each morning.
www.radiorebels.net

SB

 

Mr Fogg - Seciov / Black Heart (WCS)

Highly impressive stuff from the mysterious Mr Fogg who knocks up all his tracks at home then gets them performed by a full band when playing live. Similar in production style to some of the Brainlove releases of late (Napoleon IIIrd, Pagan Wanderer Lu) and London's Alan MX, 'Seciov' is like a lo-fi new rave with an attention to detail in the intricate electronic parts and sensitive vocals. 'Black Heart' is gluey, bouncey B-side sounding like it was crafted for a Nintendo console. Me likey.
watch video to 'Seciov'
www

 
 

The Lazarus Plot - Always the Same (Illuminated)

The Lazarus Plot last release was called 'Doesn't Change a Thing'. With this titled 'Always the Same' there has to be room for some lazy journalistic pun somewhere. Sorry to disappoint but I'm too bored by this piano driven balladeering to even bother punning. Move along.
www.myspace.com/lazarusplotmusic

SB

 
 

The Violets - Troubles of Keneat (Angular)

Angular Recording Corporation have their niche and they stick to it. I've also got a soft spot for nouveau goths The Violets and this is their best track yet. I can see the comparisons with Bowie's 'Fashion' in the production but The Violets use of synths and various grumbling ethereal rumbles slashes right across the track in satisfyingly discordant way. Aceicles.
www.myspace.com/thevioletsuk

SB

 
 

Bloodhound Gang - Screwing You on the Beach at Night (Medical)

What the devil's name is this nonsense. Sounding like a cross between Eurovision pop and Electric Six, it seems that Bloodhound Gang's lyrical prowess has not advanced much past tittering teenager level. Apparently it has a funny remake of Chris Isaak's 'Wicked Game' video. but apart from this potential limited brief light relief (no pun intended) I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.
www.myspace.com/bloodhoundgang

SB

 
 

The Scratch - Numbers (Ponyland)

Scratch by name, scratchy by nature as the guitars scrape gratifyingly through this chirpy little track. I think I detect a Bowie influence as 'Numbers' sounds a bit like 'Suffragette City' and other Ziggy era stuff. All good in my book.
www.myspace.com/thescratch

SB

 
 

12 Stone Toddler - Candles on the Cake (Amazon)

The eternal is getting older good or bad debate put to a vaudevillian stompathon of a guitar hook until feel like you may have aged 5 years listening to it. A definite love-it or hate-it track which definitely did not need an instrumental on the B-side.
www.12stonetoddler.com

SB

 
 

Meba - Betcha (Freon Rig)

Great record label name, terrible song title. Meba mix nicely laid back breakbeats and hip-hop rhythms into a well balanced chill out kind of sound. Shame then that every time I hear the vocals I think of Elkie Brooks, Elaine Page and other large-lunged stage divas of the past - it's just a bit too clinically sung and warbling for my tastes.
www.myspace.com/mebabubble

SB

 
 

Oceansize - Unfamiliar (Superball)

I keep hearing great things about Oceansize - the future of British shoe gaze, alt-rock pioneers etc. But I'm afraid that to my unaccustomed ear this is just a bit, well, dull. It's got that typical Chris Sheldon sound - all smoothly produced but with all the rawness and passion stripped out. In fact it sounds just like Biffy Clyro but without the tunes. Soz.
watch the video to 'Unfamiliar'
www.oceansize.co.uk

SB

 

Tunng - Bullets (Full Time Hobby)

The world of the psychedelic nursery rhyme was how a wise man once described the previous Tunng single 'Bricks'. And this oompah beat led feast is little different, incorporating rattles, whistles and even a cuckoo clock at one point to augment the fairytale quality of the vocals.
watch video to 'Bullets'
www.tunng.co.uk

SB

 
 

SixNationState - We Could Be Happy (Jeepster)

As a rule, I hate reviewing bands just by describing which other bands they sound like. 'Tis lazy, methinks. However, dear reader, you must forgive me for making an exception in this case. You see, SixNationState sound so much like The Coral it is a little bit scary. Well, not scary exactly… I wasn't actually scared or anything… it's just a bit, well, weird.

To be fair, of the three tracks on this release, the lead track probably sounds the least like our aforementioned scouse friends. 'We Could Be Happy' is a jangle-pop barrel of sweetness which is incredibly difficult to dislike, but just as difficult to truly love. Generic lyrics abound - 'we could be happy, if we try / we could be happy, yeah you and I' - it's not going to win the Most Profound Lyrics Of The Year Award (even if one existed, which it doesn't, sadly). It is hugely radio-friendly, although the tune probably isn't quite memorable enough to lodge itself in the listener's head.

We are deep into The Coral territory with second track '1,2,3,4'. When I say The Coral, I mean the slightly unhinged early version of the band, y'know, all sea shanties and general insanity, la. Revealingly, SixNationState appear more comfortable with this sound than the rather bland MOR of the lead track. 'Got it right, got it wrong' follows a similar path to '1,2,3,4' - rollicking rockabilly propelled by spiralling guitars and the persistent gravelly bark of lead singer Gerry.

So, what have we learnt here? Well, looking beyond the Coral-isms, the atrocious band name, and the vapid lyrics of the lead track, I think SixNationState (arrrggghh, that name!) have shown a glimpse of real talent and invention here which could develop into something much more enticing in the future.
http://www.myspace.com/sixnationstatetheband
Watch the video to 'We Could be Happy'

Tony Robinson

 
 

The Old House – Weekend Driver (Louder Than Bombs)

The Old House is a name I’m trying to pull from the back of my memory. They are a band I vaguely can recall and have not heard from for quite some time, the reason behind this is a two year break made by the band to focus on more important things than rock and roll like families. But now this Wakefield outfit is well and truly back, with pop, rock music which is incredibly enjoyable, chorus vocals a plenty the band make music which must be great live. The Old House may be old but their music is fresh and fiery. Their two year break seems to have been a great idea. This single is testament to a great, and underappreciated band worth listening too.

Gareth Ludkin


 

Lil’Lost Lou and Paul Hawkins: Split Release – ‘Bad Bad Girl’: ‘The Evil Thoughts’ (Jezus factory)

These two songs on one piece of 7” vinyl are explosive, raucous, blues rock and roll. Lil’ Lost Lou uses blues harps and a slice of punk to great effect in a bouncy, energetic song. The bands debut single is a great bedfellow to the similar blues punk rock sound of Paul Hawkins, also his debut. ‘The Evil Thoughts’ is the name of the track and the drunken out of tune vocals are abrasive but suit the melody. Limited to 200 specially numbered editions this spilt 7” is in short supply. Country, tinged with blues, punk and rock and roll. Who’d have thought it would work so well?

Gareth Ludkin

 
 

TD Lind – Falling (Tall Tail Records)

Nice is a word we are discouraged to use but I can find no others to describe TD Lind. His music and this single is a bit too clean. A bit too sterilised. Melodically there are some catchy riffs but it just makes me feel a little sick.

Ballads are dead in my opinion, nice for your gran or your mum perhaps but it just isn’t new, it’s not exciting, it’s just playing it safe. ‘Falling’ is basically a fairly standard inoffensive ballad-esque song, we’ve all seen it before. Come on TD Lind get with it get hip and happening.

Gareth Ludkin

 
 

32-A - s/t EP

That looks a bit like a maths equation up there doesn't it? All slashes, letters and numbers. And if you thought that quadratic equations were scary, wait until you hear this mob. Lending heavily on the likes of Faith No More, these three tracks are pretty impressive. loads of chugging guitars, gutsy vocals and a refreshing light touch of synths that stop things getting a bit too rawk. It's not ground-breaking but it is as good as anyone else doing this kind of music.
www.32-a.co.uk

SB

 
 

Stillman - Jack in the Box (TRL)

Every time you listen to a Stillman track and think it is just going to descend into another schmaltzy ballad or MOR tunage he catches you out by doing something unexpected and wonderful. In this case the guitars and the finger-picked banjo work together beautifully with the scratchy drum pattern outro. Polished and clever.
www.stillman.mu

SB

 
 

The Departure – 7 Years

Nothing of a departure for our erstwhile group from 1981. They still sound like Gary Numan fronting Tenpole Tudor. And the lyrics are pretty awful, as the band despair at the state of the nation just seven years into a new century. Methinks they’re part of the problem, not the cure. Or even The Cure, who they probably listen to every night.

Sam Metcalf

 
 

Zico Chain - Where Would You Rather Be? (Hassle)

Some kind of Alice Cooper tribute perhaps? This is a leaden lump of a single that justifies Zico Chain's place as favourite new band in the hearts of Slash and Duff from Guns n Roses.
www.zicochain.com
Watch video to 'Where Would You Rather Be?'

SB

 
 

Driveby Argument – Left, Left, Walk Forward, Get on the Dragon (Lizard King)

Anguished vocals alert! Remember that gig you went to in the school hall one lunchtime, only to turn right around because the vocalist was singing a completely different song to the one the band were playing. They were probably Driveby Argument, who make songwriting a depressing mixture of hard work and nonsense. Poor, to say the least.

Sam Metcalf

 
 

Cage the Elephant - Free Love (Relentless)

Seems that everyone is falling over themselves to heap praise on Cage the elephant judging by the weekly deluge of emails about them in my inbox. I really can't see where all the comparisons with Rage Against the machine or Led Zep come from by listening to this single - sounds more like a cross between Reef and The Vines to me. Would be lapped up by the buffoons who used to frequent the studio in Chris Evans' TFI Friday.
Listen to 'Free Love'
Listen to B-side 'Tiny Little Robots'
www.myspace.com/cagetheelephant

SB

 
 

Stalkers – Yesterday is No Tomorrow (One Little Indian)

I find it remarkable that bands are still busy playing covers of the first Libertines album, and even more remarkable that One Little Indian think they can fool everyone that this kind of dull shite is anything remarkable. I’ve got my passion and creativity in my left testicle than Stalkers have in their entire bodies. And I’m a girl.

Sam Metcalf

 
 

LR Rockets - Personality / Pincer Movements (art / goes / pop)

Noisy blighters these LR Rockets. All edgy guitars, frenetic singing and general hullaballoo. Chipped off the same block as The Ape Drape Escape and then galvanised in something a little bit punky. The fact that the two tracks are barely distinguishable does count as a bit of a black mark against them though.
www.myspace.com/lrrockets

SB

 
 

Jakobinarina – His Lyrics Are Disastrous (Regal)

I was expecting to hate this, but it’s not so bad, in a big, bad brutal way. I’d much rather listen to this than bloody Stalkers, and the singer sounds like he eats gravel for breakfast. I admire that in a man. Never judge what you think is a fuck-awful nu-rave record by its cover, is the motto here.

Sam Metcalf

 
 

Koopa - The Crash

Shit me - despite being a little bit uncharitable to these boys on their previous releases (even if they did get into the charts - just shows what I know) I now find myself toe tapping under the desk. 'The Crash' is chug-tastic and all choppy all over the place, not dissimilar to Presidents of the United States of America. There are some great guitar parts in this and the only fault I can level are the namby pamby vocal harmonies in the chorus. I suppose they are in there so they can continue to steal McFly's market. Or it could just be that Koopa are growing up...
www.myspace.com/koopa

SB

 
 

Guile - Love Around Here

It seems to me that the darker and more brooding that Guile have got the better and tighter their song writing has become. 'Love Around Here' is nothing short of an epic - a psychedelic blues inspired romp of white noise and slide guitar that evokes 'The End' by The Doors but chews it up and spits it out blackened and gnarled. Backed with a more sinister and intricate piece in 'The Horizon', Guile are getting scarily good- be afraid listeners, but embrace that fear.
www.guilemusic.com

SB

 

Half Cousin - The Absentee (Gronland)

There's a naive charm to this little electro folk number from musical collective Half Cousin. The remixes of 'The Absentee' (especially the Ingrid Eto version) are very evocative of Hot Chip in their whimsical instrumentation and gentle lilting vocals. I guarantee you'll feel all warm and fuzzy after listening.
www.halfcousin.com
Watch the video to 'The Absentee'

SB

 
 

Dashboard Confessional - Thick as Thieves (Vagrant)

Another Dashboard Confessional single, another slagging I'm afraid. I don't go in for all this earnest singer songwriter nonsense and for all it's jangly adolescent character, 'Thick as Thieves' leaves me suitably non-plussed. There's also the small matter of some very intermittent booming drums during the chorus that just sound weird - had me looking around tasty towers for intruders knocking over my Tupperware collection it did.
Listen to 'Thick as Thieves'
www.myspace.com/dashboardconfessional

SB


Mark Ronson (feat. Amy Winehouse) - Valerie (Columbia)

A few chums and myself were having a conversation about Mark Ronson only last weekend and concluded that we could not work out exactly why he was so popular or even what his supposed production genius was supposed to be. Combine these dubious talents with rusty voiced skag-head Winehouse and the the old adage about two negatives not making a positive becomes blatantly obvious. May have Christmas sticking filler potential for Grandma (and luckily for her she is already partially deaf).
Watch the making of the video to 'Valerie'

SB

 

The Delta Fiasco - Paperhouse (Smoke & Mirrors)

'Paperhouse' sounds extremely retro - like Echo and the Bunnymen or goth from the 80's. But with a bit of twiddly keyboards type stuff. there's also a bit of Frankie Goes to Hollywood in there - basically it's quite poppy and a touch glam. I'd suggest the you skip the radio edit and album tracks and head directly to the Ladytron remix which is far more satisfying with an introduction of sci-fi type sound effects and electronic grating providing an effective counter beat to the cumbersome drum pattern of the original.
www.myspace.com/thedeltafiasco
Watch the video to 'Paperhouse'

SB

 
 

Jack Rokka vs. Betty Boo - Take Off (Gusto)

Despite performing that ridiculously catchy track in the 90s, if memory serves me correctly Betty Boo also went on to have a pretty successful writing career penning hits for Hear'Say and Girls Aloud (a dubious achievement perhaps). Take off sees Miss Boo only providing the vocal track to a bouncy pop song that will be a bigger hit in clubs than on the radio I would have thought - quite a hard edge throbbing melody that may not be that palatable over a bowl of Rice Crispies. It's likable enough but lacks a bit of substance - better for dancing than listening to despite Boo's impressive rappy vocals. Anyone else think she looks a bit like Carol Vorderman?
www.myspace.com/jackrokka

SB

 
 

The Envy Corps - Rhinemaidens (Vertigo)

I may be being harsh but 'Rhinemaidens' just sounds a bit dull. There's a reasonably pleasing chacka chacka guitar riff at play but the drums are incredibly formulaic and the vocals seriously underachieve and sound disinterested for large periods of the song. Proficient enough but severely in need of video's visual accompaniment to make any lasting impression.
watch video to 'Rhinemaidens'
www.theenvycorps.com

SB

 
 

Elena - I'm Your Face (Delicious)

Horrible, horrible. From the opening ballady piano to the awkward guitar parts this is loathsome. Elena sings 'I was learning to grow up' like it's going to be her terminal breath. In fact she sings a lot of lines like that. Except one towards the end of the track which is an ear splitting shriek. And what does 'I'm Your Face' mean? I'm afraid I can't risk my ears to another listen to try and decipher the hidden subtext.
www.elenaonline.com

SB

 
 

The Deodates - Before the Bench (Taboo)

Like The Acutes but with a much needed injection of energy and melody, The Deodates are a punk pop duo where the only sounds which accompany the drums and guitar tend to be lovely static crackles and buzzes from mic leads and the like. The two tracks here are pretty good but like other acts of this type, an extended listen could cause lug-hole fatigue.
www.myspace.com/thedeodates

SB


 

Lucius - Say It Again (Ditto)

This is crisp and well produced as you would expect from a band that comprises of members with quite a bit of experience under their belts. But aside from an exciting squealy bridge part it's all a bit dry, like power ballad driving music that you could imagine Alan Partridge thumping along on his his steering wheel to.
www.luciusmusic.co.uk

SB

 
 

Axisgallery - Boy Cum Over

Despite the crappy title and a threatening mix of styles including 'jazz, rock guitars and Eastern European vocals' there's something quite refreshing about this track that appeals to me. Whether it's the whimsical way the Prince style guitar solo gives way to a bleepy Casiotone melody, the near industrial outro underpinned by soulful vocal or the percussion which sounds like it was recorded under a waterfall, there's always something to keep listening out to from start to finish of this track.
www.axisgallery.co.uk

SB

 
 

The Black Ghosts – Some Way Through This – Southern Fried 

A skint, emaciated beat, with some pared down strings and dub stabs drive this latest offering from Black Ghosts along.  The vocals are strained and unable to harness enough power to change sufficiently for the chorus, but this is still a cohesively put together track which shows some potential and is suitably dark and atmospheric. A remix by the Replicants which alters the vocals and places them lower in the mix shows the Black Ghosts the way they should have done it in the first place, putting greater emphasis on the lyrics by giving the song room to breathe. Nice.

Ian Anderson

 
 

Elektrons - Classic Cliche (Genuine)

This is like, you know, pop music isn't it? Just because it's set to a slightly quirkier than usual drum beat with loads of horns sampled intermittently throughout, there is no disguising this is basically r'n'b. I hate r'n'b.
www.elektrons.net

SB

 
 

Wojtek Godsisz - The Moon and the Yew Tree

Former singer in 90s "teen punk" band Symposium follows April's "Burning Ideals" EP with a rock song which is about supernatural personalities turning a man insane. Perhaps the man is the aforementioned singer. "Time of the Wolf" is the b-side. The title might further suggest Wojtek's insanity. Bloody hell, look, he's even got cellos and accordions! Probably mental.

Evidence on the contrary: the guy's got a nice voice (apart from on "Time of the Wolf", where he tries his best to sing like Dave Grohl without being too obvious and ends up sounding stupid), nicely deranged song ideas and lyrics (unfortunately not quite bordering on psychotic) and repetitive, meandering messes of music to back him.

Whether or not he's mad, the single is a disappointment. He's got traces of anger, of a storyteller and of excitement somewhere in him, but for some reason he's writing fairytales for 14 year olds who like the Magic Numbers.

Phil Coales

 
 

Sigur Ros - Hljómand / Starálfur (EMI)

My Icelandic isn't up to the standard it used to be but I don't need to know what Sigur Ros are singing about to know that it creates a beautiful sound. This does question the whole listening to the lyrics ethic if you can simply listen to the sound the words make without understanding the context. In fact if anything it helps to unclutter the music.

Anyway, 'Hljómand' is full of brushed drums and rising and falling movements which gradually build. 'Starálfur' on the other hand is a piano-driven ballad with a light touch of violin dusting the piano and warm vocals. It's long at five and half minutes but does not drag in the slightest. Just the soothing stuff I need after listening to the Elektrons single.
www.sigur-ros.co.uk

SB

 
 

Blood Red Shoes - I Wish I Was Someone Better (V2)

Another two-piece guitar/drums outfit? Has the bass player's union gone on strike or something? Fortunately the insistent mantra of 'I Wish I Was Someone Better' is delivered with breathless vigour that makes you pity the band when they have to play this live. maybe they should get together with The Deodates and form a super-group?
www.bloodredshoes.co.uk

SB

 
 

The Xcerts - Just Go Home

What a great description - you can see exactly what the writer was thinking when they penned 'distorted pop' in the press release. There's that unmissable hook quality about this but delivered with a punchy, punky vibe that bridges the indie-pop divide. Bloody annoying adolescent backing vocals going 'woo-woo' spoil the barnstorming finale to the track. There's obvious comparisons with the likes of Idlewild (and not just because both bands are Scottish) but didn't everyone start slagging Idlewild off once they went a bit poppy? Food for thought.
www.myspace.com/xcerts

SB

 
 

Big Linda - I Don't Even Like You (Ursa major)

Big Linda are clearly well connected. Apparently a mystery benefactor flew them to Antigua to record some songs for free. They have songs in forthcoming films featuring Ewan MacGregor and Christopher Ecclestone. And somehow thy manage to turn old school rawk into an enjoyable experience.

Although singer Rob Alder is likened to a young Jim Morrison I would say Rainbow's Graham Bonnet is more likely. This is out and out leather pant-wearing,  mane-swinging Rock! Does sound a bit like a prog-rock version of Reef though.
www.biglinda.co.uk

SB

 
 

Weedy Factory - Did It For the Money (SOI)

There's a nice quirkiness going on here as the languid verse vocals play against the frenetic breakbeats and horns in the choruses. But as soon as anyone says 'break it down!' in a song I can't help but think of MC Hammer.. Come on, Weedy Time.
www.myspace.com/weedyfactory

SB

 
 

Nephwrack - Messiahs Day

Oh dear -despite escaping a slandering in the review of their last single 'By The Light' this time Nephwrack are going to get it. This is one of those pompous slowy rock ballads that  builds to a predictably noisy conclusion including some kind of male choir harmony thing. A+ for squeezing in maximum rock cliches.

SB

 

Palladium - High 5 (Virgin)

To say that Palladium are being pushed quite strongly is an understatement - there's not a day goes by without some more Palladium news hitting my inbox. 'High 5' sees them maintaining an 70's vibe while dealing with what I think are some serious lyrics. It's a bit like listening to Leo Sayer doing a press conference for Madeleine McCann's parents. Or maybe it isn't - on a closer listen it may just be  a straight forward 'I love her and she loves me' kind of pop song. Sung by Leo Sayer.
Watch the video to 'High Five'
www.myspace.com/palladiumofficial

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Aritomo - We Become the Cloud/The Circular Flower (Bracken)

This entirely analogue recorded and mixed single will be unlike anything else you will listen to. In 'We Become the Cloud' Aritomo's vocals wash over the sections of guitar and flute, almost as though they are a ghost recording or for another track entirely. This theme is developed further in 'The Circular Flower' which stops and starts, has interludes, has phases where you think a new track has started and an unpleasant deep rumbling section that is like I would imagine the KLF's sonic weapon to sound like. All this with a distinctly oriental overtone. It's a rich sensual feast that cannot be ignored.
www.myspace.com/aritomomusic

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Schizo Fun Addict - Dream of the Portugal Keeper (Bracken)

I am pretty sure this has got nothing to with Portugal's netmen Ricardo or even his amusingly named understudy Quim. I'm also pretty sure that Schizo Fun Addict love their Bossa Nova and Samba beats - this single reeks of 1960's film scores and is a big leap from their previous releases such as the monotonous 'Atom Spark Hotel'. But it still seems to go on forever and no amount of Jane Schizo's stylised truncated vocal style or Roberto Muolo's sumptuous trumpet can prevent it from feeling a bit overlong.

The B-sides are equally intriguing - a raucous and gloriously chaotic cover version of an english folk song and a collaboration with Death of Fashion which sounds like they have been listening to plenty of Jesus and Mary Chain records.
www.schizofunaddict.com

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The Firm - EP

Here's an EP steeped in plenty of classic 80's influences - Banshees, Cure, Cult, JAMC, Bunnymen but still retaining a contemporary link with post punk and new wave. There's a desolation about the sound of The Firm despite a musical richness of effects and Ross Liddle's vocals which veer successfully between Morrissey and Moyet. It's like a timebomb from 1985, a real anachronism, but a successful one.
www.myspace.com/thefirmband

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Rebecca - Public Face

Rebecca make little apology about rating Radiohead's 'OK Computer' album highly and there is definitely a bit or borrowing going on here. The wicked guitar hook leans heavily on Radiohead's 'Electioneering'. But this song is crisp crisp crisp in it's own right. There's no slack to pick up as the verse collides noisily into the theremin imbued chorus. Great to hear a band going full pelt at recording their record and Rebecca pull it off handsomely.
www.rebecca.info

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